Sunday, 13 November 2011

Upon the Double Murder of King Charles...

Great Charles his double misery was this,
Unfaithful friends, ignoble enemies;
Had any heathen been this prince's foe,
He would have wept to see him injured so.

(Katherine Philips, 1632-1664).


  1. At least Cromwell got one thing right ;)

  2. What would that be? To my knowledge the only thing in Cromwell's favour was his brutal honesty about his own ugly countenance.

  3. Here's the obverse of a Commonwealth half crown.

    The laurel around his head is quite prominent. I've always been struck by the way in which Oliver Cromwell wished to portray himself as a caesar of the principate despite his hyper-psycho-Puritanism. No both ways Oliver: can't draw on the classical Roman patrimony and radical political strain of the Reformation at the same time.

    The legend on this coin adds another layer.


    I wonder if RP refers to res publica. Ideas?

    If the "Lord Protector" so hated the monarchy, why did he style his coins as the monarchs did? Perhaps he could not conceive of another way, given that this was the style from time "immemorial" (well, not really, about three-hundred years earlier).

  4. @shane said...
    At least Cromwell got one thing right ;)

    Flippancy about regicide and cold blooded murder? A wink of the eye?

    It's right what they say about these followers of Popery. SHAME on them all.

  5. I don't know what it means. At a guess, though you can read this much, ''Oliver, by the Grace of God, Protector (Pro?) of England, Scotland and Ireland.'' RP could mean anything, though you are probably right in your guess that it is res publica.

    My grandfather gave me his collection of old coins. They're in my room somewhere. I'll have to dig them out and look at them closely, many of them are foreign (from his travels) and some are quite old.

  6. John (Ad Orientem), thank you!

    JM, having given the matter some thought last night and at work this morning (!), my guess is that the inscription reads as follows:

    Oliver, by the Grace of God, Protector of the Commonwealths (rerum publicarum) of England, Scotland and Ireland.

  7. Patricius -- spot on. You're right to say res is feminine here, per Cicero de re publica.

    Now, off to read even worse Latin and Greek to prepare for my three hours of unadulterated torture, known in North American academia as the final oral examination. Friends don't let friends get doctorates.