THE ANTIPOPE by Alec Glasfurd


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The end of the fourteenth century was not a happy time in the history of Christianity. Not only were the popes not what they should have been, but their scandals were multiplied by virtue of there having been, at any given moment, two and sometimes three such unworthies, all claiming to occupy the only true Chair of Peter. Peter de Luna, the subject of this biography, was, to his immense embarrassment, one of those claimants; having sworn to eradicate the conditions which had given rise to the multiple popes, he was promptly elected antipope (Benedict XIII), and spent the rest of his life trying to root out the evils which were tolerated by the legitimately elected and then-reigning competitor popes in Rome. Peter discovered, in due time, that his supporters could tolerate Roman corruption more easily than his own insistence upon virtue (""obstinacy on a heroic scale,"" the author calls it) and he died almost completely abandoned after almost thirty years on his phantom throne. Mr. Glasfurd has managed to retain his sense of humor in recounting the trials of the medieval papacy; his book, therefore, while it is written too much with an eye on a popular audience and too little with a sense of historical criticism, is delightful reading and will appeal to those who seek entertainment, rather than edification or instruction, in history.

Publisher: Roy