The Donation of Constantine (Latin, Donatio Constantini) is a forged Roman imperial edict devised probably between 750 and 775. Santi Quattro Coronati is an ancient Basilica in Rome. The church dates back to the 4th (or 5th century and is devoted to four anonymous saints and martyrs Latin ( lingua Latīna, laˈtiːna is an Italic language, historically spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. The Roman Empire was the post-Republican phase of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial Events By Geography Asia Gopala is proclaimed as the first ruler of the Pala Empire. Events By Place Asia Estimation Baghdad, capital of the Abbasid Empire, becomes the largest city of the world taking the lead The earliest date is the most probable. It is often said that the document could have been written around 752. Events By Place Europe Cuthred of Wessex leads a successful rebellion against Aethelbald of Mercia at Battle Edge, Albert Hauck suggested in 1888 that assuming that the document was forged shortly before the Council of Quierzy, 754, would explain demands made by the Pope on that occasion, "demands which had no basis in law or fact", commented F. Several councils were held at Quierzy, a royal residence under the Carolingians but now an insignificant village on the Oise in the French Department of Zinkeisen.  The earliest secure allusion to the Donatio is in a letter in which Pope Hadrian I exhorts Charlemagne to follow Constantine's example and endow the Roman church. Pope Adrian, or Hadrian I, (d December 25, 795) was Pope from February 9 772 to December 25 795 It was clearly a defense of papal interests, perhaps against the claims of either the Byzantine Empire, or the Frankish king Charlemagne, who had assumed the former imperial dignity in the West and with it the title "Emperor of the Romans". Charlemagne (ˈʃɑrlɨmeɪn Carolus Magnus or Karolus Magnus meaning Charles the Great) (747 – 28 January 814 was King of the Franks from 768 to his The Donation is included among the texts of the False Decretals of Isidore. The Pseudo-Isidorean (False Decretals are the most extensive and influential set of forgeries found in medieval Canon law.
Purportedly issued by the fourth century Roman Emperor Constantine I, the Donation grants Pope Sylvester I and his successors, as inheritors of St. Peter, dominion over lands in Judea, Greece, Asia, Thrace, Africa, as well as the city of Rome, with Italy and the entire Western Roman Empire, while Constantine would retain imperial authority in the Eastern Roman Empire from his new imperial capital of Constantinople. The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period (starting at about 27 BC Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus (27 February ca. 272 &ndash 22 May 337 commonly known as Constantine I, Constantine the Great, or Saint Constantine Rome ( Roma ˈroma Roma is the capital city of Italy and Lazio, and is Italy's largest and most populous city with more than 2 Italy (Italia officially the Italian Republic, (Repubblica Italiana is located on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, and on the two largest The Western Roman Empire refers to the western half of the Roman Empire, from its division by Diocletian in 285 the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Constantinople (Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoúpolis, or gr ἡ Πόλις hē Polis, Latin: la CONSTANTINOPOLIS The text claims that the Donation was Constantine's gift to Sylvester for instructing him in the Christian faith, baptizing him and miraculously curing him of leprosy. Leprosy (from the Greek lepi (λέπι meaning scales on a fish or Hansen's disease, is a chronic disease caused by the bacterium
It has been suggested that an early draft was made shortly after the middle of the eighth century in order to assist Pope Stephen II in his negotiations with Pepin the Short, the Frankish Mayor of the Palace. In sources prior to the 1960s this pope is sometimes called Stephen III and Pope-elect Stephen is sometimes called Stephen II. Pepin or Pippin (714 &ndash 24 September 768) called the Short, and often known as Pepin the Younger or Pepin III, was In 754, Pope Stephen II crossed the Alps to anoint Pepin king, thereby enabling the Carolingian family to supplant the old Merovingian royal line. The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolings, or Karlings) was a Frankish noble family with its origins in the The Merovingians (also Merovings) were a Salian Frankish dynasty that came to rule the Franks in a region (known as Francia in Latin In return for Stephen's support, Pepin apparently gave the Pope the lands in Italy which the Lombards had taken from the Byzantine Empire. The Lombards ( Latin Langobardi, whence the alternative names Langobards and Longobards) were a Germanic people originally from These lands would become the Papal States and would be the basis of the Papacy's secular power for the next eleven centuries. The Papal States, State(s of the Church or Pontifical States (in Italian Stato Ecclesiastico, Stato della Chiesa, Stati della Chiesa
Inserted among the twelfth-century compilation known as the Decretum Gratiani, this document continued to be used by medieval popes to bolster their territorial and secular power in Italy. The Decretum Gratiani or Concordia discordantium canonum (in some manuscripts Concordantia discordantium canonum) is a collection of Canon law compiled It was widely accepted as authentic, although the Emperor Otto III did raises suspicions of the document "in letters of gold" as a forgery, in making a gift to the See of Rome. Otto III (980 &ndash January 23, 1002) was the fourth ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire.  The poet Dante Alighieri lamented it as the root of papal worldliness in his Divine Comedy. The Divine Comedy It was not until the mid 15th-century, with the revival of Classical scholarship and textual critique, the Church had begun to realize that the document could not possibly be genuine.
