French orders and decorations

Gillingham, Harrold E. (Harrold Edgar), 1864-1954
Numismatic Notes and Monographs
American Numismatic Society
New York
Worldcat Works




Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.


Table of Contents




By Harrold E. Gillingham

From a numismatic standpoint, France is one of the most interesting countries of Europe. There have been few great movements affecting the map of that continent or the welfare of its people without the participation of France. Because of this share in matters of historical importance, French Orders and Decorations, and French awards of honour and bravery have a variety of form and design which would hardly be found in a nation of fewer political upheavals.

The present material is submitted in the hope that it may stimulate interest in this branch of Numismatics. Many of the problems which have arisen in its study are complicated; no adequate treatment of them has been found in English. As much of the material is in foreign languages, scattered through many volumes, it is to be hoped that this paper will prove useful and of interest to collectors.

From 496 to 1783 there were thirty-four Orders created in France. Few, if any, have remained in continuous existence since the beginning of the 19th Century. (See table, pp. 102–105.)

ORDRE DE LA SAINTE-AMPOULE. The earliest of these French Orders was created in the year 496 by Hlodiwig, called the Great, but better known as Clovis I, fifth king of France, 481 to 511. The Ordre de la Sainte-Ampoule (Order of the Holy Vial) was probably established in 493, soon after he married Hlotechild, or Clothilde. She was a Christian maiden; and coming under her influence and that of Remigues, Bishop of Rheims, Clovis embraced Christianity. He was baptized by St. Remi in 496, thus sealing an alliance with the Church. Little if anything can be learned as to the period this Order was in existence or concerning its discontinuance. It is said that an effort was made to revive it during the Restoration but this fact has not been confirmed. The insignia illustrated appears to be of the 18th or 19th Centuries which would indicate an attempted revival of the Order. It is a white enamelled gold cross, with a white and gold dove symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Below it is a jar or vial, also of gold. Gold fleurs-de-lis are in each of the angles of the cross. The enamelled reverse bears the effigy of a bishop in white and red robes. With a staff in his left hand, he stands with his right hand raised invoking a blessing. The ribbon is black moiré.



Ordre de la Sainte-Ampoule

HOSPITALIERS DE SAINT-JEAN DE JERUSALEM. This Order was founded in 1048 by pilgrims to the Holy City. There they had established a hospital for the care of their sick and needy brethren. They were not too pious to fight and when harassed by the Mohammedans in 1118, it was found necessary to change their organization into a religious Order of Chivalry. At one time they were located in the island of Cyprus, and from 1310 to 1522 the island of Rhodes. In 1530 the home of the Order was transferred to the island of Malta. They were driven from there by Napoleon I in 1798. They sought refuge in Rome, where their headquarters is maintained to this day.



Hospitaliers de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem

Some writers class this Order as Papal; by others it is spoken of as the Knights of Malta. It really belongs to several countries, for early in its history langues or branches were established in France, England, Italy, Germany, Provence, Auvergne and Aragon. The last of these was later divided to create the langue of Castile. After the Peace of Amiens in 1802, the langues of Aragon and Castile united under one authority in Spain. Some of these langues are independent of the Roman Headquarters.

The Order of the Hospitalers of St. John of Jerusalem in England is influenced and almost entirely managed by members of the Church of England; and the hospitalers confine themselves entirely to charitable and hospital work.

The French branch of this Order is not only the oldest but it is the only one in continuous existence since the day of the Crusader. All the branches use the white enamelled Maltese Cross for their insignia of the Order, but with slight variations. Austria has the gold double-headed, triple-crowned eagle in the angles of the cross. For England, the lion and the unicorn appear in the alternate angles. Black eagles with gold crowns are used by Germany; while France, Italy and Spain use the golden fleurs-de-lis in the angles and suspend the cross from a crown, with a ring for the ribbon which in all cases is black moiré. The Papal cross is unadorned in the angles though surmounted by a crown.

The banner of the Order is the plain white cross used by the Crusaders. When Amadeus V, Count of Savoy, rendered such heroic assistance to the Knights of St. John during the attack on Rhodes by the Turks under Mahomet II in 1315, he was granted for his personal use the Arms of the Order and given a collar with the letters F. E. R. T., standing for Fortitudo ejus Rhodum tenuit (By his bravery, Rhodes was held). This cross became the Cross of Savoy, and the letters F. E. R. T. appear on several of the Orders of that country. The Cross is still in use there and appears on the Italian flag, medals and coinage, the present Dynasty being of the House of Savoy. 1

ORDRE DU SAINT-SÉPULCRE. It is difficult to assign the founder or ascertain the date of the origin of this Order. A variety of opinions is recorded by the authorities. Some attribute it to Saint James, the Bishop of Jerusalem, in the year 69 and others to St. Helena, the mother of Constantine, in 326. Pope Alexander VI wished to be considered as the founder of the Order, in 1496. As the majority of writers give much credit to "Godefroy de Bouillon, duc de Basse-Lorraine," the first King of Jerusalem, and fix the year as 1099 when the Crusaders again entered Jerusalem, we are not without warrant for classing it among the French Orders.

During the 12th Century this Order was established at Saint-Samson d'Orléans, and later spread throughout France. In 1254, Saint-Louis established a branch of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre at Saint- Chapelle, after his return from the Crusades. In August, 1814, Louis XVIII granted the members additional privileges, but the Order was suppressed in France in 1823. 2 The insignia is a four-armed gold cross, potencée (each arm shaped like a T), with a smaller cross of the same description in each of the angles; the whole is a gold rimmed red enamelled cross. The ribbon is black moiré.



Ordre du Saint-Sépulcre

ORDRE DE SAINT-HUBERT. In 1416, during the reign of Charles VI, several followers of Louis I, Duke of Bar, formed an association for the defence of their sovereign, and called it the Ordre de la Fidélité. Seven years later one chapter of the Order changed its name to the Ordre de Saint-Hubert de Lorraine et du Barrois. They placed themselves under the protection of St. Hubert who had been bishop of Liège in 708. According to the legend, the conversion of Saint Hubert was brought about while he was hunting on Good Friday, by the appearance of a stag bearing a crucifix between its horns. Since then Saint Hubert has been the patron saint of hunters. The Order was protected by Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI. It shared the fate of other orders of Chivalry during the Revolution. Louis XVIII caused it to be reestablished in 1816. It was finally abolished in 1824. 3

The insignia is a gold cross, white enamelled. The centre medallion of green bears a gold representation of St. Hubert's conversion. On the reverse appears the Arms of Bar with the legend ORDO NOBILIS SANCTI HUBERTI INSTITUTUS ANNO 1416. Bavaria also has an Order of Saint Hubert, which was founded in 1444 by Gérard V.

ORDRE DE SAINT-MICHEL. Established on August i, 1469, by Louis XI (14231483) to reward those who had distinguished themselves in activities which brought credit to the State, such as letters, arts, sciences and discoveries. It was suspended in 1789 at the beginning of the Revolution. In 1816 it was revived by Louis XVIII though definitely abolished in 1830. Specimens of the insignia are occasionally found though they are usually of the Restoration period. The earlier ones do not have the fleurs-de-lis in the angles.



Ordre de Saint-Michel

The cross consists of a four-armed, double-pointed, ball-tipped cross with white enamelled rims. The edges and centres are of gold or silver, according to the grade. Fleurs-de-lis are in the angles of the cross arms. An oval medallion in the centre has a figure of Saint Michael slaying the dragon. The reverse is the same. The cross is suspended by a ring for a black moiré ribbon.

ORDRE DU SAINT-ESPRIT. This Order was established on December 30, 1578, by Henry III (1551–1589). The object of this Order was to offset the power of the Holy League and to maintain the Catholic Religion, as well as to uphold the dignity of the nobility. It was also to commemorate Henry's accession to the throne of France and his being made King of Poland. The Order was suspended in 1791, revived in 1814 by Louis XVIII, and discontinued in 1830 when Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans, ascended the throne of France. At that time many of the Peerages and Orders revived or created by Louis XVIII and Charles X were suppressed.

During the reign of Louis XVIII the Order of the Holy Spirit ranked in importance with the Order of the Garter of England and the Order of the Golden Fleece of Spain. In 1817 the Danish Ambassador presented the Order of the Elephant of Denmark to the French King. Wishing to show the importance of the Order and its equality with the Saint-Esprit of France, he is said to have remarked to the King, "Our Holy Spirit is an elephant."

The Decoration of the Holy Ghost consists of a four-armed, double-pointed, ball-tipped, gold cross, enamelled white and green with gold fleurs-de-lis in the angles. In the centre is a white enamelled dove. On the reverse is depicted St. Michael slaying the dragon. The motto of the Order is DUCE ET AUSPICE (Led and inspired), and the ribbon is blue moiré.

ORDRE DE NOTRE-DAME DU MONT-CARMEL. Instituted in 1607 by King Henry IV (1553–1610) in testimony to the sincerity of his conversion. In 1608 it was united with the Ordre de Saint-Lazare. The latter order was originally founded in Palestine in 1060 by charitable Christians to care for the sick and particularly for the lepers. In 1154 it was established in France by Louis VII, called the Young, who had himself made an unfortunate pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After 1608 it became the Ordre de Saint-Lazare et de Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel.



