New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2010. Editor: Robert L Fastiggi. Volume 2, Gale, 2010.
When the concept of papal temporal rule came into existence in the eighth century, it combined elements of papal patrimonial rights, of former imperial jurisdiction, and of the traditional supremacy of the Roman bishops. In the high middle ages, the question of whether the popes ought to be rulers of a given territory in central Italy did not really present itself. For the first time, in the early fourteenth century, Pierre Dubois (c. 1255-c. 1312) posed the problem in these terms. The Middle Ages knew the papal territory as terrae seu patrimonium ecclesiae (lands under the patrimony of the Church). The imperial donors spoke of papal lands as being in iure principatu et ditione ecclesiae Romanae (under the rule and authority of the Church of Rome); Otto I swore to defend the terra sancti Petri (land of Saint Peter).
It is impossible to treat the Papal State on a purely regional and territorial basis. On the one hand its history is inseparable from that of the papal theocracy and the papal Curia; on the other, one cannot make a clear distinction between Papal State policy and papal temporal policy elsewhere in Italy or indeed in Europe. It is also hard to draw a line between developments of the papal bureaucracy that affected the Papal State and those that did not. From the early fourteenth century, the apostolic camera was both the financial and juridical bureau for the Papal State and for the Roman Church in general. Financial and Papal State policy were always closely related.
Origins of the Papal State
From the time of the Peace of the Church (AD 313), the Roman see possessed great landed wealth, both in Italy and as far afield as Asia Minor. This wealth was used primarily to maintain the Roman churches and shrines and to support the social welfare of the Roman people. For the latter purpose the papacy from the late sixth century assumed many responsibilities formerly met by the imperial government. An elaborate organization existed to run the papal estates, and the rectors and defenders influenced later administrative developments.
The Papal State emerged out of the quarrel between the holy see and the imperial government at the time of the controversy over iconoclasm. In 725-726 Pope Gregory II put himself at the head of regional Italian resistance to taxation by the emperor Leo III. Some scholars have suggested that his actions and those of later eighth-century popes were part of a long-meditated plan prepared by the papal bureaucracy; others have suggested that the military pressure of the Lombards and Byzantine impotence to resist it were the decisive factors. In 739 Pope Gregory III sent an embassy to Charles Martel, the Frankish mayor of the palace, referring to him as Patricius Romanorum and asking for help. In 749 the approval given by Pope Zachary to Pepin’s usurpation of the Frankish crown proved the turning point. When Pope Stephen II faced a Lombard threat from King Aistulf (d. 756) in 752, he wrote to Pepin for aid. In 753 he traveled to Francia and met Pepin at Ponthion in Champagne. The Frankish king swore to restore the Exarchate of Ravenna and the rights and territories of the res publica (Roman Republic). Two Frankish campaigns then occurred against Aistulf, who in 756 was made to swear to return to the Romans the Exarchate of Ravenna, most of Pentapolis, and towns in Emilia and Umbria. A papal territory may be said to have existed from this point.
Some scholars emphasize the care that the eighth-century popes took, in spite of the iconoclast controversy, not to derogate explicitly from Byzantine sovereignty. The territorial interests and ambitions of the Roman nobility, strongly represented in the Roman clergy, also may have played a part. The juridical position of the new state was for long unclear, complicated by these factors and others, such as the confusion between papal patrimonies or landed estates in the strict sense and other lands occupied by Romans.
Development and Early Constitution
The first period of the history of the Papal State probably ended with the tragic death of Pope John VIII (882). The state entered into treatylike relations with the carolingians that left it as an autonomous region under Frankish protection. Political turbulence in ROME, sometimes abetted by the popes, led Louis the Pious (778-840) to direct his son Lothair in 824 to issue the Constitutio Romana, which imposed a stricter regime of protection on Rome and its surrounding territories. The Constitutio called for papal and Frankish missi, or envoys, to sit together in Rome and to hear appeals against officers of the papal administration. The Romans, moreover, but not the popes, had to swear allegiance to the Frankish emperor. Within a generation, however, the political dissolution of the Carolingian empire, factional squabbling in Rome, and Muslim attacks combined to leave Carolingian protection a dead letter and papal territorial authority severely curtailed.
