The Lombards or Longobards were a Germanic people who ruled most of the Italian Peninsula from 568 to 774. The Lombard historian Paul the Deacon wrote in the Historia Langobardorum that the Lombards descended from a small tribe called the Winnili, who dwelt in southern Scandinavia before migrating to seek new lands. In the 1st century AD, they formed part of the Suebi, in north-western Germany. By the end of the 5th century, they had moved into the area coinciding with modern Austria and Slovakia north of the Danube river, where they subdued the Heruls and fought frequent wars with the Gepids; the Lombard king Audoin defeated the Gepid leader Thurisind in 551 or 552. Following this victory, Alboin decided to lead his people to Italy, which had become depopulated and devastated after the long Gothic War between the Byzantine Empire and the Ostrogothic Kingdom there. In contrast with the Goths and the Vandals, the Lombards left Scandinavia and descended due south through Germany and Slovenia, only leaving Germanic territory a few decades before reaching Italy.
The Lombards would have remained a predominantly Germanic tribe by the time they invaded Italy. The Lombards were joined by numerous Saxons, Gepids, Bulgars and Ostrogoths, their invasion of Italy was unopposed. By late 569 they had conquered all of northern Italy and the principal cities north of the Po River except Pavia, which fell in 572. At the same time, they occupied areas in southern Italy, they established a Lombard Kingdom in north and central Italy named Regnum Italicum, which reached its zenith under the 8th-century ruler Liutprand. In 774, the Kingdom was integrated into his Empire. However, Lombard nobles continued to rule southern parts of the Italian peninsula, well into the 11th century when they were conquered by the Normans and added to their County of Sicily. In this period, the southern part of Italy still under Longobardic domination was known to the foreigners, by the name Langbarðaland, in the Norse runestones, their legacy is apparent in the regional name Lombardy. The fullest account of Lombard origins and practices is the Historia Langobardorum of Paul the Deacon, written in the 8th century.
Paul's chief source for Lombard origins, however, is the 7th-century Origo Gentis Langobardorum. The Origo Gentis Langobardorum tells the story of a small tribe called the Winnili dwelling in southern Scandinavia; the Winnili were split into three groups and one part left their native land to seek foreign fields. The reason for the exodus was overpopulation; the departing people were led by the brothers Ybor and Aio and their mother Gambara and arrived in the lands of Scoringa the Baltic coast or the Bardengau on the banks of the Elbe. Scoringa was ruled by the Vandals and their chieftains, the brothers Ambri and Assi, who granted the Winnili a choice between tribute or war; the Winnili were young and brave and refused to pay tribute, saying "It is better to maintain liberty by arms than to stain it by the payment of tribute." The Vandals prepared for war and consulted Godan, who answered that he would give the victory to those whom he would see first at sunrise. The Winnili were fewer in number and Gambara sought help from Frea, who advised that all Winnili women should tie their hair in front of their faces like beards and march in line with their husbands.
At sunrise, Frea turned her husband's bed so that he was facing east, woke him. So Godan spotted the Winnili first and asked, "Who are these long-beards?," and Frea replied, "My lord, thou hast given them the name, now give them the victory." From that moment onwards, the Winnili were known as the Longbeards. When Paul the Deacon wrote the Historia between 787 and 796 he was a Catholic monk and devoted Christian, he thought the pagan stories of his people "silly" and "laughable". Paul explained. A modern theory suggests that the name "Langobard" comes from a name of Odin. Priester states that when the Winnili changed their name to "Lombards", they changed their old agricultural fertility cult to a cult of Odin, thus creating a conscious tribal tradition. Fröhlich inverts the order of events in Priester and states that with the Odin cult, the Lombards grew their beards in resemblance of the Odin of tradition and their new name reflected this. Bruckner remarks that the name of the Lombards stands in close relation to the worship of Odin, whose many names include "the Long-bearded" or "the Grey-bearded", that the Lombard given name Ansegranus shows that the Lombards had this idea of their chief deity.
