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, which saw the suppression of the Knights Templar and the Cathars, the first onslaught of the plague, and the beginning of the Hundred Years' War. The century also produced some of the greatest writers and artists in the western tradition, including Giotto, Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Chaucer. Central to this period was the movement of the papal seat from Rome to Avignon in the south of France, where seven successive popes held power from 1309 to 1377. The drama, intrigue, and tumult associated with the papacy in exile forms the perfect lens through which to clearly see a Europe making the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
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.
"Mullins . . . spans the intriguing 70 years of the Avignon papacy with this highly readable narrative . . . he draws readers into this fascinating period of the church's 'Babylonian captivity.' " --"Library Journal"
"Describes one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of the Middle Ages. . . . This is history made thoroughly evocative and engaging." --Ross King, author, "Brunelleschi's Dome"
"As Edwin Mullins says in his fine study, the papacy became increasingly secularized and increasingly materialistic. . . . The author traces this process very well and colorfully describes its context. . . . A study that should be welcomed by all interested in this pivotal period." --Thomas Bokenkotter, author, "A Concise History of the Catholic Church"
"An excellent introduction to a critical period in the history of medieval Europe and the church. Mullins provides a well-balanced and sympathetic treatment of popes often denigrated for their lack of piety." --Michael Frassetto, author, " The Great Medieval Heretics"