King Levon VI – Buried Not in Armenia

The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia fell with the overthrow of Levon VI in 1375. For almost three centuries, Cilicia has served as a stronghold of Christianity in the Middle East working with the crusaders, while trying to maintain a balanced relationship with the strengthening Muslim neighbors.

Levon VI, who was the last king of Cilicia from the Armenian-French Lusignan dynasty, was unable to defend his capital Sis less than a year after his own coronation.

The city was besieged by the Egyptian Mamelukes, a powerful sultanate of that time. Levon was kept in captivity in Cairo until 1382 when he was bought out by generous Spanish kings. He was appointed the governor of Madrid, Villarreal, and Andújar.

Despite the fact that his ruling over Madrid did not represent anything of itself and even to some extent was not welcomed by the local population, a street was named after Levon VI in Madrid, which exists to this day.

After his exile from the country, King Levon spent most of the following years visiting courts in Western Europe. He tried to work as a certified specialist mediating between France and England. He hoped to start a liberation movement in Cilicia but wasn’t able to. He died in 1393.

400 years later, the remains of the last Armenian king were desecrated during the French Revolution, but later his grave was moved to the Abbey of Saint-Denis, where he rests to this day along with other members of the French monarchy.

Other sources:

1. Armen Kouyoumdjian. “When Madrid Was the Capital of Armenia”. Paper presented at the conference Armenia and Armenians in International Treaties, held at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, March 18-21, 2009
2. Vahan M. Kurkjian. A History of Armenia. AGBU, 1958, pp. 258-269
3. Wikipedia: “Leo V, King of Armenia”
4. Wikipedia: “Basilica of St Denis”


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