Short URL for this page:
https://bit.ly/2ed8HODIHI11


[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
mail:
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]
Italiano

[Link to a series of help pages]
Help
[Link to the next level up]
Up
[Link to my homepage]
Home
previous:

[image ALT: link to previous chapter]
Book VIII
Chapter 10

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!

next:

[image ALT: link to next chapter]
Book VIII
Chapter 12

Book VIII (continued)

Vol. VII
p292
Chapter XI

The Pontificate of Stephen III

Sources: —

Besides the usual sources we have, for the fall of Christopher and Sergius, the advantage of another authority, in the Report of a certain Creontius (?), envoy of Tassilo of Bavaria, which though now itself lost, has been incorporated in the work of a Bavarian historian of the sixteenth century named Aventinus. Aventinus tells the story in his own way and with phrases which savour of the renaissance, but his authority adds some important facts; and it is interesting to hear for once two sides of the story, since Creontius and the Papal biographer are on the whole favourable to Christopher and Sergius and look upon their murder as a crime, while the Pope's own letter, preserved in the Codex Carolinus, gives that version of the affair which was most favourable to Paulus Afiarta and his patron Desiderius. Duchesne quotes Aventinus in the notes to his edition of the Liber Pontificalis, and I use his quotation.

In the following chapter we begin to trace the career of Charles the Great, and we must therefore notice two authorities (of very different value) with whom his life is the main subject.

Einhard, who wrote the well-known Vita Caroli, was born about 770 in the valley of the Main. He was thus a younger contemporary of Charles, whom he outlived by twenty‑six years. Educated in the monastery of Fulda, where the acts of the martyred Boniface were still fresh in the memory of the monks, he became an ardent admirer of the monastic state, though the circumstances of his life prevented his entering it till near its close. About the year 791 his name having been favourably mentioned by the abbot Baugulf to Charles the Great, that monarch invited him to his court, where he soon rose into high favour. He was not only one of the best Latinists in a generation which under Alcuin's influence was beginning to be ashamed of the barbarous Latinity of its fathers, but he was also a man  p293 of considerable mechanical skill and architectural ability, which procured for him in the little coterie of the palace the name of Bezaleel, borrowed from one of the chief workers in the adornment of the Hebrew tabernacle. For the last twenty years of his life he seems to have held a position in Charles's cabinet like that of a modern First Commissioner of Works, and at the same time to have enjoyed much of his master's confidence in other ways, and to have been allowed to offer him advice on grave affairs of state. He was a man of small stature and nimble movements. Punning on his name, his companions at court sometimes called him Nardulus (the pony). At other times he was talked of as the homuncio or homullus; and the poet Theodulf describes him as rushing about hither and thither with rapid step, like an ant, his tiny body giving house-room to a mighty soul.

This was the man who, soon after the death of Charles, undertook to write the story of the great Emperor's life, and we may safely say that none of his fellow-courtiers was better fitted for the task. The great defect of his work is his almost slavish imitation of Suetonius, from whose Lives of the Caesars he borrows many sentences, not always appropriately. The fact of these borrowings in some degree lessens the historical value of his work. On the other hand, the fact that he had such a model before him gave freshness and vigour to his narrative, taught him to follow the order of subject rather than of time, and saved him from imitating the bald and meagre production of the mere annalists.

After the death of Charles, Einhard remained in high favour with his son, and was for many years an influential personage at his court. In 830, when the troubles between Louis the Pious and his sons threatened civil war, he retired from the court and spent the remaining ten years of his life in monastic seclusion. He had been already for some time by royal favour abbot of several wealthy monasteries, although a married man, and of course not residing in any of them. His wife's name was Emma or Imma, sister of Bernhar, bishop of Worms. He was a devoted husband, and though for the last six years of his life they probably dwelt apart, he sorrowed bitterly for her death, which happened in 836. In 840 he followed her to the grave, probably in the seventieth year of his age.

The well-known story of Einhard's intrigue with Charles's  p294 daughter Emma is a piece of vulgar scandal utterly destitute of proof or probability, and supported only by the authority of the Chronicon Laureshamense, a twelfth-century compilation, of no value for Carolingian history.

(I quote 'Einhardi Vita Caroli' from Jaffé's edition of Monumenta Carolina, 1867.)a

The treatise of the Monk of St. Gall, 'de Carolo Magno,' in two books, is interesting as showing the early growth of legend and romance round the figure of Charles the Great, and probably contains some authentic pictures of life and manners in his court, but is so manifestly mingled with fable that we can hardly regard it as a historic authority. The book was written between 884 and 887, and dedicated to the Emperor Charles the Fat, great-grandson of Charles the Great. It professes to be a compilation from the oral evidence of three persons: a priest named Werinbert, his father Adalbert, and a third who is not named. The first section relates to ecclesiastical affairs; the second, which is in some respects the most interesting, and probably the most trustworthy as it partakes most of the character of contemporary evidence, deals with the warlike acts of Charles. 'The following narrative,' says the writer, 'will treat of the warlike affairs of the most active Charles, according to the narration of Adalbert, father of the same Werinbert who was present with his lord Gerold in the Hunnish [= Avar], Saxon and Sclavic wars, and who when as a very old man he maintained me, a little boy, used often to teach me about those campaigns; for though I rebelled and often ran away, I was always forced in the end to listen to his tales.' For the story of the Avar campaigns the old man's recollections filtered through the brain of the Monachus San Gallensis are especially valuable. The third section (concluding the second book) deals with 'the daily conversations' of the Emperor.

Guide: —

For the first twenty years of Charles's reign Sigurd Abel's 'Jahrbücher des Fränkischen Reichs unter Karl dem Grossen.'

Character of Stephen III. The new Pope, however skilful he may have been as a diplomatist, was not a man of any strength of will or singleness of purpose. In his short tenure of  p295 the Papacy — only three years and a half — he performed some extraordinary political evolutions and was guilty of some acts which at least resemble treachery and ingratitude. Altogether he is one of the poorest figures in the Papal annals of the eighth century.

Punishment of Constantine and his adherents. The first business of the new reign was to decide as to the fate of 'the invader of the Papacy' and his abettors. George, bishop of Praeneste, who had been, with his will or against his will, the chief instrument in Constantine's elevation, had been stricken with paralysis soon after that event, and was now either dead or so much enfeebled by disease as not to seem worth punishing. Strangely enough, we hear nothing of proceedings against the two bishops, of Albano and Porto, who also concurred in the consecration. The direst fury of the successful champions of the purity of Papal election was reserved for Theodore, the vice-dominus who had acted as ecclesiastical prime minister during the thirteen months of chaos, and who with his master sat trembling in the Lateran when the Lombards poured into the City. Some of the more lawless men of Stephen's party, whose cruelty is unsparingly condemned by the Papal biographer,1 laid hold of Theodore where he was kept in ward, and plucked out his eyes and tongue. Passivus, the brother of Constantine, also had his eyes plucked out, and then, as the biographer says, 'they showed themselves so unpitying towards the men whom they had thus barbarously  p296 used, that they did not even allow them to be removed to their own homes that they might be tended by their servants, but taking away from them all their goods and their household retinue, they sent Passivus to the monastery of St. Silvester2 and Theodore to the monastery of Clivus Scauri' (which occupied the site of the palace of Gregory the Great on the Coelian Hill). Here suffering agonies of hunger and thirst, and vainly crying out for water, the unhappy vice-dominus soon expired.

