- the translation should be improved -
Pope Sixtus (Sisto) IV, 1471-1484
- Francesco della Rovere di Celle Ligure -
Sixtus IV comes from an impoverished family in Liguria. He later took the name of della Rovere and the oak tree as his coat of arms. He entered to the Franciscans at a young age, studied theology, and in 1464 became a general administrator of the Order. The Rethorically talented professor and preacher was elected Cardinal in 1467 and elected Pope in 1471.
As an upstart without influential relatives, he now sought to secure and expand the power and possessions of his family through corruption and unrestrained cousinism. He appointed six family members to cardinals, including his nephew Giuliano, the later Pope Julius II. Opposition was stifled in the bud, if necessary by violence. The waste and splendor of his pontificate was financed with constantly new taxes, a bloated indulgence and sales offices. At his death, the contemporaries were relieved. But Sixtus had made his name immortal by commissioning the artists of the Italian Renaissance to transform the inconspicuous Grand Chapel into a "Sixtine" chapel (1475-83).
Sixtus wrote numerous theological treatises and was an ardent advocate of the Immaculate Conception. In 1478 he confirmed the Inquisition, reintroduced by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain.
Grosso n. d., Rome. Ø 25 mm, 3,45 g. CNI XV p.293 n.64; Muntoni 14.
Obv.: ◦SIXTVS◦IIII◦PONTifex◦MAXimus◦VRBE◦RESTituta◦¤ "... on the restoration of the city".
bareheaded bust with Pluviale to the left.
Rev.: ◦PVBLICAE¤· - ·¤VTILITATI◦ "For the benefit of all."
In quatrefoil: Family Crest (oak tree), above crossed keys with strings and Tiara with Inful.
The flowers (¤) in the legend are the mark of the mint master Pier Paolo della Zecca.
Compare the contemporary painting by Justus van Gent, ca. 1473-75 in the Louvre.
Pope Alexander VI, 1492-1503
- Rodrigo de Borja -
3 fiorini di camera MD, Rome. Ø 33 mm, 10,3 g. CNI XV 309/2; Munt.3; Friedb.28a; Lev.VII-9.
Obv.: ◦ALEXANDER◦ - ◦VI◦PONT◦MAX◦
The coat of arms of the Borgia with papal insignia in oval quatrefoil.
Rev.: ◦IVSTIT◦PACIS◦Q◦CVLT◦AN◦IVBILE◦MD [MD=1500] - bust with pluviale to the left.
Commemorative coin of the Jubilee Year 1500, the first dated coin from Rome.
Silver medal 1500, unsigned, by G. Paladino. Ø 45 mm, 40,57 g. Modesti 175 (bronze).
On the closure of the Holy Door. Later strike c. 1664.
Obv.: ·ALESSANDRO·VI·PONT·MAX· - bust with pluviale to the left.
Rev.: RESERAVIT ET CLAVSIT ANN IVB "He opened and closed (the Holy Door) in the jubilee year"
The Pope lays the first stone to close the Holy Door, around Cardinals. In the section the date ·M·C·.
Pope Julius (Giulio) II, 1503-1513
- Giuliano della Rovere -
Giuliano della Rovere had already been appointed Cardinal in 1471 as a 18-year-old by his uncle Pope Sixtus IV, and had been provided with numerous bishoprics. When 1492 Julius enemy and rival Rodrigo Borgia was elected as Pope Alexander VI Julius was afraid of his life. In 1494 he left Italy and returned to Rome only after Alexander's death in 1503. In the same year he was elected as Pope. The votes of the 12 Spanish Cardinals, assured by Cesare Borgia, the son of Alexander VI, contributed to the election. However, the new pope did not keep his promise to leave Cesare the territories, he had received from Alexander VI. Cesare was disempowered and expelled from Italy.
Julius II sought to strengthen the territorial and political power of the church state. Some of the campaigns against apostate cities such as Bologna (ruled by Bentivoglio) and Perugia led the pope himself. He was named "il terribile" (the terrible) because of his fury. He also did not avoid wars, first against Venice (with the "League of Cambrai" under French participation) and immediately afterwards against France (with the "holy league" under Venetian participation).
King Louis XII of France attempted to undermine the ecclesiastical authority of the pope. Julius successfully counteracted with the otherwise insignificant Fifth Lateran Council of 1512.