Ordre du Saint-Esprit

The insignia of the Order is a cross of green and white enamel. This cross is four-armed, double pointed, ball-tipped and with fleur-de-lis in the angles. In the center of the obverse is depicted the resurrection of Lazarus. A green band inscribed ATAVIS ET ARMIS surrounds this. The reverse has a figure of the Virgin and Child. The ribbon is green moiré.

This Order was abolished in 1791 by the Revolutionists. Though revived during the reign of Louis XVIII, it was suppressed fourteen years later during the reign of Louis Philippe.



Saint-Lazare et Notre-Dame du Mt. Carmel

ORDRE ROYAL ET MILITAIRE DE SAINT-LOUIS. On April 5, 1693, eight years after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Louis XIV (1638–1715) founded the Ordre Royal et Militaire de Saint-Louis. It was used to reward his officials who had professed the Catholic faith and who had rendered distinguished service. It was confirmed by Louis XV. Suppressed in 1789 and was revived by Louis XVIII in May, 1816. Though dormant by 1830, it was not finally discontinued until 1848. Good specimens of this insignia are occasionally to be found today.

The decoration is a white enamelled gold cross, similar in design to that of the Orders of Saint Michael and of the Holy Spirit. On the medallion of the obverse is the ermine-robed figure of Saint Louis in gold armour and Royal robes, holding in his right hand a crown of thorns and in his left a laurel wreath. Around the figure on a blue band is the inscription, LUD[OVICUS] M[AGNUS] INST[ITUIT] 1693. On the reverse, an upright sword impales a laurel wreath, and the whole is surrounded by a blue band with the words, BELL[ICAE] VIRTUTIS PRAEM[IUM] (The reward of warlike courage). The inscription is in full on some varieties. The ribbon is bright red moiré.



Ordre de Saint-Louis

Prior to the Restoration there were no fleurs-de-lis in the angles of the cross. Variants of this insignia have ball-tipped points, and one has a gold knot between the insignia and the ribbon ring; on another, the inscription on the obverse is LUD. M. INST. 1693.

ORDRE DU MÉRITE MILITAIRE. Founded on March 10, 1759, by Louis XV (1710–1774) but only for officers of the Protestant faith whom he desired to reward for services rendered the Crown and State. This Order shared the fate of the Order of Saint Louis, being suppressed dur'ng the Revolution. It was rehabilitated in 1816 and was definitely discontinued in 1848.

The decoration is similar to that of Saint Louis—a ball tipped white enamelled cross with a red-enamel centre displaying two laurel branches, surrounded by a blue band inscribed LUD[OVICUS] XV INST[ITUIT] 1759. The reverse shows a gold sword upright. On an enclosing blue enamelled band are the words PRO VIRTUTE BELLICA. A variant has on the obverse LUDOVI XV INSTITUIT 1759, and on the reverse PRAEM. BELL. VIRTUTIS. The ribbon is blue moiré.



Ordre du Mérite Militaire

MÉDAILLE DE VÉTÉRANCE. The desires of Louis XV to confer, some mark of distinction on soldiers who had served twenty-five years or more, resulted in the establishment of the Médaille de Vétérance on April 16, 1771. This decoration consists of an oval wreath of copper-gilt with a red centre made of silk. On this silk are two crossed swords of metal or embroidered in gold thread, and tied with a knot of ribbon. An anchor under the swords indicates a Veteran of the Navy. The veterans who had served forty-eight years received two such decorations joined together. The oval when surmounted by a crown had the signification that the recipient was an Officer.


Although the Revolution of 1789–1790 was brought about mainly because the populace of France wanted a liberal Constitution and were weary of the rule of kings, the people had become so accustomed to the pomp of Royalty and to the decorations, so often the evidence of Royal favour, that it seemed very natural to them to have some means of distinguishing the real workers from the non-combatants.

MÉDAILLE DES VAINQUEURS DE LA BASTILLE. The Commune of Paris adopted on September 1st, 1789, an insignia to reward the victorious Citoyens who had brought about the fall of the Bastille on July 14 of that year. It is called the Médaille des Vainqueurs de la Bastille. This was abolished in 1793. The decoration is in gold, bronze-gilt and bronze, in the form of a diamond lozenge, with pellets at the angle points and with suspension ring for the red ribbon edged with gold. Later a tri-coloured ribbon was used. The design on the obverse consists of several chains to which are attached two balls and a padlock. The surrounding inscription reads LA LIBERTE CONQUISE LE 14 JUILLET 1789 (Liberty acquired July 14, 1789). On the reverse is a crown of laurel through which passes an upright sword. It is surrounded by the inscription IGNORANT NE DATOS NE QUISQUAM SERVIAT ENSES (Are they ignorant that swords were given to abolish slavery?).

MÉDAILLE DES SAUVEURS DU TRÉSOR DE LA VILLE DE PARIS. On October 15, 1789, the Commune recommended that a silver medal be given to the members of the National Guard who had saved the Treasury of the City of Paris. This was called the Médaille des Sauveurs du Trésor de la Ville de Paris. It is oval in form suspended by a ring with a ribbon of red and blue, the colours of the city. The obverse bears the Arms of Paris with a Liberty cap and the words MAIRIE DE PARIS above. On the reverse is a wreath of laurel and the inscription TRESOR DE LA VILLE SAUVE ET CONSERVE LE 15 OCTOBRE, 1789.



Vainqueurs de la Bastille

MÉDAILLE DU COMMISSIONAIRE NATIONAL. The National Commissioners wore around the neck, suspended from a tri-coloured ribbon, an oval bronze-gilt decoration. This consists of a band surrounding a radiant sun and in the blue-enamelled centre, on three lines, the words COMMISSIONAIRE NATIONAL in gold lettering. The Administrators of Districts and of Departments wore from a similar ribbon an oval silver medal of 40x45 mm., with the words RESPECT A LA LOI in three lines, surrounded by oak wreaths. The obverse and reverse are the same.

Judging by the great variety of these Revolutionary decorations and insignia of office to be seen in the several collections in Paris, it would appear that there were few Citoyens who were not decorated for one cause or another. One can readily understand why the people of France so soon accustomed themselves to, and coveted, the Crosses of the Legion of Honour which Napoleon I distributed. France has always recognized the value of a visible evidence of service.

ORDRE NATIONAL DE FRANCE. This Order was projected by a Committee of the Constituent Assembly in 1789. It is cited by A.-M. Perrot as one which was soon discontinued, and by Major Lawrence-Archer as having long been dormant or extinct. The latter gives date of foundation as 1783.

The decoration is a white enamelled gold cross, with double points which are ball-tipped. Fleurs-de-lis are in each angle. In a blue medallion on the obverse are the letters R.N. (signifying Récompense Nationale). This is surrounded by a white circle inscribed INSTITUE EN 1789. On the reverse are two clasped hands in white on a blue field, surrounded by a white circle containing the legend PRIX DE VERTU. The ribbon is the tri-colour of France.

ÉTOILE DE LA LEGION D'HONNEUR. The "Little Corsican" entered the arena of French politics and became First Consul in 1799. In May, 1802, he caused to be created the Légion d'Honneur, the main purpose of which was to reward all Citizens for military and civil services of importance. In so doing he made it appear to the Revolutionists that there were to be no Court favorites. Sir Bernard Burke says in his work entitled The Book of Orders of Knighthood and Decorations of Honor, "The real object, however, of the First Consul in creating this Chivalry, to which merit of every social grade was eligible, was to popularize the idea of personal distinction, and pave the way for the establishment of the Empire, and the more exclusive titles of nobility which accompany it."

There were four grades of membership in the Order—Légionnaires (later called Chevaliers), Officers, Commandants (later called Commanders) and Grand Officers. Napoleon created a fifth grade in 1805, called Grand Eagles or Grand Crosses. There were in addition educational and charitable organizations, such as schools where children of the Légionnaires were educated and orphan boys received military training. The Decoration of the Order was originally called the Eagle, though in the form of a five armed cross. After Napoleon became Emperor it was known as the Cross of the Legion of Honour, as the "Distribution of Crosses" at l'Église des Invalides on July 15, 1804, signifies. Napoleon chose the fifteenth anniversary of the fall of the Bastille for the first public distribution of the Grand Cross. But as that day happened to fall on Saturday, the ceremony was postponed until the following day, Sunday, July 15, 1804 (le 26 messidor, an XII). On this occasion the principal personages of the Empire were honoured with, the decoration. A painting of this subject in the Musée de Versailles shows Napoleon on the throne attaching the Cross to the breast of a wounded veteran supported by an officer.



Légion d'Honneur

First Empire. First Type.

The next great public presentation of Crosses took place at the camp at Boulogne on August 16, 1804 (le 28 thermidor, an XII) in the presence of 90,000 soldiers and sailors. At this time the service men worthy of decoration were honoured with the cross 4 .

