The result of a political deal

  In the northwest corner of Rome, the capital of today’s Italy, there is a city within a city – the Vatican. It is the smallest country in the world, the seat of the Pope, and the center of Catholicism in the world. It has an area of ​​only 0.44 square kilometers (the same size as Tiananmen Square) and a population of about 1,000 people. Don’t look at it as a small piece of land now, but going back thousands of years, the Papal State is a big country in central Italy, and it played an important and prominent role in the medieval historical stage. Before the establishment of the Papal State, although the church received a large amount of land donated by kings, the church held these lands as a private lord and did not have the sovereignty of these donated lands. How did the Pope have his own territory and establish the Papal State? In fact, the establishment of the Papal State was the result of a political transaction. The story begins with “Pepin the Short”, the king of the Frankish kingdom.
  The Frankish Merovingian dynasty lasted 241 years and had 28 kings. The founder of the dynasty was Clovis. The descendants of Clovis are far from having the courage and talent of their ancestors. They are ignorant, covetous, lazy and slack. People called these kings “lazy kings”. It is recorded in the history books: “The royal family has lost all power for a long time. There is nothing but the empty title of the king, because the wealth and power of the country fall into the hands of the palace ministers, the palace ministers, who control the full power.” But it is the king’s big housekeeper, responsible for managing the palace finances and royal estates. Later, with the decline of the “lazy kings”, the power of the palace ministers increased, and he gradually took charge of the military and political power of the country, and manipulated the “lazy kings” as puppets. . By 737 AD, Charles Martel became the only chancellor of the Frankish kingdom and was in charge of the court.
  Charlie Matt is quite talented. In 742, at the Battle of Poitiers, he defeated the invading Arabs, and he rose to prominence ever since. After the death of Charlie Matt, it was customary to divide the country equally between his two sons, Caroman and Pepin. Caroman, a devout Christian, gave up power and went to a monastery to become a monk. The real power of the Frankish kingdom fell into the hands of Pepin, who was the famous “Pepin the Short” in history.
  At this time, although Pepin held real power, the Franks were nominally ruled by the Clovis kings. Pepin knew that the support of the church was indispensable in order to be crowned as king. At this time, the Lombards captured the Roman Empire-controlled Ravenna, directly threatening the papal territory. The Pope had to seek support in the “barbarian” country, and he turned to the Frankish kingdom, which was relatively powerful at that time, hoping to form a religious and political alliance with the Frankish kingdom. Gong Xiang Piping and the Pope asked for each other, and they hit it off.
  In 751 AD, “Pipin the Short” sent envoys to see the Pope. The envoy had seen the Pope and asked the Pope with a strange expression: “Now there are people who hold great power, and there are people who claim to be kings but have no real power. Which of the two should be called Wei?” The Pope heard this. , immediately understood, but after pretending to ponder, he replied: “It is better for someone who holds real power to be king than someone who holds the throne but has no real power.” After the messenger reported the Pope’s reply to Pepin, Pepin smiled , and immediately convened a meeting of the nobility in Soissons. According to the custom that the Frankish king can be elected by the nobility, Pepin staged a drama of “nominating” the king, and was established as the king by the nobility. In this way, the Merovingian dynasty withdrew from the stage of history without resistance. But the so-called king elected by the nobles is obviously not authoritative and holy enough. In order to consolidate Pepin’s position, the newly ascended Pope Stephen III personally went to Gaul to hold a coronation ceremony for Pepin. The Pope anointed Pepin, his wife and son with holy oil. This ceremony gave the king of the new dynasty a sacred color, indicating that the king was “elected by the grace of God”, thus making Pepin the representative of God’s rule in the world, and opposing the king was opposing the supreme god. This is the first time in history that a pope has held a coronation ceremony for a king. After this series of activities, the Carolingian Dynasty, which was “supported” by the nobles and possessed a sacred color, was finally announced.
  With the support of the Pope, Pepin became king of the Franks. Of course, he did not forget the political deal with the Pope. In 754 and 756, Pepin sent troops to Italy twice, defeating the Lombards and forcing them to surrender the lands they had previously occupied. In order to thank the Pope for his support, “Pepin the Short” then generously donated these lands to the Pope. This is the “Piping offering soil” that has been handed down in the annals of history. Based on this, the Pope established the Papal State of the unity of state and religion in central Italy. The Papal State was the predecessor of today’s Vatican City State.
  After Pepin consecrated the land, the Papal State was established, and the Pope of Rome took over the land. He was both the leader of the Catholic Church and the monarch of the Papal State. His power increased day by day, and he gradually became a powerful force that could rival secular monarchs. In the centuries that followed, secular monarchs had ebb and flow in power and authority, sometimes uniting and sometimes fighting. Their ins and outs have shaped European politics and the course of Christianity for centuries. “Pepin the Short” was just conducting a political transaction, using the religious power to paint a sacred color for his crown. He never imagined that this act of his own would lead the secular government to a long-term entanglement with the Roman religious power. After a long journey, many political and religious problems in the Middle Ages and even modern Western Europe can not be traced back to this political transaction.