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Book VIII
Note C

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,
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Book VIII
Note D

Book VIII (continued)

Vol. VII
p235
Chapter IX

The Pontificate of Paul I

Sources: —

The life of Paul I is very poorly represented in the Liber Pontificalis. The ten years of his reign are dismissed in three pages, while sixteen are given to the five years of his predecessor and thirteen to the four years of his successor. There are other reasons which to some extent account for this difference, but one is inclined to suggest that while Paul I may have himself written or superintended the writing of the life of his brother Stephen II, none of his successors performed the same pious office for him.

Happily the defects of the Liber Pontificalis are in great measure supplied by the Codex Carolinus, which is unusually full and complete for this period. Thirty‑two letters, some of them long letters, from Pope Paul to Pippin and his sons, give us, notwithstanding much tedious repetition, a very valuable insight into the politics of Europe at this time. We lack of course the Frankish replies, which would have been so valuable for the historian, and the omission of the dates (which must at one time have been appended to the letters) obliges us often to resort to conjecture as to the time of their composition, a conjecture which may sometimes range over nearly the whole ten years of Paul's pontificate. I follow the numbering and in the main the chronological arrangement of Jaffé. In one case I venture to differ from him. Letter 37, which he assigns to a period between 764 and 766, seems to me to be placed with more probability (as Troya has done) about the year 762.

As indicating the care with which the Codex Carolinus was  p236 compiled it is interesting to look at Ep. 15. It is only given in brief abstract, but this notice is appended: 'This letter is not copied in this volume, because by reason of age it is already in great measure destroyed.'

For Byzantine affairs, Theophanes and Nicephorus.

Guide: —

Bury's History of the Later Roman Empire, vol. II.

We have again reached a point at which there is a clearing of the historical stage and some new actors appear upon the scene.

Martyrdom of Boniface, 754 (?). It was probably while Pope Stephen was still sheltering at S. Denis that the great champion of the Papacy, St. Boniface, received the crown of martyrdom. Revisiting the scene of his early labours in Friesland in the summer of 754,1 he had collected a number of recently-baptized converts on the banks of the river Boorn, in the flat land between the Zuyder Zee and the German Ocean, and was about to perform the ceremony of their confirmation. A party of Frisian heathens, revengeful for his old attacks on their idols, and coveting the ecclesiastical treasures, the vessels of silver and gold which he and his companions (for he had a long train of attendants) had brought, came upon them at daybreak on the 5th of June. Boniface forbade his followers to fight, held high the sacred relics, and said to his disciples, 'Fear not them which kill the body. Anchor your souls on God, who after this short life is over will give you the prize of eternal life in the fellowship of the citizens on high.' The barbarians rushed on with swords drawn. Boniface lifted a copy  p237 of the Gospels high over his head. A Frisian sword struck down the feeble defence. He was slain, and fifty‑two of his companions with him. The barbarians rifled the tents, drank the sacramental wine, and hurled the precious manuscripts into the sluggish river, where long after, we are told, they were found uninjured. The very codex which the saint had used for a helmet showed the barbarian's sword‑cut through it, but had all its letters visible. So perished the great apostle of Germany. The monks of Utrecht soon appeared upon the scene of the martyrdom, and carried off the precious relics of the martyrs to their own cathedral. The great prize of all, however, the body of Boniface himself, they were not permitted to retain. It was borne away up the Rhine-stream and the Main-stream to be laid in his own beloved monastery of Fulda.

Death of Aistulf, Dec. 756. It was only a few months after the surrender of the Exarchate and the Pentapolis that Aistulf, king of the Lombards, vanished from the scene. The Frankish chroniclers2 tell us that he was 'meditating how to falsify his promises, leave his hostages in the lurch, and violate his oaths'; but no evidence is adduced of these fraudulent designs. All that we know with certainty is that he fell from his horse while hunting, was thrown violently against a tree,3 and died after a few days of the injuries which he had received. The accident probably happened at the end of December, 756, for in the letter which Pope Stephen II wrote to Pippin to inform him of the fact he says, 'That follower of the devil, Aistulf, devourer of the blood of Christians, destroyer of the churches of God, struck  p238 by a divine blow has been swallowed up in the infernal whirlpool. For in the very days in which he set forth to devastate this City of Rome, after the year had come round, he was so stricken by the divine sword that at the very same season of the year in which he had committed so many crimes he finished his impious life.'4

The Lombard people, as might be expected, had gentler words to use in speaking of their departed king. Six years, nine years, fifteen years after his death he was still 'our lord king Aistulf of good and holy memory.'5

Ratchis and Desiderius competitors for the kingship. On the death of Aistulf the Lombard state narrowly escaped the horrors of a civil war. One of the most powerful men in the kingdom was a certain Desiderius, a native probably of Brescia,6 who had been much  p239 favoured by the late king and advanced by him to the high dignity of Duke of Tuscany. At the head of the assembled forces of that important district he stood forth as a claimant for the crown. Desiderius, however, was apparently a man of undistinguished birth. There were other Lombard nobles who considered themselves to rank much before him in the kingdom; and above all, the late king's brother Ratchis in his cell on Monte Cassino, notwithstanding that for seven and a half years he had worn the monkish cowl, heard with indignation that the throne which had once been his was occupied by such an one as the low‑born Desiderius. He escaped to Pavia, and  p240 there for three months, from December to March, ruled in the palace of the Lombards.7

Pope Stephen II helps Desiderius to the throne. Happily a civil war was avoided, mainly as it would seem through the influence of the Pope, who beheld, doubtless with genuine disapproval, this attempt of a professed monk to return to the world and the palace which he had quitted, and who saw an opportunity to extend his newly‑won dominions by working on the duke of Tuscany's eagerness for the crown. An agreement was come to between Desiderius and Stephen, which is thus described in a letter written by the Pope to his Frankish patron: —

Agreement for a further cession of territory to the Pope. 'Now by the providence of God, by the hands of His Prince of Apostles St. Peter, and by thy strong arm, by the industrious precaution of that man beloved of God, thy henchman Fulrad, our beloved son, Desiderius, mildest of men,8 has been ordained king over the nation of the Lombards. And in the presence of the same Fulrad he has promised on his oath to restore to St. Peter the remaining cities, Faenza, Imola, and Ferrara, with the forests and other territories thereto belonging; also the cities Osimo, Ancona, and Umana, with their territories. And afterwards, through Duke Garrinod and Grimwald, he promised to restore to us the city of Bologna with its district, and he professed that he would always remain in quiet peace with the church of God and our people. He declared that he was loyal towards your God‑protected realm, and he  p241 begged us to entreat your Goodness that you would confirm the treaty of peace with him and the whole nation of the Lombards.'9

This compact, as we learn from the Papal biographer (as well as from the letter just quoted), was framed on the advice of Fulrad, now evidently the accepted and permanent link between Pippin and Stephen, and it was made not only in his presence but in that of Stephen's brother Paul the deacon, and of Christopher, who had accompanied him as regionarius into France, who was now consiliarius, and who was thereafter to fill the higher office of primicerius and to play an important part in Roman politics. The object and motive of this stroke of Papal policy are clear. As stated by the learned editor of the Liber Pontificalis,10 the conquests of Aistulf from the Empire having been restored, it was now desired to go back a generation further and reclaim the conquests of Liutprand. These were 'the remaining cities' on the west and west of the already-ceded territory, which Pope Stephen now claimed, and some of which he actually obtained as the price of his support of Desiderius. In view of the relations which afterwards existed between this man, the last of the Lombard kings, and the Papal See, it is strange to find him here spoken of as 'mildest of men,' and to remember that he was actually the favoured Roman candidate for the Lombard throne.