The same Old Norse root Barth or Barði, meaning "beard", is shared with the Heaðobards mentioned in both Beowulf and in Widsith, where they are in conflict with the Danes. They were a branch of the Langobards. Alternatively some etymological sources suggest an Old High German root, meaning “axe”, while Edward Gibbon puts forth an alternative suggestion which argues that: …Börde still signifies “a fertile plain by the side of a river,” and a district near Magdeburg is still called the lange Börd
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto to the northwest and the Po Valley; the countries with coasts on the Adriatic are Albania and Herzegovina, Italy and Slovenia. The Adriatic contains over 1,300 islands located along the Croatian part of its eastern coast, it is divided into three basins, the northern being the shallowest and the southern being the deepest, with a maximum depth of 1,233 metres. The Otranto Sill, an underwater ridge, is located at the border between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas; the prevailing currents flow counterclockwise from the Strait of Otranto, along the eastern coast and back to the strait along the western coast. Tidal movements in the Adriatic are slight, although larger amplitudes are known to occur occasionally; the Adriatic's salinity is lower than the Mediterranean's because the Adriatic collects a third of the fresh water flowing into the Mediterranean, acting as a dilution basin.
The surface water temperatures range from 30 °C in summer to 12 °C in winter moderating the Adriatic Basin's climate. The Adriatic Sea sits on the Apulian or Adriatic Microplate, which separated from the African Plate in the Mesozoic era; the plate's movement contributed to the formation of the surrounding mountain chains and Apennine tectonic uplift after its collision with the Eurasian plate. In the Late Oligocene, the Apennine Peninsula first formed, separating the Adriatic Basin from the rest of the Mediterranean. All types of sediment are found in the Adriatic, with the bulk of the material transported by the Po and other rivers on the western coast; the western coast is alluvial or terraced, while the eastern coast is indented with pronounced karstification. There are dozens of marine protected areas in the Adriatic, designed to protect the sea's karst habitats and biodiversity; the sea is abundant in flora and fauna—more than 7,000 species are identified as native to the Adriatic, many of them endemic and threatened ones.
The Adriatic's shores are populated by more than 3.5 million people. The earliest settlements on the Adriatic shores were Etruscan and Greek. By the 2nd century BC, the shores were under Rome's control. In the Middle Ages, the Adriatic shores and the sea itself were controlled, to a varying extent, by a series of states—most notably the Byzantine Empire, the Croatian Kingdom, the Republic of Venice, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire; the Napoleonic Wars resulted in the First French Empire gaining coastal control and the British effort to counter the French in the area securing most of the eastern Adriatic shore and the Po Valley for Austria. Following Italian unification, the Kingdom of Italy started an eastward expansion that lasted until the 20th century. Following World War I and the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, the eastern coast's control passed to Yugoslavia and Albania; the former disintegrated during the 1990s. Italy and Yugoslavia agreed on their maritime boundaries by 1975 and this boundary is recognised by Yugoslavia's successor states, but the maritime boundaries between Slovenian, Bosnian-Herzegovinian, Montenegrin waters are still disputed.
Italy and Albania agreed on their maritime boundary in 1992. Fisheries and tourism are significant sources of income all along the Adriatic coast. Adriatic Croatia's tourism industry has grown faster economically than the rest of the Adriatic Basin's. Maritime transport is a significant branch of the area's economy—there are 19 seaports in the Adriatic that each handle more than a million tonnes of cargo per year; the largest Adriatic seaport by annual cargo turnover is the Port of Trieste, while the Port of Split is the largest Adriatic seaport by passengers served per year. The origins of the name Adriatic are linked to the Etruscan settlement of Adria, which derives its name from the Illyrian adur meaning water or sea. In classical antiquity, the sea was known as Mare Adriaticum or, less as Mare Superum, " upper sea"; the two terms were not synonymous, however. Mare Adriaticum corresponds to the Adriatic Sea's extent, spanning from the Gulf of Venice to the Strait of Otranto; that boundary became more defined by Roman authors – early Greek sources place the boundary between the Adriatic and Ionian seas at various places ranging from adjacent to the Gulf of Venice to the southern tip of the Peloponnese, eastern shores of Sicily and western shores of Crete.
