Mistress of the Vatican: The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchini: The Secret Female Pope

( 12 )

Overview

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 positions—but for more than a decade in the seventeenth century, Olimpia ran the ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$10.90
BN.com price
(Save 31%)$15.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $5.50   
  • Used (6) from $1.99   
Mistress of the Vatican: The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchini: The Secret Female Pope

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.49
BN.com price

Overview

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 positions—but 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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

In this engrossing "forgotten story" of the Vatican, Herman (Sex with the Queen) relays not only the life of 17th Cenutry Papal puppet-master Olimpia Maidalchini, but the political and social history of her age, including glimpses of art and architecture, family relations, medical care, religious traditions and daily life. Born into a family of average means, Maidalchini rebelled successfully against her father's plans to place her in a convent. This early triumph gave her a will that she'd eventually use to grab the ultimate seat of power in 17th century Italy, the Papacy, through the likely accomplice of her indecisive brother-in-law, a lawyer with holy orders who was dazzled by Maidalchini's intelligence, planning and accounting capabilities. He submitted to the her plans, and she eventually ushered him into power as Pope Innocent X. As her wealth and strength grow, so does the resentment around her, but her fate would be sealed by the bubonic plague. Exhaustively researched, with historical vignettes interwoven seamlessly, Herman's latest provides a window into an age of empire, nepotism and intrigue that rivals any novel for fascinating reading.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Reviews
Herman (Sex with the Queen, 2006, etc.) does her royal best with the fantastic story of a tax collector's daughter from Viterbo who finagled her way into a position of power at the Vatican. The author constantly hammers home her central point: that the driving force of Olimpia Maidalchini's life (1591-1657) was her stingy father's attempt to put her in a convent rather than provide a dowry for a suitable marriage. Her two younger sisters submitted to this fate, but 15-year-old Olimpia refused and wrote a damning letter to the Bishop of Viterbo (fathers were not supposed to coerce daughters into taking the veil). Despite the ensuing scandal, she managed to marry into a poor but well-connected noble family, the Pamphilis of Rome. Her keen memory and knowledge of financial matters soon ingratiated her with sober, learned brother-in-law Gianbattista, a monsignor who increasingly came to rely on Olimpia's decisiveness and guidance in his work at the Vatican courts. Her behind-the-scenes machinations bore fruit when Urban VIII made Gianbattista a cardinal in 1627. Twelve years later, the death of her husband left 48-year-old Olimpia a widow who didn't have to answer to anyone. Upon Urban's demise in 1644, her skillful manipulation of power achieved her life's goal: the election of Gianbattista as Pope Innocent X. His devotion to his sister-in-law allowed her carte blanche in his apartments and free rein in filling her coffers, until her overweening ambition and some powerful enemies caught up with her. Herman nimbly navigates centuries of foggy papal history, providing plenty of gossip and slander about flagrant nepotism and other pontifical sins. She casts Olimpia's story appropriatelyenough in soap-opera terms, making her feisty protagonist resemble (a bit improbably) a 17th-century Scarlett O'Hara. The incredible life of a formidable woman, fetchingly told.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061245565
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/8/2009
  • Series: P.S. Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 433,452
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Pt. 1 The Girl from Viterbo

1 The Convent 9

2 The Wealthy Landowner's Wife 29

3 The Roman Noblewoman 38

4 The Brother-in-Law 52

5 The Papal Nuncio 66

6 Cardinals 78

7 The Black Widow 98

8 Conclave 117

Pt. 2 The Female Pope

9 The Vicar of Christ 137

10 Celebrations 149

11 Women in the Vatican 161

12 Vengeance on the Barberinis 179

13 The Despised Daughter-in-Law 196

14 The Imbecile Cardinals 209

15 Birth, Famine, and Bitter Peace 223

16 The Shoulder of Saint Francesca 237

17 The Holy Jubilee Year 257

18 Crisis of Conscience 274

Pt. 3 Unforgiveness

19 Honor and Dishonor 293

20 Olimpia's Triumphant Return 311

21 The Sudden Disgrace of Cardinal Astalli 331

22 Death of the Dove 348

23 Unforgiveness 365

24 Pope Alexander VII 372

25 The Two Queens of Rome 384

26 The Scourge of God 395

27 After Olimpia 409

Notes 421

Bibliography 433

Index 439

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Read

    Wow! What a historical prespective of the early vatica corruption and the rise of one woman who spent her life being controlled by men. A strong woman who helped the poor prostitutes and young girls have a future. She ruled in a era of men. I enjoyed this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2011

    Little Known Vatican History

    I was surprised how fascinating I found Eleanor Hermann's "Mistress of the Vatican". It is the story of Olimpia Maldaichini; who in the mid 1600's controlled the Vatican through her brother-in-law Pope Innocent X. Olimpia was a woman who knew how to get her own way, was smart enough to do so and used it to enrich herself both personally and financially. Unfortunately she overreached and found herself on the outs eventually and then surprisingly enough back in. Eleanor Herman's story is sympathetic without being prejudiced in favor of her subject, and she details both the good and the bad with equal enthusiasm. With liberal use of modern phrases the prose is lively and interesting. A highly recommended read about a little known part of history.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 22, 2013

    I found this to be a highly engrossing book. There is so much un

    I found this to be a highly engrossing book. There is so much unknown about the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and Herman's account provides a great many details on this. My only complaint might lie more with Herman's editor than with her. She constantly used the word "sumptuous" to describe virtually every rich person's home. I can see once, or even twice. But she uses the word at least 8 times. Ugghhhh. But for a thesarus or an editor who paid attention to word overuse....

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 13 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)