medal là gì

Obverse of medal distributed by Cecilia Gonzaga's family to lớn political allies, a common practice in Renaissance Europe. Designed by Pisanello in 1448.
Reverse of the same medal, this copy with a suspension hole added later (inside a crescent moon in the design).
Medal depicting Herbert C. Hoover by Devreese Godefroi

A medal or medallion is a small portable artistic object, a thin disc, normally of metal, carrying a design, usually on both sides. They typically have a commemorative purpose of some kind, and many are presented as awards. They may be intended to lớn be worn, suspended from clothing or jewellery in some way, although this has not always been the case. They may be struck lượt thích a coin by dies or die-cast in a mould.

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A medal may be awarded to lớn a person or organisation as a size of recognition for sporting, military, scientific, cultural, academic, or various other achievements. Military awards and decorations are more precise terms for certain types of state decoration. Medals may also be created for sale to lớn commemorate particular individuals or events, or as works of artistic expression in their own right. In the past, medals commissioned for an individual, typically with their portrait, were often used as a size of diplomatic or personal gift, with no sense of being an award for the conduct of the recipient.

An artist who creates medals or medallions is called a "medalist". Medals have long been popular collectible items, and in numismatics size a class called either exonumia or militaria.

In the proper use of the term, medallions are larger, starting at perhaps four inches across, and are, as such, usually too large to lớn be worn very comfortably, though in colloquial use, "medallion" is often used to lớn refer to lớn a medal used as the pendant of a necklace (as in the medallion man fashion style of the 1960s and 1970s), or for other types of medals. Medallions may also be called "table medals" because they are too large to lớn be worn and can only be displayed on a wall, table top, desk, or cabinet.

Main types[edit]

Various prize medals with obverse designs, suspension rings and ribbons typical of medals intended to lớn be draped over the head and hung from the neck
Plaquette by Peter Flötner, Vanitas, 1535–1540, gilt bronze. Created purely as an art object for a collector's market.

Numismatists divide medals into at least seven classes:

  • Awards: awarded to lớn a person or organization as a size of recognition for sporting, military, scientific, cultural, academic, or various other achievements. Military awards and decorations are more precise terms for certain types of state decoration. Military decorations are often in shapes such as crosses or stars, but are still loosely called "medals", as in the star-shaped American Medal of Honor.
  • Commemoratives: created for sale to lớn commemorate particular individuals or events, or as works of medallic art in their own right.
  • Souvenirs: similar to lớn a commemorative, but more focused on a place or sự kiện lượt thích state fairs, expositions, museums, historic sites, etc., and frequently found for sale within their respective souvenir shops.
  • Religious: devotional medals may be worn for religious reasons.
  • Portraits: produced to lớn immortalize a person with their portrait; European portrait medallions sometimes bear the Latin word aetatis ("of his age") to lớn describe the depicted person's age at the time of the portrait.
  • Artistic: made purely as an art object. Plaquettes are often of this type.
  • Society Medals: made for societies used as a badge or token of membership.


First attested in English in 1578, the word medal is derived from the Middle French médaille, itself from Italian medaglia, and ultimately from the post-classical Latin medalia, meaning a coin worth half a denarius. The word medallion (first attested in English in 1658) has the same ultimate derivation, but this time through the Italian medaglione, meaning "large medal". There are two theories as for the etymology of the word medalia: the first being that the Latin medalia itself is derived from the adjective medialis meaning "medial" or "middle";[1] the second being that medaglia comes from the Vulgar Latin metallea (moneta), meaning "metal (coin)" and that from Latin metallum,[2] which is the latinisation of the Greek μέταλλον (metallon), "a mine".[3][4][5][6]


Traditionally medals are stamped with dies on a durable metal flan or planchet, or cast from a mould. The imagery, which usually includes lettering, is typically in low relief, albeit often higher kêu ca on coins: Limited-edition medals may be struck in repeated impacts allowing more metal displacement kêu ca in coins produced for mass circulation in a single impact. Circular medals are most common; rectangular medals are often known as plaquettes, and square medals as klippe. The "decoration" types often use other shapes, especially crosses and stars. These in particular usually come with a suspension loop, and a wide coloured ribbon with a clip at the top, for attaching to lớn clothing worn on the chest.

