The Case of Mleh (1170–1175): Cilician Armenia between Nūr al-Dīn and Manuel I Komnenos

In: Medieval Encounters
Konstantinos Takirtakoglou Assistant Professor of Byzantine History, Faculty of Philosophy, School of History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Thessaloniki Greece

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The present paper discusses the reign of the Rubenid lord of Armenian Cilicia, Mleh (1170–1175), and examines his relations with the two great powers of the period, the Byzantine Empire and the Zengids under Nūr al-Dīn (1146–1174). Through examination of the contemporary sources of the period, the following conclusions may be drawn: Firstly, Manuel (1143–1180) did not send an expeditionary force against Mleh. On the contrary, Mleh faced and defeated the local Byzantine garrisons. Secondly, the Crusaders waged a campaign against Mleh in 1173, which was partially successful as it forced the Rubenid lord to recognize the suzerainty of the king of Jerusalem, albeit temporarily. Thirdly, a consequence of the Crusader success was the Byzantine re-conquest of the cities of the Cilician Plain. Finally, Mleh’s status as a client of Nur al-Din does not relate to his religious identity. The sources make it clear that he remained a Christian.

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