The University of Texas at Austin; College of Liberal Arts
Hans C. Boas, Director :: PCL 5.556, 1 University Station S5490 :: Austin, TX 78712 :: 512-471-4566
LRC Links: Home | About | Books Online | EIEOL | IE Doc. Center | IE Lexicon | IE Maps | IE Texts | Pub. Indices | SiteMap

Classical Armenian Online

Lesson 1

Todd B. Krause, John A.C. Greppin, and Jonathan Slocum

The Urartuan Period

The kingdom of Urartu (ca. 870 - 590 B.C.) was the first kingdom we know to have been centered in the region of what is now greater Armenia. The earliest mention of this kingdom comes from the campaign records of the Assyrian king Ashur-nasirpal (ca. 884 - 859 B.C.). The history of Urartu is one of constant struggle with the neighboring Assyrian state. For a brief period the Assyrian kingdom fell into decline, and this allowed Urartu to gain a strong foothold in the region, spreading from the western Euphrates to the eastern Caspian lowlands, and extending from Lake Urmia in the south to the Caucasus in the north. This region became a center for vineyards and grain production; its stores of copper and iron ensured it became a hub of trade in bronze and iron weaponry. Remnants of metal tools, weapons, and pottery have been found and preserved in museums in Armenia. Urartuan cauldrons and decorative shields have been found in both Greek-speaking and Transcaucasian regions.

Arame is the first Urartuan king to be mentioned, his name recorded by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III (ca. 860 - 825 B.C.). This Arame may have been the historical figure on whom is based Ara the Handsome, the legendary founder of the Armenian people described by Moses of Khoren more than a thousand years later. The Assyrian king Shammur-amat (ca. 810 - 805) is supposed by some to have lent his name to Queen Semiramis, the alluring rival in Moses of Khoren's story, who eventually led to Ara to his downfall.

The historical kingdom of Urartu itself eventually came to a period of decline. The kings Tiglath-pileser III (ca. 745 - 727 B.C.) and Sargon II (ca. 722 - 705 B.C.) reversed the decline of their Assyrian kingdom and began a long campaign against the Urartuans. The Assyrian records indicate that Urartu was at this time under attack by the Cimmerians from the north, and it seems that the two-front war was more than Urartu could sustain. Urartu was overrun and the Cimmerians poured through to attack Assyria itself. Soon thereafter, Urartu joined forces with Assyria, which was not only embroiled in conflict with the Cimmerians and the newly arrived Scythians in the north, but also with the Babylonian state to the south.

The subsequent history of Urartu falls into greater and greater obscurity. Urartu and Assyria both fell into great decline, opening up a power vacuum in the region which was filled by the Medes, Babylonians, and Egyptians. The Babylonians and Medes divided the Assyrian empire between them, but Urartu seems to have fallen solely under Median control by ca. 605-585 B.C.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The oldest Armenian text is the Bible, translated from Greek in the early fifth century. (The beginning and completion dates cannot be determined with precision, but late texts which refer to the Bible provide us with a date ante quem.) Though some have argued that the Armenians referred to the Hebrew Old Testament, there is little evidence to support this. It is likely that the New Testament was translated before the Old Testament, and here it is possible that there was Syriac influence, though the matter has not been carefully studied. This reading comes from Matthew 5:1-16.

1 - Եւ տեսեալ զժողովուրդսն ել ի լեառն։ եւ իբրեւ նստաւ անդ՝ մատեան առ նա աշակերտք նորա

  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- And
  • տեսեալ -- verb; past participle nominative singular of <տեսանեմ> I see -- seeing
  • զժողովուրդսն -- direct object marker <զ՟>... + noun; accusative plural of <ժողովուրդ> multitude + demonstrative suffix <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- the multitudes
  • ել -- verb; 3rd singular aorist of <ելանեմ> I come, go up -- he went up
  • ի -- preposition; <ի> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of -- onto
  • լեառն -- noun; accusative singular of <լեառն> mountain -- a mountain
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • իբրեւ -- conjunction; <իբրեւ> when -- when
  • նստաւ -- verb; 3rd singular aorist mediopassive of <նստիմ> I sit -- he was set
  • անդ -- adverb; <անդ> there -- ...
  • մատեան -- verb; 3rd plural aorist mediopassive of <մատչիմ> I approach -- came
  • առ -- preposition; <առ> to, toward (a person); beside; in the time of; in addition to -- unto
  • նա -- pronoun; accusative singular of <նա> he, she, it -- him
  • աշակերտք -- noun; nominative plural of <աշակերտ> student, disciple -- disciples
  • նորա -- pronoun; genitive singular of <նա> he, she, it -- his

2 - Եւ բացեալ զբերան իւր ուսուցանէր զնոսա եւ ասէր։

  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- And
  • բացեալ -- verb; past participle nominative singular of <բանամ> I open -- he opened
  • զբերան -- direct object marker <զ՟>... + noun; accusative singular of <բերան> mouth -- mouth
  • իւր -- reflexive pronoun; genitive singular of <իւր> him-, her-, it-self -- his
  • ուսուցանէր -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <ուսուցանեմ> I teach -- taught
  • զնոսա -- direct object marker <զ՟>... + pronoun; accusative plural of <նա> he, she, it -- them
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • ասէր -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <ասեմ> I say -- saying

3 - երանի աղքատաց հոգւով, զի նոցա է արքայութիւն երկնից :

  • երանի -- adjective; nominative singular of <երանի> happy -- Blessed (are) # used as interjection with accompanying dative
  • աղքատաց -- adjective used as substantive; dative plural of <աղքատ> poor -- (the) poor
  • հոգւով -- noun; instrumental singular of <հոգի> soul, spirit -- in spirit
  • զի -- conjunction; <զի> for; that; because -- for
  • նոցա -- pronoun; dative plural of <նա> he, she, it -- theirs
  • է -- verb; 3rd singular present of <եմ> I am -- is
  • արքայութիւն -- noun; nominative singular of <արքայութիւն> kingdom -- the kingdom
  • երկնից -- noun; genitive plural of <երկին> heaven -- of heaven

