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Milton V. Anastos

Constantinople and Rome

A Survey of the Relations between the Byzantine and the Roman Churches.

M. Anastos, Aspects of the Mind of Byzantium (Political Theory, Theology, and Ecclesiastical Relations with the See of Rome), Ashgate Publications, Variorum Collected Studies Series, 2001. ISBN: 0 86078 840 7.

12. The iconoclastic controversy, the fall of Ravenna, and the beginnings of the papal state

The difference of opinion regarding the oecumenical standing of the Council of 692 did not lead to a serious rift. But the difficulties arising out of the iconoclastic controversy (726-87, 815-43) had momentous consequences. Friction began just previous to the appearance of the Emperor Leo ΙΙΙ's first iconoclastic edict in the year 726-27. For Pope Gregory ΙΙ (715-31) had refused to pay taxes to Byzantium (ca. 725-26), and a rebellion on a large scale broke out in Italy when the Emperor ordered the destruction of the images, and threatened to dethrone Gregory unless he carried out the imperial commands.

Ιn the ensuing revolution against the Byzantine government, the Italians rallied around the Pope and would have elected a new emperor had Gregory not restrained them. Nevertheless, Leo and his exarchs were anathematised by both Gregory ΙΙ and the latter's successor, Gregory III (731-41). Βut the Emperor got his revenge by seizing the papal patrimonies in Sicily and Calabria and by transferring Illyricum, Sicily, and Calabria from the jurisdiction of the Roman Church to that of the Constantinopolitan patriarchate (732-33).(123)

Notwithstanding the hostility of the iconoclastic court, the party in Byzantium that favoured the use of images, including the Empress Irene and the Ρatriarch Tarasius, referred to the Pope in the most respectful terms as the heir of Peter, the chief of the Apostles, and the repository of pure doctrine. Stephen the Younger was reported in 760 to have objected to the iconoclastic Council of 754 as lacking in authority because its transactions had not been approved by the Pope.

Going even further, Theodore the Studite (759-826) and his followers accepted the supremacy of the pope, and argued that the dispute about the images could not be settled without papal intervention. Theodore's unqualified acceptance of Roman primacy of jurisdiction is no doubt largely to be ascribed to his eagerness to find some ally against the iconoclastic Emperor, at whose hands he and the iconophiles had suffered greatly. But even the Patriarch Nicephorus expressed himself to the same effect, no doubt because of the valiant efforts Pope Hadrian Ι (772-95) had made to persuade Charlemagne to endorse the pronouncement of the Council of 787 in favour of the images. The iconoclasts, on the other hand, ignored the papacy altogether, and the emperors were unaffected by the pro-Roman Byzantine partisans of the images.(124)

Hence, the popes, though professing loyalty to the Byzantine Empire, sought allies wherever they could -either among the Italian cities or in the Lombard kingdom- and skilfully made use of the ambiguous political situation then prevailing in Italy to strengthen their own position. Indeed, the struggle of the papacy with Byzantium over the icons led in 751 to the Lombard capture of the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna; and this Byzantine defeat, in turn, was an important factor in the donation of Pippin, which laid the foundation for the papal state in 754.(125) Pippin's arrangements with Rome, which he himself ratified in 756, were confirmed by his son Charlemagne (768-814) after the latter's decisive victory over the Lombards in 774 in Pavia that brought the Lombard kingdom to an end and marked the final, irrevocable termination of Byzantine rule in Northern Italy.

After this collapse, Byzantium lacked the power to enforce the rule, which had been established by the Emperor Justinian in 537, that the pope of Rome could not be ordained until after his election had been confirmed by the Byzantine emperor. This regulation also involved the payment of a fee to the imperial treasury. The tax was abolished by the Emperor Constantine IV Pogonatus (668-85) at the request of Pope Agatho (678-81). But direct imperial approval of papal elections was required until the Emperor Justinian ΙΙ, on the petition of Pope Benedict ΙΙ (684-85), authorized the exarchs of Ravenna to act for him in this matter.

