[Read] ➻ The Popes: A History ➸ John Julius Norwich – Tactical-player.co.uk

The Popes: A History Well Known For His Histories Of Norman Sicily, Venice, The Byzantine Empire And The Mediterranean, John Julius Norwich Has Now Turned His Attention To The Oldest Continuing Institution In The World, Tracing The Papal Line Down The Centuries From St Peter Himself Traditionally Though By No Means Historically The First Pope To The Present Benedict XVI Of The Odd Holders Of The Supreme Office, Some Have Unques Tionably Been Saints Others Have Wallowed In Unspeakable Iniquity One Was Said To Have Been A Woman And An English Woman At That Her Sex Being Revealed Only When She Improvidently Gave Birth To A Baby During A Papal Procession Pope Joan Never Existed Though The Church Long Believed She Did But Many Genuine Pontiffs Were Almost As Colourful Formosus, For Example, 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 Deterred Female Pilgrims From Visiting The Shrine Of St Peter Lest, In The Devout Act, They Should Be Violated By His Successor Others Earned Respect, Including Leo The Great Who Protected Rome From The Huns And The Goths, And Gregory The Great Who Struggled Manfully With The Emperor For Supremacy After Calamitous Crusades, And Year Exile In Avignon, Came The Larger Than Life Pontiffs Of The Renassiance The Borgias And The Medicis God Has Given Us The Papacy Let Us Now Enjoy It Pius VII Had To Contend With Napoleon, Pius IX To Steer The Papacy Through The Storm Of The Risorgimento John Julius Norwich Brings The Story Up To Date With Lively Investigations Into The Anti Semitism Of Pius XII, The Possible Murder Of John Paul I And The Phenomenon Of The Polish John Paul II From Here The Glories Of The Byznatium To The Decay Of Rome, From The Albigensian Heresy To Sexual Misbehaviour Within The Church Today, The Pace Never Slackens John Julius Norwich, An Agnostic With No Religious Axe To Grind, Has A Thrilling And Important Tale To Tell And In This Rich, Authoritative Book He Does It Full Justice I m not qualified to say whether the author s interpretations of history are correct but this book certainly seemed so to me There is an immense about of detail with many references and footnotes listed It s a credit to the author s lively writing that I found the book so engaging as I have little interest in popes as such, except that, rather like the lives of monarchs, they provide a framework for telling history across the millenniums Rather like monarchs many of the popes were despicable and did harm than good, but one has to acknowledge that they have had a great influence in shaping history for good or ill I found the parts about the early and recent popes interesting, particularly the period from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day There is an audio version of the book, but I think either a printed copy or eBook is probably preferable as one can skim the bits that aren t so personally interesting and, with so many unfamiliar names, I found actually seeing the words helped me take in the information better. I have read several other books by JJN and enjoyed them immensely This one I find complicated and in some places just plain confusing Speaking for myself, I think the book would have benefited from explanations, details, maybe diagrams, maps of the different eras and governing populations But I will read it to the end A while ago I read Saints Sinners which was a history of the Papacy written by a Catholic It was interesting, but all too often refused to mention anything negative and to do a proper history of the Holy See you have to accept that for every Gregory the Great you have someone underwhelming like Benedict IX No one but the most myopic believer can seriously believe the medieval papacy was whiter than white, some Popes bought their position, many had a string of mistresses and others led armies the muddling of spiritual and temporal matters led to corruption that simply cannot be whitewashed away.But to write exclusively on the dark politics of the Papacy would be just as wrong as making out that it s always been run with nothing but the noblest values in mind What this book does is show the good and the bad Add to that some wry asides and a story that is masterfully summarised most Popes could warrant their own books and you have an essential book that covers 2,000 years of Western history.If you liked this review, you can find me on Twitter as HistoryGems This is almost as much a history of the last 2000 years, particularly of Europe, as it is a history of the Papacy John Julius Norwich has taken a chronological approach to this work, starting with St Peter, and proceeding through each Pope, and anti pope, to the present day papacy of Benedict XVI Whilst enjoyable and informative reading, this book made it rather clear to me how much of European history is vague or unknown to me, and has definitely prompted further reading for the future Inevitably in a book of just over 450 pages, each Pope and each period only receives a few pages at the most For example the period of the French Revolution, and the advent of Napoleon, both with enormous implications for Catholicism and for the Popes of the time, is covered in just 10 pages.There were of course, all kinds of Popes over 280 to date and they are nearly all described in these pages some were concerned primarily with the spiritual, some were much interested in temporal power and diplomacy Some were treated abominably, or as puppets, by the Kings, Emperors and Princess of the day, some were held in reverence and awe Norwich does not have a particular axe to grind and from my limited knowledge of European history it appears that he is being fair throughout generally sympathetic to Catholisism, and admiring of many individual popes, whilst not failing to criticise those whose actions weakened the Roman Catholic Church s moral or political standing.This is a an interesting book, which for me at least, will open up further lines of study just ordered a book on the italian Renaissance as a result.

About the Author: John Julius Norwich

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Popes: A History book, this is one of the most wanted John Julius Norwich author readers around the world.

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