Source:

Sämtliche schriften und briefe series IV volume 5
Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften (ed)
pp 502-503



Date: not before 1693

Translated from the French



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LEIBNIZ: ON MARY STUART AND POPESS JOAN


[A IV 5, p502]

     The history of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland,1 is like that of Popess Joan2 - it is a question of sides. This can be judged from tome 2, book 8 of the Histoire des révolutions d'Angleterre [A IV 5, p503] to the year 1567, by the Father of Orleans. 'The history,' he says, 'of this famous Queen is from those learned in the crib and from those tragic events through which children develop the taste for reading and books.'3 The fact is that in the Roman side, the Queen is represented as unfortunate, but not as worthy of being so, and she is used to stir up minds against the Protestants.





NOTES:

1. Mary Stuart (1542-1587).
2. In medieval times and the early modern period, the tale of Popess Joan - who was thought to have been Pope in either the 9th or 12th century AD - was widely circulated and (among Protestants) widely believed. In all likelihood she was a mythical figure, however.
3. Pierre-Joseph d'Orléans, Histoire des révolutions d'Angleterre depuis le commencement de la monarchie [History of the revolutions of England since the beginning of the monarchy] (Paris, 1693), vol. 2 p481.



© Lloyd Strickland 2007