The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 1, January 4, 2015, Article 31


Antichristian Confederacy 1688 Silver Medal by J Smelzing

James II (1685-1688), Antichristian Confederacy 1688, Silver Medal by J Smelzing, standing figures of Suleyman III of Turkey, Mezzo Morto of Algiers, Louis XIV and James II swear an oath of allegiance around an altar, SOLIMAN III. LUDOV: XIIII. MEZOMORTO. IACOBVS II., in exergue CONTRA CHRISTI ANIMUM, rev an imp wearing a Jesuit’s cap, hovering above lilies and a crescent, brandishes a sword and thunderbolt, IN FOEDERE QUINTUS, in exergue 1688, 37mm (Eimer 295; MI i 632/54). Extremely fine, rare.

A couple weeks ago I published images of the above medal from the Baldwin's web site, and wondered about the historical context of the Antichristian Confederacy. -Editor

Ron Haller-Williams writes:

The four rulers are pledging an alliance with their swords, on an altar ("the altar of discord"), with a (fiery?) serpent amid the altar flames, "against the spirit/mind/soul of Christ"; we see that the "chi-rho" is distorted, and surmounted by a (Moslem) crescent.

On the other side we have 3 lilies (representative of the 3 fleurs-de-lys of France), again supporting the crescent: above, the devil is "the fifth one in the league/federation" - in place of where the sun would be. (This is a reference to "le roi soleil" or "the sun king" as Louis XIV was known.) The devil has a sword & thunderbolt (attributes of Jupiter, subsequently also used in regard to God). The Jesuit's cap (worn by this devil) should leave us in no doubt that the medal is a dig at Catholics.

The Dutch Protestants would of course have been rather negative not only about Louis XIV but also the (Catholic) James II - especially with their Statholder Willem III ready to supplant James II when "invited" to do so, as happened later that year. Note that he and his wife Mary, a daughter of James II, were both grandchildren of Charles I.

Here are a few references to the medal Ron found on the Internet. Thanks! -Editor

ANS Medallic Exhibition March 1910

It was rumoured in Holland that a secret treaty had been concluded between James and Louis XIV. called " The French league to cut Protestants' throats in England," and also that James had allowed some Algerine Corsairs to carry Dutch prizes into English ports. Like- wise Louis was accused of exciting the Turks against the Germans. As illustrating these rumours these four potentates are represented as leaguing together against Christianity, the devil being a fifth conspirator.

To read the complete article, see:
Full text of "International medallic exhibition of the American Numismatic Society, opening on the twelfth of March, 1910. Catalogue" (

The medal was also used in a footnote in a 1970 book about early poetry:

Alastair Fowler, Triumphal Forms; Structural Patterns in Elizabethan Poetry

Alistair Fowler quote on antichristian conspiracy

To read this in context, see

And for more information about this book, see:

However, very far from being in alliance, "the French fleet bombarded Algiers again in 1688, and Mezzomorto retaliated with attacks on the French coast." (Wikipedia article on Mezzo Morto).

Numismatic References

Ron also provided the following numismatic references to the medal. Thanks! -Editor

  • Hawkins, Franks & Grueber, "Medallic illustrations of the history of Great Britain and Ireland to the death of George II" (1885) volume1 page 632 #54;
  • Christopher Eimer, "An Introduction to Commemorative Medals" (Seaby, 1989) - not #295 but #177 (page 65 and plate 25)
  • Gerard van Loon, "Histoire metallique des XVII provinces des Pays-Bas" (tome troisieme = 3rd volume, 1732), page 347 (3 sizes)
  • Gerard van Loon, "Beschrijving van nederlandsche historie-penningen" (Derde Deel = 3rd volume, 1728), pages 371/372 (3 sizes)
  • Montenuovo’sche Munzsammlungen (Count Montenuovo’s coin colletions), A. Hess Frankfurt am Main. (Auction dates: 22-26 Sept. 1880; 1885; 3 Nov. 1886 on.) lot 1087
  • Piero Voltolina, "Storia di Venezia attraverso le medaglie", Volume 2 (1998) #1075

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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