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Papal States
The Papal States, officially the State of the Church (Italian: Stato della
Chiesa, Italian pronunciation:[ˈstato della ˈkjɛːza]; Latin: Status Ecclesiasticus;[3]
State of the Church
also Dicio Pontificia), were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under Stato della Chiesa
the direct sovereign rule of the Pope, from the 8th century until 1870. They Status Ecclesiasticus
were among the major states of Italy from roughly the 8th century until the 754–1870
Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia unified the Italian Peninsula by conquest in a Interregna (1798–1799, 1809–1814 and 1849)
campaign virtually concluded in 1861 and definitively in 1870. At their zenith,
the Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio (which
includes Rome), Marche, Umbria and Romagna, and portions of Emilia. These
holdings were considered to be a manifestation of the temporal power of the
pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy. Coat of arms of
Flag the Holy See
By 1861, much of the Papal States' territory had been conquered by the
Kingdom of Italy. Only Lazio, including Rome, remained under the Pope's Anthem:
temporal control. In 1870, the Pope lost Lazio and Rome and had no physical Noi vogliam Dio, Vergine Maria (1815–
territory at all, except the Baslica of St Peter and the papal residence and (Italian)
related buildings around the Vatican quarter of Rome, which the new Italian "We want God, Virgin Mary"
state did not occupy militarily. The head of the Italian government, at the time Marcia trionfale (1857–1870)
the Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, ended the crisis between unified (Italian)
"Great Triumphal March"
Italy and the Holy See by negotiating the Lateran Treaty, signed by the two
parties in 1929. This recognized the sovereignty of the Holy See over a newly 0:00
created international territorial entity, the Vatican City State, limited to a token

Donation of Pepin
Relationship with the Holy Roman Empire
The Avignon Papacy
The Papal States in 1815 after the
Napoleonic era
Napoleonic W ars
Italian unification
Regional governors
Papal Military
See also
External links
The Papal States were also known as the Papal State (although the plural is
usually preferred, the singular is equally correct as the polity was more than a
mere personal union). The territories were also referred to variously as the
State(s) of the Church, the Pontifical States, the Ecclesiastical States, or the
Roman States (Italian: Stato Pontificio, also Stato della Chiesa, Stati della
Chiesa, Stati Pontifici, and Stato Ecclesiastico; Latin: Status Pontificius, also
Dicio Pontificia "papal rule").[4] To some extent the name used varied with the
preferences and habits of the European languages in which it was expressed.

