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´╗┐Title: A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 1
Author: Guizot, Fran├žois Pierre Guillaume, 1787-1874
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 1" ***


By M. Guizot

Volume 1 (of 6)


Every history, and especially that of France, is one vast, long drama, in
which events are linked together according to defined laws, and in which
the actors play parts not ready made and learned by heart, parts
depending, in fact, not only upon the accidents of their birth, but also
upon their own ideas and their own will.  There are, in the history of
peoples, two sets of causes essentially different, and, at the same time,
closely connected; the natural causes which are set over the general
course of events, and the unrestricted causes which are incidental.  Men
do not make the whole of history it has laws of higher origin; but, in
history, men are unrestricted agents who produce for it results and
exercise over it an influence for which they are responsible.  The fated
causes and the unrestricted causes, the defined laws of events and the
spontaneous actions of man's free agency--herein is the whole of history.
And in the faithful reproduction of these two elements consist the truth
and the moral of stories from it.

Never was I more struck with this two-fold character of history than in
my tales to my grandchildren.  When I commenced with them, they,
beforehand, evinced a lively interest, and they began to listen to me
with serious good will; but when they did not well apprehend the
lengthening chain of events, or when historical personages did not
become, in their eyes, creatures real and free, worthy of sympathy or
reprobation, when the drama was not developed before them with clearness
and animation, I saw their attention grow fitful and flagging; they
required light and life together; they wished to be illumined and
excited, instructed and amused.

At the same time that the difficulty of satisfying this two-fold desire
was painfully felt by me, I discovered therein more means and chances
than I had at first foreseen of succeeding in making my young audience
comprehend the history of France in its complication and its grandeur.
When Corneille observed,--

"In the well-born soul Valor ne'er lingers till due seasons roll,"--

he spoke as truly for intelligence as for valor.  When once awakened and
really attentive, young minds are more earnest and more capable of
complete comprehension than any one would suppose.  In order to explain
fully to my grandchildren the connection of events and the influence of
historical personages, I was sometimes led into very comprehensive
considerations and into pretty deep studies of character.  And in such
cases I was nearly always not only perfectly understood but keenly
appreciated.  I put it to the proof in the sketch of Charlemagne's reign
and character; and the two great objects of that great man, who succeeded
in one and failed in the other, received from my youthful audience the
most riveted attention and the most clear comprehension.  Youthful minds
have greater grasp than one is disposed to give them credit for, and,
perhaps, men would do well to be as earnest in their lives as children
are in their studies.

In order to attain the end I had set before me, I always took care to
connect my stories or my reflections with the great events or the great
personages of history.  When we wish to examine and describe a district
scientifically, we traverse it in all its divisions and in every
direction; we visit plains as well as mountains, villages as well as
cities, the most obscure corners as well as the most famous spots; this
is the way of proceeding with the geologist, the botanist, the
archeologist, the statistician, the scholar.  But when we wish
particularly to get an idea of the chief features of a country, its fixed
outlines, its general conformation, its special aspects, its great roads,
we mount the heights; we place ourselves at points whence we can best
take in the totality and the physiognomy of the landscape.  And so we
must proceed in history when we wish neither to reduce it to the skeleton
of an abridgment nor extend it to the huge dimensions of a learned work.
Great events and great men are the fixed points and the peaks of history;
and it is thence that we can observe it in its totality, and follow it
along its highways.  In my tales to my grandchildren I sometimes lingered
over some particular anecdote which gave me an opportunity of setting in
a vivid light the dominant spirit of an age or the characteristic manners
of a people; but, with rare exceptions, it is always on the great deeds
and the great personages of history that I have relied for making of them
in my tales what they were in reality--the centre and the focus of the
life of France.

December, 1869.


I.    GAUL   13



















[Illustration: FROM LA CROIX ROUSSE----86]

[Illustration: BATTLE OF TOLBIACUM----144]

[Illustration: THE BATTLE OF TOURS----193]

[Illustration: THE SUBMISSION OF WITTIKIND----218]

[Illustration: PARIS BESIEGED BY THE NORMANS----259]

[Illustration: NOTRE DAME----310]

[Illustration: Ideal Landscape of Ancient Gaul----13]

[Illustration: Gyptis presenting the Goblet to Euxenes----17]

[Illustration: A Tribe of Gauls on an Expedition----27]

[Illustration: The Gauls in Rome----39]

[Illustration: The Women defending the Cars----58]

[Illustration: The Roman Army invading Gaul----61]

[Illustration: Divitiacus before the Roman Senate----63]

[Illustration: Mounted Gauls----66]

[Illustration: Vercingetorix surrenders to Caesar----81]

[Illustration: Gaul subjugated by the Romans----83]

[Illustration: Eponina and Sabinus hidden in a Vault----97]

[Illustration: Christianity established in Gaul----111]

[Illustration: Druids offering Human Sacrifices----111]

[Illustration: Germans invading Gaul----129]

[Illustration: The Huns at the Battle of Chalons----135]

[Illustration: "Thus didst thou to the Vase of Soissons."----139]

[Illustration: The Sluggard King Journeying----156]

[Illustration: "Thrust him away, or thou diest in his stead."----160]

[Illustration: The Execution of Brunehaut----175]

[Illustration: "The Arabs had decamped silently in the night."----195]

[Illustration: Charlemagne at the Head of his Army----212]

[Illustration: Charlemagne inflicting Baptism upon the Saxons----215]

[Illustration: A Battle between Franks and Saxons----216]

[Illustration: Death of Roland at Roncesvalles----227]

[Illustration: Charlemagne and the General Assembly----239]

[Illustration: Charlemagne presiding at the School of the Palace----246]

[Illustration: Northmen on an Expedition----254]

[Illustration: "He remained there a long while, and his eyes were filled
with tears."----255]

[Illustration: The Barks of the Northmen before Paris----260]

[Illustration: Count Eudes re-entering Paris right through the Besiegers-

[Illustration: Ditcar the Monk recognizing the Head of Morvan----273]

[Illustration: Hugh Capet elected King----300]

[Illustration: "Who made thee King?"----302]

[Illustration: Gerbert, afterwards Pope Sylvester II----304]

[Illustration: Knights returning from Foray----311]

[Illustration: Knights and Peasants----312]

[Illustration: Robert had a Kindly Feeling for the Weak and Poor----313]

[Illustration: "The Accolade."----324]

[Illustration: Normans landing on English Coast----353]

[Illustration: William the Conqueror reviewing his Army----357]

[Illustration: Edith discovers the Body of Harold----360]

[Illustration: "God willeth it!"----383]

[Illustration: The Four Leaders of the First Crusade----385]

[Illustration: Crusaders on the March----386]

[Illustration: The Assault on St. Jean d'Acre----386]




The Frenchman of to-day inhabits a country, long ago civilized and
Christianized, where, despite of much imperfection and much social
misery, thirty-eight millions of men live in security and peace, under
laws equal for all and efficiently upheld.  There is every reason to
nourish great hopes of such a country, and to wish for it more and more
of freedom, glory, and prosperity; but one must be just towards one's own
times, and estimate at their true value advantages already acquired and
progress already accomplished.  If one were suddenly carried twenty or
thirty centuries backward, into the midst of that which was then called
Gaul, one would not recognize France.  The same mountains reared their
heads; the same plains stretched far and wide; the same rivers rolled on
their course.  There is no alteration in the physical formation of the
country; but its aspect was very different.  Instead of the fields all
trim with cultivation, and all covered with various produce, one would
see inaccessible morasses and vast forests, as yet uncleared, given up to
the chances of primitive vegetation, peopled with wolves and bears, and
even the _urns_, or huge wild ox, and with elks, too--a kind of beast
that one finds no longer nowadays, save in the colder regions of
north-eastern Europe, such as Lithuania and Courland.  Then wandered
over the champaign great herds of swine, as fierce almost as wolves,
tamed only so far as to know the sound of their keeper's horn.  The
better sort of fruits and of vegetables were quite unknown; they were
imported into Gaul--the greatest part from Asia, a portion from Africa
and the islands of the Mediterranean; and others, at a later period,
from the New World. Cold and rough was the prevailing temperature.
Nearly every winter the rivers froze sufficiently hard for the passage
of cars.  And three or four centuries before the Christian era, on that
vast territory comprised between the ocean, the Pyrenees, the
Mediterranean, the Alps, and the Rhine, lived six or seven millions of
men a bestial life, enclosed in dwellings dark and low, the best of them
built of wood and clay, covered with branches or straw, made in a single
round piece, open to daylight by the door alone, and confusedly heaped
together behind a rampart, not inartistically composed of timber, earth,
and stone, which surrounded and protected what they were pleased to call
a town.

[Illustration: Ideal Landscape of Ancient Gaul----13]

Of even such towns there were scarcely any as yet, save in the most
populous and least uncultivated portion of Gaul; that is to say, in the
southern and eastern regions, at the foot of the mountains of Auvergne
and the Cevennes, and along the coasts of the Mediterranean.  In the
north and the west were paltry hamlets, as transferable almost as the
people themselves; and on some islet amidst the morasses, or in some
hidden recess of the forest, were huge intrenchments formed of the trees
that were felled, where the population, at the first sound of the
war-cry, ran to shelter themselves with their flocks and all their
movables.  And the war-cry was often heard: men living grossly and idly
are very prone to quarrel and fight.  Gaul, moreover, was not occupied by
one and the same nation, with the same traditions and the same chiefs.
Tribes very different in origin, habits, and date of settlement, were
continually disputing the territory.  In the south were Iberians or
Aquitanians, Phoenicians and Greeks; in the north and north-west,
Kymrians or Belgians; everywhere else, Gauls or Celts, the most numerous
settlers, who had the honor of giving their name to the country.  Who
were the first to come, then? and what was the date of the first
settlement?  Nobody knows.  Of the Greeks alone does history mark with
any precision the arrival in southern Gaul.  The Phoenicians preceded
them by several centuries; but it is impossible to fix any exact time.
The information is equally vague about the period when the Kymrians
invaded the north of Gaul.  As for the Gauls and the Iberians, there is
not a word about their first entrance into the country, for they are
discovered there already at the first appearance of the country itself in
the domain of history.

The Iberians, whom Roman writers call Aquitanians, dwelt at the foot of
the Pyrenees, in the territory comprised between the mountains, the
Garonne, and the ocean.  They belonged to the race which, under the same
appellation, had peopled Spain; but by what route they came into Gaul is
a problem which we cannot solve.  It is much the same in tracing the
origin of every nation, for in those barbarous times men lived and died
without leaving any enduring memorial of their deeds and their destinies;
no monuments; no writings; just a few oral traditions, perhaps, which are
speedily lost or altered.  It is in proportion as they become enlightened
and civilized, that men feel the desire and discover the means of
extending their memorial far beyond their own lifetime.  That is the
beginning of history, the offspring of noble and useful sentiments, which
cause the mind to dwell upon the future, and to yearn for long
continuance; sentiments which testify to the superiority of man over all
other creatures living upon our earth, which foreshadow the immortality
of the soul, and which are warrant for the progress of the human race by
preserving for the generations to come what has been done and learned by
the generations that disappear.

By whatever route and at whatever epoch the Iberians came into the
south-west of Gaul, they abide there still in the department of the Lower
Pyrenees, under the name of Basques; a people distinct from all its
neighbors in features, costume, and especially language, which resembles
none of the present languages of Europe, contains many words which are to
be found in the names of rivers, mountains, and towns of olden Spain, and
which presents a considerable analogy to the idioms, ancient and modern,
of certain peoples of northern Africa.  The Phoenicians did not leave, as
the Iberians did, in the south of France distinct and well-authenticated
descendants.  They had begun about 1100 B.C.  to trade there.  They went
thither in search of furs, and gold and silver, which were got either
from the sand of certain rivers, as for instance the Allege (in Latin
Aurigera), or from certain mines of the Alps, the Cevennes, and the
Pyrenees; they brought in exchange stuffs dyed with purple, necklaces and
rings of glass, and, above all, arms and wine; a trade like that which is
nowadays carried on by the civilized peoples of Europe with the savage
tribes of Africa and America.  For the purpose of extending and securing
their commercial expeditions, the Phoenicians founded colonies in several
parts of Gaul, and to them is attributed the earliest origin of Nemausus
(Nimes), and of Alesia, near Semur.  But, at the end of three or four
centuries, these colonies fell into decay; the trade of the Phoenicians
was withdrawn from Gaul, and the only important sign it preserved of
their residence was a road which, starting from the eastern Pyrenees,
skirted the Gallic portion of the Mediterranean, crossed the Alps by the
pass of Tenda, and so united Spain, Gaul, and Italy.  After the
withdrawal of the Phoenicians this road was kept up and repaired, at
first by the Greeks of Marseilles, and subsequently by the Romans.

As merchants and colonists, the Greeks were, in Gaul, the successors of
the Phoenicians, and Marseilles was one of their first and most
considerable colonies.  At the time of the Phoenicians' decay in Gaul, a
Greek people, the Rhodians, had pushed their commercial enterprises to a
great distance, and, in the words of the ancient historians, held the
empire of the sea.  Their ancestors had, in former times, succeeded the
Phoenicians in the island of Rhodes, and they likewise succeeded them in
the south of Gaul, and founded, at the mouth of the Rhone, a colony
called Rhodanusia or Rhoda, with the same name as that which they had
already founded on the north-east coast of Spain, and which is nowadays
the town of Rosas, in Catalonia.  But the importance of the Rhodians on
the southern coast of Gaul was short-lived.  It had already sunk very low
in the year 600 B.C., when Euxenes, a Greek trader, coming from Phocea,
an Ionian town of Asia Minor, to seek his fortune, landed from a bay
eastward of the Rhone.  The Segobrigians, a tribe of the Gallic race,
were in occupation of the neighboring country.  Nann, their chief, gave
the strangers kindly welcome, and took them home with him to a great
feast which he was giving for his daughter's marriage, who was called
Gyptis, according to some, and Petta, according to other historians.  A
custom which exists still in several cantons of the Basque country, and
even at the centre of France in Morvan, a mountainous district of the
department of the Nievre, would that the maiden should appear only at the
end of the banquet, and holding in her hand a filled wine-cup, and that
the guest to whom she should present it should become the husband of her
choice.  By accident, or quite another cause, say the ancient legends,
Gyptis stopped opposite Euxenes, and handed him the cup.  Great was the
surprise, and, probably, anger amongst the Gauls who were present.  But
Nann, believing he recognized a commandment from his gods, accepted the
Phocean as his son-in-law, and gave him as dowry the bay where he had
landed, with some cantons of the territory around.  Euxenes, in
gratitude, gave his wife the Greek name of Aristoxena (that is, "the best
of hostesses"), sent away his ship to Phocea for colonists, and, whilst
waiting for them, laid in the centre of the bay, on a peninsula hollowed
out harbor-wise, towards the south, the foundations of a town, which he
called Massilia--thence Marseilles.

[Illustration: Gyptis presenting the Goblet to Euxenes----17]

Scarcely a year had elapsed when Euxenes' ship arrived from Phocea, and
with it several galleys, bringing colonists full of hope, and laden with
provisions, utensils, arms, seeds, vine-cuttings, and olive-cuttings,
and, moreover, a statue of Diana, which the colonists had gone to fetch
from the celebrated temple of that goddess at Ephesus, and which her
priestess, Aristarche, accompanied to its new country.

The activity and prosperity of Marseilles, both within and without, were
rapidly developed.  She carried her commerce wherever the Phoenicians and
the Rhodians had marked out a road; she repaired their forts; she took to
herself their establishments; and she placed on her medals, to signify
dominion, the rose, the emblem of Rhodes, beside the lion of Marseilles.
But Nann, the Gallic chieftain, who had protected her infancy, died; and
his son, Conran, shared the jealousy felt by the Segobrigians and the
neighboring peoplets towards the new corners.  He promised and really
resolved to destroy the new city.  It was the time of the flowering of
the vine, a season of great festivity amongst the Ionian Greeks, and
Marseilles thought solely of the preparations for the feast.  The houses
and public places were being decorated with branches and flowers.  No
guard was set; no work was done.  Conran sent into the town a number of
his men, some openly, as if to take part in the festivities, others
hidden at the bottom of the cars which conveyed into Marseilles the
branches and foliage from the outskirts.  He himself went and lay in
ambush in a neighboring glen, with seven thousand men, they say, but the
number is probably exaggerated, and waited for his emissaries to open the
gates to him during the night.  But once more a woman, a near relation of
the Gallic chieftain, was the guardian angel of the Greeks, and revealed
the plot to a young man of Marseilles, with whom she was in love.  The
gates were immediately shut, and so many Segobrigians as happened to be
in the town were massacred.  Then, when night came on, the inhabitants,
armed, went forth to surprise Conran in the ambush where he was awaiting
the moment to surprise them.  And there he fell with all his men.

Delivered as they were from this danger, the Massilians nevertheless
remained in a difficult and disquieting situation.  The peoplets around,
in coalition against them, attacked them often, and threatened them
incessantly.  But whilst they were struggling against these
embarrassments, a grand disaster, happening in the very same spot whence
they had emigrated half a century before, was procuring them a great
accession of strength and the surest means of defence.  In the year 542
B.C., Phocea succumbed beneath the efforts of Cyrus, King of Persia, and
her inhabitants, leaving to the conqueror empty streets and deserted
houses, took to their ships in a body, to transfer their homes elsewhere.
A portion of this floating population made straight for Marseilles;
others stopped at Corsica, in the harbor of Alalia, another Phocean
colony.  But at the end of five years they too, tired of piratical life
and of the incessant wars they had to sustain against the Carthaginians,
quitted Corsica, and went to rejoin their compatriots in Gaul.

Thenceforward Marseilles found herself in a position to face her enemies.
She extended her walls all round the bay, and her enterprises far away.
She founded on the southern coast of Gaul and on the eastern coast of
Spain, permanent settlements, which are to this day towns: eastward of
the Rhone, Hercules' harbor, Moncecus (Monaco), Niccea (Nice), Antipolis
(Antibes); westward, Heraclea Cacabaria (Saint-Gilles), Agaththae
(Agdevall), Emporia; (Ampurias in Catalonia), &c., &c.  In valley of the
Rhone, several towns of the Gauls, Cabellio were (Cavaili like on), Greek
Avenio (Avignon), Arelate (Arles), for instance, colonies, so great there
was the number of travellers or established merchants who spoke Greek.
With this commercial activity Marseilles united intellectual and
scientific activity; her grammarians were among the first to revise and
annotate the poems of Homer; and bold travellers from Marseilles,
Euthymenes and Pytheas by name, cruised, one along the western coast of
Africa beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, and the other the southern and
western coasts of Europe, from the mouth of the Tanais (Don), in the
Black Sea, to the latitudes and perhaps into the interior of the Baltic.
They lived, both of them, in the second half of the fourth century  B.C.,
and they wrote each a Periplus, or tales of their travels, which have
unfortunately been almost entirely lost.

But whatever may have been her intelligence and activity, a single town
situated at the extremity of Gaul and peopled with foreigners could have
but little influence over so vast a country and its inhabitants.  At
first civilization is very hard and very slow; it requires many
centuries, many great events, and many years of toil to overcome the
early habits of a people, and cause them to exchange the pleasures, gross
indeed, but accompanied with the idleness and freedom of barbarian life,
for the toilful advantages of a regulated social condition.  By dint of
foresight, perseverance, and courage, the merchants of Marseilles and her
colonies crossed by two or three main lines the forests, morasses, and
heaths through the savage tribes of Gauls, and there effected their
exchanges, but to the right and left they penetrated but a short
distance.  Even on their main lines their traces soon disappeared; and at
the commercial settlements which they established here and there they
were often far more occupied in self-defence than in spreading their
example.  Beyond a strip of land of uneven breadth, along the
Mediterranean, and save the space peopled towards the south-west by the
Iberians, the country, which received its name from the former of the
two, was occupied by the Gauls and the Kymrians; by the Gauls in the
centre, south-east and east, in the highlands of modern France, between
the Alps, the Vosges, the mountains of Auvergne and the Cevennes; by the
Kymrians in the north, north-west, and west, in the lowlands, from the
western boundary of the Gauls to the ocean.

Whether the Gauls and the Kymrians were originally of the same race, or
at least of races closely connected; whether they were both anciently
comprised under the general name of Celts; and whether the Kymrians, if
they were not of the same race as the Gauls, belonged to that of the
Germans, the final conquerors of the Roman empire, are questions which
the learned have been a long, long while discussing without deciding.
The only facts which seem to be clear and certain are the following.

The ancients for a long while applied without distinction the name of
Celts to the peoples who lived in the west and north of Europe,
regardless of precise limits, language, or origin.  It was a geographical
title applicable to a vast but ill-explored territory, rather than a real
historical name of race or nation.  And so, in the earliest times, Gauls,
Germans, Bretons, and even Iberians, appear frequently confounded under
the name of Celts, peoples of Celtica.

Little by little this name is observed to become more restricted and more
precise.  The Iberians of Spain are the first to be detached; then the
Germans.  In the century preceding the Christian era, the Gauls, that is,
the peoples inhabiting Gaul, are alone called Celts.  We begin even to
recognize amongst them diversities of race, and to distinguish the
Iberians of Gaul, alias Aquitanians, and the Kymrians or Belgians from
the Gauls, to whom the name of Celts is confined.  Sometimes even it is
to a confederation of certain Gallic tribes that the name Specially
applies.  However it be, the Gauls appear to have been the first
inhabitants of western Europe.  In the most ancient historical memorials
they are found there, and not only in Gaul, but in Great Britain, in
Ireland, and in the neighboring islets.  In Gaul, after a long
predominance, they commingled with other races to form the French nation.
But, in this commingling numerous traces of their language, monuments,
manners, and names of persons and places, survived and still exist,
especially to the east and south--cast, in local customs and vernacular
dialects.  In Ireland, in the highlands of Scotland, in the Hebrides and
the Isle of Man, Gauls (Gaels) still live under their primitive name.
There we still have the Gaelic race and tongue, free, if not from any
change, at least from absorbent fusion.

From the seventh to the fourth century B.C., a new population spread over
Gaul, not at once, but by a series of invasions, of which the two
principal took place at the two extremes of that epoch.  They called
themselves Kymrians or Kimrians, whence the Romans made Cimbrians, which
recalls Cimmerii or Cimmerians, the name of a people whom the Greeks
placed on the western bank of the Black Sea and in the Cimmerian
peninsula, called to this day Crimea.  During these irregular and
successively repeated movements of wandering populations, it often
happened that tribes of different races met, made terms, united, and
finished by amalgamation under one name.  All the peoples that
successively invaded Europe, Gauls, Kymrians, Germans, belonged at first,
in Asia, whence they came, to a common stern; the diversity of their
languages, traditions, and manners, great as it already was at the time
of their appearance in the West, was the work of time and of the diverse
circumstances in the midst of which they had lived; but there always
remained amongst them traces of a primitive affinity which allowed of
sudden and frequent comings, amidst their tumultuous dispersion.

The Kymrians, who crossed the Rhine and flung themselves into northern
Gaul towards the middle of the fourth century B.C., called themselves
Bolg, or Belg, or Belgians, a name which indeed is given to them by Roman
writers, and which has remained that of the country they first invaded.
They descended southwards, to the banks of the Seine and the Marne.
There they encountered the Kymrians of former invasions, who not only had
spread over the country comprised between the Seine and the Loire, to the
very heart of the peninsula bordered by the latter river, but had crossed
the sea, and occupied a portion of the large island opposite Gaul,
crowding back the Gauls, who had preceded them, upon Ireland and the
highlands of Scotland.  It was from one of these tribes and its
chieftain, called Pryd or Prydain, Brit or Britain, that Great Britain
and Brittany in France received the name which they have kept.

Each of these races, far from forming a single people bound to the same
destiny and under the same chieftains, split into peoplets, more or less
independent, who foregathered or separated according to the shifts of
circumstances, and who pursued, each on their own account and at their
own pleasure, their fortunes or their fancies.  The Ibero-Aquitanians
numbered twenty tribes; the Gauls twenty-two nations; the original
Kymrians, mingled with the Gauls between the Loire and the Garonne,
seventeen; and the Kymro-Belgians twenty-three.  These sixty-two nations
were subdivided into several hundreds of tribes; and these petty
agglomerations were distributed amongst rival confederations or leagues,
which disputed one with another the supremacy over such and such a
portion of territory.  Three grand leagues existed amongst the Gauls;
that of the Arvernians, formed of peoplets established in the country
which received from them the name of Auvergne; that of the AEduans, in
Burgundy, whose centre was Bibracte (Autun); and that of the Sequanians,
in Franche-Comte, whose centre was Vesontio (Besancon).  Amongst the
Kymrians of the West, the Armoric league bound together the tribes of
Brittany and lower Normandy.  From these alliances, intended to group
together scattered forces, sprang fresh passions or interests, which
became so many fresh causes of discord and hostility.  And, in these
divers-agglomerations, government was everywhere almost equally irregular
and powerless to maintain order or found an enduring state.  Kymrians,
Gauls, or Iberians were nearly equally ignorant, improvident, slaves to
the shiftings of their ideas and the sway of their passions, fond of war
and idleness and rapine and feasting, of gross and savage pleasures.  All
gloried in hanging from the breast-gear of their horses, or nailing to
the doors of their houses, the heads of their enemies.  All sacrificed
human victims to their gods; all tied their prisoners to trees, and
burned or flogged them to death; all took pleasure in wearing upon their
heads or round their arms, and depicting upon their naked bodies,
fantastic ornaments, which gave them a wild appearance.  An unbridled
passion for wine and strong liquors was general amongst them: the traders
of Italy, and especially of Marseilles, brought supplies into every part
of Gaul; from interval to interval there were magazines established,
whither the Gauls flocked to sell for a flask of wine their furs, their
grain, their cattle, their slaves.  "It was easy," says an ancient
historian, "to get the Ganymede for the liquor."  Such are the essential
characteristics of barbaric life, as they have been and as they still are
at several points of our globe, amongst people of the same grade in the
scale of civilization.  They existed in nearly an equal degree amongst
the different races of ancient Gaul, whose resemblance was rendered much
stronger thereby than their diversity in other respects by some of their
customs, traditions, or ideas.

In their case, too, there is no sign of those permanent demarcations,
those rooted antipathies, and that impossibility of unity which are
observable amongst peoples whose original moral condition is really very
different.  In Asia, Africa, and America, the English, the Dutch, the
Spanish, and the French have been and are still in frequent contact with
the natives of the country--Hindoos, Malays, Negroes, and Indians; and,
in spite of this contact, the races have remained widely separated one
from another.  In ancient Gaul not only did Gauls, Kymrians, and Iberians
live frequently in alliance and almost intimacy, but they actually
commingled and cohabited without scruple on the same territory.  And so
we find in the midst of the Iberians, towards the mouth of the Garonne, a
Gallic tribe, the Viviscan Biturigians, come from the neighborhood of
Bourges, where the bulk of the nation was settled: they had been driven
thither by one of the first invasions of the Kymrians, and peaceably
taken root there; Burdigaia, afterwards Bordeaux, was the chief
settlement of this tribe, and even then a trading-place between the
Mediterranean and the ocean.  A little farther on, towards the south, a
Kymrian tribe, the Bolans, lived isolated from its race, in the
waste-lands of the Iberians, extracting the resin from the pines which
grew in that territory.  To the south-west, in the country situated
between the Garonne, the eastern Pyrenees, the Cevennes, and the Rhone,
two great tribes of Kymro-Belgians, the Bolg, Volg, Volk, or Voles,
Arecomican and Tectosagian, came to settle, towards the end of the fourth
century B.  C., in the midst of the Iberian and Gallic peoplets; and
there is nothing to show that the new comers lived worse with their
neighbors than the latter had previously lived together.

It is evident that amongst all these peoplets, whatever may have been
their diversity of origin, there was sufficient similitude of social
condition and manners to make agreement a matter neither very difficult
nor very long to accomplish.

On the other hand, and as a natural consequence, it was precarious and
often of short duration: Iberian, Gallic, or Kymrian as they might be,
these peoplets underwent frequent displacements, forced or voluntary, to
escape from the attacks of a more powerful neighbor; to find new
pasturage; in consequence of internal dissension; or, perhaps, for the
mere pleasure of warfare and running risks, and to be delivered from the
tediousness of a monotonous life.  From the earliest times to the first
century before the Christian era, Gaul appears a prey to this incessant
and disorderly movement of the population; they change settlement and
neighborhood; disappear from one point and reappear at another; cross one
another; avoid one another; absorb and are absorbed.  And the movement
was not confined within Gaul; the Gauls of every race went, sometimes in
very numerous hordes, to seek far away plunder and a settlement.  Spain,
Italy, Germany, Greece, Asia Minor, and Africa have been in turn the
theatre of those Gallic expeditions which entailed long wars, grand
displacements of peoples, and sometimes the formation of new nations.
Let us make a slight acquaintance with this outer history of the Gauls;
for it is well worth while to follow them a space upon their distant
wanderings.  We will then return to the soil of France, and concern
ourselves only with what has passed within her boundaries.


About three centuries B.C. numerous hordes of Gauls crossed the Alps and
penetrated to the centre of Etruria, which is nowadays Tuscany.  The
Etruscans, being then at war with Rome, proposed to take them, armed and
equipped as they had come, into their own pay.  "If you want our hands,"
answered the Gauls, "against your enemies, the Romans, here they are at
your service--but on one condition: give us lands."

[Illustration: A Tribe of Gauls on an Expedition----27]

A century afterwards other Gallic hordes, descending in like manner upon
Italy, had commenced building houses and tilling fields along the
Adriatic, on the territory where afterwards was Aquileia.  The Roman
Senate decreed that their settlement should be opposed, and that they
should be summoned to give up their implements and even their arms.  Not
being in a position to resist, the Gauls sent representatives to Rome.
They, being introduced into the Senate, said, "The multitude of people in
Gaul, the want of lands, and necessity forced us to cross the Alps to
seek a home.  We saw plains uncultivated and uninhabited.  We settled
there without doing any one harm.  .  .  .  We ask nothing but lands.  We
will live peacefully on them under the laws of the republic."

Again, a century later, or thereabouts, some Gallic Kymrians, mingled
with Teutons or Germans, said also to the Roman Senate, "Give us a little
land as pay, and do what you please with our hands and weapons."

Want of room and means of subsistence have, in fact, been the principal
causes which have at all times thrust barbarous people, and especially
the Gauls, out of their fatherland.  An immense extent of country is
required for indolent hordes who live chiefly upon the produce of the
chase and of their flocks; and when there is no longer enough of forest
or pasturage for the families that become too numerous, there is a swarm
from the hive, and a search for livelihood elsewhere.  The Gauls
emigrated in every direction.  To find, as they said, rivers and lands,
they marched from north to south, and from east to west.  They crossed at
one time the Rhine, at another the Alps, at another the Pyrenees.  More
than fifteen centuries B.C. they had already thrown themselves into
Spain, after many fights, no doubt, with the Iberians established between
the Pyrenees and the Garonne.  They penetrated north-westwards to the
northern point of the Peninsula, into the province which received from
them and still bears the name of Galicia; south-eastwards to the southern
point, between the river Anas (nowadays Guadiana) and the ocean, where
they founded a Little Celtica; and centrewards and southwards from
Castile to Andalusia, where the amalgamation of two races brought about
the creation of a new people, that found a place in history as
Celtiberians.  And twelve centuries after those events, about 220 B.C.,
we find the Gallic peoplet, which had planted itself in the south of
Portugal, energetically defending its independence against the
neighboring Carthaginian colonies.  Indortius, their chief, conquered and
taken prisoner, was beaten with rods and hung upon the cross, in the
sight of his army, after having had his eyes put out by command of
Hamilcar-Barca, the Carthaginian general; but a Gallic slave took care to
avenge him by assassinating, some years after, at a hunting-party,
Hasdrubal, son-in-law of Hamilcar, who had succeeded to the command.  The
slave was put to the torture; but, indomitable in his hatred, he died
insulting the Africans.

A little after the Gallic invasion of Spain, and by reason perhaps of
that very movement, in the first half of the fourteenth century B.C.,
another vast horde of Gauls, who called themselves Anahra, Ambra,
Ambrons, that is, "braves," crossed the Alps, occupied northern Italy,
descended even to the brink of the Tiber, and conferred the name of
Ambria or Umbria on the country where they founded their dominion.  If
ancient accounts might be trusted, this dominion was glorious and
flourishing, for Umbria numbered, they say, three hundred and fifty-eight
towns; but falsehood, according to the Eastern proverb, lurks by the
cradle of nations.  At a much later epoch, in the second century B.C.,
fifteen towns of Liguria contained altogether, as we learn from Livy, but
twenty thousand souls.  It is plain, then, what must really have been--
even admitting their existence--the three hundred and fifty-eight towns
of Umbria.  However, at the end of two or three centuries, this Gallic
colony succumbed beneath the superior power of the Etruscans, another set
of invaders from eastern Europe, perhaps from the north of Greece, who
founded in Italy a mighty empire.  The Umbrians or Ambrons were driven
out or subjugated.  Nevertheless some of their peoplets, preserving their
name and manners, remained in the mountains of upper Italy, where they
were to be subsequently discovered by fresh and more celebrated Gallic

Those just spoken of are of such antiquity and obscurity, that we note
their place in history without being able to say how they came to fill
it.  It is only with the sixth century before our era that we light upon
the really historical expeditions of the Gauls away from Gaul, those, in
fact, of which we may follow the course and estimate the effects.

Towards the year 587 B.C., almost at the very moment when the Phoceans
had just founded Marseilles, two great Gallic hordes got in motion at the
same time, and crossed, one the Rhine, the other the Alps, making one for
Germany, the other for Italy.  The former followed the course of the
Danube and settled in Illyria, on the right bank of the river.  It is too
much, perhaps, to say that they settled; the greater part of them
continued wandering and fighting, sometimes amalgamating with the
peoplets they encountered, sometimes chasing them and exterminating them,
whilst themselves were incessantly pushed forward by fresh bands coming
also from Gaul.  Thus marching and spreading, leaving here and there on
their route, along the rivers and in the valleys of the Alps, tribes that
remained and founded peoples, the Gauls had arrived, towards the year 340
B.C., at the confines of Macedonia, at the time when Alexander, the son
of Philip, who was already famous, was advancing to the same point to
restrain the ravages of the neighboring tribes, perhaps of the Gauls
themselves.  From curiosity, or a desire to make terms with Alexander,
certain Gauls betook themselves to his camp.  He treated them well, made
them sit at his table, took pleasure in exhibiting his magnificence
before them, and in the midst of his carouse made his interpreter ask
them what they were most afraid of.

"We fear nought," they answered, "unless it be the fall of heaven; but we
set above everything the friendship of a man like thee."  "The Celts are
proud," said Alexander to his Macedonians; and he promised them his
friendship.  On the death of Alexander, the Gauls, as mercenaries,
entered, in Europe and Asia, the service of the kings who had been his
generals.  Ever greedy, fierce, and passionate, they were almost equally
dangerous as auxiliaries and as neighbors.  Antigonus, King of Macedonia,
was to pay the band he had enrolled a gold piece a head.  They brought
their wives and children with them, and at the end of the campaign they
claimed pay for their following as well as for themselves: "We were
promised," said they, "a gold piece a head for each Gaul; and these are
also Gauls."

Before long they tired of fighting the battles of another; their power
accumulated; fresh hordes, in great numbers, arrived amongst them about
the year 281 B.C.  They had before them Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly,
Greece, rich, but distracted and weakened by civil strife.  They effected
an entrance at several points, devastating, plundering, loading their
cars with booty, and dividing their prisoners into two parts; one offered
in sacrifice to their gods, the other strung up to trees and abandoned to
the _gais_ and _matars,_ or javelins and pikes of the conquerors.

Like all barbarians, they, both for pleasure and on principle, added
insolence to ferocity.  Their Brenn, or most famous chieftain, whom the
Latins and Greeks call Brennus, dragged in his train Macedonian
prisoners, short, mean, and with shaven heads, and exhibiting them beside
Gallic warriors, tall, robust, long-haired, adorned with chains of gold,
said, "This is what we are, that is what our enemies are."

Ptolemy the Thunderbolt, King of Macedonia, received with haughtiness
their first message requiring of him a ransom for his dominions if he
wished to preserve peace.  "Tell those who sent you," he replied to the
Gallic deputation, "to lay down their arms and give up to me their
chieftains.  I will then see what peace I can grant them."  On the return
of the deputation, the Gauls were moved to laughter.  "He shall soon
see," said they, "whether it was in his interest or our own that we
offered him peace."  And, indeed, in the first engagement, neither the
famous Macedonian phalanx, nor the elephant he rode, could save King
Ptolemy; the phalanx was broken, the elephant riddled with javelins, the
king himself taken, killed, and his head marched about the field of
battle on the top of a pike.

Macedonia was in consternation; there was a general flight from the open
country, and the gates of the towns were closed.  "The people," says an
historian, "cursed the folly of King Ptolemy, and invoked the names of
Philip and Alexander, the guardian deities of their land."

Three years later, another and a more formidable invasion came bursting
upon Thessaly and Greece.  It was, according to the unquestionably
exaggerated account of the ancient historians, two hundred thousand
strong, and commanded by that famous, ferocious, and insolent Brennus
mentioned before.  His idea was to strike a blow which should
simultaneously enrich the Gauls and stun the Greeks.  He meant to plunder
the temple at Delphi, the most venerated place in all Greece, whither
flowed from century to century all kinds of offerings, and where, no
doubt, enormous treasure was deposited.  Such was, in the opinion of the
day, the sanctity of the place, that, on the rumor of the projected
profanation, several Greeks essayed to divert the Gallic Brenn himself,
by appealing to his superstitious fears; but his answer was, "The gods
have no need of wealth; it is they who distribute it to men."

All Greece was moved.  The nations of the Peloponnese closed the isthmus
of Corinth by a wall.  Outside the isthmus, the Beeotians, Phocidians,
Locrians, Megarians, and AEtolians formed a coalition under the
leadership of the Athenians; and, as their ancestors had done scarcely
two hundred years before against Xerxes and the Persians, they advanced
in all haste to the pass of Thermopylae, to stop there the new

And for several days they did stop them; and instead of three hundred
heroes, as of yore in the case of Leonidas and his Spartans, only forty
Greeks, they say, fell in the first engagement.  'Amongst them was a
young Athenian, Cydias by name, whose shield was hung in the temple of
Zeus the savior, at Athens, with this inscription:--


                     CYDIAS.  IT STILL BEWAILS ITS

                   YOUNG MASTER.  FOR THE FIRST TIME

                       HE BARE IT ON HIS LEFT ARM

                       WHEN TERRIBLE ARES CRUSHED

                               THE GAULS.

But soon, just as in the case of the Persians, traitors guided Brennus
and his Gauls across the mountain-paths; the position of Thermopylae was
turned; the Greek army owed its safety to the Athenian galleys; and by
evening of the same day the barbarians appeared in sight of Delphi.

Brennus would have led them at once to the assault.  He showed them, to
excite them, the statues, vases, cars, monuments of every kind, laden
with gold, which adorned the approaches of the town and of the temple:
"'Tis pure gold--massive gold," was the news he had spread in every
direction.  But the very cupidity he provoked was against his plan; for
the Gauls fell out to plunder.  He had to put off the assault until the
morrow.  The night was passed in irregularities and orgies.

The Greeks, on the contrary, prepared with ardor for the fight.  Their
enthusiasm was intense.  Those barbarians, with their half-nakedness,
their grossness, their ferocity, their ignorance, and their impiety, were
revolting.  They committed murder and devastation like dolts.  They left
their dead on the field, without burial.  They engaged in battle without
consulting priest or augur.  It was not only their goods, but their
families, their life, the honor of their country, and the sanctuary of
their religion, that the Greeks were defending, and they might rely on
the protection of the gods.  The oracle of Apollo had answered, "I and
the white virgins will provide for this matter."  The people surrounded
the temple, and the priests supported and encouraged the people.  During
the night small bodies of AEtolians, Amphisseans, and Phocidians arrived
one after another.  Four thousand men had joined within Delphi, when the
Gallic bands, in the morning, began to mount the narrow and rough incline
which led up to the town.  The Greeks rained down from above a deluge of
stones and other missiles.  The Gauls recoiled, but recovered
themselves.  The besieged fell back on the nearest streets of the town,
leaving open the approach to the temple, upon which the barbarians threw
themselves.  The pillage of the shrines had just commenced when the sky
looked threatening; a storm burst forth, the thunder echoed, the rain
fell, the hail rattled.  Readily taking advantage of this incident, the
priests and the augurs sallied from the temple clothed in their sacred
garments, with hair dishevelled and sparkling eyes, proclaiming the
advent of the god: "'Tis he! we saw him shoot athwart the temple's vault,
which opened under his feet; and with him were two virgins, who issued
from the temples of Artemis and Athena.  We saw them with our eyes.  We
heard the twang of their bows, and the clash of their armor."  Hearing
these cries and the roar of the tempest, the Greeks dash on--the Gauls
are panic-stricken, and rush headlong down the bill.  The Greeks push on
in pursuit.  Rumors of fresh apparitions are spread; three heroes,
Hyperochus, Laodocus, and Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, have issued from
their tombs hard by the temple, and are thrusting at the Gauls with their
lances.  The rout was speedy and general; the barbarians rushed to the
cover of their camp; but the camp was attacked next morning by the Greeks
from the town and by re-enforcements from the country places.  Brennus
and the picked warriors about him made a gallant resistance, but defeat
was a foregone conclusion.  Brennus was wounded, and his comrades bore
him off the field.  The barbarian army passed the whole day in flight.
During the ensuing night a new access of terror seized them they again
took to flight, and four days after the passage of Thermopylae some
scattered bands, forming scarcely a third of those who had marched on
Delphi, rejoined the division which had remained behind, some leagues
from the town, in the plains watered by the Cephissus.  Brennus summoned
his comrades "Kill all the wounded and me," said he; "burn your cars;
make Cichor king; and away at full speed."  Then he called for wine,
drank himself drunk, and stabbed himself.  Cichor did cut the throats of
the wounded, and traversed, flying and fighting, Thessaly and Macedonia;
and on returning whence they had set out, the Gauls dispersed, some to
settle at the foot of a neighboring mountain under the command of a
chieftain named Bathanat or Baedhannatt, i.e., son of the wild boar;
others to march back towards their own country; the greatest part to
resume the same life of incursion and adventure.  But they changed the
scene of operations.  Greece, Macedonia, and Thrace were exhausted by
pillage, and made a league to resist.  About 278 B.C. the Gauls crossed
the Hellespont and passed into Asia Minor.  There, at one time in the pay
of the kings of Bithynia, Pergamos, Cappadocia, and Syria, or of the free
commercial cities which were struggling against the kings, at another
carrying on wars on their own account, they wandered for more than thirty
years, divided into three great hordes, which parcelled out the
territories among themselves, overran and plundered them during the fine
weather, intrenched themselves during winter in their camp of cars, or in
some fortified place, sold their services to the highest bidder, changed
masters according to interest or inclination, and by their bravery became
the terror of these effeminate populations and the arbiters of these
petty states.

At last both princes and people grew weary.  Antiochus, King of Syria,
attacked one of the three bands,--that of the Tectosagians,--conquered
it, and cantoned it in a district of Upper Phrygia.  Later still, about
241 B.C., Eumenes, sovereign of Pergamos, and Attalus, his successor,
drove and shut up the other two bands, the Tolistoboians and Troemians,
likewise in the same region.  The victories of Attalus over the Gauls
excited veritable enthusiasm.  He was celebrated as a special envoy from
Zeus.  He took the title of King, which his predecessors had not hitherto
borne.  He had his battles showily painted; and that he might triumph at
the same time both in Europe and Asia, he sent one of the pictures to
Athens, where it was still to be seen three centuries afterwards, hanging
upon the wall of the citadel.  Forced to remain stationary, the Gallic
hordes became a people,--the Galatians,--and the country they occupied
was called Galatia.  They lived there some fifty years, aloof from the
indigenous population of Greeks and Phrygians, whom they kept in an
almost servile condition, preserving their warlike and barbarous habits,
resuming sometimes their mercenary service, and becoming once more the
bulwark or the terror of neighboring states.  But at the beginning of the
second century before our era, the Romans had entered Asia, in pursuit of
their great enemy, Hannibal.  They had just beaten, near Magnesia,
Antiochus, King of Syria.  In his army they had encountered men of lofty
stature, with hair light or dyed red, half naked, marching to the fight
with loud cries, and terrible at the first onset.  They recognized the
Gauls, and resolved to destroy or subdue them.  The consul, Cn. Manlius,
had the duty and the honor.  Attacked in their strongholds on Mount
Olympus and Mount Magaba, 189 B.C., the three Gallic bands, after a short
but stout resistance, were conquered and subjugated; and thenceforth
losing all national importance, they amalgamated little by little with
the Asiatic populations around them.  From time to time they are still
seen to reappear with their primitive manners and passions.  Rome humored
them; Mithridates had them for allies in his long struggle with the
Romans.  He kept by him a Galatian guard; and when he sought death, and
poison failed him, it was the captain of the guard, a Gaul named
Bituitus, whom he asked to run him through.  That is the last historical
event with which the Gallic name is found associated in Asia.

Nevertheless the amalgamation of the Gauls of Galatia with the natives
always remained very imperfect; for towards the end of the fourth century
of the Christian era they did not speak Greek, as the latter did, but
their national tongue, that of the Kymro-Belgians; and St. Jerome
testifies that it differed very little from that which was spoken in
Belgica itself, in the region of Troves.

The Romans had good ground for keeping a watchful eye, from the time they
met them, upon the Gauls, and for dreading them particularly.  At the
time when they determined to pursue them into the mountains of Asia
Minor, they were just at the close of a desperate struggle, maintained
against them for four hundred years, in Italy itself; "a struggle," says
Sallust, "in which it was a question not of glory, but of existence, for
Rome."  It was but just now remarked that at the beginning of the sixth
century before our era, whilst, under their chieftain Sigovesus, the
Gallic bands whose history has occupied the last few pages were crossing
the Rhine and entering Germany, other bands, under the command of
Bellovesus, were traversing the Alps and swarming into Italy.  From 587
to 521 B.C. five Gallic expeditions, formed of Gallic, Kymric, and
Ligurian tribes, followed the same route and invaded successively the two
banks of the Po--the bottomless river, as they called it.  The Etruscans,
who had long before, it will be remembered, themselves wrested that
country from a people of Gallic origin, the Umbrians or Ambrons, could
not make head against the new conquerors, aided, may be, by the remains
of the old population.  The well-built towns, the cultivation of the
country, the ports and canals that had been dug, nearly all these labors
of Etruscan civilization disappeared beneath the footsteps of these
barbarous hordes that knew only how to destroy, and one of which gave its
chieftain the name of Hurricane (Elitorius, Ele-Dov).  Scarcely five
Etruscan towns, Mantua and Ravenna amongst others, escaped disaster.  The
Gauls also founded towns, such as Mediolanum (Milan), Brixia (Brescia),
Verona, Bononia (Bologna), Sena-Gallica (Sinigaglia), &c.  But for a long
while they were no more than intrenched camps, fortified places, where
the population shut themselves up in case of necessity.  "They, as a
general rule, straggled about the country," says Polybius, the most
correct and clear-sighted of the ancient historians, "sleeping on grass
or straw, living on nothing but meat, busying themselves about nothing
but war and a little husbandry, and counting as riches nothing but flocks
and gold, the only goods that can be carried away at pleasure and on
every occasion."

During nearly thirty years the Gauls thus scoured not only Upper Italy,
which they had almost to themselves, but all the eastern coast, and up to
the head of the peninsula, encountering along the Adriatic, and in the
rich and effeminate cities of Magna Graecia, Sybaris, Tarentum, Crotona,
and Locri, no enemy capable of resisting them.  But in the year 391 B.C.,
finding themselves cooped up in their territory, a strong band of Gauls
crossed the Apennines, and went to demand from the Etruscans of Clusium
the cession of a portion of their lands.  The only answer Clusium made
was to close her gates.  The Gauls formed up around the walls.  Clusium
asked help from Rome, with whom, notwithstanding the rivalry between the
Etruscan and Roman nations, she had lately been on good terms.  The
Romans promised first their good offices with the Gauls, afterwards
material support; and thus were brought face to face those two peoples,
fated to continue for four centuries a struggle which was to be ended
only by the complete subjection of Gaul.

The details of that struggle belong specially to Roman history; they have
been transmitted to us only by Roman historians; and the Romans it was
who were left ultimately in possession of the battle-field, that is, of
Italy.  It will suffice here to make known the general march of events
and the most characteristic incidents.

Four distinct periods may be recognized in this history; and each marks a
different phase in the course of events, and, so to speak, an act of the
drama.  During the first period, which lasted forty-two years, from 391
to 349 B.C., the Gauls carried on a war of aggression and conquest
against Rome.  Not that such had been their original design; on the
contrary, they replied, when the Romans offered intervention between them
and Clusium, "We ask only for lands, of which we are in need; and Clusium
has more than she can cultivate.  Of the Romans we know very little; but
we believe them to be a brave people, since the Etruscans put themselves
under their protection.  Remain spectators of our quarrel; we will settle
it before your eyes, that you may report at home how far above other men
the Gauls are in valor."

But when they saw their pretensions repudiated and themselves treated
with outrageous disdain, the Gauls left the siege of Clusium on the spot,
and set out for Rome, not stopping for plunder, and proclaiming
everywhere on their march, "We are bound for Rome; we make war on none
but Romans;" and when they encountered the Roman army, on the 16th of
duly, 390 B.C., at the confluence of the Allia and the Tiber, half a
day's march from Rome, they abruptly struck up their war-chant, and threw
themselves upon their enemies.  It is well known how they gained the day;
how they entered Rome, and found none but a few gray-beards, who, being
unable or unwilling to leave their abode, had remained seated in the
vestibule on their chairs of ivory, with truncheons of ivory in their
hands, and decorated with the insignia of the public offices they had
filled.  All the people of Rome had fled, and were wandering over the
country, or seeking a refuge amongst neighboring peoples.  Only the
senate and a thousand warriors had shut themselves up in the Capitol, a
citadel which commanded the city.  The Gauls kept them besieged there for
seven months.  The circumstances of this celebrated siege are well known,
though they have been a little embellished by the Roman historians.  Not
that they have spoken too highly of the Romans themselves, who, in the
day of their country's disaster, showed admirable courage, perseverance,
and hopefulness.  Pontius Cominius, who traversed the Gallic camp, swam
the Tiber, and scaled by night the heights of the Capitol, to go and
carry news to the senate; M. Manlius, who was the first, and for some
moments the only one, to hold in check, from the citadel's walls, the
Gauls on the point of effecting an entrance; and M. Furius Camillus, who
had been banished from Rome the preceding year, and had taken refuge in
the town of Ardea, and who instantly took the field for his country,
rallied the Roman fugitives, and incessantly harassed the Gauls--are true
heroes, who have earned their weed of glory.  Let no man seek to lower
them in public esteem.  Noble actions are so beautiful, and the actors
often receive so little recompense, that we are at least bound to hold
sacred the honor attached to their name.

[Illustration: The Gauls in Rome----39]

The Roman historians have done no more than justice in extolling the
saviors of Rome.  But their memory would have suffered no loss had the
whole truth been made known; and the claims of national vanity are not of
the same weight as the duty one owes to truth.  Now, it is certain that
Camillus did not gain such decisive advantages over the Gauls as the
Roman accounts would lead one to believe, and that the deliverance of
Rome was much less complete.  On the 13th of February, 389 B.C., the
Gauls, it is true, allowed their retreat to be purchased by the Romans;
and they experienced, as they retired, certain checks, whereby they lost
a part of their booty.  But twenty-three years afterwards they are found
in Latium scouring in every direction the outlying country of Rome,
without the Romans daring to go out and fight them.  It was only at the
end of five years, in the year 361 B.C., that, the very city being
menaced anew, the legions marched out to meet the enemy.  "Surprised at
this audacity," says Polybius, "the Gauls fell back, but merely a few
leagues from Rome, to the environs of Tibur; and thence, for the space of
twelve years, they attacked the Roman territory, renewing the campaign
every year, often reaching the very gates of the city, and being repulsed
indeed, but never farther than Tibur and its slopes."  Rome, however, made
great efforts, every war with the Gauls was previously proclaimed a
tumult, which involved a levy in mass of the citizens, without any
exemption, even for old men and priests.  A treasure, specially dedicated
to Gallic wars, was laid by in the Capitol, and religious denunciations
of the most awful kind hung over the head of whoever should dare to touch
it, no matter what the exigency might be.  To this epoch belonged those
marvels of daring recorded in Roman tradition, those acts of heroism
tinged with fable, which are met with amongst so many peoples, either in
their earliest age, or in their days of great peril.  In the year 361
B.C., Titus Manlius, son of him who had saved the Capitol from the night
attack of the Gauls, and twelve years later M. Valerius, a young military
tribune, were, it will be remembered, the two Roman heroes who vanquished
in single combat the two Gallic giants who insolently defied Rome.  The
gratitude towards them was general and of long duration, for two
centuries afterwards (in the year 167 B.C.) the head of the Gaul with his
tongue out still appeared at Rome, above the shop of a money-changer, on
a circular sign-board, called "the Kymrian shield" (scutum Cimbricum).
After seventeen years' stay in Latium, the Gauls at last withdrew, and
returned to their adopted country in those lovely valleys of the Po which
already bore the name of Cisalpine Gaul.  They began to get disgusted
with a wandering life.  Their population multiplied; their towns spread;
their fields were better cultivated; their manners became less barbarous.
For fifty years there was scarcely any trace of hostility or even contact
between them and the Romans.  But at the beginning of the third century
before our era, the coalition of the Samnites and Etruscans against Rome
was near its climax; they eagerly pressed the Gauls to join, and the
latter assented easily.  Then commenced the second period of struggles
between the two peoples.  Rome had taken breath, and had grown much more
rapidly than her rivals.  Instead of shutting herself up, as heretofore,
within her walls, she forthwith raised three armies, took the offensive
against the coalitionists, and carried the war into their territory.  The
Etruscans rushed to the defence of their hearths.  The two consuls,
Fabius and Decius, immediately attacked the Samnites and Gauls at the
foot of the Apennines, close to Sentinum (now Sentina).  The battle was
just beginning, when a hind, pursued by a wolf from the mountains, passed
in flight between the two armies, and threw herself upon the side of the
Gauls, who slew her; the wolf turned towards the Romans, who let him go.
"Comrades," cried a soldier, "flight and death are on the side where you
see stretched on the ground the hind of Diana; the wolf belongs to Mars;
he is unwounded, and reminds us of our father and founder; we shall
conquer even as he."  Nevertheless the battle went badly for the Romans;
several legions were in flight, and Decius strove vainly to rally them.
The memory of his father came across his mind.  There was a belief
amongst the Romans that if in the midst of an unsuccessful engagement the
general devoted himself to the infernal gods, "panic and flight" passed
forthwith to the enemies' ranks.  "Why daily?" said Decius to the grand
pontiff, whom he had ordered to follow him and keep at his side in the
flight; "'tis given to our race to die to avert public disasters."  He
halted, placed a javelin beneath his feet, and covering his head with a
fold of his robe, and supporting his chin on his right hand, repeated
after the pontiff this sacred form of words:--

"Janus, Jupiter, our father Mars, Quirinus, Bellona, Lares, .  .  .  ye
gods in whose power are we, we and our enemies, gods Manes, ye I adore;
ye I pray, ye I adjure to give strength and victory to the Roman people,
the children of Quirinus, and to send confusion, panic, and death amongst
the enemies of the Roman people, the children of Quirinus.  And, in these
words for the republic of the children of Quirinus, for the army, for the
legions, and for the allies of the Roman people, I devote to the gods
Manes and to the grave the legions and the allies of the enemy and

Then remounting, Decius charged into the middle of the Gauls, where he
soon fell pierced with wounds; but the Romans recovered courage and
gained the day; for heroism and piety have power over the hearts of men,
so that at the moment of admiration they become capable of imitation.

During this second period Rome was more than once in danger.  In the year
283 B.C.  the Gauls destroyed one of her armies near Aretium (Arezzo),
and advanced to the Roman frontier, saying, "We are bound for Rome; the
Gauls know how to take it."  Seventy-two years afterwards the Cisalpine
Gauls swore they would not put off their baldricks till they had mounted
the Capitol, and they arrived within three days' march of Rome.  At every
appearance of this formidable enemy the alarm at Rome was great.  The
senate raised all its forces and summoned its allies.  The people
demanded a consultation of the Sibylline books, sacred volumes sold, it
was said, to Tarquinius Priscus by the sibyl Amalthea, and containing the
secret of the destinies of the Republic.  They were actually opened in
the year 228 B.C., and it was with terror found that the Gauls would
twice take possession of the soil of Rome.  On the advice of the priests,
there was dug within the city, in the middle of the cattle-market, a huge
pit, in which two Gauls, a man and a woman, were entombed alive; for thus
they took possession of the soil of Rome, the oracle was fulfilled, and
the mishap averted.  Thirteen years afterwards, on occasion of the
disaster at Cann, the same atrocity was again committed, at the same
place and for the same cause.  And by a strange contrast, there was at
the committing of this barbarous act, "which was against Roman usage,"
says Livy, a secret feeling of horror, for, to appease the manes of the
victims, a sacrifice was instituted, which was celebrated every year at
the pit, in the month of November.

In spite of sometimes urgent peril, in spite of popular alarms, Rome,
during the course of this period, from 299 to 258 B.C., maintained an
increasing ascendency over the Gauls.  She always cleared them off her
territory, several times ravaged theirs, on the two banks of the Po,--
called respectively Transpadan and Cispadan Gaul, and gained the majority
of the great battles she had to fight.  Finally in the year 283 B.C., the
proprietor Drusus, after having ravaged the country of the Senonic Gauls,
carried off the very ingots and jewels, it was said, which had been given
to their ancestors as the price of their retreat.  Solemn proclamation
was made that the ransom of the Capitol had returned within its walls;
and, sixty years afterwards, the Consul M. Cl. Marcellus, having defeated
at Clastidium a numerous army of Gauls, and with his own hand slain their
general, Virdumar, had the honor of dedicating to the temple of Jupiter
the third "grand spoils" taken since the foundation of Rome, and of
ascending the Capitol, himself conveying the armor of Virdumar, for he
had got hewn an oaken trunk, round which he had arranged the helmet,
tunic, and breastplate of the barbarian king.

Nor was war Rome's only weapon against her enemies.  Besides the ability
of her generals and the discipline of her legions, she had the sagacity
of her Senate.  The Gauls were not wanting in intelligence or dexterity,
but being too free to go quietly under a master's hand, and too barbarous
for self-government, carried away, as they were, by the interest or
passion of the moment, they could not long act either in concert or with
sameness of purpose.  Far-sightedness and the spirit of persistence were,
on the contrary, the familiar virtues of the Roman Senate.  So soon as
they had penetrated Cisalpine Gaul, they labored to gain there a
permanent footing, either by sowing dissension amongst the Gallic
peoplets that lived there, or by founding Roman colonies.  In the year
283 B.C., several Roman families arrived, with colors flying and under
the guidance of three triumvirs or commissioners, on a territory to the
north-east, on the borders of the Adriatic.  The triumvirs had a round
hole dug, and there deposited some fruits and a handful of earth brought
from Roman soil; then yoking to a plough, having a copper share, a white
bull and a white heifer, they marked out by a furrow a large enclosure.
The rest followed, flinging within the line the ridges thrown up by the
plough.  When the line was finished, the bull and the heifer were
sacrificed with due pomp.  It was a Roman colony come to settle at Sena,
on the very site of the chief town of those Senonic Gauls who had been
conquered and driven out.  Fifteen years afterwards another Roman colony
was founded at Ariminum (Rimini), on the frontier of the Bolan Gauls.
Fifty years later still two others, on the two banks of the Po, Cremona
and Placentia (Plaisance).  Rome had then, in the midst of her enemies,
garrisons, magazines of arms and provisions, and means of supervision and
communication.  Thence proceeded at one time troops, at another
intrigues, to carry dismay or disunion amongst the Gauls.

Towards the close of the third century before our era, the triumph of
Rome in Cisalpine Gaul seemed nigh to accomplishment, when news arrived
that the Romans' most formidable enemy, Hannibal, meditating a passage
from Africa into Italy by Spain and Gaul, was already at work, by his
emissaries, to insure for his enterprise the concurrence of the
Transalpine and Cisalpine Gauls.  The Senate ordered the envoys they had
just then at Carthage to traverse Gaul on returning, and seek out allies
there against Hannibal.  The envoys halted amongst the Gallo-Iberian
peoplets who lived at the foot of the eastern Pyrenees.  There, in the
midst of the warriors assembled in arms, they charged them in the name of
the great and powerful Roman people, not to suffer the Carthaginians to
pass through their territory.  Tumultuous laughter arose at a request
that appeared so strange.  "You wish us," was the answer, "to draw down
war upon ourselves to avert it from Italy, and to give our own fields
over to devastation to save yours.  We have no cause to complain of the
Carthaginians or to be pleased with the Romans, or to take up arms for
the Romans and against the Carthaginians.  We, on the contrary, hear that
the Roman people drive out from their lands, in Italy, men of our nation,
impose tribute upon them, and make them undergo other indignities."  So
the envoys of Rome quitted Gaul without allies.

Hannibal, on the other hand, did not meet with all the favor and all the
enthusiasm he had anticipated.  Between the Pyrenees and the Alps several
peoplets united with him; and several showed coldness, or even hostility.
In his passage of the Alps the mountain tribes harassed him incessantly.
Indeed, in Cisalpine Gaul itself there was great division and hesitation;
for Rome had succeeded in inspiring her partisans with confidence and her
enemies with fear.  Hannibal was often obliged to resort to force even
against the Gauls whose alliance he courted, and to ravage their lands in
order to drive them to take up arms.  Nay, at the conclusion of an
alliance, and in the very camp of the Carthaginians, the Gauls sometimes
hesitated still, and sometimes rose against Hannibal, accused him of
ravaging their country, and refused to obey his orders.  However, the
delights of victory and of pillage at last brought into full play the
Cisalpine Gauls' natural hatred of Rome.  After Ticinus and Trebia,
Hannibal had no more zealous and devoted troops.  At the battle of Lake
Trasimene he lost fifteen hundred men, nearly all Gauls; at that of
Canine he had thirty thousand of them, forming two thirds of his army;
and at the moment of action they cast away their tunics and checkered
cloaks (similar to the plaids of the Gals or Scottish Highlanders), and
fought naked from the belt upwards, according to their custom when they
meant to conquer or die.  Of five thousand five hundred men that the
victory of Cannae cost Hannibal, four thousand were Gauls.  All Cisalpine
Gaul was moved; enthusiasm was at its height; new bands hurried off to
recruit the army of the Carthaginian who, by dint of patience and genius,
brought Rome within an ace of destruction, with the assistance almost
entirely of the barbarians he had come to seek at her gates, and whom he
had at first found so cowed and so vacillating.

When the day of reverses came, and Rome had recovered her ascendency,
the Gauls were faithful to Hannibal; and when at length he was forced to
return to Africa, the Gallic bands, whether from despair or attachment,
followed him thither.  In the year 200 B.C., at the famous battle of
Zama, which decided matters between Rome and Carthage, they again formed
a third of the Carthaginian army, and showed that they were, in the words
of Livy, "inflamed by that innate hatred towards the Romans which is
peculiar to their race."

This was the third period of the struggle between the Gauls and the
Romans in Italy.  Rome, well advised by this terrible war of the danger
with which she was ever menaced by the Cisalpine Gauls, formed the
resolution of no longer restraining them, but of subduing them and
conquering their territory.  She spent thirty years (from 200 to 170
B.C.) in the execution of this design, proceeding by means of war, of
founding Roman colonies, and of sowing dissension amongst the Gallic
peoplets.  In vain did the two principal, the Boians and the Insubrians,
endeavor to rouse and rally all the rest: some hesitated; some absolutely
refused, and remained neutral.  The resistance was obstinate.  The Gauls,
driven from their fields and their towns, established themselves, as
their ancestors had done, in the forests, whence they emerged only to
fall furiously upon the Romans.  And then, if the engagement were
indecisive, if any legions wavered, the Roman centurions hurled their
colors into the midst of the enemy, and the legionaries dashed on at all
risks to recover them.  At Parma and Bologna, in the towns taken from the
Gauls, Roman colonies came at once and planted them-selves.  Day by day
did Rome advance.  At length, in the year 190 B.C., the wrecks of the one
hundred and twelve tribes which had formed the nation of the Boians,
unable any longer to resist, and unwilling to submit, rose as one man,
and departed from Italy.

The Senate, with its usual wisdom, multiplied the number of Roman
colonies in the conquered territory, treated with moderation the tribes
that submitted, and gave to Cisalpine Gaul the name of the Cisalpine or
Hither Gallic Province, which was afterwards changed for that of Gallia
Togata or Roman Gaul.  Then, declaring that nature herself had placed the
Alps between Gaul and Italy as an insurmountable barrier, the Senate
pronounced "a curse on whosoever should attempt to cross it."


It was Rome herself that soon crossed that barrier of the Alps which she
had pronounced fixed by nature and insurmountable.  Scarcely was she
mistress of Cisalpine Gaul when she entered upon a quarrel with the
tribes which occupied the mountain-passes.  With an unsettled frontier,
and between neighbors of whom one is ambitious and the other barbarian,
pretexts and even causes are never wanting.  It is likely that the Gallic
mountaineers were not careful to abstain, they and their flocks, from
descending upon the territory that had become Roman.  The Romans, in
turn, penetrated into the hamlets, carried off flocks and people, and
sold them in the public markets at Cremona, at Placentia, and in all
their colonies.

The Gauls of the Alps demanded succor of the Transalpine Gauls, applying
to a powerful chieftain, named Cincibil, whose influence extended
throughout the mountains.  But the terror of the Roman name had reached
across.  Cincibil sent to Rome a deputation, with his brother at their
head, to set forth the grievances of the mountaineers, and especially to
complain of the consul Cassius, who had carried off and sold several
thousands of Gauls.  Without making any concession, the Senate was
gracious.  Cassius was away; he must be waited for.  Meanwhile the Gauls
were well treated; Cincibil and his brother received as presents two
golden collars, five silver vases, two horses fully caparisoned, and
Roman dresses for all their suite.  Still nothing was done.

Another, a greater and more decisive opportunity offered itself.
Marseilles was an ally of the Romans.  As the rival of Carthage, and with
the Gauls forever at her gates, she had need of Rome by sea and land.
She pretended, also, to the most eminent and intimate friendship with
Rome.  Her founder, the Phocean Euxenes, had gone to Rome, it was said,
and concluded a treaty with Tarquinius Priscus.  She had gone into
mourning when Rome was burned by the Gauls; she had ordered a public levy
to aid towards the ransom of the Capitol.  Rome did not dispute these
claims to remembrance.  The friendship of Marseilles was of great use to
her.  In the whole course of her struggle with Carthage, and but lately,
at the passage of Hannibal through Gaul, Rome had met with the best of
treatment there.  She granted the Massilians a place amongst her senators
at the festivals of the Republic, and exemption from all duty in her
ports.  Towards the middle of the second century B.C. Marseilles was at
war with certain Gallic tribes, her neighbors, whose territory she
coveted.  Two of her colonies, Nice and Antibes, were threatened.  She
called on Rome for help.  A Roman deputation went to decide the quarrel;
but the Gauls refused to obey its summons, and treated it with insolence.
The deputation returned with an army, succeeded in beating the refractory
tribes, and gave their land to the Massilians.  The same thing occurred
repeatedly with the same result.  Within the space of thirty years nearly
all the tribes between the Rhone and the Var, in the country which was
afterwards Provence, were subdued and driven back amongst the mountains,
with notice not to approach within a mile of the coast in general, and a
mile and a half of the places of disembarkation.  But the Romans did not
stop there.  They did not mean to conquer for Marseilles alone.  In the
year 123 B.C., at some leagues to the north of the Greek city, near a
little river, then called the Coenus and nowadays the Arc, the consul
C. Sextius Calvinus had noticed, during his campaign, an abundance of
thermal springs, agreeably situated amidst wood-covered hills.  There he
constructed an enclosure, aqueducts, baths, houses, a town in fact, which
he called after himself, Aquae Sextice, the modern Aix, the first Roman
establishment in Transalpine Gaul.  As in the case of Cisalpine Gaul,
with Roman colonies came Roman intrigue and dissensions got up and
fomented amongst the Gauls.  And herein Marseilles was a powerful
seconder; for she kept up communications with all the neighboring tribes,
and fanned the spirit of faction.  After his victories, the consul
C. Sextius, seated at his tribunal, was selling his prisoners by auction,
when one of them came up to him and said, "I have always liked and served
the Romans; and for that reason I have often incurred outrage and danger
at the hands of my countrymen."  The consul had him set free,--him and
his family,--and even gave him leave to point out amongst the captives
any for whom he would like to procure the same kindness.  At his request
nine hundred were released.  The man's name was Crato, a Greek name,
which points to a connection with Marseilles or one of her colonies.  The
Gauls, moreover, ran of themselves into the Roman trap.  Two of their
confederations, the AEduans, of whom mention has already been made, and
the Allobrogians, who were settled between the Alps, the Isere, and the
Rhone, were at war.  A third confederation, the most powerful in Gaul at
this time, the Arvernians, who were rivals of the AEduans, gave their
countenance to the Allobrogians.  The AEduans, with whom the Massilians
had commercial dealings, solicited through these latter the assistance of
Rome.  A treaty was easily concluded.  The AEduans obtained from the
Romans the title of friends and allies; and the Romans received from the
AEduans that of brothers, which amongst the Gauls implied a sacred tie.
The consul Domitius forthwith commanded the Allobrogians to respect the
territory of the allies of Rome.  The Allobrogians rose up in arms and
claimed the aid of the Arvernians.  But even amongst them, in the very
heart of Gaul, Rome was much dreaded; she was not to be encountered
without hesitation.  So Bituitus, King of the Arvernians, was for trying
accommodation.  He was a powerful and wealthy chieftain.  His father
Luern used to give amongst the mountains magnificent entertainments; he
had a space of twelve square furlongs enclosed, and dispensed wine, mead,
and beer from cisterns made within the enclosure; and all the Arvernians
crowded to his feasts.  Bituitus displayed before the Romans his barbaric
splendor.  A numerous escort, superbly clad, surrounded his ambassador;
in attendance were packs of enormous hounds; and in front; went a bard,
or poet, who sang, with rotte or harp in hand, the glory of Bituitus and
of the Arvernian people.  Disdainfully the consul received and sent back
the embassy.  War broke out; the Allobrogians, with the usual confidence
and hastiness of all barbarians, attacked alone, without waiting for the
Arvernians, and were beaten at the confluence of the Rhone and the
Sorgue, a little above Avignon.  The next year, 121 B.C., the Arvernians
in their turn descended from the mountains, and crossed the Rhone with
all their tribes, diversely armed and clad, and ranged each about its own
chieftain.  In his barbaric vanity, Bituitus marched to war with the same
pomp that he had in vain displayed to obtain peace.  He sat upon a car
glittering with silver; he wore a plaid of striking colors; and he
brought in his train a pack of war-hounds.  At the sight of the Roman
legions, few in number, iron-clad, in serried ranks that took up little
space, he contemptuously cried, "There is not a meal for my hounds."

The Arvernians were beaten, as the Allobrogians had been.  The hounds of
Bituitus were of little use to him against the elephants which the Romans
had borrowed from Asiatic usage, and which spread consternation amongst
the Gauls.  The Roman historians say that the Arvernian army was two
hundred thousand strong, and that one hundred and twenty thousand were
slain; but the figures are absurd, like most of those found in ancient
chronicles.  We know nowadays, thanks to modern civilization, which shows
everything in broad daylight, and measures everything with proper
caution, that only the most populous and powerful nations, and that at
great expenditure of trouble and time, can succeed in moving armies of
two hundred thousand men, and that no battle, however murderous it may
be, ever costs one hundred and twenty thousand lives.

Rome treated the Arvernians with consideration; but the Allobrogians lost
their existence as a nation.  The Senate declared them subject to the
Roman people; and all the country comprised between the Alps, the Rhone
from its entry into the Lake of Geneva to its mouth, and the
Mediterranean, was made a Roman consular province, which means that every
year a consul must march thither with his army.  In the three following
years, indeed, the consuls extended the boundaries of the new province,
on the right bank of the Rhone, to the frontier of the Pyrenees
southward.  In the year 115 B.C. a colony of Roman citizens was conducted
to Narbonne, a town even then of importance, in spite of the objections
made by certain senators who were unwilling, say the historians, so to
expose Roman citizens "to the waves of barbarism."  This was the second
colony which went and established itself out of Italy; the first had been
founded on the ruins of Carthage.

Having thus completed their conquest, the Senate, to render possession
safe and sure, decreed the occupation of the passes of the Alps which
opened Gaul to Italy.  There was up to that time no communication with
Gaul save along the Mediterranean, by a narrow and difficult path, which
has become in our time the beautiful route called the Corniche.  The
mountain tribes defended their independence with desperation; when that
of the Stumians, who occupied the pass of the maritime Alps, saw their
inability to hold their own, they cut the throats of their wives and
children, set fire to their houses, and threw themselves into the flames.
But the Senate pursued its course imperturbably.  All the chief defiles
of the Alps fell into its hands.  The old Phoenician road, restored by
the consul Domitius, bore thenceforth his name (Via Donaitia), and less
than sixty years after Cisalpine Gaul had been reduced to a Roman
province, Rome possessed, in Transalpine Gaul, a second province, whither
she sent her armies, and where she established her citizens without
obstruction.  But Providence seldom allows men, even in the midst of
their successes, to forget for long how precarious they are; and when He
is pleased to remind them, it is not by words, as the Persians reminded
their king, but by fearful events that He gives His warnings.  At the
very moment when Rome believed herself set free from Gallic invasions,
and on the point of avenging herself by a course of conquest, a new
invasion, more extensive and more barbarous, came bursting upon Rome and
upon Gaul at the same time, and plunged them together in the same
troubles and the same perils.

In the year 113 B.C. there appeared to the north of the Adriatic, on the
right bank of the Danube, an immense multitude of barbarians, ravaging
Noricum and threatening Italy.  Two nations predominated; the Kymrians or
Cimbrians, and the Teutons, the national name of the Germans.  They came
from afar, northward, from the Cimbrian peninsula, nowadays Jutland, and
from the countries bordering on the Baltic which nowadays form the
duchies of Holstein and Schleswig.  A violent shock of earthquake, a
terrible inundation, had driven them, they said, from their homes; and
those countries do indeed show traces of such events.  And Cimbrians and
Teutons had been for some time roaming over Germany.

The consul Papirius Carbo, despatched in all haste to defend the
frontier, bade them, in the name of the Roman people, to withdraw.  The
barbarians modestly replied that they had no intention of settling in
Noricum, and if the Romans had rights over the country, they would carry
their arms elsewhere.  The consul, who had found haughtiness succeed,
thought he might also employ perfidy against the barbarians.  He offered
guides to conduct them out of Noricum; and the guides misled them.  The
consul attacked them unexpectedly during the night, and was beaten.

However, the barbarians, still fearful, did not venture into Italy.
They roamed for three years along the Danube, as far as the mountains of
Macedonia and Thrace.  Then retracing their steps, and marching eastward,
they inundated the valleys of the Helvetic Alps, now Switzerland, having
their numbers swelled by other tribes, Gallic or German, who preferred
joining in pillage to undergoing it.  The Ambrons, among others, a Gallic
peoplet that had taken refuge in Helvetia after the expulsion of the
Umbrians by the Etruscans from Italy, joined the Cimbrians and Teutons;
and in the year 110 B.C.  all together entered Gaul, at first by way of
Belgica, and then, continuing their wanderings and ravages in central
Gaul, they at last reached the Rhone, on the frontiers of the Roman

There the name of Rome again arrested their progress; they applied to her
anew for lands, with the offer of their services.  "Rome," answered
M. Silanus, who commanded in the province, "has neither lands to give you
nor services to accept from you."  He attacked them in their camp, and
was beaten.

Three consuls, L. Cassius, C. Servilius Omepio, and Cu. Manlius,
successively experienced the same fate.  With the barbarians victory bred
presumption.  Their chieftains met and deliberated whether they should
not forthwith cross into Italy, to exterminate or enslave the Romans,
and make Kymrian spoken at Rome.  Scaurus, a prisoner, was in the tent,
loaded with fetters, during the deliberation.  He was questioned about
the resources of his country.  "Cross not the Alps," said he; "go not
into Italy: the Romans are invincible."  In a transport of fury the
chieftain of the Kymrians, Boiorix by name, fell upon the Roman, and ran
him through.  Howbeit the advice of Scaurus was followed.  The barbarians
did not as yet dare to decide upon invading Italy; but they freely
scoured the Roman province, meeting here with repulse, and there with
re-enforcement from the peoplets who formed the inhabitants.  The
Tectosagian Voles, Hymrian in origin and maltreated by Rome, joined them.
Then, on a sudden, whilst the Teutons and Ambrons remained in Gaul, the
Kymrians passed over to Spain without apparent motive, and probably as an
overswollen torrent divides, and disperses its waters in all directions.
The commotion at Rome was extreme; never had so many or such wild
barbarians threatened the Republic; never had so many or such large Roman
armies been beaten in succession.  There was but one man, it was said,
who could avert the danger, and give Rome the ascendency.  It was Marius,
low-born, but already illustrious; esteemed by the Senate for his genius
as a commander and for his victories; swaying at his will the people, who
saw in him one of themselves, and admired without envying him; beloved
and feared by the army for his bravery, his rigorous discipline, and his
readiness to share their toils and dangers; stern and rugged; without
education, eloquence, or riches; ill-suited for shining in public
assemblies, but resolute and dexterous in action; verily made to dominate
the vigorous but unrefined multitude, whether in camp or city, partly by
participating their feelings, partly by giving them in his own person a
specimen of the deserts and sometimes of the virtues which they esteem
but do not possess.

He was consul in Africa, where he was putting an end to the war with
Jugurtha.  He was elected a second time consul, without interval and in
his absence, contrary to all the laws of the Republic.  Scarcely had he
returned, when, on descending from the Capitol, where he had just
received a triumph for having conquered and captured Jugurtha, he set out
for Gaul.  On his arrival, instead of proceeding, as his predecessors,
to attack the barbarians at once, he confined himself to organizing and
inuring his troops, subjecting them to frequent marches, all kinds of
military exercises, and long and hard labor.  To insure supplies he made
them dig, towards the mouths of the Rhone, a large canal which formed a
junction with the river a little above Arles, and which, at its entrance
into the sea, offered good harborage for vessels.  This canal, which
existed for a long while under the name of Rossae Mariance (the dikes of
Marius), is filled up nowadays; but at its southern extremity the village
of Foz still preserves a remembrance of it.  Trained in this severe
school, the soldiers acquired such a reputation for sobriety and
laborious assiduity, that they were proverbially called Marius's mules.

He was as careful for their moral state as for their physical fitness,
and labored to exalt their imaginations as well as to harden their
bodies.  In that camp, and amidst those toils in which he kept them
strictly engaged, frequent sacrifices, and scrupulous care in consulting
the oracles, kept superstition at a white heat.  A Syrian prophetess,
named Martha, who had been sent to Marius by his wife Julia, the aunt of
Julius Caesar, was ever with him, and accompanied him at the sacred
ceremonies and on the march, being treated with the greatest respect, and
having vast influence over the minds of the soldiers.

Two years rolled on in this fashion; and yet Marius would not move.  The
increasing devastation of the country, fire, and famine, the despair and
complaints of the inhabitants, did not shake his resolution.  Nor was the
confidence he inspired both in the camp and at Rome a whit shaken: he was
twice re-elected consul, once while he was still absent, and once during
a visit he paid to Rome to give directions to his party in person.

It was at Rome, in the year 102 B.C., that he learned how the Kymrians,
weary of Spain, had recrossed the Pyrenees, rejoined their old comrades,
and had at last resolved, in concert, to invade Italy; the Kymrians from
the north, by way of Helvetia and Noricum, the Teutons and Ambrons from
the south, by way of the maritime Alps.  They were to form a junction on
the banks of the Po, and thence march together on Rome.  At this news
Marius returned forthwith to Gaul, and, without troubling himself about
the Kymrians, who had really put themselves in motion towards the
north-east, he placed his camp so as to cover at one and the same time
the two Roman roads which crossed at Arles, and by one of which the
Ambro-Teutons must necessarily pass to enter Italy on the south.

