Alphonse de France, son of a king, brother of two kings, crusader and Peer of France

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by seth77, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    The sons of Louis VIII "le Lion" of France managed between cca. early 1240s and 1259 to successfully finish what Philippe II Augustus had started in 1204 with his campaign to conquer and bring under Capetian overlordship the French continental possessions of the Plantagenets "Angevin Empire."

    The three brothers - Louis IX of France (canonised as Saint Louis in 1297), Alphonse de France and Charles I d'Anjou - wrestled both power and legitimacy from the Plantagenets of England over the territories of Normandy, Maine, Anjou and Poitou, while also conducting two Crusades (the Eighth and Ninth Crusades).

    The seals of Alphonse as Count of Poitou and Toulouse and Marquis of Provence, cca. 1250-1270.

    As Count of Poitou, Alphonse had to deal with the adversity of the families of Lusignan and the Saint-Gilles of Toulouse, who refused to accept his overlordship in the poitevin territories. The malcontents -- Raymond VII de Toulouse in 1229 and Hugh X de Lusignan in 1242 -- and their Plantagenet support from England were defeated with help from the French crown.

    Raymond was forced to allow his daughter, Jeanne, to marry Alphonse (the marriage happened in 1237) and Hugh was defeated alongside Henry III of England, who had entered the conflict to support the Lusignans (as traditional vassals of the Plantagenets) and to have Plantagenet overlordship restored in Poitou, at Taillebourg in 1242. Lusignan lost many Poitevin territories and castles to Alphonse, but he was allowed to keep his ancestral domain in Lusignan and he remained hereditary Count of La Marche and Count of Angouleme by jus uxoris.

    The gisants at Furness Abbey in Cumbria, possibly of knights fallen at Taillebourg or in the earlier 1230s conflict in Poitou between Henry III of England and the French Crown.

    Although it had started under less than perfect auspices, the marriage between Alphonse and Jeanne de Toulouse (Raymond's daughter) was a harmonious one and by 1247, Jeanne was in his father's domains gathering funds for the Eighth Crusade, and she accompanied her husband and his brothers at Damietta. In the summer of 1250 they left Egypt to take possession of the County of Toulouse, as Raymond had passed away.

    The coinage for Alphonse as Count of Toulouse breaks away from the usual 12th century denier style, and by 1251 (or 1253), the denier tournois is introduced, as an imitation of his brother's Royal coinage.

    In 1263 Louis IX forbade the imitation of the Royal coinage in the territories outside his control, an interdiction that Alphonse accepted. In Toulouse the tournois seems to have had already been discontinued as the default account coinage by the Estate of the Count in 1258 apparently. It was again in use in accounts in 1267, but that dealt most likely with the Royal coinage rather than a local, comtal coinage.

    Accompanying the denier, there were also issues of oboles tournois, possibly throughout the same period.

    For some reason, maybe small minting volume or lack of contemporary interest in hoarding them, or both, these small coins are now extremely rare, with only a few surviving in public and private collections.

    obole a.JPG
    AR14x13mm, 0.35g, obole tournois, minted at Toulouse, cca. 1251/1253-1263.

    + A ' CO ' FILIVS REGx; cross pattee.
    + ThOLOSA CIVI; Chateau tournois.
    Poey d'Avant 3707 p. 250, Boudeau 728 p. 90.

    In 1270, Alphonse again raised funds and gathered a host of knights to join his brothers in the Ninth Crusade at Tunis, where Louis died in a horrible epidemic that August.

    After striking a deal with the ruler of Tunis, the Crusader party split up and Jeanne and Alphonse headed for Provence via Italy, while Charles d'Anjou and Edward Longshanks went to Acre to continue the crusading effort.

    They would not reach Provence, Alphonse died in August 1271, possibly of extenuation and illness and was followed four days later by Jeanne. As they left no heirs, their domains were added to the Kingdom of France between 1274 and 1283 and to the Papal State in 1274.

    With the death of Alphonse, Charles was the only brother remaining from a generation that made France great.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
    BenSi, Orfew, NOS and 8 others like this.
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  3. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Great thread, always learning, my brain might soon explode from data overload! The older we get, the smarter....
    Curtisimo and seth77 like this.
  4. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Glad you enjoyed it!
    panzerman likes this.
  5. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    At first, I thought this would be about Alphonse Jordan (an example of which has been in the back of my ‘want list’ mind for a while...). Awesome catch, Seth!

    My Toulouse Coins (pre denier tournois...):

    Med-05a-FTou-1109-William IX-D-1210.jpg
    French Feudal, Toulouse
    William IX of Aquitaine, second reign r. 1109-1117
    AR Denier, 18.82 mm x 1.1 grams
    Obv.: VVILELMO COME, Cross Pattee in center, S in second quarter
    Rev.: +TOLOSA CIVI around, PAX in center
    Ref.: Duplessy 1210 (as William IV), Roberts 4225 (As William IX), De Wit 439 (as William IV)

    Med-05a-FTou-1148-Raymond V-D-1228.jpg
    French Feudal, Toulouse
    Raymond V-VII, r. 1148-1249
    AR Denier, 19mm x 1.1 grams
    Obv.: RAMON COMES, Cross Pattee in center, S in second quarter
    Rev.: +TOLOSA CIVI, PAX in center
    Ref.: Duplessy 1228, Roberts 4226, De Wit 442
  6. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    This is the denier to accompany the obole tournois. At about 18mm and 0.80-0.90g, the coinage of the 1250s in Toulouse was a faithful copy of the Royal coinage of France.

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