A medal, or medallion, is strictly speaking a small, flat and round or oval, piece of metal that has been sculpted, molded, cast, struck, stamped, or some way marked with an insignia, portrait, or other artistic rendering. 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 is a more precise term for that type of state decoration. Medals may also be created for sale to commemorate particular individuals or events, or as works of artistic expression in their own right. In the past medals commissioned for an individual, typically with his portrait, were often used as a form of diplomatic or personal gift, with no sense of being an award for the conduct of the recipient.
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