From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

a mountain of Asia, in Armenia, on which the ark of Noah rested after the cessation of the deluge. Concerning the etymology of the name, Dr. Bryant observes; that it is a compound of Ar-Arat, and signifies "the mountain of descent, being equivalent to הראּ?ירד , of the Hebrews. Of the precise situation of this mountain, different accounts have been given. Some have supposed that it was one of the mountains which divide Armenia on the south from Mesopotamia, and that part of Assyria inhabited by the Curds, from whom those mountains took the name of Curdue, or Cardu; by the Greeks denominated Gordyaei. It is called by the Arabs Al-Judi, and also Thamanin. In confirmation of this opinion, it is alleged that the remains of the ark were to be seen on these mountains; and it is said, that Berosus and Abydenus both declare, that such a report existed in their time. Epiphanius pretends, if we may credit his assertion, that the relics of the ark were to be seen in his day; and we are further told, that the emperor Heraclius went from the town of Thamanin, up the mountain Al-Judi, and saw the place of the ark. Others maintain, that mount Ararat was situated toward the middle of Armenia, near the river Araxes, or Aras, about twelve miles from it, according to Tournefort, above two hundred and eighty miles distant from Al-Judi, to the north-east. Ararat seems to be a part of that vast chain of mountains called Caucasus and Taurus; and upon these mountains, and in the adjacent country, were preserved more authentic accounts of the ark than in almost any other part of the world. The region about Ararat, called Araratia, was esteemed among the ancients as nearly a central part of the earth; and it is certainly as well calculated as any other for the accommodation of its first inhabitants, and for the migration of colonies, upon the increase of mankind. The soil of the country was very fruitful, and especially of that part where the patriarch made his first descent. The country also was very high, though it had fine plains and valleys between the mountains. Such a country, therefore, must, after the flood, have been the soonest exsiccated, and, consequently, the soonest habitable.

The mountain which has still the name of Ararat, has retained it through all ages. Tournefort has particularly described it, and from his account it seems to consist chiefly of freestone, or calcareous sandstone. It is a detached mountain in form of a sugar loaf, in the midst of a very extensive plain, consisting of two summits; the lesser, more sharp and pointed; the higher, which is that of the ark, lies north-west of it, and raises its head far above the neighbouring mountains, and is covered with perpetual snow. When the air is clear, it does not appear to be above two leagues from Erivan, and may be seen at the distance of four or five days' journey. Its being visible at such a distance, however, is ascribed not so much to its height, as to its lonely situation, in a large plain, and upon the most elevated part of the country. The ascent is difficult and fatiguing. Tournefort attempted it; and, after a whole day's toil, he was obliged, by the snow and intense cold, to return without accomplishing his design, though in the middle of summer. On the side of the mountain that looks toward Erivan, is a prodigious precipice, very deep, with perpendicular sides, and of a rough, black appearance, as if tinged with smoke.

The summit of Ararat has never been reached, though several attempts have been made; and if the ark rested on the summit, it is certain that those who have spoken of its fragments being seen there in different ages, must have been imposed upon. It is, however, not necessary to suppose that the ark rested upon either of its tops; and that spot would certainly be chosen which would afford the greatest facility of descent. Sir Robert Ker Porter is among the modern travellers who have given us an account of this celebrated mountain:—"As the vale opened beneath us in our descent, my whole attention became absorbed in the view before me. A vast plain, peopled with countless villages; the towers and spires of the churches of Eitch-mai-adzen, arising from amidst them; the glittering waters of the Araxes, flowing through the fresh green of the vale; and the subordinate range of mountains, skirting the base of the awful monument of the antediluvian world. It seemed to stand a stupendous link in the history of man, uniting the two races of men before and after the flood. But it was not until we had arrived upon the flat plain, that I beheld Ararat in all its amplitude of grandeur. From the spot on which I stood, it appeared as if the hugest mountains of the world had been piled upon each other, to form this one sublime immensity of earth, and rock, and snow. The icy peaks of its double heads rose majestically into the clear and cloudless heavens; the sun blazed bright upon them; and the reflection sent forth a dazzling radiance, equal to other suns. This point of the view united the utmost grandeur of plain and height. But the feelings I experienced while looking on the mountain, are hardly to be described. My eye, not able to rest for any length of time upon the blinding glory of its summits, wandered down the apparently interminable sides, till I could no longer trace their vast lines in the mists of the horizon; when an inexpressible impulse, immediately carrying my eye upward again, refixed my gaze upon the awful glare of Ararat; and this bewildered sensibility of sight being answered by a similar feeling in the mind, for some moments I was lost in a strange suspension of the powers of thought."

