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Roman Revival Campaign - Crusader Kings II #10

Revelation Revelation These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. He will not return until this prophecy of 10 rulers who form an end-time superpower is fulfilled.

As history shows, the Roman Empire has fallen, risen and fallen several times in the past. They will resurge once more—yet will end in utter disaster. In Revelation 19 we find out who destroys this final empire. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.

And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. The last superpower of men described in Bible prophecy will be replaced by the final superpower—the Kingdom of God, led by Jesus Christ, which will rule the entire world.

Since the invasion of Alboin, Italy had groaned under a complication of evils. The Lombards who had entered along with that chief in ad had settled in considerable numbers in the valley of the Po, which became the seat of their kingdom, and had founded the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, leaving the Adriatic coast as well as Rome and the Southern provinces to be governed by the exarch of Ravenna as viceroy of the Eastern crown.

This subjection was, however, little better than nominal. Although too few to occupy the whole peninsula, the invaders were yet strong enough to harass every part of it by inroads which met with little resistance from a population unused to arms, and without the spirit to use them in self-defence.

More cruel and repulsive, if we may believe the evidence of their enemies, than any other of the Northern tribes, the Lombards were certainly singular in their aversion to the clergy, never admitting them to the national councils. Tormented by their repeated attacks, Rome sought help in vain from Constantinople, whose forces, scarce able to repel from her walls the Avars and Saracens, could give no support to the distant exarch of Ravenna. In the controversies that had raged in the Church, he had had the wisdom or good fortune to espouse though Edition: current; Page: [ 38 ] not always from the first c the orthodox side: it was now by another quarrel of religion that his deliverance from an unwelcome yoke was accomplished.

Iconoclastic controversy, ad The Emperor Leo, born among the Isaurian mountains, where a simpler faith may yet have lingered, and stung by the Mohammedan taunt of idolatry, determined to abolish the worship of images, which seemed to be fast obscuring the more spiritual part of Christianity. An attempt which had been sufficient to cause tumults among the submissive populations of the East excited in Italy a fiercer commotion.

The people rose with one heart in defence of what had become to them more than a symbol: the exarch was slain: the Pope, though unwilling to sever himself from the lawful head and protector of the Church, must yet resist and rebuke the prince whom he could not reclaim from so hateful a heresy. Falling on the Exarchate as the champion of images, on Rome as the pretended ally of the Emperor, he overran the one, and all but succeeded in capturing the other.


Overawing Liudprand by the majesty of his office, the Pope escaped for the moment, but he saw his peril. Placed between a heretic and an invader, he turned his gaze beyond the Alps, to a Catholic chief who had just achieved a signal deliverance for Christendom by his defeat of the Spanish Musulmans on the field of Poitiers.

Gregory II, though his reluctance to break with the Eastern Empire led him to dissuade the North Italians from the notion of setting up an Emperor against Leo, e had already opened communications Edition: current; Page: [ 39 ] with Charles Martel, mayor of the palace, and virtual ruler of the Frankish realm. The Popes appeal to the Franks. As the crisis becomes more pressing, Gregory III who had excommunicated the Iconoclasts in a synod at Rome finds in the same quarter his only hope, and appeals to him, in urgent letters, to hasten to the succour of Holy Church. It is at least certain that here begins the connection of the old imperial seat with the rising Germanic power: here first the pontiff leads a political movement, and shakes off the ties that bound him to his legitimate sovereign.

Charles died before he could obey the call; but his son Pipin surnamed the Short made good use of the new friendship with Rome. He was the third of his family who had ruled the Franks with the full power of a monarch: it seemed time to abolish the pageant of Merovingian royalty; yet a departure from the ancient line might shock the feelings of the people.

A course was taken whose dangers no one then foresaw: the Holy See, now for the first time invoked as an international or supranational power, pronounced the deposition of the feeble Merovingian Childeric, ad Pipin patrician of the Romans, ad The compact between the chair of Peter and the Teutonic throne was hardly sealed, when the latter was summoned to discharge its share of the duties. Twice did Aistulf the Lombard assail Rome, Edition: current; Page: [ 40 ] twice did Pipin descend to the rescue: the second time at the bidding of a letter written in the name of St.

Peter himself. Import of this title. As a foreshadowing of the higher dignity that was to follow, this title requires a passing notice. Introduced by Constantine at a time when its original meaning had been long forgotten, it was designed to be, and for awhile remained, the name not of an office but of a rank, the highest after those of emperor and consul.

As such, it was usually conferred upon provincial governors of the first class, and in time also upon barbarian potentates whom the imperial court might wish to flatter or conciliate. Thus Odoacer, Theodorich, the Burgundian king Sigismund, Clovis himself, had all received it from the Eastern Emperor; so too in still later times it was given to Saracenic and Bulgarian princes.

