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Book VII
Chapter 11

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Italy and Her Invaders

by
Thomas Hodgkin


2nd edition
Oxford University Press
London
1896

The text, and illustrations except as noted,
are in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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Book VII
Note E

Book VII (continued)

Vol. VI
p437
Chapter XII

King Liutprand

Authorities

Sources: —

Paulus Diaconus (not at his best in this part of his work, which, perhaps, lacked his finishing touches).

The Liber Pontificalis, Lives of Gregory II, Gregory III, and Zacharias.

(a) Of the life of Gregory II there are (as Duchesne has pointed out) two recensions, one slightly later than the other, but both strictly contemporary. It is interesting to observe that one of them was used by our countryman Baeda in his Chronicle, which was finished in the year 724, seven years before the death of Pope Gregory II. Evidently therefore this biography, at least (and probably many others besides) was begun during the lifetime of its subject: it is full of valuable materials for history.

(b) The life of Gregory III, on the other hand, is almost worthless. It has long lists of church furniture presented by the Pope to the basilicas of Rome; but of the important political events which occurred between 731 and 741, and in some of which the Pope was the chief actor, there is hardly a trace.

(c) The life of Zacharias again rises to the level of important history, and throws some informing light backwards on the pontificate of his predecessor. It was evidently written by an ecclesiastic in the Papal Court, who was as eye‑witness of some of the scenes which he describes.

 p438 

 p439  Theophanes is the chief source from which the Greek historians have drawn their imperfect notices of the history of Italy during this period.

The Chronicles of Joannes Diaconus and Andrea Dandolo are described in Note F. I need hardly remark that this Joannes Diaconus is quite different from the biographer of Gregory the Great.

Guides: —

Martens, Politische Geschichte des Langobarden­reichs unter König Liutprand (Heidelberg, 1880).

Dahmen, Das Pontifikat Gregors (Düsseldorf, 1888).

Articles by Monticolo and Pinton mentioned in Note F.

The Iconoclastic decrees of the Emperor Leo probably reached Italy in the course of the year 726. Let us glance at the life and character of the man upon whom, as head of the Latin church, the responsibility rested of accepting or rejecting them.

May 19, 715 Early life of Gregory II. Gregory II, who succeeded to the chair of St. Peter on the death of Pope Constantine, was, like his great namesake, of Roman origin, and was the son of a man who bore the true Roman name of Marcellus. He had been brought up from a child in the Papal palace, was made subdeacon, treasurer and librarian, 687‑701 under the pontificate of Sergius, and had attained the position of deacon when, as we have already seen,1 710 he accompanied Pope Constantine to Constantinople, and bore the brunt of the discussion with Justinian the Noseless, as to the canons of the Quinisextan Council. Character of his Pontificate. His pure life, great knowledge of Scripture, ready eloquence, and firmness in defending the rights of the church, all marked him out as a suitable successor to the Pope in whose train he had visited the New Rome. He continued the work of restoration of the walls of Rome,  p440 and set the destructive lime-kilns at work in order to aid in the process.

Visit of the Bavarian Duke Theodo to Rome. It was probably in the year after the consecration of Gregory that a Bavarian duke, 'the first of his race' said the people of Rome, came to kneel at the shrine of St. Peter. This was the venerable Duke Theodo (probably a collateral descendant of Theudelinda), who had already divided his wide-spreading dominions among his four sons, and two of whose grand-daughters about this time married the two chief rulers of the West, Liutprand and Charles Martel. Duke Theodo's visit was probably connected with a dark domestic tragedy which had ended in the mutilation and deposition of a Frankish bishop2 who had visited Bavaria, and it undoubtedly led to a closer dependence of the young and rough Church of the Bavarians on the See of Rome. This was yet more firmly knit when in the year 718 our countryman Boniface, as has been already said, offered himself to the Pope as the willing instrument of the spiritual conquest of Germany.3

Relations of Gregory II with the Lombards. With Liutprand and the Lombards the relations of Gregory II seem in the early years of his pontificate to have been upon the whole friendly. We have seen how the Lombard king in the prologues to his yearly edicts delighted to dwell on the fact that his nation was 'Catholic' and 'beloved of God': and we have heard the remarkable words in which he announced to his subjects that he drew tighter the restrictions on the marriage of distant relations, being moved  p441 thereto by the letters of the Pope of the City of Rome, 'who is the head of all the churches and priests of God throughout the world.' It is entirely in accordance with the relation thus signified between the two powers that we find Liutprand at an early period of his reign renewing and confirming the mysterious donation of King Aripert II, of 'the patrimony in the Cottian Alps.'

Rebuilding of Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino. It was a sign of the increased gentleness of the times and of the more friendly feeling between the Church and the Lombards that, after 130 years of desolation, the hill of St. Benedict was once more trodden by his spiritual children. About the year 719, Petronax, a citizen of Brescia, came on pilgrimage to Rome, and by the advice of Pope Gregory journeyed onward to Monte Cassino. He found a few simple-hearted men already gathered there, he formed them into a regular community, and was elected by them as their abbot.4 The fame of the new community spread far and wide: many, both nobles and men of meaner birth, flocked to the remembered spot, and by their help the monastery rose once more from its ruins, perhaps ampler and statelier than before. 741‑752 Years afterwards, under the pontificate of Zacharias, Petronax again visited Rome, and received from the Pope several MSS. of the Scriptures and other appliances of the monastic life, among them the precious copy of the great 'Rule' which Father Benedict had written with his own hand two centuries before. These treasures, as we have seen, had been carried by the panic-stricken  p442 monks to Rome when Duke Zotto's ravages were impending over them.5

Lombard conquest of Cumae. But the Lombards, though now dutiful sons of the Church, had by no means ceased from their quarrel with the Empire. About the year 717 Romwald II, duke of Benevento, took by stratagem, as we are told, and in a time of professed peace, that stronghold of Cumae of which we last heard as taken by Narses from the Goths in 553.6 'All in Rome,' says the Papal biographer, 'were saddened by the news,' and the Pope sent letters of strong protest to the Lombard duke, advising him, if he would escape Divine vengeance, to restore the fortress which he had taken by guile. He offered the Lombards large rewards if they would comply with his advice, but they 'with turgid minds' refused to listen to either promises or threats. Thereupon the Pope turned to the Imperial Duke of Naples, stimulated his flagging zeal by the promise of the same large rewards, and by daily letters gave him the guidance which he seems to have needed.7 This duke, whose name was John, with Theodimus, a steward of the Papal patrimony and sub‑deacon, for his second in command, entered the fortress by night. The Lombards were evidently taken by surprise, and there was little or no fighting. Three hundred Lombards with  p443 their gastald were slain: more than five hundred were taken as prisoners to Naples. The reward which the Pope had promised, and which was no less than 70 lbs. of gold (£2800), was paid to the victorious duke. Such events as this make us feel that we are on the threshold of the age in which Central Italy will own not the Emperor but the Pope for its lord, but we have not yet crossed it.8

Capture of Classis by Farwald of Spoleto. It was probably not long after this that Farwald II, duke of Spoleto, repeated the achievement of his great namesake and predecessor9 by moving an army northward and capturing Classis, the sea‑port of Ravenna. But again, as before, the conquest which we might have expected almost to end Byzantine rule in Italy, produces results of no importance. Liutprand, whose aim at this time seems to be to keep his own house in order and to live at peace with the Empire, commanded Farwald to restore his conquest to the Romans, and the command is obeyed. Farwald II deposed by his son Transamund. Whether these transactions have anything to do with the next event in the internal history of Spoleto we cannot tell, but we are informed that 'Transamund, son of Farwald, rose up against his father, and making him into a clergyman usurped his place.' This revolution, which happened probably in 724,10 gave Liutprand, instead of an  p444 obedient vassal, a restless and turbulent neighbour, who was to be a very thorn in his side for nearly the whole remainder of his days.

Narni occupied by the Lombards. It was perhaps the new duke of Spoleto who about this time obtained possession of the town of Narni, which place, important for its lofty bridge over the Nar, we have already learned to recognise as an important post on the Flaminian Way, and a frontier city between Romans and Lombards.11 The conjecture that it was Transamund of Spoleto who made this conquest is confirmed by the fact that we are expressly told in the next sentence of the Life of Gregory II that it was King Liutprand12 who put the host of the Lombards in motion Siege of Ravenna and conquest of Classis. and besieged Ravenna for many days. He does not appear however to have taken the city itself, but he repeated the operation of the capture of Classis, from whence he carried off many captives and countless wealth.13

We are now approaching the time when the Isaurian Emperor's edicts against Image-worship may be  p445 supposed to have reached Italy.14 Troubles between the Emperor and his Italian subjects. To those edicts alone has been generally attributed the storm of revolution which undoubtedly burst over Italy in the years between 727 and 730. But though a cause doubtless of that revolution, the Iconoclastic decrees were not the sole cause. Already, ere those decrees arrived, the relations between Byzantium, Rome, and Ravenna were becoming strained. The reader will have observed that for the last half century the popular party both in Ravenna and Rome had manifested an increasing contempt for the weakness of the Exarchs, hatred of their tyranny, and disposition to rally round the Roman pontiff as the standard-bearer not only of the Catholic Church against heresy, but also of Italy against  p446 'the Greeks.' Now, at some time in the third decade of the eighth century, there is reason to believe that financial exactions came to add bitterness to the strife.

Financial exactions of Leo III. The Emperor had been doubtless put to great expense by the military operations necessary to repel the great Saracen invasion, and he might think, not unreasonably, that Italy, and pre‑eminently the Roman Church, the largest landowner in Italy, ought to bear its share of the cost. At any rate he seems to have ordered his Exarch15 to lay some fresh tax upon the provinces of Italy, and in some way or other to lay hold of the wealth of her churches.16 It would seem that some similar demand had been made in the East, and had been quietly complied with by the subservient Patriarch of Constantinople. The Pope however was determined to submit to no such infraction of the privileges of the Church. He probably ordered the rectores patrimonii throughout Italy and Sicily to oppose a passive resistance to the domains of the Imperial collectors, and this opposition stimulated the other inhabitants of Imperial Italy to a similar refusal.17

The Exarch's attempt on the life of the Pope. This defiance of the Emperor's edict naturally provoked resentment at Constantinople and Ravenna. The  p447 Exarch probably received orders to depose Gregory, as Martin had been deposed, and carry him captive to Constantinople. It is not necessary to charge the Emperor (as the Papal biographer has done) with ordering the death of the resisting pontiff. Such a command would have been inconsistent with the character of Leo, who showed himself patient under the long resistance of the Patriarch Germanus to the Iconoclastic decrees, and it is generally disbelieved by those modern writers who are least favourable to the Isaurian Emperors. It is very likely however that the satellites of the Byzantine government, perceiving the opposition between Emperor and Pope, concluded, as did the murderers of Becket, that the surest way to win their sovereign's favour was 'to rid him of one turbulent priest'; and thus it is that the pages of the biography at this point teem with attacks on the life of Gregory, all of which prove unsuccessful.

Basil's plot. A certain Duke Basil, the cartularius Jordanes, and a subdeacon John surnamed Lurion (that is to say, two Imperial officers and one ecclesiastic, who was probably in the service of the Lateran) laid a plot for the murder of the Pope. Marinus, an officer of the life-guards, who had been sent from Constantinople to administer the Ducatus Romae, gave a tacit sanction to their design, for the execution of which however they failed to find a fitting opportunity. Marinus, stricken by paralysis,18 had to relinquish the government of Rome and retire from the scene; but when Paulus the Patrician came out as full-blown Exarch to Italy the conspirators obtained, or thought they obtained, his consent also to  p448 their wicked schemes. The people of Rome however got wind of the design, and in a tumultuary outbreak19 slew the two inferior conspirators, Jordanes and Lurion. Basil was taken prisoner, compelled to change the gay attire of a duke for the coarse robes of a monk, and ended his days in a convent.

