Historical and Commemorative Medals
 Collection of Benjamin Weiss

PYRAMID CONSTRUCTED AS MEMORIAL TO CORSICAN GUARD INCIDENT

MAUGER, Jean: France, 1664, Bronze, 41 mm
Obv: Bust of Louis XIV (right)     LUDOVICVS XIIII. REX CHRISTIANISS.
Rev: Roma, in the figure of a woman, holding a javelin and shield, seated next to pedestal upon which rests a pyramid erected as a memorial to the Corsican Guard Incident.     OB NEF. SCELUS A CORSIS EDIT. IN ORAT. REG. FR.
Exergue:  M.DC.LXIV.
Signed:  I. MAVGER. F.
Ref: Divo 38/77; Boudeau 204

The accession of Louis XIV (1661) ushered in a new era in the history of France. He was young, headstrong, anxious to extend the territories of France, and determined to assert his own supreme authority, including that over papal claims. This attitude led inevitably to friction with the Papal States, resulting in the so-called Corsican Guard Incident.
The Corsican Guard was the personal guard for the pope, formed by Pope Clement VIII in 1603. Unfortunately, the Corsicans were rather intemperate, and in 1662, as a result of an insult to Pope Alexander VII by the Duke du Crequi, the French ambassador to the Papal States, the Corsican Guard led an attack against the French ambassador's Guard in Rome, leading to several deaths. This created an international incident. Louis XIV of France retaliated by dismissing the nuncio at Paris and forcing  Alexander VII to disband the Corsican Guard. Louis also seized Papal Venaissin and Avignon, which was declared an integral part of the Kingdom of France. Alexander VII was also obliged to accept the very humiliating terms imposed upon him by the Peace of Pisa (1664). In fulfillment of this treaty, Cardinal Chigi, the pope's nephew, came to Paris in 1664 to tender the pope's apology to Louis. The guilty individuals were punished, the Corsicans were banished forever from the Roman States, and in front of the guard-house that they had occupied, a pyramid was erected in Rome, bearing an inscription that embodied the pope's apology.  In 1668, with the accession of the new pope, Clement IX, and as a gesture of good will, Louis ordered the destruction of this humiliating pyramid.

This medal, one of three related to the Corsican Guard Incident, commemorates the erection of the pyramid in Rome in 1664.

Like most of the medals in this series, this medal was likely struck in the early 18th century.

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