History’s Gillian Weiss co-writes piece on President Trump, Louis XIV and history of recognizing leaders with medals

Gillian Weiss, associate professor of history, co-wrote an article with New York University art historian Meredith Martin and New York-based graphic designer Bonnie Siegler for History News Network.

In their piece—titled “Trump: Superhero or Superspreader?”—they wrote about a medal recently created to mark President Donald Trump’s “defeat” of the coronavirus and discussed how honoring heads of state with medals is a “time-honored custom embraced by Roman emperors as well as autocratic sovereigns like Louis XIV, France’s Sun King.” They also compared President Trump with Louis XIV, who is the subject of Weiss and Martin’s forthcoming book, The Sun King at Sea: Maritime Art and Galley Slavery in Louis XIV’s France (Getty Research Institute Publications).

The piece also includes a satirical medal they designed—a practice common in Louis XIV’s time as well, when “Satirical medals produced by his European enemies condemned the king for his cruel despotism and mocked his capacity for self-destruction.”

Read their piece on History News Network.