It was doubtless with such a meaning that the Romans and their bishop bestowed it upon the Frankish kings, acting quite without legal right, for it could emanate only from the Emperor, but choosing it as the title which bound its possessor to render to the Church support and defence against her Lombard foes. Extinction of the Lombard kingdom by Charles, king of the Franks. So long indeed as the Franks were separated by a hostile kingdom from their new allies, this control of Rome remained little better than nominal.

Proceeding to Rome at the head of his victorious army, the first of a long line of Teutonic kings who were to experience alternately her love and her hate, he was Edition: current; Page: [ 42 ] received by Hadrian with distinguished honours, and welcomed by the people as their leader and deliverer. Yet even then, whether out of policy or from that sentiment of reverence to which his ambitious mind did not refuse to bow, he was moderate in claims of jurisdiction, he yielded to the pontiff the place of honour in processions, and renewed, although in the guise of a lord and conqueror, the gift of the Exarchate and Pentapolis, which Pipin had made to the Roman Church twenty years before.

Charles and Hadrian. It is with a strange sense, half of sadness, half of amusement, that in watching the progress of this grand historical drama we recognize a mixture of higher and lower motives in the minds of the chief actors.

Western Roman Empire

The Frankish king and the Roman pontiff were for the time the two most powerful forces that urged the movement of the world, leading it on by swift steps to a mighty crisis of its fate, themselves guided, as it might well seem, by the purest zeal for its spiritual welfare. Their words and acts, their character and bearing in the sight of expectant Christendom, were worthy of men destined to leave an indelible impress on their own and many succeeding ages.

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Nevertheless in them too appears the undercurrent of material interests. The lofty and fervent mind of Charles was not free from the stirrings of personal ambition: yet these may be excused as being almost inseparable from an intense and restless genius, which, be it never so unselfish in its ends, must in pursuing them fix upon everything its grasp and raise out of everything its monument.

So too in the policy of the Popes the desire to secure spiritual independence was mingled with less noble motives. Ever since the disappearance of an Emperor from Italian soil had virtually emancipated the ecclesiastical potentate from secular control, the most abiding object of his schemes and prayers had been the Edition: current; Page: [ 43 ] acquisition of territorial wealth in the neighbourhood of his capital. He had indeed a sort of justification, for Rome, a city with neither trade nor industry, was crowded with poor, for whom it devolved on the bishop to provide. And it was the same lust after worldly wealth and pomp, mingled with the dawning prospect of an independent principality, that now began to seduce them into a long course of guile and intrigue.

For this is probably the very time, although neither the exact date nor the complicity of any Pope can be established, to which must be assigned the extraordinary forgery of the Donation of Constantine, whereby it was pretended that power over Italy and the whole West had been granted by the first Christian Emperor to Pope Sylvester and his successors in the Chair of the Apostle. For the next twenty-four years Italy remained quiet. The government of Rome was carried on in the name of the Patrician Charles, although it does not appear that he sent thither any official representative; while at the same time both the city and the Exarchate continued to admit the nominal suzerainty of the Eastern Emperor, employing Edition: current; Page: [ 44 ] the years of his reign to date documents.

Southern Italy, which had received only a slight infusion of Teutonic blood, and to which the Greek tongue—its use recently increased by an immigration of Greek refugees during the Iconoclastic troubles—was still familiar, had remained loyal to the East Roman princes, and continued to form part of their realm till the rise of the Norman kingdom in the eleventh century.

Peter, asking that some officer should be deputed to the city to receive from the people their oath of allegiance to the Patrician. In ad a sedition broke out: the Pope, going in solemn procession from the Lateran to the church of S. Lorenzo in Lucina, was attacked by a band of armed men, headed by two officials of his court, nephews of his predecessor; was wounded and left for dead, and with difficulty succeeded in escaping to Spoleto, whence he fled northward into the Frankish lands. Charles had led his army against the revolted Saxons: thither Leo following overtook him at Paderborn in Westphalia.

The king received with respect his spiritual father, entertained and conferred with him for some time, and at length sent him back to Rome under the escort of Angilbert, one of his trustiest ministers; promising to follow ere long in person. After some months peace was restored in Saxony, and in the autumn of Charles descended from the Alps once more, while Leo revolved deeply the great scheme for whose accomplishment the time was now ripe. Belief in the Roman Empire not extinct.

Three hundred and twenty-four years had passed since the last Caesar of the West resigned his power into the hands of the senate, and left to his Eastern brother the Edition: current; Page: [ 45 ] sole headship of the Roman world. To the latter Italy had from that time been nominally subject; but it was only during one brief interval between the death of Teia the last Ostrogothic king and the descent of Alboin the first Lombard that his power had been really effective. In the further provinces, Gaul, Spain, Britain, it was only a memory.

We have seen the Teuton endeavouring everywhere to identify himself with the system he overthrew. As Goths, Burgundians, and Franks sought the title of consul or patrician, as the Lombard kings when they renounced their Arianism styled themselves Flavii, so even in distant England the fierce Saxon and Anglian conquerors used the names of Roman dignities, and after a time began to call themselves imperatores and basileis of Britain.

