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sainted queen Theodelinda, whose name was still held in kindly memory all over the land. Count Gundoald, Aribert's father, had long been settled in Italy: he had Aribert I. crossed the Alps with his pious sister more than 653-62. half a century before, so that Aribert himself was counted a Lombard, and not a Bavarian. The new king reigned obscurely for nine years (653-62): he waged no wars and was mainly noted as a friend of the clergy and a builder of churches. He was a fervent Catholic, and did his best to root out the few traces of Arianism yet remaining in Lombardy. The land had peace under his sway, but ere he died he sowed the seeds of future troubles by the unhappy inspiration which led him to induce the Lombard Witan to elect his two sons, Godebert and Berthari, as joint heirs to the kingship.
When their father was dead, Godebert, the elder brother, dwelt as king at Pavia, while Berthari took possession of Milan. Before they had been reigning a year the inevitable civil war broke out, ‘because evil-minded men sowed discord and suspicion between them.” They were mustering their followers for a decisive campaign, when Godebert was treacherously murdered by the chief of his own supporters, Grimoald, duke of Benevento, who had left his duchy in the south, and led his men-at-arms to Pavia, under Grimoald ki
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the pretence of helping his suzerain against his of the Lomunruly younger brother. Grimoald took posses- ***** sion of the crown, and married his victim's sister, in order to connect himse f with the house of the holy Theodelinda. He chased Bert hari out of Milan, and forced him to take refuge with the Chagan of the Avars, in the far east, by the shores of the Danube.
The unscrupulous usurper reigned for nine years (662-71) over the whole Lombard realm, holding his own court at Pavia, while Romuald, the son of his first marriage, ruled for him at Benevento. This was the only period in the whole history of the Lombards when the king's mandate was as well
obeyed in the southern Apennines as in the valley of the Po. PERIOD I. S
It was, therefore, fortunate for the Lombard race that the
rebellion of Mezecius in Sicily (668-92).
In spite of the treachery by which he had attained the throne, Grimoald's victories made him very popular among the Lombards, and many tales survive bearing witness to his generosity and clemency, no less than to his strong hand and cunning. But when he died it was seen that his power rested purely upon his own personal merit: the Lombards did not elect as king either his elder son Romuald, the duke of Benevento, or his younger son, Garibald, whom the daughter of Aribert had borne him. They recalled from exile king Berthari, the son of Aribert, whom Grimoald had driven out of Milan ten years before. This prince had spent an unhappy life in wandering from land to land, from the Danube to the British
* See page 245.
seas, and was sailing to England when the news of the usurper's death reached him. He returned to Italy, and was received with submission by the whole Lombard race, and solemnly crowned at Pavia.
Berthari reigned for seventeen years (672-88) in peace and quietness, for he loved not war. He was “a man of religion, a true Catholic, tenacious of justice, a nourisher of the poor; he built the famous nunnery of St. Agatha, and the great Church of the Virgin outside the walls of Pavia.’ The kings of this type, whom the monastic chroniclers delighted most to honour, were not those who made history. Berthari never attempted to conquer Rome or the Exarchate, and only took arms once in his reign, when he was assaulted by a rebellious
duke, Alahis of Trent, whom he subdued and then pardoned,
—as a Christian man should—a pardon which was to cost Lombardy much blood in the next reign.
The reign of his son Cunibert (688-700) was far more disturbed. This king was a man of mixed qualities, brave, generous, and popular, but careless, incautious, and given over to the wine-cup. He was caught unprepared and driven from Pavia by duke Alahis, who now rebelled again, in spite of the fact that his life had once been spared by Cunibert's father. Cunibert was driven for a time from all his realm, save a single castle in the lake of Como, where he stood a long siege. But Alahis, by his tyranny, made himself unbearable to the Lombards, and ere many months had elapsed the lawful king was able to issue from his stronghold and face the usurper in battle. They met at Coronate on the Adda, not far from Lodi, Alahis backed by the “Austrians’ of Venetia, Cunibert by the “Neustrians’ of Piedmont. The men of the West had the better, Alahis was slain, and the son of Berthari resumed his kingship over the whole Lombard realm. This was not the last rebellion that Cunibert had to crush: all through his reign we hear of risings of the unruly dukes, and of the punishments which were inflicted on them when they fell into their master's hands.
There is nothing of first-rate historical importance to relate of the doings of the Lombard kings in this last quarter of the seventh century. But while Berthari was building churches, or Cunibert striving with his rebels, the course of events in the city of Rome was growing more and more important. The papacy and the empire were gradually working up to a pitch of estrangement and mutual repulsion, which was in the next generation to lead to open war between them. We have sketched in an earlier chapter the work of pope Gregory the Great, in raising the papacy to a condition of unprecedented spiritual importance in the Christian world, and no less in building up a position of high secular importance for the The Pa Pope in the governance of Rome. For half a
in the seventh century after Gregory's death this state of affairs century. remained unaltered. The Pope was now firmly established as patriarch of the West, and sent missions to Britain, Gaul, and Spain without let or hindrance. Nor was his secular authority much interfered with, either by the exarch or by the home government at Constantinople. But friction and struggling began under the reign of the stern and ruthles Constantinus (Constans II.) and the hot-headed pope Martin I. We have mentioned elsewhere” how the emperor published his “Type' or edict of Comprehension, forbidding further discussions on the question of the Monothelite heresy. Martin not merely refused to acquiesce in letting the discussion sleep, but summoned a council which declared the “Type' to be blasphemous and irreverent. Martin wrote to the same effect to the kings of the Franks, Visigoths, and English, thus calling in foreign sovereigns to participate in a dispute between himself and his master. Relying on his remoteness from Byzantium, and on the grandeur of his position as Patriarch of the West, he attempted to defy Constantinus. The emperor's proceedings show that he was determined to assert his power, but that he was fully conscious of the danger and difficulty of dealing with such an important personage as the bishop of Rome had now become. He had to wait for a favourable opportunity for punishing Martin, and it was not by openly arresting him in the face of the people, but by Fate of Pope secretly kidnapping him, that he got him into his Martin, 655. power. But when once shipped to Constantinople the Pope felt his sovereign's wrath: insulted, loaded with chains, imprisoned, and banished to the remote Crimea, Martin learnt that the emperor's arm was still strong enough to reach out to Rome (655). But all Italy regarded Martin as a martyr to orthodoxy, and his fate did much to estrange the Romans from their loyalty to the empire. Nor was their wrath diminished by the sacrilegious plunder of the Pantheon and other Roman churches, which Constantinus carried out, when in 663 he deigned to visit his Western dominions. It would seem that Constantinus himself was fully conscious that the Roman see was growing too strong, and deliberately strove to sap its resources, for at this time he granted to the archbishop of Ravenna a formal exemption from any duty of spiritual obedience to the Pope as patriarch of the West, and constituted him an independent authority in the exarchate. For twenty years this schism of Rome and Ravenna continued, but in the end the old traditional prestige of the see of St. Peter triumphed over the ambition of the Ravennese archbishops. If there had been a strong pontiff at this moment, it is probable that an open rupture might have taken place between the papacy and the empire. But pope Vitalian was a weak man, the fate of his predecessor Martin had cowed him, and the idea of cutting Rome away from the respublica Romana, as the empire was still habitually called, had not yet entered into the minds of the Italian subjects of Byzantium. To disown the Imperial supremacy would have been tantamount to throwing Rome into the hands of king Grimoald the Lombard, and neither Pope nor people contemplated such a prospect with equanimity. Accordingly the breach between Rome and Byzantium was
* See page 244.