Mare Superum on the other hand encompassed both the modern Adriatic Sea and the sea off the Apennine peninsula's southern coast, as far as the Strait of Sicily. Another name used in the period was Mare Dalmaticum, applied to waters off the coast of Dalmatia or Illyricum; the names for the sea in the languages of the surrounding countries include Albanian: Deti Adriatik. In Croatian and Slovene, the sea is referred to as Jadran; the Adriatic Sea is a semi-enclosed sea, bordered in the southwest by the Apennine or Italian Peninsula, in the northwest by the Italian regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in the northeast by Slovenia, Croatia, B
Adalgis or Adelchis was an associate king of the Lombards from August 759, reigning with his father, until their deposition in June 774. His mother was Ansa, he is remembered today as the hero of the play Adelchi by Alessandro Manzoni. When in 773 the Lombard kingdom was invaded by Charlemagne, the king of the Franks, Desiderius stayed in Pavia, the capital, where he unsuccessfully resisted a siege. Adalgis instead took refuge in Verona, where he sheltered the widow and children of Charlemagne's younger brother, Carloman I, who had entered an Italian monastery after abdicating the kingship. Before the fall of Pavia, when the Frankish army approached Verona, Adalgis did not resist, he escaped to Constantinople, where he was received by the Eastern Roman emperor Constantine V, who raised him to the patriciate. Adalgis hoped to return to re-conquer Italy, solicited help from Duke Arechis II of Benevento for this purpose. Many Lombards refused believing that Adalgis's return was imminent; the historian Paul the Deacon reflected a widespread belief among the Lombards when he wrote, as part of his poetic epigraph for the tomb of Ansa, that "in her, by Christ, the greatest hope of the Lombards spent a time."
Einhard, Charlemagne's biographer records that "on all hope seemed to incline". Only in 787, after the efforts of the Empress Irene to obtain the hand in marriage of Charlemagne's daughter Rotrude for her son, Constantine VI, did the Romans move to give Adalgis the military assistance he required. An expeditionary corps was placed under the command of the saccellarius and logotheta Ihoannes and augmented by troops from Sicily under the patrikios Theodoros; the Roman army landed in Calabria towards the end of 788, but was met by the united armies of the Lombard dukes Hildeprand of Spoleto and Grimoald III of Benevento, who had succeeded his father and made peace with the Franks. These Lombard forces were accompanied by Frankish troops under Winiges. In the ensuing battle the Romans were defeated, but there is no further record of the fate of Adalgis
Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire, of the Byzantine Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire, until falling to the Ottoman Empire. It was reinaugurated in 324 from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, dedicated on 11 May 330; the city was located in what is now the core of modern Istanbul. From the mid-5th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe; the city was famed for its architectural masterpieces, such as the Greek Orthodox cathedral of Hagia Sophia, which served as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the sacred Imperial Palace where the Emperors lived, the Galata Tower, the Hippodrome, the Golden Gate of the Land Walls, the opulent aristocratic palaces lining the arcaded avenues and squares. The University of Constantinople was founded in the fifth century and contained numerous artistic and literary treasures before it was sacked in 1204 and 1453, including its vast Imperial Library which contained the remnants of the Library of Alexandria and had over 100,000 volumes of ancient texts.
It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times as the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and as the guardian of Christendom's holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross. Constantinople was famed for its complex defences; the first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, surrounded the city on both land and sea fronts. In the 5th century, the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius under the child emperor Theodosius II undertook the construction of the Theodosian Walls, which consisted of a double wall lying about 2 kilometres to the west of the first wall and a moat with palisades in front; this formidable complex of defences was one of the most sophisticated of Antiquity. The city was built intentionally to rival Rome, it was claimed that several elevations within its walls matched the'seven hills' of Rome; because it was located between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara the land area that needed defensive walls was reduced, this helped it to present an impregnable fortress enclosing magnificent palaces and towers, the result of the prosperity it achieved from being the gateway between two continents and two seas.
