Last Rites

Not long after a hunting trip through a mosquito-infested swamp outside of Rome, Julius awoke one morning drenched in sweat, complaining of a massive headache. It was tertian fever — malaria. His doctors placed the pope on a strict diet, forbidding every food that he asked for: salted boar, sardines, olives, and wine. Not that [...]

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The Trials of Julius

Two problems made Julius irascible that summer: what to do with his murdering nephew, and how to turn the tables on the French. Francesco Maria della Rovere had sent his uncle countless letters, begging for a chance to come to Rome to plead his case over the death of Cardinal Alidosi. But Julius, still grieving [...]

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Julius Returns (3)

Michelangelo could not see the beauty of the whole ceiling among all of the obvious mistakes he made along the way. The people in the Great Flood were too small. The landscape was too barren. The ark sat high on the water, bobbing like a cork. The prophets and sibyls should have been larger, bolder, [...]

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