Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

serves very justly,“ that the medallist much the centre of the medal they are called the values those which have a uumber of figures, inscription; and when they are separated as the puellæ faustinianæ of Fanstina, a from the figure by a line near the bottom, gold coin no larger than a sixpence, which they are on the exergue. The varieties and has twelve figures; that of Trajan, regna abundance of legends, &e. precludes a posadsignata, has four; the congiarium of Ner. sibility of entering into their merits and peva, five; the allocution of Trajan, seven; of culiarities; some being merely explanatory, Hadrian, ten; of Probus, twelve." There cannot be subject either to censure or critiwas a felicity of thought, and a happy mode cism; others impute virtues, and convey of conveying a compliment, adopted by compliments well deserved; but it may those who struck medals at the time now justly be doubted, whether the majority do under notice, which was accomplished by not speak every language except that of giving the representation of a virtue, and truth. One specimen may serve to convince calling it that of the person commemo- the most incredulous on this head : Julia, rated; in this particular the Romans differ. the consort of Severus, was termed mat. ed greatly from the Greeks; the latter peo- AVGG. MAT. SENAT. MAT. PAT., or, the paple uniformly pointed out the effigies of rent of Augustus, the senate, and of her their gods and genii by their generally re- country; but Tiberius became blasphemous, ceived emblems; but the former inscribed as far as blasphemy could be said to exist their names. It is entirely useless to par. in the heathen mythology, by calling himticularize the deities and their insignia ; but self the divi filius. However wanting these in order to facilitate the study of medals, it legends and inscriptions might be in verity, may be proper to mention some of the they must be allowed the merit of beauti. symbols which are not commonly known; ful simplicity in their construction, and the branches of plants issuing from vases, for most elegant compression. instance, imply a reference to religious We have hitherto treated the subject of games ; the serpent springing from a coffer coins and medals conjointly, which was in denotes the mystic rites of Bacchus; the a great degree unavoidable, through the si. anchor on medals infers that they are Se- milarity of each to the other; for though a leucian, and struck at Antioch; the tripod coin may be said to be merely intended as was placed, by the Syrian princes, covered a circulating medium, calculated to preand uncovered under the figures of their vent the difficulties attending the bartering deities; to which may be added others, in of commodities, yet it has been customary the words of Mr. Pinkerton: “ the flowers from time immemorial to impress figures on of pomegranates, for Rhodes; owl, for the pieces of metal used for this purpose, of Athens ; pegasus, for Corinth ; wolf's head, equal import with those stamped on medals for Argos; ball's head, for Beotia ; mino- intended solely as historical records, or as tanr's head, and the labyrinth, for Crete,” adulatory offerings to supreme power. &c. &c. Were we to pursue this part of Medallions were made of dimensions far the subject, it would lead to an incredible too large for circulation as money, which length of investigation, and it may be was necessary in order to give due effect to doubted whether many mistakes might not the design, and to renderit intelligible at be created through the obvious obscurity first view; some were struck as patterns of involving it.

proposed coins ; others were issued at the The legends on coins and medals are of commencement of a new reign, and on re. too much importance to require a recom- markable occasions; and in some instances mendation of their study; the earliest coins they may have been the effects of caprice of Grecian cities have either the initials, or of men in high authority; and in a few their names at length; and those of the cases, of gratitude. It is usual to consider princes of that country, their names, initials, as medals, all those Roman pieces which or monograms. The imperial medals of exceed the denarius aureus in size; those of Greece and Rome are distinguished by me- silver, larger than the denarius; and those thods far more explanatory, as they have of brass, which are of greater diameter than words round the face, the reverse, and even the sestertius; but Mr. Pinkerton is of opi. in the centre of the latter in some cases. nion,” that the gold medallions, weighing Medallists have divided the inscriptions two, three, or four aurei only, passed in into three terms, suited to the place of the currency, as the Greek gold didrachms, tri. words ; when they encircle the margin they drachms, or tetradrachms, according to are called the legend; when they occupy their size. The like may be said of the sil