Although besieged on numerous occasions by various armies, the defences of Constantinople proved impregnable for nearly nine hundred years. In 1204, the armies of the Fourth Crusade took and devastated the city, its inhabitants lived several decades under Latin misrule. In 1261 the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos liberated the city, after the restoration under the Palaiologos dynasty, enjoyed a partial recovery. With the advent of the Ottoman Empire in 1299, the Byzantine Empire began to lose territories and the city began to lose population. By the early 15th century, the Byzantine Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs, along with Morea in Greece, making it an enclave inside the Ottoman Empire. According to Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, the first known name of a settlement on the site of Constantinople was Lygos, a settlement of Thracian origin founded between the 13th and 11th centuries BC; the site, according to the founding myth of the city, was abandoned by the time Greek settlers from the city-state of Megara founded Byzantium in around 657 BC, across from the town of Chalcedon on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus.
The origins of the name of Byzantion, more known by the Latin Byzantium, are not clear, though some suggest it is of Thraco-Illyrian origin. The founding myth of the city has it told that the settlement was named after the leader of the Megarian colonists, Byzas; the Byzantines of Constantinople themselves would maintain that the city was named in honour of two men and Antes, though this was more just a play on the word Byzantion. The city was renamed Augusta Antonina in the early 3rd century AD by the Emperor Septimius Severus, who razed the city to the ground in 196 for supporting a rival contender in the civil war and had it rebuilt in honour of his son Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, popularly known as Caracalla; the name appears to have been forgotten and abandoned, the city reverted to Byzantium/Byzantion after either the assassination of Caracalla in 217 or, at the latest, the fall of the Severan dynasty in 235. Byzantium took on the name of Kōnstantinoupolis after its refoundation under Roman emperor Constantine I, who transferred the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium in 330 and designated his new capital as Nova Roma'New Rome'.
During this time, the city was called'Second Rome','Eastern Rome', Roma Constantinopolitana. As the city became the sole remaining capital of the Roman Empire after the fall of the West, its wealth and influence grew, the city came to have a multitude of nicknames; as the largest and wealthiest city in Europe during the 4th–13th centuries and a centre of culture and education of the Mediterranean basin, Constantinople came to be known by prestigious titles such as Basileuousa and Megalopol
Pepin the Short
Pepin the Short was the King of the Franks from 751 until his death. He was the first of the Carolingians to become king; the younger son of the Frankish prince Charles Martel and his wife Rotrude, Pepin's upbringing was distinguished by the ecclesiastical education he had received from the monks of St. Denis. Succeeding his father as the Mayor of the Palace in 741, Pepin reigned over Francia jointly with his elder brother Carloman. Pepin ruled in Neustria and Provence, while his older brother Carloman established himself in Austrasia and Thuringia; the brothers were active in suppressing revolts led by the Bavarians, Aquitanians and the Alemanni in the early years of their reign. In 743, they ended the Frankish interregnum by choosing Childeric III, to be the last Merovingian monarch, as figurehead king of the Franks. Being well disposed towards the church and Papacy on account of their ecclesiastical upbringing and Carloman continued their father's work in supporting Saint Boniface in reforming the Frankish church, evangelising the Saxons.
After Carloman, an intensely pious man, retired to religious life in 747, Pepin became the sole ruler of the Franks. He suppressed a revolt led by his half-brother Grifo, succeeded in becoming the undisputed master of all Francia. Giving up pretense, Pepin forced Childeric into a monastery and had himself proclaimed king of the Franks with support of Pope Zachary in 751; the decision was not supported by all members of the Carolingian family and Pepin had to put down a revolt led by Carloman's son and again by Grifo. As King, Pepin embarked on an ambitious program to expand his power, he continued the ecclesiastical reforms of Boniface. Pepin intervened in favour of the Papacy of Stephen II against the Lombards in Italy, he was able to secure several cities, which he gave to the Pope as part of the Donation of Pepin. This formed the legal basis for the Papal States in the Middle Ages; the Byzantines, keen to make good relations with the growing power of the Frankish empire, gave Pepin the title of Patricius.
