Leo I, King of Armenia


Leo I, King of Armenia

Infobox Monarch
name =Leo I the Magnificent
Լեիոն Ա Մեծագործ
title =Prince, then King


predecessor =Roupen III
successor =Isabella
dynasty =House of Roupen|

Leo I or Leon I (Lang-hy|Լեիոն Ա Մեծագործ, Eastern tansliteration: "Levon Metsagorts", Western trans.: "Levon Medzakordz"; 1150 – 2 ["Dying on 2 May 1219 without male heirs, Leo II had this daughter Isabel (Zabel) proclaimed queen the day before." Toumanoff, p. 633] or 5 May 1219), called the Magnificent, was the Prince of Cilicia, as Leo II, from 1187 and first King of Cilicia from 1199 until his death.

Lord of the Mountains

Leo became "Lord of the Mountains" (ruler of Cilician Armenia) in 1187, his brother Ruben III of Armenia resigning the crown to him shortly before his death. He was initially the 'Regent and Tutor' for his nieces, Alice and Philippa, but later he set them aside and had himself crowned on January 6, 1199.

On 3 February 1189 Leo married with a lady called Isabelle. Her origins are unclear (her surname "of Austria", indicate a possibly German origin); the only certain about her is she was the daughter of a brother of Sybille, third wife of the Prince Bohemund III of Antioch. The marriage only produced a daughter, Stephanie (also called Rita), born after 1195 and later married John of Brienne. With the onset of the Third Crusade, he opened negotiations with Frederick Barbarossa to receive the title of King of Armenia, but Frederick's drowning at the Saleph River in Cilicia forestalled the plan. This represented a significant shift in Armenian policy, which had traditionally looked towards the Byzantine empire for authority. Leo is also said to have attended the wedding of Richard the Lionhearted in Cyprus as a groomsman in 1191.

In 1194, Leo seized the castle of Bagras, on the northern border of the Principality of Antioch, which had been captured by Saladin in 1189. Bohemund III of Antioch and the Knights Templar, its original owners, demanded its return. Leo lured Bohemund to Bagras under pretense of a parley, captured him, and imprisoned him in Sis. Under duress, Bohemund was compelled to cede the Principality to Leo. Bohemund was subsequently released through the mediation of Henry II of Champagne, but was forced to abandon all claims to the suzerainity of Armenia. In addition, the two entered into a marital alliance in 1195. Bohemond's son Raymond married Alice of Armenia, the daughter of Ruben III.

First King of Lesser Armenia

Leo continued to appeal to the new Emperor, Henry VI, and to Pope Celestine III for a royal title. These efforts were successful, and on January 6, 1199, he was crowned King of Armenia by the papal legate, Conrad of Wittelsbach, Archbishop of Mainz, in the Church of Holy Wisdom at Tarsus. He was nominally an Imperial vassal, but soon abandoned any acknowledgement of fealty.

Strife had by now broken out in Antioch; Raymond of Antioch had died in 1197, leaving a posthumous son, Raymond-Roupen of Antioch, heir to the Principality through primogeniture. However, Raymond's younger brother Bohemund, already Count of Tripoli, vigorously disputed the succession, and ejected his own father from the city in 1199. However, Leo intervened against him and restored Bohemund III to the Principality; but on his death in 1201, the younger Bohemund was recognized as Prince of Antioch as Bohemund IV. Leo attempted to capture Antioch in 1203 and place Raymond-Roupen on the throne, but he was defeated by the Knights Templar, who favored Bohemund.

In 1206, the Catholicos John of Sis accused the Queen Isabelle of adultery. Leo put to death several members of his wife's suite and personally attacked her. Their marriage was annulled and Isabelle was imprisoned on 28 January in the fortress of Vahka. She was poisoned there in 1207.

In Cyprus on 28 January 1210, Leo married secondly with the princess Sybilla of Lusignan, daughter of King Amalric II of Jerusalem, who bore him a daughter, Isabella or Zabel, on 27 January 1216. In Leo's later years he suffered from deformed hands and feet, probably a symptom of gout.

Leo continued to support the claims of Raymond-Roupen, who had married Helvis of Lusignan, another daughter of Amalric II (by his first wife), in 1210, and had him crowned "King Junior" of Armenia on August 15, 1211. However, Bohemund's allies, including the Knights Templar, and the Ayyubid emir of Aleppo Az-Zahir always forestalled attempts to eject Bohemund from the citadel of Antioch, although Leo several times entered the city. In 1216, with the aid of the Knights Hospitaller, Leo was finally able to capture Antioch and install Raymond-Roupen as prince. Having established Raymond-Roupen with Antioch, Leo decided that his daughter Isabella, rather than Raymond-Roupen, should succeed him in Armenia. On his death on May 2, 1219 Isabella became queen, but Raymond-Roupen was ejected from Antioch and came to contest the crown.

