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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Medieval & Modern Coins| ▸ |Crusaders||View 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, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Isabella of Villehardouin, 1297 - 1301

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Frankish| |Greece,| |Principality| |of| |Achaea,| |Isabella| |of| |Villehardouin,| |1297| |-| |1301||denier| |tournois|
This was one of very few medieval coin types minted under female authority. Isabella of Villehardouin was the elder daughter of William II of Villehardouin, Prince of Achaea. On 28 May 1271 Isabella married Philip of Sicily, son of Charles I of Sicily. This had been pre-determined by the Treaty. In accordance with the marriage treaty, after Isabella's father, husband, and father-in-law died, Isabella's brother-in-law Charles II was the heir to Achaea. In 1289, however, on Isabella's marriage to Florent of Hainaut and on Charles II's accession as King of Sicily, he conferred on the couple the titles of Prince and Princess of Achaea, on condition that, if she survived her husband, she would not remarry without Charles II's consent. Florent and Isabella had one daughter, Matilda. Frankokratia_Map
CR88471. Billon denier tournois, Metcalf Crusades type Y1, pl. 39, 692; Malloy Crusaders 15a; Schlumberger XII 19, VF, toned, clashed dies, weight 0.738 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 315o, Clarentza mint, 1299 - 1301; obverse +⚜YSABELLA·P·AChB (E, cross pattée within inner border; reverse DE CLARENCIAI, castle tournois surmounted by cross dividing legend; from the Louis G Estate; $110.00 (€90.20)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, William of Villehardouin, 1246 - 1278

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Frankish| |Greece,| |Principality| |of| |Achaea,| |William| |of| |Villehardouin,| |1246| |-| |1278||denier| |tournois|
William of Villehardouin became Prince of Achaea when his brother Geoffrey II died in 1246. He conquered the remaining Peloponnese territory and built the fortress of Mistra near Sparta. In 1249 he accompanied Louis IX of France on the Seventh Crusade, joining him in Cyprus with 400 knights and 28 ships. Louis gave him a license to mint coins in the style of royal French money. William defeated Venice in the War of the Euboeote Succession and defeated the Duke of Athens in 1258, reaffirming his power over the duchy. In 1259 he formed an alliance with the Byzantine Despotate of Epirus against Nicaea. He led the Achaean forces against the Nicaeans, but the Epirote army deserted and William was defeated. He fled and hid under a haystack, but was captured. He remained captive until 1262 and permanently lost all his power.Arms_of_Achaea
CR96932. Billon denier tournois, Metcalf Crusaders pl. 39, 940; Malloy Crusaders 10a; Tzamalis Frankish GV224; Schlumberger pl. XII, 12, F, uneven strike with part of obverse legend weak, light marks and deposits, slightly off center, tiny edge splits, weight 0.735 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 235o, Corinth mint, 1246 - 1278; obverse +:G:PRINCE ACh', cross pattée within inner border; reverse DCLARENTIAV, castle tournois, spire in the form of Λ, surmounted by cross dividing legend; from the Louis G Estate; $110.00 (€90.20)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Mahaut (Maud) of Hainaut, 1316 - 1318

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Frankish| |Greece,| |Principality| |of| |Achaea,| |Mahaut| |(Maud)| |of| |Hainaut,| |1316| |-| |1318||denier| |tournois|
This was one of very few medieval coin types minted under female authority. In 1313, Philip I of Taranto, in compensation for breaking their engagement, granted Achaea to Maud and gave her hand to Louis of Burgundy. The principality was, however, possessed by another claimant, Ferdinand of Majorca. At the Battle of Manolada on 5 July 1316, Ferdinand was killed and Louis took control. He was poisoned soon after, leaving 23-year-old Maud in charge. Rule was soon disputed by varying claimants and Maud was dispossessed of her fief by 1318, in which year John, Duke of Durazzo, abducted the princess and forced her to marry him. She did not give him children, however, and he repudiated her in 1321. Maud married again to Hugh de La Palice and retired to Aversa, where she died in 1331.Frankokratia_Map
CR88477. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 40; Metcalf Crusades type MA2 var. (lis beginning of reverse legend, no annulet right, Corinth), VF, toned, centered, clashed dies, weight 0.739 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 30o, Clarentza(?) mint, 1316 - 1318; obverse + MAhAVTA•P•Ach, cross pattée within inner border; reverse DE CLARENCIA (R with small foot = Clarentza?), castle tournois surmounted by cross dividing legend, surmounted by cross, C left, annulet right, no cross below; from the Louis G Estate; scarce; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Mahaut (Maud) of Hainaut, 1316 - 1318

