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obligation; that riches, victory, and paradise, will CHAP. crown their pious enterprise, and that eternal damna- XLIX. tion will be the penalty of their neglect, if they suffer his tomb, his temple, and his people, to fall into the hands of the perfidious Lombards. The second expedition of Pepin was not less rapid and fortunate than the first: St. Peter was satisfied, Rome was again saved, and Astolphus was taught the lessons of justice and sincerity by the scourge of a foreign master. After this double chastisement, the Lombards languished about twenty years in a state of languor and decay. But their minds were not yet humbled to their condition; and instead of affecting the pacific virtues of the feeble, they peevishly harassed the Romans with a repetition of claims, evasions, and inroads, which they undertook without reflection and terminated without glory. On either side, their expiring monarchy was pressed by the zeal and prudence of pope Adrian the first, the genius, the fortune, and greatness of Charlemagne the son of Pepin; these heroes of the church and state were united in public and domestic friendship, and, while they trampled on the prostrate, they varnished their proceedings with the fairest colours of equity and moderation.” The passes of the Alps, and the walls of Pavia, were the only defence of the Lombards; the former were surprised, the latter were invested, Conquest of
by the son of Pepin; and after a blockade of two to
years, Desiderius, the last of their native princes, sur-off. rendered his sceptre and his capital. Under the do
minion of a foreign king, but in the possession of their
* Except in the divorce of the daughter of Desiderius, whom Charlemagne repudiated sine aliquo crimine. Pope Stephen IV. had most furiously opposed the alliance of a noble Frank—cum perfida, horrida, nec dicenda, faetentissima natione Longobardorum—to whom he imputes the first stain of leprosy (Cod. Carolin. epist. 45. p. 178, 179). Another reason against the marriage was the existence of a first wife (Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. vi. p. 232, 233. 236, 237). But Charlemagne indulged himself in the freedom of polygamy or concubinage. -
national laws, the Lombards became the brethren, rather than the subjects, of the Franks; who derived their blood, and manners, and language, from the same Germanic origin." The mutual obligations of the popes and the Carlovingian family form the important link of ancient and modern, of civil and ecclesiastical, history. In the conquest of Italy, the champions of the Roman church obtained a favourable occasion, a specious title, the wishes of the people, the prayers and intrigues of the clergy. But the most essential gifts of the popes to the Carlovingian race were the dignities of king of France," and of patrician of Rome. I. Under the sacerdotal monarchy of St. Peter, the nations began to resume the practice of seeking, on the banks of the Tyber, their kings, their laws, and the oracles of their fate. The Franks were perplexed between the name and substance of their government. All the powers of royalty were exercised by Pepin, mayor of the palace; and nothing, except the regal title, was wanting to his ambition. His enemies were crushed by his valour; his friends were multiplied by his liberality; his father had been the saviour of Christendom; and the claims of personal merit were repeated and ennobled in a descent of four generations. The name and image of royalty was still preserved in the last descendant of Clovis, the feeble Childeric; but his obsolete right could only be used as an instrument of sedition: the nation was desirous of restoring the simplicity of the constitution; and Pepin, a subject and a prince, was ambitious to ascertain his own rank CHAP.
* See the Annali d'Italia of Muratori, tom. vi. and the three first Dissertations of his Antiquitates Italiae Medii AEvi, tom. i.
