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Sunday, 19 June 2016

325) Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra: the creator of the popular works like Don Quixote: Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of his death by issue of two coins in the denominations of 200 Euros (Gold) and 10 Euros (Silver) by the Royal Spanish Mint – Real Casa de la Moneda – in 2016:



325) Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra: the creator of the popular works like Don Quixote: Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of his death  by issue of two coins in the denominations of 200 Euros (Gold) and 10 Euros (Silver)  by the Royal Spanish Mint – Real Casa de la Moneda – in 2016:


Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra is regarded the world over as one of the greatest Spanish writers ever. His works like Don Quixote (pronounced (Don “Kee-Ho-Tay”) are praised all over the literary world.

About Miguel Cervantes:

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (29.09.1547 – 22.04.1616):

He was said to have been  born on 29th September 1547 in Alcala de Henares, Spain on the day of San Miguel (Saint Michael’s Day), although his christening certificate places his birth on 09th October 1547.

He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and one of the World’s pre-eminent novelists.

His popular work “Don Quixote” is considered to be the first modern novel which is a classic of Western Literature and is regarded as the best works of fiction ever written.

His influence on the Spanish language was so immense that the language is often called “la lengua de Cervantes” (meaning the “language of Cervantes”). He has also been called “El principe de los ingenious” (meaning “The Prince of Wit”).

In 1568, Queen Elizabeth of Valois, the third wife of King Philip II died while giving birth to a child, who too did not survive. Around this time, while the whole of Spain was grief-stricken, a young Cervantes was encouraged by his grammar teacher to write poems, which got published in 1569, titled “A Story and Relationship” of the illness, death and funeral of the queen.

In 1569, while in forced exile from Castile, Cervantes sought his fortune in Rome among the dignitaries and popes. He worked as a chamber assistant in Monsignor Acquaviva’s retinue.  Monsignor Acquaviva later became a Cardinal.

Thereafter, Cervantes joined Deigo de Urbina’s Company as a soldier and travelled through Italy with his detachment.

In 1571, he joined the Spanish Navy and fought for the Holy League in the Sea battle of Lepanto against the Ottoman fleet for control of the Mediterranean. In the fighting, several arquebuses, ships were set ablaze with several fatalities. Cervantes was wounded in the chest during the fighting and lost the use of his left hand.

In 1572, after a long bout of convalescence at a hospital in Messina, Sicily, which was under Spanish Rule and was also the winter quarters for Don Juan of Austria’s fleet, Cervantes resumed duty with his Fleet upon being declared fit for military duty.

By 1574, in between military campaigns in the Mediterranean and his “billets” given by his Commanding officer (“billets” were written orders requiring a house-holder to lodge the bearer, usually a soldier and extend to him proper meals, lodging and hospitality), Cervantes interspersed his duties as a soldier with a disorderly existence, turbulent love life and drinking at taverns in Naples. During this period, he participated in expeditions to Corfu and Navarino and saw the fall of Tunis and La Goulette to the Turks.

Recollections of Naples remained with Cervantes forever as an indelible memory of his exciting youth.

In 1575, Cervantes embarked on a ship bound for Spain but in the Gulf of Roses, his Schooner was boarded by the Corsair Arnaute Mami’s men, (Barbary pirates) and Cervantes was taken prisoner and shipped to Algiers which was a large base of the Barbary pirates as well as a slave market, where he was held by the pirates till 1580.

He was released by his captors on payment of a ransom by his parents and the Trinitarians, a Catholic religious order and he subsequently returned to his family in Spain.

By 1580, Cervantes landed on Spanish soil, where he spent the first few weeks of his new found freedom. Eleven years had gone by since he had left Spain and a lot of things had happened in the meantime – Tunisia had been lost and recovered by Spain, Don Juan de Austria had died, Philip III was born, Portugal had been annexed and the Court was now being held at Lisbon. Spanish acquisitions worldwide were continuing – Legazpi founded the city of Manila, Alvaro de Medena had reached the Solomon Islands etc. 

Cervantes now dreamt of seeking his fortunes in America.

In May/June 1581, Cervantes was sent on an official assignment to an obscure place in North Africa where his work involved diplomacy, espionage and work of an administrative kind for which he received a payment of fifty Ducats.

