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Career of Charlemagne, by Guizot, Francois P. G.

Life of Charlemagne

World History Center

Holy Roman Empire, The
Book: Chapter IV: Restoration Of The Western Empire.
Author: Bryce, James
Date: 1901


Page Four

Chapter IV: Restoration Of The Western Empire.

It was towards Rome as their ecclesiastical capital that the thoughts and
hopes of the men of the sixth and seventh centuries were constantly directed.
Yet not from Rome, feeble and corrupt, nor on the exhausted soil of Italy, was
the deliverer to arise. Just when, as we may suppose, the vision of a renewal
of imperial authority in the Western provinces was beginning to vanish away,
there appeared in the furthest corner of Europe, sprung of a race but lately
brought within the pale of civilization, a line of chieftains devoted to the
service of the Holy See, and among them one whose power, good fortune, and
heroic character pointed him out as worthy of a dignity to which doctrine and
tradition had attached a sanctity almost divine.

Of the new monarchies that had risen on the ruins of Rome, that of the
Franks was by far the greatest. In the third century they appear, with
Saxons, Alemanni, and Thuringians, as one of the greatest German tribe
leagues. The Sicambri (for it seems probable that this famous race was a
chief source of the Frankish nation) had now laid aside their former hostility
to Rome, and her future representatives were thenceforth, with few intervals,
her faithful allies. Many of their chiefs rose to high place: Malarich
receives from Jovian the charge of the Western provinces; Bauto and
Mellobaudes figure in the days of Theodosius and his sons; Meroveus (if
Meroveus be a real name) fights under Aetius against Attila in the great
battle of Chalons; his countrymen endeavour in vain to save Gaul from the
Suevi and Burgundians. Not till the Empire was evidently helpless did they
claim a share of the booty; then Clovis, or Chlodovech, chief of the Salian
tribe, leaving his kindred the Ripuarians in their seats on the lower Rhine,
advances from Flanders to wrest Gaul from the barbarian nations which had
entered it some sixty years before. Few conquerors have had a career of more
unbroken success. By the defeat of the Roman governor Syagrius he was left
master of the northern provinces: the Burgundian kingdom in the valley of the
Rhone was in no long time reduced to dependence: last of all, the Visigothic
power was overthrown in one great battle, and Aquitaine added to the dominions
of Clovis. Nor were the Frankish arms less prosperous on the other side of
the Rhine. The victory of Tolbiac led to the submission of the Alemanni:
their allies the Bavarians followed, and when the Thuringian power had been
broken by Theodorich I (son of Clovis), the Frankish league embraced all the
tribes of western and southern Germany. The state thus formed, stretching
from the Bay of Biscay to the Inn and the Ems, was of course in no sense a
French, that is to say, a Gallic monarchy. Nor, although the widest and
strongest empire that had yet been founded by a Teutonic race, was it, under
the Merovingian kings, a united kingdom at all, but rather a congeries of
principalities, held together by the predominance of a single tribe and a
single family, who ruled in Gaul as masters over a subject race, and in
Germany exercised a sort of hegemony among kindred and scarcely inferior
tribes. But towards the middle of the eighth century a change began. Under
the rule of Pipin of Herstal and his son Charles Martel, mayors of the palace
to the last feeble Merovingians, the Austrasian Franks in the lower Rhineland
became acknowledged heads of the nation, and were able, while establishing a
firmer government at home, to direct its whole strength in projects of foreign
ambition. The form those projects took arose from a circumstance which has
not yet been mentioned. It was not solely or even chiefly to their own valour
that the Franks owed their past greatness and the yet loftier future which
awaited them, it was to the friendship of the clergy and the favour of the
Apostolic See. The other Teutonic nations, Goths, Vandals, Burgundians,
Suevians, Lombards, had been most of them converted by Arian missionaries who
proceeded from the Roman Empire during the short period when Arian doctrines
were in the ascendant. The Franks, who were among the latest converts, were
Catholics from the first, and gladly accepted the clergy as their teachers and
allies. Thus it was that while the hostility of their orthodox subjects
destroyed the Vandal kingdom in Africa and the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy,
the eager sympathy of the priesthood enabled the Franks to vanquish their
Burgundian and Visigothic enemies, and made it comparatively easy for them to
blend with the Roman population in the provinces. They had done good service
against the Saracens of Spain; they had aided the English Boniface in his
mission to the heathen of Germany ^1; and at length, as the most powerful
among Catholic nations, they attracted the eyes of the ecclesiastical head of
the West, now sorely bested by domestic foes.

