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Near East Kingdoms

Ancient Anatolia


MapKingdom of Lesser Armenia
AD 56 - c.60

Lesser (or Little) Armenia was created out of the western section of Armenia during the divisions caused by the war between Rome and Parthian Persia in AD 56. Its territory had once formed large areas of the state of Hayasa-Azzi, and had already been governed by proxy through Cappadocia and then the Galatians during the first century BC. Tiridates, a Parthian prince, was placed on the throne without Rome's agreement, and Rome and Persia went to war over the matter. As a result, Armenia was divided into Armenia, Armenia Sophene and Lesser Armenia.

AD 17

The aged Archelaus of Cappadocia proves relatively popular with Rome but is less liked by the Cappadocians. For angering the Emperor Tiberius after favouring one of his rivals for the imperial diadem, Archelaus is summoned to Rome where he dies, possibly of natural causes (or suicide).

AD 17 - 34

Zenon of Pontus / Artaxias III

Stepson of Archelaus of Cappadocia. King of Armenia (AD 18).

17 - 18

There is a Roman-sponsored interregnum in Armenia starting from AD 16, with the exiled King Vonones of Parthia as nominal ruler. Parthia has threatened military action if he is not removed so Zenon of Pontus, son of Plemon I, is granted the Armenian throne as Artaxias III, along with Lesser Armenia (the two are merged back together). As part of the same unravelling of events, tributary Cappadocia now becomes a Roman province while Cilicia is handed to Archelaus' son to rule as another client king.

56 - 62

Tiridates, a Parthian prince, has been placed on the throne of Armenia without Rome's agreement, and Rome and Parthia go to war. Rome enjoys some initial success and manages to impose its own vassal ruler in the form of Tigranes V, while placing other vassals in command of Armenia Sophene and Lesser Armenia. However, in the winter of AD 62 Vologases I of Parthia manages to surround a Roman army near Rhandeia (on the Arsanias, a tributary of the Euphrates) and forces it to capitulate.

56 - ?

Aristobulo Asmoneo


With Armenia all but a Parthian territory, Rome is forced to accept an Arsacid ruler in the form of Tiridates II. He travels to Rome in AD 66 to receive the crown in person from Emperor Nero. However, Rome ensures it has its portion of the spoils by annexing Armenia Sophene and Little, or Lesser Armenia.

Ruins at Satala
These ruins at Satala were occupied by the first century AD, and probably earlier. They formed part of Lesser Armenia when it was annexed by Rome around AD 60

MapKingdom of Lesser Armenia (Erzindjan)
AD 389 - 391

Armenia was again partitioned by Rome and Persia in 387. Persia retained Greater Armenia to the east of the Euphrates while Rome gained the western section.

389 - 391

Archak III

Former king of all Armenia.


Lesser Armenia is absorbed by the Roman empire. In 545 a descendant of this line of Arsacids named Artabanus enters the Eastern Roman province of North Africa to quell a rebellion there. For a short time he also serves as military tribune there.

Kingdom of Lesser Armenia (Erzindjan / Cilicia)
AD 1080 - 1375

With the Turkic invasion of mid-eleventh century Armenia, a number of Armenians, led by Prince Reuben, were pushed westwards. In 1080 they established in Cilicia the state of Lesser Armenia, centred on Tarsus, north of what was very soon to become Norman-controlled Antioch and west of Edessa, while the Seljuq sultanate of Rum lay to the north. Lesser Armenia established very close ties with the Crusader states. It was still threatened by Byzantium, however, and appears to have come under Byzantine overlordship for short periods.

Cilicia (pr. silish) is an ancient region of south-eastern Asia Minor, in present southern Turkey, between the Mediterranean and the Taurus range. It included a high and barren plateau, Cilicia Trachia or Cilicia Tracheia, and a fertile plain, Cilicia Pedias.

(The main list is backed up with one that gives further names, but they are poorly dated. These additional names may not have been reigning kings, but were numbered as members of the dynasty. They may have been co-regents.)

1080 - 1095

Reuben I

1095 - ?

Constantine I

Prince in 1099.

1098 - 1099

Lesser Armenia is declared a kingdom as the Crusader states are established along its eastern and southern borders. For much of its existence it appears to be subject to Byzantine overlordship. King Constantine I, probably as part of an effort to cement ties with the new states around him, marries one of his daughters to Joscelin I, Count of Edessa.

Yilanlikale Castle
The Armenian fortress of Yilanlikale in Cilicia is more colourfully known by its Turkish name of Snake Castle. It was built in the eleventh or twelfth century as a Crusader castle

Theodore / Thoros I

c.1129 - 1137

Leon I

Captured by John II of Byzantium. Died in Constantinople.

1148 - 1168

Thoros II

Escaped Byzantine prison (1145?). Homage to Manuel (1158).

1168 - 1175

Reuben II

1175 - 1185

Reuben III

1185 - 1219

Leon / Levon II the Great

Prince 1185-1198.

1219 - 1269

Isabella / Zabel

1205 - ?



1205 - ?

Philip of Antioch

Son of Behemond IV of Antioch.

1226 - 1269

Hethoum I the Great / Hethum I

1270 - 1289

Leon III

1289 - 1305

Hethoum II the One-Eyed / Hethum II


Possible co-regent.

1299 - 1303

The Il-Khan ruler, Mahmud Ghazan, marches on Syria, taking Aleppo. He is joined there by his vassal, King Hethoum II. Together they defeat the Mameluke Bahrids of Egypt and Damascus at the Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar on 23 or 24 December. The Bahrids are pushed back into Egypt and Damascus quickly falls to the invaders. The Il-Khans then withdraw, perhaps due to a lack of supplies. The attack is renewed in 1301, but it degenerates into a scattering of inconclusive battles and politicking. In the end, Ghazan's forces are defeated by the Mamelukes of Egypt at the Battle of Marj al-Saffar in April 1303 and withdraw, never to return.

1305 - 1307

Leon IV of Cyprus


Possible co-regent.

Constantine II

Possible co-regent.

1305 - 1320


1320 - 1342

Leon V

Constantine III

Lord of Neghir. Possible co-regent.

1342 - 1344

Guy Lusignan

Son of Almaric of Tyre. King of Cyprus.

1344 - 1363

Constantine IV


1363 - 1373

Constantine V


1373 - 1375

Leon VI

Died 1393.


The kingdom is conquered by the Mameluke Sultans of Egypt. Having formed the last outpost of independent Armenian statehood, the surviving members of the nobility now disperse or are absorbed into the dominating Islamic cultures of the region. Within a few centuries, no Armenians have the status or background to be able to claim descent from their former kings, or to be able to make an effective claim for any hereditary kingship. It is only the seizure of Eastern Armenia by the Russians in 1828 that ensures the survival of an Armenian state in any form, albeit one that is a subject state.

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