|Duchy of the Byzantine Empire|
|Late 7th century–756|
Duchy of Rome within the Byzantine Empire in 717
|Late 7th century|
• Establishment of the Papal States
|Today part of|| Italy |
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The Duchy of Rome (Latin : Ducatus Romanus) was a state within the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna. Like other Byzantine states in Italy, it was ruled by an imperial functionary with the title dux . The duchy often came into conflict with the Papacy over supremacy within Rome. After the founding of the Papal States in 756, the Duchy of Rome ceased being an administrative unit and 'dukes of Rome', appointed by the popes rather than emperors, are only rarely attested.
It is uncertain when exactly the Duchy of Rome was established, but it was most likely in the late 7th century, given the lack of earlier references to such a territory. The dux of Rome was subservient to the Exarch of Ravenna, who wielded the highest imperial authority in Italy.  Within the exarchate, the two chief districts were the country about Ravenna where the exarch was the centre of Byzantine opposition to the Lombards, and the Duchy of Rome, which embraced the lands of Southern Etruria north of the Tiber and of Latium to the south as far as the Garigliano (with the exception of Casinum and Aquinum).  There the Pope led the opposition to the Lombards. 
The strategic importance of the Duchy of the Pentapolis (Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Sinigaglia, Ancona) and the Duchy of Perugia lay in their ability to retain control of the districts between Ravenna and Rome, and with them communication over the Apennine Mountains. If this strategic connection were broken, it was evident that Rome and Ravenna could not singly maintain themselves for any length of time. This was also recognized by the Lombards. The same narrow strip of land broke the connection between their Duchies of Spoleto and Benevento and the main portion of the king's territories in the north. The Lombards made multiple attacks against this front to wrest control of the peninsula from the Byzantines.
In 728 the Lombard King Liutprand took the Castle of Sutri, which dominated the highway at Nepi on the road to Perugia. However, Liutprand, softened by the entreaties of Pope Gregory II, restored Sutri "as a gift to the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul". 
This expression of the Liber pontificalis was erroneously interpreted to mean that in this gift the beginning of the States of the Church was to be recognized. This is incorrect inasmuch as the Popes continued to acknowledge the imperial government, and Greek officials appeared in Rome for some time longer. It is true, however, that here for the first time the association of ideas on which the States of the Church were to be constructed is met. The Pope asked the Lombards for the return of Sutri for the sake of the Princes of the Apostles and threatened punishment by these sainted protectors. The pious Liutprand was undoubtedly susceptible to such pleas, but never to any consideration for the Greeks. For this reason he gave Sutri to Peter and Paul, that he might not expose himself to their punishment. What the Pope then did with it would be immaterial to him. 
The belief that the Roman territory (at first in the more restricted, but afterwards also in the wider sense) was defended by the Prince of the Apostles became more and more prevalent. In 738 the Lombard duke Transamund II of Spoleto captured the Castle of Gallese, which protected the road to Perugia to the north of Nepi. Pope Gregory III made a large payment to the duke to restore the castle to him. The pope then sought an alliance with Duke Transamund to protect himself against Liutprand. However, Liutprand conquered Spoleto, besieged Rome, laid waste the Duchy of Rome, and seized four important frontier fortresses (Blera, Orte, Bomarzo, and Amelia), thereby cutting off communication with Perugia and Ravenna. 
This caused the pope in 739 to turn for the first time to the powerful Frankish kingdom, under the protection of which Boniface had begun his successful labours as a missionary in Germany. He sent to Charles Martel, "the powerful mayor of the palace" of the Frankish monarchy and the commander of the Franks in the famous battle at Tours, undoubtedly with the consent of the Greek dux, and appealed to him to protect the tomb of the Apostle. Charles Martel replied to the embassy and acknowledged the gifts, but was unwilling to offer aid against the Lombards, who were helping him against the Saracens. 
Accordingly, the successor of Gregory III, Pope Zachary, changed the policy that had been previously followed toward the Lombards. He formed an alliance with Liutprand against Transamund, and in 741 received in return the four castles as the result of a personal visit to the camp of the king at Terni. Liutprand also restored a number of patrimonies that had been seized by the Lombards, and furthermore concluded a twenty years' peace with the Pope. 
