The First Kings of Armenia

The First Kings of Armenia

The writings of Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi (5th century) preserved important information about the first Armenian king Paruyr. According to the Armenian tradition, a descendant of Hayk, Paruyr managed to unite the western regions of the Armenian Highlands starting from Lake Van and ending with the Euphrates River.

At the end of the 7th century BC, Media and Babylon, having concluded a military alliance, fought against Assyria. In 612 BC, they captured the capital of Assyria, the city of Nineveh. According to the tradition, Armenians, led by their leader Paruyr, took an active part in the war against Assyria, for which Paruyr was crowned a king by the King of Media, becoming the first king of Armenia.

“I would be happy if I lived during the reign of the direct descendants of Hayk…”, wrote Movses Khorenatsi, the “father of Armenian historiography”, about these historical events.

In the 6th century BC, the Armenian Yervanduni dynasty (Yervandid, Orontid), the founder of which was the descendant of Paruyr Yervand I Sakavakyats (short living, due to his short reign), settled in Tosp (Tushpa), the capital of the Kingdom of Van.

The Yervanduni dynasty established its power over the entire Armenian Highlands, uniting the Armenian-speaking tribes into a single pan-Armenian state.

Yervanduni Armenia in the southeast bordered Media. In the northwest, it reached the Black Sea coast, practically uniting the entire territory of the former Van Kingdom.

The dynasty’s Armenian kings possessed an impressive military force: about 40 thousand strong infantry and 8 thousand strong cavalry. At the disposal of the rulers of Armenia also was vast wealth.

King Yervand Sakavakyats had two sons – Tigran and Shavarsh. Tigran would play an important role in the strengthening of the Armenian state. He would also become a friend and ally of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire.

Tigran helped Cyrus in many ways in his fight against Media. The Achaemenid Empire included almost the entire Western Asia, covering the territory from the Mediterranean Sea and Egypt to India.


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