Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Nov 19, 2006 23:48:14 GMT -5
Alachis' Revolt. Duke Alachis of Trent-Brescia, leader of the Arian nobility, rebels against King Cunincpert of the Lombards. Cuncipert escapes to the fortress of Isola Comacina, leaving most of northern Italy in Alachis' hands. Alachis has himself acclaimed king of the Lombards at Pavia.
Theme of Sicily formed.
Quinisext Council ("Council in Trullo") set up by Emperor Justinian II at Constantinople, to complete the work of the Fifth (553) & Sixth (680) Ecumenical Councils. But the Pope is not invited and the Council controversially asserts the 'equality' of the Sees of Rome and Constantinople. (ergo this Council is recognized by Eastern churches, but not Western, as 'ecumenical').
Expectedly, Pope Sergius I rejects the disciplinary canons emanating from Quinisext. Imperial official Zacharias proceeds to Rome to arrest Sergius, but a massive army dispatched by the Exarch John II Platinus of Ravenna flips sides and joined by numerous Roman militias, prevents the arrest. The Emperor is humiliated.
692 - Fourth Byzantine-Muslim War Blaming the Arabs for the revolts in Armenia against attempts to bring that province in line with orthodoxy, Justinian II launches an invasion of Muslim Syria. Arabs defeat Emperor Justinian II at the Battle of Sebastopolis. Arabs subsequently conquer Armenia and turn it into a Muslim protectorate.
Lombard pretender Alachis is defeated and killed by King Cunnincpert at the Battle of Cornate d’Adda (near Lodi). Cunincpert recovers northern Italy.
Seeking to pick up where Alachis had left off, the castellan Ansfrid of Ragogna drives out Duke Rodoald of Friuli and begins preparations for a larger campaign to claim the throne. He manages to take Verona, but is subsequently defeated by King Cunicpert, who recovers Friuli and re-installs Rodoald.
Synod of Pavia At Cunnincpert's instigation, Patriarch Petrus I of Old-Aquileia renounces the schism of the Three Chapters and recognizes the independence of the Patriarchate of Grado.
The unpopular Justinian II is deposed in a military coup, mutilated and sent into exile in Crimea. An Isaurian general and former governor of Hellas ascends as Byzantine Emperor Leontius.
Carthage falls to the Arabs, but is briefly recovered by a stealthy Byzantine fleet which slips in as the conquerors are hauling the booty out of the city.
Peace is made between Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik and Emperor Justinian II.
697 In an effort to put an end to factional feuds between the townships of the Venetian confederation, Venetians terminate the twelve tribune system of self-government and elect Paoluccio Anafesto as the first Doge of Venice. Alas, this story is mythical for there was no such person and no such election.
Synod of Aquileia under Patriarch Senerus of Aquileia. The old Three Chapters schism is formally closed and the remaining Lombard bishoprics submit to Rome. The split of Old-Aquileia and Grado is ratified.
Carthage falls again to the Arabs, this time permanently, and is razed to the ground. The Byzantine Exarchate of Africa lives on for yet a few more years, consisting now merely of Tangiers, Ceuta, the Balearic Islands, Sardinia and Corsica.
The fleeing Carthage garrison, fearing retribution from Emperor Leonties for their 'failure', go into revolt in Crete and declare one of their own, Apsimar, as Emperor. Apsimar and his companions sail against Constantinople. After two month siege, plague forces the city the city to open its gates. Leontius is deposed, mutilated and imprisoned and Apsimar ascends with the title of Byzantine Emperor Tiberius II ("Apsimar")
- Tiberius II ("Apsimar")
700 - Death of Cunincpert of the Lombards. Chaos ensues and he is succeeded by three kings -- Liutpert, Raginpert and Rohtarit, each of whom lasts only a few months. After a chaotic year, the Duke of Turin seizes power as King Aripert II of the Lombards. In this chaotic time, the two large southern duchies of Spoleto and Benevento pull further away, paying only lip service to the Lombard king.
