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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, Principality of Antioch, Tancred, Regent, March 1101 - May 1103 and Late 1104 - December 1112

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This type was struck while Bohemond I was in captivity. It was the first type struck by Tancred. The order in which his types were struck has been firmly established by frequent overstrikes of later issues on earlier coins.

St. Peter is the patron saint of Antioch.
ME86624. Bronze follis, Metcalf Crusades 52, Malloy Crusaders 3a, Schlumberger II 6, VF, desert patina, cut six-sided flan, porous, bumps and scratches, weight 5.472 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch mint, obverse bust of St. Peter facing, short curly hair and curly beard, scroll in right hand, cross in left hand, O / PE-TP/O/C (TP ligate) divided across field; reverse + / KE BOI/ΘH TO ∆V / ΛO COV TANKPI+ (O Lord, help your servant Tancred) in five lines; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


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; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Anglo-Gallic, Richard I the Lionhearted, Count of Poitou and King of England 1189 - 1199

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The only coins of Richard struck in his own name are those of his French possessions; English issues attributed to Richard are all in the name and types of his father, Henry II.

Richard I is known as Richard Coeur de Lion or Richard the Lionhearted for his bravery in battle. He was born and spent his childhood in England. By the age of 16, Richard had command of his own army and put down rebellions against his father in Poitou. As king, he was off on Crusade, in captivity, or defending his lands in France, spending as little as 6 months of his 10-year reign in England. He spoke French and Occitan, but never learned English. Rather than regarding his kingdom as a responsibility requiring his presence as ruler, it seems he saw it primarily as a source of revenue to support his armies. As the leader of the Third Crusade after the departure of Philip II of France, he won considerable victories against Saladin, but did not retake Jerusalem. He was seen as a pious hero by his subjects and is one of the few kings of England remembered by his epithet, rather than regnal number, and is an enduring iconic figure both in England and in France. Robin Hood lived in Sherwood Forest during Richard's reign.
UK86433. Silver denier, Elias 8b (S), Duplessy Feodales 926, Poey d'Avant 2536, SCBC-SII 8008 var. (no annulet), aVF, toned, double struck, edge cracks, weight 1.007 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 240o, Melle (Deux-Sèvres) mint, 1189 - 1199; obverse + RICARDVS REX (King Richard), cross pattée within inner dot border, annulet in third (lower left) quarter; reverse PIC/TAVIE/NSIS ([County of] Poitou) in three lines across field; scarce; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


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 half-length bust of the Virgin Orans facing, MHP - ΘV (Greek abbreviation for Mother of God) across field; 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; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Crusaders, Athens, Frankish Greece, Guy II de La Roche, 1287 - 1308

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Guy II de la Roche was the Duke of Athens from 1287, the last duke of his family. He succeeded as a minor on the death of his father, William I, at a time when the duchy of Athens had exceeded the Principality of Achaea in wealth, power, and importance. Guy was originally under the tutorship and regency of his mother, Helena Angelina Komnene, who was forced to make submission to Isabella of Villehardouin. In 1299, Guy was engaged to Matilda, daughter of Isabella and and her husband, Florent of Hainaut. Charles objected, as his permission had not been sought, but Pope Boniface VIII intervened on the young couple's behalf. In 1307, Guy was made bailli of Achaea by its new prince, Philip I of Taranto. He governed well, but for barely a year. He died, 5 October 1308, at the age of twenty-eight, but was respected and renowned for his chivalry and manners, typical of the Frankish courts kept in Greece.
ME85309. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 85, Metcalf Crusades Variety 1c and pl. 42, 1067; Schlumberger XXXIX 14, VF, well centered, toned, areas of weak legend, tiny edge cracks, weight 0.783 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 45o, Athens mint, majority, 1294 - 1308 A.D.; obverse + GVI DVX ATENES (trefoils flanking cross, trefoil stops), cross pattée; reverse + ThEBANI.CIVIS (trefoils flanking cross), castle tournois, double pellet at beginning and end of legend; ex C. Subak (Chicago, Sep 1975); $115.00 (€97.75)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea Philip of Taranto, 1307 - 1313