Thereafter he travelled to Lisbon in the hope that he might seek his fortunes at the new Court, but it was already teeming with fortune seekers which disappointed him no end.

In 1584, he had a daughter with Ana Franca, the wife of a tavern owner, whereafter he travelled to Esquivias, Toledo to help the widow of a poet friend to posthumously publish a songbook. Here, he got married to Catalina Palacios Salazar, a woman half his age.

In 1585, during this period he wrote a pastoral novel named “La Galatea” but sold the rights to the novel, which got published. In the same year, he worked as a purchasing agent for the Spanish Armada and later as a Tax Collector for the government.

By 1587, he acquired a respectable position of Collector of Supplies in Seville, where all the wealth of the Indies used to arrive.

 Cervantes continued to write poems and plays during this period, but misfortune in the nature of debt, corruption charges and even excommunication continued to dog him.

By 1592, in his position as Collector of supplies he was accused of selling wheat without authorisation and spent a few days in prison in Castro del Rio.

In 1597, he was once again thrown in the Crown prison at Seville for discrepancies found in his accounts for the previous three years.

Interestingly, it seems that it was either while he was in prison at Castro del Rio or at later at Seville, he thought up of the outline/plot for writing Don Quixote.

In 1603, his family shifted to the Court in Valladolid where Cervantes finished the first part of “Don Quixote” (spelt “Quijote” in Spanish).

In 1605 he moved to Madrid, where  the first part of “Don Quixote” comprising 664 pages was printed at Juan de la Cuesta’s printing press in Madrid and the novel that forever changed the way novels were written, saw the light of day. The bookseller Francisco de Robles, owner of the rights, sold each copy for 250 maravedis. The book became a runaway success with several reprints and pirated copies swarming the book shops.

In 1607, Cervantes settled in Madrid, where he spent the remaining nine years of his life. He spent this time building up a reputation as a writer and published the “Novelas ejemplares” (meaning “Exemplary novels” – there were twelve Exemplary Novels with several being two-in-one like “The Dialogue of the Dogs” is a part of “The Deceitful Marriage”) in 1613.

In 1614-1615, when a spurious sequel to Don Quixote found its way into the bookshops, Cervantes furiously wrote the second part of Don Quixote and added an element of metafiction to the discourse of the novel which was published in 1615.

He also published “Viaje al Parnaso” (meaning the “Journey of Parnassus”) in 1614, and the “Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses nuevos nuenca representados” (meaning “Eight plays and Eight interludes, never before performed”).

On 22.04.1616, he passed away three days after writing the dedication for “Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda” (meaning “The Works of Persiles and Sigismunda”). This work was published posthumously.

Some of the works attributed to Cervantes:

- “El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha” (1605): (meaning “The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha”): The first volume of Don Quixote.

- “Novelas ejemplares” (1613) (meaning “Exemplary novels” – there were twelve Exemplary Novels with several being two-in-one like “The Dialogue of the Dogs” is a part of “The Deceitful Marriage”. These short stories were on varied topics highlighting the social, political and historical problems of Spain during his lifetime).

- “Viaje al Parnaso” (meaning the “Journey of Parnassus”)

- “La gitanilla” (meaning “The Gypsy Girl”)

- “Rinconete y Cortadillo” (meaning “Rinconete and Cortadillo”)

- “El amante liberal” (meaning “The Generous Lover”)

- “La Espanola inglesa” (meaning “The English Speaking Lady”)

- “El licenciado Vidriera” (meaning “The Lawyer of Glass”)

- “La fuerza de la sangre” (meaning “The Power of Blood”)

- “El celoso extremeno” (meaning “The Jealous Man From Extremadura”)

- “La ilustre fregona” (meaning “The Illustrious Kitchen Maid”)

- “Novela de las dos doncellas” (meaning “the Novel of the Two Damsels”)

- “Novela de la senora Cornelia” (meaning “The Novel of Lady Cornelia”)

- “Novela del casamiento enganoso” (meaning “The Novel of the deceitful Marriage”)

- “El coloquio de los perros” (meaning “The Dialogue of the Dogs”)

- “Segunda Parte del Ingenioso Cavallero Don Quixote de la Mancha” (meaning “Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha – Part 2”)

- “Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda” (meaning “The Works of Persiles and Sigismunda”)

- “Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses” (meaning “Eight plays and Eight interludes”)

- “La Galatea” (a pastoral Romance)

Some of the plays which he wrote were:

El Gallardo espanol, Los banos de Argel, La Gran Sultana, Dona Catalina de Oviedo, La Casa de los cellos, El laberinto de amor, La entretenida, El ruffian dichoso, Pedro de Urdemalas.

