The Abraham Cowley
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Out of Charles, Charles / Britannia Presiding
Charles II, AE Farthing, 1676.
Obv.: Charles II laureate l., CAROLVS A CAROLO ("Charles After Charles")
Rev.: Britannia seated l. with spear and olive-branch, shield with British arms to r., BRITANNIA 1676.
First coined in 1672, this copper issue revives and refunctions a geographical personification first found on some Roman Imperial coins; here Britannia appears bearing tokens of both war and peace as a sovereign cognate of peacemaking Minerva, high-enthroned in sublime isolation on her sceptered isle. The model for Britannia (initially engraved 1667) was the underaged beauty Frances Stuart for whom King Charles had publicly panted since 1663 (Ronald Hutton, Charles II [Oxford, 1989], 251), a new heads-and-tails complementarity to match that of the king and the nation of Britain of which he was, in theory, the husband.
Carolus a Carolo Carolo Magno Maior
Peacemaking Minerva / Neptune / Amphitrite // Return to Numismatica Index