Julius founded the Pontifical Swiss Guard in 1506 as a pontifical bodyguard for the protection of his person.
The art-loving Julius knew how to use art for his fame. He commissioned Bramante with the new building of St. Peter's, and in 1506 he laid the foundation stone. Michelangelo executed the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel (1508-12) and designed a colossal tomb (with the statue of Moses). He won Raphael for the painting of the private rooms of the Apostolic Palace (Raphael's Staves). With a transformation of Rome, Julius wanted to set a sign of his papal power and overtake Florence as a cultural center.
Doppio fiorino di camera n. d., Rome. Ø 26 mm, 6,60 g. CNI XV 318/3; Muntoni 4; Friedb.36.
double florin from the papal treasury ('di camera')Obv.: ·IVLIVS·II·LIGVR· - ·P·M· "Julius II, the Ligurian Pontifex Maximus."
bust tonsured to the right, slung Pluviale with two figures.
Rev.: ◦ NAVIS·AETERNAE·SALVTIS "Ship of eternal salvation"
In the boat: St. Peter with fishing net and St. Paul at the rudder.
Giulio (?) n. d., Bologna. Ø 27 mm, 3,82 g. CNI X 64/56; Muntoni 96.
Obv.: ·IVLIVS·II·P - ONTIFEX·MΛXIMVS - tonsured bust to the right.
Rev.: S·P·BONO· - NIΛ·DOCET· "St. Petronius, Bologna teaches"
Bologna city saint St. Petronius enthroned with crook and model of the city.
Below the coat of arms of the city of Bologna (3 lilies / cross).
The die engraver has spared the use of its own punch for the letter A.
Doppio giulio n. d., Rome. Ø 28 mm, 7,72 g. CNI XVp.324 n.46; Muntoni 19; Berman 565.
Bust tonsured bust to left, pluviale adorned with oak leaves, buckle with the heads of the two apostles.
Rev.: ◦+◦PAX RO - MANA◦+◦ "Roman peace" (see below)
quatrefoil with family crest (oak tree with leaves and acorns), above Petris crossed keys and tiara with inful.
Giulio n. d., Rome. Ø 28 mm, 3,87 g. CNI XV p.324 n.47; Muntoni 24.
Obv.: (oak branch with acorn and two leaves) IVLIVS◦II◦PONTIFEX◦MAXIMVS
Bare-headed and draped bust to right, wearing robes ornamented with oak leaves.
Rev.: LVMINARIA◦VERAE◦FIDEI◦Ψ / ROMA
Sts. Peter and Paul embracing each other; at bottom to right, Fugger symbol Ψ◦.
Compare the painting made by Raphael 1511-12 (106x78 cm, National Gallery, London).
Other versions of the painting are in the Uffizi (Florence) and the Städel (Frankfurt).
Pope Leo X, 1513-1521
- Giovanni de Medici -
Leo X (* 1475) was the second-born son of Lorenzo dei Medici il Magnifico, 'the Magnificent', and dedicated to the ecclesiastical career. His fast career started from a secret agreement between his father and Pope Innocent VIII (1484-92): Innocent wanted to marry his illegitimate son Franceschetto with Lorenzo's second daughter. In return, he had to appoint the 13-year-old Leo Cardinal, which was kept secret for 3 years.
Leo received a careful education. When the Medici rival Rodrigo Borgia became pope (Alexander VI 1494), Leo traveled traveled throughout northern Europe. Leo served his family and argued for pope Julius II in the papal army. In 1513 Pope Julius II died and Giovanni was elected pope. Before the now 37-year-old Leo X could be enthroned, he had to be ordained a priest.
Like his predecessors, Leo was also concerned about his political and financial advantage, as well as that of his family. But in contrast to his predecessor, the soldier-pope Julius II, he was peaceful and benevolent. Leo promoted science and teaching and made Rome a center for art and culture, by depleting the papal treasury.
In order to raise the financial resources for works of art and splendid buildings such as St. Peter's, Leo ordered in 1515 the dispensing of indulgences for money in the diocese of Mayence and the Brandenburg states, which was also to benefit Albrecht von Brandenburg, Archbishop of Magdeburg and Mayence. Leo underestimated response of Martin Luther calling for reforms of the Church (1517). He excommunicated Luther in 1521, but the Protestant Reformation spread in the north of Europe.
