The first franc ever minted during the reign of John II of France

08 Apr 2021  Thu

John II also known as John the Good was King of France from 1350 until his death. Captured by the English at the Battle of Poitiers on Sept. 19, 1356, he was forced to sign the disastrous treaties of 1360 during the first phase of the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453) between France and England.

When he came to power, France faced several disasters: the Black Death, which killed nearly half of its population; popular revolts known as Jacqueries; free companies (Grandes Compagnies) of routers who plundered the country; and English aggression that resulted in catastrophic military losses.

While John was a prisoner in London, his son Charles became regent and faced several rebellions, which he overcame. To liberate his father, he concluded the Treaty of Brétigny (1360), by which France lost many territories and paid an enormous ransom.

Depicted here is the first franc ever minted, the "Franc a cheval", which was minted upon Jean le Bon's return from captivity from 5 December 1360, and featured combative imagery. Its weight is the account value of one livre tournois.

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