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Title: The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 5

Author: Various

Release Date: November 20, 2003 [eBook #10151]

Language: English

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An Outline Narrative of the Great Events, CHARLES F. HORNE

Feudalism: Its Frankish Birth and English Development (9th to 12th Century), WILLIAM STUBBS

Decay of the Frankish Empire Division into Modern France, Germany, and Italy (A.D. 843-911), FRANÇOIS P. G. GUIZOT

Career of Alfred the Great (A.D. 871-901), THOMAS HUGHES, JOHN R. GREEN

Henry the Fowler Founds the Saxon Line of German Kings, Origin of the German Burghers or Middle Classes (A.D. 911-936), WOLFGANG MENZEL

Conquest of Egypt by the Fatimites (A.D. 969), STANLEY LANE-POOLE

Growth and Decadence of Chivalry (10th to 15th Century), LÉON GAUTIER

Conversion of Vladimir the Great, Introduction of Christianity into Russia (A.D. 988-1015), A. N. MOURAVIEFF

Leif Ericson Discovers America (A.D. 1000), CHARLES C. RAFN, SAGA OF ERIC THE RED

Mahometans In India, Bloody Invasions under Mahmud (A.D. 1000), ALEXANDER DOW

Canute Becomes King of England (A.D. 1017), DAVID HUME

Henry III Deposes the Popes (A.D. 1048), The German Empire Controls the Papacy, FERDINAND GREGOROVIUS, JOSEPH DARRAS

Dissension and Separation of the Greek and Roman Churches (A.D. 1054), HENRY F. TOZER, JOSEPH DEHARBE

Norman Conquest of England, Battle of Hastings (A.D. 1066), SIR EDWARD S. CREASY

Triumphs of Hildebrand, "The Turning-point of the Middle Ages", Henry IV Begs for Mercy at Canossa (A.D. 1073-1085), ARTHUR R. PENNINGTON, ARTAUD DE MONTOR

Completion of the Domesday Book (A.D. 1086), CHARLES KNIGHT

Decline of the Moorish Power in Spain, Growth and Decay of the Almoravide and Almohade Dynasties (A.D. 1086-1214), S.A. DUNHAM

The First Crusade (A.D. 1096-1099), SIR GEORGE W. COX

Foundation of the Order of Knights Templars (A.D. 1118), CHARLES G. ADDISON

Stephen Usurps the English Crown, His Conflicts with Matilda, Decisive Influence of the Church (A.D. 1135-1154), CHARLES KNIGHT

Antipapal Democratic Movement, Arnold of Brescia, St. Bernard and the Second Crusade (A.D. 1145-1155), JOHANN A. W. NEANDER

Decline of the Byzantine Empire, Ravages of Roger of Sicily (A.D. 1146), GEORGE FINLAY

Universal Chronology (A.D. 843-1161), JOHN RUDD




The three centuries which follow the downfall of the empire of Charlemagne laid the foundations of modern Europe, and made of it a world wholly different, politically, socially, and religiously, from that which had preceded it. In the careers of Greece and Rome we saw exemplified the results of two sharply opposing tendencies of the Aryan mind, the one toward individualism and separation, the other toward self-subordination and union.

In the time of Charlemagne's splendid successes it appeared settled that the second of these tendencies was to guide the Teutonic Aryans, that the Europe of the future was to be a single empire, ever pushing out its borders as Rome had done, ever subduing its weaker neighbors, until the "Teutonic peace" should be substituted for the shattered "Roman peace," soldiers should be needed only for the duties of police, and a whole civilized world again obey the rule of a single man.

Instead of this, the race has since followed a destiny of separation. Europe is divided into many countries, each of them a vast camp bristling with armies and arsenals. Civilization has continued hag-ridden by war even to our own day, and, during at least seven hundred of the years that followed Charlemagne, mankind made no greater progress in the arts and sciences than the ancients had sometimes achieved in a single century. We do indeed believe that at last we have entered on an age of rapid advance, that individualism has justified itself. The wider personal liberty of to-day is worth all that the race has suffered for it. Yet the retardation of wellnigh a thousand years has surely been a giant price to pay.


This mighty change in the course of Teutonic destiny, this breakdown of the Frankish empire, was wrought by two destroying forces, one from within, one from without. From within came the insubordination, the still savage love of combat, the natural turbulence of the race. It is conceivable that, had Charlemagne been followed on the throne by a son and then a grandson as mighty as he and his immediate ancestors, the course of the whole broad earth would have been altered. The Franks would have grown accustomed to obey; further conquest abroad would have insured peace at home; the imperial power would have become strong as in Roman days, when the most feeble emperors could not be shaken. But the descendants of Charlemagne sank into a decline. He himself had directed the fighting energy of the Franks against foreign enemies. His son and successor had no taste for war, and so allowed his idle subjects time to quarrel with him and with one another. The next generation, under the grandsons of Charlemagne, devoted their entire lives to repeated and furious civil wars, in which the empire fell apart, the flower of the Frankish race perished, and the strength of its dominion was sapped to nothingness.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Decay of Frankish Empire, page 22.]

There were three of these grandsons, and, when their struggle had left them thoroughly exhausted, they divided the empire into three. Their treaty of Verdun (843) is often quoted as beginning the modern kingdoms of Germany, France, and Italy. The division was in some sense a natural one, emphasized by differences of language and of race. Italy was peopled by descendants of the ancient Italians, with a thin intermingling of Goths and Lombards; France held half-Romanized Gauls, with a very considerable percentage of the Frankish blood; while Germany was far more barbaric than the other regions. Its people, whether Frank or Saxon, were all pure Teuton, and still spoke in their Teutonic or German tongue.

The Franks themselves, however, did not regard this as a breaking of their empire. They looked on it as merely a family affair, an arrangement made for the convenience of government among the descendants of the great Charles. So firm had been that mighty hero's grasp upon the national imagination, that the Franks accepted as matter of course that his family should bear rule, and rallied round the various worthless members of it with rather pathetic loyalty, fighting for them one against the other, reuniting and redividing the various fragments of the empire, until the feeble Carlovingian race died out completely.

It is thus evident that there was a strong tendency toward union among the Franks. But there was also an outside influence to disrupt their empire. Charlemagne had not carried far enough their career of conquest. He subdued the Teutons within the limits of Germany, but he did not reach their weaker Scandinavian brethren to the north, the Danes and Norsemen. He chastised the Avars, a vague non-Aryan people east of Germany, but he could not make provision against future Asiatic swarms. He humbled the Arabs in Spain, but he did not break their African dominion. From all these sources, as the Franks grew weaker instead of stronger, their lands became exposed to new invasion.


Let us take a moment to trace the fortunes of these outside races, though the main destiny of the future still lay with Teutonic Europe.

In speaking of the followers of Mahomet, we might perhaps at this period better drop the term Arabs, and call them Saracens. They were thus known to the Christians; and their conquests had drawn in their train so many other peoples that in truth there was little pure Arab blood left among them. The Saracens, then, had begun to lose somewhat of their intense fanaticism. Feuds broke out among them. Different chiefs established different kingdoms or "caliphates," whose dominion became political rather than religious. Spain had one ruler, Egypt[2] another, Asia a third. In the eleventh century an army of Saracens invaded India[3] and added that strange and ancient land to their domain. Europe they had failed to conquer; but their fleets commanded the Mediterranean. They held all its islands, Sicily, Crete, Sardinia, and Corsica. They plundered the coast towns of France and Italy. There was a Saracenic ravaging of Rome.

[Footnote 2: See Conquest of Egypt by the Fatimites, page 94.]

[Footnote 3: See Mahometans in India, page 151.]

On the whole, however, the wave of Mahometan conquest receded. In Spain the remnants of the Christian population, Visigoths, Romans, and still older peoples, pressed their way down from their old-time, secret mountain retreats and began driving the Saracens southward.[4] The decaying Roman Empire of the East still resisted the Mahometan attack; Constantinople remained a splendid city, type and picture of what the ancient world had been.

[Footnote 4: See Decline of the Moorish Power in Spain, page 296.]

While the Saracens were thus laying waste the Frankish empire along its Mediterranean coasts, a more dangerous enemy was assailing it from the east. Toward the end of the ninth century the Magyars, an Asiatic, Turanian people, burst on Europe, as the Huns had done five centuries before. Indeed, the Christians called these later comers Huns also, and told of them the same extravagant tales of terror. The land which the Magyars settled was called Hungary. They dwell there and possess it even to this day, the only instance of a Turanian people having permanently established themselves in an Aryan continent and at the expense of Aryan neighbors.

From Hungary the Magyars soon advanced to the German border line, and made fierce plundering inroads upon the more civilized regions beyond. They came on horseback, so that the slower Teutons could never gather quickly enough to resist them. The marauding parties, as they learned the wealth and weakness of this new land, grew bigger, until at length they were armies, and defeated the German Franks in pitched battles, and spread desolation through all the country. They returned now every year. Their ravages extended even to the Rhine and to the ancient Gallic land beyond. The Frankish empire seemed doomed to reënact, in a smaller, far more savage way, the fate of Rome.

Yet more widespread in destruction, more important in result than the raids of either Saracens or Magyars, were those of the Scandinavians or Northmen. These, the latest, and perhaps therefore the finest, flower of the Teutonic stock, are closer to us and hence better known than the early Goths or Franks. Shut off in their cold northern peninsulas and islands, they had grown more slowly, it may be, than their southern brethren. Now they burst suddenly on the world with spectacular dramatic effect, wild, fierce, and splendid conquerors, as keen of intellect and quick of wit as they were strong of arm and daring of adventure.

We see them first as sea-robbers, pirates, venturing even in Charlemagne's time to plunder the German and French coasts. One tribe of them, the Danes, had already been harrying England and Ireland. Only Alfred,[5] by heroic exertions, saved a fragment of his kingdom from them. Later, under Canute,[6] they become its kings. The Northmen penetrate Russia and appear as rulers of the strange Slavic tribes there; they settle in Iceland, Greenland, and even distant and unknown America.[7]

[Footnote 5: See Career of Alfred the Great.]

[Footnote 6: See Canute Becomes King of England.]

[Footnote 7: Leif Ericson Discovers America.]

Meanwhile, after Charlemagne's death they become a main factor in the downfall of his empire. Year after year their little ships plunder the undefended French coast, until it is abandoned to them and becomes a desert. They build winter camps at the river mouths, so that in the spring they need lose less time and can hurry inland after their retreating prey. Sudden in attack, strong in defence, they venture hundreds of miles up the winding waterways. Paris is twice attacked by them and must fight for life. They penetrate so far up the Loire as to burn Orleans.

It was under stress of all these assaults that the Franks, grown too feeble to defend themselves as Charlemagne would have done, by marching out and pursuing the invaders to their own homes, developed instead a system of defence which made the Middle Ages what they were. All central authority seemed lost; each little community was left to defend itself as best it might. So the local chieftain built himself a rude fortress, which in time became a towered castle; and thither the people fled in time of danger. Each man looked up to and swore faith to this, his own chief, his immediate protector, and took little thought of a distant and feeble king or emperor. Occasionally, of course, a stronger lord or king bestirred himself, and demanded homage of these various petty chieftains. They gave him such service as they wished or as they must. This was the "feudal system."[8]

[Footnote 8: See Feudalism: Its Frankish Birth and English Development.]

The inclination of each lesser lord was obviously to assert as much independence as he could. He naturally objected to paying money or service without benefit received; and he could see no good that this "overlord" did for him or for his district. It seemed likely at this time that instead of being divided into three kingdoms, the Frankish empire would split into thousands of little castled states.

That is, it seemed so, after the various marauding nations were disposed of. The Northmen were pacified by presenting them outright with the coast lands they had most harried. Their great leader, Rolf, accepted the territory with some vague and ill-kept promise of vassalage to the French King, and with a very firmly held determination that he would let no pirates ravage his land or cross it to reach others. So the French coast became Normandy, and the Northmen learned the tongue and manners of their new home, and softened their harsh name to "Norman," even as they softened their harsh ways, and rapidly became the most able and most cultured of Frenchmen.

As for the Saracens, being unprogressive and no longer enthusiastic, they grew ever feebler, while the Italian cities, being Aryan and left to themselves, grew strong. At length their fleets met those of the Saracens on equal terms, and defeated them, and gradually wrested from them the control of the Mediterranean. Invaders were thus everywhere met as they came, locally. There was no general gathering of the Frankish forces against them.

The repulse of the Huns proved the hardest matter of all. Fortunately for the Germans, their line of Carlovingian emperors died out. So the various dukes and counts, practically each an independent sovereign, met and elected a king from among themselves, not really to rule them, but to enable them to unite against the Huns. After their first elected king had been soundly beaten by one of his dukes, he died, and in their next choice they had the luck to light upon a leader really great. Henry the Fowler, more honorably known as Henry the City-builder,[9] taught them how to defeat their foe.

[Footnote 9: See Henry the Fowler Founds the Saxon Line of German Kings.]

Much to the disgust of his simple and war-hardened comrades, he first sent to the Hungarians and purchased peace and paid them tribute. Having thus secured a temporary respite, Henry encouraged and aided his people in building walled cities all along the frontier. He also planned to meet the invaders on equal terms by training his warriors to fight on horseback. He instituted tournaments and created an order of knighthood, and is thus generally regarded as the founder of chivalry, that fairest fruit of mediaeval times, which did so much to preserve honor and tenderness and respect for womankind.[10]

[Footnote 10: See Growth and Decadence of Chivalry.]

When he felt all prepared, Henry deliberately defied and insulted the Hungarians, and so provoked from them a combined national invasion, which he met and completely overthrew in the battle of Merseburg (933). A generation later the Huns felt themselves strong enough to try again; but Henry's son, Otto the Great, repeated the chastisement. He then formed a boundary colony or "East-mark" from which sprang Austria; and this border kingdom was always able to keep the weakened Huns in check.

At the same time there was growing up in Russia a Slavic civilization, which received Christianity[11] from the South as it had received Teutonic dominion from the North, and so developed along very similar lines to Western Europe. The Russian states served as a barrier against later Asiatic hordes; and this, combined with the civilizing of the last remnants of the Scandinavians in the North, and the fading of Saracenic power in the South, left the tottering civilization of the West free from further barbarian invasion. We shall find destruction threatened again in later ages by Tartar and by Turk; but the intruders never reach beyond the frontier. The Teutons and the half-Romanized ancients with whom they had assimilated were left to work out their own problems. All the ingredients, even to the last, the Northmen, had been poured into the caldron. There remains to see what the intermingling has brought forth.

[Footnote 11: See Conversion of Vladimir the Great.]


We have here, then, somewhere about the middle of the tenth century, a date which may be regarded as marking a distinctly new era. The ceaseless work of social organization and improvement, which seems so strong an instinct of the Aryan mind, had been recommenced again and again from under repeated deluges of barbarism. To-day for nearly a thousand years it has progressed uninterrupted, except by disturbances from within; nor does it appear possible, with our present knowledge of science and of the remoter corners of the globe, that our civilization will ever again be even menaced by the other races.

Chronologists frequently adopt as a convenient starting-point for this modern development the year 962, in which Otto the Great, conqueror of the Huns, felt himself strong enough to march a German army to Rome and assume there the title of emperor, which had been long in abeyance. To be sure, there was still an Emperor of the East in Constantinople, but nobody thought of him; and, to be sure, the power of Otto and the later emperors was purely German, with scarce a pretence of extending beyond their own country and sometimes Italy. Yet here was at least one restored influence that made toward unity and, by its own devious and erratic ways, toward peace.

It must not be supposed, of course, that there was no more war. But, as it became a private affair between relatives, or at least acquaintances, its ravages were greatly reduced. It was accepted as the "pastime of gentlemen," "the sport of kings;" and though we may quote the phrases to-day with kindling sarcasm, yet they open a very different vision from that of the older inroads by unknown hordes, frenzied with the passion and the purpose of the brute. The usefulness of the common people was recognized, and they were allowed to continue to live and cultivate the ground; while all the great dukes and even the lesser nobles, having secured as many castles as possible, intrenched themselves in their strongholds and defied all comers.

They asserted their right of "private war" and attacked each other upon every conceivable provocation, whether it were the disputed succession to some vast estate or the ravage spread by a reckless cow in a foreign field. Indeed, it is not always easy to distinguish these private wars from mere robberies or plundering expeditions; and it is not probable that the wild barons exercised any very delicate discrimination. Even Otto the Great had little real influence or authority over such lords as these. His immediate successors found themselves with even less.

In short, it was the golden age of feudalism, of the individual feudal lords. In Italy there was no central authority whatever, nor among the little Christian states gradually arising in Spain. In France and England the title of king was but a name. France was really composed of a dozen or more independent counties and dukedoms. For a while its lords elected a king as the Germans did; and gradually the title became hereditary in the Capet family, the counts of Paris, who had fought most valiantly against the Northmen. But the entire power of these so-called kings lay in their own estates, in the fact that they were counts of Paris, and by marriage or by force were slowly adding new possessions to their old. Any other noble might have been equally fortunate in his investments, and wrested from them their purely honorary title. In fact, there was more than once a king of Aquitaine.

Yet, in 1066, William the Conqueror was able to form for a moment a strong and centralized monarchy in England.[12] With him we reach the period of the second Northmen, or now Norman, outbreak. The marauders had grown polished, but not peaceful, in their French home. They had become more numerous and more restless, until we find them again taking to their ships and seeking newer lands to master. Only they go now as a civilizing as well as a devastating influence.

[Footnote 12: See Norman Conquest of England.]

Most famed of their undertakings, of course, was William's Conquest of England. But we find them also sailing along the Spanish coast, entering the Mediterranean, seizing the Balearic Isles, making out of Sicily and most of Southern Italy a kingdom which lasted until 1860, and finally ravaging the Eastern Empire, and entering Constantinople itself.[13] Last and mightiest of the wandering races, they accomplished what all their predecessors had failed to do.

[Footnote 13: See Decline of the Byzantine Empire, page 353.]

In England, William, with the shrewdness of his race, recognized the tendencies of the age, and erected a state so planned that there could be no question as to who was master. He gave fiefs liberally to his followers; but he took care that the gifts should be in small and scattered parcels. No one man controlled any region sufficiently extensive to give him the faintest chance of defying the King. William had the famous Domesday Book[14] compiled, that he might know just what every freeman in his dominions owned and for what he could be held accountable. The England of the later days of the Conqueror seemed far advanced upon our modern ways.

[Footnote 14: See Completion of the Domesday Book, page 242.]

But what can one man, however able and advanced, do against the current of his age? History shows us constantly that the great reformers have been those who felt and followed the general feeling of their times, who became mouthpieces for the great mass of thought and effort behind them, not those who struggled against the tide. William's successors failed to comprehend what he had done, or why. By the time of Stephen (1135)[15] we find the barons of England wellnigh as powerful as those of other lands. A civil war arises in which Stephen and his rival Matilda are scarce more than pawns upon the board. The lords shift sides at will, retreat to safety in their strong castles, plunder the common folk, and make private war quite as they please.

[Footnote 15: See Stephen Usurps the English Crown, page 317.]

If any sage before the reign of the Emperor Barbarossa, that is, before the middle of the twelfth century, had studied to predict the course of society, he would probably have said that the empire was wholly destroyed, and that the principle of separation was becoming ever more insistent, that even kings were mere fading relics of the past, and that the future world would soon see every lordship an independent state.


Amid all this turmoil of the upper classes, one would like much to know what was the condition, what the lives, of the common people. Unfortunately, the data are very slight. We see dimly the peasant staring from his field as the armed knights ride by; we see him fleeing to the shelter of the forests before more savage bandits. We see the people of the cities drawing together, building walls around their towns, and defying in their turn their so-called "overlords." We see Henry the City-builder thus become champion of the lower classes, despite the strenuous warning of his conservative and not wholly disinterested barons. We see shadowy troops of armed merchants drift along the unsafe roads. And, most interesting perhaps of all, we see one Arnold of Brescia,[16] an Italian monk, advocating a democracy, actually urging a return to what he supposed early Rome to have been, a government by the masses. Arnold, too, you see, was in advance of his time. He was executed by the advice of even so good and wise a man as St. Bernard. But the principle of modern life was there, the germ seems to have been planted. These humble people of the cities, "citizens," grow to be rulers of the world.

[Footnote 16: See Antipapal Democratic Movement page 340.]

There was a revival, too, of learning in this quieter age. Schools and universities become clearly visible. Abelard teaches at the great University of Paris, lectures to "forty thousand students," if one chooses to believe in such carrying power of his voice, or such radiating power of his influence at second hand through those who heard.

The arts spring up, great cathedrals are begun, the wonder and despair of even twentieth-century resources. Royal ladies work on tapestries, queer things in their way, but certainly not barbaric. Musical notation is improved. Manuscripts are gorgeously illumined. Paintings and mosaics, though of the crudest, reappear on long-barren walls. Civilization begins to advance with increasing stride.


Of all the influences that through these wandering and desolate ages had sustained humanity and helped it onward, the mightiest has been left to speak of last. It was Christianity, a Christianity which had by now taken definite form as the Roman Catholic Church. Strongest of all the institutions bequeathed by the ancient empire to her conquerors was this Church. Indeed, it has been said that Rome had influenced Christianity quite as much as Christianity did Rome. The legal-minded Romans insisted on the laying out of exact doctrines and creeds, on the building of a definite organization, a priesthood, a hierarchy. They lent the weight of law to what had been but individual belief and impulse. Thus the Church grew hard and strong.

In the same manner that the early emperors had ordered the persecution of Christianity, so the later ones ordered the persecution of heathendom, nor had the Church grown civilized or Christian enough to oppose this method of conversion. Luckily for all parties, however, the heathen were scarce sufficiently enthusiastic to insist on martyrdom, and so the persecuting spirit which man ultimately imparted to even the purest of religions remained latent.

With the downfall of Rome there came another interval in which the Church was weak, and was trampled on by barbarians, and was heroic. Then the bishops of Rome joined forces with Pépin and Charlemagne. Christianity became physically powerful again. The Saxons were converted by the sword. So, also, in Henry the Fowler's time, were the Slavic Wends. These Roman bishops, or "popes," were accepted unquestioned throughout Western Europe as the leaders of a militant Christianity, a position never after denied them until the sixteenth century. In the East, however, the bishops of Constantinople insisted on an equal, if not higher, authority, and so the two churches broke apart.[17]

[Footnote 17: See Dissension and Separation of the Greek and Roman Churches.]

In the West, Christianity undoubtedly did great good. Its teachings, though applied by often fallible instruments and in blundering ways, yet never completely lost sight of their own higher meanings of mercy and peace. From the Abbey of Cluny originated that quaint mediaeval idea of the "truce of God," by which nobles were very widely persuaded to restrict their private wars to the middle of the week, and reserve at least Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as days of brotherly love and religious devotion. The Church also, from very early days, founded monasteries, wherein learning and the knowledge of the past were kept alive, where pity continued to exist, where the oppressed found refuge. It is from these monasteries that all the arts and scholarship of the eleventh century begin dimly to emerge.

Moreover, the fact that the Teutons were all of a common religion undoubtedly held them much closer together, made them more merciful among themselves, more nearly a unit against the outside world. Perhaps in this respect more important even than the religion was the Church; that is, the hierarchy, the vast army of monks and priests, abbots and bishops, spread over all kingdoms, yet looking always toward Rome. Here at least was one common centre for Western civilization, one mighty influence that all men acknowledged, that all to some faint extent obeyed.


The power thus concentrating in the Roman papacy made the office one to attract eager ambition. It has a political history of its own. At first the Christian populace that continued to dwell in Rome despite the repeated spoliations, elected, from among themselves, their own pope or bishop, regarding him not only as their spiritual guide, but as their earthly leader and protector also. Naturally, in their distress, they chose the very ablest man they could, their wisest and their noblest. It was no pleasant task being pope in those dark days; and sometimes the bravest shrank from the position.

But centuries of war and self-defence developed a Roman populace more fierce and savage and degenerate, while the growing importance of their pope beyond the city's walls brought wealth and splendor to his office. The result was that some very unsaintly popes were elected amid unseemly squabbles. The conditions surrounding the high office became so bad that they were felt as a disgrace throughout all Christendom; and in 1046 the German emperor Henry III took upon himself to depose three fiercely contending Romans, each claiming to be pope. He appointed in their stead a candidate of his own, not a dweller in the city at all, but a German. Henry, therefore, must have considered the duties of the pope as bishop of the Romans to be far less important than his duties as head of the Church outside of Rome.[18]

[Footnote 18: See Henry III Deposes the Popes.]

So necessary had this interference by the Emperor become that it was everywhere approved. Yet as he continued to appoint pope after pope, churchmen realized that in the hands of an evil emperor this method of securing their head might prove quite as dangerous and unsatisfactory as the former one. So the Church took the matter in hand and declared that a conclave of its own highest officials should thereafter choose the man who was to lead them.

Under this surely more suitable arrangement, the papal office rose at once in dignity. It was held for a time by true leaders, earnest prelates of the highest worth and ability. We have said that the rank of the bishop of Rome as head of the Church had never been seriously questioned among the Teutons; but now the popes asserted a political authority as well. They regarded themselves, theoretically, as supreme heads of the entire Christian world. They claimed and even partly exercised the right to create and depose kings and emperors. To such a supremacy as this, however, the Teutons were still too rude and warlike to submit. Much is made of the fact that the Emperor Henry IV was compelled to come as a suppliant to Pope Gregory at Canossa, 1077.[19] But this submission was only forced on him by quarrels with his barons, who welcomed the Pope as a chance ally. It proved the power of feudalism rather than that of religion. Still we may trace here the beginnings of a later day when spirit was really to dominate bodily force, when ideas should prove stronger than swords.

[Footnote 19: See Triumphs of Hildebrand.]


Under these aroused and able popes, the Western world was stirred to the first widespread religious enthusiasm since the ancient days of persecution. Jerusalem, long in the hands of a tolerant sect of Saracens who welcomed the coming of Christian worshippers as a source of revenue, was captured in 1075 by another more fanatic Mahometan sect, and word came back to Europe that pilgrimage was stopped.

The crusades followed. A great mass of warriors from every nation of the West, men who certainly had never intended to go on pilgrimage themselves, were roused to what seems a somewhat perverse anger of religious devotion. Under the lead of Godfrey of Bouillon they marched eastward, saw the wonders of Constantinople, marvellous indeed to their ruder eyes, defeated the sultans of Asia Minor and of Antioch, and ended by storming Jerusalem, and erecting there a Christian kingdom where Mahometanism had ruled for nearly five hundred years.[20]

[Footnote 20: See The First Crusade, page 276.]

Of course, a great flow of pilgrims followed them. Religious orders of knighthood were formed[21] to help defend the shrine of Christ and to extend Christian conquest farther through the surrounding regions. Travel began again. Europe, after having forgotten Asia for seven centuries, was introduced once more to its languor, its splendor, and its vices. The Aryan peoples had at last filled full their little world of Western Europe. They had reached among themselves a state of law and union, confused and weak, perhaps, yet secure enough to enable them once more to overflow their boundaries and become again the aggressive, intrusive race we have seen them in earlier days.

[Footnote 21: See Foundation of the Order of Knights Templars, page 301.]




That social system—however varying in different times and places—in which ownership of land is the basis of authority is known in history as feudalism. From the time of Clovis, the Frankish King, who died in A.D. 511, the progress of the Franks in civilization was slow, and for more than two centuries they spent their energies mainly in useless wars. But Charles Martel and his son, Pépin the Short—the latter dying in 768—built up a kingdom which Charlemagne erected into a powerful empire. Under the predecessors of Charlemagne the beginnings of feudalism, which are very obscure, may be said vaguely to appear. Charles Martel had to buy the services of his nobles by granting them lands, and although he and Pépin strengthened the royal power, which Charlemagne still further increased, under the weak rulers who followed them the forces of the incipient feudalism again became active, and the State was divided into petty countships and dukedoms almost independent of the king.

The gift of land by the king in return for feudal services was called a feudal grant, and the land so given was termed a "feud" or "fief." In the course of time fiefs became hereditary. Lands were also sometimes usurped or otherwise obtained by subjects, who thereby became feudal lords. By a process called "subinfeudation," lands were granted in parcels to other men by those who received them from the king or otherwise, and by these lower landholders to others again; and as the first recipient became the vassal of the king and the suzerain of the man who held next below him, there was created a regular descending scale of such vassalage and suzerainty, in which each man's allegiance was directly due to his feudal lord, and not to the king himself. From the king down to the lowest landholder all were bound together by obligation of service and defence; the lord to protect his vassal, the vassal to do service to his lord.

These are the essential features of the social system which, from its early growth under the later Carlovingians in the ninth century, spread over Europe and reached its highest development in the twelfth century. At a time midway between these periods it was carried by the Norman Conquest into England. The history of this system of distinctly Frankish origin—a knowledge of which is absolutely essential to a proper understanding of history and the evolution of our present social system—is told by Stubbs with that discernment and thoroughness of analysis which have given him his rank as one of the few masterly writers in this field.

Feudalism had grown up from two great sources—the beneficium, and the practice of commendation—and had been specially fostered on Gallic soil by the existence of a subject population which admitted of any amount of extension in the methods of dependence.

The beneficiary system originated partly in gifts of land made by the kings out of their own estates to their kinsmen and servants, with a special undertaking to be faithful; partly in the surrender by land-owners of their estates to churches or powerful men, to be received back again and held by them as tenants for rent or service. By the latter arrangement the weaker man obtained the protection of the stronger, and he who felt himself insecure placed his title under the defence of the church.

By the practice of commendation, on the other hand, the inferior put himself under the personal care of a lord, but without altering his title or divesting himself of his right to his estate; he became a vassal and did homage. The placing of his hands between those of his lord was the typical act by which the connection was formed; and the oath of fealty was taken at the same time. The union of the beneficiary tie with that of commendation completed the idea of feudal obligation—the twofold engagement: that of the lord, to defend; and that of the vassal, to be faithful. A third ingredient was supplied by the grants of immunity by which in the Frank empire, as in England, the possession of land was united with the right of judicature; the dwellers on a feudal property were placed under the tribunal of the lord, and the rights which had belonged to the nation or to its chosen head were devolved upon the receiver of a fief. The rapid spread of the system thus originated, and the assimilation of all other tenures to it, may be regarded as the work of the tenth century; but as early as A.D. 877 Charles the Bald recognized the hereditary character of all benefices; and from that year the growth of strictly feudal jurisprudence may be held to date.

The system testifies to the country and causes of its birth. The beneficium is partly of Roman, partly of German origin; in the Roman system the usufruct—the occupation of land belonging to another person—involved no diminution of status; in the Germanic system he who tilled land that was not his own was imperfectly free; the reduction of a large Roman population to dependence placed the two classes on a level, and conduced to the wide extension of the institution.

Commendation, on the other hand, may have had a Gallic or Celtic origin, and an analogy only with the Roman clientship. The German comitatus, which seems to have ultimately merged its existence in one or other of these developments, is of course to be carefully distinguished in its origin from them. The tie of the benefice or of commendation could be formed between any two persons whatever; none but the king could have antrustions. But the comitatus of Anglo-Saxon history preserved a more distinct existence, and this perhaps was one of the causes that distinguished the later Anglo-Saxon system most definitely from the feudalism of the Frank empire.

The process by which the machinery of government became feudalized, although rapid, was gradual.

The weakness of the Carlovingian kings and emperors gave room for the speedy development of disruptive tendencies in a territory so extensive and so little consolidated. The duchies and counties of the eighth and ninth centuries were still official magistracies, the holders of which discharged the functions of imperial judges or generals. Such officers were of course men whom the kings could trust, in most cases Franks, courtiers or kinsmen, who at an earlier date would have been comites or antrustions, and who were provided for by feudal benefices. The official magistracy had in itself the tendency to become hereditary, and when the benefice was recognized as heritable, the provincial governorship became so too. But the provincial governor had many opportunities of improving his position, especially if he could identify himself with the manners and aspirations of the people he ruled. By marriage or inheritance he might accumulate in his family not only the old allodial estates which, especially on German soil, still continued to subsist, but the traditions and local loyalties which were connected with the possession of them. So in a few years the Frank magistrate could unite in his own person the beneficiary endowment, the imperial deputation, and the headship of the nation over which he presided. And then it was only necessary for the central power to be a little weakened, and the independence of duke or count was limited by his homage and fealty alone, that is, by obligations that depended on conscience only for their fulfilment.

It is in Germany that the disruptive tendency most distinctly takes the political form; Saxony and Bavaria assert their national independence under Swabian and Saxon dukes who have identified the interests of their subjects with their own. In France, where the ancient tribal divisions had been long obsolete, and where the existence of the allod involved little or no feeling of loyalty, the process was simpler still; the provincial rulers aimed at practical rather than political sovereignty; the people were too weak to have any aspirations at all. The disruption was due more to the abeyance of central attraction than to any centrifugal force existing in the provinces. But the result was the same; feudal government, a graduated system of jurisdiction based on land tenure, in which every lord judged, taxed, and commanded the class next below him, of which abject slavery formed the lowest, and irresponsible tyranny the highest grade, and private war, private coinage, private prisons, took the place of the imperial institutions of government.

This was the social system which William the Conqueror and his barons had been accustomed to see at work in France. One part of it—the feudal tenure of land—was perhaps the only kind of tenure which they could understand; the king was the original lord, and every title issued mediately or immediately from him. The other part, the governmental system of feudalism, was the point on which sooner or later the duke and his barons were sure to differ. Already the incompatibility of the system with the existence of the strong central power had been exemplified in Normandy, where the strength of the dukes had been tasked to maintain their hold on the castles and to enforce their own high justice. Much more difficult would England be to retain in Norman hands if the new king allowed himself to be fettered by the French system.

On the other hand the Norman barons would fain rise a step in the social scale answering to that by which their duke had become a king; and they aspired to the same independence which they had seen enjoyed by the counts of Southern and Eastern France. Nor was the aspiration on their part altogether unreasonable; they had joined in the Conquest rather as sharers in the great adventure than as mere vassals of the duke, whose birth they despised as much as they feared his strength. William, however, was wise and wary as well as strong. While, by the insensible process of custom, or rather by the mere assumption that feudal tenure of land was the only lawful and reasonable one, the Frankish system of tenure was substituted for the Anglo-Saxon, the organization of government on the same basis was not equally a matter of course.

The Conqueror himself was too strong to suffer that organization to become formidable in his reign, but neither the brutal force of William Rufus nor the heavy and equal pressure of the government of Henry I could extinguish the tendency toward it. It was only after it had, under Stephen, broken out into anarchy and plunged the whole nation in misery; when the great houses founded by the barons of the Conquest had suffered forfeiture or extinction; when the Normans had become Englishmen under the legal and constitutional reforms of Henry II—that the royal authority, in close alliance with the nation, was enabled to put an end to the evil.

William the Conqueror claimed the crown of England as the chosen heir of Edward the Confessor. It was a claim which the English did not admit, and of which the Normans saw the fallacy, but which he himself consistently maintained and did his best to justify. In that claim he saw not only the justification of the Conquest in the eyes of the church, but his great safeguard against the jealous and aggressive host by whose aid he had realized it; therefore, immediately after the battle of Hastings he proceeded to seek the national recognition of its validity. He obtained it from the divided and dismayed witan with no great trouble, and was crowned by the archbishop of York—the most influential and patriotic among them—binding himself by the constitutional promises of justice and good laws. Standing before the altar at Westminster, "in the presence of the clergy and people he promised with an oath that he would defend God's holy churches and their rulers; that he would, moreover, rule the whole people subject to him with righteousness and royal providence; would enact and hold fast right law and utterly forbid rapine and unrighteous judgments." The form of election and acceptance was regularly observed and the legal position of the new King completed before he went forth to finish the Conquest.

Had it not been for this the Norman host might have fairly claimed a division of the land such as the Danes had made in the ninth century. But to the people who had recognized William it was but just that the chance should be given them of retaining what was their own. Accordingly, when the lands of all those who had fought for Harold were confiscated, those who were willing to acknowledge William were allowed to redeem theirs, either paying money at once or giving hostages for the payment. That under this redemption lay the idea of a new title to the lands redeemed may be regarded as questionable. The feudal lawyer might take one view, and the plundered proprietor another. But if charters of confirmation or regrant were generally issued on the occasion to those who were willing to redeem, there can be no doubt that, as soon as the feudal law gained general acceptance, these would be regarded as conveying a feudal title. What to the English might be a mere payment of fyrdwite, or composition for a recognized offence, might to the Normans seem equivalent to forfeiture and restoration.

But however this was, the process of confiscation and redistribution of lands under the new title began from the moment of the coronation. The next few years, occupied in the reduction of Western and Northern England, added largely to the stock of divisible estates. The tyranny of Odo of Bayeux and William Fitzosbern, which provoked attempts at rebellion in 1067; the stand made by the house of Godwin in Devonshire in 1068; the attempts of Mercia and Northumbria to shake off the Normans in 1069 and 1070; the last struggle for independence in 1071, in which Edwin and Morcar finally fell; the conspiracy of the Norman earls in 1074, in consequence of which Waltheof perished—all tended to the same result.

After each effort the royal hand was laid on more heavily; more and more land changed owners, and with the change of owners the title changed. The complicated and unintelligible irregularities of the Anglo-Saxon tenures were exchanged for the simple and uniform feudal theory. The fifteen hundred tenants-in-chief of Domesday Book take the place of the countless land-owners of King Edward's time, and the loose, unsystematic arrangements which had grown up in the confusion of title, tenure, and jurisdiction were replaced by systematic custom. The change was effected without any legislative act, simply by the process of transfer under circumstances in which simplicity and uniformity were an absolute necessity. It was not the change from allodial to feudal so much as from confusion to order. The actual amount of dispossession was no doubt greatest in the higher ranks; the smaller owners may to a large extent have remained in a mediatized position on their estates; but even Domesday, with all its fulness and accuracy, cannot be supposed to enumerate all the changes of the twenty eventful years that followed the battle of Hastings. It is enough for our purpose to ascertain that a universal assimilation of title followed the general changes of ownership. The king of Domesday is the supreme landlord; all the land of the nation, the old folkland, has become the king's; and all private land is held mediately or immediately of him; all holders are bound to their lords by homage and fealty, either actually demanded or understood to be demandable, in every case of transfer by inheritance or otherwise.

The result of this process is partly legal and partly constitutional or political. The legal result is the introduction of an elaborate system of customs, tenures, rights, duties, profits, and jurisdictions. The constitutional result is the creation of several intermediate links between the body of the nation and the king, in the place of or side by side with the duty of allegiance.

On the former of these points we have very insufficient data; for we are quite in the dark as to the development of feudal law in Normandy before the invasion, and may be reasonably inclined to refer some at least of the peculiarities of English feudal law to the leaven of the system which it superseded. Nor is it easy to reduce the organization described in Domesday to strict conformity with feudal law as it appears later, especially with the general prevalence of military tenure.

The growth of knighthood is a subject on which the greatest obscurity prevails, and the most probable explanation of its existence in England—the theory that it is a translation into Norman forms of the thegnage of the Anglo-Saxon law—can only be stated as probable.

Between the picture drawn in Domesday and the state of affairs which the charter of Henry I was designed to remedy, there is a difference which the short interval of time will not account for, and which testifies to the action of some skilful organizing hand working with neither justice nor mercy, hardening and sharpening all lines and points to the perfecting of a strong government.

It is unnecessary to recapitulate here all the points in which the Anglo-Saxon institutions were already approaching the feudal model; it may be assumed that the actual obligation of military service was much the same in both systems, and that even the amount of land which was bound to furnish a mounted warrior was the same however the conformity may have been produced. The heriot of the English earl or thegn was in close resemblance with the relief of the Norman count or knight. But however close the resemblance, something was now added that made the two identical. The change of the heriot to the relief implies a suspension of ownership, and carries with it the custom of "livery of seisin." The heriot was the payment of a debt from the dead man to his lord; his son succeeded him by allodial right. The relief was paid by the heir before he could obtain his father's lands; between the death of the father and livery of seisin to the son the right of the "overlord" had entered; the ownership was to a certain extent resumed, and the succession of the heir took somewhat of the character of a new grant. The right of wardship also became in the same way a reëntry, by the lord, on the profits of the estate of the minor, instead of being, as before, a protection, by the head of the kin, of the indefeasible rights of the heir, which it was the duty of the whole community to maintain.

There can be no doubt that the military tenure—the most prominent feature of historical feudalism—was itself introduced by the same gradual process which we have assumed in the case of the feudal usages in general. We have no light on the point from any original grant made by the Conqueror to a lay follower, but judging by the grants made to the churches we cannot suppose it probable that such gifts were made on any expressed condition, or accepted with a distinct pledge to provide a certain contingent of knights for the king's service. The obligation of national defence was incumbent, as of old, on all land-owners, and the customary service of one fully armed man for each five hides of land was probably the rate at which the newly endowed follower of the king would be expected to discharge his duty. The wording of the Domesday survey does not imply that in this respect the new military service differed from the old; the land is marked out, not into knights' fees, but into hides, and the number of knights to be furnished by a particular feudatory would be ascertained by inquiring the number of hides that he held, without apportioning the particular acres that were to support the particular knight.

It would undoubtedly be on the estates of the lay vassals that a more definite usage would first be adopted, and knights bound by feudal obligations to their lords receive a definite estate from them. Our earliest information, however, on this as on most points of tenure, is derived from the notices of ecclesiastical practice. Lanfranc, we are told, turned the drengs, the rent-paying tenants of his archiepiscopal estates, into knights for the defence of the country; he enfeoffed a certain number of knights who performed the military service due from the archiepiscopal barony. This had been done before the Domesday survey, and almost necessarily implies that a like measure had been taken by the lay vassals. Lanfranc likewise maintained ten knights to answer for the military service due from the convent of Christ Church, which made over to him, in consideration of the relief, land worth two hundred pounds annually. The value of the knight's fee must already have been fixed at twenty pounds a year.

In the reign of William Rufus the abbot of Ramsey obtained a charter which exempted his monastery from the service of ten knights due from it on festivals, substituting the obligation to furnish three knights to perform service on the north of the Thames—a proof that the lands of that house had not yet been divided into knights' fees. In the next reign, we may infer—from the favor granted by the King to the knights who defended their lands per loricas (that is, by the hauberk) that their demesne lands shall be exempt from pecuniary taxation—that the process of definite military infeudation had largely advanced. But it was not even yet forced on the clerical or monastic estates. When, in 1167, the abbot of Milton, in Dorset, was questioned as to the number of knights' fees for which he had to account, he replied that all the services due from his monastery were discharged out of the demesne; but he added that in the reign of Henry I, during a vacancy in the abbacy, Bishop Roger, of Salisbury, had enfeoffed two knights out of the abbey lands. He had, however, subsequently reversed the act and had restored the lands, whose tenure had been thus altered, to their original condition of rent-paying estate or "socage."

The very term "the new feoffment," which was applied to the knights' fees created between the death of Henry I and the year in which the account preserved in the Black Book of the exchequer was taken, proves that the process was going on for nearly a hundred years, and that the form in which the knights' fees appear when called on by Henry II for "scutage" was most probably the result of a series of compositions by which the great vassals relieved their lands from a general burden by carving out particular estates, the holders of which performed the services due from the whole; it was a matter of convenience and not of tyrannical pressure. The statement of Ordericus Vitalis that the Conqueror "distributed lands to his knights in such fashion that the kingdom of England should have forever sixty thousand knights, and furnish them at the king's command according to the occasion," must be regarded as one of the many numerical exaggerations of the early historians. The officers of the exchequer in the twelfth century were quite unable to fix the number of existing knights' fees.

It cannot even be granted that a definite area of land was necessary to constitute a knight's fee; for although at a later period and in local computations we may find four or five hides adopted as a basis of calculation, where the extent of the particular knight's fee is given exactly, it affords no ground for such a conclusion. In the Liber Niger we find knights' fees of two hides and a half, of two hides, of four, five, and six hides. Geoffrey Ridel states that his father held one hundred and eighty-four carucates and a virgate, for which the service of fifteen knights was due, but that no knights' fees had been carved out of it, the obligation lying equally on every carucate. The archbishop of York had far more knights than his tenure required. It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the extent of a knight's fee was determined by rent or valuation rather than acreage, and that the common quantity was really expressed in the twenty librates, the twenty pounds' worth of annual value which until the reign of Edward I was the qualification for knighthood.

It is most probable that no regular account of the knights' fees was ever taken until they became liable to taxation, either in the form of auxilium militum under Henry I, or in that of scutage under his grandson. The facts, however, which are here adduced, preclude the possibility of referring this portion of the feudal innovations to the direct legislation of the Conqueror. It may be regarded as a secondary question whether the knighthood here referred to was completed by the investiture with knightly arms and the honorable accolade. The ceremonial of knighthood was practised by the Normans, whereas the evidence that the English had retained the primitive practice of investing the youthful warrior is insufficient; yet it would be rash to infer that so early as this, if indeed it ever was the case, every possessor of a knight's fee received formal initiation before he assumed his spurs. But every such analogy would make the process of transition easier and prevent the necessity of any general legislative act of change.

It has been maintained that a formal and definitive act, forming the initial point of the feudalization of England, is to be found in a clause of the laws, as they are called, of the Conqueror; which directs that every freeman shall affirm, by covenant and oath, that "he will be faithful to King William within England and without, will join him in preserving his lands and honor with all fidelity, and defend him against his enemies." But this injunction is little more than the demand of the oath of allegiance which had been taken to the Anglo-Saxon kings and is here required not of every feudal dependent of the King, but of every freeman or freeholder whatsoever.

In that famous council of Salisbury of 1086, which was summoned immediately after the making of the Domesday survey, we learn from the Chronicle that there came to the King "all his witan, and all the landholders of substance in England whose vassals soever they were, and they all submitted to him, and became his men and swore oaths of allegiance that they would be faithful to him against all others." In this act have been seen the formal acceptance and date of the introduction of feudalism, but it has a very different meaning. The oath described is the oath of allegiance, combined with the act of homage, and obtained from all land-owners, whoever their feudal lord might be. It is a measure of precaution taken against the disintegrating power of feudalism, providing a direct tie between the sovereign and all freeholders which no inferior relation existing between them and the mesne lords would justify them in breaking. The real importance of the passage as bearing on the date of the introduction of feudal tenure is merely that it shows the system to have already become consolidated; all the land-owners of the kingdom had already become, somehow or other, vassals, either of the king or of some tenant under him. The lesson may be learned from the fact of the Domesday survey.

The introduction of such a system would necessarily have effects far wider than the mere modification of the law of tenure; it might be regarded as a means of consolidating and concentrating the whole machinery of government; legislation, taxation, judicature, and military defence were all capable of being organized on the feudal principle, and might have been so had the moral and political results been in harmony with the legal. But its tendency when applied to governmental machinery is disruptive. The great feature of the Conqueror's policy is his defeat of that tendency. Guarding against it he obtained recognition as the King of the nation and, so far as he could understand them and the attitude of the nation allowed, he maintained the usages of the nation. He kept up the popular institutions of the hundred court and the shire court. He confirmed the laws which had been in use in King Edward's days, with the additions which he himself made for the benefit, as he especially tells us, of the English.

We are told, on what seems to be the highest legal authority of the next century, that he issued in his fourth year a commission of inquiry into the national customs, and obtained from sworn representatives of each county a declaration of the laws under which they wished to live. The compilation that bears his name is very little more than a reissue of the code of Canute; and this proceeding helped greatly to reconcile the English people to his rule. Although the oppressions of his later years were far heavier than the measures taken to secure the immediate success of the Conquest, all the troubles of the kingdom after 1075, in his sons' reigns as well as in his own, proceeded from the insubordination of the Normans, not from the attempts of the English to dethrone the king. Very early they learned that, if their interest was not the king's, at least their enemies were his enemies; hence they are invariably found on the royal side against the feudatories.

This accounts for the maintenance of the national force of defence, over and above the feudal army. The fyrd of the English, the general armament of the men of the counties and hundreds, was not abolished at the Conquest, but subsisted even through the reigns of William Rufus and Henry I, to be reformed and reconstituted under Henry II; and in each reign it gave proof of its strength and faithfulness. The witenagemot itself retained the ancient form, the bishops and abbots formed a chief part of it, instead of being, as in Normandy, so insignificant an element that their very participation in deliberation has been doubted. The king sat crowned three times in the year in the old royal towns of Westminster, Winchester, and Gloucester, hearing the complaints of his people, and executing such justice as his knowledge of their law and language and his own imperious will allowed. In all this there is no violent innovation, only such gradual essential changes as twenty eventful years of new actors and new principles must bring, however insensibly the people themselves—passing away and being replaced by their children—may be educated to endurance.

It would be wrong to impute to the Conqueror any intention of deceiving the nation by maintaining its official forms while introducing new principles and a new race of administrators. What he saw required change he changed with a high hand. But not the less surely did the change of administrators involve a change of custom, both in the church and in the state. The bishops, ealdormen, and sheriffs of English birth were replaced by Normans; not unreasonably, perhaps, considering the necessity of preserving the balance of the state. With the change of officials came a sort of amalgamation or duplication of titles; the ealdorman or earl became the comes or count; the sheriff became the vicecomes; the office in each case receiving the name of that which corresponded most closely with it in Normandy itself. With the amalgamation of titles came an importation of new principles and possibly new functions; for the Norman count and viscount had not exactly the same customs as the earls and sheriffs. And this ran up into the highest grades of organization; the King's court of counsellors was composed of his feudal tenants; the ownership of land was now the qualification for the witenagemot, instead of wisdom; the earldoms became fiefs instead of magistracies, and even the bishops had to accept the status of barons. There was a very certain danger that the mere change of persons might bring in the whole machinery of hereditary magistracies, and that king and people might be edged out of the administration of justice, taxation, and other functions of supreme or local independence.

Against this it was most important to guard; as the Conqueror learned from the events of the first year of his reign, when the severe rule of Odo and William Fitzosbern had provoked Herefordshire. Ralph Guader, Roger Montgomery, and Hugh of Avranches filled the places of Edwin and Morcar and the brothers of Harold. But the conspiracy of the earls in 1074 opened William's eyes to the danger of this proceeding, and from that time onward he governed the provinces through sheriffs immediately dependent on himself, avoiding the foreign plan of appointing hereditary counts, as well as the English custom of ruling by viceregal ealdormen. He was, however, very sparing in giving earldoms at all, and inclined to confine the title to those who were already counts in Normandy or in France.

To this plan there were some marked exceptions, which may be accounted for either on the ground that the arrangements had been completed before the need of watchfulness was impressed on the King by the treachery of the Normans, or on that of the exigencies of national defence. In these cases he created, or suffered the continuance of, great palatine jurisdictions; earldoms in which the earls were endowed with the superiority of whole counties, so that all the land-owners held feudally of them, in which they received the whole profits of the courts and exercised all the "regalia" or royal rights, nominated the sheriffs, held their own councils, and acted as independent princes except in the owing of homage and fealty to the King. Two of these palatinates, the earldom of Chester and the bishopric of Durham, retained much of their character to our own days. A third, the palatinate of Bishop Odo in Kent, if it were really a jurisdiction of the same sort, came to an end when Odo forfeited the confidence of his brother and nephew. A fourth, the earldom of Shropshire, which is not commonly counted among the palatine jurisdictions, but which possessed under the Montgomery earls all the characteristics of such a dignity, was confiscated after the treason of Robert of Belesme by Henry I. These had been all founded before the conspiracy of 1074; they were also, like the later lordships of the marches, a part of the national defence; Chester and Shropshire kept the Welsh marches in order, Kent was the frontier exposed to attacks from Picardy, and Durham, the patrimony of St. Cuthbert, lay as a sacred boundary between England and Scotland; Northumberland and Cumberland were still a debatable ground between the two kingdoms. Chester was held by its earls as freely by the sword as the King held England by the crown; no lay vassal in the county held of the King, all of the earl. In Shropshire there were only five lay tenants in capite besides Roger Montgomery; in Kent, Bishop Odo held an enormous proportion of the manors, but the nature of his jurisdiction is not very clear, and its duration is too short to make it of much importance. If William founded any earldoms at all after 1074 (which may be doubted), he did it on a very different scale.

The hereditary sheriffdoms he did not guard against with equal care. The Norman viscounties were hereditary, and there was some risk that the English ones would become so too; and with the worst consequences, for the English counties were much larger than the bailiwicks of the Norman viscount, and the authority of the sheriff, when he was relieved from the company of the ealdorman, and was soon to lose that of the bishop, would have no check except the direct control of the King. If William perceived this, it was too late to prevent it entirely; some of the sheriffdoms became hereditary, and continued to be so long after the abuse had become constitutionally dangerous.

The independence of the greater feudatories was still further limited by the principle, which the Conqueror seems to have observed, of avoiding the accumulation in any one hand of a great number of contiguous estates. The rule is not without some important exceptions, and it may have been suggested by the diversity of occasions on which the fiefs were bestowed, but the result is one which William must have foreseen. An insubordinate baron whose strength lay in twelve different counties would have to rouse the suspicions and perhaps to defy the arms of twelve powerful sheriffs, before he could draw his forces to a head. In his manorial courts, scattered and unconnected, he could set up no central tribunal, nor even force a new custom upon his tenants, nor could he attempt oppression on any extensive scale. By such limitation the people were protected and the central power secured.

Yet the changes of ownership, even thus guarded, wrought other changes. It is not to be supposed that the Norman baron, when he had received his fief, proceeded to carve it out into demesne and tenants' land as if he were making a new settlement in an uninhabited country. He might indeed build his castle and enclose his chase with very little respect to the rights of his weaker neighbors, but he did not attempt any such radical change as the legal theory of the creation of manors seems to presume. The name "manor" is of Norman origin: but the estate to which it was given existed, in its essential character, long before the Conquest; it received a new name as the shire also did, but neither the one nor the other was created by this change. The local jurisdictions of the thegns who had grants of sac and soc, or who exercised judicial functions among their free neighbors, were identical with the manorial jurisdictions of the new owners.

It may be conjectured with great probability that in many cases the weaker freemen, who had either willingly or under constraint attended the courts of their great neighbors, were now, under the general infusion of feudal principle, regarded as holding their lands of them as lords; it is not less probable that in a great number of grants the right to suit and service from small land-owners passed from the king to the receiver of the fief as a matter of course; but it is certain that even before the Conquest such a proceeding was not uncommon; Edward the Confessor had transferred to St. Augustine's monastery a number of allodiaries in Kent, and every such measure in the case of a church must have had its parallel in similar grants to laymen. The manorial system brought in a number of new names; and perhaps a duplication of offices. The gerefa of the old thegn, or of the ancient township, was replaced, as president of the courts, by a Norman steward or seneschal; and the bydel of the old system by the bailiff of the new; but the gerefa and bydel still continued to exist in a subordinate capacity as the grave or reeve and the bedell; and when the lord's steward takes his place in the county court, the reeve and four men of the township are there also. The common of the township may be treated as the lord's waste, but the townsmen do not lose their customary share.

The changes that take place in the state have their resulting analogies in every village, but no new England is created; new forms displace but do not destroy the old, and old rights remain, although changed in title and forced into symmetry with a new legal and pseudo-historical theory. The changes may not seem at first sight very oppressive, but they opened the way for oppression; the forms they had introduced tended, under the spirit of Norman legality and feudal selfishness, to become hard realities, and in the profound miseries of Stephen's reign the people learned how completely the new theory left them at the mercy of their lords; nor were all the reforms of his successor more stringent or the struggles of the century that followed a whit more impassioned than were necessary to protect the English yeoman from the men who lived upon his strength.

In attempting thus to estimate the real amount of change introduced by the feudalism of the Conquest, many points of further interest have been touched upon, to which it is necessary to recur only so far as to give them their proper place in a more general view of the reformed organization. The Norman king is still the king of the nation. He has become the supreme landlord; all estates are held of him mediately or immediately, but he still demands the allegiance of all his subjects. The oath which he exacted at Salisbury in 1086, and which is embodied in the semi-legal form already quoted, was a modification of the oath taken to Edmund, and was intended to set the general obligation of obedience to the king in its proper relation to the new tie of homage and fealty by which the tenant was bound to his lord.

All men continued to be primarily the king's men, and the public peace to be his peace. Their lords might demand their service to fulfil their own obligations, but the king could call them to the fyrd, summon them to his courts, and tax them without the intervention of their lords; and to the king they could look for protection against all foes. Accordingly the king could rely on the help of the bulk of the free people in all struggles with his feudatories, and the people, finding that their connection with their lords would be no excuse for unfaithfulness to the king, had a further inducement to adhere to the more permanent institutions.

In the department of law the direct changes introduced by the Conquest were not great. Much that is regarded as peculiarly Norman was developed upon English soil, and although originated and systematized by Norman lawyers, contained elements which would have worked in a very different way in Normandy. Even the vestiges of Carlovingian practice which appear in the inquests of the Norman reigns are modified by English usage. The great inquest of all, the Domesday survey, may owe its principle to a foreign source; the oath of the reporters may be Norman, but the machinery that furnishes the jurors is native; "the king's barons inquire by the oath of the sheriff of the shire, and of all the barons and their Frenchmen, and of the whole hundred, the priest, the reeve, and six ceorls of every township."

The institution of the collective Frank pledge, which recent writers incline to treat as a Norman innovation, is so distinctly colored by English custom that it has been generally regarded as purely indigenous. If it were indeed a precaution taken by the new rulers against the avoidance of justice by the absconding or harboring of criminals, it fell with ease into the usages and even the legal terms which had been common for other similar purposes since the reign of Athelstan. The trial by battle, which on clearer evidence seems to have been brought in by the Normans, is a relic of old Teutonic jurisprudence, the absence of which from the Anglo-Saxon courts is far more curious than its introduction from abroad.

The organization of jurisdiction required and underwent no great change in these respects. The Norman lord who undertook the office of sheriff had, as we have seen, more unrestricted power than the sheriffs of old. He was the king's representative in all matters judicial, military, and financial in his shire, and had many opportunities of tyrannizing in each of those departments: but he introduced no new machinery. From him, or from the courts of which he was the presiding officer, appeal lay to the king alone; but the king was often absent from England and did not understand the language of his subjects. In his absence the administration was intrusted to a judiciar, a regent, or lieutenant, of the kingdom; and the convenience being once ascertained of having a minister who could in the whole kingdom represent the king, as the sheriff did in the shire, the judiciar became a permanent functionary. This, however, cannot be certainly affirmed of the reign of the Conqueror, who, when present at Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, held great courts of justice as well as for other purposes of state; and the legal importance of the office belongs to a later stage. The royal court, containing the tenants-in-chief of the crown, both lay and clerical, and entering into all the functions of the witenagemot, was the supreme council of the nation, with the advice and consent of which the King legislated, taxed, and judged.

In the one authentic monument of William's jurisprudence, the act which removed the bishops from the secular courts and recognized their spiritual jurisdictions, he tells us that he acts "with the common council and counsel of the archbishops, bishops, abbots, and all the princes of the kingdom." The ancient summary of his laws contained in the Textus Roffensis is entitled "What William, King of the English, with his Princes enacted after the Conquest of England"; and the same form is preserved in the tradition of his confirming the ancient laws reported to him by the representatives of the shires. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle enumerates the classes of men who attended his great courts: "There were with him all the great men over all England, archbishops and bishops, abbots and earls, thegns and knights."

The great suit between Lanfranc as Archbishop of Canterbury and Odo as Earl of Kent, which is perhaps the best reported trial of the reign, was tried in the county court of Kent before the King's representative, Gosfrid, bishop of Coutances; whose presence and that of most of the great men of the kingdom seem to have made it a witenagemot. The archbishop pleaded the cause of his Church in a session of three days on Pennenden Heath; the aged South-Saxon bishop, Ethelric, was brought by the King's command to declare the ancient customs of the laws; and with him several other Englishmen skilled in ancient laws and customs. All these good and wise men supported the archbishop's claim, and the decision was agreed on and determined by the whole county. The sentence was laid before the King, and confirmed by him. Here we have probably a good instance of the principle universally adopted; all the lower machinery of the court was retained entire, but the presence of the Norman justiciar and barons gave it an additional authority, a more direct connection with the king, and the appearance at least of a joint tribunal.

The principle of amalgamating the two laws and nationalities by superimposing the better consolidated Norman superstructure on the better consolidated English substructure, runs through the whole policy.

The English system was strong in the cohesion of its lower organism, the association of individuals in the township, in the hundred, and in the shire; the Norman system was strong in its higher ranges, in the close relation to the Crown of the tenants-in-chief whom the King had enriched. On the other hand, the English system was weak in the higher organization, and the Normans in England had hardly any subordinate organization at all. The strongest elements of both were brought together.


A.D. 843-911


The period with which the following article deals may be said to mark the end of distinctively Frankish history. A striking mixture of races entered into the formation of this people, and the beginnings of the great modern nations into which the Frankish empire was divided brought to them varied elements of strength and a diversity of constituents that were to be commingled in new national characters and careers.

In 840 Charles the Bald became King of France, and his reign, both as king and afterward as emperor, continued for thirty-seven years, during which he proved himself to be lacking in those qualities which his responsibilities and the wants of his people demanded. He had great obstacles to contend against; for besides the ambitions of various districts for separate nationality, which led to insurrections in many quarters, Greek pirates ravaged the South, where the Saracens also wrought havoc, while in the North and West the Northmen burned and pillaged, laying waste a wide region and leaving many towns in ruins.

It was an age of turbulence in Europe, and the violence of predatory invaders brought woes upon many peoples. On the east of Charles' empire the Hungarians, successors of the Huns, began to threaten. In the midst of all these distractions and dangers, assailed by enemies without and within, Charles found it a task far beyond his abilities to construct a state upon foundations of unity. He bore many titles and held several crowns, but his actual dominion was narrowly restricted, and his nominal subjects were in a state of political subdivision almost amounting to dismemberment. After various futile efforts during his later years to unify his empire, Charles died from an illness which seized him in 877, on his return to France from a fruitless campaign of subjugation and pillage in Italy. In the subsequent division of the empire, according to the terms of the treaty of Verdun, the several portions included Italy, the nucleus of France, and that of the present Germany.

Already suffering from the devastating expeditions of the Norse or Northmen, the Carlovingian empire, now weakened by division, became an easier prey for the invaders. Emboldened by success, the Northmen at length commenced to settle in the regions they invaded, no longer returning, as formerly, to their northern homes in winter. Among chieftains of the early Norman invaders who settled in France was Hastings, who became Count of Chartres; later came Rou, Rolf, or Rollo the Rover, to whom Charles the Simple of France gave Normandy, whence sprang the conquerors and rulers of England, who laid the foundation of the English-speaking nations of today.

The first of Charlemagne's grand designs, the territorial security of the Gallo-Frankish and Christian dominion, was accomplished. In the East and the North, the Germanic and Asiatic populations, which had so long upset it, were partly arrested at its frontiers, partly incorporated regularly in its midst. In the South, the Mussulman populations which, in the eighth century, had appeared so near overwhelming it, were powerless to deal it any heavy blow. Substantially France was founded. But what had become of Charlemagne's second grand design, the resuscitation of the Roman Empire at the hands of the barbarians that had conquered it and become Christians?

Let us leave Louis the Debonair his traditional name, although it is not an exact rendering of that which was given him by his contemporaries. They called him Louis the Pious. And so, indeed, he was, sincerely and even scrupulously pious; but he was still more weak than pious, as weak in heart and character as in mind; as destitute of ruling ideas as of strength of will, fluctuating at the mercy of transitory impressions or surrounding influences or positional embarrassments. The name of Débonnaire is suited to him; it expresses his moral worth and his political incapacity both at once.

As king of Aquitaine in the time of Charlemagne, Louis made himself esteemed and loved; his justice, his suavity, his probity, and his piety were pleasing to the people, and his weaknesses disappeared under the strong hand of his father. When he became emperor, he began his reign by a reaction against the excesses, real or supposed, of the preceding reign. Charlemagne's morals were far from regular, and he troubled himself but little about the license prevailing in his family or his palace. At a distance, he ruled with a tight and heavy hand. Louis established at his court, for his sisters as well as his servants, austere regulations. He restored to the subjugated Saxons certain of the rights of which Charlemagne had deprived them. He sent out everywhere his commissioners with orders to listen to complaints and redress grievances, and to mitigate his father's rule, which was rigorous in its application and yet insufficient to repress disturbance, notwithstanding its preventive purpose and its watchful supervision.

Almost simultaneously with his accession, Louis committed an act more serious and compromising. He had, by his wife Hermengarde, three sons, Lothair, Pépin, and Louis, aged respectively nineteen, eleven, and eight. In 817, Louis summoned at Aix-la-Chapelle the general assembly of his dominions; and there, while declaring that "neither to those who were wisely minded nor to himself did it appear expedient to break up, for the love he bare his sons and by the will of man, the unity of the empire, preserved by God himself," he had resolved to share with his eldest son, Lothair, the imperial throne. Lothair was in fact crowned emperor; and his two brothers, Pépin and Louis, were crowned king, "in order that they might reign, after their father's death and under their brother and lord, Lothair, to wit: Pépin, over Aquitaine and a great part of Southern Gaul and of Burgundy; Louis, beyond the Rhine, over Bavaria and the divers peoples in the east of Germany." The rest of Gaul and of Germany, as well as the kingdom of Italy, was to belong to Lothair, Emperor and head of the Frankish monarchy, to whom his brothers would have to repair year by year to come to an understanding with him and receive his instructions. The last-named kingdom, the most considerable of the three, remained under the direct government of Louis the Debonair, and at the same time of his son Lothair, sharing the title of emperor. The two other sons, Pépin and Louis, entered, notwithstanding their childhood, upon immediate possession, the one of Aquitaine and the other of Bavaria, under the superior authority of their father and their brother, the joint emperors.

Charlemagne had vigorously maintained the unity of the empire, for all that he had delegated to two of his sons, Pépin and Louis, the government of Italy and Aquitaine with the title of king. Louis the Debonair, while regulating beforehand the division of his dominion, likewise desired, as he said, to maintain the unity of the empire. But he forgot that he was no Charlemagne.

It was not long before numerous mournful experiences showed to what extent the unity of the empire required personal superiority in the emperor, and how rapid would be the decay of the fabric when there remained nothing but the title of the founder.

In 816 Pope Stephen IV came to France to consecrate Louis the Debonair emperor. Many a time already the popes had rendered the Frankish kings this service and honor. The Franks had been proud to see their King, Charlemagne, protecting Adrian I against the Lombards; then crowned emperor at Rome by Leo III, and then having his two sons, Pépin and Louis, crowned at Rome, by the same Pope, kings respectively of Italy and of Aquitaine. On these different occasions Charlemagne, while testifying the most profound respect for the Pope, had, in his relations with him, always taken care to preserve, together with his political greatness, all his personal dignity. But when, in 816, the Franks saw Louis the Pious not only go out of Rheims to meet Stephen IV, but prostrate himself, from head to foot, and rise only when the Pope held out a hand to him, the spectators felt saddened and humiliated at the sight of their Emperor in the posture of a penitent monk.

Several insurrections burst out in the empire; the first among the Basques of Aquitaine; the next in Italy, where Bernard, son of Pépin, having, after his father's death, become king in 812, with the consent of his grandfather Charlemagne, could not quietly see his kingdom pass into the hands of his cousin Lothair at the orders of his uncle Louis. These two attempts were easily repressed, but the third was more serious. It took place in Brittany among those populations of Armorica who were still buried in their woods, and were excessively jealous of their independence. In 818 they took for king one of their principal chieftains, named Morvan; and, not confining themselves to a refusal of all tribute to the King of the Franks, they renewed their ravages upon the Frankish territories bordering on their frontier. Louis was at that time holding a general assembly of his dominions at Aix-la-Chapelle; and Count Lantbert, commandant of the marches of Brittany, came and reported to him what was going on. A Frankish monk, named Ditcar, happened to be at the assembly: he was a man of piety and sense, a friend of peace, and, moreover, with some knowledge of the Breton king Morvan, as his monastery had property in the neighborhood. Him the Emperor commissioned to convey to the King his grievances and his demands. After some days' journey the monk passed the frontier and arrived at a vast space enclosed on one side by a noble river, and on all the others by forests and swamps, hedges and ditches. In the middle of this space was a large dwelling, which was Morvan's. Ditcar found it full of warriors, the King having, no doubt, some expedition on hand. The monk announced himself as a messenger from the Emperor of the Franks. The style of announcement caused some confusion at first, to the Briton, who, however, hastened to conceal his emotion under an air of good-will and joyousness, to impose upon his comrades. The latter were got rid of; and the King remained alone with the monk, who explained the object of his mission. He descanted upon the power of the emperor Louis, recounted his complaints, and warned the Briton, kindly and in a private capacity, of the danger of his situation, a danger so much the greater in that he and his people would meet with the less consideration, seeing that they kept up the religion of their pagan forefathers. Morvan gave attentive ear to this sermon, with his eyes fixed on the ground, and his foot tapping it from time to time. Ditcar thought he had succeeded; but an incident supervened. It was the hour when Morvan's wife was accustomed to come and look for him ere they retired to the nuptial couch. She appeared, eager to know who the stranger was, what he had come for, what he had said, what answer he had received. She preluded her questions with oglings and caresses; she kissed the knees, the hands, the beard, and the face of the King, testifying her desire to be alone with him. "O King and glory of the mighty Britons, dear spouse of mine! what tidings bringeth this stranger? Is it peace, or is it war?"

"This stranger," answered Morvan, with a smile, "is an envoy of the Franks; but bring he peace or bring he war is the affair of men alone; as for thee, content thee with thy woman's duties." Thereupon Ditcar, perceiving that he was countered, said to Morvan: "Sir King, 'tis time that I return; tell me what answer I am to take back to my sovereign."

"Leave me this night to take thought thereon," replied the Breton chief, with a wavering air. When the morning came, Ditcar presented himself once more to Morvan, whom he found up, but still half drunk and full of very different sentiments from those of the night before. It required some effort, stupefied and tottering as he was with the effects of wine and the pleasures of the night, to say to Ditcar: "Go back to thy King, and tell him from me that my land was never his, and that I owe him naught of tribute or submission. Let him reign over the Franks; as for me, I reign over the Britons. If he will bring war on me, he will find me ready to pay him back."

The monk returned to Louis the Debonair and rendered account of his mission. War was resolved upon, and the Emperor collected his troops—Alemannians, Saxons, Thuringians, Burgundians, and Aquitanians, without counting Franks or Gallo-Romans. They began their march, moving upon Vannes; Louis was at their head, and the Empress accompanied him, but he left her, already ill and fatigued, at Angers. The Franks entered the country of the Britons, searched the woods and morasses, found no armed men in the open country, but encountered them in scattered and scanty companies, at the entrance of all the defiles, on the heights commanding pathways, and wherever men could hide themselves and await the moment for appearing unexpectedly. The Franks heard them, from amid the heather and the brushwood, uttering shrill cries, to give warning one to another or to alarm the enemy. The Franks advanced cautiously, and at last arrived at the entrance of the thick wood which surrounded Morvan's abode. He had not yet set out with the pick of the warriors he had about him; but, at the approach of the Franks, he summoned his wife and his domestics, and said to them: "Defend ye well this house and these woods; as for me, I am going to march forward to collect my people; after which to return, but not without booty and spoils." He put on his armor, took a javelin in each hand, and mounted his horse. "Thou seest," said he to his wife, "these javelins I brandish: I will bring them back to thee this very day dyed with the blood of Franks. Farewell." Setting out he pierced, followed by his men, through the thickness of the forest, and advanced to meet the Franks.

The battle began. The large numbers of the Franks who covered the ground for some distance dismayed the Britons, and many of them fled, seeking where they might hide themselves. Morvan, beside himself with rage and at the head of his most devoted followers, rushed down upon the Franks as if to demolish them at a single stroke; and many fell beneath his blows. He singled out a warrior of inferior grade, toward whom he made at a gallop, and, insulting him by word of mouth, after the ancient fashion of the Celtic warriors, cried: "Frank, I am going to give thee my first present, a present which I have been keeping for thee a long while, and which I hope thou wilt bear in mind;" and launched at him a javelin which the other received on his shield. "Proud Briton," replied the Frank, "I have received thy present, and I am going to give thee mine." He dug both spurs into his horse's sides and galloped down upon Morvan, who, clad though he was in a coat of mail, fell pierced by the thrust of a lance. The Frank had but time to dismount and cut off his head when he fell himself, mortally wounded by one of Morvan's young warriors, but not without having, in his turn, dealt the other his deathblow. It spreads on all sides that Morvan is dead; and the Franks come thronging to the scene of the encounter. There is picked up and passed from hand to hand a head all bloody and fearfully disfigured. Ditcar the monk is called to see it, and to say whether it is that of Morvan; but he has to wash the mass of disfigurement, and to partially adjust the hair, before he can pronounce that it is really Morvan's. There is then no more doubt; resistance is now impossible; the widow, the family and the servants of Morvan arrive, are brought before Louis the Debonair, accept all the conditions imposed upon them, and the Franks withdraw with the boast that Brittany is henceforth their tributary.

On arriving at Angers, Louis found the empress Hermengarde dying; and two days afterward she was dead. He had a tender heart which was not proof against sorrow; and he testified a desire to abdicate and turn monk. But he was dissuaded from his purpose; for it was easy to influence his resolutions. A little later, he was advised to marry again, and he yielded. Several princesses were introduced; and he chose Judith of Bavaria, daughter of Count Welf (Guelf), a family already powerful and in later times celebrated. Judith was young, beautiful, witty, ambitious, and skilled in the art of making the gift of pleasing subserve the passion for ruling. Louis, during his expedition into Brittany, had just witnessed the fatal result of a woman's empire over her husband; he was destined himself to offer a more striking and more long-lived example of it. In 823, he had, by his new empress Judith, a son, whom he called Charles, and who was hereafter to be known as Charles the Bald. This son became his mother's ruling, if not exclusive, passion, and the source of his father's woes. His birth could not fail to cause ill-temper and mistrust in Louis' three sons by Hermengarde, who were already kings. They had but a short time previously received the first proof of their father's weakness. In 822, Louis, repenting of his severity toward his nephew, Bernard of Italy, whose eyes he had caused to be put out as a punishment for rebellion, and who had died in consequence, considered himself bound to perform at Attigny, in the church and before the people, a solemn act of penance; which was creditable to his honesty and piety, but the details left upon the minds of the beholders an impression unfavorable to the Emperor's dignity and authority. In 829, during an assembly held at Worms, he, yielding to his wife's entreaties, and doubtless also to his own yearnings toward his youngest son, set at naught the solemn act whereby, in 817, he had shared his dominions among his three elder sons; and took away from two of them, in Burgundy and Alemannia, some of the territories he had assigned to them, and gave them to the boy Charles for his share. Lothair, Pépin, and Louis thereupon revolted. Court rivalries were added to family differences. The Emperor had summoned to his side a young southron, Bernard by name, duke of Septimania and son of Count William of Toulouse, who had gallantly fought the Saracens. He made him his chief chamberlain and his favorite counsellor. Bernard was bold, ambitious, vain, imperious, and restless. He removed his rivals from court, and put in their places his own creatures. He was accused not only of abusing the Emperor's favor, but even of carrying on a guilty intrigue with the empress Judith. There grew up against him, and, by consequence, against the Emperor, the Empress, and their youngest son, a powerful opposition, in which certain ecclesiastics, and, among them, Wala, abbot of Corbie, cousin-german and but lately one of the privy counsellors of Charlemagne, joined eagerly. Some had at heart the unity of the empire, which Louis was breaking up more and more; others were concerned for the spiritual interests of the Church, which Louis, in spite of his piety and by reason of his weakness, often permitted to be attacked. Thus strengthened, the conspirators considered themselves certain of success. They had the empress Judith carried off and shut up in the convent of St. Radegonde at Poitiers; and Louis in person came to deliver himself up to them at Compiègne, where they were assembled. There they passed a decree to the effect that the power and title of emperor were transferred from Louis to Lothair, his eldest son; that the act whereby a share of the empire had but lately been assigned to Charles was annulled; and that the act of 817, which had regulated the partition of Louis' dominions after his death, was once more in force. But soon there was a burst of reaction in favor of the Emperor; Lothair's two brothers, jealous of his late elevation, made overtures to their father; the ecclesiastics were a little ashamed at being mixed up in a revolt; the people felt pity for the poor, honest Emperor; and a general assembly, meeting at Nimeguen, abolished the acts of Compiègne, and restored to Louis his title and his power. But it was not long before there was revolt again, originating this time with Pépin, King of Aquitaine. Louis fought him, and gave Aquitaine to Charles the Bald. The alliance between the three sons of Hermengarde was at once renewed; they raised an army; the Emperor marched against them with his; and the two hosts met between Colmar and Bâle, in a place called le Champ rouge ("the Field of Red"). Negotiations were set on foot; and Louis was called upon to leave his wife Judith and his son Charles, and put himself under the guardianship of his elder sons. He refused; but, just when the conflict was about to commence, desertion took place in Louis' army; most of the prelates, laics, and men-at-arms who had accompanied him passed over to the camp of Lothair; and the "Field of Red" became the "Field of Falsehood" (le Champ du Mensonge). Louis, left almost alone, ordered his attendants to withdraw, "being unwilling," he said, "that any one of them should lose life or limb on his account," and surrendered to his sons. They received him with great demonstrations of respect, but without relinquishing the prosecution of their enterprise. Lothair hastily collected an assembly, which proclaimed him Emperor, with the addition of divers territories to the kingdoms of Aquitaine and Bavaria: and, three months afterward, another assembly, meeting at Compiègne, declared the emperor Louis to have forfeited the crown, "for having, by his faults and incapacity, suffered to sink so sadly low the empire which had been raised to grandeur and brought into unity by Charlemagne and his predecessors." Louis submitted to this decision; himself read out aloud, in the Church of St. Médard at Soissons, but not quite unresistingly, a confession, in eight articles, of his faults, and, laying his baldric upon the altar, stripped off his royal robe, and received from the hands of Ebbo, archbishop of Rheims, the gray vestment of a penitent.

Lothair considered his father dethroned for good, and himself henceforth sole Emperor; but he was mistaken. For years longer the scenes which have just been described kept repeating themselves again and again; rivalries and secret plots began once more between the three victorious brothers and their partisans; popular feeling revived in favor of Louis; a large portion of the clergy shared it; several counts of Neustria and Burgundy appeared in arms, in the name of the deposed Emperor; and the seductive and able Judith came afresh upon the scene, and gained over to the cause of her husband and her son a multitude of friends. In 834, two assemblies, one meeting at St. Denis and the other at Thionville, annulled all the acts of the assembly of Compiègne, and for the third time put Louis in possession of the imperial title and power. He displayed no violence in his use of it; but he was growing more and more irresolute and weak, when, in 838, the second of his rebellious sons, Pépin, king of Aquitaine, died suddenly. Louis, ever under the sway of Judith, speedily convoked at Worms, in 839, once more and for the last time, a general assembly, whereat, leaving his son Louis of Bavaria reduced to his kingdom in Eastern Europe, he divided the rest of his dominions into two nearly equal parts, separated by the course of the Meuse and the Rhone. Between these two parts he left the choice to Lothair, who took the eastern portion, promising at the same time to guarantee the western portion to his younger brother Charles. Louis the Germanic protested against this partition, and took up arms to resist it. His father, the Emperor, set himself in motion toward the Rhine, to reduce him to submission; but, on arriving close to Mayence, he caught a violent fever, and died on the 20th of June, 840, at the castle Ingelheim, on a little island in the river. His last acts were a fresh proof of his goodness toward even his rebellious sons and of his solicitude for his last-born. He sent to Louis the Germanic his pardon, and to Lothair the golden crown and sword, at the same time bidding him fulfil his father's wishes on behalf of Charles and Judith.

There is no telling whether, in the credulousness of his good nature, Louis had, at his dying hour, any great confidence in the appeal he made to his son Lothair, and in the impression which would be produced on his other son, Louis of Bavaria, by the pardon bestowed. The prayers of the dying are of little avail against violent passions and barbaric manners. Scarcely was Louis the Debonair dead, when Lothair was already conspiring against young Charles, and was in secret alliance, for his despoilment, with Pépin II, the late King of Aquitaine's son, who had taken up arms for the purpose of seizing his father's kingdom, in the possession of which his grandfather Louis had not been pleased to confirm him. Charles suddenly learned that his mother Judith was on the point of being besieged in Poitiers by the Aquitanians; and, in spite of the friendly protestations sent to him by Lothair, it was not long before he discovered the plot formed against him. He was not wanting in shrewdness or energy; and, having first provided for his mother's safety, he set about forming an alliance, in the cause of their common interests, with his other brother, Louis the Germanic, who was equally in danger from the ambition of Lothair. The historians of the period do not say what negotiator was employed by Charles on this distant and delicate mission; but several circumstances indicate that the empress Judith herself undertook it; that she went in quest of the King of Bavaria; and that it was she who, with her accustomed grace and address, determined him to make common cause with his youngest against their eldest brother. Divers incidents retarded for a whole year the outburst of this family plot, and of the war of which it was the precursor. The position of the young king Charles appeared for some time a very bad one; but "certain chieftains," says the historian Nithard, "faithful to his mother and to him, and having nothing more to lose than life or limb, chose rather to die gloriously than to betray their King." The arrival of Louis the Germanic with his troops helped to swell the forces and increase the confidence of Charles; and it was on the 21st of June, 841, exactly a year after the death of Louis the Debonair, that the two armies, that of Lothair and Pépin on the one side, and that of Charles the Bald and Louis the Germanic on the other, stood face to face in the neighborhood of the village of Fontenailles, six leagues from Auxerre, on the rivulet of Audries. Never, according to such evidence as is forthcoming, since the battle on the plains of Châlons against the Huns, and that of Poitiers against the Saracens, had so great masses of men been engaged. "There would be nothing untruthlike," says that scrupulous authority, M. Fauriel, "in putting the whole number of combatants at three hundred thousand; and there is nothing to show that either of the two armies was much less numerous than the other." However that may be, the leaders hesitated for four days to come to blows; and while they were hesitating, the old favorite, not only of Louis the Debonair, but also, according to several chroniclers, of the empress Judith, held himself aloof with his troops in the vicinity, having made equal promise of assistance to both sides, and waiting, to govern his decision, for the prospect afforded by the first conflict. The battle began on the 25th of June, at daybreak, and was at first in favor of Lothair; but the troops of Charles the Bald recovered the advantage which had been lost by those of Louis the Germanic, and the action was soon nothing but a terribly simple scene of carnage between enormous masses of men, charging hand to hand, again and again, with a front extending over a couple of leagues. Before midday the slaughter, the plunder, the spoliation of the dead—all was over; the victory of Charles and Louis was complete; the victors had retired to their camp, and there remained nothing on the field of battle but corpses in thick heaps or a long line, according as they had fallen in the disorder of flight or steadily fighting in their ranks.... "Accursed be this day!" cries Angilbert, one of Lothair's officers, in rough Latin verse; "be it unnumbered in the return of the year, but wiped out of all remembrance! Be it unlit by the light of the sun! Be it without either dawn or twilight! Accursed, also, be this night, this awful night in which fell the brave, the most expert in battle! Eye ne'er hath seen more fearful slaughter: in streams of blood fell Christian men; the linen vestments of the dead did whiten the champaign even as it is whitened by the birds of autumn!"

In spite of this battle, which appeared a decisive one, Lothair made zealous efforts to continue the struggle; he scoured the countries wherein he hoped to find partisans; to the Saxons he promised the unrestricted reëstablishment of their pagan worship, and several of the Saxon tribes responded to his appeal. Louis the Germanic and Charles the Bald, having information of these preliminaries, resolved to solemnly renew their alliance and, seven months after their victory at Fontenailles, in February, 842, they repaired both of them, each with his army, to Argentaria, on the right bank of the Rhine, between Bâle and Strasburg, and there, at an open-air meeting, Louis first, addressing the chieftains about him in the German tongue, said: "Ye all know how often, since our father's death, Lothair hath attacked us, in order to destroy us, this my brother and me. Having never been able, as brothers and Christians, or in any just way, to obtain peace from him, we were constrained to appeal to the judgment of God. Lothair was beaten and retired, whither he could, with his following; for we, restrained by paternal affection and moved with compassion for Christian people, were unwilling to pursue them to extermination. Neither then nor aforetime did we demand aught else save that each of us should be maintained in his rights. But he, rebelling against the judgment of God, ceaseth not to attack us as enemies, this my brother and me; and he destroyeth our peoples with fire and pillage and the sword. That is the cause which hath united us afresh; and, as we trow that ye doubt the soundness of our alliance and our fraternal union, we have resolved to bind ourselves afresh by this oath in your presence, being led thereto by no prompting of wicked covetousness, but only that we may secure our common advantage in case that, by your aid, God should cause us to obtain peace. If, then, I violate—which God forbid—this oath that I am about to take to my brother, I hold you all quit of submission to me and of the faith ye have sworn to me."

Charles repeated this speech, word for word, to his own troops, in the Romance language, in that idiom derived from a mixture of Latin and of the tongues of ancient Gaul, and spoken, thenceforth, with varieties of dialect and pronunciation, in nearly all parts of Frankish Gaul. After this address, Louis pronounced and Charles repeated after him, each in his own tongue, the oath couched in these terms: "For the love of God, for the Christian people and for our common weal, from this day forth and so long as God shall grant me power and knowledge, I will defend this my brother and will be an aid to him in everything, as one ought to defend his brother, provided that he do likewise unto me; and I will never make with Lothair any covenant which may be, to my knowledge, to the damage of this my brother."

When the two brothers had thus sworn, the two armies, officers and men, took, in their turn, a similar oath, going bail, in a mass, for the engagements of their kings. Then they took up their quarters, all of them, for some time, between Worms and Mayence, and followed up their political proceeding with military fêtes, precursors of the knightly tournaments of the Middle Ages. "A place of meeting was fixed," says the contemporary historian Nithard, "at a spot suitable for this kind of exercises. Here were drawn up, on one side, a certain number of combatants, Saxons, Vasconians, Austrasians, or Britons; there were ranged, on the opposite side, an equal number of warriors, and the two divisions advanced, each against the other, as if to attack. One of them, with their bucklers at their backs, took to flight as if to seek, in the main body, shelter against those who were pursuing them; then suddenly, facing about, they dashed out in pursuit of those before whom they had just been flying. This sport lasted until the two kings, appearing with all the youth of their suites, rode up at a gallop, brandishing their spears and chasing first one lot and then the other. It was a fine sight to see so much temper among so many valiant folk, for, great as was the number and the mixture of different nationalities, no one was insulted or maltreated, though the contrary is often the case among men in small numbers and known one to another."

