Gonzaga in Mantua , Monferrato since 1536 und Guastalla since 1539
Part 1
Gianfrancesco I Gonzaga, 1407-1444, Margrave since 1433
Ludovico II Gonzaga, 1444-1478
Federico I Gonzaga 1478-1484
Francesco II Gonzaga, Margrave of Mantua 1484-1519
here: Part 2 (continuation page)
Federico II Gonzaga, 1519-1540, Duke since 1530
Francesco III Gonzaga, 1540-1550
Guglielmo (William) Gonzaga, 1550-1587
Ferrante I Gonzaga, 1539-1557 Count of Guastalla
Ippolita Gonzaga (1535-1563)

Map of Italy in 1499

Federico II Gonzaga, 1519-40 Margrave, since 1530 Duke of Mantua
- 5th Margrave of Mantua -   - first Duke of Mantua -
Federico (*1500) had to move to the French court as a guest and hostage in 1515, allowing his father to regain the favor of King Francis I. Federico became papal captain general and expelled the French out of Milan in 1521.
In order to win Monferrato for Mantua, Duke Federico II married the heiress of the Margravate, first Maria (1517), then her sister Margherita (1531), the last from the house of the Palaiologists. This marriage policy was successful: Emperor Charles V granted the margravate to Monferrato Federico II Gonzaga in 1536.
Federico commissioned the painter and architect Giulio Romano to build the Palazzo Te (1525-34), a pleasure seat for his constant mistress Isabella Boschetti. She could prevent the Federico's first marriage with Maria Palaiologos. Only after his death in 1540 did she withdraw.

1st period (1519-30): Federico II. Gonzaga as Margrave from Mantua

Doppio Ducato (before 1530), Mantua.     Ø 26 mm, 6,83 g.   CNI IV 266/3; RM 22/2; Friedb.526.
Obv.:   ·FEDERICVS·II·Marchio·MANTVAE·IIIII   -   head with short beard to the left.
Rev.:   FIDES over Mount Olympus with a way leading up in spiral,
on top an altar with a knotty branch, three oaks at the sides of the mountain.
A very rare variant of the coin carries under the mountain its name OΛYMΠOΣ (Olympos).
The revers depicts a so-called 'impresa, a figure with related motto.
Emperor Charles V dedicated this Impresa Federico II for his engagement in Milan 1521.
The mountain Olympus in Macedonia was considered in ancient times as the home of the gods. Just as Zeus stands above the other gods, the Emperor stands over the princes, including Federico Gonzaga. The motto 'FIDES' ("loyalty") signals the loyalty of Federico to the Emperor.

Compare the oil painting 1529 from Tizian (125x99 cm) Prado, Madrid.

Ducato n. d., Mantua.     Ø 21 mm, 3,42 g.   CNI IV 267/17; RM 24/6; Friedb.525.
Obv.:   ·FEDERICVS·II·M·MANTVE·IIIII   -   head with short beard to the left.
Rev.:   ·SANCTA· - CATERINA   -   standing St. Catherine with palm branch and wheel in hands.

Mezzo testone leggero (before 1530), Mantua.     Ø 26 mm, 3,01 g.   CNI IV 269/30; RM 27/14.
Obv.:   ·FE·II·MAR·MAN·   -   head with short beard to the left.
Rev.:   ·SANGVINIS - XPI·IHESV     in exergue: MAN
Ciborium on the altar, on it: ·S· / ANDR / EAS
The Basilica of Sant'Andrea in Mantua keeps the Relic of the Holy Blood.

Mezzo testone (before 1530), Mantua.     Ø 26 mm, 3,17 g.   RM 27/14 / MIR 455.

Grossetto, Mantua.     Ø 18 mm, 1,00 g.   CNI IV 273/68; RM 31/23; MIR 466.
Obv.:   FEDERICVS·II·M·MAN·V·   -   head left.
Rev.:   HIC·SANgius qui·EXI - VIT ab·Dextro·LAtere·XRIsti·
"Here the blood that came from the right flank of Christ"
standing St Longinus with spear and ciborium.
The soldier Longino is said to have injured Christ at Golgotha. After his conversion he brought earth soaked with Christ's blood to Mantua. The hidden containers were rediscovered in 804 and a chapel was erected. A second discovery (It. Inventio) in 1048 connects to a redesign of the Monastery Sant'Andrea.

Prova di mezzo scudo, Mantua.    Ø 34 mm, 12,59 g.  CNI -; RM 25/8; Armand II 155/2; Kress 90.
Obv.:   FEDERICVS·II·MARchio·V·MANTVÆ   -   Bust to front, head to left, wearing cuirass.
Rev.:   St. Catherine of Alexandria standing, holding palm and resting on wheel.

2nd period (1530-36): Federico II. Gonzaga as Duke of Mantua

Testone legero? n. d. (1530-36), Mantua.     Ø 28 mm, 6,46 g.   CNI IV 282/156; RM 34/33.
with the most frequent motif on Gonzaga's coins: the ciborium (it . pisside),
here on a towel held by two hands; three drops of blood are visible in the vessel.

3rd period (1536-40): Federico II. additionally as Margrave of Monferrato

Scudo n. d. (1536-40) as pattern in copper, Mantua.     Ø 39 mm, 29,52 g.
CNI IV 286/189; RM 37/42; Dav.8289,   the first thaler like coin from Mantua.

Obv.:  ·FEDERICVS·DVX·MANTuae·Et·MARrchio·MONTis·Ferrato·  -  bearded bust in armor to the left.
Rev.:   HIC·EST·VICTORIA·MVNDI·    "This is the winner of the world"
Crucified Christ between the Virgin Mary and St. John, on the ground a demon and a skeleton.

Francesco III Gonzaga, 1540-1550
- 2nd Duke of Mantua -
Francesco III (* 1533) assumed his heritage as a child under the regency of his mother Margherita Paleologa of Monferrato. Burdened with the demands of the side lines, the Gonzaga duchy fell back into insignificance. Francesco died without heirs, shortly after his marriage (1549) with Katharina of Austria, daughter of Charles's brother Ferdinand I. The duchy came to Francesco's younger brother Guglielmo. Another brother, Luigi (Ludovico) Gonzaga, married in the French aristocracy and became a patriarch of the Gonzaga-Nevers line, which replaced the extinct main line in the 17th century.

Testone legero, Mantua.     Ø 31 mm, 5,98 g.   CNI IV 293/13; RM 40/3.
Obv.:   ·FRAN·DVX·MAN·II·ET·MAR·MON·F   -   youthful bust left.
"Francesco, 2nd Duke of Mantua and Margrave of Monferrato"

Rev.:   VIAS·TVAS·DOMINE·DEMOSTRA·MIHI   "Make known to me your ways, o Lord"
Archangel Raphael leads Tobias carrying a in his left a fish with curative properties.

Guglielmo (William) Gonzaga, 1550-1587
- 3rd Duke of Mantua -
Guglielmo (* 1538) succeeded his brother Francesco, who deceased childless in 1550, as Duke of Mantua and Margrave of Monferrato, first under his mother Margherita Paleologa as regent. The Margravate of Monferrato became a duchy in 1574. Guglielmo was interested in ecclesiastical music and corresponded with the composer Palestrina.
While Mantua coined only with Guglielmo's name, in Casale the coinage for Monferrato took place together with his mother until her death in 1566.

In Casale under the reign of his mother until 1562

Lira 1563, Casale.     Ø 34 mm, 12,58 g.   CNI II 139/6; RM 51/18; MIR 255/2.
Obv.:   ✠MARG·ET·GVL DVCES·MANT·ET·MAR·MONT F   -   Busts to the left.
Rev.:   NON·IM / PROVIDIS / 1562   -   Around fir leaf garland with pine cones.