They soon appeared "in immense numbers," say the historians, "with their
hideous looks and their wild cries," drawing up their chariots and
planting their tents in front of the Roman camp.  They showered upon
Marius and his soldiers continual insult and defiance.  The Romans, in
their irritation, would fain have rushed out of their camp, but Marius
restrained them.  "It is no question," said he, with his simple and
convincing common sense, "of gaining triumphs and trophies; it is a
question of averting this storm of war and of saving Italy."  A Teutonic
chieftain came one day up to the very gates of the camp, and challenged
him to fight.  Marius had him informed that if he were tired of life he
could go and hang himself.  As the barbarian still persisted, Marius sent
him a gladiator.

However, he made his soldiers, in regular succession, mount the ramparts,
to get them familiarized with the cries, looks, arms, and movements of
the barbarians.  The most distinguished of his officers, young Sertorius,
who understood and spoke Gallic well, penetrated, in the disguise of a
Gaul, into the camp of the Ambrons, and informed Marius of what was going
on there.

At last the barbarians, in their impatience, having vainly attempted to
storm the Roman camp, struck their own, and put themselves in motion
towards the Alps.  For six whole days, it is said, their bands were
defiling beneath the ramparts of the Romans, and crying, "Have you any
message for your wives?  We shall soon be with them."

Marius, too, struck his camp, and followed them.  They halted, both of
them, near Aix, on the borders of the Coenus, the barbarians in the
valley, Marius on a hill which commanded it.  The ardor of the Romans was
at its height; it was warm weather; there was a want of water on the
hill, and the soldiers murmured.  "You are men," said Marius, pointing to
the river below, "and there is water to be bought with blood."  "Why
don't you lead us against them at once, then," said a soldier, "whilst we
still have blood in our veins?"  "We must first fortify our camp,"
answered Marius quietly.

The soldiers obeyed: but the hour of battle had come, and well did Marius
know it.  It commenced on the brink of the Coenus, between some Ambrons
who were bathing and some Roman slaves gone down to draw water.  When the
whole horde of the Ambrons advanced to the battle, shouting their war-cry
of Ambra! Ambra! a body of Gallic auxiliaries in the Roman army, and in
the first rank, heard them with great amazement; for it was their own
name and their own cry; there were tribes of Ambrons in the Alps
subjected to Rome as well as in the Helvetic Alps; and Ambra! Ambra!
resounded on both sides.

The battle lasted two days, the first against the Ambrons, the second
against the Teutons.  Both were beaten, in spite of their savage bravery,
and the equal bravery of their women, who defended, with indomitable
obstinacy, the cars with which they had remained almost alone, in charge
of the children and the booty.  After the women, it was necessary to
exterminate the hounds who defended their masters' bodies.  Here again
the figures of the historians are absurd, although they differ; the most
extravagant raise the number of barbarians slain to two hundred thousand,
and that of the prisoners to eighty thousand; the most moderate stop at
one hundred thousand.  In any case, the carnage was great, for the
battle-field, where all these corpses rested without burial, rotting in
the sun and rain, got the name of Campi Putridi, or Fields of
Putrefaction, a name traceable even nowadays in that of Pourrires, a
neighboring village.

[Illustration: The Women defending the Cars----58]

As to the booty, the Roman army with one voice made a free gift of it to
Marius; but he, remembering, perhaps, what had been lately done by the
barbarians after the defeat of the consuls Manlius and Czepio, determined
to have it all burned in honor of the gods.  He had a great sacrifice
prepared.  The soldiers, crowned with laurel, were ranged about the pyre;
their general, holding on high a blazing torch, was about to apply the
light with his own hand, when suddenly, on the very spot, whether by
design or accident, came from Rome the news that Marius had just been for
the fifth time elected consul.  In the midst of acclamations from his
army, and with a fresh chaplet bound upon his brow, he applied the torch
in person, and completed the sacrifice.

Were we travelling in Provence, in the neighborhood of Aix, we should
encounter, peradventure, some peasant who, whilst pointing out to us the
summit of a lull whereon, in all probability, Marius offered, nineteen
hundred and forty years ago, that glorious sacrifice, would say to us in
his native dialect, "Aqui es lou deloubre do la Vittoria:"  "There is the
temple of victory."  There, indeed, was built, not far from a pyramid
erected in honor of Marius, a little temple dedicated to Victory.
Thither, every year, in the month of May, the population used to come and
celebrate a festival and light a bonfire, answered by other bonfires on
the neighboring heights.  When Gaul became Christian, neither monument
nor festival perished; a saint took the place of the goddess, and the
temple of Victory became the church of St. Victoire.  There are still
ruins of it to this day; the religious procession which succeeded the
pagan festival ceased only at the first outburst of the Revolution; and
the vague memory of a great national event still mingles in popular
tradition with the legends of the saint.

The Ambrons and Teutons beaten, there remained the Kymrians, who,
according to agreement, had repassed the Helvetic Alps and entered Italy
on the north-east, by way of the Adige.  Marius marched against them in
July of the following year, 101 B.C.  Ignorant of what had occurred in
Gaul, and possessed, as ever, with the desire of a settlement, they again
sent to him a deputation, saying, "Give us lands and towns for us and our
brethren."  "What brethren?" asked Marius.  "The Teutons."  The Romans
who were about Marius began to laugh.  "Let your brethren be," said
Marius; "they have land, and will always have it; they received it from
us."  The Kymrians, perceiving the irony of his tone, burst out into
threats, telling Marius that he should suffer for it at their hands
first, and afterwards at those of the Teutons when they arrived.  "They
are here," rejoined Marius; "you must not depart without saluting your
brethren;" and he had Teutobod, King of the Teutons, brought out with
other captive chieftains.  The envoys reported the sad news in their own
camp, and three days afterwards, July 30, a great battle took place
between the Kymrians and the Romans in the Raudine Plains, a large tract
near Verceil.

It were unnecessary to dwell on the details of the battle, which
resembled that of Aix; besides, fought as it was in Italy and by none but
Romans, it has but little to do with a history of Gaul.  It has been
mentioned only to make known the issue of that famous invasion, of which
Gaul was the principal theatre.  For a moment it threatened the very
existence of the Roman Republic.  The victories of Marius arrested the
torrent, but did not dry up its source.  The great movement which drove
from Asia to Europe, and from eastern to western Europe, masses of roving
populations, followed its course, bringing incessantly upon the Roman
frontiers new comers and new perils.  A greater man than Marius, Julius
Caesar in fact, saw that to effectually resist these clouds of barbaric
assailants, the country into which they poured must be conquered and made
Roman.  The conquest of Gaul was the accomplishment of that idea, and the
decisive step towards the transformation of the Roman republic into a
Roman empire.


Historians, ancient and modern, have attributed to the Roman Senate,
from the time of the establishment of the Roman province in Gaul, a
long-premeditated design of conquering Gaul altogether.  Others have said
that when Julius Caesar, in the year of Rome 696, (58 B C.) got himself
appointed proconsul in Gaul, his single aim was to form for himself there
an army devoted to his person, of which he might avail himself to satisfy
his ambition and make himself master of Rome.  We should not be too ready
to believe in these far-reaching and precise plans, conceived and settled
so long beforehand, whether by a senate or a single man.  Prevision and
exact calculation do not count for so much in the lives of governments
and of peoples.  It is unexpected events, inevitable situations, the
imperious necessities of successive epochs, which most often decide the
conduct of the greatest powers and the most able politicians.  It is
after the fair, when the course of facts and their consequences has
received full development, that, amidst their tranquil meditations,
annalists and historians, in their learned way, attribute everything to
systematic plans and personal calculations on the part of the chief
actors.  There is much less of combination than of momentary inspiration,
derived from circumstances, in the resolutions and conduct of political
chiefs, kings, senators, or great men.  From the time that discord and
corruption had turned the Roman Republic into a bloody and tyrannical
anarchy, the Roman Senate no longer meditated grand designs, and its
members were preoccupied only with the question of escaping or avenging
proscriptions.  When Caesar procured for himself the government for five
years of the Gauls, the fact was, that, not desiring to be a sanguinary
dictator like Scylla, or a gala chieftain like Pompey, he went and sought
abroad, for his own glory and fortune's sake, in a war of general Roman
interest, the means and chances of success which were not furnished to
him in Rome itself by the dogged and monotonous struggle of the factions.

[Illustration: The Roman Army invading Gaul----61]

In spite of the victories of Marius, and the destruction or dispersion of
the Teutons and Cimbrians, the whole of Gaul remained seriously disturbed
and threatened.  At the north-east, in Belgica, some bands of other
Teutons, who had begun to be called Germans (men of war), had passed over
the left bank of the Rhine, and were settling or wandering there without
definite purpose.  In eastern and central Gaul, in the valleys of the
Jura and Auvergne, on the banks of the Saone, the Allier, and the Doubs,
the two great Gallic confederations, that of the AEduans and that of the
Arvernians, were disputing the preponderance, and making war one upon
another, seeking the aid, respectively, of the Romans and of the Germans.
At the foot of the Alps, the little nation of Allobrogians, having fallen
a prey to civil dissension, had given up its independence to Rome.  Even
in southern and western Gaul the populations of Agnitania were rising,
vexing the Roman province, and rendering necessary, on both sides of the
Pyrenees, the intervention of Roman legions.  Everywhere floods of
barbaric populations were pressing upon Gaul, were carrying disgnietude
even where they had not themselves yet penetrated, and causing
presentiments of a general commotion.  The danger burst before long upon
particular places and in connection with particular names which have
remained historical.  In the war with the confederation of the AEduans,
that of the Arvernians called to their aid the German Ariovistus,
chieftain of a confederation of tribes which, under the name of Suevians,
were roving over the right bank of the Rhine, ready at any time to cross
the river.  Ariovistus, with fifteen thousand warriors at his back, was
not slow in responding to the appeal.  The AEdaans were beaten; and
Ariovistus settled amongst the Gauls who had been thoughtless enough to
appeal to him.  Numerous bands of Suevians came and rejoined him; and in
two or three years after his victory he had about him, it was said, one
hundred and twenty thousand warriors.  He had appropriated to them a
third of the territory of his Gallic allies, and he imperiously demanded
another third to satisfy other twenty-five thousand of his old German
comrades, who asked to share his booty and his new country.  One of the
foremost AEduans, Divitiacus by name, went and invoked the succor of the
Roman people, the patrons of his confederation.  He was admitted to the
presence of the Senate, and invited to be seated; but he modestly
declined, and standing, leaning upon his shield, he set forth the
sufferings and the claims of his country.  He received kindly promises,
which at first remained without fruit.  He, however, remained at Rome,
persistent in his solicitations, and carrying on intercourse with several
Romans of consideration, notably with Cicero, who says of him, "I knew
Divitiacus, the AEduan, who claimed proficiency in that natural science
which the Greeks call physiology, and he predicted the future, either by
augury or his own conjecture."  The Roman Senate, with the indecision and
indolence of all declining powers, hesitated to engage, for the AEduans'
sake, in a war against the invaders of a corner of Gallic territory.  At
the same time that they gave a cordial welcome to Divitiacus, they
entered into negotiations with Ariovistus himself; they gave him
beautiful presents, the title of King, and even of friend; the only
demand they made was, that he should live peaceably in his new
settlement, and not lend his support to the fresh invasions of which
there were symptoms in Gaul, and which were becoming too serious for
resolutions not to be taken to repel them.

[Illustration: Divitiacus before the Roman Senate----63]

A people of Gallic race, the Helvetians, who inhabited present
Switzerland, where the old name still abides beside the modern, found
themselves incessantly threatened, ravaged, and invaded by the German
tribes which pressed upon their frontiers.  After some years of
perplexity and internal discord, the whole Helvetic nation decided upon
abandoning its territory, and going to seek in Gaul, westward, it is
said, on the borders of the ocean, a more tranquil settlement.  Being
informed of this design, the Roman Senate and Caesar, at that time
consul, resolved to protect the Roman province and their Gallic allies,
the AEduans, against this inundation of roving neighbors.  The Helvetians
none the less persisted in their plan; and in the spring of the year of
Rome 696 (58 B C.) they committed to the flames, in the country they were
about to leave, twelve towns, four hundred villages, and all their
houses; loaded their cars with provisions for three months, and agreed to
meet at the southern point of the Lake of Geneva.  They found on their
reunion, says Caesar, a total of three hundred and sixty-eight thousand
emigrants, including ninety-two thousand men-at-arms.  The Switzerland
which they abandoned numbers now two million five hundred thousand
inhabitants.  But when the Helvetians would have entered Gaul, they found
there Caesar, who, after having got himself appointed proconsul for five
years, had arrived suddenly at Geneva, prepared to forbid their passage.
They sent to him a deputation, to ask leave, they said, merely to
traverse the Roman province without causing the least damage.  Caesar
knew as well how to gain time as not to lose any: he was not ready; so he
put off the Helvetians to a second conference.  In the interval he
employed his legionaries, who could work as well as fight, in erecting
upon the left bank of the Rhone a wall sixteen feet high and ten miles
long, which rendered the passage of the river very difficult, and, on the
return of the Helvetian envoys, he formally forbade them to pass by the
road they had proposed to follow.  They attempted to take another, and to
cross not the Rhone but the Saone, and march thence towards western Gaul.
But whilst they were arranging for the execution of this movement,
Caesar, who had up to that time only four legions at his disposal,
returned to Italy, brought away five fresh legions, and arrived on the
left bank of the Saone at the moment when the rear-guard of the
Helvetians was embarking to rejoin the main body which had already
pitched its camp on the right bank.  Caesar cut to pieces this rear-guard,
crossed the river, in his turn, with his legions, pursued the emigrants
without relaxation, came in contact with them on several occasions, at
one time attacking them or repelling their attacks, at another receiving
and giving audience to their envoys without ever consenting to treat with
them, and before the end of the year he had so completely beaten,
decimated, dispersed and driven them back, that of three hundred and
sixty-eight thousand Helvetians who had entered Gaul, but one hundred and
ten thousand escaped from the Romans, and were enabled, by flight, to
regain their country.

[Illustration: Mounted Gauls----66]

AEduans, Sequanians, or Arvernians, all the Gauls interested in the
struggle thus terminated, were eager to congratulate Caesar upon his
victory; but if they were delivered from the invasion of the Helvetians,
another scourge fell heavily upon them; Ariovistus and the Germans, who
were settled upon their territory, oppressed them cruelly, and day by day
fresh bands were continually coming to aggravate the evil and the danger.
They adjured Caesar to protect them from these swarms of barbarians.  "In
a few years," said they, "all the Germans will have crossed the Rhine,
and all the Gauls will be driven from Gaul, for the soil of Germany
cannot compare with that of Gaul, any more than the mode of life.  If
Caesar and the Roman people refuse to aid us, there is nothing left for
us but to abandon our lands, as the Helvetians would have done in their
case, and go seek, afar from the Germans, another dwelling-place."
Caesar, touched by so prompt an appeal to the power of his name and fame
gave ear to the prayer of the Gauls.  But he was for trying negotiation
before war.  He proposed to Ariovistus an interview "at which they aright
treat in common of affairs of importance for both."  Ariovistus replied
that "if he wanted anything of Caesar, he would go in search of him; if
Caesar had business with him, it was for Caesar to come."  Caesar
thereupon conveyed to him by messenger his express injunctions, "not to
summon any more from the borders of the Rhine fresh multitudes of men,
and to cease from vexing the AEduans and making war on them, them and
their allies.  Otherwise, Caesar would not fail to avenge their wrongs."
Ariovistus replied that "he had conquered the AEduans.  The Roman people
were in the habit of treating the vanquished after their own pleasure,
and not the advice of another; he too, himself, had the same right.
Caesar said he would avenge the wrongs of the AEduans; but no one had
ever attacked him with impunity.  If Caesar would like to try it, let him
come; he would learn what could be done by the bravery of the Germans,
who were as yet unbeaten, who were trained to arms, who for fourteen
years had not slept beneath a roof."  At the moment he received this
answer, Caesar had just heard that fresh bands of Suevians were encamped
on the right bank of the Rhine, ready to cross, and that Ariovistus with
all his forces was making towards Vesontio (Besancon), the chief town of
the Sequanians.  Caesar forthwith put himself in motion, occupied
Vesontio, established there a strong garrison, and made his arrangements
for issuing from it with his legions to go and anticipate the attack of
Ariovistus.  Then came to him word that no little disquietude was showing
itself among the Roman troops; that many soldiers and even officers
appeared anxious about the struggle with the Germans, their ferocity, the
vast forests that must be traversed to reach them, the difficult roads,
and the transport of provisions; there was an apprehension of broken
courage, and perchance of numerous desertions.  Caesar summoned a great
council of war, to which he called the chief officers of his legions; he
complained bitterly of their alarm, recalled to their memory their recent
success against the Helvetians, and scoffed at the rumors spread about
the Germans, and at the doubts with which there was an attempt to inspire
him about the fidelity and obedience of his troops.  "An army," said he,
"disobeys only the commander who leads them badly and has no good
fortune, or is found guilty of cupidity and malversation.  My whole life
shows my integrity, and the war against the Helvetians my good fortune.
I shall order forthwith the departure I had intended to put off.  I shall
strike the camp the very next night, at the fourth watch; I wish to see
as soon as possible whether honor and duty or fear prevail in your ranks.
If there be any refusal to follow me, I shall march with only the tenth
legion, of which I have no doubt; that shall be my praetorian cohort."

The cheers of the troops, officers and men, were the answer given to the
reproaches and hopes of their general: all hesitation passed away; and
Caesar set out with his army.  He fetched a considerable compass, to
spare them the passage of thick forests, and, after a seven days' march,
arrived at a short distance from the camp of Ariovistus.  On learning
that Caesar was already so near, the German sent to him a messenger with
proposals for the interview which was but lately demanded, and to which
there was no longer any obstacle, since Caesar had himself arrived upon
the spot.  And the interview really took place, with mutual precautions
for safety and warlike dignity.  Caesar repeated all the demands he had
made upon Ariovistus, who, in his turn, maintained his refusal, asking,
"What was wanted?  Why had foot been set upon his lands?  That part of
Gaul was his province, just as the other was the Roman province.  If
Caesar did not retire, and withdraw his troops, he should consider him no
more a friend, but an enemy.  He knew that if he were to slay Caesar, he
would recommend himself to many nobles and chiefs amongst the Roman
people; he had learned as much from their own envoys.  But if Caesar
retired and left him, Ariovistus, in free possession of Gaul, he would
pay liberally in return, and would wage on Caesar's behalf, without
trouble or danger to him, any wars he might desire."  During this
interview it is probable that Caesar smiled more than once at the
boldness and shrewdness of the barbarian.  Ultimately some horsemen in
the escort of Ariovistus began to caracole towards the Romans, and to
hurl at them stones and darts.  Caesar ordered his men to make no
reprisals, and broke off the conference.  The next day but one Ariovistus
proposed a renewal; but Caesar refused, having decided to bring the
quarrel to an issue.  Several days in succession he led out his legions
from their camp, and offered battle; but Ariovistus remained within his
lines.  Caesar then took the resolution of assailing the German camp.  At
his approach, the Germans at length moved out from their intrenchments,
arrayed by peoplets, and defiling in front of cars filled with their
women, who implored them with tears not to deliver them in slavery to the
Romans.  The struggle was obstinate, and not without moments of anxiety
and partial check for the Romans; but the genius of Caesar and strict
discipline of the legions carried the day.  The rout of the Germans was
complete; they fled towards the Rhine, which was only a few leagues from
the field of battle.  Ariovistus himself was amongst the fugitives; he
found a boat by the river side, and recrossed into Germany, where he died
shortly afterwards, "to the great grief of the Germans," says Caesar.
The Suevian bands, who were awaiting on the right bank the result of the
struggle, plunged back again within their own territory.  And so the
invasion of the Germans was stopped as the emigration of the Helvetians
had been; and Caesar had only to conquer Gaul.

It is uncertain whether he had from the very first determined the whole
plan; but so soon as he set seriously to work, he felt all the
difficulties.  The expulsion of the Helvetian emigrants and of the German
invaders left the Romans and Gauls alone face to face; and from that
moment the Romans were, in the eyes of the Gauls, foreigners, conquerors,
oppressors.  Their deeds aggravated day by day the feelings excited by
the situation; they did not ravage the country, as the Germans had done;
they did not appropriate such and such a piece of land; but everywhere
they assumed the mastery: they laid heavy burdens upon the population;
they removed the rightful chieftains who were opposed to them, and
forcibly placed or maintained in power those only who were subservient to
them.  Independently of the Roman empire, Caesar established everywhere
his own personal influence; by turns gentle or severe, caressing or
threatening, he sought and created for himself partisans amongst the
Gauls, as he had amongst his army, showing favor to those only whose
devotion was assured to him.  To national antipathy towards foreigners
must be added the intrigues and personal rivalry of the conquered in
their relations with the conqueror.  Conspiracies were hatched,
insurrections soon broke out in nearly every part of Gaul, in the heart
even of the peoplets most subject to Roman dominion.  Every movement of
the kind was for Caesar a provocation, a temptation, almost an obligation
to conquest.  He accepted them and profited by them, with that
promptitude in resolution, boldness and address in execution, and cool
indifference as to the means employed, which were characteristic of his
genius.  During nine years, from A. U. C. 696 to 705, and in eight
successive campaigns, he carried his troops, his lieutenants, himself,
and, ere long, war or negotiation, corruption, discord, or destruction in
his path, amongst the different nations and confederations of Gaul,
Celtic, Kymric, Germanic, Iberian or Hybrid, northward and eastward,
in Belgica, between the Seine and the Rhine; westward, in Armorica, on
the borders of the ocean; south-westward, in Aquitania; centre-ward,
amongst the peoplets established between the Seine, the Loire, and the
Saone.  He was nearly always victorious, and then at one time he pushed
his victory to the bitter end, at another stopped at the right moment,
that it might not be compromised.  When he experienced reverses, he bore
them without repining, and repaired them with inexhaustible ability and
courage.  More than once, to revive the sinking spirits of his men, he
was rashly lavish of his person; and on one of those occasions, at the
raising of the siege of Gergovia, he was all but taken by some Arvernian
horsemen, and left his sword in their hands.  It was found a while
afterwards, when the war was over, in a temple in which the Gauls had
hung it.  Caesar's soldiers would have torn it down and returned it to
him; but "let it be," said he; "'tis sanctified."  In good or evil
fortune, the hero of a triumph at Rome or a prisoner in the hands of
Mediterranean pirates, he was unrivalled in striking the imaginations of
men and growing great in their eyes.  He did not confine himself to
conquering and subjecting the Gauls in Gaul; his ideas were ever
outstripping his deeds, and he knew how to make his power felt even where
he had made no attempt to establish it.  Twice he crossed the Rhine to
hurl back the Germans beyond their river, and to strike to the very
hearts of their forests the terror of the Roman name (A. U. C.  699,
700).  He equipped two fleets, made two descents on Great Britain
(A. U. C.  699, 700), several times defeated the Britons and their
principal chieftain Caswallon (Cassivellaunus), and set up across the
channel, the first landmarks of Roman conquest.  He thus became more and
more famous and terrible, both in Gaul, whence he sometimes departed for
a moment to go and look after his political prospects in Italy, and in
more distant lands, where he was but an apparition.

But the greatest minds are far from foreseeing all the consequences of
their deeds, and all the perils proceeding from their successes.  Caesar
was by nature neither violent nor cruel; but he did not trouble himself
about justice or humanity, and the success of his enterprises, no matter
by what means or at what price, was his sole law of conduct.  He could
show, on occasion, moderation and mercy; but when he had to put down an
obstinate resistance, or when a long and arduous effort had irritated
him, he had no hesitation in employing atrocious severity and perfidious
promises.  During his first campaign in Belgica, (A. U. C.  697 and 57
B.C.), two peoplets, the Nervians and the Aduaticans, had gallantly
struggled, with brief moments of success, against the Roman legions.  The
Nervians were conquered and almost annihilated.  Their last remnants,
huddled for refuge in the midst of their morasses, sent a deputation to
Caesar, to make submission, saying, "Of six hundred senators three only
are left, and of sixty thousand men that bore arms scarce five hundred
have escaped."  Caesar received them kindly, returned to them their
lands, and warned their neighbors to do them no harm.  The Aduaticans, on
the contrary, defended them selves to the last extremity.  Caesar, having
slain four thousand, had all that remained sold by auction; and fifty-six
thousand human beings, according to his own statement, passed as slaves
into the hands of their purchasers.  Some years later another Belgian
peoplet, the Eburons, settled between the Meuse and the Rhine, rose and
inflicted great losses upon the Roman legions.  Caesar put them beyond
the pale of military and human law, and had all the neighboring peoplets
and all the roving bands invited to come and pillage and destroy "that
accursed race," promising to whoever would join in the work the
friendship of the Roman people.  A little later still, some insurgents in
the centre of Gaul had concentrated in a place to the south-west, called
Urellocdunum (nowadays, it is said, Puy d'Issola, in the department of
the Lot, between Vayrac and Martel).  After a long resistance they were
obliged to surrender, and Caesar had all the combatants' hands cut off,
and sent them, thus mutilated, to live and rove throughout Gaul, as a
spectacle to all the country that was, or was to be, brought to
submission.  Nor were the rigors of administration less than those of
warfare.  Caesar wanted a great deal of money, not only to maintain
satisfactorily his troops in Gaul, but to defray the enormous expenses he
was at in Italy, for the purpose of enriching his partisans, or securing
the favor of the Roman people.  It was with the produce of imposts and
plunder in Gaul that he undertook the reconstruction at Rome of the
basilica of the Forum, the site whereof, extending to the temple of
Liberty, was valued, it is said, at more than twenty million five
hundred thousand francs.  Cicero, who took the direction of the works,
wrote to his friend Atticus, "We shall make it the most glorious thing
in the world."  Cato was less satisfied; three years previously
despatches from Caesar had announced to the Senate his victories over
the Belgian and German insurgents.  The senators had voted a general
thanksgiving, but, "Thanksgiving!" cried Cato, "rather expiation!  Pray
the gods not to visit upon our armies the sin of a guilty general.  Give
up Caesar to the Germans, and let the foreigner know that Rome does not
enjoin perjury, and rejects with horror the fruit thereof!"

Caesar had all the gifts, all the means of success and empire, that can
be possessed by man.  He was great in politics and in war; as active and
as full of resource amidst the intrigues of the Forum as amidst the
combinations and surprises of the battle-field, equally able to please
and to terrify.  He had a double pride, which gave him double confidence
in himself, the pride of a great noble and the pride of a great man.  He
was fond of saying, "My aunt Julia is, maternally, the daughter of kings;
paternally, she is descended from the immortal gods; my family unites, to
the sacred character of kings who are the most powerful amongst men, the
awful majesty of the gods who have even kings in their keeping."  Thus,
by birth as well as nature, Caesar felt called to dominion; and at the
same time he was perfectly aware of the decadence of the Roman
patriciate, and of the necessity for being popular in order to become
master.  With this double instinct he undertook the conquest of the Gauls
as the surest means of achieving conquest at Rome.  But owing either to
his own vices or to the difficulties of the situation, he displayed in
his conduct and his work in Gaul so much violence and oppression, so much
iniquity and cruel indifference, that, even at that time, in the midst of
Roman harshness, pagan corruption, and Gallic or German barbarism, so
great an infliction of moral and material harm could not but be followed
by a formidable reaction.  Where there are strength and ability, the want
of foresight, the fears, the weaknesses, the dissensions of men, whether
individuals or peoples, may be for a long while calculated upon; but it
may be carried too far.  After six years' struggling Caesar was victor;
he had successively dealt with all the different populations of Gaul; he
had passed through and subjected them all, either by his own strong arm,
or thanks to their rivalries.  In the year of Rome 702 he was suddenly
informed in Italy, whither he had gone on his Roman business, that most
of the Gallic nations, united under a chieftain hitherto unknown, were
rising with one common impulse, and recommencing war.

The same perils and the same reverses, the same sufferings and the same
resentments, had stirred up amongst the Gauls, without distinction of
race and name, a sentiment to which they had hitherto been almost
strangers, the sentiment of Gallic nationality and the passion for
independence, not local any longer, but national.  This sentiment was
first manifested amongst the populace and under obscure chieftains; a
band of Carnutian peasants (people of Chartrain) rushed upon the town of
Genabum (Gies), roused the inhabitants, and massacred the Italian traders
and a Roman knight, C. Fusius Cita, whom Caesar had commissioned to buy
corn there.  In less than twenty-four hours the signal of insurrection
against Rome was borne across the country as far as the Arvernians,
amongst whom conspiracy had long ago been waiting and paving the way for
insurrection.  Amongst them lived a young Gaul whose real name has
remained unknown, and whom history has called Vercingetorix, that is,
chief over a hundred heads, chief-in-general.  He came of an ancient and
powerful family of Arvernians, and his father had been put to death in
his own city for attempting to make himself king.  Caesar knew him, and
had taken some pains to attach him to himself.  It does not appear that
the Arvernian aristocrat had absolutely declined the overtures; but when
the hope of national independence was aroused, Vercingetorix was its
representative and chief.  He descended with his followers from the
mountain, and seized Gergovia, the capital of his nation.  Thence his
messengers spread over the centre, north-west, and west of Gaul; the
greater part of the peoplets and cities of those regions pronounced from
the first moment for insurrection; the same sentiment was working amongst
others more compromised with Rome, who waited only for a breath of
success to break out.  Vercingetorix was immediately invested with the
chief command, and he made use of it with all the passion engendered by
patriotism and the possession of power; he regulated the movement,
demanded hostages, fixed the contingents of troops, imposed taxes,
inflicted summary punishment on the traitors, the dastards, and the
indifferent, and subjected those who turned a deaf ear to the appeal of
their common country to the same pains and the same mutilations that
Caesar inflicted on those who obstinately resisted the Roman yoke.

At the news of this great movement Caesar immediately left Italy, and
returned to Gaul.  He had one quality, rare even amongst the greatest
men: he remained cool amidst the very hottest alarms; necessity never
hurried him into precipitation, and he prepared for the struggle as if he
were always sure of arriving on the spot in time to sustain it.  He was
always quick, but never hasty; and his activity and patience were equally
admirable and efficacious.  Starting from Italy at the beginning of 702
A. U. C., he passed two months in traversing within Gaul the Roman
province and its neighborhood, in visiting the points threatened by the
insurrection, and the openings by which he might get at it, in assembling
his troops, in confirming his wavering allies; and it was not before the
early part of March that he moved with his whole army to Agendicum
(Sens), the very centre of revolt, and started thence to push on the war
with vigor.  In less than three months he had spread devastation
throughout the insurgent country; he had attacked and taken its principal
cities, Vellaunodunum (Trigueres), Genabum (Gien), Noviodunum (Sancerre),
and Avaricum (Bourges), delivering up everywhere country and city, lands
and inhabitants, to the rage of the Roman soldiery, maddened at having
again to conquer enemies so often conquered.  To strike a decisive blow,
he penetrated at last to the heart of the country of the Arvernians, and
laid siege to Gergovia, their capital and the birthplace of

The firmness and the ability of the Gallic chieftain were not inferior to
such a struggle.  He understood from the outset that he could not cope in
the open field with Caesar and the Roman legions; he therefore exerted
himself in getting together a body of cavalry numerous enough to harass
the Romans during their movements, to attack their scattered detachments,
to bear his orders swiftly to all quarters, and to keep up the excitement
amongst the different peoplets with some hope of success.  His plan of
campaign, his repeated instructions, his passionate entreaties to the
confederates were to avoid any general action, to anticipate by their own
ravages those of the Romans, to destroy everywhere, at the approach of
the enemy, stores, springs, bridges, trees, and habitations: he wanted
Caesar to find in his front nothing but ruins and clouds of warriors
relentless in pursuing him without getting within reach.  Frequently he
succeeded in obtaining from the people those painful sacrifices in the
interest of the common safety; as when the Biturigians (inhabitants of
the district of Bourges) burned in one day twenty of their towns or
villages.  Vercingetorix adjured them also to burn Avaricum (Bourges),
their capital; but they refused, and the capture of Avaricum, though
gallantly defended, justified the urgency of Vercingetorix, seeing that
it was an important success for Caesar and a serious blow for the Gauls.
Out of forty thousand combatants within the walls, it is said, scarcely
eight hundred escaped the slaughter and succeeded in joining
Vercingetorix, who had hovered continually in the neighborhood without
being able to offer the besieged any effectual assistance.  Nor was it
only against the Romans that he had to struggle; he had to fight amongst
his own people, against rivalry, mistrust, impatience, and
discouragement; he was accused of desiring, beyond everything, the
mastery; he was even suspected of keeping up, with the view of assuring
his own future, secret relations with Caesar; he was called upon to
attack the enemy in front, and so bring the war to a decisive issue.  It
is all very fine to be summoned by the popular voice to accomplish a
great and arduous work; but you cannot be, with impunity, the most
far-sighted, the most able, and the most in danger, because the most
devoted.  Vercingetorix was bearing the burden of his superiority and
influence, until he should suffer the penalty and pay with his life for
his patriotism and his glory.  He was approaching the happiest moment of
his enterprise and his destiny.  In spite of reverses, in spite of
Caesar's presence and activity, the insurrection was gaining ground and
strength; in the north, west, south-west, on the banks of the Rhine, the
Seine, and the Loire, the idea of Gallic nationality and the hope of
independence were spreading amongst people far removed from the centre of
the movement, and were bringing to Vercingetorix declarations of sympathy
or material re-enforcements.  An event of more importance took place in
the centre itself.  The AEduans, the most ancient allies and clients the
Romans had in Gaul, being divided amongst themselves, and feeling,
besides, the national instinct, ended, after much hesitation, by taking
part in the uprising.  Caesar, for all his care, could neither prevent
nor stifle this defection, which threatened to become contagious, and
detach from Rome the neighboring peoplets that were still faithful.
Caesar, engaged upon the siege of Gergovia, encountered an obstinate
resistance; whilst Vercingetorix, encamped on the heights which
surrounded his birthplace, everywhere embarrassed, sometimes attacked,
and incessantly threatened the Romans.  The eighth legion, drawn on one
day to make an imprudent assault, was repulsed, and lost forty-six of its
bravest centurions.  Caesar determined to raise the siege, and to
transfer the struggle to places where the population could be more safely
depended upon.  It was the first decisive check he had experienced in
Gaul, the first Gallic town he had been unable to take, the first
retrograde movement he had executed in the face of the Gallic insurgents
and their chieftain.  Vercingetorix could not and would not restrain his
joy; it seemed to him that the day had dawned and an excellent chance
arrived for attempting a decisive blow.  He had under his orders, it is
said, eighty thousand men, mostly his own Arvernians, and a numerous
cavalry furnished by the different peoplets his allies.  He followed all
Caesar's movements in retreat towards the Saone, and, on arriving at
Longeau not far from Langres, near a little river called the Vingeanne,
he halted, pitched his camp about nine miles from the Romans, and
assembling the chiefs of his cavalry, said, "Now is the hour of victory;
the Romans are flying to their province and leaving Gaul; that is enough
for our liberty to-day, but too little for the peace and repose of the
future; for they will return with greater armies, and the war will be
without end.  Attack we them amid the difficulties of their march; if
their foot support the cavalry, they will not be able to pursue their
route; if, as I fully trust, they leave their baggage, to provide for
their safety, they will lose both their honor and the supplies whereof
they have need.  None of the enemy's horse will dare to come forth from
their lines.  To give ye courage and aid, I will order forth from the
camp and place in battle array all our troops, and they will strike the
enemy with terror."  The Gallic horsemen cried out that they must all
bind themselves by the most sacred of oaths, and swear that none of them
would come again under roof, or see again wife, or children, or parent,
unless he had twice pierced through the ranks of the enemy.  And all did
take this oath, and so prepared for the attack.  Vercingetorix knew not
that Caesar, with his usual foresight, had summoned and joined to his
legions a great number of horsemen from the German tribes roving over the
banks of the Rhine, with which he had taken care to keep up friendly
relations.  Not only had he promised them pay, plunder, and lands, but,
finding their horses ill-trained, he had taken those of his officers,
even those of the Roman knights and veterans, and distributed them
amongst his barbaric auxiliaries.  The action began between the cavalry
on both sides; a portion of the Gallic had taken up position on the road
followed by the Roman army, to bar its passage; but whilst the fighting
at this point was getting more and more obstinate, the German horse in
Caesar's service gained a neighboring height, drove off the Gallic horse
that were in occupation, and pursued them as far as the river, near which
was Vercingetorix with his infantry.  Disorder took place amongst this
infantry so unexpectedly attacked.  Caesar launched his legions at them,
and there was a general panic and rout among the Gauls.  Vercingetorix
had great trouble in rallying them, and he rallied them only to order a
general retreat, for which they clamored.  Hurriedly striking his camp,
he made for Alesia (Semur in Auxois), a neighboring town and the capital
of the Mandubians, a peoplet in clientship to the AEduans.  Caesar
immediately went in pursuit of the Gauls; killed, he says, three
thousand, made important prisoners, and encamped with his legions before
Alesia the day but one after Vercingetorix, with his fugitive army, had
occupied the place as well as the neighboring hills, and was hard at work
intrenching himself, probably without any clear idea as yet of what he
should do to continue the struggle.

Caesar at once took a resolution as unexpected as it was discreetly bold.
Here was the whole Gallic insurrection, chieftain and soldiery, united
together within or beneath the walls of a town of moderate extent.  He
undertook to keep it there and destroy it on the spot, instead of having
to pursue it everywhere without ever being sure of getting at it.  He had
at his disposal eleven legions, about fifty thousand strong, and five or
six thousand cavalry, of which two thousand were Germans.  He placed them
round about Alesia and the Gallic camp, caused to be dug a circuit of
deep ditches, some filled with water, others bristling with palisades and
snares, and added, from interval to interval, twenty-three little forts,
occupied or guarded night and day by detachments.  The result was a line
of investment about ten miles in extent.  To the rear of the Roman camp,
and for defence against attacks from without, Caesar caused to be dug
similar intrenchments, which formed a line of circumvallation of about
thirteen miles.  The troops had provisions and forage for thirty days.
Vercingetorix made frequent sallies to stop or destroy these works; but
they were repulsed, and only resulted in getting his army more closely
cooped up within the place.  Eighty thousand Gallic insurgents were, as
it were, in prison, guarded by fifty thousand Roman soldiers.
Vercingetorix was one of those who persevere and act in the days of
distress just as in the spring-tide of their hopes.  Before the works of
the Romans were finished, he assembled his horsemen, and ordered them to
sally briskly from Alesia, return each to his own land, and summon the
whole population to arms.  He was obeyed; the Gallic horsemen made their
way, during the night, through the intervals left by the Romans' still
imperfect lines of investment, and dispersed themselves amongst their
various peoplets.  Nearly everywhere irritation and zeal were at their
height.  An assemblage of delegates met at Bibracte (Autun), and fixed
the amount of the contingent to be furnished by each nation, and a point
was assigned at which all those contingents should unite for the purpose
of marching together towards Alesia, and attacking the besiegers.  The
total of the contingents thus levied on forty-three Gallic peoplets
amounted, according to Caesar, to two hundred and eighty-three thousand
men; and two hundred and forty thousand men, it is said, did actually
hurry up to the appointed place.  Mistrust of such enormous numbers has
already been expressed by one who has lived through the greatest European
wars, and has heard the ablest generals reduce to their real strength the
largest armies.  We find in M. Thiers' _History of the Consulate_ and
Empire, that at Austerlitz, on the 2d of December, 1805, Napoleon had but
from sixty-five to seventy thousand men, and the combined Austrians and
Russians but ninety thousand.  At Leipzig, the biggest of modern battles,
when all the French forces on the one side, and the Austrian, Prussian,
Russian, and Swedish on the other, were face to face on the 18th of
October, 1813, they made all together about five hundred thousand men.
How can we believe, then, that nineteen centuries ago, Gaul, so weakly
populated and so slightly organized, suddenly sent two hundred and forty
thousand men to the assistance of eighty thousand Gauls besieged in the
little town of Alesia by fifty or sixty thousand Romans?  But whatever
may be the case with the figures, it is certain that at the very first
moment the national impulse answered the appeal of Vercingetorix, and
that the besiegers of Alesia, Caesar and his legions, found that they
were themselves all at once besieged in their intrenchments by a cloud of
Gauls hurrying up to the defence of their compatriots.  The struggle was
fierce, but short.  Every time that the fresh Gallic army attacked the
besiegers, Vercingetorix and the Gauls of Alesia sallied forth, and
joined in the attack.  Caesar and his legions, on their side, at one time
repulsed these double attacks, at another themselves took the initiative,
and assailed at one and the same time the besieged and the auxiliaries
Gaul had sent them.  The feeling was passionate on both sides: Roman
pride was pitted against Gallic patriotism.  But in four or five days the
strong organization, the disciplined valor of the Roman legions, and the
genius of Caesar carried the day.  The Gallic re-enforcements, beaten and
slaughtered without mercy, dispersed; and Vercingetorix and the besieged
were crowded back within their walls without hope of escape.  We have two
accounts of the last moments of this great Gallic insurrection and its
chief; one, written by Caesar himself, plain, cold, and harsh as its
author; the other, by two later historians, who were neither statesmen
nor warriors, Plutarch and Dion Cassius, has more detail and more
ornament, following either popular tradition or the imagination of the
writers.  It may be well to give both.  "The day after the defeat," says
Caesar, "Vercingetorix convokes the assembly, and shows that he did not
undertake the war for his own personal advantage, but for the general
freedom.  Since submission must be made to fortune, he offers to satisfy
the Romans either by instant death or by being delivered to them alive.
A deputation there anent is sent to Caesar, who orders the arms to be
given up and the chiefs brought to him.  He seats himself on his
tribunal, in the front of his camp.  The chiefs are brought,
Vercingetorix is delivered over; the arms are cast at Caesar's feet.
Except the AEduans and Arvernians, whom Caesar kept for the purpose of
trying to regain their people, he had the prisoners distributed, head by
head, to his army as booty of war."

[Illustration: Vercingetorix surrenders to Caesar----81]

The account of Dion Cassius is more varied and dramatic.  "After the
defeat," says he, "Vercingetorix, who was neither captured nor wounded,
might have fled; but, hoping that the friendship that had once bound him
to Caesar might gain him grace, he repaired to the Roman without previous
demand of peace by the voice of a herald, and appeared suddenly in his
presence, just as Caesar was seating himself upon his tribunal.  The
apparition of the Gallic chieftain inspired no little terror, for he was
of lofty stature, and had an imposing appearance in arms.  There was a
deep silence.  Vercingetorix fell at Caesar's feet, and made supplication
by touch of hand without speaking a word.  The scene moved those present
with pity, remembering the ancient fortunes of Vercingetorix and
comparing them with his present disaster.  Caesar, on the contrary, found
proof of criminality in the very memories relied upon for salvation,
contrasted the late struggle with the friendship appealed to by
Vercingetorix, and so put in a more hideous light the odiousness of his
conduct.  And thus, far from being moved by his misfortunes at the
moment, he threw him in chains forthwith, and subsequently had him put to
death, after keeping him to adorn his triumph."

Another historian, contemporary with Plutarch, Florus, attributes to
Vercingetorix, as he fell down and cast his arms at Caesar's feet, these
words: "Bravest of men, thou hast conquered a brave man."  It is not
necessary to have faith in the rhetorical compliment, or to likewise
reject the mixture of pride and weakness attributed to Vercingetorix in
the account of Dion Cassius.  It would not be the only example of a hero
seeking yet some chance of safety in the extremity of defeat, and abasing
himself for the sake of preserving at any price a life on which fortune
might still smile.  However it be, Vercingetorix vanquished, dragged out,
after ten years' imprisonment, to grace Caesar's triumph, and put to
death immediately afterwards, lives as a glorious patriot in the pages of
that history in which Caesar appears, on this occasion, as a peevish
conqueror who took pleasure in crushing, with cruel disdain, the enemy he
had been at so much pains to conquer.

Alesia taken, and Vercingetorix a prisoner, Gaul was subdued.  Caesar,
however, had in the following year (A. U. C.  703) a campaign to make to
subjugate some peoplets who tried to maintain their local independence.
A year afterwards, again, attempts at insurrection took place in Belgica,
and towards the mouth of the Loire; but they were easily repressed; they
had no national or formidable characteristics; Caesar and his lieutenants
willingly contented themselves with an apparent submission, and in the
year 705 A. U. C.  the Roman legions, after nine years' occupation in the
conquest of Gaul, were able to depart therefrom to Italy and the East for
a plunge into civil war.


From the conquest of Gaul by Caesar, to the establishment there of the
Franks under Clovis, she remained for more than five centuries under
Roman dominion; first under the pagan, afterwards under the Christian
empire.  In her primitive state of independence she had struggled for ten
years against the best armies and the greatest man of Rome; after five
centuries of Roman dominion she opposed no resistance to the invasion of
the barbarians, Germans, Goths, Alans, Burgundians, and Franks, who
destroyed bit by bit the Roman empire.  In this humiliation and, one
might say, annihilation of a population so independent, so active, and so
valiant at its first appearance in history, is to be seen the
characteristic of this long epoch.  It is worth while to learn and to
understand how it was.

[Illustration: Gaul subjugated by the Romans----83]

Gaul lived, during those five centuries, under very different rules and
rulers.  They may be summed up under five names, which correspond with
governments very unequal in merit and defect, in good and evil wrought
for their epoch:

1st, the Caesars from Julius to Nero (from 49 B.C. to A.D. 68);
2d, the Flavians, from Vespasian to Domitian (from A.D. 69 to 95);
3d, the Antonines, from Nerva to Marcus Aurelius (from A.D. 96 to 180);
4th, the imperial anarchy, or the thirty-nine emperors and the thirty-one
tyrants, from Commodus to Carinus and Numerian (from A.D. 180 to 284);
5th, Diocletian (from A.D. 284 to 305).

Through all these governments, and in spite of their different results
for their contemporary subjects, the fact already pointed out as the
general and definitive characteristic of that long epoch, to wit, the
moral and social decadence of Gaul as well as of the Roman empire, never
ceased to continue and spread.

On quitting conquered Gaul to become master at Rome, Caesar neglected
nothing to assure his conquest and make it conducive to the establishment
of his empire.  He formed, of all the Gallic districts that he had
subjugated, a special province which received the name of Gallia Comata
(Gaul of the long-hair), whilst the old province was called Gallia Toyata
(Gaul of the toga).  Caesar caused to be enrolled amongst his troops a
multitude of Gauls, Belgians, Arvernians, and Aquitanians, of whose
bravery he had made proof.  He even formed, almost entirely of Gauls, a
special legion called Alauda (lark), because it bore on the helmets a
lark with outspread wings, the symbol of wakefulness.  At the same time
he gave in Gallia Comata, to the towns and families that declared for
him, all kinds of favors, the rights of Roman citizenship, the title of
allies, clients, and friends, even to the extent of the Julian name, a
sign of the most powerful Roman patronage.  He had, however, in the old
Roman province, formidable enemies, especially the town of Marseilles,
which declared against him and for Pompey.  Caesar had the place besieged
by one of his lieutenants, got possession of it, caused to be delivered
over to him its vessels and treasure, and left in it a garrison of two
legions.  He established at Narbonne, Arles, Biterrce (Beziers) three
colonies of veteran legionaries devoted to his cause, and near Antipolis
(Antibes) a maritime colony called Forum Julii, nowadays Frejus, of which
he proposed to make a rival to Marseilles.  Much money was necessary to
meet the expenses of such patronage and to satisfy the troops, old and
new, of the conqueror of Gaul and Rome.  Now there was at Rome an ancient
treasure, founded more than four centuries previously by the Dictator
Camillus, when he had delivered Rome from the Gauls--a treasure reserved
for the expenses of Gallic wars, and guarded with religious respect as
sacred money.  In the midst of all discords and disorders at Rome, none
had touched it.  After his return from Gaul, Caesar one day ascended the
Capitol with his soldiers, and finding, in the temple of Saturn, the door
closed of the place where the treasure was deposited, ordered it to be
forced.  L. Metellus, tribune of the people, made strong opposition,
conjuring Caesar not to bring on the Republic the penalty of such
sacrilege: but "the Republic has nothing to fear," said Caesar; "I have
released it from its oaths by subjugating Gaul.  There are no more
Gauls."  He caused the door to be forced, and the treasure was abstracted
and distributed to the troops, Gallic and Roman.  Whatever Caesar may
have said, there were still Gauls, for at the same time that he was
distributing to such of them as he had turned into his own soldiers the
money reserved for the expense of fighting them, he was imposing upon
Gallia Comata, under the name of stipendium (soldier's pay), a levy of
forty millions of sesterces--a considerable amount for a devastated
country which, according to Plutarch, did not contain at that time more
than three millions of inhabitants, and almost equal to that of the
levies paid by the rest of the Roman provinces.

After Caesar, Augustus, left sole master of the Roman world, assumed in
Gaul, as elsewhere, the part of pacificator, repairer, conservator, and
organizer, whilst taking care, with all his moderation, to remain always
the master.  He divided the provinces into imperial and senatorial,
reserving to himself the entire government of the former, and leaving the
latter under the authority of the senate.  Gaul "of the long hair," all
that Caesar had conquered, was imperial province.  Augustus divided it
into three provinces, Lugdunensian (Lyonese), Belgian, and Aquitanian.
He recognized therein sixty nations or distinct cityships which continued
to have themselves the government of their own affairs, according to their
traditions and manners, whilst conforming to the general laws of the
empire, and abiding under the supervision of imperial governors, charged
with maintaining everywhere, in the words of Pliny the Younger, "the
majesty of Roman peace."  Luydunum (Lyons), which had been up to that
time of small importance and obscure, became the great town, the favorite
cityship and ordinary abiding-place of the emperors when they visited
Gaul.  After having held at Narbonne (27 B.C.) a meeting of
representatives from the different Gallic nations, Augustus went several
times to Lyons, and even lived there, as it appears, a pretty long while,
to superintend, no doubt, from thence, and to get into working order the
new government of Gaul.  After the departure of Augustus, his adopted son
Drusus, who had just fulfilled, in Belgica and on the Rhine, a mission at
the same time military and administrative, called together at Lyons
delegates from the sixty Gallic cityships, to take part (B.C.12 or 10) in
the inauguration of a magnificent monument raised, at the confluence of
the Rhone and Saone, in honor of Rome and Augustus as the tutelary
deities of Gaul.  In the middle of a vast enclosure was placed a huge
altar of white marble, on which were engraved the names of the sixty
cityships "of the long hair."  A colossal statue of the Gauls and sixty
statues of the Gallic cityships occupied the enclosure.  Two columns of
granite, twenty-five feet high, stood close by the altar, and were
surmounted by two colossal Victories, in white marble, ten feet high.
Solemn festivals, gymnastic games, and oratorical and literary
exercitations accompanied the inauguration; and during the ceremony it
was announced, amidst popular acclamation, that a son had just been born
to Drusus at Lyons itself, in the palace of the emperor, where the
child's mother, Antonia, daughter of Marc Antony and Octavia (sister of
Augustus), had been staying for some months.  This child was one day to
be the emperor Claudius.

[Illustration: FROM LA CROIX ROUSSE----86]

The administrative energy of Augustus was not confined to the erection of
monuments and to festivals; he applied himself to the development in Gaul
of the material elements of civilization and social order.  His most
intimate and able adviser, Agrippa, being settled at Lyons as governor of
the Gauls, caused to be opened four great roads, starting from a
milestone placed in the middle of the Lyonnese forum, and going, one
centrewards to Saintes and the ocean, another southwards to Narbonne and
the Pyrenees, the third north-westwards and towards the Channel by Amiens
and Boulogne, and the fourth north-westwards and towards the Rhine.
Agrippa founded several colonies, amongst others Cologne, which bore his
name; and he admitted to Gallic territory bands of Germans who asked for
an establishment there.  Thanks to public security, Romans became
proprietors in the Gallic provinces and introduced to them Italian
cultivation.  The Gallic chieftains, on their side, began to cultivate
lands which had become their personal property.  Towns were built or grew
apace and became encircled by ramparts, under protection of which the
populations came and placed themselves.  The most learned and attentive
observer of nature and Roman society, Pliny the Elder, attests that under
Augustus Gallic agriculture and industry made vast progress.

But side by side with this work in the cause of civilization and
organization, Augustus and his Roman agents were pursuing a work of quite
a contrary tendency.  They labored to extirpate from Gaul the spirit of
nationality, independence, and freedom; they took every pains to efface
everywhere Gallic memories and sentiments.  Gallic towns were losing
their old and receiving Roman names: Augustonemetum, Augusta, and
Augustodunum took the place of Gergovia, Noviodunum, and Bibracte.  The
national Gallic religion, which was Druidism, was attacked as well as the
Gallic fatherland, with the same design and by the same means; at one
time Augustus prohibited this worship amongst the Gauls converted into
Roman citizens, as being contrary to Roman belief; at another Roman
Paganism and Gallic Druidism were fused together in the same temples and
at the same altars, as if to fuse them in the same common indifference;
Roman and Gallic names became applied to the same religious
personification of such and such a fact or such and such an idea; Mars
and Camul were equally the god of war; Belen and Apollo the god of light
and healing; Diana and Arduinna the goddess of the chase.  Everywhere,
whether it was a question of the terrestrial fatherland or of religious
faith, the old moral machinery of the Gauls was broken up or condemned to
rust, and no new moral machinery was allowed to replace it; it was
everywhere Roman and imperial authority that was substituted for the
free, national action of the Gauls.

It is incredible that this hostility on the part of the powers that be
towards moral sentiments, and this absence of freedom, should not have
gravely compromised the material interest of the Gallic population.
Public administration, however extensive its organization and energy, if
it be not under the superintendence and restraint of public freedom and
morality, soon falls into monstrous abuses, which itself is either
ignorant of or wittingly suffers.  Examples of this evil, inherent in
despotism, abound even under the intelligent and watchful sway of
Augustus.  Here is a case in point.  He had appointed as procurator, that
is, financial commissioner, in "long-haired" Gaul, a native who, having
been originally a slave and afterwards set free by Julius Caesar, had
taken the Roman name of Licinius.  This man gave himself up, during his
administration, to a course of the most shameless extortion.  The taxes
were collected monthly; and so, taking advantage of the change of name
which flattery had caused in the two months of July and August, sacred to
Julius Caesar and Augustus respectively, he made his year consist of
fourteen months, so that he might squeeze out fourteen contributions
instead of twelve.  "December," said he, "is surely, as its name
indicates, the tenth month of the year," and he added thereto, in honor
of the emperor, two others which he called the eleventh and twelfth.
During one of the trips which Augustus made into Gaul, strong complaints
were made against Licinius, and his robberies were denounced to the
emperor.  Augustus dared not support him, and seemed upon the point of
deciding to bring him to justice, when Licinius conducted him to the
place where was deposited all the treasure he had extorted, and, "See, my
lord," said he, "what I have laid up for thee and for the Roman people,
for fear lest the Gauls possessing so much gold should employ it against
you both; for thee I have kept it, and to thee I deliver it."  (Thierry,
_Histoire des Gaulois,_ t. iii.  p. 295; Clerjon, _Histoire de Lyon,_
t. i.  p. 178-180.) Augustus accepted the treasure, and Licinius remained
unpunished.  In the case of financial abuses or other acts, absolute
power seldom resists such temptations.

We may hear it said, and we may read in the writings of certain modern
philosophers and scholars, that the victorious despotism of the Roman
empire was a necessary and salutary step in advance, and that it brought
about the unity and enfranchisement of the human race.  Believe it not.
There is mingled good and evil in all the events and governments of this
world, and good often arises side by side with or in the wake of evil,
but it is never from the evil that the good comes; injustice and tyranny
have never produced good fruits.  Be assured that whenever they have the
dominion, whenever the moral rights and personal liberties of men are
trodden under foot by material force, be it barbaric or be it scientific,
there can result only prolonged evils and deplorable obstacles to the
return of moral right and moral force, which, God be thanked, can never
he obliterated from the nature and the history of man.  The despotic
imperial administration upheld for a long while the Roman empire, and not
without renown; but it corrupted, enervated, and impoverished the Roman
populations, and left them, after five centuries, as incapable of
defending themselves as they were of governing.

Tiberius pursued in Gaul, but with less energy and less care for the
provincial administration, the pacific and moderate policy of Augustus.
He had to extinguish in Belgica, and even in the Lyonnese province, two
insurrections kindled by the sparks that remained of national and Druidic
spirit.  He repressed them effectually, and without any violent display
of vengeance.  He made a trip to Gaul, took measures, quite insufficient,
however, for defending the Rhine frontier from the incessantly repeated
incursions of the Germans, and hastened back to Italy to resume the
course of suspicion, perfidy, and cruelty which he pursued against the
republican pride and moral dignity remaining amongst a few remnants of
the Roman senate.  He was succeeded by Germanicus' unworthy son,
Caligula.  After a few days of hypocrisy on the part of the emperor, and
credulous hope on that of the people, they found a madman let loose to
take the place of an unfathomable and gloomy tyrant.  Caligula was much
taken up with Gaul, plundering it and giving free rein in it to his
frenzies, by turns disgusting or ridiculous.  In a short and fruitless
campaign on the banks of the Rhine, he had made too few prisoners for the
pomp of a triumph; he therefore took some Gauls, the tallest he could
find, of triumphal size, as he said, put them in German clothes, made
them learn some Teutonic words, and sent them away to Rome to await in
prison his return and his ovation.  Lyons, where he staid some time, was
the scene of his extortions and strangest freaks.  He was playing at dice
one day with some of his courtiers, and lost; he rose, sent for the
tax-list of the province, marked down for death and confiscation some of
those who were most highly rated, and said to the company, "You people,
you play for a few drachmas; but as for me, I have just won by a single
throw one hundred and fifty millions."  At the rumor of a plot hatched
against him in Italy, by some Roman nobles, he sent for and sold,
publicly, their furniture, jewels, and slaves.  As the sale was a
success, he extended it to the old furniture of his own palaces in Italy:
"I wish to fit out the Gauls," said he; "it is a mark of friendship I owe
to the brave performed the part Roman people."  He himself, at these
sales, performed the part of salesman and auctioneer, telling the history
of each article to enhance the price.  "This belonged to my father,
Germanicus; that comes to me from Agrippa; this vase is Egyptian, it was
Antony's, Augustus took it at the battle of Actium."  The imperial sales
were succeeded by literary games, at which the losers had to pay the
expenses of the prizes, and celebrate, in verse or prose, the praises of
the winners; and if their compositions were pronounced bad, they were
bound to wipe them out with a sponge or even with their tongues, unless
they preferred to be beaten with a rod or soused in the Rhone.  One day,
when Caligula, in the character of Jupiter, was seated at his tribunal
and delivering oracles in the middle of the public thoroughfare, a man of
the people remained motionless in front of him, with eyes of astonishment
fixed upon him.  "What seem I to thee?" asked the emperor, flattered, no
doubt, by this attention of the mob.  "A great monstrosity," answered the
Gaul.  And that, at the end of about four years, was the universal cry:
and against a mad emperor the only resource of the Roman world was at
that time assassination.  The captain of Caligula's guards rid Rome and
the provinces of him.

He did just one sensible and useful thing during the whole of his stay in
Gaul: he had a light-house constructed to illumine the passage between
Gaul and Great Britain.  Some traces of it, they say, have been

His successor, Claudius, brother of the great Germanicus, and married to
his own niece, the second Agrippina, was, as has been already stated,
born at Lyons, at the very moment when his father, Drusus, was
celebrating there the erection of an altar to Augustus.  During his whole
reign he showed to the city of his birth the most lively good-will, and
the constant aim as well as principal result of this good-will was to
render the city of Lyons more and more Roman by effacing all Gallic
characteristics and memories.  She was endowed with Roman rights,
monuments, and names, the most important or the most ostentatious; she
became the colony supereminently, the great municipal town of the Gauls,
the Claudian town; but she lost what had remained of her old municipal
government, that is of her administrative and commercial independence.
Nor was she the only one in Gaul to experience the good-will of Claudius.
This emperor, the mark of scorn from his infancy, whom his mother,
Antonia, called "a shadow of a man, an unfinished sketch of nature's
drawing," and of whom his grand-uncle, Augustus, used to say, "We shall
be forever in doubt, without any certainty of knowing whether he be or be
not equal to public duties," Claudius, the most feeble indeed of the
Caesars, in body, mind, and character, was nevertheless he who had
intermittent glimpses of the most elevated ideas and the most righteous
sentiments, and who strove the most sincerely to make them take the form
of deeds.  He undertook to assure to all free men of "long-haired" Gaul
the same Roman privileges that were enjoyed by the inhabitants of Lyons;
and amongst others, that of entering the senate of Rome and holding the
great public offices.  He made a formal proposal to that effect to the
senate, and succeeded, not without difficulty, in getting it adopted.
The speech that he delivered on this occasion has been to a great extent
preserved to us, not only in the summary given by Tacitus, but also in an
inscription on a bronze tablet, which split into many fragments at the
time of the destruction of the building in which it was placed.  The two
principal fragments were discovered at Lyons, in 1528, and they are now
deposited in the Museum of that city.  They fully confirm the most
equitable, and, it may be readily allowed, the most liberal act of policy
that emanated from the earlier Roman emperors.  "Claudius had taken it
into his head," says Seneca, "to see all Greeks, Gauls, Spaniards, and
Britons clad in the toga."  But at the same time he took great care to
spread everywhere the Latin tongue, and to make it take the place of the
different national idioms.  A Roman citizen, originally of Asia Minor,
and sent on a deputation to Rome by his compatriots, could not answer in
Latin the emperor's questions.  Claudius took away his privileges,
saying, "He is no Roman citizen who is ignorant of the language of Rome."

Claudius, however, was neither liberal nor humane towards a notable
portion of the Gallic populations, to wit, the Druids.  During his stay
in Gaul he proscribed them and persecuted them without intermission;
forbidding, under pain of death, their form of worship and every exterior
sign of their ceremonies.  He drove them away and pursued them even into
Great Britain, whither he conducted, A.D. 43, a military expedition,
almost the only one of his reign, save the continued struggle of his
lieutenants on the Rhine against the Germans.  It was evidently amongst
the corporation of Druids and under the influence of religious creeds and
traditions, that there was still pursued and harbored some of the old
Gallic spirit, some passion for national independence, and some hatred of
the Roman yoke.  In proportion as Claudius had been popular in Gaul did
his adopted son and successor, Nero, quickly become hated.  There is
nothing to show that he even went thither, either on the business of
government or to obtain the momentary access of favor always excited in
the mob by the presence and prestige of power.  It was towards Greece and
the East that a tendency was shown in the tastes and trips of Nero,
imperial poet, musician, and actor.  L. Verus, one of the military
commandants in Belgica, had conceived a project of a canal to unite the
Moselle to the Saone, and so the Mediterranean to the ocean; but
intrigues in the province and the palace prevented its execution, and in
the place of public works useful to Gaul, Nero caused a new census to be
made of the population whom he required to squeeze to pay for his
extravagance.  It was in his reign, as is well known, that a fierce fire
consumed a great part of Rome and her monuments.  The majority of
historians accuse Nero of having himself been the cause of it; but at any
rate he looked on with cynical indifference, as if amused at so grand a
spectacle, and taking pleasure in comparing it to the burning of Troy.
He did more: he profited by it so far as to have built for himself, free
of expense, that magnificent palace called "The Palace of Gold," of which
he said, when he saw it completed, "At last I am going to be housed as a
man should be."  Five years before the burning of Rome, Lyons had been a
prey to a similar scourge, and Seneca wrote to his friend Lucilius,
"Lugdunum, which was one of the show-places of Gaul, is sought for in
vain to-day; a single night sufficed for the disappearance of a vast
city; it perished in less time than I take to tell the tale."  Nero gave
upwards of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars towards the
reconstruction of Lyons, a gift that gained him the city's gratitude,
which was manifested, it is said, when his fall became imminent.  It was,
however, J. Vindex, a Gaul of Vienne, governor of the Lyonnese province,
who was the instigator of the insurrection which was fatal to Nero, and
which put Galba in his place.

When Nero was dead there was no other Caesar, no naturally indicated
successor to the empire.  The influence of the name of Caesar had spent
itself in the crimes, madnesses, and incapacity of his descendants.  Then
began a general search for emperors; and the ambition to be created
spread abroad amongst the men of note in the Roman world.  During the
eighteen months that followed the death of Nero, three pretenders--Galba,
Otho, and Vitellius--ran this formidable risk.  Galba was a worthy old
Roman senator, who frankly said, "If the vast body of the empire could be
kept standing in equilibrium without a head, I were worthy of the chief
place in the state."  Otho and Vitellius were two epicures, both indolent
and debauched, the former after an elegant, and the latter after a
beastly fashion.  Galba was raised to the purple by the Lyonnese and
Narbonnese provinces, Vitellius by the legions cantoned in the Belgic
province: to such an extent did Gaul already influence the destinies of
Rome.  All three met disgrace and death within the space of eighteen
months; and the search for an emperor took a turn towards the East, where
the command was held by Vespasian (Titus Flavius Vespasianus, of Rieti in
the duchy of Spoleto), a general sprung from a humble Italian family, who
had won great military distinction, and who, having been proclaimed first
at Alexandria, in Judea, and at Antioch, did not arrive until many
months afterwards at Rome, where he commenced the twenty-six years' reign
of the Flavian family.

Neither Vespasian nor his sons, Titus and Domitian, visited Gaul, as
their predecessors had.  Domitian alone put in a short appearance.  The
eastern provinces of the empire and the wars on the frontier of the
Danube, towards which the invasions of the Germans were at that time
beginning to be directed, absorbed the attention of the new emperors.
Gaul was far, however, from remaining docile and peaceful at this epoch.
At the vacancy that occurred after Nero and amid the claims of various
pretenders, the authority of the Roman name and the pressure of the
imperial power diminished rapidly; and the memory and desire of
independence were reawakened.  In Belgica the German peoplets, who had
been allowed to settle on the left bank of the Rhine, were very
imperfectly subdued, and kept up close communication with the independent
peoplets of the right bank.  The eight Roman legions cantoned in that
province were themselves much changed; many barbarians had been enlisted
amongst them, and did gallant service; but they were indifferent, and
always ready for a new master and a new country.  There were not wanting
symptoms, soon followed by opportunities for action, of this change in
sentiment and fact.  In the very centre of Gaul, between the Loire and
the Allier, a peasant, who has kept in history his Gallic name of Marie
or Maricus, formed a band, and scoured the country, proclaiming national
independence.  He was arrested by the local authorities and handed over
to Vitellius, who had him thrown to the beasts.  But in the northern part
of Belgica, towards the mouths of the Rhine, where a Batavian peoplet
lived, a man of note amongst his compatriots and in the service of the
Romans, amongst whom he had received the name of Claudius Civilis,
embraced first secretly, and afterwards openly, the cause of
insurrection.  He had vengeance to take for Nero's treatment, who had
caused his brother, Julius Paulus, to be beheaded, and himself to be put
in prison, whence he had been liberated by Galba.  He made a vow to let
his hair grow until he was revenged.  He had but one eye, and gloried in
the fact, saying that it had been so with Hannibal and with Sertorius,
and that his highest aspiration was to be like them.  He pronounced first
for Vitellius against Otho, then for Vespasian against Vitellius, and
then for the complete independence of his nation against Vespasian.  He
soon had, amongst the Germans on the two banks of the Rhine and amongst
the Gauls themselves, secret or declared allies.  He was joined by a
young Gaul from the district of Langres, Julius Sabinus, who boasted
that, during the great war with the Gauls, his great-grandmother had
taken the fancy of Julius Caesar, and that he owed his name to him.  News
had just reached Gaul of the burning down, for the second time, of the
Capitol during the disturbances at Rome on the death of Nero.  The Druids
came forth from the retreats where they had hidden since Claudius'
proscription, and reappeared in the towns and country-places, proclaiming
that "the Roman empire was at an end, that the Gallic empire was
beginning, and that the day had come when the possession of all the world
should pass into the hands of the Transalpine nations."  The insurgents
rose in the name of the Gallic empire, and Julius Sabinus assumed the
title of Caesar.  War commenced.  Confusion, hesitation, and actual
desertion reached the colonies and extended positively to the Roman
legions.  Several towns, even Troves and Cologne, submitted or fell into
the hands of the insurgents.  Several legions, yielding to bribery,
persuasion, or intimidation, went over to them, some with a bad grace,
others with the blood of their officers on their hands.  The gravity of
the situation was not misunderstood at Rome.  Petilius Cerealis, a
commander of renown for his campaigns on the Rhine, was sent off to
Belgica with seven fresh legions.  He was as skilful in negotiation and
persuasion as he was in battle.  The struggle that ensued was fierce, but
brief; and nearly all the towns and legions that had been guilty of
defection returned to their Roman allegiance.  Civilis, though not more
than half vanquished, himself asked leave to surrender.  The Batavian
might, as was said at the time, have inundated the country, and drowned
the Roman armies.  Vespasian, therefore, not being inclined to drive men
or matters to extremity, gave Civilis leave to go into retirement and
live in peace amongst the marshes of his own land.  The Gallic chieftains
alone, the projectors of a Gallic empire, were rigorously pursued and
chastised.  There was especially one, Julius Sabinus, the pretended
descendant of Julius Caesar, whose capture was heartily desired.  After
the ruin of his hopes he took refuge in some vaults connected with one of
his country houses.  The way in was known only to two devoted freedmen of
his, who set fire to the buildings, and spread a report that Sabinus had
poisoned himself, and that his dead body had been devoured by the flames.
He had a wife, a young Gaul named Eponina, who was in frantic despair at
the rumor; but he had her informed, by the mouth of one of his freedmen,
of his place of concealment, begging her at the same time to keep up a
show of widowhood and mourning, in order to confirm the report already in
circulation.  "Well did she play her part," to use Plutarch's expression,
"in her tragedy of woe."  She went at night to visit her husband in his
retreat, and departed at break of day; and at last would not depart at
all.  At the end of seven months, hearing great talk of Vespasian's
clemency, she set out for Rome, taking with her her husband, disguised as
a slave, with shaven head and a dress that made him unrecognizable.  But
the friends who were in their confidence advised them not to risk as yet
the chance of imperial clemency, and to return to their secret asylum.
There they lived for nine years, during which "as a lioness in her den,
neither more nor less," says Plutarch, "Eponina gave birth to two young
whelps, and suckled them herself at her teat."  At last they were
discovered and brought before Vespasian at Rome: "Caesar," said Eponina,
showing him her children, "I conceived them and suckled them in a tomb,
that there might be more of us to ask thy mercy."

[Illustration: Eponina and Sabinus hidden in a Vault----97]

But Vespasian was merciful only from prudence, and not by nature or from
magnanimity; and he sent Sabinus to execution.  Eponina asked that she
might die with her husband, saying, "Caesar, do me this grace; for I have
lived more happily beneath the earth and in the darkness than thou in the
splendor of thy empire."  Vespasian fulfilled her desire by sending her
also to execution; and Plutarch, their contemporary, undoubtedly
expressed the general feeling, when he ended his tale with the words,
"In all the long reign of this emperor there was no deed so cruel or so
piteous to see; and he was afterwards punished for it, for in a short
time all his posterity was extinct."

In fact the Caesars and the Flavians met the same fate; the two lines
began and ended alike; the former with Augustus and Nero, the latter with
Vespasian and Domitian; first a despot, able, cold, and as capable of
cruelty as of moderation, then a tyrant, atrocious and detested.  And
both were extinguished without a descendant.  Then a rare piece of good
fortune befell the Roman world.  Domitian, two years before he was
assassinated by some of his servants whom he was about to put to death,
grew suspicious of an aged and honorable senator, Cocceius Nerva, who had
been twice consul, and whom he had sent into exile, first to Tarenturn,
and then in Gaul, preparatory, probably, to a worse fate.  To this victim
of proscription application was made by the conspirators who had just got
rid of Domitian, and had to get another emperor.  Nerva accepted, but not
without hesitation, for he was sixty-four years old; he had witnessed the
violent death of six emperors, and his grandfather, a celebrated jurist,
and for a long while a friend of Tiberius, had killed himself, it is
said, for grief at the iniquitous and cruel government of his friend.
The short reign of Nerva was a wise, a just, and a humane, but a sad one,
not for the people, but for himself.  He maintained peace and order,
recalled exiles, suppressed informers, re-established respect for laws
and morals, turned a deaf ear to self-interested suggestions of
vengeance, spoliation, and injustice, proceeding at one time from those
who had made him emperor, at another from the Praetorian soldiers and the
Roman mob, who regretted Domitian just as they had Nero.  But Nerva did
not succeed in putting a stop to mob-violence or murders prompted by
cupidity or hatred.  Finding his authority insulted and his life
threatened, he formed a resolution which has been described and explained
by a learned and temperate historian of the last century, Lenain de
Tillemont (_Histoire des Empereurs,_ &c., t. ii.  p. 59), with so much
justice and precision that it is a pleasure to quote his own words.
"Seeing," says he, "that his age was despised, and that the empire
required some one who combined strength of mind and body, Nerva, being
free from that blindness which prevents one from discussing and measuring
one's own powers, and from that thirst for dominion which often prevails
over even those who are nearest to the grave, resolved to take a partner
in the sovereign power, and showed his wisdom by making choice of
Trajan."  By this choice, indeed, Nerva commenced and inaugurated the
finest period of the Roman empire, the period that contemporaries
entitled the golden age, and that history has named the age of the
Antonines.  It is desirable to become acquainted with the real character
of this period, for to it belong the two greatest historical events--the
dissolution of ancient pagan, and the birth of modern Christian society.

Five notable sovereigns, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and
Marcus Aurelius swayed the Roman empire during this period (A.D. 96-150).
What Nerva was has just been described; and he made no mistake in
adopting Trajan as his successor.  Trajan, unconnected by origin, as
Nerva also had been, with old Rome, was born in Spain, near Seville, and
by military service in the East had made his first steps towards fortune
and renown.  He was essentially a soldier--a moral and a modest soldier;
a friend to justice and the public weal; grand in what he undertook for
the empire he governed; simple and modest on his own score; respectful
towards the civil authority and the laws; untiring and equitable in the
work of provincial administration; without any philosophical system or
pretensions; full of energy and boldness, honesty and good sense.  He
stoutly defended the empire against the Germans on the banks of the
Danube, won for it the province of Dacia, and, being more taken up with
the East than the West, made many Asiatic conquests, of which his
successor, Hadrian, lost no time in abandoning, wisely no doubt,
a portion.  Hadrian, adopted by Trajan, and a Spaniard too, was
intellectually superior and morally very inferior to him.  He was full
of ambition, vanity, invention, and restlessness; he was sceptical in
thought and cynical in manners; and he was overflowing with political,
philosophical, and literary views and pretensions.  He passed the
twenty-one years of his reign chiefly in travelling about the empire,
in Asia, Africa, Greece, Spain, Gaul, and Great Britain, opening roads,
raising ramparts and monuments, founding schools of learning and museums,
and encouraging among the provinces, as well as at Rome, the march of
administration, legislation, and intellect, more for his own pleasure and
his own glorification than in the interest of his country and of society.
At the close of this active career, when he was ill and felt that he was
dying, he did the best deed of his life.  He had proved, in the discharge
of high offices, the calm and clear-sighted wisdom of Titus Antoninus, a
Gaul, whose family came originally from Nimes; he had seen him one day
coming to the senate and respectfully supporting the tottering steps of
his aged father (or father-in-law, according to Aurelius Victor); and he
adopted him as his successor.  Antoninus Pius, as a civilian, was just
what Trajan had been as a warrior--moral and modest; just and frugal;
attentive to the public weal; gentle towards individuals; full of respect
for laws and rights; scrupulous in justifying his deeds before the senate
and making them known to the populations by carefully posted edicts; and
more anxious to do no wrong or harm to anybody than to gain lustre from
brilliant or popular deeds.  "He surpasses all men in goodness," said his
contemporaries, and he conferred on the empire the best of gifts, for he
gave it Marcus Aurelius for its ruler.

It has been said that Marcus Aurelius was philosophy enthroned.  Without
any desire to contest or detract from that compliment, let it be added
that he was conscientiousness enthroned.  It is his grand and original
characteristic that he governed the Roman empire and himself with a
constant moral solicitude, ever anxious to realize that ideal of personal
virtue and general justice which he had conceived, and to which he
aspired.  His conception, indeed, of virtue and justice was incomplete,
and even false in certain cases; and in more than one instance, such as
the persecution of the Christians, he committed acts quite contrary to
the moral law which he intended to put in practice towards all men; but
his respect for the moral law was profound, and his intention to shape
his acts according to it, serious and sincere.  Let us cull a few phrases
from that collection of his private thoughts, which he entitled _For
Self,_ and which is really the most faithful picture man ever left of
himself and the pains he took with himself.  "There is," says he,
"relationship between all beings endowed with reason.  The world is like
a superior city within which the other cities are but families.  .  .  .
I have conceived the idea of a government founded on laws of general and
equal application.  Beware lest thou Caesarze thyself, for it is what
happens only too often.  Keep thyself simple, good, unaltered, worthy,
grave, a friend to justice, pious, kindly disposed, courageous enough for
any duty.  .  .  .  Reverence the gods, preserve mankind.  Life is short;
the only possible good fruit of our earthly existence is holiness of
intention and deeds that tend to the common weal.  .  .  .  My soul, be
thou covered with shame!  Thy life is well nigh gone, and thou hast not
yet learned how to live."  Amongst men who have ruled great states, it is
not easy to mention more than two, Marcus Aurelius and Saint Louis, who
have been thus passionately concerned about the moral condition of their
souls and the moral conduct of their lives.  The mind of Marcus Aurelius
was superior to that of Saint Louis; but Saint Louis was a Christian, and
his moral ideal was more pure, more complete, more satisfying, and more
strengthening for the soul than the philosophical ideal of Marcus
Aurelius.  And so Saint Louis was serene and confident as to his fate and
that of the human race, whilst Marcus Aurelius was disquieted and sad--
sad for himself and also for humanity, for his country and for his times:
"O, my sole," was his cry, "wherefore art thou troubled, and why am I so

We are here brought closer to the fact which has already been
foreshadowed, and which characterizes the moral and social condition of
the Roman world at this period.  It would be a great error to take the
five emperors just spoken of--Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and
Marcus Aurelius--as representatives of the society amidst which they
lived, and as giving in a certain degree the measure of its
enlightenment, its morality, its prosperity, its disposition, and
condition in general.  Those five princes were not only picked men,
superior in mind and character to the majority of their contemporaries,
but they were men almost isolated in their generation; in them there was
a resumption of all that had been acquired by Greek and Roman antiquity
of enlightenment and virtue, practical wisdom and philosophical morality:
they were the heirs and the survivors of the great minds and the great
politicians of Athens and Rome, of the Areopagus and the Senate.  They
were not in intellectual and moral harmony with the society they
governed, and their action upon it served hardly to preserve it partially
and temporarily from the evils to which it was committed by its own vices
and to break its fall.  When they were thoughtful and modest as Marcus
Aurelius was, they were gloomy and disposed to discouragement, for they
had a secret foreboding of the uselessness of their efforts.

Nor was their gloom groundless: in spite of their honest plans and
of brilliant appearances, the degradation, material as well as moral,
of Roman society went on increasing.  The wars, the luxury, the
dilapidations, and the disturbances of the empire always raised its
expenses much above its receipts.  The rough miserliness of Vespasian and
the wise economy of Antoninus Pius were far from sufficient to restore
the balance; the aggravation of imposts was incessant; and the
population, especially the agricultural population, dwindled away more
and more, in Italy itself, the centre of the state.  This evil disquieted
the emperors, when they were neither idiots nor madmen; Claudius,
Vespasian, Nerva, and Trajan labored to supply a remedy, and Augustus
himself had set them the example.  They established in Italy colonies of
veterans to whom they assigned lands; they made gifts thereof to indigent
Roman citizens; they attracted by the title of senator rich citizens from
the provinces, and when they had once installed them as landholders in
Italy, they did not permit them to depart without authorization.  Trajan
decreed that every candidate for the Roman magistracies should be bound
to have a third of his fortune invested in Italian land, "in order," says
Pliny the Younger, "that those who sought the public dignities should
regard Rome and Italy not as an inn to put up at in travelling, but as
their home."  And Pliny the Elder, going as a philosophical observer to
the very root of the evil, says, in his pompous manner, "In former times
our generals tilled their fields with their own hands; the earth, we may
suppose, opened graciously beneath a plough crowned with laurels and held
by triumphal hands, maybe because those great men gave to tillage the
same care that they gave to war, and that they sowed seed with the same
attention with which they pitched a camp; or maybe, also, because
everything fructifies best in honorable hands, because everything is done
with the most scrupulous exactitude.  .  .  .  Nowadays these same fields
are given over to slaves in chains, to malefactors who are condemned to
penal servitude, and on whose brow there is a brand.  Earth is not deaf
to our prayers; we give her the name of mother; culture is what we call
the pains we bestow on her .  .  .  but can we be surprised if she render
not to slaves the recompense she paid to generals?"

What must have been the decay of population and of agriculture in the
provinces, when even in Italy there was need of such strong protective
efforts, which were nevertheless so slightly successful?