Within the last century and a half the rise of Mohammedanism, l a vast religious community which was also a vast temporal dominion, had brought out the common Christianity of Europe into a fuller relief, while the march of Saracenic invasion exposed Italy to terrible dangers.

The False Prophet had left one religion, one Empire, one Commander of the faithful: the Christian commonwealth needed more than ever an efficient head and centre. Such leadership it could no wise Edition: current; Page: [ 46 ] find in the Court on the Bosphorus, shaken by the Arab conquests, and growing ever more alien to the West. Its government, which had from the first been tinged with a Greco-Asiatic colour, had now drifted away from its ancient traditions into the forms of an Oriental despotism.

Motives of the Pope. The Pope had no reason to wish well to the East Roman princes, who, while insulting his weakness, had given him no help against the savage Lombards, and who for nearly seventy years n had been contaminated by a heresy the more odious that it touched not speculative points of doctrine but the most familiar usages of worship.

In North Italy their power was extinct: no pontiff since Zacharias had asked their confirmation of his election: nay, the appointment of the intruding Frank to the patriciate, an office which it belonged to the Emperor to confer, was of itself an act of rebellion. Nevertheless their rights subsisted in theory: they were still, and while they retained the imperial name must so long continue, titular sovereigns of the Roman city.

Nor could the spiritual head of Christendom dispense with the temporal head; without the Roman Empire there could not be a Roman nor by necessary consequence as was Edition: current; Page: [ 47 ] believed a Catholic and Apostolic Church. Moved by these ideas and pressed by these needs the Pope took a step which some among his predecessors are said to have already contemplated, p and towards which the events of the last fifty years had pointed.

The moment was opportune. The widowed Empress Irene, famous alike for her beauty, her talents, and her crimes, had deposed and blinded her son Constantine VI: a woman, a usurper, almost a parricide, sullied the throne of the world.

By what right, it might well be asked, did the factions of a distant city in the East impose a master on the original seat of empire? It was time to provide better for the most august of human offices: an election at Rome was as valid as at Constantinople: the possessor of the real power should be clothed with the outward dignity also. Nor could it be doubted where that possessor was to be found. The Frank had been always faithful to Rome: his baptism was the enlistment of a new barbarian auxiliary. He was now unquestioned lord of Western Edition: current; Page: [ 48 ] Europe, whose subject nations, Celtic and Teutonic, were eager to be called by his name and to adopt his customs.

Coronation of Charles at Rome, ad At length the Frankish host entered Rome. The charges brought against the Pope were heard; his innocence, already vindicated by a miracle, was pronounced by the Patrician in full synod; his accusers were condemned in his stead. Charles remained in the city for some weeks; and on Christmas Day, ad , s he heard mass in the basilica of St. Nothing could be less like than was this basilica to those Northern cathedrals, shadowy, fantastic, irregular, crowded with pillars, fringed all round by clustering shrines and chapels, which are to most of us the types of mediaeval architecture.

In its plan and decorations, Edition: current; Page: [ 49 ] in the spacious sunny hall, the roof plain as that of a Greek temple, the long row of Corinthian columns, the vivid mosaics on its walls, in its brightness, its sternness, its simplicity, it had preserved every feature of Roman art, and had remained a perfect expression of Roman character.

The coronation of Charles is not only the central event of the Middle Ages, it is also one of those very few events of which, taking them singly, it may be said that if they had not happened, the history of the world would have been different. In one sense indeed it has scarcely a parallel. The assassins of Julius Caesar thought that they had saved Rome from monarchy, but monarchy came inevitable in the next generation. The conversion of Constantine changed the face of the world, but Christianity was spreading fast, and its ultimate triumph was only a question of time.

Had Columbus never spread his sails, the secret of the Western sea would yet have been pierced by some later voyager: had Charles V broken his safe-conduct to Luther, the voice silenced at Wittenberg would have been taken up by echoes elsewhere. But if the Roman Empire had not been restored in the West in the person of Charles, it would never have been restored at all, and the endless train of consequences for good and for evil that followed could not have been.

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Why this was so may be seen by examining the history of the next two centuries. In that day, as through all the Dark and Middle Ages, two forces were striving for the mastery. The one was the instinct of separation, disorder, anarchy, caused by the ungoverned impulses and barbarous ignorance of the great bulk of mankind; the other was that passionate longing of the better minds for a formal unity Edition: current; Page: [ 51 ] of government, which had its historical basis in the memories of the old Roman Empire, and its most constant expression in the devotion to a visible and catholic Church.

The former tendency was, in secular affairs, the stronger, but the latter, used and stimulated by an extraordinary genius like Charles, achieved in the year a victory whose results were never to be lost. When the hero was gone, the returning wave of anarchy and barbarism swept up violent as ever, yet it could not wholly obliterate the past: the Empire, maimed and shattered though it was, had struck its roots too deep to be overthrown by force, and when it perished at last, perished from inner decay. It was just because men felt that no one less than Charles could have won such a triumph over the evils of the time, by framing and establishing a gigantic scheme of government, that the excitement and hope and joy which the coronation evoked were so intense.

