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CHAP. “ be provoked to cast their horn-books at your head.” After XLIX. this decent salutation, the pope attempts the usual distinction

between the idols of antiquity and the Christian images.
The former were the fanciful representations of phantoms or
dæmons, at a time when the true God had not manifested


visible likeness. The latter are the genuine forms of Christ, his mother, and his saints, who had approved, by a crowd of miracles, the innocence and merit of this relative worship. He must indeed have trusted to the ignorance of Leo, since he could assert the perpetual use of images, from the apostolic age, and their venerable presence in the six synods of the Catholic church. A more specious argument is drawn from present possession and recent practice: the harmony of the Christian world supersedes the demand of a general council; and Gregory frankly confesses, that such assemblies can only be useful under the reign of an orthodox prince. To the impudent and inhuman Leo, more guilty than an heretic, he recommends peace, silence,

, and implicit obedience to his spiritual guides of Constantinople and Rome. The limits of civil and ecclesiastical powers are defined by the pontiff. To the former he appropriates, the body; to the latter, the soul: the sword of justice is in the hands of the magistrate: the more formidable wea. pon of excommunication is entrusted to the clergy; and in the exercise of their divine commission, a zealous son will not spare his offending father: the successor of St. Peter may lawfully chastise the kings of the earth. “ You assault “us, O tyrant! with a carnal and military hand: unarmed “ and naked, we can only implore the Christ, the prince of “ the heavenly host, that he will send unto you a devil, for “ the destruction of your body and the salvation of your “ soul. You declare, with foolish arrogance, I will dispatch “ my orders to Rome: I will break in pieces the image of “ St. Peter; and Gregory, like his predecessor Martin, shall “ be transported in chains, and in exile, to the foot of the

Imperial throne. Would to God, that I might be permit" ed to tread in the footsteps of the holy Martin; but may “ the fate of Constans serve as a warning to the persecutors " of the church. After his just condemnation by the bishops " of Sicily, the tyrant was cut off, in the fulness of his sins,

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XLIX. * tions of Scythia, among whom he ended his banishment " and his life. But it is our duty to live for the edification " and support of the faithful people; nor are we reduced to "risk our safety on the event of a combat. Incapable as you

are of defending your Roman subjects, the maritime si“tuation of the city may perhaps expose it to your depreda

tion; but we can remove to the distance of four-and twenty “ stadia,' to the first fortress of the Lombards, and then.... you may pursue the winds. Are you ignorant that the popes are the bond of union, the mediators of peace, between the East and West? The


of the nation are “fixed on our humility; and they revere as a God upon " earth, the apostle St. Peter, whose image you threaten

destroy.35 The remote and interior kingdoms of the “ West present their homage to Christ and his vicegerent; " and we now prepare to visit one of their most powerful “monarchs, who desires to receive from our hands the sa

crament of baptism.36 The Barbarians have submit “ ted to the yoke of the gospel, while you alone are deaf to " the voice of the Shepherd. These pious Barbarians are “kindled into rage: they thirst to avenge the persecution “ of the East. Abandon your rash and fatal enterprise; re“ flect, tremble, and repent. If you persist, we are innocent “ of the blood that will be spilt in the contest; may it fall on “ your own head.”

The first assault of Leo against the images of Constanti- Revolt of nople had been witnessed by a crowd of strangers from Italy A.Þ.728,

Italy, and the West, who related with grief and indignation the &c.

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34 Εικοσι-τεσσαρα σαδια υποχωρησει ο Αρχιερευς Ρωμης εις την

χωραν της Καμπανιας, και υπαγε διωξον τες ανεμος (Epist. i. p. 664.) This proximity of the Lombards is hard of digestion. Camillo Pellegrini (dis. sert, iv. de Ducatû Beneventi, in the script. Ital. tom. v.p. 172, 173.) forcibly reckons the xxivth stadia, not from Ronie, but from the limits of the Roman dutchy, to the first fortress, perhaps Sora, of the Lombards. I rather believe that Gregory, with the pedantry of the age, employs stadia for miles, without much inquiry into the genuine measure.

