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BM01101

Fortunes of Rebellion, 1689.

William & Mary, Fortunes of Rebellion, Silver Medal, 1689, by Jan Smeltzing, unsigned, a Hydra, holding the crown, tramples upon the sword and scales of Justice, NUMERO NON IURE VALEBAT [He prevailed by might not right], ANNO NOVUM DOMINI PRIMO [In the first year of a new master] rev., a janiform figure of Fortune standing on a globe and serpent; one side of the figure has a boar's head and holds an executioner's axe, facing the Tower and the date 1684, the other side has the face of William, holds a crown, and faces Whitehall and the date 1689, ILLE CRUCEM HIC DIADEM TULIT [The one attained the scaffold, the other the crown] 49 mm. (MI i 698/99; v.L. III/402/2; van der Meer, The Medal 8, pp. 3-4). Extremely fine with cabinet tone, very rare.

The image of the Hydra had already been used to symbolize protestant rebellion in medals for the death of Charles I, and in Bower's Rye House Plot medal in the reign of Charles II. In the latter, one of the hydra's heads is the Duke of Monmouth. After a subsequent failed attempt to take the crown, this time from James II directly, the Dukes of Monmouth and Argyle were executed in 1685; Monmouth at the Tower and Argyle in Edinburgh. On the present medal the boar's head is the symbol of the Argyle family; the date 1684 correct in the Julian calendar. Eventually James's promotion of Catholicism, and the birth of his son, an heir to generate a catholic royal line, unsettled prominent Anglicans and parliament to the extent that William was invited to seize the throne. The medal compares the fate of Monmouth and Argyle with the successful Glorious Revolution of 1689 yet despite the apparent negativity towards the new monarch Smeltzing nevertheless produced a medal to celebrate William's arrival in Torbay. He also included James II in his Antichristian Confederacy medal which implicates James in a secret pact with the Catholic Louis XIV to destabilize the Netherlands by turning a blind eye to Muslim corsairs raiding Dutch merchant ships in the Mediterranean. Smeltzing was presumably impartial.

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