LYING across the chief meeting-place of Europe and Asia, Armenia suffered immeasurably more from the conflict of two civilizations than it profited by their exchange of goods and ideas. If the West penetrated the East under pressure from Rome, Byzantium, or crusading Europe, if the East moved westwards, under Persian, Arab, Mongol, or Turk, the roads used were too often the roads of Armenia.

This was not all. East and West claimed and fought for control or possession of the country. Divided bodily between Rome and Persia in pre-Christian times, an apple of discord between Persia and the Byzantine Empire during the early part of the Middle Ages, Armenia for the rest of its national history was alternately the prey of Eastern and Western peoples. When the Armenian kingdom was strong enough to choose its own friends, it turned sometimes to the East, sometimes to the West. It drew its culture from both. But, belonging wholly neither to West nor to East, it suffered consistently at the hands of each in turn and of both together.

The stubborn pride of the Armenians in their national Church prevented them from uniting permanently either with Christendom or with Islam. Though driven by eastern pressure as far west as Cilicia, where it was in touch with the Crusaders, Armenia never held more than a doubtful place in the state-system of medieval Europe. Sooner than sink their identity in Greek or Roman Church, the Armenians more than once chose the friendship of infidels. On the other hand, whether as neighbors or as enemies, as allies or as conquerors, the races of the East could never turn the Armenians from their faith. When Armenia ceased to exist as a State, its people kept alive their nationality in their Church. As with the Jews, their ecclesiastical obstinacy was at once their danger and their strength: it left them friendless, but it enabled them to survive political extinction.

Isolated by religion, Armenia was also perpetually divided against itself by its rival princes. Like the Church, the numerous princely houses both preserved and weakened their country. They prevented the foundation of a unified national State. But a large Power stretching perhaps from Cappadocia to the Caspian borders, and disabled by ill-defined frontiers, could never have outfaced the hostility of Europe and Asia. A collection of small principalities, grouped round rocky strong­holds difficult of access, had always, even after wholesale conquest, a latent faculty of recovery in the energy of its powerful families. The Arabs could have destroyed a single royal line, but, slaughter as they might, Armenia was never leaderless: they could not exterminate its nobility. The political history of Armenia, especially during the first half of the Middle Ages, is a history of great families. And this helps to explain the puzzling movement of Armenian boundaries—a movement due not only to pressure from outside, but also to the short-lived uprising, first of one prince, then of another, amidst the ruin, widespread and repeated, of his country.

Periods of Armenian history

During the triumph of Rome and for many generations of Rome’s decline Armenia was ruled by a national dynasty related to the Arsacides, kings of Parthia (B.C. 149–A.D. 428). The country had been for many years a victim to the wars and diplomacy of Persia and Rome when in A.D. 386-7 it was partitioned by Sapor III and the Emperor Theodosius. From 387 to 428 the Arsacid kings of Armenia were vassals of Persia, while the westernmost part of their kingdom was incorporated in the Roman Empire and ruled by a count.

The history of the thousand years that followed (428-1473) is sketched in this chapter. It may be divided into five distinct periods. First came long years of anarchy, during which Armenia had no independent existence but was the prey of Persians, Greeks, and Arabs (428-885). Four and a half centuries of foreign domination were then succeeded by nearly two centuries of autonomy. During this second period Armenia was ruled from Transcaucasia by the national dynasty of the Bagratuni. After 1046, when the Bagratid kingdom was conquered by the Greeks, who were soon dispossessed by the Turks, Greater Armenia never recovered its political life.

Meanwhile the third period of Armenia’s medieval history had opened in Asia Minor, where a new Armenian State was founded in Cilicia by Prince Ruben, a kinsman of the Bagratuni. From 1080-1340 Rubenian and Hethumian princes ruled Armeno-Cilicia, first as lords or barons (1080-1198), then as kings (1198-1342). During this period the Armenians engaged in a successful struggle with the Greeks, and in a prolonged and losing contest with the Seljuqs and Mamluks. Throughout these years the relations between the Armenian rulers and the Latin kingdoms of Syria were so close that up to a point the history of Armeno-Cilicia may be considered merely as an episode in the history of the Crusades. This view is strengthened by the events of the fourth period (134-1373), during which Cilicia was ruled by the crusading family of the Lusignans. When the Lusignan dynasty was overthrown by the Mamluks in 1375, the Armenians lost their political existence once more. In the fifth and last period of their medieval history (1375-1473), they suffered the horrors of a Tartar invasion under Tamerlane and finally passed under the yoke of the Ottoman Turks.

When Ardashes, the last Arsacid vassal-king, was deposed in 428, Armenia was governed directly by the Persians, who already partly controlled the country. No strict chronology has yet been fixed for the centuries of anarchy which ensued (428-885), but it appears that Persian rule lasted for about two centuries (428-633). Byzantine rule followed, spreading eastward from Roman Armenia, and after two generations (633-693) the Arabs replaced the Greeks and held the Armenians in subjection until 862.

In this long period of foreign rule, the Armenians invariably found a change of masters a change for the worse. The Persians ruled the country though a succession of Marzpans, or military commanders of the frontiers, who also had to keep order and to collect revenue. With a strong guard under their own command, they did not destroy the old national militia nor take away the privileges of the nobility, and at first they allowed full liberty to the Katholikos and his bishops. As long as the Persians governed with such tolerance, they might fairly hope to fuse the Armenian nation with their own. But a change of religious policy under Yezdegerd II and Piroz roused the Armenians to defend their faith in a series of religious wars lasting until the end of the sixth century, during which Vardan with his 1036 companions perished for the Christian faith in the terrible battle of Avaraïr (454). But, whether defeated or victorious, the Armenians never exchanged their Christianity for Zoroastrianism.

On the whole, the Marzpans ruled Armenia as well as they could. In spite of the religious persecution and of a dispute about the Council of Chalcedon between the Armenians and their fellow-Christians in Georgia, the Armenian Church more than held its ground, and ruined churches and monasteries were restored or rebuilt towards the opening of the seventh century. Of the later Marzpans some bore Armenian names. The last of them belonged to the Bagratuni family which was destined to sustain the national existence of Armenia for many generations against untold odds. But this gleam of hope was extinguished by the fall of the Persian Empire before the Arabs. For when they conquered Persia, Armenia turned to Byzantium, and was ruled for sixty years by officials who received the rank of Curopalates and were appointed by the Emperor (633-693). The Curopalates, it appears, was entrusted with the civil administration of the country, while the military command was held by an Armenian General of the Forces.

Though the Curopalates, too, seems to have been always Armenian, the despotic yoke of the Greeks was even harder to bear than the burden of religious wars imposed by the Persians. If the Persians had tried to make the Armenians worship the Sacred Fire, the Greeks were equally bent on forcing them to renounce the Eutychian heresy. As usual, the Armenians refused to yield. The Emperor Constantine came himself to Armenia in 647, but his visit did nothing to strengthen Byzantine authority. The advance of the Arabs, who had begun to invade Armenia ten years earlier under Abd-ar-Ratim, made stable government impossible, for, sooner than merge themselves in the Greek Church, the Armenians sought Muslim protection. But the Arabs exacted so heavy a tribute that Armenia turned again to the Eastern Empire. As a result, the Armenians suffered equally from Greeks and Arabs. When they paid tribute to the Arabs, the Greeks invaded and devastated their land. When they turned to the Greeks, the Arabs punished their success and failure alike by invasion and rapine. Finally, at the close of the seventh century, the Armenian people submitted absolutely to the Caliphate. The Curopalates had fled, the General of the Forces and the Patriarch (Katholikos) Sahak IV were prisoners in Damascus, and some of the Armenian princes had been tortured and put to death.

The Arab Conquest

A period of unqualified tyranny followed. The Arabs intended to rivet the chains of abject submission upon Armenia, and to extort from its helplessness the greatest possible amount of revenue. Ostikans, or governors, foreigners almost without exception, ruled the country for Baghdad. These officials commanded an army, and were supposed to collect the taxes and to keep the people submissive. They loaded Armenia with heavy imposts, and tried to destroy the princely families by imprisoning and killing their men and confiscating their possessions. Under such treatment the Armenians were occasionally cowed but usually rebellious. Their national existence, manifest in rebellion, was upheld by the princes. First one, then another, revolted against the Muslims, made overtures to the enemies of Baghdad, and aspired to refound the kingdom of Armenia.

Shortly after the Arab conquest, the Armenians turned once more to their old masters, the Greeks. With the help of Leo the Isaurian, Smbat (Sempad) Bagratuni defeated the Arabs, and was commissioned to rule Armenia by the Emperor. But after a severe struggle the Muslims regained their dominion, and sent the Arab commander Qasim to punish the Armenians (704). He carried out his task with oriental ferocity. He set fire to the church of Nakhijevan, into which he had driven the princes and nobles, and then pillaged the country and sent many of the people into captivity.

These savage reprisals were typical of Arab misrule for the next forty years, and after a peaceful interval during which a friendly Ostikan, Marwan, entrusted the government of Armenia to Ashot Bagratuni, the reign of terror started afresh (758). But, in defiance of extortion and cruelty, insurrection followed insurrection. Local revolts, led now by one prince, now by another, broke out. On one occasion Mushegh Mamikonian drove the Ostikan out of Dwin, but the Armenians paid dear for their success. The Arabs marched against them 30,000 strong; Mushegh fell in battle, and the other princes fled into strongholds (780). Though in 786, when Harun ar-Rashid was Caliph, the country was for the time subdued, alliances between Persian and Armenian princes twice ripened into open rebellion in the first half of the ninth century. The Arabs punished the second of these unsuccessful rebellions by wholesale pillage and by torture, captivity, and death (c. 850).