The main or front surface of a medal is termed the obverse, and may contain a portrait, pictorial scene, or other image along with an inscription. The reverse, or back surface of the medal, is not always used and may be left blank or may contain a secondary design. It is not uncommon to lớn find only an artistic rendering on the obverse, while all details and other information for the medal are inscribed on the reverse. The rim is found only occasionally employed to lớn display an inscription such as a motto, privy mark, engraver symbol, assayer's marking, or a series number.

Medals that are intended to lớn be hung from a ribbon also include a small suspension piece at the crest with which to lớn loop a suspension ring through. It is through the ring that a ribbon is run rẩy or folded so sánh the medal may hốc pendent. Medals pinned to lớn the breast use only a small cut of ribbon that is attached to lớn a top bar where the brooch pin is affixed. Top bars may be hidden under the ribbon so sánh they are not visible, be a plain device from which the ribbon attaches, or may even be decorative to lớn complement the design on the medal. Some top bars are elaborate and contain a whole design unto themselves.

Bronze has been the most common material used to lớn create medals, due to lớn its fair price range, durability, ease with which to lớn work when casting, and the ample availability. However, a wide range of other truyền thông have also been used. Rarer metals have been employed, such as silver, platinum, and gold, when wishing to lớn add value beyond the mere artistic depiction, as well as base metals and alloys such as copper, brass, iron, aluminum, lead, zinc, nickel, and pewter. Medals that are made with inexpensive material might be gilded, silver-plated, chased, or finished in a variety of other ways to lớn improve their appearance. Medals have also been made of rock, gemstone, ivory, glass, porcelain, terra cotta, coal, wood, paper, enamel, lacquerware, and plastics.


Bronze medal of Isabella d'Este, princess and patron of Renaissance humanists, distributed as a gift.
Silver Geuzen medal commemorating the Capture of Brielle in 1572 by the Sea Beggars; this was produced commercially

The first known instance of a medal being awarded comes from the historian Josephus who, writing long after the sự kiện, accounts that in the second century BCE, the High Priest Jonathan led the Hebrews in aid of Alexander Balas, and that in return for this, Alexander "...sent to lớn Jonathan... honorary awards, as a golden button, which it is custom to lớn give the king's kinsmen." Roman emperors used both military awards of medals, and political gifts of medallions that were lượt thích very large coins, usually in gold or silver, and die-struck lượt thích coins.[7] Both these and actual golden coins were often phối as pieces of jewellery, worn by both sexes.

The bracteate is a type of thin gold medal, usually plain on the reverse, found in Northern Europe from the so-called "Dark Ages" or Migration Period. They often have suspension loops and were clearly intended to lớn be worn on a chain as jewellery. They imitate, at a distance, Roman imperial coins and medallions, but have the heads of gods, animals, or other designs.[8] The Liudhard medalet, produced around AD 600 in Anglo-Saxon England, is an isolated example, known from a single copy, of a Christian medal, featuring an inscription naming Liudhard (or "Saint Letard"), the first priest among the Anglo-Saxons, and most likely presented to lớn converts. The surviving example is mounted for wearing as jewellery.

In Europe, from the late Middle Ages on, it became common for sovereigns, nobles, and later, intellectuals to lớn commission medals to lớn be given simply as gifts to lớn their political allies to lớn either maintain or gain tư vấn of an influential person. The medals were made in a range of metals, such as gold, silver-gilt, silver, bronze, and lead, depending on the status of the recipient. They were typically up to lớn about three inches across, and usually featured the head of the donor on the obverse, surrounded by an inscription with their name and title, and their emblem on the reverse, with a learned motto inscribed round the edges. Such medals were not usually intended to lớn be worn, although they might have been phối as pendants on a chain. From the 16th century onward, medals were made, both by rulers for presentation and private enterprise for sale, to lớn commemorate specific events, including military battles and victories, and from this grew the practice of awarding military medals specifically to lớn combatants, though initially only a few of the much higher-ranking officers.

