Note: The following article is derived almost entirely from the Catholic Encyclopedia, published in 1912. It's old enough to be in public domain, not a copyright violation, but it's not exactly written in TV Tropes style.
Consisted of the civil territory which for over 1000 years (754-1870) acknowledged the pope as temporal ruler. The expression "Patrimonium Sancti Petri" originally designated the landed possessions and revenues of various kinds that belonged to the Church of St. Peter at Rome. Until the middle of the eighth century this consisted wholly of private property, but the term was later applied to the States of the Church, and more particularly to the Duchy of Rome.
Patrimonial possessions of the Church of Rome
The law of Constantine the Great (321), by which the Christian Church was declared qualified to hold and transmit property, first gave a legal basis to the possessions of the Church of Rome. Subsequently the possessions were rapidly augmented by donations. Constantine himself set the example, the Lateran Palace being most probably presented by him. Constantine's gifts formed the historical nucleus, which the Sylvester Legend later surrounded with that network of myth, that gave rise to the forged document known as the "Donation of Constantine". The example of Constantine was followed by wealthy families of the Roman nobility, whose memory frequently survived, after the families themselves had become extinct, in the names of the properties which they had once presented to the Roman See.
The donation of large estates ceased about 600. The Byzantine emperors subsequently were less liberal in their gifts; the wars with the Lombards likewise had an unfavourable effect, and there remained few families in a position to bequeath large estates. Apart from a number of scattered possessions in the Orient, Dalmatia, Gaul, and Africa, the patrimonies were naturally for the most part situated in Italy and on the adjacent islands. The most valuable and most extensive possessions were those in Sicily, about Syracuse and Palermo. The revenues from the properties in Sicily and Lower Italy in the eighth century, when Leo the Isaurian confiscated them, were estimated at three and one-half talents of gold. But the patrimonies in the vicinity of Rome were the most numerous and, after most of the remote patrimonies had been lost in the eighth century, were managed with especial care. Of other patrimonies may be mentioned the Neapolitan with the Island of Capri, that of Gaeta, the Tuscan, the Patrimonium Tiburtinum in the vicinity of Tivoli, estates about Otranto, Osimo, Ancona, Umana, estates near Ravenna and Genoa, and lastly properties in Istria, Sardinia, and Corsica.
With these landed possessions, scattered and varied as they were, the pope was the largest landowner in Italy. For this reason every ruler of Italy was compelled of necessity to reckon with him first of all; on the other hand he was also the first to feel the political and economical disturbances that distressed the country. A good insight into the problems that required the attention of the pope in the administration of his patrimonies can be obtained from the letters of Gregory the Great (Mon. Germ. Epist., I). The revenues from the patrimonies were employed, not only for administrative purposes, for the maintenance and construction of church edifices, for the equipment of convents, for the household of the pope, and the support of the clergy, but also to a great extent to relieve public and private want. Numerous poorhouses, hospitals, orphanages, and hospices for pilgrims were maintained out of the revenues of the patrimonies, many individuals were supported directly or indirectly, and slaves were ransomed from the possession of Jews and heathens. But, above all, the popes relieved the emperors of the responsibility of providing Rome with food, and later also assumed the task of warding off the Lombards, an undertaking generally involving financial obligations, the Pope thus became the champion of the oppressed, and the political champion of those who were unwilling to submit to foreign domination, who were unwilling to become Lombards or yet wholly Byzantines, preferring to remain Romans.
Political position of the papacy
This political aspect of the papacy became in time very prominent, in as much as Rome, after the removal of the imperial residence to the East, was no longer the seat of any of the higher political officials. Even after the partition of the empire, the Western emperors preferred to make the better-protected Ravenna their residence. Here was the centre of Odoacer's power and of the Ostrogothic rule; here also, after the fall of the Ostrogoths, the viceroy of the Byzantine emperor in Italy, the exarch, resided. In Rome on the other hand, the pope appears with ever-increasing frequency as the advocate of the needy population; thus Leo I intercedes with Attila and Geiserich, and Gelasius with Theodoric. Cassiodorus as prfectus prtorio under the Ostrogothic supremacy actually entrusted the care of the temporal affairs to Pope John II. When Emperor Justinian issued the Pragmatic Sanction (554), the pope together with the Senate was entrusted with the control of weights and measures. Thenceforth for two centuries the popes were most loyal supporters of the Byzantine Government against the encroachments of the Lombards, and were all the more indispensable, because after 603 the Senate disappeared. They, too, were the only court of judicature at which the Roman population, exposed as it was to the extortion of the Byzantine functionaries and officers, could find protection and defence. No wonder then that at scarcely any other time was the papacy so popular in Central Italy, and there was no cause which the native population, who had again begun to organise themselves into bodies of militia, espoused with greater zeal then the freedom and independence of the Roman See. And naturally so, for they took part in the election of the pope as a separate electoral body.
When the Byzantine emperors, infected with cæsaro-papist tendencies, attempted to crush the papacy also, they found in the Roman militia an opposition against which they were able to accomplish nothing. The particularism of Italy awoke and concentrated itself about the pope. When Emperor Justinian II in 692 attempted to have Pope Sergius II (as formerly the unfortunate Martin I) forcibly conveyed to Constantinople to extract from him his assent to the canons of the Trullan Council, convoked by the emperor, the militia of Ravenna and of the Duchy of Pentapolis lying immediately to the south assembled, marched into Rome, and compelled the departure of the emperor's plenipotentiary. Such occurrences were repeated and acquired significance as indicating the popular feeling. When Pope Constantine, the last pope to go to Constantinople (710), rejected the confession of faith of the new emperor, Bardanas, the Romans protested, and refused to acknowledge the emperor or the dux (military ruler) sent by him. Not until news was brought that the heretical emperor had been replaced by one of the true Faith was the dux allowed to assume his office. That was in 713.
Two years later the papal chair, which had last been occupied by seven Oriental popes, was filled by a Roman, Gregory II, who was destined to oppose Leo III the Isaurian in the Iconoclastic conflict. The time was ripening for Rome to abandon the East, turn toward the West, and enter into that alliance with the Germano-Romanic nations, on which is based our Western civilization, of which one consequence was the formation of the States of the Church. It would have been easy for the popes to throw off the Byzantine yoke in Central Italy as early as the time of Iconoclasm. If they resisted the impulse, it was because they correctly recognized that such an attempt would have been premature. They foresaw that the end of the Byzantine supremacy and the beginning of the Lombard power would have been encompassed at the same time. It was necessary first to establish the fact that the Byzantines could no longer protect the pope and the Romans against the Lombards, and then to find a power that could protect them. Both of these conditions were fulfilled in the middle of the eighth century.
Collapse of the Byzantine power in central Italy
The strange shape which the States of the Church were destined to assume from the beginning is explained by the fact that these were the districts in which the population of Central Italy had defended itself to the very last against the Lombards. The two chief districts were the country about Ravenna, the exarchate, where the exarch was the centre of the opposition, and the Duchy of Rome, which embraced the lands of Roman Tuscany north of the Tiber and to the south the Campagna as far as the Garigliano, where the pope himself was the soul of the opposition. Furthermore, the greatest pains were taken, as long as it wa possible, to retain control of the intervening districts and with them communication over the Apennines. Hence the strategic importance of the Duchy of the Pentapolis (Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Sinigaglia, Ancona) and Perugia. If this strategic connexion were broken, it was evident that Rome and Ravenna could not singly maintain themselves for any length of time. This was recognized by the Lombards also.