[Footnote 1: 'Denique gens Francorum multos et foecundissimos fructus Domino
attulit, non solum credendo, sed et alios salutifere convertendo,' says the
emperor Lewis II. in A.D. 871.]

Since the invasion of Alboin, Italy had groaned under a complication of
evils. The Lombards who had entered along with that chief in A.D. 568 had
settled in considerable numbers in the valley of the Po, and founded the
duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, leaving the rest of the country to be
governed by the exarch of Ravenna as viceroy of the Eastern crown. This
subjection was, however, little better than nominal. Although too few to
occupy the whole peninsula, the invaders were yet strong enough to harass
every part of it by inroads which met with no resistance from a population
unused to arms, and without the spirit to use them in self-defence. More
cruel and repulsive, if we may believe the evidence of their enemies, than any
other of the Northern tribes, the Lombards were certainly singular in their
aversion to the clergy, never admitting them to the national councils.
Tormented by their repeated attacks, Rome sought help in vain from Byzantium,
whose forces, scarce able to repel from their walls the Avars and Saracens,
could give no support to the distant exarch of Ravenna. The Popes were the
Emperor's subjects; they awaited his confirmation, like other bishops; they
had more than once been the victims of his anger ^1. But as the city became
more accustomed in independence, and the Pope rose to a predominance, real if
not yet legal, his tone grew bolder than that of the Eastern patriarchs. In
the controversies that had raged in the Church, he had had the wisdom or good
fortune to espouse (though not always from the first) the orthodox side: it
was now by another quarrel of religion that his deliverance from an unwelcome
yoke was accomplished ^2.

[Footnote 1: Martin, as Sylverius earlier.]

[Footnote 2: A singular account of the origin of the separation of the Greeks
and Latins occurs in the treatise of Landulfus de Columna (Landolfo Colonna),
De translatione Imperii Romani (circa 1320). 'The tyranny of Heraclius,' says
he, 'provoked a revolt of the Eastern nations. They could not be reduced,
because the Greeks at the same time began to disobey the Roman Pontiff,
receding, like Jeroboam, from the true faith. Others among these schismatics
(apparently with the view of strengthening their political revolt) carried
their heresy further and founded Mohammedanism.' Similarly, the Franciscan
Marsilius of Padua (circa 1324) says that Mohammed, 'a rich Persian,' invented
his religion to keep the East from returning to allegiance to Rome. It is
worth remarking that few, if any, of the earlier historians (from the tenth to
the fifteenth century) refer to the Emperors of the West from Constantine to
Augustulus: the very existence of this Western line seems to have been even in
the eighth or ninth century altogether forgotten.]

The Emperor Leo, born among the Isaurian mountains, where a purer faith
may yet have lingered, and stung by the Mohammedan taunt of idolatry,
determined to abolish the worship of images, which seemed fast obscuring the
more spiritual part of Christianity. An attempt sufficient to cause tumults
among the submissive Greeks, excited in Italy a fiercer commotion. The
populace rose with one heart in defence of what had become to them more than a
symbol: the exarch was slain: the Pope, though unwilling to sever himself from
the lawful head and protector of the Church, must yet excommunicate the prince
whom he could not reclaim from so hateful a heresy. Liudprand, king of the
Lombards, improved his opportunity: falling on the exarchate as the champion
of images, on Rome as the minister of the Greek Emperor, he overran the one,
and all but succeeded in capturing the other. The Pope escaped for the
moment, but saw his peril; placed between a heretic and a robber, he turned
his gaze beyond the Alps, to a Catholic chief who had just achieved a signal
deliverance for Christendom on the field of Poitiers. Gregory II had already
opened communications with Charles Martel, mayor of the palace, and virtual
ruler of the Frankish realm ^1. As the crisis becomes more pressing, Gregory
III finds in the same quarter his only hope, and appeals to him, in urgent
letters, to haste to the succour of Holy Church ^2. Some accounts add that
Charles was offered, in the name of the Roman people, the office of consul and
patrician. It is at least certain that here begins the connection of the old
imperial seat with the rising German power: here first the pontiff leads a
political movement, and shakes off the ties that bound him to his legitimate
sovereign. Charles died before he could obey the call; but his son Pipin
(surnamed the Short) made good use of the new friendship with Rome. He was the
third of his family who had ruled the Franks with a monarch's full power: it
seemed time to abolish the pageant of Merovingian royalty; yet a departure
from the ancient line might shock the feelings of the people. A course was
taken whose dangers no one then foresaw: the Holy See, now for the first time
invoked as an international power, pronounced the deposition of Childeric, and
gave to the royal office of his successor Pipin a sanctity hitherto unknown;
adding to the old Frankish election, which consisted in raising the chief on a
shield amid the clash of arms, the Roman diadem and the Hebrew rite of
anointing. The compact between the chair of Peter and the Teutonic throne was
hardly sealed, when the latter was summoned to discharge its share of the
duties. Twice did Aistulf the Lombard assail Rome, twice did Pipin descend to
the rescue: the second time at the bidding of a letter written in the name of
St. Peter himself ^3. Aistulf could make no resistance; and the Frank
bestowed on the Papal chair all that belonged to the exarchate in North Italy,
receiving as the meed of his services the title of Patrician ^4.

