CHAP, into their temples, not as objects of worship, but as XLIX. lively and useful memorials of faith and history. An *... angry book of controversy was composed and pub*... lished in the name of Charlemagne;" under his au

bled at Frankfort:" they blamed the fury of the Iconoclasts, but they pronounced a more severe censure against the superstition of the Greeks, and the decrees of their pretended council, which was long despised by the barbarians of the West." Among them the worship of images advanced with a silent and insensible progress; but a large atonement is made for their hesitation and delay, by the gross idolatry of the ages which precede the reformation, and of the countries, both in Europe and America, which are still immersed in the gloom of superstition.

Final sepa- It was after the Nicene synod, and under the reign ration of the e j of the pious Irene, that the popes consummated the

.* separation of Rome and Italy, by the translation of

[ocr errors]

A.774 the empire to the less orthodox Charlemagne. They

—800. e were compelled to choose between the rival nations: religion was not the sole motive of their choice; and while they dissembled the failings of their friends, they beheld, with reluctance and suspicion, the Catholic virtues of their foes. The difference of lan

* The Libri Carolini (Spanheim, p. 443–529), composed in the palace or winter-quarters of Charlemagne, at Worms, A. D. 790; and sent by Engebert to pope Hadrian I. who answered them by a grandis et verbosa epistola (Concil. tom. viii. p. 1553). The Carolines propose 120 objections against the Nicene synod, and such words as these are the flowers of their rhetoric—dementiam . . priscae Gentilitatis obsoletum errorem . . . . . argumenta insanissima et absurdissima . . . . derisione dignas nanias, &c. &c.

* The assemblies of Charlemagne were political, as well as ecclesiastical; and the three hundred members (Nat. Alexander, sec. viii. p. 53) who sat and voted at Frankfort must include not only the bishops, but the abbots, and even the principal laymen.

f Qui supra sanctissima patres nostri (episcopi et sacerdotes) omnimodis servitium et adorationem imaginum renuentes contempserunt, atque consentientes condemnaverunt (Concil. tom. ix. p. 101. Canon ii. Franckfurd). A polemic must be hard-hearted indeed, who does not pity the efforts of Baronius, Pagi, Alexander, Maimbourg, &c. to elude this unlucky sentence,

guage and manners had perpetuated the enmity of CHAP. the two capitals; and they were alienated from each *

other by the hostile opposition of seventy years. In that schism the Romans had tasted of freedom, and the popes of sovereignty: their submission would have exposed them to the revenge of a jealous tyrant; and the revolution of Italy had betrayed the impotence, as well as the tyranny, of the Byzantine court. The Greek emperors had restored the images, but they had not restored the Calabrian estates" and the Illyrian diocese," which the Iconoclasts had torn away from the successors of St. Peter; and pope Adrian threatens them with a sentence of excommunication unless they speedily abjure this practical heresy.' The Greeks were now orthodox, but their religion might be tainted by the breath of the reigning monarch: the Franks were now contumacious; but a discerning eye might discern their approaching conversion from the use, to the adoration, of images. The name of Charlemagne was stained by the polemic acrimony of his scribes; but the conqueror himself conformed,

s Theophanes (p. 343) specifies those of Sicily and Calabria, which yielded an annual rent of three talents and a half of gold (perhaps 7000l. sterling). Liutprand more pompously enumerates the patrimonies of the Roman church in Greece, Judaea, Persia, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Egypt, and Libya, which were detained by the injustice of the Greek emperor (Legat. ad Nicephorum, in Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. ii. pars i. p. 481).

* The great diocese of the eastern Illyricum, with Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily (Thomassin, Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 145): by the confession of the Greeks, the patriarch of Constantinople had detached from Rome the metropolitans of Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, Nicopolis, and Patrae (Luc. Holsten. Geograph. Sacra, p. 22); and his spiritual conquests extended to Naples and Amalphi (Giannone, Istoria Civile di Napoli, tom. i. p. 517–524. Pagi, A. D.

730. No 11). * In hoc ostenditur, quia ex uno capitulo ab errore reversis, in aliis duobus, in codem (was it the same 2) permaneant errore . . . . de diocesi S. R. E. seu de

patrimoniis iterum increpantes commonemus, ut si ea restituere noluerit hereticum eum pro hujusmodi errore perseverantiã decernemus (Epist. Hadrian. Papae ad Carolum Magnum, in Concil. tom. viii. p. 1598); to which he adds a reason, most directly opposite to his conduct, that he preferred the salvation of souls and rule of faith to the goods of this transitory world.

