Arthur Ducat

Arthur Ducat


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Arthur Ducat was born in Ireland. After emigrating to the United States he joined the Union Army soon after the outbreak of the American Civil War. in May, 1861. He started as a 2nd lieutenant (May, 1861) but received rapid promotion: captain (August, 1861), major (September, 1861), lieutenant colonel (April, 1862) and brigadier general (February, 1864). Ducat died in 1896.


The Flannan Isle mystery: The three lighthouse keepers who vanished

It was the transatlantic steamer Archtor that first noticed something was wrong. On its voyage to the port of Leith from Philadelphia, the Archtor passed the lighthouse on the Flannan Isles on the night of the 15th of December 1900 and the crew saw that its light was off. After docking in Leith three days later, the news was passed on to the Northern Lighthouse Board that something was amiss on Flannan.

The Board dispatched the lighthouse relief tender ship Hesperus to investigate. Arriving at the island on Boxing Day, the ship’s captain, Jim Harvie, sounded his horn and sent up a flare, hoping to alert the three lighthouse keepers, James Ducat, Thomas Marshall, and William MacArthur. There was no response. Disembarking from the Hesperus, relief lighthouse keeper Joseph Moore set off up the one hundred and sixty steep steps to the lighthouse. Three giant black birds perched on the cliffs above him cast their beady eyes on his progress.

Reaching the lighthouse compound and entering the living quarters, Moore noticed that the clock on the kitchen wall had stopped, the table was set for a meal that had never been eaten and a chair had been toppled over. A canary in a cage was the only sign of life. Returning to the eastern landing, Moore reported his findings to the captain of the Hesperus. Harvie sent another two sailors to shore and they and Moore began looking for signs of life.

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After a thorough search of the lighthouse complex turned up nothing but a set of oilskins - suggesting one of the keepers had ventured out in just his shirtsleeves - the men turned their attention to the landing platform on the west side of the island. Here, there was plenty of evidence that the island had recently been hit by a massive storm. A supply box had been smashed open and its contents strewn across the ground despite being over a hundred feet above sea level. Iron railings on the side of a path had been bent and twisted out of shape, part of a railway track had been torn from its concrete moorings and a huge rock weighing more than a ton had been displaced. Turf had also been ripped up from the tops of the cliffs two hundred feet above sea level. There was no sign of the three keepers.

So, what had happened? 'Poor fellows, they must been blown over the cliffs or drowned trying to secure a crane or something like that,' was Harvie’s conclusion in a telegram to the Northern Lighthouse Board after the Hesperus returned to port. Harvie had left Moore and three sailors behind to tend to the light and continue the search. They scoured the islands for the three missing men but found nothing.

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Arriving on the island on December 29, the board’s superintendent, Robert Muirhead, began an investigation into the keepers’ disappearance. Muirhead knew all three of the missing men well. Examining the oilskin that had been left behind, he concluded it belonged to William MacArthur. After going over the wreckage on the western landing, Muirhead speculated that Marshall and Ducat must have headed out into the storm to try to secure the equipment stored there. When they did not return, Muirhead surmised that MacArthur must have ventured out to try to find them.

'From evidence which I was able to procure,' Muirhead concluded in his official report, 'I was satisfied that the men had been on duty up till dinner time on Saturday the 15th of December, that they had gone down to secure a box in which the mooring ropes, landing ropes etc. were kept, and which was secured in a crevice in the rock about 110 ft (34 m) above sea level, and that an extra large sea had rushed up the face of the rock, had gone above them, and coming down with immense force, had swept them completely away.'

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But as far as the public was concerned, Muirhead’s report wasn’t the end of the story. Speculation was soon rife. Theories more suited to the Middle Ages were soon doing the rounds, such as the men being gobbled up by a giant sea serpent or whisked away by a huge seabird. One theory had the men leave the island by boat to escape debts, while another had them spirited away by the skeletal crew of a ghost ship. Some people even thought that the men had been kidnapped by foreign spies.
More doubt was cast on the official investigation with the emergence of a logbook supposedly containing several baffling entries between the 12th and 15th of December. In the first entry, Marshall is supposed to have written that a great storm the likes of which he had never seen before had hit the island. He continued that Ducat was unusually quiet when the storm hit and MacArthur – a big, burly man not known to have much of a sensitive side – was weeping.