Leo was a powerful ruler, remembered by chroniclers as "Leo the Magnificent". His court at Sis was cultured and he was a supporter of calligraphy and the arts. He allied himself with the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights, but drove the Knights Templar from his kingdom. He fostered commerce with Venice and Genoa, opening his ports at Ayas and Corycos to the world. The Assizes of Antioch were adopted as the law of the kingdom, and translated into Armenian. Also he captured Herakleia (Now Ereğli or Konya Ereğlisi) and Larende (Now Karaman) from Anatolian Seljuks in 1211 and held these cities for five years.

Notes

References

*cite book|last=Boase|first=T. S. R.|title=The Cilician Kingdom of Armenia|year=1978|publisher=Scottish Academic Press|location=Edinburgh|id=ISBN 0-7073-0145-9
*cite book|last=Chahin|first=M.|title=The Kingdom of Armenia: A History|year=2001|edition=2nd ed.|publisher=Curzon|location=Richmond, Surrey|id=ISBN 0-7007-1452-9
*cite book|last=Rudt de Collenberg|first=W. H.|title=The Rupenides, Hethumides and Lusignans: The Structure of the Armeno-Cilician Dynasties|year=1963|publisher=Klincksieck|location=Paris
*http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ARMENIA.htm#_Toc176328582
*

External links

* [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Asia/Armenia/_Texts/KURARM/28*.html Greeks, Crusaders and Moslems — Rise of Leon II] (Kurkjian's History of Armenia, Chs. 28‑29)


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Leo III, King of Armenia — Leo III or Leon III (occasionally numbered Leo IV; hy. Լեիոն Գ, Levon III ; 1287/1289 ndash; 1307) was king of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, ruling from 1303 or 1305 to 1307, along with his uncle Hethum II. He was the son of Thoros III of… …   Wikipedia

  • Leo V, King of Armenia — Infobox Monarch | name=Leo V title= King of the Armenians reign= September 14,1374 1375 coronation= September 14, 1374 queen= Marguerite de Soissons royal house= Lusignan father= John of Lusignan mother= Soldane of Georgia issue= Last King of… …   Wikipedia

  • Leo IV, King of Armenia — Leo IV or Leon IV (also numbered Leo V; hy. Լեիոն Դ, Levon IV ; 1309 ndash; 28 August 1341) was the last Hethumid king of Cilicia, ruling from 1320 until his death. He was the son of Oshin of Armenia and Isabel of Korikos, and came to the throne… …   Wikipedia

  • Leo II, King of Armenia — Infobox Monarch name =Leo IIԼեիոն Բ title =King Toros Roslin, 1250] predecessor =Hetoum I successor =Hetoum II dynasty =House of Lambron|Leo II or Leon II (occasionally numbered Leo III; Lang hy|Լեիոն Բ, Levon II ; c. 1236 ndash; 1289) was king… …   Wikipedia

  • Leo I, Prince of Armenia — Leo I or Leon I ( hy. Լեիոն Ա, Levon I ; died 14 February 1140) was prince of Armenian Cilicia from 1129 until his death in 1140. He was the first king of the Rubenid dynasty.Leo, like his predecessors, continued to push the Armenian borders… …   Wikipedia

  • Hethum I, King of Armenia — Infobox Monarch name =Hetoum IՀեթում Ա title =King caption =Hetoum I with Queen Zabel on a coin predecessor =Queen Zabel successor =Levon II dynasty =House of Lambron|Hetoum I (also transliterated Hethoum , Hethum , Het um , or Hayton from… …   Wikipedia

  • Constantine II, King of Armenia — Constantine s arms, a combination of those of Lusignan, Jerusalem, and Cilicia. Constantine II (also Constantine IV; Armenian: Կոստանդին Բ, Western Armenian transliteration: Gosdantin or Kostantine; died 17 April 1344), born Guy de Lusignan, was… …   Wikipedia

  • Constantine IV, King of Armenia — For other uses, see Constantine of Armenia (disambiguation). Constantine IV (also Constantine VI; Armenian: Կոստանդին, Western Armenian transliteration: Gosdantin or Kostantine; died 1373) was the King of Armenian Cilicia from 1362 until his… …   Wikipedia

  • Constantine III, King of Armenia — For other uses, see Constantine of Armenia (disambiguation). Constantin III of Armenia on his throne with the Hospitallers. Les chevaliers de Saint Jean de Jerusalem rétablissant la religion en Arménie ( The knights of Saint John of Jerusalem… …   Wikipedia

  • Constantine I, King of Armenia — For other uses, see Constantine of Armenia (disambiguation). Constantine I (also called Constantine III; Armenian: Կոստանդին Ա, Western Armenian transliteration: Gosdantin or Kostantine; 1278 – c. 1310) was briefly king of the Armenian Kingdom of …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.