Medal of the Emperor John VIII Palaiologos during his visit to lớn Florence, by Pisanello (1438). The legend reads, in Greek: "John the Palaiologos, basileus and autokrator of the Romans".

The medieval revival seems to lớn have begun around 1400 with the extravagant French prince Jean, Duc de Berry, who commissioned a number of large classicising medals that were probably produced in very small numbers, or a unique cast. Only casts in bronze from the originals in precious metal survive, although it is known that at least some medals were also phối with jewels, and these may well have been worn on a chain.[9] At the same period, the first known post-classical medal commemorating a victory was struck for Francesco Carrara (Novello) on the occasion of the capture of Padua in 1390. The Italian artist Pisanello, generally agreed to lớn be the finest medallist of the Renaissance, began in 1438 with a medal, celebrating the unprecedented visit of the Byzantine Emperor John VIII Palaiologos to lớn Italy. This was presumably a commercial venture, but his later medals were mostly commissioned for distribution as gifts by rulers or nobles. Like almost all early Renaissance medals, it was cast rather kêu ca die-struck. With each successive cast the medal became slightly smaller, and the numbers that could be produced were probably not large. A lead "proof" was probably often used. The association between medals and the classical revival began to lớn take a rather different size, and the exchange of medals became associated with Renaissance Humanism. Princes would send humanist writers and scholars medals in recognition of their work, and the humanists began to lớn make their own medals, normally in bronze, to lớn send to lớn their patrons and peers.[10] The fashion remained restricted to lớn Italy until near the kết thúc of the 15th century, when it spread to lớn other countries. By the 16th century, medals were increasingly produced by rulers or cities for propaganda purposes.[11] In 1550, a die-stamping machine, using steel dies, was introduced in Augsburg, Germany, and soon this process became standard. The artist now cut an intaglio die rather kêu ca modelling in relief.[12]

By the 16th century, the wearing of smaller medals on a chain was a persistent fashion for both sexes, and a variety of medals were produced commercially for the purpose, commemorating persons or events, or just with non-specific suitable sentiments. German artists had been producing high-quality medals from the beginning of the century, while the French and British were slower to lớn produce fine work. However, by the late 17th century, most parts of Western Europe could produce fine work. Some medals were also collected, which continues to lớn the present day. Official medals, from which specialized military awards descended, were increasingly produced, but the real growth in military medals did not come until the 19th century.

In the East, a wide variety of medals and decorations have been given by the Ottoman Empire since the 18th century.[13]

Devotional medals became very popular in Catholic countries. Very famous is the Miraculous Medal, whose design was created based on the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to lớn Saint Catherine Labouré in Paris. In 1832, during an epidemic, the first medals were distributed, to lớn which numerous healings and conversions were attributed, receiving the name of Miraculous Medal and distributed to lớn millions of people around the world.[14]

During the Reformation there had also been a vigorous tradition of Protestant medals, more polemical kêu ca devotional, which continued with the Geuzen medals produced in the Dutch Revolt.

Military medals and decorations[edit]

Military decorations, service awards, and medals are often mistakenly confused with one another. Decoration is a term for awards which require specific acts of heroism or achievement (such as the British Victoria Cross or American Silver Star), whereas a service award or campaign medal is awarded for serving in a particular capacity in a particular geographical area and time frame (such as the Iraq Campaign Medal). In either case, an award or decoration may be presented as a medal.

