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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Medieval & Modern Coins ▸ CrusadersView Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of the Crusaders

The crusades were military expeditions undertaken by the Christians of Europe in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. The origin of the word may be traced to the cross made of cloth and worn as a badge on the outer garment of those who took part in these enterprises. The Crusader states were a number of mostly 12th and 13th century feudal states created by Western European crusaders in Sicily, Greece, Asia Minor, and the Holy Land, and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area. Politics were complicated, including a Christian alliance with the Islamic Sultanate of Rûm during the Fifth Crusade. The Crusaders ravaged the countries they marched through, killed 8,000 Jews in the Rhineland in the first of Europe's pogroms, devastated the Mediterranean ports, fought amongst themselves as much as the "Infidel" and fleeced their subjects to fill their coffers. Murder and massacre in the service of the Gospel was commonplace. Seventy thousand civilians were butchered in the sack of Jerusalem. The end came in 1291 with the fall of Acre, the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land. Near East 1135


Crusaders, Armenian Cilicia, Roupen I, 1080 - 1095 A.D.

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In 1080, Roupen I declared Cilicia independent from the Byzantine Empire, founding the Roupenian dynasty, which ruled Cilician Armenia until 1219. He led bold and successful military campaigns against the Byzantines, including capturing the fortress of Pardzerpert (Andirin, Turkey today), which became a stronghold of the new kingdom.
SH66597. Bronze Pogh, Bedoukian 1 var. (no crescent), Nercessian 245 var. (same), aVF, weight 1.853 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 315o, obverse Armenian legend: Raiben (Roupen), cross pattée within circle, pellet in each quarter; reverse Armenian legend: Tsara ay (Servant of God), cross pattée within circle, crescent in one quarter; very rare; $360.00 (€320.40)
 


Normans, Southern Italy, Anonymous, Dukes of Apulia or Counts of Sicily & Calabria, c. 1060 - 1080 A.D.

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This coin is certainly imitative, as it weighs less then 1/3 the weight of the even the lightest official Class B Byzantine anonymous follis Forum has handled. Attribution to the Normans in Italy is based on the reputed find location and some similarity to other Byzantine imitatives issued by the Normans in Southern Italy and Sicily.
ME73353. Bronze follaro, apparently unpublished, imitative of Class B Byzantine anonymous follis (SBCV 1823, Constantinople, 1028 - 1041); MEC Italy III -, MIR -, et al. -, F, weight 2.163 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Italian mint, c. 1060 - 1080 A.D.; obverse facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, holding book of Gospels; reverse IS - XS / bAS-ILE / bAS-ILE (Jesus Christ King of Kings, mostly off flan), Cross on three steps, dividing legend; from a California collector; $240.00 (€213.60)
 


Crusaders, County of Tripoli, Raymond II, 1137-1152 A.D.

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Raymond II considered the Syrian Christians of Tripoli responsible for treachery which led to his father's defeat and death in a battle with Damascus. After the battle, he took many of them prisoner, and as William of Tyre wrote, "he visited upon them diverse tortures in the presence of the people, and, in just proportion to the enormity of the crime which they had committed, he caused them to suffer death in its most cruel forms." This act was praised by the Latin Christians as "the first proofs of valor which were given by the young count, whereby he won the affection of all his people and universal approval." In 1142 Raymond donated Krak des Chevaliers, an enormous fortress on the road from Homs to the Mediterranean, as well as other smaller castles, to the Knights Hospitallers. The Hospitallers were virtually independent in the county, for which they protected Tripoli's borders from frequent raids by the forces of Damascus and Zanki, the Turkish atabeg of Mosul and Aleppo.
ME76426. Bronze fraction, Sabine type 1, 194 - 199; Malloy Crusaders 5; Metcalf Crusaders 513; Schlumberger VI 5, VF, octagonal flan, light corrosion, earthen deposits, weight 1.017 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, Tripoli mint, c. 1145 - 1149; obverse + RAIMVNDVS (cross at the bottom, legend starts at 7:00, ), eight pointed star, pellet between each ray, shallow crescent with horns up below, all within inner border; reverse cross pattée with three annulets at the end of each arm, crossed by smaller cross with crescent horns inward pellet and annulet at the end of each arm; very rare; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Crusaders, County of Tripoli, Bohemond V, 1233 - 1252

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Bohemond V was Prince of Antioch and Count of Tripoli from 1233 to his death in January 1252. Bohemond V was the son of Bohemund IV of Antioch and Plaisance of Gibelet. Like his father before him, Bohemond had a notorious dislike for the Knights Hospitaller and the neighboring Kingdom of Armenia, preferring an alliance with the Knights Templar. Peace with Armenia was assured only shortly before his death, with the mediation of Louis IX of France.
ME76428. Billon denier, Sabine type 5, 75 - 127; Malloy Crusaders 19; Metcalf 547 - 550; Schlumberger IV 17, VF, tight flan, weight 0.609 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 315o, Tripoli mint, 1233 - 1251; obverse + BAMVND' COMS, cross pattée, three pellets in upper right quarter, beaded borders; reverse + CIVITAS TRIPOL, eight pointed star, annulets between the rays, beaded borders; scarce; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Normans, Kingdom of Sicily, Roger II, 1105 - 1154 A.D.

