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Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great (140 – 55 BC) was King of Armenia under whom the country became, for a short time, the strongest state east of the Roman Republic. He was a member of the Artaxiad Royal House. Under his reign, the Armenian kingdom expanded beyond its traditional boundaries, allowing Tigranes to claim the title Great King, and involving Armenia in many battles against opponents such as the Parthian and Seleucid empires, and the Roman Republic.

 

Tigranes had been a hostage until the age of 45 at the court of King Mithridates II of Parthia after the Armenian defeat in 105 BC. Other sources give the date as much earlier, at around 112–111 BC. After the death of King Tigranes I in 95 BC, Tigranes bought his freedom, according to Strabo, by handing over "seventy valleys" in Atropatene to the Parthians.

When he came to power, the foundation upon which Tigranes was to build his Empire was already in place, a legacy of the founder of the Artaxiad Dynasty, Artaxias I, and subsequent kings. The mountains of Armenia, however, formed natural borders between the different regions of the country and as a result, the feudalistic nakharars had significant influence over the regions or provinces in which they were based. This did not suit Tigranes, who wanted to create a centralist empire. He thus proceeded by consolidating his power within Armenia before embarking on his campaign.

He deposed Artanes, the last king of Armenian Sophene and a descendant of Zariadres.