Which cat destroyed the Treaty of Amiens?

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by ColonialCoinsUK, Jan 28, 2022.


Which cat is it?

  1. Lion

    2 vote(s)
  2. Leopard

    2 vote(s)
  3. Panther

    8 vote(s)
  1. ColonialCoinsUK

    ColonialCoinsUK Well-Known Member


    The Treaty of Amiens was signed in 1802 by France and the UK and ended the War of the Second Coalition and thus the French Revolutionary Wars. The resulting peace in Europe was only temporary with the British declaring war on France only a year later in response to Napoleon's continued and expanding occupation of territory thereby initiating the Napoleonic wars. This conflict then consumed Europe for more than a decade estabilishing the basis for the national boundaries we know today.

    Napoleon had a medal struck in response, with the English breaking the Treaty of Amiens represented by a large cat tearing up the Treaty. Over the years I have seen this cat described in auction listings and books as a lion, a leopard or a panther so which it is?
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  3. expat

    expat Remember you are unique, just like everyone else Supporter

    It's upper skull shape is more leopard like than the other two, IMO
    panzerman, john65999 and longshot like this.
  4. longshot

    longshot Enthusiast Supporter

    Interesting. The overall brawnyness makes me think lioness, but the ears look small, and no tuft at the tails end.

    @expat , I was thinking leopard too.
    panzerman, expat and derkerlegand like this.
  5. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    1 of 3 cats Gucci and his long fur...

    Last edited: Jan 28, 2022
  6. derkerlegand

    derkerlegand Well-Known Member

    Tiger Devouring an Antelope
    Antoine-Louis Barye, French, 1796 - 1875

    panzerman, john65999 and spirityoda like this.
  7. desertgem

    desertgem Senior Errer Collecktor Supporter

    I don't think the artist had watch many cats. This one has the rear end more similar to a Rhino. Large Cats have smaller. longer muscles. His toes also are more like a crippled Rheumatoid arthritic human. Perhaps the sculptor's idea of political exaggeration of strength of a country. Jim
  8. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Hey brother can you spare a half dime?

    Thats a very thought out hypothesis.... as your interpretation seems very logical.
    panzerman and john65999 like this.
  9. Cliff Reuter

    Cliff Reuter Well-Known Member

    The head almost looks like a pit bull. LOL
    Kentucky and panzerman like this.
  10. CaptHenway

    CaptHenway Survivor

    I have inquired of David T. Alexander, who has a great new book on Napoleonic medals coming out, if he knows. Will advise when I hear from him.
    panzerman likes this.
  11. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    The artist had no clue, of what a big cat looked like. However, he was probably trying to design a Lion, since it was the British symbol thru history. Looks more like a Hyena.
    Gallienus, longshot and The Eidolon like this.
  12. offa the saxon

    offa the saxon Well-Known Member

    The original crest of England was three leopards so I’m going for leopard.
    Cliff Reuter and expat like this.
  13. Keith Twitchell

    Keith Twitchell Active Member

    I think panzerman is on the right track, that was my first thought as well: lions have been part of the British symbolism throughout history (the English soccer team is known as the 3 Lions because of their jerseys), so a lion would make sense. I've asked my cats for their thoughts on the subject, but they were more interested in breakfast.
    panzerman likes this.
  14. expat

    expat Remember you are unique, just like everyone else Supporter

    The Deidis of Armorie: A Heraldic Treatise and Bestiary claims that those who bore the tiger on their coats of arms were feigning, cunning and deceitful (‘dissimilit, wyly, and double in his dedis’ in Old English)
    panzerman likes this.
  15. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    The Tiger is the king of cats/ Jaguar the most beautifull/ Leopard most agile/ Cheetah fastest/ then we have the Lion....slothy/ lazy/ ugly and needs a female to take care of him:shame:
  16. 7Jags

    7Jags Well-Known Member

    Maybe not entirely fair as the male lion is called in for the big jobs and will finish off - or more correctly start AND finish off even elephants, water buffalo, etc. There is great footage of available of this. They are the King of Beasts for a reason.
    panzerman likes this.
  17. ColonialCoinsUK

    ColonialCoinsUK Well-Known Member

    Probably a bit fluffy - not guilty!

    I have only seen one reference to it as a pit bull - probably not though

    My original thought was it was a panther as these are usually depicted as maneless lions and, to me, it looked more like that. However it looks like panthers are spotted in heraldry etc and often have what appears to be fire coming from their mouths and ears which this big cat doesn't.

    That left maneless lion or a leopard and I would expect a 'lion' to have mane and all other lions seem to have one but I thought leopards had spots - in heraldry it seems not

    It is well known that the English Arms are referred to as three lions however I found it interesting that these cats were called leopards until the late 1300's and it is only later than they became lions to the English - with the French and neighbouring nations still referring to them as leopards.

    A possible reason for this is that that leopards were thought to be a result of the mating of a lion and the mythical Pard, with the offspring therefore being leo-pards. This mixed heritage meant that leopards could not have young and was therefore also used as a term to describe someone born of adultery as such children were left out of the line of succession.

    It would not surprise me that, for such reasons, the English switched to calling them lions whilst the French were still calling the English leopards and hence 'barren bas*&"ds', or whatever the equivalent is in French!

    As this medal was struck in France, and blaming the English for ending the Treaty of Amiens, I am therefore going to refer to the big cat as a leopard from now on - of course all this could be complete rubbish and it is the local farm moggy!
    John Anthony and Cliff Reuter like this.
  18. ColonialCoinsUK

    ColonialCoinsUK Well-Known Member

    I would be very interested in this, would be great to have a chat with David if that is possible??
  19. Gallienus

    Gallienus coinsandhistory.com

    I think it's a lion. Historically these critters have been depicted munching on things and the Lion characteristically stood for Britain. If I recall Napoleon broke the treaty also both sides expected that of him and that the peace was just temporary.

    One of my Lion munching on something coins.
    Akanthos, silver tetradrachm, (17.34 gms), ca. 510 B.C. good VF
    Harlan J Berk, Buy or Bid Sale# 200, lot# 51, 8 Jan 2017
  20. CaptHenway

    CaptHenway Survivor

    I finally received the following reply from David T. Alexander:

    This creature is always described as the "British Lion (ess). In English heraldry with its vocabulary heavily freighted with medieval, the lion is referred to as Leopard, and in more modern time that led engravers to carve actual leopards where lions are intended! Channel Islands copper coins show the British lions with actual leopards' spots!
  21. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter Dealer

    I have nothing to contribute to the taxonomy debate, but that's a beautiful medal. Can we see the other side, or is it blank?
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