3 March 2004
J., H.. The history of the life and death of Pope Joane: who was elected to the Papacy, An. 855. London: F. Coles, 1663.
4° (173 x 129mm). 8 leaves. Large title woodcut depicting the female pope giving birth. (Spotted.) 19th-century red half roan (scuffed). Provenance: Richard Cowley Powles, Exeter College, Oxford (presentation inscription on flyleaf dated 1840 to:) -- Rev. Matthew Calley Morton (d. 1850), also of Exeter College.
AN EXTREMELY RARE TRACT ON THE MYTHICAL FEMALE POPE JOAN. Having masqueraded as a man named Johannes Anglus of Mainz, she was elected Pope in 855, but her true identity was revealed when she gave birth during a papal procession to St. John Lateran, an event depicted in the woodcut on the titlepage. The legendary tale conveniently served the anti-papist cause. ONLY ONE OTHER COPY IS RECORDED, at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Wing J-14.
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