(Artashat) Armenia, U.S.S.R.
Armenian royal city founded by king Artaxias I (190-156 B.C.) on the advice of the exiled Hannibal of
Carthage. “It is situated on a peninsula-like elbow of
land and its walls have the river [Araxes] as protection
all round them” (Strab. 11.14.6
The bed of the Araxes has shifted southwards, leaving the ruins of Artaxata in a “low-lying and rather
swampy site” which is ca. 30 km S of the present
Armenian capital of Erevan. Chosen primarily for defensive reasons, the site may have become unhealthy
quite early in its history since numerous alternative
royal cities were established in the near vicinity, notably
Garni, 35 km to the NE.
Artaxata was several times invaded by Roman forces.
In 68 B.C., Lucullus fought inconclusively in the vicinity.
Pompey subsequently defeated Tigranes, and set him up
as a client king in Artaxata in 66 B.C. Corbulo captured the city in A.D. 58, and Trajan entered it once
again in 114. An inscription of the Fourth Scythian
Legion, dating from 116, has been found. Artaxata was
still of importance in the 4th and 5th c. Systematic
excavations are planned.
C. F. Lehmann-Haupt, Armenien einst
; D. M. Lang; Armenia, Cradle
(1970); C. Burney & D. M. Lang, The
Peoples of the Hills
T. S. MACKAY