Aruna: Hittite God of Armenian origin

  • by Western Armenia, January 08, 2024 in Society
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Aruna was a Hittite sea god whose name is identical to the Hittite word for "sea". It is not known whether the sea was named after a deity or vice versa. This mystery is combined with the Armenian (colloquial) word  "arun" which means  blood.

peopleofar.com published an article examining a theory that attempts to connect the Armenian word for blood with the Hittite word for sea and a similarly named deity. The term "Aruna" means "sea" in Hittite, but linguists suggest that it is a loanword from Hittite, considering the possibility of an Indo-European etymology.

peopleofar.com published an article examining a theory that attempts to connect the Armenian word for blood with the Hittite word for sea and a similarly named deity. The term "Aruna" means "sea" in Hittite, but linguists suggest that it is a loanword from Hittite, considering the possibility of an Indo-European etymology.

On the other hand, some suggest a Hurrian origin version  especially since the cult of Aruna was fortified in the southeastern part of Western Armenia. The main clue to Aruna's existence can be gleaned from Hurrian texts, particularly the Song of the Sea, found in the Hittite capital of Hattusha, which describes his battle with the storm god Teshshub.

In these tales, Aruna raised the seas into the sky to challenge the supremacy of the sky gods over the earth. However, the god often defeated the sea deity through sacrifices, marriages, or storm battles.

From the numerous cuneiform inscriptions of Hurrian origin found in Hatusha, it becomes clear that the battles took place in the area of ​​Lake Vana.

If the deity was borrowed from the Hurrians, it is likely that it entered the Armenian vocabulary in the same way.

The Huris, considered the ancestors of the forefathers, later played a significant role in the formation of the united Armenian kingdom of Urartu (also known as the Kingdom of Ararat or Van).

The use of suffixes among the Hurrians and Urartians suggests that Aruna could have been pronounced simply as Arun.

A study of Hurrian texts that mention Aruna reveals the use of suffixes such as -an, -i, -ash applied to the root word "arun", suggesting that the name of the deity could have been pronounced "Arun". with additional letters serving as suffixes.

Now the question arises: how can the word "sea" be connected with the word "blood"? Apart from general liquidity, the sea is traditionally 'blue' in color, while blood is clearly 'red'. But in ancient times, people had a different point of view. Deciphering the symbolism of "sea" and "blood" requires an understanding of ancient ideas, according to which ancient people, including Armenians, perceived the color "blue" as a shade of red.

The lack of a separate word for blue in various ancient languages ​​supports this concept. In The Odyssey, Homer describes the sea as "wine-dark," offering a glimpse into a world where colors have meanings beyond modern understanding.

Watch the video below for a quick explanation.

Why The Ancient Greeks Couldn't See Blue

For  the ancient times  the color of the sea must have seemed a shade of red. Parallel ideas from Armenian traditions appear in the song telling the story of the birth of the Armenian god Vahagn, in which the sea is called "purple". This linguistic nuance suggests a common perception of colors and their symbolic meanings in ancient cultures.

For example, in the story of the medieval Armenian historian Khorenatsi, the ancient "Song of Vahagn" depicts the birth of the Armenian deity Vahagn from the "purple sea".

Although the Proto-Indo-European explanation usually says  the etymology of the Armenian word for blood, the exact connection between this term and the Hittite word for sea remains a mystery. Notably, Bronze Age Hittite

kingdom, ultimately an Indo-European kingdom that extended over large parts of the Armenian Highlands, provides a historical backdrop for possible connections. Especially in the eastern and southeastern regions, the Hittites interacted with proto-Armenian communities such as the Hurrians.

Given the historical context, it is reasonable to suggest a connection between the Armenian word for blood and the Hittite word for sea, especially given the prominence of the Hittite deity in the eastern regions of their domain. The complex web of interactions between these ancient cultures suggests linguistic and cultural exchanges, hinting at possible common influences on the linguistic fabric of the region.