Ratchis throws up the game. On receiving the document in which the promise and oath of Desiderius were contained, Stephen sent a letter of exhortation by the hands of presbyter Stephen (one day to be himself Pope) to the monk-king at Pavia. The indefatigable Fulrad hastened  p242 with a detachment of Frankish soldiers to the help of Desiderius, who could also reckon on a contingent from the army of the Ducatus Romae. Ratchis saw that the scale was too heavily weighted against him. He could not fight the Franks, the Pope, and the Lombard duke of Tuscany all at once. He descended from his lately mounted throne, returned to Monte Cassino, and died there, when or how we know not. All that we know is that he, like so many other renowned sons of Benedict, lies buried on that famous hill.11

Monks who had followed Carloman to be pardoned. In this connection it is interesting to observe that in the just quoted letter of Pope Stephen, the last that he wrote to his Frankish patron, there is a plea for pardon to the monks who had accompanied Carloman in his journey to the Frankish Court. This plea, which is preferred at the request of their abbot Optatus, shows how heavy had been the hand of Pippin on all who were concerned in that ill‑starred intervention.12

Desiderius partially fulfils the compact. The promise so solemnly sworn to by Desiderius was not altogether made void. Apparently before the abdication of Ratchis was complete, the urgent Pope sent his messengers to obtain the surrender of the promised cities. They returned bringing with them the keys of Faventia, Tiberiacum, and Cabellum (Faenza, Bagnicavallo, and Cavello),a together with all the towns in duchy of Ferrara. This accession of territory rounded off the Papal dominions in the north,  p243 but the important cities of Imola, Bologna, and Ancona (with their neighbours Osimo and Umana) were still withheld by the Lombard king.

Death of Stephen II, April 26, 757. The letter in which Pope Stephen II announced to Pippin the accession of Desiderius described his friendly disposition towards the Roman See, and prayed the Frankish king to look favourably upon him, was one of the latest documents to which he set his hand. That letter seems to have been written in the month of March or April, and on the 26th of April, 757, he died. Many of his predecessors had been men of Greek nationality. In his five years' pontificate this essentially Roman Pope had done much to fasten down the great western Patriarchate to the soil of Italy. His is certainly one of the great epoch-making names in the list of bishops of Rome. As Leo the First had turned aside the terrible Hun and had triumphed over the Eastern theologians, as Gregory the Great had consolidated his spiritual dominion over Western Europe and rescued for it a great province from heathendom, so Stephen II won for himself and his successors the sovereignty over some of the fairest regions of Italy, gave a deadly blow to the hereditary Lombard enemy, and in fact if not in name began that long line of Pope-kings which ended in our own day in the person of the ninth Pius.

Debates as to his successor. While Stephen was lying on his death‑bed there was already hot debate going on in Rome as to his successor. Theophylact. A certain portion of 'the people of Rome' favoured the election of the Archdeacon Theophylact, and assembled daily in his house to discuss measures for his elevation. This party is called by some modern writers 'the Lombard,' by others 'the Imperial'  p244 party. We have no evidence in support of either conjecture.

Paul, brother of the deceased Pope, chosen. Another, and as it proved a more powerful section of the people, favoured the elevation of the deacon Paul, brother and chief counsellor of the dying pontiff. He, refusing to go forth into the City and court the suffrages of the electors, remained in the Lateran with a few faithful friends waiting upon his brother's death-bead. His fraternal piety was rewarded. After Stephen II had been solemnly entombed in the basilica of St. Peter, the adherents of Paul carried his election to the vacant throne, and the supporters of Theophylact dispersed, apparently without tumult.

We have already in the case of Silverius13 seen the son of a Pope chosen for the papacy, though not in immediate succession to his father. Now brother follows close upon brother as wearer of the Roman mitre, almost the only instance of the kind that has occurred in the long annals of the papacy.14 The choice in this instance seems to have been a good one, but it might have been a dangerous precedent. Considering the immense power which the Popes have wielded, it must be considered on the whole an evidence of statesmanship and courage on the part of the electors that mere family claims have so seldom determined the succession to the pontifical throne.

Character of Paul I. Of the new Pope's character and personal history we know but little. A Roman of course by birth, like his brother, and like him brought up in the palace of  p245 the Lateran, he was probably at this time still in middle life, since his ordination as deacon dated only from the days of Zacharias (741‑752). What little we hear of his character seems to indicate a man of kindly temper, paying monthly visits to the cottages of his sick neighbours, or with his servants relieving the wants of the destitute: visiting the gaols also at night, and often setting free their inmates who were lying under sentence of death. Moreover, we are told, 'if by the injustice of his satellites he had caused temporary tribulation to any man, he took the earliest opportunity to bestow on such an one the comfort of his compassion.' Even these words of praise indicate already the characteristic defects as well as merits of a government by priests, but they are valuable as evidence that already the Pope exercised all the functions of a temporal sovereign in Rome, probably therefore also in the Ducatus Romae and the lately annexed Pentapolis.

The ten years of Paul's pontificate were an interval of peace between two political storms. He appears to have made it his chief aim to follow in all things the policy of 'my lord and brother of blessed memory, the most holy Pope Stephen';15 and his copious correspondence with Pippin enables us to trace the workings of this policy in relation to the Empire, the Lombards, and the Frankish kingdom. We will consider each subject separately.

Paul's relations with the Empire. I. The Empire. Already in the last letter written by Pope Stephen II to Pippin we find a note of alarm sounded as to the hostility of the iconoclastic 'Greek'  p246 Emperor. 'And this,' says Stephen, 'we earnestly pray of your Exalted Greatness that you would order such measures to be taken with taken with respect to the Greeks that the holy Catholic and Apostolic faith may through you remain whole and unshattered for ever.' This note becomes louder and more shrill throughout the correspondence of Paul, whose religious aversion to the image-breaking Emperor is mingled with his anxiety as a temporal ruler lest, either in conjunction with Desiderius or by his own unaided efforts, Constantine V should wrest from the church its hardly‑won dominions on the shore of the Adriatic.

Mission of George, Imperial secretary. Circa 758. A certain George, an Imperial secretary, had been sent from Constantinople on a roving mission to the West, to win over Pippin if possible to the cause of iconoclasm, to effect an alliance if possible with Desiderius, to recover Ravenna and the Pentapolis if possible for the empire, but at any rate and by all means to counter-work the schemes of the bishop of Rome, doubly odious at Constantinople as the great defender of image-worship and the rebellious subject who had by Frankish help obtained possession of the best part of Imperial Italy and was now holding it in defiance of his lord. The influence of this secretary George on Western statesmen was profoundly dreaded by the pontiff. A letter, which is quoted only in abstract,16 contained 'lamentations and tribulations, because King Desiderius has been taking counsel with George the Imperial envoy, who had come hither on his way to Francia to the intent that the Emperor should send his army into Italy to wrest from us Ravenna and the Pentapolis and the City of Rome.' Desiderius  p247 has had 'private and nefarious conversations' with George at Naples for the same purpose. Affair of Presbyter Marinus. And lastly, in some mysterious way George has won over a certain presbyter Marinus to his 'unjust operations against the holy Church of God and the orthodox faith':17 that is, no doubt, to the iconoclastic crusade. A short time before, this Marinus had been high in favour with both Pope and Frankish King. He had been 'our most dearly beloved and faithful presbyter,' to whom at Pippin's request Paul granted the titulus or parish church of St. Chrysogonus in the Trastevere at Rome.18 Now he is under the severe displeasure of the Pope and has to undergo a singular punishment. 'Tell our brother bishop Wilchar,' writes Paul to Pippin, 'to consecrate presbyter Marinus bishop on our behalf. And order him to go and preside over some city in your dominions, which your most wise Excellence may decide upon, that he may there call to mind the wickedness which he has perpetrated and repent of his unrighteous deeds: lest otherwise the Devil should lay hold of his wandering mind and raise him aloft to dash him down into utter ruin.'19

Rumours of a Greek invasion. More than once we find the Pope repeating to his powerful patron the alarming rumours which have reached him as to the designs of 'the most wicked Greeks.'20 'Some of the most sincere subjects21 of your  p248 spiritual mother [the Roman Church] have intimated to us that six patricians, bringing with them three hundred ships, together with the navy of Sicily, have started from the Royal City [Constantinople] and are hastening to us here in Rome. What they want to do or for what cause they are being sent hither we are utterly ignorant. This only is told us, that they are directed to come first to us and afterwards to your Excellency in Francia.'22

This letter appears to have sounded a vain alarm. The six patricians, it would seem, did not make their appearance in Rome, nor were their three hundred ships descried in the offing from Ostia: but a letter from Pippin, which was probably a reply to the foregoing, informed the Pope that he was ready for the help and defence of the Holy Church of God 'when the necessity for such help should arise';23 a gentle hint that it would be well not to harass a king, who had hard battles of his own to fight, with rumours of imaginary invasions.

