Papacy

Clement VII, Pope 1523-1534

Muntoni 122; Berman 892, PCGS graded AU-53

Piacenza. CLEMENS VII P M PLAC D, bust of Pope Clement VII left. Reverse: S ANTONIV CVSTOS, St. Antonius riding right, shield below.

Pope Clement VII began his reign hoping to unite Christian Europe, but he was largely thwarted by events. He inherited both Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation and a sweeping conflict between France and the Holy Roman Empire for dominance in Italy, which trapped the Pope between the two great European powers. In 1527 he found himself imprisoned and suffered the sacking of Rome by the Emperor’s unpaid mercenary army. He was subsequently left with little choice but to ally himself with Charles V. His reign was also made difficult by the serial monogramy of Henry VIII of England, whom Clement VII finally excommunicated after he refused to abide by the decision not to annul the king’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. This event sparked the beginning of the English Reformation.