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countenance the more lofty pretensions of fucceeding Popes."
"In 728, Italy revolted from the eastern or Greek Emperor Leo; but the Popes exhorting the Italians not to feparate from the body of the Roman monarchy, the Exarch was permitted to refide within the walls of Ravenna, a captive rather than a master: and till the imperial coronation of Charlemagne, the government of Rome and Italy was exercifed in the name of the fucceffors of Conftantine. The liberty of Rome, which had been oppreffed by the arms and arts of Auguftus, was rescued after 750 years of fervitude, from the perfecution of Leo the Ifaurian. By the Cefars, the triumphs of the Confuls had been annihilated: in the decline and fall of the Empire, the God Terminus, the facred boundary, had insenfibly feceded from the Ocean, the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euphrates; and Rome was reduced to her antient territory from Viterbo to Terracina, and from Narni to the mouth of the Tyber "."
When the fovereignty of the Greek
Gibbon, p. 459.
a Gibbon, vol. 5. p. 111.
Emperors was extinguished, the ruins of Rome presented the fad image of depopu lation and decay: her flavery was an habit, her liberty an accident; the effect of superftition, and the object of her own amazement and terror. The last veftige of the fubftance, or even the forms, of the conftitution, was obliterated from the practice and memory of the Romans; and they were devoid of knowledge, or virtue, again to build the fabrick of a commonwealth. Their scanty remnant, the offspring of flaves and ftrangers, was defpicable in the eyes of the victorious Barbarians. As often as the Franks or Lombards expreffed their most bitter contempt of a foe, they called him a Roman; ' and in this name,' fays the Bishop Liutprand, we include whatever is base, whatever is cowardly, whatever is perfidious, the extremes of avarice and luxury, and every vice that can prostitute the dignity of human nature.' By the neceffity of their fituation, the inhabitants of Rome were caft into the rough model of a republican government: they were compelled to elect fome judges in peace and fome leaders in war: the nobles affembled to deliberate, and their refolves could not be executed without the union and confent
of the multitude. The ftyle of the Roman fenate and people was revived, but the fpirit was fled; and their new independence was difgraced by the tumultuous conflict of licentioufnefs and oppreffion. The want of laws could only be fupplied by the influence of religion, and their foreign and domestic counfels were moderated by the authority of the Bishop. His alms, his sermons, his correspondence with the kings and prelates of the Weft, his recent fervices, their gratitude, and oath, accustomed the Romans to confider him as the first magiftrate or prince of the city. The Christian humility of the popes was not offended by the name of Dominus, or Lord; and their face and infcription are still apparent on the most antient coins. Their temporal dominion is now confirmed by the reverence of a thoufand years; and their nobleft title is the free choice of a people whom they had redeemed from flavery"."
Liutprand, king of the Lombards, and the Exarch of the Greek Emperor, marched to the conqueft of Spoleto and Rome: the ftorm evaporated without effect; but the
Gibbon, vol. v. p. 112.
policy of Liutprand alarmed Italy with a vexatious alternative of hoftility and truce. His fucceffor Aiftulphus, declared himself the equal enemy of the Emperor and the Pope: Ravenna was fubdued by force or treachery; and this final conqueft extinguished the series of the Exarchs, who had reigned with a fubordinate power fince the time of Juftinian, and the ruin of the Gothic kingdom. Rome was fummoned to acknowledge the victorious Lombard as her lawful fovereign; the annual tribute of a piece of gold was fixed as the ransom of each citizen, and the fword of deftruction was unfheathed to exact the penalty of her difobedience. The Romans hefitated ; they intreated; they complained; and the threatening Barbarians were checked, by arms and negociations, till the Popes had engaged the friendship of an ally and an avenger beyond the alps."
"In his distress the firft Gregory had implored the aid of the hero of the age, of Charles Martel, who governed the French monarchy with the humble title of Mayor, or Duke, and who, by his fignal victory over the Saracens, had faved his country, and perhaps Europe, from the Mahometan yoke.
yoke. The ambaffadors of the Pope were received by Charles with decent reverence: but the greatnefs of his occupations, and the shortness of his life, prevented his interference in the affairs of Italy, except by a friendly and ineffectual mediation. His fon Pepin, the heir of his power and virtues, affumed the office of champion of the Roman Church P."
When Aiftulphus began to make preparations for the conqueft of Rome," the terrified Pontiff, Stephen II. addresses himfelf to his powerful patron and protector, Pepin; represents to him his deplorable condition, and implores his affistance. The French Monarch embarks with zeal in his caufe, croffes the Alps A. D. 754. with a numerous army; and having defeated Aif tulphus, obliged him by a folemn treaty to deliver up to the fee of Rome, the exarchate of Ravenna, Pentapolis, and all the cities, caftles, and territories, which he had feized in the Roman dukedom. It was not however long before the Lombard prince violated without remorse, an engagement which he had entered into with reluctance. In the
• Gibbon, vol. v. p. 114, 115.