AR Denier (1.17 g, 22mm, 9). With Hervé, Bishop of Beauvais.

      Mint: Beauvais (provincial mint).
      Struck: Uncertain.
                Cross pattée; pellets in two angles.
                Carolingian monogram.
      Mm: None.
      Ref: Duplessy 1; Lafaurie 6; Ciani 12; Poey d'Avant 6455;
                Boudeau 1891; Roberts 2251.

Notes: Hughes Capet was the first king of France; founder of the Capetian Dynasty. Following the death of the Carolingian king, Louis V, on May 22, 987, Hughes was proclaimed king by a gathering of clergy and Gallic nobles at Senlis on 1 July 987, and was then crowned at Noylon on 3 July. This event was primarily orchestrated by Hughes' ally Adalberon, Archbishop of Reims (the holder of this office held the right to elect and crown the kings of France). Having inherited the Countship of Paris and the Duchy of France from his father, Hughes' power at the time was great, although more political than military. As such, his influence was far greater than Charles, the unpopular Carolingian claimant (by birthright, not by designate). Desiring a strong leader who could unite much of Gaul, the electors at Senlis had little to debate. Hughes' goal, reflecting the sentiment of the electors, was to establish a strong Gallic kingdom which could break free from the grasp of the German Holy Roman Emperors. He was ultimately successful in this endeavor. After a reign of only nine years, Hugh died on 24 October 996, and was succeeded by his son, Robert. Although known by different names in later times, his dynasty lasted until the end of the French monarchy in the mid-1800s.

This coin type is the first royal French coin type, and the only obtainable type in the name of Hughes as King. The whole of the coinage of Hughes Capet, as king, is made up entirely of deniers of Beauvais and Laon, and obols which are known only for Beauvais. The rarity of the Beauvais deniers is comparable to the pennies of the British King William II, with the obols and Laon deniers even moreso. These currencies were poorly struck, and many of the dies were crudely engraved. Rather than being official issues of the crown, the Beauvais coins were struck by Hervé, the bishop of Beauvais from 987 to 998. As such it is also a feudal issue, and is listed in both French royal and feudal references. The reason for the bishop's coining of this type is unknown.

ROBERT II le Pieux (the Pious)

                AR Denier (1.13 g, 20mm, 7). With Otto William, Duke of Burgundy.

      Mint: Mâcon (provincial mint).
      Struck: 996-1002.
      Obv: + ROTBERTVS R
                Cross pattée.
      Rev: + MTSCON CVT
                Monogram of Otto William.
      Mm: None.
      Ref: Duplessy 12; Lafaurie 20; Ciani 23; Poey d'Avant -;
                Boudeau -; Roberts 2291.

Notes: Robert II, son of Hughes Capet, was born in 970 AD. Hughes had his son crowned as successor by his nobles in 986, ensuring the establishment of the new dynasty, and Robert ascended to the throne upon the death of his father in 996. He continued the program of his father to expand the royal domain, thus strengthening the power of the king over the lands of France. A particular method employed by Robert was to acquire any feudal lands left vacant by the death of a noble with no direct heir. This almost always resulted in warfare with a counter-claimant. Robert's relations with the church was troublesome in the beginning of his reign. As typical of temporal leaders of this time, Robert struggled against the Pope Gregory V over the power to appoint bishops within his kingdom. The pope eventually prevailed after he excommunicated Robert for marrying his cousin, Bertha, the Princess of Burgundy. Nevertheless, Robert was extremely religious, and his piety earned him his epithet, "the Pious." One particularly "pious" policy of his was the suppression of any form of heresy, with the most notible event being the execution of a number of Cathars who were discovered in Tolouse in 1022, one of the earliest persecutions of Cathars. After his marriage to Bertha was annulled by Pope Sylvester II, Robert married Constance d'Arles. Constance, whose marriage to Robert was opposed by the family of Bertha, became troublesome for Robert, and resulted in Robert's attempt in 1010 to negotiate with the pope to annull his new marriage and reinstate his former wife, Bertha. The attempt failed, and the torrid marriage culminated in the queen turning their sons, Henry and Robert, against their father. Robert died in the midst of this civil war, and the crown passed to his elder son, Henry.

