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Biographies (36)


Arsaces, Arsacidae

ARMENIA (Ancient country) ARMENIA
Arsacidae. The name of a dynasty of Armenian kings, who reigned over Armenia during the wars of the Romans with Mithridates the Great, king of Pontus, and with the Parthians. The history of this dynasty is involved in great difficulties, as the Latin and Greek authors do not always agree with the Armenian historians, such as Moses Chorenensis, Faustus Byzantinus, and others. The Romans do not call the dynasty of the Armenian kings by the name of Arsacidae; they mention several kings of the name of Arsaces, and others descended from the Parthian dynasty of the Arsacidae, and they seem not to have known several kings mentioned by the Armenian historians. On the other hand, the Armenian writers know but one dynasty reigning in Armenia during that period, and they do not mention several kings spoken of by the Romans; or, if they mention their names, they do not consider them as kings. The consequence of this is, that every account based exclusively on Roman and Greek writers would be incomplete; they want to be compared with the Armenian historians, and thus only a satisfactory result can be obtained. Several attempts have been made to reconcile the different statements of the western and eastern historians, as the reader may see from the notes of the brothers Whiston and the works of Vaillant, Du Four de Longuerue, Richter, and especially St. Martin, which are cited below.
  The expression "kings of Armenia" is in many instances vague, and leads to erroneous conclusions, especially with regard to the Arsacidae. The transactions of the Romans with Armenia will present much less difficulties if the student will remember that he has to do with kings in Armenia, and kings of Armenian origin reigning in countries beyond the limits of Armenia. The history of the Arsacidae cannot be well understood without a previous knowledge of the other dynasties before and after that of the Arsacidae; for Armenian kings were known to the Greeks long before the accession of the Arsacidae; and the annals of the Eastern empire mention many important transactions with kings of Armenia, belonging to those dynasties, which reigned in this country during a period of almost a thousand years after the fall of the Arsacidae. But as any detailed account would be out of place here, we can give only a short sketch.

Founded by Haig, the son of Gathlas, who is said to have lived B. C. 2107. Fifty-nine kings belong to this dynasty, and among them Zarmair, who, according to the Armenian historians, assisted the Trojans at the siege of their city, where he commanded a body of Assyrians ; Dikran or Tigranes, a prince mentioned by Xenophon (Cyrop. iii. 1, v. 1, 3, viii. 3, 4) ; and Wahe, the last of his house, who fell in a battle with Alexander the Great in B. C. 328. The names of the fifty-nine kings, the duration of their reigns, and some other historical facts, mixed up with fabulous accounts, are given by the Armenian historians.

Seven governors appointed by Alexander, and after his death by the Seleucidae, during the period from 328 to 149 B. C.

From B. C. 149 to A. D. 428. See below.

From A. D. 428 to 625.

from A. D. 632 to 855.

from 855 to 1079. The Pagratidae, a noble family of Jewish origin, settled in Armenia in B. C. 600, according to the Armenian historians. They were one of the most powerful families in Armenia. After they had come to the throne, they sometimes were compelled to pay tribute to the khalifs and to the emperors of Constantinople, and in later times they lost a considerable part of Armenia. A branch of this family reigned at Kars for a considerable time after 1079. Another branch acquired the kingdom of Georgia, which it possessed down to the present day, when the last king, David, ceded his kingdom to Russia, in which country his descendants are still living. The princes of Bagration in Russia are likewise descended from the Pagratidae, another branch of whom settled in Imerethia in the Caucasus, and its descendants still belong to the principal chiefs of that country.

said to have been descended from the ancient kings of Assyria. Several members of it were appointed governors of Armenia by the first khalifs. In A. D. 855, this family became independent in the northern part of Armenia in the country round the upper part of the Euphrates. Adom and Abusahl, the last Ardzrunians, were killed in 1080 by the emperor Nicephorus Botaniates, who united their dominions with the Byzantine empire.

1. Of Kurdish origin, from A. D. 984 to A. D. 1085. 2. Of Turkoman origin, from A. D. 1084 to A. D. 1312. They resided in different places, and the extent of their dominions varied according to the military success of the khalifs of Egypt and the Seljukian princes.

from the eleventh to the fourteenth century. Some kings belonged to the Pagratidae, among whom was the celebrated Haython I. or Hethum in 1224; and some were Latin princes, among whom was Leo VI. of Lusignan, who was driven out by the khalif of Egypt, and died in Paris in 1393, the last king of Armenia. Otto, duke of Brunswick, from whom is descended the present house of Hanover, was crowned as king of Armenia in Germany, but he never entered the country.

