Slike stranica


and indivisible; two Roman Empires were unimaginable. There might be more than the one Emperor; but these others could only be legitimate and constitutional if they stood to him in a collegial relation. If, then, the lord of Constantinople, whose Imperial title was above contention, refused to acknowledge the lord of Rome as an Imperial colleague, the claim of Charles was logically condemned as illegitimate.

That Charles felt the ambiguity of his position keenly is proved by his acts. To conciliate Constantinople, and obtain recognition there, became a principal object of his policy. He began by relinquishing the expedition which he had planned against Sicily. A year later (very early in 802) he received at Aachen envoys from Irene. The message which they bore is unknown, but when they returned home they were accompanied by ambassadors from Charles, who were instructed to lay before the Empress a proposal of marriage. It is said that Irene was herself disposed to entertain the offer favourably, and to acquiesce in the idea of a union between the two realms, which would have restored the Empire to something like its ancient limits. The scheme was a menace to the independence of the East, and Irene's ministers must have regarded it with profound distrust. They had no mind to submit to the rule of a German, who would inevitably have attempted to impose upon Byzantium one of his sons as successor. The influence of the patrician Aetius hindered Irene from assenting, and before the Frankish ambassadors left the city they witnessed her fall. This catastrophe put an end to a plan which, even if it had led to a merely nominal union of the two States, would have immensely strengthened the position of Charles by legalising, in a signal way, his Imperial election. It was, however, a plan which was in any case doorned to failure; the Greeks would never have suffered its accomplishment.

Nicephorus, soon after his accession, sent an embassy with some proposals to Charles. We do not know what the points at issue were, but Charles agreed, and at the same time wrote


1 The theory is quite consistent with the convenientexpression orientale et occidentale imperium, which first occurs in the letter of Charles to Michael I. See Harnack, 55.

2 Ann. r. F., s.a. 802. Theoph., A. M. 6294.

3 “ Indem Aetius die Vermälung verhinderte, rettete er die Selbstständigkeit des Ostens” (Harnack, 43).


a letter to the Emperor. This letter is not preserved, but we may conjecture, with high probability, that its purport was to induce Nicephorus to recognise the Imperial dignity of the writer. Nicephorus did not deign to reply, and peace between the two powers was again suspended (A.D. 803). Active hostilities soon broke out, of which Venetia was the cause and the scene.

We are accustomed, by a convenient anticipation, to use the name Venice or Venetia in speaking of the chief city of the lagoons long before it was thus restricted. For it was not till the thirteenth century that “Venice” came to be specially applied to the islands of the Rialto, nor was it till the ninth century that the Rialto became the political capital. Venetia meant the whole territory of the lagoon state from the Brenta to the Isonzo. Till the middle of the eighth century the centre of government had been Heracliana on the Piave, which had taken the place of Oderzo when that city (c. 640) was captured by the Lombards. No traces remain to-day of the place of Heracliana, which sank beneath the marshes, even as its flourishing neighbour Jesolo, which was also peopled by fugitives from Oderzo and Altino, has been covered over by the sands. In A.D. 742—an epoch in the history of Venicethe direct government of the Venetian province by Masters of Soldiers was exchanged for the government of locally elected Dukes, and at the same time the seat of office was transferred from Heracliana to the island of Malamocco. The noble families of Heracliana and Jesolo followed the governor, in such numbers that Malamocco could not hold them, and the overflow streamed into the islands known as Rivus Altusthe Rialto. The first consequence of this movement was the foundation of a bishopric in the northern island, the see of Olivolo, which has been signalized as the first act in the foundation of the city of Venice. 4

But Malamocco, the seat of government and the residence of the prominent families, was not the centre of commerce or the

1 See letter of Charles to Nicephorus fidence from the whole context of in Epp. Kar. Qev. 547 ; Ann. r. F., events (cp. Harnack, 44). s.a. 873. In Ànn. Sithienses (M.G.H.,

3 The same as Cività Nova, Tšißità Scr. xiii.), p. 37, it is asserted that

Nóba, in Const. De adm. imp. 125. peace was made

per conscriptionem pacti."

4 Kretschmayr, Geschichte von Vene2 We can deduce this with con

dig, 52.




seat of ecclesiastical power. The northern lagoon-city of Grado, originally built as a port for Aquileia, was the residence of the Patriarch, and doubtless surpassed in the luxuries of civilization, as it certainly excelled in artistic splendour, the secular capitals Heracliana and Malamocco. For the superabundance of wealth at this time was in the coffers of the Church.1

The centre of trade was Torcello, well protected in the northern corner of the lagoons, and it did not surrender to the Rialto its position as the great Venetian market-place till the tenth or eleventh century. The home products which the Venetians exported consisted chiefly in salt and fish, and their only native industry seems to have been basket-work. The commercial importance of Venice in these early ages lay in its serving as a market-place between the East and the West; and its possession had for Constantinople a similar value to that of Cherson in the Euxine. Greek merchants brought to Torcello the rich products of the East-silk, purple, and linen -peacocks, wines, articles of luxury; and Venetian traders distributed these in Italy, Gaul, and Germany. The Greek exports were paid for by wood, and metals, and slaves. The traffic in slaves, with Greeks and Saracens, was actively prosecuted by the merchants notwithstanding the prohibitions of the Dukes.?