The Lombards of Spoleto defend the Pope from the Exarch. Again a guardsman was sent by the Exarch, this time only with orders to depose the pontiff: and as he apparently failed to execute his commission, Paulus raised such an army as he could in Ravenna and the neighbouring towns, and sent it under the command of the count of Ravenna20 to enforce the previous order. But the Romans and — ominous conjunction — the Lombards also, flocked from all quarters to the defence of the pontiff. The soldiers of the duke of Spoleto blocked the bridge over the Anio by which the Exarch's troops, marching on the left bank of the Tiber along the Salarian Way, hoped to enter Rome. All round the confines of the Ducatus Romae the Lombard troops were clustering, and the count was forced to return to Ravenna with his mission unfulfilled.21

Thus then the political atmosphere of central Italy was full of electricity before the decrees against Image- p449 worship came to evoke the lightning flash of revolution. It will be well here to quote the exact words of the Liber Pontificalis, which is our only authority for the actual reception of the decrees in Italy: —

Reception of the Iconoclastic decrees, 727. 'By orders subsequently transmitted22 the Emperor had decreed that no image of any saint, martyr or angel should be retained in the churches; for he asserted that all these things were accursed. If the Pope would acquiesce in this change he should be taken into the Emperor's good graces, but if he prevented this also from being done he should be deposed from his see.23 Therefore that pious man, despising the sovereign's profane command, now armed himself against the Emperor as against a foe, renouncing his heresy and writing to Christians everywhere to be on their guard, because a new impiety had arisen. Therefore all the inhabitants of the Pentapolis and the armies of Venetia24 resisted the Emperors, declaring that they would never be art or part in the murder of the Pope, but would rather strive manfully for his defence, so that they visited with their anathema the Exarch Paulus as well as him who had given him his orders, and all who were like-minded with him. Scorning to yield obedience to his orders, they elected dukes25 for themselves in every part of Italy, and thus they all  p450 provided for their own safety and that of the pontiff. And when [the full extent of] the Emperor's wickedness was known, all Italy joined in the design to elect for themselves an Emperor and lead him to Constantinople. But the Pope restrained them from this scheme, hoping for the conversion of the sovereign.'

Attitude of Gregory towards the insurgents. From this narrative, which has all the internal marks of truthfulness, it will be seen that Gregory II while utterly repudiating the Iconoclastic decrees and 'arming himself' (perhaps rather with spiritual than carnal weapons) 'against the Emperor as against a foe,' threw all his influence into the scale against violent revolution and disruption of the Empire. In fact, we may almost say that the Pope after the publication of the decree was more loyal to the Emperor, and less disposed to push matters to extremity, than he had been before that change in his ecclesiastical policy. The reason for this, as we may infer from the events which immediately followed, was that he saw but too plainly that revolt from the Empire at this crisis would mean the universal dominion of the Lombards in Italy.

Account of the matter given by Theophanes. Having given this, which appears to be the true history of Gregory's attitude during the eventful years from 725 to 731, we must now examine the account given by Theophanes, which, copied almost verbatim by subsequent Greek historians, has unfortunately succeeded in passing current as history. Anno Mundi 6217 [= A.D. 725]. 'First year of Gregory, bishop of Rome.' [Gregory's accession really took place ten years earlier.] 'In this year the impious Emperor Leo began to stir the question of the destruction of the holy and venerable images; and learning this, Gregory  p451 the Pope of Rome stopped the payment of taxes in Italy and Rome, writing to Leo a doctrinal letter26 to the effect that the Emperor ought not to meddle in questions of faith, nor seek to innovate on the ancient doctrines of the Church which had been settled by the holy fathers.'

(A.M. 6221; = A.D. 729.) After describing the steadfast opposition of Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, to 'the wild beast Leo (fitly so named) and his underlings,' Theophanes continues, 'In the elder Rome also Gregory, that all‑holy and apostolic man and worthy successor of Peter, chief of the Apostles, was refulgent in word and deed; who caused both Rome and Italy and all the Western regions to revolt from their civil and ecclesiastical obedience to Leo and the Empire under his rule.'27

He then relates the deposition of Germanus and the elevation to the Patriarchate of Anastasius falsely so called:28 'But Gregory the holy president of Rome, as I before said, disowned Anastasius by his circular letters,29 refuting Leo by his epistles as a worker of impiety, and withdrew Rome with the whole of Italy from his Empire.'

Conflict of testimony between the Biographer and Theophanes. The reader has now before him the passages in the history of Theophanes on the strength of which Gregory II is generally censured or praised (according to the point of view taken by the narrator) for having stimulated the revolt of Italy and stopped the payment  p452 of the Imperial taxes. They are quite irreconcilable with the story of the Liber Pontificalis, and every historian must choose between them. For my part, I have no hesitation in accepting the authority of the Papal biographer, and throwing overboard the Byzantine monk. The former was strictly contemporary, the latter was born seventeen years after Gregory was in his grave. Theophanes wrote his history at the beginning of the ninth century, when the separation of the Eastern and Western Empires through the agency of the Popes was an accomplished fact, and he not unnaturally attributed to Gregory the same line of policy which he knew to have been pursued by his successors Hadrian and Leo. He was moreover, as we have seen, outrageously ill‑informed as to other Western affairs of the eighth century. It is easy to understand how the refusal of taxes, which was really an earlier and independent act in the drama, became mixed in his mind with the dispute about images, and how he was thus led to describe that as a counter-blow to the Iconoclastic decrees, which was really decided upon ere the question of Image-worship was mooted.

Letters of Gregory II to Leo III not now extant. Theophanes is probably right in saying that the Pope sent letters to the Emperor warning him against interference in sacred things. Unfortunately these letters have perished, for the coarse and insolent productions which have for the last three centuries passed current under that name are now believed by many scholars to be forgeries of a later date. Much confusion is cleared away from the history, and the memory of a brave but loyal Pope is relieved from an unnecessary stain, by the rejection of these apocryphal letters.30

 p453  Anti-Papal movement in Campania. Anarchy and the disruption of all civil and religious ties seemed to impend over Italy when the Emperor and the Pope stood thus in open opposition to one another. There was a certain Exhilaratus, duke of Campania, whose son Hadrian had some years before31 incurred the anathema of a Roman synod for having presumed to marry the deaconess Epiphania. Father and son now sought to revenge this old grudge on the Pontiff. They raised the banner of 'obedience to the Emperor and death to the Pope of Rome,' and apparently drew away a considerable number of the Campanians after them. But 'the Romans' (probably the civic guard which had been so conspicuous in some recent events) went forth and dispersed the Campanians, killing both Exhilaratus and his son. Another Imperial duke named Peter was arrested, accused of writing letters to the Emperor against the Pope, and, according to the cruel fashion which Italy borrowed from Byzantium, was deprived of sight.

Civil war at Ravenna. At Ravenna itself something like civil war seems to have raged. There was both an Imperial and a Papal party in that city, but apparently the latter prevailed. The Exarch Paulus was killed (probably in 727),32 and it seems probable that for some time Ravenna preserved a kind of tumultuary independence, disavowing the rule of the Emperor, and proclaiming its fidelity to the Pope and the party of the Image-worshippers.33

 p454  Meanwhile out of all this confusion and anarchy the statesmanlike Liutprand was drawing no small advantage. Conquests of Liutprand. In the north-east he pushed his conquests into the valley of the Panaro, took Bologna and several small towns in its neighbourhood, invaded, and perhaps conquered the whole of the Pentapolis and the territory of Osimo.34 It would seem from the expression used by the Papal biographer that with none of these towns was any great display of force needed, but that all, more or less willingly, gave themselves up to the Lombard king, whose rule probably offered a better chance of peace and something like prosperity than that either of the Exarch or the Exarch's foes.

 p455  Capture and restitution of Sutrium. At the same time Liutprand also took (by guile, as we are told) the town of Sutrium, only thirty miles north of Rome, but this, after holding it for forty days, on the earnest request of the Pope he 'gave back to the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul,' without however restoring the booty which had rewarded the capture.35

Eutychius Exarch. On the death of Paulus, the Eunuch Eutychius was appointed Exarch. He was apparently the last man who held that office, and though there is a provoking silence on the part of all our authorities as to his character, we may perhaps infer that he was a somewhat stronger and more capable man than many of his predecessors. But that is very faint praise.36

His designs against the Pope. The new Exarch landed at Naples — perhaps on account of the disturbed state of Ravenna — and from that city began to spread his net for the feet of the Pontiff. If the biographer may be trusted (which is doubtful), he sent a private messenger to Rome instructing his partisans to murder both the Pope and the chief nobles of the City.37 The citizens got hold of the messenger and his letters, and 'when they perceived the cruel madness' of the Exarch they would fain have put the messenger to death, but the Pontiff hindered them. Popular enthusiasm on behalf of the Pope. However, all the citizens, great and small, assembled in some sort of rude and unconscious  p456 imitation of the old comitia (held probably in one of the great Roman basilicas), wherein they solemnly anathematised Eutychius and bound themselves by a great oath to live or die with the Pontiff, 'the zealot of the Christian faith and defender of the Churches.' The Exarch sent messengers to both king and dukes of the Lombards, promising them great gifts if they would desist from helping Gregory II, but for a time all his blandishments were unavailing; Lombards and Romans vying with one another in declaring their earnest desire to suffer, if need were, a glorious death for the defence of the Pope and the true faith. Meanwhile the Pope, while giving himself up to fastings and daily litanies, bestowed alms on the poor with lavish hand, and in all his discourses to the people, delivered in gentle tones, thanked them for their fidelity to his person, and exhorted them to continue in the faith, but also warned them 'not to cease from their love and loyalty towards the Roman Empire.38 Thus did he soften the hearts of all and mitigate their continued sorrow.'

Eutychius and Liutprand combine. But though the Exarch was at first unsuccessful both with the king and the dukes of the Lombards, there came a time (probably in the year 730) when Liutprand began to listen to his words and when a strange sympathy of opposites drew the Lombard king and the Greek Exarch into actual alliance with one another. If we attentively study Liutprand's career we shall, I think, see that the one dominant feature in his policy was his determination to make himself really as well as theoretically supreme over all  p457 Lombard men. In his view, to extend his territories at the expense of the dying Empire was good, and he neglected no suitable opportunity of doing so. To pose as the friend and champion of the Pope was perhaps even better, and he would sometimes abandon hardly‑won conquests in order to earn this character. But to gather together in one hand all the resources of the Lombard nationality, to teach the half-independent dukes of Benevento and Spoleto their places, to make Trient and Friuli obey the word of a king going forth from Pavia, this was best of all; this was the object which was dearest to his heart. Thus what Ecgberht did eighty years later for England, Liutprand strove to do, not altogether unsuccessfully, for Italy.

From this point of view the rally of Lombard enthusiasm round the threatened Pope was not altogether acceptable to Liutprand. It was a movement in which the central government at Pavia had had little share. Tuscia and Spoleto, pre‑eminently Spoleto, had distinguished themselves by their enthusiasm at the Salarian Bridge in repelling the invading Greeks. We are not informed of the attitude of Benevento, but we can see that the whole tendency of the movement was to substitute an independent Central Italy, with Rome as its spiritual capital, for the confessedly subordinate duchies of Clusium, Lucca, Spoleto, and the like.

Attitude of the dukes of Spoleto. As for Spoleto, there can be little doubt that Transamund, the undutiful son who had turned his father into a priest, was already showing his sovereign that he would have a hard fight to keep him in the old theoretical state of subservience and subjection. and Benevento. At Benevento also the forces of disorder were at work,  p458 and, as we shall see a little later, a usurper was probably ruling the duchy of the Samnites.39

In order then to accomplish his main purpose, the consolidation of Lombard Italy, Liutprand formed a league with the Exarch Eutychius, and the two rulers agreed to join their forces, with the common object of subjecting the dukes of Spoleto and Benevento to the king, and of enabling the Exarch to work his will on the Pope and the City of Rome. In accordance with this plan, Liutprand, who was of course far the stronger member of the confederacy, marched to Spoleto, received from both the dukes hostages and oaths of fidelity, and then moving northwarda to Rome encamped with all his army in the Plain of Nero, between the Vatican and Monte Mario. The Pope's interview with Liutprand. The combination of the Imperial deputy and the Lombard king, the might of Right, and the right of Might, seemed to bode instant destruction to the Roman Pontiff; but he repeated, not in vain, the experiment which his great predecessor Leo, three centuries before, had tried on Attila. He went forth from the City, attended doubtless by a long train of ecclesiastics; he addressed one of his soothing and sweet-toned addresses to the Lombard, and soon had the joy of seeing him fall prostrate at his feet and vow that no harm should befall him through his means. In token of his penitence and submission Liutprand took off his mantle, his doublet,40 his belt, his gilded sword and spear, his golden crown and silver cross, and laid them all down in the crypt before the altar of St. Peter. Solemn prayers were  p459 said; Liutprand besought the Pope to receive his ally the Exarch into favour, and thus a reconciliation, at least an apparent reconciliation, was effected, and the ominous alliance between King and Exarch was practically dissolved, never to be again renewed.41

Petasius anti-Emperor. While the Exarch, now as it would seem an honoured guest of the Pope, was tarrying at Rome, a wild and hopeless attempt to bring the opposition to Leo III to a head, by setting up a rival Emperor, was made and easily defeated. The pretender, whose real name was Petasius, assumed the name of Tiberius. This was, as we have seen, the appellation by which not only the Emperor Apsimar, but also Basil the pretender to the Empire who arose in Sicily, had elected to be called.42 We must suppose that some remembrance of the popular virtues of Tiberius II had obliterated the odium attached to the name of Tiberius I.43 However, only  p460 a few towns in Tuscany44 swore allegiance to the usurper, and the Exarch, though troubled at the tidings of the insurrection, yet being comforted by the assurances of the Pope's fidelity, and receiving from him not only a deputation of bishops, but also the more effectual help of a troop of soldiers, went forth to meet the pretender, defeated him, and cut off his head, which he sent as a token of victory to Constantinople. 'But not even so,' says the Papal biographer, 'did the Emperor receive the Romans back into full favour.'

