Vonones II ARŠAKUNI, King of Media-Atropatene & Parthia
Trdat I ARŠAKUNI, King of Armenia
(-By 88)
Sanatruk II ARŠAKUNI, King of Armenia


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Sanatruk II ARŠAKUNI, King of Armenia 3

  • Married:
  • Died: 110, Armenia

  Orthographic variations: Sanatroukes, Sanatruces, Sanatroces ARSHAKUNI / ARSACID

  Research Notes:

It would appear that the Arsacids of Armenia did not possess the royal privilege of minting coins; this must indeed have been the case if they were strictly subordinate to their suzerain, the Arsacid great king of Iran. Through careful collation of various texts (by U. Ph. Boissevain, Hermes 25, 1980, pp. 328-29, and in his ed. of Dio Cassius, vol. 3, pp. 218-19, notes), sufficient evidence has been obtained to justify inclusion of the name of Sanatroces (Sanatruk), who must have reigned at the turn of the 1st and 2nd centuries, in the list of Armenia’s kings (see Markwart, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte von Eran II, pp. 221-22; Asdourian, op. cit., pp. 100f.; H. Manadian, The Trade and Cities of Armenia, p. 83). Arrian in his Parthica praises this ruler’s merits and equates him with the most illustrious Greeks and Romans (Parthica, fragment 47, ed. A.G. Roos and G. Wirth, Teubner ed., 1968, p. 247). The Armenian authors mention him as the founder of the town of Mcurkʿ (Pʿawstos Buzand 4.14 = Langlois, I, p. 250; Mar Abas Katina apud Pseudo-Sebeos = Langlois, I, p. 195; Movsēs Xorenacʿi 2.36 = Langlois, II, p. 99). He was buried in a tomb of cyclopean construction at Ani (Pʿawstos 4 = Langlois, I, p. 261). Probably he is the same person as the King Sanatruk whom the hagiographic tradition blames for the martyrdoms of the Christian missionary St. Thaddeus and of his own daughter Sandukht (on problems arising from this tradition, see F. Tournebize, Histoire politique et religieuse de l’Arménie, Paris, 1910, pp. 410-413; L.S. Koyan, L’Eglise arménienne jusqu’au Concile de Florence, 1961, pp. 29 f.; also M. van Esbroek, Revue des études arméniennes, N.S., 1972, pp. 243-92)....

The supposition that Sanatruk survived until the time of Trajan’s campaign is contradicted by the fact that the throne of Armenia was held about 110 by Axidares, a son of the Parthian monarch Pacorus II. When Pacorus was supplanted by Osroes (i.e. Ḵosrow), the latter deposed Axidares and installed that prince’s brother Parthamasiris without consulting the Roman emperor. This breach of the treaty of Rhandeia gave Trajan a pretext for war. The Roman expeditionary force left Antioch in the autumn of 114. Trajan marched straight into Armenia, the territory in dispute, halting at Satala (in Lesser Armenia) and then at Elegeia (near Erzurum). There, before the assembled Roman troops, he gave an audience to Parthamasiris, who had come in the hope that Trajan would crown him in the same way as Nero had crowned Tiridates. Trajan, however, rejected his claim and then and there declared Armenia to be a Roman province (Dio Cassius 68.19.2-5 and 20.1-3). Thus the Arsacid dynasty’s rule in Armenia was brought to an end. Not long after the meeting, Parthamasiris was killed in obscure circumstances which did not exclude the possibility that Trajan was responsible (Fronto, Principia historiae, Loeb ed., II, pp. 212-14; Arrian, Parthica, fragment 39; Dio Cassius 68.17.4; see also A. V. Gutschmid, op. cit., p. 105; N.C. Debevoise, op. cit., p. 224). Armenia was attached to the province of Cappadocia, which already comprised Lesser Armenia.

Trajan left the task of taking Artaxata to one of his generals (on the presence of a Roman garrison at Artaxata in 116, see Année épigraphique, 1968, nos. 510 and 511). He himself proceeded to Nisibis and thence to Edessa. His triumphant expedition culminating in the capture of Ctesiphon in the summer of 116 will not be discussed here. The Roman conquests were too rapid, and from the spring of 116 onward revolts broke out in all the annexed territories. Armenia was one of the main trouble-spots. Among the rebel leaders a certain Sanatroces/Sanatruk is mentioned (Malalas, Chronographia, ed. L. Dindorf, Bonn, 1831, XI, pp. 270 and 273-74, where he is wrongly described as “king of the Persians”), and attempts have been made to identify him with the king of Armenia discussed above. Also mentioned is Vologeses son of Sanatroces, who concluded an armistice with the Roman governor Lucius Catilius Severus and received from him “a part of Armenia” (Dio Cassius 74.9.6; see also U. Ph. Boissevain, Hermes 25, 1890, pp. 329f.). It must have been a big concession to the opposing side. 1


Sanatruk ... was a member of the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia who succeeded Tiridates I of Armenia as King of Armenia at the end of the 1st century. He was also King of Osroene (reigned 91–109), a historic kingdom located in Mesopotamia. Little or no information is available from either literary or numismatic sources regarding the successor of Tiridates. Through the collation of various Classical and Armenian sources, Sanatruk is assumed to have reigned around the start of the 2nd century.... His merits are praised by Arrian in his Parthica where he is equated with the most illustrious Greeks and Romans. Hagiographic tradition blames him for the martyrdom of the Apostle St. Thaddeus in Armenia, as well as his own daughter, St. Sandukht the Virgin. In 110 the throne of Armenia was held by Axidares, the son of the Parthian monarch of Atropatene, Pacorus II of Parthia who was deposed in 113 by Trajan. A number of sources have named Sanatruk as one of the leaders of the revolt against Trajan's occupation by 117.

Moses of Chorene writes, that Sanatruk while being a child was taken by a sister of King Abgar of Edessa - Avde from Edessa to Armenia through the Kordvats Mountains, where they were caught in a sudden snow storm. They spent three days battling the storm and the child survived thanks to a white coated animal that kept him warm. It is thought that the animal must have been a white dog based on the etymology of the name Sanatruk that was soon after bestowed on the child (San - accusative form of Armenian [word for dog (shun) and truk (truk: tribute/gift ultimately from Armenian tur: give). A literal English translation of Sanatruk would be, Dog's gift. 2

  Marriage Information:

Sanatruk married . . . . . . .


1 Encyclopædia Iranica, Armenia and Iran ii. The pre-Islamic period.

2 Wikipedia article, Sanatruk, citing ANABASIS Studia Classica et Orientalia. 2: 231–248; Hovannisian, Richard G. (1997). The Armenian people from ancient to modern times: from antiquity to the fourteenth century. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 69–70; et al.

3 The British Chronicles, Volume 2, David Hughes, Heritage Books, 2007, p. 604. This secondary source, along with a number of others, show Sanatruk as the son of Meherdates (Mithridates), king of Armenia, and his wife Awde of Osrhoene. Meherdates is in turn shown as a son of Vologases I of Parthia. However, I have been unable to locate any historical reference to said Meherdates. Other secondary sources posit that Sanatruk was the son of King Tiridates (Trdat) of Armenia whom Sanatruk succeeded. Tiridates was the younger brother of the abovenamed Vologases.

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