Pliny had seen what was the fatal canker of the Roman empire in the
country as well as in the towns: slavery or semi-slavery.

Landed property was overwhelmed with taxes, was subject to conditions
which branded it with a sort of servitude, and was cultivated by a
servile population, in whose hands it became almost barren.  The large
holders were thus disgusted, and the small ruined or reduced to a
condition more and more degraded.  Add to this state of things in the
civil department a complete absence of freedom and vitality in the
political; no elections, no discussion, no public responsibility;
characters weakened by indolence and silence, or destroyed by despotic
power, or corrupted by the intrigues of court or army.  Take a step
farther; cast a glance over the moral department; no religious creeds and
nothing left of even Paganism but its festivals and frivolous or shameful
superstitions.  The philosophy of Greece and the old Roman manner of life
had raised up, it is true, in the higher ranks of society Stoics and
jurists, the former the last champions of morality and the dignity of
human nature, the latter the last enlightened servants of the civil
community.  But neither the doctrines of the Stoics nor the science and
able reasoning of the jurists were lights and guides within the reach and
for the use of the populace, who remained a prey to the vices and
miseries of servitude or public disorders, oscillating between the
wearisomeness of barren ignorance and the corruptiveness of a life of
adventure.  All the causes of decay were at this time spreading
throughout Roman society; not a single preservative or regenerative
principle of national life was in any force or any esteem.

After the death of Marcus Aurelius the decay manifested and developed
itself, almost without interruption, for the space of a century, the
outward and visible sign of it being the disorganization and repeated
falls of the government itself.  The series of emperors given to the
Roman world by heirship or adoption, from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius,
was succeeded by what may be termed an imperial anarchy; in the course of
one hundred and thirty-two years the sceptre passed into the hands of
thirty-nine sovereigns with the title of _emperor (Augustus)_, and was
clutched at by thirty-one pretenders, whom history has dubbed tyrants,
without other claim than their fiery ambition and their trials of
strength, supported at one time in such and such a province of the empire
by certain legions or some local uprising, at another, and most
frequently in Italy itself, by the Praetorian guards, who had at their
disposal the name of Rome and the shadow of a senate.  There were
Italians, Africans, Spaniards, Gauls, Britons, Illyrians, and Asiatics;
and amongst the number were to be met with some cases of eminence in war
and politics, and some even of rare virtue and patriotism, such as
Pertinax, Septimius Severus, Alexander Severus, Deeius, Claudius
Gothicus, Aurelian, Tacitus, and Probus.  They made great efforts, some
to protect the empire against the barbarians, growing day by day more
aggressive, others to re-establish within it some sort of order, and to
restore to the laws some sort of force.  All failed, and nearly all died
a violent death, after a short-lived guardianship of a fabric that was
crumbling to pieces in every part, but still under the grand name of
Roman Empire.  Gaul had her share in this series of ephemeral emperors
and tyrants; one of the most wicked and most insane, though issue of one
of the most valorous and able, Caracalla, son of Septimius Severus, was
born at Lyons, four years after the death of Marcus Aurelius.  A hundred
years later Narbonne gave in two years to the Roman world three emperors,
Carus and his two sons, Carinus and Numerian.  Amongst the thirty-one
tyrants who did not attain to the title of Augustus, six were Gauls; and
the last two, Amandus and AElianus, were, A.D. 285, the chiefs of that
great insurrection of peasants, slaves or half-slaves, who, under the
name of Bagaudians (signifying, according to Ducange, a wandering troop
of insurgents from field and forest), spread themselves over the north of
Gaul, between the Rhine and the Loire, pillaging and ravaging in all
directions, after having themselves endured the pillaging and ravages of
the fiscal agents and soldiers of the empire.  A contemporary witness,
Lactantius, describes the causes of this popular outbreak in the
following words: "So enormous had the imposts become, that the tillers'
strength was exhausted; fields became deserts and farms were changed into
forests.  The fiscal agents measured the land by the clod; trees,
vinestalks, were all counted.  The cattle were marked; the people
registered.  Old age or sickness was no excuse; the sick and the infirm
were brought up; every one's age was put down; a few years were added on
to the children's, and taken off from the old men's.  Meanwhile the
cattle decreased, the people died, and there was no deduction made for
the dead."

It is said that to excite the confidence and zeal of their bands, the two
chiefs of the Bagaudians had medals struck, and that one exhibited the
head of Amandus, "Emperor, Caesar, Augustus, pious and prosperous," with
the word "Hope" on the other side.

When public evils have reached such a pitch, and nevertheless the day has
not yet arrived for the entire disappearance of the system that causes
them, there arises nearly always a new power which, in the name of
necessity, applies some remedy to an intolerable condition.  A legion
cantoned amongst the Tungrians (Tongres), in Belgica, had on its
muster-roll a Dalmatian named Diocletian, not yet very high in rank,
but already much looked up to by his comrades on account of his
intelligence and his bravery.  He lodged at a woman's, who was, they
said, a Druidess, and had the prophetic faculty.  One day when he was
settling his account with her, she complained of his extreme parsimony:
"Thou'rt too stingy, Diocletian," said she; and he answered laughing,
"I'll be prodigal when I'm emperor."  "Laugh not," rejoined she: "thou'lt
be emperor when thou hast slain a wild boar" (aper).  The conversation
got about amongst Diocletian's comrades.  He made his way in the army,
showing continual ability and valor, and several times during his changes
of quarters and frequent hunting expeditions he found occasion to kill
wild boars; but he did not immediately become emperor, and several of his
contemporaries, Aurelian, Tacitus, Probus, Carus, and Numerian, reached
the goal before him.  "I kill the wild boars," said he to one of his
friends, "and another eats them."  The last mentioned of these ephemeral
emperors, Numerian, had for his father-in-law and inseparable comrade a
Praetorian prefect named Arrius Aper.  During a campaign in Mesopotamia
Numerian was assassinated, and the voice of the army pronounced Aper
guilty.  The legions assembled to deliberate about Numerian's death and
to choose his successor.  Aper was brought before the assembly under a
guard of soldiers.  Through the exertions of zealous friends the
candidature of Diocletian found great favor.  At the first words
pronounced by him from a raised platform in the presence of the troops,
cries of "Diocletian Augustus "were raised in every quarter.  Other
voices called on him to express his feelings about Numerian's murderers.
Drawing his sword, Diocletian declared on oath that he was innocent of
the emperor's death, but that he knew who was guilty and would find means
to punish him.  Descending suddenly from the platform, he made straight
for the Praetorian prefect, and saying, "Aper, be comforted; thou shalt
not die by vulgar hands; by the right hand of great AEneas thou fallest,"
he gave him his death-wound.  "I have killed the prophetic wild boar,"
said he in the evening to his confidants; and soon afterwards, in spite
of the efforts of certain rivals, he was emperor.

"Nothing is more difficult than to govern," was a remark his comrades had
often heard made by him amidst so many imperial catastrophes.  Emperor in
his turn, Diocletian treasured up this profound idea of the difficulty of
government, and he set to work, ably, if not successfully, to master it.
Convinced that the empire was too vast, and that a single man did not
suffice to make head against the two evils that were destroying it,--war
against barbarians on the frontiers, and anarchy within,--he divided the
Roman world into two portions, gave the West to Maximian, one of his
comrades, a coarse but valiant soldier, and kept the East himself.  To
the anarchy that reigned within he opposed a general despotic
administrative organization, a vast hierarchy of civil and military
agents, everywhere present, everywhere masters, and dependent upon the
emperor alone.  By his incontestable and admitted superiority, Diocletian
remained the soul of these two bodies.  At the end of eight years he saw
that the two empires were still too vast; and to each Augustus he added a
Caesar,--Galerius and Constantius Chlorus,--who, save a nominal, rather
than real, subordination to the two emperors, had, each in his own state,
the imperial power with the same administrative system.  In this
partition of the Roman world, Gaul had the best of it: she had for
master, Constantius Chlorus, a tried warrior, but just, gentle, and
disposed to temper the exercise of absolute power with moderation and
equity.  He had a son, Constantine, at this time eighteen years of age,
whom he was educating carefully for government as well as for war.  This
system of the Roman empire, thus divided between four masters, lasted
thirteen years; still fruitful in wars and in troubles at home, but
without victories, and with somewhat less of anarchy.  In spite of this
appearance of success and durability, absolute power failed to perform
its task; and, weary of his burden and disgusted with the imperfection of
his work, Diocletian abdicated A.D. 303.  No event, no solicitations of
his old comrades in arms and empire, could draw him from his retreat on
his native soil of Salona, in Dalmatia.  "If you could see the vegetables
planted by these hands," said he to Maximian and Galerius, "you would not
make the attempt."  He had persuaded or rather dragged his first
colleague, Maximian, into abdication after him; and so Galerius in the
East, and Constantius Chlorus in the West, remained sole emperors.  After
the retirement of Diocletian, ambitions, rivalries, and intrigues were
not slow to make head; Maximian reappeared on the scene of empire, but
only to speedily disappear (A.D. 310), leaving in his place his son
Maxentius.  Constantius Chlorus had died A.D. 306, and his son,
Constantine, had immediately been proclaimed by his army Caesar and
Augustus.  Galerius died A.D. 311 and Constantine remained to dispute the
mastery with Maxentius in the West, and in the East with Maximinus and
Licinius, the last colleagues taken by Diocletian and Galerius.  On the
29th of October, A.D. 312, after having gained several battles against
Maxentius in Italy, at Milan, Brescia, and Verona, Constantine pursued
and defeated him before Rome, on the borders of the Tiber, at the foot of
the Milvian bridge; and the son of Maximian, drowned in the Tiber, left
to the son of Constantins Chlorus the Empire of the West, to which that
of the East was destined to be in a few years added, by the defeat and
death of Licinius.  Constantine, more clear-sighted and more fortunate
than any of his predecessors, had understood his era, and opened his eyes
to the new light which was rising upon the world.  Far from persecuting
the Christians, as Diocletian and Galerius had done, he had given them
protection, countenance, and audience; and towards him turned all their
hopes.  He had even, it is said, in his last battle against Maxentius,
displayed the Christian banner, the cross, with this inscription: Hoc
signo vinces ("with this device thou shalt conquer ").  There is no
knowing what was at that time the state of his soul, and to what extent
it was penetrated by the first rays of Christian faith; but it is certain
that he was the first amongst the masters of the Roman world to perceive
and accept its influence.  With him Paganism fell, and Christianity
mounted the throne.  With him the decay of Roman society stops, and the
era of modern society commences.

[Illustration: Knights returning from Foray----311]


When Christianity began to penetrate into Gaul, it encountered there two
religions very different one from the other, and infinitely more
different from the Christian religion; these were Druidism and Paganism--
hostile one to the other, but with a hostility political only, and
unconnected with those really religious questions that Christianity was
coming to raise.

[Illustration: Christianity established in Gaul----111]

Druidism, considered as a religion, was a mass of confusion, wherein the
instinctive notions of the human race concerning the origin and destiny
of the world and of mankind were mingled with the Oriental dreams of
metempsychosis--that pretended transmigration, at successive periods, of
immortal souls into divers creatures.  This confusion was worse
confounded by traditions borrowed from the mythologies of the East and
the North, by shadowy remnants of a symbolical worship paid to the
material forces of nature, and by barbaric practices, such as human
sacrifices, in honor of the gods or of the dead.  People who are without
the scientific development of language and the art of writing do not
attain to systematic and productive religious creeds.  There is nothing
to show that, from the first appearance of the Gauls in history to their
struggle with victorious Rome, the religious influence of Druidism had
caused any notable progress to be made in Gallic manners and
civilization.  A general and strong, but vague and incoherent, belief in
the immortality of the soul was its noblest characteristic.  But with the
religious elements, at the same time coarse and mystical, were united two
facts of importance: the Druids formed a veritable ecclesiastical
corporation, which had, throughout Gallic society, fixed attributes,
special manners and customs, an existence at the same time distinct and
national; and in the wars with Rome this corporation became the most
faithful representatives and the most persistent defenders of Gallic
independence and nationality.  The Druids were far more a clergy than
Druidism was a religion; but it was an organized and a patriotic clergy.
It was especially on this account that they exercised in Gaul an
influence which was still existent, particularly in north-western Gaul,
at the time when Christianity reached the Gallic provinces of the south
and centre.

[Illustration: Druids offering Human Sacrifices----111]

The Greco-Roman Paganism was, at this time, far more powerful than
Druidism in Gaul, and yet more lukewarm and destitute of all religious
vitality.  It was the religion of the conquerors and of the state, and
was invested, in that quality, with real power; but, beyond that, it had
but the power derived from popular customs and superstitions.  As a
religious creed, the Latin Paganism was at bottom empty, indifferent, and
inclined to tolerate all religions in the state, provided only that they,
in their turn, were indifferent at any rate towards itself, and that they
did not come troubling the state, either by disobeying her rulers or by
attacking her old deities, dead and buried beneath their own still
standing altars.

Such were the two religions with which, in Gaul, nascent Christianity had
to contend.  Compared with them it was, to all appearance, very small and
very weak; but it was provided with the most efficient weapons for
fighting and beating them, for it had exactly the moral forces which they
lacked.  Christianity, instead of being, like Druidism, a religion
exclusively national and hostile to all that was foreign, proclaimed a
universal religion, free from all local and national partiality,
addressing itself to all men in the name of the same God, and offering to
all the same salvation.  It is one of the strangest and most significant
facts in history, that the religion most universally human, most
dissociated from every consideration but that of the rights and
well-being of the human race in its entirety--that such a religion, be
it repeated, should have come forth from the womb of the most exclusive,
most rigorously and obstinately national religion that ever appeared in
the world, that is, Judaism.  Such, nevertheless, was the birth of
Christianity; and this wonderful contrast between the essence and the
earthly origin of Christianity was without doubt one of its most
powerful attractions and most efficacious means of success.

Against Paganism Christianity was armed with moral forces not a whit less
great.  Confronting mythological traditions and poetical or philosophical
allegories, appeared a religion truly religious, concerned solely with
the relations of mankind to God and with their eternal future.  To the
pagan indifference of the Roman world the Christians opposed the profound
conviction of their faith, and not only their firmness in defending it
against all powers and all dangers, but also their ardent passion for
propagating it without any motive but the yearning to make their fellows
share in its benefits and its hopes.  They confronted, nay, they welcomed
martyrdom, at one time to maintain their own Christianity, at another to
make others Christians around them; propagandism was for them a duty
almost as imperative as fidelity.  And it was not in memory of old and
obsolete mythologies, but in the name of recent deeds and persons, in
obedience to laws proceeding from God, One and Universal, in fulfilment
and continuation of a contemporary and superhuman history,--that of Jesus
Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man,--that the Christians of the first
two centuries labored to convert to their faith the whole Roman world.
Marcus Aurelius was contemptuously astonished at what he called the
obstinacy of the Christians; he knew not from what source these nameless
heroes drew a strength superior to his own, though he was at the same
time emperor and sage.  It is impossible to assign with exactness the
date of the first footprints and first labors of Christianity in Gaul.
It was not, however, from Italy, nor in the Latin tongue and through
Latin writers, but from the East and through the Greeks, that it first
came and began to spread.  Marseilles--and the different Greek colonies,
originally from Asia Minor and settled upon the shores of the
Mediterranean or along the Rhone, mark the route and were the places
whither the first Christian missionaries carried their teaching: on this
point the letters of the Apostles and the writings of the first two
generations of their disciples are clear and abiding proof.  In the west
of the empire, especially in Italy, the Christians at their first
appearance were confounded with the Jews, and comprehended under the same
name: "The Emperor Claudius," says Suetonius, "drove from Rome (A.D. 52)
the Jews who, at the instigation of Christus, were in continual
commotion."  After the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus (A.D. 71), the
Jews, Christian or not, dispersed throughout the Empire; but the
Christians were not slow to signalize themselves by their religious
fervor, and to come forward everywhere under their own true name.  Lyons
became the chief centre of Christian preaching and association in Gaul.
As early as the first half of the second century there existed there a
Christian congregation, regularly organized as a church, and already
sufficiently important to be in intimate and frequent communication with
the Christian Churches of the East and West.  There is a tradition,
generally admitted, that St. Pothinus, the first Bishop of Lyons, was
sent thither from the East by the Bishop of Smyrna, St. Polycarp, himself
a disciple of St. John.  One thing is certain, that the Christian Church
of Lyons produced Gaul's first martyrs, amongst whom was the Bishop, St.

It was under Marcus Aurelius, the most philosophical and most
conscientious of the emperors, that there was enacted for the first
time in Gaul, against nascent Christianity, that scene of tyranny and
barbarity which was to be renewed so often and during so many centuries
in the midst of Christendom itself.  In the eastern provinces of the
Empire and in Italy the Christians had already been several times
persecuted, now with cold-blooded cruelty, now with some slight
hesitation and irresolution.  Nero had caused them to be burned in the
streets of Rome, accusing them of the conflagration himself had kindled,
and, a few months before his fall, St. Peter and St. Paul had undergone
martyrdom at Rome.  Domitian had persecuted and put to death Christians
even in his own family, and though invested with the honors of the
consulate.  Righteous Trajan, when consulted by Pliny the Younger on the
conduct he should adopt in Bithynia towards the Christians, had answered,
"It is impossible, in this sort of matter, to establish any certain
general rule; there must be no quest set on foot against them, and no
unsigned indictment must be accepted; but if they be accused and
convicted, they must be punished."  To be punished, it sufficed that they
were convicted of being Christians; and it was Trajan himself who
condemned St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, to be brought to Rome and
thrown to the beasts, for the simple reason that he was highly Christian.
Marcus Aurelius, not only by virtue of his philosophical
conscientiousness, but by reason of an incident in his history, seemed
bound to be farther than any other from persecuting the Christians.
During one of his campaigns on the Danube, A.D. 174, his army was
suffering cruelly from fatigue and thirst; and at the very moment when
they were on the point of engaging in a great battle against the
barbarians, the rain fell in abundance, refreshed the Roman soldiers, and
conduced to their victory.  There was in the Roman army a legion, the
twelfth, called the _Melitine_ or the _Thundering,_ which bore on its
roll many Christian soldiers.  They gave thanks for the rain and the
victory to the one omnipotent God who had heard their prayers, whilst the
pagans rendered like honor to Jupiter, the rain-giver and the thunderer.
The report about these Christians got spread abroad and gained credit in
the Empire, so much so that there was attributed to Marcus Aurelius a
letter, in which, by reason, no doubt, of this incident, he forbade
persecution of the Christians.  Tertullian, a contemporary witness,
speaks of this letter in perfect confidence; and the Christian writers
of the following century did not hesitate to regard it as authentic.
Nowadays a strict examination of its existing text does not allow such a
character to be attributed to it.  At any rate the persecutions of the
Christians were not forbidden, for in the year 177, that is, only three
years after the victory of Marcus Aurelius over the Germans, there took
place, undoubtedly by his orders, the persecution which caused at Lyons
the first Gallic martyrdom.  This was the fourth, or, according to
others, the fifth great imperial persecution of the Christians.

Most tales of the martyrs were written long after the event, and came to
be nothing more than legends laden with details often utterly puerile or
devoid of proof.  The martyrs of Lyons in the second century wrote, so to
speak, their own history; for it was their comrades, eye-witnesses of
their sufferings and their virtue, who gave an account of them in a long
letter addressed to their friends in Asia Minor, and written with
passionate sympathy and pious prolixity, but bearing all the,
characteristics of truth.  It seems desirable to submit for perusal that
document, which has been preserved almost entire in the Ecclesiastical
History of Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea in the third century, and which
will exhibit, better than any modern representations, the state of facts
and of souls in the midst of the imperial persecutions, and the mighty
faith, devotion, and courage with which the early Christians faced the
most cruel trials.

"The servants of Christ, dwelling at Vienne and Lyons in Gaul, to the
brethren settled in Asia and Phrygia, who have the same faith and hope of
redemption that we have, peace, grace, and glory from God the Father and
Jesus Christ our Lord!

"None can tell to you in speech or fully set forth to you in writing the
weight of our misery, the madness and rage of the Gentiles against the
saints, and all that hath been suffered by the blessed martyrs.  Our
enemy doth rush upon us with all the fury of his powers, and already
giveth us a foretaste and the first-fruits of all the license with which
he doth intend to set upon us.  He hath omitted nothing for the training
of his agents against us, and he doth exercise them in a sort of
preparatory work against the servants of the Lord.  Not only are we
driven from the public buildings, from the baths, and from the forum, but
it is forbidden to all our people to appear publicly in any place

"The grace of God hath striven for us against the devil: at the same time
that it hath sustained the weak, it hath opposed to the Evil One, as it
were, pillars of strength--men strong and valiant, ready to draw on
themselves all his attacks.  They have had to bear all manner of insult;
they have deemed but a small matter that which others find hard and
terrible; and they have thought only of going to Christ, proving by their
example that the sufferings of this world are not worthy to be put in the
balance with the glory which is to be manifested in us.  They have
endured, in the first place, all the outrages that could be heaped upon
them by the multitude, outcries, blows, thefts, spoliation, stoning,
imprisonment, all that the fury of the people could devise against hated
enemies.  Then, dragged to the forum by the military tribune and the
magistrates of the city, they have been questioned before the people and
cast into prison until the coming of the governor.  He, from the moment
our people appeared before him, committed all manner of violence against
them.  Then stood forth one of our brethren, Vettius Epagathus, full of
love towards God and his neighbor, living a life so pure and strict that,
young as he was, men held him to be the equal of the aged Zacharias.--
He could not bear that judgment so unjust should go forth against us,
and, moved with indignation, he asked leave to defend his brethren, and
to prove that there was in them no kind of irreligion or impiety.  Those
present at the tribunal, amongst whom he was known and celebrated, cried
out against him, and the governor himself, enraged at so just a demand,
asked him no more than this question, 'Art thou a Christian?'
Straightway with a loud voice, he declared himself a Christian, and was
placed amongst the number of the martyrs.  .  .  .

"Afterwards the rest began to be examined and classed.  The first, firm
and well prepared, made hearty and solemn confession of their faith.
Others, ill prepared and with little firmness, showed that they lacked
strength for such a fight.  About ten of them fell away, which caused us
incredible pain and mourning.  Their example broke down the courage of
others, who, not being yet in bonds, though they had already had much to
suffer, kept close to the martyrs, and withdrew not out of their sight.
Then were we all stricken with dread for the issue of the trial: not that
we had great fear of the torments inflicted, but because, prophesying the
result according to the degree of courage of the accused, we feared much
falling away.  They took, day by day, those of our brethren who were
worthy to replace the weak; so that all the best of the two churches,
those whose care and zeal had founded them, were taken and confined.
They took, likewise, some of our slaves, for the governor had ordered
that they should be all summoned to attend in public; and they, fearing
the torments they saw the saints undergo, and instigated by the soldiers,
accused us falsely of odious deeds, such as the banquet of Thyestes, the
incest of OEdipus, and other crimes which must not be named or even
thought of, and which we cannot bring ourselves to believe that men were
ever guilty of.  These reports having once spread amongst the people,
even those persons who had hitherto, by reason, perhaps, of relationship,
shown moderation towards us, burst forth into bitter indignation against
our people.  Thus was fulfilled that which had been prophesied by the
Lord: 'The time cometh when whosoever shall kill you shall think that he
doeth God service.'  Since that day the holy martyrs have suffered
tortures that no words can express.

"The fury of the multitude, of the governor, and of the soldiers, fell
chiefly upon Sanctus, a deacon of Vienne; upon Maturus, a neophyte still,
but already a valiant champion of Christ; upon Attalus also, born at
Pergamus, but who hath ever been one of the pillars of our Church; upon
Blandina, lastly, in whom Christ hath made it appear that persons who
seem vile and despised of men are just those whom God holds in the
highest honor by reason of the excellent love they bear Him, which is
manifested in their firm virtue, and not in vain show.  All of us, and
even Blandina's mistress here below, who fought valiantly with the other
martyrs, feared that this poor slave, so weak of body, would not be in a
condition to freely confess her faith; but she was sustained by such
vigor of soul that the executioners, who from morn till eve put her to
all manner of torture, failed in their efforts, and declared themselves
beaten, not knowing what further punishment to inflict, and marvelling
that she still lived, with her body pierced through and through, and torn
piecemeal by so many tortures, of which a single one should have sufficed
to kill her.  But that blessed saint, like a valiant athlete, took fresh
courage and strength from the confession of her faith; all feeling of
pain vanished, and ease returned to her at the mere utterance of the
words, 'I am a Christian, and no evil is wrought amongst us.'

"As for Sanctus, the executioners hoped that in the midst of the tortures
inflicted upon him--the most atrocious which man could devise--they would
hear him say something unseemly or unlawful; but so firmly did he resist
them, that, without even saying his name, or that of his nation or city,
or whether he was bond or free, he only replied in the Roman tongue, to
all questions, 'I am a Christian.'  Therein was, for him, his name, his
country, his condition, his whole being; and never could the Gentiles
wrest from him another word.  The fury of the governor and the
executioners was redoubled against him; and, not knowing how to torment
him further, they applied to his most tender members bars of red-hot
iron.  His members burned; but he, upright and immovable, persisted in
his profession of faith, as if living waters from the bosom of Christ
flowed over him and refreshed him.  .  .  .  Some days after, these
infidels began again to torture him, believing that if they inflicted
upon his blistering wounds the same agonies, they would triumph over him,
who seemed unable to bear the mere touch of their hands; and they hoped,
also, that the sight of this torturing alive would terrify his comrades.
But, contrary to general expectation, the body of Sanctus, rising
suddenly up, stood erect and firm amidst these repeated torments, and
recovered its old appearance and the use of its members, as if, by Divine
grace, this second laceration of his flesh had caused healing rather than
suffering.  .  .  .

"When the tyrants had thus expended and exhausted their tortures against
the firmness of the martyrs sustained by Christ, the devil devised other
contrivances.  They were cast into the darkest and most unendurable place
in their prison; their feet were dragged out and compressed to the utmost
tension of the muscles; the jailers, as if instigated by a demon, tried
every sort of torture, insomuch that several of them, for whom God willed
such an end, died of suffocation in prison.  Others, who had been
tortured in such a manner that it was thought impossible they should long
survive, deprived as they were of every remedy and aid from men, but
supported nevertheless by the grace of God, remained sound and strong in
body as in soul, and comforted and reanimated their brethren.  .  .  .

"The blessed Pothinus, who held at that time the bishopric of Lyons,
being upwards of ninety, and so weak in body that he could hardly
breathe, was himself brought before the tribunal, so worn with old age
and sickness that he seemed nigh to extinction; but he still possessed
his soul, wherewith to subserve the triumph of Christ.  Being brought by
the soldiers before the tribunal, whither he was accompanied by all the
magistrates of the city and the whole populace, that pursued him with
hootings, he offered, as if he had been the very Christ, the most
glorious testimony.  At a question from the governor, who asked what the
God of the Christians was, he answered, 'If thou be worthy, thou shalt
know.'  He was immediately raised up, without any respect or humanity,
and blows were showered upon him; those who happened to be nearest to him
assaulted him grievously with foot and fist, without the slightest regard
for his age; those who were farther off cast at him whatever was to their
hand; they would all have thought themselves guilty of the greatest
default if they had not done their best, each on his own score, to insult
him brutally.  They believed they were avenging the wrongs of their gods.
Pothinus, still breathing, was cast again into prison, and two days after
yielded up his spirit.

"Then were manifested a singular dispensation of God and the immeasurable
compassion of Jesus Christ; an example rare amongst brethren, but in
accord with the intentions and the justice of the Lord.  All those who,
at their first arrest, had denied their faith, were themselves cast into
prison and given over to the same sufferings as the other martyrs, for
their denial did not serve them at all.  Those who had made profession of
being what they really were--that is, Christians--were imprisoned without
being accused of other crimes.  The former, on the contrary, were
confined as homicides and wretches, thus suffering a double punishment.
The one sort found repose in the honorable joys of martyrdom, in the hope
of promised blessedness, in the love of Christ, and in the spirit of God
the Father; the other were a prey to the reproaches of conscience.  It
was easy to distinguish the one from the other by their looks.  The one
walked joyously, bearing on their faces a majesty mingled with sweetness,
and their very bonds seemed unto them an ornament, even as the broidery
that decks a bride .  .  .  the other, with downcast eyes and humble and
dejected air, were an object of contempt to the Gentiles themselves, who
regarded them as cowards who had forfeited the glorious and saving name
of Christians.  And so they who were present at this double spectacle
were thereby signally strengthened, and whoever amongst them chanced to
be arrested confessed the faith without doubt or hesitation.  .  .  .

"Things having come to this pass, different kinds of death were inflicted
on the martyrs, and they offered to God a crown of divers flowers.  It
was but right that the most valiant champions, those who had sustained a
double assault and gained a signal victory, should receive a splendid
crown of immortality.  The neophyte Maturus and the deacon Sanctus, with
Blandina and Attalus, then, were led into the amphitheatre, and thrown to
the beasts, as a sight to please the inhumanity of the Gentiles.  .  .  .
Maturus and Sanctus there underwent all kinds of tortures, as if they had
hitherto suffered nothing; or, rather, like athletes who had already been
several times victorious, and were contending for the crown of crowns,
they braved the stripes with which they were beaten, the bites of the
beasts that dragged them to and fro, and all that was demanded by the
outcries of an insensate mob, so much the more furious, because it could
by no means overcome the firmness of the martyrs or extort from Sanctus
any other speech than that which, on the first day, he had uttered: 'I am
a Christian.'

"After this fearful contest, as life was not extinct, their throats were
at last cut, when they alone had thus been offered as a spectacle to the
public instead of the variety displayed in the combat of gladiators.
Blandina, in her turn, tied to a stake, was given to the beasts: she was
seen hanging, as it were, on a sort of cross, calling upon God with
trustful fervor, and the brethren present were reminded, in the person of
a sister, of Him who had been crucified for their salvation.  .  .  .  As
none of the beasts would touch the body of Blandina, she was released
from the stake, taken back to prison, and reserved for another occasion.
.  .  .  Attalus, whose execution, seeing that he was a man of mark, was
furiously demanded by the people, came forward ready to brave everything,
as a man deriving confidence from the memory of his life, for he had
courageously trained himself to discipline, and had always amongst us
borne witness for the truth.  He was led all round the amphitheatre,
preceded by a board bearing this inscription in Latin: 'This is Attalus
the Christian.'  The people pursued him with the most furious hootings;
but the governor, having learnt that he was a Roman citizen, had him
taken back to prison with the rest.  Having subsequently written to
Caesar, he waited for his decision as to those who were thus detained.

"This delay was neither useless nor unprofitable, for then shone forth
the boundless compassion of Christ.  Those of the brethren who had been
but dead members of the Church, were recalled to life by the pains and
help of the living; the martyrs obtained grace for those who had fallen
away; and great was the joy in the Church, at the same time virgin and
mother, for she once more found living those whom she had given up for
dead.  Thus revived and strengthened by the goodness of God, who willeth
not the death of the sinner, but rather inviteth him to repentance, they
presented themselves before the tribunal, to be questioned afresh by the
governor.  Caesar had replied that they who confessed themselves to be
Christians should be put to the sword, and they who denied sent away safe
and sound.  When the time for the great market had fully come, there
assembled a numerous multitude from every nation and every province.  The
governor had the blessed martyrs brought up before his judgment-seat,
showing them before the people with all the pomp of a theatre.  He
questioned them afresh; and those who were discovered to be Roman
citizens were beheaded, the rest were thrown to the beasts.

"Great glory was gained for Christ by means of those who had at first
denied their faith, and who now confessed it contrary to the expectation
of the Gentiles.  Those who, having been privately questioned, declared
themselves Christians were added to the number of the martyrs.  Those in
whom appeared no vestige of faith, and no fear of God, remained without
the pale of the Church.  When they were dealing with those who had been
reunited to it, one Alexander, a Phrygian by nation, a physician by
profession, who had for many years been dwelling in Gaul, a man well
known to all for his love of God and open preaching of the faith, took
his place in the hall of judgment, exhorting by signs all who filled it
to confess their faith, even as if he had been called in to deliver them
of it.  The multitude, enraged to see that those who had at first denied,
turned round and proclaimed their faith, cried out against Alexander,
whom they accused of the conversion.  The governor forthwith asked him
what he was, and at the answer, 'I am a Christian,' condemned him to the
beasts.  On the morrow Alexander was again brought up, together with
Attalus, whom the governor, to please the people, had once more condemned
to the beasts.  After they had both suffered in the amphitheatre all the
torments that could be devised, they were put to the sword.  Alexander
uttered not a complaint, not a word; he had the air of one who was
talking inwardly with God.  Attalus, seated on an iron seat, and waiting
for the fire to consume his body, said, in Latin, to the people, 'See
what ye are doing; it is in truth devouring men; as for us, we devour not
men, and we do no evil at all.'  He was asked what was the name of God:
'God,' said he, 'is not like us mortals; He hath no name.'

"After all these martyrs, on the last day of the shows, Blandina was
again brought up, together with a young lad, named Ponticus, about
fifteen years old.  They had been brought up every day before that they
might see the tortures of their brethren.  When they were called upon to
swear by the altars of the Gentiles, they remained firm in their faith,
making no account of those pretended gods, and so great was the fury of
the multitude against them, that no pity was shown for the age of the
child or the sex of the woman.  Tortures were heaped upon them; they were
made to pass through every kind of torment, but the desired end was not
gained.  Supported by the exhortations of his sister, who was seen and
heard by the Gentiles, Ponticus, after having endured all magnanimously,
gave up the ghost.  Blandina, last of all,--like a noble mother that hath
roused the courage of her sons for the fight, and sent them forth to
conquer for their king,--passed once more through all the tortures they
had suffered, anxious to go and rejoin them, and rejoicing at each step
towards death.  At length, after she had undergone fire, the talons of
beasts, and agonizing aspersion, she was wrapped in a network and thrown
to a bull that tossed her in the air; she was already unconscious of all
that befell her, and seemed altogether taken up with watching for the
blessings that Christ had in store for her.  Even the Gentiles allowed
that never a woman had suffered so much or so long.

"Still their fury and their cruelty towards the saints were not appeased.
They devised another way of raging against them; they cast to the dogs
the bodies of those who had died of suffocation in prison, and watched
night and day that none of our brethren might come and bury them.  As for
what remained of the martyrs' half-mangled or devoured corpses, they left
them exposed under a guard of soldiers, coming to look on them with
insulting eyes, and saying, 'Where is now their God?  Of what use to them
was this religion for which they laid down their lives?'  We were
overcome with grief that we were not able to bury these poor corpses; nor
the darkness of night, nor gold, nor prayers could help us to succeed
therein.  After being thus exposed for six days in the open air, given
over to all manner of outrage, the corpses of the martyrs were at last
burned, reduced to ashes, and cast hither and thither by the infidels
upon the waters of the Rhone, that there might be left no trace of them
on earth.  They acted as if they had been more mighty than God, and could
rob our brethren of their resurrection: ''Tis in that hope,' said they,
'that these folk bring amongst us a new and strange religion, that they
set at nought the most painful torments, and that they go joyfully to
face death: let us see if they will rise again, if their God will come to
their aid and will be able to tear them from our hands.'"

It is not without a painful effort that, even after so many centuries,
we can resign ourselves to be witnesses, in imagination only, of such a
spectacle.  We can scarce believe that amongst men of the same period and
the same city so much ferocity could be displayed in opposition to so
much courage, the passion for barbarity against the passion for virtue.
Nevertheless, such is history; and it should be represented as it really
was: first of all, for truth's sake; then for the due appreciation of
virtue and all it costs of effort and sacrifice; and, lastly, for the
purpose of showing what obstacles have to be surmounted, what struggles
endured, and what sufferings borne, when the question is the
accomplishment of great moral and social reforms.  Marcus Aurelius was,
without any doubt, a virtuous ruler, and one who had it in his heart to
be just and humane; but he was an absolute ruler, that is to say, one fed
entirely on his owns ideas, very ill-informed about the facts on which he
had to decide, and without a free public to warn him of the errors of his
ideas or the practical results of his decrees.  He ordered the
persecution of the Christians without knowing what the Christians were,
or what the persecution would be, and this conscientious philosopher let
loose at Lyons, against the most conscientious of subjects, the zealous
servility of his agents, and the atrocious passions of the mob.

The persecution of the Christians did not stop at Lyons, or with Marcus
Aurelius; it became, during the third century, the common practice of the
emperors in all parts of the Empire: from A.D. 202 to 312, under the
reigns of Septimius Severus, Maximinus the First, Decius, Valerian,
Aurelian, Diocletian, Maximian, and Galerius, there are reckoned six
great general persecutions, without counting others more circumscribed or
less severe.  The Emperors Alexander Severns, Philip the Arabian, and
Constantius Chlorus were almost the only exceptions to this cruel system;
and nearly always, wherever it was in force, the Pagan mob, in its
brutality or fanatical superstition, added to imperial rigor its own
atrocious and cynical excesses.

But Christian zeal was superior in perseverance and efficacy to Pagan
persecution.  St. Pothinus the Martyr was succeeded as bishop at Lyons by
St. Irenaeus, the most learned, most judicious, and most illustrious of
the early heads of the Church in Gaul.  Originally from Asia Minor,
probably from Smyrna, he had migrated to Gaul, at what particular date is
not known, and had settled as a simple priest in the diocese of Lyons,
where it was not long before he exercised vast influence, as well on the
spot as also during certain missions intrusted to him, and amongst them
one, they say, to the Pope St. Eleutherius at Rome.  Whilst Bishop of
Lyons, from A.D. 177 to 202, he employed the five and twenty years in
propagating the Christian faith in Gaul, and in defending, by his
writings, the Christian doctrines against the discord to which they had
already been subjected in the East, and which was beginning to penetrate
to the West.  In 202, during the persecution instituted by Septimius
Severus, St. Irenaeus crowned by martyrdom his active and influential
life.  It was in his episcopate that there began what may be called the
swarm of Christian missionaries who, towards the end of the second and
during the third centuries, spread over the whole of Gaul, preaching the
faith and forming churches.  Some went from Lyons at the instigation of
St. Irenaeus; others from Rome, especially under the pontificate of Pope
St. Fabian, himself martyred in 219; St. Felix and St. Fortunatus to
Valence, St. Ferreol to Besancon, St. Marcellus to Chalons-sur-Saone,
St. Benignus to Dijon, St. Trophimus to Arles, St. Paul to Narbonne,
St. Saturninus to Toulouse, St. Martial to Limoges, St. Andeol and
St. Privatus to the Cevennes, St. Austremoine to Clermont-Ferrand,
St. Gatian to Tours, St. Denis to Paris, and so many others that their
names are scarcely known beyond the pages of erudite historians, or the
very spots where they preached, struggled, and conquered, often at the
price of their lives.  Such were the founders of the faith and of the
Christian Church in France.  At the commencement of the fourth century
their work was, if not accomplished, at any rate triumphant; and when,
A.D. 312, Constantine declared himself a Christian, he confirmed the fact
of the conquest of the Roman world, and of Gaul in particular, by
Christianity.  No doubt the majority of the inhabitants were not as yet
Christians; but it was clear that the Christians were in the ascendant
and had command of the future.  Of the two grand elements which were to
meet together, on the ruins of Roman society, for the formation of modern
society, the moral element, the Christian religion, had already taken
possession of souls; the devastated territory awaited the coming of new
peoples, known to history under the general name of Germans, whom the
Romans called the barbarians.


About A.D. 241 or 242 the sixth Roman legion, commanded by Aurelian, at
that time military tribune, and thirty years later, emperor, had just
finished a campaign on the Rhine, undertaken for the purpose of driving
the Germans from Gaul, and was preparing for Eastern service, to make war
on the Persians.  The soldiers sang,--

     We have slain a thousand Franks and a thousand Sarmatians;
     we want a thousand, thousand, Thousand Persians.

[Illustration: Germans invading Gaul----129]

That was, apparently, a popular burden at the time, for on the days of
military festivals, at Rome and in Gaul, the children sang, as they

     We have cut off the heads of a thousand, thousand, thousand,
     One man hath cut off the heads of a thousand, thousand, thousand,
     Thousand, thousand;
     May he live a thousand, thousand years, he who hath slain a
     thousand, thousand!
     Nobody hath so much of wine as he hath of blood poured out.

Aurelian, the hero of these ditties, was indeed much given to the pouring
out of blood, for at the approach of a fresh war he wrote to the

"I marvel, Conscript Fathers, that ye have so much misgiving about
opening the Sibylline books, as if ye were deliberating in an assembly of
Christians, and not in the temple of all the gods.  .  .  .  Let inquiry
be made of the sacred books, and let celebration take place of the
ceremonies that ought to be fulfilled.  Far from refusing, I offer, with
zeal, to satisfy all expenditure required, with captives of every
nationality, victims of royal rank.  It is no shame to conquer with the
aid of the gods; it is thus that our ancestors began and ended many a

Human sacrifices, then, were not yet foreign to Pagan festivals, and
probably the blood of more than one Frankish captive on that occasion
flowed in the temple of all the gods.

It is the first time the name of _Franks_ appears in history; and it
indicated no particular, single people, but a confederation of Germanic
peoplets, settled or roving on the right bank of the Rhine, from the Mayn
to the ocean.  The number and the names of the tribes united in this
confederation are uncertain.  A chart of the Roman empire, prepared
apparently at the end of the fourth century, in the reign of the Emperor
Honorius (which chart, called _tabula Peutingeri,_ was found amongst the
ancient MSS. collected by Conrad Peutinger, a learned German philosopher,
in the fifteenth century), bears over a large territory on the right bank
of the Rhine, the word _Francia,_ and the following enumeration: "The
Chaucians, the Ampsuarians, the Cheruscans, and the Chamavians, who are
also called Franks;" and to these tribes divers chroniclers added several
others, "the Attuarians, the Bructerians, the Cattians, and the
Sicambrians."  Whatever may have been the specific names of these
peoplets, they were all of German race, called themselves Franks, that
is, "free-men," and made, sometimes separately, sometimes collectively,
continued incursions into Gaul,--especially Belgica and the northern
portions of Lyonness,--at one time plundering and ravaging, at another
occupying forcibly, or demanding of the Roman emperors lands whereon to
settle.  From the middle of the third to the beginning of the fifth
century, the history of the Western empire presents an almost
uninterrupted series of these invasions on the part of the Franks,
together with the different relationships established between them and
the Imperial government.  At one time whole tribes settled on Roman soil,
submitted to the emperors, entered their service, and fought for them,
even against their own German compatriots.  At another, isolated
individuals, such and such warriors of German race, put themselves at the
command of the emperors, and became of importance.  At the middle of the
third century, the Emperor Valerian, on committing a command to Aurelian,
wrote, "Thou wilt have with thee Hartmund, Haldegast, Hildmund, and
Carioviscus."  Some Frankish tribes allied themselves more or less
fleetingly with the Imperial government, at the same time that they
preserved their independence; others pursued, throughout the Empire,
their life of incursion and adventure.  From A.D. 260 to 268, under the
reign of Gallienus, a band of Franks threw itself upon Gaul, scoured it
from north-east to south-east, plundering and devastating on its way;
then it passed from Aquitania into Spain, took and burned Tarragona,
gained possession of certain vessels, sailed away, and disappeared in
Africa, after having wandered about for twelve years at its own will and
pleasure.  There was no lack of valiant emperors, precarious and
ephemeral as their power may have been, to defend the Empire, and
especially Gaul, against those enemies, themselves ephemeral, but forever
recurring; Decius, Valerian, Gallienus, Claudius Gothicus, Aurelian, and
Probus gallantly withstood those repeated attacks of German hordes.
Sometimes they flattered themselves they had gained a definitive victory,
and then the old Roman pride exhibited itself in their patriotic
confidence.  About A.D. 278, the Emperor Probes, after gaining several
victories in Gaul over the Franks, wrote to the senate,--

"I render thanks to the immortal gods, Conscript Fathers, for that they
have confirmed your judgment as regards me.  Germany is subdued
throughout its whole extent; nine kings of different nations have come
and cast themselves at my feet, or rather at yours, as suppliants, with
their foreheads in the dust.  Already all those barbarians are tilling
for you, sowing for you, and fighting for you against the most distant

"Order ye, therefore, according to your custom, prayers of thanksgiving,
for we have slain four thousand of the enemy; we have had offered to us
sixteen thousand men ready armed; and we have wrested from the enemy the
seventy most important towns.  The Gauls, in fact, are completely
delivered.  The crowns offered to me by all the cities of Gaul I have
submitted, Conscript Fathers, to your grace; dedicate ye them with your
own hands to Jupiter, all-bountiful, all-powerful, and to the other
immortal gods and goddesses.  All the booty is re-taken, and, further, we
have made fresh captures, more considerable than our first losses; the
fields of Gaul are tilled by the oxen of the barbarians, and German teams
bend their necks in slavery to our husbandmen; divers nations raise
cattle for our consumption, and horses to remount our cavalry; our stores
are full of the corn of the barbarians--in one word, we have left to the
vanquished nought but the soil; all their other possessions are ours.  We
had at first thought it necessary, Conscript Fathers, to appoint a new
Governor of Germany; but we have put off this measure to the time when
our ambition shall be more completely satisfied, which will be, as it
seems to us, when it shall have pleased Divine Providence to increase and
multiply the forces of our armies."

Probus had good reason to wish that "Divine Providence might be pleased
to increase the forces of the Roman armies," for even after his
victories, exaggerated as they probably were, they did not suffice for
their task, and it was not long before the vanquished recommenced war.
He had dispersed over the territory of the Empire the majority of the
prisoners he had taken.  A band of Franks, who had been transported and
established as a military colony on the European shore of the Black Sea,
could not make up their minds to remain there.  They obtained possession
of some vessels, traversed the Propontis, the Hellespont, and the
Archipelago, ravaged the coasts of Greece, Asia Minor, and Africa,
plundered Syracuse, scoured the whole of the Mediterranean, entered the
ocean by the Straits of Gibraltar, and, making their way up again along
the coasts of Gaul, arrived at last at the mouths of the Rhine, where
they once more found themselves at home amongst the vines which Probus,
in his victorious progress, had been the first to have planted, and with
probably their old taste for adventure and plunder.

After the commencement of the fifth century, from A.D. 406 to 409, it was
no longer by incursions limited to certain points, and sometimes repelled
with success, that the Germans harassed the Roman provinces: a veritable
deluge of divers nations, forced one upon another, from Asia into Europe,
by wars and migration in mass, inundated the Empire and gave the decisive
signal for its fall.  St. Jerome did not exaggerate when he wrote to
Ageruchia, "Nations, countless in number and exceeding fierce, have
occupied all the Gauls; Quadians, Vandals, Sarmatians, Alans, Gepidians,
Herulians, Saxons, Burgundians, Allemannians, Pannonians, and even
Assyrians have laid waste all that there is between the Alps and the
Pyrenees, the ocean and the Rhine.  Sad destiny of the commonwealth!
Mayence, once a noble city, hath been taken and destroyed; thousands of
men were slaughtered in the church.  Worms hath fallen after a long
siege.  The inhabitants of Rheims, a powerful city, and those of Amiens,
Arras, Terouanne, at the extremity of Gaul, Tournay, Spires, and
Strasburg have been carried away to Germany.  All hath been ravaged in
Aquitania (Novempopulania), Lyonness, and Narbonness; the towns, save a
few, are dispeopled; the sword pursueth them abroad and famine at home.
I cannot speak without tears of Toulouse; if she be not reduced to equal
ruin, it is to the merits of her holy Bishop Exuperus that she oweth it."

Then took place throughout the Roman empire, in the East as well as in
the West, in Asia and Africa as well as in Europe, the last grand
struggle between the Roman armies and the barbaric nations.  Armies is
the proper term; for, to tell the truth, there was no longer a Roman
nation, and very seldom a Roman emperor with some little capacity for
government or war.  The long continuance of despotism and slavery had
enervated equally the ruling power and the people; everything depended on
the soldiers and their generals.  It was in Gaul that the struggle was
most obstinate and most promptly brought to a decisive issue, and the
confusion there was as great as the obstinacy.  Barbaric peoplets served
in the ranks and barbaric leaders held the command of the Roman armies:
Stilieho was a Goth; Arbogastes and Mellobaudes were Franks; Ricimer was
a Suevian.  The Roman generals, Bonifacius, Aetius, AEgidius, Syagrius,
at one time fought the barbarians, at another negotiated with such and
such of them, either to entice them to take service against other
barbarians, or to promote the objects of personal ambition, for the Roman
generals also, under the titles of patrician, consul, or proconsul,
aspired to and attained a sort of political independence, and contributed
to the dismemberment of the empire in the very act of defending it.  No
later than A.D. 412, two German nations, the Visigoths and the
Burgundians, took their stand definitively in Gaul, and founded there two
new kingdoms: the Visigoths, under their kings Ataulph and Wallia, in
Aquitania and Narbonness; the Burgundians, under their kings Gundichaire
and Gundioch, in Lyonness, from the southern point of Alsatia right into
Provence, along the two banks of the Saone and the left bank of the
Rhone, and also in Switzerland.  In 451 the arrival in Gaul of the Huns
and their king Attila--already famous, both king and nation, for their
wild habits, their fierce valor, and their successes against the Eastern
empire--gravely complicated the situation.  The common interest of
resistance against the most barbarous of barbarians, and the renown and
energy of Aetius, united, for the moment, the old and new masters of
Gaul; Romans, Gauls, Visigoths, Burgundians, Franks, Alans, Saxons, and
Britons, formed the army led by Aetius against that of Attila, who also
had in his ranks Goths, Burgundians, Gepidians, Alans, and beyond Rhine
Franks, gathered together and enlisted on his road.  It was a chaos and a
conflict of barbarians, of every name and race, disputing one with
another, pell-mell, the remnants of the Roman empire torn asunder and in
dissolution.  Attila had already arrived before Orleans, and was laying
siege to it.  The bishop, St. Anianus, sustained a while the courage of
the besieged, by promising them aid from Aetius and his allies.  The aid
was slow to come; and the bishop sent to Aetius a message: "If thou be
not here this very day, my son, it will be too late."  Still Aetius came
not.  The people of Orleans determined to surrender; the gates flew open;
the Huns entered; the plundering began without much disorder; "wagons
were stationed to receive the booty as it was taken from the houses, and
the captives, arranged in groups, were divided by lot between the
victorious chieftains."  Suddenly a shout re-echoed through the streets:
it was Aetius, Theodoric, and Thorismund, his son, who were coming with
the eagles of the Roman legions and with the banners of the Visigoths.  A
fight took place between them and the Huns, at first on the banks of the
Loire, and then in the streets of the city.  The people of Orleans joined
their liberators; the danger was great for the Huns, and Attila ordered a
retreat.  It was the 14th of June, 451, and that day was for a long while
celebrated in the church of Orleans, as the date of a signal deliverance.
The Huns retired towards Champagne, which they had already crossed at
their coming into Gaul; and when they were before Troyes, the bishop, St.
Lupus, repaired to Attila's camp, and besought him to spare a defenceless
city, which had neither walls nor garrison.  "So be it!" answered Attila;
"but thou shalt come with me and see the Rhine; I promise then to send
thee back again."  With mingled prudence and superstition, the barbarian
meant to keep the holy man as a hostage.  The Huns arrived at the plains
hard by Chalons-sur-Marne; Aetius and all his allies had followed them;
and Attila, perceiving that a battle was inevitable, halted in a position
for delivering it.  The Gothic historian Jornandes says that he consulted
his priests, who answered that the Huns would be beaten, but that the
general of the enemy would fall in the fight.  In this prophecy Attila
saw predicted the death of Aetius, his most formidable enemy; and the
struggle commenced.  There is no precise information about the date; but
"it was," says Jornandes, "a battle which for atrocity, multitude,
horror, and stubbornness has not the like in the records of antiquity."
Historians vary in their exaggerations of the numbers engaged and killed:
according to some, three hundred thousand, according to others, one
hundred and sixty-two thousand were left on the field of battle.
Theodoric, King of the Visigoths, was killed.  Some chroniclers name
Meroveus as King of the Franks, settled in Belgica, near Tongres, who
formed part of the army of Aetius.  They even attribute to him a
brilliant attack made on the eve of the battle upon the Gepidians, allies
of the Huns, when ninety thousand men fell, according to some, and only
fifteen thousand according to others.  The numbers are purely imaginary,
and even the fact is doubtful.  However, the battle of Chalons drove the
Huns out of Gaul, and was the last victory in Gaul, gained still in the
name of the Roman empire, but in reality for the advantage of the German
nations which had already conquered it.  Twenty-four years afterwards the
very name of Roman empire disappeared with Augustulus, the last of the
emperors of the West.

[Illustration: The Huns at the Battle of Chalons----135]

Thirty years after the battle of Chalons, the Franks settled in Gaul were
not yet united as one nation; several tribes with this name, independent
one of another, were planted between the Rhine and the Somme; there were
some in the environs of Cologne, Calais, Cambrai, even beyond the Seine
and as far as Le Mans, on the confines of the Britons.  This is one of
the reasons of the confusion that prevails in the ancient chronicles
about the chieftains or kings of these tribes, their names and dates, and
the extent and site of their possessions.  Pharamond, Clodion, Meroveus,
and Childeric cannot be considered as Kings of France, and placed at the
beginning of her history.  If they are met with in connection with
historical facts, fabulous legends or fanciful traditions are mingled
with them: Priam appears as a predecessor of Pharamond; Clodion, who
passes for having been the first to bear and transmit to the Frankish
kings the title of "long-haired," is represented as the son, at one time
of Pharamond, at another, of another chieftain named Theodemer; romantic
adventures, spoiled by geographical mistakes, adorn the life of Childric.
All that can be distinctly affirmed is, that, from A.D. 450 to 480, the
two principal Frankish tribes were those of the Salian Franks and the
Ripuarian Franks, settled, the latter in the east of Belgica, on the
banks of the Moselle and the Rhine; the former, towards the west,
between the Meuse, the ocean, and the Somme.  Meroveus, whose name was
perpetuated in his line, was one of the principal chieftains of the
Salian Franks; and his son Childeric, who resided at Tournay, where his
tomb was discovered in 1655, was the father of Clovis, who succeeded him
in 481, and with whom really commenced the kingdom and history of France.

Clovis was fifteen or sixteen years old when he became King of the Salian
Franks of Tournay.  Five years afterwards his ruling passion, ambition,
exhibited itself, together with that mixture of boldness and craft which
was to characterize his whole life.  He had two neighbors: one, hostile
to the Franks, the Roman patrician Syagrius, who was left master at
Soissons after the death of his father AEgidius, and whom Gregory of
Tours calls "King of the Romans;" the other, a Salian-Frankish chieftain,
just as Clovis was, and related to him, Ragnacaire, who was settled at
Cambrai.  Clovis induced Ragnacaire to join him in a campaign against
Syagrius.  They fought, and Syagrius was driven to take refuge in
Southern Gaul with Alaric, king of the Visigoths.  Clovis, not content
with taking possession of Soissons, and anxious to prevent any
troublesome return, demanded of Alaric to send Syagrius back to him,
threatening war if the request were refused.  The Goth, less bellicose
than the Frank, delivered up Syagrius to the envoys of Clovis, who
immediately had him secretly put to death, settled himself at Soissons,
and from thence set on foot, in the country between the Aisne and the
Loire, plundering and subjugating expeditions which speedily increased
his domains and his wealth, and extended far and wide his fame as well as
his ambition.  The Franks who accompanied him were not long before they
also felt the growth of his power; like him they were pagans, and the
treasures of the Christian churches counted for a great deal in the booty
they had to divide.  On one of their expeditions they had taken in the
church of Rheims, amongst other things, a vase "of marvellous size and
beauty."  The Bishop of Rheims, St. Remi, was not quite a stranger to
Clovis.  Some years before, when he had heard that the son of Childeric
had become king of the Franks of Tournai, he had written to congratulate
him: "We are informed," said he, "that thou halt undertaken the conduct
of affairs; it is no marvel that thou beginnest to be what thy fathers
ever were;" and, whilst taking care to put himself on good terms with the
young pagan chieftain, the bishop added to his felicitations some pious
Christian counsel, without letting any attempt at conversion be mixed up
with his moral exhortations.  The bishop, informed of the removal of the
vase, sent to Clovis a messenger begging the return, if not of all his
church's ornaments, at any rate of that.  "Follow us as far as Soissons,"
said Clovis to the messenger; "it is there the partition is to take place
of what we have captured: when the lots shall have given me the vase, I
will do what the bishop demands."  When Soissons was reached, and all the
booty had been placed in the midst of the host, the king said, "Valiant
warriors, I pray you not to refuse me, over and above my share, this vase
here."  At these words of the king, those who were of sound mind amongst
the assembly answered, "Glorious king, everything we see here is thine,
and we ourselves are submissive to thy commands.  Do thou as seemeth good
to thee, for there is none that can resist thy power."  When they had
thus spoken a certain Frank, light-minded, jealous, and vain, cried out
aloud as he struck the vase with his battle-axe, "Thou shalt have nought
of all this save what the lots shall truly give thee."  At these words
all were astounded; but the king bore the insult with sweet patience,
and, accepting the vase, he gave it to the messenger, hiding his wound in
the recesses of his heart.  At the end of a year he ordered all his host
to assemble fully equipped at the March parade, to have their arms
inspected.  After having passed in review all the other warriors, he came
to him who had struck the vase.  "None," said he, "hath brought hither
arms so ill kept as thine; nor lance, nor sword, nor battle-axe are in
condition for service."  And wresting from him his axe he flung it on the
ground.  The man stooped down a little to pick it up, and forthwith the
king, raising with both hands his own battle-axe, drove it into his
skull, saying, "Thus didst thou to the vase of Soissons!" On the death of
this fellow he bade the rest begone; and by this act made himself greatly

[Illustration: "Thus didst thou to the Vase of Soissons."----139]

A bold and unexpected deed has always a great effect on men: with his
Frankish warriors, as well as with his Roman and Gothic foes, Clovis had
at command the instincts of patience and brutality in turn: he could bear
a mortification and take vengeance in due season.  Whilst prosecuting his
course of plunder and war in Eastern Belgica, on the banks of the Meuse,
Clovis was inspired with a wish to get married.  He had heard tell of a
young girl, like himself of the Germanic royal line, Clotilde, niece of
Gondebaud, at that time king of the Burgundians.  She was dubbed
beautiful, wise, and well-informed; but her situation was melancholy and
perilous.  Ambition and fraternal hatred had devastated her family.  Her
father, Chilperic, and her two brothers, had been put to death by her
uncle Gondebaud, who had caused her mother Agrippina to be thrown into
the Rhone, with a stone round her neck; and drowned.  Two sisters alone
had survived this slaughter; the elder, Chrona, had taken religions vows,
the other, Clotilde, was living almost in exile at Geneva, absorbed in
works of piety and charity.  The principal historian of this epoch,
Gregory of Tours, an almost contemporary authority, for he was elected
bishop sixty-two years after the death of Clovis, says simply,

"Clovis at once sent a deputation to Gondebaud to ask Clotilde in
marriage.  Gondebaud, not daring to refuse, put her into the hands of the
envoys, who took her promptly to the king.  Clovis at sight of her was
transported with joy, and married her."  But to this short account other
chroniclers, amongst them Fredegaire, who wrote a commentary upon and a
continuation of Gregory of Tours' work, added details which deserve
reproduction, first as a picture of manners, next for the better
understanding of history.  "As he was not allowed to see Clotilde," says
Fredegaire, "Clovis charged a certain Roman, named Aurelian, to use all
his wit to come nigh her.  Aurelian repaired alone to the spot, clothed
in rags and with his wallet upon his back, like a mendicant.  To insure
confidence in himself he took with him the ring of Clovis.  On his
arrival at Geneva, Clotilde received him as a pilgrim charitably, and,
whilst she was washing his feet, Aurelian, bending towards her, said
under his breath, 'Lady, I have great matters to announce to thee if thou
deign to permit me secret revelation.'  She consenting, replied, 'Say
on.'  'Clovis, king of the Franks,' said he, 'hath sent me to thee: if it
be the will of God, he would fain raise thee to his high rank by
marriage; and that thou mayest be certified thereof, he sendeth thee this
ring.'  She accepted the ring with great joy, and said to Aurelian, 'Take
for recompense of thy pains these hundred sous in gold and this ring of
mine.  Return promptly to thy lord; if he would fain unite me to him by
marriage, let him send without delay messengers to demand me of my uncle
Gondebaud, and let the messengers who shall come take me away in haste,
so soon as they shall have obtained permission; if they haste not, I fear
lest a certain sage, one Aridius, may return from Constantinople, and if
he arrive beforehand, all this matter will by his counsel come to
nought.'  Aurelian returned in the same disguise under which he had come.
On approaching the territory of Orleans, and at no great distance from
his house, he had taken as travelling companion a certain poor mendicant,
by whom he, having fallen asleep from sheer fatigue, and thinking himself
safe, was robbed of his wallet and the hundred sous in gold that it
contained.  On awaking, Aurelian was sorely vexed, ran swiftly home and
sent his servants in all directions in search of the mendicant who had
stolen his wallet.  He was found and brought to Aurelian, who, after
drubbing him soundly for three days, let him go his way.  He afterwards
told Clovis all that had passed and what Clotilde suggested.  Clovis,
pleased with his success and with Clotilde's notion, at once sent a
deputation to Gondebaud to demand his niece in marriage.  Gondebaud, not
daring to refuse, and flattered at the idea of making a friend of Clovis,
promised to give her to him.  Then the deputation, having offered the
denier and the sou, according to the custom of the Franks, espoused
Clotilde in the name of Clovis, and demanded that she be given up to them
to be married.  Without any delay the council was assembled at Chalons,
and preparations made for the nuptials.  The Franks, having arrived with
all speed, received her from the hands of Gondebaud, put her into a
covered carriage, and escorted her to Clovis, together with much
treasure.  She, however, having already learned that Aridius was on his
way back, said to the Frankish lords, "If ye would take me into the
presence of your lord, let me descend from this carriage, mount me on
horseback, and get you hence as fast as ye may; for never in this
carriage shall I reach the presence of your lord."

"Aridius, in fact, returned very speedily from Marseilles, and Gondebaud,
on seeing him, said to him, 'Thou knowest that we have made friends with
the Franks, and that I have given my niece to Clovis to wife.'  'This,'
answered Aridius, 'is no bond of friendship, but the beginning of
perpetual strife; thou shouldst have remembered, my lord, that thou didst
slay Clotilde's father, thy brother Chilperic, that thou didst drown her
mother, and that thou didst cut off her brothers' heads and cast their
bodies into a well.  If Clotilde become powerful she will avenge the
wrongs of her relatives.  Send thou forthwith a troop in chase, and have
her brought back to thee.  It will be easier for thee to bear the wrath
of one person, than to be perpetually at strife, thyself and thine, with
all the Franks.'  And Gondebaud did send forthwith a troop in chase to
fetch back Clotilde with the carriage and all the treasure; but she, on
approaching Villers, where Clovis was waiting for her, in the territory
of Troyes, and before passing the Burgundian frontier, urged them who
escorted her to disperse right and left over a space of twelve leagues in
the country whence she was departing, to plunder and burn; and that
having been done with the permission of Clovis, she cried aloud, 'I thank
thee, God omnipotent, for that I see the commencement of vengeance for my
parents and my brethren!'"

The majority of the learned have regarded this account of Fredegaire as
a romantic fable, and have declined to give it a place in history.
M. Fauriel, one of the most learned associates of the Academy of
Inscriptions, has given much the same opinion, but he nevertheless adds,
"Whatever may be their authorship, the fables in question are historic in
the sense that they relate to real facts of which they are a poetical
expression, a romantic development, conceived with the idea of
popularizing the Frankish kings amongst the Gallo-Roman subjects."  It
cannot, however, be admitted that a desire to popularize the Frankish
kings is a sufficient and truth-like explanation of these tales of the
Gallo-Roman chroniclers, or that they are no more than "a poetical
expression," a romantic development of the real facts briefly noted by
Gregory of Tours; the tales have a graver origin and contain more truth
than would be presumed from some of the anecdotes and sayings mixed up
with them.  In the condition of minds and parties in Gaul at the end of
the fifth century the marriage of Clovis and Clotilde was, for the public
of the period, for the barbarians and for the Gallo-Romans, a great
matter.  Clovis and the Franks were still pagans; Gondebaud and the
Burgundians were Christians, but Arians; Clotilde was a Catholic
Christian.  To which of the two, Catholics or Arians, would Clovis ally
himself?  To whom, Arian, pagan, or Catholic, would Clotilde be married?
Assuredly the bishops, priests, and all the Gallo-Roman clergy, for the
most part Catholics, desired to see Clovis, that young and audacious
Frankish chieftain, take to wife a Catholic rather than an Arian or a
pagan, and hoped to convert the pagan Clovis to Christianity much more
than an Arian to orthodoxy.

The question between Catholic orthodoxy and Arianism was, at that time,
a vital question for Christianity in its entirety, and St. Athanasius was
not wrong in attributing to it supreme importance.  It may be presumed
that the Catholic clergy, the bishop of Rheims, or the bishop of Langres,
were no strangers to the repeated praises which turned the thoughts of
the Frankish king towards the Burgundian princess, and the idea of their
marriage once set afloat, the Catholics, priesthood or laity, labored
undoubtedly to push it forward, whilst the Burgundian Arians exerted
themselves to prevent it.  Thus there took place, between opposing
influences, religious and national, a most animated struggle.  No
astonishment can be felt, then, at the obstacles the marriage
encountered, at the complications mingled with it, and at the indirect
means employed on both sides to cause its success or failure.  The
account of Fredegaire is but a picture of this struggle and its
incidents, a little amplified or altered by imagination or the credulity
of the period; but the essential features of the picture, the disguise of
Aurelian, the hurry of Clotilde, the prudent recollection of Aridius,
Gondebaud's alternations of fear and violence, and Clotilde's vindictive
passion when she is once out of danger, there is nothing in all this out
of keeping with the manners of the time or the position of the actors.
Let it be added that Aurelian and Aridius are real personages who are met
with elsewhere in history, and whose parts as played on the occasion of
Clotilde's marriage are in harmony with the other traces that remain of
their lives.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF TOLBIACUM----144]

The consequences of the marriage justified before long the importance
which had on all sides been attached to it.  Clotilde had a son; she was
anxious to have him baptized, and urged her husband to consent.  "The
gods you worship," said she, "are nought, and can do nought for
themselves or others; they are of wood, or stone, or metal."  Clovis
resisted, saying, "It is by the command of our gods that all things are
created and brought forth.  It is plain that your God hath no power;
there is no proof even that He is of the race of the gods."  But Clotilde
prevailed; and she had her son baptized solemnly, hoping that the
striking nature of the ceremony might win to the faith the father whom
her words and prayers had been powerless to touch.  The child soon died,
and Clovis bitterly reproached the queen, saying, "Had the child been
dedicated to my gods he would be alive; he was baptized in the name of
your God, and he could not live."  Clotilde defended her God and prayed.
She had a second son, who was also baptized, and fell sick.  "It cannot
be otherwise with him than with his brother," said Clovis; "baptized in
the name of your Christ, he is going to die."  But the child was cured,
and lived; and Clovis was pacified and less incredulous of Christ.  An
event then came to pass which affected him still more than the sickness
or cure of his children.  In 496 the Allemannians, a Germanic
confederation like the Franks, who also had been, for some time past,
assailing the Roman empire on the banks of the Rhine or the frontiers of
Switzerland, crossed the river, and invaded the settlements of the Franks
on the left bank.  Clovis went to the aid of his confederation and
attacked the Allemannians at Tolbiac, near Cologne.  He had with him
Aurelian, who had been his messenger to Clotilde, whom he had made Duke
of Melun, and who commanded the forces of Sens.  The battle was going
ill; the Franks were wavering, and Clovis was anxious.  Before setting
out he had, according to Fredegaire, promised his wife that if he were
victorious he would turn Christian.  Other chroniclers say that Aurelian,
seeing the battle in danger of being lost, said to Clovis, "My lord king,
believe only on the Lord of heaven whom the queen, my mistress,
preacheth."  Clovis cried out with emotion, "Christ Jesus, Thou whom my
queen Clotilde calleth the Son of the living God; I have invoked my own
gods, and they have withdrawn from me; I believe that they have no power,
since they aid not those who call upon them.  Thee, very God and Lord, I
invoke; if Thou give me victory over these foes, if I find in Thee the
power that the people proclaim of Thee, I will believe on Thee, and will
be baptized in Thy name."  The tide of battle turned: the Franks
recovered confidence and courage; and the Allemannians, beaten and seeing
their king slain, surrendered themselves to Clovis, saying, "Cease, of
thy grace, to cause any more of our people to perish; for we are thine."

On the return of Clovis, Clotilde, fearing he should forget his victory
and his promise, "secretly sent," says Gregory of Tours, "to St. Remi,
bishop of Rheims, and prayed him to penetrate the king's heart, with the
words of salvation."  St. Remi was a fervent Christian and an able
bishop; and "I will listen to thee, most holy father," said Clovis,
"willingly; but there is a difficulty.  The people that follow me will
not give up their gods.  But I am about to assemble them, and will speak
to them according to thy word."  The king found the people more docile or
better prepared than he had represented to the bishop.  Even before he
opened his mouth the greater part of those present cried out, "We abjure
the mortal gods; we are ready to follow the immortal God whom Remi
preacheth."  About three thousand Frankish warriors, however, persisted
in their intention of remaining pagans, and deserting Clovis, betook
themselves to Ragnacaire, the Frankish king of Cambrai, who was destined
ere long to pay dearly for this acquisition.  So soon as St. Remi was
informed of this good disposition on the part of king and people, he
fixed Christmas Day of this year, 496, for the ceremony of the baptism of
these grand neophytes.  The description of it is borrowed from the
historian of the church of Rheims, Frodoard by name, born at the close of
the ninth century.  He gathered together the essential points of it from
the _Life of Saint Remi,_ written, shortly before that period, by the
saint's celebrated successor at Rheims, Archbishop Hincmar.  "The
bishop," says he, "went in search of the king at early morn in his
bed-chamber, in order that, taking him at the moment of freedom from
secular cares, he might more freely communicate to him the mysteries of
the holy word.  The king's chamber-people receive him with great respect,
and the king himself runs forward to meet him.  Thereupon they pass
together into an oratory dedicated to St. Peter, chief of the apostles,
and adjoining the king's apartment.  When the bishop, the king, and the
queen had taken their places on the seats prepared for them, and
admission had been given to some clerics and also some friends and
household servants of the king, the venerable bishop began his
instructions on the subject of salvation.  .  .  .  Meanwhile
preparations are being made along the road from the palace to the
baptistery; curtains and valuable stuffs are hung up; the houses on
either side of the street are dressed out; the baptistery is sprinkled
with balm and all manner of perfume.  The procession moves from the
palace; the clergy lead the way with the holy gospels, the cross, and
standards, singing hymns and spiritual songs; then comes the bishop,
leading the king by the hand; after him the queen, lastly the people.
On the road it is said that the king asked the bishop if that were the
kingdom promised him: 'No,' answered the prelate, 'but it is the entrance
to the road that leads to it.' .  .  .  At the moment when the king bent
his head over the fountain of life, 'Lower thy head with humility,
Sicambrian,' cried the eloquent bishop; 'adore what thou hast burned:
burn what thou hast adored.'  The king's two sisters, Alboflede and
Lantechilde, likewise received baptism; and so at the same time did three
thousand of the Frankish army, besides a large number of women and

When it was known that Clovis had been baptized by St. Remi, and with
what striking circumstance, great was the satisfaction amongst the
Catholics.  The chief Burgundian prelate, Avitus, bishop of Vienne, wrote
to the Frankish king, "Your faith is our victory; in choosing for you and
yours, you have pronounced for all; divine providence bath given you as
arbiter to our age.  Greece can boast of having a sovereign of our
persuasion; but she is no longer alone in possession of this precious
gift; the rest of the world cloth share her light."  Pope Anastasius
hasted to express his joy to Clovis: "The Church, our common mother," he
wrote, "rejoiceth to have born unto God so great a king.  Continue,
glorious and illustrious son, to cheer the heart of this tender mother;
be a column of iron to support her, and she in her turn will give thee
victory over all thine enemies."

Clovis was not a man to omit turning his Catholic popularity to the
account of his ambition.  At the very time when he was receiving these
testimonies of good will from the heads of the Church, he learned that
Gondebaud, disquieted, no doubt, at the conversion of his powerful
neighbor, had just made a vain attempt, at a conference held at Lyons, to
reconcile in his kingdom the Catholics and the Arians.  Clovis considered
the moment favorable to his projects of aggrandizement at the expense of
the Burgundian king; he fomented the dissensions which already prevailed
between Gondebaud and his brother Godegisile, assured to himself the
latter's complicity, and suddenly entered Burgundy with his army.
Gondebaud, betrayed and beaten at the first encounter at Dijon, fled to
the south of his kingdom, and went and shut himself up in Avignon.
Clovis pursued and besieged him there.  Gondebaud in great alarm asked
counsel of his Roman confidant Aridius, who had but lately foretold to
him what the marriage of his niece Clotilde would bring upon him.  "On
every side," said the king, "I am encompassed by perils, and I know not
what to do; lo! here be these barbarians come upon us to slay us and
destroy the land."  "To escape death," answered Aridius, "thou must
appease the ferocity of this man.  Now, if it please thee, I will feign
to fly from thee and go over to him.  So soon as I shall be with him, I
will so do that he ruin neither thee nor the land.  Only have thou care
to perform whatsoever I shall ask of thee, until the Lord in His goodness
deign to make thy cause triumph."  "All that thou shalt bid will I do,"
said Gondebaud.  So Aridius left Gondebaud and went his way to Clovis,
and said, "Most pious king, I am thy humble servant; I give up this
wretched Gondebaud, and come unto thy mightiness.  If thy goodness deign
to cast a glance upon me, thou and thy descendants will find in me a
servant of integrity and fidelity."  Clovis received him very kindly and
kept him by him, for Aridius was agreeable in conversation, wise in
counsel, just in judgment, and faithful in whatever was committed to his
care.  As the siege continued, Aridius said to Clovis, "O king, if the
glory of thy greatness would suffer thee to listen to the words of my
feebleness, though thou needest not counsel, I would submit them to thee
in all fidelity, and they might be of use to thee, whether for thyself or
for the towns by the which thou dost propose to pass.  Wherefore keepest
thou here thine army, whilst thine enemy doth hide himself in a
well-fortified place?  Thou ravagest the fields, thou pillagest the
corn, thou cuttest down the vines, thou fellest the olive trees, thou
destroyest all the produce of the land, and yet thou succeedest not in
destroying thine adversary.  Rather send thou unto him deputies, and lay
on him a tribute to be paid to thee every year.  Thus the land will be
preserved, and thou wilt be lord forever over him who owes thee tribute.
If he refuse, thou shalt then do what pleaseth thee."  Clovis found the
counsel good, ordered his army to return home, sent deputies to
Gondebaud, and called upon him to undertake the payment every year of a
fixed tribute. Gondebaud paid for the time, and promised to pay
punctually for the future.  And peace appeared made between the two

Pleased with his campaign against the Burgundians, Clovis kept on good
terms with Gondebaud, who was to be henceforth a simple tributary, and
transferred to the Visigoths of Aquitania, and their king, Alaric II.,
his views of conquest.  He had there the same pretexts for attack and the
same means of success.  Alaric and his Visigoths were Arians, and between
them and the bishops of Southern Gaul, nearly all orthodox Catholics,
there were permanent ill-will and distrust.  Alaric attempted to
conciliate their good-will: in 506 a Council met at Agde; the thirty-four
bishops of Aquitania attended in person or by delegate; the king
protested that he had no design of persecuting the Catholics; the
bishops, at the opening of the Council, offered prayers for the king; but
Alaric did not forget that immediately after the conversion of Clovis,
Volusian, bishop of Tours, had conspired in favor of the Frankish king,
and the bishops of Aquitania regarded Volusian as a martyr, for he had
been deposed, without trial, from his see, and taken as a prisoner first
to Toulouse, and afterwards into Spain, where in a short time he had been
put to death.  In vain did the glorious chief of the race of Goths,
Theodoric the Great, king of Italy, father-in-law of Alaric, and brother-
in-law of Clovis, exert himself to prevent any outbreak between the two
kings.  In 498, Alaric, no doubt at his father-in-law's solicitation,
wrote to Clovis, "If my brother consent thereto, I would, following my
desires and by the grace of God, have an interview with him."  The
interview took place at a small island in the Loire, called the Island
d'Or or de St. Jean, near Amboise.  "The two kings," says Gregory of
Tours, "conversed, ate, and drank together, and separated with mutual
promises of friendship."  The positions and passions of each soon made
the promises of no effect.  In 505 Clovis was seriously ill; the bishops
of Aquitania testified warm interest in him; and one of them, Quintian,
bishop of Rodez, being on this account persecuted by the Visigoths, had
to seek refuge at Clermont, in Auvergne.  Clovis no longer concealed his
designs.  In 507 he assembled his principal chieftains; and, "It
displeaseth me greatly," said he, "that these Arians should possess a
portion of the Gauls; march we forth with the help of God, drive we them
from that land, for it is very goodly, and bring we it under our own
power."  The Franks applauded their king; and the army set out on the
march in the direction of Poitiers, where Alaric happened at that time to
be.  "As a portion of the troops was crossing the territory of Tours,"
says Gregory, who was shortly afterwards its bishop, "Clovis forbade, out
of respect for St. Martin, anything to be taken, save grass and water.
One of the army, however, having found some hay belonging to a poor man,
said, 'This is grass; we do not break the king's commands by taking it;'
and, in spite of the poor man's resistance, he robbed him of his hay.
Clovis, informed of the fact, slew the soldier on the spot with one sweep
of his sword, saying, 'What will become of our hopes of victory if we
offend St. Martin?'"  Alaric had prepared for the struggle; and the two
armies met in the plain of Vouille, on the banks of the little river
Clain, a few leagues from Poitiers.  The battle was very severe.  "The
Goths," says Gregory of Tours, "fought with missiles; the Franks sword in
hand.  Clovis met and with his own hand slew Alaric in the fray; at the
moment of striking his blow, two Goths fell suddenly upon Clovis, and
attacked him with their pikes on either side, but he escaped death,
thanks to his cuirass and the agility of his horse."

Beaten and kingless, the Goths retreated in great disorder; and Clovis,
pursuing his march, arrived without opposition at Bordeaux, where he
settled down with his Franks for the winter.  When the war season
returned, he marched on Toulouse, the capital of the Visigoths, which he
likewise occupied without resistance, and where he seized a portion of
the treasure of the Visigothic kings.  He quitted it to lay siege to
Carcassonne, which had been made by the Romans into the stronghold of

There his course of conquest was destined to end.  After the battle of
Vouille he had sent his eldest son Theodoric in command of a division,
with orders to cross Central Gaul from west to east, to go and join the
Burgundians of Gondebaud, who had promised his assistance, and in
conjunction with them to attack the Visigoths on the banks of the Rhone
and in Narbonness.  The young Frank boldly executed his father's orders,
but the intervention of Theodoric the Great, king of Italy, prevented the
success of the operation.  He sent an army into Gaul to the aid of his
son-in-law Alaric; and the united Franks and Burgundians failed in their
attacks upon the Visigoths of the Eastern Provinces.  Clovis had no idea
of compromising by his obstinacy the conquests already accomplished; he
therefore raised the siege of Carcassonne, returned first to Toulouse,
and then to Bordeaux, took Angouleme, the only town of importance he did
not possess in Aquitania; and feeling reasonably sure that the Visigoths,
who, even with the aid that had cone from Italy, had great difficulty in
defending what remained to them of Southern Gaul, would not come and
dispute with him what he had already conquered, he halted at Tours, and
staid there some time, to enjoy on the very spot the fruits of his
victory and to establish his power in his new possessions.

It appears that even the Britons of Armorica tendered to him at that
time, through the interposition of Melanins, bishop of Rennes, if not
their actual submission, at any rate their subordination and homage.

Clovis at the same time had his self-respect flattered in a manner to
which barbaric conquerors always attach great importance.  Anastasius,
Emperor of the East, with whom he had already had some communication,
sent to him at Tours a solemn embassy, bringing him the titles and
insignia of Patrician and Consul.  "Clovis," says Gregory of Tours, "put
on the tunic of purple and the chlamys and the diadem; then mounting his
horse, he scattered with his own hand and with much bounty gold and
silver amongst the people, on the road which lies between the gate of the
court belonging to the basilica of St. Martin and the church of the city.
From that day he was called Consul and Augustus.  On leaving the city of
Tours he repaired to Paris, where he fixed the seat of his government."

