Pope Stephen II

Pope Stephen II (Latin: Stephanus II (or III); 714-26 April 757[1] a Roman aristocrat[2] was Pope from 26 March 752 to his death in 757. He succeeded Pope Zachary following the death of Pope-elect Stephen (sometimes called Stephen II). Stephen II marks the historical delineation between the Byzantine Papacy and 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 (Latin for "Patrician of the Romans") 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 (called the Donation of Pepin) of the properties formerly constituting the Exarchate of Ravenna to the pope, eventually leading to the establishment of the Papal States.


Stephen II
92-Stephen II
Papacy beganMarch 26, 752
Papacy endedApril 26, 757
PredecessorPope-elect Stephen
SuccessorPaul I
Created cardinalbefore 750
by Zachary
Personal details
BornRome, Byzantine Empire
DiedApril 26, 757 (aged 43)
Rome, Papal States
Previous postCardinal-Deacon (before 750-752)
Other popes named Stephen

Allegiance to Constantinople

In 751, the Lombard king Aistulf captured the Exarchate of Ravenna, and turned his attention to the Duchy of Rome.[3]

Relations were very strained in the mid-8th century between the papacy and the Eastern Roman emperors over the support of the Isaurian Dynasty for iconoclasm. Likewise, 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, and 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.[4]

Alliance with the Franks

La donacion de Pipino el Breve al Papa Esteban II
The donation of Pepin the Younger to Pope Stephen II, in 754, creates the Papal States.

Stephen turned to Pepin the Younger, the recently crowned King of the Franks (who had also recently defeated the Muslim Umayyad invasion of Gaul),[5] and even traveled to Paris to plead for help in person against the surrounding Lombard and Muslim threats.[6] 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.[7]

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.

Duchy of Rome and the Papal States

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 finally gave their consent to a campaign in Lombardy.[3] Catholic tradition asserts that then and there Pepin executed in writing a promise to give to the Church certain territories that were to be wrested from the Lombards, and which would be referred to later as the Papal States. Known as the Donation of Pepin, no actual document has been preserved, but later 8th century sources quote from it.

Stephen anointed Pepin as King of the Franks[3] at Saint-Denis in a memorable ceremony that was 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, and Pepin officially conferred upon the pope the territories belonging to Ravenna, even cities such as Forlì with their hinterlands, laying the Donation of Pepin upon the tomb of Saint Peter, according to traditional later accounts. The gift included Lombard conquests in the Romagna and in the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, and the Pentapolis in the Marche (the "five cities" of Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Senigallia and Ancona). 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, and 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, and in 774 Charlemagne confirmed the donation of his father.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Biagia Catanzaro, Francesco Gligora, Breve Storia dei papi, da San Pietro a Paolo VI, Padova 1975, p. 84
  2. ^ Norwich, J. J. "The Popes: A History", p. 756. 2011
  3. ^ a b c Mann, Horace. "Pope Stephen (II) III." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 12 September 2017
  4. ^ Schnürer, Gustav. "States of the Church." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 12 September 2017
  5. ^ David Gress (11 May 2010). From Plato to NATO: The Idea of the West and Its Opponents. Preface: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781439119013. He transferred his political allegiance from the empire to the king of the Franks, who lived north of the Alps, who had recently defeated the Muslims who were invading from Spain...
  6. ^ Peter O'Brien (23 Dec 2008). European Perceptions of Islam and America from Saladin to George W. Bush. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 24. ISBN 9780230617803.
  7. ^ Sampie Terreblanche (30 Sep 2014). Western Empires, Christianity and the Inequalities between the West and the Rest. Europes industrialisation: Penguin UK. ISBN 9780143531555. To address the threat of an Islamic empire settled in south-western Europe, Pope Stephen II crowned Pippin (the son of Charles Martel) as king of the Frankish dynasty...
  8. ^ Pierre Riche, The Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe, transl. Michael Idomir Allen, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), 97.


External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Paul I

The 750s decade ran from January 1, 750, to December 31, 759.

== Events ==

=== 750 ===

==== By place ====

====== Umayyad Caliphate ======

January 25 – Battle of the Zab: Abbasid forces under Abdallah ibn Ali defeat the Umayyads near the Great Zab River. Members of the Umayyad house are hunted down and killed. Defeated by his rivals, Caliph Marwan II flees westward to Egypt, perhaps attempting to reach Al-Andalus (Iberian Peninsula), where there are still significant Umayyad armies.

August 6 – Marwan II is caught and killed at Faiyum by supporters of the Abbasid caliph As-Saffah. Almost the entire Umayyad Dynasty is assassinated; Prince Abd al-Rahman I escapes to Al-Andalus. The Abbasids assume control of the Islamic world and establish their first capital at Kufa.

====== Europe ======

King Alfonso I of Asturias establishes the Kingdom of Galicia, in roughly the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula.

The town Slaný in the Central Bohemian Region (Czech Republic) is founded at the site of a salt spring.

====== Britain ======

King Eadberht of Northumbria imprisons Cynewulf, bishop of Lindisfarne, at Bamburgh Castle. He besieges Prince Offa, son of the late King Aldfrith, in Lindisfarne Priory. Almost dead from hunger, he is dragged from his sanctuary and put to death.

Battle of Mugdock: The Strathclyde Britons under King Teudebur defeat Prince Talorgan of the Picts. This leads to the decline of the power of King Óengus I.

