Zvartnots

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Zvartnots 10: Rusa II Stone. Sundial

Rusa II Stone

In front of the museum a basalt obelisk of the Urartu king Rusa II with a cuneiform inscription commemorating construction of a canal at the Hrazdan (“Ildaruni”) River and offerings/sacrifices to Gods on that occasion.

Rusa II (Urartian King, 680 - 640 BC) inherited a state that regained much of its lost territory but was weakened from years of war. He attempted to enrich the land by launching massive building projects, commissioning numerous cities, roads, canals and aqueducts throughout Urartu, one of the most famous was this canal that still bears his name. Some trace the original temple of Zvartnots to his reign. The inscription points to the importance of the site:

To the god Khaldi, to his lord,
Rusa, son of Argishti, set this inscription.
By the power of Khaldi,
Rusa, Son of Argishti, says:
The valley of Kuralini was a virgin land,
nothing was there,
when Khaldi ordered,
and I founded this vine yard,
I made new crop lands and orchards here.
I founded a new town.
I cut a canal from the Ildaruni River
in the name of Umenshini.
When the valley of Rusa
is irrigated by the canal,
let a kid be sacrificed
to the god Khaldi,
a sheep to Khaldi,
a sheep to the god Teisheba,
a sheep to the god Shivini,
a (sacrifice?) to the god Aniku.
When water runs
Let a kid be sacrificed
to the god Khaldi, a sheep to Khaldi,
a sheep to the god Teisheba,
a sheep to the god Shivini,
a (sacrifice?) to the god Aniku.
Rusa, the son of Argishti is a mighty king,
King of the universe,
King of Biainili (Urartu),
King of kings,
Sovereign of the city of Tushpa.
Rusa, son of Argishti, says:
Whosoever destroys this inscription
whosoever breaks it,
whosoever dislocates it,
whosoever buries it under ground,
whosoever floods it with water,
whosoever tells another “I've done all these”,
whosoever hands it over,
whosoever erases the name
and writes his own name herein
let him be a Bainilian or an enemy,
let Khaldi, Shivini, Teisheba (all of the gods)
eradicate his name,
his family,
all his descendants from earth.

Sundial
Next to the Rusa Stone is a reconstruction of the large cathedral sun dial with the inscription “Pray to God as he expects”. Sun dials were a common feature of Armenian churches, and highly accurate. Note the Armenian letters ringing the lower half of the dial; each Armenian letter represents an hour, from one to twelve.

The text was edited by ICOMOS/Armenia NGO.