A second period ran from the early tenth century to the era of the Gregorian Reform. This period was marked by a continuous, but weak, German presence in Rome and by frequent factions among the Roman nobility—notably the Crescentii and Tusculani. But also significant was the emergence of a more autonomous Papal State, no longer impeded by Carolingian officials, and showing some consciousness of its powers in its appointments of rectors and in the legal formulas used by papal officials in the exercise of their jurisdiction. Although under the dynasty of Marozia and the rule of Alberic of Spoleto (932-954), the Papal State was subject to an aristocratic clique, its administrative foundations were being laid. The restoration of Ottonian power in Italy after 962, however, placed important checks on the Papal State. While Otto III recognized that the popes exercised potestas legalis (legal power) in their dominions, he claimed for himself the final say in all matters of State.
One must distinguish between the areas over which the popes had treaty rights and those that they effectively governed. No reliable text exists of any treaty made between the popes and the Frankish government prior to 817, but it is probable that from the promises made by Pepin from 754 onward, the Franks guaranteed Roman rule over areas wider than Roman power was able to administer. It may be that the early papal-Frankish treaties were based on the frontiers between the Byzantine Empire and the Lombards, at periods in the seventh or early eighth century when Byzantine power was relatively strong. This would explain the papal claim, mentioned in the Liber pontificalis, to the area south of a line from Luni in Liguria to Monfelice on the Adriatic.
The core of the Papal State was the former Byzantine duchy of Rome. The Franks imposed a compromise territorial settlement on the papacy. To the north of Rome, the popes asked for Venetia and Istria, Ravenna and the Pentapolis, and all of Lombard Tuscany. Charlemagne declined to hand over Venice and Istria; permitted shared rule in Ravenna among the popes, the patriarch of Ravenna, and himself; and added a slice of southern Tuscany to the duchy of Rome while retaining the rest of Tuscany as part of the Lombard kingdom. In central Italy Charlemagne extended papal rule into the Sabina, added some lands around Perugia to effect communications between Rome and the northeast, and advanced papal territory to the south into the Liri valley. He did not assign the duchy of Benevento to the papacy. Effective papal power in Emilia and in the Exarchate of Ravenna dwindled almost to nothing in the late ninth century, and a similar decline of power occurred in Pentapolis, as is made clear in Otto III’s donation of eight counties there to Pope Sylvester II.
Growth of the Papal State
The policies of Pope Leo IX and his successors in the Gregorian reform were vital to the temporal power, particularly in their results for southern Italy. The papal court was beginning to be acutely affected by feudal law. The reform policy of active intervention on the southern borders of the Papal State and of establishing feudal sovereignty over the new Norman principalities strengthened papal authority in the Papal State proper, as did the reform emphasis on the patrimonial and financial rights of the Holy See. Benevento became a papal enclave (1050).
The key to papal ambitions in southern Italy was control of the town and duchy of Benevento. In the early eleventh century, the Byzantines expelled the Lombards from Benevento, but Byzantine rule proved weak. Residents of Benevento therefore offered to acknowledge Pope Leo IX’s authority in 1051. To legitimize this transfer, the pope sought support from the German emperor Henry III (1017-1056), who agreed in 1053 to exchange Benevento for the bishopric of Bamberg. However, the Lombards hired Norman mercenaries under Robert Guiscard (1016-1085) to reclaim Benevento. Guiscard defeated a papal army at the battle of Civita in 1053, but rather than hand Benevento over to the Lombards, he restored it to the pope in exchange for papal blessings for all future Norman conquests in southern Italy and Sicily. In 1081 Pope Gregory VII finally secured control of the town when he deposed the sitting bishop and replaced him with a loyal supporter. Rectors reporting to the Papal Curia ruled Benevento. In the 1190s the Hohenstaufen dynasty drove the Normans out of southern Italy and Sicily, and threatened Benevento. In the thirteenth century, Pope Urban VI secretly promised the French prince, Charles of Anjou (1226-1285; Charles I of Naples), the Kingdom of Naples in exchange for French support. This came to pass with the defeat and death of Manfred of Sicily (1232-1266) in 1266 at the Battle of Benevento.
In the twelfth century the Papal State was still essentially the area from Acquapendente to Ceprano. In this zone Church rights were interpreted in an increasingly feudal sense, whereas the Holy See showed itself willing to acquiesce to some extent in setting up communes. The most important exponents of the feudal policy were Pope Adrian IV and his chamberlain, Cardinal Boso. Although twelfth-century popes had not abandoned their claims to the eastern lands (particularly Ferrara) and had added to them the claim to the allodial lands of Matilda of Tuscany, effective papal rule was nevertheless sometimes reduced to Rome. And in Rome and the district, the new commune that had come into existence in 1143 made the popes’ task more difficult.
