Chronicle of the Popes recounts the lives, deeds and misdeeds of the 265 Popes from St Peter to Pope Benedict XVI. The extraordinary dichotomy between the dignity of the holy office and the human passions and pleasures of some of the individuals who have occupied it characterizes the narrative throughout. It shows how ultimately the role has come full circle – from self-consciously spiritual office, through embroilment in political power, and back to its spiritual roots.
• Biographical accounts of all the 266 popes, from St Peter to Benedict XVI, giving a history of these fascinating individuals – from saintly pastors to great statesmen and patrons of the arts
• Full coverage of the Crusader, Avignon and Borgia popes, as well as the 39 antipopes (rival popes)
• Timelines throughout with at-a-glance visual guides to the length and important events of each pope’s reign
• Datafiles for every pope listing key information, such as name at birth, early career and family relationships
• Extensive quotations from contemporary sources that enrich the narrative
• Numerous sidebars and special features ranging from the excavation of St Peter’s tomb to the Catholic rejuvenation of the Counter-Reformation
• 317 illustrations, 112 in colour, including portraits and busts of the popes, art treasures from the Vatican and detailed maps