Leo X died in 1521 at the age of only 46 years of malaria.
2 ½ Ducati papali n. d., Rome. Ø 28 mm, 8,69 g. CNI XV p.349 n.1; Muntoni 1; Friedb.43.
Obv.: LEO·X·PONTIFEX·MAXIMVS· - tonsured bust to the left.
Rev.: LVX·VERA - IN·TENEBRIS·LVCET "The light of truth shines in the darkness"
The Three Wise Kings on horseback with gifts to the left, directed from comet.
Exergue: •ROMA• / Trident (sign of the bank Fugger, leaseholder of the mint).
The Fugger-mark allows the dating to the first two years of the pontificate.
Compare the contemporary paintings made by Raphael 1518-19 with the cardinals Giulio de Medici, the future Clement VII (left) and Luigi de Rossi. Oil on wood 154x119 cm, Uffizi, Florence and a detail of it.
Quarto di ducato, Rome. Ø 33 mm, 9,76 g. CNI XV p.355 n.54; Muntoni 18/1; Berman 636.
This is not a Testone of 3 Giulio, a later nominal, but a 1/4 Ducato worth 2½ Giulio.
Obv.: ◦LEO◦DECIMVS◦PONTIF◦MAXIMVSஃ - tonsured bust left.
Rev.: ·PACEM·MEAM(Ψ⃚) - DO·VOBIS·· "My peace I give to you"
The sign Ψ⃚ - a Trident with circle - represents Fugger as mint master.
Standing Christ with Cross blesses the kneeling Apostles, forward Peter with keys. Exergue: ·ROMA·
Mezzo bianco (?), Bologna. Ø 27 mm, 3,55 g. CNI X p.74 n.21; Muntoni 111; Berman 692.
This coin is too light to be a Bianco.
Obv.: LEO·X·PONTIFEX·MΛXIMVS· - tonsured bust right.
Rev.: BONONIΛ·MΛTER·STVDIORVM - rising lion with fluttering flag stepes left,
At the edge the coat of arms of Cardinal Giulio de Medici with cardinal's hat above.
Giulio 1515, Parma. Ø 27 mm, 3,77 g. CNI IX p.413 n.4, pl.27/16; Muntoni 131-135.
Obv.: LEO¤X¤PONMAX¤ - tonsured bust with pluviale to the left.
Rev.: DOMINVS - PARMAE - Medici coat of arms beneath of crossed keys and triple tiara with inful.
The date 1515 next to the coat of arms.
Giulio n. d., Parma. Ø 27 mm, 3,82 g. CNI IX p.413 n.5; Munt.136; MIR 693/3.
Obv.: LEO✴X✴PON✴✴MAX✴ - Bust with tonsure to the left and pluviale.
Rev.: DOMINVS - PARMAE - Medici coat of arms under crossed keys as before, but without date.
Ducato n.d., Modena. Ø 23 mm, 3,41 g. CNI IX p.195 n.4; Muntoni 130; Friedb.404.
Obv.: ·LEO·X·PONTIFEX - ·MAXIMVS·
Rev.: ·S·GEMINI✽ - ✽MVT·PONT·I·
The city saint thrones with city model, at his feet the Medici coat of arms with cardinal hat and cords.
Outsider in Rome, the Dutch Pope Adrian VI, 1522-1523
Pope Clement VII, 1523-1534
- Giulio de Medici -
Clement VII (*1478) was born as Giulio de Medici. He was a nephew of Lorenzo il Magnifico and a cousin of Pope Leo X, who made him archbishop of Florence in 1513, and soon afterwards a cardinal. Clemens tried to become pope after the death of Leo X, but he had to wait two years to succeed pope Adrian VI.
As a cardinal he was imperial minded, after the election as pope he became indecisive and turned to support France. The victory of the imperial troops in 1527 followed the "Sacco di Roma", Rome's plunder, and a 7-month arrest of the pope at the Castel Sant'Angelo. The Peace of Barcelona (1529) led to the imperial coronation of Charles V (1530) in Bologna. At Clement's request, the emperor supported the recovery of Florence for Clements nephew (or son) , Alessandro de Medici. Clement had no insight for the Protestant movement in Germany. He was neither ready to take measures for a Catholic reform of the Church, nor to cooperate with the Emperor in the council question. But he took heed to Charles V, when King Henry VIII wanted to divorce from Catherine of Aragón, an aunt of the emperor, and refused the request of the English king.