• Besides the common historians, three French critics, Launoy (Opera, tom. v. parsii. 1. vii. epist. 9. p. 477–487), Pagi (Critica, A. D. 751, N° 1–6. A. D. 752, No 1–10), and Natalis Alexander (Hist. Novi Testamenti, dissertat. ii. p. 96–107), have treated this subject of the deposition of Childeric with learning and attention, but with a strong bias to save the independence of the crown. Yet they are hard pressed by the texts which they produce of Eginhard, Theophanes, and the old annals, Laureshamenses, Fuldenses, Loisielani.
and the fortune of his family. The mayor and the nobles were bound, by an oath of fidelity, to the royal phantom; the blood of Clovis was pure and sacred in their eyes; and their common ambassadors addressed the Roman pontiff, to dispel their scruples, or to absolve their promise. The interest of pope Zachary, the successor of the two Gregories, prompted him to decide, and to decide in their favour: he pronounced that the nation might lawfully unite, in the same person, the title and authority of king; and that the unfortunate Childeric, a victim of the public safety, should be degraded, shaved, and confined in a monastery for the remainder of his days. An answer so agreeable to their wishes was accepted by the Franks, as the opinion of a casuist, the sentence of a judge, or the oracle of a prophet: the Merovingian race disappeared from the earth; and Pepin was exalted on a buckler by the suffrage of a free people, accustomed to obey his laws, and to march under his standard. His coronation was twice performed, with the sanction of the popes, by their most faithful servant St. Boniface, the apostle of Germany, and by the grateful hands of Stephen the third, who, in the monastery of St. Denys, placed the diadem on the head of his benefactor. The royal unction of the kings of Israel was dexterously applied:" the successor of St. Peter assumed the character of a divine ambassador: a German chieftain was transformed into the Lord’s anointed; and this Jewish rite has been diffused and maintained by the superstition and vanity of modern Europe. The Franks were absolved from
* Not absolutely for the first time. On a less conspicuous theatre it had been used, in the vith and viith centuries, by the provincial bishops of Britain and Spain. The royal unction of Constantinople was borrowed from the Latins in the last age of the empire. Constantine Manasses mentions that of Charlemagne as a foreign, Jewish, incomprehensible ceremony. See Selden's Titles of Honour, in his Works, vol. iii. part i. p. 234–249.
their ancient oath; but a dire anathema was thundered against them and their posterity, if they should dare to renew the same freedom of choice, or to elect a king, except in the holy and meritorious race of the Carlovingian princes. Without apprehending the future danger, these princes gloried in their present security: the secretary of Charlemagne affirms, that the French sceptre was transferred by the authority of the popes;" and, in their boldest enterprises, they insist, with confidence, on this signal and successful act of temporal jurisdiction. II. In the change of manners and language, the patricians of Rome' were far removed from the senate of Romulus, or the palace of Constantine, from the free nobles of the republic, or the fictitious parents of the emperor. After the recovery of Italy and Africa by the arms of Justinian, the importance and danger of those remote provinces required the presence of a supreme magistrate; he was indifferently styled the exarch or the patrician; and these governors of Ravenna, who fill their place in the chronology of princes, extended their jurisdiction over the Roman city. Since the revolt of Italy and the loss of the Exarchate, the distress of the Romans had exacted some sacrifice of their independence. Yet, even in this act, they exercised the right of disposing of themselves; and the decrees of the senate and people successively invested Charles Martel and his posterity with the honours of patrician of Rome. The leaders of a powerful nation would have disdained a servile CHAP:
• See Eginhard, in Vità Caroli Magni, c. i. p. 9, &c. c. iii. p. 24. Childeric was deposed—jussit, the Carlovingians were established—auctoritate, Pontificis Romani. Launoy, &c. pretend that these strong words are susceptible of a very soft interpretation. Be it so; yet Eginhard understood the world, the court, and the Latin language.
f For the title and powers of patrician of Rome, see Ducange (Gloss. Latin. tom. v. p. 149–151), Pagi (Critica, A. D. 740, N° 6–11), Muratori (Annali d'Italia, tom. vi. p. 308–329), and St. Marc (Abrégé Chronologique d'Italie, tom. i. p. 379–382). Of these the Franciscan Pagi is the most disposed to make the patrician a lieutenant of the church, rather than of the empire.
title and subordinate office; but the reign of the
ad exarchum, aut patricium suscipiendum, eum cum ingenti honore suscipi fecit (tom. iii. parsi. p. 185).