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The Cilician Kingdom of Armenia

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Year:
1978
Publisher:
Scottish Academic Press
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english
Pages:
143
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0-7073-0145-9
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THE CILICIAN KINGDOM
OF ARMENIA

-

T. S. R. BOASE

A. W. LAWRENCE

J. G . DUNBAR & W. W. M. BOAL
J. S. C . RILEY-SMITH

Edited by T . S. R. BOASE

SCOTTISH ACADEMIC PRESS
E D I N B U R G H 8; L O N D O N

Published by
Scottish Academic Press Ltd
33 Montgornery Street, Edinburgh EH7 5JX

PREFACE

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in
any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanicaI, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission
of Scottish Academic Press Ltd.

I
HIGI?LR EDUCATION
ACCESS

,

No:

/

120109
- -

CLASS MO:

C,%
&

Printed in Ereat Britain by

.L.

I

--F

R. & R. Clark Ltd, Edinburgh

rom the second half of the eleventh century for some three hundred years
Cilicia was under Armenian rulers. In 1198 it became a kingdom; in 1375
the last king was carried away a captive into Egypt. Its history is a stormy
one of frontier wars and internal discords, but amidst the turmoil there were
writers and artists of distinction and a civilisation as genuine as it was precarious. It is a story that still awaits definitive telling. Father Leonce Alishan
published in Venice in 1888 and 1899 two volumes which have been the foundation for later studies, but which have some of the inevitable faults of pioneer
work in an obscure and difficult field. More recent accounts, apart from G . G.
Micaelian" Istorya, untranslated from the Russian, have summarised events in
comparatively brief chapters, of which those of Sirapie Der Nersessian in the
Wisconsin Hidmy of the Cmades II and her own volume The Amertians are
the most authoritative. General histories of the crusades and of the Comnenian
emperors have had to deal with Armenian affairs, and in C. Cahen's Lu Syrie du
Nmd and J. B. Segal's Edessa the neighbouring lands, a t times under Armenian
occupation, have received magisterial treatment. The Armenian kingdom requires, however, fuller cons;derat;on in its own right, although there are good
seasons ; why it has not received it. Ideally the narrator requires linguistic knowledge of Armenian, Syriac, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Turkish and Russian. Even
more searching art the topographical problems, Much of the territory has never
been surveyed for medieval remains; nomenclature has changed bewilderingly,
and many important Armenian sites are not yet certainly identified.
M u c h valuable work is being done and this volume is therefore an interim
report which sets down information and theories that in some cases have had
long periods of gestation. The castle of Baghras, still an impressive ruin, w a s
the key position in Armenian-Antiochene mlations, but has never 'been pubfished
in any detail, and it is more than time that Professor A. W. Lawrence's long
acquaintance with it should be made available. Azgit is a fortress with little

F

@ Soottish Academic Press 1978

Vi

THE CILICIAN KINGDOM OF ARMENIA

central place in Armenian frontier policies. The military orders of the Hospital
and Temple had at times an important role in the Cilician kingdom, and we
are fortunate to have historians as well qualified as Dr LuttreII and Dr RileySmith to deal with this particular issue. The gazetteer will reveal its own purpose and its own Iimitations. However incomplete it may be it represents an
essentid task in Cilician-Armenian studies. Much of it is the result of Professor
Lawrence's research (aided by Professor R. B. Serjeant on Arabic sources), but
the responsibility for the decisions taken is mine.
In the vexed matter of forms of names, I can claim no consistency, nor I
think could I have achieved it. I have used those forms that seem to me most:
familiar and most likely to be easiIy identifiable to EngIish readers, and in
some places in the gazetteer those used by the authoritim to which I refer.
Even between the various contributions there is not entire uniformity, and
Dr Riley-Smith for instance uses Gaston, the Templars"erm, for Baghras.
This book is published with gratefuIly acknowledged financial assistance
from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

CONTENTS
PREFACE

AB3R.E VIA TJONS

T. S. R. BOASE
I

1

PUBLISHER%
NOTE. Dr Boase died before he had finished revising his
chapters of the manuscript, and publication, in consequence, was delayed.
Profecsor Lawrence kindly expanded the unfinished captions to the plates.
He also provided twenty-five of his own photographs, those of Baghms
having particular importance, for the castle has suffered much damage
since the photographs were taken.

r.

THE HISTORY OF THE KINGDOM
by T. S. R. Boase

z.

THE CASTLE OF BRGHRAS
by A. W. Lawrence

3.

THE CASTLE OF AZGIT
by J. G.Dunbar and W. W.M. Boa1

4.

THE TEMPLARS &W THE TEUTONIC KNIGHTS
IN CIEICIAN ARMENIA
'by J. S. C.RiIey-Smith

5.

THE HOSPTTALLERS' INTERVENTIONS IN
CILICIAN ARMENIA 1291-1375
by A. T.Lurtrelf

6.

GAZETTEER

1,

'by T.S.

R. Boase

APPENDIX: The Rulers af Cilicim Armm'u
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX

viii

ILLUSTRATIONS

T H E C I L l C I A N K I N G D O M OF A R M E N I A

Plates: cmtd.

ILLUSTRATIONS
Plates
I.

Silifke: from the west

2.

Silifie: southern exterior

fmttt&ecc

facing page 8

22.

Baghras: gallery

23.

Baghras: gallery hall from the north

f o l l m h g page 68

68

24. Baghras: hall and platform

65

25. Baghtas: view to plain of Antioch

68

3. S s : from the south

I6

26. Baghras: interior of hall from the east

68

4. Vahka: from the south-west

20

27. Baghras: niches and doorway in hall

68

5. The incredulity of St. Thomas

24

28. Baghras: service court

68

6. Lampron: apartments at end of inner ward

32

29. Baghras: north end of service court

68

7. Calendria in 1838

36

30. Baghras: vault of chapel

68

8. Baghras in 1838

40

gr . 'Baghrrw: chapel and south-wmt tower

68

g. Baghras: plan and section

48

32. Baghras: windcnv in chapel

68

33 Baghras: undercroft

68

68

34. Baghras: basement of south-west tower

68

bg

35. Azgit: from the west

r g. Baghras: from the south-east

68

36. Azgit: h the south-east

14. Baghras:

68

37. Aagit: west curtain wnU and west postern

100

15. Baghras: ramp

68

38. Azgit: south curtain wall md keep

1 04

r 6. Baghras: gate tower from ramp

68

39. Azgit: west postern

II2

17. Baghras: bossed tower from the north

6%

40.

Baghras: interim of bossed tower

68

41.Corycus: the land castle

120

19. Baghras: room over gallery

68

42. Corycus: the sea castle

128

Baghras: from the west

68

43 Rnamur: east face of curtain wall

I 36

68

44.

10.

Baghras: from the north

s I . Baghras: from the east
12, Baghras:

18.

20.

21. Baghras:

outer m c d e fmm the east

interior of gate tower

mouth of gallery

following page 68

Sarvantikar: curtain wall

Bodrum: seen beyund classical ruins

fan'73g page 88

96

116

X44

T H E CILICLAN K I N G D O M O F A R M E N I A

X

Plates: m t d .
45. Til Hamdoun: from the south-east

facing page r 5 2

46. Til Hamdoun: the pouth-west corner

160

47. Yilan TCale: from the river

r 68

4&. YiIan Kale: towers and main entrance

176

ABBREVIATIONS

Photographs: Plates I -12, 14-31, 33, 34, 41,42, Courtauld Institute (A. W.
Lawrence); Plates 4, 35-39, J. Dunbaq Plate g, Phoebe H.Brown; Plate 5 ,
J. Carslake; Plates 13,32,M. R. E. Gough Plates I-3,43-47%A. F. Kersting;
Plate 6, J. Peck; Plates 40, 44-46- 48, J . Thornson.

AOL

Archives de I'Orint /atin

AS

Anatolian S h d k

E n p a ~ i n g s(Plates 7 and 8) after W. H.Bartlett from J. Came, Syria (1838).

BSA

Annual of British School at Athens

BZ

Byxantinficht Zn'tschrift

CSHB

Cwpus Sm$rmm H&tmmaeByxuntinae

DOP

Dumbarton O h Papers

ILN

Illntstrated London News

JA

'Journal Asiatique

JHS

Journal of Hellenit Stwdies

YRAS

Journal of the Royal Asiatk Society

JRGS

Journal of the Royal GeugpaphkaE So&@

JRS

J m m l of R m a n S t d i c s

MAMA

Monummtu Asilse M i m k Antiqua

MGH

Monuments Germaniae Hktorica

PG

Patrologi~Graeca, ed. J.

PL

Pa~rologiaLatdm, ed. j.

RA

Revup Arckeologipe

RCAJ

Riyal Central Astun row&

REA

Revue des etudes mmeniennes

Plans
Baghras: key plan

Baghras: plan of substructurecl

59

Baghras: the great hall

54

MW
Cilician Armenia

The Coxon-Andirin route and the Amanus Gates
PLATEI ( j r o n t i ~ ' e c e )

S I L I F K E : from the west

The town is built on the bank of the river Saleph, where there was a bridge
from early times and also a ford. The point where: a main route from Konya
crossed into Cilicia, it was therefore always a place of importance. The castle
is on a wooded hill above the town and is one of the major examples of
Armenian fortification.

End

P. Wgne
P. Mignt

xii

RHC

THE C I L I C ~ A NK I N G D O M OF A R M E N I A
Recuk3 des RixSm'm des Croirudes;

A m : Documents armeniens
Gr : Historims grecs
Occ : Historiens occidenfaux
Or : Historiens orientaux

RHGF

Renteil des histm'ens des Gaules et de ,?a France

ROL

Rmue de I"0rkent butin

NOTE:
Where short titles are given in the notes,
the full title wilr be found in the
bibliography.

T H E HISTORY O F THE K I N G D O M
n the sixth century B.C. the name Armenian came to be applied to a people
Jiving in the southern districts of the Caucasus and emerging into some independence with the break up of the Urartian empire. Herodotus thought
that they had come from Phrygia, but this remains a debatable statement,
Thev figure in Achaernenid and Parthian history, and wlth the accession of
Tigran the Great in 95 B.C. began a period of expansion which made them a
Ereat power in the Near East. This, however, brought Rome against them and
66 B.c. Tigran was forced to sue for peace. Armenian territories were divided
between Rome and Parthin, and later between Byzantium and the Arabs. For
long years these lands were in the unhappy position of a buffer state. Constant
warfare, however, did not prevent the rise of a national culture. Early in the
fourth century Christianity was proclaimed as the state religion of Armenia,
probably the first official acsepbnce as opposed to the mere tolerance laid down
by the Constnntinian edict of 3x3. Greek influences were strong and the Greek
language much in use, but the Armenian Church won developed doctrinal and
liturgical versions of its own, md this national outlook was much strengthened
when in A.n. 406 an Armenian alphabet was adopted, suaed to their own
linguistic requirements, In the arts, also, there was much activity, and their
architecture, in its surviving remains, has often been chimed as the source of
new psacbces.
I n the tenth centurv under the Bagratid dynasty there was a period of
relative peace and prosperity. The high bbldmd &at lies between Lake Van
and the Caucasus with its mountain passes land deep, narrow valleys. its brief,
hot. fertile summs and long obstructive winter&,lent itself to parcdlng into
smetl communities, hwd to hold togethw; but Gakzk I (989-rozo), from his
capital at h i , had reduced the various chieftaincics to some measure af unityThen came renewed intemntion from Byzantium, and by rozr the Emperor
Basil 31 had occupied much of the Armenian territory, h 1045, after strong
resistnnce. Gakik I1 of Ani was forced t o abdicate. W~ttunthree years another