In wars of expansion, Pepin conquered Septimania from the Islamic Umayyads, subjugated the southern realms by defeating Waiofar and his Gascon troops, after which the Gascon and Aquitanian lords saw no option but to pledge loyalty to the Franks. Pepin was, troubled by the relentless revolts of the Saxons and the Bavarians, he campaigned tirelessly in Germany, but the final subjugation of these tribes was left to his successors. Pepin was succeeded by his sons Charlemagne and Carloman. Although unquestionably one of the most powerful and successful rulers of his time, Pepin's reign is overshadowed by that of his more famous son. Pepin's father Charles Martel died in 741, he divided the rule of the Frankish kingdom between Pepin and his elder brother, his surviving sons by his first wife: Carloman became Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia, Pepin became Mayor of the Palace of Neustria. Grifo, Charles's son by his second wife, demanded a share in the inheritance, but he was besieged in Laon, forced to surrender and imprisoned in a monastery by his two half-brothers.
In the Frankish realm the unity of the kingdom was connected with the person of the king. So Carloman, to secure this unity, raised the Merovingian Childeric to the throne. In 747 Carloman either resolved to or was pressured into entering a monastery; this left Francia in the hands of Pepin as sole mayor of dux et princeps Francorum. At the time of Carloman's retirement, Grifo escaped his imprisonment and fled to Duke Odilo of Bavaria, married to Hiltrude, Pepin's sister. Pepin put down the renewed revolt led by his half-brother and succeeded in restoring the boundaries of the kingdom. Under the reorganization of Francia by Charles Martel, the dux et princeps Francorum was the commander of the armies of the kingdom, in addition to his administrative duties as mayor of the palace; as mayor of the palace, Pepin was formally subject to the decisions of Childeric III who had only the title of King but no power. Since Pepin had control over the magnates and had the power of a king, he now addressed to Pope Zachary a suggestive question: In regard to the kings of the Franks who no longer possess the royal power: is this state of things proper?
Hard pressed by the Lombards, Pope Zachary welcomed this move by the Franks to end an intolerable condition and lay the constitutional foundations for the exercise of the royal power. The Pope replied. In these circumstances, the de facto power was considered more important than the de jure authority. After this decision the throne was declared vacant. Childeric III was confined to a monastery, he was the last of the Merovingians. Pepin was elected King of the Franks by an assembly of Frankish nobles, with a large portion of his army on hand; the earliest account of his election and anointing is the Clausula de Pippino written around 767. Meanwhile, Grifo continued his rebellion, but was killed in the battle of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in 753. Pepin was assisted by his friend Vergilius of Salzburg, an Irish monk who used a copy of the "Collectio canonum Hibernensis" to advise him to receive royal unction to assist his recognition as king. Anointed a first time in 751 in Soissons, Pepin added to his power after Pope Stephen II traveled all the way to Paris to anoint him a second time in a lavish ceremony at the Basilica of St Denis in 754, bestowing upon him the additional title of patric
Pope Stephen II
Pope Stephen II (Latin: Stephanus II. He succeeded Pope Zachary following the death of Pope-elect Stephen. Stephen II marks the historical delineation between the Frankish Papacy. Rome was facing invasion by the Kingdom of the Lombards. Pope Stephen II traveled all the way to Paris to seek assistance against the Lombard threat from Pepin the Short. Pepin had been anointed a first time in 751 in Soissons by Boniface, archbishop of Mainz, but named his price. With the Frankish nobles agreeing to campaign in Lombardy, the Pope consecrated Pepin a second time in a lavish ceremony at the Basilica of St Denis in 754, bestowing upon him the additional title of Patricius Romanorum in the first recorded crowning of a civil ruler by a Pope. Pepin defeated the Lombards – taking control of northern Italy – and made a gift of the properties constituting the Exarchate of Ravenna to the pope leading to the establishment of the Papal States. In 751, the Lombard king Aistulf captured the Exarchate of Ravenna, turned his attention to the Duchy of Rome.
