Pius II, Pope 1458-1464
Muntoni 6; Berman 362, PCGS graded AU-58
Rome. + PIVS PAPA SECVNDVS, tiara above arms of Pope Pius II within quadrilobe. Reverse: + S PETRVS ALMA ROMA, St. Peter standing facing, holding keys and Gospels, within quadrilobe.
Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini was elected as Pope Pius II on August 19, 1458. He had been expected to be a very liberal pope of rather lax morals due to his previous life as an impoverished gentleman who had had some involvement in support for the Conciliar Movement and the creation of Antipope Felix IV. However, after assuming the papal tiara, Pope Pius II showed great concern over the advance of the Ottoman Empire, using his influence to call for a Crusade and even going so far as to write a letter to Sultan Mehmet II inviting him to become a Christian. The letter was a complete failure and the Crusade received only lukewarm response except from the Holy Roman Emperor and the King of Hungary. In order to embolden the crusaders and despite the onset of fever, Pope Pius II took up the cross himself and traveled to Ancona in order the lead the army in person. From his sickbed at Ancona he could only watch as the army gradually dissipated for lack of naval transportation. He died on August 14, 1464, two days after the Venetian fleet finally arrived to no purpose.