Lira 1575, Casale.     Ø 34 mm, 12,45 g.   CNI II 148/27var; RM 52/19.
CNI knows only the dates 1567-70, 1572-74.
Obv.:   +GVLLIEL·DVX·MANT·III·ET·MAR·MONTIS·FER   -   bust in armor to the left.
"William, 3rd Duke of Mantua and Margrave of Monferrato"

Rev.:   *CVIQVE* - * - *SVVM* / *15 - 75*   "To each his own"
Standing Justitia with sword and scales, underfoot a star.

The Margravate Monferrato was elevated to Duchy in 1575.

Doppia 1578, Casale.     Ø 28 mm, 6,60 g.   CNI II 150/45; RM 54/25; MIR 264/1; Friedb.180.
Obv.:   ·GVLIEL·D·G·DVX·MANT·III·   -   Bust to the right.
Rev.:   ET MONTIS - FERRATI·I  -   Arms of Mantua, laid on it arms of Monferrato,
above the mountain Olymp, FIDES and a crown, at the bottom date 15 - 78.

Doppia n. d., Casale.     Ø 28 mm, 6,60 g.   CNI II 157/105; RM 55/26; MIR 265/2; Friedb.180.
Obv.:   ·GVL·D·G·DVX·MAN·III·ET·MON·FER·I·   -   Bust to the left.
Rev.:   Arms of Mantua, laid on it arms of Monferrato, above mountain Olymp, FIDES and crown.

Scudo da 120 Soldi n. d., Mantua.    Ø 41 mm, 25,65 g.  CNI IV 310/98var; RM 48/10; Dav.8290.
Obv.:  ·GVL·D:G·DVX·MAN·III·ET·MON FE·I·   "... 3rd Duke of Mantua and 1st Duke of Monferrato"
armored and draped bust with ruff to the right.

"Put all worldly things in there (for cleaning with the blood of Christ)"
Ciborium on an altar between two angels. In the exergue: the value:
The value of this scudo was 6 lire (lire = 20 soldi) or 120 soldi, the number in the exergue of the obverse.
A fixed value between two denominations is indicated on the coin for the first time.
That was foolhardy! - Because:
small coins (bad alloy) deteriorated in value more rapidly than current coins (good alloy).

1/2 Scudo of 60 soldi, Mantua.     Ø 35 mm, ca.15,4 g.   CNI IV 310/100; RM 48/12; MIR 507.
Obv.:   ·GVLIELMVS·D G·DVX·MAN·III·   -   draped bust to the right.
Rev.:   ET·MONTIS· - ·FERRATI·I·   -   crowned shield, value at the bottom: 60.

Look at the painting spread by Wikipedia, without details.

Due doppie 1586, Casale (4 Ducats).   Ø 33 mm, 13,22 g.   CNI II 156/99; RM 54/24; Friedb.179.
armored and draped bust to the right, ruff around the neck, lion head at the shoulder.
Crown with FIDES and mount Olymp on top of the shield in tendrils between 15-86, at the bottom 2 stars.
Legend over both sides: "... 3rd Duke of Mantua and 1st Duke of Monferrato"

Gonzagas coat of arms after the acquisition of Monteferrato in 1536:
1. The original coat of arms of Gonzaga consists of three black bars and three golden bars.
2. Emperor Wenceslas, king of Bohemia, donated in 1394 the increase with the Bohemian coat of arms, a standing crowned white lion in a red field.
3. Emperor Sigismund donated the red cross with four black eagles as a background coat of arms on the occasion of the elevation to the margravate (1433).
4. The acquisition of Monteferrato (1536) brought further coats of arms:
4a. The old coat of arms of Monteferrato: red bar over a white field.
4b. The Palaiologos (last imperial dynasty of the Byzantine Empire) contributions: Double Eagle of Byzantium, Cross of Jerusalem, 4 pales of Aragon, Saxony, Bar and Palaiologos Cross with 4 Bs in the angles.

