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 Argishti I

        The kingdom of Van became a powerful state during the reign of Argishti I (786-764 BC). Owing to the “Khorkhoryan chronicle” (“Khorkhoryan taregrutyun”) and other inscriptions on the south-western part of rock of Van, we can follow the chronology of his activities. The second year of the reign of Argishti I (785 BC) was successful.  First of all he invaded Diaukhi and united the largest part of the country (which was rich in metal mines) to his state. The second attack was directed to Etuini union and to some neighboring countries; the reason was their military aid to Diaukhi union. The army of Van established its dominion over those countries reaching to the borders of land Abuni (later Havnunik). Then Argishti reached to Kars plateau, after which he invaded Zabakha (Javakheti) up to the mount Sirimu (later Surami Mountains). 

         In the chronicle it is mentioned that Argishti “did these great things in one year”. In 784 BC Argishti I continued his northern invasions. He conquered land Abiliani (later Abeghyank district) and Veduri-Etiuni region (“Jrayin Etiuni” (“Water Etiuni”)) situated in the basin of Lake Sevan, which was the part of Etiuni union, as well as other princedoms.

       Another invasion strengthened the power of kingdom of Van in south-western parts from Lake Urmia: in the region of the river Great Zab and the routes, which from Assyria led to the basin of Lake Urmia and to Armenian Highland were passed under control of Argishti I. In the fourth year of his reign (783 BC) Argishti carried out an invasion to the west: the territory of Asia Minor. After king Menua he again conquered Melitea, Khatinili, Tabal (Tobel in Bible). separating the latter from the kingdom of Melitea. The king returned from the western invasion with thousands of captives and with trophy.

         As a result of this invasion all the roads leading to Asia Minor were closed for Assyria. In 782 BC the army of Van first conquered “sea district” Kekhuni (Geghuni) in the north of the basin of lake Sevan (which was the part of Etiuni union), then he continued his victorious invasions up to Alishtu: Aghstev valley. In the same year the fortress of Erebuni was founded, where 6600 warriors were settled, who had been brought from trans-Euphrates Khati and Tsupani (Sophene) countries.

          Then the invasion continues to north-west up to Tashir province of Gugarats ahskharh (land). The kingdom of Van was going to invade south. In 781 BC Assyria invaded the first, in order to prevent the success of the Armenian army. Assyrian sources mention that. Argishti not only defeated Assyrian troops, but also continued his invasion to south: from Zagrosyan mountains up to Parsua (later Parsk) and Babylonia (in the original land Babilu), which extended up to Persian Gulf. So Argishti occupied Assyria form north, east and south. Next year he invaded Zagros. So in 786-781 BC of Van became a  great power during the reign of  Argishti I, which stretched  to Asia Minor in the West, to Zagrosyan mountains in the North, and to Babylonia in the South. 

        Argishti continued his triumphant campaign, the latter was depicted in “Khorkhoryan chronicle” (“Khorkhoryan taregrutyun”). 

        In particular it depicts military clashes in southern part of Lake Urmio in 779-777 BC, victorious war against Assyria in 778 BC. Assyrian sources give some information about wars against Urartu in 781-778 BC, where Assyria was defeated.

In 779 BC Argishti reached to the basin of Lake Hyusisayin tsovak. 

     In 775-773 BC Argishti continued his invasions, during which he defeated the countries that collaborated with Assyria and set up his power in southern regions of Lake Urmo.  He carried out some new invasions to north and west.

 So, in the reign of Argishti I the kingdom Biainili-Urartu-Ararat had great successes and became one of the powers in Western Asia. 

    Argishti decided to strengthen his powers in the occupied territories. He founded towns, large administrative centers in the occupied territories, like Erebuni and Argishtikhinili founded in 776 BC on Ararat valley. Then new canals were built, lands for cultivation were extended. All these measures were taken to meet the needs of the state. 

                                                                                                                                   Movsisyan A.