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This pope was largely assumed to be male until she gave birth in the midst of a procession – and largely assumed to be factual until the 13th century.
It should be noted that the Pope Joan legend didn’t originate with the Protestants, and predated their involvement. Thanks to Jason S for the suggestion I expand on that!
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Joan is here strutting away from the old Saint Peters Basilica, which, best I can tell, is where the Pope would have been situated at this period in history:
Following here are an angry mob, with one man waving the birthing chair above his head. She’s also accompanied with her horse, which is taking care of the newborn child, as Joan just tries to whistle and walk it off, like nothing just happened.