The Ancient Armenian Alphabet – the Hiksos Alphabet as a Basis for the Mashtots Letters

The Ancient Armenian Alphabet – the Hiksos Alphabet as a Basis for the Mashtots Letters


The information agency “Azat Dzayn” (Free Voice) presents to its readers how Mesrop Mashtots has rediscovered the Hiksos or the ancient Armenian alphabet, which has become a basis for the Armenian letters. For approximately 20 centuries lie between the periods of these two alphabets, but as it is seen, the time couldn’t totally erase the most ancient alphabet, which was created by our ancestors. This alphabet has become a basis for the creation of the Indian Brahma alphabet, Phoenician, Semitic and all the alphabets of Asia, as well as for the creation of African alphabets.

Below we will present to you a passage from the book of the great Armenologist Suren Ayvazyan “History of the Culture of Ancient Armenia” dedicated to the origination of the Armenian letters.

“The studies of the recent years have clearly shown that in Ancient Armenia there have really existed pre-Mashtots letters and solid evidences, which prove it appear daily.

About the existence of the ancient Armenian alphabet there are definitely mentioned by the Armenian historians of the IV-V centuries – Koryun, Ghazar Parpeci, Movses Khorenatsi. In those times, when the church deified the personality of Mashtots and mentioned in its blessings that divine forces have participated in the creation of the alphabet, those modest scientists, Mashtots’ pupils and the companions-in-arms strived to pass to the coming generations the true nature of Mashtots’ endeavor.

Koryun writes that the ancient Armenian letters were accidentally found in the digest of the letters of ancient nations by the Assyrian bishop Daniel. Koryun calls those letters that were certainly found, “the letters of the Armenian alphabet”. Another historian – Ghazar Parpeci also evidences that “pious man Daniel bishop had Armenian letters”.

Movses Khorenatsi reports that the delegate of king Vramshapuh – Vahrich “went to Daniel and thoroughly studied the letters, which were  invented in the ancient times”.

The interesting report of the medevial historian Vardan the Great (XII-XIII centuries) is noteworthy. He was the first person to deny the legends spread about the creation of the alphabet by Mashtots from “nothing”. Here is that passage from Vardan the Great’s “Tiezerakan (Cosmic) History”. The existence of the Armenian letters in the ancient times was proven in the times of king Levon, when in Cilicia there was found a coin, on which there was written “the name of Haykazuni pagan king. The shortcomings of right this alphabet were added by the restorer and regulator, that is by Mesrop Mashtots”.

It is not accidental that Vardan the Great has called Mashtots “a restorer and a regulator”, because he has really restored the ancient alphabet. He has taken it as a basis, then he has added it up and has adjusted.

Besides, Movses Khorenatsi reports that the alphabet, which Daniel has found, couldn’t express the binding sounds of the Armenian language, that is it had no vowels, because of which it was forgotten for some time.

Vardan the Great evidences that “the letters of the ancient times, which were found by Daniel, being insufficient to express the sounds of our language, were forgotten and they started to use Greek, Syrian and Persian letters”.

Thus, Mashtots has eliminated the shortcoming of the ancient Armenian alphabet – the absence of vowels. But here also Mashtots hasn’t invented the vowels from “nothing”. He started his search. Here is how Movses Khorenatsi describes his creative moment: “And he (Mashtots) sees whether in a dream or awoken in the depth of his heart the right hand, which appears before the eyes of his soul, which writes on the stone the letters Ա, Ե, Ի, Ո, Ու.  As on the stone, like on the snow there appeared the traces of the letters”.

There is an interesting detail, which is mentioned by Khorenatsi. The letters appeared to Mashtots written on the stone. There is such an impression that by especially highlighting the creative mind of Mashtots, Khoreatsi consciously wants to bring the reader to the idea that the creation of the alphabet is done by Mashtots, who has found the necessary outlines of the letters on a stone. And there are the letters, only the vowels, which are considered a discovery by the historians, the solution of the problem of the creation of the alphabet.

This same shortcoming, the absence of vowels, shows the relation of the ancient alphabet with Hiksos or ancient Armenian alphabet, for which the indifference towards the vowels is so characteristic and based on which there were created the alphabets of the Semitic world.

It’s very difficult to find in the human history a more unique phenomenon as the Hiksos world. Amazing is the gift of the creative genius of Hiksos people to the mankind: from the very first alphabet of the world to the first chariot, from iron casting up to the first calendar with a stable year as compared to its short political life.

The Hiksos have appeared in Egypt approximately in 1710 B.C. between the period of the Middle and New Kingdoms and have stayed there until 1580 B.C.