The Roman Republic adopted an elaborate system of military awards that included medals called phalerae to lớn be issued to lớn soldiers and units for a variety of achievements. The practice was revived in the Early Modern period, and medals began to lớn be worn on the chest as part of standard military uniform. The United States Continental Congress awarded the Fidelity Medallion as early as 1780, to lớn three specified men for a particular incident, as a one-off award, which was characteristic of early military decorations. In 1782, the Badge of Military Merit was established, and mostly awarded to lớn non-officers. The Légion d'honneur instituted by Napoleon I in 1802 had some of the characteristics of the old military orders, but was intended to lớn be far more inclusive, and was awarded to lớn rank and tệp tin soldiers for bravery or exceptional service. Other nations followed with decorations such as the British Army Gold Medal from 1810, though this only went to lớn senior officers, and the Prussian Iron Cross from 1813. Medals were not awarded to lớn all combatants in a war or battle until the 19th century, when the Waterloo Medal was the first British medal given to lớn all present, at the Battle of Waterloo and all associated actions in 1815. By the middle of the 19th century, the number of awards used had greatly expanded in most countries to lớn something near modern levels.

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The United States' Medals of Honor (l to lớn r: Army, Navy, Air Force), for "Conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the Hotline of duty".

An order tends to lớn be the most elaborate of military decorations, typically awarded for distinguished services to lớn a nation or to lớn the general betterment of humanity. Orders are distinguished from other forms of decoration in that they often imply membership in an organization or association of others that have received the same award. Two of the most well known and commonly awarded orders are the Légion d'honneur of France (military and civil) and the civil Order of the British Empire. The practice of conferring orders originates with the mediaeval fraternities of knighthood, some of which still exist and are still awarded. While most modern orders have no roots in knighthood, they still tend to lớn carry over the terms of their historic counterparts, and terms such as knight, commander, officer, members, and so sánh on are still commonly found as ranks. A military order may use a medal as its insignia, however, most tend to lớn have a unique badge or a type of plaque specifically designed for an emblem.

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States Government, and is an example of a decoration that is modeled as a military order, even though not expressly defining itself as one (The Legion of Merit distinctly serves this purpose, and unlike any other U.S. military decoration, has classes). It is bestowed on a thành viên of the United States Armed Forces who distinguishes himself, "conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the Hotline of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States."[15] Each of the three departments of the American armed forces has a unique picture displayed on a medal, which is in turn displayed upon a star-shaped heraldic badge. The medal of the U.S. Army depicts the head of Minerva, the U.S. Navy medal shows a scene of Minerva doing battle with Discord, and the U.S. Air Force depicts the Statue of Liberty upon its medal.

Military decorations, including medals and orders, are usually presented to lớn the recipient in a formal ceremony. Medals are normally worn on more formal occasions and are suspended from a ribbon of the medal's colours on the left breast, while a corresponding ribbon bar is to lớn be worn to lớn common events where medals would be inappropriate or impractical to lớn wear.

Table medals and other large forms[edit]

Commemorative medal of Finnish president J. K. Paasikivi, designed by Heikki Häiväoja

Medallion is a vague term, often used for larger, usually circular, medals, which might be worn as pendants round the neck. It is the correct term for such medals from the late Roman Empire, typically distributed by the emperor and bearing his image, but in later periods larger medals are best termed just as medals.

Generally circular, table medals are issued for artistic, commemoration, or souvenir purposes, not for commerce, and are too large to lớn be plausibly worn. Tokens and Table Medals of coin-like appearance are part of the Exonumia subcategory of Numismatics, while Orders, Decorations, and Medals are considered Militaria (military related). The Nobel Foundation, the organization awarding the prestigious Nobel Prize, presents each winner, "an assignment for the amount of the prize, a diploma, and a gold medal..." This medal would be displayed framed lượt thích a picture, on a table, wall or in a cabinet, rather kêu ca be worn by the winner.

