09 January 2016, 19:02
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Eternal Alphabet: S (sē) -Ս (սէ)

It is believed that the graphic form of letter Ս is derived from one of the variants of the Greek Sigma . The ancient patterns of Ս virtually do not differ from one another and from the present-day letter. The small letter – ս – looks like a scaled-down copy of the capital letter. In the grammatical structure of the Armenian language, Ս plays the role of the possessive article, indicating that something or someone belongs to the speaker. Letter Ս, used at the end of the word, substitutes the pronoun իմ ([im] – my): իմ տուն ([im tun] = տունս [tuns] – my home).

Letter U is the first letter of the Armenian text of the Gospel of Mark. And since a winged lion is the symbol of St. Mark, the majority of the ornamented initials U depict the image of the king of beasts. This symbol is used in many forms. One of them, which is common in the Armenian miniature, is the image of two lions with intertwined tails. Such U can be found in the Gospel, illustrated in the year 1336 by the famous artist miniaturist Sargis Pitsak. Another variant of this type is an interesting example of the way of writing letter U that dates back to the XIII century.



 Unlike the former variant, one of its columns – the one to the viewer’s left – depicts a saint, apparently, disciple Mark. In the above versions, the figure of a lion is just a component element, but there are also such samples, where there is only the king of beasts, the high raised wings of which form the letter U. An example of this is an initial in the Gospel of Sebastian (1066), the specific feature of which is the figure of Christ, placed between the wings of a lion. Letter U, as well as the combination Uբ. are the abbreviations of the word Սուրբ ([surb] – Saint).  This abbreviation is placed before the names of the Armenian saints and in the names of the Armenian churches: Uբ. Խաչ ([Sb. Khach] – Holy Cross), Uբ. Սարգիս ([Sb. Sargis] – St. Sargis). And if you arrange the Armenian alphabet in the form of an isosceles triangle, the letters in the corners of it will be the first letters of the words that denote the Persons of the Holy Trinity: Ա – Աստված ([Astvats] – the God), Ս – Սուրբ Հոգի ([surb hogi] – the Holy Spirit), and Ք – Քրիստոս ([Qristos] – Christ). 


See more at Aram Khachaturians "Armenian Alphabet. History and Symbolism" book

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