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From before ca. 1300-840 BCEFrom before ca. 1300-840 BCECa. 840-609 BCE

Index / Religions / Historical /
Urartu /

The religion of Urartu was the religion of a large kingdom, and it follows normal structures for other larger contemporary religious systems: A polytheistic pantheon where different gods had their separate cult centres. Gods were associated with, and ruled over certain natural powers, but they needed not be confined by this.
Possibly inspired by other religious systems, Urartian religion had a sort of triad, or a theology of three main gods: Shivini, Theispas and Khaldi.
These three gods were gods of the basic interests of a society like Urartu was: sun; storm and thunder (hence rain); and war. Gods were depicted in an anthropomorphic manner.
The cult we know was that of the temples, and gods were largely revered through animal sacrifice, but never human.
Apparently, the most important god was the warrior god, Khaldi; temples to him were built into many royal palaces and the king was also Khaldi's high priest. Still, the other gods may have been considered higher than Khaldi must have been with the Urartian warrior elite.
In many, but not all, cases conquered lands and peoples had their gods included into the Urartian pantheon, a manner of creating stable relations. An inscription near Van lists as many as 79 gods and goddesses.

By Tore Kjeilen