Author Topic: Establishment of the Vienna Mint  (Read 3174 times)

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Austrokiwi

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Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« on: August 04, 2009, 03:45:39 PM »
Well today I got a bit of a surprise. I was reading about the History of the Hauptmuenz Wien and according to their literature the mints history started with a little bit of an argument at the siege of Acre during the third Crusade.  King Richard insulted the duke of Austria Leopold V who packed up his bags and his troops and headed back home. A year later in 1192 King Richard headed back home  and unfortunately was captured just outside of Vienna ( this may seem very reckless on the part of King Richard however Crusaders were under Papal protection) Leopold V handed Richard over to the Holy Roman emperor  who then asked for 100,000 marks of Silver in Ransom.  Half that amount was for Duke Leopold V. The silver started to arrive at the end of 1193 and Leopold V founded a mint in Vienna so as to strike silver pennies out of his share of the ransom. Interestingly later this year the Hauptmuenz Wien will issue the €10.00 coin  Richard Loewenhertz in Duernstien. 

Now I have some questions:
Was a "Mark" a measure of Weight ( like Pound Sterling originally was)?
I get confused by the Leopolds.  Leopold 1 was a 17th century monarch but Leopold V was a 12th century duke.   In regards to Leopold 1 in the 17th century was he the first Holy Roman Emperor to bear the name Leopold....... while the 12 century duke was the Fifth duke to carry the name?

Online Figleaf

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2009, 07:21:24 PM »
A mark (of fine silver) was indeed a weight. In Richard's time, the largest coins were denarii of around 1.25 gram. Larger silver coins were beginning to get minted around 200 years later. The reason for this was that Europe knew no silver mines and had a trade deficit with China and India (the silk route). Only Venice had plenty of silver and gold, being the middlemen at the end of the silk route. Venetian merchants paid with marked silver ingots. I quote Prof. Peter Spufford's "How rarely did medieval merchants use coin?" (ISBN 9789073882218):

In the twelfth century it only seemed essential that ingots should be of a known fineness. However, from at least the early thirteenth century, standard weights began to be used. Naturally, like deniers, silver ingots were of different standard weights in different places. Most frequently, they weighed a mark, but the mark weight varied from place to place. Luschin von Ebengreuth listed weight standards for 84 different places.

Wikipedia says that Richard's ransom was 150 000 marks or 65 000 pounds of silver, but gives no source for the number. I assume that US pounds are meant, which would make it 29 484 kilograms, making this particular mark one of just under 200 grams. Spufford mentions that many marks were around 200 grams.

As for the Leopolds, the Austrians started from I again after Leopold VI Babenburg (1198-1230) with Leopold I Habsburg (1290-1326). This may have something to do with the battle on the Marchfeld, which ended the period where Austria was ruled from Bohemia. Of course, the Holy Roman Empire had its own ruler numbering. Emperor Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire and Archduke Leopold VI of Austria (not to be confused with Duke Leopold VI of Austria) is the same person.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 04, 2009, 07:39:18 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

translateltd

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2009, 09:10:03 PM »
A mark was also two-thirds of a pound sterling (13s 4d), though was never coined in that denomination in England, so was essentially a money of account.  It was coined in Scotland, where the "merk" more-or-less equated to an English shilling as the Scottish pound slid to 1/12 of the English, and I believe lower still by the time of Union in 1707.


Austrokiwi

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2009, 09:55:39 PM »
Thanks for the info.


On the ransom: the history I have was produced by the national bank of Austria and the Vienna mint......The text states that "half the ransom- some 50,000 marks  of Silver- was destined for Duke Leopold V". I guess different references are giving different amounts. I know from recent research there can be interesting differences in references. Or perhaps the duke was short changed >:D

Offline Prosit

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2009, 11:55:14 PM »
I read somewhere that Richard composed ballads while he was incarcerated...so I guess his stay wasn't too bad.  Where was that,,,,,maybe Durnstein castle?

Dale

Online Figleaf

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 12:23:40 AM »
Yes he was locked up in Durnstein and he did compose ballads, which he sent to his half-sis. They are sad affairs about being imprisoned and lonely. They were in langue d'oc, which might be a surprise to those who read Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, where Richard speaks English. In fact, he spoke neither English nor French and the encounter with Robin Locksley must have been difficult, as Locksley was lower English nobility, according to Scott, in which case he probably spoke French and some English, but no langue d'oc. Then again, friar Tuck and little John would have had no knowledge of French and maybe a very limited knowledge of Latin, which would not have facilitated communication with Robin Hood. Oh well...

Incidentally, the story of the troubadour (or Sir Ivanhoe), tracing Richard's prison by means of a song Richard had composed and no one else knew is a Victorian addition.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Prosit

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2009, 02:00:24 AM »
It has been a long time since I read the story of King Richard...not sure I ever read Ivanhoe  ;D

So my memory may be faulty but seems like I remember reading that at the time the ransom was paid, Richard had never set foot in England?  That is a lot of Silver to pay for a King they had never seen.