Death of Gregory II, 731. On February 11, 731, the aged Pope Gregory II died. He was a man with much of the true Roman feeling which had animated his great namesake and predecessor, but with more sweetness of temper, and he had played his part in a difficult and dangerous time with dignity and prudence, upholding the rights of the Church and the claims of the Holy See as he understood them, but raising his powerful voice against the disruption of the Empire. By a hard fate his name has been in the minds of posterity connected with some of the coarsest and most violent letters that were ever believed to have been issued from the Papal Chancery, letters more worthy of Boniface VIII than of the 'sweet reasonableness' of Gregory II.

Gregory III, Pope, 731‑741. The new Pope, whose election was completed on  p461 March 18, 731, and who took the title of Gregory III, was of Syrian origin, descended doubtless from one of the multitude of emigrants who had been driven westwards and Romewards by the tide of Mohammedan invasion. He has not been so fortunate in his biographer as his predecessor, for the imbecile ecclesiastic who has composed the notice of his life which appears in the Liber Pontificalis is more concerned with counting the crowns and the basins, the crosses and the candlesticks, which Gregory III presented to the several churches in Rome, than with chronicling the momentous events which occurred during the ten years of his Pontificate. It is clear however that the third Gregory pursued in the main the same policy as his predecessor, sternly refusing to yield a point to the Emperor on the question of Image-worship, but also refusing to be drawn into any movement for the dismemberment of the Empire. In his relations with Liutprand he was less fortunate. He intrigued, as it seems to me unfairly, with the turbulent dukes of Spoleto and Benevento: and he was the first Pope in this century to utter that cry for help from the other side of the Alps which was to prove so fatal to Italy.

Papal remonstrances with the Emperor. Gregory III was evidently determined to try what ecclesiastical warnings and threats would effect in changing the purpose of Leo. He wrote a letter 'charged with all the vigour of the Apostolic See,' and sent it to the Emperor by the hands of a presbyter named George. But George, 'moved by the fear natural to man,' did not dare to present the letter, and returned to Rome with his mission unaccomplished. The Pope determined to degrade his craven messenger  p462 from the priestly office, but on the intercession of the bishops of the surrounding district assembled in council, he decided to give him one more chance to prove his obedience. This time George attempted in good faith to accomplish his mission, but was forcibly detained in Sicily by the officers of the Emperor, and sentenced to banishment for a year.

Council of Italian bishops, 731. On November 1, 731, the Pope convened a Council, at which the Archbishops of Grado and Ravenna and ninety-three other Italian bishops were present, besides presbyters, deacons, 'consuls,' and members of the commonalty.45 By this Council it was decreed, 'that if hereafter any one despising those who hold fast the ancient usage of the Apostolic church should stand forth as a destroyer, profaner, and blasphemer against the veneration of the sacred images, to wit of Christ and his Immaculate Mother, of the blessed Apostles and the Saints, he should be excluded from the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and from all the unity and fabric of the Church.'

With this decree of the Council was sent to the Emperor a defensor named Constantine, who, like his predecessor, was forcibly detained and sentenced to a year's exile. The messengers from various parts of Italy who were sent to pray for the restoration of the sacred images were all similarly detained for a space of eight months by Sergius, Prefect46 of Sicily. At last the defensor Peter reached 'the royal city' of Constantinople and presented his letters of warning and rebuke to Leo, to his son Constantine (now the  p463 partner of his throne), and to the Iconoclastic Patriarch Anastasius.

Here the Papal biographer breaks off, and we have to turn to another source to learn what answer the Emperor made to the remonstrances which had been addressed to him with so much persistence.

Theophanes (who knows nothing of the accession of the third Gregory) gives us the following information under date of 732:47 —

Leo's attempted punishment of the Pope, 732. 'But the Emperor raged against the Pope and the revolt of Rome and Italy, and having equipped a great fleet, he sent it against them under the command of Manes, general of the Cibyrrhaeots.48 But the vain man was put to shame, his fleet being shipwrecked in the Adriatic sea. Then the fighter against God being yet more enraged, and persisting in his Arabian [Mohammedan] design, laid a poll‑tax on the third part of the people of Calabria and Sicily.49 Sequestration of Papal patrimonies. He also ordered that the so‑called patrimonia of the holy and eminent Apostles [Peter and Paul] reverenced in the elder Rome, which had from of old brought in a revenue to the churches of three and a half talents of gold,50 should be confiscated to the State. Poll‑tax. He ordered moreover that all the male children who were born  p464 should be inspected and registered, as Pharaoh aforetime did with the children of the Hebrews, a measure which not even his teachers the Arabians had taken with the Eastern Christians who were their subjects.'

A few facts stand out clearly from this somewhat confused narrative. The maritime expedition which was frustrated by the storm in the Adriatic was no doubt intended to enforce the Iconoclastic decrees throughout Imperial Italy, perhaps to arrest the Pope. Apparently after the failure of this attempt it was never renewed. Financial grievances (probably the financial exigencies of the Imperial treasury) are again, as in our previous extracts from the same author, confusedly mixed up with religious innovations. But we may fairly infer that the sequestration of the Papal patrimonies, which would take effect chiefly in Sicily and Calabria, was meant as a punishment for the Pope's contumacy in respect of the decrees against image-worship: and if maintained, as it seems to have been, it must have seriously diminished the Papal splendour. The poll‑tax,51 and its necessary consequence the census of births, which is so absurdly compared to the infanticidal decree of Pharaoh, was doubtless a mere attempt — whether wise or unwise we cannot judge — to balance the Imperial budget. The fact that it was confined to Sicily and Calabria seems to show that all the territory in Northern and Central Italy which had lately belonged to the Empire was  p465 still seething with disaffection. Possibly even Ravenna itself was yet unsubdued, and in the possession of the insurgents.

Separation of Illyricum from the Latin Patriarchate. At the same time, by an important ecclesiastical revolution, all the wide territories east of the Adriatic which as part of the old Prefecture of Illyricum52 had hitherto obeyed the spiritual jurisdiction of Rome, were now rent away from the Latin Patriarchate: truly a tremendous loss, and one for which at the time it needed all the new conquests in England and Germany to make compensation.53

With the facts thus gleaned from the pages of Theophanes our information as to the transactions between Emperor and Pope for the ten years of Gregory's pontificate comes to an end. Let us now turn to consider Liutprand's dealings with his subject dukes during the same period.

Affairs of Friuli. First we find our attention drawn to the region of the Julian Alps, where for some six and twenty years of Pemmo, the skilful and ingenious, the tolerant husband of the ungainly Ratperga, the founder of one of the earliest schools of chivalry,54 had been ruling the duchy of Friuli. It was somewhere about the point which we have now reached in the reign of Liutprand55 that this wary old ruler came into collision with that king's  p466 power, and lost both duchy and liberty. The cause of the trouble was ecclesiastical, and came, as almost all ecclesiastical troubles in that reign did come, directly or indirectly, from the controversy about the Three Chapters.

Patriarchates of Grado and Aquileia. The synods which were held under Cunincpert at Pavia and Aquileia had reunited the Church of North Italy in the matter of doctrine, but the vested rights of the two Patriarchates which had been created in the course of the schism, remained, and were for example in the established order of the church, when, at the request of King Liutprand, Gregory II sent the pallium of a metropolitan to Serenus, Patriarch of Aquileia.56 Grado, which was within range of the fleets of Byzantium, had hitherto been the sole patriarchate in Venetia and Istria recognised by Rome. Now Aquileia, not ten miles distant from Grado (from whose desolate shore the campanile of the cathedral is plainly visible), Aquileia, which in all things was swayed by the nod of the Lombard king, was a recognised and orthodox Patriarchate also. A singular arrangement truly, and one which was made barely tolerable by the provision that, while maritime Venetia, including the islands in the lagunes, now fast rising into prosperity and importance, was to obey the Patriarch of Grado, continental Venetia, including Friuli and the bishoprics and convents endowed by its Lombard dukes, was to be subject to the rule of the Patriarch of Aquileia.

Dissensions of course arose, or rather never ceased, between the two so nearly neighbouring spiritual  p467 rulers. They are attested by two letters of Pope Gregory II, one to Serenus of Aquileia, whom he calls bishop of Forum Julii, warning him not to presume on his new pallium and on the favour of his king in order to pass beyond the bounds of the Lombard nation and trespass on the territory of his brother of Grado; the other to Donatus of Grado, telling him of the warning which has been sent to Serenus.

The Patriarch of Aquileia takes up his abode at Cividale. It will be noticed that in the superscription of the letter to Serenus he is spoken of as bishop of Forum Julii. This can hardly have been his contemporary title, but it describes that which was to be his position in later times. As the Lombard duke was his patron, power naturally gravitated towards him, and Aquileia, always sombre in its wide-reaching ruins, and now exposed to attack from the navies of hostile Byzantium,57 ceased to be a pleasant residence for the Patriarch who took his title from its cathedral. At first he came only as far as Cormones, a little castrum58 half way on the road to Friuli. To the capital itself he could not yet penetrate, for, strangely enough, there was already one somewhat intrusive bishop there. From Julium Carnicum (Zuglio), high up in the defiles of the Predil pass, Bishop Fidentius had descended to Cividale in search  p468 of sunshine and princely favour, and receiving a welcome from some earlier duke had established himself there as its bishop. To him had succeeded Amator: but now Callistus, the new Patriarch of Aquileia, who was of noble birth and yearned after congenial society, taking it ill that these Alpine bishops should live in the capital and converse with Duke Pemmo and the young scions of the Lombard nobility, while he had to spend his life in the companionship of the boors of Cormones, took a bold step, forcibly expelled Bishop Amator, and went to live in his episcopal palace at Cividale. But Pemmo and the Lombard nobles had not invited Amator to their banquets to see their guest-friend thus flouted with impunity. Patriarch Callistus imprisoned. Having arrested Callistus, they led him away to the castle of Potium59 overhanging the sea, into which they at first proposed to cast him headlong. 'God, however,' says Paulus, 'prevented them from carrying out this design, but Pemmo thrust him into the dungeon and made him feed on the bread of tribulation.'

Pemmo deposed by Liutprand. The tidings of this high-handed proceeding greatly exasperated Liutprand, in whose political schemes the new orthodox Patriarch of Forum Julii was probably an important factor. Ratchis, duke of Friuli. He at once issued orders for the deposition of Pemmo and the elevation of his son Ratchis in his stead. No great display of force seems to have been needed for this change; probably there was already a large party in the duchy who disapproved of the arrest of Callistus. Pemmo and his friends meditated an escape into the land of the Sclovenes on the other side of the mountains, but  p469 Ratchis persuaded them to come in and throw themselves on the mercy of the king. At Pavia60 King Liutprand sat upon the judgment-seat, and ordered all who had been concerned in the arrest of Callistus to be brought before him. The fallen Duke Pemmo and his two sons, Ratchait and Aistulf, came first. Their life was yielded as a favour to the loyal Ratchis, but they were bidden — perhaps in contemptuous tones — to stand behind the royal chair. Then with a loud voice the king read out the list of all the adherents of Pemmo, and ordered that they should be taken into custody. The ignominy of the whole proceeding heated the mind of Aistulf to such rage that he half drew his sword out of the sheath, and was about to strike the king, but Ratchis stayed his arm, and the treasonable design perhaps escaped the notice of Liutprand. All Pemmo's followers were then arrested and condemned to long captivity in chains, except one brave man named Herfemar, who drew his sword, defended himself bravely against the king's officers, and escaped to the basilica of St. Michael, which he did not leave till he had received the king's (faithfully kept) promise of pardon.61

Ratchis justified the choice made of him for his father's successor by an irruption into Carniola, in which he wrought much havoc among the Sclovenic enemies of his people, delivering himself from great personal peril by a well-aimed blow with his club at the chief of his assailants.