As for Constantine himself, he was brought forth from his prison; a heavy weight was attached to his feet, he was seated on a horse upon which, no doubt in derision, a lady's saddle had been prepared for him,3 and was thus led in ignominious triumph to the monastery of S. Saba on the Aventine.4

Consecration of Stephen III, Aug. 7, 768. A week had now passed since the entry of the Lombards into the City. The new Pope was to be consecrated on Sunday, but on the previous Saturday, the 6th of August, certain of the bishops and other clergy were assembled in the Lateran basilica, and Constantine being brought before them was, after the reading of the canons, formally deposed. Maurianus a sub‑deacon tore  p297 the pallium5 from his neck and cast it at his feet, and then proceeded to cut off his pontifical shoes. Further proceedings against him seem to have been postponed to the meeting of a council. August 7, 768 On the next day, as had been arranged, took place the consecration of Stephen III, whereat a general confession was made by the Roman people of their sin in submitting without resistance to the impious invasion of the Apostolic See; and this confession was read again in a loud voice by the scrivener6 Leontius from the ambo of St. Peter's.

One of the first acts of the new Pope was to send a messenger to his powerful Frankish patrons with the tidings of his elevation and a request for the summoning of a council of the Church.7 The messenger chosen for the purpose was naturally the all‑powerful Sergius, who was now again secundicerius, and also nomenculatorº8 in the Papal court. But when Sergius arrived in Frank-land he found that the old king was already dead.

Last year of Pippin's life. The last time that Pippin's name was mentioned he was resting at Bourges in the autumn of 767 from his eighth Aquitanian campaign, and was receiving the tidings of the death of Pope Paul. His intervention in the affairs of the distracted Papal See was, as we have seen solicited by the intrusive Pope Constantine, but apparently the application received no reply. In the spring of 768 he again set his face south-westwards, determined once for all to make an end  p298 of the resistance of Waifar, duke of Aquitaine. A certain Remistan, Waifar's uncle, who after taking oaths of fealty to Pippin had treacherously gone over to his nephew's side and surrendered to him the towns which Pippin had entrusted to his guardianship, was captured, apparently not without guile, and hung on a gallows at Bourges. The mother, sister, and nieces of Waifar were next brought in as captives to the king's camp at Saintes. Still, however, the chief quarry escaped. Though utterly beaten, Waifar wandered hither and thither through the cave-lined valleys of Perigord, and though Pippin divided his followers into four bands and sent them in quest of the fugitive, they failed to capture him. Death of Waifar of Aquitaine. At last however on the 2nd of June, 768, the hunt was ended, in unsportsmanlike fashion, by the murder of the quarry: Waifar was assassinated by some of his own followers, as one of the chroniclers tells us, not without suspicion of the king's privity to the crime.9 The action of Pippin in striving so persistently for the incorporation of Aquitaine with the Frankish monarchy was probably wise and statesmanlike, but there is nothing knightly in his treatment of the champion of her independence.

Settlement of Aquitaine. The conqueror took up his quarters at Saintes, and there held an assembly at which he regulated the affairs of Aquitaine, now virtually a new, or at least a recovered possession of the Frankish kings. The great ecclesiastics on whose behalf the contest with Waifar had been originally entered upon were  p299 restored to the full enjoyment of all their estates; new beneficia were carved out for the behoof of Pippin's loyal followers; yet according to the wise policy of the Austrasian kings, no attempt was made to force the unique and time-hallowed civilisation of Aquitaine into the rigid mould of the half-barbarous jurisprudence of the Northern Franks. It was enacted 'that all men, Romans and Salians alike, should keep their own laws, and that if any man should come from another province he should live according to the law of his own fatherland.'10 We have seen a similar privilege accorded to the Visigoths of Septimania, who on passing from under the Moorish yoke were assured by Pippin that they should still retain their own laws;11 and thus we find already in action that curious system of 'personal laws' which was so marked a feature of Carolingian administration, especially in Italy.

Death of Pippin, Sept. 24, 768. But even while Pippin was thus wisely settling the affairs of his new conquest the hand of death was upon him. It was during his residence at Saintes that he began to sicken with fever. He journeyed towards the Loire; he visited the tomb of St. Martin, greatest of the saints of Gaul, and besought the intercession of the canonised soldier. In vain; but one more journey was left him to accomplish, the journey to his place of sepulture, the venerable abbey of St. Dionysius at Paris.  p300 He was still living when he reached it, but he died on the 24th of September (768). He had attained only the 54th year of his age. The Arnulfing princes were far tougher and healthier than the short-lived Merovingians, but even they did not attain to great length of days. Probably in Pippin's case the fatigues and anxieties of his nine Aquitanian campaigns hastened his end.

Character of Pippin. Pippin is one of those historical personages of whom we know just enough to be tantalised with a desire to know more. Even as to his personal appearance we have no trustworthy information. The belief so prevalent in the Middle Ages, that he was a man of short stature, perhaps originated in a confusion between him and his grandfather Pippin 'of Heristal,'12 but the contrast between the little father and the giant son was so tempting that the fallacy easily took root.13 Already little more than a century after his death Saga was busy with his exploits. The monk of St. Gall (884‑887) tells us that having discovered that the chiefs of his army were privately casting imputations on his courage, Pippin ordered a wild bull to be let loose, and then a fierce lion after him. The lion made one spring, fastened his claws in the bull's neck, and pulled him to the ground. Thereupon the king shouted to the by‑standers, 'Either drag the lion off the bull or slay him on the top of him.' With hearts frozen with fear the courtiers faltered out, 'Master! there is not a man under heaven who  p301 dare attempt such a thing as that.' Thereupon the king leapt from his throne, drew his sword, cut through the neck of the lion, then the neck of the bull, sheathed his sword, and calmly resumed his throne. 'Do you feel now,' said he, 'that I can be your master? Have you not heard what little David did to the mighty Goliath and the short-statured Alexander to his stalwart chiefs?' As if struck with thunder, the courtiers fell to the ground, saying, 'Who but a madman would contest your right to rule?'

The story, pure Saga as it evidently is, may be accepted as pointing to an early tradition that Pippin was of short stature, and (which is of more importance) to the difficulties which sometimes beset his path from the insubordinate conduct of some of the leading men of his kingdom. Like our own Henry VII, he had to walk warily in the presence of men who remembered the time when he was only one of themselves. The chroniclers say but little expressly concerning these tendencies towards insubordination; but in one very important case, the debate on the Italian expedition, they admit that such tendencies existed, and we can see that they exerted an important influence on the course of affairs.

King Pippin left but three children — the little princess Gisila, of whose birth and baptism we have already heard in the correspondence of Pope Paul,14 and her two brothers, who had already reached man's estate, Charles and Carloman.

