Seleucid influence over Armenia finally dissolved when, in the second century B.C., a local general named Artaxias (Artashes) declared himself King of Greater Armenia and founded a new dynasty in 189 B.C. Artaxias expanded his territory by defining the borders of his land and unifying the Armenian people. The “renaissance of Armenia” was accomplished during the reign of Tigran the Great (95-99 B.C.), who proclaimed himself “King of Kings.” Under Tigran II, Armenia grew to a great degree of military strength and political influence. According to the Greek biographer Plutarch, the Roman general Lucullos said of this king, “In Armenia, Tigran is seated surrounded with that power which has wrested Asia from the Parthians, which carries Greek colonies into Media, subdues Syria and Palestine and cuts off the Seleucids.” And Cicero, the Roman orator and politician, adds,
“He made the Republic of Rome tremble before the powers of his arms.”
Armenia’s borders extended from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean.