The Papal Pornocracy

(Nathan) When popes are elected today, the cardinals of the Catholic Church meet in secret conclave. But it wasn't always so. In the 9th through 11th centuries, control of the Chair of St. Peter was fiercely contested between several Roman families, who put their sons, brothers, and lovers on the papal throne. In this episode, we will look at the murders, depositions, adultery, illicit relationships, trials of papal cadavers, and debauched behavior that allegedly characterized this period, as well as the important role played by two Roman noblewomen--Theodora and Marozia Theophylacti--that led some 19th century German historians to label this as a "pornocracy."

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