John Julius Norwich Talks About and Signs his New Book, The Popes: A History
Monday 14 May 2012
This event has been postponed to a later date - tbc
This is an irresistible account of some of history's most illustrious - and iniquitous - figures, from one of our best-loved historians. This is rip-roaring popular history at its best (including the recent child-abuse scandal facing the Catholic church), full of outrageously colourful stories, set against a backdrop of religious, social and political upheaval.
John Julius Norwich examines the oldest continuing institution in the world, tracing the papal line down the centuries from St Peter (traditionally - but by no means historically - the first Pope) to the present. Of the 280-odd holders of the supreme office, some have unquestionably been saints; others have wallowed in unspeakable iniquity. One was said to have been a woman, her sex being revealed only when she improvidently gave birth to a baby during a papal procession. Almost as shocking was Formosus whose murdered corpse was exhumed, clothed in pontifical vestments, propped up on a throne and subjected to trial; or John XII, of whom Gibbon wrote 'his rapes of virgins and widows had deterred the female pilgrims from visiting the shrine of St Peter'. John Julius Norwich brings the story up to date with lively investigations into the anti-semitism of the contemptible Pius XII, the possible murder of John Paul I and the phenomenon of the Polish John Paul II. From the glories of Byzantium to the decay of Rome, from the Albigensian Heresy to controversy within the Church today, The Popes is superbly written, witty and revealing.
John Julius Norwich is the author of histories of Norman Sicily, the Republic of Venice, the Byzantine Empire and, most recently, The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean. He has also written on architecture, music and the history plays of Shakespeare, and has presented some thirty historical documentaries on BBC Television.
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Book For This Event
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