World of Coins

Other tokens and medals => Not used for payments => Famous people, places and events, souvenirs => Topic started by: Pellinore on October 10, 2018, 12:37:02 AM

Title: Papal medal, 1670
Post by: Pellinore on October 10, 2018, 12:37:02 AM
Because I was smitten with the fine and realistic baroque style of this medal, I decided to take a little excursion outside my usual ancient and medieval interest. There is always a place for real beauty. Only when the condition, too, is perfect.

Papal States. Pope Clement X, 1670-1676. Year 1 = 1670. AE medal. Obv. Tiaraed bust right. Rev. Christ washing the Pope's feet. Sculpted by Alberto Hamerani (1620-1677). 40 mm,  29.80 gr. BMP 1287.92.

-- Paul

Title: Re: Papal medal, 1670
Post by: Pellinore on October 30, 2019, 10:11:26 AM
It took on. Here's the second Baroque medal, that I found recently. On the obverse is the bust of Pope Alexander VIII (born as Pietro Vito Ottoboni, 1610-1691), and a thurible billowing incense at the reverse. It was sculpted by Giovanni Martino Hamerani (c.1646-1705), son of Alberto, of the two-century Hamerani dynasty that dominated Vatican coinage for a long time.

The reverse, above the incredibly engraved billows of the incense, is dominated by the word SVAVITATE: 'with suavitas' or sweetness: 'gentle'. It was the motto of pope Alexander; he prided himself on being charitable, generous to the poor – but even more so to his family, for Alexander VIII was greatly given to nepotism ( In a way he was like Robin Hood, redistributing the wealth of the Vatican by putting it into the pockets of the poor: in casu, mostly his relatives. Also he handed out profitable offices to his nephews and grandnephews, young Pietro Ottoboni ( being a good example.

Papal States. Pope Alexander VIII, 1689-1691. Silvered AE medal, 1690. Obv. Tiaraed bust with ornate pluviale (=Papal raincoat) to the right. On the collar a picture of Saint Bruno. HAMERAN in small letters below bust; dotted border. ALEXAN· - VIII·PONT:M:A:I·. Rev. Censer puffing out billows of smoke. SVAVITATE. Sculpted by Giovanni Martino Hamerani (1646-1705). 12h, 31 mm, 16.54 gr. Ex-Kerry Wetterstrom. See Ridolfo Venuti (, Numismata romanorum pontificum praestantiora a Martino V ad Benedictum XIV (1744), p. 310 IV.

-- Paul
Title: Re: Papal medal, 1670
Post by: malj1 on October 30, 2019, 10:23:10 AM
The Satyrical medals (,4507.msg27416.html#msg27416) are good reading in conjunction with this.
Title: Re: Papal medal, 1670
Post by: Figleaf on October 30, 2019, 03:31:27 PM
Great detail. I like the old man's gesture holding his hand over his heart, maybe meant as a symbol of sincereness.

The text is from Vulgate Philippians 2:7: sed semet ipsum exinanivit formam servi accipiens in similitudinem hominum factus et habitu inventus ut homo. The text is difficult to translate without context (Google translate simply says: "slave"), but with context it says more or less "assuming the form of a servant", less literally, but perhaps more likely "assuming the task of a servant (in human likeness)". Even my interpretation is tricky, as it makes sense only if the subject is Christ. However, popes also indulged in foot-washing ceremonies.

In short, the medal - quite to the contrary of the foot-washing tradition - is a propaganda piece, aimed at those who know the bible and Latin, excluding those whose feet were supposed to be washed.