Date of birth of Charles the Great uncertain, probably 742. It is an illustration of the fragmentary and unscientific character of the Frankish chroniclers of this period that they give us no clear information of the  p302 date of so important an event as the birth of Charles the Great. His friend and biographer Einhard gives virtually three different dates — 742, 743, and 744.15 Two annalists16 place it in 747, but it is hardly possible to reconcile so late a date with the commission entrusted to the young prince to meet Pope Stephen II in December, 753, nor with a document of 76017 in which he is already spoken of as a man. On the whole, the most probable conclusion is that Charles the Great was born in 742, and was therefore twenty‑six years old when he succeeded his father.

As to the date of Carloman's birth we have scarcely more information. One annalist18 places it in the year 751, and if he is correct, Pippin's younger son was a little child of three years old when he, along with his father and brother, received the often-mentioned anointing from the Papal hands in the abbey of S. Denis. On that basis of calculation he would be seventeen years old at the time of his father's death.

Was Charles born before the marriage of his parents? The strange obscurity which hangs over the birth and infancy of the greatest of Frankish sovereigns may possibly be due to the fact that he was not born in wedlock. Even this cannot be positively asserted;  p303 but there is some authority19 for dating the marriage of Pippin with Bertrada, daughter of Charibert, count of Laon, in the year 749, which was certainly after the birth of Charles, though before the birth of Carloman. The sovereigns of Arnulf's line, though not licentious, were notoriously irregular in their matrimonial relations, and seem generally to have kept for some years as a mistress the woman whom they afterwards married with the rites of the Church. According to Frankish law, even on this theory, the subsequent marriage of his parents rendered Charles legitimate, but in the relation which existed between the two brothers, and especially in the somewhat contemptuous tone which Carloman occasionally assumed towards Charles, we may perhaps see indications of the fact that the younger brother prided himself upon the strict legitimacy of his birth and looked upon the elder as little better than a bastard.

Division of Pippin's kingdom between his sons. The division of his dominions between his two sons had been one of the last occupations of the dying king. The details of that division cannot be quite accurately stated, but we may say generally that the dividing line ran more nearly east and west and less from north to south than in some previous partitions. Thus we are told20 that Austrasia fell to the share of Charles; Burgundy, Provence, Septimania, Alsace and Alamannia (Swabia) to that of Carloman. The allocation of Neustria is not mentioned, but it seems probable that it was allotted to Charles. As to  p304 Aquitaine, the authorities differ irreconcilably; the historian whom we have just quoted declaring that it was divided between the two brothers, while the author of the Annales Einhardi says that it was all included in the lot of Charles. Bavaria is not mentioned in the scheme of partition, a striking illustration of the virtually independent position obtained by its Duke, Tassilo.

We find with some little surprise both the two young kings fixing their residences in the northern part of the realm. Samoussy21 near Laon and Attigny on the Aisne are the places from which Carloman dates his charters in the spring of 769, while Charles celebrated the Christmas of 768 at Aquae Grani (Aix-la‑Chapelle or Aachen), the first and last love apparently of the great Austrasian.

Strife between the two brothers. As has been already hinted, the relation between these two brother sovereigns was very unlike that brotherly harmony which prevailed in the previous generation between the elder Carloman and his brother Pippin. The blame of Carloman's ill‑temper is laid by one annalist on 'evil counsellors among his nobles,' and it is hinted that at one time there was a danger of actual civil war between the two brothers.22 As Carloman disappeared early from the scene, we do not of course hear the story as it would have been told by his partisans. Probably, besides the motives of personal pique and thwarted ambition, there may have been working in the minds of the counsellors of the two young kings some of those 'centrifugal' tendencies, the rivalries between Frank and Burgundian, between  p305 the men of pure Teutonic descent and their Gallo-Roman competitors which led a century later to the disruption of the Frankish monarchy.

Charles's war in Aquitaine, 769. The first event which disclosed to the world the gaping chasm between the two brothers was the war in Aquitaine. Almost immediately after the death of Pippin a certain Hunold,23 probably related to the family of the dethroned duke, raised once more the trampled standard of Aquitanian independence. Charles marched southwards in the spring of 769 to suppress this revolt, and called on his brother for aid; but though Carloman came to meet him at a place called Duasdives,24 he brought no troops with him, and entirely refused to assist in the reconquest of Aquitaine; an unbrotherly act if the province had been assigned to Charles alone, an incomprehensible one if it was held by the two brothers in partnership.

After all, the revolt of Hunold proved to be but a feeble affair. The old king in his nine campaigns had crushed the spirit of the men of Aquitaine too thoroughly to leave much work to be done there by his son. Charles marched to Aquitaine, and Hunold was soon fleeing before him. He fled to Gascony, and placed himself under the protection of Lupus, duke of that remote corner of Gaul. At the threat of war, war which, as Charles declared, should be continued till Gascony was reduced to the same condition of dependence as Aquitaine, Lupus surrendered his guest,  p306 together with that guest's wife,25 and promised implicit obedience to all the commands of the Frankish king. What became of Hunold and his wife we are not told; but Charles was through life, except on one or two occasions of special exasperation, a merciful conqueror. He built a strong fort at Fronsac near the junction of the Dordogne and Garonne, and returned in triumph to his Austrasian home.

Synod in the Lateran for the trial of Constantine, April 12, 769. While these events were occurring in Gaul, Pope Stephen III, having obtained the consent of the two young kings, was holding a synod in the Lateran basilica26 in order to obtain the solemn judgment of the Church on the recent anarchical proceedings at Rome. The synod was not ecumenical; it did not even represent all the countries of the Western Patriarchate; but the presence of twelve Frankish bishops 'very learned in the divine Scriptures and the ceremonies of the holy canons,' along with forty ecclesiastics from the various districts of Northern and Central Italy, was a wise precaution to give dignity to the proceedings of the assembly and to prevent its seeming the mere mouthpiece of a vindictive Roman faction.27

 p307  The bishops being all assembled in the great basilica, and Pope Stephen III having taken his place as president of the synod, Constantine, the late Pope, now sightless, and having endured for eight months the hardships of a dungeon, was brought in and placed in the midst of the assembly. It was sternly enquired of him, 'why he, a layman, had presumed to invade the Apostolic See and to do a deed so new and wicked in the Church of God;' whereupon he declared that he had been forced into that deed by the people of Rome, weary of the exactions and injustices of the late Pope, Paul — an important hint as to some of the causes that had been at work in the recent revolution — and, as he averred, after the vote of the people28 had been taken by show of hands he had been laid hold of and forcibly inducted into the Lateran Palace. Then falling to the ground and stretching forth his hands on the marble pavement, he confessed with tears that he had been guilty of sins more in number than the sand of the sea, for which he implored the merciful forgiveness of the synod. They caused him to be raised from the ground and sent back to his dungeon, adjourning their decision for a day.

