Essay Shifting Strengths Of The Fifth Century

836 Words Oct 28th, 2014 4 Pages
Shifting Strengths of the Eighth Century In 755, Aistulf, King of Lombard, invaded the lands donated to the papacy by the Franks. This assault prompted Pope Stephen II to write multiple letters to the king of the Franks, King Pippin III, requesting help against Aistulf and his troops. In these letters, Pope Stephen II claims powers that were previously held by the Roman Emperor. In this paper, I elucidate that these letters show the shifting of the strength from the Byzantine Empire to that of the Pope and to that of the Frankish Kingdom. In his first letter, Pope Stephen addresses King Pippin and his sons, Charles and Carloman, as “Patricians of the Romans” thereby claiming the right to bestow that title upon whomever the Pope wishes; formerly, the right to bestow that title was held by Roman Emperors (p. 128). Additionally in the same letter, Pope Stephen protests that Aistulf “has not suffered to return one hand’s-breadth of land to blessed Peter and to his holy church, the Republic of the Romans” (p. 129). By claiming any land that is donated to the church and all land that the church has dominion over as the “Republic of the Romans,” Pope Stephen II clearly demonstrates that he is now the overseer of the Roman Republic, not the Byzantine Empire. Furthermore, Pope Stephen II neglects the claim that the Byzantine Empire would have on the land in order to bolster the land held by the papacy. Beyond the giving of titles and the specific terminology, Pope Stephen II also…

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