This coin was struck in Mâcon, the capital of the Duchy of Burgundy. In 965 Otto, son of Hughes the Great and brother of Hughes Capet, died, and the duchy passed to another of the Capetian brothers, Henri the Venerable, who ruled until his death in 1002. Henry had no direct male descendants, thus his death left two legitimate claimants: Otte-Guillaume, Henri's stepson (and count of Mâcon and the County of Burgundy), and Robert, Henri's nephew. Otte-Guillaume was closely aligned to the enemy of the nascent French kingdom, the Germanic Holy Roman Empire, who backed his candidacy, seeking to take the duchy from French control. A conflict ensued, and although Otte was subdued in 1004, the remainder of Burgundy held out until 1015. The following year, Robert gave the duchy to his son Henri, and thereafter became a hereditary possession of the Capetians. This particular coin is especially historic in that it was struck by Otte-Guillaume before his struggle against Robert.


                AR Denier (1.28 g, 22mm, 2).

      Mint: Paris.
      Struck: 1004-1027.
                A ɷ across field, hanging from X in REX.
                Cross pattée.
      Mm: None.
      Ref: Duplessy 16 var. (obv. legend); Lafaurie 25; Ciani 33;
                Roberts 2221.

Notes: Henri, the son of Robert II and Constance d'Arles, was born in Reims in 1008 and crowned king in the same city on May 14, 1027. Before he became king, Henri was made duke of Burgundy in 1016, once his father had taken control of the duchy from the partisans of Otte-Guillaume, who had a counterclaim to the title. Upon the death of Robert II in 1031, the king's wife, Constance, claimed parts of the kingdom for Henri's younger brother, Robert, and revolted along with many nobles. Henri, the crowned heir, appealed for help from other vassals, particularly Robert the Magnificent of Normandy, who gladly gave him their support. Within a year Constance was defeated, and Robert was given the duchy of Burgundy in compensation for his loyalty. From 1033-1044 Henri was mainly embroiled in conflict against the house of Blois. After the successful conclusion of these hostilities to the south and east, Henri's attention turned to the north. The heir of Robert of Normandy, his bastard son, Guillaume (later king of England), was very young upon his accession, and his weak position was explioted by his own vassals who attempted a revolt. In 1047 Henri secured the dukedom for Guillaume in a decisive victory over the vassals at a battle near Caen. A few years later, though, Henri I feared his duke's potential power when Guillaume, who was also a cousin to king Edward the Confessor of England, married the daughter of the count of Flanders. As a result, Henri tried to take Normandy from Guillaume, and invaded the duchy in 1054 and 1058, but was defeated on both occasions. Henri I died on August 4, 1060 in Vitry-en-Brie, France, and was interred in the basilica at Saint Denis. He was succeeded by his son, Philippe I the Fair, but as he was only 7 years of age, Henri's queen, Anne of Kiev, ruled as regent for six years. Henri's reign marked a low point in the early Capetian period, as large portions of the royal territory outside the Ile-de-France were lost or given to vassals in exchange for their support. Nonetheless, he did consolidate the king's control within the royal domains and forged strong alliances.

PHILIPPE I le Bel (the Fair)

                AR Denier (1.14 g, 17mm, 1).

      Mint: Mâcon (provincial mint).
      Struck: Uncertain.
      Obv: + PIIIPVS RX
                Mâconnaise cross, four pellets in quarters.
      Rev: + MATISCON
                Large 'S'; two pellets flanking.
      Mm: None.
      Ref: Duplessy 81; Lafaurie 86; Ciani -; cf. Poey d'Avant 5581;
                Roberts 2246.