====== Africa ======

The Ghana Empire begins (approximate date).

====== India ======

Joseph Rabban, Jewish merchant chief, arrives with a group of Babylonian Jews on the Malabar Coast. He is granted the rank of prince over the Jews of Cochin, ruling a principality in Anjuvannam, near the seaport of Cranganore (approximate date).

Gopala I is proclaimed as the first ruler and founder of the Pala Empire.

====== America ======

Native Americans, in the area now known as the Four Corners, begin constructing and occupying pueblos.

The city of Teotihuacan (modern Mexico) is destroyed and left in ruins, its palaces burned to the ground.

====== Indonesia ======

Borobudur, or Barabudur (a Mahayana Buddhist temple in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia, as well as the world's largest Buddhist temple, and also one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world) is built (approximate date).

==== By topic ====

====== Art ======

The "Western Paradise" of Amitābha Buddha, detail of a wall painting in Cave 217, Dunhuang (China), is made during the Tang Dynasty (approximate date).

====== Food and drink ======

In China during the Tang Dynasty, a bargeload of tea (a medicinal herb) comes up the Grand Canal to Luoyang, from Zhejiang (approximate date).

=== 751 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

June – Leo IV, son of Emperor Constantine V, is crowned co-emperor at Constantinople. Only a year of so after his mother Irene died, Constanstine's second wife Maria dies at approximately the same time as Leo's coronation.

====== Europe ======

November – Pepin the Short, youngest son of Charles Martel, forces King Childeric III to retire to the monastery of Saint-Bertin. He proclaims himself as king of the Franks with the support of Pope Zachary, and is crowned at Soissons by Boniface, bishop of Mainz. Pepin becomes as Pepin III the first Carolingian monarch of the Frankish Kingdom.

King Aistulf of the Lombards captures Ravenna and the Romagna, ending the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna. The last exarch Eutychius is killed by the Lombards. Aistulf threatens Rome, claiming a capitation tax. Pope Zachary, alarmed, appeals for aid from the Byzantine Empire, but his request is declined.

====== Abbasid Caliphate ======

Battle of Talas: First recorded encounter (and the last) between Arab and Chinese forces. The rulers of Tashkent and Ferghana are both nominal vassals of the Tang Dynasty; the Chinese have intervened on behalf of Ferghana in a conflict between the two; the Abbasid Caliphate, competing with the Chinese for control of Central Asia, has become involved. Arab forces from Samarkand have marched to challenge a Chinese army (30,000 men) under Gao Xianzhi. Gao has had a series of military victories in the region, but his Turkish contingent, Karluk mercenaries, defects. Out of 10,000 Tang troops, only 2,000 manage to return from the Talas River to China. The Arabs triumph, and they will remain the dominant force in Transoxiana for the next 150 years.

Muslim introduction of papermaking: The first paper mill in the Islamic world begins production at Samarkand. Captured craftsmen, taken at the Battle of Talas River, have by some accounts revealed the technique of papermaking (although paper may have arrived from China much earlier via the Silk Road). Arab scholars will use paper to produce translations of Ancient Greek and Roman writings.

====== Asia ======

Like the storm of 721, the storm of this year at the southern Chinese seaport of Yangzhou reportedly destroys over 1,000 ships engaged in canal and river traffic (approximate date).

The Japanese poetry anthology Kaifūsō is assembled.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Kim Daeseong, chief minister of Silla, orders the construction of the Bulguksa and Seokguram temples at Gyeongju (South Korea).

The oldest surviving printed document, a Buddhist scripture, is printed in Korea.

Theodore succeeds Theophylact as Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch.

The Great Buddha at Tōdai-ji in Nara (Japan) is completed.

=== 752 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

King Pepin III ("the Short") begins a Frankish military expedition down the Rhône Valley, and receives the submission of eastern Septimania (i.e. Nîmes, Melguelh, Agde and Béziers), after securing Count Ansemund's allegiance.

Siege of Narbonne: Pepin III lays siege to the fortress city of Narbonne, occupied by Gothic-Muslim forces. The garrison and residents are able to withstand the attacks, thanks to the supplies provided by sea by the Arab fleet.

====== Britain ======

Battle of Burford: King Cuthred of Wessex clashes with King Æthelbald of Mercia, and takes the standard (a golden dragon). He manages to throw off his claim to Mercian overlordship.

King Teudebur of Alt Clut dies. His son, Dumnagual III, succeeds to the throne and loses Kyle to a joint invasion, by kings Óengus I of the Picts and Eadberht of Northumbria.

====== Africa ======

Abd al-Rahman ibn Habib al-Fihri, ruler of Ifriqiya (North Africa), dispatches a Muslim army and reconquers Tripolitania from the Ibadites (a puritanical Khaijite sect), driving their remnants south into the Nafusa Mountains (northwestern Libya).

First Muslim assault on Sardinia under Abd al-Rahman ibn Habib al-Fihri, perhaps the beginning of the occupation of the island by the Muslim Arabs that lasts until 1005. He also attempts to invade Sicily, but finds the defenses too strong.

====== Mesoamerica ======

Yaxun B'alam IV becomes king (ajaw) of the Maya city of Yaxchilan (modern Mexico), after a 10-year struggle for the throne.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

March 22 – Pope Zachary dies at Rome after an 11-year reign. He is succeeded by Stephen, but he dies four days after, and is not considered legitimate because he is not consecrated.

