The Franks in Italy and the Return of Rome Part 2
What were the agreements that preceded the coronation, it seems undeniable that, even if Charles wished for such a renewal of the empire; if he expected a great help and a kind of recognition of the achievements made; certainly not him, but the pope determined the forms and titles of the coronation. He thus wanted to assert his authority over the greatest prince of the earth and exercise the rights that came to him from the “Donation of Constantine”. In the renewed emperor he saw a protector in Rome, in Italy and everywhere; the armed wing for the implementation of those tasks that ecclesiastical writers now attributed to the State and the Church together. The new political unity of many countries under Charles seemed to him a natural consequence and almost a reflection of Christian and Catholic religious unity, means to preserve and consolidate it. And could Charles not then also assert himself in the East, where the throne was now vacant, and restore the ancient unity entirely, in its widest boundaries? Or at least help the pontiff in his efforts to subdue to Rome the Eastern Church, stubborn to do it by itself, kept in strict dependence on the state, exposed to the dogmatic ambitions of the emperor? Certainly, Charles, once gripped the scepter, immediately showed that he wanted to hold it with all his strength, he had an eye open to the West but also to the East, he considered himself the successor of the ancient emperors and, just like an ancient emperor, he regulated the things of the Church and religion alongside the civil ones, accentuating, under the influence of the Roman tradition, a system already established in France, especially from Pepin onwards, rex et sacerdos .
According to Answerresume, this restoration or imperial establishment, if on the one hand it transcends the history of Italy, is not extraneous to it, rather it is a living part of it. Just think, apart from the place of its first birth, how the empire was seen and considered by the Italians in the Middle Ages; to think how much it affected, for centuries, the historical events of Italy; how it was placed at the center of every construction of political thought by the Italians. Not only by those who nostalgically contemplated the past, but also by those who dreamed of a higher future for the world and for Italy. This later: but the rise of Rome has already begun; it is returning to the center of the West. It had already become a religious center; and he sees his sphere widening around him more and more with the conversion of the Germans and the Slavs. Now, also a political center. The West now looks everything to it; and also the Eastern Empire, which has not yet given up on Italy. In short, many and various interests of the vast world are returning to converge on Rome; many levers, manipulated from that center, set the things of the vast world in motion. Hence the renewed importance of the history of the city of Rome, with its parties, its competitions between secular aristocracy and hierarchy, its agitations around the papacy and around the empire. In this way, the “Roman people” also becomes a factor of global importance, with a certain conscious and proud connection to the ancient “Roman people” and the persuasion of being their heir; to be therefore, like it, the first source of supreme power.
Around 814, the year of Charlemagne’s death, the peninsula appears, politically, as a Lombard kingdom under the new Frankish dynasty; as a Greek dominion, reduced to the southern coastal regions, to Sicily and, almost disappearing in the distance, to Sardinia and Corsica; as a Roman respublica or lands under the dominion of the Church, already belonging to the empire and, to a small extent, to the Lombard kingdom. And then, the Benevento duchy and principality; duchy of Venice, which is a federation of islands centered in Rialto; Duchy of Naples, now reduced to a small extent: all started, despite some dependence, more or less effective, from the Kingdom of Italy or the Byzantine Empire, towards their own regime. The life of the peninsula, having failed the effort of the Lombards to gather it all under themselves, then upset that kingdom by the Frankish conquest, is therefore unfolding in the sense of a growing multiplication of independent political organizations. Indeed, with the Franks, the trend is accentuated. The Lombard duchy of Benevento also breaks up.