Satirical medal
Silver, Germany, around 1543
International Museum of the Reformation, Geneva, inv. 2008-001

Satirical Medal

Medals were a popular propaganda medium during the religious conflicts in the 16th century. The biceps series was particularly common. Our example depicts a double headed Pope-Devil on the obverse and a cardinal-fool on the reverse. The legends emphasize the medal’s message: ECCLESIA PERVERSA TENET FACIEM DIABOLI (The Church perverted has the face of the Devil) and STVLTI ALIQVANDO SAPIENTES (The fools are sometimes wise). The Pope is thus put on the same level with the Devil, the cardinal with a fatuous fool. The creation of this medal can be linked to the conflict surrounding the nomination of Nicolaus von Amsdorf, one of Luther’s most determined supporters, as bishop of Naumburg in 1542.

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