Students have always found the coinage of Italy of more than passing interest, and the country of the early Romans is still a far from exhausted field of numismatic research. Few sections of Europe have had such a varied history. Few have been more fought over. Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Goths, Franks, Germans, Normans, Spaniards, Austrians and the Papal Authorities have had a hand in the mismanagement of the country's affairs, and all have left traces of their influence, but nowhere more definitely than in the field of numismatics. The changing coinage has always been interesting, and the publication of the Corpus Nummorum Italicorum, undertaken by His Majesty, Victor Emmanuel III, is a magnificent demonstration of the value of numismatic research.
In the time of Augustus, "Italia" was divided into eleven sections. In the feudal period many of these had been governed for centuries by members of the same family. It was a normal condition for these clans to wage war one upon the other, and this state of affairs existed almost uninterruptedly until the middle of the Nineteenth Century. "The destinies of Italy were decided in the cabinets and on the battle-fields of Northern Europe—a Bourbon at Versailles, a Hapsburg at Vienna or a thick-lipped Lorrainer, with the stroke of his pen, wrote off province against province, regarding not the population who had bled for him or thrown themselves upon his mercy." Through it all, the Papacy has exerted a powerful influence. In the early period such a shifting of control was not to the best interests of the inhabitants.
The kingdom of Italy, as we know it today, did not exist, of course, until 1870. With the fall of the French Empire under Napoleon III, the assistance of France was no longer available, and Rome came under the dominion of Victor Emmanuel. All of that great mountainous peninsula was united and free. For over seventy years the country has been governed by a Prince of the House of Savoy. Its population has prospered more during that period than for many preceding centuries.
These changing conditions were not without effect upon the organisations which we class as Orders of Knighthood. Many of the Orders of Chivalry founded by the Ducal or Princely rulers of Italy were named for their patron saints. It has seemed expedient in this article to treat of the Orders and Decorations of all of these changing principalities separately. Insofar as is possible, any repetition which this course involves has been avoided.
Lucca, the most northern province of Tuscany, lies between the Apennines and the Mediterranean Sea. Its principal city, Lucca, on the River Sarchio, is famous for a remarkable bridge which is said to have been built about 1000 a.d. From the time of the Narses, in the Sixth Century, Lucca was an important city. Here and at Pisa, the earliest Italian school of painting flourished in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. Lucca became an autonomous commune from the death of Matilda (1115). In 1314 Uguccione della Faggiola seized the reins of Government, but later he was superseded by the powerful Castruccio Castracani. Louis of Bavaria, after having occupied it by his troops, sold it to a Genoese banker, Gherardo Spinola; it was seized by John, King of Bohemia, pawned by him to the Rossi of Parma, sold to Florence, relinquished to Pisa, nominally liberated by Charles IV (Emperor of Germany, 1346-1678) and governed by his vicar. Lucca, subjected to endless vicissitudes, managed first as a democracy and after 1628 as an oligarchy, to maintain its independence, alongside of Venice and Genoa, and painted the word "Libertas" on its banner until the French Revolution. In 1805, Napoleon I gave Lucca to his sister Eliza, who had married Bacciochi. It was occupied by the Neapolitans in 1814, and from 1816 to 1847 it was the Duchy of Maria Louisa of Parma (who married her cousin, Charles IV of Spain), and was ruled by her son, Charles Louis. It later formed one of the provinces of Tuscany. Under the rule of the Lombard Dukes, Lucca possessed a coinage of its own.
MILITARY ORDER OF SAINT GEORGE OF Lucca. Duke Charles Louis Ferdinand, a Spanish Bourbon, founded this Order on June 1, 1833. It was called Ordine di San Giorgio per il Merito Militare, and was awarded for military services to the Duchy. It was also issued to officers and privates whose service exceeded three years.
The Decoration is a Maltese cross, enamelled white. It is edged with gold for the first class, with silver for the second, while for the third class it is silver without the enamel. In the centre is a white medallion, upon which there is a gold figure of St. George slaying the dragon, surrounded by the words AL MERITO MILITARE on a green band. The reverse shows the initials of the founder, C.L., crowned, and the date 1833. The ribbon is bright red with a white stripe.
ORDER OF SAINT LOUIS. Founded on December 22, 1836, by Duke Charles Louis, and awarded for civil merit. It was reorganized in 1849 by his son, Charles III, Duke of Parma, a Bourbon, for Civil and Military service; it is, therefore, classed with the Orders of Parma also. See page 19.
The badge of the first class is a white-enamelled cross, with heavy gold lines and with a large fleur-de-lis at the tip of each cross-arm. The obverse bears a shield upon which is an effigy of Saint Louis in golden armour; the reverse has a shield bearing the Bourbon crest of three lilies. The second class cross is of silver and white enamel, while the third is all silver but without the crown. The ribbon is blue with a yellow stripe on either side.
Order of Saint Louis
MEDAL FOR MILITARY SERVICE. Created on June 1, 1833, for officers who had served over thirty years, and called the Medaglia di Anzianita. The obverse bears a gilt Maltese cross with the initials C.L. and a crown above; on the reverse are the Roman figures XXX, denoting the years of service. The ribbon is blue, with yellow stripes—four of the former and three of the latter.
CIVIL MEDAL OF MERIT. This Decoration was also instituted by Duke Charles Louis. It is of silver and bronze. The initials of the founder, C.L. intertwined, appear on the obverse, and the reverse has inscribed thereon the words, AI BENEMERITI DELLA SALUTE PUBBLICA.
In 183 b.c. Mutina, as Modena was then called, was a Roman colony. For more than twelve centuries there were constantly changing rulers. In 1288 a.d. Obizzo II (1240-1293), of the princely house of Este, received the lordship of Modena. The Este family was one of the oldest of Northern Italy, dating back to about 917 a.d. Through the marriage of an heiress of the house of Welf, of Bavaria, with a younger son of the house of Este, this family became connected with the houses of Brunswick and Hanover, from which are descended the Sovereigns of England, through the house of Guelph. At various periods, the Estensi received the sovereignties of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio. The male branch of the family lost the duchies of Modena and Reggio on the death of Hercules Rinaldo, who died in 1803. His only daughter, Maria, married Ferdinand of Austria, son of Francis I and Maria Theresa. Their son, Francis IV, in 1816 became the first Hapsburg duke of Modena. He died in 1846, and when his son Francis V died in 1875, the male line of the Austrian Estensi became extinct and the title passed to Francis, son of Archduke Charles Louis. Members of the Este family and their descendants had held the Duchy of Modena almost continuously from 1288 until 1860. In that year the territory by a plebescite was declared part of the Kingdom of Italy.
ORDER OF THE EAGLE OF ESTE. Founded by Francis V on December 27, 1855, and awarded for military and civil merit. The number of the members of the Order was limited to 20 for the Grand Cross, 40 for the Commander Class and 120 for the Class of the Knights. The decoration was surrendered on the death of the Knight. The insignia is a gold Maltese cross with gold knobs at the points, white-enamelled and edged with blue. Between the arms of the cross are gold scrolls, and the letters E.S.T.E. are distributed in the angles. On the blue medallion is the white-crowned eagle of the house of Este, surrounded by a white-enamelled band, inscribed PROXIMA SOLI MDCCCLV. The reverse centre of white enamel bears the figure of Saint Contardo holding a cross. It is surrounded by a blue-enamelled band bearing three stars and inscribed S. CONTARDUS ATESTINUS. The ribbon is white, edged with blue stripes. When awarded for military merit, the cross is surmounted by a trophy of arms; for civil merit, by an oak wreath.
Order of the Eagle of Este
MILITARY MEDAL FOR LOYALTY. Francis IV, the first Hapsburg duke of Modena (1816-1846), caused a medal to be struck and awarded to those of his troops who remained faithful during the riot of February 4, 1831. This disturbance was organized by Ciro Menotti, and forced Francis IV to flee from his capital. It was thought by some that the Duke was in league with Menotti, but as the Duke caused Menotti to be put to death when the Revolution was suppressed, this is doubtful. The silver medal given to his supporting troops bears the inscription FIDELI MILITI MDCCCXXXI. Within a wreath of laurel, and below are two crossed swords. The reverse is inscribed FRANCISCUS IV DUX MUTINAE. The ribbon has three stripes, equal in width; the middle one white, the side ones blue.
CROSS FOR SERVICE. Authorized by Francis V, May 16, 1852. This medal was awarded to officers who had served 25 years under the banner of the house of Este. It is a silver cross with a gilt edge. In the centre is the white eagle of Este, surmounted by a crown and the letters F. V. The reverse bears the Roman figures XXV. The cross is surmounted by the ducal crown, and the ribbon is white, edged with blue.
MILITARY MEDAL OF MERIT. This decoration was created in 1852 for the junior officers and privates. It is silver. On the obverse appears a bust of the duke facing left, and the legend FRANCESCO V DUCA DI Modena EC. EC. ARCIDUCA D'AUSTRIA ESTE EC. EC. On the reverse, within a laurel wreath, PEL MERITO MILITARE. The ribbon is blue, edged with white.
MEDAL OF FIDELITY. Francis V appears to have been in a struggle with his subjects during most of the thirteen years of his reign. He was compelled to seek refuge in Austria in 1849, but he returned to Modena after the battle of Novara on March 24th of the same year. Ten years later he was again forced to flee. In 1860 Modena became part of United Italy. To reward those of his subjects who had remained faithful to him during his exile, he created the Medal of Fidelity in 1863. It is bronze, 32mm. in diameter. On the obverse it bears the effigy of the duke and the inscription FRANCESCO V AUST. ATESTENUS DUX MUTINAE; on the reverse, the words FIDELITATI ET CONSTANTIAE IN ADVERSIS MDCCCLXIII, surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves. The ribbon is of blue and white horizontal stripes, edged with blue and white.
Parma was the Eastern section of Gallia Cispadane at the time of Constantine. It lies in the Lombard plain, north of the Apennines, south of the River Po and west of Modena. For the first fifteen centuries of the Christian era, the many rulers of Parma were of various nationalities. The duchy came into the possession of the Farnese family during the early part of the Sixteenth Century. Eight dukes of that family ruled over the destinies of its people. From Antonio, who died childless in 1731, the duchy passed to Charles of Bourbon (Don Carlos), Infante of Spain, who became King of Naples in 1735. Both Austria and Spain governed it at various times. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the duchy was granted to Marie-Louise (daughter of Francis I of Austria), second wife of Napoleon I. She died in 1847. Spanish and Austrian rulers again came into possession. Charles III, a Bourbon and the grandson of Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia, reigned from 1849 until his assassination in 1854. In 1860, during the regency of his son Robert, Parma was incorporated in the Kingdom of Italy.
ORDER OF CONSTANTINE. Authorities differ with regard to the date of the institution of this Order. It has been said that it was founded by Constantine the Great about the year 313 a.d. Others give credit to the Byzantine Emperor Isaac II (Isaac Angelus Comnenus), and fix the year as 1190. This seems the more probable date. The Order is also called the Order of Saint Angelus, the Order of the Golden Chevaliers, and the Military Order of Constantine of Saint George, it being under the patronage of that Saint and Martyr. Late in the Seventeenth Century its control appears to have been sold to Francis I (Francis of Farnese), Duke of Parma, who became the Grand Master. The Order came into high repute because of the rules he observed in its distribution, and also because of the large domains he conferred upon it, including the church of the Madonna della Steccata at Parma. Clark attributes its revival to Charles V.