Their best evidence is perhaps to be found not in the records of that time itself, but in the cries of lamentation that broke forth when the Empire began to dissolve towards the close of the ninth century, in the marvellous legends which attached themselves to the name of Charles the Emperor, a hero of whom any exploit was credible, a in the devout admiration wherewith his German successors looked back to, and strove in all things to imitate, their all but superhuman prototype.

Import of the coronation.

Holy Roman Empire

As the event of ad made an unparalleled impression on those who lived at the time, so has it engaged the attention of men in succeeding ages, has been viewed in the most opposite lights, and become the theme of interminable controversies. It is better to look at it simply as it appeared to the men who witnessed it. Here, as in so many other cases, may be seen the errors into which jurists have been led by the want of historical feeling. In rude and unsettled states of society men respect forms and obey facts, while careless of rules and principles.

In England, for example, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, it signified comparatively little whether an aspirant to the throne was next lawful heir, but it signified a great deal whether he had been duly crowned and was supported by a strong party. Regarding the matter thus, it is not hard to see why those who, writing seven centuries afterwards, judged the actors of ad as they would have judged their contemporaries, should have misunderstood the nature of that which then came to pass. Baronius and Bellarmine, Spanheim and Conring, are advocates bound to prove a thesis, and therefore believing it; nor does either party find any lack of plausible arguments.

Neither the instances cited by the Cardinal from the Old Testament of the power of priests to set up and pull down princes, nor those which shew the earlier Emperors controlling the bishops of Rome, really meet the question. Pope Leo acted not as having alone the right to transfer the crown; the practice of hereditary succession and the theory of Edition: current; Page: [ 53 ] popular election would have equally excluded such a claim.

He was the spokesman of the popular will, which, identifying itself with the sacerdotal power, hated the Easterns and was grateful to the Franks. Yet he was also something more. The act, as it specially affected his interests, was mainly his work, and without him would never have been brought about at all. The Emperor was passive throughout; he did not, as in Lombardy, appear as a conqueror, but was received by the Pope and the people as a friend and ally. Rome no doubt became his capital, but it had already obeyed him as Patrician, and the greatest fact that stood out to posterity from the whole transaction was that the crown was, if not bestowed, yet at least imposed, by the hands of the pontiff.

He seemed the divinely appointed agent through whom the will of God expressed itself. Contemporary accounts. The best way of shewing the thoughts and motives of those concerned in the transaction is to transcribe the narratives of three contemporary, or almost contemporary annalists, two of them German and one Italian. The Annals of Lauresheim say:—. Whose petition king Charles willed not to refuse, but submitting himself with all humility to God, and at the prayer of the priests and of the whole Christian people, on the day of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ he took on himself the name of Emperor, being consecrated by the lord Pope Leo.

Very similar in substance is the account of the Chronicle of Moissac ad ann. And when the people had made an end of chanting the Laudes, he was adored by the Pope after the manner of the emperors of old. For this also was done by the will of God. For while the said Emperor abode at Rome certain men were brought unto him, who said that the name of Emperor had ceased among the Greeks, and that among them the Empire was held by a woman called Irene, who had by guile laid hold on her son the Emperor, and put out his eyes, and taken the Empire to herself, as it is written of Athaliah in the Book of the Kings; which when Leo the Pope and all the assembly of the bishops and priests and abbots heard, and the senate of the Franks and all the elders of the Romans, they took counsel with the rest of the Christian people, that they should name Charles king of the Franks to be Emperor, seeing that Edition: current; Page: [ 55 ] he held Rome the mother of empire where the Caesars and Emperors were always used to sit; and that the heathen might not mock the Christians if the name of Emperor should have ceased among the Christians.

These two accounts are both from a German source: that which follows is Roman, written probably within some fifty or sixty years of the event. Thereon the most holy pontiff anointed Charles with holy oil, and likewise his most excellent son to be king, upon the very day of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; and when the mass was finished then after the mass the most serene lord Emperor offered gifts.

In these three accounts there is no serious discrepancy as to the facts, although the Italian priest, as is natural, heightens the importance of the part played by the Pope, Edition: current; Page: [ 56 ] while the Germans are more disposed to rationalize the event, talking of a synod of the clergy, a consultation of the people, and a formal request to Charles, which the silence of Eginhard, as well as the other circumstances of the case, forbid us to accept as literally true. Similarly the Roman narrative passes over the adoration rendered by the Pope to the Emperor, upon which most of the Frankish records insist in a way which puts it beyond doubt.

Impression which they convey. But the impression which the three accounts leave is essentially the same. They all shew how hard it is to give a technical character to the transaction as an act either of conquest or of election. The Frankish king does not of his own might seize the crown, but rather receives it as coming naturally to him, as the legitimate consequence of the authority he already enjoyed. The Roman people do not formally choose and appoint, but by their applause accept the chief who is presented to them.

