A medal may be awarded to a person or organization as a form of recognition for sporting, military, scientific, academic, or various other achievements. Military awards and decorations are more precise terms for types of state decoration. Medals may also be created for sale to commemorate particular individuals or events, an artist who creates medals or medallions is called a medallist or medalist. There are also devotional medals which may be worn for religious reasons, Medals have long been popular collectible items either as a variety of exonumia or of militaria. Medallions may also be called table medals because they are too large to be worn and can only be displayed on a wall, table top, desk, the word medallion has the same ultimate derivation, but this time through the Italian medaglione, meaning large medal. The main or front surface of a medal is termed the obverse, the reverse, or back surface of the medal, is not always used and may be left blank or may contain a secondary d
Reverse of the same medal, this copy with a suspension hole added later (inside a crescent moon in the design).
Various prize medals with obverse designs, suspension rings and ribbons typical of medals intended to be draped over the head and hung from the neck
A neck order is a type of decoration which is designed to be worn and displayed around a persons neck, rather than hung from the chest as is the standard practice for displaying most decorations. Most of the insignia of orders are issued in several degrees which include a neck order version for Commanders. In countries which do not typically bestow orders with degrees, neck orders are usually considered to be high-ranking decorations. In the Middle Ages most orders were worn on a collar – see livery collar, later, in the 16th century the insignia of the French Order of the Holy Spirit were worn on a ribbon. For comfort, the ribbon was put under one shoulder when riding, giving birth to the sash order. When, in the late 17th century, orders were divided into several classes, a decoration in that rank is usually awarded to high-ranking officials like brigadiers, consuls and secretaries of State. A female usually wears her commanders cross on a bow on the shoulder of her dress, in chivalr
Chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece
The Medal of Honor
of the United States is worn hanging from a light blue neckband ribbon.
Order of merit
The Order of Merit is an order of merit recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture. While all members are awarded the right to use the post-nominal letters OM and a medallion for life, however, Sir Frederic Leighton, President of the Royal Academy, advised against the new order, primarily because of its selection process. From its inception, the order has been open to women, Florence Nightingale being the first woman to receive the honour, several individuals have refused admission into the Order of Merit, such as Rudyard Kipling, A. E. Housman, and George Bernard Shaw. To date, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, remains the youngest person inducted into the Order of Merit, having been admitted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1968. All citizens of the Commonwealth realms are eligible for appointment to the Order of Merit, since 1991, it has been required that the insignia be returned upon the recipients death. However, it ha
Order of Merit
King Edward VII, founder of the Order of Merit
Order of the Hatchet
The Order of the Hatchet is an female honorific order supposedly founded in 1149, bestowed upon the women of the town of Tortosa, in Catalonia. This order was founded during the Reconquista to honor women combatants in the site of Tortosa against Muslims, during that year, amid heavy fighting between the two fronts, Muslims besieged Tortosa after a withdrawal of Berenguer. In the absence of men to defend the city, women joined the fight, dressing as men and attacking with hatchets and their participation was essential to the defense of Tortosa. This was not an order, but it was one of the few female honorific orders. The city of Tortosa, in northeastern Spain, was held by Islamic Moors until the Second Crusade, in 1148, Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona led his forces to wrest control of the city. The crusading armies then moved on to other places. This left the city open to counter-attack in 1149, moorish armies found the city well-defended, though, for the ladies of the town don
Arms of Tortosa, Spain