Armenian Principalities 

As the long period of gloom, faintly starred by calamitous victories, passed into the ninth century, the Arab oppression slowly lightened. The Abbasid Empire was drawing to its fall. While the Arabs were facing their own troubles, the Armenian nobility were founding principalities. The Mamikonian family, it is true, died out in the middle of the ninth century without founding a kingdom. Yet, because they had no wide territories, they served Armenia disinterestedly, and though of foreign origin could claim many of the national heroes of their adopted country: Vasak, Mushegh, and Manuel, three generals of the Christian Arsacides; Vardan, who died for the faith in the religious wars; Vahan the Wolf and Vahan Kamsarakan, who fought the Persians; David, Grigor, and Mushegh, rebels against Arab misrule. The Arcruni and the Siwni, who had also defended Armenia against the Arabs, founded independent states in the tenth century. The Arcruni established their kingdom (Vaspurakan) round the rocky citadel of Van, overlooking Lake Van (908). Later, two different branches of their family founded the two states of the Reshtuni and the Antsevatsi. The Siwni kingdom (Siunia) arose in the latter half of the century (970). Many other principalities were also formed, each claiming independence, the largest and most important of them all being the kingdom of the Bagratuni.

Like the Mamikonians, the Bagratuni seem to have come from abroad. According to Moses of Chorene, they were brought to Armenia from Judaea by Hratchea, son of Paroir, in B.C. 600. In the time of the Parthians, King Valarsaces gave to Bagarat the hereditary honor of placing the crown upon the head of the Armenian king, and for centuries afterwards Bagarat’s family gave leaders to the Armenians. Varaztirots Bagratuni was the last Marzpan of the Persian domination, and the third Curopalates of Armenia under the Byzantine Empire. Ashot (Ashod) Bagratuni seized the government when the Arabs were trying to dislodge the Greeks in the middle of the seventh century, and foreshadowed the later policy of his family by his friendliness towards the Caliph, to whom he paid tribute. He fell in battle, resisting the Greeks sent by Justinian II. Smbat Bagratuni, made general of the forces by Justinian, favored the Greeks. Escaping from captivity in Damascus, it was he who had defeated the Arabs with the help of Leo the Isaurian, and governed the Armenians from the fortresses of Taïkh. In the middle of the eighth century, another Ashot reverted to the policy of his namesake, and was allowed by Marwan, the friendly Ostikan, to rule Armenia as “Prince of Princes”. In consequence he refused to rebel with other Armenian princes when the Arab tyranny was renewed, and for his loyalty was blinded by his compatriots. Of his successors, some fought against the Arabs and some sought their friendship; Bagratuni princes took a leading part on both sides in the Armeno-Persian rebellions suppressed by the Arabs in the first half of the ninth century.

The Bagratuni Dynasty

The Bagratuni were also wealthy. Unlike the Mamikonians, they owned vast territories, and founded a strong principality in the country of Ararat. Their wealth, their lands, and their history made them the most powerful of Armenian families and pointed out to them a future more memorable than their past. Midway in the ninth century, the power of the Bagratuni was inherited by Prince Ashot. The son of Smbat the Confessor, he refounded the ancient kingdom of Armenia and gave it a dynasty of two centuries’ duration. Under the rule of these Bagratuni kings Armenia passed through the most national phase of its history. It was a conquered province before they rose to power, it became more European and less Armenian after their line was extinct. Like Ashot himself, his descendants tried at first to control the whole of Armenia, but from 928 onwards they were obliged to content themselves with real dominion in their hereditary lands and moral supremacy over the other princes. This second and more peaceful period of their rule was the very summer of Armenian civilization.

Ashot had come into a great inheritance. In addition to the provinces of Ararat and Taïkh, he owned Gugarkh and Turuberan, large properties in higher Armenia, as well as the towns of Bagaran, Mush, Kolb, and Kars with all their territory. He could put into the field an army of forty thousand men, and by giving his daughters in marriage to the princes of the Arcruni and the Siwni he made friends of two possible rivals. For many years his chief desire was to pacify Armenia and to restore the wasted districts, and at the same time to earn the favor of the Caliphate. In return, the Arabs called him "Prince of Princes" (859) and sent home their Armenian prisoners. Two years later Ashot and his brother routed an army, double the size of their own, led into Armenia by Shahap, a Persian who was aiming at independence. Ashot’s politic loyalty to the Arabs finally moved the Caliph Mutamid to make him King of Armenia (885-7), and at the same time he likewise received a crown and royal gifts from the Byzantine Emperor, Basil the Macedonian. But Armenia was not even yet entirely freed from Arab control. Tribute was paid to Baghdad not immediately but through the neighboring Ostikan of Azarbaijan, and the coronation of Armenian kings waited upon the approval of the Caliphs.

The Katholikos : Ashot I : Smbat I 

During his brief reign of five years, Ashot I revived many of the customs of the old Arsacid kingdom which had perished four and a half centuries earlier. The crown, it seems, was handed down according to the principle of primogeniture. The kings, though nearly always active sol­diers themselves, do not appear to have held the supreme military command, which they usually entrusted to a “general of the forces”, an ancient office once hereditary in the Mamikonian family, but in later times often filled by a brother of the reigning king. In Ashot’s time, for instance, his brother Abas was generalissimo, and after Ashot's death was succeeded by a younger brother of the new king.

The Katholikos was, after the king, the most important person in Armenia. He had been the only national representative of the Armenians during the period of anarchy when they had no king, and his office had been respected by the Persians and used by the Arabs as a medium of negotiation with the Armenian princes. Under the Bagratid kings, the Katholikos nearly always worked with the monarchy, whose representatives it was his privilege to anoint. He would press coronation upon a reluctant king, would mediate between kings and their rebellious subjects, would lay the king’s needs before the Byzantine court, or would be entrusted with the keys of the Armenian capital in the king's absence. Sometimes in supporting the monarchy he would oppose the people’s will, especially in a later period, when, long after the fall of the Bagratuni dynasty, King and Katholikos worked together for religious union with Rome against the bitter hostility of their subjects.

Ashot made good use of every interval of peace by restoring the commerce, industry, and agriculture of his country, and by repopulating hundreds of towns and villages. For the sake of peace he made alliances with most of the neighboring kings and princes, and after travelling through his own estates and through Little Armenia, he went to Constantinople to see the Emperor Leo the Philosopher, himself reputedly an Armenian by descent. The two monarchs signed a political and commercial treaty, and Ashot gave the Emperor an Armenian contingent to help him against the Bulgarians.

Ashot died on the journey home, and his body was carried to Bagaran, the old city of idols, and the seat of his new-formed power. But long before his death, his country’s peace, diligently cherished for a lifetime, had been broken by the Armenians themselves. One after another, various localities, including Vanand and Gugarkh, had revolted, and although Ashot had been able to restore order everywhere, such disturbances promised ill for the future. The proud ambition of these Armenian princes had breathed a fitful life into a conquered province only to sap the vitality of an autonomous kingdom.

Under Smbat I (892-914) the lesser princes did more mischief than under his father Ashot because they made common cause with the Arabs of Azerbaijan, who hated Armenia. For more than twenty years Smbat held his kingdom against the persistent attacks, now separate, now connected, of the Ostikans of Azerbaijan and of the Armenian princes, and for more than a generation he and his son looked perforce to the Greeks as their only source of external help.

Armenia and Azerbaijan

As soon as Smbat had defeated his uncle Abas, who had tried to seize the throne in the first year of his reign, he turned to face Afshin, Ostikan of Azerbaijan. Afshin protested against the renewal of the Greco-Armenian alliance and twice invaded Armenia. On the first occasion Smbat not only forced the Arabs to retire by a display of his strength, but made conquests at their expense. He seized Dwin, the capital of the Arab emirs, and sent the Mussulman chiefs captive to the Emperor Leo (894). A year later Dwin was almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake. The second time the Arabs invaded Armenia, Smbat, though taken by surprise, cut their army to pieces at the foot of Mount Aragatz (or Alagoz). Afshin then provoked rebellion among the Armenian princes, but without seriously weakening Smbat. At last, through Armenian treachery, Smbat was defeated by Abroad, Ostikan of Mesopotamia, who had invaded the province of Taron. Afshin took advantage of this reverse to invade Armenia for the third time. Smbat retired to Taikh, but Kars, the refuge of the queen, capitulated to Afshin, who took Smbat’s son as hostage and his daughter as wife. Not long after, Afshin died, and the hostages were given back (901). Smbat took this opportunity to obtain from the Caliph both exemption from the authority of the Ostikan of Azerbaijan and also permission to pay the annual tribute direct to Baghdad (902).

Afshin’s feud with Armenia was renewed by his brother Yusuf. Urging that the separation of Armenia and Azerbaijan gave dangerous liberty to the Armenians, he invaded the country. Smbat’s troops frightened him into retreat before he had struck a blow, but he soon obtained help from some Armenian princes who were restive under heavy taxation. Constrained to retire into the “Blue Fortress” with a handful of men, Smbat assaulted the Muslim and Christian besiegers with great success, and after withstanding a year’s siege he capitulated only on receiving a promise that the lives of the garrison should be spared (913). Yusuf broke his promise. He tortured Smbat for a year, and finally put him to death (914). The Armenian princes retired into fortresses, and Armenia fell once more under the Arab yoke. For several years Yusuf sent fresh troops into Armenia and organized the devastation of the country from his headquarters at Dwin. No crops were sown, and a terrible famine resulted. It is reported that parents even sold their children to escape death and that some ate human flesh (918).

