Kingdom of Cilicia

Map of Asia Minor and the Kingdom of Cilicia

Two 13th-century Illustrations

Het’um the Historian

Frontispiece to Het’um’s work ‘La Flor des Estoires’, Het’um presenting his work to Pope Clement V (BNF NAF 1255, fol. 1).

A 13th-century Description

The following passages are excerpted from Smbat Sparapet’s Chronicle.

[94] In the same year they enthroned as patriarch lord Grigoris, called Apirat [Grigor VI Apirat, 1194-1203], a wise and learned man who was the son of a general, the brother of the kat’oghikoi lord Grigori and lord Nerse’s. He was quite elderly and had reached old age in goodly stewardship. Now when Lewon had seized the prince, he put him into confinement for some days. When the royal prince Henri [Comte Henri de Champagne] came from Acre he requested him as a favor from Lewon, and [Lewon] granted it to him. They established a covenant of friendship and marriage relations with each other [g206], as Lewon gave Alice, the daughter of his brother Ruben, who previously had been [the wife] of Het’um, Shahe’nshah’s brother, in marriage to the senior son of prince Raymond. [This was done] with the provision that should the union produce a male child, he would be Lewon’s heir, and that after the death of his father, Raymond, he would be the lord of Antioch. [This was agreed to] by oath and in writing. The prince’s son was with Lewon and went about with him, but he died after a while. His wife was pregnant from him and gave birth to an appealing and comely boy. Since Lewon had no son, the child was to be the heir of their patrimony. He had him nurtured with great attention. He was baptized and called Ruben.

[95] In the year 645 A.E. [1196] the Byzantine emperor sent Lewon a noble crown and sought an alliance of friendship with him. [Lewon] received [the crown] with joy.

In the year 646 A.E. [1197] Lewon sent to Constantinople the archbishop lord Nerse’s, son of O’shin, and the very noble prince Halkam, brother of Bakuran, his mother’s brother. They went and gladly demonstrated to them Lewon’s disposition for friendship. Since lord Nerse’s was a wise and learned man, adorned with every virtue, the Byzantine sages gathered around him and conversed with him for many days about the [Armenian] confession of faith and appointments of the church. Lord Nerse’s brought them to willing acceptance. In that same year there was a deviation concerning [the proper day for commemorating] Easter. In the same year Lewon sent the archbishop of Sis, lord Yohanne’s, to Acre about the crown which the king of the Germans had sent to him with the troops which had come there. An archbishop [artswe’sk’n (Archeveque)] [g207] had also come by order of the pope of Rome [Celestine III].

In the month of January in the year 647 A.E. [1198] on the day of the Revelation of the Lord, they anointed Lewon king of the Armenians in obedience to the church of Rome and the emperor of the Germans. And there was great joy among the Armenian people, since they saw their lordship restored and renewed in the person of Lewon, a moral and God-loving king. In the same year lord Nerse’s, son of O’shin and brother of Kostand lord of Lambron, died. And now we should briefly narrate some things about the pleasing modern events occurring in the House of the Armenians. For Lewon was a learned, brilliant man with a happy mien and a generous soul toward all, toward the clerics and laity, the poor, the weak, and to those in monasteries and retreats, dispensing his goodly gifts everywhere, celebrating the feasts of Holy Week with great assembly and a costly table. Whenever he learned that a man was found suitable and capable for a particular job, he sent and called him giving his word and when he had been brought [Lewon] recompensed him with generous gifts. All the ranks of the clergy and the honored princes were adorned and comely in this country of Cilicia…

[97] Now the aforementioned fortresses at one time served King Lewon, but later [g210] they [re]turned to the sultan. After the death of Prince Bohemond, many soldiers came in service to King Lewon as did princes with them. Here are their names: Olivier the Chambellan (Ulive’r Jambr’layn), Roger du Mont (R’o’che’l Tmunt’), Louard (Juart), Thomas Maslebrun (T’umas Male”prun), Bohemond Lair (Bale’n Pudler), Guillaume de l’Isle (Kilam Tlil). With such prudent princes and valiant warriors did [Lewon] press upon the bands of enemies. They greatly harassed the sons of Kilij-Arslan who ruled the House of the Romans, taking fortresses from them and enslaving their country with looting. With the greatest bravery [Lewon] remained armed amidst the enemy, like an invincible hero. He remembered the wicked deeds that the Lambronets’ik’ [Het’umids] had commited against the Christians of Cilicia and against the Rubenid clan [for example, that] O’shin, Het’um’s father, had become a leader of the Turks and had brought them against Adana, which he captured causing a great slaughter there. It is said that they took 500 virgin girls captive, not to mention countless others. Lewon, in his wisdom, planned to clip their wings, and reduce their insufferable haughtiness. He suggested some appealing ideas to O’shin’s son, Het’um, saying: “I want to establish friendly relations with you, and give Phillipa, the daughter of my brother, Ruben, as a wife to your eldest son, O’shin. Het’um accepted this proposal with thanks and gladness. So they made preparations for the wedding in the city of Tarsus, and Het’um arrived at Tarsus with his clan [g211], sons, and entire household. Then King Lewon seized them. He sent and took Lambron without a battle and put Het’um into prison for a while. Subsequently he released him from prison and gave him numerous villages and gifts and accepted him with honor. [Het’um] served him loyally in accordance with his wisdom, for he was a sensible man and extremely literate besides. But once again, after some years, [Lewon] seized him and put him into prison where he donned clerical clothing. The king went to see him in the prison at Vahka and they requested forgiveness for their actions. The king freed him and gave him the blessed congregation of Drazark where he remained until his death. When he became a cleric, he adopted the name Henri (Heghi).

Source, ss. 94-95, 97.