Greater Armenia

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Tigranes the Great's Armenian Empire

Greater Armenia (Armenian: Մեծ Հայք, Mets Hayk') is the name given to the state of Armenia that emerged on the Armenian Highlands under the reign of King Artaxias I at the turn of the second century BC. The term was used to refer principally to the fifteen provinces that made up Armenian kingdoms throughout the classical, late antique, and medieval periods by contemporary Armenian and non-Armenian authors alike.[1]

Though its borders were in a constant state of flux, Greater Armenia roughly encompassed the area stretching from the Euphrates River in the west, the region of Artsakh and parts of independent Azerbaijan and Iranian Azerbaijan to the east, parts of the modern state of Georgia to the north, with its southern boundary abutting the northern tip of Mesopotamia.

To the Romans it was known as Armenia Maior and to the Greek-speaking peoples as Ἀρμενία Μεγάλη (Armenia Megale), to differentiate it with Lesser Armenia (Pok'r Hayk′, in Latin Armenia Minor).[2] It would later be used to distinguish it from the medieval kingdom that was established in Cilicia, which was sometimes referred to as Little Armenia (not to be confused with Lesser Armenia).



  1. ^ Hewsen, Robert H. "The Geography of Armenia," in The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, vol. 1: The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century, ed. Richard G. Hovannisian. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997), p. 15.
  2. ^ (in Armenian) Yeremyan, Suren. "Mets Hayk'." Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1981, vol. 7, pp. 434-36.

Further reading[edit]

  • Adontz, Nicholas. Armenia in the Period of Justinian: The Political Conditions Based on the Naxarar System, trans. Nina Garsoïan (Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 1970).
  • Hewsen, Robert H.. Armenia: A Historical Atlas (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2001).

See also[edit]