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Arabic script is based on ancient Armenian notation system – KHAZ

May 7, 2015

Officially the Arabic alphabet is a derivative of the Nabataean variation of the Aramaic alphabet, which descended from the Phoenician alphabet, which among others gave rise to the Hebrew alphabet and the Greek alphabet (and therefore the Cyrillic and Roman alphabets). The parent systems of the Nabataean alphabet are Egyptian hieroglyphs, Proto-Sinaitic alphabet, Phoenician alphabet, Aramaic alphabet, Syriac alphabet and so on.
What do we know about Nabataean tribes, who inhabited southern Syria and Jordan, Northern Arabia, and the Sinai Peninsula? Some sources mention that the Nabateans were (described by Diodorus) completely nomadic. Why should Diodorus describe them as nomads? They had the writing system, the land and traditions. Nabatean caravans (for most of the 4th century BC) maintained their freedom of movement unhampered by taxes. They received goods ultimately from South Arabia and transported them to Petra. From Petra they crossed the Palestinian Negev (Desert) to reach the port cities of Gaza or Rhinocolura in Egypt. These people were very well-known traders not the nomads like the Armenians of Crimea. There are a lot of researches on these people but there is no clear answer to who they were. My researches bring me to the sources which claim that those people developed the water collection system in the land of the people of South, nowdays Arabia (originally Haravia, the people of Harav were the people of South in Armenian language. So, the Armenians called all peoples and different tribes living in the South, the people of Harav which is now transformed into Arab (harav means south in Armenian)). This means that Nabatean people were not from South. The Nabataeans greatest accomplishment was probably their system of water management. They developed a system to collect rainwater using water channels, pipes, and underground cisterns. In addition, they developed very strong, waterproof cement, some of which is still in existence to this day.
They also developed sophisticated ceramic pipelines and reservoirs using gravity feeds (siphons or inverted siphons), that served the developing urban centers. Outside of the cities, dams closed off wadis to collect water during the rainy season, while stone circles or terraces retarded runoff from slopes and trapped valuable topsoil so that their irrigation lines could feed crops. They are considered to be the people of Osroene, also spelled Osrohene and Osrhoene ,known by the name of its capital city, Edessa, Armenian Edesia or Urha. The Syriac name of the city is “Orhay”, appears to correspond with the toponym Antiochia Kallirhoe “Antioch by the Kallirhoe” which is found on Edessan coins struck by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164 BC). The same name appears also in Armenian as Ուռհա, transliterated Urha or Ourha, in Arabic it is الرُّهَا transliterated as Er Ruha or Ar-Ruha, commonly Urfa, and Riha in Kurdish, to the Frankish Crusaders Rohais. During Byzantine rule it was named Justinopolis. So, the Nabataeans were the people of Armenian Urfa. It was the Nabataeans who gave the writing system to the people of South. Why is that system called consonant? Everything is more simple than we think – that system was based on ancient Armenian notation, known as Khaz which means a scratch, khazel is to scratch (el and al are common verb-forming endings in Armenian).
Since ancient times, the Armenian nation has had its own system of notation, which is called “the system of the Armenian khaz.” It is a type of neumatic notation. The khaz system made it possible to put down monovocal melodies and sharakans, as they indicated the voice pitch, its duration, the strength of the voice, hue, the ornamentation of the melodic line, and other elements. The official sources dated the system to the 8th century but it’s not right. In 8th century the system was a bit simplified and reintroduced for the Christian sharakans (which are also based on pre-Christian Armenian songs). But the system of Khaz has ancient Armenian roots. However, even simplified it contained a great amount of different symbols and conventional signs, that’s why khaz notation was difficult to use on a practical basis, in respect of putting down the melody and reading it. This is why it was gradually put out of use, and in the 18th-19th centuries it was completely forgotten. Starting at the beginning of the first quarter of the 19th century, a new, simpler and easier-to-use system was introduced in Armenian music.


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One Comment
  1. Alexander Akopian permalink

    Interesting theory. Armenians have had many values, this could well be one of them.

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