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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, 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.
SH65348. Copper tank, Nercessian 356, Bedoukian CCA -, EF, bold strike, superb green patina, superb for the type!, weight 7.394 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Sis mint, 1226 - 1270 A.D.; obverse Armenian inscription: Hetoum King of the Armenians, Hetoum seated facing on bench-like throne, fleur-de-lis tipped scepter (mace) in right, globus cruciger in left; reverse Armenian inscription: Struck in the City of Sis, cross with wedges in the angles; SOLD


Crusaders, Armenian Cilicia, Roupen I, 1080 - 1095 A.D.

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In 1080, Roupen I declared Cilicia independent from the Byzantine Empire, 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 (Andirin, Turkey today), which became a stronghold of the new kingdom.
SH66597. Bronze Pogh, Bedoukian CCA 1 var. (no crescent), Nercessian 245 var. (same), aVF, weight 1.853 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 315o, 1080 - 1095 A.D.; obverse Armenian legend: Raiben (Roupen), cross pattée within circle, pellet in each quarter; reverse Armenian legend: Tsara ay (Servant of God), cross pattée within circle, crescent in one quarter; very rare; SOLD


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

Click for a larger photo
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.
ME83443. Copper kardez, Bedoukian CCA 1393, Choice VF, weight 5.331 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 225o, 1226 - 1270 A.D.; obverse Hetoum seated facing holding scepter with fleur-de-lis and globus cruciger, star left; reverse cross with wedges and a crescent in the angles; SOLD


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

Click for a larger photo
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.
CR65347. Copper kardez, cf. Nercessian 360, Bedoukian CCA 1376, EF, off-center on a tight flan, nice green patina, weight 3.948 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Sis mint, 1226 - 1270 A.D.; obverse Armenian inscription: + Hetoum King of the Armenians, Hetoum riding right, scepter with fleur-de-lis in right; reverse Armenian inscription: + Struck in the City of Sis, cross pattée, wedge in each angle; SOLD


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
CR72028. Silver tram, cf. Bedoukian CCA 237, Nercessian 289, VF, well centered, nicely toned, weight 2.506 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 315o, 1198 - 1219 A.D.; obverse Armenian legend: Levon King of the Armenians, Levon seated facing on throne ornamented with lions, wearing crown and royal mantle on shoulders, cross in right, lis in left, feet on footstool; reverse Armenian legend: By the will of God, patriarchal cross, flanked on each side by a rampant lion facing outwards and looking back inward; SOLD


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

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In 1198, Levon the Magnificent was crowned the first King of Armenian Cilicia. He transformed his Byzantine principality into a thriving, powerful and a unified state, which lasted until it fell to the Mamluks in 1375.
ME58772. Silver tram, cf. Bedoukian CCA 234, Nercessian 286, gVF, toned, weight 2.276 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, 1198 - 1219 A.D.; obverse Armenian legend: + Levon King of the Armenians, Levon seated facing on throne ornamented with lions, wearing crown and royal mantle on shoulders, cross in right, lis in left, feet on footstool; reverse Armenian legend: + By the will of God, patriarchal cross, flanked on each side by a rampant lion facing outwards and looking back inward, pellet on each side of the cross below the lower arm; SOLD


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

Click for a larger photo
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.
CR14604. Copper kardez, Bedoukian CCA 1376, Nercessian 360, VF, weight 5.949 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 180o, 1226 - 1270 A.D.; obverse Hetoum riding right, scepter with fleur-de-lis in right; reverse cross with pellet in each angle; SOLD


Crusaders, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, Levon IV, 1320 - 1342 A.D.

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Levon IV became king at age 10. He rejected terms of a treaty that could have provided protection and support from Western allies and failed to resist the attacks of the Mamluks of Egypt. Many of his coins, paid as tribute to his Mamluk overlords, were overstruck in Arabic, and were traded all over the Arab world. He was assassinated by an angry mob.
ME65300. Bronze Pogh, Nercessian 465 var. (full legend), Bedoukian CCA -, gVF, weight 1.424 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 270o, Sis mint, 1320 - 1342 A.D.; obverse Armenian inscription: + Levon King of the Armenians (last two letters omitted), king seated facing on bench-like throne, cross in right, orb in left; reverse Armenian inscription: + Struck in the City of Sis, cross pattée, nothing in quarters; rare; SOLD


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

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Leo was a valiant and learned prince; he enlarged his principality and became the master of many provinces. A few days only after his taking possession of the country, the descendants of Ismael, under the command of one Roustam, advanced and came against Cilicia. Leo was not frightened, but confiding in God, who destroyed Sanacherib, he vanquished with a few men the great army of the infidels. Roustam himself being killed by St. George, the whole Hagarenian army then fled and dispersed; the Armenians pursued them and enriched themselves by the booty. -- Vahram of Edessa: The Rhymed Chronicle of Armenia Minor
CR80008. Copper tank, Bedoukian CCA 696, Nercessian 301, gVF, weight 7.574 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 90o, Sis mint, 1187 - 1219 A.D.; obverse Armenian legend: Levon King of Armenians, crowned lionized head of Levon facing, five dots on the crown, no curls of hair; reverse Armenian legend: Struck in the city of Sis, patriarchal cross, base flanked by star on each side, no steps under cross; SOLD


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

Click for a larger photo
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
ME85078. Silver tram, cf. Bedoukian CCA 237, Nercessian 289, F, toned, weight 3.005 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 315o, 1198 - 1219 A.D.; obverse Armenian legend: Levon King of the Armenians, Levon seated facing on throne ornamented with lions, wearing crown and royal mantle on shoulders, cross in right, lis in left, feet on footstool; reverse Armenian legend: By the will of God, patriarchal cross, flanked on each side by a rampant lion facing outwards and looking back inward; SOLD




  




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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, October 23, 2019.
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Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia