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Mercurino Gattinara (*1465 1530), chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire
Gattinara comes from the minor nobility of Piemont. He was educated in the humanist tradition and studied Roman law at Turin. Then he became lawyer and adviser of Duke Philibert II of Savoy. After his death Mercurino accompanied and advised his widow Margaret of Austria while she acted as regent for her father, Emperor Maximilian, in the Netherlands. In 1518, her nephew Charles V. appointed him "Grand Chancellor of all the realms and kingdoms of the king", i.e. of the Holy Roman Empire. Pope Clement made him cardinal in 1529.
Gattinara was among Charles's closest advisers. Strongly influenced by Dante, he pursued the idea of a Christian dynastic empire. He suggested to Charles that it was his Christian duty to strive "towards the uniting of all Christendom under a single shepherd" (Dominium Mundi) and to establish a dynastic monarchy (Monarchia Universalis) in which all infidels, protestants included, would either be converted or conquered. It was to encompass Spain, the Austrian Patrimony and the Holy Roman Empire.
In pursuit of this goal, Gattinara considered the domination of Italy and an alliance with the Pope of the utmost importance. The emperor acted on his advice in this respect but did not go along with the unrealistic concept of a dynastic global monarchy.
Mercurino Gattinara died in Innsbruck 1530, when he accompanied Charles V on the way from his coronation in Bologna to the diet in Augsburg.
Bronze medal. Ø 52 mm one-side cast in the Coin Cabinet in Vienna
MERCVRIVS·DE·GATTINARIA·CARoli·V· - IMP·CANCELLarius·
fully bearded breast effigy facing forward in a wrinkled robe and with cardinal's hat.
This piece was described in the journal Numismatische Zeitschrift vol.1 (1869).
Touch the picture with the cursor to view the revers.
Cast in lead Ø 52 mm Historische Museum Basel, Inv.1905.759, Foto HMB Alwin Seiler.
Obv.: ¤ MERCVRIVS¤DE¤GATTINARIA¤CARO|LIS ¤ Magnus▴CAnCELLARius
fully bearded breast effigy as before
Rev.: outside: ¤ SOLA · FIDES · TERRIS · FOENICEM · SVSTVLIT · ISTAM
inside: ¤ CONIVNXIT ¤ SVPERIS · HANC · QVOQVE · SOLA · FIDES
Phoenix in the fire on an altar with the inscription FIDES
• Joseph Bergmann: Bronzemedaille des Cardinals Mercurio Arborio de Gattinara, Kanzlers Ks. Karl's V.
in: Numismatische Zeitschrift 1 (1869, Vienna), p.339-344, table 9/1
• Max Bernhart: Die Gattinara-Medaille (with a figure) in: MBNG 32/33 (1914/15, Munich), p.56-58
• Köhlers Münzbelustigung, vol.7, p. 9 ff (1735) - available on books.google.de
• Kaiser Karl V. - Macht und Ohnmacht Europas. Catalog of the exhibition Bonn/Vienna/Gent 2000, p.10f
• Pino Croce: Monumento al Cardinale Mercurino da Gattinara
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