Map of the Papal States (green) in 1789
before the French seized papal lands in
France, including its exclaves of
Origins Benevento and Pontecorvo in Southern
For its first 300 years the Catholic Church was persecuted and unrecognized, Italy, and the Comtat Venaissin and
Avignon in Southern France.
unable to hold or transfer property.[5] Early congregations met in rooms set
aside for that purpose in the homes of well-to-do individuals, and a number of
Capital Rome
early churches, known as titular churches and located on the outskirts of Common languages Latin, Italian,
Ancient Rome, were held as property by individuals, rather than by the Church Occitan
itself. Nonetheless, the properties held nominally or actually by individual Religion Roman
members of the Roman churches would usually be considered as a common Catholic
patrimony handed over successively to the legitimate "heir" of that property, Government Theocratic
often its senior deacons, who were, in turn, assistants to the local bishop. This absolute
common patrimony attached to the churches at Rome, and thus under its ruling
bishop, became quite considerable, including as it did not only houses etc. in
Rome or nearby but landed estates, whole or in part, across Italy and
• 754–757 Stephen II
beyond.[6] This system began to change during the reign of the emperor (first)
Constantine I, who made Christianity legal within the Roman Empire, and • 1846–1870 Pius IX (last)
restoring to it any properties that had been confiscated (in the larger cities of Cardinal Secretary of
the empire this would have been quite considerable, and the Roman patrimony
• 1551–1555 Girolamo
not least among them).[5] The Lateran Palace was the first significant new
Dandini (first)
donation to the Church, most probably a gift from Constantine himself. • 1848–1870 Giacomo
Antonelli (last)
Other donations followed, primarily in mainland Italy but also in the provinces
Prime Minister
of the Roman Empire. But the Church held all of these lands as a private • 1848 Gabriele
landowner, not as a sovereign entity. When in the 5th century the Italian Ferretti (first)
peninsula passed under the control of Odoacer and, later, the Ostrogoths, the • 1848 Giuseppe
Church organization in Italy, with the pope at its head, submitted of necessity Galletti (last)
to their sovereign authority while asserting its spiritual primacy over the whole • Establishment 754
• Codification 781
• Treaty of Venice 1177
(independence from
The seeds of the Papal States as a sovereign political entity were planted in the the Holy Roman
6th century. Beginning in 535, the Byzantine Empire, under emperor Justinian Empire)
I, launched a reconquest of Italy that took decades and devastated Italy's • 1st disestablishment February 15,
political and economic structures. Just as these wars wound down, the
• Schönbrunn Palace May 17, 1809
Lombards entered the peninsula from the north and conquered much of the Declarations
countryside. By the 7th century, Byzantine authority was largely limited to a • 2nd disestablishment September
diagonal band running roughly from Ravenna, where the Emperor's 20, 1870
representative, or Exarch, was located, to Rome and south to Naples (the • Vatican City February 11,
"Rome-Ravenna corridor"[7][8][9]), plus coastal enclaves.[10] 1929
With effective Byzantine power weighted at the northeast end of this territory,
1450[1] 17,242 km2
the pope, as the largest landowner and most prestigious figure in Italy, began (6,657 sq mi)
by default to take on much of the ruling authority that Byzantines were unable
to project to the area around the city of Rome. While the popes remained
• 1450[1] +600000
Byzantine subjects, in practice the Duchy of Rome, an area roughly equivalent
• 1853[2] 3,124,668
to modern-day Latium, became an independent state ruled by the pope.[11]
Currency Papal States
The Church's independence, combined with popular support for the papacy in scudo (until
Italy, enabled various popes to defy the will of the Byzantine emperor; Pope
Papal States
Gregory II even excommunicated Emperor Leo III during the Iconoclastic lira (1866–
Controversy. Nevertheless, the pope and the exarch still worked together to 1870)
control the rising power of the Lombards in Italy. As Byzantine power
weakened, though, the papacy took an ever-larger role in defending Rome Preceded by Succeeded by
from the Lombards, usually through diplomacy. In practice, the papal efforts Byzantine Roman
served to focus Lombard aggrandizement on the exarch and Ravenna. A Empire Republic
Roman (18th
climactic moment in the founding of the Papal States was the agreement over
Republic century)
boundaries embodied in the Lombard king Liutprand's Donation of Sutri (728) (18th First
to Pope Gregory II.[12] century) French
First Empire
French Roman
Donation of Pepin Empire Republic
Roman (19th
When the Exarchate of Ravenna finally fell to the Lombards in 751,[13] the Republic century)
Duchy of Rome was completely cut off from the Byzantine Empire, of which it (19th Kingdom
century) of Italy
was theoretically still a part. The popes renewed earlier attempts to secure the
support of the Franks. In 751, Pope Zachary had Pepin the Younger crowned in the
king in place of the powerless Merovingian figurehead king Childeric III. Vatican
Zachary's successor, Pope Stephen II, later granted Pepin the title Patrician of
the Romans. Pepin led a Frankish army into Italy in 754 and 756. Pepin
Today part of France
defeated the Lombards – taking control of northern Italy – and made a gift Italy
(called the Donation of Pepin) of the properties formerly constituting the Vatican
Exarchate of Ravenna to the pope. City

In 781, Charlemagne codified the regions over which the pope would be temporal sovereign: the Duchy of Rome was key, but the
territory was expanded to include Ravenna, the Duchy of the Pentapolis, parts of the Duchy of Benevento, Tuscany, Corsica,
Lombardy and a number of Italian cities. The cooperation between the papacy and the Carolingian dynasty climaxed in 800, when
Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne Emperor.

Relationship with the Holy Roman Empire

The precise nature of the relationship between the popes andemperors – and between the Papal States and theEmpire – is disputed. It
was unclear whether the Papal States were a separate realm with the pope as their sovereign ruler, merely a part of the Frankish
Empire over which the popes had administrative control, as suggested in the late 9th century treatise Libellus de imperatoria
potestate in urbe Roma, or whether the Holy Roman Emperors were vicars of the pope (as a sort of Archemperor) ruling
Christendom, with the pope directly responsible only for the environs of Rome and spiritual duties.