The same narrow strip of land in fact broke the connexion between their Duchies of Spoleto and Benevento and the main portion of the king's territories in the north, and it was against this therefore that, from the second decade of the eighth century, they aimed their attacks with ever-increasing energy. In the beginning the popes were able repeatedly to wrest from their hands with all what they had gained. In 728 the Lombard king Liutprand took the Castle of Sutri, which dominated the highway at Nepi on the road to Perugia. But Liutprand, softened by the entreaties of Pope Gregory II, restored Sutri "as a gift to the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul". This expression of the "Liber pontificalis" was erroneously interpreted to mean that in this gift the beginning of the States of the Church was to be recognized. This is incorrect inasmuch as the popes continued to acknowledge the imperial Government, and Greek officials appear in Rome for some time longer. True it is, however, that here for the first time we meet the association of ideas on which the States of the Church were to be constructed. The pope asked the Lombards for the return of Sutri for the sake of the Princes of the Apostles and threatened punishment by these sainted protectors. The pious Liutprand was undoubtedly susceptible to such pleas, but never to any consideration for the Greeks. For this reason he gave Sutri to Peter and Paul, that he might not expose himself to their punishment. What the pope then did with it would be immaterial to him.
The belief that the Roman territory (at first in the more restricted, but afterwards also in the wider sense) was defended by the Princes of the Apostles became more and more prevalent. In 738 the Lombard duke Transamund of Spoleto captured the Castle of Gallese, which protected the road to Perugia to the north of Nepi. By the payment of a large sum of money Gregory III induced the duke to restore the castle to him. The pope then sought by an alliance with Duke Transamund to protect himself against Liutprand, but Liutprand conquered Spoleto, besieged Rome, laid waste the Duchy of Rome, and seized four important frontier fortresses (Blera, Orte, Bomarzo, and Amelia), thereby cutting off the communication with Perugia and Ravenna. In this exigency the pope now (739) for the first time turned to the powerful Frankish kingdom, under the protection of which Boniface had begun his successful labours as a missionary in Germany. He sent to Charles Martel, "the powerful mayor of the palace" of the Frankish monarchy and the commander of the Franks in the famous battle at Tours, undoubtedly with the consent of the Greek dux, and appealed to him to protect the tomb of the Apostle. Charles Martel replied to the embassy and acknowledged the gifts, but was unwilling to offer aid against the Lombards, who were helping him against the Saracens. Accordingly the successor of Gregory III, Zacharias (the last Greek who occupied the papal chair) changed the policy that had been previously followed toward the Lombards. He formed an alliance with Liutprand against Transamund, and received (741) in return the four castles. This Zacharias obtained as the result of a personal visit to the camp of the king at Terni. Liutprand also restored a number of patrimonies that had been seized by the Lombards, and furthermore concluded a twenty years' peace with the pope. The duchy now had a respite from Lombard attacks.
The Lombards fell upon Ravenna, which they had already held from 731 to 735. The exarch had no other recourse than to seek the aid of the pope. Liutprand did in fact allow himself to be induced by Zacharias to surrender the greater part of his conquests. Nor was it unimportant that these districts too once owed their rescue to the pope. Only a short time after Liutprand's death (744) Zacharias was successful in further postponing the catastrophe. When Rachis, the Lombard king, was besieging Perugia (749), Zacharias so wrought upon his conscience that the king raised the siege. But as a result of this Rachis was overthrown, and Aistulf, who was put into his place, at once showed by his acts that no consideration could halt him in his course.
In 751 Aistulf conquered Ravenna, and thereby decided the long delayed fate of the exarchate and the Pentapolis. And when Aistulf, who held Spoleto also under his immediate sway, directed his forces against the Duchy of Rome, it seemed that this too could no longer be held. Byzantium could send no troops, and Emperor Constantine V Copronymus, in answer to the repeated requests for help of the new pope, Stephen II, could only offer him the advice to act in accordance with the ancient policy of Byzantium, to pit some other Germanic tribe against the Lombards. The Franks alone were powerful enough to compel the Lombards to maintain peace, and they alone stood in close relationship with the pope. It is true that Charles Martel had on a former occasion failed to respond to the entreaties of Gregory III. But meanwhile the relations between the Frankish rulers and the popes had become more intimate. Pope Zacharias had only recently (751), at Pepin's accession to the throne, spoken the word that removed many doubts in favour of the Carlovingian mayor of the palace. It was not unreasonable, therefore, to expect an active show of gratitude in return, when Rome was most grievously pressed by Aistulf. Accordingly Stephen II secretly sent a letter to Pepin by pilgrims, soliciting his aid against Aistulf and asking for a conference. Pepin in turn sent Abbot Droctegang of Jumièges to confer with the pope, and a little later dispatched Duke Autchar and Bishop Chrodengang of Metz to conduct the pope to the Frankish realm.
Never before had a pope crossed the Alps. While Pope Stephen was preparing for the journey, a messenger arrived from Constantinople, bringing to the pope the imperial mandate to treat once more with Aistulf for the purpose of persuading him to surrender his conquests. Stephen took with him the imperial messenger and several dignitaries of the Roman Church, as well, as members of the aristocracy belonging to the Roman militia, and proceeded first to Aistulf. In 753 the pope left Rome. Aistulf, when the pope met him at Pavia, refused to enter into negotiations or to hear of a restoration of his conquests. Only with difficulty did Stephen finally prevail upon the Lombard king not to hinder him in his journey to the Frankish kingdom.
Intervention of the Franks. Formation of the States of the Church.
The pope thereupon crossed the Great St. Bernard into the Frankish kingdom. Pepin received his guest at Ponthion, and there promised that he'd recover the Exarchate of Ravenna and the other districts seized by Aistulf. The pope then went to St-Denis near Paris, where he concluded a firm alliance of friendship with the first Carlovingian king, probably in January, 754. He anointed King Pepin, his wife, and sons, and bound the Franks under the threat of excommunication never thereafter to choose their kings from any other family than the Carlovingian. At the same time he bestowed on Pepin and his sons the title of "Patrician of the Romans", which title, the highest Byzantine officials in Italy, the exarchs, had borne. Instead of the latter the King of the Franks was now to be the protector of the Romans. The pope in bestowing this title probably acted also in conformity with authority conferred on him by the Byzantine emperor.
In order, however, to fulfill the wishes of the pope Pepin had eventually to obtain the consent of his nobles to a campaign into Italy. This was rendered imperative, when several embassies, which attempted by peaceful means to induce the Lombard king to give up his conquests, returned without accomplishing their mission. At Quiercy on the Oise the Frankish nobles finally gave their consent. There Pepin executed in writing a promise to give to the Church certain territories, the first documentary record for the States of the Church. This document, it is true, has not been preserved in the authentic version, but a number of citations, quoted from it during the decades immediately following, indicate its contents, and it is likely that it was the source of the much interpolated "Fragmentum Fantuzzianum", which probably dates from 778-80. In the original document of Quiercy Pepin promised the pope the restoration of the lands of Central Italy, which had been last conquered by Aistulf, especially in the exarchate and in the Roman Duchy, and of a number of more or less clearly defined patrimonies in the Lombard Kingdom and in the Duchies of Spoleto and Benevento.
The lands were not yet in Pepin's hands. They had therefore first to be conquered by Pepin, and his gift was conditioned by this event. In the summer of 754 Pepin with his army and the pope began their march into Italy, and forced King Aistulf, who had shut himself up in his capital, to sue for peace. The Lombard promised to give up the cities of the exarchate and of the Pentapolis, which had been last conquered, to make no further attacks upon or to evacuate the Duchy of Rome and the districts of Venetia and Istria, and acknowledged the sovereignty of the Franks. For the cities in the exarchate and in the Pentapolis, which Aistulf promised to return, Pepin executed a separate deed for the pope. This is the first actual "Donation of 754". But Pepin had hardly recrossed the Alps on his return home, when Aistulf not only failed to make preparations for the return of the promised cities, but again advanced against Rome, which had to endure a severe siege. The pope sent a messenger by sea, summoning Pepin to fulfil anew his pledge of loyalty.