March 26 – Pope Stephen II (sometimes referred to as Stephen III) succeeds Zachary as the 92nd pope of the Catholic Church. He marks the end of the Byzantine Papacy.

June – Stephen II recognizes the Carolingian Dynasty as legitimate rulers of the Frankish Kingdom. He travels to Paris and appeals for Frankish support against the Lombards.

Emperor Shōmu (retired since 749) takes part in the dedication ceremony of the Great Buddha, (15 metres) at Tōdai-ji in Nara (Japan), and declares himself a Buddhist.

=== 753 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Grifo, Frankish duke and illegitimate son of Charles Martel, rebels against King Pepin III ("the Short") (his half-brother), in alliance with the Bretons. He flees to Italy to join King Aistulf of the Lombards, but is caught and killed while passing the Alps.

The town of Staraja Ladoga (Northern Russia) is founded by Scandinavians. The settlement becomes a prosperous trading outpost for jewelry, casual items, craft tools and dress adornments (approximate date).Sevar, ruler (khagan) of the Bulgarian Empire, dies after a 15-year reign. He is succeeded by Kormisosh, who belongs to the Vokil clan (approximate date).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Fall – Pope Stephen II travels to the Lombard capital of Pavia, for negotiations with Aistulf. His terms for returning the Exarchate of Ravenna are declined.

November – Stephen II crosses the passes of the Alps to Gaul. He leaves Rome unprotected, under threat of a siege from the Lombards.

Eoban is appointed bishop of Utrecht (modern Netherlands), by the missionary bishop Boniface.

=== 754 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

July 28 – Pope Stephen II re-consecrates Pepin III (the Short) as king of the Franks, at the Basilica of Saint-Denis outside Paris, bestowing upon him the additional title of Patricius of the Romans. This marks the first recorded crowning of a civil ruler by a pope. Pepin assumes the role of ordained protector of the Catholic Church.

July – Stephen II anoints Pepin's sons, Charles (later known as Charlemagne) and Carloman, consecrating them as patricians. At Quierzy he proclaims the Carolingian Dynasty holy, and appeals for help against the Lombards. Finally, the Frankish nobles give their consent to a campaign in Lombardy.

Summer – The Franks under Pepin III invade Italy, and defeat the Lombards under King Aistulf, in the Susa Valley (Piedmont). He enforces the terms, including cession of the Exarchate of Ravenna to Rome.

The oldest document mentioning the city of Ferrara (Northern Italy) is from this year (approximate date).

====== Abbasid Caliphate ======

June 10 – Caliph as-Saffah dies of smallpox after a 4-year reign. He is succeeded by his brother al-Mansur, as ruler of the Abbasid Caliphate.

November – Abdallah ibn Ali, governor of Syria and uncle of as-Saffah, launches a claim for the caliphate, but is defeated by forces loyal to al-Mansur, under Abu Muslim, at Nisibis (modern Turkey).

====== Asia ======

Jianzhen, Chinese Buddhist monk, arrives in Nara, where he is welcomed by former emperor Shōmu and empress Kōmyō. During his visit Jianzhen introduces sugar to the Japanese court, using it to mask the flavors of foul-tasting herbal tea.

A Tang census shows that 75% of the Chinese live north of the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) River. The capital of Chang'an has a population of 2 million and more than 25 other cities have well over 500,000 citizens (approximate date).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

February – Council of Hieria: Emperor Constantine V summons a Christian council in the palace of Hieria in Constantinople. The council, under the presidency of Bishop Theodosius of Ephesus, supports the policy of Iconoclasm and condemning the use of religious images (icons) in the Byzantine Empire. Constantine increases the persecution of the monasteries; hundreds of monks and nuns are mutilated or put to death.

June 5 – Boniface, Anglo-Saxon missionary, is killed by a band of pagans at Dokkum in Frisia, while reading the Scriptures to Christian converts. He is later buried in the Abbey of Fulda, entrusted to his Bavarian disciple Sturm.

=== 755 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

September – Abd al-Rahman I, a member of the Umayyad Dynasty, lands at Almuñécar in al-Andalus (modern Spain), where over the next years he will establish the Emirate of Córdoba.

Teodato Ipato is deposed and blinded, after a 13-year reign. He is succeeded by Galla Gaulo, who usurps the ducal throne of Venice.

====== Britain ======

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle's description under this date (now dated 757), of King Sigeberht of Wessex being deposed by Cynewulf, is notably fuller than earlier entries.

====== Asia ======

December 16 – General An Lushan begins the Anshi Rebellion against Emperor Xuan Zong of the Tang Dynasty (China). His army surges down from Fanyang (near modern Beijing), and moves rapidly along the Grand Canal. Meanwhile, Xuan Zong sends Feng Changqing, governor of Fanyang, to build up defenses at the eastern capital of Luoyang.

Trisong Detsen becomes emperor of Tibet. During his reign he plays a pivotal role in the introduction of Buddhism, and the establishment of the Nyingma or "Ancient" school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Empress Kōken introduces the Tanabata festival to Japan.

=== 756 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Byzantine–Bulgarian War: Emperor Constantine V builds a series of fortifications along the Byzantine frontier on the Danube, and starts settling Christian Armenians and Syrians in the Thracesian Theme. In response, Kormisosh, ruler (khagan) of the Bulgarian Empire, demands the payment of tribute. Constantine refuses, and the Bulgars raid into Thrace, reaching the Anastasian Wall stretching between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara (near the outskirts of Constantinople).