A second entry has all three men praying in the eye of the monstrous storm, and a third and final entry, supposedly written on the 15th, states that the storm had passed and all was now calm. On hearing about the existence of these logbook entries, many questioned the idea that the men had been swept out to sea. If anyone had died, surely whoever wrote the 15th of December entry would have mentioned this? There had to be another explanation.

There was indeed another explanation. The logbook entries were injected into the story several years after Marshall, Ducat and MacArthur disappeared. There is no evidence they ever existed, as the Fortean Times journalist Mike Dash discovered after carrying out his own investigation.

So, dismissing both the fake logbook entries and the fanciful tales of sea serpents and ghost ships, what are we left with? Three theories have emerged over the years that seek to explain the men’s disappearance.

The first is based on the character of William MacArthur. MacArthur was by all accounts an ill-tempered man who was quick to settle an argument with his fists. It has been speculated that he could have started a fight up on the western landing which led to all three men falling to their deaths from the cliffs.

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The second theory is that one of the men – again, probably MacArthur - murdered the other two, ditched their bodies into the sea and then threw himself off the cliffs. While both theories add a level of bloodthirsty juiciness to the mystery, there is no evidence that either a fight or murder took place. It is of course perfectly possible for men in confined quarters to rub each other up the wrong way to the point where they snap and all hell breaks loose (especially when one of them has a history of violence), but without bodies or crime scenes to examine, these two theories will forever remain mere supposition.

The much more plausible explanation is that Marshall and Ducat were swept away while trying to secure the supplies and equipment on the west landing. When his colleagues failed to return, MacArthur headed out to find them and he, too, perished in the storm. Why anyone would head out on such a dangerous expedition when they could have stayed safe in the lighthouse can be explained by the fact Marshall had previously been fined five shillings for losing his equipment in a previous gale. As a family man, losing five shillings in 1900 was no laughing matter, so it’s no surprise if securing equipment was more important to Marshall than his personal safety.

Of course, the real reason for the disappearance of James Ducat, Thomas Marshall and William MacArthur will probably never be known. However these three men met their fate on that cold December night back in 1900 - be it by accident, misadventure or design - the Flannan Isles Mystery remains one of the most baffing episodes in Scottish maritime history.


War of the Rebellion: Serial 030 Page 0029 CORRESPONDENCE,ETC._UNION. Chapter XXXII.

parties on railroad. Captain Patten, of First Ohio Cavalry, just in, reports no rebel forces of any sort between this and 12 miles this side Nashville. Would you prefer my remaining at this point, or going to the tunnel? I have found no house as yet sufficiently commodious for your headquarters.

Respectfully,

SPEED S. FRY,

Brigadier-General.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,

Bowling Green, November 8, 1862.

Major-General McCook, Nashville:

Send all your available railroad force to work on bridges from Nashville to tunnel. If you have not mechanics, the men can cut timber and square it. Timbers are supposed to be ready for Dry Creek Bridge you can ascertain from Mr. Goodhue. Mr. Anderson goes out to tunnel in the morning. Crowd it through. If Crittenden has railroad men, have them go to work in force.

By order of General Rosecrans:

ARTHUR C. DUCAT,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Acting Chief of Staff.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,

Bowling Green, November 8, 1862-9 p.m.

Major-General McCook, Nashville:

General Crittenden camps on the Cumberland to-night. You must send him 50,000 rations (assorted) as soon as possible. Morgan cleared out from Gallatin, Crittenden making a small capture. Kennett is operating slowly. He should be on Crittenden's front, and also occupying Hartsville. Stir him up if you can. All right, and things working well. General will leave on Monday morning for Nashville.

By command of Major-General Rosecrans:

ARTHUR C. DUCAT,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Acting Chief of Staff.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,

Bowling Green, November 8, 1862.

Major-General McCook,

Nashville (via telegraph to Mitchellsville, and courier lines):

Forty thousand rations will be at Mitchellsville to-morrow. The general will move forward to-morrow.

