CYPRUS Henry II first reign circa 1285-1306 gros


CYPRUS, Henry II, first reign, circa 1285-1306, gros, no date, Obverse: king seated facing on gothic throne with bars in side panels, + hENRI’. REI DE, Reverse: Lion of Cyprus rampant L, IERVSALEME E D’ CHIPR’, silver, 25mm, 4.77g, CCS36, weak spots, VF

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Henry II was king of Jerusalem. He passed the early part of his reign fighting with other Crusaders, while the Muslims gained strength. The Muslims finally kicked him out of the Holy Land and Henry retired to Cyprus. He promoted trade and culture, and died without issue, the throne of Cyprus passing to his nephew.

There are neolithic sites on Cyprus from 10,000 BC. Copper working developed early there, the name of the island refers to the metal. There was a bronze age occupation my Mycenaeans. Greek cultural dominance continued through the Roman period. In the early middle ages Byzantine dominance was contested by Arabs. Richard Lionheart of England conquered the island in 1191, sold it to the Knights Templar, who mistreated the populace, who revolted. The Knights got Guy de Lusignan to buy them out. There were two European dynasties. The last dynast had a Venetian wife, Venice took over through her. They forced her to abdicate and took direct control in 1489. The Ottoman Turks conquered Cyprus in 1570. The British got it in 1878, after the Turks lost the Russo-Turkish War, to guarantee the safety of the eastern Mediterranean. They held on until after World War II. Independence, in 1960, was problematic from the start, with a Greek preference for union with Greece and the Turkish Cypriots unwilling to do that. The unitary government fell apart, and the island is divided into ethnically Greek and Turkish administration.

The political arrangements that resulted in the nations of modern Europe began to emerge out of anarchy starting in the 7th century AD or so. Europe, for our purposes stretches from Greenland to somewhere in Russia. Collectors of Europe would likely include Russia. Collectors of Asia, even though about 2/3 of Russia is in Asia, probably not.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here, generally, the round, flat, shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern,” though, varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies, and then they switched over to “modern coins,” then they went toward paper money, now we’re all going toward digital, a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, to which the KM numbers refer.