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THE TWO SWORDS

tide was incomparably better established and who had been deprived of nothing by his Lord save only evil and the sword.

But despite all specious reasons for assuming the contrary, Charle- magne was much more important to the Papacy than it was to him. When he took over the reigns of government, Roman factions were fighting for possession of the Holy See. It almost seemed a law of the time that the supernatural dignity of this much coveted office was to be demonstrated by weakening it in every temporal sense. In ac- cordance with Roman requests, Charlemagne sent bishops from his Prankish Empire to the Lateran Synod (769). Immediately the congress decided that henceforth only the clergy were to have the right to vote, and that no layman could be elected. As a consequence the ruler laid hands on everything on Italy and its Pope. Stephen III was greatly alarmed when he confronted a new union of the Prankish and Lombard dynasties. He protested in vain. In 770, Charle- magne was betrothed to the daughter of Desiderius. Therewith he forced the Pope to make a sham peace with the Lombard king, who was sure his new hopes for Italian possessions had the support of a strong faction in Rome. Then there followed a sudden change in the situa- tion which liberated the Papacy from the Lombards forever, but at the same time made it dependent upon the liberator. Charlemagne an- nulled his marriage and sent the young wife back to her father. De- siderius now tried to enkindle a rebellion in the Prankish territory of his mortal enemy. He sought to induce Pope Hadrian I to anoint with the oils of kingship the disinherited children of Charlemagne's brother, who together with their mother had found a place of refuge at the Lombard court. But in Rome he met the revenge of a Prankish faction whose leader he had blinded and put to death in order to gain a victory for the Lombard faction under Paul Asiarta. Pope Hadrian clung firmly to the policy of alliance with the Franks and reinforced this decison by turning over Asiarta to the courts, which condemned him to death on a charge of murder. Thereupon Desiderius occupied cities in the Papal territory and vowed that he would take Rome by storm.

Summoned by Hadrian, Charlemagne destroyed the tottering kingdom of Desiderius and proclaimed himself ruler o the Lombards. In 774 he concluded his victorious campaign with an Easter pilgrimage


CHARLEMAGNE