"For the kingdom, please see
Kingdom of Sophene."
Armenian Empire under
Tigranes the Great.] Sophene ( _hy. Ծոփք - "Tsopk") was a province of the Armenian Kingdomand of the Roman Empire, located in the south-west of the kingdom. It currently lies in the in modern-day southeastern Turkey. [The History of Rome By Theodor Mommsen, William Purdie Dickson]
Anania Shirakatsi's "Ashkharatsuyts" ("World Atlas," 7th century), Tsopk was the 2nd among the 15 provinces of Greater Armenia. It consisted of 8 cantons ("gavars"): Khordzyan, Hashtyank, Paghnatun, Balahovit, Tsopk (Shahunyats), Andzit, Degiq, and Gavreq (Goreq). [Anania Shirakatsi, Geography]
Tsopk was part of the kingdom of
Urartuin the 8th-7th cc BC. After unifying the region with his kingdom in the early 700s BC, king Argishtis I of Urarturesettled many of its inhabitants to his newly built city of Erebuni(modern day Armenian capital Yerevan). Around 600 BC, Tsopk became part of the newly emerged ancient Armenian Kingdomof Orontids. After Alexander the Great's campaigns in 330s BC and the subsequent collapse of the Achaemenid Empire, Tsopk remained part of the newly independent kingdom of Greater Armenia. In the early 200s BC, at the instigation of the Seleucid Empire, which was trying to weaken the Armenian kingdom, Sophene, split from Greater Armenia, forming the Kingdom of Sophene. The kingdom was ruled by a branch of the Armenian royal dynasty of Orontids. Tsopk later split from the Tsopk-Commagene kingdom as well, forming an independent kingdom. Commagenewas part of Sophene at this time.
Around 200 BC, in his attempt to finally subjugate Armenia, Seleucian king Antiochus III conquered both Greater Armenia and
Tsopk, installing Armenian generals Artaxias Iand Zariadresas governors-strategoses respectively in each kingdom. Following Antiochus' defeat by Romans at the battle of Magnesia in 190 BC, both Zareh and Artashes declared themselves independent kings. Zareh and his descendants ruled the kingdom of Tsopk until it was reunified with Greater Armenia by Tigranes the Greatin the 80s BC. Pompeygave Sophene to Tigranes, after defeating his father Tigranes the Great. [Richardson, Peter, "Univ of South Carolina Press", 1996, p. 96] Sophene later become part of the Roman Empire, and was made into a province of the Roman Empire. The capital was Amida(modern Diyarbakır). Around 54, the province was ruled by Gaius Julius Sohaemus. [Swain, Simon, "Hellenism and Empire: Language, Classicism, and Power in the Greek World, Ad 50-250", Oxford University Press, 1996, p. 304.] In 530, Sophene was included into the province of Armenia. [Joshua, "The Chronicle of Pseudo-Joshua the Stylite", Liverpool University Press, 2001, p. 54]
Kingdom of Sophene
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