FRANCE 1833 Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, author of La Marseillaise French Anthem 51mm bronze medal 78.35 grams
Obverse: Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle facing right, A ROUGET DE LISLE - AUTEUR DE LA MARSEILLAISE. / E. ROGAT DIRIGE PAR / P. J. DAVID 1833.
Reverse: La Marseillaise in couplets, the first under staves, the five others around a La Marseillaise in couplets, fasces topped with a Phrygian cap. ALLONS ENFANTS DE LA PATRIE / LE JOUR DE GLOIRE EST ARRIVÉ CONTRE NOUS DE LA TYRANNIE / L'ÉTENDARD SANGLANT EST LEVÉ L'ÉTENDARD SANGLANT EST LEVÉ / ENTENDEZ VOUS DANS LES CAMPAGNES MUGIR CES FÉROCES SOLDATS ILS VIENNENT JUS / QUE DANS VOS BRAS, ÉGORGER NOS FILS, NOS COMPAGNES AUX ARMES CITOYENS FORMEZ VOS / BATAILLONS MARCHEZ, MARCHONS, QU'UN SANG IMPUR ABREUVE NOS SILLONS // QUE VEUT CETTE HORDE D'ESCLAVES / DE TRAÎTRES, DE ROIS CONJURÉS? / POUR QUI CES IGNOBLES ENTRAVES, / CES FERS DÈS LONGTEMPS PRÉPARÉS? / FRANÇAIS! POUR NOUS, AH! QUEL OUTRAGE! / QUELS TRANSPORTS IL DOIT EXCITER! C'EST NOUS QU'ON OSE MÉDITER / DE RENDRE À L'ANTIQUE ESCLAVAGE! AUX ARMES // QUOI! DES COHORTES ÉTRANGÈRES / FERAIENT LA LOI DANS NOS FOYERS? / QUOI! CES PHALANGES MERCENAIRES / TERRASSERAIENT NOS FIERS GUERRIERS / GRAND DIEU! PAR DES MAINS ENCHAÎNÉES / NOS FRONTS SOUS LE JOUG SE PLOIERAIENT, / DE VILS DESPOTES DEVIENDRAIENT / LES MAÎTRES DE NOS DESTINÉES? / AUX ARMES // TREMBLEZ, TYRANS! ET VOUS, PERFIDES, / L'OPPROBE DE TOUS LES PARTIS, / TREMBLEZ! VOS PROJETS PARRICIDES / VONT ENFIN RECEVOIR LEUR PRIX / TOUT EST SOLDAT POUR VOUS COMBATTRE, / S'ILS TOMBENT, NOS JEUNES HÉROS, / LA TERRE EN PRODUIT DE NOUVEAUX / CONTRE VOUS TOUS PRÊTS À SE BATTRE / AUX ARMES // FRANÇAIS! EN GUERRIERS MAGNANIMES / PORTEZ OU RETENEZ VOS COUPS. / EPARGNEZ CES TRISTES VICTIMES / A REGRET S'ARMANT CONTRE NOUS / MAIS LE DESPOTE SANGUINAIRE, / MAIS LES COMPLICES DE BOUILLÉ, / TOUS CES TIGRES QUI SANS PITIÉ / DÉCHIRENT LE SEIN DE LEUR MÈRE / AUX ARMES // AMOUR SACRÉ DE LA PATRIE / CONDUIS, SOUTIENS NOS BRAS VENGEURS! / LIBERTÉ, LIBERTÉ CHÉRIE! / COMBATS AVEC TES DÉFENSEURS / SOUS NOS DRAPEAUX, QUE LA VICTOIRE / ACCOURE À TES MÂLES ACCENTS, / QUE TES ENNEMIS EXPIRANT / VOIENT TON TRIOMPHE ET NOTRE GLOIRE! / AUX ARMES.
La Marseillaise" is the national anthem of France. The song was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg after the declaration of war by France against Austria, and was originally titled "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" ("War Song for the Army of the Rhine").
As the French Revolution continued, the monarchies of Europe became concerned that revolutionary fervor would spread to their countries. The War of the First Coalition was an effort to stop the revolution, or at least contain it to France. Initially, the French army did not distinguish itself, and Coalition armies invaded France. On 25 April 1792, Baron Philippe-Frédéric de Dietrich, the mayor of Strasbourg and worshipful master of the local masonic lodge, asked his freemason guest Rouget de Lisle to compose a song "that will rally our soldiers from all over to defend their homeland that is under threat". That evening, Rouget de Lisle wrote "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" (English: "War Song for the Army of the Rhine"), and dedicated the song to Marshal Nicolas Luckner, a Bavarian freemason in French service from Cham. A plaque on the building on Place Broglie where De Dietrich's house once stood commemorates the event. De Dietrich was executed the next year during the Reign of Terror.
The melody soon became the rallying call to the French Revolution and was adopted as "La Marseillaise" after the melody was first sung on the streets by volunteers from Marseille by the end of May. These volunteers (fédérés) were making their entrance into the city of Paris on 30 July 1792 after a young volunteer from Montpellier called François Mireur had sung it at a patriotic gathering in Marseille, and the troops adopted it as the marching song of the National Guard of Marseille. A newly graduated medical doctor, Mireur later became a general under Napoléon Bonaparte and died in Egypt at age 28.
The song's lyrics reflect the invasion of France by foreign armies (from Prussia and Austria) that was under way when it was written. Strasbourg itself was attacked just a few days later. The invading forces were repulsed from France following their defeat in the Battle of Valmy. As the vast majority of Alsatians did not speak French, a German version ("Auf, Brüder, auf dem Tag entgegen") was published in October 1792 in Colmar.
The Convention accepted it as the French national anthem in a decree passed on 14 July 1795, making it France's first anthem. It later lost this status under Napoleon I, and the song was banned outright by Louis XVIII and Charles X, being re-instated only briefly after the July Revolution of 1830.
Pierre-Jean David d’Angers (1788-1856) Pierre-Jean David was a French sculptor, and a prolific medalist. He adopted the name David d'Angers, following his entry into the studio of the painter Jacques-Louis David in 1809 as a way of both expressing his patrimony and distinguishing himself from the master painter.