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Map of Italy in 1499

Giovanni II Bentivoglio in Bologna 1463-1506
The family of Bentivoglio played a leading role in the history of Bologna.
Giovanni II Bentivoglio became successor of his cousin Sante Bentivoglio as "first citizen" at the top of the city in 1463, being 20 years old. He had no official title, because the city belonged to the Papal State. The "first citizen" required the consent of the legate of the Papal State, in oder to rule domestic affairs of the city. He married Ginevra Sforza, the young widow of his predecessor. He was a clever diplomat with good relations with the mighty persons in Italy. People loved him because the luxury at his court gave many people an income.
However the support for Giovanni's rule in Bologna diminished and Pope Julius II supported by a French army sieged Bologna in 1506. Bentivoglio surrendered to the French commander, who gave him and his family safe escort to Milan. Fearing looting, Bolognas envoys handed over their city to the pope, who, as a victor, was able to enter the town under a purple sky, while the soldiers were repulsed. Bologna remained fully in the power of the Papal States since then. Giovanni II Bentivoglio died in Milan in 1508 in the custody of King Louis XII. Bentivoglios Palace in Bologna was destroyed by the mob in 1507.


Doppio Ducato, Bologna, after 1494.    Ø 27 mm, 6,94 g.  CNI IV p.2 n.3; MR I p.19 n.2; Friedb.59.
Dies from goldsmith and painter Francesco Francia.

Obv.:   ·IOANNES·BENTIV - OLVS·II·BONONIENSIS
effigy with beret to the right, ear looks out of the long hair.
Rev.:   MAXIMILIANI - IMPERAtoris·MVNVS   "In the service of emperor Maximilian"
Shield with four fields (imperial eagle / Bentivoglios coat of arms), crowned helmet and eagle.
Bentivoglio coined in Bologna in the name of the reigning pope, as well as in the name of the city using images of the standing lion and Saint Petronius of Bologna. The above coinage is an exception.
On 9 October 1494, Emperor Maximilian I granted Giovanni the title of a Palatinate Count and the privileges of using the imperial eagle in his coat of arms, as well as to mint in the name of the emperor. Giovanni II began to issue coins with his own portrait and his increased coat of arms in 1495. But the coins could not be directly related to the city of Bologna, because Bologna was part of the Papal State. Thus the city name was attached as an adjective to Giovanni's name.
For a long time, Bentivoglios personal coins were assumed to have been minted outside of Bologna. CNI wrongly assumed the mint to be in Antignate.

Compare the oil painting of Giovanni II Bentivoglio, made around 1480 by Ercole de'Roberti, 54x38 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington, USA. The ear looks more subtly out of the long hair. The cap does not cover the forehead, as on the coin.

Ref.:
• Bollettino di Numismatica on-line No.13: La zecca di Bologna III: 1464-1506 : Stato della Chiesa -
  Signoria dei Bentivoglio.
• Corpus Nummorum Italicorum [CNI], vol. IV (Bentivoglio -> Antignate).   -   Indice vol. IV
• Ravegnani Morosini, M. [MR]: Signorie e principati - monete italiane con ritratto, 1450-1796. Vol.1, 1984
• Varesi, Alberto [MIR]: Monete Italiane Regionali (MIR-3) - Emilia. Ed. Varesi, 1996.

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