|Papacy began||March 26, 752|
|Papacy ended||April 26, 757|
|Created cardinal||before 750|
|Born||Rome, Byzantine Empire|
|Died||April 26, 757 (aged 43)|
Rome, Papal States
|Other popes named Stephen|
Pope Stephen II (Latin : Stephanus II; 714 – 26 April 757) 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.
In 751, the Lombard king Aistulf captured the Exarchate of Ravenna, and turned his attention to the Duchy of Rome.Stephen, a Roman aristocrat, was selected on 26 March 752 to succeed Pope Zachary following the recent death of Pope-elect Stephen.
Relations were very strained in the mid-8th century between the papacy and the Eastern Roman emperors over the support of the Isaurian dynasty for iconoclasm. Likewise, maintaining political control over Rome became untenable as the Eastern Roman Empire itself was beset by the Abbasid Caliphate to the south and Bulgars to the northwest. Constantinople could send no troops, and Emperor Constantine V Copronymus, in answer to the repeated requests for help of the new pope, Stephen II, could only offer him the advice to act in accordance with the ancient policy of Rome, to pit some other Germanic tribe against the Lombards.
Stephen turned to Pepin the Younger, the king of the Franks who had recently defeated the Muslim Umayyad invasion of Gaul.He traveled to Paris to plead for help in person against the surrounding Lombard and Muslim threats. On 6 January 754, Stephen re-consecrated Pepin as king. In return, Pepin assumed the role of ordained protector of the Church and set his sights on the Lombards, as well as addressing the threat of Islamic Al-Andalus. Pepin invaded Italy twice to settle the Lombard problem and delivered the territory between Rome and Ravenna to the papacy, but left the Lombard kings in possession of their kingdom.
Prior to Stephen II's alliance with Pepin, Rome had constituted the central city of the Duchy of Rome, which composed one of two districts within the Exarchate of Ravenna, along with Ravenna itself. At Quiercy the Frankish nobles finally gave their consent to a campaign in Lombardy.Catholic tradition asserts that then and there Pepin executed in writing a promise to give to the Church certain territories that were to be wrested from the Lombards, and which would be referred to later as the Papal States. Known as the Donation of Pepin, no actual document has been preserved, but later 8th century sources quote from it.
Stephen anointed Pepin as king of the Franksat Saint-Denis in a memorable ceremony that was evoked in the coronation rites of French kings until the end of the ancien régime in 1789. In return, in 756, Pepin and his Frankish army forced the Lombard king to surrender his conquests, and Pepin officially conferred upon the pope the territories belonging to Ravenna, even cities such as Forlì with their hinterlands, laying the Donation of Pepin upon the tomb of Saint Peter, according to traditional later accounts. The gift included Lombard conquests in the Romagna and in the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, and the Pentapolis in the Marche (the "five cities" of Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Senigallia and Ancona). For the first time, the Donation made the pope a temporal ruler over a strip of territory that extended diagonally across Italy from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic. Over these extensive and mountainous territories the medieval popes were unable to exercise effective sovereignty, given the pressures of the times, and the new Papal States preserved the old Lombard heritage of many small counties and marquisates, each centered upon a fortified rocca .
Pepin confirmed his Donation in Rome in 756, and in 774 Charlemagne confirmed the donation of his father.Stephen II died on 26 April 757 and was succeeded by his brother Paul I.
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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.
Pope Zachary was the bishop of Rome from December 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.
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Pope Paul I was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the emerging Papal States from 29 May 757 to his death. He first served as a Roman deacon and was frequently employed by his brother, Pope Stephen II, in negotiations with the Lombard kings.
The Papal States, officially the State of the Church, were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the pope, from the 8th century until 1870. They were among the major states of Italy from roughly the 8th century until the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia successfully unified the Italian Peninsula by conquest in a campaign virtually concluded in 1861 and definitively in 1870. At their zenith, the Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Romagna, and portions of Emilia. These holdings were considered to be a manifestation of the temporal power of the pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.
Aistulf was the Duke of Friuli from 744, King of the Lombards from 749, and Duke of Spoleto from 751.
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.
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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 Donation of Sutri, in 728, his multiple phases of law-giving, in fifteen separate sessions from 713 to 733 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, which was the first accolade of sovereign territory to the Papacy.
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Ponthion is a commune in the Marne department in north-eastern France.
The Duchy of Rome 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. The duchy was founded by the conquest of Emperor Justinian I in 533 AD. After the founding of the Papal States in 751, the title of Duke of Rome fell into disuse.
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 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 authority of the Praetorian Prefect of Italy (554–584) and then the Exarch of Ravenna (584–751). 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.
From 756 to 857, the papacy shifted from the orbit of the Byzantine Empire to that of the kings of the Franks. Pepin the Short, Charlemagne, and Louis the Pious had considerable influence in the selection and administration of popes. The "Donation of Pepin" (756) ratified a new period of papal rule in central Italy, which became known as the Papal States.
He transferred his political allegiance from the empire to the king of the Franks, who lived north of the Alps, who had recently defeated the Muslims who were invading from Spain...
To address the threat of an Islamic empire settled in south-western Europe, Pope Stephen II crowned Pippin (the son of Charles Martel) as king of the Frankish dynasty...
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