Doppia n. d., Casale.     Ø 28 mm, 6,61 g.   CNI II 157/105; RM 55/26; MIR 265/2.
Obv.:  GVL·D·G·DVX·MAN·III·ET·MON·FER·I   -   effigy left, lion head at the shoulder.
Rev.:   Shield, mount Olymp, FIDES and crown as before.

Parpagliola 1567 (Soldo), Casale.     Ø 19 mm, 1,12 g.   CNI II 145/6; RM 53/21; MIR 276/1.
Obv.:   GVL·DVX·MANT·III·MAR·MON·F   -   Bust left in armor.
Rev.:   PLACIDVM·SERVATE·1567   "Quiet reserve"
Boat on a lake, city in the distance.

Quattrino, Mantua.     Ø 16 mm, 1,00 g.   CNI IV 308/84; RM 47/9.
Obv.:  GVLI·DVX·MAN·III·ET·M M·F·  -  Bust of the young Duke with a slightly sprouting beard left.
Rev.:   SANGVNIS - XPI·IHESV   -   The blood relic.

Quattrino, Mantua.     Copper, Ø 17 mm, 1,01 g.   CNI IV 314/131; RM 50/16; MIR 528/1.
The three balls in the host vessel represent three drops of Christ's blood.

Ferrante I Gonzaga, 1539-1557 Count of Guastalla
- 3rd son of Francesco II Gonzaga and Isabella d'Este -   - brother of Federico II Gonzaga -
Ferrante Gonzaga (* 1507) served Charles V since his time as a page at the Spanish court. In 1527 he took part in the Sacco di Roma, in 1527 he became commander of the imperial army in Italy, in 1530 he participated at the coronation of Charles V in Bologna, and in 1531 he became knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece. On the orders of Charles, he fought against the Turks (Tunis, 1535, Algiers, 1543). He served Charles V as Viceroy of Sicily (1535-1546), was the governor of Milan (1546-1554) and went to the court of Henry VIII of England in 1543 as Charles' ambassador (under the designation Príncipe de Molfetta). In 1543 he accompanied the Emperor on the campaign against France, which ended with the peace of Crépy (1544).
Ferrante Gonzaga married Isabella of Capua in 1529, daughter of Prince Ferdinand of Molfetta, who brought the fiefs Molfetta and Giovinazzo. In 1539 he bought the county of Guastalla, where a Gonzaga page line was created.
Ferrante Gonzaga was mortally wounded in the battle of St. Quentin being in the service of Philip II.

Medal, ca. 1555   from Leone Leoni.     Ø 69 mm, 95,7 g.     Börner 747, Bernhart 163,6.
Obv.:   FERdinandus·GONZaga·PRAEFectus·GALliae·CISALpinae - TRIBunus·MAXimus·LEGGionum·CAROLI·V·CAESaris·AVGusti
"Ferdinand Gonzaga, prefect of Gallia Cisalpina and chief tribun of the legions of Emperor Charles V"
Bust in pomp harnish; the Order of the Golden Fleece at a ribbon on the breast.

Rev.:   TV NE CEDE MALIS    "But you do not give way to evil"
Hercules kills two men with the club. The hydra to the right and a satyr tied to a tree on the left.
Ferrante Gonzaga ordered this medal after he had outlawed an accusation of embezzlement and corruption. Ferrante is designated on the medal with antique titles as governor of Milan and commander of the imperial troops. He is presented as Heracles struggling against the monster.
Compare with the painting from Cristofano dell'Altissimo made for the Uffizi before 1568,
as a copy from Paolo Giovio's picture gallery.
Look also at the Bronze sculpture "Victory over the Misfortune" from Leone Leoni, erected 1594
at the Piazza Mazzini in Guastalla.

Further portraits on coins and medals by Leone Leoni on this website.