The duchy now had a respite from Lombard attacks. The Lombards fell upon Ravenna, which they had already held from 731 to 735. The Exarch Eutychius had no other recourse than to seek the aid of the pope. Liutprand did in fact allow himself to be induced by Zachary to surrender the greater part of his conquests. Nor was it unimportant that these districts too once owed their rescue to the pope. Only a short time after Liutprand's death in 744, Zachary was successful in further postponing the catastrophe. 
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In 751 the Exarchate of Ravenna fell to the Lombards under King Aistulf. Rome, under Pope Stephen II, attempted diplomatic negotiations with Aistulf, and upon the failure of those negotiations, entreated King Pepin the Short of the Franks to intervene on its behalf.  Pepin defeated the Lombards by 756 and granted the lands of the Duchy of Rome as well as the former Lombard possessions to the Papacy in what is referred to as the Donation of Pepin, marking the true beginning of the Papal States. 
The dukes were initially appointees of the exarch, but by mid-century they were created by the Pope.
The office of Duke of Rome disappeared around 778–81, but there are scattered references to dukes among the Papal officers, who may be successors of the dukes of Rome:
Pope Stephen II was born a Roman aristocrat and member of the Orsini family. Stephen was the bishop of Rome from 26 March 752 to his death. Stephen II marks the historical delineation between the Byzantine Papacy and the Frankish Papacy. During Stephen's pontificate, Rome was facing invasion by the Lombards when Stephen II went to Paris to seek assistance from Pepin the Short. Pepin defeated the Lombards and made a gift of land to the pope, eventually leading to the establishment of the Papal States.
Pope Gregory II was the bishop of Rome from 19 May 715 to his death. His defiance of Emperor Leo III the Isaurian as a result of the iconoclastic controversy in the Eastern Empire prepared the way for a long series of revolts, schisms, and civil wars that eventually led to the establishment of the temporal power of the popes.
Pope Gregory III was the bishop of Rome from 11 February 731 to his death. His pontificate, like that of his predecessor, was disturbed by Byzantine iconoclasm and the advance of the Lombards, in which he invoked the intervention of Charles Martel, although ultimately in vain. He was the last Pope to seek the consent of the Byzantine exarch of Ravenna for his election, and the last non-European pope until the election of Pope Francis more than 1,271 years later in 2013.
Pope Zachary was the bishop of Rome from 28 November 741 to his death. He was the last pope of the Byzantine Papacy. Zachary built the original church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, forbade the traffic of slaves in Rome, negotiated peace with the Lombards, and sanctioned Pepin the Short's usurpation of the Frankish throne from Childeric III. Zachary is regarded as a capable administrator and a skillful and subtle diplomat in a dangerous time.
The Holy See exercised political and secular influence, as distinguished from its spiritual and pastoral activity, while the pope ruled the Papal States in central Italy.
Eutychius was the last Exarch of Ravenna, heading the Exarchate from 726 or 727 until 751.
Aistulf was the Duke of Friuli from 744, King of the Lombards from 749, and Duke of Spoleto from 751. His reign was characterized by ruthless and ambitious efforts to conquer Roman territory to the extent that in the Liber Pontificalis, he is described as a "shameless" Lombard given to "pernicious savagery" and cruelty.
King of Italy was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The first to take the title was Odoacer, a barbarian military leader, in the late 5th century, followed by the Ostrogothic kings up to the mid-6th century. With the Frankish conquest of Italy in the 8th century, the Carolingians assumed the title, which was maintained by subsequent Holy Roman Emperors throughout the Middle Ages. The last Emperor to claim the title was Charles V in the 16th century. During this period, the holders of the title were crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy.
The Exarchate of Ravenna or of Italy was a lordship of the Eastern Roman Empire in Italy, from 584 to 751, when the last exarch was put to death by the Lombards. It was one of two exarchates established following the western reconquests under Emperor Justinian to more effectively administer the territories, along with the Exarchate of Africa.
The Donation of Pepin in 756 provided a legal basis for the creation of the Papal States, thus extending the temporal rule of the popes beyond the duchy of Rome.
The Duchy of Spoleto was a Lombard territory founded about 570 in central Italy by the Lombard dux Faroald. Its capital was the city of Spoleto.
Liutprand was the king of the Lombards from 712 to 744 and is chiefly remembered for his multiple phases of law-giving, in fifteen separate sessions from 713 to 735 inclusive, and his long reign, which brought him into a series of conflicts, mostly successful, with most of Italy. He is often regarded as the most successful Lombard monarch, notable for the Donation of Sutri in 728, which was the first accolade of sovereign territory to the Papacy.
