top of page

102608 | GERMANY. Nürnberg. End of the Century white metal Medal.

  • Details

    102608  |  GERMANY. Nürnberg. End of the Century white metal Medal. Issued 1700 (43mm, 12h). By M. Brunner.


    EDO VT EDAM (I eat so that I may eat, —adapted from Quintilian's Institutio Oratoria, Book IX), winged Kronos/Saturn advancing left, holding scythe and devouring child held upside down by his leg // AVREVS HANC VITAM IN TERRIS SATVRNVS AGEBAT (such was the life golden Saturn lived on earth, —from Virgil's Georgics, Book II), ANNO MVNDI / CIƆIƆCC [MDCC] in two lines.


    Endter p. 5, fig. IV; Strothotte 1700-8 (this medal illustrated). NGC MS-62. Mostly even gunmetal gray surfaces. Exceptionally rare and provocative.


    This extremely interesting design alludes to the Titan Kronos (Saturn), who was the son of Gaia (Terra) and Ouranos (Caelus), and who overthrew the later to serve as the leader of the Titans. He is traditonally depicted with a scythe or sickle, the instrument by which he castrated and deposed his father. Owing to a prophecy in which he would be overthrown by his children as he had overthrown his father, Kronos consumed each of his Olympic children upon their birth in order to prevent their fulfillment of the prophecy. Upon this birth of Zeus (Jupiter), however, Kronos's consort Rhea (Ops) devised a plan with Gaia in order to punish Kronos for his acts toward his father and children. Zeus was hidden in a cave on Mount Ida in Crete, and instead a rock wrapped in swaddling was presented for Kronos to consume. Once fully grown, Zeus confronted and defeated Kronos, forcing him to vomit forth his elder siblings—Demeter (Ceres), Hestia (Vesta), Hera (Juno), Hades (Pluto), and Poseidon (Neptune). Over time, the Titan Kronos and the personification of Chronos (Time) became rather linked, and quite probably for very good reason.


    The personification for "Father Time" would involve and old, bearded man, usually nude or at least semi-nude, bearing a scythe for harvesting (as the harvest was a cyclical aspect that was all-important throughout history). He would also be depicted winged, as the wings played into the fleeting nature of time. As such, on this medal, Kronos (essentially, Father Time) possesses both wings and a scythe, and is eating a child—an act meant to show the past consuming the future, or the older generation suppressing the future generation. The Latin legend "edo ut edam" translates to "I eat so that I may continue to eat." This phrase is a shortening of one that is bit more common: "non ut edam vivo, sed ut vivam edo," or, "I do not live in order to eat, but rather I eat in order to live." Despite the similarities between the aspects of Kronos and Chronos, as well as their virtual amalgamation over time, it is important to point out that Father Time remains undefeated, while Chronos was unable to escape his fate.


    Upload: 2 January 2024.

bottom of page