ver, which are commonly of the value of a made by order of ap Englishman, and stampGreek tetradrachm : they, I have little ed on brass, most probably in Italy, was one doubt, went in currency for four denarii.” found in Knaresborough forest, in the sevenThe brass medallions have the greatest va: teenth century, which bears a bust with riety of devices on their surfaces, and are the legend 10. KENDAL RHODI TVRCVPEL. executed in a style of superior excellence. LERIVS. MCCCCLxxx. on the obverse, and on Greek pieces of the above description, the reverse his family arms, and TEMPORE made before the Roman einpire, are ex- OBSIDIONIS TVRCORVM. MCCCCLxxx. It is tremely rare; but Greek medallions of ko. singular, that the vast variety of important man emperors are far nuore numerous than events which have occurred in England, the Roman. After the reign of Hadrian, should have passed away without suggesting the medallions of that country are sels this method of perpetuating their rememdom found to be of fine workmanship, yet brance, and that an example should have they are invaluable for their rarity, variety, been set to our monarchs by a knight of and the intelligence of their devices; these Rhodes, who was more affected by the raiscircumstances render them very high. ing of the siege of that island by the Turks, priced.

thian Edward III. was by his deeds in Besides the superior class of medallions, France. Henry VIII., one of the least there are others, particularly of a size be- worthy of the kings of England, caused a tween the first and second brass, which the medal to be struck in 1545, which is of conItalians call medaglioncini, and Mr. Pinker- siderable diameter, and of gold; the leton, medalets, and tokens, and counters, gends of this second British medal are three each proceeding from a variety of causes in number, and are inserted one within the occurring in the Roman dominions. The other on the obverse, inclosing his head and contorniatii, another kind, are so termed face in front; the reverse has two inscripfrom the hollow circle round them; those tions, in the Hebrew and Greek languages, are large as medallions, thin, and of inferior which signify his being the defender of the execution, and liave afforded much latitude faith, head of the church, &c. The first for conjecture as to the purpose for which coronation-medal was that made by order they were intended.

of Edward VI., the son and successor of We were under the necessity of dwelling Henry, whose medal just described served on the foreign coins and medals of antiquity in every respect for a model. Very little to a considerable extent, that the subject can be said in commendation of the execumight be fully understood, as we are wholly tion of these pieces; neither are those of indebted to the ancients for the invention Elizabeth much better, with the exception of money, and even for our designs in many of one or two. Though earlier in point of instances. It appears from the account of time, Philip and Mary were more fortuBritain, written by Cæsar, that the inhabi- nate in the selectiou of their artists, partitants at that period bad brass and iron mo- cularly Trozzo, who did two in silver for ney, the use and coinage of which was pro- those monarchs, of high relief. Richard bably derived from our Gallic neighbours. Shelly, Prior of the order of St. John of Je. Cunobelin, to whom many ancient coins rusalem, in England, one of the last wlio found in England have been ascribed, was presided at Clerkenwell, caused one to be educated in the court of Augustus, and struck in the reigu last mentioned, which King of the Trinobantes: those are supposed deserves praise, to be the only extant, purely English, of Charles I. a good judge of the arts, exwhich there is an admirable collection in ceeded his father, James I. in the excel. our national museum; the legends of them lence of his medals; that dated 1636, repreare generally cvno, and Tascia, and camv; senting the King and Henrietta Maria, is the first seems to apply to Cunobelin, the finely executed, particularly the heads. second has never been explained, and the “ The reverse," observes Mr. Pinkerton, third may be Camudolanum; the devices “represents Justice and Peace kissing, awk. are a horse, an ear of wheat, and a bust, ac- wardly enough.” “The tout ensemble of coinpanied by the abbreviation Cuno, on the piece however is bad, and quite onlike one side, with a variety of emblems on the the antique ; the standard of perfection in other, and Camu.

