Pope Gregory XIII

Pope Kneeling

Bronze, 58.6 mm Ø
By Bernardino Passero, 1582.
Obverse:  Bust of Gregory XIII facing right, with hand raised in benediction, wearing camauro and mozzetta. Around, GENERALI · COLLEG · SOCIETATIS · IESV · ROME · EXTRVCTO · ET · DOTATO . Smaller, and within the outer text, · GREGORIVS · X · III · AN · PON · X .
Reverse:  Gregory XIII kneeling in prayer facing left with head uplifted towards a figure of Jesus in clouds, who is gesturing to the building of the Roman College below, in front of which is a flock of sheep. On the ground in front of Gregory is the papal tiara; a pastoral staff lies in the foreground; behind him is a tree. Around, GREGORIO · PASTORI · OPTIMO · PATERNA · CARITATE · OVES · PASCENTI · . In smaller text, around the figure of Jesus, PASCE · OVES · MEAS .

Foundation medal for the new building for the Jesuit College in Rome.

The Jesuit College in Rome was originally established by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, on February 18, 1551. The school was raised to the rank of university when Pope Paul IV authorized it in 1556 to confer degrees in theology and philosophy. Over the years, it grew in enrollment and reached over a thousand students. Gregory XIII sought to give the college a better suitable, leading to the construction of a new edifice, as illustrated on the reverse of the medal. Great sums of money were spent on the project, which was largely supported financially by the pope himself. The Florentine architect Bartolomeo Ammannati was placed in charge of the project, and the work was overseen by the Jesuit Giuseppe Valeriano. The first stone was laid on January 11, 1582 at a ceremony which was celebrated by Cardinal Gustavillani. Work proceeded quickly, and the college was operating in the building by 1584. Final completion however would not occur until after the death of Gregory. Due to his patronage, the college would become known as the Gregorian University.


ArtCoins Roma 7, 20-21 May 2013, lot 2510.


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