An interesting overstrike at Antioch

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by seth77, Jul 23, 2021.

  1. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    The early Crusader coinage from Antioch is very common nowadays, allowing for interesting specimens to always be available. Some time ago I wrote an entry about the early 1100s at Antioch -- the local Byzantine-tradition coinage -- that can be read here. It will probably help to read that if you are not familiar with the series.

    This coin shows two separate types -- the first type minted for Tancred, as steward for Prince Bohemond I, minted until at least 1104 (Malloy 3a, Schlumberger II, 6) overstruck ca. 1109 or at the very latest 1111 (Malloy 6, Schlumberger V, 1):


    Why is this interesting?

    Well, it's a very clean and clear overstrike showing both types with certainty for starters. These coins were sequenced thanks to the many overstrikes of newer types over the previous ones, but the result is usually ugly and mangled like an Ed Wood movie. This spec is very much an outlier.

    Then, it shows how this pseudo-renovatio monetae in base metal might have worked, with new types being struck on every flan accessible, not through a general recalling, but when it became available to the princely mint, which in turns hints heavily towards the circulation of older types alongside the re-coinages, probably at least to 1120, when the standard weight and diameter seem to drop.

    There was probably not enough interest nor logistics to recall the older emissions for a reissue when this reissue was decided, so older types were re-coined whenever they became available from the general public, sometimes 5 years after the original type had been struck.

    Another interesting feature here is the transition from Greek language legends (used as late as at least 1109) to Latin legends, employed very likely by Tancred as he was sure that his position was stable enough in both Antioch and as Prince of Galilee, possibly after Bohemond was made to accept Byzantine suzerainty at Devol in 1108 and retreated to Sicily in 1109. As such, Tancred likely saw himself as not just a steward of the realm anymore, but as acting prince, in according to his rights under jus belli.

    Roger, the inheritor of the administrative affairs of Antioch, so de jure steward for Bohemond II, called himself Prince at least since 1115.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
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  3. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    This one is not an overstrike, but at 24mm and 5.29g it's an oversized early follis of Tancred:

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  4. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist

    I’m not sure how I missed this thread when you first posted it, but very cool coin! I have a similar overstrike, but over a different issue of Tancred’s:
    Med-16-CrAnt-1101-Tancred-Fol-Antioch-6.jpg Crusader - Antioch
    Tancred, Regent, r. 1101-1103, 1104-1112
    AE Follis, 23.16 mm x 4.23 grams
    Obv.: St. Peter standing, wearing tunic and cloak, blessing with right hand and holding a cross in his left hand. P to left (for ‘petrus’)
    Rev.: [Ð] S [F] T in the corners of a slender cross
    Ref.: Malloy Antioch 6, De Wit 4080
    Note: Overstruck on Malloy Antioch 4

    and here is my example of the under type:
    Crusader - Antioch
    Tancred, Regent, r. 1101-1103, 1104-1112
    AE Follis, 20.3 mm x 3.3 grams
    Obv.: Bust of Tancred facing, wearing turban, holding sword
    Rev.: Cross pommetée, fleuronnée at base; IC XC NI KA in quarters
    Ref.: Malloy Antioch 4a, De Wit 4079
    Note: Overstruck on a First type follis of Tancred, Malloy Antioch 3a

    and it happens to be overstruck on this type I also have!
    Crusader - Antioch
    Tancred, Regent, r. 1101-1103, 1104-1112
    AE Follis, 22.04 mm x 3.01 grams
    Obv.: O ΠE-TPOC, Bust of St. Peter, holding cross in left hand
    Rev.: + / KE BOI / ΘH TOΔV / ΛO COVT / ANKPI
    Ref.: Malloy Antioch 3a, 4076-7
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  5. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    A point of interest in these early Antioch pseudo-Byzatine coins is how come the earliest of the Tancred folles are also the most common of them, considering all the recoinages until ca. 1120. This could be an indirect hint about the nature of Tancred's rule and the limits of his administration.

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