Duchy of Milan, King Francis I of France, Denarius (Pfennig)

In 1515, King Francis I of France (1515-1521) invaded northern Italy, including Milan. This coin of his, struck in Milan, conveys a double message: The obverse bears the name and the title of the King of France (FR. D. G. FRANCOR. REX), the reverse calls Francis duke of Milan (MEDIOLANI DVX). Moreover, the coin clearly harks back to the pfennigs minted in the 8th century in Milan by Charlemagne, the famous King of the Franks. By referring to Charlemagne, in a way typical for the Renaissance where the motto was "back to the ancient sources," Francis tried to legitimate his claim on northern Italy.