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Ancient Nomos Art is a museum of galleries exhibiting ancient coins and ancient mint maps. The coin gallery displays the diverse art and history of hand-crafted ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian and Medieval coinage. The ancient mints mapping gallery features Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Asia Minor and Medieval mint city regions and territories. Visitor's are welcome to explore, study and enjoy Ancient Nomos Art.

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Medieval Flanders – 1356 AD

Lodewijk II

From Ancient Galleries

Medieval Flanders – 1356 AD

Obverse: Agnus Dei lamb standing left, head upturned right, wearing nimbus crown and cradling a banner on long cross.
Reverse: Large voided cross fleurée over short voided cross potent with a cinquefoil within polylobe at the center.

Obv: + ΛGn’ : DЄI : QVI : TOLL : P¯CCΛ : mVDI : MISЄRЄRЄ : nOB’ (double annulet stops), in Latin: Agnus dei qui tollis peccata mvndi miserere nobis, translation: “Lamb of God, which take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us” (John 1:29). Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) standing left, head upturned right, wearing nimbus crown and cradling banner on long cross fleurée; LVD CO : F’ below; all within polylobe. Rev: + : XP’C : VIИCIT : XPC : RЄGИΛT : XPC : IИPЄRΛT (double pellet and double saltire stops), translation: “Christ victorious, Christ reigns, Christ the Lord” (in Latin). Voided cross fleurée over short voided cross potent; at center, cinquefoil within polylobe; eagle in each angle; all within polylobe, with lis in each spandrel.

Louis II Van Male, Count of Flanders, is known for creating one of the most diverse and influential medieval gold coin types of northern Europe. At the end of Louis II’s reign, his medieval mint cities throughout the Low Countries had issued fifteen different types of high quality gold coins. By the mid-fourteenth century, Flemish gold coinage had become the favored currency of exchange for primary international transactions. The coins were noted in north Europe for being of exceptional quality and highly valued when traded with neighboring states (J. M. Murray). The above specimen is an example of Louis II’s first gold coin issue, known as an Agnus Dei or Gouden Lam. Louis II of Male, known also as Lodewijk II van Male, was the son of Louis I of Flanders and Margaret I of Burgundy, daughter of King Philip V of France. After his father’s death at the Battle of Crécy in 1346 AD, Louis II inherited three regions; the Flanders, Nevers, and Rethel. At the time, medieval Flanders depended economically on both English and French commerce. This presented a dilemma for Louis II. On the one hand, many of the medieval Flemish wool trade guilds depended on closer ties with the England than with France. However, during the reigns of Louis I and Louis II, the Flander hierarchy maintained closer alliances with Philip V, considered by many in north Europe as a medieval fiefdom of France. Nevertheless, the medieval wool trade guilds attempted to personally coerce Louis II into recognizing the English king, Edward III, as their regional fiefdom ruler. King Edward agreed and requested that Louis become engaged to his daughter, Isabella. Louis II rejected this overtly English alliance and skillfully managed to avoid marriage by fleeing to France. Louis II quickly traveled to France and began reestablishing his alliances with the French nobles. He successfully proposed marriage to Margaret of Brabant, daughter of John III, Duke of Brabant. After his marriage, Louis II struggled for nearly ten years to gain back his family title, Duchy of Flanders. It was only after his successful battle of Scheut in 1356 AD, during the Brabantian war, that he was able to capture the cities of Mechelen, Brussels, Antwerp and Leuven. It was at this important time that Louis II began issuing his first gold coins, in his own name. The above specimen is an example of his first gold coinage. His earliest gold coins are known today as the Gouden Lam. These coins reflect his loyalty, oath and desired to demonstrate a strong economic alliance with France. Louis II coordinated the Gouden Lam coinage with that of France in order to strengthen economic ties and facilitate the exchange of Flander gold with a recognized coin. His first Gouden Lam was engraved and minted as a sovereign Flander simile to the gold coins of France. Louis II’s gold coins were quickly recognized in Europe for their higher quality, large quantities and exquisitely executed design, likely engraved by the finest master artisans. The exquisite Gouden Lam above depicts the Lamb of God, sometimes referred to in Latin as the Agnus Dei, on the obverse. The lamb is seen standing facing left with its right foreleg raised slightly to cradle the banner. The lambs head is turned upward and to the right in a gesture to the heavens. The lamb is also seen wearing the sacred nimbus crown or halo ring that surrounds the head of revered Christians. A long cross fleurée staff with a banner waving to the right stands upright behind the lamb. The entire scene is contained within a seventeen sided polylobe, which is attached at the base with the legend; LVD CO : F’. This short Latin legend signifies the title “Lodewijk II van Male, Count of Flanders” in abbreviated form and is also an exergual base and ground plane for the standing lamb. The coins reverse depicts two central crosses, an ornate voided cross with eight terminus fleurée over a short voided cross potent in the center. A small cinquefoil within a small polylobe appears at the cross centers. Four outward flying eagles are within each cross angle. The entire scene is contained in a polylobe with alternating angled corners. Eight fleur-de-lis flank the outer polylobe angles of each spandrel. After issuing this first gold coin, Louis II would go on to design and mint fourteen additional types of medieval gold coinage. The success of his diverse gold coinage, coupled with an effective medieval monetary policy, enabled Louis II to form economic coalitions throughout medieval Europe. His successful governance and diplomatic policies allowed the great wealth and prosperity of the Flanders to maintain political neutrality during most of the Hundred Years’ War. This made Louis II a most favored ally to both medieval France and England at the time. Louis II was the Count of Flanders for thirty eight long years until his death in Lille, France, on January 30, 1384 AD.

Value: Gouden Lam. Metal: AV Gold. Weight: 4.66 grams. Mint: Ghent or Mechelen, Flanders. Date: 1356-1364 AD.
Attribution: Elsen 26; Vernier 5-6; Delmonte, Or 457; De Mey, Flanders 188; Vanhoudt 2601; Den Duyts 166; Gaill., 210; Friedberg 155; Photo Courtesy CNG.

Legend, Documentation and Attribution