Talk:Papal States

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I just changed "Papal states" to "Papal States", which now disagrees with the article title, unfortunately, so maybe I shouldn't have done that... Okay, I don't know much about the history of the region in question, but I'd thought it was sort of like a country, so that its name would be capitalised, like "England" and so on. Am I wrong? -- Oliver P. 02:36 Feb 16, 2003 (UTC)

The Papal States were a country, so the capital S is correct. -- Zoe

Correct Zoe. Maybe you, I and Oliver should set up a sub-group called PNHC - Proper Nouns Have Capitals and wage a crusade on Wiki!!!! :) JtdIrL 03:51 Mar 1, 2003 (UTC)

Hey! Wait up! I want to join too! Tannin
heh heh! but no, actually i'm a member of a secret society which plans to destroy all capital letters, and all this is just a front... ;) -- oliver

Or even call ourselves the Capital Letters Liberation Front - or even Capital Letters On Proper nouns. Here comes CLOP to the rescue. JtdIrL 04:19 Mar 1, 2003 (UTC)

Okay, I've renounced my membership of the Secret Society for the Destruction of Capital Letters, because its acronym is unpronounceable. "CLOP" sounds so much nicer. :) -- Oliver P. 05:02 Mar 1, 2003 (UTC) (Sorry, I'm talking complete rubbish... I need sleep...)

Papal Army[edit]

If someone knows something about the Papal army I'd love to know anything. Exept abot the Vatican guard(I already know about them,but hey if you know something I don't, DO share), Im mean like the Papal navy and Roman militia/army. Thanks.--Philippe Auguste 06:18, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

See Pope Pius IX#Military and Zouave#Papal Zouaves for some relevant content. Papal army now redirects to Papal States, but probably merits its own article. --Una Smith (talk) 19:21, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
To help with literature searches, its name in Italian: Armata Pontificia. --Una Smith (talk) 19:26, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Merci beaucoup. There's heaps of stuff on the Net, in Italian. Mio Italiano is a bit rusty, but I'll have a go.--Gazzster (talk) 00:18, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
You're welcome. See also Frédéric-François-Xavier Ghislain de Mérode and links in that article to some other key players. --Una Smith (talk) 00:52, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Beginning date[edit]

The first paragraph of this article implies that "the Papal States" effectively ended in 1870, but it says nothing about when they started. The article itself seems a bit vague on this seemingly important point. Would that beginning be:

  • 321 C.E., when the Church was first "allowed to hold and transfer property";
  • sometime "after the 600s", as "large gifts became less common";
  • 754 C.E., when "Church control became more explicit";
  • 781 C.E., when "Charlemagne codified the regions over which the Pope would be temporal sovereign";

… or some other year or range of years? — Jeff Q 18:34, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)

It's not at all clear. To go backwards, the Papal States in their modern configuration did not really emerge until the early 16th century, when the popes finally turned their theoretical sovereignty over the area into real sovereignty. Before the 13th century or so, the Pope's temporal domain was considered to be part of the Holy Roman Empire - even later, this idea vaguely survived. I would say sometime in the 8th century. Before that, the areas that would become the Papal States were pretty clearly the "Exarchate of Ravenna" and the "Duchy of Rome", which were part of the Byzantine Empire. But for a long time after that, it's very, very unclear. I wouldn't want to actually state a beginning date, because it would be misleading. But you're right that we need to be more explicit about it. john k 02:06, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Merge suggestion[edit]

I think Prisoner in the Vatican should be merged into the appropriate section of this article. — OwenBlacker 00:30, Jun 30, 2004 (UTC)

Pepin vs. Pippin?[edit]

I so know that I shouldn't open this entirely pointless can of worms, but: why the changes from Pippin to Pepin? (Which didn't even result in a consistent spelling in the article, I note.) When I rewrote the article, I changed spellings to Pippin because the title of the main Wikipedia page for the individual in question is spelled that way (Pippin III). Aaaaannnd a quick glance at the talk page there seems to indicate that this is part of a pointless argument about French and German history. Sigh.

So, John Kenney, why the change? And if Pippin must become Pepin, why must he be Pepin the Short instead of Pepin III? My naggling copy editor sense wants it consistent with the article it's linking to, and, failing that, to be at least consistent within the article. So I'd like to put the Pippins back, but if that's going to result in some kind of painfully lame edit war about an issue that is not in the least worth it, just let me know in advance and I'll make the remaining Pippins Pepins instead. --Jfruh 17:47, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

