Silver medallion from the 2nd century BC, excavated in Sisian, Syunik region of Armenia. Depiction of a Golden Eagle clutching some type of wild cat, most probably a leopard. The symbolism of the Golden Eagle was important in pre-historic motif’s on the Armenian Highland, as well as many of the Armenian Dynasties of the the old, this is a depiction from the Artaxiad Dynasty, where King Tigran II the Great hailed from, linked to the Yervanduni (Orontid Dynasty).


Urartian Bronze Armory Belt, c. 8th-7th century BC

Urartian belts, which are splendid specimens of their art, have been found in graves in Soviet Armenia and in the province of Kars. This is a section of an armory belt, decorated with three bands separated by rows of wave motifs; each band containing, from left to right, a winged lion with sword, a stylized tree, a leaping winged lion, a winged centaur-like creature with bow and arrow, and a leaping winged deer; rows of palmettes above and below; the upper and lower edges with perforations for attachments.

Urartu (biblical Kingdom of Ararat or Kingdom of Van) was a prehistoric Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands. Assyrian inscriptions of Shalmaneser I (c. 1274 BC) first mention Uruartri as one of the states of Nairi – a loose confederation of small kingdoms and tribal states in Armenian Highland in the 13th to 11th centuries BC, which he conquered.

Urartu re-emerged in Assyrian inscriptions in the 9th century BC as a powerful northern rival of Assyria. The Nairi states and tribes became a unified kingdom under king Aramu (c. 860 – 843 BC). It reached its peak of power in the 9th and 8th centuries. Urartu was eventually conquered by the Medes in the early 6th century BC and the Urartian Kingdom was eventually replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty.


Urartian Bronze Belt, 8th - 7th century BC

Decorated in three registers with riders pursuing bulls and lions in fields of roses and trees.

Urartu (map) was originally known as Biainele with its capital at the rock fortress of Tushpa. The ancient city’s ruins are located just west of Van and east of Lake Van in the Van Province of Turkey. Today the region once known as Urartu is divided among Armenia, eastern Turkey, and northwestern Iran. In the bible, Urartu was known as the kingdom of Ararat.

Urartians spoke a language that was related to Hurrian, a language that has no other known connections. Their written language was adapted from Assyrian cuneiform but their inscriptions unfortunately only refer to royal construction activity therefore we get most of our information about Urartu from historic Assyrian sources. The Assyrian King Shalmaneser I (13th century BC) first mentions “Uruartri” as a Nairi state, which was a loose confederation of small kingdoms and tribes, of which he and his successors conquered at times, but not completely. Urartu re-emerged as a powerful kingdom and rival of Assyria in Assyrian inscriptions dated to the 9th century BC. Its tribes became united under the Urartian King Aramu (c. 860 – 843 BC) and the kingdom reached its zenith in the 9th and 8th centuries.

In the 7th century BC Urartu suffered from invasions by the Cimmerians, Scythians and Medes. The region came under the control of the Armenian Orontids in the 7th century BC and the Persians in the mid-6th century BC. By this time the kingdom of Urartu was no longer extant.