Obverse. Photo © Daniel Barnstead
  • 1 Tram 1236-1245, Album# A-1221, Armenia, Kingdom of Cilicia, Hethum I
  • 1 Tram 1236-1245, Album# A-1221, Armenia, Kingdom of Cilicia, Hethum I

The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, also known as the Cilician Armenia, Lesser Armenia, or New Armenia, was an independent principality formed during the High Middle Ages by Armenian refugees fleeing the Seljuq invasion of Armenia. Located outside of the Armenian Highland and distinct from the Armenian Kingdom of antiquity, it was centered in the Cilicia region northwest of the Gulf of Alexandretta.

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 originally at Tarsus, and later became Sis. 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 Hethumids through Isabella's second husband, Hethum I. As the Mongols conquered vast regions of Central Asia and the Middle East, Hethum and succeeding Hethumid 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.


King Hethum I holding a staff mounted on horseback with Armenian legend along the rim with Hetoum's name and status.

Hethum I (1213-1270) ruled the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (also known as "Little Armenia") from 1226 to 1270. He was the son of Constantine, Lord of Baberon (d. 1263) and Princess Alix Pahlavouni of Lampron (a third-cousin of Leo I) and was the founder of the dynasty which bears his name: the Hetoumids.

During his reign, he had done some political and diplomatic wrangling to save his kingdom from the approaching Mongolian hoard. As a result, Hetoum I agreed to allow Armenia to fall under Mongol suzerainty. Due to diplomatic relations with the Mongol Empire, Hethum himself traveled to the Mongol court in Karakorum, Mongolia, which was recorded in the famous account The Journey of Haithon, King of Little Armenia, To Mongolia and Back by Hetoum's contemporary, the Armenian historian Kirakos Gandzaketsi.

Հեթում Թագաոռ Հայոց


4 lines of Arabic text with the name and title of Kaykhusraw II from the Seljuq clan.

Ghiyath al-Din Kaykhusraw II or Ghiyāth ad-Dīn Kaykhusraw bin Kayqubād was the sultan of the Seljuqs of Rûm from 1237 until his death in 1246. He ruled at the time of the Babai uprising and the Mongol invasion of Anatolia. He led the Seljuq army with its Christian allies at the Battle of Köse Dağ in 1243. He was the last of the Seljuq sultans to wield any significant power and died a vassal of the Mongols.

ضرب بسيس سنة
السلطان الأعظم
غِياث الدّنيا وَالدّين
كيخسرو ابن كيقباد

Edge -

1 Tram

Album# A-1221
Material Silver
Weight -
Diameter -
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment -
Sis Mint

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