In 1734 or 1735, after the extinction of the male line of the Farnese family, the heir to the Duchy of Parma, Infante Don Carlos (son of Philip V of Spain and Elizabeth Farnese), became the Grand Master. He transferred the Order to Naples when he ascended that throne. It was abolished in Naples by Joseph Bonaparte in 1806 but continued in Sicily. Revived in 1814, it remained in existence until the unification of Italy. Owing to its transfer to Sicily, it is frequently classed among the Orders of the Two Sicilies. The members of the Order consist of Senators, Commanders, Knights, Serving-brothers and Squires.
On August 8, 1922, the Count d'Caserta of the Austrian line of Bourbons, and a distant cousin of the King of Italy through the female line, honoured one Michael Cangiano, the official Interpreter of the Superior Court of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Signor Cangiano was made a Knight of the Order of Constantine of Saint George of Parma and of Sicily. This indicates that the Order has been continued as a Family Order by the old rulers of those Duchies.
Order of Constantine
The insignia is a red-enamelled gold cross, fleury. On the arms are the letters I.H.S.V. (In hoc signo vinces). In the centre is the Labarum, or Standard. Greek letters X and P crossed, and A (Alpha) and Ω (Omega). Harold Bayley, in his book entitled Lost Language of Symbolism, London, 1913, writes,—"The Latin P has the same form as the Greek letter named Rho. One of the most famous emblems of early Christianity—known as the Labarum, the seal of Constantine, or the Chi-Rho monogram—is the letter X surmounted by a P. The two letters Chi and Rho are assumed to read Chr, a contraction for the name Christ, but the symbol was in use long ages prior to Christianity." The first class members of the Order wear a gold figure of Saint George slaying the dragon, suspended from the cross. The ribbon is light blue moiré.
ORDER OF SAINT LOUIS. Charles III, Duke of Parma, revived this order at Parma, August 11, 1849, as an award of merit. His father Charles Louis (or Charles II) had originated the order in Lucca in 1836. There are five classes and the insignia is a cross, composed of four fleurs-de-lis, bound together by their leaves. On the centre of the obverse in a blue-enamelled shield are three gold lilies. On the reverse is a figure of St. Louis, surrounded by the motto DEUS ET DIES (God and light). The Grand Cross and that for Commanders and Cavaliers of the first class have a gold figure of St. Louis surmounted by a gold crown. The cross for the second class Cavaliers has a silver figure with a silver crown, and the fifth class is of enamelled silver without a crown. The ribbon is light blue and yellow.
MEDAL OF MERIT. Founded during the reign of Marie Louise, 1815-1847. Marie Louise was the mother of the Little King of Rome who, fortunately for Italy, never reigned. The medal is silver, 20 mm., and bears on the obverse, AI BENEMERENTI DEL PRINCIPE E DELLO STATO. On the reverse is the head of Marie Louise and the inscription, M. LOUIS ARCID. D. D. Austria DUCA DI Parma PIAZ. E. GUAST. The ribbon is light blue and light red.
When Marinus, the Dalmatian monk, and his companions settled in the Eastern Apennines, in the third century, they little thought they were establishing a community with such a future. For a long time San Marino was something like a buffer state, between hostile Italian dynasties in that vicinity. In 1631, the Independence of San Marino was acknowledged by the States of the Church. Napoleon I preserved its separate existence in 1797, and Napoleon III protected it from the designs of Pope Pius IX in 1854. At the unification of Italy, 1859-1860, San Marino was still allowed its independence, and today it is the smallest Republic in Europe.
ORDER OF CHIVALRY OF San Marino. Sometimes called the Equestrian Order of San Marino, created on August 13, 1859, by the Council of the Republic, in commemoration of the fifteenth century of its foundation. The purpose of its founda- tion was to reward those who were prominent in the welfare of the country and its people. There are five grades: Grand Crosses, Grand Officers, Commanders, Officers and Chevaliers. The badge or cross, which is surmounted by a gold crown, is a gold-edged, white-enamelled cross moline with a gold ball at the end of each arm. Between the arms are four gold towers. The obverse centre bears the effigy of Saint Marino to left, surrounded by a blue band, inscribed San Marino PROTETTORE. The reverse bears on a gold shield, in the centre, the arms of the country—the three towers. The shield is surrounded by a blue band bearing the words MERITO CIVILE E MILITARE. The ribbon is of seven equal stripes, four of blue and three of white.
The writer has four specimens of this cross. Two have full-faced busts of San Marino, with white hair and beard. One has a younger face to the left, with black beard and hair, while the fourth has a bust in gold, facing to the left, but on a white-enamelled field. Two of the specimens bear on the reverse MERITO CIVILE. Elvin and Lawrence-Archer give the inscription as "Merito Militare," while the Catalogue Musée de l'Armée has it "Merito Civile." Cappelletti and Puca, the Italian authorities, give the former wording, and the figure of San Marino facing to the left; and this, no doubt, is correct.
MEDAL OF MERIT. Instituted on March 22, 1860. This is octagonal in form and of gold, silver and bronze, according to the importance of its award. In the centre of the obverse is the Arms of the Republic, the three towers, within an oak and laurel wreath, below which is the word LIBERTAS; around this is, REPUBBLICA DI San Marino . On the reverse, within an oak wreath, is the word ANZIANITA if the purpose of the reward is military, or MERITO, if for civil award. The ribbon is light blue, edged with red.
Sardinia, one of the islands of the Kingdom of Italy, is known to have been settled by the Carthaginians in 512 b.c. Thence-forward Romans, Vandals, Goths, Saracens, and the Genoese ruled the island. In the year 1325 a.d. the king of Aragon took possession. From that time until 1403 Sardinia was an Aragonese province. After the union of Aragon and Castile, it became Spanish and so remained until 1713, when it was ceded to Austria by the treaty of Utrecht. In 1720 it was given to Victor Amadeus II (1666-1732), Duke of Savoy, in exchange for the island of Sicily, and he became King of Sardinia; the title of King of Savoy was conferred upon him the same year. This title of King of Sardinia and Savoy continued until the unification of Italy in 1859-1860.
MEDAL OF VALOUR. Created in 1793 by Victor Amadeus III (1727-1796), King of Sardinia. It is of gold and silver, 38 mm. in diameter, and bears on the obverse a bust of the king facing to right and VITTO-RIO-AMADEUS III. The reverse has a wreath of oak leaves, within which is a trophy of arms and flags, and the words AL VALORE. The ribbon is dark blue.
About 1404 Amadeus VIII, (the first Duke of Savoy), extended his provinces. The territory over which he later reigned extended from the Lake of Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the River Saone (in France) to the River Sesia in Italy. The Duchy of Savoy also included Nice. This section remained almost continually in the possession of the house of Savoy until 1860.
It is said that Napoleon III had a secret treaty with Count Cavour, the Italian statesman, before the French army went to assist the Sardinians to drive the Austrians from Northern Italy. At the Peace table, Savoy, the cradle of the house of that name, as well as Nice, was given to France. Of this settlement, Garibaldi is reported to have said, "That man (Cavour) has made me a foreigner in my own house."
Inasmuch as the Kingdom of Italy has been ruled by princes of the house of Savoy, it seems proper to describe, in the subsequent pages, the decorations generally known as Italian Orders of Chivalry and Medals of Distinction.
ORDER OF THE MOST SACRED ANNUNCIATION. This Order is the highest in rank and most important of all the Italian Decorations. It ranks with the Golden Fleece of Spain and the Garter of England. Authorities differ as to its origin, though many of them give the year 1362 as the date of its foundation. In that year, the Order of the Neck Chain of Order of the Collar of Savoy was founded by Amadeus VI, Count Verde of Savoy (1333-1383). His grandfather, Amadeus V, called the Great, assisted the Knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem at Rhodes, and compelled the Turks, under Mahomet II, to abandon their siege of that island in 1310 or, as some state, in 1315. For this service Amadeus V was presented with a collar, bearing the letters F.E.R.T. Fortitudo ejus Rhodum tenuit (By his bravery Rhodes was held). He was also granted for his Arms, the use of the white cross of the Crusaders, which later became the Cross of Savoy (H. W. Fincham's "Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England"). Although authorities differ as to the exact meaning of these letters F.E.R.T., the above is the more generally accepted explanation, and is that given by Bernardo Giustinian, the Italian authority, in 1692. In 1518, new statutes were formulated for the Order by Charles III, Count of Savoy. At that time the name was changed to the Order of the Most Sacred Annunciation. Several changes in the Order have been made by various Counts of Savoy since that time, among whom were Victor Emmanuel II in 1869 and Humbert I in 1889. There is but one class of Members—Chevaliers or Knights, whose number, exclusive of the Sovereign and Church Dignitaries and Princes, is limited. They must also be of the Roman Catholic faith. The insignia consists of a gold medallion on which is a representation of the Annunciation, above which is a dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. This is surrounded by a group of symbolic knots of ribbon (lacs d'amour), on which are numerous roses, a possible reference to the Mystic Rose. The whole is suspended from a gold chain, composed of alternate knots of ribbon and roses, with the letters F.E.R.T. interwoven. The plaque, or star, is similar to the badge, surrounded by eight rays of flame, with the letters F.E.R.T. on the sides. The ribbon is blue moiré. (Frontispiece.)
ORDER OF SAINT MAURICE AND SAINT LAZARUS. The Order of St. Maurice was instituted in 1434, at Ripaille, near the lake of Geneva, by Amadeus VIII (1383-1450), Count and first Duke of Savoy. The Order took its name from the patron saint of Savoy. Amadeus VIII conferred this Order on ten of his courtiers when they accompanied him to his retreat at the priory of Ripaille. He was elected Pope in 1439, taking the name of Felix V, but he resigned in 1448 and retired to the solitude of Ripaille, where he died in 1450. He is buried at Lausanne. Shortly after his death, the Order became dormant. It was revived in 1572 by Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, to encourage the Catholics to resist the Calvinistic reforms attempted in Savoy. The Dukes of Savoy were Grand Masters.
The Order of Saint Lazarus was generally supposed to have been founded about the year 1060, during the earlier crusades, although there was a Fraternity of Ecclesiastical Knights who as early as 366 a.d. founded a hospital at Jerusalem to care for the lepers. These were known as the Knights of St. Lazarus. Elias Ashmole, in his "History of the most noble Order of the Garter," London, 1715, writes—"At length, through the incursion of the Barbarians, and Injury of Time, it (the order) lay extinguished, but was revived when the Latin Princes joyned in a Holy League to recover the Holy Land. … For in that Time the Monks of this Order added Martial Discipline to their Skill in Physick; and for their Services against the Infidels, begat great Esteem from Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, and some of his Successors." The Order was inactive for a long period. In 1490 it was united with the Hospitallers of St. John at Rhodes, but in 1565 Pope Pius IV restored it and granted additional privileges. In September, 1572, Pope Gregory XIII, at the request of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, restored the Order of Saint Maurice and united it with that of St. Lazarus, under the title of the ORDER OF SAINT MAURICE AND SAINT LAZARUS. Pope Gregory XIII also appointed the Dukes of Savoy Hereditaries and Masters, and as Ashmole writes—"oblig'd them to furnish out two Gallies for the Service of the Papal See, to be employ'd against Pyrates."
There have been many changes in the Order by the various sovereigns, but at present there are five grades: Knights of the Grand Cross, Grand Officers, Commanders, Officers and Chevaliers. The number of the last grade is unlimited. Many foreigners have been decorated with this grade. The present form of decoration was established by Duke Charles Emmanuel I (1562-1630). The badge consists of a white-enamelled cross, treflée, of St. Maurice, conjoined at the angles with the green Maltese cross of St. Lazarus, which is ball-tipped at the points. The badges of the four higher grades are surmounted by a Royal crown, the size of the cross and of the crown indicating the particular grade. It is suspended by a bright green watered ribbon. The eight-rayed star of the Order is silver. In the centre is a reproduction of the badge or cross, without the crown.
