Tag Archives: king

Legend of the First King of Armenia

The first Armenian who put the royal crown on his head was King Aram. On this occasion, his kingdom welcomed all the kings, princes and prominent visitors from neighbouring principalities and kingdoms. All were nobles and famous warriors.

After the coronation, the planned festivities began. Finally, when all the dishes, wines, and fruits had been consumed, the new king announced a competition in agility, strength and courage. The guests positioned themselves on the adjacent hill so they could enjoy the competition from an elevated point.

On the vast plain in front of them, they saw a herd of unbroken horses – forty wild stallions. The drover hit his whip and the herd rushed to the gorge. A group of noble riders rushed in to intercept the herd. Their horses cut the tall grass like lightning. Their lassoes shot up into the air and thirty-three out of forty horses were caught. But seven of the most spirited ones escaped the hunters.

Then brave Aram walked into the arena with a lasso in his hand. In two quick jumps, he reached the galloping horses and in one broad stroke of the lasso, he reined in all seven horses at once. One of his wise old friends, an expert on equestrian matters himself, was full of admiration for his skill, but still bent over to the king’s ear and asked: “Why, O King, have you lassoed all seven? After all, it was enough to catch one horse and it would become clear who the most skilled and powerful man is.”

The king without so much as turning his head replied: “Had I lassoed one or two, it might have looked like a coincidence. But if I got all seven, that’s a whole other matter. And there is yet another meaning to this. I am more than sure that after this event, none of our neighbours would dare to violate the borders of Armenia. And if they do, they will meet the same fate as these horses.”

“He is not only physically strong, but also wise,” thought the grey sage looking at his king proudly.

Ancient Kharput

Arsamosata was a city in Armenian Sophene near the Euphrates, founded by King Arsames I of the Orontid Dynasty in the 3rd century BC. It was abandoned and destroyed in 1 century BC. In the Middle Ages, it was called Ashmushat. The city has been identified with the modern Kharput (Elazığ). It has also been identified as the abandoned settlement site known as Haraba, located some 60 km east of Elazig. Much of the site now lies submerged under the waters of the Keban dam.

Arsames I had taken control of Commagene, Sophene and Armenia in the year 260 BC after the death of his grandfather Orontes III, king of Armenia, and his father Sames, king of Commagene. The double death is quite suspicious, though no evidence of foul play has been proven true.

Armenian Queens: Sipane

King Hyudarnes III has an interesting love story connected to his name and that of his wife, Sipane. He ruled during the mid-fifth century BC and is said to have been hunting on the slopes of Sipan when he encountered a Beautiful young girl gathering flowers.

The tale is told thus:

“Where did you come from?” asks the king.
“From above,” answers the beauty, pointing to the sky.
“From the top of the mountain?”
“No, from the sky”
“And where are you going?”
“I’m not going, but coming to you”
“To me?”
“Yes”
“What do you want from me?”
“I am coming to be your wife…”

The tale says that the king believed the beauty to be a gift from heaven and named her Sipane, in honour of the location of their first meeting. Nobody knows whose daughter she might have been or where she came from, but the tale lives in in the villages.

Armenian Queens: Zaruhi

King Ervand I’s son, Tigran Ervanduni, ruled from 560 to 535 BC. According to Movses Khorenatsi, the great Armenian historian, his wife’s name was Zaruhi. In one of the battles between King Ervand’s Army and the Persians, the Armenians saw defeat and, though Tigran was a hunting partner for the Persian King Cyrus, the royal family was all taken prisoner. Customs required that the defeated pay a ransom for the return of the royal family. Tigran’s wife was one of these prisoners, and when faced with the amount of the ransom, he said, “my own life. I would give up my own life, Cyrus, to prevent my wife from ever becoming a servant.” This chivalrous answer and show of devotion and love for one’s wife moved the Greek historian, Xenophon. Surprisingly, Armenians did not flaunt their ideals and carve out such chivalrous acts in every nook and cranny like the Greeks did, meaning much was lost during the years. Tigran and Zaruhi had 3 sons: Bab, Tiran, and Vahagn. Though there is no other information about Zaruhi, the tale of their life tells of a long and loving life together.