DENIER - PRINCE BOHEMOND III Born: 1148 (est) Prince: A.D. 1163-1201 Obverse: Portrait helmeted head right with crescent moon to left and star to right - BOAMVNDVS Reverse: Cross with crescent moon top right of cross (Five pellets on A) - ANTIOCHIA Easily one of my favorite, and probably one of the most recognizable, coins of the middle ages. The use of crescent punches to make the chain mail is a great low tech way to to represent armor. They really utilize the tools they had well to make a very recognizable, really iconic coin design that embodies the crusader states of the kingdom of Jerusalem in the Levant often refered to as Outremer. This coin was minted for the Principality of Antioch, a state established during the first crusade that was at various times, and for most of its history, a vassal to Constantinople, The Kingdom of Jerusalem, or the Kingdom of Armenia before being conquered by Muslim forces under Baibars, the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. The coin and its distinctive abstract portrait of a crusader knight was minted and issued during the long reign of Bohemond III, prince of Antioch from 1163 to 1201 AD. The Principality of Antioch was founded in 1098 by Bohemond of Toranto (Bohemond I), a crusader prince of Norman ancestry whose father, Robert Guiscard, from the minor royal Hauteville family, invaded and conquered Southern Italy and Sicily ruling as Duke of Apulia and Calabria and the Duke of Sicily (refered to as Italo-Normans). Bohemond led a Christian army in a siege of the Syrian city of Antioch held at the time by Seljuk Turks. The once great city had been in steady decline for more than 300 years since it found itself on the front lines of the wars between Muslim and Christian rulers. During this time the city would change hands several times. It was in the possession of the Sultanate of Rum who had only held the city for 14 years by the time of the crusaders arrival. After a long and grueling siege of the city which boasted formidable defenses, Bohemond gained entry to the city and captured it only to be forced to immediately defend it against relief forces sent by the Sultan of Mosul. The crusaders defeated the relief force and, after some dispute over who would control the city, Bohemond declared himself Prince of Antioch and the rest of the crusaders moved on to Jerusalem. Detail of a medieval miniature of the Siege of Antioch from Sébastien Mamerot's Les Passages d'Outremer Bohemond had, like most crusaders, promised the emperor of Constantinople to return all lands recaptured from the Muslims. He instead kept Antioch for himself and looked to expand his holdings through further conquest of Muslim and Byzantine lands further angering the Byzantine emperor. Instead of aid from the west, the crusaders had proven to be far less altruistic and in some cases as troublesome as the Muslims they had come to help defend against. In the end, Bohemond chose to go to war against Constantinople and was soundly defeated by forces under the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos at the Siege of Dyrrhachium and was forced to accept a humiliating defeat which made him a vassal to Constantinople. By all accounts Bohemond I was a broken man and died six months later leaving Antioch in the hands of several regents who ruled in the name of his young son, Bohemond II. Just three years old at the time of his father's death, Bohemond II would take control of the principality upon coming of age. The emperor Alexios I Komnenos defeated Bohemond and made Antioch a vassal stare. Bohemond II married Alice, the daughter of Baldwin II king of Jerusalem, who gave birth to a daughter, Constance of Antioch. In 1130 Bohemond was killed in battle and Antioch was handed down to Constance, then four years old. Constance would rule under the disputed regency of the Kings of Jerusalem and her mother Alice who vied for control of the principality. At just ten years of age, Constance was married to Raymond of Poitiers who ruled as the Prince of Antioch from 1136 until his death in 1149 at the hands of Nur Ad-Din Zangi. Bohemond III and Raymond III of Tripoli ride to Jerusalem. Bohemond III was the son of Raymond and Constance. Born in 1144 he was just five years old when his father died. Constance married the.cunsumate crusader Raynald of Chatillon, a man generally typified by contemporary sources as a loose cannon. Raynald ruled as prince until his capture and subsequent seventeen year imprisonment for plundering Muslim lands in 1160 leaving Constance as regent. By this time Bohemond III was fifteen and was legally able to rule but Constance attempted to block his accession and retain sole rule of the principality. King Baldwin III of Jerusalem intervened and declared Bohemond III ruler of Antioch. Constance asked for aid from the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia in 1163 but was instead forced into exile and died later that year allowing Bohemond to take full and undisputed control of the principality. The following year Bohemond III and Raymond III of Tripoli moved to aid the city of Harim. Harim was a strategically important city that had changed hands between Muslim and Christian several times. It had been in Crusader control since 1158 but was again being threatened by Seljuk Turk forces under Nur ad-Din Zengi. The crusader force attempted to break the siege of the city but was soundly defeated at the Battle of Harim. Harim fell and both Bohemond and Raymond were captured. They were released the following year for a ransom of 150,000 