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Known also as "Ara the Beautiful" and "Ara the Fair", "Ara the Handsome" is a legend from ancient Armenia about a king who was so handsome, the Queen of Assyria waged war with Armenia just to have him.
The tale begins with Queen Semiramis asking King Ara to marry her. She had heard of his beauty and would stop at nothing to have him, having even driven her husband away because of her lust for Ara. But Ara declined, because he already had a wife named Nvard. When he refused, Semiramis declared war on Armenia, and sent her armies to attack the country and bring Ara back to her alive. However, during the war he was slain, later on his body was found among the bodies of dead Armenian soldiers. Semiramis was furious. However, in order to both calm the Armenian armies who now wanted to fight to avenge Ara's death and fulfill her obsessive lust for Ara, she vowed to use black magic to resurrect Ara. She placed Ara's body upon her castle and called upon the spirits of hounds to lick his wounds clean and heal him, but this was unsuccessful. Grief-stricken, she instead had Ara buried at the foot of a mountain and dressed one of her lovers as Ara to convince the Armenians that she had resurrected him, and the war was concluded.
In the aftermath, Semiramis had all but one of her sons, Ninuas, killed for mocking her lust over Ara. Eventually Ninuas grew up to kill her.
The tale is still quite popular in Armenia to this day, and is still a part of their folk history. Ara was also worshiped by the pagan Armenians as a War God. Ara the Handsome may or may not have been based on the Real Life King Aramu, the first king of Urartu, an empire from the 800's to 500's BC which comprised of much of modern day Turkey and Armenia. And Semiramis may have been based on the Real Life Queen of Assyria, Shammuramat, who was Aramu's contemporary.
A version of the folktale can be read here.
"Ara the Handsome" contains examples of:
- Bishonen: Ara is an example.
- Downer Ending
- Fairest of Them All: A very rare Gender Flip.
- Folk Hero: Ara is still considered one of the forefathers of Armenia, its not uncommon to see statues of him in Armenia or in places with a high Armenian population.
- The Hero Dies
- God Save Us From the Queen
- I Want Them Alive
- Love Makes You Crazy
- Mr. Fanservice: Ara.
- No Guy Wants to Be Chased
- Silly Reason for War: Can you imagine a country going to war over something like this today?
- Stalker with a Crush: Another Gender Flip, as the female stalker is portrayed as villainous.
- World's Most Beautiful Man
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Might have been anyway.
- Your Cheating Heart: Semiramis dumps her husband for Ara. And it's implied since she disguised one of her 'lovers' as Ara later on that she must have had a man-harem or something.