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The Kingdom of Armenia, also the Kingdom of Greater Armenia, or simply Greater Armenia ( hy, Մեծ Հայք '; la, Armenia Maior), sometimes referred to as the Armenian Empire, usually in 100s BC, was a monarchy in the Ancient Near East which existed from 321 BC to 428 AD. Its history is divided into successive reigns by three royal dynasties:
Orontid The Orontid dynasty, also known by their native name Eruandid or Yervanduni, was a hereditary Armenian dynasty and the rulers of the successor state to the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division ...
(321 BC–200 BC), Artaxiad (189 BC–12 AD) and
Arsacid The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ای ...
(52–428). The root of the kingdom lies in one of the
satrapies Satraps () were the governors of the province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of ...
of the
Achaemenid Empire of Persia
Achaemenid Empire of Persia
called Armenia (
Satrapy of Armenia The Satrapy of Armenia (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire). Like other Old Iran ...
), which was formed from the territory of the
Kingdom of Ararat
Kingdom of Ararat
(860 BC–590 BC) after it was conquered by the
Median Empire bas-relief Relief is a sculptural technique in which the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The term ''wikt:relief, relief'' is from the Latin verb ''relevo'', to raise. To create a sculpture in ...
in 590 BC. The satrapy became a kingdom in 321 BC during the reign of the
Orontid dynasty The Orontid dynasty, also known by their native name Eruandid or Yervanduni, was a hereditary dynasty that ruled the Satrapy of Armenia until 330BC and the Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity), Kingdom of Armenia from 321BC to 200BC. The Orontids rule ...
after the conquest of
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
by
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (') of the kingdom of and a member of the . He was born in in 356 BC and succeeded his ...

Alexander the Great
, which was then incorporated as one of the
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean history The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, We ...
kingdoms of the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greece, Greek state in Western Asia, during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period, that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Sele ...
. Under the Seleucid Empire (312–63 BC), the Armenian throne was divided in two – Armenia Maior and
Sophene under Tigranes the Great. File:Map of Roman dependency of Sophene, Corduene, Commagene, and Osrhoene as of 31 BC.png, 300px, Roman dependency of Sophene (as of 31 BC) Sophene ( hy, wikt:Ծոփք, Ծոփք Dzopkh, grc, wikt:Σωφηνή, Σωφ ...

Sophene
– both of which passed to members of the Artaxiad dynasty in 189 BC. During the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
's eastern expansion, the Kingdom of Armenia, under
Tigranes the Great Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great ( hy, Տիգրան Մեծ, ''Tigran Mets''; grc, Τιγράνης ὁ Μέγας ''Tigránes ho Mégas''; la, Tigranes Magnus) (140 – 55 BC) was King of Kingdom of Armenia (ant ...
, reached its peak, from 83 to 69 BC, after it reincorporated Sophene and conquered the remaining territories of the falling Seleucid Empire, effectively ending its existence and raising Armenia into an empire for a brief period, until it was itself conquered by Rome in 69 BC. The remaining Artaxiad kings ruled as clients of Rome until they were overthrown in 12 AD due to their possible allegiance to Rome's main rival in the region,
Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in north-eastern . It was conquered and subjugated by the empire of the during the 7th ...

Parthia
. During the Roman–Parthian Wars, the
Arsacid dynasty of Armenia The Arsacid dynasty or Arshakuni ( hy, wikt:Արշակունի, Արշակունի ''Arshakuni''), ruled the Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity), Kingdom of Armenia from 12 to 428. The dynasty was a branch of the Parthian Empire, Arsacid dynasty of Pa ...
was founded when Tiridates I, a member of the Parthian Arsacid dynasty, was proclaimed King of Armenia in 52. Throughout most of its history during this period, Armenia was heavily contested between
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
and Parthia, and the
Armenian nobility The Armenian nobility ( hy, Հայ ազնվականություն) was a class of persons which enjoyed certain privileges relative to other members of society under the laws and customs of various regimes of Armenia. Governments which recognized o ...
was divided among pro-Roman, pro-Parthian or neutrals. From 114 to 118, Armenia briefly became a
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
of the Roman Empire under
Emperor Trajan Trajan ( ; la, Caesar Nerva Trajanus; 18 September 538August 117) was Roman emperor from 98 to 117. Officially declared by the Roman Senate, Senate ''optimus princeps'' ("best ruler"), Trajan is remembered as a successful soldier-emperor who ...

Emperor Trajan
. The Kingdom of Armenia often served as a client state or vassal at the frontier of the two large empires and their successors, the
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...

Byzantine
and
Sassanid The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, '), and also called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last before the in the mid-7th century AD. Named after the , it endured for over four centuri ...

Sassanid
empires. In 301, Tiridates III proclaimed
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
as the state religion of Armenia, making the Armenian kingdom the first state to embrace Christianity officially. During the Byzantine–Sasanian wars, Armenia was ultimately partitioned into
Byzantine Armenia Byzantine Armenia, sometimes known as Western Armenia Western Armenia (Western Armenian: Արեւմտեան Հայաստան, ''Arevmdian Hayasdan'') is a term to refer to the eastern parts of Turkey (formerly the Ottoman Empire) that are par ...
in 387 and
Persian Armenia Sasanian Armenia, also known as Persian Armenia and Persarmenia ( hy, Պարսկահայաստան – ''Parskahayastan''), may either refer to the periods in which Armenia ( pal, 𐭠𐭫𐭬𐭭𐭩 – ''Armin'') was under the suzerainty of t ...

Persian Armenia
in 428.


History


Origins

The geographic
Armenian Highlands
Armenian Highlands
, then known as the highlands of Ararat (
Assyrian
Assyrian
: Urartu), was originally inhabited by Proto-Armenian tribes which did not yet constitute a unitary state or nation. The highlands were first united by tribes in the vicinity of
Lake Van Lake Van ( tr, Van Gölü; hy, Վանա լիճ, ''Vana lič̣''; ku, Gola Wanê), the largest lake in the Eastern Anatolia Region, Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeaster ...