[Footnote 1: Anastasius, Vitae Pontificum Romanorum, i. ap. Muratori.]

[Footnote 2: Letter in Codex Carolinus, in Muratori's Scriptores Rerum
Italicarum, vol. iii. (part 2nd), addressed 'Subregulo Carolo.]

[Footnote 3: Letter in Cod. Carol. (Mur. R. S. I. iii [2] p. 96), a strange
mixture of earnest adjurations, dexterous appeals to Frankish pride, and long
scriptural quotations: 'Declaratum quippe est quod super omnes gentes vestra
Francorum gens prona mihi Apostolo Dei Petro exstitit, et ideo ecclesiam quam
mihi Dominus tradidit vobis per manus Vicarii mei commendavi.']

[Footnote 4: The exact date when Pipin received the title cannot be made out.
Pope Stephen's next letter (p. 96 of Mur. iii.) is addressed 'Pipino, Carolo
et Carolomanno patriciis.' And so the Chronicon Casinense (Mur. iv. 273) says
it was first given to Pipin. Gibbon can hardly be right in attributing it to
Charles Martel, although one or two documents may be quoted in which it is
used of him. As one of these is a letter of Pope Gregory II's, the
explanation may be that the title was offered or intended to be offered to
him, although never accepted by him.]

As a foreshadowing of the higher dignity that was to follow, this title
requires a passing notice. Introduced by Constantine at a time when its
original meaning had been long forgotten, it was designed to be, and for
awhile remained, the name not of an office but of a rank, the highest after
those of emperor and consul. As such, it was usually conferred upon
provincial governors of the first class, and in time also upon barbarian
potentates whose vanity the Roman court might wish to flatter. Thus Odoacer,
Theodoric, the Burgundian king Sigismund, Clovis himself, had all received it
from the Eastern emperor; so too in still later times it was given to
Saracenic and Bulgarian princes ^1. In the sixth and seventh centuries an
invariable practice seems to have attached it to the Byzantine viceroys of
Italy, and thus, as we may conjecture, a natural confusion of ideas had made
men take it to be, in some sense, an official title, conveying an extensive
though undefined authority, and implying in particular the duty of overseeing
the Church and promoting her temporal interests. It was doubtless with such a
meaning that the Romans and their bishop bestowed it upon the Frankish kings,
acting quite without legal right, for it could emanate from the emperor alone,
but choosing it as the title which bound its possessor to render to the Church
support and defence against her Lombard foes. Hence the phrase is always
'Patricius Romanorum;' not, as in former times, 'Patricius' alone: hence it is
usually associated with the terms 'defensor' and 'protector.' And since
'defence' implies a corresponding measure of obedience on the part of those
who profit by it, there must have been conceded to the new patrician more or
less of positive authority in Rome, although not such as to extinguish the
supremacy of the emperor.

[Footnote 1: The title of Patrician appears even in the remote West: it stands
in a charter of Ina the West Saxon king, and in one given by Richard of
Normandy in A.D. 1015. Ducange, s. v.]

So long indeed as the Franks were separated by a hostile kingdom from
their new allies, this control remained little better than nominal. But when
on Pipin's death the restless Lombards again took up arms and menaced the
possessions of the Church, Pipin's son Charles or Charlemagne swept down like
a whirlwind from the Alps at the call of Pope Hadrian, seized king Desiderius
in his capital, himself assumed the Lombard crown, and made northern Italy
thenceforward an integral part of the Frankish empire. Proceeding to Rome at
the head of his victorious army, the first of a long line of Teutonic kings
who were to find her love more deadly than her hate, he was received by
Hadrian with distinguished honours, and welcomed by the people as their leader
and deliverer. Yet even then, whether out of policy or from that sentiment of
reverence to which his ambitious mind did not refuse to bow, he was moderate
in claims of jurisdiction, he yielded to the pontiff the place of honour in
processions, and renewed, although in the guise of a lord and conqueror, the
gift of the Exarchate and Pentapolis, which Pipin had made to the Roman Church
twenty years before.

