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Dutch contemporaries
Pope Adrian VI ,   1522-1523
Erasmus of Rotterdam, *1466/9   †1536
Charles II of Egmond, Duke of Guelders 1492-1538
Counts van den Bergh ('s-Heerenberg): Oswald II, 1511-46 and Willem IV, 1546-86


Pope Adrian VI ,   1522-1523
Adrian Florensz was born from poor parents in Utrecht in 1459. He studied at the University of Louvain, where he later became professor of theology, chancellor and rector. The great humanist Erasmus was one of his pupils. In 1507 the emperor Maximilian I appointed Adrian tutor of his grandson Charles. As emperor, Charles entrusted him with numerous high offices in Spain. He was made cardinal in 1517, and when Charles left Spain in 1520, Adrian became governor.
When he was elected pope in 1522, Adrian took up the task of reforming the church with great earnestness in order to fight the Reformation, but he could accomplish little in the face of fierce opposition from the Italian Curia. Adrian was a charitable man, a scholar and ascete. He opposed corruption but also the arts. He was a hesitant mediator between Charles V and Francis I and failed to bring about a unificaton of European powers against the Turks who had occupied Rhodes in 1522.
The people in Rome hated him so much that they declared his physician a liberator when Adrian died after less than two years of governement in 1523. He was the last non-Italian pope until the election of John Paul II in 1978.

Giulio s. d., Parma.   Ø 27,2 mm, 3,76 g.   CNI IX p.417 n.4; Muntoni I 21; Berman 805.
Obv.:  HADRIANVS·SEXTVS·P·MAX·  -  popes bust to the left with tonsure and ornated cope.
Rev.:   ·DOMINVS· - ·PARMAE·   -   crossed keys between popes coat of arms and tiara.

Giulio s. d., Parma.   Ø 27 mm, 3,70 g.   CNI IX p.417 n.9; Muntoni I 23.
Obv.:   HADRIANVS·ELECT·PONT·MAX   -   popes bust to the right with tonsure and ornated cope.
Rev.:   VRBIS PARMAE - SECVRITAS   -   crossed keys between popes coat of arms and tiara.
The Papal State conquered Parma in 1512 and papal coins where issued there henceforth. In 1545, Pope Paul III transformed Parma into the Duchy of Parma and gave this papal territory to his son, thus establishing his family Farnese as an Italian ducal dynasty.

uniface Medal,   no date,     cast from bell metal,   Ø 84 mm
"Lord Adrian, God elected him for Pope in Rome, born in Utrecht"   (flowers betwen the words)
Effigy with rich robe, tiara and the Order of St. George; he faces his family's coat of arms,
which emperor Charles V may have endowed him with - it is unlikely that his family had a coat of arms;
behind him the arms of Utrecht, his native town.
Bell metal is a special sort of bronze equally optimized for sound, temper and elasticity. It contains 20-23% tin and is unsuitable for hammer struck coins.
• Corpus Nummorum Italicorum [CNI],     Indici vol. I-XX :   Parma within vol.IX.
• Muntoni, Francesco: Le monete dei papi e degli Stati Pontifici, 4 vol.: vol.I (until 1559), Roma, 1972-73.

Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam ,   *1466/9  †1536
Erasmus, the great Dutch humanist, was born at Rotterdam in 1466/9. Both parents died early, and he had to enter a monastery. Thanks to the bishop of Cambrai, he was given the opportunity to study in Paris and travel to England. During these years of study he developped an aversion against the traditional scholastics. His writings criticized and ridiculed ecclesiastical abuses and encouraged the growing urge for reform. He sympathized with the Reformation at first, but he refused to intervene either for or against Luther at the time of the Diet of Worms in 1521. He rejected Luther's self-proclaimed dogmatic mission as well as the papacy's claim to secular power, which made him suspicious to both parties. His supporters were rationalists, opposed to orthodoxy and praised his independent stance in an age of fierce confessional controversy. Erasmus wrote to pope Adrian VI, whom he had known at Louvain: he claimed there was still hope for reconciliation, if only the church would ease the burden of rules, for instance by permitting priests to marry.
    Erasmus and Luther engaged in a great debate about the place of human free choice in the process of salvation. In this controversy Erasmus was a fervent defender of free will (De libero arbitrio, 1524) and Hyperaspistes (1526-27). Luther wrote De servo arbitrio (1525), one of his most important theological works, in the course of this debate.
    Erasmus emphasised studies in classical and Christian antiquity and became the greatest European scholar of the 16th century. He used philological methods in his historical-critical studies of the past and edited the writings of most of the major Church Fathers in both Latin and Greek. In 1516 he published the original Greek text of the New Testament together with his own Latin translation. This work was intended to stimulate a renewal of authentic Christian faith.
    Erasmus was named honorary councillor to the 16-year-old archduke Charles, the future Charles V. For him, he wrote "Education of a Christian Prince" in Latin.

Though he himself insisted that his best portrait was to be found in his books, Erasmus commissioned likenesses from some of the greatest artists of his day: Matsys, Dürer, and Holbein. Matsys had already painted Erasmus in 1517. Two years later he created this earliest medal of the famous humanist, who happened to pass through Antwerp that year.

fig. from 'The Currency of Fame'
Medal from Quentin Matsys,   cast in bronze, Ø 105 mm   Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum
"His writings will present a better image: portrait executed from life"
Bust to left, wearing a cap and a coat with a fur collar.
In the field to the left, ER[asmus]; to the right, ROT[terdamensis]   "Erasmus of Rotterdam".
Below, the date 1519.
"Consider the end of a long life - death is the ultimate limit of things"
On a rocky mound, a bust to left of the god Terminus, set upon a square base.
On the base: TERMINVS.   (roman god "Boundary Stone").
In the field, the motto, to be thought of as spoken by the god: CONCEDO - NVLLI   "I yield to no one".
The Erasmian character of the medal's legends and inscriptions should be noted. The Greek legend on the obverse echoes the philosopher's statement that his truest likeness is to be found in his works.     [from "The Currency of Fame, Portrait Medals of the Renaissance", 1994]

Hieronymus Hopfer used the medal as model for his etching in 1519 [Landesmuseum Münster, Westfalia].
Albrecht Dürer sketched Erasmus in Brussels in 1520. This drawing in charcoal was not the basis for Dürer's well known engraving of 1526, where he reproduced the Greek inscription found on the medal.

Charles II of Egmond,  Duke of Guelders 1492-1538
Charles was raised in Brussels at the Burgundian court of Charles the Bold, who had bought the duchy of Guelders from Charles's father Adolf of Egmond in 1473. Charles fought in several battles against the armies of Charles VIII of France but was captured in 1487. In 1492, the citizens of Guelders ransomed Charles and recognized him as their Duke. Charles was a major player behind the scenes of the Guelderian Wars and the Frisian peasant rebellion. In both conflicts, he switched sides repeatedly. However, as he died without a legitimate heir, his efforts to prevent the emperor from taking over Guelders were in vain.

The House of Egmond's entitlement to the dukedom of Gelders had been contested ever since Arnold of Egmond had succeeded Raimund IV, Duke of Geldern, who had died without issue in 1423. The territorial conflict was a major issue in the Guelderian Wars. Between 1502 and 1543, the emperor (first Maximilian, then Charles V), a number of low country noble houses, and the Court of Burgundy fought for superiority and raids and ambushes took place throughout the Low Countries. At the end of the hostilities, all of the Low Countries were under the control of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. (s. Wikipedia)

A better known member of the House of Egmond was Lamoral IV, Duke of Egmond (1522-1568), and hero of Goethe's drama "Egmont". He had served King Philipp II and Emperor Charles V as soldier, diplomat and stateholder. His liberal attitudes provoked Philipp's mistrust and when he opposed the Duke of Alba, Egmond was beheaded in Brussels' marketplace.

Teston n.d. (1496), piedfort of double weight.   Ø 29 mm, 28,39 g.   Delmonte 514.
Obv.:   *kAROL'·DVX·GELRIaE·IVL'iaci·COM'es·ZVT'phaniae
"Charles, Duke of Guelders and Jülich, Count of Zutphen"
effigy in armor and with biretta to the left, circlets at the sides.

Rs.:   EQVITAS·IVDI - CIA·TVA·DOMI'ne   "Justice is your verdict, O Lord"
Coat of arms of Guelders and Jülich with a high crest.
The county of Zutphen was unified with Guelders in the 12th century.
Charles' father, Adolf of Egmond, used the same title "Duke of Guelders and Julich, Count of Zutphen", on his shield at the occasion of the festivities of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1468. The shield - like the coin - shows the lion of Guelders (golden on blue background) and the lion of Julich (black on golden background).

Look at the portrait, painted 1528 by Jan Swart van Groningen, in the Historisch Museum Arnhem.

Delmonte, A.: Le Benelux d'argent. De zilveren Benelux. The silver Benelux. Amsterdam 1967, p.129-131.

Oswald II, Count van den Bergh ('s-Heerenberg) 1511-1546
The ancestral seat of Oswald II (*1508), member of the noble family "von dem Bergh", was in 's-Heerenberg in the Dutch province of Gelderland.

Look at the original at the Teylers Museum, Haarlem, NL.
Daalder o. J. (1544).     Ø 40 mm, 28,33 g.   Delmonte 568; Davenport 8576.
Obv.:   (1) OSWALD'C (2) OMes·De·MON (3) Tes·DomiNuS·De·BIland (4) WISch·Z(=et)·HOmoet
"Oswald, Count of Bergh, Lord of Byland, Wisch and Homoet"   -   effigy with biretta to the left
arms in the legend: (1)=Bergh ; (2)=Egmond ; (3)=Culemborg ; (4)=Moers-Saarwerden.

"God, defender of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?"
twofold helmeted and quartered shield with the arms (1)-(4)

Willem IV, Count van den Bergh ('s-Heerenberg) 1546-1586
Willem was the eldest son of Oswald II. (1508-1546) and married to the elder sister of Orange, Maria of Nassau. He was a prominent member of the League of Nobles, also known as the Compromis.
On 5 April 1566, the League presented a petition against the inquisition and against accusations of heresy to Margaret of Parma, Regent for her brother Philip II of Spain in Brussels. They were nicknamed Geuzen (Beggars), which later became a name of honor for the freedom fighters in the Dutch Revolt. When Fernando, Duke of Alba, succeeded Margaret as governor-general of the Netherlands in 1567, he started a program of repression. The Palace of Culemborg, where the League of Nobles had signed the Compromis, was razed to the ground by Alba's troops in May 1568 and the ringleaders were indicted before the Council of Troubles. 18.000 people were executed between 1567 and 1573.
Willem was able to escape with his family to Germany. In 1572, he invaded the Netherlands with a small army of mercenaries, financed by his brother-in-law, the Prince of Orange. His initial success could not be uphold against Alba's troops. After the Pacification of Ghent (1576), Willem van den Bergh was granted amnesty and regained his forfeited possessions. However, when he was disappointed in his ambition to become stadtholder of Gelderland, he secretly approached the new royal governor-general of the Netherlands, Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma. Even though he later did become stadtholder of Ghent with the Utrecht Union of 1579, he remained in secretive contact with Parma and sabotaged the military efforts of the Rebels. He was arrested when his treasonous correspondence was discovered but was soon released on condition to remain neutral in future. In spite of his promise, he defected to the royalist forces together with his sons, who became officers in the Spanish service.

Daalder o. J..     Ø 39 mm, 27,03 g.   Delmonte 569; Davenport 8577.
Obv.:   (pomegranate) GVIL·CO·D·MON·Z·DNS·D·BIL·HE·BOX·HO·Z·WIS
"Willem Count of Bergh and Lord of Byland, Hedel, Boxmeer, Homoet and Wisch"
"God, defender of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?"   -   helmeted arms of Bergh.

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