The Carnegie Hero Foundation is the issuer of a bravery medal, most commonly issued in the US, Canada, and the UK. This large bronze table medal features Andrew Carnegie's likeness on the obverse and the name of the awardee and citation engraved on the reverse. It is usually issued for lifesaving incidents. In the U.S. Military, challenge coins are a type of relatively unofficial medal given to lớn boost morale, and sometimes to lớn act as convenient passes for unit members.

Also related are plaques and plaquettes, which may be commemorative, but especially in the Renaissance and Mannerist periods were often made for purely decorative purposes, with often crowded scenes from religious, historical or mythological sources. While usually metal, table medals have been issued in wood, plastic, fibre, and other compositions. The US Government awards gold medals on important occasions, with bronze copies available for public sale.

Fraternal jewels[edit]

Breast jewels (medals) worn by members of a secular fraternity in Poland.

Amongst the many fraternal organisations which wear ceremonial regalia, the use of medals is commonplace. In many prominent fraternal organisations, fraternal medals are known as jewels. Their purpose varies, and may include use as a badge of membership, an indication of rank, a symbol of office within the fraternity, or an indication of tư vấn having been given to lớn a designated charitable cause (so-called charity jewels). Common secular fraternities using jewels (medals) in the English-speaking world include Freemasonry, the Orange Order, the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, and the Oddfellows. There are also religious fraternal organisations attached to lớn certain Christian denominations (for example, the Catenian Association), also using medals as jewels of their Orders. Many of these organisations advertise jewels (medals) for sale on their corporate websites.[16]

Fraternal jewels may be worn as military-style medals, on ribbons, from the left breast, or more prominently on collars or collarettes as part of the organisation's regalia. Historic examples of such medals and jewels may be found in many museums, particularly museums dedicated to lớn fraternal organisations.[17]

There is extensive trade in fraternal jewels and medals, with societies and associations existing to lớn promote such trade, and to lớn encourage the sharing of resources,[18] and on-line resources available to lớn tư vấn the hobby.[19]

Different metals[edit]

A silver medal was awarded to lớn the winner of each sự kiện during the 1896 Summer Olympics. Recent Olympic medals are suspended as a pendant from a ribbon, and are awarded in gold, silver and bronze.

Traditionally, medals are made of the following metals, in order of decreasing value[citation needed]:

  1. Platinum
  2. Gold
  3. Silver, or silver-gilt, which is in fact used for Olympic "gold medals"
  4. Bronze
  5. Pewter
  6. Copper
  7. Tin
  8. Iron
Silver 2nd place medal of European Athletic Indoor Games 11–12 March 1972

Many medals were and are made in several different metals, either representing awards for different places in a competition, or standards or classes, as with the Olympic medals, or simply different price levels for medals made for sale or donation by the commissioner. Medals have historically been given as prizes in various types of competitive activities, especially athletics. The gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals for first, second and third places were first used at the 1904 Summer Olympics. At the 1896 sự kiện, silver was awarded to lớn winners and bronze to lớn runners-up, while at 1900 other prizes were given, not medals. The medals for the London 2012 Summer Olympics are the largest ever, reflecting a trend for increasing size in Olympic medals.

Medals as art[edit]

The first well-known great artist to lớn create medals was the Italian painter Antonio Pisano, also known as Pisanello, who modelled and cast a number of portrait medals of princes and scholars in the 1440s. Many other artists followed his example, in places such as Italy, the Low Countries, Germany, and France. In the seventeenth century medals were extensively used to lớn commemorate events and glorify rulers. In the eighteenth century prize medals became common. In the 19th century art medals exploded in popularity. In the early part of the aforementioned century, David d'Angers produced a great series of portrait medals of famous contemporaries and in the latter part of the century, Jules-Clément Chaplain and Louis-Oscar Roty were among many highly regarded medalists. The early twentieth century saw art medals flourish, particularly in France, Italy, and Belgium, while later in the century Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, the US, Canada, and England produced much high quality work.

