Featured A bit of Gothic aesthetic

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by seth77, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    After Margaret II d'Avesnes died in 1356, the County of Hainaut entered the sole domain of Wilhelm III, her eldest son from her marriage with Ludwig IV der Bayer, Holy Roman Emperor (1328-1347). With this inheritance, Hainaut changes hands from the House d'Avesnes to the Bavarian House von Wittelsbach.

    unnamed.jpg County of Hainaut in relation to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany.

    Wilhelm did not rule much, he succumbed to fits of insanity in 1357 and was consequently retired to Chateau Le Quesnoy, while the Bayern-Wittelsbach realms, including Hainaut, were put under the stewardship of his brother Albert (Albrecht I von Bayern-Wittelsbach). Not much is known about the life of duke Wilhelm after 1358, but his sudden fits of rage and insanity were deemed dangerous to himself and others and he had to be restrained. Apparently in between these episodes of mental illness, Wilhelm was aware of his condition and deeds, at least enough to repent for his violence, especially for the senseless murder of Gerard van der Wateringen, a knight in his entourage, whom he murdered during one of his violent blackouts in 1357.

    Wilhelm III von Bayern-Wittelsbach as Count of Hainaut, billon dubbele mijt (or denier), minted at the City of Valenciennes, cca. late 1350s-1360s. This coinage was the Flemish-Netherlandish equivalent of the French denier tournois during the Hundred Years War.

    Albert ruled the realms with interest and a steady hand, trying to keep as much of the conflict between England and France at bay and using all of the influence he could muster to channel some of that economic growth from France and Hainaut-Holland towards East. All sectors of life improved under Albert's stewardship and even the traditional conflict between the Hoeks and the Kabeljauws -- the two powerful warring political faction of 14th century Holland -- was kept in check.

    In April 1389, the tormented Wilhelm III died and Albert stepped up from his position as Ruwaard (regent) to all of his brother's titles, including Count of Hainaut.

    This is probably the terminus post quem for this superb series of groten (gros au monogramme) at Valenciennes, which names Albert both Duke and Count of Hainaut. In May 1389 Wilhelm was laid to rest in the necropolis of the Minoritenkirche in Valenciennes, alongside Margaret II.

    Albrecht von Bayern-Wittelsbach as Count of Hainaut and Duke of Bayern-Straubing (1389-1404)
    AR28mm 2.20g groot/gros au monogramme, minted at the City of Valenciennes, cca. 1389-1390.
    + DVX : ALBERTVS : COMES : hAn0nIE; gothic polylobe with the monogram of Hainaut inside;
    + BnDICTV : SIT : n0MЄn : DnI : nRI on the outside; m0n - ЄTA - VAL - CnS on the inside; long cross
    Chalon 123, Lucas - Hainaut 141

    This type is rather specific for Hainaut in the 14th to early 15th century, following the regular design of the Hainaut monogram types that was used throughout the 14th century, but it is very rare for Albert, only minted for a short period -- ca. May 1389 to 1390, before his conflict with the Hoeks and way before his campaign against them in Holland in 1392.

    Another example (in way better shape), sold by Jean Elsen & ses Fils s.a. can be seen here.

    An interesting feature, the polylobe surrounding the Hainaut monogram, is a deep reference to the burgeoning Gothic art in the 14th to 15th century, constructed in a subtle Bavarian style. The rise in trade and production which led to great economic growth during the second half of the 14th century was translated into a peaking interest in art and design novelties. The Gothic style became a household image of being important in Flanders, Hainaut and Holland and the money being minted expressed just that, a state of affairs that would hold and develop well into the 1500s, despite the on and off-going political conflicts, of which Albert was no stranger between 1391-1400.

    Sainte Waudru de Mons in Hainaut in a Gothic mood, with polylobes and ogives

    This late 14th century drama has everything that a good Gothic story needs: a great family with a dark secret, insanity, torment and the need for atonement -- and most of all great art and beauty. In fact, the aesthetic of the age was so overwhelming that it spilled over into the mundane and streetly domain of money.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    An interesting story of Willhem III (or Willem V van Holland). I owned one coin of him, but sold it recently:
    Hollandse Groot of Willem V.

    I've read somewhere that Willem V of Holland was a relatively normal guy, until he went to the king of England.
  4. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Much of the coinage from around 1360s-1400s from France, Flanders, Hainaut, Holland, Germany shows at least some Gothic influence. The quadrilobe image on the reverse of your coin is a good example.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page