Visualizing nearly 2,000 years of The Papacy

Updated with new data to include Pope Francis

The Papacy stretches back nearly 2,000 years; it has not had an uninterrupted or uncomplicated history, but its sheer span is fascinating, and the full list of all those to have held the office throw up some interesting questions. First, how many Popes there have actually been - there have been 266 Pontificates, but when looking at their details, we have worked on the basis that there have been 264 so far; Benedict IX having served three separate times in the disruption of the mid-eleventh century.  

So, what can be counted? The list shows that the first 35 Popes have all been canonised, and then many more since then - we used the calculation engine to search out the prefixes 'St', 'Ven' etc to identify how many Popes are at what stage in the canonisation process. Similarly, we searched out the suffixes that identify which Popes came from monastic or other orders, and which those were; the Benedictines are the best represented, on the basis of this data. We also looked at the regnal names chosen, which threw up another interesting effect of the disruption of the past, that there have been 21 'Johns', but the last of that name was John XXIII - because anti-popes used names that were not then re-used officially.    

There is data lacking for many of the earlier incumbents, of course, but it is interesting to see the increasing average age on election, the confusion of the 9th to 13th centuries both in terms of the number of Popes and the length of their office, and the unbroken line of Italian Pontiffs stretching over 450 years between Adrian VI (Dutch) and John Paul II (Polish).  We used Bime to group the data by status, time, age, origin, name, and order using a variety of different methods - and to change how numbers display both to be clearer (from number of days to days and years) and because it seemed appropriate (Roman numerals uses the 'rename values' option!). Click the screenshot below to load the dashboard!

source for the data: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2013/feb/13/popes-full-list