Dale


Online Figleaf

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2009, 02:08:52 AM »
Most of the money was raised in France by his family, in particular Eleonor of Aquitaine, who had fought Richard's father, her husband tooth and nail (some family). What came out of the English hides was regular and special taxes. The story in Ivanhoe, that the money was raised voluntarily by the English jewry is Victorian romantic nonsense. Indeed, Richard did not like England, mainly for its climate (he had a point there) and he avoided being there as much as he could, spending most of his time in his beloved Aquitaine.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline chrisild

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2009, 11:07:36 AM »
A mark was also two-thirds of a pound sterling (13s 4d), though was never coined in that denomination in England, so was essentially a money of account.

Makes sense as the mark was 2/3 of the Roman pound (libra - about 327g). The Cologne Mark, which was the most important weight unit for coins in the German countries, was about 234 g. Others "marks" in Europe were, for example, the Marc de Troyes (~245 g) and the Vienna Mark (~281 g). The city of Lübeck actually had Mark coins (based on the Cologne Mark) as from 1502. So who knows, had the euro cash come one year later, we might have seen a coin commemorating "500 Years Mark Coinage" ...

The Austrian Mint (formerly Hauptmünzamt) will issue that Richard Löwenherz coin in October. This will be a €10 silver piece. One side shows a horseman playing the lute, with Dürnstein Castle in the background. The other side features Richard Löwenherz/Lionheart being captured. Must have been during a meal - on the right you can see a chicken above a grill or oven. Maybe that was the first Wienerwald restaurant. ;D

Christian

Austrokiwi

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Dürnstein today
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2009, 03:37:34 PM »
A couple of years ago some friends were visiting in late Autumn  and we drove to Dürnstein  all the shops were closed so we had difficulty finding lunch but the big plus was there was no one around. We walked up to the castle and were able to take photographs without having any tourists in the way. In summer the place is crowded!

Picture of the town from the path leading up to the castle where legend has King Richard being accommodated .


The castle from below



One of the views from the highest point on the castle ruins.



Offline Prosit

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2009, 03:48:09 PM »
An artist rendetion of the capture of Richard

translateltd

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2009, 08:42:04 PM »
A year later in 1192 King Richard headed back home  and unfortunately was captured just outside of Vienna ( this may seem very reckless on the part of King Richard however Crusaders were under Papal protection) Leopold V handed Richard over to the Holy Roman emperor  who then asked for 100,000 marks of Silver in Ransom. 

Funny, just yesterday I was reading Lord Stewartby's new book on the English hammered coinage from 1180 to 1551, and he mentioned a ransom of 100,000 *pounds* to be paid to the HRE Henry VI.  That figure's 50% higher - which is right, I wonder?

Offline Prosit

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2009, 09:13:00 PM »
The way I remember reading it is that the ransom was never paid in full.  Maybe that was the installment that was actually paid?
Dale

Austrokiwi

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2009, 09:56:54 PM »
The way I remember reading it is that the ransom was never paid in full.  Maybe that was the installment that was actually paid?
Dale


That might well be the explanation. Duke Leopold was excommunicated by the pope  for imprisoning King Richard.

Interestingly the wikipedia entry on Duke Leopold says

Quote
On his journey back that winter, Richard, travelling in disguise, shortly before Christmas 1192 had to stop near Vienna, where he was recognized (supposedly because of his signet ring) and arrested in Erdberg (modern Landstraße district). For some time the king was imprisoned in Dürnstein, and in March 1193 was brought before Emperor Henry VI at Trifels Castle, accused of Conrad's murder. Leopold's share of the immense ransom, supposedly six thousand buckets - about 23 tons - of silver, became the foundation for the mint in Vienna, and was used to build new city walls for Vienna, as well as to found the towns of Wiener Neustadt and Friedberg in Styria. However, the duke was excommunicated by Pope Celestine III for having taken a fellow crusader prisoner.

My rough calculation suggest 23 tons is closer to 100,000 marks than 150,000   But I don't trust my maths that much!!!

JUst in case my maths is really poor; I worked it out as follows 23000/.2 = 115,000   

Offline chrisild

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Re: Establishment of the Vienna Mint
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2009, 12:47:58 PM »
The Austrian Mint (formerly Hauptmünzamt) will issue that Richard Löwenherz coin in October. This will be a €10 silver piece.

See the attached image. The coin will be issued on 7 October. In the current mint magazine "Die Münze" there is, of course, an article about the piece and the story behind it. And the author (Kerry Tattersall, marketing director) also mentions the total weight of 100,000 marks, not pounds: "Richard musste 100.000 kölnische Mark Silber (etwa 23 Tonnen – das Doppelte der Jahreseinkünfte der englischen Krone) zahlen, davon die Hälfte an Leopold." Thus a payment of 100,000 Cologne Marks in silver, about 23 tons, in total. That would have been twice the annual income of the Crown; half of that was to go to Leopold.

Christian