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Frankish| |Greece,| |Principality| |of| |Achaea,| |Mahaut| |(Maud)| |of| |Hainaut,| |1316| |-| |1318||denier| |tournois|
This was one of very few medieval coin types minted under female authority. In 1313, Philip I of Taranto, in compensation for breaking their engagement, granted Achaea to Maud and gave her hand to Louis of Burgundy. The principality was, however, possessed by another claimant, Ferdinand of Majorca. At the Battle of Manolada on 5 July 1316, Ferdinand was killed and Louis took control. He was poisoned soon after, leaving 23-year-old Maud in charge. Rule was soon disputed by varying claimants and Maud was dispossessed of her fief by 1318, in which year John, Duke of Durazzo, abducted the princess and forced her to marry him. She did not give him children, however, and he repudiated her in 1321. Maud married again to Hugh de La Palice and retired to Aversa, where she died in 1331.Arms_of_Achaea
CR88478. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 39; Metcalf Crusades type MA3a, aVF, toned, light deposits, tight flan, weight 0.722 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 270o, Corinth(?) mint, 1316 - 1318; obverse + MAhAVTA P Ach', cross pattée within inner border; reverse DE CLARENCIA (R with a large wedge foot = Corinth?), castle tournois surmounted by cross dividing legend, surmounted by cross, small cross below castle; from the Louis G Estate; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Charles II of Anjou, 1285 - 1289

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Frankish| |Greece,| |Principality| |of| |Achaea,| |Charles| |II| |of| |Anjou,| |1285| |-| |1289||denier| |tournois|
Charles II succeeded his father, Charles I, in Achaea as well as Sicily (now reduced to the Kingdom of Naples), but he was a prisoner in Aragonese hands. In the interim, the rule of Achaea devolved upon a series of baillis chosen from the Morean nobility. Not long after his release and coronation in 1289, he granted the Principality to Isabelle of Villehardouin upon her marriage with Florent of Hainaut, in part to redress the greedy application of the Treaty of Viterbo at William's death. However, he retained feudal overlordship over the Principality, and his grant provided that neither Isabelle nor any daughter who was her heir might marry without his consent.Charles_II_of_Anjou
CR96937. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 12 (S); Metcalf Crusades pl. 39, 942; Tzamalis Frankish KA101; Schlumberger XII 17, aF, light toning, flan flaws, weight 0.469 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 135o, Clarentza mint, 1285 -1289; obverse + • K•R•PRINC ACh• (curly foot R = Clarentza mint), cross pattée within inner border; reverse :DE: CLARENCIA (colons indicate double x stops, DE probably abbreviates denarius, curly foot R = Clarentza mint), castle tournois surmounted by cross dividing legend; from the Louis G Estate; scarce; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Charles II of Anjou, 1285 - 1289

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Frankish| |Greece,| |Principality| |of| |Achaea,| |Charles| |II| |of| |Anjou,| |1285| |-| |1289||denier| |tournois|
Charles II succeeded his father, Charles I, in Achaea as well as Sicily (now reduced to the Kingdom of Naples), but he was a prisoner in Aragonese hands. In the interim, the rule of Achaea devolved upon a series of baillis chosen from the Morean nobility. Not long after his release and coronation in 1289, he granted the Principality to Isabelle of Villehardouin upon her marriage with Florent of Hainaut, in part to redress the greedy application of the Treaty of Viterbo at William's death. However, he retained feudal overlordship over the Principality, and his grant provided that neither Isabelle nor any daughter who was her heir might marry without his consent.Carlos_I
CR96938. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 12; Metcalf Crusades pl. 39, 942; Tzamalis Frankish KA101; Schlumberger XII 17, F, scratches, weight 0.792 g, maximum diameter 18,7 mm, die axis 270o, Clarentza mint, 1285 -1289; obverse + • K•R•PRINC ACh•, cross pattée; reverse :DE: CLARENCIA: (colons indicate double x stops), castle tournois; from the Louis G Estate; scarce; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


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

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Frankish| |Greece,| |Duchy| |of| |Athens,| |Guy| |II| |de| |La| |Roche,| |1287| |-| |1308||denier|
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.Frankokratia_Map
CR96940. Billon denier, Malloy Crusaders 96; Metcalf Crusades 2 & pl. 42, 1077 var. (stops), F, grainy porous, rusty deposits, obverse slightly off center, weight 0.807 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Thebes mint, majority, 1294 - 1308; obverse +:GVI DVX ATENES, cross pattée within inner border; reverse :ThEBAHICIVIS:, castle tournois, surmounted by cross dividing legend, pierced mullet (heraldic six-pointed star-shaped spur rowel) below; from the Louis G Estate; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