Of the after-fate of Pemmo and whether he lingered long in imprisonment we hear unfortunately nothing.  p470 He was certainly not restored to his duchy. From the whole course of the narrative we can at once perceive that a much stronger hand than that of the Perctarits and the Cunincperts is at the helm of the state, and that Liutprand is fast converting the nominal subjection of the great dukes into a very real and practical one.

Affairs of Benevento. Of the yet more important affairs of the great southern duchy of Benevento we have unfortunately but slender information. We have seen that before the death of Gregory II (731) Liutprand formed an alliance with the Exarch, in order that he might repress the rebellious tendencies of the dukes of Benevento and Spoleto. The duke of Benevento against whom this alliance was pointed is generally supposed to have been Romwald II, who had married Gumperga, niece of Liutprand. Death of Romwald II. That theory cannot be disproved, but as Romwald seems to have reigned in peace with his great kinsman for many years, and as his death possibly occurred in 730,62 I am disposed to conjecture that it was the troubles arising out of that event which necessitated the interference of Liutprand. Paulus tells us that 'on the death of Romwald there remained his son Gisulf, who was still but a little boy. Against him certain persons rising up sought to destroy him, but the people of the Beneventans, who were always remarkable for their fidelity to their leaders, slew them and preserved the life of their [young]  p471 duke.' This is all that the Lombard historian tells us, but from an early catalogue of Beneventan dukes preserved at Monte Cassino63 we learn that Usurpation of Audelais. there was actually another duke, presumably an usurper, named Audelais, who ruled in Benevento for two years after the death of Romwald II. It is clear therefore that Liutprand's work at Benevento was a difficult one, probably not accomplished without bloodshed. Having doubtless fought and conquered Audelais, he installed in the Samnite duchy his own nephew Gregory (who had been before duke of Clusium),64 and carried off his little kinsman Gisulf to be educated at Pavia. Here in course of time he gave him a noble maiden named Scauniperga to wife, and trained him for the great office which he was one day to hold.

Gregory, duke of Benevento, 732‑739. Gregory is a man of whom one would gladly hear something more, for it would seem that he must have been a strong and capable ruler, who in such a difficult position kept the Beneventan duchy so long quiet and apparently loyal: but all we know is that after ruling for seven years he died, apparently a natural death, and that Gottschalk, a rebel duke. Gottschalk was raised to the dukedom, evidently as an act of rebellion against the over-lordship of Pavia. Of Gottschalk also we hear very little except that his wife was named Anna, and from the emphatic way in which this lady is mentioned one conjectures that it was feminine ambition which urged  p472 Gottschalk to grasp the dangerous coronet. Three years he reigned, and then at last Liutprand, having put in order the affairs of Spoleto and other matters which needed mending, drew near to Benevento. At the mere rumour of his approach Gottschalk began to prepare for flight to Greece.65 A ship was engaged, probably at Brindisi or Taranto, and laden with his treasures and his wife, but ere the trembling duke himself could start upon his hasty journey along the great Via Trajana, the Beneventans who were loyal to young Gisulf and the house of Romwald rushed into his palace and slew him. The lady Anna with her treasures arrived safely at Constantinople.

Gisulf II, duke, 742‑751. King Liutprand arriving at Benevento seems to have found all opposition vanished, and to have settled all things according to his will. He installed his great-nephew Gisulf as duke in his rightful place,66 and returned victorious to Pavia The reign of Gisulf II lasted for ten years, and overpassed the life of Liutprand and the limits of this volume.

Association of Hildeprand as colleague with Liutprand. In order to give a connected view of the changes which occurred at Benevento, it has been necessary to travel almost to the end of the reign of Liutprand. We must now return to the year 735, three years after he had suppressed the usurpation of Audelais of Benevento. It was apparently in May of this year67 that a strange event happened, and one which as it would seem somewhat overcast by its consequences  p473 the last nine years of the great king's reign. He was seized with a dangerous sickness, and seemed to be drawing near to death. Without waiting for that event, however, the precipitate Lombards, perhaps dreading the perils of a disputed succession, raised his nephew Hildeprand to the throne. The ceremony took place in the Church of the Virgin which the grateful Perctarit erected outside the walls in the place called Ad Perticas.68 When the sceptre was placed in the hand of new king men saw with a shudder that a cuckoo came and perched upon it. To our minds the incident would suggest some harsh thoughts of the nephew who was thus coming cuckoo-like to make use of his uncle's nest; but the wise men of the Lombards seem to have drawn from it an augury that 'his reign would be a useless one.' When Liutprand heard what was done he was much displeased, and indeed the incident was only too like that of the Visigothic king69 who in similar circumstances was made an involuntary monk, and so lost his throne. However, after what was perhaps a tedious convalescence Liutprand bowed to the inevitable and accepted Hildeprand as the partner of his throne. He must have been a man with some reputation for courage and capacity, or he would not have been chosen by the Lombards at such a crisis; but nothing that is recorded of him seems to justify that reputation. Both as partner of his uncle and as sole king of the Lombards, the word which best describes him seems to be that chosen by the historian, inutilis.

Of the years between 735 and 739 we can give no  p474 accurate account. They may have been occupied by operations against Ravenna. There are some slight indications that Transamund of Spoleto was making one of his usual rebellions.70 It was perhaps during this time that the strong position of Gallese on the Flaminian Way, which had somehow fallen into the hands of the Lombards and had been a perpetual bone of contention between Rome and Spoleto, was redeemed by the Pope for a large sum of money paid to Transamund,71 a transaction which may have laid the foundation of the alliance between that prince and Gregory, and at the same time may easily have roused the displeasure of Liutprand. But the most important event in these years was probably Liutprand's expedition for the deliverance of Provence from the Saracens. Liutprand's adoption of Pippin. His brother-in‑law Charles Martel, with whom he seems to have been throughout his life on terms of cordial friendship, had sent him his young son Pippin that he might, according to Teutonic custom, cut off some of his youthful locks and adopt him as filius per arma.72 The ceremony was duly accomplished, and the young Arnulfing having received many gifts from his adoptive father returned to his own land. He was one day to recross the Alps, not as son of the Mayor of the Palace, but as king of the Franks, and to overthrow the kingdom of the Lombards. But now came a cry for help from the real to the adoptive father of the  p475 young warrior. The Saracens from their stronghold in Narbonne had pressed up the valley of the Rhone. Avignon had been surrendered to them; Arles had fallen; it seemed as if they would make Provence their own and would ravage all Aquitaine. Liutprand helps Charles Martel against the Saracens. At the earnest entreaty of Charles Martel, who sent ambassadors with costly presents to his brother-in‑law, Liutprand, led the whole army of the Lombards over the mountains, and at the tidings of his approach the Saracens left their work of devastation and fled terrified to their stronghold.

Rebellion of Transamund of Spoleto. In 739 the storm which had long been brewing in Central Italy burst forth. Transamund of Spoleto went into open rebellion against his sovereign. Gottschalk, as we have seen, in this year usurped the ducal throne of Benevento, and Pope Gregory III having formed a league with the two rebel dukes defied the power of Liutprand. The king at this time dealt only with Spoleto. He marched thither with his army; Transamund fled at his approach, taking refuge in Rome. In June, 739, Liutprand was signing charters in the palace of Spoleto,73 Hilderic made duke in his stead. and appointed one of his adherents named Hilderic duke in the room of Transamund. He then marched on Rome, and as Gregory refused to give up his mutinous ally Capture of four cities in the Duchy of Rome. he took four frontier towns (Ameria, Horta, Polimartium, and Blera)74 away from the Ducatus Romae and joined them to the territory of the Lombards, whose border was now indeed brought perilously near to Rome.  p476 Having accomplished these changes Liutprand returned to Pavia.

Pope Gregory appeals to Charles Martel for help. The policy, perhaps we ought to say the intrigues, of Gregory III had so far been a failure. By his alliance with the rebellious dukes he had only made the most powerful man in Italy his enemy, and had lost four frontier cities to the Lombards. Help from distant and unfriendly Byzantium, help from the Exarch who was himself trembling for the safety of Ravenna, if not actually an exile from its walls, were equally unattainable. In these circumstances Gregory III entered again upon the policy which Pelagius II had pursued a century and a half before, and called on the Frank for aid. Writing to 'his most excellent son, the sub‑regulus lord Charles,' he confided to him his intolerable woes from the persecution and oppression of the Lombards. The revenues appropriated to the maintenance of the lights on St. Peter's tomb had been intercepted, and the offerings of Charles himself and his ancestors had been carried off.75 The Church of St. Peter was naked and desolate; if the Frankish 'under-king' cared for the favour of the Prince of the Apostles and the hope of eternal life, he would hasten to her aid.

As this letter was ineffectual, another was despatched in more urgent terms.76

'Tears,' said Gregory, 'were his portion night and day when he saw the Church of God deserted by the sons who ought to have avenged  p477 her. The little that was left of the papal patrimony in the regions of Ravenna, and whose revenues ought to have gone to the support of the poor and the kindling of the lights at the Apostolic tomb, was being wasted with fire and sword by Liutprand and Hildeprand the Lombard kings, who had already sent several armies to do similar damage to the district round Rome, destroying St. Peter's farm-houses and carrying off the remnant of his cattle. Doubtless the Prince of the Apostles could if he pleased defend his own, but he would try the hearts of those who called themselves his friends and ought to be his champions. Do not believe,' urges the Pope, 'the false suggestions of those two kings against the dukes of Spoleto and Benevento, as if they had committed any fault. All these stories are lies. Their only crime is that last year they refused to make an inroad upon us from their duchies and carry off the goods of the Holy Apostles, saying that they had made a covenant woods which they would keep. It is for this cause that the sword rages against them, and that those most noble dukes are degraded, and the two kings are making their own wicked followers dukes in their room. Send we pray you some faithful messenger, inaccessible to bribes, who shall see with his own eyes our persecution, the humiliation of the Church of God, the desolation of His property, and the tears of the foreigners [who are dwelling in Rome].77 Before God and by the coming judgment we exhort you, most Christian son, to come to St. Peter's help, and with all speed to beat back those kings and order them to  p478 return to their own homes. I send you the keys of the chapel78 of the blessed Peter, and exhort you by them and by the living and true God not to prefer the friendship of the kings of the Lombards to that of the Prince of the Apostles, but to come speedily to our aid, that your faith and good report may be spread abroad throughout all the nations, and that we may be able to say with the prophet, "The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble, the name of the God of Jacob defend thee." '

Charles refuses to interfere. The passionate appeals of the Pope failed of their effect. Charles Martel, as we have seen, was not himself morbidly scrupulous in the respect which he paid to the property of the Church. He probably did not believe, as posterity has not believed, that the sole fault of the two dukes was their refusal to invade the Roman territory. He rather saw in them two rebellious servants who were trying to sanctify their own turbulent courses by a pretence of defending the property of St. Peter. He himself was Liutprand's kinsman, his son had lately received a hospitable welcome at his court, his own cry for help against the Saracens had been generously responded to by the Lombard king. Decidedly he would not interfere against him, nor leave the plains of Provence a prey to the Saracens of Narbonne in order to win back for the angry Pope the towns which he had lost by his own rash meddling in the game of politics.