ARTHUR C. DUCAT,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Acting Chief of Staff.

FOUNTAIN HEAD, November 8, 1862-5 p.m.

Lieutenant Colonel ARTHUR C. DUCAT, [Acting] Chief of Staff:

Have returned from Gallatin. Formed junction this morning with a brigade of General Crittenden's command, near Gallatin. Morgan's

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The mysterious disappearance of the Eilean Mor lighthouse keepers.

On the 26th December 1900, a small ship was making its way to the Flannan Islands in the remote Outer Hebrides. Its destination was the lighthouse at Eilean Mor, a remote island which (apart from its lighthouse keepers) was completely uninhabited.

Although uninhabited, the island has always sparked people’s interest. It is named after St. Flannen, a 6th century Irish Bishop who later became a saint. He built a chapel on the island and for centuries shepherds used to bring over sheep to the island to graze but would never stay the night, fearful of the spirits believed to haunt that remote spot.

Captain James Harvey was in charge of the ship which was also carrying Jospeph Moore, a replacement lifehouse keeper. As the ship reached the landing platform, Captain Harvey was surprised not to see anyone waiting for their arrival. He blew his horn and sent up a warning flare to attract attention.

Joseph Moore then rowed ashore and ascended up the steep set of stairs that led up to the lighthouse. According to reports from Moore himself, the replacement lighthouse keeper suffered an overwhelming sense of foreboding on his long walk up to the top of the cliff.

The island of Eilean Mor, with the lighthouse in the background. Attribution: Marc Calhoun under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Once at the lighthouse, Moore noticed something was immediately wrong the door to the lighthouse was unlocked and in the entrance hall two of the three oil skinned coats were missing. Moore continued onto the kitchen area where he found half eaten food and an overturned chair, almost as if someone had jumped from their seat in a hurry. To add to this peculiar scene, the kitchen clock had also stopped.

Moore continued to search the rest of the lighthouse but found no sign of the lighthouse keepers. He ran back to the ship to inform Captain Harvey, who subsequently ordered a search of the islands for the missing men. No-one was found.

Harvey quickly sent back a telegram to the mainland, which in turn was forwarded to the Northern Lighthouse Board Headquarters in Edinburgh. The telegraph read:

A dreadful accident has happened at Flannans. The three Keepers, Ducat, Marshall and the occasional have disappeared from the island. On our arrival there this afternoon no sign of life was to be seen on the Island.

Fired a rocket but, as no response was made, managed to land Moore, who went up to the Station but found no Keepers there. The clocks were stopped and other signs indicated that the accident must have happened about a week ago. Poor fellows they must been blown over the cliffs or drowned trying to secure a crane or something like that.

Night coming on, we could not wait to make something as to their fate.
I have left Moore, MacDonald, Buoymaster and two Seamen on the island to keep the light burning until you make other arrangements. Will not return to Oban until I hear from you. I have repeated this wire to Muirhead in case you are not at home. I will remain at the telegraph office tonight until it closes, if you wish to wire me.

A few days later, Robert Muirhead, the board’s supernatant who both recruited and knew all three men personally, departed for the island to investigate the disappearances.

His investigation of the lighthouse found nothing over and above what Moore had already reported. That is, except for the lighthouse’s log…

Muirhead immediately noticed that the last few days of entries were unusual. On the 12th December, Thomas Marshall, the second assistant, wrote of ‘severe winds the likes of which I have never seen before in twenty years’. He also noticed that James Ducat, the Principal Keeper, had been ‘very quiet’ and that the third assistant, William McArthur, had been crying.

What is strange about the final remark was that William McArthur was a seasoned mariner, and was known on the Scottish mainland as a tough brawler. Why would he be crying about a storm?

Log entries on the 13th December stated that the storm was still raging, and that all three men had been praying. But why would three experienced lighthouse keepers, safely situated on a brand new lighthouse that was 150 feet above sea level, be praying for a storm to stop? They should have been perfectly safe.

