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Title: An Introduction to the History of Western Europe
Author: Robinson, James Harvey, 1863-1936
Language: English
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  _History is no easy science;
  its subject, human society,
  is infinitely complex._





  COPYRIGHT, 1902, 1903


  The Athenæum Press



In introducing the student to the history of the development of European
culture, the problem of proportion has seemed to me, throughout, the
fundamental one. Consequently I have endeavored not only to state
matters truly and clearly but also to bring the narrative into harmony
with the most recent conceptions of the relative importance of past
events and institutions. It has seemed best, in an elementary treatise
upon so vast a theme, to omit the names of many personages and conflicts
of secondary importance which have ordinarily found their way into our
historical text-books. I have ventured also to neglect a considerable
number of episodes and anecdotes which, while hallowed by assiduous
repetition, appear to owe their place in our manuals rather to accident
or mere tradition than to any profound meaning for the student of the

The space saved by these omissions has been used for three main
purposes. Institutions under which Europe has lived for centuries, above
all the Church, have been discussed with a good deal more fullness than
is usual in similar manuals. The life and work of a few men of
indubitably first-rate importance in the various fields of human
endeavor--Gregory the Great, Charlemagne, Abelard, St. Francis,
Petrarch, Luther, Erasmus, Voltaire, Napoleon, Bismarck--have been
treated with care proportionate to their significance for the world.
Lastly, the scope of the work has been broadened so that not only the
political but also the economic, intellectual, and artistic achievements
of the past form an integral part of the narrative.

I have relied upon a great variety of sources belonging to the various
orders in the hierarchy of historical literature; it is happily
unnecessary to catalogue these. In some instances I have found other
manuals, dealing with portions of my field, of value. In the earlier
chapters, Emerton's admirable _Introduction to the Middle Ages_
furnished many suggestions. For later periods, the same may be said of
Henderson's careful _Germany in the Middle Ages_ and Schwill's clear and
well-proportioned _History of Modern Europe_. For the most recent
period, I have made constant use of Andrews' scholarly _Development of
Modern Europe_. For England, the manuals of Green and Gardiner have been
used. The greater part of the work is, however, the outcome of study of
a wide range of standard special treatises dealing with some short
period or with a particular phase of European progress. As examples of
these, I will mention only Lea's monumental contributions to our
knowledge of the jurisprudence of the Church, Rashdall's _History of the
Universities in the Middle Ages_, Richter's incomparable _Annalen der
Deutschen Geschichte im Mittelalter_, the _Histoire Générale_, and the
well-known works of Luchaire, Voigt, Hefele, Bezold, Janssen, Levasseur,
Creighton, Pastor. In some cases, as in the opening of the Renaissance,
the Lutheran Revolt, and the French Revolution, I have been able to form
my opinions to some extent from first-hand material.

My friends and colleagues have exhibited a generous interest in my
enterprise, of which I have taken constant advantage. Professor E.H.
Castle of Teachers College, Miss Ellen S. Davison, Dr. William R.
Shepherd, and Dr. James T. Shotwell of the historical department of
Columbia University, have very kindly read part of my manuscript. The
proof has been revised by my colleague, Professor William A. Dunning,
Professor Edward P. Cheyney of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr.
Ernest F. Henderson, and by Professor Dana C. Munro of the University of
Wisconsin. To all of these I am much indebted. Both in the arduous
preparation of the manuscript and in the reading of the proof my wife
has been my constant companion, and to her the volume owes innumerable
rectifications in arrangement and diction. I would also add a word of
gratitude to my publishers for their hearty coöperation in their
important part of the undertaking.

The _Readings in European History_, a manual now in preparation, and
designed to accompany this volume, will contain comprehensive
bibliographies for each chapter and a selection of illustrative
material, which it is hoped will enable the teacher and pupil to broaden
and vivify their knowledge. In the present volume I have given only a
few titles at the end of some of the chapters, and in the footnotes I
mention, for collateral reading, under the heading "Reference," chapters
in the best available books, to which the student may be sent for
additional detail. Almost all the books referred to might properly find
a place in every high-school library.


  January 12, 1903.


  CHAPTER                                                            PAGE

  I       THE HISTORICAL POINT OF VIEW                                  1


          ROMAN EMPIRE                                                 25

  IV      THE RISE OF THE PAPACY                                       44


  VI      CHARLES MARTEL AND PIPPIN                                    67

  VII     CHARLEMAGNE                                                  77


  IX      FEUDALISM                                                   104

  X       THE DEVELOPMENT OF FRANCE                                   120

  XI      ENGLAND IN THE MIDDLE AGES                                  133




  XV      THE CRUSADES                                                187

  XVI     THE MEDIÆVAL CHURCH AT ITS HEIGHT                           201

  XVII    HERESY AND THE FRIARS                                       216

  XVIII   THE PEOPLE IN COUNTRY AND TOWN                              233

  XIX     THE CULTURE OF THE MIDDLE AGES                              250

  XX      THE HUNDRED YEARS' WAR                                      277

  XXI     THE POPES AND THE COUNCILS                                  303



  XXIV    GERMANY BEFORE THE PROTESTANT REVOLT                        369




  XXVIII  THE CATHOLIC REFORMATION--PHILIP II                         437

  XXIX    THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR                                       465



  XXXII   RISE OF RUSSIA AND PRUSSIA                                  509

  XXXIII  THE EXPANSION OF ENGLAND                                    523

  XXXIV   THE EVE OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION                            537

  XXXV    THE FRENCH REVOLUTION                                       558

  XXXVI   THE FIRST FRENCH REPUBLIC                                   574

  XXXVII  NAPOLEON BONAPARTE                                          592

  XXXVIII EUROPE AND NAPOLEON                                         606

  XXXIX   EUROPE AFTER THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA                         625

  XL      THE UNIFICATION OF ITALY AND GERMANY                        642

  XLI     EUROPE OF TO-DAY                                            671

  LIST OF BOOKS                                                       689

  INDEX                                                               691


   1  The Roman Empire at its Greatest Extent                  8-9

   2 The Barbarian Inroads                                   26-27

   3 Europe in the Time of Theodoric                            31

   4 The Dominions of the Franks under the Merovingians         37

   5 Christian Missions                                         63

   6 Arabic Conquests                                           71

   7 The Empire of Charlemagne                               82-83

   8 Treaty of Verdun                                           93

   9 Treaty of Mersen                                           95

  10 Fiefs and Suzerains of the Counts of Champagne            113

  11 France at the Close of the Reign of Philip Augustus       129

  12 The Plantagenet Possessions in England and France         141

  13 Europe about A.D.1000                                 152-153

  14 Italian Towns in the Twelfth Century                      175

  15 Routes of the Crusaders                               190-191

  16 The Crusaders' States in Syria                            193

  17 Ecclesiastical Map of France in the Middle Ages           205

  18 Lines of Trade and Mediæval Towns                     242-243

  19 The British Isles                                     278-279

  20 Treaty of Bretigny, 1360                                  287

  21 French Possessions of the English King in 1424            294

  22 France under Louis XI                                 298-299

  23 Voyages of Discovery                                      349

  24 Europe in the Sixteenth Century                       358-359

  25 Germany in the Sixteenth Century                      372-373

  26 The Swiss Confederation                                   422

  27 Treaty of Utrecht                                     506-507

  28 Northeastern Europe in the Eighteenth Century             513

  29 Provinces of France in the Eighteenth Century             539

  30 Salt Tax in France                                        541

  31 France in Departments                                 568-569

  32 Partitions of Poland                                      584

  33 Europe at the Height of Napoleon's Power              614-615

  34 Europe in 1815                                        626-627

  35 Races of Austro-Hungary                                   649

  36 Europe of To-day                                      666-667



    II FAÇADE OF RHEIMS CATHEDRAL            _Facing page_ 264

   III INTERIOR OF EXETER CATHEDRAL          _Facing page_ 266

       THE BOLD AT INNSBRUCK                 _Facing page_ 300

                                                     } 342-343
    VI GHIBERTI'S DOORS AT FLORENCE                  }

   VII GIOTTO'S MADONNA                              }
                                                     } 346-347




[Sidenote: The scope of history.]

1. History, in the broadest sense of the word, is all that we know about
everything that man has ever done, or thought, or hoped, or felt. It is
the limitless science of past human affairs, a subject immeasurably vast
and important but exceedingly vague. The historian may busy himself
deciphering hieroglyphics on an Egyptian obelisk, describing a mediæval
monastery, enumerating the Mongol emperors of Hindustan or the battles
of Napoleon. He may explain how the Roman Empire was conquered by the
German barbarians, or why the United States and Spain came to blows in
1898, or what Calvin thought of Luther, or what a French peasant had to
eat in the eighteenth century. We can know something of each of these
matters if we choose to examine the evidence which still exists; they
all help to make up history.

[Sidenote: Object of this volume.]

The present volume deals with a small but very important portion of the
history of the world. Its object is to give as adequate an account as is
possible in one volume of the chief changes in western Europe since the
German barbarians overcame the armies of the Roman Empire and set up
states of their own, out of which the present countries of France,
Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, the Netherlands, and England have
slowly grown. There are, however, whole libraries upon the history of
each of these countries during the last fifteen hundred years, and it
requires a volume or two to give a tolerably complete account of any
single important person, like St. Francis, Cromwell, Frederick the
Great, or Napoleon. Besides biographies and general histories, there are
many special treatises upon the Church and other great institutions;
upon the literature, art, philosophy, and law of the various countries.
It is obvious, therefore, that only a very few of the historical facts
known to scholars can possibly find a place in a single volume such as
this. One who undertakes to condense what we know of Europe's past,
since the times of Theodosius and Alaric, into the space of six hundred
pages assumes a very grave responsibility. The reader has a right to ask
not only that what he finds in the book shall be at once true and
clearly stated, but that it shall consist, on the whole, of the most
important and useful of all the things which might have been selected
from the well-nigh infinite mass of true things that are known.

We gain practically nothing from the mere enumeration of events and
dates. The student of history wishes to know how people lived; what were
their institutions (which are really only the habits of nations), their
occupations, interests, and achievements; how business was transacted in
the Middle Ages almost without the aid of money; how, later, commerce
increased and industry grew up; what a great part the Christian church
played in society; how the monks lived and what they did for mankind. In
short, the object of an introduction to mediæval and modern European
history is the description of the most significant achievements of
western civilization during the past fifteen hundred years,--the
explanation of how the Roman Empire of the West and the wild and unknown
districts inhabited by the German races have become the Europe of
Gladstone and Bismarck, of Darwin and Pasteur.

In order to present even an outline of the great changes during this
long period, all that was exceptional and abnormal must be left out. We
must fix our attention upon man's habitual conduct, upon those things
that he kept on doing in essentially the same way for a century or so.
Particular events are important in so far as they illustrate these
permanent conditions and explain how the western world passed from one
state to another.

[Sidenote: We should study the past sympathetically.]

We must learn, above all, to study sympathetically institutions and
beliefs that we are tempted at first to declare absurd and unreasonable.
The aim of the historian is not to prove that a particular way of doing
a thing is right or wrong, as, for instance, intrusting the whole
government to a king or forbidding clergymen to marry. His object is to
show as well as he can how a certain system came to be introduced, what
was thought of it, how it worked, and how another plan gradually
supplanted it. It seems to us horrible that a man should be burned alive
because he holds views of Christianity different from those of his
neighbors. Instead, however, of merely condemning the practice, we must,
as historical students, endeavor to see why practically every one in the
thirteenth century, even the wisest and most tender-hearted, agreed that
such a fearful punishment was the appropriate one for a heretic. An
effort has, therefore, been made throughout this volume to treat the
convictions and habits of men and nations in the past with
consideration; that is, to make them seem natural and to show their
beneficent rather than their evil aspects. It is not the weakness of an
institution, but the good that is in it, that leads men to adopt and
retain it.

[Sidenote: Impossibility of dividing the past into clearly defined

[Sidenote: All general changes take place gradually.]

2. It is impossible to divide the past into distinct, clearly defined
periods and prove that one age ended and another began in a particular
year, such as 476, or 1453, or 1789. Men do not and cannot change their
habits and ways of doing things all at once, no matter what happens. It
is true that a single event, such as an important battle which results
in the loss of a nation's independence, may produce an abrupt change in
the government. This in turn may encourage or discourage commerce and
industry and modify the language and the spirit of a people. Yet these
deeper changes take place only very gradually. After a battle or a
revolution the farmer will sow and reap in his old way, the artisan will
take up his familiar tasks, and the merchant his buying and selling. The
scholar will study and write and the household go on under the new
government just as they did under the old. So a change in government
affects the habits of a people but slowly in any case, and it may leave
them quite unaltered.

The French Revolution, at the end of the eighteenth century, was
probably the most abrupt and thoroughgoing change in the habits of a
nation of which we have any record. But we shall find, when we come to
study it, that it was by no means so sudden in reality as is ordinarily
supposed. Moreover, the innovators did not even succeed in permanently
altering the form of government; for when the French, after living under
a monarchy for many centuries, set up a republic in 1792, the new
government lasted only a few years. The nation was monarchical by habit
and soon gladly accepted the rule of Napoleon, which was more despotic
than that of any of its former kings. In reorganizing the state he
borrowed much from the discarded monarchy, and the present French
republic still retains many of these arrangements.

[Sidenote: The unity or continuity of history.]

This tendency of mankind to do, in general, this year what it did last,
in spite of changes in some one department of life,--such as
substituting a president for a king, traveling by rail instead of on
horseback, or getting the news from a newspaper instead of from a
neighbor,--results in what is called the _unity_ or _continuity of
history_. The truth that no abrupt change has ever taken place in all
the customs of a people, and that it cannot, in the nature of things,
take place, is perhaps the most fundamental lesson that history teaches.

Historians sometimes seem to forget this principle, when they claim to
begin and end their books at precise dates. We find histories of Europe
from 476 to 918, from 1270 to 1492, as if the accession of a capable
German king in 918, or the death of a famous French king in 1270, or the
discovery of America, marked a general change in European affairs. In
reality, however, no general change took place at these dates or in any
other single year. It would doubtless have proved a great convenience to
the readers and writers of history if the world had agreed to carry out
a definite programme and alter its habits at precise dates, preferably
at the opening of each century. But no such agreement has ever been
adopted, and the historical student must take things as he finds them.
He must recognize that nations retain their old customs while they adopt
new ones, and that a portion of a nation may advance while a great part
of it stays behind.

[Sidenote: Meaning of the term 'Middle Ages.']

3. We cannot, therefore, hope to fix any year or event which may
properly be taken as the beginning of that long period which followed
the downfall of the Roman state in western Europe and which is commonly
called the Middle Ages. Beyond the northern and western boundaries of
the Roman Empire, which embraced the whole civilized world from the
Euphrates to Britain, mysterious peoples moved about whose history
before they came into occasional contact with the Romans is practically
unknown. These Germans, or barbarians, as the Romans called them, were
destined to put an end to the Roman Empire in the West. They had first
begun to make trouble about a hundred years before Christ, when a great
army of them was defeated by the Roman general, Marius. Julius Cæsar
narrates, in polished Latin, familiar to all who have begun the study of
that language, how fifty years later he drove back other bands. Five
hundred years elapsed, however, between these first encounters and the
founding of German kingdoms within the boundaries of the Empire. With
their establishment the Roman government in western Europe may be said
to have come to an end and the Middle Ages to have begun.

Yet it would be a great mistake to suppose that this means that the
Roman civilization suddenly disappeared at this time. As we shall see,
it had gradually changed during the centuries following the golden age
of Augustus, who died A.D. 14. Long before the German conquest, art and
literature had begun to decline toward the level that they reached in
the Middle Ages. Many of the ideas and conditions which prevailed after
the coming of the barbarians were common enough before,--even the
ignorance and want of taste which we associate particularly with the
Middle Ages.

The term _Middle Ages_ is, then, a vague one. It will be used in this
volume to mean, roughly speaking, the period of nearly a thousand years
that elapsed between the opening of the fifth century, when the disorder
of the barbarian invasions was becoming general, and the fourteenth
century, when Europe was well on its way to retrieve all that had been
lost since the break-up of the Roman Empire.

[Sidenote: The 'dark ages.']

It used to be assumed, when there was much less interest in the period
than there now is, that with the disruption of the Empire and the
disorder that followed, practically all culture perished for centuries,
that Europe entered upon the "dark ages." These were represented as
dreary centuries of ignorance and violence in marked contrast to the
civilization of the Greeks and Romans on the one hand, and to the
enlightenment of modern times on the other. The more careful studies of
the last half century have made it clear that the Middle Ages were not
"dark" in the sense of being stagnant and unproductive. On the contrary,
they were full of movement and growth, and we owe to them a great many
things in our civilization which we should never have derived from
Greece and Rome. It is the purpose of the first nineteen chapters of
this manual to describe the effects of the barbarian conquests, the
gradual recovery of Europe from the disorder of the successive
invasions, and the peculiar institutions which grew up to meet the needs
of the times. The remaining chapters will attempt to show how mediæval
institutions, habits, and ideas were supplanted, step by step, by those
which exist in Europe to-day.




[Sidenote: Extent of the Roman Empire.]

4. No one can hope to understand the Middle Ages who does not first
learn something of the Roman Empire, within whose bounds the Germans set
up their kingdoms and began the long task of creating modern Europe.

At the opening of the fifth century there were no separate, independent
states in western Europe such as we find on the map to-day. The whole
territory now occupied by England, France, Spain, and Italy formed at
that time only a part of the vast realms ruled over by the Roman emperor
and his host of officials. As for Germany, it was still a region of
forests, familiar only to the barbarous and half-savage tribes who
inhabited them. The Romans tried in vain to conquer this part of Europe,
and finally had to content themselves with keeping the German hordes out
of the Empire by means of fortifications and guards along the Rhine and
Danube rivers.

[Sidenote: Great diversity of races included within the Empire.]

The Roman Empire, which embraced southern and western Europe, western
Asia, and even the northern portion of Africa, included the most diverse
peoples and races. Egyptians, Arabs, Jews, Greeks, Germans, Gauls,
Britons, Iberians,--all alike were under the sovereign rule of Rome. One
great state embraced the nomad shepherds who spread their tents on the
borders of Sahara, the mountaineers in the fastnesses of Wales, and the
citizens of Athens, Alexandria, and Rome, heirs to all the luxury and
learning of the ages. Whether one lived in York or Jerusalem, Memphis
or Vienna, he paid his taxes into the same treasury, he was tried by the
same law, and looked to the same armies for protection.

[Illustration: Remains of a Roman Aqueduct, now used as a Bridge, near
Nîmes, Southern France]

[Sidenote: Bonds which held the Empire together.]

At first it seems incredible that this huge Empire, which included
African and Asiatic peoples as well as the most various races of Europe
in all stages of civilization, could have held together for five
centuries instead of falling to pieces, as might have been expected,
long before the barbarians came in sufficient strength to establish
their own kingdoms in its midst. When, however, we consider the bonds of
union which held the state together it is easy to understand the
permanence of the Empire. These were: (1) the wonderfully organized
government which penetrated to every part of the realm and allowed
little to escape it; (2) the worship of the emperor as the incarnation
of the government; (3) the Roman law in force everywhere; (4) the
admirable roads and the uniform system of coinage which encouraged
intercommunication; and, lastly, (5) the Roman colonies and the teachers
maintained by the government, for through them the same ideas and
culture were carried to even the most distant parts of the Empire.

[Sidenote: The Roman government attempted to regulate everything.]

Let us first glance at the government and the emperor. His decrees were
dispatched throughout the length and breadth of the Roman dominions;
whatsoever pleased him became law, according to the well-known principle
of the Roman constitution. While the cities were permitted some freedom
in the regulation of their purely local affairs, the emperor and his
innumerable and marvelously organized officials kept an eye upon even
the humblest citizen. The Roman government, besides maintaining order,
administering justice, and defending the boundaries, assumed many other
responsibilities. It watched the grain dealers, butchers, and bakers;
saw that they properly supplied the public and never deserted their
occupation. In some cases it forced the son to follow the profession of
his father. If it could have had its way, it would have had every one
belong to a definite class of society, and his children after him. It
kept the unruly poorer classes quiet in the towns by furnishing them
with bread, and sometimes with wine, meat, and clothes. It provided
amusement for them by expensive entertainments, such as races and
gladiatorial combats. In a word, the Roman government was not only
wonderfully organized, so that it penetrated to the utmost confines of
its territory, but it attempted to guard and regulate almost every
interest in life.

[Sidenote: The worship of the emperor.]

Every one was required to join in the worship of the emperor because he
stood for the majesty of the Roman dominion. The inhabitants of each
province might revere their particular gods, undisturbed by the
government, but all were obliged as good citizens to join in the
official sacrifices to the deified head of the state. The early
Christians were persecuted, not only because their religion was
different from that of their fellows, but because they refused to offer
homage to the image of the emperor and openly prophesied the downfall of
the Roman state. Their religion was incompatible with what was then
deemed good citizenship, inasmuch as it forbade them to express the
required veneration for the government.

[Sidenote: The Roman law.]

As there was one government, so there was one law for all the civilized
world. Local differences were not considered; the same principles of
reason, justice, and humanity were believed to hold whether the Roman
citizen lived upon the Euphrates or the Thames. The law of the Roman
Empire is its chief legacy to posterity. Its provisions are still in
force in many of the states of Europe to-day, and it is one of the
subjects of study in our American universities. It exhibited a humanity
unknown to the earlier legal codes. The wife, mother, and infant were
protected from the arbitrary power of the head of the house, who, in
earlier centuries, had been privileged to treat the members of his
family as slaves. It held that it was better that a guilty person should
escape than that an innocent person should be condemned. It conceived
humanity, not as a group of nations and tribes, each with its peculiar
institutions and legal customs, but as one people included in one great
empire and subject to a single system of law based upon reason and

[Illustration: A Fortified Roman Gateway at Treves]

[Sidenote: Roads and public works.]

Magnificent roads were constructed, which enabled the messengers of the
government and its armies to reach every part of the Empire with
incredible speed. These highways made commerce easy and encouraged
merchants and travelers to visit the most distant portions of the realm.
Everywhere they found the same coins and the same system of weights and
measures. Colonies were sent out to the confines of the Empire, and the
remains of great public buildings, of theaters and bridges, of sumptuous
villas and baths at places like Treves, Cologne, Bath, and Salzburg
indicate how thoroughly the influence and civilization of Rome
penetrated to the utmost parts of the territory subject to her rule.

[Sidenote: The same culture throughout the Roman Empire.]

The government encouraged education by supporting at least three
teachers in every town of any considerable importance. They taught
rhetoric and oratory and explained the works of the great writers. The
Romans, who had no marked literary or artistic ability, had adopted the
culture of the Greeks. This was spread abroad by the government teachers
so that an educated man was pretty sure to find, even in the outlying
parts of the great Empire, other educated men with much the same
interests and ideas as his own. Everywhere men felt themselves to be not
mere natives of this or that land but citizens of the world.

[Sidenote: Loyalty to the Empire and conviction that it was eternal.]

During the four centuries from the first emperor, Augustus, to the
barbarian invasions we hear of no attempt on the part of its subjects to
overthrow the Empire or to secede from it. The Roman state, it was
universally believed, was to endure forever. Had a rebellious nation
succeeded in throwing off the rule of the emperor and establishing its
independence, it would only have found itself outside the civilized

[Sidenote: Reasons why the Empire lost its power to defend itself
against the Germans.]

5. Just why the Roman government, once so powerful and so universally
respected, finally became unable longer to defend its borders and gave
way before the scattered attacks of the German peoples, who never
combined in any general alliance against it, is a very difficult
question to answer satisfactorily. The inhabitants of the Empire appear
gradually to have lost their energy and self-reliance and to have become
less and less prosperous. This may be explained partially at least by
the following considerations: (1) the terrible system of taxation, which
discouraged and not infrequently ruined the members of the wealthier
classes; (2) the existence of slavery, which served to discredit honest
labor and demoralized the free workingmen; (3) the steady decrease of
population; (4) the infiltration of barbarians, who prepared the way for
the conquest of the western portion of the Empire by their

[Sidenote: Oppressive taxation.]

It required a great deal of money to support the luxurious court of the
emperors and their innumerable officials and servants, and to supply
"bread and circuses" for the populace of the towns. All sorts of taxes
and exactions were consequently devised by ingenious officials to make
up the necessary revenue. The crushing burden of the great land tax, the
emperor's chief source of income, was greatly increased by the
pernicious way in which it was collected. The government made a group of
the richer citizens in each of the towns permanently responsible for the
whole amount due from all the landowners within their district. It was
their business to collect the taxes and make up any deficiency, it
mattered not from what cause. This responsibility and the weight of the
taxes themselves ruined so many landowners that the government was
forced to decree that no one should desert his estates in order to
escape the exactions. Only the very rich could stand the drain on their
resources. The middle class sank into poverty and despair, and in this
way the Empire lost just that prosperous class of citizens who should
have been the leaders in business enterprises.

[Sidenote: Slavery.]

The sad plight of the poorer laboring classes was largely due to the
terrible institution of slavery which prevailed everywhere in ancient
times. So soon as the Romans had begun to conquer distant provinces the
number of slaves greatly increased. For six or seven centuries before
the barbarian invasions every kind of labor fell largely into their
hands in both country and town. There were millions of them. A single
rich landholder might own hundreds and even thousands, and it was a poor
man that did not have several at least.

[Sidenote: The villa.]

Land was the only highly esteemed form of wealth in the Roman Empire, in
spite of the heavy taxes imposed upon it. Without large holdings of land
no one could hope to enjoy a high social position or an honorable office
under the government. Consequently the land came gradually into the
hands of the rich and ambitious, and the small landed proprietor
disappeared. Great estates called _villas_ covered Italy, Gaul, and
Britain. These were cultivated and managed by armies of slaves, who not
only tilled the land, but supplied their master, his household, and
themselves with all that was needed on the plantation. The artisans
among them made the tools, garments, and other manufactured articles
necessary for the whole community, or "family," as it was called. Slaves
cooked the food, waited on the proprietor, wrote his letters, and read
to him. To a head slave the whole management of the villa was intrusted.
A villa might be as extensive as a large village, but all its members
were under the absolute control of the proprietor of the estate. A
well-organized villa could supply itself with everything that it needed,
and found little or no reason for buying from any outsider.

[Sidenote: Slavery brings labor into disrepute.]

Quite naturally, freemen came to scorn all manual labor and even trade,
for these occupations were associated in their minds with the despised
slave. Seneca, the philosopher, angrily rejects the suggestion that the
practical arts were invented by a philosopher; they were, he declares,
"thought out by the meanest bondman."

[Sidenote: Competition of slaves fatal to the freeman.]

Slavery did more than bring manual labor into disrepute; it largely
monopolized the market. Each great household where articles of luxury
were in demand relied upon its own host of dexterous and efficient
slaves to produce them. Moreover, the owners of slaves frequently hired
them out to those who needed workmen, or permitted them to work for
wages, and in this way brought them into a competition with the free
workman which was fatal to him.

[Sidenote: Improved condition of the slaves and their emancipation.]

It cannot be denied that a notable improvement in the condition of the
slaves took place during the centuries immediately preceding the
barbarian invasions. Their owners abandoned the horrible subterranean
prisons in which the farm hands were once miserably huddled at night.
The law, moreover, protected the slave from some of the worst forms of
abuse; first and foremost, it deprived his master of the right to kill
him. Slaves began to decrease in numbers before the German invasions. In
the first place, the supply had been cut off after the Roman armies
ceased to conquer new territory. In the second place, masters had for
various reasons begun to emancipate their slaves on a large scale.

[Sidenote: The freedman.]

The freed slave was called a _freedman_, and was by no means in the
position of one who was born free. It is true that he was no longer a
chattel, a mere thing, but he had still to serve his former master,--who
had now become his patron,--for a certain number of days in the year. He
was obliged to pay him a part of his earnings and could not marry
without his patron's consent.

[Sidenote: The coloni.]

[Sidenote: Resemblance between the coloni and the later serfs.]

Yet, as the condition of the slaves improved, and many of them became
freedmen, the state of the poor freeman only became worse. In the towns,
if he tried to earn his living, he was forced to mingle with those
slaves who were permitted to work for wages and with the freedmen, and
he naturally tended to sink to their level. In the country the free
agricultural laborers became _coloni_, a curious intermediate class,
neither slave nor really free. They were bound to the particular bit of
land which some great proprietor permitted them to cultivate and were
sold with it if it changed hands. Like the mediæval _serf_, they could
not be deprived of their fields so long as they paid the owner a certain
part of their crop and worked for him during a period fixed by the
customs of the domain upon which they lived. This system made it
impossible for the farmer to become independent, or for his son to be
better off than he. The coloni and the more fortunate slaves tended to
fuse into a single class; for the law provided that, like the coloni,
certain classes of country slaves were not to be taken from the field
which they had been accustomed to cultivate but were to go with it if it
was sold.[1]

Moreover, it often happened that the Roman proprietor had a number of
dependents among the less fortunate landowners in his neighborhood.
These, in order to escape the taxes and gain his protection as the times
became more disorderly, surrendered their land to their powerful
neighbor with the understanding that he should defend them and permit
them to continue during their lifetime to cultivate the fields, the
title to which had passed to him. On their death their children became
coloni. This arrangement, as we shall find, serves in a measure to
explain the feudalism of later times.

[Sidenote: Depopulation.]

When a country is prosperous the population tends to increase. In the
Roman Empire, even as early as Augustus, a falling off in numbers was
apparent, which was bound to sap the vitality of the state. War, plague,
the evil results of slavery, and the outrageous taxation all combined to
hasten the depopulation; for when it is hard to make a living, men are
deterred from marrying and find it difficult to bring up large families.

[Sidenote: Infiltration of Germans into the Empire.]

In order to replenish the population great numbers of the Germans were
encouraged to settle within the Empire, where they became coloni.
Constantine is said to have called in three hundred thousand of a
single people. Barbarians were enlisted in the Roman legions to keep out
their fellow-Germans. Julius Cæsar was the first to give them a place
among his soldiers. The expedient became more and more common, until,
finally, whole armies were German, entire tribes being enlisted under
their own chiefs. Some of the Germans rose to be distinguished generals;
others attained important positions among the officials of the
government. In this way it came about that a great many of the
inhabitants of the Roman Empire were Germans before the great invasions.
The line dividing the Roman and the barbarian was growing indistinct. It
is not unreasonable to suppose that the influx of barbarians smoothed
the way for the break-up of the western part of the Empire. Although
they had a great respect for the Roman state, they must have kept some
of their German love of individual liberty and could have had little
sympathy for the despotism under which they lived.

[Sidenote: Decline of literature and art.]

6. As the Empire declined in strength and prosperity and was gradually
permeated by the barbarians, its art and literature fell far below the
standard of the great writers and artists of the golden age of Augustus.
The sculpture of Constantine's time was far inferior to that of
Trajan's. Cicero's exquisitely finished style lost its charm for the
readers of the fourth and fifth centuries, and a florid, inferior
species of oratory took its place. Tacitus, who died about A.D. 120, is
perhaps the latest of the Latin authors whose works may be ranked among
the classics. No more great men of letters arose. Few of those who
understand and enjoy Latin literature to-day would think of reading any
of the poetry or prose written after the beginning of the second

[Sidenote: Reliance upon mere compendiums.]