In 756 Pepin again set out with an army against Aistulf and a second time hemmed him in at Pavia. Aistulf was again compelled to promise to deliver to the pope the cities granted him after the first war and, in addition, Commachio at the mouth of the Po. But this time the mere promise was not considered sufficient. Messengers of Pepin visited the various cities of the exarchate and of the Pentapolis, demanded and received the keys to them, and brought the highest magistrates and most distinguished magnates of these cities to Rome. Pepin executed a new deed of gift for the cities thus surrendered to the pope, which together with the keys of the cities were deposited on the grave of St. Peter (Second Donation of 756).
The Byzantine Government naturally did not approve of this result of the intervention of the Franks. It had hoped through the instrumentality of the Franks to regain possession of the districts that had been wrested from it by the Lombards. But Pepin took up arms, not to render a service to the Byzantine emperor, but for the sake of St. Peter alone, from whose protection he expected earthly happiness and everlasting salvation. Just as kings at that time founded monasteries and endowed them with landed properties, that prayers might be offered for them there, so Pepin wished to provide the pope with temporal territories, that he might be certain of the prayers of the pope. Therefore Pepin answered the Byzantine ambassadors, who came to him before the second expedition of 756 and asked him to return to the emperor the cities to be taken from the Lombards, that he had undertaken the expedition for St. Peter alone and not for the emperor; that to St. Peter alone would he restore the cities.
Thus did Pepin found the States of the Church. The Greeks undoubtedly had the formal right to the sovereignty, but as they had failed to meet the obligation of sovereignty to give protection against foreign enemies, their rights became illusory. If the Franks had not interfered, the territory would by right of conquest have fallen to the Lombards; Pepin by his intervention prevented Rome with the native population from falling into the hands of the foreign conquerors. The States of the Church are in a certain sense the only remnant of the Roman Empire in the West which escaped foreign conquerors. Gratefully did the Roman population acknowledge that they had escaped subjection to the Lombards only through the mediation of the pope. For it was only for the pope's sake that Pepin had resolved to interfere. The results were important, chiefly because the pope through his temporal sovereignty received a guarantee of his independence, was freed from the fetters of a temporal power, and obtained that freedom from interference which is necessary for the conduct of his high office; because the papacy threw off the political ties that bound it to the East and entered into new relations with the West, which made possible the development of the new Western civilization. The latter was destined to become especially prominent under Pepin's son, Charlemagne.
Under Charlemagne the relations with the Lombards soon became strained again. Adrian I complained that the Lombard king Desiderius had invaded the territories of the States of the Church, and reminded Charlemagne of the promise made at Quiercy. As Desiderius also championed the claims of Charlemagne's nephews, he endangered the unity of the Frankish kingdom, and Charlemagne's own interests therefore bade him to oppose Desiderius. In the autumn of 773 Charlemagne entered Italy and besieged Desiderius at Pavia. While the siege was in progress, Charlemagne went to Rome at Easter, 774, and at the request of the pope renewed the promises made at Quiercy. Soon after this Desiderius was forced to capitulate, and Charlemagne had himself proclaimed King of the Lombards in his place. Charlemagne's attitude toward the States of the Church now underwent a change.
With the title of King of the Lombards he also assumed the title as "Patricius Romanorum", which his father had never used, and read into this title rights which under Pepin had never been associated with it. Moreover, differences of opinion arose between Adrian and Charlemagne concerning the obligations which had been assumed by Pepin and Charlemagne in the document of Quiercy. Adrian construed it to mean that Charlemagne should take an elastic concept of the "respublica Romana" to the extent of giving up not only the conquests of Aistulf in the exarchate and in the Pentapolis, but also earlier conquests of the Lombards in Central Italy, Spoleto, and Benevento. But Charles would not listen to any such interpretation of the document. As both parties were anxious to come to an understanding, an agreement was reached in 781. Charlemagne acknowledged the sovereignty of Adrian in the Duchy of Rome and in the States of the Church founded by Pepin's donations of 754-56.
He now executed a new document in which were enumerated all the districts in which the pope was recognized as ruler. The Duchy of Rome (which had not been mentioned in the earlier documents) heads the list, followed by the exarchate and the Pentapolis, augmented by the cities which Desiderius had agreed to surrender at the beginning of his reign (Imola, Bologna, Faenza, Ferrara, Ancona, Osimo, and Umana); next the patrimonies were specified in various groups: in the Sabine, in the Spoletan and Beneventan districts, in Calabria, in Tuscany, and in Corsica. Charlemagne, however, in his character as "Patricius", wanted to be considered as the highest court of appeal in criminal cases in the States of the Church. He promised on the other hand to protect freedom of choice in the election of the pope, and renewed the alliance of friendship that had been previously made between Pepin and Stephen II.
The agreement between Charlemagne and Adrian remained undisturbed. In 787 Charlemagne still further enlarged the States of the Church by new donations: Capua and a few other frontier cities of the Duchy of Benevento, besides several cities in Lombardy, Tuscany, Populonia, Roselle, Sovana, Toscanella, Viterbo, Bagnorea, Orvieto, Ferento, Orchia, Marta, and lastly Città di Castello appear to have been added at that time. All of this, of course, is based upon painstaking deductions, since no document has come down to us either from the time of Charlemagne or from that of Pepin. Adrian in these negotiations proved himself no mean politician, and is justly ranked with Stephen II as the second founder of the States of the Church. His arrangements with Charlemagne remained authoritative for the relations of the later popes with the Carlovingians and the German emperors. These relations were given a brilliant outward expression by Charlemagne's coronation as emperor in 800.
States of the Church
The period of the Carlovingian Emperors
The States of the Church founded by the Carlovingians were the security for the friendly alliance between the papacy and the empire which dominated the Middle Ages. But this friendly alliance also was and remained the necessary condition for the existence of the States of the Church. Without the protection of the great power beyond the Alps the States of the Church could not have been maintained. The worst dangers threatened the States of the Church, not so much from foreign enemies, as from the factions of the nobility in the city of Rome, who were continually engaged in jealous quarrels, each striving to get control of the spiritual and temporal power attaching to the papacy. The degradation of the papacy reached its lowest point when it could obtain no protection from the empire against the lust for power of the factions of the Roman nobility or of the neighbouring patrician families.
This lust for power manifested itself principally at the election of a new pope. For this reason the emperors, when they assumed the responsibility of protecting the States of the Church, also guaranteed a canonical election, and the popes laid great stress upon having this obligation renewed in writing by each new emperor in the confirmation of the old charters. Of these charters the oldest whose text is preserved is the "Hludovicianum" or Pactum of Louis the Pious, i.e. the instrument executed by that monarch for Paschal I in 817. With Paschal's successor, Eugene II, the friendly alliance was, by order of Louis, renewed in 824 by his eldest son and colleague in the empire, Lothair I. The pope, dependent on the protection of the emperor, then granted the emperor new rights, which mark the zenith of the imperial influence under the Carlovingians. The emperor received the right of supervising the government and the administration of justice at Rome through the instrumentality of permanent envoys, and no new pope was to be consecrated until he had, together with the Romans, taken the oath of allegiance to the emperor in the presence of imperial envoys.
