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Denomination: AE,Kardez Date: 1226-1270 CE
Description: Hetoum I. 1226-1270. AE Kardez. 29 mm; 6,33 g. Sis mint.
Obverse: King seated on throne adorned with lions, holding globus cruciger and fleur-de-lys sceptre. Clockwise legend. +ՀԵԹՈՒՄ ԹԱԳԱՒՈՐ ՀԱՅՈՑ (Hetoum King of the Armenians). Reverse: Cross potent with four stars in the quadrants. Clockwise legend.
Hethum was a major player in the political struggles and shifting alliances around the Crusader states, as the Armenians had ties with all sides. They were primarily aligned with the Europeans, but during Hethum's reign, the rapidly expanding Mongol Empire became a concern. As the Mongols approached the borders of Cappadocia and Cilicia, King Hethum made a strategic decision to submit to Mongol suzerainty, and sent his brother Sempad to the Mongol court in Karakorum. There, Sempad met Great khan Güyük, and made a formal agreement in 1247 in which Cilician Armenia would be considered a vassal state of the Mongol Empire. In 1254, Hethum himself traveled through Central Asia to Mongolia to renew the agreement, passing through the Turkish states of eastern Asia Minor, the Mongol camp at Kars in Greater Armenia, the Iron Gates of Derbent at the western shore of the Caspian Sea, and from there across Asia to Karakorum.He brought many sumptuous presents, and met with Möngke Khan (Güyük's cousin). The account of his travels was recorded by a member of his suite, Kirakos Gandzaketsi as "The Journey of Haithon, King of Little Armenia, To Mongolia and Back". The Journey of Hethoum was later translated into Russian, French, English, and Chinese. The narrative is important for its observations of Mongol, Buddhist, and Chinese culture, geography, and wildlife.