During the Middle Ages, the popes of Rome claimed both spiritual authority and worldly powers, vying with emperors for supremacy, ruling over the Papal States, and legislating the norms of Christian society. They also faced profound challenges to their proclaimed primacy over Christendom. The Medieval Papacy explores the unique role that the Roman Church and its papal leadership played in the historical development of medieval Europe. Brett Edward Whalen pays special attention to the religious, intellectual and political significance of the papacy from the first century through to the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Ideal for students, scholars and general readers alike, this approachable survey helps us to understand the origins of an idea and institution that continue to shape our modern world.