this way, owing to the field of the medal English medals, intended entirely as such, not being above a line thick, while the were never struck in the ancient periods of relievos are a full balf inch in thickness : our history, and the first kuown to have been whereas, in the best and boldest ancient medallions, the edge of the piece is two or and on the reverse she is shewn seated in a three lines thick, where the relief is three chariot, giving the rein to two horses which or four. A bollowness is, indeed, given in are drawing it at full speed, the legend the ancient to the inner field around the Forlunam Cuusamque seguor; and on the relief, both to give more elevation and exergue, Deceptis Custodibus, MDCCXIX. boldness, and that the edge may something Another medal was struck by him on the protect the subjects of the field.” The birth of his eldest son; this exhibits the busts medals of Charles would, without doubt, of the Prince and Princess, with the legend have exceeded all others made by his pre- Jacob. III. R. Clementina R.; and the redecessors, in a very great proportion, had verse has the lady supporting the child on his politics been more successful: still they her left arm, which rests on a pillar, an emdeserve approbation; though Simon, em- blem of constancy, the right hand extendployed by the Commonwealth and Crom- ed points to a globe, presenting England, well

, soon after his death surpassed them. Scotland, and Ireland, with the legend Had this celebrated artist received the pa- Providentia Obstetrix ; the exergue, Carolo tronage of the dethroned monarch, in a Princ. Vallia, Nat. Die ultima, A.M.DCC.XX. state of peace, the correctness of his judg- To return from this digression to the time ment and experience must have produced of James II. That weak and unpopular king most superb pieces, which would probably either caused or permitted malignant mehave rivalled those of the Greeks when in dals to be circulated satirizing Monmouth's the zenith of their fame.

rebellion, and exulting in his death; the Charles II. had several good medals, par. legends on those was Purum successit feci ticularly the three struck on liis leaving sedulo; superi risere; Caput inter nubila; Holland, at the Restoration, and at his Providentia improvidentia, &c. The reign Coronation. Catherine of Portugal, his of William III. was prodactive of a series consort, decorates some, one of which has of most uncommon events, each of which her head, and on the reverse Pietute made admirable subjects for medals ; indeed Insignis. Mr. Walpole communicated to his birth was celebrated by the striking of Mr. Pinkerton, from Vertue's manuscripts, one, representing his mother on the obverse, an account of a rare and singular medal, and himself in childhood on the reverse. made by command of this licentious mo. After his accession to the throne of Eng. narch, representing the Duchess of Ports. laud, he had his own bust and that of mouth on the obverse, and Cupid on a

Queen Mary almost universally placed on wool-pack on the reverse ; besides the the obverses of his medals, particularly in above there are the Favente Deo; the Pro those kuown by the following legends ; the talibus ausis ; and the Felicitas Britannia. Ataius par nobile ; Atarum pro libertate; The same author adds, “ The short reign of Nec Lex est justior ulla ; Nisi tu quis tenJames II, has several medals. The most perit ignes, &c.: others, which have the. remarkable are the Nemo me impune laces- king's bust alone, are the Apparuit et dissiset; that with his queen, Fortes Radii sed pavit ; the Gul, Nass. in Torbay, &c.; the Benigni; those on the Pretender's birth, Victis ac fugatis Hibernis ; the Imperium Felicitas Publica. Others have Orbata luce pelagi nobis; the Nunquam impune lacessi. lucidum obscurat; Magnis interdum purra tus, &c. nocent; Pro glandibus Aurcu poma."

Equally fortunate and prolific in great The Pretender, thougla unsuccessful in his events was the reign of Anne. This Queen, attempts to regain the throne of his fore- illustrious in virtue, perpetuated the vicfathers, and an exile to the hour of histories achieved by her armies, under the death, was still so much of an Englishman as incomparable Duke of Marlborough, in a to require notice in this article, particularly regular series of medals; but here we are as his history is a collateral branch of that compelled to cease. Although the subsequent of England: this Prince caused a medal to history of this country furnishes repeated be struck by the Papal medallist, Hame. occasions for a rich display of medallions, rani, on the occassion of his intended con. they have nearly been passed unnoticed in sort's escape from the arrest procured by this particular ; and most of the medals we the English minister at Vienna, and which possess, of modern execution, have been took place in the Tyrol, on hier way to the struck by private persons, sometimes to Pretender. The lady was represented on honour the memory of worthy men, but the obverse by her bist, with the legend generally to procure present emolument: Clementina M. Britan. Fr. & Hib. Regina ; in the latter class, may be included Dassier,

who engraved and struck a series of all the has towns added, only the names of the kings of England, then thirty-six in number, moneyers were introduced; from the time which were executed with great spirit, and of Athelstan, anno 925, the conjunction beare of copper. Dassier was a native of came general. Neglect or policy prevented Geneva, and made this addition to English William of Normandy from making any medals about 1740.

