Interpretive Resource

Turning the Pages: Papal Prophesies

Turning the Pages: Papal Prophesies

This controversial manuscript with its allegorical line-drawn miniatures cast doubts on the legitimacy of certain members of the papacy. Although the text dates from the Byzantine era (c. 1304 AD) and the original book dates to the mid fifteenth-century or earlier, marginal comments from 1462 identify several of the fifteen prophecies with popes of the recent past, from Pope Gregory XIII (1406-15) through Pius II (1458-68). The annotator also changed the images to fit his predictions. On the back of page six, for example, with notes condemning Pope Pius II, there are only two lambs standing close together, whereas four are traditionally shown. Close examination reveals that two of the four have been scraped away on the left, probably by the annotator himself, who interprets these two remaining lambs as Pius’ nephews, each of whom bore a lamb on his coat of arms.



Byzantine, religion
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