Lake Van
into the
Kingdom of Van Urartu () is a geographical region commonly used as the Exonym and endonym, exonym for the Iron Age kingdom also known by the modern rendition of its Exonym and endonym, endonym, the Kingdom of Van, centered around Lake Van in the historic Arme ...

Kingdom of Van
(
Urartian The Urartian or Vannic language was spoken by the inhabitants of the ancient kingdom of Urartu, located in the region of Lake Van, with its capital near the site of the modern town of Van, Turkey, Van, in the modern-day Armenian Highlands area of T ...
: Biainili). The kingdom competed with Assyria over supremacy in the highlands of Ararat and the
Fertile Crescent The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental orga ...

Fertile Crescent
. Both kingdoms fell to
Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia ...
invaders from the neighbouring East (
Medes The Medes ( peo, 𐎶𐎠𐎭 ; akk, , ; grc, Μῆδοι ) were an Iranian peoples, ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media (region), Media between western Iran, western and nor ...
, followed by
Achaemenid Persians
Achaemenid Persians
) in the 6th century BC. Its territory was reorganized into a
satrapy Satraps () were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to ...
called
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...
(
Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Iranian languages * Indo-Iranians, the various peoples speaking ...
: Armina,
Elamite Elamite, also known as Hatamtite, is an extinct language that was spoken by the ancient Elamites. It was used in present-day southwestern Iran from 2600 BC to 330 BC. Elamite works disappear from the archeological record after Alexander the Great ...
: Harminuya,
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
: Urashtu). The
Orontid dynasty The Orontid dynasty, also known by their native name Eruandid or Yervanduni, was a hereditary dynasty that ruled the Satrapy of Armenia until 330BC and the Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity), Kingdom of Armenia from 321BC to 200BC. The Orontids rule ...
ruled as satraps of the Achaemenid Empire for three centuries until the empire's defeat against
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (') of the kingdom of and a member of the . He was born in in 356 BC and succeeded his ...

Alexander the Great
's
Macedonian Empire Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. The ...
at the
Battle of Gaugamela The Battle of Gaugamela (; el, Γαυγάμηλα), also called the Battle of Arbela ( el, Ἄρβηλα), was the decisive battle of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/ ...

Battle of Gaugamela
in 331 BC. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, a
Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
general named
Neoptolemus Neoptolemus (; Ancient Greek: Νεοπτόλεμος, ''Neoptolemos'', "new warrior"), also called Pyrrhus (; Πύρρος, ''Pyrrhos'', "red", for his red hair), was the son of the warrior Achilles and the princess Deidamia (mythology), Deidam ...
obtained Armenia until he died in 321 BC and the Orontids returned, not as satraps, but as kings.


Orontid dynasty

Orontes III and the ruler of
Lesser Armenia Lesser Armenia ( hy, Փոքր Հայք, ''Pokr Hayk''; la, Armenia Minor, Greek language, Greek: Mikre Armenia, Μικρή Αρμενία), also known as Armenia Minor and Armenia Inferior, comprised the Armenian–populated regions primarily to t ...
, Mithridates, recognized themselves independent, thus elevating the former Armenian satrapy into a kingdom, giving birth to the kingdoms of Armenia and Lesser Armenia. Orontes III also defeated the
Thessalian Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient : , ) is a traditional and modern of , comprising most of the of the same name. Before the , Thessaly was known as Aeolia (, ), and appears thus in 's '. Thessaly of the in ...

Thessalian
commander Menon, who wanted to capture Sper's gold mines. Weakened by the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greece, Greek state in Western Asia, during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period, that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Sele ...
which succeeded the Macedonian Empire, the last Orontid king,
Orontes IV Orontes IV (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Iranian languages * Indo-Iranians, the ...

Orontes IV
, was overthrown in 200/201 BC and the kingdom was taken over by a commander of the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greece, Greek state in Western Asia, during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period, that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Sele ...
,
Artashes I Artaxias I (from gr, Άρταξίας; in hy, Արտաշես ''Artašēs''; Old Iranian The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family that are spoken ...

Artashes I
, who is presumed to be related to the
Orontid dynasty The Orontid dynasty, also known by their native name Eruandid or Yervanduni, was a hereditary dynasty that ruled the Satrapy of Armenia until 330BC and the Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity), Kingdom of Armenia from 321BC to 200BC. The Orontids rule ...
himself.


Artaxiad dynasty

The
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greece, Greek state in Western Asia, during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period, that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Sele ...
's influence over Armenia had weakened after it was defeated by the
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
in the
Battle of Magnesia A battle is an occurrence of combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or devic ...

Battle of Magnesia
in 190 BC. A Hellenistic Armenian state was thus founded in the same year by
Artaxias I Artaxias I (from gr, Άρταξίας; in hy, Արտաշես ''Artašēs''; Old Iranian: ''Artaxšaθra'') was the founder of the Artaxiad dynasty of Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity), Armenia, ruling from 189 BC to 160 BC. He was succeeded by his ...
alongside the Armenian kingdom of
Sophene under Tigranes the Great. File:Map of Roman dependency of Sophene, Corduene, Commagene, and Osrhoene as of 31 BC.png, 300px, Roman dependency of Sophene (as of 31 BC) Sophene ( hy, wikt:Ծոփք, Ծոփք Dzopkh, grc, wikt:Σωφηνή, Σωφ ...

