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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 654

and their ally al-Mansür II of Hamah invaded Cilicia, passing through
the Amanus Gates instead of trying to force a passage through the Syrian
Gates (1266). The Armenians, commanded by the constable Sempad and the two
young princes, Toros and Leon, resisted valiantly, but they were hopelessly
outnumbered. Toros was slain, Leon and Sempad's son Vasil, surnamed the Tatar,
were taken prisoner, and the enemy armies devastated the entire country for
twenty days without meeting further resistance. They sacked Mamistra, Adana,
Ayas, Tarsus, and smaller localities; at Sis they set fire to the cathedral
and forced the treasury, taking all the gold that had been assembled there.
They slaughtered thousands of the inhabitants and carried many more as captives
to Egypt. When Hetoum returned he found his country in ruins, and distraught
by this fatal blow and by his personal sorrow, he waited only for the return
of Leon from captivity to abdicate and seek solace in a monastery. 
 Baybars imposed very heavy conditions; the Armenians were forced to cede
all the forts of the Amanus and their conquests along the Syrian border,
with the exception of Behesni. Leon was set free only when Hetoum had been
able to obtain from Abagha, after repeated requests, the release of Baybars'
favorite, Shams-ad Din Sungur al-Ashkar, captured by the Mongols at Aleppo.
 Cilicia was now surrounded by the Moslems; Antioch had fallen, the Templars
had abandoned Baghras and the neighboring forts, the road thus lay open before
Baybars. The Mongols were the only allies who could give effective assistance
against the Egyptians, even though their position was much less strong than
it had been at the time of Hulagu. When Leon was freed, Hetoum, therefore,
took him to Abagha in order to have him recognized as his heir, and after
Hetoum's abdication (1 269) Leon returned to the court of the I1-khans to
have his title confirmed. Leon III believed, as his father had, in a Mongol-Christian
alliance which would save the Holy Land; he made repeated pleas to the western
powers; Abagha also sent envoys to the popes and to Edward I of England,
without any success. It is not certain that common action was possible or
would have been successful, but in the absence of any concerted opposition
the Mamluks were free to continue their conquests, to seize, as they did
a few years later, all the Latin possessions in Syria and Palestine, and
in the latter part of the fourteenth century to destroy the Armenian kingdom
of Cilicia. 
 The wars waged by Baybars elsewhere gave Leon III a few years' respite at
the beginning of his reign, and he tried to heal the 

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