Featured A 'private war' in the Low Countries, 1184-5

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by +VGO.DVCKS, Oct 18, 2020.


    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...And, between those of us who spend any time in the Middle Ages, who doesn’t need some of this? Enough drama; cut to the chase.
    One unusually well-documented example demonstrates the political and cultural porosity of prototypically international borders, along with the initial hesitance or inability of the operant monarchs to intervene. To quote an easy encapsulation, from a much more extensive and incisive secondary source:
    “On or about 1 November 1184, the county of Hainaut [ruled by Baldwin V, later VIII of Flanders] was invaded by the armies of [Baldwin’s brother-in-law] Philip Count of Flanders (1168-91), of Philip of Heinsberg, Archbishop of Cologne (1167-91), and of Godfrey III, Duke of Brabant (1142- 90), who was accompanied by his son Henry ([Duke] 1190-1235).” (France, pp. 97-8.)

    This map shows borders as of 1477, but just manages to include all of the main protagonists, from the archbishopric of Köln (and the neighboring imperial capital of Aachen) in the east, to the duchy of Brabant, and the counties of Hainaut and Flanders in the west. As of 1184, only Flanders was (peripherally) within the Capetian French political orbit. Hainaut and Brabant were ruled by Francophone dynasties under German (Staufen) suzereinty. (From Wikimedia Commons.)


    ...Improbably enough, it ended well for Baldwin, the count of Hainaut. A truce was brokered, then extended “under the aegis of [Philippe II, the] King of France.” By the following Spring, Baldwin was on the offensive, especially against Philip of Flanders. This time, Philippe II of France arrived with a substantial army against Philip of Flanders --demonstrating the pitch of mutual animosity between the king and his own nominal vassal. As France continues, “[a]lthough the two armies faced one another for three weeks, no battle resulted and in the end the Count of Flanders sued for a peace which greatly profited the French king and the Count of Hainaut” (99). On Philip of Flanders’ death in 1191, Baldwin assumed his county in right of his wife, Marguerite, Philip’s sister and heiress. (Cf. Cawley, Medieval Lands: https://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/FLANDERS, HAINAUT.htm#_Toc413913468 .)

    Right, some coins. With a couple of exceptions, these are petit deniers /mailles of the Low Countries, from the parts which were under Francophone rule.
    Flandre, petit denier, Baudouin (Flandre et Hainaut), avec blason.jpg
    Flanders: Bruges. AR petit denier, Ghyssens ‘deuxiéme periode,’ c. 1180-1220.
    Obv. Soldier in mail hauberk advancing right, on foot (later variants show him spurred, suggesting a dismounted knight), brandishing a sword and carrying a large shield, of a type common to the later 12th century (transitioning from Norman ones seen on the Bayeux Tapestry.)
    Rev. Cross, decorated with pellets.
    (Ghyssens p. 107, 239; cf. De Wit 1254, p. 397 for a summary of Ghyssen’s chronology.)
    The shield shows half of a recognizable, distinctly early heraldic device: three chevrons. This corresponds to the arms of Hainaut, suggesting that this issue initially dates to the comital reign of Baldwin, 1191-1194. This 17th-century illustration shows Baldwin and his wife, Margaret of Flanders, with the chevrons of Hainaut above, and the lion of Flanders below.


    Flanders: Lille. Petit denier, Ghyssens 2nd period, c. 1180-1220.
    Obv. Triangle, pellet in center, annulets with pellets at each angle; fleurs de lis on each side.
    Rev. Cross; L/I/L/A in angles. (Ghyssens p. 115, 266; cf. 267, De Wit 1270, citing 266.)
    From here, that one has to do service for Philip of Alsace, the count of Flanders (1168-1191) who presided over the festivities.
    In a similar vein, the nearest I can get to Godfrey of Brabant is an issue of his son, Henri I, relatively late in his career.

    Henri I, Duke of Brabant 1190-1235. Petit denier, c. 1211-1235.
    Obv. Knight on horseback, brandishing sword (with indications of the stirrup and spur); quatrefoil below. (Inviting comparison to seals of the period, imitated in the 13th century on petit deniers of the Duchy of Lorraine.)
    (From 6 o’clock, retrograde, Flavian style; mostly off the flan: ) DV [...] X.
    Rev. 'Brabantine cross.'
    (Haeck p. 72, 43. The listing from the Elsen auction cites references to which I have no access (including another volume of Ghyssens: https://www.biddr.com/auctions/elsen/browse?a=595&l=612318 .)
    ...With Philipp von Heinsberg, Archbishop of Köln 1167-1191, there’s more mutual traction between the coins and the operant chronology. For a much better example, please (no, really) see @FitzNigel ’s avatar (this is the operant page, at least: https://www.cointalk.com/threads/ancient-forums-picture-the-poster.280392/page-42#post-4875701 ).
    ...Then there’s mine, of the 4th type, c. 1181-1190.

