The Merovingian Dynasty (c. 450-751 CE) ruled the Franks of Northern Gaul, steadily losing power and authority until, by the reign of King Childeric III (r. 743-751 CE), the monarchy had almost no influence and decisions were made by the office of Mayor of the Palace (equivalent to Prime Minister), who at that time was Pepin the Short. He is the author of the History in an Afternoon textbook series. These lands were formerly the Exarchate of Ravenna, territories which had belonged to the Byzantine Empire, and which Stephen claimed for the Church. Leo IX’s insistence on the legitimacy of the Donation, in fact, was a major contributing factor in the Great Schism of 1054 CE which split the Eastern Orthodox Church from the Roman Catholic Church in the west. In 753 CE, Stephen crossed the Alps (the first pope to do so) and met with Pepin at Quierzy-sur-Oise to discuss the disposition of the lands he had conquered from the Lombards. By Will Tennille and Jack Mykrantz What was the Donation of Constantine, and how did it change European society and politics? The futile efforts of pagan priests to subvert Christian truth is then addressed before the author (allegedly Constantine himself) tells how he received a revelation of this truth in a dream which he did not understand and brought his questions to Pope Sylvester I, asking who these “gods” were who went by the names Peter and Paul, both of whom he had seen in his dream. Icons, therefore, were obviously approved by God and the Eastern Church was in error to condemn Christian iconography as a pagan practice. Related Content This claim notes that, in the Middle Ages, documents such as land grants were often rewritten when the original had gone missing, setting down the agreement in writing as understood by both original parties, and so the new document still conveyed the details of the transaction and was authentic. Donation of Constantine The Donation of Constantine, Donatio Constantini, is a well-known fraud used by the papacy for more than 10 centuries to strengthen its position and power. The Donation of Constantine. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. Mark, Joshua J. It first appeared somewhere around the year 800. The Donation of Constantine was a document of great importance in the Middle Ages. The Donation of Constantine (Donatio Constantini, or sometimes just Donatio) is one of the best-known forgeries in European history. Written by Joshua J. The Donation of Constantine was proved to be a forgery by Lorenzo Valla, a Catholic priest in the 15th century, who, in addition to pointing out the factual and calligraphic errors, also sensibly argued that had Constantine done this extraordinary thing, there would surely have been some other mention of it in contemporary accounts! he Donation of Constantine (Constitutum Constantini) is doubtless one of the most famous forgeries of the Middle Ages.1 The his- torical genesis of the Donation and the history of its exploitation in the medieval West have been much studied and discussed: the composition The Donation of Constantine (English Edition) eBook: LeVay, Simon: Amazon.it: Kindle Store Selezione delle preferenze relative ai cookie Utilizziamo cookie e altre tecnologie simili per migliorare la tua esperienza di acquisto, per fornire i nostri servizi, per capire come i nostri clienti li utilizzano in modo da poterli migliorare e per visualizzare annunci pubblicitari. The Lombards had seized large tracts of land in Italy, extending their territories by taking those once claimed by the papacy. The document was revived in the 1920’s CE, however, and in 1929 CE, the Church publicly admitted the document was a fake and returned the Papal States to Italy. The controversy over the Donation continued even after Lorenzo Valla proved that the Constitutum Constantini was a forgery.22 Prue Shaw says that for Dante, Constantine's gift of property and temporal power "was the key event in human history which explained the sorry state of the modern world. (Donation, 5-6). It then maintains the truth of God as three-in-one embodied in the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and of Jesus Christ as God’s only begotten son before discussing the history of the world from Creation through the Fall of Man as described in the Bible. At the same time, the Church of Rome was being threatened by the Eastern Church and its declaration condemning icons (the so-called First Iconoclastic Controversy) as pagan idolatry. The Origin and Decline of the Papal States, The Avignon Papacy - When the Popes Resided in France, Key Dates in Renaissance Philosophy, Politics, Religion, and Science, Biography of Catherine of Siena, Saint, Mystic, and Theologian, Indulgences and their Role in the Reformation, The Diet of Worms 1521: Luther Squares Off with the Emperor, The Concordat of 1801: Napoleon and the Church, Industry and Agriculture History in Europe, M.A., Medieval Studies, Sheffield University, B.A., Medieval Studies, Sheffield University. 