The separate peaks are called Great and Little Ararat, and the space between them is about seven miles. "These inaccessible summits," continues Sir R. K. Porter, "have never been trodden by the foot of man since the days of Noah, if even then; for my idea is, that the ark rested in the space between these heads, and not on the top of either. Various attempts have been made in different ages to ascend these tremendous mountain pyramids, but in vain: their form, snows, and glaciers, are insurmountable obstacles: the distance being so great from the commencement of the icy region to the highest points, cold alone would be the destruction of any person who should have the hardihood to persevere. On viewing mount Ararat from the northern side of the plain, its two heads are separated by a wide cleft, or rather glen, in the body of the mountain. The rocky side of the greater head runs almost perpendicularly down to the north-east, while the lesser head rises from the sloping bottom of the cleft, in a perfectly conical shape. Both heads are covered with snow. The form of the greater is similar to the less, only broader and rounder at the top; and shows to the northwest a broken and abrupt front, opening, about half way down, into a stupendous chasm, deep, rocky and peculiarly black. At that part of the mountain, the hollow of the chasm receives an interruption from the projection of minor mountains, which start from the sides of Ararat like branches from the root of a tree, and run along, in undulating progression, till lost in the distant vapours of the plain." Dr. Shuckford argues that the true Ararat lies among the mountains of the north of India; but Mr. Faber has answered his reasoning, and proved by a comparison of geographical notices incidentally mentioned in the Old Testament, that the Ararat of Armenia is the true Ararat.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

(Sanskrit; "holy ground".) A mountainous district in Armenia; the resting place of the ark after the deluge ( Genesis 8:4). (But See Noah.) Thither Sennacherib's sons fled after murdering their father ( 2 Kings 19:37). The ally of Minni and Ashchenaz ( Jeremiah 51:27). In  Genesis 11:2 translate "they journeyed eastward," Mesopotamia being described relatively to the writer's country, rather than to Ararat, which is N. of Mesopotamia. It overlooks the plain of the Araxes on the N. Berosus the Chaldaean, in Alexander the Great's time, makes the Kurdistan mountains, on the S. frontier of Armenia, the ark's resting place: Nachdjevan, on the Araxes, is thought to be Noah's place of landing, from Josephus' statement (Ant. 1:3), as also his place of burial. The mountain there, the loftiest in the district, is called Massis by the Armenians, Kuh-i-Nuh, i.e. "Noah's mountain," by the Persians.

There are two conical peaks, the greater and the less, seven miles apart; the former 17,300 feet above the sea, and 14,300 above the plain of the Araxes; the latter 4,000 feet lower; 3000 feet of the greater covered with perpetual snow. Lava, cinders, and porphyry cover the middle region, marking the vol. came origin of the mountain. A second summit is about 400 yards from the highest; and on the slope between the two the ark is surmised to have rested. On the side of the greater is a chasm, probably once the crater of the volcano; silence and solitude reign all around; Arguri, the only village on the descent, is the traditional site of Noah's vine. yard. In the wide sense Ararat comprises the whole Armenian range in the N. to the Kurdistan range in the S. The plateau of Armenia is a vast extent of plains rising high above the surrounding plain; and from that plateau, as a fresh base, mountain ranges spring, running generally from E. to W.; transverse ridges connect these.

The whole stands in the central point between the Euxine and Caspian on the N., and the Mediterranean and the Persian gulf on the S. The Acampsis, the Araxes, the Euphrates, and the Tigris connect it respectively with the four great seas. The greatest nations, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Medes, and the Colchians, lay along these routes. Ararat even now is the central boundary between Russia, Turkey, and Persia. The Armenian plateau, from the longer period of action of the volcanic powers, and from there being room for the expansion of the molten masses in the region around, is far more accessible than the neighboring region of Caucasus.

