Armenian Empire is the historical root of present day Armenia. Throughout its long history, Kingdom of Armenia has been known for its rises and falls both in territory and power. Know more about history and development of Armenian Empire with its map and some interesting facts.
Today, many people may look at the map of Armenia and think that this country probably appeared on the world map recently.
The reason may be the small territory. Very few outside Armenia know that Armenia is one of the most ancient countries in the world.
This small and tiny post-soviet Republic of Armenia once used to be a huge empire.
Many powerful countries and empires unsuccessfully tried to conquer and invade Armenian kingdom.
Historical chronology brought to the situation that Armenia lost most of its territories and now the republic is built on just a small part of it.
In this article, we decided to present you the most powerful kings and dynasties of the great years of Armenian Empire. Make sure to check out the finest facts as well.
When & How Armenian Empire Was Created?
Armenian Empire was a monarchy which existed from 321 BC to 428 AD. The history of Armenian Empire included the reigns of three royal dynasties: Orontid dynasty (321BC-200BC), Artaxiad dynasty (189 BC-12 AD) and Arsakid dynasty (52-428).
The roots of forming of Armenian Kingdom come from satrapies. Before the existence of Armenian Kingdom, there used to be Satrapy of Armenia, which was based on the territory of kingdom of Ararat. Soon the Satrapy of Armenia was formed as an independent Kingdom with Orontid dynasty rule.
After the conquest of Alexander the Great and establishment of Hellenistic era, Armenia fell under the influence of Roman culture. The Hellenistic period influenced Armenia a lot and brought some new cultural element to the Armenian Kingdom. Armenian Kingdom was its peak of development during this period.
The achievements were obvious both in political, economical and cultural spheres. The cultural element remained from Hellenistic era in Armenia are considered one of the most valuable cultural treasures of Armenian history.
Armenian Empire from Sea to Sea
Thanks to this extremely smart and talented king Armenia became an Empire and the strongest state east of Roman Republic. The borders of Armenian Kingdom had been extended so much during his reign that Tigranes claimed the title “Great King”.
After the immense development of Armenian Empire Tigranes the Great started his invasions, which lead to the huge extension of territory. Tigranes the Great took the title “King of Kings” and built a new royal city called Tigranakert.
The territory of Armenian Empire stretched from Mediterranean Sea to Caspian Sea. “Sea to sea” Armenia is a popular expression used among Armenians referring the golden age of Armenian Empire.
Tiganes the Great had also large and powerful army, probably one of the largest Armies of history. According to Jewish historian Josephus, the number of men in Tigranes’s army reached about 500000.
The character of Tigranes the Great has remained in the most valuable pages of Armenian history. Tigranes the Great is considered the most powerful Armenian king of all times.
Bagratid Armenian Kingdom and Golden Age of Armenian Empire
After the foreign domination lasting about centuries, Armenian Kingdom was reestablished again.
Bargratid Armenian Kingdom had always tried to keep good relations with its neighbor countries, such as with Byzantine and Arab Empire.
However, the conflicts were inevitable because of territorial dispute. Ashot I had successfully taken some of Armenian territories which were occupied by Arab Empire.
Ashot II Yerkat came to the reign in a rather hard period for Armenian Kingdom. The Arab ostikan Yusuf invaded Armenia with his troops and was constantly organizing bloody campaigns. The brutal methods of Yusuf led Armenian nation to fill with anger and stand next to their king Ashot Yerkat.
Already at the beginning of his reign Ashot has taken back several Armenian regions. The most brilliant achievement of Ashot Yerkat is the battle of Sevan. Thanks to the genius tactics of this Armenian king he defeated Arab army and gained huge advantage towards Arab Empire.
After the battle of Sevan, Ashot Yerkat has taken back the invaded territories reestablishing once huge Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia.
Golden Age of Bagratid Armenian Kingdom
Golden age of Bagratid Kingdom was during the reign of another great king Ashot III. The period is accepted to call golden age because Bagratid Armenian Kingdom started developing not only in its military power but also culturally and economically.
During the reign of Ashot III lot of hospitals, monasteries, churches and schools were built. Ashot was also known to be a great philanthropist, that’s why he gained the nickname “Voghormats” translated “merciful”.
Time to Learn Some Interesting Facts about Armenian Empire
- Armenian king Tigranes the Great had been as a hostage at the court of King Mirhdates of Parthia until the age of 45. After Tigranes’s father’s death Armenian Kingdom handled “70 valleys” in Atropatene to the Parthians and set Tigranes free. Later During his reign Tigranes fought the “70 valleys” back, which was once paid for his freedom.
- If you look attentively at the coin of Tigranes the Great, you’ll see a star on his crown. Many scholars believe, it’s Halley’s Comet, which was seen during the period of his reign. By the way Halley is a comet which is visible from the Earth to the naked eye every 76-76 years. The comet may appear twice in a human lifetime.
- History is not always fully accurate. Especially historical events referring to such ancient periods have been passed by different ancient historians. Moses of Chorene, historian of 5th century has mistaken the historical character of Tigranes the Great with another ancient king Tigranes Orontid.
- Tigranes the Great has been subject of inspiration not only for Armenians buy also for European world famous artists. Officially there are about 24 operas dedicated to him, though many experts believe that the actual number of operas is 32. The most famous of those operas are those by Antonio Vivaldi, Alessandro Scarlatti, Tomaso Albinoni etc.
- Though borders of Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia didn’t reach seas, as it was during the times of Tigranes the Great, Bagratid Armenia period is also considered one f the most powerful and developing period of Armenian history.
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