Even more peculiar is that there were no reported storms in the area on the 12th, 13th and 14th of December. In fact, the weather was calm, and the storms that were to batter the island didn’t hit until December 17th.

The final log entry was made on the 15th December. It simply read ‘Storm ended, sea calm. God is over all’. What was meant by ‘God is over all’?

After reading the logs, Muirhead’s attention turned to the remaining oil skinned coat that had been left in the entrance hall. Why, in the bitter cold winter, had one of the lighthouse keepers ventured out without his coat? Furthermore, why had all three lighthouse staff left their posts at the same time, when rules and regulations strictly prohibited it?

Further clues were found down by the landing platform. Here Muirhead noticed ropes strewn all over the rocks, ropes which were usually held in a brown crate 70 feet above the platform on a supply crane. Perhaps the crate had been dislodged and knocked down, and the lighthouse keepers were attempting to retrieve them when an unexpected wave came and washed them out to sea? This was the first and most likely theory, and as such Muirhead included it in his official report to the Northern Lighthouse Board.

The landing platform at Eilean Mor

But this explanation left some people in the Northern Lighthouse Board unconvinced. For one, why had none of the bodies been washed ashore? Why had one of the men left the lighthouse without taking his coat, especially since this was December in the Outer Hebridies? Why had three experienced lighthouse keepers been taken unaware by a wave?

Although these were all good questions, the most pertinent and persistent question was around the weather conditions at the time the seas should have been calm! They were sure of this as the lighthouse could be seen from the nearby Isle of Lewis, and any bad weather would have obscured it from view.

Over the following decades, subsequent lighthouse keepers at Eilean Mor have reported strange voices in the wind, calling out the names of the three dead men. Theories about their disappearance have ranged from foreign invaders capturing the men, all the way through to alien abductions! Whatever the reason for their disappearance, something (or someone) snatched those three men from the rock of Eilean Mor on that winter’s day over 100 years ago.


Biography

Ducat was an immigrant from County Dublin, Ireland, where he was born in Kingstown on February 24, 1830. He moved to Illinois in 1851 where he was a civil engineer and an insurance agent.

Ducat started his was service on May 2, 1861 as 2nd lieutenant of the 12th Illinois Infantry Regiment. He became 1st lieutenant on May 11, 1861, captain on August 1, 1861, major on September 24, 1861 and lieutenant colonel on April 1, 1862. He was wounded at the Battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862. After his service with 12th Illinois Infantry ended on October 30, 1862, Loomis served as the Inspector General of two major Federal armies in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, mainly in the Army of the Cumberland. He was discharged on February 19, 1864. [ 1 ]

On February 21, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Ducat for appointment to the brevet grade of brigadier general of volunteers to rank from March 13, 1865 and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on April 10, 1866. [ 2 ]

Following the war, he was a leading executive in the insurance industry in Illinois and a world-renowned specialist and author in fire prevention and protection who wrote one of the standard reference works on the topic: The Practice of Fire Underwriting. In 1873 Ducat wrote the military code upon for the Illinois National Guard and became its commander with the grade of major general .

Ducat died January 29, 1896 at Downers Grove, Illinois and was buried in Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois. [ 1 ]


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Biography [ edit ]

Ducat was an immigrant from County Dublin, Ireland, where he was born in Kingstown on February 24, 1830. He moved to Illinois in 1851 where he was a civil engineer and an insurance agent.

Ducat began his war service on May 2, 1861, as 2nd lieutenant of the 12th Illinois Infantry Regiment. He became 1st lieutenant on May 11, 1861, captain on August 1, 1861, major on September 24, 1861, and lieutenant colonel on April 1, 1862. He was wounded at the Battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862. After his service with 12th Illinois Infantry ended on October 30, 1862, Ducat served as the Inspector General of two major Federal armies in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, mainly in the Army of the Cumberland. He was discharged on February 19, 1864. Ώ]

On February 21, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Ducat for appointment to the brevet grade of brigadier general of volunteers to rank from March 13, 1865, and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on April 10, 1866. ΐ]

Following the war, he was a leading executive in the insurance industry in Illinois and a world-renowned specialist [ citation needed ] and author in fire prevention and protection who wrote one of the standard reference works on the topic: The Practice of Fire Underwriting. In 1873 Ducat wrote the military code upon for the Illinois National Guard and became its commander with the grade of major general.

