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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Medieval, Islamic and Crusader Coins (Moderators: AlexB, quadrans)  |  Topic: Pope Joan 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Ecgþeow
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« on: August 18, 2005, 02:01:56 pm »

I just saw a reference to a female Pope Joan from 855.  Supposedly gave birth to a son and was stoned to death.  I then did a little research, and the Catholic Encyclopaedia says that she never existed and was simply a myth.

 I had never even heard of her, and her non-existance would make sense. what do you all think?

~Zach
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Robert_Brenchley
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2005, 02:07:43 pm »

It's an interesting myth, but there isn't a shred of evidence to support it. In those days most people didn't eat so well, and were probably skinnier than today, though I don't suppose that applied to Popes. Women used to wrap lengths of cloth round their breasts to hold them in place; together with the lack of fat, this would have made them less obviously female, and women very likely did pass as men at times, if only for self-protection. So the story of a female Pope developed; as she comes to a bad end, it was presumably told by men!
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Robert Brenchley

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Gordo
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2005, 09:25:11 pm »

Yip,

She was supposidely English or at least Anglo-Saxon and she gave birth whilst in a procession.  Bit of a giveaway!  She was then stoned to death by the angry crowd...

The book I read about her had as proof, a chair with a hole in the seat, in the Vatican which all subsequent Popes had to sit on and have an "examination" to prove that they were male!

"Once bitten, twice shy" as they say...

Wonder why this legend never got into the Da Vinci Code?

Cheers,

Gordon

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slokind
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2005, 12:39:51 am »

Because an excellent Greek author named Papadiamantis had already done it perfectly in "I Papissa Ioanna" (if I spelled that right).  Pat L.
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Robert_Brenchley
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2005, 01:23:14 pm »

I don't know whether it still goes on, but apparenlty applicants for the RC priesthood traditionally had to be examined to ensure they had all their bits in order, since Leviticus bars eunuchs from the priesthood!
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Robert Brenchley

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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2005, 10:41:56 pm »

Medals for pope Joan

Gobble, gobble.  Only a turkey that does not read would bring up the old monks’ joke about Pope Joan.  Read "The oxford Dictionary of Popes" by J.D.N. Kelly [He ain’t Catholic.] Oxford University Press, oxford, 1986.  Kelly treats the legend in an appendix, pp. 329-330.  Kelly says:  "The story first appears between 1240 and 1250…The story, often embellished with fantastic details, was accepted in Catholic circles without question for centuries [Get that!]…It [the story] scarcely needs painstaking refutation today, for not only is there no evidence of a female pope at any of the dates suggested for her reign, but the known facts of the respective periods make it impossible to fit one in…Its [the story’s] kernel is generally taken to be an ancient Roman folk tale.

When in doubt of a fact about the papacy, I always read Kelly, who accompanied the Archbishop of Canterbury (Michael Ramsey) on his visit to Pope Paul VI.  I have behind me in my bookcase several histories of the popes by Roman Catholics.  I fear to say they contain grosser myths than the one about a female pope.

Now, on Pope Joan—I suggest we work together on a set of medals depicting the events of her legendary reign.  The Franklin Mint will issue these in gold, silver and copper.  The set will fit right in with other Franklin Mint products.

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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Medieval, Islamic and Crusader Coins (Moderators: AlexB, quadrans)  |  Topic: Pope Joan « previous next »
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