Historical fiction featuring Renaissance popes?
June 7, 2005 6:40 PM   Subscribe

I've been reading Barbara Tuchman's The March of Folly, an account of notable historical episodes where governing bodies persisted in the pursuit of policies contrary to the interests of the governed. Among the most amusing and weird episodes is the history of the papacy in the decades around 1500 -- when popes led troops in battle, presided over orgies, and generally fiddled while Rome was about to be sacked (in 1527). Anyone know of a really sprightly historical novel on this subject?
posted by bmckenzie to Law & Government (9 answers total)
 
ah! see my thread asking for fiction on that era (i got great suggestions) : >
posted by amberglow at 7:24 PM on June 7, 2005


Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic, by Tom Holland
posted by boo_radley at 7:29 PM on June 7, 2005


also, i just read a Lucrezia Borgia bio that wasn't wonderful, but the events (and family and political things) were.
posted by amberglow at 7:32 PM on June 7, 2005


You might like "The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi" by Jacquiline Park. Set in Renaissance Italy and ending with the 1527 sack of Rome, the book is fiction but faithful to history. Grazia, a young Jewish woman, is the daughter of an eminent banker, the wife of the Pope's personal (Jewish) physician, and the lover of a Christian nobleman. Which makes for an interesting circle of friends.
posted by Quietgal at 7:41 PM on June 7, 2005


The librarians on Fiction_L will have some suggestions. Also, check out the group's list of papal transition fiction.
posted by AlexanderBanning at 8:29 PM on June 7, 2005


Surprisingly thin on the ground, fiction of that sort.

Getting back to reality, The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini is a lot of fun, and might as well be fiction.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:22 AM on June 8, 2005


Should have mentioned- Cellini was present at the sack of Rome. Defending, not sacking. Of course he was dashed heroic about the whole thing.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:32 AM on June 8, 2005


Not a novel (I think -- aren't novels by definition fiction?) but it reads like one: A World Lit Only By Fire, by WIlliam Manchester. I found its material on those popes fascinating, as well as Magellan's voyage.
posted by Rash at 9:29 AM on June 8, 2005


Thanks all. I think I'll try to the Park book. I've read the Manchester book -- made me glad I don't live in those times. And Cellini's (he did enjoy living in those times).

Has anyone read Mario Puzo's last book. which covered this subject. A friend told me it got bad reviews. But I liked The Godfather, and, in Tuchman's account, Renaissance popes behaved a lot like Corleone godfathers.
posted by bmckenzie at 9:45 PM on June 10, 2005


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