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September 27, 2013

Artifact: Erasmus of Rotterdam Medal

Size: 34.15 x 33.35 mm

Weight: 13.7 g

Date: 1531

Significance: This silver medal was minted in Germany in 1531 in honor of the Dutch Renaissance humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536).  The obverse side (left) has a bust of Erasmus while the reverse side (right) has a man’s head on a cubical boundary stone atop grassy ground, which was Erasmus’s memento mori device.* The Latin inscriptions on the medal and their meanings are: IMAGO AD VIVA EFFIGIE EXPRESSA meaning “His image modeled to the living features”; CONCEDO NVLLI TERMINUS meaning “I, Terminus [Death], yield to none”; and MORS VLTIMA LINEA RERVM meaning “Death is the final goal of all.”

This medal, along with some 700 other coins and medals from CHI’s Reformation Era & Anniversary Collection, has now been photographed. CHI hopes to have a catalog of this extensive collection published for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation (2017). 

Photo(s) by Daniel Harmelink

*A memento mori is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death.


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Last updated: Saturday, September 28, 2013
URL: http://www.lutheranhistory.org/pieces-2013-37.asp