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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.
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The Lateran Palace was the first significant acquisition of the Church, most probably a gift from Constantine the Great. The example of Constantine was followed by wealthy families of the Roman nobility,  Sometimes designated as the Patrimonium Sancti Petri , it was not a separate state, but still subject to the emperor in Byzantium.
Pope Gregory II's defiance of the Byzantine Emperor Leo III the Isaurian as a result of the first iconoclastic controversy (726 AD) in the Byzantine Empire, widened the growing divergence between the Byzantine and Carolingian traditions in what was still a unified European Church. This, combined with Lombard military pressure that the embattled empire could not respond effectively to, eventually led to the establishment of the temporal power of the popes. The Duchy of Rome was an imperial territory under the Exarchate of Ravenna. With the waning of Byzantine control in Italian peninsula, more of the management of the area fell to the popes.
In 751 the Exarchate of Ravenna fell to Lombard King Aistulf. Five years later, Pepin the Short of the Franks defeated the Lombards and granted the lands of the Duchy of Rome as well as territory ceased by the Lombards to the Papacy in what is referred to as the Donation of Pepin, marking the true beginning of the Papal States. The area conferred upon the pope included the territory belonging to Ravenna, even cities such as Forlì with their hinterlands, the Lombard conquests in the Romagna and in the Duchy of Spoleto and Benevento, and the Pentapolis (the "five cities" of Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Senigallia and Ancona). Narni and Ceccano were former papal territories.  However, the medieval Popes were unable to exercise effective sovereignty over these extensive and mountainous territories, given the recalcitrance of their vassals.
For over a thousand years popes ruled as sovereign over an amalgam of territories on the Italian peninsula known as the Papal States, from the capital, Rome.  In 1274 the Comtat Venaissin came under Papal control, followed by Avignon in 1348. 
Theologian Robert Bellarmine, in his 16th-century dogmatic work Disputationes strongly affirmed the authority of the pope as the vicar of Christ. However, he reasoned that since Christ did not exercise his temporal power, neither may the pope. 
In 1590, Pope Sixtus V had, of his own initiative, placed the first volume of the Disputationes on a new edition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum for denying that the pope had direct temporal authority over the whole world. The entry concerning Bellarmin reads: "Roberti Bellarmini Disputationes de Controversiis Christianae fidei adversus huius temporis haereticos. Nisi prius ex superioribus regulis recognitae fuerint." However, Sixtus V died before he could promulgate the bull which would have made this new edition of the Index enter into force. Sixtus' successor, Urban VII, asked for an examination and after it was done Bellarmine was exonerated and the book removed from the Index.  
Concerning the pastoral and spiritual power of the pope, Bellarmine's "Disputationes, 3 vol. (1586–93), and De potestate summi pontificis in rebus temporalibus (1610; "Concerning the Power of the Supreme Pontiff in Temporal Matters") gave definite form to the theory of papal supremacy." 
The secular revolutionary movements of the 1800s posed a serious threat to the pope's temporal power. Avignon was seized by revolutionaries during the French Revolution in 1791, ending 450 years of papal sovereignty there. Between 1798 and 1814, the revolutionary French government invaded Italy several times and annexed the Papal States (though the papacy was restored between 1800 and 1809). Napoleon Bonaparte abolished the pope's temporal power in 1809, incorporating Rome and Latium into his First French Empire. Pope Pius VII himself was even taken prisoner by Napoleon. However, the pope's temporal power was restored by the Great powers at the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars in the 1815 Congress of Vienna. The civil laws of the Napoleonic Code were abolished, and most civil servants were removed from office. In the coming years, rising liberal and nationalist sentiment created popular opposition to the reconstituted clerical government. This led to numerous revolts, which were suppressed by the intervention of the Austrian army. 
In November 1848, during the 1848 Revolutions that swept Europe, the assassination of his minister Pellegrino Rossi led Pope Pius IX to flee Rome. During a political rally in February 1849, a young heretic, the Abbé Arduini, described the temporal power of the popes as a "historical lie, a political imposture, and a religious immorality." 
On 9 February 1849, a revolutionary Roman Assembly proclaimed the Roman Republic. Subsequently, the Constitution of the Roman Republic abolished papal temporal power, although the independence of the pope as head of the Catholic Church was guaranteed by article 8 of the "Principi fondamentali".  Like the other revolutionary movements of 1848, the Republic was short-lived; Rome was eventually conquered by the French Second Republic, which restored the papacy's temporal power in the region once again. 
In 1859–60, the Papal States was invaded by various republican forces seeking a unified Italian state, and lost the provinces of Romagna, Marche and Umbria. These regions were incorporated into the Kingdom of Sardinia (which thereafter became the Kingdom of Italy), and the papacy's temporal power was reduced to Rome and the region of Lazio. At this point, some ultramontane groups proposed that the temporal power be elevated into a dogma. According to Raffaele De Cesare:
The first idea of convening an Ecumenical Council in Rome to elevate the temporal power into a dogma, originated in the third centenary of the Council of Trent, which took place in that city in December, 1863, and was attended by a number of Austrian and Hungarian prelates. 
However, following the Austro-Prussian War, Austria was forced to recognize the newly-formed Kingdom of Italy. As a result, most clerics lost hope of a return of the former temporal power of the Bishop of Rome. Some, primarily Italian, clergy suggested an ecumenical council to dogmatically define papal infallibility as an article of faith, binding upon the consciences of all Catholic faithful. This doctrinal view, however, initially proposed by Franciscan partisans in opposition to the prerogative of popes to contradict the more favorable decrees of their predecessors, faced significant resistance outside of Italy prior to and during the First Vatican Council. 
For practical purposes, the temporal power of the popes ended on 20 September 1870, when the Italian Army breached the Aurelian Walls at Porta Pia and entered Rome. This completed the Unification of Italy (Risorgimento).
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 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 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 756 until 1870. They were among the major states of Italy from the 8th century until the unification of Italy, between 1859 and 1870.
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.
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.
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.
The history of the papacy, the office held by the pope as head of the Catholic Church, spans from the time of Peter, to the present day. Moreover, many of the bishops of Rome in the first three centuries of the Christian era are obscure figures. Most of Peter's successors in the first three centuries following his life suffered martyrdom along with members of their flock in periods of persecution.
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 Papal Mint is the pope's institute for the production of hard cash. Papal Mint also refers to the buildings in Avignon, Rome, and elsewhere that used to house the mint..
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. 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.
The Renaissance Papacy was a period of papal history between the Western Schism and the Reformation. From the election of Pope Martin V of the Council of Constance in 1417 to the Reformation in the 16th century, Western Christianity was largely free from schism as well as significant disputed papal claimants. There were many important divisions over the direction of the religion, but these were resolved through the then-settled procedures of the papal conclave.
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.
Emilia is a historical region of northern Italy, which approximately corresponds to the western and the north-eastern portions of the modern region of Emilia-Romagna, with the area of Romagna forming the remainder of the modern region.
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.
Disputationes, also referred to as De Controversiis or the Controversiae, is a work on dogmatics in three volumes by Robert Bellarmine.
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.
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.
Bellarmine himself was not a stranger to theological condemnation. In August 1590 Pope Sixtus V decided to place the first volume of the Controversies on the Index because Bellarmine had argued that the pope is not the temporal ruler of the whole world and that temporal rulers do not derive their authority to rule from God through the pope but through the consent of the people governed. However Sixtus died before the revised Index was published, and the next pope, Urban VII, who reigned for only twelve days before his own death, removed Bellarmine's book from the list during that brief period. The times were precarious.