The popes of Rome emerged from the humblest of beginnings. The first was a fisherman, charged with spreading the word of God under the watchful eye of a pagan Roman Empire. But just a few centuries later, the papacy had flourished into one of the wealthiest, most powerful institutions on the planet. Surviving the rise and fall of great empires, including that of Rome, the Vicars of Christ became crucial arbitrators on the world stage.
So what can the lives of the popes tell us about the history of Rome? And how is it that the leaders of a minority cult came to be more powerful than the Emperors themselves? Dan is joined by Jessica Wärnberg, a historian of the early modern world and author of City of Echoes: A New History of Rome, Its Popes, and Its People to answer these questions and more.
Produced by James Hickmann and edited by Dougal Patmore.