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Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacyby John Julius Norwich
Synopses & Reviews
A SWEEPING CHRONICLE OF ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT--AND CONTROVERSIAL--INSTITUTIONS IN HISTORY
With the papacy embattled in recent years, it is essential to have the perspective of one of the world's most accomplished historians. In Absolute Monarchs, John Julius Norwich captures nearly two thousand years of inspiration and devotion, intrigue and scandal. The men (and maybe one woman) who have held this position of infallible power over millions have ranged from heroes to rogues, admirably wise to utterly decadent. Norwich, who knew two popes and had private audiences with two others, recounts in riveting detail the histories of the most significant popes and what they meant politically, culturally, and socially to Rome and to the world.
Norwich presents such brave popes as Innocent I, who in the fifth century successfully negotiated with Alaric the Goth, an invader civil authorities could not defeat, and Leo I, who two decades later tamed (and perhaps paid off) Attila the Hun. Here, too, are the scandalous figures: Pope Joan, the mythic woman said (without any substantiation) to have been elected in 855, and the infamous pornocracy, the five libertines who were descendants or lovers of Marozia, debauched daughter of one of Rome's most powerful families.
Absolute Monarchs brilliantly portrays reformers such as Pope Paul III, the greatest pontiff of the sixteenth century, who reinterpreted the Church's teaching and discipline, and John XXIII, who in five short years starting in 1958 opened up the church to the twentieth century, instituting reforms that led to Vatican II. Norwich brings the story to the present day with Benedict XVI, who is coping with a global priest sex scandal.
Epic and compelling, Absolute Monarchs is the astonishing story of some of history's most revered and reviled figures, men who still cast light and shadows on the Vatican and the world today.
A comprehensive history of the papacy by the legendary British historian and author of the three-volume Byzantium series describes the defining relevance of papal authority to the Church, chronicling the unexpectedly violent and colorful historical events that have indelibly shaped the Pope's authority and station.
From a legendary British historian and author of the classic three-volume series Byzantium and "A History of Venice" comes a comprehensive, rollicking, and timely history of the papacy.
About the Author
\John Julius Norwich is one of Britain’s preeminent historians and travel writers. He has written the histories of Norman Sicily, Byzantium, Venice, and the Mediterranean. Other books have been on Shakespeare’s history plays, on music, and on architecture.
Table of Contents
Saint Peter — Defenders of the city (c.100-536) — Vigilius (537-555) — Gregory the Great (590-861) — Leo III and Charlemagne (795-861) — Pope Joan (ca. 855-857) — Nicholas i and the pornocracy (855-964) — Schism (964-1054) — Gregory VII and the Normans — Innocent and Anacletus — The English pope — Alexander III and Frederick Barbarossa — Innocent III — The end of the Hohenstaufen — Avignon — Laetentur Coeli! — The Renaissance — The monsters — The Medici pair — -- The Counter-Reformation — Baroque Rome — The Age of Reason — The Jesuits and the revolution — Progress and reaction — Pio Nono — Leo XIII and the First World War — Pius XI and Pius XII — Vatican II and after.
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Religion » Christianity » Christian Church » History