Era
Vol. 1: A seculo VI usque ad 803
Date
26th of June, 996
Place
Regestum

Emperor Otto III confirms the donation of six bishoprics to the Patriarchate of Aquileia issued by Charlemagne and donates three abbeys to the same Church.

Source
A = Udine, Archivio del Capitolo di Udine, Raccolta Pergamene, vol. 1 A, doc. 3.
Previous Editions
Theodor Sickel (ed.), Ottonis III diplomata / Die Urkunden Otto des III., Monumenta Germaniae historica, Diplomata regum et imperatorum Germaniae 2/2 (Hannover 1893), doc. 215, pp. 626–27.
FIM Edition
Diplomatic edition based on A.
Transcription

(SC) In nomine sanctae et individuę Trinitatis.

Otto divina favente clementia imperator augustus.

Si sanctae Dei religioni devotis nostraeque celsitudini supplicantibus nostrae dapsilitatis exuberantiam misericorditer exhibemus, ad nostri Imperii statum et, quod maxime huic supereminet, ad aeternae recompensationis nimis peroptabile commodum proficere minime diffidimus.

Omnium quapropter sanctae Dei Aecclesiae fidelium nostrorumque presentium scilicet ac futurorum comperiat multitudo, Iohannem venerabilem patriarcham sanctae Aquilegensis aecclesiae nostram humiliter imperialem implorasse celsitudinem, quatinus pro Dei amor[e nostr]aequea animae salute eidem sanctae aecclesiae confirmare atque largiri dignaremur per hoc nostrum preceptum sex episcopatus quos pię recordationis Carolus imperator augustus ei per suum concessit preceptum, et cuncta alia precepta ab ipso vel ab aliis nostris predecessoribus regibus sive imperatoribus prefatae sanctę Aquilegensi ęcclesiae collata vel confirmata.

Cuius siquidem iustis petitionibus superinflexi amore assensum prebentes et nostrorum predecessorumb precepta observantes confirmamus atque largimur iam dictae sanctae Aquilegensi aecclesiae atque Iohanni predicto venerabili patriarchae suisque successoribus suprascriptos episcopatus sex: unum videlicet Concordiensem, alium Utinensem, tertium illud qui apud Civitatem Novam Histriae constitutus esse noscitur, quartum vero Rugine[ns]emc, quintum Petenensem, sextum Tarsaticensem.

Volumus denique ac per has nostrae magnificentiae literas sancientes iubemus ut, sicut pretaxatus Karolus imperator constituit, in his prenominatis locis episcopos ordinandi ac regendi sive dandi nullus ius vel potestatem habere seu exercere aliquando presumat preter eum qui sanctae Aquilegensis aecclesiae gubernacula videbitur regere.

Preterea confirmamus atque per hanc nostram preceptalem paginam sepe dictae aecclesiae largimur tres abbatias: unam scilicetd sanctae Mariae de Organo, aliam Sextum vocatam, terciam vero quę dicitur de Valle, et omnia precepta antecessorum nostrorum regum vel imperatorum, una cum curtibus et castellis, villis, massariciis, venationibus, piscationibus, cum placitis, teloneis, erbatico, et cum omnibus aliis rebus mobilibus et immobilibus, et cum omn[i iure ae]ccl[esia]sticee amministrationis et conservationis.

Precipientes itaque iubemus ut nullus archiepiscopus, episcopus, dux, marchio, comes aut aliqua nostri Imperii magna vel parva persona prescriptae aecclesiae vel regentibus eam aliquam violentiam aut molestationem sive suarum rerum invasionem inferre presumat.

Si quis igitur hoc nostrae largitionis seu confirmationis preceptum nefarie inrumpere temptaverit, sciat se compositurum auri optimi libras mille, medietatem kamerę nostrae et medietatem prelibatę sanctae Aquilegens[i ae]cclesiae vel suis rectoribus.

Quod ut verius credatur et ab omnibus homibus in posterum firmius diligentiusque observetur, manu propria, ut infra videtur, corroborantes sigilli nostri impressione inferius eum iussimus insigniri.

Signum domni Ottonis (SM) serenissimi imperatoris augusti.

Heribertus cancellarius vice Petri episcopi et archicancellarii recognovit. (SI D).

Data VI kalendas iulii, anno Dominicae incarnationis DCCCCXCVI, indictione VIIII, anno vero tercii Ottonis regnantis [X]III, imperii autem eius primo.

Actum in Plistia1.

Feliciter, amen.

Critical apparatus

alac. A. b) predessorum leg. et ed. Sickel, sed perperam. clac. A. d) videlicet leg. et ed. Sickel. elac. A; sic em. Sickel.


1) For Plistia or Plestia, a place between Foligno and Camerino that is nowadays divided between Serravalle di Chienti and Foligno.

