Non-Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review: The Popes of Avignon

By Sandy Amazeen Mar 31, 2011, 6:59 GMT

Book Review: The Popes of Avignon

Like the finest medieval tapestry, this narrative history masterfully weaves together the sweeping events surrounding what has become known as the "Babylonian captivity" of the popes into the broader story of 14th-century Europe-one of the most turbulent times in the continent\'s history. It was a time of fear, ferocity, and religious agony, whichsaw the suppression of the Knights Templar and the Cathars.This century also markedthe first onslaught of the plague, ...more

Newly released in paperback, Mullins presents an invaluable guide to Church history from 1308 to 1378. Increasing political pressures compounded by fear of hostile Roman mobs drove Pope Clement V to Avignon, a small French community of roughly 5,000. As the papacy changed so did Avignon and the surrounding countryside during a tumultuous time that saw periodic sweeps of the Black Death, the Hundred Years War between England and France along with ever changing political climates. Mullins offers considerable insight into each of the nine popes that oversaw the state of the church and Avignon, which became a prosperous hub in the financial world.

Offering a rare look at the people and political picture of the time, this balanced and fascinating book is a must read for anyone interested in late medieval history in general and church history in particular.

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