It is with a strange sense, half of sadness, half of amusement, that in
watching the progress of this grand historical drama, we recognize the meaner
motives by which its chief actors were influenced. The Frankish king and the
Roman pontiff were for the time the two most powerful forces that urged the
movement of the world, leading it on by swift steps to a mighty crisis of its
fate, themselves guided, as it might well seem, by the purest zeal for its
spiritual welfare. Their words and acts, their whole character and bearing in
the sight of expectant Christendom, were worthy of men destined to leave an
indelible impress on their own and many succeeding ages. Nevertheless in them
too appears the undercurrent of vulgar human desires and passions. The lofty
and fervent mind of Charles was not free from the stirrings of personal
ambition: yet these may be excused, if not defended, as almost inseparable
from an intense and restless genius, which, be it never so unselfish in its
ends, must in pursuing them fix upon everything its grasp and raise out of
everything its monument. The policy of the Popes was prompted by motives less
noble. Ever since the extinction of the Western Empire had emancipated the
ecclesiastical potentate from secular control, the first and most abiding
object of his schemes and prayers had been the acquisition of territorial
wealth in the neighbourhood of his capital. He had indeed a sort of
justification - for Rome, a city with neither trade nor industry, was crowded
with poor, for whom it devolved on the bishop to provide. Yet the pursuit was
one which could not fail to pervert the purposes of the Popes and give a
sinister character to all they did. It was this fear for the lands of the
Church far more than for religion or the safety of the city - neither of which
were really endangered by the Lombard attacks - that had prompted their
passionate appeals to Charles Martel and Pipin; it was now the well-grounded
hope of having these possessions confirmed and extended by Pipin's greater son
that made the Roman ecclesiastics so forward in his cause. And it was the
same lust after worldly wealth and pomp, mingled with the dawning prospect of
an independent principality, that now began to seduce them into a long course
of guile and intrigue. For this is probably the very time, although the exact
date cannot be established, to which must be assigned the extraordinary
forgery of the Donation of Constantine, whereby it was pretended that power
over Italy and the whole West had been granted by the first Christian Emperor
to Pope Sylvester and his successors in the Chair of the Apostle.

For the next twenty-four years Italy remained quiet. The government of
Rome was carried on in the name of the Patrician Charles, although it does not
appear that he sent thither any official representative; while at the same
time both the city and the exarchate continued to admit the nominal supremacy
of the Eastern Emperor, employing the years of his reign to date documents.
In A.D. 796 Leo the Third succeeded Pope Hadrian, and signalized his devotion
to the Frankish throne by sending to Charles the banner of the city and the
keys of the holiest of all Rome's shrines, the confession of St. Peter, asking
that some officer should be deputed to the city to receive from the people
their oath of allegiance to the Patrician. He had soon need to seek the
Patrician's help for himself. In A.D. 798 a sedition broke out: the Pope,
going in solemn procession from the Lateran to the church of S. Lorenzo in
Lucina, was attacked by a band of armed men, headed by two officials of his
court, nephews of his predecessor; was wounded and left for dead, and with
difficulty succeeded in escaping to Spoleto, whence he fled northward into the
Frankish lands. Charles had led his army against the revolted Saxons: thither
Leo following overtook him at Paderborn in Westphalia. The king received with
respect his spiritual father, entertained and conferred with him for some
time, and at length sent him back to Rome under the escort of Angilbert, one
of his trustiest ministers; promising to follow ere long in person. After
some months peace was restored in Saxony, and in the autumn of 799 Charles
descended from the Alps once more, while Leo revolved deeply the great scheme
for whose accomplishment the time was now ripe.