Pope Innocent III laid the foundations of the later Papal State. To the existing area of effective rule, he added the duchy of Spoleto (in its late imperial sense) and the march of Ancona. To administer the state he set up rectorates in these areas and in the other provinces of Campagna-Marittima, Sabina, and the Patrimony of St. Peter in Tuscany. Building on this basis, subsequent thirteenth-century popes set up a machine of provincial taxation and justice. By mid-century, parliaments existed in most provinces for conciliar, financial, and legislative purposes. Particularly after the acquisition of Romagna in 1278, the new state possessed a modest, but appreciable, military and financial power.
The papacy established a presence in Romagna in northern Italy in 1276 when Bologna accepted the Holy See’s protection to safeguard its communal liberties after years of strife between the Guelfs and Ghibellines. Bologna was a leading city in Europe with a renowned university, a flourishing economy, and a rich cultural life. That status diminished in the period that followed. In 1347 the Visconti of Milan briefly captured Bologna, but it returned to papal control in 1370. Papal patronage favored artists and architects involved in building or refurbishing churches and the establishment of new religious houses. A splendid new palace, the Rocca di Galliera, was built for its legate. With papal help, Bologna’s republican regime gradually fell under the domination of the Bentivoglio family in the fifteenth century. In 1506 Pope Julius II incorporated Bologna and the duchy of Romagna into the Papal States, though the city retained a modicum of communal autonomy. A legate at first ruled the city for the papacy; in time, however, a titular bishop handled these duties. In 1542 Bologna hosted several sessions of the Council of Trent.
By 1300 most of the essential governmental organs of the later Papal States were in existence. In spite of the severe strain placed on the state by the absence of the popes during the Avignon papacy and by their long and costly struggles with the Ghibelline tyrants of north Italy, the administrative machine held its ground and developed. By the mid-fourteenth century, most of the communes were too weak to oppose the formidable attempt to centralize and rationalize the state institutions effected by the Spanish Cardinal Gil Álvarez Carrillo de ALBORNOZ. Many minor tyrannies, however, remained a source of disorder until the sixteenth century.
Later Avignon popes (notably Pope Gregory XI) advanced the work of Albornoz, only to be all but undone by the western schism. Fifteenth-century popes (notably Martin V and Nicholas V) had to rebuild the Papal State with financial and political resources far inferior to those of the Avignon popes. Under Pope Sixtus IV and especially under Pope Alexander VI, an exaggerated nepotism became the aim rather than the instrument of papal policy.
The declining international position of the papacy was offset in the Papal State by increasingly centralized administration and by the inability of all but the largest units—whether feudal lordships, communes, or tyrannies—to resist central pressure. Tyrants such as the Malatesta of Rimini succumbed largely from economic debility. Finally, under the new strains placed on them by the wars of France and Spain in Italy, most of the remaining semiautonomous communes or seigniories were reduced to obedience. Bologna and Perugia, the Este of Ferrara, and the Montefeltro of Urbino all lost their old positions in the first half of the sixteenth century. The action of Pope PIUS IV against the Carafa and the Colonna marked the end of the old style of baronial nepotism. His attempt at a root-and-branch reform of the Papal State was abortive, but reorganization of the various provincial legations and of central justice and finance nevertheless took place in the course of the century.
Economic and Demographic Factors
The economic power of the early Papal State was closely related to the patrimonial wealth of the Roman see and the application of that wealth on behalf of the Roman people through the agency of the Roman deaconties and xenodochia. In the period from Zacharias to Leo III, the papal patrimonies were partly reorganized into larger units (domuscultae). Roman nobles, who wished to be granted church property at nominal rents, resented this reorganization.
The influence of the nobles prevailed after the death of John VIII; in the late ninth and early tenth centuries most of the huge papal estates were feudalized and fell into the hands of the great Roman families. At the same time, the value of many of the great estates experienced a decline because of Arab raids, political disorders, and the effects of these on the productivity of the soil. It is, however, disputed whether the decline in agricultural production was as great as was once thought. The turnover to grazing in many parts of south Italy likely preceded this period. Many papal and Roman estates, however, were lost, such as those in the Neapolitan campagna and possibly most of those around Ravenna.