At Erzroom, 6000 feet above the sea, crops appear in June and are cut in August. The vine ripens at 5000 feet, but in Europe at not higher than 2,650 feet. Thus it appears the Ararat plateau was one especially suited for being the ark's appointed resting place, and its geographical and physical features fitted it as the center for the even distribution of the human race. The severe climate would drive them after a time to the milder plains below; and in the meantime the grass such as feeds now the flocks of nomad Kurds, in the same region, would meet the wants of Noah's descendants in their nomad life. However, in the Babylonian legend of the Flood deciphered by Mr. G. Smith, Nizir answers to Ararat, not the northern mountain near Erivan, but the Ararat of Assyrian and Armenian geography, the precipitous range overlooking the Tigris N.E. of Mosul. Arabic Judi, Assyrian Guli.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

ARARAT Genesis 8:4 ,   2 Kings 19:37 [||   Isaiah 37:38 ],   Jeremiah 51:27 ) is the Hebrew form of the Assyrian Urartu , which on the monuments from the 9th cent. downwards designates a kingdom in the N. of the later Armenia . The extension of the name naturally varied with the political limits of this State; but properly it seems to have denoted a small district on the middle Araxes, of which the native name Ayrarat is thought to be preserved in the Alarodioi of Herodotus (iii. 94, vii. 79). Jerome describes it as ‘a level region of Armenia, through which the Araxes flows, of incredible fertility, at the foot of the Taurus range, which extends thus far.’ The Araxes (or Aras ), on its way to the Caspian Sea, forms a great elbow to the S.; and at the upper part of this, on the right (or S.W.) bank of the river, the lofty snowclad summit of Massis (called by the Persians the ‘mountain of Noah’) rises to a height of nearly 17,000 ft. above sea-level. This is the traditional landing-place of the ark; and, through a misunderstanding of   Genesis 8:4 (‘in [one of] the mountains of Ararat’), the name was transferred from the surrounding district to the two peaks of this mountain, Great Ararat and Little Ararat, the latter about 7 m. distant and 4000 ft. lower.

Whether this is the site contemplated by the writer in Genesis (P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] ) is not quite certain. The Syrian and Mohammedan tradition places it at Jebel Jûdî , a striking mountain considerably S. of Lake Van, commanding a wide view over the Mesopotamian plain. It is just possible that this might be included among the ‘mountains of Ararat’ in the wider sense of the term. This seems the view of Joseph us ( Ant . I. iii. 5, 6), who is unconscious of any discrepancy between ‘Armenia’ and the ‘Kordyæan’ mountain of Berosus. His statement about relics of the ark being shown in his time appeals to be borrowed from Berosus, and applies to whatever mountain that writer had in mind possibly Jebel Jûdî! The Targums and Peshiá¹­ta, however, which are influenced by this tradition, read Ḳardû (Kurdistan), in verbal agreement with Berosus. The cuneiform Flood-legend puts it much farther S., at the ‘mountain of Nisir,’ probably in one of the ranges E. of the Tigris and S. of the Lesser Zab. This, of course, is quite beyond any imaginable extension of the name Ararat. Assuming, therefore, that the Biblical and Babylonian narratives have a common origin, the landing-place of the ark would seem to have been pushed gradually northward, the natural tendency of such a tradition being to attach itself to the highest mountain known at the time. On this principle the ultimate selection of the imposing Mount Massis would be almost inevitable: and it is probable that this is the view of   Genesis 8:4 , although the alternative hypothesis that Jebel Jûdî is meant has still some claim to be considered. The suggestion of Nöldeke, that Ararat is a late substitution for Ḳardû in the original text of Genesis, has nothing to recommend it.