The Dukes remained unswervingly loyal to the Empire throughout the eighth century. In A.D. 778 the Duke Maurice introduced into the Dukedom the principle of co-regency, similar to that which was customary in the Imperial office itself; he appointed his son as a colleague, and this was a step towards hereditary succession. This innovation must have received the Emperor's sanction; Maurice was invested with the dignities of stratēlates and hypatos, and his official title ran, magister militum, consul et imperialis dux Venetiarum provinciae.

The Italian conquest of Charles the Great and his advance

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1 Kretschmayr, 80 899.

For the cathedral Basilica of Grado, built in the last quarter of the sixth century, see Rivoira (Lombardic Architecture, i. 94-95), who considers it—as well as the small adjacent Church of Sta. Maria delle Grazie, as “probably a work of the School of Ravenna, with

contributory help from Greek carvers.”
The capitals of the columns of the
pave are Byzantine.

2 Ib. 76-97.

3 Cp. Kretschmayr, 51. I take it that mag. mil. translates the title στρατηλάτης, conferred διά βραβείου.

to the north of the Hadriatic threatened to interrupt the peaceful development of Venice and to rob the Empire of a valuable possession. The bishops of Istria were subject to the Patriarch of Grado. When Charles conquered Istria (A.D. 787-788), he transferred them to the See of Aquileia ; he had already promised the Pope to submit to his spiritual dominion both Istria and Venetia (A.D. 774). At Grado he won an adherent in the Patriarch himself, who, however, paid the penalty for his treason to the Empire. The young Duke Maurice sailed to Grado and hurled the Patriarch from the pinnacle of a tower (c. A.D. 802). This act of violence did not help the government; it gave a pretext to the disaffected. Fortunatus, a friend of Charles the Great, was elected Patriarch (A.D. 803), and with some Venetians, who were opposed to the government, he seceded to Treviso, and then went by himself to Charles, with whom he discussed plans for overthrowing the Imperial Dukes. The disloyal party at Treviso elected a certain Obelierius to the Dukedom; the loyal Dukes fled; and Obelierius with his adopted brother took unhindered possession of the government in Malamocco.

This revolution (A.D. 804) was rebellion against Constantinople, and the new Dukes signalized their hostility to the Empire by a maritime attack on the Imperial province of Dalmatia, At first they seem to have contemplated the design of making their State independent both of the Frank and of the Greek, for they refused to allow Fortunatus, the confidential friend of Charles, to return to Grado.

But they soon abandoned this idea as impracticable; they submitted unreservedly to the Western potentate and visited him at his Court (Christmas, A.D. 805). He conferred upon them the Duchy of Venetia as a fief, and when he divided the Empire prospectively among his sons (Feb. A.D. 806) he assigned Venetia, Istria, and Dalmatia to Pippin.?

It is not improbable that in making this submission Venice hoped to induce Charles to remove the embargo which he had placed upon her trade in A.D. 787, but if she counted on this, she was disappointed. It may be that Charles himself did not calculate on the permanent retention of Venetia, and it belonged to his Empire for little more than a year. In

See Kretschmayr, 55-56. Simson, Karl, 347. 3 Lentz, i. 32.






the spring of A.D. 807 the Emperor Nicephorus dispatched a fleet to recall the rebellious dependency to its allegiance. The patrician Nicetas, who was in command, encountered no resistance; the Dukes submitted ; Obelierius was confirmed in his office and created a spathar; his brother was carried as a hostage to Constantinople along with the bishop of Olivolo. Fortunatus, who had been reinstated at Grado, fled to Charles.

Thus Venice was recovered without bloodshed. Pippin, who, with the title of King, was ruling Italy, was unable to interfere because he was powerless at sea, and he concluded a truce with the Byzantine admiral till August 808. But the trial of strength between the Western and the Eastern powers was only postponed. Another Greek fleet arrived, under the patrician Paulus, stratêgos of Kephallenia, wintered in Venice, and in spring (809) attacked Comacchio, the chief market of the Po trade. The attack was repelled, and l'aulus treated with Pippin, but the negotiations were frustrated by the intrigues of the Dukes, who perhaps saw in the continuance of hostilities a means for establishing their own independence between the two rival powers. Paulus departed, and in the autumn Pippin descended upon Venetia in force. He attacked it from the north and from the south, both by land and by

His operations lasted through the winter. In the north he took Heracliana, in the south the fort of Brondolo on the Brenta; then Chioggia, Palestrina, and Albiola ;8 finally Malamocco.4 The Dukes seem to have fallen into his hands, and a yearly tribute was imposed (A.D. 810). Paulus again appeared on the scene, but all he could do was to save Dalmatia from an attack of Pippin's fleet.

The news quickly reached Constantinople, and Nicephorus sent Arsaphios, an officer of spathar rank, to negotiate with Pippin. When he arrived, the King was dead (July 810), and he proceeded to Aachen (October).

Charles was now in a better position to bargain for his recognition as Imperator than seven years before. He had a valuable consideration to offer to the monarch of

he returned to Venice; imp. 124). with the title of hypatos, in 808 ; and Constantine, ib., describes the he and Obelierius adopted their brother siege of Malamocco, which he says Valentine as a third co-regent Duke. lasted six months. 2 Lentz, i. 37. Aelßolas (Constantine, De adm. Cp. Ann. r. F. p. 133.




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1 Beatus;

5 1b.



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