Ancient Coins of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia

Ancient Coins of the Armenian Kingdom of CiliciaCilician Armenian coins were minted from copper, bronze, silver, and rarely gold. Their styles have been completely unique and included images of stylized busts, Armenian texts, and sometimes the Crusaders’ crosses and iconography. The tradition of Cilician coin minting was established by the first King of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia Leo I and was maintained until the fall of the kingdom in 1375.

Leo’s stamping set the standard for the succeeding rulers of Cilicia, including silver inlays, its parts, and the large copper reservoir for smelting. Leo’s inlays follow the obverse design elements found on the coins of Henry VI of the Holy Roman Empire, from whom he received his crown. He was usually depicted sitting on an ornamented throne, holding a cross and fleur de lis. The reverse side featured images of a two lions carrying a high cross.

After the death of Leo, his youngest daughter Isabelle I acceded to the throne on May 2, 1219. Hetum, the son of Constantine of Baberon, forced Isabelle into marriage in 1226. Subsequently, the king and the queen issued new inlays with their portrait. Hetum additionally issued a new copper coin with lower nominal value to complement his large collection of copper coins.

Hetum’s coins followed the standards set by his predecessor Leo I. He also issued two types of coins, one of which depicted him sitting on the throne, while the other portrayed him horseback.

After the coronation of Hetum’s son, Leo II, the royal coins became smaller due to the economic crisis in the country. Leo II’s silver coins depicted the king horseback, while the reverse side featured an image of a lion.


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