Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Orontid Dynasty: Orontes IV

Coin ascribed to a "Arsames II" who is supposed to have ruled in 230 BC, with the words on the reverse "Basileus Arsamou". However there are no records of such a king. The name "Orontid" seems to have been a title that went with a name. Orontes IV may be the same person as Arsames II.
Orontes IV was the son of King Arsames and is recorded as ruling Armenia from inscriptions found at the historic city of the Orontid dynasty, Armavir.
In his reign the religious site of Bagaran was founded.
Large bronze statues in the Hellenistic style of the gods, Zeus (Aramazda), Artemis (Anahit) and Herakles (Vahagn) were brought there and set up in temples dedicated to them.
He is also said to have founded a shrine at Armavir dedicated to Apollo (Mithra), a golden statue of four horses pulling a chariot with Apollo as god of the Sun. This was later destroyed by the Sassanid Persian army in the 4th century AD.

King Antiochus III instigated a revolt against King Orontes IV in about 200 BC.
Strabo, who wrote about this over 200 years later, stated that it was "general Artaxias" who overthrew King Orontes IV.
However Aramaic inscriptions found at Armavir state that King Orontes IV died at the hands of his own army, in other words by betrayal. This was most likely bribery by King Antiochus III of the Armenian army.
They also testify that Artaxias was the son of Zareh and an Orontid king.

Artaxias took over as Satrap soon afterwards, according to Strabo.

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