The Franks in Italy and the Return of Rome Part 1
With 774, with the Frankish dynasty at the head of the Lombard kingdom, other facts matured. That political and moral detachment from the East, which the Lombard conquest, the emergence of the Roman Church in power and the interests of the subject populations had been taking place for some time, is now accentuated, although the ties between the Greek world were not broken. and Italy, represented not only by the effective dominion in the southern provinces and by the presence in Puglia, Calabria, Sicily, of Greek or Greekized nuclei and of a clergy more obedient to the emperor than to the pope, but also by culture Greek that still in the sec. X survived in the center and north of the peninsula, and from the persistence in Byzantium of the awareness of a right over what had been the territory of the empire and the intention to enforce it, at least in Italy. In response to this greater detachment from the East, which crowned, in the religious field, the long efforts of the papacy, greater connection with the Roman-Germanic and Catholic-Roman West. There is not only a Frankish dynasty on the throne of the Lombard kingdom and a personal union of the two kingdoms, but also a new, albeit tenuous, infiltration of Frankish ethnic elements and other Germanic lineages (Alamanni, Burgundî, Baiuvari, etc. ) which will give further nourishment to the pre-existing aristocracy; and the peninsula open to the multiple influences of the neighboring nation and, through it, also connected with Germany, with the Anglo-Saxon countries. In short, a new and broader western horizon, before the eyes of Italians. According to Answermba, there was also some other event: the powerful affirmation of the Frankish kingdom, after the victory over the Lombards, through a series of victorious expeditions, in the midst of the Germans of the north and east and also in the midst of the Slavic avant-gardes, Avars, Carantani, Croats, to establish a great empire, like that of Rome. High position of King Charles in front of the Catholic Church, for so much impetus given to the fight against the infidels and to the conversion of the pagans; and growing solidarity between Charles and the papacy, Charles’s growing interest and opportunity to watch over the affairs of Rome, where, once the Lombard danger disappeared, the danger of the secular aristocracy that was ascending to power and aspiring to master the city and the duchy. A revival of culture not only religious and church, but also secular. In short, the Carolingian Renaissance, although already started before Charles and sprouting up from its own roots, for the recovery of the vanquished to a new dignity, for a certain lively and fresh interest that the neophytes, that is the civilized barbarians, bring into the culture. Naturally, cultured men orient themselves towards the new star, revolve around it, contribute to raise its prestige, to strengthen with the bonds of culture that political unity that arms were creating: Pietro da Pisa, Paolino di Aquileia, Alcuin, monaco Anglo-Saxon, Paolo Diacono Lombard of Cividale, a representative man of that evolution that the Lombards, albeit with a sense of their national personality, alive in men of some culture and of high social rank, had accomplished and perhaps hastened in these decades of storm, towards the traditional culture of the country. Paolo, historian of his people, it closely approaches the history of the Romans. He proclaims his affection for their literature. He is happy that he fed on that spiritual food. The kingdom of which Desiderius is king is colored, in front of the writer, of ancient colors. Rome was now re-emerging from the whirlpool, even for the invaders. Having disappeared as a political and juridical organization, it returned to operate as an example and as an inspiration; and not only for the needs of practical life – law, land order, etc. – but also for the highest and most delicate needs of the spirit. Due to the contrast with this great vision, more and more the subsequent age, the age of invasions and barbaric disorder, was configured as an age of decadence: also religious decadence, as well as civil and literary. A restoration was beginning to be envisaged: of liberal literature and arts and, at the same time, of religion; restoration that presented itself as a return to the ancient, as one renovatio . Even the memory of the empire rose again, purified of its sins; of the empire that became Christian, protector of the faith, giver of benefits to churches. And wasn’t the Roman curia, with its Constitutum Constantini , also helping to bring thought back to imperial Rome, to bring about this rebirth?
In the meantime, in Rome, the old authority now lacking and the new one not yet firm, the internal unrest had worsened, which went hand in hand with the emergence of a landed aristocracy, with the passage of government powers. in the hands of the Roman hierarchy, with the rivalries between that aristocracy and this hierarchy. And in 799 there was a conspiracy that forced the pope to flee through the work of nobles who were averse to the overly Francophile politics of Leo III. But he returned immediately, accompanied by outspoken weapons. In the East the empire was vacant in those years. In 795 Pope Leo himself had broken the last sign of dependence on it, dating his bulls from the years of Charles’ reign. And behold, on Christmas night in the 19th century, Charles was crowned king by the pope, in front of the altar of St. Peter, “the great and most pious emperor” and adored more antiquorum principum , that is, like a Roman emperor.