Sophene
led by
Zariadres Zariadres ( hy, Զարեհ ''Zareh'') was a King of Sophene. Name ''Zariadres'' () is the Greek transliteration of an Iranian name, attested as ZRYTR (ZRYHR) in the Aramaic Aramaic ( Classical Syriac: ''Arāmāyā''; Old Aramaic: ; I ...
. Artaxias seized Yervandashat, united the
Armenian Highlands
Armenian Highlands
at the expense of neighboring tribes and founded the new royal capital of
Artaxata Artashat ( hy, Արտաշատ); Hellenized Hellenization (other British spelling Hellenisation) or Hellenism is the historical spread of ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and ...
near the
Araxes River The Aras or Araxes or Araks is a river that starts in Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ε ...
. According to
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
and
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
,
Hannibal Hannibal (; xpu, 𐤇𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋, ''Ḥannibaʿl''; 247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a Carthaginian general and statesman who commanded the forces of Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern ...

Hannibal
received hospitality at the Armenian court of Artaxias I. The authors add an apocryphal story of how Hannibal planned and supervised the building of Artaxata. The new city was laid on a strategic position at the juncture of trade routes that connected the Ancient Greek world with
Bactria Bactria (BactrianBactrian may refer to *Bactria Bactria ( Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the ...
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
and the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
which permitted the Armenians to prosper.
Tigranes the Great Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great ( hy, Տիգրան Մեծ, ''Tigran Mets''; grc, Τιγράνης ὁ Μέγας ''Tigránes ho Mégas''; la, Tigranes Magnus) (140 – 55 BC) was King of Kingdom of Armenia (ant ...
saw an opportunity for expansion in the constant civil strife to the south. In 83 BC, at the invitation of one of the factions in the interminable civil wars, he entered Syria, and soon established himself as ruler of Syria—putting the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greece, Greek state in Western Asia, during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period, that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Sele ...
virtually at an end—and ruled peacefully for 17 years. During the zenith of his rule, Tigranes the Great extended Armenia's territory outside of the Armenian Highland over parts of the Caucasus and the area that is now south-eastern
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
,
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
and
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
, becoming one of the most powerful states in the
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman
East.


Roman rule

Armenia came under the
Ancient Roman In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC ...
sphere of influence In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence (SOI) is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organization has a level of cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and ...
in 66 BC, after the
battle of Tigranocerta The Battle of Tigranocerta (, ''Tigranakerti tchakatamart'') was fought on 6 October 69 BC between the forces of the Roman Republic and the army of the Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity), Kingdom of Armenia led by King Tigranes the Great. The Roman ...
and the final defeat of Armenia's ally,
Mithridates VI of Pontus Mithridates or Mithradates VI Eupator ( grc-gre, Μιθραδάτης; 135–63 BC) was ruler of the Kingdom of Pontus The Kingdom of Pontus ( grc, Βασιλεία τοῦ Πόντου, ''Basileía toû Póntou'') was a Hellenistic-era kingdo ...

Mithridates VI of Pontus
.
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
invaded and defeated the kingdom in 34 BC, but the Romans lost
hegemony Hegemony (, , ) is the political, economic, and military predominance of one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (ne ...
during the
Final War of the Roman Republic The War of Actium (32–30 BC) was the last civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take ...
in 32–30 BC. In 20 BC,
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
negotiated a truce with the
ParthiansParthian may be: Historical * A demonym "of Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in north-eastern Iran Iran ...

Parthians
, making Armenia a buffer zone between the two major powers. Augustus installed Tigranes V as king of Armenia in AD 6, but ruled with
Erato of Armenia Image:Queenerato.jpg, 250px, Queen Erato of the Artaxiad Dynasty Erato also known as Queen Erato (flourished second half of 1st century BC & first half of 1st century, died sometime after 12) was a princess of the Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity), Kin ...
. The Romans then installed
Mithridates of Armenia Mithridates of Armenia ( ka, მითრიდატე; hy, Միհրդատ Իբերացի, fl. 1st century) was a Pharnavazid prince of the Kingdom of Iberia In Greco-Roman geography, Iberia (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes t ...
as client king. Mithridates was arrested by
Caligula Caligula (; 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD), formally known as Gaius (Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a given name, personal name chosen by th ...

Caligula
, but later restored by
Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial p ...

Claudius
. Subsequently, Armenia was often a focus of contention between Rome and Parthia, with both major powers supporting opposing
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descende ...

sovereign
s and
usurper A usurper is an illegitimate or controversial claimant to power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of ...
s. The Parthians forced Armenia into submission in AD 37, but in AD 47 the Romans retook control of the kingdom. In AD 51 Armenia fell to an
Iberian Iberian refers to Iberia (disambiguation), Iberia. Most commonly Iberian refers to: *Someone or something originating in the Iberian Peninsula, namely from Spain, Portugal and Andorra. The term ''Iberian'' is also used to refer to anything pertain ...
invasion sponsored by Parthia, led by
Rhadamistus Rhadamistus ( ka, რადამისტი, radamist'i, hy, Հռադամիզդ, Hřadamizd) (died 58) was a royal prince of the Pharnavazid dynasty The Pharnavazid ( ka, ფარნავაზიანი, tr) is the name of the first dynas ...
.
Tigranes VI of Armenia Tigranes VI, also known as Tigran VI or by his Roman name Gaius Julius Tigranes (Armenian language, Armenian: ''Տիգրան Զ'', el, Γαίος Ιούλιος Τιγράνης, before 25 – after 68) was a Herodian dynasty, Herodian Prince a ...
ruled from AD 58, again installed by Roman support. The period of turmoil ends in AD 66, when
Tiridates I of Armenia Tiridates I ( xpr, 𐭕𐭉𐭓𐭉𐭃𐭕, ''Tīridāt''; el, Τιριδάτης, ''Tiridátes'') was beginning in 53 CE and the founder of the . The dates of his birth and death are unknown. His early reign was marked by a brief interruption ...
was crowned king of Armenia by
Nero Nero ( ; full name: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68) was the fifth emperor of Rome. He was Adoption in Ancient Rome, adopted by the Roman emperor Claudius at the age of 13 and s ...

