101738 | ITALY. Pope Pius IX/Basilica of San Lorenzo bronze Medal.
101738 | ITALY. Pope Pius IX/Basilica of San Lorenzo bronze Medal. Issued Year XXVIII (1873/4). Commemorating the restoration of the Basilica (43mm, 37.35 g, 12h). By G. Bianchi.
PIVS IX PONT MAX AN XXVIII, bust left, wearing zucchetto, mantum, and pallium / Interior view of the nave, from a vantage point to the left of center; in two lines in exergue, BASIL S LAVRENTII M / REST ET ORN. Edge: Plain.
Bartolotti E 873; Rinaldi 67. Mint State. Rich brown surfaces, with some light rub and a few fresher marks near the legend on the obverse, but also great underlying brilliance. Tremendous detail on the reverse.
Architecture in general plays a heavy role in the medallic art of Pius IX, given the number of restorations done to religious edifices during his rather lengthy reign. He presided over the longest verified papal reign in history, serving as pope from 1846 to 1878, and also saw the loss of papal dominion over the states (parts of central mainland Italy) to which it laid claim for centuries. Following Italian unification under the King of Sardegna (Sardinia), Vittorio Emanuele II, the peninsula began to coalesce under a single regnum, leaving the rule of Pius in question. When Rome fell, then taking a new role as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, Pius became trapped, literally and figuratively, and considered himself a prisoner in the Vatican—a standoff between the papacy and the kingdom that would last for nearly 60 years. In 1929, and brokered by then-Pope Pius XI and leader of the Fascist Party, Benito Mussolini, the Lateran Treaty ended the longstanding feud between the two factions over the sovereignty of the papacy within the kingdom. The treaty gave the Vatican City to the papacy—a separate city-state headed by the pope within the city of Rome itself—as well as compensation to the papacy by the Italian government for the loss of the territory within the papal states.
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