Three hundred and twenty-four years had passed since the last Caesar of
the West resigned his power into the hands of the senate, and left to his
Eastern brother the sole headship of the Roman world. To the latter Italy had
from that time been nominally subject; but it was only during one brief
interval between the death of Teia the last Ostrogothic king and the descent
of Alboin the first Lombard, that his power had been really effective. In the
further provinces, Gaul, Spain, Britain, it was only a memory. But the idea
of a Roman Empire as a necessary part of the world's order had not vanished:
it had been admitted by those who seemed to be destroying it; it had been
cherished by the Church; was still recalled by laws and customs; was dear to
the subject populations, who fondly looked back to the days when slavery was
at least mitigated by peace and order. We have seen the Teuton endeavouring
everywhere to identify himself with the system he overthrew. As Goths,
Burgundians, and Franks sought the title of consul or patrician, as the
Lombard kings when they renounced their Arianism styled themselves Flavii, so
even in distant England the fierce Saxon and Anglian conquerors used the names
of Roman dignities, and before long began to call themselves imperatores and
basileis of Britain. Within the last century and a half the rise of
Mohammedanism ^1 had brought out the common Christianity of Europe into a
fuller relief. The false prophet had left one religion, one Empire, one
Commander of the faithful: the Christian commonwealth needed more than ever an
efficient head and centre. Such leadership it could nowise find in the Court
of the Bosphorus, growing ever feebler and more alien to the West. The name of
'respublica,' permanent at the elder Rome, had never been applied to the
Eastern Empire. Its government was from the first half Greek, half Asiatic;
and had now drifted away from its ancient traditions into the forms of an
Oriental despotism. Claudian had already sneered at 'Greek Quirites ^2:' the
general use, since Heraclius's reign, of the Greek tongue, and the difference
of manners and usages, made the taunt now more deserved. The Pope had no
reason to wish well to the Byzantine princes, who while insulting his weakness
had given him no help against the savage Lombards, and who for nearly seventy
years ^3 had been contaminated by a heresy the more odious that it touched not
speculative points of doctrine but the most familiar usages of worship. In
North Italy their power was extinct: no pontiff since Zacharias had asked
their confirmation of his election: nay, the appointment of the intruding
Frank to the patriciate, an office which it belonged to the Emperor to confer,
was of itself an act of rebellion. Nevertheless their rights subsisted: they
were still, and while they retained the imperial name, must so long continue,
titular sovereigns of the Roman city. Nor could the spiritual head of
Christendom dispense with the temporal; without the Roman Empire there could
not be a Roman, nor by necessary consequence (as men thought) a Catholic and
Apostolic Church ^4. For, as will be shewn more fully hereafter, men could
not separate in fact what was indissoluble in thought: Christianity must stand
or fall along with the great Christian state: they were but two names for the
same thing. Thus urged, the Pope took a step which some among his
predecessors are said to have already contemplated ^5, and towards which the
events of the last fifty years had pointed. The moment was opportune. The
widowed empress Irene, equally famous for her beauty, her talents, and her
crimes, had deposed and blinded her son Constantine VI: a woman, an usurper,
almost a parricide, sullied the throne of the world. By what right, it might
well be asked, did the factions of Byzantium impose a master on the original
seat of empire? It was time to provide better for the most august of human
offices: an election at Rome was as valid as at Constantinople - the possessor
of the real power should also be clothed with the outward dignity. Nor could
it be doubted where that possessor was to be found. The Frank had been always
faithful to Rome: his baptism was the enlistment of a new barbarian auxiliary.
His services against Arian heretics and Lombard marauders, against the Saracen
of Spain and the Avar of Pannonia, had earned him the title of Champion of the
Faith and Defender of the Holy See. He was now unquestioned lord of Western
Europe, whose subject nations, Keltic and Teutonic, were eager to be called by
his name and to imitate his customs ^6. In Charles, the hero who united under
one sceptre so many races, who ruled all as the vicegerent of God, the pontiff
might well see, as later ages saw, the new golden head of a second image ^7,
erected on the ruins of that whose mingled iron and clay seemed crumbling to
nothingness behind the impregnable bulwarks of Constantinople.

[Footnote 1: After the translatio ad Francos of A.D. 800, the two Empires
corresponded exactly to the two Khalifates of Bagdad and Cordova.]

[Footnote 2: 'Plaudentem cerne senatum Et Byzantinos proceres, Graiosque
Quirites.' In Eutrop. ii. 135.]

[Footnote 3: Several Emperors during this period had been patrons of images,
as was Irene at the moment of which I write: the stain nevertheless adhered to
their government as a whole.]

[Footnote 4: To a modern eye there is of course no necessary connection
between the Roman Empire and a catholic and apostolic Church; in fact, the two
things seem rather, such has been the impression made on us by the long
struggle of church and state, in their nature mutually antagonistic. The
interest of history lies not least in this, that it shews us how men have at
different times entertained wholly different notions respecting the relation
to one another of the same ideas or the same institutions.]