(See above, No. III.) It has already been said, that there are considerable discrepancies between the statements of the Romans and those of the Armenians concerning this dynasty. The Romans tell us that Artaxias, governor of Armenia Magna for Antiochus the Great, king of Syria, made himself independent in his government B. C. 188; and that Zadriates became king of Armenia Minor, of which country he was praefect. The descendents of Artaxias became extinct with Tigranes III., who was driven out by Caius Caesar; and among the kings who reigned after him, there are many who were not Arsacidae, but belonged to other Asiatic dynasties. The Armenians on the contrary say, that the dynasty of the Arsacidae was founded by Valarsaces or Wagharshag, the brother of Mithridates Arsaces, king of Parthia, by whom he was established on the throne of Armenia in B. C. 149. A younger branch of the Arsacidae was founded by Arsham or Ardsham, son of Ardashes (Artaxes) and brother of the great Tigranes, who reigned at Edessa, and whose descendants became masters of Armenia Magna after the extinction of the Arsacidae in that country with the death of Tiridates I., who was established on the throne by Nero, and who died most probably in A. D. 62. The Armenian historians have treated with particular attention the history of the younger branch; they speak but little about the earlier transactions with Rome; and they are almost silent with regard to those kings, the offspring of the kings of Pontus and Judaea, who were imposed upon Armenia by the Romans. From this we may conclude, that the Armenians considered those instruments of the Romans as intruders and political adventurers, and that the Arsacidae were the only legitimate dynasty. Thus they sometimes speak of kings unknown to the Romans, and who perhaps were but pretenders, who had succeeded in preserving an obscure independence in some inaccessible corner of the mountains of Armenia. On the other hand the Romans, with all the pride and haughtiness of conquerors, consider their instruments or allies alone as the legitimate kings, and they generally speak of the Arsacidae as a family imposed upon Armenia by the Parthians. As to the origin of the Armenian Arsacidae, both the Romans and Armenians agree, that they were descended from the dynasty of the Parthian Arsacidae, an opinion which was so generally established, that Procopius (De Aedificiis Justinini, iii. 1) says, that nobody had the slightest doubt on the fact. But as to the origin of the earlier kings, who according to the Romans were not Arsacidae, we must prefer the statements of the Armenians, who, as all Orientals, paid great attention to the genealogy of their great families, and who say that those kings were Arsacidae.
  The Persian historians know this dynasty by the name of the Ashcanians, and tell us, that its founder was one Ashk, who lived at the time of Alexander the Great. But the Persian authors throw little light upon the history of the Arsacidae. A series of the kings, according to the Romans, is necessary for understanding their historians. But as their statements are rather one-sided, they will be found insufficient not only for a closer investigation into the history of Armenia, but also for many other events connected with the history of the eastern empire. It has, therefore, been thought advisable to give first the series of the kings according to the Roman writers, and afterwards a series of these kings according to the Roman accounts combined with those of the Armenians. The chronology of this period has not yet been satisfactorily fixed, and many points remain vague.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Chronological table of the kingdom of Armenia

The following chronological table, which differs in some points from the preceding narrative, is taken from St. Martin, and is founded upon the Armenian histories of Moses Chorenensis and Faustus Byzantinus, compared with the Greek and Roman authors.

A. The first or elder Branch in Armenia Magna.
B. C. 149. Valarsaces or Wagharshag I., founder of the Armenian dynasty of the Arsacidae, established on the throne of Armenia by his brother, Mithridates Arsaces VI. king of the Parthians.
B. C. 127. Arsaces or Arshag I., his son.
B. C. 114. Artaces, Artaxes, or Ardashes I., his son.
B. C. 89. Tigranes or Dikran I. (II.), his son.
B. C. 36. Artavasdes or Artawazt I., his son.
B. C. 30. Artaxes II., his son.
B. C. 20. Tigranes II., brother of Artaxes II.
B. C. .... Tigranes III.
B. C. 6. Artavasdes II.
B. C. 5. Tigranes III. reestablished.
B. C. 2. Erato, queen.

