The Treaty of Amiens was signed in 1802 by France and the UK and ended the War of the Second Coalition and thus the French Revolutionary Wars. The resulting peace in Europe was only temporary with the British declaring war on France only a year later in response to Napoleon's continued and expanding occupation of territory thereby initiating the Napoleonic wars. This conflict then consumed Europe for more than a decade estabilishing the basis for the national boundaries we know today.
Napoleon had a medal struck in response, with the English breaking the Treaty of Amiens represented by a large cat tearing up the Treaty. Over the years I have seen this cat described in auction listings and books as a lion, a leopard or a panther and even a pitbull so which it is?
I posted this question on several forums and the polls favoured a panther whereas the comments seemed to favour a leopard. My original thought was it was a panther as these are usually depicted as maneless lions and, to me, it looked more like that. However it looks like panthers are spotted in heraldry etc and often have what appears to be fire coming from their mouths and ears which this big cat doesn't.
That left maneless lion or a leopard and I would expect a 'lion' to have mane and all other lions seem to have one but I thought leopards had spots - in heraldry it seems not. It is well known that the English Arms are referred to as three lions however I found it interesting that these cats were called leopards until the late 1300's and it is only later than they became lions to the English - with the French and neighbouring nations still referring to them as leopards.
A possible reason for this is that that leopards were thought to be a result of the mating of a lion and the mythical Pard, with the offspring therefore being leo-pards. This mixed heritage meant that leopards could not have young and was therefore also used as a term to describe someone born of adultery as such children were left out of the line of succession.
It would not surprise me that, for such reasons, the English switched to calling them lions whilst the French were still calling the English leopards and hence 'barren bas*&"ds', or whatever the equivalent is in French!
As this medal was struck in France, and blaming the English for ending the Treaty of Amiens, I am therefore going to refer to the big cat as a leopard from now on - of course all this could be complete rubbish and it is the local farm moggy
Any other ideas?