In 1814, the Legion had nearly thirty-seven thousand members; since then the number has increased greatly.

The Cross consists of a five-armed, double-pointed star of white enamel, edged with gold (or silver, according to the grade). The arms are united by a wreath of oak leaves on one side and of laurel leaves on the other. In the centre on a gold-rayed medallion appears the laurel-crowned effigy of Napoleon facing to the right. On the encircling band of blue enamel appears the inscription NAPOLEON EMP[EREUR] DES FRANÇAIS and three stars. On the reverse is the Imperial eagle facing to the left, and on a blue enamelled border HONNEUR ET PATRIE, with three stars. The ribbon is red moiré. During the First Empire the first and second types of the cross had the eagle facing to the left; in the third and fourth types it faces in the opposite direction. The second type of the cross is surmounted by the Imperial crown of twelve branches, which is soldered to the points of the upper cross arms; above this is a globe with a small cross above it and within the suspension ring. In the third and fourth types the crown which is mobile has but eight branches. The cross of the fourth type is ball-tipped at the points as are succeeding varieties. In some varieties the head of Napoleon differs in size; while in one case the head faces to the left. Slight differences in the size of the wreath's leaves are also to be noticed.



Légion d'Honneur

First Empire. Third Type.



Légion d'Honneur

First Empire. Fourth Type.


When Louis XVIII ascended the throne of France in 1814 after the abdication of Napoleon I and his departure for Elba, it was thought he might suppress the Légion d'Honneur. Such was not the case, however. Not only did he revive many of the Orders and Decorations of the Ancient Régime, but he continued the Légion d'Honneur although he altered the design of the decoration somewhat by substituting the fleurs-de-lis for the eagle on the reverse. The obverse was also changed—the effigy of Henry IV facing to the right replaced that of Napoleon, while on the encircling band he placed the words HENRI IV ROI DE FRANCE ET DE NAVARRE. This use of the effigy of a king so long deceased earned for the Order the popular cognomen "Holy Ghost." And these crosses are often mistakenly supposed to belong to the time of Henry IV by owners who fail to remember that the Order was instituted in 1804.



Légion d'Honneur Restoration

Variants of this type appear. In one the crown has twelve branches; in others there are but eight. One type has fleurs-de-lis at the base of the crown branches; another type shows the fleurs-de-lis replacing the small cross on the globe within the suspension ring. In all probability there are other slight variations, but they may be considered as hardly worthy of record.


When in the Spring of 1815 Napoleon I returned from Elba, once more to assume the Imperial crown, he re-established the laws of 1814 as they affected the Legion of Honour. The battle of Waterloo, with its results so disastrous to his ambitions, upset all that he had done, and Louis XVIII had only to reaffirm previous laws made during the first Restoration, and these continued unchanged by Charles X until the time of Louis Philippe. None of the authorities on the subject record any material change in the Decoration of the Order.



Légion d'Honneur Louis-Philippe


After the second Revolution and the deposition of Charles X in July, 1830, Louis-Philippe (1773–1850), the son of the Due d'Orléans, reaffirmed the Legion d'Honneur. He changed the inscription on the obverse to read merely HENRI IV; while the three fleurs-de-lis on the reverse were replaced by two crossed flags of France. Variants appear with the globe above the crown and no cross in the suspension ring. Others bear on the obverse the inscription used during the Restoration.


After the abdication of Louis-Philippe in 1848, and during the Second Republic, the cross was again altered. The crown was removed; and the manner of affixing the suspension ring was changed, the loop was attached to the wreath rather than to the globe as in the first type of the time of Napoleon I. The second marked change showed itself on the obverse, which bore the uncrowned effigy of Napoleon I facing to the right, surrounded by the words, BONA- PARTE Ier CONSUL 19 MAI 1802, on a blue enamelled band. There are variants showing the 19 MAI 1802 under the bust of Napoleon, while others have 18 MAI 1802. The reverse shows the crossed flags, and below them the words HONNEUR ET PA TRIE; the whole is surrounded by the inscription REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE on a blue enamelled band. Variants of the reverse have HONNEUR ET PATRIE encircling the centre medallion instead of REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE, and on the second the two flags tied with a ribbon.



Légion d'Honneur Second Republic


After having been President of the Second Republic for about three years, Charles Louis Napoleon (the third son of Hortense Beauharnais and Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland) was declared Emperor of France on December 2, 1852, and recognized as Napoleon III. A complete restoration of the Légion d'Honneur to the original design followed almost immediately. The Imperial Crown of eight palm branches with an eagle at the base of each branch was authorized. It is surmounted by a globe arid has a cross within the suspension ring. It is these eagles which distinguish the cross of the Second Empire from that of the First. The medallion too was changed; the obverse bears the effigy of Napoleon I crowned with laurel, facing to the right. It is surrounded by the words NAPOLEON EMPEREUR DES FRANÇAIS; a variant has the abbreviation, EMP. The reverse is almost identical with the cross of the fourth type of the First Empire save that in this type the eagle faces right, rests on a thunderbolt and holds six crossed arrows, while the three stars in the lower part of the blue band are replaced by two laurel branches. On Plate XV the decoration shown is that of an officer of the Legion.



Légion d'Honneur Second Empire

There is such a similarity between the two types that the cross of the Second Empire is frequently confused with that of the time of Napoleon I. It was the fortunate discovery of a cross of this type in a Paris pawn-shop in 1899 which led to the author's collecting these interesting and beautiful objects.


With the declaration of the Third Republic, on September 4, 1870, a complete and decided change was made in the Étoile de la Légion d'Honneur. By a decree of the 8th of November, 1870, the Government of the National Defence ordered that the Imperial crown above the cross be replaced by a wreath of oak and laurel leaves. The effigy of Napoleon I in the centre medallion was replaced by a laurel-crowned female head facing to the right, typifying the Republic. It is surrounded by the inscription REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE 1870. The reverse has two tri-colours tied at the staffs, and surrounded by HONNEUR ET PATRIE and two branches of laurel on a blue enamelled band. In the Commander's cross of this period several red holly berries are to be seen on each wreath. A variant of this cross occurred in a sale in Paris during 1914, showing a crown instead of the wreath above. There seems to be no authority for these variants, and it is to be assumed that they are merely the result of the maker's idea or his carelessness as to details.

As at the beginning, the ribbon today is the bright red moiré decreed by the first Napoleon, who is said to have won many faithful followers by his lavish distribution of the "eagle" and the red ribbon. As Pliny the elder wrote (Lib. IV, cap. xi, 24) "It requires lemon as well as sugar to make punch." So with the principal decoration of France. The ribbon together with the cross is needed to perfect the attractiveness of the Légion d'Honneur. The brilliancy of the ribbon, the whiteness of the enamelled cross and the blue band of the medallion, blend into a harmonious whole, whose elements are those of the flag of the nation. One might go further and see in the green wreath a suggestion of the colouring of their well kept fields and vineyards, and in the oak the strong spirited loyalty to their land.

DAMES DE LA LÉGION D'HONNEUR. Napoleon I established three Schools for the orphans of the Légionnaires as early as 1805. These were at Saint-Denis, Écouen and Les Loges. The direction thereof was under the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour, but the Chapels and the Educational management were under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of the diocese.



Légion d'Honneur Third Republic

Some writers record that as early as 1809 Napoleon intended to establish a special form of Decoration for the women in charge of the Maisons d'Éducation de la Légion d'Honneur. Nothing seems to have been accomplished, however, and it was not until 1816 that a Decoration was created by Louis XVIII. This consists of a white enamelled cross pattée surmounted by a Royal Crown. In the angles of the cross are fleurs-de-lis. On the obverse centre in an oval medallion is a gold figure of the Virgin on a blue field, surrounded by the words MAISON ROYALE DE ST. DENIS. On the reverse centre of blue are three gold fleurs-de-lis surrounded by the inscription DIEU LE ROI LA PATRIE. The ribbon is white moiré with red bands. The decorations of the first class are of gold and were for the nuns and higher teachers. The second class, of silver, was for the novices.

In 1857, under Napoleon III, the decoration was changed. Between the arms of the cross are rays instead of the earlier fleurs-de-lis. The inscription on the obverse reads MAISON DE ST. DENIS. The reverse medallion has in its centre the words HONNEUR ET PATRIE surrounded by the inscription LEGION D'HONNEUR on a white enamelled band. The ribbon was changed to red moiré.



Dames de la Légion d'Honneur

In 1881 the decoration was changed to a cross with five branches instead of four. The cross is surmounted by the Palmes d'Académie. The medallion in the centre is circular and bears on the obverse in gold letters, the words LEGION D'HONNEUR. It is surrounded by a band inscribed MAISON D'EDUCATION. On the reverse is the motto HONNEUR ET PATRIE in gold letters on a blue field. The ribbon is also red moiré.

There is also a Médaille d'Honneur which is for lesser distinction. It is oval in form, bearing in the centre the Cross of the Légion d'Honneur. Above it, the motto HONNEUR ET PATRIE appears—below, MEDAILLE D'HONNEUR. It is surmounted by a suspension ring.