Nero
. For the remaining duration of the Armenian kingdom, Rome still considered it a client kingdom ''de jure'', but the ruling dynasty was of Parthian extraction, and contemporary Roman writers thought that Nero had ''de facto'' yielded Armenia to the Parthians.


Arsacid dynasty

Under
Nero Nero ( ; full name: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68) was the fifth emperor of Rome. He was Adoption in Ancient Rome, adopted by the Roman emperor Claudius at the age of 13 and s ...

Nero
, the Romans fought a campaign (55–63) against the
Parthian Empire The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major political and cultural power in from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, , who led the tribe in conquering the region of in 's northeast, ...

Parthian Empire
, which had invaded the Kingdom of Armenia, allied with the Romans. After gaining Armenia in 60, then losing it in 62, the Romans sent the from
Pannonia Pannonia (, ) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as ...

Pannonia
to
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo (Peltuinum Peltuinum was a Roman Empire, Roman town of the Vestini, on the ancient Via Claudia Nova, 20 km east of L'Aquila, Italy, between the modern-day settlements of Prata d'Ansidonia and Castelnuovo (AQ), Caste ...
, ''
legatus A ''legatus'' (Anglicisation, anglicised as legate) was a high-ranking Roman military officer in the Roman Army, equivalent to a modern high-ranking general officer. Initially used to delegate power, the term became formalised under Augustus as ...

legatus
'' of
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...
. In 63, strengthened further by the legions III ''Gallica'', , X ''Fretensis'' and XXII, General Corbulo entered into the territories of
Vologases I of Parthia Vologases I ( xpr, 𐭅𐭋𐭂𐭔 ''Walagash'') was the King of Kings King of Kings was a ruling title employed primarily by monarchs based in the Middle East. Though most commonly associated with History of Iran, Iran (historically known ...
, who then returned the Armenian kingdom to Tiridates, king Vologases I's brother. Another campaign was led by Emperor
Lucius Verus Lucius Aurelius Verus (15 December 130 – January/February 169) was Roman emperor from 161 until his death in 169, alongside his adoptive brother Marcus Aurelius. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty. Verus' succession together with ...

Lucius Verus
in 162–165, after
Vologases IV of Parthia Vologases IV ( xpr, 𐭅𐭋𐭂𐭔 ''Walagash'') was King of Kings King of Kings ( Akkadian: ''šar šarrāni''; Old Persian: ''Xšâyathiya Xšâyathiyânâm'';' Middle Persian: ''šāhān šāh'';' Modern Persian: شاهنشاه, ''Š ...
had invaded Armenia and installed his chief general on its throne. To counter the Parthian threat, Verus set out for the east. His army won significant victories and retook the capital. Sohaemus, a Roman citizen of Armenian heritage, was installed as the new
client king A client state, in international relations, is a State (polity), state that is economically, politically, and/or militarily subordinate to another more powerful state (called “controlling state” in this article). A client state may variously be ...
. But during an epidemic within the Roman forces, Parthians retook most of their lost territory in 166. Sohaemus retreated to Syria, and the Arsacid's dynasty was restored to power over Armenia. After the fall of the Arsacid dynasty in Persia, the succeeding
Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Ērānshahr The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its ...

Sasanian Empire
aspired to reestablish Persian control. The Sassanid Persians occupied Armenia in 252. However, in 287, Tiridates III the Great was established King of Armenia by the Roman armies. After
Gregory the Illuminator Gregory the Illuminator (Classical Armenian orthography, Classical hy, Գրիգոր Լուսաւորիչ, Armenian orthography reform, reformed: Գրիգոր Լուսավորիչ, ''Grigor Lusavorich'';, ''Gregorios Phoster'' or , ''Gregorios Ph ...

Gregory the Illuminator
's spreading of Christianity in Armenia, Tiridates accepted Christianity and made it his kingdom's official religion. The traditional date for Armenia's conversion to Christianity is established at 301, preceding the Roman Emperor
Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ...

Constantine the Great
's conversion and the
Edict of Milan The Edict of Milan ( la, Edictum Mediolanense, el, Διάταγμα τῶν Μεδιολάνων, ''Diatagma tōn Mediolanōn'') was the February 313 CE agreement to treat Christians benevolently within the Roman Empire.Frend, W. H. C. ''Th ...
by a dozen years. In 387, the Kingdom of Armenia was split between the
Eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Eastern Roman Empire
and the Persian Empire. Western Armenia first became a
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
under the name of
Armenia Minor Lesser Armenia ( hy, Փոքր Հայք, ''Pokr Hayk''; la, Armenia Minor, Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in So ...
, and later
Byzantine Armenia Byzantine Armenia, sometimes known as Western Armenia Western Armenia (Western Armenian: Արեւմտեան Հայաստան, ''Arevmdian Hayasdan'') is a term to refer to the eastern parts of Turkey (formerly the Ottoman Empire) that are par ...
;
Eastern Armenia Eastern Armenia ( hy, Արևելյան Հայաստան ''Arevelyan Hayastan'') is the eastern parts of the Armenian Highlands, the traditional homeland of the Armenian people. Between the 4th and the 20th centuries, Armenia was partitioned several ...

Eastern Armenia
remained a kingdom within Persia until, in 428, the local
nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm that p ...
overthrew the king, and the Sassanids installed a
governor A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, ''governor'' may be t ...

governor
in his place, beginning the Marzpanate period over
Persian Armenia Sasanian Armenia, also known as Persian Armenia and Persarmenia ( hy, Պարսկահայաստան – ''Parskahayastan''), may either refer to the periods in which Armenia ( pal, 𐭠𐭫𐭬𐭭𐭩 – ''Armin'') was under the suzerainty of t ...

