Sixtus V, Pope 1585-1590

Muntoni 96; Berman 1360, PCGS graded XF Details

Bologna. SIXTVS V PONT MAX, bust of Pope Sixtus V right. Reverse: HINC FIDES ET FORTITVDO, Felsina seated left on arms, holding pennant banner and Gospels; BONONIA in exergue.

Felice Piergentile was elected as Pope Sixtus V on April 24, 1585. Immediately upon taking his seat on the Throne of St. Peter, he sought revenge for the assassination of his nephew that had taken place when he was still a cardinal. He was apparently unfamiliar with the Christian concept of turning the other cheek. Much of his reign was spent in conflict with the Protestant rulers Queen Elizabeth I of England and Henry of Navarre (the future King Henry IV of France), both of whom he excommunicated. A grandiose building program in Rome intended to emphasize papal power was funded by a ruinous level of taxation while it abused the ancient monuments of the city, most notably Trajan’s column and the Septizodium. Having made himself almost universally hated by his subjects, Pope Sixtus V died of malarial fever on August 27, 1590.