Europe and the Mediterranean


Lesser Armenia


In 1301 Ramon Llull disembarks in the Gulf of Iskenderum, on the Eastern Mediterranean coast, the furthermost place he travelled to. He went through the nearby island of Cyprus, where he had and interview with the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, who gave him a safe-conduct to visit the King of Lesser Armenia, ally of the templar, and also the sultan of Babylon and the King of Syria.

In Ayas, then capital of Lesser Armenia, he wrote the book “Què deu hom creure de Déu” (What men have to believe of God) and collects information to write his work “De convenientia fidei et intellectus”. In 1302 abandons Lesser Armenia, perhaps to go to Jerusalem; in any case, the probably only Asian trip he made, ended in Genoa.


Lesser Armenia or Armenia Minor (currently pertaining to Turkey) is situated far from the borders of the present-day Armenia, which are more north-eastern. It is a vast territory that goes all the way to the Euphrates River. It was a roman province in Emperor Vespasian’s time. The medieval kingdom of Lesser Armenia (also known as Armenia Minor or Kingdom of Cilicia) was founded on the Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor at the end of the 11th century by Armenian refugees (orthodox Christians) from inland. It had an outstanding role in its support to the Crusades.

The city of Ayas, medieval capital of Lesser Armenia, was then known as Lajazzo (or Ajazzo); the ancient Aegea. It was the main passing place for trade between the Mediterranean and Persia and even Central Asia and China. Genovese and Venetians had there duty-free status, warehouses and stores; the most traded items to Europe were spices, precious stones, silk and carpets; in the opposite direction trade included oil, wine and clothes. Marco Polo visited the city in 1271. In 1294 Genovese and Venetians fought a battle for the control of the port that with the passing of the centuries filled with river sediments until becoming marshland.

Castel in Gaziantep. Turkey. Crzy77. Fotolia.Castle in Ceyhan. T.A.M.H.I.

Ramon Llull quotations

«The gluttonous man, when not eating cries and when he has eaten he has regrets»

Messages about Ramon Llull

Ramon Llull created and spread the Ars (‘Art’), an intellectual ambitious tool to summarize all human knowledge of his time.

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