Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


CHERON, Jean Francois: France, ca.1685, Bronze (cast), 46 mm
Obv: Bust of Barberini (r)    MAPH. BARBER. PRAEN. PNPS. ERETI. DVX. &
Rev: Three bees lead a plow in the field. TRIA. POTIORA.
Signed: CHERON
Ref: Johnson vol. I n. 123; Weiss BW589

Maffeo Barberini (1631-1685), crown prince of Palestrina, was the grand-nephew of Pope Urban VIII. He was one of the five children of Taddeo Barberini and Anna Colonna, daughter of Filippo I Colonna. His siblings included Cardinal Carlo Barberini and Lucrezia Barberini, who married Francesco I d'Este, Duke of Modena.

To stabilize the Barberini's relationship with the papacy, in 1653  a marriage was arranged between Maffeo Barberini with Olimpia Giustiniani, grand-niece of Innocent X, when Olimpia was just 12 years old.

The Barberini were a wealthy and important family in 17th century Rome, the most prominent members being Maffeo’s grand-uncle Pope Urban VIII (also baptized Maffeo Barberini) and several princes. In Rome one can still find the Via Barberini, Piazza Barberini and Palazzo Barberini.

The medal was likely issued in 1685, the year of Barberini’s death.  The reverse, showing three bees, allude to the Barberini coat of arms.

LINK to Coat of Arms of House of Barberini (from Wikipedia)