Raymond III of Tripoli and the Crusader "campgate"

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by seth77, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Raymond III is one of the most important figures in the Crusader States. He was Count of Tripoli from 1152 to his death in 1187, served twice as baillie for the Kingdom of Jerusalem, first for Baldwin IV (1174-1176) and then for Baldwin V (1185-1186), was Prince of Galilee by jus uxoris between 1174 until his death in 1187, and Lord of Beirut (cca. 1185-1186/7).

    In 1164 he participated in a campaign against the Zengids, which ended in disaster at Harim, where he was captured alongside the Prince of Antioch, the titular Count Joscelin III of Edessa, Hugo VIII de Lusignan and his knights and the military envoys of Constantinople. With Raymond captive in Aleppo, Tripoli was ruled by Amalric, the King of Jerusalem, who acted as baillie in the count's name.

    Released in 1173 after paying a large ransom, Raymond quickly got a hold of his county and in 1174 he extended his influence to Jerusalem, where he became regent for the young Leper King.

    The seal of Raymond III as Count of Trripoli, cca. mid 1170s.

    After being released and getting back in charge in Tripoli, the earlier copper coinage minted while Amalric was regent, to circulate with the billon denier -- the pougeoise raymondin with crescent and star -- was discontinued and a new type was put into circulation:

    Raymondin type pougeoise minted under the regency of Amalric, cca. 1165.

    New pougeoise "Castle copper" type, minted under the direct authority of Raymond, cca. 1173/4-1187.

    This "castle coppers" type appeared around 1173 and was kept in circulation and was struck by different counts of Tripoli up until the 1240s. The earlier specimens though (like the one above) are easy to distinguish thanks to their full flans, fine style lettering and good engraving of the design and devices. The campgate is most likely a simplification of the stronghold of Tripoli, as presented on the seal of Raymond (see above). It is also reminiscent of the famous campgate coinages of the Tetrarchy and the Constantinian era.

    By the 1230s, under the direct influence of the Genoese merchants and navy (a tendency that manifested itself throughout the whole eastern Levantine coast) the "campgate" became less of a campgate and more of a Genoese tower:

    Denaro of Genova, cca. 13th century.

    bohemond tripoli.JPG
    Copper pougeoise of the late type, minted under Bohemond V of Antioch, as Count of Tripoli, cca. 1235-1240.

    The "campgate" design might have also been borrowed for the use on other items, like for instance on tesserae mercantile or gate tokens:

    Tessera mercantile or gate token, Tripoli or an Italian community in the Crusader Levant, probably 13th century. BO could stand for Bohemond, perhaps Bohemond "le Borgne" or Bohemond V of Antioch.

    As Prince of Galilee, Raymond III was one the richest barons of the realm and his position was strong enough to make peace by himself with Saladin and oppose the King of Jerusalem. His enmity towards Guy de Lusignan, who was crowned by Sibylla and accepted by the Haute Cour in 1186, was put aside only after intense diplomacy by the Ibelin brothers and the high prelates of Nazareth and Tyre. In early summer 1187, under the pressure of continuous encroachment by Saladin, the total disregard for peace and the conditions of that peace by Saladin's troops in Galilee and the ever present possibility of a full invasion, Raymond denounced the truce he had with him and did homage to Guy.

    To the right, Raymond III of Tripoli tries to save the True Cross, alongside Guy de Lusignan, during the battle at Hattin, according to Matthew Paris, Chronica majora, fol 279.

    In the attempt to free Tiberias in Galilee from Saladin's invasion, which resulted in the disaster at the Horns of Hattin, the Crusader army was crushed. Together with Reynald of Sidon, Baldwin and Balian d'Ibelin, Joscelin III of Edessa and one of the d'Embriaco brothers of Gibelet, Raymond breaks the encirclement of Saladin's troops and escapes the slaughter.

    Hearing of the disaster, Eschiva de Bures, Raymond's wife and Princess of Galilee, surrenders Tiberias and flees to meet Raymond in Tyre.

    They would reach Tripoli eventually, where he would die soon after, around the time that Jerusalem fell to Saladin. With no children of their own, Raymond leaves Tripoli to Raymond of Antioch, his godson and Bohemond III's son. The Principality of Galilee is lost with the surrender of Tiberias, but the titulature passes to the family of Saint Omer.

    A Raymond-like character, loosely based on historical facts and played by Jeremy Irons, appears in the movie Kingdom of Heaven as "Tiberias" -- apparently because the producers of the movie decided that they couldn't have both a Reynald and a Raymond in the same movie because the two names sound too much alike.

    If true, this says a lot about the way these movie people regard the attention span of the movie goers.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  3. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    In the 1190s, after Bohemond "le Borgne" of Antioch got instated as Count of Tripoli, the quality of the coinage dropped -- as it happened in the Latin Kingdom too during and after the Saladin invasion and the Third Crusade. The coinage assigned to Bohemond of Antioch at Tripoli is quite scarce and unsightly, being struck on thin copper flans of very spread fabric with dies which look like they were engraved under haste and pressure. These new coins follow the "castle coppers" type but what differentiates this new issue from the previous ones is the crude castle, small doorway and the feeble lettering, often missing or off-flan.
    Type 3 (as per Sabine) was issued in 1190 and after, during a period of uncertainty for both Antioch and Tripoli, and is rather scarce:

  4. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Superb write-up tackling important historical events along with corresponding coins.
    The only coin I have from that period belongs to a rival of the Crusaders.His name is Kutb-Eddine Zengid. The coin is very particular since the bust imitates the Roman Western style. Besides, it's a bronze dirham, a denomination which usually refers to
    silver coins. It was issued circa 600 AH or nearly 1200 AD.

    KutbEddine    Zengid.jpg KutbMohammad.JPG
  5. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Glad you enjoyed it. It's a very condensed and sintetic presentation of a portion of the numismatic history of the County of Tripoli. I also tried to put dates to the coins, which many collectors and dealers don't do, while reference authors have tried to do for the last 100 years.
  6. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Redditor Lucis Aeternae

    Great coins and nice write-up @seth77 !
  7. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    The following coin highlights the Cross of Jerusalem. It was issued by a king of the Lusignan dynasty (James) in 1463, long after the Crusaders had withdrawn from the Holy City. James2Cyprs  Lusignan.jpg Jacques 1463 Batardsizain.jpg
  8. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    It's a nice coin. I've written a post about this type here.
    Alegandron and 7Calbrey like this.
  9. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Another Bohemond "le Borgne" AE pougeoise from Tripoli, which just sold on ebay for 120$:

  10. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    An even better preserved pougeoise of the "Castle copper" type of Raymond III of 1173/4-1187:

    Bing likes this.
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