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Philip of Taranto was the son of Charles II and the overlord of Philip of Savoy. Charles II deposed Philip of Savoy in June 1306, and in 1307 Philip of Taranto took the title of prince. Based on epigraphy, Metcalf identifies this type as possibly struck at Corinth. Malloy Crusaders notes the obverse legend ending variation (but for type 24, not 25), and notes, "D P, for 'Depotes,' presumably rather than D R, for 'Depotes Romanie.'"
ME85305. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 25 var. (obv. leg. ends D•R•), Metcalf Crusades PT1, 979 var. (same), VF, toned, edge cracks, weight 0.838 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, Clarentza (or Corinth?) mint, 1307 - 1313; obverse + •Ph'S P•ACH•TAR•D•P• (Philip, Prince of Achaea and Taranto, Despot [of Romania]), cross pattée; reverse + DE CLARENCIA (fleur-de-lis on each side of cross), castle tournois, pellet on each side of castle, fleur-de-lis below; ex C. Subak (Chicago, Sep 1975); scarcer variety; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


Kingdom of Sicily, Henry VI (HRE), 1194 - 1197

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Henry VI was King of Germany from 1190 - 1197, Holy Roman Emperor from 1191 - 1197, and King of Sicily from 1194 - 1197. In 1197, his German soldiers mercilessly suppressed a revolt in Italy, especially in southern Sicily. In this same year, Henry prepared for a Crusade, but, on 28 September, he died of malaria (or he may have been poisoned) in Messina. His son, Frederick II, inherited both the Kingdom of Sicily and the Imperial crown.
ME72172. Billon dirham fraction, Biaggi 1780 (R2), Spahr 2 (RR); MIR Sicily 457 (R); MEC Italy III, 477, VF, typical tight flan, slightly off-center, weight 0.944 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 0o, Palermo mint, 1194 - 1195; obverse Arabic legend in Nashki script: Harir / quaysar / aughust (Henry Caesar Augustus); reverse + / Z REX / SICI +; rare; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


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 follaro, 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; reverse Cross with globule and two pellets at each extremity, large crescent below, four globules around each surrounded by pellets; from an American collection; very rare; $95.00 (€80.75)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Isabella of Villehardouin, 1297 - 1301

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One of the few medieval coins minted under female authority. Isabella was the daughter of Charles II. She minted coins in her own name only between her marriages to her second husband, Florent, and her third husband, Philip of Savoy. Metcalf notes this issue was a recoinage beginning in 1299, intended to achieve parity with the Athenian tournois.
ME85298. Billon denier tournois, Metcalf Crusades type Y1; Malloy Crusaders 15a; Schlumberger XII 19, VF, well centered, toned, earthen deposits, weight 0.807 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 225o, Corinth mint, 1299 - 1301; obverse + YSABELLA•P•ACh (small trefoil before and small B after legend, unbarred A's), cross pattée; reverse + DE CLARENCIA' (unbarred A's), castle tournois, star of eight rays at beginning and end of legend; ex H.M.F. Schulman Auction, The Thomas Olive Mabbott Collection (N.Y.C., Jun 1969); $95.00 (€80.75)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, John of Gravina, 1322 - 1333

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John of Gravina, Count of Gravina 1315–1335, Prince of Achaea 1318-1332, Duke of Durazzo 1332–1335 and ruler of the Kingdom of Albania (although he never used a royal title), was a younger son of Charles II of Naples and Maria of Hungary. He was a younger brother of (among others) Charles Martel of Anjou, Saint Louis of Toulouse, Robert of Naples and Philip I of Taranto. The death of Louis of Burgundy in 1316 widowed Matilda of Hainaut, Princess of Achaea. Her suzerain, John's brother Philip I of Taranto, had her brought by force to Naples in 1318 to marry John and bring the Principality of Achaea into the Angevin inheritance. Matilda refused to surrender her rights to Achaea to her husband and ultimately contracted a secret marriage with Hugh de La Palice. This violated the marriage contract of her mother Isabelle, which had pledged that Isabelle and all her female heirs should not marry without permission of their suzerain. On these grounds, Philip stripped her of Achaea and bestowed it upon John: the marriage was annulled for non-consummation, and Matilda was imprisoned in the Castel dell'Ovo.
ME85306. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 51, Metcalf Crusades Type Γ, VF, centered on a tight flan, crude as usual for the type, edge cracks, weight 0.734 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Corinth(?) mint, 1322 - 1333; obverse + IOΛNS P AChI, cross pattée, pellet in the third quarter; reverse + DE CLARENCIA, castle tournois; ex C. Subak (Chicago, Sep 1975); $95.00 (€80.75)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Sunday, July 22, 2018.
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Crusader Coins