Description:Leo I, also known as “Leo the Magnificent”, was Lord of Armenian Cilicia from 1187 and became their first King in 1198. During his reign, Leo succeeded in establishing Cilician Armenia as a powerful and a unified Christian state. His Kingdom extended from Isauria to the Amanus Mountains, which are located in present day Turkey. This silver coin was hand struck during his reign and it depicts Leo I seated on a throne decorated with lions and he is holding a cross and lis. The reverse shows 2 lions with a patriarchal cross between them.
Leo eagerly engaged in the wars of the Crusaders and supplied the European armies of the Third Crusade with provisions, guides and pack animals. His troops participated at the historic Siege of Acre, and in 1191, he joined King Richard the Lionheart of England in the conquest of Cyprus. A skilled diplomat and wise politician, Leo established many useful alliances and trade charters that greatly increased commerce and revenue for his Kingdom. In 1195, Leo instituted a union of the Armenian church with Rome which cleared the way for his coronation as the first King of Cilicia, Armenia. There was great rejoicing among the Armenians, who saw their ancient Kingdom restored.