Battle of Marcellae: Constantine V sends a Byzantine expeditionary force (500 ships and 6,000 cavalry) to Thrace, and defeats the Bulgars around the Danube Delta and near the fortress city of Markeli (modern Bulgaria). Kormisosh is forced to accept a peace treaty, and confirms the existing frontier. Due to the constant political crisis, the Bulgarian Empire is on the verge of destruction. Kormisosh is deposed during a palace coup and succeeded by Vinekh, a member of the Vokil clan.

====== Europe ======

King Aistulf of the Lombards again threatens Rome with a view to making it his capital, but the Franks under Pepin III ("the Short") arrives with his sons Charles and Carloman, defeats Aistulf, and confers the Donation of Pepin, which establishes the Papal States (including the lands of Ravenna and the Pentapolis). Pepin has taken territory that legally belongs to the Byzantine Empire; he gives it to Pope Stephen II.

Aistulf dies in a hunting accident, and is succeeded by Desiderius as king of the Lombards. Ex-king Ratchis attempts unsuccessfully to seize the throne, but is opposed by Stephen II.

Galla Gaulo is deposed, blinded and exiled. He is succeeded by Domenico Monegario as the sixth doge of Venice. During his reign the Venetians become maritime traders.

May – Prince Abd al-Rahman I and his followers capture the city of Seville without violence. He defeats Yusuf ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Fihri in a battle for control of the Muslim-ruled parts of the Iberian Peninsula (al-Andalus). Abd al-Rahman establishes the Emirate of Córdoba. During his reign trade and culture flourish, along with the construction of Islamic architecture (including the Great Mosque of Córdoba).

====== Britain ======

Battle of Newanbirig: Kings Óengus I of the Picts and Eadberht of Northumbria attack King Dumnagual III of Strathclyde, at Dumbarton Castle (modern Scotland). However, Eadberht's entire force is subsequently wiped out, probably by the Britons.

King Cuthred of Wessex dies after a 16-year reign. He is succeeded by his distant kinsman Sigeberht.

====== Abbasid Caliphate ======

Ibn al-Muqaffa', Muslim writer and thinker, is tortured at Basra (modern Iraq), on orders from Caliph al-Mansur. His limbs are severed and he is thrown, still alive, into a burning oven (approximate date).

====== China ======

January – An Lushan Rebellion: The Chinese eastern capital of Luoyang falls to the 200,000-strong army of the rebel general An Lushan, who defeats loyalist forces under Feng Changqing. The rebels cross the Yellow River, and march on to capture the cities Chenliu and Yingyang (modern Zhengzhou, Henan).

Battle of Yongqiu: A Tang garrison (2,000 men), under Zhang Xun, successfully defend their fortress against the rebel army at Yongqiu. Zang achieves a victory after a 4-month siege, and prevents the rebels from capturing the fertile Tang territory south of the Huai River.

February 5 – An Lushan declares himself emperor at Luoyang, establishing a new empire, called the Great Yan. He pushes on towards the primary Tang capital at Chang'an (now Xi'an). An decides to seize southern China, to cut off loyalist reinforcements. Meanwhile, numerous soldiers join the rebellion.

May – Emperor Xuan Zong hires 4,000 Muslim mercenaries to help defend Chang'an against the rebels. Loyalist forces take defensible positions in the mountain passes, but chancellor Yang Guozhong gives orders for them to leave their posts. An Lushan crushes the Tang troops, leaving the capital wide open.

July 14 – Xuan Zong flees (along with the imperial court) the capital of Chang'an for Sichuan, as rebel forces advance through the Tongguan Pass toward the city. Meanwhile, An Lushan is ailing, perhaps with diabetes. He is nearly blind and suffers from extreme irascibility.

July 15 – Xuan Zong is ordered by his Imperial Guards to execute Yang Guozhong, by forcing him to commit suicide or face a mutiny. He permits his consort Yang Guifei to be strangled by his chief eunuch. An Lushan also has other members of the emperor's family killed.

August 12 – Xuan Zong abdicates the throne after a 44-year reign. He is succeeded by his son Su Zong, as emperor of the Tang Dynasty. He hires 22,000 Muslim mercenaries to reinforce his decimated army at Lingzhou.

====== Japan ======

June 4 – Emperor Shōmu (retired since 749) dies at Nara. His wife Kōmyō dedicates over 600 items to the Great Buddha, and donates large sums of money to the Shōsō-in treasure (storehouse) in Tōdai-ji.

=== 757 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Tassilo III, duke of Bavaria, recognizes the supremacy of King Pepin III ("the Short") at an assembly held at Compiègne (Northern France), and becomes a vassal of the Frankish Kingdom. He swears an oath (commendatio) to Pepin, and promises his allegiance.

King Alfonso I ("the Catholic") dies at Cangas (modern Spain), after an 18-year reign. He is succeeded by his son Fruela I as ruler of Asturias.

====== Britain ======

King Æthelbald of Mercia is murdered by his own household in a palace coup. He is succeeded briefly by Beornred, but he is, in turn, ousted by Æthelbald's distant cousin, Offa. In the meantime, Mercian supremacy over Southern England is lost.

