Mleh, Prince of Armenia

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Mleh I
Lord of Cilicia / “Lord of the Mountains”
Lord of Armenian Cilicia
Reign1170–1175
Predecessor Roupen II
Successor Roupen III
Bornbefore 1120
DiedMay 15, 1175
Sis
Burial
Medzkar
SpouseAn unnamed daughter of Vasil of Gargar
Issue Grigor (illegitimate child)
House Roupenians
Father Leo I

Mleh I [1] [2] [3] (Armenian : Մլեհ), also Meleh I, [1] (before 1120 – Sis, May 15, 1175) [3] was the eighth lord of Armenian Cilicia [1] or “Lord of the Mountains” [3] (1170–1175). [3]

Armenian language Indo-European language

The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken primarily by Armenians. It is the official language of Armenia. Historically being spoken throughout the Armenian Highlands, today, Armenian is widely spoken throughout the Armenian diaspora. Armenian is written in its own writing system, the Armenian alphabet, introduced in 405 AD by Mesrop Mashtots.

Kozan, Adana City in Mediterranean, Turkey

Kozan is a city in Adana Province, Turkey, 68 kilometres northeast of Adana, in the northern section of the Çukurova plain. The city is the capital of the ilçe (district) of Kozan. The Kilgen River, a tributary of the Ceyhan, flows through Kozan and crosses the plain south into the Mediterranean. The Taurus Mountains rise up sharply behind the town.

Contents

The accomplishments during the reign of his elder brother, Thoros II placed Cilicia on a firm footing. [1] But Mleh, whom Thoros II had expelled from Cilicia for converting to Islam, almost undid his brother’s work. [1]

Toros II the Great, also Thoros II, was the sixth lord of Armenian Cilicia or “Lord of the Mountains” (1144/1145–1169).

Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God, and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers or 24% of the world's population, most commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative examples of Muhammad.

On the death of his brother, Mleh invaded Cilicia with the support of a contingent from Aleppo, which remained in his service and assisted him to drive out the Knights Templar and Greeks from the fortresses and, in 1173, the cities which they held in Cilicia. [4] Soon after the death of Nur ed-Din (the emir of Aleppo), [2] Mleh was overthrown by his nephew, Roupen III. [1]

Aleppo City in Aleppo Governorate, Syria

Aleppo is a city in Syria, serving as the capital of the Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 4.6 million in 2010, Aleppo was the largest Syrian city before the Syrian Civil War; however, now Aleppo is probably the second-largest city in Syria after the capital Damascus.

Knights Templar Western Christian military order; medieval Catholic military order

The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Order of Solomon's Temple, the Knights Templar or simply the Templars, were a Catholic military order recognised in 1139 by the papal bull Omne datum optimum. The order was founded in 1119 and was active until 1312 when it was perpetually suppressed by Pope Clement V by the bull Vox in excelso.

Byzantine Greeks Greek-speaking Christian Romans of the Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Greeks were the Greek-speaking Christian Romans of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. They were the main inhabitants of the lands of the Byzantine Empire, of Constantinople and Asia Minor, the Greek islands, Cyprus, and portions of the southern Balkans, and formed large minorities, or pluralities, in the coastal urban centres of the Levant and northern Egypt. Throughout their history, the Byzantine Greeks self-identified as Romans, but are referred to as "Byzantine Greeks" in modern historiography.

His early life

Thoros was the fourth son of Leo I, lord of Armenian Cilicia. [3] The name and the origin of his mother are not known with certainty. [3] It is possible that she was a daughter of Count Hugh I of Rethel, or she might have been the daughter of Gabriel of Melitene. [3]

Leo I, Prince of Armenia Prince of Armenia

Leo I, also Levon I or Leon I, was the fifth lord of Armenian Cilicia or “Lord of the Mountains” (1129/1130-1137).

Gabriel of Melitene was the ruler of Melitene. Along with Thoros of Edessa, Gabriel was a former officer of Philaretos Brachamios. Philaretos had installed Gabriel as the ruler of Melitene. Following the death of Philaretos in 1086 Melitene became completely independent of Byzantine control with the aid of the Danishmends. Eventually the Danishmends began harassing Melitene. Gabriel appealed to Bohemund I of Antioch for assistance.

In the early summer of 1137, the Byzantine Emperor John II Komnenos came to Cilicia with a full force on his way to take Antioch; his army successively took Seleucia, Korikos, Tarsus, Mamistra, Adana, Tel Hamdoun (now Toprakkale in Turkey) and Anazarbus. [1] Mleh and his two brothers, Stephen and the blind Constantine took refuge with their cousin, Count Joscelin II of Edessa. [2] In Cilicia, the family castle of Vahka (today Feke in Turkey) held out for some weeks, but after its fall their father and two of their brothers, Roupen and Thoros, were captured. [2] Leo I and his two sons were imprisoned in Constantinople where Leo I died shortly afterwards, and Roupen was blinded and later murdered. [1] All Cilicia remained under Byzantine rule for eight years. [5]

Byzantine Empire Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".

