Henry I & Constance, King & Queen of Sicily and Naples 1194-1197
Sambon Repertorio 1096. CNI1-3. MEC 14, 476, Very Fine
Important legends clear, other portions of the design missing.
Henry VI, King of Germany, married Constance of Sicily and conquered her homeland in 1194, funded by the enormous ransom he obtained for releasing King Richard I of England from captivity. Henry’s attempt to unite Sicily with the Holy Roman Empire failed, but his income from taxation was sufficient for him to plan a crusade. His Sicilian subjects were unhappy, revolted, but were mercilessly suppressed. His queen, Constance, a Sicilian by birth, then joined the rebels and besieged him in a castle; while negotiating a truce, Henry died, either of malaria or by poisoning. He is remembered as cruel and merciless. After his death a quarrel for his throne ensued, ending with its inheritance by his only son, Frederick II.