King Sigeberht of Wessex acts unjustly and is removed from power by a council of nobles, in favor of Cynewulf. Sigeberht is given control of Hampshire, probably as ealdorman, but he murders one of his own men and is driven out.

====== Africa ======

The city of Sijilmasa (modern Morocco) is founded by the Miknasa, a Zenata Berber tribe. They adopt Kharijism-Islam, and establish the Emirate of Sijilmasa in the northern Sahara. It becomes a wealthy trading center as the western end-point of the Trans-Saharan trade.

====== China ======

January 29 – An Lushan, leader of a revolt and emperor of Yan, is murdered by his own son An Qingxu at Luoyang. He succeeds his father, and appoints Shi Siming as his deputy. The military leaders of the Tang Dynasty are able to retake both of the capitals at Chang'an and at Luoyang. The rebel army is forced to retreat east.

Battle of Suiyang: A Tang garrison (7,000 men) under Zhang Xun defend their fortress against the rebel army at Suiyang. Zhang makes multiple attempts to get food from nearby fortresses, but this is refused. After a desperate 10-month siege, Suiyang is overrun by rebel forces who take the city. Because of famine an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 citizens are cannibalized, only 400 people are left.

December 8 – Du Fu, Chinese poet, returns to Chang'an as a member of Emperor Xuan Zong's court, after having escaped the city during the An Lushan Rebellion.

==== By topic ====

====== Catastrophe ======

March 9 – A major earthquake strikes Palestine and Syria.

====== Religion ======

April 26 – Pope Stephen II dies at Rome after a 5-year reign, in which he has freed the papacy from Byzantine rule. Stephen allies with Pepin III against the Lombards, and becomes the first temporal sovereign of the Papal States. He is succeeded by his brother Paul I, as the 93rd pope of the Catholic Church.

=== 758 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Summer – Duke Liutprand of Benevento attains majority, and rebels against Lombard rule. King Desiderius defeats him, and grants his duchy to Arechis II (son of Liutprand). He marries Adelperga, daughter of Desiderius, and establishes friendly (but largely independent) relations with the Lombard Kingdom.

Desiderius deposes Alboin, duke of Spoleto (Central Italy), and exercises ducal authority himself, tying the duchy more closely to the Lombard capital of Pavia.

====== Britain ======

King Beorna of East Anglia dies. Prince Æthelred, descendant of the late king Rædwald, apparently succeeds as king (approximate date).

King Eadberht of Northumbria abdicates the throne in favour of his son, Oswulf. He enters the monastery attached to the cathedral of York.

King Swithred of Essex dies after a 12-year reign. He is succeeded by Sigeric, son of the late king Saelred (see 709).

King Cynewulf of Wessex retakes Berkshire from the Mercians, and begins a war with the Welsh (approximate date).

====== Africa ======

A group of four Basra-educated missionaries, including 'Abd al-Rahman Iban Rustam, proclaim the Ibadi imamate. Followers conquer the city of Kairouan (modern Tunisia), and massacre the Kharijites.

====== Asia ======

An Lushan Rebellion: The Chinese seaport of Guangzhou is sacked by Muslim and Persian raiders. The port is shut down for the next 5 decades, while foreign vessels dock at Hanoi (modern Vietnam) instead. Guangzhou thrives again, once it is reopened to foreign trade in the early 9th century.

June – Abbasid Arabs and Uyghur Turks arrive simultaneously at the Tang capital of Chang'an, in order to offer tribute to the imperial court. The Arabs and Turks bicker and fight over diplomatic prominence at the gate, to present tribute before the other. A settlement is reached when both are allowed to enter at the same time, but through different gates to the palace.

Empress Kōken abdicates the throne, after a 9-year reign. She is succeeded by her adopted son Junnin, grandson of the late emperor Tenmu. He becomes the 47th emperor (tennō) of Japan.

=== 759 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Battle of the Rishki Pass: Emperor Constantine V invades Bulgaria again, but his forces are ambushed and defeated while crossing the Rishki Pass, near Stara Planina (modern Bulgaria). The Bulgarian ruler (khagan) Vinekh does not exploit his success, and begins peace negotiations.

====== Europe ======

Siege of Narbonne: The Franks under King Pepin III ("the Short") retake Narbonne from the Muslims, after a 7-year siege. He pushes them back across the Pyrenees, and the Muslims retreat to the Andalusian heartland after 40 years of occupation. The government of the city is assigned to the Visigothic count Miló.

====== Britain ======

July 24 – King Oswulf of Northumbria is murdered by members of his own household (his servants or bodyguards), at Market Weighton. The Deiran patrician, Æthelwald Moll, who probably conspired in the regicide, is crowned king of Norhumbria. He may have been a descendant of the late king Oswine of Deira.

Exceptional winter in England. Frost begins October 1, and ends February 26, 760.

====== Abbasid Caliphate ======

Caliph al-Mansur of the Abbasid Caliphate launches the conquest of Tabaristan (on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea). Its ruler, Khurshid II, flees into the mountainous region of Daylam.

====== Asia ======

An Lushan Rebellion: Tang forces under Guo Ziyi lay siege to the city of Yanjing (Northern China) as they increase their efforts to end the rebellion. The fighting creates such a shortage of food within its walls that rats sell at enormous prices.

Otomo no Yakamochi, Japanese general, compiles the first Japanese poetry anthology, Man'yōshū. It contains some 500 poems by Japanese poets who include the emperor, nobleman and commoners.

