Kings of Armenia – Artavazd II – Honor above life

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Throughout history, there have been numerous cases of rulers who prioritized their well-being and profit over the welfare of their people, often leading to the loss of many lives.

And it is very rare to find the opposite when a ruler sacrifices himself to save his people. Such an exceptional ruler was Artavazd II, the son of Tigran the Great – the King of Armenia.

Artavazd II, the son of Tigran the Great, was an Armenian king who pursued a largely neutral policy.

After the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BCE, where the Romans led by Marcus Licinius Crassus were defeated by the Parthians, Artavazd II took advantage of the weakened Roman presence in the region. He managed to expand the borders of Armenia to the west, reattaching the territories of Sophene and Lesser Armenia.

This expansion not only strengthened Armenia’s territorial claims but also demonstrated Artavazd II’s strategic prowess and the ability to capitalize on opportunities in a volatile geopolitical landscape. His actions contributed to Armenia’s continued independence and resilience in the face of powerful empires like Rome and Parthia.

Between 36 and 34 BCE, the Roman commander Mark Antony turned his attention towards Armenia. Initially, Mark Antony faced some defeats, but he eventually devised a plan to capture the Armenian king Artavazd II. He invited Artavazd II to his camp for negotiations, ostensibly to discuss matters of mutual interest.

However, it was a trap. Once Artavazd II arrived at the Roman camp, he was arrested by Mark Antony’s forces. Artavazd II was subsequently taken to Egypt as a prisoner, where he was executed on the orders of Cleopatra, who was Mark Antony’s ally and lover at the time.

This event marked a tragic end for Artavazd II, who had navigated the complex politics of the time and managed to expand Armenia’s territory. His execution also weakened the Armenian kingdom and left it more vulnerable to external threats.

The documentary below tells about the events of those times, about the sacrifice of King Artavazd, and how King Artavazd put the interests of his people above his interests.

Author of the documentary film: Artak Movsisyan. Director Vahe Sukiasyan. The film is in Armenian, subtitles are available.

Vigen Avetisyan


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