In this way the empire received in the "Constitution of Lothair" an indirect influence over the election of the pope and a supervision of the papal government in the States of the Church. But soon after this the Carlovingians were so busily occupied by their dynastic quarrels that they had but little time to concern themselves about Rome. Leo IV had, in concert with some seaport towns of Italy, to take measures personally for the defence of Rome against the Saracens. The soldiers blessed by him won a brilliant victory at Ostia in 849. As the right bank of the Tiber with its Basilica of St. Peter was exposed to the pillage of the Saracens, Leo fortified it with a wall (848-52), and in his honour the part of the city so protected was called Civitas Leonina. In 850 Leo crowned Lothair's son, Louis II, as emperor. Although this emperor bravely opposed the Saracens in Lower Italy with all his power, this power was no longer that of Charlemagne, for Louis's rule extended only over Italy. To the papacy, then represented by Nicholas II, the regency of Louis II was at times a danger rather than a protection. His representative, Duke Lambert of Spoleto, under the pretence of superintending the election of the pope, invaded Rome in 867, and treated it as conquered territory. This was the prelude to the wretched period following the death of Louis (875), when Rome and the pope were placed at the mercy of the neighbouring feudal lords, who had come into Italy with the Carlovingians, and who now quarrelled first with the Carlovingians still ruling beyond the Alps, then among themselves for the apple of discord, the imperial crown. In vain did the able Pope John VIII hope for help and protection from the West Frankish king, Charles the Bald, who had been crowned emperor in 875.
It is true Charles renewed the old charter relative to protection and donations and increased the domain of the States of the Church by new donations (Spoleto and Benevento); he also gave up the claim to have envoys present at the consecration of the pope as well as the assignment to these envoys of the administration of justice. But beyond these donations on paper he did nothing. John VIII, at the head of his fleet at Cape Circeo (877), had to defend himself unaided against the Saracens. Fleeing from the dukes Lambert of Spoleto and Adalbert of Tuscany, who bore themselves as representatives of the imperial power, he went to France, vainly imploring the Carlovingians for help. The East Frank, Charles the Fat, who received the imperial crown from John VIII in 881, likewise did nothing, and Arnulf, who was crowned emperor in 896, was compelled by illness to suspend further interference. Severely did the defenceless pope have to suffer for having summoned him. Pope Stephen V had previously (891) yielded to the urging of Duke Guido of Spoleto and bestowed on him the imperial crown. Stephen's successor, Pope Formosus, had been compelled to give the crown also to Guido's son, Lambert as the associate of his father in the empire (892); he thus incurred the fierce hatred of Lambert, when he afterwards summoned Arnulf to Rome and crowned him emperor. When Lambert, after the death of Formosus, entered Rome in 897, he took a horrible revenge upon the corpse of the pope through the medium of Stephen VI.
The papacy was now completely at the mercy of the struggling factions of the nobility. Benedict IV in 901 crowned as emperor Louis, King of Lower Burgundy, who had been summoned by the Italian nobles. In 915 John X crowned Louis's opponent, the Marquis Berengar of Friuli. Berengar was the last to receive the imperial crown before the founding of the Roman Empire of the German Nation. At Rome itself the greatest influence was won by the family of the later Counts of Tusculum, which traced its descent to the senator and dux, Theophylactus, and whose power was for a time represented by the wife of Theophylactus, Theodora (called Senatrix or Vesteratrix), and her daughters Marozia and Theodora the Younger. The papacy also came under the power of these women. Alberic, the husband of Marozia, with John X, who had been raised to the papacy by the elder Theodora, defeated the Saracens on the Gangliano (916), and thereafter called himself Consul of the Romans.
After his death this rank was transmitted to Marozia, and, on her fall, to his son Alberic. Marozia had John X deposed, and finally had her own son by her first husband placed upon the papal chair as John XI. John XI was entirely dominated by his mother. When Marozia's son, Alberic II, finally put an end to the despotic rule of his mother (932), the Romans proclaimed him their leader, conferred on him all temporal power, and restricted the pope's authority to purely spiritual matters. Alberic, who had a palace on the Aventine, refused the German king Otto I permission to enter Rome, when the latter appeared in Upper Italy in 951. But, when Otto appeared for the second time in Italy, conditions had changed.
From the coronation of Otto I as emperor to the end of the Hohenstaufen line
Alberic II died in 954. In accordance with a promise made to him, the Romans in 955 elected to the papacy as John XII his seventeen-year-old son Octavian, who had succeeded him in the temporal power. This pontiff thus united the spiritual and temporal power, but only in the territory which had been subject to Alberic that is substantially the old Duchy of Rome, or the "Patrimonium Petri". The Pentapolis and the exarchate were in other hands, ultimately falling to King Berengar of Ivrea. To obtain protection against Berengar, John XII called upon Otto I for help. Otto came and on 2 February, 962, received the imperial crown. On 13 February he drew up the charter (still extant in a contemporary calligraphic copy, preserved in the archives of the Vatican), in which he renewed the well-known covenants of his predecessors, increased the donations by the addition of several new ones, and undertook to secure the canonical election of the popes. The pope was not to be consecrated until imperial envoys had assured themselves of the legality of the election and obtained from the pope a sworn promise of allegiance (cf. Th. Sickel, "Das Privilegium Ottos I für die romische Kirche", Innsbruck, 1883).
The necessary condition for the cooperation of emperor and pope was their common opposition to Berengar. This was removed when John XII, who not unreasonably feared Otto's power, entered into secret negotiations with Berengar. Otto thereupon again came to Rome, which the pope had left, and demanded of the Romans an oath that henceforth they would never again elect a pope without the express consent and sanction of the emperor. Therewith the papacy was declared subject to the emperor. This at once became evident, when a synod, over which Otto presided, deposed the pope. But Leo VIII, who was chosen in accordance with Otto's wishes, was unable to remain at Rome without Otto. The Romans, after the death of John XII, elected Benedict V, but Otto sent him into exile at Hamburg. Other afflictions beset John XIII, to secure whose elevation the Romans and Otto had acted in harmony in 966. John needed the protection of the emperor against a rebellious faction of the nobility, whereupon Otto appointed a prefect of Rome and enfeoffed him with drawn sword. In return the pope crowned the son of Otto I (Otto II) with the imperial crown in the next year (967), and later married him to the Greek princess Theophano. Otto II had to render the same protection to the popes of his time. John XIII's successor, Benedict VI, was imprisoned and murdered in the Castle of S. Angelo by hostile nobles. The Frank who was chosen in his place (Boniface VII) had to flee to Constantinople, but the position of Benedict VII, who was raised to the papacy with the consent of Otto II, remained uncertain until Otto in 980 came to Rome, where, after his defeat near Capo Colonne, he died (983) and was buried in St. Peter's. Boniface VII, who returned from Constantinople, had during the minority of Otto's son displaced John XIV, the successor of Benedict VII, and exposed him to death by starvation in the Castle of S. Angelo. And beside John XV, who was made pope after the fall of Boniface VII, the dux, Crescentius, under the usurped title of "Patrician", ruled over Rome, so that the times of an Alberic seemed to have returned.
John V therefore earnestly desired the arrival of a German army. It appeared in 996 under the command of the sixteen-year-old Otto III. As John had died before Otto entered Rome, the German king, whom the Romans had asked to propose a candidate, designated, on the advice of the princes, his relative, the young Bruno, who was then elected at Rome and graced the papal chair as Gregory V (996-99). Crescentius was besieged in the Castle of S. Angelo and beheaded. Gregory V, who crowned Otto III emperor, was the first German pope. His successor, the first French pope, also designated by Otto, was the learned Sylvester II, near whom on the Aventine the emperor desired permanently to make his residence, that he might govern the West as the Roman emperors had once done. The old Roman law and a ceremonial fashioned after Byzantine forms were to be put into effect. But these plans soon came to naught. Only a few years later, in 1002, the youthful and visionary emperor, bitterly disillusioned, died in his camp outside Rome, which had risen against him. And, when Sylvester II also passed away in 1003, John Crescentius, the son of the Crescentius who had been beheaded by Otto III, having possessed himself of the patriciate, seized the government at Rome. After his death the Counts of Tusculum began to contend with the Crescentians for the supremacy, and, in opposition to the pope set up by their opponents, raised one of their own followers to the papal chair as Benedict VIII; the latter was recognized as the lawful pope by Henry II, whom he crowned emperor at Rome on 14 February, 1014.