But the triumph of Yusuf was short. In the first year of the Arab occupation, Smbat’s son, Ashot II, surnamed Erkath, the Iron, had already avenged his father's death by routing the invaders and reconquering the fortresses they held. In 915 the Armenian princes had issued from their strongholds to declare him king. Several years later he visited Byzantium, where the Katholikos had interested the court in the troubles of Armenia, and returned home with a force of Greek soldiers. His reign was one of incessant struggle against the Arabs and the Armenian princes (915-928).

To thwart the new-born power of Armenia, Yusuf crowned a rival king and provoked a fierce civil war, which was finally ended through the mediation of John, the Katholikos. Many other internal revolts followed, but Ashot suppressed them all, and Yusuf turned aside to attack the peaceful kingdom of Van. Here, too, he was unsuccessful, but he appointed a new Ostikan of Armenia. The purpose of this new Ostikan and of his successor Beshir was to capture the Armenian king and the Katholikos. But Ashot retired to the island of Sevan, and built ten large boats. When Beshir marched against him with a strong army, he manned each boat with seven skilled archers and sent them against the enemy. Every Armenian arrow found its mark, the Arabs took to flight, and were pursued with slaughter as far as Dwin by Prince Georg Marzpetuni, Ashot’s faithful supporter. After this epic resistance, Ashot left Sevan in triumph, and took the title “King of the Kings of Armenia” in token of his superiority to the other Armenian princes. He died in 928.

Friendship between Armenia and the Arabs 

Two reigns of perpetual warfare were followed by nearly a century of comparative peace (928-1020). Ashot’s successors were content with more modest aims. At home they confined their real rule to their own patrimony and exercised only a moral sway over the other Armenian States. Abroad they sought the favour of the Arabs, rather than that of the Greeks. In this way alone was it possible to secure a measure of peace.

Ashot II was succeeded by his brother Abas (928-951), who concluded a treaty with the Arabs of Dwin and exchanged Arab for Armenian prisoners. He restored towns and villages and built churches. But when he built the cathedral of Kars, he brought not peace but a sword to his countrymen. Ber, King of the Abasgians (Abkhaz), wanted the cathedral to be consecrated according to Greek rites. On the banks of the Kur, Abas defeated him twice to cure him of error, and then blinded him for having looked on the building with impious eyes.

Ashot III (952-977) adopted a conciliatory policy. When his rebellious brother Mushel founded a kingdom in Vanand with Kars for its capital (968), Ashot entered into friendly relations with him. He earned the good will of Baghdad by defeating a rebel who had thrown Azerbaijan and Mesopotamia into confusion. Side by side with a prince of the Arcruni family he faced the Emperor John Tzimisces, who came eastward to fight the Arabs and who seemed to threaten Armenia by pitching his camp in Taron. Baffled by the bold front of Ashot’s army, eighty thousand strong, the Emperor demanded and received an Armenian contingent, and then marched away from the frontier.

By such circumspect action, Ashot III gave peace to Armenia. He reorganized the army and could put into the field a host of ninety thousand men. Surpassing his predecessors in the building of pious foundations, he bestowed great revenues on convents, churches, hospitals, and almshouses. He made Ani his capital and laid the foundations of its greatness. He was known as Olormadz, the Pitiful, for he never sat down to meals without poor and impotent men about him.

The civilization of Greater Armenia

Ashot’s son Smbat II (977-990) was a lover of peace and a great builder like his father. But he was forced into war with his rebellious uncle Mushel, King of Vanand, and before his death he angered the Church by marrying his niece.

Under his brother and successor, Gagik I (990-1020), the Armenians enjoyed for a whole generation the strange experience of unbroken prosperity. Gagik was strong enough to prevent foreigners from attacking him, and to gain the friendship of the other Armenian princes. Free from war, he used all his time and energy to increase the moral and material welfare of his people. He enriched the pious foundations that dated from the time of his brother and father, and appropriated great revenues to churches and ecclesiastics, taking part himself in religious ceremonies. In his reign the civilization of Armenia reached its height. Flourishing in the unaccustomed air of peace, convents and schools were centers of light and learning; commercial towns such as Ani, Bitlis, Ardzen, and Nakhijevan, became wealthy marts for the merchandise of Persia, Arabia, and the Indies. Agriculture shared in the general prosperity. Goldsmiths, much influenced by Persian models, were hard at work, and coppersmiths made the plentiful copper of the country into objects of every description. Enamelling flourished in neighboring Georgia, but no Armenian enamel survives to tell whether the art was practiced in Armenia itself.

Armenian culture was pre-eminently ecclesiastical. Its literature did include chronicles and secular poems, but was overwhelmingly religious as a whole. Armenian manuscripts, famous alike for their antiquity, their beauty, and their importance in the history of writing, are nearly all ecclesiastical. Most interesting of all in many ways (especially for the comparison of texts and variant readings) are the numerous copies of the Gospels. The Moscow manuscript (887) is the earliest Armenian manuscript actually dated, and two very beautiful Gospels of a later date are those of Queen Melke and of Trebizond. A collection of theological and other texts executed between 971 and 981 is their earliest manuscript written on paper. Other important writings were dogmatic works, commentaries, and sharakans or sacred songs composed in honor of church festivals. Armenian art, again, was mainly ecclesiastical, and survives, on the one hand in the illuminations and miniatures which adorn the sacred texts, and, on the other, in the ruined churches and convents which still cover the face of the country. Architecture was military as well as ecclesiastical, but it is hard not to believe that the people of Ani were prouder of their galaxy of churches than they were of their fortress, their walls, and their towers.

In the tenth century, especially after a branch of the Bagratuni had founded an independent State in Vanand (968), the intellectual focus of Armenia seems to have been Kars, with its crowd of young Armenian students who came there to study philosophy, belles-lettres, and theology. But the true center and most splendid proof of Armenian civilization was Ani, city of forty keys and a thousand and one churches. In the eighth century no more than a village, it slowly grew larger and more populous. Ashot I and Ashot III were crowned at Ani, and there Ashot III established the throne of the Bagratuni dynasty. He defended the city with a fortress, and his queen enriched it with two fine convents, but the most splendid buildings were added by Smbat II, who also fortified Ani on the north with a double line of walls and towers and a great ditch of stone. The citadel was defended on the east and south by the river Akhurian, and on the west by the Valley of Flowers. Among the magnificent palaces and temples, richly adorned with mosaics and inscriptions, stood the cathedral, masterpiece of the famous architect Trdat (Tiridates), built on Persian and Byzantine lines.

This mixture of architectural styles is typical of the national art of Armenia, which betrays a subtle mingling of Persian, Arab, and Byzantine influences. The churches of Sevan, of Digor, of Keghard near Erivan, even the Armenian church of Paris in the Rue Jean-Goujon, still symbolize the desperate battle the Armenians had to fight against the foreigner, and still suggest that the only way of maintaining the unequal struggle was to turn the encroaching elements to the service of the Armenian Church, dearest and most inviolable stronghold of Armenian nationality.

Under Gagik I that nationality seemed safe. His reign proved Armenia’s capacity for quick recovery, and promised the country a fair future if peace could be kept. But the universal grief at Gagik’s death was unconscious mourning for the end of prosperity. It presaged the slow declension of Armenia from national pride to servitude, and the gradual passing of the royal house from kingly power to exile and extinction.

Civil war between John-Smbat and his brother 

Two generations of misfortune (1020-1079) opened with civil war. Gagik had left two sons. His successor John-Smbat (1020-1040), timid and effeminate, was attacked and defeated by his younger and more militant brother Ashot, who was helped by Senekherim Arcruni, King of Vaspurakan (Van). Peace was concluded through the mediation of the Katholikos Petros Getadartz and Giorgi, King of the Georgians, but only by a division of territory. John-Smbat kept Ani and its dependencies, while Ashot took the part of the kingdom next to Persia and Georgia (Iberia). On the death of either brother the country was to be reunited under the survivor.

But Ashot was discontented. He roused the King of Georgia to attack and imprison John-Smbat, who escaped only by yielding three fortresses to Giorgi. Still unsatisfied, Ashot feigned mortal illness and begged his brother to pay him a last visit. Once by Ashot’s bedside, John-Smbat saw the trap and begged for his life. Ashot, deceitful to the end, freed him merely to hand him over to Prince Apirat, who promised to kill him at a secret spot. But, visited by sudden remorse, Apirat restored the king to Ani and his throne, and fled himself to Abul-Aswar, governor of Dwin, to escape the wrath of Ashot.

While Ashot schemed against his brother, Armenia was threatened on both sides by different enemies, one old, the other new. The new assailants were the Seljuq Turks, led against Vaspurakan at the opening of John-Smbat’s reign by Tughril Beg, whose precursor Hasan had already wasted Mesopotamia. When they had overcome the resistance of Vaspurakan, they advanced into John-Smbat's territory. At the beginning of his reign John-Smbat had had an army of 60,000, but the Armenian generalissimo, Vasak Pahlavuni, had to meet the Turks with a bare five hundred men. Climbing Mount Serkevil to rest, he died there, whether by his own hand, or by treason, or by a rock falling from the mountain while he prayed, is unknown. Meanwhile, Tughril Beg left Armenia for the time and conquered the whole of Persia.

