gigliato struck by the Knights Hospitaller, a military order originally founded in 1099 in the context of the First Crusade: Knights Hospitaller (Order of St. John) at Rhodes, under Raymond Bérenger, AR Gigliato, 1365-1374. Obv: + F RAIMUNDVS BERENGERII D GRA M; Grand Master, wearing cloak with cross on shoulder, kneeling l. in prayer before patriarchal cross set on steps; arms of Raymond Bérenger to r. Rev: + OSPITAL ♣ S • IOhS • IRLNI : QTS • RODI •; cross fleury with arms of the Knights Hospitaller at the end of each arm. 28 mm, 3.64g. Ref: Metcalf 1208–1210; CCS 22. The History: After loosing their last foothold in the Holy Land with the Fall of Acre in 1291, the Knights Hospitaller, also known as the Order of St. John, first moved their base of operations to Cyprus. Yet, their position in Cyprus, where they had to depend on the goodwill of the Lusignan ruler and financial support from Europe, was rather difficult. The Order thus sought to found a territorial dominion of its own. In 1306–1310, the Knights Hospitaller invaded and conquered the island of Rhodes, which previously had been under Byzantine rule. At Rhodes, they established a de facto sovereign Crusader state which lasted until the Ottoman conquest of the island in 1522 and the subsequent withdrawal of the Knights Hospitaller to Malta. Under Grand Master Foulques de Villaret (r. 1305–1319), the Order first began to experiment with striking coins, shortly after their arrival at Rhodes. Foulques’ successor Hélion de Villeneuve (r. 1319–1346) introduced the large gigliato, which soon became the most important coin of the Order of St. John. The Obverse: On the obverse, we see the Grand Master kneeling in prayer in front of a patriarchal cross. This design derives from the obverse of the personal seals used by the Grand Masters of the Order of St. John. Below are the seals of Raymond du Puy (Grand Master, c. 1121–1160) and Garnier de Naplouse (Grand Master, c. 1189–1192), which testify to the use of this image by the Order almost two centuries before it appeared on coins: (Image sources here and here) The legend on my coin translates as “Brother Raymond Bérenger, Grand Master by the Grace of God.” Notable details added to the earlier sphragistic design include the small personal coat of arms of Raymond Bérenger in the right field, as well as the detailed depiction of the knightly cloak with the cross on the shoulder, which emphasizes Raymond’s status as cruce signatus. The Reverse: The reverse of my coin essentially copies the gigliati of the Kingdom of Naples first struck under Charles II in 1303 AD. Here is an example of a Neapolitan gigliato issued by Charles' son Robert “the Wise” a few years later: Kingdom of Naples, under Robert "the Wise" of Anjou, AR gigliato, 1309–1317. Naples mint (?). Obv: +ROBERT DEI GRA IERL ET SICIL REX; Robert sitting facing on lion throne, holding lily scepter and globus cruciger. Rev: + hOnOR. REGIS. IUDICIU. DILIGIT; floral cross, lilies in quadrants. 28mm, 3.93g. Ref: MIR Napoli 28. The Knights Hospitaller kept the general reverse design but replaced the Anjou fleurs-de-lis of the Neapolitan gigliato with four shields of the Order of St. John. Instead of the Biblical quote from Psalm 98:4, they added a strongly abbreviated legend translating as “The Hospital of St. John at Jerusalem, Convent of Rhodes.” The Denomination: In the early 14th century, the Neapolitan gigliato was an important trade coin in the Eastern Mediterranean. It was copied by different authorities including the Knights Hospitaller, the Genoese at Chios, and even some Muslim princes (see Schlumberger 1878, pp. 478–490). Henry II, the exiled Lusignan king of Jerusalem residing at Rhodes, also struck comparable large silver coins in the gros tradition. Schlumberger called their design “une imitation évidente des gigliati napolitains” (Schlumberger 1878, p. 192). The Knights Hospitaller probably encountered Henry's coins and recognized their value for trade during the short residency of the Order on Cyprus: Lusignan Kingdom of Cyprus, under Henry II, AR gros grand (second series 1b), 1285-1324 AD (probably struck after 1310 AD), Famagusta (?) mint. + hЄnRI RЄI DЄ (triple pellet stops), Henry seated facing on throne decorated with lions, holding lis-tipped scepter and orb. Rev: + IЄRuSAL'M Є DЄ ChIPR; Jersualem cross. 26.5mm, 4.50g. Ref: Metcalf; The Gros grand and the Gros petit of Henry II of Cyprus, part 2 (1983), no. 279–280; CCS 52. Ex Künker. Generally speaking, the Neapolitan gigliato and its imitations in turn derived from the French gros tournois, a coin struck from fine silver and worth twelve deniers. First introduced in 1266, the gros tournois met the need for a reliable and large denomination created by the increased volume of supraregional trade, and constituted an attractive alternative to the smaller Venetian grosso that fulfilled a similar function especially in the Alpine-Adriatic regions. It inspired different similar large medieval silver coins, including the gigliato, the English groat, and different German Groschen. Here is an example of a gros tournois from my collection, issued by the French king Philippe IV, who is most famous for suppressing the Knights Templar and executing their last Master: Kingdom of France, under Philippe IV "le Bel" ("the Fair"), AR Gros Tournois à l’O Rond, 1285–1314 AD (struck 1295–1314 AD), Tours mint. Obv: +BHDICTV SIT HOME DHI nRI DEI IhV XPI/+ PhILIPPVS REX, cross pattée; 3-pellet stops. Rev: +TVRONVS°CIVIS, châtel tournois; border of twelve lis. 26mm, 3.93g. Ref: Duplessy 213. Ex Knopik. Please post your gigliati, coins in the gros tradition, or crusader coins!