Testiculos habet  

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
Although the Roman Catholic Church still vehemently denies the legend of Pope Joan, it has been alleged that the Church used to compel a candidate for the papacy to seat himself naked on a bottomless stool, to be viewed by cardinals in the room below. Before he could be declared pope, this inspection committee had to cry out: "Testiculos habet et bene pendentes" — "He has testicles, and they dangle nicely." Here is what Platina, the official Vatican historian, wrote: "Pope John VIII: John, of English extraction, was born at Mentz [Mainz] and is said to have arrived at Popedom by evil art; for disguising herself like a man, whereas she was a woman, she went when young with her paramour, a learned man, to Athens, and made such progress in learning under the professors there that, coming to Rome, she met with few that could equal, much less go beyond her, even in the knowledge of the scriptures




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