35 Οι άι πασαι βασιλειαι της δυσεως ως Θεον επιγειον εχεσι.

36 Απο της εσωτερα δυσεως τα λεγομενα Σεπτετε (p. 665). The pope appears to have imposed on the ignorance of the Greeks: he lived and died in the Lateran ; and in his time all the kingdoms of the West had em. braced Christianiry. May not this unknown Sepietus have some reference to the chief of the Saxon Heptarchy, to Ina king of Wessex, who, in the pontiscate of Gregory the second, visited Rome, for the purpose, not of baptism, but of pilgrimage (Pagi, A. D. 689, No. 2. A. D.726, No. 15.)?

CHAP. sacrilege of the emperor. But on the reception of his proXLIX.

scriptive edict, they trembled for their domestic deities; the images of Christ and the Virgin, of the angels, martyrs, and saints, were abolished in all the churches of Italy; and a strong alternative was proposed to the Roman pontiff, the royal favour as the price of his compliance, degradation and exile as the penalty of his disobedience. Neither zeal nor policy allowed him to hesitate; and the haughty strain in which Gregory addressed the emperor displays his confidence in the truth of his doctrine or the powers of resistance. Without depending on prayers or miracles, he boldly armed against the public enemy, and his pastoral letters admonished the Italians of their danger and their duty:37 At this signal, Ravenna, Venice, and the cities of the Exarchate and Pentapolis, adhered to the cause of religion; their military force by sea and land consisted, for the most part, of the natives; and the spirit of patriotism and zeal was transfused into the mercenary strangers. The Italians swore to live and die in the defence of the pope and the holy images; the Roman people was devoted to their father, and even the Lombards were ambitious to share the merit and advantage of this holy war. The most treasonable act, but the most obvious revenge, was the destruction of the statues of Leo himself: the most effectual and pleasing measure of rebellion, was the with-holding the tribute of Italy, and depriving him of a power which he had recently abused by the imposition of a new capitation.38 A form of administration was preserved by the election of magistrates and governors; and so high was the public indignation, that the Italians were preparing to create an orthodox emperor, and to conduct him with a fleet and army to the palace of Constantinople. In that palace, the Roman bishops, the second and third Gre

37 I shall transcribe the important and decisive passage of the Liber Pon. tificalis. Respiciens ergo pius vir profanam principis jussionem jam contra Imperatorem quasi contra hostem se armavit, renuens hæresim ejus, scribens ubique se cavere Christianos eo quod orto fuisset, impietas talis. Igitur permoti omnes Pentapolenses, atque Venetiarum exercitus contra Imperatoris jussio. nem restiterunt; dicentes se nunquam in ejusdem pontificis condescendere necem, sed pro ejus magis defensione viriliter decertare (p. 156).

38 A census, or capitation, says Anastasius (p. 156); a most cruel tax, unknown to the Saracens themselves, exclaims the zealous Maimbourg (Hist. des Iconoclastes, l.i), and Theophanes (p. 344), who talks of Pharaoh's numbering the male children of Israel. This mode of taxation was familiar to the Saracens; and, most unluckily for the historian, it was imposed a few years afterwards in France by his patron Lewis XIV.

gory, were condemned as the authors of the revolt, and every CHAP. attempt was made either by fraud or force to seize their per