An intimate friendship united Benedict and Henry. Together they planned a reform of the Church, which unfortunately was not carried out. Benedict was succeeded by his brother, John XIX, a man less worthy of the honour, who had previously held the temporal power in the city, and who as pope for the most part thought only of the interests of his family. These urged him to gain the good will of Henry's successor, Conrad II, whom he crowned emperor at Rome in 1027. The papal dignity sank to a still lower level under the nephew of John XIX, Benedict IX, whose elevation to the papal throne at the age of twenty was secured by his family through simony and violence. When the Romans set up an antipope, Sylvester III, in opposition, Benedict wavered for a time in doubt whether he ought not to resign; finally he relinquished the pontificate to his godfather John Gratian for 1000 pounds of silver. The purchaser had had recourse to this measure only to put an end to the abominable practices of the Tusculan. He called himself Gregory VI, and stood in friendly relations with the Cluniac monks. But as John again asserted his claims, and all three popes had evidently secured the dignity only through simony, the party of reform saw no other remedy than to induce the German king, Henry III, to intervene. Henry III, through the synods of Sutri and Rome, had all three popes deposed. Gregory VI in the capacity of secretary went into exile to Germany with Hildebrand (later Pope Gregory VII). Then, marking the zenith of the German imperial power at Rome, there followed a number of German popes: Clement II, who crowned Henry III emperor in 1046, conferring on him also the rank of Patrician, and with it the right of nomination at papal elections; Damasus II; Saint Leo IX of Alsace, with whom the drift toward ecclesiastical reform finally reached the papal chair; and Victor II.
The reaction soon set in. Under the Burgundian Nicholas II the effort to free the papacy from the commanding influence of the empire becomes clearly noticeable. At the Easter Synod of 1059 the papal election was placed under new regulations; being reposed essentially in the hands of the cardinals. The German king was no longer to have the right of designation, but at most only that of confirmation. As the German Court was unwilling to yield the right of designation without a struggle, which, according to its concept, was conferred together with the hereditary rank of Patrician, the first conflicts between empire and papacy began. In opposition to Alexander II, who was elected to succeed Nicholas II, the German Government set up Bishop Cadalus of Parma (Honorius II). Soon afterward, under Henry IV and Gregory VII, the conflicts broadened out into the conflict concerning investiture. In this contest the papacy had pressing need of a temporal power to support it against the German Empire. This support was destined to be furnished by the Normans, whose state, founded in Lower Italy, became of ever-increasing importance to the papacy.
The relations between the Holy See and the Normans were not always friendly. When these at the time of Leo IX advanced into the Lombard Duchy of Benevento, the Beneventans sought to defend themselves against them by expelling the reigning prince and electing the pope in 1051 as their sovereign. Thus was Benevento added to the States of the Church. Actually, of course, the popes had possession only of the city of Benevento with the district immediately under its jurisdiction, and that only since 1077. Through Benevento Leo IX became involved in a quarrel with the Normans and took the field against them, but was defeated and made captive near Civitate in 1053. The victors, however, did not fail to recognize and to respect in the captive the successor of Peter, and subsequently, as the result of negotiations with Nicholas II, the treaty of Melfi was made in 1059, in which the Normans acknowledged themselves vassals of the Holy See for the conquered territories Benevento was excepted and engaged to pay a yearly tribute. They now also took upon themselves the protection of the papacy and the States of the Church, as well as of the canonical election of the pope. A Norman army under Robert Guiscard rescued Gregory VII in the greatest distress, when Henry IV had come to Rome with his antipope Clement III, received the imperial crown from the latter, and imprisoned Gregory VII in the Castle of S. Angelo. Before the powerful Norman army Henry had to withdraw from Rome in 1084.
A valuable ally of the papacy in its conflict with the empire was the great Countess Matilda of Tuscany, at whose Castle of Canossa King Henry IV appeared in January, 1077, to beg Gregory VII for absolution from the ban of the Church. Matilda had by will bequeathed her freehold estates to the pope, but had also in 1111 made promises to Emperor Henry V, but probably only in such a way that the Roman Church would remain chief owner. The succession to the lands bequeathed by Matilda furnished after her death (1115) a new cause, first for strained relations, then for a quarrel between emperor and pope. This was partly due to the fact that the lands, because of their location, had a high strategic value. Whoever possessed them commanded the passage of the Apennines from the plains of the Po into Tuscany. Henry V at once took possession of the lands, and subsequent kings and emperors to Frederick II also occupied or bestowed them in spite of the repeated protests of the Curia. Amid all this we often see pope and emperor working in harmony. The antipope Anacletus II with his protector, King Roger II of Sicily, was attacked by Emperor Lothair, who took up the cause of Innocent II. Frederick I had Arnold of Brescia, who had openly preached against the temporal power of the popes, executed as a heretic and rebel (1155).
The various matters of dispute, which had led under Frederick I to the eighteen years' conflict with Alexander III and had been then settled in the Treaty of Venice, were again revived when Henry VI, as husband of the Norman heiress Constance, at the death of the childless King William II in 1189, laid claim to the Norman Kingdom, which embraced Sicily and Lower Italy. The pope as lord paramount wished to have the unrestricted disposal of the Norman kingdom, and first bestowed it on the illegitimate Tancred of Lecce. But Henry disregarded this action and conquered the kingdom after Tancred's death in 1194. He desired to transform Italy and Germany into an hereditary monarchy. He also made old parts of the States of the Church subject to him, when in 1195 he placed the Margravate of Ancona, the Duchy of Ravenna, and the ancient exarchate (the Romagna) under the lord high steward of the realm, Markwald of Anweiler, as his viceroy. But with his death in 1197 all the plans for world dominion collapsed. In Italy a national movement was started, which the youthful and energetic Innocent III utilized to reestablish and extend the States of the Church. First of all he enforced the papal authority at Rome itself by exacting an oath of allegiance from the senators as well as from the prefect, previously appointed by the emperor. After this nearly all the towns and villages of the territory bequeathed by Matilda, in the March of Ancona, and in the Duchy of Spoleto, also Assisi and Perugia, submitted to him. Innocent thus became the restorer of the States of the Church.
After the precedent set by Otto IV (Neuss, 8 June, 1201), the son of Henry VI, Frederick II, who had been protected by Innocent III, confirmed anew the States of the Church in their constituent parts by a golden bull executed in the name of the empire at Eger on 12 July, 1213: these parts were the old Patrimony from Ceperano to Radicofani, the March of Ancona, the Duchy of Spoleto, the territories of Matilda, the County of Bertinoro (south of Ravenna), the exarchate, and the Pentapolis. All these new acquisitions and the States of the Church in their entirety were again placed in the greatest jeopardy when the great struggle between Frederick II and the Curia broke out, With the exception of the city of Rome the emperor had brought the States of the Church into his power. Innocent IV fled to his native city cumenical Genoa and thence to Lyons, where at the thirteenth cumenical Council in 1245 he placed Frederick II under the ban of the Church ann deposed him. The conflict raged for several years longer, but the star of the Hohenstaufen was rapidly setting. The emperors son Enzio, commander-in-chief in Central and Upper Italy, was captured by the Bolognese in 1249. The emperor himself died in 1250, and his son Conrad IV died a few years later (1254).
