Germany: 'Camel-Swallower' lead medal by Wermuth, 1687
Item code: 0130298

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Germany: Pietism / "Camel-Swallower" medal ("Kamelschlucker-medaille"), 1687; struck in lead; by Christian Wermuth (Germany, Leipzig); size: 41mm, weight: 36.1g.

Obverse: depicts "Negro" dwarf swallowing a camel while reaching for gnats that swarm over a pot of flowers standing on a table nearby, with German legend "Műcken Säuger und Kameel=Schlucker" ("Catcher of Gnats and Camel Swallower" a reference from the New Testament: Matthew 24 "Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel"), and date "1687" underneath.

Reverse: depicts Jew in 'Talit' (Jewish prayer shawl) with semi-circular legend in German "Der wieder auss=gestandene Phariseer" ("The Pharisee Risen from Death"), and underneath the image, "MATTH. XXIII" (a reference to New Testament, Matthew 23: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!").

This medal has some official status as it is normally marked "CFP" ("Cum Friderici Privilegio" - "With Frederick's Permission", that being Frederick II of Saxony and Thuringia) on the rim, although this piece is not; this piece is also in lead (given its heavy weight), which is unlisted in the works cited below (listed there only in silver) and so may even be a trial piece.

The medal seems to draw a connection between Moslems (ref: camels) and native Africans, and then with Jews; Friedenberg suggests, the medal singles them out as targets of the Church (for conversion).

It may also be that Wermuth is mocking the events of recent history in his time: the Moslem Ottoman Empire was favorably disposed towards the Jews, particularly since the Spanish Inquisition of 1492 in which both Muslims and Jews were expelled from Spain; in 1683, four years prior to this medal's striking the then mighty Ottoman Empire lost a key military campaign at the Battle of Vienna to combined Holy Roman Empire, Hapsburg, German and Polish forces, which eventually led to its withdrawal from most of Europe.

In VF, with some toning and several light nicks to the edge and surface (one small dent to the bottom legend on reverse); Kirschner Nr. 4 (variant A); JM-12 and 109; Feill #3928 (p.186 & photos XIII). For a related anti-Semitic medal associated with the Ottoman war, see 0130306.

מילות מפתח: מדליות אנטישמיות סטיריות קאמל שלוקר בול גמל יודה יודאיקה יודאיכה וורמוט גרמניה