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546799

An Iconic Medieval and Crusader Type

546799.

CRUSADERS, Antioch. Bohémond III. 1163-1201. BI Denier (Average 18mm; 0.92 g). Class Cb. Antioch mint. Struck circa 1163-1188. + BOAИVИDVS, bust left, wearing Norman helmet decorated with cross pattée and chainmail coif; crescent to left, star to right / + ANTIOCHIA, cross pattée; crescent in second quarter. Cf. Grierson, Coins of Medieval Europe 229 (for type); cf. Metcalf, Crusades 381-2 (same); cf. CCS 65 (same). Good VF or better. Well struck for issue. An iconic medieval and Crusader type. Special offer – you will receive one (1) example of our choice.


Among medieval coinage, where there are a wide variety of types that reflect the period aesthetic, the deniers of Bohémond III are perhaps the most representative of a medieval/Crusader coin type. The obverse especially – with its bust of a contemporary Crusader knight – reflects not only the need for the military readiness of its issuer, but also provides one of the most accurate representations of those knights, who followed the First Crusade. No medieval or Crusader collection is complete without an example of this iconic type.

Following the period of the First Crusade (1096-1099), a series of four autonomous Latin states – the so-called Crusader states – were established in crusader-held territories. Known as crusader states, they remained in existence until 1291 with the fall of Acre. Among them, was the Principality of Antioch – an area ruled by the Italo-Norman descendants of the first Norman conquerors to venture into Sicily in the first half of the 11th century. Among these rulers, Bohémond III (circa 1148-120), surnamed ‘the Child’ or the ‘Stammerer’, succeeded his father as Prince while still a child. In 1163, when he attained his majority, Bohémond exiled his mother, who until then had acted as regent. During his reign, the Principality of Antioch was a close ally of the County of Tripoli. Following his release from Muslim captivity after the siege of Harim in 1164 through the agency of the Byzantines, Bohémond travelled to Constantinople, where he paid homage to the emperor Manuel I Comnenus. For the next two decades, Bohémond became involved in a number of internal disputes among the Byzantines, Kingdom of Armenia, and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. These disputes proved disastrous for the Crusaders. Like the Principality of Antioch, the Crusader states now came into conflict with the Ayyubids, under al-Nasir I Salah al-Din Yusuf (Saladin). Following the Battle of Hattin in 1187, the rapid change of the political landscape and the losses of allies, put Bohémond on the defensive. During the Third Crusade (1189-1192), he met with its leaders, but failed to offer any substantial assistance; when the Crusade ended, Bohémond paid homage to Saladin, signing a ten-year truce that included Antioch and Tripoli. This truce, which left out the Kingdom of Armenia, sparked a feud with Bohémond, his allies and heirs, over Antioch that lasted until his death in 1201, and continued after his death until 1219.