Denarius saracenus: coin from Kingdom of Hungary (1373-1382)


Denár (denarius saracenus), 1373-1382: Kingdom of Hungary

Denár (denarius saracenus), 1373-1382: Kingdom of Hungary

Denarius saracenus — a type of Hungarian denár coin.

Ruler: Louis I of Hungary or Louis the Great (Hungarian "Nagy Lajos", Latin "Ludovicus I", Polish "Ludwik I Wielki") — king of Hungary and Croatia (since 1342), king of Poland (since 1370), king of Rus' or Ruthenia (of Galicia and Lodomeria, since 1370).

REGIS VNGARIE: King of Hungary.

Double cross from the coat of arms of Hungary.

MO(n)ETA LODOVICI: money or coin of Louis (Lajos/Ludwik/Ludovicus).

Bust of a Saracen (Arabic).

  • Silver: 14 mm - 0.39 g
  • Reference price: 20$

COIN DENARIUS SARACENUS — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. KINGDOM OF HUNGARY (1373-1382): denarius saracenus (denár) = 2 obulus

DENARIUS SARACENUS (denár saracen) as coin name.
In fact, "denarius saracenus" — the most common conventional names for the one of the types of the Hungarian denár with an interesting and unusual plot. The mentioned medieval Central European coin contained an extremely atypical image: a saracen — representative of a nomadic Bedouin bandit tribe that in ancient times lived along the borders of Syria (but since the time of the Crusades, Europeans began to call all Muslims saracens).
This small (weighs up to 0.5 g) medieval Hungarian silver coin was minted during 1373-1382 by King Louis the Great of Hungary. A characteristic feature is a stylized portrait of a non-European youth man.
There are legends and speculations surrounding this coin... Why is an saracen depicted on a medieval coin of Hungary?!.. — It is not known how it actually happened, but the following versions are common.
Firstly, King Louis the Great was destined to become the first European ruler who had to engage in open military confrontation against the Islamic Ottoman Empire. Perhaps, as a sign of a successful struggle, the image of the defeated representative of the enemy camp just appeared...
However, another version is more interesting and common, according to which the obverse of the coin is decorated with probably nothing but an element of the coat of arms of the tenant of the mint — Jacob Saracenus (the image representatives his surname). If this is true, then this is perhaps the only case in world numismatics where the Mintmaster's symbol/sign surrounded by the name of the reigning monarch occupies the entire obverse of the coin. Usually this sign is miniature — almost imperceptible. For what, in this case, Jacob Saracenus received such an unheard-of privilege, it is not known...