April 24, 2005

Habebamus papas

With the election of Benedict XVI, papal history has been much in the news of late, so this is my small contribution of the flood of information. My interests in the topic are purely academic, so please don’t take offence if you are either devoutly Catholic or rabidly anticlerical.

Specifically my interests were piqued by the variety of conflicting claims about how the tradition of papal renaming — for instance Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger becoming Pope Benedict XVI — was started. The first to do this, as far as I can tell, seems to have been Pope John II (533-535 AD), who was originally named Mercurius. One can see how such a dramatically pagan name might be a problem — though it didn’t seem to be a problem for Pope Dionysius (260-268 AD). I suppose St. Peter doesn’t count, even though he was originally named Simon. The first pope to be “the second” of any name was Pope Sixtus II (257-258 AD), though this was presumably his actual name (ironic though, eh?).

Other bits of papal trivia that I find interesting: there has never been anyone else named Pope Peter — that would be presumptuous; the last pope not to have a number appended to his name, and therefore not named after a previous pope nor to have another pope named after him, was Pope Lando (913-14 AD) — I wonder why…; Pope Benedict IX, a disasterous pope by all accounts and presumably not the reason the current pope chose the name, was pope three times (1032-45, 1045, 1047-8); sadly, the legend of there being a female pope, Pope Joan, is just that, a legend; there hasn’t been an antipope since the 15th century — ah, to live in more interesting times…

If there are any experts on church history out there, feel free to correct any of the above or enlighten me further.

Posted by Mark at 06:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 13, 2005


This quiz is quite interesting actually…

You scored as Musical/Rhythmic. You are sensitive to sounds in your environment, enjoy music and prefer listening to music when you study or read. You learn best through melody and music. People like you include singers, conductors, composers, and others who appreciate the various elements of music.















The Rogers Indicator of Multiple Intelligences
created with QuizFarm.com
Posted by Mark at 09:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 09, 2005

Dreamas and deaþ

I started this entry a while back in the midst of teaching Chaucer’s dream vision poems. Here’s the completed entry…

Reading all these dream vision poems by Chaucer recently has made me really want to teach a class in medieval dream visions more generally, starting with the Old English Dream of the Rood and including the Middle English Pearl, one of my all-time favourite poems, and William Langland’s Piers Ploughman. One could also include excerpts of various saintly dream visions (such as from Bede) and various background texts such as Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis, Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun’s Roman de la Rose, and Dante’s Divine Comedy. One could even get into medieval dream theory a bit, looking at Macrobius’ commentary on the Somnium Scipionis and other medieval treatises on dream theory.

Another grouping of texts that would make a good seminar class is poems dealing with death and bereavement in the Middle Ages. It would include Old English elegies like The Wanderer and The Seafarer as well as Middle English poems such as Pearl and Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess. It’s kind of a depressing idea, I suppose, but it would be very interesting. I wonder what other texts would be good for such a grouping…

NB — A cookie for the first person to point out the problem with this entry’s title.

Posted by Mark at 05:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 08, 2005


The past few weeks have been very busy for a variety of reasons, so I’ve got a bit behind in my blogging. As a result, I have a backlog of entries saved up which I’ll hopefully finish up and post over the next couple of days. Here’s Tigger sitting at my computer checking to see if I had updated my blog yet:


As you can see here, here, and here, he got tired of waiting.

Posted by Mark at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)