Tiran of Armenia

Tiran (Armenian: Տիրան, flourished second half of the 3rd century & first half of the 4th century) known also as Tigranes VII or Tigranes[1] and Diran[2] was a Prince who served as a Roman Client King of Arsacid Armenia from 339 until 350. He was a contemporary and is associated with the life of Saint Sarkis the Warrior and his son, Saint Mardiros.

Tiran of Armenia
King of Armenia
PredecessorKhosrov III of Armenia
SuccessorArshak II of Armenia
Arsaces II (Arshak II)
FatherKhosrov III the Small

Tiran was the son, successor and was among the children born to Khosrov III Kotak[3][4] by an unnamed mother, thus was a grandson of Tiridates III of Armenia[3] and his wife, Ashkhen. He was the maternal uncle of St. Nerses I who would become a future Catholicos of Armenia. Tiran was named in honor of the monarchs named Tigranes of the Artaxiad Dynasty. The name Tigranes, was the most common royal name in the Artaxiad Dynasty and was among the most ancient names of the Kings of Armenia.[5]

When his father died in 339, Tiran succeeded his father as King of Armenia. Little is known on life, prior to becoming King of Armenia. Tiran was a lukewarm Christian[1] and was the first Arsacid ruling monarch to aggressively pursue a policy on Arianism.[6] Although Tiran was endorsed by the Christian aristocrats of Armenia, the King was a disappointment, intellectually and morally.[4] The reign of Tiran was blemished by conflicts both internally and externally.

Tiran had antagonised the clergy and the great Mamikonian family, who had been the mainstay to the throne.[4] He had many disagreements with the reigning Catholicos and his relation St. Husik I. St. Husik I had criticised Tiran on his public and private conduct.[4] This led Tiran in ordering the death of St. Husik I who was beaten to death on Tiran's orders, because the Catholicos denied him entry to a church in Sophene on a feast day[4] in 347. Tiran massacred two leading Armenian families the Ardzruni and Reshtuni, who he accused in having secret relations with the Sassanids and tried on various occasions which failed to crush the power of the Armenian feudal lords[7] which were among his acts of committed barbarity.[7]

In Tiran's foreign policy he was mainly concerned with the Sassanid King Shapur II.[3] Shapur II launched a war on Rome and her allies, firstly by persecuting the Christians that lived in Persia and Mesopotamia.[7] Shapur II's war by capturing these territories began to dealt a severe blow to Roman prestige in the East.[7]

Shapur II invaded Armenia with his army and eventually took Tiran, his Queen and their family as hostages.[7][3] Tiran and his family were betrayed by his chamberlain to Shapur II.[7][3] Tiran and his family became Sassanid political prisoners, which Tiran was blinded and thrown into prison, after Tiran was accused by Shapur II of collusion with Rome.[7]

The Armenian nobles infuriated by the brutality of Shapur II and his treatment of Tiran and his family, took up arms and fought against Shapur II and his army with assistance from the Romans.[7] They successfully drove Shapur II and his army out from Armenia. After Shapur II was defeated, he had signed a treaty and agreed to release Tiran and his family from prison. As Tiran was depressed and blinded, he abdicated his throne and his second son Arsaces II (Arshak II), succeeded him father as Armenian King in 350.

Tiran married an unnamed woman by whom he had three sons and a daughter, who were: Artaxias,[8] Arsaces II (Arshak II),[8] Tiridates[8] and Eranyak.[9]


  1. ^ a b Chahin, The Kingdom of Armenia: A History, p.221
  2. ^ "The Armenian Church - The Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America - The Saints: St. Sarkis the Warrior and His Son, St. Mardiros". Retrieved Sep 4, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e "ARMENIA AND IRAN ii. The pre-Islamic period – Encyclopaedia Iranica". www.iranicaonline.org. Retrieved Sep 4, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Kurkjian, A History of Armenia, p.102
  5. ^ Hovannisian, The Armenian People From Ancient to Modern Times, Volume I: The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century, p.48
  6. ^ Terian, Patriotism And Piety In Armenian Christianity: The Early Panegyrics On Saint Gregory, p.18
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Kurkjian, A History of Armenia, p.103
  8. ^ a b c Movses Khorenatsi’ History of Armenia, 5th Century, Book III, Chapter 13
  9. ^ Kurkjian, A History of Armenia, p.262


See alsoEdit