Armenian Mythology. The Assyrian Queen’s Disastrous Passion for the Armenian King: Ara Geghetsik (the Beautiful) and Shamiram
Painting: Vardges Sureniants, "Shamiram and Ara the Beauiful"
After Aram’s death the power seeds to his son, Ara Geghetsik (Ara the Beatiful). Ninus, who de facto was ruling Assyria that time, made royal presents to Ara as he had made them before, to his father Aram. Ninus’s wife, Shamiram - a lustful and a lascivious woman – had heard about Ara’s incomparable beauty and was looking forward to seeing him, but as she was afraid of her husband, she did not dare to fulfill her desire.
When Ninus dies, Shamiram does not miss the opportunity to show her ardent desire; she sends delegates with lavish gifts to Ara Geghetsik, beseeches him to come to Nineveh; she offers him either to get married with her and become the king of all, or to make her voluptuous wishes come true and peacefully return home with a lot of gifts. Shamiram’s emissaries arrive in Armenia, but Ara categorically refuses to fulfill her wishes. The delegates organize follow-up visits, make new promises, new reassurances and supplications, however Ara continues rejecting them.
Shamiram gets angry, when she realizes that all these negotiations still have no result. She recalls the delegates, gathers the troops and leaves for the Armenian world, to fight against Ara. However, she does not hurry to kill or persecute Ara; she wants to attract Ara’s attention, to make him fulfill her ardent desire and satisfy her concupiscence.
Shamiram reaches the Ara valley which then was called Ayrarat in his honor. Here, before starting the war, Shamiram orders the officers to do their best to leave Ara alive. However, Ara’s troops were smashed and Ara himself was killed by one of Shamiram’s soldiers.
Just after the win, Shamiram sends his soldiers to the battlefield to look for her lovely man. Ara was found dead among a group of soldiers. Shamiram orders to put Ara’s dead body in the garret of the palace.
When the furious Armenian army wants to fight against Shamiram to avenge Ara’s death, Shamiram addresses the troops: “I have ordered my Gods to lick his scars, to make to come to life again”.
Shamiram hoped to use her beauty and charm to revive Ara. When the corpse starts to decompose, Shamiram buries it secretly, dresses one of his lovers like Ara and spreads an announcement that “Aralezes (dog-like creatures, or spirits, in Armenian cultural beliefs or in the Armenian mythology) have revived Ara and have made our dreams and wishes come true. From now on they deserve our worship and glorification more than ever”.
Shamiram erects a statue in honor the Gods who reanimated Ara and makes sacrifices. Spreading the news about Ara’s reanimation over the Armenian world and persuading everybody, Shamiram appeases the nation’s despair.
Source: Movses Khorenatsi “The history of Armenia”
Sargis Harutyunyan “Ancient Armenian Mythology”
Translated Manan Ajamyan