From the string of popes who were poisoned, deposed, and mutilated by rivals for the papacy in the early middle ages, to the controversial neutrality of Pope Pius XII during World War II, A Dark History: The Popes reveals many of the scandals and secrets of the pontiffs, including:
The rotting corpse of Formosus was dug up, put on trial by his successor, and thrown into the Tiber River-twice.
John XII (995-964)
Not content with running a brothel at the Vatican, John XII blinded one cardinal and castrated another, and was said to have drunk toasts to the Devil in an alcoholic stupor.
Innocent III (1198-1215)
Instigator of the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathar heretics, Innocent III was responsible for the deaths of up to one million people over a twenty-year period.
Alexander VI (1492-1503)
Alexander Vi fathered eight children by three or four mistresses. He bribed his way to the papacy, appointed his relatives as cardinals, and amassed a vast fortune.