On the west, Armenia was threatened once again by the Byzantine Empire. The Turkish advance, instead of inducing the Greeks to help Armenia, revived in them their old ambition of conquest, with fatal results not only to the Armenians but to themselves. During the reign of John-Smbat this ambition was twice fed by Armenian policy. Conquered and then left by Tughril Beg, Senekherim of Vaspurakan gave up his kingdom to Basil II (1021) in exchange for the town of Sebastea (Siwas) rather than wait to offer a second vain resistance to the Turks on their inevitable return. Two years later Basil entered Georgia to repress a revolt in which John-Smbat had been secretly implicated. In fear of the Emperor's wrath John-Smbat violated the treaty he had made with his brother, and through the agency of the Katholikos Petros Getadartz he gave in writing a promise that after his own death Basil should inherit Ani. Basil was well pleased. But some years later his successor Constantine VIII summoned to his death-bed an Armenian priest named Kirakos, and handed him the inequitable document, saying: “Bear this letter to thy king and tell him from me that like other mortals I find myself on the threshold of Eternity, and I would not extort the possession of another. Let him take back his kingdom and give it to his sons”. The mischief might have ended here but for the treachery of the priest, who kept the letter in his own possession and finally sold it for a large sum to Michael IV (1034). Much as his dishonesty cost the Emperor, it was to cost Armenia more.

As soon as John-Smbat was dead, Michael sent an embassy to claim Ani and its dependencies. His chance of success was good, because Ani was divided by two factions. One, led by the generalissimo Vahram Pahlavuni, wished to crown Gagik, the fourteen-year-old nephew and heir of John-Smbat; the other intended to give the crown to Vest Sarkis Siwni, the regent, or failing him to the Emperor Michael. For the moment, party differences were sunk in unanimous denial of Byzantine claims, but Vest Sarkis destroyed this short-lived amity by seizing the State treasure and several strongholds. Vahram’s party won a fairer renown by defeating the Greeks, who were sent by the Emperor to take by force what his embassy had failed to win by persuasion. One after another three Greek armies invaded Armenia; each spread desolation far and wide without conquering Ani. Michael then sent a fourth army to besiege Ani while the King of the Albanians (Aluans) invaded the north-east province of Armenia on behalf of the Greeks. Vahram broke up the invading army by a bold attack. The Greeks, terrified by the fury of the Armenians, fled in disorder, leaving twenty thousand dead and wounded beneath the walls of the town. This victory enabled Vabram to crown Gagik II (1042-1046). With a mere handful of men the boy-king recovered the State treasure and the citadel of Ani from Vest Sarkis, whom he cast into prison. Unhindered for the moment by Greek interference or Armenian treachery, Gagik drove out the Turks and began to restore order in the country. But unfortunately for himself and for his people, he was generous enough to forgive Vest Sarkis and to raise him to honor. Posing as the king's friend, this traitor worked to alienate the Armenian princes from Gagik and to encourage the hostile intention of Constantine Monomachus, successor to Michael V.

Constantine Monomachus betrays Gagik II 

Constantine copied the Armenian policy of Michael. Failing to secure Ani by negotiation, he sent an army to seize it. Gagik defeated the Greeks and forced them to retire. Like Michael, Constantine then sent a larger army, and at the same time urged Abul-Aswar, governor of Dwin, to harass the Armenians on the east. But Gagik disarmed Abul-Aswar by gifts, and after a short battle put to flight the confident Greeks.

Still Constantine would not give up hope. Where peace and war had failed, trickery might succeed. Inspired by Vest Sarkis, he asked Gagik to come to Constantinople to sign a treaty of perpetual peace, swearing on the cross and the gospels in the presence of Gagik’s delegate that he would be true to his word. Unwilling to go himself, and discouraged by the Vahramians, the king ultimately yielded to the evil counsel of Vest Sarkis and passed out of Armenia to his ruin. Before he had spent many days in Constantinople, the Emperor demanded Ani of him, and, when he refused it, imprisoned him on an island in the Bosphorus.

When the Armenians heard of this disaster, there was much division among them. Some wanted to deliver Ani to David Anholin of Albania, others to Bagarat, King of Georgia and Abasgia, but the Katholikos Petros, to whom Gagik had entrusted the keys, informed the Emperor that Ani should be his for a consideration. Once assured of a good price for his shameful merchandise, Petros sent the forty keys of the bartered city to Constantine.

Gagik rebelled against the accomplished fact, but finally abdicated his throne, receiving in exchange the town of Bizou in Cappadocia. Here he married the daughter of David, King of Sebastea, and led the wandering life of an exile. After many years, he learnt one day that the Metropolitan, Mark of Caesarea, had named his dog Armen in mockery of the Armenians. Gagik could not stomach the insult, steep it as he must in the bitterness of exile, in hatred of a rival Church, in contempt for a people he had never encountered but as conqueror until they overcame him by guile. To avenge the honor of his country’s name, he caused the dog and the ecclesiastic to be tied up together in a sack, and had the animal beaten until it bit its master to death. For this crime against their metropolitan, three Greek brothers seized Gagik by treachery and hanged him in the castle of Cyzistra (1079). He left two sons and a grandson, but they did not long survive him. When the last of them had died in prison, the Bagratuni line was extinct.

Greater Armenia conquered by the Seljuqs

During the exile of their king, the Armenians fell a prey to Greek and Turk. At first, not knowing of his abdication, they resisted the Greeks and dispersed the army sent under the command of the eunuch Paracamus to take possession of Ani. But on hearing that Gagik was never again to enter the country, the Armenians lost all heart, and allowed Paracamus to possess the city. Once masters of Armenia, the Greeks committed atrocious cruelties. They exiled or poisoned the princes, replaced Armenian troops by Greek garrisons, and worked for the utter destruction of the country.

But they had reckoned without the Turk. Learning of Armenia’s weakness, Tughril Beg returned, and spread ruin and desolation far and wide for several years. He sacked the fortified town of Smbataberd and tortured the inhabitants. The rich commercial town of Ardzen shared the same fate (1049). The Greeks at last determined to make an end of his savagery. Together with Liparid, King of Georgia, their general Comnenus offered battle to the Turks near Bayber. But owing to disagreement among the Christians, the Turks were victorious and carried the King of Georgia into captivity. With no one now to oppose him, Tughril overran most of Armenia except Ani. Vanand resisted in vain, but their failure in the siege of Manzikert forced the Turks to retire. Tughril fell back, only to wreak his vengeance upon Ardske. His death, like that of the Arab Afshin long before, brought no relief to Armenia, for like Afshin, he left a brother, Alp Arslan, to complete his work of destruction. Alp Arslan besieged Ani unsuccessfully for a time, but finally overcame its resistance and sacked the city with unimaginable fury. The river Akhurian ran red with blood; palaces and temples were set on fire and covered thousands of corpses with their ruins (1064). The Turks then invited Vanand to submit. Gagik, the king, feigned friendship and made an alliance with Alp Arslan. But like Senekherim of Van before him, he gave his kingdom to the Eastern Empire in exchange for a stronghold farther west. In 1065 he transported his family to the castle of Dzmudav in Little Armenia. The Greeks, however, could not save Vanand from the Turks, who pushed their conquests as far as Little Armenia. Kars, Karin, Bayber, Sebastea, and Caesarea had submitted to Alp Arslan, when the Emperor Romanus Diogenes opposed him at Manzikert in 1071. The Greeks were defeated, and the Turks led the Emperor into captivity.

By the end of the eleventh century not a vestige remained of Byzantine dominion over Armenia. The Greeks saw too late the fatal consequences of their selfish hostility towards a country which on south and east might have served them as a rampart against their most dangerous foe.

Character of Armeno-Cilician kingdom 

The national history of Greater Armenia ended with the Turkish conquest and with the extinction of the Bagratuni line. Little by little, numbers of Armenians withdrew into the Taurus mountains and the plateau below, but though their country rose again from ruin, it was only as a small principality in Cilicia. The fruits of Armenian civilization—the architectural splendor of Ani, the military strength of Van, the intellectual life of Kars, the commercial pride of Bitlis and Ardzen—were no more.

Greater Armenia had been eastern rather than western, coming into contact with race after race from the east; with Byzantium alone, half eastern itself, on the west. But the civilization of Armeno-Cilicia was western rather than eastern: its political interests were divided between Europe and Asia, and its history was overshadowed by that of the Crusades. To the Crusades the change was preeminently due. Crusading leaders stood in every kind of relationship to the new Armenian kingdom. They befriended and fought it by turns. They used its roads, borrowed its troops, received its embassies, fought its enemies, and established feudal governments near it. For a time their influence made it a European State, built on feudal lines, seeking agreement with the Church of Rome, and sending envoys to the principal courts of Christendom.

But the Armenian Church, which had been the inspiration and main­stay of the old civilization, and the family ambitions, which had helped to destroy it, lived on to prove the continuity of the little State of Armeno-Cilicia with the old Bagratid kingdom. Nationalist feeling, stirred to life by fear of religious compromise and by the growth of Latin influence at court, was to provoke a crisis more than once in centuries to come.

Among the Armenian migrants to the Taurus mountains, during the invasions that followed the abdication of Gagik II, was Prince Ruben (Rupen). He had seen the assassination of Gagik to whom he was related, and he determined to avenge his kinsman's death on the Greeks. Collecting a band of companions, whose numbers increased from day to day, he took up his stand in the village of Goromozol near the fortress of Bardsrberd, drove the Greeks out of the Taurus region, and established his dominion there. The other Armenian princes recognized his supremacy and helped him to strengthen his power, though many years were to pass before the Greeks were driven out of all the Cilician towns and strongholds which they occupied.

