“Hayk is like the forefather of the Armenian people, he’s basically what Abraham is to the Hebrews, but for Armenians. The story goes that, I think some time during the third millenium BC, the Babylonian king Bel attempted to take over basically everything around him, including Armenian land. However, Hayk, an Armenian warrior, resisted him. He set up a little town at the foot of Mount Ararat and recruited a makeshift army. One day when Bel and his army were going through a mountain pass on Mount Ararat, Hayk decided to attack him to end his reign. During the battle, Hayk shot an arrow from a ridiculously long distance at Bel and ended up hitting him and killing him. Since their leader was dead, the Babylonians just kind of left, and Armenia again belonged to the Armenians.”

This is from my roommate who was born in Yerevan, Armenia, but he and his family moved to the U.S. in the late 1990s, before he was even five years old. However, he has spent most of his summers back in Armenia, visiting family and whatnot. He is fluent in Armenian and speaks it at home. He heard this myth from his extended family in Armenia and from his parents, and he adds that it’s a pretty seminal story for Armenians. For him, Hayk essentially stands as a symbol for the entire Armenian population, and it is a story that reminds him that Armenians are strong, independent, and can overcome adversity.