I

2

/

THE C I L f C f A N K l N G D O M OF ARMENIA

power ~s attacking these harassed lands, and the Byzantine dispersion of the
Armenian people, a strong fighting stock, left no opposition to stem the advance
of the Selchukid Turks. Ani was captured by them in 1064 and shortly afterwards they took Kaw. In I 0 7 3 the two competing powers met at Manzikert,
north of Lake Van; the Byzantine forces were completely defeated, and the
emperor, Romanus Diogenes, captured.
Constantine Monomachus (1042-55) had already pressed forward a policy
of Armenian resettlement in Cappadocin and Cilicia. Sebastia (Sivas) and
Camarea of Cappadocia (Kayseri) were the two main centres of this dispersion,
but in 1042 Ablgharib, of an Annenian family who had long served the Greeks,
received the governorship of Tarsus and Mamistra, and Cilicia became another
refuge for the displaced Armenians. In the campaign of the Emperor John
Zimisces in 975g when he penetrated into northern Syria and the Orontes
valley, there was a large contingent of Annenian troops, some of whom may
have remained on garrison duty.'
Cilicia was a mountain country that could recall something of the earlier
Armenian homeland. The great bIock of the Taurus mountains, a double range
at places ~ o km.
o in breadth, includes peaks rising,not as high as the 5,000 m.
of Caucasian Mt Ararat, but in some cases nearIy to 4,wo m. The mountain
barrier, however, cut off a coastal plain, on a southern sea. From Silifke to
Mersin this is a comparatively narrow strip, rough and stony on the western
half, well earthed and fertile on the eastern. Beyond Mersin it widens out
watered by three rivers, the Tarsus Cayi (Cydnus), the Seyhan (Sarus), and
the Ceyhan (Pyramus). On the east the plain rounds the Gulf of AIexandretta,
where it is bounded by the Amanus mountains, and then it is frnalIy blocked
by Mt Cassius projecting into the sea. The main entry from the north through
the Taurus mountains was by the Cilician Gates, leading down to Tarsus, and
it was an the southern side of this pass that Ablgharib established one of
his officers, Oshin the Hetournid, at the castles of Larnpron and Babaron.
Beyond the Pass on the northern side the castle of Asgouras was held by another
Armenian family, the Nathanaels.
Ablgharib belonged to the Armenian group who had come to terms with
Byzantium, taken service there and received imperial appointments. Some of
them joined also the Orthodox Church, separated from the Armenian by theological disputes about the nature of Christ and by a different method of calculating the dates of Easter and Christmas. These matters aroused passionate
I G. Schlumberger, ~ ' & q p e e b y ~ m t i n sa la
18961, PP. ~ 8 ~ 3 0 6 .

Jin dzs

dixiems skcle, 3 voIs. (Paris,

T H E H I S T O R Y OF THE K I N G D O M

3

convictions and debates upon them were constantly stimulated by the rival
ecclesiastia, so that Armenian quarrelled with Armenian on both political and
religious grounds. North of the Cllician Gates, centring on Caesarea, the rule
of the Bagratid Gakik XI, who had been tricked into surrendering his northern
lands, was bitterly hostile to the Greeks. 'He did not cease', Matthew of Edessa
wrote of him, 'to nourish in his heart a deep grievance for the loss of the thmne
of his fathers against this treacherous and perverse race of heretics.' Whenever
opportunity occurred he brutally attacked Greek settlements, raping the
women and massacring the men. He seized Mark, the Greek metropolitan of
Caesarea, and along .with his dog, to which he had rashly given the name
'Armenian" tied him up in a sack where the beast slowIy dwoured his master.
Ablgharib began by trying to come to terms with this troublesome neighbour.
His daughter was married to Gakik's eldest son, David, but the latter soon
found himself a prisoner in the castle: of Lampron. Gakii came in 1091 to
Tarsus to negotiate his son's release, but on his return, whether or not with
Ablgharib's connivance is uncertain, Gakik was seized by some Greeks, sons
of a cestah Mandale or Pantaleon, murdered in their castle of Cybistra and his
body hung out in ignominy on the castle walls. It was a deed that was long to
be remembered, but for the time being Gakiik's forces, little more than a brigand
band, seem to have dispersed, and one of his officem, Rupen, occupied a fortress
at Gobidara, probably in the hills north of Sis. Rupen's son, Constantine, in
1091 seized the castle of Vahka, commanding a route through the Taurus
leading down to Adana. This marks the introduction to Cilicia of the family
that was to play the leading part there in the establishment of an Armenian
state.
In the chaos following Manzikert little Byzantine control could be exercised
and everywhere more or less independent chieftaincies were set up. At Antioch
Philaretus Brachamius, another of the Armenian-Byzantine officers, gradualIy
extended his power over northern Syria. In h t i o c h Vasak, an Armenian of
distinguished ancestry, held rule till his assassination about 1080 by some
Greek soldiers. Philaretus exacted vengeance for the act, and himself occupied
Antioch. At the same period Vasil, whose father Abu-Kab had for a time ruled
in Edessa, seized that town, where he died some four years later leaving a
reputation for good government, 'a pious man', Matthew of Edessa calls him
'and merciful to widows'. After a brief period of disputes Edessa was brutally
occupied by one of Philaretus' adherents. Cruelty and treachery characterised
all Philaretushcts and the Armenian chroniclers have little good to say of him.
An Orthodox by faith, he became according to Matthew of Edessa a renegade

T H E C E L I C I A N K I N G D O M OF ARMENIA
4
to Islam, but his career outlined the possibiiity of a new Armenian state bounded
by the Amanus mountains on the west, the upper reaches of the Euphrates on
the north-east, and then extending beyond the great river to include Edessa.
Marash, Albistan, Melitene, K w u n (Crasson) and Gargar were a l l in his
power. His vision, however, had little rmliq. By the time of his death in 1085
Selchukid pressure was breaking up his territories.2 Antioch was lost in 1084
and for the next six years the strong government of the sultan of Baghdad,
Malik Shah, controIIcd the whole area. On Ma1ik"s death in 1092 and the
internal SeIchukid disputes that followed, Armenian leaders, with the extraordinary resilience of their race, once more came to the fore. Two of Philaretus'
captains Gabriel, or Khori1, and Thoros, succeeded in establishing themselves
at Mtlitene and Edessa respectively. Both of them Orthodox like their master,
they were in this respect suspect to many of their compatriots. At Marash
another Armenian, Tatoul, held rule. AI1 these had received confirmation from
Alexius Cornnenus as he gradually restored order to the empire, and Thorm
had received the title of curopalates. East of Marash at Kesoun and Raban a
more genuine Armenian, Kogh Vasil (Basil the Robber), heId several castles,
and was to pass on his lands to his adopted son, Dgha VasiI. Kesoun under
them became the main rallying point for the Armenian people. It was a brother
of Kogh Vasil, Bagrat or Pancrace, who made contact with the crusading forces
at Nicaea in 1097 and accompanied them on their march across Asia Minor,
forming a close alliance with one of their leaders, Baldwin of Boulogne.
The coming of the first crusade changed the whole position for these
struggling and scattered Armenian groups. The main body of the Franks took
the route along the northern slopes of the Taurus from Heraclea (Eregli) to
Tynna, Augustopolis (Nigde) and Caesarea. Here their main opponents were
the Danishmendid Turks, who under their able ruler Malik-Ghui Gumushtigin
had established themselves in eastern Anatolia, with their chief town at Sebastia.
Sometimes in enmity with Kilij-Arslan, the Selchukid sultan of Rourn, sometimes with Byzantine support, they were gradually absorbing the strongholds of
southern Cappadocia, and Gabriel of Melitene was hard pressed by them at the
time of the crusaders' arrival. The Danishmendids bad attempted an attack on
the Franks at Heraclea, but had been driven off, and to the Armenians the
crusaders at first appeared as heaven-sent deliverers. Godfrey of Bouillon and
the main body advanced to Coxon (Goksun) and from there by a terrible

J. Laurent, 'Byzance et Antioche sous le curopalate Philarete', Rmue des etudes
armmhmes IX (1929)' pp. 61-72;J. B. Segal, Edessa, the Blessed City (Oxford, xg~o),
PP. 19=-z57.

I

l1
1

THE HISTORY OF THE KINGDOM

5

autumn crossing of the Anti-Taurus, 'the diabolical mountains', came to
Marash, where they made no attempt to dispossess the Armenian Tatoul.
Thence the crusaders had an easy march down to the plain of Antioch, and the
nine months siege of that town.
Before this, however, two parties had detached themselves from the main
body. From Heraclea Tancred, a Norman from southern Italy, having strongly
opposcd the Cacsarca-Marash route, had crossed by the Cilician Gates into the
coastal plain and laid siege to the Turkish garrison in Tarsus. The Christian
population at once made contact with him, but before the town could be
occupied another and larger crusading force under Baldwin of Boulogne with
his cousin, Baldwin of Lc Bourg, appeared, and the Turks fled by night. They
did not, however, move to any great distance. A further Norman detachment,
seeking Tancred who had moved eastward, were excluded from Tarsus by
Baldwin and fell victims to a surprise attack by the Turks. I n revenge for this
defeat, attributed to Baldwin's caIIous refusal of entrance into Tarsus, the
Normans, under Richard of the Principate, Tancred's harsh and impolitic
cousin, attacked Baldwin when the latter caught up with Tancred outside
Masnistra. The leaders soon came to their senses and made terms, but it was
the first time that crusader had fought crusader and it can have little edified the
local Christians, however used they may have been to their own civil broils.
Their chroniclers in fact give little space to this first crusading raid and, though
Tancred cleared the Turks from Adana and Mamistra, there was as yet no
serious attempt at permanent Frankish occupation. Contact was made with both
Oshin of Lampron and the Rupenian, Constantine of Vabka, each of whom
was ready to play the Franks off against the other. To the Armenian chroniclers,
it w a s Baldwin's next move, the occupation of Edessa, that was of importance.
Between Marash and the Euphrates lay the lands of Kogh VasiI, the brother
of Baldwin's Armenian adviser, Bagrat, and from Edessa itself there were
appeals for assistance from the Armenian governor, Thoros. Frankish mercenaries had fought under Phifaretus and it was no new expedient to seek their
support. With Armenian help, for he had only a force of ~ o horsemen,
o
Baldwin
in the winter of 1097-8 occupied Ravendel (Ruwandan) and Turbessel (TelBashir). From here he began to negotiate with Thoros as to the position to be
given him in Edessa. His Armenian allies, very rightly, became suspicious of
his aims and in particular Bagrat, who had been entrusted with Ravendel, was
accused of plotting against Baldwin and was seized and tortured. He escaped
to join his brother, but from then on Kogh Vasil must have been wary of
Frankish help.

.Sczi~he?ftexterior of the Cdzstle

PS the Frontispiece shot+s,the castle stretch& along the top of a stet p-sided
r;dge, fi om which, Eowever, it was isolated by a flattened strip OF lock 10 to
15 m. wide, b order~alby a low wal . Outside this was a ditch, twi :e as a id€,
arounn most c ~ fthe circuit hough not tomalds the east or norih-cast, where
the ground falls mote steeply: here a ramp agcends to the entr,nlce which
was near one end of the ditch, and there IS a postern at the other. Se~eral
pgrts of the ci-cuit were lined in~ernallywith verv loqg buildings attached to
the wall; some of these were ev;dently t-o- storeyed. ?he ground-floor rooms
would, in general, have best been used I'or storage; the clstlc must, o f course,
hale been pror~isioned;o withstdnd a siegz, and its ciste~mcould kttp an
ample reserve of ~.ain-wa,e A building a f immense lengih W A S eniered
through five doorways in a row though on'y one partition is visible. senar sting
a room less tl. an 7 m. square from one t h a ~extends 48 m. aiong rhe (#arkof
the circu~t.Hi= along the CI-ownof its vault held, no doubt, the fitting4 for
chains by nhich lamps were suspended. Probablv this bilildiilg \\as the Hall;
another of simiiar width but only half as long may have been the chapel,
since it is nearly 7 m. high. Both ~houldperhaps be ascribed to the Hospitalrers.
?I. TT. L .
,m.