Thereafter, in view of the relative proximity of Ravenna, which was of course much nearer than Constantinople, the pope-elect could usually expect the necessary confirmation in about thirty to fifty days, instead of a minimum of approximately four months or more that had elapsed before legates could make the trip from Rome to the imperial capital and back again. The last pope to submit his name to the exarch of Ravenna for scrutiny was Gregory ΙΙΙ (731-41). His successor, Zachariah (741-52), though of Greek descent, omitted the step altogether, and was ordained on the day of his election. The letters he subsequently wrote to notify the Patriarch and the Emperor (Constantine V) of his election contained no request for imperial endorsement.

Gregory ΙΙΙ is credited by some with having been the first pope to issue metal currency in the name of the papacy. But the first real papal coins seem to have been struck by Hadrian Ι (772-95), whose likeness appears in the space previously reserved for the portrait of the Byzantine emperor. Hadrian was also the first pope to give up (sometime between 772 and 781) dating papal documents by the imperial regnal years, which had been used regularly in the Roman chancery since 550.(126)
After the defeat at Ravenna in 751, Byzantine holdings in Italy were confined to Calabria and Sicily. For Venice, Naples, Gaeta, and Amalfi,(127) which nominally remained subject to Byzantine sovereignty, had in effect become free and independent states by the latter part of the ninth century, and could hardly be counted as more than allies. The emperors were by no means pleased by this territorial readjustment. It may be doubted, however, that the losses thus sustained were as significant as they must have seemed in Constantinople. For the Empire had long been unable to afford its western provinces, and the new ethnicogeographical unity which the Empire achieved by its withdrawal from northern Italy probably increased the resources available for the vital struggle against the barbarians which it was the historic mission of Byzantium to lead.

But there is no doubt that this new realignment, which severed Byzantium from Rome politically, could only lead to a further and deeper deterioration of relations between the two Churches, especially since the emperors had now determined to exert Byzantine control in Illyricum, Calabria, and Sicily, in accordance
with the transfer of jurisdiction described above. This measure greatly expanded and strengthened the powers of the Byzantine patriarchate, which as a result extended its authority over the whole of what remained of the Byzantine
Empire, for the other eastern patriarchates had been swallowed up by the Arab invasions of the seventh century. Previously the lands which Leo ΙΙΙ now placed under the authority of the Church of Constantinople,(128) although subject to the civil rule of the emperor of Constantinople ever since the end of 395 or the beginning of 396, had nevertheless depended upon Rome ecclesiastically, except for a few brief interruptions in 421 and, perhaps, to some extent during the Acacian schism, 484-519.

This had amounted to a staggering concession on the part of the Constantinopolitan
government, according to which the Roman see had been permitted from 395 on to exercise supervision over Greek-speaking churches in Greece, and in such important Byzantine cities as Thessalonike, which was only three hundred miles from Constantinople. Ιn severing ecclesiastical jurisdiction over these areas from the Roman see, Leo intensified their Byzantine character and deprived the popes of a most important sphere of influence, which Popes Ηadrian Ι (772-95) and Nicholas Ι (858-67), for example, were exceedingly anxious to recover. After the Latin conquest of Constantinople in 1204, Rome did regain some measure of control over these Greek lands, but by that time the hold of Rome had been broken, and the popes had practically no success what-ever in persuading the Greeks to recognize Roman ecclesiastical sovereignty.


123. - See my paper, "The transfer of Illyricum, Calabria, and Sicily to the jurisdiction of the patriarchate of Constantinople in 732-33," in Silloge bizantina in onore di Silvio G. Mercati = SBN, 9 (1957), 14-31. Ι have not seen Gennadios Arabazoglu, Chronology of the transfer of the jurisdiction of Illyricum, Calabria, and Sicily to the jurisdiction of the Oecumenical Patriarchate (in Greek) (Istanbul, 1955).

