CRUSADERS. Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Sibylla, 1186-1190. Denier (Billon, 18 mm, 0.99 g), emergency coinage struck during the siege of Jerusalem, September 1187. TVRRIS DAVIT (retrograde) Tower of David. Rev. ✠SЄPVLCҺRVM DOMINI The sarcophagus and the edicule of the tomb of the Holy Sepulchre; above, represenation of an angel guarding the tomb. CCS 51. Metcalf, Crusades, p. 77. Wäckerlin -. Very rare and of great historical interest, a crucial rarity in the Crusader series. Some deposits, otherwise, very fine.
Sibylla, the daughter of Amalric, King of Jerusalem in 1163-1174, rose to power through her son Baldwin V, who became the infant king in 1183. When Baldwin died in 1186 at the age of ten, Sibylla herself was crowned queen with the help of her husband Guy of Lusignan and the infamous Raynald of Châtillon. Alas, her reign would not last long, as the united crusader army suffered a crushing defeat against the Ayyubid Saladin in the disastrous Battle of Hattin on 4 July 1187. On 20 September of the same year, Saladin laid siege to Jerusalem, where Sibylla and Balian of Ibelin led a desperate last defense of the holy city. However, with the military might of the kingdom crushed on the battlefield near the Horns of Hattin, the remaining Christian forces were no match to the battle-hardened army of the sultan and Sibylla capitulated on 2 October 1187. It is during this short period of time that our coin was struck to finance the crusader forces' last stand. On the reverse, we see the tomb of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the holiest places of Christianity. As Ernoul, a squire of Balian, wrote, 'Balian and the patriarch went and had the tomb edicule of the Sepulchre, which was all covered in silver, uncovered; and then they had it taken away to be struck into money to give to the knights and sergeants'. It is therefore possible that Sibylla's emergency issue was in fact struck from this silver. Luckily for her, when Jerusalem fell, Saladin granted her and her children, as well as Balian, safe passage to the remaining Christian holdings on the coast. However, the vigorous queen died three years later from the plague during the siege of Acre (1189-1191).