Tigranes V, also known as Tigran V (Greek: Τιγράνης, Armenian: Տիգրան, 16 BC-36) was a Herodian Prince who served as a Roman Client King of Armenia from the years 6 to 12.
Family & Life in the Herodian Court
Tigranes was the first-born son of Alexander and Glaphyra. His younger brother was called Alexander and he also had a younger unnamed sister. His nephew Tigranes VI served as a Roman Client King of Armenia during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero (reigned 54-68). His father Alexander was a Judean Prince of Jewish, Nabataean and Edomite descent and was a son of King of Judea Herod the Great and his wife Mariamne. His mother Glaphyra was a Cappadocian Princess, who was of Greek, Armenian and Persian descent. She was the daughter of the King Archelaus of Cappadocia and her mother was an unnamed Princess from Armenia, possibly a relation of the Artaxiad Dynasty.
Tigranes was named in honor of his mother’s Armenian and Hellenic lineage. The name Tigranes was the most common royal name in the Artaxiad Dynasty and was among the most ancient names of the Armenian Kings. Roman Emperor Augustus mentions Tigranes’ Armenian ancestry in his political testament:
Tigranes was born and raised in Herod’s court in Jerusalem. After the death of Tigranes' father in 7 BC Herod acted in an extreme and brutal manner by returning his mother to Cappadocia, forcing her to leave her children under the sole custody of Herod in Jerusalem. Tigranes and his brother remained under Herod’s guardianship so he could be able to control their fates. Another son of Herod’s, Antipater, was concerned for Tigranes and his brother as he expected them to attain higher station than their own late fathers, because of the assistance Antipater considered likely from their maternal grandfather Archelaus.
Herod died in 4 BC in Jericho. After the death of Herod, Tigranes and his brother decided to leave Jerusalem and to live with their mother and her family in the Cappadocian Royal Court. After Tigranes and his brother arrived in Cappadocia, they disowned their Jewish descent, deserted their Jewish religion and embraced their Greek descent, including the religion. However, the family connections with the Herodian Dynasty wasn’t wholly broken. After Tigranes and his brother disowned their Jewish descent, they were considered to be gentiles by fellow Jews. Archelaus had sent Tigranes to live and be educated in Rome.
King of Armenia
In the year 6, Artavasdes III who served as King of Armenia was murdered by his subjects, as he was an unpopular ruler with the Armenians. After the death of Artavasdes III, Augustus revised his foreign policy and appointed Tigranes as King of Armenia. Tigranes was accompanied by Archelaus and Tiberius to Armenia, where he was installed as King at Artaxata. Artaxata became Tigranes' capital. In the year 6, Tigranes ruled Armenia as a sole ruler. Sometime into his reign, the Armenian nobles were unsatisfied with his reign. They rebelled later that year and restored Erato back to the throne. From the years 6-12, Tigranes co-ruled with Erato. His co-rule with Erato is based on numismatic evidence.
Little is known about his reign of Armenia although some coinage has survived from his reign. The surviving coinage is a reflection from his Hellenic and Armenian descent and is evidence that he relinquished his Jewish connections. His royal title is in Greek ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΤΙΓΡΑΝΟΥ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ which means of great King Tigranes. In 12, Erato and Tigranes were overthrown for unknown reasons. Augustus kept Armenia as a client kingdom and appointed Vonones I of Parthia as King of Armenia.
Life after being King of Armenia
After his kingship, Tigranes may have remained in Armenia in contention to reclaim his throne in the first years of the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Around about the year 18 Vonones I died. His maternal grandfather attempted to re-establish Tigranes as King of Armenia. Tigranes may have called upon Archelaus to assist him in regaining his throne and Archelaus may have been charged for treason in Rome for helping a relative who for unknown reasons wasn’t now in favor with the Romans. The Armenian kingship was given to Artaxias III. If Tigranes was successful in regaining his throne and succeeding Archelaus, he would have presided directly or indirectly over a virtual empire.
After the year 18, little is known about the life of Tigranes. His wife was the unnamed daughter of Pheroras, by whom he had no children. Pheroras was his paternal great-uncle and a brother to Herod. Tacitus records that Tigranes as a victim of the reign of terror that marked the latter years of Tiberius. The charges brought against him by Tiberius in year 36 are not stated but it is clear that he did not survive them. His death followed the Roman installation in year 35 of a new client king in Armenia, the Iberian Prince Mithridates, as a part of a broader campaign against Artabanus III of Parthia.