The Kingdom of Van During The Reign of Hrachya II

The Kingdom of Van During The Reign of Hrachya IIAt the beginning of the 7th century BC, Hrachya II (commonly known as Rusa II. The name “Hrachya” instead of “Rusa” was mentioned by Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi) made a successful attempt to restore the former power and prestige of the Kingdom of Van (Urartu), which had been in a state of decline due to countless wars with Assyria as well as the constant raids of the Scythians and Cimmerians from the north-east.

Four years after the beginning of his reign, the situation in the country started to improve.

Hrachya launched a campaign to expand the borders of the state far to the west as well as to the east. Having transferred the remnants of the Cimmerians to his side and by the time the Assyrian king Esarhaddon had been defeated in the Taurus mountains, he moved his troops against Phrygia, Melitene, and the Chalybes, who had created a union on the initiative of the Phrygian king Midas.

The campaign turned out to be successful: Hrachya defeated the coalition’s forces in one battle, capturing huge loot and a big number of prisoners, which he then used inside the country for the construction of many fortresses and monumental structures.

The king put a lot of effort into the development of agriculture. Significant irrigation works were carried out. In particular, a large canal was constructed, which diverted water from the Hrazdan River to irrigate the Ararat valley. Large cities were built, including the well-fortified new administrative center of Teishebaini. Most of the buildings had been built for religious purposes, but Teishebaini was constructed for additional protection against the attacks of the Cimmerians.

Under Hrachya II, peaceful relations remained between the Assyrian and his provinces, although there were small border clashes, and the intentions of the Armenian king aroused distrust in Assyria.

It is known that Esarhaddon attacked and defeated the small mountain kingdom of Shupria in 673 BC, which sheltered fugitive slaves and peasants. They were then handed in to Hrachya.

In around 654 BC, Hrachya in his turn established an embassy in Assyria in order to dispel the fears of Ashurbanipal, the new king of Assyria and son of Esarhaddon, who feared the Kingdom of Van, the Cimmerians, and the Scythians. The neutrality of the Kingdom of Van somewhat contributed to his victories in the conflict against Babylonia, the Cimmerians, and the Scythians.

Hrachya II has been a wise ruler, a great strategist, and a sensitive diplomat, who elevated the Kingdom of Van in the most difficult period of its history.

Sourse: History Armenians

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