Transamund expels Hilderic and recovers Spoleto. This being so, Transamund determined to try what he could effect by his own power, aided by the militia of the Ducatus Romae.79 He and his allies divided  p479 themselves into two bands, one of which invaded the southern part of the duchy, marching by the old Via Valeria, through the country of the Marsi and Peligni, passing the northern border of the Fucine lake, and receiving the submission, but not the willing submission, of the chief towns in this part of the duchy.80 The other troop, which was probably led by Transamund himself, marched along the Salarian Way, received the submission of Reate, and made all the old territory of the Sabines subject to the rebel duke. By December81 Transamund was again in his old palace of Spoleto, had slain his rival Hilderic, and resumed all his former audacity of rebellion against his king.

Transamund breaks his promise to the Pope. The open alliance of the Pope and the rebel dukes, the easy reconquest of Spoleto, the always disloyal attitude of Gottschalk at Benevento caused Liutprand and his Lombard counsellors great anxiety. As the Papal biographer says, 'There was great disturbance of spirits between the Romans and the Lombards, because the Beneventans and Spoletans held with the Romans.' The unnatural alliance however was of short duration. Solemnly as Transamund had promised that if he recovered his duchy he would restore the four lost cities to the Ducatus Romae, when he was once  p480 securely seated in the palace of Spoleto he broke all his promises, and the towns which had been lost for his sake by the Romans continued Lombard still. On this the Pope withdrew the aid, whatever it was worth, which he had afforded to Transamund, and left Liutprand to deal with two rebel dukes alone.

March of Liutprand to the south. For some reason, however, possibly on account of the events hereafter to be related in connection with the capture and reconquest of Ravenna, something like two years elapsed after Transamund's expedition before Liutprand set forth to recover Spoleto. Death of Gregory III. During the interval Gregory III died (December 10, 741), Zacharias Pope, 741‑752. and was succeeded after an unusually short interval by Zacharias, a Pope of Greek origin, whose memorable pontificate lasted ten years. Liutprand marched through the Pentapolis, and on the road between Fano and Fossombrone82 in the valley of the Metaurus sore peril overtook him. Battle of the Metaurus. The two brave brothers of Friuli, Ratchis and Aistulf, both now loyally serving the Lombard king, commanded the van of the army, and when they reached a certain forest between those two townsb they found the Flaminian Way blocked, and a strong force of Spoletans and Romans posted to dispute the passage.83 Great loss was inflicted on the advancing army, but the prowess of Ratchis, his brother, and a few of their bravest henchmen, on whom all the weight of battle fell, redeemed the desperate day. A certain Spoletan champion named Berto called on Ratchis by name, and rushed upon him with lance in  p481 rest, but Ratchis unhorsed him with his spear. The followers of Ratchis would have slain him outright, but he, pitiful by nature, said 'Let him live,' and so the humbled champion crawled away on hands and knees to the shelter of the forest. On Aistulf, as he stood upon the bridge over the Metaurus, two strong Spoletans came rushing from behind, but he suddenly with the butt end of his spear swept one of them from the bridge, then turned swiftly to the other, slew him, and sent him after his comrade.84

Liutprand's bargain with the Pope. Meanwhile the new Pope Zacharias had contrived to have an interview with the Lombard king, and had received his promise to surrender the four towns. Upon this the Roman army followed Liutprand's standards, and Transamund (according to the Papal biographer), seeing this conjunction of forces against him, recognised the hopelessness of the game, and surrendered himself and his city to Liutprand, Agiprand made duke of Spoleto instead of Transamund. who set up his nephew Agiprand as duke in his place. Like Gregory of Benevento, Agiprand85 had been duke of Clusium before he was thus promoted to the rule of a great semi-independent duchy. As for Transamund, his turbulent career ended in the cloister. He was made a cleric, that is probably monk as well as priest, and exchanging the adventure and luxurious life of a Lombard duke for the seclusion of a convent had abundant leisure to meditate on his conduct towards his father, upon whom eighteen years before he had forced the same life of undesired religiousness.86 From Spoleto  p482 Liutprand proceeded to Benevento, and, as we have seen, expelled the rebellious occupant from that duchy also.

Alleged conquest of Ravenna, and re‑capture by the Venetians. And here we must interrupt our survey of the changes which occurred in Central and Southern Italy, in order to notice an event of the greatest importance, to which unfortunately we are unable to assign a precise date. I allude to the conquest of Ravenna by the Lombards and its recovery by the Venetian subjects of the Empire. Thrice during the two centuries of Lombard domination had the neighbouring port of Classis been captured by the armies of Spoleto or of Pavia; but Ravenna herself, the city of the swamps and the pine-forest, had retained that proud attribute of impregnability which had made her ever since the days of Honorius the key‑city of Northern Italy. Now she lost that great pre‑eminence, but how we know not. When one thinks how even Procopius or Zosimus, to say nothing of Thucydides or Xenophon, would have painted for us that fateful siege, it is difficult not to murmur at the utter silence of the Grecian Muse of History at this crisis. Even a legend of the capture from the pen of the foolish Agnellus might have shed forth a few rays upon the darkness, but Agnellus seems never to have heard of this disaster to his native city. All that we have certainly to rely on is contained in the following sentences from Paulus,87 which come immediately after his account of Liutprand's expedition against the Saracens of Provence: —

'Many wars, in truth, did the same King Liutprand wage against the Romans, in which he ever stood forth victoriously, except that once in his absence his army was cut to pieces at Ariminum, and at another time  p483 when the king was abiding at Pilleus88 in the Pentapolis, a great multitude of those who were bringing him gifts and offerings and presents89 from various Churches were either slain or made captive by the onrush of the Romans. Again, when Hildeprand the king's nephew and Peredeo duke of Vicenza were holding Ravenna, by a sudden onset of the Venetians Hildeprand was made prisoner, and Peredeo fell fighting bravely.90 In the following time also, the Romans, as usual swollen with pride, came together from all quarters under the command of Agatho duke of Perugia, hoping to take Bologna, where Walcari, Peredeo and Rotcari were abiding in camp. But these men rushing upon them, made a terrible slaughter of their troops, and compelled the others to take flight.'

Paulus then goes on to describe the revolt of Transamund, which happened 'in these days.'

This paragraph of Paulus is dateless, unchronological, and confused beyond even his usual manner. It will be seen that he makes Peredeo come to life again, and work havoc among the Romans after he has fallen fighting bravely with them. But with all its blemishes the paragraph is a most important addition to our knowledge. It shows us the Ravenna was actually captured by the Lombards in the reign of Liutprand, for if it had not been captured it could not have been 'held by his nephew and Peredeo.'91 And  p484 further we learn that the city thus lost to the Empire was really and truly recovered for it by the Venetians. As Paulus wrote in the latter part of the eighth century, when the Venetians were still but a feeble folk, clustering together at the mouths of the Adige and the Piave, we may receive his testimony as to this brilliant exploit on their part without any of that suspicion which must attach to the vaunts of the chroniclers of a later day, the patriotic sons of the glorious Queen of the Adriatic.

Venetia in the eighth century. In speaking of the Venetians as performing this feat, we must remember that though the race might last on unchanged into the Middle Ages, their home did not so continue. The network of islands bordering the Grand Canal, on which now rise the Doge's Palace, the Church of S. Maria della Salute, and all the other buildings which make up the Venice of to‑day, may have been but a cluster of desolate mud‑banks when Liutprand reigned in Pavia. The chief seats of the Venetian people at the time with which we are dealing were to be found at Heraclea, Equilium, and Methamaucus. Heraclea. The first of these cities, which according to some authors was named after the Emperor Heraclius, was probably situated five miles from the sea, between the mouths of Livenza and the Piave, but even its site is doubtful, for the waters of the marsh now flow over it.92

Equilium. Equilium, which was for centuries the rival of Heraclea, and was partly peopled by fugitives from Opitergium when Grimwald executed vengeance on  p485 that city, was about seven miles south of Heraclea and not far from Torcello. It too is now covered by the waters, partly the fresh water of the river Sile, partly the salt water of the Adriatic. All the long-lasting hatreds of these two neighbour towns sleep at last beneath the silent lagune.

Methamaucus (Malamocco). As for Methamaucus, which was in the eighth century a considerable city, it is now represented only by the few houses erected on the long island of Malamocco. The Venice of the Middle Ages built on the various islets which bore the name of Rivus Altus (Rialto) was not founded till nearly seventy years after the death of Liutprand.

First duke of Venice, 700. Somewhere about the year 70093 the inhabitants of the various islands which formed Venetia Maritima seem to have tightened the bonds of the loose confederacy which had hitherto bound them, and for the 'tribunes' who had hitherto ruled, each one his own town or island, substituted a 'duke,' whose sway extended over the whole region of the lagunes, and who was the first of the long line of the Doges of Venice. We say that the Venetians did this, and reading the events of 700 by the light of eleven centuries of later history we involuntarily think of the Venetian people as the prime movers in this peaceful revolution, and we invest the first duke, Paulitio Anafestus,94 with  p486 the bonnet and mantle of his well-known successors, the Dandolos and Foscaris of the Middle Ages. Yet we may be sure that the ruler of the Ducatus Venetiae was at this time a much more insignificant person than his successors of the eleventh century and twelfth centuries; and we might perhaps admit into our minds a doubt whether he was anything else than an official selected for his post by the Emperor or the Exarch, and whether popular election had anything whatever to do with his appointment in those early days.

However this may be, the new office seems at first to have successfully accomplished the purpose for which it was created. Paulitio, first duke. Paulitio of Heraclea, the first duke, reigned for twenty years in peace. Marcellus, second duke. His fellow-townsman and successor, Marcellus (who seems to have held under him the important office of Master of the Soldiery), had also a peaceful reign of about nine years.95 Ursus, third duke. But Ursus, also a citizen of Heraclea, who according to the accepted chronology ruled the Venetian state from 726 to 737, met with a violent death, the cause of which we can only conjecture, but which may possibly have been connected with the bitter disputes that seem to have been constantly occurring between the two neighbour cities of Heraclea and Equilium.96 It is clear, however, that there was something like a revolution in Venetia Maritima.

Magistri Militum for five years. 'The Venetians,' says the chronicler, 'who, moved by bitter envy, had slain Ursus, for the space of five  p487 years determined to remain subject only to Masters of the Soldiery.'97 The revolt evidently was against the authority of one man raised for life above the level of his fellow-citizens; and the revolution had for its object the substitution of yearly magistrates, whom, now at any rate, after the partial disruption of the bonds which united Italy to the Empire, we may speak of as elected by the people. For five years (737‑741 according to Dandolo) the Masters of the Soldiery performed their brief functions: their names being Leo, Felix surnamed Cornicula, Deusdedit (son of the murdered Ursus), Jubianus (or Jovianus) surnamed Hypatus (the Consul), and Joannes Fabriacus. At the end of the year's Mastership of the last named, his eyes were torn out, and 'the Venetians, abominating the office of Master of the Soldiery, again as before created for themselves a duke in the island of Malamocco, namely Deusdedit, the son of the aforesaid Ursus Hypatus, and his reign lasted for thirteen years.'

Joannes Diaconus on the conquest of Ravenna. It has been necessary to give this glance at the obscure and intricate subject of primitive Venetian history in order to introduce the only other early authority besides Paulus who mentions the capture and recovery of Ravenna. This is Joannes Diaconus (formerly called Sagorninus), who wrote near the end of the tenth century, that is to say 250 years after the events of which we are now speaking, but whose testimony is for many reasons worthy of consideration. After describing the election of the fourth Master of the Soldiery, Jovianus Hypatus, he says:c —

 p488  'In his days the Exarch, the foremost man of Ravenna,98 came to Venetia and earnestly entreated the Venetians to give him their help to enable him to guard and defend his own city, which Hildeprand, nephew of King Liutprand, and Peredeo, duke of Vicenza, had captured.99 The Venetians, favouring his petition, hastened with a naval armament to the city of Ravenna; whereupon one of them [the Lombard invaders], namely Hildeprand, was taken alive by them, but the other, named Peredeo, fell fighting bravely, and the city was thus handed over in good order100 to the aforesaid Exarch, its chief governor; on account of which thing Gregory also, the Apostolicus101 of the City of Rome, desiring with all his heart the succour of the said city, had written with his own hand a letter to Antoninus, Patriarch of Grado, telling him that he ought with loving entreaty to induce the Venetians to go to the defence of the same city: —

Letter of Pope Gregory to Antoninus, Patriarch of Grado. "Gregory to his most beloved brother Antoninus: —

"Since, as a punishment for our sins, the city of  p489 Ravenna, which was the head of all things,102 has been taken by the unspeakable nation of the Lombards, and our son the excellent Lord Exarch tarries, as we have heard, in Venetia,103 your brotherly Holiness ought to cleave unto him, and in our stead strive alongside of him, in order that the said city of Ravenna may be restored to its former status in the holy Republic,104 and to the Imperial service of our lords and sons the great Emperors Leo and Constantine, that with zealous love to our holy faith we may by the Lord's help be enabled firmly to persevere in the status of the Republic and in the Imperial service.

