Papal Medal - Alexander VII / Androcles and the Lion

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Iosephus, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. Iosephus

    Iosephus Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I meant to post this in the World Coins forum. Apologies.

    Pope Alexander VII / Androcles and the Lion

    by Gioacchino Francesco Travani, 1659

    Gilt Bronze, 97.8 mm Ø

    Obverse: Bust of Alexander VII facing left with beard, wearing cassock, cap, and decorative stole. Around, ALEXANDER · VII · P · M · PIVS · IVST · OPT · SENEN · PATR · GENTE · CHRISIVS · MDCLIX .

    Reverse: Androcles standing left dressed in Roman armor, holding sword in his right hand and shield in his left. To the right, a lion crouches in submission. In the background, the arena filled with spectators. Above and around, MVNIFICO · PRINCIPI · DOMINICVS · IACOBATIVS , below, on scroll, ET · FERA · MEMOR · BENEFICII .

    After the cessation of a plague in Rome in 1657, Domenico Jacobacci, a Roman nobleman and papal agent, commissioned a medal to be cast in appreciation of Alexander VII's role in bringing an early end to the plague. The reverse portrays the story of Androcles, a condemned slave spared from death by a lion who remembers Androcles as the person who had once pulled a thorn from his paw. This scene represents the thankful remembrance of Jacobacci and the whole Roman populace.

    Though unsigned, the medal is attributed to Travani on the basis of style, relating to several similar large cast medals of Alexander VII. The medal's design has been attributed to Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

    References: Miselli n. 567; Roma Resurgens n. 79; Vannel & Toderi (Bargello) n. 504-505

    This recent acquisition of the Jacobacci medal forms a nice pair with the piece below, which is one of the first medals I purchased when I started collecting a decade ago.

    Pope Alexander VII / Death Departing

    by Gaspare Morone, 1657

    Silver, 35 mm Ø

    Obverse: Bust of Alexander VII facing right, wearing a decorative cope. Around, ALEXAN · VII · PONT · MAX · A · III . Below, the artist, · G M · .

    Reverse: Saint Peter descends from heaven, holding a key, towards victims of the plague. At the right is the angel of death, holding a skull and sword. St. Peter's Basilica can be seen in the left background. Below, VT VMBRA ILLIVS LIBERARENTVR · .

    Annual medal for Year III (1657) of Alexander VII's reign. The dreaded plague appeared in Rome in May of 1656. Pope Alexander VII took charge of the situation and instituted measures to try and control the outbreak. He would also make frequent public appearances to calm the people. By June of 1657, the plague in Rome was coming to an end, though Rome lost about one-eighth its population (15,000 people) in that time.

    This medal was the first of several medals (and a coin) to be designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini during the reign of Alexander VII.

    References: Miselli n. 545; Modesti (Annuale) n. 127; Roma Resurgens n. 78
    akeady, Theodosius, Pishpash and 9 others like this.
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    They're a pretty medals and the reverse of the first is falls in the ancient world.
  4. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    I particularly like the second one, for some reason. They're both awesome, of course.
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