Recently, I had a fantastic time recording interviews with Dan Snow's History Hit, Pontifacts Podcast and Historically Thinking. We talked about the history of Rome and its popes, from Saint Peter to today, as well as the controversies, transformations, intrigues and clashes that have occurred along the way. The episodes are now out now on Spotify, Apple podcasts and other platforms, as well as via the links below. Dan Snow's History Hit: https://podcasts.apple.com/ee/podcast/dan-snows-history-hit/id1042631089 Pontifacts: https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-72vjk-14a31ef Historically Thinking: https://historicallythinking.org/episode-333-city-of-echoes/ * *My sound seems to be jumpy and sped up during some parts of this episode - apologies!
City of Echoes is reviewed and discussed in this week's edition of the Economist! ‘…the book’s strength is its range, from St Peter in the first century all the way to Pope Francis today…Wärnberg is especially good on the early years, when Christianity and the papacy emerged under the shadow of a hostile imperial Rome…the story of how popes became leading actors is well told.' You can read the full article in the magazine and online here: https://www.economist.com/culture/2023/09/07/a-history-of-the-papacy-and-its-relationship-with-rome
In this week's Spectator, biographer and journalist Anne de Courcy reviewed my new book 'City of Echoes'. 'Jessica Wärnberg’s book tells not only the story of these popes but that of Rome, its people and the events that affected them...Just about everything is here, from the conversion of the Emperor Constantine in 312 to the declaration of the pope’s infallibility when speaking ex cathedra in 1870.' You can read the full review in this week's Spectator or online: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-perils-of-being-pope/
This month, I contributed to History Today's 'Head to Head' feature, weighing in on whether conspiracy theories have changed the course of history. My piece discussed the persistent theory that the popes have an international power that undermines the sovereignty and values of countries across the globe, from the states of 11th century Europe to the China of Xi Jingping. You can read it in the August edition of History Today and online: https://www.historytoday.com/archive/head-head/how-have-conspiracy-theories-changed-course-history
Rome is a city of echoes, where the voice of the people has chimed and clashed with the words of princes, emperors, and insurgents to ring down the centuries. In this new book, I tell the story of the Romans’ longest standing figurehead and interlocutor: the pope, illuminating how his presence has transformed the lives, stones, and fate of the city of Rome. CITY OF ECHOES: A NEW HISTORY OF ROME, ITS POPES AND ITS PEOPLE will be published by Icon (UK) and Pegasus (USA) in September 2023. Emerging as the anonymous leader of a marginal cult in the humblest quarters of the city, less [...]
You can read this review in 'History: Reviews of New Books', Volume 49 Issue 3. The book is a superb contribution to the history of early modern Catholicism and the religious and social history of Italy.
In May's issue of History Today, I discuss the political power of the papacy, and how far popes could really influence the actions of early modern Catholics. Many secular leaders of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries feared that Catholics might rebel with a nod from Rome. But this potent myth was often far from the political reality.
Earlier this month I featured on Dan Snow's History Hit, the most popular history podcast in the UK. You can listen to Dan and I discuss the medieval, Spanish and Roman Inquisitions here:
On the History Hit website, you can now read an article in which I give my top ten facts on the Jesuits: from the conversion of Ignatius Loyola to the election of the Pope Francis, via the Chinese Rites controversy. You can read the article here: https://www.historyhit.com/facts-about-the-jesuits/
In a new article for the Catholic Herald, I considered what we might learn from Katarina Jagellonica, the Queen Consort to John III of Sweden. Faithful, determined and learned, Katarina is an unlikely but inspiring model. You can read the article in the magazine or here: https://catholicherald.co.uk/a-wife-who-witnessed/