"May God keep you in safety, most beloved brother." '

Dandolo's version of the same events. So far Joannes Diaconus, whose narrative, as I have already said, is really the only information that we have, except the few meagre sentences in Paulus, as to an immensely important event, the capture of Ravenna by the Lombards and its recovery by the Venetians. It is true that we have in the history of Andrea Dandolo a repetition of the same story, with slightly different circumstances. In that version the event takes place some ten years earlier, and the chief actors are not Gregory III and the Master of the Soldiery, Jovianus, but Gregory II and the Duke, Ursus. But Dandolo published his Chronicon in 1346, and though it is a noble work, invaluable for the history of Venice in her most glorious days, it must remain a matter of doubt whether this earliest period he  p490 had any other trustworthy materials before him than those which three centuries and a half earlier were at the disposal of Joannes Diaconus. Referring the reader to a Note at the end of this chapter105 for a fuller discussion of this question, I will briefly summarise the results at which we have arrived with reference to the sieges of Ravenna by the Lombards in the eighth century.

Summary of results as to sieges of Ravenna. Somewhere about the year 725, or perhaps earlier, Farwald II, duke of Spoleto, took the port of Classis, but at the command of Liutprand restored it to the Empire.

A little later Liutprand again took Classis and besieged Ravenna, but apparently failed to take it.

Towards the end of the fourth decade of the century, probably after 737, Liutprand's nephew and colleague, Hildeprand, with the assistance of Peredeo the brave duke of Vicenza, besieged Ravenna, and this time succeeded in taking it. The Exarch (who was probably Eutychius, but this is not expressly mentioned) took refuge in the Venetian islands, and sought the help of the dwellers by the lagunes to recover the lost city. Pope Gregory III added his exhortations, which he addressed to the Patriarch of Grado, the spiritual head of the Venetian state. A naval expedition was fitted out: Hildeprand was taken prisoner, his comrade Peredeo slain, and the city restored to the Holy Roman Republic. This recapture took place, if we may depend on the somewhat doubtful Venetian chronology, in the year 740.

We now return to the main stream of Lombard  p491 history as disclosed to us by the Life of Pope Zacharias in the Liber Pontificalis.

Meeting of Zacharias and Liutprand at Terni, 742. In the year 742 Liutprand was at the zenith of his power, unquestioned lord of Spoleto and Benevento and on friendly terms with the Pope. He lingered however, or seemed to linger, over the fulfilment of his promise to restore the four frontier towns which he had taken, three years before, from the Ducatus Romae. Zacharias therefore determined to try the expedient of a personal interview, and set forth, attended by a large train of ecclesiastics, for the city of Interamna (Terni), where the king was then residing.106 It was necessary for the party to pass through Orte, one of the four cities for whose restoration he was clamouring, and there they were met by a Lombard courtier named Grimwald, whom Liutprand had courteously sent to act as the Pope's escort. Under Grimwald's guidance they reached the city of Narni, with its high Augustan bridge;107 and here they were met by a brilliant train of nobles and soldiers, who accompanied them along the eight miles of road up the valley of the Nar to where Terni stands in the fertile plain and listens to the roar of her water-falls.d It was on a Friday that they thus in solemn procession entered the city where Liutprand held his court, and were met by the king himself and the rest of his courtiers at the church of the martyred bishop Valentinus. Mutual salutations passed, prayers were offered, the two potentates came forth from the church together,  p492 and then the King walked in lowly reverence108 beside the Pope for half a mile, till they reached the place outside the city where the tents were pitched for both host and guest. And there they abode for the rest of the day.

On Saturday there was again a solemn interview. Zacharias delivered a long address to the Lombard king, exhorting him to abstain from the shedding of blood and to follow those things which make for peace. Touched, as the ecclesiastics believed, by the eloquence of their chief, Liutprand granted all and even more than all that was asked for. The four cities and their inhabitants were given back, but not, if we may believe the biography, to Leo and Constantine the Emperors, but to the holy man, Zacharias, himself. Large slices of the Papal patrimony which had been lost in the earlier and troublous times were now restored. One such slice, in the Sabine territory, had been withheld from the Papacy for near thirty years. The others were at Narni and Osimo, at Ancona and the neighbouring Humana,e and the valley which was called Magna, in the territory of Sutrium. Treaty of Terni. All these possessions were solemnly made over by Liutprand to 'Peter prince of the Apostles,' and a peace for twenty years was concluded with the Ducatus Romae. There were many captives whom Liutprand had taken from divers provinces of the Romans and who were now detained in the fortresses of Tuscany or the region beyond the Po. Letters were sent by the king ordering that all these should be set free. Among these  p493 liberated captives were certain magnates of Ravenna, Leo, Sergius, Victor, and Agnellus. All apparently bore the title of Consul, and Sergius was possibly the same who was afterwards Archbishop of Ravenna.

This last statement certainly seems to confirm the theory that the capture of Ravenna by the Lombards had taken place not many years before the treaty of Terni. Is it not probable that the illustrious prisoner on the other side who had been captured at the reconquest of the city, Hildeprand the king's nephew and colleague, was restored at the same time, and that the possession by the enemy of so important a hostage had something to do with the wonderfully yielding temper of Liutprand? Such is very reasonable suggestion made by an eminent Italian scholar,109 but it should not be regarded as anything more than a conjecture.

On Sunday there was a great ecclesiastical function in the church of St. Valentinus. At the request of the King, the Pope ordained a bishop for a town in the Lombard territory.110 The King with all his dukes and gastalds111 witnessed the rite of consecration, and were so much moved by the sweetness of the Pope's sermon and the earnestness of his prayers that most of them were melted into tears. Then when mass was ended the Pope invited the King to dinner. The meats were  p494 so good, the mirth of the company so genuine and unforced, that, as the King said, he did not remember that he had ever eaten so much and so pleasantly.

The four cities restored. On Monday the two great personages took leave of one another, and the King chose out four of his nobles to accompany the Pope on his return journey and hand over to him the keys of the surrendered towns. They were his nephew Agiprand duke of Clusium,112 a gastald in immediate attendance on his person, named Tacipert, Ranning gastald of Toscanella, a frontier town of the Lombards, and Grimwald, who had been the first to meet the Pope by the bridge of Narni. All was done as had been arranged. Amelia, Orte, Bomarzo, with their citizens, were handed over to the Pope's jurisdiction. In order to avoid the long and circuitous route by Sutri, the combined party struck across the Lombard territory by way of Viterbo (here the presence of the gastald of Toscanella was important for their protection), and so they reached the little town of Bieda thirty miles from Rome, which Grimwald and Ranning formally transferred to the keeping of Zacharias.

The Pope's triumphal entry into Rome. The Pope returned to Rome as a conqueror, and the people at his suggestion marched from the Pantheon113 to St. Peter's singing the Litany. This expression of gratitude to Almighty God took the place of the old triumphal march of Consul or Imperator along the Sacred Way and up the Clivus Capitolinus.

What was the character of this donation by Liutprand? In what capacity were these cities given to the Pope? Was he recognised as their sovereign, or as  p495 their proprietor? Were they still as absolutely part of the Empire as they were before Alboin entered Italy, although belonging to the Patrimony of St. Peter? or were they the germ of that new Papal kingdom which certainly was on the point of coming into existence? It is easy to suggest these questions, hard to answer them, especially for such a troublous time as that of the Iconoclastic controversy, when de jure and de facto were everywhere coming into collision. One can only say that the words of the Papal biographer, if he may be depended upon, seem to imply sovereignty as well as ownership.

Liutprand renews his operations against Ravenna. The events just related seem to have filled the page of Lombard history for 742. In the following year Liutprand resumed his preparations for the conquest of Ravenna and the region round it. Terribly indeed had this little fragment of the Roman Empire in the north of Italy now shrunk and dwindled. Cesena, only twenty-five miles south of Ravenna, had become by the loss of the Pentapolis a frontier city, and even Cesena now fell into the hands of the Lombards. Eutychius the Exarch, John the Archbishop, and all the people of Ravenna, with the refugees from the Pentapolis and from the province of Aemilia, sent letters to the Pope imploring his assistance. Thereupon Zacharias by the hands of Benedict bishop of Nomentum and Ambrose chief of the notaries, sent gifts and letters to Liutprand, entreating him to abandon his preparations for the siege and to restore Cesena to the men of Ravenna. The embassy however returned, having accomplished nothing, and thereupon Zacharias determined once more to try the effect of a personal interview.

 p496  Zacharias journeys to Ravenna. Handing over the government of Rome to Stephen, duke and patrician,114 he set forth along the great Flaminian Way to visit the theatre of war. At the church of St. Christopher, in a place called Aquila, the Exarch met him.115 All the inhabitants of Ravenna, men and women, old and young, poured forth to greet the revered pontiff, crying out with tears, 'Welcome to our Shepherd who has left his own sheep and has come to rescue us who were ready to perish.'

Journey to Pavia. Zacharias sent his messengers (again the chief notary Ambrose, who was accompanied by the presbyter Stephen) to announce his approach to the king. When they crossed the Lombard frontier at Imola they learned that some forcible resistance would be attempted to the Pontiff's journey. He received a letter from them to this effect, conveyed by a trusty messenger under cover of the night, but undismayed he determined to press on after his messengers, whom, as he rightly conjectured, Liutprand would refuse to receive. On the 28th of June he came to the place near Piacenza where the Via Aemilia crosses the Po. Here the nobles as before met him and conducted him to Pavia. Outside  p497 the walls was a church of St. Peter named the Golden-ceilinged (ad coelum aureum), and here Zacharias celebrated Mass at 3 P.M. before he entered the city.

Interview with Liutprand. The following day, the 29th of June, was that on which the Church had long celebrated the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul, and Zacharias had no doubt had this in view when he so timed his journey that his interview with the King should take place on that day. Again a Mass was celebrated with great magnificence in St. Peter's basilica in the presence of the King. Then mutual salutations were exchanged; and they entered the city together. Next day there was a formal invitation to the Pope brought by the chief nobles of the kingdom, and then a solemn meeting in the royal palace. The Pope earnestly entreated the King to desist from his further enterprises against the city of Ravenna and to restore the conquests already made. King Liutprand restores most of his conquests near Ravenna. For some time Liutprand showed himself obdurate, but at length he consented to restore the country districts round Ravenna of which he had made himself master, and along with them two‑thirds of the territory of Cesena. The remaining third, and perhaps the cities of Cesena itself, were to remain in Liutprand's hands as a pledge till the 1st of June in the following year, by which time it was hoped that an embassy which he had despatched to Constantinople would have returned with a favourable answer.

What the object of this embassy may have been we can only conjecture, as neither Paulus nor any other authority gives us any information concerning it. Death of Leo III, June 18, 740. Leo the Isaurian had died three years before, and there had been a struggle for the diadem between his son Constantine V and his son-in‑law Artavasdus. This  p498 however had terminated in the preceding year in the utter overthrow of Artavasdus, and Constantine was now securely seated on the throne. To him therefore the embassy must have been addressed, and the mere fact of sending such an embassy seems to show that the policy of Liutprand was not so persistently hostile to the Iconoclastic Emperors as has been sometimes represented.

On the Pope's departure, Liutprand accompanied him as far as the Po, and sent with him certain dukes and other nobles, some of whom were charged to superintend the surrender of the territories of Cesena and Ravenna. 'Thus,' says the biographer, 'by the help of God the people of Ravenna and the Pentapolis were delivered from the calamities and oppressions which had befallen them, and they were satisfied with cornº and wine.'

Death of Liutprand, January, 744. The interview with the Pope at Pavia was one of the last public acts of the great Lombard king. In January, 744, after a reign of thirty‑one years and seven months, Liutprand died, and was buried by the side of his father in the church of St. Adrian. He was elderly,116 probably more than sixty years old, but not stricken in years. Had his wise and statesmanlike reign been prolonged for ten years more, Italy had perhaps been spared some disasters.

