Clement VI, Pope 1342-1352

Muntoni 2; Berman 183, PCGS graded MS-62

Pont de Sourges. CLEMES PP SEXT, half-length figure of Pope Clement VI facing, raising hand in benediction and holding cruciform scepter. Reverse: + AGIMVS: TIBI: GRAS: ONIPOTES: DEV. / + COMES VEnESI, cross pattée.

The College of Cardinals elected Pierre Roger as Pope Clement VI in Avignon on May 7, 1342. Despite the invitation of the Roman people, Pope Clement VI remained close to French royal interests and refused to return, instead purchasing the right of sovereignty over Avignon instead. He had the distinct misfortune of reigning when the Black Death first struck Europe in 1347-1350. So many died from this plague in southern France that the towns and villages ran out of cemeteries in which to bury the corpses. Pope Clement VI solved this terrible problem by consecrating the entirety of the Rhone River so that the bodies could be thrown into it.