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Pope Joan

Pope Joan.jpg Venus PompeianaThumbnailsThe Monks of BeuronVenus PompeianaThumbnailsThe Monks of BeuronVenus PompeianaThumbnailsThe Monks of Beuron

From Joh. Wolfii Lect. Memorab. (Lavingæ, 1600.)

It will be seen by the curious woodcut from Baptista Mantuanus, that he consigned Pope Joan to the jaws of hell, notwithstanding her choice. The verses accompanying this picture are:—

“Hic pendebat adhuc sexum mentita virile
Fœmina, cui triplici Phrygiam diademate mitram
Extollebat apex: et pontificalis adulter.”

It need hardly be stated that the whole story of Pope Joan is fabulous, and rests on not the slightest historical foundation. It was probably a Greek invention to throw discredit on the papal hierarchy, first circulated more than two hundred years after the date of the supposed Pope. Even Martin Polonus (A. D. 1282), who is the first to give the details, does so merely on popular report.

Project Gutenberg's Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, by Sabine Baring-Gould