Liutprand's great deference to the authority of the Pope. We read with regret the song of triumph which the Papal biographer raises over the death of 'the intriguer and persecutor Liutprand.' His own recital shows how utterly inapplicable are these words to the son of Ansprand. He had in fact carried compliance with  p499 the Pope admonitions to the very verge of weakness and disloyalty to his people. There was evidently in him a vein of genuine piety and sympathy with men of holy life, illustrated by the fact that when the Saracens invaded Sardinia and profaned the resting-place of St. Augustine, Transportation of the body of St. Augustine. Liutprand sent messengers who at a great price redeemed the body of the saint and transported it to Pavia, where it still reposes.117

Character of Liutprand. In some respects the statesmanship of Liutprand seems to me to have been too highly praised. I do not find in the meagre and disjointed annals of his reign which I have with great difficulty tried to weave into a continuous narrative, the evidence of any such carefully thought‑out plan with reference to the Iconoclastic controversy as is often attributed to him. To say that he presented himself as the champion of the Image-worshippers, and in some sort, of the independence of Italy, as against the tyranny of the Iconoclastic Emperors, seems to me to be making an assertion which we cannot prove. The one aim, as I have before said, which he seems to have consistently and successfully pursued was the consolidation of the Lombard monarchy and the reduction of the great dukes into a condition of real subjection to his crown. He availed himself (and what Lombard king would not have done so?) of any opportunity which offered itself for cutting yet shorter the reduced and fragmentary territories which still called themselves parts of 'the Roman Republic.' But both from policy and from his own devout temperament he was disinclined to do anything which might cause a rupture with the See of Rome, and the Popes perceiving this, often induced  p500 him to abandon hardly-earned conquests by appealing to 'his devotion to St. Peter.'

I cannot better close this chapter than by quoting the character of Liutprand given us by the loving yet faithful hand of Paulus Diaconus in the concluding words of that history which has been our chief guide through two dark and troubled centuries: —

Character of Liutprand as given by Paulus Diaconus. 'He was a man of great wisdom, prudent in counsel and a lover of peace, mighty in war, clement toward offenders, chaste, modest, one who prayed through the night-watches,118 generous in his almsgiving, ignorant it is true of literature, but a man who might be compared to the philosophers, a fosterer of his people, an augmenter of their laws.

'In the beginning of his reign he took many places from the Bavarians, ever trusting to his prayers rather than to his arms, and with the most jealous care maintaining peaceful relations with the Franks and the Avars.'


The Author's Notes:

1 See p378.

2 St. Emmeran, who was accused of having seduced Ota, the daughter of Theodo, and was punished by her brother Lantpert.

3 For all these transactions, see Quitzmann, Aelteste Geschichte der Baiern, 219‑266.

4 'Ibi cum aliquibus simplicibus viris jam ante residentibus habitare coepit. Qui eundem venerabilem virum Petronacem sibi seniorem statuerunt' (Paulus, H. L. VI.40).

5 p72. It is noticeable that the story of the second foundation of Monte Cassino is not given us by the Liber Pontificalis, but only by Paulus, who no doubt received it from his brother monks.

6 See vol. V p27.

7 This is apparently the meaning of the biographer: 'In monitione ducis Neapolitani et populi vacans ducatum eis qualiter agerent quotidie scribendo praestabat.' 'Vacans ducatum' must mean rather 'the needed generalship' than 'the vacant duchy.'

8 Some authors consider that the real meaning of this story as given in the Liber Pontificalis is that the duke of Benevento surrendered Cumae to the Pope in return for the ransom mentioned above. I do not so read the author's meaning. It seems to me that Cumae was won back by force of arms, and that the Pope paid the money as a reward to the captors.

9 See vol. V p197.

10 For this date see Bethmann and Holder-Egger's 'Langobardische Regesten' (Neues Archiv, III.251), Pabst's 'Geschichte des Langobardischen Herzogthums' (Forschungen, p469), and Sansi's 'I Duchi di Spoleto' (p45).

11 See vol. IV p292; vol. V, pp 353358.

12 Seeming to imply that it was not he who had conquered Narni.

13 'Eo tempore castrum est Narniae a Langobardis pervasum. Rex vero Langobardorum Liutprandus generali motione Ravenna progressus est atque illam obsedit per dies et castrum pervadens Classis, captos abstulit plures et opes tulit innumeras' (Lib. Pont. I.403, ed. Duchesne). It seems to me quite impossible to fix accurately the date of this event, but it was probably not later than 725. Nor can we say from the biographer's account whether Liutprand retained possession of Classis or not. Paulus says, 'Liutprandus Ravennam obsedit Classem invasit atque destruxit' (H. L. VI.49).

14 In order that the reader may fully understand the course of the argument in the following pages, it will be well to quote a few sentences from Gibbon which concisely express the view of Pope Gregory's conduct which was generally accepted in the eighteenth century, and which I, in common with many modern students, think requires to be greatly modified, if not entirely abandoned.

'Without depending on prayers or miracles, Gregory II boldly armed against the public enemy, and his pastoral letters admonished the Italians of their danger and their duty. At this signal, Ravenna, Venice, and the cities of the Exarchate and Pentapolis adhered to the cause of religion; their military force by sea and land consisted, for the most part, of the natives; and the spirit of patriotism and zeal was transfused into the mercenary strangers. The Italians swore to live and die in the defence of the Pope and the holy images; the Roman people was devoted to their Father, and even the Lombards were ambitious to share the merit and advantage of this holy war. The most treasonable act, but the most obvious revenge, was the destruction of the statues of Leo himself; the most effectual and pleasing measure of rebellion was the withholding the tribute of Italy, and depriving him of a power which he had recently abused by the imposition of a new capitation' (Vol. VI pp148‑149, ed. Smith).

15 Probably Scholasticus.

16 'Paulus vero Exarchus imperatorum jussione pontificem conabatur interficere, eo quod censum in provinciâ ponere praepediebat, ex suis opibus ecclesias denudari, sicut in ceteris actum est locis, atque alium in ejus ordinare loco' (Lib. Pont., loc. cit.). It is important to observe that all this comes before the account of the Iconoclastic controversy.

17 I am here following very closely the reasoning of Dahmen (Pontifikat Gregors II, pp70‑73), who seems to me to have caught the true meaning of our best authority, the Liber Pontificalis, very accurately.

18 So Duchesne understands 'qui Dei judicis dissolutus contractus est.'

19 'Qui moti cuncti Jordanem interfecerunt et Johannem Lurionem.'

20 'Denuo Paulus patricius ad perficiendum tale scelus quos seducere potuit ex Ravennâ cum suo comite atque ex castris aliquos misit.' I think we must translate cum suo comite as above.

21 The words of the Papal biographer are not absolutely clear, but they are important: 'Sed motis Romanis atque undique Langobardis pro defensione pontificis, in Salario Ponte Spolitini, atque hinc inde duces Langobardorum circumdantes Romanorum fines, hoc praepedierunt.'

22 'Jus­sionibus postmodum missis.' The sentence immediately preceding describes the frustration of the Count's enterprise by the joint efforts of Romans and Lombards.

23 'Et si adquiesceret pontifex, gratiam imperatoris haberet; si et hoc fieri praepediret, a suo gradu decideret.' Notice the et hoc, which evidently refers to the Pope's previous resistance to the financial measures of the Emperor.

24 'Omnes Pentapolenses atque Venetiarum exercita' (sic).

25 Or generals: 'Sibi omnes ubique in Italiâ duces elegerunt.'

26 ἐπιστολὴν δογματικήν.

27 ὃς ἀπέστησε Ῥώμην τε καὶ Ἰταλίαν καὶ πάντα τὰ Ἑσπέρια τῆς τε πολιτικῆς καὶ ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ὑπακοῆς Λέοντος καὶ τῆς ὑπ’ αὐτὸν βασιλείας.

28 Because his name Anastasius spoke of the resurrection.

29 τοῖς λιβέλλοις ἀπεκήρυξεν.

30 See Note E at the end of this chapter.

31 In 721: see Hefele's Concilien­geschichte, III.362.

32 In the Vita Gregorii the death of Paulus comes before the eleventh Indiction.

33 I do not think we can say more about this supposed interval of independence than that it is probable. We have no clear statement to that effect in any of our contemporary authorities, but Agnellus gives us after his fashion a long, obscure and undated story about battles between the citizens of Ravenna and the Greeks in the 'field of Coriander' outside the town. Terrible blows were struck on both sides: the Archbishop and his priests in sackcloth and ashes prostrated themselves on the ground, imploring the mercy of the Almighty. Suddenly a great bull appeared between the two armies, and pawing the ground, threw clouds of dust against the Greeks, and a great voice, coming no one knew from whence, resounded, 'Well done, men of Ravenna! fight bravely; the victory will be yours this day.' The men of Ravenna pressed on: the Greeks tried to flee to their cutters, but were all slain, and fell by thousands into the river Badareno. For six years from that time no one would eat fish caught in the river. All this, as Holder-Egger truly remarks, if it have any truth in it at all, must relate to the Iconoclastic disturbances.

34 'Langobardis vero Emiliae castra, Ferronianus, Montebelli, Verabulum cum suis oppidibus (sic) Buxo et Persiceta, Pentapolim (sic) quoque Auximana civitas se tradiderunt.' Muratori (Annali d'Italia, IV.254) makes Ferronianus = the district Fregnano west of the Panaro; MontebellumMonteveglio a little west of Bologna; PersicetaS. Giovanni in Persiceto a little to the north-west of the same city. Verabulum and Buxo he gives up as hopeless. The passage shows that Osimo was at this time considered distinct from the Pentapolis. The capture of Bologna is given on the authority of Paulus (H. L. VI.49).

35 We have at last a date for this event, 'the eleventh Indiction,' = 726‑727.

36 The Liber Pontificalis describes him as 'Eutychium patricium eunuchum, qui dudum exarchus fuerat.' I suppose this ought to mean that Eutychius had been Exarch previously, and that this was his second tenure of office. But is it not possible that the biographer simply means 'who for a long time held the office of Exarch'?

37 'Ut pontifex occideretur cum optimatibus Romae.'

38 'Sed ne desisterent ab amore vel fide Romani imperii ammonebat.'

39 If, that is to say, the death of Romwald II had already occurred, of which we cannot be certain (see p470).

40 'Armilausiam.'

41 Pabst (p477) considers that this campaign of Liutprand, in alliance with the Exarch, against Rome was the fortunate moment in which the Lombards might have taken the Eternal City and established the unity of Italy. But Liutprand was filled with feelings of the deepest reverence towards the Catholic church, whose Head condescended to plead with him on the Plains of Nero, and 'so through mistaken piety the decisive moment was lost.'

42 See pp362, 428. The revolt of Basil-Tiberius is described to us by Theophanes, A. M. 6210. The question suggests itself, 'Is it possible that these two revolts of a so‑called Tiberius against Leo are really one?' If it were so we should give the preference to the account of the matter given by the Liber Pontificalis, to the contemporary authority and the one best informed on Western affairs. But on the whole Theophanes seems to know too many details for us altogether to reject his information. It seems safer to continue to treat the revolts as distinct events, one occurring in 718, and the other in 730 or 731.

43 Was there also something in the idea of a lucky name? Tiberius-Apsimar had supplanted Leontius; and so Tiberius-Basil and Tiberius-Petasius might hope to supplant Leo.

44 'Castrum Manturianense,' which was the pretender's headquarters and the scene of his defeat, is identified by Muratori (Annali, IV.261) with Barberano, about fifteen miles east of Civita Vecchia. Blera, now Bieda, is also mentioned as having sworn allegiance to the pretender. Luna, which is the last mentioned of the insurgent towns, can hardly be the well-known Luna at the northern end of Etruria.

Thayer's Note: Barberano is today's Barbarano Romano (Romano, because there are several other Italian towns called Barbarano). Bieda has now returned officially to its old name of Blera, although locally it seems still to be called or pronounced Bieda.

45 'Nobilibus etiam consulibus et reliquis Christianis plebibus.'

46 'Patricio et Stratigo.'

47 Anno Mundi 6224: according to Theophanes' reckoning, A.D. 724.

48 'It is evident,' says Bury (II.343), 'that the little maritime town of Cibyra between Side and Ptolemais [on the coast of Pamphylia] had already given her name to the naval troops of those regions . . . and perhaps this distinction was due to some energetic enterprise against a Saracen fleet.'