Persian Armenia
. Those parts of historical Armenia remained firmly under Persian control until the
Muslim conquest of Persia The Muslim conquest of Persia, also known as the Arab conquest of Iran, was carried out by the Rashidun Caliphate The Rashidun Caliphate ( ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلرَّاشِدَةُ, ') was the first of the four major caliphat ...
, while the Byzantine parts remained until being conquered, also by invading Arabic armies, in the 7th century. In 885, after years of Roman, Persian, and Arab rule, Armenia regained its independence under the
Bagratuni dynasty The Bagratuni or Bagratid dynasty ( hy, wikt:Բագրատունի, Բագրատունի, ) was an Armenian royal dynasty which ruled the medieval Bagratid Armenia, Kingdom of Armenia from c. 885 until 1045. Originating as vassals of the Kingdom of ...
.


Army


Under Tigranes the Great

The army of the Kingdom of Armenia reached its peak under the reign of
Tigranes the Great Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great ( hy, Տիգրան Մեծ, ''Tigran Mets''; grc, Τιγράνης ὁ Μέγας ''Tigránes ho Mégas''; la, Tigranes Magnus) (140 – 55 BC) was King of Kingdom of Armenia (ant ...
. According to the author of '''', his army included chariots and 12,000 cavalrymen, most likely heavy cavalry or
cataphract A cataphract was a form of armored heavy cavalry 300px, Spanish Heavy Cavalry - Royal Armoury of Madrid, Spain ">Spain.html" ;"title="Royal Armoury of Madrid, Spain">Royal Armoury of Madrid, Spain Heavy cavalry was a class of cavalry ...
s, a unit also commonly used by Seleucids and Parthians. His army consisted mainly of 120,000 infantrymen and 12,000 mounted archers, also an important feature of the Parthian army. Like the Seleucids, the bulk of Tigranes' army were foot soldiers. The Jewish historian
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
talks of 500,000 men in total, including camp followers. These followers consisted of camels, donkeys, and mules used for baggage, sheep, cattle, and goats for food, said to be stocked in abundance for each man, and hoards of gold and silver. As a result, the marching Armenian army was listed as "a huge, irregular force, too many to count, like locusts or the dust of the earth", not unlike many other enormous Eastern armies of the time. The smaller
Cappadocia Cappadocia (; also ''Capadocia''; grc, label=Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
n, Graeco-Phoenician, and
Nabataean The Nabataeans, also Nabateans (; Nabataean Aramaic Nabataean Aramaic was the Western Aramaic The Western Aramaic languages represent a specific group of Aramaic languages, once spoken widely throughout the ancient Levant The Levant ...
armies were generally no match for the sheer number of soldiers, with the organized
Roman army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...

Roman army
with its eventually posing a much greater challenge to the Armenians. Note that the numbers given by Israelite historians of the time were probably exaggerated, considering the fact that the Jews lost the war against Tigranes.


Ayrudzi

From ancient times in Armenia there existed "Azatavrear" cavalry which consisted of the Armenian elite. "Azatavrear" cavalry made up the main part of the Armenian king's court. In medieval times "Azatavrear" cavalry were collected from nobles (usually the youngest sons of Armenian lords), and were known as Ayrudzi, or "horsemen." During times of peace, Armenian cavalry were divided into small groups which took the roles of guarding the King and other Armenian lords, as well as their families. Some part of the Armenian cavalry force was always patrolling Armenian borders, under the command of an Armenian general (sparapet). The group of Armenian cavalry whose main mission was the protection of the Armenian king and his family consisted of 6000 heavily armored horsemen in the ancient period, and 3000 horsemen in the medieval period. During times of war, the number of Armenian cavalry would rise, with estimates ranging from 10,000 to at least 20,000 horsemen. Besides heavy cavalry, there was also light cavalry, which primarily consisted of mounted archers.


Legio I Armeniaca-Armenian First Legion

"Legio Armeniaca" translates from Latin as "Armenian Legion" and "prima" as "first". The Armenian First Legion was one of the later-period Roman imperial legions. This Legion was mentioned in the late-antique text known as Notitia Dignitatum. It is most likely that the Armenian First Legion was formed in the 2nd or 3rd century AD, in the western part of the Kingdom, with the mission to protect the lands of Armenia from intrusion. It might first have been the garrison of Armenian lands which had been under the control of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. The Armenian First Legion took part in the ill-fated Persian campaign of the emperor Julianus Apostata in 363.


Legio II Armeniaca-Armenian Second Legion

"Legio Armeniaca" translates from Latin as "Armenian
Legion Legion may refer to: Military * Roman legion The Roman legion ( la, legiō, ) was the largest military unit of the Roman army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...

Legion
" and "Secunda" as "Second". Like the First legion, the Armenian Second Legion was one of the later-period legions. This legion is also mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum. The Armenian Second Legion was thought to have been created around the end of the 3rd century or in the beginning of the 4th century. The Armenian Second Legion had a permanent camp in one of the Northern provinces of the Orient, and built a camp in
Satala Located in Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkans in Southeast Europe. It shares borders with Greece and Bulgaria ...
. The Armenian Second legion is mentioned in the year 360 AD as a part of the garrison of Bezabda (anciently called Phoencia) in upper Tigris. In Bezabde the Armenian Second Legion served together with the Legions Parthica and II Flavia. In 390 AD Bezabde was taken by the Persian army, and a terrible bloodbath ensued against the inhabitants and garrison. The legion seemed to have survived this battle, because it appears in Notitia Dignitatum, which was written in the 5th century. Later on, the Armenian Second legion became a part of the Byzantine army.