The act is conceived of as directly ordered by the Divine Providence which has brought about a state of things that admits of but one issue, an issue which king, priest, and people have only to recognize and obey; their personal ambitions, passions, intrigues, sinking and vanishing in reverential awe at what seems the immediate interposition of Heaven. And it was just because everything was thus left undetermined, resting Edition: current; Page: [ 57 ] not on express stipulation but rather on a sort of mutual understanding, Later theories respecting the coronation.

Four centuries later, when Papacy and Empire had been forced into the mortal struggle by which the fate of both was decided, three distinct theories regarding the coronation of Charles will be found advocated by three different parties, all of them plausible, all of them to some extent misleading. The Swabian Emperors held the crown to have been won by their great predecessor as the prize of conquest, and drew the conclusion that the citizens and bishop of Rome had no rights as against themselves.

The patriotic party among the Romans, appealing to the early history of the Empire, declared that only by the voice of their senate and people could an Emperor be lawfully created, he being their chief magistrate, the temporary depositary of their authority. Of these three it was the last view that eventually tended to prevail, yet to an impartial eye it cannot claim, any more than do the two others, to contain the whole truth. Charles did not conquer, nor the Pope give, nor the people elect. Was the coronation a surprise? It is an interesting and somewhat perplexing question, how far the coronation scene, an act as imposing in its circumstances as it was momentous in its results, was prearranged among the parties.

Of the existence of the motive that has been most commonly assumed, a fear of the discontent of the Franks who might think their liberties endangered, little or no proof can be brought from the records of the time, wherein the nation is represented as exulting in the new dignity of their chief as an accession of grandeur to themselves.

Yet it is hard to suppose the whole affair a surprise; for it was the goal towards which the policy of the Frankish kings had for many years pointed, and Charles himself, in sending before him to Rome many of the spiritual and temporal magnates of his realm, in summoning thither his son Pipin from a war against the Lombards of Benevento, had shewn that he expected some more than ordinary result from this journey to the imperial city. The Pope, whatever his confidence in the sympathy of the people, would never have ventured on so momentous a step until previous conferences had assured him of the feelings of the king, nor could an act for which the assembly were evidently prepared have been kept a secret.

Nevertheless, the declaration of Charles himself can neither be evaded nor set down to mere dissimulation. It is more fair to him, and on the whole more reasonable, to suppose that Leo, having satisfied himself of the wishes of the Roman clergy and people as well as of Edition: current; Page: [ 60 ] the Frankish magnates, resolved to seize an occasion and place so eminently favourable to his long-cherished plan, while the king, carried away by the enthusiasm of the moment and seeing in the pontiff the prophet and instrument of the divine will, accepted a dignity which he might have wished to receive at some later time or in some other way.

And although a deed which changed the history of the world was in any case no accident, it may well have worn to the Frankish and Roman spectators the air of a surprise. The reluctance of Charles to assume the imperial title has been variously explained. True it is that when the time came for his son to be crowned as co-emperor, Charles himself set the crown on the head of Lewis. Yet Pope Leo had been so humble towards Charles, so far from advancing those pretensions to supremacy which, foreshadowed by Pope Nicholas I sixty years later, appeared full-blown under Gregory VII, that we may doubt whether the Emperor could have perceived all that lay involved in the imposition of the crown by papal hands.

Eginhard l himself seems to hint that Charles feared the jealous hostility of the Eastern Court, which could not only deny his claim to the title, but might disturb by intrigues his dominions in Italy. Accepting this statement, the problem remains, how is this reluctance to be reconciled with those acts of his which clearly shew him aiming at the Roman crown? A probable solution is suggested by a distinguished historian, m who argues from a minute examination of the previous policy of Charles, that while it was the great object of his reign to obtain the crown of the world, he foresaw at the same time the opposition of the East Roman Court, and the want of legality from which his title would in consequence suffer.

He was therefore bent on getting from the Eastern rulers, if possible, a transference of their crown; if not, at least a recognition of his own: and he appears to have hoped to win this by the negotiations which had been for some time kept on foot with the Empress Irene. Just at this moment came the coronation by Edition: current; Page: [ 62 ] Pope Leo, interrupting these deep-laid schemes, irritating Constantinople, and forcing Charles into the position of a rival who could not with dignity adopt a soothing or submissive tone.

Nevertheless, he seems not even then to have abandoned the hope of obtaining a peaceful recognition. And when the project of thus uniting the East and West in a single Empire, baffled for a time by the opposition of her minister Aetius, was rendered impossible by her subsequent dethronement and exile, he did not abandon the policy of conciliation until a surly acquiescence in, rather than admission of, his dignity had been won from the Eastern Emperor Nicephorus and confirmed by his successor Michael. Defect in the title of the Teutonic Emperors.

Whether, supposing Leo to have been less precipitate, a cession of the crown, or an acknowledgement of the right of the Romans to confer it, could ever have been obtained by Charles is more than doubtful. To shew how this was so, reference must be made to the events of ad Both the extinction of the Western Empire in that year and its revival in ad have been generally misunderstood in modern times, and Edition: current; Page: [ 63 ] although the mistake is not, in a certain sense, of practical importance, yet it tends to confuse history and to blind us to the ideas of the people who acted on both occasions.

