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Italian contemporaries

Farnese in Parma and Piacenza

Pier Luigi II Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza 1545-47
Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza 1547-86

Map of Italy in 1499

Pier Luigi II Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza 1545-47
- son of Pope Paul III -
Pier Luigi (* 1503) was the son of Alessandro Farnese and his beloved of youth. Pier Luigi's rise began after his father was elected Pope Paul III in 1534. Pope Paul III created the duchy Castro (located in Lazio on the border with Tuscany) from the family possession of the Farnese, and passed it over to his son through a papal bull in 1537. In 1545 Pier Luigi received the duchy of Parma and Piacenza, which the Pope had created out of papal territories, which had previously belonged to Milan. In the attempt to seize possession, Pier Luigi was murdered by conspiratorial nobles in the citadel of Piacenza. Ferrante Gonzaga, the imperial governor of Milan, was said to have prepared the conspiracy.

Mezzo grosso n. d., Castro.     Ø 17 mm, 0,48 g.   CNI XIV 249/37; RM 260/1.
Obv.:   ··Petrus·LOYSIVS·FARnesius·   -   bust in armor to the left.
Rev.:   ·DVX· / CASTRI / ¤I¤   "first Duke of Castro"   bordered by bellflowers.
A ducal residence was built in the now destroyed village of Castro. A mint existed there from 1545 to 1547. Only the coined Mezzo Grosso carries Pier Luigi's portrait. He became no opportunity to coin in Parma and Piacenza.

Medal   about 1546 by Gian Federigo Bonzagni,   on the construction of the citadel of Piacenza.
Æ gilded embossing, Ø 39 mm, 38,4 g.     Kress 375; Armand I, 222,6; Toderi-Vannel 2124.

Obv.:  ·Petrus·LOYSIVS·Farnesius·PARMae·ET·PLACentiae·DVX·I·  -  Bust to right, in cuirass and mantle,
under the lion's head on the shoulder, the signature: Ioannes Federicus PARMensis

"Fortification built for the protection of state and authority"
Bird view of the citadel together with elevation view of the entrance gate at the river.
The occasion was the conversion of the old fortress of Piacenza in a modern citadel since November 1545.

Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza 1547-1586
- grandson of Paul III   and   son in law of Emperor Charles V -
After the assassination of Pier Luigi (1547), Ferrante Gonzaga occupied the duchy in the name of Charles V. Ottavio Farnese (* 1524), son of Pier Luigi and grandson of Pope Paul III, married Margarete of Parma, the daughter of Charles V in 1538. Finally, in 1552, the Emperor handed over the duchy to his son-in-law Ottavio Farnese, who regained his possession, but now as an imperial fief. King Philip II of Spain confirmed Ottavio's possession in 1556, but Piacenza remained a Spanish military base until 1585.
Ottavios and Margarete's son Alessandro fought at Lepanto in 1571, became governor of the Spanish Netherlands in 1578, and followed his father in Parma and Piacenza in 1586.

Testone 1553, Parma.     Ø 28 mm, 4,86 g.   CNI IX 438/19; RMi I 263/4; MIR 931/2.
Obv.:   ·OCTAVIVS·FARnesius·PARarmae·Et·PLAcentiae·DVX·II·
"Ottavio Farnese, second Duke of Parma and Piacenza"
armored bust right; below the date ·1552· and an A in a circle.

Rev.:   ·PAΔIA·ΔEΠEITA·XAΛEΠHΠEP·EOYΣA·   with Greek letters
= PADIA·DEPEITA·CALEPHPER·EOUSA   "looks slightly, while it is difficult"
Hercules with club and lion skin from the front, showing with his right hand on a mountain.
Picture and legend of the reverse constitute a so-called 'impresa':
The Duke, shown here as Hercules, had accomplished with great effort something seemingly simple: the recognition of his right to the duchies of Parma and Piacenza.

... and 21 years later, after such a difficult start ...

Mezzo scudo 1574, Parma.     Ø 35 mm, 17,46 g.
CNI IX 445/77; RM 262/2; MIR 929 [as scudo: Dav.8342]

Obv.:   OCTAVIVS FAR PAR ET PLA DVX·II   -   armored bust from the front, head to the left
Rev.:   ISTIS - 1574 - DVCIBVS   "1574 under these leaders"
three Graces (beauty, spirit and grace) standing on the coat of arms of Parma, a cross.
The date appears here in a prominent and unusual place, as part of the legend.
These pieces worth whole and half scudos were issued for the 50th birthday of the Duke.
The three "leaders" testify a pleasant reign around 1574th.
The dies for the reverse were still in good state, when they were used by the successor Alessandro in 1588.

Quarto di scudo n. d. (1577-82), Parma.     Ø 27 mm, 8,85 g.
CNI IX 448/88; RM 262/3; MIR 930/2.

Obv.:   ᕠOCTAV·F·PA·ET·PL·DVX·II   -   bust to the right.
Rev.:   Christ sitting right holds a crown over the head of the kneeling Virgin. Above a dove.
Exergue: winged head of an angel between L - S (Lelio Scajoli, mint master 1577-82).
Also occurring with the signature P - C (Pellegrino Carretta, mint master 1573-77).

Parpagliola n. d., Parma.     Æ, Ø 22 mm, 2,32 g.   CNI IX 451/124; RM 264/5; MIR 942.
Obv.:   *OCT·FAR·PAR·ET·PLA·D·II   -   draped bust right.
Rev.:   INTER·LILIA - ·PARma·   "between lilies: Parma"
bull between lilies, symbol of Farnese. Exergue: ·L·S· (Lelio Scajoli, mintmaster 1577-82).

