Plutarch And Strabo On The Ancient City Of Artashat

The “Armenian Carthage” – Artashat – lies 30 km southeast from Yerevan. The city was the fourth capital of Greater Armenia and was built by Hannibal himself – the main and sworn enemy of Rome. He founded the city on the proposal of Armenian King Artashes I.

Here is what Plutarch and Strabo wrote about the city.

Plutarch: “They say that after Antiochus finally lost the war with the Romans, the Carthaginian Hannibal went to the court of Artaxias of Armenia, to whom he gave a lot of useful advice and guidance.

By the way, he noticed a place extremely well located and beautiful but lying in desolation. Making preliminary hints for the future city, he called Artaxias, showed him this area, and convinced him to build it up.

The king was pleased and asked Hannibal to take over the construction himself. A mighty and very beautiful city arose, which the King named after himself and proclaimed the capital of Armenia.”

Strabo: “Artaxata not far from the plain of Araxes is a well-maintained city and the capital of the country. It is located on a peninsula-like ledge, and a river passes in front of its walls, with the exception of the space on the isthmus which is enclosed by a moat and a stockade.”

The Romans considered Artashat the Armenian Carthage because of the wealth of the city. Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi wrote that the first inhabitants of the city were Jews.


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