MEDAL OF SAINT MAURICE. Instituted for Military services by King Charles Albert,1 King of Sardinia, on July 19, 1839. It was intended as further recognition of those officials who had received the cross of the Order of St.
Maurice and St. Lazarus, and who had served under the flag "per la durati di dieci lustri" (lustri meaning a five year enlistment, and dieci lustri, therefore, fifty years). The Medal is gold, bearing on the obverse the equestrian figure of the patron saint of Savoy, St. Maurice, holding the flag of the Order in his right hand. Around this are the words. S. MAURIZIO PRO-
TETTORE DELLE NOSTRE ARMI. The reverse is inscribed as below,
PER DIECI LUSTRI
space being reserved for the name of the recipient. There are two sizes of the medal. The larger, 55 mm. in diameter, is for
Generals or Admirals who had received the higher decoration of the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus, and the smaller,
39 mm., for officers who had received the lower grades of the same Order. The ribbon is green, the same as for the Order.
ROYAL MILITARY ORDER OF Savoy. Founded at Genoa, on August 14, 1815, by Victor Emmanuel I (1759-1824). Its purpose was to reward acts of valour and magnanimity. The Order was modified on September 28, 1855, by Victor Emmanuel II, later king of Italy, who also changed the decoration to the present form. There are five classes: Knights of the Grand Cross, Grand Officers, Commanders, Officers and Chevaliers. The cross, which is white-enamelled with curvilinear tips, is edged with gold. It rests upon a wreath of laurel leaves. On the red background of the medallion is the white cross of Savoy, around which on a circular band are the words AL MERITO MILITARE. The reverse medallion of red enamel has two crossed swords, points up, above which is the date 1855, and on either side, the initials V. E. The cross of the first three classes is surmounted by a Royal crown, that of the fourth class by a trophy of flags and arms, while the fifth class cross has but the suspension ring. The ribbon is blue moiré, with a red band in the centre.
The star, which is of silver, has eight rays; in the centre is a duplication of the obverse of the decoration, without the crown. Prior to 1855, the star or plaque bore the motto AL MERITO ED AL VALORE.
CIVIL ORDER OF Savoy. Founded at Turin, on October 29, 1831, by Albert (1798–1849), King of Sardinia and Savoy. During most of his reign of eighteen years, he was at war with Austria. Following the revolution of 1848 in France, he began war for the Independence of Italy but was compelled to abdicate in 1849 after his defeat by the Austrians at Novara. The object of the Order was to reward 'those of other professions, not less useful than that of the army, who have become through long and profound study the ornaments of the State to which they have rendered important service.'
There is but one class to the Order, known as Knights, and it is seldom conferred on foreigners. The decoration is a light blue Savoy cross edged with gold. The medallion on the obverse is white with a gold rim; in the centre are the intials of the founder, C. A. The reverse has AL MERITO CIVILE 1831, in gold lettering on a white field, on the centre medallion. The moiré ribbon is of three equal stripes—light blue with white either side.
ORDER OF THE CROWN OF ITALY. Created on February 20, 1868 by Victor Emmanuel II (1820–1878), the first King of United Italy, to commemorate the annexation of Venice to that kingdom. This is sometimes called the Order of the Iron Crown. Doubtless the origin of the name arose from the fact that at the coronation of Agilif, King of the Lombards (592–615), a crown was used, composed of gold and precious stones, inset with a band of iron which was said to have been forged from a nail of the true Cross. Tradition says that this crown was kept in the Cathedral of Monza and removed to Mantua in 1859. When Napoleon I became King of Italy in 1805, it is said he was crowned with this crown. The Order of the Iron Crown of Italy, founded by Napoleon I in 1805, was abolished in 1814, although revived in Austria in 1816 by Francis I as the Austrian Order of the Iron Crown.
The first distribution of the Order of the Crown of Italy, as founded by King Victor Emmanuel II, occurred on April 22, 1868, when the heir-apparent, Humbert, married Princess Marguerite of Savoy. There are five classes of the Order—Grand Cordons, Grand Officers, Commanders, Officers and Knights. The grade of Knight or Chevalier is frequently conferred on foreigners. The insignia is a white-enamelled cross-pattée edged with gold, and convex, with knots of gold cord connecting the arms. In the blue-enamelled medallion is a gold crown. On the reverse medallion is the crowned eagle of Savoy. On its breast is a red shield, bearing the white cross of Savoy. The ribbon is of red with a white stripe in the centre. The star of the order, for the highest grade, is of eight silver rays, on the centre of which is a gold crown on blue field, encircled by a white band, inscribed VICTORIUS EMMANUEL II REX ITALIAE MDCCCLXVI. This device is surmounted by a crowned eagle bearing the Arms of Savoy on its breast. The star of the Grand Officer is an eight-pointed silver star, on which is a reproduction of the Cross.
ORDER OF INDUSTRY. By a decree of May 9, 1901, Victor Emmanuel III created a Decoration called the "Cavalieri del Lavoro" (Knights of Industry). It is awarded to those prominent or proficient in the Industrial, Commercial or Agricultural work of the Kingdom or of its Colonies. The decoration consists of a green-enamelled Savoy cross, edged with gold. On the obverse is a white medallion, bearing the words AL M ERITO/DEL/LAVORO/1901 The reverse medallion bears the initials of the founder, V. E., in gold on a white field. The ribbon is dark green with a red stripe in the centre. There is but one class to this order, and its award carries with it no particular privileges.
COLONIAL ORDER OF THE STAR OF ITALY. Founded in 1911 by King Victor Emmanuel III. Its purpose was to reward those deserving of especial recognition who were prominent in the work of the Colonies. There are five classes to the Order: Knights of the Grand Cross, Grand Officers, Commanders, Officers and Chevaliers. The decoration consists of a white-enamelled star of five points, edged with gold and ball-tipped. On the obverse medallion of red, is the gold monogram (V. E.) of the founder, with crown above. A green-enamelled circle has at the bottom of it 1911. On the reverse red medallion are the words AL/MERITO/COLONIALE in gold letters. The ribbon is red, with narrow, white and green bands on either side. All grades of the star have a crown above, except that of Chevalier, which is plain. The plaque, which is worn by the first and second classes only, consists of thirty-five silver rays, on which is the uncrowned star described above.
MILITARY CROSS FOR SERVICE. On November 8, 1900, Victor Emmanuel III authorized a cross for long and faithful service, called the "Croce per anzianità di servizio Militare." It is of gold for Officers, and of silver for the troops. The decoration is a Maltese cross; on the obverse, a medallion bearing the Royal cipher V E crowned, and on the reverse Roman characters, denoting years of service—XXV for the Officers and XVI for the troops. If the officers have served forty years and the troops twenty-five years, the Roman characters vary accordingly, and the cross has a crown above. The ribbon is green, with a wide white stripe in the centre.
MILITARY MEDAL OF VALOUR. As early as 1793, during the war between Piedmont and France, Victor Amadeus III, King of Sardinia (1727-1796), created a Medal of Valour. This was awarded for individual acts of bravery, and was struck in gold and in silver. Victor Emmanuel I revived the award in 1815, at the time of the downfall of Napoleon I, but abolished it in August of that year when he created the Military Order of Savoy. When Charles Albert was King of Sardinia and Savoy, he reinstituted the medal in 1833, for acts of valour not sufficiently important to warrant the Military Order of Savoy. From the time of its inception to 1887, it was always awarded in gold or silver, but in that year Humbert I decreed that a bronze medal should be given for acts of valour of a lesser degree. This medal ranks in Italy almost as highly as does the Victoria Cross in Great Britain or the Medal of Honour in this country. It is frequently called the Sardinian Medal of Valour. The earliest model was 38 mm. in diameter, having on the obverse the bust of the king facing to the right and the words VITTORIO AMADEUS III. The reverse had a wreath of oak leaves, within this is a trophy of arms and flags and the words AL VALORE. About the time of the Crimean war, the design was changed. The size was reduced to 33 mm. The obverse has the Arms of Savoy, surmounted by a crown in an oval. Below are a palm and laurel branch, tied at base with a ribbon; and around the whole, the words AL VALORE MILITARE. The reverse has two laurel branches tied with a ribbon, with a space in the centre for the recipient's name. The name of his campaign is placed on the outer edge. The ribbon has always been a dark blue moiré. Victor Emmanuel II caused a number of these medals, in both gold and silver, to be given to the British and French troops who took part in the Crimean war. Two of these are in my collection, and have been awarded to Frenchmen. The reverse has the name and title of the recipient engraved at the centre, while around the outer edge of one are the words SPEDIZIONE D'ORIENTE 1855-1856, in relief. The second specimen has the same words en- graved. The Musée de l'Armée of Paris has a medal with the recipient's name engraved and GUERRE D'ITALIE 1859 in relief. This was for the war with Austria. Another has in relief CAMPAGNA DELLA BASSA ITALIA 1860-1861. Mr. C. S. Gifford, of Boston, has in his collection a variant of this Medal of Valour. It is but 25 mm. in diameter. The reverse has around the edge, outside the wreath, in relief, the words GUERRA CONTRA L'IMPERO D'AUSTRIA.
Many of these medals have been awarded to the men of other countries who have assisted Italy in her campaigns. It was a Military Medal of Valour, of gold, which General Diazplaced upon the grave of the unknown American soldier at Arlington on November 11, 1921, by order of the King of Italy.
CIVIL MEDAL OF VALOUR. Authorized by King Victor Emmanuel II on April 3, 1851. It was given in gold, silver and bronze. Under a decree of April 29, 1888, Humbert I authorized a bronze medal also. These are awarded to civilians for per- sonal acts of courage and valour, such as rescues at fires and at sea. The medal is 34 mm. in diameter, bearing on the obverse the Arms of Savoy in an escutcheon, with a Royal crown above. Around this at the top are the words AL VALORE CIVILE. The reverse has a wreath of oak leaves, with space in the centre for the recipient's name. The writer's medal is engraved D'ONOFRIOGIO. ANTONIO CERVINARA (AVELLINO) 22 XBRE. 1868. The ribbon for this medal is of the Italian National colours. Three equal stripes—red, white and green.
NAVAL MEDAL OF VALOUR. Instituted in March, 1836; modified in 1847, and again by Victor Emmanuel II in 1860, to reward the men of the Navy for heroism. In 1888, Humbert I established three grades, gold, silver and bronze, according to the character of the award. The obverse bears the Arms of Savoy on a shield, with a crown above, and encircled by a palm and laurel branch tied at the bottom; and round the outer edge is the motto AL VALORE DI MARINA. On the reverse is an oak wreath (less full than that of the Military medal of Valour) with a reserve in the centre for the name of recipient and mention of the act for which the medal is awarded. The ribbon is dark blue moiré, with one wide and one narrow white stripe at each side.
MEDAL OF MERIT FOR PUBLIC SAFETY. This decoration was first instituted on September 13, 1854, by Victor Emmanuel II and was called "La Medaglia di Benemerenza per i Benemeriti della salute pubblica" Its purpose was to reward the services of volunteers in epidemics of contagious diseases and those who took part in other ways beneficial to the health and safety of the public.
It is given in gold, silver and bronze. On the obverse is a bust of the King to left, around which is inscribed UMBERTO I RE D'ITALIA. On the reverse are oak and laurel branches, surrounded by the words SALUTIS PUBLICAE BENEMERENTIBUS. A reserve at the centre is left for the name of the recipient. On the earlier models the bust and title of Victor Emmanuel II appeared on the obverse, and the reverse motto read AI BENEMERITI DELLA SALUTE PUBBLICA. The ribbon is light blue, edged with black.