Circa 763 About three years later (apparently) the rumour of a Byzantine invasion was revived, the tidings again coming from some of the faithful subjects of mother Church, probably some of the Roman party in Pentapolis or Ravenna.24 Again, 'The nefandissimi Graeci, enemies of God's holy Church and assailants of the orthodox faith, in direct opposition to God's will, are longing to make a hostile attack on us and on the  p249 region of Ravenna.' So great is the alarm into which the Pope is thrown by these tidings that he is willing to accept even Lombard help for his deliverance. Pippin is besought to send an envoy to Desiderius at Pavia, to the Lombard dukes of Tuscany, of Benevento, of Spoleto, ordering them all to hasten to the assistance of the Pope.

This too, however, was a vain alarm. The Emperor sent ambassadors, probably twice or thrice, to discuss the iconoclastic question with the Frankish king, to importune him for the restoration of the Exarchate, to wrangle with the Pope's envoys as to the wording of their master's letters,25 but no armed intervention of any kind was made by Constantine Copronymus in the affairs of Italy.

Domestic difficulties of Constantine V. This exhibition of feebleness on the part of an Emperor of the strong Isaurian race, perhaps the toughest and most courageous of them all, may well surprise us till we look at the difficulties nearer home with which that Emperor had to contend. From 753 to 775 he was almost constantly at war with the Bulgarians, the near and still heathen neighbours of Thrace and Macedonia. Most of his campaigns were successful, but even a successful campaign imposed a great strain on his resources and those of his empire.

Nor did he altogether escape the fickleness of the fortune of war. In 759 he sustained a serious defeat  p250 in one of the passes of the Balkans. In 765 a great naval armament, consisting of 2,600 transport ships, was wrecked in the Euxine, and all the crews perished. This disaster was followed by a conspiracy, in which some of the chief nobles of the Empire were engaged, and which even Constantine's own iconoclastic Patriarch of Constantinople26 was suspected of having favoured.

The iconoclastic campaign. Throughout, the Emperor's fiercest fight was with his own subjects, and was caused by his remorseless, relentless vigour in giving effect to the iconoclastic policy of his father. In the year 753, two years after the Lombard conquest of Ravenna, a great synod was held at Constantinople which condemned the worship of images. The Bulgarian wars and other embarrassments prevented the immediate outbreak of persecution. It began however in full violence in 761, and from that time onwards Constantine, fiercely hated by a large party among his subjects, frantically cheered by another party (which included probably the strongest portion of his army), was pursuing, with all the energy of his soul, the ruin of the monks and bishops who yet clave to the worship of images. It was the monks who especially attracted the wrath of the Emperor, and out of whose ranks came the most celebrated martyrs to the cause of image-worship. Such an one was Andreas, who, having insulted the Emperor by calling him 'a new Julian, a new Valens,' was scourged through the Hippodrome, strangled, and cast into the Bosporus. Such an one was Stephanus, who after spending thirty years in a cave in Bithynia and having afterwards become the abbot of a monastery of refugee monks, was forcibly removed from his  p251 cell and banished to the island of Proconnesus, then thrown into prison, and fed for eleven months on six ounces of bread weekly, and at last, with the connivance if not by the express orders of the Emperor, was pulled out prison, dragged through the streets, hacked to pieces, and cast into the malefactors' burying-place.27

It does not appear that there was much actual bloodshed in this iconoclastic persecution, but there was an insulting flippancy in the methods employed by Constantine V which made his tyranny harder to bear than that of more murderous persecutors. When he found it impossible to procure the adoption by the monks of the decrees of the Synod of 753, he turned them out of their monasteries, many of which he converted into barracks for his soldiers. Some of the expelled monks were compelled to walk up and down the Hippodrome each holding the hand of a prostitute, amidst the jeers and spittings of the mob. The Patriarch Constantine, who as has been said fell under suspicion of being concerned in the conspiracy of the nobles and who had also grown cold in his iconoclastic zeal, was scourged so severely that he could not stand. He was then carried in a litter to St. Sophia, and compelled to listen to the reading of a long paper containing the history of his misdeeds, for each one of which he received a blow on the head from the reading secretary. Then, after the hair of his head, beard and eyebrows  p252 had been shaven off he was seated on an ass with his face to the tail, and exposed in that state to the insults of the populace in the Hippodrome. At last, after he had been compelled by all these cruelties to recant his condemnation of the iconoclastic synod, he was beheaded, and his truncated corpse was thrown into the pit of the suicides. This death of degradation, into which imperial tyranny had hurled the second patriarchate of Christendom, is probably the best justification that can be offered for the Roman pontiff's eagerness to obtain the position of sovereignty, which, as he might think, could alone secure him from a similar downfall.

Character of Constantine V. For Constantine Copronymus himself, whatever may be our judgment upon the iconoclastic controversy, it is impossible not to feel loathing and abhorrence. Of course his cruelties have been exaggerated by the ecclesiastical historians whose voices alone have reached posterity: but after making every reasonable deduction on this account, it is impossible to doubt that he was deliberately, wantonly, and insultingly cruel. And moreover, his antagonism to the Church was not confined to the iconoclastic controversy. He seems to have been one of the earliest instances of that free-thinking tendency which was the result of the contact of Christianity and Islamism.28 He spoke lightly of some of the names most venerated by Christians; he almost encouraged profanity in speech; his morals were undoubtedly licentious. A free-living as well  p253 as free-thinking ruler, bringing a round of joyous revelries into the solemn old palace by the Bosporus, he no doubt achieved a certain popularity both with his soldiers and with the mob: but this very looseness of faith and of morality must have made his religious persecution all the more exasperating. The intolerance of a narrow bigot is hard to bear, but the intolerance of a man who is himself devoid of faith is yet more intolerable.

Political severance between Rome and Constantinople. This Emperor, Constantine V, and these two Popes, Stephen and Paul, mark the final severance of political relations between Rome and Constantinople, to be followed in the next century by the great and final rupture of ecclesiastical relations between them. The harsh and violent character of Constantine Copronymus had something to do with this result; the fact that Stephen and Paul were Romans, while their two immediate predecessors, Gregory III and Zacharias, had been Orientals (the first a Syrian, the second a Greek), had perhaps even more to do with it: but obviously the chief determining factor was the capture of Ravenna by Aistulf, and its surrender at the command of Pippin to the Papacy. The sceptre had thus obviously departed from Constantinople and been transferred to 'Francia.' For a few years the Popes continued as a matter of form to date their letters by the year of the Emperor reigning at Constantinople, but after 772 even that survival from the old days of dependence faded away.29 Let us consider what this renunciation of dependence on the Eastern Augustus amounted to, for it gives a very peculiar character to the second half of the eighth century. From the time when bishops  p254 were first consecrated in Rome, down to — let us say — 726, there could be no doubt that the bishop of Rome was a subject; nor (with some possible reservation for the short interval of Ostrogothic domination) that he was the subject of a Roman Emperor reigning at Rome, at Milan, at Ravenna, or at Constantinople. From 726 to 800 the Pope was practically 'a masterless man,' the virtual ruler of the Ducatus Romae, and afterwards the acknowledged lord of the Exarchate and the Pentapolis. From the year 800 down to the French Revolution, the Pope, however great might be his spiritual pretensions, was, as regarded his temporal dominions, included, theoretically or practically, in that great, mysterious, loosely-compacted organisation which was called the Holy Roman Empire. From the downfall of Napoleon to the seizure of Rome by Victor Emmanuel, a space of fifty-five years, the Pope-king was in theory as well as in practice an absolute monarch, owning no political superior however shadowy, as much a sovereign as the kings of France or Spain before the Great Revolution. Thus, from this point of view, the half-century between Waterloo and Sedan reproduced, as no intervening period had done, the half-century between Leo the Isaurian and Charles the Great.