A. D. 2. Ariobarzanes, a Parthian prince, established by the Romans.
A. D. 4. Artavasdes III. or Artabases, his Son.
A. D. 5. Erato re-established; death uncertain.
.... Interregnum.
A. D. 16. Vonones.
A. D. 17. Interregnum.
A. D. 18. Zeno of Pontus, surnamed Artaxias.
... Tigranes IV., son of Alexander Herodes.
A. D. 35. Arsaces II.
A. D. 35. Mithridates of Iberia.
A. D. 51. Rhadamistus of Iberia.
A. D. 52. Tiridates I.
A. D. 60. Tigranes V. of the race of Herodes.
A. D. 62. Tiridates I. re-established by Nero, reigned about eleven years longer.

B. The second or younger Branch,
The second or younger branch, at first at Edessa, and sometimes identical with the " Reges Osrhosnenses," afterwards in Armenia Magna.
B. C. 38. Arsham or Ardsham, the Artabazes of Josephus. (Ant. Jud. xx. 2.)
B. C. 10. Manu, his son.
B. C. 5. Abgarus, the son of Arsham, the Ushama of the Syrians. This is the celebrated Abgarus who is said to have written a letter to our Saviour. (Moses Chor. ii. 29.)

A. D. 32. Anane or Ananus, the son of Abgarus.
A. D. 36. Sanadrug or Sanatruces, the son of a sister of Abgares, usurps the throne.
A. D. 58. Erowant, an Arsacid by the female line, usurps the throne; conquers all Armenia; cedes Edessa and Mesopotamia to the Romans.
A. D. 78. Ardashes or Artaxes III. (Exedares or Axidares), the son of Sanadrug, established by Vologeses I., king of the Parthians.
A. D. 120. Ardawazt or Artavasdes IV., son of Ardashes III., reigns only some months.
A. D. 121. Diran or Tiranus I., his brother.
A. D. 142. Dikran or Tigranes VI., driven out by Lucius (Martius) Verus, who puts Soaemus on the throne.
A. D. 178. Wagharsh or Vologeses, the son of Tigranes VI.
A. D. 198. Chosroes or Khosrew I., surnamed Medz, or the Great, the (fabulous) conqueror (overrunner) of Asia Minor; murdered by the Arsacid Anag, who was the father of St. Gregory, the apostle of Armenia.
A. D. 232. Ardashir or Artaxerxes, the first Sassanid of Persia.
A. D. 259. Dertad or Tiridates II., surnamed Medz, the son of Chosroes, established by the Romans.
A. D. 314. Interregnum. Sanadrug seizes northern Armenia, and Pagur southern Armenia, but only for a short time.
A. D. 316. Chosroes or Khosrew II., surnamed P'hok'hr, or " the Little," the son of Tiridates Mezd.
A. D. 325. Diran or Tiranus I., his son.
A. D. 341. Arsaces or Arshag III., his son.
A. D. 370. Bab or Para.
A. D. 377. Waraztad, usurper.
A. D. 382. Arsaces IV. (and Valarsaces or Wagharshag II., his brother).
A. D. 387. Armenia divided.
A. D. 389. Arsaces IV. dies. Cazavon in Roman Armenia, Chosroes or Khosrew III. in Persarmenia.
A. D. 392. Bahram Shapur (Sapor), the brother of Chosroes III.
A. D. 414. Chosroes re-established by Yezdegerd.
A. D. 415. Shapur or Sapor, the son of Yezdegerd
A. D. 419. Interregnum.
A. D. 422. Ardashes or Ardashir (Artasires) IV.
A. D. 428. End of the kingdom of Armenia.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Artaxias I.

Artaxias I., The founder of the Armenian kingdom, was one of the generals of Antiochus the Great, but revolted from him soon after his peace with the Romans in B. C. 188, and became an independent sovereign (Strab. xi.). Hannibal took refuge at the court of Artaxias, when Antiochus was no longer able to protect him, and he superintended the building of Artaxata, the capital of Armenia, which was so called in honour of Artaxias. (Strab. xi. p. 528; Plut. Lucull. 31.) Artaxias was included in the peace made between Eumenles and Pharnaces in B. C. 179 (Polyb. xxvi. 6), but was conquered and taken prisoner by Antiochus IV. Epiphanes towards the end of his reign, about B. C. 165. (Appian, Syr. 45, 66.)

Cleopatra, a daughter of Mithridates, who married Tigranes, king of Armenia She seems to have [p. 803] been a woman of great courage and spirit. (Plut. Luc. 22; Appian, Mith. 108; Justin. xxxviii. 3.)

Artavasdes I.