l
/
I
I

I

I

I

T H E HISTORY O F THE KINGDOM

9

handed him over to Baldwin of Edessa. Put to the torture, the young man
ceded his estates and, now less dangerous, was allowed to rejoin his father-inlaw in Cilicia. It was an incident in a fierce period of Armenian deprivation.
Baldwin seized Bira from its Armenian lord, Ablgharib, assigning it to his
wusin, Galeran of Le Puiset, and marrying him to Ablgharib's daughter.
Constantine of Gargar, the leader of the plot that had established the first
Baldwin, was in I I I 8 imprisoned in the citadel of Samosats. In an earthquake

the mwer fell and amongst the tumbled masonry was found the corpse of
Constantine, still chained to a pillar. Bagrat, another early ally, had been driven
from his lands at Ravendel. In 1114 a more terrible earthquake had destroyed
this area. Its centre seems to have been at Marash, where Matthew of Edessa
estimates that 40,000 persons perished, 'for it was a very populous city'. But
the devastation was experienced as far as Sis, and along the Euphrates towns
and fortresses crumbIed. Jt is little wonder that Baldwin could occupy or reoccupy so much of this ruined country and that there was an element of desperation in the brutality with which he did it.
In 1rr8 Baldwin I of Jerusalem died without an heir. He had repudiated
his childless and uncongenial Armenian wife, but his second marriage with
Adelaide of Sicily, in itself of doubtful legality, for the Armenian Iady was
still alive, proved no more successful. The barons of the Kingdom called upon
Baldwin of Le Bourg to succeed him. The prime mover in this was Joscdin of
Courtenay. We was by his mother a first: cousin of the second Baldwin, who,
when he succeeded to Edessa in xroo, had enfeoffed Joscelin with the fortress
of Turbesstl and the land west of the Euphrates. Jsscelin had then married,
according to the policy of the t h e , a daughter of Constantine of Vahka, sister
of Thoros and Leon. He had shared Baldwin's captivity in 1104 to 1108,but
later there had been friction between them. Now, however, he secured his
cousin" accession to Jerusalem and in return received the County of Edessa.
He was a dough^ warrior and strong ruler, allied with Antioch through his
second wife, Maria of Salerno, the sister of Roger, Tancred's nephew and
successor, untiI the coming of age of the young Bohemond. But in ~r 19 Roger
perished in the fatal battle of the 'field of blood', warring against Ilghazi of
M a r d i and three years later Joscelin and Galeran of Bira were both captured.
Baldwin I1 a year later, seeking to defend these northern territories, shared the
same fate and was sent to join the other prisoners at Kharput. From there
Josoelin, aided by Armenians who paid sorely for doing so, made a daring
escape, but it was not tiU June 1124 that Baldwin was able to ransom himself.
His Armenian wife, Morfia, busied herself with raising the necessary funds.

T H E CZLICIAN K I N G D O M OF ARMENIA

THE H I S T O R Y OF T H E K I N G D O M

Thoros from his mountains seems to have watched these events without
seeking to join in them. His only conquest was Anavana, where an inscription
recalls his refortification of %his second Troy'. To the Armenian chroniclers
he is above all the avenger of the murder of Gakik. Matthew of Edessa tells the
story in detail: the three sons of Pantaleon still held the castle of Cybistra, and
rashly came on an embassy to Thoros to negotiate a possible handing over of
the ~Iace;the negotiations broke down, and Thoros led his forces to attack and,
somewhat surprisingly, for it seems to have been strong,to take the castle. There
they found the sword and robes of Gakik, which they received with tears.
Thoros then put the brothers to torture to disclose their treasure. One of them
flung himself from the battlements, another threatened Thoros: 'You, an
Armenian, what reply will you give to our sovereign for having maltreated
Romans?"Who were you" replied Thoros, 'when you assassinated a hero, the
king of Armenia, consecrated by the Holy Unction, and for that you must
answer to the Armenian nation" and he fell on him and battered him to death.
Then with the third brother and the rich treasures of the castle, he withdrew
to Vahka.
In 1118Thoros sent a contingent of troops under his brother Leon to aid
Roger of Antioch in the capture of Azaz, but this was his main contact with the
Latins. Leon succeeded him in 1129. In the same year Baldwin I1 of Jerusalem
died. His heiress MeIisend was on her mother's side of Armenian blood, and
frequently showed her awarenas of it. A powerful husband bad been sought
for her and she was married to FuIk, Count of Anjou. The personalities were
changing. Bohemond 11 had in r 124 at last arrived to d a h his heritage, md had
been married to one of Baldwin II's daughters, Alice, a difficult woman much
given to intrigue. But Bohemond's rule was brief. Four years later he was
killed leading a raid into Cilicia where he clashed with a Danishmendid force
on a similar errand, and perished in this chance encounter. Both expeditions
were probabIy provoked by marauding raids from the Armenian highlands.
The weakness of Antioch tempted Leon, who had his northern frontier protected
by a Danishmendid alliance, and between I 132and I 135 he occupied Mamistra,
Adana, Tarsus and Sarvantikar. This brought him into contact with a new
enemy. Galeran of Bira had been kiI1ed in captivity, sawn asunder it was said.
A new county of Marash had been formed out of his lands and those formerly
held by Kogh Vasil and assigned to a Baldwin, whom the Armenian chroniclers
describe as a brother of Raymond of Poitiers, the ruler of Antioch since his
marriage in 1136 with the princess, Canstance, Bohemond II's daughter.
Western sources know nothing of this relationship and little of Baldwin, but

William I
X of Aquitaine could well have provided illegitimate as well as an
uncertain number of legitimate progeny. To the Armenians, Baldwin was a
familiar figure, and we have a long funeral oration about Aim written by his
friend and chaplain Basil. It is not uncritical: accusations of arrogance, cruelty
and desire for plunder are made against him, but he is notwithstanding Bad's
'well beloved Baldwin'. Gregory the Preacher, who came from Kesoun and
knew this area, tells us in his chronicle that Baldwin preferred Armenians
to Latins, spoke Armenian fluently and was % fine young man, a victorious and
intrepid warrior, perspicacious, wise and prudent'.' Such a man was likely to
react quickly against Leon's expansion of his frontiers, particularly as Leon in
1x35 had captured the fortress of Sarvantikar, which had been in Antiochine
control. Leon was lured into a visit and then treacherously captured, but he
was released within two months, when it was known that the Emperor John
Comnenus was leading an expedition southwards that might be as dangerous
to Antioch as it was t o Cilicia.
h o n ' s brief captivity gave scope to the ferocity of his people. His sons, a
markedly difficult set of young men, quarrelled amongst themselves, and one
of them, Constantine, was blinded by his brothers. While they were thus
engaged, the Danishmendids, despite the truce, raided the CiIician plain and
also laid siege to Marash. The arrival of the Byzantine army in 1137 led by the
emperor forced the Danishmendids to withdraw, but also brought a new and
greater danger to Cilicia, John Cornnenus seems to have made Antalya the base
for his campaign and to have advanced along the coastal route. Here several of
the towns still had Greek garrisons, and the Hetoumids from their castle of
Lampron and Babaron supported him against Thorns. On the eastern Armenian
boundary, Baldwin of Marash entered into negotiation with the emperor. Tarsus,
Adana and Marnistra surrendered, and Anavarza, after a res~lutedefence that
lasted thirty-seven days, was taken. John Comnenus proceeded to Autioch,
capturing Til Hamdun and leaving a force to besiege Vahka, Leon's northern
retreat, which eventually fell. Lmn was caphrred in the mountains and with
two of his sons, Rupen and Thoros, was sent a prisoner to ConscantinopIe,
Rupen was killed there and Leon died in captivity. Two others of his sons,
Mleh and Stephen, had taken refuge with Joscelin of Edessa, their cousin, who
had supported Leon against Antioch and Baldwin of Marash.
The Byzantine conquest of Cilicia was completed in the winter of 1137-8

IC

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I L.

4 The date at which Baldwin took w e r his cuunty is uncertain. It would seem most
probable that he was given it by Rayrnond, as a buffer state between Antioch and
Edessa, in which case the date would be 1136.

I2

TEIB H I S T O R Y OF T H E K I N G D O M

THE C I L I C I A N K I N G D O M OF ARMENIA

for the next seven years the country was at unusual peace under Byzantine
Even the death of John C o m m u s , wounded by a poisoned arrow while
hunting in Cilicia, did not immediately lead to a slackening of control. How the
wound occurred, whether accident or assassination, remains a mystery. At first
it was regarded as a trifling matter. But poisoning set in, and on 8 April 1143,
having nominated his second son Manuel as his successor, the emperor died in
his camp near Anavarza.
Armenian resistance recovered with the escape from Constantinople, probably in 1145, of Leon's son, Thoros. Reaching Cilicia, probably by sea, he
received help from the Jacobite patriarch, Athanasius, who galTe h i a small
guard of twelve men and admitted him into the castle of Arnouda, two miles
south of Anavarza. Thoros occupied the latter in x 148and also the old Rupenid
stronghold of Vahka. In 1x51 he took Til Hamdun and Mamistra. Antioch at
this ~ e r i o dwas preoccupied with the capture of Edessa by Zengi in 1144;
Byzantium with the passage of the second crusade, an expedition that the loss
of Edessa had provoked. When eventually in 1152 B Byzantine force under
Andronicus Comnenus, the future emperor, was sent against him, Thoros
defeated him, and in the battle Semgad of Babaron was killed, fighting for the
Greeks, and Oshin I1 of Lampron was captured. Thoros took the opportunity
to arrange a marriage between Oshin's son Hetourn and one of his own daughters,
a diplomatic move, though the bride was later to be repudiated. He himself had
strengthened his alliance with Joscelin of Edessa by marrying the daughter of
one of JosceIin's vassals, Simon of Raban.
The fall of Edessa resulted in the collapse of the Frankish hold on the
County.When Joscelin 11attempted in I 146 to regain the town, he was defeated
by Nur-ad-Din, and Baldwin of Marash, here fighting on Jascelin's side, was
killed in the field, winning, as his Armenian supporters claimed, the crown of
martyrdom, though he had died unshriven. William of Tyre reports his death
as that of a distinguished leader, but clearly knows little of him. Four years
later JosceIin I1 was taken prisoner and, unmourned, for he w a s of little worth,
passed to his death in captivity. His valiant wife, Beatrice of Saone, stoutly
defended Turbessel, but it was impossibIe to hold. Surprisingly the Emperor
Manue1 offered to purchase it from her, along with the remaining fortresses of
Ravendel, Samosata, Aintab, Duluk and Bira. Byzantine garrisons occupied but
could not keep them. Manuel" purchase had presumably been made with some
future Syrian campaign in view, but he made no effort to defend his acquisition
and Nur-ad-Din rapidly reduced this group of fortresses. The Armenian population of the district were, under the careful direction of King Baldwin 111, safely

I

I

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1

I

1

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I

I3
evacuated to Antioch. The Frankish-Armenian Counties of Edessa and Marash
were a t an end. One stronghold had not been ceded to Byzantium. Beatrice
handed over Hromgla (Rum Qalat) to the Armenian patriarch for his headquarters, and there somewhat surprisingly the patriarchate remained for over a
hundred years, despite the fact that it must normally, in these shifting frontiers,
have been deep in Moslem territory. Marash was taken by Masud, son of
Kilij-Arslan, in 1148and shortly afterwards Behesni, Kesoun and Raban were
in his hands, Stephen of Armenia, Thoros' brother, for a time raided and dishtrbed the territory from his fastness of Pertounk, bringing severe persecution
on the people of Marash and Kesoun from their Moslem overlords. But from
now on this area was to be in dispute between Kilij Arslan I1 and NUT-ad-Din
and neither h n i a nor Antioch was to have much say in its destiny.
MeanwhiIe in Cilicia Thoros had been creating something that began to
look like a state. Manuel had tried to dislodge hi,first by persuading Masud
of Iconium to attack him and then, when the Selchukid forces were driven
back by Thoros-rother,
Stephen and a Templar force from Baghras, by
hiring Reginald of Chatillon, recently married to the widowed Consbnce of
Antioch, to invade Cilicia, It was an inconclusive business. Manuel did not send
the promised money; Reginald and Thoros came to terms and recouped themselves by a peculiarly brutal raid on Cyprus. Retaliition was bound to follow,
but when Msnuel and the Byzantine army in 1x58 marched through Cilicia
and encamped at Mamistra, Thoros, largely thanks to the skilful mediation of
Baldwin III, made his peace with the emperor, coming to his crimp in penitential
garb and receiving sDme recognition of his position in Armenia, though Byzantine governors were left in the main townships.
The relations of Thoros with the Latins remained friendly. He visited King
h l r i c in Jerusalem, and is said to have offered to send 30,000 Armenian
settlers to the Kingdom, a scheme &at broke down owing to ppr'olerns of Latin
ecclesiastical taxation. According to Bar Hebraeus it was an intervention by
Thoros that secured the rule of Bohemond 111of Antioch against the clalms of
his mother, Constance. Certaidy in I 164 TJaoros participated with Bohemond,
Raymond of Tripoli and the Greek commander at Tarsus, Constantine CoIoman, in an attack on Nur-ad-Dinsl.At frst successful, the allies found themselves threatened by a considwable muster of the enemy. Thoros coumdied a
withdrawal and took off his contingent. The others rashly pressed on m d the
Frankish leaders were a11 taken prisoner. Thoros obtained the release of Bohemond and Coloman, both under Byzantine protection, by threatening to bum
alive all his own captives.

