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Encyclopedia > Arshak II

Arshak II (or Arsaces II) was the son of King Diran and was himself king of Armenia from 350-367. This article is about Diran of Armenia an Armenian king. ... Events January 18 - Magnentius proclaimed Emperor by the army in Autun. ... Events First Listing of the New Testament by St Athanasius of Alexandria. ...



In the early years of Arshak's reign, he found himself courted by the empires of Rome and Persia, both of which hope to win Armenia to their side in the ongoing conflicts between them. Arshak consented to marry a Roman princess, Olympia, but managed to maintain Armemia's neutrality until 361. For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). ... The Persian Empire was a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau, the old Persian homeland, and beyond in Western Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. ... Events Emperor Ai succeeds Emperor Mu as emperor of China. ...

Meanwhile, Persian King Shapur II intensified his efforts to conquer Armenia once and for all. He was able to bribe two Armenian noblemen, Vahan Mamikonian and Meruzhan Artzruni, and make them join his royal court. Arshak II focused on strengthening the army. He rewarded loyal generals and severely punished disloyal ones. He crafted an ambitious plan in which all criminals that settled in his newly founded city, Arshakavan, were given complete amnesty. Approximately 150 000 individuals settled in the city. His hope was to create a large army directly under his command. But, many in the Armenian nobility did not agree with the plan and subsequently destroyed the city and killed the inhabitants. Shapur II was king of Persia (310 - 379). ... Armenian medal representing Vartan Mamikonean Mamikonian or Mamikoneans was a noble family which dominated Armenian politics between the 4th and 8th centuruies. ... Meruzhan Artzruni (transliteration differs; can also be spelled Merujan, Ardzruni, Artsruni, Artsrouni) (ruled 355-369 CE) was a Nakharar (Armenian feudal lord) from the Artzruni family. ...

The Romans and the Persians were involved in conflict again. Jovian, being a weak emperor, made a dishonorable peace with Shapur II in which he allowed the Persians to take over the fortresses of Nisbis, Castra Maurorum, and Singara along with a part of Armenia. Arshak II found himself abandoned by the Romans and left to defend Armenia all alone. The Persians swiftly attacked but were unsuccessful, partly due to the leadership of the general (Armenian: sparapet) Vasak Mamikonian. Shapur II, seeing that brute force was not going to subjugate Arshak II, he turned to treachery. Arshak was invited by the Persian king for peace talks. When Arshak arrived with Vasak Mamigonian, he was taken prisoner and his general was skinned. Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ... The Persians of Iran (officially named Persia by West until 1935 while still referred to as Persia by some) are an Iranian people who speak Persian (locally named Fârsi by native speakers) and often refer to themselves as ethnic Iranians as well. ... This siliqua of Jovian, ca 363, celebrates his fifth year of reign, as a good omen. ... Sparapet (Armenian: Սպարապետ) was a hereditary military rank used in ancient and medieval Armenia. ... Armenian medal representing Vartan Mamikonean Mamikonian or Mamikoneans was a noble family which dominated Armenian politics between the 4th and 8th centuruies. ...

The letter of Valarshak, king of Armenia, to Arshak the Great, king of Persia,

"To Arshak, king of earth and sea, whose person and image are as those of our gods, whose fortune and destiny are superior to those of all kings, and whose amplitude of mind is as that of the sky above the earth, from Valarshak your younger brother." [1]

Imprisonment and suicide

Living in a Persian prison, the king was unable to stop the Persian invasion of Armenia. Shapur II had conquered Armenia, and was relentlessly trying to convert Christian Armenians to Zoroastrianism. For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ... Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). ...

Years later, an Armenian by the name of Trastamat, saved Shapur’s life in battle. The Persian king thanked him and granted him his wish: to visit the imprisoned Arshak. During the visit Arshak was reminiscing on his glory days and feeling depressed, he took his visitor’s knife and killed himself. Trastamat, moved by what he had just witnessed, took the knife from Asrshak’s chest and stabbed himself as well.


Despite having a troublesome reign, Arshak II was able to improve many aspects of his kingdom. The chief architect of the reforms was Saint Narses I the Great. They included: Saint Narses lived in the fourth century. ...

  • The establishment of many monasteries, to isolate monks from the stress of everyday life and helped spread the gospel;
  • The building of hospitals;
  • The founding of many schools that would teach Assyrian and Greek, since the Holy Bible was read in those languages at that time;
  • The interdiction of inbred marriages, polygamy, divorce, pagan rituals, drunkenness and revenge killings;
  • Strongly encouraging slave-owners to be merciful to slaves and treat them as equals.

The term Assyrian language can mean one of: Assyrian Neo-Aramaic: a language spoken in Israel, Syria, and Mesopotamia from perhaps 700 BC until now. ... The Bible (From Greek βιβλια—biblia, meaning books, which in turn is derived from βυβλος—byblos meaning papyrus, from the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos which exported papyrus) is the sacred scripture of Christianity. ...


  • Translated from the Armenian: Mihran Kurdoghlian, Badmoutioun Hayots, A. Hador [Armenian History, volume I], Athens, Greece, 1994, pp. 108-111
  1. ^ History of Armenians, Moses of Choren, pp.82

  Results from FactBites:
From Artaksius II Arshak to Arshak ... (1487 words)
Then Artashes II came from Parthia under the name of Arsham/Arshak [26] and with additional Parthian troops succeeded in capturing the king of Antropatene, in the destruction of the Roman garrisons, and in the full restoration of the Armenian independence.
Artashes II Arshak was the last prominent king of the dynasty of the Artashesides, which declined in the next two decades.
Arshak was the first ethnical Parthian on the Armenian throne; the only king with that name in the pre Christian history of Armenia; he also broke the Pontian domination.
  More results at FactBites »



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