4 - Երանի սգաւորաց, զի նոքա մխիթարեսցին :

  • երանի -- adjective; nominative singular of <երանի> happy -- Blessed (are)
  • սգաւորաց -- adjective used as substantive; dative plural of <սգաւոր> sorrowful -- they that mourn
  • զի -- conjunction; <զի> for; that; because -- for
  • նոքա -- pronoun; nominative plural of <նա> he, she, it -- they
  • մխիթարեսցին -- verb; 3rd plural aorist subjunctive mediopassive of <մխիթարեմ> I comfort -- shall be comforted

5 - Երանի հեզոց, զի նոքա ժառանգեսցեն զերկիր :

  • երանի -- adjective; nominative singular of <երանի> happy -- Blessed (are)
  • հեզոց -- adjective used as substantive; dative plural of <հեզ> meek -- the meek
  • զի -- conjunction; <զի> for; that; because -- for
  • նոքա -- pronoun; nominative plural of <նա> he, she, it -- they
  • ժառանգեսցեն -- verb; 3rd plural aorist subjunctive of <ժառանգեմ> I inherit -- shall inherit
  • զերկիր -- direct object marker <զ՟>... + noun; accusative singular of <երկիր> earth -- the earth

6 - Երանի որ քաղցեալ ծարաւի իցեն արդարութեան, զի նոքա յագեսցին

  • երանի -- adjective; nominative singular of <երանի> happy -- Blessed (are)
  • որ -- relative pronoun; nominative plural of <որ> who, what, which -- they which
  • քաղցեալ -- verb; past participle undeclined form of <քաղցնում> I hunger -- hunger
  • ծարաւի -- adjective; undeclined form of <ծարաւի> thirsting, thirsty -- (and) thirst
  • իցեն -- verb; 3rd plural present subjunctive of <եմ> I am -- do
  • արդարութեան -- noun; genitive singular of <արդարութիւն> righteousness -- after righteousness # or dative case
  • զի -- conjunction; <զի> for; that; because -- for
  • նոքա -- pronoun; nominative plural of <նա> he, she, it -- they
  • յագեսցին -- verb; 3rd plural aorist subjunctive mediopassive of <յագիմ> I am satisfied, filled, fulfilled -- shall be filled

7 - Երանի ողորմածաց, զի նոքա ողորմութիւն գտցեն

  • երանի -- adjective; nominative singular of <երանի> happy -- Blessed (are)
  • ողորմածաց -- adjective used as substantive; dative plural of <ողորմած> merciful -- the merciful
  • զի -- conjunction; <զի> for; that; because -- for
  • նոքա -- pronoun; nominative plural of <նա> he, she, it -- they
  • ողորմութիւն -- noun; accusative singular of <ողորմութիւն> mercy -- mercy
  • գտցեն -- verb; 3rd plural aorist subjunctive of <գտանեմ> I find, get, obtain -- shall obtain

8 - Երանի այնոցիկ՝ որ սուրբ են սրտիւք, զի նոքա զԱստուած տեսցեն :

  • երանի -- adjective; nominative singular of <երանի> happy -- Blessed
  • այնոցիկ -- emphatic pronoun; dative plural of <այն> he, she, it -- ...
  • որ -- relative pronoun; nominative plural of <որ> who, what, which -- ...
  • սուրբ -- adjective; undeclined form <սուրբ> holy, blessed -- the pure
  • են -- verb; 3rd plural present of <եմ> I am -- are
  • սրտիւք -- noun; instrumental plural of <սիրտ> heart -- in heart
  • զի -- conjunction; <զի> for; that; because -- for
  • նոքա -- pronoun; nominative plural of <նա> he, she, it -- they
  • զԱստուած -- direct object marker <զ՟>... + proper noun; accusative singular of <Աստուած> God -- God
  • տեսցեն -- verb; 3rd plural aorist subjunctive of <տեսանեմ> I see -- shall see

9 - Երանի խաղաղարարաց, զի նոքա որդիք Աստուծոյ կոչեսցին :

  • երանի -- adjective; nominative singular of <երանի> happy -- Blessed (are)
  • խաղաղարարաց -- adjective used as substantive; dative plural of <խաղաղ արար> peacemaker -- the peacemakers
  • զի -- conjunction; <զի> for; that; because -- for
  • նոքա -- pronoun; nominative plural of <նա> he, she, it -- they
  • որդիք -- noun; nominative plural of <որդի> son -- the children
  • Աստուծոյ -- proper noun; genitive singular of <Աստուած> God -- of God
  • կոչեսցին -- verb; 3rd plural aorist subjunctive mediopassive of <կոչեմ> I call, name -- shall be called

10 - Երանի որ հալածեալ իցեն վասն արդարութեան, զի նոցա է արքայութիւն երկնից :

  • երանի -- adjective; nominative singular of <երանի> happy -- Blessed (are)
  • որ -- relative pronoun; nominative singular of <որ> who, what, which -- they which
  • հալածեալ -- verb; past participle undeclined form of <հալածեմ> I persecute -- persecuted
  • իցեն -- verb; 3rd plural present subjunctive of <եմ> I am -- they will be
  • վասն -- preposition; <վասն> because of, on account of, for the sake of -- for... sake
  • արդարութեան -- noun; genitive singular of <արդարութիւն> righteousness -- righteousness'
  • զի -- conjunction; <զի> for; that; because -- for
  • նոցա -- pronoun; dative plural of <նա> he, she, it -- theirs
  • է -- verb; 3rd singular present of <եմ> I am -- is
  • արքայութիւն -- noun; nominative singular of <արքայութիւն> kingdom -- the kingdom
  • երկնից -- noun; genitive plural of <երկին> heaven -- of heaven

11 - Երանի է ձեզ՝ յորժամ նախատիցեն զձեզ եւ հալածեսցեն, եւ ասիցեն զամենայն բան չար զձէնջ սուտ վասն իմ :