Paul's relations with Desiderius. II. The Lombards. We have next to consider the relations of Paul I with the new Lombard king, Desiderius. It need hardly be said that these relations soon became unfriendly, but they were scarcely interrupted by actual war. We have seen that Faenza and a little corner of territory round it were ceded to St. Peter. Further than that concession the gratitude of Desiderius for Papal help or his fear of the Papal  p255 anathema never went. On the contrary, he soon bestirred himself for the restoration of the power of a Lombard king to the fulness of its privileges in the days of Liutprand, and in doing so inevitably came into collision with the 'justitiae' of St. Peter, and provoked the shrill outcry of the Pope.

The duchies of Spoleto and Benevento threaten to fall off from the Lombard realm. In the last letter which Pope Stephen II wrote to Pippin (in March or April of 757), the letter in which he praised the excellent disposition of 'the mildest of men, Desiderius,' were written these words: — 'Moreover the people30 of the duchy of Spoleto, by the hands of St. Peter and your very strong arm, have appointed a duke for themselves. And both the Spoletans and the Beneventans all desire to commend themselves to your Excellency, preserved by God, and with panting breath are urgent to entreat your goodness.'

Here was indeed an important change threatened in the political map of Italy. True it is that the Spoletan and Beneventan duchies had often stirred uneasily and mutinously against the rule even of a strong king like Liutprand; but if the Pope's letter accurately described the situation, if they were 'commending' themselves to Pippin, that meant, in the already current language of feudalism, that the two dukes desired to place their hands in his and to swear themselves the men or vassals of the Frankish king. Possibly the Pope's language is not to be understood thus in the fulness of its technical import,31 but at any rate it was plain that the two southern duchies, separated as they now were from the northern kingdom by a  p256 continuous stretch of Papal territory, were in great danger of being lost to the Lombard state.

We must turn back for a few moments to consider what events had been occurring in these two duchies since the year 744. Spoletan dukes. The fortunes of the Spoletan duchy during the years immediately following the death of King Liutprand are very obscure. Lupus, 745‑751. From 745 to 751 Duke Lupus, known chiefly by his grants to the monastery of Farfa, seems to have reigned in the Umbrian duchy. After his death Aistulf perhaps took the duchy into his own hands, Unulf (?). unless room has to be found for a certain Duke Unulf, who is doubtfully reported to have reigned for a few years.32 Apparently about this time the people of Spoleto took advantage of the troubles at Pavia following the death of Aistulf to choose for themselves a new duke, Alboin. who (as we learn from a letter of Pope Paul)33 bore the great name of Alboin, and, as we have seen, they sought to secure their new independence of Pavia by placing themselves under the protection of Pippin. Beneventan dukes.
Gisulf II.
Liutprand, 751‑757.
In Benevento, Gisulf II, who had been installed as duke by his great-uncle Liutprand,34 died in 751, in the prime of life, leaving a son, named Liutprand after his great kinsman, to inherit his dignity. For the young duke, who was probably but a child at the time of his father's death, his mother Scauniperga for some years acted as regent, but apparently before the year 757 Liutprand had assumed the reins of power. There are some indications that neither Aistulf nor Desiderius was heartily welcomed as king by the family of the great Liutprand; and possibly  p257 some especial dissatisfaction at the exaltation of the latter nobleman to the throne may have led the young duke and his counsellors to venture on the treasonable course of 'commending' themselves to the Frankish king. Desiderius crushes the revolt of Spoleto and Benevento, 757. However this may be — and our information as to these two Lombard duchies is extremely meagre — it was soon clear that the new king had both the will and the power to compel their unwilling allegiance. Desiderius assembled his army, marched through the Pentapolis, probably not sparing its harvests,35 and reached Spoleto in his victorious course. Here he arrested the new duke, Alboin, with his chief nobles, and threw them into prison.36 He drew near to Benevento: the young duke did not dare to await his account, but fled to Otranto,37 along with his foster-father38 John. Unable to invest that sea‑coast town without a fleet, Desiderius proceeded to Naples, and there concerted measures with the Imperial envoy George for the reduction of Otranto and — so the Pope was told — for the recovery of Ravenna. The Sicilian navy was to undertake the blockade of Otranto; the Lombards were to invest it on the land side; the young prince and his governor were to be handed over to Desiderius, but the city if captured was probably to be restored to the officers of the Emperor.39  p258 How far this programme was carried into execution and what became of young Liutprand we know not. Arichis, duke of Benevento, marries Adelperga, daughter of Desiderius. At this point he disappears from history, and his place is taken by a certain Arichis,40 whom Desiderius installed in the duchy of Benevento, and to whom he gave his daughter Adelperga to wife. The names of both husband and wife, but that of the latter especially, will often recur in the later chapters of this history.

Gisulf, duke of Spoleto, 759‑761. As for Spoleto, Desiderius seems for a year or two to have retained it in his own hands, but in April, 759, he invested Gisulf with the ducal dignity.41

Desiderius at Rome. After this triumphant campaign Desiderius visited Rome. He came apparently not as a warrior but as a guest and a pilgrim, to pay his devotions at the tombs of the Apostles. He had, however, set his heart on obtaining the restitution of the hostages at the Frankish court (probably those who had been given by Aistulf at the end of the war of 756), and he hoped to accomplish this by the Pope's mediation. The price which he offered was the addition — or as the Pope called it the restitution — to the Papal territory of Imola,42 the next town westward on the great Emilian way after the recently acquired Faenza.

 p259  Paul's letters to Pippin about the Lombard hostages. The result of this interview between Pope and Lombard King was seen in two remarkable letters despatched by the hands of one Frankish and two Papal emissaries43 to the court of Pippin.

In one letter,44 the Pope, after thanking God for having raised to the pontificate one so humble as himself, and quoting the words of the Psalmist,b 'I will take the cup of salvation and will call upon the name of the Lord,' alludes to the blessing pronounced on the peacemakers, and then continues:

'Let your most excellent Goodness know that our most excellent son, King Desiderius, has arrived at the threshold of the Apostles, peacefully and with great humility, and that with him we have held discourse which will be salutary to both of us. He has promised to restore to us the city of Imola: on this condition however, that we should send our missi to your Excellency, and that [by their mediation] he should receive back the hostages whom as it seems you have still with you, and that you should consent to confirm with him the peace [which was ratified with his predecessor]. Wherefore we pray you to restore those hostages to our aforesaid son Desiderius, to confirm your treaty of peace with him, and to correspond with him on terms of cordial friendship: so that, by the favour of God, His people of both nations may in your joyful times dwell in peace and great safety, and that Almighty God  p260 may grant you a long life on the throne of your kingdom.'

So ran one letter, borne by Ruodbert, George and Stephen. The second45 was not like unto it. Therein the Pope details at considerable length the 'impious and cruel' deeds which have been perpetrated by Desiderius in the course of the campaign just described, and the 'nefarious' negotiations which he has been conducting with the Emperor's ambassador at Naples. After the conquest, or as the Pope calls it the 'dissolution' of the two duchies, he has come to Rome, and there

'we have besought and exhorted him by the most holy body of St. Peter and by your God‑protected Excellency to restore to us the cities of Imola, Bologna, Osimo and Ancona, as he once promised to do in our presence and that of your missi Ruodbert and Fulrad. But he was not at all inclined to assent to this. He shuffled like the trickster which he certainly is, and made several suggestions, as for instance that if he could recover his hostages who appear to be there in Francia he would then enter into relations of peace and concord with us.

'We have longed greatly to write to you, but could not do so on account of the Lombards hemming us in on every side. In fact we did privately, by the greatest exertion, send you two apostolic letters, which we fear may have been intercepted by them. It is for this reason that we now by the aforesaid missi send you another letter, written as if in compliance with the will of King Desiderius, desiring you to release his hostages and confirm the peace with him.  p261 But, O good and most excellent king, our spiritual kinsman,46 we so penned that letter solely in order that our messengers might be able to get through into Francia, since if we had not done so they would have had no chance of passing the Lombard frontier. But when you receive that letter do not pay any heed to its contents, and on no account consent to restore the said hostages to the Lombard party. Rather we adjure you to order the strongest pressure to be put upon Desiderius and the Lombard nation, so that he may restore those cities which he promised to your honey-flowing Excellency, and through you to your protector St. Peter. For as to none of the things which he promised at the outset of his reign have we been able to come to a firm agreement with him.'