Mythology and pre-Christian religion

The Armenian mythology#Pantheon, pre-Christian Armenian pantheon included: * Aramazd - Cognate of the Iranian Ahura Mazda (or Ormazd). Head of the pantheon, identified with Zeus in the ''interpretatio graeca''. * Amanor and Vanatur, Amanor and/or Amanor and Vanatur, Vanatur - God of the Armenian new year, Navasard, at the end of July. His temple was located in Diyadin. * Anahit - Cognate of the Iranian Anahita. The goddess of fertility and birth, and daughter or wife of Aramazd, Anahit is identified with Artemis and Aphrodite. Temples dedicated to Anahit were established in Armavir, Armenia, Armavir, Artashat (ancient city), Artashat, Derik, Ashtishat. * Ara the Beautiful, Ara ''the Beautiful'' - a dying-and-rising god slain in a war against Semiramis. * Astghik - Cognate of the Semitic Ishtar. Fertility goddess and consort of Vahagn, sharing a temple with him at Derik. The holiday of Vardavar was originally in honor of Astghik. * Barsamin - God of sky and weather, probably derived from the Semitic god Baal Shamin. * Hayk - Legendary forefather of the Armenian people, archery, archer, and slayer of the Titan (mythology), Titan Bel. * Mihr (Armenian deity), Mihr - Cognate with the Persian Mithra. God of the sun and light, son of Aramazd, the brother of Anahit and Nane (goddess), Nane. His center of worship was located in Bagaharich, and the temple of Garni was dedicated to him. * Nane (goddess), Nane - Possible cognate of the Sumerian Nanaya. Daughter of Aramazd, war and motherhood goddess. Her cult was related to Anahit, both of their temples located near each other in Gavar. * Tir (god), Tir or Tiur - God of wisdom, culture, science and studies, he also was an interpreter of dreams. He was the messenger of the gods and was associated with Apollo. Tir's temple was located near Artashat (ancient city), Artashat. * Tsovinar (goddess), Tsovinar - Also called Nar, she was the goddess of rain, sea and water, though she was actually a fiery being who forced rain to fall. * Vahagn - Cognate of the Iranian Verethragna. The storm god and herculean dragon slayer. Derik housed the central temple to Vahagn. During the 1st century AD, Christianity spread through Armenia due to (according to legend) the efforts of the apostles Bartholomew the Apostle, Bartholomew and Jude the Apostle, Thaddeus. After persecutions by kings Sanatruk, Axidares of Armenia, Axidares, Khosrov I of Armenia, Khosrov I, and Tiridates III, Christianity was adopted as the state religion by Tiridates III after he was converted by
Gregory the Illuminator Gregory the Illuminator (Classical Armenian orthography, Classical hy, Գրիգոր Լուսաւորիչ, Armenian orthography reform, reformed: Գրիգոր Լուսավորիչ, ''Grigor Lusavorich'';, ''Gregorios Phoster'' or , ''Gregorios Ph ...

Gregory the Illuminator
. Armenia's adoption of Christianity as the state religion (the first country to do so) distinguished it from Parthian empire, Parthian and Zoroastrianism, Mazdaen influence.


Zoroastrianism

Until the late Parthian Empire, Parthian period, Armenia was a predominantly Zoroastrian-adhering land. With the advent of Christianity, both paganism and Zoroastrianism gradually started to diminish. The founder of the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia, Arsacid branch in Armenia, Tiridates I was a Zoroastrian priest or magus. A noted episode which illustrates the observance by the Armenian Arsacids is the famous journey of Tiridates I to Rome in A.D. 65–66. With the adoption of Christianity in the early 4th century, Zoroastrianism's influence in the kingdom gradually started to decline.


Literature

Little is known about pre-Christian Armenian literature. Many literature pieces known to us were saved and then presented to us by Moses of Chorene. This is a pagan Armenian song, telling about the birth of Vahagn: Armenian version Երկնէր երկին, երկնէր երկիր, Երկնէր և ծովն ծիրանի, Երկն ի ծովուն ունէր և զկարմրիկն եղեգնիկ։ Ընդ եղեգան փող ծուխ ելանէր, Ընդ եղեգան փող բոց ելանէր, Եւ ի բոցոյն վազէր խարտեաշ պատանեկիկ։ Նա հուր հեր ունէր, Բոց ունէր մօրուս, Եւ աչքունքն էին արեգակունք։ Translation In travail were heaven and earth, In travail, too, the purple sea, The travail held in the sea the small red reed. Through the hollow of the stalk came forth smoke, Through the hollow of the stalk came forth flame, And out of the flame a youth ran․ Fiery hair had he, Ay, too, he had flaming beard, And his eyes, they were as suns.


Language

Before the Armenian alphabet was created, Armenians used the Aramaic alphabet, Aramaic and Greek alphabets, the last of which had a great influence on the Armenian alphabet. The Armenian alphabet was created by Saint Mesrop Mashtots and Isaac of Armenia (Sahak Partev) in AD 405, primarily for a Bible translation into the Armenian language. Traditionally, the following phrase translated from Solomon's ''Book of Proverbs'' is said to be the first sentence to be written down in Armenian by Mashtots: By the 2nd century BC, according to
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
, the inhabitants of Greater Armenia spoke the Armenian language, implying that modern Armenians descended from that population.


Capitals

* Yervandashat – The ancient town sits upon an escarpment overlooking the junction of the Arax River and Akhurian River. According to Movses Kaghankatvatsi,
Orontes IV Orontes IV (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Iranian languages * Indo-Iranians, the ...