  • երանի -- adjective; nominative singular of <երանի> happy -- Blessed
  • է -- verb; 3rd singular present of <եմ> I am -- are
  • ձեզ -- pronoun; dative plural of <դու> thou -- ye
  • յորժամ -- adverb; <յորժամ> when -- when
  • նախատիցեն -- verb; 3rd plural present subjunctive of <նախատեմ> I insult -- (men) shall revile
  • զձեզ -- direct object marker <զ՟>... + pronoun; accusative plural of <դու> thou -- you
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • հալածեսցեն -- verb; 3rd plural aorist subjunctive of <հալածեմ> I persecute -- persecute (you)
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • ասիցեն -- verb; 3rd plural present subjunctive of <ասեմ> I say -- shall say
  • զամենայն -- direct object marker <զ՟>... + adjective; undeclined form <ամենայն> all, every -- all manner of
  • բան -- noun; accusative singular of <բան> speech, word -- ...
  • չար -- adjective; accusative singular of <չար> bad, evil -- evil
  • զձէնջ -- preposition; <զ՟> during; for; concerning; around, about + pronoun; ablative plural of <դու> thou -- against you
  • սուտ -- adverb; <սուտ> falsely -- falsely
  • վասն -- preposition; <վասն> because of, on account of, for the sake of -- for... sake
  • իմ -- pronoun; genitive singular of <ես> I -- my

12 - Ցնծացէք եւ ուրախ լերուք, զի վարձք ձեր բազում են յերկինս։ զի այսպէս հալածեցին զմարգարէսն որ յառաջ քան զձեզ էին :

  • ցնծացէք -- verb; 2nd plural aorist imperative of <ցնծամ> I rejoice -- Rejoice
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • ուրախ -- adjective; undeclined form <ուրախ> happy -- (exceeding) glad
  • լերուք -- verb; 2nd plural present imperative of <լինիմ> I am, exist -- be
  • զի -- conjunction; <զի> for; that; because -- for
  • վարձք -- noun; nominative plural of <վարձ> reward -- reward
  • ձեր -- pronoun; genitive plural of <դու> thou -- your # or dative
  • բազում -- adjective; undeclined form of <բազում> much, many -- great
  • են -- verb; 3rd plural present of <եմ> I am -- is
  • յերկինս -- preposition; <ի> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of + noun; locative plural of <երկին> heaven -- in heaven
  • զի -- conjunction; <զի> for; that; because -- for
  • այսպէս -- adverb; <այսպէս> so, thus, in this manner -- so
  • հալածեցին -- verb; 3rd plural aorist <հալածեմ> I persecute -- they persecuted
  • զմարգարէսն -- direct object marker <զ՟>... + noun; accusative plural of <մարգարէ> prophet + demonstrative suffix <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- the prophets
  • որ -- relative pronoun; nominative plural of <որ> who, what, which -- which
  • յառաջ -- adverb; <յառաջ> before, earlier -- before
  • քան -- conjunction; <քան> than -- ...
  • զձեզ -- direct object marker <զ՟>... + pronoun; accusative plural of <դու> thou -- you
  • էին -- verb; 3rd plural imperfect of <եմ> I am -- were

13 - Դուք էք աղ երկրի։ ապա թէ աղն անհամի ի՞ւ յաղիցի։ ոչ իմիք ազդիցէ այնուհետեւ, բայց եթէ ընկենուլ արտաքս, եւ կոխան լինել ի մարդկանէ :

  • դուք -- pronoun; nominative plural of <դու> thou -- Ye
  • էք -- verb; 2nd plural present of <եմ> I am -- are
  • աղ -- noun; nominative singular of <աղ> salt -- the salt
  • երկրի -- noun; genitive singular of <երկիր> earth -- of the earth
  • ապա -- conjunction; <ապա> but; then, afterwards, later -- but
  • թէ -- conjunction; <եթե> that; if; or -- if
  • աղն -- noun; nominative singular of <աղ> salt + demonstrative suffix <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- the salt
  • անհամի -- verb; 3rd singular present of <անհամիմ> I am un-tasteful -- has lost (its) savour
  • ի՞ւ -- interrogative adverb; <ի՞ւ> how -- wherewith
  • յաղիցի -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive mediopassive of <յաղեմ> I salt -- shall it be salted
  • ոչ -- adverb; <ոչ> no, not -- no-
  • իմիք -- indefinite pronoun; dative singular of <*իք> something, anything -- for...-thing
  • ազդիցէ -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <ազդեմ> I am efficacious, I affect -- it is... good
  • այնուհետեւ -- adverb; <այնուհետեւ> thenceforth -- thenceforth
  • բայց -- conjunction; <բայց> but -- but
  • եթէ -- conjunction; <եթե> that; if; or -- ...
  • ընկենուլ -- verb; infinitive of <ընկենում> I throw -- to be cast
  • արտաքս -- adverb; <արտաքս> out -- out
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • կոխան -- adjective; undeclined form <կոխան> trampled -- trodden
  • լինել -- verb; infinitive of <լինիմ> I am, exist -- to be
  • ի -- preposition; <ի> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of -- under (foot of)
  • մարդկանէ -- noun; ablative singular of <մարդիկ> mankind, people -- men

14 - Դուք էք լոյս աշկարհի, ոչ կարէ քաղաք թաքչել՝ որ ի վերայ լերին կայցէ

  • դուք -- pronoun; nominative plural of <դու> thou -- Ye
  • էք -- verb; 2nd plural present of <եմ> I am -- are
  • լոյս -- noun; nominative singular of <լոյս> light -- the light
  • աշկարհի -- noun; genitive singular of <աշկարհ> earth -- of the world
  • ոչ -- adverb; <ոչ> no, not -- not
  • կարէ -- verb; 3rd singular present of <կարեմ> I can, am able -- can-
  • քաղաք -- noun; nominative singular of <քաղաք> city -- A city
  • թաքչել -- verb; infinitive used as complement <թաքչեմ> I hide -- be hid
  • որ -- relative pronoun; nominative singular of <որ> who, what, which -- that
  • ի վերայ -- compound preposition; <ի վերայ> upon, over -- on
  • լերին -- noun; genitive singular of <լեառն> mountain -- a hill
  • կայցէ -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <կամ> I am, exist -- is set