Relations were strained in the mid-8th century between the papacy and the Eastern Roman emperors over the support of the Isaurian Dynasty for iconoclasm. Maintaining political control over Rome became untenable as the Eastern Roman Empire itself was beset by the Abbasid Caliphate to the south and Bulgars to the northwest. Constantinople could send no troops, Emperor Constantine V Copronymus, in answer to the repeated requests for help of the new pope, Stephen II, could only offer him the advice to act in accordance with the ancient policy of Rome, to pit some other Germanic tribe against the Lombards. Stephen turned to Pepin the Younger, the crowned King of the Franks, traveled to Paris to plead for help in person against the surrounding Lombard and Muslim threats. On 6 January 754, Stephen re-consecrated Pepin as king. In return, Pepin assumed the role of ordained protector of the Church and set his sights on the Lombards, as well as addressing the threat of Islamic Al-Andalus. Pepin invaded Italy twice to settle the Lombard problem and delivered the territory between Rome and Ravenna to the papacy, but left the Lombard kings in possession of their kingdom.
Prior to Stephen's alliance with Pepin, Rome had constituted the central city of the Duchy of Rome, which composed one of two districts within the Exarchate of Ravenna, along with Ravenna itself. At Quiercy the Frankish nobles gave their consent to a campaign in Lombardy. Catholic tradition asserts that and there Pepin executed in writing a promise to give to the Church certain territories that were to be wrested from the Lombards, which would be referred to as the Papal States. Known as the Donation of Pepin, no actual document has been preserved, but 8th century sources quote from it. Stephen anointed Pepin as King of the Franks at Saint-Denis in a memorable ceremony, evoked in the coronation rites of French kings until the end of the ancien regime in 1789. In return, in 756, Pepin and his Frankish army forced the Lombard king to surrender his conquests, Pepin conferred upon the pope the territories belonging to Ravenna cities such as Forlì with their hinterlands, laying the Donation of Pepin upon the tomb of Saint Peter, according to traditional accounts.
The gift included Lombard conquests in the Romagna and in the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, the Pentapolis in the Marche. For the first time, the Donation made the pope a temporal ruler over a strip of territory that extended diagonally across Italy from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic. Over these extensive and mountainous territories the medieval popes were unable to exercise effective sovereignty, given the pressures of the times, the new Papal States preserved the old Lombard heritage of many small counties and marquisates, each centered upon a fortified rocca. Pepin confirmed his Donation in Rome in 756, in 774 Charlemagne confirmed the donation of his father. Annales laureshamenses List of Catholic saints List of popes Paolo Delogu: Stefano II. In: Massimo Bray: Enciclopedia dei Papi, Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Vol. 1, Rome, 2000, OCLC 313504669, pp. 660–665. Ekkart Sauser. "Stephan II.". In Bautz, Traugott. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon. 10. Herzberg: Bautz. Cols.
1351–1354. ISBN 3-88309-062-X. Rudolf Schieffer: Stephan II in: Lexikon des Mittelalters. Vol. 8, LexMA-Verlag, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-89659-908-9, Col. 116–117. Catholic Encyclopedia: Papal States, section 3: Collapse of the Byzantine Power in Central Italy Medieval Sourcebook
Pope Stephen III
Pope Stephen III was the Pope from 7 August 768 to his death in 772. Stephen was a Benedictine monk. In the midst of a tumultuous contest by rival factions to name a successor to Pope Paul I, Stephen was elected with the support of the Roman officials, he summoned the Lateran Council of 769 which sought to limit the influence of the nobles in papal elections. The Council opposed iconoclasm. A Greek born in Sicily, Stephen III was the son of a man named Olivus. Coming to Rome during the pontificate of Pope Gregory III, he was placed in the monastery of St. Chrysogonus, where he became a Benedictine monk. During the pontificate of Pope Zachary, he was ordained a priest, after which the pope decided to keep him to work at the Lateran Palace. Stephen rose to high office in the service of successive popes, was at the bedside of the dying Pope Paul I as powerful factions began manoeuvring to ensure the election of their own candidate in late June 767; the next year was consumed by the rival claims of antipopes Constantine II and Philip, who were forced out of office by the efforts of Christophorus, the Primicerius of the notaries, his son Sergius, the Treasurer of the Roman church.
