AR Denier (0.84 g, 18mm, 7).

      Mint: Angers.
      Struck: 1246-1266.
                Cross pattée; omega and lis in 1st and 2nd quarters.
                Monogram of Fulk.
      Ref: Legros 728; Poey d' Avant 1521; Duplessy, Féodales
                380 var. (obv.legend); Boudeau 156; Roberts 4116.

Notes: Charles I of Anjou was one of the greatest leaders of his age, along with his older brother, Louis IX (St. Louis) of France. Charles was the youngest son of Louis VIII of France, but was born after his father had died. He was given the counties of Anjou and Maine in his father's will, and was invested in them in 1247. At the same time, he was married to Beatrice of Provence, daughter of Raymond Berenguer IV. Through her, Charles inherited Raymond's territories, the counties of Provence and Forcalquier, but his authority was challenged by Beatrice's mother, Beatrice of Savoy, and a number of other nobles. Charles was unable to do much, as he had joined his brother, Louis IX, on the Seventh Crusade in 1248. After fighting bravely at the battles of Damietta and Mansourah, he returned in 1250 to confront the open rebellion in Provence. By 1252, he had suppressed the uprising, and secured his position as count in Provence. In 1254, Louis mediated a settlement between his brother and Beatrice of Savoy, in which she relinquished her claim on Forcalquier. Charles spent the next few years consolidating his position in Provence. In 1263, long dissatisfied with the Hohenstaufen kings of Naples and Sicily, Pope Urban IV offered the crown of Naples and Sicily to Charles, which he accepted. In 1266 at the Battle of Benevento, Charles defeated the Hohenstaufen king Manfed and became the uncontested master of Sicily. Nevertheless, in 1267, the Hohenstaufen emperor Conradin marched his army into northern Italy, attempting to reclaim the kingdom, but was defeated by Charles at the Battle of Tagliacozzo the following year. Now in firm control of all Italy, Charles began to look east; he had obtained control of a number of territories in Greece and the Aegean which had been possessions of Manfred. His control over these territories was confirmed by the exiled Latin emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin II, who saw Charles as a strong ally against a resurgent Byzantine empire. The marriage of his son and daughter into the ruling house of Hungary also bolstered Charles' position in the region. With his position in the east secure, he began to formulate plans to revive the Latin Empire. His plans had to be postponed after he committed to join his brother on the Eighth Crusade, against Tunis. Unfortunately, Louis died before joining Charles, who was forced to take on the Muslims alone. Although he was successful, his army was exhausted, and rife with illness. From 1270-1272, Charles expanded his control in the Adriatic, and conquered Albania and proclaimed himself king. Over the following decade, Charles and his commanders fought numerous battles against the Byzantines and their allies in north Italy and Greece. He also bought the kingship of Jerusalem in 1277 (though his representative ruled there in his behalf, Charles never visited the city). The intrigues of the Byzantine Emperor Michael resulted in the famous Sicilian Vespers, a massive uprising against French rule in Sicily, in 1282. Charles took an army into Messina to attempt to recover his kingdom, but was forced to withdraw when the Byzantine-allied king of Aragon, Peter III intervened on behalf of the Sicilians, who hailed him as king. The war between the Anjevins and Aragonese continued in Italy until Charles died in 1285. Although Sicily was lost, Charles had established a firm hold over Naples and his eastern possessions (save Constantinople), which remained under Anjevin control for many years.

This particular coin type was the first coinage of Charles in any of his possessions. It's relative chronology is confirmed by the continued use of the monogram of Fulk on the reverse, which had been used on Anjevin deniers since the reign of Fulk IV (1069-1129). In 1266, Angers began issuing a new type of denier with Charles' title as king of Sicily.