Armenians have always highly appreciated Armenian women, being ready to sacrifice anything for them. A vivid example of this deep respect is the story of Armenian King Tigran Yervanduni (reigned between 560 – 535 BC), son of Yervand (Orontes) I Sakavakyats, and his wife.
Various historical accounts testify that Tigran was a close ally of Cyrus the Great (ca. 600 – 530 BC), the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Once, in the name of love of freedom of Armenians, Tigran broke his promise, for which Cyrus condemned him and captured his wife Armenuhi (historian Movses Khorenatsi called her Zaruhi). This historical period is thoroughly described in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia.
When Cyrus asked Tigran how much he was ready to give to free his wife, Armenian king answered, “I would give my soul to make sure that my wife never becomes a maid.”
Cyrus the Great was known for his nobility. And this time, he remained faithful to his principles as well. He freed the young wife of Tigran Yervanduni along with the rest of the captives and invited them to his feast.
On the way home, the liberated people were praising the generosity of the Achaemenid king. Tigran asked his wife, “Tell me, do you also consider Cyrus beauteous?”
“God himself witnessed that I didn’t eye him.”
“Whom did you eye then?” asked Tigran.
“I eyed the person who was ready to sacrifice his soul for me to never become a maid,” answered Armenuhi.
This story has a deep meaning and demonstrates that Armenian men are ready to give away anything to protect their wise and faithful women. On the other hand, it also tells how those equal in nobility were able to appreciate each other dignifiedly.