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West present their homage to Christ and his vice- CHAP.
gerent; and we now prepare to visit one of their most powerful monarchs, who desires to receive from our hands the sacrament of baptism." The barbarians have submitted to the yoke of the gospel, while you alone are deaf to the voice of the Shepherd. These pious barbarians are kindled into rage: they thirst to avenge the persecution of the East. Abandon your rash and fatal enterprise; reflect, tremble, and repent. If you persist, we are innocent of the blood that will be spilt in the contest; may it fall on your own head.”
The first assault of Leo against the images of Con-Revolt of - - Italy, stantinople had been witnessed by a crowd of strangers A.Ş. 728, from Italy and the West, who related with grief and **
indignation the sacrilege of the emperor. But on the reception of his proscriptive edict, they trembled for their domestic deities; the images of Christ and the Virgin, of the angels, martyrs, and saints, were abolished in all the churches of Italy; and a strong alternative was proposed to the Roman pontiff, the royal favour as the price of his compliance, degradation and exile as the penalty of his disobedience. Neither zeal nor policy allowed him to hesitate; and the haughty strain in which Gregory addressed the emperor displays his confidence in the truth of his doctrine or the powers of resistance. Without depending on prayers or miracles, he boldly armed against the public enemy, and his pastoral letters admonished the Italians of their danger and their duty." At this signal, Ra
j Aro ras soarseow ovata's row Asyaasvov Xsorrorov (p. 665). The Pope appears to have imposed on the ignorance of the Greeks; he lived and died in the Lateran; and in his time all the kingdoms of the West had embraced Christianity. May not this unknown Septetus have some reference to the chief of the Saxon Heptarchy, to Ina king of Wessex, who, in the pontificate of Gregory the second, visited Rome, for the purpose, not of baptism, but of pilgrimage (Pagi, A. D. 689, No. 2, A. D. 726, No. 15) 2
* I shall transcribe the important and decisive passage of the Liber Pontificalis. Respiciens ergo pius vir profanam principis jussionem, jam contra Imperatorem quasi contra hostem se armavit, renuens haresim ejus, scribens ubique se cavere
CHAP. venna, Venice, and the cities of the Exarchate and * Pentapolis, adhered to the cause of religion; their
military force by sea and land consisted, for the most part, of the natives; and the spirit of patriotism and zeal was transfused into the mercenary strangers.
The Italians swore to live and die in the defence of
the pope and the holy images; the Roman people was devoted to their father, and even the Lombards were ambitious to share the merit and advantage of this holy war. The most treasonable act, but the most obvious revenge, was the destruction of the statues of Leo himself: the most effectual and pleasing measure of rebellion was the withholding the tribute of Italy, and depriving him of a power which he had recently abused by the imposition of a new capitation.' A form of administration was preserved by the election of magistrates and governors; and so high was the public indignation, that the Italians were prepared to create an orthodox emperor, and to conduct him with a fleet and army to the palace of Constantinople. In that palace, the Roman bishops, the second and third Gregory, were condemned as the authors of the revolt, and every attempt was made, either by fraud or force, to seize their persons, and to strike at their lives. The city was repeatedly visited or assaulted by captains of the guards, and dukes and exarchs of high dignity or secret trust; they landed with foreign troops, they obtained some domestic aid, and the superstition of Naples may blush that her fathers were attached to the cause of heresy. But these clandestine or open attacks were repelled by the courage CHAP.
Christianos, eo quod orta fuisset impietas talis. Igitur permotiomnes Pentapolenses, atque Venetiarum exercitus contra Imperatoris jussionem restiterunt; dicentes se nunquam in ejusdem pontificis condescendere necem, sed pro ejus magis defensione viriliter decertare (p. 156).
*A census, or capitation, says Anastasius (p. 156); a most cruel tax, unknown to the Saracens themselves, exclaims the zealous Maimbourg (Hist, des Iconoclastes, l. i), and Theophanes (p. 344), who talks of Pharaoh's numbering the male children of Israel. This mode of taxation was familiar to the Saracens; and, most unluckily for the historian, it was imposed a few years afterwards in France by his patron Louis XIV.