After four or five months of tentative measures or of incidents which taught both parties that they could not, either of them, hope to completely destroy their opponents, the two allied brothers received at Verdun, whither they had repaired to concert their next movement, a messenger from Lothair, with peaceful proposals which they were unwilling to reject. The principal was that, with the exception of Italy, Aquitaine, and Bavaria, to be secured without dispute to their then possessors, the Frankish empire should be divided into three portions, that the arbiters elected to preside over the partition should swear to make it as equal as possible, and that Lothair should have his choice, with the title of emperor. About mid-June, 842, the three brothers met on an island of the Saône, near Châlons, where they began to discuss the questions which divided them; but it was not till more than a year after, in August, 843, that assembling, all three of them, with their umpires, at Verdun, they at last came to an agreement about the partition of the Frankish empire, save the three countries which it had been beforehand agreed to accept. Louis kept all the provinces of Germany of which he was already in possession, and received besides, on the left bank of the Rhine, the towns of Mayence, Worms, and Spire, with the territory appertaining to them. Lothair, for his part, had the eastern belt of Gaul, bounded on one side by the Rhine and the Alps, on the other by the courses of the Meuse, the Saône, and the Rhone, starting from the confluence of the two latter rivers, and, further, the country comprised between the Meuse and the Scheldt, together with certain countships lying to the west of that river. To Charles fell all the rest of Gaul: Vasconia or Biscaye, Septimania, the marshes of Spain, beyond the Pyrenees; and the other countries of Southern Gaul which had enjoyed hitherto, under the title of the kingdom of Aquitaine, a special government subordinated to the general government of the empire, but distinct from it, lost this last remnant of their Gallo-Roman nationality, and became integral portions of Frankish Gaul, which fell by partition to Charles the Bald, and formed one and the same kingdom under one and the same king.

Thus fell through and disappeared, in 843, by virtue of the treaty of Verdun, the second of Charlemagne's grand designs, the resuscitation of the Roman Empire by means of the Frankish and Christian masters of Gaul. The name of emperor still retained a certain value in the minds of the people, and still remained an object of ambition to princes; but the empire was completely abolished, and, in its stead, sprang up three kingdoms, independent one of another, without any necessary connection or relation. One of the three was thenceforth France.

In this great event are comprehended two facts: the disappearance of the empire and the formation of the three kingdoms which took its place. The first is easily explained. The resuscitation of the Roman Empire had been a dream of ambition and ignorance on the part of a great man, but a barbarian. Political unity and central, absolute power had been the essential characteristics of that empire. They became introduced and established, through a long succession of ages, on the ruins of the splendid Roman Republic destroyed by its own dissensions, under favor of the still great influence of the old Roman senate though fallen from its high estate, and beneath the guardianship of the Roman legions and Imperial praetorians. Not one of these conditions, not one of these forces, was to be met with in the Roman world reigned over by Charlemagne. The nation of the Franks and Charlemagne himself were but of yesterday; the new Emperor had neither ancient senate to hedge at the same time that it obeyed him, nor old bodies of troops to support him. Political unity and absolute power were repugnant alike to the intellectual and the social condition, to the national manners and personal sentiments of the victorious barbarians. The necessity of placing their conquests beyond the reach of a new swarm of barbarians and the personal ascendency of Charlemagne were the only things which gave his government a momentary gleam of success in the way of unity and of factitious despotism under the name of empire. In 814 Charlemagne had made territorial security an accomplished fact; but the personal power he had exercised disappeared with him. The new Gallo-Frankish community recovered, under the mighty but gradual influence of Christianity, its proper and natural course, producing disruption into different local communities and bold struggles for individual liberties, either one with another, or against whosoever tried to become their master.

As for the second fact, the formation of the three kingdoms which were the issue of the treaty of Verdun, various explanations have been given of it. This distribution of certain peoples of Western Europe into three distinct and independent groups, Italians, Germans, and French, has been attributed at one time to a diversity of histories and manners; at another to geographical causes and to what is called the rule of natural frontiers; and oftener still to a spirit of nationality and to differences of language. Let none of these causes be gainsaid; they all exercised some sort of influence, but they are all incomplete in themselves and far too redolent of theoretical system. It is true that Germany, France, and Italy began at that time to emerge from the chaos into which they had been plunged by barbaric invasion and the conquests of Charlemagne, and to form themselves into quite distinct nations; but there were, in each of the kingdoms of Lothair, of Louis the Germanic, and of Charles the Bald, populations widely differing in race, language, manners, and geographical affinity, and it required many great events and the lapse of many centuries to bring about the degree of national unity they now possess. To say nothing touching the agency of individual and independent forces, which is always considerable, although so many men of intellect ignore it in the present day, what would have happened, had any one of the three new kings, Lothair, or Louis the Germanic, or Charles the Bald, been a second Charlemagne, as Charlemagne had been a second Charles Martel? Who can say that, in such a case, the three kingdoms would have taken the form they took in 843?

Happily or unhappily, it was not so; none of Charlemagne's successors was capable of exercising on the events of his time, by virtue of his brain and his own will, any notable influence.

Attempts at foreign invasion of France were renewed very often and in many parts of Gallo-Frankish territory during the whole duration of the Carlovingian dynasty, and, even though they failed, they caused the population of the kingdom to suffer from cruel ravages. Charlemagne, even after his successes against the different barbaric invaders, had foreseen the evils which would be inflicted on France by the most formidable and most determined of them, the Northmen, coming by sea and landing on the coast. The most closely contemporaneous and most given to detail of his chroniclers, the monk of St. Gall, tells in prolix and pompous but evidently heartfelt and sincere terms the tale of the great Emperor's farsightedness.

"Charles, who was ever astir," says he, "arrived by mere hap and unexpectedly in a certain town of Narbonnese Gaul. While he was at dinner and was as yet unrecognized of any, some corsairs of the Northmen came to ply their piracies in the very port. When their vessels were descried, they were supposed to be Jewish traders according to some, African according to others, and British in the opinion of others; but the gifted monarch, perceiving by the build and lightness of the craft, that they bare not merchandise but foes, said to his own folk, 'These vessels be not laden with merchandise, but manned with cruel foes.' At these words all the Franks, in rivalry one with another, run to their ships, but uselessly; for the Northmen, indeed, hearing that yonder was he whom it was still their wont to call Charles the 'Hammer,'[22] feared lest all their fleet should be taken or destroyed in the port, and they avoided, by a flight of inconceivable rapidity, not only the glaives, but even the eyes of those who were pursuing them.

"Pious Charles, however, a prey to well-grounded fear, rose up from table, stationed himself at a window looking eastward, and there remained a long while, and his eyes were filled with tears. As none durst question him, this warlike prince explained to the grandees who were about his person the cause of his movement and of his tears: 'Know ye, my lieges, wherefore I weep so bitterly? Of a surety I fear not lest these fellows should succeed in injuring me by their miserable piracies; but it grieveth me deeply that, while I live, they should have been nigh to touching at this shore, and I am a prey to violent sorrow when I foresee what evils they will heap upon my descendants and their people.'"

[Footnote 22: After his grandfather, Charles Martel.]

The forecast and the dejection of Charles were not unreasonable. It will be found that there is special mention made, in the chronicles of the ninth and tenth centuries, of forty-seven incursions into France of Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and Irish pirates, all comprised under the name of Northmen; and doubtless many other incursions of less gravity have left no trace in history. "The Northmen," says Fauriel, "descended from the north to the south by a sort of natural gradation or ladder. The Scheldt was the first river by the mouth of which they penetrated inland; the Seine was the second; the Loire the third. The advance was threatening for the countries traversed by the Garonne; and it was in 844 that vessels freighted with Northmen for the first time ascended this last river to a considerable distance inland, and there took immense booty. The following year they pillaged and burnt Saintes. In 846 they got as far as Limoges. The inhabitants, finding themselves unable to make head against the dauntless pirates, abandoned their hearths, together with all they had not time to carry away. Encouraged by these successes the Northmen reappeared next year upon the coasts and in the rivers of Aquitaine, and they attempted to take Bordeaux, whence they were valorously repulsed by the inhabitants; but in 848, having once more laid siege to that city, they were admitted into it at night by the Jews, who were there in great force; the city was given up to plunder and conflagration; a portion of the people was scattered abroad, and the rest put to the sword."

The monasteries and churches, wherein they hoped to find treasures, were the favorite object of the Northmen's enterprises; in particular, they plundered, at the gates of Paris, the abbey of St. Germain des Prés and that of St. Denis, whence they carried off the abbot, who could not purchase his freedom save by a heavy ransom. They penetrated more than once into Paris itself, and subjected many of its quarters to contributions or pillage. The populations grew into the habit of suffering and fleeing; and the local lords, and even the kings, made arrangement sometimes with the pirates either for saving the royal domains from the ravages, or for having their own share therein. In 850 Pépin, King of Aquitaine, and brother of Charles the Bald, came to an understanding with the Northmen who had ascended the Garonne and were threatening Toulouse. "They arrived under his guidance," says Fauriel, "they laid siege to it, took it and plundered it, not halfwise, not hastily, as folks who feared to be surprised, but leisurely, with all security, by virtue of a treaty of alliance with one of the kings of the country. Throughout Aquitaine there was but one cry of indignation against Pépin, and the popularity of Charles was increased in proportion to all the horror inspired by the ineffable misdeed of his adversary. Charles the Bald himself, if he did not ally himself, as Pépin did, with the invaders, took scarce any interest in the fate of the populations and scarcely more trouble to protect them, for Hincmar, archbishop of Rheims, wrote to him in 859: 'Many folks say that you are incessantly repeating that it is not for you to mix yourself up with these depredations and robberies, and that everyone has but to defend himself as best he may.'"

In the middle and during the last half of the ninth century, a chief of the Northmen, named Hastenc or Hastings, appeared several times over on the coasts and in the rivers of France, with numerous vessels and a following. He had also with him, say the chronicles, a young Norwegian or Danish prince, Bioern, called "Ironsides," whom he had educated, and who had preferred sharing the fortunes of his governor to living quietly with the King, his father. After several expeditions into Western France, Hastings became the theme of terrible and very probably fabulous stories. He extended his cruises, they say, to the Mediterranean, and, having arrived at the coasts of Tuscany, within sight of a city which in his ignorance he took for Rome, he resolved to pillage it; but, not feeling strong enough to attack it by assault, he sent to the bishop to say he was very ill, felt a wish to become a Christian, and begged to be baptized. Some days afterward his comrades spread a report that he was dead, and claimed for him the honors of a solemn burial. The bishop consented; the coffin of Hastings was carried into the church, attended by a large number of his followers, without visible weapons; but, in the middle of the ceremony, Hastings suddenly leaped up, sword in hand, from his coffin; his followers displayed the weapons they had concealed, closed the doors, slew the priests, pillaged the ecclesiastical treasures, and reëmbarked before the very eyes of the stupefied population, to go and resume, on the coasts of France, their incursions and their ravages.

Whether they were true or false, these rumors of bold artifices and distant expeditions on the part of Hastings aggravated the dismay inspired by his appearance. He penetrated into the interior of the country, took possession of Chartres, and appeared before Paris, where Charles the Bald, intrenched at St. Denis, was deliberating with his prelates and barons as to how he might resist the Northmen or treat with them. The chronicle says that the barons advised resistance, but that the King preferred negotiation, and sent the abbot of St. Denis, "the which was an exceeding wise man," to Hastings, who, "after long parley and by reason of large gifts and promises," consented to stop his cruisings, to become a Christian, and to settle in the countship of Chartres, "which the King gave him as an hereditary possession, with all its appurtenances." According to other accounts, it was only some years later, under the young king Louis III, grandson of Charles the Bald, that Hastings was induced, either by reverses or by payment of money, to cease from his piracies and accept in recompense the countship of Chartres. Whatever may have been the date, he was, it is believed, the first chieftain of the Northmen who renounced a life of adventure and plunder, to become, in France, a great landed proprietor and a count of the King's.

A greater chieftain of the Northmen than Hastings was soon to follow his example, and found Normandy in France; but before Rolf, that is, Rollo, came and gave the name of his race to a French province, the piratical Northmen were again to attempt a greater blow against France and to suffer a great reverse.

In November, 885, under the reign of Charles the Fat, after having, for more than forty years, irregularly ravaged France, they resolved to unite their forces in order at length to obtain possession of Paris, whose outskirts they had so often pillaged without having been able to enter the heart of the place. Two bodies of troops were set in motion: one, under the command of Rollo, who was already famous among his comrades, marched on Rouen; the other went right up the course of the Seine, under the orders of Siegfried, whom the Northmen called their king. Rollo took Rouen, and pushed on at once for Paris. Duke Renaud, general of the Gallo-Frankish troops, went to encounter him on the banks of the Eure, and sent to him, to sound his intentions, Hastings, the newly made count of Chartres. "Valiant warriors," said Hastings to Rollo, "whence come ye? What seek ye here? What is the name of your lord and master? Tell us this; for we be sent unto you by the King of the Franks." "We be Danes," answered Rollo, "and all be equally masters among us. We be come to drive out the inhabitants of this land, and to subject it as our own country. But who art thou, thou who speakest so glibly?" "Ye have sometime heard tell of one Hastings, who, issuing forth from among you, came hither with much shipping and made desert a great part of the kingdom of the Franks?" "Yes," said Rollo, "we have heard tell of him; Hastings began well and ended ill." "Will ye yield you to King Charles?" asked Hastings. "We yield," was the answer, "to none; all that we shall take by our arms we will keep as our right. Go and tell this, if thou wilt, to the King, whose envoy thou boastest to be."

Hastings returned to the Gallo-Frankish army, and Rollo prepared to march on Paris. Hastings had gone back somewhat troubled in mind. Now there was among the Franks one Count Tetbold (Thibault), who greatly coveted the countship of Chartres, and he said to Hastings: "Why slumberest thou softly? Knowest thou not that King Charles doth purpose thy death by cause of all the Christian blood that thou didst aforetime unjustly shed? Bethink thee of all the evil thou hast done him, by reason whereof he purposeth to drive thee from his land. Take heed to thyself that thou be not smitten unawares." Hastings, dismayed, at once sold to Tetbold the town of Chartres, and, removing all that belonged to him, departed to go and resume, for all that appears, his old course of life.

On the 25th of November, 885, all the forces of the Northmen formed a junction before Paris; seven hundred huge barks covered two leagues of the Seine, bringing, it is said, more than thirty thousand men. The chieftains were astonished at sight of the new fortifications of the city, a double wall of circumvallation, the bridges crowned with towers, and in the environs the ramparts of the abbeys of St. Denis and St. Germain solidly rebuilt. Siegfried hesitated to attack a town so well defended. He demanded to enter alone and have an interview with the bishop, Gozlin. "Take pity on thyself and thy flock," said he to him; "let us pass through the city; we will in no wise touch the town; we will do our best to preserve, for thee and Count Eudes, all your possessions." "This city," replied the bishop, "hath been confided unto us by the emperor Charles, king and ruler, under God, of the powers of the earth. He hath confided it unto us, not that it should cause the ruin but the salvation of the kingdom. If peradventure these walls had been confided to thy keeping as they have been to mine, wouldst thou do as thou biddest me?"

"If ever I do so," answered Siegfried, "may my head be condemned to fall by the sword and serve as food to the dogs! But if thou yield not to our prayers, so soon as the sun shall commence his course our armies will launch upon thee their poisoned arrows; and when the sun shall end his course, they will give thee over to all the horrors of famine; and this will they do from year to year."

The bishop, however, persisted, without further discussion; being as certain of Count Eudes as he was of himself. Eudes, who was young and but recently made Count of Paris, was the eldest son of Robert the Strong, Count of Anjou, of the same line as Charlemagne, and but lately slain in battle against the Northmen. Paris had for defenders two heroes, one of the Church and the other of the empire: the faith of the Christian and the fealty of the vassal; the conscientiousness of the priest and the honor of the warrior.

The siege lasted thirteen months, whiles pushed vigorously forward with eight several assaults, whiles maintained by close investment, and with all the alternations of success and reverse, all the intermixture of brilliant daring and obscure sufferings that can occur when the assailants are determined and the defenders devoted. Not only a contemporary but an eye-witness, Abbo, a monk of St. Germain des Près, has recounted the details in a long poem, wherein the writer, devoid of talent, adds nothing to the simple representation of events; it is history itself which gives to Abbo's poem a high degree of interest. We do not possess, in reference to these continual struggles of the Northmen with the Gallo-Frankish populations, any other document which is equally precise and complete, or which could make us so well acquainted with all the incidents, all the phases of this irregular warfare between two peoples, one without a government, the other without a country. The bishop, Gozlin, died during the siege. Count Eudes quitted Paris for a time to go and beg aid of the Emperor; but the Parisians soon saw him reappear on the heights of Montmartre with three battalions of troops, and he reëntered the town, spurring on his horse and striking right and left with his battle-axe through the ranks of the dumfounded besiegers. The struggle was prolonged throughout the summer; and when, in November, 886, Charles the Fat at last appeared before Paris, "with a large army of all nations," it was to purchase the retreat of the Northmen at the cost of a heavy ransom, and by allowing them to go and winter in Burgundy, "whereof the inhabitants obeyed not the Emperor."

Some months afterward, in 887, Charles the Fat was deposed, at a diet held on the banks of the Rhine, by the grandees of Germanic France; and Arnulf, a natural son of Carloman, the brother of Louis III, was proclaimed emperor in his stead. At the same time Count Eudes, the gallant defender of Paris, was elected King at Compiègne, and crowned by the archbishop of Sens. Guy, Duke of Spoleto, descended from Charlemagne in the female line, hastened to France and was declared king at Langres by the bishop of that town, but returned with precipitation to Italy, seeing no chance of maintaining himself in his French kingship. Elsewhere Boso, Duke of Arles, became King of Provence, and the Burgundian Count Rudolph had himself crowned at St. Maurice, in the Valais, King of transjuran Burgundy. There was still in France a legitimate Carlovingian, a son of Louis the Stutterer, who was hereafter to become Charles the Simple; but being only a child, he had been rejected or completely forgotten, and, in the interval that was to elapse ere his time should arrive, kings were being made in all directions.

In the midst of this confusion the Northmen, though they kept at a distance from Paris, pursued in Western France their cruising and plundering. In Rollo they had a chieftain far superior to his vagabond predecessors. Though he still led the same life that they had, he displayed therein other faculties, other inclinations, other views. In his youth he had made an expedition to England, and had there contracted a real friendship with the wise king Alfred the Great. During a campaign in Friesland he had taken prisoner Rainier, Count of Hainault; and Alberade, Countess of Brabant, made a request to Rollo for her husband's release, offering in return to set free twelve captains of the Northmen, her prisoners, and to give up all the gold she possessed. Rollo took only half the gold, and restored to the countess her husband. When, in 885, he became master of Rouen, instead of devastating the city after the fashion of his kind, he respected the buildings, had the walls repaired, and humored the inhabitants. In spite of his violent and extortionate practices where he met with obstinate resistance, there were to be discerned in him symptoms of more noble sentiments and of an instinctive leaning toward order, civilization, and government. After the deposition of Charles the Fat and during the reign of Eudes, a lively struggle was maintained between the Frankish King and the chieftain of the Northmen, who had neither of them forgotten their early encounters. They strove, one against the other, with varied fortunes; Eudes succeeded in beating the Northmen at Montfaucon, but was beaten in Vermandois by another band, commanded, it is said, by the veteran Hastings, sometime Count of Chartres.

Rollo, too, had his share at one time of success, at another of reverse; but he made himself master of several important towns, showed a disposition to treat the quiet populations gently, and made a fresh trip to England, during which he renewed friendly relations with her King, Athelstan, the successor of Alfred the Great. He thus became, from day to day, more reputable as well as more formidable in France, insomuch that Eudes himself was obliged to have recourse, in dealing with him, to negotiations and presents. When, in 898, Eudes was dead, and Charles the Simple, at hardly nineteen years of age, had been recognized sole King of France, the ascendency of Rollo became such that the necessity of treating with him was clear. In 911 Charles, by the advice of his councillors and, among them, of Robert, brother of the late king Eudes, who had himself become Count of Paris and Duke of France, sent to the chieftain of the Northmen Franco, Archbishop of Rouen, with orders to offer him the cession of a considerable portion of Neustria and the hand of his young daughter Gisèle, on condition that he became a Christian and acknowledged himself the King's vassal. Rollo, by the advice of his comrades, received these overtures with a good grace and agreed to a truce for three months, during which they might treat about peace. On the day fixed Charles, accompanied by Duke Robert, and Rollo, surrounded by his warriors, repaired to St. Clair-sur-Epte, on the opposite banks of the river, and exchanged numerous messages. Charles offered Rollo Flanders, which the Northman refused, considering it too swampy; as to the maritime portion of Neustria he would not be contented with it; it was, he said, covered with forests, and had become quite a stranger to the ploughshare by reason of the Northmen's incessant incursions. He demanded the addition of territories taken from Brittany, and that the princes of that province, Bérenger and Alan, lords, respectively, of Redon and Dol, should take the oath of fidelity to him. When matters had been arranged on this basis, "the bishops told Rollo that he who received such a gift as the duchy of Normandy was bound to kiss the King's foot. 'Never,' quoth Rollo, 'will I bend the knee before the knees of any, and I will kiss the foot of none.' At the solicitation of the Franks he then ordered one of his warriors to kiss the King's foot. The Northman, remaining bolt upright, took hold of the King's foot, raised it to his mouth, and so made the King fall backward, which caused great bursts of laughter and much disturbance among the throng. Then the King and all the grandees who were about him, prelates, abbots, dukes, and counts, swore, in the name of the Catholic faith, that they would protect the patrician Rollo in his life, his members, and his folk, and would guarantee to him the possession of the aforesaid land, to him and his descendants forever; after which the King, well satisfied, returned to his domains; and Rollo departed with Duke Robert for the town of Rouen."

The dignity of Charles the Simple had no reason to be well satisfied; but the great political question which, a century before, caused Charlemagne such lively anxiety was solved; the most dangerous, the most incessantly renewed of all foreign invasions, those of the Northmen, ceased to threaten France. The vagabond pirates had a country to cultivate and defend; the Northmen were becoming French.


A.D. 871-901


Alfred the Great was the grandson of Egbert, King of the West Saxons, who during a reign of thirty-seven years consolidated in the Saxon heptarchy the seven Teutonic kingdoms into which Anglia or England had been divided, since the expulsion of the Britons by the Saxons about 585. In the latter part of Egbert's reign the Danish Northmen appeared in the estuaries and rivers of England, sacking and burning the towns along their banks. Ethelwulf who had been made King of Kent in 828, and succeeded his father Egbert as King of Anglia in 837, was early occupied in resisting and repelling attacks along his coasts, and by several successful pitched battles with the Danish invaders obtained comparative freedom from their visits for eight years. Ethelwulf had married Osburga, the daughter of Oslac his cup-bearer, and had a daughter and five sons, of whom Alfred, the youngest, was born in 849. Part of Alfred's childhood was spent in Rome. At Compiègne and Verberie among his playmates were Charles, the boy king of Aquitaine, and Judith, children of the French king Charles the Bald. Judith at fourteen years of age became Ethelwulf's second wife, and when the old King died two years later, to the amazement and scandal of the nation married her stepson Ethelbald.

According to Ethelwulf's will, Ethelbald became King of Wessex, Ethelbert, the second son, King of Kent, while Ethelred and Alfred were to be in the line of succession to Ethelbald. Ethelbald died in 860, and Judith returned to France, subsequently marrying Baldwin, Count of Flanders. Ethelbert as successor joined the kingdoms of Wessex and Kent. Alfred lived at the court of Ethelbert, and became noted for the intelligence and studious activities which were to make his future reign the conspicuous epoch in English history, so brilliantly commemorated a thousand years after his death in 901, in the millenary celebrated in Winchester and its neighborhood in 1901.

Ethelbert died in 866 and was succeeded by Ethelred. In 868 Alfred married Elswitha, the daughter of Ethelred Mucil of Mercia. Meanwhile the Danes had resumed their predatory excursions, and in the winter of 870-871 Ethelred accompanied by Alfred attacked them at Reading, but after an initial victory was repulsed. Four days later, Ethelred and Alfred with their forces were attacked on Ashdown near White Horse Hill; after a heavy slaughter the Danes were out to flight. The Danes, however, reinforced by Guthrum with new troops from over the sea, within a fortnight resumed offensive operations, and at Merton, two months later, Ethelred was mortally wounded. He died almost immediately after the battle, and "at the age of twenty-three Alfred ascended the throne of his fathers, which was tottering, as it seemed, to its fall."


The throne of the West Saxons was not an inheritance to be desired in the year 871, when Alfred succeeded his gallant brother. It descended on him without comment or ceremony, as a matter of course. There was not even an assembly of the witan to declare the succession as in ordinary times. With Guthrum and Hinguar in their intrenched camp at the confluence of the Thames and Kennet, and fresh bands of marauders sailing up the former river, and constantly swelling the ranks of the pagan army during these summer months, there was neither time nor heart among the wise men of the West Saxons for strict adherence to the letter of the constitution, however venerable. The succession had already been settled by the Great Council, when they formally accepted the provisions of Ethelwulf's will, that his three sons should succeed, to the exclusion of the children of any one of them.

The idea of strict hereditary succession has taken so strong a hold of us English in later times that it is necessary constantly to insist that our old English kingship was elective. Alfred's title was based on election; and so little was the idea of usurpation, or of any wrong done to the two infant sons of Ethelred, connected with his accession, that even the lineal descendant of one of those sons, in his chronicle of that eventful year, does not pause to notice the fact that Ethelred left children. He is writing to his "beloved cousin Matilda," to instruct her in the things which he had received from ancient traditions, "of the history of our race down to these two kings from whom we have our origin." "The fourth son of Ethelwulf," he writes, "was Ethelred, who, after the death of Ethelbert, succeeded to the kingdom, and was also my grandfather's grandfather. The fifth was Alfred, who succeeded after all the others to the whole sovereignty, and was your grandfather's grandfather." And so passes on to the next facts, without a word as to the claims of his own lineal ancestor, though he had paused in his narrative at this point for the special purpose of introducing a little family episode.

When Alfred had buried his brother in the cloisters of Wimborne Minster, and had time to look out from his Dorsetshire resting-place, and take stock of the immediate prospects and work which lay before him, we can well believe that those historians are right who have told us that for the moment he lost heart and hope, and suffered himself to doubt whether God would by his hand deliver the afflicted nation from its terrible straits. In the eight pitched battles which we find by the Saxon Chronicle (Asser giving seven only) had already been fought with the pagan army, the flower of the youth of these parts of the West Saxon kingdom must have fallen. The other Teutonic kingdoms of the island, of which he was overlord, and so bound to defend, had ceased to exist except in name, or lay utterly powerless, like Mercia, awaiting their doom. Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, which were now an integral part of the royal inheritance of his own family, were at the mercy of his enemies, and he without a hope of striking a blow for them. London had been pillaged, and was in ruins. Even in Wessex proper, Berkshire and Hampshire, with parts of Wilts and Dorset, had been crossed and recrossed by marauding bands, in whose track only smoking ruins and dead bodies were found. "The land was as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness." These bands were at this very moment on foot, striking into new districts farther to the southwest than they had yet reached. If the rich lands of Somersetshire and Devonshire, and the yet unplundered parts of Wilts and Dorset, are to be saved, it must be by prompt and decisive fighting, and it is time for a king to be in the field. But it is a month from his brother's death before Alfred can gather men enough round his standard to take the field openly. Even then, when he fights, it is "almost against his will," for his ranks are sadly thin, and the whole pagan army are before him, at Wilton near Salisbury. The action would seem to have been brought on by the impetuosity of Alfred's own men, whose spirit was still unbroken, and their confidence in their young King enthusiastic. There was a long and fierce fight as usual, during the earlier part of which the Saxons had the advantage, though greatly outnumbered.

But again we get glimpses of the old trap of a feigned flight and ambuscade, into which they fell, and so again lose "possession of the place of death," the ultimate test of victory. "This year," says the Saxon Chronicle, "nine general battles were fought against the army in the kingdom south of the Thames; besides which Alfred, the king's brother, and single aldermen and king's thanes, oftentimes made attacks on them, which were not counted; and within the year one king and nine jarls [earls] were slain." Wilton was the last of these general actions, and not long afterward, probably in the autumn, Alfred made peace with the pagans, on condition that they should quit Wessex at once.

They were probably allowed to carry off whatever spoils they may have been able to accumulate in their Reading camp, but I can find no authority for believing that Alfred fell into the fatal and humiliating mistake of either paying them anything or giving hostages or promising tribute. This young King, who, as crown prince, led the West Saxons up the slopes at Ashdown, when Bagsac, the two Sidrocs, and the rest were killed, and who has very much their own way of fighting—going into the clash of arms "when the hard steel rings upon the high helmets," and "the beasts of prey have ample spoil," like a veritable child of Odin—is clearly one whom it is best to let alone, at any rate so long as easy plunder and rich lands are to be found elsewhere, without such poison-mad fighting for every herd of cattle and rood of ground. Indeed, I think the careful reader may trace from the date of Ashdown a decided unwillingness on the part of the Danes to meet Alfred, except when they could catch him at disastrous odds. They succeeded, indeed, for a time in overrunning almost the whole of his kingdom, in driving him an exile for a few wretched weeks to the shelter of his own forests; but whenever he was once fairly in the field they preferred taking refuge in strong places, and offering treaties and hostages to the actual arbitrament of battle.

So the pagan army quitted Reading, and wintered in 872 in the neighborhood of London, at which place they received proposals from Buhred, King of the Mercians, Alfred's brother-in-law, and for a money payment pass him and his people contemptuously by for the time, making some kind of treaty of peace with them, and go northward into what has now become their own country. They winter in Lincolnshire, gathering fresh strength during 873 from the never-failing sources of supply across the narrow seas. Again, however, in this year of ominous rest they renew their sham peace with poor Buhred and his Mercians, who thus manage to tide it over another winter. In 874, however, their time has come. In the spring, the pagan army under the three kings, Guthrum, Oskytal, and Amund, burst into Mercia. In this one only of the English Teutonic kingdoms they find neither fighting nor suffering hero to cross their way, and leave behind for a thousand years the memory of a noble end, cut out there in some half-dozen lines of an old chronicler, but full of life and inspiration to this day for all Englishmen. The whole country is overrun, and reduced under pagan rule, without a blow struck, so far as we know, and within the year.

Poor Buhred, titular King of the Mercians, who has made believe to rule this English kingdom these twenty-two years—who in his time has marched with his father-in-law Ethelwulf across North Wales—has beleaguered Nottingham with his brothers-in-law, Ethelred and Alfred, six years back, not without show of manhood—sees for his part nothing for it under such circumstances but to get away as swiftly as possible, as many so-called kings have done before him, and since. The West Saxon court is no place for him, quite other views of kingship prevailing in those parts. So the poor Buhred breaks away from his anchors, leaving his wife Ethelswitha even, in his haste, to take refuge with her brother; or is it that the heart of the daughter of the race of Cerdic swells against leaving the land which her sires had won, the people they had planted there, in the moment of sorest need? In any case Buhred drifts away alone across into France, and so toward the winter to Rome. There he dies at once—about Christmas-time, 874—of shame and sorrow probably, or of a broken heart as we say; at any rate having this kingly gift left in him, that he cannot live and look on the ruin of his people, as St. Edmund's brother Edwold is doing in these same years, "near a clear well at Carnelia, in Dorsetshire," doing the hermit business there on bread and water.

The English in Rome bury away poor Buhred, with all the honors, in the Church of St. Mary's, to which the English schools rebuilt by his father-in-law Ethelwulf were attached. Ethelswitha visited, or started to visit, the tomb years later, we are told, in 888, when Mercia had risen to new life under her great brother's rule. Through these same months Guthrum, Oskytal, and the rest are wintering at Repton, after destroying there the cloister where the kingly line of Mercia lie; disturbing perhaps the bones of the great Offa, whom Charlemagne had to treat as an equal.

Neither of the pagan kings is inclined at this time to settle in Mercia; so, casting about what to do with it, they light on "a certain foolish man," a king's thane, one Ceolwulf, and set him up as a sort of King Popinjay. From this Ceolwulf they take hostages for the payment of yearly tribute—to be wrung out of these poor Mercians on pain of dethronement—and for the surrender of the kingdom to them on whatever day they would have it back again. Foolish king's thanes, turned into King Popinjays by pagans, and left to play at government on such terms, are not pleasant or profitable objects in such times as these of one thousand years since—or indeed in any times, for the matter of that. So let us finish with Ceolwulf, just noting that a year or two later his pagan lords seem to have found much of the spoil of monasteries, and the pickings of earl and churl, of folkland and bookland, sticking to his fingers, instead of finding its way to their coffers. This was far from their meaning in setting him up in the high places of Mercia. So they strip him and thrust him out, and he dies in beggary.

This, then, is the winter's work of the great pagan army at Repton, Alfred watching them and their work doubtless with keen eye—not without misgivings too at their numbers, swollen again to terrible proportions since they sailed away down Thames after Wilton fight. It will take years yet before the gaps in the fighting strength of Wessex, left by those nine pitched battles, and other smaller fights, will be filled by the crop of youths passing from childhood to manhood. An anxious thought, that, for a young king.

The pagans, however, are not yet ready for another throw for Wessex; and so when Mercia is sucked dry for the present, and will no longer suitably maintain so great a host, they again sever. Halfdene, who would seem to have joined them recently, takes a large part of the army away with him northward. Settling his head-quarters by the river Tyne, he subdues all the land, and "ofttimes spoils the Picts and the Strathclyde Britons." Among other holy places in those parts, Halfdene visits the Isle of Lindisfarne, hoping perhaps in his pagan soul not only to commit ordinary sacrilege in the holy places there, which is every-day work for the like of him, but even to lay impious hands on, and to treat with indignity, the remains of that holy man St. Cuthbert, who has become, in due course, patron and guardian saint of hunters, and of that scourge of pagans, Alfred the West Saxon. If such were his thoughts, he is disappointed of his sacrilege; for Bishop Eardulf and Abbot Eadred—devout and strenuous persons—having timely warning of his approach, carry away the sainted body from Lindisfarne, and for nine years hide with it up and down the distracted northern counties, now here, now there, moving that sacred treasure from place to place until this bitterness is overpast, and holy persons and things, dead or living, are no longer in danger, and the bodies of saints may rest safely in fixed shrines; the pagan armies and disorderly persons of all kinds having been converted or suppressed in the mean time; for which good deed the royal Alfred—in whose calendar St. Cuthbert, patron of huntsmen, stands very high—will surely warmly befriend them hereafter, when he has settled his accounts with many persons and things. From the time of this incursion of Halfdene, Northumbria may be considered once more a settled state, but a Danish, not a Saxon one.

The rest and greater part of the army, under Guthrum, Oskytal, and Amund, on leaving Repton, strike southeast, through what was "Landlord" Edmund's country, to Cambridge, where, in their usual heathen way, they pass the winter of 875.

The downfall, exile, and death of his brother-in-law in 874 must have warned Alfred, if he had any need of warning, that no treaty could bind these foemen, and that he had nothing to look for but the same measure as soon as the pagan leaders felt themselves strong enough to mete it out to him and Wessex. In the following year we accordingly find him on the alert, and taking action in a new direction. These heathen pirates, he sees, fight his people at terrible advantage by reason of their command of the sea. This enables them to choose their own point of attack, not only along the sea-coast, but up every river as far as their light galleys can swim; to retreat unmolested, at their own time, whenever the fortune of war turns against them; to bring reinforcements of men and supplies to the scene of action without fear of hindrance. His Saxons have long since given up their seafaring habits. They have become before all things an agricultural people, drawing almost everything they need from their own soil. The few foreign tastes they have are supplied by foreign traders. However, if Wessex is to be made safe the sea-kings must be met on their own element; and so, with what expenditure of patience and money and encouraging words and example we may easily conjecture, the young King gets together a small fleet, and himself takes command of it. We have no clew to the point on the south coast where the admiral of twenty five fights his first naval action, but know only that in the summer of 875 he is cruising with his fleet, and meets seven tall ships of the enemy. One of these he captures, and the rest make off after a hard fight—no small encouragement to the sailor King, who has thus for another year saved Saxon homesteads from devastation by fire and sword.

The second wave of invasion had now at last gathered weight and volume enough, and broke on the King and people of the West Saxons.

The year 876 was still young when the whole pagan army, which had wintered at and about Cambridge, marched to their ships and put to sea. Guthrum was in command, with the other two kings, Anketel and Amund, as his lieutenants, under whom was a host as formidable as that which had marched across Mercia through forest and waste, and sailed up the Thames five years before to the assault of Reading. There must have been some few days of harassing suspense, for we cannot suppose that Alfred was not aware of the movements of his terrible foes. Probably his new fleet cruised off the south coast on the watch for them, and all up the Thames there were gloomy watchings and forebodings of a repetition of the evil days of 871. But the suspense was soon over. Passing by the Thames' mouth, and through Dover Straits, the pagan fleet sailed, and westward still past many tempting harbors and rivers' mouths, until they came off the coast of Dorsetshire. There they land at Wareham, and seize and fortify the neck of land between the rivers Frome and Piddle, on which stood, when they landed, a fortress of the West Saxons and a monastery of holy virgins. Fortress and monastery fell into the hands of the Danes, who set to work at once to throw up earthworks and otherwise fortify a space large enough to contain their army, and all spoil brought in by marauding bands from this hitherto unplundered country. This fortified camp was soon very strong, except on the western side, upon which Alfred shortly appeared with a body of horsemen and such other troops as could be gathered hastily together. The detachment of the pagans, who were already out pillaging the whole neighborhood, fell back apparently before him, concentrating on the Wareham camp. Before its outworks Alfred paused. He is too experienced a soldier now to risk at the outset of a campaign such a disaster as that which he and Ethelred had sustained in their attempt to assault the camp at Reading in 871. He is just strong enough to keep the pagans within their lines, but has no margin to spare. So he sits down before the camp, but no battle is fought, neither he nor Guthrum caring to bring matters to that issue. Soon negotiations are commenced, and again a treaty is made.

On this occasion Alfred would seem to have taken special pains to bind his faithless foe. All the holy relics which could be procured from holy places in the neighborhood were brought together, that he himself and his people might set the example of pledging themselves in the most solemn manner known to Christian men. Then a holy ring or bracelet, smeared with the blood of beasts sacrificed to Woden, was placed on a heathen altar. Upon this Guthrum and his fellow kings and earls swore on behalf of the army that they would quit the King's country and give hostages. Such an oath had never been sworn by Danish leader on English soil before. It was the most solemn known to them. They would seem also to have sworn on Alfred's relics, as an extra proof of their sincerity for this once, and their hostages "from among the most renowned men in the army" were duly handed over. Alfred now relaxed his watch, even if he did not withdraw with the main body of his army, leaving his horse to see that the terms of the treaty were performed, and to watch the Wareham camp until the departure of the pagan host. But neither oath on sacred ring, nor the risk to their hostages, weighed with Guthrum and his followers when any advantage was to be gained by treachery. They steal out of the camp by night, surprise and murder the Saxon horsemen, seize the horses, and strike across the country, the mounted men leading, to Exeter, but leaving a sufficient garrison to hold Wareham for the present. They surprise and get possession of the western capital, and there settle down to pass the winter. Rollo, fiercest of the vikings, is said by Asser to have passed the winter with them in their Exeter quarters on his way to Normandy; but whether the great robber himself were here or not, it is certain that the channel swarmed with pirate fleets, who could put in to Wareham or Exeter at their discretion, and find a safe stronghold in either place from which to carry fire and sword through the unhappy country.

Alfred had vainly endeavored to overtake the march to Exeter in the autumn of 876, and, failing in the pursuit, had disbanded his own troops as usual, allowing them to go to their own homes until the spring. Before he could be afoot again in the spring of 877 the main body of the pagans at Exeter had made that city too strong for any attempt at assault, so the King and his troops could do no more than beleaguer it on the land side, as he had done at Wareham. But Guthrum could laugh at all efforts of his great antagonist, and wait in confidence the sure disbanding of the Saxon troops at harvest time, so long as his ships held the sea.

Supplies were running short in Exeter, but the Exe was open and communications going on with Wareham. It is arranged that the camp there shall be broken up, and the whole garrison with their spoil shall join head-quarters. One hundred and twenty Danish war-galleys are freighted, and beat down channel, but are baffled by adverse winds for nearly a month. They and all their supplies may be looked for any day in the Exe when the wind changes. Alfred, from his camp before Exeter, sends to his little fleet to put to sea. He cannot himself be with them as in their first action, for he knows well that Guthrum will seize the first moment of his absence to sally from Exeter, break the Saxon lines, and scatter his army in roving bands over Devonshire, on their way back to the eastern kingdom. The Saxon fleet puts out, manned itself, as some say, partly with sea-robbers, hired to fight their own people. However manned, it attacks bravely a portion of the pirates. But a mightier power than the fleet fought for Alfred at this crisis. First a dense fog and then a great storm came on, bursting on the south coast with such fury that the pagans lost no less than one hundred of their chief ships off Swanage, as mighty a deliverance perhaps for England—though the memory of it is nearly forgotten—as that which began in the same seas seven hundred years later, when Drake and the sea-kings of the sixteenth century were hanging on the rear of the Spanish armada along the Devon and Dorset coasts, while the beacons blazed up all over England and the whole nation flew to arms.

The destruction of the fleet decided the fate of the siege of Exeter. Once more negotiations are opened by the pagans; once more Alfred, fearful of driving them to extremities, listens, treats, and finally accepts oaths and more hostages, acknowledging probably in sorrow to himself that he can for the moment do no better. And on this occasion Guthrum, being caught far from home, and without supplies or ships, "keeps the peace well," moving as we conjecture, watched jealously by Alfred, on the shortest line across Devon and Somerset to some ford in the Avon, and so across into Mercia, where he arrives during harvest, and billets his army on Ceolwulf, camping them for the winter about the city of Gloster. Here they run up huts for themselves, and make some pretense of permanent settlement on the Severn, dividing large tracts of land among those who cared to take them.

The campaigns of 876-77 are generally looked upon as disastrous ones for the Saxon arms, but this view is certainly not supported by the chroniclers. It is true that both at Wareham and Exeter the pagans broke new ground, and secured their position, from which no doubt they did sore damage in the neighboring districts, but we can trace in these years none of the old ostentatious daring and thirst for battle with Alfred. Whenever he appears the pirate bands draw back at once into their strongholds, and, exhausted as great part of Wessex must have been by the constant strain, the West Saxons show no signs yet of falling from their gallant King. If he can no longer collect in a week such an army as fought at Ashdown, he can still, without much delay, bring to his side a sufficient force to hem the pagans in and keep them behind their ramparts.

But the nature of the service was telling sadly on the resources of the kingdom south of the Thames. To the Saxons there came no new levies, while from the north and east of England, as well as from over the sea, Guthrum was ever drawing to his standard wandering bands of sturdy Northmen. The most important of these reinforcements came to him from an unexpected quarter this autumn. We have not heard for some years of Hubba, the brother of Hinguar, the younger of the two vikings who planned and led the first great invasion in 868. Perhaps he may have resented the arrival of Guthrum and other kings in the following years, to whom he had to give place. Whatever may have been the cause, he seems to have gone off on his own account: carrying with him the famous raven standard, to do his appointed work in these years on other coasts under its ominous shade.

This "war flag which they call raven" was a sacred object to the Northmen. When Hinguar and Hubba had heard of the death of their father, Regnar Lodbrog, and had resolved to avenge him, while they were calling together their followers, their three sisters in one day wove for them this war-flag, in the midst of which was portrayed the figure of a raven. Whenever the flag went before them into battle, if they were to win the day the sacred raven would rouse itself and stretch its wings; but if defeat awaited them, the flag would hang round its staff and the bird remain motionless. This wonder had been proved in many a fight, so the wild pagans who fought under the standard of Regnar's children believed. It was a power in itself, and Hubba and a strong fleet were with it.

They had appeared in the Bristol Channel in this autumn of 877, and had ruthlessly slaughtered and spoiled the people of South Wales. Here they propose to winter; but, as the country is wild mountain for the most part, and the people very poor, they will remain no longer than they can help. Already a large part of the army about Gloster are getting restless. The story of their march from Devonshire, through rich districts of Wessex yet unplundered, goes round among the new-comers. Guthrum has no power, probably no will, to keep them to their oaths. In the early winter a joint attack is planned by him and Hubba on the West Saxon territory. By Christmas they are strong enough to take the field, and so in midwinter, shortly after Twelfth Night, the camp at Gloster breaks up, and the army "stole away to Chippenham," recrossing the Avon once more into Wessex, under Guthrum. The fleet, after a short delay, crosses to the Devonshire coast, under Hubba, in thirty war-ships.

And now at last the courage of the West Saxons gives way. The surprise is complete. Wiltshire is at the mercy of the pagans, who, occupying the royal burgh of Chippenham as headquarters, overrun the whole district, drive many of the inhabitants "beyond the sea for want of the necessaries of life," and reduce to subjection all those that remain. Alfred is at his post, but for the moment can make no head against them. His own strong heart and trust in God are left him, and with them and a scanty band of followers he disappears into the forest of Selwood, which then stretched away from the confines of Wiltshire for thirty miles to the west. East Somerset, now one of the fairest and richest of English counties, was then for the most part thick wood and tangled swamp, but miserable as the lodging is it is welcome for the time to the King. In the first months of 878 Selwood Forest holds in its recesses the hope of England.

It is at this point, as is natural enough, that romance has been most busy, and it has become impossible to disentangle the actual facts from monkish legend and Saxon ballad. In happier times Alfred was in the habit himself of talking over the events of his wandering life pleasantly with his courtiers, and there is no reason to doubt that the foundation of most of the stories still current rests on those conversations of the truth-loving King, noted down by Bishop Asser and others.

The best known of these is, of course, the story of the cakes. In the depths of the Saxon forests there were always a few neatherds and swineherds, scattered up and down, living in rough huts enough, we may be sure, and occupied with the care of the cattle and herds of their masters. Among these in Selwood was a neatherd of the King, a faithful man, to whom the secret of Alfred's disguise was intrusted, and who kept it even from his wife. To this man's hut the King came one day alone, and, sitting himself down by the burning logs on the hearth, began mending his bow and arrows. The neatherd's wife had just finished her baking, and having other household matters to attend to, confided her loaves to the King, a poor tired-looking body, who might be glad of the warmth, and could make himself useful by turning the batch, and so earn his share while she got on with other business. But Alfred worked away at his weapons, thinking of anything but the good housewife's batch of loaves, which in due course were not only done, but rapidly burning to a cinder. At this moment the neatherd's wife comes back, and flying to the hearth to rescue the bread, cries out: "Drat the man! never to turn the loaves when you see them burning. I'ze warrant you ready enough to eat them when they are done." But besides the King's faithful neatherd, whose name is not preserved, there are other churls in the forest, who must be Alfred's comrades just now if he will have any. And even here he has an eye for a good man, and will lose no opportunity to help one to the best of his power. Such a one he finds in a certain swineherd called Denewulf, whom he gets to know, a thoughtful Saxon man, minding his charge there in the oak woods. The rough churl, or thrall, we know not which, has great capacity, as Alfred soon finds out, and desire to learn. So the King goes to work upon Denewulf under the oak trees, when the swine will let him, and is well satisfied with the results of his teaching and the progress of his pupil.

But in those miserable days the commonest necessaries of life were hard enough to come by for the King and his few companions, and for his wife and family, who soon joined him in the forest, even if they were not with him from the first. The poor foresters cannot maintain them, nor are this band of exiles the men to live on the poor. So Alfred and his comrades are soon out foraging on the borders of the forest, and getting what subsistence they can from the pagans, or from the Christians who had submitted to their yoke. So we may imagine them dragging on life till near Easter, when a gleam of good news comes tip from the west, to gladden the hearts and strengthen the arms of these poor men in the depths of Selwood.

Soon after Guthrum and the main body of the pagans moved from Gloster, southward, the viking Hubba, as had been agreed, sailed with thirty ships-of-war from his winter quarters on the South Welsh coast, and landed in Devon. The news of the catastrophe at Chippenham, and of the disappearance of the King, was no doubt already known in the West; and in the face of it Odda the alderman cannot gather strength to meet the pagan in the open field. But he is a brave and true man, and will make no terms with the spoilers; so, with other faithful thanes of King Alfred and their followers, he throws himself into a castle or fort called Cynwith, or Cynuit, there to abide whatever issue of this business God shall send them. Hubba, with the war-flag Raven, and a host laden with the spoil of rich Devon vales, appear in due course before the place. It is not strong naturally, and has only "walls in our own fashion," meaning probably rough earthworks. But there are resolute men behind them, and on the whole Hubba declines the assault, and sits down before the place. There is no spring of water, he hears, within the Saxon lines, and they are otherwise wholly unprepared for a siege. A few days will no doubt settle the matter, and the sword or slavery will be the portion of Odda and the rest of Alfred's men; meantime there is spoil enough in the camp from Devonshire homesteads, which brave men can revel in round the war-flag Raven, while they watch the Saxon ramparts. Odda, however, has quite other views than death from thirst, or surrender. Before any stress comes, early one morning he and his whole force sally out over their earthworks, and from the first "cut down the pagans in great numbers": eight hundred and forty warriors—some say twelve hundred—with Hubba himself are slain before Cynuit fort; the rest, few in number, escape to their ships. The war-flag Raven is left in the hands of Odda and the men of Devon.

This is the news which comes to Alfred, Ethelnoth the alderman of Somerset, Denewulf the swineherd, and the rest of the Selwood Forest group, some time before Easter. These men of Devonshire, it seems, are still stanch, and ready to peril their lives against the pagan. No doubt up and down Wessex, thrashed and trodden out as the nation is by this time, there are other good men and true, who will neither cross the sea nor the Welsh marches nor make terms with the pagan; some sprinkling of men who will yet set life at stake, for faith in Christ and love of England. If these can only be rallied, who can say what may follow? So, in the lengthening days of spring, council is held in Selwood, and there will have been Easter services in some chapel or hermitage in the forest, or, at any rate, in some quiet glade. The "day of days" will surely have had its voice of hope for this poor remnant. Christ is risen and reigns; and it is not in these heathen Danes, or in all the Northmen who ever sailed across the sea, to put back his kingdom or to enslave those whom he has freed.

The result is that, far away from the eastern boundary of the forest, on a rising ground—hill it can scarcely be called—surrounded by dangerous marshes formed by the little rivers Thone and Parret, fordable only in summer, and even then dangerous to all who have not the secret, a small fortified camp is thrown up under Alfred's eye, by Ethelnoth and the Somersetshire men, where he can once again raise his standard. The spot has been chosen by the King with the utmost care, for it is his last throw. He names it the Etheling's eig or island, "Athelney." Probably his young son, the Etheling of England, is there among the first, with his mother and his grandmother Eadburgha, the widow of Ethelred Mucil, the venerable lady whom Asser saw in later years, and who has now no country but her daughter's. There are, as has been reckoned, some two acres of hard ground on the island, and around vast brakes of alder-bush, full of deer and other game.

Here the Somersetshire men can keep up constant communication with him, and a small army grows together. They are soon strong enough to make forays into the open country, and in many skirmishes they cut off parties of the pagans and supplies. "For, even when overthrown and cast down," says Malmesbury, "Alfred had always to be fought with; so, then when one would esteem him altogether worn down and broken, like a snake slipping from the hand of him who would grasp it, he would suddenly flash out again from his hiding-places, rising up to smite his foes in the height of their insolent confidence, and never more hard to beat than after a flight."

But it was still a trying life at Athelney. Followers came in slowly, and provender and supplies of all kinds are hard to wring from the pagan, and harder still to take from Christian men. One day, while it was yet so cold that the water was still frozen, the King's people had gone out "to get them fish or fowl, or some such purveyance as they sustained themselves withal." No one was left in the royal hut for the moment but himself, and his mother-in-law Eadburgha. The King—after his constant wont whensoever he had opportunity—was reading from the Psalms of David, out of the Manual which he carried always in his bosom. At this moment a poor man appeared at the door and begged for a morsel of bread "for Christ his sake." Whereupon the King, receiving the stranger as a brother, called to his mother-in-law to give him to eat. Eadburgha replied that there was but one loaf in their store, and a little wine in a pitcher, a provision wholly insufficient for his own family and people. But the King bade her nevertheless to give the stranger part of the last loaf, which she accordingly did. But when he had been served the stranger was no more seen, and the loaf remained whole, and the pitcher full to the brim. Alfred, meantime, had turned to his reading, over which he fell asleep, and dreamt that St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne stood by him, and told him it was he who had been his guest, and that God had seen his afflictions and those of his people, which were now about to end, in token whereof his people would return that day from their expedition with a great take of fish. The King awakening, and being much impressed with his dream, called to his mother-in-law and recounted it to her, who thereupon assured him that she too had been overcome with sleep and had had the same dream. And while they yet talked together on what had happened so strangely to them, their servants come in, bringing fish enough, as it seemed to them, to have fed an army.

The monkish legend goes on to tell that on the next morning the King crossed to the mainland in a boat, and wound his horn thrice, which drew to him before noon five hundred men. What we may think of the story and the dream, as Sir John Spelman says, "is not here very much material," seeing that, whether we deem it natural or supernatural, "the one as well as the other serves at God's appointment, by raising or dejecting of the mind with hopes or fears, to lead man to the resolution of those things whereof he has before ordained the event."

Alfred, we may be sure, was ready to accept and be thankful for any help, let it come from whence it might, and soon after Easter it was becoming clear that the time is at hand for more than skirmishing expeditions. Through all the neighboring counties word is spreading that their hero King is alive and on foot again, and that there will be another chance for brave men ere long of meeting once more these scourges of the land under his leading.

A popular legend is found in the later chroniclers which relates that at this crisis of his fortunes Alfred, not daring to rely on any evidence but that of his own senses as to the numbers, disposition, and discipline of the pagan army, assumed the garb of a minstrel and with one attendant visited the camp of Guthrum. Here he stayed, "showing tricks and making sport," until he had penetrated to the King's tents, and learned all that he wished to know. After satisfying himself as to the chances of a sudden attack, he returns to Athelney, and, the time having come for a great effort, if his people will but make it, sends round messengers to the aldermen and king's thanes of neighboring shires, giving them a tryst for the seventh week after Easter, the second week in May.

On or about the 12th of May, 878, King Alfred left his island in the great wood, and his wife and children and such household gods [sic] as he had gathered round him there, and came publicly forth among his people once more, riding to Egbert's Stone—probably Brixton—on the east of Selwood, a distance of twenty-six miles. Here met him the men of the neighboring shires—Odda, no doubt, with his men of Devonshire, full of courage and hope after their recent triumph; the men of Somersetshire, under their brave and faithful alderman Ethelnoth; and the men of Wilts and Hants, such of them at least as had not fled the country or made submission to the enemy. "And when they saw their King alive after such great tribulation, they received him, as he merited, with joy and acclamation." The gathering had been so carefully planned by Alfred and the nobles who had been in conference or correspondence with him at Athelney that the Saxon host was organized and ready for immediate action on the very day of muster. Whether Alfred had been his own spy we cannot tell, but it is plain that he knew well what was passing in the pagan camp, and how necessary swiftness and secrecy were to the success of his attack.

Local traditions cannot be much relied upon for events which took place a thousand years ago, but where there is clearly nothing improbable in them they are at least worth mentioning. We may note, then, that according to Somersetshire tradition, first collected by Dr. Giles—himself a Somersetshire man, and one who, besides his Life of Alfred and other excellent works bearing on the time, is the author of the Harmony of the Chroniclers, published by the Alfred Committee in 1852—the signal for the actual gathering of the West Saxons at Egbert's Stone was given by a beacon lighted on the top of Stourton hill, where Alfred's Tower now stands. Such a beacon would be hidden from the Danes, who must have been encamped about Westbury, by the range of the Wiltshire hills, while it would be visible to the west over the low country toward the Bristol Channel, and to the south far into Dorsetshire.

Not an hour was lost by Alfred at the place of muster. The bands which came together there were composed of men well used to arms, each band under its own alderman, or reeve. The small army he had himself been disciplining at Athelney, and training in skirmishes during the last few months, would form a reliable centre on which the rest would have to form as best they could. So after one day's halt he breaks up his camp at Egbert's Stone and marches to Aeglea, now called Clay hill, an important height, commanding the vale to the north of Westbury, which the Danish army were now occupying. The day's march of the army would be a short five miles. Here the annals record that St. Neot, his kinsman, appeared to him, and promised that on the morrow his misfortunes would end.

There are still traces of rude earthworks round the top of Clay hill, which are said to have been thrown up by Alfred's army at this time. If there had been time for such a work, it would undoubtedly have been a wise step, as a fortified encampment here would have served Alfred in good stead in case of a reverse. But the few hours during which the army halted on Clay hill would have been quite too short time for such an undertaking, which, moreover, would have exhausted the troops. It is more likely that the earthworks, which are of the oldest type, similar to those at White Horse hill, above Ashdown, were there long before Alfred's arrival in May, 878. After resting one night on Clay hill, Alfred led out his men in close order of battle against the pagan host, which lay at Ethandune. There has been much doubt among the antiquaries as to the site of Ethandune, but Dr. Giles and others have at length established the claims of Edington, a village seven miles from Clay hill, on the northeast, to the spot where the strength of the second wave of pagan invasion was utterly broken and rolled back weak and helpless from the rock of the West Saxon kingdom.

Sir John Spelman, relying apparently only on the authority of Nicholas Harpesfeld's Ecclesiastical History of England, puts a speech into Alfred's mouth, which he is supposed to have delivered before the battle of Edington. He tells them that the great sufferings of the land had been yet far short of what their sins had deserved. That God had only dealt with them as a loving Father, and was now about to succor them, having already stricken their foe with fear and astonishment, and given him, on the other hand, much encouragement by dreams and otherwise. That they had to do with pirates and robbers, who had broken faith with them over and over again; and the issue they had to try that day was whether Christ's faith or heathenism was henceforth to be established in England.

There is no trace of any such speech in the Saxon Chronicle or Asser, and the one reported does not ring like that of Judas Maccabaeus. That Alfred's soul was on fire that morning, on finding himself once more at the head of a force he could rely on, and before the enemy he had met so often, we may be sure enough, but shall never know how the fire kindled into speech, if indeed it did so at all. In such supreme moments many of the strongest men have no word to say—keep all their heat within.

Nor have we any clew to the numbers who fought on either side at Ethandune, or indeed in any of Alfred's battles. In the Chronicles there are only a few vague and general statements, from which little can be gathered. The most precise of them is that in the Saxon Chronicle, which gives eight hundred and forty as the number of men who were slain, as we heard, with Hubba before Cynuit fort, in Devonshire, earlier in this same year. Such a death-roll, in an action in which only a small detachment of the pagan army was engaged, would lead to the conclusion that the armies were far larger than one would expect. On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine how any large bodies of men could find subsistence in a small country, which was the seat of so devastating a war, and in which so much land remained still unreclaimed. But whatever the power on either side amounted to we may be quite sure that it had been exerted to the utmost to bring as large a force as possible into line at Ethandune.

Guthrum fought to protect Chippenham, his base of operations, some sixteen miles in his rear, and all the accumulated plunder of the busy months which had passed since Twelfth Night; and it is clear that his men behaved with the most desperate gallantry. The fight began at noon—one chronicler says at sunrise, but the distance makes this impossible unless Alfred marched in the night—and lasted through the greater part of the day. Warned by many previous disasters the Saxons never broke their close order, and so, though greatly outnumbered, hurled back again and again the onslaughts of the Northmen. At last Alfred and his Saxons prevailed, and smote his pagan foes with a very great slaughter, and pursued them up to their fortified camp on Bratton hill or Edge, into which the great body of the fugitives threw themselves. All who were left outside were slain, and the great spoil was all recovered. The camp may still be seen, called Bratton Castle, with its double ditches and deep trenches, and barrow in the midst sixty yards long, and its two entrances guarded by mounds. It contains more than twenty acres, and commands the whole country side. There can be little doubt that this camp, and not Chippenham, which is sixteen miles away, was the last refuge of Guthrum and the great northern army on Saxon soil.

So, in three days from the breaking up of his little camp at Athelney, Alfred was once more King of all England south of the Thames; for this army of pagans, shut up within their earthworks on Bratton Edge, are little better than a broken and disorderly rabble, with no supplies and no chance of succor from any quarter. Nevertheless he will make sure of them, and above all will guard jealously against any such mishap as that of 876, when they stole out of Wareham, murdered the horsemen he had left to watch them, and got away to Exeter. So Bratton camp is strictly besieged by Alfred with his whole power.

Guthrum, the destroyer, and now the King of East Anglia, the strongest and ablest of all the Northmen who had ever landed in England, is now at last fairly in Alfred's power. At Reading, Wareham, Exeter, he had always held a fortified camp, on a river easily navigable by the Danish war-ships, where he might look for speedy succor or whence at the worst he might hope to escape to the sea. But now he, with the remains of his army, is shut up in an inland fort with no ships on the Avon, the nearest river, even if they could cut their way out and reach it, and no hopes of reinforcements overland. Halfdene is the nearest viking who might be called to the rescue, and he, in Northumbria, is far too distant. It is a matter of a few days only, for food runs short at once in the besieged camp. In former years, or against any other enemy, Guthrum would probably have preferred to sally out and cut his way through the Saxon lines, or die sword in hand as a son of Odin should. Whether it were that the wild spirit in him is thoroughly broken for the time by the unexpected defeat at Ethandune, or that long residence in a Christian land and contact with Christian subjects have shaken his faith in his own gods, or that he has learned to measure and appreciate the strength and nobleness of the man he had so often deceived, at any rate for the time Guthrum is subdued. At the end of fourteen days he sends to Alfred, suing humbly for terms of any kind; offering on the part of the army as many hostages as may be required, without asking for any in return; once again giving solemn pledges to quit Wessex for good; and, above all, declaring his own readiness to receive baptism. If it had not been for the last proposal, we may doubt whether even Alfred would have allowed the ruthless foes with whom he and his people had fought so often, and with such varying success, to escape now. Over and over again they had sworn to him, and broken their oaths the moment it suited their purpose; had given hostages, and left them to their fate. In all English kingdoms they had now for ten years been destroying and pillaging the houses of God and slaying even women and children. They had driven his sister's husband from the throne of Mercia, and had grievously tortured the martyr Edmund. If ever foe deserved no mercy, Guthrum and his army were the men.

When David smote the children of Moab, he "measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive." When he took Rabbah of the children of Ammon, "he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln." That was the old Hebrew method, even under King David, and in the ninth century Christianity had as yet done little to soften the old heathen custom of "woe to the vanquished." Charlemagne's proselytizing campaigns had been as merciless as Mahomet's. But there is about this English King a divine patience, the rarest of all virtues in those who are set in high places. He accepts Guthrum's proffered terms at once, rejoicing over the chance of adding these fierce heathen warriors to the church of his Master, by an act of mercy which even they must feel. And so the remnant of the army are allowed to march out of their fortified camp, and to recross the Avon into Mercia, not quite five months after the day of their winter attack and the seizing of Chippenham. The northern army went away to Cirencester, where they stayed over the winter, and then returning into East Anglia settled down there, and Alfred and Wessex hear no more of them. Never was triumph more complete or better deserved; and in all history there is no instance of more noble use of victory than this. The West Saxon army was not at once disbanded. Alfred led them back to Athelney, where he had left his wife and children; and while they are there, seven weeks after the surrender, Guthrum and thirty of the bravest of his followers arrive to make good their pledge.

The ceremony of baptism was performed at Wedmore, a royal residence which had probably escaped the fate of Chippenham, and still contained a church. Here Guthrum and his thirty nobles were sworn in, the soldiers of a greater King than Woden, and the white linen cloth, the sign of their new faith, was bound round their heads. Alfred himself was godfather to the viking, giving him the Christian name of Athelstan; and the chrism-loosing, or unbinding of the sacramental cloths, was performed on the eighth day by Ethelnoth, the faithful alderman of Somersetshire. After the religious ceremony there still remained the task of settling the terms upon which the victors and vanquished were hereafter to live together side by side in the same island; for Alfred had the wisdom, even in his enemy's humiliation, to accept the accomplished fact, and to acknowledge East Anglia as a Danish kingdom. The Witenagemot had been summoned to Wedmore, and was sitting there, and with their advice the treaty was then made, from which, according to some historians, English history begins.

We have still the text of the two documents which together contain Alfred and Guthrum's peace, or the treaty of Wedmore; the first and shorter being probably the articles hastily agreed on before the capitulation of the Danish army at Chippenham; the latter the final terms settled between Alfred and his witan, and Guthrum and his thirty nobles, after mature deliberation and conference at Wedmore, but not formally executed until some years later.

The shorter one, that made at the capitulation, runs as follows:

"ALFRED AND GUTHRUM'S PEACE.—This is the peace that King Alfred and King Guthrum, and the witan of all the English nation, and all the people that are in East Anglia have all ordained, and with oaths confirmed, for themselves and their descendants, as well for born as unborn, who reck of God's mercy or of ours.

"First, concerning our land boundaries. These are upon the Thames, and then upon the Lea, and along the Lea unto its source, then straight to Bedford, then up the Ouse to Watling Street.

"Then there is this: if a man be slain we reckon all equally dear, English and Dane, at eight half marks of pure gold, except the churl who dwells on gavel land and their leisings, they are also equally dear at two hundred shillings. And if a king's thane be accused of manslaughter, if he desire to clear himself, let him do so before twelve king's thanes. If any man accuse a man who is of less degree than king's thane, let him clear himself with eleven of his equals and one king's thane. And so in every suit which be for more than four mancuses; and if he dare not, let him pay for it threefold, as it may be valued.

"Of Warrantors.—And that every man know his warrantor, for men, and for horses, and for oxen.

"And we all ordained, on that day that the oaths were sworn, that neither bondman nor freeman might go to the army without leave, nor any of them to us. But if it happen that any of them from necessity will have traffic with us, or we with them, for cattle or goods, that is to be allowed on this wise: that hostages be given in pledge of peace, and as evidence whereby it may be known that the party has a clean book."

By the treaty Alfred is thus established as King of the whole of England south of the Thames; of all the old kingdom of Essex south of the Lea, including London, Hertford, and St. Albans; of the whole of the great kingdom of Mercia, which lay to the west of Watling Street, and of so much to the east as lay south of the Ouse. That he should have regained so much proves the straits to which he had brought the northern army, who would have to give up all their new settlements round Gloster. That he should have resigned so much of the kingdom which had acknowledged his grandfather, father, and brothers as overlords proves how formidable his foe still was, even in defeat, and how thoroughly the northeastern parts of the island had by this time been settled by the Danes.

The remainder of the short treaty would seem simply to be provisional, and intended to settle the relations between Alfred's subjects and the army while it remained within the limits of the new Saxon kingdom. Many of the soldiers would have to break up their homes in Glostershire; and, with this view, the halt at Cirencester is allowed, where, as we have already heard, they rest until the winter. While they remain in the Saxon kingdom there is to be no distinction between Saxon and Dane. The were-gild, or life-ransom, is to be the same in each case for men of like rank; and all suits for more than four mancuses (about twenty-four shillings) are to be tried by a jury of peers of the accused. On the other hand, only necessary communications are to be allowed between the northern army and the people; and where there must be trading, fair and peaceful dealing is to be insured by the giving of hostages. This last provision, and the clause declaring that each man shall know his warrantor, inserted in a five-clause treaty, where nothing but what the contracting parties must hold to be of the very first importance would find place, are another curious proof of the care with which our ancestors, and all Germanic tribes, guarded against social isolation—the doctrine that one man has nothing to do with another—a doctrine which the great body of their descendants, under the leading of Schultze, Delitzsch, and others, seem likely to repudiate with equal emphasis in these latter days, both in Germany and England.

Thus, in July, 878, the foundations of the new kingdom of England were laid, for new it undoubtedly became when the treaty of Wedmore was signed. The Danish nation, no longer strangers and enemies, are recognized by the heir of Cerdic as lawful owners of the full half of England. Having achieved which result, Guthrum and the rest of the new converts leave the Saxon camp and return to Cirencester at the end of twelve days, loaded with such gifts as it was still in the power of their conquerors to bestow: and Alfred was left in peace, to turn to a greater and more arduous task than any he had yet encountered.


Alfred was the noblest as he was the most complete embodiment of all that is great, all that is lovable, in the English temper. He combined as no other man has ever combined its practical energy, its patient and enduring force, its profound sense of duty, the reserve and self-control that steady in it a wide outlook and a restless daring, its temperance and fairness, its frank geniality, its sensitiveness to action, its poetic tenderness, its deep and passionate religion. Religion, indeed, was the groundwork of Alfred's character. His temper was instinct with piety. Everywhere throughout his writings that remain to us the name of God, the thought of God, stir him to outbursts of ecstatic adoration.

But he was no mere saint. He felt none of that scorn of the world about him which drove the nobler souls of his day to monastery or hermitage. Vexed as he was by sickness and constant pain, his temper took no touch of asceticism. His rare geniality, a peculiar elasticity and mobility of nature, gave color and charm to his life. A sunny frankness and openness of spirit breathe in the pleasant chat of his books, and what he was in his books he showed himself in his daily converse. Alfred was in truth an artist, and both the lights and shadows of his life were those of the artistic temperament. His love of books, his love of strangers, his questionings of travellers and scholars, betray an imaginative restlessness that longs to break out of the narrow world of experience which hemmed him in. At one time he jots down news of a voyage to the unknown seas of the north. At another he listens to tidings which his envoys bring back from the churches of Malabar.

And side by side with this restless outlook of the artistic nature he showed its tenderness and susceptibility, its vivid apprehension of unseen danger, its craving for affection, its sensitiveness to wrong. It was with himself rather than with his reader that he communed as thoughts of the foe without, of ingratitude and opposition within, broke the calm pages of Gregory or Boethius.

"Oh, what a happy man was he," he cries once, "that man that had a naked sword hanging over his head from a single thread; so as to me it always did!" "Desirest thou power?" he asks at another time. "But thou shalt never obtain it without sorrows—sorrows from strange folk, and yet keener sorrows from thine own kindred." "Hardship and sorrow!" he breaks out again; "not a king but would wish to be without these if he could. But I know that he cannot!"

The loneliness which breathes in words like these has often begotten in great rulers a cynical contempt of men and the judgments of men. But cynicism found no echo in the large and sympathetic temper of Alfred. He not only longed for the love of his subjects, but for the remembrance of "generations" to come. Nor did his inner gloom or anxiety check for an instant his vivid and versatile activity. To the scholars he gathered round him he seemed the very type of a scholar, snatching every hour he could find to read or listen to books read to him. The singers of his court found in him a brother singer, gathering the old songs of his people to teach them to his children, breaking his renderings from the Latin with simple verse, solacing himself in hours of depression with the music of the Psalms.

He passed from court and study to plan buildings and instruct craftsmen in gold work, to teach even falconers and dog-keepers their business. But all this versatility and ingenuity was controlled by a cool good sense. Alfred was a thorough man of business. He was careful of detail, laborious, methodical. He carried in his bosom a little handbook in which he noted things as they struck him—now a bit of family genealogy, now a prayer, now such a story as that of Ealdhelm playing minstrel on the bridge. Each hour of the day had its appointed task; there was the same order in the division of his revenue and in the arrangement of his court.

Wide, however, and various as was the King's temper, its range was less wonderful than its harmony. Of the narrowness, of the want of proportion, of the predominance of one quality over another which go commonly with an intensity of moral purpose Alfred showed not a trace. Scholar and soldier, artist and man of business, poet and saint, his character kept that perfect balance which charms us in no other Englishman save Shakespeare. But full and harmonious as his temper was, it was the temper of a king. Every power was bent to the work of rule. His practical energy found scope for itself in the material and administrative restoration of the wasted land.

His intellectual activity breathed fresh life into education and literature. His capacity for inspiring trust and affection drew the hearts of Englishmen to a common centre, and began the upbuilding of a new England. And all was guided, controlled, ennobled by a single aim. "So long as I have lived," said the King as life closed about him, "I have striven to live worthily." Little by little men came to know what such a life of worthiness meant. Little by little they came to recognize in Alfred a ruler of higher and nobler stamp than the world had seen. Never had it seen a king who lived solely for the good of his people. Never had it seen a ruler who set aside every personal aim to devote himself solely to the welfare of those whom he ruled. It was this grand self-mastery that gave him his power over the men about him. Warrior and conqueror as he was, they saw him set aside at thirty the warrior's dream of conquest; and the self-renouncement of Wedmore struck the keynote of his reign. But still more is it this height and singleness of purpose, this absolute concentration of the noblest faculties to the noblest aim, that lifts Alfred out of the narrow bounds of Wessex.

If the sphere of his action seems too small to justify the comparison of him with the few whom the world owns as its greatest men, he rises to their level in the moral grandeur of his life. And it is this which has hallowed his memory among his own English people. "I desire," said the King in some of his latest words, "I desire to leave to the men that come after me a remembrance of me in good works."

His aim has been more than fulfilled. His memory has come down to us with a living distinctness through the mists of exaggeration and legend which time gathered round it. The instinct of the people has clung to him with a singular affection. The love which he won a thousand years ago has lingered round his name from that day to this. While every other name of those earlier times has all but faded from the recollection of Englishmen, that of Alfred remains familiar to every English child.

The secret of Alfred's government lay in his own vivid energy. He could hardly have chosen braver or more active helpers than those whom he employed both in his political and in his educational efforts. The children whom he trained to rule proved the ablest rulers of their time. But at the outset of his reign he stood alone, and what work was to be done was done by the King himself. His first efforts were directed to the material restoration of his realm. The burnt and wasted country saw its towns built again, forts erected in positions of danger, new abbeys founded, the machinery of justice and government restored, the laws codified and amended. Still more strenuous were Alfred's efforts for its moral and intellectual restoration. Even in Mercia and Northumbria the pirate's sword had left few survivors of the schools of Egbert or Bede, and matters were even worse in Wessex, which had been as yet the most ignorant of the English kingdoms.

"When I began to reign," said Alfred, "I cannot remember one priest south of the Thames who could render his service-book into English." For instructors indeed he could find only a few Mercian prelates and priests, with one Welsh bishop, Asser.

"Formerly," the King writes bitterly, "men came hither from foreign lands to seek for instruction, and now when we desire it we can only obtain it from abroad." But his mind was far from being prisoned within his own island. He sent a Norwegian shipmaster to explore the White Sea, and Wulfstan to trace the coast of Esthonia; envoys bore his presents to the churches of India and Jerusalem, and an annual mission carried Peter's pence to Rome.

But it was with the Franks that his intercourse was closest, and it was from them that he drew the scholars to aid him in his work of education. A scholar named Grimbald came from St. Omer to preside over his new abbey at Winchester; and John, the old Saxon, was fetched from the abbey of Corbey to rule a monastery and school that Alfred's gratitude for his deliverance from the Danes raised in the marshes of Athelney. The real work, however, to be done was done, not by these teachers, but by the King himself. Alfred established a school for the young nobles in his court, and it was to the need of books for these scholars in their own tongue that we owe his most remarkable literary effort.

He took his books as he found them—they were the popular manuals of his age—the Consolation of Boethius, the Pastoral of Pope Gregory, the compilation of Orosius, then the one accessible handbook of universal history, and the history of his own people by Bede. He translated these works into English, but he was far more than a translator, he was an editor for the people. Here he omitted, there he expanded. He enriched Orosius by a sketch of the new geographical discoveries in the north. He gave a West Saxon form to his selections from Bede. In one place he stops to explain his theory of government, his wish for a thicker population, his conception of national welfare as consisting in a due balance of priest, soldier, and churl. The mention of Nero spurs him to an outbreak on the abuses of power. The cold providence of Boethius gives way to an enthusiastic acknowledgment of the goodness of God.

As he writes, his large-hearted nature flings off its royal mantle, and he talks as a man to men. "Do not blame me," he prays with a charming simplicity, "if any know Latin better than I, for every man must say what he says and do what he does according to his ability."

But simple as was his aim, Alfred changed the whole front of our literature. Before him, England possessed in her own tongue one great poem and a train of ballads and battle-songs. Prose she had none. The mighty roll of the prose books that fill her libraries begins with the translations of Alfred, and above all with the chronicle of his reign. It seems likely that the King's rendering of Bede's history gave the first impulse toward the compilation of what is known as the English or Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which was certainly thrown into its present form during his reign. The meagre lists of the kings of Wessex and the bishops of Winchester, which had been preserved from older times, were roughly expanded into a national history by insertions from Bede; but it is when it reaches the reign of Alfred that the chronicle suddenly widens into the vigorous narrative, full of life and originality, that marks the gift of a new power to the English tongue. Varying as it does from age to age in historic value, it remains the first vernacular history of any Teutonic people, and, save for the Gothic translations of Ulfilas, the earliest and most venerable monument of Teutonic prose.

But all this literary activity was only a part of that general upbuilding of Wessex by which Alfred was preparing for a fresh contest with the stranger. He knew that the actual winning back of the Danelagh must be a work of the sword, and through these long years of peace he was busy with the creation of such a force as might match that of the Northmen. A fleet grew out of the little squadron which Alfred had been forced to man with Frisian seamen.

The national fyrd or levy of all freemen at the King's call was reorganized. It was now divided into two halves, one of which served in the field while the other guarded its own burhs (burghs or boroughs) and townships, and served to relieve its fellow when the men's forty days of service were ended. A more disciplined military force was provided by subjecting all owners of five hides of land to "thane-service," a step which recognized the change that had now substituted the thegn for the eorl and in which we see the beginning of a feudal system. How effective these measures were was seen when the new resistance they met on the Continent drove the Northmen to a fresh attack on Britain.

In 893 a large fleet steered for the Andredsweald, while the sea-king Hasting entered the Thames. Alfred held both at bay through the year till the men of the Danelagh rose at their comrades' call. Wessex stood again front to front with the Northmen. But the King's measures had made the realm strong enough to set aside its old policy of defence for one of vigorous attack. His son Edward and his son-in-law Ethelred, whom he had set as ealdorman[23] over what remained of Mercia, showed themselves as skilful and active as the King.

[Footnote 23: Primitive of alderman; in this period, a chieftain, lord, or earl; subsequently, the chief magistrate of a territorial district, as of a county or province.]

The aim of the Northmen was to rouse again the hostility of the Welsh, but while Alfred held Exeter against their fleet, Edward and Ethelred caught their army near the Severn and overthrew it with a vast slaughter at Buttington. The destruction of their camp on the Lea by the united English forces ended the war; in 897 Hasting again withdrew across the Channel, and the Danelagh made peace. It was with the peace he had won still about him that Alfred died in 901; and warrior as his son Edward had shown himself, he clung to his father's policy of rest.


A.D. 911-936


The famous treaty of Verdun (843) was the culmination of a series of civil wars between the descendants of Charlemagne. By it the great empire which Charlemagne had built up was divided among his three grandsons, Lothair, Charles the Bald, and Louis. With this treaty the history of the Franks closes, and Germany and France take their places, along with Italy, as distinct and separate nations.

The Teutonic kingdom, or Germany, fell to Louis. On his death, in 876, after an uneventful reign, he was succeeded by his sons Charles the Fat, Carloman, and Louis. The latter two dying, Charles the Fat became sole King of Germany. A little later he became ruler of Italy, and was crowned emperor by the pope. Then he was invited by the West Franks to become their king. Thus almost the whole empire of the great Charlemagne was reunited in the hands of Charles the Fat. However, his people soon became disgusted with his weak efforts in the treatment of a series of invasions by the Northmen, and he was deposed in 887. He died the next year, and the Carlovingian empire fell to pieces, never to be united again.

Charles the Fat was succeeded in Germany by his nephew, Arnulf, who also took possession of Italy and was crowned emperor by the pope, though his power in Italy was merely nominal. On his death in 889 his second son, Ludwig (Louis III) the child, became king in Germany.

The race of Charlemagne in Germany ended in 911 by the death of Ludwig. Though a mere child he had been enthroned through the intrigues of Otto, Duke of Saxony, and Hatto, Archbishop of Mayence, who virtually governed the empire during Ludwig's short reign.

The empire at that time was composed of various nations, each under the rule of a powerful duke. The bond of union between these nations was slight. The dukes were constantly waging war against each other, and these internal dissensions greatly weakened the central government.

At the same time the empire was exposed to the incursions of the Magyars or Hungarians, whose wholesale depredations and cruelties so dismayed the child-king that he concluded a treaty of peace with the invaders and consented to pay them a ten-years' tribute.

The Germans were deeply sensible of the dishonor incurred by this ignominious tribute, and of the dangers of their internal dissensions. They longed for a stronger government, and on the death of Ludwig the crown was offered to Otto of Saxony, the strongest of the dukes. He declined in favor of Conrad, Duke of Franconia, a descendant in the female line from Charlemagne. But Conrad's rule was weak, and during his short reign of seven years civil war continued, part of the time with Henry the Fowler, son of Duke Otto (who died in 912), owing to Conrad's attempt to separate Thuringia from Saxony in order to weaken Henry's ducal power. The empire also was again invaded by the Slavs and Hungarians.

Conrad died without male issue in 918, whereupon the Germans elected as emperor Henry the Fowler, who thus became the first of the Saxon dynasty in Germany, and proved himself to be the wisest and most vigorous sovereign who had ruled in Germany since the days of Charlemagne.

The extinction of the Carlovingian line did not sever the bond of union that existed between the different nations of Germany, although a contention arose between them concerning the election of the new emperor, each claiming that privilege for itself; and as the increase of the ducal power had naturally led to a wider distinction between them, the diet convoked for the purpose represented nations instead of classes. There were consequently four nations and four votes: the Franks under Duke Conrad, whose authority, nevertheless, could not compete with that of the now venerable Hatto, Archbishop of Mayence, who may be said to have been, at that period, the pope in Germany; the Saxons, Frieslanders, Thuringians, and some of the subdued Slavi, under Duke Otto; the Swabians, with Switzerland and Elsace, under different grafs, who, as the immediate officers of the crown, were named kammerboten, in order to distinguish them from the grafs nominated by the dukes; the Bavarians, with the Tyrolese and some of the subdued eastern Slavi, under Duke Arnulf the Bad, the son of the brave duke Luitpold. The Lothringians formed a fifth nation, under their duke Regingar, but were at that period incorporated with France.

The first impulse of the diet was to bestow the crown on the most powerful among the different competitors, and it was accordingly offered to Otto of Saxony, who not only possessed the most extensive territory and the most warlike subjects, but whose authority, having descended to him from his father and grandfather, was also the most firmly secured. But both Otto and his ancient ally, the bishop Hatto, had found the system they had hitherto pursued, of reigning in the name of an imbecile monarch, so greatly conducive to their interest that they were disinclined to abandon it. Otto was a man who mistook the prudence inculcated by private interest for wisdom, and his mind, narrow as the limits of his dukedom, and solely intent upon the interests of his family, was incapable of the comprehensive views requisite in a German emperor, and indifferent to the welfare of the great body of the nation. The examples of Boso, of Odo, of Rudolph of Upper Burgundy, and of Berenger, who, favored by the difference in descent of the people they governed, had all succeeded in severing themselves from the empire, were ever present to his imagination, and he believed that as, on the other side of the Rhine, the Frank, the Burgundian, and the Lombard severally obeyed an independent sovereign, the East Frank, the Saxon, the Swabian, and the Bavarian, on this side of the Rhine, were also desirous of asserting a similar independence, and that it would be easier and less hazardous to found a hereditary dukedom in a powerful and separate state than to maintain the imperial dignity, undermined, as it was, by universal hostility.

The influence of Hatto and the consent of Otto placed Conrad, Duke of Franconia, on the imperial throne. Sprung from a newly risen family, a mere creature of the bishop, his nobility as a feudal lord only dating from the period of the Babenberg feud, he was regarded by the Church as a pliable tool and by the dukes as little to be feared. His weakness was quickly demonstrated by his inability to retain the rich allods of the Carlovingian dynasty as heir to the imperial crown, and his being constrained to share them with the rest of the dukes; he was, nevertheless, more fully sensible of the dignity and of the duties of his station than those to whom he owed his election probably expected. His first step was to recall Regingar of Lothringia, who was oppressed by France, to his allegiance as vassal of the empire.

Otto died in 912, and his son Henry, a high-spirited youth, who had greatly distinguished himself against the Slavi, ere long quarrelled with the aged bishop Hatto. According to the legendary account, the bishop sent him a golden chain so skilfully contrived as to strangle its wearer. The truth is that the ancient family feud between the house of Conrad and that of Otto, which was connected with the Babenbergers, again broke out, and that the Emperor attempted again to separate Thuringia, which Otto had governed since the death of Burkhard, from Saxony, in order to hinder the overpreponderance of that ducal house. Hatto, it is probable, counselled this step, as a considerable portion of Thuringia belonged to the diocese of Mayence, and a collision between him and the duke was therefore unavoidable. Henry flew to arms, and expelled the adherents of the bishop from Thuringia, which forced the Emperor to take the field in the name of the empire against his haughty vassal. This unfortunate civil war was a signal for a fresh irruption of the Slavi and Hungarians. During this year the Bohemians and Sorbi also made an inroad into Thuringia and Bavaria, and in 913 the Hungarians advanced as far as Swabia, but being surprised near Oetting by the Bavarians under Arnulf, who on this occasion bloodily avenged his father's death, and by the Swabians under the kammerboten Erchanger and Berthold, they were all, with the exception of thirty of their number, cut to pieces. Arnulf subsequently embraced a contrary line of policy, married the daughter of Geisa, King of Hungary, and entered into a confederacy with the Hungarian and the Swabian kammerboten, for the purpose of founding an independent state in the south of Germany, where he had already strengthened himself by the appointment of several markgrafs, Rudiger of Pechlarn in Austria, Rathold in Carinthia, and Berthold in the Tyrol. He then instigated all the enemies of the empire simultaneously to attack the Franks and Saxons, at that crisis at war with each other, in 915, and while the Danes under Gorm the Old, and the Obotrites, destroyed Hamburg, immense hordes of Hungarians, Bohemians, and Sorbi laid the country waste as far as Bremen.