Artavasdes (Artaouasdes), Artauasdes or Artabazes, called by the Armenian historians, Artawazt. 1. King of the Greater Armenia, succeeded his father Tigranes I(II). In the expedition of Crassus against the Parthians, B. C. 54, Artavasdes was an ally of the Romans; but when Orodes, the king of Parthia, invaded Media, and Artavasdes was unable to obtain assistance from the Romans, he concluded a peace with the Parthian king, and gave his sister or daughter in marriage to Pacorus, the son of Orodes. When Pacorus subsequently invaded Syria, in B. C. 51, Artavasdes threatened a descent upon Cappadocia; and Cicero, who was then governor of Cilicia, made preparations to meet him; but the defeat of Pacorus put a stop to his designs (Plut. Crass. 19, 21, 22, 33; Dion Cass. xl. 16; Cic. ad Att. v. 20, 21, ad Fam. xv. 2, 3).
  We next hear of Artavasdes in Antony's campaign against the Parthians in B. C. 36. Artavasdes joined the Romans, as he wished to injure his namesake Artavasdes, king of Media, with whom he was at enmity. He accordingly persuaded Antony to invade Media, but then treacherously deserted him, and returned with all his forces to Armenia (Dion Cass. xlix. 25, 31; Plut. Ant. 39, 50; Strab. xi.). The desertion of the Armenian king was one of the main causes of the failure of the Roman expedition; and Antony accordingly determined to be revenged upon Artavasdes. After deferring his invasion of Armenia for a year, he entered the country in B. C. 34, and contrived to entice Artavasdes into his camp, where he was immediately seized. The Armenians thereupon set upon the throne his son Artaxias; but Artavasdes himself, with his wife and the rest of his family, was carried to Alexandria, and led in triumph in golden chains. He remained in captivity till B. C. 30, when Cleopatra had him killed, after the battle of Actium, and sent his head to his old enemy, Artavasdes of Media, in hopes of obtaining assistance from him in return (Dion Cass. xlix. 33, 39, 40, l. 1, li. 5; Plut. Ant. 50; Liv. Epit. 131; Vell. Pat. ii. 82; Tac. Ann. ii. 3; Strab. xi.; Joseph. Ant. xv. 4.3).
  This Artavasdes was well acquainted with Greek literature, and wrote tragedies, speeches, and historical works, some of which were extant in Plutarch's time (Plut. Crass. 33).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Artaxias II.

Artaxias II., the son of Artavasdes I., was made king by the Armenians when his father was taken prisoner by Antony in B. C. 34. He risked a battle against the Romans, but was defeated and obliged to fly into Parthia. But with the help of the Parthians he regained his kingdom soon afterwards, and defeated and took prisoner Artavasdes, king of Media, who had opposed him. On his return to Armenia, he put to death all the Romans who had remained behind in the country; and in consequence of that, Augustus refused to restore him his relatives, when he sent an embassy to Rome to demand them. When the Armenians in B. C. 20 complained to Augustus about Artaxias, and requested as king his brother Tigranes, who was then at Rome, Augustus sent Tiberius with a large army into Armenia, in order to depose Artaxias and place Tigranes upon the throne; but Artaxias was put to death by his relatives before Tiberius reached the country. Tigranes was now proclaimed king without any opposition; but Tiberius took the credit to himself of a successful expedition: whence Horace (Epist. i. 12. 25) says, "Claudi virtute Neronis Armenius cecidit". (Dion Cass. xlix. 39, 40, 44, li. 16, liv. 9; Tac. Ann. ii. 3; Vell. Pat. ii. 94; Joseph. Ant. xv. 4.3; Suet. Tiber. 9). Velleius Paterculus calls this king Artavasdes, and Dion Cassius in one passage (liv. 9) names him Artabazes, but in all the others Artaxes.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Tigranes II.

Tigranes II., the son of Artavasdes I., and the brother of Artaxias II., established in Armenia by order of Augustus, by Tiberius Nero.

Artavasdes II.

Artavasdes II., perhaps the son of Artaxias II., was placed upon the Armenian throne by Augustus after the death of Tigranes II. He was however deposed by the Armenians; and C. Caesar, who was sent into Armenia to settle the affairs of the country, made Ariobarzanes, a Mede, king. (Tac. Ann. ii. 3, 4)

Tigranes III.

Tigranes III., the son of Tigranes II., the competitor of Artavasdes II., driven out by Caius Caesar. He was the last of his race.