J. Skinner.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [4]

The name of a province in the center of Armenia, between the river Araxes and the lakes Van and Ooroomiah.  2 Kings 19:37;  Isaiah 37:38 , and sometimes used to denote the whole country,  Jeremiah 51:27 . On the mountains of Ararat the ark rested,  Genesis 8:4 . In 1831, Messrs. Smith and Dwight, American missionaries, visited Armenia, and traversed the province of Ararat. Mr. Smith describes the mountains as follows:

"We passed very near the base of that noble mountain, which is called by the Armenians Masis, and by Europeans generally Ararat; and for more than twenty days had it constantly in sight, except when obscured by clouds. It consists of two peaks, one considerably higher than the other, and is connected with a chain of mountains running off to the north-west and west, which, though high, are not of sufficient elevation to detract at all from the lonely dignity of this stupendous mass. From Nakchewan, at the distance of at least 100 miles to the southeast, it appeared like an immense isolated cone, of extreme regularity, rising out of the valley of the Araxes. Its height is said to be 16,000 feet. The eternal snows upon its summit occasionally from vast avalanches, which precipitate themselves down its sides with a sound not unlike that of an earthquake. When we saw it, it was white to its very base with snow. And certainly not among the mountains of Ararat or of Armenia generally, nor those of any part of the world where I have been, have I ever seen one whose majesty could plead half so powerfully its claims to the honor of having once been the stepping-stone between the old world and the new. I gave myself up to the feeling, that on its summit were once congregated all the inhabitants of the earth, and that, while in the valley of the Araxes, I was paying a visit to the second cradle of the human race."

Mount Ararat was visited in 1829 by Prof. Parrot, who after several attempts reached the summit, more than 17,200 feet above the level of the sea. It bears traces of volcanic action, and in 1840 was shaken by a disastrous earthquake.

Holman Bible Dictionary [5]

 Genesis 8:4 2 Kings 19:37 2 Kings 19:37  Isaiah 37:38 Jeremiah 51:27

Geography The Ararat of the Old Testament is known as the land of Urartu in sources outside the Bible, especially Assyrian sources. The people of the region identified themselves as “children of Haldi” (the national god) and their land as Biainae . The country was southeast of the Black Sea and southwest of the Caspian, where the head waters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers were found. Near the center of the land was Lake Van; Lake Sevan lay on its northern border; and Lake Urmia was found in its southeast corner. Modern Turkey, Iran, and Soviet Armenia occupy parts of the ancient land area of Urartu. Mt. Ararat is located to the northeast of Lake Van.

Ararat rises from the lowlands of the Aras River to a height of 17,000 feet. Considering the high elevation, the region is remarkably fertile and pasturable. Archaeologists believe that Ararat received more rainfall in biblical times than it does today, an observation which suggests that the area would have been even more productive as farmland in ancient times.

History of Ararat The height of Urartian political prominence was between 900,700 B.C. Culturally the Urartians were akin to the earlier Hurrians and to the Assyrians whose empire stretched to the south. From after 1100 until after 800 B.C., Urartu remained independent of Assyria, and in many ways was a political rival. The rise of Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 B.C.) in Assyria, followed by Sargon II (721-705 B.C.), crushed any political ambitions Urartu might have had in the region. Continuing a flourishing national culture in their mountain homeland, the Urartians were finally overcome by the invading Armenians at the close of the seventeenth century. See Noah; Ark; and Flood .

A. J. Conyers

People's Dictionary of the Bible [6]

Ararat ( Ăr'A-Răt ), Holy Land, or High Land. A mountainous region of Asia which borders on the plain of the Araxes, and is mentioned (1) as the resting-place of Noah's ark.  Genesis 8:4; (2) as the refuge of the sons of Sennacherib,  2 Kings 19:37, R. V., or margin, A V.;  Isaiah 37:1-38;  Isaiah 38:1-22, R. V., or margin, A. V.; (3) as a kingdom with Minni and Ashchenaz.  Jeremiah 51:27. The mountains of Ararat,  Genesis 8:4, properly refer to the entire range of elevated table land in that portion of Armenia; and upon some lower part of this range, rather than upon the high peaks popularly called Ararat, the ark more probably rested. For (1) this plateau or range is about 6000 to 7000 feet high; (2) it Is about equally distant from the Euxine and the Caspian Seas, and between the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean, and hence a central point for the dispersion of the race; (3) the region is volcanic in its origin; it does not rise into sharp crests, but has broad plains separated by subordinate ranges of mountains; (4) the climate is temperate, grass and grain are abundant, the harvests quick to mature. All these facts illustrate the biblical narrative. George Smith, however, places Ararat in the southern part of the mountains east of Assyria. Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 289.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