In spite of the reorganization of the finances of the Roman see during the reform period, demesne and Papal State revenues were slow in expanding, and the great alienated estates were never recovered. The Liber censuum, compiled at the end of the twelfth century, shows a wide variety of patrimonial and feudal dues, but mostly of a residual nature and amounting in all to only a modest revenue. Only after the great expansion of the Papal State in the thirteenth century, particularly with the absorption of such rich areas as the march of Ancona, with its port of Ancona, did the state acquire a respectable revenue. It is true that military expenditure often exceeded income, but the same was true of many European states.
Following depression, plague, and war in the fourteenth century, the population and wealth of the Papal State decreased, but the government became stronger, which suggests that revenues did not fall dramatically. In the fifteenth century the Papal State revenues formed an even larger proportion of total papal income, accentuated in the sixteenth century by more centralized government and by the increased prosperity of Rome, which rose from 30,000 to 100,000 inhabitants in that century.
Following years of consolidation and centralization, the two centuries prior to the French invasion of 1796 witnessed a progressive decline in the Papal State, culminating in its temporary disappearance in 1798. The change from the previous period was notable.
1600 to 1796
Sixteenth-century popes had succeeded in transforming their authority over their realms into a system of absolute monarchy. They regained the large, quasi-independent fiefs and neutralized or abolished the political and judicial power of the feudal families. Through the instrumentality of the papal secretary of state and Cardinal Camerlengo, charged with administering the temporal domain, the popes made their authority effective in the provinces, or legations, where they named the resident functionaries. They created specialized central administrative organisms, which functioned suitably. The College of Cardinals was fragmented into specialized congregations and lost its collegial power, which had once rivaled papal authority. Brigandage declined with the decline of the feudatories, who had profited by protecting brigands. Giovanni Botero (c. 1540-1617) wrote in 1595: “The ecclesiastical state is more peaceful today than formerly, and the authority of the ruler greater than ever.” The danger was that this machine, well designed for a state expanding economically and socially, would become outmoded; this happened in the ensuing period when internal and international factors conspired to jeopardize its future.
Internally, the Roman aristocracy and families owing their wealth and honors to nepotism, such as the Pamphili, Rospigliosi, Chigi, Ottoboni, and Pignatelli, amassed great political influence and economic power, to the detriment of the central authority. Pope Innocent XI (1676-1689) attempted to remedy these evils by eliminating the post of cardinal legate, by combating small-scale nepotism, and by introducing rigid economies to ward off bankruptcy. His successors tried to unify the provinces administratively. In this work Cardinal Giulio Alberoni distinguished himself when, as legate to Ravenna under Pope Clement XII (1730-1740), he sought to eliminate the existing autonomies of medieval origin and annexed the ancient republic of San Marino to the States of the Church, at least temporarily. Bologna completely lost its ancient municipal autonomy in 1788.
Political Decline. These attempts at internal renovation failed to stem the growing political weakness of the state. Internationally, the balance of power preserved an equilibrium among the states of the peninsula, but left Italy vulnerable to outside pressure from the national monarchies. These powers took advantage of this situation by impertinently, even brutally, seeking to extort from the papal government renunciations of some of its rights and prerogatives, to force it to support their selfish political interests, and to introduce changes conformed to their own juridical and anticurial views. Louis XIV, King of France (1638-1715), used strong pressure, and at times violence, to humiliate this state and its rulers. Thus when the Duke of Créqui, the French ambassador, unjustifiably insisted on extending the diplomatic “right of quarters” beyond his dwelling in Rome to embrace an area “as far as his eye could behold,” an incident occurred between his entourage and the Corsican guards, which the French government used to impose its will on Pope Alexander VII (1662). Innocent XI (1676-1689), however, refused to bow to a repetition of these pretensions, and Pope Alexander VIII in 1691 caused Louis XIV to renounce these claims, tolerated in no other capital. More extreme were the pressures applied to Clement XIII (1758-1769) and Clement XIV (1769-1774) by the Bourbon courts to break down papal resistance to the suppression of the Jesuits. Besides severing diplomatic relations, France occupied Avignon and Venaissin, and Naples seized Benevento and Pontecorvo.