XLIX. sons, and to strike at their lives. The city was repeatedly visited or assaulted by captains of the guards, and dukes and exarchs of high dignity or secret trust; they landed with foreign troops, they obtained some domestic aid, and the su. perstition of Naples may blush that her fathers were attached to the cause of heresy. But these clandestine or open attacks were repelled by the courage and vigilance of the Romans; the Greeks were overthrown and massacred, their leaders suffered an ignominious death, and the popes, however inclined to mercy, refused to intercede for these guilty victims. At Ravenna, 39 the several quarters of the city had long exercised a bloody and hereditary feud; in religious controversy they found a new aliment of faction: but the votaries of images were superior in numbers or spirit, and the exarch, who attempted to stem the torrent, lost his life in a popular sedition. To punish this flagitious deed, and restore his dominion in Italy, the emperor sent a fleet and army into the Adriatic gulf. After suffering from the winds and waves much loss and delay, the Greeks made their descent in the neighbourhood of Ravenna: they threatened to depopulate the guilty capital, and to imitate, perhaps to surpass, the example of Justinian the second, who had chastised a former rebellion by the choice and execution of fifty of the principal inhabitants. The women and clergy, in sackcloth and ashes, lay prostrate in prayer; the men were in arms for the defence of their country; the common danger had united the factions, and the event of a battle was preferred to the slow miseries of a siege. In a hard-fought day, as the two armies alternately yielded and advanced, a phantom was seen, a voice was heard, and Ravenna was victorious by the assurance of victory. The strangers retreated to their ships, but the populous sea-coast poured forth a multitude of boats; the waters of the Po were so deeply infected with blood, that during six years, the public prejudice abstained from the fish

39 See the Liber Pontificalis of Agnellus (in the Scriptores Rerum Italicarum of Muratori, tom.ii. pars i), whose deeper shade of Barbarism marks the difference between Rome and Ravenna. Yet we are indebted to him for some curious and domestic facts...the quarters and factions of Ravenna (p. 154), the revenge of Justinian II. (p. 160, 161), the defeat of the Greeks (p. 170, 171), &c. VOL. VI.


CHAP.. of the river; and the institution of an annual feast perpetuXLIX.

ated the worship of images, and the abhorrence of the Greek tyrant. Amidst the triumph of the Catholic arms, the Roman pontiff convened a synod of ninety-three bishops against the heresy of the Iconoclasts. With their consent he pronounced a general excommunication against all who by word or deed should attack the tradition of the fathers and the images of the saints; in this sentence the emperor was tacitly involved, 40 but the vote of a last and hopeless remonstrance may seem to imply that the anathema was yet suspended over his guilty head. No sooner had they confirmed their own safety, the worship of images, and the freedom of Rome and Italy, than the popes appear to have relaxed of their severity, and to have spared the relics of the Byzantine dominion. Their moderate counsels delayed and prevented the election of a new emperor, and they exhorted the Italians not to separate from the body of the Roman monarchy. The exarch was permitted to reside 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 exercised in the name of the successors of Con

stantine. 41 Republic The liberty of Rome, which had been oppressed by the

arms and arts of Augustus, was rescued, after seven hundred and fifty years of servituïde, from the persecution of Leo the Isaurian. By the Cæsars, the triumphs of the consuls had been annihilated: in the decline and fall of the empire, the god Terminus, the sacred boundary, had insensibly receded from the ocean, the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euphrates; and Rome was reduced to her ancient territory from Viterbo to Terracina, and from Narni to the mouth

of Rome.

40 Yet Leo was undoubtedly comprised in the si quiz. ... imaginum sacrarum ....destructor .... extiterit sit extorris a corpore D. N. Jesu Christi vel totius ecclesiæ unitate. The canonists may decide whether the guilt or the name constituses the excommunication; and the decision is of the last importance to their safety, since, according to the oracle (Gratian Caus. xxiii.q.5.c. 47. ap!d Spanheim, Hist. Imag. p. 112), homicidas non esse qui excommunicatos irucidant.

41 Compescuit tale consilium Pontifex, sperans conversionem principis (Anastas. p. 156). Scd ne desisterent ab amore et fide R. J. admonebat (p. 157). The popes style Leo and Constantine Copronymus, Imperatores et Domini, with the strange epithet of Piissimi. A famous Mosaic of the Lateran (A. D. 798) represents Christ, who delivers the keys to St. Peter and the ban. ner to Constantine V. (Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. vi. p. 337).

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