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cavalry, but, like Darius, he was defeated ; consequently, Armenia at this time came under the Macedonian yoke. It was ruled for one hundred and sixty-four years (323 to 159 B. C.) by governors; the first appointed by Alexander himself, the others by his successors. Some came froin Macedonia, and others from Seleucia, the capital city of the Seleucidæ, in the East. Many of these treated the Armenians with great cruelty, and, as a consequence, there were frequent attempts to regain their independence. Others were, however, mild in their rule, ard introduced many of the Grecian arts and customs, together with their religion. Several of the gods worshiped by the Greeks were brought and placed in the temples of Armenia.
The ancient religion of the country seems to have under, gone various modifications, according as it was influenced by different religious ideas coming in from surrounding nations. For instance, the early patriarchal religion is said to have existed in Armenia till about 1700 B. C., when Assyrian influence began to prevail, introducing Sabeism. From this time, the Chaldean religion exercised its authority till about 725 B. C., when Sabeism degenerated into Magism, i. e., the worship of fire. This was introduced from Persia. The conquests of Alexander brought in Grecian idolatry, so that, under the Macedonian rule, there was a confused mixture of the two. Some superstitions were also introduced from Scythia, and it is said that several statues of the gods were brought even from India.
In the time of Alexander, Armenia was a rich and prosperous country, possessing, according to Strabo, Pliny, and other ancient authors, rich mines of gold and silver, and abounding in precious stones. Alexander, it is said, sent Messon to the mines in Armenia, but he was strangled by the inhabitants of the country. The horses of Armenia were also very celebrated, and, when employed in war, were completely covered with armor; hence the Armenian cavalry was a terror to the surrounding nations. Mention is made of Armenian generals, who fought with Darius against Alexander at Arbela.
About 189 B. C., the capital Artaxata is said to have been
founded. Delightfully situated on the Araxes, the almost sacred river of the Armenians, surrounded on all sides by plains exceedingly rich and beautiful, the grand entrepot of trade between the eastern and western world, the rich stuffs of India, Persia, and China filling her extensive markets, adorned, too, with many magnificent temples and palaces, it was a long time the largest commercial city, and most splendid capital of the ancient Armenian kingdom.
In ancient history the building of this capital is ascribed to the influence of Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general. It is said that when the Romans took Carthage, Hannibal fled to 'Antiochus the Great. Soon after, however, the latter, in war with the Romans, being defeated, was required to deliver
up their old and inveterate enemy. But Antiochus, having a very high regard for Hannibal, secretly assisted him in fleeing to Armenia. Here he was welcomed by the Armenian ruler, Artaces, and soon became his favorite and confidant. He also rendered great assistance to the king in perfecting and strengthening the administration of his government. “Hannibal," says the Armenian historian, “during his sojourn with Artaces, drew the plan of a city afterwards built by the latter near the river Araxes, which is connected with the river Medzamore, and he called it after his own name, Artashat. To this place, which afterwards became one of the greatest cities in Armenia, Artaces transferred the seat of his government."
Strabo and Plutarch also say that Antiochus the Great, king of Syria, compelling Hannibal, the chief enemy of the Romans, to leave his kingdom, this Carthaginian general, persecuted by an evil fortune, fled to Artaces, and, being with this prince suggested to him the design of building the city of Artaxata, which was named in honor of its founder. Strabo
says very favorably situated on almost an island made by the waters of the Araxes, which surrounded every part with the exception of one point, and this was defended by a fosse and a rampart.
We now come to a period of Armenian history embracing about five hundred and eighty years, from 149 B. C. to A. D. 422, when there existed in northern Central Asia the Parthian
dynasty, or, as it is sometimes called, the dynasty of the Arsacidæ, a kingdom of mysterious power and great extent, a powerful rival and foe of the Roman Empire of the west. And perhaps this interesting period of Oriental history is one of the obscurest portions of the past. If we look into our best histories of this age and region of the world, we find hardly anything that is satisfactory. From the death of Alexander to the reign of Ardeshir, about five centuries, the extant annals of the East exhibit almost a complete blank. Persian authors of this period are exceedingly vague and contradictory. “They have
" evidently,” says Sir John Malcolm, author of the History of Persia, “no materials to form an authentic narrative, and yet, when we refer to the pages of Roman writers, we find this period abounds with events of which the vainest nations might be proud, and that Parthian monarchs, whose names even cannot now be discovered in the history of their own country, were the only sovereigns upon whom the Roman arms, when that nation was in the very zenith of its power, could make no impression."