Ducato, Modena. Ø 23 mm, 3,42 g. CNI IX p.197 n.1; Muntoni 111; Berm.882; Friedb.406.
Beardless bust with pluvial to the left; on the breast a medallion with the heads of Peter and Paul.
Rev.: ◦S◦GEMinianus◦MVT - INENsis◦EPiscopuS◦ "St. Geminianus, bishop of Modena (lat. Mutina)"
Modena city saint St. Geminianus thrones with blessing hand, crosier and mitra.
Below two coats of arms: Cardinal Salviati (Medici / Salviati with hat over it) and Modena (cross).
Giulio ?, Modena. Ø 27 mm, 3,90 g. CNI IX p.198 n.12; Muntoni 112; Berman 884.
Obv.: ·CLEMENS·VII·PONT·MAX· - beardless bust with decorated pluvial.
Rev.: ·MVTIN - ENSES· "from Modena"
Medici coat of arms (6 pills) between the emblems of Cardinal Salviati and the city of Modena (cross);
above the papal insignia.
Doppio carlino, Rome. Ø 28 mm, 5,50 g. CNI XV 386/61; Muntoni 44; Berman 841.
Dies from Benvenuto Cellini
Obv.: (branch) CLEMENS·VII·PONTifex·MAXimus
Bar-headed bust, pluvial ornamented with tendrils.
Rev.: x QVARE – DVBITASTI "Why did you doubt?" says Jesus to Peter.
Jesus walks over the water and lifts Peter, half-sunken, over the waves.
The x (crossed paws?) at the shoulder of Peter is the mintmark of Giacomo Balducci.
Quarto di ducato (1525), Rome. Ø 31 mm, 9,72 g. CNI XV p.379 n.28; Munt.28; Berm.837.
CNI calls this coin a triple Giulio. (1 ducato = 12 giulio)
Obv.: ·CLEMENS·VII·PONTIFEX·MAX· - Beardless effigy with pluvial to the left.
Rev.: closed Holy Door between statues of Saints Peter and Paul in niches.
Exergue: ·IVSTI·INTRA / RVNT·IN / ·EAM· = Iusti Intrabunt Per Eam
"The righteous will enter through it"
Quarto di ducato, Rome. Ø 32 mm, 8,80 g. CNI XV p.385 n.56; Munt.29.1; Berm.838.
Obv.: ·CLEMENS·VII·PONTIF·MAX· - short-bearded bust simply dressed to the left.
Rev.: ·MISIT·Domin·ANGelum·SVVM· - ·LIBERAV· - ·ME
"The Lord has sent his angel and set me free" - St. Peter freed from an angel.
Giglio, Rome. Ø 28 mm, 3,79 g. CNI XV p.385 n.56; Munt.48; Berm.843.
Obv.: ·CLEMENS·VII· - PONT·MAX· - Bearded bust left, pluvial decorated with two figures.
Rev.: ·MISIT·DOMIN - ANGelum SVVM "The Lord has sent his angle"
St. Peter freed from an angel. Exergue: ROMA & crossed paws, the mint mark of Giacomo Balducci.
Bianco (o Leone o Gilio), Bologna. Ø 27 mm, 4,01 g. CNI 31; Munt.107; Berm.877.
·CLEM·VII·PONT·MAX· // ·BONONIA·MATER·STVDIORVM·
Pope Paul III, 1534-1549
- Alessandro Farnese -
He was born in 1468 as Alessandro Farnese. His sister Giulia was mistress of Pope Alexander VI, a useful circumstance for his career. 25-years old, he became a cardinal. As a pope he waved to and fro between Charles V and Francis I, always striving to promote his family. His son, Pier Luigi, obtained the church owned Parma and Piacenza as hereditary duchy. The grandson Ottavio married Charles's daughter Margarete (from Parma). Paul III installed the Council of Trent (1545-63), which had been demanded by Charles V long before, in order to reintegrate the Protestants. Paul also supported the Emperor against the Schmalkaldian League, but only until the victory of 1547. Thereafter, the Council was postponed and suspended in 1549. Paul III supported the young Jesuit Order and the Counter-Reformation. He was the last great art patron of the Renaissance.