15 - Եւ ոչ լուցանեն ճրագ եւ դնեն ընդ գրուանաւ, այլ ի վերայ աշտանակի, եւ լոյս տայ ամենեցուն որ ի տանն իցեն

  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- either
  • ոչ -- adverb; <ոչ> no, not -- N-
  • լուցանեն -- verb; 3rd plural present of <լուծանեմ> I light -- do (men) light
  • ճրագ -- noun; accusative singular of <ճրագ> candle -- a candle
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • դնեն -- verb; 3rd plural present of <դնեմ> I put, place -- put (it)
  • ընդ -- preposition; <ընդ> through, along, by way of; against; during; instead of, in exchange for; with, in the company of; under -- under
  • գրուանաւ -- noun; instrumental singular of <գրուան> bushel -- a bushel
  • այլ -- conjunction; <այլ> but -- but
  • ի վերայ -- compound preposition; <ի վերայ> upon, over -- on
  • աշտանակի -- noun; genitive singular of <աշտանակ> candle stick -- a candlestick
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • լոյս -- noun; accusative singular of <լոյս> light -- light
  • տայ -- verb; 3rd singular present of <տամ> I give; permit, let -- it giveth
  • ամենեցուն -- noun; dative singular of <ամենայն> everyone -- unto all
  • որ -- relative pronoun; nominative plural of <որ> who, what, which -- that
  • ի -- preposition; <ի> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of -- in
  • տանն -- noun; locative singular of <տուն> house + demonstrative suffix <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- the house
  • իցեն -- verb; 3rd plural present subjunctive of <եմ> I am -- are

16 - Այնպէս լուսաւորեսցէ լոյս ձեր առաջի մարդկան, որպէս զի տեսցեն զգործս ձեր բարիս, եւ փառաւորեսցեն զհայր ձեր որ յերկինս է :

  • այնպէս -- conjunction; <այնպէս> likewise -- ...
  • լուսաւորեսցէ -- verb; 3rd singular aorist subjunctive of <լուսաւորեմ> I shine -- let... shine
  • լոյս -- noun; nominative singular of <լոյս> light -- light
  • ձեր -- pronoun; genitive plural of <դու> thou -- your
  • առաջի -- preposition; <առաջի> before, in front of -- before
  • մարդկան -- noun; genitive singular of <մարդիկ> mankind, people -- man
  • որպէս զի -- compound conjunction <որպէս զի> so that -- so... that
  • տեսցեն -- verb; 3rd plural aorist subjunctive of <տեսանեմ> I see -- they may see
  • զգործս -- direct object marker <զ՟>... + noun; accusative plural of <գործ> work, deed -- works
  • ձեր -- pronoun; genitive plural of <դու> thou -- your
  • բարիս -- adjective; accusative plural of <բարի> good -- good
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • փառաւորեսցեն -- verb; 3rd plural aorist subjunctive of <պառաւորեմ> I glorify -- glorify
  • զհայր -- direct object marker <զ՟>... + noun; accusative singular of <հայր> father -- Father
  • ձեր -- pronoun; genitive plural of <դու> thou -- your
  • որ -- relative pronoun; nominative singular of <որ> who, what, which -- which
  • յերկինս -- preposition; <ի> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of + noun; locative plural of <երկին> heaven -- in heaven
  • է -- verb; 3rd singular present of <եմ> I am -- is

Lesson Text

1 Եւ տեսեալ զժողովուրդսն ել ի լեառն։ եւ իբրեւ նստաւ անդ՝ մատեան առ նա աշակերտք նորա 2 Եւ բացեալ զբերան իւր ուսուցանէր զնոսա եւ ասէր։ 3 երանի աղքատաց հոգւով, զի նոցա է արքայութիւն երկնից : 4 Երանի սգաւորաց, զի նոքա մխիթարեսցին : 5 Երանի հեզոց, զի նոքա ժառանգեսցեն զերկիր : 6 Երանի որ քաղցեալ ծարաւի իցեն արդարութեան, զի նոքա յագեսցին 7 Երանի ողորմածաց, զի նոքա ողորմութիւն գտցեն 8 Երանի այնոցիկ՝ որ սուրբ են սրտիւք, զի նոքա զԱստուած տեսցեն : 9 Երանի խաղաղարարաց, զի նոքա որդիք Աստուծոյ կոչեսցին : 10 Երանի որ հալածեալ իցեն վասն արդարութեան, զի նոցա է արքայութիւն երկնից : 11 Երանի է ձեզ՝ յորժամ նախատիցեն զձեզ եւ հալածեսցեն, եւ ասիցեն զամենայն բան չար զձէնջ սուտ վասն իմ : 12 Ցնծացէք եւ ուրախ լերուք, զի վարձք ձեր բազում են յերկինս։ զի այսպէս հալածեցին զմարգարէսն որ յառաջ քան զձեզ էին : 13 Դուք էք աղ երկրի։ ապա թէ աղն անհամի ի՞ւ յաղիցի։ ոչ իմիք ազդիցէ այնուհետեւ, բայց եթէ ընկենուլ արտաքս, եւ կոխան լինել ի մարդկանէ : 14 Դուք էք լոյս աշկարհի, ոչ կարէ քաղաք թաքչել՝ որ ի վերայ լերին կայցէ 15 Եւ ոչ լուցանեն ճրագ եւ դնեն ընդ գրուանաւ, այլ ի վերայ աշտանակի, եւ լոյս տայ ամենեցուն որ ի տանն իցեն 16 Այնպէս լուսաւորեսցէ լոյս ձեր առաջի մարդկան, որպէս զի տեսցեն զգործս ձեր բարիս, եւ փառաւորեսցեն զհայր ձեր որ յերկինս է :

Translation

1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up onto a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteouness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Grammar

1. The Alphabet and Sound System
1.1. The Alphabet

The Armenian alphabet was created in roughly 406 AD by a cleric named Mesrop Mastoc, initially as a vehicle for translation of the Bible. The most likely source of the alphabet is the Greek alphabet: like Greek, Armenian is read left to right; vowels are represented by separate characters, unlike nearby Semitic scripts; certain letters of the Armenian alphabet are reminiscent of the Greek, in particular the use of a digraph ու to represent the sound u as in the Greek; and the use of letters to represent numerals follows the Greek method. Below is a list of the letters of the Armenian alphabet, together with their transliterations, names, numerical values, and a guide to their pronunciation.

