☺︎This story can be lived as a real experience(more)

The mystery behind the Armenian alphabet

3 minutes to read

In Armenia, each pupil knows the name of Mesprop Mashtots who created the Armenian alphabet (Aybooben in Armenian). Interestingly, the alphabet created by Mashtots 2000 years ago has a mysterious connection with Mendeleev’s table (MT). Let’s find out what’s the mystery behind the Armenian alphabet and how actually those two (MT and the Alphabet) are linked to each other.

For example, let's take the word “Gold” in Armenian it will be “ՈՍԿԻ” it has 4 letters. In the alphabetical order, Ո is the 24th letter, Ս is 29th, Կ is 15th and finally, Ի is 11th. If to add this numbers together 24+29+15+11=79. 79 is the number of Gold in Mendeleev’s table (MT) called Aurum. Same works for the words silver Ag (ԱՐԾ) Ա1+ Ր32+ Ծ14=47 (Ag is 47th on MT), Sn (in Armenian ԿԼԱԷԿ) Կ15+Լ12+Ա1+Է7+Կ15=50 (SN is 50th on MT), Pb (in Armenian ԱՐՃԻՃ) Ա1+Ր32+Ճ19+Ի11+Ճ19=82 (Pb is 82nd on MT) and etc.

©Unknown
©Unknown
©iStock/Marlenka
©iStock/Marlenka

Mesrop Mashtots was born in provincial town Hatsekats. At some point, he joined the church and started to work as a missionary. He realized that in order to spread Christianity among all Armenians there was a need for Armenian Alphabet so people could read the Bible in their own language (the Bible was in Greek and Syriac back then, some people could understand Greek but it was not accessible for a big number of people). The head of the Armenian Church Sahak Partev and the King Vramshapuh liked the idea and Mashtosts went to different countries to do research and to study different writings in order to understand how to better create a new one.

handwritten Armenian from Hanrik Mnatsakanyan's book

The Armenian Alphabet was developed in 405 AD. The alphabet created by Mastosts had 36 symbols (28 consonants and 8 vowels) ; only two symbols were added later to express sounds imported from foreign languages. Texts are written horizontally from left to the right. The first sentence written in the Armenian language was ՙՙՃանաչել զիմաստություն և զխրատ, իմանալ զբանս հանճարոյ “ (To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding). After the death, Mashtots was buried in Oshakan, which became a site of pilgrimage thereafter.

In the territory of Armenia, there are several monuments that pay tribute to the Armenian alphabet. For example, there is one that is located not far from Ara hill. Many people stop by the alphabet monument on the way to Amberd and take pictures next to their initials.

Besides, there are many street artworks all over Armenia dedicated to Armenian alphabet. You can also find a huge Statue of Mesrop Mashtots and his favorite pupil Koriun in front of the Matenadaran (a unique place in Yerevan where old manuscripts are kept). The biography of Mashtots “Vark Mashtotsi” (The life of Mashtots) was later written by his pupil Koriun.

credits to Marlenka

Today you have discovered the mystery behind the Armenian alphabet. Alphabet became another tool for Armenians to save their identity, culture, and traditions through centuries. Armenians had many ups and downs during their history but the language, religion, and writing served as a counterattack to any "storm" that came to ruin our unity.

Matenadaran
Matenadaran
53 Mesrop Mashtots Ave, Yerevan 0009, Armenië
Amberd fortress
Amberd fortress
Amberd Road, Armenia
Oshakan
Oshakan
Oshakan, Armenia

Interesting towns related to this story


You loved this story?

Live it yourself as a memorable local experience!

Discover the Live Stories

The author

Lusine Vardanyan

Lusine Vardanyan

I’m Lusine, from Armenia. I like to travel and explore new places. I'm interested in art, culture, music and sports. On itinari I’ll show you Armenia the way I see it.

View more stories

Stories you might also like