Featured Medieval - The Champagne Fairs

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by FitzNigel, Feb 3, 2017.

  1. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    I don't know how I missed the long discussion about medievals with ancients! TIF - no need to apologize! I know my area of interest is the oddball out (I've said before, ancients are the dark side, medievals are the bastard children), and like you, I skip over posts that I don't have an interest in. I just enjoy having a forum where there are people who appreciate the history and the coins!
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  3. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Even though I have very few Medievals, I enjoy reading the threads.
    Severus Alexander and FitzNigel like this.
  4. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Ahaha, I always thought that the Meds were already part of the Ancients? (I always post both of my acquisitions on this site) ... sorry if I've been a coin-renegade!! (Meds & Ancients just seem like a cool combo, right?)
    Severus Alexander and FitzNigel like this.
  5. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    I'd like to revive this thread with an interesting and, I think, rare coin, stemming from the beginning of coinage in the area: an anonymous denier of the 990s:

    provins sens.JPG
    Sorry for the photo, I guess it's the British aesthetics.

    The coins comes from a British collector and is what some would call a "large denier" off cca. 21/22mm and 1.1-1.6g.

    Poey d'Avant lists 3 similar types (#5959-5961, p. 248) while Boudeau describes this exact type as #1753, p. 224.

    Why is this coin interesting?

    Well, because it can, by the strength of the obverse monogram (interpreted by Boudeau as a monogramme reverse of Raoul), be ascribed to the reigns of Eudes I de Provins et Blois (975-996) and his cousin and ally Renard/Renaud de Sens (948-996/9), and as such is one of the first coinages for both Provins et Sens, before the champ/peigne and alpha and omega cross on the obverse type, which appeared around 1025-1030 (starting with Boudeau #1754) in Champagne.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  6. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Awesome coin Seth - is it yours? It would be nice if we could see more details.

    By the way, here are some better photos of the coins in the OP:

    Med-05a-FCh-1180-Henry II-D-Troyes-4145.jpg
    French Feudal, Champagne
    Henry II, r. 1180-97
    Troyes Mint, AR Denier, 20.52 mm x 0.9 grams
    Obv.: +HENRI COMES, Cross Pattee with annulet in 2nd and 3rd quarters
    Rev.: +TRECAS CIVITAS, TEBO Monogram
    Ref.: Roberts 4145

    Med-05a-FCh-1181-Henry II-D-Provins-4727.jpg
    French Feudal, Champagne
    Henry II, r. 1181-1197
    Provins Mint, AR Denier 18.4 mm x 1.0 grams
    Obv.: CASTRI PRVVINS. Comb of Champagne, 'V' made of three triangles above, annulet on either side, legend beginning at 10hr.
    Rev.: +HENRI COMES. Cross Pattee, pellet in first quarter, omega in second, alpha in third, and annulet in fourth
    Ref.: Roberts, 4727 variety, De Wit 512-13 variety

    Italy - Rome
    Roman Senate, c. 12-13th C.
    AR Denier, 17.26 mm x 0.9 grams
    Obv.: [RO]M[A CAPVT] MV[N]. Legend beginning at 3hr. Comb center, S above with sun to left and moon to right
    Rev.: [SENATVS . P.O.R.]. Cross patee, 1st q. moon, 2nd q. pellet, 3rd q. star, 4th q. V
    Ref.: Roberts 4733 Variety
    Note: Imitative of Champagne

    I’m away from my reference a the moment, but I wonder if the reverse inscription on the Roman coin (not visible on my coin) is actually SENATVS PQR instead of POR... it would be an interesting continuation of the Roman senate if that is the case, and I wouldn’t put it past myself to have a typo...
  7. Milesofwho

    Milesofwho Omnivorous collector

    I think does have a Q, and I always thought it was an interesting continuation too. I had a chance to see three blanks from the Roman Senate period. Maybe I’ll buy them someday.
  8. Aethelred

