The Donation of Constantine

The Italian Papal States were acquired by the Church in 756 CE on the basis of a grant from Emporor Constantine. There’s only one problem: the document was a forgery. Unquestioned for centuries, Lorenzo Valla examined the documents in 1440 and found a few small problems: First, there was no recording of this gift; second, it referred Byzantia as a province–at the time it was only a city; and third, it referred to a non-existent Judea.

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