Only one historian is known to the science, who has described their invasion to Egypt from the Armenian Highlands. He is the first to report the name of the foreigners. This historian is the Egyptian priest Manethon (IV-III centuries B.C.). The most reliable source about the Hiksos is the Armenian translation of “Chronology” by Eusebius of Caesarea.Caesarea is the last and the only historian, who has directly used Manethon for writing the history of Hiksos. Here we will not speak about the Hiksos in detail. Let’s only mention that in the word “Hiksos” there strikes one’s eye the Armenian ethnic term “hay” (an Armenian). At that time, in the Armenian Highlands there has existed Hayasa state – the cradle of Armenians. The Hiksos have invaded right from that big center, where the iron casting process was invented at the beginning of the II millennium B.C. The biggest help of the Hiksos is that there were the first to create an alphabet.

After the excavation in Metsamor and the discovery of hieroglyphs there, it’s totally obvious that the Hiksos had hieroglyphs in their motherland and they could have come to the idea of the creation of the alphabet not in Egypt but in their motherland in Armenia. That is the Armenians came to the idea of the alphabet based on their hieroglyphs and have done this heroic deed right in Armenia.

Thus, the 18th century B.C. was the century of the creation of the first alphabet, which had no vowels and which originated the alphabets of Asia, Africa and Egypt. The comparison of the Hiksos alphabet, the ancient Armenian hieroglyphs and the hieroglyphs found in Metsamor show their full similarity and the undoubtedly genealogical connection. There was also restored that crucial fact, which is of vital importance for the study of the ways of the Armenian alphabet.

The similarity of the word-stocks of the Armenian and the Hiksos, the chariots, which were taken to Egypt, the material for which was originated in the surroundings of the mountain Ararat, the founding of the capital Avaris on the shores of Nile, the familiarity of the Hiksos with iron casting, which was firstly invented in the boundaries of the Armenian Highlands, and finally, the most important thing beside these facts, the genealogical connection of the alphabets of the Hiksos and Armenian hieroglyphs, probably confirm our point of view.

In 1967, there was proven that the Indian Brahm alphabet (XV century B.C.) has originated from the Hiksos alphabet and has a number of similarities with the hieroglyphs found in Metsamor and the hieroglyphs in the ancient Armenian manuscripts.

As it is known, the Brahm alphabet has its influence on the originationof the ancient Arabic numerals. There is also distinctly marked the genealogical connection of the numerals of Brahm alphabet and the Hiksos and ancient Armenian hieroglyphs.

The comparison of six vowels and semi-vowels (with which Mashtots has added the Armenian alphabet up) with the five vowels (ա, ե, ի, ու, ո՝ւ)of Babylon cuneiform writings is very interesting. The Mashtots vowels almost fully coincide with the Babylon cuneiform writings. The alphabet lacked these Babylon cuneiform writings of vowels, which were inscribed on the stone and to which Mashtots added a sound.

Thus, the new Armenian alphabet created by Mashtots comes to the invention of those vowels, which are similar to the Babylon cuneiform writings and to the completion of the lack of vowels in the ancient Armenian (Hiksos) alphabet. As it is known, unlike the Babylon cuneiform writings, the Egyptian hieroglyphs (“the alphabet of hieroglyphs” by Fr. Champollion) don’t have vowels, which was characteristic of the indifference to the vowels and naturally, in the alphabet, which was created on the basis of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, they should be absent.

The Phoenicians or perhaps the Greek were the first to connect the principle of the Hiksos alphabet with the Babylonian principle of sonority, while in Armenia, because of the absence of interjections yielded its place to the cuneiform writing and then to the Greek, Assyrian and other writing, which had only one advantage and had many shortcomings related with the expressive peculiarities of the Armenian language.

Connecting the principle of the alphabet with the principle of interjection was late among Armenians. The ancient form of the Armenian lettters is explained by the fact that the ancient alphabet of the world – the future form of the Hiksos alphabet lies in its basis.

The political situation has contributed to the process of forgetting the Armenian alphabet. It is known, that the Hiksos, by conquering Egypt, introduced there the calendar, they created an alphabet. Despite the fact that the Hiksos calendar and alphabet were obviously progressive, the Egyptians refused it after the expulsion of the Hiksos. The return to the ancient writing meant for the Egyptians restoration of national form of cultural development, as one of the terms of the independent political development.

That’s why the return to the ancient Armenian alphabet by Mashtots, adding vowels to it and the appearance of a new, fully complete alphabet was of immense importance for the life of the Armenian nation.

The invention of the alphabet is closely related to the development of the production forces, which was succeeded by iron casting. In other words, the alphabet appeared due to iron, the system of hieroglyphs was made easier and it was adjusted to the practical requirements.

The alphabet was called that way – “the writing of the iron century”, written with iron.

However, the ancient Armenian writing was not forgotten everywhere. They developed in separate pagan Armenian temples, in Assyria, Palestine, Egypt, where there were no political forces, which reigned in Armenia.

Let’s mention that more than 20 centuries lie between the Hiksos and Mashtots alphabets”.


the material is taken from

translated from Armenian into English by M.Vardanyan