    COINS, GERMANY, Philipp von HEINSBERG.jpg
    (For the 4th type, this listing cites more references than I could:
    https://www.ma-shops.com/rittig/item.php?id=191227014 .)
    Meanwhile, there were the reigning monarchs, starting with Friedrich Barbarossa, from his Carolingian capital of Aachen (conveniently appropriated, along with the attendant Carolingian rhetoric. Sorry for the pics, along with the rhetorical excess regarding Friedrich --who was probably busy with his Italian wars; anyway, the whole episode seems to have been off his radar):
    COINS, F. I, AACHEN, OBV.jpg
    COINS, F. I, AACHEN, REV..jpg
    ...And, just breezing along, here's one fun example of the French king, a coissue with the bishop of Laon, not far to the south of the fireworks.
    Philippe II (1180-1223), with Roger de Rosoi, Bishop of Laon (1174-1201).
    Rev. Roger, facing, mitred. (Full legend: ) +ROGERVS EPE[...scopus].
    Obv. Philippe, facing, crowned. +PHILLIPVS RE[...x].
    (Duplessy 184.)

    The De Wit Collection of Medieval Coins. Part 1. Kuenker Auktion 121, 2007.
    Duplessy, Jean. Les Monnaies Françaises Royales. Tome I. 2nd ed. Paris, 1999.
    France, John. Western Warfare in the Age of the Crusades: 1000-1300. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1999.
    Ghyssens, Joseph. Les Petits Deniers de Flandre des XIIe et XIIIe Siécles. Bruxelles 1971.
    Haeck, Aimé. De Brabantse kleine denieren van de dertiende eeu. Dilbeeek, Belgium 2016.

    ...For anyone who wanted to go deeper into the weeds, there’s this translation, with brilliant annotation and prefatory material.
    Gilbert of Mons. Chronicle of Hainaut. Laura Napran, editor and translator. Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2005.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
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  3. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    I do love the Mailles of the Low Countries - but the are surprisingly pricey for such small coins. Here are my only two (but I have been eyeing one like your issue of Bruges):

    Med-07a-LCF-1194-Baldwin IX-M-1245.jpg Low Countries - Flanders
    Baldwin IX, r. 1194-1205
    Ghent mint, AR Mailles, 11.3 mm x 0.4 grams
    Obv.: +G+A+N+T Head left with helmet in circle of pellets, one lis in the helmet
    Rev.: B . COMES Ornamented cross with one pellet in each angle
    Ref.: de Wit 1245-6

    Low Countries - Flanders
    City of Ghent, 4th Period, 1253-1300
    AR Mailles, 11.3 mm x 0.5 grams
    Obv.: Head left within circle of pellets, three rings in helmet, Lisa on top and cross behind
    Rev.: Open cross with bended limbs
    Ref.: DeWitt 1266

    and since it was brought, my avatar:
    Med-02-GCo-1167-Philip Heinsberg-D-3-1993.jpg
    HRE - Cologne
    Archbishop Philipp von Heinsberg, r. 1167-1191
    AR Pfennig, 3rd type, 18.05 mm x 1.4 grams
    Obv.: HITARCH EPICOV, Archbishop with mitre, crosier, and bible seated on lion throne
    Rev.: EIACOLONIA PAICHAI, Three towers over wall and gate, likely representing the Cathedral of St Peter, Cologne
    Ref.: De Wit 1993
    seth77, talerman, Edessa and 6 others like this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @FitzNigel, Too Great, on All Counts (and one Archbishop)! For two representative examples, yours of Ghent are optimal, starting with the chronological range. The ones of Baldwin IX are Tough.
    ...Right, they cost (candor alert: ) too much. It helps, maybe, to think of them as the nearest equivalent of Hellenic and Hellenistic obols. As have seen some eloquent discussion in a recent thread. ...But, Nope, between the prices, the modules, and the esthetics, they just kind of require this level of, what else can you say, commitment.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
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  5. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    Nice show and tell. Thanks
    Edessa and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  6. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ...kool coins VGO...but you shoulda saved them for tomorrows.. medieval times.jpg .(but id bet you got more:p)
    Edessa and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
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