So nobody's responded to this, so I guess I'm going to re-Pippin the Pepins. --Jfruh 02:37, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Well, he should be Pepin the Short because that's what he's actually called by historians. He's not called Pepin III by any appreciable number of people. And the trend is certainly for Pippins to become Pepins, rather than vice versa. Why that should be, I can't say, but it is certainly the case. - Nunh-huh 02:43, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Pepin the Short is, indeed, the more common name. If I left it inconsistent within this article, that was unintentional. But I literally cannot think of any books that I have read which call him "Pippin" rather than "Pepin." Even the Shorter Cambridge Medieval History, which is rather old, calls him Pepin. And more recent books certainly do. john k 02:56, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I'm trying to delete Pepin the Short so I can move Pippin III there, but I keep getting error messages. john k 02:57, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Like I said, I don't care; I just want it consistent in the article. It was in the Donation of Pipwhoever link that the inconsistency lay; I fixed.
I would love it to be consistent within Wikipedia too, but I suppose that's too much to ask. --Jfruh 03:33, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I already moved Donation of Pippin to Donation of Pepin and changed that article - sorry for missing the change on that, I was busy trying to delete Pepin the Short so I could move Pippin III there. Still no luck, weirdly. But I'll get to it soon enough. That Frankish son of a bastard will feel my wrath. john k 03:34, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Out of curiosity, how would Pepin (or, since he was almost certainly illiterate, his more educated contemporaries) have spelled his name? Is it Pepinus in Latin? Is there any attestation as to his "real" Frankish name? --Jfruh 12:36, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Pippin is the Germanic form - presumably this is what he called himself. I would assume "Pepinus" is the Latin, although I'm not sure. Written documents from the time would have used the Latin form. john k 13:19, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Actually, Pippinus is the typical Latin form. Later on Pipinus becomes common and finally Pepinus is seen, but it is rare from what I can tell. Srnec 17:45, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

And, just what is the meaning of "Pepin or Pippin, etc.? Perhaps it merely meant "Small" or "short of statue?", etc., thus what is the real difference between this current subject and :  ? But perhaps Weston has it correct? thus; "'Peregrin', short 'Pippin'" (talk) 02:19, 1 February 2013 (UTC)Ronald L. Hughes


The inclusion of the "Pentapolis" in the list included in the "Donation of Pepin" section is ambiguous (See Pentapolis article). Terry Thorgaard (talk) 16:45, 23 May 2014 (UTC)


I'm just recovering from a major system crash, so I'm not able myself at the moment (but might be able sometime soon), but does anyone fancy creating one or more maps of the Papal States, with any map showing either all of modern Italy or all of the Holy Roman Empire? — OwenBlacker 22:47, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

I'd like an anachronistic map of all the territories ever in the Papal States, including Avignon. -- 09:07, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Donatio Constantini?[edit]

I don't know for sure, but should it be mentioned in the main article- it does give a 'mythological' raison d'être for the papal states. Reynaert-ad 20:04, 9 July 2006 (UTC) But, just how much reality can anyone give this preposterous claim? It is surely a claim that is best considered as "fraud" or worse! Plenty of sources denounce it! (talk) 02:47, 1 February 2013 (UTC)Ronald L. Hughes


Is the flag authentic? Its presence in the disinfobox tells nothing of where and when it was used. --Wetman 10:04, 27 August 2007 (UTC)


It'd be nice to have a map that shows Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin. john k (talk) 01:25, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Rome - founded 1929 ?!?[edit]

"for the modern State of Vatican City, an enclave within Italy's national capital, Rome, which was founded in 1929, again allowing the Holy See the practical benefits of territorial sovereignty."

I was under the impression that Rome was founded somewhat earlier than 1929, or have I significantly missed the context in which it is being stated here? JonEastham (talk) 00:33, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

The sentence is a little gnarly. Vatican City (in its current form) was founded in 1929. I'll try to reword. --Jfruh (talk) 01:44, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Duchy of Rome[edit]

Now exist a retirect from Duchy of Rome to Papal States. Duchy of Rome needs a own page, so i suggest a translation from ducato romano. Thanks and bye --Wento (talk) 16:03, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Donatio Constantini[edit]

The article on the Donatio Constantini, whereby the Popes became owners of large parts of Italy by using forged documents, should be merged with this article. Poldebol (talk) 18:01, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't think that's necessary. The Donation of Constantine was used to justify the temporal rule of the popes, but the foundation of the temporality predates the forgery.--Gazzster (talk) 02:21, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
The Donation of Constantine is a single forged document. Perhaps it deserves fuller mention in this article. --Wetman (talk) 04:22, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
By all means make a link to Donation of Constantine if it isn't there already.--Gazzster (talk) 04:59, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Dates in infobox[edit]

To state that the Papal States existed continuously from 752 to 1870, as the infobox currently does, is factually wrong. They did not exist from 1808 to 1814. The box really should state "752-1808, 1814-1870" or something similar. (talk) 01:33, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

That's strictly true. I do think though that 752-1870 can be stated as generally true. In a similar way we state that the Kingdom of the Netherlands or the Kingdom of Belgium continued to exist in a moral sense during the Nazi occupation. I'm not, of course, comparing Napoleon to Hitler.--Gazzster (talk) 07:23, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

odd redirect[edit]

United Italian provinces redirects here, but I found no mention of them in the article (talk) 14:35, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

The New Map - PapalStates1700.png[edit]

