PYRAMID CONSTRUCTED AS MEMORIAL TO CORSICAN GUARD
MAUGER, Jean: France, 1664, Bronze, 41 mm
Obv: Bust of Louis XIV (right) LUDOVICVS XIIII.
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.
Signed: I. MAVGER. F.
Ref: Divo 38/77; Boudeau 204; Weiss BW571
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,
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
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.