ORDRE DE LA COURONNE DE FER. Instituted by Napoleon I on June 5, 1805, after he had been crowned at Milan as King of Italy. It was given to those who had rendered service to the Crown whether in the Army, in the Administration, or in Arts and Letters. The insignia consists of the crown of Lombardy of blue enamelled gold; it has ten ball-tipped points and ten flowers and jewels above the head band. Within the crown on a thunder-bolt is the Imperial eagle, facing to the left. Superimposed on the crown in a medallion is the effigy of Napoleon I, facing to the left, with the Imperial crown and a laurel wreath (green enamel) upon the head. The inscription on the band reads DIO ME LA DIEDE GUAIA CHI LA TOCCA (God gave it to me, Let him who touches it beware.) The ribbon is yellow moiré with a narrow green edging.

This Order was evidently given to French citizens, as the author has a plaque with the inscription in French. Variants show the head of Napoleon facing to the right. After the fall of the French Empire and the annexation of Lombardy by Austria, the Emperor, Francis I, reconstituted the Order in 1815, but with an Austrian eagle and of course a different crown. This was known as the Austrian Order of the Iron Crown.



Ordre de la Couronne de Fer

ORDRE DES TROIS TOISONS D'OR. This Order was projected by Napoleon I and his plans for it were announced on August 15, 1809, at the camp of Schönbrunn. There seems to have been no decoration definitely established. The authorities on the subject give no description, and the Order probably never went beyond the initial stages. Specimens of the decoration of the Order of the Three Golden Fleeces are sometimes seen, but their appearance is such as to make their genuineness doubtful.

PALMES UNIVERSITAIRES. When the University of France was created on March 17, 1808, three honorary titles were established—Dignitaries, Officers of the University and Officers of the Academy. At first, the emblems of their distinction, the Palmes Universitaires, were embroidered on the coat. Later, silver enamelled palm and laurel branches were adopted, to be suspended by a violet moiré ribbon, and this procedure has continued ever since.



Palmes Universitaires

ORDRE DE LA RÉUNION. Founded by Napoleon I in October, 1811, to replace a similar order of Holland when that country was annexed. The decoration is in the form of a white enamelled star with twelve ball-tipped points. This star is superimposed on a gold disc formed by thirty arrows in bundles of five—the arrows representing the thirty Departments of Italy which had been annexed at the same time. The heads of the arrows occupy six of the spaces between the points of the star, while the butts fill the other (upper) six; the whole having the effect of a sun-burst. On the gold band at either side of the point of suspension appears the motto A JAMAIS. On the obverse medallion is a throne surmounted by an eagle holding in one claw nine arrows, to represent the Provinces of Holland; in the other he holds a trident, to signify the ports of Genoa and Hamburg. On one side of the throne appears the lion of Holland; on the other, the lion of Florence, and at the base of the throne is the she-wolf of Rome, showing quite clearly the figures of Romulus and Remus. Around this appears the motto TOUT POUR VEMPIRE on a blue enamelled band. The reverse shows N within a laurel wreath, and A JAMAIS on a blue band surrounding it. The words are repeated on both sides on the outer band. Above this star is the Imperial crown, with the words NAPOLEON FONDATEUR on the blue head band. A gold cross is within the suspension ring. The ribbon is light blue with lateral bands of white. This Order was suppressed in 1815 after only four years of existence.



Ordre de la Réunion

Several other Orders created under the Napoleonic influence should be mentioned at this juncture.

ORDRE DE L'UNION DE HOLLANDE. Created by Louis Bonaparte (1778–1846) in 1806. After passing through several modifications, its name was changed in 1807 to the Ordre Royal de l'Union de Hollande. The cross is an eight-pointed gold star, white enamelled and with ball-tipped points. Gold bees are in the angles and a gold crown surmounts it. On the obverse appears the effigy of the King, surrounded by the words LODWIJK NAP. DE Ia KONING VANJIOLLAND. The reverse has the lion of the Netherlands, and the legend DOE WEL EN ZIE NIET OM (Do well and look not around). The ribbon is light blue moiré. This Order was abolished in 1810, and those who had been favoured with the decoration were given that of the Order of the Reunion of France, created by Napoleon I in 1811.

MÉDAILLE D'HONNEUR DE HOLLANDE. This medal was authorized on July 18, 1808, by Louis Bonaparte—or Louis Napoleon, as he is frequently called. The object of this was to reward acts of bravery. It was issued in two classes, gold and silver. The medal is 45 mm. in diameter. Around the sides are laurel wreaths. In the centre of the obverse is engraved BELONING VAN UIT-MUNTENDE DAPPERHEID, 14 SEPT. 1809 (Reward for Distinguished Bravery). On the reverse is engraved LODEWIK NAP. DE Ia KONING VAN HOLLAND AAN— (the name of the recipient). The ribbon for this is light blue.



Ordre Royal des Deux Siciles

ORDRE ROYAL DES DEUX SICILES. Founded by Joseph Bonaparte (1768–1844), King of Naples, on February 24, 1808. It consists of a red enamelled star of five points with ball tips and gold edges, above which is an Imperial eagle; the whole is surmounted by a crown with a cross within the suspension ring. On the gold ground of the obverse medallion is the prancing horse of Naples, surrounded by a blue band inscribed PRO RENOVA TA PA TRIA. Against the gold background of the reverse medallion is the Sicilian Triquetra with a face in the centre, and on the encircling band is the legend JOS. NAP. SICILIARUM REX. The ribbon is dark blue with a red stripe in the centre. Authorities give different inscriptions for the reverse—JOS. NAPOLEO. SICILIAE REX INSTITUIT; JOSEPH NAPOLEO SICIL. REX INSTITUIT; JOS. NAPOL. SIC. REX INSTITUIT. This Order was continued during the reign of Murat, and until 1815 when Ferdinand IV regained the throne of his kingdom. It was modified by this king, but abolished in 1819 when the Order of Saint George of the Reunion of Sicily was established.

MÉDAILLE D'HONNEUR (Naples). After Murat (1767–1815) became King of Naples in 1808, he authorized a Médaille d'Honneur for the Provincial Legion. This was issued on March 26, 1809. It is of silver and is 38 mm. in diameter. On the obverse is the effigy of the King facing to the left, surrounded by the words GIOACCHINO NA-POL. RE DELLE DUE SICIL. On the reverse is a group of fourteen flags and a crown, with the inscription ALLE LEGIONI PROVINCIALI LI 26 MARZO 1809. The ribbon is light blue.

ORDRE ROYAL D'ESPAGNE. Joseph Bonaparte (1768–1844) created this Order in 1809. The insignia is similar in design to the Royal Order of the Two Sicilies but without the eagle and crown. It is suspended by a ring attached to one star point. On the obverse appears the tower of Castile and the words JOS. NAPOLEO REX HISP. ET IND. The reverse has the lion of Aragon and the motto VIRTUTE ET FIDE. The ribbon is red moiré.

ORDRE DE LA COURONNE DE WEST-PHALIE. Instituted when Jérome Bonaparte (1784–1860) was King of that Principality, by a decree dated from Paris on December 25, 1809. It was created for the purpose of rewarding both soldiers and civilians for services of importance. There are four classes—Grand Commanders, Commanders, Chevaliers of the first class and Chevaliers of the second class. The decoration consists of a gold crown of eight fleurons, with a blue enamelled head-band bearing the motto of the Order, CHARACTER UND AUFRIKKEIT. ERRICHTET DEN XXV DECEMBER MDCCCIX (Dignity and candour. Founded December 25, 1809). One authority, however, gives this motto as CHARACTER UND AUFRICHTIGKEIT—ERRICHTET DEN XXV DEC. MDCCCIX. Above the crown in the centre, an eagle and a lion stand back to back beneath another crown. At the right is the horse of Westphalia, and to the left is the lion of Hesse. The Imperial Eagle standing on a thunderbolt, bearing the words JE LES UNIS (I united them), surmounts the whole. The reverse is the same except that on the lion and eagle there is a shield upon which the letters H.N. are interlaced. The suspension ring is in the form of a serpent with its tail in its mouth—a symbol of immortality. The ribbon is black with yellow borders.

MÉDAILLE D'HONNEUR (Westphalia). Created by Jérome Bonaparte on June 17, 1809, for sub-officers and soldiers who had served at least ten years and who had distinguished themselves while in the service. This medal is of silver, oval in form, and bears on the obverse a trophy of arms and military equipment. Surrounding this are the words TAPFERKEID UND GUTES BETRAGEN. On the reverse is the Royal cipher J.N., crowned, and the date of the foundation, 1809. The whole is enclosed by a wreath of oak and laurel leaves. The ribbon is sky blue.

A third class medal was also issued in bronze, of the same design, and suspended by a sky blue ribbon with white edges.

