Rusa I ruled: 735–714 BC) was a King of Urartu. He succeeded his father, king Sarduri II. His name is sometimes transliterated as Rusas or Rusha. He was known to Assyrians as Ursa (which scholars have speculated is likely a more accurate pronunciation of the name)[1] and possibly Urzana. His birth name may have been Uedipri.[2][3]

Rusa I
King of Urartu
Reign735–714 BC
PredecessorSarduri II
SuccessorArgishti II
IssueMelartua, Argishti II
FatherSarduri II

Before Rusa's reign had begun, his father, King Sarduri II, had already expanded the kingdom to southeastern Anatolia, and had managed to retake various Anatolian territories from Assyria during a brief period of weakness in the Assyrian Empire.

However, when Rusa I inherited the throne, the Assyrians had regrouped under their new king Tiglath-Pileser III and had rapidly become a formidable foe, once more expanding their empire. The Assyrians repeatedly invaded Urartu, thus forcing Rusa I to spend the early years of his reign fighting the forces of Assyria. The conflict took a heavy toll on Urartu, particularly on its economy. After suffering numerous reverses, Urartu lost the territory it had annexed under Sarduri II to Tiglath-Pileser III, and was forced to pay tribute to Assyria.

After Tiglath-Pileser III's death, Urartu became restive during the reign of Shalmanassar V, but not for long. Sargon II, who came to the throne in 722 BC, continued the Assyrian hostility against Urartu. He declared war on Urartu in 715 BC, thus beginning the Urartu-Assyria War. After defeating the Urartian ally, the Kingdom of Mannea, the Assyrians attacked Urartu. Rusa I was decisively defeated in this war and Urartu was once more subjugated, being forced to pay large annual tributes to Assyria. Rusa I also suffered defeats in battles against the encroaching Cimmerians in Gamir at this time. As a result of these losses, Rusa I fled into the mountains of Guriania, unbeknownst to many of his generals and governors.[4]

Following these defeats, Rusa's son, Melartua, was either crowned king in his father's stead or led a rebellion against his father. Rusa I returned to Tushpa and Melartua was subsequently killed by officials loyal to his father.[5]

In 714 BCE, Rusa I committed suicide as a result of the defeats by the Assyrians and Cimmerians.

The Armenian noble Rshtuni clan are said to be descendants of Rusa.

Urartian Art Samples from Rusahinili - Toprakkale in Turkey
Hermitage Museum, Sankt Petersburg Rusahinili - Toprak-Kale, Turkey
Bronze Sculpture of an Urartu God Engraving of Urartu God Teisheba
Urartian Art 04b~.jpg Urartian Art 03.jpg Toprah-Kale.jpg
Left: Sculpture of an Urartian God found at Rusahinili - Toprak-Kale, Turkey, (Hermitage Museum, Sankt Petersburg). Center: Engraving of Urartian Storm and War God Teisheba, which was acquired in Rusahinili - Toprak-Kale, Turkey (Hermitage Museum, Sankt Petersburg). Right: Rusahinili - Toprak-Kale, Turkey, which is located at the east of Modern Van City and Lake Van, named Rusahinili in honor of the king Rusa I.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ James Clackson. The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. Cambridge University Press. p. 108.
  2. ^ Michael Roaf. "Could Rusa son of Erimena have been king of Urartu during Sargon’s Eighth Campaign?" 2012. p. 212.
  3. ^ A. H. Sayce. "The Kingdom of Van (Urartu)". The Cambridge Ancient History, vol. xx: The Assyrian Empire: Part I (Cambridge, 1925) pp. 169-186.
  4. ^ Anne Katrine Gade Kristensen. Who Were the Cimmerians and Where Did They Come From? The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. 1988. p. 67. (,%20Anne%20Katrine%20Gade.pdf)
  5. ^ Anne Katrine Gade Kristensen. Who Were the Cimmerians and Where Did They Come From? The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. 1988. p. 70. (,%20Anne%20Katrine%20Gade.pdf)