alteration in the English penny, and in some The reader will perceive that we have instances he adopted the same reverses been principally indebted to Mr. Pinker- used by his predecessor, Harold the usurper. ton's excellent essay on medals for the pre- This penny possessed many intrinsic qualiceding facts, nor do we hesitate to acknow- ties, which rendered it more acceptable to ledge that we shall be equally so for the the inhabitants of the northern kingdoms, following sketch of the history of British Italy and France, than their own; hence it coins, except some few particulars towards may be concluded that the commerce of the close of the article. That gentleman ob- England was extensive even at that remote serves the heptarchic coins were of two de period, particularly as the first mentioned scriptions, one the silver skeatta, or penny, nations had scarcely any other medium. It and the copper, or billon styca; the latter is a singular circumstance, and much to the was confined to Northumbria, and in the credit of our native land, that it furnishes a later period of that kingdom the size was complete series of pennies from the reign diminutive, and the value not more than of Egbert to the present moment, with the half a farthing of our money; it is the sil- exception of those of John and Richard I. ver penny therefore which is to be consi- whose coins were in the first case Irish, and dered as the general coin of the heptarchy, in the last French ; if these monarchs had for neither gold or any other kind of silver any struck in England they have not yet was issued for a long time after. The ad been discovered: in this particular we ex. mirers of this stndy are indebted to Dr. ceed every nation on the globe. The earCombe for their present knowledge of the liest pennies weigh 29į grains, troy; at the skeata, who caused several of them to be close of the reign of Edward III, they engraved; the most ancient have figures of weigh 18 grains, they then fell to 15; and serpents impressed on them, sometimes in that of Edward IV. they are 12; Edwith the addition of one or two letters, but ward VI. reduced the penny to 8 grains ; legends were subsequently introduced: it is and Elizabeth to 73* The next coins of obvious, from the symbols

, they all belong antiquity are the halfpennies and farthings, to the period when the Pagan mythology of silver, which were first made permanentprevailed. The heptarchic pennies do not ly by order of Edward I. and continued till occur till after the year 700, though there the revolution in the time of Charles I.; but are skeatas of Ethelbert I. King of Kent, the farthings were discontinued after the between 560 and 616; and of Egbert, mo- death of Edward VI. Those were succeeded narch of the same district, anno 664. It is by the groat piece, introduced by Edward by no means necessary to trace all the III. and the testoon, or shilling, by Henry coins of the beptarchy, it will be sufficient VII. ; the former term is said to be derived to say that those of the principal sovereigns from teste, or tete, the head of the king exist, almost in a complete series, from impressed upon it; the latter evidently Egbert in 832 to Edgar 959; the generality comes from the German word schelling. of them have badly executed portraits on The crown piece, of silver, was first issued the obverse, but the reverses are far more by Henry VIII.; and Elizabeth coined interesting, presenting elevations of cathe- three-halfpenny and three farthing pieces, drals and other structures, particularly which were not continued by her sucYork Minster, on one of Edward, senior, cessors. A. D. 900.

Henry VIII. was the first of our monarchs The coins of Anlaf, King of Northum- who ventured to debase the money of his bria, bear a raven; Egbert's have the realm ; and Mr. Pinkerton justly exclaims legend Saxonum instead of Anglorum ; and “it was a debasement indeed! for it ex. the pennies of Athelstan bave Rex tot. Brit. tended to 66 per cent:" that issued by Exclusive of these royal coins, there were him, bearing his profile, is of the ancient others purely ecclesiastic, which are extant standard; but that with his portrait in between 804 and 889, and were struck by front, is of the description alluded to. Ed. several archbishops of Canterbury. Except ward VI. who was the last monarch that on the money of Alfred and Edward I. that had his bust thus represented, exactly reversed his father's example, as bis coin, length, but the young king introduced himwith the side face, is bad, and the fall face self in a bust: in his reign silver, which had good. The base coin of this king is the first been as 1 to 4, was reduced to the ancient which is dated; the silver coin was restored proportion of 1 to 11. James I. gave the to the original standard in 1552 ; and since sovereign the name of unite, in honour of 1601, 18 pennyweights of alloy has been the union of England and Scotland in his used in the pound weight.