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Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, became Duke of Apulia and Calabria in 1127, and then King of Sicily in 1130. Roger II is remembered for having united all of the Norman conquests in Italy under one strong central government. He was also the grandfather of Frederick II.
ME70465. Bronze follaro, MIR 10 135 (R2), MEC Italy III 227, F, both sides off-center, weight 1.120 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 180o, Messina mint, 1150 - 1151 A.D.; obverse MP − ΘY (Greek abbreviation: Mother of God), half-length bust of the Virgin Orans facing; reverse Arabic inscription arranged as a cross: umila five hundred forty five (struck in 545 AH), four dots arranged in a square in each quarter; very rare; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Crusaders(?), Imitative of Zangids of Syria, c. 1146 - 1200 A.D.,

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This coin is a crude imitative of an Islamic fals of the Zangids of Syria, Nur al-Din Mahmud, struck at Halab (Aleppo, Syria), 1146 - 1173 (Spengler-Sayles 73, Album 1850). That type was itself also imitative, copying a Byzantine follis of Constantine X, struck at Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey), 1059 - 1067 (DOC III 8, SBCV 1853). The quality of the Zangids fals vary greatly and it can be difficult to distinguish between Halab mint issues and imitatives. This example is very crude and if any can be attributed to the crusaders, this is one.
BZ77974. Bronze follis, Malloy Crusaders -; cf. Spengler-Sayles 73 (notes "barbaric" imitations), Album 1850 (notes imitations are perhaps struck by the Crusaders), F, desert patina, tight flan, weight 2.798 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain mint, c. 1150 - 1200 A.D.; obverse two Byzantine style imperial figures (Constantine X and Eudocia) standing facing, supporting between them labarum resting on three steps, EX downward on left, imitation of Kufic legend inner left; reverse Christ standing facing, nimbate, book of Gospels in left hand, right hand on hip, IC - XC flanking head, blundered imitation of legend around; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Normans, Southern Italy, Anonymous, Dukes of Apulia or Counts of Sicily & Calabria, c. 1081 - 1087 A.D.

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This coin is certainly imitative, as it weighs about 1/3 the normal weight of an official Class J Byzantine anonymous follis. Attribution to the Normans in Italy is based on the reputed find location and some similarity to other Byzantine imitatives issued by the Normans in Southern Italy and Sicily.
ME68381. Bronze follis, apparently unpublished, imitative of Byzantine class J follis (SBCV 1900, Constantinople, 1081 - 1118); MEC Italy III -, Biaggi -, Wroth Western -, aF, on a very small thin flan compared to Byzantine proto-types, weight 2.200 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain S. Italy mint, c. 1081 - 1087 A.D.; obverse bust of Christ facing, cross behind, wears pallium and colbium, raising right in benediction, Gospels in left, crescents above, IC - XC flanking, facing bust of Christ, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium, and colobium, holding book of Gospels; reverse Cross with globule and two pellets at each extremity, large crescent below, four globules around each surrounded by pellets; from an American collection; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Normans, Kingdom of Sicily, Roger II, 1105 - 1154 A.D.

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Until the Normans, Bari was governed by the Byzantines, with occasional interruption. It was a major depot for trade in Slavic slaves, destined most frequently for Muslim states including the Fatimid Caliphate which relied on Slavs purchased at Bari for its legions of Sakalaba Mamluks. Captured by Kalfun in 847, Bari was the center of the Emirate of Bari for 20 years. Emperor Louis II fought for five years to take Bari, and was only successful with the aid of a Byzantine naval blockade. In 885, Bari became the residence of the local Byzantine catapan. In 1025, under the Archbishop Byzantius, Bari became attached to the see of Rome and was granted "provincial" status. In 1071, Robert Guiscard captured Bari after a three-year siege. The Greeks refused the Latin ways and a civil war broke out in 1117. Bari was seized by Grimoald Alferanites, a native Lombard, and he was elected lord in opposition to the Normans. Grimoald later did homage to Roger II of Sicily, but then rebelled and was defeated in 1132. Bari was occupied by Manuel I Komnenos from 1155 to 1158. In 1246, Bari was sacked and razed to the ground. It was subsequently rebuilt, destroyed and rebuilt several times.
ME68460. Bronze follaro, MIR 10 134 (R), MEC Italy III 188 (Capua, Anfusus mint?); CNI XVIII p. 241, 1 - 3 (Capua, Pandolfo I Ironhead, 961 - 981), F, weight 0.782 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 135o, Bari mint, 1139 - 1154 A.D.; obverse figure of St. Demetrius standing facing, nimbate, sword in right, shield in left, OΛN downward on left; reverse pseudo-Kufic one-line inscription, cross below; ex Rosenblum Coins; rare; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