Orontes IV
founded Yervandashat to replace Armavir (ancient city), Armavir as his capital after Armavir had been left dry by a shift of the Arax. The archaeological site has not been subject of major research, but fortifications and some remains of palaces have been uncovered. Ancient Yervandashat was destroyed by the army of the Persian King Shapur II in the 360s. * Artashat (ancient city), Artashat – King Artashes I founded Artashat in 185 BC in the region of Vostan within the historical province of Ayrarat (Ararat), at the point where the Araks river was joined by the Metsamor river during the ancient era, near the heights of Khor Virap. The story of the foundation is given by the Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi of the 5th century: "Artashes traveled to the location of the confluence of the Aras (river), Yeraskh and Akhurian River, Metsamor [rivers] and taking a liking to the position of the hills (adjacent to Mount Ararat), he chose it as the location of his new city, naming it after himself." Movses Khorenatsi. ''History of Armenia (Moses of Chorene), History of Armenia, 5th Century'' (''Հայոց Պատմություն, Ե Դար''). Annotated translation and commentary by Stepan Malkhasyants. Gagik Sargsyan (ed.) Yerevan: Hayastan Publishing, 1997, 2.49, p. 164. . According to the accounts given by Greek historians
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
and
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
, Artashat is said to have been chosen and developed on the advice of the Ancient Carthage, Carthaginian general
Hannibal Hannibal (; xpu, 𐤇𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋, ''Ḥannibaʿl''; 247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a Carthaginian general and statesman who commanded the forces of Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern ...

Hannibal
. The city's strategic position in the Araks valley on the Silk Road soon made Artashat a centre of bustling economic activity and thriving international trade, linking Persia and Mesopotamia with the Caucasus and Asia Minor. Its economic wealth can be gauged in the numerous bathhouses, markets, workshops, and administrative buildings that sprang up during the reign of Artashes I. The city had its own treasury and customs. The amphitheatre of Artashat was built during the reign of king Artavasdes II of Armenia, Artavasdes II (55–34 BC). The remains of the huge walls surrounding the city built by King Artashes I can still be found in the area. After losing its status as a capital, Artashat gradually lost its significance. * Tigranakert (Silvan), Tigranakert was founded by the Armenian emperor
Tigranes the Great Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great ( hy, Տիգրան Մեծ, ''Tigran Mets''; grc, Τιγράνης ὁ Μέγας ''Tigránes ho Mégas''; la, Tigranes Magnus) (140 – 55 BC) was King of Kingdom of Armenia (ant ...
in the 1st century BC. Tigranakert was founded as the new capital of the Armenian Empire in order to be in a more central position within the boundaries of the expanding empire. Its population was 120,000 and it also had many temples and an amphitheater. * Vagharshapat – In the first half of the 1st century, during the reign of the Armenian Arsacid dynasty of Armenia, Arshakuni king Vologases III of Parthia, Vologases I (Vagharsh I) (117–144), the old town of Vardgesavan was renovated and renamed Vaghasrhapat (Վաղարշապատ), which still persists as the official appellation of the city. The original name, as preserved by Byzantine historian Procopius (''Persian Wars''), was Valashabad—"Valash/Balash city" named after king Balash/Valash/Valarsh of Armenia. The name evolved into its later form by the shift in the medial L into a Gh, which is common in Armenian language. Khorenatsi mentions that the town of Vardges was totally rebuilt and fenced by Vagharsh I, eventually becoming known as Noarakaghak (The New City) or Vagharshapat. The city served as a capital for the Ashakuni Kingdom of Armenia between 120 and 330 AD and remained the country's most important city until the end of the 4th century. When Christianity became the state religion of Armenia, Vagharshapat was eventually called Ejmiatsin (or Etchmiadzin), after the name of the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, Mother Cathedral. Starting in 301, the city became the spiritual centre of the Armenian nation, home to the Armenian Catholicosate, one of the oldest religious organizations in the world. Vagharshapat was home to one of the oldest schools established by Saint Mesrop Mashtots, Mashtots and the home of the first manuscripts library in Armenia founded in 480 AD. Starting in the 6th century, the city slowly lost its importance—especially after the transfer of the seat of the Catholicosate to Dvin (ancient city), Dvin in 452—until the foundation of the Bagratid Armenia, Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia in 885. After the fall of the Bagratid dynasty in 1045, the city gradually became an insignificant place until 1441, when the seat of the Armenian Catholicosate was transferred from the Cilician town of Kozan, Adana, Sis back to Etchmiadzin. * Dvin (ancient city), Dvin – The ancient city of Dvin was built by Khosrov III the Small in 335 on the site of an ancient settlement and fortress from the 3rd millennium BC. Since then the city had been used as the primary residence of the Armenian kings of the Arshakuni dynasty. Dvin had a population of about 100,000 citizens of various professions including arts and crafts, trade, fishing, etc. After the fall of the Armenian Kingdom in 428, Dvin became the residence of Sassanid-appointed ''marzpans'' (governors), Byzantine ''kouropalates'' and later Umayyad and Abbasid-appointed ''ostikans'' (governors), all of whom were of senior nakharar stock. In 640 Dvin was the center of the emirate of Armenia.


Political geography

The Kingdom of Armenia was bordered by Caucasian Albania in the east, Kingdom of Iberia (antiquity), Caucasian Iberia in the north, the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
in the west, and Parthia, later succeeded by Sassanian Empire, in the south. The border between Caucasian Iberia and the Kingdom of Armenia was the Kura (Caspian Sea), Kur river, which was also the border between Caucasian Albania and Kingdom of Armenia. After 331 BC, Armenia was divided into
Lesser Armenia Lesser Armenia ( hy, Փոքր Հայք, ''Pokr Hayk''; la, Armenia Minor, Greek language, Greek: Mikre Armenia, Μικρή Αρμενία), also known as Armenia Minor and Armenia Inferior, comprised the Armenian–populated regions primarily to t ...
(a region of the Kingdom of Pontus), the Kingdom of Armenia (corresponding to Armenia Major) and the Sophene, Kingdom of Sophene. In 189 BC when
Artashes I Artaxias I (from gr, Άρταξίας; in hy, Արտաշես ''Artašēs''; Old Iranian The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family that are spoken ...