    Letter   Trans.   Name   Number   Pronunciation
    Ա ա   A a   ayb   1   a as in 'father'
    Բ բ   B b   ben   2   b as in 'boy'
    Գ գ   G g   gim   3   g as in 'good'
    Դ դ   D d   da   4   d as in 'dog'
    Ե ե   E e   ečʿ   5   e as in 'bet', initially ye as in 'yes'
    Զ զ   Z z   za   6   z as in 'zebra'
    Է է   Ē ē   ē   7   ei as in 'eight'
    Ը ը   Ə ə   etʿ   8   u as in 'but'
    Թ թ   Tʿ tʿ   tʿo   9   t, aspirated, as in 'top'
    Ժ ժ   Ž ž   žē   10   g as in 'rouge'
    Ի ի   I i   ini   20   ee as in 'queen'
    Լ լ   L l   liwn   30   l as in 'lamb'
    Խ խ   X x     40   ch as in (German pronunciation of) 'Bach'
    Ծ ծ   C c   ca   50   t's as in 'what's up?'
    Կ կ   K k   ken   60   k, unaspirated, as in 'skip'
    Հ հ   H h   ho   70   h as in 'hope'
    Ձ ձ   J j   ja   80   ds as in 'heads'
    Ղ ղ   Ł ł   łat   90   ll as in 'ball', or ch as in Scots English 'loch', but voiced
    Ճ ճ   Č č   čē   100   tch, unaspirated, as in 'matchbox'
    Մ մ   M m   men   200   m as in 'map'
    Յ յ   Y y   yi   300   y as in 'yes', also as in 'boy'
    Ն ն   N n   nu   400   n as in 'now'
    Շ շ   Š š   ša   500   sh as in 'ship'
    Ո ո   O o   o   600   oa as in 'boat', initially vo as in 'vote'
    Չ չ   Čʿ čʿ   čʿa   700   tch, aspirated, as in 'match'
    Պ պ   P p     800   p, unaspirated, as in 'spot'
    Ջ ջ   J̌ ǰ   ǰē   900   j as in 'jump'
    Ռ ռ   Ṙ ṙ   ṙa   1000   r as in 'run', but trilled
    Ս ս   S s     2000   s as in 'sip'
    Վ վ   V v   vew   3000   v as in 'vat'
    Տ տ   T t   tiwn   4000   t, unaspirated, as in 'stop'
    Ր ր   R r     5000   r as in 'run'
    Ց ց   Cʿ cʿ   cʿo   6000   ts, aspirated, as in 'hats'
    Ւ ւ   W w   hiwn   7000   w as in 'wet'
    Փ փ   Pʿ pʿ   pʿiwr   8000   p, aspirated, as in 'pot'
    Ք ք   Kʿ kʿ   kʿē   9000   k, aspirated, as in 'kit'

As mentioned above, the digraph ու represents the single vowel sound u. The schwa ը is written only in initial position for monosyllabic words and for words derived from these by nominal composition. In modern printed texts it is written in polysyllabic words when hyphenated.

Beginning in the twelfth century, the letter Ո/ո is used where one would usually find the diphthong աւ. The letter Ֆ/ֆ (F/f) was introduced to represent the corresponding foreign sound, as in the f of English 'father'. Greek omega was usually represented by ով.

1.2. The Sound System

The phonological system of Classical Armenian consists of 29 consonants and 7 simple vowels. The consonants may be organized according to articulation as in the following chart.

    Voiceless       Voiced
Plosives   Unaspirated   Aspirated    
Labial   պ (p)   փ (pʿ)   բ (b)
Dental   տ (t)   թ (tʿ)   դ (d)
Velar   կ (k)   ք (kʿ)   գ (g)
             
Affricates   Unaspirated   Aspirated    
Dental   ծ (c)   ց (cʿ)   ձ (j)
Palatal   ճ (č)   չ (čʿ)   ջ (ǰ)
             
Fricatives   Voiceless       Voiced
Labial           վ (v)
Dental   ս (s)       զ (z)
Palatal   շ (š)       ժ (ž)
Velar   խ (x)        
Glottal   հ (h)        
             
Nasals           Voiced
Labial           մ (m)
Dental           ն (n)
             
Liquids            
Central   ր (r)   ռ ()    
Lateral   լ (l)   ղ (ł)    
             
Semivowels            
Palatal   յ (y)        
Velar   ւ (w)        

Conventional pronunciation renders ղ (ł) as the voiced counterpart of խ (x), thereby lending it a fricative quality. The evidence from the classical period, however, seems to point to a heavy lateral articulation, as in Modern English 'ball'. The spelling gaył for the usual gayl shows that the distinction was not absolute within the language itself. It was also used to render the Greek lambda, as in titłos < Gk. titlos and Pawłos < Gk. Paulos.

վ (v) and ւ (w) are conventionally pronounced differently, as their English counterparts. In the classical period, however, they do not seem to have been distinct phonemes, but rather allographs: վ (v) was used initially, initially in the second element of compounds, and after ո (o) with ւ w used elsewhere.

The vowels may be similarly organized, as in the following chart:

Vowels   Front   Central   Back
High   ի (i)       ու (u)
High-Mid   է (ē)   ը (ə)    
Mid   ե (e)       ո (o)
Low       ա (a)    

There is no evidence for a distinction of vowel quantities in Classical Armenian.

