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Elias Ashmole Esq. was born in Lichfield ...

Latin Text:

ELIAS ASHMOLE A: LichfeldiŠ natus, in Collegio Ănei Nasi apud Ox§n: educatus; MedicinŠ Doctoratu, a Se non quŠsito, sed totius Universitatis spontaneo motu et applausu insignitus. Nec in rebus gerendis minores honores meruit. Fecialis primum Windlesoriensis, postea vero ob celebratissimam in Aspidologia peritiam, quam Volumine satis magno de Honoratissimo Periscelidis Ordine propalavit; in summam istius Collegij dignitatem, nisi ipse nimis modestŔ restitisset, evehendus.

Quantum in rerum Antiquarum cognitione excelluerit, locupletissima accedunt Testimonia: REX ipse Serenissimus, et Universitas: Qui Ipsorum penu rei antiquariŠ componendum Ipsi commiserunt: Et quid Notis prŠstitit, tria Volumina propria manu conscripta et in BibliothecÔ BodleyanÔ reposita, testantur; industriŠ et Eruditionis illustre Posteris monumentum. Ejus demum diligentiŠ et fidelitatis REX probe conscius, Vectigalium suorum a Parliamento A?. Reg: 12? institutorum inspectionem (quod Contra rotulatoris vel Correctoris officium nominamus) Ipsi demandavit, Laborum et Fidei suŠ prŠmium et argumentum.

Quinetiam PhilosophiŠ Naturalis, Chymie, ac totius politioris LiteraturŠ scientia celeberrimus: Is erat qui hoc MusŠum, NaturŠ Ărarium, HistoriŠ PhysicŠ compendium, CŠli, Aeris, AquŠ, TerrŠ incolis; nec non Monstrorum varietate; in usum communem (cum Ipse satis ea cognovisset) uberrime instruxit. Quicquid mare Ligusticum Coralliorum, quicquid ErythrŠum Margaritarum, quicquid item IndiŠ Gemmarum produxere, Huc Ipsius operÔ confluxerunt. Metalla insuper, Metallica, Mineralia, et quicquid Terra sinu suo interiori fovit, huic contribuit. Aromata, Medicamque materiam universam hactenus cognitam, Vir nunquam pro merito laudandus, hic reposuit.

Ac MantissŠ loco, Romanorum, aliorumque fere totius Orbis Gentium, Arma, Vestes, Ornamenta, Deos, Sacrificandi Vasa, Mortuorum Urnas et Lachrymatoria, addidit. Numismata insuper, Simulacra, Imagines, Picturas, reliquis rarioris notŠ Cimelijs, accumulavit. Solus inquam nobilissimus ASHMOLUS hoc MusŠum non magis totius Mundi universÔ suppellectile, quam suo Nomine decoravit. Quibus omnibus quoniam Volumen istud sigillatim recensendis vix suffecerit, Eorum Catalogus tempore opportuno seorsim Typis mandabitur.

Idem Clarissimus Vir Elias Ashmole Armiger, Numismata Romana, Anglica, Scotica &c. quingenta quinquaginta sex, omnia argentea, MusŠo suo secundÔ vice donavit.

Idem insignissimus Vir Elias Ashmole Armiger, Effigies item Serenissimorum Principum Caroli et Jacobi fratrum Regum AngliŠ, Limbis eleganter cŠlatis ac deauratis, adornatas contulit.

Idem Ornatissimus Vir D: ELIAS ASHMOLE Armiger, Numisma archetypum aureum, tum magnitudine tum formÔ prostantissim?, a Carolo Gustavo Suecorum Rege, Gulielmo Lilio Anglo Astrologorum principi, ob prognosticationes Sibi fŠlices, ac eventu comprobatus, gratŔ missum, suo MusŠo donavit.

