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Aghtsk 2: Crypt, Arshakuni Burial Crypt and Line of Kings, The Arshakuni Dynasty, Line of Armenian Arshakuni kings.

 Arshakuni Burial Crypt and Line of Kings

Enter the lower chamber, a small space with niches on the north and south and a semi-circular apse at the east end. In the niches you will find two ossuaries (bone vaults) where the bones of the Arshakuni kings were kept. Their carvings incorporate early Christian and pagan motifs.

On the right (S) is a design of the biblical story of Daniel in the Lion's Den and a motif of rams, evoking the predicament Armenia was in at the time, caught between the jaws of the Sassanids and Byzantine Rome. On the opposite side (N) is a picture of fantastic mythical heroes or gods, with astrological imagery of birds, a bull calf amid a grape vine, a cross in a circle with two birds perched on top and a hunter with two dogs striking a wild boar.

The Arshakuni Dynasty

The Arshakuni dynasty is the longest dynasty of Armenian kings, encompassing 400 years of Armenian history. These kings saw Armenia's conversion to Christianity, the cementing of its unique national character and struggle for independence. It fell through disunity and in-fighting between the nakharars (Armenian princes) and pressure from outside forces (Romans and Sassanids) and it would be another 400 years before an equally powerful dynast of kings would rise, with the Bagratunis.

Line of Armenian Arshakuni kings

T'rdat (Tiridates) I (from 52, officially 66-68)
Sanatruk (88-110)
Ashkhadar (Axidares) (110-113)
Partamasir (Parthamasiris) (113-114)
Vagharsh (Valarsaces) I (117-140/144)
Bakur (Pakoros) II (161-163)
Vagharsh (Valarsaces) II (186-198)
Khosrov I (198-216)
T'rdat (Tiridates) II (217-252)
Khosrov II the Great (279-287)
T'rdat (Tiridates) III the Great (287-330)
Khosrov III the Small (330-338)
Tiran (Tiranes) (338-350)
Arshak II (350-368)
Pap (369-374)
Varazdat (374-378)
Arshak III (378-389)
Khosrov IV (384-389)
Vram Shapuh (389-417)
Artash (Artaxes) III (422-428)

Text edited by ICOMOS-Armenia, approved by the Ministry of Culture for the Republic of Armenia.