124. - On the iconoclastic controversy in general see Ostrogorsky, History, index. Ottorino Bertolini, "Ι rapporti di Zaccaria con Costantino V e con Artavasdo nel racconto del biografo del papa a nella probabile realta storica," Αrchivio della Societa romana di storia patria, 3a S., 9 = 78 (1955), 1-21, argues ingeniously that Pope Zachariah in November 744 still dated his documents by the regnal years of the usurper Artavasdus, although he knew that Constantine V had regained the throne, because Artavasdus favored the use of the images. But this is an unsupported hypothesis, and it seems better to accept the older view that Zachariah continued to refer to Artavasdus as emperor because he was unaware of the Tatter's fall. Α. Era, "Di una novella de Leone Isaurico e di una sua probabile applicazione in Sardegna," SBN, 8 (1953), 323-330; Ρ Lagolo, "L'editto di Bisanzio del 775, trattamento della Sicilia durante la persecuzione iconoclasta," Archivio storico per la Sicilia orientale, 19 (1922-23), 155-66; August Schafer, op. cit. in note 125 below.

125. - Theodor Mayer, "Papsttum und Kaisertum im hohen Mittelalter," HistZ, 187 (1959), 1-53 (on 8th-14th centuries, papal claims, relations with Byzantium); Bihlmeyer-Tüchle, Kirchengeschichte, § 85 (with excellent bibliography); Louis Ηalphen, Charlemagne et l'empire Carolingien (Paris, 1949), 29-34, 38-47, 106-19; Rene Aigrain in Bréhier-Aigrain, Grégoire le Grand (cited in note 115 above), 391-430; Erich Caspar, "Das Papsttum unter fränkischer Herrschaft," ZKirch, 3. F 5 = 54 (1935), 132-264 (the reprint as a separate book is abridged and lacks documentation); Léon Levillain, "L'avènement de la dynastie carolingienne et les origines de l'état pontifical (749-757)," Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des chartes, 94 (1933), 225-95; August Schäfer, Die Bedeutung der Päpste Gregor ΙI (715-731) und Gregor III (731-74Ι) für die Gründung des Kirchenstaates (Montjoie, 1913); Louis Duchesne, Les premiers temps de l'état pοntifical, 3d ed. (Ρaris, 1911); Amedeo Crivellucci, Le origini dello stato della chiesa (Pisa, 1909); Johannes Ηaller, Die Quellen zur Geschichte der Entstehung des Kirchenstaates (Leipzig-Berlin, 1907); L. Μ. Hartmann, Geschichte ltaliens im Mittelalter, 2, 2 (Gotha, 1903); Heinrich Ηannel, Untersuchungen zur älteren Territorialgeschichte des Kirchenstaates (Göttingen, 1899); Henri Hubert, "Etude sur la formation des états de l'église," RH, 69 (1899), 1-40, 241-72; Theodor Lindner, Die sogenannten Schenkungen Ρippins, Karls des Grossen und Ottos Ι. an die Päpste (Stuttgart, 1896); Thomas Hodgkin, Italy and her invaders, vols. 5-6, 2d ed. (London, 1895); Gustav Schnürer, Die Entstehung des Kirchenstaates (Cologne, 1894). Cf. Elie Griffe, "Αux origines de l'état pontifical". Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique, 53 (1952), 216-31; 55 (1954), 65-89; 59 (1959), 193-211 (reviews of recent works concerning the Donations of Constantine and Quiercy; Charlemagne, Pope Hadrian Ι; and the coronation of 800, respectively).