Artashes I
's reign began, many neighboring countries (Medes, Media, Kingdom of Iberia (antiquity), Caucasian Iberia,
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greece, Greek state in Western Asia, during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period, that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Sele ...
) exploiting the weakened state of the kingdom, conquered its remote regions.
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
says that Artaxias I raided to the east and reunited Caspiane and Paytakaran, then raided to the north, defeated the Kingdom of Iberia (antiquity), Iberians, reuniting Gugark (
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
also notes that Iberia recognized themselves as vassals of the Kingdom of Armenia at this time), to the west, reuniting Karin, Armenia, Karin, Ekeghik and Derjan and to the south, where, after many battles with the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greece, Greek state in Western Asia, during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period, that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Sele ...
, he reunited Tmorik. Artaxias I was not able to reunite
Lesser Armenia Lesser Armenia ( hy, Փոքր Հայք, ''Pokr Hayk''; la, Armenia Minor, Greek language, Greek: Mikre Armenia, Μικρή Αρμενία), also known as Armenia Minor and Armenia Inferior, comprised the Armenian–populated regions primarily to t ...
, Corduene, and
Sophene under Tigranes the Great. File:Map of Roman dependency of Sophene, Corduene, Commagene, and Osrhoene as of 31 BC.png, 300px, Roman dependency of Sophene (as of 31 BC) Sophene ( hy, wikt:Ծոփք, Ծոփք Dzopkh, grc, wikt:Σωφηνή, Σωφ ...

Sophene
, something completed by his grandson
Tigranes the Great Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great ( hy, Տիգրան Մեծ, ''Tigran Mets''; grc, Τιγράνης ὁ Μέγας ''Tigránes ho Mégas''; la, Tigranes Magnus) (140 – 55 BC) was King of Kingdom of Armenia (ant ...
. During Artaxias I's reign the Kingdom of Armenia covered . At its peak, under Tigranes the Great, it covered , incorporating, besides Armenia Major, Kingdom of Iberia (antiquity), Iberia, Caucasian Albania, Albania,
Cappadocia Cappadocia (; also ''Capadocia''; grc, label=Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
, Cilicia, Armenian Mesopotamia, Osroene, Adiabene,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
, Assyria, Kingdom of Commagene, Commagene, Kingdom of Sophene, Sophene, Judea and Atropatene. Parthia and also some Arab tribes were vassals of Tigranes the Great.
Lesser Armenia Lesser Armenia ( hy, Փոքր Հայք, ''Pokr Hayk''; la, Armenia Minor, Greek language, Greek: Mikre Armenia, Μικρή Αρμενία), also known as Armenia Minor and Armenia Inferior, comprised the Armenian–populated regions primarily to t ...
's area was .


Provinces

The 15 provinces of the Kingdom of Armenia with their capitals are as follows: * Upper Armenia, (Karin(Greater Armenia), Garin) *
Sophene under Tigranes the Great. File:Map of Roman dependency of Sophene, Corduene, Commagene, and Osrhoene as of 31 BC.png, 300px, Roman dependency of Sophene (as of 31 BC) Sophene ( hy, wikt:Ծոփք, Ծոփք Dzopkh, grc, wikt:Σωφηνή, Σωφ ...

Sophene
; (Arsamosata) * Aghdznik; (Tigranakert (Silvan), Tigranakert) * Turuberan; (Malazgirt, Manzikert) * Corduene; (Pinik) * Moxoene; (Moks) * Nor Shirakan; (Khoy, Her) * Vaspurakan; (Van, Turkey, Van) * Syunik (historic province), Syunik; (Baghaberd) * Artsakh (historic province), Artsakh; (Shusha) * Paytakaran; (Paytakaran city, Paytakaran) * Utik; (Partav) * Gugark; (Ardahan) * Tayk; (Olti) * Ayrarat; (Armavir (ancient city), Armavir) Other Armenian regions: *
Lesser Armenia Lesser Armenia ( hy, Փոքր Հայք, ''Pokr Hayk''; la, Armenia Minor, Greek language, Greek: Mikre Armenia, Μικρή Αρμενία), also known as Armenia Minor and Armenia Inferior, comprised the Armenian–populated regions primarily to t ...
; (Nicopolis (Armenia), Nikopolis) * Armenian Mesopotamia; (Edessa)


Maps

File:East-Hem 323bc.jpg, World in 323 BC File:East-Hem 200bc.jpg, World in 200 BC File:East-Hem 100bc.jpg, World in 100 BC File:Orontid Armenia -250-en.svg, Orontid Armenia File:Maps of the Armenian Empire of Tigranes.gif, Armenian Empire under Tigranes the Great File:Arshakuni Armenia 150-en.svg, Arshakuni Armenia in 150 AD File:Persian Armenia.gif, Persian Armenia File:Map of Byzantine Armenia, 387-536.gif, Byzantine Armenia


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * * * *


Further reading

* M. Chahin, ''The Kingdom of Armenia'' (1987, reissued 1991) * Vahan Kurkjian, ''Tigran the Great'' (1958) * Ashkharbek Kalantar, ''Armenia: From the Stone Age to the Middle Ages,'' Civilisations du Proche Orient, Se´rie 1, Vol. 2, Recherches et Publications, Neuchâtel, Paris, 1994; * Ashkharbek Kalantar, ''The Mediaeval Inscriptions of Vanstan, Armenia,'' Civilisations du Proche-Orient: Series 2 – Philologie – CDPOP 2, Vol. 2, Recherches et Publications, Neuchâtel, Paris, 1999; * Ashkharbek Kalantar, ''Materials on Armenian and Urartian History'' (with a contribution by Mirjo Salvini), Civilisations du Proche-Orient: Series 4 – Hors Série – CPOHS 3, Neuchâtel, Paris, 2004;


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Armenia, Kingdom Of Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity), Seleucid Empire successor states Roman Anatolia Ancient history of Georgia (country) Ancient history of Turkey Ancient history of Azerbaijan Christian states