49 Φόρους κεφαλικοὺς τῷ τρίτῳ μέρει Καλαβρίας καὶ Σικελίας τοῦ λαοῦ ἐπέθηκεν.

50 About £15,800, taking the ratio of gold to silver at 18:1.

51 The poll‑tax (φόροι κεφαλικοί) levied on the third part of the population is rather difficult to understand. According to Zachariae (quoted by Hartmann, p91) there was a certain quota (simplum) which had to be paid by the inhabitants in groups of three; a very strange and clumsy arrangement.

52 See vol. I p226 ( p619 in 2nd edition).

53 See Bury, II.446, and Baxmann, I.211. The proof of the above assertion is furnished by letters in Mansi's Concilia, XIII.808, and XV.167. I owe these references to Professor Bury.

54 See p333.

55 Muratori relates the fall of Pemmo under the year 737, but admits that 'forse appartiene ad alcuno degli anni precedenti.' We can only conjecture the date, and from its position in the pages of Paulus I should conjecture about 731.

56 This fact, mentioned by Dandolo (VII.2.13), seems to be vouched for by the letter of Gregory II to Serenus, December 1, 723, quoted in the Chronicle of Joannes Diaconus (p96, ed. Monticolo).

57 'Superiores patriarchae, quia in Aquileiâ propter Romanorum incursionem habitare minimé poterant sedem non in Forojuli sed in Cormones habebant' (Paulus, H. L. VI.51). It seems to me probable that the hostile movements connected with the Iconoclastic controversy are here referred to. Is it possible that the Patriarchs of Aquileia quitted it for more comfortable quarters because they felt their ecclesiastical position assured by the receipt of the pallium from the Pope?

58 Village, probably guarded by a fortress.

59 Or Pontium, or Nocium. No one suggests any identification of the place.

Thayer's Note: In 1878, C. Marchesetti, in "Del sito dell' antico castello Pucino e del vino che vi cresceva", Archeografo Triestino, V.431‑450, looking into Pliny's "the castle of Pucinum, famous for its wine" (N. H. III.127), confessed he could not identify the site, while disagreeing with several authors who thought they could: he mentions an author, Luciani, who placed it near the (resurgent) source of the Timavo, but Marchesetti found no documentary evidence to back him up.

In the next issue of that journal, however, Marchesetti was persuaded to follow Manzano in identifying the place with today's Slovenian town of Devin (in Italian, Duino), based on the topographical indications in Paulus: Luciani had apparently come very close, but Pucinum would be placed not near the source but near the mouth of the Timavo. The 15c castle there sits on a cliff plunging into the Adriatic and apparently includes vestiges of some kind of Roman outpost.

60 Apparently: it is not quite clearly stated by Paulus.

61 Paulus, H. L. VI.51.

62 According to the suggestion of Holder-Egger (Neues Archiv, III.255). If Romwald's death occurred a year later it is still possible that the hostile party whose designs against young Gisulf are mentioned below may have troubled the last years of his father's life.

63 The Catalogus Regum Langobardorum et Ducum Beneventanorum (Scriptores Rerum Langobardorum in M. G. H. p494). Hirsch (p36) called attention to this important entry.

64 See copy of an inscription at Chiusi by Duke Gregory in Troya, No. cccclxxxv. Troya disputes the identity of this Gregory with the duke of Benevento, but I think without justification.

65 'Atque in Greciam fugere molitus est' (Paulus, H. L. VI.57). Observe that Constantinople is now in 'Grecia.'

66 'Gisulfum suum nepotem iterum in loco proprio ducem constituunt.'

67 So Holder-Egger in Neues Archiv, III.256.

68 See p303.

69 Wamba (680).

70 The allusions of Paulus to the rebellion of Transamund and the rule of Hilderic at Spoleto (H. L. VI.55) seem to require more time than is usually allowed for these events.

71 Liber Pontificalis, Vita Gregorii III.

72 As Pippin was born in 714, we may put this ceremony almost anywhere between 730 and 740. Perhaps on account of Liutprand's sickness in 735, 736 is as probable a date as any.

73 A charter so signed, dated June 16, confirming to the monastery of Farfa all grants from the dukes of Spoleto, is still extant in the Registrum Farfense (see Neues Archiv, III.258)

74 Amelia, Orte, Bomarzo, and Bieda.

75 As it is not suggested that the Lombards had entered Rome, this must allude to some property in the neighbourhood of Rome which had been ravaged by them.

76 The editor of the Codex Carolinus in M. G. H. dates this second letter 740.

77 So apparently we must understand 'et peregrinorum lacrimas.'

78 'Confessionis.'

79 'Transimundus vero dux, habito consilio cum Romanis collectoque generaliter exercitu ducatus Romani, ingressi sunt per duas partes in fines ducatus Spolitini' (Lib. Pont., Vita Zachariae), p426.

80 'Qui continuo, timore ductus prae multitudine exercitus Romani, eodem Transimundo se subdiderunt Marsicani [= Marsi] et Furconini [Furcona near Aquila] atque Valvenses [Valva near Corfinium] seu Pinnenses [Pinna, now Penne, about 15 miles west of Pescara]' (Ibid.).

Thayer's Note: The ancient town of Furcona, not very large although a bishopric in its day, is a rather obscure place, now Civita di Bagno: see the good page, based on modern scholarship and with photographs of archaeological remains, at the L' Aquila section of Archeoclub d' Italia.

81 December of 739 or of 740? The text of the Liber Pontificalis is defective, but Duchesne shows good reason for thinking it was the latter.

82 Fanum and Forum Sempronii.

83 Probably Romans from the Pentapolis, but possibly also detached members of the army which had replaced Transamund in Spoleto.

84 Paulus, H. L. VI.56.

85 Otherwise called Asprand, and so entered in the list on p84.

86 Quoting an Italian proverb, Achille Sansi (p51) says that Transamund thus received 'dates for figs.'

87 H. L. VI.54.

88 Pennabilli on the Marecchia.

Thayer's Note: Not likely; and almost certainly not if based on the vague similarity of name, since the placename Pennabilli is said to derive from the names of two adjacent villages, *Pinna and *Bilia (rather like the name of Budapest) — at any rate, no Pilleus is attested in connection with Pennabilli.

Pilleus is now usually taken to be Peglio near Lake Como, not in the Pentapolis at all: it has long been pointed out that in Paulus (still H. L. VI.54), we have the incident at Pilleus occurring, like a defeat at Ariminum at about the same time, while the king was staying in the Pentapolis, the suggestion being very strong that it's precisely because he was absent that those reverses occurred: "Multa idem regnator contra Romanos bella gessit, in quibus semper victor extitit, praeter quod semel in Arimino eo absente eius exercitus caesus est, et alia vice, cum aput vicum Pilleum, rege in Pentapoli demorante, magna multitudo . . . a Romanis inruentibus caesa vel capta est". Thus, not Pilleus, but Liutprand, was in the Pentapolis.

89 Exenia vel benedictiones.

90 'Rursus cum Ravennam Hildeprandus regis nepos et Peredeo, Vicentinus dux optinerent, inruentibus subito Veneticis, Hildeprandus ab eis captus est, Peredeo viriliter pugnans occubuit.'

91 The arguments of Martens (usually a most helpful guide) against this capture in his Excurs, 'Wurde Ravenna schon von König Liutprand eingenommen?' seem to me quite to overpass the limits of permissible historical scepticism.

92 So says Filiasi, Memorie de' Veneti, VI.2.72‑80.

93 Various dates from 697 to 713 are assigned for the institution of the dogeship. The former date, being that given by Dandolo, is generally accepted; but in the utter uncertainty of all these early Venetian dates, I think the historical student may be very well satisfied with an approximation, thus, 'First Doge 700; foundation of the city of the Rialto 810.'

94 Double names have begun to be used at this time; witness the Exarchs, Theodore Calliopas and Joannes Rizocopus. Otherwise we might perhaps conjecture that the early records mentioned two dukes, Paulitio and Anafestus, whose names in their perplexity the chroniclers have amalgamated into one.

95 According to Joannes Diaconus, eighteen years.

96 This is the conjecture of Filiasi, VII.126.

97 'Unde postmodum Venetici illum acri livore interimentes, quinque annorum spatio magistris militum tantummodo subditi manere voluerunt' (Joannes Diaconus, ed. Monticolo, p94 f.).º

98 'Ravennae primas.'

99 'Nimiumque Veneticos postulans quatenus propriam urbem, quam Ildebrandus, nepos Liubrandi regis, et Paradeux Vicentinus dux, captam habuerant, tueri atque defendere eorum auxilis potuisset' (Cron. Veneziane Antichissime, p95). We should have expected 'recuperare' rather than 'tueri atque defendere,' as Ravenna was already lost. I give in the text the forms of the names as we have them in Paulus Diaconus, but the reader will observe that already by the time of Joannes Diaconus the Lombard p's have been softened again into b's.

100 'Decenter est restituta.'

101 The Pope. In William of Tudela's Song of the Albigensian Crusade, written in the early part of the thirteenth century, the Pope is always called 'l' Apostolis.'

102 'Ravenantium civitas, qui (sic) caput erat omnium.'

103 'Apud Venetias.'

104 'Ut ad pristinum statum sancte reipublicae . . . . . revocetur.'

105 Note F. Correspondence of Pope Gregory III with the Venetians.

106 The diary of the journey, which seemed to the excited imaginations of the ecclesiastics as an act of heroic self-sacrifice and courage, is preserved to us by the Papal Biographer, who was himself evidently one of the Pope's train of followers.

107 See vol. IV p292 for a little further description of the road.

108 'Ab eâdem ecclesiâ egressus in ejus obsequium dimidium fere miliarium perrexit.' What the outward marks of 'obsequium' were we are not informed.

109 Pinton, in his article 'Veneziani e Langobardi a Ravenna,' Archivio Veneto, 1889.

110 'In locum Cosinensis antestitis qui transierat alium ordinavit episcopum. As Cosenza seems too far off, Duchesne suspects a corruption of the text, and suggests as a possible reading Senensis.

111 The meaning of this title will be explained in the last chapter of this volume.

112 Perhaps not yet installed as duke of Spoleto.

113 Called at this time the Church of Sancta Maria ad Martyres, having been given by the Emperor Phocas to Boniface IV.

114 Relictâ Romanâ urbe jam dicto Stephano patricio et duci ad gubernandum.' Duchesne rightly remarks that this sentence seems to show that the Dux Romae was now in a position of confessed subordination to the Pope.

115 'Usque ad basilicam beati Christofori, positam in loco qui vocatur ad Aquila, quinquagesimo fere milliario a Ravennatium urbe.' Duchesne says that the site of this meeting has not yet been identified, but that it should be looked for near Rimini. Rimini however, according to the Antonine Itinerary, was only thirty-four miles from Ravenna; but even it was in the conquered Pentapolis. And can the frontier of the Exarchate have reached so far as fifty miles from Ravenna? I am inclined to suggest that we should read 'quindecimo' for 'quinquagesimo.'

116 'Jam aetate maturus hujus vitae cursum explevit' (H. L. VI.58).

117 Paulus, H. L. VI.48.

118 'Orator pervigil.'


Thayer's Notes:

a Spoleto is almost due north of Rome: if Liutprand marched from Spoleto to Rome, he was moving southward. (I would normally have fixed this as a mere typographical error, but the printed book was exceptionally well proofread: there might be something else going on in a source document.)

b By 2000, when I walked from Fossombrone to Fano on the modern road SS3 "Via Flaminia", which tracks the ancient road pretty closely, there were no forests left: farmland and rather busy small towns. (The Flaminia does still traverse fair patches of forest in the stretch before that, between Scheggia and Fossombrone.) See my diary, Aug. 13, 2000.

c M. G. H., VII.12.

d The famous falls, a Roman creation of the 3c B.C., are 6 km from Terni's cathedral and Roman amphitheater, which can be taken as the center of the old town; and somewhat farther still from the basilica of St. Valentine where Pope Zacharias met the Lombard king. From there, above today's traffic, I can vouch for the fact that they cannot now be heard — although that's because most of the time they are for the most part diverted to a silent power plant feeder pipeline. In a much quieter age, though, and bearing in mind that the falls have been considerably re‑engineered since Liutprand's time, the falls might well have been heard in downtown Terni.

e Now Numana.


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