14

T H E C I L I C I A N K I N G D O M OF A R M E N I A

Cilicia, however, remained secure. Benjamin of Tudela, visiting it shortly
before I 167, describe it as the land of Thoros, ruler of the mountains and king
of Armenia, and gives its western frontier as beginning at Corycus.5 King' was
only a courtesy term; no kingship had yet been established, but its use shows
the position accorded to Thoros. His main problem in the concluding years of
his reign was control of his brothers. Stephen, for a time imprisoned when
Thoros was warned against him, carried on ceaseless and exacerbating raids
against the Greek posts and finally in I 164 was lured by the Greek garrison into
the castIe of Hamus and murdered, reputedly by being boiIed alive. This fierce
act roused the Armenians to a massacre of the Greeks, who were then defended
by the Hetoumids, reopening the ancient Armenian feud. The youngest brother,
MIeh, was an even more turbulent spirit and Thoros banished him from the
Kingdom. He had at one time been admitted to the order of the TempIt, but
had left or been expelfed; he now took refuge with Nur-ad-Din, and it was with
Moslem troops that he entered Cilicia on Thorosyeath in 1168, drove out the
regent, Thomas, Thoros' and his own nephew, and soon disposed of Thoros'
young son,Rupen 11. Fierce and unscrupuIous, he rapidly gained ground with
Turkish help, besieged, unsuccessfuIly, the Hetoumid castle of Lampron, drove
the Antiochenes and the Templars from the Amanus mountains, and defeated
and captured the Byzantine governor Constantine Coloman, handing him over
to Nur-ad-Din, who in return ceded Marash to hi. But Mleh's dependence
on Moslem aid roused popular feeling against him; the Armenian barons rose
and killed him on NW-ad-Din" death in I 174.The two sons of the murdered
Stephen, Rupen and Leon, had been taken by their mother Rita, daughter of
the Sempad killed in Thoros' victory of 1152, a woman of remarkable character
and longevity, to the safety of her brother's castle at Babaron, and the elder,
Rupen, was now summoned as Mleh's successor. His immediate task was to
clear the raiding Turkoman bands, who under M1eh"s pro-Islamic policy had
been penetrating Cilicia. Rupen III sought a Frankish alliance and married
Isabel, daughter of Humphrey of Toron, going to Jerusalem for the ceremony,
and thereby forming a link with the leading Palestinian families. By 1183 his
position seemed sufficiently established for him to resume that traditional
activity of his house, the siege of Larnpron. From their mountain castles the
IIetoumids constantly raided the coastal plain, carrying off cattle and women.
I t was a problem that had to be ended, despite the protection the Hetoumid
family had given to Rupen in his boyhood. Retoum of Lampron, however,
See 5. Prawer, Histoire dnc Roymsne~Latn'n de yerusulm, trs. G. Nahon (Paris,
1969)~
1, p. 571. Benjamin of T d e l a , tm.M. N. Ader, p. 15.

I

T H E H I S T O R Y OF T H E K I N G D O M

Is

appealed to Bohemond 111 of Antioch, who invited Rupen to an interview (one
chronicler says he went to Antioch for orgies with evil women) and then seized
him, holding him prisoner for a year and only releasing him for a ransom of
I,OW tategans6 and the surrender of Sarvantikar, Til Hamdun, Marnistra and
Adana, sites which, if ever handed over, were quickly regained. Rupen's
captivity had given an opportunity to his younger brother Leon to show his
mettle, and it was to him that in xr87 Rupen surrendered his office, withdrawing to the monastery of Trazarg, outside Sis, where he died in the same
year.
Leon I1 was fortunate in the time at which he came to power. Saladin's
defeat of the crusading kingdom and his campaign of I 188 against Antioch left
Armenia in a new position as representative of Christendom. The death of
Manuel Comnenus in 1180 had led to a period of confused rivalries in Constantinople, and in 1187 imperial power was in the uncertain hands of Tsaac
Angelus. The long rule of Iijlij-hlan I1 in Iconium was nearing its end amid
the disputes of his sons as to the succession.Leon was quick to seize his opportunities. Commerical privileges were given to the Venetians and Genoese to
draw their trade to Ayas (Lajwo) which for a time became the chief entrepot
of the eastern Mediterranean. Baronial independence was curbed by the gradual
infiltration of theories of wetern feudalism and the giving of western titles to
office holders. The pope was placated by professions of devotion wkich skilfully
hid the lack of any doctrinal change in the Armenian Church. Impregnable
Larnpron was acquired by the familiar ruse of luring the Hetwmids to a festival
and then arresting them. Leon gave it in charge to his mother Rita and came to
terms with the Hetoumids by betrothing his younger niece, Philippa, to Oshin
of Lampron. Another of the Hetoumids, Shahenshah, took at this time on
Leon's behalf the fortress of Loulon on the northern approach to the Cilician
Gates, and Leon led raids beyond the Taurus mountains penetrating as far as
Caesarea.
The Hetoumids as a family had played a large part in the religious and
cultural life of the Kingdom. Hetoum I11 after the loss of Lampron retired to
a monastery, eventually becoming Abbot of Trazarg and one of Leon's trusted
councillors. An even more remarkable man was his bruther, Nerses of Lampron,
archbishop of Tarsus. Born in 11 53, he was brought up at the court of Manuel
Comnenus, who would have kept him in his employment, but Nerses remained
hin the religious vocation to which his parents had devoted him. He returned
to the famiIy monastery of Skevra and was ordained by his great-uncle, the
6

The Armenian tQtegan approximately equalled the Arab dinar.

View of round tower of castle from the soltth
S c ~ r c e anything
l~
rernain~of the Armenian capit d eccept t hc castle, which
a sove t i e town, stretching for eoms 900 m,along a ridge of jagged
rock intcr upted by dectsand descending later ~ l l yin shelves. The height and
width of the summit vary all the way; thz e n z l o ~ i nw,uIs
~ are therefore far
apart in some places where the spacc between them is divided into ~ = ~ a r a t c l v
fortified wards, in which were residential buildings, now ruined. Out :r wards
also exist whe tever it would have been e D y to cli nb the hillsi ?lc a wall was
builLacros; th: slope. At the south end, hilwzver, the ridge narr bws t o a po'nt
mhici 1s filed with the sin$ tower ~lluttr~ted,
No photograp 11 taien fr >m
the gromd can show mwe tl an a small fraction of the site; only a set of views
irom a hclicopier could c10 j ~ l s t ~ ctoe its complexity.
A. W. L.
S T Qhigh
~ ~

T H E H I S T O R Y O F THE K I N G D O M

o

I7
Catholicos, Nerses Schnorhali (the Gracious). It was the monastic life that
drew him, and he spent some time in one of the houses of the Black Mountain
and at Saghrou in the Taurus. Knowing Greek, Latin and Syriac, as well as
his own Armenian, he represents a point of contact of various cultures. Nerses
Schnorhali had since I 170 been engaged in negotiations with the Greek Church.
His successor, the Catholicos Gregory Dgha (I 172-891, was anxious to use the
younger Nerses" abilities and persuaded him, unwillingly, to become archbishop
of Tarsus in 1 ~ 7 6At
. a synod held at Hromgla in 1179 he spoke in favour of a
compromise with Byzantium. Here the outstanding questions were the recognition of the two natures in Christ as interpreted by the Fourth Council, that
of Chalcedon; the celebration of Christmas on 25 December, instead of the
Axinenian custom of combining it with the Epiphany on 6 January; the computations for fixing the date of Easter; the use of fermented bread in the mass;
and the disuse of the Armenian formula 'Holy God, who has been crucified' at
the close of the liturgical hymn of the trisagion (thrice holy), The Jacoblte
Church was also involved in these problems, but the Jacobite patriarch of
Antioch, Michael, the chronicler of these events, had stated his view: 'It 1s not
seemly a t the eleventh hour and in hope of gain to change beliefs out of human
consideration'. Between the Armenian Church, less extreme than the Jacobite,
and Byzantium there was perhaps no great gap on the central theological
problem, but there was n long history of persecution behind the debate, and a
deep feeling of the part:that the Church had played, amid constant civil disputes,
in preserving the national awareness of the h m i a n people.
Nothing came of those schemes of reunion. In relation to the Latin Church,
political considerations had prime consideration. Leon was prepared to make
promises to the papacy and then plead the impossibility of enforcing them
again& national feeling. From ancient Armenia, a Church in the hands of the
infidel, uncompromising in its stand and fortified by the heroism of a sometimes
persecuted minority, there was constant criticism of Cilidan readiness to
placate the papacy, and in particular Nerses of Lampron was singled out for
attack, Leon warned him that he must cease f m some of his innovations, such
as his use of vestments on the Latin model and his m o v a l of the curtain
separating the mass from the people. In his reply we have a document of singular
tolerance and enlightenment, a striking picture of the times and a reminder that
nmid these ambushes, treacheries and murders, there were men of noble thought
and wdl-informed judgment. 'If now', he wrote, 'I declare myself the parr~san
of one: nation, how a n I be in communion with other Christians?' He adrrked
much in the Lntins, particularly their church building and the seemlinms of

19

T H E C I L I C I A N KINGDOM OF ARMENIA

T H E H I S T O R Y OF T H E K I N G D O M

their robes and rites, as opposed to the rugged asceticism of the Caucasian
Armenians, who had to conduct most of their services in secret. 'Marash, this
great and rich city, which under the Armenians had neither an episcopal see
nor a church, when it fell to the Franks was provided with a large church.'
The Armenians had only copied the freedom and licence of the Latins, not
the fervour of their piety. 'When an Armenian enters a church with a Frank,
the Frank bursts into tears as he prays, the Armenian stands beside him as a
beast without reason.' In the cathedral of St Sophia at Tarsus the Gospel was
read in Greek, Latin and Armenian, and the decision as to which language to
use was a matter for the bishop to decide. If Leon agreed to give up his Frankish
customs and Frankish clothes, then Nerses would consider amending his
ritual. He was equally aware, however, of native Armenian culture and he
encouraged the Armenian skill in illumination. Several handsome manuscripts
still survive inscribed as having been commissioned by him.7 He himself was
an author and on one journey he was plundered by a roving Turkish band and
lost the manuscript of his Refledims on the Institution of the Chmch. Five years
later it turned up in a township of the Ceyhan district, and any author can
sympathise with his pleasure at its recovery.
This was the man whom in I 190 Leon selected to head his embassy to meet
the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa as he approached Cilicia. Nerses had been
taking final counsel with the Catholicos at Hromgla, and the situation required
some: diplomatic thought, for the Catholicos had been safeguarding the position
by correspondence with Saladin. He reached the imperial army on the western
borders of Cilicia, and obtained from Barbamssa a promise that Armenia
should he converted into a kingship. The army was at Silifke preparing to cross
the Saleph, even in summer a broad and fast-flowing river. There, seeking for
a ford that might supplement the bridge crossing, the emperor on 10 June I 190
was drowned. His death in Armenian territory made a deep impression on Leon
and his people and destroyed immediate hopes of the royal crown, for the
German leadus, distraught by the loss of the emperor, were not prepared to
negotiate further.
Leon s a t down an Armenian contingent to the crusading camp at Acre and
himself joined Caeur-de-Lion in the conquest af Cyprus, but it was Antioch that
soon claimed his attention. After Saladin in 1188 had destroyed Baghras, Leon
had occupied and rebuilt it. This a t once raised issues with Bohemond I11 and

the Templars, and Leon invited Bohemond to an intervim to discuss them. It
is strange how trustingly invitations were accepted, and this one was no exception
to the dangers involved. Bohemond was seized and held to ransom, and only
released when Henry of Champagne, the new king-consort of Jerusalem, 'a
man friend of peace and good',8 came to Sis to negotiate a settlement. Leon
retained Baghras, but gave the elder of Rupen 11's daughters, Mice, as a bride
to Bohemond's eldest son Raymond.9
Then on 6 Januar)r 119810 in the presence of the Imperial chancellor,
Conrad of Hildesheim, and the papal legate, Conrad of Mainz, Leon was
crowned king by the Armenian Catholicos, Gregory Abirad, in the cathedral at
Tarsus. This marked the recognition of Armenia as an independent state. The
coronation was witnessed by bishops and barons, the leading m e n of the
In the previous p a r Leon's nephew by marriage, Rayrnond, the heir to
Antioch, had died, and his Rupenid wife Alice had borne him a posthumous
son. Raymond-Rupen. T o ensure his great-nephew's accession to Antioch,
uniting thereby, as he had no son, Armenia and Antioch, now became the

I$

Mat-enadaran No. 1568 ( a volume of sacred poems by the cleventh-century poet.
G m g o r ~Narebtsi), dated 1173; Mekhithariat Library, Vcnisc, No. 1635. G o ~ p a lof~
11g3.