Economic Decline. Agriculture, industry, and trade remained static or deteriorated. The same was true of social conditions. Decline was especially marked in Latium, a region almost denuded of population, where the rule was large-scale ownership, concentrated almost entirely in the hands of the Roman aristocracy, whose income derived largely from rents paid by shepherds for pasturage. The plain neighboring on Rome, the agro romano, occupied 485 square miles, but its ownership was limited in 1789 to a mere 113 families. The Borghese family alone possessed 55,000 acres; the Sforza, 27,000. Instead of improving conditions and exploiting these holdings efficiently, the wealthy proprietors leased their lands, subleased, and then sub-subleased to wretched contadini weakened by disease contracted from the undrained, malaria-breeding Pontine marshes. Their primitive methods eked the barest subsistence from their tiny parcels. The wheat crop barely sufficed for local consumption; its export was forbidden.
The only industries of any size were the alum mines at Tolfa and the foundries at Canino, Bracciano, and Conca, employing about 300 to smelt the iron ore mixed on the island of Elba. Other than these, the shops were small, family-run affairs. The marches were relatively prosperous, especially Ancona, which became a free port in 1732, and Senigallia, which attracted merchants from Italy and abroad to its famous fair. Foreign trade was, however, minimal. Despite the number of small towns, no real middle class developed.
Rome always remained an important commercial center because of the constant flow of ecclesiastics, pilgrims, and tourists. A cultural capital, it was a magnet for artists in search of inspiration, scholars in search of the past, and collectors in quest of purchases. In 1768 Rome had some 159,000 inhabitants; the entire state about two million.
Papal Attitudes. No help could come from the sovereign or the state. The popes, who supported a court, a diplomatic corps, festivals, building construction, and maintenance, had to bear all the expenses of a great power with the revenues of a poor one. Rome itself absorbed the meager income. At the death of Clement XIV (1774), who was a good administrator, the public debt totaled 74 million scudi, although the annual revenue was only 2.5 million scudi. When financial distress became more acute, sumptuary expenses were trimmed, but profitable, long-term investments were impossible. No policy existed for inaugurating great public works. The draining of the Pontine marshes scarcely passed the planning stage. Economic development was a minor preoccupation of the popes, who did not wish to overload their subjects with taxes and remedied misery by increasing alms when they could.
The governmental and administrative system finally became dilapidated. Papal departments were encumbered with inactive employees, said to number 30,000 by 1800. The clientele of cardinals and the great families could not be allowed to starve. Papal officialdom, like Roman beggary, was an institutionalized form of parasitism. The most enlightened and energetic reformer would have wasted his efforts, because the basic difficulty was economic and social sluggishness.
Peace was preserved in the States of the Church during these two centuries, but it was often accompanied by humiliation and internal disorder. It was disturbed mainly by the endemic brigandage. Public order was not seriously ruffled, save for occasional quarrels concerning diplomatic precedence or squabbles between the Romans and the dependents of foreign ambassadors. The outbreak of the French Revolution quickly altered this situation. During the nineteenth century disturbances and movements originating outside this state caused ever-increasing public disorders and dissatisfaction within it.
French Intervention, 1796 to 1815
Neither the economic recession of the seventeenth century, the economic stagnation of the eighteenth, the critique of the enlightenment, nor the slow deterioration of governmental and administrative organisms had sufficed to disturb seriously the States of the Church. A tremor of adequate magnitude came from abroad, started by the French Revolution in 1789, which was so powerful that this state, even were it better equipped, would not have remained shockproof, any more than other European states. French revolutionists soon occupied the papal territories of Avignon and Venaissin lying within French borders, and the Constituent Assembly decreed their annexation to France (September 14, 1791). Rome became the refuge of numerous émigrés following the condemnation of the Civil Constitution of The Clergy by the papal bull Charitas. Their tragic tales filled the Roman Curia and, still more, the populace with terror and detestation of the revolution. At the same time many republican agents arrived in Rome to propagate revolutionary ideas and found admirers in educated circles influenced by the doctrines of the Enlightenment, who were sympathetic toward Freemasonry. The first revolutionary associations arose as well as popular antirevolutionary outbursts. One of these resulted in the assassination of the French diplomat Nicolas de Bassville (1793); another in the murder of General Mathieu Duphot (1797).