Ariobarzanes, after Artavasdes II. and Tigranes III. had been driven out by the Romans, the choice of Augustus for a king of the Armenians fell upon one Ariobarzanes, a Median or Parthian prince, who seems not to have belonged to the dynasty of the Arsacidae. As Ariobarzanes was a man of great talents and distinguished by bodily beauty, a quality which the eastern nations have always liked to see in their kings, the Armenians applauded the choice of Augustus. He died suddenly after a short reign in A. D. 2, according to the chronology of St. Martin. He left male issue, but the Armenians disliked his children, and chose Erato their queen. She was, perhaps, the widow of Tigranes III. (Tac. Ann. iii. 4.)


Vonones. Erato was deposed by the Armenians after a short reign, and the throne remained vacant for several years, till the Armenians at length chose Vonones as their king, the son of Phraates IV., and the exiled king of Parthia. (A. D. 16.) Vonones maintained himself but one year on the throne, as he was compelled to fly into Syria through fear of Artabanus III., the king of Parthia.

Artaxias II.

Artaxias II., chosen king, A. D. 18, about two years after Vonones had fled into Syria.

Artaxias III.

Artaxias III., the son of Polemon, king of Pontus, was proclaimed king of Armenia by Germanicus in A. D. 18, at the wish of the Armenians, whose favour he had gained by adopting their habits and mode of life. His original name was Zenon, but the Armenians called him Artaxias on his accession. Upon the death of Artaxias, about A. D. 35, Arsaces, the son of the Parthian king, Artabanus, was placed upon the Armenian throne by his father. (Tac. Ann. ii. 56, vi. 31.)

Arsaces I.

Arsaces I., the eldest son of Artabanus, king of the Parthians, was placed on the throne of Armenia by his father, after the death of Artaxias III. He perished by the treachery of Mithridates, the brother of Pharasmanes, king of Iberia, who had bribed some of the attendants of Arsaces to kill their master. After his death, which happened ill A. D. 35, Mithridates invaded Armenia and took its capital, Artaxata. Josephus (xviii. 3. Β§ 4.) calls this Armenian king Orodes, but this was the name of his brother, who, as we learn from Tacitus, was sent by the Parthian king to revenge his death. (Tac. Ann. vi. 31-33; Dion Cass. lviii. 26.)


Mithridates, brother of Pharasmanes, was established on the throne of Armenia by the emperor Tiberius, A. D. 35. He was recalled to Rome by Caligula, but sent into Armenia again by Claudius, about A. D. 47, where he continued to reign, supported by the Romans, till he was expelled and put to death by his nephew Rhadamistus, A. D. 52. (Tac. Ann. vi. 33, ix. 8, 9, xii. 44-47; Dion Cass. lx. 8.)


Rhadamistus, the son of Pharasmanes, king of Iberia, was a highly fitted but ambitious youth, whom his old father tied to get rid of by exciting him to invade Armenia, for which purpose he gave him an army. (A. D. 52.) Rhadamistus, seconded by the perfidy of the Roman praefect in Armenia, Pollio, succeeded in seizing upon the person of his uncle, whom he put to death with his wife and his children. Rhadamistus then ascended the throne; but Vologeses I., the king of the Parthians, took advantage of the distracted state of the country to send his brother Tiridates into Armenia, and proclaim him king. Tiridates advanced upon Tigranocerta, took this city and Artaxata, and compelled Rhadamistus to fly. Rhadamistus was subsequently killed by his father Pharasmanes. (Tac. Ann. xii. 44-51, xiii. 6, 37)

Tiridates I.

Tiridates I., the brother of Vologeses I., king of the Parthians, was driven out of Armenia by Corbulo, who appointed in his place Tigranes IV., the grandson of king Archelaus, A. D. 60. iridates subsequently received the crown as a gift from Nero, A. D. 63.

Exedares (Ardashes III.)

Exedares (Ardashes III.), an Arsacid (of the younger Armenian branch), was driven out by Chosroes or Khosrew, king of the Parthians. (Dion Cass. lxviii. 17.) According to Moses Chorenensis (ii. 44-57), Exedares, who is called Ardashes III., was a mighty prince, who humbled the armies of Domitian, but was finally driven out by Trajan. Chosroes placed on the throne in his stead Parthamasiris, a Parthian prince. Exedares reigned during forty-two years, from A. D. 78 to 120, but was several times compelled to fly from his kingdom.