Mapped Toponyms

Selected Bibliography
Pier Silverio Leicht, “Il diploma ottoniano del 996 e i primordi di Udine,” Memorie storiche forogiuliesi (1911): pp. 1–8.
Pio Paschini, “Le vicende politiche e religiose del Friuli,” Nuovo archivio veneto 21/2 (1911): pp. 411–13.
Pio Paschini, Storia del Friuli, 3rd ed. (Udine 1975), p. 204–5.
Paolo Cammarosano, “L'alto medioevo: Verso la formazione regionale,” in Storia della società friulana: Il medioevo, ed. Paolo Cammarosano (Udine 1988), pp. 76–77.
Harald Krahwinkler, Friaul im Frühmittelalter: Geschichte einer Region vom Ende des Fünften bis zum Ende des zehnten Jahrhunderts (Vienna 1992) pp. 302-3.
Gaetano Benčić, “Culto dei santi patroni e costruzione dell’identità delle città costiere istriane nel Medioevo (X–XIV sec.)” in 7th Istrian History Biennale: Religio, fides, superstitiones...: Faith and Piety in the Adriatic Area, ed. Marija Mogorović Crljenko and Elena Uljančić (Poreč 2017), pp. 125–29.
Editor's Notes

The charter survives in original and there is no reason to doubt its authenticity. Charlemagne's charter that Otto III confirmed with this document is, however, a forgery, drawn up shortly before being presented to the emperor for confirmation (see it edited here and cf. the editor's comments).

Of the six mentioned bishoprics, only three of them can be confirmed as existing in the period: Concordia, Novigrad, and Pićan. The other two - Udine and Trsat - are only mentioned as bishoprics in this document (and in Charlemagne's forgery). Finally, Rovinj is mentioned in 1010 as "formerly a bishopric" by Pope Sergius IV (see the document here), perhaps alluding to the town's appropriated heritage of the former Bishopric of Cissa (cf. Benčić's account, cited above).

Many historians tried to argue on the basis of this charter that all six bishoprics indeed existed at some point in the Early Middle Ages, but such an interpretation cannot be supported by surviving primary sources.

Instead, Paolo Cammarosano (cited above), following the principles of Ockham's Razor, convincingly argued that the charter in question was merely programmatic and that Patriarch John IV planned an administrative reorganization of the ecclesiastical province of Aquileia.

Be that as it may, the reorganization ultimately failed as there is no historical evidence for the existence of the bishoprics in Rovinj, Udine, and Trsat.

Finally, the question regarding Trsat and the entire eastern shore of the Istrian peninsula, from Brseč to the River Rječina, remains open: did the entire region, including Trsat, belong to the Holy Roman Empire already at this point, or was it subjected, in temporalibus at least, to the neighboring Kingdom of Croatia and Dalmatia, as reported by the contemporary narrative account De administrando Imperio?

According to Benussi, the entire microregion from Brseč to the River Rječina was conquered by Charlemagne and annexed to the Empire; thus, the kings of Croatia and Dalmatia had no jurisdictions over these lands (Bernardo Benussi, "Tharsatica," Atti e memorie della Società istriana di archeologia e storia patria 33 (1921): pp. 145-188).

The editor has argued differently: based on De administrando Imperio and the fact that the political boundary of the March of Istria remained the Učka mountain range to the east deep into the 11th century (cf. this document), the imperial takeover of the entire microregion - the so-called Merania - is posited in the late 1070s and the Investiture Conflict (Josip Banić, "The mystery of Merania," Zgodovinski časopis 74/3-4 (2020): pp. 296-327; 75/1-2 (2021): 42-92).

If Trsat and the entire territory between the Učka mountain range and the River Rječina was already at this time subjected to the Empire, then Patriarch John IV only endeavored to reorganize the territory already under his metropolitan jurisdiction by erecting a new bishopric in Trsat (or reviving an ancient one). If, however, the territory was subjected to the kings of Croatia and Dalmatia, then Patriarch John IV planned a jurisdictional expansion of his Church over the lands of the neighboring Kingdom of Croatia and Dalmatia. The fact that the neighboring Venice, the paladin of the extremely inimical Patriarchate of Grado, was subjecting the islands and cities of Dalmatia during the same period (John the Deacon, Istoria Veneticorum, book 4, chaps. 49-54) would definitively motivate such a plan.

How to Cite
First citation: Josip Banic (ed.), Fontes Istrie medievalis, vol. 2: A 804 usque ad 1077, doc. 996_OA, fontesistrie.eu/996_OA (last access: date).
Subsequent citations: FIM, 2: doc. 996_OA.
Facsimile

The facsimile of A is to be published here pending the official approval of Archivio del Capitolo di Udine.