The Military Coat of Arms of Cilicia in a 1509 Portuguese Miniature

The Armenian state of Cilicia that existed from 1080 to 1375 in southeast Asia Minor on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea played an exceptional role in the history of the Armenian people. Prior to being proclaimed a kingdom in 1198, this state had been known as the principality of Cilicia.

We present to your attention one exceptional miniature which depicts the military coat of arms of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.

This miniature can be found in the Portuguese “Book of Military Emblems” (“Livro do Armeiro-Mor”, 1509) on page 19. At the bottom of the miniature is the inscription “Kingdom of Armenia” (“Rei d Ermenia”).

The “Book of Military Emblems”, which is considered to be the encyclopedia of heraldry of the first half of the 16th century, includes the coats of arms of the states of Europe and their neighboring principalities.

This masterpiece of medieval miniature consisting of 161 pages is kept in the National Archives of Portugal in Lisbon.

After the fall of the Bagratuni Ani kingdom, Cilicia played a crucial role in the history of the Armenian people, primarily in the preservation of statehood.

Thanks to its political system and focus on economic development and culture, Cilicia was an integral part of Europe. Treated as an equal by well-established European states, Cilicia built its political system on the basis of European models.

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