Ruben L. Manasserian
Key words – Rome, Armenia, Artaxias I, Pharnaces I, Hannibal, Titus Livius, Pontus.
The works of Polibius and of Liny don’t contain any data regarding contacts between Artaxias that had proclamed himself king of Great Armenia in 189 and Rome.
Titus Livius, pointing out the eastern peoples and cities which recognised roman Imperium in the years 184-188, emphaisizes that they all had inhabited the territories laying to the West of Taurus (cis Taurum montem incolunt – Tit. Liv. XXXVIII, 3, 7, 1). According to the Greek geographs (Strabo, XI, 14, 2), Taurus beginning into the north of Armenia (near the upper Euphrates) went down to the south up tu Mesopotamia, thus serving the natural bondary between Asia Minor and Armenia. The conclusion, therefore, may be drawn from these testimonies: unlike the kings of Asia Minor Artaxias avoided to establish relations with Rome and did not aspire to be recognized as a roman friend and ally.
2) Strabon’s and Plutarch’s data of the refuge given to Hannibal by Artaxias at his court (189-186) reflects the true fact. Having admitted that Hannibal Artaxias asserted his independent attitude towards Rome.
3) In 179 Artaxias took part in the conclusion of the peace treaty which put an end to the war between roman allies – Pergamus, Bythania and Cappadocia on the one hand and Pontus and Armenia Minor on the other. The latter were defeated. Artaxias is mentioned the first in the list of the neutral international subjects – participants of this peace treaty (Polyb., XXV, 2). As it is shown in article, the king of Great Armenia played the role of the principal guarantor of the piece treaty, i.e. he pledged to come out against each disturber of the piece. By such Artaxias resolved his strategical aims. He could prevent the threat of transgression of forces’s correlation by stronger site – roman clients’s coalition and could ensure the security of Pontus and Armenia Minor.