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

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Frankish| |Greece,| |Principality| |of| |Achaea,| |Philip| |I| |of| |Taranto,| |1307| |-| |1313||denier| |tournois|
In 1306 Charles II of Naples gave his son Philip I of Taranto the title "Despot of Romania." Romania referred to Frankish lands previously ruled by the Byzantine Empire (the Romans), including: Albania, Corfu, the Principality of Achaia, the Duchy of Athens, the Duchy of the Archipelago, and the Despotate of Epirus. Coins were struck for Philip with this title at Lepanto (Naupaktos), in Epirus, across the Gulf of Corinth from Patras. In 1313, Philip abandoned his claim to Epirus and claimed the defunct Latin Empire of Constantinople instead as the inheritance of his wife Catherine II of Valois, Princess of Achaea.Philip_I_of_Taranto
CR88489. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 26b, Metcalf Crusades PT2, VF, toned, unusual letter forms, variable letter sizes, poor workmanship (as Metcalf notes is usual for this type), small edge splits, weight 0.779 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Clarentza mint, 1307 - 1313; obverse + •Ph'S•P•ACh'•TAR•D R (Philippus princeps Achaie, Taranti, despotus Romanie, S retrograde), cross pattée within inner border; reverse D'•CLARENCIA•, castle tournois surmounted by cross dividing legend, surmounted by cross; from the Louis G Estate; $95.00 (€77.90)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Florent of Hainaut, 1289 - 1297

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Frankish| |Greece,| |Principality| |of| |Achaea,| |Florent| |of| |Hainaut,| |1289| |-| |1297||denier| |tournois|
Florent of Hainaut was Prince of Achaea in right of his wife, Isabella of Villehardouin. He was the son of John I of Avesnes and Adelaide of Holland. From his father he received the stadholdership of Zeeland. After he left Zeeland, he took up service with Charles II of Naples, who made him constable of the Kingdom of Naples. Florent settled with his wife in Morea. He negotiated the Treaty of Glarentsa with the Byzantine Empire in 1290; however, the situation for the Franks in Greece was hopeless by this time. The fall of the Angevins in Sicily meant that they were preoccupied with recouping territory there and few Western governments would send troops to defend Morea. Florent thus made peace and maintained it until 1293, when the Greeks retook Kalamata. Florent did not despair and did not reopen the war which had been ongoing until his succession: he instead sent an embassy in protest to Andronikos II Palaiologos, and the emperor returned Kalamata. In 1296, the Greeks retook the castle of Saint George in Arcadia. Florent besieged the castle, but died before it could be taken.Arms_of_Achaea
CR88455. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 13a; Metcalf Crusades variety F2, pl. 39, 956; Schlumberger XII 18, VF, toned, die wear, weight 0.829 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 270o, Clarentza mint, 1289 - 1297; obverse + FLORENS P Ach (curly foot R = Clarentza mint), cross pattée within inner border, drooping bell shaped flower with two buds following legend (a pun on the prince's name?); reverse DE CLARENCIA' (curly foot R = Clarentza mint), castle tournois surmounted by cross dividing legend, concave gable, surmounted by a cross; from the Louis G Estate; very scarce; $90.00 (€73.80)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Philip of Savoy, 1301 - 1307

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Frankish| |Greece,| |Principality| |of| |Achaea,| |Philip| |of| |Savoy,| |1301| |-| |1307||denier| |tournois|
Philip of Savoy was the lord of Piedmont from 1282 until his death and prince of Achaea between 1301 and 1307. He was the son of Thomas III of Piedmont and Guyonne de Châlon. Philip's first marriage was celebrated in Rome on February 12, 1301 to Isabella of Villehardouin, Princess of Achaea. By that marriage, he became Prince of Achaea, though he had already been lord of Piedmont by inheritance from his father in 1282. As prince, Philip ventured to reconquer all of Lacedaemonia from the Greeks. He was, however, an authoritative prince and this put him at odds with the baronage of his realm. He tried to placate the barons of Morea, but was forced to accept a parliament in 1304. The Greek peasantry, crushed by taxes, then revolted in turn. In 1307, King Charles II of Naples, the suzerain of Achaea, confiscated the principality and gave it to his son, Prince Philip I of Taranto. Metcalf indicates all of Philip's coins appear to have been struck at Corinth.Frankokratia_Map
CR96939. Billon denier tournois, Wäckerlin 400; Malloy Crusaders 18 - 19 var. (pellets or annulets flanking castle), F, slightly rectangular flan, light deposits, light marks, weight 0.538 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 225o, Corinth(?) mint, 1301 - 1307; obverse +·Ph's·D'SAB·P·AChE·, cross pattée within inner border; reverse XDE CLARENCIA⚜, castle tournois surmounted by cross dividing legend, nothing on each side of castle, five pointed star below castle; from the Louis G Estate; $90.00 (€73.80)
 




  






REFERENCES|

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