126. - Apart from specific ecclesiastical references in the sources, the facts concerning imperial intervention in papal elections are determined by inference from the data in the Liber pontificalis on the interval between a pope's eleccion and his ordination: Liber pontificalis, ed. Duchesne, 1, CCIV, CCLVIII-LXII (the list of dates), 309.1 f. (the first explicit reference to this practice: biography of Pope Pelagius ΙΙ [579-90], who was ordained without waiting for imperial sanction [absque iussione principis] because of the Lombard siege of Rome and harassment of Italy), 354.16-355.2, 358 n. 34, 363.12 ff., 364 n. 4, 432. Ι7 ff., 438 n. 42. For the formulae used by the popes in notifying the imperial government of their elections, see Liber diurnus romanorum pontificum, ed. Τ. Ε. von Sickel (Vienna, 1889), nos. 58-60, pp. 47 ff.; ed. Eugène de Rozière (Paris, 1869), nos. 58-60, pp. 103 ff., 293 ff., 441 f.; ed. Hans Foerster (Bern, 1958), 209 ff. Fοr useful analysis, see Μ. Β. Batiffol, "La confirmation par l'empereur de l'élection de l'lévêque de Rome," Bulletin de la Société nationale des antiquaires de France, 1928, 233-39; C. Bayet "Les élections pontificales sous les carolingiens au VIIIe et au ΙΧ siècle (757-885)," RH, 24 (1884), 49-91. Cf. Louis Bréhier in Bréhier-Aigrain, Grégoire Le Grand (cited in nοte 115 above), 416-19; Caspar, Geschichte, 2, 325 n. 3, 554 n. 2 (οn Martin Ι's ordination without imperial confirmation), 664 n. 6, 738; Τ. Ortolan, "Election des papes," DTC, 4, 2, 2295-99; Ρ. Moncelle, "Grégoire ΙΙΙ;' ibid., 6, 2, Ι785-90; Theodor Schieffer, "Gregor ΙΙΙ.," LThK, 4 (1960), 1181 f.; F Wasner, "De consecratione, inthronizatione, coronatione Summi Pontificis," Αpοlinaris, 8 (1935), 86-125, 249-81, 428-39; Ludwig Gaugusch, Das Rechtsinstitut der Papstwahl (Vienna, Ι905), 16-22, and passim. Οn dating and coinage, see Josef Deer, "Byzanz und die Herrschaftszeichen des Abendlandes," BΖ, 50 (1957), 405-36; idem, "Die Vorrechte des Kaisers in Rom (772-800);" Schweizer Beiträge zur allgemeinen Geschichte, 15 (1957), 5-63; Percy E. Schramm, "Die Anerkennung Karls des Grossen als Kaiser," HistZ, 172 (1952), 449-515, also separate, 8 ff.; R. Gaettens, "Münzen Κarls des Grossen sowie der Päpste Hadrian Ι. und Leo III. von historischer, staatsrechtlicher und währungsgeschichtlicher Bedeutung," Jahrbuch für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte, 2 (1950.51), 47-67. Gerhart (Gherardo) Β. Ladner, Intratti dei papi nell'antichità e nel medioevo, 1 (Μοnumenti di antichita Cristiana, Ser. 2, 4 [Vatican City, 1941 ], 111 f., idem, "Papstbildnisse auf Münzen des 8. und 10. Jahrhunderts," Numismatische Zeitschrift, N.F 28 (1935), 46-50; Α. Menzer, "Die Jahresmerkmale in den Datierungen der Papsturkunden bis zum Ausgang des 11. Jahrhunderts," RQ, 40 (1932), 27-103; C. Serafini, Le monete e le bolle plumbee pontificie, 1 (Milan, 1910), 4-5; Reginald L. Poole, "Imperial influences on the forms of papal documents," reprinted from Proceedings of the British Academy, 8 (1917), in idem, Studies in chronology and history, ed. Austin L. Poole (Oxford, 1934), 172-84.