The foundation of Armeno-Cilicia

Cilicia was divided into two well-marked districts: the plain, rich and fertile but difficult to defend, and the mountains, covered with forests and full of defiles. The wealth of the country was in its towns: Adana, Mamistra, and Anazarbus, for long the chief centers of hostility between Greeks and Armenians; Ayas with its maritime trade; Tarsus and Sis, each in turn the capital of the new Armenian State; Germanicea or Marash, and Ulnia or Zeithun. The mountainous region, difficult of approach, and sprinkled with Syrian, Greek, and Armenian monasteries, easily converted into strongholds, was the surest defence of the province, though in addition the countryside was protected by strong fortresses such as Vahka, Bardsrberd, Kapan, and Lambron.

When Ruben died, after fifteen years of wise rule (1080-1095), he was able to hand on the lordship of Cilicia to his son Constantine (1095-1100), who first brought Armeno-Cilicia into close contact with Europe. Constantine continued his father’s work by capturing Vahka and other fortresses from the Greeks and thus increasing his patrimony. But he broke new ground by making an alliance with the Crusaders, who in return for his services in pointing out roads and in furnishing supplies, especially during the siege of Antioch, gave him the title of Marquess.

If the principality thus founded in hostile territory owed its existence to the energy of an Armenian prince, it owed its survival largely to external causes. In the first place, the Turks were divided. After 1092, when the Seljuq monarchy split into rival powers, Persia alone was governed by the direct Seljuq line; other sultans of Seljuq blood ruled parts of Syria and Asia Minor. Although the Sultans of Iconium or Rum were to be a perpetual danger to Cilicia from the beginning of the twelfth century onwards, the division of the Turks at the close of the eleventh century broke for a time the force of their original advance, and gave the first Rubenians a chance to recreate the Armenian State. In the second place, the Crusades began. The Latin States founded in the East during the First Crusade checked the Turks, and also prevented the Greeks, occupied as they were with internal and external difficulties, from making a permanent reconquest of Cilicia. The Latins did not aim at protecting the Armenians, with whom indeed they often quarreled. But as a close neighbor to a number of small states, nominally friendly but really inimical to Byzantium, Armenia was no longer isolated. Instead of being a lonely upstart principality, it became one of many recognized kingdoms, all hostile to the Greek recovery of the Levant, all entitled to the moral sanction and expecting the armed support of the mightiest kings of Europe.

For about twenty-five years after Constantine's death, his two sons, Thoros I (1100-1123) and Leo I (1123-1135), ruled the Armenians with great success. As an able administrator Thoros organized the country, and would have given his time to building churches and palaces if his enemies had left him in peace. But he had to fight both Greeks and Turks. He took Anazarbus from the Greeks and repulsed an invasion of Seljuqs and Turkomans. In his reign the death of Gagik II was at last avenged: Armenian troops seized the castle of Cyzistra and put to death the three Greek brothers who had hanged the exiled king. Leo I, who succeeded Thoros, had not the administrative gifts of his predecessors, but like them he was a brave soldier. He captured Mamistra and Tarsus, the chief towns still in Greek hands, and was for a time unquestioned master of all Cilicia.

But the Greeks were not permanently ousted from Cilicia until 1168. Leo's dominion was short-lived, owing to the failure of his diplomacy. He wove his political designs round the Christian principality of Antioch. At first he joined with Roger of Antioch against the Turks; then, quarrelling with Roger, he joined the Turks against Antioch (1130). In revenge, Roger’s successor Bohemond II allied with Baldwin, Count of Marash, seized Leo by a trick (1131), and as the price of freedom extorted from him the towns of Mamistra and Adana, a sum of 60,000 piastres, and one of his sons as hostage. Leo paid the price demanded, but afterwards retook by force what he had been compelled to yield to treachery.

Meanwhile Antioch attracted the envious eye of the Emperor John Comnenus. First, he tried to gain it for the Empire by a marriage project. Failing in this, he fought for it. This time Leo joined with Antioch against the Greeks, but again he suffered for his choice. While he was encamped before Seleucia at the head of Latin and Armenian troops, the Emperor invaded Cilicia, took Tarsus, Mamistra, and Adana, and had already begun to attack Anazarbus when Leo hurried back to relieve the city. The Emperor despaired of capturing it until his son Isaac advised him to cover his engines of war with clay to prevent them from being broken. This device succeeded. Leo retired to the castle of Vahka, and in spite of help from Antioch was forced to surrender (1135). Antioch recognized the Emperor’s supremacy, and Leo was put into chains and sent to a Byzantine prison, where he died six years later (1141). Two of his sons were imprisoned with him. The elder was tortured and put to death, but Thoros, the younger, survived to deliver his country.

Thoros II successful against the Greeks

Before deliverance came, the Armenians were tormented for nine long years by their old enemies, the Greeks and the Turks. Leo’s misfortune gave Cilicia to the Greeks, who pillaged and destroyed strongholds and towns, convents and churches. The Turks and even the Latins joined in demolishing the laborious work of the first Rubenians. But when the Turkish Emir Ahmad Malik had seized Vahka and Kapan, the Emperor returned to Cilicia, bringing with him Thoros, son of Leo I. In this campaign, however, the Emperor was killed while hunting, and the Greek army retreated, while Thoros managed to escape and disclosed his identity to an Armenian priest.

Thoros II (1145-1168) had to reconquer his kingdom from the Greeks before he could rule it. At the head of ten thousand Armenians and with the help of his brothers, Stephane (Sdephane) and Mleh, who had been at the court of Nur-ad-Din, Sultan of Aleppo, he recaptured the fortresses of Vahka, Simanakla, and Arindz. One by one all the great cities of the plain opened their gates. Manuel Comnenus hastened to bring his Hungarian war to a close and to send his cousin the Caesar Andronicus to oppose Thoros, who retired to Mamistra on the approach of the Greek army. The town was without ammunition, and Thoros undertook to recognize the supremacy of the Greeks if they would respect his paternal rights. Andronicus refused, and threatened to bind Thoros with his father’s fetters. But on a dark, rainy night Thoros breached the walls of the town and surprised the enemy at their revels. Andronicus escaped with a handful of men, but Thoros pursued him as far as Antioch, and then returned to Mamistra. He held to ransom the Greek nobles he had captured, and divided the money among his soldiers, telling the wondering Greeks that he did so in order that his men might one day recapture them. Among the prisoners was Oshin, Lord of Lambron, father of the famous Nerses Lambronatsi. Oshin paid twenty thousand pieces of gold as half his ransom, and for the second half left his son Hethum (Hayton) as hostage. Thoros had later so great an affection for Hethum that he gave him his daughter in marriage, and regarding the payment of Oshin’s debt as the girl's dowry he sent them both to Lambron, hoping thus to win the friendship of Oshin and his family. This hope was not fulfilled, for Lambron, with its leanings towards Byzantium, was destined to give much trouble to future rulers of Armenia.

Manuel’s next step was to induce other rulers to attack Thoros. First he bribed Masud I, Sultan of Iconium, to oppose him. The Sultan twice invaded Cilicia, only to be repulsed, once by the sight of Thoros’ preparations, once by plague (1154). The Emperor then turned to the Latins, and excited Reginald of Châtillon, regent of Antioch, to fight against Armenia. Thoros and Reginald fought a bloody but doubtful battle at Alexandretta, but Reginald, not receiving the Emperor’s promised help, made peace with Thoros and marched against the Greeks. He made a naval attack on Cyprus and inflicted great injury on its defenseless people. This diversion enabled Thoros to consolidate his power and even to extend it in the mountainous districts of Phrygia and Isauria.

Manuel was greatly dissatisfied with the unexpected result. He sent against Thoros another army, which failed like the first, and then came to Cilicia in person. Warned in time by a Latin monk, Thoros put his family and his treasure in the stronghold of Tajki-Gar (Rock of Tajik), and hid himself in the mountains while the Emperor deprived him of his hardly-won cities. When peace was finally made through the mediation of Baldwin III, King of Jerusalem, Thoros was restored to power under the title of Pansebastos and Manuel kept the two towns of Anazarbus and Mamistra (1159).

But the barbarity of the Greeks provoked fresh hostilities which resulted in their expulsion from the country. While Thoros helped the crusaders against the Sultan of Aleppo, his brother Stephan retook the towns which the Sultan of Iconium had captured from the Christians. Jealous of Stephane’s success, the Emperor’s lieutenant, Andronicus Euphorbenus, invited him to a feast and cast him into a cauldron of boiling water (1163). Once more a powerful Greek army was sent to Cilicia, but Thoros determined to avenge his brother's death, and, by defeating the invaders in a great battle near Tarsus, brought to a successful close his life-long struggle against Byzantium. Greek domination in Cilicia was at an end.

Thoros died regretted by all, leaving a child, Ruben II, to succeed him, and a brother to undo his work. This brother, Mleh, had been a Templar and a Catholic, and then became a leader of Turkoman nomads. He spread destruction wherever he went. The young king took refuge with the Katholikos at Romkla, where he soon died. Mleh openly joined the Sultan Nur-ad-Din, invaded Cilicia, and did great harm to the Armenians. But he made himself so unpopular by his cruelty that his own soldiers killed him (1175).

After his death the Armenians filled his place by his nephew Ruben III (1175-1185), the eldest son of the Stephane who had been cast into boiling water by the Greeks. Of peaceful disposition, Ruben none the less freed his country from external attack; but from his Armenian enemies he was only saved by his brother Leo.

Although the Greeks had been driven out of Cilicia, some of the Armenian principalities, Lambron among them, still looked upon the Emperor as their suzerain. Hethum of Lambron was related to the Rubenians by marriage, but he preferred Byzantine to Armenian supremacy, and asked Bohemond III of Antioch to help him against Ruben III. Bohemond seized Ruben by treachery, imprisoned him at Antioch, and marched against the Armenians, hoping to conquer Cilicia, not for Hethum or the Emperor, but for himself. Leo, however, repulsed him, and forced him and Hethum to make peace with Ruben. On his release, Ruben devoted himself to the welfare of his people, who loved him for his liberality and wise administration. He built towns and convents, and finally retired into a monastery.

