Mistress of the Vatican

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Oct 13, 2009 - History - 496 pages
5 Reviews

Born without a dowry, nearly forced into a convent, and later married off to a man she didn't love, Olimpia Maidalchini vowed never to be poor, powerless, or beholden to any man again. Instead, using her wits, Olimpia became the unofficial ruler of the most powerful institution in the world: the Roman Catholic Church.

The Church firmly states that women must be excluded from church leadership positionsóbut for more than a decade in the seventeenth century, Olimpia ran the Vatican. As sister-in-law and reputed mistress of the indecisive Pope Innocent X, she appointed cardinals, negotiated with foreign ambassadors, and helped herself to a heaping portion of the Papal States' treasury.

In Mistress of the Vatican, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman brings to life not only an extraordinary woman lost in history but an entire civilization in all its greatness . . . and ignominy. This is the unforgettable story of a woman ahead of her time.

  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AuntieClio - LibraryThing

I enjoyed this book immensely. Eleanor Herman's lively writing brought Olimpia Maidalchini, and her time as the power behind the Vatican in mid-17th century, to life. (As cliche as that may sound ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fglass - LibraryThing

For over a decade in the seventeenth century a woman unofficially, but openly, ran the Vatican. Beginning in 1644, and for eleven years after, Olimpia Maidalchini, sister-in-law and reputed mistress ... Read full review

Contents

The Shoulder of Saint Francesca
237
The Holy Jubilee Year
257
Crisis of Conscience
274
Part Three UNFORGIVENESS
291
Honor and Dishonor
293
Olimpias Triumphant Return
311
The Sudden Disgrace of Cardinal Astalli
331
Death of the Dove
348

The Black Widow
98
Conclave
117
Part Two THE FEMALE POPE
135
The Vicar of Christ
137
Celebrations
149
Women in the Vatican
161
Vengeance on the Barberinis
179
The Despised DaughterinLaw
196
The Imbecile Cardinals
209
Birth Famine and Bitter Peace
223
Unforgiveness
365
Pope Alexander VII
372
The Two Queens of Rome
384
The Scourge of God
395
After Olimpia
409
Notes
421
Bibliography
433
433
439
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

The author of Sex with Kings and Sex with the Queen, New York Times bestselling historian Eleanor Herman has hosted episodes for the National Geographic Channel and the History Channel's Lost Worlds. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, she is married and lives in McLean, Virginia.

Bibliographic information