ANNO SUPRA MILLESIMUM ET SEXCENTESIMUM NONAGESIMO SECUNDO, Vir ille maximus Rem literariam promovere, et MUSĂUM istud artis et nature cimilijs adornare desijt: Ad extremum VitŠ Articulum, omnimodam Eruditionem stabiliendi tanto flagrans ardore; ut Librorum mille et septingenta volumina, quorum sexcenta ad minim? MSS. sunt, BibliothecŠ quam idcirc˛ suo nomini merit˛ inscripsimus, legaverit. Porr˛ quŠ Ó maximis Principibus, Invictissimo Danorum Rege et Duce Brandenb. alijsque acceperat invicti laboris et virtutum PrŠmia honoraria; Catenas nempŔ aureas cum adjunctis numismatibus; in hoc Gazophylacio post obitum conservari voluit: ut juniores (salivam eis movendo) ad Studia acrius prosequenda, proprio exemplo hortaretur.

Translation:

Elias Ashmole Esq. was born in Lichfield and educated at Brasenose College, Oxford. He did not himself supplicate for a Doctorate in medicine, but was singled out for this honour by the spontaneous acclamation of the whole University. Nor in his active life did he deserve any less honour. He was first Windsor Herald and, on account of his celebrated expertise in the field of heraldry, which he displayed to the full in a large book he wrote on the most noble Order of the Garter, would subsequently have been raised to the highest honour in the College, had he not modestly declined the offer.

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His knowledge and excellence in the field of antiquities is abundantly confirmed by reliable sources, including His Majesty the King and the University which entrusted to him the task of arranging the antiquities [ i.e., the Bodleian coin cabinet ]. His more outstanding achievements are testified to by three volumes written in his own hand and kept in the Bodleian Library. They serve as a conspicious reminder to future generations, of his hard work and erudition. Finally, the King, very much aware of his industry and fidelity, appointed him in the twelfth year of his reign, to inspect the taxes instituted by Parliament (a post we nowadays term comptroller general of excise) as a proof of, and reward for, his diligence and faith. Indeed, he was famous for his knowledge of Natural Philosophy, chemistry and the whole body of literature. It was he who most fully equipped this Museum for public use, as a treasure-house of Nature and the history of Natural Science, with its collection of whatever inhabits the sky, air, water and earth, and also of various curiosities, after he himself had learned enough about these things. Whatever corals might come from the Ligurian Sea; whatever pearls from Erythrea; whatever gemstones were found in India - these things were brought together here by him. Then he added metals, minerals and whatever the earth produces in its interior. And this man whose merit is beyond praise, collected spices and materia medica.

And he gave objects, both Roman and of people from almost every part of the world - arms, clothing, jewels, statues of gods, sacrificial vessels, burial urns and lachrymatories, and furthermore, to the rarer and more notable treasures of the museum, he added coins, statues, pictures and paintings. The most noble Ashmole graced this museum as much with his own name as with artefacts from all over the world. And since this volume would scarcely be large enough to record all these objects individually, another catalogue will be ordered, at a suitable time, in which they will be listed separately by type.

In his second series of gifts, the most illustrious Elias Ashmole gave 556 silver coins - Roman, English and Scottish ones among them. The same distinguished Ashmole also brought portraits of King Charles and King James of England, in elegantly carved and gilded frames.

This most excellent of men, Elias Ashmole Esq., bestowed upon his Museum an original gold medal remarkable for both its size and its form, which King Karl Gustav of Sweden had gratefully sent to his chief astrologer, William Lilly, for certain favourable prognostications he had received and which, in the event, proved to be true. In the year 1692 this great man ceased to promote literary activities and to add to the Museum's collection of the treasures of nature and art. To the end of his life he was eager to establish learning of all kinds and, to that end, he bequeathed 1,700 books, at least 600 of which are in manuscript, to the library, which for this reason we have provided with an inscription of his name. In addition, he wanted his Praemia Honoraria, the golden chains and medals, which he had received from those best of princes, the King of Denmark and the Duke of Brandenburg, and others, in recognition of his indefatigable work and achievements, to be preserved in this Museum after his death, so that, by stirring their ambition, he might, by his own example, encourage young men to pursue their studies with greater enthusiasm.

Related Objects:HCR7579-7583, WA1898.37-40

Location:Praemia Honoraria, other medals and coins - Heberden Coin Room. Portraits of King Charles I, King Charles II and King James II - Department of Western Art. Books and manuscripts transferred to the Bodleian Library in 1860. Some objects are on display in Gallery 8 (Ark to Ashmolean).

Year:MDCLXXXIII (1683);  Page Number: 3 (recto), 3 (verso), 4(recto)

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