European connections of Leo the Great

Ruben’s successor was his brother Leo II (1185-1219), surnamed the Great or the Magnificent, already known as his country’s defender, and destined to raise the lordship or barony of Armeno-Cilicia to the status of a kingdom. His long reign of thirty-four years fully justified his change of style, for he gave his country a stability and prosperity that were unparalleled in its annals.

His first work was to free the Armenians from Muslim pressure. He conquered Rustam, Sultan of Iconium, who suddenly invaded Cilicia, and two years after his accession he drove back the united forces of the Sultans of Aleppo and Damascus (1187). When he was once more at peace he built fortresses on the frontiers and filled them with well-trained garrisons. With Cilicia he incorporated Isauria, which had been seized by the Seljuqs of Rum.

In diplomacy, his sovereign purpose was to obtain the help of Western Europe against the Greeks and Muslims. He sought the friendship of the European princes by means of marriage-alliances. His niece Aliza was married to Raymond, son of Bohemond of Antioch; and he himself married Isabella of Austria. Later, he repudiated Isabella and married Sibylla, daughter of Amaury of Lusignan, King of Cyprus. Long before his second marriage he had made a friend of Frederick Barbarossa, who at the outset of his ill-starred Crusade asked for Leo’s help in return for the promise of a crown. Leo quickly sent abundant provisions and ammunition to the Crusaders, and when the imperial army entered Isauria he himself went with the Katholikos to greet the Emperor. They never met, for Barbarossa had been drowned on the way, bathing in the Calicadnus.

After some years, Frederick’s son Henry VI and Pope Celestine III sent the promised crown to Leo, and, at the feast of the Epiphany in 1198, he was consecrated in the cathedral of Sis by the Katholikos Grigor VII Apirat in the presence of the Archbishop of Mayence, Conrad of Wittelsbach, Papal legate and representative of the Emperor. The Eastern Emperor Alexius Angelus also sent Leo a crown in confirmation of Armenian authority over Cilicia, so long disputed by the Greeks.

Leo was anxious to include the Pope among his European friends. Many letters passed between the Popes on the one side and the Katholikos and King of Armenia on the other with a view to uniting the Roman and Armenian Churches. But the Armenian authorities, willing themselves to make concessions to Rome, were opposed by the Armenian people, who strenuously defended their Church against the authority of the Papacy. In the end, the sole result of attempted reconciliation was an embitterment of religious feeling.

King by the consent of Europe, Leo made his country a European State. He chose a new seat for his government, removing it from Tarsus to Sis, where he entertained German, English, French, and Italian captains, who came to serve under the Armenian banner. In defining the relations of the princes to the royal house, in establishing military and household posts, in creating tribunals, and in fixing the quota of taxes and tribute, he copied to a great extent the organization of the Latin princes of Syria. One of the fruits of his alliance with Bohemond of Antioch was the adoption of the Assises of Antioch as the law of Armeno-Cilicia.

In addition, Leo encouraged industry, navigation, and commerce. He cultivated commercial relations with the West, and by granting privileges to Genoese and Venetian merchants he spread Cilician trade throughout Europe. Mindful, too, of the good works of his forefathers, he founded orphanages and hospitals and schools, and increased the number of convents, where skilled calligraphists and miniaturists added luster to the prosperity of his reign.

Leo’s reputation, founded on peaceful achievement, is all the greater because he attained it in spite of intermittent wars. Of his own will he entered on a long succession-struggle in Antioch to defend the rights of his young kinsman, Ruben-Raymond, against the usurpation of an uncle, Bohemond IV the One-Eyed, Count of Tripolis, who had seized the government of Antioch with the help of Templars and Hospitallers. Leo recaptured Antioch and restored Ruben-Raymond to power. Bohemond returned, drove out his nephew a second time, and bribed the Sultan of Iconium, Rukn-ad-Din, to invade Cilicia. Though deserted at the last minute by the Templars, for whose services he had paid twenty thousand Byzantine pounds, Leo forced the Seljuqs to retire with serious losses, and turned again to Antioch. While he was preparing to besiege the town, he referred the succession question to Innocent III, who entrusted its solution to the King of Jerusalem and the Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Antioch. The dispute seemed about to end peacefully when one of the cardinals sent by the Pope was corrupted by the enemy to anathematize Leo and Armenia. The anathema was publicly repelled by John Medzabaro the Katholikos; and Leo, too furious to wait for the decision of the arbitrators, continued the siege of Antioch and captured the town (1211). After a triumphal entry, he reinstated Ruben-Raymond once more, and left Antioch for Cilicia, where he sequestrated the property of the Templars and drove them out of the country.

The other wars of Leo’s reign were not of his choosing. Without provocation, the Sultan of Aleppo, Ghiyath-ad-Din Ghazi, son of Saladin, sent an embassy to demand that Leo should do homage or fight. Leo had the envoys taken for diversion into the country for a few days while he marched on the sultan, who was peacefully awaiting the return of his embassy. The sultan's army fled before the sudden attack of the Armenians, and he was obliged to pay Leo a larger tribute than he had hoped to extort for himself.

Leo’s last war, waged against his other old enemy, Iconium, was not so successful. Too ill to fight himself, he sent the baïle Adam and the grand-baron Constantine against Izz-ad-Din Kai-Kaus I, who had laid siege to the fortress of Kapan. Adam withdrew from the campaign after a quarrel with his colleague, and, by a feigned retreat and sudden volte face, the Turks defeated the Armenians and continued their interrupted siege of Kapan. But on hearing that Leo was ravaging Iconian territory, the sultan made haste to return to his own country and to make peace with Armenia (1217).

Succession problems after Leo’s death

Two years later Leo died, to the sorrow of his people. He had made Armenia strong and respected, but even in his reign the old ambitions of the princes were abreast of opportunity. When Leo was away in Cyprus, visiting the relatives of his queen, Hethum of Lambron revolted and invaded the king's territory. Leo was strong enough to seize and imprison the rebel and his two sons on his return, but the revolt showed that Leo's power rested on the perilous foundation of his own personality, and could not withstand the strain applied to it immediately after his death.

Leo left no son. He had once adopted Ruben-Raymond of Antioch as heir to the Cilician throne, but he repented of his choice on proving the youth’s incapacity. In the end, he left the crown to his daughter Zabel under the regency of two Armenian magnates. One of the regents was soon killed, but his colleague, the grand-baron Constantine, became for a time the real ruler of the country. Though never crowned himself, he made and unmade Armenian kings for the next six years (c.1220-1226).

His first act was to discrown Ruben-Raymond of Antioch, who with the help of crusaders had entered Tarsus and proclaimed himself king. Constantine defeated the invaders at Mamistra, and imprisoned Ruben at Tarsus, where he died. He then gave the crown to Philip of Antioch (1222), to whom, with the consent of the Armenian princes and ecclesiastics, he had married Zabel. But the new king was a failure. He had promised to conform to the laws and ceremonies of Armenia, but on the advice of his father, Bohemond the One-Eyed, Prince of Antioch, he soon broke his word, and began to favor the Latins at the expense of the Armenians. He sent in secret to his father the royal ornaments of Armenia and many other national treasures, and then tried to flee with Zabel. Constantine caught and imprisoned him, and demanded the return of the stolen heirlooms from Bohemond as the price of Philip's safety. Bohemond preferred to let his son die in a foreign prison.

For the third time Constantine decided the fate of the Armenian crown. With the approval, not of the lady but of the Armenian magnates, he married Zabel to his own son Hethum (Hayton). After founding a dynasty of his own blood, he discrowned no more kings, but with Hethum’s consent he undertook to reorganize the Cilician State, deeply rent by the succession question and shorn of part of Isauria by watchful Iconium. Nevertheless, for the sake of peace, Constantine made an alliance with the Sultan of Iconium, and conciliated the principality of Lambron which had revolted in the reign of Leo the Great. Later on in Hethum’s reign Constantine again governed Cilicia in his son's absence.

Armenian alliance with the Mongols 

The change of dynasty brought with it a change in policy. Cilicia was no longer molested by the Greeks; and the Seljuqs of Iconium, though troublesome for some years to come, were losing power. The paramount danger to the Armenians, as to the Seljuqs themselves, came from the Mamluks of Egypt, and the crucial question for Armenian rulers was where to turn for help against this new enemy. After more than a century's experience the Armenians could not trust their Latin neighbors as allies. Hethum I (1226-1270), though anxious to keep their good will, and with his eyes always open to the possibility of help from the West, put his trust not in the Christians but in the heathen Mongols, who for half a century were to prove the best friends Armenia ever had.

At the beginning of Hethum’s reign, the Mongols were overrunning Persia, Armenia, and Asia Minor, but they did good service to the Armenians by conquering the Seljuqs of Iconium and depriving them of most of their Syrian and Cappadocian territories. Hethum made a defensive and offensive alliance with Bachu, the Mongol general, and in 1244 became the vassal of the Khan Ogdai. Ten years later he did homage in person to Mangu Khan, and cemented the friendship between the two nations by a long stay at the Mongol court.

Meanwhile the Seljuqs, who had incited Lambron to revolt early in the reign, took advantage of Hethum’s absence to invade Cilicia under the Sultan Izz-ad-Din Kai-K-aus II. Hethum defeated the Turks on his return, seized several important towns, and recovered the whole of Isauria.