During the three hundred years before the invasions those who read at
all did not ordinarily take the trouble to study the classics, but
relied upon mere collections of quotations; and for what they called
science, upon compendiums and manuals. These the Middle Ages inherited,
and it was not until the time of Petrarch, in the fourteenth century,
that Europe once more reached a degree of cultivation which enabled the
more discriminating scholars to appreciate the best productions of the
great authors of antiquity, both Greek and Latin.[2]

[Sidenote: Preparation for Christianity.]

In spite of the general decline of which we have been speaking, the
Roman world appeared to be making progress in one important respect.
During the first and second centuries a sort of moral revival took place
and a growing religious enthusiasm showed itself, which prepared the way
for the astonishingly rapid introduction of the new Christian religion.
Some of the pagan philosophers had quite given up the old idea which we
find in Homer and Virgil, that there were many gods, and had reached an
elevated conception of the one God and of our duty toward Him. "Our
duty," writes the philosopher Epictetus at the end of the first century,
"is to follow God, ... to be of one mind with Him, to devote ourselves
to the performance of His commands." The emperor Marcus Aurelius (d.
180) expresses similar sentiments in his _Meditations_,[3] the notes
which he wrote for his own guidance. There was a growing abhorrence for
the notorious vices of the great cities, and an ever-increasing demand
for pure and upright conduct. The pagan religions taught that the souls
of the dead continued to exist in Hades; but the life to come was
believed to be a dreary existence at best.

[Sidenote: Promises of Christianity.]

Christianity brought with it a new hope for all those who would escape
from the bondage of sin, of which the serious-minded were becoming more
and more conscious. It promised, moreover, eternal happiness after death
to all who would consistently strive to do right. It appealed to the
desires and needs of all kinds of men and women. For every one who
accepted the Gospel might look forward in the next world to such joy as
he could never hope to experience in this.

[Sidenote: Christianity and paganism tend to merge into one another.]

[Sidenote: Boethius.]

The new religion, as it spread from Palestine among the Gentiles, was
much modified by the religious ideas of those who accepted it. A group
of Christian philosophers, who are known as the early fathers, strove to
show that the Gospel was in accord with the aspirations of the best of
the pagans. In certain ceremonies the former modes of worship were
accepted by the new religion. From simple beginnings the church
developed a distinct priesthood and an elaborate service. In this way
Christianity and the higher forms of paganism tended to come nearer and
nearer to each other as time went on. In one sense, it is true, they met
like two armies in mortal conflict; but at the same time they tended to
merge into one another like two streams which had been following
converging courses. At the confluence of the streams stands Boethius (d.
about 524), the most gifted of the later Roman writers. His beautiful
book, _The Consolation of Philosophy_, was one of the most popular works
during the Middle Ages, when every one believed that its author was a
Christian.[4] Yet there is nothing in the book to indicate that he was
more than a religious pagan, and some scholars doubt if he ever fully
accepted the new religion.

[Sidenote: The primitive, or apostolic, church.]

7. We learn from the letters of St. Paul that the earliest Christian
communities found it necessary to have some organization. They chose
certain officers, the bishops--that is to say, overseers--and the
presbyters or elders, but St. Paul does not tell us exactly what were
the duties of these officers. There were also the deacons, who appear to
have had the care of the poor of the community. The first Christians
looked for the speedy coming of Christ before their own generation
should pass away. Since all were filled with enthusiasm for the Gospel
and eagerly awaited the last day, they did not feel the need of an
elaborate constitution. But as time went on the Christian communities
greatly increased in size, and many joined them who had little or none
of the original fervor and spirituality. It became necessary to develop
a regular system of church government in order to control the erring and
expel those who brought disgrace upon their religion by notoriously bad

[Sidenote: The 'catholic', or universal, church.]

A famous little book, _The Unity of the Church_, by Bishop Cyprian (d.
258) gives us a pretty good idea of the Church a few decades before the
Christian religion was legalized by Constantine. This and other sources
indicate that the followers of Christ had already come to believe in a
"Catholic"--i.e., a universal--Church which embraced all the communities
of true believers wherever they might be. To this one universal Church
all must belong who hoped to be saved.[5]

[Sidenote: Organization of the church before Constantine.]

A sharp distinction was already made between the officers of the Church,
who were called the _clergy_, and the people, or _laity_. To the clergy
was committed the government of the Church as well as the instruction of
its members. In each of the Roman cities was a bishop, and at the head
of the country communities, a priest (Latin, _presbyter_), who had
succeeded to the original elders (presbyters) mentioned in the New
Testament. Below the bishop and the priest were the lower orders of the
clergy,--the deacon and sub-deacon,--and below these the so called minor
orders--the acolyte, exorcist, reader, and doorkeeper. The bishop
exercised a certain control over the priests within his territory. It
was not unnatural that the bishops in the chief towns of the Roman
provinces should be especially influential in church affairs. They came
to be called _archbishops_, and might summon the bishops of the
province to a council to decide important matters.

[Sidenote: The first general council, 325. Position of the Bishop of
Rome during this period.]

In 311 the emperor Galerius issued a decree placing the Christian
religion upon the same legal footing as paganism. Constantine, the first
Christian emperor, carefully enforced this edict. In 325 the first
general council of Christendom was called together under his auspices at
Nicæa. It is clear from the decrees of this famous assembly that the
Catholic Church had already assumed the form that it was to retain down
to the present moment, except that there is no explicit recognition of
the Bishop of Rome as the head of the whole church. Nevertheless, there
were a number of reasons--to be discussed later--why the Bishop of Rome
should sometime become the acknowledged ruler of western Christendom.
The first of the Roman bishops to play a really important part in
authentic history was Leo the Great, who did not take office until

[Sidenote: The Church in the Theodosian Code.]

Constantine's successors soon forbade pagan practices and began to issue
laws which gave the Christian clergy important privileges. In the last
book of the Theodosian Code, a great collection of the laws of the
Empire, which was completed in 438, all the imperial decrees are to be
found which relate to the Christian Church and the clergy. We find that
the clergy, in view of their holy duties, were exempted from certain
onerous offices and from some of the taxes which the laity had to pay.
They were also permitted to receive bequests. The emperors themselves
richly endowed the Church. Their example was followed by rulers and
private individuals all through the Middle Ages, so that the Church
became incredibly wealthy and enjoyed a far greater income than any
state of Europe. The clergy were permitted to try certain cases at law,
and they themselves had the privilege of being tried in their own church
courts for minor criminal offenses. This last book of the Code begins
with a definition of the Trinity; and much space is given to a
description of the different kinds of unbelievers and the penalties
attached to a refusal to accept the religion of the government.[7]

[Sidenote: The Church survives the Empire.]

In these provisions of the Theodosian Code the later mediæval Church is
clearly foreshadowed. The imperial government in the West was soon
overthrown by the barbarian conquerors, but the Catholic Church
conquered and absorbed the conquerors. When the officers of the Empire
deserted their posts the bishops stayed to meet the on-coming invader.
They continued to represent the old civilization and ideas of order. It
was the Church that kept the Latin language alive among those who knew
only a rude German dialect. It was the Church that maintained some
little education in even the darkest period of confusion, for without
the ability to read Latin its services could not have been performed and
its officers could not have carried on their correspondence with one

[Sidenote: The Eastern Empire.]

8. Although the Roman Empire remained one in law, government, and
culture until the Germans came in sufficient force to conquer the
western portions of it, a tendency may nevertheless be noticed some time
before the conquest for the eastern and western portions to drift apart.
Constantine, who established his supremacy only after a long struggle
with his rivals, hoped to strengthen the vast state by establishing a
second capital, which should lie far to the east and dominate a region
very remote from Rome. Constantinople was accordingly founded in 330 on
the confines of Europe and Asia.[8] This was by no means supposed to
destroy the unity of the Empire. Even when Theodosius the Great arranged
(395) that both his sons should succeed him, and that one should rule
in the West and one in the East, he did not intend to divide the Empire.
It is true that there continued to be thereafter two emperors, each in
his own capital, but they were supposed to govern one empire conjointly
and in "unanimity." New laws were to be accepted by both. The writers of
the time do not speak of two states but continue to refer to "the
Empire," as if the administration were still in the hands of one ruler.
Indeed the idea of one government for all civilized mankind did not pass
away but continued to influence men during the whole of the Middle Ages.

Although it was in the eastern part of the Empire that the barbarians
first got a permanent foothold, the emperors at Constantinople were able
to keep a portion of the old possessions of the Empire under their rule
for centuries after the Germans had completely conquered the West. When
at last the eastern capital of the Empire fell, it was not into the
hands of the Germans, but into those of the Turks, who have held it
since 1453.

There will be no room in this volume to follow the history of the
Eastern Empire, although it cannot be entirely ignored in studying
western Europe. Its language and civilization had always been Greek, and
owing to this and the influence of the Orient, its culture offers a
marked contrast to that of the Latin West, which was adopted by the
Germans. Learning never died out in the East as it did in the West, nor
did art reach so low an ebb.

[Sidenote: Constantinople the most wealthy and populous city of Europe
during the early Middle Ages.]

For some centuries after the disruption of the Roman Empire in the West,
the capital of the Eastern Empire enjoyed the distinction of being the
largest and most wealthy city of Europe. Within its walls could be found
the indications of a refinement and civilization which had almost
disappeared in the Occident. Its beautiful buildings, its parks and
paved streets, filled the traveler from the West with astonishment.
When, during the Crusades, the western peoples were brought into
contact with the learning and culture of Constantinople they were
greatly and permanently impressed by them.

     General Reading.--For an outline of the history of the Roman Empire
     during the centuries immediately preceding the barbarian invasions,
     see BOTSFORD, _History of Rome_, WEST, _Ancient History to the
     Death of Charlemagne_, MYERS, _Rome: Its Rise and Fall_, or MOREY,
     _Outlines of Roman History_,--all with plenty of references to
     larger works on the subject. The best work in English on the
     conditions in the Empire upon the eve of the invasions is DILL,
     _Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire_
     (Macmillan, $2.00). HATCH, _The Influence of Greek Thought upon the
     Christian Church_ (Williams & Norgate, $1.00), and RENAN, _The
     Influence of Rome on the Development of the Catholic Church_
     (Williams & Norgate, $1.00), are very important for the advanced
     student. The best of the numerous editions of Gibbon's great work,
     _The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_, which covers the whole
     history of the Middle Ages, is that edited by Bury (The Macmillan
     Company, 7 vols., $14.00).



[Sidenote: The Huns force the Goths into the Empire. Battle of
Adrianople, 378.]

9. Previous to the year 375 the attempts of the Germans to penetrate
into the Empire appear to have been due to their love of adventure,
their hope of enjoying some of the advantages of their civilized
neighbors, or the need of new lands for their increasing numbers. And
the Romans, by means of their armies, their walls, and their guards, had
up to this time succeeded in preventing the barbarians from violently
occupying their territory. But suddenly a new force appeared which
thrust the Germans out upon the weakened Empire. The Huns, a Mongolian
folk from central Asia, swept down upon the Goths, who were a German
tribe settled upon the Danube, and forced a part of them to seek shelter
across the river, within the boundaries of the Empire. Here they soon
fell out with the imperial officials, and a great battle was fought at
Adrianople in 378 in which the Goths defeated and slew the emperor,
Valens. The Germans had now not only broken through the boundaries of
the Empire, but they had also learned that they could defeat the Roman
legions. The battle of Adrianople may, therefore, be said to mark the
beginning of the conquest of the western part of the Empire by the
Germans. For some years, however, after the battle of Adrianople the
various bands of West Goths--or Visigoths, as they are often
called--were induced to accept the terms offered by the emperor's
officials and some of the Goths agreed to serve as soldiers in the Roman


[Sidenote: Alaric takes Rome, 410.]

Before long one of the German chieftains, Alaric, became dissatisfied
with the treatment that he received. He collected an army, of which the
nucleus consisted of West Goths, and set out for Italy. Rome fell into
his hands in 410 and was plundered by his followers. Alaric appears to
have been deeply impressed by the sight of the civilization about him.
He did not destroy the city, hardly even did serious damage to it, and
he gave especial orders to his soldiers not to injure the churches or
take their property.[9]

[Sidenote: West Goths settle in southern Gaul and Spain.]

Alaric died before he could find a satisfactory spot for his people to
settle upon permanently. After his death the West Goths wandered into
Gaul, and then into Spain, which had already been occupied by other
barbarian tribes,--the Vandals and Suevi. These had crossed the Rhine
into Gaul four years before Alaric took Rome; for three years they
devastated the country and then proceeded across the Pyrenees. When the
West Goths reached Spain they quickly concluded peace with the Roman
government. They then set to work to fight the Vandals, with such
success that the emperor granted them a considerable district (419) in
southern Gaul, where they established a West Gothic kingdom. Ten years
after, the Vandals moved on into Africa, where they founded a kingdom
and extended their control over the western Mediterranean. Their place
in Spain was taken by the West Goths who, under their king, Euric
(466-484), conquered a great part of the peninsula, so that their
kingdom extended from the Loire to the Straits of Gibraltar.[10]

[Sidenote: General dismemberment of the Empire in fifth century.]

It is quite unnecessary to follow the confused history of the movements
of the innumerable bands of restless barbarians who wandered about
Europe during the fifth century. Scarcely any part of western Europe was
left unmolested; even Britain was conquered by German tribes, the Angles
and Saxons.

[Sidenote: Attila and the Huns.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Châlons, 451.]

[Sidenote: Founding of Venice.]

To add to the universal confusion caused by the influx of the German
tribes, the Huns, the Mongolian people who had first pushed the West
Goths into the Empire, now began to fill western Europe with terror.
Under their chief, Attila,--"the scourge of God," as the trembling
Romans called him,--the savage Huns invaded Gaul. But the Roman
inhabitants and the Germans joined against the invaders and defeated
them in the battle of Châlons, in 451. After this rebuff Attila turned
to Italy. But the impending danger was averted. Attila was induced by an
embassy, headed by Pope Leo the Great, to give up his plan of marching
upon Rome. Within a year he died and with him perished the power of the
Huns, who never troubled Europe again. Their threatened invasion of
Italy produced one permanent result however; for it was then that
fugitives from the cities of northeastern Italy fled to the sandy islets
just off the Adriatic shore and founded the town which was to grow into
the beautiful and powerful city of Venice.[11]

[Sidenote: The 'fall' of the Empire in the West, 476.]

[Sidenote: Odoacer.]

10. The year 476 has commonly been taken as the date of the "fall" of
the Western Empire and of the beginning of the Middle Ages. What
happened in that year was this. Since Theodosius the Great, in 395, had
provided that his two sons should divide the administration of the
Empire between them, most of the emperors of the West had proved weak
and indolent rulers. The barbarians wandered hither and thither pretty
much at their pleasure, and the German troops in the service of the
Empire amused themselves setting up and throwing down puppet emperors.
In 476 the German mercenaries in the Roman army demanded that a third
part of Italy be given to them. On the refusal of this demand, Odoacer,
their leader, banished the last of the western emperors (whose name was,
by the irony of fate, Romulus Augustus the Little) to a villa near
Naples. Then Odoacer sent the insignia of empire to the eastern emperor
with the request that he be permitted to rule Italy as the emperor's
delegate, thus putting an end to the line of the western emperors.[12]

[Sidenote: Theodoric conquers Odoacer and establishes the kingdom of the
East Goths in Italy.]

It was not, however, given to Odoacer to establish an enduring German
kingdom on Italian soil, for he was conquered by the great Theodoric,
the king of the East Goths (or Ostrogoths). Theodoric had spent ten
years of his early youth in Constantinople and had thus become familiar
with Roman life. Since his return to his people he had been alternately
a dangerous enemy and an embarrassing friend to the eastern emperor. The
East Goths, under his leadership, had harassed and devastated various
parts of the Eastern Empire, and had once threatened the capital itself.
The emperor had repeatedly conciliated him by conferring upon him
various honors and titles and by making large grants of money and land
to his people. It must have been a great relief to the government when
Theodoric determined to lead his people to Italy against Odoacer. "If I
fail," Theodoric said to the emperor, "you will be relieved of an
expensive and troublesome friend; if, with the divine permission, I
succeed, I shall govern in your name and to your glory, the Roman Senate
and that part of the Empire delivered from slavery by my victorious

The struggle between Theodoric and Odoacer lasted for several years, but
Odoacer was finally shut up in Ravenna and surrendered, only to be
treacherously slain a few days later by Theodoric's own hand (493).[13]

[Sidenote: The East Goths in Italy.]

The attitude of the East Goths toward the people already in possession
of the land and toward the Roman culture is significant. Theodoric put
the name of the eastern emperor on the coins that he issued and did
everything in his power to insure the emperor's approval of the new
German kingdom. Nevertheless, although he desired that the emperor
should sanction his usurpation, Theodoric had no idea of being really
subordinate to Constantinople.

[Illustration: Interior of a Church at Ravenna, built in Theodoric's

The invaders appropriated one third of the land for themselves, but this
was done with discretion and no disorder appears to have resulted.
Theodoric maintained the Roman laws and institutions, which he greatly
admired. The old offices and titles were retained, and Goth and Roman
lived under the same Roman law. Order was restored and learning
encouraged. In Ravenna, which Theodoric chose for his capital, beautiful
buildings that date from his reign still exist.

[Sidenote: The East Goths were Arian heretics.]

On his death in 526, Theodoric left behind him an admirably organized
state, but it had one conspicuous weakness. The Goths, although
Christians, were unorthodox according to the standard of the Italian
Christians. They had been converted by eastern missionaries, who taught
them the Arian heresy earlier prevalent at Constantinople. This
doctrine, which derived its name from Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria
(d. 336), had been condemned by the Council of Nicæa. The followers of
Arius did not have the same conception of Christ's nature and of the
relations of the three members of the Trinity as that sanctioned at
Rome. The East Goths were, therefore, not only barbarians,--which might
have been forgiven them,--but were guilty, in the eyes of the orthodox
Italians, of the unpardonable offense of heresy. Theodoric himself was
exceptionally tolerant for his times. His conviction that "we cannot
command in matters of religion because no one can be compelled to
believe against his will," showed a spirit alien to the traditions of
the Roman Empire and the Roman Church, which represented the orthodox

[Sidenote: The German kingdoms of Theodoric's time.]

11. While Theodoric had been establishing his kingdom in Italy with such
enlightenment and moderation, what is now France was coming under the
control of the most powerful of the barbarian peoples, the Franks, who
were to play a more important rôle in the formation of modern Europe
than any of the other German races. Besides the kingdoms of the East
Goths and the Franks, the West Goths had their kingdom in Spain, the
Burgundians had established themselves on the Rhone, and the Vandals in
Africa. Royal alliances were concluded between the reigning houses of
these nations, and for the first time in the history of Europe we see
something like a family of nations, living each within its own
boundaries and dealing with one another as independent powers. It
seemed for a few years as if the process of assimilation between Germans
and Romans was going to make rapid progress without involving any
considerable period of disorder and retrogression.

[Illustration: Map of Europe in the Time of Theodoric]

[Sidenote: Extinction of Latin literature.]

[Sidenote: Boethius.]

But no such good fortune was in store for Europe, which was now only at
the beginning of the turmoil from which it was to emerge almost
completely barbarized. Science, art, and literature could find no
foothold in the shifting political sands of the following centuries.
Boethius,[14] whom Theodoric put to death (in 524 or 525) for alleged
treasonable correspondence with the emperor, was the last Latin writer
who can be compared in any way with the classical authors in his style
and mastery of the language. He was a scholar as well as a poet, and his
treatises on logic, music, etc., were highly esteemed by following

[Sidenote: Cassiodorus and his manuals.]

Theodoric's distinguished Roman counselor, Cassiodorus (d. 575), to
whose letters we owe a great part of our knowledge of the period, busied
himself in his old age in preparing text-books of the liberal arts and
sciences,--grammar, arithmetic, logic, geometry, rhetoric, music, and
astronomy. His manuals were intended to give the uninstructed priests a
sufficient preparation for the study of the Bible and of the doctrines
of the Church. His absurdly inadequate and, to us, silly treatment of
these seven important subjects, to which he devotes a few pages each,
enables us to estimate the low plane to which learning had fallen in
Italy in the sixth century. Yet his books were regarded as standard
treatises in these great fields of knowledge all through the Middle
Ages. So mediæval Europe owed these, and other text-books upon which she
was dependent for her knowledge, to the period when Latin culture was
coming to an end.

[Sidenote: Scarcely any writers in western Europe during the sixth,
seventh, and eighth centuries.]

A long period of gloom now begins. Between the time of Theodoric and
that of Charlemagne three hundred years elapsed, during which scarcely a
writer was to be found who could compose, even in the worst of Latin, a
chronicle of the events of his day.[15] Everything conspired to
discourage education. The great centers of learning--Carthage, Rome,
Alexandria, Milan--were partially destroyed by the barbarians or the
Arabs. The libraries which had been kept in the temples of the gods were
often annihilated, along with the pagan shrines, by Christian
enthusiasts, who were not sorry to see the heathen literature disappear
with the heathen religion. Shortly after Theodoric's death the eastern
emperor withdrew the support which the government had hitherto granted
to public teachers and closed the great school at Athens. The only
important historian of the sixth century was the half-illiterate
Gregory, Bishop of Tours (d. 594), whose whole work is unimpeachable
evidence of the sad state of intellectual affairs. He at least heartily
appreciated his own ignorance and exclaims, in incorrect Latin, "Woe to
our time, for the study of letters has perished from among us."

[Sidenote: Justinian destroys the kingdoms of the Vandals and the East

12. The year after Theodoric's death one of the greatest of the emperors
of the East, Justinian (527-565), came to the throne at
Constantinople.[16] He undertook to regain for the Empire the provinces
in Africa and Italy that had been occupied by the Vandals and East
Goths. His general, Belisarius, overthrew the Vandal kingdom in northern
Africa in 534, but it was a more difficult task to destroy the Gothic
rule in Italy. However, in spite of a brave defense, the Goths were so
completely defeated in 553 that they agreed to leave Italy with all
their movable possessions. What became of the remnants of the race we do
not know. They had been too few to maintain their control over the mass
of the Italians, who were ready, with a religious zeal which cost them
dear, to open their gates to the hostile armies of Justinian.

[Sidenote: The Lombards occupy Italy.]

The destruction of the Gothic kingdom was a disaster for Italy.
Immediately after the death of Justinian the country was overrun anew,
by the Lombards, the last of the great German peoples to establish
themselves within the bounds of the former Empire. They were a savage
race, a considerable part of which was still pagan, and the Arian
Christians among them appear to have been as hostile to the Roman Church
as their unconverted fellows. The newcomers first occupied the region
north of the Po, which has ever since been called Lombardy after them,
and then extended their conquests southward. Instead of settling
themselves with the moderation and wise statesmanship of the East Goths,
the Lombards chose to move about the peninsula pillaging and massacring.
Such of the inhabitants as could, fled to the islands off the coast. The
Lombards were unable, however, to conquer all of Italy. Rome, Ravenna,
and southern Italy continued to be held by the Greek empire. As time
went on, the Lombards lost their wildness, accepted the orthodox form of
Christianity, and gradually assimilated the civilization of the people
among whom they lived. Their kingdom lasted over two hundred years,
until it was overthrown by Charlemagne.

[Sidenote: The Franks; their importance and their method of conquest.]

13. None of the German peoples of whom we have so far spoken, except the
Franks, ever succeeded in establishing a permanent kingdom. Their states
were overthrown in turn by some other German nation, by the Eastern
Empire, or, in the case of the West-Gothic kingdom in Spain, by the
Mohammedans. The Franks, to whom we must now turn, were destined not
only to conquer most of the other German tribes but even to extend their
boundaries into districts inhabited by the Slavs.

When the Franks are first heard of in history they were settled along
the lower Rhine, from Cologne to the North Sea. Their method of getting
a foothold in the Empire was essentially different from that which the
Goths, Lombards, and Vandals had adopted. Instead of severing their
connection with Germany and becoming an island in the sea of the Empire,
they conquered by degrees the territory about them. However far they
might extend their control, they remained in constant touch with the
barbarian reserves behind them. In this way they retained the warlike
vigor that was lost by the races who were completely surrounded by the
enervating influences of Roman civilization.

In the early part of the fifth century they had occupied the district
which constitutes to-day the kingdom of Belgium, as well as the regions
east of it. In 486, seven years before Theodoric founded his Italian
kingdom, they went forth under their great king, Clovis (a name that
later grew into Louis), and defeated the Roman general who opposed them.
They extended their control over Gaul as far south as the Loire, which
at that time formed the northern boundary of the kingdom of the West
Goths. Clovis then enlarged his empire on the east by the conquest of
the Alemanni, a German people living in the region of the Black

[Illustration: A Frankish Warrior]

[Sidenote: Conversion of Clovis, 496, and its consequences.]

The battle in which the Alemanni were defeated (496) is in one respect
important above all the other battles of Clovis. Although still a pagan
himself, his wife was an orthodox Christian convert. In the midst of the
conflict, as he saw his line giving way, he called upon Jesus Christ and
pledged himself to be baptized in His name if He would help the Franks
to victory over their enemies. He kept his word and was baptized
together with three thousand of his warriors. His conversion had the
most momentous consequences for Europe. All the other German peoples
within the Empire were Christians, but they were all Arian heretics; and
to the orthodox Christians about them they seemed worse than heathen.
This religious difference had prevented the Germans and Romans from
inter-marrying and had retarded their fusion in other ways. But with the
conversion of Clovis, there was at least one barbarian leader with whom
the Bishop of Rome could negotiate as with a faithful son of the
Church. It is from the orthodox Gregory of Tours that most of our
knowledge of Clovis and his successors is derived. In Gregory's famous
_History of the Franks_, the cruel and unscrupulous king appears as
God's chosen instrument for the extension of the Catholic faith.[18]
Certainly Clovis quickly learned to combine his own interests with those
of the Church, and the alliance between the pope and the Frankish kings
was destined to have a great influence upon the history of western

[Sidenote: Conquests of Clovis.]

To the south of Clovis' new acquisitions in Gaul lay the kingdom of the
Arian West Goths, to the southeast that of another heretical German
people, the Burgundians. Gregory of Tours reports him as saying: "I
cannot bear that these Arians should be in possession of a part of Gaul.
Let us advance upon them with the aid of God; after we have conquered
them let us bring their realms into our power." So zealous was the newly
converted king that he speedily extended his power to the Pyrenees, and
forced the West Goths to confine themselves to the Spanish portion of
their realm. The Burgundians became a tributary nation and soon fell
completely under the rule of the Franks. Then Clovis, by a series of
murders, brought portions of the Frankish nation itself, which had
previously been independent of him, under his scepter.

[Sidenote: Character of Frankish history.]

14. When Clovis died in 511 at Paris, which he had made his residence,
his four sons divided his possessions among them. Wars between rival
brothers, interspersed with the most horrible murders, fill the annals
of the Frankish kingdom for over a hundred years after the death of
Clovis. Yet the nation continued to develop in spite of the unscrupulous
deeds of its rulers. It had no enemies strong enough to assail it, and a
certain unity was preserved in spite of the ever-shifting distribution
of territory among the members of the royal house.[19]

[Sidenote: Extent of the Frankish kingdoms in the sixth century.]

The Frankish kings succeeded in extending their power over pretty nearly
all the territory that is included to-day in France, Belgium, and the
Netherlands, as well as over a goodly portion of western Germany. By
555, when Bavaria had become tributary to the Frankish rulers, their
dominions extended from the Bay of Biscay to a point east of Salzburg.
Considerable districts that the Romans had never succeeded in conquering
had been brought into the developing civilization of western Europe.

[Illustration: The Dominions of the Franks under the Merovingians]

[Sidenote: Division of the Frankish territory into Neustria, Austrasia,
and Burgundy.]

As a result of the divisions of the Frankish lands, fifty years after
the death of Clovis three Frankish kingdoms appear on the map. Neustria,
the western kingdom, with its center at Paris or Soissons, was inhabited
mainly by the older Romanized people among whom the Franks had settled.
To the east was Austrasia, with Metz and Aix-la-Chapelle as its chief
cities. This region was completely German in its population. In these
two there was the prophecy of the future France and Germany. Lastly,
there was the old Burgundian realm. Of the Merovingian kings, as the
line descended from Clovis was called, the last to rule as well as reign
was Dagobert (d. 638), who united the whole Frankish territory once more
under his scepter.

[Sidenote: The Frankish nobility.]

A new danger, however, threatened the unity of the Frankish kingdom,
namely, the aspirations of the powerful nobles. In the earliest accounts
which we have of the Germans there appear to have been certain families
who enjoyed a recognized preëminence over their companions. In the
course of the various conquests there was a chance for the skillful
leader to raise himself in the favor of the king. It was only natural
that those upon whom the king relied to control distant parts of the
realm should become dangerously ambitious and independent.

[Sidenote: The Mayors of the Palace.]

[Sidenote: Foundation of the power of Charlemagne's family, the
so-called Carolingians.]

Among the positions held by the nobility none was reputed more honorable
than those near the king's person. Of these offices the most influential
was that of the Major Domus, or Mayor of the Palace, who was a species
of prime minister. After Dagobert's death these mayors practically ruled
in the place of the Merovingian monarchs, who became mere "do-nothing
kings,"--_rois fainéants_, as the French call them. The Austrasian Mayor
of the Palace, Pippin of Heristal, the great-grandfather of Charlemagne,
succeeded in getting, in addition to Austrasia, both Neustria and
Burgundy under his control. In this way he laid the foundation of his
family's renown. Upon his death, in 714, his task of consolidating and
defending the vast territories of the Franks devolved upon his more
distinguished son, Charles Martel, i.e., the Hammer.[20]

[Sidenote: Fusion of the barbarians and the Roman population.]

15. As one looks back over the German invasions it is natural to ask
upon what terms the newcomers lived among the old inhabitants of the
Empire, how far they adopted the customs of those among whom they
settled, and how far they clung to their old habits? These questions
cannot be answered very satisfactorily; so little is known of the
confused period of which we have been speaking that it is impossible to
follow closely the amalgamation of the two races.

[Sidenote: The number of the barbarians.]

Yet a few things are tolerably clear. In the first place, we must be on
our guard against exaggerating the numbers in the various bodies of
invaders. The writers of the time indicate that the West Goths, when
they were first admitted to the Empire before the battle of Adrianople,
amounted to four or five hundred thousand persons, including men, women,
and children. This is the largest band reported, and it must have been
greatly reduced before the West Goths, after long wanderings and many
battles, finally settled in Spain and southern Gaul. The Burgundians,
when they appear for the first time on the banks of the Rhine, are
reported to have had eighty thousand warriors among them. When Clovis
and his army were baptized the chronicler speaks of "over three
thousand" soldiers who became Christians upon that occasion. This would
seem to indicate that the Frankish king had no larger force at this

Undoubtedly these figures are very meager and unreliable. But the
readiness with which the Germans appear to have adopted the language and
customs of the Romans would tend to prove that the invaders formed but a
small minority of the population. Since hundreds of thousands of
barbarians had been assimilated during the previous five centuries, the
great invasions of the fifth century can hardly have made an abrupt
change in the character of the population.

[Sidenote: Contrast between spoken and written Latin.]

The barbarians within the old empire were soon speaking the same
conversational Latin which was everywhere used by the Romans about
them.[21] This was much simpler than the elaborate and complicated
language used in books, which we find so much difficulty in learning
nowadays. The speech of the common people was gradually diverging more
and more, in the various countries of southern Europe, from the written
Latin, and finally grew into French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.
But the barbarians did not produce this change, for it had begun before
they came and would have gone on without them. They did no more than
contribute a few convenient words to the new languages.