When Frederick's illegitimate son Manfred undertook the continuation of the struggle and had himself crowned at Palermo, the French pope Clement IV summoned to his aid the brother of King Louis IX of France, Charles of Anjou, who had accepted the Kingdom of Lower Italy an a fief of the pope. Charles vanquished Manfred in 1266 at Benevento, and Conradin, the youthful nephew of Manfred and grandson of Frederick II, at Tagliacozzo in 1268, and had this last descendant of the Hohenstaufen house executed in the market-place of Naples. With this the danger to the papacy from the Hohenstaufen was removed, but a worse danger took its place.
From the Avignon Exile to the end of the fifteenth century
The papacy was now not only dependent upon the protection of France, but was also entirely at its mercy. This was seen in the utter disregard shown by Philip the Fair in his attitude toward Boniface VIII and his successors. Clement V, a native of Southern France, did not venture to go to Italy after his election in 1305, but had himself crowned at Lyons, and after 1309 resided at Avignon, which now remained the residence of the popes until 1376. The country about Avignon constituted the County of Venaissin or the Margravate of Provence, which on the ground of a former donation of the Counts of Toulouse in 1273, had been given up to the pope by the French king, Philip III the Bold. The city of Avignon itself first came into the possession of the Holy See by purchase in 1348. During the residence of the popes in Avignon the papal dominion in the States of the Church almost ceased. In Rome the Colonna and Orsini fought for the supremacy. In the other cities the French regents, who were sent from Avignon, found anything but willing obedience. Bologna revolted in 1334 against the pope's relative, Beltram. Cola di Rienzi deluded the Romans with the phantom of a republic.
The state of anarchy was first ended by the Castilian Cardinal Albornoz (see GIL DE ALBORNOZ, ALVAREZ CARILLO), whom Innocent VI sent to the States of the Church as his vicar-general in 1353. Albornoz not only brought the States of the Church under subjection to the pope, but also reorganized them by means of the Ægidian Constitutions, which were in force in the States of the Church until 1816. But the successes of Albornoz were soon nullified again, when the Great Schism occurred during the residence at Avignon. After its termination Martin V (1417-31) sought to establish a centralized monarchy out of the various conflicting rights, privileges, and usurpations and in this had much success. New afflictions were brought by the period of the Renaissance in which visionaries of radical views loved to pose as liberators from tyranny. Thus the conspiracy of Stefano Porcaro alarmed Nicholas V in 1453, and the conspiracy of 1468 alarmed Paul II. Other dangers lay in the growth of power of certain families of the feudal nobility in the States of the Church, in the nepotism of some of the popes, who provided for their relatives at the expense of the States of the church, or in their international policies, for which the States of the Church had to suffer.
From the sixteenth century to the Treaty of Vienna
Under Alexander VI the States of the Church disintegrated into a series of states held by papal relatives of the Borgia family, Cesare Borgia, whom Machiavelli admired, labored earnestly from his Duchy of Romagna to transform the States of the Church into a Kingdom of Central Italy. After his fall (1504) Venice sought to bring the cities on the Adriatic Sea under its power. Julius II then in his impetuous way had recourse to force to reestablish and extend the States of the Church. He conquered Perugia and Bologna and by the League of Cambrai forced Venice to give up Ravenna, Cervia, Faenza, and Rimini. But, after he had been satisfied by the Venetians, he concluded the Holy League for the expulsion of the French from Italy. It is true that the French in 1512 were once more victorious over the troops of the League at Ravenna, but thanks chiefly to the Swiss mercenaries, whom the pope had enlisted through Cardinal Schinner, Julius attained his object.
On the surrender of the Duchy of Milan to Maximilian Sforza, Julius II made a still further gain for the States of the Church, since Parma and Piacenza were taken from the duchy and incorporated in the States of the Church. Reggio and Modena, which belonged to the Duke of Ferrara, were also taken possession of by the pope, but his successor Leo X had to restore these cities to the duke in 1515. A dreadful catastrophe was brought upon Rome by the vacillating policy of Clement VII. The disorderly troops of Charles V overran and plundered the States of the Church, occupied Rome on 6 May, 1527, and for eight days rioted there frightfully (Sacco di Roma). In the Castle of S. Angelo the pope was held captive until 6 December. It was long before these wounds were healed although the pope in 1529 concluded a peace with the emperor at Barcelona and received back the States of the Church. The conclusion of peace was confirmed by the Conference of Bologna, at which Charles V on 24 April, 1530, received the imperial crown from Clement VII.
During this time as well as later a number of districts were for a time separated from the States of the Church and conferred as separate principalities by popes on their relatives. The Rovere pope Sixtus IV had in 1474 made Federigo of Montefeltro Duke of Urbino, and married Federigo's daughter Giovanna to his nephew Giovanni della Rovere. The son of this Giovanni, Francesco Maria della Rovere, came into possession of the Duchy of Urbino in 1508, during the pontificate of the other Rovere pope, Julius II. In addition to this Julius II in 1512 conferred on him the Vicariate of Pesaro, which had previously been a fief in the hands of the Malatesta and since 1445 of the Sforza. Not until the male line of the Rovere became extinct in 1631 were Montefeltro and Urbino together with Pesaro restored to the States of the Church. Pope Paul III in 1545 bestowed Parma and Piacenza as a duchy on his son Pier Luigi Farnese. Even after the Farnese line had become extinct, the duchies reverted, not to the States of the Church, but to a branch of the Spanish Bourbons, and finally in 1860 to Sardinia. To make up for this Ferrara, which had once belonged to Matilda of Canossa as a papal fief, had in 1208 fallen to the Guelph family of Este, and had in 1471 been made a duchy. After the main line of the Este had become extinct in 1597, Ferrara reverted to the States of the Church, and remained part thereof (except during the Napoleonic period) until the Italian annexation in 1860. Modena and Reggio, however, fell in 1597 to a collateral line of the Este as a fief of the empire. Thus the States of the Church before the outbreak of the French Revolution embraced substantially the territory that had belonged to them at the time of Charlemagne, except that some portions of the old Duchy of Spoleto had been added in the south since the time of Innocent III.
Rapid changes came with the time of the French Revolution and of Napoleon. In 1791 the French National Assembly announced the union of Avignon and Venaissin with France, and in the Peace of Tolentino (1797) Pius VI had to give them up, while at the same time relinquishing the legations of Ferrara, Bologna, and Romagna to the Cisalpine Republic. In February, 1798, General Berthier, who had been sent to Rome by Napoleon, formed the rest of the States of the Church into the Roman Republic. The pope, because he would not renounce his claim, was taken away as a captive and eventually confined in Valence, where death soon released him (29 August, 1799). People were already rejoicing that the papacy and the church had come to an end. Their joy was, however, premature. Under the protection of Emperor Francis II the cardinals in 1800 elected Pius VII as pope at Venice.
Hard trials awaited him. It is true that in 1801 Pius VII by Napoleon's favour got back the States of the Church as bounded in the Peace of Tolentino. But the position of the States of the Church remained extremely precarious. Napoleon in 1806 conferred Benevento on Talleyrand and Pontecorvo on Bernadotte. In 1808, because Pius VII would not close his ports to the English, the States of the Church were again occupied and in 1809 completely confiscated. The Marches, Urbino, Camerino, and Macerata were annexed to the newly-created Kingdom of Italy, the rest of the States of the Church to France. Not until the Congress of Vienna, where the able Consalvi represented the pope, were the States of the Church again established (1815), almost in their old dimensions except that Avignon and Venaissin were not restored to the pope, and Austria received a narrow strip along the frontier of the Ferrara district north of the Po and the right of garrisoning Ferrara and Comachio.