Active French intervention began when General Napoleon Bonaparte’s army descended into Italy in 1796. Bonaparte proposed to the Directory that he lay hands on Loreto, containing “the immense treasures that superstition has amassed during 15 centuries. They are valued at one million pounds sterling.” In May 1796 he received orders to occupy Rome, but he took only the legations (Bologna, Ferrara, Ravenna) in June. Bonaparte proved a prudent governor, because he foresaw his later need for papal cooperation to regulate the affairs of the Church in France. “The influence of Rome is incalculable,” he declared. “I ambition more the title of savior than that of destroyer of the Holy See.” Once more the Papal State became involved in the general history of the Church. Bonaparte evacuated Ravenna, Faenza, and Ancona (June 23) after 33 million francs were paid to the Directory. Despite the size of this ransom, Rome expressed relief. In 1796 the French occupied Bologna and included it in the Cisalpine Republic and the Kingdom of Italy established by Napoleon, while in 1799 Benevento joined the short-lived Republic of Naples.
After the Austrians were badly defeated in 1797, Pope Pius VI, who had manifested hostility toward France, had to sign the Treaty of Tolentino (February 19, 1797), ceding Avignon, Bologna, and Ferrara to France, and Romagna to the Cisalpine Republic, an emanation of French power. After Duphot’s murder General Berthier seized Rome under orders from the Directory (February 1798). Five days later a group of patriots took advantage of the presence of French arms and proclaimed the birth of the Roman Republic and the demise of papal temporal power. Pius VI was carried off a prisoner to Tuscany, then to Valence in southern France, where he died (August 29, 1799). Defeats in the War of the Second Coalition forced the French to evacuate Rome (September 30, 1799), ended the Roman Republic, and led to the restoration of the States of the Church, minus the legations, according to the Treaty of Lunéville (February 9, 1801). The Neapolitan government, whose army had delivered Rome, continued acting as sovereign there, but in 1800 it turned over the city to the newly elected Pope PIUS VII (1800-1823). The French victory at Marengo (June 14, 1800) would have threatened this fragile restoration of papal authority, had not Napoleon been eager to restore religious peace to France and to arrange the Concordat of 1801. It was he who obliged the Austrians to abandon their claims to the legations, and the king of Naples to evacuate the States of the Church, including Benevento and Pontecorvo. The Cisalpine Republic, however, was restored and soon was called the Kingdom of Italy (January 26, 1802). This placed the northern boundary of the States of the Church along the line established by the Treaty of Tolentino.
First Restoration. Pius VII was now sovereign of a territory reduced in size and economically less viable than before. He sought first a reorganization of the whole government and administration, and designated four commissions to elaborate a plan. The papal bull Post diuturnas (October 10, 1800), which promulgated the reforms, reflected two diverse currents of opinion evident in these commissions. The traditionalists regarded all the recent French innovations as diabolical and wanted only a return to the old state of affairs. The second group considered the former organization outmoded and a fresh start essential. The papal decision favored the conservatives, with few exceptions. Such improvements as were introduced were rendered inoperative by the passive resistance of the prelates assigned to the new posts. The statute did, however, envision the confiding of some positions to laymen, that is, to representatives of the nobility. All that remained of this first restoration was the noble guard.
Another measure, which might have produced good results, was the freeing of commerce, up to then practically a state monopoly. But lack of ports or industry left the States of the Church unable to develop commerce in the near future. A timid agrarian reform was inaugurated, which aimed to divide the latifundia (landed estates) and make it possible for cultivators to purchase the land. But these poor persons lacked the capital to buy. Structural reforms hesitantly outlined, devoid of means or will to put them into effect, represented the extent of the restoration in 1800. The States of the Church continued to vegetate during their remaining decades of life.
Relations with Napoleon I. When Bonaparte became Emperor Napoleon I (1804), he allowed Pius VII to consecrate him but did not intend to leave to the pope the least liberty of political option as a temporal sovereign, even that of declaring his neutrality in European conflicts. Napoleon sought to impose the Continental System upon the Papal State. Pius VII thought otherwise and refused to put the boycott into effect in his territory. This led to a crisis that began with the French occupation of Ancona (1805), continued with the seizure of Civitavecchia (1806), the Marches (1807), and Rome itself (1808). In 1806, Napoleon made his minister Talleyrand prince of Benevento. Pius VII was arrested (June 5, 1809) and kept in captivity at Savona and Fontainebleau until 1814. An imperial decree annexed the States of the Church to the French Empire and announced the formation of a commission (Consulta) charged with administering the former papal realm (1810). The region was then divided into the two departments of Tiber and Trasiméne. Rome was proclaimed second city of the empire after Paris, and Napoleon’s son became king of Rome, a post once held by his father. Though a prisoner, the pope still urged passive resistance. The reactions of the Romans varied. Most ecclesiastics observed the papal instructions; most of the nobles collaborated with the French in the hope of saving their wealth and position. The mass of the populace maintained a stubborn, malevolent opposition because of affection for the pope, the influence of the religious, and discontent with increased taxes and the suppression of charitable institutions, which had distributed the indispensable alms. Young men fled military conscription and formed wandering bands, always ready to take to highway robbery.
