Urban VI, Pope 1378-1389
Muntoni 1; Berman 221, PCGS graded VF Details
Avignon. VRB’ PP SESTVS, mitre. Reverse: + SAnT’ PET E PAVL, cross with crossed keys in opposing angles.
In response to the demands of the Roman mob, Bartolomeo Prignano ascended the Throne of St. Peter as Pope Urban VI. Unfortunately, he immediately offended many of the cardinals by challenging their luxurious lifestyles and demanding that their work in the Church should be carried on without self-enrichment. Insistence that he would never remove to Avignon further alienated the French cardinals who elected Robert of Geneva to be a rival. Under the throne name of Clement VII, the French Antipope excommunicated Pope Urban VI. This disaster, which divided the rulers of Europe and their people between Rome and Avignon became known as the Western Schism and did not reach a satisfactory conclusion until 1417. Pope Urban VI was so poorly regarded that when St. Peter’s Basilica was renovated in the seventeenth century, his bones were almost discarded from his sarcophagus so that it could be used as a trough for watering horses. He was only saved by the timely intervention of the Vatican archivist Giacomo Grimaldi.