Paris was certainly the political centre of his dominions, the
intermediate point between the early settlements of his race and himself
in Gaul and his new Gallic conquests; but he lacked some of the
possessions nearest to him and most naturally, in his own opinion, his.
To the east, north, and south-west of Paris were settled some independent
Frankish tribes, governed by chieftains with the name of kings.  So soon
as he had settled at Paris, it was the one fixed idea of Clovis to reduce
them all to subjection.  He had conquered the Burgundians and the
Visigoths; it remained for him to conquer and unite together all the
Franks.  The barbarian showed himself in his true colors, during this new
enterprise, with his violence, his craft, his cruelty, and his perfidy.
He began with the most powerful of the tribes, the Ripuarian Franks.  He
sent secretly to Cloderic, son of Sigebert, their king, saying, "Thy
father hath become old, and his wound maketh him to limp o' one foot; if
he should die, his kingdom will come to thee of right, together with our
friendship."  Cloderic had his father assassinated whilst asleep in his
tent, and sent messengers to Clovis, saying, "My father is dead, and I
have in my power his kingdom and his treasures.  Send thou unto me
certain of thy people, and I will gladly give into their hands whatsoever
amongst these treasures shall seem like to please thee."  The envoys of
Clovis came, and, as they were examining in detail the treasures of
Sigebert, Cloderic said to them, "This is the coffer wherein my father
was wont to pile up his gold pieces."  "Plunge," said they, "thy hand
right to the bottom that none escape thee."  Cloderic bent forward, and
one of the envoys lifted his battle-axe and cleft his skull.  Clovis went
to Cologne and convoked the Franks of the canton.  "Learn," said he,
"that which hath happened.  As I was sailing on the river Scheldt,
Cloderic, son of my relative, did vex his father, saying I was minded to
slay him; and as Sigebert was flying across the forest of Buchaw, his son
himself sent bandits, who fell upon him and slew him.  Cloderic also is
dead, smitten I know not by whom as he was opening his father's
treasures.  I am altogether unconcerned in it all, and I could not shed
the blood of my relatives, for it is a crime.  But since it hath so
happened, I give unto you counsel, which ye shall follow if it seem to
you good; turn ye towards me, and live under my protection."  And they
who were present hoisted him on a huge buckler, and hailed him king.

After Sigebert and the Ripuarian Franks, came the Franks of Terouanne,
and Chararic their king.  He had refused, twenty years before, to march
with Clovis against the Roman, Syagrius.  Clovis, who had not forgotten
it, attacked him, took him and his son prisoners, and had them both
shorn, ordering that Chararic should be ordained priest and his son
deacon.  Chararic was much grieved.  Then said his son to him, "Here be
branches which were cut from a green tree, and are not yet wholly dried
up: soon they will sprout forth again.  May it please God that he who
hath wrought all this shall die as quickly!"  Clovis considered these
words as a menace, had both father and son beheaded, and took possession
of their dominions.  Ragnacaire, king of the Franks of Cambrai, was the
third to be attacked.  He had served Clovis against Syagrins, but Clovis
took no account of that.  Ragnacaire, being beaten, was preparing for
flight, when he was seized by his own soldiers, who tied his hands behind
his back, and took him to Clovis along with his brother Riquier.
"Wherefore hast thou dishonored our race," said Clovis, "by letting
thyself wear bonds?"  "Twere better to have died;" and cleft his skull
with one stroke of his battle-axe.  Then turning to Riquier, "Hadst thou
succored thy brother," said he, "he had assuredly not been bound;" and
felled him likewise at his feet.  Rignomer, king of the Franks of
Le Mans, met the same fate, but not at the hands, only by the order, of
Clovis.  So Clovis remained sole king of the Franks, for all the
independent chieftains had disappeared.

It is said that one day, after all these murders, Clovis, surrounded by
his trusted servants, cried, "Woe is me! who am left as a traveller
amongst strangers, and who have no longer relatives to lend me support in
the day of adversity!"  Thus do the most shameless take pleasure in
exhibiting sham sorrow after crimes they cannot disavow.

It cannot be known whether Clovis ever felt in his soul any scruple or
regret for his many acts of ferocity and perfidy, or if he looked, as
sufficient expiation, upon the favor he had bestowed on the churches and
their bishops, upon the gifts he lavished on them, and upon the
absolutions he demanded of them.  In times of mingled barbarism and faith
there are strange cases of credulity in the way of bargains made with
divine justice.  We read in the life of St. Eleutherus, bishop of
Tournai, the native land of Clovis, that at one of those periods when the
conscience of the Frankish king must have been most heavily laden, he
presented himself one day at the church.  "My lord king," said the
bishop, "I know wherefore thou art come to me."  "I have nothing special
to say unto thee," rejoined Clovis.  "Say not so, O king," replied the
bishop; "thou hast sinned, and darest not avow it."  The king was moved,
and ended by confessing that he had deeply sinned and had need of large
pardon.  St. Eleutherus betook himself to prayer; the king came back the
next day, and the bishop gave him a paper on which was written by a
divine hand, he said, "The pardon granted to royal offences which might
not be revealed."  Clovis accepted this absolution, and loaded the church
of Tournai with his gifts.  In 511, the very year of his death, his last
act in life was the convocation at Orleans of a Council, which was
attended by thirty bishops from the different parts of his kingdom, and
at which were adopted thirty-one canons that, whilst granting to the
Church great privileges and means of influence, in many cases favorable
to humanity and respect for the rights of individuals, bound the Church
closely to the State, and gave to royalty, even in ecclesiastical
matters, great power.  The bishops, on breaking up, sent these canons to
Clovis, praying him to give them the sanction of his adhesion, which he
did.  A few months afterwards, on the 27th of November, 511, Clovis died
at Paris, and was buried in the church of St. Peter and St. Paul,
nowadays St. Genevieve, built by his wife Queen Clotilde, who survived

It was but right to make the reader intimately acquainted with that great
barbarian who, with all his vices and all his crimes, brought about, or
rather began, two great matters which have already endured through
fourteen centuries, and still endure; for he founded the French monarchy
and Christian France.  Such men and such facts have a right to be closely
studied and set in a clear light by history.  Nothing similar will be
seen for two centuries, under the descendants of Clovis, the
Merovingians; amongst them will be encountered none but those personages
whom death reduces to insignificance, whatever may have been their rank
in the world, and of whom Virgil thus speaks to Dante:--

          "Non ragionam di for, ma guarda e passa."

     "Waste we no words on them: one glance and pass thou on."
                                        Inferno, Canto III.


[Illustration: The Sluggard King Journeying----156]

In its beginning and in its end the line of the Merovingians is mediocre
and obscure.  Its earliest ancestors, Meroveus, from whom it got its
name, and Clodion, the first, it is said, of the long-haired kings, a
characteristic title of the Frankish kings, are scarcely historical
personages; and it is under the qualification of sluggard kings that the
last Merovingians have a place in history.  Clovis alone, amidst his
vices and his crimes, was sufficiently great and did sufficiently great
deeds to live forever in the course of ages; the greatest part of his
successors belong only to genealogy or chronology.  In a moment of
self-abandonment and weariness, the great Napoleon once said, "What
trouble to take for half a page in universal history!"  Histories far
more limited and modest than a universal history, not only have a right,
but are bound to shed their light only upon those men who have deserved
it by the eminence of their talents or the important results of their
passage through life; rarity only can claim to escape oblivion.  And
save two or three, a little less insignificant or less hateful than the
rest, the Merovingian kings deserve only to be forgotten.  From A.D. 511
to A.D. 752, that is, from the death of Clovis to the accession of the
Carlovingians, is two hundred and forty-one years, which was the
duration of the dynasty of the Merovingians.  During this time there
reigned twenty-eight Merovingian kings, which reduces to eight years and
seven months the average reign of each, a short duration compared with
that of most of the royal dynasties.  Five of these kings, Clotaire I.,
Clotaire II., Dagobert I., Thierry IV.  and Childeric III., alone, at
different intervals, united under their power all the dominions
possessed by Clovis or his successors.  The other kings of this line
reigned only over special kingdoms, formed by virtue of divers
partitions at the death of their general possessor.  From A.D. 511 to
638 five such partitions took place.  In 511, after the death of Clovis,
his dominions were divided amongst his four sons; Theodoric, or Thierry
I., was king of Metz; Clodomir, of Orleans; Childebert, of Paris;
Clotaire I., of Soissons. To each of these capitals fixed boundaries
were attached.  In 558, in consequence of divers incidents brought about
naturally or by violence, Clotaire I. ended by possessing alone, during
three years, all the dominions of his fathers.  At his death, in 561,
they were partitioned afresh amongst his four sons; Charibert was king
of Paris; Gontran of Orleans and Burgundy; Sigebert I., of Metz; and
Childeric, of Soissons. In 567, Charibert, king of Paris, died without
children, and a new partition left only three kingdoms, Austrasia,
Neustria, and Burgundy. Austrasia, in the east, extended over the two
banks of the Rhine, and comprised, side by side with Roman towns and
districts, populations that had remained Germanic.  Neustria, in the
west, was essentially Gallo-Roman, though it comprised in the north the
old territory of the Salian Franks, on the borders of the Scheldt.
Burgundy was the old kingdom of the Burgundians, enlarged in the north
by some few counties.  Paris, the residence of Clovis, was reserved and
undivided amongst the three kings, kept as a sort of neutral city into
which they could not enter without the common consent of all.  In 613,
new incidents connected with family matters placed Clotaire II., son of
Chilperic, and heretofore king of Soissons, in possession of the three
kingdoms.  He kept them united up to 628, and left them so to his son,
Dagobert I., who remained in possession of them up to 638.  At his death
a new division of the Frankish dominions took place, no longer into
three but two kingdoms, Austrasia being one, and Neustria and Burgundy
the other.  This was the definitive dismemberment of the great Frankish
dominion to the time of its last two Merovingian kings, Thierry IV. and
Childeric III., who were kings in name only, dragged from the cloister
as ghosts from the tomb to play a motionless part in the drama.  For a
long time past the real power had been in the hands of that valiant
Austrasian family which was to furnish the dominions of Clovis with a
new dynasty and a greater king than Clovis.

Southern Gaul, that is to say, Aquitania, Vasconia, Narbonness, called
Septimania, and the two banks of the Rhone near its mouths, were not
comprised in these partitions of the Frankish dominions.  Each of the
copartitioners assigned to themselves, to the south of the Garonne and on
the coasts of the Mediterranean, in that beautiful region of old Roman
Gaul, such and such a district or such and such a town, just as heirs-at-
law keep to themselves severally such and such a piece of furniture or
such and such a valuable jewel out of a rich property to which they
succeed, and which they divide amongst them.  The peculiar situation of
those provinces at their distance from the Franks' own settlements
contributed much towards the independence which Southern Gaul, and
especially Aquitania, was constantly striving and partly managed to
recover, amidst the extension and tempestuous fortunes of the Frankish
monarchy.  It is easy to comprehend how these repeated partitions of a
mighty inheritance with so many successors, these dominions continually
changing both their limits and their masters, must have tended to
increase the already profound anarchy of Roman and Barbaric worlds thrown
pell-mell one upon the other, and fallen a prey, the Roman to the
disorganization of a lingering death, the barbaric to the fermentation of
a new existence striving for development under social conditions quite
different from those of its primitive life.  Some historians have said
that, in spite of these perpetual dismemberments of the great Frankish
dominion, a real unity had always existed in the Frankish monarchy, and
regulated the destinies of its constituent peoples.  They who say so show
themselves singularly easy to please in the matter of political unity and
international harmony.  Amongst those various States, springing from a
common base and subdivided between the different members of one and the
same family, rivalries, enmities, hostile machinations, deeds of violence
and atrocity, struggles and wars soon became as frequent, as bloody, and
as obstinate as they have ever been amongst states and sovereigns as
unconnected as possible one with another.  It will suffice to quote one
case which was not long in coming.  In 424, scarcely thirteen years after
the death of Clovis and the partition of his dominions amongst his four
sons, the second of them, Clodomir, king of Orleans, was killed in a war
against the Burgundians, leaving three sons, direct heirs of his kingdom,
subject to equal partition between them.  Their grandmother, Clotilde,
kept them with her at Paris; and "their uncle Childebert (king of Paris),
seeing that his mother bestowed all her affection upon the sons of
Clodomir, grew jealous; so, fearing that by her favor they would get a
share in the kingdom, he sent secretly to his brother Clotaire (king of
Soissons), saying, 'Our mother keepeth by her the sons of our brother,
and willeth to give them the kingdom of their father.  Thou must needs,
therefore, cone speedily to Paris, and we must take counsel together as
to what shall be done with them; whether they shall be shorn and reduced
to the condition of commoners, or slain and leave their kingdom to be
shared equally between us.'  Clotaire, overcome with joy at these words,
came to Paris.  Childebert had already spread abroad amongst the people
that the two kings were to join in raising the young children to the
throne.  The two kings then sent a message to the queen, who at that time
dwelt in the same city, saying, 'Send thou the children to us, that we
may place them on the throne.'  Clotilde, full of joy, and unwitting of
their craft, set meat and drink before the children, and then sent them
away, saying, 'I shall seem not to have lost my son if I see ye succeed
him in his kingdom.'  The young princes were immediately seized, and
parted from their servants and governors; and the servants and the
children were kept in separate places.  Then Childebert and Clotaire sent
to the queen their confidant Arcadius (one of the Arvernian senators),
with a pair of shears and a naked sword.  When he came to Clotilde, he
showed her what he bare with him, and said to her, 'Most glorious queen,
thy sons, our masters, desire to know thy will touching these children:
wilt thou that they live with shorn hair or that they be put to death?'
Clotilde, astounded at this address, and overcome with indignation,
answered at hazard, amidst the grief that overwhelmed her, and not
knowing what she would say, 'If they be not set upon the throne I would
rather know that they were dead than shorn.'  But Areadius, caring little
for her despair or for what she might decide after more reflection,
returned in haste to the two kings, and said, 'Finish ye your work, for
the queen, favoring your plans, willeth that ye accomplish them.'
Forthwith Clotaire taketh the eldest by the arm, dasheth him upon the
ground, and slayeth him without mercy with the thrust of a hunting-knife
beneath the arm-pit.  At the cries raised by the child, his brother
casteth himself at the feet of Childebert, and clinging to his knees,
saith amidst his sobs, 'Aid me, good father, that I die not like my
brother.'  Childebert, his visage bathed in tears, saith to Clotaire,
'Dear brother, I crave thy mercy for his life; I will give thee
whatsoever thou wilt as the price of his soul; I pray thee, slay him
not.'  Then Clotaire, with menacing and furious mien, crieth out aloud,
'Thrust him away, or thou diest in his stead: thou, the instigator of all
this work, art thou, then, so quick to be faithless?'  At these words
Childebert thrust away the child towards Clotaire, who seized him,
plunged a hunting-knife in his side, as he had in his brother's, and slew
him.  They then put to death the slaves and governors of the children.
After these murders Clotaire mounted his horse and departed, taking
little heed of his nephew's death; and Childebert withdrew into the
outskirts of the city.  Queen Clotilde had the corpses of the two
children placed in a coffin, and followed them, with a great parade of
chanting, and immense mourning, to the basilica of St. Pierre (now St.
Genevieve), where they were buried together.  One was ten years old and
the other seven.  The third, named Clodoald (who died about the year 560,
after having founded, near Paris, a monastery called after him St.
Cloud), could not be caught, and was saved by some gallant men.  He,
disdaining a terrestrial kingdom, dedicated himself to the Lord, was
shorn by his own hand, and became a church-man: he devoted himself wholly
to good works, and died a priest.  And the two kings divided equally
between them the kingdom of Clodomir."  (Gregory of Tours, _Histoire des
Francs,_ III.  xviii.)

[Illustration: "Thrust him away, or thou diest in his stead."----160]

The history of the most barbarous peoples and times assuredly offers no
example, in one and the same family, of an usurpation more perfidiously
and atrociously consummated.  King Clodomir, the father of the two young
princes thus dethroned and murdered by their uncles, had, during his
reign, shown almost equal indifference and cruelty.  In 523, during a war
which, in concert with his brothers Childebert and Clotaire, he had waged
against Sigismund, king of Burgundy, he had made prisoners of that king,
his wife, and their sons, and kept them shut up at Orleans.  The year
after, the war was renewed with the Burgundians.  "Clodomir resolved,"
says Gregory of Tours, "to put Sigismund to death.  The blessed Avitus,
abbot of St. Mesrnin de Micy (an abbey about two leagues from Orleans), a
famous priest in those days, said to him on this occasion, 'If, turning
thy thoughts towards God, thou change thy plan, and suffer not these folk
to be slain, God will be with thee, and thou wilt gain the victory; but
if thou slay them, thou thyself wilt be delivered into the hands of thine
enemies, and thou wilt undergo their fate; to thee and thy wife and thy
sons will happen that which thou wilt have done to Sigismund and his wife
and his sons.'  But Clodomir, taking no heed of this counsel, said, 'It
were great folly to leave one enemy at home when I march out against
another; one attacking me behind and another in front, I should find
myself between two armies: victory will be surer and easier if I separate
one from the other; when the first is once dead, it will be less
difficult to get rid of the other also.'  Accordingly he put Sigismund to
death, together with his wife and his sons, ordered them to be thrown
into a well in the village of Coulmier, belonging to the territory of
Orleans, and set out for Burgundy.  After his first success Clodomir fell
into an ambush and into the hands of his enemies, who cut off his head,
stuck it on the end of a pike and held it up aloft.  Victory,
nevertheless, remained with the Franks; but scarcely had a year elapsed
when Queen Guntheuque, Clodomir's widow, became the wife of his brother
Clotaire, and his two elder sons, Theobald and Gonthaire, fell beneath
their uncle's hunting-knife."

Even in the coarsest and harshest ages the soul of man does not
completely lose its instincts of justice and humanity.  The bishops and
priests were not alone in crying out against such atrocities; the
barbarians themselves did not always remain indifferent spectators of
them, but sometimes took advantage of them to rouse the wrath and warlike
ardor of their comrades.  "About the year 528, Theodoric, king of Metz,
the eldest son of Clovis, purposed to undertake a grand campaign on the
right bank of the Rhine against his neighbors the Thuringians, and
summoned the Franks to a meeting.  'Bethink you,' said he, that of old
time the Thuringians fell violently upon our ancestors, and did them much
harm.  Our fathers, ye know, gave them hostages to obtain peace; but the
Thuringians put to death those hostages in divers ways, and once more
falling upon our relatives, took from them all they possessed.  After
having hung children up, by the sinews of their thighs, on the branches
of trees, they put to a most cruel death more than two hundred young
girls, tying them by the legs to the necks of horses, which, driven by
pointed goads in different directions, tore the poor souls in pieces;
they laid others along the ruts of the roads, fixed them in the earth
with stakes, drove over them laden cars, and so left them, with their
bones all broken, as a meal for the birds and dogs.  To this very day
doth Hermannfroi fail in his promise, and absolutely refuse to fulfil his
engagements: right is on our side; march we against them with the help of
God.'  Then the Franks, indignant at such atrocities, demanded with one
voice to be led into Thuringia.  .  .  .  Victory made them masters of
it, and they reduced the country under their dominion.  .  .  .  Whilst
the Frankish kings were still there, Theodoric would have slain his
brother Clotaire.  Having put armed men in waiting, he had him fetched to
treat secretly of a certain matter.  Then, having arranged, in a portion
of his house, a curtain from wall to wall, he posted his armed men behind
it; but, as the curtain was too short, it left their feet exposed.
Clotaire, having been warned of the snare, entered the house armed and
with a goodly company.  Theodoric then perceived that he was discovered,
invented some story, and talked of this, that, and the other.  At last,
not knowing how to get his treachery forgotten, he made Clotaire a
present of a large silvern dish.  Clotaire wished him good by, thanked
him, and returned home.  But Theodoric immediately complained to his own
folks that he had sacrificed his silvern dish to no purpose, and said to
his son Theodebert, 'Go, find thy uncle, and pray him to give thee the
present I made him.'  Theodebert went, and got what he asked.  In such
tricks did Theodoric excel."  (Gregory of Tours, III.  vii.)

These Merovingian kings were as greedy and licentious as they were cruel.
Not only was pillage, in their estimation, the end and object of war, but
they pillaged even in the midst of peace and in their own dominions;
sometimes, after the Roman practice, by aggravation of taxes and fiscal
manoeuvres, at others after the barbaric fashion, by sudden attacks on
places and persons they knew to be rich.  It often happened that they
pillaged a church, of which the bishop had vexed them by his protests,
either to swell their own personal treasury, or to make, soon afterwards,
offerings to another church of which they sought the favor.  When some
great family event was at hand, they delighted in a coarse magnificence,
for which they provided at the expense of the populations of their
domains, or of the great officers of their courts, who did not fail to
indemnify themselves, thanks to public disorder, for the sacrifices
imposed upon them.  At the end of the sixth century, Chilperic, king of
Neustria, had promised his daughter Rigonthe in marriage to Prince
Recared, son of Leuvigild, king of the Visigoths of Spain.  "A grand
deputation of Goths came to Paris to fetch the Frankish princess.  King
Chilperic ordered several families in the fiscal domains to be seized and
placed in cars.  As a great number of them wept and were not willing to
go, he had them kept in prison that he might more easily force them to go
away with his daughter.  It is said that several, in their despair, hung
themselves, fearing to be taken from their parents.  Sons were separated
from fathers, daughters from mothers, and all departed with deep groans
and maledictions, and in Paris there reigned a desolation like that of
Egypt.  Not a few, of superior birth, being forced to go away, even made
wills whereby they left their possessions to the churches, and demanded
that, so soon as the young girl should have entered Spain, their wills
should be opened just as if they were already in their graves.  .  .  .
When King Chilperic gave up his daughter to the ambassadors of the Goths,
he presented them with vast treasures.  Her mother (Queen Fredegonde)
added thereto so great a quantity of gold and silver and valuable
vestments, that, at the sight thereof, the king thought he must have
nought remaining.  The queen, perceiving his emotion, turned to the
Franks, and said to them, 'Think not, warriors, that there is here aught
of the treasures of former kings.  All that ye see is taken from mine own
possessions, for my most glorious king hath made me many gifts.  Thereto
have I added of the fruits of mine own toil, and a great part proceedeth
from the revenues I have drawn, either in kind or in money, from the
houses that have been ceded unto me.  Ye yourselves have given me riches,
and ye see here a portion thereof; but there is here nought of the public
treasure.'  And the king was deceived into believing her words.  Such was
the multitude of golden and silvern articles and other precious things
that it took fifty wagons to hold them.  The Franks, on their part, made
many offerings; some gave gold, others silver, sundry gave horses, but
most of them vestments.  At last the young girl, with many tears and
kisses, said farewell.  As she was passing through the gate an axle of
her carriage broke, and all cried out alacic! which was interpreted by
some as a presage.  She departed from Paris, and at eight miles' distance
front the city she had her tents pitched.  During the night fifty men
arose, and, having taken a hundred of the best horses and as many golden
bits and bridles, and two large silvern dishes, fled away, and took
refuge with king Childebert.  During the whole journey whoever could
escape fled away with all that he could lay hands on.  It was required
also of all the towns that were traversed on the way, that they should
make great preparations to defray expenses, for the king forbade any
contribution from the treasury: all the charges were met by extraordinary
taxes levied on the poor."  (Gregory of Tours, VI. xlv.)

"Close upon this tyrannical magnificence came unexpected sorrows, and
close upon these outrages remorse.  The youngest son of King Chilperic,
Dagobert by name, fell ill.  He was a little better, when his elder
brother Chlodebert was attacked with the same symptoms.  His mother
Fredegonde, seeing him in danger of death, and touched by tardy
repentance, said to the king, 'Long hath divine mercy borne with our
misdeeds; it hath warned us by fever, and other maladies, and we have not
mended our ways, and now we are losing our sons; now the tears of the
poor, the lamentations of widows, and the sighs of orphans are causing
them to perish, and leaving us no hope of laying by for any one.  We heap
up riches and know not for whom.  Our treasures, all laden with plunder
and curses, are like to remain without possessors.  Our cellars are they
not bursting with wine, and our granaries with corn?  Our coffers were
they not full to the brim with gold and silver and precious stones and
necklaces and other imperial ornaments?  And yet that which was our most
beautiful possession we are losing!  Come then, if thou wilt, and let us
burn all these wicked lists; let our treasury be content with what was
sufficient for thy father Clotaire.'  Having thus spoken, and beating her
breast, the queen had brought to her the rolls, which Mark had consigned
to her of each of the cities that belonged to her, and cast them into the
fire.  Then, turning again to the king, 'What!' she cried, 'dost thou
hesitate?  Do thou even as I; if we lose our dear children, at least
escape we everlasting punishment.'  Then the king, moved with
compunction, threw into the fire all the lists, and, when they were
burned, sent people to stay the levy of those imposts.  And afterwards
their youngest child died, worn out with lingering illness.  Overwhelmed
with grief, they bare him from their house at Braine to Paris, and had
him buried in the basilica of St. Denis.  As for Chlodebert, they placed
him on a litter, carried him to the basilica of St. Medard at Soissons,
and, laying him before the tomb of the saint, offered vows for his
recovery; but in the middle of the night, enfeebled and exhausted, he
gave up the ghost.  They buried him in the basilica of the holy martyrs
Crispin and Crispinian.  Then King Chilperic showed great largess to the
churches and the monasteries and the poor."  (Gregory of Tours, V.

It is doubtful whether the maternal grief of Fredegonde were quite so
pious and so strictly in accordance with morality as it has been
represented by Gregory of Tours; but she was, without doubt, passionately
sincere.  Rash actions and violent passions are the characteristics of
barbaric natures; the interest or impression of the moment holds sway
over them, and causes forgetfulness of every moral law as well as of
every wise calculation.  These two characteristics show themselves in the
extreme license displayed in the private life of the Merovingian kings:
on becoming Christians, not only did they not impose upon themselves any
of the Christian rules in respect of conjugal relations, but the greater
number of them did not renounce polygamy, and more than one holy bishop,
at the very time that he reprobated it, was obliged to tolerate it.
"King Clotaire I. had to wife Ingonde, and her only did he love, when she
made to him the following request: 'My lord,' said she, 'hath made of his
handmaid what seemed to him good; and now, to crown his favors, let my
lord deign to hear what his handmaid demandeth.  I pray you be graciously
pleased to find for my sister Aregonde, your slave, a man both capable
and rich, so that I be rather exalted than abased thereby, and be enabled
to serve you still more faithfully.'  At these words Clotaire, who was
but too voluptuously disposed by nature, conceived a fancy for Aregonde,
betook himself to the country-house where she dwelt, and united her to
him in marriage.  When the union had taken place he returned to Ingonde,
and said to her, 'I have labored to procure for thee the favor thou didst
so sweetly demand, and, on looking for a man of wealth and capability
worthy to be united to thy sister, I could find no better than myself;
know, therefore, that I have taken her to wife, and I trow that it will
not displease thee.'  What seemeth good in my master's eyes, that let him
do,' replied Ingonde: 'only let thy servant abide still in the king's

Clotaire I. had, as has been already remarked, four sons: the eldest,
Charibert, king of Paris, had to wife Ingoberge, "who had in her service
two young persons, daughters of a poor work-man; one of them, named
Marcovieve, had donned the religious dress, the other was called
Meroflede, and the king loved both of them exceedingly.  They were
daughters, as has been said, of a worker in wool.  Ingoberge, jealous of
the affection borne to them by the king, had their father put to work
inside the palace, hoping that the king, on seeing him in such condition,
would conceive a distaste for his daughters; and, whilst the man was at
his work, she sent for the king.

"Charibert, thinking he was going to see some novelty, saw only the
workman afar off at work on his wool.  He forsook Ingoberge, and took to
wife Meroflede.  He had also (to wife) another young girl named
Theudoehilde, whose father was a shepherd, a mere tender of sheep, and
had by her, it is said, a son who, on issuing from his mother's womb, was
carried straight-way to the grave."  Charibert afterwards espoused
Marcovive, sister of Meroflede; and for that cause both were
excommunicated by St. Germain, bishop of Paris.

Chilperic, fourth son of Clotaire I. and king of Soissons, "though he had
already several wives, asked the hand of Galsuinthe, eldest daughter of
Athanagild, king of Spain.  She arrived at Soissons and was united to him
in marriage; and she received strong evidences of love, for she had
brought with her vast treasures.  But his love for Fredegonde, one of the
principal women about Chilperic, occasioned fierce disputes between them.
As Galsuinthe had to complain to the king of continual insult and of not
sharing with him the dignity of his rank, she asked him in return for the
treasures which she had brought, and which she was ready to give up to
him, to send her back free to her own country.  Chilperic, artfully
dissimulating, appeased her with soothing words; and then had her
strangled by a slave, and she was found dead in her bed.  When he had
mourned for her death, he espoused Fredegonde after an interval of a few
days."  (Gregory of Tours, IV.  xxvi., xxviii.)

Amidst such passions and such morals, treason, murder and poisoning were
the familiar processes of ambition, covetousness, hatred, vengeance, and
fear.  Eight kings or royal heirs of the Merovingian line died of brutal
murder or secret assassination, to say nothing of innumerable crimes of
the same kind committed in their circle, and left unpunished, save by
similar crimes.  Nevertheless, justice is due to the very worst times and
the very worst governments; and it must be recorded that, whilst sharing
in many of the vices of their age and race, especially their extreme
license of morals, three of Clovis's successors, Theodebert, king of
Austrasia (from 534 to 548), Gontran, king of Burgundy (from 561 to 598),
and Dogobert I., who united under his own sway the whole Frankish
monarchy (from 622 to 688), were less violent, less cruel, less
iniquitous, and less grossly ignorant or blind than the majority of the

"Theodebert," says Gregory of Tours, "when confirmed in his kingdom,
showed himself full of greatness and goodness; he ruled with justice,
honoring the bishops, doing good to the churches, helping the poor, and
distributing in many directions numerous benefits with a very charitable
and very liberal hand.  He generously remitted to the churches of
Auvergne all the tribute they were wont to pay into his treasury."  (III.

Gontran, king of Burgundy, in spite of many shocking and unprincipled
deeds, at one time of violence, at another of weakness, displayed, during
his reign of thirty-three years, an inclination towards moderation and
peace, in striking contrast with the measureless pretensions and
outrageous conduct of the other Frankish kings his contemporaries,
especially King Chilperic his brother.  The treaty concluded by Gontran,
on the 38th of November, 587, at Andelot, near Langres, with his young
nephew Childebert, king of Metz, and Queen Brunehant, his mother,
contains dispositions, or, more correctly speaking, words, which breathe
a sincere but timid desire to render justice to all, to put an end to the
vindictive or retrospective quarrels and spoliations which were
incessantly harassing the Gallo-Frankish community, and to build up peace
between the two kings on the foundation of mutual respect for the rights
of their lieges.  "It is established," says this treaty, "that whatsoever
the kings have given to the churches or to their lieges, or with God's
help shall hereafter will to give to them lawfully, shall be irrevocable
acquired; as also that none of the lieges, in one kingdom or the other,
shall have to suffer damage in respect of whatsoever belongeth to him,
either by law or by virtue of a decree, but shall be permitted to recover
and possess things due to him.  .  .  .  And as the aforesaid kings have
allied themselves, in the name of God, by a pure and sincere affection,
it hath been agreed that at no time shall passage through one kingdom be
refused to the Leudes (lieges--great vassals) of the other kingdom who
shall desire to traverse them on public or private affairs.  It is
likewise agreed that neither of the two kings shall solicit the Leudes of
the other or receive them if they offer themselves; and if, peradventure,
any of these Leudes shall think it necessary, in consequence of some
fault, to take refuge with the other king, he shall be absolved according
to the nature of his fault and given back.  It hath seemed good also to
add to the present treaty that whichever, if either, of the parties
happen to violate it, under any pretext and at any time whatsoever, it
shall lose all advantages, present or prospective, therefrom; and they
shall be for the profit of that party which shall have faithfully
observed the aforesaid conventions, and which shall be relieved in all
points from the obligations of its oath."  (Gregory of Tours, IX.  xx.)

It may be doubted whether between Gontran and Childebert the promises in
the treaty were always scrupulously fulfilled; but they have a stamp of
serious and sincere intention foreign to the habitual relations between
the other Merovingian kings.

Mention was but just now made of two women--two queens--Fredegonde and
Brunehaut, who, at the Merovingian epoch, played important parts in the
history of the country.  They were of very different origin and
condition; and, after fortunes which were for a long while analogous,
they ended very differently.  Fredegonde was the daughter of poor
peasants in the neighborhood of Montdidier in Picardy, and at an early
age joined the train of Queen Audovere, the first wife of King Chilperic.
She was beautiful, dexterous, ambitious, and bold; and she attracted the
attention, and before long awakened the passion of the king.  She pursued
with ardor and without scruple her unexpected fortune.  Queen Audovere
was her first obstacle and her first victim; and on the pretext of a
spiritual relationship which rendered her marriage with Chilperic
illegal, was repudiated and banished to a convent.  But Fredegonde's hour
had not yet come; for Chilperic espoused Galsuinthe, daughter of the
Visigothic king, Athanagild, whose youngest daughter, Brunehaut, had just
married Chilperic's brother, Sigebert, king of Austrasia.  It has already
been said that before long Galsuinthe was found strangled in her bed, and
that Chilperic espoused Fredegonde.  An undying hatred from that time
arose between her and Brunehaut, who had to avenge her sister.  A war,
incessantly renewed, between the kings of Austrasia and Neustria
followed.  Sigebert succeeded in beating Chilperic, but, in 575, in the
midst of his victory, he was suddenly assassinated in his tent by two
emissaries of Fredegonde.  His army disbanded; and his widow, Brunehaut,
fell into the hands of Chilperic.  The right of asylum belonging to the
cathedral of Paris saved her life, but she was sent away to Rouen.
There, at this very time, on a mission from his father, happened to be
Merovee, son of Chilperic, and the repudiated Queen Audovere; he saw
Brunehaut in her beauty, her attractiveness and her trouble; he was
smitten with her and married her privately, and Praetextatus, bishop of
Rouen, had the imprudent courage to seal their union.  Fredegonde seized
with avidity upon this occasion for persecuting her rival and destroying
her step-son, heir to the throne of Chilperic.  The Austrasians, who had
preserved the child Childebert, son of their murdered king, demanded back
with threats their queen Brunehaut.  She was surrendered to them; but
Fredegonde did not let go her other prey, Merovice.  First imprisoned,
then shorn and shut up in a monastery, afterwards a fugitive and secretly
urged on to attempt a rising against his father, he was so affrightened
at his perils, that he got a faithful servant to strike him dead, that he
might not fall into the hands of his hostile step-mother.  Chilperic had
remaining another son, Clovis, issue, as Merovee was, of Queen Audovere.
He was accused of having caused by his sorceries the death of the three
children lost about this time by Fredegonde; and was, in his turn,
imprisoned and before long poniarded.  His mother Audovere was strangled
in her convent.  Fredegonde sought in these deaths, advantageous for her
own children, some sort of horrible consolation for her sorrows as a
mother.  But the sum of crimes was not yet complete.  In 584 King
Chilperic, on returning from the chase and in the act of dismounting, was
struck two mortal blows by a man who took to rapid flight, and a cry was
raised all around of "Treason! 'tis the hand of the Austrasian Childebert
against our lord the king!"  The care taken to have the cry raised was
proof of its falsity; it was the hand of Fredegonde herself, anxious lest
Chilperic should discover the guilty connection existing between her and
an officer of her household, Landry, who became subsequently mayor of the
palace of Neustria.  Chilperic left a son, a few months old, named.
Clotaire, of whom his mother Fredegonde became the sovereign guardian.
She employed, at one time in defending him against his enemies, at
another in endangering him by her plots, her hatreds and her assaults,
the last thirteen years of her life.  She was a true type of the
strong-willed, artful, and perverse woman in barbarous times; she started
low down in the scale and rose very high without a corresponding
elevation of soul; she was audacious and perfidious, as perfect in
deception as in effrontery, proceeding to atrocities either from cool
calculation or a spirit of revenge, abandoned to all kinds of passion,
and, for gratification of them, shrinking from no sort of crime.
However, she died quietly at Paris, in 597 or 598, powerful and dreaded,
and leaving on the throne of Neustria her son Clotaire II., who, fifteen
years later, was to become sole king of all the Frankish dominions.

Brunehaut had no occasion for crimes to become a queen, and, in spite of
those she committed, and in spite of her out-bursts and the moral
irregularities of her long life, she bore, amidst her passion and her
power, a stamp of courageous frankness and intellectual greatness which
places her far above the savage who was her rival.  Fredegonde was an
upstart, of barbaric race and habits, a stranger to every idea and every
design not connected with her own personal interest and successes; and
she was as brutally selfish in the case of her natural passions as in the
exercise of a power acquired and maintained by a mixture of artifice and
violence.  Brunehaut was a princess of that race of Gothic kings who, in
Southern Gaul and in Spain, had understood and admired the Roman
civilization, and had striven to transfer the remains of it to the
newly-formed fabric of their own dominions.  She, transplanted to a home
amongst the Franks of Austrasia, the least Roman of all the barbarians,
preserved there the ideas and tastes of the Visigoths of Spain, who had
become almost Gallo-Romans; she clung stoutly to the efficacious exercise
of the royal authority; she took a practical interest in the public
works, highways, bridges, monuments, and the progress of material
civilization; the Roman roads in a short time received and for a long
while kept in Anstrasia the name of Brunehaut's causeways; there used to
he shown, in a forest near Bourges, Brunehaut's castle, Brunehaut's tower
at Etampes, Brunehaut's stone near Tournay, and Brunehaut's fort near
Cahors.  In the royal domains and wheresoever she went she showed
abundant charity to the poor, and many ages after her death the people of
those districts still spoke of Brunehaut's alms.  She liked and protected
men of letters, rare and mediocre indeed at that time, but the only
beings, such as they were, with a notion of seeking and giving any kind
of intellectual enjoyment; and they in turn took pleasure in celebrating
her name and her deserts.  The most renowned of all during that age,
Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers, dedicated nearly all his little poems to
two queens; one, Brunehaut, plunging amidst all the struggles and
pleasures of the world, the other St. Radegonde, sometime wife of
Clotaire I., who had fled in all haste from a throne, to bury herself at
Poitiers, in the convent she had founded there.  To compensate, Brunehaut
was detested by the majority of the Austrasian chiefs, those Leudes,
landowners and warriors, whose sturdy and turbulent independence she was
continually fighting against.  She supported against them, with
indomitable courage, the royal officers, the servants of the palace, her
agents, and frequently her favorites.  One of these, Lupus, a Roman by
origin, and Duke of Champagne, "was being constantly insulted and
plundered by his enemies, especially by Ursion Bertfried.  At last, they,
having agreed to slay him, marched against him with an army.  At the
sight, Brunehaut, compassionating the evil case of one of her lieges
unjustly persecuted, assumed quite a manly courage, and threw herself
amongst the hostile battalions, crying, "'Stay, warriors; refrain from
this wicked deed; persecute not the innocent; engage not, for a single
man's sake, in a battle which will desolate the country!'  'Back, woman,'
said Ursion to her; 'let it suffice thee to have ruled under thy
husband's sway; now 'tis thy son who reigns, and his kingdom is under our
protection, not thine.  Back! if thou wouldest not that the hoofs of our
horses trample thee under as the dust of the ground!'  After the dispute
had lasted some time in this strain, the queen, by her address, at last
prevented the battle from taking place."  (Gregory of Tours, VI.  iv.) It
was but a momentary success for Brunehaut; and the last words of Ursion
contained a sad presage of the death awaiting her.  Intoxicated with
power, pride, hate, and revenge, she entered more violently every day
into strife not only with the Austrasian laic chieftains, but with some
of the principal bishops of Austrasia and Burgundy, among the rest with
St. Didier, bishop of Vienne, who, at her instigation, was brutally
murdered, and with the great Irish missionary St. Columba, who would not
sanction by his blessing the fruits of the royal irregularities.  In 614,
after thirty-nine years of wars, plots, murders, and political and
personal vicissitudes, from the death of her husband Sigebert I., and
under the reigns of her son Theodebert, and her grandsons Theodebert II.
and Thierry II., Queen Brunehaut, at the age of eighty years, fell into
the hands of her mortal enemy, Clotaire II., son of Fredegonde, now sole
king of the Franks.  After having grossly insulted her, he had her
paraded, seated on a camel, in front of his whole army, and then ordered
her to be tied by the hair, one foot, and one arm to the tail of an
unbroken horse, that carried her away, and dashed her in pieces as he
galloped and kicked, beneath the eyes of the ferocious spectators.

[Illustration: The Execution of Brunehaut----175]

After the execution of Brunehaut and the death of Clotaire II., the
history of the Franks becomes a little less dark and less bloody.  Not
that murders and great irregularities, in the court and amongst the
people, disappear altogether.  Dagobert I., for instance, the successor
of Clotaire II., and grandson of Chilperic and Fredegonde, had no
scruple, under the pressure of self-interest, in committing an iniquitous
and barbarous act.  After having consented to leave to his younger
brother Charibert the kingdom of Aquitania, he retook it by force in 631,
at the death of Charibert, seizing at the same time his treasures, and
causing or permitting to be murdered his young nephew Chilperic, rightful
heir of his father.  About the same time Dagobert had assigned amongst
the Bavarians, subjects of his beyond the Rhine, an asylum to nine
thousand Bulgarians, who had been driven with their wives and children
from Pannonia.  Not knowing, afterwards, where to put or how to feed
these refugees, he ordered them all to be massacred in one night; and
scarcely seven hundred of them succeeded in escaping by flight.  The
private morals of Dagobert were not more scrupulous than his public acts.
"A slave to incontinence as King Solomon was," says his biographer
Fredegaire, "he had three queens and a host of concubines."  Given up to
extravagance and pomp, it pleased him to imitate the magnificence of the
imperial court at Constantinople, and at one time he laid hands for that
purpose, upon the possessions of certain of his "leudes" or of certain
churches; at another he gave to his favorite church, the Abbey of St.
Denis, "so many precious stones, articles of value, and domains in
various places, that all the world," says Fredegaire, "was stricken with
admiration."  But, despite of these excesses and scandals, Dagobert was
the most wisely energetic, the least cruel in feeling, the most prudent
in enterprise, and the most capable of governing with some little
regularity and effectiveness, of all the kings furnished, since Clovis,
by the Merovingian race.  He had, on ascending the throne, this immense
advantage, that the three Frankish dominions, Austrasia, Neustria, and
Burgundy were re-united under his sway; and at the death of his brother
Charibert, he added thereto Aquitania.  The unity of the vast Frankish
monarchy was thus re-established, and Dagobert retained it by his
moderation at home and abroad.  He was brave, and he made war on
occasion; but, he did not permit himself to be dragged into it either by
his own passions or by the unlimited taste of his lieges for adventure
and plunder.  He found, on this point, salutary warnings in the history
of his predecessors.  It was very often the Franks themselves, the royal
"leudes," who plunged their kings into civil or foreign wars.  In 530,
two sons of Clovis, Childebert and Clotaire, arranged to attack Burgundy
and its king Godomar.  They asked aid of their brother Theodoric, who
refused to join them.  However, the Franks who formed his party said, "If
thou refuse to march into Burgundy with thy brethren, we give thee up,
and prefer to follow them."  But Theodoric, considering that the
Arvernians had been faithless to him, said to the Franks, "Follow me, and
I will lead you into a country where ye shall seize of gold and silver as
much as ye can desire, and whence ye shall take away flocks and slaves
and vestments in abundance!"  The Franks, overcome by these words,
promised to do whatsoever he should desire.  So Theodoric entered
Auvergne with his army, and wrought devastation and ruin in the province.

"In 555, Clotaire I. had made an expedition against the Saxons, who
demanded peace; but the Frankish warriors would not hear of it.  'Cease,
I pray you,' said Clotaire to them, 'to be evil-minded against these men;
they speak us fair; let us not go and attack them, for fear we bring down
upon us the anger of God.'  But the Franks would not listen to him.  The
Saxons again came with offerings of vestments, flocks, even all their
possessions, saying, 'Take all this, together with half our country;
leave us but our wives and little children; only let there be no war
between us.'  But the Franks again refused all terms.  'Hold, I adjure
you,' said Clotaire again to them; 'we have not right on our side; if ye
be thoroughly minded to enter upon a war in which ye may find your loss,
as for me, I will not follow ye.'  Then the Franks, enraged against
Clotaire, threw themselves upon him, tore his tent to pieces as they
heaped reproaches upon him, and bore him away by force, determined to
kill him if he hesitated to march with them.  So Clotaire, in spite of
himself, departed with them.  But when they joined battle they were cut
to pieces by their adversaries, and on both sides so many fell that it
was impossible to estimate or count the number of the dead.  Then
Clotaire with shame demanded peace of the Saxons, saying that it was not
of his own will that he had attacked them; and, having obtained it,
returned to his own dominions."  (Gregory of Tours, III.  xi., xii.; IV.

King Dagobert was not thus under the yoke of his "leudes."  Either by his
own energy, or by surrounding himself with wise and influential
counsellors, such as Pepin of Landen, mayor of the palace of Austrasia,
St. Arnoul, bishop of Metz, St. Eligius, bishop of Noyon, and St.
Andoenus, bishop of Rouen, he applied himself to and succeeded in
assuring to himself, in the exercise of his power, a pretty large measure
of independence and popularity.  At the beginning of his reign he held,
in Austrasia and Burgundy, a sort of administrative and judicial
inspection, halting at the principal towns, listening to complaints, and
checking, sometimes with a rigor arbitrary indeed, but approved of by the
people, the violence and irregularities of the grandees.  At Langres,
Dijon, St. Jean-de, Losne, Chalons-sur-Saline, Auxerre, Autun, and Sens,
"he rendered justice," says Fredegaire, "to rich and poor alike, without
any charges, and without any respect of persons, taking little sleep and
little food, caring only so to act that all should withdraw from his
presence full of joy and admiration."  Nor did he confine himself to this
unceremonious exercise of the royal authority.  Some of his predecessors,
and amongst them Childebert I., Clotaire I., and Clotaire II., had caused
to be drawn up, in Latin and by scholars, digests more or less complete
of the laws and customs handed down by tradition, amongst certain of the
Germanic peoples established on Roman soil, notably the laws of the
Salian Franks and Ripuarian Franks; and Dagobert ordered a continuation
of these first legislative labors amongst the newborn nations.  It was,
apparently, in his reign that a digest was made of the laws of the
Allemannians and Bavarians.  He had also some taste for the arts, and the
pious talents displayed by Saints Eloi and Ouen in goldsmith's-work and
sculpture, applied to the service of religion or the decoration of
churches, received from him the support of the royal favor and
munificence.  Dagobert was neither a great warrior nor a great
legislator, and there is nothing to make him recognized as a great mind
or a great character.  His private life, too, was scandalous; and
extortions were a sad feature of its close.  Nevertheless his authority
was maintained in his dominions, his reputation spread far and wide, and
the name of great King Dagobert was his abiding title in the memory of
the people.  Taken all in all, he was, next to Clovis, the most
distinguished of Frankish kings, and the last really king in the line of
the Merovingians.  After him, from 638 to 732, twelve princes of this
line, one named Sigebert, two Clovis, two Childeric, one Clotaire, two
Dagobert, one Childebert, one Chilperic, and two Throdoric or Thierry,
bore, in Neustria, Austrasia, and Burgundy, or in the three kingdoms
united, the title of king, without deserving in history more than room
for their names.  There was already heard the rumbling of great events to
come around the Frankish dominion; and in the very womb of this dominion
was being formed a new race of kings more able to bear, in accordance
with the spirit and wants of their times, the burden of power.


There is a certain amount of sound sense, of intelligent activity and
practical efficiency, which even the least civilized and least exacting
communities absolutely must look for in their governing body.  When this
necessary share of ability and influence of a political kind are
decidedly wanting in the men who have the titles and the official posts
of power, communities seek elsewhere the qualities (and their
consequences) which they cannot do without.  The sluggard Merovingians
drove the Franks, Neustrians, and Austrasians to this imperative
necessity.  The last of the kings sprung from Clovis acquitted themselves
too ill or not at all of their task; and the mayors of the palace were
naturally summoned to supply their deficiencies, and to give the
populations assurance of more intelligence and energy in the exercise of
power.  The origin and primitive character of these supplements of
royalty were different according to circumstances; at one time,
conformably with their title, the mayors of the palace really came into
existence in the palace of the Frankish kings, amongst the "leudes,"
charged, under the style of antrustions (lieges in the confidence of the
king: in truste regia), with the internal management of the royal affairs
and household, or amongst the superior chiefs of the army; at another, on
the contrary, it was to resist the violence and usurpation of the kings
that the "leudes," landholders or warriors, themselves chose a chief able
to defend their interests and their rights against the royal tyranny or
incapacity.  Thus we meet, at this time, with mayors of the palace of
very different political origin and intention, some appointed by the
kings to support royalty against the "leudes," others chosen by the
"leudes" against the kings.  It was especially between the Neustrian and
Austrasian mayors of the palace that this difference became striking.
Gallo-Roman feeling was more prevalent in Neustria, Germanic in
Austrasia.  The majority of the Neustrian mayors supported the interests
of royalty, the Austrasian those of the aristocracy of landholders and
warriors.  The last years of the Merovingian line were full of their
struggles; but a cause far more general and more powerful than these
differences and conflicts in the very heart of the Frankish dominions
determined the definitive fall of that line and the accession of another
dynasty.  When in 687 the battle fought at Testry, on the banks of the
Somme, left Pepin of Heristal, duke and mayor of the palace of Austrasia,
victorious over Bertaire, mayor of the palace of Neustria, it was a
question of something very different from mere rivalry between the two
Frankish dominions and their chiefs.

At their entrance and settlement upon the left bank of the Rhine and in
Gaul, the Franks had not abandoned the right bank and Germany; there also
they remained settled and incessantly at strife with their neighbors of
Germanic race, Thuringians, Bavarians, the confederation of Allemannians,
Frisons, and Saxons, people frequently vanquished and subdued to all
appearance, but always ready to rise either for the recovery of their
independence, or, again, under the pressure of that grand movement which,
in the third century, had determined the general invasion by the
barbarians of the Roman empire.  After the defeat of the Huns at Chalons,
and the founding of the Visigothic, Burgundian, and Frankish kingdoms in
Gaul, that movement had been, if not arrested, at any rate modified, and
for the moment suspended.  In the sixth century it received a fresh
impulse; new nations, Avars, Tartars, Bulgarians, Slavons, and Lombards
thrust one another with mutual pressure from Asia into Europe, from
Eastern Europe into Western; from the North to the South, into Italy and
into Gaul.  Driven by the Ouigour Tartars from Pannonia and Noricum
(nowadays Austria), the Lombards threw themselves first upon Italy,
crossed before long the Alps, and penetrated into Burgundy and Provence,
to the very gates of Avignon.  On the Rhine and along the Jura the Franks
had to struggle on their own account against the new comers; and they
were, further, summoned into Italy by the Emperors of the East, who
wanted their aid against the Lombards.  Everywhere resistance to the
invasion of barbarians became the national attitude of the Franks, and
they proudly proclaimed themselves the defenders of that West of which
they had but lately been the conquerors.

When the Merovingians were indisputably nothing but sluggard kings, and
when Ebroin, the last great mayor of the palace of Neustria, had been
assassinated (in 681), and the army of the Neustrians destroyed at the
battle of Testry (in 687), the ascendency in the heart of the whole of
Frankish Gaul passed to the Franks of Austrasia, already bound by their
geographical position to the defence of their nation in its new
settlement.  There had risen up among them a family, powerful from its
vast domains, from its military and political services, and already also
from the prestige belonging to the hereditary transmission of name and
power.  Its first chief known in history had been Pepin of Landen, called
The Ancient, one of the foes of Queen Brunehaut, who was so hateful to
the Austrasians, and afterwards one of the privy councillors and mayor of
the palace of Austrasia, under Dagobert I.  and his son Sigebert II.  He
died in 639, leaving to his family an influence already extensive.  His
son Grimoald succeeded him as mayor of the palace, ingloriously; but his
grandson, by his daughter Bega, Pepin of Heristal, was for twenty-seven
years not only virtually, as mayor of the palace, but ostensibly and with
the title of duke, the real sovereign of Austrasia and all the Frankish
dominion.  He did not, however, take the name of king; and four
descendants of Clovis, Thierry III., Clovis III., Childebert III., and
Dagobert III. continued to bear that title in Neustria and Burgundy,
under the preponderating influence of Pepin of Heristal.  He did, during
his long sway, three things of importance.  He struggled without
cessation to keep or bring back under the rule of the Franks the Germanic
nations on the right bank of the Rhine,--Frisons, Saxons, Thuringians,
Bavarians, and Allemannians; and thus to make the Frankish dominion a
bulwark against the new flood of barbarians who were pressing one another

He rekindled in Austrasia the national spirit and some political life by
beginning again the old March parades of the Franks, which had fallen
into desuetude under the last Merovingians.  Lastly, and this was,
perhaps, his most original merit, he understood of what importance, for
the Frankish kingdom, was the conversion to Christianity of the Germanic
peoples over the Rhine, and he abetted with all his might the zeal of the
popes and missionaries, Irish, Anglo-Saxon, and Gallo-Roman, devoted to
this great work.  The two apostles of Friesland, St. Willfried and St.
Willibrod, especially the latter, had intimate relations with Pepin of
Heristal, and received from him effectual support.  More than twenty
bishoprics, amongst others those of Utrecht, Mayence, Ratisbonne, Worms,
and Spire, were founded at this epoch; and one of those ardent pioneers
of Christian civilization, the Irish bishop, St. Lievin, martyred in 656
near Ghent, of which he has remained the patron saint, wrote in verse to
his friend Herbert, a little before his martyrdom, "I have seen a sun
without rays, days without light, and nights without repose.  Around me
rageth a people impious and clamorous for my blood.  O people, what harm
have I done thee?  'Tis peace that I bring thee; wherefore declare war
against me?  But thy barbarism will bring my triumph and give me the palm
of martyrdom.  I know in whom I trust, and my hope shall not be
confounded.  Whilst I am pouring forth these verses, there cometh unto me
the tired driver of the ass that beareth me the usual provisions: he
bringeth that which maketh the delights of the country, even milk and
butter and eggs; the cheeses stretch the wicker-work of the far too
narrow panniers.  Why tarriest thou, good carrier?  Quicken thy step;
collect thy riches, thou that this morning art so poor.  As for me I am
no longer what I was, and have lost the gift of joyous verse.  How could
it be other-wise when I am witness of such cruelties?"

It were difficult to describe with more pious, graceful, and melancholy
feeling a holier and a simpler life.

After so many firm and glorious acts of authority abroad, Pepin of
Heristal at his death, December 16, 714, did a deed of weakness at home.
He had two wives, Plectrude and Alpaide; he had repudiated the former to
espouse the latter, and the church, considering the second marriage
unlawful, had constantly urged him to take back Plectrude.  He had by her
a son, Grimoald, who was assassinated on his way to join his father lying
ill near Liege.  This son left a child, Theodoald, only six years old.
This child it was whom Pepin, either from a grandfather's blind fondness,
or through the influence of his wife Plectrude, appointed to succeed him,
to the detriment of his two sons by Alpaide, Charles and Childebrand.
Charles, at that time twenty-five years of age, had already a name for
capacity and valor.  On the death of Pepin, his widow Plectrude lost no
time in arresting and imprisoning at Cologne this son of her rival
Alpaide; but, some months afterwards, in 715, the Austrasians, having
risen against Plectrude, took Charles out of prison and set him at their
head, proclaiming him Duke of Austrasia.  He was destined to become
Charles Martel.

He first of all took care to extend and secure his own authority over all
the Franks.  At the death of Pepin of Heristal, the Neustrians, vexed at
the long domination of the Austrasians, had taken one of themselves,
Ragenfried, as mayor of the palace, and had placed at his side a
Merovingian sluggard king, Chilperic II., whom they had dragged from a
monastery.  Charles, at the head of the Austrasians, twice succeeded in
beating, first near Cambrai and then near Soissons, the Neustrian king
and mayor of the palace, pursued them to Paris, returned to Cologne, got
himself accepted by his old enemy Queen Plectrude, and remaining
temperate amidst the triumph of his ambition, he, too, took from amongst
the surviving Merovingians a sluggard king, whom he installed under the
name of Clotaire IV., himself becoming, with the simple title of Duke of
Austrasia, master of the Frankish dominion.

Being in tranquillity on the left bank of the Rhine, Charles directed
towards the right bank--towards the Frisons and the Saxons--his attention
and his efforts.  After having experienced, in a first encounter, a
somewhat severe check, he took, from 715 to 718, ample revenge upon them,
repressed their attempts at invasion of Frankish territory, and pursued
them on their own, imposed tribute upon them, and commenced with vigor,
against the Saxons in particular, that struggle, at first defensive and
afterwards aggressive, which was to hold so prominent a place in the life
and glorious but blood-stained annals of his grandson Charlemagne.

In the war against the Neustrians, at the battle of Soissons in 719,
Charles had encountered in their ranks Eudes or Eudon, Duke of Aquitania
and Vasconia, that beautiful portion of Southern Gaul situated between
the Pyrenees, the Ocean, the Garonne, and the Rhone, who had been for a
long time trying to shake off the dominion of the barbarians, Visigoths
or Franks.  At the death of Pepin of Heristal, the Neustrians had drawn
into alliance with them, for their war against the Austrasians, this Duke
Elides, to whom they gave, as it appears, the title of king.  After their
common defeat at Soissons, the Aquitanian prince withdrew precipitately
into his own country, taking with him the sluggard king of the
Neustrians, Chilperic II.  Charles pursued him to the Loire, and sent
word to him, a few months afterwards, that he would enter into friendship
with him if he would deliver up Chilperic and his treasures; otherwise he
would invade and ravage Aquitania.  Eudes delivered up Chilperic and his
treasures; and Charles, satisfied with having in his power this
Merovingian phantom, treated him generously, kept up his royal rank, and
at his death, which happened soon afterwards, replaced him by another
phantom of the same line, Theodoric or Thierry IV.; whom he dragged from
the abbey of Chelles, founded by Queen St. Bathilde, wife of Clovis II.,
and who for seventeen years bore the title of king, whilst Charles Martel
was ruling gloriously, and was, perhaps, the savior of the Frankish
dominions.  When he contracted his alliance with the Duke of Aquitania,
Charles Martel did not know against what enemies and perils he would soon
have to struggle.

In the earlier years of the eighth century, less than a hundred years
from the death of Mahomet, the Mussulman Arabs, after having conquered
Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Northern Africa, had passed into Europe,
invaded Spain, overthrown the kingdom of the Visigoths, driven back the
remnants of the nation and their chief, Pelagius, to the north of the
Peninsula, into the Asturias and Galicia, and pushed even beyond the
Pyrenees, into old Narbonness, then called Septimania, their limitless
incursions.  These fiery conquerors did not amount at that time,
according to the most probable estimates, to more than fifty thousand;
but they were under the influence of religious and warlike enthusiasm at
one and the same time; they were fanatics in the cause of Deism and of
glory.  "The Arab warrior during campaigns was not excused from any one
of the essential duties of Islamism; he was bound to pray at least once a
day, on rising in the morning, at the blush of dawn.  The general of the
army was its priest; he it was who, at the head of the ranks, gave the
signal for prayer, uttered the words, reminded the troops of the precepts
of the Koran, and enjoined upon them forgetfulness of personal quarrels."
One day, on the point of engaging in a decisive battle, Moussaben-
Nossair, first governor of Mussulman Africa, was praying, according to
usage, at the head of the troops; and he omitted the invocation of the
name of the Khalif, a respectful formality indispensable on the occasion.
One of his officers, persuaded that it was a mere slip on Moussa's part,
made a point of admonishing him.  "Know thou," said Moussa, "that we are
in such a position and at such an hour that no other name must be invoked
save that of the most high God."  Moussa was, apparently, the first Arab
chief to cross the Pyrenees and march, plundering as he went, into
Narbonness.  The Arabs had but very confused ideas of Gaul; they called
it _Frandjas,_ and gave to all its inhabitants, without distinction, the
name of Frandj.  The Khalif Abdelmelek, having recalled Moussa,
questioned him about the different peoples with which he had been
concerned.  "And of these Frandj," said he, "what hast thou to tell me?"
"They are a people," answered Moussa, "very many in number and abundantly
provided with everything, brave and impetuous in attack, but spiritless
and timid under reverses."  "And how went the war betwixt them and thee?"
added Abdelmelek: "was it favorable to thee or the contrary?"  "The
contrary!  Nay, by Allah and the Prophet; never was my army vanquished;
never was a battalion beaten; and never did the Mussulmans hesitate to
follow me when I led them forty against fourscore."  (Fauriel, _Histoire
de la Gaule,_ &c., t. III., pp. 48, 67.)

In 719, under El-Idaur-ben-Abdel-Rhaman, a valiant and able leader, say
the Arab writers, but greedy, harsh, and cruel, the Arabs pursued their
incursions into Southern Gaul, took Narbonne, dispersed the inhabitants,
spread themselves abroad in search of plunder as far as the borders of
the Garonne, and went and laid siege to Toulouse.  Eudes, Duke of
Aquitania, happened to be at Bordeaux, and he hastily summoned all the
forces of his towns and all the populations from the Pyrenees to the
Loire, and hurried to the relief of his capital.  The Arabs, commanded
by a new chieftain, El-Samah, more popular amongst them than El-Haur,
awaited him beneath the walls of the city determined to give him battle.
"Have ye no fear of this multitude," said El-Samah to his warriors; "if
God be with us, who shall be against us?  "Elides had taken equally great
pains to kindle the pious courage of the Aquitanians; he spread amongst
his troops a rumor that he had but lately received as a present from Pope
Gregory II. three sponges that had served to wipe down the table at which
the sovereign pontiffs were accustomed to celebrate the communion; he had
them cut into little strips which he had distributed to all those of the
combatants who wished for them, and thereupon gave the sword to sound the
charge.  The victory of the Aquitanians was complete; the Arab army was
cut in pieces; El-Samah was slain, and with him, according to the
victors' accounts, full three hundred and seventy-five thousand of his
troops.  The most truth-like testimonies and calculations do not put down
at more than from fifty to seventy thousand men, in fighting trim, the
number of Arabs that entered Spain eight or ten years previously, even
with the additions it must have received by means of the emigrations from
Africa; and undoubtedly El-Samah could not have led into Aquitania more
than from forty to forty-five thousand.  However that may be, the defeat
of the Arabs before Toulouse was so serious that, four or five centuries
afterwards, Ibn-Hayan, the best of their historians, still spoke of it as
the object of solemn commemoration, and affirmed that the Arab army had
entirely perished there, without the escape of a single man.  The spot in
the Roman road, between Carcassonne and Toulouse, where the battle was
fought, was one heap of dead bodies, and continued to be mentioned in the
Arab chronicles under the name of Martyrs' Causeway. But the Arabs of
Spain were then in that unstable social condition and in that heyday of
impulsive youthfulness as a people, when men are more apt to be excited
and attracted by the prospect of bold adventures than discouraged by
reverses.  El-Samah, on crossing the Pyrenees to go plundering and
conquering in the country of the Frandj, had left as his lieutenant in
the Iberian peninsula Anbessa-ben-Sohim, one of the most able, most
pious, most just, and most humane chieftains, say the Arab chronicles,
that Islamism ever produced in Europe.  He, being informed of El-Samah's
death before Toulouse, resolved to resume his enterprise and avenge his
defeat.  In 725, he entered Gaul with a strong army; took Carcassonne;
reduced, either by force or by treaty, the principal towns of Septimania
to submission; and even carried the Arab arms, for the first time, beyond
the Rhone into Provence.  At the news of this fresh invasion Duke Eudes
hurried from Aquitania, collecting on his march the forces of the
country, and, after having waited some time for a favorable opportunity,
gave the Arabs battle in Provence.  It was indecisive at first, but
ultimately won by the Christians without other result than the retreat of
Anbessa, mortally wounded, upon the right bank of the Rhone, where he
died without having been able himself to recross the Pyrenees, but
leaving the Arabs masters of Septimania, where they established
themselves in force, taking Narbonne for capital and a starting-point
for their future enterprises.

The struggle had now begun in earnest, from the Rhone to the Garonne and
the Ocean, between the Christians of Southern Gaul and the Mussulmans of
Spain.  Duke Eudes saw with profound anxiety his enemies settled in
Septimania, and ever on the point of invading and devastating Aquitania.
He had been informed that the Khalif Hashem had just appointed to the
governor-generalship of Spain Abdel-Rhaman (the Abderame of the
Christian chronicles), regarded as the most valiant of the Spanish Arabs,
and that this chieftain was making great preparations for resuming their
course of invasion.  Another peril at the same time pressed heavily on
Duke Eudes: his northern neighbor, Charles, sovereign duke of the Franks,
the conqueror, beyond the Rhine, of the Frisons and Saxons, was directing
glances full of regret towards those beautiful countries of Southern
Gaul, which in former days Clovis had won from the Visigoths, and which
had been separated, little by little, from the Frankish empire.  Either
justly or by way of ruse Charles accused Duke Eudes of not faithfully
observing the treaty of peace they had concluded in 720; and on this
pretext he crossed the Loire, and twice in the same year, 731, carried
fear and rapine into the possession of the Duke of Aquitania on the left
bank of that river.  Eudes went, not unsuccessfully, to the rescue of
his domains; but he was soon recalled to the Pyrenees by the news he
received of the movements of Abdel-Rhaman and by the hope he had
conceived of finding, in Spain itself and under the sway of the Arabs,
an ally against their invasion of his dominions.  The military command
of the Spanish frontier of the Pyrenees and of the Mussulman forces
there encamped had been intrusted to Othman-ben-Abi-Nessa, a chieftain
of renown, but no Arab, either in origin or at heart, although a
Mussulman.  He belonged to the race of Berbers, whom the Romans called
Moors, a people of the north-west of Africa, conquered and subjugated by
the Arabs, but impatient under the yoke.  The greater part of Abi-
Nessa's troops were likewise Berbers and devoted to their chiefs.  Abi-
Nessa, ambitious and audacious, conceived the project of seizing the
government of the Peninsula, or at the least of making himself
independent master of the districts he governed; and he entered into
negotiations with the Duke of Aquitania to secure his support.  In spite
of religious differences their interests were too similar not to make an
understanding easy; and the secret alliance was soon concluded and
confirmed by a precious pledge. Duke Eudes had a daughter of rare
beauty, named Lampagie, and he gave her in marriage to Abi-Nessa, who,
say the chronicles, became desperately enamoured of her.

But whilst Eudes, trusting to this alliance, was putting himself in
motion towards the Loire to protect his possessions against a fresh
attack from the Duke of the Franks, the governor-general of Spain, Abdel-
Rhaman, informed of Abi-Nessa's plot, was arriving with large forces at
the foot of the Pyrenees, to stamp out the rebellion.  Its repression was
easy.  "At the approach of Abdel-Rhaman," say the chroniclers, "Abi-Nessa
hastened to shut himself up in Livia [the ancient capital of Cerdagne, on
the ruins of which Puycerda was built], flattering himself that he could
sustain a siege and there await succor from his father-in-law, Eudes; but
the advance-guard of Abdel-Rhaman followed him so closely and with such
ardor that it left him no leisure to make the least preparation for
defence.  Abi-Nessa, had scarcely time to fly from the town and gain the
neighboring mountains with a few servants and his well-beloved Lampagie.
Already he had penetrated into an out-of-the-way and lonely pass, where
it seemed to him he ran no more risk of being discovered.  He halted,
therefore, to rest himself and quench the thirst which was tormenting his
lovely companion and himself, beside a waterfall which gushed from a mass
of lofty rocks upon a piece of fresh, green turf.  They were surrendering
themselves to the delightful feeling of being saved, when, all at once,
they hear a loud sound of steps and voices; they listen; they glance in
the direction of the sound, and perceive a detachment of armed men, one
of those that were out in search of them.  The servants take to flight;
but Lampagie, too weary, cannot follow them, nor can Abi-Nessa abandon
Lampagie.  In the twinkling of an eye they are surrounded by foes.  The
chronicler Isidore of Bdja says that Abi-Nessa, in order not to fall
alive into their hands, flung himself from top to bottom of the rocks;
and an Arab historian relates that he took sword in hand, and fell
pierced with twenty lance-thrusts whilst fighting in defence of her he
loved.  They cut off his head, which was forthwith carried to Abdel-
Rhaman, to whom they led away prisoner the hapless daughter of Eudes.
She was so lovely in the eyes of Abdel-Rhaman, that he thought it his
duty to send her to Damascus, to the commander of the faithful, esteeming
no other mortal worthy of her."  (Fauriel, _Historie de la Gaulle,_ &c.,
t.  III., p.  115.)

Abdel-Rhaman, at ease touching the interior of Spain, reassembled the
forces he had prepared for his expedition, marched towards the Pyrenees
by Pampeluna, crossed the summit become so famous under the name of Port
de Roncevaux, and debouched by a single defile and in a single column,
say the chroniclers, upon Gallic Vasconia, greater in extent than French
Biscay now is.  M. Fauriel, after scrupulous examination, according to
his custom, estimates the army of Abdel-Rhaman, whether Mussulman
adventurers flocking from all parts, or Arabs of Spain, at from
sixty-five to seventy thousand fighting men.  Duke Eudes made a gallant
effort to stop his march and hurl him back towards the mountains; but
exhausted, even by certain small successes, and always forced to retire,
fight after fight, up to the approaches to Bordeaux, he crossed the
Garonne, and halted on the right bank of the river, to cover the city.
Abdel-Rhaman who had followed him closely, forced the passage of the
river, and a battle was fought, in which the Aquitanians were defeated
with immense loss.  "God alone," says Isidore of Beja, "knows the number
of those who fell."  The battle gained, Abdel-Rhaman took Bordeaux by
assault and delivered it over to his army.  The plunder, to believe the
historians of the conquerors, surpassed all that had been preconceived
of the wealth of the vanquished: "The most insignificant soldier," say
they, "had for his share plenty of topazes, jacinths, and emeralds, to
say nothing of gold, a somewhat vulgar article under the circumstances."
What appears certain is that, at their departure from Bordeaux, the
Arabs were so laden with booty that their march became less rapid and
unimpeded than before.

In the face of this disaster, the Franks and their duke were evidently
the only support to which Eudes could have recourse; and he repaired in
all haste to Charles and invoked his aid against the common enemy, who,
after having crushed the Aquitanians, would soon attack the Franks, and
subject them in turn to ravages and outrages.  Charles did not require
solicitation.  He took an oath of the Duke of Aquitania to acknowledge
his sovereignty and thenceforth remain faithful to him; and then,
summoning all his warriors, Franks, Burgundians, Gallo-Romans, and
Germans from beyond the Rhine, he set himself in motion towards the
Loire.  It was time.  The Arabs had spread over the whole country between
the Garonne and the Loire; they had even crossed the latter river and
penetrated into Burgundy as far as Autun and Sens, ravaging the country,
the towns, and the monasteries, and massacring or dispersing the
populations.  Abdel-Rhaman had heard tell of the city of Tours and its
rich abbey, the treasures whereof, it was said, surpassed those of any
other city and any other abbey in Gaul.  Burning to possess it, he
recalled towards this point his scattered forces.  On arriving at
Poitiers he found the gates closed and the inhabitants resolved to defend
themselves; and, after a fruitless attempt at assault, he continued his
march towards Tours.  He was already beneath the walls of the place when
he learned that the Franks were rapidly advancing in vast numbers.  He
fell back towards Poitiers, collecting the troops that were returning to
him from all quarters, embarrassed with the immense booty they were
dragging in their wake.  He had for a moment, say the historians, an idea
of ordering his soldiers to leave or burn their booty, to keep nothing
but their arms, and think of nothing but battle: however, he did nothing
of the kind, and, to await the Franks, he fixed his camp between the
Vienne and the Clain, near Poitiers, not far from the spot where, two
hundred and twenty-five years before, Clovis had beaten the Visigoths;
or, according to others, nearer Tours, at Mire, in a plain still called
the Landes de Charlemagne.

[Illustration: THE BATTLE OF TOURS----193]

The Franks arrived.  It was in the month of September or October, 732:
and the two armies passed a week face to face, at one time remaining in
their camps, at another deploying without attacking.  It is quite certain
that neither Franks nor Arabs, neither Charles nor Abdel-Rhaman
themselves, took any such account, as we do in our day, of the importance
of the struggle in which they were on the point of engaging; it was a
struggle between East and West, South and North, Asia and Europe, the
Gospel and the Koran; and we now say, on a general consideration of
events, peoples, and ages, that the civilization of the world depended
upon it.  The generations that are passing upon earth see not so far, nor
from such a height, the chances and consequences of their acts; the
Franks and Arabs, leaders and followers, did not regard themselves, now
nearly twelve centuries ago, as called upon to decide, near Poitiers,
such future question; but vaguely, instinctively they felt the grandeur
of the part they were playing, and they mutually scanned one another with
that grave curiosity which precedes a formidable encounter between
valiant warriors.  At length, at the breaking of the seventh or eighth
day, Abdel-Rhaman, at the head of his cavalry, ordered a general attack;
and the Franks received it with serried ranks, astounding their enemies
by their tall stature, stout armor, and their stern immobility.  "They
stood there," says Isidore of Beja, "like solid walls or icebergs."
During the fight, a body of Franks penetrated into the enemy's camp,
either for pillage or to take the Arabs in the rear.  The horsemen of
Abdel-Rhaman at once left the general attack, and turned back to defend
their camp or the booty deposited there.  Disorder set in amongst them,
and, before long, throughout their whole army; and the battle became a
confused melley, wherein the lofty stature and stout armor of the Franks
had the advantage.  A great number of Arabs and Abdel-Rhaman himself were
slain.  At the approach of night both armies retired to their camps.  The
next day, at dawn, the Franks moved out of theirs, to renew the
engagement.  In front of them was no stir, no noise, no Arabs out of
their tents and reassembling in their ranks.  Some Franks were sent to
reconnoitre, entered the enemy's camp, and penetrated into their tents;
but they were deserted.  "The Arabs had decamped silently in the night,
leaving the bulk of their booty, and by this precipitate retreat
acknowledging a more severe defeat than they had really sustained in the

[Illustration: "The Arabs had decamped silently in the night."----195]

Foreseeing the effect which would be produced by their reverse in the
country they had but lately traversed as conquerors, they halted nowhere,
but hastened to reenter Septimania and their stronghold Narbonne, where
they might await reenforcements from Spain.  Duke Eudes, on his side,
after having, as vassal, taken the oath of allegiance to Charles, who
will be henceforth called Charles Martel (Hammer), that glorious name
which he won by the great blow he dealt the Arabs, reentered his
dominions of Aquitania and Vasconia, and applied himself to the
reestablishment there of security and of his own power.  As for Charles
Martel, indefatigable alike after and before victory, he did not consider
his work in Southern Gaul as accomplished.  He wished to recover and
reconstitute in its entirety the Frankish dominion; and he at once
proceeded to reunite to it Provence and the portions of the old kingdom
of Burgundy situated between the Alps and the Rhone, starting from Lyons.
His first campaign with this object, in 733, was successful; he retook
Lyons, Vienne, and Valence, without any stoppage up to the Durance, and
charged chosen "leudes" to govern these provinces with a view especially
to the repression of attempts at independence at home and incursions on
the part of the Arabs abroad.  And it was not long before these two
perils showed head.  The government of Charles Martel's "leudes" was hard
to bear for populations accustomed for some time past to have their own
way, and for their local chieftains thus stripped of their influence.
Maurontius, patrician of Arles, was the most powerful and daring of these
chieftains; and he had at heart the independence of his country and his
own power far more than Frankish grandeur.  Caring little, no doubt, for
the interests of religion, he entered into negotiations with Youssouf-
ben-Abdel-Rhaman, governor of Narbonne, and summoned the Mussulmans into
Provence.  Youssouf lost no time in responding to the summons; and, from
734 to 736, the Arabs conquered and were in military occupation of the
left bank of the Rhone from Arles to Lyons.  But in 737 Charles Martel
returned, reentered Lyons and Avignon, and, crossing the Rhone, marched
rapidly on Narbonne, to drive the Arabs from Septimania.  He succeeded in
beating them within sight of their capital; but, after a few attempts at
assault, not being able to become master of it, he returned to Provence,
laying waste on his march several towns of Septimania, Agde, Maguelonne,
and Nimes, where he tried, but in vain, to destroy the famous Roman
arenas by fire, as one blows up an enemy's fortress.  A rising of the
Saxons recalled him to Northern Gaul; and scarcely had he set out from
Provence, when national insurrection and Arab invasion recommenced.
Charles Martel waited patiently as long as the Saxons resisted; but as
soon as he was at liberty on their score, in 739, he collected a strong
army, made a third campaign along the Rhone, retook Avignon, crossed the
Durance, pushed on as far as the sea, took Marseilles, and then Arles,
and drove the Arabs definitively from Provence.  Some Mussulman bands
attempted to establish themselves about St. Tropez, on the rugged heights
and among the forests of the Alps; but Charles Martel carried his pursuit
even into those wild retreats, and all Southern Gaul, on the left bank of
the Rhone, was incorporated in the Frankish dominion, which will be
henceforth called France.

The ordinary revenues of Charles Martel clearly could not suffice for so
many expeditions and wars.  He was obliged to attract or retain by rich
presents, particularly by gifts of lands, the warriors, old and new
"leudes," who formed his strength.  He therefore laid hands on a great
number of the domains of the Church, and gave them, with the title of
benefices, in temporary holding, often converted into proprietorship,
and under the style of precarious tenure, to the chiefs in his service.
There was nothing new in this: the Merovingian kings and the mayors of
the palace had more than once thus made free with ecclesiastical
property; but Charles Martel carried this practice much farther than his
predecessors had.  He did more: he sometimes gave his warriors
ecclesiastical offices and dignities.  His liege Milo received from him
the archbishoprics of Rheims and Troves; and his nephew Hugh those of
Paris, Rouen, and Bayeux, with the abbeys of Fontenelle and Jumieges.
The Church protested with all her might against such violations of her
mission and her interest, her duties and her rights.  She was so
specially set against Charles Martel that, more than a century after his
death, in 858, the bishops of France, addressing themselves to Louis the
Germanic on this subject, wrote to him, "St. Eucherius, bishop of
Orleans, who now reposeth in the monastery of St. Trudon, being at
prayer, was transported into the realms of eternity; and there, amongst
other things which the Lord did show unto him, he saw Prince Charles
delivered over to the torments of the damned in the lowest regions of
hell.  And St. Eucherius demanding of the angel, his guide, what was the
reason thereof, the angel answered that it was by sentence of the saints
whom he had robbed of their possessions, and who, at the day of the last
judgment, will sit with God to judge the world."

Whilst thus making use, at the expense of the Church, and for political
interests, of material force, Charles Martel was far from
misunderstanding her moral influence and the need he had of her support
at the very time when he was incurring her anathemas.  Not content with
defending Christianity against Islamism, he aided it against Paganism by
lending the Christian missionaries in Germany and the north-west of
Europe, amongst others St. Willibrod and St. Boniface, the most effectual
assistance.  In 724, he addressed to all religious and political
authorities that could be reached by his influence, not only to the
bishops, "but to the dukes, counts, their vicars, our palatines, all our
agents, our envoys, and our friends this circular letter: 'Know that a
successor of the Apostles, our father in Christ, Boniface, bishop, hath
come unto us saying that we ought to take him under our safeguard and
protection.  We do you to wit that we do so very willingly.  Wherefore we
have thought proper to give him confirmation thereof under our own hand,
in order that, whithersoever he may go, he may there be in peace and
safety in the name of our affection and under our safeguard; in such sort
that he may be able everywhere to render, do, and receive justice.  And
if he come to find himself in any pass or necessity which cannot be
determined by law, that he may remain in peace and safety until he be
come into our presence, he and all who shall have hope in him or
dependence on him.  That none may dare to be contrary-minded towards him
or do him damage; and that he may rest at all times in tranquillity and
safety under our safeguard and protection.  And in order that this may be
regarded as certified, we have subscribed these letters with our own hand
and sealed them with our ring.'"

Here were clearly no vague and meaningless words, written to satisfy
solicitation, and without a thought of their consequences: they were
urgent recommendations and precise injunctions, the most proper for
securing success to the protected in the name of the protector.
Accordingly St. Boniface wrote, soon after, from the heart of Germany,
"Without the patronage of the prince of the Franks, without his order and
the fear of his power, I could not guide the people, or defend the
priests, deacons, monks, or handmaids of God, or forbid in this country
the rites of the Pagans and their sacrilegious worship of idols."