Notes: Philippe I, an early king of Capetian France, was primarly concerned with increasing the territory of his kingdom. One of the greatest endeavors of his reign was the attempt to prevent the union of Normandy and England. In 1066, Guillaume I, duke of Normady, conquered England, and it was natural for Philippe to fear that Guillaume's ambition would turn towards his kingdom. Thus, in 1077, he encouraged and supported the eldest son of Guillaume, Robert II, to rebel against his father. Although Robert's rebellion was not successful, upon Guillaume's death in 1087, Robert was willed Normandy. Robert did well to divert the attention of William II of England, but his ongoing struggles with England forced the invasion of Henry I of England, who defeated and imprisoned Robert in 1106. Nevertheless, Henry subsequently did little to aggrivate his relations with France. Philippe's relations with the Pope were soured by many issues, primarily over his divorce and later wedding to Bertrada of Montfort, who was still married to her first husband. As a result, he was excommunicated by popes Urban II and Paschal II. By the end of his reign, Philippe was ultimately unsuccessful in strengthening the French monarchy, but he was at least successful in maintaining it.

This particular coin of Philippe I was struck at the provincial mint of Mâcon in Bourgogne by one of the comptes of Mâcon. Six nobles held this position during his reign: Geoffroi (1049-65), Gui II (1065-78), Guillaume I (1078-85), Etienne I and Reynaud II (1085-1105), and Guillaume II l'Allemand (1105-25).

LOUIS VII le Jeune (the Younger)

                AR Denier (1.02 g, 20mm, 8).

      Mint: Bourges.
      Struck: Uncertain.
      Obv: + LVDOVICUS REX
                Crowned facing head.
      Rev: + VRBS BITVRICA
                Floreate crozier.
      Mm: None.
      Ref: Duplessy 134; cf. Lafaurie 145; Ciani 119; Roberts 2394.

Notes: Louis VII (1120-1180) is the second son of Louis VI the Fat and Adelaide of Maurienne, and became heir upon the death of his brother, Philippe, in 1131. In 1137 he married Eleanor of Aquitaine (22 July), then was crowned king on Christmas day in Bourges, which is where he held court during his reign. Louis accession was tranquil, but soon thereafter he came into violent conflict with Pope Innocent II. The archbishopric of Bourges became vacant, and the king promoted his own candidate against the pope's nominee. This brought an interdict upon the king's lands. At the same time he became involved in a war with Theobald II of Champagne, by permitting Rodolphe, Count of Vermandois and seneschal of France, to repudiate his wife, Theobald's niece, and to marry Petronille of Aquitaine, sister of the queen of France. The Pope excommunicated Rudolphe and Petronille after invalidating his claim to divorce. This confict with the Pope and Theobald was settled, after the intervention of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, by Louis's capitulation (1144) to Pope Celestine II, Innocent's successor. In the course of that war Geoffrey IV (Geoffrey Plantagenet), count of Anjou, completed his conquest of Normandy; Louis, in return for a small concession, acquiesced in the conquest.

In 1147, Louis left embarked on the Second Crusade (which had been promoted by St. Bernard) with Conrad III, leaving Abbé Suger as his regent. The crusade failed miserably, and he returned in 1149, after Suger died. In 1152 Louis, suspecting Eleanor of being unfaithful, had his marriage with her annulled. Her subsequent marriage with Henry Plantagenet (later King Henry II of England), Geoffrey's son, resulted in Henry's claims to Aquitaine (and precipitated the Hundred Years' War). Louis led a half-hearted war against Henry for having married without the authorization of his suzerain; but in August 1154 gave up his rights over Aquitaine, and contented himself with an indemnity. That same year, Louis married Constance, daughter of Alfonso VII, king of Castile, but she died in 1160, and still Louis had no heir. A month after she died, he married Adele of Champagne, and their son, Philip (later king Philip II), was born in 1165.

From 1159 to the later 1160s, Louis supported Raymond V, Count of Toulouse, against Henry II of England, and Pope Alexander III in his great conflict with Frederick I Barbarossa, the Holy Roman Emperor. He also received Thomas à Becket during his exile from England, and attempted to reconcile Becket with Henry II. In the early 270s, Louis joined in the revolt of Henry's sons (1173-74), but won no territory. Domestically, Louis continued his father's expansion of French royal power; where Louis VI's successes lay primarily within the Ile-de-France, though, Louis VII extended his authority outside the royal domain. Stricken with illness and anticipating his death, Louis had his son, Philip, crowned king in 1179. Louis died the following year at the Abbey at Saint-Pont, Allier.

