In November of the year 751 Pepin le Bref successfully completed a coup against the royal Merovingian family of Francia, a family that had ruled as kings for three centuries. Pepin did so in part with the support of Pope Zacharias, who sided with the Frank when Pepin sent emissaries to Rome in 749 to ask the famous question, who should be king, the one in name only, or the one who actually wields power? Once Zacharias answered in favor of Pepin, the Mayor of the Palace “was chosen king by all the Franks, consecrated by the bishops and received the homage of the great men.”1.Fredegar, Continuations, ch.33, p.102. Pepin was anointed and crowned by the foremost Christian in the land, the English monk and bishop Boniface.
Only a year later the papacy was in a jam. The Lombard king Aistulf was on the move, and had taken several cities that were under the ostensible jurisdiction of the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople, and the papacy. Pope Stephen II recognized that he would need to keep all of his options open, and he appealed for help to Emperor Constantine V (later known as “the dung-named”, but that’s another story). In June of 752 Stephen also sent a messenger to Pepin, asking him to send an ambassador who could then escort the pope to the king’s presence.
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Fredegar, Continuations, ch.33, p.102.|