A kingdom which was called upon by God, in conjunction with Medes, Persians, and others, under one captain, Cyrus, to punish Babylon in revenge of Israel.  Jeremiah 51:27 . It is identified with Urartu or Urardhu of the Assyrian inscriptions, a district in Armenia, in which is Mount Ararat, on some part of which the ark of Noah rested.   Genesis 8:4 . The mount is situate 44 28' E 39 45' N , and its extreme height is about 17,000 feet above the sea, covered with perpetual snow. Objection has been taken to its great height, but it may not have been on its highest part that the ark rested.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

 Genesis 8:4 2 Kings 19:37 Isaiah 37:38 Jeremiah 51:27

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [9]

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [10]

Ar´arat occurs nowhere in Scripture as the name of a mountain, but only as the name of a country, upon the 'mountains' of which the ark rested during the subsidence of the flood ( Genesis 8:4).

The only other passages where 'Ararat' occurs are  2 Kings 19:37 ( Isaiah 37:38) and  Jeremiah 51:27. In the former it is spoken of as the country whither the sons of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, fled, after they had murdered their father. This points to a territory which did not form part of the immediate dominion of Assyria, and yet might not be far off from it. The description is quite applicable to Armenia, and is supported by the tradition of that country. The other Scripture text ( Jeremiah 51:27) mentions Ararat, along with Minni and Ashkenaz, as kingdoms summoned to arm themselves against Babylon. In the parallel place in  Isaiah 13:2-4, the invaders of Babylonia are described as 'issuing from the mountains;' and if by Minni we understand the Minyas in Armenia, and by Ashkenaz some country on the Euxine Sea, which may have had its original name, Axenos, from Ashkenaz, a son of Gomer, the progenitor of the Cimmerians ( Genesis 10:2-3)—then we arrive at the same conclusion, viz., that Ararat was a mountainous region north of Assyria, and in all probability in Armenia. In  Ezekiel 38:6, we find Togarmah, another part of Armenia, connected with Gomer, and in  Ezekiel 27:14, with Meshech and Tubal, all tribes of the north. With this agree the traditions of the Jewish and Christian churches, and likewise the accounts of the native Armenian writers.

But though it may be concluded with tolerable certainty that the land of Ararat is to be identified with a portion of Armenia, we possess no historical data for fixing on any one mountain in that country as the resting-place of the ark.

The earliest tradition fixed on one of the chain of mountains which separate Armenia on the south from Mesopotamia, and which, as they also enclose Kurdistan, the land of the Kurds, obtained the name of the Kardu, or Carduchian range, corrupted into Gordiaean and Cordyaean. This was at one time the prevalent opinion among the Eastern churches, but it has now declined in credit and given place (at least among the Christians of the West) to that which now obtains, and according to which the ark rested on a great mountain in the north of Armenia—to which (so strongly did the idea take hold of the popular belief) was, in course of time, given the very name of Ararat, as if no doubt could be entertained that it was the Ararat of Scripture. We have seen, however, that in the Bible Ararat is nowhere the name of a mountain, and by the native Armenians the mountain in question was never so designated. Still there is no doubt of the antiquity of the tradition of this being (as it is sometimes termed) the 'Mother of the World.' The Persians call it Kuhi Nuch, 'Noah's Mountain.'