    Aethelred The Old Dead King Supporter

    @FitzNigel Great thread, I really enjoyed reading it. As is usually the case with a well written thread, now I want one.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  9. TheRed

    TheRed Well-Known Member

    That was a great read @FitzNigel and the coins are wonderful. I now have a really strong urge to head over to CGB and start spending!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  10. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    The deniers provinois of Thibauld II come up often for a good price (and are usually much nicer than mine...). I would like to upgrade at so,e point, or maybe just add a few more. Getting these coins was partly because of my interest in the coins of the Angevins, as Henry II was the grandson of Eleanor of Aquitaine from her first marriage (he daughter, Marie de Champagne, married Henry I). When I stumbled upon the Roman imitations, I just knew I had to grab one of those as well...

    It feels a little weird to be talking about year old purchases like this... oh well - I still love the coins. I wish I had more time to do some more write ups, as I have gotten a few nice pieces in the last year. Work just keeps bogging me down...
  11. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    The coin is well worn and the photos are not very clear, but that is mostly due to the condition of the coin I suppose.

    As I noted yesterday, with a diameter of 22x21mm, and a weight of 1.15g, it is one of the "large deniers" of the late 10th century.

    OBV: + PSDIVNS CATO (or similar)

    Here is the monogram, as I understand it, a degenere by all means, but a different-looking degeneree:


    than Boudeau lists and draws for #1751, here, note the differences (besides my lack of talent at drawing):


    At #1753, Boudeau lists a similar example, but with a reversed monogram than the one of #1751. I think it is a different variation of an earlier monogram (maybe even of Raoul as Boudeau notes, or a Raoul monogram redrawn to become a monogram of Eudes himself) and not just a monogramme reverse.

    Boudeau #1751 dates from around 977 as a terminus post quem. The spec I posted yesterday is later, but prior to the change that happened at the beginning of the 11th century, when the champ/peigne arrived.

    So its possible date is most likely at the end of the reign of Eudes I, considering the overall design, the monogram and the weight, plus the hoard information provided by the hoards of Puy (Lafaurie, Le trésor monétaire du Puy (Haute-Loire). Contribution à l’étude de la monnaie de la fin du Xe siècle) and Fecamp (F. Dumas-Dubourg, Le Trésor de Fécamp et le monnayage en Francie occidentale pendant la seconde moitié du Xe siècle).

    The authors give it a terminus ante quem of 996 to 999.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  12. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody...

    This thread inspired me to get one of the Roman imitative deniers. This will represent Rome in my “one medieval coin from each city I visited in Europe” collection.

    It was NOT easy to find (only one available as far as I could tell in a half-hour of searching).

    TheRed, Bing, FitzNigel and 1 other person like this.
  13. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    They are scarce! Yours is nice and round though
  14. Craig Z

    Craig Z Member

    Awesome article! I absolutely love collecting and learning about everything medieval!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  15. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    The coinage of Provins seems to be ending with Thibaut IV de Champagne, perhaps around the time he took the throne of Navarre in 1234:


    Until 1222 when he came of age, Thibaut was under the regency of his mother Blanche de Navarre. During the 1220s he solidified his rule in Champagne with enormous material costs. In 1234 he inherited the Kingdom of Navarre and established himself as one of the most powerful barons in France and Spain. In 1239 he conducted the "Barons Crusade" -- one of the most successful crusading endeavors since the First Crusade, which brought back into the rule of the Kingdom of Jerusalem the City of Jerusalem (such as it was by this time) and most of the territory between Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. Thibaut also remained in history as a great poet and trouvere. You can listen to an interpretation of one of his chants de croisade here:

    His coinage in Provins continued the traditional denier ou provinois, which by the 1200s was widespread not only in the whole County of Champagne but in the neighboring fiefs too. The new design with the three towers was introduced perhaps around the 1210s or even later, at the height of the denier parisis of Philip II Augustus of France and his bid at creating a monetary union between the Kingdom and its neighboring fiefs in northern France.

