Armenia in Political and Military Activities of Ardaxšīr I

Document Type : Original Research Article


Associate Professor, Siedlce University, Institute of History, Poland


In first half of the third century Armenia was much more than an independent buffer state with no wider cultural context, simply placed between two superpowers of the era – Iran and Rome. The idea of the Iranian character of Arsacid’s Armenia should be accepted without further doubts. Political situation of the kingdom changed with taking over the power in Iran by the Persian Dynasty of the Sasanians. Ardaxšīr ī Pābagān utilised the weakening of the Arsacids and stood up against the Parthian dynasty. After defeating Ardawān IV in 224 he declared himself the šāhānšāh of Iran. One of the directions of the military actions of the founder of the new dynasty was an attack against the kingdom of Armenia which was , at the time, ruled by the last branch of the Arsacid royal house and became the last resort of resistance against new authority. Research literature usually limits the problem of early wars with Armenia to information that probably in the late 220s, Ardaxšīr attacked Armenia. Occasionally, the topic is tackled as historical context of the relief from Salmās in Ādurbādagān. An interesting hypothesis based on the interpretation of the Salmās relief was put forward by Eshan Shavarebi, who assumes that between 240 and 242 there may have been an agreement between Ardaxšīr and the Armenians. However, it seems that this hypothesis is built on too fragile foundations. The main motive of the initial actions of the first Sasanian ruler was an attempt to remove the opposition associated with the Parthian dynasty. This motive may be observed in context of Ardaxšīr’s military actions towards Arabic city of Ḥaṭrā.


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