This great Parthian power had most intimate and friendly relations with the Armenians, and though the latter were nominally subject or tributary to the former, they had their separate kings, and enjoyed a great degree of prosperity and independence. The Roman Emperors frequently endeavoring, however, during this time, to extend their rule over Armenia, there were many severe conflicts, in which the Armenians were greatly harrassed, and in which, too, they suffered great losses. But what is quite remarkable, is the fact, that the brightest light which shines upon the history of this Parthian power
of the East comes from Armenian sources. An interesting history of the Arsacidæ or Parthians could be compiled from Armenian historical writers.
The name Arsacidæ was from the name of the first prince of this dynasty, Arsaces, said to have descended from Abraham by Keturah. This prince first established himself in the city of Bahl, in Bactriana, and, by his great qualities, extended his sway over the Parthians, Medes, Persians, and Babylonians. In
process of time Armenia was added to this power, and was
given to the brother of the Parthian king, whose name was Valarsaces. This brother had greatly distinguished himself as a general of the Parthian forces. Under him, Cappadocia, Pontus, Lazicia, Chaldea, and Egeria had been subdued and made tributary to the Parthian power. As a reward for his valor, the king invested him with legal authority over Armenia, and
gave him the large and populous city of Nisibis for his capital. Being distinguished for his literary taste and scholarship, and wishing, it is said, to know the origin of the Armenians as a people, the events that had taken place in their country, and the rulers who had preceded him, he made many inquiries concerning their history. Having learned that there were old Chaldean manuscripts in the possession of his brother, which gave some account of the Armenians, he sent a Syrian, a very learned man in the Chaldean language, to examine them. During the examination there was found a manuscript in the Greek character, with this title: "This book, containing the annals of ancient history, was translated from Chaldean into Greek by order of Alexander the Great." In this book, and in other manuscripts found in these old archives, many important facts were recorded, relating to the whole period of Armenian history from Haicus to the time of Alexander. These the learned Syrian extracted, and returned to Nisibis. This discovery afforded great joy to the king Valarsaces, who preserved the history with great care. Other histories were also discovered, which are referred to by Armenian authors. The name of the Syrian who explored these old archives was Mar Abas, of Catina, who lived about 140 years B. C. He is one of the principal authorities consulted by the celebrated Armenian historian, Moses of Chorene, of the fifth century, and much weight is attached to his testimony.
The king Valarsaces, by his energy and wisdom, greatly improved the state of his kingdom. He divided the former into provinces, over which he appointed princes. He also formed his army into legions, after the manner of the Romans. Bagarat, his counselor, a descendant of the Jew Sembat, to whom we have already referred, was appointed by him to the heredi. tary office of placing the crown upon the king's head at his
coronation. This Bagarat is said to have been a Jew of excellent character, and of the greatest service to Valarsaces, from his intimate acquaintance with the laws of God. The descendants of this individual were called Bagratians, at present a family well known, as has already been said.
The descendants of the two Assyrian brothers, Adrammelech and Sharezer, became, by the appointment of this king, two great satrapial families, under the names Arzrunians, or Ardzrunians, and Gnunians, or Kenounians. The former word is composed of two words: ardzer, eagle, and ouni, having: i. e., those who bore the standard of the eagle before the king; Kenounian is from keenee, wine, and ouni, having: i. e., those who furnished the king with wine.
About 120 B. C., a Bulgarian colony was established in the northwestern section of the kingdom, near the city now called Kars. This is the first notice we have of the Bulgarians in history, and for this notice we are indebted to Moses of Chorene. His account of them relates to a period some seven hundred years earlier than what is mentioned by any other historian. And we might here speak of many similar notices relating to other nations, found in Armenian history, if our object was to show the value of Armenian historical literature. This subject has not yet received the attention of which it is worthy, and it is to be hoped that some Orientalist will, ere long, turn his attention to so interesting a field of research.
The King Artaces II., who ruled from 114 to 89 B. C., is said to have subdued the whole of Asia Minor. Assembling a numerous army, he entered Europe, conquered Thrace and Greece, destroyed the chief cities in those countries, entered the Morea, and defeated the Lacedemonians. During his reign, many idolatrous temples were erected, and statues of the Roman and Greek deities introduced. It is said that this king, in one of his expeditions into Western Asia, found three wellexecuted statues, brazen and gilded, of Diana, Hercules, and Apollo, from the hands of Dipænus and Scyllis, two celebrated Cretan artists. These he sent to Armavir, the much loved old capital of the kingdom. At the time of his expedition into Greece, he also discovered and sent into Armenia five other