Historians believe that the turmoil of the first 15 years of Louis' reign were due primarily to his youth and the fact that he was not trained for kingship--he inherited that role upon the death of his older brother, only six years before Louis' coronation. Nevertheless, Louis learned from his mistakes and passed the monarchy to his son with enhanced prestige and power.

This monetary type of Bourges, with the portrait of the king, was inaugurated by Louis VI, and continued to be used throught the reign of Philip II. The deniers of Louis VII present a blossomed Latin cross on the reverse whereas those of Louis VI have a simple cross or a confined cross of two besants.


                AR Denier (1.26 g, 18mm, 10).

      Mint: Laon (provincial mint).
      Struck: Circa 1180-1201.
      Obv: + PHILIPVS RЄ
                Crowned facing bust.
      Rev: + ROGERVS ЄPE
                Bust facing wearing bishop's cap.
      Mm: None.
      Ref: Duplessy 184; Lafaurie 173; Ciani 150; Poey d'Avant 6545;
                Boudeau 1905; Roberts 2387.

Notes: Philip II was born August 21, 1165 at Gonesse, Val-d'Oise, France, the son of Louis VII of France and his third wife, Adèle de Champagne. In declining health, his father had him crowned at Reims in 1179. He was married on April 28, 1180 to Isabelle of Hainaut (1170-1190) and they had one son. A few years after Isabelle's passing, on August 15, 1193 he married Ingeborg of Denmark (1175-1236). The marriage produced no children and ended in divorce. Philippe II married for a third time on May 7, 1196 to Princess '''Agnes of Maranie''' (c. 1180-1201). They had two children, Philippe Hurepel (1200-1234) and Marie (1198-1224).

Philippe II ranks among the greatest of the Capetian kings. During his reign the royal domains were more than doubled, and the royal power was consolidated at the expense of the feudal lords. During 1181-86, Philippe defeated a coalition of Flanders, Burgundy, and Champagne, securing Amiens, Artois, and part of Vermandois from the count of Flanders. He then attacked the English territories in France (1187). Allied with Richard, the rebellious son of King Henry II of England, Philippe compelled Henry to cede several territories to him. After Henry's death in 1189, Philippe and Richard, now king of England, left on the Third Crusade with the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. They soon quarreled, and after the capture of Acre, in 1191, Philippe returned to France. Richard also left the crusade but was captured on his way home by Leopold V of Austria. During Richard's captivity (1192-94), Philippe conspired against him with Richard's brother John. After his release in 1194 Richard made war on Philippe, compelling him to surrender most of his annexations. When John acceded to the English throne on Richard's death (during his campaign against Philippe in 1199), Philippe espoused the cause of Arthur I of Bretagne and, in 1204, invaded John's French domains, forcing him to surrender Normandy, Brittany, Anjou, Maine, and Touraine. Philippe later conquered Poitou. In 1214, at Bouvines, the French defeated the allied forces of John, Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV, and the count of Flanders; it was a victory that established France as a leading European power. When the English barons revolted against John in 1215, they invited Philippe's son Louis (later Louis VIII of France) to invade England and take the English throne; the venture failed. Philippe II died July 14, 1223 at Mantes and was interred in Saint Denis Basilica. He was succeeded by his son, Louis VIII.

Philippe II's reign also saw marked improvements in the internal affairs of France. He reorganized the government, bringing to the country a financial stability which permitted a sharp increase in prosperity. This included the creation of a class of salaried administrative officers, the baillis [bailiffs], to supervise local administration of the domain, and the systemizing of the collection of customs, tolls, fines, and fees due to the crown. His popularity with ordinary people was secured when he checked the power the nobles and passed some of it on to the growing middle class his reign had created. Additionally, he supported the towns of France against the royal barons, thereby increasing their power and prosperity. Philippe played a significant role in one of the greatest centuries of innovation in construction and in education. In Paris he had the main thoroughfares paved, built a central market (Les Halles), continued the construction begun in 1163 of the Gothic Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, constructed the first Louvre as a fortress, and gave a charter to the University of Paris (the Sorbonne) in 1200. Under his guidance, Paris became the first city of teachers the medieval world had known.