Events in the 9th century postponed the conflict. The Holy Roman Empire in its Frankish form collapsed as it was subdivided among
Charlemagne's grandchildren. Imperial power in Italy waned and the papacy's prestige declined. This led to a rise in the power of the
local Roman nobility, and the control of the Papal States during the early 10th century by a powerful and corrupt aristocratic family,
the Theophylacti. This period was later dubbed theSaeculum obscurum ("dark age"), and sometimes as the "rule by harlots".
In practice, the popes were unable to exercise effective sovereignty over the extensive and mountainous territories of the Papal States,
and the region preserved its old system of government, with many small countships and marquisates, each centred upon a fortified

Over several campaigns in the mid-10th century, the German ruler Otto I conquered northern Italy; Pope John XII crowned him
emperor (the first so crowned in more than forty years) and the two of them ratified the Diploma Ottonianum, by which the emperor
became the guarantor of the independence of the Papal States.[15] Yet over the next two centuries, popes and emperors squabbled
over a variety of issues, and the German rulers routinely treated the Papal States as part of their realms on those occasions when they
projected power into Italy. As the Gregorian Reform worked to free the administration of the church from imperial interference, the
independence of the Papal States increased in importance. After the extinction of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, the German emperors
rarely interfered in Italian affairs. In response to the struggle between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, the Treaty of Venice made official
the independence of Papal States from the Holy Roman Empire in 1177. By 1300, the Papal States, along with the rest of the Italian
principalities, were effectively independent.

The Avignon Papacy

From 1305 to 1378, the popes lived in the papal enclave of Avignon, surrounded by Provence
and under the influence of the French kings. This period was known as the "Avignonese" or
"Babylonian Captivity".[16][17][18][19][20][21] During this period the city of Avignon itself was
added to the Papal States; it remained a papal possession for some 400 years even after the
popes returned to Rome, until it was seized and incorporated into the French state during the
French Revolution.

During this Avignon Papacy, local despots took advantage of the absence of the popes to
establish themselves in nominally papal cities: the Pepoli in Bologna, the Ordelaffi in Forlì,
the Manfredi in Faenza, the Malatesta in Rimini all gave nominal acknowledgement to their
papal overlords and were declared vicars of the Church.

In Ferrara, the death of Azzo VIII d'Este without legitimate heirs (1308[22] ) encouraged Pope
Clement V to bring Ferrara under his direct rule: however, it was governed by his appointed
vicar, Robert d'Anjou, King of Naples, for only nine years before the citizens recalled the Este
The domain of the Papal
from exile (1317); interdiction and excommunications were in vain: in 1332 John XXII was States c. 1430
obliged to name three Este brothers as his vicars in Ferrara.

In Rome itself the Orsini and the Colonna struggled for supremacy,[24] dividing the city's rioni between them. The resulting
aristocratic anarchy in the city provided the setting for the fantastic dreams of universal democracy of Cola di Rienzo, who was
acclaimed Tribune of the People in 1347,[25] and met a violent death in early October 1354 as he was assassinated by supporters of
the Colonna family.[26] To many, rather than an ancient Roman tribune reborn, he had become just another tyrant using the
rhetoric of
Roman renewal and rebirth to mask his grab for power.[26] As Prof. Guido Ruggiero states, "even with the support of Petrarch, his
return to first times and the rebirth of ancient Rome was one that would not prevail."

The Rienzo episode engendered renewed attempts from the absentee papacy to re-establish order in the dissolving Papal States,
resulting in the military progress of Cardinal Albornoz, who was appointed papal legate, and his condottieri heading a small
mercenary army. Having received the support of the archbishop of Milan and Giovanni Visconti, he defeated Giovanni di Vico, lord
of Viterbo, moving against Galeotto Malatesta of Rimini and the Ordelaffi of Forlì, the Montefeltro of Urbino and the da Polenta of
Ravenna, and against the cities of Senigallia and Ancona. The last holdouts against full papal control were Giovanni Manfredi of
Faenza and Francesco II Ordelaffi of Forlì. Albornoz, at the point of being recalled, in a meeting with all the Papal vicars on April 29,
1357, promulgated the Constitutiones Sanctæ Matris Ecclesiæ, which replaced the mosaic of local law and accumulated traditional
'liberties' with a uniform code of civil law. These Constitutiones Egidiane mark a watershed in the legal history of the Papal States;
they remained in effect until 1816. Pope Urban V ventured a return to Italy in 1367 that proved premature; he returned to Avignon in
1370 just before his death.[27]
During the Renaissance, the papal territory expanded greatly, notably under the
popes Alexander VI and Julius II. The pope became one of Italy's most important
secular rulers as well as the head of the Church, signing treaties with other
sovereigns and fighting wars. In practice, though, most of the Papal States was still
only nominally controlled by the pope, and much of the territory was ruled by minor
princes. Control was always contested; indeed it took until the 16th century for the
pope to have any genuine control over all his territories.
The Quirinal Palace, papal residence
and home to the civil offices of the Papal responsibilities were often (as in the early 16th century) in conflict. The Papal
[28] Pope Julius II,
States were involved in at least three wars in the first two decades.
Papal States from the Renaissance
until their annexation the "Warrior Pope", fought on their behalf.