John II Komnenos Byzantine Emperor from 1118 to 1143

John II Komnenos or Comnenus was Byzantine emperor from 1118 to 1143. Also known as "John the Beautiful" or "John the Good" (Kaloïōannēs), he was the eldest son of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Irene Doukaina and the second emperor to rule during the Komnenian restoration of the Byzantine Empire. John was a pious and dedicated monarch who was determined to undo the damage his empire had suffered following the battle of Manzikert, half a century earlier.

Antioch ancient city in Turkey

Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient Greek city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. Its ruins lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey, and lends the modern city its name.

About the year 1143, Mleh’s brother, Thoros escaped from Constantinople and recaptured the family stronghold of Vahka; Mleh and his brother Stephen joined him. [2] One after another, Thoros reconquered Anazarbus, Adana, Sis (today Kozan in Turkey) and Pardzerpert (now Andırın in Turkey) from the Byzantines. [5]

Andırın Place in Kahramanmaraş, Turkey

Andırın is a town and district of Kahramanmaraş Province in the Mediterranean region of Turkey.

In 1164, Nur ed-Din struck at the Principality of Antioch and laid siege to the key-fortress of Harenc; Prince Bohemond III of Antioch called upon Thoros II to come to his rescue, and Mleh followed his brother. [2] At the news of the coming of the Byzantine and Armenian troops, Nur ed-Din raised the siege, but Bohemond III decided to follow in pursuit; the armies made contact on August 10, near Artah. [2] In the ensuing battle, Bohemond III fell into an ambush and found himself and his knights surrounded by the army of Mosul, but Thoros II and Mleh, who had been more cautious, escaped from the battlefield. [2]

In the service of Nur ed-Din

Although Mleh had taken vows as a Templar, after a quarrel with Thoros II and an attempt to assassinate him, he fled to Nur ed-Din. [2] Mleh converted to Islam from Armenian Apostolic Christianity. This was to facilitate his plans with Nur ed-Din; [1] afterwards, he held Cyrrhus as a fief from the Emir of Aleppo. [4]

His brother died in 1168, leaving a child, Roupen II, to succeed him, under the regency of a Frankish lord called Thomas. [2] But Mleh disputed the succession; early in 1170 Nur ed-Din lent him troops with which he was able not only to dethrone his nephew but also to invade the Cilician plain and take Mamistra, Adana and Tarsus from their Greek garrisons. [2] The young Roupen III was followed by Mleh’s men and murdered. [1]

His rule

With Thoros’s legitimate heir dead, Mleh embarked on a policy of conquest with cruel application of force. [1] He beleaguered the Hethumids at Lampron (now Namrun Kalesi in Turkey), but in spite of a long siege his attempt to take this stronghold failed. [1] Mleh then attacked the Templars at Baghras; Bohemond III of Antioch appealed to King Amalric I of Jerusalem, who marched up into Cilicia and temporarily, its seems, restored Imperial rule. [2] But Mleh was irrepressible; a year or so later [2] he routed at Tarsus the assembled forces of the governor Konstantinos Kalamanos, and sent him to Nur ed-Din, who held Konstantinos for heavy ransom. [1]

On March 10, 1171 Amalric I left Acre for Constantinople where he made a treaty with the Emperor Manuel I Comnenos; it seems that they decided that a common action should be taken against Mleh. [2] An expedition organized by the king after his return from Constantinople in 1171 was interrupted by Nur ed-Din’s attack on Kerak (today Al Karak in Jordan). [4]

In the summer of 1171, Mleh waylaid Count Stephen I of Sancerre as he passed through Cilicia from the Holy Land to Constantinople. [2] In order to punish Mleh for his outrage against the count, Amalric I marched north into Cilicia in 1173; but the campaign achieved nothing except to check Mleh’s further expansion. [2] Mleh finally succeeded in 1173 in securing Manuel I’s recognition of him as “Baron of Cilician Armenia” with whom now all Byzantine affairs in Cilicia were to be conducted. [1]

On May 15, 1174, Nur ed-Din died; en event which brought an end to Mleh’s source of power. [1] Vulnerable and without an ally, members of Mleh’s own inner circle of Armenian nobles, took the initiative and murdered him in Sis in 1175. [1]

He was buried in Medzkar. [3]

Marriage and child

Mleh married an unnamed daughter of Vasil of Gargar (a sister of the Catholicos Gregory). [3]

He had one illegitimate child by his unknown mistress: [3]

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Ghazarian, Jacob G. The Armenian Kingdom in Cilicia during the Crusades: The Integration of Cilician Armenians with the Latins (1080–1393).
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Runciman, Steven. A History of the Crusades – Volume II.: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East: 1100–1187.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Cawley, Charles (April 1, 2009), Lords of the Mountains, Kings of (Cilician) Armenia (Family of Rupen), Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, [ self-published source ][ better source needed ]
  4. 1 2 3 Gibb, Sir Hamilton A. R. The Career of Nūr-ad-Dīn.
  5. 1 2 Vahan M. Kurkjian (April 5, 2005). "A History of Armenia". Website. Bill Thayer. Retrieved July 23, 2009.

Sources

Mleh, Prince of Armenia
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Roupen II
Lord of Armenian Cilicia
1170–1175
Succeeded by
Roupen III

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