Ippolita Gonzaga (1535-1563)
- daughter of Ferrante Gonzaga -
Ippolita is a daughter of Ferrante Gonzaga and his wife Isabella of Capua, daughter of Ferdinand of Molfetta. Ippolita married Fabrizio Colonna in 1548. However her husband died of high fever in 1551 during a campaign by his father-in-law Ferrante against Parma. As a consolation, her father ordered three medals in quick succession. In 1554 she married Antonio Caraffa, Duke of Mondragone, moved to Naples with him and in 1560 became daughter Clarice. Ippolita died in Naples at the age of 28.  Source: Treccani.
Ippolita remained famous - not to be confounded with Ippolita Gonzaga (1503-1570), daughter of Francesco II. Gonzaga - because of the three medals.

Electrotype replica from Medal n. d. (1550) attributed to Leone Leoni.    Ø 63 mm, 109,08 g.
Taken from a very fine original.   Armand II 213/3; Kress 433; Toderi-Vannel 66; Pollard (2007) 494.

Obv.:   HIPPOLITA·GONZAGA·FERDINANDI·FILia·AETatis·ANno·XV   "... daughter, in her 15th year"
Rev.:   NEC TEMPVS - NEC ÆTAtiS   "No age without time"
Ippolita holding a book and looking up to seven stars. Around her musical and scientific instruments.

Cast bronze medal n. d. (1551) by Leone Leoni.    Ø 68 mm, 95,47 g.
Specimen of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
Armand I 163/7; Kress 432 (obv.); Pollard (2007) 494; Börner 749; Scher 51a.

Obv.:   HIPPOLYTA·GONZAGA·FERDINANDI·FILia·ANno·XVI   "... daughter, in her 16th year"
Signature: ΛEΩN·APHTINOΣ   "Leon of Arezzo"

Rev.:   PAR·VBIQue·POTESTAS   "Her power is everywhere equal"
Ippolita as Diana in antique drapery moving to the right accompanied by three dogs. With her left hand she lifts a horn to her mouth, in her left hand she holds a large arrow. To the left, in the entrance to a building, Pluto holding his wife Proserpina, both of them nude. At his feet is Cerberus, wearing a collar and with flames issuing from his thee mouths. Above moon and stars.

Cast bronze medal n. d. (1552) by Jacopo Nizzola da Trezzo.    Ø 68,9 mm.
Armand I 241/1 ; Kress 438; Toderi/Vannel 95.

Obv.:   HIPPOLYTA·GONZAGA·FERDINANDI·FIL·AN·XVII  -  Bust at the age of 17 years to the left.
Signature at the bottom: lAC - TREZ.

Rev.:   VIRTVTIS FORMÆQ PRÆVIA   "Pre-eminent in virtue and beauty"  -  Aurora with a burning torch drives in a Pegasus-drawn car above the clouds and sprinkles flowers across the landscape.

Ref.:   [CNI and RM: page & no. e.g. 87/6 = p.87 no.6]
• Corpus Nummorum Italicorum [CNI], vol.IV, look under Mantova   -   CNI-Index vol.IV
• Corpus Nummorum Italicorum [CNI], vol.II, look under Casale (Monferrato)  -  CNI-Index vol.II
• Corpus Nummorum Italicorum [CNI], vol.IX, look under Guastalla   -   CNI-Index vol.IX
• Ravegnani Morosini, Mario [RM]: Signorie e principati - monete italiane con ritratto, 1450-1796. 1984
    Gonzaga in Mantua, Monferrato (since 1536) & Guastalla (since 1539): vol.II, p.1ff
• Armand, Alfred: Les Médailleurs Italiens des quinzième et Seizièmme siècles. Vol.1, Paris 1883
• Kress: Renaissance Medals from the Samuel H.Kress Collection at the National Gallery of Art. London 1967

Back to Part 1:
Gianfrancesco I. Gonzaga, 1407-1444, Margrave since 1433
Ludovico II. Gonzaga, 1444-1478
Federico I. Gonzaga 1478-1484
Francesco II. Gonzaga, 1484-1519