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The Artaxiads (Artashesiank)
The first two decades of the second century b.c. were a particularly important turning point for ancient Armenia.

During this period, its political and cultural unification and consolidation took place.

Also during this time, Armenia started to advance toward a political power never again to be equaled in that country, not even during the more fortunate economic and cultural periods that followed.

At the roots of this evolution was the foundation, around 190 b.c., of the Artaxiad dynasty by Artaxias (Artashes) I (c. 190-159) with the proclamation of independence from the Seleucids.

Who had constituted the ascendent power in Armenia immediately after the collapse of Alexander"s empire.

Artashes had the approval and acknowledgement of the Romans for, having defeated Antiochus at Magnesia in 190, they were interested in having the Armenian sovereign as an ally.

According to Strabo (xi, xiv, 15), it was during the reign of Artashes that Armenian became the common language throughout the country.

This must be taken as the expression of a widespread ethnic harmony that had already existed in those regions for a long time.

Otherwise, it would be difficult to conceive how the Armenian language could have become so important in only a few decades; an achievement that had not been accomplished over far longer periods of domination by the Persians and Greeks.

One of Artashes" most important accomplishments was the construction of the new capital, Artashat (Artaxata), not very far from the present capital of Soviet Armenia, Erevan, which is to the south, at the entrance to the plain lands of the River Araxes, at a point where the watercourse forms a near peninsula.

Hannibal, who had taken refuge in Armenia after escaping from the Romans, had pointed out to Artashes the strategic and military importance of the place.

The most outstanding representative of the Ataxia dynasty was Tirana (Tirades) II, called the Great. During the forty years of his reign (95-55 b.c.), he extended the boundaries of Armenia to their fullest, making an ally of rival Rome.

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Writer: Hasmik Muradyan
Editor: Eugenia Melkonyan
 Date Added: Wednesday August 02, 2006 07:33:32 

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