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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, Louis of Burgundy, 31 Jul 1313 - 2 Aug 1316

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Louis of Burgundy was a younger son of Robert II, Duke of Burgundy and Agnes of France. On 31 Jul 1313, he married Matilda of Hainaut to whom Philip I of Taranto gave the Principality of Achaea. Louis ceded his family lands in Burgundy to his elder brother in exchange for the title of "King of Thessalonica." Matilda and Louis arrived separately in Achaea, she sailing directly from Marseille to Navarino with 1,000 troops. Matilda's army was defeated on 22 Feb 1316 by Ferdinand of Majorca, who also claimed the principality. Louis came by way of Venice to solicit aid from the Republic. He defeated Ferdinand, who was killed in the battle, on 5 July 1316. Four weeks later, Louis died. The Chronicle of the Morea attributes his death to a fever, while the Catalan Declaratio summa states that he was poisoned by John, count of Cephalonia. His death left Achaea in an unsettled state, with his brother Eudes, his wife, and the Angevins all attempting to gain it.Arms_of_Achaea
CR88490. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 29; Metcalf Crusades pl. 40, 993; Schlumberger XII 23, aVF, excellent centering, coppery spots, strike a little soft, tiny edge chip, weight 0.640 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 135o, Clarentza mint, 5 Jul - 2 Aug 1316; obverse + LODOVIC'•D'•B'•P•AChE, cross pattée; reverse (annulet) DE CLARENCIA (annulet), castle tournois, surmounted by cross, annulet left of castle; from the Louis G Estate; very rare; $450.00 SALE |PRICE| $405.00
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Principality of Achaea, Ferdinand of Majorca, Pretender, Jun 1315 - 5 July 1316

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Ferdinand of Majorca, as the third son of King James II, was an infante (prince) of the Kingdom of Majorca. It is this title on the obverse of this coin. He was also Viscount of Aumelas and Lord of Frontignan. Ferdinand married Isabella, daughter of Margaret of Villehardouin and they had a son who held the claim on the Principality of Achaea. Margaret and then his wife died in 1315, and soon after he set out with a small company for the Morea to uphold the claim now held by his son. He seized Clarenza in June 1315 and briefly took control of the Morea. In the autumn of 1315 he took a second wife, Isabella of Ibelin. However, his rival claimant Matilda of Hainaut, and her husband Louis of Burgundy returned to the Morea in the spring of 1316 with Venetian aid. Ferdinand's expected aid from Majorca and Sicily was tardy, as was the Catalan Company from Athens. Facing superior numbers, he was killed at the Battle of Manolada on 5 July 1316.Frankokratia_Map
CR88491. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 31a, Metcalf Crusades 987 - 992, VF, well centered, clashed dies, weak strike, part of edge ragged, weight 0.684 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 270o, Clarentza mint, pretender, Jun 1315 - 5 July 1316; obverse +IFANSFD'MAIORK, cross pattée; reverse (annulet) DE CLARENCIA (annulet), castle tournois, surmounted by cross, surmounted by cross, annulet left and right of the castle; from the Louis G Estate; extremely rare; $450.00 SALE |PRICE| $405.00
 


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

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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
CR88454. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 12 (S); Metcalf Crusades pl. 39, 942; Tzamalis Frankish KA101; Schlumberger XII 17, VF, toned, light marks, weight 0.974 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 90o, Clarentza mint, 1281 - 1289; obverse + • K• R• PRINC ACh• (curly foot R = Clarentza mint), cross pattée; reverse :DE: CLARENCIA: (colons indicate double x stops, DE probably abbreviates denarius, curly foot R = Clarentza mint), castle tournois surmounted by a cross; from the Louis G Estate; scarce; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00
 


