Spurius Afranius
Spurius Afranius
13 June, 13:00

Latin Empire in Constantinople. Hyperperon of Baldwin II de Courtenay (1240–1261)

Latin Empire in Constantinople. Hyperperon of Baldwin II de Courtenay (1240–1261)
The formation of the Latin Empire on the territory of Byzantium was a consequence of the Crusades. As a result of the 3rd Crusades, the Crusaders controlled only a small part of the Holy Land, Jerusalem was in the hands of the Arabs.
In 1198, Pope Innocent III began preparations for a new crusade. Despite the difficulties with recruiting participants, by 1201 the campaign was prepared. Only the fleet of the Republic of Venice was able to transport the participants. But the Crusaders could not pay the amount demanded by Venice and, contrary to the Pope's ban, agreed to capture Venice's competitor, the Adriatic city of Zadar (now on the territory of Croatia), starting the Fourth Crusade, the chronological framework of which is from 1202 to 1204.
Taking advantage of the internal struggle for the throne in the Byzantine Empire, the Venetians sent a fleet of crusaders to Constantinople to support the claimant who favored them. On June 24, 1203, the Crusaders landed near Constantinople. The resistance was unsuccessful, and Alexius IV the Angel was crowned on August 1, 1203 in the Church of Saint Sophia.
At the request of the crusaders and in order to fulfill his promises to pay the promised funds to the crusaders, the new emperor sharply increased taxes. This caused a rebellion, Alexius IV Angel was killed.          
Storming of Constantinople by the Crusaders. Illustration from a medieval chronicle
Storming of Constantinople by the Crusaders. Illustration from a medieval chronicle
  In response to this, the crusaders began the second siege of Constantinople, on April 12, 1204, the assault began. The city was taken and completely looted within a week. Artistic values ​​accumulated over almost 900 years were destroyed, melted down, only a small part was exported to Western Europe intact.
Capture of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade 1204 Painting by Eugene Delacroix, 1840
Capture of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade 1204 Painting by Eugene Delacroix, 1840
The fall of Constantinople on April 13, 1204 led to the collapse of the Byzantine Empire. The Nicene Empire, the Trebizond Empire and the Epirus Despotate were created on its territory, which preserved the Byzantine state tradition. The territory that included the lands around Constantinople, Thessaly in the south of modern Greece and most of the islands of the Aegean Sea were included in the newly created Latin Empire (1204-1261). Baldwin I, Count of Flanders and Hennegau, was elected emperor.
The Latin Empire and its vassals after 1204
The Latin Empire and its vassals after 1204
The newly created state was a typical feudal state modeled on other Western European countries. The list of rulers of the empire is given below.
Baldwin I of Flanders 1204–1205
Henry I of Flanders 1206–1216
Pierre II de Courtenay 1216–1217
Yolande de Hainault 1217–1219
Robert de Courtenay 1219–1228
Baldwin II de Courtenay 1228–1261
Hyperperon of Baldwin II de Courtenay
Hyperperon of Baldwin II de Courtenay

The hyperperon minted in the reign of Baldwin II de Courtenay preserves the design traditional for Byzantine coins.
Hyperperon of Baldwin II de Courtenay
Hyperperon of Baldwin II de Courtenay
The weight of the coin is 4.32 grams, it is made of gold.
Baldwin II is the only emperor of the Latin Empire who was born in Constantinople.
Coat of arms of the Latin Empire
Coat of arms of the Latin Empire
He inherited power after the death of his brother Robert. But the position of the empire was very difficult. The small territory of the empire and feudal fragmentation on the one hand, constant wars with neighbors and even participation in the 7th Crusade on the other were the cause of a severe budget deficit. The emperor constantly borrowed money from the Christian rulers of Europe. In July 1261, at the head of the main forces and together with the Venetians, he attacked the Black Sea coast of the Nicene Empire. But the capital remained unprotected and was taken by surprise by the troops of Nicaea, which restored the Byzantine Empire under the leadership of Emperor Michael VIII Paleologus.
Michael VIII Palaiologos. Image from a medieval chronicle
Michael VIII Palaiologos. Image from a medieval chronicle
In the last period of his life, Baldwin II tried to gather a coalition for the restoration of the empire, but it turned out to be impossible. After the death of the emperor, his descendants kept their title until the end of the 14th century. By tradition, I remind dear readers that you can replenish your collection with exquisite antique and medieval coins minted from gold in this section of our resource.

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