Arsames I

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Arsames I
Coinage of Arsames King of Sophene.jpg
Coinage of Arsames, King of Sophene.
King of Armenia, Sophene & Commagene
Reign260 – 228 BC
Coronation260 BC
SuccessorPossibly Arsames II
Xerxes, King of Sophene & Commagene
Died228 BC
Full name
Arsames I
DynastyOrontid Dynasty

Arsames I (Armenian: Արշամ) seems to have taken control of Commagene, Sophene and Armenia in the year 260 BC after the death of his grandfather Orontes III, king of Armenia, and his father Sames, king of Commagene.

Quite why they both died in the same year is not recorded, though it looks suspicious. It is known the Seleucid Empire was always trying to overthrow the Armenian dynasties who still ruled the lands their forebears had in the time of the Achaemenid Empire.

Ziaelas of Bithynia found refuge at the court of king Arsames, and upon the death of king Nicomedes I of Bithynia Ziaelas returned to take the kingdom in 254 BC.

Arsames also supported Antiochus Hierax against his brother, Seleucus II Callinicus, who was defeated at a battle against king Mithridates II of Pontus near Ankara in 239 BC, after which Seleucus lost control of any lands he had across the Taurus mountains. This was to the benefit of Arsames.

Arsames then founded the cities of Arsamosata in Sophene and Arsameia (known today as Eski Kale) in Commagene in 235 BC.

After his death his eldest son Xerxes became king of Commagene, Sophene and Armenia. Orontes IV would succeed Xerxes whilst another son known as "Mithras" (or Mithrenes II) is recorded as being the High Priest of the temple to the Sun and Moon at Armavir.


See also[edit]


Richard G. Hovannisian[1]

  1. ^ The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, 2 vols. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997