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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.
Crusaders, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, Hetoum I, 1226 - 1270 A.D.
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, Smpad, 1296 - 1298 A.D.
Smpad seized the throne with the aid of his brother Constantine while his brothers Hetoum II and Thoros were in Constantinople. He blinded and imprisoned Hethum II and Thoros upon their return and later ordered Thoros murdered. Constantine then turned against Smpad, usurped the throne for himself, imprisoned Smpad and freed Hetoum. After Hetoum regained power, Constantine plotted with Smpad, but they failed and were imprisoned for the rest of their lives. CR89607. Bronze Pogh, Nercessian 412, F, weight 1.923 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, Sis mint, 1296 - 1298 A.D.; obverse Armenian inscription: + Smpad king of the Armenians, king on horseback right, holding reins and long cross; reverse Armenian inscription: + Struck in the city of Sis, cross pattée, dove flying inward in each quarter; scarce; $28.00 (€24.64)
Crusaders, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, Roupen I, 1080 - 1095 A.D.
Roupen I declared Cilicia independent from the Byzantine Empire in 1080, founding the Roupenian dynasty, which ruled Cilician Armenia until 1219. He led bold and successful military campaigns against the Byzantines, including capturing the fortress of Pardzerpert (today Andirin in Turkey), which became a stronghold of the new kingdom.SH65204. Bronze Pogh, Bedoukian CCA 1, Nercessian 245, VF, weight 2.476 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, obverse Armenian legend: Raiben. (Roupen), cross within circle, pellets in quarters; reverse Armenian legend: Tsara ay (Servant of God), cross within circle, pellets in quarters; rare; SOLD
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).
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