Why the Legend of Medieval Pope Joan Persists


The mythical female pope is back in the news as an academic uses medieval coins to look for physical evidence of her reign

In the late Middle Ages, a popular legend advanced the story of a medieval woman who disguised herself in men’s clothing and ascended to the role of pope. A dramatic ending to the tale ensured its endurance: As the woman, masquerading as Pope Johannes Anglicus, led a religious procession through Rome during the mid-ninth century, she allegedly went into labor, exposing the fact that “Johannes” was actually “Joan.”

While most historians believe Pope Joan is nothing more than a myth invented by early critics of the Catholic Church, her story has proven too tantalizing to be forgotten. Over the years, various researchers have attempted to find a real, historical Joan. The latest is Michael E. Habicht, an archaeologist at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia.

READ MORE at https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/medieval-coins-suggest-legendary-female-pope-may-have-existed-after-all-180970297/

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