These two interesting but contradictory letters slumber side by side in the pages of the Codex Carolinus, as they once slumbered in the Frankish archives; but it is one of the tantalising results of this one‑sided correspondence that we do not know what answer Pippin made, nor with which of them he complied. The whole tenour of the letters, however, shows that he was determined not to undertake another Italian campaign, if it were possible to avoid it, having already wars and fightings enough on his hands on the other side of the Alps. Had Desiderius indeed attempted to wrest the already surrendered cities out of the hands of St. Peter, Pippin might have been bound in honour to interfere, but if only the status quo could be maintained, he did not feel himself called upon to take up arms for the further enlargement of the Church's territory. Thus in a letter,47  p262 of which it is much to be regretted that we cannot determine the date, the Pope acknowledges that Pippin has recommended him to live in peace and love with Desiderius, king of the Lombards, and actually proceeds thus, 'Now if that most excellent man shall be willing to remain in that true love and fidelity which he hath promised to your Excellency and the Holy Church of Rome, we too will remain in firm charity and stable peace with him, observing that injunction of the Lord, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." '

Peace patched up between Paul and Desiderius. These pacific counsels of the Frankish king and his obvious reluctance to draw the sword a third time on behalf of St. Peter, seem to have produced the desired effect, and Desiderius, if not harassed with entreaties to restore the remaining cities of the Pentapolis and Aemilia, appears to have been willing to remain at peace with Rome. There was indeed one interruption to this peace in 761, when he made an attack on Sinigaglia and sacked a city of Campania,48 but this does not seem to have been a long or serious campaign. On the whole, one would say from a perusal of the correspondence that there was something like a gradual reconciliation between Paul and Desiderius. The increasing bitterness of feeling between the Eastern and Western Churches perhaps contributed to this result, the nefandissimi Graeci having now taken the place of the nefandissimi Langobardi as chief enemies of God and His church.

In one letter the Pope says to Pippin:

'You tell  p263 us that you directed Desiderius to return to us our runaway slave Saxulus. But I ought to tell you that Desiderius came here himself to pray at the tombs of the Apostles, and that he brought Saxulus with him and restored him to us. At the same time we arranged with Desiderius that he and our missi should make a tour through the various cities and there settle our claims. This has now been satisfactorily accomplished for Benevento, Tuscany, and partly for Spoleto. In a postscript you told us that you had admonished Desiderius to constrain the men of Naples and Gaeta to restore the patrimonies of St. Peter situated at Naples, and to allow their bishops-elect to come hither for consecration. We thank you for this.'49

Everything seems to show that by the end of Paul's pontificate a modus vivendi had been arrived at between the Lombards and the Roman pontiffs.

Paul's relations with Pippin. III. The Frankish Kingdom. The relations of Pope Paul with the Frankish king, as disclosed to us by the Codex Carolinus, consist chiefly of a lavish outpouring of spiritual compliments, of an exhibition of that gratitude which is 'a lively sense of favours to come,' and of frequent entreaties for help which never arrives. Not once nor twice, but in almost every letter, and often many times in a letter, Pippin and his boyish sons (who are always coupled with him) are reminded that St. Peter has anointed them to be kings. Pippin is the new Moses, the new David, a man specially protected by God, who has laid up for himself infinite treasures in the starry citadels, where neither moth  p264 nor rust doth corrupt the treasures prepared for the righteous.50 'The name of your Excellency,' says the enthusiastic pontiff, 'sparkles on the book of life in the sight of God.'51 'No tongue can express the thanks which the holy Church of God and the Roman people owe to your Excellency for all the benefits conferred upon them. None of this world's rewards can be an adequate remuneration. There is but the one only God, consisting in three substances, who can fittingly reward your Excellency with the joys of the heavenly kingdom.'52 'Pray continue steadfast in that good work of our protection which you have begun. Right well has your Christian Excellency perceived how great is the impious malice of the heretical Greeks, who are eagerly plotting to humble and trample down the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and destroy the holy orthodox faith and the tradition of the holy fathers. Do you manfully resist these impious heretics. Our strength is in your arm, and we will say, "O Lord! save the most Christian king Pippin, whom Thou hast ordered to be anointed with holy oil by the hands of Thine Apostle, and hear him in the days when he calleth upon Thee." '53

The glory of the pious king is reflected upon his faithful people. In an ecstatic psalm of thanksgiving addressed 'To the Bishops, Presbyters, Abbots, Monks, Dukes, Counts, and to the whole muster of the army of the Franks, God‑protected and Christ-beloved,' the Pope thus salutes them: 'You, dearest ones, are  p265 a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people, whom the Lord God of Israel hath blessed: therefore joy and exult because your names and the names of your kings are exalted in heaven, and great is your reward in the sight of God and His angels. For Peter is your protector, the Prince of the Apostles to whom our Redeemer has granted the power of binding and loosing in heaven and on earth.'54

Mutual presents of Pope and King. As the missi went backwards and forwards between Rome and the Frankish villa, they generally bore with them some costly present, an emblem of the friendship which united Pope and King. A table (perhaps inlaid with precious stones) had been presented by Pippin to Stephen II, 'and through him to St. Peter.' 'This table,' says Paul,55 'we brought in with hymns and spiritual songs to the hall of that chief of Apostles, and laid it on your behalf on the shrine56 of that door-keeper of the kingdom of heaven. Then we anointed it and placed upon it the sacred oblation, which we offered up from the eternal welfare of your soul and the stability of your kingdom, laying our apostolic censure and anathema on any one who should dare to remove it from thence. In that same apostolic hall, therefore, it will remain for ever, as a memorial of you, and be sure that you will receive a fitting reward from God and St. Peter in the heavenly kingdom.'

Baptism of Gisila, 758. After the baptism of Pippin's infant daughter Gisila (who was born in 757), the king sent to his venerable friend the napkin57 which had been used in the ceremony. The Pope gladly accepted the offering, and  p266 considered himself to be thereby constituted godfather of the royal child. From that time forward his favourite epithet for Pippin, one never absent from his letters, is 'spiritalis compater,' our spiritual co‑father. 'With great joy,' he says, 'and accompanied by a whole cohort of the people, we received this napkin in the chapel where rests the holy body of the blessed Petronilla, the helper of life; which chapel is now dedicated to keep in eternal memory the praises of your name.'58 The story of the discovery of the body of Petronilla is told in the Liber Pontificalis, from which we learn that long before this time a marble sarcophagus had been discovered with these letters engraven upon it, avreae Petronillae filiae dvlcissimae.59 It was not doubtful (thought the scholars of that day) that these letters had been carved by the hand of the Apostle Peter himself, to express his love for his 'sweetest daughter.'60 Pope Stephen II had erected a chapel in honour of Petronilla close to that of her uncle St. Andrew in the great basilica which bore the name of her father. The dedication of this chapel had been in some way connected with the name of Pippin, and its erection was regarded as a visible monument of the league of eternal friendship between the Pope and the Frankish King. One of the first acts of Paul I on his elevation to the Papacy had been to transport the body of Petronilla on a new waggon to the home prepared for her by his brother, and  p267 thither, as I have said, he now in solemn procession bore the baptismal napkin of the infant Gisila.61

The Pope's presents to the King. The Pope on his part frequently accompanied his plaintive petitions for help with some ornament or cunningly-wrought article of apparel, which may perhaps have been designed in the old days of splendour before the barbarians came, and which, secure in the treasury of St. Peter, had escaped the soldiers of Alaric and Totila, or the yet more penetrating quest of the Byzantine logothete. 'I send you,' he says,62 'by way of benediction, one apallarea,63 a sword set with jewels, with the belt belonging thereto, a ring holding a jacinth, a quilted mantle with peacocks' feathers embroidered upon it.64 Which little blessing we beg that you may receive uninjured. To the lords Charles and Carloman, with our great apostolic blessing, we send a ring apiece containing jacinths.'