With the capture of Constantine II, Christophorus set about organising a canonical election, on 1 August he summoned not only the Roman clergy and army, but the people to assemble before the Church of St. Adrian in the area of the old Comitium. Here the combined assembly elected Stephen as pope, they proceeded to the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, where they acclaimed Stephen as pope-elect, escorted him to the Lateran Palace. At this point, supporters of the pope-elect Stephen began brutally to attack key members of Constantine’s regime, including Constantine himself, hounded through the streets of Rome, with heavy weights attached to his feet. Bishop Theodore, Constantine’s Vice-dominus, was blinded and had his tongue cut out, while Constantine’s brother, was blinded. After Constantine was dethroned on 6 August, Stephen was consecrated pope on the following day, 7 August 768. Retributions continued after the consecration of Stephen. On the orders of the papal Chartularius, Constantine was removed from his monastic cell and left on the streets of Rome with specific instructions that no-one should aid him.
On a charge of conspiring to kill Christophorus and many other nobles, with the intent of handing over the city to the Lombards, the priest Waldipert, the prime mover in the elevation of the Antipope Philip, was arrested and soon died of his wounds. The role of Stephen III in these events is somewhat obscure. According to the historian Horace Mann, Stephen was an impotent observer, that the responsible agent was in reality the Chartularius, Gratiosus. However, according to Louis Marie DeCormenin, Stephen was the key person responsible for issuing the orders, took great delight in destroying his rival and his supporters. A middle position was taken by the historian Ferdinand Gregorovius, who observed that Stephen, while he may not have instigated or ordered the atrocities, did not seek to prevent them either, either through self-interest or the weakness of his position. What is clear however, is that the recent creation of the Papal States had seen the traditional rivalries of the ruling families of Rome transformed into a murderous desire to control this new temporal power in Italy, dragging the papacy with it.
With Constantine’s supporters dealt with, Stephen wrote to the Frankish king, Pepin the Short, notifying him of his election, asking for a number of bishops to participate in a council he was seeking to hold to discuss the recent confusion. As Pepin had died, it was Charlemagne and Carloman I who agreed to send twelve bishops to participate in the Lateran Council of 769; the council saw the final condemnation of Constantine II, beaten and had his tongue removed before being returned to his monastic cell. All clerical appointments made by Constantine were declared void, it set about establishing strict rules for papal elections, thereby restricting the involvement of the nobility in subsequent elections. The rulings of the Council of Hieria were rejected, the practice of devotion to icons was confirmed. In 770, Stephen was asked to confirm the election of a layperson, as Archbishop of Ravenna. However, Michael, in league with the Lombard king Desiderius, the Duke of Rimini had imprisoned Leo, elected first.
Stephen refused to confirm Michael’s election. Michael refused, the stand-off continued for over a year, until the arrival of the Frankish ambassador in Ravenna along with the Papal legates encouraged Michael’s opponents to overthrow him, send him to Rome in chains. Leo followed soon after. Throughout his pontificate, Stephen was apprehensive about the expansionist plans of the Lombards. Placing his hope in the Franks, he attempted to mediate in the quarrels between Charlemagne and Carloman, which were only helping the Lombards' cause in Italy. In 769, he helped them reconcile, pressured them to support the still infant Papal States, by reminding them of the support which their father had given the Papacy in the past, he begged them t