127. - Ottorino Bertolini, "Langobardi e Bizantini nell'Italia meridionale ... (774-888)," in Atti del 3o Congresso internazionale di studi sull'alto medioevo (Spoleto, 1959), 103-24; Ρ Lamma, "Ιl problema dei due imperii e dell'Italia meridionale nel giudizio delle fonti letterarie dei secoli ΙΧ e Χ," ibid., 155-253; Mathilde Uhlirz, "Die staatsrechtliche Stellung Venedigs zur Zeit Kaiser Ottos IΙΙ.," ZSav, Germanistische Αbι., 76 (1959), 82-110 (doges of Venice recognized Byzantine sovereignty); Silvano Borsari, "Il dominio bizantino a Napoli," ParPass, fasc. 25-27 (1962), 358-69; of the multitude of Roberto Cessi's books and articles on this subject, see La repubblica di Venezia e il problema adriatico (Naples, 1953); idem, Le vicende politiche dell' Italia meridionale: La crisi imperiale (Ρaduα, 1938); idem, Le οrigini del ducato Veneziano (Naples, 1951); idem, "Le prime consequenze della caduta dell' Esarcato ravennate nel 751," SBN, 5 (1939), 79-84; Ρ Brezzi, Roma e l' impero medievale (774-1252) (Storia di Roma, 10 [Bologna, 1947]); Μ. Berza, "Un'autonomia periferica bizantina: Amalfi (secolo VI-X)," SBN, 5 (1939), 25-31; Α. Michel, "Amalfi im griechischen Kirchenstreit (1050-1090)," SBN, 5 (1939), 32-40; Ρ Kehr, "Rom und Venedig bis ins ΧII. Jahrhundert," Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken, 19 (1927), 1-180; Α. Hofmeister, "Zur Geschichte Amalfis in der byzantinischen Zeit," BNJbb, 1 (1920), 94-127; Margarete Merores, Gaeta im frühen Mittelalter (8. bis 12. Jahrhundert) (Gotha, 1911); L. Μ. Hartmann, Geschichte Italiens im Mittelalter, 2, 1-2; 3,1 (Gotha, 1900-1908); Jules Gay, L'Italie méridionale et l'Empire byzantin ... (867-1071) (Bibliothèque des Ecoles françaises d'Athènes et de Rome, 90 [Paris, 1904]), 10-16, 16 ff., 22 ff., 54 ff., 238-53, with bibliography; idem, "L'état pontifical, les Byzantins et les Lombards sur le littoral campanien, d'Hadrien 1er a Jean VIII," MEFR, 21 (1901), 487-508; F. Chalandon, "L'état politique de l'Italie méridionale è l'arrivé des Normands," ibid., 441-52; Eduard Lentz, "Der allmähliche Ubergang Venedigs vοn faktischer zu nomineller Abhängigkeit vοn Byzanz;" ΒΖ, 3 (1894), 64-115 (real subjection οf Venice to Byzantium gives way to nominal during rule of Doge Petrus Tradomicus, 836-64, but not before); idem, Das Verhältnis Venedigs zu Byzanz nach dem Fall des Exarchats bis zum Ausgang des neunten Jahrhunderts, I. Theil: Venedig als byzantinische Provinz (Berlin, 1891); J. C. Hodgson, The early history of Venice from the foundation to the conquest of Constantinople, A.D. 1204 (Londοn, 1901).

128. - Francis Dvornik, Les légendes de Constantin et de Methode, vues de Byzance (BS, Supplementa 1 [Prague, 1933]), 248 ff.; idem, The making of central and eastern Europe (London, 1949); 14-16, 126-28; cf. note 123 above. The Illyricum involved was the Prefecture of Illyricum (one of the four principal divisions of the Empire instituted by Diocletian), comprising the dioceses of Macedonia and Dacia, together with their provinces, of which the former consisted of six (Achaia, Macedonia, Creta, Thessalia, Epirus vetus, Epirus nova, pans Macedoniae salutaris), and the latter of five (Dacia mediterranea, Dacia ripensis, Moesia prima, Dardania, Praevalitana, pars Μacedoniae salutaris). This is what is known as "eastern Illyricum" and, in view of the detailed list of provinces given by Pope Nicholas Ι (858-67) in the letter in which he demanded the retrocession of the churches removed from papal jurisdiction in 732-33 (MGH Epist., 6, Karolini Aevi, 4, 438.25-439.11; cf. Silva-Tarouca, Epistularum Romanorum pontificum ... Collectio Thessalonicensis [cited in note 15 above], v-vii), seems to have been the region affected by Leo's punitive action.

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