In 34 BCE, the Roman general Mark Antony captured the Armenian king Artavasdes II, who was later executed. Some of his relatives were living in Rome. One of these was a man prince named Artavasdes, who was to become king in Armenia at the beginning of the common era.
Before 6 BCE, perhaps in 8 BCE, Tigranes IV succeeded his father Tigranes III.note[Cassius Dio, Roman History 55.9.9.] The new king appears to have pursued a pro-Parthian policy; the Greco-Roman historian Cassius Dio records that the Armenians were becoming estranged,note[Cassius Dio, Roman History 55.9.4.] which suggests a pro-Parthian policy. Indeed, the Armenian kingdom was at a later stage considered to be in a state of revolt,note[Cassius Dio, Roman History 55.10.18.] causing first some diplomatic exchanges between the Parthian king Phraataces and the emperor Augustus.note[Cassius Dio, Roman History 55.10.18.]
When no solution was achieved, Augustus sent Artavasdes or Artabazus (two ways of spelling the same name) to the east.note[Cassius Dio, Roman History 55.10.20.] The Roman historian Tacitus says that this Artavasdes "was shaken off, not without a measure of discredit to Roman arms";note[Tacitus, Annals 2.4.] Cassius Dio believes that he succumbed to an illness.note[Cassius Dio, Roman History 55.10.20.] Not much later, in the year 2 CE, Tigranes IV died as well: according to Dio, he "perished in a war with barbarians".note[Cassius Dio, Roman History 55.10a.5.]