Unlike the Plantagenets, his relations with the church was good. Philippe prefered to not interfere in episcopal elections and went to great lengths to defend the clergy against overbearing royal barons. Nevertheless, he did enact a number of modifications in the relationship of the church and state. Among these, he demanded that the clergy perform their feudal duties (including warfare), began taxing their income, permitted layjudges to arrest and try clergy for certain crimes, limited the right of asylum of religious buildings, and insisted that the royal court was entitled to judge at the trial of bishops.

One event, though, served to tarnish much of his accomplishments in the eyes of historians. During Philippe's reign the pope proclaimed the Crusade against the Albigenses. Although Philippe did not participate directly in the crusade, he allowed his vassals to do so. Their victories prepared the ground for the annexation of southern France by King Louis IX at the expense of thousands of Albigenses.

LOUIS IX (St. Louis)

                AR Denier Tournois (0.99 g, 18mm, 10).

      Mint: Tours mint.
      Struck: 1245/50-1270.
      Obv: + LVDOVICVS REX
                Cross pattée.
      Rev: + TVRONVS. CIVIS
                Châtel tournois.
      Mm: None.
      Ref: Duplessy 193A; Lafaurie 201a; Ciani -; Roberts 2413.

Notes: Louis IX was the son of Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile. His father died when he was only seven, so his mother served as regent during his minority (1226-34), and her regency probably lasted even after Louis reached his majority; she was his chief adviser until her death. During the early years of the reign, the queen mother suppressed several revolts of the great nobles, led by Pierre Mauclerc (Peter I), duke of Bretagne, and supported by Duke Raymond VII of Toulouse and King Henry III of England. In 1240-43, Louis subdued new revolts in southern France, securing the submission of Poitou and of Raymond VII, and repulsing a weak invasion (1242) by Henry III.

Louis was pious and ascetic, yet a good administrator and diplomat. Utmost in his thoughts were the ideals of the crusades, which came to direct his actions during the long struggle between successive popes and the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. He sought a middle road between the two sides, as he was often approached by both. In his correspondence with Frederick he continued to treat him as a sovereign, even after Frederick had been excommunicated and declared dispossessed of his realms by Innocent IV at the Council of Lyons, 17 July, 1245. On the other hand, in 1251, the king compelled Frederick to release the French archbishops taken prisoners by the Pisans, the emperor's auxiliaries, when on their way in a Genoese fleet to attend a general council at Rome. In 1245, he conferred at length, at Cluny, with Innocent IV who had taken refuge in Lyons in December, 1244, to escape the threats of the emperor, and it was at this meeting that the papal dispensation for the marriage of Charles I of Anjou, brother of Louis IX, to Beatrice, heiress of Provençe was granted and it was then that Louis IX and Blanche of Castile promised Innocent IV their support. Finally, when in 1247 Frederick II took steps to capture Innocent IV at Lyons, the measures Louis took to defend the pope were one of the reasons which caused the emperor to withdraw. Louis looked upon every act of hostility from either power as an obstacle to accomplishing the crusade.

Louis finally took the cross in 1244, but did not leave on the crusade to Egypt (the Seventh Crusade) until 1248. After initial success culminating in the capture of Damietta, his forces lost their dicipline and were subsequently defeated at al-Mansurah (1250). Louis was captured but soon ransomed. He remained in the Holy Land until 1254, helping to strengthen the fortifications of the Christian colonies. After his return he attempted to bring about a peaceful settlement of territorial claims with Henry III, and an agreement was reached in the Treaty of Paris, ratified in 1259. By its terms Louis ceded Limoges, Cahors, and Périgueux to Henry in exchange for Henry's renunciation of Normandy, Anjou, Maine, Touraine, and Poitou and his recognition of the king of France as suzerain for the reduced duchy of Aquitaine. Louis made a favorable treaty with King Jaume I of Aragón by yielding the French claim to Roussillon and Barcelona in return for Jaume's abandonment of his claim to Provence and Languedoc. In 1270, Louis undertook the Eighth Crusade, but he died during an outbreak of the plague soon after landing in Tunis. He was succeeded by his son, Philippe III.

