Featured NORMANS IN SICILY: Peaceful Coexistence

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by PMONNEY, Jan 4, 2018.


    PMONNEY Flaminivs

    - Roger I Grand Count of Sicily( c. 1031 – 22 June 1101), was a Norman nobleman who became the first Count of Sicily from 1071 to 1101. Born in Normandy, he was a member of the House of Hauteville.

    - Roger II, sucessor to his father, Roger I, he became himself first Count of Sicily from 1101 to 1130, then king of Sicily from 1130-1154 , and his descendants in the male line continued to rule Sicily, down to 1194.

    - William I. King of Sicily.. the second King of Sicily, ruling from his father's death in 1154

    to his own in 1166.

    Under the Norman kings, Sicily lived a peaceful period of coexistence for Christians, Moslems and Jews, they could freely speak their language and follow their religious rites.

    This is reflected in coins, some of which also reproduced islamic characters (sometimes more imitative than accurate) besides their latin legends.

    For instance, here are three coins of the Normans:

    -ROGER I, Grand Count of Sicily, Obv: ROC ERIVS COME +S . Knight on horseback l., wearing conical helmet, holding oblong shield and standard leant on his right shoulder.Rev.:"+ MARIA MATER DN"#1048;I . Enthroned nimbate Virgin holding on lap Christ child, nimbate and in swaddling clothes (Diam.: 28mm./Mass:13,26 grm.) AE. Trifollaro. Mint: Mileto.,1072-1101 AD. Ref.CNI 286,5.Corpus Nummorum Italicum.

    - ROGER II, Grand Count of Sicily. 1105-1127. Roger stdg. facing, holding globe in l. hand and sceptre in r. hand. In field l. “R” Rev. : latin arrowed cross, in corners “IC.XC.NI.KA”. II” Mint: Palermo or Messina, AE follaro, VF. circa 4.71 gr. Spahr 54 (this exemplar).V F.R

    - WILLIAM I. King of Sicily. 1154 - 1166. Virgin holding infant. Rev.: “W / REX” (2 lines), surrounded by kufik characters. AE mezzo follaro. concave. VF.R

    - Please show your Norman coins of Sicily. Rogero.jpg

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  3. Quant.Geek

    Quant.Geek Well-Known Member

    Outstanding Norman Sicily coins. I especially like Roger I's Maria Mater coin which is missing from my collection. Been looking for a good specimen for a long time. Yours is outstanding in condition!

    Here is Tancred:

    Normans in Sicily: Tancred (1189-1194) AV Tari, ND (MEC-199)

    Obv: ✶ in center field, Kulfic legend around - المالك تنقرير المعتز بالله (King Tancred the Victorious through Allah); Mint-Date formula off flan
    Rev: Large cross with IC XC NI KA in either side; Mint-Date formula off flan


    Normans in Sicily: Tancred (1189-1194) Æ Follaro, ND (MEC 447-8; Spahr 139; Biaggi 1237)

    Obv: ROGERIVS:; in center, REX; above and below, ◎
    Rev: Arabic kufic legend on two lines - المالك تنقرير (al-malik Tanqrir; the King, Tancred)

  4. David@PCC

    David@PCC allcoinage.com

    I don't have any but your William is an interesting looking coin. I can instead offer their enemy in the East Alexios I Komnenos. His predecessors had confrontations with Robert Guiscard for parts of Italy known as the Catepanate which were lost around 1071.

    Alexius I/ Transitional
    AR Histamenon Nomisma
    1081 to 1082 AD
    Obvs: ::KЄRO ΛΛЄϞIω IC XC, Christ bearded and nimbate wearing tunic and kolobion. Holds gospels in left hand
    Revs: ·ΔIMITI ΔϵCΠTH, St. Demetrius standing 3/4 facing presenting labarum to Alexius which holds sword and grasps shaft of labarum.
    27x29mm, 4.17g.
    Thessalonica mint

    From CNG

  5. Pellinore

    Pellinore Well-Known Member

    Yes, an interesting subject. The Normans imitated islamic coinage massively, as you may see in the Grierson volume about Italy, and in those nice catalogs by Alberto d’Andrea (published in Italy, but in English).
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  6. Quant.Geek

    Quant.Geek Well-Known Member

    That is a bold strike on that histamenon nomisma. Far better strike than mine:

  7. Pellinore

    Pellinore Well-Known Member

    In fact, this Norman follaro was 90 years earlier in using Arabic numerals (not writing out the year, as was usual: "seven and thirty and six hundred" for 637). It is dated 533 (= AD 1138). The earliest islamitic coin with a date in Arabic numerals was issued by the Seljugs of Rum in 622 (=1225).

    The date is easy to see in the right picture, lowest line. The 5 is a bit unusual, but recognizable enough. The obverse has a picture of Christ facing, and the reverse has the text in Arabic "'By order of King Roger the Magnificent, the Powerful through God". That last formula evokes the Abbasid caliph titles, especially that of the 10th century caliph Al Muqtadir, Arabic for exactly this: "the Powerful through God". This reminds some of us of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
    14 mm, 1,05 gr. Spahr 62; D'Andrea Normans 229. Grierson 197; p. 116.

  8. David@PCC

    David@PCC allcoinage.com

    Thanks. What is the weight of yours? I have a theory that the chip came that way from the mint possibly to correct the weight of this scarce issue. 2 reasons I think this: of the two listed in DOC one is chipped, and two the weight of mine is on par with unchipped ones despite missing roughly 10% of the flan.
    ominus1 likes this.
  9. Quant.Geek

    Quant.Geek Well-Known Member

    29.1mm and 3.51g. Interesting theory. That could account for most of the ones that are found. Majority have chips around the edges...
  10. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist

    Always love the Normans!

