CRUSADERS, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Imitation Bezants.
11th-12th centuries. AV Bezant (23mm, 3.59 g, 9h). Imitating a dinar of the Fatimid caliph al-Amir. Acre mint. Second Phase, struck 1148/59-1187. Beginning of caliphal titles in two lines, continuation of name and titles in inner margin; mint formula in outer margin / al/ghaya
in two lines across field, Kalima in inner margin, "Second Symbol" (Quran 9: 33) in outer margin. Balog & Yvon 2; Metcalf, Crusades
129; CCS 3. VF, toned.
Under the Kingdom of Jerusalem, gold coins were minted in imitation of contemporary Fatimid issues, which circulated widely in the region. These imitations are commonly known as bezants, a term deriving from the medieval Latin bisancii (or bizancii) a western European name for Byzantine gold solidi. The study of these imitations by Balog and Yvon, Metcalf, and others have divided these imitative issues into three phases, based on their relative gold content, as well as their calligraphy. Those of Phase 2, of which our coin is an example, are some of the most plentiful, struck between 1148/59, the time of the Second Crusade and its aftermath, until 1187, when Saladin inflicted a devastating defeat on the Crusaders at the Horns of Hattin.
For additional information on the imitative coinage of of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, see “Crusader Coins with Arabic Inscriptions”, in A History of the Crusades Vol. VI, pp. 421-482.