At the same time that he protected the Christian missionaries launched
into the midst of Pagan Germany, Charles Martel showed himself equally
ready to protect, but with as much prudence as good-will, the head of the
Christian Church.  In 741, Pope Gregory III. sent to him two nuncios, the
first that ever entered France in such a character, to demand of him
succor against the Lombards, the Pope's neighbors, who were threatening
to besiege Rome.  These envoys took Charles Martel "so many presents that
none had ever seen or heard tell of the like," and amongst them the keys
of St. Peter's tomb, with a letter in which the Pope conjured Charles
Martel not to attach any credit to the representations or words of
Luitprandt, king of the Lombards, and to lend the Roman Church that
effectual support which, for some time past, she had been vainly
expecting from the Franks and their chief.  "Let them come, we are told,"
wrote the Pope, piteously, "this Charles with whom ye have sought refuge,
and the armies of the Franks; let them sustain ye, if they can, and wrest
ye from our hands."  Charles Martel was in fact on good terms with
Luitprandt, who had come to his aid in his expeditions against the Arabs
in Provence.  He, however, received the Pope's nuncios with lively
satisfaction and the most striking proofs of respect; and he promised
them, not to make war on the Lombards, but to employ his influence with
King Luitprandt to make him cease from threatening Rome.  He sent, in his
turn, to the Pope two envoys of distinction, Sigebert, abbot of St.
Denis, and Grimon, abbot of Corbie, with instructions to offer him rich
presents and to really exert themselves with the king of the Lombards to
remove the dangers dreaded by the Holy See.  He wished to do something in
favor of the Papacy to show sincere good-will, without making his
relations with useful allies subordinate to the desires of the Pope.

Charles Martel had not time to carry out effectually with respect to the
Papacy this policy of protection and at the same time of independence; he
died at the close of this same year, October 22, 741, at Kiersy-sur-Oise,
aged fifty-two years, and his last act was the least wise of his life.
He had spent it entirely in two great works, the reestablishment
throughout the whole of Gaul of the Franco-Gallo-Roman empire, and the
driving back from the frontiers of this empire, of the Germans in the
north and the Arabs in the south.  The consequence, as also the
condition, of this double success was the victory of Christianity over
Paganism and Islamism.  Charles Martel endangered these results by
falling back into the groove of those Merovingian kings whose shadow he
had allowed to remain on the throne.  He divided between his two
legitimate sons, Pepin, called the Short, from his small stature, and
Carloman, this sole dominion which he had with so much toil reconstituted
and defended.  Pepin had Neustria, Burgundy, Provence, and the suzerainty
of Aquitaine; Carloman, Austrasia, Thuringia, and Allemannia.  They both,
at their father's death, took only the title of mayor of the palace, and,
perhaps, of duke.  The last but one of the Merovingians, Thierry IV., had
died in 737.  For four years there had been no king at all.

But when the works of men are wise and true, that is, in conformity with
the lasting wants of peoples, and the natural tendency of social facts,
they get over even the mistakes of their authors.  Immediately after the
death of Charles Martel, the consequences of dividing his empire became
manifest.  In the north, the Saxons, the Bavarians, and the Allemannians
renewed their insurrections.  In the south, the Arabs of Septimania
recovered their hopes of effecting an invasion; and Hunald, Duke of
Aquitaine, who had succeeded his father Eudes, after his death in 735,
made a fresh attempt to break away from Frankish sovereignty and win his
independence.  Charles Martel had left a young son, Grippo, whose
legitimacy had been disputed, but who was not slow to set up pretensions
and to commence intriguing against his brothers.  Everywhere there burst
out that reactionary movement which arises against grand and difficult
works when the strong hand that undertook them is no longer by to
maintain them; but this movement was of short duration and to little
purpose.  Brought up in the school and in the fear of their father, his
two sons, Pepin and Carloman, were inoculated with his ideas and example;
they remained united in spite of the division of dominions, and labored
together, successfully, to keep down, in the north the Saxons and
Bavarians, in the south the Arabs and Aquitanians, supplying want of
unity by union, and pursuing with one accord the constant aim of Charles
Martel--abroad the security and grandeur of the Frankish dominion, at
home the cohesion of all its parts and the efficacy of its government.
Events came to the aid of this wise conduct.  Five years after the death
of Charles Martel, in 746 in fact, Carloman, already weary of the burden
of power, and seized with a fit of religious zeal, abdicated his share of
sovereignty, left his dominions to his brother Pepin, had himself shorn
by the hands of Pope Zachary, and withdrew into Italy to the monastery of
Monte Cassino.  The preceding year, in 745, Hunald, Duke of Aquitaine,
with more patriotic and equally pious views, also abdicated in favor of
his son Waifre, whom he thought more capable than himself of winning the
independence of Aquitaine, and went and shut himself up in a monastery in
the island of Rhe, where was the tomb of his father Eudes.  In the course
of divers attempts at conspiracy and insurrection, the Frankish princes'
young brother, Grippo, was killed in combat whilst crossing the Alps.
The furious internal dissensions amongst the Arabs of Spain and their
incessant wars with the Berbers did not allow them to pursue any great
enterprise in Gaul.  Thanks to all these circumstances, Pepin found
himself, in 747, sole master of the heritage of Clovis and with the sole
charge of pursuing, in State and Church, his father's work, which was the
unity and grandeur of Christian France.

Pepin, less enterprising than his father, but judicious, persevering, and
capable of discerning what was at the same time necessary and possible,
was well fitted to continue and consolidate what he would, probably,
never have begun and created.

Like his father, he, on arriving at power, showed pretensions to
moderation, or, it might be said, modesty.  He did not take the title of
king; and, in concert with his brother Carloman, he went to seek, Heaven
knows in what obscure asylum, a forgotten Merovingian, son of Chilperic
II., the last but one of the sluggard kings, and made him king, the last
of his line, with the title of Childeric III., himself, as well as his
brother, taking only the style of mayor of the palace.  But at the end of
ten years, and when he saw himself alone at the head of the Frankish
dominion, Pepin considered the moment arrived for putting an end to this
fiction.  In 751, he sent to Pope Zachary at Rome, Burchard, bishop of
Wurtzhurg, and Fulrad, abbot of St. Denis, "to consult the Pontiff," says
Eginhard, "on the subject of the kings then existing amongst the Franks,
and who bore only the name of king without enjoying a tittle of royal
authority."  The Pope, whom St. Boniface, the great missionary of
Germany, had prepared for the question, answered that "it was better to
give the title of king to him who exercised the sovereign power;" and
next year, in March, 752, in the presence and with the assent of the
general assembly of "leudes" and bishops gathered together at Soissons,
Pepin was proclaimed king of the Franks, and received from the hand of
St. Boniface the sacred anointment.  They cut off the hair of the last
Merovingian phantom, Childeric III., and put him away in the monastery of
St. Sithiu, at St. Omer.  Two years later, July 28, 754, Pope Stephen
II., having come to France to claim Pepin's support against the Lombards,
after receiving from him assurance of it, "anointed him afresh with the
holy oil in the church of St. Denis to do honor in his person to the
dignity of royalty," and conferred the same honor on the king's two sons,
Charles and Carloman.  The new Gallo-Frankish kingship and the Papacy, in
the name of their common faith and common interests, thus contracted an
intimate alliance.  The young Charles was hereafter to become

The same year, Boniface, whom, six years before, Pope Zachary had made
Archbishop of Mayence, gave up one day the episcopal dignity to his
disciple Lullus, charging him to carry on the different works himself had
commenced amongst the churches of Germany, and to uphold the faith of the
people.  "As for me," he added, "I will put myself on my road, for the
time of my passing away approacheth.  I have longed for this departure,
and none can turn me from it; wherefore, my son, get all things ready,
and place in the chest with my books the winding-sheet to wrap up my old
body."  And so he departed with some of his priests and servants to go
and evangelize the Frisons, the majority of whom were still pagans and
barbarians.  He pitched his tent on their territory and was arranging to
celebrate there the Lord's Supper, when a band of natives came down and
rushed upon the archbishop's retinue.  The servitors surrounded him, to
defend him and themselves; and a battle began.  "Hold, hold, my
children," cried the arch-bishop; "Scripture biddeth us return good for
evil.  This is the day I have long desired, and the hour of our
deliverance is at hand.  Be strong in the Lord: hope in Him, and He will
save your souls."  The barbarians slew the holy man and the majority of
his company.  A little while after, the Christians of the neighborhood
came in arms and recovered the body of St. Boniface.  Near him was a
book, which was stained with blood, and seemed to have dropped from his
hands; it contained several works of the Fathers, and amongst others a
writing of St. Ambrose "on the Blessing of Death."  The death of the
pious missionary was as powerful as his preaching in converting
Friesland.  It was a mode of conquest worthy of the Christian faith, and
one of which the history of Christianity had already proved the

St. Boniface did not confine himself to the evangelization of the pagans;
he labored ardently in the Christian Gallo-Frankish Church, to reform the
manners and ecclesiastical discipline, and to assure, whilst justifying,
the moral influence of the clergy by example as well as precept.  The
Councils, which had almost fallen into desuetude in Gaul, became once
more frequent and active there; from 742 to 753 there may be counted
seven, presided over by St. Boniface, which exercised within the Church
a salutary action.  King Pepin, recognizing the services which the
Archbishop of Mayence had rendered him, seconded his reformatory efforts
at one time by giving the support of his royal authority to the canons of
the Councils, held often simultaneously with and almost confounded with
the laic assemblies of the Franks, at another by doing justice to the
protests of the churches against the violence and spoliation to which
they were subjected.  "There was an important point," says M. Fauriel,
"in respect of which the position of Charles Martel's sons turned out to
be pretty nearly the same as that of their father: it was touching the
necessity of assigning to warriors a portion of the ecclesiastical
revenues.  But they, being more religious, perhaps, than Charles Martel,
or more impressed with the importance of humoring the priestly power,
were more vexed and more anxious about the necessity under which they
found themselves of continuing to despoil the churches and of persisting
in a system which was putting the finishing stroke to the ruin of all
ecclesiastical discipline.  They were more eager to mitigate the evil and
to offer the Church compensation for their share in this evil to which it
was not in their power to put a stop.  Accordingly at the March parade
held at Leptines in 743, it was decided, in reference to ecclesiastical
lands applied to the military service: 1st, that the churches having the
ownership of those lands should share the revenue with the lay holder;
2d, that on the death of a warrior in enjoyment of an ecclesiastical
benefice, the benefice should revert to the Church; 3d, that every
benefice by deprivation whereof any church would be reduced to poverty
should be at once restored to her.  That this capitular was carried out,
or even capable of being carried out, is very doubtful; but the less
Carloman and Pepin succeeded in repairing the material losses incurred by
the Church since the accession of the Carlovingians, the more zealous
they were in promoting the growth of her moral power and the restoration
of her discipline.  .  .  .  That was the time at which there began to be
seen the spectacle of the national assemblies of the Franks, the
gatherings of the March parades transformed into ecclesiastical synods
under the presidency of the titular legate of the Roman Pontiff, and
dictating, by the mouth of the political authority, regulations and laws
with the direct and formal aim of restoring divine worship and
ecclesiastical discipline, and of assuring the spiritual welfare of the
people."  (Fauriel, _Histoire de la Gaule,_ &c., t.  III., p.  224.)

Pepin, after he had been proclaimed king and had settled matters with the
Church as well as the warlike questions remaining for him to solve
permitted, directed all his efforts towards the two countries which,
after his father's example, he longed to reunite to the Gallo-Frankish
monarchy, that is, Septimania, still occupied by the Arabs, and
Aquitaine, the independence of which was stoutly and ably defended by
Duke Eudes' grandson, Duke Waifre.  The conquest of Septimania was rather
tedious than difficult.  The Franks, after having victoriously scoured
the open country of the district, kept invested during three years its
capital, Narbonne, where the Arabs of Spain, much weakened by their
dissensions, vainly tried to throw in re-enforcements.  Besides the
Mussulman Arabs the population of the town numbered many Christian Goths,
who were tired of suffering for the defence of their oppressors, and who
entered into secret negotiations with the chiefs of Pepin's army, the end
of which was, that they opened the gates of the town.  In 759, then,
after forty years of Arab rule, Narbonne passed definitively under that
of the Franks, who guaranteed to the inhabitants free enjoyment of their
Gothic or Roman law and of their local institutions.  It even appears
that, in the province of Spain bordering on Septimania, an Arab chief,
called Soliman, who was in command at Gerona and Barcelona, between the
Ebro and the Pyrenees, submitted to Pepin, himself and the country under
him.  This was an important event indeed in the reign of Pepin, for here
was the point at which Islamism, but lately aggressive and victorious in
Southern Europe, began to feel definitively beaten and to recoil before

The conquest of Aquitaine and Vasconia was much more keenly disputed and
for a much longer time uncertain.  Duke Waifre was as able in negotiation
as in war: at one time he seemed to accept the pacific overtures of
Pepin, or, perhaps, himself made similar, without bringing about any
result, at another he went to seek and found even in Germany allies who
caused Pepin much embarrassment and peril.  The population of Aquitaine
hated the Franks; and the war, which for their duke was a question of
independent sovereignty, was for themselves a question of passionate
national feeling.  Pepin, who was naturally more humane and even more
generous, it may be said, in war than his predecessors had usually been,
was nevertheless induced, in his struggle against the Duke of Aquitaine,
to ravage without mercy the countries he scoured, and to treat the
vanquished with great harshness.  It was only after nine years' war and
seven campaigns full of vicissitudes that he succeeded, not in conquering
his enemy in a decisive battle, but in gaining over some servants who
betrayed their master.  In the month of July, 759, "Duke Waifre was slain
by his own folk, by the king's advice," says Fredegaire; and the conquest
of all Southern Gaul carried the extent and power of the Gallo-Frankish
monarchy farther and higher than it had ever yet been, even under Clovis.

In 753, Pepin had made an expedition against the Britons of Armorica, had
taken Vannes, and "subjugated," add certain chroniclers, "the whole of
Brittany."  In point of fact Brittany was no more subjugated by Pepin
than by his predecessors; all that can be said is, that the Franks
resumed, under him, an aggressive attitude towards the Britons, as if to
vindicate a right of sovereignty.

Exactly at this epoch Pepin was engaging in a matter which did not allow
him to scatter his forces hither and thither.  It has been stated
already, that in 741 Pope Gregory III.  had asked aid of the Franks
against the Lombards who were threatening Rome, and that, whilst fully
entertaining the Pope's wishes, Charles Martel had been in no hurry to
interfere by deed in the quarrel.  Twelve years later, in 753, Pope
Stephen, in his turn threatened by Astolphus, king of the Lombards, after
vain attempts to obtain guarantees of peace, repaired to Paris, and
renewed to Pepin the entreaties used by Zachary.  It was difficult for
Pepin to turn a deaf ear; it was Zachary who had declared that he ought
to be made king; Stephen showed readiness to anoint him a second time,
himself and his sons; and it was the eldest of these sons, Charles,
scarcely twelve years old, whom Pepin, on learning the near arrival of
the Pope, had sent to meet him and give brilliancy to his reception.
Stephen passed the winter at St. Denis, and gained the favor of the
people as well as that of the king.  Astolphus peremptorily refused to
listen to the remonstrances of Pepin, who called upon him to evacuate the
towns in the exarchate of Ravenna, and to leave the Pope unmolested in
the environs of Rome as well as in Rome itself.  At the March parade held
at Braine, in the spring of 754, the Franks approved of the war against
the Lombards; and at the end of the summer Pepin and his army descended
into Italy by Mount Cenis, the Lombards trying in vain to stop them as
they debouched into the valley of Suza.  Astolphus beaten, and, before
long, shut up in Pavia, promised all that was demanded of him; and Pepin
and his warriors, laden with booty, returned to France, leaving at Rome
the Pope, who conjured them to remain a while in Italy, for to a
certainty, he said, king Astolphus would not keep his promises.  The Pope
was right.  So soon as the Franks had gone, the King of the Lombards
continued occupying the places in the exarchate and molesting the
neighborhood of Rome.  The Pope, in despair and doubtful of his
auxiliaries' return, conceived the idea of sending "to the king, the
chiefs, and the people of the Franks, a letter written, he said, by
Peter, Apostle of Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, to announce to
them that, if they came in haste, he would aid them as if he were alive
according to the flesh amongst them, that they would conquer all their
enemies and make themselves sure of eternal life!"  The plan was
perfectly successful: the Franks once more crossed the Alps with
enthusiasm, once more succeeded in beating the Lombards, and once more
shut up in Pavia King Astolphus, who was eager to purchase peace at any
price.  He obtained it on two principal conditions: 1st, that he would
not again make a hostile attack on Roman territory or wage war against
the Pope or people of Rome; 2d, that he would henceforth recognize the
sovereignty of the Franks, pay them tribute, and cede forthwith to Pepin
the towns and all the lands, belonging to the jurisdiction of the Roman
empire, which were at that time occupied by the Lombards.  By virtue of
these conditions, Ravenna, Rimini, Pesaro, that is to say, the Romagna,
the Duchy of Urbino and a portion of the Marches of Ancona, were at once
given up to Pepin, who, regarding them as his own direct conquest, the
fruit of victory, disposed of them forthwith, in favor of the Popes, by
that famous deed of gift which comprehended pretty nearly what has since
formed the Roman States, and which founded the temporal independence of
the Papacy, the guarantee of its independence in the exercise of the
spiritual power.

At the head of the Franks as mayor of the palace from 741, and as king
from 752, Pepin had completed in France and extended in Italy the work
which his father, Charles Martel, had begun and carried on, from 714 to
741, in State and Church.  He left France reunited in one and placed at
the head of Christian Europe.  He died at the monastery of St. Denis,
September 18, 768, leaving his kingdom and his dynasty thus ready to the
hands of his son, whom history has dubbed Charlemagne.


The most judicious minds are sometimes led blindly by tradition and
habit, rather than enlightened by reflection and experience.  Pepin the
Short committed at his death the same mistake that his father, Charles
Martel, had committed: he divided his dominions between his two sons,
Charles and Carloman, thus destroying again that unity of the Gallo-
Frankish monarchy which his father and he had been at so much pains to
establish.  But, just as had already happened in 746 through the
abdication of Pepin's brother, events discharged the duty of repairing
the mistake of men.  After the death of Pepin, and notwithstanding that
of Duke Waifre, insurrection broke out once more in Aquitaine; and the
old duke, Hunald, issued from his monastery in the island of Rhe to try
and recover power and independence.  Charles and Carloman marched against
him; but, on the march, Carloman, who was jealous and thoughtless, fell
out with his brother, and suddenly quitted the expedition, taking away
his troops.  Charles was obliged to continue it alone, which he did with
complete success.  At the end of this first campaign, Pepin's widow, the
Queen-mother Bertha, reconciled her two sons; but an unexpected incident,
the death of Carloman two years afterwards in 771, re-established unity
more surely than the reconciliation had re-established harmony.  For,
although Carloman left sons, the grandees of his dominions, whether laic
or ecclesiastical, assembled at Corbeny, between Laon and Rheims, and
proclaimed in his stead his brother Charles, who thus became sole king of
the Gallo-Franco-Germanic monarchy.  And as ambition and manners had
become less tinged with ferocity than they had been under the
Merovingians, the sons of Carloman were not killed or shorn or even shut
up in a monastery: they retired with their mother, Gerberge, to the court
of Didier, king of the Lombards.  "King Charles," says Eginhard, "took
their departure patiently, regarding it as of no importance."  Thus
commenced the reign of Charlemagne.

The original and dominant characteristic of the hero of this reign, that
which won for him, and keeps for him after more than ten centuries, the
name of Great, is the striking variety of his ambition, his faculties,
and his deeds.  Charlemagne aspired to and attained to every sort of
greatness, military greatness, political greatness, and intellectual
greatness; he was an able warrior, an energetic legislator, a hero of
poetry.  And he united, he displayed all these merits in a time of
general and monotonous barbarism, when, save in the Church, the minds of
men were dull and barren.  Those men, few in number, who made themselves
a name at that epoch, rallied round Charlemagne and were developed under
his patronage.  To know him well and appreciate him justly, he must be
examined under those various grand aspects, abroad and at home, in his
wars and in his government.

In Guizot's _History of Civilization in France_ is to be found a complete
table of the wars of Charlemagne, of his many different expeditions in
Germany, Italy, Spain, all the countries, in fact, that became his
dominion.  A summary will here suffice.  From 769 to 813, in Germany and
Western and Northern Europe, Charlemagne conducted thirty-one campaigns
against the Saxons, Frisons, Bavarians, Avars, Slavons, and Danes; in
Italy, five against the Lombards; in Spain, Corsica, and Sardinia, twelve
against the Arabs; two against the Greeks; and three in Gaul itself,
against the Aquitanians and the Britons; in all, fifty-three expeditions;
amongst which those he undertook against the Saxons, the Lombards, and
the Arabs, were long and difficult wars.  It is undesirable to recount
them in detail, for the relation would be monotonous and useless; but it
is obligatory to make fully known their causes, their characteristic
incidents, and their results.

It has already been seen that, under the last Merovingian kings, the
Saxons were, on the right bank of the Rhine, in frequent collision with
the Franks, especially with the Austrasian Franks, whose territory they
were continually threatening and often invading.  Pepin the Short had
more than once hurled them back far from the very uncertain frontiers of
Germanic Austrasia; and, on becoming king, he dealt his blows still
farther, and entered, in his turn, Saxony itself.  "In spite of the
Saxons' stout resistance," says Eginhard (_Annales,_ t. i., p. 135), "he
pierced through the points they had fortified to bar entrance into their
country, and, after having fought here and there battles wherein fell
many Saxons, he forced them to promise that they would submit to his
rule; and that, every year, to do him honor, they would send to the
general assembly of the Franks a present of three hundred horses.  When
these conventions were once settled, he insisted, to insure their
performance, upon placing them under the guarantee of rites peculiar to
the Saxons; then he returned with his army to Gaul."

[Illustration: Charlemagne at the Head of his Army----212]

Charlemagne did not confine himself to resuming his father's work; he
before long changed its character and its scope.  In 772, being left sole
master of France after the death of his brother Carloman, he convoked at
Worms the general assembly of the Franks, "and took," says Eginhard, "the
resolution of going and carrying war into Saxony.  He invaded it without
delay, laid it waste with fire and sword, made himself master of the fort
of Ehresburg, and threw down the idol that the Saxons called _Irminsul_."
And in what place was this first victory of Charlemagne won?  Near the
sources of the Lippe, just where, more than seven centuries before, the
German Arminius (Herrmann) had destroyed the legions of Varus, and
whither Germanicus had come to avenge the disaster of Varus.  This ground
belonged to Saxon territory; and this idol, called _Irminsul,_ which was
thrown down by Charlemagne, was probably a monument raised in honor of
Arminius (Herrmann-Saule, or Herrmann's pillar), whose name it called to
mind.  The patriotic and hereditary pride of the Saxons was passionately
roused by this blow; and, the following year, "thinking to find in the
absence of the king the most favorable opportunity," says Eginhard, they
entered the lands of the Franks, laid them waste in their turn, and,
paying back outrage for outrage, set fire to the church not long since
built at Fritzlar, by Boniface, martyr.  From that time the question
changed its object as well as its aspect; it was no longer the repression
of Saxon invasions of France, but the conquest of Saxony by the Franks,
that was to be dealt with; it was between the Christianity of the Franks
and the national Paganism of the Saxons that the struggle was to take

For thirty years such was its character.  Charlemagne regarded the
conquest of Saxony as indispensable for putting a stop to the incursions
of the Saxons, and the conversion of the Saxons to Christianity as
indispensable for assuring the conquest of Saxony.  The Saxons were
defending at one and the same time the independence of their country and
the gods of their fathers.  Here was wherewithal to stir up and foment,
on both sides, the profoundest passions; and they burst forth, on both
sides, with equal fury.  Whithersoever Charlemagne penetrated he built
strong castles and churches; and, at his departure, left garrisons and
missionaries.  When he was gone the Saxons returned, attacked the forts
and massacred the garrisons and the missionaries.  At the commencement of
the struggle, a priest of Anglo-Saxon origin, whom St. Willibrod, bishop
of Utrecht, had but lately consecrated, St. Liebwin in fact, undertook to
go and preach the Christian religion in the very heart of Saxony, on the
banks of the Weser, amidst the general assembly of the Saxons.  "What do
ye" said he, cross in hand; "the idols ye worship live not, neither do
they perceive: they are the work of men's hands; they can do nought
either for themselves or for others.  Wherefore the one God, good and
just, having compassion on your errors, hath sent me unto you.  If ye put
not away your iniquity, I foretell unto you a trouble that ye do not
expect, and that the King of Heaven hath ordained aforetime; there shall
come a prince, strong and wise and indefatigable, not from afar, but from
nigh at hand, to fall upon you like a torrent, in order to soften your
hard hearts and bow down your proud heads.  At one rush he shall invade
the country; he shall lay it waste with fire and sword, and carry away
your wives and children into captivity."  A thrill of rage ran through
the assembly; and already many of those present had begun to cut, in the
neighboring woods, stakes sharpened to a point to pierce the priest, when
one of the chieftains named Buto cried aloud, "Listen, ye who are the
most wise.  There have often come unto us ambassadors from neighboring
peoples, Northmen, Slavons or Frisons; we have received them in peace,
and when their messages have been heard, they have been sent away with a
present.  Here is an ambassador from a great God, and ye would slay him!"
Whether it were from sentiment or from prudence, the multitude was
calmed, or at any rate restrained; and for this time the priest retired
safe and sound.

Just as the pious zeal of the missionaries was of service to Charlemagne,
so did the power of Charlemagne support and sometimes preserve the
missionaries.  The mob, even in the midst of its passions, is not
throughout or at all times inaccessible to fear.  The Saxons were not one
and the same nation, constantly united in one and the same assembly and
governed by a single chieftain.  Three populations of the same race,
distinguished by names borrowed from their geographical situation, just
as had happened amongst the Franks in the case of the Austrasians and
Neustrians, to wit, Eastphalian or eastern Saxons, Westphalian or
western, and Angrians, formed the Saxon confederation.  And to them was
often added a fourth peoplet of the same origin, closer to the Danes and
called North-Albingians, inhabitants of the northern district of the
Elbe.  These four principal Saxon populations were sub-divided into a
large number of tribes, who had their own particular chieftains, and who
often decided, each for itself, their conduct and their fate.
Charlemagne, knowing how to profit by this want of cohesion and unity
amongst his foes, attacked now one and now another of the large Saxon
peoplets or the small Saxon tribes, and dealt separately with each of
them, according as he found them inclined to submission or resistance.
After having, in four or five successive expeditions, gained victories
and sustained checks, he thought himself sufficiently advanced in his
conquest to put his relations with the Saxons to a grand trial.  In 777,
he resolved, says Eginhard, "to go and hold, at the place called
Paderborn (close to Saxony) the general assembly of his people.  On his
arrival he found there assembled the senate and people of this perfidious
nation, who, conformably to his orders, had repaired thither, seeking to
deceive him by a false show of submission and devotion.  .  .  .  They
earned their pardon, but on this condition, however, that, if hereafter
they broke their engagements, they would be deprived of country and
liberty.  A great number amongst them had themselves baptized on this
occasion; but it was with far from sincere intentions that they had
testified a desire to become Christians."

[Illustration: Charlemagne inflicting Baptism upon the Saxons----215]

There had been absent from this great meeting a Saxon chieftain called
Wittikind, son of Wernekind, king of the Saxons at the north of the Elbe.
He had espoused the sister of Siegfried, king of the Danes; and he was
the friend of Ratbod, king of the Frisons.  A true chieftain at heart as
well as by descent, he was made to be the hero of the Saxons just as,
seven centuries before, the Cheruscan Herrmann (Arminius) had been the
hero of the Germans.  Instead of repairing to Paderborn, Wittikind had
left Saxony, and taken refuge with his brother-in-law, the king of the
Danes.  Thence he encouraged his Saxon compatriots, some to persevere in
their resistance, others to repent them of their show of submission.  War
began again; and Wittikind hastened back to take part in it.  In 778 the
Saxons advanced as far as the Rhine; but, "not having been able to cross
this river," says Eginhard, "they set themselves to lay waste with fire
and sword all the towns and all the villages from the city of Duitz
(opposite Cologne) as far as the confluence of the Moselle.  The churches
as well as the houses were laid in ruins from top to bottom.  The enemy,
in his frenzy, spared neither age nor sex, wishing to show thereby that
he had invaded the territory of the Franks, not for plunder, but for
revenge!"  For three years the struggle continued, more confined in area,
but more and more obstinate.  Many of the Saxon tribes submitted; many
Saxons were baptized; and Siegfried, king of the Danes, sent to
Charlemagne a deputation, as if to treat for peace.  Wittikind had left
Denmark; but he had gone across to her neighbors, the Northmen; and,
thence re-entering Saxony, he kindled there an insurrection as fierce as
it was unexpected.  In 782 two of Charlemagne's lieutenants were beaten
on the banks of the Weser, and killed in the battle, together with four
counts and twenty leaders, the noblest in the army; indeed the Franks
were nearly all exterminated.  "At news of this disaster," says Eginhard,
"Charlemagne, without losing a moment, re-assembled an army and set out
for Saxony.  He summoned into his presence all the chieftains of the
Saxons and demanded of them who had been the promoters of the revolt.
All agreed in denouncing Wittikind as the author of this treason.  But as
they could not deliver him up, because immediately after his sudden
attack he had taken refuge with the Northmen, those who, at his
instigation, had been accomplices in the crime, were placed, to the
number of four thousand five hundred, in the hands of the king; and, by
his order, all had their heads cut off the same day, at a place called
Werden, on the river Aller.  After this deed of vengeance the king
retired to Thionville to pass the winter there."

[Illustration: A Battle between Franks and Saxons----216]

But the vengeance did not put an end to the war.  "Blood calls for
blood," were words spoken in the English parliament, in 1643, by Sir
Benjamin Rudyard, one of the best citizens of his country in her hour of
revolution.  For three years Charlemagne had to redouble his efforts to
accomplish in Saxony, at the cost of Frankish as well as Saxon blood, his
work of conquest and conversion: "Saxony," he often repeated, "must be
christianized or wiped out."  At last, in 785, after several victories
which seemed decisive, he went and settled down in his strong castle of
Ehresburg, "whither he made his wife and children come, being resolved to
remain there all the bad season," says Eginhard, and applying himself
without cessation to scouring the country of the Saxons and wearing them
out by his strong and indomitable determination.  But determination did
not blind him to prudence and policy.  "Having learned that Wittikind and
Abbio (another great Saxon chieftain) were abiding in the part of Saxony
situated on the other side of the Elbe, he sent to them Saxon envoys to
prevail upon them to renounce their perfidy, and come, without
hesitation, and trust themselves to him.  They, conscious of what they
had attempted, dared not at first trust to the king's word; but having
obtained from him the promise they desired of impunity, and, besides, the
hostages they demanded as guarantee of their safety, and who were brought
to them, on the king's behalf, by Amalwin, one of the officers of his
court, they came with the said lord and presented themselves before the
king in his palace of Attigny [Attigny-sur-Aisne, whither Charlemagne had
now returned] and there received baptism."

Charlemagne did more than amnesty Wittikind; he named him Duke of Saxony,
but without attaching to the title any right of sovereignty.  Wittikind,
on his side, did more than come to Attigny and get baptized there; he
gave up the struggle, remained faithful to his new engagements, and led,
they say, so Christian a life, that some chroniclers have placed him on
the list of saints.  He was killed in 807, in a battle against Gerold,
duke of Suabia, and his tomb is still to be seen at Ratisbonne.  Several
families of Germany hold him for their ancestor; and some French
genealogists have, without solid ground, discovered in him the
grandfather of Robert the Strong, great-grandfather of Hugh Capet.
However that may be, after making peace with Wittikind, Charlemagne had
still, for several years, many insurrections to repress and much rigor to
exercise in Saxony, including the removal of certain Saxon peoplets out
of their country and the establishment of foreign colonists in the
territories thus become vacant; but the great war was at an end, and
Charlemagne might consider Saxony incorporated in his dominions.

[Illustration: THE SUBMISSION OF WITTIKIND----218]

He had still, in Germany and all around, many enemies to fight and many
campaigns to re-open.  Even amongst the Germanic populations, which were
regarded as reduced under the sway of the king of the Franks, some, the
Frisons and Saxons as well as others, were continually agitating for the
recovery of their independence.  Farther off towards the north, east, and
south, people differing in origin and language--Avars, Huns, Slavons,
Bulgarians, Danes, and Northmen--were still pressing or beginning to
press upon the frontiers of the Frankish dominion, for the purpose of
either penetrating within or settling at the threshold as powerful and
formidable neighbors.  Charlemagne had plenty to do, with the view at one
time of checking their incursions and at another of destroying or hurling
back to a distance their settlements; and he brought his usual vigor and
perseverance to bear on this second struggle.  But by the conquest of
Saxony he had attained his direct national object: the great flood of
population from East to West came, and broke against the Gallo-Franco-
Germanic dominion as against an insurmountable rampart.

This was not, however, Charlemagne's only great enterprise at this epoch,
nor the only great struggle he had to maintain.  Whilst he was
incessantly fighting in Germany, the work of policy commenced by his
father Pepin in Italy called for his care and his exertions.  The new
king of the Lombards, Didier, and the new Pope, Adrian I., had entered
upon a new war; and Dither was besieging Rome, which was energetically
defended by the Pope and its inhabitants.  In 773, Adrian invoked the aid
of the king of the Franks, whom his envoys succeeded, not without
difficulty, in finding at Thionville.  Charlemagne could not abandon the
grand position left him by his father as protector of the Papacy and as
patrician of Rome.  The possessions, moreover, wrested by Didier from the
Pope were exactly those which Pepin had won by conquest from King
Astolphus, and had presented to the Papacy.  Charlemagne was, besides, on
his own account, on bad terms with the king of the Lombards, whose
daughter, Desiree, he had married, and afterwards repudiated and sent
home to her father, in order to marry Hildegarde, a Suabian by nation.
Didier, in dudgeon, had given an asylum to Carloman's widow and sons, on
whose intrigues Charlemagne kept a watchful eye.  Being prudent and
careful of appearances, even when he was preparing to strike a heavy
blow, Charlemagne tried, by means of special envoys, to obtain from the
king of the Lombards what the Pope demanded.  On Didier's refusal he at
once set to work, convoked the general meeting of the Franks, at Geneva,
in the autumn of 773, gained them over, not without encountering some
objections, to the projected Italian expedition, and forthwith commenced
the campaign with two armies.  One was to cross the Valais and descend
upon Lombardy by Mount St. Bernard; Charlemagne in person led the other,
by Mount Cenis.  The Lombards, at the outlet of the passes of the Alps,
offered a vigorous resistance; but when the second army had penetrated
into Italy by Mount St. Bernard, Didier, threatened in his rear, retired
precipitately, and, driven from position to position, was obliged to go
and shut himself up in Pavia, the strongest place in his kingdom, whither
Charlemagne, having received on the march the submission of the principal
counts and nearly all the towns of Lombardy, came promptly to besiege

To place textually before the reader a fragment of an old chronicle will
serve better than any modern description to show the impression of
admiration and fear produced upon his contemporaries by Charlemagne, his
person and his power.  At the close of this ninth century a monk of the
abbey of St. Gall, in Switzerland, had collected, direct from the mouth
of one of Charlemagne's warriors, Adalbert, numerous stories of his
campaigns and his life.  These stories are full of fabulous legends,
puerile anecdotes, distorted reminiscences, and chronological errors, and
they are written sometimes with a credulity and exaggeration of language
which raise a smile; but they reveal the state of men's minds and fancies
within the circle of Charlemagne's influence and at the sight of him.
This monk gives a naive account of Charlemagne's arrival before Pavia and
of the king of the Lombards' disquietude at his approach.  Didier had
with him at that time one of Charlemagne's most famous comrades, Ogier
the Dane, who fills a prominent place in the romances and epopoeas,
relating to chivalry, of that age.  Ogier had quarrelled with his great
chief and taken refuge with the king of the Lombards.  It is probable
that his Danish origin and his relations with the king of the Danes,
Gottfried, for a long time an enemy of the Franks, had something to do
with his misunderstanding with Charlemagne.  However that may have been,
"when Didier and Ogger (for so the monk calls him) heard that the dread
monarch was coming, they ascended a tower of vast height, whence they
could watch his arrival from afar off and from every quarter.  They saw,
first of all, engines of war such as must have been necessary for the
armies of Darius or Julius Caesar.  'Is not Charles,' asked Didier of
Ogger, 'with this great army?'  But the other answered, 'No.'  The
Lombard, seeing afterwards an immense body of soldiery gathered from all
quarters of the vast empire, said to Ogger, 'Certes, Charles advanceth in
triumph in the midst of this throng.'  'No, not yet; he will not appear
so soon,' was the answer.  'What should we do, then,' rejoined Didier,
who began to be perturbed, 'should he come accompanied by a larger band
of warriors?'  'You will see what he is when he comes,' replied Ogger,
'but as to what will become of us I know nothing.'  As they were thus
parleying appeared the body of guards that knew no repose; and at this
sight the Lombard, overcome with dread, cried, 'This time 'tis surely
Charles.'  'No,' answered Ogger, 'not yet.'  In their wake came the
bishops, the abbots, the ordinaries of the chapels royal, and the counts;
and then Didier, no longer able to bear the light of day or to face
death, cried out with groans, 'Let us descend and hide ourselves in the
bowels of the earth, far from the face and the fury of so terrible a foe.
Trembling the while, Ogger, who knew by experience what were the power
and might of Charles, and who had learned the lesson by long consuetude
in better days, then said, 'When ye shall behold the crops shaking for
fear in the fields, and the gloomy Po and the Ticino overflowing the
walls of the city with their waves blackened with steel (iron), then may
ye think that Charles is coming.'  He had not ended these words when
there began to be seen in the west, as it were a black cloud, raised by
the north-west wind or by Boreas, which turned the brightest day into
awful shadows.  But as the emperor drew nearer and nearer, the gleam of
arms caused to shine on the people shut up within the city a day more
gloomy than any kind of night.  And then appeared Charles himself, that
man of steel, with his head encased in a helmet of steel, his hands
garnished with gauntlets of steel, his heart of steel and his shoulders
of marble protected by a cuirass of steel, and his left hand armed with a
lance of steel which he held aloft in the air, for as to his right hand
he kept that continually on the hilt of his invincible sword.  The
outside of his thighs, which the rest, for their greater ease in mounting
a horseback, were wont to leave unshackled even by straps, he wore
encircled by plates of steel.  What shall I say concerning his boots?
All the army were wont to have them invariably of steel; on his buckler
there was nought to be seen but steel; his horse was of the color and the
strength of steel.  All those who went before the monarch, all those who
marched at his side, all those who followed after, even the whole mass of
the army, had armor of the like sort, so far as the means of each
permitted.  The fields and the highways were covered with steel: the
points of steel reflected the rays of the sun; and this steel, so hard,
was borne by a people with hearts still harder.  The flash of steel
spread terror through-out the streets of the city.  'What steel! alack,
what steel!'  Such were the bewildered cries the citizens raised.  The
firmness of manhood and of youth gave way at sight of the steel; and the
steel paralyzed the wisdom of graybeards.  That which I, poor
tale-teller, mumbling and toothless, have attempted to depict in a long
description, Ogger perceived at one rapid glance, and said to Didier,
'Here is what ye have so anxiously sought:' and whilst uttering these
words he fell down almost lifeless."

The monk of St. Gall does King Didier and his people wrong.  They showed
more firmness and valor than he ascribes to them: they resisted
Charlemagne obstinately, and repulsed his first assaults so well that he
changed the siege into an investment and settled down before Pavia, as if
making up his mind for a long operation.  His camp became a town; he sent
for Queen Hildegarde and her court; and he had a chapel built, where he
celebrated the festival of Christmas.  But on the arrival of spring,
close upon the festival of Easter, 774, wearied with the duration of the
investment, he left to his lieutenants the duty of keeping it up, and,
attended by a numerous and brilliant following, set off for Rome, whither
the Pope was urgently pressing him to come.

On Holy Saturday, April 1, 774, Charlemagne found, at three miles from
Rome, the magistrates and the banner of the city, sent forward by the
Pope to meet him; at one mile all the municipal bodies and the pupils of
the schools carrying palm-branches and singing hymns; and at the gate of
the city, the cross, which was never taken out save for exarchs and
patricians.  At sight of the cross Charlemagne dismounted, entered Rome
on foot, ascended the steps of the ancient basilica of St. Peter,
repeating at each step a sign of respectful piety, and was received at
the top by the Pope himself.  All around him and in the streets a chant
was sung, "Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord!"  At his
entry and during his sojourn at Rome Charlemagne gave the most striking
proofs of Christian faith and respect for the head of the Church.
According to the custom of pilgrims he visited all the basilicas, and in
that of St. Maria Maggiore he performed his solemn devotions.  Then,
passing to temporal matters, he caused to be brought and read over, in
his private conferences with the Pope, the deed of territorial gift made
by his father Pepin to Stephen II., and with his own lips dictated the
confirmation of it, adding thereto a new gift of certain territories
which he was in course of wresting by conquest from the Lombards.  Pope
Adrian, on his side, rendered to him, with a mixture of affection and
dignity, all the honors and all the services which could at one and the
same time satisfy and exalt the king and the priest, the protector and
the protected.  He presented to Charlemagne a book containing a
collection of the canons written by the pontiffs from the origin of the
Church, and he put at the beginning of the book, which was dedicated to
Charlemagne, an address in forty-five irregular verses, written with his
own hand, which formed an anagram: "Pope Adrian to his most excellent son
Charlemagne, king."  (_Domino excellentissimo filio Carolo Magno regi
Ipadrianus papa_).  At the same time he encouraged him to push his
victory to the utmost and make himself king of the Lombards, advising
him, however, not to incorporate his conquest with the Frankish
dominions, as it would wound the pride of the conquered people to be thus
absorbed by the conquerors, and to take merely the title of "King of the
Franks and Lombards."  Charlemagne appreciated and accepted this wise
advice; for he could preserve proper limits in his ambition and in the
hour of victory.  Three years afterwards he even did more than Pope
Adrian had advised.  In 777 Queen Hildegarde bore him a son, Pepin, whom
in 781 Charlemagne had baptized and anointed king of Italy at Rome by the
Pope, thus separating not only the two titles, but also the two kingdoms,
and restoring to the Lombards a national existence, feeling quite sure
that, so long as he lived, the unity of his different dominions would not
be imperilled.  Having thus regulated at Rome his own affairs and those
of the Church, he returned to his camp, took Pavia, received the
submission of all the Lombard dukes and counts, save one only, Aregisius,
duke of Beneventum, and entered France again, taking with him as prisoner
King Didier, whom he banished to a monastery, first at Liege and then at
Corbie, where the dethroned Lombard, say the chroniclers, ended his days
in saintly fashion.

The prompt success of this war in Italy, undertaken at the appeal of the
Head of the Church, this first sojourn of Charlemagne at Rome, the
spectacles he had witnessed, and the homage he had received, exercised
over him, his plans, and his deeds, a powerful influence.  This rough
Frankish warrior, chief of a people who were beginning to make a
brilliant appearance upon the stage of the world, and issue himself
of a new line, had a taste for what was grand, splendid, ancient, and
consecrated by time and public respect; he understood and estimated at
its full worth the moral force and importance of such allies.  He
departed from Rome in 774, more determined than ever to subdue Saxony, to
the advantage of the Church as well as of his own power, and to promote,
in the South as in the North, the triumph of the Frankish Christian

Three years afterwards, in 777, he had convoked at Paderborn, in
Westphalia, that general assembly of his different peoples at which
Wittikind did not attend, and which was destined to bring upon the Saxons
a more and more obstinate war.  "The Saracen Ibn-al-Arabi," says
Eginhard, "came to this town, to present himself before the king.  He
had arrived from Spain, together with other Saracens in his train, to
surrender to the king of the Franks himself and all the towns which the
king of the Saracens had confided to his keeping."  For a long time past
the Christians of the West had given the Mussulmans, Arab or other, the
name of Saracens.  Ibn-al-Arabi was governor of Saragossa, and one of the
Spanish Arab chieftains in league against Abdel-Rhaman, the last offshoot
of the Ommiad khalifs, who, with the assistance of the Berbers, had
seized the government of Spain.  Amidst the troubles of his country and
his nation, Ibn-al-Arabi summoned to his aid, against Abdel-Rhaman, the
Franks and the Christians, just as, but lately, Maurontius, duke of
Arles, had summoned to Provence, against Charles Martel, the Arabs and
the Mussulmans.

Charlemagne accepted the summons with alacrity.  With the coming of
spring in the following year, 778, and with the full assent of his chief
warriors, he began his march towards  the Pyrenees, crossed the Loire,
and halted at Casseneuil, at the confluence of the Lot and the Garonne,
to celebrate there the festival of Easter, and to make preparations for
his expedition thence.  As he had but lately done for his campaign in
Italy against the Lombards, he divided his forces into two armies one
composed of Austrasians, Neustrians, Burgundians, and divers German
contingents, and commanded by Charlemagne in person, was to enter Spain
by the valley of Roncesvalles, in the western Pyrenees, and make for
Pampeluna; the other, consisting of Provenccals, Septimanians, Lombards,
and other populations of the South, under the command of Duke Bernard,
who had already distinguished himself in Italy, had orders to penetrate
into Spain by the eastern Pyrenees, to receive on the march the
submission of Gerona and Barcelona, and not to halt till they were before
Saragossa, where the two armies were to form a junction, and which Ibn-
al-Arabi had promised to give up to the king of the Franks.  According to
this plan, Charlemagne had to traverse the territories of Aquitaine and
Vasconia, domains of Duke Lupus II., son of Duke Waifre, so long the foe
of Pepin the Short, a Merovingian by descent, and in all these qualities
little disposed to favor Charlemagne.  However, the march was
accomplished without difficulty.  The king of the Franks treated his
powerful vassal well; and Duke Lupus swore to him afresh, "or for the
first time," says M. Fauriel, "submission and fidelity; but the event
soon proved that it was not without umbrage or without all the feelings
of a true son of Waifre that he saw the Franks and the son of Pepin so
close to him."

The aggressive campaign was an easy and a brilliant one.  Charles with
his army entered Spain by the valley of Roncesvalles without encountering
any obstacle.  On his arrival before Pampeluna the Arab governor
surrendered the place to him, and Charlemagne pushed forward vigorously
to Saragossa.  But there fortune changed.  The presence of foreigners and
Christians on the soil of Spain caused a suspension of interior quarrels
amongst the Arabs, who rose in mass, at all points, to succor Saragossa.
The besieged defended themselves with obstinacy; there was more scarcity
of provisions amongst the besiegers than inside the place; sickness broke
out amongst them; they were incessantly harassed from without; and rumors
of a fresh rising amongst the Saxons reached Charlemagne.  The Arabs
demanded negotiation.  To decide the king of the Franks upon an
abandonment of the siege, they offered him "an immense quantity of gold,"
say the chroniclers, hostages, and promises of homage and fidelity.
Appearances had been saved; Charlemagne could say, and even perhaps
believe, that he had pushed his conquests as far as the Ebro; he decided
on retreat, and all the army was set in motion to recross the Pyrenees.
On arriving before Pampeluna, Charlemagne had its walls completely razed
to the ground, "in order that," as he said, "that city might not be able
to revolt."  The troops entered those same passes of Roncesvalles which
they had traversed without obstacle a few weeks before; and the
advance-guard and the main body of the army were already clear of them.
The account of what happened shall be given in the words of Eginhard,
the only contemporary historian whose account, free from all
exaggeration, can be considered authentic.  "The king," he says,
"brought back his army without experiencing any loss, save that at the
summit of the Pyrenees he suffered somewhat from the perfidy of the
Vascons (Basques).  Whilst the army of the Franks, embarrassed in a
narrow defile, was forced by the nature of the ground to advance in one
long, close line, the Basques, who were in ambush on the crest of the
mountain (for the thickness of the forest with which these parts are
covered is favorable to ambuscade), descend and fall suddenly on the
baggage-train and on the troops of the rear-guard, whose duty it was to
cover all in their front, and precipitate them to the bottom of the
valley.  There took place a fight in which the Franks were killed to a
man.  The Basques, after having plundered the baggage-train, profited by
the night, which had come on, to disperse rapidly.  They owed all their
success in this engagement to the lightness of their equipment and to
the nature of the spot where the action took place; the Franks, on the
contrary, being heavily armed and in an unfavorable position, struggled
against too many disadvantages. Eginhard, master of the household of the
king; Anselm, count of the palace; and Roland, prefect of the marches of
Brittany, fell in this engagement.  There were no means, at the time, of
taking revenge for this cheek; for after their sudden attack, the enemy
dispersed to such good purpose that there was no gaining any trace of
the direction in which they should be sought for."

[Illustration: Death of Roland at Roncesvalles----227]

History says no more; but in the poetry of the people there is a longer
and a more faithful memory than in the court of kings.  The disaster of
Roncesvalles and the heroism of the warriors who perished there became,
in France, the object of popular sympathy and the favorite topic for the
exercise of the popular fancy.  The _Song of Roland,_ a real Homeric poem
in its great beauty, and yet rude and simple as became its national
character, bears witness to the prolonged importance attained in Europe
by this incident in the history of Charlemagne.  Three centuries later
the comrades of William the Conqueror, marching to battle at Hastings for
the possession of England, struck up _The Song of Roland_ "to prepare
themselves for victory or death," says M. Vitel, in his vivid estimate
and able translation of this poetical monument of the manners and first
impulses towards chivalry of the middle ages.  There is no determining
how far history must be made to participate in these reminiscences of
national feeling; but, assuredly, the figures of Roland and Oliver, and
Archbishop Turpin, and the pious, unsophisticated and tender character of
their heroism are not pure fables invented by the fancy of a poet, or the
credulity of a monk.  If the accuracy of historical narrative must not be
looked for in them, their moral truth must be recognized in their
portrayal of a people and an age.

The political genius of Charlemagne comprehended more fully than would be
imagined from his panegyrist's brief and dry account all the gravity of
the affair of Roncesvalles.  Not only did he take immediate vengeance by
hanging Duke Lupus of Aquitaine, whose treason had brought down this
mishap, and by reducing his two sons, Adairic and Sancho, to a more
feeble and precarious condition, but he resolved to treat Aquitaine as he
had but lately treated Italy, that is to say, to make of it, according to
the correct definition of M. Fauriel, "a special kingdom," an integral
portion, indeed, of the Frankish empire, but with an especial
destination, which was that of resisting the invasions of the Andalusian
Arabs, and confining them as much as possible to the soil of the
Peninsula.  This was, in some sort, giving back to the country its
primary task as an independent duchy; and it was the most natural and
most certain way of making the Aquitanians useful subjects by giving play
to their national vanity, to their pretensions of forming a separate
people, and to their hopes of once more becoming, sooner or later, an
independent nation.  Queen Hildegarde, during her husband's sojourn at
Casseneuil, in 778, had borne him a son, whom he called Louis, and who
was, afterwards, Louis the Debonnair.  Charlemagne, summoned a second
time to Rome, in 781, by the quarrels of Pope Adrian I. with the imperial
court of Constantinople, brought with him his two sons, Pepin aged only
four years, and Louis only three years, and had them anointed by the
Pope, the former King of Italy, and the latter King of Aquitaine.  "On
returning from Rome to Austrasia, Charlemagne sent Louis at once to take
possession of his kingdom.  From the banks of the Meuse to Orleans the
little prince was carried in his cradle; but once on the Loire, this
manner of travelling beseemed him no longer; his conductors would that
his entry into his dominions should have a manly and warrior-like
appearance; they clad him in arms proportioned to his height and age;
they put him and held him on horseback; and it was in such guise that he
entered Aquitaine.  He came thither accompanied by the officers who were
to form his council of guardians, men chosen by Charlemagne, with care,
amongst the Frankish 'leudes,' distinguished not only for bravery and
firmness, but also for adroitness, and such as they should be to be
neither deceived nor seared by the cunning, fickle, and turbulent
populations with whom they would have to deal."  From this period to the
death of Charlemagne, and by his sovereign influence, though all the
while under his son's name, the government of Aquitaine was a series of
continued efforts to hurl back the Arabs of Spain beyond the Ebro, to
extend to that river the dominion of the Franks, to divert to that end
the forces as well as the feelings of the populations of Southern Gaul,
and thus to pursue, in the South as in the North, against the Arabs as
well as against the Saxons and Huns, the grand design of Charlemagne,
which was the repression of foreign invasions and the triumph of
Christian France over Asiatic Paganism and Islamism.

Although continually obliged to watch, and often still to fight,
Charlemagne might well believe that he had nearly gained his end.  He had
everywhere greatly extended the frontiers of the Frankish dominions and
subjugated the populations comprised in his conquests.  He had proved
that his new frontiers would be vigorously defended against new invasions
or dangerous neighbors.  He had pursued the Huns and the Saxons to the
confines of the empire of the East, and the Saracens to the islands of
Corsica and Sardinia.  The centre of the dominion was no longer in
ancient Gaul; he had transferred it to a point not far from the Rhine, in
the midst and within reach of the Germanic populations, at the town of
Aix-la-Chapelle, which he had founded, and which was his favorite
residence; but the principal parts of the Gallo-Frankish kingdom,
Austrasia, Neustria, and Burgundy, were effectually welded in one single
mass.  What he had done with Southern Gaul has but just been pointed out:
how he had both separated it from his own kingdom and still retained it
under his control.  Two expeditions into Armorica, without taking
entirely from the Britons their independence, had taught them real
deference, and the great warrior Roland, installed as count upon their
frontier, warned them of the peril any rising would encounter.  The moral
influence of Charlemagne was on a par with his material power; he had
everywhere protected the missionaries of Christianity; he had twice
entered Rome, also in the character of protector, and he could count on
the faithful support of the Pope at least as much as the Pope could count
on him.  He had received embassies and presents from the sovereigns of
the East, Christian and Mussulman, from the emperors at Constantinople
and the khalifs at Bagdad.  Everywhere, in Europe, in Africa, and in
Asia, he was feared and respected by kings and people.  Such, at the
close of the eighth century, were, so far as he was concerned, the
results of his wars, of the superior capacity he had displayed, and of
the successes he had won and kept.

In 799 he received, at Aix-la-Chapelle, news of serious disturbances
which had broken out at Rome; that Pope Leo III. had been attacked by
conspirators, who, after pulling out, it was said, his eyes and his
tongue, had shut him up in the monastery of St. Erasmus, whence he had
with great difficulty escaped, and that he had taken refuge with
Winigisius, duke of Spoleto, announcing his intention of repairing thence
to the Frankish king.  Leo was already known to Charlemagne; at his
accession to the pontificate, in 795, he had sent to him, as to the
patrician and defender of Rome, the keys of the prison of St. Peter and
the banner of the city.  Charlemagne showed a disposition to receive him
with equal kindness and respect.  The Pope arrived, in fact, at
Paderborn, passed some days there, according to Eginhard, and returned to
Rome on the 30th of November, 799, at ease regarding his future, but
without knowledge on the part of any one of what had been settled between
the king of the Franks and him.  Charlemagne remained all the winter at
Aix-la-Chapelle, spent the first months of the year 800 on affairs
connected with Western France, at Rouen, Tours, Orleans, and Paris, and,
returning to Mayence in the month of August, then for the first time
announced to the general assembly of Franks his design of making a
journey to Italy.  He repaired thither, in fact, and arrived on the 23d
of November, 800, at the gates of Rome.  The Pope received him there as
he was dismounting; then, the next day, standing on the steps of the
basilica of St. Peter and amidst general hallelujahs, he introduced the
king into the sanctuary of the blessed apostle, glorifying and thanking
the Lord for this happy event.  Some days were spent in examining into
the grievances which had been set down to the Pope's account, and in
receiving two monks arrived from Jerusalem to present to the king, with
the patriarch's blessing, the keys of the Holy Sepulchre and Calvary, as
well as the sacred standard.  Lastly, on the 25th of December, 800, "the
day of the Nativity of our Lord," says Eginhard, "the king came into the
basilica of the blessed St. Peter, apostle, to attend the celebration of
mass.  At the moment when, in his place before the altar, he was bowing
down to pray, Pope Leo placed on his head a crown, and all the Roman
people shouted, 'Long life and victory to Charles Augustus, crowned by
God, the great and pacific emperor of the Romans!'  After this
proclamation the pontiff prostrated himself before him and paid him
adoration, according to the custom established in the days of the old
emperors; and thenceforward Charles, giving up the title of patrician,
bore that of Emperor and Augustus."

Eginhard adds, in his Life of Charlemagne, "The king at first testified
great aversion for this dignity, for he declared that, notwithstanding
the importance of the festival, he would not on that day have entered the
church, if he could have foreseen the intentions of the sovereign
pontiff.  However, this event excited the jealousy of the Roman emperors
(of Constantinople), who showed great vexation at it; but Charles met
their bad graces with nothing but great patience, and thanks to this
magnanimity, which raised him so far above them, he managed, by sending
to them frequent embassies and giving them in his letters the name of
brother, to triumph over their conceit."

No one, probably, believed in the ninth century, and no one, assuredly,
will nowadays believe, that Charlemagne was innocent beforehand of what
took place on the 25th of December, 800, in the basilica of St. Peter.
It is doubtful, also, if he were seriously concerned about the ill-temper
of the emperors of the East.  He had wit enough to understand the value
which always remains attached to old traditions, and he might have taken
some pains to secure their countenance to his title of emperor; but all
his contemporaries believed, and he also undoubtedly believed, that he
had on that day really won and set up again the Roman empire.


What, then, was the government of this empire of which Charlemagne was
proud to assume the old title?  How did this German warrior govern that
vast dominion which, thanks to his conquests, extended from the Elbe to
the Ebro, from the North Sea to the Mediterranean; which comprised nearly
all Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and the north of Italy and of
Spain, and which, sooth to say, was still, when Charlemagne caused
himself to be made emperor, scarce more than the hunting-ground and the
battle-field of all the swarms of barbarians who tried to settle on the
ruins of the Roman world they had invaded and broken to pieces?  The
government of Charlemagne in the midst of this chaos is the striking,
complicated, and transitory fact which is now to be passed in review.

A word of warning must be first of all given touching this word
government, with which it is impossible to dispense.  For a long time
past the word has entailed ideas of national unity, general organization,
and regular and efficient power.  There has been no lack of revolutions
which have changed dynasties and the principles and forms of the supreme
power in the State; but they have always left existing, under different
names, the practical machinery whereby the supreme power makes itself
felt and exercises its various functions over the whole country.  Open
the Almanac, whether it be called the Imperial, the Royal, or the
National, and you will find there always the working system of the
government of France; all the powers and their agents, from the lowest to
the highest, are there indicated and classed according to their
prerogatives and relations.  Nor have we there a mere empty nomenclature,
a phantom of theory; things go on actually as they are described--the
book is the reflex of the reality.  It were easy to construct, for the
empire of Charlemagne, a similar list of officers; there might be set
down in it dukes, counts, vicars, centeniers, and sheriffs (seabini), and
they might be distributed, in regular gradation, over the whole
territory; but it would be one huge lie; for most frequently, in the
majority of places, these magistracies were utterly powerless and
themselves in complete disorder.  The efforts of Charlemagne, either to
establish them on a firm footing or to make them act with regularity,
were continual, but unavailing.  In spite of the fixity of his purpose
and the energy of his action, the disorder around him was measureless and
insurmountable.  He might check it for a moment at one point; but the
evil existed wherever his terrible will did not reach, and wherever it
did the evil broke out again so soon as it had been withdrawn.  How could
it be otherwise?  Charlemagne had not to grapple with one single nation
or with one single system of institutions; he had to deal with different
nations, without cohesion, and foreign one to another.  The authority
belonged, at one and the same time, to assemblies of free men, to
landholders over the dwellers on their domains, and to the king over the
"leudes" and their following.  These three powers appeared and acted side
by side in every locality as well as in the totality of the State.  Their
relations and their prerogatives were not governed by any generally-
recognized principle, and none of the three was invested with sufficient
might to prevail habitually against the independence or resistance of its
rivals.  Force alone, varying according to circumstances and always
uncertain decided matters between them.  Such was France at the accession
of the second line.  The co-existence of and the struggle between the
three systems of institutions and the three powers just alluded to had as
yet had no other result.  Out of this chaos Charlemagne caused to issue a
monarchy, strong through him alone and so long as he was by, but
powerless and gone like a shadow when the man was lost to the

Whoever is astonished either at this triumph of absolute monarchy through
the personal movement of Charlemagne, or at the speedy fall of the fabric
on the disappearance of the moving spirit, understands neither what can
be done by a great man, when without him society sees itself given over
to deadly peril, nor how unsubstantial and frail is absolute power when
the great man is no longer by, or when society has no longer need of him.

It has just been shown how Charlemagne by his wars, which had for their
object and result permanent and well-secured conquests, had stopped the
fresh incursions of barbarians, that is, had stopped disorder coming from
without.  An attempt will now be made to show by what means he set about
suppressing disorder from within and putting his own rule in the place of
the anarchy that prevailed in the Roman world which lay in ruins, and in
the barbaric world which was a prey to blind and ill-regulated force.

A distinction must be drawn between the local and central governments.

Far from the centre of the State, in what have since been called the
provinces, the power of the emperor was exercised by the medium of two
classes of agents, one local and permanent, the other despatched from the
centre and transitory.

In the first class we find:--

1st.  The dukes, counts, vicars of counts, centeniers, sheriffs
(scabini), officers or magistrates residing on the spot, nominated by the
emperor himself or by his delegates, and charged with the duty of acting
in his name for the levying of troops, rendering of justice, maintenance
of order, and receipt of imposts.

2d.  The beneficiaries or vassals of the emperor, who held of him,
sometimes as hereditaments, more often for life, and more often still
without fixed rule or stipulation, lands; domains, throughout the extent
of which they exercised, a little bit in their own name and a little bit
in the name of the emperor, a certain jurisdiction and nearly all the
rights of sovereignty.  There was nothing very fixed or clear in the
position of the beneficiaries and in the nature of their power; they were
at one and the same time delegates and independent, owners and enjoyers
of usufruct, and the former or the latter character prevailed amongst
them according to circumstances.  But, altogether, they were closely
bound to Charlemagne, who, in a great number of cases, charged them with
the execution of his orders in the lands they occupied.

Above these agents, local and resident, magistrates or beneficiaries,
were the _missi dominici,_ temporary commissioners, charged to inspect,
in the emperor's name, the condition of the provinces; authorized to
penetrate into the interior of the free lands as well as of the domains
granted with the title of benefices; having the right to reform certain
abuses, and bound to render an account of all to their master.  The
_missi dominici_ were the principal instruments Charlemagne had,
throughout the vast territory of his empire, of order and administration.

As to the central government, setting aside for a moment the personal
action of Charlemagne and of his counsellors, the general assemblies,
to judge by appearances and to believe nearly all the modern historians,
occupied a prominent place in it.  They were, in fact, during his reign,
numerous and active; from the year 776 to the year 813 we may count
thirty-five of these national assemblies, March-parades and May-parades,
held at Worms, Valenciennes, Geneva, Paderborn, Aix-la-Chapelle,
Thionville, and several other towns, the majority situated round about
the two banks of the Rhine.  The number and periodical nature of these
great political reunions are undoubtedly a noticeable fact.  What, then,
went on in their midst?  What character and weight must be attached to
their intervention in the government of the State?  It is important to
sift this matter thoroughly.

There is extant, touching this subject, a very curious document.  A
contemporary and counsellor of Charlemagne, his cousin-german Adalbert,
abbot of Corbic, had written a treatise entitled _Of the Ordering of the
Palace (De Ordine Palatii),_ and designed to give an insight into the
government of Charlemagne, with especial reference to the national
assemblies.  This treatise was lost; but towards the close of the ninth
century, Hincmar, the celebrated archbishop of Rheims, reproduced it
almost in its entirety, in the form of a letter or of instructions,
written at the request of certain grandees of the kingdom who had asked
counsel of him with respect to the government of Carloman, one of the
sons of Charles the Stutterer.  We read therein,

"It was the custom at this time to hold two assemblies every year.  .  .
In both, that they might not seem to have been convoked without motive,
there were submitted to the examination and deliberation of the grandees
.  .  .  and by virtue of orders from the king, the fragments of law
called _capitula,_ which the king himself had drawn up under the
inspiration of God or the necessity for which had been made manifest to
him in the intervals between the meetings."

Two striking facts are to be gathered from these words: the first, that
the majority of the members composing these assemblies probably regarded
as a burden the necessity for being present at them, since Charlemagne
took care to explain their convocation by declaring to them the motive
for it and by always giving them something to do; the second, that the
proposal of the capitularies, or, in modern phrase, the initiative,
proceeded from the emperor.  The initiative is naturally exercised by him
who wishes to regulate or reform, and in his time it was especially
Charlemagne who conceived this design.  There is no doubt, however, but
that the members of the assembly might make on their side such proposals
as appeared to them suitable; the constitutional distrusts and artifices
of our times were assuredly unknown to Charlemagne, who saw in these
assemblies a means of government rather than a barrier to his authority.
To resume the text of Hincmar:--

"After having received these communications, they deliberated on them
two or three days or more, according to the importance of the business.
Palace-messengers, going and coming, took their questions and carried
back the answers.  No stranger came near the place of their meeting until
the result of their deliberations had been able to be submitted to the
scrutiny of the great prince, who then, with the wisdom he had received
from God, adopted a resolution which all obeyed."

The definitive resolution, therefore, depended upon Charlemagne alone;
the assembly contributed only information and counsel.

Hinemar continues, and supplies details worthy of reproduction, for they
give an insight into the imperial government and the action of
Charlemagne himself amidst those most ancient of the national assemblies.

"Things went on thus for one or two capitularies, or a greater number,
until, with God's help, all the necessities of the occasion were

"Whilst these matters were thus proceeding out of the king's presence,
the prince himself, in the midst of the multitude, came to the general
assembly, was occupied in receiving the presents, saluting the men of
most note, conversing with those he saw seldom, showing towards the
elders a tender interest, disporting himself with the youngsters, and
doing the same thing, or something like it, with the ecclesiastics as
well as the seculars.  However, if those who were deliberating about the
matter submitted to their examination showed a desire for it, the king
repaired to them and remained with them as long as they wished; and then
they reported to him with perfect familiarity what they thought about all
matters, and what were the friendly discussions that had arisen amongst
them.  I must not forget to say that, if the weather were fine,
everything took place in the open air; otherwise, in several distinct
buildings, where those who had to deliberate on the king's proposals were
separated from the multitude of persons come to the assembly, and then
the men of greater note were admitted.  The places appointed for the
meeting of the lords were divided into two parts, in such sort that the
bishops, the abbots, and the clerics of high rank might meet without
mixture with the laity.  In the same way the counts and other chiefs of
the State underwent separation, in the morning, until, whether the king
was present or absent, all were gathered together; then the lords  above
specified, the clerics on their side, and the laics on theirs, repaired
to the hall which had been assigned to them, and where seats had been
with due honor prepared for them.  When the lords laical and
ecclesiastical were thus separated from the multitude, it remained in
their power to sit separately or together, according to the nature of the
business they had to deal with, ecclesiastical, secular, or mixed.  In
the same way, if they wished to send for any one, either to demand
refreshment, or to put any question and to dismiss him after getting what
they wanted, it was at their option.  Thus took place the examination of
affairs proposed to them by the king for deliberation.

[Illustration: Charlemagne and the General Assembly----239]

"The second business of the king was to ask of each what there was to
report to him, or enlighten him touching the part of the kingdom each had
come from.  Not only was this permitted to all, but they were strictly
enjoined to make inquiries, during the interval between the assemblies,
about what happened within or without the kingdom; and they were bound to
seek knowledge from foreigners as well as natives, enemies as well as
friends, sometimes by employing emissaries, and without troubling
themselves much about the manner in which they acquired their
information.  The king wished to know whether in any part, in any corner
of the kingdom, the people were restless, and what was the cause of their
restlessness; or whether there had happened any disturbance to which it
was necessary to draw the attention of the council-general, and other
similar matters.  He sought also to know whether any of the subjugated
nations were inclined to revolt; whether any of those that had revolted
seemed disposed towards submission; and whether those that were still
independent were threatening the kingdom with any attack.  On all these
subjects, whenever there was any manifestation of disorder or danger, he
demanded chiefly what were the motives or occasion of them."

There is need of no great reflection to recognize the true character of
these assemblies: it is clearly imprinted upon the sketch drawn by
Hincmar.  The figure of Charlemagne alone fills the picture: he is the
centre-piece of it and the soul of everything.  'Tis he who wills that
the national assemblies should meet and deliberate; 'tis he who inquires
into the state of the country; 'tis he who proposes and approves of or
rejects the laws; with him rest will and motive, initiative and decision.
He has a mind sufficiently judicious, unshackled, and elevated to
understand that the nation ought not to be left in darkness about its
affairs, and that he himself has need of communicating with it, of
gathering information from it, and of learning its opinions.  But we have
here no exhibition of great political liberties, no people discussing its
interests and its business, interfering effectually in the adoption of
resolutions, and, in fact, taking in its government so active and
decisive a part as to have a right to say that it is self-governing,
or, in other words, a free people.  It is Charlemagne, and he alone,
who governs; it is absolute government marked by prudence, ability,
and grandeur.

When the mind dwells upon the state of Gallo-Frankish society in the
eighth century, there is nothing astonishing in such a fact.  Whether it
be civilized or barbarian, that which every society needs, that which it
seeks and demands first of all in its government, is a certain degree of
good sense and strong will, of intelligence and innate influence, so far
as the public interests are concerned; qualities, in fact, which suffice
to keep social order maintained or make it realized, and to promote
respect for individual rights and the progress of the general well-being.
This is the essential aim of every community of men; and the institutions
and guarantees of free government are the means of attaining it.  It is
clear that, in the eighth century, on the ruins of the Roman and beneath
the blows of the barbaric world, the Gallo-Frankish nation, vast and
without cohesion, brutish and ignorant, was incapable of bringing forth,
so to speak, from its own womb, with the aid of its own wisdom and
virtue, a government of the kind.  A host of different forces, without
enlightenment and without restraint, were everywhere and incessantly
struggling for dominion, or, in other words, were ever troubling and
endangering the social condition.  Let there but arise, in the midst of
this chaos of unruly forces and selfish passions, a great man, one of
those elevated minds and strong characters that can understand the
essential aim of society and then urge it forward, and at the same time
keep it well in hand on the roads that lead thereto, and such a man will
soon seize and exercise the personal power almost of a despot, and people
will not only make him welcome, but even celebrate his praises, for they
do not quit the substance for the shadow, or sacrifice the end to the
means.  Such was the empire of Charlemagne.  Amongst annalists and
historians, some, treating him as a mere conqueror and despot, have
ignored his merits and his glory; others, that they might admire him
without scruple, have made of him a founder of free institutions, a
constitutional monarch.  Both are equally mistaken.  Charlemagne was,
indeed, a conqueror and a despot; but by his conquests and his personal
power he, so long as he was by, that is, for six and forty years, saved
Gallo-Frankish society from barbaric invasion without and anarchy within.
That is the characteristic of his government and his title to glory.

What he was in his wars and his general relations with his nation has
just been seen; he shall now be exhibited in all his administrative
activity and his intellectual life, as a legislator and as a friend to
the human mind.  The same man will be recognized in every ease; he will
grow in greatness, without changing, as he appears under his various

There are often joined together, under the title of Capitularies
(_capitula,_ small chapters, articles) a mass of Acts, very different in
point of dates and objects, which are attributed indiscriminately to
Charlemagne.  This is a mistake.  The Capitularies are the laws or
legislative measures of the Frankish kings, Merovingian as well as
Carlovingian.  Those of the Merovingians are few in number and of slight
importance, and amongst those of the Carlovingians, which amount to one
hundred and fifty-two, sixty-five only are due to Charlemagne.  When an
attempt is made to classify these last according to their object, it is
impossible not to be struck with their incoherent variety; and several of
them are such as we should nowadays be surprised to meet with in a code
or in a special law.  Amongst Charlemagne's sixty-five Capitularies,
which contain eleven hundred and fifty-one articles, may be counted
eighty-seven of moral, two hundred and ninety-three of political, one
hundred and thirty of penal, one hundred and ten of civil, eighty-five of
religious, three hundred and five of canonical, seventy-three of
domestic, and twelve of incidental legislation.  And it must not be
supposed that all these articles are really acts of legislation, laws
properly so called; we find amongst them the texts of ancient national
laws revised and promulgated afresh; extracts from and additions to these
same ancient laws, Salle, Lombard, and Bavarian; extracts from acts of
councils; instructions given by Charlemagne to his envoys in the
provinces; questions that he proposed to put to the bishops or counts
when they came to the national assembly; answers given by Charlemagne
to questions addressed to him by the bishops, counts, or commissioners
(_missi dominici_); judgments, decrees, royal pardons, and simple notes
that Charlemagne seems to have had written down for himself alone, to
remind him of what he proposed to do; in a word, nearly all the various
acts which could possibly have to be framed by an earnest, far-sighted
and active government.  Often, indeed, these Capitularies have no
imperative or prohibitive character; they are simple counsels, purely
moral precepts.  We read therein, for example,--

"Covetousness doth consist in desiring that which others possess, and in
giving away nought of that which one's self possesseth; according to the
Apostle it is the root of all evil."


"Hospitality must be practised."

The Capitularies which have been classed under the heads of political,
penal, and canonical legislation are the most numerous, and are those
which bear most decidedly an imperative or prohibitive stamp; amongst
them a prominent place is held by measures of political economy,
administration, and police; you will find therein an attempt to put a
fixed price on provisions, a real trial of a maximum for cereals, and a
prohibition of mendicity, with the following clause:--

"If such mendicants be met with, and they labor not with their hands, let
none take thought about giving unto them."

The interior police of the palace was regulated thereby, as well as that
of the empire:

"We do will and decree that none of those who serve in our palace shall
take leave to receive therein any man who seeketh refuge there and cometh
to hide there, by reason of theft, homicide, adultery, or any other
crime.  That if any free man do break through our interdicts, and hide
such malefactor in our palace, he shall be bound to carry him on his
shoulders to the public quarter, and be there tied to the same stake as
the malefactor."

Certain Capitularies have been termed religious legislation in
contradistinction to canonical legislation, because they are really
admonitions, religious exhortations, addressed not to ecclesiastics
alone, but to the faithful, the Christian people in general, and notably
characterized by good sense, and, one might almost say, freedom of

For example,

"Beware of venerating the names of martyrs falsely so called, and the
memory of dubious saints."

"Let none suppose that prayer cannot be made to God save in three tongues
[probably Latin, Greek, and Germanic, or perhaps the vulgar tongue; for
the last was really beginning to take form], for God is adored in all
tongues, and man is heard if he do but ask for the things that be right."

These details are put forward that a proper idea may be obtained of
Charlemagne as a legislator, and of what are called his laws.  We have
here, it will be seen, no ordinary legislator and no ordinary laws: we
see the work, with infinite variations and in disconnected form, of a
prodigiously energetic and watchful master, who had to think and provide
for everything, who had to be everywhere the moving and the regulating
spirit.  This universal and untiring energy is the grand characteristic
of Charlemagne's government, and was, perhaps, what made his superiority
most incontestable and his power most efficient.

It is noticeable that the majority of Charlemagne's Capitularies belong
to that epoch of his reign when he was Emperor of the West, when he was
invested with all the splendor of sovereign power.  Of the sixty-five
Capitularies classed under different heads, thirteen only are previous to
the 25th of December, 800, the date of his coronation as emperor at Rome;
fifty-two are comprised between the years 801 and 804.

The energy of Charlemagne as a warrior and a politician having thus been
exhibited, it remains to say a few words about his intellectual energy.
For that is by no means the least original or least grand feature of his
character and his influence.

Modern times and civilized society have more than once seen despotic
sovereigns filled with distrust towards scholars of exalted intellect,
especially such as cultivated the moral and political sciences, and
little inclined to admit them to their favor or to public office.  There
is no knowing whether, in our days, with our freedom of thought and of
the press, Charlemagne would have been a stranger to this feeling of
antipathy; but what is certain is, that in his day, in the midst of a
barbaric society, there was no inducement to it, and that, by nature, he
was not disposed to it.  His power was not in any respect questioned;
distinguished intellects were very rare; Charlemagne had too much need of
their services to fear their criticisms, and they, on their part, were
more anxious to second his efforts than to show towards him anything like
exaction or independence.  He gave rein, therefore, without any
embarrassment or misgiving, to his spontaneous inclination towards them,
their studies, their labors, and their influence.  He drew them into the
management of affairs.  In Guizot's _History of Civilization in France_
there is a list of the names and works of twenty-three men of the eighth
and ninth centuries who have escaped oblivion, and they are all found
grouped about Charlemagne as his own habitual advisers, or assigned by
him as advisers to his sons Pepin and Louis in Italy and Aquitania, or
sent by him to all points of his empire as his commissioners (_missi
dominici_), or charged in his name with important negotiations.  And
those whom he did not employ at a distance formed, in his immediate
neighborhood, a learned and industrious society, a school of the palace,
according to some modern commentators, but an academy, and not a school,
according to others, devoted rather to conversation than to teaching.  It
probably fulfilled both missions; it attended Charlemagne at his various
residences, at one time working for him at questions he invited them to
deal with, at another giving to the regular components of his court, to
his children and to himself, lessons in the different sciences called
liberal, grammar, rhetoric, logic, astronomy, geometry, and even theology
and the great religious problems it was beginning to discuss.

[Illustration: Charlemagne presiding at the School of the Palace----246]

Two men, Alcuin and Eginhard, have remained justly celebrated in the
literary history of the age.  Alcuin was the principal director of the
school of the palace, and the favorite, the confidant, the learned
adviser of Charlemagne.  "If your zeal were imitated," said he one day to
the emperor, "perchance one might see arise in France a new Athens, far
more glorious than the ancient--the Athens of Christ."  Eginhard, who was
younger, received his scientific education in the school of the palace,
and was head of the public works to Charlemagne, before becoming his
biographer, and, at a later period, the intimate adviser of his son Louis
the Debonnair.  Other scholars of the school of the palace, Angilbert,
Leidrade, Adalhard, Agobard, Theodulph, were abbots of St. Riquier or
Corbie, archbishops of Lyons, and bishops of Orleans.  They had all
assumed, in the school itself, names illustrious in pagan antiquity;
Alcuin called himself Flaeens; Angilbert, Homer; Theodulph, Pindar.
Charlemagne himself had been pleased to take, in their society, a great
name of old, but he had borrowed from the history of the Hebrews--he
called himself David; and Eginhard, animated, no doubt, by the same
sentiments, was Bezaleel, that nephew of Moses to whom God had granted
the gift of knowing how to work skilfully in wood and all the materials
which served for the construction of the ark and the tabernacle.  Either
in the lifetime of their royal patron, or after his death, all these
scholars became great dignitaries of the Church, or ended their lives in
monasteries of note; but, so long as they lived, they served Charlemagne
or his sons not only with the devotion of faithful advisers, but also as
followers proud of the master who had known how to do them honor by
making use of them.

It was without effort and by natural sympathy that Charlemagne had
inspired them with such sentiments; for he, too, really loved sciences,
literature, and such studies as were then possible, and he cultivated
them on his own account and for his own pleasure, as a sort of conquest.
It has been doubted whether he could write, and an expression of
Eginhard's might authorize such a doubt; but, according to other evidence
and even according to the passage in Eginhard, one is inclined to believe
merely that Charlemagne strove painfully, and without much success, to
write a good hand.  He had learned Latin, and he understood Greek.  He
caused to be commenced, and, perhaps, himself commenced the drawing up of
the first Germanic grammar.  He ordered that the old barbaric poems, in
which the deeds and wars of the ancient kings were celebrated, should be
collected for posterity.  He gave Germanic names to the twelve months of
the year.  He distinguished the winds by twelve special terms, whereas
before his time they had but four designations.  He paid great attention
to astronomy.  Being troubled one day at no longer seeing in the
firmament one of the known planets, he wrote to Alcuin, "What thinkest
thou of this Mars, which, last year, being concealed in the sign of
Cancer, was intercepted from the sight of men by the light of the sun?
Is it the regular course of his revolution?  Is it the influence of the
sun?  Is it a miracle?  Could he have been two years about performing the
course of a single one?"  In theological studies and discussions he
exhibited a particular and grave interest.  "It is to him," say M.M.
Ampere and Haureau, "that we must refer the honor of the decision taken
in 794 by the Council of Frankfort in the great dispute about images; a
temperate decision which is as far removed from the infatuation of the
image-worshippers as from the frenzy of the image-breakers."  And at the
same time that he thus took part in the great ecclesiastical questions,
Charlemagne paid zealous attention to the instruction of the clergy,
whose ignorance he deplored.  "Ah," said he one day, "if only I had about
me a dozen clerics learned in all the sciences, as Jerome and Augustin
were!"  With all his puissance it was not in his power to make Jeromes
and Augustins; but he laid the foundation, in the cathedral churches and
the great monasteries, of episcopal and cloistral schools for the
education of ecclesiastics, and carrying his solicitude still farther,
he recommended to the bishops and abbots that, in those schools, "they
should take care to make no difference between the sons of serfs and of
free men, so that they might come and sit on the same benches to study
grammar, music, and arithmetic."  (_Capitularies_ of 789, art. 70.) Thus,
in the eighth century, he foreshadowed the extension which, in the
nineteenth, was to be accorded to primary instruction, to the advantage
and honor not only of the clergy, but also of the whole people.