DÉCORATION DU LIS. During the early days of the first Restoration, upon his arrival in Paris on April 12, 1814, the Count d'Artois (later Charles X. 1824–1830) caused to be distributed to the National Guard of that City, white ribbons, which were to be worn as a badge of fidelity. To perpetuate the remembrance of this distribution, they were later granted the right to suspend from the ribbon a silver fleur-de-lis. For his attendants this device was surmounted by a Royal crown. Such was the origin of the Décoration du Lis, sometimes called the Order of the Lily. The form of the lily, as well as the design of the ribbon, varies with each Department of France. They are generally to be seen with a white moiré ribbon. Monsieur A.-M. Perrot illustrates in his Ordres des Chevalerie, 1820, eighty varieties of ribbons for this decoration. Occasionally one sees a design with a shield bearing the effigy of the King. There was also used a cross of four arms with a fleur-de-lis in each angle. The centre medallion has one fleur-de-lis and the words VIVE LE ROI. This Decoration disappeared in 1830.



Décoration du Lis

LYS DES GARDES DU CORPS. It consists of a gilt sunburst surmounted by a Royal Crown. In the centre is an effigy of Louis XVIII, surrounded by a blue enamelled band inscribed VIVE LE ROI. On the reverse is a silver fleur-de-lis and the legend GAGE D'UNION. The ribbon is white with blue edges. Variants of this emblem appear; one has merely a silver fleur-de-lis on each side, while another has the motto HONNEUR ET PATRIE on the reverse.

DÉCORATION DE BRASSARD DE BORDEAUX. This decoration was adopted for the volunteers who accompanied the Due d'Angoulême (the elder brother of Charles X.) when he entered Bordeaux on March 12, 1814. It was officially called Brassard de Bordeaux, or Brassard Vert. At first it consisted of a silk band of green with white borders, worn, as the name signifies, on the arm. Some are all green, others white with green borders. On this band is embroidered a heart and the inscription BORDEAUX 12 MARS 1814. Later, another form was adopted. This consists of an oval gilt sunburst on which is superimposed an oval medallion of white enamel bearing the royal monogram L.L., and surrounded by a green enamelled band with the words BORDEA UX 12 MARS 1814. The whole is surmounted by the royal crown. The reverse is the same. The ribbon is green with white edges. This decoration was discontinued after the revolution of 1830.

DECORATION DU LYS DE BAYONNE. While not official, this decoration was worn by the National Guard of the city of Bayonne in remembrance of its part in the defence of 1814 against the troops under the Duke of Wellington. It is an oval silver medal in the form of a sunburst, having at the centre a convex white-enamelled medallion. On this is the Arms of the City of Bayonne, surrounded by the motto NUM-QUAM POLLUTA (Never dishonoured). The reverse has a silver fleur-de-lis, a crown and the words A LA GARDE NATIONALE DE BAYONNE. The ribbon is white.

DECORATION DES VOLONTAIRES ROYAUX. Carried by the pupils of the Law School and of the Medical School who had organized themselves into a battalion and had accompanied King Louis XVIII to Ghent during the Hundred Days. The decoration consists of a silver white-enamelled cross of four branches, ball-tipped. The whole is surmounted by a crown. In the centre medallion of gold is the effigy of the King, surrounded by a band inscribed DIEU LE ROI ET LA PATRIE. The reverse medallion of red has the date 1815 surrounded by VOLONTAIRES ROYAUX. The ribbon is white with two red lines on either side.

DÉCORATION DE L'AIGLE. When Napoleon I returned to Paris from Elba and re-established the Empire for les Cent-Jours (from March 20 to June 28, 1815), an insignia was issued called the Décoration de l'Aigle. The object of this was to distinguish his supporters from those of Louis XVIII who wore the Décoration du Lys. The badge consists of an eagle surmounted by a crown, holding in its beak a fillet on which is impressed the date 1815. No authority for this decoration has been found, and it is hardly proper to consider it official.



Décoration de l'Aigle

CROIX DE LA FIDÉLITÉ. Authorized on February 5, 1916, to replace the Decoration of the Lily. It was given to those who were faithful to Louis XVIII upon the abdication of Napoleon I. The insignia is a white enamelled silver star of five points, ball-tipped, surmounted by a fleur-de-lis and the Royal crown, with a smaller fleur-de-lis within the suspension ring. At the centre of the obverse, a gold medallion bears the effigy of the King, facing to right. The medallion is surrounded by a blue band inscribed Fidélité Dévouement. The reverse medallion displays a silver fleur-de-lis on a gold ground surrounded by a blue band inscribed 12 AVRIL,3 MAI 1814, 19 MARS, 8 JUILLET, 1815. The ribbon consists of three bands equal in width, that in the middle being white, the outer ones, blue.



Croix de la Fidélité

DECORATION DE JUILLET 1830. When the people of France revolted on July 27, 28 and 29, 1830, against those who had violated the Constitution, the Chamber of Deputies placed Louis Philippe, Due d'Orléans, a member of the younger house of the Bourbons, on the throne. To reward the citizens who had distinguished themselves during those three famous days, the Croix de Juillet was authorized by the decree of December 13, 1830. Although called a cross, it has but three double pointed arms which are ball-tipped. It is on a wreath of oak leaves and surmounted by a mural crown. At the centre of the obverse, are red, white and blue enamelled bands encircling the Gallic cock, with the words PATRIE ET LIBERTE on the red band. The reverse is similarly banded with 27, 28, 29 JUILLET, in three lines on the blue centre, 1830 on the white band and DONNE PAR LE ROI DES FRANÇAIS on the outer band of red. The ribbon is sky blue, edged with red.



Décoration de Juillet, 1830

There are several variants of. this decoration. On one there is no crown above the cross and the inscription 27,28,29, JUILLET, appears on the red band, while 1830 is in the blue centre. The reverse has PATRIE ET LIBERTE on the red band with DONNE PAR LA NATION in the blue centre. Another variant is composed of three enamelled tricoloured flags instead of the cross, while the centre is a reproduction in miniature of the silver medal next described.

MÉDAILLE DE JUILLET. This medal was also authorized and is in silver. On the obverse appears the Gallic cock of France standing on a flag within a wreath of oak leaves, around which are the words A SES DEFENSEURS LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE (A grateful country to its defenders). On the reverse are three laurel wreaths intertwined, encircling the dates 27, 28, 29. Beneath, JUILLET 1830; above, PA TRIE ET LIBERTE. On the edge of the medal, DONNE PAR LE ROI DES FRANÇAIS. The ribbon is red, white and blue.

MÉDAILLE DES BLESSÉS DE 1848. After the Revolution of 1848 and the abdication of Louis Philippe, General Cavaignac submitted to the Assembly the desirability of issuing a medal to reward those who were wounded at that time. This does not seem to have been adopted by the Legislative authorities. There was, however, a medal made and issued called the Médaille des Blessés de 1848. This may have been devised by a society of the veterans of that eventful occasion. The medal is of silver, 20 mm. in diameter. On the obverse appears the figure of a woman with a helmet on her head. Her right hand holds a flag, and the left a fasces. The words REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE appear on the face. The reverse has within an oak wreath 22, 23, 24 FEVRIER, 1848; and outside the wreath, BLESSE POUR LA LIBERTE, and the name of the recipient. The ribbon is red, with a blue and a white stripe on one side only.

MÉDAILLE DES VICTIMES DU 2 DÉCEMBRE 1851. This decoration was of the same class as the Médaille des Blessés de 1848. The obverse is the same but the reverse has the words VICTIME DE 2 DECEMBRE 1851 within an oak wreath, while around the edge appears in relief DEFENSEUR DU DROIT, and engraved below is the name of the one to whom the medal was awarded. One in the author's collection bears the name "Vve. Benjamin Colin." The ribbon is like that described above— red, with a white and a blue stripe on one side only.

MÉDAILLE DE 1849. After defeating Garibaldi at Rome in 1849 and holding that city for the Pope, the French troops taking part in the campaign were rewarded by the Papal authorities with the Médaille de 1849. This was a round medal of 30 mm. and was issued in gold, silver and bronze. On the obverse are the Pontifical emblems, surrounded by a wreath of laurel and the words SEDES APOSTOLICA ROMANA. The reverse bears the inscription in five lines, PIUS IX PONT. MAX. ROMAE RESTITUTUS CATHOLICIS ARMIS COLLATIS. AN. MDCCCXLIX (Pius IX Pontifex Maxi- mus restored to Rome by the Armies of the United Catholics). This is suspended by a white ribbon with a yellow stripe in the centre.

CROIX DE MENTANA. Authorized by Pope Pius IX in 1867. This was to reward troops that had taken part in the defence of the Holy City and assisted the Church of Rome. This decoration was recognized and accepted by the French Government in 1868; and Frenchmen who were entitled to it were permitted to wear the cross under the same conditions as the British medals for the Baltic, and the Turkish and British medals for the Crimean campaigns. It is a silver four-armed, eight-pointed cross. On the obverse are the Pontifical emblems at the centre with the words FIDEI ET VIRTUTI. On the arms of the cross is the inscription PP PIUS IX 1867. On the reverse medallion is a cross and laurel wreath with the words HINC VICTORIA above. The ribbon is white with two blue stripes.