September, 701 Death of Sergius I. Election of Pope John VI
Exarch John II Platinus replaced by Exarch Theophylactus of Ravenna. His arrival in Rome to confirm the Pope John VI's election is greeted with violence by the Roman populace. The revolt is subdued with the cooperation of the Pope.
703 Ex-emperor Justinian II flees from captivity in Crimea into the Khazar Khanate. Heingratiates himself in the court of the Khazar Khan. But at length, after repeated requests from Tiberius II, the Khazars attempt to murder Justinian. But he escapes again and makes his way to the court of Tervel Khan of the Bulgars.
703 Volturno Abbey - The Abbey of St. Vincent of Volturno founded in the Appenine hills of southern Italy by Benedectine monks from nearby Monte Cassino.
Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Nov 19, 2006 23:48:58 GMT -5
After nearly forty years of on-and-off war, the North African Berbers finally submit to the Muslim Arabs. All of North Africa, save for the Byzantine enclaves of Tangiers and Ceuta, are in Muslim hands.
Arab eyes now turn across the Mediterranean. That same year, Ifriqiyan governor Musa ibn Nusayr founds Tunis (near the ruins of Carthage) and orders the construction of its great naval arsenal.. In the meantime, an Arab fleet under Atta ibn-Rafi from Egypt raids Sicily (Third Raid).
704 Ifriqiyan raid on Sicily by Abdullah ibn Musa, sacking Lilibeo.
Yet another Arab raid on Sicily, by Aiasci ibn-Akhial. Syracuse is sacked again. There will be a pause of fifteen years of Arab raids.
March, 705 Death of Pope John VI. Election of another Greek as Pope John VII.
August, 705 Justinian II restored. News of the approach of Justinian II accompanied by the army of Tervel Khan of the Bulgars prompt the usurper Tiberius II to flee Constantinople. Justinian makes his way into the city via the aqueducts and regains power. After being hunted down, Tiberius II and Leontias are executed.
Slavic incursion into Friuli. Lombards are defeated at the Battle of Izola.
October, 707 - Death of Pope John VII. Election of a Syrian as Pope Sisinnius
February 708, Death of Pope Sisinnius, a mere three weeks after consecration. Election of Pope Constantine
- Pope Constantine
708 Tangiers falls to the Arabs. Ceuta is the last Byzantine outpost in Africa.
Revolt of Ravenna Leaders and militia of Ravenna revolt against several proscriptions by the Emperor Justinian II against the Archbishop Felix and curia of the city. As their commander, they elect a captain George of Ravenna, as ruler, in defiance of the empire. Romagna (incl. Ravenna, Bologna, Forli, Faenza) and northern Pentapolis adhere to the revolt, but the rest of Byzantine Italy is stay on the fence.
Pope Constantine goes to Constantinople (the last such visit by a pope) to meet with Emperor Justinian II in Constantinople. The Emperor confirms Rome's primacy and privileges. They also confer on how to deal with George of Ravenna, but apparently nothing comes of it.
Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Nov 19, 2006 23:49:36 GMT -5
Duke Ansprand of Asti, tutor and regent for the former young king Liutpert who had been exiled in Bavaria by Aripert II, arrives in Lombardia accompanied by Bavarian auxiliaries. He defeats and kills Aripert and is acclaimed as king of the Lombards. But Ansprand himself dies two months later. His son ascends as King Liutprand of the Lombards, one of the greatest of Lombard kings.
- Lombard coin (tremisse) with image of Liutprand, King of the Lombards.
Known Lombard mints minting gold tremisse (1/3 of a solidus) in operation at this time are Pavia, Milan, Florence, Ivrea, Treviso, Pombia, Novate, Lucca and Pisa.
Revolt in Cherson (Crimea) by the exiled Armenian general Bardanes spreads to an uprising in Constantinople, fomented by resentful monothelite clergy. Emperor Justinian II is assassinated. Ascension of Philip Bardanes as Byzantine Emperor Philippicus ("Bardanes").
