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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 85, Essay 1 – The Papal-Frankish Alliance

This week in class, I learned about the Papal-Frankish alliance, which only happened because of the papacy losing faith in their protectors, the Byzantine Empire.  In this essay, I am going to talk about the significance of the alliance and how it came to be.

The story starts in the early 750s, when the Church in Europe started to start lose faith in the Byzantine Empire, who was their protector.  The Byzantine Empire seemed to want to control the Church, something that they did not approve of.  The Papacy was starting to get threatened by the Lombards (a Germanic tribe) and were worried that the Byzantine Empire would not step in until it was too late.

The Papacy started to look for a new protector, someone who was not as controlling as the Byzantines.  Around this time, Anglo-Saxons from Britain wanted to expand into Europe to spread the message of Christianity.  However, they wanted the approval of the Pope and the Frankish king who ruled the European countries.  This prompted the Pope to propose an alliance to the Franks, which they accepted, and in 756 AD the Papacy officially switched their loyalty from Byzantine to the Franks.

Over the years, the Frank king, Pepin, defeated the Lombards, gave land to the Papacy (becomes the Papal States), and is named Protector of the Church.

Why is this alliance so significant in Western Civilization, though?  This alliance signified that the Papacy had shifted their loyalties from the East (the Byzantines) to the West (the Franks). 

As you can see, the Papal-Frankish alliance is a very important event in Western history.  If the Church had stayed with the Byzantines, who knows what our world wold look like today?  The reason Christianity is so big in the West today, is because of this alliance that happened 1200 years ago.

Thanks for reading!


Author: sophiaelahirpc

10th Grade student in the Ron Paul Curriculum. Full-time teen writer living in Singapore.

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