Obverse description : Allégorie franc-maçonnerie.
The compass and the square are very often associated in an ambivalent symbol of balance: fixity and mobility, passive and active, matter and spirit.. The compass is the tool of the Creator and of the great Architect of the Universe. The spacing of the branches of the compass obeys precise rules and varies according to the three degrees: apprentice, companion, master. The Napoleonic era, in the activity of lodges as in that of many groups, saw a flowering after the terrible years of the revolutionary period. Masonic activity, rid of its republican theories and firmly controlled by a Grand-Master appointed by the Emperor, experienced a vigor in unity never found since.. It is considered that each regiment, each garrison, each city had its Lodge. The testimonies that the sumptuous tokens of the period leave us show that these lodges were rich and influential.. The symbolism is sought after, without comparison with the later eras, which were much more conventional, even bland or destitute at the beginning of the 20th century.. Freemasonry had more than a thousand lodges spread over one hundred and thirty departments and more than sixty thousand Brothers.