Western Civilization lesson 85

What was the significance of the Papal-Frankish Alliance? What were two factors that helped make the alliance possible?

The Frankish Carolingian family were the only barbarian group of their time who converted to the non-Arian form of Christianity while their fellow barbarian groups converted to Arianism (Arians believed that God the Father and the Son of God did not always exist together eternally.) and consequently the Franks were the only nearby group compatible with the Pope. The Byzantine emperors of the eastern empire were not protecting the Pope from the Lombards (who were invading the church’s land) so Pope Gregory III looked to Charles Martel, leader of the Franks. Charles Martel said no and eventually they all died but his successor (Pippin the younger) wanted the new Pope Zachary’s assurance that he was the true king of the franks (because he had no royal blood). A spectacular ceremony took hold where he was anointed king. Zachary died and the new Pope Steven II decreed that any rulers had to have the pope’s approval to be truly king. Pippin went over to the Lombards on the other side of the Alps and destroyed them, giving power over Rome back to the pope instead of the Emperor. In the mid-700s AD, the Papal Frankish Alliance was formed.

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