MÉDAILLE MILITAIRE. Authorized on January 22, 1852, during Prince Louis Napoleon's Presidency of the Second Republic. It was issued for bravery and long service in the army and navy to junior officers and enlisted men. This decoration ranks with the Distinguished Conduct Medal of England. It is now also awarded to men of the allied forces. It consists of a silver-gilt wreath of laurel leaves, tied at the base and at the top with narrow gilt fillets. In the centre of the obverse on a gilt ground, is the head of Louis Napoleon facing to the left, and around this on a blue enamelled band, the words LOUTS NAPOLEON. The reverse bears the inscription VALEUR ET DISCIPLINE. The whole is surmounted by a gilt Imperial Eagle with head to the right, holding in its claws a thunder-bolt. On the reverse the tail of the eagle extends over the blue enamelled band and the wings are attached to the silver-gilt wreath. In a second model, the lightning-arrows are more pronounced and the eagle's tail falls short of the centre band. The wings too are free from the wreath, and the entire piece is somewhat thicker than the first type.



Médaille Militaire

Second Republic First type

On November 8, 1870, just fifty-five days after the proclamation of the Third Republic and the downfall of Napoleon II, a decree was issued modifying the Médaille Militaire. The centre of the obverse displays the head of Ceres. On the encircling band are the words REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE 1870. The reverse centre is unchanged. The eagle is replaced by a trophy of arms and an anchor. These are the same on each side, and are fastened to the laurel wreath. In a still later type the trophy of arms is plain on the reverse and is attached to the medal by a ring under the anchor so that it is movable. There is also a slight variation in the way the hair of Ceres is tied. The ribbon has always been the same—orange, edged with green.

An interesting variant of the Médaille Militaire was adopted to reward the Annamite troops who were worthy of distinction. It consists of a round silver medal, surmounted by a dragon and two crossed Chinese swords. In the centre are Chinese characters equivalent to the reverse inscription, PROTECTORAT DE L'ANNAM ET DU TONKIN VALEUR ET DISCIPLINE, surrounded by oak and laurel leaves.



Médaille Militaire

Third Republic Second Type

ORDRE DU MÉRITE AGRICOLE. This Order was established on July 7, 1883, to reward those who had distinguished themselves in agricultural development. The decoration consists of a six-pointed, white-enamelled star superimposed upon a wreath of olive leaves. In the centre is the head of the Republic, surrounded by a blue band inscribed REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE. The reverse gold centre has the words MERITE AGRICOLE 1883, in three lines. The ribbon is green, edged with red.

MÉDAILLE DE SAINTE-HÉLÈNE. Napoleon III instituted on August 12, 1857, a bronze medal to reward all living soldiers and sailors who had fought for France from 1792 to 1815. It is an oval bronze wreath with a crown above, and has in the centre the effigy of Napoleon I facing to right, and the words NAPOLEON I EMPEREUR. On the reverse is the inscription, CAMPAGNES DE 1792 A 1815 A SES COMPAGNONS DE GLOIRE SA DERNIERE PENSEE. SAINTE-HELENE 5 MAI 1821. The ribbon is dark green with seven narrow red stripes. While this is officially styled the Médaille de Sainte-Hélène, it is frequently mentioned as the Medal for Napoleon's Veterans. When Napoleon III adopted the Médaille de Sainte-Hélène, it was the first time that any medal or decoration had been given to the rank and file of service men to distinguish their having been in the armed forces of France. Although no service medals were authorized by France for her soldiers and sailors who had served in the Crimean War, the Governments of England, Italy and Turkey distributed medals similar to their own to some of the French troops.



Mérite Agricole

MÉDAILLE D'ITALIE. Authorized by Napoleon III by a decree dated August 11, 1859, to reward all troops who had served in the campaign in Italy. It is a silver medal consisting of a wreath of laurel branches tied at the four points, forming the rim of the medal. In the centre is the effigy of the Emperor facing to the left, surrounded by the words NAPOLEON III EMPEREUR. On the reverse are the names of the battles, MONTEBELLO PA LEST RO TURBIGO MAGENTA MARIGNAN SOLFERINO, and the legend CAMPAGNE D'ITALIE 1859. The ribbon has red and white stripes, seven of the former and six of the latter.



Médaille de Sainte-Hélène

MÉDAILLE DE CHINE. The expedition to China in 1860 was soon followed by a similar reward of service. On January 23, 1861, a decree was issued authorizing this medal. The obverse is similar to the medal for Italy. The reverse bears on the outer edge, EXPEDITION DE CHINE 1860, and in the centre are inscribed the names of the engagements, TA-KOU, CHANG-KIA-WAN PA-LI-KAO PE-KING. The ribbon is yellow, bearing on the face the Chinese characters signifying Pe-King.

MÉDAILLE DU MEXIQUE. Following the Expedition to Mexico of 1862–1863, another silver medal was authorized on August 29, 1863. This followed the previous medals as to the obverse. The reverse bears the inscription EXPEDITION DU MEXIQUE 1862–1863, and the names of the engagements, CUMBRES CERRO-BORREGO SAN-LORENZO PUEBLA MEXICO. The ribbon is white silk with red and green rays, crossed, and surmounted by the Mexican eagle, holding a snake.

MÉDAILLE DE LA GUERRE DE 18701871. The Frenchmen who took part in the Franco-Prussian war and served in France and Algeria during the years 1870–1871, received no insignia whatever from their Government to testify to their service until 1911. Just forty years after the Treaty of Peace with Germany, a silver medal was authorized called the Médaille de la Guerre de 1870–1871. This was given to all living veterans who had served under the tri-colour in that war. The medal bears on its face the head of the Republic and the words REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE. On the reverse is a trophy of arms with the inscription AUX DEFENSEURS DE LA PATRIE on a tablet below, and the date 1870–1871 above. The ribbon is green and black stripes. The volunteer troops in this war are allowed to wear on the ribbon a bar inscribed Engagé Volontaire.

In 1885, and following all other campaigns and expeditions in which the army and navy of France took part, silver medals were authorized. Space would hardly allow all these to be described in detail. They are given below in the order of their issuance:

Médaille du Tonkin. For the expedition to China and Annam in 1883, 1884 and 1885. On the reverse appear the names of the engagements Sontay, Bac-Ninh, Fou-Tchéou, Formose, Tuyen-Quau, Pescadores. The medal for the men of the Navy, in this campaign has, in addition, the engagement, Cau-Giai, which precedes the others. The ribbon is yellow with four green stripes.

Médaille de Madagascar . For the expedition of 1885. Ribbon light blue and green, in longitudinal stripes.



Médaille de 1870–71

Médaille du Dahomey. For services in that section in 1892. Ribbon yellow and black stripes.

Médaille Coloniale. For services in Africa and the Colonies. This was authorized in 1893, and many bars were given for the different engagements. The ribbon is light blue, with one wide and two narrow white stripes. Gold bars were given for De l'Atlantique à la mer Rouge (The Marchand expedition), Mission Saharienne, Congo-Gabon, and Centre-Africain. The bars of silver were for Adrar, Afrique occidentale Française, Algérie, Centre-Africain Cochinchine, Comores, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Côte d'Or, Dahomey, Guinée Française, Guyane, Haut-Mékong, Haut-Oubanghi, Iles de la Société, Iles Marquises, Laos et Mékong, Madagascar (the second Campaign), Mauritanie, Nossi-Bé, Nouvelle Calédonie, Sahara, Sénégal et Soudan, Tchad, Tonkin, Tunisie and Maroc.

Médaille de Madagascar . For the second expedition of 1894–1895, and 1896.

Médaille de Chine. For those who took part in the defence of the legations in Pekin in 1900–1901. Ribbon green and yellow stripes.

Médaille du Maroc. Authorized in 1909, for all who took part in the military operation in that country, or in protecting property there. The ribbon for this is similar to the Médaille Coloniale, but in green with one wide and two narrow white stripes. The bars given with this medal are for Casablanca, Oudjda, Haut-Guir, Fez; and many others have since been added.

CROIX DE GUERRE. By the law of the 8th of April 1915, a bronze cross was authorized to reward Officers and men of all ranks of the army and navy of France and of the Allied forces who were mentioned in despatches. This was called the Croix de Guerre. The decoration is a bronze cross with plain edges. The hilts of two crossed swords fill the lower angles; the points, the upper. In the centre medallion is the head of Ceres facing to the right, surrounded by a band inscribed REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE. On the reverse is the date 1914–1915. In later types, this was changed each year of the war as follows, 1914–1916, 1914–1917, 1914–1918. The ribbon is dark green with seven red stripes, the same as used for the Médaille de Sainte-Hélène.

"The different classes of despatches for which a recipient was awarded the Cross may be recognized by the following embellishments attached to the ribbon: Army Despatch. Small bronze laurel branch (Palme en bronze). Army Corps Despatch. Silver-gilt star. Divisional Despatch. Silver star. Brigade, Regimental or similar unit Despatch. Bronze star.

