An extremely rare denier of John of Brienne showing the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
CRUSADERS. Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. John of Brienne, 1210-1225. Denier (Silver, 22 mm, 2.81 g, 7 h). ✠ IOHANNЄS RЄX Cross pattée with two pellets in angles. Rev. ✠ DЄ IЄRVSALЄM Church of the Holy Sepulchre. CCS 42. Metcalf, Crusades, p. 74. Wäckerlin -. Extremely rare and in exceptional condition for this very important issue. Well struck on good metal, with complete legends and a beautiful rendering of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Light deposits, otherwise, good very fine.

From the collection of J. F. L. Blankenberg, Elsen 150, 18 March 2022, 184 (illustrated on the front cover!) and ex LHS 99, 24 October 2006, 2.

The reverse of this coin depicts the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the holiest places of Christianity. Built by the architect Zenobios under Constantine I 'the Great' (307-337), the original sanctuary consisted of two separate chambers covering, on the one hand, the place where Helena, Constantine's mother, believed Christ to have been buried, and on the other hand, Golgotha, the alleged site of Christ’s crucifixion. The church was consecrated on 13 December 335, but destroyed by a fire when the Sasanian Shah, Khosrau II, captured Jerusalem in 614 and stole the True Cross. Reconstructed by Heraclius in 630, the building suffered severe damage from various earthquakes and fires again in the 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries, until it was completely demolished on 18 October 1009 at the command of the Fatimid caliph, al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. Negotiations between the outraged Byzantines and al-Hakim's son and successor, Ali az-Zahir, saw the reconstruction of the church on a smaller scale, in exchange for the reopening of a mosque in the imperial capital of Constantinople and the release of 5,000 Muslim prisoners of war.

It is this building that is depicted on our coin, issued by John of Brienne, King of Jerusalem in 1210-1225. Unlike the first eight rulers of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, however, John was not buried in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, since the city had been lost to the Muslims in 1187 and was only regained for the Christians, albeit temporarily, by Frederick II in 1229. By that time, John had already lost his kingdom to the latter, who had married his daughter, Isabella, and dethroned his father-in-law. John now became emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople instead, where he acted as regent for the underage Baldwin II (1228-1273), eventually dying in 1237 after an incredibly adventurous life - the sole Latin emperor to die in the imperial capital, where he allegedly spent his last months living as a humble Franciscan friar.
Price: 15,000 CHF


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