MEDAL FOR VETERANS GUARDING THE TOMB OF THE KINGS. This medal was authorized on July 14, 1879, and altered on January 1, 1880. It was established to honour the veterans of the war of 1848-1849 who guarded the tomb of Victor Emmanuel II. It is 30 mm. in diameter and of silver. The ribbon is blue with a white stripe in the centre, with one edge green and the other red. The first model has on the obverse a wreath of laurel with a superimposed, five-pointed star bearing at the centre the bust of the King and the words UMBERTO I° RE D'ITALIA; on the reverse, VETERANI 1848-49 / GUARDIA D'ONORE / ALLA TOMBA DEL RE / VITTORIO EMANUELE II After the death of Humbert I, Victor Emmanuel III altered the medal. The obverse bore his own bust and title, and the reverse read /AI/VETERANI 1848-1870 / GUARDIA D'ONORE / ALLE TOMBE DI RE / VITTORIO EMANUELE II / E UMBERTO I . A specimen of this design is in my collection.
Veteran Guard of the Tomb of the Kings
LIFE SAVING MEDAL. Authorized by Royal Decree on March 8, 1888. This decoration is awarded to those, not in the Navy, who have risked their lives to save others from drowning, or shipwreck, or for other forms of personal valour at sea. It is issued by the Ministry of the Marine. The medal is in silver and in bronze only and is not to be worn on the person. The obverse bears the effigy of the King, facing left, and the inscription VITTORIO EMANUELE III RE D'ITALIA. The reverse has two circles, one within the other; in the outer circle occur the words MINISTERO DELLA MARINA, while the inner one is left blank for the name of the recipient, the date and the statement regarding the occasion of the award.
MEDAL OF MERIT. Authorized by a Decree of May 6, 1909. This medal was awarded to all persons, including many foreigners, who from philanthropic or charitable motives went to the relief of the inhabitants of Sicily and Southern Calabria at the time of the earthquake of December 2 8, 1908. It is 34 mm. in diameter, and was issued in gold, silver and bronze. The obverse bears the effigy of the King, facing left, and the words VITTORIO EMANUELE III. On the reverse, the inscription TERREMOTO / 28 DICEMBRE 1908 / IN CALABRIA / E IN SICILIA, surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves. The ribbon is green with a white stripe on either side. A variation of this medal was issued, bearing on the obverse the bust of the king surrounded by the inscription VITTORIO EMANUELE III RE D'ITALIA. The reverse reads MEDAGLIA/COMMEMORATIVA/TERREMOTO/CALABRO SICULO/28 DICEMBRE/1908. The ribbon for this has 5 stripes, alternately white and green.
Medal of Merit
The writer possesses an interesting medal, for the official issuance of which no authority has been found. It is of silver, 33 mm. in diameter. The obverse bears the head of the King of Sardinia and Savoy, facing left, with A CARLO ALBERTO at the sides. Under the bust, the letters S.J. (probably standing for Stephano Johnson). The reverse reads I VETERANI/ITALIANI/IN/PELLEGRINAGGIO/ALLA SU A TOMBA/A SUPERGA. The ribbon is dark blue with a yellow stripe each side. It is believed that these medals were given to the veteran soldiers of Charles Albert who made the pilgrimage to his last resting place. The Abbey of Superga was founded by Victor Amadeus III near Turin. In its church rest the remains of the Princes of Savoy. Charles Albert (1789–1849) died at Oporto in 1849. His body was buried on the heights of Superga. Italy later recognized his devotion, and pilgrims still journey to his tomb.
CRIMEAN MEDAL. Italy was not backward in awarding what are commonly known as Campaign or Service Medals but which the Italian authorities style "Medaglie Commemorative." That for the Crimean war was the first. It was authorized on October 22, 1856, and was issued to the Piedmont troops serving during that campaign under General La Marmora. The medal is of silver, 35 mm. in diameter. On the obverse appears the effigy of the King, facing left, and the inscription VITTORIO EMANUELE II. The reverse has in large letters, in relief, CRIMEA/1855-1856. The ribbon is light blue with a narrow gold edge. Some authorities assign a ribbon of the Italian National colours—red, white and green.
MEDAL FOR THE LIBERATION OF Sicily. This medal was issued to commemorate the dethronement of Ferdinand II and the union of the ancient Kingdom of Sicily with the Kingdom of Italy. As a result of that insurrection, Garibaldi with his thousand troops landed at Marsala, and in three weeks was master of Messina. The medal (30 mm.) is of silver and bronze. On the obverse is the bust of the king and the words VITTORIO EMANUELE; below the bust, the initials S.J., probably standing for Stephano Johnson, the maker. The reverse is inscribed ITALIA / E CASA DI SAVOIA / LIBERAZIONE DI / SICILIA 1860. The ribbon is red, with one white and one green edge.
STAR OF THE THOUSAND. Here might appropriately be mentioned a unique decoration. On January 9, 1861, General Turr went to the island of Caprera to carry to that great Italian patriot, General Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807–1882), the Star of Honour which his famous thousand companions had offered him. It is a gold star of seven points, loosely set with diamonds. In the centre on a blue-enamelled field in letters of gold is ARTURO (a star which is said to protect any one with an ideal). On this is super-imposed a gold Trinacria, the emblem of Sicily. This is surrounded by an enamelled band of white, green and red, inscribed in letters of gold I MILLE AL LORO DUCE (The thousand to their chief). This was the only decoration which that great General consented to wear; and after his death at Caprera on June 2, 1882, the star was given by his sons to the Quirinal Museum in Rome where it may now be seen.
MEDAL OF THE THOUSAND, or MARSALA MEDAL. Issued by the city of Palermo, and authorized by the Italian government in 1865. It was presented to the troops of Garibaldi who entered the City in 1860, and is called LA MEDAGLIA DEI MILLE. The obverse has in the centre an eagle with raised wings, standing on a fillet inscribed S. P. Q. R. Around this are the words AI PRODI CUI FU DUCE GARIBALDI (To the brave men who were led by Garibaldi). On the reverse within a wreath of laurel is IL MUNICIPIO/PALERMITANO / RIVENDICATO / MDCCCLX. Around this, outside the wreath are the words MARSALA CALATAFIMI PALERMO. The medal was issued in silver and in bronze. The ribbon is bright red, with a gold stripe each side, and on the face of the ribbon is fastened a silver Trinacria, the emblem of Sicily.
MEDAL OF ITALIAN INDEPENDENCE. This decoration was authorized in 1862. It is of silver, and 32 mm. in diameter. On the obverse is the head of the king, to left, around which are the words VITTORIO EMANUELE II RE D'ITALIA The reverse depicts a standing female figure, symbolizing Italy, holding in her right hand a spear, and in the left, a shield with the Arms of Savoy. Around the whole is inscribed GUERRE PER L'INDIPENDENZA E L'UNITA D'ITALIA. The ribbon is composed of six narrow stripes of the National colours—green, white and red. Bars or barrets are issued in silver to be attached to the ribbon, as follows: 1848–1849 (war with Austria), 1855–1856 (Crimean War), 1859 (war with Austria), 1860–1861 (Garibaldi's expedition in Sicily and the Campaign in central Italy), 1866 (war with Austria), 1867 (Campaign against Rome), and 1870 (Capture of Rome).
Medal of the Thousand
MEDAL FOR UNITED ITALY. This medal was authorized in 1883. It is 32 mm. in size, and of silver and bronze. On the obverse is the effigy of the King and the words UMBERTO I RE D'ITALIA. On the reverse, within a laurel wreath the inscription UNITA/D'ITALIA/1848–1870. The ribbon has a broad green stripe with a white and a red stripe on both sides.
Medal of Italian Independence
Medal for United Italy
Unlike the British campaign medals, few of the Italian medals are inscribed on the edges. The writer has a group of three medals, inscribed PHILIP FIGYELMESY COMANDANTE USSERI UNGHERESI. These are for the Campaign of United Italy, Liberation of Sicily, and for Italian Independence.
MEDAL FOR AFRICA. Created on November 3, 1894; sometimes called the "Medal for Abyssinia." It was awarded to the forces of the Army and Navy which took part in the operations in Abyssinia, especially in that portion bordering on the Red Sea, called Eritrea. This included the campaign of 1887–1897 against Menelik II, who was the Negus of Abyssinia. The medal was issued in bronze, 32 mm., and bears on the obverse the crowned head of King Humbert I, facing right. On the reverse, within a laurel wreath, are the words CAMPAGNE D'AFRICA. The ribbon is red with blue borders. Silver bars, suitably inscribed, were issued to the troops taking part in following expeditions, viz: Campagna 1887–1888, Saati, Dogali Saganeiti, Keren, Asmara, Adua, Agordat (1890), Halat, Serobeti, Agordat (1893), Kassala, Halai, Coatit, Campagna 1895–1896 and Campagna 1897.
MEDAL FOR THE FAR EAST. Authorized on June 23, 1901, and also known as the "Medal for China," or the "Medal for the Boxer Uprising." At the time of that unfortunate affair, when so many of the Nations went to the relief of their legations at Pekin, Italy was among the first. To all those taking part in this expedition, and to those who remained as guardians of the territory until the end of the year 1901, this medal was given. It is of bronze, 32 mm., and bears on the obverse the effigy of the King facing left and the words VITTORIO EMANUELE III RE D'ITALIA; on the reverse, within a wreath of laurel, CINA 1900–1901. The ribbon is yellow, with four dark blue stripes. Another medal for China is exactly like the above, excepting that the reverse bears the word CINA only. This was given to the troops and sailors who served in China from December 31, 1901 to April 1, 1908. The ribbon is similar.
Medal for Africa
MEDAL FOR THE TURKISH WAR OF 1911–1912. But a few years ago Italy and Turkey were fighting desperately for the control of Tripoli, a section of Northern Africa which had been under Turkish rule for several centuries. It was at this time that Germany all but precipitated a European war by insisting upon certain methods of settlement. Fortunately conflict was averted by the treaty of Lausanne. To commemorate the triumph over Turkey and to honor those engaged there, a silver medal of 32 mm. was authorized on November 21, 1912. The medal was issued to all men of the Army and Navy who took part in the operations against the Ottoman Empire, whether in Africa or in Turkish territory. On the obverse of the medal is the head of the King, facing right, and the inscription, VITTORIO EMANVELE. III. RE D'ITALIA. On the reverse, within a wreath of laurel, the words GUERRA/ITALO-TURCA/1911–1912. The ribbon is of six narrow blue and five narrow red stripes of equal width.
MEDAL FOR THE WAR IN LIBYA. The treaty of Lausanne did not stop all war operations on the part of Italy. The tribes of the newly acquired Colonial possessions continued to make trouble. To reward the troops taking part in such campaigns, a silver medal of 32 mm. was authorized on September 6, 1913. This was identical with the Turkish war medal, except that the reverse bears the words GUERRA/IN LIBIA . The ribbon is of the same design and colour.
WAR CROSS OF ITALY. Authorized in 1918. It was awarded to those worthy of official recognition during the World War, but whose service was not of sufficient importance to warrant the Medal of Military Valour. The Decoration is of bronze, 38 mm., in the form of the Savoy Cross. On the obverse is inscribed MERITO DI GUERRA, above which is the King's crowned monogram, V. E. and III. On the lower arm of the cross is an upright sword entwined with a branch of oak. The reverse has a star in the centre surrounded by rays. The ribbon is dark blue with two white stripes.
