Follaro: coin from Kingdom of Sicily; 1/72 tari


Follaro, 1166-1189: Kingdom of Sicily

Follaro, 1166-1189: Kingdom of Sicily

The coin is made in the Arab-Norman style: echoes of the expulsion of the Arabs by the Normans from the island of Sicily. The obverse legend is in Latin, while the reverse is in Arabic.

Ruler: William II the Good (Norman; third king of the Kingdom of Sicily).

REX W / SCYS: King William, Sicily.

OPERA[TO IN] VR[BE] MESSANE: Made in Messina (city in Sicily, near Palermo).

Reverse (Arabic /Kufic/ script): King William the Second (in the center) - Struck by order of the King, empowered by the grace of God (in a circle).

Some numismatic sources refer to this coin as a "half follaro" (Italian "Mezzo Follaro").

  • Bronze: 15 mm - 0.95 g
  • Reference price: 10$

COIN FOLLARO — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. ITALIAN STATES (9th-15th centuries) — Kingdom of Sicily, Duchy of Naples, Republic of Venice...: follaro = 1/72 tari
  2. CROATIAN STATES (13th-17th centuries) — Republic of Ragusa, City of Zara...: follaro = 1/30 grosso
  3. ALBANIAN STATES (14th-15th centuries) — City of Drivast, Lordship of Krujë, City of Shkodër...: follaro = 1/30 grosso
  4. MONTENEGRIN STATES (14th-16th centuries) — City of Antivari, City of Cattaro, City of Dulcigno, City of Svač...: follaro = 2 obulus = 1/30 grosso

FOLLARO as coin name.
Follaro — copper/bronze medieval coin of a number of state entities on and near the shores of the Adriatic Sea. In numismatic collections, you can find follaro of more than ten issuers from the 9th to the 17th century.
The first follaro belong to the 9th century and are considered imitations of Byzantine coins. For example, the ancient follaro of Naples are significantly reminiscent of the follis of Byzantium...
In the future, follaro was produced en masse by many cities and states within the borders of modern Italy, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro... even Ukraine (the Genoese fortress of Caffa — modern Feodosia, Crimea) and Romania (the Genoese colony of Licostomo — modern commune of Chilia Veche).
Follaro of Sicily from the era of the Norman conquest of Southern Italy are considered to be the most common (although also quite rare among numismatists). We are talking about coins of the 12th century (kings Roger II, William I the Evil, William II the Good, Tancred I).
The most interesting, in my opinion, are Sicilian follaros with a rather non-standard design: a combination of legends in Latin (obverse of the coin) and Kufic script (reverse). This is not surprising, given the colorful history of the island. The Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans managed to leave their mark on Sicily — the most diverse peoples, dissimilar cultures. The aforementioned follaros vividly illustrate the transition stage of the development of society in Sicily — from the era of Arab domination to the establishment of the power of the Normans (immigrants from France).
What place did follaro occupy in the monetary systems of different states? — In some places they made up 1/30 of the grosso. In Sicily, 72 follaro were equated to a gold, later silver tari.
The name of the follaro coin is borrowed from the Byzantines and comes from the term "follis": coin originally of the Roman Empire, and from the 6th century — of the Byzantine Empire. It was from Byzantium that the above-mentioned territories, where follaro were produced, depended to one degree or another.