The Emperor was, meanwhile, engaged with the Saxons. On one occasion Henry narrowly escaped being taken prisoner, being merely saved by the stratagem of his faithful servant, Thiatmar, who caused the Emperor to retreat by falsely announcing to him the arrival of a body of auxiliaries. At length a pitched battle was fought near Merseburg, in 915, between Henry and Eberhard, the Emperor's brother, in which the Franks[24] were defeated, and the superiority of the Saxons remained, henceforward, unquestioned for more than a century. The Emperor was forced to negotiate with the victor, whom he induced to protect the northern frontiers of the empire while he applied himself in person to the reëstablishment of order in the south.

[Footnote 24: So great a slaughter took place that the Saxons said on the occasion:

"'Twere difficult to find a hell
Where so many Franks might dwell!"]

In Swabia, Salomon, Bishop of Constance, who was supported by the commonalty, adhered to the imperial cause, while the kammerboten were unable to palliate their treason, and were gradually driven to extremities. Erchanger, relying upon aid from Arnulf and the Hungarians, usurped the ducal crown and took the bishop prisoner. Salomon's extreme popularity filled him with such rage that he caused the feet of some shepherds, who threw themselves on their knees as the captured prelate passed by, to be chopped off. His wife, Bertha, terror-stricken at the rashness of her husband, and foreseeing his destruction, received the prisoner with every demonstration of humility, and secretly aided his escape. He no sooner reappeared than the people flocked in thousands around him. "Heil Herro! Heil Liebo!" ("Hail, master! Hail, beloved one!") they shouted, and in their zeal attacked and defeated the traitors and their adherents. Berthold vainly defended himself in his mountain stronghold of Hohentwiel. The people so urgently demanded the death of these traitors to their country that the Emperor convoked a general assembly at Albingen in Swabia, sentenced Erchanger and Berthold to be publicly beheaded, and nominated Burkhard, in 917, whose father and uncle had been assassinated by order of Erchanger, as successor to the ducal throne. Arnulf withdrew to his fortress at Salzburg, and quietly awaited more favorable times. His name was branded with infamy by the people, who henceforth affixed to it the epithet of "the Bad," and the Nibelungenlied has perpetuated his detested memory.

Conrad died in 918 without issue. On his death-bed, mindful only of the welfare of the empire, he proved himself deserving even by his latest act of the crown he had so worthily worn, by charging his brother Eberhard to forget the ancient feud between their houses, and to deliver the crown with his own hands to his enemy, the free-spirited Henry, whom he judged alone capable of meeting all the exigencies of the State. Eberhard obeyed his brother's injunctions, and the princes respected the will of their dying sovereign.

The princes, with the exception of Burkhard and of Arnulf, assembled at Fritzlar, elected the absent Henry king, and despatched an embassy to inform him of their decision. It is said that the young duke was at the time among the Harz Mountains, and that the ambassadors found him in the homely attire of a sportsman in the fowling floor. He obeyed the call of the nation without delay and without manifesting surprise. The error he had committed in rebelling against the State, it was his firm purpose to atone for by his conduct as emperor. Of a lofty and majestic stature, although slight and youthful in form, powerful and active in person, with a commanding and penetrating glance, his very appearance attracted popular favor; besides these personal advantages, he was prudent and learned, and possessed a mind replete with intelligence. The influence of such a monarch on the progressive development of society in Germany could not fail of producing results fully equalling the improvements introduced by Charlemagne.

The youthful Henry, the first of the Saxon line, was proclaimed king of Germany at Fritzlar, in 919, by the majority of votes, and, according to ancient custom, raised upon the shield. The Archbishop of Mayence offered to anoint him according to the usual ceremony, but Henry refused, alleging that he was content to owe his election to the grace of God and to the piety of the German princes, and that he left the ceremony of anointment to those who wished to be still more pious.

Before Henry could pursue his more elevated projects, the assent of the southern Germans, who had not acknowledged the choice of their northern compatriots, had to be gained. Burkhard of Swabia, who had asserted his independence, and who was at that time carrying on a bitter feud with Rudolph, King of Burgundy, whom he had defeated, in 919, in a bloody engagement near Winterthur, was the first against whom he directed the united forces of the empire, in whose name he, at the same time, offered him peace and pardon. Burkhard, seeing himself constrained to yield, took the oath of fealty to the new-elected King at Worms, but continued to act with almost his former unlimited authority in Swabia, and even undertook an expedition into Italy in favor of Rudolph, with whom he had become reconciled. The Italians, enraged at the wantonness with which he mocked them, assassinated him. Henry bestowed the dukedom of Swabia on Hermann, one of his relations, to whom he gave Burkhard's widow in marriage. He also bestowed a portion of the south of Alemannia on King Rudolph in order to win him over, and in return received from him the holy lance with which the side of the Saviour had been pierced as he hung on the cross. Finding it no longer possible to dissolve the dukedoms and great fiefs, Henry, in order to strengthen the unity of the empire, introduced the novel policy of bestowing the dukedoms, as they fell vacant, on his relations and personal adherents, and of allying the rest of the dukes with himself by intermarriage, thus uniting the different powerful houses in the State into one family.

Bavaria still remained in an unsettled state. Arnulf the Bad, leagued with the Hungarians, against whom Henry had great designs, had still much in his power, and Henry, resolved at any price to dissolve this dangerous alliance, not only concluded peace with this traitor on that condition, but also married his son Henry to Judith, Arnulf's daughter, in 921. Arnulf deprived the rich churches of great part of their treasures, and was consequently abhorred by the clergy, the chroniclers of those times, who, chiefly on that account, depicted his character in such unfavorable colors.

In France, Charles the Simple was still the tool and jest of the vassals. His most dangerous enemy was Robert, Count of Paris, brother to Odo, the late King. Both solicited aid from Henry, but in a battle that shortly ensued near Soissons, Count Robert losing his life and Charles being defeated, Rudolph of Burgundy, one of Boso's nephews, set himself up as king of France, and imprisoned Charles the Simple, who craved assistance from the German monarch, to whom he promised to perform homage as his liege lord. Henry, meanwhile, contented himself with expelling Rudolph from Lotharingia, and, after taking possession of Metz, bestowed that dukedom upon Gisilbrecht, the son of Regingar, and reincorporated it with the empire. These successes now roused the apprehensions of the Hungarians, who again poured their invading hordes across the frontier. In 926 they plundered St. Gall, but were routed near Seckingen by the peasantry, headed by the country people of Hirminger, who had been roused by alarm fires; and again in Alsace, by Count Liutfried: another horde was cut to pieces near Bleiburg, in Carinthia, by Eberhard and the Count of Meran. The Hungarian King, probably Zoldan, was, by chance, taken prisoner during an incursion by the Germans, a circumstance turned by Henry to a very judicious use. He restored the captured prince to liberty, and also agreed to pay him a yearly tribute, on condition of his entering into a solemn truce for nine years. The experience of earlier times had taught Henry that a completely new organization was necessary in the management of military affairs in Germany before this dangerous enemy could be rendered innoxious, and, as an undertaking of this nature required time, he prudently resolved to incur a seeming disgrace by means of which he in fact secured the honor of the State. During this interval of nine years he aimed at bringing the other enemies of the empire, more particularly the Slavi, into subjection, and making preparations for an expedition against Hungary by which her power should receive a fatal blow.

In the mean time Gisilbrecht, the youthful Duke of Lotharingia, again rebelled, but was besieged and taken prisoner in Zuelpich by Henry, who, struck by his noble appearance, restored to him his dukedom, and bestowed upon him his daughter, Gerberga, in marriage. Rudolph of France also sued for peace, being hard pressed by his powerful rival, Hugo the Great or Wise, the son of Robert. Charles the Simple was, on Henry's demand, restored to liberty, but quickly fell anew into the power of his faithless vassals.

Peace was now established throughout the empire, and afforded Henry an opportunity for turning his attention to the introduction of measures, in the interior economy of the State, calculated to obviate for the future the dangers that had hitherto threatened it from without. The best expedient against the irruptions of the Hungarians appeared to him to be the circumvallation of the most important districts, the erection of forts and of fortified cities. The most important point, however, was to place the garrisons immediately under him as citizens of the State, commanded by his immediate officers, instead of their being indirectly governed by the feudal aristocracy and by the clergy. As these garrisons were intended not only for the protection of the walls, but also for open warfare, he had them trained to fight in rank and file, and formed them into a body of infantry, whose solid masses were calculated to withstand the furious onset of the Hungarian horse. These garrisons were solely composed of the ancient freemen, and the whole measure was, in fact, merely a reform of the ancient arrier-ban, which no longer sufficed for the protection of the State, and whose deficiency had long been supplied by the addition of vassals under the command of their temporal or spiritual lieges, and by the mercenaries or bodyguards of the emperors. The ancient class of freemen, who originally composed the arrier-ban, had been gradually converted into feudal vassals; but they were at that time still so numerous as to enable Henry to give them a completely new military organization, which at once secured to them their freedom, hitherto endangered by the preponderating power of the feudal aristocracy, and rendered them a powerful support to the throne. By collecting them into the cities, he afforded them a secure retreat against the attempts of the grafs, dukes, abbots, and bishops, and created for himself a body of trusty friends, of whom it would naturally be expected that they would ever side with the Emperor against the nobility.

This new regulation appears to have been founded on the ancient mode of division. At first, out of every nine freemen—which recalls the decania—one only was placed within the new fortress, and the remaining eight were bound—perhaps on account of their ancient association into corporations or guilds—to nourish and support him; but the remaining freemen, in the neighborhood of the new cities, appear to have been also gradually collected within their walls, and to have committed the cultivation of their lands in the vicinity to their bondmen. However that may be, the ancient class of freemen completely disappeared as the cities increased in importance, and it was only among the wild mountains, where no cities sprang up, that the centen or cantons and whole districts or gauen of free peasantry were to be met with.

Henry's original intention in the introduction of this new system was, it is evident, solely to provide a military force answering to the exigencies of the State; still there is no reason to suppose him blind to the great political advantage to be derived from the formation of an independent class of citizens; and that he had in reality premeditated a civil as well as a military reformation may be concluded from the fact of his having established fairs, markets, and public assemblies, which, of themselves, would be closely connected with civil industry, within the walls of the cities; and, even if these trading warriors were at first merely feudatories of the Emperor, they must naturally in the end have formed a class of free citizens, the more so as, attracted within the cities by the advantages offered to them, their number rapidly and annually increased.

The same military reasons which induced the emperor Henry to enroll the ancient freemen into a regular corps of infantry, and to form them into a civil corporation, caused him also to metamorphose the feudal aristocracy into a regular troop of cavalry and a knightly institution. The wild disorder with which the mounted vassals of the empire, the dukes, grafs, bishops, and abbots, each distinguished by his own banner, rushed to the attack, or vied with each other in the fury of the assault, was now changed by Henry, who was well versed in every knightly art, to the disciplined manoeuvres of the line, and to that of fighting in close ranks, so well calculated to withstand the furious onset of their Hungarian foe. The discipline necessary for carrying these new military tactics into practice among a nobility habituated to license could alone be enforced by motives of honor, and Henry accordingly formed a chivalric institution, which gave rise to new manners and to an enthusiasm that imparted a new character to the age. The tournament—from the ancient verb turnen, to wrestle or fight, a public contest in every species of warfare, carried on by the knights in the presence of noble dames and maidens, whose favor they sought to gain by their prowess, and which chiefly consisted of tilting and jousting either singly or in troops, the day concluding with a banquet and a dance—was then instituted. In these tournaments the ancient heroism of the Germans revived; they were in reality founded upon the ancient pagan legends of the heroes who carried on an eternal contest in their Walhalla, in order to win the smiles of the Walkyren, now represented by earth's well-born dames.

The ancient spirit of brotherhood in arms, which had been almost quenched by that of self-interest, by the desire of acquiring feudal possessions, by the slavish subjection of the vassals under their lieges, and by the intrigues of the bishops, who intermeddled with all feudal matters, also reappeared. A great universal society of Christian knights, bound to the observance of peculiar laws, whose highest aim was to fight only for God—before long also for the ladies—and who swore never to make use of dishonorable means for success, but solely to live and to die for honor, was formed; an innovation which, although merely military in its origin, speedily became of political importance, for, by means of this knightly honor, the little vassal of a minor lord was no longer viewed as a mere underling, but as a confederate in the great universal chivalric fraternity. There were also many freemen who sometimes gained their livelihood by offering their services to different courts, or by robbing on the highways, and who were too proud to serve on foot; Henry offered them free pardon, and formed them into a body of light cavalry. In the cities the free citizens, who were originally intended only to serve as foot soldiery, appear ere long to have formed themselves into mounted troops, and to have created a fresh body of infantry out of their artificers and apprentices. It is certain that every freeman could pretend to knighthood.

Although the chivalric regulations ascribed to the emperor Henry, and to his most distinguished vassals, may not be genuine, they offer nevertheless infallible proofs of the most ancient spirit of knighthood. Henry ordained that no one should be created a knight who either by word or by deed injured the holy Church; the Pfalzgraf Conrad added, "no one who either by word or by deed injured the holy German empire"; Hermann of Swabia, "no one who injured a woman or a maiden"; Berthold, the brother of Arnulf of Bavaria, "no one who had ever deceived another or had broken his word"; Conrad of Franconia, "no one who had ever run away from the field of battle." These appear to have been, in fact, the first chivalric laws, for they spring from the spirit of the times, while all the regulations concerning nobility of birth, the number of ancestors, the exclusion of all those who were engaged in trade, etc., are, it is evident from their very nature, of a much later origin.


A.D. 969


It was the fate of the religion which Mahomet founded, as it has been of other great systems, to undergo many sectarian divisions, and to be used as the instrument of conquest and political power. When Islam had somewhat departed from the character which it first manifested in moral sternness and fiery zeal, and had established itself in various parts of the world on a basis of commerce or of science, rather than that of its original inspiration, various off shoots of the faith began to assume prominence. Among the sects which sprang up was one that claimed to represent the true succession of Mahomet. This sect was itself the result of a schism among the adherents of one of the two principal divisions of the Moslems—the Shiahs. They maintained that Ali, a relation and the adopted son of Mahomet and husband of his daughter Fatima, was the first legitimate imam or successor of the prophet. They regarded the other and greater division—the Sunnites, who recognized the first three caliphs, Abu-Bekr, Omar, and Othman—as usurpers. Ali was the fourth caliph, and the Sunnites in turn looked upon his followers, the Shiahs, as heretics.

The schism among the Shiahs grew out of the claim of the schismatics that the legitimate imam or successor of the Prophet must be in the line of descent from Ali. The sixth imam, Jaffer, upon the death of his eldest son, Ismail, appointed another son, Moussa or Moses, his heir; but a large body of the Shiahs denied the right of Jaffer to make a new nomination, declaring the imamate to be strictly hereditary. They formed a new party of Ismailians, and in 908 a chief of this sect, Mahomet, surnamed el-Mahdi, or the Leader—a title of the Shiahs for their imams—revolted in Africa. He called himself a descendant of Ismail and claimed to be the legitimate imam. He aimed at the temporal power of a caliph, and soon established a rival caliphate in Africa, where he had obtained a considerable sovereignty. The dynasty thus begun assumed the name of Fatimites in honor of Fatima. The fourth caliph of this line, El-Moizz, conquered Egypt about 969, founded the modern Cairo, and made it his capital. The claims of the Egyptian caliphate were heralded throughout all Islam, and its rule was rapidly extended into Syria and Arabia. It played an important part in the history of the Crusades, but in 1171 was abolished by the famous Saladin, and Egypt was restored to the obedience which it had formerly owned to Bagdad. The Bagdad caliphs, called Abbassides—claiming descent from Abbas, the uncle of Mahomet—remained rulers of Egypt until 1517, or until within twenty years of the death of the last Abbasside.

Three hundred and thirty years had passed since the Saracens first invaded the valley of the Nile. The people, with traditional docility, had liberally adopted the religion of their rulers, and the Moslems now formed the great majority of the population. Arabs and natives had blended into much the same race that we now call Egyptians; but so far the mixture had not produced any conspicuous men. The few commanding figures among the governors, Ibn-Tulun, the Ikshid, Kafur, were foreigners, and even these were but a step above the stereotyped official. They essayed no great extension of their dominions; they did not try to extinguish their dangerous neighbors the schismatic Fatimites; and though they possessed and used fleets, they ventured upon no excursions against Europe.

The great revolution which had swept over North Africa, and now spread to Egypt, arose out of the old controversy over the legitimacy of the caliphate. The prophet Mahomet died without definitely naming a successor, and thereby bequeathed an interminable quarrel to his followers. The principle of election, thus introduced, raised the first three caliphs, Abu-Bekr, Omar, Othman, to the cathedra at Medina; but a strong minority held that the "divine right" rested with Ali, the "Lion of God," first convert to Islam, husband of the prophet's daughter Fatima, and father of Mahomet's only male descendants. When Ali in turn became the fourth caliph, he was the mark for jealousy, intrigue, and at length assassination; his sons, the grandsons of the Prophet, were excluded from the succession; his family were cruelly persecuted by their successful rivals, the Ommiad usurpers; and the tragedy of Kerbela and the murder of Hoseyn set the seal of martyrdom on the holy family and stirred a passionate enthusiasm which still rouses intense excitement in the annual representations of the Persian passion play.

The rent thus opened in Islam was never closed. The ostracism of Ali "laid the foundation of the grand interminable schism which has divided the Mahometan Church, and equally destroyed the practice of charity among the members of their common creed and endangered the speculative truths of doctrine."

The descendants of Ali, though almost universally devoid of the qualities of great leaders, possessed the persistence and devotion of martyrs, and their sufferings heightened the fanatical enthusiasm of their supporters. All attempts to recover the temporal power having proved vain, the Alides fell back upon the spiritual authority of the successive candidates of the holy family, whom they proclaimed to be the imams or spiritual leaders of the faithful. This doctrine of the imamate gradually acquired a more mystical meaning, supported by an allegorical interpretation of the Koran; and a mysterious influence was ascribed to the imam, who, though hidden from mortal eye, on account of the persecution of his enemies, would soon come forward publicly in the character of the ever-expected mahdi, sweep away the corruptions of the heretical caliphate, and revive the majesty of the pure lineage of the prophet. All Mahometans believe in a coming mahdi, a messiah, who shall restore right and prepare for the second advent of Mahomet and the tribunal of the last day; but the Shiahs turned the expectation to special account. They taught that the true Imam, though invisible to mortal sight, is ever living; they predicted the mahdi's speedy appearance, and kept their adherents on the alert to take up arms in his service. With a view to his coming they organized a pervasive conspiracy, instituted a secret society with carefully graduated stages of initiation, used the doctrines of all religions and sects as weapons in the propaganda, and sent missionaries throughout the provinces of Islam to increase the numbers of the initiates and pave the way for the great revolution. We see their partial success in the ravages of the Karmathians, who were the true parents of the Fatimites. The leaders and chief missionaries had really nothing in common with Mahometanism. Among themselves they were frankly atheists. Their objects were political, and they used religion in any form, and adapted it in all modes, to secure proselytes, to whom they imparted only so much of their doctrine as they were able to bear. These men were furnished with "an armory of proselytism" as perfect, perhaps, as any known to history: they had appeals to enthusiasm, and arguments for the reason, and "fuel for the fiercest passions of the people and times in which they moved." Their real aim was not religious or constructive, but pure nihilism. They used the claim of the family of Ali, not because they believed in any divine right or any caliphate, but because some flag had to be flourished in order to rouse the people.

One of these missionaries, disguised as a merchant, journeyed back to Barbary in 893, with some Berber pilgrims who had performed the sacred ceremonies at Mecca. He was welcomed by the great tribe of the Kitama, and rapidly acquired an extraordinary influence over the Berbers—a race prone to superstition, and easily impressed by the mysterious rites of initiation and the emotional doctrines of the propagandist, the wrongs of the prophetic house, and the approaching triumph of the Mahdi. Barbary had never been much attached to the caliphate, and for a century it had been practically independent under the Aglabite dynasty, the barbarous excesses of whose later sovereigns had alienated their subjects. Alides, moreover, had established themselves, in the dynasty of the Idrisides, in Morocco since the end of the eighth century. The land was in every respect ripe for revolution, and the success of Abu-Abdallah esh-Shii, the new missionary, was extraordinarily rapid. In a few years he had a following of two hundred thousand armed men, and after a series of battles he drove Ziyadat-Allah, the last Aglabite prince, out of the country in 908. The missionary then proclaimed the imam Obeid-Allah as the true caliph and spiritual head of Islam. Whether this Obeid-Allah was really a descendant of Ali or not, he had been carefully prepared for the role, and reached Barbary in disguise, with the greatest mystery and some difficulty, pursued by the suspicions of the Bagdad caliph, who, in great alarm, sent repeated orders for his arrest. Indeed, the victorious missionary had to rescue his spiritual chief from a sordid prison at Sigilmasa. Then humbly prostrating himself before him, he hailed him as the expected mahdi, and in January, 910, he was duly prayed for in the mosque of Kayrawan as "the Imam 'Obeid-Allah el-Mahdi, Commander of the Faithful.'"

The missionary's Berber proselytes were too numerous to encourage resistance, and the few who indulged the luxury of conscientious scruples were killed or imprisoned. El-Mahdi, indeed, appeared so secure in power that he excited the jealousy of his discoverer.

Abu-Abdallah, the missionary, now found himself nobody, where a month before he had been supreme. The Fatimite restoration was to him only a means to an end; he had used Obeid-Allah's title as an engine of revolution, intending to proceed to the furthest lengths of his philosophy, to a complete social and political anarchy, the destruction of Islam, community of lands and women, and all the delight of unshackled license. Instead of this, his creature had absorbed his power, and all such designs were made void. He began to hatch treason and to hint doubts as to the genuineness of the Mahdi, who, as he truly represented, according to prophecy, ought to work miracles and show other proofs of his divine mission. People began to ask for a "sign." In reply, the Mahdi had the missionary murdered.

The first Fatimite caliph, though without experience, was so vigorous a ruler that he could dispense with the dangerous support of his discoverer. He held the throne for a quarter of a century and established his authority, more or less continuously, over the Arab and Berber tribes and settled cities from the frontier of Egypt to the province of Fez (Fas) in Morocco, received the allegiance of the Mahometan governor of Sicily, and twice despatched expeditions into Egypt, which he would probably have permanently conquered if he had not been hampered by perpetual insurrections in Barbary. Distant governors, and often whole tribes of Berbers, were constantly in revolt, and the disastrous famine of 928-929, coupled with the Asiatic plague which his troops had brought back with them from Egypt, led to general disturbances and insurrections which fully occupied the later years of his reign. The western provinces, from Tahart and Nakur to Fez and beyond, frequently threw off all show of allegiance. His authority was founded more on fear than on religious enthusiasm, though zeal for the Alide cause had its share in his original success. The new "Eastern doctrines," as they were called, were enforced at the sword's point, and frightful examples were made of those who ventured to tread in the old paths. Nor were the freethinkers of the large towns, who shared the missionary's esoteric principles, encouraged; for outwardly, at least, the Mahdi was strictly a Moslem. When people at Kayrawan began to put in practice the missionary's advanced theories, to scoff at all the rules of Islam, to indulge in free love, pig's flesh, and wine, they were sternly brought to order. The mysterious powers expected of a mahdi were sedulously rumored among the credulous Berbers, though no miracles were actually exhibited; and the obedience of the conquered provinces was secured by horrible outrages and atrocities, of which the terrified people dared not provoke a repetition at the hands of the Mahdi's savage generals.

His eldest son Abul-Kasim, who had twice led expeditions into Egypt, succeeded to the caliphate with the title of El-Kaim, 934-946. He began his reign with warlike vigor. He sent out a fleet in 934 or 935, which harried the southern coast of France, blockaded and took Genoa, and coasted along Calabria, massacring and plundering, burning the shipping, and carrying off slaves wherever it touched. At the same time he despatched a third army against Egypt; but the firm hand of the Ikshid now held the government, and his brother, Obeid-Allah, with fifteen thousand horse, drove the enemy out of Alexandria and gave them a crushing defeat on their way home. But for the greater part of his reign El-Kaim was on the defensive, fighting for existence against the usurpation of one Abu-Yezid, who repudiated Shiism, cursed the Mahdi and his successor, stirred up most of Morocco and Barbary against El-Kaim, drove him out of his capital, and went near to putting an end to the Fatimite caliphate.

It was only after seven years of uninterrupted civil war that this formidable insurrection died out, under the firm but politic management of the third caliph, El-Mansur (946-953), a brave man who knew both when to strike and when to be generous. Abu-Yezid was at last run to earth, and his body was skinned and stuffed with straw, and exposed in a cage with a couple of ludicrous apes as a warning to the disaffected.

The Fatimites so far wear a brutal and barbarous character. They do not seem to have encouraged literature or learning; but this is partly explained by the fact that culture belonged chiefly to the orthodox caliphate; and its learned men could have no dealings with the heretical pretender. The city of Kayrawan, which dates from the Arab conquest in the eighth century, preserves the remains of some noble buildings, but of their other capitals or royal residences no traces of art or architecture remain to bear witness to the taste of their founders. Each began to decay as soon as its successor was built.

With the fourth caliph, however, El-Moizz, the conqueror of Egypt, 953-975, the Fatimites entered upon a new phase.

El-Moizz was a man of politic temper, a born statesman, able to grasp the conditions of success and to take advantage of every point in his favor. He was also highly educated, and not only wrote Arabic poetry and delighted in its literature, but studied Greek, mastered Berber and Sudani dialects, and is even said to have taught himself Slavonic in order to converse with his slaves from Eastern Europe. His eloquence was such as to move his audience to tears. To prudent statesmanship he added a large generosity, and his love of justice was among his noblest qualities. So far as outward acts could show, he was a strict Moslem of the Shiah sect, and the statement of his adversaries that he was really an atheist seems to rest merely upon the belief that all the Fatimites adopted the esoteric doctrines of the Ismailian missionaries.

When he ascended the throne in April, 953, he had already a policy, and he lost no time in carrying it into execution. He first made a progress through his dominions, visiting each town, investigating its needs, and providing for its peace and prosperity. He bearded the rebels in their mountain fastnesses, till they laid down their arms and fell at his feet. He conciliated the chiefs and governors with presents and appointments, and was rewarded by their loyalty.

At the head of his ministers he set Gawhar "the Roman," a slave from the Eastern Empire, who had risen to the post of secretary to the late Caliph, and was now by his son promoted to the rank of wazir commander of the forces. He was sent in 958 to bring the ever-refractory Maghreb (Morocco) to allegiance. The expedition was entirely successful, Sigilmasa and Fez were taken, and Gawhar reached the shore of the Atlantic.

Jars of live fish and sea-weed reached the capital, and proved to the Caliph that his empire touched the ocean, the "limitless limit" of the world. All the African littoral, from the Atlantic to the frontier of Egypt—with the single exception of Spanish Ceuta—now peaceably admitted the sway of the Fatimite Caliph.

The result was due partly to the exhaustion caused by the long struggle during the preceding reigns, partly to the politic concessions and personal influence of the able young ruler. He was liberal and conciliatory toward different provinces, but to the Arabs of the capital he was severe. Kayrawan teemed with disaffected folk, sheiks, and theologians bitterly hostile to the heretical "orientalism" of the Fatimites, and always ready to excite a tumult. Moizz was resolved to give them no chance, and one of his repressive measures was the curfew. At sunset a trumpet sounded, and anyone found abroad after that was liable to lose not only his way, but his head. So long as they were quiet, however, he used the people justly, and sought to impress them in his favor. In a singular interview, recorded by Makrisi, he exhibited himself to a deputation of sheiks, dressed in the utmost simplicity, and seated before his writing materials in a plain room, surrounded by books. He wished to disabuse them of the idea that he led in private a life of luxury and self-indulgence.

"You see what employs me when I am alone," he said; "I read letters that come to me from the lands of the East and the West, and answer them with my own hand; I deny myself all the pleasures of the world, and I seek only to protect your lives, multiply your children, shame your rivals, and daunt your enemies." Then he gave them much good advice, and especially recommended them to keep to one wife.

"One woman is enough for one man. If you straitly observe what I have ordained," he concluded, "I trust that God will, through you, procure our conquest of the East in like manner as he has vouchsafed us the West."

The conquest of Egypt was indeed the aim of his life. To rule over tumultuous Arab and Berber tribes in a poor country formed no fit ambition for a man of his capacity. Egypt, its wealth, its commerce, its great port, and its docile population—these were his dream.

For two years he had been digging wells and building rest-houses on the road to Alexandria. The West was now outwardly quiet, and between Egypt and any hope of succor from the eastern caliphate stood the ravaging armies of the Karmatis. Egypt itself was in helpless disorder. The great Kafur was dead, and its nominal ruler was a child. Ibn-Furat, the wazir, had made himself obnoxious to the people by arrests and extortions. The very soldiery was in revolt, and the Turkish retainers of the court mutinied, plundered the wazir's palace, and even opened negotiations with Moizz. Hoseyn, the nephew of the Ikshid, attempted to restore public order, but after three months of vacillating and unpopular government he returned to his own province in Palestine to make terms with the Karmatis. Famine, the result of the exceptionally low Nile of 967, added to the misery of the country; plague, as usual, followed in the steps of famine; over six hundred thousand people died in and around Fustat, and the wretched inhabitants began in despair to migrate to happier lands.

All these matters were fully reported to Moizz by the renegade Jew Yakub Killis, a former favorite of Kafur, who had been driven from Egypt by the jealous exactions of the wazir, Ibn-Furat, and who was perfectly familiar with the political and financial state of the Nile valley. His representations confirmed the Fatimite Caliph's resolve; the Arab tribes were summoned to his standard; an immense treasure was collected, all of which was spent in the campaign; gratuities were lavishly distributed to the army, and at the head of over one hundred thousand men, all well mounted and armed, accompanied by a thousand camels and a mob of horses carrying money, stores, and ammunition, Gawhar marched from Kayrawan in February, 969. The Caliph himself reviewed the troops. The marshal kissed his hand and his horse's shoe. All the princes, emirs, and courtiers passed reverently on foot before the honored leader of the conquering army, who, as a last proof of favor, received the gift of his master's own robes and charger. The governors of all the towns on the route had orders to come on foot to Gawhar's stirrup, and one of them vainly offered a large bribe to be excused the indignity.

The approach of this overwhelming force filled the Egyptian ministers with consternation, and they thought only of obtaining favorable terms. A deputation of notables, headed by Abu-Giafar Moslem, a sherif, or descendant of the Prophet's family, waited upon Gawhar near Alexandria, and demanded a capitulation. The general consented without reserve, and in a conciliatory letter granted all they asked. But they had reckoned without their host; the troops at Fustat would not listen to such humiliation, and there was a strong war party among the citizens, to which some of the ministers leaned. The city prepared for resistance, and skirmishes took place with Gawhar's army, which had meanwhile arrived at the opposite town of Giza in July. Forcing the passage of the river, with the help of some boats supplied by Egyptian soldiers, the invaders fell upon the imposing army drawn up on the other bank, and totally defeated them. The troops deserted Fustat in a panic, and the women of the city, running out of their houses, implored the sherif to intercede with the conqueror.

Gawhar, like his master, always disposed to a politic leniency, renewed his former promises, and granted a complete amnesty to all who submitted. The overjoyed populace cut off the heads of some of the refractory leaders, in their enthusiasm, and sent them to the camp in pleasing token of allegiance. A herald, bearing a white flag, rode through the streets of Fustat proclaiming the amnesty and forbidding pillage, and on August the 5th the Fatimite army, with full pomp of drums and banners, entered the capital.

That very night Gawhar laid the foundations of a new city, or rather fortified palace, destined for the reception of his sovereign. He was encamped on the sandy waste which stretched northeast of Fustat on the road to Heliopolis, and there, at a distance of about a mile from the river, he marked out the boundaries of the new capital. There were no buildings, save the old "Convent of the Bones," nor any cultivation except the beautiful park called "Kafur's Garden," to obstruct his plans. A square, somewhat less than a mile each way, was pegged out with poles, and the Maghrabi astrologers, in whom Moizz reposed extravagant faith, consulted together to determine the auspicious moment for the opening ceremony. Bells were hung on ropes from pole to pole, and at the signal of the sages their ringing was to announce the precise moment when the laborers were to turn the first sod. The calculations of the astrologers were, however, anticipated by a raven, who perched on one of the ropes and set the bells jingling, upon which every mattock was struck into the earth, and the trenches were opened. It was an unlucky hour; the planet Mars (El-Kahir) was in the ascendant; but it could not be undone, and the place was accordingly named after the hostile planet, El-Kahira, "the Martial" or "Triumphant," in the hope that the sinister omen might be turned to a triumphant issue. Cairo, as Kahira has come to be called, may fairly be said to have outlived all astrological prejudices. The name of the Abbasside caliph was at once expunged from the Friday prayers at the old mosque of Amr at Fustat; the black Abbasside robes were proscribed, and the preacher, in pure white, recited the Khutba for the imam Moizz, emir el-muminin, and invoked blessings on his ancestors Ali and Fatima and all their holy family. The call to prayer from the minarets was adapted to Shiah taste. The joyful news was sent to the Fatimite Caliph on swift dromedaries, together with the heads of the slain. Coins were struck with the special formulas of the Fatimite creed—"Ali is the noblest of [God's] delegates, the wazir of the best of apostles"; "the Imam Maadd calls men to profess the unity of the Eternal"—in addition to the usual dogmas of the Mahometan faith. For two centuries the mosques and the mint proclaimed the shibboleth of the Shiahs.

Gawhar set himself at once to restore tranquillity and alleviate the sufferings of the famine-stricken people. Moizz had providently sent grain ships to relieve their distress, and as the price of bread nevertheless remained at famine rates, Gawhar publicly flogged the millers, established a central corn-exchange, and compelled everyone to sell his corn there under the eye of a government inspector. In spite of his efforts the famine lasted for two years; plague spread alarmingly, insomuch that the corpses could not be buried fast enough, and were thrown into the Nile; and it was not till the winter of 971-972 that plenty returned and the pest disappeared. As usual, the viceroy took a personal part in all public functions. Every Saturday he sat in court, assisted by the wazir Ibn-Furat, the cadi, and skilled lawyers, to hear causes and petitions and to administer justice. To secure impartiality, he appointed to every department of state an Egyptian and a Maghrabi officer. His firm and equitable rule insured peace and order; and the great palace he was building, and the new mosque, the Azhar, which he founded in 970 and finished in 972, not only added to the beauty of the capital, but gave employment to innumerable craftsmen.

The inhabitants of Egypt accepted the new regime with their habitual phlegm. An Ikshidi officer in the Bashmur district of Lower Egypt did, indeed, incite the people to rebellion, but his fate was not such as to encourage others. He was chased out of Egypt, captured on the coast of Palestine, and then, it is gravely recorded, he was given sesame oil to drink for a month, till his skin stripped off, whereupon it was stuffed with straw and hung up on a beam, as a reminder to him who would be admonished. With this brief exception we read of no riots, no sectarian risings, and the general surrender was complete when the remaining partisans of the deposed dynasty, to the number of five thousand, laid down their arms. An embassy sent to George, King of Nubia, to invite him to embrace Islam, and to exact the customary tribute, was received with courtesy, and the money, but not the conversion, was arranged. The holy cities of Mecca and Medina in the Higaz, where the gold of Moizz had been prudently distributed some years before, responded to his generosity and success by proclaiming his supremacy in the mosques; the Hamdanide prince who held Northern Syria paid similar homage to the Fatimite Caliph at Aleppo, where the Abbassides had hitherto been recognized. Southern Syria, however, which had formed part of the Ikshid's kingdom, did not submit to the usurpers without a struggle. Hoseyn was still independent at Ramla, and Gawhar's lieutenant, Giafar ben Fellah, was obliged to give him battle. Hoseyn was defeated and exposed bareheaded to the insults of the mob at Fustat, to be finally sent, with the rest of the family of Ikshid, to a Barbary jail. Damascus, the home of orthodoxy, was taken by Giafar, not without a struggle, and the Fatimite doctrine was there published, to the indignation and disgust of the Sunnite population.

A worse plague than the Fatimite conquest soon afflicted Syria. The Karmati leader, Hasan ben Ahmad, surnamed El-Asam, finding the blackmail, which he had lately received out of the revenues of Damascus, suddenly stopped, resolved to extort it by force of arms. The Fatimites indeed sprang from the same movement, and their founder professed the same political and irreligious philosophy as Hasan himself; but this did not stand in his way, and his knowledge of their origin made him the less disposed to render homage to the sacred pretensions of the new imams, whom he contemptuously designated as the spawn of the quacks, charlatans, and the enemies of Islam. He tried to enlist the support of the Abbasside Caliph, but El-Muti replied that Fatimis and Karmatis were all one to him, and he would have nothing to do with either. The Buweyhid prince of Irak, however, supplied Hasan with arms and money; Abu-Taghlib, the Hamdanide ruler of Rahba on the Euphrates, contributed men; and, supported by the Arab tribes of Okeyl, Tavy, and others, Hasan marched upon Damascus, where the Fatimites were routed, and their general, Giafar, killed. Moizz was forthwith publicly cursed from the pulpit in the Syrian capital, to the qualified satisfaction of the inhabitants, who had to pay handsomely for the pleasure.

Hasan next marched to Ramla, and thence, leaving the Fatimite army of eleven thousand men shut up in Jaffa, invaded Egypt. His troops surprised Kulzum at the head of the Red Sea, and Farama (Pelusium), near the Mediterranean, at the two ends of the Egyptian frontier. Tinnis declared against the Fatimites, and Hasan appeared at Heliopolis in October, 971. Gawhar had already intrenched the new capital with a deep ditch, leaving but one entrance, which he closed with an iron gate. He armed the Egyptians as well as the African troops, and a spy was set to watch the wazir Ibn-Furat, lest he should be guilty of treachery. The sherifs of the family of Ali were summoned to the camp, as hostages for the good behavior of the inhabitants. Meanwhile, the officers of the enemy were liberally tempted with bribes. Two months they lay before Cairo, and then, after an indecisive engagement, Hasan stormed the gate, forced his way across the ditch, and attacked the Egyptians on their own ground. The result was a severe repulse, and Hasan retreated, under cover of night, to Kulzum, leaving his camp and baggage to be plundered by the Fatimites, who were only balked of a sanguinary pursuit by the intervention of night. The Egyptian volunteers displayed unexpected valor in the fight, and many of the partisans of the late dynasty, who were with the enemy, were made prisoners.

Thus the serious danger, which went near to cutting short the Fatimite occupation of Egypt, was not only resolutely met, but even turned into an advantage. There was no more intriguing on behalf of the Ikshidids; Tinnis was recovered from its temporary defection and occupied by the reinforcements which Moizz had hurriedly despatched under Ibn-Ammar to the succor of Gawhar; and the Karmati fleet, which attempted to recover this fort, was obliged to slip anchor, abandoning seven ships and five hundred prisoners. Jaffa, which still held out resolutely against the besieging Arabs, was now relieved by the despatch of African troops from Cairo, who brought back the garrison, but did not dare to hold the post. The enemy fell back upon Damascus, and the leaders fell out among themselves.

The Karmati chief was not crushed, however, by his defeat. In the following year he was collecting ships and Arabs for a fresh invasion. Gawhar, who had long urged his master to come and protect his conquest, now pointed out the extreme danger of a second attack from an enemy which had already succeeded in boldly forcing his way to the gate of Cairo. Moizz had delayed his journey, because he could not safely trust his western provinces in his absence; but on the receipt of this grave news, he appointed Yusuf Bulugin ben Zeyri, of the Berber tribe of Sanhaga, to act as his deputy in Barbary, left Sardaniya—the Fontainebleau of Kayrawan, as Mansuriya was its Versailles—in November, 972, and making a leisurely progress, by way of Kabis, Tripolis, Agdabiya, and Barka, reached Alexandria in the following May. Here the Caliph received a deputation, consisting of the cadi of Fustat and other eminent persons, whom he moved to tears by his eloquent and virtuous discourse. A month later he was encamped in the gardens of the monastery near Giza, where he was reverently welcomed by his devoted servant, Gawhar, content to efface himself in his master's shadow.

The entry of the new Caliph into his new capital was a solemn spectacle. With him were all his sons and brothers and kinsfolk, and before him were borne the coffins of his ancestors. Fustat was illuminated and decked for his reception; but Moizz would not enter the old capital of the usurping caliphs. He crossed from Roda by Gawhar's new bridge, and proceeded direct to the palace-city of Cairo. Here he threw himself on his face and gave thanks to God.

There was yet an ordeal to be gone through before he could regard himself as safe. Egypt was the home of many undoubted sherifs or descendants of Ali, and these, headed by a representative of the distinguished Tabataba family, came boldly to examine his credentials. Moizz must prove his title to the holy imamate inherited from Ali, to the satisfaction of these experts in genealogy. According to the story, the Caliph called a great assembly of the people, and invited the sherifs to appear; then, half drawing his sword, he said:

"Here is my pedigree," and scattering gold among the spectators, added, "and there is my proof."

It was perhaps the best argument he could produce. The sherifs could only protest their entire satisfaction at this convincing evidence; and it is at any rate certain that, whatever they thought of the Caliph's claim, they did not contest it. The capital was placarded with his name, and the praises of Ali and Moizz were acclaimed by the people, who flocked to his first public audience. Among the presents offered him, that of Gawhar was especially splendid, and its costliness illustrates the colossal wealth acquired by the Fatimites. It included five hundred horses with saddles and bridles encrusted with gold, amber, and precious stones; tents of silk and cloth of gold, borne on Bactrian camels; dromedaries, mules, and camels of burden; filigree coffers full of gold and silver vessels; gold-mounted swords; caskets of chased silver containing precious stones; a turban set with jewels, and nine hundred boxes filled with samples of all the goods that Egypt produced.




Writers on the history of chivalry are unable to refer its origin to any definite time or place; and even specific definition of chivalry is seldom attempted by careful students. They rather give us, as does Gautier in the picturesque account which follows, some recognized starting-point, and for definition content themselves with characterization of the spirit and aims of chivalry, analysis of its methods, and the story of its rise and fall.

Chivalry was not an official institution that came into existence by the decree of a sovereign. Although religious in its original elements and impulses, there was nothing in its origin to remind us of the foundation of a religious order. It would be useless to search for the place of its birth or for the name of its founder. It was born everywhere at once, and has been everywhere at the same time the natural effect of the same aspirations and the same needs. "There was a moment when people everywhere felt the necessity of tempering the ardor of old German blood, and of giving to their ill-regulated passions an ideal. Hence chivalry!"

Yet chivalry arose from a German custom which was idealized by the Christian church; and chivalry was more an ideal than an institution. It was "the Christian form of the military profession; the knight was the Christian soldier." True, the profession and mission of the church meant the spread of peace and the hatred of war, she holding with her Master that "they who take the sword shall perish with the sword." Her thought was formulated by St. Augustine: "He who can think of war and can support it without great sorrow is truly dead to human feelings." "It is necessary," he says, "to submit to war, but to wish for peace." The church did, however, look upon war as a divine means of punishment and of expiation, for individuals and nations. And the eloquent Bossuet showed the church's view of war as the terrestrial preparation for the Kingdom of God, and described how empires fall upon one another to form a foundation whereon to build the church. In the light of such interpretations the church availed herself of the militant auxiliary known as chivalry.

Along with the religious impulse that animated it, chivalry bore, throughout its purer course, the character of knightliness which it received from Teutonic sources. How the fine sentiments and ennobling customs of the Teutonic nations, particularly with respect to the gallantry and generosity of the male toward the female sex, grew into beautiful combination with the rule of protecting the weak and defenceless everywhere, and how these elements were blended with the spirit of religious devotion which entered into the organization and practices of chivalry, forms one of the most fascinating features in the study of its development; and this gentler side, no less than its sterner aspects, is faithfully presented in the brilliant examination of Gautier. And the heroic sentiment and action which inspired and accomplished the sacred warfare of the Crusades are not less admirably depicted in these pages; while in his summary of the decline of chivalry Gautier has perhaps never been surpassed for penetrating insight and lucid exposition.

There is a sentence of Tacitus—the celebrated passage in the Germania—that refers to a German rite in which we really find all the military elements of the future chivalry. The scene took place beneath the shade of an old forest. The barbarous tribe is assembled, and one feels that a solemn ceremony is in preparation. Into the midst of the assembly advances a very young man, whom you can picture to yourself with sea-green eyes, long fair hair, and perhaps some tattooing. A chief of the tribe is present, who without delay places gravely in the hands of the young man a framea and a buckler. Failing a sovereign ruler, it is the father of the youth, or some relative, who undertakes this delivery of weapons. "Such is the 'virile robe' of these people," as Tacitus well puts it; "such is the first honor of their youth. Till then the young man was only one in a family; he becomes by this rite a member of the Republic. Ante hoc domus pars videtur: mox rei publicae. This sword and buckler he will never abandon, for the Germans in all their acts, whether public or private, are always armed. So, the ceremony finished, the assembly separates, and the tribe reckons a miles—a warrior—the more. That is all!"

The solemn handing of arms to the young German—such is the first germ of chivalry which Christianity was one day to animate into life. "Vestigium vetus creandi equites seu milites." It is with reason that Sainte-Palaye comments in the very same way upon the text of the Germania, and that a scholar of our own days exclaims with more than scientific exactness, "The true origin of miles is this bestowal of arms which among the Germans marks the entry into civil life."

No other origin will support the scrutiny of the critic, and he will not find anyone now to support the theory of Roman origin with Sainte-Marie, or that of the Arabian origin with Beaumont. There only remains to explain in this place the term knight (chevalier), but it is well known to be derived from caballus, which primarily signifies a beast of burden, a pack-horse, and has ended by signifying a war-horse. The knight, also, has always preserved the name of miles in the Latin tongue of the Middle Ages, in which chivalry is always called militia. Nothing can be clearer than this.

We do not intend to go further, however, without replying to two objections, which are not without weight, and which we do not wish to leave behind us unanswered.

In a certain number of Latin books of the Middle Ages we find, to describe chivalry, an expression which the "Romanists" oppose triumphantly to us, and of which the Romish origin cannot seriously be doubted. When it is intended to signify that a knight has been created, it is stated that the individual has been girt with the cingulum militare. Here we find ourselves in full Roman parlance, and the word signified certain terms which described admission into military service, the release from this service, and the degradation of the legionary. When St. Martin left the militia, his action was qualified as solutio cinguli, and at all those who act like him the insulting expression militaribus zonis discincti is cast. The girdle which sustains the sword of the Roman officer—cingulum zona, or rather cinctorium—as also the baldric, from balteus, passed over the shoulder and was intended to support the weapon of the common soldier. "You perceive quite well," say our adversaries, "that we have to do with a Roman costume." Two very simple observations will, perhaps, suffice to get to the bottom of such a specious argument: The first is that the Germans in early times wore, in imitation of the Romans, "a wide belt ornamented with bosses of metal," a baldric, by which their swords were suspended on the left side; and the second is that the chroniclers of old days, who wrote in Latin and affected the classic style, very naturally adopted the word cingulum in all its acceptations, and made use of this Latin paraphrasis—cingulo militari decorare—to express this solemn adoption of the sword. This evidently German custom was always one of the principal rites of the collation of chivalry. There is then nothing more in it than a somewhat vague reminiscence of a Roman custom with a very natural conjunction of terms which has always been the habit of a literary people.

To sum up, the word is Roman, but the thing itself is German. Between the militia of the Romans and the chivalry of the Middle Ages there is really nothing in common but the military profession considered generally. The official admittance of the Roman soldier to an army hierarchically organized in no way resembled the admission of a new knight into a sort of military college and the "pink of society." As we read further the singularly primitive and barbarous ritual of the service of knightly reception in the twelfth century, one is persuaded that the words exhale a German odor, and have nothing Roman about them. But there is another argument, and one which would appear decisive. The Roman legionary could not, as a rule, withdraw from the service; he could not avoid the baldric. The youthful knight of the Middle Ages, on the contrary, was always free to arm himself or not as he pleased, just as other cavaliers are at liberty to leave or join their ranks. The principal characteristic of the knightly service, and one which separates it most decidedly from the Roman militia, was its freedom of action.

One very specious objection is made as regards feudalism, which some clear-minded people obstinately confound with chivalry. This was the favorite theory of Montalembert. Now there are two kinds of feudalism, which the old feudalists put down very clearly in two words now out of date—"fiefs of dignity" and "fiefs simple." About the middle of the ninth century, the dukes and counts made themselves independent of the central power, and declared that people owed the same allegiance to them as they did to the emperor or the king. Such were the acts of the "fiefs of dignity," and we may at once allow that they had nothing in common with chivalry. The "fiefs simple," then, remained.

In the Merovingian period we find a certain number of small proprietors, called vassi, commending themselves to other men more powerful and more rich, who were called seniores. To his senior who made him a present of land the vassus owed assistance and fidelity. It is true that as early as the reign of Charlemagne he followed him to war, but it must be noted that it was to the emperor, to the central power, that he actually rendered military service. There was nothing very particular in this, but the time was approaching when things would be altered. Toward the middle of the ninth century we find a large number of men falling "on their knees" before other men! What are they about? They are "recommending" themselves, but, in plainer terms, "Protect us and we will be your men." And they added: "It is to you and to you only that we intend in future to render military service; but in exchange you must protect the land we possess—defend what you will in time concede to us; and defend us ourselves." These people on their knees were "vassals" at the feet of their "lords"; and the fief was generally only a grant of land conceded in exchange for military service.

Feudalism of this nature has nothing in common with chivalry.

If we consider chivalry in fact as a kind of privileged body into which men were received on certain conditions and with a certain ritual, it is important to observe that every vassal is not necessarily a cavalier. There were vassals who, with the object of averting the cost of initiation or for other reasons, remained damoiseaux, or pages, all their lives. The majority, of course, did nothing of the kind; but all could do so, and a great many did.

On the other hand we see conferred the dignity of chivalry upon insignificant people who had never held fiefs, who owed to no one any fealty, and to whom no one owed any.

We cannot repeat too often that it was not the cavalier (or knight), it was the vassal who owed military service, or ost, to the seigneur, or lord; and the service in curte or court: it was the vassal, not the knight, who owed to the "lord" relief, "aid," homage.

The feudal system soon became hereditary. Chivalry, on the contrary, has never been hereditary, and a special rite has always been necessary to create a knight. In default of all other arguments this would be sufficient.

But if, instead of regarding chivalry as an institution, we consider it as an ideal, the doubt is not really more admissible. It is here that, in the eyes of a philosophic historian, chivalry is clearly distinct from feudalism. If the western world in the ninth century had not been feudalized, chivalry would nevertheless have come into existence; and, notwithstanding everything, it would have come to light in Christendom; for chivalry is nothing more than the Christianized form of military service, the armed force in the service of the unarmed Truth; and it was inevitable that at some time or other it must have sprung, living and fully armed, from the brain of the church, as Minerva did from the brain of Jupiter.

Feudalism, on the contrary, is not of Christian origin at all. It is a particular form of government, and of society, which has scarcely been less rigorous for the church than other forms of society and government. Feudalism has disputed with the church over and over again, while chivalry has protected her a hundred times. Feudalism is force—chivalry is the brake.

Let us look at Godfrey de Bouillon. The fact that he owed homage to any suzerain, the fact that he exacted service from such and such vassals, are questions which concern feudal rights, and have nothing to do with chivalry. But if I contemplate him in battle beneath the walls of Jerusalem; if I am a spectator of his entry into the Holy City; if I see him ardent, brave, powerful and pure, valiant and gentle, humble and proud, refusing to wear the golden crown in the Holy City where Jesus wore the crown of thorns, I am not then anxious—I am not curious—to learn from whom he holds his fief, or to know the names of his vassals; and I exclaim, "There is the knight!" And how many knights, what chivalrous virtues, have existed in the Christian world since feudalism has ceased to exist!

The adoption of arms in the German fashion remains the true origin of chivalry; and the Franks have handed down this custom to us—a custom perpetuated to a comparatively modern period. This simple, almost rude rite so decidedly marked the line of civil life in the code of manners of people of German origin, that under the Carlovingians we still find numerous traces of it. In 791 Louis, eldest son of Charlemagne, was only thirteen years old, and yet he had worn the crown of Aquitaine for three years upon his "baby brow." The king of the Franks felt that it was time to bestow upon this child the military consecration which would more quickly assure him of the respect of his people. He summoned him to Ingelheim, then to Ratisbon, and solemnly girded him with the sword which "makes men." He did not trouble himself about the framea or the buckler—the sword occupied the first place. It will retain it for a long time.

In 838 at Kiersy we have a similar scene. This time it is old Louis who, full of sadness and nigh to death, bestows upon his son Charles, whom he loved so well, the "virile arms"—that is to say, the sword. Then immediately afterward he put upon his brow the crown of "Neustria." Charles was fifteen years old.

These examples are not numerous, but their importance is decisive, and they carry us to the time when the church came to intervene positively in the education of the German miles. The time was rough, and it is not easy to picture a more distracted period than that in the ninth and tenth centuries. The great idea of the Roman Empire no longer, in the minds of the people, coincided with the idea of the Frankish kingdom, but rather inclined, so to speak, to the side of Germany, where it tended to fix itself. Countries were on the way to be formed, and people were asking to which country they could best belong. Independent kingdoms were founded which had no precedents and were not destined to have a long life. The Saracens were for the last time harassing the southern French coasts, but it was not so with the Norman pirates, for they did not cease for a single year to ravage the littoral which is now represented by the Picardy and Normandy coasts, until the day it became necessary to cede the greater part of it to them. People were fighting everywhere more or less—family against family—man to man. No road was safe, the churches were burned, there was universal terror, and everyone sought protection. The king had no longer strength to resist anyone, and the counts made themselves kings. The sun of the realm was set, and one had to look at the stars for light. As soon as the people perceived a strong man-at-arms, resolute, defiant, well established in his wooden keep, well fortified within the lines of his hedge, behind his palisade of dead branches, or within his barriers of planks; well posted on his hill, against his rock, or on his hillock, and dominating all the surrounding country—as soon as they saw this each said to him, "I am your man"; and all these weak ones grouped themselves around the strong one, who next day proceeded to wage war with his neighbors. Thence supervened a terrible series of private wars. Everyone was fighting or thinking of fighting.

In addition to this, the still green memory of the grand figure of Charlemagne and the old empire, and I can't tell what imperial splendors, were still felt in the air of great cities; all hearts throbbed at the mere thought of the Saracens and the Holy Sepulchre; the crusade gathered strength of preparation far in advance, in the rage and indignation of all the Christian race; all eyes were turned toward Jerusalem, and in the midst of so many disbandments and so much darkness, the unity of the church survived fallen majesty!

It was then, it was in that horrible hour—the decisive epoch in our history—that the church undertook the education of the Christian soldier; and it was at that time, by a resolute step, she found the feudal baron in his rude wooden citadel, and proposed to him an ideal. This ideal was chivalry!

That chivalry may be considered a great military confraternity as well as an eighth sacrament, will be conceded. But, before familiarizing themselves with these ideals, the rough spirits of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries had to learn the principles of them. The chivalrous ideal was not conceived "all of a piece," and certainly it did not triumph without sustained effort; so it was by degrees, and very slowly, that the church succeeded in inoculating the almost animal intelligence and the untrained minds of our ancestors with so many virtues.

In the hands of the church, which wished to mould him into a Christian knight, the feudal baron was a very intractable individual. No one could be more brutal or more barbarous than he. Our more ancient ballads—those which are founded on the traditions of the ninth and tenth centuries—supply us with a portrait which does not appear exaggerated. I know nothing in this sense more terrible than Raoul de Cambrai, and the hero of this old poem would pass for a type of a half-civilized savage. This Raoul was a kind of Sioux or other redskin, who only wanted tattoo and feathers in his hair to be complete. Even a redskin is a believer, or superstitious to some extent, while Raoul defied the Deity himself. The savage respects his mother, as a rule; but Raoul laughed at his mother, who cursed him. Behold him as he invaded the Vermandois, contrary to all the rights of legitimate heirs. He pillaged, burned, and slew in all directions: he was everywhere pitiless, cruel, horrible. But at Origni he appears in all his ferocity. "You will erect my tent in the church, you will make my bed before the altar, and put my hawks on the golden crucifix." Now that church belonged to a convent. What did that signify to him? He burned the convent, he burned the church, he burned the nuns! Among them was the mother of his most faithful servitor, Bernier—his most devoted companion and friend—almost his brother! but he burned her with the others. Then, when the flames were still burning, he sat himself down, on a fast-day, to feast amid the scenes of his sanguinary exploits—defying God and man, his hands steeped in blood, his face lifted to heaven. That was the kind of soldier, the savage of the tenth century, whom the church had to educate!

Unfortunately this Raoul de Cambrai is not a unique specimen; he was not the only one who had uttered this ferocious speech: "I shall not be happy until I see your heart cut out of your body." Aubri de Bourguignon was not less cruel, and took no trouble to curb his passions. Had he the right to massacre? He knew nothing about that, but meanwhile he continued to kill. "Bah!" he would say, "it is always an enemy the less." On one occasion he slew his four cousins. He was as sensual as cruel. His thick-skinned savagery did not appear to feel either shame or remorse; he was strong and had a weighty hand—that was sufficient. Ogier was scarcely any better, but notwithstanding all the glory attaching to his name, I know nothing more saddening than the final episode of the rude poem attributed to Raimbert of Paris. The son of Ogier, Baudouinet, had been slain by the son of Charlemagne, who called himself Charlot. Ogier did nothing but breathe vengeance, and would not agree to assist Christendom against the Saracen invaders unless the unfortunate Charlot was delivered to him. He wanted to kill him, he determined to kill him, and he rejoiced over it in anticipation. In vain did Charlot humble himself before this brute, and endeavor to pacify him by the sincerity of his repentance; in vain the old Emperor himself prayed most earnestly to God; in vain the venerable Naimes, the Nestor of our ballads, offered to serve Ogier all the rest of his life, and begged the Dane "not to forget the Saviour, who was born of the Virgin at Bethlehem." All their devotion and prayers were unavailing. Ogier, pitiless, placed one of his heavy hands on the youthful head, and with the other drew his sword, his terrible sword "Courtain." Nothing less than the intervention of an angel from heaven could have put an end to this terrible scene in which all the savagery of the German forests was displayed.

The majority of these early heroes had no other shibboleth than "I am going to separate the head from the trunk!" It was their war-cry. But if you desire something more frightful still, something more "primitive," you have only to open the Loherains at hazard, and read a few stanzas of that raging ballad of "derring-do," and you will almost fancy you are perusing one of those pages in which Livingstone describes in such indignant terms the manners of some tribe in Central Africa. Read this: "Begue struck Isore upon his black helmet through the golden circlet, cutting him to the chine; then he plunged into his body his sword Flamberge with the golden hilt; took the heart out with both hands, and threw it, still warm, at the head of William, saying, 'There is your cousin's heart; you can salt and roast it.'" Here words fail us; it would be too tame to say with Goedecke, "These heroes act like the forces of nature, in the manner of the hurricane which knows no pity." We must use more indignant terms than these, for we are truly amid cannibals. Once again we say, there was the warrior, there was the savage whom the church had to elevate and educate!

Such is the point of departure of this wonderful progress; such are the refractory elements out of which chivalry and the knight have been fashioned.

The point of departure is Raoul of Cambrai burning Origni. The point of arrival is Girard of Roussillon falling one day at the feet of an old priest and expiating his former pride by twenty-two years of penitence. These two episodes embrace many centuries between them.

A very interesting study might be made of the gradual transformation from the redskin to the knight; it might be shown how, and at what period of history, each of the virtues of chivalry penetrated victoriously into the undisciplined souls of these brutal warriors who were our ancestors; it might be determined at what moment the church became strong enough to impose upon our knights the great duties of defending it and of loving one another.

This victory was attained in a certain number of cases undoubtedly toward the end of the eleventh century: and the knight appears to us perfected, finished, radiant, in the most ancient edition of the Chanson of Roland, which is considered to have been produced between 1066 and 1095.

It is scarcely necessary to observe that chivalry was no longer in course of establishment when Pope Urban II threw with a powerful hand the whole of the Christian West upon the East, where the Tomb of Christ was in possession of the Infidel.

In legendary lore the embodiment of chivalry is Roland: in history it is Godfrey de Bouillon. There are no more worthy names than these.

The decadence of chivalry—and when one is speaking of human institutions, sooner or later this word must be used—perhaps set in sooner than historians can believe. We need not attach too much importance to the grumblings of certain poets, who complain of their time with an evidently exaggerated bitterness, and we do not care for our own part to take literally the testimony of the unknown author of La Vie de Saint Alexis, who exclaims—about the middle of the eleventh century—that everything is degenerate and all is lost! Thus: "In olden times the world was good. Justice and love were springs of action in it. People then had faith, which has disappeared from amongst us. The world is entirely changed. The world has lost its healthy color. It is pale—it has grown old. It is growing worse, and will soon cease altogether."

The poet exaggerates in a very singular manner the evil which he perceives around him, and one might aver that, far from bordering upon old age, chivalry was then almost in the very zenith of its glory. The twelfth century was its apogee, and it was not until the thirteenth that it manifested the first symptoms of decay.

"Li maus est moult want" exclaims the author of Godfrey de Bouillon, and he adds, sadly, "Tos li biens est finés."

He was more correct in speaking thus than was the author of Saint Alexis in his complainings, for the decadence of chivalry actually commenced in his time. And it is not unreasonable to inquire into the causes of its decay.

The Romance of the Round Table, which in the opinion of prepossessed or thoughtless critics appears so profoundly chivalrous, may be considered one of the works which hastened the downfall of chivalry. We are aware that by this seeming paradox we shall probably scandalize some of our readers, who look upon these adventurous cavaliers as veritable knights. What does it matter? Avienne que puet. The heroes of our chansons de geste are really the authorized representatives and types of the society of their time, and not those fine adventure-seeking individuals who have been so brilliantly sketched by the pencil of Crétien de Troyes.

It is true, however, that this charming and delicate spirit did not give, in his works, an accurate idea of his century and generation. We do not say that he embellished all he touched, but only that he enlivened it. Notwithstanding all that one could say about it, this school introduced the old Gaelic spirit into a poetry which had been till then chiefly Christian or German. Our epic poems are of German origin, and the Table Round is of Celtic origin. Sensual and light, witty and delicate, descriptive and charming, these pleasing romances are never masculine, and become too often effeminate and effeminating. They sing always, or nearly so, the same theme. By lovely pasturages clothed with beautiful flowers, the air full of birds, a young knight proceeds in search of the unknown, and through a series of adventures whose only fault is that they resemble one another somewhat too closely.

We find insolent defiances, magnificent duels, enchanted castles, tender love-scenes, mysterious talismans. The marvellous mingles with the supernatural, magicians with saints, fairies with angels. The whole is written in a style essentially French, and it must be confessed in clear, polished, and chastened language—perfect!

But we must not forget, as we said just now, that this poetry, so greatly attractive, began as early as the twelfth century to be the mode universally; and let us not forget that it was at the same period that the Percevalde Gallois and Aliscans, Cleomadès, and the Couronnement Looys were written. The two schools have coexisted for many centuries: both camps have enjoyed the favor of the public. But in such a struggle it was all too easy to decide to which of them the victory would eventually incline. The ladies decided it, and no doubt the greater number of them wept over the perusal of Erec or Enid more than over that of the Covenant Vivien or Raoul de Cambrai.

When the grand century of the Middle Ages had closed, when the blatant thirteenth century commenced, the sentimental had already gained the advantage over our old classic chansons; and the new school, the romantic set of the Table Round, triumphed! Unfortunately, they also triumphed in their manners; and they were the knights of the Round Table who, with the Valois, seated themselves upon the throne of France.

In this way temerity replaced true courage; so good, polite manners replaced heroic rudeness; so foolish generosity replaced the charitable austerity of the early chivalry. It was the love of the unforeseen even in the military art; the rage for adventure—even in politics. We know whither this strategy and these theatrical politics led us, and that Joan of Arc and Providence were required to drag us out of the consequences.

The other causes of the decadence of the spirit of chivalry are more difficult to determine. There is one of them which has not, perhaps, been sufficiently brought to light, and this is—will it be believed?—the exdevelopment of certain orders of chivalry! This statement requires some explanation.

We must confess that we are enthusiastic, passionate admirers of these grand military orders which were formed at the commencement of the twelfth century. There have never been their like in the world, and it was only given to Christianity to display to us such a spectacle. To give to one single soul the double ideal of the soldier and the monk, to impose upon him this double charge, to fix in one these two conditions and in one only these two duties, to cause to spring from the earth I cannot tell how many thousands of men who voluntarily accepted this burden, and who were not crushed by it—that is a problem which one might have been pardoned for thinking insoluble. We have not sufficiently considered it. We have not pictured to ourselves with sufficient vividness the Templars and the Hospitallers in the midst of one of those great battles in the Holy Land in which the fate of the world was in the balance.

No: painters have not sufficiently portrayed them in the arid plains of Asia forming an incomparable squadron in the midst of the battle. One might talk forever and yet not say too much about the charge of the Cuirassiers at Reichshoffen; but how many times did the Hospitaller knights and the Templars charge in similar fashion? Those soldier-monks, in truth, invented a new idea of courage. Unfortunately they were not always fighting, and peace troubled some of them. They became too rich, and their riches lowered them in the eyes of men and before heaven. We do not intend to adopt all the calumnies which have been circulated concerning the Templars, but it is difficult not to admit that many of these accusations had some foundation. The Hospitallers, at any rate, have given no ground for such attacks. They, thank heaven, remained undefiled, if not poor, and were an honor to that chivalry which others had compromised and emasculated.

But when all is said, that which best became chivalry, the spice which preserved it the most surely, was poverty!

Love of riches had not only attacked the chivalrous orders, but in a very short space of time all knights caught the infection. Sensuality and enjoyment had penetrated into their castles. "Scarcely had they received the knightly baldric before they commenced to break the commandments and to pillage the poor. When it became necessary to go to war, their sumpter-horses were laden with wine, and not with weapons; with leathern bottles instead of swords; with spits instead of lances. One might have fancied, in truth, that they were going out to dinner, and not to fight. It is true their shields were beautifully gilt, but they were kept in a virgin and unused condition. Chivalrous combats were represented upon their bucklers and their saddles, certainly; but that was all!"

Now who is it who writes thus? It is not, as one might fancy, an author of the fifteenth century—it is a writer of the twelfth; and the greatest satirist, somewhat excessive and unjust in his statements, the Christian Juvenal whom we have just quoted, was none other than Peter of Blois.

A hundred other witnesses might be cited in support of these indignant words. But if there is some exaggeration in them, we are compelled to confess that there is a considerable substratum of truth also.

These abuses—which wealth engendered, which more than one poet has stigmatized—attracted, in the fourteenth century, the attention of an important individual, a person whose name occupies a worthy place in literature and history. Philip of Mezières, chancellor of Cyprus under Peter of Lusignan, was a true knight, who one day conceived the idea of reforming chivalry. Now the way he found most feasible in accomplishing his object, in arriving at such a difficult and complex reform, was to found a new order of chivalry himself, to which he gave the high-sounding title of "the Chivalry of the Passion of Christ."

The decadence of chivalry is attested, alas! by the very character of the reformers by which this well-meaning Utopian attempted to oppose it. The good knight complains of the great advances of sensuality, and permits and advises the marriage of all knights. He complains of the accursed riches which the Hospitallers themselves were putting to a bad use, and forbade them in his Institutions; but nevertheless the luxurious habits of his time had an influence upon his mind, and he permitted his knights to wear the most extravagant costumes, and the dignitaries of his order to adopt the most high-sounding titles. There was something mystical in all this conception, and something theatrical in all this agency. It is hardly necessary to add that the "Chivalry of the Passion" was only a beautiful dream, originating in a generous mind. Notwithstanding the adherence of some brilliant personages, the order never attained to more than a theoretical organization, and had only a fictitious foundation. The idea of the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre from the Infidel was hardly the object of the fifteenth-century chivalry; for the struggle between France and England then was engaging the most courageous warriors and the most practised swords. Decay hurried on apace!

This was not the only cause of such a fatal falling away. The portals of chivalry had been opened to too many unworthy candidates. It had been made vulgar! In consequence of having become so cheap the grand title of "knight" was degraded. Eustace Deschamps, in his fine, straightforward way, states the scandal boldly and "lashes" it with his tongue. He says: "Picture to yourself the fact that the degree of knighthood is about to be conferred now upon babies of eight and ten years old."

Well might this excellent man exclaim in another place: "Disorders always go on gathering strength, and even incomparable knights like Du Guesclin and Bayard cannot arrest the fatal course of the institution toward ruin." Chivalry was destined to disappear.

It is very important that one should make one's self acquainted with the true character of such a downfall. France and England in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries still boasted many high-bred knights. They exchanged the most superb defiances, the most audacious challenges, and proceeded from one country to another to run each other through the body proudly. The Beaumanoirs, who drank their blood, abounded. It was a question who would engage himself in the most incredible pranks; who would commit the most daring folly! They tell us afterward of the beautiful passages of arms, the grand feats performed, and the inimitable Froissart is the most charming of all these narrators, who make their readers as chivalrous as themselves.

But we must tell everything: among these knights in beautiful armor there was a band of adventurers who never observed, and who could not understand, certain commandments of the ancient chivalry. The laxity of luxury had everywhere replaced the rigorous enactments of the old manliness, and even warriors themselves loved their ease too much. The religious sentiment was not the dominant one in their minds, in which the idea of a crusade now never entered. They had not sufficient respect for the weakness of the Church nor for other failings. They no longer felt themselves the champions of the good and the enemies of evil. Their sense of justice had become warped, as had love for their great native land.

Again, what they termed "the license of camps" had grown very much worse; and we know in what condition Joan of Arc found the army of the King. Blasphemy and ribaldry in every quarter. The noble girl swept away these pests, but the effect of her action was not long-lived. She was the person to reestablish chivalry, which in her found the purity of its now-effaced type; but she died too soon, and had not sufficient imitators.

There were, after her time, many chivalrous souls, and, thank heaven, there are still some among us; but the old institution is no longer with us. The events which we have had the misfortune to witness do not give us any ground to hope that chivalry, extinct and dead, will rise again to-morrow to light and life.

In St. Louis' time, caricature and parody—they were low-class forces, but forces nevertheless—had already commenced the work of destruction. We are in possession of an abominable little poem of the thirteenth century, which is nothing but a scatological pamphlet directed against chivalry. This ignoble Audigier, the author of which is the basest of men, is not the only attack which one may disinter from amid the literature of that period. If one wishes to draw up a really complete list it would be necessary to include the jabliaux—the Renart and the Rose, which constitute the most anti-chivalrous—I had nearly written the most Voltairian—works that I am acquainted with. The thread is easy enough to follow from the twelfth century down to the author of Don Quixote—which I do not confound with its infamous predecessors—to Cervantes, whose work has been fatal, but whose mind was elevated.

However that may be, parody and the parodists were themselves a cause of decay. They weakened morals. Gallic-like, they popularized little bourgeois sentiments, narrow-minded, satirical sentiments; they inoculated manly souls with contempt for such great things as one performs disinterestedly. This disdain is a sure element of decay, and we may regard it as an announcement of death.

Against the knights who, here and there, showed themselves unworthy and degenerate, was put in practice the terrible apparatus of degradation. Modern historians of chivalry have not failed to describe in detail all the rites of this solemn punishment, and we have presented to us a scene which is well calculated to excite the imagination of the most matter-of-fact, and to make the most timid heart swell.

The knight judicially condemned to submit to this shame was first conducted to a scaffold, where they broke or trod under foot all his weapons. He saw his shield, with device effaced, turned upside down and trailed in the mud. Priests, after reciting prayers for the vigil of the dead, pronounced over his head the psalm, "Deus laudem meam," which contains terrible maledictions against traitors. The herald of arms who carried out this sentence took from the hands of the pursuivant of arms a basin full of dirty water, and threw it all over the head of the recreant knight in order to wash away the sacred character which had been conferred upon him by the accolade. The guilty one, degraded in this way, was subsequently thrown upon a hurdle, or upon a stretcher, covered with a mortuary cloak, and finally carried to the church, where they repeated the same prayers and the same ceremonies as for the dead.

This was really terrible, even if somewhat theatrical, and it is easy to see that this complicated ritual contained only a very few ancient elements. In the twelfth century the ceremonial of degradation was infinitely more simple. The spurs were hacked off close to the heels of the guilty knight. Nothing could be more summary or more significant. Such a person was publicly denounced as unworthy to ride on horseback, and consequently quite unworthy to be a knight. The more ancient and chivalrous, the less theatrical is it. It is so in many other institutions in the histories of all nations.

That such a penalty may have prevented a certain number of treasons and forfeitures we willingly admit, but one cannot expect it to preserve all the whole body of chivalry from that decadence from which no institution of human establishment can escape.

Notwithstanding inevitable weaknesses and accidents, the Decalogue of Chivalry has none the less been regnant in some millions of souls which it has made pure and great. These ten commandments have been the rules and the reins of youthful generations, who without them would have been wild and undisciplined. This legislation, in fact—which, to tell the truth, is only one of the chapters of the great Catholic Code—has raised the moral level of humanity.

Besides, chivalry is not yet quite dead. No doubt, the ritual of chivalry, the solemn reception, the order itself, and the ancient oaths, no longer exist. No doubt, among these grand commandments there are many which are known only to the erudite, and which the world is unacquainted with. The Catholic Faith is no longer the essence of modern chivalry; the Church is no longer seated on the throne around which the old knights stand with their drawn swords; Islam is no longer the hereditary enemy; we have another which threatens us nearer home; widows and orphans have need rather of the tongues of advocates than of the iron weapon of the knights; there are no more duties toward liege-lords to be fulfilled; and we even do not want any kind of superior lord at all; largesse is now confounded with charity; and the becoming hatred of evil-doing is no longer our chief, our best, passion!

But whatever we may do there still remains to us, in the marrow, a certain leaven of chivalry which preserves us from death. There are still in the world an immense number of fine souls—strong and upright souls—who hate all that is small and mean, who know and who practise all the delicate promptings of honor, and who prefer death to an unworthy action or to a lie!

That is what we owe to chivalry, that is what it has bequeathed to us. On the day when these last vestiges of such a grand past are effaced from our souls—we shall cease to exist!


A.D. 988-1015


According to early Greek and Roman writers, Russia in their time was inhabited by Scythians and Sarmatians. The Greeks established commercial relations with the most southerly tribes. In the fourth and fifth centuries, during the migrations of the nations, Russia was invaded by Goths, Alans, Huns, Avars, and Bulgarians, who, however, made no settlements. They were followed by the Slavs, who are looked upon as the Sarmatians already mentioned.

The Slavs settled as far north as the upper Volga. The chief settlements were Novgorod and Kieff, which became the capitals of independent principalities, Novgorod especially becoming an important commercial and trading centre.

The commerce northward through the Baltic was subject to the attacks of the Scandinavian Northmen, known as Varangians. They demanded tribute of the Slavs, and on its refusal attacked and captured Novgorod. A little later Novgorod established its independence as a republic; but within a few years we find this section controlled by a Varangian tribe from Rus, a district of Sweden. This tribe was led by three brothers, Ruric the Peaceful, Sineous the Victorious, and Trouvor the Faithful, who settled and ruled in different parts of the country.

In 864, on the death of his brothers, Ruric consolidated their territories with his, assumed the title of grand prince, peaceably took possession of Novgorod and made it his capital, naming the country Russia, after his native place.

With the advent of the Varangians the authentic history of Russia begins. The millenary of that event was celebrated in 1862 at Novgorod, as the foundation of the Russian empire.

Ruric died in 879. In the next hundred years his successors conquered many neighboring lands and added them to the empire. Kieff became the capital. Numerous invasions into the territory of the Greek empire were made and Constantinople was frequently attacked, resulting sometimes in repulse, and at others in exacting heavy tribute from the Eastern Emperor. Treaties were executed and a gradual growth of commerce and intercourse between the Greeks and Russians took place. Olga, the famous and popular widow of Ruric's son, Igor, became a Christian and was baptized in Constantinople in 955, and during the rest of her life lent her powerful influence to the spread of the faith. And though her son, the emperor Sviatoslaf, remained a pagan throughout his reign, Christianity continued to grow, and the general Christianization of Russia during the reign of her grandson, Vladimir, was aided materially by the great example of the good queen Olga.

In 970 Sviatoslaf divided his empire among his three sons, Iaropolk I, Oleg, and Vladimir. After the death of Sviatoslaf in 972 civil war began between the three brothers. Oleg was killed and Vladimir fled to Sweden. In 980, supported by a force of Varangians, Vladimir returned, captured Novgorod and Kieff, and put Iaropolk to death. Under Vladimir, later known as Vladimir the Great, Russia increased in importance, and civilization was enhanced by the spread of Christianity through the missionary efforts of the Greek Church, now the Holy, Orthodox, Catholic, Apostolic, Oriental Church. It is, therefore, not strange that the Russian prelates were distinguished by their loyalty and fidelity to the Greek Church throughout the continued conflicts between it and the Roman Church which resulted in their separation in 1054.

In the fifteenth century, with the consent of the patriarchate of Constantinople, the Orthodox Graeco-Russian Church assumed national independence, and became the state church; and after the establishment of Mahometanism in Constantinople, since its capture by Mahomet II in 1453, the reigning Czar of Russia has come to be regarded not only as the temporal and spiritual head of the Greek Church by the great mass of adherents which form the bulk of the population in Russia, but also as the champion of all the followers of the church in Greece and throughout the orient.

The story of the introduction of Christianity into Russia presents an interesting psychological study of the growth and development of the religious sentiment inherent in man—be he never so brutalized and barbarous. Notwithstanding its display of national pride and bias, pardonable in a native historian, Mouravieff's account is exceedingly interesting.

The Russian Church, like the other orthodox churches of the East, had an apostle for its founder. St. Andrew, the first called of the Twelve, hailed with his blessing long beforehand the destined introduction of Christianity into our country; ascending up and penetrating by the Dnieper into the deserts of Scythia, he planted the first cross on the hills of Kieff. "See you," said he to his disciples, "these hills? On these hills shall shine the light of divine grace. There shall be here a great city, and God shall have in it many churches to his name."

Such are the words of the holy Nestor, the monk and annalist of the Pechersky monastery, that point from whence Christian Russia has sprung.

But it was only after an interval of nine centuries that the rays of divine light beamed upon Russia from the walls of Byzantium, in which city the same apostle, St. Andrew, had appointed Stachys to be the first bishop, and so committed, as it were, to him and to his successors, in the spirit of prescience, the charge of that wide region in which he had himself preached Christ. Hence the indissoluble connection of the Russian with the Greek Church, and the dependence of her metropolitans during six centuries upon the patriarchal throne of Constantinople, until, with its consent, she obtained her own equality and independence in that which was accorded to her native primates.

The Bulgarians of the Danube, the Moravians, and the Slavonians of Illyria had been already enlightened by holy baptism about the middle of the ninth century, during the reign of the Greek emperor Michael and the patriarchate of the illustrious Photius. St. Cyril and St. Methodius, two learned Greek brothers, translated into the Slavonic the New Testament and the books used in divine service, and according to some accounts even the whole Bible.

This translation of the Word of God became afterward a most blessed instrument for the conversion of the Russians, for the missionaries were by it enabled to expound the truths of the Gospel to the heathens in their native dialect, and so win for them a readier entrance to their hearts.

Oskold and Dir, two princes of Kieff and the companions of Ruric, were the first of the Russians who embraced Christianity. In the year 866 they made their appearance in armed vessels before the walls of Constantinople when the Emperor was absent, and threw the Greek capital into no little alarm and confusion. Tradition reports that "The patriarch Photius took the virginal robe of the Mother of God from the Blachern Church, and plunged it beneath the waves of the strait, when the sea immediately boiled up from underneath and wrecked the vessels of the heathen. Struck with awe, they believed in that God who had smitten them, and became the first-fruits of their people to the Lord." The hymn of victory of the Greek Church, "To the protecting Conductress," in honor of the most holy Virgin, has remained a memorial of this triumph, and even now concludes the Office for the First Hour in the daily Matins; for that was, indeed, the first hour of salvation to the land of Russia.

It is probable that on their return to their own country the princes of Kieff sowed there the seeds of Christianity; for, eighty years afterward, on occasion of a conference for peace between the prince Igor and certain Byzantine ambassadors, we find mention already of a "Church of the Prophet Elias" in Kieff where the Christian Varangians swore to the observance of the treaty. Constantine Porphyrogenitus and other Greek annalists even relate that in the lifetime of Oskold there was a bishop sent to the Russians by the emperor Basil the Macedonian, and the patriarch St. Ignatius, and that he made many converts, chiefly "in consequence of the miraculous preservation of a volume of the Gospels, which was thrown publicly into the flames and taken out after some time unconsumed." Also in Condinus, Catalogue of Sees Subject to the Patriarch of Constantinople, the metropolitical see of Russia appears as early as the year 891.

Lastly, it is certain that many of the Varangians who served in the imperial bodyguard were Christians, and that the Greek sovereigns never lost sight of any opportunity of converting them to their own faith, by which they hoped to soften their savage manners. When the emperor Leo was concluding a peace with Oleg, he showed not only his own treasures to the ambassadors of the Russian prince, but also the splendor of the churches, the holy relics, the precious icons, and the "Instruments of the Passion of our Lord," if by any means they might catch from them the spirit of the faith.

Some such influences as these, while Christianity as yet was only struggling for an uncertain existence at Kieff, produced in good time their effect on the wisest of the daughters of the Slavonians, the widowed princess Olga, who governed Russia during the minority of her son Sviatoslaf. She undertook a voyage to Constantinople for no other end than to obtain a knowledge of the true God, and there she received baptism at the hands of the patriarch Polyeuctes; the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus himself, who admired her wisdom, being her godfather. Nestor draws an affecting picture of the patriarch foretelling to the newly illumined princess the blessings which were to descend by her means on future generations of the Russians, while Olga, now become Helena by baptism—that she might resemble both in name and deed the mother of Constantine the Great—stood meekly bowing down her head and drinking in, as a sponge that is thirsty of moisture, the instructions of the prelate concerning the canons of the Church, fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and continence, all which she observed with exactness on her return to her own country.

Although, in spite of all her entreaties, the fierce and warlike prince Sviatoslaf persisted in refusing to humble his proud heart under the meek yoke of Christ, he had still so much affection for his mother as not to persecute such as agreed with her in religion, but even to allow them freely to make open profession of their faith under the protection of that princess. He confided his children to her care during his incessant military expeditions, and so enabled her to confirm the saving impressions of Christianity among the people who respected her, and to instil them into the mind of her young grandson Vladimir; for nothing sinks so deep into the heart as the simple-and affectionate words of a mother. The princess had with her a priest named Gregory, whom she had brought from Constantinople, and by him she was buried after her death in the spot which she had herself appointed, without any of the usual pagan ceremonies. The people, by whom she had been surnamed "the Wise" during life, began to bless her for a saint after her death, when they came themselves to follow the example of this "Morning Star" which had risen and gone before to lead Russia into the path of salvation.

Nowhere has Christianity ever been less persecuted at its first introduction than in our own country. The Chronicle speaks of only two Christian martyrs, the Varangians Theodore and John, who were put to death by the fury of the people because one of them, from natural affection, had refused to give up his son when he had been devoted by the prince Vladimir to be offered as a sacrifice to Peroun.

Probably the very zeal of this prince for the heathen deities, to whom he set up statues and multiplied altars, may have inspired the neighboring nations with the desire of converting so powerful a ruler to their respective creeds; and thus his blind impulse toward the Deity, which was unknown to him, received a true direction. The Mahometan Bulgarians were the first to send ambassadors to him, with the offer of their faith; but the mercy of Providence—for so it plainly was—inspired him to give them a decided refusal on the ground that he did not choose to comply with some of their regulations; though else a sensual religion might well have enticed a man who was given up to the indulgence of his passions.

The Chazarian Jews flattered themselves with the hope of attracting the Prince by boasting of their religion and the ancient glory of Jerusalem. "But where," demanded the wise grandson of Olga, "is your country?"

"It is ruined by the wrath of God for the sins of our fathers," was their answer. Vladimir then said that he had no mind to embrace the law of a people whom God had abandoned. There came also western doctors from Germany, who would have persuaded Vladimir to embrace Christianity, but their Christianity seemed strange to him; for Russia had hitherto no acquaintance but with Byzantium.

"Return home," he said; "our ancestors did not receive this religion from you."

A Greek embassy had the best success of them all. A certain philosopher, a monk named Constantine, after having exposed the insufficiency of other religions, eloquently set before the Prince those judgments of God which are in the world, the redemption of the human race by the blood of Christ, and the retribution of the life to come. His discourse powerfully affected the heathen monarch, who was burdened with the heavy sins of a tumultuous youth; and this was particularly the case when the monk pointed out to him on an icon, which represented the last judgment, the different lot of the just and of the wicked.

"Good to these on the right hand, but woe to those on the left!" exclaimed Vladimir, deeply affected. But sensual nature still struggled in him against heavenly truth. Having dismissed the missionary, or ambassador, with presents, he still hesitated to decide, and wished first to examine further concerning the faith, in concert with the elders of his council, that all Russia might have a share in his conversion. The council of the Prince decided to send chosen men to make their observations on each religion on the spot where it was professed; and this public agreement explains in some degree the sudden and general acceptance of Christianity which shortly after followed in Russia. It is probable that not only the chiefs, but the common people also, were expecting and ready for the change.