On the morrow, when he was again questioned as to the 'impious novelty' of his deed, Constantine, who seems to have recovered a little of his lost self-confidence, replied that for a layman to be consecrated bishop was no novelty at all. He might have appealed to the well-known case of the election of Ambrose of Milan, but he chose more recent instances. 769 Only  p308 seventeen years before, Sergius, a layman, whose wife was still living, had been consecrated archbishop of Ravenna,b and though it was true that he had been cited to Rome on account of the alleged irregularity, and even imprisoned there, the irregularity had been condoned by Paul I, and he had been allowed to return to his see, an archbishop in full communion with Rome. 766 So too, only three years before the date of the Lateran synod, Stephen, a layman and governor of Naples, who had earned the enthusiastic love of the Neapolitans, had been at a time of terrible pestilence chosen bishop by the people, and had gone to Rome, where he received episcopal consecration at the hands of the same Pope Paul.

When Constantine urged these exploits in mitigation of his offence the whole assembly was filled with fury. Unmoved to pity by the vacant gaze of those poor sightless eyes, they buffeted him on the face, they forced him to bow his neck, and finally thrust him out of the church. As to his ultimate fate the Papal biographer is silent. The members of the synod then brought the registers of Constantine's Papal acts and the records of the council which had been held under his presidency and burned them all in the midst of the presbytery. This done, Pope, priests and people cast themselves to the ground, chaunting Kyrie Eleison, with floods of tears — those copious ecclesiastical tears! — confessed their grievous sin in having received the communion from Constantine's hands, and all submitted themselves to the penance for so great an offence.

The Papal biographer relates at great length the deliberations of the synod concerning the difficult question of ecclesiastical orders bestowed by the hands  p309 of the intrusive pontiff. The practical result was this, that the ecclesiastics who had been raised by Constantine to the rank of bishop were deposed from the episcopal office, but, after submitting themselves to a second election by the clergy and people, were reconsecrated by Stephen. Those men, on the other hand, who had been but laymen before and had received consecration as deacons or presbyters from the intruder, were thrust down from their clerical office (to which Stephen vowed that he would never again raise them), but not being allowed to return into the world and resume the duties and privileges of laymen, were ordered to retire into monasteries and spend the rest of their lives in religious meditation. Unhappy victims, these, of the revolution which in the eighth century corresponded to a change of ministry in the nineteenth!

The usual decree that 'with great honour and affection the sacred images should be venerated by all Christians,' and the usual anathema on 'the execrable synod which has been lately held in the regions of Greece for the deposition of those sacred images,' received the probably unanimous assent of the council. More important than these, however, as affecting the constitution of the Church for the eleven centuries which have since passed over it, was the solemn resolution framed under anathema by the council, 'that no layman nor man of any other order should presume to be promoted to the holy honour of the Pontificate, unless ascending by distinct steps he had first been made [cardinal] deacon or cardinal presbyter.' We here meet, for the first time apparently, with the term cardinal applied to the parochial clergy  p310 of Rome, those hinges29 of the ecclesiastical organisation of the Metropolis. They shared it with the 'suburbicarian' bishops of the territory in the immediate vicinity of Rome; and from this time forth it was established as a sacred principle30 of the Church that only from one of these three orders, cardinal-deacons, cardinal-priests, cardinal-bishops, could a bishop of Rome be chosen. Thus the cardinals were now the alone eligible persons; but it was not till three centuries later that they became the alone electors.

Stephen's letter to the Frankish kings. It was probably some months, it may have been a year, after this synod of the Lateran, that Stephen addressed to the two young Frankish kings a letter31 in which he congratulated them that the dissensions between them, rumours of which had evidently reached even to Rome, were now at an end, and exhorted them to turn their re‑established harmony to good account by vigorously urging the assertion of all the just claims32 of St. Peter. 'If any one tells you that we have already received satisfaction of these claims, do not believe him.'

Harmony was indeed for a short time in the course of the year 770 re‑established between the two Frankish kings, but it was by means of which Pope Stephen little dreamt, and which drove him nearly wild with anger and alarm when he discovered their nature.

Influence of the queen-mother Bertrada. The chief agent in this reconciliation was the dowager-queen Bertrada, who now after her husband's  p311 death emerges from the comparative obscurity of her earlier career, and plays with statesmanlike prudence and sagacity that part of all‑controlling, all‑counselling queen-mother with which we are so familiar in later chapters of French history. The policy which she advised, and which doubtless found many other advocates in the Frankish council-chambers, was not precisely that of the earlier years of her late husband, though towards the close of his reign he had seemed to be tending thitherward. 'Is it wise,' we can imagine the counsellors of Bertrada's party to have questioned, — 'is it wise to spend the energies of the loosely-compacted Frankish kingdom in expeditions across the Alps, in order to enforce those shadowy, ever-growing, never-satisfied claims of St. Peter? We thereby make the Lombard our deadly enemy, him who so lately as in the days of Liutprand and Charles Martel, was our cordial, our ancestral ally. And not only the Lombard, but with him goes the young duke of Bavaria [for Tassilo a few years before this time33 had married Liutperga daughter of Desiderius, and formed a strict alliance with his new father-in‑law]; and Tassilo's relation to the monarchy is one of the darkest spots in our horizon. The late king never ventured to punish him for his great harisliz34 in 763. What the old hero dared not attempt, his young and inexperienced sons are not likely to succeed in. Were it not better to renounce the thoughts of vengeance and to have at least a friendly, an allied, if we cannot have a humbly obedient Bavaria? Aquitaine is but just tranquillised; she is still heaving with the  p312 turmoil of the nine years' war of her subjugation. Then on the north-eastern frontier of the realm hover the fierce, still heathen Saxons. There in those trackless forests, in those wide-spreading marshes between the Weser and the Elbe, lies the real danger, and also the true vocation of the Frankish monarchy. Even the church can be better served by forcing those wild heathen tribes to bow their necks to the yoke of Christ, than by wresting a few more Italian cities from the Lombards and handing them over to the successor of St. Peter. But before all things peace is the present need of the Frankish kingdom; peace instead of strife between the two royal brothers, peace with the Lombard and peace with the Bavarian. And if the Pope should storm and threaten us with the wrath of St. Peter and the terrors of the Day of Judgment, let him storm and let him threaten. He has been already paid handsomely enough for that holy anointing at S. Denis of which we have heard so much. It is time now for the sons of Pippin to think of themselves and their own country, which is Frank-land, and not "the province of Italy." '

Bertrada's journey into Italy, 770. Probably by some such reasonings as this was that great change in Frankish policy brought about, which was signalised by the journey of queen Bertrada to Italy in the year 770. The point which to us is left in the greatest obscurity is how the reconciliation with the Lombards was connected with that which was undoubtedly the object nearest to Bertrada's heart, the reconciliation between Charles and Carloman. That there was some such connection is clear from the words of the annalists, but it would be  p313 mere guess-work to say in what way it was brought about.35