[Footnote 5: Monachus Sangallensis, De Gestis Karoli; in Pertz, Monumenta
Germaniae Historica.]

[Footnote 6: Monachus Sangallensis; ut supra. So Pope Gregory the Great two
centuries earlier: 'Quanto caeteros homines regia dignitas antecedit, tanto
caeterarum gentium regna regni Francorum culmen excellit.' Ep. v. 6.]

[Footnote 7: Alciatus, De Formula imperii Romani.]

At length the Frankish host entered Rome. The Pope's cause was heard;
his innocence, already vindicated by a miracle, was pronounced by the
Patrician in full synod; his accusers condemned in his stead. Charles
remained in the city for some weeks; and on Christmas-day, A.D. 800 ^1, he
heard mass in the basilica of St. Peter. On the spot where now the gigantic
dome of Bramante and Michael Angelo towers over the buildings of the modern
city, the spot which tradition had hallowed as that of the Apostle's
martyrdom, Constantine the Great had erected the oldest and stateliest temple
of Christian Rome. Nothing could be less like than was this basilica to those
northern cathedrals, shadowy, fantastic, irregular, crowded with pillars,
fringed all round by clustering shrines and chapels, which are to most of us
the types of mediaeval architecture. In its plan and decorations, in the
spacious sunny hall, the roof plain as that of a Greek temple, the long row of
Corinthian columns, the vivid mosaics on its walls, in its brightness, its
sternness, its simplicity, it had preserved every feature of Roman art, and
had remained a perfect expression of Roman character ^2. Out of the transept,
a flight of steps led up to the high altar underneath and just beyond the
great arch, the arch of triumph as it was called: behind in the semicircular
apse sat the clergy, rising tier above tier around its walls; in the midst,
high above the rest, and looking down past the altar over the multitude, was
placed the bishop's throne ^3, itself the curule chair of some forgotten
magistrate ^4. From that chair the Pope now rose, as the reading of the
Gospel ended, advanced to where Charles - who had exchanged his simple
Frankish dress for the sandals and the chlamys of a Roman patrician ^5 - knelt
in prayer by the high altar, and as in the sight of all she placed upon the
brow of the barbarian chieftain the diadem of the Caesars, then bent in
obeisance before him, the church rang to the shout of the multitude, again
free, again the lords and centre of the world, `Karolo Augusto a Deo coronato
magno et pacifico imperatori vita et victoria ^6.' In that shout, echoed by
the Franks without, was pronounced the union, so long in preparation, so
mighty in its consequences, of the Roman and the Teuton, of the memories and
the civilization of the South with the fresh energy of the North, and from
that moment modern history begins.

[Footnote 1: Or rather, according to the then prevailing practice of beginning
the year from Christmas-day, A.D. 801.]

[Footnote 2: An elaborate description of old St. Peter's may be found in
Bunsen's and Platner's Beschreibung der Stadt Rom; with which compare Bunsen's
work on the Basilicas of Rome.]

[Footnote 3: The primitive custom was for the bishop to sit in the centre of
the apse, at the central of the east end of the church (or, as it would be
more correct to say, the end furthest from the door), just as the judge had
done in those law courts on the model of which the first basilicas were
constructed. This arrangement may still be seen in some of the churches of
Rome, as well as elsewhere in Italy; nowhere better than in the churches of
Ravenna, particularly the beautiful one of Sant' Apollinare in Classe, and in
the cathedral of Torcello, near Venice.]

[Footnote 4: On this chair were represented the labours of Hercules and the
signs of the zodiac. It is believed at Rome to be the veritable chair of the
Apostle himself, and whatever may be thought of such an antiquity as this, it
can be satisfactorily traced back to the third or fourth century of
Christianity. (The story that it is inscribed with verses from the Koran is,
I believe, without foundation.) It is of oak and acacia wood, and is now
enclosed in a gorgeous casing of bronze, and placed aloft at the extremity of
St. Peter's, just over the spot where a bishop's chair would in the old
arrangement of the basilica have stood. The sarcophagus in which Charles
himself lay, till the French scattered his bones abroad, had carved on it the
rape of Proserpine. It may still be seen in the gallery of the basilica at

[Footnote 5: Eginhard, Vita Karoli.]

[Footnote 6: The coronation scene is described in all the annals of the time,
to which it is therefore needless to refer more particularly.]