Medal for the World War
MEDAL FOR THE WORLD WAR. Created on July 29, 1920 and made from captured Austrian cannon. It is bronze, 32 mm. On the obverse appears the helmeted bust of the King, encircled by the inscription, GUERRA PER L'UNITA D'ITALIA 1915–1918 and three branches of oak leaves. The reverse has an allegorical figure of Victory, standing on a support borne by two helmeted soldiers, and the inscription CONITA NEL BRONZE NEMICO (Coined from enemy bronze). The ribbon has eighteen narrow stripes of green, white and red—six of each colour. Bars were issued to be worn on the ribbon to designate the years of service in the war. These bear the dates of 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1918.
Medal of National Gratitude
VICTORY MEDAL. Created on December 16, 1920, but not issued until 1922. The medal is bronze, 36 mm. As with the Victory medals of the other allies, the winged Victory is the dominant feature. This figure stands facing on a triumphal chariot drawn by four lions. The reverse shows a tripod above which two doves of peace are to be seen. At top the inscription GRANDE-GVERRA-PER-LA-CIVILTA. In field, at each side of tripod MCMXIV-MCMXVIII, below, in two lines, AI COMBATTENTI DELLE NAZIONI/ALLEATE ED ASSOCIATE. The badge is suspended by the rainbow ribbon as are all the Victory medals.
MEDAL OF NATIONAL GRATITUDE. This medal is awarded to mothers who lost sons in the World War. The obverse shows an allegorical figure presenting a wreath to a fallen warrior. Standing alongside is another female in an attitude of grief. The reverse has an inscription in eight lines IL FIGLIO / CHE TI NACQUE / DAL DOLORE / TI RINASCE "O BEATA"/ NELLA GLORIA / E IL VIVO EROE / "PIENA DI GRAZIA" / E TECO. The ribbon is grey with center composed of narrow green, white and red stripes.
MEDAL FOR WAR ORPHANS. This medal has also been authorized but no information has been received concerning it.
ITALIAN UNITY MEDAL. This medal has not as yet been distributed and details concerning it are lacking. It is to be sold and the money received is to go to the widows and mothers of those killed in the war.
MEDAL FOR WAR VOLUNTEERS. Notice has been received that a medal will be issued shortly to those who volunteered in the World War.
CROWN OF MERIT. At this writing, and before any confirmation could be secured, advices have come that the Councils of Ministers have proposed a decoration to be awarded to clerks and workingmen who have remained faithful to their employers for twenty-five years or more. Presumably this medal is intended to stimulate a spirit of co-operation between the employed and employer. No decision as to the design has been announced.
Several of the municipalities of Northern Italy issued medals to honor those who aided in the efforts to free that country during the strenuous days of 1848–1849. None of these medals of the cities are official medals, and consequently few if any of the authorities mention them. They are inserted here in order that the numismatist may have some facts relating to them.
Como had a medal inscribed on the obverse, COMO LIBERATA NELLE GLORIOSE GIORNATE 18–22 MARZO 1848. The reverse bears the Arms of the city and the words AL VALORE DEL CITTADINO.
Livorno's medal bears on the obverse AI VALOROSI DIFENSORI DI LIVORNO 10 E 11/5 I849. The reverse bears the Arms of the State and the words MUNICIPIO DI LIVORNO . The ribbons for the above medals are red and white.
Milano likewise had a medal to show her appreciation of the efforts of her citizens for freedom. It bears on the obverse a figure of Victory and the dome of the Cathedral. The reverse has the Arms of the State and the inscription COMMUNE DI MILANO. The ribbon is red and yellow.
During the war of 1848–1849 against Austria, and the several Principalities of which Italy is now composed, Rome, too, became involved. At the time of the Insurrection of 1848, Pope Pius IX fled to Gaeta, where he remained until 1850. On February 9, 1849, Rome was declared a Republic. To those who took part in the Insurrection, and who aided in the formation of the short-lived Republic, as well as for connection with subsequent events, Rome awarded several medals. As with the others, authentic information is difficult to obtain.
MEDAL OF MERIT. Issued for the battle of Vicenza on June 10, 1848. This medal was of both silver and bronze, and 30 mm. in diameter. On the obverse within a wreath of oak leaves, the Arms of the city of Rome—a crowned shield, bearing the letters S. P. Q. R. (Senatus Populus que Romanus—The Senate and the people of Rome). Around this device is the inscription ALMAE VRBIS COSS BENEMERENTI. On a plain reverse is the motto. PVGNA STRENVE / AD VICETIAM / PVGNATA / IV.EIDVS VINIAS / M.DCCC. XLVIII. The ribbon is of equal stripes of magenta and yellow—the colours of Rome.
MEDAL OF MERIT (Rome). Issued in silver and bronze. The obverse has in the centre, the she-wolf with Romulus and Remus. Around this is BENEMERITO DELLA PATRIA, with an oak and olive branch beneath. The reverse has in the centre a group of flags and a trophy of arms; surrounded by the inscription INDIPENDENZA ITALIANA 1848. The ribbon is similar to the preceding.
MEDAL OF MERIT. Struck in silver and bronze, and is said to have been issued by the Republic of Rome to those who distinguished themselves during the Insurrection of 1848. It is 30 mm., and has on the obverse the she-wolf with Romulus and Remus, standing on a pedestal, bearing the letters S. P. Q. R. The reverse reads AL MERITO, surrounded by an oak wreath. The ribbon is magenta and yellow.
Another medal is described by one authority as a reward to the combatants of 1848. It is 23 mm., bronze, and bears on the obverse an allegorical female figure, holding a spear in her right hand and a cornucopia in her left. At her feet is a globe surmounted by an eagle. Above is a rayed star. On the edge is inscribed REPUBLICA ROMANA. On the reverse is the motto ALLA VIRTU CITTADINA within an oak wreath. This is surrounded by the inscription LA PATRIA RICONOSCENTE. No ribbon is described.
According to Padiglione still another Medal of Merit was issued in commemoration of September 20, 1870, when Rome was admitted into the Kingdom of Italy. Sculfort, a French writer, says this medal was given to commemorate the proclamation of the Republic of Rome in 1848; although preference is here given to the Italian authority's version. The medal was issued in silver and bronze, 30 mm. in diameter. On the obverse is a shield bearing the Arms of the City, surmounted by the she-wolf with Romulus and Remus. This device rests upon two crossed battle axes and an oak wreath. The reverse bears within an oak wreath ROMA/RIVENDICATA/AISUOI/LIBERATORI, surmounted by a star. The ribbon has narrow alternating stripes of magenta and yellow. Some ribbons have nineteen stripes; others have eleven.
Rome. Battle of Vicenza
Rome. Medal of Merit
Even more so than with Italy proper, Sicily has been a battle-ground from the earliest times. And this condition, as is usually the case, has made the numismatics of Sicily of great importance. Before the period of coinage, the Sikels dwelt in the land. Later the Carthaginians disputed with the Greeks for its control, both yielding ultimately to the Romans. In addition to the struggles between the Normans and the Spaniards for its possession, it had to withstand the onslaught of the Saracens.
Sicily, especially in the mediaeval period, has shared the fate of the kingdom of Naples, or, as they came to be known, the Kingdom of the two Sicilies—a title which in itself is a commentary of the relative importance of Naples. After the Lombard rule in the 11th century, the Normans, under Count Roger, brought about a consolidation of Naples and Sicily. The conquest dates from 1130 a.d., when he assumed the title of King of Naples and Sicily. There were two periods of separation—1282 to 1442 and 1458 to 1504, but after the last-named year the two kingdoms remained under one crown until the unification of Italy in 1861.
It is unnecessary here to dwell upon the constantly changing rule for the two kingdoms more than to mention the conflict between the House of Anjou and of Aragon through the 14th and 15th centuries. Under Charles VIII (from 1494), the French ruled, while between 1504 and 1707 the Spanish were in control. They were followed by the Austrians (until 1720). After that date Spanish Bourbons held possession.
The Napoleonic rule on the mainland dates from 1805, while Ferdinand IV controlled the island of Sicily. The downfall of Napoleon at Waterloo saw the two kingdoms again united under the Bourbons. The wars for the independence of Italy, and the efforts of Garibaldi in 1859 and 1860, finally brought both sections into the Kingdom of Italy and under the rule of the house of Savoy.
ORDER OF THE SHIP. In 1269, St. Louis founded in France the Order of the Ship or of the Double Crescent. Upon his death in 1270, his brother, Charles d'Anjou, established this order in the Kingdom of Naples. Owing to the design of the collar, this order is sometimes given a third name—The Order of the Sea Shell. The insignia was a gold collar of scallop shells, alternating with double crescents. From this was suspended a medal with a ship as its design. The motto is NON CREDO TEMPORI. Clark, an English writer, describes an order founded in 1382 by Charles III, King of Naples, called the "Order of St. Nicholas," while Elias Ashmole styles it "The Order of the Argonauts of St. Nicholas." Both give the motto as NON CREDO TEMPORI. Apparently, therefore, this is a survival or a later form of the Order of the Double Crescent.
ORDER OF THE CRESCENT. Favine states that this order was founded in Angiers, France, in 1464, by René, Duke of Anjou, King of Jerusalem and Sicily. Ashmole quotes St. Marthes as giving 1448 as the date for its foundation. René was unable to hold his island kingdom very long. The order was not popular, and those honoured with it were afraid to wear the badge. The insignia consisted of three gold chains from which is suspended a gold crescent, bearing three letters in red, L.O.Z., which signify, according to Favine, L'oz en croissant (Praise by increasing). To the crescent were attached gold tags indicating the battles and feats of honour in which the knights had been engaged.2
Aragon controlled the Island Kingdom of Sicily from 1282 to 1442. In 1351 Louis I, King of Sicily, founded the ORDER OF THE STAR to replace that of the CRESCENT MOON. This insignia was a Maltese cross, in the centre of which is an eight-pointed star. This Order seems to have been discontinued in 1394. Giustinian, the Italian writer in 1692, gives a list of eighteen Grand Masters of the Order of the Crescent Moon and of the Star from 1268 to 1667. This would seem to indicate that the Orders described above were connected or continued by the several rulers under different titles.
ORDER OF THE SPUR. Founded in 1266 by Charles d'Anjou, King of Naples and Sicily, to commemorate his triumph over Manfred near Benevento. The insignia is a white-enamelled cross, each of the arms having double points. A spur is attached at the base. The Order was shortlived.
ORDER OF THE KNOT OF Naples. Created in 1351 by Louis of Taranto when he married the Queen of Naples. This was also termed the "Order of the Holy Spirit of the Right Desire." It ceased to exist after the death of the founder. The insignia is a knot of cord entwined with gold thread.
ORDER OF THE REEL AND LIONESS (Naples). This Order, of short duration, was instituted by partisans of the house of Anjou, during the troubles of 1386–1390. The insignia is a yarn reel and a lioness, the significance of which is difficult to learn. Clark, writing in 1784, states that the followers of Louis II, Duke of Anjou, were divided into two factions, one of which wore on its arms an embroidered reel as a sign of contempt for Queen Margaret, widow of Charles III, who desired to hold the reins of government. This faction took the name of "Knights of the Reel." The other, the Knights of the Lioness, wore on its breast the figure of a lioness with feet tied, indicating that it looked upon Queen Margaret as one tied by the leg.
ORDER OF THE ERMINE (Naples). Founded in 1463, by Ferdinand I (1423–1494) Aragon, King of Naples, at the end of the war which he had been waging against John of Anjou, Duke of Calabria. He was led into this war by his brother-in-law, Marinus Marcianus, Duke of Sesso, who conspired to murder Ferdinand. Marinus Was not only pardoned for his treachery but was admitted into this Order. The motto was MALO MORI QUAM FOEDARI (Death is preferable to dishonor), and the patron was St. Basil. The badge is a gold ermine suspended from a gold chain. Authorities differ as to the exact date of both the creating and discontinuance of this Order.
