The mystical series of prophecies, known from their incipit as the Genus nequam prophecies (“the origin of evil”), are derived from the Byzantine Leo Oracles, a series of twelfth-century Byzantine prophecies that foretell a saviour-emperor destined to restore unity to the empire. Their poems and tempera illuminations mix fantasy, the occult, and chronicle in a chronology of the popes. Each prophecy consists of four elements, an enigmatic allegorical text, an emblematic picture, a motto, and an attribution to a pope.
The series was augmented in the fourteenth century with further prophecies, with the incipit Ascende calve (“arise, bald one”), written in imitative continuation of the earlier set, but with more overtly propagandist aims. By the time of the Council of Constance (1414–1418), both series were united as the Vaticinia de summis pontificibus and misattributed to the Calabrian mystic Joachim of Flora, thus credited to a pseudo-Joachim.
The Vaticinis Pontficium was a work of black propaganda falsely attributed to the mystic Joachim of Fiore (c.1135-1202)
Allegedly made prophecies regarding the popes who had been elected and who were to be elected – what their attributes or main characteristics were. Many scholars regard their work to be a crude attempt to influence future conclaves.
Pope Nicholas III
Pope Martin IV
Pope Honorius IV
Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Clement VI
Human Headed Dragon which represents the papacy of Urban VI whose election was contested in the appointment of the anti-Pope Clement VII
Pope Boniface IX
Minature of Pope Gregory XII
Three Pillars representing the Papacy of Pope Alexander
Pope John XXII
Pope Martin V
City of Rome
Pope Holding Tiara
The British Library – detailed record for Harley