The Greek emperors did not fail to profit by this favorable opportunity, and the patriarch himself in person celebrated the divine liturgy in the Church of St. Sophia with the utmost possible magnificence before the astonished ambassadors of Vladimir. The sublimity and splendor of the service struck them; but we do not ascribe to the mere external impression that softening of the hearts of these heathens, on which depended the conversion of a whole nation. From the very earliest times of the Church, extraordinary signs of God's power have constantly gone hand-in-hand with that apparent weakness of man by which the Gospel was preached; and so also the Byzantine Chronicle relates of the Russian ambassadors, "That during the Divine liturgy, at the time of carrying the Holy Gifts in procession to the throne or altar and singing the cherubic hymn, the eyes of their spirits were opened, and they saw, as in an ecstasy, glittering youths who joined in singing the hymn of the 'Thrice Holy.'"

Being thus fully persuaded of the truth of the orthodox faith, they returned to their own country already Christians in heart, and without saying a word before the Prince in favor of the other religions, they declared thus concerning the Greek: "When we stood in the temple we did not know where we were, for there is nothing else like it upon earth: there in truth God has his dwelling with men; and we can never forget the beauty we saw there. No one who has once tasted sweets will afterward take that which is bitter; nor can we now any longer abide in heathenism."

Then the boyars said to Vladimir: "If the religion of the Greeks had not been good, your grandmother Olga, who was the wisest of women, would not have embraced it."

The weight of the name of Olga decided her grandson, and he said no more in answer than these words: "Where shall we be baptized?"

But Vladimir, led by a sense which had not yet been purged by Greece, thought it best to follow the custom of his ancestors, who made warlike descents upon Constantinople, and so win to himself, sword in hand, his new religion. He embarked his warriors on board their vessels and attacked Cherson in the Taurid, a city which was subject to the emperors Basil and Constantine.

After a long and unsuccessful siege a certain priest, named Anastasius, by means of an arrow shot from the town, informed the Prince that the fate of the besieged depended upon his cutting off the aqueducts, which supplied them with water. Vladimir in great joy made a vow that he would be baptized if he gained possession of the town; and he did gain possession of it. Then he sent to Constantinople to demand from the Greek Emperor the hand of their sister Anna, and they in answer proposed as a condition that he should embrace Christianity; for though they themselves desired an alliance with so powerful a prince, they at the same time took care to follow the prudent and pious policy of their predecessors, who had ever sought to bring their fierce neighbors under the humanizing influence of the faith. The Prince declared his consent; because, in his own words, he had "long since examined and conceived a love for the Greek law."

It was her faith alone which influenced the princess to sacrifice herself at once for the temporal interests of her own country and for the eternal welfare of a strange people. Accompanied by a venerable body of clergy, she sailed for Cherson, and on her arrival induced the Prince to hasten his baptism. "For it was so ordered," says the pious annalist, "by the wisdom of God, that the sight of the Prince was at that time much affected by a complaint of the eyes, but at the moment that the Bishop of Cherson laid his hands upon him, when he had risen up out of the bath of regeneration, Vladimir suddenly received not only spiritual illumination, but also the bodily sight of his eyes, and cried out, 'Now I have seen the true God!'"

Many of the Prince's suite were so struck by his miraculous recovery that they followed his example and were baptized in like manner; and these were doubtless afterward zealous for the introduction of Christianity into their country. The baptism and marriage of Vladimir were both celebrated in the Church of the Most Holy Mother of God; and hence, no doubt, arose his peculiar zeal for the most pure Virgin, to whose honor he afterward erected a cathedral church in his own city of Kieff. In Cherson itself he built a church, in the name of his angel or patron St. Basil; and taking with him the relics of St. Clement, Bishop of Rome, and his disciple Thebas, with church vessels and ornaments and icons, he restored the city to be again under the power of the emperors, and returned to Kieff, accompanied by the princess, their daughter, and her Greek ecclesiastics.

Nestor makes no mention of any of the bishops and priests from Constantinople and Cherson who followed in the train of the Prince, excepting only of one, Anastasius, the priest who had rendered him such good service during the siege; but the Books of the Genealogies give the name of Michael, a Syrian by birth, and of six other bishops who were sent together with him to Cherson by the patriarch Nicholas Chrysoberges. Some have ventured to suppose that Michael was the name of the bishop of the times of Oskold; but Nestor says nothing about him, and this much only is certain, that he stands the first in the list of the metropolitans of Russia.

After his return to Kieff the "Great Prince" caused his twelve sons to be baptized, and proceeded to destroy the monuments of heathenism. He ordered Peroun to be thrown into the Dnieper. The people at first followed their idol, as it was borne down the stream, but were soon quieted when they saw that the statue had no power to help itself.

And now Vladimir, being surrounded and supported by believers in his own domestic circle, and encouraged by seeing that his boyars and suite were prepared and ready to embrace the faith, made a proclamation to the people, "That whoever, on the morrow, should not repair to the river, whether rich or poor, he should hold him for his enemy." At the call of their respected lord all the multitude of the citizens in troops, with their wives and children, flocked to the Dnieper; and without any manner of opposition received holy baptism as a nation from the Greek bishops and priests. Nestor draws a touching picture of this baptism of a whole people at once: "Some stood in the water up to their necks, others up to their breasts, holding their young children in their arms; the priests read the prayers from the shore, naming at once whole companies by the same name." He who was the means of thus bringing them to salvation, filled with a transport of joy at the affecting sight, cried out to the Lord, offering and commending into his hands himself and his people: "O great God! who hast made heaven and earth, look down upon these thy new people. Grant them, O Lord, to know thee the true God, as thou hast been made known to Christian lands, and confirm in them a true and unfailing faith; and assist me, O Lord, against my enemy that opposes me, that, trusting in thee and in thy power, I may overcome all his wiles."

Vladimir erected the first church—that of St. Basil, after whom he was named—on the very mount which had formerly been sacred to Peroun, adjoining his own palace. Thus was Russia enlightened.

So sudden and ready a conversion of the inhabitants of Kieff might well seem improbable—that is, unless effected by violence—did we not attend to the fact that the Russians had been gradually becoming enlightened ever since the times of Oskold, for more than a hundred years, by means of commerce, treaties of peace, and relations of every kind with the Greeks, as well as with the Bulgarians and Slavonians of kindred origin with ourselves, who had already been long in possession of the Holy Scriptures in their own language. The constant endeavors of the Greek emperors for the conversion of the Russians by means of their ambassadors and preachers, the tolerance of the princes, the example and protection of Olga, and the very delay and hesitation of Vladimir in selecting his religion must have favorably disposed the minds of the people toward it; especially if it be true, as has been asserted, that Russia had already had a bishop in the time of Oskold. In a similar way, though under different circumstances, in the vast Roman Empire, the conversion of Constantine the Great suddenly rendered Christianity the dominant religion, because, in fact, it had long before penetrated among all ranks of his subjects.

Vladimir engaged zealously in building churches throughout the towns and villages of his dominions, and sent priests to preach in them. He also founded many towns all around Kieff, and so propagated and confirmed the Christian religion in the neighborhood of the capital, from whence the new colonies were sent forth. Neither was he slow in establishing schools, into which he brought together the children of the boyars, sometimes even in spite of the unwillingness of their rude parents. In the mean time the Metropolitan with his bishops made progresses into the interior of Russia, to the cities of Rostoff and Novgorod, everywhere baptizing and instructing the people. Vladimir himself, for the same good end, went in company with other bishops to the district of Souzdal and to Volhynia. The boyars on the Volga and some of the Pechenegian princes embraced the gospel of salvation together with his subjects, and rejoiced to be admitted to holy baptism.

The pious Prince wished to see in his own capital a magnificent temple in honor of the birth of the most holy Virgin, to be a likeness and memorial of that at Cherson, in which he himself had been baptized; and the year after his conversion he sent to Greece for builders, and laid the foundation of the first stone cathedral in Russia, on the very same spot where the Varangian martyrs had suffered. But the first metropolitan was not to live to its completion; only his holy remains were buried in it, and were thence translated afterward to the Pechersky Lavra. Another metropolitan, Leontius, a Greek by birth, sent by the same patriarch Nicholas, consecrated the new temple, to the great satisfaction of Vladimir, who made a vow to endow it with the tenth part of all his revenues; and from hence it was called "the Cathedral of the Tithes."

These tithes, according to the ordinance ascribed to Prince Vladimir, consisted of the fixed quota of corn, cattle, and the profits of trade, for the support of the clergy and the poor; and besides this there was a further tithe collected from every cause which was tried; for the right of judging causes was granted to the bishops and the metropolitan, and they judged according to the Nomocanon. The canons of the holy councils and the Greek ecclesiastical laws, together with the Holy Scriptures, were taken, from the very first, as the basis of all ecclesiastical administration in Russia; and together with them there came into use some portions also of the civil law of the Greeks, through the influence of the Church. The care of the new temple and the collection of tithes for its support were intrusted to a native of Cherson named Anastasius, who enjoyed the confidence of Vladimir and his successors.

The light of Christianity had now been diffused throughout the whole of Russia; but still the faith was nowhere as yet firmly established, because there were no bishops regularly settled in the towns. The metropolitan Leontius formed the first five dioceses, and appointed Joachim of Cherson to be Bishop of Novgorod, Theodorus of Rostoff, Neophytus of Chernigoff, Stephen the Volhynian of Vladimir, and Nicetas of Belgorod. Assisted by Dobrina, the uncle of the "Great Prince," who had long governed in Novgorod, the new bishop Joachim threw the statue of Peroun into the Volkoff, and broke down the idolatrous altars without any opposition on the part of the citizens; for they, too, like the inhabitants of Kieff, from their comparative degree of civilization and from their relations of intercourse with the Greeks, were in all probability already favorably disposed for the reception of Christianity. Tradition asserts that even as far back as the time of St. Olga the hermits Sergius and Germanus lived upon the desolate island of Balaam in the lake Ladoga, and that from thence St. Abramius went forth to preach Christ to the savage inhabitants of Rostoff.

The attempt to found a diocese at Rostoff was less successful. The first two bishops, Theodore and Hilarion, were driven away by the fierce tribes of the forest district of Meri, who held obstinately to their idols in spite of the zeal of St. Abramius. It cost the two succeeding bishops, St. Leontius and St. Isaiah, many years of extraordinary labor and exertion, attended frequently by persecutions, before they at length succeeded in establishing Christianity in that savage region, from whence it spread itself by degrees into all the surrounding districts.

Thus Vladimir, having piously observed the commandments of Christ during the course of his long reign, had the consolation of seeing before his death the fruits of his own conversion in all the wide extent of his dominions. He departed this life in peace at Kieff, and was soon reckoned with his grandmother Olga among the guardian saints of Russia. John, the third metropolitan, who had been sent from Constantinople upon the death of Leontius, buried the Prince in the Church of the Tithes, which he had built, near the tomb of the Grecian princess, his wife, and the uncorrupted relics of St. Olga were translated to the same spot.


A.D. 1000


Besides the Northmen or Norsemen, those ancient Scandinavians celebrated in history for their adventurous exploits at sea, the Chinese and the Welsh have laid claim to the discovery of North America at periods much earlier than that of Columbus and the Cabots. But to the Norse sailors alone is it generally agreed that credit for that achievement is probably due. Associated with their supposed arrival and sojourn on the coast of what is now New England, about A.D. 1000, the "Round Tower" or "Old Stone Mill" at Newport, R.I., the mysterious inscription on the "Dighton Rock" in Massachusetts, and the "Skeleton in Armor" dug up at Fall River, Mass., and made the subject of a ballad by Longfellow, have figured prominently in the discussion of this pre-Columbian discovery. But these conjectural evidences are no longer regarded as having any connection with historical probability or as dating back to the time of the Northmen.

It is considered, however, to be pretty certain that at the end of the tenth century or at the beginning of the eleventh the Northmen reached the shores of North America. About that time, it is known, they settled Iceland, and from there a colony went to Greenland, where they long remained. From there, either by design or by accident, some of them, it is supposed, may have reached the coast of Labrador, and thence sailed down until they came to the region which they named Vinland. From there they sent home glowing accounts to their countrymen in the northern lands, who came in larger numbers to join them in the New World.

About the middle of the nineteenth century great interest among students of this subject was aroused by a work written by Prof. C.C. Rafn, of the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries, Copenhagen. In this work—Antiquitates Americanae—the proofs of this visit of the Northmen to the shores of North America were convincingly set forth. In the same work the Icelandic sagas, written in the fourteenth century, and containing the original accounts of the Northmen's voyages to Vinland, were first brought prominently before modern scholars. Although many other writings on the voyages have since appeared, the great work of Rafn still holds its place of authority, very little in the way of new material having been brought to light. The portion of his narrative which follows covers the main facts of the history, and the translation from the saga furnishes an excellent example of its quaint and simple narration.


Eric The Red, in the spring of 986, emigrated from Iceland to Greenland, formed a settlement there, and fixed his residence at Brattalid in Ericsfiord. Among others who accompanied him was Heriulf Bardson, who established himself at Heriulfsnes.

Biarne, the son of the latter, was at that time absent on a trading voyage to Norway; but in the course of the summer returning to Eyrar, in Iceland, and finding that his father had taken his departure, this bold navigator resolved "still to spend the following winter, like all the preceding ones, with his father," although neither he nor any of his people had ever navigated the Greenland sea.

They set sail, but met with northerly winds and fogs, and, after many days' sailing, knew not whither they had been carried. At length when the weather again cleared up, they saw a land which was without mountains, overgrown with wood, and having many gentle elevations. As this land did not correspond to the descriptions of Greenland, they left it on the larboard hand, and continued sailing two days, when they saw another land, which was flat and overgrown with wood.

From thence they stood out to sea, and sailed three days with a southwest wind, when they saw a third land, which was high and mountainous and covered with icebergs (glaciers). They coasted along the shore and saw that it was an island.

They did not go on shore, as Biarne did not find the country to be inviting. Bearing away from this island, they stood out to sea with the same wind, and, after four days' sailing with fresh gales, they reached Heriulfsnes, in Greenland.

Some time after this, probably in the year 994, Biarne paid a visit to Eric, Earl of Norway, and told him of his voyage and of the unknown lands he had discovered. He was blamed by many for not having examined these countries more accurately.

On his return to Greenland there was much talk about undertaking a voyage of discovery. Leif, a son of Eric the Red, bought Biarne's ship, and equipped it with a crew of thirty-five men, among whom was a German, of the name of Tyrker, who had long resided with his father, and who had been very fond of Leif in his childhood. In the year 1000 they commenced the projected voyage, and came first to the land which Biarne had seen last. They cast anchor and went on shore. No grass was seen; but everywhere in this country were vast ice mountains (glaciers), and the intermediate space between these and the shore was, as it were, one uniform plain of slate (hella). The country appearing to them destitute of good qualities, they called it Hellu-Land.

They put out to sea, and came to another land, where they also went on shore. The country was very level and covered with woods; and wheresoever they went there were cliffs of white sand (sand-ar hvitir), and a low coast (o-soe-bratt). They called the country Mark Land (woodland). From thence they again stood out to sea, with a northeast wind, and continued sailing for two days before they made land again. They then came to an island which lay to the eastward of the mainland. They sailed westward in waters where there was much ground left dry at ebb tide.

Afterward they went on shore at a place where a river, issuing from a lake, fell into the sea. They brought their ship into the river, and from thence into the lake, where they cast anchor. Here they constructed some temporary log huts; but later, when they had made up their mind to winter there, they built large houses, afterward called Leifs-Budir (Leif's-booths).

When the buildings were completed Leif divided his people into two companies, who were by turns employed in keeping watch at the houses, and in making small excursions for the purpose of exploring the country in the vicinity. His instructions to them were that they should not go to a greater distance than that they might return in the course of the same evening, and that they should not separate from one another.

Leif took his turn also, joining the exploring party the one day, and remaining at the houses the other.

It so happened that one day the German, Tyrker, was missing. Leif accordingly went out with twelve men in search of him, but they had not gone far from their houses when they met him coming toward them. When Leif inquired why he had been so long absent, he at first answered in German, but they did not understand what he said. He then said to them in the Norse tongue: "I did not go much farther, yet I have a discovery to acquaint you with: I have found vines and grapes."

He added by way of confirmation that he had been born in a country where there were plenty of vines. They had now two occupations: namely, to hew timber for loading the ship, and collect grapes; with these last they filled the ship's longboat. Leif gave a name to the country, and called it Vinland (Vineland). In the spring they sailed again from thence, and returned to Greenland.

Leif's Vineland voyage was now a subject of frequent conversation in Greenland, and his brother Thorwald was of opinion that the country had not been sufficiently explored. He, accordingly, borrowed Leif's ship, and, aided by his brother's counsel and directions, commenced a voyage in the year 1002. He arrived at Leif's-booths, in Vineland, where they spent the winter, he and his crew employing themselves in fishing. In the spring of 1003 Thorwald sent a party in the ship's long-boat on a voyage of discovery southward. They found the country beautiful and well wooded, with but little space between the woods and the sea; there were likewise extensive ranges of white sand, and many islands and shallows.

They found no traces of men having been there before them, excepting on an island lying to westward, where they found a wooden shed. They did not return to Leif's-booths until the fall. In the following summer, 1004, Thorwald sailed eastward with the large ship, and then northward past a remarkable headland enclosing a bay, and which was opposite to another headland. They called it Kial-Ar-Nes (Keel Cape).

From thence they sailed along the eastern coast of the land, into the nearest firths, to a promontory which there projected, and which was everywhere overgrown with wood. There Thorwald went ashore with all his companions. He was so pleased with this place that he exclaimed: "This is beautiful! and here I should like well to fix my dwelling!" Afterward, when they were preparing to go on board, they observed on the sandy beach, within the promontory, three hillocks, and repairing hither they found three canoes, under each of which were three Skrellings (Esquimaux). They came to blows with the latter and killed eight, but the ninth escaped with his canoe. Afterward a countless number issued forth against them from the interior of the bay.

They endeavored to protect themselves by raising battle-screens on the ship's side. The Skrellings continued shooting at them for a while and then retired. Thorwald was wounded by an arrow under the arm, and finding that the wound was mortal he said: "I now advise you to prepare for your departure as soon as possible, but me ye shall bring to the promontory, where I thought it good to dwell; it may be that it was a prophetic word that fell from my mouth about my abiding there for a season; there shall ye bury me, and plant a cross at my head, and another at my feet, and call the place Kross-a-Ness (Crossness) in all time coming." He died, and they did as he had ordered. Afterward they returned to their companions at Leif's-booths, and spent the winter there; but in the spring of 1005 they sailed again to Greenland, having important intelligence to communicate to Leif.

Thorstein, Eric's third son, had resolved to proceed to Vine-land to fetch his brother's body. He fitted out the same ship, and selected twenty-five strong and able-bodied men for his crew; his wife, Gudrida, also went along with him. They were tossed about the ocean during the whole summer, and knew not whither they were driven; but at the close of the first week of winter they landed at Lysufiord, in the western settlement of Greenland.

There Thorstein died during the winter; and in the spring Gudrida returned again to Ericsfiord.


There was a man named Thorwald; he was a son of Asvald, Ulf's son, Eyxna-Thori's son. His son's name was Eric. He and his father went from Jaederen to Iceland, on account of manslaughter, and settled on Hornstrandir, and dwelt at Draugar. There Thorwald died, and Eric then married Thorheld, a daughter of Jorund, Atli's son, and Thorbiorg the sheep-chested, who had been married before to Thorbiorn of the Haukadal family.

Eric then removed from the north, and cleared land in Haukadal, and dwelt at Ericsstadir, by Vatnshorn. Then Eric's thralls caused a landslide on Valthiof's farm, Valthiofsstadir. Eyiolf the Foul, Valthiof's kinsman, slew the thralls near Skeidsbrekkur, above Vatnshorn. For this Eric killed Eyiolf the Foul, and he also killed Duelling-Hrafn, at Leikskalar.

Geirstein and Odd of Jorva, Eyiolf's kinsmen, conducted the prosecution for the slaying of their kinsmen, and Eric was in consequence banished from Haukadal. He then took possession of Brokey and Eyxney, and dwelt at Tradir on Sudrey the first winter. It was at this time that he loaned Thorgest his outer dais-boards. Eric afterward went to Eyxney, and dwelt at Ericsstad. He then demanded his outer dais-boards, but did not obtain them.

Eric then carried the outer dais-boards away from Breidabolstad, and Thorgest gave chase. They came to blows a short distance from the farm of Drangar. There two of Thorgest's sons were killed, and certain other men besides. After this each of them retained a considerable body of men with him at his home. Styr gave Eric his support, as did also Eyiolf of Sviney, Thorbiorn, Vifil's son, and the sons of Thorbrand of Alptafirth; while Thorgest was backed by the sons of Thord the Yeller, and Thorgeir of Hitardal, Aslak of Langadal, and his son, Illugi. Eric and his people were condemned to outlawry at Thorsness-thing. He equipped his ship for a voyage in Ericsvag; while Eyiolf concealed him in Dimunarvag, when Thorgest and his people were searching for him among the islands. He said to them that it was his intention to go in search of that land which Gunnbiorn, son of Ulf the Crow, saw when he was driven out of his course, westward across the main, and discovered Gunnviorns-skerries.

He told them that he would return again to his friends if he should succeed in finding that country. Thorbiorn and Eyiolf and Styr accompanied Eric out beyond the islands, and they parted with the greatest friendliness. Eric said to them that he would render them similar aid, so far as it might be within his power, if they should ever stand in need of his help.

Eric sailed out to sea, from Snaefells-iokul, and arrived at that ice mountain which is called Blacksark. Thence he sailed to the southward that he might ascertain whether there was habitable country in that direction. He passed the first winter at Ericsey, near the middle of the western settlement.

In the following spring he proceeded to Ericsfirth, and selected a site there for his homestead. That summer he explored the western uninhabited region, remaining there for a long time, and assigning many local names there. The second winter he spent at Ericsholms, beyond Hvarfsgnipa. But the third summer he sailed northward to Snaefell, and into Hrafnsfirth. He believed then that he had reached the head of Ericsfirth; he turned back then, and remained the third winter at Ericsey, at the mouth of Ericsfirth.

The following summer he sailed to Iceland and landed in Breidafirth. He remained that winter with Ingolf at Holmlatr. In the spring he and Thorgest fought together, and Eric was defeated; after this a reconciliation was effected between them.

That summer Eric set out to colonize the land which he had discovered, and which he called Greenland, because, he said, men would be the more readily persuaded thither if the land had a good name. Eric was married to a woman named Thorhild, and had two sons; one of these was named Thorstein, and the other Leif. They were both promising men. Thorstein lived at home with his father, and there was not at that time a man in Greenland who was accounted of so great promise as he.

Leif had sailed to Norway, where he was at the court of King Olaf Tryggvason. When Leif sailed from Greenland, in the summer, they were driven out of their course to the Hebrides. It was late before they got fair winds thence, and they remained there far into the summer.

Leif became enamoured of a certain woman, whose name was Thorgunna. She was a woman of fine family, and Leif observed that she was possessed of rare intelligence. When Leif was preparing for his departure, Thorgunna asked to be permitted to accompany him. Leif inquired whether she had in this the approval of her kinsmen. She replied that she did not care for it. Leif responded that he did not deem it the part of wisdom to abduct so high-born a woman in a strange country, "and we so few in number." "It is by no means certain that thou shalt find this to be the better decision," said Thorgunna. "I shall put it to the proof, notwithstanding," said Leif. "Then I tell thee," said Thorgunna, "that I foresee that I shall give birth to a male child; and though thou give this no heed, yet will I rear the boy, and send him to thee in Greenland when he shall be fit to take his place with other men. And I foresee that thou will get as much profit of this son as is thy due from this our parting; moreover, I mean to come to Greenland myself before the end comes."

Leif gave her a gold finger-ring, a Greenland Wadmal mantle, and a belt of walrus tusk.

This boy came to Greenland, and was called Thorgils. Leif acknowledged his paternity, and some men will have it that this Thorgils came to Iceland in the summer before the Froda-wonder. However, this Thorgils was afterward in Greenland, and there seemed to be something not altogether natural about him before the end came. Leif and his companions sailed away from the Hebrides, and arrived in Norway in the autumn.

Leif went to the court of King Olaf Tryggvason. He was well received by the King, who felt that he could see that Leif was a man of great accomplishments. Upon one occasion the King came to speech with Leif, and asked him, "Is it thy purpose to sail to Greenland in the summer?"

"It is my purpose," said Leif, "if it be your will."

"I believe it will be well," answered the King, "and thither thou shalt go upon my errand, to proclaim Christianity there."

Leif replied that the King should decide, but gave it as his belief that it would be difficult to carry this mission to a successful issue in Greenland. The King replied that he knew of no man who would be better fitted for this undertaking; "and in thy hands the cause will surely prosper."

"This can only be," said Leif, "if I enjoy the grace of your protection."

Leif put to sea when his ship was ready for the voyage. For a long time he was tossed about upon the ocean, and came upon lands of which he had previously had no knowledge. There were self-sown wheat-fields and vines growing there. There were also those trees there which are called "mansur," and of all these they took specimens. Some of the timbers were so large that they were used in building. Leif found men upon a wreck, and took them home with him, and procured quarters for them all during the winter. In this wise he showed his nobleness and goodness, since he introduced Christianity into the country, and saved the men from the wreck; and he was called Leif "the Lucky" ever after.

Leif landed in Ericsfirth, and then went home to Brattahlid; he was well received by everyone. He soon proclaimed Christianity throughout the land, and the Catholic faith, and announced King Olaf Tryggvason's messages to the people, telling them how much excellence and how great glory accompanied this faith.

Eric was slow in forming the determination to forsake his old belief, but Thiodhild embraced the faith promptly, and caused a church to be built at some distance from the house. This building was called Thiodhild's church, and there she and those persons who had accepted Christianity—and there were many—were wont to offer their prayers.

At this time there began to be much talk about a voyage of exploration to that country which Leif had discovered. The leader of this expedition was Thorstein Ericsson, who was a good man and an intelligent, and blessed with many friends. Eric was likewise invited to join them, for the men believed that his luck and foresight would be of great furtherance. He was slow in deciding, but did not say nay when his friends besought him to go. They thereupon equipped that ship in which Thorbiorn had come out, and twenty men were selected for the expedition. They took little cargo with them, naught else save their weapons and provisions.

On that morning when Eric set out from his home he took with him a little chest containing gold and silver; he hid this treasure and then went his way. He had proceeded but a short distance, however, when he fell from his horse and broke his ribs and dislocated his shoulder, whereat he cried, "Ai, ai!" By reason of this accident he sent his wife word that she should procure the treasure which he had concealed—for to the hiding of the treasure he attributed his misfortune. Thereafter they sailed cheerily out of Ericsfirth, in high spirits over their plan. They were long tossed about upon the ocean, and could not lay the course they wished.

They came in sight of Iceland, and likewise saw birds from the Irish coast. Their ship was, in sooth, driven hither and thither over the sea. In autumn they turned back, worn out by toil and exposure to the elements, and exhausted by their labors, and arrived at Ericsfirth at the very beginning of winter.

Then said Eric: "More cheerful were we in the summer, when we put out of the firth, but we still live, and it might have been much worse."

Thorstein answers: "It will be a princely deed to endeavor to look well after the wants of all these men who are now in need, and to make provision for them during the winter." Eric answers: "It is ever true, as it is said, that 'It is never clear ere the winter comes,' and so it must be here. We will act now upon thy counsel in this matter."

All of the men who were not otherwise provided for accompanied the father and son. They landed thereupon, and went home to Brattahlid, where they remained throughout the winter.




While Buddhism was giving place to Hinduism in India a new faith had arisen in Arabia. Mahomet, born A.D. 570, created a conquering religion, and died in 632. Within a hundred years after his death, his followers had invaded the countries of Asia as far as the Hindu Kush. Here their progress was stayed, and Islam had to consolidate itself during three more centuries before it grew strong enough to grasp the rich prize of India. But almost from the first the Arabs had fixed eager eyes upon that wealthy empire, and several premature inroads foretold the coming storm.

About fifteen years after the death of the Prophet, Othman sent a naval expedition to Thana and Broach on the Bombay coast. Other raids toward Sind took place in 662 and 664, with no lasting results.

Hinduism was for a time submerged, but never drowned, by the tide of Mahometan conquest, which set steadily toward India about A.D. 1000. At the present day the south of India remains almost entirely Hindu. By far the greater number of the Indian feudatory chiefs are still under Brahman influence. But in the northwest, where the first waves of invasion have always broken, about one-third of the population now profess Islam. The upper valley of the Ganges boasts a succession of Mussulman capitals; and in the swamps of Lower Bengal the bulk of the non-Aryan or aboriginal population have become converts to the Mahometan religion. The Mussulmans now make fifty-seven millions of the total of two hundred and eighty-eight millions in India.

The armies of Islam had carried the crescent throughout Asia west of the Hindu Kush, and through Africa and Southern Europe, to distant Spain and France, before they obtained a foothold in the Punjab.

The brilliant attempt in 711 to found a lasting Mahometan dynasty in Sind failed. Three centuries later, the utmost efforts of a series of Mussulman invaders from the northwest only succeeded in annexing a small portion of the frontier Punjab provinces.

The popular notion that India fell an easy prey to the Mussulmans is opposed to the historical facts. Mahometan rule in India consists of a series of invasions and partial conquests, during eleven centuries from Othman's raid, about A.D. 647, to Ahmad Shah's tempest of devastation in 1761.

At no time was Islam triumphant throughout all India. Hindu dynasties always ruled over a large area.

The first collision between Hinduism and Islam on the Punjab frontier was the act of the Hindus. In 977 Jaipal, the Hindu chief of Lahore, annoyed by Afghan raids, led his troops through the mountains against the Mahometan kingdom of Ghazni, in Afghanistan. Subuktigin, the Ghaznivide prince, after severe fighting, took advantage of a hurricane to cut off the retreat of the Hindus through the pass. He allowed them, however, to return to India, on the surrender of fifty elephants and the promise of one million dirhams (about $125,000).

In 997 Subuktigin died, and was succeeded by his son, Mahmud of Ghazni, aged sixteen. This valiant monarch, surnamed "the Great," reigned for thirty-three years, and extended his father's little Afghan kingdom into a great Mahometan sovereignty, stretching from Persia on the west to far within the Punjab on the east.

Mahmud was born about the year 357 of the Hegira—or 350, according to some authorities—and, as astrologers say, with many happy omens expressed in the horoscope of his life. Subuktigin, being asleep at the time of his birth, dreamed that he beheld a green tree springing forth from his chimney, which threw its shadow over the face of the earth and screened from the storms of heaven the whole animal creation. This indeed was verified by the justice of Mahmud; for, if we can believe the poet, in his reign the wolf and the sheep drank together at the same brook.

When Mahmud had settled his dispute with his brother Ismail, he hastened to Balik, from whence he sent an ambassador to Munsur, Emperor of Bokhara, to whom the family of Ghazni still pretended to owe allegiance, complaining of the indignity which he met with in the appointment of Buktusin to the government of Khorassan, a country so long in possession of his father. It was returned to him for answer that he was already in possession of the territories of Balik, Turmuz, and Herat, which was part of the empire, and that there was a necessity to divide the favors of Bokhara among her friends. Buktusin, it was also insinuated, had been a faithful and good servant; which seemed to throw a reflection upon the family of Ghazni, who had rendered themselves independent in the governments they held of the royal house of Samania. Mahmud, not discouraged by this answer, sent Hasan Jemmavi with rich presents to the court of Bokhara, and a letter in the following terms: "That he hoped the pure spring of friendship, which had flowed in the time of his father, should not now be polluted with the ashes of indignity, nor Mahmud be reduced to the necessity of divesting himself of that obedience which he had hitherto paid to the imperial family of Samania."

When Hasan delivered his embassy, his capacity and elocution appeared so great to the Emperor, that, desirous to gain him over to his interest by any means, he bribed him at last with the honors of the wazirate, but never returned an answer to Mahmud. That prince having received information of this transaction, through necessity turned his face toward Nishapur, and marched to Murgab. Buktusin, in the mean time, treacherously entered into a confederacy with Faek, and, forming a conspiracy in the camp of Munsur, seized upon the person of that prince and cruelly put out his eyes. Abdul, the younger brother of Munsur, who was but a boy, was advanced by the traitors to the throne. Being, however, afraid of the resentment of Mahmud, the conspirators hastened to Merv, whither they were pursued by the King with great expedition. Finding themselves, upon their march, hard pressed in the rear by Mahmud, they halted and gave him battle. But the sin of ingratitude had darkened the face of their fortune, so that the breeze of victory blew upon the standards of the King of Ghazni.

Faek carried off the young King, and fled to Bokhara, and Buktusin was not heard of for some time, but at length he found his way to his fellows in iniquity and began to collect his scattered troops. Faek, in the mean time, fell ill and soon afterward expired. Elak, the Usbek King, seizing upon the opportunity offered him by that event, marched with an army from Kashgar to Bokhara and deprived Abdul-Mallek and his adherents of life and empire at the same time. Thus perished the last of the house of Samania, which had reigned for the space of one hundred and twenty-seven years.

The Emperor of Ghazni, at this juncture, employed himself in settling the government of the provinces of Balik and Khorassan, the affairs of which he regulated in such an able manner that the fame thereof reached the ears of the Caliph of Bagdad, the illustrious Al-Kadar Balla, of the noble house of Abbas. The Caliph sent him a rich dress of honor, such as he had never before bestowed on any king, and dignified Mahmud with the titles of the Protector of the State and Treasurer of Fortune. In the end of the month Zikada, in the year of the Hegira 390, Mahmud hastened from the city of Balak to Herat, and from Herat to Sistan, where he defeated Khaliph, the son of Achmet, the governor of that province of the extinguished family of Bokhara, and returned to Ghazni. He then turned his face toward India, took many forts and provinces, in which, having appointed his own governors, he returned to his dominions where he "spread the carpet of justice so smoothly upon the face of the earth that the love of him, and loyalty, gained a place in every heart."

Having negotiated a treaty with Elak the Usbek, the province of Maver-ul-nere was ceded to him, for which he made an ample return in presents of great value; and the closest friendship and familiarity, for a long time, existed between the kings.

Mahmud made a vow to heaven that if ever he should be blessed with tranquillity in his own dominions he would turn his arms against the idolaters of Hindustan. He marched in the year 391 (Ad Hegira) from Ghazni with ten thousand of his chosen horse, and came to Peshawur, where Jipal, the Indian prince of Lahore, with twelve thousand horse and thirty thousand foot, supported by three hundred chain-elephants, opposed him. On Saturday, the 8th of the month Mohirrim, in the year 392 of the Hegira, an obstinate battle ensued, in which the Emperor was victorious; Jipal, with fifteen of his principal officers, was taken prisoner, and five thousand of his troops lay dead upon the field. Mahmud in this action acquired great wealth and fame, for round the neck of Jipal alone were found sixteen strings of jewels, each of which was valued at one hundred and eighty thousand rupees.

After this victory, the Emperor marched from Peshawur, and investing the fort of Batandi, reduced it, releasing his prisoners upon the payment of a large ransom, and the further stipulation of an annual tribute, then returned to Ghazni. It was in those days a custom of the Hindus that whatever rajah was twice defeated by the Moslems should be, by that disgrace, rendered ineligible for further command. Jipal, in compliance with this custom, having raised his son to the government, ordered a funeral pile to be prepared, upon which he sacrificed himself to his gods.

A year later, Mahmud again marched into Sistan, and brought Kaliph, who had mismanaged his government, prisoner to Ghazni. Finding that the tribute from Hindustan had not been paid, in the year A.H. 395 he directed his march toward the city of Battea, and, leaving the boundaries of Multan, arrived at Tahera, which was fortified with an exceeding high wall and a deep, broad ditch. Tahera was at that time governed by a prince called Bakhera, who had, in the pride of power and wealth, greatly troubled the Mahometan governors whom Mahmud had delegated to rule in Hindustan. Bakhera had also refused to pay his proportion of the tribute to Annandpal, the son of Jipal, of whom he held his authority.

When Mahmud entered the territories of Bakhera, that prince called out his troops to receive him, and, taking possession of a strong position, engaged the Mahometan army for the space of three days; in which time they suffered so much that they were on the point of abandoning the attack. But on the fourth day, Mahmud appeared at the head of his troops, and addressed them at length, encouraging them to win glory. He concluded by telling them that this day he had devoted himself to conquest or to death. Bakhera, on his part, invoked the gods at the temple, and prepared, with his former resolution, to repel the enemy. The Mahometans charged with their usual impetuosity, but were repulsed with great slaughter; yet returning with fresh courage and redoubled rage, the attack was continued until the evening, when Mahmud, turning his face to the holy Kaaba, invoked the aid of the Prophet in the presence of his army.

"Advance! advance!" cried then the King. "Our prayers have found favor with God!"

Immediately a great shout arose among the host, and the Moslems, pressing forward as if they courted death, obliged the enemy to give ground, and pursued them in full retreat to the gates of the city.

The Emperor having next morning invested the place, gave orders to make preparations for filling up the ditch, which task in a few days was nearly completed. Bakhera, finding he could not long defend the city, determined to leave only a small garrison for its defence; and accordingly, one night, he marched out with the rest of his troops, and took position in a wood on the banks of the Indus. Mahmud, being informed of his retreat, detached part of his army to pursue him. Bakhera, by this time, was deserted by fortune and consequently by most of his friends; he found himself surrounded by the Mahometans and attempted in vain to force his way through them. When just on the point of being taken prisoner, he turned his sword against his breast, while the most of his adherents were slaughtered in attempting to avenge his death. Mahmud, in the mean time, had taken Tahera by assault; and found there one hundred and twenty elephants, many slaves, and much plunder. He annexed the town and its dependencies to his own dominions, and returned victorious to Ghazni.

In the year A.H. 396 he formed the design of reconquering Multan, which had revolted from his rule. Achmet Lodi, the regent of Multan, had formerly acknowledged the suzerainty of Mahmud, and after him his grandson Daud, till the expedition against Bakhera, when Daud withdrew his allegiance. The King marched in the beginning of the spring, with a great army from Ghazni, and was met by Annandpal, the son of Jipal, Prince of Lahore, in the hills of Peshawur, whom he defeated and obliged to fly into Cashmere. Annandpal had entered into an alliance with Daud; and as there were two passes only by which the Mahometans could enter Multan, Annandpal had taken upon himself to secure that by the way of Peshawur, which Mahmud chanced to take. The Sultan, returning from the pursuit, entered Multan by the way of Betanda, which was his first intention. When Daud received intelligence of the fate of Annandpal, thinking himself too weak to keep the field, he shut himself up in his fortified place and humbly solicited forgiveness for his fault, promising to pay a large tribute and in the future to obey implicitly the Sultan's command. Mahmud received him again as a vassal, and prepared to return to Ghazni, when news was brought to him from Arsallah, who commanded at Herat, that Elak, the King of Kashgar, had invaded his realm with an army. The King hastened to settle the affairs of Hindustan, which he put into the hands of Shokpal, a Hindu prince who had resided with Abu-Ali, governor of Peshawur, and had turned Mussulman, taking the name of Zab Sais.

The particulars of the war of Mahmud with Elak are these: It has already been mentioned that an uncommon friendship had existed between this Elak, the Usbek king of Kashgar, a kingdom in Tartary, and Mahmud. The Emperor himself was married to the daughter of Elak, but some factious men about the two courts, by misrepresentations of the princes to one another, changed their former friendship to enmity. When Mahmud therefore marched into Hindustan, and had left the field of Khorassan almost destitute of troops, Elak took advantage of the opportunity, and resolved to appropriate that province to himself. To accomplish his design he ordered his general-in-chief Sapastagi, with a large force, to enter Khorassan; and Jaffir Taghi at the same time was appointed to command in the territory of Balak. Arsallah, the governor of Herat, being informed of these motions, hastened to Ghazni, that he might secure the capital. In the mean time the chiefs of Khorassan, finding themselves deserted and being in no condition to oppose the enemy, submitted themselves to Sapastagi, the general of Elak.

But Mahmud, having by great marches reached Ghazni, flowed onward like a torrent with his army toward Balak. Taghi, who had by this time possessed himself of the place, fled toward Turmuz at his approach. The Emperor then detached Arsallah with a great part of his army to drive Sapastagi out of Khorassan; and he also, upon the approach of the troops of Ghazni, abandoned Herat, and marched toward Maber-ul-nere.

The King of Kashgar, seeing the bad state of his affairs, solicited the aid of Kudar, King of Chuton, a province of Tartary, on the confines of China, and that prince marched to join him with fifty thousand horse. Strengthened by this alliance, he crossed, with the confederate armies, the river Gaon, which was five parasangs from Balak, and opposed himself to the camp of Mahmud. That monarch immediately drew up his army in order of battle, giving the command of the centre to his brother, the noble Nasir, supported by Abu-Nasir, governor of Gorgan, and by Abdallah, a chief of reputation in arms. The right wing he committed to the care of Alta Sash, an old experienced officer, while the left was the charge of the valiant Arsallah, a chief of the Afghans. The front of his line he strengthened with five hundred chain-elephants, with open spaces behind them, to facilitate their retreat in case of a defeat.

The King of Kashgar posted himself in the centre, the noble Kudir led the right, and Taghi the left. The armies advanced to the charge. The shouts of warriors, the neighing of horses, and the clashing of arms reached the broad arch of heaven, while dust obscured the face of day.

Elak, advancing with some chosen squadrons, threw the centre of Mahmud's army into disorder. Mahmud, perceiving the enemy's progress, leaped from his horse, and, kissing the ground, invoked the aid of the Almighty. He then mounted an elephant-of-war, encouraged his troops, and made a violent assault upon Elak. The elephant seizing the standard-bearer of the enemy, folded his trunk around him and tossed him aloft in the air. He then surged forward like a mountain removed from its base by an earthquake, and trod the enemy under his feet like locusts. When the troops of Ghazni saw their King forcing his way alone through the enemy's ranks they rushed forward with headlong impetuosity and drove the enemy with great slaughter before them. Elak, abandoned by fortune and his army, turned his face to fly. He crossed the river with a few of his surviving friends, never afterward appearing in the field to dispute the victory with Mahmud.

The King after this triumph marched two days after the runaways. On the third night a great storm of wind and snow overtook the Ghaznian army in the desert. The King's tents were pitched with much difficulty, while the army was obliged to lie in the snow. Mahmud, having ordered great fires to be kindled around his tents, they became so warm that many of the courtiers began to take off their upper garments; when a facetious chief, whose name was Dalk, came in shivering with the cold, at which the King, observing, said: "Go out, Dalk, and tell the Winter that he may burst his cheeks with blustering, for here we value not his resentment." Dalk went out accordingly, and, returning in a short time, kissed the ground, and thus addressed the King: "I have delivered the King's message to Winter, but the Surly Season replied that if his hands cannot tear the skirts of Royalty and hurt the attendants of the King, yet he will so use his power to-night on his army that in the morning Mahmud will be obliged to saddle his own horses."

The King smiled at this reply, but it presently rendered him more thoughtful and he determined to proceed no farther. In the morning some hundreds of men and horses were found to have perished with the cold. Mahmud at the same time received advices from India, that Zab Sais, the renegade Hindu, had thrown off his allegiance, and, returning to his former religion, expelled all the officers who had been appointed by the King, from their respective departments. The King immediately determined to punish this renegade, and with great expedition advanced toward India. He sent on a part of his cavalry in front, which, coming unexpectedly upon Zab Sais, defeated him and brought him prisoner to the King. The rebel was fined four lacs of rupees, of which Mahmud made a present to his treasurer, and made Zab Sais a prisoner for life.

Mahmud, having thus settled his affairs in India, returned in autumn to Ghazni, where he remained for the winter in peace. But in the spring of the year A.H. 399 Annandpal, sovereign of Lahore, began to raise disturbance in Multan, so that the King was obliged to undertake another expedition into those parts, with a great army, to correct the Indians. Annandpal, hearing of his intentions, sent ambassadors everywhere to request the assistance of the other princes of Hindustan, who considered the extirpation of the Moslems from India as a meritorious and political as well as a religious action.

Accordingly the princes of Ugin, Gualier, Callinger, Kannoge, Delhi, and Ajmere entered into a confederacy, and, collecting their forces, advanced toward the heads of the Indus, with the greatest army that had been for some centuries seen upon the field in India. The two armies came in sight of one another in a great plain near the confines of the province of Peshawur. They remained there encamped forty days without action: but the troops of the idolaters daily increased in number. They were joined by the Gakers, and other tribes with their armies, and surrounded the Mahometans, who, fearing a general assault, were obliged to intrench themselves.

The King, having thus secured himself, ordered a thousand archers to the front, to endeavor to provoke the enemy to advance to the intrenchments. The archers accordingly were attacked by the Gakers, who, notwithstanding all the King could do, pursued the retreating bowmen within the trenches, where a dreadful scene of carnage ensued on both sides, in which five thousand Moslems in a few minutes were slain. The enemy's soldiers being now cut down as fast as they advanced, the attack grew weaker, when suddenly the elephant which carried the Prince of Lahore, who was chief in command, took fright at the report of a gun (sic), and turned tail in flight.

This circumstance struck the Hindus with a panic, for, thinking they were deserted by their general, they immediately followed the example. Abdallah, with six thousand Arabian horse, and Arsallah, with ten thousand Turks, Afghans, and Chilligis, pursued the enemy for two days and nights; so that twenty thousand Hindus were killed in their flight—in addition to the great multitude that fell on the field of battle.

Thirty elephants, with much rich plunder, were brought to the King, who, to establish the faith, marched against the Hindus of Nagrakot, breaking down their idols and destroying their temples. There was at that time, in the territory of Nagrakot, a strong fort called Bima, which Mahmud invested after having destroyed the country round about with fire and sword. Bima was built by a prince of the same name, on the top of a steep mountain; and here the Hindus—on account of its strength—had deposited the wealth consecrated to their idols in all the neighboring kingdoms; so that in this fort, it was said, there was a greater quantity of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls than ever had been collected in the royal treasury of any prince on earth.

Mahmud invested the place with such expedition that the Hindus had not time to send troops into it for its defence—the greater part of the garrison having been sent to the field. Those within consisted, for the most part, of priests, who being adverse to the bloody business of war, in a few days solicited permission to capitulate. Their request being granted, they opened the gates and fell upon their faces before Mahmud, who with a few of his officers and attendants immediately entered and took possession of the place.

In Bima were found: seven hundred thousand dinars; seven hundred maunds of gold and silver plate; forty maunds of pure gold in ingots; two thousand maunds of silver bullion, and twenty maunds of various jewels set, which had been collecting from the time of Bima. With this immense treasure the King returned to Ghazni, and in the year A.H. 400 held a magnificent festival, where he displayed to the people his wealth in golden thrones, and in other rich receptacles, in a great plain without the city of Ghazni; and after the feast every individual received a princely gift.

In the following year Mahmud led his army toward Ghor. The native prince of that country, Mahomet of the Sur tribe of Afghans, with ten thousand troops, opposed him. The King, finding that the troops of Ghor defended themselves in their intrenchments with such obstinacy, commanded his army to make a feint of retreating, to lure the enemy out of their fortified camp, which manoeuvre proved successful. The Ghorians, being deceived, pursued the army of Ghazni to the plain, where the King, facing round with his troops, attacked them with great impetuosity. Mahomet was taken prisoner and brought to the King; but in his despair he had taken poison, which he always kept under his ring, and died in a few hours. His country was annexed to the dominion of Ghazni. Some historians affirm that neither the sovereigns of Ghor nor its inhabitants were Mussulmans till after this victory; while others of good credit assure us that they were converted many years before, even so early as the time of the famous Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet.

Mahmud, in the same year, was under the necessity of marching again to Multan, which had revolted; but having soon reduced it, and cut off a great number of the chiefs, he brought Daud, the son of Nazir, the rebellious governor, prisoner to Ghazni, and imprisoned him in the fort of Gorci for life.

In the year A.H. 402, the passion of war fermenting in the mind of Mahmud, he resolved upon the conquest of Tannasar, in the kingdom of Hindustan. It had reached the ears of the King that Tannasar was held in the same veneration by idolaters as Mecca was by the Mahometans; that there they had set up a great number of idols, the chief of which they called Jug Sum. This Jug Sum, they pretended to say, existed when as yet the world existed not. When the King reached the country about the five branches of the Indus, he desired that—according to the treaty that existed between himself and Annandpal—he should not be disturbed by his march through that country. He accordingly sent an embassy to Annandpal, advising him of his intentions, and desiring him to send guards for the protection of his towns and villages, which he, the King, would take care should not be molested by the followers of his camp.

Annandpal agreed to this proposal, and prepared an entertainment for the reception of the King, issuing an order for all his subjects to supply the royal camp with every necessary of life. In the mean time he sent his brother with two thousand horse to meet the King and deliver this message:

"That he was the subject and slave of the King; but that he begged permission to acquaint his Majesty that Tannasar was the principal place of worship of the inhabitants of that country; that if it was a virtue required by the religion of Mahmud to destroy the religion of others, he had already acquitted himself of that duty to his God in the destruction of the temple of Nagracot; but if he should be pleased to alter his resolution against Tannasar, Annandpal would undertake that the amount of the revenues of that country should be annually paid to Mahmud, to reimburse the expense of his expedition: that besides, he, on his own part, would present him with fifty elephants, and jewels to a considerable amount."

The King replied: "That in the Mahometan religion it was an established tenet that the more the glory of the Prophet was exalted, and the more his followers exerted themselves in the subversion of idolatry, the greater would be their reward in heaven; that therefore it was his firm resolution, with the assistance of God, to root out the abominable worship of idols from the land of India: why then should he spare Tannasar?"

When this news reached the Indian king of Delhi, he prepared to oppose the invaders, sending messages all over Hindustan to acquaint the rajahs that Mahmud, without any reason or provocation, was marching with an innumerable army to destroy Tannasar, which was under his immediate protection: that if a dam was not expeditiously raised against this roaring torrent, the country of Hindustan would soon be overwhelmed in ruin, and the tree of prosperity rooted up; that therefore it was advisable for them to join their forces at Tannasar, to oppose with united strength the impending danger. But Mahmud reached Tannasar before they could take any measure for its defence, plundered the city and broke the idols, sending Jug Sum to Ghazni, where he was soon stripped of his ornaments. He then ordered his head to be struck off and his body to be thrown on the highway. According to the account of the historian Hago Mahomet of Kandahar, there was a ruby found in one of the temples which weighed four hundred and fifty miskals!

Mahmud, after these transactions at Tannasar, proceeded to Delhi, which he also took, and wanted greatly to annex to his dominions, but his nobles told him that it was impossible to keep the rajahship of Delhi till he had entirely subjected Multan to Mahometan rule, destroyed the power and exterminated the family of Annandpal, Prince of Lahore, which lay between Delhi and the northern dominions of Mahmud. The King approved of this counsel, and immediately determined to proceed no further against that country, till he had accomplished the reduction of Multan and Annandpal. But that prince behaved with so much policy and hospitality that he changed the purpose of the King, who returned to Ghazni. He brought to Ghazni forty thousand captives and much wealth, so that that city could now be hardly distinguished in riches from India itself.


A.D. 1017


After the success of King Alfred over the Danes in the last quarter of the ninth century, England enjoyed a considerable respite from the invasions of the bold ravagers who had caused great suffering and loss to the country. This immunity of England seems to have been partly due to the fact that the Danish adventurers had gained a foothold in the north of France, where they found all the employment they needed in maintaining their establishments. Under the reign of Edward the Elder—chosen to succeed Alfred—the English enjoyed an interval of comparative peace and industry. During this time and under the following reigns, known as those of the Six Boy-Kings, the social side of life had an opportunity to develop from a semi-barbarous to a more civilized state. The bare and rough walls of hall and court were screened by tapestry hangings, often of silk, and elaborately ornamented with birds and flowers or scenes from the battlefield or the chase. Chairs and tables were skilfully carved and inlaid with different woods and, among the wealthier nobility, often decorated with gold and silver. Knives and spoons were now used at table—the fork was to come many long years later; golden ornaments were worn; and a variety of dishes were fashioned, often of precious metals, brass, and even bone. The bedstead became a household article, no longer looked upon with superstitious awe; and musical instruments—principally of the harp pattern—began to find favor in their eyes, and were passed round from hand to hand, like the drinking-bowl, at their rude festivals.

But toward the end of a century following the victories of Alfred the Danes again threatened an invasion, and in 981-991 they made several landings, in the latter year overrunning much territory. King Ethelred (the "Unready") procured their departure by bribery, which led the Danes to repeat their visit the next year, following it up by a descent in force under King Sweyn of Denmark and Olaf of Norway. They defeated the English in battle and ravaged a great part of the country, exacting as before ruinous contributions from the already impoverished people. After the siege and taking of London, 1011-1013, the flight of the cowardly Ethelred to the court of Normandy, the sudden death of Sweyn, who had been but a few months before proclaimed King of England, and the return of Ethelred to his throne, Canute, the son of Sweyn, claimed the crown and ravaged the land in the manner and custom of his race. The complications and strife engendered by the rival claims of the Dane and Edmund ("Ironside"), son of Ethelred, and which ended in the triumph of Canute and the complete subjugation of England, are hereinafter narrated by Hume, the English historian.

The Danes had been established during a longer period in England than in France; and though the similarity of their original language to that of the Saxons invited them to a more early coalition with the natives, they had hitherto found so little example of civilized manners among the English that they retained all their ancient ferocity, and valued themselves only on their national character of military bravery. The recent as well as more ancient achievements of their countrymen tended to support this idea; and the English princes, particularly Athelstan and Edgar, sensible of that superiority, had been accustomed to keep in pay bodies of Danish troops, who were quartered about the country and committed many violences upon the inhabitants. These mercenaries had attained to such a height of luxury, according to the old English writers, that they combed their hair once a day, bathed themselves once a week, changed their clothes frequently; and by all these arts of effeminacy, as well as by their military character, had rendered themselves so agreeable to the fair sex that they debauched the wives and daughters of the English and dishonored many families. But what most provoked the inhabitants was that, instead of defending them against invaders, they were ever ready to betray them to the foreign Danes, and to associate themselves with all straggling parties of that nation.

The animosity between the inhabitants of English and Danish race had, from these repeated injuries, risen to a great height, when Ethelred (1002), from a policy incident to weak princes, embraced the cruel resolution of massacring the latter throughout all his dominions. Secret orders were despatched to commence the execution everywhere on the same day, and the festival of St. Brice, which fell on a Sunday, the day on which the Danes usually bathed themselves, was chosen for that purpose. It is needless to repeat the accounts transmitted concerning the barbarity of this massacre: the rage of the populace, excited by so many injuries, sanctioned by authority, and stimulated by example, distinguished not between innocence and guilt, spared neither sex nor age, and was not satiated without the tortures as well as death of the unhappy victims. Even Gunhilda, sister to the King of Denmark, who had married Earl Paling and had embraced Christianity, was, by the advice of Edric, Earl of Wilts, seized and condemned to death by Ethelred, after seeing her husband and children butchered before her face. This unhappy princess foretold, in the agonies of despair, that her murder would soon be avenged by the total ruin of the English nation.

Never was prophecy better fulfilled, and never did barbarous policy prove more fatal to the authors. Sweyn and his Danes, who wanted but a pretence for invading the English, appeared off the western coast, and threatened to take full revenge for the slaughter of their countrymen. Exeter fell first into their hands, from the negligence or treachery of Earl Hugh, a Norman, who had been made governor by the interest of Queen Emma. They began to spread their devastations over the country, when the English, sensible what outrages they must now expect from their barbarous and offended enemy, assembled more early and in greater numbers than usual, and made an appearance of vigorous resistance. But all these preparations were frustrated by the treachery of Duke Alfric, who was intrusted with the command, and who, feigning sickness, refused to lead the army against the Danes, till it was dispirited and at last dissipated by his fatal misconduct. Alfric soon after died, and Edric, a greater traitor than he, who had married the King's daughter and had acquired a total ascendant over him, succeeded Alfric in the government of Mercia and in the command of the English armies. A great famine, proceeding partly from the bad seasons, partly from the decay of agriculture, added to all the other miseries of the inhabitants. The country, wasted by the Danes, harassed by the fruitless expeditions of its own forces, was reduced to the utmost desolation, and at last submitted (1007) to the infamy of purchasing a precarious peace from the enemy by the payment of thirty thousand pounds.

The English endeavored to employ this interval in making preparations against the return of the Danes, which they had reason soon to expect. A law was made, ordering the proprietors of eight hides of land to provide each a horseman and a complete suit of armor, and those of three hundred and ten hides to equip a ship for the defence of the coast. When this navy was assembled, which must have consisted of near eight hundred vessels, all hopes of its success were disappointed by the factions, animosities, and dissensions of the nobility. Edric had impelled his brother Brightric to prefer an accusation of treason against Wolfnoth, governor of Sussex, the father of the famous earl Godwin; and that nobleman, well acquainted with the malevolence as well as power of his enemy, found no means of safety but in deserting with twenty ships to the Danes. Brightric pursued him with a fleet of eighty sail; but his ships being shattered in a tempest, and stranded on the coast, he was suddenly attacked by Wolfnoth, and all his vessels burned and destroyed. The imbecility of the King was little capable of repairing this misfortune. The treachery of Edric frustrated every plan for future defence; and the English navy, disconcerted, discouraged, and divided, was at last scattered into its several harbors.

It is almost impossible, or would be tedious, to relate particularly all the miseries to which the English were henceforth exposed. We hear of nothing but the sacking and burning of towns; the devastation of the open country; the appearance of the enemy in every quarter of the kingdom; their cruel diligence in discovering any corner which had not been ransacked by their former violence. The broken and disjointed narration of the ancient historians is here well adapted to the nature of the war, which was conducted by such sudden inroads as would have been dangerous even to a united and well-governed kingdom, but proved fatal where nothing but a general consternation and mutual diffidence and dissension prevailed. The governors of one province refused to march to the assistance of another, and were at last terrified from assembling their forces for the defence of their own province. General councils were summoned; but either no resolution was taken or none was carried into execution. And the only expedient in which the English agreed was the base and imprudent one of buying a new peace from the Danes, by the payment of forty-eight thousand pounds.

This measure did not bring them even that short interval of repose which they had expected from it. The Danes, disregarding all engagements, continued their devastations and hostilities; levied a new contribution of eight thousand pounds upon the county of Kent alone; murdered the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had refused to countenance this exaction; and the English nobility found no other resource than that of submitting everywhere to the Danish monarch, swearing allegiance to him, and delivering him hostages for their fidelity. Ethelred, equally afraid of the violence of the enemy and the treachery of his own subjects, fled into Normandy (1013), whither he had sent before him Queen Emma and her two sons, Alfred and Edward. Richard received his unhappy guests with a generosity that does honor to his memory.

The King had not been above six weeks in Normandy when he heard of the death of Sweyn, who expired at Gainsborough before he had time to establish himself in his new-acquired dominions. The English prelates and nobility, taking advantage of this event, sent over a deputation to Normandy, inviting Ethelred to return to them, expressing a desire of being again governed by their native prince, and intimating their hopes that, being now tutored by experience, he would avoid all those errors which had been attended with such misfortunes to himself and to his people. But the misconduct of Ethelred was incurable; and on his resuming the government, he discovered the same incapacity, indolence, cowardice, and credulity which had so often exposed him to the insults of his enemies. His son-in-law Edric, notwithstanding his repeated treasons, retained such influence at court as to instil into the King jealousies of Sigefert and Morcar, two of the chief nobles of Mercia. Edric allured them into his house, where he murdered them; while Ethelred participated in the infamy of the action by confiscating their estates and thrusting into a convent the widow of Sigefert. She was a woman of singular beauty and merit; and in a visit which was paid her, during her confinement, by Prince Edmund, the King's eldest son, she inspired him with so violent an affection that he released her from the convent, and soon after married her without the consent of his father.

Meanwhile the English found in Canute, the son and successor of Sweyn, an enemy no less terrible than the prince from whom death had so lately delivered them. He ravaged the eastern coast with merciless fury, and put ashore all the English hostages at Sandwich, after having cut off their hands and noses. He was obliged, by the necessity of his affairs, to make a voyage to Denmark; but, returning soon after, he continued his depredations along the southern coast. He even broke into the counties of Dorset, Wilts, and Somerset, where an army was assembled against him, under the command of Prince Edmund and Duke Edric. The latter still continued his perfidious machinations, and, after endeavoring in vain to get the prince into his power, he found means to disperse the army, and he then openly deserted to Canute with forty vessels.

Notwithstanding this misfortune Edmund was not disconcerted, but, assembling all the force of England, was in a condition to give battle to the enemy. The King had had such frequent experience of perfidy among his subjects that he had lost all confidence in them: he remained at London, pretending sickness, but really from apprehensions that they intended to buy their peace by delivering him into the hands of his enemies. The army called aloud for their sovereign to march at their head against the Danes; and, on his refusal to take the field, they were so discouraged that those vast preparations became ineffectual for the defence of the kingdom. Edmund, deprived of all regular supplies to maintain his soldiers, was obliged to commit equal ravages with those which were practised by the Danes; and, after making some fruitless expeditions into the north, which had submitted entirely to Canute's power, he retired to London, determined there to maintain to the last extremity the small remains of English liberty. He here found everything in confusion by the death of the King, who expired after an unhappy and inglorious reign of thirty-five years (1016). He left two sons by his first marriage, Edmund, who succeeded him, and Edwy, whom Canute afterward murdered. His two sons by the second marriage, Alfred and Edward, were, immediately upon Ethelred's death, conveyed into Normandy by Queen Emma.

Edmund, who received the name of "Ironside" from his hardy valor, possessed courage and abilities sufficient to have prevented his country from sinking into those calamities, but not to raise it from that abyss of misery into which it had already fallen. Among the other misfortunes of the English, treachery and disaffection had crept in among the nobility and prelates; and Edmund found no better expedient for stopping the further progress of these fatal evils than to lead his army instantly into the field, and to employ them against the common enemy. After meeting with some success at Gillingham, he prepared himself to decide, in one general engagement, the fate of his crown; and at Scoerston, in the county of Gloucester, he offered battle to the enemy, who were commanded by Canute and Edric. Fortune, in the beginning of the day, declared for him; but Edric, having cut off the head of one Osmer, whose countenance resembled that of Edmund, fixed it on a spear, carried it through the ranks in triumph, and called aloud to the English that it was time to fly; for, behold! the head of their sovereign. And though Edmund, observing the consternation of the troops, took off his helmet, and showed himself to them, the utmost he could gain by his activity and valor was to leave the victory undecided. Edric now took a surer method to ruin him, by pretending to desert to him; and as Edmund was well acquainted with his power, and probably knew no other of the chief nobility in whom he could repose more confidence, he was obliged, notwithstanding the repeated perfidy of the man, to give him a considerable command in the army. A battle soon after ensued at Assington, in Essex, where Edric, flying in the beginning of the day, occasioned the total defeat of the English, followed by a great slaughter of the nobility. The indefatigable Edmund, however, had still resources. Assembling a new army at Gloucester, he was again in condition to dispute the field, when the Danish and English nobility, equally harassed with those convulsions, obliged their kings to come to a compromise and to divide the kingdom between them by treaty. Canute reserved to himself the northern division, consisting of Mercia, East Anglia, and Northumberland, which he had entirely subdued. The southern parts were left to Edmund. This prince survived the treaty about a month. He was murdered at Oxford by two of his chamberlains, accomplices of Edric, who thereby made way for the succession of Canute the Dane to the crown of England.

The English, who had been unable to defend their country and maintain their independency under so active and brave a prince as Edmund, could after his death expect nothing but total subjection from Canute, who, active and brave himself, and at the head of a great force, was ready to take advantage of the minority of Edwin and Edward, the two sons of Edmund. Yet this conqueror, who was commonly so little scrupulous, showed himself anxious to cover his injustice under plausible pretences. Before he seized the dominions of the English princes, he summoned a general assembly of the states in order to fix the succession of the kingdom. He here suborned some nobles to depose that, in the treaty of Gloucester, it had been verbally agreed, either to name Canute, in case of Edmund's death, successor to his dominions or tutor to his children—for historians vary in this particular; and that evidence, supported by the great power of Canute, determined the states immediately to put the Danish monarch in possession of the government. Canute, jealous of the two princes, but sensible that he should render himself extremely odious if he ordered them to be despatched in England, sent them abroad to his ally, the King of Sweden, whom he desired, as soon as they arrived at his court, to free him, by their death, from all further anxiety. The Swedish monarch was too generous to comply with the request; but being afraid of drawing on himself a quarrel with Canute, by protecting the young princes, he sent them to Solomon, King of Hungary, to be educated in his court. The elder, Edwin, was afterward married to the sister of the King of Hungary; but the English prince dying without issue, Solomon gave his sister-in-law, Agatha, daughter of the emperor Henry II, in marriage to Edward, the younger brother; and she bore him Edgar, Atheling, Margaret, afterward Queen of Scotland, and Christina, who retired into a convent.

Canute, though he had reached the great point of his ambition in obtaining possession of the English crown, was obliged at first to make great sacrifices to it; and to gratify the chief of the nobility, by bestowing on them the most extensive governments and jurisdictions. He created Thurkill Earl or Duke of East Anglia—for these titles were then nearly of the same import—Yric of Northumberland, and Edric of Mercia; reserving only to himself the administration of Wessex. But seizing afterward a favorable opportunity, he expelled Thurkill and Yric from their governments, and banished them the kingdom; he put to death many of the English nobility, on whose fidelity he could not rely, and whom he hated on account of their disloyalty to their native prince. And even the traitor Edric, having had the assurance to reproach him with his services, was condemned to be executed and his body to be thrown into the Thames; a suitable reward for his multiplied acts of perfidy and rebellion.

Canute also found himself obliged, in the beginning of his reign, to load the people with heavy taxes in order to reward his Danish followers: he exacted from them at one time the sum of seventy-two thousand pounds, besides eleven thousand which he levied on London alone. He was probably willing, from political motives, to mulct severely that city, on account of the affection which it had borne to Edmund and the resistance which it had made to the Danish power in two obstinate sieges.[25] But these rigors were imputed to necessity; and Canute, like a wise prince, was determined that the English, now deprived of all their dangerous leaders, should be reconciled to the Danish yoke, by the justice and impartiality of his administration. He sent back to Denmark as many of his followers as he could safely spare; he restored the Saxon customs in a general assembly of the states; he made no distinction between Danes and English in the distribution of justice; and he took care, by a strict execution of law, to protect the lives and properties of all his people. The Danes were gradually incorporated with his new subjects; and both were glad to obtain a little respite from those multiplied calamities from which the one, no less than the other, had, in their fierce contest for power, experienced such fatal consequences.

[Footnote 25: In one of these sieges Canute diverted the course of the Thames, and by that means brought his ships above London bridge.]

The removal of Edmund's children into so distant a country as Hungary was, next to their death, regarded by Canute as the greatest security to his government: he had no further anxiety, except with regard to Alfred and Edward, who were protected and supported by their uncle Richard, Duke of Normandy. Richard even fitted out a great armament, in order to restore the English princes to the throne of their ancestors; and though the navy was dispersed by a storm, Canute saw the danger to which he was exposed from the enmity of so warlike a people as the Normans. In order to acquire the friendship of the duke, he paid his addresses to Queen Emma, sister of that prince, and promised that he would leave the children whom he should have by that marriage in possession of the Crown of England. Richard complied with his demand and sent over Emma to England, where she was soon after married to Canute. The English, though they disapproved of her espousing the mortal enemy of her former husband and his family, were pleased to find at court a sovereign to whom they were accustomed, and who had already formed connections with them; and thus Canute, besides securing, by this marriage, the alliance of Normandy, gradually acquired, by the same means, the confidence of his own subjects. The Norman prince did not long survive the marriage of Emma; and he left the inheritance of the duchy to his eldest son of the same name, who, dying a year after him without children, was succeeded by his brother Robert, a man of valor and abilities.

Canute, having settled his power in England beyond all danger of a revolution, made a voyage to Denmark, in order to resist the attacks of the King of Sweden; and he carried along with him a great body of the English, under the command of Earl Godwin. This nobleman had here an opportunity of performing a service, by which he both reconciled the King's mind to the English nation and, gaining to himself the friendship of his sovereign, laid the foundation of that immense fortune which he acquired to his family. He was stationed next the Swedish camp, and observing a favorable opportunity, which he was obliged suddenly to seize, he attacked the enemy in the night, drove them from their trenches, threw them into disorder, pursued his advantage, and obtained a decisive victory over them. Next morning Canute, seeing the English camp entirely abandoned, imagined that those disaffected troops had deserted to the enemy: he was agreeably surprised to find that they were at that time engaged in pursuit of the discomfited Swedes. He was so pleased with this success, and with the manner of obtaining it, that he bestowed his daughter in marriage upon Godwin, and treated him ever after with entire confidence and regard.

In another voyage, which he made afterward to Denmark, Canute attacked Norway, and, expelling the just but unwarlike Olaus, kept possession of his kingdom till the death of that prince. He had now by his conquests and valor attained the utmost height of grandeur: having leisure from wars and intrigues, he felt the unsatisfactory nature of all human enjoyments; and equally weary of the glories and turmoils of this life, he began to cast his view toward that future existence, which it is so natural for the human mind, whether satiated by prosperity or disgusted with adversity, to make the object of its attention. Unfortunately, the spirit which prevailed in that age gave a wrong direction to his devotion: instead of making compensation to those whom he had injured by his former acts of violence, he employed himself entirely in those exercises of piety which the monks represented as the most meritorious. He built churches, he endowed monasteries, he enriched the ecclesiastics, and he bestowed revenues for the support of chantries at Assington and other places, where he appointed prayers to be said for the souls of those who had there fallen in battle against him. He even undertook a pilgrimage to Rome, where he resided a considerable time: besides obtaining from the pope some privileges for the English school erected there, he engaged all the princes through whose dominions he was obliged to pass to desist from those heavy impositions and tolls which they were accustomed to exact from the English pilgrims. By this spirit of devotion, no less than by his equitable and politic administration, he gained, in a good measure, the affections of his subjects.

Canute, the greatest and most powerful monarch of his time, sovereign of Denmark and Norway, as well as of England, could not fail of meeting with adulation from his courtiers; a tribute which is liberally paid even to the meanest and weakest princes. Some of his flatterers, breaking out one day in admiration of his grandeur, exclaimed that everything was possible for him; upon which the monarch, it is said, ordered his chair to be set on the sea-shore while the tide was rising; and as the waters approached, he commanded them to retire, and to obey the voice of him who was lord of the ocean. He feigned to sit some time in expectation of their submission; but when the sea still advanced toward him, and began to wash him with its billows, he turned to his courtiers, and remarked to them that every creature in the universe was feeble and impotent, and that power resided with one Being alone, in whose hands were all the elements of nature; who could say to the ocean, "Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther," and who could level with his nod the most towering piles of human pride and ambition.

The only memorable action which Canute performed after his return from Rome was an expedition against Malcolm, King of Scotland. During the reign of Ethelred, a tax of a shilling a hide had been imposed on all the lands of England. It was commonly called danegelt; because the revenue had been employed either in buying peace with the Danes or in making preparations against the inroads of that hostile nation. That monarch had required that the same tax should be paid by Cumberland, which was held by the Scots; but Malcolm, a warlike prince, told him that as he was always able to repulse the Danes by his own power, he would neither submit to buy peace of his enemies nor pay others for resisting them. Ethelred, offended at this reply, which contained a secret reproach on his own conduct, undertook an expedition against Cumberland; but though he committed ravages upon the country, he could never bring Malcolm to a temper more humble or submissive. Canute, after his accession, summoned the Scottish King to acknowledge himself a vassal for Cumberland to the Crown of England; but Malcolm refused compliance, on pretence that he owed homage to those princes only who inherited that kingdom by right of blood. Canute was not of a temper to bear this insult; and the King of Scotland soon found that the sceptre was in very different hands from those of the feeble and irresolute Ethelred. Upon Canute's appearing on the frontiers with a formidable army, Malcolm agreed that his grandson and heir, Duncan, whom he put in possession of Cumberland, should make the submissions required, and that the heirs of Scotland should always acknowledge themselves vassals to England for that province.

Canute passed four years in peace after this enterprise, and he died at Shaftesbury; leaving three sons, Sweyn, Harold, and Hardicanute. Sweyn, whom he had by his first marriage with Alfwen, daughter of the Earl of Hampshire, was crowned in Norway; Hardicanute, whom Emma had borne him, was in possession of Denmark; Harold, who was of the same marriage with Sweyn, was at that time in England.


A.D. 1048


After the extinction of the Carlovingian line, A.D. 887, and the division of the empire, the Church of Rome and the Christian world fell into a highly demoralized state, attributable to the destitution to which ecclesiastical bodies were reduced by the frequent predations of bands of robbers, the immorality of the priesthood, and the power of electing the popes falling into the hands of intriguing and licentious patrician females, whom aspirants to the holy see were not ashamed to bribe for their favors. So depraved had the general spirit of the age become that Pope Boniface VII, A.D. 974, robbed St. Peter's Church and its treasury and fled to Constantinople; while Pope John XVIII, A.D. 1003, was prevented, by general indignation only, from accepting a sum of money from Emperor Basil to recognize the right of the Greek patriarch to the title of "Universal Bishop."

A child, son of one of the old noble houses, was consecrated pope as Benedict IX, A.D. 1033, according to some authorities, at the age of ten or twelve years. He became noted for his profligacy and was driven from his throne, the Romans electing, as Pope Sylvester III, John, Bishop of Sabina, who is said to have paid a high price for the dignity. Benedict, however, regained the papal seat shortly afterward, and drove Sylvester into a refuge, but later sold the office to John Gratianus, Arch-priest of Rome, who as Gregory VI made laudable attempts to effect a general reformation. He failed in his efforts, and a chaotic state ensued; three popes claiming the triple tiara and reigning in Rome: Gregory at the Vatican, Benedict in the Lateran, and Sylvester in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore.

On the invitation of the Roman people, Henry the Black, the young and zealous Emperor of Germany, repaired to Italy in 1045 and summoned a great ecclesiastical council at Sutri, which passed a decree deposing the three papal claimants. The same council elected to the tiara the German bishop of Bamberg, who reigned in the holy see as Clement II. One of his first ceremonies, carried out with all the gorgeous pomp of the Roman Church, was the imperial coronation of Henry and his wife Agnes.

But Henry's action, while "it dragged the Church out of the slough it had fallen into," startled the ecclesiastical world, and was a prelude to the struggle between pope and emperor which, under St. Hildebrand, Pope Gregory VII, culminated in the independent establishment of the pontificate and papal power.


Henry III, the son and successor of Conrad, was young, vigorous, and God-fearing; a noble prince called, like Charles and Otto the Great, to restore Rome, to deliver it from tyrants, and to reform the almost annihilated Church. For the papacy had been still further dishonored by Benedict IX. It seemed as if a demon from hell, in the disguise of a priest, occupied the chair of Peter and profaned the sacred mysteries of religion by his insolent courses.

Benedict IX, restored in 1038, protected by his brother Gregory, who ruled the city as senator of the Romans, led unchecked the life of a Turkish sultan in the palace of the Lateran. He and his family filled Rome with robbery and murder; all lawful conditions had ceased. Toward the end of 1044, or in the beginning of the following year, the populace at length rose in furious revolt; the Pope fled, but his vassals defended the Leonina against the attacks of the Romans. The Trasteverines remained faithful to Benedict, and he summoned friends and adherents; Count Gerard of Galeria advanced with a numerous body of horse to the Saxon gate and repulsed the Romans. An earthquake added to the horrors in the revolted city. The ancient chronicle which relates these events does not tell us whether Trastevere was taken by assault after a three-days' struggle, but merely relates that the Romans unanimously renounced Benedict, and elected Bishop John of the Sabina to the papacy as Sylvester III. John also owed his elevation to the gold with which he bribed the rebels and their leader, Girardo de Saxo. This powerful Roman had first promised his daughter in marriage to the Pope, and afterward refused her; for the Pope had not hesitated, in all seriousness, to sue for the hand of a Roman lady, a relative of his own. Her father lured him on with the hope of winning her, but required that Benedict should in the first place resign the tiara.

The Pope, burning with passion, consented and fulfilled his promise during the revolt of the Romans. He was mastered by the demon of sensuality; it was reported by the superstitious that he associated with devils in the woods and attracted women by means of spells. It was asserted that books of magic, with which he had conjured demons, had been found in the Lateran. His banishment meanwhile aroused the haughty spirit of his house, and anger at Gerard's treacherous conduct proved a further incentive to revenge. His numerous adherents still held St. Angelo, and his gold acquired him new friends. After a forty-nine days' reign, Sylvester III was driven from the apostolic chair, which the Tusculan reascended in March, 1045.

Benedict now ruled for some time in Rome, while Sylvester III found safety either within some fortified monument in the city or in some Sabine fortress, and continued to call himself pope. A beneficent darkness veils the horrors of this year. Hated by the Romans, insecure on his throne, in constant terror of the renewal of the revolution, Benedict eventually found himself obliged to abdicate. The abbot Bartholomew of Grotta Ferrata urged him to the step, but he unblushingly sold the papacy for money like a piece of merchandise. In exchange for a considerable income, that is to say, for the revenue of "Peter's pence" from England, he made over his papal dignities by a formal contract to John Gratianus, a rich archpriest of the Church of St. John at the Latin gate, on May 1, 1045.

Could the holiest office in Christendom be more deeply outraged than by a sale such as this? And yet so general was the traffic in ecclesiastical dignities throughout the world that when a pope finally sold the chair of Peter the scandal did not strike society as specially heinous.

John Gratian, or Gregory VI, set aside the canon law with a defiant courage which perhaps was only understood by the minority of his compatriots; he bought the papacy in order to wrest it from the hands of a criminal, and this remarkable Pope, although regarded as an idiot in that terrible period, was possibly an earnest and high-minded man. Scarcely had Peter Damian knowledge of this traffic when he wrote to Gregory VI on his elevation, rejoicing that the dove with the olive branch had returned to the ark. The Saint may have known the Pope personally and have been persuaded of his spiritual virtues. Even the chroniclers of the time, who represent him—assuredly with injustice—as so rude and simple that he was obliged to appoint a representative, are unable to fasten any crime upon him. The Cluniacs in France and the congregations of Italy all hailed his elevation as the beginning of a better time, and side by side with this simonist Pope a young and brave monk suddenly appears, who, after the heroic exertions of a lifetime, was to raise the degenerate papacy to a height hitherto undreamed of. Hildebrand first issues from obscurity by the side of Gregory VI; he became the Pope's chaplain, and this fact alone proves that Gregory was no idiot. How far Hildebrand's activity already extended, whether he had any share in Gregory's illegal elevation, we do not know; but in the "representative" spoken of by the chronicles, we may easily recognize the gifted young monk who was Gregory's counsellor, and who later took the name of Gregory VII in grateful recollection of his predecessor.

While Benedict IX pursued his wild career in Tusculum or Rome, Gregory VI remained Pope for nearly two years. His desire was to save the Church, which stood in need of a drastic reform—and which soon afterward obtained it. The papacy, lately a hereditary fief of the counts of Tusculum, was utterly ruined; the dominium temporale, the ominous gift of the Carlovingians, the box of Pandora in the hands of the Pope from which a thousand evils had arisen, had disappeared, since the Church could scarcely command the fortresses in the immediate neighborhood of the city. A hundred lords, the captains or vassals of the Pope, stood ready to fall upon Rome; every road was infested with robbers, every pilgrim was robbed; within the city the churches lay in ruins, while the priests caroused. Daily assassinations made the streets insecure. Roman nobles, sword in hand, forced their way into St. Peter's itself to snatch the gifts which pious hands still placed upon the altar.

The chronicler who describes this state of things extols Gregory for having repressed it. The captains, it is true, besieged the city, but the Pope boldly assembled the militia, restored a degree of order, and even conquered several fortresses in the district. Sylvester had apparently made an attempt on Rome; he was, however, defeated by Gregory's energy. The short and dark period of Gregory's pontificate was terrible, and his severity toward the robbers soon made him hated by the nobles and even by the equally rapacious cardinals.

Whatever he may have done under the influence of French and Italian monks to rescue the Church from its state of barbarous confusion, it was—as in the time of Otto the Great—by the German dictatorship alone that it could be saved. The exertions of Gregory VI soon ceased to bear any result; his means were exhausted, and his opponents gradually overpowered him. So utter was the state of anarchy that it is said that all three popes lived in the city at the same time: one in the Lateran, a second in St. Peter's, and a third in Santa Maria Maggiore.

The eyes of the better citizens at length turned to the King of Germany. The archdeacon Peter convoked a synod without consulting Gregory, and it was here resolved urgently to invite Henry to come and take the imperial crown and raise the Church from the ruin into which it had fallen.

Henry, coming from Augsburg, crossed the Brenner, and arrived at Verona in September, 1046, accompanied by a great army and filled with the ardent desire of becoming the reformer of the Church. No enemy opposed him, the bishops and dukes, among them the powerful margrave Boniface of Tuscany, did homage without delay. The Roman situation was provisionally discussed at a great synod in Pavia. Gregory VI now hastened to meet the King at Piacenza, where he hoped to gain the monarch to his side. Henry, however, dismissed him with the explanation that his fate and that of the antipopes would be canonically decided by a council.

Shortly before Christmas he assembled one thousand and forty-six bishops and Roman clergy at Sutri. The three popes were summoned, and Gregory and Sylvester III actually appeared. Sylvester was deposed from his pontificate and condemned to penance in a monastery. Gregory VI, however, gave the council cause to doubt its competence to judge him. Gregory, who was an upright man, or one at least conscious of good intentions, consented publicly to describe the circumstances of his elevation, and was thereby forced to condemn himself as guilty of simony and unworthy of the papal office. He quietly laid down the insignia of the papacy, and his renunciation did him honor. Henry, with the bishops and the margrave Boniface, immediately started for the city, which did not shut its gates against him; for Benedict II had hid himself in Tusculum, and his brothers did not venture on any resistance. Rome, weary of the Tusculum horrors, joyfully accepted the German King as her deliverer. Never afterward was a king of Germany received with such glad acclamations by the Roman people; never again did any other effect such great results or achieve the like changes. With the Roman expedition of Henry III begins a new epoch in the history of the city, and more especially of the Church. It seemed as if the waters of the deluge had subsided, and as if men from the ark had landed on the rock of Peter to give new races and new laws to a new world. What law, that stern and terrible power which kills, binds, and holds together, signifies in human affairs, has indeed been experienced by few periods so fully as by that with which we have now to deal.

A synod, assembled in St. Peter's on December 23d, again pronounced all three popes deposed, and a canonical pope had consequently to be elected. Like Otto III before his coronation, Henry had also at his side a man who was to wear the tiara and to confer the crown upon himself.

Adalbert of Hamburg and Bremen having refused the papacy, the King chose Suidger of Bamberg. The royal command was all that was required to place the candidate on the sacred chair. Henry, however, would not violate any of the canonical forms. As King of Germany he possessed no right either over that city or yet over the papal election. The right must first be conferred upon him, and this was done by a treaty which he had already concluded with the Romans at Sutri. "Roman Signors," said Henry at the second sitting of the synod on December 24th, "however thoughtless your conduct may hitherto have been, I still accord you liberty to elect a pope according to ancient custom; choose from among this assembly whom you will."

The Romans replied: "When the royal majesty is present, the assent to the election does not belong to us, and, when it is lacking, you are represented by your patricius. For in the affairs of the republic the patricius is not patricius of the pope, but of the emperor. We admit that we have been so thoughtless as to appoint idiots as popes. It now behooves your imperial power to give the Roman republic the benefit of law, the ornament of manners, and to lend the arm of protection to the Church."

The senators of the year 1046, who so meekly surrendered the valuable right to the German King, heeded not the shades of Alberic and the three Crescentii; since these—their patricians—would have accused them of treason.

The Romans of these days were, however, ready for any sacrifice so that they obtained freedom from the Tusculum tyranny. Nothing more clearly shows the utter depth of their exhaustion and the extent of their sufferings than the light surrender of a right which it had formerly cost Otto the Great such repeated efforts to extort from the city. Rome made the humiliating confession that she possessed no priest worthy of the papacy, that the clergy in the city were rude and utter simonists. All other circumstances, moreover, forbade the election of a Roman or even of an Italian to the papacy.

The Romans besought Henry to give them a good pope; he presented the Bishop of Bamberg to the assenting clergy, and led the reluctant candidate to the apostolic chair. Clement II, consecrated on Christmas Day, 1046, immediately placed the imperial crown on Henry's head and on that of his wife Agnes. There were still many Romans who had been eye-witnesses of like transactions—that is to say, of papal election and imperial coronation following one the other in immediate succession—in the case of Otto III and Henry V; who, as they now saw the second German pope mount the chair of Peter, may have recalled the fact that the first had only lived a few sad years in Rome and had died in misery.

The coronation of Henry III was performed under such significant conditions and in such perfect tranquillity that it offers the most fitting opportunity for describing in a few sentences the ceremonial of the imperial coronation.

Since Charles the Great, these repeated ceremonies, with the more frequent coronations or Lateran processions of the popes, formed the most brilliant spectacle in Rome.

When the Emperor-elect approached with his wife and retinue, he first took an oath to the Romans, at the little bridge on the Neronian Field, faithfully to observe the rights and usages of the city. On the day of the coronation he made his entrance through the Porta Castella close to St. Angelo and here repeated the oath. The clergy and the corporations of Rome greeted him at the Church of Santa Maria Traspontina, on a legendary site called the Terebinthus of Nero. The solemn procession then advanced to the steps of the cathedral. Senators walked by the side of the King, the prefect of the city carried the naked sword before him, and his chamberlains scattered money.

Arrived at the steps he dismounted from his horse and, accompanied by his retinue, ascended to the platform where the Pope, surrounded by the higher clergy, awaited him sitting. The King stooped to kiss the Pope's foot, tendered the oath to be an upright protector of the Church, received from the Pope the kiss of peace, and was adopted by him as the son of the Church. With solemn song both King and Pope entered the Church of Santa Maria in Turri, beside the steps of St. Peter's, and here the King was formally made canon of the cathedral. He then advanced, conducted by the Lateran count of the palace and by the primicerius of the judges, to the silver door of the cathedral, where he prayed, and the Bishop of Albano delivered the first oration.