December 24 – Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu departs for Chengdu, where he is hosted by fellow poet Pei Di.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Bregwin is appointed archbishop of Canterbury (approximate date).

The Tōshōdai-ji Buddhist Temple is founded in Nara, Japan.


Year 752 (DCCLII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 752 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 757 (DCCLVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 757 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Aistulf (also Ahistulf, Aistulfus, Haistulfus etc.; Italian: Astolfo; died 756 AD) was the Duke of Friuli from 744, King of Lombards from 749, and Duke of Spoleto from 751. His father was the Duke Pemmo.After his brother Ratchis became king, Aistulf succeeded him in Friuli. He succeeded him later as king when Ratchis abdicated to a monastery. Aistulf continued the policy of expansion and raids against the papacy and the Eastern Roman exarchate of Ravenna. In 751, he captured Ravenna itself and even threatened Rome, claiming a capitation tax. He also conquered the Istria region from Eastern Roman occupation in the same year.

The popes, thoroughly irritated and alarmed, and despairing of aid from the Roman Emperor, turned to the Carolingian mayors of the palace of Austrasia, the effective rulers of the Frankish kingdom. In 741, Pope Gregory III asked Charles Martel to intervene, but he was too busy elsewhere and declined. In 753, Pope Stephen II visited Charles Martel's son Pepin the Short, who had been proclaimed king of the Franks in 751 with the consent of Pope Zachary. In gratitude for the papal consent to his coronation, Pepin crossed the Alps, defeated Aistulf, and gave to the pope the lands which Aistulf had torn from the ducatus Romanus and the exarchate (Emilia-Romagna and the Pentapolis).

Aistulf died hunting in 756. He was succeeded by Desiderius as king of the Lombards and by Alboin as duke of Spoleto. He had given Friuli to his brother-in-law Anselm, abbot of Nonantula, whose sister Gisaltruda he had married, when he succeeded to the kingship in 749.

Alboin of Spoleto

Alboin was the Lombard Duke of Spoleto from 757 to 758. He was chosen to be duke by the Spoletan nobility without the assent of the king.

While Pope Stephen II was working to give the kingdom into the hands of Desiderius, he also worked to give the homage of the Duchies of Benevento and Spoleto to King Pepin the Short of the Franks. Alboin and Liutprand of Benevento commended their duchies to the Frankish king, who did not ask for it. Desiderius marched on and destroyed Spoleto and Benevento and Alboin was captured; Liutprand fled. Desiderius himself took up the exercise of ducal power in Spoleto.

Donation of Pepin

The Donation of Pepin in 756 provided a legal basis for the erection of the Papal States, which extended the temporal rule of the Popes beyond the duchy of Rome.

Frankish Papacy

From 756 to 857, the papacy shifted from the orbit of the Byzantine Empire to that of the kings of the Franks. Pepin the Short (ruled 751–768), Charlemagne (r. 768–814) (co-ruler with his brother Carloman I until 771), and Louis the Pious (r. 814-840) had considerable influence in the selection and administration of popes. The "Donation of Pepin" (756) ratified a new period of papal rule in central Italy, which became known as the Papal States.

This shift was initiated by the Lombards conquering the Exarchate of Ravenna from the Byzantines, strengthened by the Frankish triumph over the Lombards, and ended by the fragmentation of the Frankish Kingdom into West Francia, Middle Francia, and East Francia. Lothair I continued to rule Middle Francia which included much of the Italian peninsula, from 843 to 855.

This period was "a critical time in Rome's transformation from ancient capital to powerful bishopric to new state capital." The period was characterized by "battles between Franks, Lombards and Romans for control of the Italian peninsula and of supreme authority within Christendom."

Gregory of Utrecht

Saint Gregory of Utrecht (c. 700/705 – 770s) was born of a noble family at Trier. His father Alberic was the son of Addula, who in her widowhood was Abbess of Pfalzel (Palatiolum) near Trier. (Because of the similarity of names and also because of a forged will, Addula has been frequently confused with Saint Adela of Pfalzel, daughter of Dagobert II of Austrasia, thus wrongly imputing to Gregory membership of the royal house of the Merovingians).

He received his early education at Pfalzel. When, in 722, Saint Boniface passed through Trier on his way from Frisia to Hesse and Thuringia, he stayed at this convent. Gregory was called upon to read the scriptures at the meals. Saint Boniface gave an explanation of them and expanded upon the merits of an apostolic life, by which Gregory was inspired to accompany him.

He now became the disciple and later the helper of the Apostle of Germany, accompanying him in all his missionary tours. In 738 Saint Boniface made his third journey to Rome; Gregory went with him and brought back many valuable additions for his library. About 750 Gregory was made Abbot of St. Martin's, in Utrecht. In 744 Saint Willibrord, the first Bishop of Utrecht, had died but had received no successor. Saint Boniface had taken charge and had appointed an administrator, Saint Eoban. In 754 he started on his last missionary trip accompanied by Eoban, who was to share his martyrdom. After this, Pope Stephen II and Pippin the Younger ordered Gregory to look after the diocese. For this reason he is sometimes called bishop, though he never received episcopal consecration.

