armenian kingdom of cilicia

Drinking Vessel made from a Seashell. Mid-13th – 14th century in Cilician Armenia. 

In the centre of the shell is a silver medallion containing a depiction of a ram and, around the edge, the Armenian inscription: “Shakhuk, servant of God”. The rim of the shell is fringed with silver that bears traces of gilding. Remnants of an Armenian inscription remain on one section of the mount. In mediaeval Europe the shells of the giant scallop (Pecten maximus) became associated with pilgrims who had visited the Holy Land. Those making the journey would sew such shells onto their clothing as a symbol of divine protection.


Manuscripts from The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.

They are from the 12th century Cilician Armenia and are kept at the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts.

More commonly known as the Matenadaran. It holds one of the worlds most richest collection of ancient and medieval manuscripts and books. The books and manuscript contets ranges from history, philosophy, geography, science, medicine, litterature, cosmography and much more.


Armenian parchment dated from 1342.

In the brief description it is known that the manuscript was rescued from a fire. Chaknotz bolorgir is the name of the writing style. It was copied by Nerses Keghentz at the monastery of Houlayivank by the request of Arakel.

Isabella, Queen of Armenia

Isabella, or Zabel was the queen regnant of Cilician Armenia between 1219–1252.

“The lawful heiress of the empire, Isabella, governed the country together with her husband, and led a pious, religious life. She was blessed for her good deeds and exemplary life by many children, the numerous offsprings of a famous race”

—Vahram of Edessa: The Rhymed Chronicle of Armenia Minor

Isabella emerged as the favourite of the ruling Armenian nobles and thus she was proclaimed queen by acclamation and placed under the regency of Adam of Baghras.But Adam of Baghras was murdered after a few months, and the regency passed to the only remaining influential Armenian house, that of the Hethumian family whose head was Constantine of Barbaron.

Cilician Armenia, weakened by wars and in need of strong ally, found a temporary solution in a tie with the Principality of Antioch, the regent suggested that Prince Bohemond IV should send his fourth son, Philip, to marry Isabella, insisting only that the bridegroom should join the separated Armenian Church. Philip agreed to adopt the Armenian faith, communion and customs and to respect the privileges of all nations in Cilician Armenia.

When it was rumored that Philip wanted to give the crown and throne to Antioch, Constantine of Barbaron led a revolt (at the end of 1224). Philip and Isabella were seized at Tall Hamdun (today Toprakkale in Turkey) on their way to Antioch, and taken back to Sis where Philip was imprisoned, and probably poisoned at the beginning of 1225. On the death of her husband, Isabella decided to embrace a monastic life, and fled to Seleucia. She sought refuge with the Hospitallers. The latter were unwilling to give her up to Constantine of Barbaron but feared the powerful regent; they eased their conscience by selling him the fortress with Isabella in it. Bohemond IV, in anger, determined on war, although such a conflict had been expressly forbidden by the pope as harmful for all Christendom. Bohemond IV called in as ally the sultan at Iconium, Kai-Qobad I, and ravaged upper Cilicia in 1225. Constantine of Barberon arranged for the regent of Aleppo, Toghril, to advance on Antioch. When the latter attacked Baghras, Bohemond IV had to return to his own lands.

Isabella was forced into marriage with Constantine of Barbaron’s son who was subsequently crowned King Hetum I in Tarsus in June 1226. She is said to have refused to consummate the marriage for several years.

“In the year 675 AE /1226/ the Armenian princes, together with the Catholicos, Lord Constantine, assembled and enthroned Hethum, son of Constantine, bailli of the Armenians, and also gave him /as a wife/ Isabel, King Leo’s daughter. Thereafter there was peace in the House of the Armenians, and year by year they strived for the heights”

— Smbat Sparapet: Chronicle

Constantine of Barbaron now thought it wise to reconcile Armenia with the Papacy: loyal messengers were sent in the name of the young couple to the Pope and to the Emperor Frederick II. Although Bohemond IV and later his son, Bohemond V attempted to persuade the Pope to arrange a divorce between Isabella and Hethum, but both he and King Henry I of Cyprus were specifically forbidden by Rome to attack the Armenians.