Innumerable mystic ceremonies awaited the King in St. Peter's itself. Here, a short way from the entrance, was the rota porphyretica, a round porphyry stone inserted in the pavement, on which the King and Pope knelt. The imperial candidate here made his profession of faith, the Cardinal-bishop of Portus placed himself in the middle of the rota and pronounced the second oration. The King was then draped in new vestments, was made a cleric in the sacristy by the Pope, was clad with tunic, dalmatica, pluviale, mitre and sandals, and was then led to the altar of St. Maurice, whither his wife, after similar but less fatiguing ceremonies, accompanied him. The Bishop of Ostia here anointed the King on the right arm and neck and delivered the third oration.

If the Emperor-elect were fitted by the dignity of his calling, then the solemnity of the function, the mystic and tedious pomp, the magnificent monotone of prayer and song in the ancient cathedral, hallowed by so many exalted memories, must have stirred his inmost soul. The pinnacle of all human ambition, the crown of Charles the Great, lay glittering before his longing eyes on the altar of the Prince of the Apostles. The Pope, however, first placed a ring on the finger of the Anointed, as symbol of the faith, the permanence and strength of his Catholic rule; with similar formulæ girt him with the sword, and finally placed the crown upon his head. "Take," he said, "the symbol of fame, the diadem of royalty, the crown, the empire, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; renounce the archfiend and all sins, be upright and merciful, and live in such pious love that thou mayest hereafter receive the everlasting crown in company with the saints, from our Lord Jesus Christ."

The church resounded with the Gloria and the Laudes: "Life and victory to the Emperor, to the Roman and the German army," and with the endless acclamations of the rude soldiers who hailed their King in German, Slav, and Romance tongues.

The Emperor divested himself of the symbols of the empire, and now ministered to the Pope as subdeacon at mass. The Count Palatine afterward removed the sandals, and put the red imperial boots with the spurs of St. Maurice upon him. Whereupon the entire procession, accompanied by the Pope, left the church and advanced along the so-called "Triumphal Way," through the flower-bedecked city, amid the ringing of all the bells, to the Lateran. At special stations were posted clergy singing praises, and the scholæ or guilds placed to salute the Emperor as he passed. Chamberlains scattered money before and behind the procession, and all the scholæ and the officials of the palace received the presbyterium or customary present of money. A banquet closed the solemnities in the papal palace.

Such are merely the barest outlines of an imperial coronation of this period. The ceremonies, borrowed from Byzantine pomp, had been established since Charles the Great, and had remained essentially the same, although, in the course of time, many details had been altered and others had been introduced. The magnificence of these spectacles is no longer rivalled by the pageantry of our days. The multitudes of dukes and counts, of bishops and abbots, knights and nobles with their retinues, the splendor of their attire, the strangeness of their faces and their tongues, the martial array of warriors, the mystic magnificence of the papacy with all its orders in such picturesque costume, the aspect of secular Rome, of judges and senators, of consuls and duces, of the militia with their banners, in curious, motley, fantastic attire; lastly, as the sublime scene of the drama, the stern, gloomy, ruinous city, through which the procession solemnly advanced—all combined to produce a picture of such mighty and universal historic interest that even a Roman accustomed to the pomp of Trajan's period could not have beheld it without feelings of astonishment.

These coronation processions restored to the city its character of metropolis. The Romans of the time might flatter themselves that the emperors whom they elected still ruled the universe. The strangers who flocked to the city freely distributed their gold, and the hungry populace could live for weeks on the proceeds of the coronation.


The accession of Gregory VI was the harbinger of an epoch of moral renaissance. The wise Pontiff, whose glory it had been to free the Church from a disgraceful yoke, proved himself worthy of the sovereign power, as much by the zeal with which he wielded as by the noble disinterestedness with which he resigned it. He found the temporal domains of the Church so far diminished that they hardly furnished the Pope with the means of an honorable maintenance. As guardian of the rights of the Church, he hurled an excommunication against the usurpers. The infuriated plunderers marched upon Rome with an armed force. The Pope also raised troops, took possession of St. Peter's church, drove out the wretches who stole the offerings laid upon the tombs of the Apostles, took back several estates belonging to the domain of the Church, and secured the safety of the roads, upon which pilgrims no longer ventured to travel except in caravans. This policy displeased the Romans, who had now become habituated to plunder. Their complaints induced Henry III, King of Germany, to hurry to Italy, and to summon a council at Sutri, during the Christmas festival, to inquire whether the election of Gregory should be regarded as simoniacal. The Pope and the clergy entertained the sincere conviction that they were justified in bringing about, even by means of money, the abdication of the unworthy Benedict, thus to end the scandal which so foully disgraced the Holy See. As opinions were divided on this point, Gregory VI, to set all doubts at rest, stripped himself, with his own hands, of the Pontifical vestments, and gave up to the bishops his pastoral staff. Having given to the world this noble example of self-denial, Gregory withdrew to the monastery of Cluny, bearing with him the consciousness of a great duty done. He died in that holy solitude in the odor of sanctity.

The see left vacant by the magnanimous humility of Gregory VI was bestowed, by general consent, upon Suidger, bishop of Bamberg, whom King Henry had brought with him to Rome. The new Pope, whose elevation was due only to universally known and acknowledged virtues, took the name of Clement II, and was crowned on Christmas-Day (A.D. 1046); in the same solemnity he bestowed the imperial title and crown upon Henry III, and his queen, Agnes, daughter of William, duke of Aquitaine.

The Emperor Henry, during his sojourn in Rome, sent for St. Peter Damian to assist the Pope by his counsels. The illustrious religious thus wrote to the Pontiff, in excuse for not complying: "Notwithstanding the Emperor's request, so expressive of his benevolence in my regard, I cannot devote to journeys the time which I have promised to consecrate to God in solitude. I send the imperial letter in order that your Holiness may decide, if it become necessary. My soul is weighed down with grief when I see the churches of our provinces plunged into shameful confusion through the fault of bad bishops and abbots. What does it profit us to learn that the Holy See has been brought out from darkness into the light, if we still remain buried in the same gloom of ignominy? But we hope that you are destined to be the savior of Israel. Labor then, Most Holy Father, once more to raise up the kingdom of justice, and use the vigor of discipline to humble the wicked and to raise the courage of the good."

On his return to Germany, Henry took the Pope with him. The city of Beneventum refused to open its gates to the Sovereign Pontiff, who, at the Emperor's request, pronounced against it a sentence of excommunication. Clement made but a short visit to his native land, and hastened back to Rome. His apostolic zeal led him to visit, in person, the churches of Umbria, the deplorable condition of which he had learned from the letter of St. Peter Damian. On reaching the monastery of St. Thomas of Aposello, he was seized with a mortal disease, before having accomplished the object of his journey. His last thought was for his beloved church of Bamberg, to which he sent, from his dying couch, a confirmation of all its former privileges, assuring it, in the most touching terms, of his unchanging affection.


A.D. 1054


In the division of the Greek Catholic Church from that at Rome, Protestant writers see a very natural and legitimate separation of two equal powers. Roman Catholics, regarding the Papal supremacy as established from the beginning, treat the division as a plot by evil and malignant men. Both viewpoints are here given.

The Eastern—or Greek Christian—Church, now known as the Holy Orthodox, Catholic, Apostolic, Oriental Church, first assumed individuality at Ephesus, and in the catechetical school of Alexandria, which flourished after A.D. 180. It early came into conflict with the Western or Roman Church: "the Eastern Church enacting creeds, and the Western Church discipline."

In the third century, Dionysius, Bishop of Rome, accused the Patriarch of Alexandria of error in points of faith, but the Patriarch vindicated his orthodoxy. Eastern monachism arose about 300; the Church of Armenia was founded about the same year; and the Church of Georgia or Iberia in 340.

Constantine the Great caused Christianity to be recognized throughout the Roman Empire, and in 325 convened the first ecumenical or general Council at Nicaea (Nice), when Arius, excommunicated for heresy by a provincial synod at Alexandria in 321, defended his views, but was condemned. Arianism long maintained a theological and political importance in the East and among the Goths and other nations converted by Arian missionaries. In A.D. 330, Constantine removed the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople, and thence dates the definite establishment of the Greek Church and the serious rivalry with the Roman Church over claims of preeminence, differences of doctrine and ritual, charges of heresy and inter-excommunications, which ended in the final separation of the churches in 1054.

In A.D. 461, the churches of Egypt, Syria, and Armenia separated from the Church of Constantinople, over the Monophysite controversy on the single divine or single compound nature of the Son; in 634 the struggle with Mahometanism began; in 676 the Maronites of Lebanon formed a strong sect, which, in 1182, joined the Roman Church. In 988, Vladimir the Great of Russia founded the Græco-Russian Church, in which the Greek Church found a refuge, when Mahometanism was established at Constantinople, after its capture by the Turks in 1453.


The separation of the Eastern and Western churches, which finally took place in the year 1054, was due to the operation of influences which had been at work for several centuries before. From very early times a tendency to divergence existed, arising from the tone of thought of the dominant races in the two, the more speculative Greeks being chiefly occupied with purely theological questions, while the more practical Roman mind devoted itself rather to subjects connected with the nature and destiny of man. In differences such as these there was nothing irreconcilable: the members of both communions professed the same forms of belief, rested their faith on the same divine persons, were guided by the same standard of morals, and were animated by the same hopes and fears; and they were bound by the first principles of their religion to maintain unity with one another. But in societies, as in individuals, inherent diversity of character is liable to be intensified by time, and thus counteracts the natural bonds of sympathy, and prevents the two sides from seeing one another's point of view. In this way it coöperates with and aggravates the force of other causes of disunion, which adverse circumstances may generate. Such causes there were in the present instance, political, ecclesiastical, and theological; and the nature of these it may be well for us to consider, before proceeding to narrate the history of the disruption.

The office of bishop of Rome assumed to some extent a political character as early as the time of the first Christian emperors. By them this prelate was constituted a sort of secretary of state for Christian affairs, and was employed as a central authority for communicating with the bishops in the provinces; so that after a while he acted as minister of religion and public instruction. As the civil and military power of the Western Empire declined, the extent of this authority increased; and by the time when Italy was annexed to the Empire of the East, in the reign of Justinian, the popes had become the political chiefs of Roman society. Nominally, indeed, they were subject to the exarch of Ravenna, as vicegerent of the Emperor at Constantinople, but in reality the inhabitants of Western Europe were more disposed to look to the spiritual potentate in the Imperial city as representing the traditions of ancient Rome.

The political rivalry that was thus engendered was sharpened by the traditional jealousy of Rome and Constantinople, which had existed ever since the new capital had been erected on the shores of the Bosporus. Then followed struggles for administrative superiority between the popes and the exarchs, culminating in the shameful maltreatment and banishment of Martin I by the emperor Constans—an event which the See of Rome could never forget.

The attempt to enforce iconoclasm in Central Italy was influential in causing the loss of that province to the Empire; and even after the Byzantine rule had ceased there, the controversy about images tended to keep alive the antagonism, because, although that question was once and again settled in favor of the maintenance of images, yet many of the emperors, in whose persons the power of the East was embodied, were foremost in advocating their destruction. Indeed, from first to last, owing to the close connection of church and state in the Byzantine empire, the unpopularity of the latter in Western Europe was shared by the former. To this must be added the contempt for one another's character which had arisen among the adherents of the two churches, for the Easterns had learned to regard the people of the West as ignorant and barbarous, and were esteemed by them in turn as mendacious and unmanly.

In ecclesiastical matters also the differences were of long standing. These related to questions of jurisdiction between the two patriarchates. Up to the eighth century, the patriarchate of the West included a number of provinces on the eastern side of the Adriatic—Illyricum, Dacia, Macedonia, and Greece. But Leo the Isaurian, who probably foresaw that Italy would ere long cease to form part of his dominions, and was unwilling that these important territories should own spiritual allegiance to one who was not his subject, altered this arrangement, and transferred the jurisdiction over them to the Patriarch of Constantinople. Against this measure the bishops of Rome did not fail to protest, and demands for their restoration were made up to the time of the final schism. A further ecclesiastical question, which in part depended on this, was that of the Church of the Bulgarians. The prince Bogoris had swayed to and fro in his inclinations between the two churches, and had ultimately given his allegiance to that of the East; but the controversy did not end there. According to the ancient territorial arrangement the Danubian provinces were made subject to the archbishopric of Thessalonica, and that city was included within the Western patriarchate; and on this ground Bulgaria was claimed by the Roman see as falling within that area. The matter was several times pressed on the attention of the Greek Church, especially on the occasion of the council held at Constantinople in 879, but in vain. The Eastern prelates replied evasively, saying that to determine the boundaries of dioceses was a matter which belonged to the sovereign. The Emperor, for his part, had good reason for not yielding, for by so doing he would not only have admitted into a neighboring country an agency which would soon have been employed for political purposes to his disadvantage, but would have justified the assumption on which the demand rested, viz., that the pope had a right to claim the provinces which his predecessors had lost. Thus this point of difference also remained open, as a source of irritation between the two churches.

But behind these questions another of far greater magnitude was coming into view, that of the papal supremacy. From being in the first instance the head of the Christian church in the old Imperial city, and afterward Patriarch of the West, and primus inter pares in relation to the other spiritual heads of Christendom, the bishop of Rome had gradually claimed, on the strength of his occupying the cathedra Petri, a position which approximated more and more to that of supremacy over the whole Church. This claim had never been admitted in the East, but the appeals which were made from Constantinople to his judgment and authority, both at the time of the iconoclastic controversy and subsequently, lent some countenance to its validity.

But the great advance was made in the pontificate of Nicholas I (858-867), who promulgated, or at least recognized, the False Decretals. This famous compilation, which is now universally acknowledged to be spurious, and can be shown to be the work of that period, contains, among other documents, letters and decrees of the early bishops of Rome, in which the organization and discipline of the Church from the earliest time are set forth, and the whole system is shown to have depended on the supremacy of the popes. The newly discovered collection was recognized as genuine by Nicholas, and was accepted by the Western Church. The effect of this was at once to formulate all the claims which had before been vaguely asserted, and to give them the authority of unbroken tradition. The result to Christendom at large was in the highest degree momentous. It was impossible for future popes to recede from them, and equally impossible for other churches which valued their independence to acknowledge them. The last attempt on the part of the Eastern Church to arrange a compromise in this matter was made by the emperor Basil II, a potentate who both by his conquests and the vigor of his administration might rightly claim to negotiate with others on equal terms. By him it was proposed (A.D. 1024) that the Eastern Church should recognize the honorary primacy of the Western patriarch, and that he in turn should acknowledge the internal independence of the Eastern Church. These terms were rejected, and from that moment it was clear that the separation of the two branches of Christendom was only a question of time.

Already in the papacy of Nicholas I a rupture had occurred in connection with the dispute between the rival patriarchs of Constantinople, Ignatius and Photius. The former of these prelates, who was son of the emperor Michael I, and a man of high character and a devout opponent of iconoclasm, was appointed, through the influence of Theodora, the restorer of images, in the reign of her son, Michael the Drunkard. But the uncle of the Emperor, the Caesar Bardas, who was a man of flagrantly immoral life, had divorced his own wife, and was living publicly with his son's widow. For this incestuous connection Ignatius repelled him from the communion. Fired with indignation at this insult, the Caesar determined to ruin both the Patriarch and his patroness, the Empress-mother, and with this view persuaded the Emperor to free himself from the trammels of his mother's influence by forcing her to take monastic vows. To this step Ignatius would not consent, because it was forbidden by the laws of the Church that any should enter on the monastic life except of their own free will. In consequence of his resistance a charge of treasonable correspondence was invented against him, and when he refused to resign his office he was deposed (857). Photius, who was chosen to succeed him, was the most learned man of his age, and like his rival, unblemished in character and a supporter of images, but boundless in ambition. He was a layman at the time of his appointment, but in six days he passed through the inferior orders which led up to the patriarchate. Still, the party that remained faithful to Ignatius numbered many adherents, and therefore Photius thought it well to enlist the support of the Bishop of Rome on his side. An embassy was therefore sent to inform Pope Nicholas that the late Patriarch had voluntarily retired, and that Photius had been lawfully chosen, and had undertaken the office with great reluctance. In answer to this appeal the Pope despatched two legates to Constantinople, and Ignatius was summoned to appear before a council at which they were present. He was condemned, but appealed to the Pope in person.

On the return of the legates to Rome it was discovered that they had received bribes, and thereupon Nicholas, whose judgment, however imperious, was ever on the side of the oppressed, called together a synod of the Roman Church, and refused his consent to the deposition of Ignatius. To this effect he wrote to the authorities of the Eastern Church, calling upon them at the same time to concur in the decrees of the apostolic see; but subsequently, having obtained full information as to the harsh treatment to which the deposed Patriarch had been subjected, he excommunicated Photius, and commanded the restoration of Ignatius "by the power committed to him by Christ through St. Peter."

These denunciations produced no effect on the Emperor and the new Patriarch, and a correspondence between Michael and Nicholas, couched in violent language, continued at intervals for several years. At last, in consequence of a renewed demand on the part of the Pope that Ignatius and Photius should be sent to Rome for judgment, the latter prelate, whose ability and eloquence had obtained great influence for him, summoned a council at Constantinople in the year 867, to decree the counter-excommunication of the Western Patriarch. Of the eight articles which were drawn up on this occasion for the incrimination of the Church of Rome, all but two relate to trivial matters, such as the observance of Saturday as a fast, and the shaving of their beards by the clergy. The two important ones deal with the doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Spirit, and the enforced celibacy of the clergy.

The condemnation of the Western Church on these grounds was voted, and a messenger was despatched to bear the defiance to Rome; but ere he reached his destination he was recalled, in consequence of a revolution in the palace at Constantinople. The author of this, Basil the Macedonian, the founder of the most important dynasty that ever occupied the throne of the Eastern Empire, had for some time been associated in the government with the emperor Michael; but at length, being fearful for his own safety, he resolved to put his colleague out of the way, and assassinated him during one of his fits of drunkenness.

It is said that in consequence of this crime Photius refused to admit him to the communion; anyhow, one of the first acts of Basil was to depose Photius. A council, hostile to him, was now assembled, and was attended by the legates of the new pope, Hadrian II (869). By this Ignatius was restored to his former dignity, while Photius was degraded and his ordinations were declared void. So violent was the animosity displayed against him that he was dragged before the assembly by the Emperor's guard, and his condemnation was written in the sacramental wine. During the ten years which elapsed between his restoration and his death Ignatius continued to enjoy his high position in peace, but for Photius other vicissitudes were in store.

On the removal of his rival, so strangely did opinion sway to and fro at this time in the empire, the current of feeling set strongly in favor of the learned exile. He was recalled, and his reinstatement was ratified by a council (879). But with the death of Basil the Macedonian (886), he again fell from power, for the successor of that Emperor, Leo the Philosopher, ignominiously removed him, in order to confer the dignity on his brother Stephen. He passed the remainder of his life in honorable retirement, and by his death the chief obstacle in the way of reconcilement with the Roman Church was removed. It is consoling to learn, when reading of the unhappy rivalry of the two men so superior to the ordinary run of Byzantine prelates, that they never shared the passions of their respective partisans, but retained a mutual regard for one another.

We have now to consider the doctrinal questions which were in dispute between the two churches. Far the most important of these was that relating to the addition of the Filioque clause to the Nicene Creed. In the first draft of the Creed, as promulgated by the council of Nicaea, the article relating to the Holy Spirit ran simply thus: "I believe in the Holy Ghost." But in the Second General Council, that of Constantinople, which condemned the heresy of Macedonius, it was thought advisable to state more explicitly the doctrine of the Church on this subject, and among other affirmations the clause was added, "who proceedeth from the Father." Again, at the next general council, at Ephesus, it was ordered that it should not be lawful to make any addition to the Creed, as ratified by the Council of Constantinople. The followers of the Western Church, however, generally taught that the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as from the Father, while those of the East preferred to use the expression, "the Spirit of Christ, proceeding from the Father, and receiving of the Son," or, "proceeding from the Father through the Son." It was in the churches of Spain and France that the Filioque clause was first introduced into the Creed and thus recited in the services, but the addition was not at once approved at Rome. Pope Leo III, early in the ninth century, not only expressed his disapproval of this departure from the original form, but, in order to show his sense of the importance of adhering to the traditional practice, caused the Creed of Constantinople to be engraved on silver plates, both in Greek and Latin, and thus to be publicly set forth in the Church. The first pontiff who authorized the addition was Nicholas I, and against this Photius protested, both during the lifetime of that Pope and also in the time of John VIII, when it was condemned by the council held at Constantinople in 879, which is called by the Greeks the Eighth General Council. It is clear from what we have already seen that Photius was prepared to seize on any point of disagreement in order to throw it in the teeth of his opponents, but in this matter the Eastern Church had a real grievance to complain of. The Nicene Creed was to them what it was not to the Western Church, their only creed, and the authority of the councils, by which its form and wording were determined, stood far higher in their estimation. To add to the one and to disregard the other were, at least in their judgment, the violation of a sacred compact.

The other question, which, if not actually one of doctrine, had come to be regarded as such, was that of the azyma, that is, the use of unfermented bread in the celebration of the eucharist. As far as one can judge from the doubtful evidence on the subject, it seems probable that ordinary, that is, leavened bread, was generally used in the church for this purpose until the seventh or eighth century, when unleavened bread began to be employed in the West, on the ground that it was used in the original institution of the sacrament, which took place during the Feast of the Passover. In the Eastern Church this change was never admitted. It seems strange that so insignificant a matter of observance should have been erected into a question of the first importance between the two communions, but the reason of this is not far to seek. The fact is that, whereas the weighty matters of dispute—the doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Spirit, and the papal claims to supremacy—required some knowledge and reflection in order rightly to understand their bearings, the use of leavened or unleavened bread was a matter within the range of all, and those who were on the lookout for a ground of antagonism found it here ready to hand.

In the story of the conversion of the Russian Vladimir we are told that the Greek missionary who expounded to him the religious views of the Eastern Church, when combating the claims of the emissaries of the Roman communion, remarked: "They celebrate the mass with unleavened bread; therefore they have not the true religion." Still, even Photius, when raking together the most minute points of difference between him and his adversaries, did not introduce this one. It was reserved for a hot-headed partisan at a later period to bring forward as a subject of public discussion.

This was Michael Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinople, with whose name the Great Schism will forever be associated.

The circumstances which led up to that event are as follows: For a century and a half from the death of Photius the controversy slumbered, though no advance was made toward an understanding with respect to the points at issue. In Italy, and even at Rome, churches and monasteries were tolerated in which the Greek rite was maintained, and similar freedom was allowed to the Latins resident in the Greek empire. But this tacit compact was broken in 1053 by the patriarch Michael, who, in his passionate antagonism to everything Western, gave orders that all the churches in Constantinople in which worship was celebrated according to the Roman rite should be closed. At the same time—aroused, perhaps, in some measure by the progress of the Normans in conquering Apulia, which tended to interfere with the jurisdiction still exercised by the Eastern Church in that province—he joined with Leo, the archbishop of Achrida and metropolitan of Bulgaria, in addressing a letter to the Bishop of Trani in Southern Italy, containing a violent attack on the Latin Church, in which the question of the azyma was put prominently forward.

Directions were further given for circulating this missive among the Western clergy. It happened that at the time when the letter arrived at Trani, Cardinal Humbert, a vigorous champion of ecclesiastical rights, was residing in that city, and he translated it into Latin and communicated it to Pope Leo IX. In answer, the Pope addressed a remonstrance to the Patriarch, in which, without entering into the specific charges that he had brought forward, he contrasted the security of the Roman See in matters of doctrine, arising from the guidance which was guaranteed to it through St. Peter, with the liability of the Eastern Church to fall into error, and pointedly referred to the more Christian spirit manifested by his own communion in tolerating those from whose opinions they differed. Afterward, at the commencement of 1054, in compliance with a request from the emperor Constantine Monomachus, who was anxious on political grounds to avoid a rupture, he sent three legates to Constantinople to arrange the terms of an agreement. These were Frederick of Lorraine, Chancellor of the Roman Church; Peter, Archbishop of Amalfi, and Cardinal Humbert.

The legates were welcomed by the Emperor, but they unwisely adopted a lofty tone toward the haughty Patriarch, who thenceforward avoided all communication with them, declaring that on a matter which so seriously affected the whole Eastern Church he could take no steps without consulting the other patriarchs. Humbert now published an argumentative reply to Michael's letter to the Pope, in the form of a dialogue between two members of the Greek and Latin churches, in which the charges brought against his own communion were discussed seriatim, and especially those relating to fasting on Saturday and the use of unleavened bread in the eucharist. A rejoinder to this appeared from the pen of a monk of the monastery of Studium, Nicetas Pectoratus, in which the enforced celibacy of the Western clergy, on which Photius had before animadverted, was severely criticised. The Cardinal retorted in intemperate language, and so entirely had the legates secured the support of Constantine that Nicetas' work was committed to the flames, and he was forced to recant what he had said against the Roman Church. But the Patriarch was immovable, and for the moment he occupied a stronger position than the Emperor, who desired to conciliate him. At last the patience of the legates was exhausted, and on July 16, 1054, they proceeded to the Church of St. Sophia, and deposited on the altar, which was prepared for the celebration of the eucharist, a document containing a fierce anathema, by which Michael Cerularius and his adherents were condemned. After their departure they were for a moment recalled, because the Patriarch expressed a desire to confer with them; but this Constantine would not permit, fearing some act of violence on the part of the people. They then finally left Constantinople, and from that time to the present all communion has been broken off between the two great branches of Christendom.

The breach thus made was greatly widened at the period of the crusades. However serious may have been the alienation between the East and West at the time of their separation, it is clear that the Greeks were not regarded by the Latins as a mere heretical sect, for one of the primary objects with which the First Crusade was undertaken was the deliverance of the Eastern Empire from the attacks of the Mahometans. But the familiarity which arose from the presence of the crusaders on Greek soil ripened the seeds of mutual dislike and distrust. As long as negotiations between the two parties took place at a distance, the differences, however irreconcilable they might be in principle, did not necessarily bring them into open antagonism, whereas their more intimate acquaintance with one another produced personal and national ill-will. The people of the West now appeared more than ever barbarous and overbearing, and the Court of Constantinople more than ever senile and designing. The crafty policy of Alexius Comnenus in transferring his allies with all speed into Asia, and declining to take the lead in the expedition, was almost justified by the necessity of delivering his subjects from these unwelcome visitors and avoiding further embarrassments. But the iniquitous Fourth Crusade (1204) produced an ineradicable feeling of animosity in the minds of the Byzantine people. The memory of the barbarities of that time, when many Greeks died as martyrs at the stake for their religious convictions, survives at the present day in various places bordering on the Aegean, in legends which relate that they were formerly destroyed by the Pope of Rome.

Still, the anxiety of the Eastern emperors to maintain their position by means of political support from Western Europe brought it to pass that proposals for reunion were made on several occasions. The final attempt at reconciliation was made when the Greek empire was reduced to the direst straits, and its rulers were prepared to purchase the aid of Western Europe against the Ottomans by almost any sacrifice. Accordingly, application was made to Pope Eugenius IV, and by him the representatives of the Eastern Church were invited to attend the council which was summoned to meet at Ferrara in 1438. The Emperor, John Palaeologus and the Greek patriarch Joseph proceeded thither.

The Emperor, however, on his return home, soon discovered that his pilgrimage to the West had been lost labor. Pope Eugenius, indeed, provided him with two galleys and a guard of three hundred men, equipped at his own expense, but the hoped-for succors from Western Europe did not arrive. His own subjects were completely alienated by the betrayal of their cherished faith; the clergy who favored the union were regarded as traitors. John Palaeologus himself did not survive to see the final catastrophe; but Constantinople was captured by the Turks, and the Empire of the East ceased to exist.


The bonds so often and so painfully knit between the Eastern and Western churches were destined at last to be completely torn asunder, and the truth of our Lord's words, "Who is not for Me, is against Me," was again to be proved. The Greek schism places strikingly before our eyes the fate of such churches as supinely yield their rights and independence, and submit willingly to State tyranny. In the year 857 the wicked Bardas, uncle to the reigning Emperor, who wielded an almost absolute power and disregarded all laws, human and divine, unjustly banished from his See, Ignatius, the rightful patriarch of Constantinople, and placed in his stead the learned, but worthless, Photius. Such bishops as refused to recognize the intruder (who had received all the orders in six days from an excommunicated bishop) were deposed, imprisoned and exiled.

Photius tried, by cruel ill-treatment, to force the aged Ignatius to abdicate, and by a well-contrived fabrication endeavored to obtain the support of Pope Nicholas I. When, however, this great Pope learned the true facts of the case from the imprisoned Ignatius, he assembled a synod in Rome in 864, by which Photius and all the bishops whom he had consecrated were deposed. Fired by ambition, Photius now threw off all concealments. He summoned the bishops of his own party, laid various charges against the Roman Church, and in his inconsiderate rage ended by anathematising the holy Father. Pope Nicholas, in a most powerful letter, exhorted the Emperor Michael III to set bounds to the disorders of Photius, warning him that a fearful judgment would await him if the faithful were misled and so many believers caused to swerve from the right path. It was not, however, till the reign of his successor that Photius was banished and the much-tried St. Ignatius restored to his rights.

To remedy the evil brought about by Photius, the eighth general council was held in Constantinople, at the desire of St. Ignatius and the Emperor, and presided over by the legates of Pope Adrian. Photius, when called upon to answer for himself, having nothing to say in his own defence, excused his silence by the example of our Lord, who also was silent when accused. The fathers were filled with indignation at this blasphemous speech, and his guilt having been fully proved, they cried unanimously: "Anathema on Photius, promoted through court favor! Anathema to the tyrant Photius, to the inventor of lies, to the new Judas! Anathema on all his followers and protectors! Everlasting glory to the most holy Roman Pope Nicholas! Long life to Adrian, the holy Father in Rome!" At the next sitting of the council, a collection of spurious and falsified writings, together with the acts of the synod which Photius had held against Pope Nicholas, and which were filled with lies and invective and had forged signatures appended to them, were publicly burned in the church. But hardly had Ignatius died in the year 879, when the crafty Photius, who knew well how to ingratiate himself with the Emperor, reascended the ill-fated chair and began afresh his old courses. His rule did not last long. He was again deposed and banished to a monastery, where he died about the year 891. His death, however, in nowise healed the wounds which he had inflicted on the Eastern Church. His party survived him. He had filled most of the Greek sees with men of his own cast, and had illegally bestowed benefices on great numbers of priests. These all harbored a deep-seated dislike towards Rome, and only awaited a favorable opportunity to renew the breach with her. Thus that sectarian spirit which Photius had kindled continued to smoulder on like a spark beneath the ashes, and spread itself wider and wider, as well among the worst sort of the clergy as among the fickle and discontented population.

It was after all this that the patriarchs of Constantinople attempted to make themselves fully independent of the West. The splendor of the imperial city of Byzantium was a constant incitement to their desire for freedom, and they were certain for the most part of being supported in their endeavors by the emperors. As early as the time of Pope Gregory the Great, the patriarch John the Faster had taken on himself the title of "Oecumenical," or universal bishop, whilst Gregory, in apostolic humility, chose that of "Servant of the servants of God." It was in the middle of the eleventh century that a complete separation was accomplished. The universally recognized precedence of the See of Peter was intolerable to the ambitious spirit of the patriarch Michael Cerularius. To aid him in casting off the hated yoke, he circulated, like Photius, a document in which the Western Church was loaded with invective and all manner of accusations laid to her charge. The celibacy of the secular clergy, the use of unleavened bread for the sacrifice, fasting on Saturdays, the shaving of beards, the omission of the Alleluia in Lent, were all brought forward as causes of offence. These complaints were at once answered by Pope St. Leo IX, who tried, in a most eloquent letter, to bring the deluded patriarch to reason. He reminded him of the sanctity and inviolability of the unity of Christ's Church, the folly and presumption of his attempting to direct the successor of Peter, whom Christ had Himself confirmed in the faith, and pointed out to him with what ingratitude and contempt he was treating the Roman Church, the mother and guardian of all the churches. Lastly, he urged upon the patriarch to set aside all discord and pride, and to allow divine mercy and peace to prevail instead of strife. But the paternal words were spoken in vain, and the legates also who were sent by the Pope to Constantinople were powerless to move the obduracy of the patriarch. He persistently refused all communication with them by speech or writing. Having therefore formally laid their complaints in the most distinct terms before the Emperor and Senate, they proceeded to extremities. On the 16th of July, 1054, they appeared in the church of St. Sophia at the beginning of divine service, and declared solemnly that all their endeavors to re-establish peace and union had been defeated by Cerularius. They then laid the bull of excommunication on the high altar and left the church, shaking, as they did so, the dust from off their feet, and exclaiming in the deepest grief, "God sees it; He will judge." Thus was the unhappy schism between the East and the West accomplished.


A.D. 1066


Toward the end of the reign of Edward the Confessor the claims of three rival competitors for the English crown were persistently urged. These claimants were Harald Hardrada, King of Norway, whose claim was based upon an alleged compact of King Hardicanute with King Magnus, Harald's predecessor; Duke William of Normandy, and the Saxon Harold, son of Godwin, Earl of Wessex. This Harold, born about 1022, became Earl of East Anglia about 1045; was banished with his father by Edward the Confessor in 1051, and restored with his father in 1052; succeeded his father as Earl of Wessex in 1053—relinquishing the earldom of East Anglia—and from 1053 to 1066 was chief minister of Edward.

Harold—probably in 1064—being shipwrecked on the coast of Normandy, became a guest and virtual prisoner of William, Duke of Normandy, by whom the Saxon was forced to take an oath that he would marry William's daughter and assist him in obtaining the crown of England; William then allowed Harold to return to his country. Upon the death of Edward the Confessor—January 5, 1066—an assembly of thanes and prelates and leading citizens of London declared that Harold should be their king. His accession as Harold II dates from the day after Edward's death. Harold justified himself on the ground that his oath to William of Normandy was taken under constraint.

William published his protest against what he called the bad faith of Harold, and proclaimed his purpose to assert his rights by the sword. He also obtained the countenance of the Pope, whose authority Harold refused to recognize. A banner, blessed by the Pope for the invasion of England, was sent to William from the Holy See, and the clergy of the Continent upheld his enterprise as being the Cause of God. Thus supported by the spiritual power, then wielding vast influence, William proceeded to gather "the most remarkable and formidable armament which the western nations had witnessed." With this following he entered upon an undertaking the speedy and complete success of which, in the single and decisive battle of Hastings, was fruitful in historic results such as are seldom so traceable to definite causes and events. "No one who appreciates the influence of England and her empire upon the destinies of the world will ever rank that victory as one of secondary importance."

All the adventurous spirits of Christendom flocked to the holy banner, under which Duke William, the most renowned knight and sagest general of the age, promised to lead them to glory and wealth in the fair domains of England. His army was filled with the chivalry of Continental Europe, all eager to save their souls by fighting at the Pope's bidding, eager to signalize their valor in so great an enterprise, and eager also for the pay and the plunder which William liberally promised. But the Normans themselves were the pith and the flower of the army, and William himself was the strongest, the sagest, and the fiercest spirit of them all.

Throughout the spring and summer of 1066 all the seaports of Normandy, Picardy, and Brittany rang with the busy sound of preparation. On the opposite side of the Channel King Harold collected the army and the fleet with which he hoped to crush the southern invaders. But the unexpected attack of King Harald Hardrada of Norway upon another part of England disconcerted the skilful measures which the Saxon had taken against the menacing armada of Duke William.

Harold's renegade brother, Earl Tostig, had excited the Norse King to this enterprise, the importance of which has naturally been eclipsed by the superior interest attached to the victorious expedition of Duke William, but which was on a scale of grandeur which the Scandinavian ports had rarely, if ever, before witnessed. Hardrada's fleet consisted of two hundred warships and three hundred other vessels, and all the best warriors of Norway were in his host. He sailed first to the Orkneys, where many of the islanders joined him, and then to Yorkshire. After a severe conflict near York he completely routed Earls Edwin and Morcar, the governors of Northumbria. The city of York opened its gates, and all the country, from the Tyne to the Humber, submitted to him.

The tidings of the defeat of Edwin and Morcar compelled Harold to leave his position on the southern coast and move instantly against the Norwegians. By a remarkably rapid march he reached Yorkshire in four days, and took the Norse King and his confederates by surprise. Nevertheless, the battle which ensued, and which was fought near Stamford Bridge, was desperate, and was long doubtful. Unable to break the ranks of the Norwegian phalanx by force, Harold at length tempted them to quit their close order by a pretended flight. Then the English columns burst in among them, and a carnage ensued the extent of which may be judged of by the exhaustion and inactivity of Norway for a quarter of a century afterward. King Harald Hardrada and all the flower of his nobility perished on the 25th of September, 1066, at Stamford Bridge, a battle which was a Flodden to Norway.

Harold's victory was splendid; but he had bought it dearly by the fall of many of his best officers and men, and still more dearly by the opportunity which Duke William had gained of effecting an unopposed landing on the Sussex coast. The whole of William's shipping had assembled at the mouth of the Dive, a little river between the Seine and the Orne, as early as the middle of August. The army which he had collected amounted to fifty thousand knights and ten thousand soldiers of inferior degree. Many of the knights were mounted, but many must have served on foot, as it is hardly possible to believe that William could have found transports for the conveyance of fifty thousand war-horses across the Channel.

For a long time the winds were adverse, and the Duke employed the interval that passed before he could set sail in completing the organization in and improving the discipline of his army, which he seems to have brought into the same state of perfection as was seven centuries and a half afterward the boast of another army assembled on the same coast, and which Napoleon designed for a similar descent upon England.

It was not till the approach of the equinox that the wind veered from the northeast to the west, and gave the Normans an opportunity of quitting the weary shores of the Dive. They eagerly embarked and set sail, but the wind soon freshened to a gale, and drove them along the French coast to St. Valery, where the greater part of them found shelter; but many of their vessels were wrecked, and the whole coast of Normandy was strewn with the bodies of the drowned.

William's army began to grow discouraged and averse to the enterprise, which the very elements thus seemed to fight against; though, in reality, the northeast wind, which had cooped them so long at the mouth of the Dive, and the western gale, which had forced them into St. Valery, were the best possible friends to the invaders. They prevented the Normans from crossing the Channel until the Saxon King and his army of defence had been called away from the Sussex coast to encounter Harald Hardrada in Yorkshire; and also until a formidable English fleet, which by King Harold's orders had been cruising in the Channel to intercept the Normans, had been obliged to disperse temporarily for the purpose of refitting and taking in fresh stores of provisions.

Duke William used every expedient to reanimate the drooping spirits of his men at St. Valery; and at last he caused the body of the patron saint of the place to be exhumed and carried in solemn procession, while the whole assemblage of soldiers, mariners, and appurtenant priests implored the saint's intercession for a change of wind. That very night the wind veered, and enabled the mediaeval Agamemnon to quit his Aulis.

With full sails, and a following southern breeze, the Norman armada left the French shores and steered for England. The invaders crossed an undefended sea, and found an undefended coast. It was in Pevensey Bay, in Sussex, at Bulverhithe, between the castle of Pevensey and Hastings, that the last conquerors of this island landed on the 29th of September, 1066.

Harold was at York, rejoicing over his recent victory, which had delivered England from her ancient Scandinavian foes, and resettling the government of the counties which Harald Hardrada had overrun, when the tidings reached him that Duke William of Normandy and his host had landed on the Sussex shore. Harold instantly hurried southward to meet this long-expected enemy. The severe loss which his army had sustained in the battle with the Norwegians must have made it impossible for many of his veteran troops to accompany him in his forced march to London, and thence to Sussex. He halted at the capital only six days, and during that time gave orders for collecting forces from the southern and midland counties, and also directed his fleet to reassemble off the Sussex coast. Harold was well received in London, and his summons to arms was promptly obeyed by citizen, by thane, by socman, and by ceorl, for he had shown himself, during his brief reign, a just and wise king, affable to all men, active for the good of his country, and, in the words of the old historian, sparing himself from no fatigue by land or by sea. He might have gathered a much more numerous army than that of William; but his recent victory had made him overconfident, and he was irritated by the reports of the country being ravaged by the invaders. As soon, therefore, as he had collected a small army in London he marched off toward the coast, pressing forward as rapidly as his men could traverse Surrey and Sussex, in the hope of taking the Normans unawares, as he had recently, by a similar forced march, succeeded in surprising the Norwegians. But he had now to deal with a foe equally brave with Harald Hardrada and far more skilful and wary.

The old Norman chroniclers describe the preparations of William on his landing with a graphic vigor, which would be wholly lost by transfusing their racy Norman couplets and terse Latin prose into the current style of modern history. It is best to follow them closely, though at the expense of much quaintness and occasional uncouthness of expression. They tell us how Duke William's own ship was the first of the Norman fleet. It was called the Mora, and was the gift of his duchess Matilda. On the head of the ship, in the front, which mariners call the prow, there was a brazen child bearing an arrow with a bended bow. His face was turned toward England, and thither he looked, as though he was about to shoot. The breeze became soft and sweet, and the sea was smooth for their landing. The ships ran on dry land, and each ranged by the other's side. There you might see the good sailors, the sergeants, and squires sally forth and unload the ships; cast the anchors, haul the ropes, bear out shields and saddles, and land the war-horses and the palfreys. The archers came forth and touched land the first, each with his bow strung, and with his quiver full of arrows slung at his side. All were shaven and shorn; and all clad in short garments, ready to attack, to shoot, to wheel about and skirmish. All stood well equipped and of good courage for the fight; and they scoured the whole shore, but found not an armed man there. After the archers had thus gone forth, the knights landed all armed, with their hauberks on, their shields slung at their necks, and their helmets laced. They formed together on the shore, each armed and mounted on his war-horse; all had their swords girded on, and rode forward into the country with their lances raised. Then the carpenters landed, who had great axes in their hands, and planes and adzes hung at their sides. They took counsel together, and sought for a good spot to place a castle on. They had brought with them in the fleet three wooden castles from Normandy in pieces, all ready for framing together, and they took the materials of one of these out of the ships, all shaped and pierced to receive the pins which they had brought cut and ready in large barrels; and before evening had set in they had finished a good fort on the English ground, and there they placed their stores. All then ate and drank enough, and were right glad that they were ashore.

When Duke William himself landed, as he stepped on the shore he slipped and fell forward upon his two hands. Forthwith all raised a loud cry of distress. "An evil sign," said they, "is here." But he cried out lustily: "See, my lords, by the splendor of God,[26] I have taken possession of England with both my hands. It is now mine, and what is mine is yours."

[Footnote 26: William's customary oath.]

The next day they marched along the sea-shore to Hastings. Near that place the Duke fortified a camp, and set up the two other wooden castles. The foragers, and those who looked out for booty, seized all the clothing and provisions they could find, lest what had been brought by the ships should fail them. And the English were to be seen fleeing before them, driving off their cattle, and quitting their houses. Many took shelter in burying-places, and even there they were in grievous alarm.

Besides the marauders from the Norman camp, strong bodies of cavalry were detached by William into the country, and these, when Harold and his army made their rapid march from London southward, fell back in good order upon the main body of the Normans, and reported that the Saxon King was rushing on like a madman. But Harold, when he found that his hopes of surprising his adversary were vain, changed his tactics, and halted about seven miles from the Norman lines. He sent some spies, who spoke the French language, to examine the number and preparations of the enemy, who, on their return, related with astonishment that there were more priests in William's camp than there were fighting men in the English army. They had mistaken for priests all the Norman soldiers who had short hair and shaven chins, for the English laymen were then accustomed to wear long hair and mustaches. Harold, who knew the Norman usages, smiled at their words, and said, "Those whom you have seen in such numbers are not priests, but stout soldiers, as they will soon make us feel."

Harold's army was far inferior in number to that of the Normans, and some of his captains advised him to retreat upon London and lay waste the country, so as to starve down the strength of the invaders. The policy thus recommended was unquestionably the wisest, for the Saxon fleet had now reassembled, and intercepted all William's communications with Normandy; and as soon as his stores of provisions were exhausted, he must have moved forward upon London, where Harold, at the head of the full military strength of the kingdom, could have defied his assault, and probably might have witnessed his rival's destruction by famine and disease, without having to strike a single blow. But Harold's bold blood was up, and his kindly heart could not endure to inflict on the South Saxon subjects even the temporary misery of wasting the country. "He would not burn houses and villages, neither would he take away the substance, of his people."

Harold's brothers, Gurth and Leofwine, were with him in the camp, and Gurth endeavored to persuade him to absent himself from the battle. The incident shows how well devised had been William's scheme of binding Harold by the oath on the holy relics.

"My brother," said the young Saxon prince, "thou canst not deny that either by force or free will thou hast made Duke William an oath on the bodies of saints. Why then risk thyself in the battle with a perjury upon thee? To us, who have sworn nothing, this is a holy and a just war, for we are fighting for our country. Leave us then alone to fight this battle, and he who has the right will win."

Harold replied that he would not look on while others risked their lives for him. Men would hold him a coward, and blame him for sending his best friends where he dared not go himself. He resolved, therefore, to fight, and to fight in person; but he was still too good a general to be the assailant in the action; and he posted his army with great skill along a ridge of rising ground which opened southward, and was covered on the back by an extensive wood. He strengthened his position by a palisade of stakes and osier hurdles, and there he said he would defend himself against whoever should seek him.

The ruins of Battle Abbey at this hour attest the place where Harold's army was posted; and the high altar of the abbey stood on the very spot where Harold's own standard was planted during the fight, and where the carnage was the thickest. Immediately after his victory William vowed to build an abbey on the site; and a fair and stately pile soon rose there, where for many ages the monks prayed and said masses for the souls of those who were slain in the battle, whence the abbey took its name. Before that time the place was called Senlac. Little of the ancient edifice now remains; but it is easy to trace in the park and the neighborhood the scenes of the chief incidents in the action; and it is impossible to deny the generalship shown by Harold in stationing his men, especially when we bear in mind that he was deficient in cavalry, the arm in which his adversary's main strength consisted.

William's only chance of safety lay in bringing on a general engagement; and he joyfully advanced his army from their camp on the hill over Hastings, nearer to the Saxon position. But he neglected no means of weakening his opponent, and renewed his summonses and demands on Harold with an ostentatious air of sanctity and moderation.

"A monk, named Hugues Maigrot, came in William's name to call upon the Saxon King to do one of three things—either to resign his royalty in favor of William, or to refer it to the arbitration of the pope to decide which of the two ought to be king, or let it be determined by the issue of a single combat. Harold abruptly replied, 'I will not resign my title, I will not refer it to the pope, nor will I accept the single combat.' He was far from being deficient in bravery; but he was no more at liberty to stake the crown which he had received from a whole people in the chance of a duel than to deposit it in the hands of an Italian priest. William, not at all ruffled by the Saxon's refusal, but steadily pursuing the course of his calculated measures, sent the Norman monk again, after giving him these instructions: 'Go and tell Harold that if he will keep his former compact with me, I will leave to him all the country which is beyond the Humber, and will give his brother Gurth all the lands which Godwin held. If he still persist in refusing my offers, then thou shalt tell him, before all his people, that he is a perjurer and a liar; that he and all who shall support him are excommunicated by the mouth of the Pope, and that the bull to that effect is in my hands.'

"Hugues Maigrot delivered this message in a solemn tone; and the Norman chronicle says that at the word excommunication the English chiefs looked at one another as if some great danger were impending. One of them then spoke as follows: 'We must fight, whatever may be the danger to us; for what we have to consider is not whether we shall accept and receive a new lord, as if our king were dead; the case is quite otherwise. The Norman has given our lands to his captains, to his knights, to all his people, the greater part of whom have already done homage to him for them: they will all look for their gift if their duke become our king; and he himself is bound to deliver up to them our goods, our wives, and our daughters: all is promised to them beforehand. They come, not only to ruin us, but to ruin our descendants also, and to take from us the country of our ancestors. And what shall we do—whither shall we go, when we have no longer a country?' The English promised, by a unanimous oath, to make neither peace nor truce nor treaty with the invader, but to die or drive away the Normans."

The 13th of October was occupied in these negotiations, and at night the Duke announced to his men that the next day would be the day of battle. That night is said to have been passed by the two armies in very different manners. The Saxon soldiers spent it in joviality, singing their national songs, and draining huge horns of ale and wine round their campfires. The Normans, when they had looked to their arms and horses, confessed themselves to the priests, with whom their camp was thronged, and received the sacrament by thousands at a time.

On Saturday, the 14th of October, was fought the great battle.

It is not difficult to compose a narrative of its principal incidents from the historical information which we possess, especially if aided by an examination of the ground. But it is far better to adopt the spirit-stirring words of the old chroniclers, who wrote while the recollections of the battle were yet fresh, and while the feelings and prejudices of the combatants yet glowed in the bosoms of living men.

Robert Wace, the Norman poet, who presented his Roman de Rou to Henry II, is the most picturesque and animated of the old writers, and from him we can obtain a more vivid and full description of the conflict than even the most brilliant romance-writer of the present time can supply. We have also an antique memorial of the battle more to be relied on than either chronicler or poet (and which confirms Wace's narrative remarkably) in the celebrated Bayeux tapestry, which represents the principal scenes of Duke William's expedition and of the circumstances connected with it, in minute though occasionally grotesque details, and which was undoubtedly the production of the same age in which the battle took place, whether we admit or reject the legend that Queen Matilda and the ladies of her court wrought it with their own hands in honor of the royal Conqueror.

Let us therefore suffer the old Norman chronicler to transport our imaginations to the fair Sussex scenery northwest of Hastings, as it appeared on that October morning. The Norman host is pouring forth from its tents, and each troop and each company is forming fast under the banner of its leader. The masses have been sung, which were finished betimes in the morning; the barons have all assembled round Duke William; and the Duke has ordered that the army shall be formed in three divisions, so as to make the attack upon the Saxon position in three places.

The Duke stood on a hill where he could best see his men; the barons surrounded him, and he spake to them proudly. He told them how he trusted them, and how all that he gained should be theirs, and how sure he felt of conquest, for in all the world there was not so brave an army or such good men and true as were then forming around him. Then they cheered him in turn, and cried out: "'You will not see one coward; none here will fear to die for love of you, if need be.' And he answered them: 'I thank you well. For God's sake, spare not; strike hard at the beginning; stay not to take spoil; all the booty shall be in common, and there will be plenty for everyone. There will be no safety in asking quarter or in flight; the English will never love or spare a Norman. Felons they were, and felons they are; false they were, and false they will be. Show no weakness toward them, for they will have no pity on you; neither the coward for running well, nor the bold man for smiting well, will be the better liked by the English, nor will any be the more spared on either account. You may fly to the sea, but you can fly no farther; you will find neither ships nor bridge there; there will be no sailors to receive you, and the English will overtake you there and slay you in your shame. More of you will die in flight than in battle. Then, as flight will not secure you, fight and you will conquer. I have no doubt of the victory; we are come for glory; the victory is in our hands, and we may make sure of obtaining it if we so please.'

"As the Duke was speaking thus and would yet have spoken more, William Fitzosbern rode up with his horse all coated with iron. 'Sire,' said he, 'we tarry here too long; let us all arm ourselves. Allons! allons!'

"Then all went to their tents and armed themselves as they best might; and the Duke was very busy, giving everyone his orders; and he was courteous to all the vassals, giving away many arms and horses to them. When he prepared to arm himself, he called first for his hauberk, and a man brought it on his arm and placed it before him, but in putting his head in, to get it on, he unawares turned it the wrong way, with the back part in front. He soon changed it; but when he saw that those who stood by were sorely alarmed, he said: 'I have seen many a man who if such a thing had happened to him would not have borne arms or entered the field the same day; but I never believed in omens, and I never will. I trust in God, for he does in all things his pleasure, and ordains what is to come to pass according to his will. I have never liked fortune-tellers, nor believed in diviners, but I commend myself to Our Lady. Let not this mischance give you trouble. The hauberk which was turned wrong, and then set right by me, signifies that a change will arise out of the matter which we are now stirring. You shall see the name of duke changed into king. Yea, a king shall I be, who hitherto have been but duke.'

"Then he crossed himself, and straightway took his hauberk, stooped his head and put it on aright, and laced his helmet, and girt on his sword, which a varlet brought him. Then the Duke called for his good horse—a better could not be found. It had been sent him by a king of Spain, out of very great friendship. Neither arms nor the press of fighting men did it fear if its lord spurred it on. Walter Giffard brought it. The Duke stretched out his hand, took the reins, put foot in stirrup, and mounted, and the good horse pawed, pranced, reared himself up, and curvetted.

"The Viscount of Toarz saw how the Duke bore himself in arms and said to his people that were around him: 'Never have I seen a man so fairly armed, nor one who rode so gallantly, or bore his arms or became his hauberk so well; neither any one who bore his lance so gracefully or sat his horse and managed him so nobly. There is no such knight under heaven! a fair count he is, and fair king he will be. Let him fight and he shall overcome; shame be to the man who shall fail him!'

"Then the Duke called for the standard which the Pope had sent him, and, he who bore it having unfolded it, the Duke took it and called to Raoul de Conches. 'Bear my standard,' said he, 'for I would not but do you right; by right and by ancestry your line are standard-bearers of Normandy, and very good knights have they all been.' But Raoul said that he would serve the Duke that day in other guise, and would fight the English with his hand as long as life should last.

"Then the Duke bade Walter Giffard bear the standard. But he was old and white-headed, and bade the Duke give the standard to some younger and stronger man to carry. Then the Duke said fiercely, 'By the splendor of God, my lords, I think you mean to betray and fail me in this great need.' 'Sire,' said Giffart, 'not so! we have done no treason, nor do I refuse from any felony toward you; but I have to lead a great chivalry, both hired men and the men of my fief. Never had I such good means of serving you as I now have; and, if God please, I will serve you; if need be I will die for you, and will give my own heart for yours.'

"'By my faith,' quoth the Duke, 'I always loved thee, and now I love thee more; if I survive this day, thou shalt be the better for it all thy days.' Then he called out a knight, whom he had heard much praised, Tosteins Fitz-Rou le Blanc by name, whose abode was at Bec-en-Caux. To him he delivered the standard; and Tosteins took it right cheerfully, and bowed low to him in thanks, and bore it gallantly and with good heart. His kindred still have quittance of all service for their inheritance on this account, and their heirs are entitled so to hold their inheritance forever.

"William sat on his war-horse, and called out Rogier, whom they call De Montgomeri. 'I rely much on you,' said he; 'lead your men thitherward and attack them from that side. William, the son of Osbern the seneschal, a right good vassal, shall go with you and help in the attack, and you shall have the men of Boilogne and Poix and all my soldiers. Alain Fergert and Ameri shall attack on the other side; they shall lead the Poitevins and the Bretons and all the barons of Maine; and I, with my own great men, my friends and kindred, will fight in the middle throng, where the battle shall be the hottest.'

"The barons and knights and men-at-arms were all now armed; the foot-soldiers were well equipped, each bearing bow and sword; on their heads were caps, and to their feet were bound buskins. Some had good hides which they had bound round their bodies; and many were clad in frocks, and had quivers and bows hung to their girdles. The knights had hauberks and swords, boots of steel, and shining helmets; shields at their necks, and in their hands lances. And all had their cognizances, so that each might know his fellow, and Norman might not strike Norman, nor Frenchman kill his countryman by mistake. Those on foot led the way, with serried ranks, bearing their bows. The knights rode next, supporting the archers from behind. Thus both horse and foot kept their course and order of march as they began, in close ranks at a gentle pace, that the one might not pass or separate from the other. All went firmly and compactly, bearing themselves gallantly.

"Harold had summoned his men, earls, barons, and vavasors, from the castles and the cities, from the ports, the villages and boroughs. The peasants were also called together from the villages, bearing such arms as they found; clubs and great picks, iron forks and stakes. The English had enclosed the place where Harold was with his friends and the barons of the country whom he had summoned and called together.

"Those of London had come at once, and those of Kent, of Hertfort, and of Essesse; those of Surée and Susesse, of St. Edmund and Sufoc; of Norwis and Norfoc; of Cantorbierre and Stanfort, Bedefort and Hundetone. The men of Northanton also came; and those of Eurowic and Bokinkeham, of Bed and Notinkeham, Lindesie and Nichole. There came also from the west all who heard the summons; and very many were to be seen coming from Salebiere and Dorset, from Bat and from Sumerset. Many came, too, from about Glocestre, and many from Wirecestre, from Wincestre, Hontesire and Brichesire; and many more from other counties that we have not named, and cannot, indeed, recount. All who could bear arms, and had learned the news of the Duke's arrival, came to defend the land. But none came from beyond Humbre, for they had other business upon their hands, the Danes and Tosti having much damaged and weakened them.

"Harold knew that the Normans would come and attack him hand to hand, so he had early enclosed the field in which he had placed his men. He made them arm early and range themselves for the battle, he himself having put on arms and equipments that became such a lord. The Duke, he said, ought to seek him, as he wanted to conquer England; and it became him to abide the attack who had to defend the land. He commanded the people, and counselled his barons to keep themselves all together and defend themselves in a body, for if they once separated, they would with difficulty recover themselves. 'The Normans,' said he, 'are good vassals, valiant on foot and on horseback; good knights are they on horseback and well used to battle; all is lost if they once penetrate our ranks. They have brought long lances and swords, but you have pointed lances and keen-edged bills; and I do not expect that their arms can stand against yours. Cleave whenever you can; it will be ill done if you spare aught.'

"The English had built up a fence before them with their shields and with ash and other wood, and had well joined and wattled in the whole work, so as not to leave even a crevice; and thus they had a barricade in their front through which any Norman who would attack them must first pass. Being covered in this way by their shields and barricades, their aim was to defend themselves; and if they had remained steady for that purpose, they would not have been conquered that day; for every Norman who made his way in lost his life in dishonor, either by hatchet or bill, by club or other weapon.

"They wore short and close hauberks, and helmets that hung over their garments. King Harold issued orders, and made proclamation round, that all should be ranged with their faces toward the enemy, and that no one should move from where he was, so that whoever came might find them ready; and that whatever anyone, be he Norman or other, should do, each should do his best to defend his own place. Then he ordered the men of Kent to go where the Normans were likely to make the attack; for they say that the men of Kent are entitled to strike first; and that whenever the king goes to battle, the first blow belongs to them. The right of the men of London is to guard the king's body, to place themselves around him, and to guard his standard; and they were accordingly placed by the standard to watch and defend it.

"When Harold had made all ready, and given his orders, he came into the midst of the English and dismounted by the side of the standard; Leofwine and Gurth, his brothers, were with him; and around him he had barons enough, as he stood by his standard, which was, in truth, a noble one, sparkling with gold and precious stones. After the victory William sent it to the Pope, to prove and commemorate his great conquest and glory. The English stood in close ranks, ready and eager for the fight; and they, moreover, made a fosse, which went across the field, guarding one side of their army.

"Meanwhile the Normans appeared advancing over the ridge of a rising ground, and the first division of their troops moved onward along the hill and across a valley. And presently another division, still larger, came in sight, close following upon the first, and they were led toward another part of the field, forming together as the first body had done. And while Harold saw and examined them, and was pointing them out to Gurth, a fresh company came in sight, covering all the plain; and in the midst of them was raised the standard that came from Rome.

"Near it was the Duke, and the best men and greatest strength of the army were there. The good knights, the good vassals, and brave warriors were there; and there were gathered together the gentle barons, the good archers, and the men-at-arms, whose duty it was to guard the Duke, and range themselves around him. The youths and common herd of the camp, whose business was not to join in the battle, but to take care of the harness and stores, moved off toward a rising ground. The priests and the clerks also ascended a hill, there to offer up prayers to God, and watch the event of the battle.

"The English stood firm on foot in close ranks, and carried themselves right boldly. Each man had his hauberk on, with his sword girt, and his shield at his neck. Great hatchets were also slung at their necks, with which they expected to strike heavy blows.

"The Normans brought on the three divisions of their army to attack at different places. They set out in three companies, and in three companies did they fight. The first and second had come up, and then advanced the third, which was the greatest; with that came the Duke with his own men, and all moved boldly forward.

"As soon as the two armies were in full view of each other, great noise and tumult arose. You might hear the sound of many trumpets, of bugles, and of horns; and then you might see men ranging themselves in line, lifting their shields, raising their lances, bending their bows, handling their arrows, ready for assault and defence.

"The English stood steady to their post, the Normans still moved on; and when they drew near, the English were to be seen stirring to and fro; were going and coming; troops ranging themselves in order; some with their color rising, others turning pale; some making ready their arms, others raising their shields; the brave man rousing himself to fight, the coward trembling at the approach of danger.

"Then Taillefer, who sang right well, rode, mounted on a swift horse, before the Duke, singing of Charlemagne and of Roland, of Oliver, and the peers who died in Roncesvalles. And when they drew nigh to the English,

"'A boon, sire!' cried Taillefer; 'I have long served you, and you owe me for all such service. To-day, so please you, you shall repay it. I ask as my guerdon, and beseech you for it earnestly, that you will allow me to strike the first blow in the battle!' And the Duke answered, 'I grant it.'

"Then Taillefer put his horse to a gallop, charging before all the rest, and struck an Englishman dead, driving his lance below the breast into his body, and stretching him upon the ground. Then he drew his sword, and struck another, crying out, 'Come on, come on! What do ye, sirs? lay on, lay on!' At the second blow he struck the English pushed forward, and surrounded, and slew him. Forthwith arose the noise and cry of war, and on either side the people put themselves in motion.

"The Normans moved on to the assault, and the English defended themselves well. Some were striking, others urging onward; all were bold and cast aside fear. And now, behold, that battle was gathered whereof the fame is yet mighty.

"Loud and far resounded the bray of the horns and the shocks of the lances, the mighty strokes of maces and the quick clashing of swords. One while the Englishmen rushed on, another while they fell back; one while the men from over sea charged onward, and again at other times retreated. The Normans shouted, 'Dex Aie,' the English people, 'Out.' Then came the cunning manoeuvres, the rude shocks and strokes of the lance and blows of the swords, among the sergeants and soldiers, both English and Norman.

"When the English fall, the Normans shout. Each side taunts and defies the other, yet neither knoweth what the other saith; and the Normans say the English bark, because they understand not their speech.

"Some wax strong, others weak: the brave exult, but the cowards tremble, as men who are sore dismayed. The Normans press on the assault, and the English defend their post well; they pierce the hauberks and cleave the shields, receive and return mighty blows. Again, some press forward, others yield; and thus, in various ways, the struggle proceeds. In the plain was a fosse, which the Normans had now behind them, having passed it in the fight without regarding it. But the English charged and drove the Normans before them till they made them fall back upon this fosse, overthrowing into it horses and men. Many were to be seen falling therein, rolling one over the others, with their faces to the earth, and unable to rise. Many of the English also, whom the Normans drew down along with them, died there. At no time during the day's battle did so many Normans die as perished in that fosse. So those said who saw the dead.

"The varlets who were set to guard the harness began to abandon it as they saw the loss of the Frenchmen when thrown back upon the fosse without power to recover themselves. Being greatly alarmed at seeing the difficulty in restoring order, they began to quit the harness, and sought around, not knowing where to find shelter. Then Duke William's brother, Odo, the good priest, the Bishop of Bayeux, galloped up and said to them: 'Stand fast! stand fast! be quiet and move not! fear nothing; for, if God please, we shall conquer yet.' So they took courage and rested where they were; and Odo returned galloping back to where the battle was most fierce, and was of great service on that day. He had put a hauberk on over a white aube, wide in the body, with the sleeve tight, and sat on a white horse, so that all might recognize him. In his hand he held a mace, and wherever he saw most need he held up and stationed the knights, and often urged them on to assault and strike the enemy.

"From nine o'clock in the morning, when the combat began, till three o'clock came, the battle was up and down, this way and that, and no one knew who would conquer and win the land. Both sides stood so firm and fought so well that no one could guess which would prevail. The Norman archers with their bows shot thickly upon the English; but they covered themselves with their shields, so that the arrows could not reach their bodies nor do any mischief, how true so ever was their aim or however well they shot. Then the Normans determined to shoot their arrows upward into the air, so that they might fall on their enemies' heads and strike their faces. The archers adopted this scheme and shot up into the air toward the English; and the arrows, in falling, struck their heads and faces and put out the eyes of many; and all feared to open their eyes or leave their faces unguarded.

"The arrows now flew thicker than rain before the wind; fast sped the shafts that the English call 'wibetes.' Then it was that an arrow, that had been thus shot upward, struck Harold above his right eye, and put it out. In his agony he drew the arrow and threw it away, breaking it with his hands; and the pain to his head was so great that he leaned upon his shield. So the English were wont to say, and still say to the French, that the arrow was well shot which was so sent up against their King, and that the archer won them great glory who thus put out Harold's eye.

"The Normans saw that the English defended themselves well, and were so strong in their position that they could do little against them. So they consulted together privily, and arranged to draw off, and pretend to flee, till the English should pursue and scatter themselves over the field; for they saw that if they could once get their enemies to break their ranks, they might be attacked and discomfited much more easily. As they had said, so they did. The Normans by little and little fled, the English following them. As the one fell back, the other pressed after; and when the Frenchmen retreated, the English thought and cried out that the men of France fled and would never return.

"Thus they were deceived by the pretended flight, and great mischief thereby befell them; for if they had not moved from their position, it is not likely that they would have been conquered at all; but, like fools, they broke their lines and pursued.

"The Normans were to be seen following up their stratagem, retreating slowly so as to draw the English farther on. As they still flee, the English pursue; they push out their lances and stretch forth their hatchets, following the Normans as they go, rejoicing in the success of their scheme, and scattering themselves over the plain. And the English meantime jeered and insulted their foes with words. 'Cowards,' they cried, 'you came hither in an evil hour, wanting our lands and seeking to seize our property; fools that ye were to come! Normandy is too far off, and you will not easily reach it. It is of little use to run back; unless you can cross the sea at a leap or can drink it dry, your sons and daughters are lost to you.'

"The Normans bore it all; but, in fact, they knew not what the English said: their language seemed like the baying of dogs, which they could not understand. At length they stopped and turned round, determined to recover their ranks; and the barons might be heard crying, 'Dex Aie!' for a halt. Then the Normans resumed their former position, turning their faces toward the enemy; and their men were to be seen facing round and rushing onward to a fresh mêlée, the one party assaulting the other; this man striking, another pressing onward. One hits, another misses; one flies, another pursues; one is aiming a stroke, while another discharges his blow. Norman strives with Englishman again, and aims his blows afresh. One flies, another pursues swiftly: the combatants are many, the plain wide, the battle and the mêlée fierce. On every hand they fight hard, the blows are heavy, and the struggle becomes fierce.

"The Normans were playing their part well, when an English knight came rushing up, having in his company a hundred men furnished with various arms. He wielded a northern hatchet with the blade a full foot long, and was well armed after his manner, being tall, bold, and of noble carriage. In the front of the battle, where the Normans thronged most, he came bounding on swifter than the stag, many Normans falling before him and his company.

"He rushed straight upon a Norman who was armed and riding on a war-horse, and tried with his hatchet of steel to cleave his helmet; but the blow miscarried, and the sharp blade glanced down before the saddle-bow, driving through the horse's neck down to the ground, so that both horse and master fell together to the earth. I know not whether the Englishman struck another blow; but the Normans who saw the stroke were astonished and about to abandon the assault, when Roger de Montgomeri came galloping up, with his lance set, and, heeding not the long-handled axe which the Englishman wielded aloft, struck him down and left him stretched on the ground. Then Roger cried out, 'Frenchmen, strike! the day is ours!' And again a fierce mêlée was to be seen, with many a blow of lance and sword; the English still defending themselves, killing the horses and cleaving the shields.

"There was a French soldier of noble mien who sat his horse gallantly. He spied two Englishmen who were also carrying themselves boldly. They were both men of great worth and had become companions in arms and fought together, the one protecting the other. They bore two long and broad bills and did great mischief to the Normans, killing both horses and men.

"The French soldier looked at them and their bills and was sore alarmed, for he was afraid of losing his good horse, the best that he had, and would willingly have turned to some other quarter if it would not have looked like cowardice. He soon, however, recovered his courage, and, spurring his horse, gave him the bridle and galloped swiftly forward. Fearing the two bills, he raised his shield, and struck one of the Englishmen with his lance on the breast, so that the iron passed out at his back. At the moment that he fell the lance broke, and the Frenchman seized the mace that hung at his right side, and struck the other Englishman a blow that completely fractured his skull.

"On the other side was an Englishman who much annoyed the French, continually assaulting them with a keen-edged hatchet. He had a helmet made of wood, which he had fastened down to his coat and laced round his neck, so that no blows could reach his head. The ravage he was making was seen by a gallant Norman knight, who rode a horse that neither fire nor water could stop in its career when its master urged it on. The knight spurred, and his horse carried him on well till he charged the Englishman, striking him over the helmet so that it fell down over his eyes; and as he stretched out his hand to raise it and uncover his face, the Norman cut off his right hand, so that his hatchet fell to the ground. Another Norman sprang forward and eagerly seized the prize with both his hands, but he kept it little space and paid dearly for it, for as he stooped to pick up the hatchet an Englishman with his long-handled axe struck him over the back, breaking all his bones, so that his entrails and lungs gushed forth. The knight of the good horse meantime returned without injury; but on his way he met another Englishman and bore him down under his horse, wounding him grievously and trampling him altogether under foot.

"And now might be heard the loud clang and cry of battle and the clashing of lances. The English stood firm in their barricades, and shivered the lances, beating them into pieces with their bills and maces. The Normans drew their swords and hewed down the barricades, and the English, in great trouble, fell back upon their standard, where were collected the maimed and wounded.

"There were many knights of Chauz who jousted and made attacks. The English knew not how to joust, or bear arms on horseback, but fought with hatchets and bills. A man, when he wanted to strike with one of their hatchets, was obliged to hold it with both his hands, and could not at the same time, as it seems to me, both cover himself and strike with any freedom.

"The English fell back toward the standard, which was upon a rising ground, and the Normans followed them across the valley, attacking them on foot and horseback. Then Hue de Mortemer, with the Sires D'Auviler, D'Onebac, and St. Cler, rode up and charged, overthrowing many.

"Robert Fitz Erneis fixed his lance, took his shield, and, galloping toward the standard, with his keen-edged sword struck an Englishman who was in front, killed him, and then drawing back his sword, attacked many others, and pushed straight for the standard, trying to beat it down; but the English surrounded it and killed him with their bills. He was found on the spot, when they afterward sought for him, dead and lying at the standard's foot.

"Duke William pressed close upon the English with his lance, striving hard to reach the standard with the great troop he led, and seeking earnestly for Harold, on whose account the whole war was. The Normans follow their lord, and press around him; they ply their blows upon the English, and these defend themselves stoutly, striving hard with their enemies, returning blow for blow.

"One of them was a man of great strength, a wrestler, who did great mischief to the Normans with his hatchet; all feared him, for he struck down a great many Normans. The Duke spurred on his horse, and aimed a blow at him, but he stooped, and so escaped the stroke; then jumping on one side, he lifted his hatchet aloft, and as the Duke bent to avoid the blow, the Englishman boldly struck him on the head and beat in his helmet, though without doing much injury. He was very near falling, however; but, bearing on his stirrups, he recovered himself immediately; and when he thought to have revenged himself upon the churl by killing him, he had escaped, dreading the Duke's blow. He ran back in among the English, but he was not safe even there; for the Normans, seeing him, pursued and caught him, and having pierced him through and through with their lances, left him dead on the ground.

"Where the throng of the battle was greatest, the men of Kent and Essex fought wondrously well, and made the Normans again retreat, but without doing them much injury. And when the Duke saw his men fall back and the English triumphing over them, his spirit rose high, and he seized his shield and his lance, which a vassal handed to him, and took his post by his standard.

"Then those who kept close guard by him and rode where he rode, being about a thousand armed men, came and rushed with closed ranks upon the English, and, with the weight of their good horses, and the blows the knights gave, broke the press of the enemy, and scattered the crowd before them, the good Duke leading them on in front. Many pursued and many fled; many were the Englishmen who fell around, and were trampled under the horses, crawling upon the earth, and not able to rise. Many of the richest and noblest men fell in the rout, but still the English rallied in places, smote down those whom they reached, and maintained the combat the best they could, beating down the men and killing the horses. One Englishman watched the Duke, and plotted to kill him; he would have struck him with his lance, but he could not, for the Duke struck him first, and felled him to the earth.

"Loud was now the clamor and great the slaughter; many a soul then quitted the body it inhabited. The living marched over the heaps of dead, and each side was weary of striking. He charged on who could, and he who could no longer strike still pushed forward. The strong struggled with the strong; some failed, others triumphed; the cowards fell back, the brave pressed on; and sad was his fate who fell in the midst, for he had little chance of rising again; and many in truth fell who never rose at all, being crushed under the throng.

"And now the Normans had pressed on so far that at last they had reached the standard. There Harold had remained, defending himself to the utmost; but he was sorely wounded in his eye by the arrow, and suffered grievous pain from the blow. An armed man came in the throng of the battle, and struck him on the ventail of his helmet, and beat him to the ground; and as he sought to recover himself a knight beat him down again, striking him on the thick of his thigh, down to the bone.

"Gurth saw the English falling around, and that there was no remedy. He saw his race hastening to ruin, and despaired of any aid; he would have fled, but could not, for the throng continually increased. And the Duke pushed on till he reached him, and struck him with great force. Whether he died of that blow I know not, but it was said that he fell under it and rose no more.

"The standard was beaten down, the golden standard was taken, and Harold and the rest of his friends were slain; but there was so much eagerness, and throng of so many around, seeking to kill him, that I know not who it was that slew him.

"The English were in great trouble at having lost their King and at the Duke's having conquered and beat down the standard; but they still fought on, and defended themselves long, and in fact till the day drew to a close. Then it clearly appeared to all that the standard was lost, and the news had spread throughout the army that Harold, for certain, was dead; and all saw that there was no longer any hope, so they left the field, and those fled who could.

"William fought well; many an assault did he lead, many a blow did he give, and many receive, and many fell dead under his hand. Two horses were killed under him, and he took a third when necessary, so that he fell not to the ground and lost not a drop of blood. But whatever anyone did, and whoever lived or died, this is certain that William conquered and that many of the English fled from the field, and many died on the spot. Then he returned thanks to God, and in his pride ordered his standard to be brought and set up on high, where the English standard had stood; and that was the signal of his having conquered, and beaten down the standard. And he ordered his tent to be raised on the spot among the dead, and had his meat brought thither, and his supper prepared there.

"Then he took off his armor; and the barons and knights, pages and squires came, when he had unstrung his shield; and they took the helmet from his head and the hauberk from his back, and saw the heavy blows upon his shield and how his helmet was dinted in. And all greatly wondered and said: 'Such a baron (ber) never bestrode war-horse nor dealt such blows nor did such feats of arms; neither has there been on earth such a knight since Rollant and Oliver.'

"Thus they lauded and extolled him greatly and rejoiced in what they saw, but grieving also for their friends who were slain in the battle. And the Duke stood meanwhile among them, of noble stature and mien, and rendered thanks to the King of Glory, through whom he had the victory, and thanked the knights around him, mourning also frequently for the dead. And he ate and drank among the dead, and made his bed that night upon the field.

"The morrow was Sunday; and those who had slept upon the field of battle, keeping watch around and suffering great fatigue, bestirred themselves at break of day and sought out and buried such of the bodies of their dead friends as they might find. The noble ladies of the land also came, some to seek their husbands, and others their fathers, sons, or brothers. They bore the bodies to their villages and interred them at the churches; and the clerks and priests of the country were ready, and at the request of their friends took the bodies that were found, and prepared graves and lay them therein.

"King Harold was carried and buried at Varham; but I know not who it was that bore him thither, neither do I know who buried him. Many remained on the field, and many had fled in the night."

Such is a Norman account of the battle of Hastings, which does full justice to the valor of the Saxons as well as to the skill and bravery of the victors. It is indeed evident that the loss of the battle by the English was owing to the wound which Harold received in the afternoon, and which must have incapacitated him from effective command. When we remember that he had himself just won the battle of Stamford Bridge over Harald Hardrada by the manoeuvre of a feigned flight, it is impossible to suppose that he could be deceived by the same stratagem on the part of the Normans at Hastings. But his men, when deprived of his control, would very naturally be led by their inconsiderate ardor into the pursuit that proved so fatal to them. All the narratives of the battle, however much they vary as to the precise time and manner of Harold's fall, eulogize the generalship and the personal prowess which he displayed until the fatal arrow struck him. The skill with which he had posted his army was proved both by the slaughter which it cost the Normans to force the position, and also by the desperate rally which some of the Saxons made after the battle in the forest in the rear, in which they cut off a large number of the pursuing Normans. This circumstance is particularly mentioned by William of Poictiers, the Conqueror's own chaplain. Indeed, if Harold or either of his brothers had survived, the remains of the English army might have formed again in the wood, and could at least have effected an orderly retreat and prolonged the war. But both Gurth and Leofwine, and all the bravest thanes of Southern England, lay dead on Senlac, around their fallen King and the fallen standard of their country. The exact number that perished on the Saxons' side is unknown; but we read that, on the side of the victors, out of sixty thousand men who had been engaged, no less than a fourth perished; so well had the English billmen "plyed the ghastly blow," and so sternly had the Saxon battle-axe cloven Norman's casque and mail. The old historian Daniel justly as well as forcibly remarks: "Thus was tried, by the great assize of God's judgment in battle, the right of power between the English and Norman nations; a battle the most memorable of all others, and, however miserably lost, yet most nobly fought on the part of England."

Many a pathetic legend was told in after years respecting the discovery and the burial of the corpse of our last Saxon King. The main circumstances, though they seem to vary, are perhaps reconcilable. Two of the monks of Waltham Abbey, which Harold had founded a little time before his election to the throne, had accompanied him to the battle. On the morning after the slaughter they begged and gained permission of the Conqueror to search for the body of their benefactor. The Norman soldiery and camp followers had stripped and gashed the slain, and the two monks vainly strove to recognize from among the mutilated and gory heaps around them the features of their former King. They sent for Harold's mistress, Edith, surnamed "the Fair," and "the Swan-necked," to aid them. The eye of love proved keener than the eye of gratitude, and the Saxon lady even in that Aceldama knew her Harold.

The King's mother now sought the victorious Norman, and begged the dead body of her son. But William at first answered, in his wrath and the hardness of his heart, that a man who had been false to his word and his religion should have no other sepulchre than the sand of the shore. He added, with a sneer: "Harold mounted guard on the coast while he was alive; he may continue his guard now he is dead." The taunt was an unintentional eulogy; and a grave washed by the spray of the Sussex waves would have been the noblest burial-place for the martyr of Saxon freedom. But Harold's mother was urgent in her lamentations and her prayers; the Conqueror relented: like Achilles, he gave up the dead body of his fallen foe to a parent's supplications, and the remains of King Harold were deposited with regal honors in Waltham Abbey.

On Christmas Day in the same year William the Conqueror was crowned, at London, King of England.


A.D. 1073-1085


If during the pontificate of Innocent III (1198-1216) the papal power attained its greatest height, yet under one of his predecessors the chair of St. Peter became a throne of almost absolute supremacy. This mighty pontiff, Gregory VII, whose real name, Hildebrand, indicates his German descent, was born—the son of a carpenter—in Tuscany, about 1020. He became a monk of the Benedictine order, and was educated at the abbey of Cluny in France. In 1044 he went to Rome, called by a papal election, and there saw abuses which from that moment he fixed his mind upon striving to abolish. In 1048 he was again in Rome and soon rose to the rank of cardinal.

For many years Hildebrand was the real director of papal policy, and long before his election as pope, in 1073, he worked to accomplish the reforms that distinguish his pontificate, which continued till his death, in 1085.

As a part of the Holy Roman Empire, Italy held a dual relation to the emperor and the pope. Between the Roman pontiffs and the secular heads of the Empire the struggle for supremacy had been long and often bitter. At the time of Hildebrand's active appearance the papacy was in a state of degradation which demoralized the Church itself.

Long before his elevation to the papal chair Hildebrand's efforts had met with much success, and the power of the holy see was gradually increased. Independently of the Emperor, whose will had hitherto governed the papal elections, in 1058—chiefly through the influence of Hildebrand—Pope Nicholas II was chosen by a new method, and from that time the choice of popes has been made by the sacred college of cardinals.

Hildebrand reluctantly accepted the office of pope; but having entered upon the task which he knew to be so formidable, he pursued it with such energy, courage, and success as to make his pontificate one of the most memorable in the annals of the Church. Of his greatest contests within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction—over the celibacy of the clergy and simony—as well as of those with the Imperial power represented by Henry IV—the "War of Investitures"—the following account will be found to present the essential features with a clearness and comprehensiveness which are seldom seen in the relation of matter so complex and in a narrative so concise. The differing viewpoints are also instructive, as presented by Pennington of the Church of England, and Artaud, the standard Roman Catholic authority.


The time had come when Hildebrand was to receive the reward of the important services which he had rendered to the holy see. He had been the ruling spirit under five popes—Leo, Victor, Stephen, Nicholas, and Alexander—four of whom were indebted to him for their election. But now he must himself be raised to the papal throne.

The clergy were assembled in the Lateran Church to celebrate the obsequies of Alexander. Hildebrand, as archdeacon, was performing the service. Suddenly, in the midst of the requiem for the departed, a shout was heard which seemed to come as if by inspiration from the assembled multitude: "Hildebrand is Pope! St. Peter chooses the archdeacon Hildebrand!"

From the funeral procession Hildebrand flew to the pulpit, and with impassioned gestures seemed to be imploring silence. The storm, however, did not cease till one of the cardinals, in the name of the sacred college, declared that they had unanimously elected him whom the people had chosen. Arrayed in scarlet robes, crowned with the papal tiara, Gregory VII ascended the chair of St. Peter.

The Pope very soon made known the course which he should pursue. He issued a prohibition against the marriage of the clergy, and in a council at Rome abolished the right of investiture.[27] He was determined to redress the wrongs of society. He had seen oppression laying waste the fairest provinces of Europe, he had seen many princes, goaded on by the revengeful passions of their nature, flinging wide their standard to the winds, and dipping their hands in the blood of those who, if Christianity be not a fable, were their very brothers. A magnificent vision rose up before him. He would rule the world by religion; he would be the caesar of the spiritual monarchy. He and a council of prelates, annually assembled at Rome, would constitute a tribunal from whose judgment there should be no appeal, empowered to hold the supreme mediation in matters relating to the interests of the body politic, to settle contested successions to kingdoms; and to compel men to cease from their dissensions.

[Footnote 27: That is, the right of the civil power to grant church offices at will, and to invest ecclesiastics with symbols of their offices and receive their oaths of fealty.]

The civil power was to pledge itself to be prompt in the execution of their decrees against those who despised their authority. But if the decisions of those judges were to carry weight, they must be men of unblemished integrity. The purity of their ermine must be altogether unsullied. The sale of the highest spiritual offices by the prince, who had deprived the clergy and people of their right to elect them, which had stained the hands of the Church and undermined its power, must be altogether forbidden. Elections must be free. The custom of investiture by sovereigns with the ring and crozier, which had rendered the hierarchy and clergy the creatures of their will, must be forbidden.

The clergy must possess an absolute exemption from the criminal justice of the state. They must recognize but one ruler, the pope, who disposed of them indirectly through the bishops or directly in cases of exemption, and used them as tools for the execution of his behests. In fact, they were to constitute a vast army, exclusively devoted to the service of an ecclesiastical monarch.

They must be unconnected by marriage with the world around them, that they might be bound more closely to one another and to their head; that they might be saved from the temptation of restless projects for the advancement of their families, which have caused so much scandal in the world; and that they might give an exalted idea of their sanctity, inasmuch as, in order that they might give themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word, they would forego that connubial bliss, the portion of those,

"The happiest of their kind,
Whom gentler stars unite and in one fate
Their hearts, their fortunes,
and their beings blend."

The marriage of the clergy was everywhere more or less repugnant to the general feeling of Christendom. The rise and progress of asceticism in the Church had their source in human nature, and its growth was quickened by a reaction from the immorality of paganism. The general effect on the position of the clergy was to compel them to keep progress with the prevailing movement. Men consecrated to the service of Jehovah must rise superior to the common herd of their fellow-creatures.

By a decree of Pope Siricius at the end of the fourth century marriage was interdicted to all priests and deacons. This decree was, however, very imperfectly observed during the following centuries. The general feeling was, however, at this time very strongly against the married clergy. But throughout the spiritual realm of Hildebrand in Italy, from Calabria to the Alps, the clergy had risen up in rebellion against him and the popes his predecessors when they attempted to coerce them into celibacy. We believe that this opposition, much more than the strife as to investitures, was the cause of the strong feeling, almost unprecedented, which existed against Gregory VII.

We must now show that Gregory enforced his views as to investitures. This part of our subject is important, because it gave occasion for the assertion that the pope could depose the Holy Roman emperor and the king of Italy, if he should find him morally or physically disqualified for fulfilling the condition on which his appointment depended—that he should defend him from his enemies. Henry IV, at the beginning of his reign only ten years of age, was at this time Emperor.[28]

[Footnote 28: That is, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, which included the German-speaking people of Europe, and also, in theory at least, Italy.]

One day, as he was standing by the Rhine, a galley with silken streamers appeared, into which he was invited to enter. After he had been gliding for some time down the stream, he found that he was a prisoner. The archbishops of Milan and Cologne, with other powerful lords, having consigned him to a degrading captivity, administered, in his name, the government of the empire. By affording him every means of vicious indulgence, they were only too successful in corrupting a noble and generous nature. Very soon he was guilty of crimes, and plunged into excesses which seemed to cry aloud for vengeance.

The Pope saw that the time had come for the execution of his designs. Henry had been guilty of the grossest simony. The spiritual dignities had been openly sold to the highest bidder. He saw also that, while the clergy took the oath of fealty to the monarch and were invested by him with the ring and crozier, he could not establish the superiority of the spiritual to the temporal jurisdiction. He therefore summoned a council at the Lateran (1075), which issued a decree against lay investitures. The Pope, having thus declared war against the Emperor, proceeded to fill up certain vacant bishoprics, and to suspend bishops, both in Germany and Italy, who had been guilty of simony. He also cited Henry before him to answer for his simony, crimes, and excesses.