When Odoacer compelled the abdication of Romulus Augustulus, he did not abolish the Western Empire as a separate power, but caused it to be reunited with or sink into the Eastern, so that from that time there was, as there had been before Diocletian, a single undivided Roman Empire. In ad the very memory of the separate Western Empire, as it had stood from the death of Theodosius till Odoacer, had, so far as appears, been long since lost, and neither Leo nor Charles nor any one among their advisers dreamt of reviving it. They too, like their predecessors, held the Roman Empire to be one and indivisible, and proposed by the coronation of the Frankish king not to proclaim a severance of the East and West, but to reverse the act of Constantine, and make Old Rome again the civil as well as the ecclesiastical capital of the Empire that bore her name.

Their deed was in its essence illegal, but they sought to give it every semblance of legality: they professed and partly believed that they were not revolting against a reigning sovereign, but legitimately filling up the place of the deposed Constantine the Sixth, the people of the imperial city exercising their ancient right of choice, their bishop his right of consecration.

Their purpose was but half accomplished. They could create, but they could not destroy. They set up an Emperor of their own, whose representatives thenceforward reigned in the West, but Constantinople, which they did not attempt to reduce to obedience, retained her sovereigns as of yore; and Christendom saw henceforth two imperial lines, not as in the time before ad , the conjoint heads of a single realm, but always rivals and usually enemies, each denouncing the other as a pretender, each professing Edition: current; Page: [ 64 ] to be the only true and lawful head of the Christian Church and people.

Although therefore we must in practice speak during the next seven centuries down till ad , when Constantinople fell before the Turkish Sultan Mohammed II of an Eastern and a Western Empire, the phrase is in strictness incorrect, and was one which either court ought to have repudiated. The Byzantines almost always did repudiate it; p the Latins usually; although, yielding to facts, they sometimes condescended to employ it themselves.

But their theory was always the same. Charles was held to be the legitimate successor, not of Romulus Augustulus, but of Constantine VI, of his father Leo IV, of Heraclius, Justinian, Arcadius, and the whole Eastern line; and hence it is that in the annals of the time and of many succeeding centuries, the name of Constantine VI, the sixty-seventh in order from Augustus, is followed without a break by that of Charles, the sixty-eighth. Government of Charles as Emperor. But from their enmity he had little to fear, and in the eyes of the world he seemed to step into their place, adding the traditional dignity which had been theirs to the power that he already enjoyed.

Within his own dominions the sway of Charles assumed a more sacred character. His authority in matters ecclesiastical. Already had his unwearied and comprehensive activity made him throughout his reign an ecclesiastical no less than a civil ruler, summoning and sitting in councils, examining and appointing bishops, settling by capitularies the smallest points of church discipline and polity.

A synod held at Frankfort in ad condemned the decrees of the second Council of Nicaea, which had been approved by Pope Hadrian, censured severely the conduct of the Eastern Emperors in suggesting them, and without excluding images from churches, altogether forbade them to be worshipped or even venerated. Not only did Charles preside in and direct the deliberations of this synod, although legates from the Pope were present—he also caused a treatise to be drawn up stating and urging its conclusions; he pressed Hadrian to declare Constantine VI a heretic for denouncing doctrines to which Hadrian had himself consented.

The imperial office in its ecclesiastical relations. Acting and speaking thus when merely king, it may be thought that Charles needed no further title to justify his power. The inference is in truth rather the converse of this. Upon what he had done already the imperial title Edition: current; Page: [ 66 ] would naturally follow: the attitude of protection and control which he held towards the Church and the Holy See belonged, according to the ideas of the time, properly and only to an Emperor.

His coronation was, therefore, the fitting completion and legitimation of his authority, sanctifying rather than increasing it. We have, however, one remarkable witness to the importance that was attached to the imperial name, and the enhancement which he conceived his office to have received from it. In a great assembly held at Aachen, Capitulary of ad Firstly, it binds those who swear it to live, each and every one of them, according to his strength and knowledge, in the holy service of God; since the lord Emperor cannot extend over all his care and discipline. Secondly, it binds them neither by force nor fraud to seize or molest any of the goods or servants of his crown.

Thirdly, to do no violence nor treason towards the holy Church, or to widows, or orphans, or strangers, seeing that the lord Emperor has been appointed, after the Lord and His saints, the protector and defender of all such. There God, the invisible object of worship, is also, by necessary consequence, the judge and ruler of Israel; here the whole cycle of social and moral duty is deduced from the obligation of obedience to the visible autocratic head of the Christian state.

Holy Roman Empire | Definition, History, Capital, & Significance |

Among his intimate friends he chose to be called by the name of David, exercising in reality all the powers of the Jewish king; presiding over this kingdom of God upon earth rather as a second Constantine or Theodosius than in the spirit and traditions of the earlier successors of Augustus.