Ratchis was the Duke of Friuli (739–744) and then King of the Lombards (744–749).
Hildeprand, sometimes called the Useless, was the king of the Lombards from around 735 in association with his uncle, Liutprand. After Liutprand's death in 744, Hildeprand ruled in his own name until he was overthrown later that year by Ratchis, duke of Friuli.
The Donation of Sutri was an agreement reached at Sutri by Liutprand, King of the Lombards and Pope Gregory II in 728. At Sutri, the two reached an agreement by which the city and some hill towns in Latium were given to the Papacy, "as a gift to the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul" according to the Liber Pontificalis. The pact formed the first extension of papal territory beyond the confines of the Duchy of Rome and was the first of two land transfers from Liutprand to the Church of Rome.
The Patrimony of Saint Peter originally designated the landed possessions and revenues of various kinds that belonged to the apostolic Holy See i.e. the "Church of Saint Peter" in Rome, by virtue of the apostolic see status as founded by Saint Peter, according to Catholic tradition. Until the middle of the 8th century this consisted wholly of private property, but the term was later applied to the States of the Church, and more particularly to the Duchy of Rome.
The Kingdom of the Lombards also known as the Lombard Kingdom; later the Kingdom of (all) Italy, was an early medieval state established by the Lombards, a Germanic people, on the Italian Peninsula in the latter part of the 6th century. The king was traditionally elected by the very highest-ranking aristocrats, the dukes, as several attempts to establish a hereditary dynasty failed. The kingdom was subdivided into a varying number of duchies, ruled by semi-autonomous dukes, which were in turn subdivided into gastaldates at the municipal level. The capital of the kingdom and the center of its political life was Pavia in the modern northern Italian region of Lombardy.
In the Byzantine Empire, the Duchy of the Pentapolis was a duchy, a territory ruled by a duke (dux) appointed by and under the Exarch of Ravenna. The Pentapolis consisted of the cities of Ancona, Fano, Pesaro, Rimini and Sinigaglia. It lay along the Adriatic coast between the rivers Marecchia and Misco immediately south of the core territory of the exarchate ruled directly by the exarch, east of the Duchy of Perugia, another Byzantine territory, and north of the Duchy of Spoleto, which was part of the Lombard Kingdom of Italy. The duchy probably extended inland as far as the Apennine Mountains, perhaps beyond, and its southernmost town was Humana (Numera) on the northern bank of the Misco. The capital of the Pentapolis was Rimini and the duke was both the civil and military authority in the duchy.
The Duchy of Perugia was a duchy in the Italian part of the Byzantine Empire. Its civil and military administration was overseen by a duke (dux) appointed by and under the authority originally of the Praetorian Prefect of Italy (554–584) and later of the Exarch of Ravenna (584–751). Its chief city and namesake was Perugia (Perusia), located at its centre. It was a band of territory connecting the Duchy of the Pentapolis to its northeast with the Duchy of Rome to its southwest, and separating the duchies of Tuscia and Spoleto, both parts of the Lombard Kingdom of Italy. It was of great strategic significance to the Byzantines since it provided communication between Rome, the city of the Popes, and Ravenna, the capital of the Exarchate. Since it cut off the Duke of Spoleto from his nominal overlord, the king ruling from Pavia, it also disturbed the Lombard kingdom, which was a constant thorn in the Byzantines' side. This strategic importance meant that many Lombard and Byzantine armies passed through it.
The papal nobility are the aristocracy of the Holy See, composed of persons holding titles bestowed by the Pope. From the Middle Ages into the nineteenth century, the papacy held direct temporal power in the Papal States, and many titles of papal nobility were derived from fiefs with territorial privileges attached. During this time, the Pope also bestowed ancient civic titles such as patrician. Today, the Pope still exercises authority to grant titles with territorial designations, although these are purely nominal and the privileges enjoyed by the holders pertain to styles of address and heraldry. Additionally, the Pope grants personal and familial titles that carry no territorial designation. Their titles being merely honorific, the modern papal nobility includes descendants of ancient Roman families as well as notable Catholics from many different countries. All pontifical noble titles are within the personal gift of the pontiff, and are not recorded in the Official Acts of the Holy See.