Sesino n. d., Parma.     Ø 15 mm, 1,09 g.   CNI 457/179; RM 266/9; MIR 950.
Obv.:   OCTAV· - FAR·   -   Bust in armor right.
Rev.:   PARma·ET· - PLAcentia·Dux·II   -   Female figure (Parma) with shield and lance.
A variant of this coin carries on the obverse the matching legend to the female figure:
PARma COLonia CIVitatis ROMAnorum   "Parma, colony of the city of Rome", founded in 183 BC.


2 Doppie (quadrupla) 1586, Piacenza.     Ø 30 mm, 13,18 g.
CNI IX 591/18; RM 267/11; MIR 1116/4; Friedb.893.
Obv.:   (lily) OCTAVIVS·FAR·PLA·ET·PAR·DVX·II·   -   Bust to the right.
Rev.:  ·PLACENTIA·FLORET·   "Piacenza flourish"  -  she-wolf standing left, behind lilies,
crown on top, at the bottom signature ·P·C· (Paolo Campi, mint master 1583-84) and date 1586.
The reverse presents a prospering city (she-wolf) due to Farnese (lilies with ducal crown).

Ducatone n. d.(1572-82), Piacenza.     Ø 41 mm, 32,07 g.
CNI IX 593/31; RM 268/14; MIR 929; Dav.8355.

armored bust from the front, head to the left, below three lilies.
Rev.:   PLACentia·ROMANor·COLONia   "Placentia, a Roman colony" [founded in 218 BC.]
Personification of Piacenza holding cornucopia and lily in the hands;
aside the personification of the river Po with one hand on the source vessel.
Exergue: ·A·C· (Andrea Casalino, engraver 1474-97).
The welfare of the city of Piacenza is connected here to the family of the Farnese.

Ducatone 1583, Piacenza.     Ø 40 mm, 31,57 g.   CNI IX 589/9; RM 269/15; Dav.8353.
Obv.:   ·OCT·FAR·PLAcentia·ET·PARma·DVX·II·   "... second duke of Piacenza and Parma"
Bust in armor from the front, bearded head to the left, below the date 1583.

Rev.:   ·PLACENTIA·ROMANOR·COLONIA  -  Crowned Farnese coat of arms between
the arms of Piacenza: dice and she-wolf. Laterally below P - C (Paolo Campi, mint master).
The coat of arms of the Farnese consists of 6 lilies. A central column with the insignia of the Papal Gonfaloniere is superposed: an umbrella over the crossed keys Petris. Ottavio's grandfather Pope Paul III gave him in 1547 this function, which Ottavio's Father Pier Luigi previously held. Francesco II Gonzaga of Mantua had implemented in 1515 the Gonfaloniere Insignia in his coat of arms as well.

Mezzo ducatone, n. d., Piacenza.     Ø 36 mm, 18,49 g.
CNI IX 593/33var; RM 270/17; MIR 1124.

Obv.:   ♠OCT·FAR·PLACENTIÆ·Z·PARM·DVX·II   -   Bust left, in armor with ruff.
Rev.:   PLACENtia· - ROMAN· - OR·COLOnia   "Piacenza, a Roman colony"
Crowned Farnese coat of arms; to the sides: city arms (cube and she-wolf).
Piacenza was founded as a Roman Colonia Placentia.

Quarto di ducatone (Testone / 6 lire) 1584, Piacenza.     Ø 28 mm, 7,92 g.
CNI IX - [1586: 591/22 tv.38/7]; RM 271/21; MIR 1127/2.

Obv.:   OCTAVIVS·FAR·PLA·ET·PAR·DVX·II   -   head to the right.
Rev.:   PLACentia·RO - MAnor·COLOnia   "Placentia, a Roman colony"
crowned arms (as before) between two city-arms (cube and she-wolf)
and P - C (Paolo Campi, mint master); below date I5 - 84.

Parpagliola 1577, Piacenza.     Ø 22 mm, 2,25 g.
CNI IX 601/26; RM 272/22; MIR 1135/24.
Obv.:   OCTavio·Pater·ET ALExander·Figlio·Parmae et Piacentiae
Busts of Ottavio and his son Alexander to the left.
Rev.:   FELix·SVB - HISpanis·PLACentia   "Piacenza happy among Spain"
A Spanish military base remained in Piacenza until 1585.
This coin type dates from 1565 to 1586 and was issued for local use.

Bronze medal n. d. by Gian Federigo Bonzagna (I. F. Parmensis)     Ø 31 mm, 22,2 g.
Armand I,223,11; Attwood 956.

Obv.:   OCTAVIVS·Farnese·PARMa·ET·PLACentia·DVX II
Bust to the left. Under the shoulder signature ·I·F·P·
Rev.:   CVM·DIIS·NON·CONTEN - DENDVM·   "do not quarrel with the gods"
Apollo with lyre beside the chained Marsyas.
The satyr Marsyas found the double flute, which Athena had thrown away and cursed. He learned to play on it and called out Apollo to a musical competition. Apollo's condition was: The winner should be able to do with the losers, what he wanted. Apollon won with a trick: He could play on an upturned lyre, a feat Marsyas with his flute could oppose nothing comparable. Apollo tied the Satyr to a pine tree and pulled him from the skin. The satyr's blood or the tears of his many friends among the forest deities formed the river Marsyas.

Ref.:   [CNI and RM: page & no. eg. 83/7 = p.83 n.7]
Corpus Nummorum Italicorum [CNI]:  vol.IX (Parma & Piacenza) and vol.XIV (Castro)
Ravegnani Morosini, Mario [RM]: Signorie e principati - monete italiane con ritratto, 1450-1796, 1984
    - Farnese: vol.1, p.255 ff.
• Alberto Varesi: Monete Italiane Regionale [MIR]: Emilia

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