I

wrner-stone of Leon's poliq. This strategically and politically admirable plan
was endorsed by the papal Iegate and the Antiochene barons swore to recognise
the child" rights, but when in ~ z o rBohernond I11 died, Rayrnond-Rupen was
only three years old. Bohemond le Borgne of Tripoli, Bohemond III's second
son, dnirned the succession, strongly supported by the Templars who resented
the loss of Baghras. Anti-Armenian feeling was easily roused and ~ntermitrtnt
warfare went on with varying balance of success for some twenty years. Both
sides appealed t o the papacy and this obscure struggle, in which neither side
hesitated to call in Modern allies, was to be a main preoccupation of the overburdened Innocent XII. There were r~ids,battles, legatine visits, excornmunications. The patriarch of Antioch was starved to death in a dungeon Eor supporting
Rupen's cause. The son of Bohemond le Borgne was in 1213 struck down by an
Michael the Syrian, R?3C.Am. I, p. 405.
Rupmk s daughter?., Mice and Philigptt (the htter having been betrothed as
OOSn of Lampron), h b both been married in r ~ B gto two psinctx of the
a child
Snmounian houaa of andent Armenia, Hetourn and Shhnshh, who were respechvely
~ v e nthe lordships of Mamistra ~ n d
Silifke. They were, however, both msassinattd
in xr93. On their mother's side they were nephews of the Cathdicae Grepary Dgha,
and ir was after his death that they wwe mysteriously removed, whether or n o t o n
k m ' s orders remains uncertain,
t o For & s c u ~ i mof the date we A History o j the Cmsadm ed. K. M. Setton, 11,
p. 648* n. 23.
lrva
Sempad N C . A m . I, p. 634.
8

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PLATE4

VAHKA
FYQW
tho smth-west

In the hills no1th d Sis, its position was chosen prabably for its inaccessibility
rather than for any s:rategic purpose Steep pa:hs rar through the hillsitIe,
but the main route was fdrther east. It was a stxong p i n t from which a ga+risun could in security ke2p some watch on raiding b a d s and score its obvn
booty Originally a By z~ntinefi,r:ress, it w3s c~ccupiedby Constantine around
1090,and was t h? main base o: die Rupcnid family in th:ir early days. T a b en
by John Comnenus in 1737, an1 two years later by the Danishmendids, it
returned to Arm:n;nn control under Thoro3 11, and the present buildings
are probably l3rgely from his time. As with many Armenian castles, its plan
is lar3eIy d2termine:I by ihe siie on +vh~ch
it is placed and the walls on the
line of the rock face,

THE H I S T O R Y OF T H E K I N G D O M

I
I

1

I

I

21

Assassin at the porch of the cathedral of Tortosa, and rumour accused the
Hospitallers of having instigated the deed. Leon had in 1207 and again in Iz 10
through Raymond-Rupen granted Gibe1 and the Chateau de la VeiLle, on the
borders of Tripoli and Antioch, to the Hospital; acts well calcuIated to foster
local animo~ities.~~
Events swung now one way, now another, but in 1216Leon
seemed to have gained the upper hand. Raymond-Rupen was crowned prince
in Antioch. Then three years later a conspiracy admitted Bohemond into the
city, and Raymond-Rupen driven out hastened to the crusading forces at
Damietta to appeal to the papal legate.
While these border disturbances continued, Leon had problems nearer
home. Leon's relations with the Catholicos had always been troubled. In r 193
he had secured the election of Gregory V, hoping to find in him a conciliatory
influence amongst the disputing factions. Instead he soon showed fimseIf to
be an authoritarian and uncompromising ruler, and Leon sent John, archbishop
of Sis, to fetch him from HrorngIa. Gregory was imprisoned at Gobidara, and
fell to his death in an attempted escape from the castle. John of Sis replaced
him. He was a member of the Hetournid famiIy and one of Leon's closest
advisers. Here too, however, a quarrel arose. The cause is obscure. In 1205
John had denounced the queen for adultery, and Leon had imprisoned her at
Vahka. His rage was directed against his wife, not the Catholicos, but it may
well have led to embittered relations. Then in ~ z Leon
g
imprisoned, m what
charges is not known, two of John's cousins, John's brother-in-law Henry,
ford of Norpert and Camardias, and his son Constantine, lord of Silifke. The
protests of the Catholicos led to a complete breach. Leon declared him deposed,
and John melted down the church plate for money to fortify Hromgla. For
some five years the discord lasted, until in the end Hetown of Lampron, the
abbot of Trazarg, induced the king and the Catholicos to come to terms.
The adulterous queen was now dead, and Leon took a second wife, Sybilla
of Lusignan, daughter of A i e r y of Cyprus and sister of Melisend, wife of
Bohemond IV, by her he had a daughter, Zabel. His daughter Rita by his first
wife was married to John of Brienne and had by him a son. The possible heirs
to the throne were therefore .this child, Rapond-Rupen as grandson of Rupen
111, and Zabel, though no woman had as yet succeeded to the throne in Cilicia.
In the end, wearied by the business of Antioch, Leon nominated Zabel as his
heir, betrothing her to the son of Andrew of Hungary, Within a year Rita, the
wife of John of Brienne, and her child were both dead. Then in May 1219,
' 1 See Riley-Smith, Kmghts of St. J o h , p. 155. For the htiochene dispute see
Cahen, Syrie du Nord, pp. 579-636.

C

THE CJLLCJAN KINGDOM OF ARMENIA

THE HISTORY O F THE K I N G D O M

having reigned for duty-two years, Leon h i m l f died.
He bad some real claim to the epithet 'the Great' which his subjects accorded
to him. Some unity and peace had been secured, and some control exercised
over his unruly baronage. The use of western titles, baron, constable, chancellor,
seneschal, bailiff and so forth, corresponded to a new feudal relationship with
the Crown. The royal state, borrowing here from Byzantium, was enhanced by
elaborate robes and etiquette. The Genoese and Venetian treaties brought not
only transit trade, but new outlets for local produce from the fertile coastal
plain; timber from the Taurus forests was in much demand, though already the
goat, prime enemy of trees, had become a rival in the country's ewnomy, and
goatskins and goathair cloth were a main export. Despite its timber, Cilicis had
not produced in any number a fleet or merchant vessels of its own, and the
treaties with the Italian merchant cities were therefore of prime importance.
The great timber market was in fact Alexandria, for Egypt could not provide
material for her own navy, but this trade was much frowned upon, not least
by the Hospitallers once they were installed in Rhodes, and if Cilicia almost
certainly practised it, prohibitions and interruptions were frequent. Leon
ceIebrated his coronation by issuing golden winage, but to judge by survivals,
gold coins were never numerous, and the bulk of the Armenian money was
silver or copper. The Armenian tategan was an equivalent of the dinar and was
coined in both gold and silver. Not least of their trading advantages was the
widespread dispersion of the Armenian people, so that their colonies, from
Italy to China, formed a link with the homelands and showed both national
trading acumen and persistent devotion to the national Church.
The dispute over htioch had involved Leon in attacks from Bohemond's
Moslem alIies, for a time encouraged by the Catholicos, J o h , in particular
h - Z a h i t of Aleppo and Kai-Khusrau I of Iconium. In 1208-9Leon had lost
to the latter the fortress of Pertounk, fifteen miles to the north-west of Marash.
I n 12I 6 Kai-Mhusrau9~successor, Izz-ad-Din Kai-Kaus, attacked the fortress
of Gaban and defeated an Armenian force sent to relieve it, taking pt.isaner
several of the leading Armenian nobles. Leon then took the field in person, and
succeeded in relieving the castle, but the prisoners were not ransomed for some
time, and then only by the surrender of the fortresses of Loulon and Lauzada.
Amongst these prisoners had been Canstantine, lord of Babaron and Partzapert,
Lean's first cousin, together with Adam of Baghras. Married to a daughter of
the main Hetournid line, a man who Michael the Syrian states 'professed the
Greek religion" Adam had been appointed bailli for Zabel, but in 1221 he was
struck down in the streets of Sis, by an Assassin it was said, although not without

suspicion of compIicjty by Constantine, whose ambition for his own advancement was becoming all too evident. His immediate obstacle was RaymondRupen who, now married to a Lusignan, a half-sister of his father's widow, had
arrived to enforce his claim and had been welcomed at Tarsus. The town, however, was treacherously opened to Constantine, and Raymond-Rupen speedily
ended his days in prison. He had been a young man of promise, precipihted
early into a high but disputed position, but his arrogance had alienated his
great-uncle's affections. Zabel meanwhile had been repudiated by Andrew of
Hungary on her father's death and a husband had to be found for her. Constantine decided in favour of PhiIip of Antioch, the fourth son of Bohemond IV.
The move was a recognition of Bohemond's position as prince and put an end
to schemes of Armenian-Antiochene union in favour of peace between the
states. I t was stipulated, however, that PhiIip must join the Armenian Church.
Leon's westernising policy was unpopular, both with the baronage and with the
Armenian ecclesiastics, and it had failed in its main object of consolidating a
new Christian power by the union with Antioch. Philip, happy in his marriage,
unfortunately had little political sense; Latins were given important posts and
part of the royal treasure was sent to Antioch. In I225 after three years of rule,
he was seized by night in Zabel's room, hurried to prison and soon poisoned
there despite appeals from his father. On 14June 1226,Zabel, much against
her will, was married to Constantine" son, Hetoum, and the two rivaI houses
were at last united on the throne:of Armenia.
Hetourn's immediate problems, under his father's guidance (for Constantine
lived till 1263), were on his western frontier. The Latin conquest of Constantinople had left the more outlying parts of Byzantium defenceless. KaiKhusrau I, the Selchukid sultan of b u m , in 1207 had occupied Antalya and
opened up the southern gulf to Sdchukid wade. In I ~ hisI son Ala'ud-din
Kai-Qobad mended his control by capturing KaIonoros from the Armenians.
Kai-Qubad rebuilt the town on its great rocky promontory, renaming it after
himself ns Ma'iya - now Alanya. His rule, 1r2a+37, was one of the most prosperous in the history of the sultanate and his buildings in AntaIya, Manya and
Anamur still testify to its splendour. He invaded Armenia in 1233, exacting
tribute, but on the whole he was a peaceful neighbour, ready to further trading
relations. His reign, however, ended the Armenian control on the eastern coast
of the bay of Antalya. Under Leon a row of fortresses had been occupied along
that rugged sea front, and the inland route from Anamur to Lnranda had also
been in Armenian control. When Leon in 1218 surrendered the fortresses of
Zoulon and Lauzada, the Armenian expansion on the Cappadocian side of the

22

23

PLATE
5

T H E INCREDULITY OF ST THOMAS

Fmm Armenian Psalter of X 275, St J a m
Jmaakm, MS. 2563 f. 368

This is from a Gospel Book illustrated in Cilicia in 1272 for Reran, wife of
Leon 111 (MS. 2563) Church of St James, Jerusalem). It is a work that shows
the hllest development of Armenian illumination. The name of the artist is
not known. He was certainly influenced by Thoros Roslin, but brings a new
sense of movement to his figures.