Modern convention pronounces initial ե (e) as ye; the evidence for such pronunciation extending back to the classical period is unclear, since archaic texts often transcribe with initial ե Greek names beginning with epsilon or the alpha-iota diphthong. The word for Jerusalem, which however would have had an initial glide, is written simply as Erosałēm, indicating that ե was preceded by the glide y at least in some instances. Similarly, the pronunciation of initial ո (o) as vo seems to be post-classical.

Below is a list of the diphthongs of Classical Armenian. In some instances the conventional pronunciation diverges from the classical rendering.

  • այ (ay) -- conventionally pronounced as a in final position, and as uy otherwise;
  • ոյ (oy) -- conventionally pronounced as o in final position, and as uy otherwise;
  • աւ (aw) -- conventionally pronounced as av before vowels and finally; later pronounced as ո o and so rendered in written documents;
  • եւ (ew) -- conventionally pronounced as ev before vowels and finally; often written alternately as եաւ;
  • իւ (iw) -- conventionally pronounced as iv before vowels and finally; often used to represent Greek upsilon;
  • եա (ea) -- conventionally pronounced as ya.
1.3. Vocalic and Consonantal Alternation

In many instances the stress of a word shifts due to addition of a morpheme. This shift may cause the originally stressed vowel to change or drop altogether. The general rules for such alternation are listed below with a few illustrative examples.

Stressed V /   Full Form   Reduced Form
Unstressed V        
         
ի / zero   սիրտ 'heart'   G սրտի [sərti]
    ամիս 'month'   G ամսոյ [amso]
    թիւ 'number'   G թուոյ [tʿəwo]
    ելիք 'he reads'   1 sg. լքի [ləkʿi]
         
ու / zero   քուն 'sleep'   G քնոյ [kʿəno]
    հուր 'fire'   G հրոյ [həro]
    ումպ 'he entered'   1 sg. մտի [məti]
         
է / ի   վէմ 'stone'   G վիմի [vimi]
    էջ 'side'   G իջի [iǰi]
    էջ 'he descended'   1 sg. իջի [iǰi]
         
ոյ / ու   լոյս 'light'   G լուսոյ [luso]
    կոյս 'virgin'   G կուսի [kusi]
    եցոյց 'he showed'   1 sg. ցուցի [cʿucʿi]
         
եա / ե   մատեան 'house'   G մատենի [mateni]
    սենեակ 'room'   G սենեկի [seneki]
    սիրեաց 'he loved'   1 sg. սիրեցի [sirecʿi]
         
եւ / իւ   եւղ 'oil'   G իւղոյ [iwło]

There are some exceptions to these rules. Other vowels undergo no change under change of stress.

There are also some general tendencies of alternation between consonants in certain environments.

  • ր / ռ -- ր often changes to ր before ն, e.g. լեառն 'mountain', G լերին, Ab լեռնէ (< *lerinē); առնեմ 'I do', Aor. արարի.
  • հ / zero -- initial հ is lost in combination, e.g. հատ-անեմ 'I cut', but լեզու-ատ (< *lezu‘hat) 'with cut tongue'.
  • ւ / վ / բ -- /v/ is realized as բ after the consonants մ, ր, ղ; as ւ after the vowels ա, ի; and as վ after ո. Examples are մատամբ from մատն 'finger', աստեղբ from աստղ 'star', կայսերբ from կայսր 'Caesar', ազգաւ from ասգ 'nation', բայիւ from բայ 'word', գետով from գետո 'river'.
  • ց / ս -- before ց and ջ, ց dissimilates to ս, e.g. 1 sg. սիրեցից 'I shall love', 2 sg. սիրեսցես (< *sirecʿcʿes < *sirecʿicʿes), 2 pl. սիրեսջիք (< *sirecʿǰikʿ < *sirecʿiǰikʿ).
2. Nominal Declension

Classical Armenian nouns and adjectives display two numbers, singular and plural, and seven cases: Nominative, Accusative, Genitive, Dative, Locative, Ablative, and Instrumental. There is no purely grammatical gender of the sort found in languages such as Latin. There are several declension paradigms, which broadly fall into two categories: those with variable stems and those with invariable stems. One should note that stem variation is a phenomenon distinct from vocalic alternation. Vowel alternation occurs automatically whenever there is a change of stress due to the addition of a morpheme, and it therefore bears no relation to patterns of declension.

2.1. Nouns with Invariable Stems Ending in a Consonant

Nouns with invariable stems may be divided into two groups: those ending in a vowel, and those ending in a consonant. Of those ending in a consonant, there are four declensions, categorized according to the vowel found in the genitive plural: ա, ի, ու, ո. The nouns ամ 'year', բան 'word', ծով 'sea', and բերան 'mouth' illustrate the declension.

Singular

    ա   ի   ու   ո
Nom.   ամ   բան   ծով   բերան
Acc.   ամ   բան   ծով   բերան
Gen.   ամի   բանի   ծովու   բերանոյ
Dat.   ամի   բանի   ծովու   բերանոյ
Loc.   ամի   բանի   ծովու   բերան
Abl.   ամէ   բանէ   ծովէ   բերանոյ
Inst.   ամաւ   բանիւ   ծովու   բերանով

Plural

    ա   ի   ու   ո
Nom.   ամք   բանք   ծովք   բերանք
Acc.   ամս   բանս   ծովս   բերանս
Gen.   ամաց   բանից   ծովուց   բերանոց
Dat.   ամաց   բանից   ծովուց   բերանոց
Loc.   ամս   բանս   ծովս   բերանս
Abl.   ամաց   բանից   ծովուց   բերանոց
Inst.   ամաւք   բանիւք   ծովուք   բերանովք

Nouns ending in -եայ follow the ի-declension, e.g. հրեայ 'Jew', G sg. հրեի; N pl. հրեայք, G pl. հրեից, etc.

Some nouns of the ու-declension have an ablative singular ending in -ուէ, e.g. սպաս 'service', G sg. սպասու, Ab sg. սպասուէ.