Among his measures there are two which in particular recall the first Christian Emperor. As Constantine founds so Charles erects on a firmer basis the connection of Church and State. Bishops and abbots are as essential a part of rising feudalism as counts and dukes.

Their benefices are held under the same conditions of fealty and the service in war of their vassal tenants, not of the spiritual person himself: they have similar rights of jurisdiction, and are subject alike to the imperial missi. The monarch often tries to restrict the clergy, as persons, to spiritual duties; quells the insubordination of the monasteries; endeavours to bring the seculars into a quasi-monastic life by instituting and regulating chapters. But after granting wealth and power, the attempt was vain; his strong hand withdrawn, they laughed at control.

Again, it was by him first that the payment of tithes, for which the priesthood had long been pleading, was made compulsory in Western Edition: current; Page: [ 68 ] Europe, and the support of the ministers of religion recognized as a legally binding obligation. Influence of the imperial title in Germany and Gaul. In civil affairs also Charles acquired, with the imperial title, a new position. Later jurists labour to distinguish his power as Roman Emperor from that which he held already as king of the Franks and their subject allies: they insist that his coronation gave him the capital only, that it is absurd to talk of a Roman Empire in regions whither the eagles had never flown.

It was not the actual government of the city that Charles obtained in ad ; that his father had already held as Patrician, and he had himself exerted the rights which the title gave. It was far more than the titular sovereignty of Rome which had hitherto been supposed to be vested in the Emperor at Constantinople. It was nothing less than the headship of the world, believed to appertain of right to the lawful Roman Emperor, whether he reigned on the Bosphorus, the Tiber, or the Rhine.

As that headship, although never denied, had been in abeyance in the West for several centuries, its bestowal on the king of so vast a realm was a change of the first moment, for it made the coronation not merely a transference of the seat of Empire, but a renewal of the Empire itself, a bringing back of it from faith to sight, from the world of belief and theory to the world of fact and reality.

And since the powers it gave were autocratic and unlimited, it must swallow up all minor claims and dignities: the rights of Charles the Frankish king were merged in those of Charles the successor of Augustus, the lord of the world. That his imperial authority was theoretically irrespective of place is clear from his own words and acts, and from all the Edition: current; Page: [ 69 ] monuments of that time. He would not, indeed, have dreamed of treating the high-spirited Franks as Justinian had treated his half-Oriental subjects, nor would the warriors who followed his standard have brooked such an attempt.

Action of Charles on Europe. And in his effort to weld discordant elements into one body, to introduce regular gradations of authority, to control the Teutonic tendency to localization by his missi —officials commissioned to traverse each some part of his dominions, reporting on and redressing the evils they found—as well as by his own oft-repeated personal progresses, Charles was guided by the traditions of the old Empire. His sway is the revival of order and culture, seeking to fuse the West into a compact whole, whose parts are never thenceforward to lose the marks of their connection and their half-Roman character, gathering up all that is left in Europe of intellect knowledge and skill, hurling it with the new force of Christianity on the infidel of the South and the masses of untamed barbarism to the North and East.

Ruling the world by the gift of God, and by the transmitted rights of the Romans and their Caesar whom God had chosen to conquer it, he renews the original aggressive movement of the Empire. The civilized world has subdued her invader, t and now arms him against savagery and heathendom. Hence the wars, not more of the sword than of the cross, against Saxons, Avars, Slavs, Danes, Spanish Arabs, where monasteries are fortresses and baptism the badge of submission.

The work of the Cheruscan Arminius is undone by his successor. His position as Frankish king. If the unity of the Church and the shadow of imperial prerogative was one pillar of his power, the other was the Frankish nation. The empire was still military, though in a sense strangely different from that of Julius or Severus.

The warlike Franks had permeated Western Europe; their primacy was admitted by the kindred tribes of Bavarians, Lombards, Thuringians, Alemannians, and Burgundians; the Slavonic peoples on the borders trembled and paid tribute; the Spanish Alfonso of Asturias found in the Emperor a protector against the infidel foe. His influence, if not his exerted power, crossed the ocean: the kings of the Scots sent gifts and called him lord: x the restoration of Eardulf to Northumbria, still more of Egbert to Wessex, might furnish a better ground for the claim of suzerainty than many to which his successors had afterwards recourse.

As it was by Frankish arms that this predominance in Europe which the imperial title adorned and legalized had been won, so was the government of Charles Roman in name rather than in fact. It was not by restoring the effete mechanism of the old Empire, but by his own vigorous personal action and that of his great officers, that he strove to administer and reform. With every effort for a strong central government, there is no Edition: current; Page: [ 70a ] Edition: current; Page: [ 71 ] despotism: each nation retains its laws, its hereditary chiefs, its free popular assemblies.

