Pope Joan, a fictitious female personage who was long supposed to have succeeded Leo IV. in the papal chair in 855, and to have occupied it over two years. The first who mentions her is Marianus Scotus, a monk of the abbey of Fulda in the 11th century. According to Martinus Polonus, a chronicler of the 13th century, Joan was a native of Mentz, who went with an English lover to Rome in the disguise of a man, and, having become proficient in sacred and profane learning, was chosen to the papacy under the name of John VIII., no suspicion being had of her sex. She was seized with the pains of labor one day while passing in procession to the Lateran basilica, and died in the street. This story was interpolated into the work of Anastasius, who lived at the time of her supposed reign, and some critics contend that it is even wanting in the earlier copies of Martinus Polonus. It was completely disproved by David Blondel, a Protestant writer, in his Familier eclaircissement de la question si unefemme a ete assise au siege papal entre Leon IV. et Benoit III. (Amsterdam, 1649); and it is now generally admitted that no such person as Pope Joan ever existed.