The Germans appear to have had no dislike for the Romans nor the Romans
for them, except as long as the Germans remained Arian Christians. Where
there was no religious barrier the two races intermarried freely from
the first. The Frankish kings did not hesitate to appoint Romans to
important positions in the government and in the army, just as the
Romans had long been in the habit of employing the barbarians. In only
one respect were the two races distinguished for a time,--each had its
particular law.

[Sidenote: The Roman and the German law.]

The West Goths in the time of Euric were probably the first to write
down their ancient laws, using the Latin language. Their example was
followed by the Franks, the Burgundians, and later by the Lombards and
other peoples. These codes make up the "Laws of the Barbarians," which
form our most important source of knowledge of the habits and ideas of
the Germans at the time of the invasions.[22] For several centuries
following the conquest, the members of the various German tribes appear
to have been judged by the laws of the particular people to which they
belonged. The older inhabitants of the Empire, on the contrary,
continued to have their lawsuits decided according to the Roman law.
This survived all through the Middle Ages in southern Europe, where the
Germans were few. Elsewhere the Germans' more primitive ideas of law
prevailed until the thirteenth or fourteenth century. A good example of
these is the picturesque mediæval ordeal by which the guilt or innocence
of a suspected person was determined.

[Sidenote: Mediæval trials.]

The German laws did not provide for the trial, either in the Roman or
the modern sense of the word, of a suspected person. There was no
attempt to gather and weigh evidence and base the decision upon it. Such
a mode of procedure was far too elaborate for the simple-minded Germans.
Instead of a regular trial, one of the parties to the case was
designated to prove that his assertions were true by one of the
following methods: (1) He might solemnly swear that he was telling the
truth and get as many other persons of his own class as the court
required, to swear that they believed that he was telling the truth.
This was called _compurgation_. It was believed that the divine
vengeance would be visited upon those who swore falsely. (2) On the
other hand, the parties to the case, or persons representing them, might
meet in combat, on the supposition that Heaven would grant victory to
the right. This was the so-called _wager of battle_. (3) Lastly, one or
other of the parties might be required to submit to the _ordeal_ in one
of its various forms: He might plunge his arm into hot water, or carry a
bit of hot iron for some distance, and if at the end of three days he
showed no ill effects, the case was decided in his favor. He might be
ordered to walk over hot plowshares, and if he was not burned, it was
assumed that God had intervened by a miracle to establish the
right.[23] This method of trial is but one example of the rude
civilization which displaced the refined and elaborate organization of
the Romans.

[Sidenote: The task of the Middle Ages.]

16. The account which has been given of the conditions in the Roman
Empire, and of the manner in which the barbarians occupied its western
part, makes clear the great problem of the Middle Ages. The Germans, no
doubt, varied a good deal in their habits and spirit. The Goths differed
from the Lombards, and the Franks from the Vandals; but they all agreed
in knowing nothing of the art, literature, and science which had been
developed by the Greeks and adopted by the Romans. The invaders were
ignorant, simple, vigorous people, with no taste for anything except
fighting and bodily comfort. Such was the disorder that their coming
produced, that the declining civilization of the Empire was pretty
nearly submerged. The libraries, buildings, and works of art were
destroyed and there was no one to see that they were restored. So the
western world fell back into a condition similar to that in which it had
been before the Romans conquered and civilized it.[24]

The loss was, however, temporary. The barbarians did not utterly destroy
what they found, but utilized the ruins of the Roman Empire in their
gradual construction of a new society. They received suggestions from
the Roman methods of agriculture. When they reached a point where they
needed them, they used the models offered by Roman roads and buildings.
In short, the great heritage of skill and invention which had been
slowly accumulated in Egypt, Phœnicia, and Greece, and which formed a
part of the culture which the Romans diffused, did not wholly perish.

[Sidenote: Loss caused by the coming of the barbarians regained during
Middle Ages.]

It required about a thousand years to educate the new race; but at last
Europe, including districts never embraced in the Roman Empire, caught
up once more with antiquity. When, in the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, first Italy, and then the rest of Europe, awoke again to the
beauty and truth of the classical literature and began to emulate the
ancient art, the process of educating the barbarians may be said to have
been completed. Yet the Middle Ages had been by no means a sterile
period. They had added their part to the heritage of the West. From the
union of two great elements, the ancient civilization, which was
completely revived at the opening of the sixteenth century, and the
vigor and the political and social ideals of the Germans, a new thing
was formed, namely, our modern civilization.

     General Reading.--By far the most exhaustive work in English upon
     the German invasions is HODGKIN, _Italy and her Invaders_,--very
     bulky and costly (8 vols., $36.50). The author has, however, given
     some of the results of his work in his excellent _Dynasty of
     Theodosius_ (Clarendon Press, $1.50), and his _Theodoric the Goth_
     (G.P. Putnam's Sons, $1.50). SERGEANT, _The Franks_ (G.P. Putnam's
     Sons, $1.50), gives more than is to be found on the subject in
     either Emerton or Oman.



[Sidenote: The greatness of the Church.]

17. While the Franks were slowly developing the strength which
Charlemagne employed to found the most extensive realm that has existed
in Europe since the Roman Empire, another government, whose power was
far greater, whose organization was far more perfect, and whose vitality
was infinitely superior to that of the Frankish empire, namely, the
Christian Church, was steadily extending its sway and establishing the
foundations of its later supremacy.

We have already seen how marvelously the Christian communities founded
by the apostles and their fellow-missionaries multiplied until, by the
middle of the third century, writers like Cyprian came to conceive of a
"Catholic," or all-embracing, Church. We have seen how Constantine first
made Christianity legal, and how his successors worked in the interest
of the new religion; how carefully the Theodosian Code safeguarded the
Church and the Christian clergy, and how harshly those were treated who
ventured to hold another view of Christianity from that sanctioned by
the government.[25]

We must now follow this most powerful and permanent of all the
institutions of the later Roman Empire into the Middle Ages. We must
stop a moment to consider the sources of its power, and then see how the
Western, or Latin, portion of Christendom fell apart from the Eastern,
or Greek, region and came to form a separate institution under the
longest and mightiest line of rulers that the world has ever seen, the
Roman bishops. We shall see how a peculiar class of Christians, the
monks, developed; how they joined hands with the clergy; how the monks
and the clergy met the barbarians, subdued and civilized them, and then
ruled them for centuries.

[Sidenote: Sources of the Church's power.]

The tremendous power of the Church in the Middle Ages was due, we may be
sure, to the way in which it adapted itself to the ideas and needs of
the time; for no institution can flourish unless it meets the wants of
those who live under it.

[Sidenote: Contrast between pagan and Christian ideas.]

One great source of the Church's strength lay in the general fear of
death and judgment to come, which Christianity had brought with it. The
Greeks and Romans of the classical period thought of the next life, when
they thought of it at all, as a very uninteresting existence compared
with that on this earth. One who committed some signal crime might
suffer for it after death with pains similar to those of the hell in
which the Christians believed. But the great part of humanity were
supposed to lead in the next world a shadowy existence, neither sad nor
glad. Religion, even to the devout pagan, was mainly an affair of this
life; the gods were to be propitiated with a view to present happiness
and success.

Since no satisfaction could be expected in the next life, it was
naturally deemed wise to make the most of this one. The possibility of
pleasure ends--so the poet Horace urges--when we join the shades below,
as we all must do soon. Let us, therefore, take advantage of every
harmless pleasure and improve our brief opportunity to enjoy the good
things of earth. We should, however, be reasonable and temperate,
avoiding all excess, for that endangers happiness. Above all, we should
not worry uselessly about the future, which is in the hands of the gods
and beyond our control. Such were the convictions of the majority of
thoughtful pagans.

[Sidenote: Other-worldliness of mediæval Christianity.]

Christianity opposed this view of life with an entirely different one.
It laid persistent emphasis upon man's existence after death, which it
declared infinitely more important than his brief sojourn in the body.
Under the influence of the Church this conception of life had gradually
supplanted the pagan one in the Roman world, and it was taught to the
barbarians. The other-worldliness became so intense that thousands gave
up their ordinary occupations and pleasures altogether, and devoted
their entire attention to preparation for the next life. They shut
themselves in lonely cells; and, not satisfied with giving up most of
their natural pleasures, they inflicted bodily suffering upon themselves
by hunger, cold, and stripes. They trusted that in this way they might
avoid some of the sins into which they were prone to fall, and that, by
self-inflicted punishment in this world, they might perchance escape
some of that reserved for them in the next. As most of the writers and
teachers of the Middle Ages belonged to this class of what may be called
professional Christians, i.e., the monks, it was natural that their kind
of life should have been regarded, even by those who continued to live
in the world, as the ideal one for the earnest Christian.

[Sidenote: The Church the one agent of salvation.]

The barbarians were taught that their fate in the next world depended
largely upon the Church. Its ministers never wearied of presenting the
momentous alternative which faced every man so soon as this fleeting
earthly existence should be over,--the alternative between eternal bliss
and perpetual, unspeakable physical torment. Only those who had been
duly baptized could hope to reach heaven; but baptism washed away only
past sins and did not prevent constant relapse into new ones. These,
unless their guilt was removed through the instrumentality of the
Church, would surely drag the soul down to perdition.

[Sidenote: Miracles a source of the Church's power.]

The divine power of the Church was, furthermore, established in the eyes
of the people by the miraculous works which her saints were constantly
performing. They healed the sick and succored those in distress. They
struck down with speedy and signal disaster those who opposed the Church
or treated her holy rites with contempt. To the reader of to-day the
frequency of the miracles recorded in mediæval writings seems
astonishing. The chronicles and biographies are filled with accounts of
them, and no one appears to have doubted their common occurrence.[26]

[Sidenote: The Church and the Roman government.]

18. The chief importance of the Church for the student of mediæval
history does not lie, however, in its religious functions, vital as they
were, but rather in its remarkable relations to the civil government. At
first the Church and the imperial government were on a friendly footing
of mutual respect and support. So long as the Roman Empire remained
strong and active there was no chance for the clergy to free themselves
from the control of the emperor, even if they had been disposed to do
so. He made such laws for the Church as he saw fit and the clergy did
not complain. The government was, indeed, indispensable to them. It
undertook to root out paganism by destroying the heathen shrines and
preventing heathen sacrifices, and it harshly punished those who refused
to accept the teachings sanctioned by the Church.

[Sidenote: The Church begins to seek independence.]

But as the barbarians came in and the great Empire began to fall apart,
there was a growing tendency among the churchmen in the West to resent
the interference of rulers whom they no longer respected. They managed
gradually to free themselves in large part from the control of the civil
government. They then proceeded themselves to assume many of the duties
of government, which the weak and disorderly states into which the Roman
Empire fell were unable to perform properly. In 502, a church council at
Rome declared a decree of Odoacer's null and void, on the ground that no
layman had a right to interfere in the affairs of the Church. One of the
bishops of Rome (Pope Gelasius I, d. 496) briefly stated the principle
upon which the Church rested its claims, as follows: "Two powers govern
the world, the priestly and the kingly. The first is indisputably the
superior, for the priest is responsible to God for the conduct of even
the emperors themselves." Since no one denied that the eternal interests
of mankind, which devolved upon the Church, were infinitely more
important than those matters of mere worldly expediency which the state
regulated, it was natural for the clergy to hold that, in case of
conflict, the Church and its officers, rather than the king, should have
the last word.

[Sidenote: The Church begins to perform the functions of government.]

It was one thing, however, for the Church to claim the right to regulate
its own affairs; it was quite another for it to assume the functions
which the Roman government had previously performed and which our
governments perform to-day, such as the maintenance of order, the
management of public education, the trial of lawsuits, etc. It did not,
however, exactly usurp the prerogatives of the civil power, but rather
offered itself as a substitute for it when no efficient civil government
any longer existed. For there were no states, in the modern sense of the
word, in western Europe for many centuries after the final destruction
of the Roman Empire. The authority of the various kings was seldom
sufficient to keep their realms in order. There were always many
powerful landholders scattered throughout the kingdom who did pretty
much what they pleased and settled their grudges against their fellows
by neighborhood wars. Fighting was the main business as well as the
chief amusement of the noble class. The king was unable to maintain
peace and protect the oppressed, however anxious he may have been to do

Under these circumstances, it naturally fell to the admirably organized
Church to keep order, when it could, by threats or persuasion; to see
that sworn contracts were kept, that the wills of the dead were
administered, and marriage obligations observed. It took the defenseless
widow and orphan under its protection and dispensed charity; it promoted
education at a time when few laymen, however rich and noble, pretended
even to read. These conditions serve to explain why the Church was
finally able greatly to extend the powers which it had enjoyed under the
Roman Empire, and why it undertook functions which seem to us to belong
to the state rather than to a religious organization.

[Sidenote: Origin of papal power.]

19. We must now turn to a consideration of the origin and growth of the
supremacy of the popes, who, by raising themselves to the head of the
Western Church, became in many respects more powerful than any of the
kings and princes with whom they frequently found themselves in bitter

[Sidenote: Prestige of the Roman Christian community.]

While we cannot discover, either in the Acts of the Council of Nicæa or
in the Theodosian Code, compiled more than a century later, any
recognition of the supreme headship of the Bishop of Rome, there is
little doubt that he and his flock had almost from the very first
enjoyed a leading place among the Christian communities. The Roman
Church was the only one in the West which could claim the distinction of
having been founded by the immediate followers of Christ,--the "two most
glorious apostles."

[Sidenote: Belief that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome.]

The New Testament speaks repeatedly of Paul's presence in Rome, and
Peter's is implied. There had always been, moreover, a persistent
tradition, accepted throughout the Christian Church, that Peter was the
first Bishop of Rome. While there is no complete documentary proof for
this belief, it appears to have been generally accepted at least as
early as the middle of the second century. There is, certainly, no
conflicting tradition, no rival claimant. The _belief itself_, whether
or not it corresponds with actual events, is indubitably a fact, and a
fact of the greatest historical importance. Peter enjoyed a certain
preëminence among the other apostles and was singled out by Christ upon
several occasions. In a passage of the New Testament which has affected
political history more profoundly than the edicts of the most powerful
monarch, Christ says: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall
not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the
kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be
bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be
loosed in heaven."[27]

[Sidenote: The Roman Church the mother church.]

It was thus natural that the Roman Church should early have been looked
upon as the mother church in the West. Its doctrines were considered the
purest, since they had been handed down from its exalted founders. When
there was a difference of opinion in regard to the truth of a particular
teaching, it was natural that all should turn to the Bishop of Rome for
his view. Moreover, the majesty of the capital of the world helped to
exalt its bishop above his fellows. It was long, however, before all the
other bishops, especially those in the large cities, were ready to
accept unconditionally the authority of the Bishop of Rome, although
they acknowledged his leading position and that of the Roman community.

[Sidenote: Obscurity of early bishops of Rome.]

We know comparatively little of the bishops of Rome during the first
three centuries of the Church's existence. Even as the undisputed heads
of their persecuted sect, they could not have begun to exercise the
political influence which they later enjoyed, until Christianity had
gained the ascendancy and the power of the Empire had become greatly

[Sidenote: Period of the Church fathers.]

We are, however, much better instructed in regard to the Church of the
fourth and early fifth centuries, because the century following the
Council of Nicæa was, in the history of church literature, what the
Elizabethan era was in that of England. It was the era of the great
"fathers" of Christian theology, to whom all theologians since have
looked back as to the foremost interpreters of their religion. Among the
chief of these were Athanasius (d. 373), to whom is attributed the
formulation of the creed of the Orthodox Church as opposed to the
Arians, against whom he waged unremitting war; Basil (d. 379), the
promoter of the monastic life; Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (d. 397); Jerome
(d. 420), who prepared a new Latin version of the Scriptures, which
became the standard (Vulgate) edition; and, above all, Augustine
(354-430), whose voluminous writings have exercised an unrivaled
influence upon the minds of Christian thinkers since his day.

Since the church fathers were chiefly interested in matters of doctrine,
they say little of the organization of the Church, and it is not clear
from their writings that the Bishop of Rome was accorded as yet the
supreme and dominating position which the popes later enjoyed.
Nevertheless, Augustine calls a contemporaneous Bishop of Rome the "head
of the Western Church," and almost immediately after his death one
ascended the episcopal chair at Rome whose ambition, energy, and
personal bravery were a promise of those qualities which were to render
his successors the kings of kings.

[Sidenote: Leo the Great, 440-461.]

[Sidenote: Decree of Valentinian III.]

With the accession of Leo the Great (440-461) the history of the papacy
may, in one sense, be said to have begun. At his instance, Valentinian
III, the emperor of the West, issued a decree in 445 declaring the power
of the Bishop of Rome supreme, by reason of Peter's merits and apostolic
headship, and by reason of the majesty of the city of Rome. He commanded
that the bishops throughout the West should receive as law all that the
Bishop of Rome sanctioned, and that any bishop refusing to answer a
summons to Rome should be forced to obey by the imperial governor. But a
council at Chalcedon, six years later, raised new Rome on the Bosphorus
(Constantinople) to an ecclesiastical equality with old Rome on the
Tiber. The bishops of both cities were to have a co-superiority over all
the other prelates. This decree was, however, never accepted in the
Western or Latin Church, which was gradually separating from the Eastern
or Greek Church whose natural head was Constantinople.[28] Although the
powers to which Leo laid claim were not as yet even clearly stated and
there were times of adversity to come when for years they appeared an
empty boast, still his emphatic assertion of the supremacy of the Roman
bishop was a great step toward bringing the Western Church under a
single head.

[Sidenote: Duties that devolved upon the early popes.]

Not long after the death of Leo the Great, Odoacer put an end to the
western line of emperors. Then Theodoric and his East Goths settled in
Italy, only to be followed by still less desirable intruders, the
Lombards. During this tumultuous period the people of Rome, and even of
all Italy, came to regard the pope as their natural leader. The emperor
was far away, and his officers, who managed to hold a portion of central
Italy around Rome and Ravenna, were glad to accept the aid and counsel
of the pope. In Rome the pope watched over the elections of the city
officials and directed in what manner the public money should be spent.
He had to manage and defend the great tracts of land in different parts
of Italy which from time to time had been given to the bishopric of
Rome. He negotiated with the Germans and even directed the generals sent
against them.

[Sidenote: Gregory the Great, 590-604.]

20. The pontificate of Gregory the Great, one of the half dozen most
distinguished heads that the Church has ever had, shows how great a part
the papacy could play. Gregory, who was the son of a rich Roman senator,
was appointed by the emperor to the honorable office of prefect. He
began to fear, however, that his proud position and fine clothes were
making him vain and worldly. His pious mother and his study of the
writings of Augustine, Jerome, and Ambrose led him, upon the death of
his father, to spend all his handsome fortune in founding seven
monasteries. One of these he established in his own house and subjected
himself to such severe discipline and deprivations that his health never
entirely recovered from them. He might, in his enthusiasm for
monasticism, have brought himself to an early grave if the pope had not
commanded him to undertake a difficult mission to Constantinople; there
he had his first opportunity to show his great ability in conducting
delicate negotiations.

[Sidenote: Ancient Rome becomes mediæval Rome.]

When Gregory was chosen pope (in 590) and most reluctantly left his
monastery, ancient Rome, the capital of the Empire, was already
transforming itself into mediæval Rome, the capital of Christendom. The
temples of the gods had furnished materials for the many Christian
churches. The tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul were soon to become
the center of religious attraction and the goal of pilgrimages from
every part of western Europe. Just as Gregory assumed office a great
plague was raging in the city. In true mediæval fashion, he arranged a
solemn procession in order to obtain from heaven a cessation of the
pest. Then the archangel Michael was seen over the tomb of Hadrian[29]
sheathing his fiery sword as a sign that the wrath of the Lord had been
turned away. With Gregory we leave behind us the history of the Rome of
Cæsar and Trajan and enter upon that of Innocent III and Leo X.

[Sidenote: Gregory's writings.]

Gregory enjoyed an unrivaled reputation during the Middle Ages as a
writer. He is reckoned with Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome as one of the
four great Latin "fathers" of the Church. His works show, however, how
much less cultivated his period was than that of his predecessors. His
most popular book was his _Dialogues_, a collection of accounts of
miracles and popular legends. It is hard to believe that it could have
been composed by the greatest man of the time and that it was designed
for adults. In his commentary on Job, Gregory warns the reader that he
need not be surprised to find mistakes in grammar, since in dealing with
so high a theme a writer should not stop to make sure whether his cases
and tenses are right.[30]

[Illustration: The Castle San Angelo, formerly the Tomb of the Emperor

[Sidenote: Gregory as a statesman.]

Gregory's letters show clearly what the papacy was coming to mean for
Europe when in the hands of a really great man. While he assumed the
humble title of "Servant of the servants of God," which the popes still
use, Gregory was a statesman whose influence extended far and wide. It
devolved upon him to govern the city of Rome,--as it did upon his
successors down to the year 1870,--for the eastern emperor's control had
become merely nominal. He had also to keep the Lombards out of central
Italy, which they failed to conquer largely on account of the valiant
defense of the popes. These duties were functions of the civil power,
and in assuming them Gregory may be said to have founded the temporal
power of the popes.

[Sidenote: Gregory's missionary undertakings.]

Beyond the borders of Italy, Gregory was in constant communication with
the emperor, with the rulers of Austrasia, Neustria, and Burgundy.
Everywhere he used his influence to have good clergymen chosen as
bishops, and everywhere he watched over the interests of the
monasteries. But his chief importance in the history of the papacy is
attributable to the missionary enterprises which he undertook, through
which the great countries which were one day to be called England,
France, and Germany were brought under the sway of the Roman Church and
its head, the pope.

Gregory was, as we have seen, an enthusiastic monk, and he naturally
relied chiefly upon the monks in his great work of converting the
heathen. Consequently, before considering his missionary achievements,
we must glance at the origin and character of the monks, who are so
conspicuous throughout the Middle Ages.

     General References.--There is no satisfactory history of the
     mediæval Church in one volume. Perhaps the best short account in
     English is FISHER, _History of the Christian Church_ (Charles
     Scribner's Sons, $3.50). MOELLER, _History of the Christian
     Church_, Vols. I-II (Swan Sonnenschein, $4.00 a vol.), is a dry but
     very reliable manual with full references to the literature of the
     subject. ALZOG, _Manual of Universal Church History_ (Clarke,
     Cincinnati, 3 vols., $10.00), is a careful presentation by a
     Catholic scholar. MILMAN, _History of Latin Christianity_, although
     rather old, is both scholarly and readable, and is to be found in
     most libraries. GIESELER, _Ecclesiastical History_ (5 vols., now
     out of print, but not difficult to obtain), is really a great
     collection of the most interesting extracts from the sources, with
     very little indeed from the author's hand. This and Moeller are
     invaluable to the advanced student. HATCH, _Growth of Church
     Institutions_ (Whittaker, $1.50), gives an admirably simple account
     of the most important phases of the organization of the Church.



[Sidenote: Importance of the monks as a class.]

21. It would be difficult to overestimate the variety and extent of the
influence that the monks exercised for centuries in Europe. The proud
annals of the Benedictines, Franciscans, Dominicans, and Jesuits contain
many a distinguished name. The most eminent philosophers, scientists,
historians, artists, poets, and statesmen may be found among their
ranks. Among those whose achievements we shall study later are The
Venerable Bede, Boniface, Abelard, Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, Fra
Angelico, Savonarola, Luther, Erasmus,--all these, and many others who
have been leaders in various branches of human activity, were monks.

[Sidenote: Monasticism appealed to many different classes.]

The strength of monasticism lay in its appeal to many different classes
of persons. The world became a less attractive place as the successive
invasions of the barbarians brought ever-increasing disorder. The
monastery was the natural refuge not only of the spiritually minded, but
of those of a studious or contemplative disposition who disliked the
life of a soldier and were disinclined to face the dangers and
uncertainties of the times. The monastic life was safe and peaceful, as
well as holy. Even the rude and unscrupulous warriors hesitated to
destroy the property or disturb the life of those who were believed to
enjoy Heaven's special favor. The monastery furnished, too, a refuge for
the disconsolate, an asylum for the disgraced, and food and shelter for
the indolent who would otherwise have had to earn their living. There
were, therefore, many motives which helped to fill the monasteries.
Kings and nobles, for the good of their souls, readily gave land upon
which to found colonies of monks, and there were plenty of remote spots
in the mountains and forests to tempt the recluse.

[Sidenote: Necessity for the regulation of monastic life.]

Monastic communities first developed on a large scale in Egypt in the
fourth century. Just as the Germans were winning their first great
victory at Adrianople, St. Jerome was engaged in showing the advantages
of the ascetic Christian life, which was a new thing in the West. In the
sixth century monasteries multiplied so rapidly in western Europe that
it became necessary to establish definite rules for the numerous
communities which proposed to desert the ordinary ways of the world and
lead a peculiar life apart. The monastic regulations which had been
drawn up in the East did not answer the purpose, for the climate of the
West and the temperament of the Latin peoples differed too much from
those of the Orient. Accordingly St. Benedict drew up, about the year
526, a sort of constitution for the monastery of Monte Cassino, in
southern Italy, of which he was the head. This was so sagacious, and so
well met the needs of the monastic life, that it was rapidly accepted by
the other monasteries and gradually became the "rule" according to which
all the western monks lived.[31]

[Sidenote: The Rule of St. Benedict.]

The Rule of St. Benedict is as important as any constitution that was
ever drawn up for a state. It is for the most part natural and
wholesome. It provides that, since every one is not fitted for the
ascetic life, the candidate for admission to the monastery shall pass
through a period of probation, called the _novitiate_, before he is
permitted to take the solemn and irrevocable vow. The brethren shall
elect their head, the _abbot_, whom they must obey unconditionally in
all that is not sinful. Along with prayer and meditation, the monks are
to work at manual occupations and cultivate the soil. They shall also
read and teach. Those who were incapacitated for outdoor work were
assigned lighter tasks, such as copying books. The monk was not
permitted to own anything in his own right; he pledged himself to
perpetual and absolute poverty, and everything he used was the property
of the convent. Along with the vows of obedience and poverty, he also
took that of chastity, which bound him never to marry. For not only was
the single life considered more holy than the married, but the monastic
organization would, of course, have been impossible unless the monks
remained single. Aside from these restrictions, the monks were commanded
to live rational and natural lives and not to abuse their bodies or
sacrifice their physical vigor by undue fasting in the supposed interest
of their souls. These sensible provisions were directed against the
excesses of asceticism, of which there had been many instances in the

[Sidenote: The monks copy, and so preserve, the Latin authors.]

The influence of the Benedictine monks upon Europe is incalculable. From
their numbers no less than twenty-four popes and forty-six hundred
bishops and archbishops have been chosen. They boast almost sixteen
thousand writers, some of great distinction. Their monasteries furnished
retreats where the scholar might study and write in spite of the
prevailing disorder of the times. The copying of books, as has been
said, was a natural occupation of the monks. Doubtless their work was
often done carelessly, with little heart and less understanding. But,
with the great loss of manuscripts due to the destruction of libraries
and the indifference of individual book-owners, it was most essential
that new copies should be made. Even poor and incorrect ones were better
than none. It was the monks who prevented the loss of a great part of
Latin literature, which, without them, would probably have reached us
only in scanty remains.

[Sidenote: The monks aid in the material development of Europe.]

The monks also helped to rescue honest manual labor, which they believed
to be a great aid to salvation, from the disrepute into which slavery
had brought it in earlier times. They set the example of careful
cultivation on the lands about their monasteries and in this way
introduced better methods into the regions where they settled. They
entertained travelers at a time when there were few or no inns and so
increased the intercourse between the various parts of Europe.[32]

[Sidenote: The regular and secular clergy.]

The Benedictine monks, as well as later monastic orders, were ardent and
faithful supporters of the papacy. The Roman Church, which owes much to
them, appreciated the aid which they might furnish and extended to them
many of the privileges enjoyed by the clergy. Indeed the monks were
reckoned as clergymen and were called the "regular" clergy because they
lived according to a _regula_, or rule, to distinguish them from the
"secular" clergy, who continued to live in the world (_saeculum_) and
took no monastic vows.

[Sidenote: Monks and secular clergy supplement each other.]

The Church, ever anxious to maintain as far-reaching a control over its
subjects as that of the Roman Empire, whose power it inherited, could
hardly expect its busy officers, with their multiform duties and
constant relations with men, to represent the ideal of contemplative
Christianity which was then held in higher esteem than the active life.
The secular clergy performed the ceremonies of the Church, administered
its business, and guarded its property, while the regular clergy
illustrated the necessity of personal piety and self-denial. Monasticism
at its best was a monitor standing beside the Church and constantly
warning it against permitting the Christian life to sink into mere
mechanical and passive acceptance of its ceremonies as all-sufficient
for salvation. It supplied the element of personal responsibility and
spiritual ambition upon which Protestantism has laid so much stress.

[Sidenote: The monks as missionaries.]

22. The first great service of the monks was their missionary labors. To
these the later strength of the Roman Church is in no small degree due,
for the monks made of the unconverted Germans not merely Christians, but
also dutiful subjects of the pope. The first people to engage their
attention were the heathen Germans who had conquered the once Christian

[Sidenote: Early Britain.]

The islands which are now known as the kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland were, at the opening of the Christian era, occupied by several
Celtic peoples of whose customs and religion we know almost nothing.
Julius Cæsar commenced the conquest of the islands (55 B.C.); but the
Romans never succeeded in establishing their power beyond the wall which
they built, from the Clyde to the Firth of Forth, to keep out the wild
Celtic tribes of the North. Even south of the wall the country was not
completely Romanized, and the Celtic tongue has actually survived down
to the present day in Wales.

[Sidenote: Saxons and Angles conquer Britain.]

At the opening of the fifth century the barbarian invasions forced Rome
to withdraw its legions from Britain in order to protect its frontiers
on the continent. The island was thus left to be gradually conquered by
the Germans, mainly Saxons and Angles, who came across the North Sea
from the region south of Denmark. Almost all record of what went on
during the two centuries following the departure of the Romans has
disappeared. No one knows the fate of the original Celtic inhabitants of
England. It is unlikely that they were, as was formerly supposed, all
killed or driven to the mountain districts of Wales. More probably they
were gradually lost among the dominating Germans with whom they merged
into one people. The Saxon and Angle chieftains established petty
kingdoms, of which there were seven or eight at the time when Gregory
the Great became pope.

[Sidenote: Conversion of Britain.]

Gregory, while still a simple monk, had been struck with the beauty of
some Angles whom he saw one day in the slave market of Rome. When he
learned who they were he was grieved that such handsome beings should
still belong to the kingdom of the Prince of Darkness, and, had he been
permitted, he himself would have gone as a missionary to their people.
Upon becoming pope he sent forty monks to England from one of the
monasteries that he had founded, placing a prior, Augustine, at their
head and designating him in advance as Bishop of England. The heathen
king of Kent, in whose territory the monks landed with fear and
trembling (597), had a Christian wife, the daughter of a Frankish king.
Through her influence the monks were kindly received and were assigned
an ancient church at Canterbury, dating from the Roman occupation before
the German invasions. Here they established a monastery, and from this
center the conversion, first of Kent and then of the whole island, was
gradually effected. Canterbury has always maintained its early
preëminence and may still be considered the religious capital of

[Illustration: Ancient Church of St. Martin's, Canterbury]

[Sidenote: The Irish monks.]