Parthamasiris, the son of Pacorus (Arsaces XXIV.), king of Parthia, and the nephew of Chosroes, who supported him against Trajan. Parthamasiris, reduced to extremity, humbled him-self before Trajan, and placed his royal diadem at the feet of the emperor, hoping that Trajan would restore it to him and recognize him as a subject king. But he was deceived in his expectation, and Armenia was changed into a Roman province. According to some accounts, he was put to death by Trajan. (Dion Cass. lxviii. 17-20)


Parthamaspates, was appointed by Trajan king of Parthia, but after he had been expelled by the Parthians; he seems to have subsequently received the kingdom of Armenia from Hadrian. (Comp. Spartan. Hadr. cc. 21, 5, where he is called Psamatossiris.)


Achaemenides, the son of Parthamaspates. There are some coins on which he is represented with the diadem, which seems to have been given to him by Antoninus Pius. (Iamblichus, ap. Phot. Cod. 94)

Soaemus or Sohemus

Soaemus or Sohemus (Soaimos), the son of Achaemenides, was established on the throne by Thucydides, the lieutenant of Lucius (Martius) Verus, during the reign of M. Aurelius Antoninus. (lamblich. ap. Phot. l. c.) We learn from Moses Chorenensis (ii. 60-64), that the national king, who was supported by Vologeses II. of Parthia, was Dikran or Tigranes. Soaemus was an Arsacid. (Dion Cass. Fragm. lxxi.)


Sanatruces (Sanatroukes), the son of Soaemus, as it seems was established on the throne by Septimius Severus. According to Suidas, he was a man highly distinguished by his warlike qualities and many nobler virtues. He seems to be the king of Armenia mentioned by Dion Cassius, who was treacherously seized upon by Caracalla, about A. D. 212. The Armenian name of Sanatruces is Sanadrug. (Dion Cass. lxxv. 9, lxxvii. 12; Suidas, s. v. Sanatroukes; comp. Herodian, iii. 9.)


Vologeses, the son of Sanatruces, whom Dion Cassius (lxxvii. 12) calls king of the Parthians. Vaillant thinks that he was the king seized upon by Caracalla. On the other hand, the Armenian historians tell us that Wagharsh, in Greek Vologeses or Valarsases, the son of Dikran (Tigranes), reigned over Armenia, or part of Armenia, from A. D. 178 to 198, and that he perished in a battle against the Khazars, near Derbent, in 198. It is of course impossible that he should have been seized by Caracalla, who sueceeded his father Septimius Severus in 211. Nor do the Armenians mention any king of that name who was a contemporary either of Septimius Severus or Caracalla. (Moses Choren. ii. 65-68.)

Tiridates II.

Tiridates II. the son of Vologeses.

Arsaces II.

Arsaces II., the brother of Artabanus IV., the last Arsacid in Parthia, by whom he was made king of Armenia in the first year of the reign of Alexander Severus. (A. D. 222--223.) When his brother was killed by Artaxerxes (Ardashir), the first Sassanid on the Persian throne, he resisted the usurper, and united his warriors with those of Alexander Severus in the memorable war against Artaxerxes. (Procop. de Aedificiis Justin. iii. 1; Dion Cass. lxxx. 3, 4; Herodian, vi. 2, &c.; Agathias)

Artavasdes III.

Artavasdes III., the ally of Sapor against the emperor Valerian, A. D. 260. (Trebell. Poll. Valerian. 6)
Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. ix. 8) mentions a Christian king of Armenia during the reign of Diocletian, who seems to have been the son of Artavasdes III. During the war of Diocletian with Narses, king of Persia, this king of Armenia joined the Roman army commanded by Galerius Caesar. After the accession of Maximinianus he was involved in a war with this emperor, who intended to abolish the Christian religion in Armenia.

Tiridates III.

Arsaces III. (Tiranus)

