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The principality and Kingdom of Cilicia (1080-1375)
With the fall of the Bagratids and the occupation of historical Armenia, everything now seemed lost.

But it was precisely at this moment of maximum dispersion that we see the re-emergence of a strength that led to the formation of a new Armenian state, through some miracle of the tenacious will to survive.

The little kingdom took shape on a territory not far from historical Armenia, to the southwest, in Cilicia, which had housed Armenian colonies since the very early days.

There were many of these colonies and they were consistent, a consequence of the mass migrations that took place after the kingdoms of the motherland had collapsed.

The founder of the new dynasty in Cilicia was a prince named Ruben, probably a relative of the last king of Ani, Gagik II.

After a series of long, harsh battles, Ruben succeeded in establishing his authority in the mountainous regions of Cilicia, founding a principality that bore his name: Rubinian.

This is generally held to have occurred in 1080.

One most important point is exactly how this state was formed.

Strictly speaking, it had nothing to do with the principle of free conquest that governed invasions.

The Armenian princes and feudal families that had emigrated to Cilicia and the neighbourring regions had been driven there by the Byzantine government itself, which gave them land in exchange for the territories the empire had confiscated.

The formation of an autonomous Armenian state in Cilicia was the outcome of the revolt against this vassalage, in an attempt to recover lost dignity

The most critical period for the principality was frorn 1137 to 1145, when John II Comnenus invaded Cilicia and captured Prince Levon (Leo) I, taking him off to Constantinople in chains.

It was then up to T"oros II, son of Levon, to escape from prison and reorganize the Armenian state of Cilicia, at the harsh cost of terrible battles waged against far superior forces led by Emperor Manuel I Comnenus himself (1143-1180).

Now sure of its existence, the principality soared dizzily higher and at the close of the century officially declared itself a kingdom.

In 1199, Prince Levon II, who came to the throne in 1187, managed to have himself recognized as king by the three great powers of the times, the Germanic empire, Byzantium and Saladin.

With Levon, dubbed the Magnificent and known as Levon I in the royal succession, Armenian Cilicia lived through its period of greatest splendour.

Levon died in 1219, leaving his daughter Zabel, only nine years old, as his only successor.

In 1226, Zabel married Prince Het"um, from the powerful Het"umian family of Lambron (Nemrun).

These bitter rivals of the Rubinian dynasty now pacifically took over the throne.

One of the most significant accomplishments of Het"um I in his very long reign (1226-1270) was his journey to distant Karakorum in Mongolia (from 1253 to 1256) in order to form an alliance with the Mongol sovereign Mangu Khan, grandson of Genghis.

The main object of the alliance which was drawn up before the conversion of the Mongols to Islam (1295) and is a mark of Hat"um"s great political perspicacity and wisdom was the defeat of Sultans of Aleppo and Egypt.

 
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Writer: Hasmik Muradyan
Editor: Eugenia Melkonyan
 
 
 Date Added: Wednesday August 02, 2006 07:48:47 
 




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