This week's Featured Web Page is an article by Ben Weiss on the Medallic History of Religious and Racial Intolerance.
The medals included in this article fall into different categories: some are obviously designed to propagandize their point, while others more subtly promote, and by inference denigrate, one religion over another, or indeed suggest the superiority of any religious practice over non-religious or secular practices.
The subtle ones sometimes are more effective, and therefore more dangerous, as the observer is not as likely to be aware of how he/she is being manipulated to support the views of the artist. Another category of medals shown here do not promote religious bigotry directly, if at all, but rather are included in this article to illustrate and amplify further the history of the period discussed, particularly as it involves conflicts and wars based on religious differences between the parties involved.
ANTI-SEMITIC MEDALS: While prejudice among the various religious groups exists among them all to varying degrees, over the ages bigoted acts against the Jews have been among the most prevalent, severe, and unrelenting. History has shown that Jews, while welcomed in times of need, often were maligned, periodically expelled from their native lands, and sometimes even subjected to mass murder. Some of this bigotry is reflected in the issuance of medals purposefully designed to vilify the Jewish community.
Anti-Semitic medals are probably the most common and most notorious medals for spreading religious hatred, a topic that has been considered in some detail by Daniel Friedenberg in his book Jewish Medals: From the Renaissance to the Fall of Napoleon (1503-1815).
Wayne Homren, Editor
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