ORDER OF THE GRIFFIN (Naples). Attributed to Alphonse by Perrot and by De Genouillac. The date of its founding is given as 1489. As Alphonse died in 1458 and was succeeded by his son, Ferdinand I, who reigned until 1494, it may, therefore, have been instituted by Ferdinand. No description of the insignia can be found.
ORDER OF SAINT JANUARIUS (of the Two Sicilies). Founded on July 6, 1738, by King Charles of Sicily (1716–1788), to celebrate his marriage with Princess Amelia, daughter of Augustus III of Poland. Charles was of the Spanish Bourbons, and second son of Philip V. His army had conquered Sicily, and he became its King in 1735 at the age of eighteen, having previously borne the titles of Duke of Parma and Grand-Duke of Tuscany. In 1759 he became Charles III of Spain, at which time he resigned his Neapolitan and Sicilian Kingdom in favor of his son, Ferdinand. Charles formed the Noble Order of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, often also called "The Order of Charles III of Spain." It was he who, as King of Spain, joined France in sending assistance to the American Colonies in their war of Independence. At the Peace Treaty following that conflict, he recovered Florida for Spain from England, to whom it had been ceded in 1763.
Saint Januarius (San Genaro), for whom this Order is named, was the Patron Saint of Naples. Relics of this Saint, to whom miraculous cures are attributed, are preserved in the cathedral named for him in that city. When the French invaded Naples in 1806, the Order was abolished in that country, though it continued in Sicily, whither Ferdinand had fled. It was revived after 1814. At the present time it is classed among the non-active Orders of Italy. There are two classes: Knights and Honorary Knights. The badge of the Order is a gold Maltese cross, enamelled red with white edges; gold Bourbon lilies in angles. The obverse centre has a figure the patron saint, San Genaro, clad in a robe and hat, with an open book in the hand. The reverse shows an open book two receptacles partly filled with the miraculous blood of this martyr. The ribbon bright red. The plaque is of silver, the same design as the cross, and bears the words IN SANGUINE FOEDUS (the Covenant in Blood).
ROYAL MILITARY ORDER OF SAINT CHARLES. Instituted by Royal Decree of October 22, 1738, by King Charles, its purpose was to reward citizens and members of the army and navy who had shown exceptional zeal and fidelity to the crown. This Order supposedly never received the Apostolic confirmation of the Pope, and according to an Italian writer, Ruo, was shortlived, all record of its existence having been lost when Charles, its founder, assumed the throne of Spain in 1759.
The decoration is a four-aimed cross, each arm terminating in the form of a lily, and the whole surmounted by a royal crown. The centre medallion bears the image of Saint Charles. No description of the reverse is given. The ribbon is violet.
ORDER OF SAINT FERDINAND and OF MERIT. Founded on April 1, 1800 by Ferdinand IV, King of Naples (also Ferdinand III of Sicily and I of the Two Sicilies). It was instituted in commemoration of his having been restored to his Kingdom after the defeat of the French by the united forces of England, Austria, Russia and Turkey. The object of the Order was to reward the Neapolitans who had remained faithful to the King and his monarchy. Lord Nelson, Duke of Bronte, was one of the first foreigners to have this Order bestowed upon him. He was made a Knight of the Grand Cross. Like the Order of Saint Januarius, this was suppressed in Naples when the French under Joseph Bonaparte controlled that country. It was continued in Sicily until 1814 but is said to have been definitely abolished in 1860. There were three classes: Knights of the Grand Cross, Commanders and Chevaliers. The cross of this Order is a gold star of six branches, in the form of rays. In the angles are Bourbon lilies. The whole is surmounted by a crown of gold. The gold-centred medallion bears a figure of St. Ferdinand in Royal robes and crowned, holding a laurel wreath in the left and a sword in his right hand. The encircling blue-enamelled band is inscribed FIDEI ET MERITO. The reverse centre of gold is inscribed FERD. IV. INST. ANNO 1800. The plaque of the Order is similar to the obverse of the cross, without the crown. A dark blue ribbon with red edges is used for suspension of the cross.
MEDAL OF HONOUR. By a decree of July 25, 1810, Ferdinand IV added a gold and silver Medal of Honour. This was 33 mm. in diameter, with the obverse similar to the cross. The reverse was inscribed FIDEI ET MERITO. This was worn with a similar ribbon. Officers and privates of the Army and Navy were awarded this medal for distinguished services.
MEDAL OF MERIT FOR LOMBARDY. Ferdinand IV instituted a medal of silver for the Neapolitan troops who assisted him in the campaign in Lombardy against the French in 1796. This was 38 mm., bearing on the obverse the helmeted effigy of the king and the title, FERDIN. IV UTRI SICILIAE REX P.F.A. (P-Pio, devout, F-Forte, brave, A-Augusto, august). On the reverse, within a laurel wreath, FIDEI / REGIAE DOMUS / PATRIAE / PROPUGNATORI / OB / EGREGIA FACTA. In the exergue, E.V.A/MDCCXCVI.
MEDAL OF MERIT FOR SIENA. This medal was of gold and awarded by Ferdinand IV to the troops who distinguished themselves in the Siena campaign in 1797. On the obverse is the helmeted effigy of the king and his title FERDINANDUS IV UTRIUSQ. SICILIAE REX P.F.A. On the obverse is an allegorical figure of a woman crowning a soldier with a laurel wreath. Surrounding this, an inscription reads MILITIBUS BENE DE REGE AC PATRIA MERITIS. In the exergue is E.V.A./MDCCXCVII. The ribbon is blue and white, edged with narrower stripes of blue (Sculfort, p. 176).
MEDAL OF HONOUR FOR THE SIEGE OF GAETA. When Napoleon I sent his brother Joseph Bonaparte to rule over the kingdom of Sicily, Ferdinand IV fled to Gaeta. This fortress was gallantly defended in 1806 against the French under Maréchal Masséna, but was finally forced to capitulate, and Ferdinand fled to the island of Sicily. To reward those who valiantly assisted him to hold his kingdom, Ferdinand IV instituted this Medal of Honour. It is 35 mm., and was struck in both gold and silver, and is suspended from a deep red ribbon. The obverse of the medal has a bust of the king facing to right, the head wearing a helmet, laurel wreathed and surmounted by a dragon. The inscription is FERDINANDUS IV. D. G. SICILIARUM REX. The reverse has in the centre a view of the fortress of Gaeta, surrounded by the motto, MERITO ET FIDEI CAJETAE DEFENSORUM 1806.
ROYAL ORDER OF THE TWO SICILIES. Created on February 24, 1808, by Joseph Napoleon, when King of Naples It was issued in three classes: Grand Officers, Commanders and Chevaliers. Joachim Murat, when ruler, modified the Order in 1811; its purpose was to reward those who had assisted in the conquest of the country. The decoration is a red-enamelled star of five points, ball tipped and with gold edges. Above this is the Imperial eagle surmounted by a crown. In the centre medallion is the Arms of Sicily, a Trinacria or Triquetra, having a face in the centre. This medallion is surrounded by the title, JOS. NAPOLEO SICIL. REX INSTITUIT. The reverse medallion bears a prancing horse, the Arms of Naples, encircled by a blue-enamelled band inscribed PRO RENOVATA PATRIA. The ribbon is dark blue with a red stripe in centre.
Following the death of Murat on October 13, 1815, the Kingdom was restored to Ferdinand IV, who changed the design of the above decoration. The star was attached to the surmounting crown by a lily (replacing the eagle). The obverse medallion contained the Arms of Sicily and of Naples, surrounded by the inscription FERDINANDUS BORBONIUS UTRIUSQUE SICILIAE REX P.F.A. (Pio Forte Augusto). The reverse medallion had in the centre a Bourbon lily and the motto FELICITATE RESTITUTA X. KAL.JUN. 1815. The ribbon was changed to azure blue with a red stripe in the centre. This Order was finally abolished in 1819 and replaced by the "Order of Saint George of the Reunion."
MEDAL OF HONOUR FOR THE PROVINCIAL LEGION. On March 29, 1809, Joachim Murat, instituted this medal for the Provincial Legion. It is of silver and bronze, and bears on the obverse the effigy of the King, facing to left, encircled by the words GIOACCHINO NAPOL. RE DELLA DUE SICIL. On the reverse is a group of fourteen flags and a royal crown, the outer flags bearing, respectively, the words SICUREZZA/INTERNA. Around this device is the inscription ALLE LEGIONI PROVINCIALI 26 MARZO 1809. The ribbon is light blue moiré. Ruo, the Italian writer, states that the inscription on the obverse is Gioacchino Napoleone, but the previous description is taken from a medal and various French authorities.
MEDAL OF HONOUR FOR NAPLES. Murat authorized another Medal of Honour on November 1, 1814, to reward the guard of Naples for its devotion to his cause. It is of gold and silver, in the form of a wreath of oak and laurel leaves, tied with a ribbon and surmounted by a crown. Superimposed on the wreath are two crossed flags, enamelled in the colours of the kingdom. On the obverse centre medallion of white is the bust of the king, facing to left, and the title GIOACCHINO NAPOLEONE (or GIOACCHINO RE DI NAPOLI). On the reverse medallion are the words ONORE ET FEDELTA. The ribbon is magenta. The Medal for Civil Merit is similar to the above, except that the reverse is inscribed ONORE ET MERITO.
MEAL OF HONOUR. After the death of Murat at Pizzo, a medal of 38 mm. was authorized by Ferdinand IV. It was issued in gold and silver, and worn with a bright red ribbon. On the obverse is a crowned effigy of the restored king, facing to left, and the inscription FERDINANDUS IV UTRIUSQUE SICILIAE REX P.F.A. The reverse has in the centre a large Bourbon lily, surrounded by the inscription OB EGREGIAM URBIS PITII FIDELITATEM. In the exergue, POSTRIDIE NONAS OCTOBRIS/ANNI R. S./MDCCCXV.
MEDAL OF HONOUR (Sicily). By decrees of August 9 and 30, 1816, bronze medals were authorized and awarded to soldiers and sailors who were faithful to the cause of Ferdinand IV. This is a green-enamelled Maltese cross with gold Bourbon lilies in each angle. The centre medallion bears the effigy of the king to right, and the words FERDINANDO IV INSTITUI 1816. The reverse has in the centre a lily and the inscription CONSTANTE ATTACCAMENTO. This was worn with a red ribbon.
SECURITY GUARD MEDAL. Created on May 30, 1816, and issued in gold and silver; it was worn with a Bourbon red ribbon. The medal is surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves and surmounted by a crown, attached by laurel branches. On the obverse is the effigy of the king surrounded by the title FERDINANDO IV RE DELLE DUE SICILIE P.F.A. The reverse bears a lily and the motto ALLA GUARDIA DI SICUREZZA. In the exergue, PER LA GIORNATA DE 22 MAGGIO 1815.
ROYAL MILITARY ORDER OF SAINT GEORGE OF THE REUNION. This order was created on January 1, 1819, by Ferdinand IV. It commemorated the reunion of Naples and Sicily, and was awarded for valour, military distinction and loyalty. There are four classes: Knights of the Grand Cross, Commanders, Officers and Chevaliers, the decoration varying in size according to the grade. This Order was discontinued in 1860, with the formation of the present Kingdom of Italy. The insignia is a red-enamelled cross, fleurée, with concave arms. Two gold swords cross at the angles, and a wreath of green-enamelled laurel connects the arms of the cross and the swords. The medallion bears a figure of Saint George slaying the dragon; around this is a blue-enamelled band inscribed IN HOC SIGNO VINCES. The reverse is the same, with the word VIRTUTI above. The ribbon is light blue moiré. The decoration of the Knights of the Grand Cross is distinguished from the other grades by a gold pendant of St. George and the dragon. The Chevalier's cross has no such pendant; and on the reverse is the word MERITO.
