CHARLES X GUSTAV, CROSSING THE FROZEN BALTIC SEA
KARLSTEEN, Arvid: Sweden, 1694 (?), Bronze, 69 mm
Obv: Bust of Charles Gustav CARLOLVS GVST. D. G. SVEC. GOTH. VAND.
Rev: Charles with his army crossing the frozen strait NATVRA
HOC DEBVIT VNI.
Exergue: TRANSITVS GLORIOSVS. MARIS BALTICI. D. 7 FEB. A.
1658. (Glorious Crossing of the Baltic Sea,
February 7, 1658)
Signed: KARLSTEEN (in script)
Ref: Europese Penningen # 2172; Hildebrand I, S. 350, 28
Charles (Karl) X Gustav (1622-1660) was king of Sweden
from 1654-1660. He was the son of John Casimir, count palatine of
Zweibrucken, and Catherine, sister of Gustavus Adolphus. In his early years
he gained a broad education, studying in London, Marseille, the Netherlands
and Germany. He ascended the throne in his early thirties when his cousin
Christina abdicated. Charles was one of Sweden's greatest war kings. As
military commander, he is considered to be one of the most skillful and
successful in Swedish history. His efforts to dominate the Baltics resulted
in the First Northern War where he achieved victories in Poland, gaining
Warsaw and Krakow. This brought Russia, Brandenburg, the Netherlands, and
Denmark into the war. Charles responded by invading Denmark, occupying
Jutland. By the Treaty of Roskilde, signed February 27, 1658, Denmark
ceded its lands in southern Sweden to Charles.
This medal commemorates the latter phase of the war in
which Charles crossed over the islands and snow covered ice of the Baltic
Sea. The medal shows Charles X Gustav with his Swedish army crossing over
the frozen strait between the Danish island of Funen, in the foreground, to
Zealand, the largest island of Denmark, seen on the horizon.
Although the medal refers to the date at which this event
took place (February 7, 1658), it is thought to have been struck in
Charles X Gustav was succeeded by his son, Charles XI.