From the “regnum Langobardiae” to the “regnum italicum” and its Vain Effort for Unity in the Peninsula Part 1

Thus another civilization, which now dominated the great arc of a circle from Spain to Syria, pushes its tentacles towards southern Italy. The peninsula, formerly a meeting and friction point of two empires, now sees yet another, between Asian and African, entering the race, also strong on the sea. And it is as if enveloped by it, it suffers other fractures. Even Sardinia and Corsica, Sicily lost to the empire, now remain abandoned to themselves and see their relations with the nearby Tuscan and Ligurian coast reduced to little or nothing for a few centuries, where the naval organization of the kingdom languishes.

But it is especially necessary to bring our attention to this Lombard-Frankish kingdom. In the Italian system of states or quasi-states of that time, it occupies the first place, in terms of breadth, political importance, links with the papacy and Roman-Christian-Germanic Europe, the ability to be able to directly or indirectly act over a large part of the peninsula. . The kingdom has its capital, its court, its laws, its assembly. But it is linked by dynastic ties, indeed, from the beginning, by personal union, with the Frankish kingdom and is part of the great monarchy created by Charlemagne, under the double aegis of the Church and of ancient Rome. Then, when it comes to a division of the new empire among the emperor’s sons, the Lombard kingdom has its own king: Pippin, from 806 to 810, and Bernard, his son, from 814 to 817. But the political personality of this Lombard-Frankish kingdom is weak. Whoever rules it is more a governor or vicar than a true king. This dependence began to grow in the following years, as the concept of empire as an effective political-administrative unit prevailed in France. Then King Bernard’s plan to shake up this protection matured. Many great Lombards and Franks gathered around him, as well as bishops from northern Italy and the Milanese archbishop Anselmo himself. This was a manifestation of the centrifugal and, in a certain sense, anti-imperial or anti-imperialist forces which tended, with greater or lesser awareness, to more restricted local or national organizations: individual lineages, aristocracies, high clergy, some major centers. urban, Overwhelmed for a moment by the establishment of the renewed Western empire, now they were resurrected by virtue of the imperial unity itself, capable of promoting, through contacts, the conscience of those lineages, of strengthening, calling them to collaborate, that aristocracy, to create more favorable conditions for the development of citizenships. But the attempt ended in tragedy. At the first threat of war by Ludovico, Bernard returned to the emperor’s hands and suffered a very cruel torture. Italy was then given, a few years later, to Lotario, one of Ludovico’s sons; and to Lothair some greater authority was recognized, to the kingdom greater administrative autonomy. And this was perhaps also advised by the situation of the peninsula, by the need for the emperor to consolidate his prestige there. The pontiff resided in Italy, it also suffers little from protection.

According to EHUZHOU.NET, the obligation to wait for imperial confirmation before the consecration was no longer observed in relations with Byzantium from the beginning of 700. Re-enforced by Charlemagne, it was now again falling into dissuetude by Stephen IV, which happened in 816. to Pope Leo, and, the following year, by Pasquale I. With whom Ludovico had concluded, in 817, a famous pact, by virtue of which the emperor, while confirming his temporal dominion to the pontiff, also renounced control on the pontifical election. Conversely, the papal and Roman coronation of the emperor was increasingly asserted, not as a mere formality, but as an act necessary for the full exercise of imperial authority. In 813, Ludovico had been associated with the empire by Charlemagne with a special coronation in Aachen; but in 816, Stephen went to France and renews the coronation; and on Easter 823 Lothair, king of Italy, goes to Rome to receive the imperial crown. Here, abuses, unrest, riots. The medieval story of Rome was taking shape: competitions between powerful families, conflicts between the laity and the hierarchy, usurpations of public lands, robberies of ecclesiastical assets, variety and uncertainty of powers. But, central fact, the existence of strong interests of the military and landed aristocracy, which, offended by the growing power of the cleric, reacted violently. Now, in the middle here, the Frankish king and emperor had partisans. Against the neighboring prince, they trusted the distant prince. And certainly, relying on this party, Lothair raised up, with the constitution of 824, that imperial authority in Rome which already, after Charlemagne, it showed signs of declining. Abandoning the right of confirmation of the elected, the sovereign nevertheless demanded the restoration of the right of lay people to take part together with the clergy in the pontifical elections, obtained that an imperial envoy would represent him permanently in Rome and that before him and before the people elected to take the oath before the consecration, he reserved the right to intervene to protect public order and criminal trials. Perhaps never, as in this moment, did the restored imperial dignity affirm and make recognized so explicitly his high right over Rome, alongside that of the pontiff: although the limits between one and the other are uncertain; it is difficult for the publicly higher but distant authority to assert itself in front of the other close, albeit minor, a condition of temporal semi-subjection in those who – the pope – had the spiritual fullness of powers and by now considered themselves almost the source of the authority of the other, the emperor, was hardly tolerable. Hence the future conflicts between popes and emperors.

Italy 1