Augustine and his monks were not, however, the only Christians in the
British Isles. Britain had been converted to Christianity when it was a
Roman province, and some of the missionaries, led by St. Patrick (d.
about 469), had made their way into Ireland and established a center of
Christianity there. When the Germans overran Britain and reheathenized
it, the Irish monks and clergy were too far off to be troubled by the
barbarians. They knew little of the traditions of the Roman Church and
diverged from its customs in some respects. They celebrated Easter upon
a different date from that observed by the Roman Church and employed a
different style of tonsure. Missionaries from this Irish church were
busy converting the northern regions of Britain, when the Roman monks
under Augustine began their work in the southern part of the island.

[Sidenote: Conflict between the Roman Church and the Irish monks.]

There was sure to be trouble between the two parties. The Irish clergy,
while they professed great respect for the pope and did not wish to be
cut off from the rest of the Christian Church, were unwilling to abandon
their peculiar usages and accept those sanctioned by Rome. Nor would
they recognize as their superior the Archbishop of Canterbury, whom the
pope had made the head of the British church. The pope, on his part,
felt that it was all-important that these isolated Christians should
become a part of the great organization of which he claimed to be the
head. Neither party would make any concessions, and for two generations
each went its own way, cherishing a bitter hostility toward the other.

[Sidenote: Victory of Roman Church.]

At last the Roman Church won the victory, as it so often did in later
struggles. In 664, through the influence of the king of Northumbria who
did not wish to risk being on bad terms with the pope, the Roman
Catholic form of faith was solemnly recognized in an assembly at Whitby,
and the leader of the Irish missionaries sadly withdrew to Ireland.

[Illustration: Map of Christian Missions]

The king of Northumbria, upon opening the Council of Whitby, said "that
it was proper that those who served one God should observe one rule of
conduct and not depart from one another in the ways of celebrating the
holy mysteries, since they all hoped for the same kingdom of heaven."
That a remote island of Europe should set up its traditions against the
customs sanctioned by the rest of Christendom appeared to him highly
unreasonable. This faith in the necessary unity of the Church is one of
the secrets of its strength. England became a part of the ever-growing
territory embraced in the Catholic Church and remained as faithful to
the pope as any other Catholic country, down to the defection of Henry
VIII in the early part of the sixteenth century.

[Sidenote: Early culture in England.]

[Sidenote: The Venerable Bede.]

The consolidation of the rival churches in Great Britain was followed by
a period of general enthusiasm for Rome and its literature and culture.
Lindisfarne, Wearmouth, and other English monasteries became centers of
learning unrivaled perhaps in the rest of Europe. A constant intercourse
was maintained with Rome. Masons and glassmakers were brought across the
Channel to replace the wooden churches of Britain by stone edifices in
the style of the Romans. The young clergy were taught Latin and
sometimes Greek. Copies of the ancient classics were brought from the
continent and reproduced. The most distinguished man of letters of the
seventh and early eighth centuries was the English monk Bæda (often
called The Venerable Bede, 673-735), from whose admirable history of the
Church in England most of our information about the period is

[Sidenote: Irish missionaries on the continent.]

[Sidenote: St. Columban and St. Gall.]

23. From England missionaries carried the enthusiasm for the Church back
across the Channel. In spite of the conversion of Clovis and the
wholesale baptism of his soldiers, the Franks, especially those farthest
north, had been very imperfectly Christianized. A few years before
Augustine landed in Kent, St. Columban, one of the Irish missionaries
of whom we have spoken, landed in Gaul. He went from place to place
founding monasteries and gaining the respect of the people by his rigid
self-denial and by the miracles that he performed. He even penetrated
among the still wholly pagan Alemanni about the Lake of Constance. When
driven away by their pagan king, he turned his attention to the Lombards
in northern Italy, where he died in 615.[35] St. Gall, one of his
followers, remained near the Lake of Constance and attracted about him
so many disciples and companions that a great monastery grew up which
was named after him and became one of the most celebrated in central
Europe. Other Irish missionaries penetrated into the forests of
Thuringia and Bavaria. The German church looks back, however, to an
English missionary as its real founder.

[Sidenote: St. Boniface, the apostle to the Germans.]

In 718, about a hundred years after the death of St. Columban, St.
Boniface, an English monk, was sent by the pope as an apostle to the
Germans. After four years spent in reconnoitering the field of his
future labors, he returned to Rome and was made a missionary bishop,
taking the same oath of obedience to the pope that the bishops in the
immediate vicinity of Rome were accustomed to take. Indeed absolute
subordination to the pope was a part of Boniface's religion, and he
became a powerful agent in promoting the supremacy of the Roman see.

Under the protection of the powerful Frankish mayor of the palace,
Charles Martel, Boniface carried on his missionary work with such zeal
that he succeeded in bringing all the older Christian communities which
had been established by the Irish missionaries under the papal control,
as well as in converting many of the more remote German tribes who
still clung to their old pagan beliefs. His energetic methods are
illustrated by the story of how he cut down the sacred oak of Odin at
Fritzlar, in Hesse, and used the wood to build a chapel, around which a
monastery soon grew up. In 732 Boniface was raised to the dignity of
Archbishop of Mayence and proceeded to establish, in the newly converted
region, the German bishoprics of Salzburg, Regensburg, Würzburg, Erfurt,
and several others; this gives us some idea of the geographical extent
of his labors.

[Sidenote: Boniface reforms the church in Gaul and brings it into
subjection to the pope.]

After organizing the German church he turned his attention, with the
hearty approval of the pope and the support of the Frankish rulers, to a
general reformation of the church in Gaul. Here the clergy were sadly
demoralized, and the churches and monasteries had been despoiled of much
of their property in the constant turmoil of the time. Boniface
succeeded, with the help of Charles Martel, in bettering affairs, and
through his efforts the venerable church of Gaul, almost as old as that
of Rome itself, was brought under the supremacy of the pope. In 748 the
assembled bishops of Gaul bound themselves to maintain the Catholic
unity of faith and follow strictly the precepts of the vicar of St.
Peter, the pope, so that they might be reckoned among Peter's sheep.

     General Reading.--The best history of the monks to be had in
     English is MONTALEMBERT, _The Monks of the West from St. Benedict
     to St. Bernard_ (Longmans, Green & Co., 6 vols., $15.00). The
     writer's enthusiasm and his excellent style make his work very
     attractive. The advanced student will gain much from TAYLOR,
     _Classical Heritage of the Middle Ages_ (The Macmillan Company,
     $1.75), Chapter VII, on the origin and spirit of monasticism. See
     also HARNACK, _Monasticism_ (Scribners, 50 cents). The works on
     church history referred to at the end of the preceding chapter all
     contain some account of the monks.



[Sidenote: Charles Martel, Frankish mayor of the palace, 714-741.]

24. Just as the pope was becoming the acknowledged head of the Western
Church, the Frankish realms came successively under the rule of two
great statesmen, Charles Martel and his son Pippin the Short, who laid
the foundation of Charlemagne's vast empire.

[Sidenote: Difficulty of holding together a kingdom in the early Middle

The difficulties which Charles Martel had to face were much the same as
those which for centuries to follow confronted the sovereigns of western
Europe. The great problem of the mediæval ruler was to make his power
felt throughout his whole territory in spite of the many rich and
ambitious officials, bishops, and abbots who eagerly took advantage of
all the king's weaknesses and embarrassments to make themselves
practically supreme in their respective districts.

[Sidenote: Origin of counts and dukes.]

The two classes of officers of which we hear most were the counts
(Latin, _comites_) and the dukes (Latin, _duces_). A count ordinarily
represented the king within the district comprised in an old
municipality of the Empire. Over a number of counts the king might place
a duke. Both of these titles were borrowed by the Germans from the names
of Roman officials. While the king appointed, and might dismiss, these
officers when he pleased, there was a growing tendency for them to hold
their positions for life.

We find Charles fighting the dukes of Aquitaine, Bavaria, and Alemannia,
each of whom was endeavoring to make the territory which he was deputed
to rule in the king's interest a separate and independent country under
his own supremacy. By successive campaigns against these rebellious
magnates, Charles succeeded in reuniting all those outlying districts
that tended to forget or ignore their connection with the Frankish

[Sidenote: Charles and his bishops.]

The bishops proved almost, if not quite, as troublesome to the mayor of
the palace as the dukes, and later the counts. It is true that Charles
kept the choice of the bishops in his own hands and refused to give to
the clergy and people of the diocese the privilege of electing their
head, as the rules of the Church prescribed. But when a bishop had once
got possession of the lands attached to the bishopric and exercised the
wide powers and influence which fell to him, he was often tempted,
especially if he were a nobleman, to use his privileged position to
establish a practically independent principality. The same was true of
the heads of powerful monasteries. These dangerous bishops and abbots
Charles deposed in wholesale fashion. He substituted his own friends for
them with little regard to the rules of the Church--for instance, he
bestowed on his nephew the three bishoprics of Paris, Rouen, and Bayeux,
besides two monasteries. The new incumbents were, however, no better
than the old; they were, indeed, in spite of their clerical robes, only
laymen, who continued to fight and hunt in their customary manner.

The most famous of Charles' deeds was his decisive defeat of the
advancing Mohammedans who were pressing into Gaul from Spain. Before
speaking of this a word must be said of the invaders and their religion,
for the Saracens, as the followers of Mohammed were commonly called,
will come into our story of western Europe now and then, especially
during the Crusades.

[Sidenote: Mohammed, 571-632.]

25. Just as Gregory the Great was dying in Rome, leaving to his
successors a great heritage of spiritual and temporal influence, a young
Arab in far-off Mecca was meditating upon the mysteries of life and
laying the foundation of a religious power rivaling even that of the
popes. Before the time of Mohammed the Arabs had played no important
part in the world's history. The scattered tribes were at war with one
another, and each worshiped its own gods, when it worshiped at all. But
when the peoples of the desert accepted Mohammed as their prophet and
his religion as theirs, they became an irresistible force for the
dissemination of the new teaching and for the subjugation of the world.

[Sidenote: The Hejira, 622.]

Mohammed came of a good family, but was reduced by poverty to enter the
employ of a rich widow, named Kadijah, who fell in love with him and
became his wife. She was his first convert and kept up his courage when
few among his fellow-townsmen in Mecca would believe in his visions or
accept the teachings which he claimed to receive direct from the angel
Gabriel. Finally he discovered that his many enemies were planning to
kill him, so he fled to the neighboring town of Medina, where he had
friends. His flight (the Hejira), which took place in the year 622, was
taken by his followers as the beginning of a new era,--the year one, as
Mohammedans reckon time. A war ensued between the people of Mecca and
those in and about Medina who supported Mohammed. It was eight years
before he reëntered Mecca, the religious center of Arabia, with a
victorious army. Before his death in 632 he had received the adhesion of
all the Arab chiefs, and his faith, Islam (which means _submission to
God_), was accepted throughout the Arabian peninsula.

[Sidenote: The Koran and the religion of Mohammed.]

Mohammed was accustomed to fall into a trance from time to time, after
which he would recite to his eager listeners the messages which he
received from Heaven. These were collected into a volume shortly after
his death, and make up the Koran, the Bible of the Mohammedan.[36] This
contains all the fundamental beliefs of the new religion, as well as the
laws under which the faithful were to live. It proclaims one God, "the
Lord of the worlds, the merciful, the compassionate," and Mohammed as
his prophet. It announces a day of judgment in which each shall receive
his reward for the deeds done in the flesh, and either be admitted to
paradise or banished to an eternally burning hell. Those who die
fighting for the sacred cause shall find themselves in a high garden,
where, "content with their past endeavors," they shall hear no foolish
word and shall recline in rich brocades upon soft cushions and rugs and
be served by surpassingly beautiful maidens. Islam has much in common
with Judaism and Christianity. Jesus even has a place in it, but only as
one of the prophets, like Abraham, Moses, and others, who have brought
religious truth to mankind.

The religion of Mohammed was simpler than that of the mediæval Christian
Church. It provided for no priesthood, nor for any elaborate rites and
ceremonies. Five times a day the faithful Mohammedan must pray, always
with his face turned toward Mecca. One month in the year he must fast
during the daytime. If he is educated, he will know the Koran by heart.
The mosque is a house of prayer and the place for the reading of the
Koran; no altars or images are permitted in it.

[Sidenote: Mohammedan conquests.]

Mohammed's successor assumed the title of caliph. Under him the Arabs
went forth to conquer the great territories to the north of them,
belonging to the Persians and the Roman emperor at Constantinople. They
met with marvelous success. Within ten years after Mohammed's death the
Arabs had established a great empire with its capital at Damascus, from
whence the caliph ruled over Arabia, Persia, Syria, and Egypt. In the
following decades new conquests were made all along the coast of Africa,
and in 708 Tangier was taken and the Arabs could look across the Straits
of Gibraltar to Spain.[37]

[Illustration: Map of Arabic Conquests]

[Sidenote: The Arabs in Spain.]

The kingdom of the West Goths was in no condition to defend itself when
a few Arabs and a much larger number of Berbers, inhabitants of northern
Africa, ventured to cross over. Some of the Spanish towns held out for a
time, but the invaders found allies in the numerous Jews who had been
shamefully treated by their Christian countrymen. As for the innumerable
serfs who worked on the great estates of the aristocracy, a change of
landlords made very little difference to them. In 711 the Arabs and
Berbers gained a great battle, and the peninsula was gradually overrun
by new immigrants from Africa. In seven years the Mohammedans were
masters of almost the whole region south of the Pyrenees. They then
began to cross into Gaul and took possession of the district about
Narbonne. For some years the duke of Aquitaine kept them in check, but
in 732 they collected a large army, defeated the duke near Bordeaux,
advanced to Poitiers, where they burned the church, and then set out for

[Sidenote: Battle of Tours, 732.]

Charles Martel at once sent out a summons to all who could bear arms
and, in the same year, met and repulsed the Mohammedans near Tours. We
know very little indeed of the details of the conflict, but it is
certain that the followers of Mohammed retreated and that they never
made another attempt to conquer western Europe.

[Sidenote: Pippin and Carloman.]

[Sidenote: Abdication of Carloman.]

26. Charles was able, before his death in 741, to secure the succession
to his office of mayor of the palace for his two sons, Pippin and
Carloman. The brothers left the nominal king on the throne; but he had
nothing to do, as the chronicler tells us, "but to be content with his
name of king, his flowing hair and long beard; to sit on his throne and
play the ruler, listening to the ambassadors who came from all
directions, and giving them the answers that had been taught him, as if
of his own sovereign will. In reality, however, he had nothing but the
royal name and a beggarly income at the will of the mayor of the
palace." The new mayors had succeeded in putting down all opposition
when, to the astonishment of every one, Carloman abdicated and assumed
the gown of a monk. Pippin took control of the whole Frankish dominion,
and we find the unusual statement in the Frankish annals that "the whole
land enjoyed peace for two years" (749-750).

[Sidenote: Pippin assumes the crown with the approbation of the pope,

Pippin now felt himself strong enough to get rid of the "do-nothing"
king altogether and assume for himself the nominal as well as the real
kingship of the Franks. It was, however, a delicate matter to depose
even a quite useless monarch, so he determined to consult the head of
the Church. To Pippin's query whether it was fitting that the
Merovingian king of the Franks, having no power, should continue to
reign, the pope replied: "It seems better that he who has the power in
the state should be king and be called king, rather than he who is
falsely called king."

It will be noticed that the pope in no sense created Pippin king, as
later writers claimed. He sanctioned a usurpation which was practically
inevitable and which was carried out with the approbation of the
Frankish nation. Raised on the shields of the counts and dukes, anointed
by St. Boniface, and blessed by the pope, Pippin became in 752 the first
king of the Carolingian family, which had already for several
generations ruled the Franks in all but name.

[Sidenote: A new theory of kingship.]

This participation of the pope brought about a very fundamental change
in the theory of kingship. The kings of the Germans up to this time had
been military leaders selected, or holding their office, by the will of
the people, or at least of the aristocracy. Their rule had had no divine
sanction, but only that of general acquiescence backed up by sufficient
skill and popularity to frustrate the efforts of rivals. By the
anointing of Pippin in accordance with the ancient Jewish custom, first
by St. Boniface and then by the pope himself, "a German chieftain was,"
as Gibbon expresses, it "transformed into the Lord's anointed." The pope
uttered a dire anathema of divine vengeance against any one who should
attempt to supplant the holy and meritorious race of Pippin. It became a
_religious_ duty to obey the king. He came to be regarded by the Church,
when he had duly received its sanction, as God's representative on
earth. Here we have the basis of the later idea of monarchs "by the
grace of God," against whom, however bad they might be, it was not
merely a political offense, but a sin, to revolt.

27. The sanction of Pippin's usurpation by the pope was but an
indication of the good feeling between the two greatest powers in the
West,--the head of the ever-strengthening Frankish state and the head of
the Church. This good feeling quickly ripened into an alliance,
momentous for the history of Europe. In order to understand this we must
glance at the motives which led the popes to throw off their allegiance
to their ancient sovereigns, the emperors at Constantinople, and turn
for help to Pippin and his successors.

[Sidenote: Controversy over the veneration of images and pictures,--the
so-called iconoclastic controversy.]

For more than a century after the death of Gregory the Great his
successors continued to remain respectful subjects of the emperor. They
looked to him for occasional help against the Lombards in northern
Italy, who showed a disposition to add Rome to their possessions. In
725, however, the emperor Leo III aroused the bitter opposition of the
pope by issuing a decree forbidding the usual veneration of the images
of Christ and the saints. The emperor was a thoughtful Christian and
felt keenly the taunts of the Mohammedans, who held all images in
abhorrence and regarded the Christians as idolaters. He therefore
ordered all sacred images throughout his empire to be removed from the
churches, and all figures on the church walls to be whitewashed over.
This aroused serious opposition even in Constantinople, and the farther
west one went, the more obstinate became the resistance. The pope
refused to obey the edict, for he held that the emperor had no right to
interfere with practices hallowed by the Church. He called a council
which declared all persons excommunicated who should "throw down,
destroy, profane or blaspheme the holy images." The opposition of the
West was successful, and the images kept their places.[38]

[Sidenote: The popes and the Lombards.]

[Sidenote: The pope turns to the Franks for aid.]

In spite of their abhorrence of the iconoclastic Leo and his successors,
the popes did not give up all hope that the emperors might aid them in
keeping the Lombards out of Rome. At last a Lombard ruler arose,
Aistulf, a "son of iniquity," who refused to consider the prayers or
threats of the head of the Church. In 751 Aistulf took Ravenna and
threatened Rome. He proposed to substitute his supremacy for that of the
eastern emperor and make of Italy a single state, with Rome as its
capital. This was a critical moment for the peninsula. Was Italy, like
Gaul, to be united under a single German people and to develop, as
France has done, a characteristic civilization? The Lombards had
progressed so far that they were not unfitted to organize a state that
should grow into a nation. But the head of the Church could not consent
to endanger his independence by becoming the subject of an Italian king.
It was therefore the pope who prevented the establishment of an Italian
kingdom at this time and who continued for the same reason to stand in
the way of the unification of Italy for more than a thousand years,
until he was dispossessed of his realms not many decades ago by Victor
Emmanuel. After vainly turning in his distress to his natural protector,
the emperor, the pope had no resource but to appeal to Pippin, upon
whose fidelity he had every reason to rely. He crossed the Alps and was
received with the greatest cordiality and respect by the Frankish
monarch, who returned to Italy with him and relieved Rome (754).

[Sidenote: Pippin subdues the Lombards.]

No sooner had Pippin recrossed the Alps than the Lombard king, ever
anxious to add Rome to his possessions, again invested the Eternal City.
Pope Stephen's letters to the king of the Franks at this juncture are
characteristic of the time. The pope warmly argues that Pippin owes all
his victories to St. Peter and should now hasten to the relief of his
successor. If the king permits the city of the prince of the apostles to
be lacerated and tormented by the Lombards, his own soul will be
lacerated and tormented in hell by the devil and his pestilential
angels. These arguments proved effective; Pippin immediately undertook a
second expedition to Italy, from which he did not return until the
kingdom of the Lombards had become tributary to his own, as Bavaria and
Aquitaine already were.

[Sidenote: Donation of Pippin.]

Pippin, instead of restoring to the eastern emperor the lands which the
Lombards had recently occupied, handed them over to the pope,--on
exactly what terms we do not know, since the deed of cession has
disappeared. In consequence of these important additions to the former
territories of St. Peter, the popes were thereafter the nominal rulers
of a large district in central Italy, extending across the peninsula
from Ravenna to a point well south of Rome. If, as many writers have
maintained, Pippin recognized the pope as the sovereign of this
district, we find here the first state that was destined to endure into
the nineteenth century delimited on the map of Europe. A map of Italy as
late as the year 1860 shows the same region still marked "States of the

[Sidenote: Significance of Pippin's reign.]

The reign of Pippin is remarkable in several ways. It witnessed the
strengthening of the kingly power in the Frankish state, which was soon
to embrace most of western Europe and form the starting point for the
development of the modern countries of France, Germany, and Austria. It
furnishes the first instance of the interference of a northern prince in
the affairs of Italy, which was destined to become the stumbling-block
of many a later French and German king. Lastly, the pope had now a state
of his own, which, in spite of its small size, proved one of the most
important and permanent in Europe.

Pippin and his son Charlemagne saw only the strength and not the
disadvantage that accrued to their title from the papal sanction. It is
none the less true, as Gibbon says, that "under the sacerdotal monarchy
of St. Peter, the nations began to resume the practice of seeking, on
the banks of the Tiber, their kings, their laws, and the oracles of
their fate." We shall have ample evidence of this as we proceed.

     General Reading.--For Mohammed and the Saracens, GILMAN, _The
     Saracens_ (G.P. Putnam's Sons, $1.50). Gibbon has a famous chapter
     on Mohammed and another upon the conquests of the Arabs. These are
     the fiftieth and fifty-first of his great work. See also MUIR,
     _Life of Mohammed_ (Smith, Elder & Co., $4.50).



28. Charlemagne is the first historical personage among the German
peoples of whom we have any satisfactory knowledge.[39] Compared with
him, Theodoric, Charles Martel, Pippin, and the rest are but shadowy
figures. The chronicles tell us something of their deeds, but we can
make only the vaguest inferences in regard to their character and

[Sidenote: Charlemagne's personal appearance.]

The appearance of Charlemagne, as described by his secretary, so exactly
corresponds with the character of the king as exhibited in his great
reign, that it is worthy of attention. He was tall and stoutly built;
his face was round, his eyes were large and keen, his nose somewhat
above the common size, his expression bright and cheerful. Whether he
stood or sat, his form was full of dignity; for the good proportion and
grace of his body prevented the observer from noticing that his neck was
rather short and his person somewhat too stout. His step was firm and
his aspect manly; his voice was clear, but rather weak for so large a
body. He was active in all bodily exercises, delighted in riding and
hunting, and was an expert swimmer. His excellent health and his
physical alertness and endurance can alone explain the astonishing
swiftness with which he moved about his vast realm and conducted
innumerable campaigns in widely distant regions in startlingly rapid

[Sidenote: His education, his attitude toward learning, and his public

Charles was an educated man and one who knew how to appreciate and
encourage scholarship. When at dinner he had some one read to him; he
delighted especially in history and in St. Augustine's _City of God_. He
could speak Latin well and understood Greek readily. He tried to learn
to write, but began too late in life and got no farther than signing his
name. He called scholarly men to his court, took advantage of their
learning, and did much toward reëstablishing a regular system of public
instruction. He was also constantly occupied with buildings and other
public works calculated to adorn and benefit his kingdom. He himself
planned the remarkable cathedral at Aix-la-Chapelle and showed the
greatest interest in its furnishings. He commenced two palaces of
beautiful workmanship, one near Mayence and the other at Nimwegen, in
Holland, and had a long bridge constructed across the Rhine at Mayence.

[Sidenote: The Charlemagne of romance.]

The impression which his reign made upon men's minds grew even after his
death. He became the hero of a whole cycle of romantic but wholly
unhistoric adventures and achievements which were as devoutly believed
for centuries as his most authentic deeds. In the fancy of an old monk
in the monastery of St. Gall,[40] writing of Charlemagne not long after
his death, the king of the Franks swept over Europe surrounded by
countless legions of soldiers who formed a very sea of bristling steel.
Knights of superhuman valor formed his court and became the models for
the chivalrous spirit of the following centuries. Distorted but
imposing, the Charlemagne of poetry meets us all through the Middle

A study of Charlemagne's reign will substantiate our first impression
that he was a truly remarkable person, one of the greatest figures in
the world's records and deservedly the hero of the Middle Ages. To few
men has it been given to influence so profoundly the course of European
progress. We shall consider him first as a conqueror, then as an
organizer and creator of governmental institutions, and lastly as a
promoter of culture and enlightenment.

[Sidenote: Charlemagne's idea of a great Christian empire.]

29. It was Charlemagne's ideal to bring all the German peoples together
into one great Christian empire, and he was wonderfully successful in
attaining his end. Only a small portion of what is now called Germany
was included in the kingdom ruled over by Pippin. Frisia and Bavaria had
been Christianized, and their native rulers had been induced by the
efforts of Charlemagne's predecessors and of the missionaries,
especially Boniface, to recognize formally the overlordship of the
Franks. Between these two half-independent countries lay the unconquered
Saxons. They were as yet pagans and appear to have still clung to much
the same institutions as those under which they lived when the Roman
historian Tacitus described them seven centuries earlier.

[Sidenote: The conquest of the Saxons.]

The Saxons occupied the region beginning somewhat east of Cologne and
extending to the Elbe, and north to where the great cities of Bremen and
Hamburg are now situated. The present kingdom of Saxony would hardly
have come within their boundaries. The Saxons had no towns or roads and
were consequently very difficult to conquer, as they could retreat, with
their few possessions, into the forests or swamps as soon as they found
themselves unable to meet an invader in the open field. Yet so long as
they remained unconquered they constantly threatened the Frankish
kingdom, and the incorporation of their country was essential to the
rounding out of its boundaries. Charlemagne never undertook, during his
long military career, any other task half so serious as the subjugation
of the Saxons, and it occupied his attention for many years. Nine
successive rebellions had to be put down, and it was finally owing
rather to the Church than to Charlemagne's military prowess that the
great task was brought to a successful issue.

[Sidenote: Conversion of the Saxons.]

Nowhere do we find a more striking example of the influence of the
Church than in the reliance that Charlemagne placed upon it in his
dealings with the Saxons. He deemed it quite as essential that after a
rebellion they should promise to honor the Church and be baptized as
that they should pledge themselves to remain true and faithful vassals
of the king. He was in quite as much haste to found bishoprics and
abbeys as to build fortresses. The law for the newly conquered Saxon
lands, issued sometime between 775 and 790, provides the same death
penalty for him who "shall have shown himself unfaithful to the lord
king," and him who "shall have wished to hide himself unbaptized and
shall have scorned to come to baptism and shall have wished to remain a
pagan." Charlemagne believed the Christianizing of the Saxons so
important a part of his duty that he decreed that all should suffer
death who entered a church by violence and carried off anything by
force, or even failed to abstain from meat during Lent.[41] No one,
under penalty of heavy fines, was to make vows, in the pagan fashion, at
trees or springs, or partake of any heathen feasts in honor of the
demons (as the Christians termed the heathen deities), or fail to
present infants for baptism before they were a year old.

For the support of the local churches, those who lived in the parish
were to give toward three hundred acres of land and a house for the
priest. "Likewise, in accordance with the mandate of God, we command
that all shall give a tithe of their property and labor to the churches
and the priests; let the nobles as well as the freemen, likewise the
serfs, according to that which God shall have given to each Christian,
return a part to God."

[Sidenote: Coöperation of the civil government and the Church.]

These provisions are characteristic of the theory of the Middle Ages
according to which the civil government and the Church went hand in hand
in ordering and governing the life of the people. Defection from the
Church was regarded by the state as quite as serious a crime as treason
against itself. While the claims of the two institutions sometimes
conflicted, there was no question in the minds either of the king's
officials or of the clergy that both the civil and ecclesiastical
government were absolutely necessary; neither class ever dreamed that
they could get along without the other.

[Sidenote: Foundation of towns in northern Germany.]

Before the Frankish conquest the Saxons had no towns. Now, around the
seat of the bishop, or about a monastery, men began to collect and towns
and cities to grow up. Of these the chief was Bremen, which is still one
of the most important ports of Germany.

[Sidenote: Charlemagne becomes king of the Lombards.]

30. Pippin, it will be remembered, had covenanted with the papacy to
protect it from its adversaries. The king of the Lombards had taken
advantage of Charlemagne's seeming preoccupation with his German affairs
to attack the city of Rome again. The pope immediately demanded the aid
of Charlemagne, who prepared to carry out his father's pledges. He
ordered the Lombard ruler to return the cities that he had taken from
the pope. Upon his refusal to do this, Charlemagne invaded Lombardy in
773 with a great army and took Pavia, the capital, after a long siege.
The Lombard king was forced to become a monk, and his treasure was
divided among the Frankish soldiers. Charlemagne then took the extremely
important step, in 774, of having himself recognized by all the Lombard
dukes and counts as king of the Lombards.


[Sidenote: Aquitaine and Bavaria incorporated in Charlemagne's empire.]

The considerable provinces of Aquitaine and Bavaria had never formed an
integral part of the Frankish realms, but had remained semi-independent
under their native dukes up to the time of Charlemagne. Aquitaine, whose
dukes had given Pippin much trouble, was incorporated into the Frankish
state in 769. As for the Bavarians, Charlemagne felt that so long as
they remained under their duke he could not rely upon them to defend the
Frankish empire against the Slavs, who were constantly threatening the
frontiers. So he compelled the duke of Bavaria to surrender his
possessions, shut him up in a monastery, and proceeded to portion out
the duchy among his counts. He thus added to his realms the district
that lay between his new Saxon conquest and the Lombard kingdom.

[Sidenote: Foreign policy of Charlemagne.]

31. So far we have spoken only of the relations of Charlemagne with the
Germans, for even the Lombard kingdom was established by the Germans. He
had, however, other peoples to deal with, especially the Slavs on the
east (who were one day to build up the kingdoms of Poland, Bohemia, and
the vast Russian empire) and, on the opposite boundary of his dominion,
the Arabs in Spain. Against these it was necessary to protect his
realms, and the second part of Charlemagne's reign was devoted to what
may be called his foreign policy. A single campaign in 789 seems to have
sufficed to subdue the Slavs, who lay to the north and east of the
Saxons, and to force the Bohemians to acknowledge the supremacy of the
Frankish king and pay tribute to him.

[Sidenote: The marches and margraves.]

The necessity of insuring the Frankish realms against any new uprising
of these non-German nations led to the establishment, on the confines of
the kingdom, of _marches_, i.e., districts under the military control of
counts of the march, or _margraves_.[42] Their business was to prevent
any hostile incursions into the interior of the kingdom. Much depended
upon the efficiency of these men; in many cases they founded powerful
families and later helped to disintegrate the Empire by establishing
themselves as practically independent rulers.

[Sidenote: Charlemagne in Spain.]

At an assembly that Charlemagne held in 777, ambassadors appeared before
him from certain disaffected Mohammedans. They had fallen out with the
emir of Cordova[43] and now offered to become the faithful subjects of
Charlemagne if he would come to their aid. In consequence, he undertook
his first expedition to Spain in the following year. The district north
of the Ebro was conquered by the Franks after some years of war, and
Charlemagne established the Spanish March.[44] In this way he began that
gradual expulsion of the Mohammedans from the peninsula which was to be
carried on by slowly extending conquests until 1492, when Granada, the
last Mohammedan stronghold, fell.[45]

[Sidenote: Charlemagne crowned emperor by the pope.]