CHAP. with the temper of a statesman, to the various prac* tice of France and Italy. In his four pilgrimages or visits to the Vatican, he embraced the popes in the communion of friendship and piety; knelt before the tomb, and consequently before the image, of the apostle; and joined, without scruple, in all the prayers and processions of the Roman liturgy. Would prudence or gratitude allow the pontiffs to renounce their benefactor? Had they a right to alienate his gift of the Exarchate? Had they power to abolish his government of Rome? The title of patrician was below the merit and greatness of Charlemagne; and it was only by reviving the western empire that they could pay their obligations or secure their establishment. By this decisive measure they would finally eradicate the claims of the Greeks: from the debasement of a provincial town, the majesty of Rome would be restored: the Latin Christians would be united, under a supreme head, in their ancient metropolis; and the conquerors of the West would receive their crown from the successors of St. Peter. The Roman church would acquire a zealous and respectable advocate; and, under the shadow of the Carlovingian power, the bishop might exercise, with honour and safety, the government of the city.” Coronation Before the ruin of paganism in Rome, the compeof Charle- . . . . - ... tition for a wealthy bishopric had often been pro... ductive of tumult and bloodshed. The people was less ; o numerous, but the times were more savage, the prize p. 3." more important, and the chair of St. Peter was fiercely disputed by the leading ecclesiastics who aspired to the rank of sovereign. The reign of Adrian the first" surpasses the measure of past or succeeding ages;" the walls of Rome, the sacred patrimony, the ruin of the Lombards, and the friendship of Charlemagne, were the trophies of his fame: he secretly edified the throne of his successors, and displayed in a narrow space the virtues of a great prince. His memory was revered; but in the next election, a priest of the Lateran, Leo the third, was preferred to the nephew and the favourite of Adrian, whom he had promoted to the first dignities of the church. Their acquiescence or repentance disguised, above four years, the blackest intention of revenge, till the day of a procession, when a furious band of conspirators dispersed the unarmed multitude, and assaulted with blows and wounds the sacred person of the pope. But their enterprise on his life or liberty was disappointed, perhaps by their own confusion and remorse. Leo was left for dead on the ground; on his revival from the swoon, the effect of his loss of blood, he recovered his speech and sight; and this natural event was improved to the miraculous restoration of his eyes and tongue, of which he had been deprived, twice deprived, by the knife of the assassins." From his §§ prison he escaped to the Vatican; the duke of Spoleto - – hastened to his rescue, Charlemagne sympathised in his injury, and in his camp of Paderborn in Westphalia accepted, or solicited, a visit from the Roman pontiff. Leo repassed the Alps with a commission of counts and bishops, the guards of his safety and the judges of his innocence; and it was not without reluctance, that the conqueror of the Saxons delayed till the ensuing year the personal discharge of this pious office. In his fourth and last pilgrimage, he was received at Rome with the due honours of king and patrician: Leo was permitted to purge himself by oath of the crimes imputed to his charge: his enemies were silenced, and the sacrilegious attempt against his life was punished by the mild and insufficient penalty of exile. On the festival of Christmas, the last year of the eighth century, Charlemagne appeared in the church of St. Peter; and, to gratify the vanity of Rome, he had exchanged the simple dress of his country for the habit of a patrician." After the celebration of the holy mysteries, Leo suddenly placed a precious crown on his head,” and the dome resounded with the acclamations of the people, “Long life and victory to Charles, the most pious Augustus, crowned by God the great and pacific emperor of the Romans!” The head and body of Charlemagne were consecrated by the royal unction: after the example of the Caesars, he was saluted or adored by the pontiff; his coronation oath represents a promise to maintain the faith and privileges of the church; and the

i Fontanini considers the emperors as no more than the advocates of the church (advocatus et defensor S. R. E. See Ducange, Gloss. Lat. tom. i. p. 297). His antagonist Muratori reduces the popes to be no more than the exarchs of the emperor. In the more equitable view of Mosheim (Institut. Hist. Eccles. p. 264, 265), they held Rome under the empire as the most honourable species of fief or benefice—premuntur nocte caliginosa!

k His merits and hopes are summed up in an epitaph of thirty-eight verses, of
which Charlemagne declares himself the author (Concil. tom. viii. p. 520).
Post patrem lacrymans Carolus hac carmina scripsi.
Tu mihi dulcis amor, te modo plango pater . . .
Nomina jungo simultitulis, clarissime, nostra
Adrianus, Carolus, rex ego, tuque pater.
The poetry might be supplied by Alcuin; but the tears, the most glorious
tribute, can only belong to Charlemagne.
! Every new pope is admonished—“Sancte Pater, non videbis annos Petri,”
twenty-five years. On the whole series the average is about eight years—a short
hope for an ambitious cardinal.
* The assurance of Anastasius (tom. iii. pars i. p. 197, 198) is supported by
the credulity of some French annalists; but Eginhard, and other writers of the
same age, are more natural and sincere. “Unus ei oculus paullulum est lasus,”
says John the deacon of Naples (Vit. Episcop. Napol. in Scriptores Muratori,
tom. i. parsii. p. 312). Theodolphus, a contemporary bishop of Orleans, ob-
serves with prudence (l. iii, carm. 3),
Reddita sunt 2 mirum est: mirum estauferre nequisse.
Est tamen in dubio, hinc mirer aut inde magis.


* Twice, at the request of Hadrian and Leo, he appeared at Rome—longa tunică et chlamyde amictus, et calceamentis quoque Romano more formatis. Eginhard (c. xxiii. p. 109—113) describes, like Suetonius, the simplicity of his dress, so popular in the nation, that when Charles the Bald returned to France in a foreign habit, the patriotic dogs barked at the apostate (Gaillard, Vie de Charlemagne, tom. iv. p. 109).

oSee Anastasius (p. 199) and Eginhard (c. xxviii. p. 124–128). The unction is mentioned by Theophanes (p. 399), the oath by Sigonius, (from the Ordo Romanus), and the pope's adoration, more antiquorum principum, by the Annales Bertiniani (Script. Murator. tom. ii. parsii. p. 505).

« ForrigeFortsett »