Tag Archives: Pope
The situation facing the forces of liberalism and nationalism in Italy in 1830 was apparently more hopeless than that facing the same forces in Germany. The German Confederation, however inadequate as a form of national expression, did at least provide a common meeting place for the delegates of the princes; in Italy there was no such confederation, but all the states were totally independent of each other.
Publisher: Bodley Head
Reviewed by: Norman Housley
Price (RRP): £20
Norman Housley has mixed feelings about the latest attempt to write a narrative of the First Crusade
Sadly, pope Joan – lovely idea though she is – is entirely fictional. According to legend, after the death of Pope Leo IV in 855 (some sources say after Pope Victor III in 1087) a pope was elected, who took the title John Anglicus. His reign was to be so short, however, as during an Easter procession between St Peter’s and the Lateran palace an excitable crowd pushed him from his horse.
Archeologists and historians are shedding new light on how medieval Holy Roman emperor Frederick II created an Islamic army to attack the pope. The German Historical Institute in Rome – together with universities of Foggia (Italy), Trier and Kiel (both in Germany) are investigating the southern Italian city of Lucera which, in the 13th century, was a major centre of Islamic culture and learning – and the cause of considerable papal anger.
It takes a brave soul to write a history of the papacy – a famously vast and confusing subject. If anyone is up to the task it is John Julius Norwich (born 1929) whose reputation as a fine narrative historian will only be enhanced by this charming and learned book.