32. But the most famous of all the achievements of Charlemagne was his
reëstablishment of the Western Empire in the year 800. It came about in
this wise. Charlemagne went to Rome in that year to settle a controversy
between Pope Leo III and his enemies. To celebrate the satisfactory
adjustment of the dispute, the pope held a solemn service on Christmas
day in St. Peter's. As Charlemagne was kneeling before the altar during
this service, the pope approached him and set a crown upon his head,
saluting him, amid the acclamation of those present, as "Emperor of the

[Sidenote: Charlemagne merited the title of emperor.]

The reasons for this extraordinary act, which Charlemagne afterward
persistently asserted took him completely by surprise, are given in one
of the Frankish histories, the _Chronicles of Lorsch_, as follows: "The
name of Emperor had ceased among the Greeks, for they were enduring the
reign of a woman [Irene], wherefore it seemed good both to Leo, the
apostolic pope, and to the holy fathers [the bishops] who were in
council with him, and to all Christian men, that they should name
Charles, king of the Franks, as Emperor. For he held Rome itself, where
the ancient Cæsars had always dwelt, in addition to all his other
possessions in Italy, Gaul and Germany. Wherefore, as God had granted
him all these dominions, it seemed just to all that he should take the
title of Emperor, too, when it was offered to him at the wish of all

Charlemagne appears to have accepted gracefully the honor thus thrust
upon him. Even if he had no right to the imperial title, there was an
obvious propriety and expediency in granting it to him under the
circumstances. Before his coronation by the pope he was only king of the
Franks and the Lombards; but his conquests seemed to entitle him to a
more comprehensive designation which should include his outlying
dependencies. Then the imperial power at Constantinople had been in the
hands of heretics, from the standpoint of the Western Church, ever since
Emperor Leo issued his edict against the veneration of images. What was
still worse, the throne had been usurped, shortly before the coronation
of Charlemagne, by the wicked Irene, who had deposed and blinded her
son, Constantine VI. The coronation of Charlemagne was, therefore, only
a recognition of the real political conditions in the West.[46]

[Sidenote: Continuity of the Roman Empire.]

The empire now reëstablished in the West was considered to be a
continuation of the Roman Empire founded by Augustus. Charlemagne was
reckoned the immediate successor of Constantine VI, whom Irene had
deposed. Yet, in spite of this fancied continuity, it is hardly
necessary to say that the position of the new emperor had little in
common with that of Marcus Aurelius or Constantine. In the first place,
the eastern emperors continued to reign in Constantinople for centuries,
quite regardless of Charlemagne and his successors. In the second place,
the German kings who wore the imperial crown after Charlemagne were
generally too weak really to rule over Germany and northern Italy, to
say nothing of the rest of western Europe. Nevertheless, the Western
Empire, which in the twelfth century came to be called the Holy Roman
Empire, endured for over a thousand years. It came to an end only in
1806, when the last of the emperors, wearied of his empty if venerable
title, laid down the crown.

[Sidenote: The title of emperor a source of trouble to the German

The assumption of the title of emperor was destined to make the German
rulers a great deal of trouble. It constantly led them into futile
efforts to maintain a supremacy over Italy, which lay without their
natural boundaries. Then the circumstances under which Charlemagne was
crowned made it possible for the popes to claim, later, that it was they
who had transferred the imperial power from the old eastern line of
emperors to the Carolingian house, and that this was a proof of their
right to dispose of the crown as they pleased. The difficulties which
arose necessitated many a weary journey to Rome for the emperors, and
many unworthy conflicts between the temporal and spiritual heads of

[Sidenote: Charlemagne's system of government.]

33. The task of governing his vast and heterogeneous dominions taxed
even the highly gifted and untiring Charlemagne; it quite exceeded the
capacity of his successors. The same difficulties continued to exist
that had confronted Charles Martel and Pippin,--above all a scanty royal
revenue and over-powerful officials who were prone to neglect the
interests and commands of their sovereign. Charlemagne's distinguished
statesmanship is nowhere so clearly seen as in his measures for
extending his control to the very confines of his realms.

[Sidenote: Charlemagne's farms.]

His income, like that of all mediæval rulers, came chiefly from his
royal estates, as there was no system of general taxation such as had
existed under the Roman Empire. He consequently took the greatest care
that his numerous plantations should be well cultivated and that not
even a turnip or an egg which was due him should be withheld. An
elaborate set of regulations for his farms is preserved, which sheds
much light upon the times.[47]

[Sidenote: Origin of titles of nobility.]

The officials upon whom the Frankish kings were forced to rely chiefly
were the counts, the "hand and voice of the king" wherever he could not
be in person. They were to maintain order, see that justice was done in
their district, and raise troops when the king needed them. On the
frontier were the counts of the march, or margraves (marquises), already
mentioned. These titles, together with that of duke, still exist as
titles of nobility in Europe, although they are no longer associated
with governmental duties except where their holders have the right to
sit in the upper house of parliament.

[Sidenote: The _missi dominici_.]

To keep the counts in order, Charlemagne appointed royal commissioners
(the _missi dominici_), whom he dispatched to all parts of his realm to
investigate and report to him how things were going in the districts
assigned to them. They were sent in pairs, a bishop and a layman, so
that they might act as a check on one another. Their circuits were
changed each year so that they should have no chance to enter into
conspiracy with the counts whom it was their special business to

The revival of the Roman Empire in the West made no difference in
Charlemagne's system of government, except that he required all his
subjects above twelve years of age to take a new oath of fidelity to him
as emperor. He held important assemblies of the nobles and prelates
each spring or summer, where the interests of the Empire were
considered. With the sanction of his advisers, he issued an
extraordinary series of laws, called _capitularies_, a number of which
have been preserved. With the bishops and abbots he discussed the needs
of the Church, and above all the necessity of better schools for both
the clergy and laity. The reforms which he sought to introduce give us
an opportunity of learning the condition in which Europe found itself
after four hundred years of disorder.

[Sidenote: The dark century before Charlemagne.]

34. Charlemagne was the first important king since Theodoric to pay any
attention to book learning, which had fared badly enough since the death
of Boethius, three centuries before. About 650 the supply of papyrus had
been cut off, owing to the conquest of Egypt by the Arabs, and as paper
had not yet been invented there was only the very expensive parchment to
write upon. While this had the advantage of being more durable than
papyrus, its cost discouraged the multiplication of copies of books. The
eighth century, that immediately preceding Charlemagne's coronation, is
declared by the learned Benedictine monks, in their great history of
French literature, to have been the most ignorant, the darkest, and the
most barbarous period ever seen, at least in France. The documents of
the Merovingian period often indicate great ignorance and carelessness
on the part of those who wrote them out.

[Sidenote: The elements of learning preserved by the Church.]

Yet, in spite of this dark picture, there was promise for the future. It
was evident, even before Charlemagne's time, that the world was not to
continue indefinitely in the path of ignorance. Latin could not be
forgotten, for that was the language of the Church and all its official
communications were in that tongue. The teachings of the Christian
religion had to be gathered from the Bible and other books, and the
church services formed a small literature by themselves. Consequently it
was absolutely necessary that the Church should maintain some sort of
education in order to perform its complicated services and conduct the
extensive duties which devolved upon it. All the really efficient church
officers, whatever their nationality, must have been able to read the
Latin classics, if they were so inclined. Then there were the
compilations of ancient knowledge already mentioned,[49] which,
incredibly crude and scanty as they were, kept up the memory of the
past. They at least perpetuated the names of the various branches of
knowledge and contained, for example, enough about arithmetic and
astronomy to help the isolated churchman to calculate each year the date
of Easter.

[Sidenote: Two letters of Charlemagne's respecting the neglect of
education among the clergy.]

Charlemagne was the first temporal ruler to realize the serious neglect
of education, even among the clergy, and we have two interesting letters
from him, written before he was made emperor, relating to this subject.
In one to an important bishop, he says: "Letters have been written to us
frequently in recent years from various monasteries, stating that the
brethren who dwelt therein were offering up holy and pious supplications
in our behalf. We observed that the sentiments in these letters were
exemplary but that the form of expression was uncouth, because what true
devotion faithfully dictated to the mind, the tongue, untrained by
reason of neglect of study, was not able to express in a letter without
mistakes. So it came about that we began to fear lest, perchance, as the
skill in writing was less than it should be, the wisdom necessary to the
understanding of the Holy Scriptures was also much less than was
needful. We all know well that, although errors of speech are dangerous,
errors of understanding are far more dangerous. Therefore, we exhort you
not merely not to _neglect_ the study of letters, but with a most humble
mind, pleasing to God, earnestly to devote yourself to study, in order
that you may be able the more easily and correctly to penetrate the
mysteries of the Holy Scriptures."

In the other letter he says: "We have striven with watchful zeal to
advance the cause of learning which has been almost forgotten through
the negligence of our ancestors; and by our own example, we invite all
those who can, to master the studies of the liberal arts. In this
spirit, God aiding us, we have already carefully corrected all the books
of the Old and New Testaments, corrupted by the ignorance of the

[Illustration: An Example of the Style of Writing used in the Books of
Charlemagne's Time[50]]

It seemed to Charlemagne that it was the duty of the Church not only to
look after the education of its own officers but to provide the
opportunity of at least an elementary education for the people at large.
In accordance with this conviction, he issued (789) an admonition to the
clergy to gather together the children both of freemen and serfs in
their neighborhood and establish schools "in which the boys may learn to

[Sidenote: Establishment of monastery schools and the 'school of the

It would be impossible to say how many of the innumerable abbots and
bishops established schools in accordance with Charlemagne's
recommendations. It is certain that famous centers of learning existed
at Tours, Fulda, Corbie, Orleans, and other places during his reign.
Charlemagne further promoted the cause of education by the establishment
of the famous "school of the palace" for the instruction of the sons of
his nobles and of his own children. He placed the Englishman, Alcuin, at
the head of the school, and called distinguished men from Italy and
elsewhere as teachers. The best known of these was the historian, Paulus
Diaconus, who wrote a history of the Lombards, to which we owe most of
what we know about them.

Charlemagne appears to have been particularly impressed with the
constant danger of mistakes in copying books, a task frequently turned
over to ignorant and careless persons. After recommending the founding
of schools, he continues: "Correct carefully the Psalms, the signs used
in music, the [Latin] grammar, and the religious books used in every
monastery or bishopric; since those who desire to pray to God properly
often pray badly because of the incorrect books. And do not let your
boys misread or miswrite them. If there is any need to copy the Gospel,
Psalter or Missal, let men of maturity do the writing with great
diligence." These precautions were amply justified, for a careful
transmission of the literature of the past was as important as the
attention to education. It will be noted that Charlemagne made no
attempt to revive the learning of Greece and Rome. He deemed it quite
sufficient if the churchmen would learn their Latin well enough to read
the missal and the Bible intelligently.

The hopeful beginning that was made under Charlemagne in the revival of
education and intellectual interest was destined to prove disappointing
in its immediate results. It is true that the ninth century produced a
few noteworthy men who have left works which indicate acuteness and
mental training. But the break-up of Charlemagne's empire, the struggles
between his descendants, the coming of new barbarians, and the disorder
caused by the unruly feudal lords, who were not inclined to recognize
any master, all conspired to keep the world back for at least two
centuries more. Indeed, the tenth and the first half of the eleventh
centuries seem, at first sight, little better than the seventh and
eighth. Yet ignorance and disorder never were quite so prevalent after,
as they were before, Charlemagne.

     General Reading.--The best life of Charlemagne in English is
     MOMBERT, _A History of Charles the Great_ (D.C. Appleton & Co.,
     $5.00). See also HODGKIN, _Charles the Great_ (The Macmillan
     Company, 75 cents), and WEST, _Alcuin_ (Charles Scribner's Sons,



[Sidenote: Louis the Pious succeeds Charlemagne.]

35. It was a matter of great importance to the world whether
Charlemagne's extensive empire was, after his death, to remain one or to
fall apart. He himself appears to have had no expectation that it would
hold together, for in 806 he divided it up in a very arbitrary manner
among his three sons. We do not know whether he was led thus to undo his
life's work simply because the older tradition of a division among the
king's sons was as yet too strong to permit him to hand down all his
possessions to his eldest son, or because he believed it would be
impossible to keep together so vast and heterogeneous a realm. However
this may have been, the death of his two eldest sons left only Louis,
who succeeded his father both as king and emperor.

[Sidenote: Partition of Charlemagne's empire among the sons of Louis the

Louis the Pious had been on the throne but a few years before he took up
the all-important problem of determining what share each of his sons
should have in the empire after his death. As they were far too
ambitious to submit to the will of their father, we find no less than
six different partitions between the years 817 and 840. We cannot stop
to trace these complicated and transient arrangements, or the rebellions
of the undutiful sons, who set the worst possible example to the
ambitious and disorderly nobles. On the death of Louis the Pious, in
840, his second son, Louis the German, was in possession of Bavaria and
had at various times been recognized as ruler of most of those parts of
the empire now included in Germany. The youngest son, Charles the Bald,
had all the western portion of the Frankish possessions, while
Lothaire, the eldest, had been designated as emperor and ruled over
Italy and the district lying between the possessions of the younger
brothers. Charles and Louis promptly combined to resist the attempts of
Lothaire to assert his superiority as emperor, and defeated him at
Fontenay (841). The treaty of Verdun, which followed, is one of the most
memorable in the history of western Europe.[52]

[Illustration: Map of Treaty of Verdun]

[Sidenote: Treaty of Verdun, 843.]

In the negotiations which led up to the treaty of Verdun there appears
to have been entire agreement among the three parties that Italy should
go to Lothaire, Aquitaine to Charles the Bald, and Bavaria to Louis the
German. The real difficulty lay in the disposal of the rest of the
empire. It seemed appropriate that the older brother, as emperor, should
have, in addition to Italy, the center of the Frankish dominions,
including the capital, Aix-la-Chapelle. A state of the most artificial
kind, extending from Rome to northern Holland, was thus created, which
had no natural unity of language or custom. Louis the German was
assigned, in addition to Bavaria, the country north of Lombardy and
westward to the Rhine. As for Charles the Bald, his realm included a
great part of what is France to-day, as well as the Spanish March and

36. The great interest of the treaty of Verdun lies in the tolerably
definite appearance of a western and an eastern Frankish kingdom, one of
which was to become France and the other Germany. In the kingdom of
Charles the Bald the dialects spoken by the majority of the people were
derived directly from the spoken Latin, and in time developed into
Provençal and French. In the kingdom of Louis the German, on the other
hand, both people and language were German. The narrow strip of country
between these regions, which fell to Lothaire, came to be called
_Lotharii regnum_, or kingdom of Lothaire.[53] This name was perverted
in time into Lotharingia and, later, into Lorraine. It is interesting to
note that this territory has formed a part of the debatable middle
ground over which the French and Germans have struggled so obstinately
down to our own day.

[Sidenote: The Strasburg oaths.]

We have a curious and important evidence of the difference of language
just referred to, in the so-called Strasburg oaths (842). Just before
the settlement at Verdun, the younger brothers had found it advisable to
pledge themselves, in an especially solemn and public manner, to support
one another against the pretensions of Lothaire. First, each of the two
brothers addressed his soldiers in their own language, absolving them
from their allegiance to him should he desert his brother. Louis then
took the oath in what the chronicle calls the _lingua romana_, so that
his brother's soldiers might understand him, and Charles repeated his
oath in the _lingua teudisca_ for the benefit of Louis' soldiers.[54]
Fortunately the texts of both of these oaths have been preserved. They
are exceedingly interesting and important as furnishing our earliest
examples, except some lists of words, of the language spoken by the
common people, which was only just beginning to be written. Probably
German was very rarely written before this time, as all who could write
at all wrote in Latin. The same is true of the old Romance tongue (from
which modern French developed), which had already drifted far from the

[Illustration: Map of Treaty of Mersen]

[Sidenote: New divisions of the empire corresponding to France, Germany,
and Italy.]

37. When Lothaire died (855) he left Italy and the middle kingdom to his
three sons. By 870 two of these had died, and their uncles, Charles the
Bald and Louis the German, did not hesitate to appropriate the middle
kingdom and divide it between them by the treaty of Mersen. Italy was
left to Lothaire's only surviving son, together with the imperial crown,
which was to mean nothing, however, for a hundred years to come. The
result was that, as early as 870, western Europe was divided into three
great districts which corresponded with startling exactness to three
important states of modern Europe, i.e., France, Germany, and Italy.

[Sidenote: The empire temporarily reunited under Charles the Fat.]

Louis the German was succeeded in the East-Frankish kingdom by his son,
Charles the Fat. In 884, owing to the death of the sons and the
grandsons of Charles the Bald, there was no one to represent his line
except a child of five years. So the aristocracy of the West-Frankish
kingdom invited Charles the Fat to become their king. In this way it
came about that the whole empire of Charlemagne was reunited for two or
three years under a single ruler.[55]

[Sidenote: Charles the Fat and the Northmen.]

Charles the Fat was ill and proved an incompetent emperor, entirely
unequal to the serious task of governing and protecting his vast
territories. His weakness was especially shown in his pusillanimous
treaties with the Northmen. When Paris was making an heroic defense
against them under its count, Odo, Charles, instead of marching at the
head of an army to relieve it, agreed to pay the invaders seven hundred
pounds of silver if they would raise the siege. They were then permitted
to take up their winter quarters far inland, in Burgundy, where they
proceeded to burn and pillage at will.

[Sidenote: Charles the Fat deposed and succeeded by Arnulf.]

This degrading agreement so disgusted the West-Frankish nobility that
they were glad to join a conspiracy set on foot by Charles' nephew, the
brave Arnulf of Carinthia, who had resolved to supplant his inefficient
uncle. Charles was deposed and deserted by all his former supporters in
887. No one, except Napoleon, has ever again succeeded in bringing the
eastern, western, and southern parts of Charlemagne's empire under his
control, even for a brief period. Arnulf, although enjoying the title of
emperor, could scarcely hope to be recognized as king in all parts of
the Frankish empire. Even nominal unity was no longer possible. As one
of the chronicles of the time puts it, "While Arnulf was frittering away
his time, many little kingdoms grew up."

[Sidenote: Origin of the kingdom of Burgundy, or Arles.]

In the West-Frankish territory the nobility of the northern part chose
Odo, the hero of the siege of Paris, as their king; but in the south
another enterprising nobleman, Count Boso of Vienne, succeeded in
inducing the pope to crown him king of a certain district on the Rhone
which included Provence. Immediately after Boso's death a large
territory about the Lake of Geneva, which he had hoped to win for
himself, became a separate kingdom under its own ruler. This region and
that which Boso ruled to the south were later united into the kingdom of
Burgundy, or, as it is often called, Arles.

Even before the deposition of Charles the Fat, many of the counts and
other important landowners began to take advantage of the weakness of
their king to establish themselves as the rulers of the districts about
them, although they did not assume the title of king. In the
East-Frankish kingdom the various German peoples whom Charlemagne had
managed to control, especially the Bavarians and Saxons, began to revive
their old national independence. In Italy the disruption was even more
marked than in the north.[57]

[Sidenote: Causes of disruption.]

[Sidenote: Poor roads.]

38. It is clear, from what has been said, that none of the rulers into
whose hands the fragments of Charlemagne's empire fell, showed himself
powerful and skillful enough to govern properly a great territory like
that embraced in France or Germany to-day. The difficulties in the way
of establishing a well-regulated state, in the modern sense of the word,
were almost insurmountable. In the first place, it was well-nigh
impossible to keep in touch with all parts of a wide realm. The
wonderful roads which the Romans had built had generally fallen into
decay, for there was no longer a corps of engineers maintained by the
government to keep them up and repair the bridges. In those parts of
Charlemagne's possessions that lay beyond the confines of the old Roman
Empire, the impediments to travel must have been still worse than in
Gaul and on the Rhine; there not even the vestiges of Roman roads

[Sidenote: Scarcity of money for paying government officers and
maintaining armies.]

In addition to the difficulty of getting about, the king had to contend
with the scarcity of money in the Middle Ages. This prevented him from
securing the services of a great corps of paid officials, such as every
government finds necessary to-day. Moreover, it made it impossible for
him to support the standing army which would have been necessary to
suppress the constant insubordination of his officials and of the
powerful and restless nobility, whose chief interest in life was

[Sidenote: New invasions,--the Northmen, Slavs, Hungarians, and

The disintegration of the Frankish empire was hastened by the continued
invasions from all sides. From the north--Denmark, Norway, and
Sweden--came the Scandinavian pirates, the Northmen.[58] They were
skillful and daring seamen, who not only harassed the coast of the North
Sea, but made their way up the rivers, plundering and burning towns
inland as far as Paris. On the eastern boundary of the empire the
Germans were forced to engage in constant warfare with the Slavs. Before
long the Hungarians, a savage race, began their terrible incursions into
central Germany and northern Italy. From the south came the Saracens,
who had got possession of Sicily (in 827), and terrorized southern Italy
and France, even attacking Rome itself.

[Sidenote: Growing power and independence of the great landed

39. In the absence of a powerful king with a well-organized army at his
back, each district was left to look out for itself. Doubtless many
counts, margraves, bishops, and other great landed proprietors who were
gradually becoming independent princes, earned the loyalty of the people
about them by taking the lead in defending the country against its
invaders and by establishing fortresses as places of refuge when the
community was hard pressed. These conditions serve to explain why such
government as continued to exist during the centuries following the
deposition of Charles the Fat was necessarily carried on mainly, not by
the king and his officers, but by the great landholders. The grim
fortresses of the mediæval lords, which appeared upon almost every point
of vantage throughout western Europe during the Middle Ages, would not
have been tolerated by the king, had he been powerful enough to destroy
them. They plainly indicate that their owners were practically
independent rulers.

When the traveler in France or Germany comes upon the picturesque ruins
of a mediæval castle, perched upon some rocky cliff, accessible from one
side only, and commanding the surrounding country, he cannot but see
that those massive walls, with their towers and battlements, their moat
and drawbridge, were never intended as a dwelling place for the peaceful
household of a private citizen, but rather as the fortified palace of a
ruler. We can picture the great hall crowded with armed retainers, who
were ready to fight for the proprietor when he was disposed to attack a
neighboring lord, and who knew that below were the dungeons to which the
lord might send them if they ventured to rebel against his authority.

[Illustration: Mediæval Fortress, showing Moat and Drawbridges]

[Sidenote: The landed proprietor and the manor.]

In order to understand the position of the mediæval noble and the origin
of feudalism we must consider the situation of the great landowners. A
large part of western Europe in the time of Charlemagne appears to have
been divided up into great estates, resembling the Roman villas. Just
how these originated we do not know. These estates, or _manors_, as they
were called, were cultivated mainly by serfs, who were bound to the land
and were under the control of its proprietor. They tilled such part of
the estate as the owner reserved for his own particular use, and
provided for his needs and their own without the necessity of buying
much from the outside. When we speak of a mediæval landowner we mean one
who held one or more of these manors, which served to support him and
left him free to busy himself fighting with other proprietors in the
same position as himself.[59]

[Sidenote: Immunities.]

It had been common even before Charlemagne's time to grant to
monasteries and churches, and even to individuals, an extraordinary
privilege which exempted their lands from the presence or visits of
government officials. No public officer with the power to hear cases,
exact fines, obtain lodging or entertainment for the king and his
followers when traveling about, or make requisitions of any kind, was to
enter the lands or villages belonging to the monastery or person
enjoying the _immunity_. These exemptions were evidently sought with a
view to getting rid of the exactions of the king's officials and
appropriating the various fines and fees, rather than with the purpose
of usurping governmental prerogatives. But the result was that the
monasteries or individuals who were thus freed from the requisitions of
the government were left to perform its functions,--not, however, as yet
in their own right, but as representatives of the king.[60] It is not
hard to see how those who enjoyed this privilege might, as the central
power weakened, become altogether independent. It is certain that a
great many landowners who had been granted no exemption from the
jurisdiction of the king's officers, and a great many of the officers
themselves, especially the counts and margraves, gradually broke away
altogether from the control of those above them and became the rulers of
the regions in which they lived.

[Sidenote: Tendency to hereditary offices.]

The counts were in a particularly favorable position to usurp for their
own benefit the powers which they were supposed to exercise for the
king. Charlemagne had chosen his counts and margraves in most cases from
the wealthy and distinguished families of his realms. As he had little
money, he generally rewarded their services by grants of estates, which
only served to increase their independence. They gradually came to look
upon their office and their land as private property, and they were
naturally disposed to hand it on to their sons after them. Charlemagne
had been able to keep control of his agents by means of the _missi_.
After his death his system fell into disuse and it became increasingly
difficult to get rid of inefficient or rebellious officers.

[Sidenote: Forces opposed to disruption, viz., partial survival of royal
authority and feudalism.]

Yet we must not infer that the state ceased to exist altogether during
the centuries of confusion that followed the break-up of Charlemagne's
empire, or that it fell entirely apart into little local governments
independent of each other. In the first place, a king always retained
some of his ancient majesty. He might be weak and without the means to
enforce his rights and to compel his more powerful subjects to meet
their obligations toward him. Yet he was, after all, the _king_,
solemnly anointed by the Church as God's representative on earth. He was
always something more than a feudal lord. The kings were destined to get
the upper hand before many centuries in England, France, and Spain, and
finally in Italy and Germany, and to destroy the castles behind whose
walls their haughty nobles had long defied the royal power.

[Sidenote: Feudalism.]

In the second place, the innumerable independent landowners were held
together by _feudalism_. One who had land to spare granted a portion of
it to another person on condition that the one receiving the land should
swear to be true to him and perform certain services,--such as fighting
for him, giving him counsel, and lending aid when he was in particular
difficulties. In this way the relation of lord and vassal originated.
All lords were vassals either of the king or of other lords, and
consequently all were bound together by solemn engagements to be loyal
to one another and care for one another's interests. Feudalism served
thus as a sort of substitute for the state. Private arrangements between
one landowner and another took the place of the weakened bond between
the subject and his king.

The feudal form of government and the feudal system of holding land are
so different from anything with which we are now familiar that it is
difficult for us to understand them. Yet unless we do understand them, a
great part of the history of Europe during the past thousand years will
be well-nigh meaningless.[61]



[Sidenote: Feudalism the outgrowth of prevailing conditions and earlier

40. Feudalism was the natural outcome of the peculiar conditions which
prevailed in western Europe during the ninth and tenth centuries. Its
chief elements were not, however, newly invented or discovered at that
period but were only combined in order to meet the demands of the times.
It will be well, therefore, to consider briefly those customs in the
later Roman Empire and among the invading Germans which suggest (1) the
habit of the mediæval landowner of granting his land to others in such a
way that, while he retained the title, they became, to most intents and
purposes, the real owners; and (2) the relation of lord and vassal.

[Sidenote: Conditions of landholding in the later Roman Empire.]

[Sidenote: The _beneficium_.]

We have seen how, before the barbarian inroads, the small landowners in
the Roman Empire had often found it to their advantage to give up the
title to their land to more powerful neighboring proprietors.[62] The
scarcity of labor was such that the new owner, while extending the
protection of his name over the land, was glad to permit the former
owner to continue to till it, rent free, much as if it still belonged to
him. With the invasions of the barbarians the lot of the defenseless
small landholder became worse. He had a new resource, however, in the
monasteries. The monks were delighted to accept any real estate which
the owner--for the good of his soul and to gain the protection of the
saint to whom the monastery church was dedicated--felt moved to turn
over to them on the understanding that the abbot should permit the
former owner to continue to cultivate his fields. Though he no longer
owned the land, he still enjoyed its products and had only to pay a
trifling sum each year in recognition of the monastery's ownership.[63]
The use, or _usufruct_, of the land which was thus granted by the
monastery to its former owner was called a _beneficium_. The same term
was applied to the numerous grants which churches made from their vast
possessions for limited periods and upon various conditions. We also
find the Frankish kings and other great landowners disposing of their
lands in a similar fashion. The _beneficium_ forms the first stage in
the development of mediæval landowning.

[Sidenote: The origin of the relationship of lord and vassal.]

Side by side with the _beneficium_ grew up another institution which
helps to explain the relation of lord and vassal in later times. Under
the later Roman Empire the freeman who owned no land and found himself
unable to gain a living might become the dependent of some rich and
powerful neighbor, who agreed to feed, clothe, and protect him on
condition that he should engage to be faithful to his patron, "love all
that he loved and shun all that he shunned."[64]

[Sidenote: The _comitatus_.]

The invading Germans had a custom that so closely resembled this Roman
one that scholars have found it impossible to decide whether we should
attribute more influence to the Roman or to the German institution in
the development of feudalism. We learn from Tacitus that the young
German warriors were in the habit of pledging their fidelity to a
popular chieftain, who agreed to support his faithful followers if they
would fight at his side. The _comitatus_, as Tacitus named this
arrangement, was not regarded by the Germans as a mere business
transaction, but was looked upon as honorable alike to lord and man.
Like the later relation of vassal and lord, it was entered upon with a
solemn ceremony and the bond of fidelity was sanctioned by an oath. The
obligations of mutual aid and support established between the leader and
his followers were considered most sacred.

[Sidenote: Combination of the _comitatus_ and the _beneficium_ produces
feudal land tenure.]

While there was a great difference between the homeless and destitute
fellow who became the humble client of a rich Roman landowner, and the
noble young German warrior who sat at the board of a distinguished
military leader, both of these help to account for the later feudal
arrangement by which one person became the "man," or faithful and
honorable dependent, of another. When, after the death of Charlemagne,
men began to combine the idea of the _comitatus_ with the idea of the
_beneficium_, and to grant the usufruct of parcels of their land on
condition that the grantee should be true, loyal, and helpful to them,
that is, become their _vassal_, we may consider that the feudal system
of landowning was coming into existence.[65]

[Sidenote: Gradual development of feudalism.]

[Sidenote: The fief.]

[Sidenote: Infeudation and subinfeudation.]

[Sidenote: Vassal and subvassal.]

41. Feudalism was not established by any decree of a king or in virtue
of any general agreement between all the landowners. It grew up
gradually and irregularly without any conscious plan on any one's part,
simply because it seemed convenient and natural under the circumstances.
The owner of vast estates found it to his advantage to parcel them out
among vassals who agreed to accompany him to war, attend his court,
guard his castle upon occasion, and assist him when he was put to any
unusually great expense. Land granted upon the terms mentioned was said
to be "infeudated" and was called a _fief_. One who held a fief might
himself become a lord by granting a portion of his fief to a vassal upon
terms similar to those upon which he held of his lord or suzerain.[66]
This was called _subinfeudation_, and the vassal of a vassal was called
a _subvassal_ or _subtenant_. There was still another way in which the
number of vassals was increased. The owners of small estates were
usually in a defenseless condition, unable to protect themselves against
the insolence of the great nobles. They consequently found it to their
advantage to put their land into the hands of a neighboring lord and
receive it back from him as a fief. They thus became his vassals and
could call upon him for protection.

