Many readers of the Bible are aware that Ararat is the location where Noah’s ark came to rest (Genesis 8:4), yet few would recognize it on a map, and fewer still would be able to recount much else about this noteworthy place. The land of Ararat (also called Urartu) was indeed mountainous, so it is fitting that Noah’s ark came to rest there, though the Bible does not name a specific peak or exact location. Ararat lay to the north of Assyria and to the south of the fabled land of Colchis, the destination of Jason and the Argonauts in their search for the golden fleece. The peoples of Ararat existed as a loose confederation of smaller kingdoms from about 1300 B.C. until 860 B.C., when they united under a single king and established their capital at Tushpa. The newly formed kingdom of Ararat (shown here) managed to keep the weakened Assyrian Empire at bay until 745 B.C., when Tiglath-Pileser III conquered them. As a result, the Assyrians gained access to the excellent horses of Ararat, which they harnessed to their war chariots. Later, two sons of the Assyrian ruler Sennacherib fled to Ararat after murdering their father (2 Kings 19:37; Isaiah 37:38). Still later the prophet Jeremiah named Ararat among the nations summoned to repay Babylon for its deeds (Jeremiah 51:27). In 590 B.C., the resurgent kingdom of Ararat fell to the Medes and later became absorbed into the Persian Empire. After Alexander the Great freed Ararat (now called Armenia) from the Persians, the region was ruled by the Seleucids. By 69 B.C., however, it had come under Roman rule, and in 12 A.D. it was taken over by the Parthians.

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