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Paper: John Hunt, "Betting on the Papal Election in Sixteenth-Century Rome"

By David G. Schwartz on June 1, 2015 3:11 PM | Permalink

The latest Occasional Paper, by Eadington Fellow John Hunt, has been posted: 

Paper 32: May 2015
John Hunt. "Betting on the Papal Election in Sixteenth-Century Rome"

ABSTRACT: Wagering on the papal election was a popular pastime among all levels of society in sixteenth-century Rome. Brokers and their clients kept well-informed of the election taking place within the closed doors of the conclave. Consequently, wagering on the election proved to be a source of disruption since—intentionally or not—it begat rumors of a pope’s election and spurred brokers to use illicit means of discovering the secrets of the conclave. The papacy thus initiated a campaign against the practice during the last twenty-five years of the sixteenth century. This campaign, partially inspired by the Counter-Reformation’s impulse to reform popular mores, proved successful as wagering on papal elections disappeared after 1592.

View the paper here (pdf)


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