It is apparent, from what has been said, that, all through the Middle
Ages, feudalism continued to grow, as it were, "from the top and bottom
and in the middle all at once." (1) Great landowners carved out new
fiefs from their domains and granted them to new vassals. (2) Those who
held small tracts brought them into the feudal relation by turning them
over to a lord or monastery, whose vassals they became. (3) Finally any
lord might subinfeudate portions of his estate by granting them as fiefs
to those whose fidelity or services he wished to secure. By the
thirteenth century it had become the rule in France that there should be
"no land without its lord." This corresponded pretty closely to the
conditions which existed at that period throughout the whole of western

[Sidenote: The hereditary character of fiefs and its consequences.]

It is essential to observe that the fief, unlike the _beneficium_, was
not granted for a certain number of years, or for the life of the
grantee, to revert at his death to the owner. On the contrary, it became
hereditary in the family of the vassal and passed down to the eldest son
from one generation to another. So long as the vassal remained faithful
to his lord and performed the stipulated services, and his successors
did homage and continued to meet the conditions upon which the fief had
originally been granted, neither the lord nor his heirs could rightfully
regain possession of the land. No precise date can be fixed at which it
became customary to make fiefs hereditary; it is safe, however, to say
that it was the rule in the tenth century.[67]

The kings and great nobles perceived clearly enough the disadvantage of
losing control of their lands by permitting them to become hereditary
property in the families of their vassals. But the feeling that what the
father had enjoyed should pass to his children, who, otherwise, would
ordinarily have been reduced to poverty, was so strong that all
opposition on the part of the lord proved vain. The result was that
little was left to the original and still nominal owner of the fief
except the services and dues to which the practical owner, the vassal,
had agreed in receiving it. In short, the fief came really to belong to
the vassal, and only a shadow of his former proprietorship remained in
the hands of the lord. Nowadays the owner of land either makes some use
of it himself or leases it for a definite period at a fixed money rent.
But in the Middle Ages most of the land was held by those who neither
really owned it nor paid a regular rent for it and yet who could not be
deprived of it by the original owner or his successors.

[Sidenote: Subvassals of the king not under his control.]

Obviously the great vassals who held directly of the king became almost
independent of him as soon as their fiefs were granted to them in
perpetuity. Their vassals, since they stood in no feudal relation to the
king, escaped the royal control altogether. From the ninth to the
thirteenth century the king of France or the king of Germany did not
rule over a great realm occupied by subjects who owed him obedience as
their lawful sovereign, paid him taxes, and were bound to fight under
his banner as the head of the state. As a feudal landlord himself, he
had a right to demand fidelity and certain services from those who were
his vassals. But the great mass of the people over whom he nominally
ruled, whether they belonged to the nobility or not, owed little to the
king directly, because they lived upon the lands of other feudal lords
more or less independent of him.

Enough has been said of the gradual and irregular growth of feudalism to
make it clear that complete uniformity in feudal customs could hardly
exist within the bounds of even a small kingdom, much less throughout
the countries of western Europe. Yet there was a remarkable resemblance
between the institutions of France, England, and Germany, so that a
description of the chief features of feudalism in France, where it was
highly developed, will serve as a key to the general situation in all
the countries we are studying.

[Sidenote: The fief the central institution of feudalism.]

[Sidenote: Homage.]

42. The fief (Latin, _feudum_) was the central institution of feudalism
and the one from which it derives its name. In the commonest acceptance
of the word, the fief was land, the perpetual use of which was granted
by its owner, or holder, to another person, on condition that the one
receiving it should become his vassal. The one proposing to become a
vassal knelt before the lord and rendered him _homage_[68] by placing
his hands between those of the lord and declaring himself the lord's
"man" for such and such a fief. Thereupon the lord gave his vassal the
kiss of peace and raised him from his kneeling posture. Then the vassal
took the oath of fidelity upon the Bible, or some holy relic, solemnly
binding himself to fulfill all his duties toward his lord. This act of
rendering homage by placing the hands in those of the lord and taking
the oath of fidelity was the first and most essential obligation of the
vassal and constituted the _feudal bond_. For a vassal to refuse to do
homage for his fief when it changed hands, was equivalent to a
declaration of revolt and independence.

[Sidenote: Obligations of the vassal. Military service.]

[Sidenote: Money fiefs.]

The obligations of the vassal varied greatly.[69] Sometimes homage meant
no more than that the vassal bound himself not to attack or injure his
lord in honor or estate, or oppose his interests in any other manner.
The vassal was expected to join his lord when there was a military
expedition on foot, although it was generally the case that the vassal
need not serve at his own expense for more than forty days. The rules,
too, in regard to the length of time during which a vassal might be
called upon to guard the castle of his lord varied almost infinitely.
The shorter periods of military service proved very inconvenient to the
lord. Consequently it became common in the thirteenth century for the
king and the more important nobles to secure a body of soldiers upon
whom they could rely at any time, and for any length of time, by
creating money fiefs. A certain income was granted to a knight upon
condition that the grantee should not only become a vassal of the lord
but should also agree to fight for him whenever it was necessary.

[Sidenote: Other feudal obligations.]

[Sidenote: Money payments.]

Besides the military service due from the vassal to his lord, he was
expected to attend the lord's court when summoned. There he sat with
other vassals to hear and pronounce upon those cases in which his
peers--i.e., his fellow-vassals--were involved.[70] Moreover, he had to
give the lord the benefit of his counsel when required, and attend him
upon solemn occasions. Under certain circumstances vassals had to make
money payments to their lord, as well as serve him in person; as, for
instance, when the fief changed hands through the death of the lord or
of the vassal, when the fief was alienated, when the lord was put to
extra expense by the necessity of knighting his eldest son or providing
a dowry for his daughter, or when he was in captivity and was held for a
ransom. Lastly, the vassal might have to entertain his lord should the
lord come his way. There are amusingly detailed accounts, in some of the
feudal contracts, of exactly how often the lord might come, how many
followers he might bring, and what he should have to eat.

[Illustration: A Mediæval Castle near Klagenfurt, Austria]

[Sidenote: Different classes of fiefs.]

There were fiefs of all kinds and of all grades of importance, from that
of a duke or count, who held directly of the king and exercised the
powers of a practically independent prince, down to the holding of the
simple knight, whose bit of land, cultivated by peasants or serfs, was
barely sufficient to enable him to support himself and provide the horse
upon which he rode to perform his military service for his lord.

[Sidenote: The nobility.]

[Sidenote: Their privileges.]

In order to rank as a noble in mediæval society it was, in general,
necessary to be the holder of land for which only such services were due
as were considered honorable, and none of those which it was customary
for the peasant or serf to perform. The noble must, moreover, be a free
man and have at least sufficient income to maintain himself and his
horse without any sort of labor. The nobles enjoyed certain privileges
which set them off from the non-noble classes. Many of these privileges
were perpetuated in France, and elsewhere on the continent, down to the
time of the French Revolution, and in Italy and Germany, into the
nineteenth century. The most conspicuous privilege was a partial
exemption from taxation.

[Sidenote: Difficulty of classifying the nobles.]

It is natural to wish to classify the nobility and to ask just what was
the difference, for example, between a duke, a count, and a marquis.
Unfortunately there was no fixed classification, at least before the
thirteenth century. A count, for instance, might be a very inconspicuous
person, having a fief no larger than the county of Charlemagne's time,
or he might possess a great many of the older counties and rank in power
with a duke. In general, however, it may be said that the dukes, counts,
bishops, and abbots who held directly from the king were of the highest
rank. Next to them came an intermediate class of nobles of the second
order, generally subvassals of the king, and below these the simple

[Sidenote: Feudal registers.]

43. The great complexity of the feudal system of land tenure made it
necessary for the feudal lords to keep careful registers of their
possessions. Very few of these registers have been preserved, but we are
so fortunate as to have one of the count of Champagne, dating from the
early thirteenth century. This gives us an idea of what feudalism really
was in practice, and shows how impossible it is to make a satisfactory
map of any country during the feudal period.

[Illustration: Fiefs and Suzerains of the Counts of Champagne]

[Sidenote: Growth of the possessions of the counts of Champagne typical
of the period.]

At the opening of the tenth century we find in the chronicles of the
time an account of a certain ambitious count of Troyes, Robert by name,
who died in 923 while trying to wrest the crown of France from Charles
the Simple. His county passed to his son-in-law, who already held, among
other possessions, the counties of Château-Thierry and Meaux. His son,
in turn, inherited all three counties and increased his dominions by
judicious usurpations. This process of gradual aggrandizement went on
for generation after generation, until there came to be a compact
district under the control of the counts of Champagne, as they began to
call themselves at the opening of the twelfth century. It was in this
way that the feudal states in France and Germany grew up. Certain lines
of feudal lords showed themselves able, partly by craft and violence,
and partly, doubtless, by good fortune, to piece together a considerable
district, in much the same way as we shall find that the king of France
later pieced together France itself.

[Sidenote: The register of the counts of Champagne illustrates the
complexity of feudal relations.]

The register referred to above shows that the feudal possessions of the
counts of Champagne were divided into twenty-six districts, each of
which centered about a strong castle. We may infer that these divisions
bore some close relation to the original counties which the counts of
Champagne had succeeded in bringing together. All these districts were
held as fiefs of other lords. For the greater number of his fiefs the
count rendered homage to the king of France, but he was the vassal of no
less than nine other lords beside the king. A portion of his lands,
including probably his chief town of Troyes, he held of the duke of
Burgundy. Châtillon, Épernay, and some other towns, he held as the "man"
of the Archbishop of Rheims. He was also the vassal of the Archbishop of
Sens, of four other neighboring bishops, and of the abbot of the great
monastery of St. Denis. To all of these persons he had pledged himself
to be faithful and true, and when his various lords fell out with one
another it must have been difficult to see where his duty lay. Yet his
situation was similar to that of all important feudal lords.

The chief object, however, of the register was to show not what the
count owed to others but what his own numerous vassals owed to him. It
appears that he subinfeudated his lands and his various sources of
income to no less than two thousand vassal knights. The purpose of the
register is to record the terms upon which each of these knights held
his fief. Some simply rendered the count homage, some agreed to serve
him in war for a certain length of time each year, others to guard his
castle for specified periods. A considerable number of the vassals of
the count held lands of other lords, there being nothing to prevent a
subvassal from accepting a fief directly from the king, or from any
other neighboring noble landholder. So it happened that several of the
vassals of the counts of Champagne held of the same persons of whom the
count himself held.

[Sidenote: The infeudation of other things than land.]

It is evident that the counts of Champagne were not contented with the
number of vassals that they secured by subinfeudating their land. The
same homage might be rendered for a fixed income, or for a certain
number of bushels of oats to be delivered each year by the lord, as for
the use of land. So money, houses, wheat, oats, wine, chickens, were
infeudated, and even half the bees which might be found in a particular
forest. It would seem to us the simpler way to have hired soldiers
outright, but in the thirteenth century the traditions of feudalism were
so strong that it seemed natural to make vassals of those whose aid was
desired. The mere promise of a money payment would not have been
considered sufficiently binding. The feudal bond of homage served to
make the contract firmer than it would otherwise have been.

[Illustration: The arrow indicates a lord of whom the vassal held one or
more fiefs.]

It is clear, then, that no such regular hierarchy existed as some
historians have imagined, beginning with the king and ending with the
humblest knight included in the feudal aristocracy. The fact that
vassals often held of a number of different lords made the feudal
relations infinitely complex. The diagram on page 115, while it may not
exactly correspond to the situation at any given moment, will serve to
illustrate this complexity.

[Sidenote: The feudal system maintained only by force.]

44. Should one confine one's studies of feudalism to the rules laid down
by the feudal lawyers and the careful descriptions of the exact duties
of the vassal which are to be found in the contracts of the period, one
might conclude that everything had been so minutely and rigorously fixed
as to render the feudal bond sufficient to maintain order and liberty.
But one has only to read a chronicle of the time to discover that, in
reality, brute force governed almost everything outside of the Church.
The feudal obligations were not fulfilled except when the lord was
sufficiently powerful to enforce them. The bond of vassalage and
fidelity, which was the sole principle of order, was constantly broken
and faith was violated by both vassal and lord.[71]

[Sidenote: The breaking of the feudal bond.]

It often happened that a vassal was discontented with his lord and
transferred his allegiance to another. This he had a right to do under
certain circumstances, as, for instance, when his lord refused to see
that justice was done him in his court. But such changes were generally
made merely for the sake of the advantages which the faithless vassal
hoped to gain. The records of the time are full of accounts of refusal
to do homage, which was the commonest way in which the feudal bond was
broken. So soon as a vassal felt himself strong enough to face his
lord's displeasure, or realized that the lord was a helpless minor, he
was apt to declare his independence by refusing to recognize the feudal
superiority of the one from whom he had received his land.

[Sidenote: War the law of the feudal world.]

We may say that war, in all its forms, was the law of the feudal world.
War formed the chief occupation of the restless aristocracy who held the
land and exercised the governmental control. The inveterate habits of a
military race, the discord provoked by ill-defined rights or by
self-interest and covetousness, all led to constant bloody struggles in
which each lord had for his enemies all those about him. An enterprising
vassal was likely to make war at least once, first, upon each of his
several lords; secondly, upon the bishops and abbots with whom he was
brought into contact, and whose control he particularly disliked;
thirdly, upon his fellow-vassals; and lastly, upon his own vassals. The
feudal bonds, instead of offering a guarantee of peace and concord,
appear to have been a constant cause of violent conflict. Every one was
bent upon profiting by the permanent or temporary weakness of his
neighbor. This chronic dissension extended even to members of the same
family; the son, anxious to enjoy a part of his heritage immediately,
warred against his father, younger brothers against older, and nephews
against uncles who might seek to deprive them of their rights.

In theory, the lord could force his vassals to settle their disputes in
an orderly and righteous manner before his court. But often he was
neither able nor inclined to bring about a peaceful adjustment, and he
would frequently have found it embarrassing to enforce the decisions of
his own court. So the vassals were left to fight out their quarrels
among themselves and found their chief interest in life in so doing. War
was practically sanctioned by law. The great French code of laws of the
thirteenth century and the Golden Bull, a most important body of law
drawn up for Germany in 1356, did not prohibit neighborhood war, but
merely provided that it should be conducted in a decent and gentlemanly

[Sidenote: Tourneys and jousts.]

The jousts, or tourneys, were military exercises--play wars--to fill out
the tiresome periods which occasionally intervened between real
wars.[72] They were, in fact, diminutive battles in which whole troops
of hostile nobles sometimes took part. These rough plays called down the
condemnation of the popes and councils, and even of the kings. The
latter, however, were too fond of the sport themselves not to forget
promptly their own prohibitions.[73]

[Sidenote: Disastrous effects of feudal warfare generally recognized.]

[Sidenote: The 'Truce of God.']

45. The disastrous nature of the perpetual feudal warfare and the
necessity of some degree of peace and order, had already become apparent
even as early as the eleventh century. In spite of all the turmoil,
mankind was making progress. Commerce and enlightenment were increasing
in the older towns and preparing the way for the development of new
ones. Those engaged in peaceful pursuits could not but find the
prevailing disorder intolerable. The Church was untiring, as it was
fitting that it should be, in its efforts to secure peace; and nothing
redounds more to the honor of the bishops than the "Truce of God." This
prohibited all hostilities from Thursday night until Monday morning, as
well as upon all of the numerous fast days.[74] The church councils and
the bishops required the feudal lords to take an oath to observe the
weekly truce, and, by means of the dreaded penalty of excommunication,
met with some success. With the opening of the Crusades in 1096, the
popes undertook to effect a general pacification by diverting the
prevailing warlike spirit against the Turks.

At the same time the king, in France and England at least, was becoming
a power that made for order in the modern sense of the word. He
endeavored to prevent the customary resort to arms to settle every sort
of difficulty between rival vassals. By increasing the military force
that he had at his command he compelled the submission of cases of
dispute to his tribunals. But even St. Louis (d. 1270), who made the
greatest efforts to secure peace, did not succeed in accomplishing his
end. The gradual bettering of conditions was due chiefly to general
progress and to the development of commerce and industry, which made the
bellicose aristocracy more and more intolerable.

     General Reading.--The older accounts of feudalism, such as that
     given by Guizot or Hallam, should be avoided as the reader is
     likely to be misled by them. The earlier writers appear, from the
     standpoint of recent investigations, to have been seriously
     mistaken upon many important points. In French, LUCHAIRE, _Manuel
     des Institutions Françaises_ (Hachette & Co., Paris, $3.00), and
     ESMEIN, _Cours Élémentaire d'Histoire du Droit Français_ ($2.00),
     are excellent.

     In English there is EMERTON'S Chapter XIV on "Feudal Institutions"
     in his _Mediæval Europe_, and ADAMS, _Civilization_, Chapter IX,
     devoted especially to the origin of feudalism. CHEYNEY gives a
     selection of documents relating to the subject in _Translations and
     Reprints_, Vol. IV, No. 3.



[Sidenote: Importance of studying the beginnings of the modern European

46. There is no more interesting or important phase of mediæval history
than the gradual emergence of the modern national state from the feudal
anarchy into which the great empire of Charlemagne fell during the
century after his death. No one should flatter himself that he has
grasped the elements of the history of western Europe unless he can
trace in a clear, if general, way the various stages by which the states
which appear now upon the map of Europe--the French republic, the German
Empire, Austria-Hungary, and the kingdoms of Italy, Great Britain, and
Spain--have grown out of the disorganized Europe of the ninth century.

It might be inferred from what has been said in the preceding chapters
that the political history of western Europe during the two or three
centuries following the deposition of Charles the Fat was really only
the history of innumerable feudal lords. Yet even if the kings of
mediæval Europe were sometimes less powerful than some of their mighty
subjects, still their history is more important than that of their
vassals. It was the kings, and not their rivals, the dukes and counts,
who were to win in the long run and to establish national governments in
the modern sense of the term. It was about them that the great European
states, especially France, Spain, and England, grew up.

[Sidenote: Struggle between the Carolingians and the house of Odo.]

As we have seen, the aristocracy of the northern part of the
West-Frankish kingdom chose (in 888) as their king, in place of the
incompetent Charles the Fat, the valiant Odo, Count of Paris, Blois,
and Orleans. He was a powerful lord and held extensive domains besides
the regions he ruled as count. But, in spite of his advantageous
position, he found it impossible to exert any real power in the southern
part of his kingdom. Even in the north he met with constant opposition,
for the nobles who elected him had no idea of permitting him to
interfere much with their independence. Charles the Simple, the only
surviving grandson of Charles the Bald,[75] was eventually elected king
by a faction opposed to Odo.

[Sidenote: Election of Hugh Capet, the first of the Capetians, 987-996.]

For a hundred years the crown passed back and forth between the family
of Odo and that of Charlemagne. The counts of Paris were rich and
capable, while the later Carolingians were poor and unfortunate. The
latter finally succumbed to their powerful rivals, who definitely took
possession of the throne in 987, when Hugh Capet was elected king of the
Gauls, Bretons, Normans, Aquitanians, Goths, Spaniards, and Gascons,--in
short, of all those peoples who were to be welded, under Hugh's
successors, into the great French nation.

[Sidenote: The West-Frankish kingdom comes to be called France.]

Hugh inherited from his ancestors the title of Duke of France, which
they had enjoyed as the military representatives of the later
Carolingian kings in "France," which was originally a district north of
the Seine. Gradually the name France came to be applied to all the
dominions which the dukes of France ruled as kings. We shall hereafter
speak of the West-Frankish kingdom as France.

[Sidenote: Difficulty of establishing the royal power.]

It must not be forgotten, however, that it required more than two
centuries after Hugh's accession for the French kings to create a real
kingdom which should include even half the territory embraced in the
France of to-day. For almost two hundred years the Capetians made little
or no progress toward real kingly power. In fact, matters went from bad
to worse. Even the region which they were supposed to control as
counts--their so-called _domain_--melted away in their hands.
Everywhere hereditary lines of usurping rulers sprang up whom it was
impossible to exterminate after they had once taken root. The Capetian
territory bristled with hostile castles, permanent obstacles to commerce
between the larger towns and intolerable plagues to the country people.
In short, the king of France, in spite of the dignity of his title, no
longer dared to move about his own narrow domain. He to whom the most
powerful lords owed homage could not venture out of Paris without
encountering fortresses constructed by noble brigands, who were the
terror alike of priest, merchant, and laborer. Without money or
soldiers, royalty vegetated within its diminished patrimony. It retained
a certain prestige in distant fiefs situated on the confines of the
realm and in foreign lands, but at home it was neither obeyed nor
respected. The enemy's lands began just outside the capital.[76]

[Sidenote: Formation of small independent states in France.]

47. The tenth century was the period when the great fiefs of Normandy,
Brittany, Flanders, and Burgundy took form. These, and the fiefs into
which the older duchy of Aquitaine fell, developed into little nations,
each under its line of able rulers. Each had its own particular customs
and culture, some traces of which may still be noted by the traveler in
France. These little feudal states were created by certain families of
nobles who possessed exceptional energy or statesmanship. By conquest,
purchase, or marriage, they increased the number of their fiefs. By
promptly destroying the castles of those who refused to meet their
obligations, they secured their control over their vassals. By granting
fiefs of land or money to subvassals, they gained new dependents.

[Sidenote: Normandy.]

Of these subnations none was more important or interesting than
Normandy. The Northmen had been the scourge of those who lived near the
North Sea for many years before one of their leaders, Rollo (or Hrolf),
agreed to accept from Charles the Simple (in 911) a district on the
coast, north of Brittany, where he and his followers might peacefully
settle. Rollo assumed the title of Duke of the Normans and introduced
the Christian religion among his people. For a considerable time the
newcomers kept up their Scandinavian traditions and language. Gradually,
however, they appropriated such culture as their neighbors possessed,
and by the twelfth century their capital, Rouen, was one of the most
enlightened cities of Europe. Normandy became a source of infinite
perplexity to the French kings when, in 1066, Duke William the Conqueror
added England to his possessions; for he thereby became so powerful that
his suzerain could hardly hope to control the Norman dukes any longer.

[Sidenote: Brittany.]

The isolated peninsula of Brittany, inhabited by a Celtic people of the
same race as the early inhabitants of Britain, had been particularly
subject to the attacks of the Scandinavian pirates. It seemed at one
time as if the district would become an appendage of Normandy. But in
938 a certain valiant Alain of the Twisted Beard arose to deliver it
from the oppression of the strangers. The Normans were driven out, and
feudalism replaced the older tribal organization in what was hereafter
to be called the duchy of Brittany. It was not until the opening of the
sixteenth century that this became a part of the French monarchy.

[Sidenote: Origin of the Flemish towns.]

The pressure of the Northmen had an important result in the low
countries between the Somme and the Scheldt. The inhabitants were driven
to repair and seek shelter in the old Roman fortifications. They thus
became accustomed to living in close community, and it was in this way
that the Flemish towns--Ghent, Bruges, etc.--originated, which became in
time famous centers of industry and trade. The founders of the great
families of the district first gained their influence in defending the
country against the Scandinavian pirates. The counts of Flanders aspired
to rule the region, but the lesser counts within their territory were
pretty independent of them; so private wars were frequent and bloody.

[Sidenote: Burgundy.]

Burgundy is a puzzling name because it is applied to several different
parts of the territory once included in the kingdom founded by the
Burgundians, which Clovis made tributary to his expanding Frankish
kingdom. Toward the end of the ninth century we first hear of a _duke_
of Burgundy as being appointed military representative of the king (as
all dukes originally were) in a large district west of the Saône. The
dukes of Burgundy never succeeded in establishing sufficient control
over their vassals to render themselves independent, and consequently
they always freely recognized the sovereignty of the French kings. We
shall meet the name Burgundy later.

[Sidenote: Possessions of the duke of Aquitaine and of the counts of
Toulouse and Champagne.]

The ancient duchy of Aquitaine (later Guienne), including a large part
of what is now central and southern France, was abolished in 877, but
the title of Duke of Aquitaine was conferred by the king upon a certain
family of feudal lords, who gradually extended their power over Gascony
and northward. To the southeast, the counts of Toulouse had begun to
consolidate a little state which was to be the seat of the extraordinary
literature of the troubadours. The county of Champagne has already been
considered in the discussion of feudalism.

This completes the survey of the countries over which Hugh Capet and his
immediate successors strove to rule. All those districts to the east of
the Saône and the Rhone which now form a part of France were amalgamated
(in 933) into the kingdom of Arles, or Burgundy,[77] which in 1032 fell
into the hands of the German king.

[Sidenote: Complicated position of the Capetian kings.]

48. The position of the Capetian rulers was a complicated one. As counts
of Paris, Orleans, etc., they enjoyed the ordinary rights of a feudal
lord; as dukes of France, they might exercise a vague control over the
district north of the Seine; as suzerains of the great feudal
princes,--the duke of Normandy, the counts of Flanders, Champagne, and
the rest,--they might require homage and certain feudal services from
these great personages. But besides all these rights as feudal lords
they had other rights as kings. They were crowned and consecrated by the
Church, as Pippin and Charlemagne had been. They thus became, by God's
appointment, the protectors of the Church and the true fountain of
justice for all who were oppressed or in distress throughout their
realms. Therefore they were on a higher plane in the eyes of the people
than any of the great vassals. Besides the homage of their vassals, they
exacted an oath of fidelity from all whom they could reach.

The great vassals, on the other hand, acted on the theory that the king
was simply their feudal lord. As for the king himself, he accepted both
views of his position and made use both of the older theory of kingship
and of his feudal suzerainty to secure more and more control over his
realms. For over three hundred years the direct male line of the
Capetians never once failed. It rarely happened, moreover, that the
crown was left in the weak hands of a child. By the opening of the
fourteenth century there was no doubt that the king, and not the feudal
lords, was destined to prevail.

[Sidenote: Louis the Fat, 1108-1137.]

[Sidenote: Philip Augustus, 1180-1223.]

The first of the kings of France to undertake with success the serious
task of conquering his own duchy was Louis the Fat (1108-1137). He was
an active soldier and strove to keep free the means of communication
between the different centers of his somewhat scattered feudal domains
and to destroy the power of the usurping castellans in his fortresses.
But he made only a beginning; it was reserved for his famous grandson,
Philip Augustus (1180-1223), to make the duchy of France into a real

[Sidenote: The Plantagenets in France.]

[Sidenote: Henry II.]

49. Philip had a far more difficult problem to face than any of the
preceding kings of his house. Before his accession a series of those
royal marriages which until recently exercised so great an influence
upon political history, had brought most of the great fiefs of central,
western, and southern France into the hands of the king of England,
Henry II, who now ruled over the most extensive realm in western Europe.
Henry II was the son of William the Conqueror's granddaughter
Matilda,[78] who had married one of the great vassals of the French
kings, the count of Anjou and Maine.[79] Henry, therefore, inherited
through his mother all the possessions of the Norman kings of
England,--namely, England, the duchy of Normandy, and the suzerainty
over Brittany,--and through his father the counties of Maine and Anjou.
Lastly, through his own marriage with Eleanor, the heiress of the dukes
of Guienne (as Aquitaine was now called), he possessed himself of pretty
much all of southern France, including Poitou and Gascony. Henry II, in
spite of his great importance in English history, was as much French as
English, both by birth and sympathies, and gave more than half his time
and attention to his French possessions.

[Sidenote: Philip and the Plantagenets.]

It thus came about that the king of France suddenly found a new and
hostile state, under an able and energetic ruler, erected upon his
western borders. It included more than half the territory in which he
was recognized as king. The chief business of Philip's life was an
incessant war upon the Plantagenets, in which he was constantly aided by
the strife among his enemies themselves. Henry II divided his French
possessions among his three sons, Geoffrey, Richard, and John,
delegating to them such government as existed. Philip took advantage of
the constant quarrels of the brothers among themselves and with their
father. He espoused, in turn, the cause of Richard the Lion-Hearted
against his father, of John Lackland, the youngest brother, against
Richard, and so on. Without these family discords the powerful monarchy
of the Plantagenets might have annihilated the royal house of France,
whose narrow dominions it closed in and threatened on all sides.

[Sidenote: Richard the Lion-Hearted.]

So long as Henry II lived there was little chance of expelling the
Plantagenets or of greatly curtailing their power, but with the
accession of his reckless son, Richard I, called the Lion-Hearted,[80]
the prospects of the French king brightened wonderfully. Richard left
his kingdom to take care of itself, while he went upon a crusade to the
Holy Land. He persuaded Philip to join him, but Richard was too
overbearing and masterful, and Philip too ambitious, to make it possible
for them to agree for long. The king of France, who was physically
delicate, was taken ill and was glad of the excuse to return home and
brew trouble for his powerful vassal. When Richard himself returned,
after several years of romantic but fruitless adventure, he found
himself involved in a war with Philip, in the midst of which he died.

[Sidenote: John loses the French possessions of his house.]

Richard's younger brother, John, who enjoys the reputation of being the
most despicable of English kings, speedily gave Philip a good excuse for
seizing a great part of the Plantagenet lands. John was suspected of
conniving at the brutal murder of his nephew Arthur (the son of
Geoffrey), to whom the nobles of Maine, Anjou, and Touraine had done
homage. He was also guilty of the less serious offense of carrying off
and marrying a lady betrothed to one of his own vassals. Philip, as
John's suzerain, summoned him to appear at the French court to answer
the latter charge. Upon John's refusal to appear or to do homage for his
continental possessions, Philip caused his court to issue a decree
confiscating almost all of the Plantagenet lands, leaving to the English
king only the southwest corner of France.

Philip found little difficulty in possessing himself, not only of the
valley of the Loire, but of Normandy itself, which showed no
disinclination to accept him in place of the Plantagenets, whom the
Normans associated with continual exactions. Six years after Richard's
death the English kings had lost all their continental fiefs except
Guienne. The Capetian domain was, for the first time, the chief among
the great feudal states of France, both in wealth and extent. It should
be observed that Philip, unlike his ancestors, was no longer merely
_suzerain_ of the new conquests, but was himself duke of Normandy, and
count of Anjou, of Maine, etc. The boundaries of his domain, that is,
the lands which he himself controlled directly as feudal lord, now
extended to the sea.

[Sidenote: Philip strengthens the royal power as well as increases the
royal domain.]

50. Philip not only greatly increased the extent of the royal domain,
but strengthened his control over all classes of his subjects as well.
He appears, also, to have fully realized the importance of the towns
which had begun to develop a century earlier. There were several
important ones in the districts he annexed, and these he took especial
pains to treat with consideration. He extended his protection, and at
the same time his authority, over them and in this way lessened the
influence and resources of the feudal lords within whose territories the
towns lay.

[Sidenote: Appanages.]

The chief innovation of Philip's son, Louis VIII, was the creation of
_appanages_. These were fiefs assigned to his younger sons, one of whom
was made count of Artois; another, count of Anjou and Maine; a third,
count of Auvergne. This has generally been regarded by historians as a
most unfortunate reënforcement of the feudal idea. It not only retarded
the consolidation of the kingdom but opened the way to new strife
between the members of the royal family itself.

[Sidenote: Louis IX, 1226-1270.]

[Sidenote: Settlement of question of the English king's possessions in
France, 1258.]

The long reign of Philip's grandson, Louis IX, or St. Louis (1226-1270),
is extremely interesting from many standpoints. St. Louis himself is
perhaps the most heroic and popular figure in the whole procession of
French monarchs, and his virtues and exploits have been far more amply
recorded than those of any of his predecessors. But it is only his part
in the consolidation of the French monarchy that immediately concerns
us. After a revolt of the barons of central France in alliance with the
king of England, which Louis easily put down, he proceeded, in a most
fair-minded and Christian spirit, to arrange a definite settlement with
the Plantagenets. The king of England was to do him homage for the duchy
of Guienne, Gascony, and Poitou and surrender every claim upon the rest
of the former possessions of the Plantagenets on the continent.