His triumph gave him brief leisure. The rest of his reign was filled with a struggle against the Mamluks, whose northward advance was fortunately opposed by the Mongols. Hethum and the Khan's brother Hulagu joined forces at Edessa to undertake the capture of Jerusalem from the Mamluks. The allies defeated Nasir, Sultan of Aleppo, and divided his lands between themselves, but all hope of further success vanished with the Khan's death. Hulagu hastened back to Tartary on receiving the news, leaving his son Abagha in charge of an army of 20,000 (1259). Baibars, Sultan of Egypt, took the opportunity to enter Syria, and defeated the Mongols more than once. He seized Antioch from the Christians and invaded Armenia with a large army. One of Hethum’s sons was slain, the other (afterwards Leo III) was taken captive. The Mamluks wasted part of Cilicia, disinterred the bones of Armenian kings, and retraced their steps with numerous captives and much plunder. All that Hethum could do was to ransom his son by sacrificing the castle of Derbessak and by dismantling two other fortresses on the frontier. He entrusted to Leo the government of the country, and after a turbulent reign of forty-four years retired into a monastery.

War with the Mamluks and Seljuqs

Leo III (1270-1289) had to face the same problems that had troubled his father—internal revolt and the enmity of Egypt and Iconium. In addition he was scourged by personal illness and by a visitation of plague and famine. Taking advantage of disaffection among the Armenian princes, who had revolted unsuccessfully against Leo, Baibars invaded Cilicia with an army of Turks and Arabs. Leo was deserted and fled to the mountains, leaving the country defenseless. Sis repulsed the invaders, but Tarsus capitulated. Its magnificent buildings were set on fire, thousands of its people were massacred, and thousands more led into captivity (1274). This disaster was followed by famine and plague. Leo himself fell ill; his two sons died.

Scarcely healed of his sickness, the king had to face a second Mamluk invasion. But this time the Armenian princes rallied to him, and as usual saved their country from final catastrophe. The Mamluks were caught in a trap, and suffered losses so great that the corpses of the dead prevented the living from taking flight. Baibars, gravely wounded by an arrow, reached Damascus to die (1276).

The Khan Abagha sent delegates to congratulate Leo on his victory, and to propose that he should add Turkey (Rum or Asia Minor) and several Mesopotamian towns to his Cilician kingdom. Leo wisely refused this offer of a vast realm, but he agreed to the Khan's other proposal of addressing letters to the Pope and the kings of the West to ask them to join the Mongols for the capture of the Holy Land from the Mamluks. On 25 November 1276 John and James Vassal, the messengers of Abagha Khan, announced to Edward I of England their approaching arrival in the West with letters from the Mongol Emperor and the King of Armenia.

After defeating the Seljuqs of Iconium (1278), who had invaded Armenian territory while the Armenians were repulsing the Mamluks, Leo was bound by his alliance to go to the help of the Mongols, who were again at war with the Mamluks. The Armenians joined the Mongol army under Mangu Timur without mishap, and met the Mamluks, led by Saif-ad-Din Qalaun al-Alfi, at Hims on the Orontes (1281). The Mamluks would have been defeated but for the inexplicable conduct of Mangu Timur, which gave the day to the sultan, already at the point of flight. As a result, Leo barely escaped to Armenia with thirty horsemen. The Mongols returned to face the anger of their Khan, who beheaded both the generals and forced the soldiers to wear women's clothes. After this disaster the Mongols were hostile to Armenia for two years, because Abagha’s successor hated the Christians. But on the accession of another Khan in 1284, the Mongols resumed their old friendship with the Armenians, and Leo was able to spend the last five years of his reign in works of peace.

Unstable government of Hethum II 

Prosperity vanished with Leo's death. Under his son Hethum II the One-Eyed (1289-1305), Armenia was in a peculiarly difficult position. The Mamluk rulers of Syria and Palestine were bent on annihilating Armenia, the last bulwark of Christendom. Hethum had no reliable allies. The Mongols were not only losing power, but were turning towards Islam. The Christians of the West were broken reeds, for the time of great impulses and united effort was past, even if the Armenian people had not opposed religious agreement with Rome. Hethum himself weakened Cilicia by his fitful sovereignty. The author of a national chronicle in verse, he preferred the part of monk to that of king, and long refused to be crowned. He abdicated three times, once to enter a monastery, once to turn Franciscan, once to become “Father of the King” to his nephew Leo IV. At a fourth juncture abdication was thrust upon him. As a result he ruled Cilicia for little more than half the time that elapsed between his accession in 1289 and his death in 1307. From 1290 to 1291, and again from 1294 to 1296, he entrusted the government to his brother Thoros III. Thoros in his turn became a monk, and when Hethum went with him to Constantinople to see their sister Ritha he left a third brother Smbat (Sempad) to rule Armenia in his absence (1296-1297). This time he did not intend to abdicate, but Smbat had himself crowned at Sis with the consent of Ghazan Khan, the Mongol ruler of Persia, and married a Tartar princess. On Hethum’s return, Smbat drove him and Thoros out of Cilicia. They appealed in vain to the khan and to their kinsfolk in Cyprus and Constantinople. Smbat seized them near Caesarea in Cappadocia and imprisoned them in the High Fortress (Bardsrberd), where Thoros was put to death and Hethum blinded and left in chains (1298). This coup d’état was reversed by a fourth brother Constantine, who dethroned and imprisoned Smbat. When, however, the Armenians wished to reinstate Hethum, who was slowly recovering his sight, Constantine repented of his loyalty and tried to release Smbat. But, with the help of Templars and Hospitallers, Hethum in his turn seized his brothers and sent them to Constantinople (1299). After this experience he did not abdicate again for six years.

Such unstable government did not help the Armenians to resist the Mamluks. But Hethum was a good soldier when the militant side of his nature was uppermost, and until 1302, when the Tartar alliance was lost, he defended Cilicia with moderate success. It was the threat of invasion by Ashraf, the successor of Qalaun, that finally decided him to be crowned (1289). He sent troops to guard the frontiers and appealed for help to Arghun Khan and to Pope Nicholas III. Nothing but vague promises from Philip the Fair came of these appeals, but indirectly Cilicia was saved by the Christians, who at the Pope's instigation laid siege to Alexandria. After taking Romkla, the seat of the Katholikos, and massacring its inhabitants, the sultan hurried back to Egypt with the Katholikos in his train, and Hethum gained peace and the release of the Katholikos at the price of several fortresses (1289-1290).

Some years later, during the contention between Hethum and his brothers, Susamish, viceroy of Damascus, prepared to invade Cilicia at the head of a Mamluk army. Hethum scattered his troops and handed him over to Ghazan Khan. After this success, Hethum and the khan took the offensive, and tried to seize Syria and Palestine from the Mamluks. But the khan suddenly returned to Persia to repress the revolt of his kinsman Baidu, and left his troops under the command of Qutlughshah. Although Hethum and Qutlughshah were at first successful, they were finally, after losing many men in the Euphrates, compelled to retreat.

Loss of the Mongol alliance

Ghazan Khan had promised on leaving Hethum that he would come back to undertake the conquest of the Holy Land for the Christians, but in 1302 he died. His successor, Uljaitu, far from fulfilling that promise, turned Musulman and forswore the ancient alliance with Armenia. The Mongols made war on the Armenians and spent a year reducing Cilicia to a heap of ruins. Turks and Mamluks then invaded the country three times, and leveled the ruins left standing by the Mongols. Again Hethum was roused to action. As the enemy were about to depart laden with plunder, he attacked them and killed or captured nearly seven thousand of their men. The Sultan of Egypt made peace; and for a time the Turks disappeared from Cilicia.

All through Hethum’s reign, the defence of Cilicia depended upon the military qualities of himself and of his people alone. He made the most of his diplomatic opportunities, but with no appreciable result. He tried hard to keep the Mongol alliance, but even before 1302 the khan could not help him against Ashraf and would not help him against his brother Smbat. He made marriage alliances with Constantinople and Cyprus, giving his sister Mariam in marriage to Michael IX, son of the Emperor Andronicus, and marrying another sister Zabel to Amaury, brother of the King of Cyprus. After the loss of the Mongol alliance, he redoubled the efforts of his predecessor to earn Western help by religious concession. The Katholikos Grigor VII Anavarzetsi prepared a profession of faith in nine chapters, and proposed to introduce into the Armenian Church various changes of ritual conforming to the Roman usage. Before anything further was done, the Katholikos died and Hethum resigned the crown to his nephew Leo IV (1305-1307). In 1307 Leo and his uncle summoned the princes and the ecclesiastics to the First Council of Sis. There, owing to the king's insistence, the profession of faith drafted by the late Katholikos was read and adopted. But when the people knew of it, their fury overleapt the bounds of loyalty and patriotism. In their anger they roused Bilarghu the Mongol against Hethum and Leo. Already in Cilicia, Bilarghu treacherously invited the king and his uncle to Anazarbus, where he put them to death with the princes of their persuasion (13 August 1307).

All hope of gaining Western aid in return for religious concession was once more deferred. The only tangible fruit of Hethum’s advances to the Latins had been the help given him by the Templars and Hospitallers against his rebellious brothers. Tried and found wanting time after time, the rulers of the West were nevertheless Armenia's only possible friends. Like Hethum, his successor Oshin (1307-1320) worked steadily for their co-operation. Like Hethum, he made marriage alliances, sought religious accommodation, sent despairing appeals for help. And like Hethum he was left to defend Armenia himself.