Intent on carrying through this scheme of reconciliation, Bertrada undertook the labours and not inconsiderable hardships of a journey from the north of Gaul into Italy. Starting probably from her son Charles's court at Liège,36 she met Carloman by appointment at a little place called Selz37 in Lower Alsace. There, doubtless, mother and son conferred on the new course of policy, and she obtained his consent to the projected alliances. Journeying thence to Bavaria, she no doubt conferred with Tassilo as to the best means of securing the future friendship of Franks, Bavarians, and Lombards. Having crossed the Alps, she probably visited the court of Desiderius at Pavia and there opened the purport of her journey. 'Friendship between the Frankish and Lombard courts: more than friendship, matrimonial alliances: your daughter Desiderata38 for my eldest son: my  p314 little daughter Gisila, now twelve years old, to become hereafter the wife of your son Adelchis': this was the flattering, surprising offer made by the widow of the pious Pippin to the 'most unspeakable' Lombard king. Even in making it, however, Bertrada did not wholly forget the claims of St. Peter. Certain additional cities were to be handed over to the Pope; a condition to which Desiderius gladly consented. Though all is left painfully vague as to this part of the negotiation, it appears that some cities — how many we know not — were actually ceded by the Lombard at this time to the Papal See. Bertrada, who as we are told, when she had finished her business, went to worship at the threshold of the Apostles,39 probably took to the pontiff the soothing news of this surrender. We may say almost with certainty that she said nothing at Rome of the projected double marriage. Having probably called on her return journey at Pavia, Desiderata, daughter of Desiderius, brought as bride to Charles's Court. she recrossed the Alps, taking with her the intended bride. Desiderata arrived at Charles's court; the existing lady of the palace, Himiltrud, was divorced if she was his wife, or simply dismissed if she was his concubine, and the daughter of Desiderius was hailed as queen of the Franks, while some of the chief men of the kingdom swore to the observance of the treaty of peace and friendship which Bertrada had concluded between them and the Lombards.40

 p315  Pope Stephen's angry remonstrance. When the news of this astounding alliance, either actually accomplished or about to be accomplished,41 reached Rome, the rage of the outwitted Pope knew no bounds. He seized the pen and wrote to the two brothers one of the fiercest, haughtiest, most scornful letters that ever proceeded even from the Papal chancery, a letter which already seems instinct with the spirit of Hildebrand rather than with the meek submissiveness of a bishop just emancipated from the heavy yoke of Byzantium.42

After dilating on the virtue of constancy in the faith as exhibited by God's chosen servants, and alluding to the fall of man, which through the wiles of the Ancient Enemy was brought about by the weak nature of woman, Pope Stephen proceeds: —

'Now a thing has been brought to our hearing which we cannot even speak of without great pain in our heart, namely, that Desiderius, king of the Lombards, is seeking to persuade your Excellencies, that one of your brotherhood should be joined in marriage to his daughter. Certainly if that be true  p316 it is a veritable suggestion of the devil, and not a marriage, but rather a most wickedly imagined concubinage.43 How many men, as we learn from Holy Scripture, through unsanctified union with a woman of another nation, have departed from the commandments of God, and fallen into grievous sin! But what indescribable folly is this, O most excellent sons and mighty kings, that your illustrious Frankish race which shines supreme above all other nations, and that most noble royal line of yours, should be polluted — perish the thought — by union with the perfidious and foully stinking race of the Lombards,44 which is never reckoned in the number of the nations, and from which it is certain that the tribe of lepers hath sprung! No one in the possession of his senses would ever suspect that such renowned kings would entangle themselves in such hateful and abominable contagion. For what fellowship hath light with darkness, or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?'

The Pope then alludes to the fact, of which he appears to speak without any hesitation, that both the young kings have already, by the desire of their father, married fair and nobly-born wives of their own Frankish nation. This positive utterance of his  p317 seems to force us to the conclusion, opposed as it is to the statements of most of the chroniclers, that Himiltrud, the mother of Charles's eldest son (afterwards known as Pippin the Hunchback), was his lawfully-wedded wife and not a concubine. But who shall unravel the mysteries of the marriages of these 'most Christian' kings of the Franks?

The Pope proceeds with his passionate exhortation: 'None of your ancestors ever accepted a woman of another kingdom and a foreign nation as his wife' — an assertion which he would have found it hard to justify from history. 'And who of your most noble house ever condescended to contaminate himself by mixing with the horrid nation of the Lombards, that you should now be persuaded to defile yourself with that horrible people?'

Knowing doubtless the share which Bertrada had taken in these hateful negotiations, he reminds her, through her son, that his predecessor Pope Stephen II had dissuaded Pippin from divorcing her — we know not on what pretext — and expresses his hope that the sons will imitate the obedience which the father then manifested towards the Holy See. The same obedience had been shown in rejecting, under Papal advice, the offer of a brilliant alliance for the little Gisila with the son of the Byzantine Emperor.

The Pope then returns to his strongest argument.

'You have promised firm and lasting friendship with St. Peter's successors. Their enemies were to be your enemies; their friends your friends. That league of mutual friendship was the reward of my pious predecessor Stephen II's journey across the Alps, a journey which he would have done well never to have undertaken  p318 if the Frank, whose aid he invoked, is going to join the Lombard against us. He reminded you of that promise in a letter which he wrote to you on his death‑bed. Where is that promise now?

'Wherefore the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, who received the keys of the kingdom of heaven from the Lord, adjures you through my unhappy mouth; and with him all the bishops and presbyters, the nobles and judges, and all the rest of the clergy and people of Rome adjure you, by the majesty of God and by the tremendous day of future judgment, that by no manner of means shall either of you two brothers presume to receive in marriage the daughter of the aforesaid Desiderius, king of the Lombards: nor shall your sister, the noble lady Gisila, dear to God, be given to Desiderius' son: nor shall you dare to put away your wives.

'This warning of ours we have placed upon the tomb of the blessed Peter, and have over it offered sacrifice to God, and we do now with tears direct it to you from the same sacred sepulchre. And if (which God forbid) any one shall presume to act in opposition to this our adjuration and exhortation, let him know that by the authority of my lord the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, he is fast bound in the chain of our anathema, and is banished from the kingdom of heaven, and with the devil and all his horrid crew and the rest of the wicked ones is sent down to be burned in the everlasting fire. But he who shall keep this word of our exhortation being honoured with celestial benedictions from the Lord, shall be counted worthy to receive the rewards of eternal joy with all the holy ones, elect of God.

 p319  'May the heavenly grace keep your Excellencies in safety.'

The remonstrance unavailing. This extraordinary letter, as we have seen, failed to produce any effect. The policy of Bertrada and her counsellors was for the time triumphant. Desiderata married to Charles. Desiderata, the Lombard princess, was enthroned in Charles's palace and received on her head the precarious crown-matrimonial of the Austrasian Franks. Seeing this, the Pope, though doubtless bitterly enraged, concealed his resentment and bided his time. The next two letters from him that we find in the Codex Carolinus45 are full of words of cloying sweetness, towards Bertrada, towards Charles, and towards Carloman. He announces to Charles and his mother that their envoy Itherius, who was despatched for the restoration to the Holy See of its patrimonies in the duchy of Benevento, has accomplished his mission with admirable prudence and fidelity, and prays that he may be rewarded according to his deserts. He rejoices at receiving the greatly desired 'syllables' from the God‑protected Carloman which announce the birth of a son, and craves to be allowed to act as godfather to the infant Pippin,46 that there may be the spiritual relationship of co‑fatherhood established between them, to the great joy both of the Pope and the people of Rome.47