Under Louis IX, France enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and peace, and he continued the reforms of his grandfather, Philippe II Auguste. He curbed private feudal warfare, simplified administration, improved the distribution of taxes, encouraged the use of Roman law, and extended the appellate jurisdiction of the crown to all cases. It was during his reign that the "court of the king" (curia regis) was organized into a regular court of justice, having competent experts, and judicial commissions acting at regular periods. These commissions were called parlements and the history of the "Dit d'Amiens" proves that entire Christendom willingly looked upon him as an international judiciary (Louis settled succession disputes in Flanders, Hainaut, and Navarre, but he attempted unsuccessfully to settle the bitter controversy between Henry III and the English barons). St. Louis was also a patron of architecture; the Sainte Chappelle, an architectural gem, was constructed in his reign, and it was under his patronage that Robert of Sorbonne founded the "Collège de la Sorbonne," which became the seat of the theological faculty of Paris. Additionally, he was renowned for his charity, founding many hospitals and houses including the House of the Felles-Dieu for reformed prostitutes and the Quinze-Vingt for 300 blind men (1254). Louis was canonized by Pope Boniface VIII in 1297

PHILIPPE IV le Bel (the Fair)

                AR Maille tierce à l'O rond (1.36 g, 19mm, 8).

      Mint: Uncertain royal mint.
      Struck: Circa 1285-1295.
      Obv: + BNDICTV ⋮ SIT ⋮ NOmE ⋮ DHI NI // + PhILIPPVS • REX
                Cross pattée; three-pellet stops in legend.
      Rev: + TVRONVS • CIVIS
                Châtel tournois; 10 lis around border, round O in TVRONVS.
      Mm: None.
      Ref: Duplessy 219c var. (no dots flanking top lis on reverse);
                cf. Lafaurie 223a; Ciani 213 var. (same); Roberts 2498.

Notes: Philippe IV was a strong French king, who did much to expand the centralization of the kingdom and increase its independance from the Papacy. He also shrewdly sought-out new means of gaining income to finance his military exploits, often to the detriment of others. Early in his reign, he asserted his ability to tax the clergy when raising funds for the defense of the kingdom. Though opposed by Pope Bonafice VIII in a long struggle (mostly verbal), Bonafice eventually died, and, after the brief reign of Benedict XI, Philippe succeeded at gaining the election of a favorable pope, Clement V, and later moved the papal residence to Avignon. At the same time, to gain the support of his countrymen, Philippe convened the first Estates-General, and formalized the institution with a constitution. Through these events, Philippe's ultimate goal was to create a kingdom based on temporal, rather than religious, law. He knew that success would increase the power and independance of the king and reduce that of the clergy and papacy in France.

Three other groups were targeted by Philippe, primarily to gain the wealth each had developed as the primary merchant groups in France (and Europe): the Jews, the Lombards, and the Knights Templar. All three suffered, but the persecution of the Templars was particularly severe, as they held great political power. The result was the eradication of the order, with most of its knights put to death, and the order's great wealth assumed by Philippe. He also succeeded in gaining territory from the Holy Roman Empire to the east, but failed in his attempts to seize land from Flanders and the French territories of England.

The maille tierce was intoduced into the French coinage as an attempt to challenge the popularity of the English sterling which was filtrating into the economy via the Anglo-Gallic territories. The obverse legend on this example is apparently unrecorded. A similar, but typical ending is DNI NI, but this coin has DHI NI. R.A. Merson's study "The Silver Mailles of Philip III (1270-1285) and Philip IV (1285-1308) of France" in The Gross Tournois (Proceedings of the Fourteenth Oxford Symposium on Coinage an Monetary History, Oxford, 1997), also does not note this variety in the hoards surveyed.