THE HISTORY O F THE KINGDOM

zs

Taurus had been ended. Now, with Kai-Qobad's fortification of Anamur, their
western frontier was driven back to the lower reachw of tlie Saleph river and the
fortresses of Bragana, Norpert, Camardias and Silifke. This was the area where
Leon in 1207 had faced revolt from the relatives of the Catholicos, John, and
he bad in 1210 transferred Norpert, Camardias and Silifke to the Hospitaller~.~~
This last however they had sold back to Constantine in 1226 to extricate: themselves from a delicate position when Zabel had taken refuge there from her
forced marriage with Hetoum.
In 1243 a new danger threatened. The Selchukid army, under Kai-Qobad's
successor Kai-Khusrau 11, was completely routed by the Mongols in a battle
near Siwas, where Georgians and Armenians were fighting in the Mongol army
and 2,om Frankish mercenaria in that of Roum.I3 Anatolia was overrun by
the victors. Kai Khusrau's wife and daughter had fled for refuge to Hetoum,
who now, when summoned to do so by the Mongols, handed them over. This
act was regarded at the time as a breach of the code of hospitaIity and some of
the Armenian nobles joined with the Selchukids in an attack on Hetoum,
occupying a few Armenian fortresses. But Hetoum was clear as to his policy,
to come to terms with these new invaders. More shrewdly than anyone he
recognised the strength of the Mongols and the possibility of obtaining protection from them. He sent his brother, Sempad the Constable, on an embassy to
their capital at Karakorum. Sernpad Ieft Armenia in 1zq7 and returned in 1250
with terms pledging that the Mongols would respect and protect the Armenian
kingdom. In 1253 Hetoum himself went to visit. the Great Khan and was absent
for three years from hi kingdom, returning through Greater Armenia, the
homeland which no Cilician ruler had visited. He came now with assurances of
Mongol readiness to protect the Christian Churches in their dominions and
himself became the protagonist of schemes of Mongol-Christian aIlince to
regain the Holy Land. Armenian troops fought in the Mongol armies, and
Hetoum occupied Marash and restored the Armenian sphere of influence to an
extent that recalled the days of Phifaretus in the deventh century. Antioch too
was now practically an Armenian dependency, Through the mediation of
Louis IX the young Bohemond V1 of Tripoli and Antioch had in 1254married
Hetourn" daughter, Sybilla, and peace had been made between them. But
' 2 Earlier, before I 149,the Hospimllers had some holdings round Til Hamdoun,
Mamistra and Hamnia, possibly ceded to them by Rntioch, which do not seem to have
survived the conquest of these areas by Thorns 11. They had also interests in the area
round Turbessel and Behesni. See Cahen, Syrie, pp. 514,$25.
I S Howorth, History of the Mongols I, pp. I 66-7.

26

27

T H E CILICIAN KINGDOM OF ARMENIA

THE H I S T O R Y OF THE K I N G D O M

Bwhemond's headquarters were in Tripoli, and even when Latakin was once
more reoccupied with Mongol help, Antioch remained under Armenian rather
than Tri~olitancontrol. With the army of Hulagu, the Mongol conqueror of
Baghdad, Hetown entered Aleppo, that untaken city, and in March 1260 he
and Bohemond rode with the Mongol general Ritbogha through the streets of
Damascus. It was a moment of triumph, but it w a s not to last. In the widespread
R'Iongol empire there were always revolts stirring, disputed successions distracting the Great Khan and shifting the sphere of urgency. I n S~eptember1260,
the Mongol force, an inadequate one, under Kitbogha was compIetely destroyed
by a Mamluk army from Egypt, and when reinforcements arrived they only
temporarily stemmed the advance of the Mamluks under their new and powerful
leader, Baybars. Hetoum, however, was able not only to hold his own, but
even to expand his territories. In 1262he seized the fortified town of Behesni,
pushing his territories beyond Marash to the Euphrates boundary. The following
year, on his western frontier, he repulsed a Turkoman band, the Karamanids,
who, displaced by Mongol pressure, had established themselves round the
Antalyan gulf. Their leader, Kauaman, was killed in the conflict. Well might
the scribe and illuminator Thoros Roslin in a colophon of a gospel book written
for Prince Leon, call Hetoum 'the holy king who repulsed the hordes of the
progeny of Hagar and the generations of the infidel9.14
But steadiiy Baybars was advancing through Syria. Caesarea, Haifa, Amuf,
Tibnin, Safad fell in m65 and 1264, and he then turned on Armenia, the chief
Mongol ally. Hetoum hurried to Tabriz to seek Mongol help. In his absence
the Mamluks crossed the Amanus mountains and entered Cilicia. The Constable Sempad with the tmToyoung princes, Thoros and Lton, led the Armenian
forces against him, but were hopelessly outnumbered and routed. Thoros was
killed; Leon and Sempad's son Vasil captured. For twenty days the enemy
pillaged the coastal plain unopposed. 'Sis and its chief church were given to
the flames, the tombs of the kings and princes violated, and their bones torn
from this last resting place, burned, and scattered as ashes to the winds.'rs
Hetourn returned to find in his country a devastation from which it never
recovered.
T w o years later, on 12 May 1268,the Mamluks stormed Antioch, with a
terrible massacre and destruction. Simon the Constable and other refugees
escaped to Armenia. It was 16th this new threat, with the terrible tales of the
atrocities in the city that had long been so close to Armenian affairs, that Hetoum,
I4 T h e Four Gospels ('rz62), Armenian Patriarchate Jerusalem MS. 2660.
I s Chronology of Hetoum. R N C - A m . I, p. 487.

having secured the reIease of his son, Leon, from Egypt, abdicated in his favour,
and withdrew to spend the remaining years of his life in a monastery. He was
a far-sighted man, capable of decision, and understanding the circumstances in
which he lived. Under h i the arts had flourished, and if ruin has left little trace
of his buildings, the illuminations of Thoros Roslin give splendour to his reign.
Here was an artist who could create a fusion of artistic impulses from East and
West and claim a high place by any standaxd.16 Others such as the Master of
the Frere Gospel, painted for 'CTasak,the son of Hetoum I, and the Master of
the Gospels of 1272 (Plate 5)," painted for Leon 111's wife, could rival him in
iconographic inventiveness, and it is little wonder that there was in Armenia a
touching pride in the products of their scriptoria. Manuscripts pillaged by the
Moslems were frequently bought back, and in one instance a famous example,
found thrown away in the crevice of a river bank, had miraculous powers
attributed to it.18 Metal-work aEso flourished, and from the monastery of
Skevra, though nothing remains of its buildings, a silver-gilt reliquary survives,
now in the Hermitage Museum at Leningrad; it was made in 1293 for Hetoum
11 and shows him kneeling beneath the figure of the Virgin.
One figure, that of his elder brother, the Constable Sempad, stands out
through Hetourn's reign as an example of integrity, loyalty and practical sense.
Netoum had obtained the: crown by marriage with Zabel. The role of an elder
brother, thus superseded, would never have been an easy one, and Cilicim
history is full of fraternal disputes and fratriddes. The Constable was eve^ his
brother's soundest adviser and supporter. His account of his embassy to the
Tartars written to his brother-in-law, Henry I of Cyprus, is an observant,
percipient appreciation of this new factor in Eastern affairs, and Sempad's
advice must have underlain Hetourn" pro-Mongol policy. He wrote a history
of the Cilician kingdom which is the most judicious survey that we have of its
troubled events. Much of the earlier part was based an Matthew of Edessa, but
he also used, he tells us, 'Frank historiam'.t9 In the field of law, he revised the
Armenian Lxw Book of Mkhit'ar Gosh (1184)~
or possibly composed a new work
from similar sources; and he translated, .to meet the problems of Leon 11's
16 The signed MSS. date from x a ~ 6 4 8 / g .Jf the attribution to him of t h e v e a l
lectionary in Matenadaran (MS. 979) is m&his career extended .to ~288.
17 Armenian Patriarchate, Jerusalem, MS. ~563.For a recent apprzisal of these
illuminations sea J. Beckwith, Early Ckristiaign and B y ~ m t hArt (Harmondsworth.
18 Smjian, Colaplnmrs,pp. 78, 98, 100.
x970)h PP. 13&9S. der Nersessian, 'The Armenian Chronicle of the Constable Sernpad*,
lr959), pp. 1 4 3 4 8 .

30

T H E CILLCIrZN K I N G D O M OF A R M E N I A

of the Templars. From there it seems likely that he went to Cilicia, where he
died shortly aftemards. His literary activities, his restless longing for the
monastic life, and his Roman, rather than Armenian, bias are characteristic of
this ambiguous civilisation, where the national traditions were disturbed, sometimes distorted, by the overpowering influence of the West, and where men
became more and more articulate as all hopes of stability lessened.
On the murder of Hetoum II and Leon IV, neither of them Ieaving any
offspring, the throne passed to a brother of Hetom's, Oshin, married to a
daughter of Hetourn the Historian. He died in 1320, poisoned it was thought
by his cousin and brother-in-law, another Oshiin, ford of Corycus, who cIaimed
to act as regent for the young heir, Leon V, and married him to his daughter
Alict. IsabelIa, King Oshin's sister, the widow of Aimery of Cyprus,and two
of her sons, who unfortunately were at hand, were imprisoned and murdered to
avoid possible claimants. Then in 1329, having reached the age of nineteen,
the king asserted himself, and had his wife and his stepfather both disposed of.
He took as his second wife Constance of Aragon, the widow of Henry 11 of
Cyprus, a pro-Latin move which did little to enhance his popularity, and shut
himself up in the citadel of Sis, waiting and appealing for Western aid, till in
1341 the barons rose against him and he too was murdered.
Such doings hardly served to create a favourable image of Armenia in the
West. In the Directonkm ad passagz"m focieadzcm, a pamphlet addresed to
Philip V1 in 1332 by a Dominican who had visited Cilicia, the writer warns the
king of Armenian weliability. W h e n hard pressed by the Turks they appeal
to Rome but 'the leopard cannot change his spots, nor the Ethiopian his skin:
they partake of every error known in the East. . . . Their king (Zeon 111) had
nine children, and all, sons and daughters alike, have come to a violent end,
except one daughter and no one knows what her end will be. One brother
killed another with the sword; another poisoned his brother; another strangled
his brother in prison, so that they all murdered one another till only the last
was left and he was poisoned and died miserably.' The truth was not so black,
but the family feuds were bloody enough to make it a not surprising picture.
The barons now offered the crown to John of Lusignan, one of the surviving
sons of Isabel and Aimery of Cyprus, but he had an elder brother Guy, who
had been making a name for himself in the service of the Greek emperor. John
wrote to h i urging him to come and take the Armenian crown, an invitation
tvhich, perhaps not surprisingly, Guy was loth to accept. In the end however he
agreed and in r 34s came to Armenia. He was a vigorous and determined man,
but deeply committed to the Latin cause. His younger brother, Bemon, was

II

I

1

T H E HISTORY OF THE K I N G D O M

3'

sent to Rome to seek for help, but these were negotiations that were bound t o
rouse resentment in Armenia and in 1344 both Guy md Bemon were killed in
a rising, and power was seized by another Constantine, whose father Baldwin
had been Marshal of Armenia and belonged to a younger Hetournid line.
Constantint abandoned Guy's vigorous policy for a series of treaties with
Egypt, ceding T m u s and Adana to the sultan. He also aimed at removing all
claimants of the Lusignan branch. John of Lusignan. Guy's brother, had died
shortly before the latter's murder, but his wife, Soldane, w a s living with two
young sons, Bemon aged five and Leon aged two. They were imprisoned at
Corycus and orders given for their murder, but the lady managed to escape in
time with her sons from the castIc and take refuge in Cyprus. The usurper
Constantine reigned for nineteen years, dying, most unusually, a natural death
in x363. His two sons had predeceased him. He was succeeded by his cousin
Constantine, the sixth of the name, for in Armenian reckoning Guy of Lusignan
is given the less foreign name of Constantine IV. Hard pressed by the Karamanids on his western borders he took the bold step of calling in Peter I of
Cyprus to his assistance by offering him the port and castle of Corycus, and
possibly the reversion of the kingdom. From Corycus Peter, aided by the
Hospitallers from Rhodes, surprised and captured Antalya in August 1360.
The occupation of Antalya offered some chance for a revival of Cilician
trade. During the disturbed reigns of the first half of the century, little protection
had been available against Egyptian inroads. Ayas had been sacked in I322 and
left defenceless. As long as its twin fortresses protected its sheltered bay it was
an important asset both politically and economically in Armenian affairs. After
1322 the sea castle was never rebuilt. I n 1336 the people of Ayas murdered two
of the Mamluk officials,bringing vengeance on themselves and on Armenians
in Jerusalem. 'I copied this', wrote a scribe in Jerusalem, "under much anguish
and fear and day in and day out we expected to be tortured and killed.'2s I n
1337, after another raid, the townspeople of Ayas were onIy spared a general
massacre on terms that involved razing the fortifications. From then on, with a
brief interlude in 1367, Ayas was in Moslem hands. Antalya, however, was the
last Cilician gain. Peter" further activity was directed towards a great raid on
Alexandria, wKich left enduring hatred between MamIuk Egypt and Cyprus
and which was to be terribly avenged.
On the murder of Peter in 1369 Constantine VI, who seems to have been a
realist in politics, sought a treaty with the sultan of Cairo and was thought by
Sanjian, Colophons, p. 95.