From the Peace of Vienna to 1870
The liberal and national ideas prevalent throughout Central Europe undermined the States of the Church, just as they did the rest of Italy, and found expression in the high-sounding phrases "constitution" and "national unification". The French Revolution and Napoleon had awakened these ideas. The name of a Kingdom of Italy, whose crown Napoleon had worn, was not forgotten. With the old conditions, which the congress of Vienna had restored, the people were by no means satisfied. They lamented the division of Italy into various states, bound together by no common bond, and above all the fact that they were ruled by foreigners. The pope and the King of Sardinia alone were looked upon as really native rulers. The other rulers were regarded more or less as foreigners. Naples-Sicily was ruled by the Bourbon line, which had come there in 1738, and which was opposed particularly by Sicily. In Parma and Piacenza also the Bourbon line, first established here in 1748, ruled again, from the death (1847) of Marie-Louise, wife of Napoleon I. In Modena and Tuscany collateral lines of the house of Austria ruled: in the Duchy of Modena, a line which had in 1803 become the heir of the ancient ducal house of Este; in Tuscany, which, after the Medici had become extinct, had fallen to the ducal house of Lorraine, the line sprung from Ferdinand III, brother of Emperor Francis I of Austria. Furthermore, the Austrians were the immediate rulers of the Lombard-Venetian Kingdom. The current of national feeling was directed above all against the rule of the Austrians at Milan and Venice, hated as a government by foreigners, and also against the governments which pursued the policies of and were protected by Austria. Austria's statesman Metternich had at heart the maintenance of the order established by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. As the States of the Church were included among the governments under Austria's protection, they gradually shared the hatred against Austria.
The narrow police spirit of the absolute governments, which did not distinguish between what was justifiable and what was not, promoted the growth of dissatisfaction, which first took shape in secret societies. Carbonarism and freemasonry spread rapidly. The Greek war of independence, which excited universal admiration, aroused the national spirit in Italy. The Sanfedists (per la santa fede), as the loyal Catholics were called, were only a weak support for the Papal Government in the States of the Church. The Carbonari, led by exiles and made fugitives in Paris and yielding to the impression made by the Revolution of July, profited by the vacancy of the papal chair after the death of Pius VIII in 1830, to inaugurate rising in the States of the Church, especially in Bologna. Under the presidency of Mazzini, the founder of the revolutionary society of the "Giovane Italia", delegates assembled at Bologna in 1831, as a parliament of the united provinces, to establish a republican form of government, and elected a provisional government. When the new pope Gregory XVI asked for Austria's assistance, Metternich was ready to intervene without delay. The Austrians restored peace in the States of the Church, as also in Modena and Parma. But hardly had the troops departed, when new disorders broke out, and, in answer to the pope's renewed call for help, the Austrians reappeared at Bologna in 1832 under Radetsky. To neutralize the influence of the Austrians the French Government of Louis Philippe sent to Ancona troops, which remained there as long as the Austrians occupied Bologna (until 1838).
In opposition to the followers of Mazzini there were not lacking for a while men who strove to bring about the unification of Italy with the co-operation of the pope. Their spokesman was at first the former chaplain of King Charles Albert of Sardinia, Vincenzo Gioberti, who in 1843, as an exile in Brussels, wrote the treatise "Il primato morale e civile degli Italiani", a publication which caused a great sensation. He desired that the pope should become the head of the national union of states in Italy, from which the foreign princes were to be excluded. Piedmont, however, was to act as regularly appointed protector of the pope and Italy. The priest, Count Antonio Rosmini, desired an Italian confederation with the pope at its head and two deliberative chambers. He published his ideas in 1848 in the treatise "Delle cinque piaghe della S. Chiesa", in which he also particularly recommended the reform of the Church. The son-in-law of Manzoni, Marchese Massimo d'Azeglo, set forth the perverse political conditions in Italy and especially in the States of the Church more unsparingly in the treatise "Gli ultimi casi di Romagna" (1846), in which he urgently advocated reform, but at the same time warned against conspiracy and revolution. The majority of those who were enthusiastic about the unification of Italy put their hope in Piedmont, "la spada d'Italia". Cesare Balbo in his book "Le speranze d'Italia", which appeared in 1844, expected first of all the founding of a union of the Lombard states.
The demand for reform in the States of the Church was in fact not unjustified. It was expected that it would be inaugurated by Gregory XVI's successor, who was hailed with extravagant hopes, when as Pius IX he ascended the papal chair on 16 June, 1846. Men saw in him the pope of whom Gioberti had dreamed. Pius IX convoked at Rome a council of state composed of representatives of the various provinces, established a formal cabinet council, and sanctioned the formation of a militia in the States of the Church. In addition he suggested to Tuscany and Sardinia the formation of an Italian customs union. But the country was wrought up too highly to continue peacefully and slowly along such a course. The Liberals at Rome were dissatisfied because the laity were excluded from participation in the government of the States of the Church.
Even before the outbreak of the French Revolution of February they forced by a popular uprising the appointment in 1848 of a cabinet of laymen. On 14 March, 1848, Pius IX after long hesitation decided to proclaim the fundamental law for the temporal government of the lands of the Holy See; as in other lands two chambers were to vote upon the laws which were to be drawn up by a council of state. But the chambers were forbidden to interfere in any way in questions purely spiritual or of a mixed character, and the College of Cardinals had the right of veto over the decision of the chambers. This proved unsatisfactory. Pius IX was also expected to accommodate himself to the national desires when Milan and Venice after the outbreak of the revolution in Vienna had risen against the Austrians and Piedmont was preparing to support the uprising. The pope too, it was thought, should draw the sword against Austria.
When Pius IX in an Encyclical announced on 29 April, 1848, that he could never persuade himself to engage in a war against a Catholic power such as Austria, and that he would never assume the headship of an Italian confederation, his popularity in Liberal-National circles was wellnigh at an end. The party of those, who with Gioberti had dreamed of a unification of Italy under the pope, crumbled away. Mazzini made the demand that Rome be erected into a republic. A portion of the civic guard surrounded the Castle of S. Angelo and compelled the pope to appoint Liberal ministers. But the revolutionary republicans would have nothing to do with such a compromise. They became bolder than ever when King Charles Albert was defeated by Radetsky at Custoza on 24-25 July, 1848, and the monarchical national party had thereby met with complete failure. When the Liberal minister Rossi sought to reorganize the States of the Church and at the same time urged on the formation of a confederation of the Italian states, he was stabbed to death on the steps of the Palace of the Cancelleria on 15 November, 1848. On the following day the pope found himself besieged in the Quirinal palace. Only with difficulty could the Swiss Guards protect him from the fury of the populace.
On 24 November Pius IX escaped in disguise to Gaeta in the Kingdom of Naples, whither King Ferdinand II had returned to take command in person. After the flight of the pope an assembly was elected to administer the government, the Roman Republic was proclaimed on 9 February, 1849, and the pope's temporal sovereignty declared abolished. A new, enlightened constitution was enacted and a triumvirate composed of Aurelio Armellini, Carlo Saffi and Mazzini ruled at Rome. In Florence also the republic was proclaimed on 18 February. But reaction followed quickly. This was hastened when the Austrians in a new passage of arms had defeated the Piedmontese at Mortara on 21 March, 1849, and at Novara on 23 March. Charles Albert thereupon resigned in favour of his son Victor Emmanuel II. The Austrians were now more powerful in Upper Italy than ever. They brought back to Florence the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Ferdinand II suppressed the revolution in Sicily. Pius IX was readily heard when he appealed to the Catholic powers for assistance against the republic. To anticipate Austria Louis Napoleon, then president of the Second Republic, with the consent of the Constituent Assembly in Paris, sent a force under General Oudinot into the States of the Church, where besides Mazzini many revolutionaries from all over Italy (including Garibaldi) and other nations had gathered. Oudinot's small force soon after its landing at Civitavecchia was, it is true, at first defeated before Rome. But now the Austrians also entered the States of the Church in the north, in the south the Neapolitans, while in Terracina Spaniards landed. Oudinot received reinforcements and began the siege of Rome, where the revolutionary army was defeated after the bloody battle of the Janiculum (3 June, 1849). Garibaldi with 5000 volunteers cut his way through to continue the struggle in the Apennines. On 2 July, 1849, Oudinot entered Rome and again restored the temporal power of the pope. Pius IX re-entered Rome on 12 April, 1850.