Stephen himself Lombardises. But all this time events were ripening for a new and astonishing change in Italian politics. 'Since my  p320 Frankish patrons have deserted me,' Stephen seems to have said to himself, 'since they have left me alone to face the fury of the now omnipotent Lombard, what hinders me from following their example, and making my peace, unknown to them, with the common foe?' There were indeed two great living hindrances to the adoption of this tempting policy — Christopher and his son Sergius, Primicerius and Secundicerius of the Papal household, and all‑powerful in the Lateran Palace. These men by accepting the aid of Desiderius against the intruder Constantine and then seating their own candidate, not his, on the Papal throne, had sinned too deeply against the Lombard king for any hope of forgiveness. Moreover, in all the subsequent demands for the recognition of the justitiae of St. Peter their voices had ever been the loudest and the most importunate. But probably the weak and vacillating Sicilian Pope was weary of the domination of these men, and his weariness made him listen gladly to the suggestions of another of his servants, Paulus Afiarta head of the Lombard party in Rome. the chamberlain48 Paulus Afiarta, who had been gained over by Desiderius and stood at the head of the Lombard faction in the City. The sacrifice of Christopher and Sergius was therefore resolved on, and when in the season of Lent (771) Desiderius came with an army professedly to worship at the tombs of the Apostles, and when Pope Stephen went forth to meet him and ostensibly to confer with him concerning the restitution of St. Peter's rights, all Rome probably suspected, and Christopher and Sergius knew, that what would be called in modern phrase a change of ministry was impending. It happened that a certain  p321 envoy of Carloman named Dodo was then in Rome, probably at the head of a body of troops. Some of the peasants of Tuscia and Campania, and even from far‑off Perugia, had also been gathered together for the defence of Rome, when it was known that Desiderius was on his way. The gates of the City were closed, new ones were hung on their hinges where the old were too rotten to resist attack,49 the citizens were called to arms, and (again to use a modern phrase) the City was proclaimed to be in a state of siege.

Desiderius at the gates of Rome. The contemplated defence of the City of Rome against the Lombards had this peculiarity, that the man who should have been the representative of all that was most Roman and national among the besieged was supposed, not untruly, to be in league with the besiegers. We know from many instances in modern history how ill it fares with a king or a commander-in‑chief in such circumstances, and what a menacing shape the indignation of the mob can assume against a half-hearted or traitorous general. Mutiny of Christopher and Sergius. In this case, Christopher and Sergius, with their Frankish ally Dodo and a troop of armed men at their heels, rushed to the palace of the Lateran; 'intent on murdering me,' writes the resentful Pope. That is most improbable, but that they meant to put pressure on Stephen to compel him to renounce his alliance with Desiderius is not to be doubted. 'They entered with arms' (he continues) 'the sacred patriarchium of the Lateran, they smashed the doors and tore the curtains of the palace with their lances, and entered with their coats of mail and their spears into the basilica of Pope  p322 Theodore, where we were sitting, and into which no one had till then penetrated with so much as a knife in his hand.'

The Pope escapes to St. Peter's. The Pope, we are told, sharply chided the insurgents for coming armed into the holy patriarchium, but he condescended to take an oath, 'by all the sacred relics that were contained in the Lateran basilica,' that he would have no secret dealings with Desiderius, and thus quieted them for the time. Next day, however, he contrived to elude their vigilance by some ingenious device,50 and made his way, attended by certain of his clergy, to the great basilica of St. Peter, which was practically the head-quarters of Desiderius. In the conference which there took place the Lombard king appears to have promised to satisfy all the claims of St. Peter, if only those evil counsellors, Christopher and Sergius, might be delivered into his hands. Meanwhile St. Peter's was closed to prevent the egress of the clergy who had come with the Pope; closed too and rigorously guarded were all the gates of the City; everything seemed to portend a bloody encounter.

The defenders of the City disheartened. The Lombard party was, however, undermining the position of Christopher and Sergius by promises, threats and gold. The great authority of the Papal name was freely used to discourage the citizens who were holding the City against their own bishop. Two bishops, Andrew of Praeneste and Jordanes of Signia, presented themselves before the Porta Sancti Petri, bringing to the two chief rebels the Pope's fatherly advice that they should either enter some monastery for the salvation of their souls, or at once come forth and meet him at St. Peter's. Though Christopher and Sergius knew  p323 the Lombard's resentment against them too well to trust themselves to his mercy, others less deeply involved began to waver. The Pope's envoys again approached the gates and cried with a loud voice, 'Hear ye what Pope Stephen orders by the command of God. Do not wage war against your brethren, but expel Christopher and Sergius from the City, and free the City, yourselves and your children from peril.' With that, many began to swarm down the walls that they might make their way to the besieging army. A certain duke Gratiosus, who was a kinsman of Sergius, feigned to depart to his own house, but collected a band of citizens and went to the Porta Portuensis, hoping to be able to open it. Finding it hopelessly barred, they wrenched it from its hinges, and so went forth by night to the Papal presence. And now all the City was in an uproar; everywhere men were trying to open the gates and pass out through them; the two ministers saw that they were surrounded by traitors and the game was lost. Christopher and Sergius captured, When the hour of Vigils51 sounded from the great bell of St. Peter's, Sergius climbed down the wall and hastened to that basilica, but was arrested by the Lombard sentinels and carried off to their own king. Christopher followed, was also captured, and brought into the presence of the Pope, who promised that his life and that of his son should be preserved if they would quit their public career and enter a convent.

and cruelly treated by Paulus Afiarta. Next day the Pope celebrated mass in the presence of Desiderius, and returned (apparently) to the Lateran Palace after giving orders that Christopher and Sergius, whom he left at St. Peter's, should be quietly brought  p324 back into the City at nightfall. But as soon as the sun began to set, Paulus Afiarta, with a band of reckless partisans and with at least the connivance of Desiderius, forced his way into St. Peter's, carried off Christopher and Sergius, and brought them to the gate of the City. Here, in accordance with that barbarous practice which the New Rome had taught to the Old, his men plucked out the eyes of both prisoners. The aged Christopher, who was carried to the monastery of St. Agatha,52 died in three days of the torment which his brutal captors had inflicted upon him. Sergius, imprisoned in Pope Gregory's monastery on the Clivus Scauri and afterwards transferred to the cellarium of the Lateran, lingered there in blindness and misery till the death of the reigning Pope.

Barbarisation of Roman citizens. It is impossible not to feel, in conning these pages of the Liber Pontificalis, what a wave of barbarism has swept over the leading citizens of Rome, both lay and ecclesiastical, since the days of Gregory the Great. Partly no doubt this is due to the long descent into ignorance and superstition during the course of the seventh and eighth centuries, but it seems to have become more rapid and more fatal since the two Gregories and Zacharias vanished from the scene. Is it an unwarranted conjecture which would connect this increasing ferocity of Roman politics with the acquisition of temporal power by the Roman pontiff?

