RISE OF URARTU:
Iron Age Urartu (aka the Biblical "Kingdom of Ararat" or "Kingdom of Van") was located in the area of
Lake Van. Local people called themselves "Biainili."
It originally was one of several small Nairi states in the Armenian highlands.
In the mid-13th century BC, Shalmaneser I
of Assyria subdued the region. Subsequent Assyrian
rulers campaigned against Urartu.
In the mid-9th century BC, King Arame (aka Aramu) unified the Nairi states and established a capital at
Arzashkun (currently under the waters of Lake Van). Assyrian forces under King
Shalmaneser III captured the
city in 832 BC. Sarduri I, son of Arame, moved the capital to Tushpa
and repulsed the Assyrians. His son, Ishpuini, continued to expand Urartu and defeated Assyrian
troops of King Shamshi-Adad V. Urartu reached its
greatest size during the reign of Argishti I (785-760 BC).
DECLINE OF URARTU:
In 745 BC, Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria
conquered Urartu and seized many horses for his chariots. In 714 BC, Assyrians under
Sargon II and Cimmerian
raids undermined the kingdom of Rusa I, who committed suicide in shame. Later kings defeated the
Cimmerians and made peace with Assyria in 705 BC. Subsequent Cimmerian and Scythian
incursions led Urartu's king to become an Assyrian vassal. Urartu and Assyria fell to invading Scythians
and Medes in 612 BC. Urartu was destroyed by 585 BC.