Thus not only the Piedmontese and their followers, but the Republicans also had been routed, and had shown that they were unable to bring about the unity of Italy. By the military power of Austria all of Italy's forces had been shattered. But the object was not abandoned. A different programme was now adopted: to proceed with foreign aid under Piedmont's leadership against the pope. Piedmont sought to retain the sympathies of the Liberals by keeping the constitution, while the remaining governments of Italy had returned to absolutism. Pius IX, bitterly disillusioned, declared the retention of a constitution wholly incompatible with the most vital interests and the canons of the Church, as well as with the independence and freedom of the pope. Between him, the States of the Church, and Italy no efforts could bring about an understanding that was satisfactory to all. A French garrison maintained the sovereignty of the pope at Rome, while the Austrians secured tranquillity in the legations.
The question was: how long would the two foreign powers continue harmoniously side by side in Italy? It was answered when Napoleon III undertook to show Europe the splendour of his imperial power and to force Austria out of its position of military supremacy in Italy. The change of temper in those circles of Italy that were striving for national unification was shown in a new treatise of Gioberti, who in 1843 in his "Primato" had assigned the guidance to the pope. In 1851 he published his book "Rinnovamento civile d'Italia" in which he set forth that the unification could be accomplished without Rome, and even against Rome with the aid of Piedmont. To prepare Piedmont for this rôle was the task of Camillo Cavour, who was made prime minister in 1852. It was also he who found for Sardinia the ally who united with it against Austria. At Plombières, a watering-place in Lorraine, he interested Napoleon in his plans in July, 1859, and measured down to the smallest details were here agreed upon. The Piedmontese succeeded in joining their forces with the French army, and the allies defeated the Austrians at Magenta and Solferino. Napoleon, however, then swiftly concluded with the Emperor Francis Joseph the Peace of Villafranca-Zürich, by the terms of which Austria had to give up Lombardy only, not Venetia; in it provision was also made for an Italian confederation, into which all Italian states, including Austria for Venetia, were to enter, and over which it was intended that the pope should preside. Napoleon feared the intervention of the other powers, and at the same time was eager to show consideration for the feelings of the French Catholics.
In national circles in Italy men were at first furious at the conditions of this treaty of peace. But calm soon returned when it was seen that Napoleon made no preparations to bring back the expelled petty princes, and that the pope would have nothing to do with the rôle assigned to him. Cavour was able to continue his efforts in behalf of his schemes by the secret path of conspiracy. At his instigation apparently independent governments were established at Florence, Modena, and Bologna; in reality, however, these were directed from Turin, and were supported by England, since England did not desire a Kingdom of Italy dependent on France.
In Tuscany, in the district of Modena-Parma, which had formed itself into the Republic of Emilia, and in the legations a vote of the inhabitants was taken, 15-20 March, 1860, which resulted unanimously in favour of annexation to Sardinia. Napoleon himself had half desired this deceptive expedient, by means of which he had himself once risen to power, in order that he might have an excuse for letting matters take their own course. By the same expedient he now had voted to him the indemnity, stipulated in advance, for his interference in Italy, namely Savoy and Nice, which by a popular vote declared themselves for France. The pope did not suffer the annexation of the legations quietly. He excommunicated Victor Emmanuel and those who had assisted him. At the same time he issued a call for the formation of a volunteer army, which was joined by many of the French legitimists. The command of the army was undertaken by a bitter enemy of Napoleon, General Lamoricière, who had distinguished himself in Algeria. In a very short time the volunteer army saw active service. Garibaldi with 1000 armed insurgents had come from Genoa and landed at Marsala in May, 1860, had revolutionized Sicily, and was marching against Naples. The Government at Turin, which had at first allowed Garibaldi to do as he pleased, now saw with displeasure the progress of the Republicans, and feared that these might anticipate it at Rome and Naples. It sent an army to the south. Napoleon, whose consent Cavour had sought for the foreseen clash with the pope, sent word to Turin "Fate presto" (act quickly) and crossed to Algeria that he might not see what was going on. At Castelfidardo, not far from Ancona, the Piedmontese army met the papal forces under Lamoricière, and Lamoricière was defeated on 18 September, 1860.
The Piedmontese occupied the Marches, and then advanced into the Kingdom of Naples. By a vote of the inhabitants on 21 September the population was then allowed to declare itself in favour of annexation to Sardinia. King Francis II of Naples after a brave defence was forced to capitulate at Gaeta on 13 February, 1861, and retired to Rome. All the annexed provinces sent representatives to the Turin Parliament, and Victor Emmanuel II was here proclaimed King of Italy on 13 March, 1861. Rome and Venetia alone were still to be won. Venetia was added to Italy in 1866 as the result of the victories of its ally, Prussia.
At last Rome was also to follow. Napoleon had at the end of December, 1866, withdrawn the small French garrison from Rome. It is true indeed that a foreign legion, composed for the most part of French soldiers and officers, was formed at Antibes to undertake the protection of Rome, but its position was nevertheless very critical. Garibaldi in the autumn of 1867 invaded the States of the Church with his insurgents. Then Napoleon once more sent a force from Toulon, which together with the papal army repulsed the forces of Garibaldi near Mentana, northeast of Rome on 3 November, 1867. The French garrison after this remained in Rome, since the Parisian Government had to yield to the wishes of the Catholics of France. Not until 20 July, 1870, after the Franco-German War had broken out, were the troops withdrawn. After Napoleon had been taken prisoner at Sedan, the Kingdom of Italy, which had removed its capital to Florence in 1865, sent troops against Rome under Gen. Raffaele Cadorna, and these on 20 September, 1870, entered the city through the breach at the Porta Pia. A vote, which declared in favour of annexation to Turin, was here also to give approval to the occupation.
Pius IX excommunicated all participants in and authors of the occupation of the States of the Church. Most Catholics condemned the actions of Italy. To protect itself against the remonstrances, Italy on 13 May, 1871, issued the so-called Law of the Guarantees, which was to secure to the pope his sovereignty, the inviolability of his person, as well as the freedom of the conclave and of the cumenical councils. In addition to this a yearly pension of 3,225,000 lire was voted to him. The Vatican, the Lateran, and the country-seat Castel Gandolfo were declared extra-territorial. But Pius IX to maintain his protests against the seizure of the States of the Church refused to accept the law, and shut himself up in the Vatican. Despite the protestations of the pope, Rome was declared the capital of Italy on 30 June, 1871.
While the official issue of the Roman question was considered settled with the Lateran treaty of 1929, the Roman question itself remains controversial to the present day, since its solution by Italy was absolutely one-sided, and was brought about by violence.
For the successor state established by the Lateran treaty, see Vatican City.
Depictions in fiction
- Playable in Europa Universalis and some of its spinoffs.
- Not playable, but still very important, in the medieval-era games of the Total War series.
- Likewise in Crusader Kings. In II and III, the above-mentioned Matilda of Canossa will very often be the nemesis of Henry IV.
- The setting of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. The main villain of the game is also the Captain General of the Papal States' army.