dinars arranged by the emperor at Constantinople, Manuel I and Amalric I of Jerusalem who also served as regent for Antioch during his captivity. Mleh of Armenia, a Templar turned Muslim, entered into an alliance with Nur ad-Din Zengi prompting an invasion of Armenia in 1172. With blessing and aid from the Emperor, Bohemond III and Raymond III were joined by Philip, the Count of Flanders, in a failed assault to reclaim the city of Harim in 1177. The Emperor Manuel wanted more direct control over Antioch. He was married to Bohemond's sister so he was not only his nominal overlord but his brother in law as well. Bohemond agreed to re-install a Greek Patriarch, Athanasius II, in Antioch angering Latin Patriarch Aimery of Lemoges. Bohemond would further tie himself to the Emperor by marrying his niece, Theodora Komnene, around 1176. To marry Theodora, Bohemond probably divorced his first wife, Orguilleuse d'Harenc, mother of his two eldest sons Raymond and Bohemond IV. In 1180 Bohemond and Raymond III of Tripoli looked to install an ally, Baldwin of Ibelin, as King of Jerusalem. The troubled kingdom had enemies and was ruled by Baldwin IV, a childless leper. Without an heir and in poor health he searched for a suitable person who could marry his sister Sibylla. Sibylla's son from her first marriage, Baldwin V, would become nominal king upon his death and would need a regent. Bohemond III and Raymond III entered Jerusalem in force to assert their claims but Sibylla instead married Guy of Lusignan, a prominent and well-connected knight in her brothers service. It is unknown whether Baldwin approved of this marriage but he did not take steps to reverse it. On the death of Baldwin IV in 1185, and the death of his successor, Sibylla's son Baldwin V, soon after, Guy was made King by Sibylla who handed him her crown. An attempted coup failed to materialize leaving Guy on the throne. Guy and Sibylla’s rule would prove disastrous. In just two years Guy would face humiliating defeat at the Battle of Hattin and Jerusalem would fall to Saladin, Sultan of Egypt and Syria and founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty. Miniature from a French translation of William of Tyre's Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum, It depicts William's discovery of leprosy in the future Baldwin IV Saladin executes Reynald of Châtillon after the disasterous battle of Hattin from William of Tyre, Historia Bohemond III divorced Theodora shortly after her uncle's death and married Sibylle de Burzey. This marriage was strongly contested by the clergy who claimed the woman was wicked. Bohemond could not be deterred from the marraige. He imprisoned or banished church leaders and nobles who opposed him and confiscated their property. He was excommunicated by Pope Alexander III but still refused all attempts to mediate the situation. Bohemond negotiated a peace treaty with Saladin who had been harassing Antioch in 1183. He then took steps to consolidate and strengthen Antioch's defenses. Guy of Jerusalem instead engaged Saladin and suffered a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Hattin in 1187, Jerusalem would fall soon after. Raymond III of Tripoli and Bohemond's eldest son Raymond fought in the battle but escaped. Saladin then invaded Antioch but Bohemond was able to mount a successful defense. Bohemond's eldest son Raymond was made Count of Tripoli on the death of his godfather, Raymond III, shortly after the Battle of Hattin. He ruled Tripoli as Raymond IV but after only two years he was recalled by his father who wanted his eldest son and heir at his court. Raymond was replaced as Count of Tripoli by his younger brother, Bohemond IV. In 1194 Leo II of Armenia took the castle of Bagras from Saladin who had previously taken it from Bohemond and the Knights Templar who now demanded it be returned to them. Bohemond was led to believe that Leo wished to negotiate but when Bohemond came to meet with him, Leo instead captured and imprisoned Bohemond who was released only after he relinquished all claims to Armenian lands. Bohemond further allied himself with Leo by marrying his son Raymond to Leo's niece Alice in 1195. Raymond died in 1199 leaving an heir, Raymond-Roupen, his son by Alice. When Bohemond III died in 1201 the succession was disputed between his second son, Bohemond IV, and Raymond-Roupen, his grandson through Raymond. Bohemond IV initially prevailed but the issue came to blows leading to the War of the Antiochene Succession and Raymon-Roupen, with help from his uncle Leo II of Armenia, took Antioch in 1216. Raymon-Roupen's reign would be short lived as Bohemond IV was able to retake Antioch three years later. Bohemond IV would rule both Antioch and Tripoli while Raymond-Roupen would die trying to claim the throne of Armenia. Bohemond III, with a rule that lasted almost 40 years, was one of, if not the longest serving princes of the kingdom of Jerusalem and he was certainly one of the most influential as members of his family had become high ranking members of the royal houses of Constantinople, Hungary and Cilician Armenia among others. Less a crusader and more an opportunist, Bohemond, as a native of the Levant, was far more concerned with the survival and enlargement of his realm and preservation of his rule than the business of crusading. He often sought peace treaties just as much if not more than war which is one reason he survived so long in the cut throat harsh world of Outremer. All coin images mine own, all others linked. As always, please feel free to share.