Prior to the unification of Italy the Papal States were governed by the Vatican. They comprised a large part of north central Italy south of the Venetian empire. They were defended by the Papal Army including wars with Parma. The Papal army was maintained, even though Napoleon's control and reorganization of Italy and served through several 19th century actions including the defense of Rome in 1870 which resulted from the fracturing which resulted from the conflict over unification. This sword, the model 1848 , based on the French pattern, is the infantry sword of the Palatine Guard created in 1850 by Pope Pius IX which served in several military operations leading up to the 1870 unification. The one piece bronze hilt bears an interpretation of the bishop's miter on the pommel and a cruciform hilt with foliate embellishment. The 19 3/4" blade is single broad fullered. The form, significantly, is referred to as "Roman" and is based on the gladius of two millenniums earlier. A very are sword, as at its peak, the Papal Army numbered about 10,000 total in all branches, and that was in the 17th century. Probably, less than 1000 examples of this sword ever existed.