Clement V, Pope 1305-1314
Muntoni 1; Berman 168, PCGS graded VF Details
Pont de Sorgues. + CLEmEns: PAPA: QVInTVS, mitred bust of Pope Clement V facing, rasing hand in benediction and holding cruciform scepter. Reverse: +AGIm: TIBI: GRA: OmnIPOTEnS DE / (crossed keys) COmIT: VEnASInI, cross.
Raymond Bertrand de Got was elected as Pope Clement V after a long deadlock between French and Italian cardinals in 1305. Closely bound to the interests of the French king Philip IV, he is notorious for his repression of the Knights Templar so their banking empire could be expropriated by the monarch and for his removal of the Curia from Rome, first to Poitiers and then to Avignon. His reign marked the beginning of the long Avignon Papacy, which continued until 1377 and was characterized by Petrarch as the “Babylonian Captivity.” According to hostile tradition, after the death of Clement V, the church where his body lay in state was struck by lightning, thereby incinerating it. The implied divine indictment of his reign is unmistakable.