Doppio fiorino di camera, Rom. Ø 25 mm, 6,84 g. CNI XV p.405 n.37; Muntoni 2; Friedb.62.
Obv.: PAVLVS III PONT MAX - Bearded bust to the left; pluvial with a saint image.
Rev.: ·SANCTVS·PETRVS - (mk) - ALMA·ROMA - St. Peter with net on the boat.
(mk) = mark (crossed paws?) of mint master Giacomo Balducci.
Testone anno XII, Rome. Ø 29 mm, 9,88 g. CNI XV - [see: p.400 n.1-7]; Muntoni 33var; Berman 907var.
Obv.: ·PAVLVS·III·PONT·MAX - Effigy with pluvial; behind: mint master's mark; below:·AN·XII·
Rev.: ·TV AVTEM IDEM IPSE ES· "But you remain as you are" [Psalm 101:28]
Jesus stands on a pedestal between six scholars (Pharisees).
Exergue: ·ALMA ROMA· / ·(lion head)·.
Bianco n. d., Bologna. Ø 30 mm, ca.5,4 g. CNI X p.87 n.22ff; Muntoni 103.
Obv.: ·PΛVLVS·III·PONT·MΛX· - effigy with decorated pluvial to the right.
There are many variants for the decoration of the pluvial - rosettes, arabesques and foliage.
Rev.: ·BONONIΛ·MΛTER·STVDIORVM· "Bologna, mother of scientific activity"
Rising lion with waving banner, here without cardinal's coat of arms.
The engraver of Bologna came out without a own punch for the letter A, as seen above.
2/3 Paolo n. d., Bologna. Ø 27 mm, 3,7 g. CNI X p.89 n.40; Muntoni 105.
This coin is too light to be considered a Paolo.
Obv.: ·PAVLVS·III·PONT·MAX· - Effigy to the right in the decorated pluvial.
Rev.: ·BONONIA· - ·DOCET· "Bologna teaches."
Coat of arms of the city of Bologna (3 lilies, cross and "LIBERTAS") decorated with lilies
and foliage at the top and bottom.
Compare the contemporary paintings by Tizian, about 1543 (Oil on canvas, 108x80cm, Naples).
Pope Julius (Giulio) III, 1550-1555
- Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte -
Julius (*1487) studied secular and church law and served Pope Julius II as an administrative expert and chamberlain. Paul III appointed him Cardinal in 1536. After Pauls death in 1550, a 70-day conclave was needed for the election of Julius as pope.
Julius had prepared the Council of Trent and guided it in 1545-47, also during the transfer to Bologna 1547-48. He was aware of the need for Catholic reform. As pope he arranged the continuation of the Council in 1551-52 and the relocation to Trient. It turns out that he was too weak to prevail in the dispute between the Emperor and King Henry II of France. Since then he behaved politically passive and led a luxurious and indolent life at Villa Julia.
Like his predecessors, Julius used nepotism to secure and expand his power. This included the office of the Cardinal-nephew, which Pope Paul III officially introduced as a key position. The office was not abolished until 1692. Julius triggered a scandal when he occupied this office with his lover, a former street boy.
Julius supported the Jesuits and confirmed their Order. He founded the priestly seminary "Collegium Germanicum" in 1552, in order to train fearless believers for breakaway regions of Germany. During his pontificate, Maria Tudor restored Catholicism to the English state religion (1553).
Fiorino di camera, A.II., Rome. Ø 18 mm, 3,38 g. CNI XV p.429 n.42; Muntoni 1; Friedb.66.
IVLIVS·III·Pontifex·Maximus·ANno·II // ·Sanctus·PETRVS·ALma·Roma
Giulio, Anno II, Rom. Ø 28 mm, 3,24 g. CNI XV p.430 n.55; Muntoni 16; Berm.992.
Obv.: ·IVLIVS·III - ·P·M·Anno·II - Bust with tonsure and Pluvial to the left.
Rev.: OMNIA·TVTA· - ·VIDES / ROMA "He sees everything"
Roma as a legionary in armor sits to the left on a rock and holds a laurel wreath.
