„Magna Charta of All Claims of the Papacy“?The Impact of the Constitutum Constantini on the Argument in Favour of the Papal Primacy (c. 800–1076/77)

Zusammenfassung / Abstract

Being one of the most prominent forgeries in world history, the Constitutum Constantini was repeatedly seen as the cornerstone of politically meddling papacies which presumably had enabled the Roman bishops to engage in secular politics in the first place as scholars contineously have suggested. What in doing so research has not paid attention to properly, this essay tries to stress: After analysing the apparently overflowing opportunities the forgery offers (cap. B.I.), the papal reception of it both in times of relatively uncontested papacies before the Investiture Controversy (cap. B.II.1.) as well as in times of severe challenges during the conflict with the German king in the course of the events of 1076/77 (cap. B.II.2.) turns out to be surprisingly meagre. While this assessment of the reception history of the flat forgery only demonstrates its inherent impotence to substantiate a papal supremacy claim, this paper concludes that the higher plausibility lies with the assumption that the Constitutum Constantini serves someone else’s than papal needs and therefore was likely neither produced on request of a pope nor in Rome at all (cap. B.III.). With that, the author proposes the Frankish Empire and, more specifically, the late eighth- or early ninth-century monastery of St Denis as the probable place of origin of the forgery.

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