Ducat died January 29, 1896, at Downers Grove, Illinois, and was buried in Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois. Ώ]


Has mystery of Flannan Isles finally been solved?

Just four days before Christmas 1900 three lighthouse keepers seemingly vanished into thin air on the remote Flannan Isles.

Not a single shred of evidence was ever found to point to what might have happened and theories over the years claim the men were killed by pirates, eaten by seabirds and even kidnapped by aliens.

Now the author of a new book has finally shone a light on their Marie Celeste-style disappearance.

Leading naturalist John Love, who has extensively researched the tragedy 20 miles off the tip of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, claims two of the keepers had been previously fined for not storing gear properly in a prior storm and that must have been in the back of their minds.

Instead of staying out of the fierce gale, they ventured out to make sure their equipment was safe only to be hit by a huge wave.

As part of his book, A Natural History Of Lighthouses, Mr Love managed to piece together a complete assessment of the mystery, based on all the available records, to explain what happened to James Ducat, Thomas Marshall and Donald MacArthur.

However the expert has rubbished claims a “toppled chair” and a number of unfinished meals were found by rescuers on Boxing Day 1900.

Mr Love said: “It was only after 1912, when English poet Wilfrid Wilson Gibson published his epic, Flannan Isle, that the story began to assume such an air of mystery, speculation, even intrigue.

“For me and many others including lighthouse keepers themselves, there is no mystery and never has been.

“There is no need to invoke the sinister or the paranormal, it was purely a tragic act of nature the men got swept away by abnormally rough seas.”

His research has revealed Thomas Marshall had previously been branded negligent and fined five shillings after equipment was washed away during a fierce gale.

With this hefty fine at the back of the men’s minds, Mr Love believes they may have ventured out to make sure everything was secured, sealing their fate.

“Since it was not permitted for all three to abandon the lighthouse, only two of the men must have gone down to the landing to secure the gear. The third, Donald MacArthur, would have remained back in the lighthouse. But when his companions did not return he would have been concerned for their safety. Or else, perhaps, he saw a great wave approach and rushed to warn them.

“MacArthur may have been too late, only then to be swept away himself.”

He says the keepers the first at the newly built lighthouse may not yet have been totally familiar with winter storm conditions around the island.

Mr Love said that during construction there was further tragedy the clerk of works died from natural causes, and a horse called Billy slung ashore by crane also died. “Sadly when Billy the horse came to be taken off, he struggled out of his sling and fell to his death into the sea below,” he said.

A Natural History Of Lighthouses by John A. Love. Price £30 from Whittles Publishing.

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V OTHER EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN IMITATIONS

Concurrently with the coinage of ducats by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem and with the wide circulation of the Venetian ducat in the Latin kingdoms and principalities of the eastern Mediterranean, there occurred a number of imitative coinages in that region. The ducats in this category are all close imitations of the Venetian type, with the substitution of local rulers' names for those of the doges and other saints for St. Mark. They are frequently of base gold and crude workmanship.

The most complete series of these pieces was issued on the island of Chios, 38 under Genoa , starting with the coinage of Tommaso di Campofregoso (1415–21), which bears the obverse inscription T.DVX.IANVE and S. LAVRET ( Plate XI, 1). 39 The figures of the saint and duke on the obverse, and of Christ on the reverse, with the usual reverse legend Sit tibi Christe, etc., are closely copied from the contemporary Venetian coins.

Following the reign of Tommaso di Campofregoso, Chios, together with Genoa , came under the rule of Milan, and the gold ducats of 1421–36 ( Plate XI, 2) have the inscription D (ux). MEDIOLANI for Filippo Maria Visconti , duke of Milan, and the saint is S.PETRVS. 40 After 1436until 1443 Tommaso di Campofregoso again coined ducats, and the series is continued by five Campofregosi until 1458, with a return to St. Laurence as the patron saint. In this period the staff for the standard commonly rests on a large S for Sius, one of the ways in which the name of the island was spelled ( Plate XI, 3). The last of this series is a ducat issued in 1458–61 by Charles VII of France during his rule at Genoa , with CLI in place of DVX alongside the standard, and COMVN.IAN and S. LAVRETI for inscription ( Plate XI, 4). [The initial L of Laureti is written like a V to recall the word Veneti .]