The Reformation began in 1517. Before the Holy Roman Empire fought the Protestants, its
soldiers (including many Protestants), sacked Rome as a side effect of battles over the Papal
States.[29] A generation later the armies of KingPhilip II of Spain defeated those of Pope Paul
IV over the same issues.[30]

This period saw a gradual revival of the pope's temporal power in the Papal States.
Throughout the 16th century virtually independent fiefs such as Rimini (a possession of the
Malatesta family) were brought back under Papal control. In 1512 the state of the church
annexed Parma and Piacenza, which in 1545 became an independent ducate under an
illegitimate son of Pope Paul III. This process culminated in the reclaiming of the Duchy of
Ferrara in 1598,[31][32] and the Duchy of Urbino in 1631.[33]
Antichristus (1521) by Lucas
At its greatest extent, in the 18th century, the Papal States included most of central Italy — Cranach the Elder.
Latium, Umbria, Marche and the Legations of Ravenna, Ferrara and Bologna extending north
into the Romagna. It also included the small enclaves of Benevento and Pontecorvo in
southern Italy and the larger Comtat Venaissin around Avignon in southern France.

Napoleonic era
The French Revolution affected the temporal territories of the Papacy aswell as the Roman Church in general. In 1791 Revolutionary
France annexed the Comtat Venaissin and Avignon.[34] Later, with the French invasion of Italy in 1796, the Legations (the Papal
States' northern territories[34] ) were seized and became part of theCisalpine Republic.[34]

Two years later, French forces invaded the remaining area of the Papal States and General Louis-Alexandre Berthier declared a
Roman Republic[34] (February 1798). Pope Pius VI fled to Siena, and died in exile in Valence (France) in 1799.[34] The French
Consulate restored the Papal States in June 1800 and the newly-elected Pope Pius VII took up residency in Rome, but the French
Empire under Napoleon invaded in 1808, and this time on 17 May 1809, the remainder of the States of the Church were annexed to
France,[34] forming the départements of Tibre and Trasimène.

Following the fall of the Napoleonic system in 1814, the Congress of Vienna officially restored the Italian territories of the Papal
States (but not the Comtat Venaissin or Avignon) to Vatican control.[34]

From 1814 until the death of Pope Gregory XVI in 1846, the popes followed a reactionary policy in the Papal States. For instance,
the city of Rome maintained the last Jewish ghetto in Western Europe. There were hopes that this would change when Pope Pius IX
(in office 1846-1878) succeeded Gregory XVI and began to introduce liberal reforms.
Italian unification
Italian nationalism had been stoked during the Napoleonic period but dashed by the
settlement of the Congress of Vienna (1814–15), which sought to restore the pre-
Napoleonic conditions: most of northern Italy was under the rule of junior branches
of the Habsburgs and the Bourbons, with the House of Savoy in Sardinia-Piedmont
constituting the only independent Italian state. The Papal States in central Italy and
the Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in the south were both restored. Popular
opposition to the reconstituted and corrupt clerical government led to numerous
revolts, which were suppressed by the intervention of theAustrian army.

The nationalist and liberal revolutions of 1848 affected much of Europe, and in
February 1849, a Roman Republic was declared,[36] and the hitherto liberally-
inclined Pope Pius IX had to flee the city. The revolution was suppressed with
French help in 1850 and Pius IX switched to a conservative line of government.

As a result of the Austro-Sardinian War of 1859, Sardinia-Piedmont annexed

Lombardy, while Giuseppe Garibaldi overthrew the Bourbon monarchy in the Map of the Italian Peninsula in 1796,
south.[37][38] Afraid that Garibaldi would set up a republican government, the showing the Papal States before the
Napoleonic wars changed the face of
Piedmont government petitioned French Emperor Napoleon III for permission to
the peninsula.
send troops through the Papal States to gain control of the south. This was granted
on the condition that Rome be left undisturbed. In 1860, with much of the region
already in rebellion against Papal rule, Sardinia-Piedmont conquered the eastern two-thirds of
the Papal States and cemented its hold on the south. Bologna, Ferrara, Umbria, the Marches,
Benevento and Pontecorvo were all formally annexed by November of the same year. While
considerably reduced, the Papal States nevertheless still covered the Latium and large areas
northwest of Rome.