and vigilance of the Romans; the Greeks were overthrown and massacred, their leaders suffered an ignominious death, and the popes, however inclined to mercy, refused to intercede for these guilty victims. At Ravenna," the several quarters of the city had long exercised a bloody and hereditary feud; in religious controversy they found a new aliment of faction: but the votaries of images were superior in numbers or spirit, and the exarch, who attempted to stem the torrent, lost his life in a popular sedition. To punish this flagitious deed, and restore his dominion in Italy, the emperor sent a fleet and army into the Adriatic gulf. After suffering from the winds and waves much loss and delay, the Greeks made their descent in the neighbourhood of Ravenna: they threatened to depopulate the guilty capital, and to imitate, perhaps to surpass, the example of Justinian the second, who had chastised a former rebellion by the choice and execution of fifty of the principal inhabitants. The women and clergy, in sackcloth and ashes, lay prostrate in prayer; the men were in arms for the defence of their country; the common danger had united the factions, and the event of a battle was preferred to the slow miseries of a siege. In a hard-fought day, as the two armies alternately yielded and advanced, a phantom was seen, a voice was heard, and Ravenna was victorious by the assurance of victory. The strangers retreated to their ships, but the populous sea-coast poured forth a multitude of boats; the waters of the Po were so deeply infected with blood, that during six years the public prejudice abstained from the fish of the river; and
* See the Liber Pontificalis of Agnellus (in the Scriptores Rerum Italicarum of Muratori, tom. ii. pars i.), whose deeper shade of barbarism marks the differ"ence between Rome and Ravenna. Yet we are indebted to him for some curious and domestic facts—the quarters and factions of Ravenna (p. 154), the revenge of Justinian II. (p. 160, 161), the defeat of the Greeks (p. 170, 171), &c.
VOL. VI. P
CHAP. the institution of an annual feast perpetuated the XLIX. worship of images, and the abhorrence of the Greek tyrant. Amidst the triumph of the Catholic arms, the Roman pontiff convened a synod of ninety-three bishops against the heresy of the Iconoclasts. With their consent, he pronounced a general excommunication against all who by word or deed should attack the tradition of the fathers and the images of the saints: in this sentence the emperor was tacitly involved," but the vote of a last and hopeless remonstrance may seem to imply that the anathema was yet suspended over his guilty head. No sooner had they confirmed their own safety, the worship of images, and the freedom of Rome and Italy, than the popes appear to have relaxed of their severity, and to have spared the relics of the Byzantine dominion. Their moderate counsels delayed and prevented the election of a new emperor, and they exhorted the Italians not to separate from the body of the Roman monarchy. The exarch was permitted to reside within the walls of Ravenna, a captive rather than a master; and till the imperial coronation of Charlemagne, the government of Rome and Italy was exercised in the name of the successors of Constantine." ** The liberty of Rome, which had been oppressed Ome. by the arms and arts of Augustus, was rescued, after seven hundred and fifty years of servitude, from the persecution of Leo the Isaurian. By the Caesars, the triumphs of the consuls had been annihilated: in the CHAP.
"Yet Leo was undoubtedly comprised in the siquis . . . . imaginum sacrarum . . . . destructor . . . . extiterit sit extorris a corpore D. N. Jesu Christi vel totius ecclesiae unitate. The canonists may decide whether the guilt or the name constitutes the excommunication; and the decision is of the last importance to their safety, since, according to the oracle (Gratian Caus. xxiii. q. 5. c. 47. apud Spanheim, Hist. Imag. p. 112), homicidas non esse qui excommunicatos trucidant.
* Compescuit tale consilium Pontifex, sperans conversionem principis (Anastas. p. 156). Sed ne desisterent ab amore et fide R. J. admonebat (p. 157). The popes style Leo and Constantine Copronymus, Imperatores et Domini, with the strange epithet of Pissimi. A famous mosaic of the Lateran (A. D. 798) represents Christ, who delivers the keys to St. Peter and the banner to Constantine V. (Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. vi. p. 337).
decline and fall of the empire, the god Terminus, the sacred boundary, had insensibly receded from the ocean, the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euphrates; and Rome was reduced to her ancient territory from Viterbo to Terracina, and from Narni to the mouth of the Tyber.” When the kings were banished, the republic reposed on the firm basis which had been founded by their wisdom and virtue. Their perpetual jurisdiction was divided between two annual magistrates: the senate continued to exercise the powers of administration and counsel; and the legislative authority was distributed in the assemblies of the people by a well-proportioned scale of property and service. Ignorant of the arts of luxury, the primitive Romans had improved the science of government and war: the will of the community was absolute: the rights of individuals were sacred: one hundred and thirty thousand citizens were armed for defence or conquest; and a band of robbers and outlaws was moulded into a nation, deserving of freedom, and ambitious of glory." When the sovereignty of the Greek emperors was extinguished, the ruins of Rome presented the sad image of depopulation and decay: her slavery was a habit, her liberty an accident; the effect of superstition, and the object of her own amazement and terror. The last vestige of the substance, or even the forms, of the constitution, was obliterated from the practice and memory of the Romans; and they were devoid of knowledge, or virtue, again to
P I have traced the Roman duchy according to the maps, and the maps according to the excellent dissertation, of Father Beretti (de Chorographia Italia, Medii AEvi, sect. xx. p. 216–232). Yet I must nicely observe, that Viterbo is of Lombard foundation (p. 211), and that Terracina was usurped by the Greeks.
* On the extent, population, &c. of the Roman kingdom, the reader may peruse, with pleasure, the Discours Préliminaire to the Republique Romaine of M. de Beaufort (tom. i.), who will not be accused of too much credulity for the early ages of Rome.