History of Armenia

Hayasa-Azzi Confederation
Hayasa-Azzi ©Angus McBride
1600 BCE Jan 1 - 1200 BCE

Hayasa-Azzi Confederation

Armenian Highlands, Gergili, E

Hayasa-Azzi or Azzi-Hayasa was a Late Bronze Age confederation in the Armenian Highlands and/or Pontic region of Asia Minor. The Hayasa-Azzi confederation was in conflict with the Hittite Empire in the 14th century BCE, leading up to the collapse of Hatti around 1190 BCE. It has long been thought that Hayasa-Azzi may have played a significant role in the ethnogenesis of Armenians.

All information about Hayasa-Azzi comes from the Hittites, there are no primary sources from Hayasa-Azzi. As such, the early history of Hayasa-Azzi is unknown. According to historian Aram Kosyan, it is possible that the origins of Hayasa-Azzi lie in the Trialeti-Vanadzor culture, which expanded from Transcaucasia toward northeastern modern Turkey in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE.

Igor Diakonoff argues the pronunciation of Hayasa was probably closer to Khayasa, with an aspirated h. According to him, this nullifies the connection to Armenian Hay (հայ). Additionally, he argues that -asa cannot be an Anatolian language suffix as names with this suffix are absent in the Armenian Highlands.

Diakonoff's criticisms have been refuted by Matiossian and others, who argue that, as Hayasa is a Hittite (or Hittite-ized) exonym applied to a foreign land, the -asa suffix can still mean "land of." Additionally, Khayasa can be reconciled with Hay as the Hittite h and kh phonemes are interchangeable, a feature present in certain Armenian dialects as well.

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Last Updated: : Sun Jan 07 2024