Some of the Farces which he penned were:

El juez de los divorcios, El ruffian viudo ilamado Trampagos, La eleccion delos Alcaldes de Daganzo, La guardia cuidadosa,     El Vizcaino fingido, El retablo de las maravillas, La Cueva de Salamanca, Del Viejo celoso.

These 8 Plays and 8 Farces made up “Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses nuevos nuenca representados” (meaning “Eight plays and Eight interludes, never before performed”).

The year 2016 marks the 4th Centenary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra (1616-2016), one of the greatest writers of all time.

The Royal Spanish Mint- Real Casa de la Moneda – is  releasing two Commemorative coins honouring Miguel de  Cervantes in the Proof Quality in his honour in addition to the 30 Euro face value coin:

Commemorative Gold Coin:



On the Reverse of the 200 Euro gold coin depicts the busts, made of clay, of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza that were used as inspiration for the artists to illustrate the first edition of the book commissioned by the Royal Spanish Academy in 1780.



On the Obverse of the 200 Euro gold coin is depicted the portrait of Filipe VI facing left. The upper peripheral inscription reads “FILIPE VI REI DE ESPANA” (meaning “Filipe VI, King of Spain”). The year of issue “2016” is given at the bottom of this face.

Specifications:

Denomination: 200 Euros; Metal Composition: .999 Gold; Weight: 13.5 gms; Size: 30.00 mm; Mintage: 2,500 pieces. Year of issue: 2016.

Commemorative Silver Coin:



On the Reverse of the 10 Euro Silver coin is depicted the statue of Miguel Cervantes which is located in front of the Spanish Parliament, in Madrid. Also depicted is the hallmark of Juan de la Cuesta, the printer of the first edition of “Don Quixote” as well as of many other works of Cervantes.



On the Obverse of the 10 Euro Silver coin is depicted the portrait of Filipe VI facing left. The upper peripheral inscription reads “FILIPE VI REI DE ESPANA” (meaning “Filipe VI, King of Spain”). The year of issue “2016” is given at the bottom of this face.

Specifications:

Denomination: 10 Euros; Metal Composition: .925 Silver; Weight: 27.00 gms; Size: 40.00 mm; Mintage: 7,500 pieces. Year of issue: 2016.

Commemorative Sterling Silver Coin:



On the Reverse of the 30 Euro Sterling Silver coin is depicted a portrait of Miguel de Cervantes facing left, with the inscription “MIGUEL Y CERVANTES SAAVEDRA”, taken from an engraving by Manuel Salvador Carmona in the Royal Spanish Academy. Placed before Cervantes is a copy of his greatest work “D. Quixote” among some other books and an ink-pot with a quill pen. Mentioned on the left periphery is “IV CENTENARIO” and the denomination of the coin “30 EURO” is towards the upper side.

On the Obverse of the 30 Euro Sterling silver coin is depicted the portrait of Filipe VI and Dona Letizia, facing left. The upper peripheral inscription reads “FILIPE VI Y LETIZIA” (meaning “Filipe VI and Letizia”). The year of issue “2015” is given at the bottom of this face.

Specifications:

Denomination: 30 Euros; Coin Quality: Proof: Metal Composition: .925 Sterling Silver; Weight: 18.00 gms; Size: 33.00 mm; Mintage: 7,500 pieces. Year of issue: 2016.

Commemorative Coins Commemorating 400 years of Don Quixote (1615-2015) issued in 2015 by the Royal Spanish Mint Real Casa de la Moneda, These coins marked the 4th Centenary of the publication of the “Ingenious Gentlemen Don Quixote of La Mancha – Part 2” :

Commemorative Gold Coin:



On the Reverse of the 2 Escudo gold coin depicts a seated Don Quixote engaged in reading. On the left periphery is the inscription “EL QUIJOTE II”. On the upper periphery are the celebration years “1615-2015” Towards the right is the denomination of the coin “100 EURO” with the mint mark “M” below the crown, of the Madrid mint below the denomination.