    Med-14-INCal-1098-Roger I-TFol-Mileto-3789.jpg
    Norman Italy - Calabria
    Roger I, r. 1072-1101 (1098-1101)
    Mileto Mint AE Trifollaro, 28.04 mm x 8.3 grams
    Obv.: ROG [ERVS] COME +S. Roger, mounted left wearing Norman helm, holding kite shield and striped banner
    Rev.: + MARIA [MATE]R DNI (’N’ retrograde). Enthroned nimbate Virgin Mary holding on lap Christ child, nimbate and in swaddling clothes right
    Ref.: NCKS 131var., De Wit 3789

    Norman Italy - Capua
    Anfusus, r. 1136-1144; AE Follaro, 10.86 mm x 0.69 grams
    Obv.: O/A/N in left field, standing figure holding sword
    Rev.: Pseudo-Cufic legend, cross above and below
    Ref.: NCKS 14var., [MEC 14.188]

    Med-14-INSic-1130-Roger II-Fol-Messina-177.jpg
    Norman Italy - Sicily
    Roger II, r. 1130-1154 (1130-8)
    AE Follaro, 15.47 mm x 1.4 grams
    Obv.: Ρ/Ο/ΓΕ/ΡΙ/Ο Ρ/Η/Σ (Vertically, Σ Retrograde). Roger standing with scepter in right hand
    Rev.: +IC+XC+NI+KA around cross patent
    Ref.: NCKS 226, [MEC 14, 177]

    Med-14-ISic-1140-Roger II-Tar-Palermo-203 R1.jpg
    Norman Italy - Sicily
    Roger II, r. 1130-1154 (1140-1154)
    Palermo mint, AV Taris, 12.66 mm x 1.1 grams
    Obv.: Outer Cufic legend denoting date and mint, inner Cufic legend al-malik Rujar al-mu’tazz bi-llah, pellet in center of dotted circle
    Rev.: Outer cufic legend denoting date and mint, in center, cross potent on shaft with pellet between IC XC NI KA
    Ref.: NCKS 240, [MEC 14.202]; De Wit 3796

    Med-14-ISic-1166-William II-Fol-Messina-3811.jpg
    Norman Italy - Sicily
    William II, r. 1166-1189 A.D.
    Messina Mint, AE Follaro, 17.23mm x 1.7 grams
    Obv.: + [OPERATAT IN VR]BE MESSANE outside ᵒ / REX W / SCOVS in center (OV ligate)
    Rev.: Arabic legend "al'malik / Ghulyalim / al-thani" (King William 2nd) in center, "bi-amr al-malik al-musta'izz" around edge
    Ref.: NCKS 366a, De Witt 3811, [MEC 14, 401]
  11. Pellinore

    Pellinore Well-Known Member

    Here's a number of tiny coins from the period, the smallest measuring only 7 mm.

    Sic a.jpg

    A billon kharruba of Roger II (mark the Arabic coin name) with a T on both sides, 8 mm, 0.20 gr.
    A silver kharruba of William II with a star at the obverse and a French lily (huh? Yes, apparently) on the reverse, 7 mm, 0.22 gr.
    A silver (billon?) quarter tercenario of Henry VI (Hohenstaufen, 1190-1197) with Arabic text on one side and REX SICIL on the other, 9 mm, 0.79 gr.
    An AE follaro of William II with a lion on obverse and Arabic text on the reverse, 15 mm, 1.9 gr.

    Sic b.jpg
  12. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Fascinating! Love the bilingual coins.

    PMONNEY Flaminivs


    PMONNEY Flaminivs

    very interesting coin. THank you for showing it.
  15. Pellinore

    Pellinore Well-Known Member

    These are the books I'm using for Norman Sicilian coinage:

    Grierson for the full story and the panoramic overview (it's a rather fat volume).

    D'Andrea is a detailed catalog with descriptions of all the texts and a price list that indicates rarity.


    ancientcoinguru, alde, TJC and 7 others like this.
  16. Pellinore

    Pellinore Well-Known Member

    (Sorry if the pics are a bit too large).
  17. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist

    I’m using d’Andrea too, but would like a copy of Grierson. Travaini (Grierson’s co-author) just released a second edition of her book specifically on the Norman coinage of southern Italy, and it is available from NAC. I enquired about obtaining a copy using paypal, but unfortunatly they would only take a wire transfer or check in Euros (and my bank charges so much for an international wire transfer that it would double the cost...).

    So, if any of our European members were interested in helping a collector out, or if some American collectors want to pool some resources to make ordering multiple copies cost-effective, let me know!
    TJC and Curtisimo like this.
  18. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander find me at NumisForums Supporter

    I recommend trying Transferwise for the wire transfer... will pm you the details.
  19. Pellinore

    Pellinore Well-Known Member

    One can find Grierson fragments on Google. And if you want a special page I can make a picture for you.
  20. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Nice thread, thanks.

    You may have just inspired my next coin purchase, when I get some money coming in- who knows?

    I say that because this gold tari of Roger II has been in one of my watchlists for a few months.

    I like the blend of cultures, the interesting historical period, and the toning on this particular example.


    But I'm still on the fence, and comparing these, and wanting to learn a little more before I purchase one. I'm a complete novice in this particular area.

    Still, your thread has just "nudged" me just a little bit in this direction, perhaps. ;)

    (PS- I think I want to hold out for one that has a full date on the flan and nice toning. Hmmm. What dou you think?).
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  21. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    The Tari (local patois for tetaron, or a quarter of a nomisma of 4.5 grams) pictured on your posting is an excellent specimen. They are often badly struck and some are heavy enough (at 1.5 grams) to have passed as a tremissis but most will weigh in at about 1.1 grams. Do you know the weight of the one pictured?
    TheRed and serafino like this.
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