- Byzantine Emperor Philippicus ('Bardanes')
In reward to the monothelites, Philippicus installs a new patriarch and abolishes the findings of the 680 Council of Constantinople, leading Pope Constantine to refuse to recognize the new state of affairs. Sensing the chaos, the Bulgarians under Tervel and the Arabs under Walid I launch the Bulgar-Arab invasions of Byzantine territory.
Muslim Conquest of Spain begins, led by Berber commander Tariq ibn Ziyad. Initially invited to intervene in a Visigothic civil war by Patricius Julian of Ceuta, Tariq's quick victories break the power of the Visigothic state. Joined by Musa ib Nusair, governor of Ifriqiya, Tariq launches the full-scale conquest of Spain. It will be completed c.718.
May, 713 - Army of the Opsikian theme (NW Anatolia) deposes and mutilates Emperor Philippicus, and install the imperial bureaucrat Artemius as Byzantine Emperor Anastasius II ('Artemius'). The monothelite patriarch is run out of town and the findings of the 680 Council restored.
- Byzantine Emperor Anastasius II ('Artemius')
Francia Shattered - Death of Pepin II of Heristal, powerful mayor of the palace of Austrasia and effective ruler of the Franks. Pepin II designates his illegitimate son Charles ("Martel") ("the Hammer") as his successor in the mayoral office, but his succession is challenged and a civil war among the Franks ensues. As Francia descends into chaos, Aquitaine, Burgundy and other subject tribes break away. The Frankish edifice is further rocked by the arriving Arabs in Spain, who proceed to send armed incursions over the Pyrenees and land raiding parties in Provence.
Anastasius II heals the breach with Rome. The Ravenna crisis is resolved by restoring the old archbishop back to his see.
April, 715 Death of Pope Constantine. Election of the Roman sacellarius (comptroller) and librarian as Pope Gregory II.
The army of the Opsikian theme turn against 'their' Anastasius II and mutiny. They seize Constantinople, and force Anastasius II to abdicate in favor of their new candidate, a lowly tax-collector, who ascends as Byzantine Emperor Theodosius III.
Seeing the advancing Arab army in Anatolia as the greater threat, Theodosius immediately sues for peace with the Bulgars, increasing the tribute and conceding great tracts in Thrace and commercial privileges to the Bulgars.
717 - Byzantine commander in Anatolia, general Leo the Isaurian seizes power in the east and establishes himself Emperor Leo III ('the Isaurian').
- Byzantine Emperor Leo III ('the Isaurian')
The Arabs lay their second siege to Constantinople, what will turn out to be a costly affair for both sides.
Through a desperate year, the Byzantines fend off repeated Arab assaults with Greek fire and Bulgar aid. At length, the death of the Caliph and plagued by disease and supply problems, the Arabs lift the siege of Constantinople in the summer. Their withdrawl is disastrous, as the fleet is itself wrecked in a tempest and their rear mauled by a Bulgar raid. The Umayyad Caliphs will try to pay for this expensive adventure by extending heavy 'Christian' taxes to non-Arab Muslims (i.e. Berbers and Persians). This fiscal decision will divide the Muslims and eventually lead to the Abbasid uprising.
In his attempts to restore the imperial treasury after a long period of chaos and war, Byzantine Emperor Leo III also imposes a slew of new taxes. His Italian subjects, already half-in-rebellion since the 690s, balk at the suggestion and Pope Gregory II encourages their tax-evasion. Infuriated, Leo orders the arrest of the Pope, several attempts of which are made, all of which end pathetically as the Italian city militias prevent the Exarch's thin guard from carrying out the order.
720 - After the conquest of Spain by the Muslims, there are renewed Arab raids on the Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily. Liutprand arranges with Saracen agents the transportation of the remains of St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the greatest Christian saints and a doctor of the Church, from his temporary resting place in Sardinia to the Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro in Pavia.
King Liutprand receiving the remains of St. Augustine at the port of Genoa. (illustrated Historia Augustini)
Around this same time, Liutprand expands the Lombard legal code of Rotari and Grimoald, adding several chapters which are much more informed by Roman legal tradition.
725 - Lombards seize the Byzantine island of Corsica (then part of the Exarchate of Africa, not Italy).
Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Nov 19, 2006 23:50:57 GMT -5
723 St. Boniface, an energetic English missionary, is sent to convert the northern German heathen tribes (Thuringians, etc.).
- St. Boniface fells the oak of Thor, an object of German pagan worship.
Charles Martel reduces the Bavarians to Frankish suzerainity.
Spanish Muslims land in Provence and conduct a lightning raid through the Rhone valley, take them deep into the heart of Burgundy. Nimes is captured. Autun is taken and sacked, before they turn back again.
Iconoclasm Leo the Isaurian publishes the first of a series of iconoclastic decrees, which will culminate in the 730 decree ordering the destruction of icons and holy images throughout the Byzantine Empire.
ITALIAN REVOLT At Pope Gregory II's instigation, Italy rises up in revolt against Constantinople, primarily against the hefty taxes but also fueled by their resistance to the iconoclastic instructions from Greece. The Exarch Paul of Ravenna is assassinated and his provincial governors (magister militi) put to flight. Practically all the Byzantine domains of Italy renounce the authority of Constantinople.
Birth of La Serenissima Marcellus, the Byzantine magister militus of Venice, is expelled by the Italian revolters. An assembly of towns of the Venetian confederation places Ursus ("Ipato"), a Heraclean, at the head of the provincial administration, taking up the old Roman title of Dux or, in Venetian dialect, Doge, thus becoming the first doge of Venice.
A new wave of Saracen raids on Sicily begin wit Bashir Ibn Sefuan's sack of the Sicilian coast.
First Liutprand Offensive - Under the pretext of defending the Pope, the Lombard king Liutprand invades the Byzantine enclaves, seizing the Romagnan hinterlands (e.g. Bologna) and Pentapoli (Ancona, Rimini, etc.), penetrating so far as to lay siege to Ravenna. Further south, his detachments seize the strategic area of Sutri, on the Roman-Tuscan border.
Saracen raider Othman Ibn Abi Obeida lands in Sicily, defeating and killing the Byzantine governor.
Saracen raider Munstanir Ibn Habbab raids several Sicilian towns.
Donation of Sutri - In return for a substantial cash payment, Liutprand donates conquered Sutri to the Pope "in perpetuity", thereby making it technically the first "patrimony" of the Holy See, and the nucleus of the Papal States.
But a new Exarch Eutychius arrives in Naples and immediately seeks out and strikes an deal with Liutprand, alerting him against the alliance between the Pope and the independent-minded southern Dukes of Spoleto and Benevento. In return for the Exarch's assistance against the wayward Lombard dukes, Liutprand agrees to withdraw from the Ravenna suburbs (but keeps his other conquests) and sends his army to lay siege to Rome. But Pope Greg II manages to play on Liutprand's piety (and a sum of cash) to lift the siege and join his side again.
The fighting peters out soon after, and a comprehensive truce is made between the Lombards, the Pope and the Exarch, with the Exarch pretty much forced to leave his Italian subjects be. Some mark this (729) as the date of the emergence of an independent Papal State covering the old Duchy of Rome and Roman-held Umbrian fortresses of Perugia and Todi.
Saracen raid on Sicily by Thabit in-Hathim.
Raid on Sicily by Abd al-Malik ibn Qatan.
Death of Pope Greg II. Replaced by Pope Gregory III who continues the policies of his predecessor, including a renewal of the condemnation of iconoclasm and excommunication of Emperor Leo III.
- Pope Gregory III
Charles Martel rallies and leads the Franks to a massive victory over an Arab invasion army from Spain at the Battle of Tours/Poitiers. Charles Martel uses his new prestige to pick up the pieces of the shattered Frankish, Aquitanean and Burgundian kingdoms, asserting his dominance over all of France.
732 St. Boniface is made metropolitan archbishop of Germany (later settled on Mainz).
Abu Bakr Ibn Suaid's raid on Sicily is repelled by Byzantine forces.
Slavic incursion into Friuli prompts Patriarch Callistus of Aquilea to flee, with his clergy & relics, further north to Cividale.