The conditions granted to the Saxons after long and cruel warfare, conditions so favourable that in the next century their dukes hold the foremost place in Germany, shew how little he sought to make the Franks a dominant caste. General results of his Empire. One may think of him as a second Theodorich, trying to maintain the traditions of Rome and to breathe a new spirit into the ancient forms. The conception was magnificent; and it fitted the time better than it had done in the hands of Theodorich, not only because Charles was himself orthodox and pious, but also because the name and dominion of Rome were now more closely associated with Christianity than they had been in days when the recollection of heathen Emperors was still fresh in the memory of men.

But two obstacles forbade success. The one was the ecclesiastical, especially the papal power, apparently subject to the temporal, but with a strong and undefined prerogative which only waited the occasion to trample on what it had helped to raise. The Pope might take away the crown he had bestowed, and turn against the Emperor the Church which now obeyed him. The other was to be found in the discordance of the component parts of the Empire. The nations were not ripe for settled life or extensive schemes of polity; the differences of race, language, manners, over vast and thinly-peopled lands baffled every attempt to maintain their cohesion: and when once the spell of the great mind was withdrawn, the mutually repellent forces began to work, and the mass dissolved into that chaos out of which it had been formed.

Nevertheless, the parts separated not as they met, but having all of them undergone influences which continued to act when political connection had ceased. For the work of Charles—a genius pre-eminently Edition: current; Page: [ 72 ] creative—was not lost in the anarchy that followed: rather are we to regard his reign as the beginning of a new era, or as laying the foundations whereon men continued for many generations to build.

Personal habits and sympathies. It is no longer necessary to shew how little the modern French, children of the Latinized Celt, have to do with the Teutonic Charles. At Rome he might assume the chlamys and the sandals, but at the head of his Frankish host he strictly adhered to the customs of his country, and was beloved by his people as the very ideal of their own character and habits. Of strength and stature almost superhuman, in swimming and hunting unsurpassed, steadfast and terrible in fight, to his friends gentle and condescending, he was a Roman, much less a Gaul, y in nothing but his culture and his schemes of government, otherwise a German.

The centre of his realm was the Rhine; his favourite residences Aachen z and Engilenheim; a his sympathies—as they are shewn in the gathering of the old hero-lays, b the composition of a German grammar, the ordinance against confining prayer to the three languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin,—were all for the race from which he sprang, and whose advance, represented by the victory of Austrasia, the true Frankish fatherland along the Edition: current; Page: [ 73 ] lower Rhine, over Neustria central Gaul and Aquitaine, spread a second Germanic wave over the conquered countries.

His Empire and character generally. There were in his Empire, as in his own mind, two elements, those two from the union and mutual action and reaction of which modern civilization has arisen. These vast domains, reaching from the Ebro to the mountains of Hungary, from the Eyder to the Liris, were the conquests of the Frankish sword, and, although the army was drawn from all the more warlike races, the imperial governors and officers were mostly of Frankish blood.

But the conception of the Empire, that which made it a State and not a mere mass of subject tribes like those great Eastern dominions which rise and perish in a lifetime, the realms of Sesostris, or Attila, or Timur, was inherited from an older and a grander polity, and had in it an element which was Roman rather than Teutonic—Roman in its striving after the uniformity and precision of a well-ordered administration, which should subject the individual to the system and realize perfection through the rule of law.

Every Christian—Frank, Gaul, or Italian—owed loyalty to the head and defender of his religion: the unity of the Empire was a reflection of the unity of the Church. Into a general view of the government and policy of Charles it is not possible here to enter.

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Yet his legislation, his assemblies, his administrative schemes, his magnificent works, recalling the projects of Alexander and Caesar, the zeal for education and literature, which he shewed in the collection of manuscripts, the founding of schools, the gathering of eminent men from all quarters around him, cannot be appreciated apart from his position as restorer of the Roman Empire. Like most of those who have led the world, Charles was many great things in one, and was so great just because the workings of his genius were so harmonious.

He was more than a barbarian warrior, more than an astute negotiator; there is none of his qualities which would not be forced out of its place were we to characterize him chiefly by it. Comparisons between famous men of different ages are generally as unprofitable as they are easy: the circumstances among which Charles lived do not permit us to institute a minute parallel between his greatness and that of those two to whom it was once the fashion to compare him, nor to say whether he was as profound a statesman as Julius Caesar, as skilful a commander as Napoleon. But scarcely either to the Roman or to the Corsican was he inferior in that quality by which both he and they chiefly impress our imagination—the vivid and unresting energy which swept him over Europe in campaign after campaign, which sought a field for its workings in theology and science, in law and literature, no less than in politics and war.

As it was this amazing activity that made him the conqueror of Europe, so was it by the variety of his culture that he became her civilizer. From him, in whose wide deep mind the whole mediaeval theory of the world and human life mirrored itself, did mediaeval society take the form and impress which it retained for centuries, and the Edition: current; Page: [ 75 ] traces whereof are among us and upon us to this day. The great Emperor was buried at Aachen, in that basilica which it had been the delight of his later years to erect and adorn with the treasures of ancient art.

Between Sanctus Carolus and Divus Julius how strange an analogy and how strange a contrast!