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his life to the execution of two projects. I. To fix in the college of cardinals the freedom and independence of election, and for ever to abolish the right or usurpation of the emperors and the Roman people. II. To bestow and resume the western empire as a fief or benefice" of the church, and to extend his temporal dominion over the kings and kingdoms of the earth. After a contest of fifty years, the first of these designs was accomplished by the firm support of the ecclesiastical order, whose liberty was connected with that of their chief. But the second attempt, though it was crowned with some partial and apparent success, has been vigorously resisted by the secular power, and finally extinguished by the improvement of human reason.
In the revival of the empire of Rome, neither the Authority
of the em
bishop nor the people could bestow on Charlemagne of
or Otho the provinces which were lost, as they ha
f See the Dissertation of Le Blanc at the end of his Treatise des Monnoyes de France, in which he produces some Roman coins of the French emperors.
VOL. VI. S
Content with the titles of emperor and Augustus, the successors of Charlemagne neglected to assert this local jurisdiction. In the hour of prosperity, their ambition was diverted by more alluring objects; and in the decay and division of the empire, they were oppressed by the defence of their hereditary provinces. Amidst the ruins of Italy, the famous Marozia invited one of the usurpers to assume the character of her third husband; and Hugh, king of Burgundy, was introduced by her faction into the mole of Hadrian or castle of St. Angelo, which commands the principal bridge and entrance of Rome. Her son by the first marriage, Alberic, was compelled to attend at the nuptial banquet; but his reluctant and ungrateful service was chastised with a blow by his new father. The blow was productive of a revolution. “Romans,” exclaimed the youth, “once you were the masters of the world, and these Burgundians the most abject of your slaves. They now reign, these voracious and brutal savages, and my injury is the commencement of your servitude.” The alarumbell rang to arms in every quarter of the city: the Burgundians retreated with haste and shame; Marozia was imprisoned by her victorious son; and his brother, pope John XI. was reduced to the exercise of his spiritual functions. With the title of prince, Alberic possessed above twenty years the government of Rome, and he is said to have gratified the popular prejudice, by restoring the office, or at least the title, of consuls and tribunes. His son and heir Octavian assumed, with the pontificate, the name of John XII.; like his predecessor, he was provoked by the Lombard princes to seek a deliverer for the church and republic; and the services of Otho were rewarded with CHAP.
* Romanorum aliquando servi, scilicet Burgundiones, Romanis imperent?... Romana urbis dignitas ad tantam est stultitiam ducta, ut meretricum etiam imperio pareat? (Liutprand, l. iii. c. 12. p. 450). Sigonius (1. vi. p. 400) posi
tively affirms the renovation of the consulship; but in the old writers Albericus is more frequently styled princeps Romanorum.
the imperial dignity. But the Saxon was imperious, the Romans were impatient, the festival of the coronation was disturbed by the secret conflict of prerogative and freedom, and Otho commanded his swordbearer not to stir from his person, lest he should be assaulted and murdered at the foot of the altar." Before he repassed the Alps, the emperor chastised the
revolt of the people and the ingratitude of John XII. o.o.
The pope was degraded in a synod; the praefect was A. D. 967.
mounted on an ass, whipped through the city, and cast into a dungeon; thirteen of the most guilty were hanged, others were mutilated or banished; and this severe process was justified by the ancient laws of Theodosius and Justinian. The voice of fame has accused the second Otho of a perfidious and bloody act, the massacre of the senators, whom he had invited to his table under the fair semblance of hospitality and friendship." In the minority of his son Otho the third, Rome made a bold attempt to shake off the Saxon yoke, and the consul Crescentius was
the Brutus of the republic. From the condition of of the
a subject and an exile, he twice rose to the command
of the city, oppressed, expelled, and created the popes, oi, ana
and formed a conspiracy for restoring the authority of the Greek emperors. In the fortress of St. Angelo, he maintained an obstinate siege, till the unfortunate consul was betrayed by a promise of safety: his body was suspended on a gibbet, and his head was exposed on the battlements of the castle. By a reverse of fortune, Otho, after separating his troops, was besieged three days, without food, in his palace;
* Ditmar, p. 354, apud Schmidt, tom. iii. p. 439.
* This bloody feast is described in Leonine verse in the Pantheon of Godfrey of Viterbo (Script. Ital. tom. vii. p. 436, 437), who flourished towards the end of the xiith century (Fabricius, Bibliot. Latin. med. et infimi AEvi, tom. iii.
p. 69, edit. Mansi); but his evidence, which imposed on Sigonius, is reasonably
suspected by Muratori (Annali, tom. viii. p. 177).
and a disgraceful escape saved him from the justice
—doveano ben essere allora, indisciplinati, Barbari, e bestiali i Tedeschi. Annal. tom. viii. p. 368.
spire fear, without provoking discontent and despair. Far different was the situation of the German Caesars, who were ambitious to enslave the kingdom of Italy. Their patrimonial estates were stretched along the Rhine, or scattered in the provinces; but this ample domain was alienated by the imprudence or distress of successive princes; and their revenue, from minute and vexatious prerogative, was scarcely sufficient for the maintenance of their household. Their troops were formed by the legal or voluntary service of their feudal vassals, who passed the Alps with reluctance, assumed the licence of rapine and disorder, and capriciously deserted before the end of the campaign. Whole armies were swept away by the pestilential influence of the climate: the survivors brought back the bones of their princes and nobles,' and the effects of their own intemperance were often imputed to the treachery and malice of the Italians, who rejoiced at least in the calamities of the barbarians. This irregular tyranny might contend on equal terms with the petty tyrants of Italy; nor can the people, or the reader, be much interested in the event of the quarrel. But in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Lombards rekindled the flame of industry and freedom; and the generous example was at length imitated by the republics of Tuscany. In the Italian cities a municipal government had never been totally abolished; and their first privileges were granted by the favour and policy of the emperors, who were desirous of erecting a plebeian barrier against the independence of the nobles. But their rapid progress, the daily extension of their power and pretensions, were founded on the numbers and spirit of these rising communi
"After boiling away the flesh. The caldrons for that purpose were a necessary piece of travelling furniture; and a German who was using it for his brother, promised it to a friend, after it should have been employed for himself (Schmidt,
tom. iii. p. 423, 424). The same author observes that the whole Saxon line was extinguished in Italy (tom. ii. p. 440).