After so much of war and toil at a distance, Charlemagne was now at Aix-
la-Chapelle, finding rest in this work of peaceful civilization.  He was
embellishing the capital which he had founded, and which was called the
king's court.  He had built there a grand basilica, magnificently
adorned.  He was completing his own palace there.  He fetched from Italy
clerics skilled in church music, a pious joyance to which he was much
devoted, and which he recommended to the bishops of his empire.  In the
outskirts of Aix-la-Chapelle "he gave full scope," said Eginhard, "to his
delight in riding and hunting.  Baths of naturally-tepid water gave him
great pleasure.  Being passionately fond of swimming, he became so
dexterous that none could be compared with him.  He invited not only his
sons, but also his friends, the grandees of his court, and sometimes even
the soldiers of his guard, to bathe with him, insomuch that there were
often a hundred and more persons bathing at a time.  When age arrived he
made no alteration in his bodily habits; but, at the same time, instead
of putting away from him the thought of death, he was much taken up with
it, and prepared himself for it with stern severity.  He drew up,
modified, and completed his will several times over.  Three years before
his death he made out the distribution of his treasures, his money, his
wardrobe, and all his furniture, in the presence of his friends and his
officers, in order that their voice might insure, after his death, the
execution of this partition, and he set down his intentions in this
respect in a written summary, in which he massed all his riches in three
grand lots.  The first two were divided into twenty-one portions, which
were to be distributed amongst the twenty-one metropolitan churches of
his empire.  After having put these first two lots under seal, he willed
to preserve to himself his usual enjoyment of the third so long as he
lived.  But after his death or voluntary renunciation of the things of
this world, this same lot was to be subdivided into four portions.  His
intention was, that the first should be added to the twenty-one portions
which were to go to the metropolitan churches; the second set aside for
his sons and daughters, and for the sons and daughters of his sons, and
redivided amongst them in a just and proportionate manner; the third
dedicated, according to the usage of Christians, to the necessities of
the poor; and, lastly, the fourth distributed in the same way, under the
name of alms, amongst the servants, of both sexes, of the palace for
their lifetime.  .  .  .  As for the books, of which he had amassed a
large number in his library, he decided that those who wished to have
them might buy them at their proper value, and that the money which they
produced should be distributed amongst the poor."

Having thus carefully regulated his own private affairs and bounty, he,
two years later, in 813, took the measures necessary for the regulation,
after his death, of public affairs.  He had lost, in 811, his eldest son
Charles, who had been his constant companion in his wars, and, in 810,
his second son Pepin, whom he had made king of Italy; and he summoned to
his side his third son Louis, king of Aquitaine, who was destined to
succeed him.  He ordered the convocation of five local councils which
were to assemble at Mayence, Rheims, Chalons, Tours, and Arles, for the
purpose of bringing about, subject to the king's ratification, the
reforms necessary in the Church.  Passing from the affairs of the Church
to those of the State, he convoked at Aix-la-Chapelle a general assembly
of bishops, abbots, counts, laic grandees, and of the entire people, and,
holding council in his palace with the chief amongst them, "he invited
them to make his son Louis king-emperor; whereto all assented, saying
that it was very expedient, and pleasing, also, to the people.  On Sunday
in the next month, August 813, Charlemagne repaired, crown on head, with
his son Louis, to the cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle, laid upon the altar
another crown, and, after praying, addressed to his son a solemn
exhortation respecting all his duties as king towards God and the Church,
towards his family and his people, asked him if he were fully resolved to
fulfil them, and, at the answer that he was, bade him take the crown that
lay upon the altar, and place it with his own hands upon his head, which
Louis did amidst the acclamations of all present, who cried, 'Long live
the emperor Louis!'  Charlemagne then declared his son emperor jointly
with him, and ended the solemnity with these words: 'Blessed be Thou, O
Lord God, who hast granted me grace to see with mine own eyes my son
seated on my throne!'"  And Louis set out again immediately for

He was never to see his father again.  Charlemagne, after his son's
departure, went out hunting, according to his custom, in the forest of
Ardenne, and continued during the whole autumn his usual mode of life.
"But in January, 814, he was taken ill," says Eginhard, "of a violent
fever, which kept him to his bed.  Recurring forthwith to the remedy he
ordinarily employed against fever, he abstained from all nourishment,
persuaded that this diet would suffice to drive away or at the least
assuage the malady; but added to the fever came that pain in the side
which the Greeks call pleurisy; nevertheless the emperor persisted in his
abstinence, supporting his body only by drinks taken at long intervals;
and on the seventh day after that he had taken to his bed, having
received the holy communion," he expired about nine A.M., on Saturday,
the 28th of January, 814, in his seventy-first year.

"After performance of ablutions and funeral duties, the corpse was
carried away and buried, amidst the profound mourning of all the people,
in the church he himself had built; and above his tomb there was put up a
gilded arcade with his image and this superscription: 'In this tomb
reposeth the body of Charles, great and orthodox emperor, who did
gloriously extend the kingdom of the Franks, and did govern it happily
for forty-seven years.  He died at the age of seventy years, in the year
of the Lord 814, in the seventh year of the Indiction, on the 5th of the
Kalends of February.'"

If we sum up his designs and his achievements, we find an admirably sound
idea and a vain dream, a great success and a great failure.

Charlemagne took in hand the work of placing upon a solid foundation the
Frankish-Christian dominion by stopping, in the north and south, the
flood of barbarians and Arabs--Paganism and Islamism.  In that he
succeeded: the inundations of Asiatic populations spent their force in
vain against the Gallic frontier.  Western and Christian Europe was
placed, territorially, beyond reach of attacks from the foreigner and
infidel.  No sovereign, no human being, perhaps, ever rendered greater
service to the civilization of the world.

Charlemagne formed another conception and made another attempt.  Like
more than one great barbaric warrior, he admired the Roman empire that
had fallen, its vastness all in one, and its powerful organization under
the hand of a single master.  He thought he could resuscitate it,
durably, through the victory of a new people and a new faith, by the hand
of Franks and Christians.  With this view he labored to conquer, convert,
and govern.  He tried to be, at one and the same time, Caesar, Augustus,
and Constantine.  And for a moment he appeared to have succeeded; but the
appearance passed away with himself.  The unity of the empire and the
absolute power of the emperor were buried in his grave.  The Christian
religion and human liberty set to work to prepare for Europe other
governments and other destinies.

Great men do great things which would not get done without them; they set
their mark plainly upon history, which realizes a portion of their ideas
and wishes; but they are far from doing all they meditate, and they know
not all they do.  They are at one and the same time instruments and free
agents in a general design which is infinitely above their ken, and
which, even if a glimpse of it be caught, remains inscrutable to them--
the design of God towards mankind.  When great men understand that such
is their position and accept it, they show sense, and they work to some
purpose.  When they do not recognize the limits of their free agency, and
the veil which hides from their eyes the future they are laboring for,
they become the dupes, and frequently the victims, of a blind pride,
which events, in the long run, always end by exposing and punishing.

Amongst men of his rank, Charlemagne has had this singular good fortune,
that his error, his misguided attempt at imperialism, perished with him,
whilst his salutary achievement, the territorial security of Christian
Europe, has been durable, to the great honor, as well as great profit, of
European civilization.


From the death of Charlemagne to the accession of Hugh Capet,--that is,
from 814 to 987,--thirteen kings sat upon the throne of France.  What
then became, under their reign and in the course of those hundred and
seventy-three years, of the two great facts which swayed the mind and
occupied the life of Charlemagne?  What became, that is, of the solid
territorial foundation of the kingdom of Christian France, through
efficient repression of foreign invasion, and of the unity of that vast
empire wherein Charlemagne had attempted and hoped to resuscitate the
Roman empire?

The fate of those two facts is the very history of France under the
Carlovingian dynasty; it is the only portion of the events of that epoch
which still deserves attention nowadays, for it is the only one which has
exercised any great and lasting influence on the general history of

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 far-sightedness.  "Charles, who was ever astir," says he,
"arrived by mere hap and unexpectedly, in a certain town of Narbonnese
Gaul.  Whilst 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, 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 then.

[Illustration: Northmen on an Expedition??----254]

"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, whilst 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.'"

[Illustration: He remained there a long while, and his eyes were filled
with tears.----255]

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 M. 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."  Tours, Rouen, Angers, Orleans,
Meaux, Toulouse, Saint-Lo, Bayeux, Evreux, Nantes, and Beauvais, some of
them more than once, met the fate of Saintes, Limoges, and Bordeaux.  The
monasteries and churches, wherein they hoped to find treasures, were the
favorite objects of the Nortlimen's enterprises; in particular, they
plundered, at the gates of Paris, the abbey of St. Germain des Pres 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,
Pepin, 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 M.
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 Pepin, 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 Pepin 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 every one has but to defend himself
as best he may."

It were tedious to relate or even to enumerate all these incursions of
the Northmen, with their monotonous incidents.  When their frequency and
their general character have been notified, all has been done that is due
to them from history.  However, there are three on which it may be worth
while to dwell particularly, by reason of their grave historical
consequences, as well as of the dramatic details which have been
transmitted to us about them.

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, Bieern, 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 afterwards, 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 re-embarked 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 in Poitou, Anjou, Brittany, and along the Seine; pillaged the
monasteries of Jumieges, St. Vaudrille, and St. Evroul; 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 count-ship 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.  Prince
Bieern then separated from his governor, and put again to sea, "laden
with so rich a booty that he could never feel any want of wealth; but a
tempest swallowed up a great part of his fleet, and cast him upon the
coasts of Friesland, where he died soon after, for which Hastings was
exceeding sorry."

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, in the Ile de la Cite, which had originally been
and still was the real Paris.  Two bodies of troops were set in motion;
one, under the command of Rollo, who was already famous amongst 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
amongst 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 amongst 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 amongst 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

[Illustration: PARIS BESIEGED BY THE NORMANS----259]

On the 25th of November, 885, all the forces of the North-men 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 but pass through this 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.

[Illustration: The Barks of the Northmen before Paris----260]

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 Pres,
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 re-entered the town, spurring on his horse and striking light 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 afterwards, 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 Compiegne 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 Rodolph 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.

[Illustration: Count Eudes re-entering Paris right through the Besiegers-

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 towards 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, amongst 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 Giscle, 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 plough-share by reason of the Northmen's incessant
incursions; he demanded the addition of territories taken from Brittany,
and that the princes of that province, Berenger and Alan, lords,
respectively, of Redon and Del, 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 amongst 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.

No such transformation was near taking place in the case of the invasions
of the Saracens in Southern Gaul; they continued to infest Aquitania,
Septimania, and Provence; their robber-hordes appeared frequently on the
coasts of the Mediterranean and the banks of the Rhone, at Aigues-Mortes,
at Marseilles, at Arles, and in Camargue; they sometimes penetrated into
Dauphine, Rouergue, Limousin, and Saintonge.  The author of this history
saw, at the commencement of the present century, in the mountains of the
Cevennes, the ruins of the towers built, a thousand years ago, by the
inhabitants of those rugged countries, to put their families and their
flocks under shelter from the incursions of the Saracens.  But these
incursions were of short duration, and most frequently undertaken by
plunderers few in number, who retreated precipitately with their booty.
Africa was not, as Asia was, an inexhaustible source of nations burning
to push onward, one upon another, to go wandering and settling elsewhere.
The people of the north move willingly towards the south, where living is
easier and pleasanter; but the people of the south are not much disposed
to migrate to the north, with its soil so hard to cultivate, and its
leaden skies, and into the midst of its fogs and frosts.  After a course
of plundering in Aquitania or in Provence, the Arabs of Spain and of
Africa were eager to recross the Pyrenees or the Mediterranean, and
regain their own lovely climate, and their life of easefulness that never
palled.  Furthermore, between Christians and Mussulmans the religious
antipathy was profound.  The Christian missionaries were not much given
to carrying their pious zeal into the home of the Mussulman; and the
Mussulmans were far less disposed than the pagans to become Christians.
To preserve their conquests, the Arabs of Spain had to struggle against
the refugee Goths in the Asturias; and Charlemagne, by extending those of
the Franks to the Ebro, had given the Christian Goths a powerful alliance
against the Spanish Mussulmans.  For all these reasons, the invasions of
the Saracens in the south of France did not threaten, as those of the
Northmen did in the north, the security of the Gallo-Frankish monarchy,
and the Gallo-Roman populations of the south were able to defend their
national independence at the same time against the Saracens and the
Franks.  They did so successfully in the ninth and tenth centuries; and
the French monarchy, which was being founded between the Loire and the
Rhine, had thus for some time a breach in it, without ever suffering
serious displacement.

A new people, the Hungarians, which was the only name then given to the
Magyars, appeared at this epoch, for the first time, amongst the
devastators of Western Europe.  From 910 to 954, as a consequence of
movements and wars on the Danube, Hungarian hordes, after scouring
Central Germany, penetrated into Alsace, Lorraine, Champagne, Burgundy,
Berry, Dauphine, Provence, and even Aquitaine; but this inundation was
transitory, and if the populations of those countries had much to suffer
from it, the Gallo-Frankish dominion, in spite of inward disorder and the
feebleness of the latter Carlovingians, was not seriously endangered

And so 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 Debonnair 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
Debonnair is suited to him; it expresses his moral worth and his
political incapacity, both at once.

As king of Aquitania, 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 a 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 (_missi dominici_) 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,
Lothaire, Pepin, and Louis, aged respectively nineteen, eleven, and
eight.  In 817 Louis summoned at Aix-la-Chapelle the general assembly of
his dominions; and there, whilst 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, Lothaire, the imperial throne.  Lothaire was in fact crowned
emperor; and his two brothers, Pepin and Louis, were crowned king, "in
order that they might reign, after their father's death and under their
brother and lord, Lothaire, to wit: Pepin, over Aquitaine and a great
part of Southern Gaul and of Burgundy; Louis, beyond the Rhine, over
Bavaria and the divers peoplets in the east of Germany."  The rest of
Gaul and of Germany, as well as the kingdom of Italy, was to belong to
Lothaire, 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 Debonnair, and at the same time of his son Lothaire, sharing the
title of emperor.  The two other sons, Pepin 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, Pepin and Louis, the government
of Italy and Aquitaine, with the title of king.  Louis the Debonnair,
whilst 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 Debonnair
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, Pepin and
Louis, crowned at Rome, by the same Pope, kings respectively of Italy and
of Aquitaine.  On these different occasions, Charlemagne, whilst
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 amongst the
Basques of Aquitaine; the next in Italy, where Bernard, son of Pepin,
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 Lothaire at the orders of his uncle Louis.  These
two attempts were easily repressed, but the third was more serious.  It
took place in Brittany, amongst 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, hasted 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 Lotus, 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 nought 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

The monk returned to Louis the Debonnair, and rendered account of his
mission.  War was resolved upon; and the emperor collected his troops,
Allemannians, 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 amidst 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, towards 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 death-blow.

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 Debonnair, accept
all the conditions imposed upon them, and the Franks withdraw with the
boast that Brittany is henceforth their tributary.  (_Faits et testes de
Louis le Picux,_ a poem by Ermold le Noir, in M. Guizot's _Collection des
Memoires relatifs L'Histoire de France,_ t. iv., p. 1-113.--Fauriel,
_Histoire de la Gaule,_ etc., t.  iv., p.  77-88.)

[Illustration: Ditcar the Monk recognizing the Head of Morvan----273]

On arriving at Angers, Louis found the Empress Hermengarde dying; and two
days afterwards 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's 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 towards 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 towards his youngest son, set at
nought the solemn act whereby, in 817, he had shared his dominions
amongst his three elder sons; and took away from two of them, in Burgundy
and Allemannia, some of the territories he had assigned to them, and gave
them to the boy Charles for his share.  Lothaire, Pepin, 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, amongst 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
Compiegne, where they were assembled.  There they passed a decree to the
effect that the power and title of emperor were transferred from Louis to
Lothaire, his eldest son; that the act whereby a share of the empire had
but lately beer assigned to Charles was annulled; and that the act of
817, which had regulated the partition of Louis's dominions after his
death, was once more in force.  But soon there was a burst of reaction in
favor of the emperor; Lothaire'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 Compiegne, and restored to Louis his title and his
power.  But it was not long before there was revolt again, originating
this time with Pepin, 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 Bale, 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's army; most of the prelates, laics, and men-at-arms
who had accompanied him passed over to the camp of Lothaire; 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.  Lothaire hastily collected an assembly, which
proclaimed him emperor, with the addition of divers territories to the
kingdoms of Aquitaine and Bavaria: and, three months afterwards, another
assembly, meeting at Compiegne, 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. Medard 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.

Lothaire considered his father dethroned for good, and himself henceforth
sole emperor; but he was mistaken.  For six 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 Compiegne, 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,
Pepin, 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
Lothaire, 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 towards 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 of
Ingelheim, on a little island in the river.  His last acts were a fresh
proof of his goodness towards even his rebellious sons, and of his
solicitude for his last-born.  He sent to Louis the Germanic his pardon,
and to Lothaire 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 Lothaire, 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 Debonnair dead, when Lothaire was already
conspiring against young Charles, and was in secret alliance, for his
despoilment, with Pepin 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 Lothaire, 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 Lothaire.  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 younger 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 Debonnair, that the two armies, that of Lothaire and
Pepin 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 Chalons 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 whilst they were
hesitating, the old favorite not only of Louis the Debonnair, 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 Lothaire; but the troops
of Charles the Bald recovered the advantage which had been lost by 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 Lothaire'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, Lothaire made
zealous efforts to continue the struggle; he scoured the countries
wherein he hoped to find partisans: to the Saxons he promised the
unrestricted re-establishment 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 Bale and
Strasbourg, 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, Lothaire 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.  Lothaire 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 ought 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 trove 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 Lothaire 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 fetes, 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 amongst so many valiant folks, for
great as were the number and the mixture of different nationalities, no
one was insulted or maltreated, though the contrary is often the case
amongst 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 Lothaire, 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 Lothaire should have his
choice, with the title of Emperor.  About mid June, 842, the three
brothers met on an island of the Saone, near Chalons, 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 except.  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.  Lothaire, 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 Saone, 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 marches 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 pretorians.  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 Lothaire, 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, Lothaire, 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.  Not that they were all
unintelligent, or timid, or indolent.  It has been seen that Louis the
Debonnair did not lack virtues and good intentions; and Charles the Bald
was clear-sighted, dexterous, and energetic; he had a taste for
information and intellectual distinction; he liked and sheltered men of
learning and letters, and to such purpose that, instead of speaking, as
under Charlemagne, of the school of the palace, people called the palace
of Charles the Bald the palace of the school.  Amongst the eleven kings
who after him ascended the Carlovingian throne, several, such as Louis
III.  and Carloman, and, especially, Louis the Ultramarine (d'Outremer)
and Lothaire, displayed, on several occasions, energy and courage; and
the kings elected, at this epoch, without the pale of the Carlovingian
dynasty--Eudes in 887 and Raoul in 923--gave proofs of a valor both
discreet and effectual.  The Carlovingians did not, as the Merovingians
did, end in monkish retirement or shameful inactivity even the last of
them, and the only one termed sluggard, Louis V., was getting ready, when
he died, for an expedition in Spain against the Saracens.  The truth is
that, mediocre or undecided or addle-pated as they may have been, they
all succumbed, internally and externally, without initiating and without
resisting, to the course of events, and that, in 987, the fall of the
Carlovingian line was the natural and easily accomplished consequence of
the new social condition which had been preparing in France under the


The reader has just seen that, twenty-nine years after the death of
Charlemagne, that is, in 843, when, by the treaty of Verdun, the sons of
Louis the Debonnair had divided amongst them his dominions, the great
empire split up into three distinct and independent kingdoms--the
kingdoms of Italy, Germany, and France.  The split did not stop there.
Forty-five years later, at the end of the ninth century, shortly after
the death of Charles the Fat, the last of the Carlovingians who appears
to have re-united for a while all the empire of Charlemagne, this empire
had begotten seven instead of three kingdoms, those of France, of
Navarre, of Provence or Cisjuran Burgundy, of Trans-juran Burgundy, or
Lorraine, of Allemannia, and of Italy.  This is what had become of the
factitious and ephemeral unity of that Empire of the West which
Charlemagne had wished to put in the place of the Roman empire.

We will leave where they are the three distinct and independent kingdoms,
and turn our introspective gaze upon the kingdom of France.  There we
recognize the same fact; there the same work of dismemberment is going
on.  About the end of the ninth century there were already twenty-nine
provinces or fragments of provinces which had become petty states, the
former governors of which, under the names of dukes, counts, marquises,
and viscounts, were pretty nearly real sovereigns.  Twenty-nine great
fiefs, which have played a special part in French history, date back to
this epoch.

These petty states were not all of equal importance or in possession of a
perfectly similar independence; there were certain ties uniting them to
other states, resulting in certain reciprocal obligations which became
the basis, or, one might say, the constitution of the feudal community;
but their prevailing feature was, nevertheless, isolation, personal
existence.  They were really petty states begotten from the dismemberment
of a great territory; those local governments were formed at the expense
of a central power.

From the end of the ninth pass we to the end of the tenth century, to the
epoch when the Capetians take the place of the Carlovingians.  Instead of
seven kingdoms to replace the empire of Charlemagne, there were then no
more than four.  The kingdoms of Provence and Trans-juran Burgundy had
formed, by re-union, the kingdom of Arles.  The kingdom of Lorraine was
no more than a duchy in dispute between Allemannia and France.  The
Emperor Otho the Great had united the kingdom of Italy to the empire of.
Allemannia.  Overtures had produced their effects amongst the great
states.  But in the interior of the kingdom of France, dismemberment had
held on its course; and instead of the twenty-nine petty states or great
fiefs observable at the end of the ninth century, we find at the end of
the tenth, fifty-five actually established.  (_Vide_ Guizot's _Histoire
de la Civilisation,_ t. ii., pp. 238-246.)

Now, how was this ever-increasing dismemberment accomplished?  What
causes determined it, and little by little made it the substitute for the
unity of the empire?  Two causes, perfectly natural and independent of
all human calculation, one moral and the other political.  They were the
absence from the minds of men of any general and dominant idea; and the
reflux, in social relations and manners, of the individual liberties but
lately repressed or regulated by the strong hand of Charlemagne.  In
times of formation or transition, states and governments conform to the
measure, one had almost said to the height, of the men of the period,
their ideas, their sentiments, and their personal force of character;
when ideas are few and narrow, when sentiments spread only over a
confined circle, when means of action and expansion are wanting to men,
communities become petty and local, just as the thoughts and existence of
their members are.  Such was the state of things in the ninth and tenth
centuries; there was no general and fructifying idea, save the Christian
creed; no great intellectual vent; no great national feeling; no easy and
rapid means of communication; mind and life were both confined in a
narrow space, and encountered, at every step, stoppages and obstacles
well nigh insurmountable.  At the same time, by the fall of the empires
of Rome and of Charlemagne, men regained possession of the rough and
ready individual liberties which were the essential characteristic of
Germanic manners: Franks, Visigoths, Burgundians, Saxons, Lombards, none
of these new peoples had lived as the Greeks and Romans had, under the
sway of an essentially political idea, the idea of city, state, and
fatherland: they were free men, and not citizens; comrades, not members
of one and the same public body.  They gave up their vagabond life; they
settled upon a soil conquered by themselves and partitioned amongst
themselves; and there they lived each by himself, master of himself and
all that was his, family, servitors, husbandmen, and slaves: the
territorial domain became the fatherland, and the owner remained a free
man, a local and independent chieftain, at his own risk and peril.  And
this, quite naturally, grew up feudal France, when the new comers,
settled in their new abodes, were no more swayed or hampered by the vain
attempt to re-establish the Roman empire.

The consequences of such a state of things and of such a disposition of
persons were rapidly developed.  Territorial ownership became the
fundamental characteristic of and warranty for independence and social
importance.  Local sovereignty, if not complete and absolute, at least
in respect of its principal rights, right of making war, right of
judicature, right of taxation, and right of regulating the police, became
one with the territorial ownership, which before long grew to be
hereditary, whether, under the title of _alleu (allodium)_, it had been
originally perfectly independent and exempt from any feudal tie, or,
under the title of benefice, had arisen from grants of land made by the
chieftain to his followers, on condition of certain obligations.  The
offices, that is, the divers functions, military or civil, conferred by
the king on his lieges, also ended by becoming hereditary.  Having become
established in fact, this heirship in lands and local powers was soon
recognized by the law.  A capitulary of Charles the Bald, promulgated in
877, contains the two following provisions:--

"If, after our death, any one of our lieges, moved by love for God and
our person, desire to renounce the world, and if he have a son or other
relative capable of serving the public weal, let him be free to transmit
to him his benefices and his honor, according to his pleasure."

"If a count of this kingdom happen to die, and his son be about our
person, we will that our son; together with those of our lieges who may
chance to be the nearest relatives of the deceased count, as well as with
the other officers of the said countship and the bishop of the diocese
wherein it is situated, shall provide for its administration until the
death of the heretofore count shall have been announced to us and we have
been enabled to confer on the son, present at our court, the honors
wherewith his father was invested."

Thus the king still retained the nominal right of conferring on the son
the offices or local functions of the father, but he recognized in the
son the right to obtain them.  A host of documents testify that at this
epoch, when, on the death of a governor of a province, the king attempted
to give his countship to some one else than his descendants, not only did
personal interest resist, but such a measure was considered a violation
of right.  Under the reign of Louis the Stutterer, son of Charles the
Bald, two of his lieges, Wilhelm and Engelschalk, held two countships on
the confines of Bavaria; and, at their death, their offices were given to
Count Arbo, to the prejudice of their sons.  "The children and their
relatives," says the chronicler, "taking that as a gross injustice,  said
that matters ought to go differently, and that they would die by the
sword or Arbo should give up the courtship of their family."  Heirship in
territorial ownerships and their local rights, whatever may have
originally been their character; heirship in local offices or powers,
military or civil, primarily conferred by the king; and, by consequence,
hereditary union of territorial ownership and local government, under the
condition, a little confused and precarious, of subordinated relations
and duties between suzerain and vassal--such was, in law and in fact, the
feudal order of things.  From the ninth to the tenth century it had
acquired full force.

This order of things being thus well defined, we find ourselves face to
face with an indisputable historic fact: no period, no system has ever,
in France, remained so odious to the public instincts.  And this
antipathy is not peculiar to our age, nor merely the fruit of that great
revolution which not long since separated, as by a gulf, the French
present from its past.  Go back to any portion of French history, and
stop where you will; and you will everywhere find the feudal system
considered, by the mass of the population, a foe to be fought and fought
down at any price.  At all times, whoever dealt it a blow has been
popular in France.

The reasons for this fact are not all, or even the chief of them, to be
traced to the evils which, in France, the people had to endure under the
feudal system.  It is not evil plight which is most detested and feared
by peoples; they have more than once borne, faced, and almost wooed it,
and there are woful epochs, the memory of which has remained dear.  It is
in the political character of feudalism, in the nature and shape of its
power, that we find lurking that element of popular aversion which, in
France at least, it has never ceased to inspire.

It was a confederation of petty sovereigns, of petty despots, unequal
amongst themselves, and having, one towards another, certain duties and
rights, but invested in their own domains, over their personal and direct
subjects, with arbitrary and absolute power.  That is the essential
element of the feudal system; therein it differs from every other
aristocracy, every other form of government.

There has been no scarcity in this world of aristocracies and despotisms.
There have been peoples arbitrarily governed, nay, absolutely possessed
by a single man, by a college of priests, by a body of patricians.  But
none of these despotic governments was like the feudal system.

In the case where the sovereign power has been placed in the hands of a
single man, the condition of the people has been servile and woful.  At
bottom the feudal system was somewhat better; and it will presently be
explained why.  Meanwhile, it must be acknowledged that that condition
often appeared less burdensome, and obtained more easy acceptance than
the feudal system.  It was because, under the great absolute monarchies,
men did, nevertheless, obtain some sort of equality and tranquillity.  A
shameful equality and a fatal tranquillity, no doubt; but such as peoples
are sometimes contented with under the dominance of certain
circumstances, or in the last gasp of their existence.  Liberty,
equality, and tranquillity were all alike wanting, from the tenth to the
thirteenth century, to the inhabitants of each lord's domains; their
sovereign was at their very doors, and none of them was hidden from him,
or beyond reach of his mighty arm.  Of all tyrannies, the worst is that
which can thus keep account of its subjects, and which sees, from its
seat, the limits of its empire.  The caprices of the human will then show
themselves in all their intolerable extravagance, and, moreover, with
irresistible promptness.  It is then, too, that inequality of conditions
makes itself more rudely felt; riches, might, independence, every
advantage and every right present themselves every instant to the gaze of
misery, weakness, and servitude.  The inhabitants of fiefs could not find
consolation in the bosom of tranquillity; incessantly mixed up in the
quarrels of their lord, a prey to his neighbors' devastations, they led a
life still more precarious and still more restless than that of the lords
themselves, and they had to put up at one and the same time with the
presence of war, privilege, and absolute power. Nor did the rule of
feudalism differ less from that of a college of priests or a senate of
patricians than from the despotism of an individual.  In the two former
systems we have an aristocratic body governing the mass of the people; in
the feudal system we have an aristocracy resolved into individuals, each
of whom governs on his own private account a certain number of persons
dependent upon him alone.  Be the aristocratic body a clergy, its power
has its root in creeds which are common to itself and its subjects.  Now,
in every creed common to those who command and those who obey there is a
moral tie, an element of sympathetic equality, and on the part of those
who obey a tacit adhesion to the rule.  Be it a senate of patricians that
reigns, it cannot govern so capriciously, so arbitrarily, as an
individual.  There are differences and discussions in the very bosom of
the government; there may be, nay, there always are, formed factions,
parties which, in order to arrive at their own ends, strive to conciliate
the favor of the people, sometimes take in hand its interests, and,
however bad may be its condition, the people, by sharing in its masters'
rivalries, exercises some sort of influence over its own destiny.
Feudalism was not, properly speaking, an aristocratic government, a
senate of kings--to use the language used by Cineas to Pyrrhus; it was a
collection of individual despotisms, exercised by isolated aristocrats,
each of whom, being sovereign in his own domains, had to give no account
to another, and asked nobody's opinion about his conduct towards his

Is it astonishing that such a system incurred, on the part of the
peoples, more hatred than even those which had reduced them to a more
monotonous and more lasting servitude?  There was despotism, just as in
pure monarchies, and there was privilege, just as in the very closest
aristocracies.  And both obtruded themselves in the most offensive, and,
so to speak, crude form.  Despotism was not tapered off by means of the
distant and elevation of a throne; and privilege did not veil itself
behind the majesty of a large body.  Both were the appurtenances of an
individual ever present and ever alone, ever at his subjects' doors, and
never called upon, in dealing with their lot, to gather his peers around

And now we will leave the subjects in the case of feudalism, and consider
the masters, the owners of fiefs, and their relations one with another.
We here behold quite a different spectacle; we see liberties, rights, and
guarantees, which not only give protection and honor to those who enjoy
them, but of which the tendency and effect are to open to the subject
population an outlet towards a better future.

It could not, in fact, be otherwise: for, on the one hand, feudal society
was not wanting in dignity and glory; and, on the other, the feudal
system did not, as the theocracy of Egypt or the despotism of Asia did,
condemn its subjects irretrievably to slavery.  It oppressed them; but
they ended by having the power as well as the will to go free.

It is the fault of pure monarchy to set up power so high, and encompass
it with such splendor, that the possessor's head is turned, and that
those who are beneath it dare scarcely look upon it.  The sovereign
thinks himself a god; and the people fall down and worship him.  But it
was not so in society under owners of fiefs: the grandeur was neither
dazzling nor unapproachable; it was but a short step from vassal to
suzerain; they lived familiarly one with another, without any possibility
that superiority should think itself illimitable, or subordination think
itself servile.  Thence came that extension of the domestic circle, that
ennoblement of personal service, from which sprang one of the most
generous sentiments of the middle ages, fealty, which reconciled the
dignity of the man with the devotion of the vassal.

Further, it was not from a numerous aristocratic senate, but from
himself, and almost from himself alone, that every possessor of fiefs
derived his strength and his lustre.  Isolated as he was in his domains,
it was for him to maintain himself therein, to extend them, to keep his
subjects submissive and his vassals faithful, and to correct those who
were wanting in obedience to him, or who ignored their duties as members
of the feudal hierarchy.  It was, as it were, a people consisting of
scattered citizens, of whom each, ever armed, accompanied by his
following or intrenched in his castle, kept watch himself over his own
safety and his own rights, relying far more on his own courage and his
own renown than on the protection of the public authorities.  Such a
condition bears less resemblance to an organized and settled society than
to a constant prospect of peril and war; but the energy and the dignity
of the individual were kept up in it, and a more extended and better
regulated society might issue therefrom.

And it did issue.  This society of the future was not slow to sprout and
grow in the midst of that feudal system so turbulent, so oppressive, so
detested.  For five centuries, from the invasion of the barbarians to the
fall of the Carlovingians, France presents the appearance of being
stationary in the middle of chaos.  Over this long, dark space of
anarchy, feudalism is slowly taking shape, at the expense, at one time,
of liberty, at another, of order; not as a real rectification of the
social condition, but as the only order of things which could possibly
acquire fixity, as, in fact, a sort of unpleasant but necessary
alternative.  No sooner is the feudal system in force, than, with its
victory scarcely secured, it is attacked in the lower grades by the mass
of the people attempting to regain certain liberties, ownerships, and
rights, and in the highest by royalty laboring to recover its public
character, to become once more the head of a nation.  It is no longer the
case of free men in a vague and dubious position, unsuccessfully
defending, against the nomination of the chieftains whose lands they
inhabit, the wreck of their independence, whether Gallic, or Roman, or
barbaric; it is the case of burgesses, agriculturists, and serfs, who
know well what their grievances and who their oppressors are, and who are
working to get free.  It is no longer the case of a king doubtful about
his title and the nature of his power, at one time a chieftain of
warriors, at another the anointed of the Most High; here a mayor of the
palace of some sluggard barbarian, there the heir of the emperors of
Rome; a sovereign tossing about confusedly amidst followers or servitors
eager at one time to invade his authority, at another to render
themselves completely isolated: it is the case of one of the premier
feudal lords exerting himself to become the master of all, to change his
suzerainty into sovereignty.  Thus, in spite of the servitude into which
the people had sunk at the end of the tenth century, from this moment the
enfranchisement of the people makes way.  In spite of the weakness, or
rather nullity, of the regal power at the same epoch, from this moment
the regal power begins to gain ground.  That monarchical system which the
genius of Charlemagne could not found, kings far inferior to Charlemagne
will little by little make triumphant.  Those liberties and those
guarantees which the German warriors were incapable of transmitting to a
well-regulated society, the commonalty will regain one after another.
Nothing but feudalism could have sprung from the womb of barbarism; but
scarcely is feudalism established when we see monarchy and liberty
nascent and growing in its womb.

From the end of the ninth to the end of the tenth century, two families
were, in French history, the representatives and instruments of the two
systems thus confronted and conflicting at that epoch, the imperial which
was falling, and the feudal which was rising.  After the death of
Charlemagne, his descendants, to the number of ten, from Louis the
Debonnair to Louis the Sluggard, strove obstinately, but in vain, to
maintain the unity of the empire and the unity of the central power.  In
four generations, on the other hand, the descendants of Robert the Strong
climbed to the head of feudal France.  The former, though German in race,
were imbued with the maxims, the traditions, and the pretensions of that
Roman world which had been for a while resuscitated by their glorious
ancestor; and they claimed it as their heritage.  The latter preserved,
at their settlement upon Gallo-Roman territory, Germanic sentiments,
manners, and instincts, and were occupied only with the idea of getting
more and more settled, and greater and greater in the new society which
was little by little being formed upon the soil won by the barbarians,
their forefathers.  Louis the Ultra-marine and Lothaire were not, we may
suppose, less personally brave than Robert the Strong and his son Eudes;
but when the Northmen put the Frankish dominions in peril, it was not to
the descendants of Charlemagne, not to the emperor Charles the Fat, but
to the local and feudal chieftain, to Eudes, count of Paris, that the
population turned for salvation: and Eudes it was who saved them.

In this painful parturition of French monarchy, one fact deserves to be
remarked, and that is, the lasting respect attached, in the minds of the
people, to the name and the reminiscences of the Carlovingian rule,
notwithstanding its decay.  It was not alone the lustre of that name, and
of the memory of Charlemagne which inspired and prolonged this respect; a
certain instinctive feeling about the worth of hereditary monarchy, as an
element of stability and order, already existed amongst the populations,
and glimpses thereof were visible amongst the rivals of the royal family
in the hour of its dissolution.  It had been consecrated by religion; the
title of anointed of the Most High was united, in its case, to that of
lawful heir.  Why did Hugh the Great, duke of France, in spite of
favorable opportunities and very palpable temptations, abstain
perseveringly from taking the crown, and leave it tottering upon the
heads of Louis the Ultramarine and Lothaire?  Why did his son, Hugh Capet
himself, wait, for his election as king, until Louis the Sluggard was
dead, and the Carlovingian line had only a collateral and discredited
representative?  In these hesitations and lingerings of the great feudal
chieftains, there is a forecast of the authority already vested in the
principle of hereditary monarchy, at the very moment when it was about to
be violated, and of the great part which would be played by that
principle in the history of France.

At last the day of decision arrived for Hugh Capet.  There is nothing to
show that he had conspired to hasten it, but he had foreseen the
probability of it, and, if he had done nothing to pave the way for it, he
had held himself, so far as he was concerned, in readiness for it.
During a trip which he made to Rome in 981, he had entered into kindly
personal relations with the Emperor Otho II., king of Germany, the most
important of France's neighbors, and the most disposed to meddle in her
affairs.  In France, Hugh Capet had formed a close friendship with
Adalberon, archbishop of Rheims, the most notable and most able of the
French prelates.  The event showed the value of such a friend.  On the
21st of May, 987, King Louis V. died without issue; and, after his
obsequies, the grandees of the kingdom met together at Senlis.  We will
here borrow the text of a contemporary witness, Richer, the only one of
the chroniclers of that age who deserves the name of historian, whether
for the authenticity of his testimony or the extent and clearness of his
narrative.  "The bishop," he says, "took his place, together with the
duke, in the midst of the assembly, and said to them, 'I come and sit
down amongst you to treat of the affairs of the state.  Far from me be
any design of saying anything but what has for aim the advantage of the
common weal.  As I do not see here all the princes whose wisdom and
energy might be useful in the government of the kingdom, it seems to me
that the choice of a king should be put off for some time, in order that,
at a period fixed upon, all may be able to meet in assembly, and that
every opinion, having been discussed and set forth in the face of day,
may thus produce its full effect.  May it please you, then, all of ye who
are here assembled to deliberate, to bind yourselves in conjunction with
me by oath to this illustrious duke, and to promise between his hands not
to engage yourselves in any way in the election of a Head, and not to do
anything to this end until we be re-assembled here to deliberate upon
that choice.'  This opinion was well received and approved of by all:
oath was taken between the hands of the duke, and the time was fixed at
which the meeting should assemble again."

Before the day fixed for re-assembling, the last of the descendants of
Charlemagne, Charles, duke of Lower Lorraine, brother of the late King
Lothaire, and paternal uncle of the late King Louis, "went to Rheims in
quest of the archbishop, and thus spake to him about his rights to the
throne: 'All the world knoweth, venerable father, that, by hereditary
right, I ought to succeed my brother and my nephew.  I am wanting in
nought that should be required, before all, from those who ought to
reign, to wit, birth and the courage to dare.  Wherefore am I thrust out
from the territory which all the world knows to have been possessed by my
ancestors?  To whom could I better address myself than to you, when all
the supports of my race have disappeared?  To whom, bereft as I am of
honorable protection, should I have recourse but to you?  By whom, if not
by you, should I be restored to the honors of my fathers?  Please God
things turn out favorably for me and for my fortunes!  Rejected, what,
can become of me save to be exhibited as a spectacle to all who look on
me?  Suffer yourself to be moved by some feeling of humanity: be
compassionate towards a man who has been tried by so many reverses!'"

Such language was more calculated to inspire contempt than compassion.
"The metropolitan, firm in his resolution, gave for answer these few
words: 'Thou hast ever been associated with the perjured, the
sacrilegious, and the wicked of every sort, and now thou art still
unwilling to separate from them: how canst thou, in company with such
men, and by means of such men, seek to attain to the sovereign power?'
And when Charles replied that he must not abandon his friends, but rather
gain over others, the bishop said to himself, 'Now that he possesses no
position of dignity, he hath allied himself with the wicked, whose
companionship he will not, in any way, give up: what misfortune would it
be for the good if he were elected to the throne!'  To Charles, however,
he made answer that he would do nought without the consent of the
princes; and so left him."

At the time fixed, probably the 29th or 30th of June, 987, the grandees
of Frankish Gaul who had bound themselves by oath re-assembled at Senlis.
Hugh Capet was present with his brother Henry of Burgundy, and his
brother-in-law Richard the Fearless, duke of Normandy.  The majority of
the direct vassals of the crown were also there--Foulques Nerra (the
Black), count of Anjou; Eudes, count of Blois, Chartres, and Tours;
Bouchard, count of Vent-Mine and Corbeil; Gautier, count of Vexin; and
Hugh, count of Maine.  Few counts came from beyond the Loire; and some of
the lords in the North, amongst others Arnulf II., count of Flanders, and
the lords of Vermandois were likewise missing.  "When those present were
in regular assembly, Archbishop Adalheron, with the assent of Duke Hugh,
thus spake unto them: 'Louis, of blessed memory, having been taken from
us without leaving issue, it hath become necessary to engage seriously in
seeking who may take his place upon the throne, to the end that the
common weal remain not in peril, neglected and without a head.  That is
why on the last occasion we deemed it useful to put off this matter, in
order that each of ye might come hither and submit to the assembly the
opinion with which God should have inspired him, and that from all those
sentiments might be drawn what is the general will.  Here be we
assembled: let us, then, be guided by our wisdom and our good faith to
act in such sort that hatred stifle not reason, and affection distort not
truth.  We be not ignorant that Charles hath his partisans, who maintain
that he ought to come to the throne transmitted to him by his relatives.
But if we examine this question, the throne is not acquired by hereditary
right, and we be bound to place at the head of the kingdom none but him
who not only hath the distinction of corporeal nobility, but hath also
honor to recommend him and magnanimity to rest upon.  We read in the
annals that to emperors of illustrious race, whom their own laches caused
to fall from power, succeeded others, at one time similar, at another
different; but what dignity could we confer on Charles, who hath not
honor for his guide, who is enfeebled by lethargy, and who, finally, hath
lost head so far that he hath no shame in serving a foreign king, and in
misuniting himself to a woman taken from the rank of the knights his
vassals?  How could the puissant duke brook that a woman issuing from a
family of his vassals should become queen, and have dominion over him?
How could he walk behind her whose equals and even superiors bend the
knee before him and place their hands beneath his feet?  Examine
carefully into the matter, and consider that Charles hath been rejected
more through his own fault than that of others.  Decide ye rather for the
good than the ill of the common weal.  If ye wish it ill, make Charles
sovereign; if ye hold to its prosperity, crown Hugh, the illustrious
duke.  Let attachment to Charles seduce nobody, and let hatred towards
the duke distract nobody, from the common interest.  .  .  .  Give us
then, for our head, the duke, who has deeds, nobility, and troops to
recommend him; the duke, in whom ye will find a defender not only of
the common weal, but also of your private interests.  Thanks to his
benevolence, ye will have in him a father.  Who hath had recourse to him
and hath not found protection?  Who, that hath been torn from the care of
home, hath not been restored thereto by him?'

"This opinion having been proclaimed and well received, Duke Hugh was
unanimously raised to the throne, crowned on the 1st of July by the
metropolitan and the other bishops, and recognized as king by the Gauls,
the Britons, the Normans, the Aquitanians, the Goths, the Spaniards, and
the Gascons.  Surrounded by the grandees of the kingdom, he passed
decrees and promulgated laws according to royal custom, regulating
successfully and disposing of all matters.  That he might deserve so
much good fortune, and under the inspiration of so many prosperous
circumstances, he gave himself up to deep piety.  Wishing to have a
certainty of leaving, after his death, an heir to the throne, he
conferred with his grandees, and after holding council with them he first
sent a deputation to the metropolitan of Rheims, who was then at Orleans,
and subsequently went himself to see him touching the association of his
son Robert with himself upon the throne.  The archbishop having told him
that two kings could not be, regularly, created in one and the same year,
he immediately showed a letter sent by Borel, duke of inner Spain,
proving that that duke requested help against the barbarians.  .  .  .
The metropolitan, seeing advantage was likely to result, ultimately
yielded to the king's reasons; and when the grandees were assembled, at
the festival of our Lord's nativity, to celebrate the coronation, Hugh
assumed the purple, and he crowned solemnly, in the basilica of Sainte-
Croix, his son Robert, amidst the acclamations of the French."

[Illustration: Hugh Capet elected King----300]

Thus was founded the dynasty of the Capetians, under the double influence
of German manners and feudal connections.  Amongst the ancient Germans
royal heirship was generally confined to one and the same family; but
election was often joined with heirship, and had more than once thrust
the latter aside.  Hugh Capet was head of the family which was the most
illustrious in his time and closest to the throne, on which the personal
merits of Counts Eudes and Robert had already twice seated it.  He was
also one of the greatest chieftains of feudal society, duke of the
country which was already called France, and count of Paris--of that city
which Clovis, after his victories, had chosen as the centre of his
dominions.  In view of the Roman rather than Germanic pretensions of the
Carlovingian heirs and of their admitted decay, the rise of Hugh Capet
was the natural consequence of the principal facts as well as of the
manners of the period, and the crowning manifestation of the new social
condition in France, that is, feudalism.  Accordingly the event reached
completion and confirmation without any great obstacle.  The
Carlovingian, Charles of Lorraine, vainly attempted to assert his rights;
but after some gleams of success, he died in 992, and his descendants
fell, if not into obscurity, at least into political insignificance.  In
vain, again, did certain feudal lords, especially in Southern France,
refuse for some time their adhesion to Hugh Capet.  One of them,
Adalbert, count of Perigord, has remained almost famous for having made
to Hugh Capet's question, "Who made thee count?" the proud answer, "Who
made thee king?"  The pride, however, of Count Adalbert had more bark
than bite.  Hugh possessed that intelligent and patient moderation,
which, when a position is once acquired, is the best pledge of
continuance.  Several facts indicate that he did not underestimate the
worth and range of his title of king.  At the same time that by getting
his son Robert crowned with him he secured for his line the next
succession, he also performed several acts which went beyond the limits
of his feudal domains, and proclaimed to all the kingdom the presence of
the king.  But those acts were temperate and wise; and they paved the way
for the future without anticipating it.  Hugh Capet confined himself
carefully to the sphere of his recognized rights as well as of his
effective strength, and his government remained faithful to the character
of the revolution which had raised him to the throne, at the same time
that it gave warning of the future progress of royalty independently of
and over the head of feudalism.  When he died, on the 24th of October,
996, the crown, which he hesitated, they say, to wear on his own head,
passed without obstacle to his son Robert, and the course which was to be
followed for eight centuries, under the government of his descendants, by
civilization in France, began to develop itself.

[Illustration: "Who made thee King?"----302]

It has already been pointed out, in the case of Adalberon, archbishop of
Rheims, what part was taken by the clergy in this second change of
dynasty; but the part played by it was so important and novel that we
must make a somewhat more detailed acquaintance with the real character
of it and the principal actor in it.  When, in 751, Pepin the Short
became king in the place of the last Merovingian, it was, as we have
seen, Pope Zachary who decided that "it was better to give the title of
king to him who really exercised the sovereign power than to him who bore
only its name."  Three years later, in 754, it was Pope Stephen II. who
came over to France to anoint King Pepin, and, forty-six years
afterwards, in 800, it was Pope Leo III.  who proclaimed Charlemagne
emperor of the West.  From the Papacy, then, on the accession of the
Carlovingians, came the principal decisions and steps.  The reciprocal
services rendered one to the other by the two powers, and still more,
perhaps, the similarity of their maxims as to the unity of the empire,
established between the Papacy and the Carlovingians strong ties of
gratitude and policy; and, accordingly, when the Carlovingian dynasty was
in danger, the court of Rome was grieved and troubled; it was hard for
her to see the fall of a dynasty for which she had done so much and which
had done so much for her.  Far, then, from aiding the accession of the
new dynasty, she showed herself favorable to the old, and tried to save
it without herself becoming too deeply compromised.  Such was, from 985
to 996, the attitude of Pope John XVI., at the crisis which placed Hugh
Capet upon the throne.  In spite of this policy on the part of the
Papacy, the French Church took the initiative in the event, and supported
the new king; the Archbishop of Rheims affirmed the right of the people
to accomplish a change of dynasty, and anointed Hugh Capet and his son
Robert.  The accession of the Capetians was a work independent of all
foreign influence, and strictly national, in Church as well as in State.

The authority of Adalberon was of great weight in the matter.  As
archbishop he was full of zeal, and at the same time of wisdom in
ecclesiastical administration.  Engaging in politics, he showed boldness
in attempting a great change in the state, and ability in carrying it out
without precipitation as well as without hesitation.  He had for his
secretary and teacher a simple priest of Auvergne, who exercised over
this enterprise an influence more continuous and still more effectual
than that of his archbishop.  Gerbert, born at Aurillac, and brought up
in the monastery of St. Geraud, had, when he was summoned to the
directorate of the school of Rheims, already made a trip to Spain,
visited Rome, and won the esteem of Pope John XIII. and of the Emperor
Otho II., and had thus had a close view of the great personages and great
questions, ecclesiastical and secular, of his time.  On his establishment
at Rheims, he pursued a double course with a double end: he was fond of
study, science, and the investigation of truth, but he had also a taste
for the sphere of politics and of the world; he excelled in the art of
instructing, but also in the art of pleasing; and the address of the
courtier was in him united with the learning of the doctor.  His was a
mind lofty, broad, searching, prolific, open to conviction, and yet
inclined to give way, either from calculation or attraction, to contrary
ideas, but certain to recur, under favorable circumstances, to its
original purpose.  There was in him almost as much changeableness as zeal
for the cause he embraced.  He espoused and energetically supported the
elevation of a new dynasty and the independence of the Roman Church.  He
was very active in the cause of Hugh Capet; but he was more than once on
the point of going over to King Lothaire or to the pretender Charles of
Lorraine.  He was in his time, even more resolutely than Bossuet in the
seventeenth century, the defender and practiser of what have since been
called the liberties of the Gallican Church, and in 992 he became, on
this ground, Archbishop of Rheims; but, after having been interdicted, in
995, by Pope John XVI., from the exercise of his episcopal functions in
France, he obtained, in 998, from Pope Gregory V., the archbishopric of
Ravenna in Italy, and the favor of Otho III.  was not unconnected, in
999, with his elevation to the Holy See, which he occupied for four
years, with the title of Sylvester II., whilst putting in practice, but
with moderation and dignity, maxims very different from those which he
had supported, fifteen years before, as a French bishop.  He became, at
this later period of his life, so much the more estranged from France in
that he was embroiled with Hugh Capet's son and successor, King Robert,
whose quondam preceptor he had been and of whose marriage with Queen
Bertha, widow of Eudes, count of Blois, he had honestly disapproved.

[Illustration: Gerbert, afterwards Pope Sylvester II----304]

In 995, just when he had been interdicted by Pope John X VI. from his
functions as Archbishop of Rheims, Gerbert wrote to the abbot and
brethren of the monastery of St. Geraud, where he had been brought up,
"And now farewell to your holy community; farewell to those whom I knew
in old times, or who were connected with me by blood, if there still
survive any whose names, if not their features, have remained upon my
memory.  Not that I have forgotten them through pride; but I am broken
down, and--if it must be said--changed by the ferocity of barbarians;
what I learned in my boyhood I forgot in my youth; what I desired in my
youth, I despised in my old age.  Such are the fruits thou hast borne for
me, O pleasure!  Such are the joys afforded by the honors of the world!
Believe my experience of it: the higher the great are outwardly raised by
glory, the more cruel is their inward anguish!"

Length of life brings, in the soul of the ambitious, days of hearty
undeception; but it does not discourage them from their course of
ambition.  Gerbert was, amongst the ambitious, at the same time one of
the most exalted in point of intellect and one of the most persistent as
well as restless in attachment to the affairs of the world.


From 996 to 1108, the first three successors of Hugh Capet, his son
Robert, his grandson Henry I., and his great-grandson Philip I., sat upon
the throne of France; and during this long space of one hundred and
twelve years the kingdom of France had not, sooth to say, any history.
Parcelled out, by virtue of the feudal system, between a multitude of
princes, independent, isolated, and scarcely sovereigns in their own
dominions, keeping up anything like frequent intercourse only with their
neighbors, and loosely united, by certain rules or customs of vassalage,
to him amongst them who bore the title of king, the France of the
eleventh century existed in little more than name: Normandy, Brittany,
Burgundy, Aquitaine, Poitou, Anjou, Flanders, and Nivernais were the real
states and peoples, each with its own distinct life and history.  One
single event, the Crusade, united, towards the end of the century, those
scattered sovereigns and peoples in one common idea and one combined
action.  Up to that point, then, let us conform to the real state of the
case, and faithfully trace out the features of the epoch, without
attempting to introduce a connection and a combination which did not
exist; and let us pass briefly in review the isolated events and
personages which are still worthy of remembrance, and which have remained
historic without having belonged exactly to a national history.  Amongst
events of this kind, one, the conquest of England, in 1066, by William
the Bastard, duke of Normandy, was so striking, and exercised so much
influence over the destinies of France, that, in the incoherent and
disconnected picture of this eleventh century, particular attention must
first be drawn to the consequences, as regarded France, of that great
Norman enterprise.

After the sagacious Hugh Capet, the first three Capetians, Robert,
Henry I., and Philip I., were very mediocre individuals, in character
as well as intellect; and their personal insignificance was one of the
causes that produced the emptiness of French history under their sway.
Robert lacked neither physical advantages nor moral virtues: "He had a
lofty figure," says his biographer Helgaud, archbishop of Bourgcs, "hair
smooth and well arranged, a modest eye, a pleasant and gentle mouth, a
tolerably furnished beard, and high shoulders.  He was versed in all the
sciences, philosopher enough and an excellent musician, and so devoted to
sacred literature that he never passed a day without reading the Psalter
and praying to the Most High God together with St. David."  He composed
several hymns which were adopted by the Church, and, during a pilgrimage
he made to Rome, he deposited upon the altar of St. Peter his own Latin
poems set to music.  "He often went to the church of St. Denis, clad in
his royal robes and with his crown on his head; and he there conducted
the singing at matins, mass, and vespers, chanting with the monks and
himself calling upon them to sing.  When he sat in the consistory, he
voluntarily styled himself the bishops' client."  Two centuries later,
St. Louis proved that the virtues of the saint are not incompatible with
the qualities of the king; but the former cannot form a substitute for
the latter, and the qualities of king were to seek in Robert.  He was
neither warrior nor politician; there is no sign that he ever gathered
about him, to discuss affairs of state, the laic barons together with the
bishops, and when he interfered in the wars of the great feudal lords,
notably in Burgundy and Flanders, it was with but little energy and to
but little purpose.  He was hardly more potent in his family than in his
kingdom.  It has already been mentioned that, in spite of his preceptor
Gerbert's advice, he had espoused Bertha, widow of Eudes, count of Blois,
and he loved her dearly; but the marriage was assailed by the Church, on
the ground of kinship.  Robert offered resistance, but afterwards gave
way before the excommunication pronounced by Pope Gregory V., and then
espoused Constance daughter of William Taillefer, count of Toulouse; and
forth-with, says the chronicler Raoul Glaber, "were seen pouring into
France and Burgundy, because of this queen, the most vain and most
frivolous of all men, coming from Aquitaine and Auvergne.  They were
outlandish and outrageous equally in their manners and their dress, in
their arms and the appointments of their horses; their hair came only
half way down their head; they shaved their beards like actors; they wore
boots and shoes that were not decent; and, lastly, neither fidelity nor
security was to be looked for in any of their ties.  Alack! that nation
of Franks, which was wont to be the most virtuous, and even the people of
Burgundy, too, were eager to follow these criminal examples, and before
long they reflected only too faithfully the depravity and infamy of their
models."  The evil amounted to something graver than a disturbance of
court-fashions.  Robert had by Constance three sons, Hugh, Henry, and
Robert.  First the eldest, and afterwards his two brothers, maddened by
the bad character and tyrannical exactions of their mother, left the
palace, and withdrew to Dreux and Burgundy, abandoning themselves, in the
royal domains and the neighborhood, to all kinds of depredations and
excesses.  Reconciliation was not without great difficulty effected; and,
indeed, peace was never really restored in the royal family.  Peace was
everywhere the wish and study of King Robert; but he succeeded better in
maintaining it with his neighbors than with his children.  In 1006, he
was on the point of having a quarrel with Henry II., emperor of Germany,
who was more active and enterprising, but fortunately not less pious,
than himself.  The two sovereigns resolved to have an interview at the
Meuse, the boundary of their dominions.  "The question amongst their
respective followings was, which of the two should cross the river to
seek audience on the other bank, that is, in the other's dominions; this
would be a humiliation, it was said.  The two learned princes remembered
this saying of Eclesiasticus: 'The greater thou art, the humbler be thou
in all things.'  The emperor, therefore, rose up early in the morning,
and crossed, with some of his people, into the French king's territory.
They embraced with cordiality; the bishops, as was proper, celebrated the
sacrament of the mass, and they afterwards sat down to dinner.  When the
meal was over, King Robert offered Henry immense presents of gold and
silver and precious stones, and a hundred horses richly caparisoned, each
carrying a cuirass and a helmet; and he added that all that the emperor
did not accept of these gifts would be so much deducted from their
friendship.  Henry, seeing the generosity of his friend, took of the
whole only a book containing the Holy Gospel, set with gold and precious
stones, and a golden amulet, wherein was a tooth of St. Vincent, priest
and martyr.  The empress, likewise, accepted only two golden cups.  Next
day, King Robert crossed with his bishops into the territories of the
emperor, who received him magnificently, and, after dinner, offered him a
hundred pounds of pure gold.  The king, in his turn, accepted only two
golden cups; and, after having ratified their pact of friendship, they
returned each to his own dominions."

[Illustration: NOTRE DAME----310]

Let us add to this summary of Robert's reign some facts which are
characteristic of the epoch.  In A.D. 1000, in consequence of the sense
attached to certain words in the Sacred Books, many Christians expected
the end of the world.  The time of expectation was full of anxieties;
plagues, famines, and divers accidents which then took place in divers
quarters, were an additional aggravation; the churches were crowded;
penances, offerings, absolutions, all the forms of invocation and
repentance multiplied rapidly; a multitude of souls, in submission or
terror, prepared to appear before their Judge.  And after what
catastrophes?  In the midst of what gloom or of what light?  These were
fearful questions, of which men's imaginations were exhausted in
forestalling the solution.  When the last day of the tenth and the first
of the eleventh centuries were past, it was like a general regeneration;
it might have been said that time was beginning over again; and the work
was commenced of rendering the Christian world worthy of the future.
"Especially in Italy and in Gaul," says the chronicler Raoul Glaber, "men
took in hand the reconstruction of the basilicas, although the greater
part had no need thereof.  Christian peoples seemed to vie one with
another which should erect the most beautiful.  It was as if the world,
shaking itself together and casting off its old garments, would have
decked itself with the white robes of Christ."  Christian art, in its
earliest form of the Gothic style, dates from this epoch; the power and
riches of the Christian Church, in its different institutions, received,
at this crisis of the human imagination, a fresh impulse.

Other facts, some lamentable and some salutary, began, about this epoch,
to assume in French history a place which was destined before long to
become an important one.  Piles of fagots were set up, first at Orleans
and then at Toulouse, for the punishment of heretics.  The heretics of
the day were Manicheans.  King Robert and Queen Constance sanctioned by
their presence this return to human sacrifices offered to God as a
penalty inflicted on mental offenders against His word.  At the same time
a double portion of ire blazed forth against the Jews.  "What have we to
do," it was said, "with going abroad to make war on Mussulmans?  Have we
not in the very midst of us the greatest enemies of Jesus Christ?"
Amongst Christians acts of oppression and violence on the part of the
great against the small became so excessive and so frequent that they
excited in country parts, particularly in Normandy, insurrections which
the insurgents tried to organize into permanent resistance.  "In several
counties of Normandy," says William of Jumieges, "all the peasants,
meeting in conventicles, resolved to live according to their own wills
and their own laws, not only in the heart of the forests, but also on the
borders of the rivers, and without care for any established rights.  To
accomplish this design, these mobs of madmen elected each two deputies,
who were to form, at the central point, an assembly charged with the
execution of their decrees.  So soon as the duke (Richard II.) was
informed thereof, he sent a large body of armed men to suppress this
audacity in the country parts, and to disperse this rustic assembly.
In execution of his orders, the deputies of the peasantry and many other
rebels were forthwith arrested; their feet and hands were cut off, and
they were sent home thus mutilated to deter their fellows from such
enterprises, and to render them more prudent, for fear of worse.  After
this experience, the peasants gave up their meetings and returned to
their ploughs."

[Illustration: Knights returning from Foray----311]

This is a literal translation of the monkish chronicler, who was far from
favorable to the insurgent peasants, and was more for applauding the
suppression than justifying the insurrection.  The suppression, though
undoubtedly effectual for the moment, and in the particular spots it
reached, produced no general or lasting effect.  About a century after
the cold recital of William of Jumieges, a poet-chronicler, Robert Wace,
in his _Romance of Rou_, a history in verse of Rollo and the first dukes
of Normandy, related the same facts with far more sympathetic feeling and
poetical coloring.  "The lords do us nought but ill," he makes the Norman
peasants say; "with them we have nor gain nor profit from our labors;
every day is, for us, a day of suffering, toil, and weariness; every day
we have our cattle taken from us for road-work and forced service.  We
have plaints and grievances, old and new exactions, pleas and processes
without end, money-pleas, market-pleas, road-pleas, forest-pleas,
mill-pleas, black-mail-pleas, watch-and-ward-pleas.  There are so many
provosts, bailiffs, and sergeants, that we have not one hour's peace; day
by day they run us down, seize our movables, and drive us from our lands.
There is no security for us against the lords; and no pact is binding
with them.  Why suffer all this evil to be done to us and not get out of
our plight?  Are we not men even as they are?  Have we not the same
stature, the same limbs, the same strength--for suffering?  All we need
is courage.  Let us, then, bind ourselves together by an oath: let us
swear to support one another; and if they will make war on us, have we
not, for one knight, thirty or forty young peasants, nimble and ready to
fight with club, with boar-spear, with arrow, with axe, and even with
stones if they have not weapons?  Let us learn to resist the knights, and
we shall be free to cut down trees, to hunt and fish after our fashion,
and we shall work our will in flood and field and wood."

[Illustration: Knights and Peasants----312]

Here we have no longer the short account and severe estimate of an
indifferent spectator; it is the cry of popular rage and vengeance
reproduced by the lively imagination of an angered poet.  Undoubtedly the
Norman peasants of the twelfth century did not speak of their miseries
with such descriptive ability and philosophical feeling as were lent to
them by Robert Wace; they did not meditate the democratic revolution of
which he attributes to them the idea and almost the plan; but the deeds
of violence and oppression against which they rose were very real, and
they exerted themselves to escape by reciprocal violence from intolerable
suffering.  Thence date those alternations of demagogic revolt and
tyrannical suppression which have so often ensanguined the land and put
in peril the very foundations of social order.  Insurrections became of
so atrocious a kind that the atrocious chastisements with which they were
visited seemed equally natural and necessary.  It needed long ages, a
repetition of civil wars and terrible political shocks, to put an end to
this brutal chaos which gave birth to so many evils and reciprocal
crimes, and to bring about, amongst the different classes of the French
population, equitable and truly human relations.

So quick-spreading and contagious is evil amongst men, and so difficult
to extirpate in the name of justice and truth!

However, even in the midst of this cruel egotism and this gross unreason
of the tenth and eleventh centuries, the necessity, from a moral and
social point of view, of struggling against such disgusting
irregularities, made itself felt, and found zealous advocates.  From this
epoch are to be dated the first efforts to establish, in different parts
of France, what was called God's peace, God's truce.  The words were well
chosen for prohibiting at the same time oppression and revolt, for it
needed nothing less than law and the voice of God to put some restraint
upon the barbarous manners and passions of men, great or small, lord or
peasant.  It is the peculiar and glorious characteristic of Christianity
to have so well understood the primitive and permanent evil in human
nature that it fought against all the great iniquities of mankind and
exposed them in principle, even when, in point of general practice, it
neither hoped nor attempted to sweep them away.  Bishops, priests, and
monks were, in their personal lives and in the councils of the Church,
the first propagators of God's peace or truce, and in more than one
locality they induced the laic lords to follow their lead.  In 1164, Hugh
II., count of Rodez, in concert with his brother Hugh, bishop of Rodez,
and the notables of the district, established the peace in the diocese of
Rodez; "and this it is," said the learned Benedictines of the eighteenth
century, in the Art of Verifying Dates, "which gave rise to the toll of
_commune paix_ or _pesade,_ which is still collected in Rouergue."  King
Robert always showed himself favorable to this pacific work; and he is
the first amongst the five kings of France, in other respects very
different,--himself, St. Louis, Louis XII, Henry IV., and Louis XVI.,--
who were particularly distinguished for sympathetic kindness and anxiety
for the popular welfare.  Robert had a kindly feeling for the weak and
poor; not only did he protect them, on occasion, against the powerful,
but he took pains to conceal their defaults, and, in his church and at
his table, he suffered himself to be robbed without complaint, that he
might not have to denounce and punish the robbers.  "Wherefore at his
death," says his biographer Helgaud, "there were great mourning and
intolerable grief; a countless number of widows and orphans sorrowed for
the many benefits received from him; they did beat their breasts and went
to and from his tomb, crying, 'Whilst Robert was king and ordered all, we
lived in peace, we had nought to fear.  May the soul of that pious
father, that father of the senate, that father of all good, be blest and
saved!  May it mount up and dwell forever with Jesus Christ, the King of

[Illustration: Robert had a Kindly Feeling for the Weak and Poor----313]

Though not so pious or so good as Robert, his son, Henry I., and his
grandson, Philip I., were neither more energetic nor more glorious kings.
During their long reigns (the former from 1031 to 1060, and the latter
from 1060 to 1108) no important and well-prosecuted design distinguished
their government.  Their public life was passed at one time in petty
warfare, without decisive results, against such and such vassals; at
another in acts of capricious intervention in the quarrels of their
vassals amongst themselves.  Their home-life was neither less irregular
nor conducted with more wisdom and regard for the public interest.  King
Robert had not succeeded in keeping his first wife, Bertha of Burgundy;
and his second, Constance of Aquitaine, with her imperious, malevolent,
avaricious, meddlesome disposition, reduced him to so abject a state that
he never gave a gratuity to any of his servants without saying, "Take
care that Constance know nought of it."  After Robert's death, Constance,
having become regent for her eldest son, Henry I., forthwith conspired to
dethrone him, and to put in his place her second son, Robert, who was her
favorite.  Henry, on being delivered by his mother's death from her
tyranny and intrigues, was thrice married; but his first two marriages
with two German princesses, one the daughter of the Emperor Conrad the
Salic, the other of the Emperor Henry III., were so far from happy that
in 1051 he sent into Russia, to Kieff, in search of his third wife, Anne,
daughter of the Czar Yaroslaff the Halt.  She was a modest creature who
lived quietly up to the death of her husband in 1060, and, two years
afterwards, in the reign of her son Philip I., rather than return to her
own country, married Raoul, count of Valois, who put away, to marry her,
his second wife, Haqueney, called Eleonore.  The divorce was opposed at
Rome before Pope Alexander II., to whom the archbishop of Rheims wrote
upon the subject, "Our kingdom is the scene of great troubles.  The
queen-mother has espoused Count Raoul, which has mightily displeased the
king.  As for the lady whom Raoul has put away, we have recognized the
justice of the complaints she has preferred before you, and the falsity
of the pre-texts on which he put her away."  The Pope ordered the count
to take back his wife; Raoul would not obey, and was excommunicated; but
he made light of it, and the Princess Anne of Russia, actually
reconciled, apparently, to Philip I., lived tranquilly in France, where,
in 1075, shortly after the death of her second husband, Count Raoul her
signature was still attached to a charter side by side with that of the
king her son.

The marriages of Philip I. brought even more trouble and scandal than
those of his father and grandfather.  At nineteen years of age, in 1072,
he had espoused Bertha, daughter of Florent I., count of Holland, and in
1078 he had by her the son who was destined to succeed him with the title
of Louis the Fat.  But twenty years later, 1092, Philip took a dislike to
his wife, put her away and banished her to Montreuil-sur-Mer, on the
ground of prohibited consanguinity.  He had conceived, there is no
knowing when, a violent passion for a woman celebrated for her beauty,
Bertrade, the fourth wife, for three years past, of Foulques le Roehin
(the brawler), count of Anjou.  Philip, having thus packed off Bertha,
set out for Tours, where Bertrade happened to be with her husband.
There, in the church of St. John, during the benediction of the baptismal
fonts, they entered into mutual engagements.  Philip went away again;
and, a few days afterwards, Bertrade was carried off by some people he
had left in the neighborhood of Tours, and joined him at Orleans.  Nearly
all the bishops of France, and amongst others the most learned and
respected of them, Yves, bishop of Chartres, refused their benediction to
this shocking marriage; and the king had great difficulty in finding a
priest to render him that service.  Then commenced between Philip and the
heads of the Catholic Church, Pope and bishops, a struggle which, with
negotiation upon negotiation and excommunication upon excommunication,
lasted twelve years, without the king's being able to get his marriage
canonically recognized; and, though he promised to send away Bertrade, he
was not content with merely keeping her with him, but he openly jeered at
excommunication and interdicts.  "It was the custom," says William of
Malmesbury, "at the places where the king sojourned, for divine service
to be stopped; and, as soon as he was moving away, all the bells began to
peal.  And then Philip would cry, as he laughed like one beside himself,
'Dost hear, my love, how they are ringing us out?'"  At last, in 1104,
the Bishop of Chartres himself, wearied by the persistency of the king
and by sight of the trouble in which the prolongation of the interdict
was plunging the kingdom, wrote to the Pope, Pascal II., "I do not
presume to offer you advice; I only desire to warn you that it were well
to show for a while some condescension towards the weaknesses of the man,
so far as consideration for his salvation may permit, and to rescue the
country from the critical state to which it is reduced by the
excommunication of this prince."  The Pope, consequently, sent
instructions to the bishops of the realm; and they, at the king's
summons, met at Paris on the 1st of December, 1104.  One of them,
Lambert, bishop of Arras, wrote to the Pope, "We sent as a deputation
to the king the bishops John of Orleans and Galon of Paris, charged to
demand of him whether he would conform to the clauses and conditions set
forth in your letters, and whether he were determined to give up the
unlawful intercourse which had made him guilty before God.  The king,
having answered, without being disconcerted, that he was ready to make
atonement to God and the holy Roman Church, was introduced to the
assembly.  He came barefooted, in a posture of devotion and humility,
confessing his sin and promising to purge him of his excommunication by
expiatory deeds.  And thus, by your authority, he earned absolution.
Then laying his hand on the book of the holy Gospels, he took an oath,
in the following terms, to renounce his guilty and unlawful marriage:
'Hearken, thou Lambert, bishop of Arras, who art here in place of the
Apostolic Pontiff; and let the archbishops and bishops here present
hearken unto me.  I, Philip, king of the French, do promise not to go
back to my sin, and to break off wholly the criminal intercourse I have
heretofore kept up with Bertrade.  I do promise that henceforth I will
have with her no intercourse or companionship, save in the presence of
persons beyond suspicion.  I will observe, faithfully and without turning
aside, these promises, in the sense set forth in the letters of the Pope,
and as ye understand.  So help me God and these holy Gospels!'  Bertrade,
at the moment of her release from excommunication, took in person the
same oath on the holy Gospels."

According to the statement of the learned Benedictines who studiously
examined into this incident, it is doubtful whether Philip I. broke off
all intercourse with Bertrade.  "Two years after his absolution, on the
10th of October, 1106, he arrived at Angers, on a Wednesday," says a
contemporary chronicler, "accompanied by the queen named Bertrade, and
was there received by Count Foulques and by all the Angevines, cleric and
laic, with great honors.  The day after his arrival, on Thursday, the
monks of St. Nicholas, introduced by the queen, presented themselves
before the king, and humbly prayed him, in concert with the queen, to
countenance, for the salvation of his soul and of the queen and his
relatives and friends, all acquisitions made by them in his dominions, or
that they might hereafter make, by gift or purchase, and to be pleased to
place his seal on their titles to property.  And the king granted their

The most complete amongst the chroniclers of the time, Orderic Vital,
says, touching this meeting at Angers of Bertrade's two husbands, "This
clever woman had, by her skilful management, so perfectly reconciled
these two rivals, that she made them a splendid feast, got them both to
sit at the same table, had their beds prepared, the ensuing night, in the
same chamber, and ministered to them according to their pleasure."  The
most judicious of the historians and statesmen of the twelfth century,
the Abby Suger, that faithful minister of Louis the Fat, who cannot be
suspected of favoring Bertrade, expresses himself about her in these
terms: "This sprightly and rarely accomplished woman, well versed in the
art, familiar to her sex, of holding captive the husbands they have
outraged, had acquired such an empire over her first husband, the count
of Anjou, in spite of the affront she had put upon him by deserting him,
that he treated her with homage as his sovereign, often sat upon a stool
at her feet, and obeyed her wishes by a sort of enchantment."

These details are textually given as the best representation of the place
occupied, in the history of that time, by the morals and private life of
the kings.  It would not be right, however, to draw therefrom conclusions
as to the abasement of Capetian royalty in the eleventh century, with too
great severity.  There are irregularities and scandals which the great
qualities and the personal glory of princes may cause to be not only
excused but even forgotten, though certainly the three Capetians who
immediately succeeded the founder of the dynasty offered their people no
such compensation; but it must not be supposed that they had fallen into
the plight of the sluggard Merovingians or the last Carlovingians,
wandering almost without a refuge.  A profound change had come over
society and royalty in France.  In spite of their political mediocrity
and their indolent licentiousness, Robert, Henry I., and Philip I., were
not, in the eleventh century, insignificant personages, without authority
or practical influence, whom their contemporaries could leave out of the
account; they were great lords, proprietors of vast domains wherein they
exercised over the population an almost absolute power; they had, it is
true, about them, rivals, large proprietors and almost absolute
sovereigns, like themselves, sometimes stronger even, materially, than
themselves and more energetic or more intellectually able, whose
superiors, however, they remained on two grounds--as suzerains and as
kings: their court was always the most honored and their alliance always
very much sought after.  They occupied the first rank in feudal society
and a rank unique in the body politic such as it was slowly becoming in
the midst of reminiscences and traditions of the Jewish monarchy, of
barbaric kingship, and of the Roman empire for a while resuscitated by
Charlemagne.  French kingship in the eleventh century was sole power
invested with a triple character--Germanic, Roman, and religious; its
possessors were at the same time the chieftains of the conquerors of the
soil, the successors of the Roman emperors and of Charlemagne, and the
laic delegates and representatives of the God of the Christians.
Whatever were their weaknesses and their personal short-comings, they
were not the mere titularies of a power in decay, and the kingly post was
strong and full of blossoms, as events were not slow to demonstrate.

And as with the kingship, so with the community of France in the eleventh
century.  In spite of its dislocation into petty incoherent and turbulent
associations, it was by no means in decay.  Irregularities of ambition,
hatreds and quarrels amongst neighbors and relatives, outrages on the
part of princes and peoples were incessantly renewed; but energy of
character, activity of mind, indomitable will and zeal for the liberty of
the individual were not wanting, and they exhibited themselves
passionately and at any risk, at one time by brutal and cynical outbursts
which were followed occasionally by fervent repentance and expiation, at
another by acts of courageous wisdom and disinterested piety.  At the
commencement of the eleventh century, William III., count of Poitiers and
duke of Aquitaine, was one of the most honored and most potent princes of
his time; all the sovereigns of Europe sent embassies to him as to their
peer; he every year made, by way of devotion, a trip to Rome, and was
received there with the same honors as the emperor.  He was fond of
literature, and gave up to reading the early hours of the night; and
scholars called him another Maecenas.  Unaffected by these worldly
successes intermingled with so much toil and so many miscalculations, he
refused the crown of Italy, when it was offered him at the death of the
Emperor Henry II., and he finished, like Charles V. some centuries later,
by going and seeking in a monastery isolation from the world and repose.
But, in the same domains and at the end of the same century, his grandson
William VII.  was the most vagabondish, dissolute, and violent of
princes; and his morals were so scandalous that the bishop of Poitiers,
after having warned him to no purpose, considered himself forced to
excommunicate him.  The duke suddenly burst into the church, made his way
through the congregation, sword in hand, and seized the prelate by the
hair, saying, "Thou shalt give me absolution or die."  The bishop
demanded a moment for reflection, profited by it to pronounce the form of
excommunication, and forthwith bowing his head before the duke, said,
"And now strike!"  "I love thee not well enough to send thee to
paradise," answered the duke; and he confined himself to depriving him of
his see.  For fury the duke of Aquitaine sometimes substituted insolent
mockery.  Another bishop, of Angouleme, who was quite bald, likewise
exhorted him to mend his ways.  "I will mend," quoth the duke, "when thou
shalt comb back thy hair to thy pate."  Another great lord of the same
century, Foulques the Black, count of Anjou, at the close of an able and
glorious lifetime, had resigned to his son Geoffrey Martel the
administration of his countship.  The son, as haughty and harsh towards
his father as towards his subjects, took up arms against him, and bade
him lay aside the outward signs, which he still maintained, of power.
The old man in his wrath recovered the vigor and ability of his youth,
and strove so energetically and successfully against his son that he
reduced him to such subjection as to make him do several miles "crawling
on the ground," says the chronicle, with a saddle on his back, and to
come and prostrate himself at his feet.  When Foulques had his son thus
humbled before him, he spurned him with his foot, repeating over and over
again nothing but "Thou'rt beaten, thou'rt beaten!"  "Ay, beaten," said
Geoffrey, "but by thee only, because thou art my father; to any other I
am invincible."  The anger of the old man vanished at once: he now
thought only how he might console his son for the affront put upon him,
and he gave him back his power, exhorting him only to conduct himself
with more moderation and gentleness towards his subjects.  All was
inconsistency and contrast with these robust, rough, hasty souls; they
cared little for belying themselves when they had satisfied the passion
of the moment.

The relations existing between the two great powers of the period, the
laic lords and the monks, were not less bitter or less unstable than
amongst the laics themselves; and when artifice, as often happened, was
employed, it was by no means to the exclusion of violence.  About the
middle of the twelfth century, the abbey of Tournus, in Burgundy, had, at
Louhans, a little port where it collected salt-tax, whereof it every year
distributed the receipts to the poor during the first week in Lent.
Girard, count of Macon, established a like toll a little distance off.
The monks of Tournus complained; but he took no notice.  A long while
afterwards he came to Tournus with a splendid following, and entered the
church of St. Philibert.  He had stopped all alone before the altar to
say his prayers, when a monk, cross in hand, issued suddenly from behind
the altar, and, placing himself before the count, "How hast thou the
audacity," said he, "to enter my monastery and mine house, thou that dost
not hesitate to rob me of my dues?" and, taking Girard by the hair, he
threw him on the ground and belabored him heavily.  The count, stupefied
and contrite, acknowledged his injustice, took off the toll that he had
wrongfully put on, and, not content with this reparation, sent to the
church of Tournus a rich carpet of golden and silken tissue.  In the
middle of the eleventh century, Adhemar II., viscount of Limoges, had in
his city a quarrel of quite a different sort with the monks of the abbey
of St. Martial.  The abbey had fallen into great looseness of discipline
and morals; and the viscount had at heart its reformation.  To this end
he entered into concert, at a distance, with Hugh, abbot of Cluni, at
that time the most celebrated and most respected of the monasteries.  The
abbot of St. Martial died.  Adhemar sent for some monks from Cluni to
come to Limoges, lodged them secretly near his palace, repaired to the
abbey of St. Martial after having had the chapter convoked, and called
upon the monks to proceed at once to the election of a new abbot.  A
lively discussion, upon this point, arose between the viscount and the
monks.  "We are not ignorant," said one of them to him, "that you have
sent for brethren from Cluni, in order to drive us out and put them in
our places; but you will not succeed."  The viscount was furious, seized
by the sleeve the monk who was inveighing, and dragged him by force out
of the monastery.  His fellows were frightened, and took to flight; and
Adhemar immediately had the monks from Cluni sent for, and put them in
possession of the abbey.  It was a ruffianly proceeding; but the reform
was popular in Limoges and was effected.

