The Franks

The success of the Lombards, however, was temporary. Under the pretense of restoring to the papacy its lost territories, Pope Stephen II (r. 752-57) persuaded the FRANKS (another Germanic tribe) to invade Italy. In 774 the Franks expelled the Lombard rulers; Lombard territory passed into the hands of the Frankish ruler CHARLEMAGNE, who was crowned emperor in Rome in 800.

The following century was marked by continual battles between Franks and Byzantines, which mostly benefited the SARACENS who had recently arrived from North Africa. Contrary to their original objective of assisting rebels against the Byzantine Empire, the Saracens remained to conquer Sicily (827-78), and established outposts throughout southern Italy. In 846 they launched an attack on Rome itself. The collapse of the Carolingian empire in the 9th century, at the same time as the resurgence of Byzantium under the Macedonian dynasty, caused a brief return to eastern influence.

Created: November 1996
Updated: 04/07/01
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