Leo III reacts furiously to the new Pope Greg III. He formally seizes Papal estates in Calabria and Apulia from reassigns their revenues to the patriarchate of Constantinople (a big hit in the papal wallet). Leo proceeds to dispatch an invasion army - but they are shipwrecked at sea.
Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Nov 19, 2006 23:51:46 GMT -5
Saracen raiding party dispatched by new Ifriqiyan governor Obeid Allah ibn Habib is repulsed by Byzantine defenders in Sicily. After seven years of relentless, yearly Arab raids on the island, Sicily gets a breather.
Amphibian Arab expeditionary force lands in Provence and captures Arles and Avignon. Charles Martel appeals to Liutprand of the Lombards for assistance.
Duke Pemmone of Friuli arrests the Patriarch Callistus of Aquileia, but is himself deposed by Liutprand and replaced by his son, who ascends as Duke Ratchis of Friuli.
With the help of Liutprand, Charles Martel expels the Arabs from Provence, and brings Burgundy back under his rule.
Second Liutprand Offensive - In response to an incursion by the duke of Perugia, Liutprand of the Lombards invades Romagna again and captures Ravenna, the Byzantine capital. But the Venetians, at the plea of Pope Gregory III, dispatch a fleet and, in an amphibian assault, take Ravenna back.
With the Pope's encouragement, independent-minded dukes of Spoleto and Benevento rebel. Liutprand crashes on the southern duchies. The wayward dukes flee to Rome, under the protection of the Pope, prompting a furious Liutprand to invade Roman territory. The besieged Pope Greg III appeals to Charles Martel to deliver Rome from her assailants, the first direct appeal by a Pope to the Franks.
Abd al-Rahman ibn Habib leads an Arab army from Ifriqiya (Tunisia) on their first attempt a full-scale invasion of Sicily (rather than just a raid). They have a successful landing and proceed to lay siege to Syracuse. But a massive Berber rebellion in North Africa breaks out at this time. Abd al-Rahman cancels the invasion and ships his army quickly back to Ifriqiya to confont the Berbers.
Year of lots of changes of the guard, e.g.
Death of Charles Martel. Succeeded jointly by his sons Pepin III ('the Short') in the west and Carloman in the east.
Death of Leo III the Isaurian. Succeeded by Emperor Constantine V ('Copronymus') (literally, 'Who's Name is Shit'), who renews the iconoclastic decrees.
- Byzantine Emperor Constantine V 'Copronymus'
Death of Pope Gregory III, succeeded by Pope Zacharias, the last Pope of eastern origin. With Liutprand in occupation of a chunk of the Roman domains,
Death of Ursus of Venice, succeeded by Doge Deusdedit Ipato of Venice. Will transfer capital of Venetian confederation from Heraclea (Byzantine-inclined town) to Malamocco on the Lido bank (an independent republican-inclined town).
Berber revolt spreads to Spain. A fresh Arab army is dispatched west from Damascus to subdue it. But after a series of alternating victories and defeats, the new Arab commanders turn on the Emir and then on each other. Muslim Spain descends into complete anarchy. With both Spain and Africa enveloped in chaos, Spanish raids on France and African raids on Italy come to an abrupt halt.
Peace of Terni - Pope Zacharias negotiates a twenty-year truce with Liutprand, and abandons the rebellious southern dukes of Spoleto and Benevento to their fate. The two duchies are placed firmly under Lombard royal rule. Liuptrand restores to the Pope four Roman frontier fortresses (Orte, Amelia, Bomarzo, Bieda) he had seized in 739, but holds on to Sutri and Narni.
Third Liutprand Offensive Liutprand invades the Pentapolis in order to punish the Byzantine Exarch's intrigues with the southern Lombard dukes. Through the Pope's intercession, a truce is negotiated, but Lombard conquests in southern Pentapoli (Ancona, Osimo and Numana) are allowed to stand.
Alemanni rise up against their Frankish overlords. The Franks crush the uprising, extinguish the vassalage arrangement and annex Alemannia (Swabia) outright.
Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Nov 19, 2006 23:52:52 GMT -5
Death of Liutprand of the Lombards. After the brief rule of his nephew Hildeprand, Duke Ratchis of Friuli is elected as King Ratchis of the Lombards. The Duchy of Friuli itself is passed on to his brother, Aistulf. In one of his first acts, Ratchis ratifies the truce with the Pope.
- Ratchis, Duke of Friuli, King ofthe Lombards
Terra Santa Benedetto Duke Gisulf II of Benevento donates the land around Mt. Cassino to the Abbey of Monte Cassino as a sovereign ecclesiastical state.
Archbishopric of Mainz is founded, headed by St. Boniface, the metropolitan of Germany.
Carloman retires to a monastery. Pepin III 'the Short' is the sole mayor of the Franks.
Abbasid Uprising The Abbasid clan forge an alliance of disaffected non-Arab Muslims (Persians and Berbers) and religious puritans (Kharijites) against the ruling Umayyad Caliph. The black banners of revolt are raised in Khorasan.
Ascension of King Tassilo III of the Bavarians, a vassal of the Frankish kings.
749 - King Ratchis of the Lombards invades Romagna again, but meeting Pope Zacharias at Perugia, decides to abdicate the throne and retire to the monastery of Monte Cassino. His brother, Duke Aistulf of Friuli, is elected as King Aistulf of the Lombards.
- Aistulf, Duke of Friuli, King of the Lombards
Abbasid Caliphate - The Umayyads are defeated and the ruling clan massacred by the Abbasid armies. The head of the Abbasid clan ascends as Caliph Abu al-Abbas 'as-Saffah'. A political social & religious revolution revolution begins in the east, sidelining the Arab nobility in favor of a more Persophile state centered on the Caliph and a new 'Sunni' Islam. But fractious Arab nobles continue riding high in the chaos in the west. Taken over by military strongmen, the provinces of Spain and Ifriqiyah break away from the Caliphate.
Seeing the chaos in Spain as an singular opportunity, Duke Waifer of Aquitaine declares independence from the Franks and invades Muslim Septimania - which, if successful, would "seal off" Aquitaine from both Franks and Arabs (Aquitaine's frontiers would be perfectly defined by mountain ranges and water, depriving putative invaders of easy entry).
751 - A revolutionary year...
Fall of Ravenna. Aistulf repudiates the old treaty and launches an invasion of Romagna, seizing Ravenna permanently and declaring himself the new Exarch of Italy.
- Lombards vs. Rome, 751
Carolingian Kings of the Franks - at the Assembly of Soissons in late 751, the mayor Pepin III 'the Short' persuades the Frankish nobility to end the farce of figurehead kings. The assembly deposes the last Merovingian monarch and declares Pepin the new King of the Franks, thereby inaugurating the Carolingian dynasty.
- Pepin III 'the Short', Mayor of Austrasia, King of the Franks.
But, his usurpation suspect, Pepin needs a firmer legal basis for his kingly title. Pope Zacharias I hints that, if properly endorsed by clerical authorities, Pepin can claim kingship 'by divine grace'.
Abbey of St. Sylvester of Nonantola founded by St. Anselm, Duke of Friuli and brother-in-law of King Aistulf of the Lombards.
752 Death of Pope Zacharias in March, the last pope of eastern origin. To emphasize their break with Constantinople, the Romans elect a local Roman (the first in over a century) Pope Stephen II, but he dies two days later (before consecration, thus he should not be counted in the papal lists). They elect another Roman native with the same name, who ascends Pope Stephen II (some sources number him as Stephen III) without bothering to consult the Emperor.
- Pope Stephen II
First part of policy is dealing with Aistulf, whom, having taken Ravenna and declaring himself Exarch, now starts to assert his formal authority over the Duchy of Rome. He immediately demands a crushing annual capitation tax (one gold solidus per head) on the citizens of Rome.
