Ara the Beautiful

Shamiram stares at the corpse of Ara the Beautiful (painting by Vardges Sureniants, 1899).

Ara the Beautiful (also Ara the Handsome) Armenian: Արա Գեղեցիկ Ara Geghetsik) is a legendary Armenian hero. He is notable in Armenian literature for the popular legend in which he was so handsome that the Assyrian queen Semiramis waged war against Armenia to get him.

He is sometimes associated with the historical king of Ararat known as Arame who ruled in the 9th century BC.

The legend

Semiramis (in Armenian Shamiram), heard about the beauty of the Armenian king, sent him a letter in which she asked him to become her husband and to ascend to the throne, trying to combine the two powers. However, messengers returned and passed her Ara's refusal which humiliated Shamiram. She felt hatred towards Ara, so she ordered her commanders to capture Ara alive in the region called Ararat, but he was vanquished and killed by one of her sons. His body was found on the battlefield among the other slain soldiers.

See also


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