10-19 [Page 10] THE DONATION OF CONSTANTINE. There is no evidence the Do… The idea was that the Pope approved the transfer of the great central European crown from the Merovingian dynasty to the Carolingians, and in return, Pepin would not just give the Papacy the rights to Italian lands, but would actually ‘restore’ what had been given long before by Constantine. Constantine, Donation of, Lat. The Civilization of the Middle Ages: A Completely Revised and Expanded... A History Of The Medieval Church 590-1500, Popular religion in the Middle Ages: Western Europe, 1000-1300, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. He proclaimed it a forgery upon concluding that the Latin was too poor for a 4th-century CE Roman text, that there was no evidence of any change in the administration of the Western Roman Empire from Constantine’s time until its fall which could be attributed to such a document, that portions of the piece were blatantly plagiarized from a 5th-century CE text on Pope Sylvester’s life, and that the emperor of Rome had no legal right to cede his power to any pope. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Our mission is to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. License. Pagan priests erected a font on the Capitol and tried to persuade him to fill it with the blood of little children. Simon LeVay's new historical novel The use of the Donation at this meeting with Pepin has never been proven but is considered likely in that, when it shows up again during Charlemagne’s reign, it seems familiar to him. Medieval Sourcebook: The Donation of Constantine (c.750-800) This is perhaps the most famous forgery in history. The “Donation of Constantine” is the most famous forgery in European history. Valla himself opposed the Donation on religious and political grounds and was no doubt only too happy to apply his considerable critical skills to analyze the text. It was most likely made by a cleric either in Rome or the Frankish court, whose purpose may have been to allow the king to claim he was returning, but not giving, the Papal Lands to … The Donation of Constantine is a forged document purporting to transfer rule and possessions of Europe to Pope Sylvester I. The paintings show Constantine’s vision of the cross, his victory over Maxentius, his baptism, and his subsequent donation of Rome to Sylvester. Stephen anointed Pepin Patrician of the Romans in 754 CE, thus linking him with Constantine the Great and, at Pepin’s request, also anointed Pepin’s young sons and successors Charlemagne and Carloman (l. 751-771 CE). The theologian, philosopher, and writer Nicholas of Cusa (l. 1401-1464 CE), best known for his work The Layman on Wisdom and the Mind, seems to have been the first to seriously question the validity of the document and declared it a forgery. Pepin grew tired of being the power behind the Merovingian throne, issuing dictates which Childeric III was credited for, and wrote to Pope Zachary (served 741-752) explaining the situation and asking, “Is it right that a powerless ruler should continue to bear the title of King?” (Hollister, 108). "Donation of Constantine." Zachary was at this time inundated with various problems he could hardly manage. One of the more popular views has the Donation being created in the mid-eighth century at the behest of Pope Stephen II, in order to aid his negotiations with Pepin. Probable dates for the composition of the forgery known as The, CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Donation of Constantine, Internet History Sourcebook: The Donation of Constantine, Complete Text. What this meant, if it had been true, was that the Papacy had the legal right to rule a large area of Italy in a secular fashion, which it did during the medieval period. Cite This Work While the blood was warm, Constantine should bathe in it and be healed. Despite containing such a massive benefit to the papacy, the document appears to have been forgotten in the ninth and tenth centuries, when struggles between Rome and Constantinople raged over who was superior, and when the Donation would have been useful. The Roman Church had no interest in complying but was in such a weakened state at this time it seemed it had no choice. Valla was working as a translator for Alfonso V of Aragon (l. 1396-1458 CE), a patron of the arts with an interest in classical literature, who was involved in a dispute with Pope Eugene IV (served 1431-1447 CE) and needed the Donation discredited. The document itself begins with a lengthy prologue on the goodness of God, the sanctity of the Church, and the legitimacy of the papacy. Thank you! Mark, J. J. Donation of Constantine [1], Lat. Mark, Joshua J. The Catholic Church placed Valla’s work on the Index of Prohibited Books for centuries and seems to have done its best to try to bury The Donation of Constantine embarrassment. Bust of Charlemagneby Beckstet (CC BY-NC-SA). It is a medieval document which pretends to have been written in the early fourth century, giving large areas of land and related political power, as well as religious authority, to Pope Sylvester I (in power from 314 – 335 CE) and his successors. Scholars still debate whether the Church knew the document was a forgery all along, and some have offered the excuse that those involved were simply rewriting a document they were sure had existed once but was then lost. Mark, published on 01 July 2019 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Later popes who made use of the Donation – most notably Leo IX (served 1049-1054 CE) – believed it a genuine document and used it to justify ecclesiastical interference in temporal affairs. The Eastern Church declared that any representation of Christ or the saints in art was nothing more than a continuation of pagan practice, was in conflict with Exodus 20 which prohibited graven images, and banned all such images from its churches, demanding the Church of Rome do the same in the interests of a united Christian vision. 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