Some nouns of the ո-declension optionally have the ending -ի in the Locative case, for example մէջ 'middle':

  • ի մէջ Accusative or Locative;
  • ի մէջոյ Ablative;
  • ի միջի Locative.

Proper nouns of the ա-declension are characterized by the ending -այ in the genitive, dative, locative, and ablative singular. Տիգրան provides an example:

    ա-decl.
Nom.   Տիգրան
Acc.   Տիգրան
Gen.   Տիգրանայ
Dat.   Տիգրանայ
Loc.   Տիգրանայ
Abl.   Տիգրանայ
Inst.   Տիգրանաւ
2.2. Substantives with Invariable Stems Ending in a Vowel

A large number of nouns and adjectives have invariable stems ending in the vowel -ի. These fall into two declensions, the ո-declension and the ա-declension. The ա-declension has a special Locative ending -ոջ and Ablative ending -ոջէ. The nouns հոգի 'spirit, soul' and տեղի 'place' illustrate the ո- and ա-declensions, respectively.

Singular

    ո   ա
Nom.   հոգի   տեղի
Acc.   հոգի   տեղի
Gen.   հոգւոյ   տեղւոյ
Dat.   հոգւոյ   տեղւոյ
Loc.   հոգի   տեղւոջ
Abl.   հոգւոյ   տեղւոյ, տեղւոջէ
Inst.   հոգւով   տեղեաւ

Plural

    ո   ա
Nom.   հոգիք   տեղիք
Acc.   հոգիս   տեղիս
Gen.   հոգւոց   տեղեաց
Dat.   հոգւոց   տեղեաց
Loc.   հոգիս   տեղիս
Abl.   հոգւոց   տեղեաց
Inst.   հոգւովք   տեղեաւք

Adjectives derived from place names by means of the suffix -ացի follow the declension of հոգի, with G plural in -ւոց, e.g. Աթենացի 'Athenian, one from Athens', G pl. Աթենացւոց. On the other hand, nouns with the suffix -ացի which are not derived from place names follow the declension of տեղի, e.g. դրացի, G pl. դրացեաց 'neighbor' derived from դուրք 'door'.

3. The Present System of Verbs

Verbal forms in Classical Armenian are built from two stems, the present and the aorist. One or both of these stems may contain a suffix inserted between the root and the inflectional vowel (in the present), or between root and ending (in the aorist). The present stem is the base for an indicative mood, subjunctive and (negative) imperative. The indicative mood separates into two tenses: present and imperfect. Nominal forms may arise from the present stem, namely an infinitive and participle. Inasmuch as verbal aspect is distinguished in Classical Armenian, the present system forms denote a developing or continuous action, while the aorist forms refer to an action's completion.

3.1. Present Indicative of 'to be'

The present indicative of the verb 'to be' illustrates the endings of the present indicative of all verbs. The forms are as follows.

    Singular   Plural
1st   եմ   եմք
2nd   ես   էք
3rd   է   են

Note that ե + յ > է, so that the endings are -մ, -ս, -յ, -մք, -յք, -ն.

3.2. The Present Indicative of All Verbs

The forms of the present indicative are comprised of a stem, characteristic vowel, and the present indicative endings. There are five possible characteristic vowels: ե, ի, ա, ու, ո. The endings are the same as those listed above for the verb 'to be'. սիրեմ 'I love', սիրիմ 'I am loved', լամ 'I weep', հեղում 'I pour', and գոմ 'I exist' illustrate the paradigms.

    ե   ի   ա   ու   ո
1 sg.   սիրեմ   սիրիմ   լամ   հեղում   *գոմ
2 sg.   սիրես   սիրիս   լաս   հեղուս   *գոս
3 sg.   սիրէ   սիրի   լայ   հեղու   գոյ
1 pl.   սիրեմք   սիրիմք   լամք   հեղումք   *գոմք
2 pl.   սիրէք   սիրիք   լայք   հեղուք   *գոյք
3 pl.   սիրեն   սիրին   լան   հեղուն   գոն

*գոմ is the sole verb of the ո-class. It is only recorded in third person forms.

3.3. The Present Infinitive

The present infinitive is built from the present stem by addition of a characteristic vowel and the suffix -լ. The characteristic vowel exhibited by a given verb is the same as that found in the present indicative forms, with the exception that verbs in -եմ and -իմ both exhibit the vowel ե in the infinitive. Thus the verbs above form the infinitives սիրել 'to love', լալ 'to weep', հեղուլ 'to pour', գոլ 'to exist'. The infinitive is declined as an ո-type singular noun:

    -ել   -ալ   -ուլ   -ոլ
Nom.   սիրել   լալ   հեղուլ   գոլ
Acc.   սիրել   լալ   հեղուլ   գոլ
Gen.   սիրելոյ   լալոյ   հեղլոյ   գոլոյ
Dat.   սիրելոյ   լալոյ   հեղլոյ   գոլոյ
Loc.   սիրել   լալ   հեղուլ   գոլ
Abl.   սիրելոյ   լալոյ   հեղլոյ   գոլոյ
Inst.   սիրելով   լալով   հեղլով   գոլով

In the post-classical era infinitives in -իլ appear in order to distinguish verbs in -իմ.

3.4. The Imperfect Tense of All verbs

The imperfect indicative is built from the same stem as the present indicative, but makes no distinction between verbal stems ending in -ե or -ի. Therefore verbal pairs such as սիրեմ 'I love' and սիրիմ 'I am loved' lose their distinction in the imperfect. The conjugation is as follows.

    -ե/-ի   -ա   -ու   -ո
1 sg.   սիրեի   լայի   հեղուի   -
2 sg.   սիրեիր   լայիր   հեղուիր   -
3 sg.   սիրէր   լայր   հեղոյր   գոյր
1 pl.   սիրեաք   լայաք   հեղուաք   -
2 pl.   սիրեիք   լայիք   հեղուիք   -
3 pl.   սիրեին   լային   հեղուին   գոյին

The third person singular is one syllable shorter than the other forms.