At another time the Pope sends 'to your Excellency such books [probably on certain subjects named by  p268 the king] as we have been able to meet with; that is to say, a book of antiphons and responses, a grammar, a copy of Aristotle, a copy of Dionysius the Areopagite, a geometry, an orthography, and a grammar, all written in Greek, and also a clock for use at night.'65

In this way the intercourse of rulers was helping forward the cause of civilisation, even when their own motives were not altogether pure or unselfish. Constantine Copronymus, harshly dissolute Emperor as he was, may rightly claim a high place in the musical history of Western Europe. No fewer than six of the chronicles add to their notices of the year 757 (the year of Paul's accession) this naïve sentence: 'And the organ came into Frank-land.'66 They often differ strangely from one another as to the date of wars and councils, but this one date, that of the year when the deep voice of the organ was first heard in a Frankish cathedral, seems to have fixed itself indelibly in their remembrance. And from those, which may be called the state-chronicles, we learn the fact that this wonderful organ was one of many presents sent by the Emperor Constantine to the king of the Franks.67

 p269  In the still rude and barbarously furnished villa of a Frankish prince it was not perhaps easy to find a suitable present to submit to the critical gaze of the courtiers of Rome or Constantinople. This was probably the cause of a letter (unfortunately known to us only by the reply) in which the young princes Charles and Carloman expressed to the Pope their regret that they had not sent him any present. 'By the same letter,' says the Pope in answer, 'you inform us that you are extremely ashamed that you have not been able to send us any gifts by the hands of your messengers who brought it. But why, sweetest and most loving sons, why, most victorious kings, should you yearn to gladden us with your gifts? We desire no other gifts than always to learn of your safety and prosperity, and to be able to congratulate you on your attainments, that is our enriching: your exaltation, that is the exaltation of God's holy Church: your defence of the orthodox faith; these are the best presents that we can receive.'

And yet notwithstanding this lavish outpouring of sweet words, the deeds for which they were to be the payment were never done. During all the ten years of Paul's pontificate no Frankish warriors again threaded the passes of Mont Cenis in order to strike another blow for the 'justices' of St. Peter. To understand the causes of this negative result we must glance very briefly at the occupations and anxieties of the Frankish king during the same period.

The wars of Pippin: with Saxons; In 758, the year when the first note of dissatisfaction with 'the meekest Desiderius' was sounded by Paul,  p270 Pippin was engaged in a tough struggle with the Saxon tribesmen on his north-eastern frontier, making a breach in the rampart which they had cast up for the defence of their country, fighting many battles, slaying a great multitude of their warriors (probably not without severe loss among his own men), and at last reducing them to submission and to the promise of an annual tribute of three hundred horses.

with Saracens; In 759 Pippin achieved the important result of expelling the last Saracen invader from Gaul. The campaign was, it is true, not an arduous one. Having marched his troops to Narbonne and formed the siege of that city, he opened secret negotiations with the descendants of the Visigoths, who formed doubtless the bulk of its inhabitants. When they had obtained an assurance that if they became once more subjects of the Frankish king they should be allowed to live by their own national law and should not be compelled to come under the Salian or Ripuarian code, they agreed to Pippin's terms, slew the Saracen garrison, and opened the gates of their city to the Franks. Thus was ended the Moorish domination north of the Pyrenees. But though the campaign was not an arduous one, it may well have left Pippin little leisure for redressing the importunate and ever-growing claims of St. Peter.68

with Waifar of Aquitaine. The next year, 760, saw the commencement of a struggle which, with little intermission, occupied Pippin's whole energies for the remaining nine years  p271 of his life, which evidently brought him sometimes into serious danger, and which by its toils and anxieties probably shortened his days. This was the war with Waifar, duke of Aquitaine. That great region between the Loire, the Atlantic, and the Pyrenees, which had once belonged to the kingdom of the Visigoths and which became subject to the Franks in 507 (when the pious Clovis could no longer endure that the Arian heretics should possess so large a portion of Gaul), had probably never been so thoroughly incorporated with the Frankish monarchy as the rest of what we now call France, and had certainly of late yielded but an insecure and shadowy allegiance to the fainéant Merovingian kings. As we have already seen, Duke Eudo assumed an almost independent position in his wars and treaties with Charles Martel; and now his grandson, Duke Waifar, was probably unwilling to own himself the 'man' or vassal of one who had no royal blood in his veins. Doubtless if Francia was to become one coherent state, Aquitaine must be made to own the absolute sovereignty of the Arnulfing king: and it was upon the whole the greatest service which Pippin rendered to his country, that by severe toils, undertaken probably in failing health and amid many distracting cares, besides the piteous appeals of the Roman pontiff, he did succeed in accomplishing this great result.

The pretext — it may have been more than a mere pretext — for the war, was found in Waifar's refusal to restore to some churches under Pippin's special protection the property which belonged to them in Aquitaine. War was declared, and was carried on, probably with varying success, though the chroniclers record only Frankish victories, for the four years from 760 to  p272 763. Defection of Tassilo of Bavaria. Then came a new and a threatening development of the struggle. Tassilo, sister's son to Pippin, now a young man of twenty‑one years of age, who had for fifteen years held the dignity of duke of Bavaria, who had followed his uncle to the Italian war in 756, and had in the following year at Compiègne sworn tremendous oaths of fidelity on the holiest relics of the saints, now in the fourth year of the Aquitanic campaign flatly refused any longer to follow the Frankish standard, and falsely feigning sickness returned to his own country, from whence he sent a message that he would see his uncle's face no more. Thus did the young duke definitively renounce his allegiance to his Frankish overlord, and, what was a more outrageous offence in Teutonic eyes, by the time and manner of his defection he committed the unpardonable crime of harisliz, or desertion of his lord in the presence of an enemy. This act changed all the after-life of Tassilo, darkened its close, and exercised an important if indirect influence on the fortunes even of the Lombard people.

It is probable that Tassilo's defection caused the failure of the campaign of 763, and it is possible that Pippin himself may have been thereby brought into a situation of peril. If so, we may safely refer to this period two letters69 from Pope Paul, in the first of which he expresses his anxiety for the king's safety, seeing that so long a time his elapsed since he heard news of him, and that gloomy tidings concerning him are arriving 'from your and our enemies' — who are probably the Greek iconoclasts.

In the second letter the Pope announces that he  p273 has heard from various pilgrims to the thresholds of the Apostles that the king has returned in safety to his home, tidings which fill his soul with joy and call forth his fervent thankfulness to God.

In a letter written some years later the Pope informs Pippin of some faint overtures towards reconciliation which Tassilo desires him to communicate to his offended overlord; but nothing seems to have resulted from this mediation.

For two years Pippin remained in his own land pondering the situation, distracted by the double war which seemed opening out before him, and collecting his forces for either event. At length he decided, no doubt wisely, that the Aquitanic enterprise alone must be proceeded with, and that the chastisement of his rebellious nephew must for the present be postponed. The three years from 766 to 768 were devoted to the prosecution of the war, evidently with ever-increasing success. At length in the mid‑summer of 768 Waifar, who had been for many months wandering up and down in Perigord, a hunted fugitive, was slain, apparently by one of his own followers; and the war of Aquitaine was at an end.

Theological discussions. Theological discussions occupied some of Pippin's leisure in the interval between these triumphant campaigns. Synod of Gentilly, 767. In January, 767, the Byzantine ambassadors appeared before a synod of Frankish bishops which was convened at Gentilly near Paris. As described by the chroniclers, it was assembled to decide 'questions concerning the Holy Trinity and the worship of images.' The purely theological question was the everlasting argument between Easterns and Westerns as to 'the procession of the  p274 Holy Spirit'70 and the words 'Filioque' surreptitiously (said the Easterns) added to the Nicene confession of faith. It is suggested that this old grievance was brought by the Byzantine envoys in order to counterbalance the iconoclastic innovations objected against them by the Latins.71 The synod, however, appears to have dispersed without arriving at any harmonious conclusion — the predecessor of many equally fruitless discussions of a similar kind between the Eastern and Western Churches.

