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Denkmünze für das Augsburger Bürgermilitär

Augsburg Civic Militia Commemorative Medal

Table medal was instituted in 1797 by authorities of Free and Imperial City of Augsburg (Freie und Reichsstadt Augsburg) and was presented to members of the civic militia who served during the War of the First Coalition against the revolutionary French army and its allies (1792-1797).

The history of the Augsburg Civic Militia can be traced back to the first half of the XVII century, when first Bürgercompagnien – twenty dismounted and two mounted companies – were raised in 1632-1635 from the Protestant population of the city. Three “Catholic” companies were raised in 1646-1649. Eight dismounted companies and one mounted unit were stationed in Augsburg by 1673-1674. During the War of the Spanish Succession the city was besieged and occupied by French and Bavarian troops (1703-1704).

Augsburg Civic Militia reached its all-time high in 1706 when it numbered 2,800 members serving with six dismounted and one mounted company. Their main duties included the following: ability to expand into battle order to repel hostile attack, training of recruits, night watch by city gates and earthfill as well as nighttime patrolling of city streets. Since City Guard (Stadtgarde) was made responsible for safeguarding of city security in wartime, Civic Militia performed mainly police duties. Two Honourable companies (Ehrencompagnien) were raised in 1770 and performed ceremonial duties. Role and significance of the civic militia were gradually minimized during the second half of the XVIII century, and by 1785 it comprised of four companies only instead of fourteen. However, attempt to strengthen its might was made in 1795 with formation of Sharpshooter company (Scharfschützen-Compagnie) and Volunteer company (Volontär-Compagnie).

Augsburg Civic Militia  Commemorative Medal 2Despite resistance of civic militia, the city was occupied on August 25, 1796 by advancing French troops commanded by General Jean Victor Marie Moreau (13.02.1763-02.09.1813) during the War of the First Coalition.

Augsburg was integrated into the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1806, and its Civic Militia was disbanded.

Design of the commemorative medal was elaborated by Johann Jakob Neuss (01.10.1770-24.12.1847), who held position of a city medallist (Stadtmedailleur) on a voluntary, i.e. non-paid basis.

An obverse with raised border showed bird’s-eye general view of Augsburg in the background. Pillar crowned with coat of arms of Augsburg – pedestal topped with Swiss stone pine – was placed in the foreground. Name of the medallist executed in capital letters was situated at the lower left part of an obverse, just below the horizontal cut. It read “Nevs.F.”, i.e. “Neuss fecit” (“Executed by Neuss”).

A reverse of the medal with raised border showed horizontal inscription in old German orthography running in nine lines: “To Augsburg Residents Who Have Taken up Arms for their Merits to their Home Town from Grateful Fellow Citizens and Town Inhabitants 1796” (“Augsburgs bewaffneten Bürgern für erworbne Verdienste um die Vatterstadt zum Andenken gewidmet von dankbaren Mitbürgern und Inwohnern 1796”). Inscription was framed with wreath made of oak leaves and acorns tied with a ribbon tie at the bottom.

Denkmünze für das Augsburger Bürgermilitär was presented in 1797, totally 819 pieces were awarded. Custom-made medals transformed into portable pieces by soldering silver eyelets are known to exist as well.

Circular medal measuring 41 mm in diameter and weighing 23,7 g was minted of silver.

Augsburg Civic Militia  Commemorative Medal 1