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Picardy, Flanders and Brabant c. 1200: When dynastic genealogy starts to resemble counterpoint


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…It was only thanks to papal proscriptions that inbreeding didn’t become a widespread issue among European royalty until the 17th century.  For instance, with frightening birth defects showing up in Habsburg Spain.  

But before that, there was a long history of near misses, beginning with the higher aristocracy.  The examples of Eleanor of Vermandois and Marguerite of Flanders are the two most recent medievals I’ve landed.  With excuses sinceres for not having posted them either in ‘Medieval Monday’ or ‘Post your latest medieval!’, I knew that this would have to involve a new OP.    
Here’s a map of the region, which traverses Capetian France and the northwestern corner (often Francophone) of the Hohenstaufen (German) empire.  (From an edition of Shepherd’s Historical Atlas, c. earlier 20th century.)  Spoiler: what I was able to do, by way of a genealogical table, via Google Docs, shows up at the end of this.


Except, Now, thank you, some coins.


County of Flanders.  Ghyssen’s ‘première période,’ c. 1173-1191.  Likely issued for Marguerite, Countess of Flanders 1191-1194.  Petit denier /maille of Bruges or Arras.
Obv.  ME in field, ligated; annulets above and below.  ’C’ in four angles.
Rev.  Cross, annulets and pellets in angles.  +SIMON.  (The name of the moneyer; several issues of petits deniers of this region and period follow the precedent of English pennies, to this extent.)  
Ghyssens 118A (class 3-C); cf. pp. 12-13 for a summary of his classes and and their chronology.
See also this listing in a brilliant website on the petits deniers of Flanders and Brabant.  I can only wish I could either find, or recall the member of this forum who sent me the link to this.  –You know who you are; Many thanks!

Marguerite inherited the county of Flanders in 1191.  She then married Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut (below), by virtue of which he became Baldwin VIII of Flanders, near the end of both their lives. 
Her elder brother, Matthew, Count of Flanders 1160-1173, had married Marie of Boulogne, eventuating in Mathilde, the wife of Henri I, Duke of Brabant.


Duchy of Brabant.  Henri I, 1190-1233.  Petit denier.
Obv.  Mounted knight (note the stirrup and prick spur), wearing full chain mail (no surcoat), brandishing a sword.  A small quatrefoil in the lower field.
Legend (From 6 o’clock; mostly struck off the field.  Even in hand, you have to squint:) DV (…) X.
Rev.  Brabantine cross; annulets with pellets, and more quatrefoils, in the angles.  Haeck 43.
Henri is fun (thank you, at a safe chronological remove) for having participated in a particularly large-scale ‘private [/feudal]’ war against Baldwin.  Here’s a link to what I had to say about that, from the other forum.


County of Vermandois.  

Eleanor, Countess 1185-1214.  Denier parisis of St.-Quentin.

Obv.  In two lines: ALI/ ENO.  (From 9 o’clock:) X CO. VIROMENDI. 

Rev. Cross, stars in two angles.  + S. QVINTINVS.  Boudeau 1922, Poey d/Avant 6690, Roberts 3948.  (Nope, Duplessy hasn’t made it here.)


Seal of Eleanor, from a 19th-c. line drawing.  
Legend: SIGILLVM ELIEnOR COMITISSE SCI[.] QVInTInInI ET VALE[N]SIE  (Seal of Eleanor, Countess of St.-Quentin and Valois.)

(Cf. Gilbert of Mons, p. 51 [49] (for Valois, as an integral part of the county of Vermandois); 151 [188] (for St.-Quentin –with more significance to the immediate context than I care to delve into.  But see also The Annals of Flodoard of Reims for St-Quentin having been the comital capital from the 10th century.)

Flanders: Bruges.  AR petit denier, Ghyssens ‘deuxiéme periode,’ c. 1180-1220.  Likely temp. Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut, as Baldwin VIII, Count of Flanders 1191-1195, by marriage to Marguerite (above).

Obv.  Soldier in mail hauberk advancing left, on foot (other variants show him spurred, suggesting a dismounted knight), brandishing a sword and carrying a large shield, of a type common to the later 12th century (transitioning from Norman ones seen on the Bayeux Tapestry).

Rev. Cross, decorated with pellets and annulets.  

(Ghyssens p. 107, No. 239 (class 3-C); cf. pp. 12-13 for a summary of his classes and and their chronology.)

The shield shows half of a recognizable, distinctly early heraldic device: three chevrons.  This corresponds to the arms of Hainaut, suggesting that this issue initially dates to the comital reign of Baldwin, 1191-1194.  This 17th-century illustration shows Baldwin and his wife, Marguerite of Flanders, with the shields of both their counties: the chevrons of Hainaut above, and the lion of Flanders below.

(Edit: Oops, forgot the last pic.)




…Here, as threatened, is the family tree.  With apologies for the formatting.
                                                                         |                                                                           |
                                                       __________( | )_________                                                          |
                                                       |                 |                |                                                          |
                           ________________ (|)_________(|)________(|)_________________                             |            
                           |                           |                 |                |                           |                             |
 Marie of==(1)Matthew (2)==Eleanor(1)==Godfrey  Raoul II====(1)Marguerite(2)==Baldwin V of Hainaut, VIII of Flanders
Boulogne |    (Flanders)      |  of Verman-  | (Hainaut)  of Ver-     |         of Flanders 
                |                          s.p.   dois        s.p.           mandois        s.p. 
           Mathilde=Henri I of Brabant



Primary sources.  
Gilbert of Mons.  Chronicle of Hainaut.  Translated, “with introduction and notes,” by Laura Napran.  Boydell, 2005.  (Including numerous prefatory genealogical tables, of which I made correspondingly extensive use.)  
The Annals of Flodoad of Reims: 919-966.  Ed. /trans. Steven Fanning and Bernard S. Bacrach.  U of Toronto Press, 2011.

Edited by JeandAcre
Mostly formatting ...well, initially; anyway.
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Wow, @Coinmaster, I had absolutely no idea that Henri /Hendrik's motif was imitated so soon, and so nearby!  The nearest other equivalent I knew of (apart from innumerable examples on contemporary seals) was of the duchy of Lorraine, Feri III, as late as 1251-1303.  (This one is of Nancy, with the mailed arm brandishing a sword.)



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24 minutes ago, JeandAcre said:

Henri /Hendrik's motif was imitated

Who do you think was the imitator (who imitated who)? I truly don't know. I'm convinced the mounted knight is a military issue (communicating military strenght, etc.) and the coin type from Holland was probably used for paying hired soldiers in the Loon war. Very interesting coin types!

Edited by Coinmaster
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...Aaah, Thank you for that!  I had forgotten that the issue of Hendrik is from late in his ducal reign.  The more I think about it, the more intuitive the likelihood that the true prototype is of Willem. 

...And I'm going to have to spend more time with the Wiki article.  I have nothing in print (never mind in English) about medieval Dutch history, and had never heard of the Loon war.  I really like your speculaton --very cogent, as such-- that the issue of Willem was specifically for paying mercenaries during this war.  The chronology is effectively a perfect match; and soldiers of this region, Brabantines very prominint among them, were well known, if not notorious, for being mercenaries.  ...The entire region was one of the most thorougly monetized of anywhere in western Europe during the period; witness Henry I's extensive 'money fief,' granted to the count of Flanders in the earlier 12th century.  

Yes, the progression from Willem's issue, to Brabantine mercenaries, to Henri /Hendrik I's issue as an imitation, is unmistakable.  Even if, relative to available documentation, this necessarily inhabits the level of speculation, even within the genre, some instances are more compellingly cogent than others.

Edited by JeandAcre
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