A unified Kingdom of Italy was declared and in March 1861, the first Italian parliament,
which met in Turin, the old capital of Piedmont, declared Rome the capital of the new
Kingdom. However, the Italian government could not take possession of the city because a
French garrison in Rome protected Pope Pius IX. The opportunity for the Kingdom of Italy to
eliminate the Papal States came in 1870; the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in July
prompted Napoleon III to recall his garrison from Rome and the collapse of the Second
Bond of the Papal States,
French Empire at the Battle of Sedan deprived Rome of its French protector. King Victor
issued 9 December
Emmanuel II at first aimed at a peaceful conquest of the city and proposed sending troops into
Rome, under the guise of offering protection to the pope. When the pope refused, Italy
declared war on September 10, 1870, and the Italian Army, commanded by General
Raffaele Cadorna, crossed the frontier of the papal territory on September 11 and
advanced slowly toward Rome. The Italian Army reached the Aurelian Walls on
September 19 and placed Rome under a state of siege. Although the pope's tiny army
was incapable of defending the city, Pius IX ordered it to put up more than a token
resistance to emphasize that Italy was acquiring Rome by force and not consent.
This incidentally served the purposes of the Italian State and gave rise to the myth of
the Breach of Porta Pia, in reality a tame affair involving a cannonade at close range
that demolished a 1600-year-old wall in poor repair. Pope Pius IX ordered the The Breach of Porta Pia, on the right,
commander of the papal forces to limit the defense of the city in order to avoid in 1870.
bloodshed.[39] The city was captured on September 20, 1870. Rome and what was
left of the Papal States were annexed to the Kingdom of Italy as a result of a
plebiscite the following October. This marked the definite end of the Papal States.[34]
Despite the fact that the traditionally Catholic powers did not come to the pope's aid, the papacy rejected any substantial
accommodation with the Italian Kingdom, especially any proposal which required the pope to become an Italian subject. Instead the
papacy confined itself (see Prisoner in the Vatican) to the Apostolic Palace and adjacent buildings in the loop of the ancient
fortifications known as the Leonine City, on Vatican Hill. From there it maintained a number of features pertaining to sovereignty,
such as diplomatic relations, since in canon law these were inherent in the papacy. In the 1920s, the papacy – then under Pius XI—
renounced the bulk of the Papal States, and the Lateran Treaty with Italy (then ruled by the National Fascist Party under Benito
Mussolini[40] ) was signed on February 11, 1929,[40] creating the State of the Vatican City, forming the sovereign territory of the Holy
See, which was also indemnified to some degree for loss of territory

Regional governors
As the plural name Papal States indicates, the various regional components retained
their identity under papal rule. The pope was represented in each province by a
governor, a number of styles arose; papal legate, as in the former principality of
Benevento, or Bologna, Romagna, and the March of Ancona; or papal delegate, as in
the former duchy of Pontecorvo and in the Campagne and Maritime Province. Other
titles like Papal Vicar, Vicar General, and several noble titles like "count" or even
"prince" were used. However, throughout the Papal States' history many warlords
and even bandit chieftains ruled cities and small duchies with no title bestowed by
the Pope.

Papal Military
Papal Zouaves pose in 1869.
Historically the Papal States maintained military forces composed of volunteers and
mercenaries. Between 1860 and 1870 the Papal Army (Esercito Pontificio in Italian)
comprised two regiments of locally recruited Italian infantry, two Swiss regiments and a battalion of Irish volunteers, plus artillery
and dragoons.[41] In 1861 an international Catholic volunteer corps, called Papal Zouaves after a kind of French colonial native
Algerian infantry, and imitating their uniform type, was created. Predominantly made up of Dutch, French and Belgian volunteers,
this corps saw service againstGaribaldi's Redshirts, Italian patriots, and finally the forces of the newly united Italy

The Papal Army was disbanded in 1870, leaving only the Palatine Guard, which was itself disbanded on 14 September 1970 by Pope
Paul VI[43] , the Noble Guard also disbanded in 1970 and the Swiss Guard, which continues to serve both as a ceremonial unit at the
Vatican and as the pope's protective force.

A small Papal Navy was also maintained, based at Civitavecchia on the west coast and Ancona on the east. With the fall of the Papal
States in 1870 the last ships of the flotilla were sailed to France, whereupon they were sold on the death of Pius IX.

See also
Captain General of the Church
Donation of Constantine
History of Rome
Holy Roman Empire
Italian unification
Italian United Provinces
Prisoner in the Vatican
War of the Eight Saints
Index of Vatican City-related articles

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External links
Papal States Coinage
WorldStatesmen: Italy
WHKMLA Historical atlas: here the page offering numerous links to maps of/containing Italy

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