The Pearl of Great Price: Pius VI & the Sack of Rome
Publication Date: February 6, 2020
In 1797, Revolutionary France, with the dynamic young General Bonaparte in command of its armies, set upon the conquest of Europe, both by taking territory and by spreading the new ideology. Pope Pius VI, though firmly opposed to the Revolution, nonetheless thought he had spared Rome from its march by granting Napoleon control over the papal lands in Tuscany, where the popes had reigned for a millennium. But the accidental death of a French general, living in Rome at the residence of the French ambassador, Napoleon's own brother, gave the Revolutionary government at Paris the excuse it needed to invade the Eternal City.
This is the story of the sack of Rome, and the actual and figurative siege of the Church at the hands of the Revolution, which sought to make Pius VI the last of his line— the Last Pope.