This citation is alleged to have given occasion for an attempted crime, supposed to have been sanctioned by Henry, which may show us that while the Pope was asserting a right to rule over the nations, he could not rule in his own city. On Christmas Eve, 1075, the city of Rome was visited with a violent tempest. Darkness brooded over the land. The inhabitants thought that the day of judgment was at hand. In the midst of this war of the elements two processions were seen advancing toward the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. At the head of one of them was Hildebrand, leading his priests to worship at a shrine. At the head of the other was Cencius, a Roman noble. In one of the pauses in the roar of the tempest, when the Pope was heard blessing his flock, the arm of Cencius grasped his person, and the sword of a ruffian inflicted a wound on his forehead. Bound with cords, the Pope was removed to a mansion in the city, from which he was the next day to be removed to exile or to death. A sword was aimed at the Pontiff's bosom, when the cries of a fierce multitude, threatening to burn down the house, arrested the arm of the assassin. An arrow, discharged from below, reached and slew the latter. Cencius fell at the Pope's feet, a suppliant for pardon and for life. The Pontiff immediately pardoned him. Then, amid the acclamations of the Roman people, Gregory proceeded to complete the interrupted solemnities at Santa Maria Maggiore.

The war between Henry and the Pope continued. Henry summoned a synod at Worms in January, 1076, which decreed the deposition of the Pope. The envoy charged to convey this sentence appeared in the council chamber of the Lateran in February, before an assembly consisting of the mightiest in the land, whom the Pope had summoned to sit in judgment on Henry. With flashing eyes and in a voice of thunder he directed the Pope to descend from the chair of St. Peter. Cries of indignation rang through the hall, and a hundred swords were seen leaping from their scabbards to inflict vengeance on the daring intruder. The Pope, with difficulty, stilled the angry tumult. Then, rising with calm dignity, amid the breathless silence of the assembled multitude, he uttered that dread anathema which "shuts paradise and opens hell," and absolved the subjects of Henry from their allegiance.

The inhabitants of Europe were struck dumb with amazement when they witnessed this exercise of papal prerogative. They thought that the powerful arm of Henry would have been raised to smite down the audacious Hildebrand. The Pope, however, well knew that Henry had by his excesses alienated from himself the affections of his subjects. The sentence gave a pretext to many of his nobility to withdraw from their allegiance. Awed by spiritual terrors, his attendants fell away from him as if he had been smitten by a leprosy. An assembly was now summoned at Trebur, in obedience to a requisition from the Pope, at which it was decreed that, if the Emperor continued excommunicate on the 23d of February, 1077, his crown should be given to another. The theory of the Holy Roman Empire had thus become a practical reality. The vassal of Otho had reduced the successor of Otho to vassalage. A great pope had wrung from the superstition and reverence of mankind a spiritual empire, which, it was hoped, would extend its sway to earth's remotest boundaries.


Gregory made it an invariable rule to act at the outset with gentleness. "No one," says he, "reaches the highest rank at a single spring; great edifices rise gradually." Certain of his strength, he chose to employ conciliation. He especially sought to convince Henry, but the excesses in which that prince wallowed were so abominable that his subjects in all parts, and especially the great, revolted against him. In 1076, Gregory assembled a council, which pronounced the excommunication of the King, with all the terrible consequences attendant upon it.

History shows several emperors of the East excommunicated by preceding popes: Arcadius, by Innocent I; Anastasius, by Saint Symmachus; and Leo the Isaurian, by Gregory II and Gregory III.

The decree of the same council set forth that the throne vacated by Henry was adjudged to Rudolph, duke of Swabia, already created king of Germany by the electors of the empire.

Before the election of Rudolph, Gregory had declared that he would repair to Germany. King Henry, on his part, promised to come into Italy. The Pope left Rome with an escort furnished by the countess of Tuscany, daughter of Boniface, marquis of Tuscany. The march of Gregory was a triumph. Amidst that escort he reached Vercelli. It was feared by some that Henry would make his appearance at the head of an army, but he had not that intention. The Pope, nevertheless, deemed it best to retire into the fortress of Canossa, belonging to the Countess Matilda, in order that he might be secure from all violence.

Henry had spent nearly two months at Spires in a profound and melancholy solitude. The weight of the excommunication oppressed him with a thousand griefs. Weary of that state of uncertainty, and still, as ever, tricky and hypocritical, he conceived the idea of winning over the Pope by an apparent piety, and of satisfying his requirements by a brief humiliation; moreover, the decree of excommunication declared that it should be withdrawn if the King appeared before the Pope within a year from the date of the decree. The winter was severe. After running a thousand dangers, the King and his queen arrived at Turin, and proceeded to Placentia. Thence the prince announced that he would proceed to Canossa, by way of Reggio.

The Countess Matilda met him with Hugo, Bishop of Cluny. She wished to restore harmony between the Pope and the King. Gregory seemed to desire that Henry should return to Augsburg, to be judged by the Diet. The envoys of the King at Canossa replied: "Henry does not fear being judged; he knows that the Pope will protect innocence and justice; but the anniversary of the excommunication is at hand, and if the excommunication be not removed, the King, according to the laws of the land, will lose his right to the crown. The prince humbly requests the Holy Father to raise the interdict, and to restore him to the communion of the Church. He is ready to give every satisfaction that the Pope shall require; to present himself at such place and at such time as the Pope shall order; to meet his accusers, and to commit himself entirely to the decision of the head of the Church."

Henry, says Voigt, having received permission to advance, was not long on the way. The fortress had triple inclosures; Henry was conducted into the second; his retinue remained outside the first. He had laid aside the insignia of royalty; nothing announced his rank. All day long, Henry, bareheaded, clad in penitential garb, and fasting from morning till night, awaited the sentence of the sovereign pontiff. He thus waited during a second and a third day. During the intervening time he had not ceased to negotiate. On the morrow, Matilda interceded with the Pope on behalf of Henry, and the conditions of the treaty were settled. The prince promised to give satisfaction to the complaints made against him by his subjects, and he took an oath, in which his sureties joined. When those oaths were taken, the pontiff gave the King the benediction and the apostolic peace, and celebrated Mass.

After the consecration of the host, the Pope called Henry and all present, and still holding the host in his hand, said to the King: "We have received letters from you and those of your party, in which we are accused of having usurped the Holy See by simony, and of having, both before and since our episcopacy, committed crimes which, according to the canons, excluded us from holy orders.

"Although we could justify ourselves by the testimony of those who have known our manner of life from our childhood, and who were the authors of our promotion to the episcopacy, nevertheless, to do away with all kind of scandal, we will appeal to the judgment, not of men, but of God. Let the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we are about to take, be this day a proof of our innocence. We pray the Almighty to dispel all suspicion, if we are innocent, and to cause us suddenly to die, if we are guilty."

Then turning towards the King, Gregory again spoke: "Dear son, do also as you have seen us do. The German princes have daily accused you to us of a great number of crimes, for which those nobles maintain that you ought to be interdicted, during your whole life, not only from royalty and all public function, but also from all ecclesiastical communion, and from all commerce of civil life. They urgently demand that you be judged, and you know how uncertain are all human judgments. Do, then, as we advise, and if you feel that you are innocent, deliver the Church from this scandal, and yourself from this embarrassment. Take this other portion of the host, that this proof of your innocence may close the lips of your enemies, and engage us to be your most ardent defender, to reconcile you with the nobles, and forever to terminate the civil war."

This address astonished the King. Going apart with his confidants, he tremblingly consulted as to what he could do to avoid so terrible a test. At length, having somewhat recovered his calmness, he said to the Pope, that as those nobles who remained faithful were, for the most part, absent, as well as those who accused him, the latter would give little faith to what he might do in his own justification, unless it were done in their presence. For that reason, he asked that the test should be postponed to the day of the sitting of the general diet, and the Pope consented.

When the Pope had finished Mass, he invited the King to dinner, treated him with much attention, and dismissed him in peace to his own people, who had remained outside the castle. Henry, on his return to his nobles, was not well received. Henry, as Voigt shows, soon became alarmed at their disapprobation, which originated only in a feeling of wounded complicity and ambitious views, which could not hope for success after the victory gained by Gregory.

Henry, hearing himself accused of weakness, thought to deliver himself from so much annoyance by a bold perjury; and he endeavored to draw Gregory and Matilda into a snare. Warned by faithful friends, they did not visit the King as had been agreed; and that new wrong determined Gregory to suspend his departure for the Diet of Augsburg. No one, not even the pious Matilda, now dared to speak of a reconciliation.

Henry held at Brescia, in 1080, a pseudo council of the bishops devoted to him; and there he caused Guibert, Archbishop of Ravenna, an avowed enemy of Gregory, to be elected as Pope; and he deposed Gregory, although he was recognized as the legitimate pope by the whole Catholic world, with the exception of the bishops in revolt, under the direction of Henry. On learning this, Gregory celebrated at Rome, in the year 1080, a regular council, in which he again excommunicated Henry, and especially the antipope, whom he would never absolve.


The war continued. Henry's rival for the empire, Rudolph of Swabia, was supported by many German partisans, especially by the Saxons. He was defeated with great loss at Fladenheim. The skill and courage of the Saxon commander, however, turned a defeat into a victory. Emboldened by this victory, Gregory excommunicated Henry, and "gave, granted, and conceded" that Rudolph might rule the Italian and German empires. With the sanction of thirty bishops, an antipope, Guibert, was elected at Brixen. The war raged with undiminished violence. The Saxons, the only power in alliance with the Romans, gained a victory over Henry in Germany at the very same time when Matilda's forces fled before his army in the Mantuan territory. Matilda had lately granted all her hereditary states to Gregory and his successors forever. Before the summer of the year 1080 the citizens of Rome saw the forces of Henry in the Campagna. The siege of Rome continued for three years. The capture of the city was imminent, when the forces of Robert Guiscard, the Norman, came to the rescue of the Pope.

Nicholas II had bestowed on Robert Guiscard the investiture of the duchies of Apulia and Calabria; Sicily also, the conquest of which his brother Richard was meditating, being prospectively added to Robert's dominions. The oath taken by Robert Guiscard on this occasion bound him to be the devoted defender of the pontificate. He now became a friend indeed. A hasty retreat saved the forces of Henry from the impending danger. The Pope returned in triumph to the Lateran. But within a few hours he heard from the streets the clash of arms and the loud shouts of the combatants. A fierce contest was raging between the soldiers of Robert and the citizens who espoused the cause of Henry. A conflagration was kindled, which at length destroyed three-fourths of the city. Gregory, perhaps conscience-stricken when he thought of the wars he had kindled, sought, in the castle of Salerno, from the Normans the security which he could no longer expect among his own subjects. He soon found that the hand of death was upon him. He summoned round his bed the bishops and cardinals who had accompanied him in his flight from Rome. He maintained the truth of the principles for which he had always contended. He forgave and blessed his enemies, with the exception of the antipope and the Emperor. He had received the transubstantiated elements. The final unction had been given to him. He then prepared himself to die. Anxious to catch the last words from that tongue, to the utterances of which they had always listened with intense delight, his followers were bending over him, when, collecting his powers for one last effort, he said, in an indignant tone, "I have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, and, therefore, I die in exile."


A.D. 1086


When William the Conqueror had been some years established in his English realm, he found himself confronted with a feudal baronage largely composed of men who had gone with him from Normandy, where many of them had reluctantly bowed to his command. They were jealous of the royal power and eager for military and judicial independence within their own manors. The Conqueror met this situation with the skill of political genius. He granted large estates to the nobles, but so widely scattered as to render union of the great land-owners and hereditary attachment of great areas of population to separate feudal lords impossible. He caused under-tenants to be bound to their lords by the same conditions of service which bound the lords to the crown, to which each sub-tenant swore direct fealty. William also strengthened his position as king by means of a new military organization and by his control of the judicial and administrative systems of the kingdom. By the abolition of the four great earldoms of the realm he struck a final blow at the ambition of the greater nobles for independent power. By this stroke he made the shire the largest unit of local government. By his control of the national revenues he secured a great financial power in his own hands.

A large part of the manors were burdened with special dues to the crown, and for the purpose of ascertaining and recording these William sent into each county commissioners to make a survey, whose inquiries were recorded in the Domesday Book, so called because its decision was regarded as final. This book, in Norman-French, contains the results of his survey of England made in 1085-1086, and consists of two volumes in vellum, a large folio of three hundred and eighty-two pages, and a quarto of four hundred and fifty pages. For a long time it was kept under three locks in the exchequer with the King's seal, and is now kept in the Public Record Office. In 1783 the British Government issued a fac-simile edition of it, in two folio volumes, printed from types specially made for the purpose. It is one of the principal sources for the political and social history of the time.

The Domesday Book contains a record of the ownership, extent, and value of the lands of England at the time of the survey, at the time of their bestowal when granted by the King, and at the time of a previous survey under Edward the Confessor. Of the detailed registrations of tenants, defendants, live stock, etc., as well, as of contemporary social features of the English people, the following account presents interesting pictures.

The survey contained in the Domesday Book extended to all England, with the exception of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Durham. All the country between the Tees and the Tyne was held by the Bishop of Durham; and he was reputed a count palatine, having a separate government. The other three northern counties were probably so devastated that they were purposely omitted. Let us first see, from the information of Domesday Book, by "what men" the land was occupied.

First, we have barons and we have thanes. The barons were the Norman nobles; the thanes, the Saxon. These were included under the general designation of liberi homines, free men; which term included all the freeholders of a manor. Many of these were tenants of the King "in capite"—that is, they held their possessions direct from the Crown. Others of these had placed themselves under the protection of some lord, as the defender of their persons and estates, they paying some stipend or performing some service. In the Register there are also liberae feminae, free women. Next to the free class were the sochemanni or "socmen," a class of inferior land-owners, who held lands under a lord, and owed suit and service in the lord's court, but whose tenure was permanent. They sometimes performed services in husbandry; but those services, as well as their payments, were defined.

Descending in the scale, we come to the villani. These were allowed to occupy land at the will of the lord, upon the condition of performing services, uncertain in their amount and often of the meanest nature. But they could acquire no property in lands or goods; and they were subject to many exactions and oppressions. There are entries in Domesday Book which show that the villani were not altogether bondmen, but represented the Saxon "churl." The lowest class were servi, slaves; the class corresponding with the Saxon theow. By a degradation in the condition of the villani, and the elevation of that of the servi, the two classes were brought gradually nearer together; till at last the military oppression of the Normans, thrusting down all degrees of tenants and servants into one common slavery, or at least into strict dependence, one name was adopted for both of them as a generic term, that of villeins regardant.

Of the subdivisions of these great classes, the Register of 1085 affords us some particulars. We find that some of the nobles are described as milites, soldiers; and sometimes the milites are classed with the inferior orders of tenantry. Many of the chief tenants are distinguished by their offices. We have among these the great regal officers, such as they existed in the Saxon times—the camerarius and cubicularius, from whom we have our lord chamberlain; the dapifer, or lord steward; the pincerna, or chief butler; the constable, and the treasurer. We have the hawkkeepers, and the bowkeepers; the providers of the king's carriages, and his standard-bearers. We have lawmen, and legates, and mediciners. We have foresters and hunters.

Coming to the inferior officers and artificers, we have carpenters, smiths, goldsmiths, farriers, potters, ditchers, launders, armorers, fishermen, millers, bakers, salters, tailors, and barbers. We have mariners, moneyers, minstrels, and watchmen. Of rural occupations we have the beekeepers, ploughmen, shepherds, neatherds, goatherds, and swineherds. Here is a population in which there is a large division of labor. The freemen, tenants, villeins, slaves, are laboring and deriving sustenance from arable land, meadow, common pasture, wood, and water. The grain-growing land is, of course, carefully registered as to its extent and value, and so the meadow and pasture. An equal exactness is bestowed upon the woods. It was not that the timber was of great commercial value, in a country which possessed such insufficient means of transport; but that the acorns and beech-mast, upon which great herds of swine subsisted, were of essential importance to keep up the supply of food. We constantly find such entries as "a wood for pannage of fifty hogs." There are woods described which will feed a hundred, two hundred, three hundred hogs; and on the Bishop of London's demesne at Fulham a thousand hogs could fatten. The value of a tree was determined by the number of hogs that could lie under it, in the Saxon time; and in this survey of the Norman period, we find entries of useless woods, and woods without pannage, which to some extent were considered identical. In some of the woods there were patches of cultivated ground, as the entries show, where the tenant had cleared the dense undergrowth and had his corn land and his meadows. Even the fen lands were of value, for their rents were paid in eels.

There is only mention of five forests in this record, Windsor, Gravelings (Wiltshire), Winburn, Whichwood, and the New Forest. Undoubtedly there were many more, but being no objects of assessment they are passed over. It would be difficult not to associate the memory of the Conqueror with the New Forest, and not to believe that his unbridled will was here the cause of great misery and devastation. Ordericus Vitalis says, speaking of the death of William's second son, Richard: "Learn now, my reader, why the forest in which the young prince was slain received the name of the New Forest. That part of the country was extremely populous from early times, and full of well-inhabited hamlets and farms. A numerous population cultivated Hampshire with unceasing industry, so that the southern part of the district plentifully supplied Winchester with the products of the land. When William I ascended the throne of Albion, being a great lover of forests, he laid waste more than sixty parishes, compelling the inhabitants to emigrate to other places, and substituted beasts of the chase for human beings, that he might satisfy his ardor for hunting." There is probably some exaggeration in the statement of the country being "extremely populous from early times." This was an old woody district, called Ytene. No forest was artificially planted, as Voltaire has imagined; but the chases were opened through the ancient thickets, and hamlets and solitary cottages were demolished.

It is a curious fact that some woodland spots in the New Forest have still names with the terminations of ham and ton. There are many evidences of the former existence of human abodes in places now solitary; yet we doubt whether this part of the district plentifully supplied Winchester with food, as Ordericus relates; for it is a sterile district, in most places, fitted for little else than the growth of timber. The lower lands are marsh, and the upper are sand. The Conqueror, says the Saxon Chronicle, "so much loved the high deer as if he had been their father." The first of the Norman kings, and his immediate successors, would not be very scrupulous about the depopulation of a district if the presence of men interfered with their pleasures. But Thierry thinks that the extreme severity of the Forest Laws was chiefly enforced to prevent the assemblage of Saxons in those vast wooded spaces which were now included in the royal demesnes.

All these extensive tracts were, more or less, retreats for the dispossessed and the discontented. The Normans, under pretence of preserving the stag and the hare, could tyrannize with a pretended legality over the dwellers in these secluded places; and thus William might have driven the Saxon people of Ytene to emigrate, and have destroyed their cottages, as much from a possible fear of their association as from his own love of "the high deer." Whatever was the motive, there were devastation and misery. Domesday shows that in the district of the New Forest certain manors were afforested after the Conquest; cultivated portions, in which the Sabbath bell was heard. William of Jumièges, the Conqueror's own chaplain, says, speaking of the deaths of Richard and Rufus: "There were many who held that the two sons of William the King perished by the judgment of God in these woods, since for the extension of the forest he had destroyed many inhabited places (villas) and churches within its circuit." It appears that in the time of Edward the Confessor about seventeen thousand acres of this district had been afforested; but that the cultivated parts remaining had then an estimated value of three hundred and sixty-three pounds. After the afforestation by the Conqueror, the cultivated parts yielded only one hundred and twenty-nine pounds.

The grants of land to huntsmen (venatores) are common in Hampshire, as in other parts of England; and it appears to have been the duty of an especial officer to stall the deer—that is, to drive them with his troop of followers from all parts to the centre of a circle, gradually contracting, where they were to stand for the onslaught of the hunters. In the survey many parks are enumerated. The word hay (haia), which is still found in some of our counties, meant an enclosed part of a wood to which the deer were driven.

In the seventeenth century this mode of hunting upon a large scale, by stalling the deer—this mimic war—was common in Scotland. Taylor, called the "Water Poet," was present at such a gathering, and has described the scene with a minuteness which may help us to form a picture of the Norman hunters: "Five or six hundred men do rise early in the morning, and they do disperse themselves divers ways; and seven, eight, or ten miles' compass, they do bring or chase in the deer in many herds—two, three, or four hundred in a herd—to such a place as the noblemen shall appoint them; then, when the day is come, the lords and gentlemen of their companies do ride or go to the said places, sometimes wading up to the middle through bourns and rivers; and then they being come to the place, do lie down on the ground till those foresaid scouts, which are called the 'tinkhelt,' do bring down the deer. Then, after we had stayed there three hours or thereabouts, we might perceive the deer appear on the hills round about us—their heads making a show like a wood—which being followed close by the tinkhelt, are chased down into the valley where we lay; then all the valley on each side being waylaid with a hundred couple of strong Irish greyhounds, they are let loose as occasion serves upon the herd of deer, that with dogs, guns, arrows, dirks, and daggers, in the space of two hours fourscore fat deer were slain."

Domesday affords indubitable proof of the culture of the vine in England. There are thirty-eight entries of vineyards in the southern and eastern counties. Many gardens are enumerated. Mills are registered with great distinctness; for they were invariably the property of the lords of the manors, lay or ecclesiastical; and the tenants could only grind at the lord's mill. Wherever we find a mill specified in Domesday, there we generally find a mill now. At Arundel, for example, we see what rent was paid by a mill; and there still stands at Arundel an old mill whose foundations might have been laid before the Conquest. Salt works are repeatedly mentioned. They were either works upon the coast for procuring marine salt by evaporation, or were established in the localities of inland salt springs. The salt works of Cheshire were the most numerous, and were called "wiches." Hence the names of some places, such as Middlewich and Nantwich. The revenue from mines offers some curious facts. No mention of tin is to be found in Cornwall. The ravages of Saxon and Dane, and the constant state of hostility between races, had destroyed much of that mineral industry which existed in the Roman times. A century and a half after the Conquest had elapsed before the Norman kings had a revenue from the Cornish iron mines. Iron forges were registered, and lumps of hammered iron are stated to have been paid as rent. Lead works are found only upon the king's demesne in Derbyshire.

Fisheries are important sources of rent. Payments of eels are enumerated by hundreds and thousands. Herrings appear to have been consumed in vast numbers in the monasteries. Sandwich yielded forty thousand annually to Christ Church in Canterbury. Kent, Sussex, and Norfolk appear to have been the great seats of this fishery. The Severn and the Wye had their salmon fisheries, whose produce king, bishop, and lord were glad to receive as rent. There was a weir for Thames fish at Mortlake. The religious houses had their piscinae and vivaria—their stews and fish-pools.

Domesday affords us many curious glimpses of the condition of the people in cities and burghs. For the most part they seem to have preserved their ancient customs. London, Winchester, and several other important places are not mentioned in the record. We shall very briefly notice a few indications of the state of society. Dover was an important place, for it supplied the king with twenty ships for fifteen days in a year, each vessel having twenty-one men on board. Dover could therefore command the service of four hundred and twenty mariners. Every burgess in Lewes compounded for a payment of twenty shillings when the king fitted out a fleet to keep the sea.

At Oxford the king could command the services of twenty burgesses whenever he went on an expedition; or they might compound for their services by a payment of twenty pounds. Oxford was a considerable place at this period. It contained upward of seven hundred houses; but four hundred and seventy-eight were so desolated that they could pay no dues. Hereford was the king's demesne; and the honor of being his immediate tenants appears to have been qualified by considerable exactions. When he went to war, and when he went to hunt, men were to be ready for his service. If the wife of a burgher brewed his ale, he paid tenpence. The smith who kept a forge had to make nails from the king's iron. In Hereford, as in other cities, there were moneyers, or coiners. There were seven at Hereford, who were bound to coin as much of the king's silver into pence as he demanded. At Cambridge the burgesses were compelled to lend the sheriff their ploughs. Leicester was bound to find the king a hawk or to pay ten pounds; while a sumpter or baggage-horse was compounded for at one pound.

At Warwick there were two hundred and twenty-five houses on which the king and his barons claimed tax; and nineteen houses belonged to free burgesses. The dues were paid in honey and corn. In Shrewsbury there were two hundred and fifty-two houses belonging to burgesses; but the burgesses complained that they were called upon to pay as much tax as in the time of the Confessor, although Earl Roger had taken possession of extensive lands for building his castle. Chester was a port in which the king had his dues upon every cargo, and where he had fines whenever a trader was detected in using a false measure. The fraudulent female brewer of adulterated beer was placed in the cucking-stool, a degradation afterward reserved for scolds.

This city has a more particular notice as to laws and customs in the time of the Confessor than any other place in the survey. Particular care seems to have been taken against fire. The owner of a house on fire not only paid a fine to the king, but forfeited two shillings to his nearest neighbor. Marten skins appear to have been a great article of trade in this city. No stranger could cart goods within a particular part of the city without being subjected to a forfeiture of four shillings or two oxen to the bishop. We find, as might be expected, no mention of that peculiar architecture of Chester called the "Rows," which has so puzzled antiquarian writers. The probability is that in a place so exposed to the attacks of the Welsh they were intended for defence. The low streets in which the Rows are situated have the road considerably beneath them, like the cutting of a railway; and from the covered way of the Rows an enemy in the road beneath might be assailed with great advantage.

In the civil wars of Charles I the possession of the Rows by the Royalists, or Parliamentary troops, was fiercely contested. Of their antiquity there is no doubt. They probably belong to the same period as the Castle. The wall of Chester and the bridge were kept in repair, according to the survey, by the service of one laborer for every hide of land in the county. It is to be remarked that in all the cities and burghs the inhabitants are described as belonging to the king or a bishop or a baron. Many, even in the most privileged places, were attached to particular manors.

The Domesday survey shows that in some towns there was an admixture of Norman and English burgesses; and it is clear that they were so settled after the Conquest, for a distinction is made between the old customary dues of the place and those the foreigner should pay. The foreigner had to bear a small addition to the ancient charge. No doubt the Norman clung to many of the habits of his own land; and the Saxon unwillingly parted with those of the locality in which his fathers had lived. But their manners were gradually assimilated. The Normans grew fond of the English beer, and the English adopted the Norman dress.

The survey of 1085 affords the most complete evidence of the extent to which the Normans had possessed themselves of the landed property of the country. The ancient demesnes of the crown consisted of fourteen hundred and twenty-two manors. But the king had confiscated the properties of Godwin, Harold, Algar, Edwin, Morcar, and other great Saxon earls; and his revenues thus became enormous. Ordericus Vitalis states, with a minuteness that seems to imply the possession of official information, that "the king himself received daily one-and-sixty pounds thirty thousand pence and three farthings sterling money from his regular revenues in England alone, independently of presents, fines for offences, and many other matters which constantly enrich a royal treasury." The numbers of manors held by the favorites of the Conqueror would appear incredible, if we did not know that these great nobles were grasping and unscrupulous; indulging the grossest sensuality with a pretence of refinement; limited in their perpetration of injustice only by the extent of their power; and so blinded by their pride as to call their plunder their inheritance. Ten Norman chiefs who held under the crown are enumerated in the survey as possessing two thousand eight hundred and twenty manors.

This enormous transfer of property did not take place without the most formidable resistance, but when a period of tranquillity arrived came the era of castle-building. The Saxons had their rude fortresses and intrenched earthworks. But solid walls of stone, for defence and residence, were to become the local seats of regal and baronial domination. Domesday contains notices of forty-nine castles; but only one is mentioned as having existed in the time of Edward the Confessor. Some which the Conqueror is known to have built are not noticed in the survey. Among these is the White Tower of London. The site of Rochester Castle is mentioned. These two buildings are associated by our old antiquaries as being erected by the same architect. Stow says: "I find in a fair register-book of the acts of the bishops of Rochester, set down by Edmund of Hadenham, that William I, surnamed Conqueror, builded the Tower of London, to wit, the great white and square tower there, about the year of Christ 1078, appointing Gundulph, then Bishop of Rochester, to be principal surveyor and overseer of that work, who was for that time lodged in the house of Edmere, a burghess of London." The chapel in the White Tower is a remarkable specimen of early Norman architecture.

The keep of Rochester Castle, so picturesquely situated on the Medway, was not a mere fortress without domestic convenience. Here we still look upon the remains of sculptured columns and arches. We see where there were spacious fireplaces in the walls, and how each of four floors was served with water by a well. The third story contains the most ornamental portions of the building. In the Domesday enumeration of castles, we have repeated mention of houses destroyed and lands wasted, for their erection. At Cambridge twenty-seven houses are recorded to have been thus demolished. This was the fortress to overawe the fen districts. At Lincoln a hundred and sixty-six mansions were destroyed, "on account of the castle."

In the ruins of all these castles we may trace their general plan. There were an outer court, an inner court, and a keep. Round the whole area was a wall, with parapets and loopholes. The entrance was defended by an outwork or barbacan. The prodigious strength of the keep is the most remarkable characteristic of these fortresses; and thus many of these towers remain, stripped of every interior fitting by time, but as untouched in their solid construction as the mounts upon which they stand. We ascend the steep steps which lead to the ruined keep of Carisbrook, with all our historical associations directed to the confinement of Charles I in this castle. But this fortress was registered in Domesday Book. Five centuries and a half had elapsed between William I and James I. The Norman keep was out of harmony with the principles of the seventeenth century, as much as the feudal prerogatives to which Charles unhappily clung.

We have thus enumerated some of the more prominent statistics of this ancient survey, which are truly as much matter of history as the events of this beginning of the Norman period. There is one more feature of this Domesday Book which we cannot pass over. The number of parish churches in England in the eleventh century will, in some degree, furnish an indication of the amount of religious instruction. By some most extraordinary exaggeration, the number of these churches has been stated to be above forty-five thousand. In Domesday the number enumerated is a little above seventeen hundred. No doubt this enumeration is extremely imperfect. Very nearly half of all the churches put down are found in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. The Register, in some cases, gives the amount of land with which the church was endowed. Bosham, in Sussex, the estate of Harold, had, in the time of King Edward, a hundred and twelve hides of land. At the date of the survey it had sixty-five hides. This was an enormous endowment. Some churches had five acres only; some fifty; some a hundred. Some are without land altogether. But, whether the endowment be large or small, here is the evidence of a church planted upon the same foundation as the monarchy, that of territorial possessions.

The politic ruler of England had, in the completion of Domesday Book, possessed himself of the most perfect instrument for the profitable administration of his government. He was no longer working in the dark, whether he called out soldiers or levied taxes. He had carried through a great measure, rapidly, and with a minuteness which puts to shame some of our clumsy modern statistics. But the Conqueror did not want his books for the gratification of official curiosity. He went to work when he knew how many tenants-in-chief he could command, and how many men they could bring into the field. He instituted the great feudal principle of knight-service. His ordinance is in these words: "We command that all earls, barons, knights, sergeants, and freemen be always provided with horses and arms as they ought, and that they be always ready to perform to us their whole service, in manner as they owe it to us of right for their fees and tenements, and as we have appointed to them by the common council of our whole kingdom, and as we have granted to them in fee with right of inheritance."

These words, "in fee, with right of inheritance," leave no doubt that the great vassals of the crown were absolute proprietors, and that all their subvassals had the same right of holding in perpetuity. The estate, however, reverted to the crown if the race of the original feoffee became extinct, and in cases, also, of felony and treason. When Alain of Bretagne, who commanded the rear of the army at the battle of Hastings, and who had received four hundred and forty-two manors, bowed before the King at Salisbury, at the great council in 1085, and swore to be true to him against all manner of men, he also brought with him his principal land-sittende men (land-owners), who also bowed before the King and became his men. They had previously taken the oath of fealty to Alain of Bretagne, and engaged to perform all the customs and services due to him for their lands and tenements. Alain, and his men, were proprietors, but with very unequal rights. Alain, by his tenure, was bound to provide for the King as many armed horsemen as the vast extent of his estates demanded. But all those whom he had enfeoffed, or made proprietors, upon his four hundred and forty-two manors, were each bound to contribute a proportionate number. When the free service of forty days was to be enforced, the great earl had only to send round to his vassals, and the men were at his command.

By this organization, which was universal throughout the kingdom, sixty thousand cavalry could, with little delay, be called into the field. Those who held by this military service had their allotments divided into so many knights' fees, and each knight's fee was to furnish one mounted and armed soldier. The great vassals retained a portion of their land as their demesnes, having tenants who paid rents and performed services not military. But, under any circumstances, the vassal of the crown was bound to perform his whole free service with men and horses and arms. It is perfectly clear that this wonderful organization rendered the whole system of government one great confederacy, in which the small proprietors, tenants, and villeins had not a chance of independence; and that their condition could only be ameliorated by those gradual changes which result from a long intercourse between the strong and the weak, in which power relaxes its severity and becomes protection.

In the ordinance in which the King commanded "free service" he also says, "we will that all the freemen of the kingdom possess their lands in peace, free from all tallage and unjust exaction." This, unhappily for the freemen, was little more than a theory under the Norman kings. There were various modes of making legal exaction the source of the grossest injustice. When the heir of an estate entered into possession he had to pay a "relief," or heriot, to the lord. This soon became a source of oppression in the crown; and enormous sums were exacted from the great vassals. The lord was not more sparing of his men. He had another mode of extortion. He demanded "aid" on many occasions, such as the marriage of his eldest daughter, or when he made his eldest son a knight. The estate of inheritance, which looks so generous and equitable an arrangement, was a perpetual grievance; for the possessor could neither transmit his property by will nor transfer it by sale. The heir, however remote in blood, was the only legitimate successor.

The feudal obligation to the lord was, in many other ways, a fruitful source of tyranny, which lasted up to the time of the Stuarts. If the heir were a minor, the lord entered into possession of the estate without any accountability. If it descended to a female, the lord could compel her to marry according to his will, or could prevent her marrying. During a long period all these harassing obligations connected with property were upheld. The crown and the nobles were equally interested in their enforcement; and there can be little doubt that, though the great vassals sometimes suffered under these feudal obligations to the king, the inferior tenants had a much greater amount of oppression to endure at the hands of their immediate lords. But if the freemen were oppressed in the tenure of their property, we can scarcely expect that the landless man had not much more to suffer. If he committed an offence in the Saxon time, he paid a "mulct"; if in the Norman, he was subjected to an amerciament. His whole personal estate was at the mercy of the lord.

Having thus obtained a general notion of the system of society established in less than twenty years after the Conquest, we see that there was nothing wanting to complete the most entire subjection of the great body of the nation. What had been wanting was accomplished in the practical working out of the theory that the entire land of the country belonged to the King. It was now established that every tenant-in-chief should do homage to the king; that every superior tenant should do homage to his lord; that every villein should be the bondman of the free; and that every slave should, without any property however limited and insecure, be the absolute chattel of some master. The whole system was connected with military service. This was the feudal system. There was some resemblance to it in parts of the Saxon organization; but under that organization there was so much of freedom in the allodial or free tenure of land that a great deal of other freedom went with it. The casting-off of the chains of feudality was the labor of six centuries.


A.D. 1086-1214


During the early part of the eleventh century the western caliphate, which with its splendid capital of Cordova had flourished for almost three hundred years, entered upon a decline that was the beginning of its final dissolution. By A.D. 1020 the local governors openly asserted their independence of Cordova and assumed the title of kings. Conspicuous among them was Mahomet ben Ismail ben Abid, the wali of Seville.

While these petty rulers were determined to renounce allegiance to Cordova, it was resolved at that capital to elect a sovereign to subdue them and restore the ancient splendor of the empire. The choice fell upon Gehwar ben Mahomet, who soon established a degree of tranquillity and commercial prosperity unknown for many years. But he failed to reëstablish the supremacy of Cordova, which capital Mahomet of Seville was preparing to invade when he died. His son, Mahomet Almoateded, having subdued Southern Andalusia, became the ally of Mahomet, son and successor of Gehwar on the throne of Cordova; but he betrayed the latter under pretence of aiding him against his enemies, and usurped the sovereignty.

On the death of Mahomet Almoateded, his son Mahomet succeeded him at Cordova. He was already King of Seville, and as he soon occupied many other cities he became the most independent and powerful sovereign of Mahometan Spain. His chief rival, Yahia Alkadia, King of Toledo, was so contemptible to his people that they expelled him. He appealed for aid to Alfonso VI, King of Leon (Alfonso of Castile); but that Christian soldier was persuaded by Mahomet to oppose, instead of assisting, Yahia. The latter was restored to his throne by the King of Badajoz, but Alfonso invested Toledo and, after a three-years' siege, reduced the city, in A.D. 1085. In the history of the events directly following the capitulation it is shown how costly to himself was the alliance of Mahomet with Alfonso, and how it played its part in the coming of his coreligionists from Africa to his assistance, and finally, as it proved, to his own undoing and the supplanting of the power he represented in the Mahometan government of Spain.

The fall of Toledo, however it might have been foreseen by the Mahometans, filled them with equal dismay and indignation. As Mahomet was too formidable to be openly assailed, they turned their vociferations of anger against his hagib, whom they accused of betraying the faith of Islam. Alarmed at the universal outcry, Mahomet was not sorry that he could devolve the heavy load of responsibility on the shoulders of his minister. The latter fled; but though he procured a temporary asylum from several princes, he was at length seized by the emissaries of his offended master; was brought, first to Cordova, next to Seville; confined within the walls of a dungeon; and soon beheaded by the royal hand of Mahomet. Thus was a servant of the King sacrificed for no other reason than that he had served that King too well.

The conquest of Toledo was far from satisfying the ambition of Alfonso: he rapidly seized on the fortresses of Madrid, Maqueda, Guadalaxara, and established his dominion on both banks of the Tagus. Mahomet now began seriously to repent his treaty with the Christian, and to tremble even for his own possessions. He vainly endeavored to divert his ally from the projects of aggrandizement which that ally had evidently formed. The kings of Badajoz and Saragossa became tributaries to the latter; nay, if any reliance is to be placed on either Christian or Arabic historians,[29] the King of Seville himself was subjected to the same humiliation. However this may have been, Mahomet saw that unless he leagued himself with those whose subjugation had hitherto been his constant object—the princes of his faith—his and their destruction was inevitable. The magnitude of the danger compelled him to solicit their alliance.

[Footnote 29: Condé gives the translation of two letters—one from Alfonso to Mahomet, distinguished for a tone of superiority and even of arrogance, which could arise only from the confidence felt by the writer in his own strength; the other from Mahomet to Alfonso, containing a defiance. The latter begins:

"To the proud enemy of Allah, Alfonso ben Sancho, who calls himself lord of both nations and both laws. May God confound his arrogance, and prosper those who walk in the right way!"

One passage of the same letter says: "Fatigued with war, we were willing to offer thee an annual tribute; but this does not satisfy thee: thou wishest us to deliver into thine hands our towns and fortresses; but are we thy subjects, that thou makest such demands, or hast thou ever subdued us? Thine injustice has roused us from our lethargy," etc.]

As the King of Saragossa was too much in fear of the Christians to enter into any league against them, and as the one of Valencia (Yahia) reigned only at the pleasure of Alfonso, the sovereigns of Badajoz, Almeria, and Granada were the only powers on whose coöperation he could calculate (he had annihilated the authority of several petty kings). He invited those princes to send their representatives to Seville, to consult as to the measures necessary to protect their threatened independence. The invitation was readily accepted. On the day appointed, Mahomet, with his son Al Raxid and a considerable number of his wazirs and cadis, was present at the deliberations. The danger was so imminent—the force of the Christians was so augmented, and that of the Moslems so weakened—that such resistance as Mahometan Spain alone could offer seemed hopeless. With this conviction in their hearts, two of the most influential cadis proposed an appeal to the celebrated African conqueror, Yussef ben Taxfin, whose arm alone seemed able to preserve the faith of Islam in the Peninsula.

The proposal was received with general applause by all present: they did not make the very obvious reflection that when a nation admits into its bosom an ally more powerful than itself, it admits at the same time a conqueror. The wali of Malaga alone, Abdallah ben Zagut, had courage to oppose the dangerous embassy under consideration: "You mean to call in the aid of the Almoravides! Are you ignorant that these fierce inhabitants of the desert resemble their own native tigers? Suffer them not, I beseech you, to enter the fertile plains of Andulasia and Granada! Doubtless they would break the iron sceptre which Alfonso intends for us; but you would still be doomed to wear the chains of slavery. Do you not know that Yussef has taken all the cities of Almagreb; that he has subdued the powerful tribes of the east and west; that he has everywhere substituted despotism for liberty and independence?" The aged Zagut spoke in vain: he was even accused of being a secret partisan of the Christian; and the embassy was decreed.

But Zagut was not the only one who foresaw the catastrophe to which that embassy must inevitably lead: Al Raxid shared the same prophetic feeling. In reply to his father, who, after the separation of the assembly, expatiated on the absolute necessity of soliciting the alliance of Aben Taxfin as the only measure capable of saving the rest of Mahometan Spain from the yoke of Alfonso, he said: "This Aben Taxfin, who has subdued all that he pleased, will serve us as he has already served the people of Almagreb and Mauritania—he will expel us from our country!"

"Anything," rejoined the father, "rather than Andalusia should become the prey of the Christians! Dost thou wish the Mussulmans to curse me? I would rather become an humble shepherd, a driver of Yussef's camels, than reign dependent on these Christian dogs! But my trust is in Allah."

"May Allah protect both thee and thy people!" replied Al Raxid, mournfully, who saw that the die of fate was cast.

The course of this history must be interrupted for a moment, while the origin and exploits of this formidable African are recorded.

Beyond the chain of Mount Atlas, in the deserts of ancient Getulia, dwelt two tribes of Arabian descent—both, probably, of the greater one of Zanhaga, so illustrious in Arabian history. At what time they had been expelled, or had voluntarily exiled themselves, from their native Yemen, they knew not; but tradition taught them that they had been located in the African deserts from ages immemorial. Their life was passed under the tent; their only possessions were their camels and their freedom. Yahia ben Ibrahim, belonging to one of these tribes—that of Gudala—made the pilgrimage of Mecca. On his return through the province of Cairwan he became acquainted with Abu-Amram, a famous alfaqui, originally of Fez. Being questioned by his new friend as to the religion and manners of his countrymen, he replied that they were sunk in ignorance, both from their isolated situation in the desert and from their want of teachers; he added, however, that they were strangers to cruelty, and that they would be willing enough to receive instruction from any quarter. He even entreated the alfaqui to allow some one of his disciples to accompany him into his native country; but none of those disciples was willing to undertake so long and perilous a journey, and it was not without considerable difficulty that Abdallah ben Yassim, the disciple of another alfaqui, was persuaded to accompany the patriotic Yahia.

Abdallah was one of those ruling minds which, fortunately for the peace of society, nature so seldom produces. Seeing his enthusiastic reception by the tribe of Gudala, and the influence he was sure of maintaining over it, he formed the design of founding a sovereignty in the heart of these vast regions. Under the pretext that to diffuse a holy religion and useful knowledge was among the most imperative of duties, he prevailed on his obedient disciples to make war on the kindred tribe of Lamtuna. That tribe submitted, acknowledging his spiritual authority, and zealously assisted him in his great purpose of gaining proselytes by the sword. His ambition naturally increased with his success: in a short time he had reduced, in a similar manner, the isolated tribes around him. To his valiant followers of Lamtuna he now gave the name of Muraditins, or Almoravides,[30] which signifies men consecrated to the service of God.

[Footnote 30: This Moslem dynasty, founded about 1050, ruled in Africa, and afterward in Spain, until 1147, when it was overthrown and succeeded by that of the Almohades.]

The whole country of Darah was gradually subdued by this new apostle, and his authority was acknowledged over a region extensive enough to form a respectable kingdom. But though he exercised all the rights of sovereignty, he prudently abstained from assuming the title: he left to the emir of Lamtuna the ostensible exercise of temporal power; and when, in A.D. 1058, that emir fell in battle, he nominated Abu-Bekr ben Omar to the vacant dignity. His own death, which was that of a warrior, left Abu-Bekr in possession of an undivided sovereignty. The power and consequently the reputation of the emir, spread far and wide, and numbers flocked from distant provinces to share in the advantages of religion and plunder. His native plains were now too narrow for the ambition of Abu-Bekr, who crossed the chain of Mount Atlas, and fixed his residence in the city of Agmat, between those mountains and the sea.

But even this place was soon too confined for his increased subjects, and he looked round for a site on which he might lay the foundations of a great city, the destined metropolis of a great empire. One was at length found; and the city of Morocco began to rear its head from the valley of Eylana. Before, however, his great work was half completed, he received intelligence that the tribe of Gudala had declared a deadly war against that of Lamtuna; and that the ruin of one at least of the hostile people was to be apprehended. As he belonged to the latter, he naturally trembled for the fate of his kindred; and at the head of his cavalry he departed for his native deserts, leaving the superintendence of the buildings and the command of the army, during his absence, to his cousin, Yussef ben Taxfin.

The person and character of Yussef are drawn in the most favorable colors by the Arabian writers. We are told that his stature was tall and noble, his countenance prepossessing, his eye dark and piercing, his beard long, his tone of voice harmonious, his whole frame, which no sickness ever assailed, strong, robust, and familiar with fatigue; that his mind corresponded with his outward appearance, his generosity, his care of the poor, his sobriety, his justice, his religious zeal, yet freedom from intolerance, rendering him the admiration of foreigners and the love of his own people. But whatever were his other virtues, it will be seen that gratitude, honor, and good faith were not among the number. Scarcely had his kinsman left the city, than, in pursuance of the design he had formed of usurping the supreme authority, he began to win the affection of the troops, partly by his gifts and partly by that winning affability of manner which he could easily assume. How well he succeeded will soon appear. Nor was his success in war less agreeable to so fierce and martial a people as the Almoravides. The Berbers who inhabited the defiles of Mount Atlas, and who, animated by the spirit of independence so characteristic of mountaineers, endeavored to vindicate their natural liberty, were quickly subdued by him.

But his policy was still superior. He had long loved, or at least long aspired to the hope of marrying, the beautiful Zainab, sister of Abu-Bekr; but the fear of a repulse from the proud chief of his family had caused him to smother his inclination. He now disdained to supplicate for that chief's consent: he married the lady, and from that moment proceeded boldly in his projects of ambition. Having put the finishing touch to his magnificent city of Morocco, he transferred thither the seat of his empire; and by the encouragement he afforded to individuals of all nations who chose to settle there, he soon filled it with a prosperous and numerous population. The augmentation of his army was his next great object; and so well did he succeed in it that on his departure, in a hostile expedition against Fez, he found his troops exceeded one hundred thousand. With so formidable a force, he had little difficulty in rapidly extending his conquests.

Yussef had just completed the subjugation of Fez when Abu-Bekr returned from the desert and encamped in the vicinity of Agmat. He was soon made acquainted—probably common report had acquainted him long before—with the usurpation of his kinsman. With a force so far inferior to his rival's, and still more with the conviction that the hearts of the people were weaned from him, he might well hesitate as to the course he should adopt. His greatest mortification was to hear his own horsemen, whom curiosity drew into Morocco, loud in the praises of Yussef, whose liberality to the army was the theme of universal admiration, and whose service for that reason many avowed their intention of embracing. He now feared that his power was at an end, yet he resolved to have an interview with his cousin.

The two chiefs met about half-way between Morocco and Agmat,[31] and after a formal salutation took their seats on the same carpet. The appearance of Yussef's formidable guard, the alacrity with which he was obeyed, and the grandeur which surrounded him convinced Abu-Bekr that the throne of the usurper was too firmly established to be shaken. The poor emir, so far from demanding the restitution of his rights, durst not even utter one word of complaint; on the contrary, he pretended that he had long renounced empire, and that his only wish was to pass the remainder of his days in the retirement of the desert. With equal hypocrisy Yussef humbly thanked him for his abdication; the sheiks and walis were summoned to witness the renewed declaration of the emir, after which the two princes separated. The following day, however, Abu-Bekr received a magnificent present from Yussef,[32] who, indeed, continued to send him one every year to the period of his death.

[Footnote 31: The distance is about ten or twelve leagues.]

[Footnote 32: This present is made to consist of twenty-five thousand crowns of gold, seventy horses of the best breed, all splendidly accoutred, one hundred and fifty mules, one hundred magnificent turbans with as many costly habits, four hundred common turbans, two hundred white mantles, one thousand pieces of rich stuffs, two hundred pieces of fine linen, one hundred and fifty black slaves, twenty beautiful young maidens, with a considerable quantity of perfumes, corn, and cattle. Such a gift was worthy of royalty. In a similar situation a modern English sovereign would probably have sent—one hundred pounds.]

Yussef, who, though he had refused to receive the title of almumenin, which he considered as properly belonging to the Caliph of the East, had just exchanged his humble one of emir for those of almuzlemin, or prince of the believers, and of nazaradin, or defender of the faith, when the letters of Mahomet reached him. A similar application from Omar, King of Badajoz, he had disregarded, not because he was indifferent to the glory of serving his religion, still less to the advantage of extending his conquests, but because he had not then sufficiently consolidated his power. Now, however, he was in peaceful possession of an extended empire, and he assembled his chiefs to hear their sentiments on an expedition which he had resolved to undertake. All immediately exclaimed that war should be undertaken in defence of the tottering throne of Islam. Before, however, he returned a final answer to the King of Seville, he insisted that the fortress of Algeziras should be placed in his hands, on the pretence that if fortune were unpropitious he should have some place to which he might retreat. That Mahomet should have been so blind as to not perceive the designs involved in the insidious proposal is almost enough to make one agree with the Arabic historians that destiny had decreed he should fall by his own measures. The place was not only surrendered to the artful Moor, but Mahomet himself went to Morocco to hasten the departure of Yussef. He was assured of speedy succor and induced to return. He was soon followed by the ambitious African, at the head of a mighty armament.

Alfonso was besieging Saragossa, which he had every expectation of reducing, when intelligence reached him of Yussef's disembarkation. He resolved to meet the approaching storm. At the head of all the forces he could muster he advanced toward Andalusia, and encountered Yussef on the plains of Zalaca, between Badajoz and Merida. As the latter was a strict observer of the outward forms of his religion, he summoned the Christian King by letter to embrace the faith of the Prophet or consent to pay an annual tribute or prepare for immediate battle. "I am told," added the writer, "that thou wishest for vessels to carry the war into my kingdom; I spare thee the trouble of the voyage. Allah brings thee into my presence that I may punish thy presumption and pride!" The indignant Christian trampled the letter under foot, and at the same time said to the messenger: "Tell thy master what thou hast seen! Tell him also not to hide himself during the action: let him meet me face to face!" The two armies engaged the 13th day of the moon Regeb, A.H. 479.[33]

[Footnote 33: October 23, A.D. 1086.]

The onset of Alfonso at the head of the Christian cavalry was so fierce that the ranks of the Almoravides were thrown into confusion; not less successful was Sancho, King of Navarre, against the Andalusians, who retreated toward Badajoz. But the troops of Seville kept the field, and fought with desperate valor: they would, however, have given way, had not Yussef at this critical moment advanced with his reserve and his own guard, consisting of his bravest troops, and assailed the Christians in the rear and flanks. This unexpected movement decided the fortune of the day. Alfonso was severely wounded and compelled to retreat, but not until nightfall, nor until he had displayed a valor worthy of the greatest heroes. Though his own loss was severe, amounting, according to the Arabians, to twenty-four thousand men, that of the enemy could scarcely be inferior, when we consider that this victory had no result; Yussef was evidently too much weakened to profit by it.

Not long after the battle, Yussef being called to Africa by the death of a son, the command of the Almoravides devolved on Syr ben Abu-Bekr, the ablest of his generals. That general advanced northward, and seized some insignificant fortresses; but the advantage was but temporary, and was more than counterbalanced by the disasters of the following year. The King of Saragossa, Abu-Giafar, had hoped that the defeat of Zalaca would prevent the Christians from attacking him; but that of his allies, the Mahometan princes, in the neighborhood, and the taking of Huesca by the King of Navarre, convinced him how fallacious was his fancied security. Seeing that no advantage whatever had accrued from his former expedition, Yussef now proclaimed the Alhiged, or holy war, and invited all the Andalusian princes to join him. In A.D. 1088, he again disembarked at Algeziras and joined the confederates. But this present demonstration of force proved as useless as the preceding: it ended in nothing; owing partly to the dissensions of Mahometans, and partly to the activity of the Christians, who not only rendered abortive the measures of the enemy, but gained some signal advantages over them. Yussef was forced to retreat on Almeida. Whether through the distrust of the Mahometan princes, who appear to have penetrated his intention of subjecting them to his empire, or through his apprehension of Alfonso, he again returned to Africa, to procure new and more considerable levies. In A.D. 1091 he landed a third time at Algeziras, not so much with the view of humbling the Christian King as of executing the perfidious design he had so long harbored. For form's sake, indeed, he invested Toledo, but he could have entertained no expectation of reducing it; and when he perceived that the Andalusian princes refused to join him, he eagerly left that city, and proceeded to secure far dearer and easier interests: he openly threw off the mask, and commenced his career of spoliation.

The King of Granada, Abdallah ben Balkin, was the first victim to African perfidy. In the conviction that he must be overwhelmed if resistance were offered, he left his city to welcome Yussef. His submission was vain: he was instantly loaded with chains, and with his family sent to Agmat. Timur ben Balkin, brother of Abdallah, was in the same violent manner despoiled of Malaga. Mahomet now perceived the grievous error which he had committed, and the prudent foresight of his son Al Raxid. "Did not I tell thee," said the latter, mournfully, "what the consequences would be; that we should be driven from our palace and country?"

"Thou wert indeed a true prophet," replied the self-accused father; "but what power could avert the decrees of fate?"

It seemed as if fate had indeed resolved that this well-meaning but misguided prince should fall by his own obstinacy; for though his son advised him to seek the alliance of Alfonso, he refused to do so until that alliance could no longer avail him. He himself seemed to think that the knell of his departing greatness was about to sound; and the most melancholy images were present to his fancy, even in sleep. "One night," says an Arabic historian, "he heard in a dream his ruin predicted by one of his sons: he awoke, and the same verses were repeated:

"'Once, Fortune carried thee in her car of triumph and thy name was by renown spread to the ends of the earth. Now, the same renown conveys only thy sighs. Days and nights pass away, and like them the enjoyments of the world; thy greatness has vanished like a dream!'"

But if Mahomet was superstitious—if he felt that fate had doomed him, and that resistance would be useless—he resolved not to fall ignobly. His defence was indeed heroic; but it was vain, even though Alfonso sent him an aid of twenty thousand men: his cities fell one by one; Seville was constrained to capitulate: he and his family were thrown into prison until a ship was prepared to convey them into Africa, whither their perfidious ally had retired some weeks before. His conduct in this melancholy reverse of fortune is represented as truly great. Not a sigh escaped him, except for the innocent companions of his misfortune, especially for his son, Al Raxid, whose virtues and talents deserved a better destiny. Surrounded by the best beloved of his wives, by his daughters, and his four surviving sons, he endeavored to console them as they wept on seeing his royal hands oppressed with fetters, and still more when the ship conveyed all from the shores of Spain. "My children and friends," said the suffering monarch, "let us learn to support our lot with resignation! In this state of being our enjoyments are but lent us, to be resumed when heaven sees fit. Joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, closely follow each other; but the noble heart is above the inconstancy of fortune!"

The royal party disembarked at Ceuta, and were conveyed to Agmat, to be confined in a fortress. We are told that on their journey a compassionate poet presented the fallen King with a copy of verses deploring his misfortunes, and that he rewarded the poet with thirty-six pieces of gold—the only money he had left, from his once exhaustless riches. He had little apprehension of what was to follow—that Yussef would leave him without support; that his future life was to be passed in penury; nay, that his daughters would be compelled to earn his subsistence and their own by the labor of their hands. Yet even in that indigent condition, says Aben Lebuna, and through the sadness which covered their countenances, there was something about them which revealed their high origin. The unfortunate monarch outlived the loss of his crown and liberty about four years.

After the fall of Mahomet, the general of Yussef had little difficulty in subduing the princes of Andalusia. Valencia next received the African yoke. The King of Saragossa was more fortunate. He sent ambassadors to Yussef, bearing rich presents, and proposing an alliance with a common league against the Christians. "My dominions," said Abu-Giafar, "are the only barrier between thee and the Christian princes. Hitherto my predecessors and myself have withstood all their efforts; with thy succor I shall fear them still less." Yussef accepted the proposal; a treaty of alliance was made; and the army of Abu-Giafar was reinforced by a considerable body of Amoravides, A.H. 486, with whom he repelled an invasion of Sancho, King of Aragon. A third division of the Africans, which marched to destroy the sovereignty of Algarve and Badajoz, was no less successful. Badajoz capitulated; but, in violation of the treaty, the dethroned Omar, with two of his sons, was surrounded and assassinated by a body of cavalry, as he was unsuspiciously journeying from the scene of his past prosperity in search of another asylum. A third son was placed in close confinement.

Thus ended the petty kingdoms of Andalusia, after a stormy existence of about sixty years.

For some years after the usurpation of Yussef, peace appears to have existed in Spain between the Mahometans and the Christians. Fearing a new irruption of Africans, Alfonso contented himself with fortifying Toledo; and Yussef felt little inclination to renew the war with one whose prowess he had so fatally experienced. But Christian Spain was, at one moment, near the brink of ruin. The passion for the crusades was no less ardently felt by the Spaniards than by other nations of Europe; thousands of the best warriors were preparing to depart for the Holy Land, as if there were more merit in contending with the infidels, in a remote region, for a barren sepulchre, than at home for the dearest interests of man—for honor, patriotism, and religion. Fortunately for Spain, Pope Pascal II, in answer to the representations of Alfonso, declared that the proper post of every Spaniard was at home, and there were his true enemies. Soon afterward Yussef returned to Morocco, where he died on the 3d day of the moon Muharram, A.H. 500, after living one hundred Arabian or about ninety-seven Christian years.

In A.H. 514 the empire of the Almoravides was tottering to its fall. It had never been agreeable to the Mahometans of Spain, whose manners, from their intercourse with a civilized people, were comparatively refined. The sheiks of Lamtuna were so many insupportable tyrants; the Jews, the universal agents for the collection of the revenues, were here, as in Poland, the most pitiless extortioners; every savage from the desert looked with contempt on the milder inhabitant of the Peninsula. The domination of these strangers was indeed so odious that, except for the divisions between Alfonso and his ambitious queen Donna Urraca, who was sovereign in her own right, all Andalusia might speedily have been subjected to Christian rule. Alfonso, the King of Aragon, fell at the siege of Fraga about A.D. 1109, but the Almoravides met an equally valiant foe in his son and successor, Alfonso Raymond, King of Leon and Castile.

After a period of about forty years, during which the Christians were steadily increasing their dominions, Coria and Mora and other Mahometan strongholds were acquired by Alfonso, now styled the "Emperor"; and almost every contest between the two natural enemies had turned to the advantage of the Christians. So long, indeed, as the walis were eager only to preserve or to extend their authority, independent of each other and of every superior, this success need not surprise us—we may rather be surprised that the Mahometans were allowed to retain any footing in the Peninsula. Probably they would at this time have been driven from it but for the seasonable arrival of the victorious Almohades. Both Christians and Africans now contended for the superiority. While the troops of Alfonso reduced Baeza, and, with a Mahometan ally, even Cordova, Malaga, and Seville acknowledged Abu Amram; Calatrava and Almeria next fell to the Christian Emperor, about the same time that Lisbon and the neighboring towns received Don Enrique, the new sovereign of Portugal. Most of these conquests, however, were subsequently recovered by the Almohades. Being reinforced by a new army from Africa, the latter pursued their successes with greater vigor. They reduced Cordova, which was held by an ally of Alfonso; defeated, and forever paralyzed, the expiring efforts of the Almoravides; and proclaimed their Emperor Abdelmumen as sovereign of all Mahometan Spain.

Notwithstanding the destructive wars which had prevailed for nearly a century, neither Moors nor Christians had acquired much advantage by them. From the reduction of Saragossa to the present time, the victory, indeed, had generally declared for the Christians; but their conquests, with the exception of Lisbon and a few fortresses in Central Spain, were lost almost as soon as gained; and the same fate attended the equally transient successes of the Mahometans. The reasons why the former did not permanently extend their territories, were their internal dissensions; while Leon was at war with Castile, or Castile with Leon, or either with Aragon, we need not wonder that the united Almoravides, or their successors the Almohades, should sometimes triumph; but those triumphs were sure to be followed by reverses whenever not all, but any one, of the Christian states was at liberty to assail its natural enemy. The Christians, when at peace among themselves, were always too many for their Mahometan neighbors, even when the latter were aided by the whole power of Western Africa.

In A.H. 572 (about A.D. 1179) the King of Castile reduced Caenza, and the Moors were defeated before Toledo. The following year the Portuguese were no less successful before Abrantes, which the Africans had besieged. These disasters roused the wrath of Yussef abu Yagur (son and successor of Abdulmumen who died A.H. 558 = A.D. 1165); but as an obscure rebellion required his presence at that time in Mauritania, he did not land in Spain until A.H. 580. He marched without delay against Santarem, which his soldiers had vainly besieged some years before. Wishing to divide the Portuguese force, he one night sent an order to his son Cid Abu Ishac, who lay encamped near him, to march with the Andalusian cavalry on Lisbon. The officer who carried the order instead of Lisbon named Seville; the whole Moslem army were sure that some disaster was impending, and that the siege was to be raised; before morning the camp was deserted, the guard alone of Yussef remaining. While he despatched orders to recall the alarmed fugitives, the Christians, who were soon aware of the retreat, issued from the walls, surrounded and massacred the guard. Yussef defended himself like a hero: six of the advancing assailants he laid low, before the same fate was inflicted on himself. The merciless carnage of the Christians spared not even his female attendants. At this moment two companies of cavalry arrived, and, finding their monarch dying, furiously charged the Christians, whom they soon put to flight. In a few hours the whole army returned, and, inspired with the same hope of vengeance, they stormed and took the place, and put every living creature to the sword.

Yacub ben Yussef, from his victories afterward named Almansor, who was then in Spain, was immediately declared successor to his father. For some years he was not personally opposed to the Christians, though his walis carried on a desultory indecisive war; he was long detained in Africa, first in quelling some domestic commotions, and afterward by severe illness. He was scarcely recovered, when the intelligence that the Christians were making insulting irruptions to the very outworks of Algeziras made him resolve on punishing their audacity. His preparations were of the most formidable description. In A.H. 591 he landed in Andalusia, and proceeded toward Valencia, where the Christian army then lay. There Alfonso VIII, King of Castile, was awaiting the expected reinforcements from his allies, the kings of Leon and Navarre. Both armies pitched their tents on the plains of Alarcon. The following day the Christians commenced the attack, and with so much impetuosity that the centre was soon broken. But an Andalusian chief conducted a strong body of his men against Alfonso, who with the reserve occupied the hill above the plain. While the struggle was in all its fury, Yacub and his division took the Christians in flank. The result was fatal to the Castilian army, which, discouraged at what it considered a new enemy, gave way in every direction. Alfonso, preferring an honorable death to the shame of defeat, prepared to plunge into the heart of the Mahometan squadrons, when his nobles surrounded him and forced him from the field. His loss must have been immense, amounting probably to twenty thousand men. With a generosity very rare in a Mahometan, and still more in an African, Yacub restored his prisoners to liberty—an action for which, we are informed, he received few thanks from his followers. Alfonso retreated to Toledo just as the King of Leon arrived with the promised reinforcement.

After this signal victory Yacub rapidly reduced Calatrava, Guadalaxara, Madrid and Esalona, Salamanca, etc. Toledo, too, he invested, but in vain. He returned to Africa, caused his son Mahomet to be declared wali alhadi, and died, the 22d day of the moon Regeb, A.H. 595.[34] He left behind him the character of an able, a valiant, a liberal, a just, and even magnanimous prince—of one who labored more for the real welfare of his people than any other potentate of his age. He was, beyond doubt, the greatest and best of the Almohades.

[Footnote 34: May 19, 1199.]

The character of Mahomet Abu Abdallah, surnamed Alnassir, was very different from that of his great father. Absorbed in effeminate pleasures, he paid little attention to the internal administration of his empire or to the welfare of his people. Yet he was not insensible to martial fame; and he accordingly showed no indisposition to forsake his harem for the field. After quelling two inconsiderable rebellions, he prepared to punish the audacity of Alfonso of Castile, who made destructive inroads into Andalusia. Much as the world had been astounded at the preparations of his grandfather Yussef, they were not surpassed by his own, if, as we are credibly informed, one alone of the five divisions of his army amounted to one hundred and sixty thousand men. It is certain that a year was required for the assembling of this vast armament, that two months were necessary to convey it across the straits, and that all Christian Europe was filled with alarm at its disembarkation. Innocent III proclaimed a crusade to Spain; and Rodrigo of Toledo, the celebrated historian, accompanied by several prelates, went from one court to another, to rouse the Christian princes. While the kings of Aragon and Navarre[35] promised to unite their forces with their brother of Castile to repel the common danger, great numbers of volunteers from Portugal[36] and Southern France hastened to the general rendezvous at Toledo, the Pope ordered fasting, prayers, and processions to be made, to propitiate the favor of heaven, and to avert from Christendom the greatest danger that had threatened it since the days of the emir Abderahman.

[Footnote 35: Sancho, King of Navarre, is justly accused of backwardness at least in joining the Christian alliance. He even sought that of Yacub and Mahomet, on condition that his own states should be spared, or perhaps amplified at the expense of his neighbors. If the Arabian writers are correct, he privately waited on Mahomet in Seville; but the result of the interview is unknown.]

[Footnote 36: The King of Portugal was not present in this campaign, confidently as the contrary has been asserted by most historians.—La Cléde: Histoire Générale de Portugal, ii.]

Mahomet opened the campaign of A.H. 608 by the siege of Salvatierra, a strong but not important fortress of Estremadura, defended by the knights of Calatrava. That he should waste his forces on objects so incommensurate with their extent proves how little he was qualified to wield them. The place stood out for several months, and did not surrender until the Emperor had sustained a heavy loss, nor until the season was too far advanced to permit any advantage to be derived from this partial success. By suspending the execution of his great design until the following season, he allowed Alfonso time to prepare for the contest. The following June, the kings of Leon and Castile having assembled at Toledo, and been joined by a considerable number of foreign volunteers, the Christian army advanced toward the south. That of the infidels lay in the neighborhood of Baeza, and extended to the Sierra Morena.

On July 12th, A.H. 608, the crusaders reached the mountainous chain which divides New Castile from Andalusia. They found not only the passes, but the summits of the mountains, occupied by the Almohades. To force a passage was impossible; and they even deliberated on retreating, so as to draw out, if possible, the enemy from positions so formidable, when a shepherd entered the camp of Alfonso and proposed to conduct the Christian army, by a path unknown to both armies, to the summit of this elevated chain—by a path, too, which would be invisible to the enemy's outposts. A few companies having accompanied the man and found him equally faithful and well informed, the whole army silently ascended and intrenched themselves on the summit, the level of which was extensive enough to contain them all. Below appeared the wide-spread tents of the Moslems, whose surprise was great on perceiving the heights thus occupied by the crusaders. For two days the latter, whose fatigues had been harassing, kept their position; but on the third day they descended into the plains of Tolosa, which were about to be immortalized by their valor. Their right wing was led by the King of Navarre, their left by the King of Aragon, while Alfonso took his station in the centre. Mahomet had drawn up his army in a similar manner; but, with a strong body of reserve, he occupied an elevation well defended besides by vast iron chains, which surrounded his impenetrable guard.[37] In one hand he held a useless scimitar, in the other the Koran. The attack was made by the Christian centre against that of the Mahometans; and immediately the two wings moved against those of the enemy. The African centre, which consisted of the one hundred and sixty thousand volunteers, made a determined stand; and though it was broken, it soon rallied, on being reinforced from the reserve. At one time, indeed, the superiority of numbers was so great on the part of the Moslems that the troops of Alfonso appeared about to give way. At this moment that King, addressing the archbishop Rodrigo, who was with him, said, "Let us die here, prelate!" and he prepared to rush amid the dense ranks of the enemy. The prelate, however, and a Castilian general, retained him by the bridle of his horse, representing the rashness of his purpose, and advising him to reinforce his weak points by new succors. Accordingly those succors, among which were the vassals with the pennon of the archbishop, advanced to support the sinking Castilians. This manoeuvre decided the fortune of the day.[38] The Mahometan centre, after a sharp conflict, was again broken, this time irretrievably, and a way opened to the intrenchments of the Emperor. Seeing the success of their allies, the two wings charged their opponents with double fury and triumphed likewise. But the Africans[39] rallied round Mahomet, and presented a mass deep and formidable to the conquerors. Rodrigo, with his brother prelate, the Archbishop of Narbonne, now incited the Christians to overcome this last obstacle: both intrepidly accompanied the van of the centre. The struggle was terrific, but short; myriads of the barbarians fell; the boundary was first broken down by the King of Navarre; the Castilians and Aragonese followed; all opponents were massacred or fled; and the victors began to ascend the eminence on which Mahomet still remained. Seeing the total destruction or flight of his vast host, the Emperor sorrowfully exclaimed, "Allah alone is just and powerful; the devil is false and wicked!" Scarcely had he uttered the truism, when an Alarab approached, leading by the hand a strong but nimble mule. "Prince of the faithful!" said the African, "how long wilt thou remain here? Dost thou not perceive that thy Moslems flee? The will of Allah be done! Mount this mule, which is fleeter than the bird of heaven, or even the arrow which strikes it; never yet did she fail her rider; away! for on thy safety depends that of us all!" Mahomet mounted the beast, while the Alarab ascended the Emperor's horse, and both soon outstripped not only the pursuers but the fugitives. The carnage of the latter was dreadful until darkness put an end to it. The victors now occupied the tents of the Mahometans, while the two martial prelates sounded the Te Deum for the most splendid success which had shone on the banners of the Christians since the time of Charles Martel. The loss of the Africans, even according to the Arabian writers, who admit that the centre was wholly destroyed, could not fall short of one hundred and sixty thousand men.[40]

[Footnote 37: These chains are not mentioned by the Arabs; but what can be expected from their brevity?]

[Footnote 38: The standard-bearer of Rodrigo, don Domingo Pasquel, canon of Toledo, showed that he was well fitted to serve the church militant; he twice carried his banner through the heart of the Mahometan forces.]

[Footnote 39: The Arabian account says that the Andalusians were the first to flee.]

[Footnote 40: Of this great battle we have an account by four eye-witnesses: 1, By King Alfonso, in a letter to the Pope; 2, by the historian Rodrigo of Toledo; 3, by Arnaud, Archbishop of Narbonne; 4, by the author of the Annals of Toledo.]

The reduction of several towns, from Tolosa to Baeza, immediately followed this glorious victory—a victory in which Don Alfonso nobly redeemed his failure in the field of Zalaca—and which, in its immediate consequences, involved the ruin of the Mahometan empire in Spain. After an unsuccessful attempt on Ubeda, as the hot season was raging, the allies returned to Toledo, satisfied that the power of Mahomet was forever broken. That Emperor, indeed, did not long survive his disaster. Having precipitately fled to Morocco, he abandoned himself to licentious pleasures, left the cares of government to his son, or rather his ministers, and died on the 10th day of the moon Shaffan, A.H. 610 (A.D. 1214), not without suspicion of poison.

By recent writers of Spain the number of slain on the part of the Africans was two hundred thousand; on that of the Christians, twenty-five individuals only. Of course the whole campaign is represented as miraculous; and, indeed, actual miracles are recorded—which we have neither space nor inclination to notice.]


A.D. 1096-1099


Religious feeling in the eleventh century rose to a great pitch of enthusiasm, and led men of various nations, with still more various motives and aims in worldly affairs, to pursue one common end with their whole heart. Between the years 1096 and 1270 these attempts of Christian nations to rescue the Holy Land from the "Infidels," as the Mahometans were called, added a wholly new character of human enterprise to the world's history.

At the time—in the middle of the eleventh century—when the Seljuks, a Turkish tribe of Western Asia, had overrun Syria and Asia Minor, throwing the East into a state of anarchy, Europe was beginning to adopt modes of settled order. Through the Byzantine empire great numbers of pilgrims for centuries had passed to visit Palestine. With the improved condition of the western nations, which led to an extension of commerce in the East, the pilgrimage to that part of the world acquired a new importance. As early as 1064 a caravan of seven thousand pilgrims made their way to the neighborhood of Jerusalem, where they narrowly escaped destruction by the Bedouins, their rescue being effected by a Saracen emir.

In 1070 the Seljuks took possession of Jerusalem, inflicting hardships on the pilgrims by intolerable exactions, insult, and plunder. Besides outraging Christian sentiment, they ruined the commerce of the western nations. Throughout Europe arose the cry for vengeance, and men's minds were fully prepared for an attempt to conquer Palestine when their leaders began to preach the sacred duty of delivering the Holy Sepulchre from the hands of the infidels.

At the Council of Clermont, in 1094, Pope Urban II depicted the miseries of Christians in Palestine, and, with a power of eloquence unsurpassed in his day, called upon those who heard him to wipe off from the face of the earth the impurities which caused them, and to lift their oppressed fellow-Christians from the depths into which they had been trampled. He urged them to take up arms in the service of the Cross, at the same time setting before them the temporal, no less than the spiritual, advantages that would accrue from the conquest of a land "flowing with milk and honey," and which, he said, should be divided among them. He likewise offered them full pardon for all their sins.

The enthusiasm of his hearers burst all bounds, and with one voice they cried: "God wills it! God wills it!" To all parts of Europe the fervor spread. The Pope was powerfully aided by an earnest and eloquent—if ignorant—monk, Peter the Hermit, of Amiens, who declared that he would rouse the martial spirit of Europe in the cause, and he himself was the first—with whatsoever of misguided zeal—to lead the way to the Holy Land.

The crusades are so called from the simple circumstance that the badge chosen for the movement was the cross, which Pope Urban bade the Christian warriors wear on their breasts or on their shoulders, as the sign of Him who died for the salvation of their souls, and as the pledge of a vow that could never be recalled.

In the enterprise to which Latin Christendom stood committed, the several nations or countries of Europe took equal parts; or, rather, no nation, as such, took any part in it at all; and in this fact we have the explanation of that want of coherent action, and even decent or average generalship, which is commonly seen in national undertakings. For the crusade there was no attempt at a commissariat, no care for a base of supplies; and the crusading hosts were a collection of individual adventurers who either went without making any provisions for their journey or provided for their own needs and those of their followers from their own resources. The number of these adventurers was naturally determined by the political conditions of the country from which they came. In Italy the struggle between the pope and the antipope went far toward chilling enthusiasm; and the recruits for the crusading army came chiefly from the Normans who had followed Robert Guiscard to the sunny southern lands. The Spaniards were busied with a crusade nearer home, and were already pushing back to the south the Mahometan dominion which had once threatened to pass the barriers of the Pyrenees and carry the Crescent to the shores of the Baltic Sea. About ten years before the council of Clermont the Moslem dynasty of Toledo had been expelled by Alfonso, King of Galicia: the kingdom of Cordova had fallen twenty years earlier (1065), and while Peter the Hermit was hurrying hither and thither through the countries of Northern Europe, the Christians of Spain were winning victories in Murcia, and the land was ringing with the exploits of the dauntless Cid, Ruy Diaz de Bivar. By the Germans the summons to the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre was received with comparative coldness; the partisans of emperors, who had been humbled to the dust by the predecessors of Urban, if not by himself, were not vehemently eager to obey it. The bishops of Salzburg, Passau, and Strasburg, the aged duke Guelph of Bavaria, had undertaken the toilsome and perilous journey: not one of them saw their homes again, and their death in the distant East was not regarded by their countrymen as an encouragement to follow their example. In England the English were too much weighed down by the miseries of the Conquest, the Normans too much occupied in strengthening their position, and the King, William the Red, more ready to take advantage of the needs of his brother Robert than to incur any risks of his own. The great movement came from the lands extending from the Scheldt to the Pyrenees. Franks and Normans alike made ready with impetuous haste for the great adventure; and tens of thousands, who could not wait for the formation of something like a regular army, hurried away, under leaders as frantic as themselves, to their inevitable doom.

Little more than half the time allowed for the gathering of the crusaders had passed away, when a crowd of some sixty thousand men and women, neither caring nor thinking about the means by which their ends could be attained, insisted that the hermit Peter should lead them at once to the Holy City. Mere charity may justify the belief that some even among these may have been folk of decent lives moved by the earnest conviction that their going to Jerusalem would do some good; that the vast majority looked upon their vow as a license for the commission of any sin, there can be no moral doubt; that they exhibited not a single quality needed for the successful prosecution of their enterprise is absolutely certain. With a foolhardiness equal to his ignorance Peter undertook the task, in which he was aided by Walter the Penniless, a man with some pretensions to the soldier-like character. But the utter disorder of this motley host made it impossible for them to journey long together. At Cologne they parted company; and fifteen thousand under the penniless Walter made their way to the frontiers of Hungary, while Peter led onward a host which swelled gradually on the march to about forty thousand.

Another army or horde of perhaps twenty thousand marched under the guidance of Emico, Count of Leiningen, a third under that of the monk Gottschalk, a man not notorious for the purity or disinterestedness of his motives. Behind these came a rabble, it is said, of two hundred thousand men, women, and children, preceded by a goose and a goat, or, as some have supposed, by banners on which, as symbols of the mysterious faith of Gnostics and Paulicians, the likeness of these animals was painted. In this vile horde no pretence was kept up of order or of decency. Sinning freely, it would seem, that grace might abound, they plundered and harried the lands through which they marched, while three thousand horsemen, headed by some counts and gentlemen, were not too dignified to act as their attendants and to share their spoil.

But if they had no scruple in robbing Christians, their delight was to prove the reality of their mission as soldiers of the cross by plundering, torturing, and slaying Jews. The crusade against the Turk was interpreted as a crusade directed not less explicitly against the descendants of those who had crucified the Redeemer. The streets of Verdun and Treves and of the great cities on the Rhine ran red with the blood of their victims; and if some saved their lives by pretended conversions, many more cheated their persecutors by throwing their property and their persons either into the rivers or into the consuming fires.

A space of six hundred miles lay between the Austrian frontier and Constantinople; and across the dreary waste the followers of Walter the Penniless struggled on, destitute of money, and rousing the hostility of the inhabitants whom they robbed and ill-used. In Bulgaria their misdeeds provoked reprisals which threatened their destruction; and none perhaps would have reached Constantinople if the imperial commander at Naissos had not rescued them from their enemies, supplied them with food, and guarded them through the remainder of their journey. These succors involved some costs; and the costs were paid by the sale of unarmed men among the pilgrims, and especially of the women and children, who were seized to provide the necessary funds. Of those who formed the train of the hermit Peter, seven thousand only, it is said, reached Constantinople.

Of such a rabble rout the emperor Alexius[41] needed not to be afraid. He had already seen and encountered far larger armies of Normans, Turks, and Romans; and he now extended to this vanguard of the hosts of Latin Christendom a hospitality which was almost immediately abused. They had refused to comply with his request that they should quietly await the arrival of their fellow-crusaders; and consulting the safety of his people not less than his own, he induced them to cross the Bosporus, and pitch their camp on Asiatic soil, the land which they had come to wrest from the unbelievers.

[Footnote 41: Head of the Byzantine empire.]

Alexius wished simply to be rid of their presence: they had to deal with an enemy still more crafty and formidable in the Seljukian sultan David. The vagrants whom Peter and Walter had brought thus far on the road to Jerusalem were scattered about the land in search of food; and it was no hard task for David to cheat the main body with the false tidings that their companions had carried the walls of Nice, and were revelling in the pleasures and spoils of his capital. The doomed horde rushed into the plain which fronts the city; and a vast heap of bones alone remained to tell the story of the great catastrophe, when the forces which might more legitimately claim the name of an army passed the spot where the Seljukian had entrapped and crushed his victims. In this wild expedition not less, it is said, than three hundred thousand human beings had already paid the penalty of their lives.

Still the First Crusade was destined to accomplish more than any of the seven or eight crusades which followed it; and this measure of success it achieved probably because none of the great European sovereigns took part in it. The task of setting up a Latin kingdom in Palestine was to be achieved by princes of the second order.

Of these the foremost and the most deservedly illustrious was Godfrey, of Bouillon in the Ardennes, a kinsman of the counts of Boulogne, and Duke of Lotharingen (Lorraine). In the service of the emperor Henry IV, the enemy or the victim of Hildebrand, he had been the first to mount the walls of Rome and cleave his way into the city; he might now hope that his crusading vow would be accepted as an atonement for his sacrilege. Speaking the Frank and Teutonic dialects with equal ease, he exercised by his bravery, his wisdom, and the uprightness of his life an influence which brought to his standard, it is said, not less than eighty thousand infantry and ten thousand horsemen, together with his brothers Baldwin and Eustace, Count of Boulogne.

Among the most conspicuous of Godfrey's colleagues was Hugh, Count of Vermandois. With him may be placed the Norman duke Robert, whose carelessness had lost him the crown of England, and who had now pawned his duchy for a pittance scarcely less paltry than that for which Esau bartered away his birthright. The number of the great chiefs who led the pilgrims from Northern Europe is completed with the names of Robert, Count of Flanders, and of Stephen, Count of Chartres, Troyes, and Blois.

Foremost, by virtue of his title and office, among the leaders of the southern bands was the papal legate Adhemar (Aymer) Bishop of Puy—a leader rather as guiding the counsels of the army than as gathering soldiers under his banner.

A hundred thousand horse and foot attested, we are told, the greatness, the wealth, and the zeal of Raymond, Count of Toulouse, lord of Auvergne and Languedoc, who had grown old in warfare.

Less tinged with the fanatical enthusiasm of his comrades, and certainly more cool and deliberate in his ambition, Bohemond, son of Robert Guiscard, looked to the crusade as a means by which he might regain the vast regions extending from the Dalmatian coast to the northern shores of the Aegean. Nay, if we are to believe William of Malmesbury, he urged Urban to set forward the enterprise for the very purpose, partly, of thus recovering what he was pleased to regard as his inheritance, and in part of enabling the Pontiff to suppress all opposition in Rome. Guiscard had left his Apulian domains to a younger son, and Bohemond was resolved, it would seem, to add to his principality of Tarentum a kingdom which would make him a formidable rival of the Eastern Emperor.

Far above Bohemond rises his cousin Tancred, the son of the marquis Odo, surnamed the Good, and of Emma, the sister of Robert Guiscard.

In Tancred was seen the embodiment of those peculiar sentiments and modes of thought which gave birth to the crusades, and to which the crusades in their turn imparted marvellous strength and splendor.

The miserable remnant of three thousand men who escaped from the field of blood before the city of the Seljukian sultan found a refuge in Byzantine territory about the time when the better appointed armies of the crusaders were setting off on their eastward journey. The most disciplined of these troops set out with a vast following from the banks of the Meuse and the Moselle under Godfrey of Bouillon, who led them safely and without opposition to the Hungarian border. Here the armies of Hungary barred the way against the advance of a host at whose hands they dreaded a repetition of the havoc wrought by the lawless bands of Peter the Hermit and his self-chosen colleagues. Three weeks passed away in vain attempts to get over the difficulty. The Hungarian King demanded as a hostage Baldwin, the brother of the general: the demand was refused, and Godfrey put him to shame by surrendering himself. He asked only for a free passage and a free market; but although these were granted, it was not in his power to prevent some disorder and some depredations as his army or horde passed through the country. The mischief might have been much worse, had not the Hungarian cavalry, acting professedly as a friendly escort, but really as cautious warders, kept close to the crusading hosts.

At length they reached the gates of Philippopolis, and here Godfrey learned that Hugh of Vermandois, whose coming had been announced to the Greek emperor Alexius by four-and-twenty knights in golden armor, and who styled himself the brother of the king of kings and lord of all the Frankish hosts, was a prisoner within the walls of Constantinople. With Robert of Normandy and Robert of Flanders, with Stephen of Chartres and some lesser chiefs, Hugh had chosen to make his way through Italy; and the charms of that voluptuous land had a greater effect, it seems, in breaking up and corrupting their forces than the delights of Capua had in weakening the soldiers of Hannibal.

With little regard to order, the chiefs determined to cross the sea as best they might. Hugh embarked at Bari; and if we may believe Anna Comnena, the historian and the worshipper of her father Alexius, his fleet was broken by a tempest which shattered his own ship on the coast between Palos and Dyrrhachium (Durazzo), of which John Comnenus, the nephew of the Emperor, was at this time the governor. The Frank chief was here detained until the good pleasure of Alexius should be known. That wary and cunning prince saw at once how much might be made of his prisoner, who was by his orders conducted with careful respect and ceremony to the capital. Kept here really as a hostage, but welcomed to outward seeming as a friend, Hugh was so completely won by the charm of manner which Alexius well knew how and when to put on, that, paying him homage and declaring himself his man, he promised to do what he could to induce others to follow his example.

From Philippopolis Godfrey sent ambassadors to Alexius, demanding the immediate surrender of Hugh. The request was refused, and Godfrey resumed his march, treating the land through which he passed as an enemy's country, until by way of Adrianople he at length appeared before the walls of the capital at Christmastide, 1096. The fears of Alexius were aroused by the sight of a host so vast and so formidable: they quickened into terror as he thought of the armies which were still on their way under the command of Bohemond and Tancred. Of Godfrey, beyond the fact of his mission as a crusader, he knew little or nothing; but in Bohemond he saw one who claimed as his inheritance no small portion of his empire. This gathering of myriads, whom a false step on his part might convert into open enemies, was the result of his own entreaties urged through his envoys before Urban II in the Council of Piacenza; and his mind was divided between a feverish anxiety to hurry them on to their destination and so to rid himself of their hateful presence, and the desire to retain a hold not only on the crusading chiefs but on any conquests which they might make in Syria.

Hugh was sent back to Godfrey's camp; but the quarrel was patched up, rather than ended. It was easier to rouse suspicion and jealousy than to restore friendship. But it was of the first importance for Alexius that he should secure the homage of the princes already gathered round his capital before the arrival of his ancient enemy Bohemond. In this he succeeded, and a compact was made by which Alexius pledged them his word that he would supply them with food and aid them in their eastward march, and would protect all pilgrims passing through his dominions. On the other hand the crusading chiefs, as already subjects of other sovereigns, gave their fealty to the Emperor as their liege lord only for the time during which they might remain within his borders, and undertook to restore to him such of their conquests as had been recently wrested from the empire.