Report of these proceedings to Charles. When the revolution was accomplished the question naturally arose, 'What will the kings of the Franks say when they hear of the deeds that have been done?' In order to propitiate their resentment Stephen wrote  p325 a long letter to Bertrada and her son Charles,53 in which he described the whole affair from the point of view of Paulus Afiarta and Desiderius. The Lombard king, once so 'unspeakable' and 'stinking,' is now 'our most excellent and God‑preserved son, King Desiderius, without whose aid we and all our clergy and all the faithful members of God's Church would have been in peril of our lives.' 'The most unspeakable Christopher and his most wicked son took counsel with Dodo, the envoy of your brother Carloman, to slay us. Behold what villainies and devilish machinations the aforesaid Dodo put in operation against us, but we are sure that our most excellent son his master will at once disavow his proceedings. It was the enemies of Christopher and Sergius who rushing upon them plucked out their eyes, without our will or counsel, as we call God to witness.' (When Stephen lay upon his death‑bed he did not assert his innocence of this crime quite so positively.)

Lastly, 'let your Religiosity beloved by God' — this to Bertrada, 'and your most Christian Excellency' — this to Charles — 'recognise how in the name of the lord the most excellent and God‑preserved king Desiderius has met us with all good will. And we have received from him full and entire satisfaction of all the claims of the blessed Peter.' (On this point also, when Stephen lay at the point of death, he told a different tale to his successor.)

 p326  Ascendency of Paulus Afiarta. From this time, the Lent of 771 to February 772, Paulus Afiarta, a bold, unscrupulous man, probably reigned supreme in the Papal council, and Stephen was fain to live in outward amity with Desiderius, veiling his fear and his dislike of the unspeakable one as well as he could. Scarcely had this great change in his policy been accomplished when he learned that with a little patience it might have been avoided. Charles repudiates Desiderata, 771. Charles the Frank was not after all irrevocably committed to friendship and alliance with Desiderius. It was probably in the summer of 771 that he sent back Desiderata to her father's court, a woman scorned and a repudiated wife. No reason seems to have been given for this insulting breach of the marriage covenant,54 but its cause was probably personal rather than political. The Monk of St. Gall (writing it is true more than a century after the event) says that she was in delicate health and unlikely to bear children, and therefore, in accordance with the judgment of the holiest ecclesiastics, was deserted as if she were dead.55

We may perhaps reasonably conjecture that this delicate Italian flower bore but ill her transplantation to the keen air of Brabant and Westphalia, and that Charles, who was a man of brisk and joyous temperament, spending most of his life in the open air and expecting his wife and his children to follow him to the chase and on the campaign, came to the speedy  p327 conclusion that the pale Lombard princess was no wife for him, and cut the knot with as little ceremony as our own Henry Tudor.

Disapproval of Bertrada and Adalhard. There were not wanting voices and remonstrance in his own palace against this selfish desertion of a lawfully wedded wife who had done him no wrong. Bertrada, who had arranged the marriage and had brought the young bride across the Alps, was deeply mortified by the divorce, which caused the only serious dissension that ever separated the mother and the son.56 His young cousin Adalhard also, though still only a page in the palace, boldly condemned the divorce, which, as he declared, would make the king an adulterer, and all his nobles who had sworn fidelity to the new queen, perjurers. Having thus delivered his soul, Adalhard retired from court life into a monastery.

Breach between Charles and Desiderius. Politically, of course, such an event could have but one result. As close as the alliance between Desiderius and Charles might have been had they remained kinsmen, so deep and impassable was now the chasm between the injured father and the faithless husband of Desiderata. Only, between the dominions of the two kings stretched the wide realm of Carloman, and it is by no means clear what would have been his attitude towards either. The line of policy pursued by his envoy Dodo at Rome looks like hostility to the Lombard, who, as we shall see, expected him to take a bloody revenge for the murder of Christopher and the blinding of Sergius. But on the other hand, Einhard expressly tells us — and his words seem to  p328 point to this period of their history — that many of Carloman's partisans strove to break the bond between the two brothers, so that some purposed to engage them even in civil war.57 And it would seem certain that at this crisis, after the repudiation of Desiderata, any one who was the enemy of Charles must have been the friend of Desiderius.

Death of Carloman, Dec. 4, 771. But all such speculations were set at rest for ever by the death of Carloman, which occurred on the 4th of December, 771. We know nothing of the cause or the manner of this untimely ending of a life which had lasted but twenty years. Nor is the character of the young king, or what might have been the possible future of his career, at all made clear to us. A far less forcible and far less pathetic figure than his uncle the elder Carloman, he seems to us — but herein we may do him wrong — only a somewhat petulant and querulous young man, the impracticable partner of his heroic brother. Like the dark star which, as some astronomers tell us, circles round Sirius, so Carloman interests us only by the question how long he will continue to obscure the transcendent glory of Charlemagne.

Death of Stephen III, Feb. 3, 772. Two months after Carloman, died Pope Stephen III, after a short and troubled pontificate of three years and a half. What passed between him and his successor Hadrian, when he was lying on his death‑bed, will be related in a future chapter.


The Author's Notes:

1 He calls them 'aliquanti perversi, quidam Deum prae oculis non habentes, nec metuentes terribilem futurum judicium, summissi a quibusdam pestiferis malorum auctoribus, quibus et digna factis retribuit Dominus.' These last words possibly refer to Christopher and Sergius, but if so they are contrary to the general Christopherian character of the narrative.

2 Doubtless S. Silvestro in Capite (close to the modern Post Office), a monastery founded shortly before this by Paul I.

3 'Et magno pondere in ejus adibentes in sellâ muliebrile sedere super equum fecerunt.'

4 Otherwise called Cella Nova. This also was connected with Gregory the Great, since it was the place to which his mother Silvia retired after the death of her husband, and from which she used to send him his dinner of uncooked vegetables (see vol. V.290, and Joan. Diaconus, I.9). Duchesne points out that two of the convents used as places of confinement for the Constantine party, S. Silvestro and S. Saba, were certainly, and the third, S. Gregorio, probably, at this time in the hands of Greek monks.

5 Here called 'orarium.'

6 'Scriniarius.'

7 The letter which was no doubt written on this occasion is not preserved in the Codex Carolinus.

8 Introducer of the Papal guests.

9 'Dum haec agerentur — ut adserunt consilio regis factum fuisset — Waifarius princeps Aquitaniae a suis interfectus est' ('Fred.' Cont. 52).

10 'Ut omnes homines eorum leges habeant, tam Romani quam et Salici: et si de aliâ provinciâ advenerit, secundum legem ipsius patriae vivat' (Capit. Aquit. cap. 10). I am following the guidance of Oelsner (p417) in assigning the publication of this interesting capitulary to Pippin's residence at Saintes.

11 See p270. These laws would be probably the Breviarium Alarici.

12 See Oelsner (p11, n. 6).

13 For instance, in a metrical 'Genealogia' of the twelfth century quoted by Oelsner (l.c.): —

'Karolus quippe Martellus a Pipino nobili

Genuit parvum Pippinum, patrem magni Karoli.'

14 See p265.

15 Charles died on the 28th of January, 814. According to Einhard's life he was then in the 72nd year of his age (born therefore in 742); but his epitaph (quoted by Einhard) describes him as septuagenarius (744). In his 'Annales' Einhard says that he died 'anno aetatis circiter septuagesimo primo' (743).

16 Annales Laubacenses and Petaviani. This date is also vouched for by the almost contemporary author of the Translatio S. Germani, who says that Charles as a boy of seven years old took part in the removal of the relics of the saint, in 754 or 755.

