TIGRANES II AND ROME
by H. Manandyan; Annotated Translation and Introduction by George Bournoutian
Tigranes II (95-55 B.C.), known in Armenian historiography as Tigranes the Great, is the sole Armenian monarch who not only succeeded in unifying all the lands inhabited by the Armenians, but extended Armenian rule into Syria and northwestern Iran. In the first century B.C. he created an Armenian empire which lasted for some two decades, taking the title of “King of kings,” which until then was only held by the kings of Parthia. Armenians, not surprisingly, revere Tigranes. In their pride, some Armenians endow him with modern nationalistic traits and ignore the fact that Tigranes possessed a more Hellenistic and, occasionally, Persian, outlook, rather than that of a modern Armenian. Tigranes’ greatness, as will be evident in this study, was in his attempt to forge an independent and powerful state and to break away from the constraints imposed upon Armenia by its geography. Together with Mithridates Eupator, the king of Pontus, he tried to free Asia Minor from Persian military and political threats in the east and those of Rome in the west.