The policy and the bribes of Alexius had overcome the opposition of Bohemond. He was to experience a stouter resistance from Raymond of Toulouse, who, though he had been the first to enlist, was the last to set out on his crusade.

The Count of Toulouse scarcely regarded himself as the vassal even of the French King. He was ready, he said, to be the friend of Alexius on equal terms; but he would not declare himself to be his man. On this point he was immovable, although Bohemond tried the effect of a threat (which was never forgiven), that if the quarrel came to blows, he should be found on the side of the Emperor. But Alexius soon saw that in Raymond he had to deal with an enthusiast as sincere and persistent as Godfrey. He took his measures accordingly, winning the heart of the old warrior, although he failed to compel his obedience.

While Alexius was busied in dealing with Godfrey and Raymond, Bohemond and Tancred, he was not less anxiously occupied with the task of sending across the Bosporus the swarms which might soon become an army of devouring locusts round his own capital. It was easier to give them a welcome than to get rid of them: and more than two months had passed since Christmas, when the followers of Godfrey found themselves on the soil of Asia.

Godfrey's men had no sooner been landed on the eastern side of the Bosporus than all the vessels which had transported them were brought back to the western shore. With great astuteness, and at the cost of large gifts, Alexius in like manner freed the neighborhood of his capital from the invading multitudes. As fast as they came they were hurried across, and the Emperor breathed more freely when, on the Feast of Pentecost, not a single Latin pilgrim remained on the European shore.

The danger of conflict had throughout been imminent; and the danger arose, not so much from the fact that the crusaders were armed men, marching through the country of professed allies, but from the thorough antagonism between Greeks and Latins in modes of thought and habits of life. Nor must we forget the vast gulf which separated the Eastern from the Western clergy. The clergy of the West despised their brethren of the East for their cowardly submission to the secular arm. These, in their turn, shrunk with horror from the sight of bishops, priests, and monks riding with blood-stained weapons over fields of battle, and exhibiting at other times an ignorance equal to their ferocity.

The strength and valor of the crusaders were soon to be tested. They were now face to face with the Turks, on whose cowardice Urban II had enlarged with so much complacency before the Council of Clermont. The sultan David, or Kilidje Arslan, placed his family and treasures in his capital city of Nice and retreated with fifty thousand horsemen to the mountains, whence he swooped down from time to time on the outposts of the Christians. By these his city was formally invested; and for seven weeks it was assailed to little purpose by the old instruments of Roman warfare, while some of the besiegers shot their weapons from the hill on which were mouldering the bones of the fanatic followers of Peter. It was protected to the west by the Askanian lake, and so long as the Turks had command of this lake they felt themselves safe. But Alexius sent thither on sledges a large number of boats, and the city, subjected to a double blockade, submitted to the Emperor, who was in no way anxious to see the crusaders masters of the place. The crusaders were making ready for the last assault, when they saw the imperial banner floating on the walls. Their disappointment at the escape of the miscreants, or unbelievers, for so they delighted to speak of them, was vented in threats which seemed to bode a renewal of the old troubles; but Alexius, with gifts, which added force to his words, professed that his only desire now, as it had been, was to forward them safely on their journey. Nor had they to go many stages before they found themselves again confronted with their adversary.

The conflict took place near the Phrygian Dorylaion, and seemed at first to portend dire defeat to the crusaders. More than once the issue of the day seemed to be turned by the indomitable personal bravery of the Norman Robert, of Tancred, and of Bohemond; and when even those seemed likely to be borne down, they received timely succors from Godfrey, and Hugh of Vermandois, from Bishop Adhemar of Puy and from Raymond, Count of Toulouse. Still the Turks held out, and it seemed likely that they would long hold out, when the appearance of the last division of Raymond's army filled them with the fear that a new host was upon them.

The crusaders had won a considerable victory. Three thousand knights belonging to the enemy had been slain, and Kilidje Arslan was hurrying away to enlist the services of his kinsmen. Meanwhile the Latin hosts were sweeping onward. Hundreds died from the heat, and dogs or goats took the place of the baggage-horses which had perished. At length Tancred with his troop found himself before Tarsus, the birthplace and the home of that single-hearted apostle who long ago had preached a gospel strangely unlike the creed of the crusaders. Following rapidly behind him, Baldwin saw with keen jealousy the banner of the Italian chief floating on its towers, and insisted on taking the precedence. Tancred pleaded the choice of the people and his own promise to protect them; but the intrigues of Baldwin changed their humor, and the rejection of Tancred by the men of Tarsus was followed by an attempt at private war between Tancred and Baldwin, in which the troops of Tancred were overborne. So early was the first harvest of murderous discord reaped among the holy warriors of the Cross. It was ruin, however, to stay where they were; and the main army again began its march, to undergo once more the old monotony of hardship and peril.

A very small force would have sufficed to disorganize and rout them as they clambered over the defiles of Mount Taurus; nor could Raymond, recovering from a terrible illness, or Godfrey, suffering from wounds inflicted by a bear, have done much to help them. But for the present their enemies were dismayed; and Baldwin, brother of Godfrey, hastened with eagerness to obey a summons which besought him to aid the Greek or Armenian tyrant of Edessa. As Alexius had done to his brother, so this chief welcomed Baldwin as his son; but Baldwin, having once entered into the city, cared nothing for the means which had brought him thither, and the death of his adoptive father was followed by the establishment at Edessa of a Latin principality which lasted for fifty-four, or, as some have thought, forty-seven years. Baldwin had anticipated the unconditional surrender of Samosata; but the Turkish governor had some of the Edessenes in his power, and he refused to give up the city except on the payment of ten thousand gold pieces. The Turk shortly afterward fell into Baldwin's hands, and was put to death.

Meanwhile the main army of the crusaders was advancing toward the Syrian capital (Antioch), that ancient and luxurious city whose fame had gone over the whole Roman world for its magnificence, its unbounded wealth, its soft delights, and its unholy pleasures. The days of its greatest splendor had passed away. Its walls were partially in ruins; its buildings were in some parts crumbling away or had already fallen; but against assailants utterly ignorant and awkward in all that relates to the blockade of cities it was still a formidable position. Nor could they invest it until they had passed the iron bridge—so called from its iron-plated gates—of nine stone arches, which spanned the stream of the Ifrin at a distance of nine miles from the city. This bridge was carried by the impetuous charge of Robert of Normandy, aided by the more steady efforts of Godfrey; and in the language of an age which delighted in round numbers, a hundred thousand warriors hurried across to seize the splendid prize which now seemed almost within their grasp.

But the city was in the hands of men who had been long accustomed to despise the Greeks, and who had not yet learned to respect the valor of the Latins. Preparing himself for a resolute defence, the Seljukian governor Baghasian had sent away as useless, if not mischievous, most of the Christians within the town; and the crusading chiefs had begun to discuss the prudence of postponing all operations till the spring, when Raymond of Toulouse with some other chiefs insisted that delay would imply fear, and that the imputation of cowardice would insure the paralysis of their enterprise. The city was therefore at once invested, so far as the forces of the crusaders could suffice to encircle it; and a siege began which in the eyes of the military historian must be absolutely without interest, and of which the issue was decided by paroxysms of fanatical vehemence on the one side, and by lack, not of bravery, but of generalship on the other. Of the eastern and northern walls the blockade was complete; of the west it was partial; and the failure to invest a portion of the western wall, with two out of the five gates of the city, left the movements of the Turks in this direction free.

But the besiegers were in no hurry to begin the work of death. The wealth of the harvest and the vintage spread before them its irresistible temptations, and the herds feeding in the rich pastures seemed to promise an endless feast. The cattle, the corn, and the wine were alike wasted with besotted folly, while the Turks within the walls received tidings, it is said, of all that passed in the crusading camp from some Greek and Armenian Christians to whom they allowed free egress and ingress. Of this knowledge they availed themselves in planning the sallies by which they caused great distress to the besiegers, whose clumsy engines and devices seemed to produce no result beyond the waste of time, and who felt perhaps that they had done something when they blocked up the gate of the bridge with huge stones dug from the neighboring quarries.

Three months passed away, and the crusaders found themselves not conquerors, but in desperate straits from famine. The winter rains had turned the land round their camp into a swamp, and lack of food left them more and more unable to resist the pestilential diseases which were rapidly thinning their numbers. A foraging expedition under Bohemond and Tancred filled the camp with food; it was again recklessly wasted. The second famine scared away Tatikios, the lieutenant of the Greek emperor Alexius; but the crusading chiefs were perhaps still more disgusted by the desertion of William of Melun, called "the Carpenter," from the sledgehammer blows which he dealt out in battle. Hunger obtained a victory even over the hermit Peter, who was stealing away with William of Melun, when he with his companion was caught by Tancred and brought back to the tent of Bohemond.

For a moment the look of things was changed by the arrival of ambassadors from Egypt. To the Fatimite caliph of that country the progress of the crusading arms had thus far brought with it but little dissatisfaction. The humiliation of the Seljukian Turks could not fail to bring gain to himself, if the flood of Latin conquests could be checked and turned back in time. His generals besieged Jerusalem and Tyre; and when the Fatimite once more ruled in Palestine, his envoys hastened to the crusaders' camp to announce the deliverance of the Holy Land from its oppressors, to assure to all unarmed and peaceable pilgrims a month's unmolested sojourn in Jerusalem, and to promise them his aid during their march, on condition that they should acknowledge his supremacy within the limits of his Syrian empire.

The arguments and threats of the Caliph were alike thrown away. The Latin chiefs disclaimed all interest in the feuds and quarrels of rival sultans and in the fortunes of Mahometan sects. God himself had destined Jerusalem for the Christians, and if any held it who were not Christians, these were usurpers whose resistance must be punished by their expulsion or their death. The envoys departed not encouraged by this answer, and still more perplexed by the appearance of plenty and by the magnificence of a camp in which they had expected to see a terrible spectacle of disorder and misery.

The resolute persistence of the besiegers convinced Baghasian of the need of reinforcements. These were hastening to him from Caesarea, Aleppo, and other places, when they were cut off by Bohemond and Raymond, who sent a multitude of heads to the envoys of the Fatimite Caliph, and discharged many hundreds from their engines into the city of Antioch. The Turks had their opportunity for reprisals when the arrival of some Pisan and Genoese ships at the mouth of the Orontes drew off the greater part of the besieging army. The crusaders were returning with provisions and arms, when their enemies started upon them from an ambuscade. The battle was fierce; but the defeat of Raymond, which threatened dire disaster, was changed into victory on the arrival of Godfrey and the Norman Robert, whose exploits equalled or surpassed, if we are to believe the story, even those of Arthur, Lancelot, or Tristram. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Turks fell. Their bodies were buried by their comrades in the cemetery without the walls: the Christians dug them up, severed the heads from the trunks, and paraded the ghastly trophies on their pikes, not forgetting to send a goodly number to the Egyptian Caliph, by way of showing how his Seljukian friends or enemies had fared. The picture is disgusting; but if we shut our eyes to these loathsome details, the truth of the history is gone. We are dealing with the wars of savages, and it is right that we should know this.

The next scene exhibits Godfrey and Bohemond in fierce quarrel about a splendid tent, which, being intended as a gift for the former, had been seized by an Armenian chief and sent to the latter. But there was now more serious business on hand. Rumor spoke of the near approach of a Persian army, and the besieged, under the plea of wishing to arrange terms of capitulation, obtained a truce which they sought probably only for the sake of gaining time. The days passed by, but no offers were made; and their disposition was shown by seizing a crusading knight in the groves near the city and tearing his body in pieces. The Latins returned with increased fury to the siege: but the defence, although more feeble, was still protracted, and Bohemond began to feel not only that fraud might succeed where force had failed, but that from fraud he might reap, not safety merely, but wealth and greatness. His plans were laid with a renegade Christian named Phirouz, high in the favor of the governor, with whom he had come into contact either during the truce or in some other way. By splendid promises he insured the zealous aid of his new ally, and then came forward in the council with the assurance that he could place the city in their hands, but that he could do this only on condition that he should rule in Antioch as Baldwin ruled in Edessa. His claim was angrily opposed by the Provençal Raymond; but this opposition was overruled, and it was resolved that the plan should be carried out at once.

There was need for so doing. Rumors spread within the city that some attempt was to be made to betray the place to the besiegers, and hints or open accusations pointed out Phirouz as the traitor. Like other traitors, the renegade thought it best to anticipate the charge by urging that the guards of the towers should on the very next day be changed. His proposal was received as indubitable proof of his innocence and his faithfulness; but he had made up his mind that Antioch should fall that night, and that night by means of a rope ladder Bohemond with about sixty followers (the ropes broke before more could ascend) climbed up the wall. Seizing ten towers, of which all the guards were killed, they opened a gate, and the Christian host rushed in. The banner of Bohemond rose on one of the towers; the trumpets sounded for the onset, and a carnage began in which at first the assailants took no heed to distinguish between the Christian and the Turk. In the awful confusion of the moment some of the besieged made their way to the citadel, and there shut themselves in, ready to resist to the death. Of the rest few escaped; ten thousand, it is said, were massacred. Baghasian with some friends passed out beyond the besiegers' lines, but, fainting from loss of blood, he fell from his horse, and his companions hurried on. A Syrian Christian heard his groans, and striking off his head carried the prize to the camp of the conquerors. Phirouz lived to be a second time a renegade, and to close his career as a thief.

The victory was for the crusaders a change from famine to abundance; and their feasting was accompanied by the wildest riot and the most filthy debauchery. But if heedless waste may have been one of the most venial of their sins, it was the greatest of their blunders. The reports which spoke of the approach of the Persians were not false. The Turks within the citadel suddenly found that they were rather besiegers than besieged, and that the Christians' were hemmed in by the myriads of Kerboga, Prince of Mosul, and the warriors of Kilidje Arslan. The old horrors of famine were now repeated, but in greater intensity; and the doom of the Latin host seemed now to be sealed.

Stephen, Count of Chartres, had deserted his companions before the fall of the city; others now followed his example, and with him set out on their return to Europe. In Phrygia, Stephen encountered the emperor Alexius, who was marching to the aid of the crusaders, not only with a Greek army, but with a force of well-appointed pilgrims who had reached Constantinople after the departure of Godfrey and his fellows. The story told by Stephen drove out of his head every thought except that of his own safety. The order for retreat was given; and the pilgrim warriors, not less than the Greeks, were compelled to turn their faces westward.

In Antioch the crusading soldiers were fast sinking into utter despair. Discipline had well-nigh come to an end, and so obstinate was their refusal to bear arms any longer that Bohemond resolved to burn them out of their quarters. These were consumed by the flames, which spread so rapidly as to fill him with fear that he had destroyed, not only their dwellings, but his whole principality. His experiment brought the men back to their duty; but so despondingly was their work done that but for some signal succor the end, it was manifest, must soon come. In a credulous age such succor at the darkest hour, if obtained at all, will generally be obtained through miracle. A Lombard priest came forward, to whom St. Ambrose of Milan had declared in a vision that the third year of the crusade should see the conquest of Jerusalem; another had seen the Saviour himself, attended by his Virgin Mother and the Prince of the Apostles, had heard from his lips a stern rebuke of the crusaders for yielding to the seductions of pagan women—as if the profession of Christianity altered the color and the guilt of a vice—and lastly had received the distinct assurance that in five days they should have the help which they needed.

The hopes of the crusaders were roused; with hope came a return of vigorous energy; and Peter Barthelemy, chaplain to Raymond of Toulouse, seized the opportunity for recounting a vision which was to be something more than a dream. To him St. Andrew had revealed the fact that in the Church of St. Peter lay hidden the steel head of the spear which had pierced the side of the Redeemer as he hung upon the cross; and that Holy Lance should win them victory over all their enemies as surely as the spear which imparted irresistible power to the Knight of the Sangreal. After two days of special devotion they were to search for the long-lost weapon; on the third day the workmen began to dig, but until the sun had set they toiled in vain. The darkness of night made it easier for the chaplain to play the part which Sir Walter Scott, in the Antiquary, assigns to Herman Dousterswivel in the ruins of St. Ruth. Barefooted and with a single garment the priest went down into the pit. For a time the strokes of his spade were heard, and then the sacred relic was found, carefully wrapped in a veil of silk and gold. The priest proclaimed his discovery; the people rushed into the church; and from the church throughout the city spread the flame of a fierce enthusiasm.

Nine or ten months later Peter Barthelemy paid the penalty of his life for his fraud or his superstition. A bribe taken by his master Raymond brought that chief into ill odor with his comrades, and let loose against his chaplain the tongue of Arnold, the chaplain of Bohemond. Raymond had traded on fresh visions of his clerk; and Arnold boldly attacked him in his citadel by denying the genuineness of the Holy Lance. Peter appealed to the ordeal of fire. He passed through the flames, as it seemed, unhurt. The bystanders pressed to feel his flesh, and were vehement in their rejoicings at the result which vindicated his integrity. He had really received fatal injuries. Twelve days afterward he died, and Raymond suffered greatly in his dignity and his influence.

The infidel was doomed; but the crusaders resolved to give him one chance of escape. Peter the Hermit was sent as their envoy to Kerboga to offer the alternative of departure from a land which St. Peter had bestowed on the faithful, or of baptism which should leave him master of the city and territory of Antioch. The reply was short and decisive. The Turk would not embrace an idolatry which he hated and despised, nor would he give up soil which belonged to him by right of conquest. The report of the hermit raised the spirit of the crusaders to fever heat; and on the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul they marched out in twelve divisions, in remembrance of the mission of the Twelve Apostles, while Raymond of Toulouse remained to prevent the escape of the Turks shut up in the citadel. The Holy Lance was borne by the papal legate, Adhemar, Bishop of Puy; and the morning air laden with the perfume of roses was now regarded as a sign assuring them of the divine favor. They were prepared to see good omens in everything; and they went in full confidence that departed saints would, as they had been told, take part in the battle and smite down the infidel. The fight—one of brute force on the Christian side, of some little skill as well as strength on the other—had gone on for some time when such help seemed to become needful. Tancred had hurried to the aid of Bohemond, who was grievously pressed by Kilidje Arslan; and Kerboga was bearing heavily on Godfrey and Hugh of Vermandois, when, clothed in white armor and riding on white horses, some human forms were seen on the neighboring heights. "The saints are coming to your aid," shouted the Bishop of Puy, and the people saw in these radiant strangers the martyrs St. George, St. Maurice, and St. Theodore.

Without awaiting their nearer approach the crusaders turned on the enemy with a force and fury which were now irresistible. Their cavalry could do little. Two hundred horses only remained of the sixty thousand which had filled the plain a few months before. But the hedge of spears advanced like a wall of iron, and the Turks gave way, broke, and fled. It was rout, not retreat; and with the crusaders victory was followed by the massacre of men, women, and children. The garrison in the citadel at once surrendered. Some declared themselves Christians and were baptized; those who refused to abandon Islam were taken to the nearest Mohametan territory. The city was the prize of Bohemond; and in his keeping it remained, although Raymond of Toulouse had made an effort to seize it by hoisting his banner on the walls. The work of pillage being ended, the churches were cleansed and repaired, and their altars blazed with golden spoils taken from the infidel. The Greek Patriarch was again seated on his throne; but he held his office at the good pleasure of the Latins, and two years later he was made to give place to Bernard, a chaplain of the Bishop of Puy.

Ten months had passed away after the conquest of Antioch when the main body of the crusading army set out on its march to Jerusalem. They had wished to depart at once, but their chiefs dreaded to encounter waterless wastes at the end of a Syrian summer, and for the present they were content to send Hugh of Vermandois and Baldwin of Hainault as envoys to the Greek Emperor, to reproach him with his remissness or his want of faith. But the miseries endured by Christians and Turks were the pleasantest tidings in the ears of Alexius, for in the weakening of both lay his own strength; and he saw with satisfaction the departure of Hugh, not for Antioch, but for Europe, whither Stephen of Chartres had preceded him.

Winter came, but the chiefs still lingered at Antioch. Some were occupied in expeditions against neighboring cities; but a more pressing care was the plague which punished the foulness and disorder of the pilgrims. A band of fifteen hundred Germans, recently landed in strong health and full equipments, were all, it is said, cut off; and among the victims the most lamented perhaps was the papal legate Adhemar. A feeling of discouragement was again spreading through the army generally. The chiefs vainly entreated the Pope to visit the city where the disciples of St. Peter first received the Christian name; the people were disheartened by the animosities and the selfish or crooked policy of their chiefs. Raymond still hankered after the principality of Antioch, and insisted that Bohemond and his people should share in the last great enterprise of the crusade. More disgraceful than these feuds were the scenes witnessed during the siege and after the conquest of Marra. Heedlessness and waste soon brought the assailants to devour the flesh of dogs and of human beings. The bodies of Turks were torn from their sepulchres, ripped up for the gold which they were supposed to have swallowed, and the fragments cooked and eaten. Of the besieged many slew themselves to avoid falling into the hands of the Christians; to some Bohemond, tempted by a large bribe, gave an assurance of safety. When the massacre had begun he ordered these to be brought forward. The weak and old he slaughtered; the rest he sent to the slave markets of Antioch.

A weak attempt made by Alexius to detain the crusaders only spurred them to more vigorous efforts. They had already left Antioch, and Laodicea was in their hands, when he desired them to await his coming in June. The chiefs, remembering the departure of Tatikios with his Byzantine troops for Cyprus, retorted that he had broken his compact, and had therefore no further claims on their obedience. Hastening on their way, they crossed the plain of Berytos (Beyrout), overlooked by the eternal snows of Lebanon, along the narrow strip of land whence the great Phoenician cities had sent their seamen and their colonists, with all the wealth of the East, to the shores of the Adriatic and the gates of the Mediterranean. Having reached Jaffa, they turned inland to Ramlah, a town sixteen miles only from Jerusalem.

Two days later the crusaders came in sight of the Holy City, the object of their long pilgrimage, the cause of wretchedness and death to millions. As their eyes rested on the scene hallowed to them through all the associations of their faith, the crusaders passed in an instant from fierce enthusiasm to a humiliation which showed itself in sighs and tears. All fell on their knees, to kiss the sacred earth and to pour forth thanksgivings that they had been suffered to look upon the desire of their eyes. Putting aside their armor and their weapons, they advanced in pilgrim's garb and with bare feet toward the spot which the Saviour had trodden in the hours of his agony and his passion.

But before their feelings of devotion could be indulged, there was other work to be done. The chiefs took up their posts on those sides from which the nature of the ground gave most hope of a successful assault. On the northern side were Godfrey and Tancred, Robert of Flanders, and Robert of Normandy; on the west Raymond with his Provençals. On the fifth day, without siege instruments, with only one ladder, and trusting to mere weight, the crusaders made a desperate assault upon the walls. Some succeeded in reaching the summit, and the very rashness of their attack struck terror for a moment into their enemies. But the garrison soon rallied, and the invaders were all driven back or hurled from the ramparts. The task, it was manifest, must be undertaken in a more formal manner. Siege engines must be made, and the palm and olive of the immediate neighborhood would not supply fit materials for their construction.

These were obtained from the woods of Shechem, a distance of thirty miles; and the work of preparation was carried on under the guidance of Gaston of Beam by the crews of some Genoese vessels which had recently anchored at Jaffa. So passed away more than thirty days, days of intense suffering to the besiegers. At Antioch they had been distressed chiefly by famine: in place of this wretchedness they had here the greater miseries of thirst. The enemy had carefully destroyed every place which might serve as a receptacle of water; and in seeking for it over miles of desolate country they were exposed to the harassing attacks of Moslem horsemen. Nor had visions and miracles improved the morals or discipline of the camp; and the ghost of Adhemar of Puy appeared to rebuke the horrible sins which were drawing down upon them the judgments of the Almighty. Better service was done by the generosity of Tancred, who made up his quarrel with Raymond: and the enthusiasm of the crusaders was again roused by the preaching of Arnold and the hermit Peter. The narrative of the siege of Jericho in the book of Joshua suggested probably the procession in which the clergy singing hymns preceded the laity round the walls of the city.

The Saracens on the ramparts mocked their devotions by throwing dirt upon crucifixes; but they paid a terrible price for these insults. On the next day the final assault began, and was carried on through the day with the same monotony of brute force and carnage which marked all the operations of this merciless war. The darkness of night brought no rest. The actual combat was suspended, but the besieged were incessantly occupied in repairing the breaches made by the assailants, while these were busied in making their dispositions for the last mortal conflict. In the midst of that deadly struggle, when it seemed that the Cross must after all go down before the Crescent, a knight was seen on Mount Olivet, waving his glistening shield to rouse the champions of the Holy Sepulchre to the supreme effort. "It is St. George the Martyr who has come again to help us," cried Godfrey, and at his words the crusaders started up without a feeling of fatigue and carried everything before them.

The day, we are told, was Friday, the hour was three in the afternoon—the moment at which the last cry from the cross announced the accomplishment of the Saviour's passion—when Letold of Tournay stood, the first victorious champion of the Cross, on the walls of Jerusalem. Next to him came, we are told, his brother Engelbert; the third was Godfrey. Tancred with the two Roberts stormed the gate of St. Stephen; the Provençals climbed the ramparts by ladders, and the conquest of Jerusalem was achieved. The insults offered a little while ago to the crucifixes were avenged by Godfrey's orders in the massacre of hundreds; the carnage in the Mosque of Omar swept away the bodies of thousands in a deluge of human blood. The Jews were all burnt alive in their synagogues. The horses of the crusaders, who rode up to the porch of the Temple, were—so the story goes—up to the knees in the loathsome stream; and the forms of Christian knights hacking and hewing the bodies of the living and the dead furnished a pleasant commentary on the sermon of Urban at Clermont.

From the duties of slaughter these disciples of the Lamb of God passed to those of devotion. Bareheaded and barefooted, clad in a robe of pure white linen, in an ecstasy of joy and thankfulness mingled with profound contrition, Godfrey entered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and knelt at the tomb of his Lord. With groans and tears his followers came, each in his turn, to offer his praises for the divine mercy which had vouchsafed this triumph to the armies of Christendom. With feverish earnestness they poured forth the vows which bound them to sin no more, and the excitement of prayer and slaughter, perhaps of both combined, led them to see everything which might be needed to give effect to the closing scene of this appalling tragedy. As the saints had arisen from their graves when the Son of Man gave up the ghost on Calvary, so the spirits of the pilgrims who had died on the terrible journey came to take part in the great thanksgiving. Foremost among them was Adhemar of Puy, rejoicing in the prayers for forgiveness and the resolutions of repentance which promised a new era of peace upon earth and of good-will toward all men.

With departed saints were mingled living men who deserved all the honor which might be paid to them. The backsliding of the hermit Peter was blotted out of the memory of those who remembered only the fiery eloquence which had first called them to their now triumphant pilgrimage, and the zeal which had stirred the heart of Christendom to cut short the tyranny of the Unbeliever in the birthland of Christianity. The assembled throng fell down at his feet, and gave thanks to God, who had vouchsafed to them such a teacher. His task was done, and in the annals of the time Peter is heard of no more.

On this dreadful day Tancred had spared three hundred captives to whom he had given a standard as a pledge of his protection and a guarantee of their safety. Such misplaced mercy was a crime in the eyes of the crusaders. The massacre of the first day may have been aggravated by the ungovernable excitement of victory; but it was resolved that on the next day there should be offered up a more solemn and deliberate sacrifice. The men whom Tancred had spared were all murdered; and the wrath of Tancred was roused, not by their fate, but by an act which called his honor into question. The butchery went on with impartial completeness, old and young, decrepit men and women, mothers with their infants, boys and girls, young men and maidens in the bloom of their vigor, all were mowed down, and their bodies mangled until heads and limbs were tossed together in awful chaos. A few were hidden away by Raymond of Toulouse; his motive, however, was not mercy, but the prospects of gain in the slave market. After this great act of faith and devotion the streets of the Holy City were washed by Saracen prisoners; but whether these were butchered when their work was ended we are not told.

Four centuries and a half had passed away, when these things were done, since Omar had entered Jerusalem as a conqueror and knelt outside the Church of Constantine, that his followers might not trespass within it on the privileges of the Christians. The contrast is at the least marked between the Caliph of the Prophet and the children of the Holy Catholic Church.

When, the business of the slaughter being ended, the chiefs met to choose a king for the realm which they had won with their swords, one man only appeared to whom the crown could fitly be offered. Baldwin was lord of Edessa; Bohemond ruled at Antioch; Hugh of Vermandois and Stephen of Chartres had returned to Europe; Robert of Flanders cared not to stay; the Norman Robert had no mind to forfeit the duchy which he had mortgaged; and Raymond was discredited by his avarice, and in part also by his traffic in the visions of Peter Barthelemy. But in the city where his Lord had worn the thorny crown, the veteran leader who had looked on ruthless slaughter without blanching and had borne his share in swelling the stream of blood would wear no earthly diadem nor take the title of king. He would watch over his Master's grave and the interests of his worshippers under the humble guise of Baron and Defender of the Holy Sepulchre; and as such, a fortnight after his election, Godfrey departed to do battle with the hosts of the Fatimite Caliph of Egypt, who now felt that the loss of Jerusalem was too high a price for the humiliation of his rivals. The conflict took place at Ascalon, and the Fatimite army was miserably routed. Godfrey returned to Jerusalem, to hang the sword and standard of the Sultan before the Holy Sepulchre and to bid farewell to the pilgrims who were now to set out on their homeward journey. He retained, with three hundred knights under Tancred, only two thousand foot soldiers for the defence of his kingdom; and so ended the first act in the great drama of the crusades.


A.D. 1118


Among the military orders of past ages, that of the Knights Templars, founded for the defence of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, with its lofty motive, its superb organization and discipline, and its history extending over nearly two centuries, is justly accounted one of the most illustrious. At the period when this extraordinary and romantic order came into existence, the contrasting spirits of warlike enterprise and monastic retirement were drawing men, some from the field to the cloister, others from the life of ascetic piety to the scenes of strife. There appeared a strange blending of these two tendencies, which indeed was the leading characteristic of the time. This union of the religious with the militant spirit had been promoted by the enthusiasm of the crusades which had already been undertaken, and among the crusaders themselves the blended spiritual and military ideal of the holy war had its complete development. Let us recall the reasons and the beginnings of the crusades themselves.

Upon the legendary discovery of the Holy Sepulchre by Helena, the mother of Constantine, about three hundred years after the death of Christ, and the consequent erection, as it is said, by her great son—the first Christian emperor of Rome—of the magnificent Church of the Holy Sepulchre over the sacred spot, a tide of pilgrimage set in toward Jerusalem which increased in strength as Christianity gradually spread throughout Europe. When in A.D. 637 the Holy City was surrendered to the Saracens, the caliph Omar gave guarantees for the security of the Christian population. Under this safeguard the pilgrimages to Jerusalem continued to increase, until in 1064 the Holy Sepulchre was visited by seven thousand pilgrims, led by an archbishop and three bishops. But in 1065 Jerusalem was taken by the Turcomans, who massacred three thousand citizens, and placed the command of the city in savage hands. Terrible oppression of the Christians there followed; the Patriarch of Jerusalem was dragged by the hair of his head over the sacred pavement of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and cast into a dungeon for ransom; extortion, imprisonment, and massacre were indiscriminately visited upon the people.

Such were the conditions that aroused the indignant spirit of Christendom and prepared it for the cry of Peter the Hermit, which awoke the wild enthusiasm of the crusades. When Jerusalem was captured by the crusaders under Godfrey of Bouillon in 1099, the zeal of pilgrimage burst forth anew. But although Jerusalem was delivered, Palestine was still infested with the infidels, who made it as hazardous as before for the pilgrims entering there. Some means for their protection must be found, and out of this necessity grew the great military order of which the following pages treat.

To alleviate the dangers and distresses to which the pilgrim enthusiasts were exposed; to guard the honor of the saintly virgins and matrons, and to protect the gray hairs of the venerable palmers, nine noble knights formed a holy brotherhood-in-arms, and entered into a solemn compact to aid one another in clearing the highways of infidels and robbers, and in protecting the pilgrims through the passes and defiles of the mountains to the Holy City. Warmed with the religious and military fervor of the day, and animated by the sacredness of the cause to which they had devoted their swords, they called themselves the "Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ."

They renounced the world and its pleasures, and in the Holy Church of the Resurrection, in the presence of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, they embraced vows of perpetual chastity, obedience, and poverty, after the manner of monks. Uniting in themselves the two most popular qualities of the age, devotion and valor, and exercising them in the most popular of all enterprises, the protection of the pilgrims and of the road to the Holy Sepulchre, they speedily acquired a vast reputation and a splendid renown.

At first, we are told, they had no church and no particular place of abode, but in the year of our Lord 1118—nineteen years after the conquest of Jerusalem by the crusaders—they had rendered such good and acceptable service to the Christians that Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, granted them a place of habitation within the sacred enclosure of the Temple on Mount Moriah, amid those holy and magnificent structures, partly erected by the Christian emperor Justinian and partly built by the caliph Omar, which were then exhibited by the monks and priests of Jerusalem, whose restless zeal led them to practise on the credulity of the pilgrims, and to multiply relics and all objects likely to be sacred in their eyes, as the Temple of Solomon, whence the "Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ" came thenceforth to be known by the name of "the Knighthood of the Temple of Solomon."

A few remarks in elucidation of the name "Templars," or "Knights of the Temple," may not be unacceptable.

By the Mussulmans the site of the great Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah has always been regarded with peculiar veneration. Mahomet, in the first year of the publication of the Koran, directed his followers, when at prayer, to turn their faces toward it, and pilgrimages have constantly been made to the holy spot by devout Moslems. On the conquest of Jerusalem by the Arabians, it was the first care of the caliph Omar to rebuild "the Temple of the Lord." Assisted by the principal chieftains of his army, the Commander of the Faithful undertook the pious office of clearing the ground with his own hands, and of tracing out the foundations of the magnificent mosque which now crowns with its dark and swelling dome the elevated summit of Mount Moriah.

This great house of prayer, the most holy Mussulman temple in the world after that of Mecca, is erected over the spot where "Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing-floor of Oman the Jebusite."

It remains to this day in a state of perfect preservation, and is one of the finest specimens of Saracenic architecture in existence. It is entered by four spacious doorways, each door facing one of the cardinal points: the Bab el D'Jannat (or "Gate of the Garden"), on the north; the Bab el Kebla, (or "Gate of Prayer"), on the south; the Bab ibn el Daoud (or "Gate of the Son of David"), on the east; and the Bab el Garbi, on the west. By the Arabian geographers it is called Beit Allah ("the House of God"), also Beit Almokaddas or Beit Almacdes ("the Holy House"). From it Jerusalem derives its Arabic name, El Kods ("the Holy"), El Schereef ("the Noble"), and El Mobarek ("the Blessed"); while the governors of the city, instead of the customary high-sounding titles of sovereignty and dominion, take the simple title of Hami (or "Protectors").

On the conquest of Jerusalem by the crusaders, the crescent was torn down from the summit of this famous Mussulman temple, and was replaced by an immense golden cross, and the edifice was then consecrated to the services of the Christian religion, but retained its simple appellation of "the Temple of the Lord." William, Archbishop of Tyre and Chancellor of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, gives an interesting account of this famous edifice as it existed in his time, during the Latin dominion. He speaks of the splendid mosaic work, of the Arabic characters setting forth the name of the founder and the cost of the undertaking, and of the famous rock under the centre of the dome, which is to this day shown by the Moslems as the spot whereon the destroying angel stood, "with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem." This rock, he informs us, was left exposed and uncovered for the space of fifteen years after the conquest of the Holy City by the crusaders, but was, after that period, cased with a handsome altar of white marble, upon which the priests daily said mass.

To the south of this holy Mussulman temple, on the extreme edge of the summit of Mount Moriah, and resting against the modern walls of the town of Jerusalem, stands the venerable Church of the Virgin, erected by the emperor Justinian, whose stupendous foundations, remaining to this day, fully justify the astonishing description given of the building by Procopius. That writer informs us that in order to get a level surface for the erection of the edifice, it was necessary, on the east and south sides of the hill, to raise up a wall of masonry from the valley below, and to construct a vast foundation, partly composed of solid stone and partly of arches and pillars. The stones were of such magnitude that each block required to be transported in a truck drawn by forty of the Emperor's strongest oxen; and to admit of the passage of these trucks it was necessary to widen the roads leading to Jerusalem. The forests of Lebanon yielded their choicest cedars for the timbers of the roof; and a quarry of variegated marble, seasonably discovered in the adjoining mountains, furnished the edifice with superb marble columns.

The interior of this interesting structure, which still remains at Jerusalem, after a lapse of more than thirteen centuries, in an excellent state of preservation, is adorned with six rows of columns, from whence spring arches supporting the cedar beams and timbers of the roof; and at the end of the building is a round tower, surmounted by a dome. The vast stones, the walls of masonry, and the subterranean colonnade raised to support the southeast angle of the platform whereon the church is erected are truly wonderful, and may still be seen by penetrating through a small door and descending several flights of steps at the southeast corner of the enclosure. Adjoining the sacred edifice the Emperor erected hospitals, or houses of refuge, for travellers, sick people, and mendicants of all nations; the foundations whereof, composed of handsome Roman masonry, are still visible on either side of the southern end of the building.

On the conquest of Jerusalem by the Moslems this venerable church was converted into a mosque, and was called D'Jame al Acsa; it was enclosed, together with the great Mussulman "Temple of the Lord" erected by the caliph Omar, within a large area by a high stone wall, which runs around the edge of the summit of Mount Moriah and guards from the profane tread of the unbeliever the whole of that sacred ground whereon once stood the gorgeous Temple of the wisest of kings.

When the Holy City was taken by the crusaders, the D'Jame al Acsa, with the various buildings constructed around it, became the property of the kings of Jerusalem, and is denominated by William of Tyre "the Palace," or "Royal House to the south of the Temple of the Lord, vulgarly called the 'Temple of Solomon.'" It was this edifice or temple on Mount Moriah which was appropriated to the use of the "Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ," as they had no church and no particular place of abode, and from it they derived their name of "Knights Templars."

James of Vitry, Bishop of Acre, who gives an interesting account of the holy places, thus speaks of the temple of the Knights Templars: "There is, moreover, at Jerusalem another temple of immense spaciousness and extent, from which the brethren of the Knighthood of the Temple derive their name of 'Templars,' which is called the 'Temple of Solomon,' perhaps to distinguish it from the one above described, which is specially called the 'Temple of the Lord.'" He moreover informs us in his oriental history that "in the 'Temple of the Lord' there is an abbot and canons regular; and be it known that the one is the 'Temple of the Lord,' and the other the 'Temple of the Chivalry.' These are clerks; the others are knights."

The canons of the "Temple of the Lord" conceded to the "Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ" the large court extending between that building and the Temple of Solomon; the King, the Patriarch, and the prelates of Jerusalem, and the barons of the Latin kingdom assigned them various gifts and revenues for their maintenance and support, and, the order being now settled in a regular place of abode, the knights soon began to entertain more extended views and to seek a larger theatre for the exercise of their holy profession.

Their first aim and object had been, as before mentioned, simply to protect the poor pilgrims on their journey backward and forward from the sea-coast to Jerusalem; but as the hostile tribes of Mussulmans, which everywhere surrounded the Latin kingdom, were gradually recovering from the stupefying terror into which they had been plunged by the successful and exterminating warfare of the first crusaders, and were assuming an aggressive and threatening attitude, it was determined that the holy warriors of the temple should, in addition to the protection of pilgrims, make the defence of the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem, of the Eastern Church, and of all the holy places a part of their particular profession.

The two most distinguished members of the fraternity were Hugh de Payens and Geoffrey de St. Aldemar, or St. Omer, two valiant soldiers of the cross, who had fought with great credit and renown at the siege of Jerusalem. Hugh de Payens was chosen by the knights to be superior of the new religious and military society, by the title of "the Master of the Temple"; and he has, in consequence, been generally called the founder of the order.

The name and reputation of the Knights Templars speedily spread throughout Europe, and various illustrious pilgrims of the Far West aspired to become members of the holy fraternity. Among these was Fulk, Count of Anjou, who joined the society as a married brother (1120), and annually remitted the order thirty pounds of silver. Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, foreseeing that great advantages would accrue to the Latin kingdom by the increase of the power and numbers of these holy warriors, exerted himself to extend the order throughout all Christendom, so that he might, by means of so politic an institution, keep alive the holy enthusiasm of the West, and draw a constant succor from the bold and warlike races of Europe for the support of his Christian throne and kingdom.

St. Bernard, the holy abbot of Clairvaux, had been a great admirer of the Templars. He wrote a letter to the Count of Champagne, on his entering the order (1123), praising the act as one of eminent merit in the sight of God; and it was determined to enlist the all-powerful influence of this great ecclesiastic in favor of the fraternity. "By a vow of poverty and penance, by closing his eyes against the visible world, by the refusal of all ecclesiastical dignities, the abbot of Clairvaux became the oracle of Europe and the founder of one hundred and sixty convents. Princes and pontiffs trembled at the freedom of his apostolical censures; France, England, and Milan consulted and obeyed his judgment in a schism of the Church; the debt was repaid by the gratitude of Innocent II; and his successor, Eugenius III, was the friend and disciple of the holy St. Bernard."

To this learned and devout prelate two Knights Templars were despatched with the following letter:

"Baldwin, by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, King of Jerusalem and Prince of Antioch, to the venerable Father Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux; health and regard.

"The Brothers of the Temple, whom the Lord hath deigned to raise up, and whom by an especial providence he preserves for the defence of this kingdom, desiring to obtain from the Holy See the confirmation of their institution and a rule for their particular guidance, we have determined to send to you the two knights, Andrew and Gondemar, men as much distinguished by their military exploits as by the splendor of their birth, to obtain from the Pope the approbation of their order, and to dispose his holiness to send succor and subsidies against the enemies of the faith, reunited in their design to destroy us and to invade our Christian territories.

"Well knowing the weight of your mediation with God and his vicar upon earth, as well as with the princes and powers of Europe, we have thought fit to confide to you these two important matters, whose successful issue cannot be otherwise than most agreeable to ourselves. The statutes we ask of you should be so ordered and arranged as to be reconcilable with the tumult of the camp and the profession of arms; they must, in fact, be of such a nature as to obtain favor and popularity with the Christian princes.

"Do you then so manage that we may, through you, have the happiness of seeing this important affair brought to a successful issue, and address for us to Heaven the incense of your prayers."

Soon after the above letter had been despatched to St. Bernard, Hugh de Payens himself proceeded to Rome, accompanied by Geoffrey de St. Aldemar and four other brothers of the order: namely, Brother Payen de Montdidier, Brother Gorall, Brother Geoffrey Bisol, and Brother Archambauld de St. Armand. They were received with great honor and distinction by Pope Honorius, who warmly approved of the objects and designs of the holy fraternity. St. Bernard had, in the mean time, taken the affair greatly to heart; he negotiated with the pope, the legate, and the bishops of France, and obtained the convocation of a great ecclesiastical council at Troyes (1128), which Hugh de Payens and his brethren were invited to attend. This council consisted of several archbishops, bishops, and abbots, among which last was St. Bernard himself. The rules to which the Templars had subjected themselves were there described by the master, and to the holy abbot of Clairvaux was confided the task of revising and correcting these rules, and of framing a code of statutes fit and proper for the governance of the great religious and military fraternity of the temple.

The Rule of the Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, arranged by St. Bernard, and sanctioned by the holy Fathers of the Council of Troyes, for the government and regulation of the monastic and military society of the Temple, is principally of a religious character and of an austere and gloomy cast. It is divided into seventy-two heads or chapters, and is preceded by a short prologue addressed "to all who disdain to follow after their own wills, and desire with purity of mind to fight for the most high and true King," exhorting them to put on the armor of obedience, and to associate themselves together with piety and humility for the defence of the Holy Catholic Church; and to employ a pure diligence, and a steady perseverance in the exercise of their sacred profession, so that they might share in the happy destiny reserved for the holy warriors who had given up their lives for Christ.

The rule enjoins severe devotional exercises, self-mortification, fasting, and prayer, and a constant attendance at matins, vespers, and on all the services of the Church, "that, being refreshed and satisfied with heavenly food, instructed and stablished with heavenly precepts, after the consummation of the divine mysteries," none might be afraid of the Fight, but be prepared for the Crown.

If unable to attend the regular service of God, the absent brother is for matins to say over thirteen pater-nosters, for every hour seven, and for vespers nine. When any Templar draweth nigh unto death, the chaplains and clerk are to assemble and offer up a solemn mass for his soul; the surrounding brethren are to spend the night in prayer, and a hundred pater-nosters are to be repeated for the dead brother. "Moreover," say the holy Fathers, "we do strictly enjoin you, that with divine and most tender charity ye do daily bestow as much meat and drink as was given to that brother when alive, unto some poor man for forty days."

The brethren are, on all occasions, to speak sparingly and to wear a grave and serious deportment. They are to be constant in the exercise of charity and almsgiving, to have a watchful care over all sick brethren, and to support and sustain all old men. They are not to receive letters from their parents, relations, or friends without the license of the master, and all gifts are immediately to be taken to the latter or to the treasurer, to be disposed of as he may direct. They are, moreover, to receive no service or attendance from a woman, and are commanded, above all things, to shun feminine kisses.

"This same year (1128) Hugh of the Temple came from Jerusalem to the King in Normandy, and the King received him with much honor and gave him much treasure in gold and silver, and afterward he sent him into England, and there he was well received by all good men, and all gave him treasure, and in Scotland also, and they sent in all a great sum in gold and silver by him to Jerusalem, and there went with him and after him so great a number as never before since the days of Pope Urban." Grants of land, as well as of money, were at the same time made to Hugh de Payens and his brethren, some of which were shortly afterward confirmed by King Stephen on his accession to the throne (1135). Among these is a grant of the manor of Bistelesham made to the Templars by Count Robert de Ferrara, and a grant of the Church of Langeforde in Bedfordshire made by Simon de Wahull and Sibylla his wife and Walter their son.

Hugh de Payens, before his departure, placed a Knight Templar at the head of the order in England, who was called the prior of the temple and was the procurator and viceregent of the master. It was his duty to manage the estates granted to the fraternity, and to transmit the revenues to Jerusalem. He was also delegated with the power of admitting members into the order, subject to the control and direction of the master, and was to provide means of transport for such newly-admitted brethren to the Far East, to enable them to fulfil the duties of their profession. As the houses of the Temple increased in number in England, subpriors came to be appointed, and the superior of the order in this country was then called the "grand prior," and afterward master, of the temple.

Many illustrious knights of the best families in Europe aspired to the habit and vows, but, however exalted their rank, they were not received within the bosom of the fraternity until they had proved themselves by their conduct worthy of such a fellowship. Thus, when Hugh d'Amboise, who had harassed and oppressed the people of Marmontier by unjust exactions, and had refused to submit to the judicial decision of the Count of Anjou, desired to enter the order, Hugh de Payens refused to admit him to the vows until he had humbled himself, renounced his pretensions, and given perfect satisfaction to those whom he had injured. The candidates, moreover, previous to their admission, were required to make reparation and satisfaction for all damage done by them at any time to churches and to public or private property.

An astonishing enthusiasm was excited throughout Christendom in behalf of the Templars; princes and nobles, sovereigns and their subjects, vied with each other in heaping gifts and benefits upon them, and scarce a will of importance was made without an article in it in their favor. Many illustrious persons on their death-beds took the vows, that they might be buried in the habit of the order; and sovereigns, quitting the government of their kingdoms, enrolled themselves among the holy fraternity, and bequeathed even their dominions to the master and the brethren of the temple.

Thus, Raymond Berenger, Count of Barcelona and Provence, at a very advanced age, abdicating his throne and shaking off the ensigns of royal authority, retired to the house of the Templars at Barcelona, and pronounced his vows (1130) before Brother Hugh de Rigauld, the prior. His infirmities not allowing him to proceed in person to the chief house of the order at Jerusalem, he sent vast sums of money thither, and immuring himself in a small cell in the temple at Barcelona, he there remained in the constant exercise of the religious duties of his profession until the day of his death.

At the same period, the emperor Lothair bestowed on the order a large portion of his patrimony of Supplinburg; and the year following (1131), Alphonso I, King of Navarre and Aragon, also styled Emperor of Spain, one of the greatest warriors of the age, by his will declared the Knights of the Temple his heirs and successors in the crowns of Navarre and Aragon, and a few hours before his death he caused this will to be ratified and signed by most of the barons of both kingdoms. The validity of this document, however, was disputed, and the claims of the Templars were successfully resisted by the nobles of Navarre; but in Aragon they obtained, by way of compromise, lands and castles and considerable dependencies, a portion of the customs and duties levied throughout the kingdom, and the contributions raised from the Moors.

To increase the enthusiasm in favor of the Templars, and still further to swell their ranks with the best and bravest of the European chivalry, St. Bernard, at the request of Hugh de Payens, took up his powerful pen in their behalf. In a famous discourse, In Praise of the New Chivalry, the holy abbot sets forth, in eloquent and enthusiastic terms, the spiritual advantages and blessings enjoyed by the military friars of the temple over all other warriors. He draws a curious picture of the relative situations and circumstances of the secular soldiery and the soldiery of Christ, and shows how different in the sight of God are the bloodshed and slaughter of the one from that committed by the other.

This extraordinary discourse is written with great spirit; it is addressed "To Hugh, Knight of Christ, and Master of the Knighthood of Christ," is divided into fourteen parts or chapters, and commences with a short prologue. It is curiously illustrative of the spirit of the times, and some of its most striking passages will be read with interest.

The holy abbot thus pursues his comparison between the soldier of the world and the soldier of Christ—the secular and the religious warrior: "As often as thou who wagest a secular warfare marchest forth to battle, it is greatly to be feared lest when thou slayest thine enemy in the body, he should destroy thee in the spirit, or lest peradventure thou shouldst be at once slain by him both in body and soul. From the disposition of the heart, indeed, not by the event of the fight, is to be estimated either the jeopardy or the victory of the Christian. If, fighting with the desire of killing another, thou shouldst chance to get killed thyself, thou diest a manslayer; if, on the other hand, thou prevailest, and through a desire of conquest or revenge killest a man, thou livest a manslayer.... O unfortunate victory! when in overcoming thine adversary thou fallest into sin, and, anger or pride having the mastery over thee, in vain thou gloriest over the vanquished....

"What, therefore, is the fruit of this secular, I will not say militia, but malitia, if the slayer committeth a deadly sin, and the slain perisheth eternally? Verily, to use the words of the apostle, he that plougheth should plough in hope, and he that thresheth should be partaker of his hope. Whence, therefore, O soldiers, cometh this so stupendous error? What insufferable madness is this—to wage war with so great cost and labor, but with no pay except either death or crime? Ye cover your horses with silken trappings, and I know not how much fine cloth hangs pendent from your coats of mail. Ye paint your spears, shields, and saddles; your bridles and spurs are adorned on all sides with gold and silver and gems, and with all this pomp, with a shameful fury and a reckless insensibility, ye rush on to death. Are these military ensigns, or are they not rather the garnishments of women? Can it happen that the sharp-pointed sword of the enemy will respect gold, will it spare gems, will it be unable to penetrate the silken garment?

"As ye yourselves have often experienced, three things are indispensably necessary to the success of the soldier: he must, for example, be bold, active, and circumspect; quick in running, prompt in striking; ye, however, to the disgust of the eye, nourish your hair after the manner of women, ye gather around your footsteps long and flowing vestures, ye bury up your delicate and tender hands in ample and wide-spreading sleeves. Among you indeed naught provoketh war or awakeneth strife, but either an irrational impulse of anger or an insane lust of glory or the covetous desire of possessing another man's lands and possessions. In such cases it is neither safe to slay nor to be slain.... But the soldiers of Christ indeed securely fight the battles of their Lord, in no wise fearing sin, either from the slaughter of the enemy or danger from their own death. When indeed death is to be given or received for Christ, it has naught of crime in it, but much of glory....

"And now for an example, or to the confusion of our soldiers fighting not manifestly for God, but for the devil, we will briefly display the mode of life of the Knights of Christ, such as it is in the field and in the convent, by which means it will be made plainly manifest to what extent the soldiery of God and the soldiery of the World differ from one another.... The soldiers of Christ live together in common in an agreeable but frugal manner, without wives and without children; and that nothing may be wanting to evangelical perfection, they dwell together without property of any kind, in one house, under one rule, careful to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. You may say that to the whole multitude there is but one heart and one soul, as each one in no respect followeth after his own will or desire, but is diligent to do the will of the Master. They are never idle nor rambling abroad, but, when they are not in the field, that they may not eat their bread in idleness, they are fitting and repairing their armor and their clothing, or employing themselves in such occupations as the will of the Master requireth or their common necessities render expedient. Among them there is no distinction of persons; respect is paid to the best and most virtuous, not the most noble. They participate in each other's honor, they bear one anothers' burdens, that they may fulfil the law of Christ.

"An insolent expression, a useless undertaking, immoderate laughter, the least murmur or whispering, if found out, passeth not without severe rebuke. They detest cards and dice, they shun the sports of the field, and take no delight in the ludicrous catching of birds (hawking), which men are wont to indulge in. Jesters and soothsayers and story-tellers, scurrilous songs, shows, and games, they contemptuously despise and abominate as vanities and mad follies. They cut their hair, knowing that, according to the apostle, it is not seemly in a man to have long hair. They are never combed, seldom washed, but appear rather with rough neglected hair, foul with dust, and with skins browned by the sun and their coats of mail.

"Moreover, on the approach of battle they fortify themselves with faith within and with steel without, and not with gold, so that, armed and not adorned, they may strike terror into the enemy, rather than awaken his lust of plunder. They strive earnestly to possess strong and swift horses, but not garnished with ornaments or decked with trappings, thinking of battle and of victory, and not of pomp and show, studying to inspire fear rather than admiration....

"Such hath God chosen for his own, and hath collected together as his ministers from the ends of the earth, from among the bravest of Israel, who indeed vigilantly and faithfully guard the Holy Sepulchre, all armed with the sword, and most learned in the art of war....

"There is indeed a temple at Jerusalem in which they dwell together, unequal, it is true, as a building, to that ancient and most famous one of Solomon, but not inferior in glory. For truly the entire magnificence of that consisted in corrupt things, in gold and silver, in carved stone, and in a variety of woods; but the whole beauty of this resteth in the adornment of an agreeable conversation, in the godly devotion of its inmates, and their beautifully ordered mode of life. That was admired for its various external beauties, this is venerated for its different virtues and sacred actions, as becomes the sanctity of the house of God, who delighteth not so much in polished marbles as in well-ordered behavior, and regardeth pure minds more than gilded walls. The face likewise of this temple is adorned with arms, not with gems, and the wall, instead of the ancient golden chapiters, is covered around with pendent shields.

"Instead of the ancient candelabra, censers, and lavers, the house is on all sides furnished with bridles, saddles, and lances, all which plainly demonstrate that the soldiers burn with the same zeal for the house of God as that which formerly animated their great Leader, when, vehemently enraged, he entered into the Temple, and with that most sacred hand, armed not with steel, but with a scourge which he had made of small thongs, drove out the merchants, poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables of them that sold doves; most indignantly condemning the pollution of the house of prayer by the making of it a place of merchandise.

"The devout army of Christ, therefore, earnestly incited by the example of its king, thinking indeed that the holy places are much more impiously and insufferably polluted by the infidels than when defiled by merchants, abide in the holy house with horses and with arms, so that from that, as well as all the other sacred places, all filthy and diabolical madness of infidelity being driven out, they may occupy themselves by day and by night in honorable and useful offices. They emulously honor the temple of God with sedulous and sincere oblations, offering sacrifices therein with constant devotion, not indeed of the flesh of cattle after the manner of the ancients, but peaceful sacrifices, brotherly love, devout obedience, voluntary poverty.

"These things are done perpetually at Jerusalem, and the world is aroused, the islands hear, and the nations take heed from afar...."

St. Bernard then congratulates Jerusalem on the advent of the soldiers of Christ, and declares that the Holy City will rejoice with a double joy in being rid of all her oppressors, the ungodly, the robbers, the blasphemers, murderers, perjurers, and adulterers; and in receiving her faithful defenders and sweet consolers, under the shadow of whose protection "Mount Zion shall rejoice, and the daughters of Judah sing for joy."


A.D. 1135-1154


William the Conqueror, King of England, was succeeded by his sons William Rufus and Henry—on account of his scholarship known as Beauclerc. Prince William, Henry's only son, was drowned when starting from Normandy for England in 1120. In the absence of male issue Henry settled the English and Norman crowns upon his daughter Matilda, and demanded an oath of fidelity to her from the barons.

Matilda had been married first to Emperor Henry V of Germany, who died in 1125, and secondly to Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou.

Stephen was the son of Adela, daughter of William the Conqueror, who had married Stephen, Count of Blois. Stephen, with his brother Henry, had been invited to the court of England by their uncle, and had received honors, preferments, and riches. Henry becoming an ecclesiast was created abbot of Glastonbury and bishop of Winchester. Stephen, among other possessions, received the great estate forfeited by Robert Mallet in England, and that forfeited by the Earl of Mortaigne in Normandy. By his marriage with Matilda, daughter of the Earl of Boulogne, he had succeeded also to the territories of his father-in-law. Stephen by studied arts and personal qualities became a great favorite with the English barons and the people.

The empress Matilda and her husband Geoffrey, unfortunately, were unpopular both in England and Normandy, the English barons especially viewing with disfavor the prospect of a woman occupying the throne.

Henry Beauclerc died in 1135 at his favorite hunting-seat, the Castle of Lions, near Rouen, in Normandy. Stephen, ignoring the oath of fealty to the daughter of his benefactor, hastened to England, and, notwithstanding some opposition, with the help of his clerical brother and other functionaries had himself proclaimed and crowned king. This act involved England in years of civil war, anarchy, and wretchedness, which ended only with the accession as Henry II of Empress Matilda's son, Henry Plantagenet of Anjou.

Of the reign of Stephen, Sir James Mackintosh has said, "It perhaps contains the most perfect condensation of all the ills of feudality to be found in history." He adds, "The whole narrative would have been rejected, as devoid of all likeness to truth, if it had been hazarded in fiction." As a picture of "all the ills of feudality," this narrative is a picture of the entire social state—the monarchy, the Church, the aristocracy, the people—and appears to us, therefore, to demand a more careful examination than if the historical interest were chiefly centred in the battles and adventures belonging to a disputed succession, and in the personal characters of a courageous princess and her knightly rival.

Stephen, Earl of Boulogne, the nephew of King Henry I, was no stranger to the country which he aspired to rule. He had lived much in England and was a universal favorite. "From his complacency of manners, and his readiness to joke, and sit and regale even with low people, he had gained so much on their affections as is hardly to be conceived." This popular man was at the death-bed of his uncle; but before the royal body was borne on the shoulders of nobles from the Castle of Lions to Rouen, Stephen was on his road to England. He embarked at Whitsand, undeterred by boisterous weather, and landed during a winter storm of thunder and lightning. It was a more evil omen when Dover and Canterbury shut their gates against him. But he went boldly on to London. There can be no doubt that his proceedings were not the result of a sudden impulse, and that his usurpation of the crown was successful through a very powerful organization. His brother Henry was Bishop of Winchester; and his influence with the other dignitaries of the Church was mainly instrumental in the election of Stephen to be king, in open disregard of the oaths taken a few years before to recognize the succession of Matilda and of her son. Between the death of a king and the coronation of his successor there was usually a short interval, in which the form of election was gone through. But it is held that during that suspension of the royal functions there was usually a proclamation of "the king's peace," under which all violations of law were punished as if the head of the law were in the full exercise of his functions and dignities. King Henry I died on the 1st of December, 1135. Stephen was crowned on the 26th of December. The death of Henry would probably have been generally known in England in a week after the event. There is a sufficient proof that this succession was considered doubtful, and, consequently, that there was an unusual delay in the proclamation of "the king's peace." The Forest Laws were the great grievance of Henry's reign. His death was the signal for their violation by the whole body of the people. "It was wonderful how so many myriads of wild animals, which in large herds before plentifully stocked the country, suddenly disappeared, so that out of the vast number scarcely two now could be found together. They seemed to be entirely extirpated." According to the same authority, "the people also turned to plundering each other without mercy"; and "whatever the evil passions suggested in peaceable times, now that the opportunity of vengeance presented itself, was quickly executed." This is a remarkable condition of a country which, having been governed by terror, suddenly passed out of the evils of despotism into the greater evils of anarchy. This temporary confusion must have contributed to urge on the election of Stephen. By the Londoners he was received with acclamations; and the witan chose him for king without hesitation, as one who could best fulfil the duties of the office and put an end to the dangers of the kingdom.

Stephen succeeded to a vast amount of treasure. All the rents of Henry I had been paid in money, instead of in necessaries; and he was rigid in enforcing the payment in coin of the best quality. With this possession of means, Stephen surrounded himself with troops from Flanders and Brittany. The objections to his want of hereditary right appear to have been altogether laid aside for a time, in the popularity which he derived from his personal qualities and his command of wealth. Strict hereditary claims to the choice of the nation had been disregarded since the time of the Confessor. The oath to Matilda, it was maintained, had been unwillingly given, and even extorted by force. It is easy to conceive that, both to Saxon and Norman, the notion of a female sovereign would be out of harmony with their ancient traditions and their warlike habits. The king was the great military chief, as well as the supreme dispenser of justice and guardian of property. The time was far distant when the sovereign rule might be held to be most beneficially exercised by a wise choice of administrators, civil and military; and the power of the crown, being coördinate with other powers, strengthening as well as controlling its final authority, might be safely and happily exercised by a discreet, energetic, and just female. King Stephen vindicated the choice of the nation at the very outset of his reign. He went in person against the robbers who were ravaging the country. The daughter of "the Lion of Justice" would probably have done the same. But more than three hundred years had passed since the Lady of Mercia, the sister of Alfred, had asserted the courage of her race. Norman and Saxon wanted a king; for though ladies defended castles, and showed that firmness and bravery were not the exclusive possession of one sex, no thane or baron had yet knelt before a queen, and sworn to be her "liege man of life and limb."

The unanimity which appeared to hail the accession of Stephen was soon interrupted. David, King of Scotland, had advanced to Carlisle and Newcastle, to assert the claim of Matilda which he had sworn to uphold. But Stephen came against him with a great army, and for a time there was peace. Robert, Earl of Gloucester, the illegitimate son of Henry I, had done homage to Stephen; but his allegiance was very doubtful; and the general belief that he would renounce his fealty engendered secret hostility or open resistance among other powerful barons. Robert of Gloucester very soon defied the King's power. Within two years of his accession the throne of Stephen was evidently becoming an insecure seat. To counteract the power of the great nobles, he made a lavish distribution of crown lands to a large number of tenants-in-chief. Some of them were called earls; but they had no official charge, as the greater barons had, but were mere titular lords, made by the royal bounty. All those who held direct from the Crown were called barons; and these new barons, who were scattered over the country, had permission from the King to build castles. Such permission was extended to many other lay barons. The accustomed manor-house of the land proprietor, in which he dwelt amid the churls and serfs of his demesne, was now replaced by a stone tower, surrounded by a moat and a wall. The wooden one-storied homestead, with its thatched roof, shaded by the "toft" of ash and elm and maple, was pulled down, and a square fortress with loopholes and battlement stood in solitary nakedness upon some bleak hill, ugly and defiant. There with a band of armed men—sometimes with a wife and children, and not unfrequently with an unhappy victim of his licentiousness—the baron lived in gloom and gluttony, till the love of excitement, the approach of want, or the call to battle drove him forth. His passion for hunting was not always free to be exercised. Venison was not everywhere to be obtained without danger even to the powerful and lawless. But within a ride of a few miles there was generally corn in the barns and herds were in the pastures. The petty baron was almost invariably a robber—sometimes on his own account, often in some combined adventure of plunder. The spirit of rapine, always too prevalent under the strongest government of those times, was now universal when the government was fighting for its own existence. Bands of marauders sallied forth from the great towns, especially from Bristol; and of their proceedings the author of the Gesta Stephani speaks with the precision of an eye-witness. The Bristolians, under the instigation of the Earl of Gloucester, were partisans of the ex-empress Matilda; and wherever the King or his adherents had estates they came to seize their oxen and sheep, and carried men of substance into Bristol as captives, with bandaged eyes and bits in their mouths. From other towns as well as Bristol came forth plunderers, with humble gait and courteous discourse; who, when they met with a lonely man having the appearance of being wealthy, would bear him off to starvation and torture, till they had mulcted him to the last farthing. These and other indications of an unsettled government took place before the landing of Matilda to assert her claims. An invasion of England, by the Scottish King, without regard to the previous pacification, was made in 1138. But this attempt, although grounded upon the oath which David had sworn to Henry, was regarded by the Northumbrians as a national hostility which demanded a national resistance. The course of this invasion has been minutely described by contemporary chroniclers.

The author of the Gesta Stephani says: "Scotland, also called Albany, is a country overspread by extensive moors, but containing flourishing woods and pastures, which feed large herds of cows and oxen." Of the mountainous regions he says nothing. Describing the natives as savage, swift of foot, and lightly armed, he adds, "A confused multitude of this people being assembled from the lowlands of Scotland, they were formed into an irregular army and marched for England." From the period of the Conquest, a large number of Anglo-Saxons had been settled in the lowlands; and the border countries of Westmoreland and Cumberland were also occupied, to a considerable extent, by the same race. The people of Galloway were chiefly of the original British stock. The historians describe "the confused multitude" as exercising great cruelties in their advance through the country that lies between the Tweed and the Tees; and Matthew Paris uses a significant phrase which marks how completely they spread over the land. He calls them the "Scottish Ants." The Archbishop of York, Thurstan, an aged but vigorous man, collected a large army to resist the invaders; and he made a politic appeal to the old English nationality, by calling out the population under the banners of their Saxon saints. The Bishop of Durham was the leader of this army, composed of the Norman chivalry and the English archers. The opposing forces met at Northallerton, on the 22d of August, 1138. The Anglo-Norman army was gathered round a tall cross, raised on a car, and surrounded by the banners of St. Cuthbert and St. Wilfred and St. John of Beverley. From this incident the bloody day of Northallerton was called "the Battle of the Standard." Hoveden has given an oration made by Ralph, Bishop of Durham, in which he addresses the captains as "Brave nobles of England, Normans by birth"; and pointing to the enemy, who knew not the use of armor, exclaims, "Your head is covered with the helmet, your breast with a coat of mail, your legs with greaves, and your whole body with the shield." Of the Saxon yeomanry he says nothing. Whether the oration be genuine or not, it exhibits the mode in which the mass of the people were regarded at that time. Thierry appears to consider that the bold attempt of David of Scotland was made in reliance upon the support of the Anglo-Saxon race. But it is perfectly clear that they bore the brunt of the English battle; and whatever might be their wrongs, were not disposed to yield their fields and houses to a fierce multitude who came for spoil and for possession. The Scotch fought with darts and long spears, and attacked the solid mass of Normans and English gathered round the standard. Prince Henry, the son of the King of Scotland, made a vigorous onslaught with a body of horse, composed of English and Normans attached to his father's household. These were, without doubt, especial partisans of the claim to the English crown of the ex-empress Matilda; and, as the King of Scotland himself is described, were "inflamed with zeal for a just cause."[42] The issue of the battle was the signal defeat of the Scottish army, with the loss of eleven thousand men upon the field. A peace was concluded with King Stephen in the following year.

[Footnote 42: Scott has given a picturesque account of the battle in his Tales of a Grandfather. Writing, as he often did, from general impressions, in describing the gallant charge of Prince Henry, he states that he broke the English line "as if it had been a spider's web." Hoveden, the historian to whom Scott alludes, applies this strong image to the scattering of the men of Lothian: "For the Almighty was offended at them, and their strength was rent like a cobweb."]

The issue of the battle of the Standard might have given rest to England if Stephen had understood the spirit of his age. In 1139 he engaged in a contest more full of peril than the assaults of Scotland or the disturbances of Wales. He had been successful against some of the disaffected barons. He had besieged and taken Hereford Castle and Shrewsbury Castle. Dover Castle had surrendered to his Queen. Robert, Earl of Gloucester, kept possession of the castles of Bristol and Leeds; and other nobles held out against him in various strong places. London and some of the larger towns appear to have steadily clung to his government. The influence of the Church, by which he had been chiefly raised to sovereignty, had supported him during his four years of struggle. But that influence was now to be shaken.

The rapid and steady growth of the ecclesiastical power in England, from the period of the Conquest, is one of the most remarkable characteristics of that age. This progress we must steadily keep in view if we would rightly understand the general condition of society. All the great offices of the Church, with scarcely an exception, were filled by Normans. The Conqueror sternly resisted any attempts of bishops or abbots to control his civil government. The "Red King" misappropriated their revenues in many cases. Henry I quarrelled with Anselm about the right of investiture, which the Pope declared should not be in the hands of any layman, but Henry compromised a difficult question with his usual prudence. Whatever difficulties the Church encountered, during seventy years, and especially during the whole course of Henry's reign, wealth flowed in upon the ecclesiastics, from king and noble, from burgess and socman; and every improvement of the country increased the value of church possessions. It was not only from the lands of the Crown and the manors of earls that bishoprics and monasteries derived their large endowments. Henry I founded the Abbey of Reading, but the mimus of Henry I built the priory and hospital of St. Bartholomew. This "pleasant-witted gentleman," as Stow calls the royal mimus (which Percy interprets "minstrel"), having, according to the legend, "diverted the palaces of princes with courtly mockeries and triflings" for many years, bethought himself at last of more serious matters, and went to do penance at Rome. He returned to London; and obtaining a grant of land in a part of the King's market of Smithfield, which was a filthy marsh where the common gallows stood, there erected the priory, whose Norman arches as satisfactorily attest its date as Henry's charter. The piety of a court jester in the twelfth century, when the science of medicine was wholly empirical, founded one of the most valuable medical schools of the nineteenth century. The desire to raise up splendid churches in the place of the dilapidated Saxon buildings was a passion with Normans, whether clerics or laymen. Ralph Flambard, the bold and unscrupulous minister of William II, erected the great priory of Christchurch, in his capacity of bishop. But he raised the necessary funds with his usual financial vigor. He took the revenues of the canons into his hands, and put the canons upon a short allowance till the work was completed. The Cistercian order of monks was established in England late in the reign of Henry I. Their rule was one of the most severe mortification and of the strictest discipline. Their lives were spent in labor and in prayer, and their one frugal daily meal was eaten in silence. While other religious orders had their splendid abbeys amid large communities, the Cistercians humbly asked grants of land in the most solitary places, where the recluse could meditate without interruption by his fellow-men, amid desolate moors and in the uncultivated gorges of inaccessible mountains. In such a barren district Walter l'Espée, who had fought at Northallerton, founded Rievaulx Abbey. It was "a solitary place in Blakemore," in the midst of hills. The Norman knight had lost his son, and here he derived a holy comfort in seeing the monastic buildings rise under his munificent care, and the waste lands become fertile under the incessant labors of the devoted monks. The ruins of Tintern Abbey and Melrose Abbey, whose solemn influences have inspired the poets of our own age with thoughts akin to the contemplations of their Cistercian founders, belong to a later period of ecclesiastical architecture; for the dwellings of the original monks have perished, and the "broken arches," and "shafted oriel," the "imagery," and "the scrolls that teach thee to live and die," speak of another century, when the Norman architecture, like the Norman character, was losing its distinctive features and becoming "Early English." We dwell a little upon these Norman foundations, to show how completely the Church was spreading itself over the land, and asserting its influence in places where man had seldom trod, as well as in populous towns, where the great cathedral was crowded with earnest votaries, and the lessons of peace were proclaimed amid the distractions of unsettled government and the oppressions of lordly despotism. Whatever was the misery of the country, the ordinary family ties still bound the people to the universal Christian church, whether the priest were Norman or English. The new-born infant was dipped in the great Norman font, as the children of the Confessor's time had been dipped in the ruder Saxon. The same Latin office, unintelligible in words, but significant in its import, was said and sung when the bride stood at the altar and the father was laid in his grave. The vernacular tongue gradually melted into one dialect; and the penitent and the confessor were the first to lay aside the great distinction of race and country—that of language.

The Norman prelates were men of learning and ability, of taste and magnificence; and, whatever might have been the luxury and even vices of some among them, the vast revenues of the great sees were not wholly devoted to worldly pomp, but were applied to noble uses. After the lapse of seven centuries we still tread with reverence those portions of our cathedrals in which the early Norman architecture is manifest. There is no English cathedral in which we are so completely impressed with the massive grandeur of the round-arched style as by Durham. Durham Cathedral was commenced in the middle of the reign of Rufus, and the building went on through the reign of Henry I. Canterbury was commenced by Archbishop Lanfranc, soon after the Conquest, and was enlarged and altered in various details, till it was burned in 1174. Some portions of the original building remain. Rochester was commenced eleven years after the Conquest; and its present nave is an unaltered part of the original building. Chichester has nearly the same date of its commencement; and the building of this church was continued till its dedication in 1148. Norwich was founded in 1094, and its erection was carried forward so rapidly that in seven years there were sixty monks here located. Winchester is one of the earliest of these noble cathedrals; but its Norman feature of the round arch is not the general characteristic of the edifice, the original piers having been recased in the pointed style, in the reign of Edward III. The dates of these buildings, so grand in their conception, so solid in their execution, would be sufficient of themselves to show the wealth and activity of the Church during the reigns of the Conqueror and his sons. But, during this period of seventy years, and in part of the reign of Stephen, the erection of monastic buildings was universal in England, as in Continental Europe. The crusades gave a most powerful impulse to the religious fervor. In the enthusiasm of chivalry, which covered many of its enormities with outward acts of piety, vows were frequently made by wealthy nobles that they would depart for the Holy Wars. But sometimes the vow was inconvenient. The lady of the castle wept at the almost certain perils of her lord, and his projects of ambition often kept the lord at home to look after his own especial interests. Then the vow to wear the cross might be commuted by the foundation of a religious house. Death-bed repentance for crimes of violence and a licentious life increased the number of these endowments. It has been computed that three hundred monastic establishments were founded in England during the reigns of Henry I, Stephen, and Henry II.

We have briefly stated these few general facts regarding the outward manifestation of the power and the wealth of the Church at this period, to show how important an influence it must have exercised upon all questions of government. But its organization was of far greater importance than the aggregate wealth of the sees and abbeys. The English Church, during the troubled reign of Stephen, had become more completely under the papal dominion than at any previous period of its history. The King attempted, rashly perhaps, but honestly, to interpose some check to the ecclesiastical desire for supremacy; but from the hour when he entered into a contest with bishops and synods, his reign became one of kingly trouble and national misery.

The Norman bishops not only combined in their own persons the functions of the priest and of the lawyer, but were often military leaders. As barons they had knight-service to perform; and this condition of their tenures naturally surrounded them with armed retainers. That this anomalous position should have corrupted the ambitious churchman into a proud and luxurious lord was almost inevitable. The authority of the Crown might have been strong enough to repress the individual discontent, or to punish the individual treason, of these great prelates; but every one of them was doubly formidable as a member of a confederacy over which a foreign head claimed to preside. There were three bishops whose intrigues King Stephen had especially to dread at the time when an open war for the succession of Matilda was on the point of bursting forth. Roger, the Bishop of Salisbury, had been promoted from the condition of a parish priest at Caen, to be chaplain, secretary, chancellor, and chief justiciary of Henry I. He was instrumental in the election of Stephen to the throne; and he was rewarded with extravagant gifts, as he had been previously rewarded by Henry. Stephen appears to have fostered his rapacity, in the conviction that his pride would have a speedier fall; the King often saying, "I would give him half England, if he asked for it: till the time be ripe he shall tire of asking ere I tire of giving." The time was ripe in 1139. The Bishop had erected castles at Devizes, at Sherborne, and at Malmesbury. King Henry had given him the castle of Salisbury. This lord of four castles had powerful auxiliaries in his nephews, the Bishop of Lincoln and the Bishop of Ely. Alexander of Lincoln had built the castles of Newark and Sleaford, and was almost as powerful as his uncle. In July, 1139, a great council was held at Oxford; and thither came these three bishops with military and secular pomp, and with an escort that became "the wonder of all beholders." A quarrel ensued between the retainers of the bishops and those of Alain, Earl of Brittany, about a right to quarters; and the quarrel went on to a battle, in which men were slain on both sides. The bishops of Salisbury and Lincoln were arrested, as breakers of the king's peace. The Bishop of Ely fled to his uncle's castle of Devizes. The King, under the advice of the sagacious Earl Millent, resolved to dispossess these dangerous prelates of their fortresses, which were all finally surrendered. "The bishops, humbled and mortified, and stripped of all pomp and vainglory, were reduced to a simple ecclesiastical life, and to the possessions belonging to them as churchmen." The contemporary who writes this—the author of the Gesta Stephani—although a decided partisan of Stephen, speaks of this event as the result of mad counsels, and a grievous sin that resembled the wickedness of the sons of Korah and of Saul. The great body of the ecclesiastics were indignant at what they considered an offence to their order. The Bishop of Winchester, the brother of Stephen, had become the Pope's legate in England, and he summoned the King to attend a synod at Winchester. He there produced his authority as legate from Pope Innocent, and denounced the arrest of the bishops as a dreadful crime. The King had refused to attend the council, but he sent Alberic de Vere, "a man deeply versed in legal affairs," to represent him. This advocate urged that the Bishop of Lincoln was the author of the tumult at Oxford; that whenever Bishop Roger came to court, his people, presuming on his power, excited tumults; that the Bishop secretly favored the King's enemies, and was ready to join the party of the Empress. The council was adjourned, but on a subsequent day came the Archbishop of Rouen, as the champion of the King, and contended that it was against the canons that the bishops should possess castles; and that even if they had the right, they were bound to deliver them up to the will of the King, as the times were eventful, and the King was bound to make war for the common security. The Archbishop of Rouen reasoned as a statesman; the Bishop of Winchester as the Pope's legate. Some of the bishops threatened to proceed to Rome; and the King's advocate intimated that if they did so, their return might not be so easy. Swords were at last unsheathed. The King and the earls were now in open hostility with the legate and the bishops. Excommunication of the King was hinted at; but persuasion was resorted to. Stephen, according to one authority, made humble submission, and thus "abated the rigor of ecclesiastical discipline." If he did submit, his submission was too late. Within a month Earl Robert and the empress Matilda were in England.

Matilda and the Earl of Gloucester landed at Arundel, where the widow of Henry I was dwelling. They had a very small force to support their pretensions. The Earl crossed the country to Bristol. "All England was struck with alarm, and men's minds were agitated in various ways. Those who secretly or openly favored the invaders were roused to more than usual activity against the King, while his own partisans were terrified as if a thunderbolt had fallen." Stephen invested the castle of Arundel. But in the most romantic spirit of chivalry he permitted the Empress to pass out, and to set forward to join her brother at Bristol, under a safe-conduct. In 1140 the whole kingdom appears to have been subjected to the horrors of a partisan warfare. The barons in their castles were making a show of "defending their neighborhoods, but, more properly to speak, were laying them waste." The legate and the bishops were excommunicating the plunderers of churches, but the plunderers laughed at their anathemas. Freebooters came over from Flanders, not to practise the industrial arts as in the time of Henry I, but to take their part in the general pillage. There was frightful scarcity in the country, and the ordinary interchange of man with man was unsettled by the debasement of the coin. "All things," says Malmesbury, "became venial in England; and churches and abbeys were no longer secretly but even publicly exposed to sale." All things become venial, under a government too weak to repress plunder or to punish corruption. The strong aim to be rich by rapine, and the cunning by fraud, when the confusion of a kingdom is grown so great that, as is recorded of this period, "the neighbor could put no faith in his nearest neighbor, nor the friend in his friend, nor the brother in his own brother." The demoralization of anarchy is even more terrible than its bloodshed.

The marches and sieges, the revolts and treacheries, of this evil time are occasionally varied by incidents which illustrate the state of society. Robert Fitz-Herbert, with a detachment of the Earl of Gloucester's soldiers, surprised the castle of Devizes, which the King had taken from the Bishop of Salisbury. Robert Fitz-Herbert varies the atrocities of his fellow-barons, by rubbing his prisoners with honey, and exposing them naked to the sun. But Robert, having obtained Devizes, refused to admit the Earl of Gloucester to any advantage of its possession, and commenced the subjection of the neighborhood on his own account. Another crafty baron, John Fitz-Gilbert, held the castle of Marlborough; and Robert Fitz-Herbert, having an anxious desire to be lord of that castle also, endeavoring to cajole Fitz-Gilbert into the admission of his followers, went there as a guest, but was detained as a prisoner. Upon this the Earl of Gloucester came in force for revenge against his treacherous ally, Fitz-Herbert, and, conducting him to Devizes, there hanged him. The surprise of Lincoln Castle, upon which the events of 1141 mainly turned, is equally characteristic of the age. Ranulf, Earl of Chester, and William de Roumare, his half-brother, were avowed friends of King Stephen. But their ambition took a new direction for the support of Matilda. The garrison of Lincoln had no apprehension of a surprise, and were busy in those sports which hardy men enjoy even amid the rougher sport of war. The Countess of Chester and her sister-in-law, with a politeness that the ladies of the court of Louis le Grand could not excel, paid a visit to the wife of the knight who had the defence of the castle. While there, at this pleasant morning call, "talking and joking" with the unsuspecting matron, as Ordericus relates, the Earl of Chester came in, "without his armor or even his mantle," attended only by three soldiers. His courtesy was as flattering as that of his countess and her friend. But his men-at-arms suddenly mastered the unprepared guards, and the gates were thrown open to Earl William and his numerous followers. The earls, after this stratagem, held the castle against the King, who speedily marched to Lincoln. But the Earl of Chester contrived to leave the castle, and soon raised a powerful army of his own vassals. The Earl of Gloucester joined him with a considerable force, and they together advanced to the relief of the besieged city. The battle of Lincoln was preceded by a trifling incident to which the chroniclers have attached importance. It was the Feast of the Purification; and at the mass which was celebrated at the dawn of day, when the King was holding a lighted taper in his hand it was suddenly extinguished. "This was an omen of sorrow to the King," says Hoveden. But another chronicler, the author of the Gesta Stephain, tells us, in addition, that the wax candle was suddenly relighted; and he accordingly argues that this incident was "a token that for his sins he should be deprived of his crown, but on his repentance, through God's mercy, he should wonderfully and gloriously recover it." The King had been more than a month laying siege to the castle, and his army was encamped around the city of Lincoln. When it was ascertained that his enemies were at hand he was advised to raise the siege and march out to strengthen his power by a general levy. He decided upon instant battle. He was then exhorted not to fight on the solemn festival of the Purification. But his courage was greater than his prudence or his piety. He set forth to meet the insurgent earls. The best knights were in his army; but the infantry of his rivals was far more numerous. Stephen detached a strong body of horse and foot to dispute the passage of a ford of the Trent. But Gloucester by an impetuous charge obtained possession of the ford, and the battle became general. The King's horsemen fled. The desperate bravery of Stephen, and the issue of the battle, have been described by Henry of Huntingdon with singular animation: "King Stephen, therefore, with his infantry, stood alone in the midst of the enemy. These surrounded the royal troops, attacking the columns on all sides, as if they were assaulting a castle. Then the battle raged terribly round this circle; helmets and swords gleamed as they clashed, and the fearful cries and shouts reëchoed from the neighboring hills and city walls. The cavalry, furiously charging the royal column, slew some and trampled down others; some were made prisoners. No respite, no breathing time, was allowed; except in the quarter in which the King himself had taken his stand, where the assailants recoiled from the unmatched force of his terrible arm. The Earl of Chester seeing this, and envious of the glory the King was gaining, threw himself upon him with the whole weight of his men-at-arms. Even then the King's courage did not fail, but his heavy battle-axe gleamed like lightning, striking down some, bearing back others. At length it was shattered by repeated blows. Then he drew his well-tried sword, with which he wrought wonders, until that too was broken. Perceiving which, William de Kaims, a brave soldier, rushed on him, and seizing him by his helmet, shouted, 'Here, here, I have taken the King!' Others came to his aid, and the King was made prisoner."

After the capture of King Stephen, at this brief but decisive battle, he was kept a close prisoner at Bristol Castle. Then commenced what might be called the reign of Queen Matilda, which lasted about eight months. The defeat of Stephen was the triumph of the greater ecclesiastics. On the third Sunday in Lent, 1141, there was a conference on the plain in the neighborhood of Winchester—a day dark and rainy, which portended disasters. The Bishop of Winchester came forth from his city with all the pomp of the pope's legate; and there Matilda swore that in all matters of importance, and especially in the bestowal of bishoprics and abbeys, she would submit to the Church; and the Bishop and his supporters pledged their faith to the Empress on these conditions. After Easter, a great council was held at Winchester, which the Bishop called as the Pope's vicegerent. The unscrupulous churchman boldly came forward, and denounced his brother, inviting the assembly to elect a sovereign; and, with an amount of arrogance totally unprecedented, thus asserted the notorious untruth that the right of electing a king of England principally belonged to the clergy: "The case was yesterday agitated before a part of the higher clergy of England, to whose right it principally pertains to elect the sovereign, and also to crown him. First, then, as is fitting, invoking God's assistance, we elect the daughter of that peaceful, that glorious, that rich, that good, and in our times incomparable king, as sovereign of England and Normandy, and promise her fidelity and support." The Bishop then said to the applauding assembly: "We have despatched messengers for the Londoners, who, from the importance of their city in England, are almost nobles, as it were, to meet us on this business." The next day the Londoners came. They were sent, they said, by their fraternity to entreat that their lord, the King, might be liberated from captivity. The legate refused them, and repeated his oration against his brother. It was a work of great difficulty to soothe the minds of the Londoners; and St. John's Day had arrived before they would consent to acknowledge Matilda. Many parts of the kingdom had then submitted to her government, and she entered London with great state. Her nature seems to have been rash and imperious. Her first act was to demand subsidies of the citizens; and when they said that their wealth was greatly diminished by the troubled state of the kingdom, she broke forth into insufferable rage. The vigilant queen of Stephen, who kept possession of Kent, now approached the city with a numerous force, and by her envoys demanded her husband's freedom. Of course her demand was made in vain. She then put forth a front of battle. Instead of being crowned at Westminster, the daughter of Henry I fled in terror; for "the whole city flew to arms at the ringing of the bells, which was the signal for war, and all with one accord rose upon the Countess [of Anjou] and her adherents, as swarms of wasps issue from their hives."

