Historia Mvndi: Picture Stories in XXL

Historia Mvndi, April 8, 2019. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 2019. 239 p., colour illustrations. Paperback, 21.1 x 29.6 cm. ISBN: 978-88-210-1022-4. 50 euros.
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If you want to convey history, you have to be precise while telling it; if you want to convey history by using coins and medals, you have to show pictures of high quality. That is exactly what the magazine “Historia Mvndi” does – true to the motto expressed in its subtitle: “Medals and coins tell human history, art and culture”. The Vatican Library’s magazine meets this ambition with almost overwhelming aesthetics. The magazine does not only enlarge pictures of medals, instead, it displays their details in excellent quality – sometimes filling up an entire page (in A4 size!).

In 2009, the then director of the Vatican’s Numismatic Cabinet, Giancarlo Alteri, founded the magazine “Historia Mvndi”. Since then, a new issue has been published every year containing essays focusing obviously on Papal coins and medals and on subjects related to the collections of the Vatican. Even though Alteri retired in 2013, he continues to issue “his child” nevertheless. His successor in the Numismatic Cabinet, Eleonora Giampiccolo, helps him with the editorial work.

Oh, and one last thing: Don’t be discouraged because the magazine is published in Italian (sometimes you can find some English articles, too, and you will see many impressive pictures).

To give you an idea of the broad spectrum covered by the magazine, here are the articles from this year’s issue:

  • Editoriale: Storia ed arte nella monetazione dei Romani Pontefici, una “cenerentola” della numismatica (Editorial: History and art in the coins of the Roman Pontifices, a numismatic “Cinderella”)
  • Medagliere Vaticano. Nuove Acquisizioni 2017 (Numismatic Cabinet of the Vatican. New acquisitions in 2017)
  • Incisori pontifici. Girolamo Lucenti al servizio di Clemente X Altieri (The Vatican’s die cutters. Girolamo Lucenti in the service of Clement X Altieri)
  • Monete orientali. (Far Eastern coins.) The collection of Siamese porcelain tokens of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
  • Monete contemporanee – Bielorussia. Francysk Skaryna editore… “Per la gloria di Dio e l’istruzione degli uomini semplici” (Contemporary coins – Belarus. The publisher Francysk Skaryna… “For the glory of God and the education of simple human beings”)
  • Storie di vita quotidiana nella produzione medaglistica di Maria Adele Piccicrilli (Monograph. Stories from the everyday life in the medal production of Maria Adele Piccicrilli)
  • Medaglie pontificie. Arte e storia sulle medaglie ufficiali di Paolo VI (Papal medals. Art and history of the official medals of Paul VI)
  • Medaglie portoghesi. Un’ambasceria ad Limina Petri tra presente e passato (Portuguese medals. An embassy ad Limina Petri between the present and the past)
  • Agnus Dei. Gli Agnus Dei di cera e le loro inedite matrici (Agnus Dei. The Agnus Dei made of wax and their unpublished matrices)
  • Recensioni (Book reviews)

If you want to discover the history that coins and medals can tell, if you are particularly interested in Vatican coins, appreciate high-quality pictures and aren’t scared off by the Italian texts, you will certainly decide to subscribe to the magazine. The price per year for “Historia Mvndi” amounts to 50 euros and can be ordered via email (single issues as well).

We recently presented a monograph written by Eleonora Giampiccolo (which is also discussed in this issue of Historia Mvndi).

You can find Eleonora Giampiccolo in our numismatic who’s who.