Vahan A. Ter-Ghevondian
Key words – Levon I, Al-Malik al-Adil, Kingdom of Cilician Armenia, Ayyubid sultanate of Egypt, Antioch, County of Tripoli, Seldjuk sultanate of Iconium, Ayyubid sultanate of Aleppo, Ibn al-Adim, Ibn Wasil.
Immediately after the proclamation of the kingdom of Cilician Armenia (1198), Levon I (1198-1219) made his main goal to support Ruben-Raymond, his brother’s grandson, to become Prince of Antioch, as he was the heir at law according to the agreement signed between the two states. But the claims of Cilician Armenia on Antioch contradicted to the political interests of the neighboring countries – County of Tripoli, Seldjuk sultanate of Iconium and the Ayyubid sultanate of Aleppo. In 1201-1203 a tripartite alliance was formed against Cilicia lasting up to 1216.
King Levon was not going to give up his plans. From the other side Cilicia found itself in a hostile encirclement. It was impossible to come out from it only with military means. That is why Levon I initiated a very active foreign policy towards both Christian and Moslem states. One of the important lines of such an activity was the relation with the Ayyubid sultanate of Egypt. Levon I with the help of correspondence established friendly relations with the sultan of Egypt al-Malik al-Adil. These relations played important role in 1208 and 1216 in the struggle for control over Antioch. Some Arab and Syrian sources, first of all historians of XIII c. Ibn al-Adim and Ibn Wasil have valuable reports on that issue.