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The ancient Kingdom of Armenia existed for six centuries, divided into successive reigns by three royal dynasties: Orontid (321-200 BC), Artaxiad (189 BC-12 AD) and Arsacid (52-428). The Persian satrapy Armenia became a kingdom in 321 B.C. after Alexander's conquest of Persia. Under the Seleucid Empire, Armenia was divided into Armenia Major and Sophene, both of which passed to members of the Artaxiad dynasty in 189 B.C. The Kingdom of Armenia peaked from 83 to 69 B.C., under Tigranes the Great, after it reincorporated Sophene and conquered the falling Seleucid Empire. Armenia was an empire for a brief period, until it was conquered by Rome in 69 B.C. The Artaxiad kings ruled as clients of Rome until, suspected of allegiance to Parthia, they were overthrown in 12 A.D. During the Roman-Parthian Wars, the Arsacid dynasty was founded when Tiridates I, a member of the Parthian Arsacid dynasty, was proclaimed King of Armenia in 52. The Kingdom of Armenia often served as a client state or vassal at the frontier of the two large empires and their successors, the Byzantine and Sassanid empires. From 114 to 118, Armenia briefly became a Roman province. In 301, Tiridates III proclaimed Christianity as the state religion, making the Armenian kingdom the first state to officially embrace Christianity.
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