Artavasdes II of Armenia


Artavasdes II of Armenia

Infobox Monarch
name =Artavasdes II
title =King


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reign =Armenia: 53 BC - 34 BC
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predecessor =Tigranes II
successor =Artaxias II
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father =Tigranes the Great
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date of death =31 BC
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King Artavasdes II ( _hy. Արտավազդ Երկրորդ) ruled Armenia from 53 to 34 BC. He succeeded his father, Tigranes the Great. Artavasdes was an ally of Rome, but when Orodes II of Parthia invaded Armenia following his victory over the Roman general Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, he was forced to join the Parthians. He gave his sister in marriage to Orodes' son and heir Pacorus. [Plutarch, "Crassus" 19; 22; 33.]

In 36 BC the Roman general Mark Antony invaded Armenia and Artavasdes again switched sides, but abandoned the Romans once they had left Armenia to conquer Media Atropatene. [Plutarch, "Antony" 37-39; Cassius Dio, "Roman History" 49.25]

In 34 BC Antony planned a new invasion of Armenia. First he sent his friend Quintus Dellius, who offered a betrothal of Antony's six year old son Alexander Helios to a daughter of Artavasdes, but the Armenian king hesitated. [Cassius Dio, "Roman History" 49.39.2] Now the triumvir marched into the Roman western Armenia. He summoned Artavasdes to Nicopolis, allegedly to prepare a new war against Parthia. But the king did not come. So the Roman general quickly marched to the Armenian capital Artaxata. He arrested the king and went with him some time around because he hoped to obtain by the help of his hostage the great treasures in the Armenian castles. But now Artaxias, the eldest son of the captured king, was elected as successor. After a lost battle Artaxias fled to the Parthian king. Finally Antony took Artavasdes to Alexandria. [Cassius Dio, "Roman History" 49.39.3 - 49.40.1]

The Armenian king and his family, who were bound with golden chains, had to follow Antony in his triumphal procession. Cleopatra VII of Egypt expected the triumvir on a golden throne, but Artavasdes refused to render homage to the Egyptian queen by Proskynesis. [Cassius Dio, "Roman History" 49.40.3-4; Velleius, "Roman History" 2.82.4; Plutarch, "Antony" 50.6-7] In the past he had been an enemy of his namesake, king Artavasdes II of Media Atropatene, who had become an ally of Antony. After the Battle of Actium (31 BC) the Armenian king was executed by beheading on the behalf of Cleopatra. She sent his head to Artavasdes of Media to secure his help. [Cassius Dio, "Roman History" 51.5.5; Strabo, "Geography", book 11, p. 532]

According to Plutarch, Artavasdes was an accomplished scholar who composed Greek tragedies and histories. [Plutarch, "Crassus" 33]

Notes

References

*1911
*Plutarch, "Life of Crassus".


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