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Pope Joan
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Religious Figure
    (circa 858-858)
    Dressed up as a man, became a monk under the name John the English
    Elected Pope John VIII (855)
    Revealed her true sex when she gave birth
    Sentenced to death by being dragged by a horse
    Buried in Rome
    There is no known mention of her prior to the 13th century.
    The Church long accredited the story, until Pope Clement VIII declared it untrue (1601).
    The main 'proofs' of her papacy:
    1) an alleged couple year hiatus between two papal reigns;
    2) a suckling statue and puzzling inscription - P.P.P.P.P.P.
    Popular belief was that the sculpture represented Joan with her child, the inscription referring to a Pope 'revealed to be Popess by her delivery;'
    3) two porphyry pierced thrones.
    Those were reportedly used to check (by hand!) the manhood of her successors. If passed, the test closed with the ritual formula 'Duos habet et bene pendentes' (He's got two of them, and they dangle nicely).
    The John/Joan incident was used by Protestants (Luther, for instance) to disparage Roman Catholics.
    She eclipses the actual, boring Pope John VIII, who ruled from 872 to 882.
    She was portrayed by Liv Ullman in a 1972 critically panned movie.
    However picturesque, the 'proofs' are untenable:
    1) the vacancy lasted but two weeks;
    2) the statue represented Juno suckling Hercules, the inscription had to do with the Mithrian cult, and both were from Antiquity;
    3) the pierced thrones were merely fancy shaped symbols of the universality of papal power. No testicle-palpation ceremony ever took place.
    She inspired many poets and artists (notably Petrarch and Boccaccio), and possibly a Tarot card.
    Her fable exposes the very real male chauvinism of the Catholic Church.
    Credit: Sviatoslav Mixer
    THE LEGEND
    A women, dressed up as a man, became a monk, gained much esteem in Rome and got elected Pope in 855, reigning as John VIII.
    Later, she publicly gave birth, revealing her true sex.
    Sentenced to death, she was dragged by a horse, died 2 km away from Rome and was buried there.
    For 2019, as of last week, Out of 5 Votes: 100% Annoying
    In 2018, Out of 35 Votes: 57.14% Annoying
    In 2017, Out of 24 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2016, Out of 13 Votes: 46.15% Annoying
    In 2015, Out of 24 Votes: 54.17% Annoying
    In 2014, Out of 51 Votes: 50.98% Annoying
    In 2013, Out of 17 Votes: 58.82% Annoying
    In 2012, Out of 11 Votes: 54.55% Annoying
    In 2011, Out of 33 Votes: 75.76% Annoying
    In 2010, Out of 61 Votes: 50.82% Annoying
    In 2009, Out of 64 Votes: 54.69% Annoying
    In 2008, Out of 74 Votes: 60.81% Annoying
    In 2007, Out of 172 Votes: 55.81% Annoying
    In 2006, Out of 326 Votes: 67.79% Annoying
    In 2005, Out of 560 Votes: 67.68% Annoying
 
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