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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Medieval & Modern Coins| ▸ |Armenian Cilicia||View Options:  |  |  | 

The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia

Outside the Armenian Highland and distinct from Armenian the Kingdom of Antiquity, Armenian Cilicia was a Christian kingdom formed by refugees fleeing the Seljuk invasion. In 1198, with the crowning of Levon the Magnificent, Armenian Cilicia became a kingdom. The capital was originally at Tarsus, and later at Sis. Cilician Armenia thrived economically, with the port of Ayas serving as a center for East to West trade. The kingdom adopted Western European feudalism and customs for the nobility including chivalry, fashion, and the use of French titles, names, and language. The fall of Sis and then the fortress of Gaban to the Mamluks put an end to the kingdom in 1375. The last king, Levon V, was granted safe passage, and died in exile in Paris.Persian Empire


Crusaders, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, Levon I, 1187-1219 A.D.

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Leo II, or Lewon I, Levon I, and sometimes Levon I the Magnificent, was the tenth lord of Armenian Cilicia or “Lord of the Mountains” 1187–1198 - 1199 and the first king of Armenian Cilicia. During his reign, Leo succeeded in establishing Cilician Armenia as a powerful and a unified Christian state with a preeminence in political affairs. Leo eagerly led his kingdom alongside the armies of the Third Crusade and provided the crusaders with provisions, guides, pack animals and all manner of aid. Under his rule, Armenian power in Cilicia was at its apogee: his kingdom extended from Isauria to the Amanus Mountains
CR89016. Silver tram, Nercessian 282 ff., gVF, toned, weight 2.869 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 270o, Armenia mint, obverse Armenian legend: Levon King of the Armenians, king seated on throne ornamented with lions, his feet resting on a footstool, wearing a crown and royal mantle on his shoulders, cross in right hand, fleur-de-lis in left hand; reverse Armenian legend: By the will of God, long cross with two bars, between two rampant lions facing outward, heads regardant; ex Münzenhandlung Brom (Berlin, Germany); $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Crusaders, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, Hetoum I, 1226 - 1270 A.D.

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As the Mongols approached, King Hetoum made a strategic decision to send his brother Smpad to the Mongol court in Karakorum and agree to become a vassal state of the Mongol Empire. In 1254, Hetoum himself traveled to Mongolia to renew the agreement. The account of his travels, "The Journey of Haithon, King of Little Armenia, To Mongolia and Back" is still important for its observations of Mongol, Buddhist, and Chinese culture, geography, and wildlife. The Mamluks invaded Armenia in 1266, taking 40,000 Armenians captive, including Hetoum's son, Leo. Hetoum abdicated in 1270 in favor of his son Leo, and lived out the rest of his life in a monastery, as a Franciscan monk.
CR89073. Silver tram, cf. Nercessian 332, aVF, toned, weight 2.870 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 90o, Sis mint, obverse Armenian legend: Hetoum king of the Armenians, crowned lion standing right, long cross in center on far side dividing legend above; reverse Armenian legend: By the will of God, King Hetoum (on right) and Queen Zabel standing holding long cross between them, star low on shaft; ex Munzhandlung Ritter (Düsseldorf, Germany); $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Crusaders, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, Hetoum I, 1226 - 1270 A.D.

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As the Mongols approached, King Hetoum made a strategic decision to send his brother Smpad to the Mongol court in Karakorum and agree to become a vassal state of the Mongol Empire. In 1254, Hetoum himself traveled to Mongolia to renew the agreement. The account of his travels, "The Journey of Haithon, King of Little Armenia, To Mongolia and Back" is still important for its observations of Mongol, Buddhist, and Chinese culture, geography, and wildlife. The Mamluks invaded Armenia in 1266, taking 40,000 Armenians captive, including Hetoum's son, Leo. Hetoum abdicated in 1270 in favor of his son Leo, and lived out the rest of his life in a monastery, as a Franciscan monk.
CR89706. Copper kardez, Nercessian 362, cf. Bedoukian CCA 1393, F, green patina, buff earthen fill, weight 6.109 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 330o, Sis mint, 1226 - 1270 A.D.; obverse Armenian inscription: + Hetoum King of the Armenians, king seated facing on bench-like throne, fleur-de-lis tipped scepter (mace) in right, globus cruciger in left, star left; reverse Armenian inscription: + Struck in the City of Sis, cross pattée, crescent in the upper right quarter, wedge in other three quarters; ex Beast Coins; $40.00 (€35.20)
 


Crusaders, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, Levon I the Magnificent, 1198 - 1219 A.D.

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Leo, having governed the country twelve years as Baron and twenty-two as King, felt his end approaching, and appointed in an assembly of the whole nobility of the kingdom, a certain baron named Atan to be Regent of the country and guardian of his daughter. Leo died soon after and was buried in the church of Agner; a part of his body was brought into the town of Sis, and a church was built thereupon. -- Vahram of Edessa: The Rhymed Chronicle of Armenia Minor
CR91871. Copper tank, cf. Bedoukian CCA 715, Nercessian 303, VF, broad flan, earthen deposits, light marks, uneven strike with parts of legend a little weak, weight 7.086 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 90o, Sis mint, 1198 - 1219 A.D.; obverse Armenian legend: Levon King of Armenians, crowned lionized head of Levon facing, six dots on the crown, and a single curl of hair; reverse Armenian legend: Struck in the city of Sis, patriarchal cross, base flanked by star on each side, no steps under cross; $40.00 (€35.20)
 







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REFERENCES|

Bedoukian, P. Coinage of Cilician Armenia. ANSNNM 147. (1962).
Bedoukian, P. Medieval Armenian Coins. (Paris, 1971).
Bedoukian, P. "Two Hoards of Levon II Trams" in Selected Numismatic Studies II. (Los Angeles, 2003).
Kovacs, F. "Additions and corrections to Armenian coins and their values" in Armenian Numismatic Journal 30/3. (2004).
Metcalf, D.M. "Classification of the Trams of Levon I of Cilician Armenia" in RBN CXVIII. (1972).
Nercessian, Y. T. Armenian Coins and Their Values. Armenian Numismatic Society, Special Publication No. 8. (Los Angeles, 1995).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, November 20, 2019.
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Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia