City of Echoes

City of Echoes
From a bold new historian comes a vibrant history of Rome as seen through its most influential persona throughout the centuries: the pope.

Rome is a city of echoes, where the voice of the people has chimed and clashed with the words of princes, emperors, and insurgents across the centuries. In this authoritative new history, Jessica Wärnberg tells the story of Rome's longest standing figurehead and interlocutor--the pope--revealing how his presence over the centuries has transformed the fate of the city of Rome.

Emerging as the anonymous leader of a marginal cult in the humblest quarters of the city, the pope began as the pastor of a maligned and largely foreign flock. Less than 300 years later, he sat enthroned in a lofty, heavily gilt basilica, a religious leader endorsed (and financed) by the emperor himself. Eventually, the Roman pontiff would supplant even the emperors as de facto ruler of Rome and pre-eminent leader of the Christian world. By the nineteenth century, it would take an army to wrest the city from the pontiff's grip.

As the first-ever account of how the popes' presence has shaped the history of Rome, City of Echoes not only illuminates the lives of the remarkable (and unremarkable) men who have sat on the throne of Saint Peter, but also reveals the bold and curious actions of the men, women, and children who have shaped the city with them, from antiquity to today. In doing so, the book tells the history of Rome as it has never been told before.

During the course of this fascinating story, City of Echoes also answers a compelling question: how did a man--and institution--whose authority rested on the blood and bones of martyrs defeat emperors, revolutionaries, and fascists to give Rome its most enduring identity?

Publication Date: 
September 5, 2023