Trying to foil Aquitaine's surge to independence, Pepin the Short launches the invasion of Septimania, a strategically-crucial sliver of territory in southwest France, which had served as a launching pad for invasions from Muslim Spain and the entry point into Aquitaine. The Frankish attack grinds down in a long, long siege of Narbonne, easily supplied by sea by the Spanish navy.
An Arab army dispatched from Ifriqiya lands in Sicily, hoping to pick up where they left off in 740. But they limit themselves to raiding the coasts and return to Africa (they raid Sardinia as well).
Post by Khalid ibn Walid on Nov 19, 2006 23:53:33 GMT -5
Diet of Duvno convened by Croatian high chief Budimir, to organize the borders of the disparate Slavic tribes in the western Balkans. Three Croatian duchies are recognized - the White Croats (in Dalmatia), the Red Croats (in Illyricum) and the Pannonian Croats (under the Avars). Serbian envoys obtain the recognition of two Serbian duchies - Rascia (Kosovo) and Bosnia. The Diet agrees to place all under the nominal suzerainity of Byzantium (except for the Pannonian Croats, who are subject to the Avars).
Synod of Constantinople - Blithely ignoring the goings on in Italy, Emperor Constantine V assembles the eastern bishops and reconfirms the iconoclastic decrees even more firmly than ever. The tenuous link between West and East is snapped. After the synod, persecution of monastaries in the east are stepped up.
October, 753 - With no help coming from Constantinople, Stephen II leads a formidable Roman train to Pavia to personally beg Aistulf for relief and the restoration of the Exarchate. Aistulf refuses but, perhaps unwisely, allows the Papal train to proceed through to Francia.
Aistulf realizes the blunder and rapidly dispatches his own agents, among which is Carloman, Pepin's own brother and now a monk at Monte Cassino, to argue the Lombard case in the Frankish court.
- January Promissio Carisiaca Pope Stephen II reaches Ponthion, on the Marne, where he is met by Pepin the Short. Pepin personally swears to try his best to persuade the Lombards to leave the Exarchate lands. But given that he himself has just usurped the Frankish crown, Pepin adverts that his own position is tenuous and the Frankish barons might not agree. Besides, he has more urgent business in Septimania.
Stephen II makes his case to Pepin
March - At an assembly at Braisne (near Soissons), Pepin informs the Frankish high nobles of the Papal mission and the Lombard refusal to evacuate and consults them on the course of action to be taken. St. Boniface urges action on the Pope's behalf, but Aistulf's agents do their work and the Frankish nobility is undecided.
April - Assembly of Queirzy. Pope Stephen II still has a couple of tricks up his sleeve and agrees to help Pepin secure the Frankish crown in return for Frankish military action on the Pope's behalf. To prevent any more interference, Pepin's brother Carloman and other troublemakers in his family are confined to monasteries. At the new assembly, Pepin the Short and the Frankish barons agree to launch a war to expel the Lombards from the lands of the Exarchate.
It is allegedly here that a document is drafted by Pepin the Short ("Donation of Quierzy") promising the Roman pope not only the lands of the Exarchate, but all of Italy south of the Po. (See aside on "The Patrimony of St. Peter")
July - Unction at St. Denis In a solemn ceremony before the Frankish barons at the Abbey of St. Denis, the Pope Stephen II re-crowns Pepin as King of the Franks and, in a novel step, anoints him and his sons, Charles and Carloman, thereby making the Carolingian dynasty 'kings by divine grace' (a novel notion for Germanic tribes used to elective monarchies). In so doing, the Pope erases all ambiguity about the Carolingians' claim on the Frankish throne.
But there is more. Exercising a function that rightfully belonged to the Emperor, the Pope confers on Pepin the title of 'Patricius Romanorum' ('Patrician of Rome', an exalted title, second only to the emperor himself in the Byzantine hierarchy), and designates him 'defender of the Holy See, the domains of St. Peter and the Roman republic'. In this manner, Pepin becomes "officially" (if illegally) the Byzantine governor of Italy.
Hearing the news of the events at St. Denis, Aistulf panics and tries to foment a rebellion among Frankish barons and, when that fails, offers Pepin 20,000 gold solidi to recognize the usurped lands.
St. Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz and metropolitan of Germany, is killed on a mission to Frisia.
First Frankish Expedition. Pepin takes his Frankish army over the Alps. Aistulf rushes his Lombard army to Val de Susa to block Pepin's passage through the Alps. But the constricted space doesn't permit him to spread his forces and, when his army is hit hard by the Frankish vanguard, he has no choice but to withdraw back towards Pavia.
Pepin lays siege to Pavia, but it doesn't last long. Aistulf sues for peace. He promises to abandon the dominions of the Exarchate of Ravenna and stop bothering the Duchy of Rome. He apparently also pays an indemnity and yields up some forty hostages. The task done, Pepin slips back over the Alps before someone steals his new throne. Pope Stephen II goes to Rome.
Byzantine-Bulgarian War Under pressure from his military chiefs over Constantine V's border fortifications in Thrace, Bulgar Khan Kormisos declares war on Byzantium.
January - With Pepin safely gone, then gathering his armies and reneging on his promise, Aistulf of the Lombards invades Rome. He ravages the countryside, and heads to the walls of the city, demanding its immediate surrender and to yield up the Pope to his hands. Pope Stephen II dispatches urgent appeals to Pepin once again -- but Pepin, having obtained what he wanted and wary of the unpopularity of a war against the Lombards, demurs at first but soon agrees after the Pope threatens to depose him.
March - Second Frankish Expedition The Franks return to Italy by the exact same path. Aistulf, unable to breach the well-manned walls of Rome, lifts the siege and rushes back north to face the Franks at the Val de Susa. Again, the Franks deliver a terrific blow to the Lombards at the Battle of Chiusi pushing them back to Pavia, again a siege, again Aistulf sues for peace. But this time, the terms are more severe: one-third of the royal Lombard treasury, plenty of hostages, an annual tribute of 20,000 gold solidi.
DONATION OF PEPIN - This time, Pepin sticks around to collect the keys and deeds of the towns of the Exarchate occupied by the Lombards. Pepin the Short formally organizes and drafts the documents passing them over to the administration of the Holy See. Specifically mentioned are twenty-three towns plus the surrounding countryside: that is most of Romagna (Ravenna, Forli, Cesena, etc.), the Pentapolis (Rimini, Pesaro, Faro, etc.) and cities in the Umbrian middle (Narni, Gubbio) that will help form the Perugia corridor connecting the Duchy of Rome on one coast to the lands of the Exarchate on the other.
However, there remain seven towns of the Exarchate who's keys and deeds were not obtained by Pepin -- in northern Romagna (Ferrara, Bologna, Imola, Faenza) and southern Pentapolis (Ancona, Osimo, Umana). With business back in Francia pressing, Pepin cannot wait any longer and makes Aistulf promise to promptly pass the seven towns over to the Pope.
Donation of Pepin (fresco at Vatican, Pope Stephen II being presented with the donation by Pepin's emissary Fuldrad)
This is usually said to mark the official beginning of the Papal States (or "Patrimony of St. Peter"). But its legal status is ambiguous. The Papal States is still nominally suzerain to the Byzantine Emperor, but the Romans have recognized the Frankish monarch as their Patricius, thus making him their most immediate overlord. Being so far away from Francia, the Frankish king has left the administration of the Papal States for the Pope, the higher clergy and the lay Roman nobility to sort out by themselves.
(See aside on "The Patrimony of St. Peter")
With the loss of Ravenna, the Byzantines will reorganize their remaining possessions in Italy. The Byzantine duchies of Naples and Calabria are placed under the Theme of Sicily (ruled by a Patricius), while the duchies of Istria and Venice are formally attached to the Archontate of Dalmatia.
756 - Umayyad Spain A young prince of the Umayyad clan, Abd al-Rahman, having escaped the massacre of his relatives by Abbasid authorities, makes his way west and seizes power in Spain, thereby founding the independent Umayyad Emirate of Cordoba (i.e. Spain). Pepin rushes back to Septimania to finish the job before the Spaniards get organized again.