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Pope Pius VI


This individual is not a direct affiliate of the Berkley Center.

During his lengthy reign (1775-1799), Pope Pius VI (Giovanni Angelico Braschi) confronted numerous challenges to his spiritual and temporal authority. Significant opposition first came from from European rulers promoting ecclesiastical reform as a way of influencing appointments within the Roman Catholic hierarchy; Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II especially decimated Catholic holdings in Germany and Austria, confiscating land, closing monasteries, and reasserting secular limits on papal authority. After the advent of the French Revolution, Pius VI found himself threatened by the Italian campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte, and in 1798 he was taken prisoner by French Republican forces for refusing to renounce his temporal authority. He eventually died in exile in France. Pius is also remembered for expanding the Pio-Clementine Museum (now the Vatican Museums) and attempts to drain the Pontine Marshes and reconstruct the Via Appia.