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of the Donation as given, with the omission of long sections, in Gratian's Decretum, or Concordia discordantium canonum, which was the form Valla used and on which he based his criticism. I take it from A. Friedberg's edition of the Corpus Iuris Canonici, vol. I, columns 342-345. The full text of the Donation is best given by Karl Zeumer, in the Festgabe für Rudolf von Gneist (Julius Springer, Berlin, 1888), pp. 47-59, reprinted among other places in my Constantine the Great and Christianity, pp. 228-237. The document may be studied to advantage also in the Decretales Pseudo-Isidorianae et Capitula Angilramni, ed. Hinschius (Leipsic, 1863). An English translation, from Zeumer's text, is in E. F. Henderson's Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages, pp. 319-329.
In the translation of passages of the Donation I have, so far as possible, used the words of Henderson's translation. In quotations from the Bible I have used the King James version. In translating Valla's quotations from the Donation I have usually, though not always, followed him in giving words their classical and not their medieval meaning.
The Donation of Constantine grew out of the legends about Sylvester I, Bishop of Rome, as well as out of legends about Constantine. These are described at length in Constantine the Great and Christianity. The most familiar form of the Sylvester-Constantine legend is that of Mombritius' Sanctuarium, sive Vitae collectae ex codibus, Milan, c. 1470, vol. II, folio 279: Paris, 1910, vol. II, pp. 508-531.
Present-day scholarship is not in entire agreement on all points connected with the Donation of Constantine. The following summary, however, may be hazarded. The problem of modern criticism, of course, is, not to establish the spuriousness of the Donation,—that has long been obvious, but to locate the origin of the document as closely as possible.
The development of the Sylvester-Constantine legend was worked out best by Döllinger (Papstfabeln des Mittelalters, Munich, 1863: ed., J. Friedrich, Stuttgart, 1890) and by Duchesne (in his edition of the Liber Pontificalis, vol. I, 1886, pp. cvii-cxx).
These have shown the existence at Rome, as early as the last of the sixth century, of the story which forms most of the narrative part of the Donation, and gave the forger the whole of his background.
The earliest known manuscript of the document is in the Codex Parisiensis Lat. 2778, in the Collectio Sancti Dionysii, found in the monastery of St. Denis, in France. The collection contains documents dating from the last years of the eighth century, though it may have been put together later. The collected Pseudo-Isidorean Decretals, in which the Donation was virtually published to the world, in the middle of the ninth century, also came out in France. French writers of the ninth century, also, were the first, so far as we know, to refer to the Donation. Such facts help to fix the date of the forgery, but under the circumstances they do not fix the place as France. Rather they are merely another illustration of the well-known leadership of France in learning and politics during the ninth century.
Linguistic peculiarities of the document have been most exhaustively treated by one of the greatest of critical historians, Paul Scheffer-Boichorst,1 not to speak of briefer studies by Döllinger, Brunner, and others. In the full text of the Donation, as for instance the one published by Zeumer, are found many features distinctive of Italian documents of the eighth century, and a number that apparently are peculiar to the chancellery of Stephen II (III), Bishop of Rome 752-757, and of Paul I (757-767), more particularly the latter. (Some of these do not occur in the passages and the text which Valla used; that is, in his copy of Gratian's Decretum.) This is true in varying degrees of particularity of the form or usage of the following words; synclitus (for senatus) in § 15, banda (for vexillum) in § 14, censura (diploma) in § 17, constitutum (decretum) in §§ 17 and 18, retro (applied to the future) in §§ 1 and 19, largitas (possessio) in § 13, consul and
1 Neue Forschungen über die Konstantinische Schenkung, in Mittheilungen d. Instituts für österr. Geschichtsforschung, vol. X (1889), pp. 325 et seq., XI (1890), pp. 128 et seq. Reprinted in his Gesammelte Schriften in the Historische Studien of E. Eberling, vol. XLII.
patricius (as mere designations of rank) in § 15, vel (et) in §§ 11, 12, 13, 16, 19, seu (et) in §§ 14 and 17, satraps (as a Roman official) in §§ 8, 11, and 19, and inluminator in § 7 in some manuscripts. The following phrases, also, are more or less distinctive; Deo amabilis in § 1, Deo vivo qui nos regnare precipit in § 19, uno ex eadem sancta Trinitate in § 1, principem apostolorum vel eius vicarios firmos apud Deum adesse patronos in § 11, pro concinnatione luminariorum in § 13, et subscriptio imperialis in § 20, propriis manibus roborantes in § 20, religiosus clericus in § 15. The first part of § 4, Tres itaque formae . . . hominem, hominem, is very similar to part of a letter of Paul I's in 757. In short, the language of the Donation seems to point to the papal chancellery as the place of its origin, and the pontificate of Paul I (757-767) as the most probable time.
That also seems to offer the situation and environment which would most naturally call forth the document as we have it. This is well brought out by Ludo Moritz Hartmann in his Geschichte Italiens im Mittelalter,1 and by Erich Caspar in his Pippin und die römische Kirche. The Papacy was then cutting loose from the Emperor at Constantinople and ignoring his representatives in Italy, as well as developing its own independent policy toward Italian territory, toward the Lombards, and toward the Franks. The aim of the forger seems to have been the characteristically medieval one of supplying documentary warrant for the existence of the situation which had developed through a long-drawn-out revolution, namely, the passage of imperial prerogatives and political control in Italy from the Emperor to the Papacy. Hence, along with general statements of papal primacy, and of gifts of property, detailed and explicit stress is laid upon the granting of imperial honors, the imperial palace, and imperial power to the Pope, and upon the right of the Roman clergy to the privileges of the highest ranks of Roman society. Legal confirmation was thus given for riding roughshod over the vestiges and memories of the imperial régime in Italy and for looking to the Papacy as the 1 II, ii (Leipsic, 1903), pp. 218-231.
2 Berlin, 1914, pp. 185-189.
source of all honors and dignities. Furthermore we know that Paul I was extremely devoted to the memory of Sylvester, and so it may well have been under his influence that this document came into existence with its tribute to Sylvester's personal character and historic significance.
I wish to give public expression of my thanks to Professor Deane P. Lockwood, of Columbia University, for his kindness in reading my translation of Valla's treatise and the many suggestions and improvements he indicated; to Professor J. T. Shotwell, of Columbia University, who was largely responsible for the beginning of the whole undertaking; and to Mr. Alexander D. Fraser, of Allegheny College, for generous assistance in reading proof.