"Every time a man is mentioned in despatches, he receives a corresponding sign. Thus, a man may wear the Cross with, say, the silver star and the Palmes en bronze. When the ribbon of the Croix de Guerre is worn in undress uniform, the appropriate embellishment in miniature is worn on the ribbon. When a recipient of the Croix de Guerre has been awarded five Palmes en bronze he wears instead a silver Palme."



Croix de Guerre (avec palme)

CROIX DE GUERRE DES THÉÂTRES D'OPÉRATIONS EXTÉRIEURES. This decoration was instituted by a decree of April 30,1921, to reward those of the Army, Navy and civil affairs who had shown exceptional efficiency in their service to the country or its colonies after the signing of the Armistice, especially outside the war zone of France and Belgium. The cross is similar to the Croix de Guerre, except that the reverse medallion has the inscription THÉÂTRES D'OPÉRATIONS EXTÉRIEURES. The ribbon is sky blue edged with broad red bands. The bestowal of this honour carries with it the same privileges as to subsequent citations as does the Croix de Guerre with respect to the wearing of the Palme en bronze or the Etoile d'argent.

It ranks with that cross which should be worn immediately following the Médaille Militaire; in case of both, this cross should follow the Croix de Guerre of 1914–1918.

MÉDAILLE DE LA GRANDE GUERRE, 1914–1918. In the issue of January 29, 1921, of L'Illustration, Paris, is a represen- tation of the medal designed by Alexandre Morion. This was awarded first prize in the competition for the War Medal of the World War. The obverse bears a symbolic head of France, wearing a trench helmet—a modern Minerva, facing to the left. The left hand is holding a sword. Laurel wreaths are on the shoulder. The reverse has in the centre in three lines, GRANDE GUERRE 1914–1918. Around this, with letters resting on an oak and laurel wreath is the inscription REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE. The suspension ring or loop is very broad, and attached to the medal by sprigs of laurel. Under the law of June 28, 1920, this Medal is to be awarded to all who served in the Army and Navy between August 2, 1914, and November 11, 1918 including the various organizations working with them.

MÉDAILLE DE VICTOIRE. At this writing it has been impossible to obtain a specimen or an authentic description of the Victory Medal of France. Owing to the delay of the authorities in issuing this, some manufacturers of medals in Paris have issued one, but this is not official.

It is of bronze, bearing on the obverse the winged figure of Victory. In her right hand she holds a sword, and in the left hand a laurel branch. On the reverse, across the centre, is inscribed LA GRANDE GUERRE POUR LA CIVILISATION 1914–1918 with laurel branches above and below. The rainbow ribbon is adopted as by all the Allies.

MÉDAILLE DE LA RECONNAISSANCE FRANÇAISE. One of the most highly prized of the recent Decorations of France was adopted in July, 1917. It is called the Médaille de la Reconnaissance Française. Its purpose was to reward those who had distinguished themselves in acts of devotion to the public interest in the Great War, and for work among the people. At least one year of service is necessary although a few exceptions have been made. It is issued by a decree of the President of the Republic. The medal is of three classes, gold, silver and bronze and is 30 mm. in diameter. On the obverse, an artistic design by Desbois depicts a womanly figure bending over to assist an injured soldier. The reverse is plain, save for a palm branch and the words RECONNAISSANCE FRANÇAISE. The ribbon is 38 mm. wide, of white moiré silk, with blue, white and red stripes each side.



Médaille de Victoire

This decoration has been conferred on several American and British citizens for their charitable work during the late war, and is considered by some a higher distinction than the Légion d'Honneur.

In addition to the foregoing Orders, Decorations and War-medals, there have been many other awards. These have been issued for Education, Life-saving, Service in the Police and Fire Departments, Merchant Marine, and other Government Departments, and conferred chiefly on civilians. They are of gold, silver or bronze, according to the importance of the award. The numismatist, therefore, will have no inconsiderable task in securing specimens of all the French medallic awards. 7 Most of these are called Médailles d'Honneur. They are as follows:

Médaille des Instituteurs 1818
Médaille de la Société de Secours Mutuel 1852
Médaille Coloniale de l'Instruction Primaire 1895
Médaille de l'Instruction Publique en Indo-Chine 1895
Issued by the Ministry of the Interior:
Médaille d'Honneur de Sauvetage. For acts of courage and devotion 1815
Médaille des Épidémies 1885
Médaille de l'Assistance Publique 1886
Médaille des Cantonniers Départementaux et Communaux 1898
Médaille des Sapeurs-Pompiers 1900
Médaille des Halles et Marchés 1900
Médaille de la Police Municipale et Rurale 1903
Médaille des Octrois 1904
Médaille des Contributions Diverses en Algérie 1907
Issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Médaille de Sauvetage 1881
Médaille pour Services Exceptionnels 1900
Issued by the Ministry of Justice:
Médaille d'Honneur Pénitentiaire 1896
Issued by the Ministry of Finances:
Médaille des Douanes 1894
Médaille des Contributions Indirectes 1897
Issued by the Ministry of War:
Médaille des Épidémies 1892
Médaille du Travail 1888
Issued by the Ministry of Marine:
Médaille de Sauvetage (The ribbon when issued to members of the Naval fleet has an anchor embroidered thereon.) 1820
Médaille du Travail (for those not in the Naval service) 1894
Médaille d'Honneur des Marins du Commerce 1901
Médaille des Épidémies 1909
Issued by the Ministry of Public Works:
Médaille des Cantonniers et Agents Subalternes 1897
Médaille des Postes et Télégraphes 1882
Médailles de Sauvetage 1899
Médaille du Travail 1890
Issued by the Ministry of Agriculture:
Médaille Forestière 1883
Médaille du Travail 1890
Issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry:
Médaille du Travail 1886
Médaille de l'Exposition Universelle de 1900 1900
Issued by the Ministry of the Colonies:
Médaille Pénitentiaire Coloniale 1898
Médaille des Douanes et Régies de l'Indo-Chine 1900
Médaille de Sauvetage 1820



Reconnaissance Française

In addition to the above, similar medals are issued by the Government for services in Algeria.

H. Leduc writes in his book Histoire des Décorations en France , p. 125:

"Following the instruction of the Grand Chancellor of the Order of the Légion d'Honneur for the execution of the ordinance of April 16th, 1824, the only Royal Orders allowed are:

  • Saint-Esprit
  • Sainl-Michel
  • Saint-Louis
  • Mérite Militaire
  • Légion d'Honneur
  • Saint-Lazare and Notre - Dame - du - Mont-Carmel réunis.

"All subjects of the King (Louis XVIII) decorated with one of these Orders must be furnished with brevets or with letters of advice, stating their nomination and signed by the following:

  • For the Saint-Esprit , by the Chancellor of the Order.
  • For the Saint-Michel , by the Ministry of the House of the King.
  • For the Saint-Louis and the Mérite Militaire, by the Ministers of War or Marine.
  • For the Légion d'Honneur, by the Grand Chancellor of the Order.
  • For the reunited Orders of Saint-Lazare and Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel , by the Minister of the House of the King.

"The last Order has not been conferred since 1788 and is being discontinued.

"All others claiming classification among the French Orders, such as those of the Saint-George de Franche-Comté, Saint-Hubert des Ardennes, de Lorraine et du Barrois, du Saint-Sépulcre de Jérusalem, and all others under whatever title or denomination, whether given by Commissions, Chapters, Corporations, Associations, Brotherhoods, Arch-brotherhoods, so-called Grand Masters or their Delegates, Governors of General Administrators, etc., are declared abolished, consequently null, illegal and improper. Those who do not surrender them immediately are subject to penalties under Article 259 of the Penal Code."

Chronological table of other French Orders, which ceased to exist at the time of the Revolution: 8

