Front Page Titles (by Subject) 24.: The Two Main Realities for the Papacy of the Eighth Century - Judgments on History and Historians
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24.: The Two Main Realities for the Papacy of the Eighth Century - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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The Two Main Realities for the Papacy of the Eighth Century
(I) The multiplicity of Italy.
The dismemberment of Italy had been taking place since the Lombard invasion, as yet without the participation of the papacy. Now, however, this becomes the policy of the papacy, since it must want no one to be politically very powerful in Italy, while it will never itself be able to constitute the government of all Italy, as may have been the intent of the Donation of Constantine. It has a dread of too powerful Lombard kings and Italic national emperors. But it must desire to possess at least a state of its own. To be sure, its local position for the time being is such that it must wish it would never be defined exactly. But above all it must evade close dependence upon any state and especially the fate of the Byzantine church, though it cannot always do without the aid of one secular power or force or another. Thereby it becomes, under certain circumstances, the cause of outside intervention and of the continuing multiplicity, and therefore weakness, of Italy.
(II) The ecclesiastical unity of the West.
Europe searches for forms and forces for the totality of life, a higher unity. One such form was found in the Roman church, another in the emperorship of Charlemagne.
The unity of the West with all its corollaries was substantially dependent on the papacy; only ecclesiastical unity brought peoples closer together and was able to become a social bond of prime strength. The question now arises as to whether such unity could have been achieved without the papacy, or whether it could have been maintained without it. Would the Benedictine order, for example, alone have been able to save Christianity as the religion of unity?