These trifling matters are faithful samples of the dominant and
fundamental characteristic of French society during the tenth, eleventh,
and twelfth centuries, the true epoch of the middle ages.  It was chaos,
and fermentation within the chaos the slow and rough but powerful and
productive fermentation of unruly life.  In ideas, events, and persons
there was a blending of the strongest contrasts: manners were rude and
even savage, yet souls were filled with lofty and tender aspirations; the
authority of religious creeds at one time was on the point of extinction,
yet at another shone forth gloriously in opposition to the arrogance and
brutality of mundane passions; ignorance was profound, and yet here and
there, in the very heart of the mental darkness, gleamed bright centres
of movement and intellectual labor.  It was the period when Abelard,
anticipating freedom of thought and of instruction, drew together upon
Mount St. Genevieve thousands of hearers anxious to follow him in the
study of the great problems of Nature and of the destiny of man and the
world.  And far away from this throng, in the solitude of the abbey of
Bee, St. Anselm was offering to his monks a Christian and philosophical
demonstration of the existence of God--"faith seeking understanding"
(fides quoerens intellectuan), as he himself used to say.  It was the
period, too, when, distressed at the licentiousness which was spreading
throughout the Church as well as lay society, two illustrious monks, St.
Bernard and St. Norbert, not only went preaching everywhere reformation
of morals, but labored at and succeeded in establishing for monastic life
a system of strict discipline and severe austerity.  Lastly, it was the
period when, in the laic world, was created and developed the most
splendid fact of the middle ages, knighthood, that noble soaring of
imaginations and souls towards the ideal of Christian virtue and
soldierly honor.  It is impossible to trace in detail the origin and
history of that grand fact which was so prominent in the days to which it
belonged, and which is so prominent still in the memories of men; but a
clear notion ought to be obtained of its moral character and its
practical worth.  To this end a few pages shall be borrowed from Guizot's
_History of Civilization in France_.  Let us first look on at the
admission of a knight, such as took place in the twelfth century.  We
will afterwards see what rules of conduct were imposed upon him, not only
according to the oaths which he had to take on becoming knight, but
according to the idea formed of knighthood by the poets of the day, those
interpreters not only of actual life, but of men's sentiments also.  We
shall then understand, without difficulty, what influence must have been
exercised, in the souls and lives of men, by such sentiments and such
rules, however great may have been the discrepancy between the knightly
ideal and the general actions and passions of contemporaries.

"The young man, the esquire who aspired to the title of knight, was first
stripped of his clothes and placed in a bath, which was symbolical of
purification.  On leaving the bath, he was clothed in a white tunic,
which was symbolical of purity, and a red robe, which was symbolical of
the blood he was bound to shed in the service of the faith, and a black
sagum or close-fitting coat, which was symbolical of the death which
awaited him as well as all men.

"Thus purified and clothed, the candidate observed for four and twenty
hours a strict fast.  When evening came, he entered church, and there
passed the night in prayer, sometimes alone, sometimes with a priest and
sponsors, who prayed with him.  Next day, his first act was confession;
after confession the priest gave him the communion; after the communion
he attended a mass of the Holy Spirit; and, generally, a sermon touching
the duties of knights and of the new life he was about to enter on.  The
sermon over, the candidate advanced to the altar with the knight's sword
hanging from his neck.  This the priest took off, blessed, and replaced
upon his neck.  The candidate then went and knelt before the lord who was
to arm him knight.  'To what purpose,' the lord asked him, 'do you desire
to enter the order?  If to be rich, to take your ease and be held in
honor without doing honor to knighthood, you are unworthy of it, and
would be, to the order of knighthood you received, what the simoniacal
clerk is to the prelacy.'  On the young man's reply, promising to acquit
himself well of the duties of knight, the lord granted his request.

"Then drew near knights and sometimes ladies to reclothe the candidate in
all his new array; and they put on him, 1, the spurs; 2, the hauberk or
coat of mail; 3, the cuirass; 4, the armlets and gauntlets; 5, the sword.

[Illustration: "The Accolade."----324]

"He was what was then called adubbed (that is, adopted, according to Du
Cange).  The lord rose up, went to him and gave him the accolade or
accolee, three blows with the flat of the sword on the shoulder or nape
of the neck, and sometimes a slap with the palm of the hand on the cheek,
saying, 'In the name of God, St. Michael and St. George, I make thee
knight.'  And he sometimes added, 'Be valiant, bold, and loyal.'

"The young man, having been thus armed knight, had his helmet brought to
him; a horse was led up for him; he leaped on its back, generally without
the help of the stirrups, and caracoled about, brandishing his lance and
making his sword flash.  Finally he went out of church and caracoled
about on the open, at the foot of the castle, in presence of the people
eager to have their share in the spectacle."

Such was what may be called the outward and material part in the
admission of knights.  It shows a persistent anxiety to associate
religion with all the phases of so personal an affair; the sacraments,
the most august feature of Christianity, are mixed up with it; and many
of the ceremonies are, as far as possible, assimilated to the
administration of the sacraments.  Let us continue our examination; let
us penetrate to the very heart of knighthood, its moral character, its
ideas, the sentiments which it was the object to impress upon the knight.
Here again the influence of religion will be quite evident.

"The knight had to swear to twenty-six articles.  These articles,
however, did not make one single formula, drawn up at one and the same
time and all together; they are a collection of oaths required of knights
at different epochs and in more or less complete fashion from the
eleventh to the fourteenth century.  The candidate swore, 1, to fear,
reverence, and serve God religiously, to fight for the faith with all
their might, and to die a thousand deaths rather than ever renounce
Christianity; 2, to serve their sovereign-prince faithfully, and to fight
for him and fatherland right valiantly; 3, to uphold the rights of the
weaker, such as widows, orphans, and damsels, in fair quarrel, exposing
themselves on that account according as need might be, provided it were
not against their own honor or against their king or lawful prince; 4,
that they would not injure any one maliciously, or take what was
another's, but would rather do battle with those who did so; 5, that
greed, pay, gain, or profit should never constrain them to do any deed,
but only glory and virtue; 6, that they would fight for the good and
advantage of the common weal; 7, that they would be bound by and obey the
orders of their generals and captains who had a right to command them; 8,
that they would guard the honor, rank, and order of their comrades, and
that they would neither by arrogance nor by force commit any trespass
against any one of them; 9, that they would never fight in companies
against one, and that they would eschew all tricks and artifices; 10,
that they would wear but one sword, unless they had to fight against two
or more; 11, that in tourney or other sportive contest they would never
use the point of their swords; 12, that being taken prisoner in a
tourney, they would be bound, on their faith and honor, to perform in
every point the conditions of capture, besides being bound to give up to
the victors their arms and horses, if it seemed good to take them, and
being disabled from fighting in war or elsewhere without their leave; 13,
that they would keep faith inviolably with all the world, and especially
with their comrades, upholding their honor and advantage, wholly, in
their absence; 14, that they would love and honor one another, and aid
and succor one another whenever occasion offered; 15, that, having made
vow or promise to go on any quest or novel adventure, they would never
put off their arms, save for the night's rest; 16, that in pursuit of
their quest or adventure they would not shun bad and perilous passes, nor
turn aside from the straight road for fear of encountering powerful
knights or monsters or wild beasts or other hinderance such as the body
and courage of a single man might tackle; 17, that they would never take
wage or pay from any foreign prince; 18, that in command of troops of
men-at-arms, they would live in the utmost possible order and discipline,
and especially in their own country, where they would never suffer any
harm or violence to be done; 19, that if they were bound to escort dame
or damsel, they would serve her, protect her, and save her from all
danger and insult, or die in the attempt; 20, that they would never offer
violence to dame or damsel, though they had won her by deeds of arms,
against her will and consent; 21, that, being challenged to equal combat,
they would not refuse, without wound, sickness, or other reasonable
hinderance; 22, that, having undertaken to carry out any enterprise, they
would devote to it night and day, unless they were called away for the
service of their king and country; 23, that if they made a vow to acquire
any honor, they would not draw back without having attained either it or
its equivalent; 24, that they would be faithful keepers of their word and
pledged faith, and that, having become prisoners in fair warfare, they
would pay to the uttermost the promised ransom, or return to prison, at
the day and hour agreed upon, on pain of being proclaimed infamous and
perjured; 25, that on re-turning to the court of their sovereign, they
would render a true account of their adventures, even though they had
sometimes been worsted, to the king and the registrar of the order, on
pain of being deprived of the order of knighthood; 26, that above all
things they would be faithful, courteous, and humble, and would never be
wanting to their word for any harm or loss that might accrue to them."

It is needless to point out that in this series of oaths, these
obligations imposed upon the knights, there is a moral development very
superior to that of the laic society of the period.  Moral notions so
lofty, so delicate, so scrupulous, and so humane, emanated clearly from
the Christian clergy.  Only the clergy thought thus about the duties and
the relations of mankind; and their influence was employed in directing
towards the accomplishment of such duties, towards the integrity of such
relations, the ideas and customs engendered by knighthood.  It had not
been instituted with so pious and deep a design, for the protection of
the weak, the maintenance of justice, and the reformation of morals; it
had been, at its origin and in its earliest features, a natural
consequence of feudal relations and warlike life, a confirmation of the
bonds established and the sentiments aroused between different masters in
the same country and comrades with the same destinies.  The clergy
promptly saw what might be deduced from such a fact; and they made of it
a means of establishing more peacefulness in society, and in the conduct
of individuals a more rigid morality.  This was the general work they
pursued; and, if it were convenient to study the matter more closely, we
might see, in the canons of councils from the eleventh to the fourteenth
centuries, the Church exerting herself to develop more and more in this
order of knight-hood, this institution of an essentially warlike origin,
the moral and civilizing character of which a glimpse has just been
caught in the documents of knighthood itself.

In proportion as knighthood appeared more and more in this simultaneously
warlike, religious, and moral character, it more and more gained power
over the imagination of men, and just as it had become closely interwoven
with their creeds, it soon became the ideal of their thoughts, the source
of their noblest pleasures.  Poetry, like religion, took hold of it.
From the eleventh century onwards, knighthood, its ceremonies, its
duties, and its adventures, were the mine from which the poets drew in
order to charm the people, in order to satisfy and excite at the same
time that yearning of the soul, that need of events more varied and more
captivating, and of emotions more exalted and more pure than real life
could furnish.  In the springtide of communities poetry is not merely a
pleasure and a pastime for a nation; it is a source of progress; it
elevates and develops the moral nature of men at the same time that it
amuses them and stirs them deeply.  We have just seen what oaths were
taken by the knights and administered by the priests; and now, here is an
ancient ballad by Eustache Deschamps, a poet of the fourteenth century,
from which it will be seen that poets impressed upon knights the same
duties and the same virtues, and that the influence of poetry had the
same aim as that of religion:


               Amend your lives, ye who would fain
               The order of the knights attain;
               Devoutly watch, devoutly pray;
               From pride and sin, O, turn away!
               Shun all that's base; the Church defend;
               Be the widow's and the orphan's friend;
               Be good and Leal; take nought by might;
               Be bold and guard the people's right;--
               This is the rule for the gallant knight.


               Be meek of heart; work day by day;
               Tread, ever tread, the knightly way;
               Make lawful war; long travel dare;
               Tourney and joust for lady fair;
               To everlasting honor cling,
               That none the barbs of blame may fling;
               Be never slack in work or fight;
               Be ever least in self's own sight;--
               This is the rule for the gallant knight.


               Love the liege lord; with might and main
               His rights above all else maintain;
               Be open-handed, just, and true;
               The paths of upright men pursue;
               No deaf ear to their precepts turn;
               The prowess of the valiant learn;
               That ye may do things great and bright,
               As did great Alexander hight;--
               This is the rule for the gallant knight.

A great deal has been said to the effect that all this is sheer poetry, a
beautiful chimera without any resemblance to reality.  Indeed, it has
just been remarked here, that the three centuries under consideration,
the middle ages, were, in point of fact, one of the most brutal, most
ruffianly epochs in history, one of those wherein we encounter most
crimes and violence; wherein the public peace was most incessantly
troubled; and wherein the greatest licentiousness in morals prevailed.
Nevertheless it cannot be denied that side by side with these gross and
barbarous morals, this social disorder, there existed knightly morality
and knightly poetry.  We have moral records confronting ruffianly deeds;
and the contrast is shocking, but real.  It is exactly this contrast
which makes the great and fundamental characteristic of the middle ages.
Let us turn our eyes towards other communities, towards the earliest
stages, for instance, of Greek society, towards that heroic age of which
Homer's poems are the faithful reflection.  There is nothing there like
the contrasts by which we are struck in the middle ages.  We do not see
that, at the period and amongst the people of the Homeric poems, there
was abroad in the air or had penetrated into the imaginations of men any
idea more lofty or more pure than their every-day actions; the heroes of
Homer seem to have no misgiving about their brutishness, their ferocity,
their greed, their egotism, there is nothing in their souls superior to
the deeds of their lives.  In the France of the middle ages, on the
contrary, though practically crimes and disorders, moral and social evils
abound, yet men have in their souls and their imaginations loftier and
purer instincts and desires; their notions of virtue and their ideas of
justice are very superior to the practice pursued around them and amongst
themselves; a certain moral ideal hovers above this low and tumultuous
community, and attracts the notice and obtains the regard of men in whose
life it is but very faintly reflected.  The Christian religion,
undoubtedly, is, if not the only, at any rate the principal cause of this
great fact; for its particular characteristic is to arouse amongst men a
lofty moral ambition by keeping constantly before their eyes a type
infinitely beyond the reach of human nature, and yet profoundly
sympathetic with it.  To Christianity it was that the middle ages owed
knighthood, that institution which, in the midst of anarchy and
barbarism, gave a poetical and moral beauty to the period.  It was
feudal knighthood and Christianity together which produced the two great
and glorious events of those times, the Norman conquest of England and
the Crusades.


At the beginning of the eleventh century, Robert, called "The
Magnificent," the fifth in succession from the great chieftain Rollo who
had established the Northmen in France, was duke of Normandy.  To the
nickname he earned by his nobleness and liberality some chronicles have
added another, and call him "Robert the Devil," by reason of his reckless
and violent deeds of audacity, whether in private life or in warlike
expeditions.  Hence a lively controversy amongst the learned upon the
question of deciding to which Robert to apply the latter epithet.  Some
persist in assigning it to the duke of Normandy; others seek for some
other Robert upon whom to foist it.  However that may be, in 1034 or
1035, after having led a fair life enough from the political point of
view, but one full of turbulence and moral irregularity, Duke Robert
resolved to undertake, barefooted and staff in hand, a pilgrimage to
Jerusalem, "to expiate his sins if God would deign to consent thereto."
The Norman prelates and barons, having been summoned around him, conjured
him to renounce his plan; for to what troubles and perils would not his
dominions be exposed without lord or assured successor?  "By my faith,"
said Robert, "I will not leave ye lordless.  I have a young bastard who
will grow, please God, and of whose good qualities I have great hope.
Take him, I pray you, for lord.  That he was not born in wedlock matters
little to you; he will be none the less able in battle, or at court, or
in the palace, or to render you justice.  I make him my heir, and I hold
him seized, from this present, of the whole duchy of Normandy."  And they
who were present assented, but not without objection and disquietude.

There was certainly ample reason for objection and disquietude.  Not only
was it a child of eight years of age to whom Duke Robert, at setting out
on his pious pilgrimage, was leaving Normandy; but this child had been
pronounced bastard by the duke his father at the moment of taking him for
his heir.  Nine or ten years before, at Falaise, his favorite residence,
Robert had met, according to some at a people's dance, according to
others on the banks of a stream where she was washing linen with her
companions, a young girl named Harlette or Harleve, daughter of a tanner
in the town, where they show to this day, it is said, the window from
which the duke saw her for the first time.  She pleased his fancy, and
was not more strait-laced than the duke was scrupulous; and Fulbert, the
tanner, kept but little watch over his daughter.  Robert gave the son
born to him in 1027 the name of his glorious ancestor, William Longsword,
the son and successor of Rollo.  The child was reared, according to some,
in his father's palace, "right honorably as if he had been born in
wedlock," but, according to others, in the house of his grandfather, the
tanner; and one of the neighboring burgesses, as he saw passing one of
the principal Norman lords, William de Bellesme, surnamed "The Fierce
Talvas," stopped him, ironically saying, "Come in, my lord, and admire
your suzerain's son."  The origin of young William was in every mouth,
and gave occasion for familiar allusions more often insulting than
flattering.  The epithet bastard was, so to speak, incorporated with his
name; and we cannot be astonished that it lived in history, for, in the
height of his power, he sometimes accepted it proudly, calling himself,
in several of his charters, William the Bastard (Gulielmus Notlzus).  He
showed himself to be none the less susceptible on this point when in
1048, during the siege of Alencon, the domain of the Lord de Bellesme,
the inhabitants hung from their walls hides all raw and covered with
dirt, which they shook when they caught sight of William, with cries of
"Plenty of work for the tanner!"  "By the glory of God," cried William,
"they shall pay me dear for this insolent bra-very!"  After an assault
several of the besieged were taken prisoners; and he had their eyes
pulled out, and their feet and hands cut off, and shot from his
siege-machines these mutilated members over the walls of the city.

Notwithstanding his recklessness and his being engrossed in his
pilgrimage, Duke Robert had taken some care for the situation in which he
was leaving his son, and some measures to lessen its perils.  He had
appointed regent of Normandy, during William's minority, his cousin,
Alain V., duke of Brittany, whose sagacity and friendship he had proved;
and he had confided the personal guardianship of the child, not to his
mother.  Harlette, who was left very much out in the cold, but to one of
his most trusty officers, Gilbert Crespon, count of Brionne; and the
strong castle of Vaudreuil, the first foundation of which dated back, it
was said, to Queen Fredegonde, was assigned for the usual residence of
the young duke.  Lastly, to confirm with brilliancy his son's right as
his successor to the duchy of Normandy, and to assure him a powerful
ally, Robert took him, himself, to the court of his suzerain, Henry I.,
king of France, who recognized the title of William the Bastard, and
allowed him to take the oath of allegiance and homage.  Having thus
prepared, as best he could, for his son's future, Robert set out on his
pilgrimage.  He visited Rome and Constantinople, everywhere displaying
his magnificence, together with his humility.  He fell ill from sheer
fatigue whilst crossing Asia Minor, and was obliged to be carried in a
litter by four negroes.  "Go and tell them at home," said he to a Norman
pilgrim he met returning from the Holy Land, "that you saw me being
carried to Paradise by four devils."  On arriving at Jerusalem, where he
was received with great attention by the Mussulman emir in command there,
he discharged himself of his pious vow, and took the road back to Europe.
But he was poisoned, by whom or for what motive is not clearly known, at
Nicaea, in Bithynia, where he was buried in the basilica of St. Mary--an
honor, says the chronicle, which had never been accorded to anybody.

From 1025 to 1042, during William's minority, Normandy was a prey to the
robber-like ambition, the local quarrels, and the turbulent and brutal
passions of a host of petty castle-holders, nearly always at war, either
amongst themselves or with the young chieftain whose power they did not
fear, and whose rights they disputed.  In vain did Duke Alain of
Brittany, in his capacity as regent appointed by Duke Robert, attempt to
re-establish order; and just when he seemed on the road to success he was
poisoned by those who could not succeed in beating him.  Henry I., king
of France, being ill-disposed at bottom towards his Norman neighbors and
their young duke, for all that he had acknowledged him, profited by this
anarchy to filch from him certain portions of territory.  Attacks without
warning, fearful murders, implacable vengeance, and sanguinary
disturbances in the towns, were evils which became common, and spread.
The clergy strove with courageous perseverance against the vices and
crimes of the period.  The bishops convoked councils in their dioceses;
the laic lords, and even the people, were summoned to them; the peace of
God was proclaimed; and the priests, having in their hands lighted
tapers, turned them towards the ground and extinguished them, whilst the
populace repeated in chorus, "So may God extinguish the joys of those who
refuse to observe peace and justice."  The majority, however, of the
Norman lords, refused to enter into the engagement.  In default of peace,
it was necessary to be content with the truce of God.  It commenced on
Wednesday evening at sunset and concluded on Monday at sunrise.  During
the four days and five nights comprised in this interval, all aggression
was forbidden; no slaying, wounding, pillaging, or burning could take
place; but from sunrise on Monday to sunset on Wednesday, for three clays
and two nights, any violence became allowable, any crime might

Meanwhile William was growing up, and the omens that had been drawn from
his early youth raised the popular hopes.  It was reported that at his
very birth, when the midwife had put him unswaddled on a little heap of
straw, he had wriggled about and drawn together the straw with his hands,
insomuch that the midwife said, "By my faith, this child beginneth full
young to take and heap up: I know not what he will not do when he is
grown."  At a little later period, when a burgess of Falaise drew the
attention of the Lord William de Bellesme to the gay and sturdy lad as he
played amongst his mates, the fierce vassal muttered between his teeth,
"Accursed be thou of God! for I be certain that by thee mine honors will
be lowered."  The child on becoming man was handsomer and handsomer, "and
so lively and spirited that it seemed to all a marvel."  Amongst his
mates, command became soon a habit with him; he made them form line of
battle, he gave them the word of command, and he constituted himself
their judge in all quarrels.  At a still later period, having often heard
talk of revolts excited against him, and of disorders which troubled the
country, he was moved, in consequence, to fits of violent irritation,
which, however, he learned instinctively to bide, "and in his child's
heart," says the chronicle, "he had welling up all the vigor of a man to
teach the Normans to forbear from all acts of irregularity."  At fifteen
years of age, in 1042, he demanded to be armed knight, and to fulfil all
forms necessary "for having the right to serve and command in all ranks."
These forms were in Normandy, by a relic, it is said, of the Danish and
pagan customs, more connected with war and less with religion than
elsewhere; the young candidates were not bound to confess, to spend a
vigil in the church, and to receive from the priest's hands the sword he
had consecrated on the altar; it was even the custom to say that "he
whose sword had been girded upon him by a long-robed cleric was no true
knight, but a cit without spirit."  The day on which William for the
first time donned his armor was for his servants and all the spectators
a gala day.  "He was so tall, so manly in face, and so proud of bearing,
that it was a sight both pleasant and terrible to see him guiding his
horse's career, flashing with his sword, gleaming with his shield, and
threatening with his casque and javelins."  His first act of government
was a rigorous decree against such as should be guilty of murder, arson,
and pillage; but he at the same time granted an amnesty for past revolts,
on condition of fealty and obedience for the future.

For the establishment, however, of a young and disputed authority there
is need of something more than brilliant ceremonies and words partly
minatory and partly coaxing.  William had to show what he was made of.
A conspiracy was formed against him in the heart of his feudal court, and
almost of his family.  He had given kindly welcome to his cousin Guy of
Burgundy, and had even bestowed on him as a fief the countships of Vernon
and Brionne.  In 1044 the young duke was at Valognes; when suddenly, at
midnight, one of his trustiest servants, Golet, his fool, such as the
great lords of the time kept, knocked at the door of his chamber, crying,
"Open, open, my lord duke: fly, fly, or you are lost.  They are armed,
they are getting ready; to tarry is death."  William did not hesitate; he
got up, ran to the stables, saddled his horse with his own hands, started
off, followed a road called to this day the duke's way, and reached
Falaise as a place of safety.  There news came to him that the conspiracy
was taking the form of insurrection, and that the rebels were seizing his
domains.  William showed no more hesitation at Falaise than at Valognes;
he started off at once, repaired to Poissy, where Henry I., king of
France, was then residing, and claimed, as vassal, the help of his
suzerain against traitors.  Henry, who himself was brave, was touched by
this bold confidence, and promised his young vassal effectual support.
William returned to Normandy, summoned his lieges, and took the field
promptly.  King Henry joined him at Argence, with a body of three
thousand men-at-arms, and a battle took place on the 10th of August,
1047, at Val des Dunes, three leagues from Caen.  It was very hotly
contested.  King Henry, unhorsed by a lance-thrust, ran a risk of his
life; but he remounted and valiantly returned to the melley.  William
dashed in wherever the fight was thickest, showing himself everywhere as
able in command as ready to expose himself.  A Norman lord, Raoul de
Tesson, held aloof with a troop of one hundred and forty knights.  "Who
is he that bides yonder motionless?" asked the French king of the young
duke.  "It is the banner of Raoul de Tesson," answered William; "I wot
not that he hath aught against me."  But, though he had no personal
grievance, Raoul de Tesson had joined the insurgents, and sworn that he
would be the first to strike the duke in the conflict.  Thinking better
of it, and perceiving William from afar, he pricked towards him, and
taking off his glove struck him gently on the shoulder, saying, "I swore
to strike you, and so I am quit: but fear nothing more from me."
"Thanks, Raoul," said William; "be well disposed, I pray you."  Raoul
waited until the two armies were at grips, and when he saw which way
victory was inclined, he hasted to contribute thereto.  It was decisive:
and William the Bastard returned to Val des Dunes really duke of

He made vigorous but not cruel use of his victory.  He demolished his
enemies' strong castles, magazines as they were for pillage no less than
bulwarks of feudal independence; but there is nothing to show that he
indulged in violence towards persons.  He was even generous to the chief
concocter of the plot, Guy of Burgundy.  He took from him the countships
of Vernon and Brionne, but permitted him still to live at his court, a
place which the Burgundian found himself too ill at ease to remain in, so
he returned to Burgundy, to conspire against his own eldest brother.
William was stern without hatred and merciful without kindliness, only
thinking which of the two might promote or retard his success, gentleness
or severity.

There soon came an opportunity for him to return to the king of France
the kindness he had received.  Geoffrey Martel, duke of Anjou, being
ambitious and turbulent beyond the measure of his power, got embroiled
with the king his suzerain, and war broke out between them.  The duke of
Normandy went to the aid of King Henry and made his success certain,
which cost the duke the fierce hostility of the count of Anjou and a four
years' war with that inconvenient neighbor; a war full of dangerous
incidents, wherein William enhanced his character, already great, for
personal valor.  In an ambuscade laid for him by Geoffrey Martel he lost
some of his best knights, "whereat he was so wroth," says a chronicle,
"that he galloped down with such force upon Geoffrey, and struck him in
such wise with his sword that he dinted his helm, cut through his hood,
lopped off his car, and with the same blow felled him to earth.  But the
count was lifted up and remounted, and so fled away."

William made rapid advances both as prince and as man.  Without being
austere in his private life, he was regular in his habits, and patronized
order and respectability in his household as well as in his dominions.
He resolved to marry to his own honor, and to the promotion of his
greatness.  Baldwin the Debonnair, count of Flanders, one of the most
powerful lords of the day, had a daughter, "Matilda, beautiful,
well-informed, firm in the faith, a model of virtue and modesty."
William asked her hand in marriage.  Matilda refused, saying, "I would
rather be veiled nun than given in marriage to a bastard."  Hurt as he
was, William did not give up.  He was even more persevering than
susceptible; but he knew that he must get still greater, and make an
impression upon a young girl's imagination by the splendor of his fame
and power.  Some years later, being firmly established in Normandy,
dreaded by all his neighbors, and already showing some foreshadowings of
his design upon England, he renewed his matrimonial quest in Flanders,
but after so strange a fashion that, in spite of contemporary testimony,
several of the modern historians, in their zeal, even at so distant a
period, for observance of the proprieties, reject as fabulous the story
which is here related on the authority of the most detailed account
amongst all the chronicles which contain it.  "A little after that Duke
William had heard how the damsel had made answer, he took of his folk,
and went privily to Lille, where the duke of Flanders and his wife and
his daughter then were.  He entered into the hall, and, passing on, as if
to do some business, went into the countess's chamber, and there found
the damsel daughter of Count Baldwin.  He took her by the tresses,
dragged her round the chamber, trampled her under foot, and did beat her
soundly.  Then he strode forth from the chamber, leaped upon his horse,
which was being held for him before the hall, struck in his spurs, and
went his way.  At this deed was Count Baldwin much enraged; and when
matters had thus remained a while, Duke William sent once more to Count
Baldwin to parley again of the marriage.  The count sounded his daughter
on the subject, and she answered that it pleased her well.  So the
nuptials took place with very great joy.  And after the aforesaid
matters, Count Baldwin, laughing withal, asked his daughter wherefore she
had so lightly accepted the marriage she had aforetime so cruelly
refused.  And she answered that she did not then know the duke so well as
she did now; for, said she, if he had not great heart and high emprise,
he had not been so bold as to dare come and beat me in my father's

Amongst the historians who treat this story as a romantic and untruthlike
fable, some believe themselves to have discovered, in divers documents of
the eleventh and twelfth centuries, circumstances almost equally singular
as regards the cause of the obstacles met with at first by Duke William
in his pretensions to the hand of Princess Matilda, and as regards the
motive for the first refusal on the part of Matilda herself.  According
to some, the Flemish princess had conceived a strong passion for a noble
Saxon, Brihtric Meaw, who had been sent by King Edward the Confessor to
the court of Flanders, and who was remarkable for his beauty.  She wished
to marry him, but the handsome Saxon was not willing; and Matilda at
first gave way to violent grief on that account, and afterwards, when she
became queen of England, to vindictive hatred, the weight of which she
made him feel severely.  Other writers go still farther, and say that,
before being sought in marriage by William, Matilda had not fallen in
love with a handsome Saxon, but had actually married a Flemish burgess,
named Gerbod, patron of the church of St. Dertin, at St. Omer, and that
she had by him two and perhaps three children, traces of whom recur, it
is said, under the reign of William, king of England.  There is no
occasion to enter upon the learned controversies of which these different
allegations have been the cause; it is sufficient to say that they have
led to nothing but obscurity, contradiction, and doubt, and that there is
more moral verisimilitude in the account just given, especially in
Matilda's first prejudice against marriage with a bastard, and in her
conversation with her father, Count Baldwin, when she had changed her
opinion upon the subject.  Independently of the testimony of several
chroniclers, French and English, this tradition is mentioned, with all
the simplicity of belief, in one of the principal Flemish chronicles; and
as to the ruffianly gallantry employed by William to win his bride, there
is nothing in it very singular, considering the habits of the time, and
we meet with more than one example of adventures, if not exactly similar,
at any rate very analogous.

However that may be, this marriage brought William an unexpected
opportunity of entering into personal relations with one of the most
distinguished men of his age, and a man destined to become one of his own
most intimate advisers.  In 1019, at the council of Rheims, Pope Leo IX.,
on political grounds rather than because of a prohibited degree of
relationship, had opposed the marriage of the duke of Normandy with the
daughter of the duke of Flanders, and had pronounced his veto upon it.
William took no heed; and, in 1052 or 1053, his marriage was celebrated
at Rouen with great pomp; but this ecclesiastical veto weighed upon his
mind, and he sought some means of getting it taken off.  A learned
Italian, Lanfranc, a juris-consult of some fame already, whilst
travelling in France and repairing from Avranches to Rouen, was stopped
near Brionne by brigands, who, having plundered him, left him, with his
eyes bandaged, in a forest.  His cries attracted the attention of
passers-by, who took him to a neighboring monastery, but lately founded
by a pious Norman knight retired from the world.  Lanfranc was received
in it, became a monk of it, was elected its prior, attracted to it by his
learned teaching a host of pupils, and won therein his own great renown
whilst laying the foundation for that of the abbey of Bee, which was
destined to be carried still higher by one of his disciples, St. Anselm.
Lanfranc was eloquent, great in dialectics, of a sprightly wit, and
lively in repartee.  Relying upon the pope's decision, he spoke ill of
William's marriage with Matilda.  William was informed of this, and in a
fit of despotic anger, ordered Lanfranc to be driven from the monastery
and banished from Normandy, and even, it is said, the dependency which he
inhabited as prior of the abbey, to be burned.  The order was executed;
and Lanfranc set out, mounted on a sorry little horse given him, no
doubt, by the abbey.  By what chance is not known, but probably on a
hunting-party, his favorite diversion, William, with his retinue,
happened to cross the road which Lanfranc was slowly pursuing.  "My
lord," said the monk, addressing him, "I am obeying your orders; I am
going away, but my horse is a sorry beast; if you will give me a better
one, I will go faster."  William halted, entered into conversation with
Lanfranc, let him stay, and sent him back with a present to his abbey.
A little while afterwards Lanfranc was at Rome, and defended before Pope
Victor II. William's marriage with Matilda: he was successful, and the
pope took off the veto on the sole condition that the couple, in sign of
penitence, should each found a religious house.  Matilda, accordingly,
founded at Caen, for women, the abbey of the Holy Trinity; and William,
for men, that of St. Stephen.  Lanfranc was the first abbot of the
latter; and when William became king of England, Lanfranc was made
archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Church of England, as well as
privy counsellor of his king.  William excelled in the art, so essential
to government, of promptly recognizing the worth of men, and of
appropriating their influence to himself whilst exerting his own over

About the same time he gave his contemporaries, princes and peoples, new
proofs of his ability and power.  Henry I., king of France, growing more
and more disquieted at and jealous of the duke of Normandy's ascendency,
secretly excited against him opposition and even revolt in his dominions.
These dealings led to open war between the suzerain and the vassal, and
the war concluded with two battles won by William, one at Mortemer near
Neuchatel in Bray, the other at Varaville near Troarrh "After which,"
said William himself, "King Henry never passed a night tranquilly on my
ground."  In 1059 peace was concluded between the two princes.  Henry I.
died almost immediately afterwards, and on the 25th of August, 1060, his
son Philip I. succeeded him, under the regency of Baldwin, count of
Flanders, father of the Duchess Matilda.  Duke William was present in
state at the coronation of the new king of France, lent him effectual
assistance against the revolts which took place in Gascony, reentered
Normandy for the purpose of holding at Caen, in 1061, the Estates of his
duchy, and at that time published the famous decree observed long after
him, under the name of the law of curfew, which ordered "that every
evening the bell should be rung in all parishes to warn every one to
prayer, and house-closing, and no more running about the streets."

The passion for orderliness in his dominion did not cool his ardor for
conquest.  In 1063, after the death of his young neighbor Herbert II.,
count of Maine, William took possession of this beautiful countship; not
without some opposition on the part of the inhabitants, nor without
suspicion of having poisoned his rival, Walter, count of Vexin.  It is
said that after this conquest William meditated that of Brittany; but
there is every indication that he had formed a far vaster design, and
that the day of its execution was approaching.

From the time of Rollo's settlement in Normandy, the communications of
the Normans with England had become more and more frequent, and important
for the two countries.  The success of the invasions of the Danes in
England in the tenth century, and the reigns of three kings of the Danish
line, had obliged the princes of Saxon race to take refuge in Normandy,
the duke of which, Richard I., had given his daughter Emma in marriage to
their grandfather, Ethelred II.  When, at the death of the last Danish
king, Hardicanute, the Saxon prince Edward ascended the throne of his
fathers, he had passed twenty-seven years of exile in Normandy, and he
returned to England "almost a stranger," in the words of the chronicles,
to the country of his ancestors; far more Norman than Saxon in his
manners, tastes, and language, and surrounded by Normans, whose numbers
and prestige under his reign increased from day to day.  A hot rivalry,
nationally as well as courtly, grew up between them and the Saxons.  At
the head of these latter was Godwin, count of Kent, and his five sons,
the eldest of whom, Harold, was destined before long to bear the whole
brunt of the struggle.  Between these powerful rivals, Edward the
Confessor, a pacific, pious, gentle, and undecided king, wavered
incessantly; at one time trying to resist, and at another compelled to
yield to the pretensions and seditions by which he was beset.  In 1051
the Saxon party and its head, Godwin, had risen in revolt.  Duke William,
on invitation, perhaps, from King Edward, paid a brilliant visit to
England, where he found Normans everywhere established and powerful, in
Church as well as in State; in command of the fleets, ports, and
principal English places.  King Edward received him "as his own son, gave
him arms, horses, hounds, and hawking-birds," and sent him home full of
presents and hopes.  The chronicler, Ingulf, who accompanied William on
his return to Normandy, and remained attached to him as private
secretary, affirms that, during this visit, not only was there no
question, between King Edward and the duke of Normandy, of the latter's
possible succession to the throne of England, but that never as yet had
this probability occupied the attention of William.

It is very doubtful whether William had said nothing upon the subject to
King Edward at that time; and it is certain, from William's own
testimony, that he had for a long while been thinking about it.  Four
years after this visit of the duke to England, King Edward was reconciled
to and lived on good terms with the family of the Godwins.  Their father
was dead, and the eldest son, Harold, asked the king's permission to go
to Normandy and claim the release of his brother and nephew, who had been
left as hostages in the keeping of Duke William.  The king did not
approve of the project.  "I have no wish to constrain thee," said he to
Harold: "but if thou go, it will be without my consent: and, assuredly,
thy trip will bring some misfortune upon thee and our country.  I know
Duke William and his crafty spirit; he hates thee, and will grant thee
nought unless he see his advantage therefrom.  The only way to make him
give up the hostages will be to send some other than thyself."  Harold,
however, persisted and went.  William received him with apparent
cordiality, promised him the release of the two hostages, escorted him
and his comrades from castle to castle, and from entertainment to
entertainment, made them knights of the grand Norman order, and even
invited them, "by way of trying their new spurs," to accompany him on a
little warlike expedition he was about to undertake in Brittany.  Harold
and his comrades behaved gallantly: and he and William shared the same
tent and the same table.  On returning, as they trotted side by side,
William turned the conversation upon his youthful connection with the
king of England.  "When Edward and I," said he to the Saxon, "were living
like brothers under the same roof, he promised, if ever he became king of
England, to make me heir to his kingdom; I should very much like thee,
Harold, to help me to realize this promise; and be assured that, if by
thy aid I obtain the kingdom, whatsoever thou askest of me, I will grant
it forthwith."  Harold, in surprise and confusion, answered by an assent
which he tried to make as vague as possible.  William took it as
positive.  "Since thou dost consent to serve me," said he, "thou must
engage to fortify the castle of Dover, dig a well of fresh water there,
and put it into the hands of my men-at-arms; thou must also give me thy
sister to be married to one of my barons, and thou must thyself espouse
my daughter Adele."  Harold, "not witting," says the chronicler, "how to
escape from this pressing danger," promised all the duke asked of him,
reckoning, doubt-less, on disregarding his engagement; and for the moment
William asked him nothing more.

But a few days afterwards he summoned, at Avranches according to some,
and at Bayeux according to others, and, more probably still, at
Bonneville-sur-Touques, his Norman barons; and, in the midst of this
assembly, at which Harold was present, William, seated with his naked
sword in his hand, caused to be brought and placed upon a table covered
with cloth of gold two reliquaries.  "Harold," said he, "I call upon
thee, in presence of this noble assemblage, to confirm by oath the
promises thou didst make me, to wit, to aid me to obtain the kingdom of
England after the death of King Edward, to espouse my daughter Adele, and
to send me thy sister to be married to one of my people."  Harold, who
had not expected this public summons, nevertheless did not hesitate any
more than he had hesitated in his private conversation with William; he
drew near, laid his hand on the two reliquaries, and swore to observe, to
the best of his power, his agreement with the duke, should he live and
God help.  "God help!" repeated those who were present.  William made a
sign; the cloth of gold was removed, and there was discovered a tub
filled to the edge with bones and relies of all the saints that could be
got together.  The chronicler-poet, Robert Wace, who, alone and long
afterwards, recounts this last particular, adds that Harold was visibly
troubled at sight of this saintly heap; but he had sworn.  It is
honorable to human nature not to be indifferent to oaths even when those
who exact them have but small reliance upon them, and when he who takes
them has but small intention of keeping them.  And so Harold departed
laden with presents, leaving William satisfied, but not over-confident.

When, on returning to England, Harold told King Edward what had passed
between William and himself, "Did I not warn thee," said the king, "that
I knew William, and that thy journey would bring great misfortunes upon
thyself and upon our nation?  Grant Heaven that those misfortunes come
not during my life!"  The king's wish was not granted.  He fell ill; and
on the 5th of January, 1066, he lay on his couch almost at the point of
death.  Harold and his kindred entered the chamber, and prayed the king
to name a successor by whom the kingdom might be governed securely.  "Ye
know," said Edward, "that I have left my kingdom to the Duke of Normandy;
and are there not here, among ye, those who have sworn to assure his
succession?"  Harold advanced, and once more asked the king on whom the
crown should devolve.  "Take it, if it is thy wish, Harold," said Edward;
"but the gift will be thy ruin; against the duke and his barons thy power
will not suffice."--Harold declared that he feared neither the Norman nor
any other foe.  The king, vexed at this importunity, turned round in his
bed, saying, "Let the English make king of whom they will, Harold or
another; I consent;" and shortly after expired.  The very day after the
celebration of his obsequies, Harold was proclaimed king by his
partisans, amidst no small public disquietude, and Aldred, archbishop
of York, lost no time in anointing him.

William was in his park of Rouvray, near Rouen, trying a bow and arrows
for the chase, when a faithful servant arrived from England, to tell him
that Edward was dead and Harold proclaimed king.  William gave his bow to
one of his people, and went back to his palace at Rouen, where he paced
about in silence, sitting down, rising up, leaning upon a bench, without
opening his lips and without any one of his people's daring to address a
word to him.  There entered his seneschal William de Bretenil, of whom
"What ails the duke?" asked they who were present.  "Ye will soon know,"
answered he.  Then going up to the duke, he said, "Wherefore conceal your
tidings, my lord?  All the city knows that King Edward is dead; and that
Harold has broken his oath to you, and had himself crowned king."  "Ay,"
said William, "it is that which doth weigh me down."  "My lord," said
William Fitz-Osbern, a gallant knight and confidential friend of the
duke, "none should be wroth over what can be mended: it depends but on
you to stop the mischief Harold is doing you; you shall destroy him, if
it please you.  You have right; you have good men and true to serve you;
you need but have courage: set on boldly."  William gathered together his
most important and most trusted counsellors; and they were unanimous in
urging him to resent the perjury and injury.  He sent to Harold a
messenger charged to say, "William, duke of the Normans, doth recall to
thee the oath thou swarest to him with thy mouth and with thy hand, on
real and saintly relics."  "It is true," answered Harold, "that I swore,
but on compulsion; I promised what did not belong to me; my kingship is
not mine own; I cannot put it off from me without the consent of the
country.  I cannot any the more, without the consent of the country,
espouse a foreigner.  As for my sister, whom the duke claims for one of
his chieftains, she died within the year; if he will, I will send him the
corpse."  William replied without any violence, claiming the conditions
sworn, and especially Harold's marriage with his daughter Adele.  For all
answer to this summons Harold married a Saxon, sister of two powerful
Saxon chieftains; Edwin and Morkar.  There was an open rupture; and
William swore that "within the year he would go and claim, at the sword's
point, payment of what was due to him, on the very spot where Harold
thought himself to be most firm on his feet."

And he set himself to the work.  But, being as far-sighted as he was
ambitious, he resolved to secure for his enterprise the sanction of
religious authority and the formal assent of the Estates of Normandy.
Not that he had any inclination to subordinate his power to that of the
Pope.  Five years previously, Robert de Grandmesnil, abbot of St. Evroul,
with whom William had got embroiled, had claimed to re-enter his
monastery as master by virtue solely of an order from Pope Nicholas II.
"I will listen to the legates of the Pope, the common father of the
faithful," said William, "if they come to me to speak of the Christian
faith and religion; but if a monk of my Estates permit himself a single
word beyond his place, I will have him hanged by his cowl from the
highest oak of the nearest forest."  When, in 1000, he denounced to Pope
Alexander II. the perjury of Harold, asking him at the same time to do
him justice, he made no scruple about promising that, if the Pope
authorized him to right himself by war, he would bring back the kingdom
of England to obedience to the Holy See.  He had Lanfranc for his
negotiator with the court of Rome, and Pope Alexander II. had for chief
counsellor the celebrated monk Hildebrand, who was destined to succeed
him under the name of Gregory VII.  The opportunity of extending the
empire of the Church was too tempting to be spurned, and her future head
too bold not to seize it whatever might be the uncertainty and danger of
the issue; and in spite of hesitation on the part of some of the Pope's
advisers, the question was promptly decided in accordance with William's
demand.  Harold and his adherents were excommunicated, and, on committing
his bull to the hands of William's messenger, the Pope added a banner of
the Roman Church and a ring containing, it is said, a hair of St. Peter
set in a diamond.

The Estates of Normandy were less easy to manage.  William called them
together at Lillebonne; and several of his vassals showed a zealous
readiness to furnish him with vessels and victual and to follow him
beyond the sea, but others declared that they were not bound to any such
service, and that they would not lend themselves to it; they had calls
enough already, and had nothing more to spare.  William Fitz-Osbern
scouted these objections.  "He is your lord, and hath need of you," said
he to the recalcitrants; "you ought to offer yourselves to him, and not
wait to be asked.  If he succeed in his purpose, you will be more
powerful as well as he; if you fail him, and he succeed without you, he
will remember it: show that you love him, and what ye do, do with a good
grace."  The discussion was keen.  Many persisted in saying, "True, he is
our lord; but if we pay him his rents, that should suffice: we are not
bound to go and serve beyond the seas; we are already much burdened for
his wars."  It was at last agreed that Fitz-Osbern should give the duke
the assembly's reply; for he knew well, they said, the ability of each.
"If ye mind not to do what I shall say," said Fitz-Osbern, "charge me not
therewith."  "We will be bound by it, and will do it," was the cry amidst
general confusion.  They repaired to the duke's presence.  "My lord,"
said Fitz-Osbern, "I trow that there be not in the whole world such folk
as these.  You know the trouble and labor they have already undergone in
supporting your rights; and they are minded to do still more, and serve
you at all points, this side the sea and t'other.  Go you before, and
they will follow you; and spare them in nothing.  As for me, I will
furnish you with sixty vessels, manned with good fighters."  "Nay, nay,"
cried several of those present, prelates and barons, "we charged you not
with such reply; when he hath business in his own country, we will do him
the service we owe him; we be not bound to serve him in conquering
another's territory, or to go beyond sea for him."  And they gathered
themselves together in knots with much uproar.

"William was very wroth," says the chronicler, "retired to a chamber
apart, summoned those in whom he had most confidence, and by their advice
called before him his barons, each separately, and asked them if they
were willing to help him.  He had no intention, he told them, of doing
them wrong, nor would he and his, now or hereafter, ever cease to treat
with them in perfect courtesy; and he would give them, in writing, such
assurances as they were minded to devise.  The majority of his people
agreed to give him, more or less, according to circumstances; and he had
everything reduced to writing."  At the same time he made an appeal to
all his neighbors, Bretons, Manceaux, and Angevines, hunting up soldiers
wherever he could find them, and promising all who desired them lands in
England if he effected its conquest.  Lastly he repaired in person, first
to Philip I., king of France, his suzerain, then to Baldwin V., count of
Flanders, his father-in-law, asking their assistance for his enterprise.
Philip gave a formal refusal.  "What the duke demands of you," said his
advisers, "is to his own profit and to your hurt; if you aid him, your
country will be much burdened; and if the duke fail, you will have the
English your foes forever."  The count of Flanders made show of a similar
refusal; but privately he authorized William to raise soldiers in
Flanders, and pressed his vassals to follow him.  William, having thus
hunted up and collected all the forces he could hope for, thought only of
putting them in motion, and of hurrying on the preparations for his

Whilst, in obedience to his orders, the whole expedition, troops and
ships, were collecting at Dives, he received from Conan II., duke of
Brittany, this message: "I learn that thou art now minded to go beyond
sea and conquer for thyself the kingdom of England.  At the moment of
starting for Jerusalem, Robert, duke of Normandy, whom thou feignest to
regard as thy father, left all his heritage to Alain, my father and his
cousin: but thou and thy accomplices slew my father with poison at
Vimeux, in Normandy.  Afterwards thou didst invade his territory because
I was too young to defend it; and, contrary to all right, seeing that
thou art a bastard, thou hast kept it until this day.  Now, therefore,
either give me back this Normandy which thou owest me, or I will make war
upon thee with all my forces."  "At this message," say the chronicles,
"William was at first somewhat dismayed; but a Breton lord, who had sworn
fidelity to the two counts, and bore messages from one to the other,
rubbed poison upon the inside of Conan's hunting-horn, of his horse's
reins, and of his gloves.  Conan, having unwittingly put on his gloves
and handled the reins of his horse, lifted his hands to his face, and the
touch having filled him with poisonous infection, he died soon after, to
the great sorrow of his people, for he was an able and brave man, and
inclined to justice.  And he who had betrayed him quitted before long the
army of Conan, and informed Duke William of his death."

Conan is not the only one of William's foes whom he was suspected of
making away with by poison: there are no proofs; but contemporary
assertions are positive, and the public of the time believed them,
without surprise.  Being as unscrupulous about means as ambitious and
bold in aim, William was not of those whose character repels such an
accusation.  What, however, diminishes the suspicion is that, after and
in spite of Conan's death, several Breton knights, and, amongst others,
two sons of Count Eudes, his uncle, attended at the trysting-place of the
Norman troops and took part in the expedition.

Dives was the place of assemblage appointed for fleet and army.  William
repaired thither about the end of August, 1066.  But for several weeks
contrary winds prevented him from putting to sea; some vessels which made
the attempt perished in the tempest; and some of the volunteer
adventurers got disgusted, and deserted.  William maintained strict
discipline amongst this multitude, forbidding plunder so strictly that
"the cattle fed in the fields in full security."  The soldiers grew tired
of waiting in idleness and often in sickness.  "Yon is a mad-man," said
they, "who is minded to possess himself of another's land; God is against
the design, and so refuses us a wind."

About the 20th of September the weather changed.  The fleet got ready,
but could only go and anchor at St. Valery at the mouth of the Somme.
There it was necessary to wait several more days; impatience and
disquietude were redoubled; "and there appeared in the heavens a star
with a tail, a certain sign of great things to come."  William had the
shrine of St. Valery brought out and paraded about, being more impatient
in his soul than anybody, but ever confident in his will and his good
fortune.  There was brought to him a spy whom Harold had sent to watch
the forces and plans of the enemy; and William dismissed him, saying,
"Harold hath no need to take any care or be at any charges to know how we
be, and what we be doing; he shall see for himself, and shall feel before
the end of the year."  At last, on the 27th of September, 1066, the sun
rose on a calm sea and with a favorable wind; and towards evening the
fleet set out.  The Mora, the vessel on which William was, and which had
been given to him by his wife, Matilda, led the way; and a figure in
gilded bronze, some say in gold, representing their youngest son,
William, had been placed on the prow, with the face towards England.
Being a better sailer than the others, this ship was soon a long way
ahead; and William had a mariner sent to the top of the mainmast to see
if the fleet were following.  "I see nought but sea and sky," said the
mariner.  William had the ship brought to; and, the second time, the
mariner said, "I see four ships."  Before long he cried, "I see a forest
of masts and sails."  On the 29th of September, St. Michael's day, the
expedition arrived off the coast of England, at Pevensey, near Hastings,
and "when the tide had ebbed, and the ships remained aground on the
strand," says the chronicles the landing was effected without obstacle;
not a Saxon soldier appeared on the coast.  William was the last to leave
his ship; and on setting foot on the sand he made a false step and fell.
"Bad sign!" was muttered around him; "God have us in His keeping!"  "What
say you, lords?" cried William: "by the glory of God, I have grasped
this land with my hands; all that there is of it is ours."

[Illustration: Normans landing on English Coast----353]

With what forces William undertook the conquest of England, how many
ships composed his fleet, and how many men were aboard the ships, are
questions impossible to be decided with any precision, as we have
frequently before had occasion to remark, amidst the exaggerations and
disagreements of chroniclers.  Robert Wace reports, in his Romance of
Rou, that he had heard from his father, one of William's servants on this
expedition, that the fleet numbered six hundred and ninety-six vessels,
but he had found in divers writings that there were more than three
thousand.  M. Augustin Thierry, after his learned researches, says, in
his history of the _Conquest of England by the Normans,_ that "four
hundred vessels of four sails, and more than a thousand transport ships,
moved out into the open sea, to the sound of trumpets and of a great cry
of joy raised by sixty thousand throats."  It is probable that the
estimate of the fleet is pretty accurate, and that of the army
exaggerated.  We saw in 1830 what efforts and pains it required, amidst
the power and intelligent ability of modern civilization, to transport
from France to Algeria thirty-seven thousand men aboard three squadrons,
comprising six hundred and seventy-five ships of all sorts.  Granted that
in the eleventh century there was more haphazard than in the nineteenth,
and that there was less care for human life on the eve of a war; still,
without a doubt, the armament of Normandy in 1066 was not to be compared
with that of France in 1830, and yet William's intention was to conquer
England, whereas Charles X. thought only of chastising the dey of

Whilst William was making for the southern coast of England, Harold was
repairing by forced marches to the north in order to defend, against the
rebellion of his brother Tostig and the invasion of a Norwegian army, his
short-lived kingship thus menaced, at two ends of the country, by two
formidable enemies.  On the 25th of September, 1066, he gained at York a
brilliant victory over his northern foe; and, wounded as he was, he no
sooner learned that Duke William had on the 29th pitched his camp and
planted his flag at Pevensey, than he set out in haste for the south.
As he approached, William received, from what source is not known, this
message: "King Harold hath given battle to his brother Tostig and the
king of Norway.  He hath slain them both, and hath destroyed their army.
He is returning at the head of numerous and valiant warriors, against
whom thine own, I trove, will be worth no more than wretched curs.  Thou
passest for a man of wisdom and prudence; be not rash, plunge not thyself
into danger; I adjure thee to abide in thy intrenchments, and not to come
really to blows."  "I thank thy master," answered William, "for his
prudent counsel, albeit he might have given it to me without insult.
Carry him back this reply: I will not hide me behind ramparts; I will
come to blows with Harold as soon as I may; and with the aid of Heaven's
good will I would trust in the valor of my men against his, even though I
had but ten thousand to lead against his sixty thousand."  But the proud
confidence of William did not affect his prudence.  He received from
Harold himself a message wherein the Saxon, affirming his right to the
kingship by virtue of the Saxon laws and the last words of King Edward,
summoned him to evacuate England with all his people; on which condition
alone he engaged to preserve friendship with him, and all agreements
between them as to Normandy.  After having come to an understanding with
his barons, William maintained his right to the crown of England by
virtue of the first decision of King Edward, and the oaths of Harold
himself.  "I am ready," said he, "to uphold my cause against him by the
forms of justice, either according to the law of the Normans or according
to that of the Saxons, as he pleases.  If, by virtue of equity, Normans
or English decide that Harold has a right to possess the kingdom, let him
possess it in peace; if they acknowledge that it is to me that the
kingdom ought to belong, let him give it up to me.  If he refuse these
conditions, I do not think it just that my people or his, who are not a
whit to blame for our quarrel, should slay one another in battle; I am
ready to maintain, at the price of my head against his, that it is to me
and not to him that the kingdom of England belongs."  At this proposition
Harold was troubled, and remained a while without replying; then, as the
monk was urgent, "Let the Lord God," said he, "judge this day betwixt me
and William as to what is just."  The negotiation continued, and William
summed it all up in these terms, which the monk reported to Harold in
presence of the English chieftains: "My lord, the duke of Normandy
biddeth you do one of these things: give up to him the kingdom of
England, and take his daughter in marriage, as you sware to him on the
holy relics; or, respecting the question between him and you, submit
yourself to the Pope's decision; or fight with him, body to body, and let
him who is victorious and forces his enemy to yield have the kingdom."
Harold replied, "without opinion or advice taken," says the chronicle, "I
will not cede him the kingdom; I will not abide by the Pope's award; and
I will not fight with him."  William, still in concert with his barons,
made a farther advance.  "If Harold will come to an agreement with me,"
he said, "I will leave him all the territory beyond the Humber, towards
Scotland."  "My lord," said the barons to the duke, "make an end of these
parleys; if we must fight, let it be soon; for every day come folk to
Harold."  "By my faith," said the duke, "if we agree not on terms
to-day, to-morrow we will join battle."  The third proposal for an
agreement was as little successful as the former two; on both sides there
was no belief in peace, and they were eager to decide the quarrel once
for all.

Some of the Saxon chieftains advised Harold to fall back on London, and
ravage all the country, so as to starve out the invaders.  "By my faith,"
said Harold, "I will not destroy the country I have in keeping; I, with
my people, will fight."  "Abide in London," said his younger brother,
Gurth: "thou canst not deny that, perforce or by free will, thou didst
swear to Duke William; but, as for us, we have sworn nought; we will
fight for our country; if we alone fight, thy cause will be good in any
case; if we fly, thou shalt rally us; if we fall, thou shalt avenge us."
Harold rejected this advice, "considering it shame to his past life to
turn his back, whatever were the peril."  Certain of his people, whom he
had sent to reconnoitre the Norman army, returned saying that there were
more priests in William's camp than warriors in his own; for the Normans,
at this period, wore shaven chins and short hair, whilst the English let
hair and beard grow.  "Ye do err," said Harold; "these be not priests,
but good men-at-arms, who will show us what they can do."

On the eve of the battle, the Saxons passed the night in amusement,
eating, drinking, and singing, with great uproar; the Normans, on the
contrary, were preparing their arms, saying their prayers, and
"confessing to their priests--all who would."  On the 14th of October,
1066, when Duke William put on his armor, his coat of mail was given to
him the wrong way.  "Bad omen!" cried some of his people; "if such a
thing had happened to us, we would not fight to-day."  "Be ye not
disquieted," said the duke; "I have never believed in sorcerers and
diviners, and I never liked them; I believe in God, and in Him I put my
trust."  He assembled his men-at-arms, and setting himself upon a high
place, so that all might hear him, he said to them, "My true and loyal
friends, ye have crossed the seas for love of me, and for that I cannot
thank ye as I ought; but I will make what return I may, and what I have
ye shall have.  I am not come only to take what I demanded, or to get my
rights, but to punish felonies, treasons, and breaches of faith committed
against our people by the men of this country.  Think, moreover, what
great honor ye will have to-day if the day be ours.  And bethink ye that,
if ye be discomfited, ye be dead men without help; for ye have not
whither ye may retreat, seeing that our ships be broken up, and our
mariners be here with us.  He who flies will be a dead man; he who fights
will be saved.  For God's sake, let each man do his duty; trust we in
God, and the day will be ours."

[Illustration: William the Conqueror reviewing his Army----357]

The address was too long for the duke's faithful comrade, William
Fitz-Osborn.  "My lord," said he, "we dally; let us all to arms and
forward, forward!"  The army got in motion, starting from the hill of
Telham or Heathland, according to Mr. Freeman, marching to attack the
English on the opposite hill of Senlac.  A Norman, called Taillefer, "who
sang very well, and rode a horse which was very fast, came up to the
duke.  'My lord,' said he, 'I have served you long, and you owe me for
all my service: pay me to day, an it please you; grant unto me, for
recompense in full, to strike the first blow in the battle.'  'I grant
it,' quoth the duke.  So Taillefer darted before him, singing the deeds
of Charlemagne, of Roland, of Oliver, and of the vassals who fell at
Roncesvalles."  As he sang, he played with his sword, throwing it up into
the air and catching it in his right hand; and the Normans followed,
repeating his songs, and crying, "God help!  God help!"  The English,
intrenched upon a plateau towards which the Normans were ascending,
awaited the assault, shouting, and defying the foe.

The battle, thus begun, lasted nine hours, with equal obstinacy on both
sides, and varied success from hour to hour.  Harold, though wounded at
the commencement of the fray, did not cease for a moment to fight, on
foot, with his two brothers beside him, and around him the troops of
London, who had the privilege of forming the king's guard when he
delivered a battle.  Rudely repulsed at the first charge, some bodies of
Norman troops fell back in disorder, and a rumor spread amongst them that
the duke was slain; but William threw himself before the fugitives, and,
taking off his helmet, cried, "Look at me; here I am; I live, and by
God's help will conquer."  So they returned to the combat.  But the
English were firm; the Normans could not force their intrenchrnents; and
William ordered his men to feign a retreat, and all but a flight.  At
this sight the English bore down in pursuit: "and still Norman fled and
Saxon pursued, until a trumpeter, who had been ordered by the duke thus
to turn back the Normans, began to sound the recall.  Then were seen the
Normans turning back to face the English, and attacking them with their
swords, and amongst the English, some flying, some dying, some asking
mercy in their own tongue."  The struggle once more became general and
fierce.  William had three horses killed under him; "but he jumped
immediately upon a fresh steed, and left not long unavenged the death of
that which had but lately carried him."  At last the intrenchments of the
English were stormed; Harold fell mortally wounded by an arrow which
pierced his skull; his two brothers and his bravest comrades fell at his
side; the fight was prolonged between the English dispersed and the
Normans remorselessly pursuing; the standard sent from Rome to the duke
of Normandy had replaced the Saxon flag on the very spot where Harold had
fallen; and, all around, the ground continued to get covered with dead
and dying, fruitless victims of the passions of the combatants.  Next day
William went over the field of battle; and he was heard to say, in a tone
of mingled triumph and sorrow, "Here is verily a lake of blood!"

There was, long after the battle of Senlac, or Hastings, as it is
commonly called, a patriotic superstition in the country to the effect
that, when the rain had moistened the soil, there were to be seen traces
of blood on the ground where it had taken place.

Having thus secured the victory, William had his tent pitched at the very
point where the standard which had come from Rome had replaced the Saxon
banner, and he passed the night supping and chatting with his chieftains,
not far from the corpses scattered over the battle-field.  Next day it
was necessary to attend to the burial of all these dead, conquerors or
conquered.  William was full of care and affection towards his comrades;
and on the eve of the battle, during a long and arduous reconnoissance
which he had undertaken with some of them, he had insisted upon carrying,
for some time, in addition to his own cuirass, that of his faithful
William Fitz-Osbern, who he saw was fatigued in spite of his usual
strength; but towards his enemies William was harsh and resentful.
Githa, Harold's mother, sent to him to ask for her son's corpse, offering
for it its weight in gold.  "Nay," said William, "Harold was a perjurer;
let him have for burial-place the sand of the shore, where he was so
madly fain to rule."  Two Saxon monks from Waltham Abbey, which had been
founded by Harold, came, by their abbot's order, and claimed for their
church the remains of their benefactor; and William, indifferent as he
had been to a mother's grief, would not displease an abbey.  But when the
monks set about finding the body of Harold, there was none to recognize
it, and they had recourse to a young girl, Edith, Swan's-neck, whom
Harold had loved.  She discovered amongst the corpses her lover's
mutilated body; and the monks bore it away to the church at Waltham,
where it was buried.  Some time later a rumor was spread abroad that
Harold was wounded, and carried to a neighboring castle, perhaps Dover,
whence he went to the abbey of St. John, at Chester, where he lived a
long while in a solitary cell, and where William the Conqueror's second
son, Henry I., the third Norman king of England, one day went to see him
and had an interview with him.  But this legend, in which there is
nothing chronologically impossible, rests on no sound basis of evidence,
and is discountenanced by all contemporary accounts.

[Illustration: Edith discovers the Body of Harold----360]

Before following up his victory, William resolved to perpetuate the
remembrance of it by a religious monument, and he decreed the foundation
of an abbey on the very field of the battle of Hastings, from which it
took its name, Battle Abbey.  He endowed this abbey with all the
neighboring territory within the radius of a league, "the very spot,"
says his charter, "which gave me my crown."  He made it free of the
jurisdiction of any prelate, dedicated it to St. Martin of Tours, patron
saint of the soldiers of Gaul, and ordered that there should be deposited
in its archives a register containing the names of all the lords,
knights, and men of mark who had accompanied him on his expedition.  When
the building of the abbey began, the builders observed a want of water;
and they notified William of the fact.  "Work away," said he: "if God
grant me life, I will make such good provision for the place that more
wine shall be found there than there is water in other monasteries."

It was not everything, however, to be victorious, it was still necessary
to be recognized as king.  When the news of the defeat at Hastings and
the death of Harold was spread abroad in the country, the emotion was
lively and seemed to be profound; the great Saxon national council, the
Wittenagemote, assembled at London; the remnants of the Saxon army
rallied there; and search was made for other kings than the Norman duke.
Harold left two sons, very young and not in a condition to reign; but his
two brothers-in-law, Edwin and Morkar, held dominion in the north of
England, whilst the southern provinces, and amongst them the city of
London, had a popular aspirant, a nephew of Edward the Confessor, in
Edgar surnamed Atheliny (the noble, the illustrious), as the descendant
of several kings.  What with these different pretensions, there were
discussion, hesitation, and delay; but at last the young Edgar prevailed,
and was proclaimed king.  Meanwhile William was advancing with his army,
slowly, prudently, as a man resolved to risk nothing and calculating upon
the natural results of his victory.  At some points he encountered
attempts at resistance, but he easily overcame them, occupied
successively Romney, Dover, Canterbury, and Rochester, appeared before
London without trying to enter it, and moved on Winchester, which was the
residence of Edward the Confessor's widow, Queen Editha, who had received
that important city as dowry.  Through respect for her, William, who
presented himself in the character of relative and heir of King Edward,
did not enter the place, and merely called upon the inhabitants to take
the oath of allegiance to him and do him homage, which they did with the
queen's consent.  William returned towards London and commenced the
siege, or rather investment of it, by establishing his camp at
Berkhampstead, in the county of Hertford.  He entered before long into
secret communication with an influential burgess, named Ansgard, an old
man who had seen service, and who, riddled with wounds, had himself
carried about the streets in a litter.  Ansgard had but little difficulty
in inducing the authorities of London to make pacific overtures to the
duke, and William had still less difficulty in convincing the messenger
of the moderation of his designs.  "The king salutes ye, and offers ye
peace," said Ansgard to the municipal authorities of London on his return
from the camp: "'tis a king who hath no peer; he is handsomer than the
sun, wiser than Solomon, more active and greater than Charlemagne," and
the enthusiastic poet adds that the people as well as the senate eagerly
welcomed these words, and renounced, both of them, the young king they
had but lately proclaimed.  Facts were quick in responding to this
quickly produced impression; a formal deputation was sent to William's
camp; the archbishops of Canterbury and York, many other prelates and
laic chieftains, the principal citizens of London, the two brothers-in-
law of Harold, Edwin and Morkar, and the young king of yesterday, Edgar
Atheling himself, formed part of it; and they brought to William, Edgar
Atheling his abdication, and all the others their submission, with an
express invitation to William to have himself made king, "for we be
wont," said they, "to serve a king, and we wish to have a king for lord."
William received them in presence of the chieftains of his army, and with
great show of moderation in his desires.  "Affairs," said he, "be
troubled still; there be still certain rebels; I desire rather the peace
of the kingdom than the crown; I would that my wife should be crowned
with me."  The Norman chieftains murmured whilst they smiled; and one of
them, an Aquitanian, Aimery de Thouars, cried out, "It is passing modest
to ask soldiers if they wish their chief to be king: soldiers are never,
or very seldom, called to such deliberations: let what we desire be done
as soon as possible."  William yielded to the entreaties of the Saxon
deputies and to the counsels of the Norman chieftains but, prudent still,
before going in person to London, he sent thither some of his officers
with orders to have built there immediately, on the banks of the Thames,
at a point which he indicated, a fort where he might establish himself in
safety.  That fort, in the course of time, became the Tower of London.

When William set out, some days afterwards, to make his entry into the
city, he found, on his way to St. Alban's, the road blocked with huge
trunks of trees recently felled.  "What means this barricade in thy
domains?" he demanded of the abbot of St. Alban's, a Saxon noble.  "I
did what was my duty to my birth and mission," replied the monk: "if
others, of my rank and condition, had done as much, as they ought to and
could have done, thou hadst not penetrated so far into our country."

On entering London after all these delays and all these precautions,
William fixed, for his coronation, upon Christmas-day, December 25th,
1066.  Either by desire of the prelate himself or by William's own order,
it was not the archbishop of Canterbury, Stigand, who presided, according
to custom, at the ceremony; the duty devolved upon the archbishop of
York, Aldred, who had but lately anointed Edgar Atheling.  At the
appointed hour, William arrived at Westminster Abbey, the latest work and
the burial-place of Edward the Confessor.  The Conqueror marched between
two hedges of Norman soldiers, behind whom stood a crowd of people, cold
and sad, though full of curiosity.  A numerous cavalry guarded the
approaches to the church and the quarters adjoining.  Two hundred and
sixty counts, barons, and knights of Normandy went in with the duke.
Geoffrey, bishop of Coutanees, demanded in French, of the Normans, if
they would that their duke should take the title of King of the English.
The archbishop of York demanded of the English, in the Saxon tongue, if
they would have for king the duke of Normandy.  Noisy acclamations arose
in the church and resounded outside.  The soldiery, posted in the
neighborhood, took the confused roar for a symptom of something wrong,
and in their suspicious rage set fire to the neighboring houses.  The
flames spread rapidly.  The people who were rejoicing in the church
caught the alarm, and a multitude of men and women of every rank flung
themselves out of the edifice.  Alone and trembling, the bishops with
some clerics and monks remained before the altar and accomplished the
work of anointment upon the king's head, "himself trembling," says the
chronicle.  Nearly all the rest who were present ran to the fire, some to
extinguish it, others to steal and pillage in the midst of the
consternation.  William terminated the ceremony by taking the usual oath
of Saxon kings at their coronation, adding thereto, as of his own motion,
a promise to treat the English people according to their own laws and as
well as they had ever been treated by the best of their own kings.  Then
he went forth from the church King of England.

We will pursue no farther the life of William the Conqueror: for
henceforth it belongs to the history of England, not of France.  We have
entered, so far as he was concerned, into pretty long details, because we
were bound to get a fair understanding of the event and of the man; not
only because of their lustre at the time, but especially because of the
serious and long-felt consequences entailed upon France, England, and, we
may say, Europe.  We do not care just now to trace out those consequences
in all their bearings; but we would like to mark out with precision their
chief features, inasmuch as they exercised, for centuries, a determining
influence upon the destinies of two great nations, and upon the course of
modern civilization.

As to France, the consequences of the conquest of England by the Normans
were clearly pernicious, and they have not yet entirely disappeared.  It
was a great evil, as early as the eleventh century, that the duke of
Normandy, one of the great French lords, one of the great vassals of the
king of France, should at the same time become king of England, and thus
receive an accession of rank and power which could not fail to render
more complicated and more stormy his relations with his French suzerain.
From the eleventh to the fourteenth century, from Philip I. to Philip de
Valois, this position gave rise, between the two crowns and the two
states, to questions, to quarrels, to political struggles, and to wars
which were a frequent source of trouble in France to the government and
the people.  The evil and the peril became far greater still when, in the
fourteenth century, there arose between France and England, between
Philip de Valois and Edward III., a question touching the succession to
the throne of France and the application or negation of the Salic law.
Then there commenced, between the two crowns and the two peoples, that
war which was to last more than a hundred years, was to bring upon France
the saddest days of her history, and was to be ended only by the inspired
heroism of a young girl who, alone, in the name of her God and His
saints, restored confidence and victory to her king and her country.
Joan of Arc, at the cost of her life, brought to the most glorious
conclusion the longest and bloodiest struggle that has devastated France
and sometimes compromised her glory.

Such events, even when they are over, do not cease to weigh heavily for a
long while upon a people.  The struggles between the kings of England,
dukes of Normandy, and the kings of France, and the long war of the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries for the succession to the throne of
France, engendered what historians have called "the rivalry between
France and England;" and this rivalry, having been admitted as a natural
and inevitable fact, became the permanent incubus and, at divers epochs,
the scourge of French national existence.  Undoubtedly there are, between
great and energetic neighbors, different interests and tendencies, which
easily become the seeds of jealousy and strife; but there are also,
between such nations, common interests and common sentiments, which tend
to harmony and peace.  The wisdom and ability of governments and of
nations themselves are shown in devoting themselves to making the grounds
of harmony and peace stronger than those of discord and war.  Anyhow
common sense and moral sense forbid differences of interests and
tendencies to be set up as a principle upon which to establish general
and permanent rivalry, and, by consequence, a systematic hostility and
national enmity.  And the further civilization and the connections
between different people proceed with this development, the more
necessary and, at the same time, possible it becomes to raise the
interests and sentiments which would hold them together above those which
would keep them asunder, and to thus found a policy of reciprocal equity
and of peace in place of a policy of hostile precautions and continual
strife.  "I have witnessed," says M. Guizot, "in the course of my life,
both these policies.  I have seen the policy of systematic hostility, the
policy practised by the Emperor Napoleon I. with as much ability and
brilliancy as it was capable of, and I have seen it result in the
greatest disaster France ever experienced.  And even after the evidence
of its errors and calamities this policy has still left amongst us deep
traces and raised serious obstacles to the policy of reciprocal equity,
liberty, and peace which we labored to support, and of which the nation
felt, though almost against the grain, the justice and the necessity."
In that feeling we recognize the lamentable results of the old historic
causes which have just been pointed out, and the lasting perils arising
from those blind passions which hurry people away, and keep them back
from their most pressing interests and their most honorable sentiments.

In spite of appearances to the contrary, and in view of her future
interests, England was, in the eleventh century, by the very fact of the
conquest she underwent, in a better position than France.  She was
conquered, it is true, and conquered by a foreign chieftain and a foreign
army; but France also had been, for several centuries previously, a prey
to conquest, and under circumstances much more unfavorable than those
under which the Norman conquest had found and placed England. When the
Goths, the Burgundians, the Franks, the Saxons, and the Normans
themselves invaded and disputed over Gaul, what was the character of the
event?  Barbarians, up to that time vagabonds or nearly so, were flooding
in upon populations disorganized and enervated.  On the side of the
German victors, no fixity in social life; no general or anything like
regular government; no nation really cemented and constituted; but
individuals in a state of dispersion and of almost absolute independence:
on the side of the vanquished Gallo-Romans, the old political ties
dissolved; no strong power, no vital liberty; the lower classes in
slavery, the middle classes ruined, the upper classes depreciated.
Amongst the barbarians society was scarcely commencing; with the subjects
of the Roman empire it no longer existed; Charlemagne's attempt to
reconstruct it by rallying beneath a new empire both victors and
vanquished was a failure; feudal anarchy was the first and the necessary
step out of barbaric anarchy and towards a renewal of social order.

It was not so in England, when, in the eleventh century, William
transported thither his government and his army.  A people but lately
come out of barbarism, conquered, on that occasion, a people still half
barbarous.  Their primitive origin was the same; their institutions were,
if not similar, at any rate analogous; there was no fundamental
antagonism in their habits; the English chieftains lived in their domains
an idle, hunting life, surrounded by their liegemen, just as the Norman
barons lived.  Society, amongst both the former and the latter, was
founded, however unrefined and irregular it still was; and neither the
former nor the latter had lost the flavor and the usages of their ancient
liberties.  A certain superiority, in point of organization and social
discipline, belonged to the Norman conquerors; but the conquered Anglo-
Saxons were neither in a temper to allow themselves to be enslaved nor
out of condition for defending themselves.  The conquest was destined to
entail cruel evils, a long oppression, but it could not bring about
either the dissolution of the two peoples into petty lawless groups, or
the permanent humiliation of one in presence of the other.  There were,
at one and the same time, elements of government and resistance, causes
of fusion and unity in the very midst of the struggle.

We are now about to anticipate ages, and get a glimpse, in their
development, of the consequences which attended this difference, so
profound, in the position of France and of England, at the time of the
formation of the two states.

In England, immediately after the Norman conquest, two general forces are
confronted, those, to wit, of the two peoples.  The Anglo-Saxon people is
attached to its ancient institutions, a mixture of feudalism and liberty,
which become its security.  The Norman army assumes organization on
English soil according to the feudal system which had been its own in
Normandy.  A principle of authority and a principle of resistance thus
exist, from the very first, in the community and in the government.
Before long the principle of resistance gets displaced; the strife
between the peoples continues; but a new struggle arises between the
Norman king and his barons.  The Norman kingship, strong in its growth,
would fain become tyrannical; but its tyranny encounters a resistance,
also strong, since the necessity for defending themselves against the
Anglo-Saxons has caused the Norman barons to take up the practice of
acting in concert, and has not permitted them to set themselves up as
petty, isolated sovereigns.  The spirit of association receives
development in England: the ancient institutions have maintained it
amongst the English landholders, and the inadequacy of individual
resistance has made it prevalent amongst the Norman barons.  The unity
which springs from community of interests and from junction of forces
amongst equals becomes a counter-poise to the unity of the sovereign
power.  To sustain the struggle with success, the aristocratic coalition
formed against the tyrannical kingship has needed the assistance of the
landed proprietors, great and small, English and Norman, and it has not
been able to dispense with getting their rights recognized as well as its
own.  Meanwhile the struggle is becoming complicated; there is a division
of parties; a portion of the barons rally round the threatened kingship;
sometimes it is the feudal aristocracy, and sometimes it is the king that
summons and sees flocking to the rescue the common people, first of the
country, then of the towns.  The democratic element thus penetrates into
and keeps growing in both society and government, at one time quietly and
through the stolid influence of necessity, at another noisily and by
means of revolutions, powerful indeed, but nevertheless restrained within
certain limits.  The fusion of the two peoples and the different social
classes is little by little attaining accomplishment; it is little by
little bringing about the perfect formation of representative government
with its various component parts, royalty, aristocracy, and democracy,
each invested with the rights and the strength necessary for their
functions.  The end of the struggle has been arrived at; constitutional
monarchy is founded; by the triumph of their language and of their
primitive liberties the English have conquered their conquerors.  It is
written in her history, and especially in her history at the date of the
eleventh century, how England found her point of departure and her first
elements of success in the long labor she performed, in order to arrive,
in 1688, at a free, and, in our days, at a liberal government.

France pursued her end by other means and in the teeth of other fortunes.
She always desired and always sought for free government under the form
of constitutional monarchy; and in following her history, step by step,
there will be seen, often disappearing and ever re-appearing, the efforts
made by the country for the accomplishment of her hope.  Why then did not
France sooner and more completely attain what she had so often attempted?
Amongst the different causes of this long miscalculation, we will dwell
for the present only on the historical reason just now indicated: France
did not find, as England did, in the primitive elements of French society
the conditions and means of the political system to which she never
ceased to aspire.  In order to obtain the moderate measure of internal
order, without which society could not exist; in order to insure the
progress of her civil laws and her material civilization; in order even
to enjoy those pleasures of the mind for which she thirsts so much,--
France was constantly obliged to have recourse to the kingly authority
and to that almost absolute monarchy which was far from satisfying her
even when she could not do without it, and when she worshipped it with an
enthusiasm rather literary than political, as was the case under Louis
XIV.  It was through the refined rather than profound development of her
civilization, and through the zeal of her intellectual movement, that
France was at length impelled not only towards the political system to
which she had so long aspired, but into the boundless ambition of the
unlimited revolution which she brought about and with which she
inoculated all Europe.  It is in the first steps towards the formation of
the two societies, French and English, and in the elements, so very
different, of their earliest existence, that we find the principal cause
for their long-continued diversity in institutions and destinies.

"In 1823, forty-seven years ago, after having studied," says M. Guizot,
"in my Essays upon a Comparative History of France and England, the great
fact which we have just now attempted to make clearly understood, I
concluded my labor by saying, 'Before our revolution, this difference
between the political fates of France and England might have saddened a
French-man: but now, in spite of the evils we have suffered and in spite
of those we shall yet, perhaps, suffer, there is no room, so far as we
are concerned, for such sadness.  The advances of social equality and the
enlightenments of civilization in France preceded political liberty; and
it will thus be the more general and the purer.  France may reflect,
without regret, upon any history: her own has always been glorious, and
the future promised to her will assuredly recompense her for all she has
hitherto lacked.' In 1870, after the experiences and notwithstanding the
sorrows of my long life, I have still confidence in our country's future.
Never be it forgotten that God helps only those who help themselves and
who deserve his aid."