“The queen being near the end of her life, and staying in a place called Ked, she heard a voice from heaven, crying aloud, «come my dove, come my love, thy end is near.» She felt joyful on this happy vision, imparted it to the bystanders, and died in the Lord; her body was brought to the grave by a large assembly of the priesthood and laid in consecrated earth.”

—Vahram of Edessa: The Rhymed Chronicle of Armenia Minor


Tomarza is a medieval Armenian town situated in Western Armenia. According to traditional history Tomarza was founded by thirteen Cilician Armenian noble families after the fall of the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia in 1375. However the first historic mention of Tomarza is from 1206 as the birthplace of the scribe, Gregory the Priest. 

Tomarza was always somehow an autonom small town in the middle of the Ottoman empire as the four quarters of Tomarza where governed by the descendents of the noble families. This autonomy continued untill 1908 untill the Second Ottoman Constitutional Era began. In

In 1915, about 4000 Armenians lived in Tomarza, being the vast majority of the town’s population. there were also greeks and a very few number of turks. That was about to change very quickly as every single Armenian and Greek was either killed off or deported from the town in August 1915. Some of those who survived migrated to America where they still live.

Many Armenian and greek churches and monasteries, some of them with mixed armeno-greco architecture where all destroyed and the few ruins that still stand are being used as either garages or have been torn apart to be used as building material.


Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia

The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (Classical Armenian: Կիլիկիոյ Հայոց Թագաւորութիւն Kilikio Hayots Tagavorutyun; French: Le Royaume arménien de Cilicie), also known as the Cilician Armenia, Kingdom of Cilician Armenia or New Armenia, was an independent principality formed during the High Middle Ages by Armenian refugees fleeing the Seljuk invasion of Armenia.Located outside of the Armenian Highlandand distinct from the Armenian Kingdom of Antiquity, it was centered in the Cilicia region northwest of the Gulf of Alexandretta, in what is today southern Turkey.

The kingdom had its origins in the principality founded c. 1080 by the Rubenid dynasty, an alleged offshoot of the larger Bagratid family, which at various times had held the thrones of Armenia and Georgia. Their capital was at originally Tarsus, and later became Sis. Cilicia was a strong ally of the European Crusaders, and saw itself as a bastion of Christendom in the East. It also served as a focus for Armeniannationalism and culture, since Armenia proper was under foreign occupation at the time. Cilicia’s significance in Armenian history and statehood is also attested by the transfer of the seat of the Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church, spiritual leader of the Armenian people, to the region. In 1198, with the crowning of Levon the Magnificent of the Rubenid dynasty, Cilician Armenia became a kingdom. In 1226, the crown was passed to rival Het'umids through Queen Zabel’s second husband, He'tum I. As the Mongols conquered vast regions ofCentral Asia and the Middle East, Het'um and succeeding Het'umid rulers sought to create an Armeno-Mongol alliance against common Muslim foes, most notably the Mamluks. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Crusader states disintegrated and the Mongols became islamized, leaving the Armenian Kingdom without any regional allies. After relentless attacks by the Mamluks in Egypt in the fourteenth century, the Cilician Armenia of the Lusignan dynasty, mired in an internal religious conflict, finally fell in 1375.

Commercial and military interactions with Europeans brought new Western influences to the Cilician Armenian society. Many aspects of Western European life were adopted by the nobility including chivalry, fashions in clothing, and the use of French titles, names, and language. Moreover, the organization of the Cilician society shifted from its traditional system to become closer to Western feudalism.The European Crusaders themselves borrowed know-how, such as elements of Armenian castle-building and church architecture.Cilician Armenia thrived economically, with the port of Ayas serving as a center for East to West trade.


This Song is about The Armenian kingdom of Kilika ( Cilicia )