[Illustration: Map of France at the Close of the Reign of Philip

[Sidenote: The _baillis_ serve to increase the king's power.]

Besides these important territorial adjustments, Louis IX did much to
better the system of government and strengthen the king's power. Philip
Augustus had established a new kind of officer, the _baillis_, who
resembled the _missi_ of Charlemagne. They were supported by a salary
and frequently shifted from place to place so that there should be no
danger of their taking root and establishing powerful feudal families,
as had happened in the case of the counts, who were originally royal
officers. Louis adopted and extended the institution of the _baillis_.
In this way he kept his domains under his control and saw that justice
was done and his revenue properly collected.

[Sidenote: Government of Louis IX.]

Before the thirteenth century there was little government in France in
the modern sense of the word. The king relied for advice and aid, in the
performance of his simple duties as ruler, upon a council of the great
vassals, prelates, and others about his person. This council was
scarcely organized into a regular assembly, and it transacted all the
various kinds of governmental business without clearly distinguishing
one kind from another. In the reign of Louis IX this assembly began to
be divided into three bodies with different functions. There was: first,
the king's council to aid him in conducting the general affairs of the
kingdom; secondly, a chamber of accounts, a financial body which
attended to the revenue; and lastly, the _parlement_, a supreme court
made up of those trained in the law, which was becoming ever more
complicated as time went on. Instead, as hitherto, of wandering about
with the king, the parlement took up its quarters upon the little island
in the Seine at Paris, where the great court-house (_Palais de Justice_)
still stands. A regular system of appeals from the feudal courts to the
royal courts was established. This served greatly to increase the king's
power in distant parts of his realms. It was decreed further that the
royal coins should alone be used in the domains of the king, and that
his money should be accepted everywhere else within the kingdom
concurrently with that of those of his vassals who had the privilege of

[Sidenote: Philip the Fair (1285-1314) the first absolute ruler of

The grandson of St. Louis, Philip the Fair, is the first example of a
French king who had both the will and the means to play the rôle of an
absolute monarch. He had inherited a remarkably well organized
government compared with anything that had existed since the time of
Charlemagne. He was surrounded by a body of lawyers who had derived
their ideas of the powers and rights of a prince from the Roman law.
They naturally looked with suspicion upon everything that interfered
with the supreme power of the monarch, and encouraged the king to bring
the whole government into his own hands regardless of the privileges of
his vassals and of the clergy.

[Sidenote: The commons, or third estate, summoned to the Estates
General, 1302.]

Philip's attempt to force the clergy to contribute from their wealth to
the support of the government led to a remarkable struggle with the
pope, of which an account will be given in a later chapter. With the
hope of gaining the support of the whole nation in his conflict with the
head of the Church, the king summoned a great council of his realm in
1302. He included for the first time the representatives of the towns in
addition to the nobles and prelates, whom the king had long been
accustomed to consult. At the same period that the French Estates
General,[81] or national assembly, was taking form through the addition
of representatives of the commons, England was creating its Parliament.
The two bodies were, however, to have a very different history, as will
become clear later.

By the sagacious measures that have been mentioned, the French monarchs
rescued their realms from feudal disruption and laid the foundation for
the most powerful monarchy of western Europe. However, the question of
how far the neighboring king across the Channel should extend his power
on the continent remained unanswered. The boundary between France and
England was not yet definitely determined and became, during the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the cause of long and disastrous
wars, from which France finally emerged victorious. We must now turn
back to trace the development of her English rival.[82]



[Sidenote: Importance of England in the history of western Europe.]

51. The country of western Europe whose history is of greatest interest
to English-speaking peoples is, of course, England. From England the
United States and the vast English colonies have inherited their
language and habits of thought, much of their literature, and many
peculiarities of their laws and institutions. In this volume it will
not, however, be possible to study England except in so far as it has
played a part in the general development of Europe. This it has greatly
influenced by its commerce, industry, and colonies, as well as by the
example it has set of permitting the people to participate with the king
in the government.

[Sidenote: Overlordship of Wessex.]

[Sidenote: Invasions of the Danes. Their defeat by Alfred the Great,

The conquest of the island of Britain by the German Angles and Saxons
has already been spoken of, as well as the conversion of these pagans to
Christianity by the representatives of the Roman Church. The several
kingdoms founded by the invaders were brought under the overlordship of
the southern kingdom of Wessex[83] by Egbert, a contemporary of
Charlemagne. But no sooner had the long-continued invasions of the
Germans come to an end and the country been partially unified, than the
Northmen (or Danes, as the English called them), who were ravaging
France, began to make incursions into England. Before long they had made
permanent settlements and conquered a large district north of the
Thames. They were defeated, however, in a great battle by Alfred the
Great, the first English king of whom we have any satisfactory
knowledge. He forced the Danes to accept Christianity and established,
as the boundary between them and his own kingdom of Wessex, a line
running from London across the island to Chester.

[Sidenote: Alfred fosters the development of the English language.]

Alfred was as much interested in education as Charlemagne had been. He
called in learned monks from the continent and from Wales as teachers of
the young men. He desired that all those born free, who had the means,
should be forced to learn English thoroughly, and that those who
proposed to enter the priesthood should learn Latin as well. He himself
translated Boethius' _Consolation of Philosophy_ and other works from
the Latin into English, and doubtless encouraged the composition of the
famous _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, the first history written in a modern

[Sidenote: England from the death of Alfred the Great to the Norman
Conquest, 901-1066.]

The formation of the kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway at the end
of the ninth century caused many discontented Scandinavian chieftains to
go in search of adventure, so that the Danish invasions continued for
more than a century after Alfred's death (901), and we hear much of the
Danegeld, a tax levied to buy off the invaders when necessary. Finally a
Danish king (Cnut) succeeded in making himself king of England in 1017.
The Danish dynasty maintained itself only for a few years. Then a last
weak Saxon king, Edward the Confessor, held nominal sway for a score of
years. Upon his death in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, claimed the
crown and became king of England. The Norman Conquest closes what is
called the Saxon period of English history, during which the English
nation may be said to have taken form. Before considering the
achievements of William the Conqueror we must glance at the condition of
England as he found it.

[Sidenote: Great Britain at the accession of William the Conqueror.]

The map of Great Britain at the accession of William the Conqueror has
the same three great divisions which exist to-day. The little kingdoms
had disappeared and England extended north to the Tweed, which separated
it, as it now does, from the kingdom of Scotland. On the west was Wales,
inhabited then, as it is still, by descendants of the native Britons, of
whom only a small remnant had survived the German invasions. The Danes
had been absorbed into the mass of the population and all England
recognized a single king. The king's power had increased as time went
on, although he was bound to act in important matters only with the
consent of a council (Witenagemot) made up of high royal officials,
bishops, and nobles. The kingdom was divided into shires,[85] as it
still is, and each of these had a local assembly, a sort of parliament
for the dispatch of local matters.

After the victory of the papal party at the Council of Whitby,[86] the
Church had been thoroughly organized and the intercourse of the clergy
with the continent served, as we have seen, to keep England from
becoming completely isolated. Although the island was much behind some
other portions of Europe in civilization, the English had succeeded in
laying the foundations for the development of a great nation and an
admirable form of government.

[Sidenote: Feudalism in England.]

England was not, however, to escape feudalism. The Normans naturally
brought with them their own feudal institutions, but even before their
coming many suggestions of feudalism might have been discovered. Groups
of shires had been placed under the government of earls who became
dangerous rivals of the kings; and the habit of giving churchmen the
right to govern, to a large extent, those who lived upon their vast
estates recalls the conditions in the Frankish empire during the same
period. The great landed proprietor in England exercised much the same
powers over those about him that the feudal lords enjoyed upon the other
side of the Channel.

[Sidenote: The struggle for the English crown between Earl Harold and
Duke William of Normandy.]

52. As has been said, William of Normandy claimed that he was entitled
to the English crown; he even assumed that all who refused to
acknowledge him in England were traitors. We are, however, somewhat in
the dark as to the basis of his claim. There is a story that he had
visited the court of Edward the Confessor and had become his vassal on
condition that, should Edward die childless, he was to designate William
as his successor. But Harold, Earl of Wessex, who had consolidated his
power before the death of Edward by securing the appointment of his
brothers to three of the other great earldoms, assumed the crown and
paid no attention to William's demand that he should surrender it.

[Sidenote: The pope favors William's claim.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Senlac, 1066. William I crowned at London.]

William thereupon appealed to the pope, promising that if he came into
possession of England, he would see that the English clergy submitted to
the authority of the Roman bishop. Consequently the pope, Alexander II,
condemned Harold and blessed in advance any expedition that William
might undertake to assert his rights. The conquest of England therefore
took on the character of a sort of holy war, and as the expedition had
been well advertised, many adventurers flocked to William's standard.
The Norman cavalry and archers proved superior to the English forces,
who were on foot and were so armed that they could not fight to
advantage except at close range. Harold was killed in the memorable
battle of Senlac[87] and his army defeated. In a few weeks a number of
influential nobles and several bishops agreed to accept William as their
king, and London opened its gates to him. He was crowned on Christmas
day, 1066, at Westminster.

We cannot trace the history of the opposition and the revolts of the
great nobles which William had to meet within the next few years. His
position was rendered doubly difficult by troubles which he encountered
on the continent as duke of Normandy. Suffice it to say that he
succeeded in maintaining himself against all his enemies.[88]

[Sidenote: William's wise policy in England.]

William's policy in regard to England exhibited profound statesmanship.
He introduced the Norman feudalism to which he was accustomed, but took
good care that it should not weaken his power. The English who had
refused to join him before the battle of Senlac were declared traitors,
but were permitted to keep their lands upon condition of receiving them
from the king as his vassals. The lands of those who actually bore arms
against him at Senlac, or in later rebellions, including the great
estates of Harold's family, were confiscated and distributed among his
faithful followers, both Norman and English, though naturally the
Normans among them far outnumbered the English.

[Sidenote: He insures the supremacy of the crown without interfering
with English customs.]

[Sidenote: William requires oath of fidelity from his subvassals.]

William declared that he did not propose to change the English customs
but to govern as Edward the Confessor, the last Saxon king whom he
acknowledged, had done. He tried to learn English, maintained the
Witenagemot, and observed English practices. But he was a man of too
much force to submit to the control of his people. While he appointed
counts or earls in some of the shires (now come to be called
_counties_), he controlled them by means of other royal officers called
_sheriffs_. He avoided giving to any one person a great many estates in
a single region, so that no one should become inconveniently powerful.
Finally, in order to secure the support of the smaller landholders and
to prevent combinations against him among the greater ones, he required
every landholder in England to take an oath of fidelity directly to him.
We read in the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ (1086): "After that he went about
so that he came, on the first day of August, to Salisbury, and there
came to him his wise men [i.e., counselors], and all the landowning men
of property there were over all England, whosesoever men they were; and
all bowed down to him and became his men, and swore oaths of fealty to
him that they would be faithful to him against all other men."

[Sidenote: Domesday Book.]

William's anxiety to have a complete knowledge of his whole kingdom is
indicated by a remarkable historical document, the so-called _Domesday
Book_. This is a register of the lands throughout England, indicating
the value of each parcel, the serfs and stock upon it, the name of its
holder and of the person who held it before the Conquest. This
government report contained a vast amount of information which was
likely to prove useful to William's taxgatherers. It is still valuable
to the historian, although unfortunately he is not able in every case to
interpret its terms satisfactorily.

[Sidenote: William the Conqueror and the Church.]

William's policy in regard to the Church indicates a desire to advance
its interests in conjunction with his own. He called Lanfranc, an
Italian who had been at the head of the famous monastery of Bec in
Normandy, to the archbishopric of Canterbury. The king permitted the
clergy to manage their own affairs and established bishops' courts to
try a variety of cases. But homage was exacted from a bishop as from a
lay vassal, and William refused to permit the pope to interfere in
English affairs without his permission in each particular case. No papal
legate was to enter the land without the king's sanction. No papal
decree should be received in the English Church without his consent, nor
his servants be excommunicated against his will. When Gregory VII
demanded that he should become his vassal for the land that he had
conquered under the papal auspices, William promptly refused.

[Sidenote: General results of the Norman Conquest.]

It is clear that the Norman Conquest was not a simple change of dynasty.
A new element was added to the English people. We cannot tell how many
Normans actually emigrated across the Channel, but they evidently came
in considerable numbers, and their influence upon the English court and
government was very great. A century after William's arrival the whole
body of the nobility, the bishops, abbots, and government officials, had
become practically all Norman. "Besides these, the architects and
artisans who built the castles and fortresses, and the cathedrals,
abbeys, and parish churches, whose erection throughout the land was such
a marked characteristic of the period, were immigrants from Normandy.
Merchants from the Norman cities of Rouen and Caen came to settle in
London and other English cities, and weavers from Flanders were settled
in various towns and even rural districts. For a short time these
newcomers remained a separate people, but before the twelfth century was
over they had become for the most part indistinguishable from the great
mass of English people amongst whom they had come. They had nevertheless
made that people stronger, more vigorous, more active-minded, and more
varied in their occupations and interests" (Cheyney).[89]

[Illustration: Norman Gateway at Bristol, England]

[Sidenote: William Rufus, 1087-1100, and Henry I, 1100-1135.]

[Sidenote: Civil war ending in the accession of Henry II, 1154-1189.]

53. The Conqueror was followed by his sons, William Rufus and Henry I.
Upon the death of the latter the country went through a terrible period
of civil war, for some of the nobility supported the Conqueror's
grandson Stephen, and some his granddaughter Matilda. After the death of
Stephen, when Henry II, Matilda's son,[90] was finally recognized in
1154 by all as king, he found the kingdom in a melancholy state. The
nobles had taken advantage of the prevalent disorder to erect castles
without royal permission and establish themselves as independent rulers.
Mercenaries had been called in from the continent by the rivals for the
throne, and had become a national plague.

[Sidenote: Henry's difficulties and his success in meeting them.]

Henry at once adopted vigorous measures. He destroyed the illegally
erected fortresses, sent off the mercenaries, and deprived many earls
who had been created by Stephen and Matilda of their titles. Henry II's
task was a difficult one. He had need of all his indefatigable energy
and quickness of mind to restore order in England and at the same time
rule the wide realms on the continent which he had either inherited or
gained through his marriage with the heiress of the dukes of
Guienne.[91] Although he spent the greater part of his reign across the
Channel, he still found time to be one of the greatest of all England's

[Sidenote: His reforms in the judicial system.]

[Sidenote: The grand jury.]

In order that he might maintain his prerogatives as judge of disputes
among his subjects and avoid all excuse for the private warfare, which
was such a persistent evil on the continent, he undertook to improve and
reform the system of royal courts. He arranged that his judges should
make regular circuits throughout the country, so that they might try
cases on the spot at least once a year. He established the famous Court
of King's Bench to try all other cases which came under the king's
jurisdiction. This was composed of five judges from his council, two
clergymen, and three laymen. We find, too, the beginning of our grand
jury in a body of men in each neighborhood who were to be duly sworn in,
from time to time, and should then bring accusations against such
malefactors as had come to their knowledge.

[Illustration: The Plantagenet Possessions in England and France]

[Sidenote: Trial by jury.]

[Sidenote: The common law.]

As for the petty or smaller jury, which actually tried the accused, its
origin and history are obscure. It did not originate with Henry II, but
he systematized trial by jury and made it a settled law of the land
instead of an exceptional favor. The plan of delegating the duty of
determining the guilt or innocence of a suspected person to a dozen
members of the community who were sworn to form their opinion without
partiality was very different from the earlier systems. It resembled
neither the Roman trial, where the judges made the decision, nor the
mediæval compurgation and ordeals, where God was supposed to pronounce
the verdict. In all legal matters the decisions of Henry's judges were
so sagacious and consistent that they became the basis of the common law
which is still used in all English-speaking countries.

[Sidenote: Henry II and Thomas à Becket.]

[Sidenote: Becket as chancellor.]

Henry's reign was embittered by the famous struggle with Thomas à
Becket, which illustrates admirably the peculiar dependence of the
monarchs of his day upon the churchmen. Becket was born in London. He
early entered one of the lower orders of the Church, but grew up in the
service of the crown, and was able to aid Henry in gaining the throne.
Thereupon the new king made him his chancellor. Becket proved an
excellent minister and defended the king's interest even against the
Church, of which he was also an officer. He was fond of hunting and of
warlike enterprises and maintained a brilliant court from the revenues
of the numerous church benefices which he held. It appeared to Henry
that there could be no better head for the English clergy than his
sagacious and worldly chancellor. He therefore determined to make him
Archbishop of Canterbury. The kings of that time often chose their most
efficient officers from among the prelates. Lanfranc, for example, had
been the Conqueror's chief minister. There were several good reasons for
this practice. The clergy were not only far better educated than laymen
but they were also not ordinarily dangerous as military leaders, nor
could their offices become hereditary.

[Sidenote: Made Archbishop of Canterbury, Becket defends the cause of
the Church against the king.]

In appointing Becket Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry intended to insure
his own complete control of the Church. He proposed to bring clerical
criminals before the royal courts and punish them like other offenders,
to make the bishops meet all the feudal obligations, and to prevent
appeals to the pope. Becket, however, immediately resigned his
chancellorship, gave up his gay life, and opposed every effort of the
king to reduce the independence of the Church. After a haughty assertion
of the supremacy of the spiritual power over the secular government,
Thomas fled from the wrathful and disappointed monarch to France and the
protection of the pope.

[Sidenote: Murder of Becket and Henry's remorse.]

In spite of a patched-up reconciliation with the king, Becket proceeded
to excommunicate or suspend some of the great English prelates and, as
Henry believed, was conspiring to rob his son of the crown. In a fit of
anger, Henry exclaimed among his followers, "Is there no one to avenge
me of this miserable clerk?" Unfortunately certain knights took the rash
expression literally, and Becket was murdered in Canterbury cathedral,
whither he had returned. The king had really had no wish to resort to
violence, and his sorrow and remorse when he heard of the dreadful deed,
and his terror at the consequences, were most genuine. The pope proposed
to excommunicate the king. Henry, however, made peace with the papal
legates by the solemn assertion that he had never wished the death of
Thomas and by promising to return to Canterbury all the property which
he had confiscated, to send money to aid in the capture of the Holy
Sepulcher at Jerusalem, and to undertake a crusade himself.[92]

[Sidenote: Richard the Lion-Hearted, 1189-1199.]

[Sidenote: John, 1199-1216.]

54. Henry's later years were troubled by the machinations of Philip
Augustus of France and by the quarrels and treason of his own sons, of
which some account has already been given.[93] He was followed by his
son, the picturesque Richard the Lion-Hearted, one of the most romantic
figures of the Middle Ages. He was, however, a poor ruler, who spent but
a few months of his ten years' reign in England. He died in 1199 and was
succeeded by his brother John, from all accounts one of the most
detestable persons who has ever worn a crown. His reign was,
nevertheless, a notable one in the annals of England. In the first
place, he lost a great part of the possessions of his house upon the
continent (Normandy, Brittany, Anjou, etc.); secondly, he was forced by
a revolt of his people, who refused to endure his despotism any longer,
to grant the Great Charter. The loss of his lands across the Channel has
already been described; it remains only to speak of the winning of the
Great Charter of English liberties.[94]

[Sidenote: The granting of the Great Charter, 1215.]

When, in 1213, John proposed to lead his English vassals across the
water in order to attempt to reconquer his lost possessions, they
refused to accompany him on the ground that their feudal obligations did
not bind them to fight outside of their country. Moreover, they showed a
lively discontent with John's despotism and his neglect of those limits
of the kingly power which several of the earlier Norman kings had
solemnly recognized. In 1214 a number of the barons met and took a
solemn oath to compel the king, by arms if necessary, to confirm a
charter containing the things which, according to English traditions, a
king might not do. It proved necessary to march against John, whom the
insurgent nobles met at Runnymede, not far from London. Here on the 15th
of June, 1215, they forced him to swear to observe the rights of the
nation, as they conceived them, which they had carefully written out.

[Sidenote: The provisions of the Charter and its importance.]

The Great Charter is perhaps the most famous document in the history of
government;[95] its provisions furnish a brief and comprehensive
statement of the burning governmental questions of the age. It was
really the whole nation, not merely the nobles, who concluded this great
treaty with a tyrannous ruler. The rights of the commoner are guarded as
well as those of the noble. As the king promises to observe the
liberties and customs of his vassals and not to abuse his feudal
prerogatives, so the vassals agree to observe the rights of their men.
The merchant is not to be deprived of his goods for small offenses, nor
the farmer of his wagon and implements. The king is to impose no tax,
beside the three stated feudal aids,[96] except by the consent of the
great council of the nation. This is to include the prelates and greater
barons and all who hold directly of the king.

There is no more notable clause in the Charter than that which provides
that no one is to be arrested or imprisoned or deprived of his property
unless he be immediately sent before a court of his peers for trial. To
realize the importance of this, we must recollect that in France, down
to 1789, the king exercised such unlimited powers that he could order
the arrest of any one he pleased, and could imprison him for any length
of time without bringing him to trial, or even informing him of the
nature of his offense. The Great Charter provided further that the king
should permit merchants to move about freely and should observe the
privileges of the various towns; nor were his officers longer to
exercise despotic powers over those under them.

"The Great Charter is the first great public act of the nation after it
has realized its own identity, the consummation of the work for which
unconsciously kings, prelates, and lawyers have been laboring for a
century. There is not a word in it that recalls the distinctions of race
and blood, or that maintains the differences of English and Norman law.
It is in one view the summing up of a period of national life, in
another the starting-point of a new period, not less eventful than that
which it closes" (Stubbs).

In spite of his solemn confirmation of the Charter, John, with his
accustomed treachery, made a futile attempt to abrogate his engagements;
but neither he nor his successors ever succeeded in getting rid of the
document. Later there were times when the English kings evaded its
provisions and tried to rule as absolute monarchs. But the people always
sooner or later bethought them of the Charter, which thus continued to
form an effective barrier against permanent despotism in England.

[Sidenote: Henry III, 1216-1272.]

55. During the long reign of John's son, Henry III, England began to
construct her Parliament, an institution which has not only played a
most important rôle in English history, but has also served as the model
for similar bodies in almost every civilized state in the world. Henry's
fondness for appointing foreigners to office, his anxiety to enjoy
powers which he had not the intelligence or energy to justify by the use
he made of them, and his willingness to permit the pope to levy taxes in
England, led the nobles to continue their hostility to the crown. The
nobles and the people of the towns, who were anxious to check the
arbitrary powers of the king, joined forces in what is known as the War
of the Barons. They found a leader in the patriotic Simon de Montfort,
who proved himself a valiant and unselfish defender of the rights of the

[Sidenote: The English Parliament.]

The older Witenagemot of Saxon times, as well as the Great Council of
the Norman kings, was a meeting of nobles, bishops, and abbots, which
the king summoned from time to time to give him advice and aid, and to
sanction important governmental undertakings. During Henry's reign its
meetings became more frequent and its discussions more vigorous than
before, and the name _Parliament_ began to be applied to it.

[Sidenote: Simon de Montfort summons the commons to Parliament.]

In 1265 a famous Parliament was held, where, through the influence of
Simon de Montfort, a most important new class of members--the
_commons_--was present, which was destined to give it its future
greatness. In addition to the nobles and prelates, the sheriffs were
ordered to summon two simple knights from each county and two citizens
from each of the more flourishing towns to attend and take part in the

[Sidenote: The Model Parliament of Edward I, 1295.]

Edward I, the next king, definitely adopted this innovation. He
doubtless called in the representatives of the towns because the
townspeople were becoming rich and he wished to have an opportunity to
ask them to make grants to meet the expenses of the government. He also
wished to obtain the approval of all classes when he determined upon
important measures affecting the whole realm. Since the Model Parliament
of 1295, the commons, or representatives of the people, have always been
included along with the clergy and nobility when the national assembly
of England has been summoned. We shall see later how the present houses
of Lords and Commons came into existence under Edward's son.

[Sidenote: England in the fourteenth century.]

From the reign of Edward I we are, as a distinguished English historian
has well said, "face to face with modern England. Kings, Lords, Commons,
the courts of justice, ... the relations of Church and State, in a great
measure the framework of society itself, have all taken the shape which
they still essentially retain" (Green). The English language was,
moreover, about to become the speech we use to-day.



[Sidenote: Contrast between the development of Germany and France.]

56. The history of the kingship in the eastern, or German, part of
Charlemagne's empire is very different from that in France, which was
reviewed in a previous chapter. After a struggle of four hundred years,
it had become clear by the thirteenth century that the successors of
Louis the German (Charlemagne's grandson) could not make of Germany a
kingdom such as St. Louis left to his descendants. From the thirteenth
century down to Napoleon's time there was no Germany in a political
sense, but only a great number of practically independent states, great
and small. It was but a generation ago that, under the leadership of
Prussia,--a kingdom unknown until many centuries after Charlemagne's
time,--the previously independent kingdoms, principalities, and free
towns were formed into the federation now known as the German empire.

[Sidenote: Stem duchies.]

The map of the eastern part of Charlemagne's empire a century after his
death indicates that the whole region had fallen into certain large
divisions ruled over by dukes, who, in Saxony and Bavaria at least, were
kings in all but name.[97] Just how these duchies originated is
something of a mystery, but two things at least are clear which help to
explain their appearance. In the first place, under the weak successors
of Louis the German, the old independent spirit of the various peoples,
or _stems_, that Charlemagne had been able to hold together, once more
asserted itself and they gladly returned to the leadership of their own
chiefs. In the second place, they were driven to do this by the constant
attacks from without, first of the Northmen and the Moravians, a Slavic
people, then of the terrible Hungarian horsemen who penetrated more than
once as far west as France. As there was no competent central power to
defend the people, it was natural that they should look to their local
leaders for help and guidance.

[Sidenote: Henry I, 919-936.]

These _stem duchies_, as the Germans call them, prevented the German
kings from getting a firm hold on their realms. The best that they could
do was to bring about a sort of confederation. Consequently, when the
German aristocracy chose the strong Henry I, of the ducal house of
Saxony,[98] as their king in 919, he wisely made no attempt to deprive
the several dukes of their power. He needed their assistance in the task
of dealing with the invaders who were pressing in on all sides. He
prepared the way for the later subjugation of the Slavs and the final
repulse of the Hungarians, but he left to his famous son, Otto I, the
task of finally disposing of the invaders and attempting to found a real

[Sidenote: Otto the Great, 936-973.]

The reign of Otto I (936-973), called the Great, is one of the most
extraordinary in the history of Germany. He made no attempt to abolish
the duchies, but he succeeded in getting all of them into the hands of
his sons, brothers, or near relatives, as well as in reducing the power
of the dukes. For example, he made his brother Henry duke of Bavaria,
after forgiving him for two revolts. His scholarly brother, Archbishop
Bruno of Cologne,[99] he made duke of Lorraine in the place of his
faithless son-in-law, Conrad, who had rebelled against him. Many of the
old ducal families either died out or lost their heritage by
unsuccessful revolt. None of them offered a long succession of able
rulers. The duchies consequently fell repeatedly into the hands of the
king, who then claimed the right to assign them to whom he wished.

In the middle of the tenth century the northern and eastern boundaries
of Germany were as yet very ill defined. The Slavic peoples across the
Elbe, many of whom were still pagans, were engaged in continual attacks
upon the borders of Saxony. Otto I did more than fight these tribes; he
established dioceses, such as Brandenburg, Havelberg, etc., in a
district which is now the political center of the German empire, and
greatly forwarded the Christianizing and colonization of the tract
between the Elbe and the Oder.

[Sidenote: Final defeat of the Hungarians.]

[Sidenote: Beginnings of Hungary and Austria.]

Moreover, he put an end forever to the invasions of the Hungarians. He
defeated them in a great battle near Augsburg (955) and pursued them to
the confines of Germany. The Hungarians, or Magyars as they are commonly
called, then settled down in their own territory and began to lay the
foundations of that national development which makes them one of the
most important factors in the eastern portion of Europe to-day. A region
which had belonged to the Bavarian duchy was organized as a separate
district, the Austrian _Mark_ (i.e., March), and became the nucleus of
the Austrian empire.

[Sidenote: Otto interferes in Italian affairs.]

57. The most noteworthy, however, of Otto's acts was his interference in
Italian affairs, which led to his assuming the imperial crown which
Charlemagne had worn. There is no more gloomy chapter in European
history than the experiences of Italy and the papacy after the
deposition of Charles the Fat in 887. We know little of what went on,
but we hear of the duke of Spoleto, the marquis of Friuli, and
Burgundian princes from across the Alps, assuming the Italian crown at
different times. The Mohammedan invasions added to the confusion, so
that Germany and France, in spite of their incessant wars, appear
almost tranquil compared with the anarchy in Italy.[100] Three Italian
kings were crowned emperor by the popes during the generation following
the deposition of Charles the Fat. Then for a generation the title of
emperor disappeared altogether in the West, until it was again assumed
by the German Otto.

[Sidenote: Otto is crowned emperor, 962.]

Italy was a tempting field of operations for an ambitious ruler. Otto
first crossed the Alps in 951, married the widow of one of the ephemeral
Italian kings, and, without being formally crowned, was generally
acknowledged as king of Italy. The revolt of his son compelled him to
return to Germany, but a decade later the pope called him to his
assistance. Otto answered the summons promptly, freed the pope from his
enemies, and was crowned emperor at Rome in 962.

[Sidenote: Important results for Germany of the coronation of Otto the

The coronation of Otto the Great, like that of Charlemagne, was a
momentous event in mediæval history. By assuming the imperial crown he
imposed so great a burden on his successors, the German kings, that they
finally succumbed beneath it. For three centuries they strove to keep
Germany together and at the same time control Italy and the papacy.
After interminable wars and incalculable sacrifices, they lost all.
Italy escaped them, the papacy established its complete independence,
and Germany, their rightful patrimony, instead of growing into a strong
monarchy, fell apart into weak little states.

[Sidenote: Example of emperor's trouble in controlling popes and Italian

Otto's own experiences furnish an example of the melancholy results of
his relations with the pope, to whom he owed his crown. Hardly had he
turned his back before the pope began to violate his engagements. It
became necessary for the new emperor to hasten back to Rome and summon a
council for the deposition of the pontiff, whose conduct certainly
furnished ample justification. But the Romans refused to accept a pope
chosen under Otto's auspices, and he had to return again to Rome and
besiege the city before his pope was acknowledged. A few years later,
still a third expedition was necessary in order to restore another of
the emperor's popes who had been driven out of Rome by the local

[Illustration: EUROPE ABOUT A.D. 1000]

The succeeding emperors had usually to make a similar series of costly
and troublesome journeys to Rome,--a first one to be crowned, and then
others either to depose a hostile pope or to protect a loyal one from
the oppression of neighboring lords. These excursions were very
distracting, especially to a ruler who left behind him in Germany a
rebellious nobility that always took advantage of his absence to revolt.

[Sidenote: The Holy Roman Empire.]

