Armenia, homeland of the Germans?

According to Online etymology dictionary “Germany” means:

“of the same parents or grandparents,” c. 1300, from Old French germain “own, full; born of the same mother and father; closely related” (12c.), from Latin germanus “full, own (of brothers and sisters); one’s own brother; genuine, real, actual, true,” related to germen (genitive germinis) “sprout, bud,” of uncertain origin; perhaps dissimilated from PIE *gen(e)-men-, from root *gene- “to give birth, beget”

But what if this guess (because that’s what it is) is not really a good one? First of all, the term “German” is much older than medieval French – we know that it has been in use at least since Julius Caesar. In the year of 98 AD Tacitus wrote:

For the rest, they affirm Germania to be a recent word, lately bestowed. For those who first passed the Rhine and expulsed the Gauls, and are now named Tungrians, were then called Germani. And thus by degrees the name of a tribe prevailed, not that of the nation; so that by an appellation at first occasioned by fear and conquest, they afterward chose to be distinguished. and assuming a name lately invented were universally called Germani

Wikipedia article on Germania, adds that this term may be Galic in origin. This would mean that the pronunciation of the first sound “G” is debatable – it may have also been “J”, like in modern French, and even “Y” or “H” in other local languages. In this case we get a word sounding very close to “Yermenia”, which is a Slavic name for “Armenia”.

The first famous chieftain of the Germans, who had lived between 18/17 BC and 21 AD, was  “Arminius” (Hermann in German). One would expect that his name means simply “German” and has the same etymology. However, we read that it means something completely different:

“The Latinized form Arminius probably reflects the Germanic element *ermin-, found in the tribal name of the Irminones, probably with an original meaning of “strong, whole”.”


Hermann Monument, Germany

Ok, but then what about the etymology of Armenia? Surely it can’t be German? Unfortunately here etymology dictionary can’t help us. It simply states:

“Place name traced to 521 C.E., but which is of uncertain origin. “

Wikipedia article on Armenia gives us more information:

“The exonym Armenia is attested in the Old Persian Behistun Inscription (515 BC) as Armina.The ancient Greek terms Ἀρμενία (Armenía) and Ἀρμένιοι (Arménioi, “Armenians”) are first mentioned by Hecataeus of Miletus (c. 550 BC – c. 476 BC)”

So it looks like this “Armenia” is at least 500 years older than the European one. But what does this word mean? What if it simply means “Arya men”? We do know that the Armenian name of the Mount Ararat, and the ancient kingdom of Urartu was “Ayrarat“. This exists already in the 13th century BC Assyrian records, in the time of supposed Aryan migrations. Also, it seems that the etymology of this word relates to word “white”, with allusion to its snow-covered mountain peaks.


Mount Ararat

Do we have other evidence for this supposed migration, apart from the similar sounding words? Maybe we do. A genetic one. This is the current distribution of proto-Germanic R1b in Caucasus region, which according to peaks in Armenia:

R1b Caucasus

Moreover, Caucasus region is a cradle of R1b haplogroup, which had apparently later migrated, only to conquer the whole of the Western Europe (click to enlarge):


I know, many people will say that relating haplogroups to nations and culture is a wrong approach, however we can get a pretty good idea that certain migrations did really happen. So who were these tribes?

Maybe a part of the answer lies again in the word “Armenia”. Because of linguistic change called Rhotacism in some languages like Naepolitan, Romanesce, Romanian, Basque, Spanish and Portuguese,  it is typical that “L” becomes “R”. For example “albero” becomes “arvero”, “alto” becomes “arto” and  “Alban” becomes “Arban”.

So if we work our way backward, we may get the word “Almen” from “Armen”. This is very interesting because that is another name for Germany, in for example, French, Kurdish and some Slavic languages. It is also related to confederation of Germanic tribes known as “Alemanni” Current etymology of this word is “all men” (?) We further read that Alemanni could be “mysteriously” connected to the tribe of Hermunduri, for whom Pliny the elder, in his Historia Naturalis, lists as one of the nations of the Hermiones. Could there in fact be some etymological connection between all these words?

