Sixtus IV, Pope 1471-1484
Muntoni 13; Berman 450, PCGS graded AU-53
Rome. SIXTVS IIII PONT MAX VRBE REST, bust of Sixtus IV left. Reverse: PVBLICAE VTILITATI, Papal arms in quadrilobe.
Pope Sixtus IV spent much of his reign engaged in political and military conflicts, most of which ended unsatisfactorily. A naval crusade declared against the Ottoman Empire managed to capture the port of Smyrna, but then evaporated. Closer to home, in 1482, he encouraged the Venetians to attack Ferrara with the intention of granting it to a nephew. When this conflict drew the ire of Milan, Florence and the King of Naples, the Pope was forced to desist and cynically placed a papal interdict on the Venetians for their violence. Nevertheless, Pope Sixtus IV was a patron of the arts at the dawn of the Italian Renaissance and can count the building of the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Archives among his notable achievements.