Contacts between the Italian peninsula and the Armenian Highland go back to the Iron Age when the Etruscan civilization traded with the Kingdom of Urartu by way of Phrygia and Ancient Greece. Urartian bronzes, bull-headed cauldrons and pottery were excavated in various parts of Etruscan Italy particularly in Tuscany. The Roman Republic played a pivotal role in the re-establishment of the Kingdom of Armenia in 189 BC. Antiochus III the Great was defeated at the Battle of Magnesia by the Romans which in turn allowed the Armenian strategoi of Antiochus, Artaxias and Zariadres to take control of an independent Armenian Kingdom. The Romans perceiving themselves as the legitimate successors of the Seleucids began to play a more aggressive role in the affairs of the Hellenistic world of Asia Minor starting with the acquisition of Pergamum in 133 BC. The Third Mithridatic War (75– 65 BC ) led Roman forces for the first time directly to the Armenian border. From that point on until the demise of the Kingdom of Armenia in 428, Rome played a significant role in the affairs of Armenia and Armenians. This article explores the history of that relationship, a relationship which alternated between harmony and conflict.
K. R. Maxwell-Hyslop, "Urartian Bronzes in Etruscan Tombs," Iraq, XVIII (1956)
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