In the post-classical period -եմ and -իմ verbs were distinguished in the third person singular by means of an innovative ending -իւր: սիրէր 'he loved', սիրիւր 'he was loved'.

3.5. The Present Subjunctive

The present subjunctive is formed from the present tense stem with its characteristic vowel, to which the suffix -ից is added, and to this the usual present indicative endings. With the endings, however, only forms in -եմ, -իմ and -ում are distinguished. For example, սիրեմ forms սիրե + ից + եմ > սիրիցեմ, սիրիմ forms սիրի + ից + իմ > սիրիցիմ. Verbs with present indicative in -ամ take present subjunctive endings in -եմ, so that լամ forms լա + ից + եմ > լայցեմ. But հեղում forms հեղու + ից + ում > հեղուցում.

Although formation of the passive will be treated more fully, later, it is important to point out here that verbs in -ամ make in the subjunctive a distinction between active and passive which is not found in the indicative. In the same fashion that allows սիրեմ 'I love' to be opposed to սիրիմ 'I am loved', so in the subjunctive աղամ 'I grind' distinguishes the active աղայցեմ from the passive աղայցիմ.

Conjugation follows the pattern of the indicative, as the paradigms below illustrate:

    ե   ի   ա   ու   ո
1 sg.   սիրիցեմ   սիրիցիմ   լայցեմ   հեղուցում    
2 sg.   սիրիցես   սիրիցիս   լայցես   հեղուցուս    
3 sg.   սիրիցէ   սիրիցի   լայցէ   հեղուցու   գուցէ (< *գոյցէ)
1 pl.   սիրիցեմք   սիրիցիմք   լայցեմք   հեղուցումք    
2 pl.   սիրիցէք   սիրիցիք   լայցէք   հեղուցուք    
3 pl.   սիրիցեն   սիրիցին   լայցեն   հեղուցուն    

The form գուցէ is often used in the adverbial sense of 'perhaps'. The verb 'to be' has the following present subjunctive forms:

    Singular   Plural
1st   իցեմ   իցեմք
2nd   իցես   իցէք
3rd   իցէ   իցեն

In the second person one also finds forms adopted from the aorist: second person singular -իձիր and plural -իձիք. These forms are typically employed in the role of futures or imperatives. The singular form is generally, and the plural form occasionally, used in a passive sense, e.g. սիրիձիր 'be thou loved' and սիրիձիք 'be ye loved'.

3.6. The Present Imperative

The present imperative is used only in prohibitive statements, accompanied by the negative particle մի. Only the second person singular present imperative has distinct forms, the others being the same as the present indicative. Formation is based on the present stem with characteristic vowel, to which is added the ending -ր. Thus

    -եմ   -իմ   -ամ   -ում
2 sg.   մի սիրեր   մի սիրիր   մի լար   մի հեղուր

The imperative of 'to be' is used only in the expression սղձ եր 'be thou well, greetings', translating the Greek chaire. The second person plural, of course, is սղձ էք 'be ye well, greetings' (Gk. chairete).

4. Word Order and Congruence

Word order in Classical Armenian is free, with words placed toward the beginning of an utterance gaining prominence. In Biblical translations, the word order often follows that of the Greek text.

Word order may affect the congruence between an adjective an the word it modifies. Attributive adjectives are undeclined when they precede a noun, declined when they follow the noun. For example, in John 10.32 one finds բազում գործս բարիս. Here, բազում is the uninflected N/Ac singular form of the adjective բազում, -աց 'much, many'; գործս is the inflected Ac plural form of the noun գործ, -ոց 'work, deed'; բարիս is the inflected Ac plural of the adjective բարի, -եաց 'good'. In predicate sentences, the predicated adjective is in the Nominative case and singular, even if the subject is plural, unless the adjective follows the copula directly. Thus one might have ազատ են Հայք 'The Armenians are free', but վարդապետք են իմաստումք 'Teachers are wise.'

The verb agrees with its subject in person and number. Coordinated subjects require a plural verb. Singular subjects with collective meaning may have either singular or plural verb forms.

5. Prepositions

Armenian has a wealth of words functioning as prepositions. Many of these, however, are adverbs or collocations of a simple preposition and a noun, which in turn govern a noun in the genitive. Prepositions generally precede the noun they govern, but some follow the noun as a postposition. There are six basic prepositions, listed in the chart below with the cases they govern and their meaning appropriate to each case.

Prep.   Case   Associated Meaning
առ   Acc.   to, toward (motion toward a person)
    Loc.   beside, Fr. chez
    Inst.   beside, in the time of (with person's name), in addition to
         
ընդ   Acc.   through, along, by way of, against, during
    Gen.   instead of, in exchange for
    Loc.   with, in the company of
    Inst.   under
         
ըստ   Acc.   on, onto
    Dat.   according to
    Loc.   according to
    Abl.   one after another (e.g. year by year)
         
զ   Acc.   during, for
    Abl.   concerning
    Inst.   around, about
         
ի   Acc.   to, into, upon
    Loc.   in, at, under
    Abl.   from, out of, away from; out of (in partitive sense); by (agent in passive sentence)
         
ց   Acc.   to, up to

The prepositions զ and ց are inseparable from the following noun; similarly ի, which becomes յ before vowels.

Below are listed some of the more frequent adverbs used as prepositions. They all govern the genitive case.

    Adverb   Meaning with Genitive
    առաջի   in front of, before (of time)
    արտաքոյ   outside
    ներքոյ   inside, under
    չուրջ   around
    վասն, աղազաւ   concerning, because of
    հետ   with, after (of time)
    յետ, զկնի   after, following
    առանց   without
    փոխանակ   instead of, for, on behalf of

The word հանդերծ may govern the Instrumental case in the sense 'with, in the company of'. It may come either before or after the noun it governs.

Common compound prepositions are ի վերայ 'above' and ի մէջ 'amidst'. They take the genitive case, which may be placed between the two components, e.g. ի հրոյ մէջ 'in the fire, in the midst of the fire'.