Crusaders, County of Tripoli, Bohemond IV, 1187 - 1233

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Bohemond IV the One-Eyed, was Count of Tripoli from 1187 to 1233, and Prince of Antioch from 1201 to 1216 and from 1219 to 1233. The dying Raymond III of Tripoli offered his county to Bohemond's elder brother, Raymond, but their father Bohemond III of Antioch sent Bohemond to Tripoli in late 1187. Saladin, the Ayyubid sultan of Egypt and Syria, conquered the County in summer 1188, save for the capital and two fortresses. The county was returned in the truce that Bohemond's father made with Saladin in 1192. After his father died Bohemond seized Antioch. He made an alliance with Ayyubid emir of Aleppo and the Seljuq sultan of Rum, who often invaded Cilicia in the following years, preventing Leo I of Cilicia from attacking Antioch. Leo I supported a rebellion in Tripoli, which Bohemond crushed, but he lost an eye fighting. Bohemond confiscated the property of the Hospitallers, for which he was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX. He tried to secure Cilicia for his younger son, Philip, but Constantine of Baberon, who had administered Cilicia, imprisoned Philip and Philip was murdered the following year. Bohemond's excommunication was lifted shortly before his death when he made an agreement with the Hospitallers.
ME76429. Bronze pougeoise, Sabine type 4, 294; Malloy Crusaders 15c; Metcalf Crusaders pl. 21, 540 - 541, VF, typical small flan, weight 0.456 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, Tripoli mint, c. 1210 - 1220; obverse + CIVITAS, fortified gateway with five crenelations and arched undivided doorway; reverse + TRIPOLIS, St. Andrew's cross pommetée, pellet within circle in center, crescent and pellet in each quarter; scarce; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


Normans, Kingdom of Sicily, Roger II, 1105 - 1154 A.D.

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Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, became Duke of Apulia and Calabria in 1127, and then King of Sicily in 1130. Roger II is remembered for having united all of the Norman conquests in Italy under one strong central government. He was also the grandfather of Frederick II.
ME72282. Bronze follaro, MEC Italy III 162, Biaggi 1216 (R, double follaro), Spahr 53, MIR Sicily 19 (R2), aVF, well centered, slightly rough, weight 3.643 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Messina mint, 1127 - 1130 A.D.; obverse Roger standing facing, long cross in right, globus cruciger in left, wearing crown with pendilia, R over II on left; reverse Christ seated facing on wide throne, nimbus cruciger behind head, Gospels in both hands on lap; rare; $100.00 (€89.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Bedoukian, P.Z. Coinage of the Artaxiads of Armenia. RNS Special Publication Number 10. (London, 1978).
Bedoukian, P.Z. Coinage of Cilician Armenia. ANSNNM 147. (1962).
Bellinger, A.R. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection, Alexius I to Michael VIII, 1081-1261. (Washington D.C., 1966).
Biaggi, E. Monete e Zecche medievali Italiane dal Sec. VIII al Sec. XV. (Torino, 1992).
Boudeau, E. Monnaies Françaises Provinciales. (Maastricht, 1970).
Boutin, S. Monnaies des Empires de Byzance - Collection of N.K. Volumes 1-2. (Maastricht, 1983).
Grierson, P. & L. Travaini. Medieval European Coinage, Volume 14: Italy III: South Italy, Sicily, Sardinia. (Cambridge, 1998).
Hendy, M. Coinage and Money in the Byzantine Empire 1081-1261. (Washington D.C., 1969).
Malloy, A.G., I.F. Preston, & A.J Seltman. Coins of the Crusader States, 2nd Edition. (New York, 2004).
Metcalf, D.M. Coinage of the Crusaders and the Latin East in the Ashmolean Museum Oxford. (London, 1995).
Metcalf, D.M. "Coinage of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in the name of Baudouin" in NC 1978.
Nercessian, Y. T. Armenian Coins and Their Values. Armenian Numismatic Society, Special Publication No. 8. (Los Angeles, 1995).
Phillips, M. "The 'Roupen' Hoard of Helmet Pennies of Antioch" in NC 2005.
Porteous, J. "Crusader Coinage with Greek or Latin Inscriptions" in A History of the Crusades, vol. IV. (Madison, 1989).
Sabine, C.J. "The billon and copper coinage of the crusader country of Tripoli, c. 1102-1268" in NC 1980.
Sear, D.R. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Schlumberger, G. Numismatique de l'Orient latin. (1878; Supplement 1882; reprinted: Graz, 1954).
Sotheby's. The John J. Slocum Collection of Coins of the Crusades. Catalog of public auction, 6 March 1997. London.
Travaini, L. "Hohenstaufen and Angevin denari of Sicily and Southern Italy: their mint attributions" in NC 1993.

Catalog current as of Saturday, March 25, 2017.
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Crusader Coins