World_Coin_Nut's Blog

11 Aug 2020

Church of Saint Martin of Aldoar

Medals | World_Coin_Nut

This medal is a little more modern than what I usually collect but the obverse imagery spoke to me. It was created to commemorate the expansion of a Catholic church in Portugal. Like many modern medals, this one was purchased at a very low price. It is definitely a segment of our hobby that can be collected on a budget.


OBVERSE: Of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Conquest, War, Famine, and Death), War rides a red horse and wields a sword, shown here, ready to dispatch two lost souls. As told in the Book of Revelations 6:4, "And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword." This medal was designed and signed by Miguel T., unknown to me except for this medal.

REVERSE: With a parish growing rapidly, the small Portuguese Church of Saint Martin of Aldoar (Igreja de Sao Martinho de Aldoar) dedicated the new Igreja Matriz de Aldoar in 1988, pictured on this medal's reverse beneath a peacock in full display.

Edge: 400-1000

Diameter: 91mm
Weight: 243.5g

To me, it is surprising that such a large medal was struck by the church. It would have been quite an expense unless that had one or a couple of wealthy donors.

From a Google translated article on Wikipedia:
This temple was born out of the need for new prayer space in the parish, one that was bigger and better prepared than the original church, the Church of Vilarinha. It was designed by Alfredo Moreira da Silva, who designed a building in the shape of a tent, trying to convey to the faithful the idea of a space of welcome, meeting, passage, and communion, which welcomes them inside their canvas, which embraces them. The new church was inaugurated in 1988. It occupies 1200 square meters and can accommodate 560 people seated and another thousand standing. It cost 63,300 contos with 28,295 contos of state contribution.
2nd Photo: Four horsemen, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 1860
The Four Horsemen are figures in Christian mythology, appearing in the New Testament's final book, Revelation, an apocalypse written by John of Patmos, as well as in the Old Testament's prophetic Book of Zechariah, and in the Book of Ezekiel, where they are named as punishments from God.

Revelation 6 tells of a scroll in God's right hand that is sealed with seven seals. The Lamb of God/Lion of Judah opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses. To Zechariah, they are described as "the ones whom the Lord has sent to patrol the earth" causing it to rest quietly. Ezekiel lists them as "sword, famine, wild beasts, and plague."

In John's revelation, the first horseman is on a white horse, carrying a bow, and given a crown, riding forward as a figure of Conquest, perhaps invoking Pestilence, Christ, or the Antichrist. The second carries a sword and rides a red horse and is the creator of War. The third is a food merchant riding upon a black horse, symbolizing Famine. The fourth and final horse is pale green, and upon it rides Death accompanied by Hades. "They were given authority over a quarter of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and plague, and by means of the beasts of the earth."

The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the Four Horsemen are to set a divine end time upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment. That the number of horsemen is four is important: four is the number associated with creation, or the earth in the Book of Revelation.

The rider of the red horse (depicted in this medal) is often taken to represent War or mass slaughter. His horse's color is red and in some translations, the color is specifically a "fiery" red. The color red, as well as the rider's possession of a great sword, suggests blood that is to be spilled. The sword held upward by the Horseman may represent war or a declaration of war, as seen in heraldry. In military symbolism, swords held upward, especially crossed swords held upward, signify war, and entering into battle.

So, I really like the imagery on the medal but it makes me wonder something. You could say that it is a pretty dark image. Is that what they were going for?






Level 5

I agree with you on the design, why the rider of the red horse representing war to commemorate the expansion of the Catholic Church in Portugal? Unless this medal is a veiled attempt at an antiwar protest? Another thing I like about medals is the freedom of the artist to express themselves unlike the political constraints placed on them by governments concerning coins.


Level 5

I don't know much about the behind the scenes process of getting a medal made. Something like this makes me wonder if they approached the medalist and he said. I have this one ready and can let you have it for $. If you want me to start from scratch it will cost $$$.


Level 6

Yeah, I would call it a very dark image. The art reminds me of the work of Karl Goetz. I agree that medals allow the artist to really express his work in the high relief. Nice pick up. Great blog. Thanks.


Level 5

I hadn't noticed that but I can see the similarity.

It's Mokie

Level 6

I have begun to buy more medals and I am finding the cost is often minimal for stunning artistry. Coins have to be used in commerce so they need low relief and safe designs, medals can soar in every way with unhindered artistry. I am becoming a medal collector!!! Thanks for sharing your beauty WCN, you have exceptional taste.


Level 5

Another medal convert! Mokie, welcome to the club!

Long Beard

Level 5

I like it! Haven't seen one like it.

What a great piece! Although not hundreds of years old like some of your previous mentions, it still tells a story, and it still looks wonderful!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

I enjoyed reading about this medal and its background story. Every coin and medal tells a story if we take time to look beyond the art.


Level 7

This is one of the most impressive medals i have seen. It tells a.wonderful story and your history behind it. I think I know the designer. Not personally but buy his work. The detail in your research is impeccable. I can almost do a sermon on it. Thanks for a very enjoyable blog. Historically I have never seen this story on a medal. A book yes. This is the type of stories a medal can tell and you told it well.

We use cookies to provide users the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your cookie settings, we'll assume that you agree to receive all cookies on money.org. You may disable cookies at any time using your internet browser configuration. By continuing to use this website, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use. To learn more about how we use cookies and to review our privacy policy, click here.