At the foot the mint master sign AC (Bartolomeo Canobio).
Doppio bolognino, Bologna. Ø 20 mm, 1,88 g. CNI X p.95 n.25; Muntoni 71; Berman 1023.
Obv.: ·IVLIVS·III·PONT·MAX· - Brust to the right.
On the Pluvial a medallion with "3 mountains" from the coat of arms of the del Monte family.
Rev.: ·S·PETRONI - VS·DE·BOnonia - · - Standing St. Petronius with crumple bar and city model.
1/4 Ducato AN III (1552/53), Rom. Ø 28 mm, 7,96 g. CNI XV p.431 n.66; Muntoni 7; Berm.986.
Obv.: IVLIVS·III - PONT·M·AN·III - effigy with tiara and pluvial to the right.
Rev.: In the laurel wreath: GENS ET / REGNVM / QVOD NON / SERVIERIT / TIBI / PERIBIT
"People and kingdom who do not serve you shall perish"
below: mint masters sign AC.
Medal 1554, Rom. Ø 48 mm, 46,54 g. Lawrence 96; Eimer 31b (this piece); MI 70/15.
by Giovanni da Cavino, on the return of England to the Catholic Church under Queen Mary.
Obv.: IVLIVS TERTIVS - ·PONT·MAX·A·V·
Rev.: ANGLIA RESVRGES "England, may you rise again ..."
The Pope shakes hands with kneeling personification of England; behind her lie bow and quiver.
Cardinal Pole and emperor Charles V behind them. On the right Philip II and Queen Mary face to face.
Exergue: VT NVNC / NOVISSIMO / DIE "... now as on the Last day"
Look at the oil painting (by the circle of Girolamo Siciolante, 105x86cm), Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Pope Paul IV, 1555-1559
- Gianpietro Carafa -
Paul (*1476) owed his ascent to familiar relationship, particularly the Cardinals Oliviero Carafa and Alessandro Carafa the younger. He was co-founder of the Order of Theatins. In 1518 he became Archbishop of Brindisi and Archbishop of Naples in 1549. Paul was also a member of a Reformation Council, the "consilium de emendanda ecclesia". Politically, Paul led strained relations with the Habsburgs, based on personal dislike of Charles V. In order to reduce the Habsburg influence in Spain, the Pope came to a military alliance with King Henry II of France in 1555. Subsequently Duke Fernando Alba attacked the Papal States and Paul had to sign a peace treaty in 1557.
Paul IV refused the Augsburg religious peace of 1555 between Protestants and Catholics, as well as a continuation of the Council of Trent, since he wanted to carry out reforms by himself and not until after a Council had decided. Within the Church, Paul strongly suppressed deviants and made the Inquisition the most important authority in Rome. He also took measures against Jews in Rome. Under Paul IV nepotism experienced a "flowering" until he realized the power of his nephews, which he had promoted, and banished them from Rome.
Bianco n. d., Bologna. Ø 29 mm, 4,88 g. CNI X p.99 n.8; Muntoni 49; Berman 1048.
Obv.: ·PAVLVS·IIII·PONT·MAX· - Bust right with decorated pluvial.
Rev.: ·BONONIA·MATER·STVDIORVM "Bologna, mother of scientific activity"
Bronze medal, An V. Ø 24 mm, 6,61 g. Mazio 81; Lincoln 580.
Obv.: ·PAVLVS·IIII·PONT·MAX·AN·V· - Bust right with decorated pluvial.
Rev.: BEATI·QVI·CVSTODIVNT·VIAS·MEAS "Blessed are they who guard my ways" (Psalm 17:22)
Draped and haloed bust Jesus left. - Die crack on reverse.
• Muntoni, Francesco: Le monete dei papi e degli Stati Pontifici, 4 vol.: vol.1: da Adriano I a
Paolo VI (772-1559). Roma, 1972-73
• Berman, Allen: Papal Coins, Attic Books, New York, 1991
• Friedberg, A. & I.: Cold Coins of the World, 8th ed. (2009)
• Corpus Nummorum Italicorum [CNI], Indici vol. I-XX : Rome (vol.XV), Bologna (vol.X), Modena (vol.IX), ...
• Levinson, R.: The Early Dated Coins of Europe, 1234-1500, 2007. _ Google excerpt