The new map is wrong, if fails to display the Comtat Venaissin and the papal communes in the Kingdom of Naples. Therefore, I'm going to revert the edit. Regards (Jack1755 (talk) 12:58, 29 June 2009 (UTC))

Just for the record, the map has now been updated to include its enclaves. -GabaG (talk) 20:29, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

wrong flag[edit]

This flag is not of the Papal States! It is the flag of the Comtat Venaissin. --Oren neu dag (talk) 17:16, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Buying islands in the Pacific[edit]

The article should maybe try to reflect on whether buying islands in the Pacific might procure a greater legal security to the Holy See. Such islands would presumably be listed along with other properties of the Holy See, which already include churches in Italy. The existence of small native populations in these islands might serve as a practical socio-political replacement to the Pontifical States, who were also known as the States of the Holy See. ADM (talk) 13:44, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Has the papacy or anyone associated with the Papal States ever actually proposed doing this? If not, it shouldn't go into the article. --Jfruh (talk) 13:09, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
And in any case, any property owned by the Church of Rome outside of the Vatican (excluding a few in Italy with extraterritorial status, like Castel Gandolfo) would fall under the jurisdiction of the nation in which they exist,and would not form part of the Pope's sovereign territory.--Gazzster (talk) 07:24, 11 May 2010 (UTC)


The infobox describes the Papal States as a theocracy. This seems inaccurate, both since, according to the article: "In practice, the Popes were unable to exercise effective sovereignty over the extensive and mountainous territories of the Papal States, and the region preserved its old Lombard system of government, with many small countships and marquisates, each centered upon a fortified rocca." So, for most of its history "feudalism" would be more accurate than "theocracy".

And, even in theory, it wasn't really a theocracy - the Pope was both monarch of the Papal States and head of the Church, but, IIRC, they were separate legal entities. Even now, the Holy See is a separate legal entity from Vatican City, and part of the reason why is because it had always been separate from the realms ruled by the pope's temporal power. (In the same way that Elizabeth II is Queen of both Britain and Canada, but that doesn't make Canada part of Britain.) The Papal States' government was not actually theocratic... Vultur (talk) 01:12, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

"Papal States" or "Papal State"[edit]

The article says that "Papal States" is the preferred English term for the Stato Pontificio, but "Papal State" is clearly the correct translation. If it were "Papal States", the Italian name would have been "Stati Pontifici", which was much less frequently used. So why is the plural version considered the preferred English name? (talk) 04:42, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

"Preferred" here means not "the correct translation" but rather what the entity is actually called in English. If you look at both historical and contemporary English-language sources, the political unit under discussion is invariably referred to as the "Papal States." This might be an incorrect translation, but it's not the job of Wikipedia to make things more rational or correct. --Jfruh (talk) 14:57, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

I would suggest some additional material should be added to the "Renaissance" section;[edit]

Thus this is the last sentence as it stands now;

"By 1300, the Papal States, along with the rest of the Italian principalities, were effectively independent. During the Renaissance the Spanish Emperors fought wars over the Papal States, often against the Pope." Wow, it seems a lot of time is ignored here! How about the Sack of Rome by Charles V, etc.?

If you are telling a story, you do not ignore so many important events! This is, of course, only my humble opinion. (talk) 23:02, 31 January 2013 (UTC)Ronald L. Hughes

The "Origins" section needs cleaned up![edit]

Thus we read there;

"With the Christian emperorship of Constantine I, the Church's private property grew quickly through the donations of the pious and the wealthy; the Lateran Palace was the first significant donation, a gift of Constantine himself." As historians, you must know that the reported "conversion" of Constantine is the subject of much debate, especially charges of "forged documents", etc.! But your site, gives this event if indeed it ever occured, a "fait accomli!"

Perhaps it merely should be alleged? (talk) 23:19, 31 January 2013 (UTC)Ronald L. Hughes

I don't think any serious historians doubt that Constantine converted to Christianity. Also, Constantine's donation of the Lateran Palace to the church (which actually happened) is entirely different from his donation of all of central Italy (which never happened). --Jfruh (talk) 20:21, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Origins! Just suppose?[edit]

Found in the "Origins" section is this;

"It would, however, be wrong to suppose that all papal claims of secular jurisdiction, taxation and service, etc. were exactly defined, or that they applied with equal force all over a large region of central Italy, or that local warlords or others readily conceded obedience to Rome. This was no modern state yet, no equivalent to the contemporary strong monarchies of France or England. Force of tradition and forceful possession counted more than written deeds of donation. –D.S. Chambers[2]

And history be damned, there does exist the real facts that until the 19th century CE, there seems to be no "real" evidence of a prior unified Italy! (talk) 01:58, 1 February 2013 (UTC)Ronald L. Hughes


Should there be a list of the actual 'states or provinces'? Jackiespeel (talk) 11:16, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Papal States/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

==References== The main thing that this article lacks is its significant lack of sources. Despite this it is an article of good depth and breadth. With references i see no reson why this couldnt become a GA--Seddon69 15:21, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 15:21, 24 October 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 02:14, 30 April 2016 (UTC)