Amongst the great events of European history, none was for a longer time
in preparation or more naturally brought about than the Crusades.
Christianity, from her earliest days, had seen in Jerusalem her sacred
cradle; it had been, in past times, the home of her ancestors, the Jews,
and the centre of their history; and, afterwards, the scene of the life,
death, and resurrection of her Divine Founder.  Jerusalem became, more
and more, the Holy City.  To go to Jerusalem, to visit the Mount of
Olives, Calvary, and the tomb of Jesus, was, in their most evil days, and
in the midst of their obscurity and their martyrdoms, a pious passion
with the early Christians.  When, under Constantine, Christianity had
ascended from the cross to the throne, Jerusalem had fresh attractions
for Christian faith and Christian curiosity.  Temples covered and
surrounded the Holy Sepulchre; and at Bethlehem, Nazareth, Mount Tabor,
and nearly all the places which Jesus had consecrated by His presence and
His miracles were seen to rise up churches, chapels, and monuments
dedicated to the memory of them.  The Emperor Constantine's mother, St.
Helena, was, at seventy-eight years of age, the first royal pilgrim to
the holy places.  After the Pagan revival, vainly attempted by the
Emperor Julian, the number and zeal of the Christian visitors to
Jerusalem were redoubled.  At the beginning of the fifth century, St.
Jerome wrote, from his retreat at Bethlehem, that Judea overflowed with
pilgrims, and that, round about the Holy Sepulchre, were heard sung, in
divers tongues, the praises of the Lord.  He, however, gave but scant
encouragement to his friends to make the trip.  "The court of heaven," he
wrote to St. Paulinus, "is as open in Britain as at Jerusalem;" and the
disorder which sometimes accompanied the numerous assemblages of pilgrims
became such that several of the most illustrious fathers of the Church,
and amongst others St. Augustine and St. Gregory of Nyssa, exerted
themselves to dissuade the faithful.  "Take no thought," said Augustine,
"for long voyages; go where your faith is; it is not by ship, but by
love, that we go to Him who is everywhere."

Events soon rendered the pilgrimage to Jerusalem difficult, and for some
time impossible.  At the commencement of the seventh century, the Greek
empire was at war with the sovereigns of Persia, successors of Cyrus and
chiefs of the religion of Zoroaster.  One of them, Khosroes II., invaded
Judea, took Jerusalem, led away captive the inhabitants, together with
their patriarch, Zacharias, and even carried off to Persia the precious
relic which was regarded as the wood of the true cross, and which had
been discovered, nearly three centuries before, by the Empress Helena,
whilst excavations were making on Calvary for the erection of the church
of the Holy Sepulchre.  But fourteen years later, after several victories
over the Persians, the Greek emperor, Heraclius, retook Jerusalem, and
re-entered Constantinople in triumph with the coffer containing the
sacred relic.  He next year (in 629) carried it back to Jerusalem, and
bore it upon his own shoulders to the top of Calvary; and on this
occasion was instituted the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Great was the joy in Christendom; and the pilgrimages to Jerusalem
resumed their course.

But precisely at this epoch there appeared an enemy far more formidable
for the Christians than the sectaries of Zoroaster.  In 622 Mahomet
founded Islamism; and some years after his death, in 638, the second of
the khalifs, his successors, Omar, sent two of his generals, Khaled and
Abou-Obeidah, to take Jerusalem.  For to the Mussulmans, also, Jerusalem
was a holy city.  Mahomet, it was said, had been thither; it was thence,
indeed, that he had started on his nocturnal ascent to heaven.  On
approaching the walls, the Arabs repeated these words from the Koran:
"Enter we the holy land which God hath promised us."  The siege lasted
four months.  The Christians at last surrendered, but only to Omar in
person, who came from Medina to receive their submission.  A capitulation
concluded with their patriarch, Sophronius, guaranteed them their lives,
their property, and their churches.  "When the draft of the treaty was
completed, Omar said to the patriarch, 'Conduct me to the temple of
David.'  Omar entered Jerusalem preceded by the patriarch, and followed
by four thousand warriors, followers of the Prophet, wearing no other
arms but their swords.  Sophronius took him, first of all, to the Church
of the Resurrection.  'Be-hold,' said he, 'the temple of David.'  'Thou
sayest not true,' said Omar, after a few moments' reflection; 'the
Prophet gave me a description of the temple of David, and it tallieth not
with the building I now see.'  The patriarch then conducted him to the
Church of Sion.  'Here,' said he, 'is the temple of David.'  'It is a
lie,' rejoined Omar, and went his way, directing his steps towards the
gate named Bab-Mohammed.  The spot on which now stands the Mosque of Omar
was so encumbered with filth that the steps leading to the street were
covered with it, and that the rubbish reached almost to the top of the
vault.  'You can only get in here by crawling,' said the patriarch.  'Be
it so,' answered Omar.  The patriarch went first; Omar, with his people,
followed; and they arrived at the space which at this day forms the
forecourt of the mosque.  There every one could stand upright.  After
having turned his eyes to right and left, and attentively examined the
place, 'Allah alchbar!' cried Omar; here is the temple of David,
described to me by the Prophet.'"

He found the Sakhra (the rock which forms the summit of Mount Moriah,)
and which, left alone after the different destructions of the different
temples, became the theme of a multitude of traditions and legends,
(Jewish and Mussulman) covered with filth, heaped up there by the
Christians through hatred of the Jews.  "Omar spread his cloak over the
rock, and began to sweep it; and all the Mussulmans in his train followed
his example."  (_Le Temple de Jerusalem,_ a monograph, pp. 73-75, by
Count Melchior de Vogue, ch. vi.) The Mosque of Omar rose up on the site
of Solomon's temple.  The Christians retained the practice of their
religion in their churches, but they were obliged to conceal their
crosses and their sacred books.  The bell no longer summoned the faithful
to prayer; and the pomp of ceremonies was forbidden them.  It was far
worse when Omar, the most moderate of Mussulman fanatics, had left
Jerusalem.  The faithful were driven from their houses, and insulted in
their churches; additions were made to the tribute they had to pay to the
new masters of Palestine; they were prohibited from carrying arms and
riding on horseback; a girdle of leather, which they might not lay aside,
was their badge of servitude; their conquerors brooked not even that the
Christians should speak the Arab tongue, reserved for disciples of the
Koran; and the Christian people of Jerusalem had not the right of
nominating their own patriarch without the intervention of the Saracens.

From the seventh to the eleventh century the situation remained very much
the same.  The Mussulmans, khalifs of Egypt or Persia, continued in
possession of Jerusalem; and the Christians, native inhabitants or
foreign visitors, continued to be oppressed, harassed, and humiliated
there.  At two periods their condition was temporarily better.  At the
commencement of the ninth century, Charlemagne reached even there with
the greatness of his mind and of his power.  "It was not only in his own
land and his own kingdom," says Eginhard, "that he scattered those
gratuitous largesses which the Greeks call alms; but beyond the seas, in
Syria, in Egypt, in Africa, at Jerusalem, at Alexandria, at Carthage,
wherever he knew that there were Christians living in poverty, he had
compassion on their misery, and he delighted to send them money."  In one
of his capitularies of the year 810 we find this paragraph: "Alms to be
sent to Jerusalem to repair the churches of God."  "If Charlemagne was so
careful to seek the friendship of the kings beyond the seas, it was above
all in order to obtain for the Christians living under their rule help
and relief.  .  .  .  He kept up so close a friendship with Haroun-al-
Raschid, king of Persia, that this prince preferred his good graces to
the alliance of the sovereigns of the earth.  Accordingly, when the
ambassadors whom Charles had sent, with presents, to visit the sacred
tomb of our divine Saviour, and the site of the resurrection, presented
themselves before him, and expounded to him their master's wish, Haroun
did not content himself with entertaining Charles's request; he wished,
besides, to give up to him the complete proprietorship of those places
hallowed by the certification of our redemption," and he sent him, with
the most magnificent presents, the keys of the Holy Sepulchre.  At the
end of the same century, another Christian sovereign, far less powerful
and less famous, John Zimisces, emperor of Constantinople, in a war
against the Mussulmans of Asia, penetrated into Galilee, made himself
master of Tiberias, Nazareth, and Mount Tabor, received a deputation
which brought him the keys of Jerusalem, "and we have placed," he says
himself, "garrisons in all the district lately subjected to our rule."
These were but strokes of foreign intervention, giving the Christians of
Jerusalem gleams of hope rather than lasting diminution of their
miseries.  However, it is certain that, during this epoch, pilgrimages
multiplied, and were often accomplished without obstacle.  It was from
France, England, and Italy that most of the pilgrims went, and some of
them wrote, or caused to be written, an account of their trip,--amongst
others the Italian Saint Valentine, the English Saint Willibald, and the
French Bishop Saint Arculf, who had as companion a Burgundian hermit
named Peter, a singular resemblance in quality and name to the zealous
apostle of the Crusade three centuries later.  The most curious of these
narratives is that of a French monk, Bernard, a pilgrim of about the year
870.  "There is at Jerusalem," says he, "a hospice where admittance is
given to all who come to visit the place for devotion's sake, and who
speak the Roman tongue; a church, dedicated to St. Mary, is hard by the
hospice, and possesseth a very noble library, which it oweth to the zeal
of the Emperor Charles the Great."  This pious establishment had attached
to it fields, vineyards, and a garden situated in the valley of

But whilst there were a few isolated cases of Christians thus going to
satisfy in the East their pious and inquisitive zeal, the Mussulmans,
equally ardent as believers and as warriors, carried Westward their creed
and their arms, established themselves in Spain, penetrated to the very
heart of France, and brought on, between Islamism and Christianity, that
grand struggle in which Charles Martel gained, at Poitiers, the victory
for the Cross.  It was really a definitive victory, and yet it did not
end the struggle; the Mussulmans remained masters in Spain, and continued
to infest Southern France, Italy, and Sicily, preserving even, at certain
points, posts which they used as starting-points for distant ravages.
Far then from calming down and resulting in pacific relations, the
hostility between the two races became more and more active and
determined; everywhere they opposed, fought, and oppressed one another,
inflamed one against the other by the double feelings of faith and
ambition, hatred and fear.  To this general state of affairs came to be
added, about the end of the tenth and beginning of the eleventh century,
incidents best calculated to aggravate the evil.  Hakem, khalif of Egypt
from 996 to 1021, persecuted the Christians, especially at Jerusalem,
with all the violence of a fanatic and all the capriciousness of a
despot.  He ordered them to wear upon their necks a wooden cross five
pounds in weight; he forbade them to ride on any animal but mules or
asses; and, without assigning any motive for his acts, he confiscated
their goods and carried off their children.  It was told to him one day
that, when the Christians assembled in the temple at Jerusalem to
celebrate Easter, the priests of the church rubbed balsam-oil upon the
iron chain which held up the lamp over the tomb of Christ, and afterwards
set fire, from the roof, to the end of the chain; the fire stole down to
the wick of the lamp and lighted it; then they shouted with admiration,
as if fire from heaven had come down upon the tomb, and they glorified
their faith.  Hakem ordered the instant demolition of the church of the
Holy Sepulchre, and it was accordingly demolished.  Another time a dead
dog had been laid at the door of a mosque; and the multitude accused the
Christians of this insult.  Hakem ordered them all to be put to death.
The soldiers were preparing to execute the order when a young Christian
said to his friends, "It were too grievous that the whole Church should
perish; it were better that one should die for all; only promise to bless
my memory year by year."  He proclaimed himself alone to blame for the
insult, and was accordingly alone put to death.  It is from this story of
the historian William of Tyre, that Tasso, in his _Jerusalem Delivered,_
has drawn the admirable episode of Olindo and Sophronia; a fine example,
and not the only one, of an act of tyranny and an act of virtue inspiring
a great poet with the idea of a masterpiece.  "All the deeds of Hakem
were without motive," says the Arab historian Makrisi, "and the dreams
suggested to him by his frenzy are incapable of reasonable

These and many other similar stories reached the West, spread amongst the
Christian people and roused them to pity for their brethren in the East
and to wrath against the oppressors.  And it was at a critical period,
in the midst of the pious alarms and desires of atonement excited by the
expectation of the end of the world a thousand years after the coming of
the Lord, that the Christian population saw this way opened for
purchasing remission of their sins by delivering other Christians from
suffering, and by avenging the wrongs of their creed.  On all sides arose
challenges and appeals to the warlike ardor of the faithful.  The
greatest mind of the age, Gerbert, who had become Pope Sylvester II.,
constituted himself interpreter of the popular feeling.  He wrote, in the
name of the Church of Jerusalem, a letter addressed to the universal
Church: "To work, then, soldier of Christ!  Be our standard-bearer and
our champion!  And if with arms thou canst not do so, aid us with thy
words, thy wealth.  What is it, pray, that thou givest, and to whom,
pray, dost thou give?  Of thine abundance thou givest a small matter, and
thou givest to Him who hath freely given thee all thou possessest; but He
will not accept freely that which thou shalt give; for he will multiply
thine offering and will pay it back to thee hereafter."  Some years after
Gerbert, another great mind, the greatest among the popes of the middle
ages, Gregory VII., proclaimed an expedition, at the head of which he
would place himself, to go and deliver Jerusalem and the Christians of
the East from the insults and the tyranny of the infidels.

Such being the condition of facts and minds, pilgrimages to Jerusalem
became, from the ninth to the eleventh century, more and more numerous
and considerable.  "It would never have been believed," says the
contemporary chronicler Raoul Glaber, "that the Holy Sepulchre could
attract so prodigious an influx.  First the lower classes, then the
middle, afterwards the most potent kings, the counts, the marquises, the
prelates, and lastly, what had never heretofore been seen, many women,
noble or humble, undertook this pilgrimage."  In 1026, William
Traillefer, count of Angouleme; in 1028, 1035, and 1039, Foulques the
Black, count of Anjou; in 1035, Robert the Magnificent, duke of Normandy,
father of William the Conqueror; in 1086, Robert the Frison, count of
Flanders; and many other great feudal lords quitted their estates, or,
rather, their states, to go and--not deliver, not conquer, but--simply
visit the Holy Land.  It was not long before great numbers were joined to
great names.  In 1054, Liedbert, bishop of Cambrai, started for Jerusalem
with a following of three thousand Picard or Flemish pilgrims; and in
1064, the archbishop of Mayence and the bishops of Spire, Cologne,
Bamberg, and Utrecht set out on their way from the borders of the Rhine
with more than ten thousand Christians behind them.  After having passed
through Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Thrace, Constantinople, Asia Minor,
and Syria, they were attacked in Palestine by hordes of Arabs, were
forced to take refuge in the ruins of an old castle, and were reduced to
capitulation; and when at last, "preceded by the rumors of their battles
and their perils, they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received in
triumph by the patriarch, and were conducted, to the sound of timbrels
and with the flare of torches, to the church of the Holy Sepulchre.  The
misery they had fallen into excited the pity of the Christians of Asia;
and, after having lost more than three thousand of their comrades, they
returned to Europe to relate their tragic adventures and the dangers of a
pilgrimage to the Holy Land."  (_Histoire des Croisades,_ by M. Michaud,
t. i.  p. 62.)

Amidst this agitation of Western Christendom, in 1076, two years after
Pope Gregory VII. had proclaimed his approaching expedition to the Holy
Land, news arrived in Europe to the effect that the most barbarous of
Asiatics and of Mussulmans, the Turks, after having first served and then
ruled the khalifs of Persia, and afterwards conquered the greater part of
the Persian empire, had hurled themselves upon the Greek empire, invaded
Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine, and lately taken Jerusalem, where they
practised against the Christians, old inhabitants or foreign visitors,
priests and worshippers, dreadful cruelties and intolerable exactions,
worse than those of the Persian or Egyptian khalifs.

It often happens that popular emotions, however profound and general,
remain barren, just as in the vegetable world many sprouts appear at the
surface of the soil and die without having grown and fructified.  It is
not sufficient for the bringing about of great events and practical
results that popular aspirations should be merely manifested; it is
necessary, further, that some great soul, some powerful will, should make
itself the organ and agent of the public sentiment, and bring it to
fecundity by becoming its personification.  The Christian passion, in the
eleventh century, for the deliverance of Jerusalem and the triumph of the
Cross was fortunate in this respect.  An obscure pilgrim, at first a
soldier, then a married man and father of several children, then a monk
and a vowed recluse, Peter the Hermit, who was born in the neighborhood
of Amiens, about 1030, had gone, as so many others had, to Jerusalem "to
say his prayers there."  Struck disconsolate at the sight of the
sufferings and insults undergone by the Christians, he had an interview
with Simeon, patriarch of Jerusalem, who "recognizing in him a man of
discretion and full of experience in affairs of the world, set before him
in detail all the evils with which the people of God, in the holy city,
were afflicted.  'Holy father,' said Peter to him, 'if the Roman Church
and the princes of the West were informed, by a man of energy and worthy
of belief, of all your calamities, of a surety they would essay to apply
some remedy thereto by word and deed.  Write, then, to our lord the pope
and to the Roman Church, and to the kings and princes of the West, and
strengthen your written testimony by the authority of your seal.  As for
me, I shrink not from taking upon me a task for the salvation of my soul;
and with the help of the Lord I am ready to go and seek out all of them,
solicit them, show unto them the immensity of your troubles, and pray
them all to hasten on the day of your relief.'"  The patriarch eagerly
accepted the pilgrim's offer; and Peter set out, going first of all to
Rome, where he handed to Pope Urban II. the patriarch's letters, and
commenced in that quarter his mission of zeal.  The pope promised him not
only support, but active co-operation when the propitious moment for it
should arrive.  Peter set to work, being still the pilgrim everywhere, in
Europe, as well as at Jerusalem.  "He was a man of very small stature,
and his outside made but a very poor appearance; yet superior powers
swayed this miserable body; he had a quick intellect and a penetrating
eye, and he spoke with ease and fluency.  .  .  .  We saw him at that
time," says his contemporary Guibert de Nogent, "scouring city and town,
and preaching everywhere; the people crowded round him, heaped presents
upon him, and celebrated his sanctity by such great praises that I
remember not that like honor was ever rendered to any other person.  He
displayed great generosity in the disposal of all things that were given
him.  He restored wives to their husbands, not without the addition of
gifts from himself, and he re-established, with marvellous authority,
peace and good understanding between those who had been at variance.  In
all that he did or said he seemed to have in him something divine,
insomuch that people went so far as to pluck hairs from his mule to keep
as relics.  In the open air he wore a woollen tunic, and over it a serge
cloak which came down to his heels; he had his arms and feet bare; he ate
little or no bread, and lived chiefly on wine and fish."

In 1095, after the preaching errantry of Peter the Hermit, Pope Urban II.
was at Clermont, in Auvergne, presiding at the grand council, at which
thirteen archbishops and two hundred and five bishops or abbots were met
together, with so many princes and lay-lords, that "about the middle of
the month of November the towns and the villages of the neighborhood were
full of people, and divers were constrained to have their tents and
pavilions set up amidst the fields and meadows, notwithstanding that the
season and the country were cold to an extreme."  The first nine sessions
of the council were devoted to the affairs of the Church in the West; but
at the tenth Jerusalem and the Christians of the East became the subject
of deliberation.  The Pope went out of the church wherein the Council was
assembled and mounted a platform erected upon a vast open space in the
midst of the throng.  Peter the Hermit, standing at his side, spoke
first, and told the story of his sojourn at Jerusalem, all he had seen of
the miseries and humiliations of the Christians, and all he himself had
suffered there, for he had been made to pay tribute for admission into
the Holy City, and for gazing upon the spectacle of the exactions,
insults, and tortures he was recounting.  After him Pope Urban II.
spoke, in the French tongue, no doubt, as Peter had spoken, for he was
himself a Frenchman, as the majority of those present were, grandees and
populace.  He made a long speech, entertaining upon the most painful
details connected with the sufferings of the Christians of Jerusalem,
"that royal city which the Redeemer of the human race had made
illustrious by His coming, had honored by His residence, had hallowed by
His passion, had purchased by His death, had distinguished by His burial.
She now demands of you her deliverance .  .  .  men of France, men from
beyond the mountains, nations chosen and beloved of God, right valiant
knights, recall the virtues of your ancestors, the virtue and greatness
of King Charlemagne and your other kings; it is from you above all that
Jerusalem awaits the help she invokes, for to you, above all nations,
God has vouchsafed signal glory in arms.  Take ye, then, the road to
Jerusalem for the remission of your sins, and depart assured of the
imperishable glory which awaits you in the kingdom of heaven."

From the midst of the throng arose one prolonged and general shout, "God
willeth it!  God willeth it!"  The Pope paused for a moment; and then,
making a sign with his hand as if to ask for silence, he continued, "If
the Lord God were not in your souls, ye would not all have uttered the
same words.  In the battle, then, be those your war-cry, those words that
came from God; in the army of the Lord let nought be heard but that one
shout, 'God willeth it!  God willeth it!'   We ordain not, and we advise
not, that the journey be undertaken by the old or the weak, or such as be
not suited for arms, and let not women set out without their husbands or
their brothers; let the rich help the poor; nor priests nor clerks may go
without the leave of their bishops; and no layman shall commence the
march save with the blessing of his pastor.  Whosoever hath a wish to
enter upon this pilgrimage, let him wear upon his brow or his breast the
cross of the Lord, and let him, who, in accomplishment of his desire,
shall be willing to march away, place the cross behind him, between his
shoulders; for thus he will fulfil the precept of the Lord, who said,
'He that doth not take up his cross and follow Me, is not worthy of Me.'"

[Illustration: "God willeth it!"----383]

The enthusiasm was general and contagious, as the first shout of the
crowd had been; and a pious prelate, Adhemar, bishop of Puy, was the
first to receive the cross from the Pope's hands.  It was of red cloth or
silk, sewn upon the right shoulder of the coat or cloak, or fastened on
the front of the helmet.  The crowd dispersed to assume it and spread it.

Religious enthusiasm was not the only, but the first and the determining
motive of the crusade.  It is to the honor of humanity, and especially to
the honor of the French nation, that it is accessible to the sudden sway
of a moral and disinterested sentiment, and resolves, without prevision
as well as without premeditation, upon acts which decide, for many a long
year, the course and the fate of a generation, and, it may be, of a whole
people.  We have seen in our own day, in the conduct of populace,
national assemblies, and armies, under the impulse not any longer of
religious feeling, but of political and social agitation, France thus
giving herself up to the rush of sentiments, generous indeed and pure,
but without the least forecast touching the consequences of the ideas
which inspired them or the acts which they entailed.  It is with nations
as with armies; the side of glory is that of danger; and great works are
wrought at a heavy cost, not only of happiness, but also of virtue.  It
would be wrong, nevertheless, to lack respect for and to speak evil of
enthusiasm: it not only bears witness to the grandeur of human nature, it
justly holds its place and exercises its noble influence in the course of
the great events which move across the scene of human errors and vices,
according to the vast and inscrutable design of trod.  It is quite
certain that the crusaders of the eleventh century, in their haste to
deliver Jerusalem from the Mussulmans, were far from foreseeing that, a
few centuries after their triumph, Jerusalem and the Christian East would
fall again beneath the yoke of the Mussulmans and their barbaric
stagnation; and this future, had they caught but a glimpse of it, would
doubtless have chilled their zeal.  But it is not a whit the less certain
that, in view of the end, their labor was not in vain; for, in the
panorama of the world's history, the crusades marked the date of the
arrest of Islamism, and powerfully contributed to the decisive
preponderance of Christian civilization.

[Illustration: The Four Leaders of the First Crusade----385]

To religious enthusiasm there was joined another motive less
disinterested, but natural and legitimate, which was the still very vivid
recollection of the evils caused to the Christians of the West by the
Mussulman invasions in Spain, France, and Italy, and the fear of seeing
them begin again.  Instinctively war was carried to the East to keep it
from the West, just as Charlemagne had invaded and conquered the country
of the Saxons to put an end to their inroads upon the Franks.  And this
prudent plan availed not only to give the Christians of the West a hope
of security, it afforded them the pleasure of vengeance.  They were about
to pay back alarm for alarm, and evil for evil, to the enemy from whom
they had suffered in the same way; hatred and pride, as well as piety,
obtained satisfaction.

There is moreover great motive power in a spirit of enterprise and a
taste for adventure.  Care-for-nothingness is one of man-kind's chief
diseases, and if it plays so conspicuous a part in comparatively
enlightened and favored communities, amidst the labors and the enjoyments
of an advanced civilization, its influence was certainly not less in
times of intellectual sloth and harshly monotonous existence.  To escape
therefrom, to satisfy in some sort the energy and curiosity inherent in
man, the people of the eleventh century had scarcely any resource but
war, with its excitement and distant excursions into unknown regions.
Thither rushed the masses of the people, whilst the minds which were
eager, above everything, for intellectual movement and for knowledge,
thronged, on the mountain of St. Genevieve, to the lectures of Abelard.
Need of variety and novelty, and an instinctive desire to extend their
views and enliven their existence, probably made as many crusaders as the
feeling against the Mussulmans and the promptings of piety.

[Illustration: Crusaders on the March----386]

The Council of Clermont, at its closing on the 28th of November, 1095,
had fixed the month of August in the following year, and the feast of the
Assumption, for the departure of the crusaders for the Holy Land; but the
people's impatience did not brook this waiting, short as it was in view
of the greatness and difficulties of the enterprise.  As early as the 8th
of March, 1096, and in the course of the spring three mobs rather than
armies set out on the crusade, with a strength, it is said, of eighty or
one hundred thousand persons in one case, and of fifteen or twenty
thousand in the other two.  Persons, not men, for there were amongst them
many women and children, whole families, in fact, who had left their
villages, without organization and without provisions, calculating that
they would be competent to find their own way, and that He who feeds the
young ravens would not suffer to die of want pilgrims wearing His cross.
Whenever, on their road, a town came in sight, the children asked if that
were Jerusalem.  The first of these mobs had for its head Peter the
Hermit himself, and a Burgundian knight called Walter _Havenought_; the
second had a German priest named Gottschalk; and the third a Count Emico,
of Leiningen, potent in the neighborhood of Mayence.  It is wrong to call
them heads, for they were really nothing of the kind; their authority was
rejected, at one time as tyrannical, at another as useless.  "The
grasshoppers," was the saying amongst them in the words of Solomon's
proverbs, "have no king, and yet they go in companies."  In crossing
Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the provinces of the Greek empire, these
companies, urged on by their brutal passions or by their necessities and
material wants, abandoned themselves to such irregularities that, as they
went, princes and peoples, instead of welcoming them as Christians, came
to treat them as enemies, of whom it was necessary to get rid at any
price.  Peter the Hermit and Gottschalk made honorable and sincere
efforts to check the excesses of their following, which were a source of
so much danger; but Count Emico, on the contrary, says William of Tyre,
"himself took part in the plunder, and incited his comrades to crime."
Thus, at one time taking the offensive, at another compelled to defend
themselves against the attacks of the justly irritated inhabitants, these
three immense companies of pilgrims, these disorderly volunteers, with
great difficulty arrived, after enormous losses, at the gates of
Constantinople.  Either through fear or through pity, the Greek emperor,
Alexis (or Alexius) Comnenus, permitted them to pitch their camp there;
"but before long, plenty, idleness, and the sight of the riches of
Constantinople brought once more into the camp license, indiscipline, and
a thirst after brigandage.  Whilst awaiting the war against the
Mussulmans, the pilgrims pillaged the houses, the palaces, and even the
churches in the outskirts of Byzantium.  To deliver his capital from
these destructive guests, Alexis furnished them with vessels, and got
them shipped off across the Bosphorus."

[Illustration: The Assault on St. Jean d'Acre----386]

Whilst the crusade was commencing under these sad auspices, chieftains of
more sense and better obeyed were preparing to give it another character
and superior fortunes.  Two great and real armies were forming in the
north, the centre, and the south of France, and a third in Italy, amongst
the Norman knights who had founded there the kingdom of Naples and
Sicily, just before their countryman, William the Bastard, conquered
England.  The first of these armies had for its chief, Godfrey de
Bouillon, duke of Lorraine, whom all his contemporaries have described as
the model of a gallant and pious knight.  He was the son of Eustace II.,
count of Boulogne, and "the lustre of nobility," says Raoul of Caen,
chronicler of his times, "was enhanced in his case by the splendor of the
most exalted virtues, as well in affairs of the world as of heaven.  As
to the latter, he distinguished himself by his generosity towards the
poor, and his pity for those who had committed faults.  Furthermore, his
humility, his extreme gentleness, his moderation, his justice, and his
chastity were great; he shone as a light amongst the monks, even more
than as a duke amongst the knights.  And, nevertheless, he could also do
the things which are of this world, fight, marshal the ranks, and extend
by arms the domains of the Church.  In his boyhood he learned to be
first, or one of the first, to strike the foe; in youth he made it his
habitual practice; and in advancing age he forgot it never.  He was so
perfectly the son of the warlike Count Eustace, and of his mother, Ida de
Bouillon, a woman full of piety, and versed in literature, that at sight
of him even a rival would have been forced to say of him, 'For zeal in
war, behold his father; for serving God, behold his mother.'  The second
army, consisting chiefly of crusaders from Southern France, marched under
the orders of Raymond IV., count of Toulouse, the oldest chieftain of the
crusade, who still, however, united the ardor of youth with the
experience of ripe age and the stubbornness of the graybeard.  At the
side of the Cid he had fought, and more than once beaten the Moors in
Spain.  He took with him to the East his third wife, Elvira, daughter of
Alphonso VI., king of Castile, as well as a very young child he had by
her, and he had made a vow, which he fulfilled, that he would return no
more to his country, and would fight the infidels to the end of his days,
in expiation of his sins.  He was discreet though haughty, and not only
the richest but the most economical of the crusader-chiefs:
"Accordingly," says Raoul of Caen, "when all the rest had spent their
money, the riches of Count Raymond made him still more distinguished.
The people of Provence, who formed his following, did not lavish their
resources, but studied economy even more than glory," and "his army,"
adds Guibert of Nogent, "showed no inferiority to any other, save so far
as it is possible to reproach the inhabitants of Provence touching their
excessive loquacity."

Bohemond, prince of Tarento, commanded the third army, composed
principally of Italians and warriors of various origins come to Italy to
share in the exploits and fortunes of his father, the celebrated Robert
Guiscard, founder of the Norman kingdom of Naples, who was at one time
the foe, and at another the defender, of Pope Gregory VII., and who died
in the island of Cephalonia just as he was preparing to attempt the
conquest of Constantinople.  Bohemond had neither less ambition nor less
courage and ability than his father.  "His appearance," says Anna
Comnena, "impressed the eye as much as his reputation astounded the mind;
his height surpassed that of all his comrades; his blue eyes gleamed
readily with pride and anger; when he spoke you would have said he had
made eloquence his study; and when he showed himself in armor, you might
have believed that he had never done aught but handle lance and sword.
Brought up in the school of Norman heroes, be concealed calculations of
policy beneath the exterior of force, and, although he was of a haughty
disposition, he knew how to be blind to a wrong when there was nothing to
be gained by avenging it.  He had learned from his father to regard as
foes all whose dominions and riches he coveted; and he was not restrained
by fear of God, or by man's opinions, or by his own oaths.  It was not
the deliverance of the tomb of Christ which fired his zeal or decided him
upon taking up the cross; but, as he had vowed eternal enmity to the
Greek emperors, he smiled at the idea of traversing their empire at the
head of an army, and, full of confidence in his fortunes, he hoped to
make for himself a kingdom before arriving at Jerusalem."

Bohemond had as friend and faithful comrade his cousin Tancred de
Hauteville, great-grandson, through his mother, Emma, of Robert Guiscard,
and, according to all his contemporaries, the type of a perfect Christian
knight, neither more nor less.  "From his boyhood," says Raoul of Caen,
his servitor before becoming his biographer, "he surpassed the young by
his skill in the management of arms, and the old by the strictness of his
morals.  He disdained to speak ill of whoever it might be, even when ill
had been spoken of himself.  About himself he would say nought, but he
had an insatiable desire to give cause for talking thereof.  Glory was
the only passion that moved that young soul; yet was it disquieted within
him, and he suffered great anxiety from thinking that his knightly
combats seemed contrary to the precepts of the Lord.  The Lord bids us
give our coat and our cloak to him who would take them from us; whereas
the knight's part is to strip all that remains from him from whom he hath
already taken his coat and his cloak.  These contradictory principles
benumbed sometimes the courage of this man so full of propriety; but when
the declaration of Pope Urban had assured remission of all their sins to
all Christians who should go and fight the Gentiles, then Tancred awoke
in some sort from his dream, and this new opportunity fired him with a
zeal which cannot be expressed.  He therefore made preparations for his
departure; but, accustomed from his infancy to give to others before
thinking of himself, he entered upon no great outlay, but contented
himself with collecting in sufficient quantity knightly arms, horses,
mules, and provisions necessary for his company."

With these four chieftains, who have remained illustrious in history,--
that grave wherein small reputations are extinguished,--were associated,
for the deliverance of the Holy Land, a throng of feudal lords, some
powerful as well as valiant, others valiant but simple knights; Hugh,
count of Vermaudois, brother of Philip I., king of France; Robert of
Normandy, called Shorthose, son of William the Conqueror; Robert, count
of Flanders; Stephen, count of Blois; Raimbault, count of Orange;
Baldwin, count of Hainault; Raoul of Beaugency; Gerard of Roussillon, and
many others whose names contemporary chroniclers and learned moderns have
gathered together.  Not one of the reigning sovereigns of Europe, kings
or emperors, of France, England, Spain, or Germany, took part in the
first crusade.  It was the feudal nation, great and small, castle owners
and populace, who rose in mass for the deliverance of Jerusalem and the
honor of Christendom.

These three great armies of crusaders got on the march from August to
October, 1096, wending their way, Godfrey de Bouillon by Germany,
Hungary, and Bulgaria; Bohemond by the south of Italy and the
Mediterranean; and Count Raymond of Toulouse by Northern Italy, Friuli,
and Dalmatia.  They arrived one after the other in the empire of the East
and at the gates of Constantinople.  Godfrey de Bouillon was the first to
appear there, and the Emperor Alexis Comnenus learned with dismay that
other armies of crusaders would soon follow that which was already so
large.  It was not long before Bohemond and Raymond appeared.  Alexis
behaved towards these formidable allies with a mixture of pusillanimity
and haughtiness, promises and lies, caresses and hostility, which
irritated without intimidating them, and rendered it impossible for them
to feel any confidence or conceive any esteem.  At one time he was
thanking them profusely for the support they were bringing him against
the infidels; at another he was sending troops to harass them on their
road, and, when they reached Constantinople, he demanded that they should
swear fealty and obedience to him, as if they were his own subjects.
One day he was refusing them provisions and attempting to subdue them by
famine; and the next he was lavishing feasts and presents upon them.  The
crusaders, on their side, when provisions fell short, spread themselves
over the country and plundered it without scruple; and, when they
encountered hostile troops of Greeks, charged them without warning.  When
the emperor demanded of them fealty and homage, the count of Toulouse
answered that he had not come to the East in search of a master.  Godfrey
do Bouillon, after resisting every haughty pretension, being as just as
he was dignified, acknowledged that the crusaders ought to restore to the
emperor the towns which had belonged to the empire, and an arrangement to
that effect was concluded between them.  Bohemond had a proposal
submitted to Godfrey to join him in attacking the Greek empire and taking
possession at once of Byzantium; but Godfrey rejected the proposal, with
the reminder that he had come only to fight the infidels.  The emperor,
fully informed of the greediness as well as ambition of Bohemond,
introduced him one day into a room full of treasures.  "Here," said
Bohemond, "is wherewith to conquer kingdoms."  Alexis had the treasures
removed to Bohemond's, who at first refused, and ended by accepting them.
It is even said that he asked the emperor for the title of Grand Domestic
or of General of the Empire of the East.  Alexis, who had held that
dignity and who knew that it was the way to the throne, gave the Norman
chieftain a present refusal, with a promise of it on account of future
services to be rendered by him to the empire and the emperor.

The chiefs of the crusade were not alone in treating with disdain this
haughty, wily, and feeble sovereign.  During a ceremony at which some
French princes were doing homage to the emperor, a Count Robert of Paris
went and sat down free-and-easily beside him; when Baldwin, count of
Hainault, took the intruder by the arm, saying, "When you are in a
country you must respect its masters and its customs."  "Verily,"
answered Robert, "I hold it shocking that this jackanapes should be
seated, whilst so many noble captains are standing yonder."  When the
ceremony was over, the emperor, who had, no doubt, heard the words,
wished to have an explanation; so he detained Robert, and asked him who
and whence he was.  "I am a Frenchman," quoth Robert; "and of noble
birth.  In my country there is, hard by a church, a spot repaired to by
such as burn to prove their valor.  I have been there often without any
one's daring to present himself before me."  The emperor did not care to
take up this sort of challenge, and contented himself with replying to
the warrior, "If you there waited for foes without finding any, you are
now about to have what will satisfy you.  I have, however, a piece of
advice to give you; don't put yourself at the head or the tail of the
army; keep in the middle.  I have learned how to fight with Turks; and
that is the best place you can choose."  The crusaders and the Greeks
were mutually contemptuous, the former with a ruffianly pride, the latter
with an ironical and timid refinement.

This posture, on either side, of inactivity, ill-will, and irritation,
could not last long.  On the approach of the spring of 1097, the crusader
chiefs and their troops, first Godfrey de Bouillon, then Bohemond and
Tancred, and afterwards Count Raymond of Toulouse, passed the Bosphorus,
being conveyed across either in their own vessels or those of the Emperor
Alexis, who encouraged them against the infidels, and at the same time
had the infidels supplied with information most damaging to the
crusaders.  Having effected a junction in Bithynia, the Christian chiefs
resolved to go and lay siege to Nicaea, the first place, of importance,
in possession of the Turks.  Whilst marching towards the place they saw
coming to meet then, with every appearance of the most woful destitution,
Peter the Hermit, followed by a small band of pilgrims escaped from the
disasters of their expedition, who had passed the winter, as he had, in
Bithynia, waiting for more fortunate crusaders.  Peter, affectionately
welcomed by the chiefs of the army, recounted to them "in detail," says
William of Tyre, "how the people, who had preceded them under his
guidance, had shown themselves destitute of intelligence, improvident,
and unmanageable at the same time; and so it was far more by their own
fault than by the deed of any other that they had succumbed to the weight
of their calamities."  Peter, having thus relieved his heart and
recovered his hopes, joined the powerful army of crusaders who had come
at last; and, on the 15th of May, 1097, the siege of Nicaea began.

The town was in the hands of a Turkish sultan, Kilidge-Arslan, whose
father, Soliman, twenty years before, had invaded Bithynia and fixed his
abode at Nicrea.  He, being informed of the approach of the crusaders,
had issued forth, to go and assemble all his forces; but he had left
behind his wife, his children, and his treasures, and he had sent
messengers to the inhabitants, saying, "Be of good courage, and fear not
the barbarous people who make show of besieging our city; to-morrow,
before the seventh hour of the day, ye shall be delivered from your
enemies."  And he did arrive on the 16th of May, says the Armenian
historian, Matthias of Edessa, at the head of six hundred thousand
horsemen.  The historians of the crusaders are infinitely more moderate
as to the number of their foes; they assign to Kilidge-Arslan only fifty
or sixty thousand men, and their testimony is far more trustworthy, being
that of the victors.  In any case, the Christians and the Turks fought
valiantly for two days under the walls of Niccea, and Godfrey de Bouillon
did justice to his fame for valor and skill by laying low a Turk
"remarkable amongst all," says William of Tyre, "for his size and
strength, whose arrows caused much havoc in the ranks of our men."
Kilidge-Arslan, being beaten, withdrew to collect fresh troops, and,
after six weeks' siege, the crusaders believed themselves on the point of
entering Nicaea as masters, when, on the 26th of June, they saw floating
on the ramparts the standard of the Emperor Alexis.  Their surprise was
the greater in that they had just written to the emperor to say that the
city was on the point of surrendering, and they added, "We earnestly
invite you to lose no time in sending some of your princes with
sufficient retinue, that they may receive and keep in honor of your name
the city which will deliver itself up to us.  As for us, after having put
it in the hands of your highness, we will not show any delay in pursuing,
with God's help, the execution of our projects."  Alexis had anticipated
this loyal message.  Being in constant secret communication with the
former subjects of the Greek empire, and often even with their new
masters the Turks, his agents in Nicaea had induced the inhabitants to
surrender to him, and not to the Latins, who would treat them as
vanquished.  The irritation amongst the crusaders was extreme.  They had
promised themselves, if not the plunder of Nicaea, at any rate great
advantages from their victory; and it was said in the camp that the
convention concluded with the emperor contained an article purporting
that "if, with God's help, there were taken any of the towns which had
belonged aforetime to the Greek empire all along the line of march up to
Syria, the town should be restored to the emperor, together with all the
adjacent territory and that the booty, the spoils, and all objects
whatsoever found therein should be given up without discussion to the
crusader in recompense for their trouble and indemnification for the
expenses."  The wrath waxed still fiercer when it was know that the
crusaders would not be permitted to enter more the ten at a time the town
they had just taken, and that the Emperor Alexis had set at liberty the
wife of Pilidge-Arslai together with her two sons and all the Turks led
prisoners of war to Constantinople.  The chiefs of the crusaders were
then selves indignant and distrustful; but "they resolved with on
accord," says William of Tyre, "to hide their resentment, and they
applied all their efforts to calming their people, while encouraging them
to push on without delay to the end of the glorious enterprise."

All the army of the crusaders put themselves in motion I cross Asia Minor
from the north-west to the south-east, and to reach Syria.  At their
arrival before Nicaea they numbered, it is said, five hundred thousand
foot and one hundred thousand horse, figures evidently too great, for
everything indicates that at the opening of the crusade the three great
armies, starting from France and Italy under Godfrey de Bouillon,
Bohemond and Raymond of Toulouse, did not reach this number, and the, had
certainly lost many during their long march through their sufferings and
in their battles.  However that may be, after they had marched all in one
mass for two days, and had then extended themselves over a larger area,
for the purpose, no doubt, of more easily finding provisions, the
crusaders broke up into two main bodies, led, one by Godfrey de Bouillon
and Raymond of Toulouse, the other by Bohemond and Tancred.  On the 1st
of July, at daybreak, this latter body, encamped at a short distance from
Doryleum, in Phrygia, saw descending from the neighboring heights a cloud
of enemies who burst upon the Christians, first rained a perfect hail of
missiles upon them, and then penetrated into their camp, even to the
tents assigned to the women, children, and old men, the numerous
following of the crusaders.  It was Kilidge-Arslan, who, after the fall
of Nicaea, had raised this new army of Saracens, and was pursuing the
conquerors on their march.  The battle began in great disorder; the
chiefs in person sustained the first shock; and the duke of Normandy,
Robert Shorthose, took in his hand his white banner, embroidered with
gold, and waving it over his head, threw himself upon the Turks,
shouting, "God willeth it!  God willeth it!"  Bohemond obstinately sought
out Kilidge-Arslan in the fray; but at the same time he sent messengers
in all haste to Godfrey de Bouillon, as yet but a little way off, to
summon him to their aid.  Godfrey galloped up, and, with some fifty of
his knights, preceding the rest of his army, was the first to throw
himself into the midst of the Turks.  Towards mid-day the whole of the
first body arrived, with standards flying, with the sound of trumpets and
with the shouting of warriors.  Kilidge-Arslan and his troops fell back
upon the heights whence they had descended.  The crusaders, without
taking breath, ascended in pursuit.  The Turks saw themselves shut in by
a forest of lances, and fled over wood and rock; and "two days afterwards
they were still flying," says Albert of Aix, "though none pursued them,
unless it were God himself."  The victory of Doryleum opened the whole
country to the crusaders, and they resumed their march towards Syria,
paying their sole attention to not separating again.

It was not long before they had to grapple with other dangers against
which bravery could do nothing.  They were crossing, under a broiling
sun, deserted tracts which their enemies had taken good care to ravage.
Water and forage were not to be had; the men suffered intolerably from
thirst; horses died by hundreds; at the head of their troops marched
knights mounted on asses or oxen; their favorite amusement, the chase,
became impossible for them; for their hawking-birds too--the falcons and
gerfalcons they had brought with them--languished and died beneath the
excessive heat.  One incident obtained for the crusaders a momentary
relief.  The dogs which followed the army, prowling in all directions,
one day returned with their paws and coats wet; they had, therefore,
found water; and the soldiers set themselves to look for it, and, in
fact, discovered a small river in a remote valley.  They got water-drunk,
and more than three hundred men, it is said, were affected by it and

On arriving in Pisidia, a country intersected by Water-courses, meadows,
and woods, the army rested several days; but at that very point two of
its most competent and most respected chiefs were very nearly taken from
it.  Count Raymond of Toulouse, who was also called Raymond of Saint-
Gilles, fell so ill that the bishop of Orange was reading over him the
prayers for the dying, when one of those present cried out that the count
would assuredly live, for that the prayers of his patron saint, Gilles,
had obtained for him a truce with death.  And Raymond recovered.  Godfrey
de Bouillon, again, whilst riding in a forest, came upon a pilgrim
attacked by a bear, and all but fallen a victim to the ferocious beast.
The duke drew his sword and urged his horse against the bear, which,
leaving the pilgrim, rushed upon the assailant.  The frightened horse
reared; Godfrey was thrown, and, according to one account, immediately
remounted; but, according to another, he fell, on the contrary, together
with his horse; however, he sustained a fearful struggle against the
bear, and ultimately killed it by plunging his sword up to the hilt into
its belly, says 'William of Tyre, but with so great an effort, and after
receiving so serious a wound, that his soldiers, hurrying up at the
pilgrim's report, found him stretched on the ground, covered with blood,
and unable to rise, and carried him back to the camp, where he was, for
several weeks, obliged to be carried about in a litter in the rear of the

Through all these perils they continued to advance, and they were
approaching the heights of Taurus, the bulwark and gate of Syria, when a
quarrel which arose between two of the principal crusader chiefs was like
to seriously endanger the concord and strength of the army.  Tancred,
with his men, had entered Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul, and had
planted his flag there.  Although later in his arrival, Baldwin, brother
of Godfrey de Bouillon, claimed a right to the possession of the city,
and had his flag set up instead of Tancred's, which was thrown into a
ditch.  During several days the strife was fierce and even bloody; the
soldiers of Baldwin were the more numerous, and those of Tancred
considered their chief too gentle, and his bravery, so often proved,
scarcely sufficed to form an excuse for his forbearance.  Chiefs and
soldiers, however, at last, saw the necessity for reconciliation, and
made mutual promises to sink all animosity.  On returning to the general
camp, Tancred was received with marked favor; for the majority of the
crusaders, being unconcerned in the quarrel at Tarsus, liked him for his
bravery and for his gentleness equally.  Baldwin, on the contrary, was
much blamed, even by his brother Godfrey; but he was far more ambitious
on his own account than devoted to the common cause.  He had often heard
tell of Armenia and Mesopotamia, their riches and the large number of
Christians living there, almost equally independent of Greeks and Turks;
and, in the hope of finding there a chance of greatly improving his
personal fortunes, he left the army of the crusaders at Maresa, on the
very eve of the day on which the chiefs came to the decision that no one
should for the future move away from the flag, and taking with him a weak
detachment of two hundred horse and one thousand or twelve hundred foot,
marched towards Armenia.  His name and his presence soon made a stir
there; and he got hold of two little towns which received him eagerly.
Edessa, the capital of Armenia and metropolis of Mesopotamia, was peopled
by Christians; and a Greek governor, sent from Constantinople by the
emperor, lived there, on payment of a tribute to the Turks.  Internal
dissensions and the fear ever inspired by the vicinity of the Turks kept
the city in a state of lively agitation; and bishop, people, and Greek
governor, all appealed to Baldwin.  He presented himself before Edessa
with merely a hundred horsemen, having left the remainder of his forces
in garrison at the town he had already occupied.  All the population came
to meet him, bearing branches of olive and singing chants in honor of
their deliverer.  But it was not long before outbreaks and alarms began
again; and Baldwin looked on at then, waiting for power to be offered
him.  Still there was no advance; the Greek governor continued where be
was; and Baldwin muttered threats of his departure.  The popular
disquietude was extreme; and the Greek governor, old and detested as he
was, thought to smooth all by adopting the Latin chief and making him his
heir.  This, however, caused but a short respite; Baldwin left the
governor to be massacred in a fresh outbreak; the people came and offered
him the government, and he became Prince of Edessa, and, ere long, of all
the neighboring country, without thinking any more of Jerusalem, of
which, nevertheless, he was destined at no distant day to be king.

Whilst Baldwin was thus acquiring, for himself and himself alone, the
first Latin principality belonging to the crusaders in the East, his
brother Godfrey and the main Christian army were crossing the chain of
Taurus and arriving before Antioch, the capital of Syria.  Great was the
fame, with Pagans and Christians, of this city; its site, the beauty of
its climate, the fertility of its land, its fish-abounding lake, its
river of Orontes, its fountain of Daphne, its festivals, and its morals,
had made it, under the Roman empire, a brilliant and favorite abode.  At
the same time, it was there that the disciples of Jesus had assumed the
name of Christians, and that St. Paul had begun his heroic life as
preacher and as missionary.  It was absolutely necessary that the
crusaders should take Antioch; but the difficulty of the conquest was
equal to the importance.  The city was well fortified and provided with
a strong citadel; the Turks had been in possession of it for fourteen
years; and its governor Accien or Baghisian (_Yagui-Sian_, or _brother of
black_, according to Oriental historians), appointed by the sultan of
Persia, Malekschah, was shut up in it with seven thousand horse and
twenty thousand foot.  The first attacks of the Christians failed; and
they had the prospect of a long siege.  At the outset their situation had
been easy and pleasant; they encountered no hostility from the
country-people, who were intimidated or indifferent; they came and paid
visits to the camp, and admitted the crusaders to their markets; the
harvests, which were hardly finished, had been abundant: "the grapes,"
says Guibert of Nogent, "were still hanging on the branches of the
vines; on all sides discoveries were made of grain shut up, not in
barns, but in subterranean vaults; and the trees were laden with fruit."
These facilities of existence, the softness of the climate, the
pleasantness of the places, the frequency of leisure, partly pleasure
and partly care-for-nothingness, caused amongst the crusaders
irregularity, license, indiscipline, carelessness, and often perils and
reverses.  The Turks profited thereby to make sallies, which threw the
camp into confusion and cost the lives of crusaders surprised or
scattered about.  Winter came; provisions grew scarce, and had to be
sought at a greater distance and at greater peril; and living ceased to
be agreeable or easy.  Disquietude, doubts concerning the success of the
enterprise, fatigue and discouragement made way amongst the army; and
men who were believed to be proved, Robert Shorthose, duke of Normandy,
William, viscount of Melun, called the Carpenter, on account of his
mighty battle-axe, and Peter the Hermit himself, "who had never
learned," says Robert the monk, "to endure such plaguy hunger," left the
camp and deserted the banner of the cross, "that there might be seen, in
the words of the Apocalypse, even the stars falling from heaven," says
Guibert of Nogent.  Great were the scandal and the indignation.  Tancred
hurried after the fugitives and brought then back; and they swore on the
Gospel never again to abandon the cause which they had preached and
served so well.  It was clearly indispensable to take measures for
restoring amongst the army discipline, confidence, and the morals and
hopes of Christians.  The different chiefs applied themselves thereto by
very different processes, according to their vocation, character, or
habits.  Adhdmar, bishop of Puy, the renowned spiritual chief of the
crusade, Godfrey de Bouillon, Raymond of Toulouse, and the military
chieftains renowned for piety and virtue made head against all kinds of
disorder either by fervent addresses or severe prohibitions.  Men caught
drunk had their hair cut off; blasphemous and reckless gamesters were
branded with a red-hot iron; and the women were shut up in separate
tents.  To the irregularities within were added the perils of incessant
espionage on the part of the Turks in the very camp of the crusaders:
and no one knew how to repress this evil.  "Brethren and lords," said
Bohemond to the assembled princes, "let me undertake this business by
myself; I hope, with God's help, to find a remedy for this complaint."
Caring but little for moral reform, he strove to strike terror into the
Turks, and, by counteraction, restore confidence to the crusaders.  "One
evening," says William of Tyre, "whilst everybody was, as usual,
occupied in getting supper ready, Bohemond ordered some Turks who had
been caught in the camp to be brought out of prison and put to death
forthwith; and then, having had a huge fire lighted, he gave
instructions that they should be roasted and carefully prepared as if
for being eaten.  If it should be asked what operation was going on, he
commanded his people to answer, 'The princes and governors of the camp
this day decreed at their council that all Turks or their spies who
should henceforth be found in the camp should be forced, after this
fashion, to furnish meat of their own carcasses to the princes as well
as to the whole army!'"  "The whole city of Antioch," adds the
historian, "was stricken with terror at hearing the report of words so
strange and a deed so cruel.  And thus, by the act and pains of
Bohemond, the camp was purged of this pest of spies, and the results of
the princes' meetings were much less known amongst the foe."

Bohemond did not confine himself to terrifying the Turks by the display
of his barbarities; he sought and found traitors amongst them.  During
the incidents of the siege he had concocted certain relations with an
inhabitant of Antioch, named Ferouz or Emir-Feir, probably a renegade
Christian and seeming Mussulman, in favor with the Governor Accien or
Baghisian, who had intrusted to him, him and his family, the ward of
three of the towers and gates of the city.  Emir-Feir, whether from
religious remorse or on promise of a rich recompense, had, after the
ambiguous and tortuous conversations which usually precede treason, made
an offer to Bohemond to open to him, and, through him, to the crusaders,
the entrance into Antioch.  Bohemond, in covert terms, informed the
chiefs, his comrades, of this proposal, leaving it to be understood that,
if the capture of Antioch were the result of his efforts, it would be for
him to become its lord.  The count of Toulouse bluntly rejected this
idea.  "We be all brethren," said he, "and we have all run the same risk;
I did not leave my own country, and face, I and mine, so many dangers to
conquer new lord-ships for any particular one of us."  The opinion of
Raymond prevailed, and Bohemond pressed the matter no more that day.  But
the situation became more and more urgent; and armies of Mussulmans were
preparing to come to the aid of Antioch.  When these fresh alarms spread
through the camp, Bohemond returned to the charge, saying, "Time presses;
and if ye accept the overtures made to us, to-morrow Antioch will be
ours, and we shall march in triumph on Jerusalem.  If any find a better
way of assuring our success, I am ready to accept it and renounce, on my
own account, all conquest."  Raymond still persisted in his opposition;
but all the other chiefs submitted to the overtures and conditions of
Bohemond.  All proper measures were taken, and Emir-Fein, being apprised
thereof, had Bohemond informed that on the following night everything
would be ready.  At the appointed hour three-score warriors, with
Bohemond at their head, repaired noiselessly to the foot of the tower
indicated; a ladder was hoisted and Emir-Feir fastened it firmly to the
top of the wall.  Bohemond looked round and round, but no one was in a
hurry to mount.  Bohemond, therefore, himself mounted; and, having
received recognition from Emir-Fein, he leaned upon the ramparts, called
in a low voice to his comrades, and rapidly re-descended to reassure them
and get them to mount with him.  Up they mount; that and two other
neighboring towers are given up to them; the three gates are opened, and
the crusaders rush in.  When day appeared, on the 3d of June, 1098, the
streets of Antioch were full of corpses; for the Turks, surprised, had
been slaughtered without resistance or had fled into the country.  The
citadel, filled with those who had been able to take refuge there, still
held out; but the entire city was in the power of the crusaders, and the
banner of Bohemond floated on an elevated spot over against the citadel.

In spite of their triumph the crusaders were not so near marching on
Jerusalem as Bohemond had promised.  Everywhere, throughout Syria and
Mesopotamia, the Mussulmans were rising to go and deliver Antioch; an
immense army was already in motion; there were eleven hundred thousand
men according to Matthew of Edessa, six hundred and sixty thousand
according to Foucher of Chartres, three hundred thousand according to
Raoul of Caen, and only two hundred thousand according to William of Tyre
and Albert of Aix.  The discrepancy in the figures is a sufficient proof
of their untruthfulness.  The last number was enough to disquiet the
crusaders, already much reduced by so many marches, battles, sufferings,
and desertions.  An old Mussulman warrior, celebrated at that time
throughout Western Asia, Corbogha, sultan of Mossoul (hard by what was
ancient Nineveh), commanded all the hostile forces, and four days after
the capture of Antioch he was already completely round the place,
enclosing the crusaders within the walls of which they had just become
the masters.  They were thus and all on a sudden besieged in their turn,
having even in the very midst of them, in the citadel which still held
out, a hostile force.  Whilst they had been besieging Antioch, the
Emperor Alexis Comnenus had begun to march with an army to get his share
in their successes, and was advancing into Asia Minor when he heard that
the Mussulmans, in immense numbers, were investing the Christian army in
Antioch, and not in a condition, it was said, to hold out long.  The
emperor immediately retraced his steps towards Constantinople, and the
crusaders found that they had no Greek aid to hope for.  The blockade,
becoming stricter day by day, soon brought about a horrible famine in
Antioch.  Instead of repeating here, in general terms, the ordinary
descriptions of this cruel scourge, we will reproduce its particular
and striking features as they have been traced out by contemporary
chroniclers.  "The Christian people," says William of Tyre, "had recourse
before long, to procure themselves any food whatever, to all sorts of
shameful means.  Nobles, free men, did not blush to hungrily stretch out
the hand to nobodies, asking with troublesome pertinacity for what was
too often refused.  There were seen the very strongest, those whom their
signal valor had rendered illustrious in the midst of the army, now
supported on crutches, dragging themselves half-dead along the streets
and in the public places; and, if they did not speak, at any rate they
showed themselves, with countenances irrecognizable, silently begging
alms of every passer-by.  No self-respect restrained matrons or young
women heretofore accustomed to severe restraints; they walked hither and
thither, with pallid faces, groaning and searching everywhere for
somewhat to eat; and they in whom the pangs of hunger had not
extinguished every spark of modesty went and hid themselves in the most
secret places, and gnawed their hearts in silence, preferring to die of
want rather than beg in public.  Children still in the cradle, unable to
get milk, were exposed at the cross-roads, crying in vain for their usual
nourishment; and men, women, and children, all threw themselves greedily
upon any kind of food, wholesome and unwholesome, clean and unclean, that
they could scrape together here and there, and none shared with another
that which they picked up."  So many and such sufferings produced
incredible dastardliness; and deserters escaped by night, in some cases
throwing themselves down, at the risk of being killed, into the
city-moat; in others getting down by help of a rope from the ramparts.
Indignation blazed forth against the fugitives; they were called
rope-dancers; and God was prayed to treat them as the traitor Judas.
William of Tyre and Guibert of Nogent, after naming some, and those the
very highest, end with these words: "Of many more I know not the names,
and I am unwilling to expose all that are well known to me."

"We are assured," says William of Tyre, "that in view of such woes and
such weaknesses, the princes, despairing of any means of safety, held
amongst themselves a secret council, at which they decided to abandon the
army and all the people, fly in the middle of the night, and retreat to
the sea."  According to the Armenian historian Matthew of Edessa, the
princes would seem to have resolved, in this hour of dejection, not to
fly and leave the army to its fate, but "to demand of Corboghzi an
assurance for all, under the bond of an oath, of personal safety, on the
promise of surrendering Antioch to him; after which they would return
home."  Several Arab historians, and amongst them Ibn-el-Athir, Aboul-
Faradje, and Aboul-Feda confirm the statement of conditions.  Whatever
may have been the real turn taken by the promptings of weakness amongst
the Christians, Godfrey de Bouillon and Adhemar, bishop of Puy,
energetically rejected them all; and an unexpected incident, considered
as miraculous, reassured the wavering spirits both of soldiers and of
chiefs.  A priest of Marseilles, Peter Bartholomew, came and announced to
the chiefs that St. Andrew had thrice appeared to him in a dream, saying,
"Go into the church of my brother Peter at Antioch; and hard by the high
altar thou wilt find, on digging up the ground, the head of the spear
which pierced our Redeemer's side.  That, carried in front of the army,
will bring about the deliverance of the Christians."  The appointed
search was solemnly conducted under the eye of twelve reputable
witnesses, priests and knights; the whole army was in attendance at the
closed gates of the church; the spear-head was found and carried off in
triumph; a pious enthusiasm restored to all present entire confidence;
and with loud shouts they demanded battle.  The chiefs judged it proper
to announce their determination to the chief of the Mussulmans; and for
this mission they chose Peter the Hermit, who was known to them as a bold
and able speaker.  Peter, on arriving at the enemy's camp, presented
himself without any mark of respect before the Sultan, Corbogha,
surrounded by his satraps, and said, "The sacred assembly of princes
pleasing to God who are at Antioch doth send me unto thy Highness, to
advise thee that thou art to cease from thy importunities, and that thou
abandon the siege of a city which the Lord in His divine mercy hath given
up to them.  The prince of the apostles did wrest that city from
idolatry, and convert it to the faith of Christ.  Ye had forcibly but
unjustly taken possession of it.  They who be moved by a right lawful
anxiety for this heritage of their ancestors make their demand of thee
that thou choose between divers offers: either give up the siege of the
city, and cease troubling the Christians, or, within three days from
hence, try the power of our arms.  And that thou seek not after any, even
a lawful, subterfuge, they offer thee further choice between divers
determinations: either appear alone in person to fight with one of our
princes, in order that, if victorious, thou mayest obtain all thou canst
demand, or, if vanquished, thou mayest remain quiet; or, again, pick out
divers of thine who shall fight, on the same terms, with the same number
of ours; or, lastly, agree that the two armies shall prove, one against
the other, the fortune of battle."  "Peter," answered Corbogha
ironically, "it is not likely that the affairs of the princes who have
sent thee be in such state that they can thus offer me choice betwixt
divers proposals, and that I should be bound to accept that which may
suit me best.  My sword hath brought them to such a condition that they
have not themselves any longer the power of choosing freely, and that
they be constrained to shape and unshape their wishes according to my
good pleasure.  Go, then, and tell these fools that all whom I shall find
in full possession of all the powers of the manly age shall have their
lives, and shall be reserved by me for my master's service, and that all
other shall fall beneath my sword, as useless trees, so that there shall
remain of them not even a faint remembrance.  Had I not deemed it more
convenient to destroy them by famine than to smite them with the sword, I
should already have gotten forcible mastery of the city, and they would
have reaped the fruits of their voyage hither by undergoing the law of

On returning to camp, Peter the Hermit was about to set forth in detail,
before all the people of the crusaders, the answer of Corbogha, his
pride, his threats, and the pomp with which he was surrounded; but
Godfrey de Bouillon, "fearing lest the multitude, already crushed beneath
the weight of their woes, should be stricken with fresh terror," stopped
Peter at the moment when he was about to begin his speech, and, taking
him aside, prevailed upon him to tell the result of his mission in a few
words, just that the Turks desired battle, and that it must be prepared
for at once.  "Forthwith all, from the highest to the lowest, testify the
most eager desire to measure swords with the infidels, and seem to have
completely forgotten their miseries, and to calculate upon victory.  All
resume their arms, and get ready their horses, their breastplates, their
helmets, their shields, and their swords.  It is publicly announced
throughout the city that the next morning, before sunrise, every one will
have to be in readiness, and join his host to follow faithfully the
banner of his prince."

Next day, accordingly, the 28th of June, 1098, the feast of St. Peter and
St. Paul, the whole Christian army issued from their camp, with a portion
of the clergy marching at their head, and chanting the 68th Psalm, "Let
God arise, and let His enemies be scattered!"  "I saw these things, I who
speak," says one of the chroniclers, Raymond d'Agiles, chaplain to the
count of Toulouse: "I was there, and I carried the spear of the Lord."
The crusaders formed in twelve divisions; and, of all their great chiefs,
the count of Toulouse alone was unable to assume the command of his; he
was detained in Antioch by the consequences of a wound, and he had the
duty of keeping in check the Turkish garrison, still masters of the
citadel.  The crusaders presented the appearance of old troops ill clad,
ill provided, and surmounting by sheer spirit the fatigues and losses of
a long war; many sick soldiers could scarcely march; many barons and
knights were on foot; and Godfrey de Bouillon himself had been obliged to
borrow a horse from the count of Toulouse.  During the march a gentle
rain refreshed souls as well as bodies, and was regarded as a favor from
heaven.  Just as the battle was commencing, Corbogha, struck by the
impassioned, stern, and indomitable aspect of the crusaders, felt
somewhat disquieted, and made proposals, it is said, to the Christian
princes of what he had refused them the evening before--a fight between
some of their knights and as many Saracens; but they in their turn
rejected the proposition.  There is a moment, during great struggles,
when the souls of men are launched forth like bomb-shells, which nothing
can stop or cause to recoil.  The battle was long, stubborn, and, at some
points, indecisive: Kilidge-Arslan, the indefatigable sultan of Nicaea,
attacked Bohemond so briskly, that, save for the prompt assistance of
Godfrey de Bouillon and Tancred, the prince of Antioch had been in great
peril.  But the pious and warlike enthusiasm of the crusaders at length
prevailed over the savage bravery of the Turks; and Corbogha, who had
promised the khalif of Bagdad a defeat of the Christians, fled away
towards the Euphrates with a weak escort of faithful troops.  Tancred
pursued till nightfall the sultans of Aleppo and Damascus and the emir of
Jerusalem.  According to the Christian chroniclers, one hundred thousand
infidels, and only four thousand crusaders, were left on the field of
battle.  The camp of the Turks was given over to pillage; and fifteen
thousand camels, and it is not stated how many horses, were carried off.
The tent of Corbogha himself was, for his conquerors, a rich prize and an
object of admiration.  It was laid out in streets, flanked by towers, as
if it were a fortified town; gold and precious stones glittered in every
part of it; it was capable of containing more than two thousand persons;
and Bohemond sent it to Italy, where it was long preserved.  The
conquerors employed several days in conveying into Antioch the spoils of
the vanquished; and "every crusader," says Albert of Aix, "found himself
richer than he had been at starting from Europe."

This great success, with the wealth it was the means of spreading, and
the pretensions and hopes it was the cause of raising amongst the
crusaders, had for some time the most injurious effects.  Division set in
amongst them, especially amongst the chiefs.  Some abandoned themselves
to all the license of victory, others to the sweets of repose.  Some,
fatigued and disgusted, quietly prepared for and accomplished their
return home; others, growing more and more ambitious and bold, aspired to
conquests and principalities in the East.  Why should not they acquire
what Baldwin had acquired at Edessa, and what Bohemond was within an ace
of possessing at Antioch?  Others were jealous of the great fortunes made
before their eyes: and Raymond of Toulouse was vexed at Bohemond's rule
in Antioch, and refused to give up to him the citadel.  One and another
troubled themselves little more about the main end of their crusade, the
deliverance of Jerusalem, and devoted themselves to their personal
interests.  A few days after the defeat of the Turks, the council of
princes deliberated upon the question of marching immediately upon
Jerusalem, and then all these various inclinations came out.  After a
lively debate, the majority decided that they should wait till the heat
of summer was over, the army rested from its fatigues, and the
reinforcements expected from the West arrived.  The common sort of
crusaders were indignant at this delay: "Since the princes will not lead
us to Jerusalem," was said aloud, "choose we among the knights a brave
man who will serve us faithfully, and, if the grace of God be with us, go
we under his leading to Jerusalem.  It is not enough for our princes that
we have remained here a whole year, and that two hundred thousand men-at-
arms have fallen here!  Perish all they who would remain at Antioch, even
as its inhabitants but lately perished!"  But, murmuring all the while,
they staid at Antioch, in spite of a violent epidemic, which took off, it
was said, in a single month, fifty thousand persons, and amongst them the
spiritual chief of the crusade, Adhemar, bishop of Puy, who had the
respect and confidence of all the crusaders.  To find some specious
pretext, or some pious excuse for this inactivity, or simply to pass the
time which was not employed as it had been sworn it should be, war-like
expeditions were made into Syria and Mesopotamia; some emirs were driven
from their petty dominions; some towns were taken; some infidels were
massacred.  The count of Toulouse persisted during several weeks in
besieging Marrah, a town situated between Hamath and Aleppo.  At last he
took it, but there were no longer any inhabitants to be found in it; they
had all taken refuge under ground.  Huge fires lighted at the entrance of
their hiding-place forced them to come out, and as they came they were
all put to death or carried off as slaves; "which so terrified the
neighboring towns," says a chronicler, "that they yielded of their own
free will and without compulsion."

It was all at once ascertained that Jerusalem had undergone a fresh
calamity, and fallen more and more beneath the yoke of the infidels.
Abou-Kacem, khalif of Egypt, had taken it from the Turks; and his vizier,
Afdhel, had left a strong garrison in it.  A sharp pang of grief, of
wrath, and of shame shot through the crusaders.  "Could it be," they
cried, "that Jerusalem should be taken and retaken, and never by
Christians?"  Many went to seek out the count of Toulouse.  He was known
to be much taken up with the desire of securing the possession of Marrah,
which he had just captured; still great confidence was felt in him.  He
had made a vow never to return to the West; he was the richest of the
crusader princes; he was conjured to take upon himself the leadership of
the army; to him had been intrusted the spear of the Lord discovered at
Antioch; if the other princes should be found wanting, let him at least
go forward with the people, in full assurance; if not, he had only to
give up the spear to the people, and the people would go right on to
Jerusalem, with the Lord for their leader.  After some hesitation,
Raymond declared that the departure should take place in a fortnight, and
he summoned the princes to a preliminary meeting.  On assembling "they
found themselves still less at one," says the chronicler, and the
majority refused to budge.  To induce them, it is said that Raymond
offered ten thousand sous to Godfrey de Bouillon, the same to Robert of
Normandy, six thousand to the count of Flanders, and five thousand to
Tancred; but, at the same time, Raymond announced his intention of
leaving a strong garrison in Marrah to secure its defence.  "What!"
cried the common folk amongst the crusaders, "disputes about Antioch and
disputes about Marrah!  We will take good care there be no quarrel
touching this town; come, throw we down its walls; restore we peace
amongst the princes, and set we the count at liberty: when Marrah no
longer exists, he will no longer fear to lose it."  The multitude rushed
to surround Marrah, and worked so eagerly at the demolition of its
ramparts that the count of Toulouse, touched by this popular feeling as
if it were a proof of the divine will, himself put the finishing touch to
the work of destruction and ordered the speedy departure of the army.
At their head marched he, barefooted, with his clergy and the bishop of
Akbar, all imploring the mercy of God and the protection of the saints.
After him marched Tancred with forty knights and many foot.  "Who then
may resist this people," said Turks and Saracens one to another, "so
stubborn and cruel, whom, for the space of a year, nor famine, nor the
sword, nor any other danger could cause to abandon the siege of Antioch,
and who now are feeding upon human flesh?"  In fact a rumor had spread
that, in their extreme distress for want of provisions, the crusaders had
eaten corpses of Saracens found in the moats of Marrah.

Several of the chiefs, hitherto undecided, now followed the popular
impulse, whilst others still hesitated.  But on the approach of spring,
1099, more than eight months after the capture of Antioch, Godfrey of
Bouillon, his brother, Eustace of Boulogne, Robert of Flanders, and their
following, likewise began to march.  Bohemond, after having accompanied
them as far as Laodicea, left them with a promise of rejoining them
before Jerusalem, and returned to Antioch, where he remained.  Fresh
crusaders arrived from Flanders, Holland, and England, and amongst them
the Saxon prince, Edgar Atheling, who had for a brief interval been king
of England, between the death of Harold and the coronation of William the
Conqueror.  The army pursued its way, pretty slowly, still stopping from
time to time to besiege towns, which they took and which the chiefs
continued to dispute for amongst themselves.  Envoys from the khalif of
Egypt, the new holder of Jerusalem, arrived in the crusaders' camp, with
presents and promises from their master.  They had orders to offer forty
thousand pieces of gold to Godfrey, sixty thousand to Bohemond, the most
dreaded by the Mussulmans of all the crusaders, and other gifts to divers
other chiefs.  Aboul-Kacem further promised liberty of pilgrimage and
exercise of the Christian religion in Jerusalem; only the Christians must
not enter, unless unarmed.  At this proposal the crusader chiefs cried
out with indignation, and declared to the Egyptian envoys that they were
going to hasten their march upon Jerusalem, threatening at the same time
to push forward to the borders of the Nile.  At the end of the month of
flay, 1099, they were all masse upon the frontiers of Phoenicia and
Palestine, numbering according to the most sanguine calculations, only
fifty thousand fighting men.

Upon entering Palestine, as they came upon spots known in sacred history
or places of any importance, the same feelings of greed and jealousy
which had caused so much trouble in Asia Minor and Syria caused divisions
once more amongst the crusaders.  The chieftain, the simple warrior
almost, who was the first to enter city, or burgh, or house, and plant
his flag there halted in it and claimed to be its possessor; whilst those
"whom nothing was dearer than the commandments of God," say the
chroniclers, pursued their march, barefooted, beneath the banner of the
cross, deplored the covetousness and the quarrels of their brethren.
When the crusaders arrived a Emmaus, some Christians of Bethlehem came
and implore their aid against the infidels.  Tancred was there; and he,
with the consent of Godfrey, set out immediately, in the middle of the
night, with a small band of one hundred horsemen, and went and planted
his own flag on the top of the church at Bethlehem at the very hour at
which the birth of Jesus Christ had been announced to the shepherds of
Judea.  Next day, June 10th 1099, on advancing, at dawn of day, over the
heights of Emmaus, the army of the crusaders had, all at once, beneath
their gaze the Holy City.

"Lo! Jerusalem appears in sight.  Lo! every hand point, out Jerusalem.
Lo! a thousand voices are heard as one in salutation of Jerusalem.

"After the great, sweet joy which filled all hearts at this first glimpse
came a deep feeling of contrition, mingled with awful and reverential
affection.  Each scarcely dared to raise the eye towards the city which
had been the chosen abode of Christ, where He died, was buried, and rose

"In accents of humility, with words low spoken, with stifled sobs, with
sighs and tears, the pent-up yearnings of a people in joy and at the same
time in sorrow sent shivering through the air a murmur like that which is
heard in leafy forests what time the wind blows through the leaves, or
like the dull sound made by the sea which breaks upon the rocks, or
hisses as it foams over the beach."

It was better to quote these beautiful stanzas from "Jerusalem Delivered"
than to reproduce the pompous and monotonous phrases of the chroniclers.
The genius of Tasso was capable of understanding and worthy to depict the
emotions of a Christian army at sight of the Jerusalem they had come to

We will not pause over the purely military and technical details of the
siege.  It was calculated that there were in the city twenty thousand
armed inhabitants and forty thousand men in garrison, the most valiant
and most fanatical Mussulmans that Egypt could furnish.  According to
William of Tyre, the most judicious and the best informed of the
contemporary historians, "When the crusaders pitched their camp over
against Jerusalem, there had arrived there about forty thousand persons
of both sexes, of whom there were at the most twenty thousand foot, well
equipped, and fifteen hundred knights."  Raymond d'Agiles, chaplain to
the count of Toulouse, reduces still further to twelve thousand the
number of foot capable of bearing arms, and that of the knights to twelve
or thirteen hundred.  This weak army was destitute of commissariat and
the engines necessary for such a siege.  Before long it was a prey to the
horrors of thirst.  "The neighborhood of Jerusalem," says William of
Tyre, "is arid; and it is only at a considerable distance that there are
to be found rivulets, fountains, or wells of fresh water.  Even these
springs had been filled up by the enemy a little before the arrival of
our troops.  The crusaders issued from the camp secretly and in small
detachments to look for water in all directions; and just when they
believed they had found some hidden trickier, they saw themselves
surrounded by a multitude of folks engaged in the same search; disputes
forthwith arose amongst them, and they frequently came to blows.  Horses,
mules, asses, and cattle of all kinds, consumed by heat and thirst, fell
down and died; and their carcasses, left here and there about the camp,
tainted the air with a pestilential smell."  Wood, iron, and all the
materials needful for the construction of siege machinery were as much to
seek as water.  But a warlike and pious spirit made head against all.
Trees were felled at a great distance from Jerusalem; and scaling-towers
were roughly constructed, as well as engines for hurling the stones which
were with difficulty brought up within reach of the city.  "All ye who
read this," says Raymond d'Agiles, "think not that it was light labor; it
was nigh a mile from the spot where the engines, all dismounted, had to
be transported to that where they were remounted."  The knights protected
against the sallies of the besieged the workmen employed upon this work.
One day Tancred had gone alone to pray on the Mount of Olives and to gaze
upon the holy city, when five Mussulmans sallied forth and went to attack
him; he killed three of them, and the other two took to flight.  There
was at one point of the city ramparts a ravine which had to be filled up
to make an approach; and the count of Toulouse had proclamation made that
be would give a denier to every one who would go and throw three stones
into it.  In three days the ravine was filled up.  After four weeks of
labor and preparation, the council of princes fixed a day for delivering
the assault; but as there had been quarrels between several of the
chiefs, and, notably, between the count of Toulouse and Tancred, it was
resolved that before the grand attack they should all be reconciled at a
general supplication, with solemn ceremonies, for divine aid.  After a
strict fast, all the crusaders went forth armed from their quarters, and
preceded by their priests, bare-footed and chanting psalms, they moved,
in slow procession, round Jerusalem, halting at all places hallowed by
some fact in sacred history, listening to the discourses of their
priests, and raising eyes full of wrath at hearing the scoffs addressed
to them by the Saracens, and seeing the insults heaped upon certain
crosses they had set up and upon all the symbols of the Christian faith.
"Ye see," cried Peter the Hermit; "ye hear the threats and blasphemies of
the enemies of God.  Now this I swear to you by your faith; this I swear
to you by the arms ye carry: to-day these infidels be still full of pride
and insolence, but to-morrow they shall be frozen with fear; those
mosques, which tower over Christian ruins, shall serve for temples to the
true God, and Jerusalem shall hear no longer aught but the praises of the
Lord."  The shouts of the whole Christian army responded to the hopes of
the apostle of the crusade; and the crusaders returned to their quarters
repeating the words of the prophet Isaiah: "So shall they fear the name
of the Lord from the West, and His glory from the rising of the sun."

On the 14th of July, 1099, at daybreak, the assault began at divers
points; and next day, Friday, the 15th of July, at three in the
afternoon, exactly at the hour at which, according to Holy Writ, Jesus
Christ had yielded up the ghost, saying, "Father, into Thy hands I
commend My spirit," Jerusalem was completely in the hands of the
crusaders.  We have no heart to dwell on the massacres which accompanied
the victory so clearly purchased by the conquerors.  The historians,
Latin or Oriental, set down at seventy thousand the number of Mussulmans
massacred on the ramparts, in the mosques, in the streets, underground,
and wherever they had attempted to find refuge: a number exceeding that
of the armed inhabitants and the garrison of the city.  Battle-madness,
thirst for vengeance, ferocity, brutality, greed, and every hateful
passion were satiated without scruple, in the name of their holy cause.
When they were weary of slaughter, "orders were given," says Robert the
monk, "to those of the Saracens who remained alive and were reserved for
slavery, to clean the city, remove from it the dead, and purify it from
all traces of such fearful carnage.  They promptly obeyed; removed, with
tears, the dead; erected outside the gates dead-houses fashioned like
citadels or defensive buildings; collected in baskets dissevered limbs;
carried them away, and washed off the blood that stained the floors of
temples and houses."

Eight or ten days after the capture of Jerusalem, the crusader chiefs
assembled to deliberate upon the election of a king of their prize.
There were several who were suggested for it and might have pretended to
it.  Robert Shorthose, duke of Normandy, gave an absolute refusal,
"liking better," says an English chronicler, "to give himself up to
repose and indolence in Normandy than to serve, as a soldier, the King of
kings: for which God never forgave him."  Raymond, count of Toulouse, was
already advanced in years, and declared "that he would have a horror of
bearing the name of king in Jerusalem, but that he would give his consent
to the election of anyone else."  Tancred was and wished to be only the
first of knights.  Godfrey de Bouillon the more easily united votes in
that he did not seek them.  He was valiant, discreet, worthy, and modest;
and his own servants, being privately sounded, testified to his
possession of the virtues which are put in practice without any show.  He
was elected King of Jerusalem, and he accepted the burden whilst refusing
the insignia.  "I will never wear a crown of gold," he said, "in the
place where the Saviour of the world was crowned with thorns."  And he
assumed only the title of Defender and Baron of the Holy Sepulchre.

It is a common belief amongst historians that after the capture of
Jerusalem, and the election of her king, Peter the Hermit entirely
disappeared from history.  It is true that he no longer played an active
part, and that, on returning to Europe, he went into retirement near Huy,
in the diocese of Lige, where he founded a monastery, and where he died
on the 11th of July, 1115.  But William of Tyre bears witness that
Peter's contemporaries were not ungrateful to him, and did not forget him
when he had done his work.  "The faithful," says he, "dwellers at
Jerusalem, who, four or five years before had seen the venerable Peter
there, recognizing at that time in the same city him to whom the
patriarch had committed letters invoking the aid of the princes of the
West, bent the knee before him, and offered him their respects in all
humility.  They recalled to mind the circumstances of his first voyage;
and they praised the Lord who had endowed him with effectual power of
speech and with strength to rouse up nations and kings to bear so many
and such long toils for love of the name of Christ.  Both in private and
in public all the faithful at Jerusalem exerted themselves to render to
Peter the Hermit the highest honors, and attributed to him alone, after
God, their happiness in having escaped from the hard servitude under
which they had been for so many years groaning, and in seeing the holy
city recovering her ancient freedom."


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 1" ***

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