To find out more about the Crusades, please view at the foot of the page. See below for the coins on offer, if you wish further information, do please contact us:
France, Provence, Raymond VI or VII (1194-1249) AR Denier
(From the Dr. Murray Gell-Mann Collection)
The Crusades were a series of intermittent military campaigns in the years from 1096 to 1487, sanctioned by various Popes. The Byzantine (previously the Roman Empire) and Middle Eastern territories were more advanced in science, maths and art than the western medieval world at this period in time and it is hard for the modern westerner to comprehend that the Muslim world was politically and militarily the greatest force on earth, much greater than the tiny kingdoms of western Europe.The Christian faiths feared those of the east, particularly Islam and in November 1095, at the Council of Clermont in southern France, Pope Urban called on Western Christians to take up arms in order to aid the Byzantines and recapture the Holy Land from Muslim control. The Pope’s plea met with a tremendous response, both among lower levels of the military elite (who would form a new class of knights, the Templars) and from the nobles of western Europe.
There were nine crusades (although historians argue about what actually constituted a crusade) over nearly a 400 year period, names of participants that have come to the fore are Richard I (the Lionheart) of England and Saladin the Muslim ruler (both during the third crusade), King Bohemond III of Antioch and Louis VII of France.
Every knight had a different reason for going on crusade, even a serf was promised his freedom if they participated. Kings would send their most violent and sadistic knights on crusade to get them out of their countries, but for others it was just considered 'their duty' to God and the Pope.
The coins are a very far ranging collection of historical importance, but are on the whole insignificant pieces often of clumsy medieval bronze or billon, like those of the Norman states, but some were more refined, made of silver and used as pay for services rendered. Most often they have a cross on one side, reflecting the cross used on the outer garments of the knights and this became the emblem of the crusades. Many nobles, sending their troops abroad, would produce their own coinage which was sent with them, often being lost in battle or scirmishes. They would of course encountered coinage en-route and this would undoubltedly have been mixed in with their own, the Byzantine coinage is an example. Once established in the east, minting of coinage was developed, in areas such as Anioch (Greece), Jerusalem and Tripoli.
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