Overtures to the West. Nationalist reaction 

Isabel of Lusignan, daughter of King Hugh III, was his first wife, and her successor was Joan of Anjou, niece of King Robert of Naples and daughter of Philip I of Anjou-Taranto, known as Philip II, Latin Emperor of the East. Besides marrying into two Western families, Oshin tried to solve the religious problem. In 1316 he summoned to Adana an assembly which examined and adopted the ecclesiastical settlement made at Sis nine years before. The king and the Katholikos Constantine II had the dogma of the Procession of the Holy Ghost proclaimed in conformity with Catholic teaching. But once more the angry people frustrated the will of their rulers, and only the overwhelming peril from the Mamluks could dull the edge of religious discord. As appeals for help sent to John XXII and to Philip of Valois were fruitless, the burden of defending Cilicia fell upon Oshin. He had expelled Bilarghu and his Mongols from the country at the beginning of his reign, avenging on them the death of his kinsmen. After this he had found time to build strongholds and churches, especially in Tarsus, where he restored and strengthened the famous ramparts, and built the magnificent church now known as Kalisa-jami (=church-mosque). But in the middle of his religious troubles the Mamluks again threatened Cilicia, and he spent the last years of his reign defending the country single-handed. For twenty years after his death (1320-1340) Armenia struggled unavailingly against the rising power of the Mamluks.

The minority of Oshin’s son Leo V (1320-1342) produced a nationalist crisis. The long-continued friendship of Armenian rulers with the Latins, their adoption of Latin institutions, and their intermarriage with Latin families, had made their court more Latin than Armenian; while their friendly discussions with the Papacy had strengthened the cause of the Uniates, who worked for a complete union of the Armenian Church with Rome. But Leo’s minority gave the nationalists their chance. The government was in the hands of a council of regency composed of four barons, Leo himself being under the guardianship of Oshin of Gorigos. Oshin married Leo's mother, exiled the king’s Lusignan cousins, and married him to his own daughter in order to counteract Latin influences. When Leo came to power, however, he undid Oshin’s work. He married a Spanish wife connected with the Lusignans (Constance of Aragon, widow of Henry II of Lusignan), recalled his cousins, and finally put Oshin to death. During his reign Cilicia was confined to its ancient boundaries, but though the country’s defenses were in ruins and the princes were occupied with political and ecclesiastical disputes, Leo immersed himself in religious discussions.

Meanwhile Nasir, Sultan of the Mamluks, on hearing that Europe was preparing for a new crusade, made an alliance with the Tartars and Turkomans for the conquest of Armenia. Devastated and plundered by successive armies of Tartars, Turkomans, and Mamluks, Cilicia was once more saved from complete destruction by a few heroic Armenians. They hid in passes through which the enemy had to march, and massacred several thousand Mamluks. The sultan agreed to a fifteen years' truce on condition that the Armenians paid to the Egyptians an annual tribute of 50,000 florins, half the customs and revenue from the maritime trade of Ayas, and half the sea-salt. In return, the sultan undertook to rebuild Ayas and the other fortresses at his own expense, and not to occupy any stronghold or castle in Cilicia with his troops.

At last, about 1335, Philip VI of France decided to go to the help of the Armenians, and Nasir resolved to conquer them. The net result of the two decisions might have been foreseen. On the one hand, Leo received 10,000 florins from Philip with, a few sacks of corn from the Pope; on the other, Armenia was invaded and conquered by the Mamluks. Leo fled to the mountains (1337); but after forcing him to swear on Bible and Cross never again to enter into relations with Europe, Nasir left him to rule what was left of his country until his death in 1342. He was the last of the Rubenian-Hethumian rulers, who thus left Armenia as they had found it, a prey to the foreigner.

Failure and exile of Leo VI 

For a generation after Leo’s death (1342-1373), Armenia was ruled by Latin kings. Two of them were Lusignan princes connected by marriage with the Hethumian dynasty, and the other two were usurpers not of royal blood.

The Lusignans derived their claim to the Armenian crown from the marriage of Zabel, sister of Hethum II, to Amaury of Tyre, brother of Henry II of Cyprus (1295). John and Guy, two sons of this marriage, were in the service of the Emperor at Constantinople when Leo V died. Some months after Leo’s death, John, the younger, was called upon to administer the Cilician kingdom, not as king, but as bale or regent. At his suggestion, the elder brother Guy left Constantinople and accepted the crown of Armeno-Cilicia in 1342.

Crowned by the Katholikos according to Armenian rites, Guy acted at first as an Armenian patriot, refusing to pay tribute to the Sultans of Egypt and Turkey. But when Egyptian invasions followed, Guy not only adopted the time-honored custom of appealing for help to the Pope (Clement VI) and of promising to effect if possible the union of the Armenian Church with Rome, but surrounded himself with Latin princes to whom he entrusted the defence of towns and fortresses. The Pope actually sent a thousand horsemen and a thousand pieces of Byzantine silver, but the Armenians, resenting Guy’s Latinizing policy, assassinated him with his brother Bohemond and the Western knights who had come to his aid (1344). His other brother John had died a natural death a few months earlier.

The next king, the usurper Constantine IV, son of Baldwin, marshal of Armenia, was more successful (1344-1363). With the help of Theodates of Rhodes and Hugh of Cyprus he repulsed an Egyptian invasion with great slaughter, leaving Ayas alone in the enemy’s hands. He hoped that the news of his success would move Europe to help him, but when his embassy returned empty-handed from Venice, Paris, London, and Rome, he marched without allies against the Mamluks, drove them from the country, and captured Alexandretta from them (1357). As a result of his victory and of his efforts to subdue the religious discord, Armenia was at peace for the rest of his life.

Constantine IV was succeeded by a second usurper, Constantine V, son of a Cypriot serf who had become an Armenian baron. Elected king because of his wealth, he offered the crown to Peter I, King of Cyprus, but when Peter was assassinated in 1369 Constantine kept the throne himself. Four years later, the Armenians put him to death, and during the anarchy which followed they entrusted the government to the widow of Constantine IV, Mary of Gorigos, who had already played an active part in Armenian politics before the king’s assassination.

The last King of Armenia was Leo VI of Lusignan (1373, d. 1393). His father was John, brother of King Guy, and his grandmother was Zabel, sister of Hethum II. He himself had been imprisoned with his mother Soldane of Georgia by Constantine IV, who had wished to destroy the royal Armenian line. His reign was not a success. All his efforts to avert the long-impending doom of Cilicia were powerless. He fought energetically against the Mamluks, but was led captive to Cairo (1375). There he appointed as almoner and confessor John Dardel, whose recently-published chronicle has thrown unexpected light upon the last years of the Cilician kingdom. In 1382 the king was released and spent the rest of his life in various countries of Europe. He died in 1393 at Paris, making Richard II of England his testamentary executor, and his epitaph is still preserved in the basilica of Saint-Denis. After his death, the Kings of Cyprus were the nominal Kings of Armenia until 1489, when the title passed to Venice. Almost at the same time (1485), by reason of the marriage (1433) of Anne of Lusignan with Duke Louis I of Savoy, the rulers of Piedmont assumed the empty claim to a kingdom of the past.

During the exile of Leo VI, Greater Armenia was enduring a prolonged Tartar invasion. After conquering Baghdad (1386), Tamerlane entered Vaspurakan. At Van he caused the people to be hurled from the rock which towers above the city; at Ernjak he massacred all the inhabitants; at Siwas he had the Armenian garrison buried alive. In 1389 he devastated Turuberan and Taron; in 1394 he finished his campaign at Kars, where he took captive all the people whom he did not massacre, and passed on into Asia Minor. By the beginning of the fifteenth century the old Armenian territory had been divided among its Muslim conquerors — Mamluks, Turks, and Tartars. Yusuf, Sultan of Egypt, ruled Sassun; the Emir Erghin governed Vaspurakan from Ostan; and Tamerlane’s son, Miran Shah, reigned at Tabriz. These Musulman emirs made war upon one another at the expense of the Armenian families who had not migrated to Asia Minor on the fall of the Bagratid kingdom. By the close of the fifteenth century Cilicia, too, was finally absorbed into the Ottoman Empire.

Armenia under Muslim rule

Kings and kingdom had passed, but the Armenians still possessed their Church. In the midst of desolation, schools and convents maintained Armenian art and culture, and handed on the torch of nationality. Some of the Armenian manuscripts which exist today were written in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The long religious controversy, of which the Uniates were the center, survived the horrors of the period, and continued to agitate the country. Among the protagonists were John of Khrna, John of Orotn, Thomas of Medzoph, Gregory of Tathew, and Gregory of Klath. In 1438 Armenian delegates attended the Council of Florence with the Greeks and Latins in order to unify the rites and ceremonies of the Churches.

The most important work of the Church was administrative. During Tamerlane's invasion the Katholikos had established the pontifical seat among the ruins of Sis. But towards the middle of the next century Sis rapidly declined, and it was decided to move the seat to Echmiadzin in the old Bagratid territory. As Grigor IX refused to leave Sis, a new Katholikos, Kirakos Virapensis, was elected for Echmiadzin, and from 1441 the Armenian Church was divided for years between those who accepted the primacy of Echmiadzin and those who were faithful to Sis. Finally, the Katholikos of Echmiadzin became, in default of a king, the head of the Armenian people. With his council and synod he made himself responsible for the national interests of the Armenians, and administered such possessions as remained to them. After the Turkish victory of 1453, Mahomet II founded an Armenian colony in Constantinople and placed it under the supervision of Joakim, the Armenian Bishop of Brusa, to whom he afterwards gave the title of “Patriarch” with jurisdiction over all the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. From that time to this, the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople has carried on the work of the Katholikos and has been the national representative of the Armenian people.