person, which were then 20s.; and he made Henry III. introduced the coinage of rose ryals of 308.; and spur ryals 1l. 158.; gold : his attempt appears, however, to have angels of 108.; angelets of 58.: and in the been unsuccessful, as only two specimens ninth year of his reign gold was raised in have reached our time, and are called the the proportion of one shilling. gold penny; they are larger than that of We shall now turn our attention to some silver, and tolerably executed : it is to other unquestionable authorities for the furEdward III. therefore we are indebted for ther illustration of this interesting subject. the establishment of the system still pre- James, aware of the variety of causes which vailing, which the last named prince com- operated to injure and annihilate the circumenced in 1344 with the florens, then lating medium, as such, issued a proclamaworth six shillings, but now greatly increas- tion in 1619, prohibiting the exchange of ed in value, and thus called from Florence, monies for profit, the making of plate of where the best gold was coined at that any of his majesty's coins, and the excessive period. Half and quarter florens were use of gold and silver foliate. Charles I. made at the same time, though none of the devoted much of his attention, in the early former bave descended to us. The foren part of his reign, to the state of the coinbeing found inconvenient, from the value age, and published several commissions for not according with a distinct division of regulating of it, amongst which was one for larger ideal denominations of money, the stamping all bullion of gold and silver noble of 68. 8d. was adopted, which con- brought into the kingdom, and another for sisted of half the mark: this term was reforming abuses and frauds committed in founded on the superiority of the metal the silver coin. This explains the previous used in making it, and was attended by manner of proceeding, and asserts that the other coins of half and quarter nobles; both exchange of all kinds of gold and silver fit sides of this money had a circle within it for the mint, one of the kings prerogatives, resembling the outline of an open rose, and had been entrusted to the goldsmiths, who was thence called the rose noble by medal- had abused this indulgence, and by presumlists. The angels issued by Edward IV. ing to sort and weigh every description of impressed with the figure of the archangel money, daily selecting the heaviest for melt. Michael, were of the same value of the ing, or for sale to persons who exported it noble, and divided in the same way, as they immediately, thus materially diminishing were intended to supersede the former: the quantity of current coin, and rendering the increase in the value of gold caused those who brought silver to the mint certain several changes in the weight of the noble; losers. The proclamation alluded to ap. in 1465 the angel, worth 68. 8d. weighed pointed Henry, Earl of Holland, superin80 grains, to which it had fallen from 120 tendant of the changes, exchanges, and outgrains, the weight of the original noble of changes, in the British dominions; and pro65. 8d. The ryal, of the value of 10s. and bibited the exportation of gold or silver, the angel, with its divisions, were the only either coined or otherwise, and the melting English gold coins till 1485; but Henry VII. of the coin, besides providing for the reforordered the coinage of a double ryal, value mation of the abuses committed by gold208. and the double sovereign of 40s. Smiths, who upon the sale of their wares Henry VIII. added the gold crown and were to demand for value or rate separately, balf crown, of 58. and 28. 6d.; and issued and the fashion and workmanship separatesovereigis of 228. 6d.; ryals of 118. 3d. ; ly; and were commanded at the same time angels of 78. 6d.; and nobles of 68. 8d.: give a memorandum to the purchaser, this monarch, after raising the value of silver describing the day of sale, the weight, the to the proportion of 1 to 5 of gold, issued value of the metal, and the charge for sovereigns of 208.

fashion, &c. by which means the buyer, on Previous to the reign of Edward VI. the selling the same again, might know what to figures of our kings were represented on demand for it at the king's exchange or their gold coin at fall and three quarters mint.

« НазадПродовжити »