MEDAL OF ST. GEORGE. In addition to the "Order of Saint George of the Reunion," gold medals were awarded for heroism in war, and in silver for continued service. These are 28 mm., bearing in the centre the figure of St. George slaying the dragon, encircled by a wreath and the words VIRTUTI or MERITO according to the purpose of the award. The obverse and reverse are the same. The ribbon is blue with yellow edges.
ORDER OF CONSTANTINE, (described on page 18). Instituted in Naples and Sicily by Don Carlos in 1734. Joseph Bonaparte abolished it in 1808, although it continued in the island of Sicily. Upon the return of Ferdinand IV to Naples in 1814, it was restored in both Kingdoms.
ROYAL ORDER OF FRANCIS I. Francis I, upon the death of his father, Ferdinand IV, became King of the Two Sicilies on January 4, 1825. He was of the Neapolitan branch of the Bourbon family. On September 28, 1829, he founded the Royal Order of Francis I. Though usually conferred as a reward for Civil Merit, the army was not debarred from its honours. There are five classes: Grand Cross, Commanders, Officers, Knights and Chevaliers. The fourth and fifth classes receive, respectively, the gold and silver medals, described later. This Order was discontinued in 1860 when the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies became part of Italy, though, as a family Order, it was continued for a while longer. The decoration is a four-armed, double-pointed cross of white enamel with gold edges, surmounted by a gold crown. Bourbon lilies of gold are in each angle. The medallion is larger than in most of the other Orders. In the centre, on a field of gold, appear the initials of the founder, F.I., with crown above. These are surrounded by a laurel wreath of enamel. On the blue encircling band are the words, DE REGE OPTIME MERITO. The reverse bears the inscription FRANCISCUS PRIMUS INSTITUIT MDCCCXXIX, within a green wreath. The ribbon is bright red with blue edges. The star or plaque of the order is a silver cross without the crown, and with the same centre medallion.
The gold and silver medals, worn by the fourth and fifth classes, are 36 mm. in diameter, bearing on the obverse the portrait of the founder, within a laurel wreath, and the inscription FRANCISCUS I.D.G.UTRIUSQUESICIL. ETHIER. REX. The reverse has three Bourbon lilies in the centre within a wreath, and the motto DE REGE OPTIME MERITO 1829. The ribbon is dark red with blue edges; not as wide as that for the Cross.
MEDAL OF CIVIL MERIT. Authorized by royal decree of December 17, 1727. It is of gold and silver and worn with a red ribbon. The obverse bears an effigy of the king, and the title FRANCISCUS I.D.G. REGNI UTRIUSQUE SICIL. ET HIER. REX. On the plain reverse is engraved the name, date and cause of award. A medal similar to this was awarded during the reign of Ferdinand II and may be found with either of the following inscriptions: FERDINANDUS II REGNI UTRIUSQUE SICILIAE ET HIERUS. or FERDINANDO II RE DEL REGNO DELLE DUE SICILIE.
Another MEDAL OF CIVIL MERIT was issued, 44 mm. in size. On the obverse are busts of Francis I and Queen Maria Isabella, facing to right, surrounded by branches of laurel. On the reverse is a Bourbon lily, crowned.
MEDAL FOR MESSINA. Francis I was succeeded in 1830 by his son, Ferdinand II, who died in 1859. Ferdinand II instituted the Medal for Messina for troops faithful to him, in that city, during the Revolution of 1847. It is of bronze, and 30 mm. On the obverse, within a wreath of oak and laurel leaves, is the word FEDELTA with one Bourbon lily. The reverse reads, MESSINA 1 SEPTEMBRE 1847. The ribbon is light blue and white. A variant of this medal has on the obverse the effigy of the king and the words FERDINANDO II RE DEL REGNO DELLE DUE SICILIE; and on the reverse the word FEDELTA.
LONG SERVICE MEDAL. Ferdinand II also created a bronze medal for Long Service. It is 38 mm. and bears on the obverse the king's bust on a pedestal, surrounded by implements of war and flags. Above is FERDINANDO II. The reverse reads LODEVOLE SERVIZIO MILITARE DI 25 ANNI. The ribbon is red.
MEDAL FOR THE SIEGE OF MESSINA. After the long siege of the citadel of Messina in 1848 by Ferdinand II which resulted in his reconquest of Sicily, a commemorative medal was authorized by the king. This was to reward the troops who had taken part in the campaign. The medal for the senior officers was of gold and enamel, 35 mm. in diameter. On the obverse within a green-enamelled laurel wreath, is a pentagonal fort; in the corners are five bombs, the flames of which rest upon the wreath. In the centre is the fleur-de-lis of the Bourbons, in relief. The reverse is similar, except that in the centre of the pentagon is the legend, ASSEDIO / DELLA / CITTADELLA / DI MESSINA / 1848. The ribbon is red. For the junior officers and soldiers the medal was of bronze and of the same size, without enamel. Obverse and reverse are identical, and the medal was worn with a red ribbon. A variant of this medal has a plain reverse, no fort, or bombs, but with the same inscription in relief.
MEDAL FOR SICILY. Created for the troops who, under the leadership of Filangieri, suppressed the Insurrection of 1848–1849. This is of bronze-gilt, and displays the effigy of Ferdinand II facing to right within a wreath of oak leaves. Outside the wreath are two draped flags, the whole is surmounted by a Bourbon lily. The plain reverse has CAMPAGNA DI SICILIA 1849, in relief. The ribbon has three equal stripes of light blue and white.
MEDAL FOR CAMPAIGN OF 1860. Francis II came to the throne of Sicily in 1859, about the time of the Garibaldi campaign for the Independence of Italy. His reign was short. The Medal for the Campaign of 1860 was created by him for those troops who were loyal to him and opposed to Garibaldi. It is bronze, 37 mm., and bears on the obverse the effigy of the king, facing to left, within a wreath of oak leaves. Surrounding this is FRANCESCO II RE DELLE DUE SICILIE. The reverse bears the words, TRIFRISCO, CAIAZZO, S. MARIA, S. ANGELO, GARIGLIANO , surmounted by three Bourbon lilies. Around this inscription appear the words, CAMPAGNA DI SETT. OTT. 1860. The ribbon is red with a blue stripe in the centre.
CAMPAIGN OF EASTERN SICILY. Authorized in 1860. It bears on the obverse the effigy of Francis II facing to right, and the words SICILIA OCCIDENTALE/APRILE E M AGGIO/1860. On the reverse, within a wreath of laurel, the words AL VALORE. This is bronze, and 27 mm. in diameter. A variant of this medal was issued without the likeness of the king on the obverse.
Medal for Sicily, Ferdinand II
MEDAL FOR GAETA. Issued to the refugees who fled to Gaeta with the Royal family in 1860–61 when Garibaldi entered Naples. The medal is silver, 36 mm., having on the obverse the jugated busts of the King and Queen Maria Sophia of Bavaria and the words FRANCESCO II—MARIA SOFIA . The reverse shows a view of the city of Gaeta, with GAETA 1860–1861 in the exergue. A variation of this medal has on the reverse the fortress of Gaeta only, with the same inscription in the exergue.
Medal for Gaeta, Francis II
After the Garibaldi campaign of 1860–1861 for the freedom of Sicily, and after the Royal family had given up the Kingdom of Sicily, Francis II by a decree dated March 12, 1861, authorized medals for all his soldiers who took part in the second siege of Messina. It appears that dies were made but only one medal is known to have been struck. That rests in the famous Ricciardi collection in Naples. The writer is indebted to Sig. Guido de'Mayo's article in the May-June 1922 issue of Miscellanea Numismatica, which describes this medal.
It is silver, 35 mm., and bears on the obverse the jugated busts of the King and Queen, facing to left (similar to the Gaeta Medal), and the titles, FRANCESCO II—MARIA SOFIA . The reverse has a design of the pentagonal fortress of Messina; in the corners of the pentagon are five bombs, the flames of which rest on the wreath which surrounds the fort. In the centre is the Bourbon fleur-de-lis. The exergue reads CITTADELLA DI MESSINA 1860–61. The ribbon is given as red with blue stripes.
MEDAL FOR SICILY. This is said to have been awarded to those who took part in the uprising against Ferdinand II in 1848, in the movement for a United Italy, but the purpose of this award cannot be verified from the several authorities consulted. It was issued in silver and bronze, 30 mm., and suspended from a ribbon of the Italian National colours—three equal stripes of green, white and red. On the obverse is an allegorical figure of Sicily, armed with a sword; at her feet is a shield with the Arms of Sicily, while in the sky, a brilliant sun bears the Arms of Savoy. In the distance is Mt. Aetna in eruption. The reverse has in the centre SICILIA/1848. Around this is the inscription, INIZIO DEL RISORGIMENTO D'ITALIA.
Tuscany, the ancient Etruria, lies south of the Apennines. On the east it was bounded by the districts of Umbria and the Marches, while to the south lay the section known in Classical times as Latium, but which later, with the rise of the Church, was usually known as the Papal States. None of these provinces had boundaries that were fixed for any great length of time, and their geographical history is very complicated.
Between the 10th and 16th Centuries, Tuscany was composed of several self-governed communes or Republics, the most important of which were Lucca, Pisa, Florence and Siena. The Medici family was a dominant factor in the government for a long period. In 1735 the country came under Austrian rule. Francis, Duke of Lorraine and afterwards Emperor of Austria (1708–1765), became Grand Duke of Tuscany. He succeeded John Gaston, the last of his line, and thus the Duchy passed from the control of the Medici and into that of the Hapsburg family. This had been arranged by treaty.
The Hapsburgs continued in control until the entrance of the French in 1799 under Napoleon I, though the battle of Waterloo in 1815 brought back once more their rule in the domain. Ferdinand III (1769–1824) was succeeded by his son, Leopold II, who lost the Duchy of Tuscany when the constituent Assembly voted for its inclusion in the Kingdom of Italy on August 16, 1860. From that time all the Orders of Tuscany have been discontinued.
ORDER OF SAINT STEPHEN. This Order was founded at Pisa in 1561 or 1562, by Cosimo I de' Medici, Duke of Florence, afterwards the first duke of Tuscany, to commemorate his victory over the French at Siena. The battle took place on St. Stephen's day, August 2, 1554 (or August 6 according to some historians). The inhabitants of the city and the troops under Henry II, after withstanding a siege of fifteen months, finally capitulated. In 1567, Pope Pius V granted Cosimo the title of the first Grand Duke of Tuscany. The Order was named in honour of Stephen IX, Pope and martyr, once bishop of Florence, on whose festival Cosimo de' Medici gained his victory. It is said to have been discontinued in 1565, but Elias Ashmole states that new statutes were approved in 1590. He also lists it as one of the Orders extant in 1715; though Hugh Clark informs us that the Order was "revived in 1764 and put on a respectable footing." Whatever its status in the interval may have been, the Order was reorganized in 1817 by Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1769–1824), and its regulations were altered by him at that time. The insignia is a red-enamelled, gold-edged cross, similar to that of the Knights of Malta. In the angles are golden fleurs-de-lis and above the cross is a ducal crown of gold. The ribbon is bright red.