17 In reference to the convent of Anisola (Oelsner, p486).

18 Annales Petaviani.

19 The Annales Bertiniani, a ninth-century chronicle. Another authority, quoted by Abel (Jahrbücher, p13, n. 3), gives 744 as the date of the marriage.

20 By the Continuer of 'Fredegarius.'

21 Salmunciagum.

22 Annales Einhardi, s. a. 769; Einhardi Vita Karoli, cap. iii.

23 'Hunoldus quidam.' I cannot think that the man thus described in the Annales Einhardi is the same as Hunold the father of Waifar who abdicated and retired to a monastery in 744.

24 Site uncertain: possibly on the river Dive, near Moncontour in Poitou.

25 'Lupus minis regis perterritus Hunoldum et uxorem ejus sine cunctatione reddidit' (Einh. Ann. s. a.). The mention of Hunold's wife adds another improbability to the theory that he was the aged ex‑duke, and ex‑monk.

26 Or to speak more accurately according to the language of the time, 'in the basilica of the Saviour next to the Lateran Palace.'

27 The twelve Frankish bishops appear to have been chosen impartially from the dominions of Charles and Carloman. Of the forty bishops, presbyters, and deacons from Italy, two represented the Archbishop of Ravenna, three were from Northern Italy, five from Lombard Tuscany, twenty‑two from the Ducatus Romae, and eight from the Pentapolis (including a stretch of the Via Flaminia where it crosses the Apennines).

28 'Per brachium populi [or according to the reading adopted by Duchesne 'brachio'] fuisset electus.'

29 'Cardines.'

30 But there seem to have been at least twenty exceptions, the last in 1378 (Urban VI).

Thayer's Note: In fact, the "principle" was never enshrined in canon law, and it continues not to be today (Code of 1983). Any Catholic male, even a layman, may be validly elected Pope; but before assuming the tiara, he must be ordained priest and consecrated a bishop. And while as a matter of practice, for hundreds of years now, only cardinals have been papabili, there has never been any requirement that the Pope be elected from among the College of Cardinals.

31 Ep. 46.

32 'Justitiae.'

33 Not before 764, and not after 769, says Abel, pp58‑59.

34 Military defection.

35 The statement sometimes made on the authority of a late annalist (Annales Lobienses, MonumentaXIII.228) that Carloman's wife was the daughter of Desiderius is certainly erroneous. Gerberga, wife of Carloman, was of Frankish descent (as is proved by Stephen III's letter to be shortly quoted), and had been married to him some years before this (Abel, 82, n. 3). Malfatti (II.24) thinks that Carloman was the more ecclesiastically minded of the two brothers, and viewed the rapprochement between Charles and the Lombards with suspicion. I think Abel inclines the other way, and would say that in 769 Carloman was the more friendly of the two to the Lombards. But all this is mere conjectural argument.

36 He kept his Easter at St. Lambert in Liège.

37 'Apud Salusiam' (Ein. Ann. s. a. 770).

38 The name of this Lombard princess is variously given, but on the whole, Desiderata seems the most probable form (see Abel, p80, n. 5).

39 'Berthrada vero, mater regum, cum Karlomanno minore filio apud Salusiam locuta, pacis causa in Italiam proficiscitur, peractoque propter quod illo profecta est negotio, adoratis etiam Romae sanctorum apostolorum liminibus ad filios in Galliam revertitur' (Einhardi Annales, s. a. 770).

40 This oath of the great men of the kingdom may be fairly inferred from the statement in the life of Adalhard (c. 7) that Charles 'quorumdam Francorum juramentis petierat in connubium' the daughter of Desiderius (Pertz, MonumentaII.525).

41 Abel (p81, n. 2) thinks that the unmeasured invective of the Pope shows that the marriage had already taken place and that nothing that he could say would alter it. I do not so read the letter. It seems to me probable that the match was in contemplation but not completed.

42 There are some orthographical peculiarities in this letter which suggest the idea that it may have been written by the Pope propriâ manu, and not by one of the clerks in the Papal chancery. Notice especially the persistent substitution of the diphthong ae for the simple vowel e: 'eccae, certae, veraebamur, resistitae, cotidiae, solitae, benignae, judicae.' The letter is 47 in Jaffé's edition of the Codex Carolinus.

43 'Non tam matrimonii conjunctio sed consortium nequissimae adinventionis.'

44 'Perfidae ac foetentissimae Langobardorum gente polluatur.' Grammar almost requires us to read the first and third words as equivalent to perfidé and foetentissimé, but this does not give any clear sense. For perfida gens Langobardorum see the Papal correspondence, passim, and 'foetentissima' seems to refer to early stories told to the discredit of the Lombards in respect of cleanliness (see vol. V p136).

45 Epp. 48 and 49.

46 His name is given in the Continuation of the Annales Petaviani, s. a. 770 (Pertz, MonumentaI.13).

47 'Ut eadem Deo prosperante compaternitatis gratiâ in medio nostrum corroboratâ, magnâ laetitiâ ex hoc tam nos quamque universus noster populus pariter relevati exultare valeamus in Domino.'

48 'Cubicularius.'

49 'Qui etiam portas hujus Romanae urbis claudentes, alias ex eis fabricaverunt' (Lib. Pont.).

50 'Per multum ingenium' (Ep. 50 in Cod. Car.).

51 Near midnight.

52 S. Agata dei Goti or S. Agata in Trastevere?

53 Ep. 50 in Cod. Car.   I observe that the mis‑spelling of ae for e so common in Epp. 47, 48 and 49 does not occur in this letter. Was it actually written by Paulus Afiarta and only signed by Stephen III, or were those previous letters written by Christopher or Sergius or some scribe in the Papal chancery who shared their downfall?

54 Einhard (Vit. Car. xviii) says, 'Deinde cum matris hortatu filiam Desiderii regis Langobardorum duxisset uxorem, incertum quâ de causâ post annum eam repudiavit.' The Vita Adalhardi (cap. 7) says of her 'propriâ sine aliquo crimine repulsâ uxore.'

55 'Qua non post multum temporis, quia esset clinica et ad propagandam prolem inhabilis, judicio sanctissimorum sacerdotum relictâ velut mortuâ' (Mon. Sangall. II.17).

56 'Colebat enim [Bertradam] cum summâ reverentiâ ita ut nulla umquam invicem sit exorta discordia, praeter in divortio filiae Desiderii regis, quam illâ suadente acceperat' (Einh. Vit. Car. xviii).

57 'Mansitque ista quamvis cum summâ difficultate concordia; multis ex parte Karlomanni societatem separare molientibus, adeo ut quidam eos etiam bello committere sint meditati' (Einh. Vita Car. iii.)


Thayer's Notes:

a Einhard's Life of Charlemagne is online: Jaffé's Latin text and apparatus at Archive.Org, Pertz's Latin text and apparatus (M. G. H. II.426‑463) also at Archive.Org, and a stripped-down HTML version at Bibliotheca Augustana; an English translation at Fordham University.

b Lib. Pont. Rav. XL.


[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 22 Jul 20