1585, Papal States, Vatican, Gregory XIII. Silver Testone (30 Baiocchi) Coin. Ancona mint!
Condition: VF Mint Place: Ancona Mint Period: 1572-1585 References: Berman 1224. Denomination: Testone (30 Baiocchi) Diameter: 29mm Weight: 9.36gm Material: Silver
Reverse: Standing togate figure of Saint Petrus, holding large key on a band in left hand. Legend: S : PE - TRVS : <> ANCON - ONA <> Obverse: Papal Tiara (crown) above keys in saltire and oval coat-of-arms of the Pope. Legend: GREGORIVS . - . XIII . PONT . M .
Pope Gregory XIII (7 January 1502 – 10 April 1585), born Ugo Boncompagni, was Pope from 1572 to 1585. He is best known for commissioning and being the namesake for the Gregorian calendar, which remains the internationally-accepted civil calendar to this date.
He was born the son of Cristoforo Boncompagni (10 July 1470 – 1546) and wife Angela Marescalchi and paternal grandson of Giacomo Boncompagni and wife Camilla Piattesi, where he studied law and graduated in 1530. Afterwards, he taught jurisprudence for some years; his students included notable figures such as Cardinals Alexander Farnese, Reginald Pole and Charles Borromeo. He had an illegitimate son before he took holy orders.
At the age of thirty-six he was summoned to Rome by Pope Paul III (1534–1549), under whom he held successive appointments as first judge of the capital, abbreviator, and vice-chancellor of the Campagna; by Pope Paul IV (1555–1559) he was attached as datarius to the suite of Cardinal Carlo Carafa; and by Pope Pius IV (1559–1565) he was created Cardinal-Priest of San Sisto Vecchio and sent to the Council of Trent.
He also served as a legate to Philip II of Spain (1556–1598), being sent by the Pope to investigate the Cardinal of Toledo. It was here that he formed a lasting and close relationship with the Spanish King, which was to become very important during his foreign policy as Pope.
Upon the death of Pope Pius V (1566–1572), the conclave chose Cardinal Boncompagni, who assumed the name of Gregory XIII, in homage to the great reforming Pope, Gregory I (590–604), surnamed the Great. It was a very brief conclave, lasting less than 24 hours, presumed by many historians to have been due to the influence and backing of the Spanish King. His character seemed to be perfect for the needs of the church at the time. Unlike some of his predecessors, Gregory XIII was to lead a faultless personal life, becoming a model for his simplicity of life. Additionally, his legal brilliance and management abilities meant that he was able to respond and deal with the major problems quickly and decisively, although not always successfully.
Once in the chair of Saint Peter, Gregory XIII's rather worldly concerns became secondary and he dedicated himself to reform of the Catholic Church. He committed himself to putting into practice the recommendations of the Council of Trent. He allowed no exceptions for cardinals to the rule that bishops must take up residence in their sees, and designated a committee to update the Index of Forbidden Books. A new and greatly improved edition of the Corpus juris canonici was also due to his concerned patronage. In a time of considerable centralisation of power, Gregory XIII abolished the Cardinals Consistories, replacing them with Colleges, and appointing specific tasks for these colleges to work on. He was renowned for having a fierce independence; with the few confidants noting there were interventions that were not always welcomed nor advice sought for. The power of the papacy increased under him, whereas the influence and power of the cardinals substantially decreased.
A central part of the strategy of Gregory XIII's reform was to apply the recommendations of Trent. He was a liberal patron of the recently formed Society of Jesus throughout Europe, for which he founded many new colleges. The Roman College, of the Jesuits, grew substantially under his patronage, and became the most important centre of learning in Europe for a time, a University of the Nations. It is now named the Pontifical Gregorian University. Pope Gregory XIII also founded numerous seminaries for training priests, beginning with the German College at Rome, and put them in the charge of the Jesuits.
In 1575 he gave official status to the Congregation of the Oratory, a community of priests without vows, dedicated to prayer and preaching (founded by Saint Filippo Neri). In 1580 he commissioned artists, including Ignazio Danti, to complete works to decorate the Vatican and commissioned The Gallery of Maps.
hough he expressed the conventional fears of the danger from the Turks, Gregory XIII's attentions were more consistently directed to the dangers from the Protestants. He also encouraged the plans of Phillip II to dethrone Elizabeth I of England (reigned from 1558–1603), thus helping to develop an atmosphere of subversion and imminent danger among English Protestants, who looked on any Roman Catholic as a potential traitor.
In 1578, to further the plans of exiled English and Irish Catholics such as Nicholas Sanders, William Allen, and James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald, Gregory outfitted adventurer Thomas Stukeley with a ship and an army of 800 men to land in Ireland to aid in the hope for overthrow of Elizabeth's rule through the Catholic leader and former leader of the first Desmond rebellion, Fitzmaurice. To his dismay, Stukeley joined his forces with those of King Sebastian of Portugal against Emperor Abdul Malik of Morocco instead.
Another papal expedition sailed to Ireland in 1579 with a mere 50 soldiers under the command of Fitzmaurice, accompanied by Sanders as papal legate. The resulting Second Desmond Rebellion was equally unsuccessful. Gregory's greatest success came in his patronage of colleges and seminaries which he founded on the Continent for the Irish and English, among others.
In 1580 he was persuaded by English Jesuits to moderate or suspend the Bull Regnans in Excelsis (1570) which had excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I of England. Catholics were advised to obey the queen outwardly in all civil matters, until such time as a suitable opportunity presented itself for her overthrow.
Pope Gregory XIII had no connection with the plot of Henry, Duke of Guise, and his brother, Charles, Duke of Mayenne, to assassinate Elizabeth I in 1582.
After the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacres of Huguenots in France in 1572, Pope Gregory celebrated a Te Deum mass. However, some hold that he was ignorant of the nature of the plot at the time, having been told the Huguenots had tried to take over the government but failed. Three frescoes in the Sala Regia Palace of the Vatican depicting the events were painted by Giorgio Vasari, and a commemorative medal was issued with Gregory's portrait and on the obverse a chastising angel, sword in hand and the legend UGONOTTORUM STRAGES ("Massacre of the Huguenots").
In Rome Gregory XIII built the magnificent Gregorian chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter, and extended the Quirinal Palace in 1580. He also turned the Baths of Diocletian into a granary in 1575.
He appointed his illegitimate son Giacomo, born to his mistress at Bologna before his papacy, castellan of Sant'Angelo and Gonfalonier of the Church; Venice, anxious to please, enrolled him among its nobles. Philip II of Spain appointed him general in his army. Gregory also helped his son to become a powerful feudatary through the acquisition of the Duchy of Sora, on the border between the Papal States and the Kingdom of Naples.
In order to raise funds for these and similar objects, he confiscated a large proportion of the houses and properties throughout the states of the Church. This measure enriched his treasury for a time, but alienated a great body of the nobility and gentry, revived old factions, and created new ones. Gregory XIII died on 10 April 1585.
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