Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/605

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

their versatility and their cosmopolitan character must always be an obstacle to the realization of the dreams of the nationalists. The want of courage and self-reliance, the deficiency in truth and honesty sometimes noticed in connexion with them, are doubtless due to long servitude under an unsympathetic government.

1911 Britannica - Armenia.png

The early history of Armenia, more or less mythical, is partly based on traditions of the Biainian kings (see Ararat), and is interwoven with the Bible narrative, of which a knowledge was possibly obtained from captive Jews settled Ancient kingdom. in the country by Assyrian and Babylonian monarchs. The legendary kings are but faint echoes of the kings of Biainas; the story of Semiramis and Ara is but another form of the myth of Venus and Adonis; and tradition has clothed Tigranes, the reputed friend of Cyrus, with the transient glory of the opponent of Lucullus. The fall of the Biainian kingdom, perhaps overthrown by Cyaxares, was apparently soon followed by an immigration of Aryan (Medo-Persian) races, including the progenitors of the Armenians. But they spread slowly, for the “Ten Thousand,” when crossing the plateau to Trebizond, 401–400 B.C., met no Armenians after leaving the villages four days’ march beyond the Teleboas, now Kara Su. Under the Medes and Persians Armenia was a satrapy governed by a member of the reigning family; and after the battle of Arbela, 331 B.C., it was ruled by Persian governors appointed by Alexander and his successors. Ardvates, 317–284 B.C., freed himself from Seleucid control; and after the defeat of Antiochus the Great by the Romans, 190 B.C., Artaxias (Ardashes), and Zadriades, the governors of Armenia Major and Armenia Minor, became independent kings, with the concurrence of Rome. (See Tigranes.) Artaxias established his capital at Artaxata on the Araxes, and his most celebrated successor was Tigranes (Dikran), 94–56 B.C., the son-in-law of Mithradates VI., the Great. Tigranes founded a new capital, Tigranocerta, in northern Mesopotamia, which he modelled on Nineveh and Babylon, and peopled with Greek and other captives. Here, and at Antioch, he played the part of “great king” in Asia until his refusal to surrender his father-in-law involved him in war with Rome. Defeated, 69 B.C.}, by Lucullus beneath the walls of his capital, he surrendered his conquests to Pompey, 66 B.C., who had driven Mithradates across the Phasis, and was permitted to hold Armenia as a vassal state of Rome.

The campaigns of Lucullus and Pompey brought Rome into delicate relations with Parthia. Armenia, although politically dependent upon Rome, was connected with Parthia by geographical position, a common language and faith, Under
intermarriage and similarity of arms and dress. It had never been Hellenized, as the provinces of Asia Minor had been; the Roman provincial system was never applied to it; and the policy of Rome towards it was never consistent. The country became the field upon which the East and West contended for mastery, and the struggle ended for a time in the partition of Armenia, A.D. 387, between Rome and Persia. The Roman portion was soon added to the Diocesis Pontica. The Persian portion, Pers-Armenia, remained a vassal state under an Arsacid prince until 428. It was afterwards governed by Persian and Armenian noblemen selected by the “great king,” and entitled marzbans. Before the partition, Tiridates, converted by St Gregory, “the Illuminator,” had established Christianity as the religion of the state, and set an example followed later by Constantine. After the partition, the invention of the Armenian alphabet, and the translation of the Bible into the vernacular, 410, drew the Armenians together, and the discontinuance of