Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons

Figure 1: Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons obverse. Image from author's archive.

Figure 1: Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons obverse. Image from author’s archive.

 

Introduction:

In 1785 Emperor Joseph II established the Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons (Verdienstmedaille für  K.K. Militärarzte und Regimentschirurgen). This was the first medal in Austrian history to be established specifically as an award to the physicians and surgeons who provided medical services to the armed forces of the Austrian empire.

The award:

Date Issued:  1785-1790

Reason Issued:  As a reward for meritorious service by military physicians and regimental surgeons.  The award was created on the occasion of the founding of the Emperor Joseph Medical Academy in Vienna in 1785.

Classes or Types:  Three

  • Large Silver Physicians and Surgeons Medal
  • Silver Physicians and Surgeons Medal
  • Small Silver Physicians and Surgeons Medal

Interesting Facts: The eyes on the medals vary with the large silver medal having a large flat eye (Figure 2); the silver medal having a fleur-de-lis shaped eye (Figure 1) and the small medal a wedge shaped eye (Figure 4).

Hallmarks:  None Known

Design:  A round medal with a raised rim and an attached suspension eye at the top.

Figure 2: Large Silver Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons obverse. Image from author's archive.

Figure 2: Large Silver Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons obverse. Image from author’s archive.

 

Obverse:  A youthful bare shouldered bust of Joseph II, facing to the right. He is depicted with long flowing hair in which is a laurel wreath. Paralleling the rim around the upper half of the medal is the inscription: IOSEPHVS II. AVGVSTVS (Joseph II Emperor). Near the lower edge of the medal is the signature of the medalist: J. N. Wurt F. (The F stands for Fabrikat: fabricated) for the large silver medal and silver medal (Figure 1 and 2) and DONNER for the small silver medal.

Figure 3: Large Silver Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons reverse. Image from author's archive.

Figure 3: Large Silver Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons reverse. Image from author’s archive.

Figure 4: Small Silver Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons reverse. Image from author's archive.

Figure 4: Small Silver Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons reverse. Image from author’s archive.

Reverse: 

  • Large Silver and Silver Medal: The reverse of the medal is plain except for an inscription which reads in five lines: BENE MERENTIBVS/DE/ARTE MEDICO CHIRVR/GICA/PRAEMIVM, (Awarded for Outstanding Service in the Medical and Surgical Arts). (Figure 3)
  • Small Silver Medal: The reverse of the medal is plain except for an inscription which reads in four lines: ACADEMIA /MEDICO/ CHIRVRGICA /MILITARIS (Medial Surgical Military Academy). (Figure 4)

Weight:

  • Large Silver Medal = 113 grams
  • Silver Medal = 45 grams
  • Small Silver Medal = 14 grams

Size: 

  • Large Silver Medal = 51 mm in diameter and 5 mm thick
  • Silver Medal = 43 mm in diameter
  • Small Silver Medal = 35 mm in diameter

Type of Material:  Silver

  • Type I Large Silver medal as described above
  • Type II Large Silver medal as described above but the reverse inscription is in six lines as follows: BENE MERENTIBVS/DE ARTE.MED.CHIRVRG/PROEMIVM INSTITVIT./FR.ANTON.BRENDEL./CHIRVRG.MILIT. (Figure 5)
Figure 5: Type II Large Silver Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons reverse. Image from author's archive.

Figure 5: Type II Large Silver Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons reverse. Image from author’s archive.

 

Designer:

  • Large silver and Silver Medal: Johann Nepomuk Wirth
  • Small Silver Meal: Ignaz Donner

Manufacturer:  Unknown

Number Issued:  Unknown

Case:  Unknown

Ribbon: A 43 mm wide lemon yellow ribbon with 10 mm wide black edge stripes

Figure 6: Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons ribbon. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 6: Merit Medal for Royal and Imperial Military Doctors and Regimental Surgeons ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

Attachments:  None

Miniature:  None know

An interesting award from a time when medicine was just becoming a factor in lives and deaths of the Austrian soldier.

I look forward to our next correspondence.

 

Rick

1 Comment
  1. Rebbeca I have passed your inquiry about contributing blogs to the website to OMSA leadership. I am sure that they will be in communication with you very soon. If you do not hear from them in the next few days, please let me know and I will follow up with them to assure they are aware of your offer.

    Rick

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