World Coin News

Crusader Coinage

I left a personage out of my article last time. Saladin was not the commander of the force that took Egypt from the Fatimids. It was a guy named Shirkuh. Saladin was his nephew. When Shirkuh died, Saladin maneuvered to become the new commander of the Kurdish occupying force and went on to found the Ayyubid dynasty.

I would like to reiterate that most of these articles about “Syria” so far refer to a region referred to as “Greater Syria,” which is bigger than the current borders of modern Syria. This includes all of modern Lebanon, perhaps a bit of Israel, bits of Iraq, and rather more of Turkey. For most of the past, Greater Syria was not in control of its own destiny, having been conquered and held by outsiders.

Now let’s backtrack a bit and look at things from the point of view of the Crusaders. A timeline of the two centuries of Western European occupation of the Levant might be useful to hang the coins on.

The First Crusade was in 1096, in which Western nobles and their armies responded to a call for aid from Alexius I, the Byzantine Emperor, to take back territories seized by the Seljuk Turks. The Westerners didn’t care about Byzantium, they thought they were going to liberate Jerusalem. The Pope had promised remission of sins for participants in this military venture. There were people in Europe

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