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Haik
[Haik


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Another legend, which is at least partially based on discovered fact, tells of King Haik, and is linked to Ancestral Armenians who called themselves Haiya and their country Haik' or Haiassa-Aza. Haik and his kingdom figured in the biblical story of the Tower of Babel.

According to the chronicles, Haik was the grandson of Japheth, himself grandson of Noah. "After the Flood, Noah's sons Japheth, Shem and Ham settled in the Ararat region and increased there. Then Shem took his sons and went northwest in search of a new place of settlement. Coming to a plain in the high mountains, he stopped by a river and named the mountain Sim after his own name. He gave this region to his youngest son Tarpan (note similarity to the Armenian word "Tapan", meaning 'ark'). He continued his march in the southeastern direction and gave the regions there to his other children. Tarpan remained with his sons and daughters in the region given to him by his father and called it Taron and later Taruperan after his own name. His children settled in this area and Ham's and Japheth's sons spread out to the various regions of the Armenian Plateau. They spoke the same dialect of the same language.
From Japheth sprang Gomer and from Gomer sprang from Torgom, and from Askenaz and Torgom Haik was born.

At the age of 130, Haik went to Sendjar, and worked on the building of the Tower of Babel. After the Tower of Babel collapsed, Haik, famous for his handsome appearance, curly hair, ken sight, mighty arms and skill in archery, dominated both the giants and the heroes, and subdued those who defied him. In the chaos that reigned, men threatened men, ready to plunge their swords into the bosoms of their own friends, all each tried to conquer the rest. After the dispersion of the human race over the face of the world, the mighty Haik, famed for his courage and audacity, defied Bel and his tyranny. Fate was on Bel's side though, he conquered the world. He subdued the mighty and proclaimed himself a god, ordering all to worship him.

Bel was the ruler of the realm, but Haik refused to submit to him. In this realm his sons Armenak, Manavaz, Hor and others were born, and his family grew larger and larger. Since he did not accept Bel's sovereignty, he left for Ararat in the North with his three hundred sons, grandsons and a retinue of his ablest men. There he found people of his nation, who, being the victims of God's wrath at Babel, had migrated and spoke the language of Noah.

Haik lived in the lands he took and gave them to Armenak's son Kadmos and went to the northwest with his retinue. In a high, mountainous region which he named "Haik", he had a city built called Haikashen, or the city built by Haik.

Bel, being displeased by Haik's migration, sent one of his sons in the company of most trustworthy men to order him to come back, saying, "You have settled in icy lands. Temper the harshness of your proud nature, submit to me and live comfortably in the place of your desire." But Haik, belittling the messengers, sent them back to Babylon. Upon this, collecting his forces, Bel marched northwards and reached the land of Ararat not far from where Kadmos dwelt. Kadmos fled, sending a message to Haik:
"Oh the greatest of heroes! Bel and his immortal warriors, heroes and giants are coming upon you like a torrent. I fled when I heard that they had entered my realm. With speed I am coming to you. Decide what is to be done."

Bel and his army of mighty soldiers, like a torrent tearing down a mountain stream entered Haik's domain. Bel had faith in the courage of his soldiers. Haik, this curly-haired, keen-sighted, cautious and calm mighty man, collected his sons, grandsons and most able men, skilled archers, warlike and valiant, but few in number. He came to the shores of a lake, whose salty water fed its fish. He lined them up and said "We must be fast and reach the land surrounded by Bel's heroes and strike them there. If we die, all that we have will be theirs, but if we defeat them by the strength of our own arms, then the victory will be ours.

Haik's words spurred on his men, and going forth with great speed they covered great distances. They came to a plain situated between very great mountains and climbed a hill to the right of the river. Both armies were at the mountains flanking the valley. From there they saw Bel's army attacking with terrible violence. Bel, at ease and sure of himself amongst his men, stood on a high spot as if on a lookout on the left side of the river. Bel was wearing an iron helmet the plumes of which blew in the wind and iron armor protecting his chest and back, and covering his hips and arms. On his left a sharp sword hung from his belt, and he carried a fine lance in his right hand and a shield in his left. On his side chosen soldiers stood.

When Haik saw Bel thus equipped and surrounded by his soldiers, he put his son Armenak with his two brothers on his right, and Kadmos with two of his sons on his left, all of them famed archers and swordsmen. He himself took position in the front, and the soldiers who followed took a triangular formation.

The battle began. The collision of the mighty, their terrifying roar, the brutality and violence of the attacks, spread horror all around. On both sides the mighty fell. But it was too early to know the outcome of the battle.

When Bel saw this sudden and dangerous resistance, he climbed back on the hill from which he had stood and waited for his forces to gather and attack again from all sides. Haik saw that this was so, and he, the mighty and skilled archer that he was, stood opposite Bel, he stretched his bow and shot a three feathered arrow at his heart. The arrow pierced the iron and passed through Bel's chest, and thus the vain Bel was felled and gave his last breath.

When Bel's army saw this frightful sight, it retreated without looking back. Haik named this battlefield Haiyotsdzor (the valley of Hai), and the spot where Bel fell Gerezman (the Grave). The battle had taken place on the banks of Lake Van. Haik had Bel's body dyed with many colors, and hung from a high place so his wives and children could see it.

Haik returned to his native land. He bestowed the spoils on Kadmos and the bravest of his followers. Haik remained in his land, and lived many years and died at the age of 400, leaving the rule of the country and his nation to Armenak.

Historically Bel was the Babylonian King Nemruth. Discovery of boundary stones and Babylonian writings during the time of Nemruth’s reign confirm the battle and Nemruth’s death as described in the legend. The main style Armenian calendar (old Armenian calendar) begins with the year that the battle took place. The use of Bel in the myth is for a reason: Bel was the Babylonian equivalent to Khronos in Greek, and Saturn in Roman Deities. His death is a symbolic representation of the end of the old rule, and beginning of a new pantheon of rulers. This may be why Haik is considered a god in some versions of the story. Just as Khronos was deposed by Zeus, Haik (curiously the favorite of Bel, who promises him the entire world if he will only submit), overthrows the last vestige of the world before the Babel.

Other legends of Haik are considered forerunners to Greek tales about Hercules.




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