French laws of the Civil Code were applied in the region. De Tournon, a capable administrator, was named prefect of Rome and undertook considerable public works, such as restoring ancient monuments, urban planning, laying out the Pincio as a public park, clearing the Tiber channel, improving highways, and draining marshes. Napoleon was eager to revive the old Rome and build a new one, and to improve economic conditions, but he lacked time and was too much preoccupied with his perennial wars. From 1814 on, the French Empire was in its death throes.
Pius VII was liberated and reentered Rome (May 24, 1814), where he was hailed with enthusiasm. A second restoration was about to begin but immediately faced imposing obstacles. Joachim Murat (1767-1815), King of Naples, coveted the States of the Church but lost his claim and his throne when he allied with Napoleon, who had returned from Elba. Then the Congress of Vienna, which aimed to give a territorial status to Europe after Napoleon’s downfall, refused for a while to recognize the papal temporal sovereignty. Austria wanted to annex part of Italy and install princes devoted to her. Due in good part to the diplomatic skill of Cardinal E. Consalvi, papal secretary of state, the congress permitted the pope to regain his former states, save for some alterations of borders and the permanent loss of Avignon and Venaissin (June 1815). Benevento and Bologna were restored to papal control at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, but Bologna rebelled against the papacy in 1831 and 1849.
1815 to 1870
This final period presents two aspects. One concerns domestic events in the papal realm; the other deals with developments outside this region. In a sense the Risorgimento, the movement for Italian unification, combined the two and was largely responsible for the disappearance of the papal temporal power.
Second Restoration. Upon returning from his long imprisonment, Pius VII confronted the problem of administrative realignment, because the French occupation, for all its unpopularity, had roused middle-class aspirations for a more modern regime. Consalvi favored these demands within limits and was largely responsible for the promulgation of a constitutional charter in 1816, which marked some progress, although it still bore close resemblance to the privileges accorded by enlightened despots in the mid-eighteenth century. Opposition to these modest innovations in curial and aristocratic circles was strong enough to impede the effecting of substantial reforms. This, coupled with the worsening economic situation in 1816 and the impact of the Risorgimento, led to the formation of numerous secret societies such as the CARBONARI, especially in Romagna. These found a strong following among the lesser nobility and bourgeoisie eager for opportunities to hold public office and participate in the government. Soon after this restoration started, sectarian influences caused incidents in the legations and marches.
Gregory XVI. Counterrevolutionary forces regained full strength under Popes Leo XII (1823-1829), Pius VIII (1829-1830), and Gregory XVI (1831-1846). Following the July Revolution in Paris (1830), the Carbonari joined forces with the liberals against the papal temporal power, in the hope that France would impose on the Holy Alliance respect for the principle of nonintervention. Insurrection broke out in Bologna (February 4, 1831) and spread rapidly to Umbria, Ro-magna, and the marches. It gave rise to several provisional governments, which were unified under Terenzio Mamiani (c. 1802-1885). The revolt failed only because of Austrian and French armed intervention, which quickly restored the papal authority. The great powers (France, Great Britain, Austria, Russia, and Prussia) met in conference and in a memorandum cataloged the reforms required in the Papal States to avert further revolutionary outbursts.
Gregory XVI refused to accept most of its proposals, such as the admission of the laity to positions of authority, enforcement of the 1816 constitution, organization of consultative representative assemblies on the municipal and provincial levels, and creation of an auditor’s office. Minor changes were introduced in 1832, notably the establishment of a corps of Swiss soldiers, but the memorandum was essentially shelved in the Vatican archives. Because papal authority was based on divine right, criticisms were regarded as disrespect toward God Himself, and revolutionary attempts as sacrilegious. The papacy found it difficult, if not impossible, to introduce the requested political and administrative reforms in its state. This was reinforced by the fact that the papacy considered its temporal and spiritual power inextricably intertwined and therefore feared that limitations on the former would inevitably impinge on the latter.
