Queen Erato of Armenia

Queen Erato of ArmeniaThe last monarch of the great Artashesian dynasty was Erato, the daughter of Tigranes III, the half-sister, and wife of Tigranes IV. Her date of birth is unknown.  She died after 12.

Erato was the second child of the family of Tigranes III. She was born and raised in Rome (where her father lived and was in exile from 30 to 20 BC) and Greater Armenia (during the reign of her father from 20 to 10 BC). Tigranes III died in 8 BC.

Erato married her half-brother, who became the king of Armenia in 8 BC. She was in the capacity of Tigranes’ co-ruler in Armenia.

A big number of coins symbolizing Tigranes IV and Erato have been preserved. On these coins, Tigranes IV was entitled the “King of Kings”, a title borne by Tigranes the Great, his famous grandfather, as well as other powerful monarchs of the Kingdom of Van in the early first millennium BC.

This demonstrates the power of Greater Armenia at a time when Rome and Parthia competed against each other in their attempts to defeat Armenia and seize its territory in order to change the fragile balance of power in the region. Roman historian Festus also confirmed this fact, noting that Greater Armenia was a very powerful state at that time, even potent than Parthia, and an opponent of Rome as well.

In 2 AD, Tigranes IV was killed during resistance against intruders from the north of his state. As chaos started in the country, Erato temporarily left politics after ruling for a short time in the same year.

The Romans appointed captive Artavazd III a Roman Client King of Greater Armenia, but only managed to hold him on the throne for four years. Armenia was governed by Artavazd and his father Ariobarzanes in 2-6 AD.

In 6, Artavazd III was killed. Tigranes V acceded the throne of Greater Armenia as a new king. He belonged to the dynasty of Artashesians as his maternal grandmother was an Armenian princess and the daughter of Artavazd II. She married the King of Cappadocia Archelaus.

Tigranes V was accompanied to Armenia by his grandfather Archelaus of Cappadocia and the future Roman emperor Tiberius, where he was crowned in the capital of Artashat. He became the sole ruler of Armenia.

After some time, Erato joined him. Their reign can also be traced with numismatic evidence. Erato and Tigranes V were overthrown under unclear circumstances in 12 AD. Within two years after the overthrow of Erato, the last monarch of the bright dynasty of Artashesians, the country temporarily entered a state of anarchy. With the leave of Erato, the rule of the Artashesian dynasty in Armenia ceased.

The image of Queen Erato on an ancient coin kept in the National Library of France in Paris.

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