We read in the Codex Carolinus some letters72 in which apparently the Pope, in expectation of the holding of this synod, speaks confidently of the result, and praises the unshaken firmness of Pippin in all his dealings with the shifty and heretical Greeks, but we have none expressing the satisfaction which he must certainly have felt if he heard the result. The chronicler informs us that after his victorious campaign of 767 Pippin sent his army into winter quarters and spent his own Christmas at Bourges, Death of Paul, June 28, 767. where he heard the tidings of the death of Paul the Roman Pope. The news must have travelled slowly, for the death of Paul the First actually took place on the 28th of June,73 767. On account of the summer heats he had retired to the church of his namesake, S. Paolo Fuori le Mura. He was seized with sickness, and his death followed in a few days. His body, at first buried in  p275 that basilica, was after an interval of three months transported by a multitude of Romans and foreigners, with psalms and hymns, to the regular resting-place of the Popes at St. Peter's.

'And the bishopric of Rome lapsed for one year, one month [and ten days].' So writes the Papal biographer. The lapse of the episcopate is the Church's way of describing the wild scenes of faction and disorder which will form the subject of the next chapter.


The Author's Notes:

1 Or 755. Oelsner (489‑494) contends for the earlier date, which is that given by most of the annalists; but there is some contemporary evidence for the later.

2 Annales Laurissenses et Einhardi.

3 'Fredeg.' Contin. 122.

4 Codex Carolinus, Ep. 11.

5 'Sanctae recordandae memoriae Aistulf rex' in a document of February 19, 763 (Troya, V.201); 'sanctae memoriae domini Haistulfi regis,' June 766 (Ibid. 361); 'a bonae memoriae Domino Haistulfo rege,' July 772 (Ibid. 767). All quoted by Oelsner, p283, n. 4.

6 See Oelsner, 284, who does not quite prove the case by the documents which he adduces. There is no doubt, however, that a nunnery was founded by Desiderius and his wife Ansa at Brescia, and that till far on into the Middle Ages legends of the last Lombard king and his family clustered round this sanctuary. One as to the elevation of Desiderius to the throne is thus given in the Legend of St. Julia from a MS. Chronicle of Bishop Sicard of Cremona (who died in 1215): I follow the translation of Abel (Geschichts­schreiber der Deutschen Vorzeit; 8 Jahrhundert, IV.205): 'There lived in Brescia a nobleman, pious and God‑fearing, named Desiderius. When the barons and chief persons of the realm gathered together at Pavia to choose a king, Desiderius said to his wife Ansa, "I will go there too." She laughed and said, "Go: mayhap they will choose thee for their king." He went, and arrived on the first day at a place called Lenum, where he lay down to rest under a tree. While he slept, a snake stole forth and wound itself round his head like a crown. His servant feared to wake him, lest the snake should bite him. Meanwhile Desiderius dreamed that a royal diadem was placed upon his head. Then he awoke, unharmed by the snake, and said, "Arise, let us go, for I have had a dream from which I judge that I shall be king." When they came to Pavia they found the people standing about in the courtyard, waiting for the decision of the electors, who had consulted together for several days without being able to come to a decision. So the crowd said to Desiderius, "Go in to them, Desiderius, and tell them that we are tired of waiting." He went in and told them what the crowd said, and when they saw Desiderius, of whom nobody had thought before as a candidate, one of the assembly cried out, "This Desiderius is an honourable man, and though he has not large possessions, he is valiant in war. Let us choose him for king." So it was done: he was arrayed in royal robes and proclaimed king amid general rejoicing. But he forgot not the place where the serpent had wound itself round his head, but built there a glorious abbey in honour of Jesus Christ and St. Benedict, and enriched it with many gifts. His wife also built at her own cost a convent for nuns in Brescia, and endowed it with estates, meadows, mills, and springs of water, with many dependants and slaves in all the surrounding bishoprics, and with costly ornaments, as became a queen of the Lombards.'

7 'Gubernavit palacium Ticinense Ratchis gloriosus germanus Aistulfi, dudum rex, tunc autem Christi famulus a Decembrio usque Martium'; Catalogus Regum Langobardorum Brixiensis (M. G. H. Scriptores rerum Langobardicarum, p503).

8 'Desiderius vir mitissimus.'

9 Codex Carolinus, Ep. 11.

10 Abbé Duchesne, I.461.

11 Chronicon S. Benedicti, Pertz, III.200; Chronicon Mon. Casin., Pertz, VII.584.

12 'Petiit nobis Obtatus religiosus abba venerandi monasterii sancti Benedicti pro monachis suis qui cum tuo germano profecti sunt ut eos absolvere jubeas' (Codex Carolinus, Ep. 11).

13 Vol. IV p93º (82).

14 The only other case of brothers wearing the Papal tiara that has been brought to my notice is that of Benedict VIII (1011‑1024) followed by his brother John XIX (1024‑1033). But this was in the evil days of the Counts of Tusculum.

15 Cod. Car., Ep. 14.

16 Ep. 15.

17 Ep. 25.

18 An honour equivalent to the cardinal's hat of later days.

19 The letters relating to this affair of Marinus are among the most obscure in the Codex Carolinus. In a later letter (29) Paul seems to apologise to Pippin for having restored Marinus to his old dignity, and declares that he only did so on account of the tears and daily lamentations of his blind mother.

20 'Nefandissimi Graeci.'

21 'Sincerissimi fideles.'

22 Ep. 20, written in 760 (after April).

23 'Vos paratos adesse in adjutorium et defensionem sanctae Dei ecclesiae in quibus necessitas ingruerit' (Ep. 21).

24 Ep. 30: 'Missum a fidelibus sanctae Dei ecclesiae spiritalis matris vestrae'; a similar expression to that used in Ep. 20.

25 Letters 35 and 36 describe these rather obscure altercations between the Papal and the Imperial missi. Apparently the Emperor was indignant at some plain-spoken words of the Pope in defence of the worship of images, and accused the Papal primicerius Christopher of having added this passage to the letter himself in mere presumption and impertinence, a charge which in his minister's behalf the Pope indignantly repudiates.

26 Named Constantine.

27 There is no doubt that Stephanus was a very active preacher of opposition to the Emperor's will if not of actual sedition. The words of Constantine, 'This monk will be Emperor and I shall be nothing in the Empire,' were seized upon by some of his guards, who accomplished the murder of Stephanus: a striking parallel to Henry the Second's hasty utterance of Becket's death-doom.

28 And herein a distant forerunner of the Emperor Frederick II, to whose career that of Constantine presents some points of comparison, though it would be most unjust to the Swabian to bracket him with the Isaurian Emperor.

29 See Waitz, Verfassungs-Geschichte, III.89.

30 'Spolaetini ducatus generalitas' (Ep. 11).

31 So thinks Waitz, Verf.-Gesch. III.90.

32 See I Duchi di Spoleto per A. Sansi, p55.

33 Ep. 17.

34 See vol. VI pp471‑2.

35 The Pope accuses him of having 'wasted with fire and sword all the crops and everything which pertains to the service of man' (Ep. 17).

36 'After inflicting upon them grievous wounds,' says the Pope (Ibid.).

37 'Fugam arripuit in Otorantinam civitatem' (Ibid.). It is interesting to see the name Hydruntum already assuming its modern form.

38 'Nutritor.'

39 This last stipulation is not mentioned by the Pope, but is suggested by Isernia (Istoria della Città di Benevento, p135),º and seems likely enough. It is probable that Otranto had ceased to be Imperial, and become Beneventan, shortly before these transactions. Modify therefore the statement in vol. VI p517.

40 Paul I calls him Argis.

41 See Oelsner's Pippin, p442, for the chronology of the dukes of Spoleto.

42 This town, ten miles from Faenza and twenty-three from Bologna, was known in classical times as Forum Cornelii, deriving its name apparently from the dictator Cornelius Sulla. Paulus Diaconus (H. L. II.18) calls it 'Cornelii Forum cujus castrum Imolas appellatur.' In later times it has been chiefly celebrated as the home of Caterina Sforza, 'Madonna d'Imola,' whose story has been so well told by Count Pasolini ('Caterina Sforza': Roma, 1893).

43 The Frankish missus returning to his master was Ruodbert: the two Papal missi were George, bishop of Ostia, and Stephen, priest of St. Caecilia, afterwards Pope Stephen III.

44 Ep. 16.

45 Ep. 17.

46 'spiritalis compater.'