Final Quarter Century. Pius IX (1846-1878) appeared to Italian patriots for a short time to herald a new era. He had earlier outlined a reformist program for the temporal power in his “Thoughts on the Public Administration of the Papal States” (1845). Once pope, he granted a generous amnesty to political offenders, organized a lay council (Consulta di Stato) and a civil guard, permitted limited press freedom, and protested against Austrian occupation of Ferrara. All this gave further impetus to the movement for Italian unification and to constitutional tendencies. By the Fundamental Statute (March 14, 1848), the pope provided his subjects with a constitution. He also allowed the papal banner to be adorned with the tricolor cockade and sent troops to guard the Po River during the hostilities between Piedmont and Austria.
As spiritual head of all Catholics, however, the pope could not make war on Austria, an impossibility reaffirmed in the papal allocation of April 29, 1848. This alienated both liberals and patriots and made difficult his relations with the legislature, which opened on June 5, and with the constitutional ministry presided over by Mamiani. Pellegrino Rossi, who succeeded Mamiani early in September, was not acceptable to conservatives because of his constitutional convictions, or to liberals because of his opposition to involving the Papal States in warlike enterprises. Rossi’s opposition to the Piedmontese requests for a military league against Austria increased the hatred of the radicals, by whose hands he was assassinated on November 15, 1848.
The ensuing popular tumults forced Pius IX to flee Rome (November 24, 1848) and take refuge at Gaeta in the Kingdom of Naples. Revolutionaries proclaimed the Roman Republic (February 9, 1849), soon placed under the control of a triumvirate composed of Giuseppe Mazzini, Aurelio Saffi (1819-1890), and Carlo Armellini (1777-1863), who determined to resist the imminent invasion by Catholic France, Austria, Spain, and Naples, which accepted the petition of Cardinal G. Antonelli for aid. With Austrian troops pressing from the north and French forces besieging Rome, the republic collapsed. Pius IX reentered his capital (April 1850), but French soldiers remained in the city and Austrian ones in the legations. It was now clear that papal temporal power could continue only with foreign military aid. The events of 1848-1849 deeply troubled the pope, who believed that his goodwill had been unworthily abused. Henceforth, he was hostile to all liberal programs.
The final years of the States of the Church formed an episode in the unification of the Italian peninsula. Bolgona became part of Italy on June 12, 1859, when Romagna was annexed by the Kingdom of Sardinia during the unification, while Benevento joined Italy in 1860. Because of this movement, the papal territory lost the legations (1860). After the papal volunteer army of Zouaves met defeat at Castelfidardo (September 18, 1860), Italy annexed the Marches (with 133,000 votes favoring it in a plebiscite and 1,200 opposed) and Umbria (with 97,000 votes favoring it and 380 opposed).
In 1861 Cavour proclaimed Rome the capital of the new Kingdom of Italy. Napoleon’s troops protected the remaining papal territory, but the French emperor sought to evacuate them as soon as possible. By the September Convention of 1864, concluded between the Paris government and the Italian kingdom without papal consultation, French forces were to be withdrawn within the course of the next two years. This prompted Pius IX to issue the encyclical Quanta cura, deploring contemporary developments, to which was attached the Syllabus Of Errors. French troops returned to stop Giuseppe Garibaldi’s intrusion into the Papal States in 1867 and remained there until 1870. Once the Franco-Prussian War demanded the withdrawal of the French garrison, the Italians invaded the state and took Rome after some hours of bombardment, breaching the Porta Pia (September 20, 1870). A plebiscite in the small area in papal hands recorded 133,681 votes in favor of annexation to Italy; 1,507 opposed. Victor Emmanuel II in October proclaimed the annexation of Rome and the surrounding area. Thus ended the States of the Church. In the opinion of some, the impending demise of the temporal power played a part in bolstering spiritual power and in the proclamation of papal infallibility in July 1870 during the Vatican Council.
The principal states continued to recognize the personal sovereignty of the pope, admitting among other things his active and passive right to diplomatic representation. When the Law of guarantees proved unacceptable to Pius IX and his successors, the Roman Question continued to be a major problem for Italy until its definitive settlement in the lateran PACTS (1929). The state of Vatican City, which then originated, is not, however, a resurrection of the former States of the Church.