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Carol Lansing, Did a Woman Rule the Vatican? The Scandalous History of Pope Joan

October 18, 2015 @ 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Trinity Episcopal Church, Guild Hall
Pope Joan illustration


Carol Lansing is a professor of medieval European history at UCSB. A specialist in the society, politics and culture of medieval Italy, she is the author of Power and Purity: Cathar Heresy in Medieval Italy and, most recently, Passion and Order: Restraint of Grief in the Medieval Italian Communes. She is co-editor of A Companion to the Medieval World and the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Guggenheim fellowship and the Howard R. Marraro Prize of the Catholic Historical Association.


Event Description:

A longstanding story has it that a woman disguised asa man became pope in 854. Accounts of her demise vary, but involve her falling off her horse during apapal procession and either dying in childbirth on the spot or being dragged off by an enraged Roman mob.The story probably dates from around 1150, when papal processions started avoiding the traditional site of her fall. In this first lecture of the new academic year, History Prof. Carol Lansing will explain the joke in these stories, exploring changes in papal ceremonial and anti-papal satire to understand Pope Joan in the context of attitudes about gender and the clergy. A wine-and-cheese reception will follow.


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October 18, 2015
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Trinity Episcopal Church, Guild Hall
1500 State Street

Santa Barbara, CA United States
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Page last modified: October 16, 2015