See also[edit]

  • Exonumia
  • Orders, decorations, and medals of Belgium
  • List of highest military decorations
  • Medalist
    • List of medallists
  • Orders, decorations, and medals of Russia
  • Orders and decorations of the Commonwealth realms
  • Awards and decorations of the United States government
  • Awards and decorations of the United States Armed Forces
  • Military awards and decorations
  • Medal ribbon
  • Medal inflation


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. "medal Archived 2016-03-13 at the Wayback Machine"; Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, s.v. "medal Archived 2011-11-08 at the Wayback Machine".
  2. ^ metallum Archived 2023-01-02 at the Wayback Machine, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, on Perseus
  3. ^ μέταλλον Archived 2021-01-20 at the Wayback Machine, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  4. ^ The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary, p. 450, Signet, 2006, on Google books
  5. ^ Heinemann English Dictionary, p. 623,
  6. ^ medal Archived 2011-08-23 at the Wayback Machine, Online Etymology Dictionary
  7. ^ Weitzmann, Kurt, Age of spirituality : late antique and early Christian art, third to lớn seventh century Archived 2015-04-26 at the Wayback Machine, (online as PDF), pp. 36-46, Thành Phố New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979; Osbourne, 563
  8. ^ [ Archived 2010-11-25 at the Wayback Machine "Bracteate [Scandinavian] (2001.583)"]. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. (October 2006)
  9. ^ "Constantine medal, French (Paris) Archived 2011-05-01 at the Wayback Machine (1988.133)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. Accessed July 5, 2010
  10. ^ Osbourne, 563-564
  11. ^ Scher
  12. ^ Osbourne, 567
  13. ^ Küskü, Fırat (2021). "II. ABDÜLHAMİD İN MADALYA SİYASETİ: LİYAKAT MADALYASI ÖRNEĞİ". Turk Kulturu Lncelemeleri Dergisi. 04 (46): 109–144. doi:10.24058/tki.2021.440. ISSN 1302-4787. S2CID 245535051.
  14. ^ "The apparitions and the Miraculous Medal | Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Médaille Miraculeuse".
  15. ^ "Code of Federal Regulations". Department of the Army. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  16. ^ Jewels displayed on the RAOB Archived 2016-01-21 at the Wayback Machine central trang web.
  17. ^ See this webpage Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine from the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, London.
  18. ^ For example, see official trang web of Jewels of the Craft Archived 2015-10-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ See, for example, Masonic Medals Archived 2015-08-01 at the Wayback Machine trang web.


  • Osborne, Harold (ed), The Oxford Companion to lớn the Decorative Arts, 1975, OUP, ISBN 0-19-866113-4
  • Stephen K. Scher, et al. "Medal." In Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online, Subscription required, (accessed July 28, 2010).
  • Weiss, B. "Collection of Historical and Commemorative Medals". [1]

Further reading[edit]

  • Louis Forrer, Biographical Dictionary of Medallists (Spink & Sons, 1904–1930) is an eight volume reference in English listing medallists through history.
  • Ulrich Thieme, Felix Becker, Allgemeines Lexicon der Bildenden Kùnstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart (Leipzig : 1907–1949) is a thirty six volume work in German that lists all artists without differentiating their specialty and medium lượt thích the Forrer work.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has truyền thông related to lớn Medals.

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  • "Historical Medallions".
  • European sculpture and metalwork, a collection catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on medals (see index)
  • Medals and the Royal Mint
  • "American World's Fair and Expo Medals".
  • "Historical and Commemorative Medals". Benjamin Weiss.
  • "Medals of the World". Megan C. Robertson.
  • "The trang chủ of British and Allied militaria". Julie McCullum's Militarium. Archived from the original on 2008-08-11.
  • "The Nobel Prize Medals and the Medal for the Prize in Economics". The Nobel Foundation. Archived from the original on 2005-04-10.
  • "Medal" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 18 (11th ed.). 1911. pp. 1–18.