As early as the fifteenth century its falsity was known and demonstrated. Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa spoke of it as an apocryphal work. Later the Catholic priest Lorenzo Valla in De falso credita et ementita Constantini donatione declamatio, Mainz, 1518, proved the forgery with certainty. Lorenzo (or Laurentius) Valla (c 1407 &ndash August 1, 1457) was an Italian humanist, Rhetorician and Independently of both, Reginald Pecocke, Bishop of Chichester (1450-57), reached a similar conclusion. Among the indications that the Donation must be a fake are its language, and that while certain imperial-era formulas are used in the text, some of the Latin in the document could not have been written in the fourth century; anachronistic terms such as "fief" were used. A language is a dynamic set of visual auditory or tactile Symbols of Communication and the elements used to manipulate them Under the system of Feudalism, a fiefdom, fief, feud, feoff, or fee, often consisted of inheritable lands or revenue-producing Also, the purported date of the document is inconsistent with the content of the document itself as it refers both to the fourth consulate of Constantine (315) as well as the consulate of Gallicanus (317).
Pope Pius II wrote a tract in 1453 to show that though the Donation was a forgery, the Church owed its lands to Charlemagne and its powers of the keys to Peter; he did not publish it however, the Vatican essentially ignored Valla: however, though the bulls of Nicholas V and his successors made no further mention of the Donation even when partitioning the New World, Valla's treatise was placed on the list of banned books in the mid-sixteenth century. Pope Pius II, born Enea Silvio Piccolomini ( Latin Aeneas Sylvius; October 18, 1405 &ndash August 14, 1464) Charlemagne (ˈʃɑrlɨmeɪn Carolus Magnus or Karolus Magnus meaning Charles the Great) (747 – 28 January 814 was King of the Franks from 768 to his The Donatio continued to be tacitly accepted as authentic until Caesar Baronius in his "Annales Ecclesiastici" (published 1588-1607) admitted that the Donatio was a forgery, and eventually the church conceded its illegitimacy It has been suggested that this acceptance was hastened by Andeas Helwig's Antichristus Romanus (1612) which had identified the title Vicarius Filii Dei used in the Donation as being the number of the beast. Venerable Cesare Baronio (also known as Caesar Baronius; August 30, 1538 &ndash June 30, 1607) was an Italian Vicarius Filii Dei (Latin Vicar or Representative of the Son of God) is a phrase used in the forged Donation of Constantine to refer to Saint Peter. The Number of the Beast is a concept from the Book of Revelation of the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Nearly a century after Baronius, Christian Wolff still alludes to the Donatio as undisputed fact. Christian Wolff (less correctly Wolf; also known as Wolfius) baron ( 24 January 1679 - 9 April 1754) was a German 
More recently, scholars have further demonstrated that other elements, such as Sylvester's curing of Constantine, are legends which originated at a later time. Its recent editor has affirmed that at the time of the composition of Valla's work, Constantine's alleged "donation" was no longer a matter of contemporary relevance in political theory and that, rather, it furnished the theme for a brilliant exercise in legal rhetoric. Political philosophy is the study of questions about the City, Government, Politics, Liberty, Justice, Property, Rights
Contemporary opponents of papal powers in the Peninsula emphasized the primacy of civil law and civil jurisdiction, now firmly embodied once again in the Justinian Corpus Juris Civilis. The Corpus Juris Civilis ("Body of Civil Law" is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in Jurisprudence, issued from 529 The Florentine chronicler Giovanni Cavalcanti reported that, in the very year of Valla's treatise, Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, made diplomatic overtures toward Cosimo de' Medici in Florence proposing an alliance in common defence against the Pope, as sovereign lord of the Marche, where Francesco Sforza was currently protected by papal sovereignty, in which Visconti used the words, "It so happens that even if Constantine consigned to Sylvester so many and such rich gifts— which is doubtful, because such a privilege can nowhere be found— he could only have granted them for his lifetime: the Empire takes precedence over any lordship. Among several members of the extended Florentine patrician family the Cavalcanti holding the name Giovanni the chronicler Giovanni Cavalcanti (1381-c Filippo Maria Visconti, ( September 23, 1392 &ndash August 13, 1447) was ruler of Milan from 1412 to 1447 Cosimo di Giovanni de' Medici (September 27 1389 &ndash August 1 1464 was the first of the Medici political dynasty de facto rulers of The Marche (plural originally from le marche de Ancona, referring to the March of Ancona) is one of the 20 Regions of Italy. Francesco I Sforza ( July 23, 1401 - March 8, 1466) was an Italian Condottiero, the founder of the Sforza dynasty in "
Civil law was the Emperor's prerogative, according to the Imperial vassal Visconti: "and for this reason you see why the Church is without civil law. " Valla's refutation was taken up vehemently by scholars of the Protestant Reformation, such as Ulrich von Hutten and Martin Luther. The Protestant Reformation was a reform movement in Europe that began in 1517 though its roots lie further back in time Ulrich von Hutten ( April 21 1488 - August 29 1523) was an outspoken German critic of the Roman Catholic Church and adherent Martin Luther (November 10 1483 February 18 1546 was a German Monk, theologian, university professor Father of Protestantism, and church reformer
For a detailed account of textual forgery in the early Christian Church, see: