Paul II, Pope 1464-1471
Muntoni 16; Berman 401, PCGS graded MS-64
Rome. PAVLVS PP SECVNDVS, arms of Pope Paul II within quadrilobe. Reverse: + S PAVLVS S PETRVS, ROMA, SS. Peter and Paul standing facing, Peter holding cross and Gospels, Paul holding sword and Gospels.
Pietro Barbo was elected Pope Paul II with a variety of requirements imposed by the College of Cardinals: He was to continue to support Venice in its ongoing war with the Ottoman Empire; he could not create more than 24 cardinals—all of which needed approval from the College; and he was to convene an ecumenical council. The new pope ignored most of these requirements almost immediately and attempted to establish himself as an absolute monarch in the Papal States, frequently appointing cardinals in secret in order to strengthen his position. Pope Paul II was also strongly opposed to the developments of the early Renaissance and in 1466 moved to abolish the College of Abbreviators, which had customarily included humanist poets and rhetoricians within its ranks. When some abbreviators, like Bartolomeo Plana, challenged this decision they were arrested for holding pagan beliefs and put to torture.