The school of his abbey, the Martinsstift, a kind of missionary seminary, was now a centre of learning for many nations: Franks, Frisians, Saxons, even Bavarians and Swabians. England too, though it had splendid schools of its own, sent scholars. Among his disciples, Saint Ludger is perhaps the best known, later to be the first Bishop of Münster and author of the Life of Gregory, in which he describes his virtues, his contempt of riches, his sobriety, his forgiving spirit and his deeds of alms [1].

Some three years before Gregory's death, paralysis attacked his left side and gradually spread over his entire body. At the approach of death he had himself carried into church, where he died.

Hieronymus, son of Charles Martel

Hieronymus (d. after 782), was the son of Charles Martel and his mistress Ruodhaid, and so was the brother of Bernard, Abbot of St. Quentin, a key confidant of Louis the Pious, and Remigius, the third Archbishop of Rouen. In 754, Hieronymus was tasked with Fulradus, abbot of St. Denys, and others, to escort Pope Stephen II back to Rome. This was following King Pipin's victorious campaign against his archenemy Aistulf, King of the Lombards. He became lay abbot of the monastery of St. Quentin in the diocese of Noyon. He was succeeded by his son Fulrad.

Hieronymus married Ercheswinda (Ermentrudis), origins unknown, and they had four children:

Audoen I

Fulrad (d. 31 January 826), Abbé de Saint-Quentin and an imperial ''missi of Charlemagne in 806.

Richarda, married Nithard

Folcuin (d. 15 Dec 855), Bishop of Thérouanne, 817-855.Settipani suggests that Boso of Provence descended from Hieronymus, although there does not appear to be any real evidence to support this.

Hildegar (bishop of Cologne)

Hildegar (also Hildiger or Hildeger; died 8 August 753) was the bishop of Cologne from 750. Probably of noble birth, he was a supporter of the Carolingians, who displaced the Merovingians in 751.

After the appointment of Eoban to the diocese of Utrecht by the missionary bishop Boniface, Hildegar claimed metropolitan rights over the see. Boniface denied the charge in a letter to Pope Stephen II, although Marco Mostert has indicated that Boniface's narrative and arguments are flawed, if not outright lies.After a group of Saxons ravaged Francia, burning thirty churches, King Pippin the Short led a punitive expedition with "a large siege train" (magno apparatu) against them. Hildegar took part in the war and died defending the fortress (castrum) of Juberg or Iburg (Ihburg) near Osnabrück. He was probably commanding the levies of Cologne as a garrison.

Liutprand of Benevento

Liutprand (died after 759) was the duke of Benevento from the death of his father Gisulf II in 751 until his own deposition. He reigned under the regency of his mother, Scauniperga, who supported King Aistulf, until 756.

After he attained his majority, he commended his duchy to Pepin the Short, King of the Franks, probably at the coaxing of Pope Stephen II, and rebelled against King Desiderius, being deposed in 758 to be replaced by Arechis II. The Roman Emperor Constantine V offered to capture the fleeing Liutprand if Desiderius would attack the papacy until a Roman force from Sicily could join him. Desiderius did not attack and Liutprand was not captured.

Papal travel

Papal travel outside Rome has been historically rare, and voluntary travel was non-existent for the first 500 years. Pope John Paul II (1978–2005) undertook more pastoral trips than all his predecessors combined. Pope Francis (2013-), Pope Paul VI (1963–1978) and Pope Benedict XVI (2005–2013) also travelled globally, the latter to a lesser extent due to his advanced age.

Popes resided outside Rome—primarily in Viterbo, Orvieto, and Perugia—during the 13th century, and then absconded to France during the Avignon Papacy (1309–1378). Pope Vigilius (537-555) in 547, Pope Agatho (678-681) in 680, and Pope Constantine in 710 visited Constantinople, whereas Pope Martin I (649-655) was abducted there for trial in 653. Pope Stephen II (752-757) became the first pope to cross the Alps in 752 to crown Pepin the Short; Pope Pius VII repeated the feat over a millennium later to crown Napoleon.

Pope-elect Stephen

Pope-elect Stephen (d. 26 March 752) was a Roman priest elected pope in March 752 to succeed Zachary; he died of a stroke a few days later, before being consecrated a bishop. Therefore, he is not listed as a pope in the Annuario Pontificio.

In 745, Pope Zachary had made him a cardinal-priest, with the titulus of San Crisogono, the same titulus later held by Cardinal Frederick of Lorraine, who became Pope Stephen IX.

Pope Paul I

Pope Paul I (Latin: Paulus I; 700 – 28 June 767) was Pope from 29 May 757 to his death in 767. He first served as a Roman deacon and was frequently employed by his brother, Pope Stephen II, in negotiations with the Lombard kings.

Pope Stephen

Pope Stephen may refer to any of several men who were Pope or who were elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Historically, there have been two regnal numbering systems used when referring to Popes called "Stephen" starting with Pope-elect Stephen. See Pope-elect Stephen for detailed explanation.

Pope Stephen I (died 257), Bishop of Rome from 254–257

Pope-elect Stephen (died 752), also known as Pope Stephen II, elected Pope but died before his consecration

Pope Stephen II (III) (died 757), pope from 752–757

Pope Stephen III (IV) (720–772), pope from 768–772

Pope Stephen IV (V) (died 817), pope from 816–817

Pope Stephen V (VI) (died 891), pope from 885–891

Pope Stephen VI (VII) (died 897), pope from 896–897

Pope Stephen VII (VIII) (died 931), pope from 929–931

Pope Stephen VIII (IX) (died 942), pope from 939–942

Pope Stephen IX (X) (c. 1020–1058), pope from 1057–1058

Saint Hippolyte's Priory

St. Hippolyte's Priory was a Benedictine priory in the village of Saint-Hippolyte in the Haut-Rhin department, Alsace, France.