47 Ep. 39.

48 'Similiter et in partes Campaniae id est Castro nostro qui vocatur Valentis hostiliter inruentes, talia sicut paganae gentes egerunt' (Ep. 21). I cannot identify Castra Valentis.

49 Ep. 37.

50 Epp. 33, 37, 3842.

51 Ep. 32.

52 'Verumtamen est unus solus et verus in tribus substantiis consistens. Deus qui justa caelestis regni gaudia . . . inpertire et retribuere excellentiae vestrae potest' (Ep. 22).

53 Ep. 32.

54 Ep. 38.

55 Ep. 21.

56 'Confessio.'

57 'Sabanum.'

58 'Infra aulam sacrati corporis beatae auxiliatricis vitae.' Ep. 14.

59 'To my sweetest daughter, Aurea Petronilla.'

60 Apparently it is now generally admitted that Petronilla is not derived from Petrus, but from Petronius, or possibly Flavius Petro.

61 The connection between the Frankish nation and the chapel of St. Petronilla is apparently still maintained. 'To the present day the French ambassador, after presenting his credentials, visits the chapel of St. Petronilla' (Smith's Dictionary of Christian Biography, s.v. Petronilla).

Thayer's Note: See Armellini, Le chiese di Roma dal secolo IV al XIX, pp754‑758; also Lanciani, Pagan and Christian Rome, p341 f. (after a discussion of Petronilla's original grave); and the citations in Platner & Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, s.v. Sepulcrum Mariae.

62 Ep. 17. This is the letter in which the Pope begs the King not to attend to the request conveyed in the sham letter about restoration of hostages.

63 I do not find any satisfactory explanation of this word as here used. Ducange's translation, 'an egg‑spoon,' seems to be all right as far as the classical use of the word is concerned, but will not suit either this passage or that in the Liber Pontificalis (I.375, ed. Duchesne), where it is said that Pope Sergius dedicated a silver apallarea weighing 120 pounds.

Thayer's Note: The 18c antiquarian Fr. Paolo Paciaudi probably got it right in Σκιαδιοφορήμα sive De Umbellae Gestatione Commentarius (yes, that's a book about umbrellas, parasols and the like), pp. LV ff. in which he specifically mentions Paul's gift to Pippin and Sergius' 120‑pound apallarea in the L. P., and, like Hodgkin, takes issue with Ducange's overly antiquarian definition of the word: he identifies the item as a canopy, often suspended over an altar.

But we're still in the heroic age of philology: Paciaudi also mentions with no hint of disapproval, somewhat the contrary, the early‑17c scholar J.‑C. Boulanger's derivation of the word from ἀπὸ τοῦ ἡλίου ("away from the sun") or maybe a word ἤλη, said to mean "light".

64 'Storacin pallium unum habentem paones.' The meaning of storacin is doubtful, but in Lib. Pont. (Vita Sergii) it seems to be used as equivalent to plumacium — a feather-lined pillow.

65 'Direximus itaque excellent­issimae praecellentiae vestrae et libros, quantos reperire potuimus: id est antiphonale et responsale, insimul artem grammaticam, Aristolis (sic), Dionisii Ariopagitis, geometricam, orthograficam, grammaticam, omnes Graeco eloquio scriptas necnon et horologium nocturnum' (Ep. 24). The repetition of the word 'grammaticam' is not easy to understand, unless the first 'Artem grammaticam' should be coupled with 'Aristolis.' One would like to hear more about the 'horologium nocturnum,' which was probably some sort of clepsydra with an illuminated face.

66 'Et venit organa (or organus) in Franciam.'

67 'Misit Constantinus imperator regi Pippino cum aliis donis organum qui in Franciam usque pervenit' (Annales Laurissenses et Einhardi).

68 This Narbonese war is related in the Chronicon Moissiacense. It is very strange that so important an achievement should not be mentioned in the Annales Laurissenses or Einhardi.

69 Epp. 27 and 28.

70 So says Oelsner (p404), no doubt rightly, but I cannot find the statement in the authority quoted by him (Chronicon Adonis, Pertz, II.319).

71 See Hefele, Concilien­geschichte, III.432; quoting Pagi, ad ann. 766.

72 Epp. 36 and (perhaps) 37.

73 See Depos. Christoph. apud Duchesne (Lib. Pont. I.480).


Thayer's Notes:

a So the printed text, although the modern name of the place with which Tiberiacum is identified here is properly spelled Bagnacavallo, as it was when Hodgkin wrote and for centuries before that.

More importantly though, Hodgkin identifies Cabellum with a modern *Cavello, which I believe is wrong, since I find no record anywhere (including GoogleMaps) of a place called Cavello, no matter how small.

These three places are not mentioned in Ep. 11 of the Codex Carolinus. They are found in the Liber Pontificalis, Vita Stephani II (with Duchesne's critical notes for the passage I've italicized):

Dum vero haec agerentur, direxit missum suum praelatus sanctissimus pontifex et abstulit de ipsis civitatibus quas sepedictus Desiderius rex reddere promiserat beatissimo eodem papae, id est Faventias1 cum castro2 Tiberiaco3 seu Cabellum4 et universum ducatum Ferrariae in integro.

1 Faventia AB4: -ticos B23

2 castrum C12

3 Tiver. E1

4 Cavellum A: Gabellum BC4E

Now seu in medieval Latin does often mean "and", but it can also have its original meaning of "or", and here's one place I think it does.

I do find one scholar — Henri Hubert, "Étude Sur la formation des États de l'Église", Revue historique, LXIX.258 n. (1899, after the publication of Hodgkin's book) interpreting the passage as "cum castro Tiberiaco (Bagnicavallo) seu Cabellum (Cavello)".

I also find Julius Jung, in "Organisationen Italiens von Augustus bis auf Karl d. Gr. (Zugleich ein Beitrag zur Vorgeschichte des Kirchenstaates)", Mittheilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, V.44, writing "Zum Exarchat werden gezählt die Stadt Ravenna und die 'Emilia' mit den Orten: Bobium (oberhalb Sarsina, am Apennin), C(a)esena, Forumpopuli (d. i. Forum Popili); ferner Bononia, Ferraria, Comiaclum, Adria und Gabelum (d. i. Gabellum, j. Cavello am Po)" — while in his footnote parsing the passage in the L. P. as "cum castro Tiberiaco (d. i. Bagnicavallo) seu Cabellum et universum . . .".

But again, unfortunately, there is no Cavello — on the Po or elsewhere — and nowhere can I find a source for that name as an explanation of Cabellum. There is a small town called Gavello in Rovigo province, 32 km NE of Ferrara; not on the Po, although not far from it, and the Po is notorious for shifting its course on its alluvial plain: my best fit if I have to believe that "Faventias cum castro Tiberiaco seu Cabellum" is three places rather than two. But I don't: I strongly suspect we're talking about two places here, not three.

We might think that just plain grammar would help: the nominative Cabellum should not be yoked with the ablative Tiberiaco — thus grammar would force us to read {Faventias cum castro Tiberiaco} seu Cabellum. Two places, both in the nominative: Faenza with a camp called Tiberiacum, and (seu) some other place called Cabellum, maybe today's Gavello, which seems to be mentioned in one of Gregory the Great's letters, see IX.27 and note. There's such widespread agreement out there, however, that Castrum Tiberiacum is today's Bagnacavallo (although I haven't seen any evidence for it other precisely than this passage in the L. P.), that I'm loth to go against it; secondly, by this period castrum almost always means a village, fortified or not; and finally the Liber Pontificalis is universally conceded to be the Book of Popes, not of Good Grammar — so we have no conclusive argument here.

The best argument must therefore be the one that remains. Two places: Faventias cum {castro Tiberiaco seu Cabellum}. Two places: Faenza, with castrum Tiberiacum which is also called (seu"or") Cabellum. In addition to preserving the L. P.'s reputation for poor grammar, this solution has the merit of better explaining, or at least pushing back to a remoter antiquity, the name change that turned Tiberiacum into today's Bagnacavallo, the name the place seems to have had as early as the 10c (Balneocaballum); probably with a bit of help from folk etymology: tellingly, the name is also said to be recorded as ad Caballos and Balneum Caballi. I haven't seen the sources.

b Psa. 116 (114):13.


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