Arsaces III., the son of Diran (Tiridates III.), ascended the throne either in the seventeenth year of the reign of Constantius, that is, in A. D. 354, or perhaps as early as 341 or 342, after his father had been made prisoner and deprived of his sight by Sapor II., king of Persia. After the reconciliation of Sapor with his captive Diran (Tiridates), Arsaces was chosen king, since his father, on account of his blindness, was unable to reign according to the opinion of the eastern nations, which opinion was also entertained by the Greeks of the Lower Empire, whence we so often find that when an emperor or usurper succeeded in making his rival prisoner, he usually blinded him, if he did not venture to put him to death. The nomination of Arsaces was approved by the emperor Constantius. The new king nevertheless took the part of Sapor in his war with the Romans, but soon afterwards made peace with the latter. He promised to pay an annual tribute, and Constantius allowed him to marry Olympias, the daughter of the praefect Ablavius, a near relation of the empress Constantia, and who had been betrothed to Constans, the brother of Constantius. Olympias was afterwards poisoned by a mistress of Sapor, an Armenian princess of the name of P'harhandsem.
  To punish the defection of Arsaces, Sapor invaded Armenia and took Tigranocerta. He was thus involved in a war with the emperor Julian, the successor of Constantius, who opened his famous campaign against the Persians (A. D. 363) in concert with Arsaces, on whose active co-operation the success of the war in a great measure depended. But Julian's sanguine expectations of overthrowing the power of the Sassanidae was destroyed by the pusillanimity, or more probably well calculated treachery, of Arsaces, who withdrew his troops from the Roman camp near Ctesiphon in the month of June, 363. Thence the disastrous retreat of the Romans and the death of Julian, who died from a wound on the 26th of the same month. Jovian, who was chosen emperor in the camp, saved the Roman army by a treaty in July, by which he renounced his sovereignty over the tributary kingdoms of Armenia and Iberia. Arsaces, in the hope of receiving the reward of his treachery, ventured into the camp of Sapor. He was at first received with honour, but in the midst of an entertainment was seized by order of Sapor and confined in the tower of Oblivion at Ecbatana, where he was loaded with silver chains. He died there by the land of a faithful servant, whom he implored to release him with his sword from the humiliation of his captivity. Arsaces reigned tyrannically, and had a strong party against him, especially among the nobles. (Amm. Marc. xx. 11, xxi. 6, xxiii. 2, 3, xxv. 7, xxvii. 12; Procop. de Bell. Pers. i. 5)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Para, the son of Arsaces III. and Olympias. (Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs.) No sooner had Sapor seized Arsaces, than he put one Aspacures on the throne of Armenia. Para, the heir and successor of Arsaces, was reduced to the possession of one fortress, Artogerassa (perhaps Artagera, or Ardis, towards the sources of the Tigris, above DiyΓ΅rbekr or Amida), where he was besieged with his mother Olympias by the superior forces of Sapor. The fortress surrendered after a gallant defence, Olympias fell into the hands of the conqueror, but Para escaped to Neocaesareia, and implored the aid of the emperor Valens. The emperor ordered him to be well treated, and promised to assist him. Terentius, a Roman general, led the fugitive king back into Armenia with a sufficient force, and Para was acknowledged as king; and though attacked by Sapor, he continued to reign with the assistance of the Romans. Para was a tyrant. Misled by the intrigues of Sapor, he killed Cylaces and Artabanus, two of his chief ministers. As Valens was dissatisfied with the conduct of the Armenian king, Terentius persuaded him to go to Cilicia, pretending that the emperor wished to have an interview with him. When Para arrived at Tarsus, he was treated with due respect, but so closely watched as to be little better than a prisoner. He escaped with a body of light cavairy, and swimming across the Euphrates, arrived safely in Armenia in spite of an ardent pursuit. He continued to show himself a friend of the Romans, but Valens distrusted him and resolved upon his death. Trajanus, a Roman dux, or general, executed the emperor's secret order. He invited Para to a banquet, and when the guests were half intoxicated, a band of Roman soldiers rushed in, and Para and his attendents were slain after a brave resistance, A. D. 374 or 377. The Armenian name of Para is Bab. (Amm. Marc. xxvii. 12, xxx. 1)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Arsaces IV.

