The Goddesses

The goddesses that have come down to us from ancient times arose and took shape during different eras of Armenian history. The earliest of indigenous goddesses seem to appear from the Armenian Highlands during the Proto-Armenian period (3rd-1st millenia BCE). Nvard (consort of the sun god Ara, a likely predecessor of Anahit), Astghik, and Tsovinar (goddess of the sea, lightning and storms) are the three main goddesses of this period. Over the centuries, the territories of Greater Armenia have been the seat of many an ancient kingdom: a literal and figurative crossroads of empires. Worship of tribal deities migrated with these peoples, and many were syncretized with local tutelary figures and customs. I've included Armenian-adjacent goddesses in this list, as they were no doubt influential on the pantheon that we know today. 


During the Urartian period, approximately 800-600 BCE, a unique pantheon emerged with a triad of war gods as primary deities: Haldi and his two sons Artinis (the sun) and Teisheba (storms). Arubani was the wife of Haldi, a goddess of the arts and fertility, a probable predecessor of Anahit. Another goddess said to be the wife of Haldi was Bagvarti, but it is not known if she was an epithet of Arubani or if she was a unique goddess. Tushpuea was the tutelary goddess of the city of Tushpa, the capital of Urartu. She may have been known as the wife of Artinis, and was depicted with wings. Huba/Hebat was the wife of Teisheba. Selardi was a lunar deity, possibly the consort or sister of Artinis, although it is speculated this deity may have actually been male. 


Under the influence of Persian Zoroastrianism with the Achaemenid empire (6th c. BCE), Anahit rose to prominence along with Aramazd (Father/Creator god) and Mihr (Solar son/Fire god). Anahit was sometimes known as the wife or daughter of Aramazd, and sister to Nané, the goddess of war and wisdom. During this period Anahit began to take on some of the qualities formerly known in the goddesses Astghik and Tsovinar. Spandaramet was a chthonic goddess of death and the underworld, sometimes thought to be the wife of Aramazd. There are some interesting parallels between Spandaramet and the Greek god of wine, Dionysos.


In the Hellenistic period (4th c. BCE+), the syncretization of the Armenian pantheon with Greek and Roman deities came to associate Anahit with both Aphrodite and Artemis, and Nané with Athena. Although these goddesses had a distinctly Armenian character and associations, their cults began to blend with other Mediterranean deities and become more cosmopolitan. By 301 CE and the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of Armenia, the indigenous goddesses began to slowly recede into the sands of time. 


May they now rise!

The icons below will eventually link to individual pages for each goddess.

goddesses of Historic Armenia

These are the Armenian goddesses that have survived most prominently into the common era, originating from indigenous deities or syncretized with those of later migrations and conquests, primarily of Persian Zoroastrianism and Hellenistic religions from the 5th century BCE on.  

"Floral Anahit" by Minas Halaj: oil, textile, wax, mixed media on panel, 2018. Private collection.

Supreme Mother Goddess; wife or daughter of the creator god Aramazd; related to Persian Anahita but reflecting some qualities related to Inanna 

"Floral Anahit" by Minas Halaj: oil, textile, wax, mixed media on panel, 2018. Private collection.


Goddess of Love, Beauty & Fertility; an indigenous goddess from the Proto-Armenian period. She is associated with the planet Venus; her name means "star"

Detail of "Asdghig” Pastel and charcoal on paper by Joseph Sarkissian


Goddess of War, Strategy, and Wisdom, Sister of Anahit, a younger goddess possibly related to Inanna and later associated with Athena

"Nané" mixed media on canvas by Datevig Kouyoumdjian


Goddess of Death & the Underworld; wife of Aramazd, vineyards and grape harvest were sacred to her. Related to the Persian Spenta Armaiti, guardian of the earth.

"Spandaramet" from the forthcoming Armenian Tarot Deck by Pambak Games


These goddesses are described in cuneiform inscriptions in Urartu, a region centered around the historic kingdom of Van that rose to prominence after the fall of the Hittite empire. It is thought that the Urartian pantheon was a mix of Hurrian, Akkadian, Armenian, and Hittite deities. The Urartian culture emerged in the mid 9th century BCE, rose to prominence over the next two centuries, and was conquered by the Persian Medes in the early 6th century BCE.


Goddess of the Arts and Fertility, wife of Haldi, chief warrior god. May also have been known as Bagvarti.

860-590 BCE bronze Urartian goddess Arubani


Winged tutelary goddess of Tushpa (Van), possible wife of Artinis (son of Arubani and Haldi).


Wife of Tesheiba (son of Arubani & Haldi), possibly related to Arinna, the Hittite Sun goddess


Goddess of the Moon, sister of Artinis (daughter of Arubani & Haldi)

GODDESSES Of ancient aRmenia

These goddesses are some of the earliest deities of the indigenous Armenians, although information on them is scarce and can be contradictory in some cases. Inanna here is not necessarily the ubiquitous goddess of Mesopotamia, but is an unnamed regional goddess whose qualities were most closely aligned with her. These goddesses may have been actively worshipped in the region as early as the 3rd millenium BCE.

Sunrise in Getahovit by Varak Ghazarian


Indigenous Goddess or Personification of the Dawn

Sunrise over Getahovit, Armenia; photo by Varak Ghazarian


Consort of Ugur, chief deity of Hayasan (a god of war and death), northern rival to the Hittite empire


Early indigenous Fertility Goddess & Consort of Ara, the Sun God


Goddess of the Sea and Storms, Lightning, possible consort of Vahagn

Statue of Tsovinar, Hrazdan, Armenia. Artist unknown; photographer unknown

Adjacent GODDESSES to ancient aRmenia

These goddesses were tribal, regional, and tutelary deities worshipped in the kingdoms and geographical regions surrounding Armenia. The oldest threads of their divine lineages are perhaps lost to history, but a study of goddess worship in ancient Anatolia would be remiss not to include their mention.  

1500 BCE Hittite sun goddess and child


Hittite Sun Goddess and chief goddess of the sacred city of Arinna

circa 1500 BCE Hittite Sun Goddess and child 


Chief goddess of Northern Syria, goddess of generation and fertility

Statue of Atargatis from the Nabatean temple at Kirbet Tannur, photograph by Dennis Jarvis


Phrygia's primary Mother goddess, also known as Mater Kubileya

2200 year old marble stele of Cybele unearthed in Ephesus


Assyrian goddess of Love, War, Fertility, and Divine Law, also known as Inanna

Goddess Ishtar/Inanna on an Akkadian empire seal, 2350-2150 BCE