On the Obverse of the 2 Escudo gold coin is depicted the portrait of Filipe VI facing left. The upper peripheral inscription reads “FILIPE VI REI DE ESPANA” (meaning “Filipe VI, King of Spain”). The year of issue “2015” is given at the bottom of this face.

Specifications:

Denomination: 2 Escudos; Coin Quality: Proof; Metal Composition: .999 Gold; Weight: 6.75 gms; Size: 23.00 mm; Mintage: 2,500 pieces. Year of issue: 2015.

Commemorative Silver Coin:



On the Reverse of the 8 Reales Silver coin is depicted an image of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza astride their mounts – a horse for Don Quixote and a donkey for Sancho Panza”. Don Quixote is wearing a knight’s armour and is carrying a lance. 
 On the left periphery is mentioned “EL QUIJOTE II” the celebration years “1615-2015” are on the top. The denomination of the coin is mentioned as “10 EURO”.

On the Obverse of the 8 Reales silver coin is depicted the portrait of Filipe VI facing left. The upper peripheral inscription reads “FILIPE VI REI DE ESPANA” (meaning “Filipe VI, King of Spain”). The year of issue “2015” is given at the bottom of this face.

Specifications:

Denomination: 8 Reales; Coin Quality: Proof; Metal Composition: .925 Silver; Weight: 27.00 gms; Size: 40.00 mm; Mintage: 7,500 pieces. Year of issue: 2016.

Commemorative Sterling Silver Coin:



On the Reverse of the 30 Euro Sterling Silver coin is a scene from the incident befalling Don Quixote and Saancho Panza on their mount Clavileno, taken from an engraving by Joaquin Ballester kept at the Royal Spanish Academy. On the upper left periphery is mentioned “EL QUIJOTE II” , the denomination of the coin is towards the upper right side “30 EURO” the 4th Centenary years “1615-2015” are below the denomination of the coin. The Mint Mark “M” below the crown of the Madrid mint is towards the lower right side. On the right, within a circle, is a quadruple latent image of a windmill with its sails in four different directions. The edge of this face is beaded uniformly.

On the Obverse of the 30 Euro Sterling silver coin is depicted the portrait of Filipe VI and Dona Letizia, facing left. The upper peripheral inscription reads “FILIPE VI Y LETIZIA” (meaning “Filipe VI and Letizia”). The year of issue “2015” is given at the bottom of this face along with the name of the issuing country “ESPANA”.

Specifications:

Denomination: 30 Euros; Coin Quality: Proof: Metal Composition: .925 Sterling Silver; Weight: 18.00 gms; Size: 33.00 mm; Mintage: 10,000 pieces. Year of issue: 2015.

Some of the other circulation coins which honour Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra”

10, 20 and 50 Cents Euro coins depict Miguel de Cervantes, the father of Spanish literature reflecting “the universality of the man and his work”.
The above are images of a 10 Euro Cent coin issued in 1999 depicting Cervantes.
 The 10 Euro Cent coin issued in 2010 depicting Cervantes
 The above are images of a 20 Euro Cent coin issued in 1999 depicting Cervantes.
 
              The 20 Euro Cent coin issued in 2010 depicting Cervantes
 
 The above are images of a 50 Euro Cent coin issued in 1999 depicting Cervantes.
  The 50 Euro Cent coin issued in 2010 depicting Cervantes

Post Script:

Since January 2004, “Collector’s Euro coins” have been issued by Spain.

The first commemorative Euro coin issued in Spain was to mark the quatercentenary (the 400th Anniversary of a significant event) of the first publication of the workThe Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha” as a tribute to the continuing popularity of Cervantes’ magnificent creation. 

 I remember that when I was in Class III, my mother had gifted me a Classics Illustrated Comic (Serial No. 11) on the story of Don Quixote. I have loved and read the adventures of Don Quixote several times ever since.
           The cover of the Classics Illustrated Comic No. 11.





Links:

 1) Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra: the creator of Don Quixote: Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of his death by issue of two coins in the denomination of 200 Euros (Gold) and 10 Euros (Silver) by the Royal Spanish Mint - Real Casa de la Moneda in 2016

 2) Comprehensive history of the Dollar illustrated on a Kilo coin minted by Fabrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre (FNMT) in association with the Real Casa de la Moneda on 29.05.2017

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