As for Alemanni, we do know that their territory had stretched around present-day Alsace and Northern Switzerland.


Area settled by the Alemanni, and sites of Roman-Alemannic battles, 3rd to 6th centuries

This is very interesting for two reasons:

Firstly, this is the area between Hallstatt and La Tene, the birthplace of Celtic culture and a “melting pot” of its time, although it seems that Alemanni expansion in this region was quite a late one.

Secondly,  this very region where Alemanni had settled, has since then been known as  “Jervaine” – a word sounding pretty close to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.

“The High Kingdom of Jervaine is a small proud nation in the heart of Europe, known for its wealth, diplomacy, hearty cuisine and fine wine. It comprises the three provinces Ausaedsa (Alsace), Siovadra (Black Forest) and Moseola (Moselle). Originally split off the crumbling Roman Empire, the kingdom endured several Germanic mass migrations and EXCHANGED between French and German empires.”

As we see, the kingdom of Jerwaena is in the exact region around Alsace, where Alemanni tribes had settled, and it is has this name since the time of their settlement. A coincidence?


It would be interesting to look for further linguistic evidence of connections between this region and Armenia. However, German will not be of much help because according to most of the authors proto-German started to develop only around 500BC, with earliest inscriptions dating to 6th century AD in Allemanic.

This is where we get to the crossroad where genetics, linguistic and culture separate as the origins of nations blur in forgotten tribal migrations and genetic and cultural mixture. However, most of the historians, inspired by Roman authors, trace the origins of Germans to the North of Europe, and I wanted to illustrate here that this might not necessarily be the case.

If migration really happened from the south, our last clue may lie in another word, word by which Germans call their land – Deutschland – the land of the “Deutsch”. The etymological dictionary gives us the following explanation:

“late 14c., used first of Germans generally, after c. 1600 of Hollanders, from Middle Dutch duutsch, from Old High German duit-isc, corresponding to Old English þeodisc “belonging to the people,” used especially of the common language of Germanic people, from þeod “people, race, nation,” from Proto-Germanic *theudo “popular, national” (see Teutonic), from PIE root *teuta- “people”

Actually, the word “Dutch”, sounds exactly like the name of ancient people known as Dacians. Dacians were apparently a Thracian tribe, original inhabitants of Balkan. But on Wikipedia we read the following:

“The Dacians spoke the Dacian language, believed to have been closely related to Thracian, but were somewhat culturally influenced by the neighboring Scythians and by the Celtic invaders of the 4th century BC.”

“Celtic invaders of the 4th century BC”? Interesting, because before this period, in 5th century BC the term “Dacian” is completely unknown to Herodotus. He does mention the Thracian tribe of Getae, a word that is considered to be a synonym for Dacians. But what if this was simply a native name before the Germanic invasion, that came from the south and not the north, like the current mainstream theory states?

I am saying this also because Herodotus actually knew a tribe called “Germani”. He mentions them only in one single sentence, but not where one would expect them to be:

“The other Persian tribes are the Panthialaei, the Derusiaei, and the Germanii, all tillers of the soil, and the Dai, the Mardi, the Dropici, the Sagartii, all wandering herdsmen.” Hdt. 1.125.4

In conclusion, it seems that for thousands of years, since at least 4th millennium BC, there were massive migrations to Europe from south and east. It may be so, that one of the last migrations, from around 5th century BC brought the ancestors of the modern German nation to Europe. However, they would have only followed the routes that their own ancestors had already established a few millennia earlier.

