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Papal Trivia: What Happens When Detested Popes Die?

August 23, 2011

News that  Moammar Gadhafi’s compound was broken into and artifacts and personal mementoes of the dictator tossed and broken makes me think of the end for two popes in the section of the well-researched book by renowned historian John Julius Norwich which I am now reading.  Absolute Monarchs, A History Of The Papacy is a stunning read. 

(Less than 500 years of papal history left  to read…)

Paul IV died in 1559.  He was noted for being intolerant, refusing to compromise, or even listen to views other than his own.  (Earliest member of the Tea Party?)  Under Paul Jews in Rome were first herded into ghettos, and their numbers dropped by half in the city during his 5-year reign.

So when his death came the city erupted in joy.  The populace attached the headquarters of the Inquisition, smashing the building and releasing all the prisoners.  Then they marched to the popes statue on the Capitol, tore it down, popped its head off, and threw it into the Tiber.

Then in 1590 Pope Sixtus V, known for his most ruthless and strident counter-reformation practices, died.    Again there was “general rejoicing throughput the city” and his statue on the Capital was “gleefully” torn down.  No mention of whether it was dumped in the Tiber.

  1. August 23, 2011 9:05 PM

    I loved this comment!!

    I really, really am fascinated by this book. To show you fond I am of it I mentioned to James last night my wish that an added chapter allowed for us readers to be better understand how he did his research. I marvel at these types of intense reads, and the subject matter is one that I just love. I suspect there will be a few more trivia moments for the popes…then on to Nancy Drew. ( I actually read most of those books as kid…Hardy Boys too.)

    Thanks again, for the comment.

  2. Annie K. permalink
    August 23, 2011 8:18 PM

    Okay at this point I’m really hoping you don’t have plans to read a book about Justin Beiber this summer.
    Can we agree that you’ve turned the Lefty Blog feed into a Pope-fest?
    Popes? really? POPES!?! omg

    As a blog reader I demand a Nancy Drew retrospective ASAP. Better yet, I have a vintage-romance called The Loves Of Nurse Nancy. Craggy young interns and other iconic-ally virile he-men of the 1950s roam the decks of a luxury cruise ship, all with their eyes on a straight-laced but voluptuous gal away from home for the first time, which SHALL she choose???
    Imma gonna strap you into a lounge chair and make you read it, then force you to make a series of blog posts at gunpoint.
    People will thank me. 😉

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