It was founded in 760, on an estate then called Audoaldovillare, by Saint Fulrad, a powerful politician, diplomat, landowner and churchman, also abbot of St. Denis' Abbey, who is often said to have been born in Saint-Hippolyte. He also obtained from Pope Stephen II the relics of Saint Hippolytus, after whom the new priory was named, and in due course also the village.

St. Hippolyte's was at first a cell of Lièpvre Priory, founded by Fulrad at the same time, but soon became a priory dependent on the abbey of Saint-Denis.

Sandals of Jesus Christ

The Sandals of Jesus Christ were among the most important relics of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. They were donated to Prüm Abbey by Pope Zachary (741–752) and Pope Stephen II (752–757).

Sant'Angelo in Pescheria

Sant'Angelo in Pescheria or in Piscaria is a church in Rome. It dates from the 8th century. "In Pescheria" refers to its location close to the fish market built in the ruins of the ancient Porticus Octaviae.

The relics of St. Symphorosa and her seven sons were transferred to the Church of Sant'Angelo in Pescheria at Rome by Pope Stephen II in 752. A sarcophagus was found here in 1610, bearing the inscription: Hic requiescunt corpora SS. Martyrum Simforosae, viri sui Zotici (Getulii) et Filiorum ejus a Stephano Papa translata. This inscription refers to Saint Getulius and Saint Symphorosa, purported to be husband and wife, who had seven sons, who were also martyred. The remains of these saints were transferred to Sant'Angelo by Pope Stephen II in 752.The revolutionary "tribune" Cola di Rienzo was born near Sant'Angelo. He launched his effort to seize control of Rome from the vicinity of the church in 1347.

The Roman Ghetto was established nearby in the rione Sant'Angelo in 1555 by order of Pope Paul V. The Ghetto was abolished in 1870 after the reunification of Italy or Risorgimento, and the Ghetto wall was demolished in 1888. The rione Sant'Angelo, Rome, numbered as XI, is named for the church.

The inscriptions found in S. Angelo, a valuable source illustrating the history of the Basilica, have been collected and published by Vincenzo Forcella.In the second chapel to the left inside the church are frescoes of the Madonna with Child and Angels attributed to Benozzo Gozzoli (c. 1450).

The Church is currently in the possession of the Order of Clerics Regular Minor, which utilizes the attached convent as their seminary.

Symmachian forgeries

The Symmachian forgeries are a sheaf of forged documents produced in the papal curia of Pope Symmachus (498–514) in the beginning of the sixth century, in the same cycle that produced the Liber Pontificalis. In the context of the conflict between partisans of Symmachus and Antipope Laurentius the purpose of these libelli was to further papal pretensions of the independence of the Bishops of Rome from criticisms and judgment of any ecclesiastical tribunal, putting them above law clerical and secular by supplying spurious documents supposedly of an earlier age. "During the dispute between Pope St. Symmachus and the anti-pope Laurentius," the Catholic Encyclopedia reports, "the adherents of Symmachus drew up four apocryphal writings called the 'Symmachian Forgeries'. ... The object of these forgeries was to produce alleged instances from earlier times to support the whole procedure of the adherents of Symmachus, and, in particular, the position that the Roman bishop could not be judged by any court composed of other bishops."Their editor Louis Duchesne divided them in two groups, a group produced in the heat of the conflict involving Symmachus and a later group. Among writings to support Symmachus, Gesta de Xysti purgatione narrated a decision by Sixtus III, who cleared his name from defamation and permanently excommunicated the offender; Gesta de Polychronii episcopi Hierosolynitani accusatione concerned a purely apocryphal simonical Bishop of Jerusalem "Polychronius", who claimed Jerusalem as the first see and his supremacy over other bishops; Gesta Liberii papae concerned mass baptisms carried out by Pope Liberius during his exile from the seat of Peter; Sinuessanae synodi gesta de Marcellino recounted the accusation brought against Pope Marcellinus, that in the company of the Emperor Diocletian he had offered incense to the pagan gods, making the point that when Marcellinus eventually confessed to the misdeed it was declared that the pope had condemned himself, since no one had ever judged the pontiff, because the first see will not be judged by anyone.The most important in this group of forgeries was Silvestri constitutum, a report of a fictitious synod convoked by Pope Sylvester, giving twenty promulgated canons, among which was a prohibition of bringing a solitary accusation upon an ecclesiastic of a degree higher than the accuser's: a bishop might only be accused by seventy-two, and a pope could not be accused by anyone. Silvestri constitutum was also an early instance of the fable that Sylvester had cured Constantine the Great of leprosy with the waters of baptism, incurring the Emperor's abject gratitude, which was elaborated and credited to the point that, in greeting Pope Stephen II in 753, Pepin II dismounted to lead the Pope's horse to his palace on foot, as Constantine would have done.The second, somewhat later group centers on the figure of Sylvester, who accepts the decree of the First Council of Nicaea on the date of Easter. One of these forgeries reports a fictitious synod convoking 275 bishops in the Baths of Trajan; several canons exalt the position of the cleric.

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