Perhaps there is some truth after all, in the 11th-century German song “Annolied“, which describes origins of Bavarians, people whose territory is closely connected with Kingdom of Jervaine, with the following words:

“This was always a brave people.
Their tribe came long ago
from the magnificent Armenia,
where Noah came out of the ark
when he received the olive twig from the dove.
The remains of the ark
are still to be found in the highlands of Ararat.
It is said that in those parts
there are still those who speak German,
far towards India.
The Bavarians always loved to go to war.
Caesar had to pay in blood
for his victory over them. “



  1. “Jervaine” – a word sounding pretty close to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia…….
    The ancient name of Yerevan was Erebuni and Erivan in middle centuries. So, it is a coincidence. But I have read about Armenian-Celtic connections many times. And there is some myths like Annolied and Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, where has been written, that Bavarians and Britons came from Armenia.

    • Thank you for this valuable input, I updated the article! As for “Erebuni” that is not very far from Yerevan as “V” and “B” are often interchanged in many ancient words.

      • Indeed!
        Erebuni means happy city. A very common approach in naming new cities to attract settlers. To my knowledge the Greeks also applied similar naming to new cities.
        Ere – happy, its traces could be found in the Armenian words YERjanik and URakh, both meaning happy.
        Buni – city. In Armenian it has remained as Van – city, which is now in Turkey and as Avan, meaning settlement.
        In Western European languages it survives in the form of Bon. There are many cities with BON…

        • PS.- Avan is also used as a suffix in naming places, e.g. Hankavan, meaning the settlement of the mines, Hank- mine, Stepanavan… meaning the settlement of Stepan.
          Van could also be related to the Armenian word VANK which means monastery. The k as suffix is for plural in Medieval Armenian. So, Vank could mean settlements. While the k is dropped in the word VANAHAYR which means chief monk of the monastery. Van-a-hayr. Literally: Father of settlement. Hayr-father and the “a” is commonly used for joining two roots.

  2. Thanks for this interesting article. We can also compare the technological advancment levels in ancient Armenia and in ancient central or western Europe. Today we know that many technologies (wine production techniques, metallurgy techniques etc) appeared in Armenian Highland. This knowledge was probably transmitted in Europe by the Armenians during massive migrations. We can also find Armenian elements in the celtic sculptural art or belief system. There are also many similarities between Stonehange and more ancient armenian Karahunge (Kar = stone in armenian) . Here you can see 10 world’s oldest things from Armenia These things prove that in ancient times Armenia had an advanced technological level compared to central/western european regions. Logically, these technologies were spread by successive migrations from Armenia to Europe.

  3. I have no doubt that what you write is not too far from truth. Genes don’t lie and etymological remnants are simply too many. It has been mentioned about Stonehenge and Karahunj in Armenia, which predates the Stonehenge by at least 4000 years and is evidently built by the same tribes who built the Bordasar (Gobekli Teppe now in Turkey) as evidenced by worship of Orion (The god Hayk and founder of the Armenian nation by tradition) and Zodiac signs…
    Just to add one more item to your etymological comparisons: You translate Siovadra as Black Garden. This cannot be a coincidence as in contemporary Armenian black is SEV and forest is ANDAR. So, Siovadra in Armenian will be Sev Andar…

  4. Very interesting! My Armenian husband’s DNA has just exposed his Mongolian.Italuan and Ashkenazi background! He also had several tall blond aunts in his family!

    • Hey Pattie, which part of your Armenian hubby do you like most and hate most? Armenian part, Italian part, or Mongolian part? 😂

  5. Actually, Armenia and Germany are the same nation according to the Bible. Here is where the term “Ashkenazi” come from, it is a biblical term for Armenia and Germany in ancient times. The modern term “Ashkenazi” now just happens to be accepted as meaning “Jews from Germany”, thus making it an inaccurate description historically speaking. It is amazing that this was written in the Bible, yet we also see the evidence of the connection of Armenians and Germans by other means, language probably being the most revealing. Genetically it is less obvious since Armenians and Germans look mostly dissimilar. But this is to be expected with such a large distance between the two nations. Genetic markers only add to the evidence. Also, Armenian tribes migrated to many parts of the world in ancient times, thus many nations in the Middle East and Europe have their roots in Armenia.

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