ORDER OF SAINT JOSEPH. Founded by Ferdinand III on March 19, 1807, when as Grand Duke of Wurtzburg he was admitted to the Confederation of the Rhine. Upon the downfall of the Napoleonic control of Tuscany in 1814, Ferdinand restored the Order in Tuscany when he again assumed control of the Duchy. The Order was for meritorious service and was awarded to civilians, ecclesiastics and the military, whether native or foreign. Generally the honour was confined to those of the Roman Catholic faith. There are three classes: Grand Cross, Commanders and Knights. The Decoration of the first class is silver, a double-pointed, six-armed cross, with rays between the arms. An oval medallion in the centre bears the figure of St. Joseph; around this on the band, likewise of silver, is the motto UBIQUE SIMILIS (Everywhere the same), with a branch of laurel and oak. In the lower centre of the band is the letter F. The cross of the second class is gold, and similar to the star of the first class, though smaller. It has white-enamelled arms, and the rays and the medallion band are of red enamel. It is surmounted by a gold crown and a suspension ring for the ribbon, which is bright red, with a white stripe at each edge. The reverse medallion has in the centre S.J.F.1807 (Sancto Josepho Ferdinando—Dedicated by Ferdinand to Saint Joseph). The third class cross is smaller and worn with a narrower ribbon.
ORDER OF THE WHITE CROSS. Instituted by Grand Duke Ferdinand III in 1814. This was a decoration solely for the military faithful to him. It is sometimes called the "Cross of Loyalty." A MEDAL OF HONOUR was also founded in 1816 for those who had distinguished themselves in the Duchy. No description of these two insignia is obtainable from the several authorities consulted.
MILITARY MEDAL. Authorized in 1815 for distinguished service. It was awarded only to junior officers and soldiers. This medal is silver, bearing on the obverse a bust of the founder facing to right, and the title FERDINANDO III.A.D.A.GRAND. DI TOSCANA. The reverse has in relief AI PRODI E FEDELI TOSCANI 1815. (To the brave and faithful Tuscans.) The ribbon is half red and half white.
LONG SERVICE MEDAL. Founded in 1816 and issued to junior officers and soldiers. It is bronze, 37 mm., and bears on the obverse two crossed swords, with a shield bearing the letter F superimposed. Above this device is a crown, and below is 1816, the date of its creation. The reverse reads, in relief, AL LUNGO E FEDEL SERVIZIO. The ribbon is half red and half white.
MEDAL OF MILITARY MERIT. This was founded by Leopold II on May 19, 1841, and bears the effigy of the Duke and the words LEOPOLDO II GRANDUCA DI TOSCANA. The reverse has in relief FIDELTA E VALORE. The ribbon is half red and half black.
ORDER OF MILITARY MERIT. Instituted on December 19, 1853, by Leopold II. The decoration is a five-armed white-enamelled cross of gold on a gold laurel wreath, which is surmounted by a gold crown. The obverse medallion is inscribed L II. surrounded by the words MERITO MILITARE. On the reverse medallion, 1853 records the date of its creation. The ribbon is of red and black in equal stripes.
MEDAL OF 1848. Founded by Leopold II for the war of Italian Independence. This was a service medal for his troops taking part in that campaign. It is bronzegilt, and bears on the obverse the effigy of the Grand-duke and title LEOPOLDO II GRANDUCA DI TOSCANA. On the reverse within a laurel wreath is the inscription GUERRA/DELLA/INDIPENDENZA/ITALIANA/1848. The loop for the ribbon is a wide bar-like affair, similar to that for many of the Italian medals. The ribbon is blue, bordered with two red stripes.
MEDAL OF MERIT. Attributed by but one authority to Ferdinand IV. Issued in five classes; gold, of 40 mm. and 30 mm.; silver, of 49 mm. and 30 mm., and bronze, 45 mm. in diameter, according to the importance of the award. On the obverse is a bust of the Grand-duke and FERDINANDO IV GRANDUCA DI TOSCANA. The re- verse bears the inscription AL MERITO within a wreath. The ribbon is dark blue with black stripes at the sides.
LONG SERVICE MEDAL. Instituted by Leopold II in December, 1850, for officers of the Army who had served at least thirty years. It is 36 mm., a gilt Maltese cross, having in the centre medallion of silver the head of Leopold II to left, encircled by LEOPOLD II G. D. DI TOSC. On the reverse medallion is the word ANZIANITA, with a crown above. No information concerning the ribbon is obtainable.
At the time of Augustus, there was no city of Venice, and Padua was the chief city of the district which has since come to be known as Venetia. This district occupied the Northeastern section of that country from the Alps on the North and East to the Adriatic Sea, and to the River Po on the West. From the Sixth and Seventh Centuries, after the foundation and the growth of Venice, it developed a considerable commerce with its island domains and became a great maritime power. For many centuries an independent Republic was maintained, governed by a Senate and a Doge, elected by the people; his authority, however, was limited. Constant wars with neighboring peoples and with the Turks did not exhaust the wealth of Venice; and until the Eighteenth Century Venice wielded great influence in European politics. The Republic was unable to withstand the French army, however, and on October 17, 1797, was divided—one half of the territory going to Austria and the other half to the Cisalpine Republic; the Ionian Islands went to France. For a thousand years the Venetian Republic maintained its independence, and exhibited a form of government which commanded universal admiration.
ORDER OF SAINT MARK. Probably founded early in the Eighth Century. Giustinian, writing in 1692, states that Domenico Leoni was the first Grand Master of the Ordine di San Marco in the year 737. He also lists a number of the Grand Masters from that date to 1688, and gives several authorities. Other writers fix the date of its origin as 828, when the remains of Saint Mark were taken from Alexandria to Venice. No exact information is obtainable as to the discontinuance of the Order, though Ashmole indicates its existence in 1672, as does Clark in 1784.
The insignia is a gold chain to be worn around the neck. From this a gold medallion is suspended. On the obverse is the Arms of Venice—the winged lion of St. Mark, seated with a sword in the right paw, and with the left paw resting on an open book, on which is the motto PAX TIBI MARCE EVANGELISTA MEUS (Peace to thee, Mark, my Evangelist). The reverse is believed to have been plain, although Ashmole asserts that it had the name of the Doge then living as well as a portrait—if that is what may be understood by his words "a particular impress." This Order was conferred by the Senate or by the Doge, and later was called the Order of the Doge of Venice. On late forms, the insignia was changed to a blue-enamelled cross, on the centre of which was a medallion with the above described Arms. The reverse bore the effigy of the reigning Doge, sometimes represented as on his knees receiving a standard from the hands of St. Mark. All recipients of this Order had to show records of noble birth and were known as the Knights of Saint Mark.
MEDAL FOR THE DEFENCE OF VENICE OF 1848. This medal was issued in 1849, during the second year of the short-lived Republic of Saint Mark—as Venice was at that time called. It was of silver and bronze, 27 mm., bearing on the obverse the Arms of the Republic. Around this are the words INDIPENDENZA ITALIANA. On the reverse is the cross of St. Maurice surrounded by VESSILLO DI VITTORIA 1848. The ribbon is crimson with a narrow gold stripe at each side. (PI. XXXIII.)
MEDAL FOR BRAVERY. Also issued in 1849. It was of silver and bronze, but 32 mm. in diameter. The obverse has the lion of St. Mark and GOVERNO PROVISORIO 1848-49.
On the reverse, within an oak wreath, are the words DIFENSORE DI VENEZIA . The ribbon is red with gold stripes at the sides.
MEDAL FOR THE CIVIL GUARD. Authorized in 1849. It was silver and bronze gilt, oval in. form, 40 mm. by 34 mm. On the obverse appear two crossed flags and the words GUARDIA CIVICA VENETA. The reverse reads VV/L'ITALIA. The ribbon is yellow.
The following Orders listed by the several authorities consulted, as having been formed in Italy, have long been discontinued.
Order of the Golden Star of Venice , date not given.
Order of the Golden Stole, date not given.
Order of the Royal Crown of Mantua , was, according to Genouillac, created in 771 by Prince Louis of Gonzaga (son of Witikind, King of Saxony), in honour of his marriage with Adalgise of Lombardy, daughter of Gisulf, duc de Frioul.
Order of the Eagle of Italy . Created February 15, 941, by Hugo II of Gonzaga, to perpetuate the memory of his marriage with Princess Elizabeth of Gonzaga and Lombardy. New statutes were formed for the Order in 968.
Order of Holy Mary, Mother of God. Founded in Italy in 1233. Its creation is attributed to Bartholomew, Bishop of Vincenza. The purpose of its foundation was to quell the discords which arose between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines and also to defend and support the Roman Catholic religion. It was approved by Pope Martin IV, who placed the knights under the protection of St. Augustin. It was called by some the "Order of the Brothers of the Jubilation," later the "Order of St. Mary of the Tower," and the "Order of the Chevaliers of the Mother of God."3 Archer states that this later Order was founded in 1737. Towards the end of the Sixteenth Century the Order had entirely disappeared.
Order of St. George of Genoa . Founded in 1472 by Frederick III of Germany. It was to reward the Genoese for the reception he received during his journey to Rome, where he received the Imperial Crown. The Order was short-lived. The badge is a plain red cross suspended from a gold chain. This Order is not to be confused with the Order of St. George of Austria, founded in 1468 by the Emperor Frederick III.
Order of St. George of Ravenna . Founded in 1534 by Alexander of Farnese (then Pope Paul III). Its award was confined to those who defended the city and its vicinity from the attack of the Moslems or Corsairs. On the death of its founder it ceased to exist. Cappelletti says it was suppressed by Gregory XIII. The insignia was a red-enamelled star of eight points, over which was a gold ducal crown.
Order of the Lily. Founded in 1546 by Alexander of Farnese.
Order of the Lamb of God of Tuscany . Founded in 1568 by John III.
Order of the Redeemer or of the Precious Blood of our Saviour. Founded in 1608 by Vincent (IV) Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua. It was in honour of the marriage of his son Francis with the Princess Marguerite, the daughter of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy. The Order survived about a century and lapsed in 1708 on the death of Ferdinando Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua. An attempt was made to revive it in 1847 but without success. The insignia was an oval medallion, in the centre of which were two angels in adoration. Around this was the motto NIHIL HOC TRISTE RECEPTO.
Order of the Conception. Instituted on September 8, 1617, by Ferdinand I of Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, in honour of the conception of the Virgin and placed under the protection of St. Michael the Archangel. Like many other Orders founded about this time, the members swore allegiance to the Church and agreed to fight against the infidels.
Order of the Virgin or the Order of the Virgin Mary the Glorious. Created in Italy by three gentlemen of Spella, named Peter, John the Baptist, and Bernard, surnamed Petrignani. The Order was approved by Pope Paul V in 1618, and placed under the protection of the holy Virgin. The members agreed to defend and uphold the Roman Catholic religion and make war on the infidels. No record has been found of the discontinuance of the order.
Order of Saint Rosalie of Palermo . Founded in 1634 by Alderon de Carreto.
|1||Charles Albert (1789–1849) was of the line of Savoy-Carignano which was founded by Thomas Francis (1596–1656), son of Charles Emmanuelthe Great. Carignano, a town in the province of Turin, was in 1630 bestowed by Charles Emmanuel I upon his son Thomas Francis, who was known as the Prince of Carignano. The present reigning king of Italy is of this house. Ency. Brit. Vol. XXI, p. 342 and Vol. 5. p. 105.|
|2||"At this Crescent was fastened as many small Pieces of Gold fashion'd like Columns and enamell'd with Red, as the Knights had been engag'd in Battels and Sieges; for none could be adopted into this Order unless he had well trod the Paths of Honour." Ashmole, E., Hist. of Order of the Garter, 1715, p. 69.|
|3||Ashmole, 1672, p. 80. "It was approved and confirmed by Pope Urban IV, anno 1262, and the Rule of St. Dominick prescribed to the Knights."|