Papacy

Pius III, Pope 1503

Muntoni 1; Berman 551, PCGS graded AU-53

Rome. PIVS PAPA TERTIVS, arms of Pope Alexander VI within quadrilobe. Reverse: SANCTVS PETRVS ALMA ROMA, St. Peter fishing from a boat.

On September 22, 1503, Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini was elected to succeed Alexander VI as Pope Pius III in a compromise between the cardinals supported by the rival Italian noble houses of Borgia or Della Rovere. Pius III announced a program for his reign that included reform of Church administration and finances, peace within the Papal States with the great condottiere Cesare Borgia as Papal Gonfalonier—essentially the military muscle to enforce that peace. Unfortunately, after only 26 days he fell ill and died, apparently from an ulcer in his leg although some alleged that he had been poisoned by agents of Pandolfo Petrucci of Siena.