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The comet of the year 1618

In the year 1618 at least three comets frightened the people. That was also when the 30 years war began.

The historical background of this bright comet was described in the Americal Journal of Numismatics Volume XXIV. No. 4 in April, 1890 by David L. Walter. Also he gave the detailed description of this token as well as other versions of comet 1618 obverseit. At least three different type of tokes were issued. The first type where struck for the comet of August. The second type - that will be described here in details - contained date 19th November 1618. And also exists a third type without any date on it, probably issued for a third comet. I strongly suggest the enquirer reader to study the original document. Here I cite some of Mr. Walter's original text only with slight modifications (in Italics):

Obverse. Within a circle formed by a wreath, with a rosette on top and bottom, the Comet travelling in a southwesterly direction (on this medal), under which a line and inscription: ANNO 1618 - 19 NO. (year 1618, 19th November); outside of the wreath are ornaments in the corners.

Reverse. Within a double circle the hands, reeds, sun, and smouldering candle, no pedestal for the hands, which appear to rise out of the water. Legend, around, in a double inner circle, KEINS WIRT VERSERT WER GOTT RECHT EHRT  (None that honors God rightly shall be destroyed). In exergue ESA. 24.comet 1618 reverse

As Mr. Walter describes most of the tokens that were issued for the August comet refer to Isaiah, chap, 42 : 3, which reads, " A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench : He shall bring forth judgment unto truth." And that text is that match precisely to the image on the coin. Thanks to a fault of the engraver this token refers to Isaiah 24 in a wrong way, that is changed 2 and 4.

But now let us see the what Mr. Walter wrote on the history behind this medal.

It is of this Comet that Van Loon (II, 103), speaks, and quotes the Merc. Franc. for 1618, and Brandt's History of the Reformation (Dutch), to the effect that this "terrible Comet which troubled the spirits of the people, had a dark red tail, and extended from the sign of the Balance towards that of the Bear, and in eighteen days travelled sixty-four degrees." It was the subject of a book composed in Dutch by Professor Nicholas Mulerus, of Groningen, entitled "The Celestial Trumpet of the year MDCXIIX" (sic.) Early in the next year another book was published with the approbation of the Counselor Deputies of the States, containing remarks on the Comet and the conjunctions of affairs in the Netherlands. It contained among other things several poetical pieces. It was written in Dutch, and the authorship was ascribed by some to Jacques Kats, Pensioner Counselor of Middleburg. It is evident that the Comet of August was not thereby intended, and while the Comet of 19th November may have been, yet it is more likely from the date that the great Comet of the end of November, seen also in December, and even in January, 1619, was the subject of the learned essayist.

Sir Isaac Newton says four Comets appeared in 1618, and " the second and fourth were probably the same." He speaks of the last of these thus: "In the year 1618, end of November, there began a rumor that there appeared about sun-rising a bright beam, which was the tail of a Comet, whose head was yet concealed within the brightness of the solar ray. On November 24th, and from that day, the Comet itself appeared, with a bright light, its head and tail being extremely resplendent. The length of the tail which was at first 20 or 30, increased till December 9, when it rose to 75 with a light much fainter and dilute than in the beginning." It appears to have been visible in January, 1619. As already remarked, Newton says the second Comet, which appeared October 31 , was the same as the one thus described. The intermediate one was that of November 19.