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Modern coins with Latin legends

Started by <k>, March 13, 2013, 08:59:57 PM

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<k>



UK 50 pence, 2008.


By modern, I mean after World War 1, when empires fell and political parties became dominant. Before then, Latin legends were still very common. It had been the lingua franca of Europe for long enough.

Nowadays, English is the world's most popular second language, yet the home of the English language, the UK, still uses Latin legends - rather surprising when you consider Britain was conquered by the inventors of Latin, those nasty imperialist beasts, the ancient Romans. The fact that the UK (my country of birth) still uses Latin legends, even if in abbreviated form, can only be an example of Stockholm syndrome. Away with them, I say! What good did the Romans ever do us anyway? (Don't answer that.)
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<k>

#1


Unlike Australia and New Zealand, Canada also still uses Latin legends alongside the Queen's portrait.
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<k>

#2



It's no surprise the Vatican still uses Latin legends. But who else does so, these days?
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<k>

#3


Ghana, half penny, 1958.
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<k>

#4


Australia, crown, 1938.


Many, but not all, countries and territories of the British Empire and Commonwealth used Latin legends for the monarch's title.

Australia did before it went decimal, but not afterwards; New Zealand has only ever used English titles.
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chrisild

Switzerland of course. ;)  Short version of the country name on coins is "Helvetia", long version is "Confoederatio Helvetica".

Christian

<k>

#6




Switzerland 2 francs 1967.jpg



Switzerland is a famously multilingual European country.

It always uses the Latin version of its name on coins: Helvetia, or else the Latin for Swiss Confederation.


Despite the legend, Switzerland is a federation these days and no longer a confederation.

Nobody is allowed to secede!
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<k>

#7


Sometimes Latin is used to identify a species featured on a coin.

This Croatian 2 lipe coin also exists with the plant name in Croat.
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<k>

#8


2 kune, 1995 - another example of Latin on a Croatian coin commemorating FA.

FIAT PANIS means "Let us make bread" - or words to that effect).
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<k>

#9
USA 1976 commemorative quarter.jpg

USA 1976 commemorative quarter.  "E PLURIBUS UNUM".
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chrisild

#10
Quote from: <k> on March 13, 2013, 09:54:42 PMDespite the legend, Switzerland is a federation these days and no longer a confederation: nobody is allowed to secede.

The terminology problem may be an English, French, Italian and Rumansh one. :) The full country name in German, however, is "Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft" - and that simply refers to people (comrades) united by an oath. Historically that was a major difference when compared to feudal hierarchical systems. Apart from that, well, secessions have hardly ever occurred because there was a provision for that case in any legal document, but because people wanted to do it ...

Another multilingual country which - sometimes - resorts to Latin on its coins is Belgium. Attached is an image from muenzen-news.de which shows a €10 silver coin (king Albert's 75th birthday) and a €100 gold piece (Albert's and Paola's 50th wedding anniversary) from 2009. The "occasions" are in Latin; the other side has the EU map with the country name in Dutch, French and German. Most other recent coins have neutral or English inscriptions though.

Christian



be09.jpg

translateltd

#11
I assume Canada retains Latin inscriptions for the same reasons as the Swiss and (occasionally) the Belgians - to save the space that would otherwise be needed to put everything in two languages.  Something South Africa could consider now that it rotates something like nine languages across its various denominations.

FosseWay

Quote from: <k> on March 13, 2013, 08:59:57 PM
...The home of the English language, the UK, still uses Latin legends - rather surprising when you consider Britain was conquered by the inventors of Latin, those nasty imperialist beasts, the ancient Romans. The fact that the UK (my country of birth) still uses Latin legends, even if in abbreviated form, can only be an example of Stockholm syndrome.

The fact that part of what is now the UK (but by no means all) was occupied by the Romans is more or less irrelevant to the choice of language on English and, later, UK coins. This is more due to the influence of organised, state-sponsored religion in the form of the Catholic Church, whose official language happened to be Latin. By the time the Roman (rather than Celtic) Church had 'conquered' the mix of warring Anglo-Saxon states (AD 664) there was next to nothing left of Roman society in England, since the Romans had departed 250 years earlier and the population had largely changed from being Celtic to Germanic. A more pressing question, therefore, is why Latin was not abandoned on coins in the 16th century, when English became the official language of the state religion. (Of course, for a few years in the 17th century precisely this did happen.)

<k>

Quote from: FosseWay on March 15, 2013, 06:28:02 PM
A more pressing question, therefore, is why Latin was not abandoned on coins in the 16th century, when English became the official language of the state religion. (Of course, for a few years in the 17th century precisely this did happen.)

Scholars in the 16th century were aware of the relative speed with which the English language had been changing, so presumably they wanted something that would be recognised down the ages. And in those times, not many foreigners would have known English, so probably the authorities were happy to stick to the (written) lingua franca of Latin. After the revolutionary interlude of Cromwell, the Restoration would have been pleased to reinstate tradition and get rid of any Cromwellian innovations. The French Revolution would have further inclined Britain to retain its old established traditions, in the face of this revolutionary menace.
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Figleaf

British insecurity over their language? Never noticed that before. :)

Until the French revolution, latin was the common language of scholars and making quotes in latin was a common way to show learning (Colbert, who had had weak formal training, garbled his latin quotes and was ridiculed for it.) The fact that the riffraff would be unable to read the legends on coins would have been judged irrelevant.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.