    In "Money and Its Use in Medieval Europe" Peter Spufford notes Champagne as one of the counties which aligned its coinage to the standard of the livre parisis, which most likely happened in the 1210s or 1220s under Thibaut IV and was marked by the new design in the provinois.


    AR20mm 1g denier ou provinois, minted at the Chateau de Provins, possibly cca. 1210-1230s (?).

    OBV: + TEBAT COMES; Cross cantonnee, with alpha, omega and 2 crescents.

    REV: CASTRI PVVINS; Comb/field, with 3 crenelated towers above it.

    REF: Poey d'Avant #5982 p. 252; Boudeau #1765, p. 225.

    PS: Slowly but surely, this thread is turning into one of my favorites on this board.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
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  16. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    I love that image of the castle above the comb. I wonder if this is meant to represent “Caesar’s Tower.” Here is the image from the OP:

    If you took off the wooden roof, there are some pretty clear crenellations on the central tower, and if you faced the castle from one side I could see how it might look like a three-towered castle.

    I’m not entirely convinced this is the castle that is being depicted, but it would make sense for it to be modeled after a local structure. Maybe there was another wooden castle that no longer exists? I’m sure people had an abstract idea of what castles looked like, and maybe that is all it is, but it would seem strange to have the inscription “CASTRI PVVINS” and depict a castle, but not THE castle of Provins...
    TheRed likes this.
  17. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    It's also a very medieval and surprisingly well thought out image: the chateau with its powerful stronghold guarding over the agricultural landscape.

    I don't know the stronghold of Tour Cesar, but it does seem about a century older than Thibaut IV's era. It is also the keep rather than the whole fortified lot. So it might be represented on the coinage in the effigy as the middle crenelated tower above, while the towers of the distinctly 13th century ramparts flank it below, as seen here:

    The elevated Tour Cesar from the 12th century, towering above the rest of the fortifications.

    01 - Provins Porte St-Jean.jpg
    Porte Saint-Jean, reconstructed, probably also crenelated back when it was in use in the 13th century.

    The crenelated outside wall and the defense towers, as they might have looked in the 13th century.

    I did not visit the Chateau Provins to be 100% certain of this interpretation, this is just an idea.
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  18. BoonTheGoon

    BoonTheGoon Grade A mad lad

    Those coins are cool, I knew the shutzen was old but I never knew how old, it was frederik the first who first used it with germany right?
  19. kaparthy

    kaparthy Supporter! Supporter

    Nice thread. I do not remember how I found Troyez and the great fairs. At the time, my interest was in ancients, as you can tell from the title of this article.
    “Champagne: The Athens of the Middle Ages,” The Celator, Vol. 25. No. 11, November 2009.
    Great thread here. I have nothing to add. Thanks to all. Also, hat tip to Nap on Page 2 for the outstanding example. Fleur indeed!
    FitzNigel likes this.
  20. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    It seems that this thread is getting revived again. Here is another image of the Provins et Sens coin presented earlier, under Eudes I de Blois, as Count of Provins and Renaud I as Lord of Sens, where one can better discern the monogram. Boudeau hinted to Raoul but, as visible in the picture, the monogram could also be of Eudes, following the Raoul overall shape. This monogram is not recorded either by Boudeau nor Poey d'Avant.

  21. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody...

    I like these Rome deniers imitating those of Champange :)

    BDDBA9F4-AB60-4A41-A012-8B49302995D5.jpeg FBE46CCE-BA24-4078-BE81-F16A95AA90EF.jpeg

    And here’s one from Champange:

    EE148F88-A1F5-45B5-9E30-EE3EE48D0CBD.jpeg 8CFD3CF3-DC3D-4766-B969-BA8BB22B508A.jpeg

    All of these were inspired by this great thread. :)
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