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Avignon of the Popes: City of Exiles

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  14 reviews
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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 5th 2009 by Signal Books Ltd (first published November 1st 2007)
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3.79  · 
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 ·  91 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was on a reading list in preparation for a visit to Southern France which would include Avignon. I had heard that there was a time that Rome was not the head of the Catholic Church but did not know any facts concerning it. This is an excellent book on the subject but might be considered dull material for those who are not interested in church history.

I found it fascinating. Mullins made the historical times and characters come to life. Being able to walk through the remains of the pap
Vrixton Phillips
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, it didn't cover what I actually read the book for, the period when there were three popes at once, but it was still a most interesting read. A good balance between talking about the art and architecture of the time and the political and spiritual upheaval of the 14th century.
Diana Suddreth
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this on a list of books to read if visiting France and I really liked it. I've heard the general outline of the history before in history classes, and Mullins brings in much more detail in a very easy to read style. I can't wait to go to Avignon!
Tina Gordon
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard book to rate and I want to be clear I rated it on content not on the writing. The book was recommended to me after I made a trip to Avignon. The city had been the home of the papacy for seventy-five years and this book explains the history of that time. The details are rich. That said, this book is why people hate history. The writing is dry and a tough read. This was a fascinating period both for the Church and for Avignon and the author does not begin to do it justice. Although ...more
E.C. Ambrose
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research
This book was great fun and included all sorts of tidbits not only about the popes, but also about the royals, heretics and artists of the period. I especially enjoyed Petrarch's snarky commentary on the papal court, and learning more about Joanna of Naples.

My only complaint is that the author tends to jump around a bit chronolgically in order to group events by topic. I can understand the need for this kind of thematic continuity, but sometimes he did not specify the new date a few paragraphs
Timothy Urban
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book might have its faults but it's a wonderful read. Not really academic in its rigour it is however passionate and vivid and full of rich detail about what is a very unusual time and place in history.

I especially valued this book as I embarked on reading The Name of the Rose. In fact this book is great as the launching point for all sorts of other related subjects eg Knights Templar, Cathars, 100 Years War, the early renaissance...
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a well written book about the flight of the popes from Rome in the 1300's to Avignon. It gives a short, interesting history of each of the seven French popes who were elected during their 70 years in France. The author did a good job of keeping the history interesting and not too dry. A good read for anyone interested in Papal history or planning a trip to the current day city of Avignon.
It's an engaging and readable introduction to the subject, but it does have a few problems as history – very few actual quotations from primary sources, and more critically a complete lack of footnotes. That means it's impossible to follow up on something you're interested in or verify something you're uncertain of. Still, I enjoyed it, and as long as you don't require a serious work of history you should be fine with this as a starter text.
Jul 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick overview of the 7 (or 9, depending on how you count) Popes who resided in Avignon and their impact on helping build the city. I liked the book, but wished there was a bit more detail about how events in the rest of Europe (aside from what was covered regarding the 100 Years War) affected the papacy.
Rasmus Nord
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read it before a visit to Avignon. Excellent overview and with the right amount of threads to important historical events and people that are related to this period. It gave me extra pleasure to visit the Papal Palace, however with my little girl on the arm, I had less time to savour the experience and feel the presence of the popes in the grand audience chamber.
May 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: religious historians
In depth info on the reasons for having the papacy moved to Avignon and the many different popes that kept it there, up to when it finally was moved back to Rome.
Ben Rothman
Oct 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Describes the fascinating period in Church history when the Church moved from Rome to France and then wouldn't move back.
Nancy Bielski
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was an interesting book. There was good detail without going so in-depth things got dry and/or irrelevant.
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rather dry narrative of the flight of the papacy from Rome to Avignon and its subsequent 70 years there.
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