Das Bild des Kaisers sehen. Ein Versuch über die politisch-symbolische Bedeutung des Augustalis Friedrichs II.
Abstract In the current literature on Emperor Frederick II, the augustalis is regarded as a turning point in medieval monetary history. The common assumption is that after centuries of pure silver currency, gold was used for coinage for the first time in Western Europe. However, this assumption overlooks not only the minting of the golden ṭarī in Sicily, but also the parallel case of Spanish and Portuguese gold coinage since the twelfth century, which – like the Sicilian example – represents an adaptation of Arabian gold currency. Explaining the question of gold coinage merely in terms of the economic requirements of the Mediterranean trading and economic area, in which Byzantine and Arab gold coinage predominated, is unsatisfactory, as it cannot explain the reason for the coinage only from 1231 onwards. The conflict with the Pope, which was only settled in 1230 and led to a largescale apostasy movement in the Regnum Siciliae, has so far been completely ignored as the immediate temporal and political context behind the question of coinage. However, against this background and on the basis of statements made by the imperial chancellery, it is possible to make wellfounded assumptions about the intended political and symbolic function of the completely new coinage, and especially of the ruler’s image, which broke with the tradition of portraitless coins. The chapter thus goes beyond existing research discussion, which usually focuses on the model effect of ancient coins and the emperor’s personal enthusiasm for antiquity as causes for coin design and the use of portraits on coins, and on the economic constraints of minting.