William Fitzstephen, the biographer of Thomas à Becket, in his Description of London, supposed to be written about the middle of the reign of Henry II, says of this city, "ennobled by her men, graced by her arms, and peopled by a multitude of inhabitants," that "in the wars under King Stephen there went out to a muster of armed horsemen, esteemed fit for war, twenty thousand, and of infantry, sixty thousand." In general, the Description of London appears trustworthy, and in some instances is supported by other authorities. But this vast number of fighting men must, unquestionably, be exaggerated: unless, as Lyttelton conjectures, such a muster included the militia of Middlesex, Kent, and other counties adjacent to London. Peter of Blois, in the reign of Henry II, reckons the inhabitants of the city at forty thousand. That the citizens were trained to warlike exercises, and that their manly sports nurtured them in the hardihood of military habits, we may well conclude from Fitzstephen's account of this community at a little later period than that of which we are writing. To the north of the city were pasture lands, with streams on whose banks the clack of many mills was pleasing to the ear; and beyond was an immense forest, with densely wooded thickets, where stags, fallow-deer, boars, and wild bulls had their coverts. We have seen that in the charter of Henry I the citizens had liberty to hunt through a very extensive district, and hawking was also among their free recreations. Football was the favorite game; and the boys of the schools, and the various guilds of craftsmen, had each their ball. The elder citizens came on horseback to see these contests of the young men. Every Sunday in Lent a company with lances and shields went out to joust. In the Easter holidays they had river tournaments. During the summer the youths exercised themselves in leaping, archery, wrestling, stone-throwing, slinging javelins, and fighting with bucklers. When the great marsh which washed the walls of the city on the north was frozen over, sliding, sledging, and skating were the sports of crowds. They had sham fights on the ice, and legs and arms were sometimes broken. "But," says Fitzstephen, "youth is an age eager for glory and desirous of victory, and so young men engage in counterfeit battles, that they may conduct themselves more valiantly in real ones." That universal love of hardy sports, which is one of the greatest characteristics of England, and from which we derive no little of that spirit which keeps our island safe, is not of modern growth. It was one of the most important portions of the education of the people seven centuries ago.

It was this community, then, so brave, so energetic, so enriched by commerce above all the other cities of England, that resolutely abided by the fortunes of King Stephen. They had little to dread from any hostile assaults of the rival faction; for the city was strongly fortified on all sides except to the river; but on that side it was secure, after the Tower was built. The palace of Westminster had also a breastwork and bastions. After Matilda had taken her hasty departure, the indignant Londoners marched out, and they sustained a principal part in what has been called "the rout of Winchester," in which Robert, Earl of Gloucester, was taken prisoner. The ex-Empress escaped to Devizes. The capture of the Earl of Gloucester led to important results. A convention was agreed to between the adherents of each party that the King should be exchanged for the Earl. Stephen was once more "every inch a king." But still there was no peace in the land.

The Bishop of Winchester had again changed his side. In the hour of success the empress Matilda had refused the reasonable request that Prince Eustace, the son of Stephen, should be put in possession of his father's earldom of Boulogne. Malmesbury says, "A misunderstanding arose between the legate and the Empress which may be justly considered as the melancholy cause of every subsequent evil in England." The chief actors in this extraordinary drama present a curious study of human character. Matilda, resting her claim to the throne upon her legitimate descent from Henry I, who had himself usurped the throne—possessing her father's courage and daring, with some of his cruelty—haughty, vindictive—furnishes one of the most striking portraits of the proud lady of the feudal period, who shrank from no danger by reason of her sex, but made the homage of chivalry to woman a powerful instrument for enforcing her absolute will. The Earl of Gloucester, the illegitimate brother of Matilda, brave, steadfast, of a free and generous nature, a sagacious counsellor, a lover of literature, appears to have had few of the vices of that age, and most of its elevating qualities. Of Stephen it has been said, "He deserves no other reproach than that of having embraced the occupation of a captain of banditti." This appears rather a harsh judgment from a philosophical writer. Bearing in mind that the principle of election prevailed in the choice of a king, whatever was the hereditary claim, and seeing how welcome was the advent of Stephen when he came, in 1135, to avert the dangers of the kingdom, he merits the title of "a captain of banditti" no more than Harold or William the Conqueror. After the contests of six years—the victories, the defeats, the hostility of the Church, his capture and imprisonment—the attachment of the people of the great towns to his person and government appears to have been unshaken. When he was defeated at Lincoln, and led captive through the city, "the surrounding multitude were moved with pity, shedding tears and uttering cries of grief." Ordericus says: "The King's disaster filled with grief the clergy and monks and the common people; because he was condescending and courteous to those who were good and quiet, and if his treacherous nobles had allowed it, he would have put an end to their rapacious enterprises, and been a generous protector and benevolent friend of the country." The fourth and not least remarkable personage of this history is Henry, the Bishop of Winchester, and the Pope's legate. At that period, when the functions of churchman and statesman were united, we find this man the chief instrument for securing the crown for his brother. He subsequently becomes the vicegerent of the papal see. Stephen, with more justice than discretion, is of opinion that bishops are not doing their duty when they build castles, ride about in armor, with crowds of retainers, and are not at all scrupulous in appropriating some of the booty of a lawless time. From the day when he exhibited his hostility to fighting bishops, the Pope's legate was his brother's deadly enemy. But he found that the rival whom he had set up was by no means a pliant tool in his hands, and he then turned against Matilda. When Stephen had shaken off the chains with which he was loaded in Bristol Castle, the Bishop summoned a council at Westminster, on his legatine authority; and there "by great powers of eloquence, endeavored to extenuate the odium of his own conduct"; affirming that he had supported the Empress, "not from inclination, but necessity." He then "commanded on the part of God and of the Pope, that they should strenuously assist the King, appointed by the will of the people, and by the approbation of the Holy See." Malmesbury, who records these doings, adds that a layman sent from the Empress affirmed that "her coming to England had been effected by the legate's frequent letters"; and that "her taking the King, and holding him in captivity, had been done principally by his connivance." The reign of Stephen is not only "the most perfect condensation of all the ills of feudality," but affords a striking picture of the ills which befall a people when an ambitious hierarchy, swayed to and fro at the will of a foreign power, regards the supremacy of the Church as the one great object to be attained, at whatever expense of treachery and falsehood, of national degradation and general suffering.

In 1142 the civil war is raging more fiercely than ever. Matilda is at Oxford, a fortified city, protected by the Thames, by a wall, and by an impregnable castle. Stephen, with a body of veterans, wades across the river and enters the city. Matilda and her followers take refuge in the keep. For three months the King presses the siege, surrounding the fortress on all sides. Famine is approaching to the helpless garrison. It is the Christmas season. The country is covered with a deep snow. The Thames and the tributary rivers are frozen over. With a small escort Matilda contrives to escape, and passes undiscovered through the royal posts, on a dark and silent night, when no sound is heard but the clang of a trumpet or the challenge of a sentinel. In the course of the night she went to Abingdon on foot, and afterwards reached Wallingford on horseback. The author of the Gesta Stephani expresses his wonder at the marvellous escapes of this courageous woman. The changes of her fortune are equally remarkable. After the flight from Oxford the arms of the Earl of Gloucester are again successful. Stephen is beaten at Wilton, and retreats precipitately with his military brother, the Bishop of Winchester. There are now in the autumn of 1142 universal turmoil and desolation. Many people emigrate. Others crowd round the sanctuary of the churches, and dwell there in mean hovels. Famine is general. Fields are white with ripened corn, but the cultivators have fled, and there is none to gather the harvest. Cities are deserted and depopulated. Fierce foreign mercenaries, for whom the barons have no pay, pillage the farms and the monasteries. The bishops, for the most part, rest supine amid all this storm of tyranny. When they rouse themselves they increase rather than mitigate the miseries of the people. Milo, Earl of Hereford, has demanded money of the Bishop of Hereford to pay his troops. The Bishop refuses, and Milo seizes his lands and goods. The Bishop then pronounces sentence of excommunication against Milo and his adherents, and lays an interdict upon the country subject to the Earl's authority. We might hastily think that the solemn curse pronounced against a nation, or a district, was an unmeaning ceremony, with its "bell, book, and candle," to terrify only the weakminded. It was one of the most outrageous of the numerous ecclesiastical tyrannies. The consolations of religion were eagerly sought for and justly prized by the great body of the people, who earnestly believed that a happy future would be a reward for the patient endurance of a miserable present. As they were admitted to the holy communion, they recognized an acknowledgment of the equality of men before the great Father of all. Their marriages were blessed and their funerals were hallowed. Under an interdict all the churches were shut. No knell was tolled for the dead, for the dead remained unburied. No merry peals welcomed the bridal procession, for no couple could be joined in wedlock. The awe-stricken mother might have her infant baptized, and the dying might receive extreme unction. But all public offices of the Church were suspended. If we imagine such a condition of society in a village devastated by fire and sword, we may wonder how a free government and a Christian church have ever grown up among us.

If Stephen had quietly possessed the throne, and his heir had succeeded him, the crowns of England and Normandy would have been disconnected before the thirteenth century. Geoffrey of Anjou, while his duchess was in England, had become master of Normandy, and its nobles had acknowledged his son Henry as their rightful duke. The boy was in England, under the protection of the Earl of Gloucester, who attended to his education. The great Earl died in 1147. For a few years there had been no decided contest between the forces of the King and the Empress. After eight years of terrible hostility, and of desperate adventure, Matilda left the country. Stephen made many efforts to control the license of the barons, but with little effect. He was now engaged in another quarrel with the Church. His brother had been superseded as legate by Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, in consequence of the death of the Pope who had supported the Bishop of Winchester. Theobald was Stephen's enemy, and his hostility was rendered formidable by his alliance with Bigod, the Earl of Norfolk. The Archbishop excommunicated Stephen and his adherents, and the King was enforced to submission. In 1150 Stephen, having been again reconciled to the Church, sought the recognition of his son Eustace as the heir to the kingdom. This recognition was absolutely refused by the Archbishop, who said that Stephen was regarded by the papal see as an usurper. But time was preparing a solution of the difficulties of the kingdom. Henry of Anjou was grown into manhood. Born in 1133, he had been knighted by his uncle, David of Scotland, in 1149. His father died in 1151, and he became not only Duke of Normandy, but Earl of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine. In 1152 he contracted a marriage of ambition with Eleanor, the divorced wife of Louis of France, and thus became Lord of Aquitaine and Poitou, which Eleanor possessed in her own right. Master of all the western coast of France, from the Somme to the Pyrenees, with the exception of Brittany, his ambition, thus strengthened by his power, prepared to dispute the sovereignty of England with better hopes than ever waited on his mother's career. He landed with a well-appointed band of followers in 1153, and besieged various castles. But no general encounter took place. The King and the Duke had a conference, without witnesses, across a rivulet, and this meeting prepared the way for a final pacification. The negotiators were Henry, the Bishop, on the one part, and Theobald, the Archbishop, on the other. Finally Stephen led the Prince in solemn procession through the streets of Winchester, "and all the great men of the realm, by the King's command, did homage, and pronounced the fealty due to their liege lord, to the Duke of Normandy, saving only their allegiance to King Stephen during his life." Stephen's son Eustace had died during the negotiations. The troublesome reign of Stephen was soon after brought to a close. He died on the 25th of October, 1154. His constant and heroic queen had died three years before him.


A.D. 1145-1155


During the first half of the twelfth century—a period marked by conflicting spiritual tendencies—in Italy began a work of political and religious reform, which has ever since been associated with the name of its chief originator and apostle, Arnold of Brescia, so called from his native city in Lombardy. He was born about the year 1100, became a disciple of Abelard—whose teachings fired him with enthusiasm—and entered the priesthood.

Although quite orthodox in doctrine, he rebelled against the secularization of the Church—which had given to the pope almost supreme power in temporal affairs—and against the worldly disposition and life then prevalent among ecclesiastics and monks. His own life was sternly simple and ascetic, and this habit had been strongly confirmed by the ethical passion which burned in the religious and philosophical instructions of Abelard. With the popular religion Arnold had earnest sympathy, but he would reduce the clergy to their primitive and apostolic poverty, depriving them of individual wealth and of all temporal power.

The inspiring idea of Arnold's movement was that of a holy and pure church, a renovation of the spiritual order after the pattern of the apostolic church. He conformed in dress as well as in his mode of life to the principles he taught. The worldly and often corrupt clergy, he maintained, were unfit to discharge the priestly functions—they were no longer priests, and the secularized Church was no longer the house of God.

Arnold dreamed of a great Christian republic and labored to establish it, insomuch that his ideal, never realized in concrete form, either in church or state, took, and in history has kept, the name of republic. His eloquence and sincerity brought him powerful popular support, and even a large part of the nobility were won to his side. But of course, among those whom his aims condemned or antagonized, there were many who spared no pains to place him in an unfavorable light and to bring his labors to naught. In the simple story of his career, as here told by the great church historian, his figure appears in an attitude of heroism, which the pathos of his end can only make the reader more deeply appreciate. Through all this agitation is heard the voice of St. Bernard urging the religious conscience and better aspiration of the time, preaching the Second Crusade, and speeding its eastward march with earnest expectation—his high hope doomed to perish with its inglorious result.

Arnold's discourses were directly calculated by their tendency to find ready entrance into the minds of the laity, before whose eyes the worldly lives of the ecclesiastics and monks were constantly present, and to create a faction in deadly hostility to the clergy. Superadded to this was the inflammable matter already prepared by the collision of the spirit of political freedom with the power of the higher clergy. Thus Arnold's addresses produced in the minds of the Italian people, quite susceptible to such excitements, a prodigious effect, which threatened to spread more widely, and Pope Innocent felt himself called upon to take preventive measures against it. At the Lateran Council, in the year 1139, he declared against Arnold's proceedings, and commanded him to quit Italy—the scene of the disturbances thus far—and not to return again without express permission from the Pope. Arnold, moreover, is said to have bound himself by an oath to obey this injunction, which probably was expressed in such terms as to leave him free to interpret it as referring exclusively to the person of Pope Innocent. If the oath was not so expressed, he might afterward have been accused of violating that oath. It is to be regretted that the form in which the sentence was pronounced against Arnold has not come down to us; but from its very character it is evident that he could not have been convicted of any false doctrine, since otherwise the Pope would certainly not have treated him so mildly—would not have been contented with merely banishing him from Italy, since teachers of false doctrine would be dangerous to the Church everywhere.

Bernard, moreover, in his letter directed against Arnold, states that he was accused before the Pope of being the author of a very bad schism. Arnold now betook himself to France, and here he became entangled in the quarrels with his old teacher Abelard, to whom he was indebted for the first impulse of his mind toward this more serious and free bent of the religious spirit. Expelled from France, he directed his steps to Switzerland, and sojourned in Zurich. The abbot Bernard thought it necessary to caution the Bishop of Constance against him; but the man who had been condemned by the Pope found protection there from the papal legate, Cardinal Guido, who, indeed, made him a member of his household and companion of his table. The abbot Bernard severely censured the prelate, on the ground that Arnold's connection with him would contribute, without fail, to give importance and influence to that dangerous man. This deserves to be noticed on two accounts, for it makes it evident what power he could exercise over men's minds, and that no false doctrines could be charged to his account.

But independent of Arnold's personal presence, the impulse which he had given continued to operate in Italy, and the effects of it extended even to Rome. By the papal condemnation, public attention was only more strongly drawn to the subject.

The Romans certainly felt no great sympathy for the religious element in that serious spirit of reform which animated Arnold; but the political movements, which had sprung out of his reforming tendency, found a point of attachment in their love of liberty, and their dreams of the ancient dominion of Rome over the world. The idea of emancipating themselves from the yoke of the Pope, and of reestablishing the old Republic, flattered their Roman pride. Espousing the principles of Arnold, they required that the Pope, as spiritual head of the Church, should confine himself to the administration of spiritual affairs; and they committed to a senate the supreme direction of civil affairs.

Innocent could do nothing to stem such a violent current; and he died in the midst of these disturbances, in the year 1143. The mild Cardinal Guido, the friend of Abelard and Arnold, became his successor, and called himself, when pope, Celestine II. By his gentleness, quiet was restored for a short time. Perhaps it was the news of the elevation of this friendly man to the papal throne that encouraged Arnold himself to come to Rome. But Celestine died after six months, and Lucius II was his successor. Under his reign the Romans renewed the former agitations with more violence; they utterly renounced obedience to the Pope, whom they recognized only in his priestly character, and the restored Roman Republic sought to strike a league in opposition to the Pope and to papacy with the new Emperor, Conrad III.

In the name of the "senate and Roman people," a pompous letter was addressed to Conrad. The Emperor was invited to come to Rome, that from thence, like Justinian and Constantine, in former days, he might give laws to the world.

Caesar should have the things that are Caesar's; the priest the things that are the priest's, as Christ ordained when Peter paid the tribute money. Long did the tendency awakened by Arnold's principles continue to agitate Rome. In the letters written amidst these commotions, by individual noblemen of Rome to the Emperor, we perceive a singular mixing together of the Arnoldian spirit with the dreams of Roman vanity; a radical tendency to the separation of secular from spiritual things which if it had been capable enough in itself, and if it could have found more points of attachment in the age, would have brought destruction on the old theocratical system of the Church. They said that the Pope could claim no political sovereignty in Rome; he could not even be consecrated without the consent of the Emperor—a rule which had in fact been observed till the time of Gregory VII. Men complained of the worldliness of the clergy, of their bad lives, of the contradiction between their conduct and the teachings of Scripture.

The popes were accused as the instigators of the wars. "The popes," it was said, "should no longer unite the cup of the eucharist with the sword; it was their vocation to preach, and to confirm what they preached by good works. How could those who eagerly grasped at all the wealth of this world, and corrupted the true riches of the Church, the doctrine of salvation obtained by Christ, by their false doctrines and their luxurious living, receive that word of our Lord, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit,' when they were poor themselves neither in fact nor in disposition?" Even the donative of Constantine to the Roman bishop Silvester was declared to be a pitiable fiction. This lie had been so clearly exposed that it was obvious to the very day-laborers and to women, and that these could put to silence the most learned men if they ventured to defend the genuineness of this donative; so that the Pope, with his cardinals, no longer dared to appear in public. But Arnold was perhaps the only individual in whose case such a tendency was deeply rooted in religious conviction; with many it was but a transitory intoxication, in which their political interests had become merged for the moment.

The pope Lucius II was killed as early as 1145, in the attack on the Capitol. A scholar of the great abbot Bernard, the abbot Peter Bernard of Pisa, now mounted the papal chair under the name of Eugene III. As Eugene honored and loved the abbot Bernard as his spiritual father and old preceptor, so the latter took advantage of his relation to the Pope to speak the truth to him with a plainness which no other man would easily have ventured to use. In congratulating him upon his elevation to the papal dignity, he took occasion to exhort him to do away with the many abuses which had become so widely spread in the Church by worldly influences. "Who will give me the satisfaction," said he in his letter, "of beholding the Church of God, before I die, in a condition like that in which it was in ancient days, when the apostles threw out their nets, not for silver and gold, but for souls? How fervently I wish thou mightest inherit the word of that apostle whose episcopal seat thou hast acquired, of him who said, 'Thy gold perish with thee.' Oh that all the enemies of Zion might tremble before this dreadful word, and shrink back abashed! This, thy mother indeed expects and requires of thee, for this long and sigh the sons of thy mother, small and great, that every plant which our Father in heaven has not planted may be rooted up by thy hands." He then alluded to the sudden deaths of the last predecessors of the Pope, exhorting him to humility, and reminding him of his responsibility. "In all thy works," he wrote, "remember that thou art a man; and let the fear of Him who taketh away the breath of rulers be ever before thine eyes."

Eugene was soon forced to yield, it is true, to the superior force of the insurrectionary spirit in Rome, and in 1146 to take refuge in France; but, like Urban and Innocent, he too, from this country, attained to the highest triumph of the papal power. Like Innocent, he found there, in the abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, a mightier instrument for operating on the minds of the age than he could have found in any other country; and like Urban, when banished from the ancient seat of the papacy, he was enabled to place himself at the head of a crusade proclaimed in his name, and undertaken with great enthusiasm; an enterprise from which a new impression of sacredness would be reflected back upon his own person.

The news of the success which had attended the arms of the Saracens in Syria, the defeat of the Christians, the conquest of the ancient Christian territory of Edessa, the danger which threatened the new Christian kingdom of Jerusalem and the Holy City, had spread alarm among the Western nations, and the Pope considered himself bound to summon the Christians of the West to the assistance of their hard-pressed brethren in the faith and to the recovery of the holy places. By a letter directed to the abbot Bernard he commissioned him to exhort the Western Christians in his name, that, for penance and forgiveness of sins, they should march to the East, to deliver their brethren, or to give up their lives for them. Enthusiastic for the cause himself Bernard communicated, through the power of the living word and by letters, his enthusiasm to the nations. He represented the new crusade as a means furnished by God to the multitudes sunk in sin, of calling them to repentance, and of paving the way, by devout participation in a pious work, for the forgiveness of their sins. Thus, in his letter to the clergy and people in East Frankland (Germany), he exhorts them eagerly to lay hold on this opportunity; he declares that the Almighty condescended to invite murderers, robbers, adulterers, perjurers, and those sunk in other crimes, into his service, as well as the righteous. He calls upon them to make an end of waging war with one another, and to seek an object for their warlike prowess in this holy contest. "Here, brave warrior," he exclaims, "thou hast a field where thou mayest fight without danger, where victory is glory and death is gain. Take the sign of the cross, and thou shalt obtain the forgiveness of all the sins which thou hast never confessed with a contrite heart." By Bernard's fiery discourses men of all ranks were carried away. In France and in Germany he travelled about, conquering by an effort his great bodily infirmities, and the living word from his lips produced even mightier effects than his letters.

A peculiar charm, and a peculiar power of moving men's minds, must have existed in the tones of his voice; to this must be added the awe-inspiring effect of his whole appearance, the way in which his whole being and the motions of his bodily frame joined in testifying of that which seized and inspired him. Thus it admits of being explained how, in Germany, even those who understood but little, or in fact nothing, of what he said, could be so moved as to shed tears and smite their breasts; could, by his own speeches in a foreign language, be more strongly affected and agitated than by the immediate interpretation of his words by another. From all quarters sick persons were conveyed to him by the friends who sought from him a cure; and the power of his faith, the confidence he inspired in the minds of men, might sometimes produce remarkable effects. With this enthusiasm, however, Bernard united a degree of prudence and a discernment of character such as few of that age possessed, and such qualities were required to counteract the multiform excitements of the wild spirit of fanaticism which mixed in with this great ferment of minds.

Thus, he warned the Germans not to suffer themselves to be misled so far as to follow certain independent enthusiasts, ignorant of war, who were bent on moving forward the bodies of the crusaders prematurely. He held up as a warning the example of Peter the Hermit, and declared himself very decidedly opposed to the proposition of an abbot who was disposed to march with a number of monks to Jerusalem; "for," said he, "fighting warriors are more needed there than singing monks." At an assembly held at Chartres it was proposed that he himself should take the lead of the expedition; but he rejected the proposition at once, declaring that it was beyond his power and contrary to his calling. Having, perhaps, reason to fear that the Pope might be hurried on, by the shouts of the many, to lay upon him some charge to which he did not feel himself called, he besought the Pope that he would not make him a victim to men's arbitrary will, but that he would inquire, as it was his duty to do, how God had determined to dispose of him.

With the preaching of this Second Crusade, as with the invitation to the First, was connected an extraordinary awakening. Many who had hitherto given themselves up to their unrestrained passions and desires, and become strangers to all higher feelings, were seized with compunction. Bernard's call to repentance penetrated many a heart; people who had lived in all manner of crime were seen following this voice and flocking together in troops to receive the badge of the cross. Bishop Otto of Freisingen, the historian, who himself took the cross at that time, expresses it as his opinion "that every man of sound understanding would be forced to acknowledge so sudden and uncommon a change could have been produced in no other way than by the right hand of the Lord." The provost Gerhoh of Reichersberg, who wrote in the midst of these movements, was persuaded that he saw here a work of the Holy Spirit, designed to counteract the vices and corruptions which had got the upper hand in the Church.

Many who had been awakened to repentance confessed what they had taken from others by robbery or fraud, and hastened, before they went to the holy war, to seek reconciliation with their enemies. The Christian enthusiasm of the German people found utterance in songs in the German tongue; and even now the peculiar adaptation of this language to sacred poetry began to be remarked. Indecent songs could no longer venture to appear abroad.

While some were awakened by Bernard's preaching from a life of crime to repentance, and by taking part in the holy war strove to obtain the remission of their sins, others again, who though hitherto borne along in the current of ordinary worldly pursuits, yet had not given themselves up to vice, were filled by Bernard's words with loathing of the worldly life, inflamed with a vehement longing after a higher stage of Christian perfection, after a life of entire consecration to God. They longed rather to enter upon the pilgrimage to the heavenly than to an earthly Jerusalem; they resolved to become monks, and would fain have the man of God himself, whose words had made so deep an impression on their hearts, as their guide in the spiritual life, and commit themselves to his directions, in the monastery of Clairvaux. But here Bernard showed his prudence and knowledge of mankind; he did not allow all to become monks who wished to do so. Many he rejected because he perceived they were not fitted for the quiet of the contemplative life, but needed to be disciplined by the conflicts and cares of a life of action.

As contemporaries themselves acknowledge, these first impressions, in the case of many who went to the crusades, were of no permanent duration, and their old nature broke forth again the more strongly under the manifold temptations to which they were exposed, in proportion to the facility with which, through the confidence they reposed in a plenary indulgence, without really laying to heart the condition upon which it was bestowed, they could flatter themselves with security in their sins.

Gerhoh of Reichersberg, in describing the blessed effects of that awakening which accompanied the preaching of the crusader, yet says: "We doubt not that among so vast a multitude some became in the true sense and in all sincerity soldiers of Christ. Some, however, were led to embark in the enterprise by various other occasions, concerning whom it does not belong to us to judge, but only to Him who alone knows the hearts of those who marched to the contest either in the right or not in the right spirit. Yet this we do confidently affirm, that to this crusade many were called, but few were chosen." And it was said that many returned from this expedition, not better, but worse than they went. Therefore the monk Cesarius of Heisterbach, who states this, adds: "All depends on bearing the yoke of Christ not one year or two years, but daily, if a man is really intent on doing it in truth, and in that sense in which our Lord requires it to be done, in order to follow him."

When it turned out, however, that the event did not answer the expectations excited by Bernard's enthusiastic confidence, but the crusade came to that unfortunate issue which was brought about especially by the treachery of the princes and nobles of the Christian kingdom in Syria, this was a source of great chagrin to Bernard, who had been so active in setting it in motion, and who had inspired such confident hopes by his promises. He appeared now in the light of a bad prophet, and he was reproached by many with having incited men to engage in an enterprise which had cost so much blood to no purpose; but Bernard's friends alleged, in his defence, that he had not excited such a popular movement single-handed, but as the organ of the Pope, in whose name he acted; and they appealed to the facts by which his preaching of the cross was proved to be a work of God—to the wonders which attended it. Or they ascribed the failure of the undertaking to the bad conduct of the crusaders themselves, to the unchristian mode of life which many of them led, as one of these friends maintained, in a consoling letter to Bernard himself, adding, "God, however, has turned it to good. Numbers who, if they had returned home, would have continued to live a life of crime, disciplined and purified by many sufferings, have passed into the life eternal."

But Bernard himself could not be staggered in his faith by this event. In writing to Pope Eugene on this subject, he refers to the incomprehensibleness of the divine ways and judgments; to the example of Moses, who, although his work carried on its face incontestable evidence of being a work of God, yet was not permitted himself to conduct the Jews into the Promised Land. As this was owing to the fault of the Jews themselves, so too the crusaders had none to blame but themselves for the failure of the divine work. "But," says he, "it will be said, perhaps, how do we know that this work came from the Lord? What miracle dost thou work that we should believe thee? To this question I need not give an answer; it is a point on which my modesty asks to be excused from speaking. Do you answer," says he to the Pope, "for me and for yourself, according to that which you have seen and heard." So firmly was Bernard convinced that God had sustained his labors by miracles.

Eugene was at length enabled, in the year 1149, after having for a long time excited against himself the indignation of the cardinals by his dependence on the French abbot, with the assistance of Roger, King of the Sicilies, to return to Rome; where, however, he still had to maintain a struggle with the party of Arnold.

The provost Gerhoh finds something to complain of in the fact that the Church of St. Peter wore so warlike an aspect that men beheld the tomb of the apostle surrounded with bastions and the implements of war.

As Bernard was no longer sufficiently near the Pope to exert on him the same immediate personal influence as in times past, he addressed to him a voice of admonition and warning, such as the mighty of the earth seldom enjoy the privilege of hearing. With the frankness of a love which, as he himself expresses it, knew not the master, but recognized the son, even under the pontifical robes, he set before him, in his four books On Meditation, which he sent to him singly at different times, the duties of his office, and the faults against which, in order to fulfil these duties, he needed especially to guard.

Bernard was penetrated with a conviction that to the Pope, as St. Peter's successor, was committed by God a sovereign power of church government over all, and responsible to no other tribunal; that to this church theocracy, guided by the Pope, the administration even of the secular power, though independent within its own peculiar sphere, should be subjected, for the service of the kingdom of God; but he also perceived, with the deepest pain, how very far the papacy was from corresponding to this its idea and destination; what prodigious corruption had sprung and continued to spring from the abuse of papal authority; he perceived already, with prophetic eye, that this very abuse of arbitrary will must eventually bring about the destruction of this power. He desired that the Pope should disentangle himself from the secular part of his office, and reduce that office within the purely spiritual domain; and that, above all, he should learn to govern and restrict himself.

But to the close of his life, in the year 1153, Pope Eugene had to contend with the turbulent spirit of the Romans and the influences of the principles disseminated by Arnold; and this contest was prolonged into the reign of his second successor, Adrian IV. Among the people and among the nobles, a considerable party had arisen who would concede to the Pope no kind of secular dominion. And there seems to have been a shade of difference among the members of this party. A mob of the people is said to have gone to such an extreme of arrogance as to propose the choosing of a new emperor from among the Romans themselves, the restoration of a Roman empire independent of the Pope. The other party, to which belonged the nobles, were for placing the emperor Frederick I at the head of the Roman Republic, and uniting themselves with him in a common interest against the Pope. They invited him to receive the imperial crown, in the ancient manner, from the "senate and Roman people," and not from the heretical and recreant clergy and false monks, who acted in contradiction to their calling, exercising lordship despite of the evangelical and apostolical doctrine; and in contempt of all laws, divine and human, brought the Church of God and the kingdom of the world into confusion. Those who pretend that they are the representatives of Peter, it was said, in a letter addressed in the spirit of this party to the emperor Frederick I, "act in contradiction to the doctrines which that apostle teaches in his epistles. How can they say with the apostle Peter, 'Lo, we have left all and followed thee,' and, 'Silver and gold have I none'? How can our Lord say to such, 'Ye are the light of the world,' 'the salt of the earth'? Much rather is to be applied to them what our Lord says of the salt that has lost its savor. 'Eager after earthly riches, they spoil the true riches, from which the salvation of the world has proceeded.' How can the saying be applied to them, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit'? for they are neither poor in spirit nor in fact."

Pope Adrian IV was first enabled, under more favorable circumstances, and assisted by the Emperor Frederick I, to deprive the Arnold party of its leader, and then to suppress it entirely. It so happened that, in the first year of Adrian's reign, 1155, a cardinal, on his way to visit the Pope, was attacked and wounded by followers of Arnold. This induced the Pope to put all Rome under the interdict, with a view to force the expulsion of Arnold and his party. This means did not fail of its effect. The people who could not bear the suspension of divine worship, now themselves compelled the nobles to bring about the ejection of Arnold and his friends. Arnold, on leaving Rome, found protection from Italian nobles. By the order, however, of the emperor Frederick, who had come into Italy, he was torn from his protectors and surrendered up to the papal authority. The Prefect of Rome then took possession of his person and caused him to be hanged. His body was burned, and its ashes thrown into the Tiber, lest his bones might be preserved as the relics of a martyr by the Romans, who were enthusiastically devoted to him. Worthy men, who were in other respects zealous defenders of the church orthodoxy and of the hierarchy—as, for example, Gerhoh of Reichersberg—expressed their disapprobation, first, that Arnold should be punished with death on account of the errors which he disseminated; secondly, that the sentence of death should proceed from a spiritual tribunal, or that such a tribunal should at least have subjected itself to that bad appearance.

But on the part of the Roman court it was alleged, in defence of this proceeding, that "it was done without the knowledge and contrary to the will of the Roman curia." "The Prefect of Rome had forcibly removed Arnold from the prison where he was kept, and his servants had put him to death in revenge for injuries they had suffered from Arnold's party. Arnold, therefore, was executed, not on account of his doctrines, but in consequence of tumults excited by himself." It may be a question whether this was said with sincerity, or whether, according to the proverb, a confession of guilt is not implied in the excuse. But Gerhoh was of the opinion that in this case they should at least have done as David did, in the case of Abner's death, and, by allowing Arnold to be buried, and his death to be mourned over, instead of causing his body to be burned, and the remains thrown into the Tiber, washed their hands of the whole transaction.

But the idea for which Arnold had contended, and for which he died, continued to work in various forms, even after his death—the idea of a purification of the Church from the foreign worldly elements with which it had become vitiated, of its restoration to its original spiritual character.


A.D. 1146


From the enthronement of the Commenian dynasty in A.D. 1081, which was accomplished through a successful rebellion, attended by shameful treachery and rapine, the Byzantine empire, and especially Constantinople, its capital, passed through many vicissitudes; but the sack of the city by Alexius Commenus, the founder of the line, was remembered by the populace to the disadvantage of all his successors; the last of whom, Andronicus I, ended his reign in 1185. John, the son of Alexius (1118-1143), ruled with discretion and ability, and recovered some territory from the Turks.

Manuel I, the son of John (1143-1181), ruled during a period of almost constant war, and for a time he held the enemies of the empire in check. But he appears to have been more endowed with courage and the spirit of enterprise than with good judgment, and his conduct of the empire coincided with events that, as seen in history, contributed to its decline, which after his death followed rapidly. As this decline is to be dated especially from the passing but not ineffectual invasion of Roger II, King of Sicily, in 1146, some account of that, together with a view of conditions immediately preceding, becomes important in a work like this.

The century and a half before Roger's invasion had been a period of tranquillity for the distinctively Greek people of the empire, who had increased rapidly in numbers and wealth, and were in possession of an extensive commerce and many manufactures. Therefore they were perhaps the greatest sufferers from the adverse events which befell the State.

The emperor Alexius I had concluded a commercial treaty with Pisa toward the end of his reign. Manuel renewed this alliance, and he appears to have been the first of the Byzantine emperors who concluded a public treaty with Genoa. The pride of the emperors of the Romans—as the sovereigns of Constantinople were styled—induced them to treat the Italian republics as municipalities still dependent on the Empire of the Caesars, of which they had once formed a part; and the rulers both of Pisa and Genoa yielded to this assumption of supremacy, and consented to appear as vassals and liegemen of the Byzantine emperors, in order to participate in the profits which they saw the Venetians gained by trading in their dominions.

Several commercial treaties with Pisa and Genoa, as well as with Venice, have been preserved. The obligations of the republics are embodied in the charter enumerating the concessions granted by the Emperor, and the document is called a chrysobulum, or golden bull, from the golden seal of the Emperor attached to it as the certificate of its authenticity.

In Manuel's treaties with the Genoese and Pisans, the republics bind themselves never to engage in hostilities against the empire; but, on the contrary, all the subjects of the republics residing in the Emperor's dominions become bound to assist him against all assailants; they engage to act with their own ships, or to serve on board the imperial fleet, for the usual pay granted to Latin mercenaries. They promise to offer no impediment to the extension of the empire in Syria, reserving to themselves the factories and privileges they already possess in any place that may be conquered. They submit their civil and criminal affairs to the jurisdiction of the Byzantine courts of justice, as was then the case with the Venetians and other foreigners in the empire. Acts of piracy and armed violence, unless the criminals were taken in the act, were to be reported to the rulers of the republic whose subjects had committed the crime, and the Byzantine authorities were not to render the innocent traders in the empire responsible for the injuries inflicted by these brigands. The republicans engaged to observe all the stipulations in their treaties, in defiance of ecclesiastical excommunication or the prohibition of any individual, crowned or not crowned.

Manuel, in return, granted to the republicans the right of forming a factory, erecting a quay for landing their goods, and building a church; and the Genoese received their grant in an agreeable position on the side of the port opposite Constantinople, where in after-times their great colony of Galata was formed. The Emperor promised to send an annual of from four hundred to five hundred gold bezants, with two pieces of a rich brocade then manufactured only in the Byzantine empire, to the republican governments, and sixty bezants, with one piece of brocade, to their archbishops. These treaties fixed the duty levied on the goods imported or exported from Constantinople by the Italians at 4 per cent.; but in the other cities of the empire, the Pisans and Genoese were to pay the same duties as other Latin traders, excepting, of course, the privileged Venetians. These duties generally amounted to 10 per cent. The republics were expressly excluded, by the Genoese treaty, from the Black Sea trade, except when they received a special license from the Emperor. In case of shipwreck, the property of the foreigners was to be protected by the imperial authorities and respected by the people, and every assistance was to be granted to the unfortunate sufferers. This humane clause was not new in Byzantine commercial treaties, for it is contained in the earliest treaty concluded by Alexius I with the Pisans. On the whole, the arrangements for the administration of justice in these treaties prove that the Byzantine empire still enjoyed a greater degree of order than the rest of Europe.

The state of civilization in the Eastern Empire rendered the public finances the moving power of the government, as in the nations of modern Europe. This must always tend to the centralization of political authority, for the highest branch of the executive will always endeavor to dispose of the revenues of the State according to its views of necessity. This centralizing policy led Manuel to order all the money which the Greek commercial communities had hitherto devoted to maintaining local squadrons of galleys for the defence of the islands and coasts of the Aegean to be remitted to the treasury at Constantinople. The ships were compelled to visit the imperial dockyard in the capital to undergo repairs and to receive provisions and pay.

A navy is a most expensive establishment; kings, ministers, and people are all very apt to think that when it is not wanted at any particular time, the cost of its maintenance may be more profitably applied to other objects. Manuel, after he had secured the funds of the Greeks for his own treasury, soon left their ships to rot, and the commerce of Greece became exposed to the attacks of small squadrons of Italian pirates who previously would not have dared to plunder in the Archipelago. It may be thought by some that Manuel acted wisely in centralizing the naval administration of his empire; but the great number, the small size, and the relative position of many of the Greek islands with regard to the prevailing winds render the permanent establishment of naval stations at several points necessary to prevent piracy.

Manuel and Otho ruined the navy of Greece by their unwise measures of centralization; Pericles, by prudently centralizing the maritime forces of the various states, increased the naval power of Athens, and gave additional security to every Greek ship that navigated the sea.

The same fiscal views which induced Manuel to centralize the naval administration when it was injurious to the interests of the empire, prompted him to act diametrically opposite with regard to the army. The emperor John had added greatly to the efficiency of the Byzantine military force by improving and centralizing its administration, and he left Manuel an excellent army, which rendered the Eastern Empire the most powerful state in Europe. But Manuel, from motives of economy, abandoned his father's system. Instead of assembling all the military forces of the empire annually in camps, where they received pay and were subjected to strict discipline, toward the end of his reign he distributed even the regular army in cities and provinces, where they were quartered far apart, in order that each district, by maintaining a certain number of men, might relieve the treasury from the burden of their pay and subsistence while they were not on actual service. The money thus retained in the central treasury was spent in idle festivals at Constantinople, and the troops, dispersed and neglected, became careless of their military exercises, and lived in a state of relaxed discipline. Other abuses were quickly introduced; resident yeomen, shopkeepers, and artisans were enrolled in the legions, with the connivance of the officers. The burden of maintaining the troops was in this way diminished, but the army was deteriorated.

In other districts, where the divisions were exposed to be called into action, or were more directly under central inspection, the effective force was kept up at its full complement, but the people were compelled to submit to every kind of extortion and tyranny. The tendency of absolute power being always to weaken the power of the law, and to increase the authority of the executive agents of the sovereign, soon manifested its effects in the rapid progress of administrative corruption. The Byzantine garrisons in a few years became prototypes of the shopkeeping janizaries of the Ottoman empire, and bore no resemblance to the feudal militia of Western Europe, which Manuel had proposed as the model of his reform. This change produced a rapid decline in the military strength of the Byzantine army and accelerated the fall of the empire.

For a considerable period the Byzantine emperors had been gradually increasing the proportion of foreign mercenaries in their service; this practice Manuel carried further than any of his predecessors. Besides the usual Varangian, Italian, and German guards, we find large corps of Patzinaks, Franks, and Turks enrolled in his armies, and officers of these nations occupying situations of the highest rank. A change had taken place in the military tactics, caused by the heavy armor and powerful horses which the crusaders brought into the field, and by the greater personal strength and skill in warlike exercises of the Western troops, who had no occupation from infancy but gymnastic exercises and athletic amusements. The nobility of the feudal nations expended more money on arms and armor than on other luxuries; and this becoming the general fashion, the Western troops were much better armed than the Byzantine soldiers. War became the profession of the higher ranks, and the expense of military undertakings was greatly increased by the military classes being completely separated from the rest of society. The warlike disposition of Manuel led him to favor the military nobles of the West who took service at his court; while his confidence in his own power, and in the political superiority of his empire, deluded him with the hope of being able to quell the turbulence of the Franks, and set bounds to the ambition and power of the popes.

The wars of Manuel were sometimes forced on him by foreign powers, and sometimes commenced for temporary objects; but he appears never to have formed any fixed idea of the permanent policy which ought to have determined the constant employment of all the military resources at his command, for the purpose of advancing the interest of his empire and giving security to his subjects. His military exploits may be considered under three heads: His wars with the Franks, whether in Asia or Europe; his wars with the Hungarians and Servians; and his wars with the Turks.

His first operations were against the principality of Antioch. The death of John II caused the dispersion of the fine army he had assembled for the conquest of Syria; but Manuel sent a portion of that army, and a strong fleet, to attack the principality. One of the generals of the land forces was Prosuch, a Turkish officer in high favor with his father. Raymond of Antioch was no longer the idle gambler he had shown himself in the camp of the emperor John; but though he was now distinguished by his courage and skill in arms, he was completely defeated, and the imperial army carried its ravages up to the very walls of Antioch, while the fleet laid waste the coast. Though the Byzantine troops retired, the losses of the campaign convinced Raymond that it would be impossible to defend Antioch should Manuel take the field in person. He therefore hastened to Constantinople, as a suppliant, to sue for peace; but Manuel, before admitting him to an audience, required that he should repair to the tomb of the emperor John and ask pardon for having violated his former promises. When the Hercules of the Franks, as Raymond was called, had submitted to this humiliation, he was admitted to the imperial presence, swore fealty to the Byzantine empire as Prince of Antioch, and became the vassal of the emperor Manuel. The conquest of Edessa by the Mahometans, which took place in the month of December, 1144, rendered the defence of Antioch by the Latins a doubtful enterprise, unless they could secure the assistance of the Greeks.

Manuel involved himself in a war with Roger, King of Sicily, which perhaps he might have avoided by more prudent conduct. An envoy he had sent to the Sicilian court concluded a treaty, which Manuel thought fit to disavow with unsuitable violence. This gave the Sicilian King a pretext for commencing war, but the real cause of hostilities must be sought in the ambition of Roger and the hostile feelings of Manuel. Roger was one of the wealthiest princes of his time; he had united under his sceptre both Sicily and all the Norman possessions in Southern Italy; his ambition was equal to his wealth and power, and he aspired at eclipsing the glory of Robert Guiscard and Bohemund by some permanent conquests in the Byzantine empire. On the other hand, the renown of Roger excited the envy of Manuel, who, proud of his army and confident of his own valor and military skill, hoped to reconquer Sicily. His passion made him forget that he was surrounded by numerous enemies, who would combine to prevent his employing all his forces against one adversary. Manuel consequently acted imprudently in revealing his hostile intentions; while Roger could direct all his forces against one point, and avail himself of Manuel's embarrassments. He commenced hostilities by inflicting a blow on the wealth and prosperity of Greece, from which it never recovered.

At the commencement of the Second Crusade, when the attention of Manuel was anxiously directed to the movements of Louis VII of France, and Conrad, Emperor of Germany, Roger, who had collected a powerful fleet at Brindisi, for the purpose either of attacking the Byzantine empire or transporting the crusaders to Palestine, availed himself of an insurrection in Corfu to conclude a convention with the inhabitants, who admitted a garrison of one thousand Norman troops into their citadel. The Corfutes complained with great reason of the intolerable weight of taxation to which they were subjected; of the utter neglect of their interests by the central government, which consumed their wealth, and of the great abuses which prevailed in the administration of justice; but the remedy they adopted, by placing themselves under the rule of foreign masters, was not likely to alleviate these evils.

The Sicilian admiral, after landing the Norman garrison at Corfu, sailed to Monembasia, then one of the principal commercial cities in the East, hoping to gain possession of it without difficulty; but the maritime population of this impregnable fortress gave him a warm reception and easily repulsed his attack. After plundering the coasts of Euboea and Attica, the Sicilian fleet returned to the West, and laid waste Acarnania and Etolia; it then entered the Gulf of Corinth, and debarked a body of troops at Crissa. This force marched through the country to Thebes, plundering every town and village on the way. Thebes offered no resistance and was plundered in the most deliberate and barbarous manner. The inhabitants were numerous and wealthy. The soil of Boeotia is extremely productive, and numerous manufactures established in the city of Thebes gave additional value to the abundant produce of agricultural industry.

A century had elapsed since the citizens of Thebes had gone out valiantly to fight the army of Slavonian rebels in the reign of Michael IV (the Paphlagonian), and that defeat had long been forgotten. But all military spirit was now dead, and the Thebans had so long lived without any fear of invasion that they had forgotten the use of arms. The Sicilians found them not only unprepared to offer any resistance, but so surprised that they had not even adopted any effectual measures to secure or conceal their movable property. The conquerors, secure against all danger of interruption, plundered Thebes at their leisure. Not only gold, silver, jewels, and church plate were carried off, but even the goods found in the warehouses, and the rarest articles of furniture in private houses, were transported to the ships. Bales of silk and dyed leather were sent off to the fleet as deliberately as if they had been legally purchased in time of peace. When all ordinary means of collecting booty were exhausted, the citizens were compelled to take an oath on the Holy Scriptures that they had not concealed any portion of their property; yet many of the wealthiest were dragged away captive, in order to profit by their ransom; and many of the most skilful workmen in the silk manufactories, for which Thebes had long been famous, were pressed on board the fleet to labor at the oar.

From Boeotia the army passed to Corinth. Nicephorus Caluphes, the governor, retired into the Acro-Corinth, but the garrison appeared to his cowardly heart not strong enough to defend this impregnable fortress, and he surrendered it to George Antiochenus, the Sicilian admiral, on the first summons. On examining the fortress of which he had thus unexpectedly gained possession, the admiral could not help exclaiming that he fought under the protection of heaven, for if Caluphes had not been more timid than a virgin, Corinth should have repulsed every attack.

Corinth was sacked as cruelly as Thebes; men of rank, beautiful women, and skilful artisans, with their wives and families, were carried away into captivity. Even the relics of St. Theodore were taken from the church in which they were preserved; and it was not until the whole Sicilian fleet was laden with as much of the wealth of Greece as it was capable of transporting that the admiral ordered it to sail. The Sicilians did not venture to retain possession of the impregnable citadel of Corinth, as it would have been extremely difficult for them to keep up their communications with the garrison. This invasion of Greece was conducted entirely as a plundering expedition, having for its object to inflict the greatest possible injury on the Byzantine empire, while it collected the largest possible quantity of booty for the Sicilian troops. Corfu was the only conquest of which Roger retained possession.

The ruin of the Greek commerce and manufactures has been ascribed to the transference of the silk trade from Thebes and Corinth to Palermo, under the judicious protection it received from Roger; but it would be more correct to say that the injudicious and oppressive financial administration of the Byzantine emperors destroyed the commercial prosperity and manufacturing industry of the Greeks; while the wise liberality and intelligent protection of the Norman kings extended the commerce and increased the industry of the Sicilians.

When the Sicilian fleet returned to Palermo, Roger determined to employ all the silk manufacturers in their original occupations. He consequently collected all their families together, and settled them at Palermo, supplying them with the means of exercising their industry with profit to themselves, and inducing them to teach his own subjects to manufacture the richest brocades and to rival the rarest productions of the East.

Roger, unlike most of the monarchs of his age, paid particular attention to improving the wealth of his dominions by increasing the prosperity of his subjects. During his reign the cultivation of the sugar-cane was introduced into Sicily. The conduct of Manuel was very different; when he concluded peace with William, the son and successor of Roger, in 1158, he paid no attention to the commercial interests of his Greek subjects; the silk manufactures of Thebes and Corinth were not reclaimed and reinstated in their native seats; they were left to exercise their industry for the profit of their new prince, while their old sovereign would have abandoned them to perish from want. Under such circumstances it is not remarkable that the commerce and the manufactures of Greece were transferred in the course of another century to Sicily and Italy.


A.D. 843-1161


Events treated at length are here indicated in large type; the numerals following give volume and page.

Separate chronologies of the various nations, and of the careers of famous persons, will be found in the INDEX VOLUME, with volume and page references showing where the several events are fully treated.


843. Messina in Sicily captured by the Saracens.

Feudalism may be said to become an actuality from about this time. See "FEUDALISM: ITS FRANKISH BIRTH AND ENGLISH DEVELOPMENT," v, 1.

The Danes—called by Arabian writers "Magioges," people of Gog and Magog—land at Lisbon from fifty-four ships and carry off a rich booty.

The treaty of Verdun, between the three sons of Louis le Débonnaire. See "DECAY OF THE FRANKISH EMPIRE," v, 22.

844. Lothair gives the title king of Italy to his son Louis, who is crowned at Rome.

Abderrahman fits out a fleet to resist the Danes who have infested the neighborhood of Cadiz and Seville.

845. Paris is pillaged for the first time by the Danes or Northmen. See "DECAY OF THE FRANKISH EMPIRE," v, 22.

Hamburg is looted and destroyed by the Danes.

846. Rome is attacked by the Saracens, who, after plundering the country, lay siege to Gaeta.

Spain afflicted by a great drought and swarms of locusts.

847. A violent storm drives the Saracens from the siege of Gaeta. The distress in Spain is relieved by Abderrahman, who remits the taxes and constructs aqueducts and fountains.

848. Louis, King of Italy, drives the Saracens out of Beneventum.

Bordeaux is assailed by the Northmen, but they are vigorously repulsed. See "DECAY OF THE FRANKISH EMPIRE," v, 22.

Pope Leo IV adds a new quarter to the city of Rome by surrounding the Vatican with walls.

849. Birth of Alfred the Great. See "CAREER OF ALFRED THE GREAT," v, 49.

Gottschalk, a German bishop who preached the doctrine of twofold predestination, sentenced by the Council of Quincy to be flogged and suffer perpetual imprisonment.

The Saracens range at will through the Mediterranean; they are defeated at the mouth of the Tiber by the combined fleets of Naples, Gaeta, and Amalphi.

On Gallic soil the benificium and practice of commendation is specially fostered. See "FEUDALISM: ITS FRANKISH BIRTH AND ENGLISH DEVELOPMENT," v, 1.

850. Roric, a nephew of Harold, collects a piratical armament in Friesland and attacks adjacent coasts; Lothair grants Durstadt to him to secure his own lands.

Pépin strengthens himself in Aquitaine by leagues with the Northmen. See "DECAY OF THE FRANKISH EMPIRE," v, 22.

851. Danes ascend the Rhine with 252 ships and plunder Ghent, Cologne, Treves, and Aix-la-Chapelle.

Roric, with 350 sail, proceeds up the Thames and pillages Canterbury and London, after defeating the King of Mercia; he is at last defeated by Ethelwulf, with great slaughter, at Ockley.

852. A revolt against the Moslems in Armenia.

853. Hastings' (the Danish chief) ruse at Tuscany. See "DECAY OF THE FRANKISH EMPIRE," v, 22.

855. Death of Lothair, Emperor of the Franks; civil war between his sons.

A band of Danes keep the Isle of Sheppey through the winter; their first foothold in England.

860. Iceland discovered by the Northmen.

862. Rurik, the Varangian chief, conquers Novgorod and Kiov and lays the foundation of the Russian empire.

863. Cyril and Methodius, the "apostles of the Slavs," undertake the conversion of the Moravians.

Pope Nicholas deposes Photius and declares Ignatius to be the patriarch of Constantinople; Photius in turn excommunicates the Pope.

Charles the Bald founds the County of Flanders.

864. Pope Nicholas asserts his exclusive right to appoint and depose bishops; the sovereigns and prelates of France and Germany resist his claim.

Christianity first introduced into Russia; it makes little progress.

865. First naval expedition of the Varangians or Russians against Constantinople; their fleet is dispersed by a storm.

866. East Anglia invaded by a numerous body of Danes.

Accession of Alfonso the Great of Asturias.

868. Nottingham captured by the Danes; they are besieged by Burhred, Alfred, and his brother, who allow them to return to York with their booty. See "CAREER OF ALFRED THE GREAT," v, 49.

869. Eighth general council held at Constantinople; the deposition of Photius confirmed and all iconoclasts anathematized.

870. Malta captured by the Saracens.

East Anglia captured by the Danes; Edmund, titular king of the country, is treacherously slain by them; is afterward canonized.

871. Hincmar, a French prelate, encourages Charles the Bald to resist the authority assumed by the Pope over the church of France.

Bari, a Saracen fortress in Southern Italy, is surrendered to the Franks and Greeks.

Alfred ascends the throne of Wessex. See "CAREER OF ALFRED THE GREAT," v, 49.

872. Louis of Germany relinquishes to Emperor Louis his portion of Lorraine.

873. On the approach of Emperor Louis with an army the Saracens, who were besieging Salerno, retire; they land in Calabria and commit great depredations.

Locusts lay waste Italy, France, and Germany.

Organs introduced into the churches of Germany.

874. Mercia is conquered by the Danes, who set up Ceolwulf as their king.

Iceland is settled by the Danes.

875. Death of Emperor Louis; Charles the Bald and Louis of Germany contend for the succession. The former, by granting new privileges to the Church of Rome, obtains the support of the Pope, and is acknowledged as the king of Italy and emperor of the West.

Alfred, King of Wessex, fits out a fleet and conquers the Danes in a great sea battle. See "CAREER OF ALFRED THE GREAT," v, 49.

876. Death of Louis of Germany; division of his kingdom among his three sons: Bavaria to Carloman; Saxony to Louis the Stammerer; and East France (Franconia and Swabia) to Charles the Fat. Their uncle, Charles the Bald, attempts to dispossess them, but is defeated by Louis at Andernach.

Rollo, at the head of the Northmen, enters the Seine and makes his first settlement in Normandy. See "DECAY OF THE FRANKISH EMPIRE," v, 22.

877. No emperor of the West for three years.

Carloman acquires the crown of Italy; the Pope, who opposes him, is driven from Rome by Lambert, Duke of Spoleto, and takes refuge in France.

A large traffic in slaves carried on by the Venetians.

Count Boso founds the kingdom of Florence.

878. Alfred defeats a great host of the Danes at Eddington. See "CAREER OF ALFRED THE GREAT," v, 49.

Syracuse captured by the Saracens, who become the masters of Sicily.

879. Methodius forbidden by the Pope to perform the services of the Church for the Slavonians in their own language.

The kingdom of Cisjurane, Burgundy, founded; it included Provence, Dauphiné, and the southern part of Savoy.

880. Germany is ravaged by the Northmen.

Alfred, the English King, defeats the Danes at the battle of Ethandun; by treaty he gives them equal rights, and they acknowledge his supremacy. See "CAREER OF ALFRED THE GREAT," v, 49.

881. Methodius gets leave to use the Slavonic tongue in the churches. Charles the Fat ascends the throne of Italy and Germany; is emperor of the West.

882. Albategni, the Arabian astronomer, observes the autumnal equinox, September 19th.

883. Alfred sends Singhelm and Athelstan on missions to Rome and the Christian church in India.

884. Charles the Fat reunites the Frankish empire of Charlemagne.

885. Siege of Paris by the Northmen. See "DECAY OF THE FRANKISH EMPIRE," v, 22.

886. Alfred the Great said to have founded the University of Oxford.

887. Deposition of Charles the Fat; Arnulf, natural son of Carloman of Bavaria, elected by the nobles.

888. Death of Charles the Fat; final disruption of the Frankish empire; the crown of France in dispute between the Count of Paris, Eudes, and Charles the Simple. See "DECAY OF THE FRANKISH EMPIRE," v, 22.

Founding of the kingdom of Transjurane, Burgundy, which includes the northern part of Savoy and all Switzerland between the Reuss and the Jura.

Alfred the Great begins his translations from Latin into Anglo-Saxon. See "AUGUSTINE'S MISSIONARY WORK IN ENGLAND," iv, 182.

890. Southern Italy constituted a province of the Greek empire and called Lombardia.

891. King Arnulf, of Germany, defeats the Northmen or Danes at Louvain.

894. Arnulf becomes emperor of Germany.

Hungarians (Magyars) cross the Carpathians and occupy the plains of the Theiss.

895. Rome is captured by Emperor Arnulf of Germany; he is crowned emperor of the West.

896. Pope Stephen VII declares the election of his predecessor, Formosus, invalid; disinters his body and has it thrown in the Tiber.

897. Pope Stephen imprisoned and strangled.

Alfred constructs a powerful navy and defeats Hastings the Dane. See "CAREER OF ALFRED THE GREAT," v, 49.

899. Accession of Louis the Child, on the death of Arnulf, to the German throne.

900. Hungarians ravage Northern Italy.

901. Death of Alfred the Great, King of England; his son, Edward the Elder, succeeds.

904. Russians, with a large naval force, attack Constantinople, and the Saracens Thessalonica.

907. Bavaria desolated by the Hungarians.

909. Founding of the Fatimite caliphate in Africa. See "CONQUEST OF EGYPT BY THE FATIMITES," v, 94.

911. End of the Carlovingian line in Germany. See "HENRY THE FOWLER FOUNDS THE SAXON LINE OF GERMAN KINGS," v, 82.

912. Rollo, converted to Christianity, takes the name of Robert and receives from Peter the Simple the province afterward called Normandy, of which he is the first duke. See "DECAY OF THE FRANKISH EMPIRE," v, 22.

913. Igor, son of Rurik, by the death of his guardian, Oleg, is invested with the government of Russia.

Bodies of Hungarians and Slavs make inroads on German territory. See "HENRY THE FOWLER FOUNDS THE SAXON LINE OF GERMAN KINGS," v, 82.

914. John X elected pope through the intrigues of Theodora.

916. Berengar is crowned emperor of the West, in Italy.

918. Death of Conrad, the King of Germany. See "HENRY THE FOWLER FOUNDS THE SAXON LINE OF GERMAN KINGS," v, 82.

919. Founding of the Danish kingdom of Dublin, Ireland. "HENRY THE FOWLER FOUNDS THE SAXON LINE OF GERMAN KINGS." See v, 82.

923. Rudolph of Burgundy disputes with Charles the Simple for the crown of France.

924. Germany is overrun and devastated by the Hungarians. Death of Berengar, upon which the imperial title lapses.

925. Edward the Elder is succeeded by his son Athelstan, in England.

926. Henry the Fowler conquers the Slavonians; he establishes the margravate of Brandenburg.

928. Guido and Marozia usurp supreme temporal power in Rome and confine Pope John X in prison, where he dies. (Date uncertain.)

929. Charles the Simple dies in captivity at Péronne.

Abu Taher, the Carmathian leader, plunders Mecca and massacres the pilgrims.

930. Prague is besieged by Henry the Fowler, who becomes superior lord of Bohemia; his son, Otho, marries Eadgith, sister of Athelstan, King of England.

931. Marozia still rules in Rome; she makes her son pope John XI.

932. Hugh marries Marozia and is expelled from Rome by her son Alberic, who confines his mother, and his brother, Pope John, in St. Angelo and governs the city.

933. Henry the Fowler is victorious over the Hungarians at Merseburg. See "HENRY THE FOWLER FOUNDS THE SAXON LINE OF GERMAN KINGS," v, 82.

Union of Cis- and Transjurane Burgundy into one realm, the kingdom of Arles.

Saracens invade Castile and are defeated at Uxama.

936. Death of Henry the Fowler; accession of Otho the Great in Germany and of Louis d'Outre-Mer in France. Louis was given the surname for having been in exile in England, whence he was recalled to the crown.

From this time chivalry may be said to arise. See "GROWTH AND DECADENCE OF CHIVALRY," v, 109.

937. Confederation of Scots and Irish with the Danes of Northumberland, totally defeated by Athelstan, at Brunanburh.

France is invaded by the Hungarians.

939. The Marquis of Istria levies imposts on Venetian merchants, the repeal of which is enforced by the Doge suspending all intercourse between the two states.

940. Death of King Athelstan; his brother Edmund succeeds to the English throne.

941. Constantinople attacked by the Russians under Igor; they are repelled by Romanus.

945. Death of Igor; his widow, Olga, governs the Russians during the minority of their son Swatoslaus.

Cumberland and Westmoreland, England, granted as a fief to Malcolm, King of Scotland.

946. Edmund, who had conquered Mercia and the "Five Boroughs" of the Danish confederacy, England, slain by an outlaw; his brother Edred succeeds.

951. Otho the Great marches an army in to Italy; he dethrones Berengar for cruelly ill-treating Adelaide.

952. Otho restores Italy to Berengar and his son; they do homage to him at the Diet of Augsburg.

955. Otho vanquishes the Hungarians on the Lech; he afterward conquers the Slavonians.

Olga, the Russian Princess, baptized at Constantinople; she carries back into her own country some beginnings of civilization.

956. Many provinces, including Armenia, recovered from the Saracens by the Eastern Empire.

959. St. Dunstan made archbishop of Canterbury on the accession of Edgar.

961. Berengar finally dethroned by Otho the Great; the sovereignty of Italy passes from Charlemagne's descendants to German rulers.

962. Otho the Great, master of Italy; his coronation as emperor of the Romans by Pope John XII; establishment of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation.

963. Nicephorus Phocas defeats the Saracens and recovers the former provinces of the empire as far as the Euphrates.

Al Hakem, Caliph of Cordova, famous as a patron of literature and learning, and who is said to have collected a library of 600,000 volumes, employs agents in Africa and Arabia to purchase or copy manuscripts.

King Edgar, England, defeats the Welsh and exacts an annual tribute of three hundred wolves' heads.

964. Pope Leo VIII is expelled; John XII reinstated, he dies soon after; Rome is besieged and captured by the Emperor, after a revolt encouraged by Berengar.

966. After 328 years' subjection Antioch is recovered from the Saracens.

Bulgaria invaded by the Russians, who also extend their dominion to the Black Sea.

Miecislas, ruler of Poland, embraces Christianity.

969. Kahira (now Cairo) built by the Fatimites, who establish a caliphate in Egypt. See "CONQUEST OF EGYPT BY THE FATIMITES," v, 94.

Nicephorus Phocas, Emperor of the East, murdered by John Zimisces, who succeeds.

971. All munitions of war and arms are by the Venetians forbidden to be sold by their merchants to the Saracens.

973. On the death of his father, Otho the Great, Otho II ascends the throne of the German empire. His Empress, Theophania, introduces Greek customs and manners into Germany.

976. Henry, Duke of Bavaria, defeated by Otho II and deposed, takes refuge in Bohemia.

Death of Al Hakem; his reign the most glorious of the Saracenic dominion in Spain.

Commotion in Venice; the Doge attempts to introduce mercenary troops and is slain; his palace, St. Mark's, and other churches burned.

978. Otho II makes a victorious movement into France.

979. King Edward the Martyr assassinated by command of his mother-in-law, Elfrida; Ethelred the Unready succeeds. (Date uncertain.)

980. Theophania urges her husband, Otho II, to claim the Greek provinces in Italy; he advances with his army to Ravenna.

Vladimir obtains the assistance of the sea-kings, defeats his brother, Jaropolk, puts him to death, and becomes sole ruler of Russia.

982. Saracens of Africa are invited by the Greek emperors to join them in opposing Otho; battle of Basientello, total defeat of Otho; he is taken prisoner, but escapes by swimming.

983. Eric the Red, a Norseman, first visits Greenland, which he thus names, and afterward settles. See "LEIF ERICSON DISCOVERS AMERICA," v, 141.

Death of Otho II; Otho III succeeds to the throne of Germany under the regency of his mother, Theophania.

987. Death of Louis V, the last of the Carlovingian line; Hugh Capet is elected king of France; this inaugurates the Capetian dynasty.

988. Vladimir the Great of Russia embraces Christianity. See "CONVERSION OF VLADIMIR THE GREAT," v, 128.

989. Sedition in Rome; Empress Theophania arrives there and suppresses it.

In Germany rural counts and barons commence their depredations on the properties of their neighbors.

Learned men from all parts of the East flock to Cordova, Almansor, the Saracen regent, having set apart a fund to promote literature.

991. Archbishop Gerbert, of Rheims, introduces the use of Arabic numerals, which he had learned at Cordova.

Ipswich and Maldon, England, ravaged by the Danes; a tribute raised for them by means of the "Danegild" tax.

994. Hugh Capet maintains Gerbert in the see of Rheims, against the opposition of the Pope.

With a fleet of ninety-four ships the kings of Norway and Denmark attack London; they are beaten off by the citizens.

996. Death of Hugh Capet; his son Robert succeeds.

997. Venetians conquer the coast and islands of the Adriatic as far as Ragusa; their Doge styles himself duke of Dalmatia.

Death of Gejza, first Christian prince of Hungary.

Insurrection of peasants in Normandy.

998. Crescentius, having usurped power in Rome and expelled the Pope, is defeated, captured, and put to death by Otho III.

1000. Leif Ericson and Biorn discover America. See "LEIF ERICSON DISCOVERS AMERICA," v, 141.

Otho III and Boleslas the Valiant, King of Poland, meet at Gnesen.

Expectation of the end of the world causes the sowing of seed and other agricultural work to be neglected; famine ensues therefrom.

Duke Stephen of Hungary receives the royal title from Pope Sylvester II.

First invasion of India by Mahmud. See "MAHOMETANS IN INDIA," v, 151.

1002. Massacre of Danes in England; the Day of St. Brice.

Henry, Duke of Bavaria, elected king of Germany on the death of Otho III.

1003. Sweyn of Denmark invades England to avenge the massacre of his people.

1013. After various repulses and successes Sweyn takes nearly the whole of England; King Ethelred and his Queen flee to her brother Richard, Duke of Normandy.

Imperial coronation of Henry II.

1014. Death of Sweyn. Ethelred returns to England; he battles with the Danes, under Sweyn's son, Canute, who is driven from the country.

King Brian, the Brian Boroimhe or Boru, the most famous of Irish kings, defeats the Danes at the battle of Clontarf, but perishes in the conflict.

1016. Pope Benedict VIII repulses the Saracens at Luni, Tuscany; they besiege Salerno and are defeated by the aid of a band of Norman pilgrims returning from Jerusalem.

Edmund "Ironsides," the English King, assassinated. See "CANUTE BECOMES KING OF ENGLAND," v, 164.

1017. Swatopolk, Grand Duke of Russia, defeated by his brother, Jaroslav, Prince of Novgorod, seeks an asylum in Poland.

All England acknowledges Canute as king. See "CANUTE BECOMES KING OF ENGLAND," v, 164.

1018. Complete destruction of the Bulgarian realm by the Eastern emperor Basil II.

Swatopolk finally expelled from Russia by Jaroslav, who becomes ruler.

1020. Death of Firdusi, a famous Persian poet.

1022. Guido Aretinus invents the staff, and is the first to adopt as names for the notes of the musical scale the initial syllables of the hemistichs of a hymn in honor of St. John the Baptist.

1024. Death of the emperor Henry II of Germany; the Franconian dynasty inaugurated by Conrad II.

1027. Conrad II crowned emperor at Rome; Canute of England and Rudolph of Burgundy attend the ceremony.

Schleswig is formally ceded to Denmark by Conrad II.

1028. Canute invades Norway; he conquers King Olaf and annexes his dominions. See "CANUTE BECOMES KING OF ENGLAND," v, 164.

1031. End of the Ommiad caliphate of Cordova; Spain divided by the Moorish chiefs into many states.

1033. Institution of the "Truce of God." A suspension of private feuds observed in England, France, Italy, and elsewhere. Such a truce provided that these feuds should cease on all the more important church festivals and fasts, from Thursday evening to Monday morning, during Lent, or similar occasions.

Castile created an independent kingdom by Sancho the Great, King of Navarre.

Conrad II extends his dominion over the Arletan territories.

1035. Death of King Canute; his sons, Hardicanute in Denmark, Harold in England, and Sweyn in Norway, succeed him. See "CANUTE BECOMES KING OF ENGLAND," v, 164.

Aragon created an independent kingdom.

1037. Avicenna, Arabian physician and scholar, dies. (Date uncertain.)

Harold becomes king of all England.

1039. Murder of King Duncan, of Scotland, by Macbeth, who succeeds.

1042. End of the Danish rule in England; Hardicanute succeeded by Edward the Confessor.

1045. Ferdinand of Castile exacts tribute from his Moorish neighbors.

1046. Henry III holds a council at Sutri on the question of the papacy. See "HENRY III DEPOSES THE POPES," v, 177.

1047. Count Guelf given the duchy Carinthia by Emperor Henry III.

1048. On the death of Clement II, the deposed Pope again intrudes himself. See "HENRY III DEPOSES THE POPES," v, 177.

1049. Hildebrand, the monk, assumes charge of the patrimony of St. Peter, at Rome.

1050. Bérenger of Tours condemned and imprisoned for denying the doctrine of transubstantiation.

1051. William of Normandy visits England; he confers with Edward the Confessor.

1052. Archbishop Robert, with the Norman bishops and nobles, driven out of England.

1053. In Italy the Norman conquests of that country are conferred on them as a fief of the Church.

1054. Separation of the Greek and Latin churches. See "DISSENSION AND SEPARATION OF THE GREEK AND ROMAN CHURCHES," v, 189.

1055. Togrul Beg drives the Buyides from Bagdad and establishes his authority there.

1056. Death of Emperor Henry III; his son, Henry IV, is elected king under the regency of his mother, Agnes.

Malcolm defeats Macbeth, King of Scotland, at Dunsinane.

1057. Harold, son of Earl Godwin, is designated heir to the throne of England. See "NORMAN CONQUEST OF ENGLAND," v, 204.

1059. Nicholas II and the Council of Rome decree that future popes shall be elected by the college of cardinals, but confirmed by the people and clergy of Rome and the emperor.

1060. King Andrew slain in battle by his brother, Bela, who ascends the throne of Hungary.

1061. Robert Guiscard and his brother Roger, at the head of the Normans, engage in the conquest of Sicily from the Saracens.

1062. The Archbishop of Cologne, Anno, assumes the reins of government after seizing the young emperor Henry IV.

1066. Death of Edward the Confessor, who is succeeded by Harold II. The Norwegians invade England; they are defeated by Harold. William, Duke of Normandy, invades and conquers England. See "NORMAN CONQUEST OF ENGLAND," v, 204.

1067. Council of Mantua; Hildebrand denies the imperial right to interfere in the election of a pope.

1068. Carrier pigeons are employed by the Saracens to convey intelligence to the besieged in Palermo.

1069. Morocco founded by Abu-Bekr, Ameer of Lantuna.

1071. Alp Arslan, the Seljuk Sultan, defeats and captures the Eastern Emperor, Romanus Diogenes.

1072. Palermo is taken by the Normans, who reduce the whole of Sicily.

1073. Lissa, taken by the Normans, is recovered by the Venetians.

Hildebrand elected pope; he takes the name of Gregory VII; the sale of church benefices in Germany forbidden by him. See "TRIUMPHS OF HILDEBRAND," v, 231.

1074. Gregory VII suggests the first idea of a general crusade against the Turks.

1075. Lay investiture prohibited by a council called by Gregory VII. See "TRIUMPHS OF HILDEBRAND," v, 231.

1076. Atziz, Malek Shah's lieutenant, conquers Syria from the Fatimites of Egypt, and takes Jerusalem.

Christian pilgrims are persecuted by the Seljukian Turks.

Henry IV, Emperor of Germany, holds a council at Rome which deposes Gregory VII. In union with the German princes the Pope deposes the Emperor.

1077. Pope Gregory exacts an annual tribute from Alfonso, King of Castile.

At Canossa Henry IV humbles himself before the Pope and is absolved. See "TRIUMPHS OF HILDEBRAND," v, 231.

1079. Boleslas of Poland excommunicated by Gregory and expelled by his subjects.

1080. Henry IV convenes a council which deposes Gregory VII; it elects Guibert, Antipope Clement III, in his stead.

End of the war between Henry and Rudolph of Saxony caused by the death of the latter.

1081. Constantinople captured by Alexis Comnenus, who is placed by his soldiers on the Byzantine throne.

1084. Gregory VII is besieged in the castle of St. Angelo; Robert Guiscard delivers the Pope. See "TRIUMPHS OF HILDEBRAND," v, 231.

1085. Death of Gregory VII, in exile at Salerno; the papacy vacant till the following year.

Conquest of Toledo from the Moors by Alfonso of Castile.


The Mahometans of Spain invite the chief of the Almoravides to assist them. See "DECLINE OF THE MOORISH POWER IN SPAIN," v, 256.

1087. King William of England invades France; he dies at Rouen. His eldest son, Robert, inherits Normandy; his second son, William Rufus, secures the throne of England.

1088. Yussef is called into Spain by the Moorish princes; their jealousies and discords render his assistance unavailing. See "DECLINE OF THE MOORISH POWER IN SPAIN," v, 256.

1089. Henry IV excommunicated by Pope Urban II. A violent earthquake in England.

The disease known as St. Anthony's fire breaks out in Lorraine.

1090. Hasan, Subah of Nishapur, collects a band of Carmathians who are named after him, "Assassins."

William Rufus, King of England, invades Normandy and captures St. Valery.

1091. Yussef conquers Seville and Almeria, sends Almoatamad to Africa, and becomes supreme ruler in Mahometan Spain. See "DECLINE OF THE MOORISH POWER IN SPAIN," v, 256.

1092. Guibert's party hold the castle of St. Angelo; Guibert's title to the papacy is still asserted by Henry IV.

Complete disruption of the empire of the Seljuks follows the death of Shah Malek.

1093. King Malcolm of Scotland invades England; he is killed near Alnwick, by Roger de Mowbray.

1094. Sancho, King of Aragon and Navarre, falls in battle; he is succeeded by his son Pedro.

Peter the Hermit goes on his pilgrimage to Jerusalem. See "THE FIRST CRUSADE," v, 276.

1095. Philip and Henry again excommunicated by Pope Urban II.

Henry of Besangon marries Theresa, daughter of Alfonso the Valiant, who erects Portugal into a county for his son-in-law.

1096. Aphdal, the Fatimite, expels the sons of Ortok from Jerusalem.

Movement of the first crusading armies; massacre of Jews in Europe. See "THE FIRST CRUSADE," v, 276.

1097. William Rufus expels Archbishop Anselm, from England in defiance of the papal legate.

Emperor Henry IV protects the German Jews.

Death of Albert Azzo, Marquis of Lombardy, more than 100 years old; he was father of Guelf IV, the progenitor of the Brunswick family, afterward one of the English royal lines.

The crusaders take Nicaea; the Eastern emperor Alexius, suspicious of the crusaders, obtains the city of Nicasa for himself. See "THE FIRST CRUSADE," v, 276.

1098. Edgar, son of Malcolm, seated on the throne of Scotland by Edgar Atheling with an English army.

Pope Urban II holds a council at Bari to condemn the doctrines of the Greek Church.

1099. Jerusalem captured by the crusaders. See "THE FIRST CRUSADE," v, 276.

Founding of the order of the Knights Hospitallers; Gerard of Jerusalem the first provost or grand master.

Coronation of Henry V, second son of the Emperor, as king of the Romans.

1100. New antipopes arise on the death of Guibert (Clement III), one of whom assumes the name of Sylvester IV.

William Rufus accidentally slain; Henry I becomes king of England; he renews the laws of Edward the Confessor and unites the Saxon and Norman races by his marriage with Matilda, granddaughter of Edmund "Ironside."

1101. Robert, Duke of Normandy, invades England and makes war on his brother, Henry I.

Guelf, Duke of Bavaria, and William, Duke of Aquitaine, conduct a large body of crusaders to the East. United with those who set out in the preceding year, they are met by Kilidsch Arslan, on entering Asia Minor, and are cut to pieces or dispersed.

1102. Pope Paschal II obtains from Matilda a deed of gift of all her states to the Church.

Coloman, King of Hungary, conquers Croatia and Dalmatia.

1103. Yussef's son Ali recognized as heir to the thrones of Spain and Africa.

1104. Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, defeats the Turks and captures Acre.

Emperor Henry IV faces a rebellion of his son, incited by the papal party.

1105. Interview between Emperor Henry and his son at Elbingen; a diet is called to be held at Mainz for the settlement of their dispute.

The English, under King Henry, take Caen and Bayeux in Normandy.

Defeat of the Turks in an attempt to retake Jerusalem; Bohemond, Prince of Tarentum, who had taken Antioch from the Turks, made prisoner.

1106. King Henry I overthrows Duke Robert, who is captured, and secures Normandy.

Death of Henry IV and accession of his son Henry V to the German throne; the new Emperor asserts his right to appoint bishops.

1108. Death of Philip, King of France; Louis VI, the Fat, succeeds.

1109. Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, assisted by a Venetian fleet, captures Tripoli.

Portugal declared independent and the hereditary succession established in Count Henry's family.

1111. Emperor Henry V enters Rome; bloody contests between his soldiers and the people. Pope Paschal II, a prisoner, resigns the right of investiture and crowns the Emperor.

1113. Death of Swatopolk, Duke of Russia; his brother Vladimir succeeds.

1114. War in Wales; King Henry I erects castles there to secure his conquests.

1117. The Doge of Venice falls at Zara in defending Dalmatia against the Hungarians.


On the death of Paschal II the cardinals elect Gelasius II; the Emperor appoints the Archbishop of Braga to assume the papal dignity under the name of Gregory VIII. The factions afterward known as the Guelfs and Ghibellines arose from this event.

1119. Battle of Noyon, by which Henry I reestablishes his ascendency in Normandy.

Defeat of the Turks at Antioch by King Baldwin II and the Knights Hospitallers.

Henry I resists the papal claim to investiture in England; banishment of Thurstan, Archbishop of Canterbury.

1120. Sinking of the White Ship (La Blanche Nef), in which Prince William, son of Henry I, was lost. The King is said to have "never smiled again" after the receipt of the news.

1121. Siege of Sutri by the army of Pope Calixtus II, and surrender of Antipope Gregory.

1122. Henry V and Calixtus II compromise, at the Diet of Worms, the dispute respecting the right of investiture.

Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, and Jocelyn de Courtenay made prisoners by the Turks.

Abelard, a noted French theologian, accused of heresy at the Council of Soissons, is condemned to burn his writings.

1123. Ninth general council; First Lateran Council.

War renewed in Normandy by the rebellion of certain powerful barons; Henry I, King of England, takes their castles.

1124. A rich Pisan convoy, on its voyage from Sardinia, captured by the Genoese.

1125. Death of the emperor Henry V of Germany, which ends the Franconian dynasty; the Duke of Saxony, Lothair II, elected his successor; he declares war against the Hohenstaufens.

Punishment of the mintmen in England for issuing base coin.

1126. King Henry leaves Normandy and takes his prisoners to England.

1127. Marriage of Henry's daughter, Matilda, to Geoffrey Plantagenet; she is acknowledged by the English barons as heiress to her father's throne. See "STEPHEN USURPS THE ENGLISH CROWN," v, 317.

Death of William, Duke of Apulia; Roger II, Great Count of Sicily, succeeds. This unites the Norman conquests in Italy with Sicily; the Pope excommunicates him.

1128. Conrad, Duke of Franconia, of the Hohenstaufen house, crowned king of Italy at Milan, in opposition to Lothair II; he is excommunicated by the Pope.

Roger II overcomes the papal resistance and is formally acknowledged duke of Apulia and Calabria.

1129. King Henry of England releases his Norman prisoners and restores their lands to them.

1130. On the death of Pope Honorius II the cardinals divide into two factions, one of which elects Innocent II, and the other the antipope Anacletus II. The latter gains possession of the Lateran and is there consecrated; Innocent takes refuge in France.

1131. Birth of Maimonides, who, next to Moses, is believed to have had the greatest influence on Jewish thought. (Date uncertain.)

1132. Lothair II goes to Rome in support of Pope Innocent II against Antipope Anacletus II; he expels Conrad.

Wool-spinning is introduced into England by the Flemings at Worstead; hence the name "worsted."

1133. Lothair conducts Innocent to Rome and is there crowned emperor by him.

1134. Aragon and Navarre choose separate sovereigns, who are protected by Alfonso the Noble, King of Castile.

1135. Death of Henry I of England; Stephen usurps the throne. See "STEPHEN USURPS THE ENGLISH CROWN," v, 317.

A copy of Justinian's Pandects said to have been discovered at Amalfi.

The house of Hohenstaufen forced into submission by Lothair.

1136. Lothair marches into Italy with a large army; the cities make submission.

Matilda resists Stephen's usurpation of the English crown, and invades Normandy.

1137. Death of Louis VI; his son, Louis VII, succeeds to the French crown.

1138. David I of Scotland defeated at the Battle of the Standard. See "STEPHEN USURPS THE ENGLISH CROWN," v, 317.

Conrad, Duke of Franconia, elected emperor of Germany; he founds the Hohenstaufen dynasty. From his castle of Wiblingen his party takes the name of Ghibellines; his opponent, Henry Guelf, is put under the ban of the empire, hence the papal party were called Guelfs.

1139. Pope Innocent II taken prisoner by Roger; a treaty of peace confirms Roger's title. Arnold of Brescia is banished Italy. See "ANTI-PAPAL DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT," v, 340.

Robert, Earl of Gloucester, a natural son of Henry I, promises assistance to Matilda in her war against King Stephen of England. See "STEPHEN USURPS THE ENGLISH CROWN," v, 317.

1140. Conrad III defeats the forces of Guelf VI, uncle of Henry the Lion, while attempting to gain possession of Bavaria.

1141. Battle of Lincoln; King Stephen defeated and carried prisoner to Bristol. See "STEPHEN USURPS THE ENGLISH CROWN," v, 317.

1142. Henry the Lion is invested with the duchy of Saxony by Conrad III. His rival, Albert the Bear, created margrave of Brandenburg.

1143. Geisa, King of Hungary, invites German emigrants to join the colony of that people in Transylvania.

1144. Edessa, Turkey, stormed and captured by Zenghi, Sultan of Aleppo.

1145. Arnold of Brescia initiates the antipapal democratic movement. See "ANTIPAPAL DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT," v, 340.

Disruption of the Almoravide kingdom in Spain.

1146. Prince Henry inherits Anjou and Maine; Normandy submits to him.

St. Bernard, at the instance of Pope Eugenius, preaches a crusade for the protection of the Holy Land against Noureddin, Sultan of Aleppo.

Byzantium is ravaged by Roger, King of Sicily. See "DECLINE OF THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE," v, 353.

Crusaders and mobs massacre Jews in Germany.

1147. Louis VII of France and Emperor Conrad III lead the Second Crusade.

Lisbon, after being taken from the Moors, is made the capital of Portugal.

Moscow, Russia, is founded by the Prince of Suzdal, Dolgoucki.

1148. Unsuccessful sieges of Damascus and Ascalon by the crusaders.

1149. Louis, returning by sea from his crusade, is captured by the Greeks, and rescued by the Sicilian fleet.

1150. Victory of Manuel, the Byzantine Emperor, over the Servians, who become vassals of that empire.

1151. Manuel invades Hungary, crosses the Danube, grants a truce to Geisa, and carries a large booty to Constantinople.

1152. Death of Conrad III; Frederick I, Barbarossa, elected emperor.

1153. Treaty by King Stephen and Henry Plantagenet concerning the succession of the English crown. See "STEPHEN USURPS THE ENGLISH CROWN," v, 317.

1154. A large portion of France united with the crown of England on the accession of Henry II, who founds the Plantagenet line, following Stephen's death.

The first Italian expedition of Frederick Barbarossa.

Pope Adrian IV, by a bull, grants Ireland to the English crown.

1155. Frederick reëstablishes the papal rule in Rome. Pope Adrian IV orders the execution of Arnold. See "ANTIPAPAL DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT," v, 340.

1156. Henry the Lion, of the Guelf line, has Bavaria restored to him. Austria erected into a duchy.

1157. Pope Adrian, in a letter to the German Emperor, asserts Germany to be a papal benefice; Frederick resists the claim.

Poland is compelled by Emperor Frederick I to pay him homage.

1158. Eric IX of Sweden conquers the coast of Finland and builds Abo.

Frederick I, Barbarossa, a second time invades Italy; he captures Milan.

1159. Election of Pope Alexander III; Frederick I creates an anti-pope, Victor IV.

War ensues between Henry II of England and Louis VII of France; the former claiming the county of Toulouse, Southern France.

1160. Emperor Frederick I calls the Council of Pavia; it declares Victor to be pope; Alexander excommunicates them all.

1161. Peace concluded between Henry II and Louis VII; they acknowledge Alexander as pope. The kings of Denmark, Norway, Bohemia, and Hungary declare in favor of Victor.

Henry II limits the papal authority in England.



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