Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


WARIN, Jean: France, 1659, Bronze, 60 mm
Obv: Bust of Cardinal Mazarin    IVLIVS. CARDINALIS. MAZARINVS.
Rev: A rock lapped by rough waves in the middle of the sea    QVAM. FRVSTRA. ET. MVRMVRE. OVANTO!. (What Vain Efforts and What Murmurs!).
Signed: Unsigned
Exergue: .1659.
Ref: Northumberland, 1980 #290; Forrer VI p.370 (Illustrated); Jones II, 207/211; Weiss  BW226

Jules Cardinal Mazarin, born Giulio Raimondo Mazzarino (or Mazarini) (1602-1661), French statesman and Cardinal, was initially an envoy for Pope Urban III. He later became a protege of Cardinal Richelieu. Following the deaths of Richelieu (1642) and Louis XIII (1643), Mazarin became chief minister of France under the regency of Anne of Austria during Louis XIV's minority. Although more subtle and less ruthless then Richelieu, Mazarin was determined to prosecute the Thirty Years' War causing impoverishment and higher taxation for the people of France. He also spent great efforts teaching Louis XIV military and political skills, and most importantly instilling in him the absolute power of the monarchy. Mazarin's diplomatic skills helped him to negotiate the Peace of the Pyrenees in 1659 (the date at which this medal was executed) which ended the war with Spain. By the end of his term in office, Mazarin had made Louis the most powerful ruler in Europe. The reverse of this medal refers to Mazarin's success in dealing with the intrigues against him. (See also other medals of Cardinal Mazarin in this section, and one in the section on The Netherlands).