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Italy, Rome, Beatus Innocentius XI (1676-1689, Benedetto Odescalchi) AR Piastra. Regnal year III (1678). INNOCEN XI PONT MAX A III, bust right, wearing camauro, mozzetta, and pallium / VENTI ET MARE OBEDIVNT EI (Christ rebuking the wind and the waves, Matthew 8:23-27), Christ, calming the storm, standing with apostles within capsizing galley under sail slightly left upon tempestuous sea; coat-of-arms below. Muntoni 43; CNI XVI, 25; Serafini 55-6; Berman 2093; Davenport 4089. 32.17gg, 45mm, 12h.

Extremely Fine. Rare.

Pope Innocent XI, (Benedetto Odescalchi) was born on May 16, 1611, into a family of minor nobility in Como, northern Italy. Early in his career within the Church Benedetto became known as a champion of the unfortunate; he was made a Cardinal-Deacon by Innocent X in 1645, and subsequently became legate to Ferrara, where he was sent to assist the people stricken with a severe famine. There, Pope Innocent X introduced him to the people as the ‘father of the poor’. As bishop of Novara from 1650, he spent all the revenues of his see to relieve the suffering of the poor and sick in his diocese. Strongly favoured to succeed Pope Clement IX after his death in 1669, Benedetto was rejected by the French government using the now abolished power of veto. Following the death of Clement X in 1676 however, Louis XIV of France reluctantly acquiesced to Benedetto’s candidacy, and he was chosen to succeed Clement X as Innocent XI, taking this name in honour of Pope Innocent X.

A firm proponent of reform, Innocent XI turned his attention to reducing the expenses of the Curia, passing strict ordinances to reduce nepotism, and by way of example to others he lived a frugal life, expecting those around him to follow suit. Seeking to raise moral standards among the general populace, he closed all of the theatres in Rome and famously suspended the Roman opera.

Innocent XI’s time as Pope was characterised by an antagonistic relationship with Louis XIV of France, whose absolutist and hegemonic intentions were at direct odds with Innocent XI’s efforts to ensure the primacy of the Church. More successful elsewhere in his foreign relations, Innocent XI was one of the chief proponents of the Holy League formed in 1864 that brought together the Papal States, Holy Roman Empire, Polish-Lithuanian Commonweath and the Venetian Republic (later also joined by the Tsardom of Russia in 1686) to oppose the Ottoman Empire in the Great Turkish War (1683-99), a war to which he contributed millions of scudi in financial support.

Innocent XI died on 12 August 1689, leaving behind a legacy as a Servant of God, for which Pope Innocent XII commenced a process of beatification. This was continued by Clement XI and XII, suspended through French influence in 1744 by Benedict XIV, but finally taken up again by Pope Pius XII, by whom he was beatified in 1956.

Italy, Rome, Beatus Innocentius XI (1676-1689, Benedetto Odescalchi) AR Piastra. (rxiv893)

Price: £2,456.00

  • US $3,238.73
  • EUR €2,755.14
  • AUD $4,141.55
  • CHF 3,191.08
  • CAD $4,089.49
  • (Rates for 23/10/2017)
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