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

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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
CR88457. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 13c; Metcalf Crusades type F4, pl. 39, 961, VF, well centered, toned, weight 0.785 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Clarentza mint, 1289 - 1297; obverse + ⚜FLORENS P AchB, cross pattée; reverse DE CLARENCIA', castle tournois surmounted by a cross; from the Louis G Estate; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Duchy of Athens, William or Minority of Guy I de La Roche, 1280 - 1294

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This type was minted either under William de La Roche, 1280 - 1287, or during the minority of Guy I de La Roche, 1287 - 1294. William I de la Roche succeeded his brother, John I, as Duke of Athens in 1280. William reversed the territorial losses of his brother's reign, extending his control over Lamia and Gardiki. He married Helena Angelina Komnene, daughter of John I Doukas, ruler of Thessaly, securing a military alliance with him.Frankokratia_Map
CR88467. Billon denier tournois, Metcalf Crusades 1030, Malloy Crusaders 85, VF, toned, clashed dies, weight 0.756 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 105o, Thebes mint, perhaps minority of Guy I de La Roch, 1280 - 1294; obverse +:G:DVX:ATENES: (: = double trefoil stop, trefoils resembling Y), cross pattée; reverse :ThEBE:CIVIS: (: = double trefoil stop, trefoils resembling Y), castle tournois with open corner circles, surmounted by cross, distinctive style; from the Louis G Estate; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00
 


Crusaders, Frankish Greece, Duchy of Athens, William or Minority of Guy I de La Roche, 1280 - 1294

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This type was minted either under William de La Roche, 1280 - 1287, or during the minority of Guy I de La Roche, 1287 - 1294. William I de la Roche succeeded his brother, John I, as Duke of Athens in 1280. William reversed the territorial losses of his brother's reign, extending his control over Lamia and Gardiki. He married Helena Angelina Komnene, daughter of John I Doukas, ruler of Thessaly, securing a military alliance with him.Arms_of_Athens
CR88468. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 83 (R), Metcalf Crusades GR101, pl. 41, 1025 var. (stops), VF, tight flan, uneven strike, weight 0.097 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 195o, Thebes mint, perhaps minority of Guy I de La Roch, 1280 - 1294; obverse +;G:DVX:DATENES: (; = double trefoil stop, : = double pellet stop), cross pattée; reverse ;ThEBE:CIVIS: (; = double trefoil stop, : = double pellet stop), castle tournois, 2 arches, open circles on corners, surmounted by cross; from the Louis G Estate; rare; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00
 


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

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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
CR88480. Billon denier tournois, Tzamalis Frankish GV222; Metcalf Crusaders pl. 39, 938; Malloy Crusaders 10b, VF, centered, toned, uneven strike, encrustations, weight 0.755 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 270o, Corinth mint, obverse +•G•PRINCEPS, cross pattée; reverse :CLARENCIA▼ (R with a wedge foot = Corinth), castle tournois, spire in the form of Λ, surmounted by cross; from the Louis G Estate; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00
 


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

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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
CR88481. Billon denier tournois, Tzamalis Frankish GV224; Malloy Crusaders 10a; Metcalf Crusaders pl. 39, 940, VF, centered, toned, weight 0.822 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Corinth mint, 1246 - 1278; obverse +:G:PRINCE ACh', cross pattée; reverse VCLARENTIAD, castle tournois, spire in the form of Λ, surmounted by cross; from the Louis G Estate; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00
 


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

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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
CR88482. Billon denier tournois, Tzamalis Frankish GV222; Metcalf Crusaders pl. 39, 938; Malloy Crusaders 10b, aVF, well centered, toned, weight 0.660 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 270o, Clarentza mint, 1246 - 1278; obverse +•G•PRINCEPS, cross pattée; reverse :CLARENCIA▼, castle tournois, spire in the form of Λ, surmounted by cross; from the Louis G Estate; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00
 


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

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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 +⚜YSABELL•P•AChB (E, cross pattée; reverse DE CLARENCIAI, castle tournois; from the Louis G Estate; $145.00 SALE |PRICE| $131.00
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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Crusader Coins