To be included in the Chios series also are the ducats issued by Venice under the doge Leonardo Loredan (1501–21) which were known as Scioti and were intended for the Levant ( Plate XI, 5) 41 . They are of rather crude workmanship, with the obverse inscription entirely encircling the figures.

In this same general category are the ducats coined for the island of Mytilene by its rulers, the Gattilusi, between 1376 and 1462, with the ruler's name and D. METELI[NI] ( Plate XII, 2–3). 42 Still farther east are to be noted the ducats of Foglia Vecchia (Phocaea) on the mainland of Asia Minor, issued by Dorino Gattilusio ( Plate XII, 4), with the inscription D.FOLIE. 43 Most easterly of all are the ducats of Chiote type struck by Filippo Maria Visconti and Tommaso di Campofregoso for Pera, the Genoese quarter of Constantinople. 44 They have a large P at the base of the staff, taking the place of the S on the ducats of Chios.

In the series of eastern Mediterranean ducats must also be included certain close copies of the ducat of Andrea Dandolo (1344–54), with blundered lettering and with a K or KO at the feet of the figure of Christ on the reverse ( Plate XII, 1). These have been attributed to Robert of Anjou, duke of Achaia (1346–64), and if this is correct they were presumably struck at Chiarenza. 45

End Notes


So I pop onto reddit and I notice I've got an inbox message. Is it the crazy Albanian neo-nazi who hates the Baltics screaming at me again? No, it isn't.

Now, there are two issues here. The first is more bad linguistics but ducat is not latin for duke. Dux is.

Dux/Duces/Ducis/Ducum/Duci/Ducibus/Ducem/Duces/Duce/Ducibus (Singular then plural forms, Nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative. Vocative forms match the nominative, it's a third declension noun).

Ducat is just the third person singular present active subjunctive of Duco/Ducere (I lead/to lead).

So where does the phrase ducat come from?

The medieval italian ducato, for both the coin itself and for the phrase for ɽuchy'. Which itself stems from the late latin ducatus which originally meant leadership but came to end up meaning duchy, which itself stems from the latin Dux that means leader but later came to be Duke.

Now, onto the second part. They are correct that the Venetian golden ducat coin was introduced in 1284, following the debasement of the byzantine/roman hyperpyron gold coin by Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos.

However it must be noted that these aren't the first of such coins in the west. Even ignoring the widespread usage and trade of byzantine/roman coinage and focusing solely on ɽucats' (i.e. duchy coins), Venice isn't the first one to make these. Roger II of Sicily (mid 12th century), following his unification of Southern Italy and Sicily (Apulia and Calabria + Sicily, also later bits of North Africa) made his own coinage, albeit styled and modeled on byzantine coinage. Not golden mind you, silver and billon (silver and copper).

An example of one. Inscription of SIT. T. XTE. D.Q. T.V. REG. ISTE. DUCAT, which is Sit tibi, Christe, datus, quem tu regis, iste Ducatus.

Venice also had it's own silver ducats from 1193 onwards, the ducatus argenti but these later came to be known as the grosso. Again largely copied from Byzantine/Roman designs.

Now, you might be thinking 'yes but none of these are golden. The reddit notice was about gold coins. These are silver, you hack'.

Florence had already started minting the golden Florin 30 years earlier. Yes, the Venetian ducat did become more popular and was popular for longer as the factiod suggests. But it was hardly a 'new' innovation or such by Venice.

'Isn't this all been extremely pedantic'. Probably.

Hubert Houben, Roger II of Sicily: Ruler between East and West, trans. by G.A. Loud (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Thomas F. Madden, Enrico Dandolo and the Rise of Venice (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 2007)

Philip Grierson, The Coins of Medieval Europe (London: Seaby, 1991)


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