  • Ordre du Chien et du Coq. Founded by Lisois de Montmorency in 500.
  • Ordre de la Genette. Founded by Charles Martel in 752, after the battle with the Saracens.
  • Ordre de la Frise ou de la Couronne Royale. Founded by Charlemagne in 802.
  • Ordre de la Machine dite Harfleur. Founded by William the Conqueror, son of Richard, Duke of Normandy, 997.
  • Ordre du Lion. Founded by Enguerrand de Coucy in 1080, after having slain a lion. Ordre du Saint-Esprit de Montpellier. Founded by Count Guy in 1198.
  • Ordre de la Milice de Jésus-Christ. Founded by St. Dominique in 1219.
  • Ordre de la Foi de Jésus-Christ. Founded in 1220 to uphold religion.
  • Ordre de la Paix. Founded by Ameneus, Archbishop of Auch in 1229.
  • Ordre de la Cosse de Genet. Founded by St. Louis in honour of his son's marriage with Marguerite in 1234.
  • Ordre du Croissant. Founded by Charles d'Anjou, brother of St. Louis in 1268 (Lawrence-Archer gives 1448).
  • Ordre du Navire et de la Coquille de Mer. Founded by St. Louis in 1269.
  • Ordre de l'Étoile ou de Notre Dame de la Noble-Maison. Founded by Jean II in 1351.
  • Ordre de l'Écu d'Or. Founded by Louis II, Duhe of Bourbon in 1369.
  • Ordre de Notre-Dame du Chardon ou de Bourbon. Founded by Louis II in 1369. Ordre de la Passion de Jésus-Christ. Founded by Charles VI in 1400.
  • Ordre des Fous. Founded by Adolphe, Count of Clèves in 1380.
  • Ordre de l'Hermine et de l'Épi. Founded by John IV, Duke of Brittany in 1381.
  • Ordre de la Couronne. Founded by Enguerrand, Comte de Soissons in 1390.
  • Ordre de Saint-Georges. Founded by Philibert de Miolans in 1390.
  • Ordre du Camail ou du Porc-Épic. Founded by Louis of France, Duke of Orleans, in 1394.
  • Ordre de la Colombe ou de la Raison. Founded by Henry III in 1392 or 1399.
  • Ordre du Fer d'Or et du Fer d'Argent. Founded in 1414 or 1415 by Jean, Due de Bourgogne, son of Louis XII.
  • Ordre des Dames Chevalières de la Cordelière. Founded in 1498 by Anne of Brittany. (Lawrence Archer gives date as 1798.)
  • Ordre de la Chapelet de Notre-Dame. Founded in 1520 by the Burgesses of Valenciennes. Ordre de la Croix. Founded by Francis I in 1576.
  • Ordre de la Charité Chrétienne. Founded by Henry III in 1589.
  • Ordre du Cordon Jaune. Founded by the Due de Nevers in 1600.
  • Ordre de la Madeleine. Projected by Jean Chemel in 1614.
  • Ordre de Saint-Jacques de Haut-pas ou de Lucques. Founded in 1672.
  • Ordre de l'Étoile de Notre-Dame. Founded by Aniaba, a pretending King of Eiszinie (Africa), in 1701.
  • Ordre de la Mouche à Miel. Founded by Louis-Bénédictine de Bourbon in 1703.
  • Ordre du Pavillon. Founded by Louis XV in 1717 when eight years of age, for the young men of the Court.
  • Ordre de la Constance. Founded by various nobles in 1770.



  • Burke, Sir Bernard . The Book of Orders of Knighthood and Decorations of Honour. London, 1848.
  • Daguin , A. Ordres de Chevalerie Autorisés en France. Paris 1894.
  • ( Durieux, Joseph ). La Légion d'Honneur et les Décorations Françaises. Paris, 1911.
  • Duruy, Victor. A Short History of France. London, 1915.
  • Elvin , C. N. Handbook of the Orders of Chivalry. London, 1893.
  • Koechlin , J. L. Les Ordres de la Couronne de Fer et de la Couronne d'Italie (1805–1905). Paris 1907.
  • Lawrence-Archer, Major J. H. The Orders of Chivalry. London, 1887.
  • Leduc , H. Histoire des Décorations en France. 1890.
  • Martin, Jules . Les Décorations Françaises. Paris, 1912.
  • Perrot , A.-M. Collection Historiques des Ordres de Chevalerie. Paris, 1820.
  • Rigault , F. A. L'Étoile de la Légion d'Honneur. Paris, 1904.
  • Sculfort , V. Décorations, Médailles, du Musée de l'Armée. Paris, 1912.


End Notes

The Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, by H. W. Fincham, London, 1915, p. 7.
Catalogue, Musée de l'Armée, p. 219.
Histoire des Décorations en France , by H. Leduc, pp. 11–12
L'Etoile de la Légion d'Honneur, by F. A. Rigault, pp. 15–16.
Catalogue, Musée de l'Armée, Paris, 1912, p. 25.
Ribbons and Medals, by Commander H. Taprell Dorling, R. N., London, 1919, p. 75.
Les Décorations Françaises 1912, by Jules Martin, p. 79.
Histoire des Décorations en France , by H. Leduc, p. 125.
Ordres de Chevalerie, by A.-M. Perrot, p. 261.
The Orders of Chivalry, by Major J. II. Lawrence-Archer, p. 323.


Aigle, Décoration de l' 66
Blessés de 1848, Médaille des 73
Brassard de Bordeaux, Décoration du 64
Chine, 1860, Médaille de 84
Chine, 1900–1901, Médaille de 88
Coloniale, Médaille 88
Commissionaire National, Médaille du 26
Couronne de Fer, Ordre de la 49
Couronne de Westphalie, Ordre de la 60
Croix de Guerre, 1914–1918 89
Croix de Juillet, 1830 70
Croix de Mentana 75
Dahomey, Médaille du 88
Dames de la Légion d'Honneur 34
Deux Siciles, Ordre Royal des 58
Espagne, Ordre Royal d' 59
Fidélité, Croix de la 68
Grande Guerre, Médaille de 92
Guerre de 1870–1871, Médaille de la 85
Italie, Médaille d' 82
Juillet, 1830, Croix de 70
Juillet, 1830, Médaille de 72
Légion d'Honneur, Étoile de la 27
Légion d'Honneur, (Louis Philippe) 38
Légion d'Honneur, (Napoleon III) 40
Légion d'Honneur, (Restoration) 34
Légion d'Honneur, (Third Republic) 43
Lis, Décoration du 62
Lys de Bayonne, Décoration du 65
Lys des Gardes du Corps, Décoration du 64
Madagascar, Médaille de 88
Maroc, Médaille du 89
Médaille de 1849 74
Médaille d'Honneur (Naples) 59
Médaille d'Honneur (Westphalia) 61
Médaille d'Honneur de Hollande 56
Médaille Militaire 76
Médaille Militaire d'Annam 78
Mérite Agricole, Ordre de 80
Mérite Militaire, Ordre du 20
Mexique, Médaille de 84
Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel, Ordre de 14
Ordre National de France 27
Palmes Universitaires 51
Reconnaissance Française, Médaille de la 94
Réunion, Ordre de la 53
Réunion, de Hollande, Ordre de la 55
Saint-Esprit, Ordre du 13
Saint-Hubert de Lorraine et du Barrois, Ordre de 10
Saint-Jean de Jérusalem, Ordre de 4
Saint-Lazare et de Notre Dame du Mont-Carmel, Ordre de 14
Saint-Louis, Ordre de 18
Saint-Michel, Ordre de 11
Saint-Sépulcre, Ordre de 8
Sainte-Ampoule, Ordre de la 1
Sainte-Hélène, Médaille de 80
Sauveurs du Trésor de la Ville de Paris, Médaille des 24
Théatres d'Opérations Extérieures, Médaille de 92
Tonkin, 1883–1885, Médaille de 86
Trois Toisons d'Or, Ordre des 51
Vainqueurs de la Bastille, Médaille des 23
Vétérance, Médaille de 22
Victimes de 1851, Médaille des 73
Victoire, Médaille de 93
Volontaires Royaux, Décoration des 66


Ernest Babelon. Les Médailles Historiques du Règne de Napoléon le Grand, Empereur et Roi. Paris. 1912. Folio, lx, 430 pages printed in three tones, a special border for every page. Illustrating two hundred unpublished drawings of Napoleonic medals,.... by Chaudet and Lemot for .... the French Institute. $20.00.

Agnes Baldwin. The Electrum Coinage of Lampsakos. 1914. 36 pages. 2 plates. $1.00.

Edward T. Newell. The Seleucid Mint of Antioch. 1918. 137 pages. 13 plates. $5.00.

Edward T. Newell. Tarsos under Alexander. 1919. 47 pages. 8 plates. $2.50.

Edward T. Newell. Some Rare or Unpublished Greek Coins. 12 pages. 2 plates. $1.00.

Edgar H. Adams. Private Gold Coinage of California. 5 Vols. (Unbound.) $3.50.

Edgar H. Adams and William H. Woodin. United States Pattern, Trial and Experimental Pieces .... issued by the U. S. Mint from 1792 up to the present time. 1913. 204 pages. Illus. Cloth, $3.00.

Numismatic Notes and Monographs

  • Sydney P. Noe. Coin Hoards. 1921. 47 pages. 6 plates. 50c.
  • Edward T. Newell. Octobols of Histiæa. 1921. 25 pages. 2 plates. 50c.
  • Edward T. Newell. Alexander Hoards— Introduction and Kyparissia Hoard. 1921. 21 pages. 2 plates. 50c.
  • Howland Wood. The Mexican Revolutionary Coinage, 1913–1916. 1921. 44 pages. 26 plates. $2.00.
  • Leonidas Westervelt. The Jenny Lind Medals and Tokens. 1921. 25 pages. 9 plates. 50c.
  • Agnes Baldwin. Five Roman Gold Medallions. 1921. 103 pages. 8 plates. $1.50.
  • Sydney P. Noe. Medallic Work of A. A. Weinman. 1921. 31 pages. 17 plates. $1.00.
  • Gilbert S. Perez. The Mint of the Philippine Islands. 1921. 8 pages. 4 plates. 50c.
  • David Eugene Smith, LL.D. Computing Jetons. 1921. 70 pages. 25 plates. $1.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. The First Seleucid Coinage of Tyre. 40 pages. 8 plates. $1.00.