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Germany: 'Shabtai Tzvi' bronze medal by Wermuth, 1696
Item code: 0130309

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Germany: "Shabtai Tzvi" medal, 1696; struck in bronze; by Christian Wermuth (Germany, Gotha); size: 43mm, weight: 32.9g.

Obverse: depicts sea bounded mountain (island?) filled with snakes, dragons and other "beasts", a metalsmith at right with his furnace, and images of many lightning strikes from the sky. The legend in Latin above reads "STATVS ECCLESIAE PRAESENTIS FLORENTISSIMVS" and in the lines below "DIES LABORIS. IIIIII PRIORA TEMPORA DAN.11.40."; the mountain top reads "MONTES ESAV" and below bears the names of various Bible verses "ZACH IV .V.7." and "OBAD V .15.16."; at base legend reads "CARDU' ET SPINIS FLORET / PALLURUS AGUTIS. / 1696.".

Raised legend on rim changes upside down midway around the medal: "TEMPVS PRAESENS ESAV / FVTVRVM IACOB | 4.ESDR.VI.V.9".

Reverse: depicts a lamb standing on a mountaintop holding a banner, with a dove flying overhead with olive branch in beak, rays of light from "sun" above and herds of sheep around the mountain base below; legend in Latin above reads "SABBATISMVS POPVLO DEI RELICTVS . HEBR.IV.9 / SABBATVM"; the "sun" bears the digit "7" and the rounded text below reads "MELIORA TEMPORA / DAN II.44.C.VII.27."; legend on the mountain reads "MONS ZION / APOC.14. / OBAD.V.17.& 21. / 144000."; text below image reads "ASPICE VENTURO LAETEN / TURUT OMIA SECLO. / 1000." (with "bar" line over the "MI" in "Omia" and a dot above the "1").

This medal was struck on the 20th anniversary of the death of the false Messiah, Shabtai Tzvi (1626-1676). Tzvi was a Turkish-born Jew who studies Jewish mysticism but also exhibited signs of insanity and was led to believe by Natan the Azati (of Gaza) that he was the Messiah.

He travelled Europe and gained a wide following, but was subsequently arrested by the Ottoman authorities and for his activities given the choice of death or conversion to Islam. He converted to Islam along with many of his followers, and for being revealed as a false Messiah his name became one of disdain in the Jewish world.

One possible reason for this medal's creation (given Wermuth's other related works) may have to do with the Ottoman Empire's decline at the hands of Christian Europe at this time, and with his references to passages in the Old and New Testament on this medal, Wermuth may have interpreted religious meanings for the Ottoman decline.

In EF-AU; Kirschner Nr. 32; Feille #3429 and plate XI; JM-77/78 and 139.

מילות מפתח: מדליות אנטישמיות סטיריות שבתאי צבי יודאיקה יודאיכה וורמוט גרמניה