The Deaths of the Popes

Comprehensive Accounts, Including Funerals, Burial Places and Epitaphs


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About the Book

The traditions associated with a pope’s death have changed from when they were buried in the catacombs of Rome. Various ceremonies, rites and rituals developed over time, but a formal procedure was not initiated until the early 1300s and even then was not always strictly followed.
This comprehensive reference book provides information on the deaths, funerals and burial places of each pope and antipope from St. Peter (Apostle) to John Paul I. (Innocent X was almost gnawed by rats because no one would bury him; Alexander VI was stuffed into a carpet and pummeled into his coffin; and the corpse of Formosus was physically put on trial…) The Introduction presents a brief history of papal funerals and tombs, and also covers modern burials.
A unique feature of the book is its presentation of all papal epitaphs, in their original language and in English—many translated for the first time.

About the Author(s)

Papal historian Wendy J. Reardon lives in Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her website at

Bibliographic Details

Wendy J. Reardon
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 320
Bibliographic Info: 147 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010 [2004]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6116-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0231-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      viii
A Note on the Translators      ix
Preface      1
Introduction      5
The Death of the Popes      13
Notes      251
Appendices      257
Bibliography      293
Index      299

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Meticulous, well-documented information, sometimes humorous or unique…useful…highly recommended”—Choice
  • “Reader-friendly…fine reference work”—ARBA