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Arshakuni dynasty

The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity
Levon AvdoyanLevon Avdoyan

Arshakuni dynasty (Aršakuni, Armenian Arsacid dynasty) 

The rise of the Armenian Arshakuni dynasty in the 1st century ad resulted from the desire of Rome and its enemy the Parthian Arsacid Empire to control the lands of the Armenians which lay along the frontiers between them. The Compromise of Rhandeia in ad 65 ended at least temporarily the state of warfare between the empires by granting the throne to the Parthian candidate Trdat I on condition that he journey to Rome to receive the regalia from the Emperor Nero. The Arshakuni dynasty remained in Armenia Magna until the Armenian nobles in ad 428 demanded its end from the Persian King of Kings who at that time controlled the greater portion of Armenia. The dynasty was responsible for two events of lasting significance for Armenian history and identity: the conversion of Armenia to Christianity c. ad 314 and the creation of a unique Armenian alphabet. The dynasty’s renown outlasted its power; for instance, the 7th-century Roman Emperor Heraclius was said to claim descent from the dynasty.

Levon Avdoyan


N. Garsoïan, ‘The Aršakuni Dynasty [a.d. 12–[180?]–428]’, in R. Hovannisian, The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, vol. 1: The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century (1997), 63–94.Find this resource:

    C. Toumanoff, ‘The Third-Century Armenian Arsacids: A Chronological and Genealogical Commentary’, REArm 6 (1969), 233–81.Find this resource: