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May 12, 2008 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Historical Fightclub

Pope Innocent X: Daaaaaamn Boi!

There’s nothing innocent about the 237th supreme pontiff. Ruling with an iron fist, he was feared for his political prowess and the power he wielded frequently and without remorse. The great-greatgreat- grandson of Pope Alexander VI, a pope who lacked Innocent’s mastery of the law but from whom he clearly inherited his love of the opposite sex.

Almost immediately after his ascension to the papal throne he used his skills as a trained lawyer to attack the powerful Barberini family (whose patriarch was the previous pope, Urban VIII), forcing them into exile. Historians say this was a clever tactical move to ensure his power went unquestioned. I think he just wanted to piss them off.

The Duke of Parma tested the patience of Pope Innocent X. It was the last mistake he ever made. The popes forces stormed and destroyed the city of Castro (the namesake of Fidel Castro), ending by cornering the Duke and slicing his head off.

His importance and influence hasn’t just been felt in the church, his portrait is considered one of the greatest and most important portraits of all time. Velázquez painting brilliantly captures the shiftyness and menace of a man who literally got away with murder.

This portrait inspired the Screaming Pope paintings by Francis Bacon, the most famous of which is Bacon’s Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X.

The beauty of Pope Innocent X was that he has, till this day, gotten away with his sinister behaviour. While others such as Julius II are synonymous with idiotic behaviour, Innocent used his intellect to get away with some of the worst crimes in the history of the papacy, and his innocence has only been questioned by such (non-shit) artistic luminaries as Diego Velázquez, Francis Bacon and myself.

Blaise’s Right of Reply
I realize I kicked your ass in the first Historical Fightclub, but if you—secular Jewboy—were going to take me on on my home turf—asshole Popes—maybe you should have saved Keith Ng for this issue rather than last. Thing is, you didn’t show Innocent X had any fighting skills. You didn’t because he didn’t. End of story. Oh and by the way, Michelangelo and Raphael beat a tagteam of Velázquez and Bacon eight days a week, and as for you versus me, I think I know which way people’d bet (hint: not the cannibal hipster).

By Haimona Peretini Gray

Pope Julius the Ass-Kicking

Pope Julius II was a fighter, not a lover. Last and greatest of the soldier-popes, he administered righteous ass-kickings first to the Venetians and then to the French, all in a century when that meant something. Except for a bull he issued in a fit of piety against duelling, I see no real reason he can’t pull off a repeat performance on Pope Innocent X, whose only badass credential is that Velázquez drew a picture in which he looks kinda intense.

Let’s be clear: this fight will be the biggest mismatch in Rome since the Christians versus the Lions in the Coliseum. For Julius, it’ll be like a puppy stomp: fun to do but potentially grisly to watch.

Perhaps I should back that up, because Julius is remembered mainly for being a possible pederast who bribed his way into the most fiscally incontinent papacy in history. He helped Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, although recent art history scholarship suggests it’s the other way round. He founded the Swiss Guard, which has the coolest and campest uniform in military history—Michelangelo’s design has been changed only once: the addition of special pockets for automatic rifles—and is way more awesome than the US Secret Service (but not the Praetorian Guard).

That Julius survived into old age while being a known enemy of the Borgias might make one think he hid behind his leet bodyguards. Not so. In fact, his signature move was riding out to battle at the head of his army, wearing a full set of armour beneath his papal robes. It was thusly that he drove the Venetians out of Romagna and the French out of Northern Italy. And it shall be thus that he’ll dismantle the unmemorable mediocrity that is Innocent the Asshole.

Haimona’s Right of Reply
Surprise, surprise, you chose a pederast pope (granted, it was hard not to). Julius was the weak parchment on which Innocent wrote his death sentences. Julius had to buy the papacy because his sheer stupidity wouldn’t allow him to make it that far in life without Mummy paying his way. The Swiss Guard, is this the same army that was too scared to fight the Nazi’s at their doorstep? Your pope is as pathetic as your hair, and you call yourself a Catholic.

By BK Drinkwater


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