The mountain thus known to Europeans as Ararat consists of two immense conical elevations (one peak considerably lower than the other), towering in massive and majestic grandeur from the valley of the Aras, the ancient Araxes. Smith and Dwight give its position N. 57° W. of Nakhchevan, and S. 25° W. of Erivan; and remark, in describing it before the recent earthquake, that in no part of the world had they seen any mountain whose imposing appearance could plead half so powerfully as this a claim to the honor of having once been the stepping-stone between the old world and the new. 'It appeared,' says Ker Porter, 'as if the hugest mountains of the world had been piled upon each other to form this one sublime immensity of earth and rocks and snow. The icy peaks of its double heads rose majestically into the clear and cloudless heavens; the sun blazed bright upon them, and the reflection sent forth a dazzling radiance equal to other suns. My eye, not able to rest for any length of time upon the blinding glory of its summits, wandered down the apparently interminable sides, till I could no longer trace their vast lines in the mists of the horizon; when an irrepressible impulse immediately carrying my eye upwards, again refixed my gaze upon the awful glare of Ararat.' To the same effect Morier writes:—Nothing can be more beautiful than its shape, more awful than its height. All the surrounding mountains sink into insignificance when compared to it is perfect in all its parts; no hard rugged feature, no unnatural prominences, everything is in harmony, and all combines to render it one of the sublimest objects in nature.'

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

ar´a - rat ( אררט , 'ărārāṭ ): A mountainous plateau in western Asia from which flow in different directions the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Aras and the Choruk rivers. Its general elevation is 6,000 feet above the sea. Lake Van, which like the Dead Sea has no outlet, is nearly in its center. The Babylonian name was Urartu, the consonants being the same in both words. In  2 Kings 19:37 and   Isaiah 37:38 the word is translated in the King James Version Armenia, which correctly represents the region designated. It was to Armenia that the sons of Sennacherib fled. In   Jeremiah 51:27 Ararat is associated with Minni and Ashkenaz, which according to the Assyrian monuments lay just to the east of Armenia. In   Genesis 8:4 the ark is said to have rested "upon the mountains of Ararat," i.e. in the mountainous region of Armenia, the plural showing that the mountain peak known as Ararat was not referred to. This peak is of volcanic origin and lies outside the general region, rising from the lowlands of the Araxes (Aras) River to a height of 17,000 feet, supported by another peak seven miles distant, 13,000 feet high. It is only in comparatively modern times that the present name has been given to it. The Armenians still call it Massis, but believe, however, that Noah was buried at Nachitchevan near its base.

The original name of the kingdom occupying Armenia was Bianias, which Ptolemy transliterated Byana. Later the "B" was modified into "V" and we have the modern Van, the present capital of the province. The "mountains of Ararat" on which the ark rested were probably those of the Kurdish range which separates Armenia from Mesopotamia and Kurdistan. In the Babylonian account the place is called "the mountain of Nizir" which is east of Assyria. Likewise Berosus locates the place "in the mountain of the Kordyaeans" or Kurds ( Ant. , I, iii, 6), while the Syriac version has Hardu in  Genesis 8:4 instead of Ararat. The Kurds still regard Jebel Judi, a mountain on the boundary between Armenia and Kurdistan, as the place where the ark rested.

This elevated plateau of Armenia has still many attractions, and is eminently suited to have been the center from which the human race spread in all directions. Notwithstanding its high elevation the region is fertile, furnishing abundant pasture, and producing good crops of wheat and barley, while the vine is indigenous. Moreover there are unmistakable indications that in early historic times there was a much more abundant rainfall in all that region than there is now, so that the climate was then better adapted to the wants of primitive man. This is shown by the elevated beaches surrounding lakes Van, Urumiah, and, indeed, all the lakes of central Asia. Great quantities of mammoth bones have been found in these bordering lacustrine deposits corresponding to those found in the glacial and postglacial deposits of Europe and America. It should, also, be remembered that the drying up of the waters of the flood is represented to have been very gradual - it being 170 days from the time the waters began to subside before Noah could disembark. It may have been many centuries before the present conditions were established, the climate, meanwhile, being modified to a corresponding degree by the proximity of vast surrounding bodies of water.

Armenia abounds in inscriptions carved on the rocks, altar stones and columns, but they have been only imperfectly translated. The script is cuneiform and each letter has only a single phonetic character attached to it. But there are introduced a good many borrowed ideographs which have assisted in the decipherment. According to Sayce this cuneiform syllabary was introduced from Assyria after the conquest of Shalmaneser Ii in the 9th century bc.