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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311

XVIII: The Kingdom of Cilician Armenia,   pp. 630-659 PDF (12.6 MB)

Page 655

ravages caused by the Mamluk invasion. New privileges were granted to the
Venetian merchants in 1271; Ayas was rebuilt and became again an active commercial
center. Marco Polo, who visited it in 1271, speaks of it as "a city good
and great and of great trade", adding that "all the spicery and the cloths
of silk and of gold and of wool from inland are carried to this town".43
As the Egyptians captured the Syrian and Palestinian sea ports the im portance
of Ayas grew; it was one of the chief outlets to the Mediter ranean for the
goods brought from Central Asia, but its importance and wealth made it at
the same time one of the principal targets of the Egyptians. 
 Mamluk attacks began again in 1275; in a rapid but devastating raid they
advanced as far as Corycus. At the same time the Turko mans entered Cilicia
from the west and, though repulsed, continued to raid the border lands year
after year. Internal dissension and revolts of some of the barons created
further difficulties for Leon during these years when there was almost no
direct Mongol assistance. The invasion of Syria in 128 1 was the most serious
undertaking by the Il-khans in these parts since the death of Hulagu; the
Armenians fought at the side of the Mongols, but the Egyptian sultan Kalavun,
having won the neutrality of the Franks, was able to defeat the Mongol and
Armenian forces. 
 Lawless bands of Mongols, Egyptians, Turkomans, and Kurds pillaged Cilicia;
they set fire to Ayas and looted the warehouses abandoned by the population,
who had fled to a new fortress built out in the sea. The emissaries sent
to Egypt by Leon to ask for peace were detained as prisoners until the master
of the Templars intervened. Another factor may have been instrumental in
modify ing the Egyptian attitude: the new Mongol Il-khan, Arghun, was favorable
to the Christians; Leon had gone to his court to pay his respects, and Kalavun
may have feared Mongol intervention. A tenyear truce was signed on June 6,
1285; the conditions were ex tremely onerous — an annual tribute of
one million dirhems — moreover, numerous privileges were granted to
the Egyptians.44 The peace won at such high cost was to be broken before
the ten years had elapsed. 
 After the fall of Acre and Tripoli, when Egyptian armies had reached Homs,
Hetoum II, who had succeeded his father Leon III in 1289, tried to appease
them by offering a large sum of money; 
  Marco Polo, The Description of the World, ed. A. C. Moule and Paul Pelliot
(London, 1938), p. 94. For the importance of Ayas see W. Heyd, Histoire du
commerce du Levant (reprinted Leipzig, 1936), II, 73—92. 
 Al-Maqrizi (tr. Quatremère), Histoire des sultans mamlouks, II, 201—212.

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