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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, 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| |tournois|
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
CR96942. Billon denier tournois, Metcalf Crusades 1b & pl. 42, 1071; Malloy Crusaders 93 - 94 var. (stops), F, centered, strike weak in centers, light deposits and marks, edge split, weight 0.671 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 90o, Thebes mint, majority, 1294 - 1308; obverse +:GVI:DVX:ATENES:, cross pattée within inner border; reverse uThEBAHIuCIVISu (u = small crescent with horns up), castle tournois surmounted by cross dividing legend; from the Louis G Estate; $100.00 (€92.00)
 


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.Frankokratia_Map
CR96936. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 12 (S); Metcalf Crusades pl. 39, 942; Tzamalis Frankish KA101; Schlumberger XII 17, F, light toning, light marks, minor edge flaw, small edge cracks, weight 0.789 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Clarentza mint, 1281 - 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; $130.00 (€119.60)
 


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; $100.00 (€92.00)
 


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; $130.00 (€119.60)
 


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
CR96933. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 18; Metcalf Crusades PS3, pl. 40, 978; Schlumberger pl. XII, 20, aVF, well centered, light marks and deposits, small part of edge a little ragged, weight 0.672 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Corinth mint, 1301 - 1307; obverse +•Ph's•D'SAB•P•AChE•, cross pattée within inner border; reverse +⚜DE CLARENCIA⚜, castle tournois, surmounted by cross dividing legend, pellet on each side of castle, five pointed star below castle; from the Louis G Estate; $110.00 (€101.20)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Despotate of Epirus, Philip I of Taranto, 1294 - 1312

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Frankish| |Greece,| |Despotate| |of| |Epirus,| |Philip| |I| |of| |Taranto,| |1294| |-| |1312||denier| |tournois|
Philip received Lepanto in 1294 as a dowry from his wife Thamar. 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.Frankokratia_Map
CR96934. Billon denier tournois, Metcalf Crusaders DR2(b)i, pl. 43, 1117; Malloy Crusaders 113 var. (stops), F, well centered, strike a little weak, light deposits, tiny edge splits, weight 0.741 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 270o, Lepanto (Nafpaktos, Greece) mint, c. 1307 - 1313; obverse + (pierced crosslet) Ph'S P. ACh' TAR D' R (Philippus princeps Achaie, Taranti, despotus Romanie, rounded letters, C closed by bar), cross pattée within inner border; reverse ⚜ NEPANTI CIVIS (rounded letters, C closed by bar), castle tournois, surmounted by a cross dividing legend, fleur-de-lis below; from the Louis G Estate; $90.00 (€82.80)
 


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
CR96931. Billon denier tournois, Metcalf Crusades GV 201, pl. 39, 932; Malloy Crusaders 9 var. (no pellets flanking castle, stops); Schlumberger pl. XII, 11 var. (same), F, uneven strike with parts of legends weak, edge cracks and splits, weight 0.884 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 270o, Corinth mint, 1245 - 1278; obverse G PRINCEPS (no stops), cross pattée within inner border; reverse CLARENCIA (R with a wedge foot = Corinth mint, no stops), castle tournois, spire in the form of Λ, surmounted by cross dividing legend, castle flanked by a pellet on each side; from the Louis G Estate; rare; $110.00 (€101.20)
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Charles I of Anjou, 1278 - 1285

|Crusaders|, |Crusaders,| |Frankish| |Greece,| |Principality| |of| |Achaea,| |Charles| |I| |of| |Anjou,| |1278| |-| |1285||denier| |tournois|
Charles I of Anjou, was a member of the royal Capetian dynasty and the founder of the second House of Anjou. He was Count of Provence (1246-85) and Forcalquier (1246-48, 1256-85) in the Holy Roman Empire, Count of Anjou and Maine (1246-85) in France; he was also King of Sicily (1266-85) and Prince of Achaea (1278-85). In 1272, he was proclaimed King of Albania; and in 1277 he purchased a claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem.Carlos_I
CR96935. Billon denier tournois, Metcalf Crusades pl. 39, 948; Tzamalis Frankish KA202; Malloy Crusaders 11 (S), aVF, well centered, light deposits and marks, small edge splits/cracks, weight 0.550 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Corinth mint, 1278 - 1285; obverse +•K• R• PRINC' ACH' (R with wedge shaped foot = Corinth mint), cross pattée within inner border; reverse ▼CLARENCIA• (R with wedge shaped foot = Corinth mint), castle tournois surmounted by cross dividing legend; from the Louis G Estate; $120.00 (€110.40)
 


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
CR96943. Billon denier, cf. Metcalf Crusades 1d & pl. 42, 1071 - 1072; Malloy Crusaders 94, F, uneven strike with parts of legends weak, small encrustations, ragged edge with small split and chips, weight 0.516 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 90o, Thebes mint, majority, 1294 - 1308; obverse :+:GVI·DVX:ATENES, cross pattée within inner border; reverse uThEBAHI:CIVISu (u = small crescent with horns up), castle tournois, surmounted by cross dividing legend; from the Louis G Estate; scarce; $80.00 (€73.60)
 


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|
This variety lacks the title Despotes Romanie (D.R.) in the obverse legend.
CR92753. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 28; Metcalf Crusades PT3, VF, dark toning, uneven strike, weight 0.847 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 225o, Clarentza mint, obverse + Phs•P •ACh TAR, cross pattée within inner border, quatrefoil (or star) at end of legend; reverse + DE CLARENCIA, castle tournois surmounted by cross dividing legend, E on each side; from the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer for 40 years and co-author of Coins of the Crusader States, ex A.J. |Seltman| Collection; $70.00 (€64.40)
 




  






REFERENCES|

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Metcalf, D. Coinage of the Crusaders and the Latin East in the Ashmolean Museum Oxford. (London, 1995).
Metcalf, D. "Coinage of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in the name of Baudouin" in NC 1978.
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