32

THE CILICIAN KINGDOM O F ARMENIA

the Armenians to be pepared to hand over the kingdom to him, a humane
alternative to bloody conquest that the barons were not prepared to tolerate.
I n 1373 Constantine in his turn was murdered, and Leon, son of John of
Lusignan and the much tried Soldane, was called to the throne.
This at least is how it is chronicled by Jean Dardel, Leon VI% chaplain,
when he was a prisoner in Cairo, whose Chronipe d'Am&ie must represent
Leon's recollections of his early youth and reign and is our authority for the
confused and sordid history with which we have been dealing. Unfortunately
there is some reason to think that Lean" views of events were hardly accurate.
The lady Soldane, if that is in fact her name, seems to have been John of
Lusignan's Armenian mistress not his wife, and Leon was illegitimate. This
certainly was the way it appeared in Rome, and in Cyprus his claims to the
estates of his grandmother, the murdered Isabella, were entirely rejected. The
Genotse, now dominant in Cyprus, in fact suspected Leon of being involved in
King Peter's murder and it was only grudgingly that he was allowed to depart
to Cilicia.
In Armenia also there seem to have been doubts. On the death of Constantine lV without heirs, there was a year's regency under a lady whose career
summarises much of the disturbed period in which she lived. Marie, 'the old
queen', was the daughter of Oshin of Corycus and the widow of Constantine V.
Her mother, Jeanne of Anjou, had been married fist to another Oshin, the king
of Armenia who died in 1320. It was Oshin of Corycus who had brought the
royal bride from Naples, and something of the old tale of Tristan and Iseult
seems to have been re-enacted, for on King Oshin's death his namesake of
Corycus married the midowed queen, a step which was thought dangerous by
the ruling house, and he was assassinated in 1329.Jeanne had predeceased him.
It was their daughter who nmv briefly held the regency. That, however, was
not woman's work, and, whatever the doubts about his birth, Lmn became
king as Leon V1 in 1374,and he and his wife, Margaret of Soissons, were
crowned at Sis on 14. &piember 1374; but it was soon apparent that there was
little hope of uniting the Armenians for any effort: and that treachery was at
work. Achot, a Hetournid by birth, had fled to Cairo and become a Moslem,
but many Armenians remained in contact with him and put him forward as
pretender to the throne. When the Egyptian forces arrived before Sis Leon for
a time held out in the citadel, but the city was completely sacked. W h o can
recount', wrote a scribe on a copy of the Assizes of Antioch, 'the tragedy that:
my eyes witnessed, for 1 saw the b r i ~ h sun.
t
the stars and the moon fall down.'
escaped from the citadel to ~ a b a n b;r
, was captured, and with his wife

I

PLATE
6

LAMPKON

Apaufmentx at md of inner ward

In the rivalries of the Rupenids and I-Ietoumids, this castle played

a great

part. The building on the s u m i t is palatial in scale. It consists of five rooms,
one of which presents a curved end to the precipice while another is polygonal externally (as can be seen on the left) though it, too, is sounded within,
h m i n g the apse of the hall. Here, as so often, it is the outLne of the plateau
that determines the plan of the fortress. It remained impregnable ancl Leon
A. W. L.
I1 only secured it by treachery.

I'

T H E H I S T O R Y OF T H E K I N G D O M

33

and 'the old queen' taken prisoner to Cairo. Released from there, he visited the
western capitals seeking, more and more hopelessly, for help to regain his
insecure kingdom. He died in 1393 in Paris and this last, if somewhat dubious,
Cilician king was buried in St-Denis, where his monument ironically has
survived the iconoclasm that has obliterated greater names and can still be seen,
a strangely placed reminder of the dynasties that for three hundred years ruled,
or sought to rule, this southern stretch of the Turkish coast. Jarnes I of Cyprus
added on Leon's death the title of king of Arrnenia to his equally empty title
of king of Jerusalem, and eventually through his great-granddaughter Carlotta
it passed improbably to the house of Savoy.
The Mamluk conquest was of short duration. After Timur's victory over
the Turks at Angora in 1402,the Tartars swept over Asia Minor and Syria.
That also was a brief occupation. When in 1453 the Ottomans took Constantinople, Cilicia passed under their control. The Armenian population still for a
time looked to the West for aid and continued negotiations with the papacy, but
Cilicia rapidly declined into a minor Ottoman province, where its Christian
inhabitants were always exposed to outbursts of Moslem fervour. They survived, however, with some religious freedom, till in 1895 and 1896 large-scale
massacres were let loose on the area. The resistance of the Armenians of Zeytin,
in the mountains near Marash, showed that the spirit of their race had not
declined, and when again in 1915Adann ancl h t i o c h became the scenes of
terrible butchery, the Armenians defended themselves in a camp on the Jebel
Musa, till rescued by a French miser. The toll in slaughter and dispers~lhad
been a heavy one. Only gradually and uncertainly have Armenians recovered in
numbem and security. Their churches have been des~oyed,and thdr placenames forgotten; their hiitstory can ody be traced through many obliterations of
its records and monumenw.

T H E CASTLE OF BAGHRAS

T H E CASTLE O F BAGHRAS

SITUATION

Preface
Although it avm one of the lmgw castles of the Kn&hts Templw and has the
additional interest of being in pm? hilt by the kingd~mof Ammia, Baghas has
not previousdy received w-iow attention. Yet it$ ruins, m regarb the complexz'by
of the defences, can bear c m p d m with any others of the Latin East (Krak des
Chmaliers excepted), and its history is mmg the most divemj?ed. For if w e d its
importance to that very fact which hm caused its neglect by modern traveller$ ~ n d
archaeolo@: its remoteness f r m the great centres of the crusader states. It wm a
frontier post, situated in a regim which belongs by nature neither to Syria nor to
Asia Minor and has constantly stcflered changes crf owne~ship.The two latest have
occurred in quick succession, since the beginning of this study. Baghm at that time
belonged to Syria, as it lay in the Sanjack of Almandretta, which for afmmonths
became the a t o n o m w state of Hatay and mbsequmtly win imorpmated into
T W k v 1939.
The w v e y upm which this C E C G ~isR based
~
m m made during the summer of
1938. The p l m are the wwk of Miss Phoeebe H. Brown, A.B. ( B y n Mawr),
graduate of the architecture school of the U ~ i v m s i t of
y CaSifmia. The project was
greatly facilitated by arrangements made by Ih E. H. R. Altoumyan, M.C.,and
Miss Bridget A l t a n y m . The Twkmm village~sof Baghras mere constantly
heEpfu1A Ji7St draft of the text aam completed in 1939. In 1950 Mr M. R. E. Gough
KindIy went to Bagbm and checked a a n d e r of sped@ points. In A2sgw-d:1951
I spent a day t h e , mpming the mitten desm'ptibn with the ruins. Much destmctknt (largely due to an earthquake) had ocmwed since my prmbw visit, but some
more features had been exposed by erorion or human actiwities.

here are two routes from Asia Minor to Syria inland of the Amanus
range - a relatively unimportant road down the Kara Su valIey into the
east end of the Antioch plain, and the railway route to Aleppo. Travellers
bound for the regions south of Aleppo must always have preferred the far more
direct route beside the Gulf of Alexandretta and over the Amanus range vim diflcilmt sed c u n c t m m ad Syros directissimm, as the crusaders found.1
In classical times and in the Middle Ages, while Antioch flourished, the rvute
from the pass led through Baghras, whereas the modem road avoids it, heading
for Aleppo. On the north slope the old track climbs along the steep side of the
valley past Beylan (now Belen), after which it winds for a couple of hours across
ridges and through small ravines down to Baghras. There it turns eastward
down an easy valley with a small but constant river (the Knramurt), descending
gently for an hour's walk before entering the plain, 26 km. from Antioch and
4 km. from the junction of the Alexandretts nnd Aleppo motor-roads at the
foot af the Beylan Pass. The ruined Han Karrmurt, an enormous caravan
station built some four centuries ago, stands in the valley, a kilometre from its

T
I

1
I

l

1
!

mouth.2

The Turkoman village af Baghras lies beside the river, at the mouth of the
side valley by which the old track descends from the Beylan Pass.3 A quarter
of a mile away, upstream, is the greatest castle of the Arnanus region, on a
hiU which slopes fairly gently to the village at its eastern foot, but is precipitous
Ralph of Cam, MC.Occ. 111, p. 639.
For the former imwrtanct of the mute see Dussaud, To$op@hie, pp. 433-52.
3 The best account of the route L by H-am,
Z#tschr@ &P Gmlelaaft fur
E r d h d e XXIX (r894), pp. 170, 171,176, but it is marred by an error, for he m n o t
have ridden from the Wan to Baghms village:in half an hour, unless he galloped, and his
mop was drawn to correspond with the abbreviated record.

I

i
1

T H E CASTLE OF BAGHRAS

on the other sides. The isolated hill apparently originated through a movement
of the earth's crust, whereby this enormous mass of Iimestone slipped apart
from the larger hill on the north, leaving a gorge through which the river flows;
its banks are rough as a result of successive minor landslides, but above rise
precipices of bare rock on either side. Upstream the valley is several hundred
yards wide and would seem therefore to antedate the arrival of the castle hill
to block its eastern end.4 Half a mile above the castle is a group of a dozen
springss at which the river rises in summer. Above this point, the mountains
close from north and west upon the course of the winter torrent. On the south
the rock is bordered by a long high ridge which gradually descends to the
plain of Antioch, while smaller encroaching h i advance to the river. Although
the view from the castle is extensive, especially eastwards, it is interrupted by
hills of greater or less elevation in every direction. The motor-road from
AIexandretta to Antioch comes in sight of the castle for two short stretches only,
one on a bend towards the foot of the pass, the other in the plain near the mouth
of the Baghras valley. The old track from the pass to the village comes within
sight of the castle only for the first half of the last mile, and even then the view
is mostly blocked by trees or by a rise in the foreground.
I n situation Baghras differs sharply from the other castles of the Amanus,
which occupy very prominent positions and were well placed to control all
traffic along the few practicable routes in this mountainous area. Baghras is
more comparable to Cursat, which was as vital to the defence of Antioch on
the south as Baghras on the north. Of Cursat (Qalat Qusair, now locally called
Qalat az Zaw) there is no v i m obtainable except in its immediate neighbourhood, and it lies at two hours' journey from any road now in use or likely to
have possessed importance in the past; the site is a piece of plateau, isolated by
deep river valleys and by an artificial cutting. These two castles were especially
valuable as bases from which strong garrisons could annoy forces either advancing towards or besieging Antioch. Their area was accordingly much greater and
4 The construction of the Great Rift alley, at the north end of which Baghras
lies, O C G U J R ~ ages after the formation of the:rock of which the hill consists; Prof. C. E.
Tilley very kindly examined a specimen (from the talus ~f the castle's ~ ~ t h - ~ s t :
corner) and found it to be a fossilifemus limestone of Lower Tertiary age. The district
is still a seismic a m and a comparatively recent earthquake m l d have: been responsible
for the separation of the hill, which is not explicable by colhpe of c a m .
5 Presumably identical with the Fons Gust&
which belonged to the Abbey of
St Paul before the Armenian occupatian (Raynaldus, Amales Ecclesiastin' on I zog; in
Baronius, vol. XX, p. 221, Bar-re-DuclParis, 1864-82) and the Fontaine de &sbm
where in x 194 Leon of Armenia met the Prince of htioch (RHC.Occ. 11, pp. 207,214).

