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1692 Medal update

William iii / Prince of Orange  

7 members have voted

  1. 1. The Case For The Soldier Depicted Being William

    • Do you think I've proved my case. YES
    • Do you think I've proved my case. NO
    • Undecided, but tend to think YES
    • Undecided, but tend to think NO

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IMG_0282_1_edit.jpg 943427.jpg I have had no luck from emails to european dealers as to this medal. None had seen it before. So I have come up with my own theory as to what the medal is. I hope that everyone who reads the reasons I give for my conclusion will participate in the poll, and I thank you in advance. I did not post the other side of the medal as it can be seen in a previous post (Anybody seen this medal before).


The latin inscrition Si fractus illabatur orbis, impavidum ferient ruinae (Odes, III, 3) from Horace which means " though the heavens fall around he stands unmoved" made me realize that apart from the earthquake, this had to refer to a special person, the soldier depicted in armour with rather splendid plumes on his helmet. Also because he was not named you was expected to know who it was. The dating in Julian and Gregorian calendars helped in that all catholic countries began using the reformed calendar almost immediately whereas England adopted much later and the Netherland piecemeal. The medal was obviously not intended for catholic France, Spain or Italy but for a protestant country or countries which used both calenders at that time. Prince William of Orange just happened to also be William the Third of England Scotland and Ireland, the earthquake was felt in England & the Neatherland( which was using both calendars at that time in its different parts) hence the double date. In 1692 William had just about defeated the Irish rebellion which tried to reinstall James 2nd (his wife's father) to the English throne, whilst in Scotland the unrest had indirectly lead to the Glencoe Massacre, the French fleet was having some sucess against the combined Dutch and British fleet at sea, while on land, in the Netherlands the French were also doing well. William & Mary had also fallen out with their daughter Anne. Is there any other likely candidate for the person depicted and the description " though the heavens fall around he stands unmoved" than William?

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Your logic makes perfect sense to me.

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Just received this email today, so I was wrong about it being William III (even though I obviously made a good case judging by the poll results) it is just a soldier standing unmoved. I am pleased to have the info, thanks are due to the BM.


Dear Constanius,


The medal you illustrate is regarded as Dutch - it is listed in Van Loon's Histoire Metallique du Pay-Bas, vol 2, pp. 114-15, though the BM doesn't hold an example. The medallist doesn't seem to be known. As you suggest, it does commemorate the 1692 earthquake, with a quote across both sides from one of Horace's odes. The figure is not likely to be William III - it seems just to be a generic image of a warrior unable to defend his now-cracked tower from natural forces. Presumably the original medal was struck, but it could be that your specimen is a cast taken from a struck version.


Yours sincerely

Dr BJ Cook

Duty Curator 17-21 March

Department of Coins and Medals

British Museum


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