Most of the ancient states still left something behind. Either nations (Assyrians, Copts, Greeks …), or languages (Latin and Romance languages), or even new states arose on their basis, considering themselves to be a continuation of the old ones (Iran). But Urartu and its people disappeared into nowhere, overnight.
In the first quarter of I millennium BC the state of Urartu played a decisive role in the geopolitics of that era. It was located on the territory of the Armenian Highlands from Lake Van to Lake Sevan, and during its heyday, during the reign of Tsar Rusa II, it occupied much larger territories.
The study of this kingdom began in the 19th century and since then much has become known. There are many Assyrian inscriptions about Urartu, and the language of the Urartians is deciphered and all their inscriptions are translated, archaeologists have explored many of their cities and settlements in Armenia, Turkey, Iran. We can say that we know a lot about this state and its people, but two points remain very controversial – where did they come from and where did they go.
The problem is that until the appearance of the already existing state, the term “Urartu” does not exist. This territory in the 13-10th centuries BC according to the Assyrian inscriptions, the country is called Nairi, with which the Assyrians often fought. What kind of country, who inhabited it and what language was spoken is unknown. The writing was not there.
But the first known king Urartu Aram in the inscriptions of King Salmanasar III is called Urartu, although the country itself apparently does not yet exist.
– I left Khubushkia and went to Suguniya, the fortified city of Aram Urartu, besieged and captured the city, killed many of its soldiers, put down a tower of heads in front of the city and burned 14 of its neighboring settlements in the fire. I left Suguniya, went down to the sea of the country of Nairi, washed my weapons in the sea, made sacrifices to my gods. At this time, I made my own image and wrote down on him the praise of Ashur, the great lord, my lord, as well as the victory of my power, and set it over the sea.
That is, King Aramu Urart, and the country is still Nairi. The name changes with the next king and, in principle, it is with this king that the history of Urartu begins. Sarduri, son of Lutipri. That was the name of the next king after Aram.
It immediately draws attention to the fact that this is not the son of King Aram, but the son of a certain unknown Lutipri. Together with the change of the name of the country, this fact becomes quite significant. What is it, just a change of dynasty or the coming to dominance of another nation on this territory?
It is interesting here that in the Armenian historical tradition and in the people’s memory only Aram, who was considered the Armenian king by the Armenians, was preserved. All other Urartian kings were completely forgotten, although it was Armenia that arose on this territory after the fall of Urartu.
However, it must be said right away that the Urartians were not Armenians. They were people close to Hurrians by language, and of modern languages, their closest relatives are the languages of the Nakh-Dagestan group of the Caucasian language family. But here is what language was spoken in the country of Nairi and whether Aram was really a urartu is an open question. It is likely that the change of dynasty after Aram was a change of the dominant ethnic group. And before that, some Indo-European people dominated in this territory, it is quite possible that the proto-Armenians also.
But in any case, the state of Urartu itself was not Indo-European, although some peoples of this group were part of it.
For almost 300 years, this kingdom existed and was a significant force. In its heyday, it dominated in Asia Minor. This is how his adversary, King of Assyria Salmanasar IV, described one of the Urartian kings
– Argishti urart, whose name is scary, like a heavy storm, whose forces are vast.
However, it all ends sometime. Collapsed and Urartu. In just 100 years, this state has disappeared and has been completely forgotten. Even the ubiquitous ancient historians have nothing about him. In its place arises Armenia. But this is a completely different people. Armenians are Indo-Europeans by language, and Urartians are Caucasians. So where did they go?
They still argue about this, but on the whole a fairly logical and substantiated concept has already developed. Urartians, proto-Armenians and other smaller peoples of this region merged into a single ethnic group with the cultural and linguistic dominance of Indo-Europeans – Proto-Armenians, and starting from the 6th century BC, one ethnic group was recorded in this territory – Armenians.
The fact that the Urartians were simply assimilated is confirmed by a significant layer of Urartian borrowings in the Armenian language and not only vocabulary, but also, more significantly, grammatical and phonetic. And geneticists say that the population in this area has not changed since the Stone Age.
That is, the Urartians have not disappeared. They simply adopted a different language and culture, but they themselves had a significant influence on them. Peoples and states in the end always disappear, but people remain.