D

g€

T H E CXLICIAN K I N G D O M O F A R M E N I A

their defences, especially those of Baghras, more skilful and elaborate than
those of other strongholds.
We noticed no old pottery in the neighbourhood of the modern village of
Baghras, dthough bare earth is exposed in the gardens around the houses and
in vineyards to the south. The valley south of the castle hill is very narrow apparently an old bed of the river - and the adjoining slopes are mostly too
steep and arid to have been chosen for habitation, but a more desirable side
valley comes in opposite the first stretch of the gallery of the castle, causing a
widening to nearly 300 m, of the flatground. At its mouth stand some ruins
called Kizlar Kalesi, 'GirlsTastle" and there is much pottery of medieval and
somewhat later times. Farther up the hill across which runs the aqueduct
many remains of walls can be seen, but Iittle pottery.
The only recognisable buildin@ at Kizlar Kalesi, a small bath-house, is
perhaps that built in 1552 by the Turkish Sultan Sulaiman Yn an agreeable
and picturesque spotY.7The site most favoured for habitation lies slightly north
and west, in the wide valley between the aqueduct hill and the river, especially
at a distance of 91-183 m. west of the castle. Here the ground over a wide area
is studded with pottery, more often of the Roman and medieval than of later
periods,g and many fragments of roof tiles testify to Roman or Byzantine settlement. Here too we picked up n flint - a flake not later than the beginning of
the Bronze Age.

1

I

I

I

The name of Baghras has existed for at least two thousand years and perhaps
its local pronunciation remained unchanged, but the Turkish government has
imposed the spelling Bakras.9 I t first appears in Strabo (XVI 751) as Pagrai, a
feminine plural; but in late popular Greek the accusative form Pagras would
6 I falled to recognise a culvert (ponceazc) mentioned by Jacquot, Antkoclze 11,
P. 197.
7 Chet-ef-Ndmeh, trs. Charrnoy I, r, p. 273.
8 Mr C. N. Johns and Mr J. H. IIi& kindly examined specimens of pottery and
gave them as exact dates as is now feasible.
P Harhnann ( Z f ~ t ~ ~
derh rGessllschft
~~~
fur E r d k d e XXIX, p. 170)heard local
people say Bughms, and this form occurs in editions of Imad-ad-Din and 'Ibn Batuta.
1have also seen Baqms and Baqtas in the Chhef-Nameh (ed. Charrnoy I, I , pp. 8 0 , 2 8 5 )
and Abu-l-Fida (cited ibid., p. 793). In medieval Armenian the name is spelt Paghras
but in the western dialect P is sounded as 13.

l

be used in place of the nominative and the initial letter would be given the
sound of B, so that no alteration can since have been made except a substitution
of the oriental gh for gamma. There is however no season to suppose that the
name is Greek by origin and it is more likely to be Semitic. In that event the
gamma wodd stand for gh, a sound not represented in the Greek alphabet.
Pliny mentions Pagrae (or rather Pagras, for he us- the accusative), and
Ptolemy names Pagrai, among the towns of Pieria. Lesser authors vary the
spelling: we find Pagaris, Padas, Pagris and Pnngrios.
In the fifth century Pagrai is described as a stathmos or station,^^ and it
would seem that no fortifications existed there at the Arab conquest in 638.
The first Moslem owner of Baghras, the distinguished Maslamah ibn Abd a1
Malik, 'gave it as an inalienable legacy (waqf)to be used in the cause of righteousness'. Its situation at the frontier and on the main route to CiIicia made it the
regular base for summer and winter raids into the Byzantine territory across
the Amanus. Presumably as a safeguard against counter-raids, the Umaiyad
caliph Hisham (724-43)is recorded as having 'established a garrison of 50 men
and built a fort for it' at Baghras.11 The military importance of Baghras must
have declined, but its commerce increased as the frontier was pushed northwards. Traffic across the Pass must have been stimulated when Harun-arRashid in 786 gave security to the Gulf of Aleaandretta by fortifying a line of
towns to the north. There are some grounds for supposing the fortifications to
have been strengthened, if not extended, by 968, as a defence against the
Byzantines, for in the campaign of that year Pagras or Pagra (bath forms are
neuter singulars) is included among the 'largest and most notable foamses'
taken by Nicephoms Phocas in CilicEa and Syria.
Yahya of Antioch, a Christian Arab who completed his chronicle about the
year 1015, ornib Baghras in this context, but asserts that Nicephorus Phocas,
on his return from Syria, 'had the fortress of Baghras built opposite Antioch,
at the entrance to the mountain pass, and put Michael Boustzes there as commander', leaving him at first with r,ooo men and later sending reinforcements.
Michael stayed there till shortly before the capture of Antioch in Onober 969."
Other authors confirm Nicephosus' building of a fortress in the Antioch district,
but do not state its n m e . Leo Diaconus has the fullest account: in order to set
an example, the mperm himselfwalked up the hill carrying the first stone, and
his army completed the buildhg in three days.TJ
lo

Smomen, Histomu Ecclesiastics, PG. LXVII, col. r $18.
Behdhuri, trs. Hitti, pp. 228, 253-6, 258, 268-9,
18 X . CWII, col, 768.
PairoEogia Orientalis XVIII, pp. 8r6, 833.

IX

T H E CASTLE: OF B A G H R A S

$1

Once the Byzantines had captured Antioch and its smthern approaches they
had no reason to maintain either a large camp or a strong fort a t Baghras
although it is true that the Arabs twice attempted to regain the lost city. In the
following century Byzantine possession became precarious and finally nominal.
After Antioch had paid tribute to MosuI for several years, the Armenian
Phllaretus incorporated it in n principality owing vague allegiance to Constantinople, but the Persian governor he appointed soon delivered the city to the
Selchukid Turks. Baghras must have changed hands simultaneously in 1084.
In the First Crusade Tancred is stated to have destroyed certain 'Turkish
mountain-strongholds garrisoned by fine soldiers' including the Clt~tmm
Adolescmtim called de Bakelws or (in another manuscript) &S Bachelers - a
corruption of Baghras having apparently been taken as the French word for a
novice in arms by Albert of Aix, writing after 1120.~4Kamal-ad-Din merely
records that the Franks camped at Baghras on 12 September 1097 and used it
as a base for raids on the territory of Antioch before laying siege to the city.Js
A third account of the campaign is likewise silent about the resistance offered by
the garrison, alluding only to the route of Tancred's army across the mountains
which separate AIexandretta and the 'small fort' of Baghras - Alex~dn'olam
Guastonmque ~pfi'ddzclzswl.~~
The crusaders habitually refer to Baghras under this name of Guaston,
Gaston, Gastrin, Gmtin, Gastim, or Gastun; the identification admits of no
reasonable doubt, as may be seen by examination of the references collected
here. Dussaud has suggested that the first syllable of the crusader name rqsesents an attempt to sender the oriental sound - ghm. This is the more probable
because the Ba- is very lightly sounded in modern speech - whether Arabic,
Armenian or Turkish -whereas the remainder of the word is strongly accented.
The bource of the Frankish termination has not yet been clearIy explained. A
parallel might be found perhaps in the Latin transliteration of a place-name in
Cfida as either ,buds or Amudain - both forms occur in one official document
of the Armenian kingdom, the - i being
~
added in the Latin version to reproduce
the reading of the Armrniiln text which must have ended wit11 a demonstrative
suffix,which in the modern language hhas become the arbcle.~'

-

l4

RHC.Occ. IV1p. 357.

"

6 C . O c c . 111. p. 639.
IWC,Or. III, p. 578.
E owe this information to Prof. H.W. Bailey. I may add that h u d a i s usual in
Arabic, but Nuwairi speaks of the ford of Amudain ar Amudein, the vowels am not
indicated. If the latter f o m was merant it could be interpreted as a dud, applying to
settlements on both bank of the river; the -anit is an Arabic p3ural ending which could
scardy have been intended in that smse but would be a reproduction af the Armenian.
'7

T H E C I L I C I A N K I N G D O M OF A R M E N I A

42

A Byzantine Golden Bull includes the strutegatm Papas among the places
held by the emperor's new vassal-state, the principality of Antioch.ls Its history
under crusading rule is obscure. It is rarely mentioned in the first fifty years
and then always in connection with movements of hostile troops, to which the
castle obviously formed no impediment.
A MosIem army sent to relieve Antioch encamped near there till its defeat
in February 1098.19 In I I 15 the Turks returned in strength to the civitates
Gallmm of Gasturn and Harim, but were driven out by Franks and Armenians.20
In July and September I 132 the Byzantine Emperor John Comnenus went past
on his way to subdue Antioch and on the return journey. In 1137 another
Bpantine army is recorded to have withdrawn from Antioch to Ba'rinaoa- a
name otherwise unknown in that district and perhaps a mistake for Baghras,
for the change is easily made in Arabic script. In x142John camped before the
oppidum or chaste1 of Gastun, intending again to besiege AntiochP
Though the emperor's death frustrated this project, Byzantine aggression
had resulted in the Franks losing a number of fortresses 'on the confines of
Antioch', and Baghras may have been one of them.= But a new power was
growing up in Cilicia, where Armenian refugees Ixtd formed a Byzantine
vassal-state after the Moslem conquest of their home-lands near Ararat. Thoros,
the ruler of Cilician Rrmenia, took possession of the fortresses in question. The
prince of h t i o c h and the Ternplars demanded their return, and a battle was
fought near Alexandretta during the year beginning October I 156. W e n peace
was made Thoros surrendered the castles while the Templars swore to give aid
to Armenia in future. It has been inferred that Baghras was one of these Ternplar
possessions because another battIe at the Portal (Jonah's Pillar), just north of
Alexnndretta, was fought either that same year or earlier between Turks from
Konya and a mixed force containing some Armenians in addition to 'brothers,
warrior-ff-iendsof Christ'." These knights may safely be identified as Templars,
but it is clear that the Order did not hold Baghras continuously from this date,
for in the winter of I x6c-I the fief was in the f i t of the prince of Antioch. He
conferred it upon Gerard, formerly of Sidon, who had been exiled for piracy
Comnena, RHC.Gr. I, p. 181.
Bar Hebraeus, Chronography, p. 235.
RHC,Occ. IV, p, 301.
Qalanisi, Damascus Ckrm'cIe, trans. Gibb, p. 244.
William of Tyre, RHC.Occ. I, p. 689.
22 In r r4g Nur-ad-Din defeated the crusaders at a place mitten variously as Busra,
Xaghra or Baghras; only the mouth of the valley could be meant.
Gregory the Priest, RHC.Ama. I, p. I 7 r .
I*

T H E ZASTLE O F BACHRAE

43
and almost immediately recommenced depredations by both land and sea. He
was therefore driven out by the prince of Antioch and became a renegade. (He
was eventually captured by Baldwin 111 and burned alive at Jerusalem.) The
Templars themselves declared (in 1209)that they owed possession of Gaston to
Pope Alexander 111, 1159-81. But it had also once belonged, so Armenia
claimed in rrgg, to Thoros' villainous brother, Mleh. When Thoros died,
leaving an infant heir, Mleh became a brigand-leader and received Moslem
aid; he had formerIy been a Ternplar and a Catholic. He is said to have taken
from the Templam all that they possessed in Armenia. Probably these conquests
do not date from I 168,his year of dependence on Aleppo, but were made during
his usurpation of all Armenia, which he held 116p75. He is recorded to have
established himself by "aking possession of castles and towns all over the
country'." The Templars therefore may conceivably have held Baghras for
brief periods in the first half and in the middle of the twelfth century, but are
not likely to have occupied it continuously before 1"s.
Baghra