Arsaces IV., the son of Para or Bab. According to Vaillant, he was the nephew of Para, being the son of one Arsaces (IV. of Vaillant), who was the brother of Para; this opinion has been adopted by distinguished historians, but it seems untenable. Arsaces IV. reigned a short time together with his brother Valarsces or Wagharshag, who died soon. In a war against an usurper, Waraztad, the son of Anob, who was the brother of Arsaces III., Arsaces IV. showed such a want of character and energy that he owed his success merely to the bad condnet of the usurper, who was at first supported by the emperor Theodosius the Great. The weakness of Arsaces being manifest, Theodosius and Sapor III. formed and carried into execution the plan of dividing Armenia. Arsaces was allowed to reign as a vassal king of Constantinople in the western and smaller part of Armenia, while the larger and eastern part became the share of Sapor, who gave it to Chosroes or Khosrew, a noble belonging to the house of the Arsacidae, of which there were still some branches living in Persia. According to St. Martin this happened in 387. Procopius mentions one Tigranes, brother of Arsaces, who reigned over eastern Armenia, which he ceded to Sapor. The whole history of the division of Armenia is very obscure, and the chief sources, Procopius and Moses Chorenensis are in manifest contradiction. Arsaces IV. died in 389, and his dominions were conferred by the emperor upon his general, Casavon, who was descended from the family of the Gamsaragans, which was a branch of the Arsacidae. It seems that this general was a most able diplomatist, and that his nomination was a plot concerted between him and Theodosius to bring all Armenia under the imperial authority ; Casavon declared himself a vassal of Chosroes, and this vassal suddenly broke his allegiance towards Sapor, and submitted to Theodosius. On this Bahrain IV., the successor of Sapor, invaded Armenia, seized Chosroes and put Bahram Shapur (Sapor) the brother of Chosroes, on the vassal throne of (eastern) Armenia. (392.) In 414, Chosroes was re-established by Yezdegerd I., the successor of Bahram IV., and after the death of Chosroes, in 415, Yezdegerd's son, Shapur or Sapor, became king. Sapor died in 419, and till 422 there was an interregnum in Armenia till Ardashes (Artasires) ascended the throne. (Procopius, de Aedif. Justin. iii. 1. 5; De Bell. Pers. ii. 3; Moses Choren. iii. 40, &c., 49, &c.)


Artasires, the last Arsacid on the throne of Armenia, the son of Bahram Shapur, and the nephew of Chosroes. Moses Chorenensis tells us, that his real name was Ardashes. (Artases or Artaxes.) He was made king of Armenia in 422, by Bahram IV., who ordered or requested him to adopt the name of Ardashir (Artasires or Artaxerxes). As Artasires was addicted to vices of every description, the people, or rather the nobles of Armenia, wished for another king. Since the conversion of prince Gregory (afterwards St. Gregory), the son of Anag, the Arsacid, to the Christian religion, in the time of Constantine the Great, the Armenians had gradually adopted the Christian religion; and there was a law that the patriarch should always be a member of the royal family of the Arsacidae. During the reign of Artasires the office of patriarch was held by Isaac, to whom the nobles applied when they wished to choose another king; but Isaac aware that their choice would fall upon Bahram, the heathen king of Persia, refused to assist them. The nobles thereupon applied straightway to Bahram, who invaded Armenia, deposed Artasires, and united his dominions to Persia, A. D. 428.
From this time eastern Armenia was called Persarnenia. (Procop. De Aedif. Justin. iii. 1, 5; Moses Choren. iii. 63, &c.; Assemani, Bibliotheca Orientalis)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Barzanes, (Barzanes). One of the early kings of Armenia according to Diodorus (ii. 1), who makes him a tributary of the Assyrian Ninus.


Arsames, supposed on the authority of a coin to have been a king of Armenia about the time of Seleucus II., and conjectured to have been the founder of the city of Arsamosata. (Eckhel, iii.)



David, of Nerken, a learned Armenian philosopher and a commentator on Plato and Aristotle, was a relation of the Armenian historian, Moses of Chorene, and lived at the end of the fifth and the beginning of the sixth century after Christ. He studied at Athens under Syrianus, the preceptor of Proclus, and was one of those later philosophers who made it their chief aim to harmonize the Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. Of the life and writings of David much important information is given by C. Fr. Neumann, Memoire sur la Vie et les Ouvrages de David, Paris, 1829; comp. Berlin. Jahrb. fur wissensch. Kritik. 1829. David wrote several philosophical works in the Armenian and Greek languages, and translated some of the writings of Aristotle into the Armenian. His commentaries on the Categories of Aristotle and likewise on the Isagoge of Porphyry, which are still extant, are not without some merit, and are principally of importance for the information which they contain respecting the history of literature. (Stahr, Aristotelia, vol. i., ii.) Whether he was alive when the philosophers were exiled from Athens by the emperor Justinian, and returned into Asia in consequence of their expulsion, is uncertain. (Fabric. Bibl. Gr. iii. v.) His commentaries were translated into Arabic and Hebrew, and manuscripts of such translations are still extant. (Buhle's Aristot. vol. i.; Neumann in the Nouveau Journal Asiatiquc, vol. i.) There is another commentator on Aristotle, of the same name, but a different person, namely, David the Jew. (Jourdain, Recherches sur l'Age et l'Origine des Traductions Latines d'Arist. Paris, 1819)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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