“The peak of the greatness of Armenian history, no doubt, is considered the period of the reign of Tigran the Great. Parthia even in a terrible dream could not imagine that it, the most powerful empire of Asia Minor, would suddenly become part of the Mets Hayk empire.
Today, historians are wondering – how did Tigran succeed in creating such a powerful empire which was inhabited by different peoples?
Opinions differ – some historians believe that the Armenian king managed to create an army of a new generation, others pinpoint economic reforms which made it possible to strengthen Armenia and, as a result, weaken neighboring countries, while the rest speak of Tigran as the first great diplomat of the ancient world.
Of course, all this had a role. It is known that in that period of history, Greater Armenia had the most combat-ready army in the entire Middle East and the most advanced economy of the region, and the diplomatic talent of King Tigran was beyond doubt.
However, the main reason for such rapid success lied elsewhere.
Tigran the Great was able to turn the Armenian people into a core or center, concentrating around them all the other peoples of the region.
It’s historically confirmed that many rulers have voluntarily ceded their kingdoms to the Armenian king so as not to wage meaningless bloody wars. Being a wise ruler, Tigran left local rulers in their positions, but the corps of advisers and the army were given to the Armenians who were subordinate to the local king who, in turn, was subordinate to Tigran.
This is how the Armenian king concentrated all neighboring states around his people.
Another important innovation was the redistribution of state centers. In almost every state of that time, the capital was the political and economic center, but Tigran violated this tradition. Having taken care of the organizational structure of his kingdom, he proceeded to the construction of his capital Tigranakert which was to become the political center of the new empire.
The former capital Artashat with its advantageous location would become an economic center. Antioch would become one of the military centers of the Armenian kingdom.
Such innovation allowed Tigran to defeat the Roman commander Lucullus. Having captured Tigranakert, the Romans thought that the war was over (since the political, economic, and military center of the empire was captured). However, the Armenian king had an unpleasant surprise for Lucullus.
Tigran took his army to Artashat and commander Aras Bagarat went to meet him with an even larger army from Antioch. The Romans failed to occupy the “Armenian Carthage” which was the city of Artashat. After that, the exhausted legions of Lucullus were defeated and expelled from Greater Armenia.
Tigran the Great was one of the few kings of the ancient world who has never made decisions alone. He had advisers in every field whose opinion he always listened to. The military council which consisted of the most prominent generals of the empire – Aras Bagarat, Meruzhan Rshtuni, Kaisar Baguntsi, and Sahpar Kuhbatsi – had great privileges in the state.
With that said, Tigran did not award his generals high titles since he realized that this could lead to the decomposition of the army.
The best economists, architects, and healers who greatly contributed to the fundamental sciences were gathered from the entire empire. However, another question remains unclear – why don’t the Armenians seek to maximize the popularization of the greatest personality in the history of their people?
There is not a single major cinematic project about him, and there also is no major fundamental research. I consider this a gross mistake that needs to be fixed as quickly as possible. In fact, Tigran the Great is the creator of the unique ideology of his people, the core-people, the collector-people.”
Christopher J. Walker, “About the Great King of Armenia”