Rubinian dynasty, Fourth Armenian Kingdom
Before the fall of the Bagratuni kingdom a number of Armenian princes managed to
escape from Armenia and found refuge in Cilicia, a region at the north-eastern corner of
the Mediterranean Sea, where Armenians were the majority of population. In 1080 their
leader, prince Ruben, founded in Cilicia a new kingdom, which became known as
Cilician Armenia, or Armenia Minor (Little Armenia).
The new Armenian state
established very close relations with European countries and played a very important role
during the Crusades, providing the Christian armies a safe heaven and provision on their
way towards Jerusalem. Intermarriage with European crusading families was common,
and European religious, political, and cultural influence was strong. The royal court of
Cilicia and the kingdom itself were reformed on Western models, and many French terms
entered the Armenian language. Cilician Armenia also played an important role in the
trade of the Venetians and Genoese with the East.
Enduring constant attacks by the Turks, Mongols, Egyptians and Byzantines, Cilician
Armenia survived for three centuries and fell to Egyptian Mameluks in 1375. The last Armenian king of Cilicia, Levon VI Lousinian, emigrated to France, where his grave still
can be seen in the St. Denis Cathedral of Paris. The title “King of Armenia” passed to the
kings of Cyprus, thence to the Venetians, and was later claimed by the house of Savoy.
Armenia under turkish rule
After the fall of the Cilician Armenia, the historical Armenian homeland, or Greater
Armenia, was subject to various Muslim warlords, and eventually was divided between
the Ottoman Empire (Western Armenia) and Persia (Eastern Armenia). Several Armenian
principalities managed to preserve their independence or autonomy. The most significant
among those was the Federation of Khamsa in Artsakh (today’s Nagorno-Karabakh),
which consisted of five allied principalities. De facto independent Armenian
principalities existed also in the regions of Sasun and Zeytun in Western Armenia.
Being for centuries at the edge of physical annihilation,
Armenians nevertheless managed
to preserve and develop their national, religious and cultural identity. Apart from
architecture, Armenians successfully manifested themselves in literature, painting,
sculpture and music. Armenians were the 10th nation in the world to put their language in
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