Otto's successors dropped their old title of King of the East Franks as
soon as they had been duly crowned by the pope at Rome, and assumed the
magnificent and all-embracing designation, "Emperor Ever August of the
Romans."[101] Their "Holy Roman Empire," as it came to be called later,
which was to endure, in name at least, for more than eight centuries,
was obviously even less like that of the ancient Romans than was
Charlemagne's. As _kings_ of Germany and Italy they had practically all
the powers that they enjoyed as _emperors_, except the fatal right that
they claimed of taking part in the election of the pope. We shall find
that, instead of making themselves feared at home and building up a
great state, the German emperors wasted their strength in a long
struggle with the popes, who proved themselves in the end incomparably
the stronger, and eventually reduced the Empire to a mere shadow.

58. We have no space to speak of the immediate successors of Otto the
Great.[102] Like him they had to meet opposition at home as well as the
attacks of their restless neighbors, especially the Slavs. The Empire is
usually considered to have reached its height under Conrad II
(1024-1039) and Henry III (1039-1056), the first two representatives of
the new Franconian line which succeeded the Saxon house upon its
extinction in 1024.

[Sidenote: Conrad II, 1024-1039.]

[Sidenote: Poland.]

By an amicable arrangement the kingdom of Burgundy came into the hands
of Conrad II in 1032. This large and important territory long remained a
part of the Empire, serving to render intercourse between Germany and
Italy easier, and forming a barrier between Germany and France. On the
eastern borders of the Empire the Slavs had organized the kingdom of
Poland in the latter half of the tenth century, and its kings, although
often at war with the emperor, generally acknowledged his suzerainty.
Conrad, following the policy of Otto the Great, endeavored to bring as
many of the stem duchies as possible into the hands of his son and
successor, Henry III, who was made duke of Franconia, Swabia, and
Bavaria. This was the firmest of all foundations for the kingly power.

[Sidenote: Henry III, 1039-1056.]

Notwithstanding the energy and ability of Conrad II and Henry III, the
fact that the Empire stands forth as the great power of western Europe
during the first half of the eleventh century is largely due to the
absence of any strong rivals. The French kings had not yet overcome the
feudal disruption, and although Italy objected to the control of the
emperor, it never could agree to combine against him.

[Sidenote: Henry III and the Church.]

59. The most important question that Henry III had to face was that of a
great reform of the Church. This was already under way and it was bound,
if carried out, to destroy the control of the emperors not only over
the papacy but also over the German bishops and abbots, whom they had
strengthened by grants of land and authority with the special purpose of
making them the chief support of the monarchy. The reform was not
directed particularly against the emperor, but he was, as will become
apparent, more seriously affected by the changes proposed by the
reforming party than any other of the European rulers.

[Sidenote: Wealth of the Church.]

In order to understand the reform and the long struggle between the
emperors and the popes which grew out of it, we must stop a moment to
consider the condition of the Church in the time of Henry III. It seemed
to be losing all its strength and dignity and to be falling apart, just
as Charlemagne's empire had dissolved into feudal bits. This was chiefly
due to the vast landed possessions of the clergy. Kings, princes, and
rich landowners had long considered it meritorious to make donations to
bishoprics and monasteries, so that a very considerable portion of the
land in western Europe had come into the hands of churchmen.

[Sidenote: The church lands drawn into the feudal system.]

When landowners began to give and receive land as fiefs the property of
the Church was naturally drawn into the feudal relations. A king, or
other proprietor, might grant fiefs to churchmen as well as to laymen.
The bishops became the vassals of the king or of other feudal lords by
doing homage for a fief and swearing fidelity, just as any other vassal
would do. An abbot sometimes placed his monastery under the protection
of a neighboring lord by giving up his land and receiving it back again
as a fief.

[Sidenote: Fiefs held by churchmen not hereditary.]

One great difference, however, existed between the church lands and the
ordinary fiefs. According to the law of the Church, the bishops and
abbots could not marry and so could have no children to whom they might
transmit their property. Consequently, when a landholding churchman
died, some one had to be chosen in his place who should enjoy his
property and perform his duties. The rule of the Church had been, from
time immemorial, that the clergy of the diocese should choose the
bishop, their choice being ratified by the people. As the church law
expresses it, "A bishop is therefore rightly appointed in the church of
God when the people acclaim him who has been elected by the common vote
of the clergy." As for the abbots, they were, according to the rule of
St. Benedict, to be chosen by the members of the monastery.

[Sidenote: Bishops and abbots practically chosen by the feudal lords.]

In spite of these rules the bishops and abbots had come, in the tenth
and eleventh centuries, to be selected, to all intents and purposes, by
the various kings and feudal lords. It is true that the outward forms of
a regular ("canonical") election were usually permitted; but the feudal
lord made it clear whom he wished chosen, and if the wrong person was
elected, he simply refused to hand over to him the lands attached to the
bishopric or abbey. The lord could in this way control the choice of the
prelates, for in order to become a real bishop or abbot one had not only
to be elected, he had also to be solemnly "invested" with the
appropriate powers of a bishop or abbot and with his lands.

[Sidenote: Investiture.]

Since, to the worldly minded, the spiritual powers attached to church
offices possessed little attraction if no property went along with them,
the feudal lord was really master of the situation. When his appointee
was duly chosen he proceeded to the _investiture_. The new bishop or
abbot first became the "man" of the feudal lord by doing him homage, and
then the lord transferred to him the lands and rights attached to the
office. No careful distinction appears to have been made between the
property and the spiritual prerogatives. The lord often conferred both
by bestowing upon a bishop the ring and the crosier, the emblems of
religious authority. It seemed shocking enough that the lord, who was
often a rough soldier, should dictate the selection of the bishops, but
it was still more shocking that he should audaciously assume to confer
spiritual powers with spiritual emblems. Yet even worse things might
happen, since sometimes the lord, for his greater convenience, had
himself made bishop.

[Sidenote: Attitude of the Church towards its property.]

[Sidenote: Attitude of the king.]

The Church itself naturally looked at the property attached to a
benefice as a mere incident and considered the spiritual prerogatives
the main thing. And since the clergy alone could rightly confer these,
it was natural that they should claim the right to bestow ecclesiastical
offices, including the lands ("temporalities") attached to them, upon
whomsoever they pleased without consulting any layman whatever. Against
this claim the king might urge that a simple minister of the Gospel, or
a holy monk, was by no means necessarily fitted to manage the interests
of a feudal state, such as the great archbishoprics and bishoprics, and
even the abbeys, had become in Germany and elsewhere in the eleventh

[Sidenote: Complicated position of the bishops in Germany and

In short, the situation in which the bishops found themselves was a very
complicated one. (1) As an officer of the Church, the bishop had certain
ecclesiastical and religious duties within the limits of his diocese. He
saw that parish priests were properly selected and ordained, he tried
certain cases in his court, and performed the church ceremonies. (2) He
managed the lands which belonged to the bishopric, which might, or might
not, be fiefs. (3) As a vassal of those who had granted lands to the
bishopric upon feudal terms, he owed the usual feudal dues, not
excluding the duty of furnishing troops to his lord. (4) Lastly, in
Germany, the king had found it convenient, from about the beginning of
the eleventh century, to confer upon the bishops in many cases the
authority of a count in the districts about them. In this way they might
have the right to collect tolls, coin money, and perform other important
governmental duties.[103] When a prelate was inducted into office he
was invested with all these various functions at once, both spiritual
and governmental.

To forbid the king to take part in the investiture was, consequently, to
rob him not only of his feudal rights but also of his authority over
many of his government officials, since bishops, and sometimes even
abbots, were often counts in all but name. Moreover, the monarch relied
upon the clergy, both in Germany and France, to counterbalance the
influence of his lay vassals, who were always trying to exalt their
power at his expense. He therefore found it necessary to take care who
got possession of the important church offices.

[Sidenote: The marriage of the clergy threatens the wealth of the

60. Still another danger threatened the wealth and resources of the
Church. During the tenth and eleventh centuries the rule of the Church
prohibiting the clergy from marrying[104] appears to have been widely
and publicly neglected in Italy, Germany, France, and England. To the
stricter critics of the time this appeared a terrible degradation of the
clergy, who, they felt, should be unencumbered by family cares and
wholly devoted to the service of God. The question, too, had another
side. It was obvious that the property of the Church would soon be
dispersed if the clergy were allowed to marry, since they would wish to
provide for their children. Just as the feudal tenures had become
hereditary, so the church lands would become hereditary unless the
clergy were forced to remain unmarried.

[Sidenote: Buying and selling of church offices.]

Besides the feudalizing of its property and the marriage of the clergy,
there was a third great and constant source of weakness and corruption
in the Church, namely, the temptation to buy and sell church offices.
Had the duties and responsibilities of the bishops, abbots, and priests
always been arduous and exacting, and their recompense barely enough to
maintain them, there would have been little tendency to bribe those who
could bestow the appointments. But the incomes of bishoprics and abbeys
were usually considerable, sometimes very great, while the duties
attached to the office of bishop or abbot, however serious in the eyes
of the right-minded, might easily be neglected by the unscrupulous. The
revenue from a great landed estate, the distinction of high
ecclesiastical rank, and the governmental prerogatives that went with
the office, were enough to induce the members of the noblest families to
vie with each other in securing church positions. The king or prince who
possessed the right of investiture was sure of finding some one willing
to pay something for important benefices.

[Sidenote: Origin of the term simony.]

The sin of buying or selling church offices was recognized as a most
heinous one. It was called _simony_,[105] a name derived from Simon the
Magician, who, according to the account in the Acts of the Apostles,
offered Peter money if he would give him the power of conferring the
Holy Spirit upon those upon whom he should lay his hands. As the apostle
denounced this first simonist, so the Church has continued ever since to
denounce those who propose to purchase its sacred powers,--"Thy silver
perish with thee, because thou hast thought to obtain the gift of God
with money" (Acts viii. 20).

[Sidenote: Simony not really the sale of church offices.]

Doubtless very few bought positions in the Church with the view of
obtaining the "gift of God," that is to say, the religious office. It
was the revenue and the honor that were chiefly coveted. Moreover, when
a king or lord accepted a gift from one for whom he procured a benefice,
he did not regard himself as selling the office; he merely shared its
advantages. No transaction took place in the Middle Ages without
accompanying gifts and fees of various kinds. The church lands were well
managed and remunerative. The clergyman who was appointed to a rich
bishopric or abbey seemed to have far more revenue than he needed and so
was expected to contribute to the king's treasury, which was generally

[Sidenote: Simony corrupts the lower clergy.]

The evil of simony was, therefore, explicable enough, and perhaps
ineradicable under the circumstances. It was, nevertheless, very
demoralizing, for it spread downward and infected the whole body of the
clergy. A bishop who had made a large outlay in obtaining his office
naturally expected something from the priests, whom it was his duty to
appoint. The priest in turn was tempted to reimburse himself by improper
exactions for the performance of his regular religious duties, for
baptizing and marrying his parishioners, and for burying the dead.

So it seemed, at the opening of the eleventh century, as if the Church
was to be dragged down by its property into the anarchy of feudalism
described in a preceding chapter. There were many indications that its
great officers were to become merely the vassals of kings and princes
and no longer to represent a great international institution under the
headship of the popes. The Bishop of Rome had not only ceased, in the
tenth century, to exercise any considerable influence over the churches
beyond the Alps, but was himself controlled by the restless nobles of
central Italy. He appears much less important, in the chronicles of the
time, than the Archbishop of Rheims or Mayence. There is no more
extraordinary revolution recorded in history than that which raised the
weak and demoralized papacy of the tenth century to a supreme place in
European affairs.

[Sidenote: Three rival popes.]

61. One of the noble families of Rome had got the selection of the popes
into its own hands, and was using the papal authority to secure its
control over the city. In the same year (1024) in which Conrad II became
emperor, a layman was actually exalted to the headship of the Church,
and after him a mere boy of ten or twelve years, Benedict IX, who, in
addition to his youth, proved to be thoroughly evil-minded. His powerful
family maintained him, however, on the papal throne for a decade, until
he proposed to marry. This so scandalized even the not over-sensitive
Romans that they drove him out of the city. A rich neighboring bishop
then secured his own election. Presently a third claimant appeared in
the person of a pious and learned priest who bought out the claims of
Benedict IX for a large sum of money and assumed the title of Gregory

[Sidenote: The interference of Henry III in papal affairs and its
momentous consequences.]

This state of affairs seemed to the emperor, Henry III, to call for his
interference. He accordingly went to Italy and summoned a council at
Sutri, north of Rome, in 1046, where two of the claimants were deposed.
Gregory VI, more conscientious than his rivals, not only resigned his
office but tore his pontifical robes in pieces and admitted his
monstrous crime in buying the papal dignity, though his motives had been
of the purest. The emperor then secured the election of a worthy German
bishop as pope, whose first act was to crown Henry and Agnes his

The appearance of Henry III in Italy at this juncture, and the
settlement of the question of the three rival popes, are among the most
important events of all mediæval history in their results. In lifting
the papacy out of the realm of petty Italian politics, Henry unwittingly
helped to raise up a rival to the imperial authority which was destined,
before the end of the next century, to overshadow it and to become
without question the greatest power in western Europe.

[Sidenote: Difficulties to be overcome in establishing the supremacy of
the popes in western Europe.]

For nearly two hundred years the popes had assumed very little
responsibility for the welfare of Europe at large. It was a gigantic
task to make of the Church a great international monarchy, with its head
at the old world-center, Rome; the difficulties in the way seemed,
indeed, well-nigh insurmountable. The great archbishops, who were as
jealous of the power of the pope as the great vassals were of the kingly
power, must be brought into subjection. National tendencies which made
against the unity of the Church must be overcome. The control enjoyed by
kings, princes, and other feudal lords in the selection of church
officials must be done away with. Simony with its degrading influence
must be abolished. The marriage of the clergy must be checked, so that
the property of the Church should not be dissipated. The whole body of
churchmen, from the priest to the archbishop, must be redeemed from the
immorality and worldliness which degraded them in the eyes of the

[Sidenote: Pope Leo IX, 1049-1054.]

It is true that during the remainder of his life Henry III himself
controlled the election of the popes; but he was sincerely and deeply
interested in the betterment of the Church and took care to select able
and independent German prelates to fill the papal office. Of these the
most important was Leo IX (1049-1054). He was the first to show clearly
how the pope might not only become in time the real head and monarch of
the Church but might also aspire to rule kings and emperors as well as
bishops and abbots. Leo refused to regard himself as pope simply because
the emperor had appointed him. He held that the emperor should aid and
protect, but might not create, popes. So he entered Rome as an humble
barefoot pilgrim and was duly elected by the Roman people according to
the rule of the Church.

[Sidenote: Papal legates.]

Leo IX undertook to visit France and Germany and even Hungary in person,
with the purpose of calling councils to check simony and the marriage of
the clergy. But this personal oversight on the part of the popes was
not feasible in the long run, if for no other reason, because they were
generally old men who would have found traveling arduous and often
dangerous. Leo's successors relied upon legates, to whom they delegated
extensive powers and whom they dispatched to all parts of western Europe
in something the same way that Charlemagne employed his _missi_. It is
supposed that Leo IX was greatly influenced in his energetic policy by a
certain sub-deacon, Hildebrand by name. Hildebrand was himself destined
to become one of the greatest popes, under the title of Gregory VII, and
to play a part in the formation of the mediæval Church which justifies
us in ranking him, as a statesman, with Cæsar, Charlemagne, Richelieu,
and Bismarck.

[Sidenote: Pope Nicholas II places the election of the popes in the
hands of the cardinals, 1059.]

62. The first great step toward the emancipation of the Church from the
control of the laity was taken by Nicholas II. In 1059 he issued a
remarkable decree which took the election of the head of the Church once
for all out of the hands of both the emperor and the people of Rome, and
placed it definitely and forever in the hands of the _cardinals_, who
represented the Roman clergy.[107] Obviously the object of this decree
was to preclude all lay interference, whether of the distant emperor, of
the local nobility, or of the Roman mob. The college of cardinals still
exists and still elects the pope.[108]

[Sidenote: Opposition to further reforms.]

The reform party which directed the policy of the popes had, it hoped,
freed the head of the Church from the control of worldly men by putting
his election in the hands of the Roman clergy. It now proposed to
emancipate the Church as a whole from the base entanglements of earth:
first, by strictly forbidding the married clergy to perform religious
functions and by exhorting their flocks to refuse to attend their
ministrations; and secondly, by depriving the kings and feudal lords of
their influence over the choice of the bishops and abbots, since this
influence was deemed the chief cause of worldliness among the prelates.
Naturally these last measures met with far more general opposition than
the new way of electing the pope. An attempt to expel the married clergy
from Milan led to a popular revolt, in which the pope's legate actually
found his life in danger. The decrees forbidding clergymen to receive
their lands and offices from laymen received little attention from
either the clergy or the feudal lords. The magnitude of the task which
the popes had undertaken first became fully apparent when Hildebrand
himself ascended the papal throne, in 1073, as Gregory VII.



[Sidenote: The _Dictatus_ of Gregory VII.]

63. Among the writings of Gregory VII there is a very brief statement,
called the _Dictatus_, of the powers which he believed the popes to
possess. Its chief claims are the following: The pope enjoys a unique
title; he is the only universal bishop and may depose and reinstate
other bishops or transfer them from place to place. No council of the
Church may be regarded as speaking for Christendom without his consent.
The Roman Church has never erred, nor will it err to all eternity. No
one may be considered a Catholic Christian who does not agree with the
Roman Church. No book is authoritative unless it has received the papal

Gregory does not stop with asserting the pope's complete supremacy over
the Church; he goes still further and claims for him the right to
restrain the civil government when it seems necessary in the cause of
righteousness. He says that "the Pope is the only person whose feet are
kissed by all princes"; that he may depose emperors and "absolve
subjects from allegiance to an unjust ruler." No one shall dare to
condemn one who appeals to the pope. No one may annul a decree of the
pope, though the pope may declare null and void the decrees of all other
earthly powers; and no one may pass judgment upon his acts.[109]

[Sidenote: Inadequacy of civil government in the Middle Ages.]

[Sidenote: The Church claims the right to interfere only when

These are not the insolent claims of a reckless tyrant, but the
expression of a theory of government which has had advocates among some
of the most conscientious and learned men of all succeeding ages. Before
venturing to criticise Gregory's view of his position we should
recollect two important facts. In the first place, what most writers
call the _state_, when dealing with the Middle Ages, was no orderly
government in our sense of the word; it was represented only by restless
feudal lords, to whom disorder was the very breath of life. When, on one
occasion, Gregory declared the civil power to be the invention of evil
men instigated by the devil, he was making a natural inference from what
he observed of the conduct of the princes of his time. In the second
place, it should be remembered that Gregory does not claim that the
Church should manage the civil government, but that the papacy, which is
answerable for the eternal welfare of every Christian, should have the
right to restrain a sinful and perverse prince and to refuse to
recognize unrighteous laws. Should all else fail, he claimed the right
to free a nation which was being led to disaster in this world and to
perdition in the next from its allegiance to a wicked monarch.

[Sidenote: Gregory VII puts his theories of the papal power into

Immediately upon his election as pope, Gregory began to put into
practice his high conception of the rôle that the spiritual head of the
world should play. He dispatched legates throughout Europe, and from
this time on these legates became a powerful instrument of government.
He warned the kings of France and England and the youthful German ruler,
Henry IV, to forsake their evil ways, to be upright and just, and obey
his admonitions. He explains, kindly but firmly, to William the
Conqueror that the papal and kingly powers are both established by God
as the greatest among the authorities of the world, just as the sun and
moon are the greatest of the heavenly bodies.[110] But the papal power
is obviously superior to the kingly, for it is responsible for it; at
the Last Day Gregory must render an account of the king as one of the
flock intrusted to his care. The king of France was warned to give up
his practice of simony, lest he be excommunicated and his subjects freed
from their oath of allegiance. All these acts of Gregory appear to have
been dictated not by worldly ambition but by a fervent conviction of
their righteousness and of his duty toward all men.

[Sidenote: Death of Henry III, 1056.]

64. Obviously Gregory's plan of reform included all the states of
western Europe, but conditions were such that the most striking conflict
took place between him and the emperor. The trouble came about in this
way. Henry III had died in 1056, leaving only his good wife Agnes and
their little son of six years to maintain the hard-fought prerogatives
of the German king in the midst of ambitious vassals such as even Otto
the Great had found it difficulty to control.

[Sidenote: Accession of Henry IV, 1065.]

In 1065 the fifteen-year-old lad was declared of age, and his lifelong
difficulties began with a great rebellion of the Saxons. They accused
the young king of having built castles in their land and of filling them
with rough soldiers who preyed upon the people. Gregory felt it his duty
to interfere. To him the Saxons appeared a people oppressed by a
heedless youth under the inspiration of evil counselors.

As one reads of Henry's difficulties and misfortunes it seems miraculous
that he was able to maintain himself as king at all. Sick at heart,
unable to trust any one, and forced to flee from his own subjects, he
writes contritely to the pope: "We have sinned against heaven and before
thee and are no longer worthy to be called thy son." But when cheered
for a moment by a victory over the rebellious Saxons, he easily forgot
his promise of obedience to the pope. He continued to associate with
counselors whom the pope had excommunicated and went on filling
important bishoprics in Germany and Italy regardless of the pope's

[Sidenote: New prohibition of lay investiture.]

The popes who immediately preceded Gregory had more than once forbidden
the churchmen to receive investiture from laymen. Gregory reissued this
prohibition in 1075,[111] just as the trouble with Henry had begun.
Investiture was, as we have seen, the legal transfer by the king, or
other lord, to a newly chosen church official, of the lands and rights
attached to the office. In forbidding lay investiture Gregory attempted
nothing less than a revolution. The bishops and abbots were often
officers of government, exercising in Germany and Italy powers similar
in all respects to those of the counts. The king not only relied upon
them for advice and assistance in carrying on his government, but they
were among his chief allies in his constant struggles with his vassals.

[Sidenote: Henry IV angered by the language of the papal legates.]

Gregory dispatched three envoys to Henry (end of 1075) with a fatherly
letter[112] in which he reproached the king for his wicked conduct. But
he evidently had little expectation that mere expostulation would have
any effect upon Henry, for he gave his legates instructions to use
threats, if necessary, which were bound to produce either complete
subjection or out-and-out revolt. The legates were to tell the king that
his crimes were so numerous, so horrible, and so notorious, that he
merited not only excommunication but the permanent loss of all his royal

[Sidenote: Gregory VII deposed by a council of German bishops at Worms,

The violence of the legates' language not only kindled the wrath of the
king but also gained for him friends among the bishops. A council which
Henry summoned at Worms (in 1076) was attended by more than two thirds
of the German bishops. Here Gregory was declared deposed owing to the
alleged irregularity of his election and the many terrible charges of
immorality and ambition brought against him. The bishops renounced their
obedience to him and publicly declared that he had ceased to be their
pope. It appears very surprising, at first sight, that the king should
have received the prompt support of the German churchmen against the
head of the Church. But it must be remembered that the prelates owed
their offices to the king and not to the pope.

In a remarkable letter[113] to Gregory, Henry asserts that he has shown
himself long-suffering and eager to guard the honor of the papacy, but
that the pope has mistaken his humility for fear. "Thou hast not
hesitated," the letter concludes, "to rise up against the royal power
conferred upon us by God, daring to threaten to deprive us of it, as if
we had received our kingdom from thee. As if the kingdom and the Empire
were in thine and not in God's hands.... I, Henry, King by the grace of
God, together with all our bishops, say unto thee, come down, come down
from thy throne and be accursed of all generations."

[Sidenote: Henry IV deposed and excommunicated by the pope.]

Gregory's reply to Henry and the German bishops who had deposed him was
speedy and decisive. "Incline thine ear to us, O Peter, chief of the
Apostles. As thy representative and by thy favor has the power been
granted especially to me by God of binding and loosing in heaven and
earth. On the strength of this, for the honor and glory of thy Church,
in the name of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I withdraw,
through thy power and authority, from Henry the King, son of Henry the
Emperor, who has risen against thy Church with unheard-of insolence, the
rule over the whole kingdom of the Germans and over Italy. I absolve all
Christians from the bonds of the oath which they have sworn, or may
swear, to him; and I forbid anyone to serve him as king." For his
intercourse with the excommunicated and his manifold iniquities, the
king is furthermore declared accursed and excommunicate.[114]

[Sidenote: Attitude of the German princes.]

For a time after the pope had deposed him everything went against Henry.
Even the churchmen now held off. Instead of resenting the pope's
interference, the discontented Saxons, and many other of Henry's
vassals, believed that there was now an excellent opportunity to get rid
of Henry and choose a more agreeable ruler. But after a long conference
the great German vassals decided to give Henry another chance. He was to
refrain from exercising the functions of government until he had made
peace with the pope. If at the end of a year he had failed to do this,
he was to be regarded as having forfeited the throne. The pope was,
moreover, invited to come to Augsburg to consult with the princes as to
whether Henry should be reinstated or another chosen in his stead. It
looked as if the pope was, in truth, to control the civil government.

[Sidenote: Henry submits to the pope at Canossa, 1077.]

Henry decided to anticipate the arrival of the pope. He hastened across
the Alps in midwinter and appeared as an humble suppliant before the
castle of Canossa, whither the pope had come on his way to Augsburg. For
three days the German king appeared before the closed door, barefoot and
in the coarse garments of a pilgrim and a penitent, and even then
Gregory was induced only by the expostulations of his influential
companions to admit the humiliated ruler. The spectacle of this mighty
prince of distinguished appearance, humiliated and in tears before the
nervous little man who humbly styled himself the "servant of the
servants of God," has always been regarded as most completely typifying
the power of the Church and the potency of her curses, against which
even the most exalted of the earth found no weapon of defense except
abject penitence.[115]

[Sidenote: A new king chosen.]

[Sidenote: Henry again excommunicated.]

65. The pardon which Henry received at Canossa did not satisfy the
German princes; for their main object in demanding that he should
reconcile himself with the Church had been to cause him additional
embarrassment. They therefore proceeded to elect another ruler, and the
next three or four years was a period of bloody struggles between the
adherents of the rival kings. Gregory remained neutral until 1080, when
he again "bound with the chain of anathema" Henry, "the so-called king,"
and all his followers. He declared him deprived of his royal power and
dignity and forbade all Christians to obey him.

[Sidenote: Henry triumphs over Gregory.]

[Sidenote: Death of Gregory.]

The new excommunication had precisely the opposite effect from the first
one. Henry's friends increased rather than decreased. The German clergy
were again aroused, and they again deposed "this same most brazen
Hildebrand." Henry's rival fell in battle, and Henry, accompanied by an
anti-pope, betook himself to Italy with the double purpose of putting
his pope on the throne and winning the imperial crown. Gregory held out
for no less than two years, but at last Rome fell into Henry's hands and
Gregory withdrew and soon died. His last words were, "I have loved
justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die an exile," and the
fair-minded historical student will not question their truth.[116]

[Sidenote: Henry IV's further troubles.]

The death of Gregory did not put an end to Henry's difficulties. He
spent the remaining twenty years of his life in trying to maintain his
rights as king of Germany and Italy against his rebellious subjects on
both sides of the Alps. In Germany his chief enemies were the Saxons and
his discontented vassals. In Italy the pope was now actively engaged as
a temporal ruler, in building up a little state of his own. He was,
moreover, always ready to encourage the Lombard cities--which were
growing more and more powerful and less and less willing to submit to
the rule of a German--in their opposition to the emperor.

[Sidenote: Rebellion at home and in Italy.]

[Sidenote: Treason of Henry's sons.]

[Sidenote: Death of Henry IV, 1106.]

A combination of his Italian enemies called Henry again to Italy in
1090, although he was forced to leave Germany but half subdued. He was
seriously defeated by the Italians; and the Lombard cities embraced the
opportunity to form their first union against their foreign king. In
1093 Milan, Cremona, Lodi, and Piacenza joined in an offensive and
defensive alliance for their own protection. After seven years of
hopeless lingering in Italy, Henry returned sadly across the Alps,
leaving the peninsula in the hands of his enemies. But he found no peace
at home. His discontented German vassals induced his son, whom he had
had crowned as his successor, to revolt against his father. Thereupon
followed more civil war, more treason, and a miserable abdication. In
1106 death put an end to perhaps the saddest reign that history records.

[Sidenote: Henry V, 1106-1125.]

The achievement of the reign of Henry IV's son, Henry V, which chiefly
interests us was the adjustment of the question of investitures. Pope
Paschal II, while willing to recognize those bishops already chosen by
the king, provided they were good men, proposed that thereafter
Gregory's decrees against lay investiture should be carried out. The
clergy should no longer do homage and lay their hands, consecrated to
the service of the altar, in the blood-stained hands of the nobles.
Henry V, on the other hand, declared that unless the clergy took the
oath of fealty the bishops would not be given the lands, towns, castles,
tolls, and privileges attached to the bishoprics.

[Sidenote: Settlement of the question of lay investiture in the
Concordat of Worms, 1122.]

After a succession of troubles a compromise was at last reached in the
Concordat of Worms (1122), which put an end to the controversy over
investitures in Germany.[117] The emperor promised to permit the Church
freely to elect the bishops and abbots and renounced his old claim to
invest with the spiritual emblems of the ring and the crosier. But the
elections were to be held in the presence of the king, and he was
permitted, in a separate ceremony, to invest the new bishop or abbot
with his fiefs and secular prerogatives by a touch of the scepter. In
this way the spiritual rights of the bishops were obviously conferred by
the churchmen who elected him; and although the king might still
practically invalidate an election by refusing to invest with the
coveted temporal privileges, still the direct appointment of the bishops
and abbots was taken out of his hands. As for the emperor's control over
the papacy, too many popes, since the advent of Henry IV, had been
generally recognized as properly elected without the sanction of the
emperor, for any one to believe any longer that his sanction was



[Sidenote: Frederick I, Barbarossa, 1152-1190.]

[Sidenote: The historian, Otto of Freising.]

66. Frederick I, nicknamed Barbarossa, i.e., "Redbeard," who became king
of Germany in 1152,[118] is the most interesting of all the German
emperors; and the records we have of his reign enable us to gain a
pretty good view of Europe in the middle of the twelfth century. With
his advent, we feel that we are emerging from that long period which
used to be known as the dark ages. Most of our knowledge of European
history from the sixth to the twelfth century is derived from meager and
unreliable monkish chronicles, whose authors were often ignorant and
careless, and usually far away from the scenes of the events they
recorded. In the latter half of the twelfth century, however,
information grows much more abundant and varied. We begin to have
records of the town life and are no longer entirely dependent upon the
monks' records. The first historian with a certain philosophic grasp of
his theme was Otto of Freising. His _Life of Frederick Barbarossa_ and
his history of the world form invaluable sources of knowledge of the
period we now enter.

[Sidenote: Frederick's ideal of the Empire.]

Frederick's ambition was to raise the Roman Empire to its old glory and
influence. He regarded himself as the successor of the Cæsars, of
Justinian, of Charlemagne, and of Otto the Great. He believed his office
to be quite as divinely established as the papacy. In announcing his
election to the pope, he stated that the Empire had been "bestowed upon
him by God," and he did not ask for the pope's sanction, as his
predecessors had done. But in his lifelong attempt to maintain what he
assumed to be the rights of the emperor he encountered all the old
difficulties. He had to watch his rebellious vassals in Germany and meet
the opposition of a series of unflinching popes, ready to defend the
most exalted claims of the papacy. He found, moreover, in the Lombard
cities unconquerable foes, who finally brought upon him a signal defeat.

[Sidenote: The towns begin to play a part in history.]

67. One of the most striking differences between the ages before
Frederick and the whole period since, lies in the development of town
life, with all that that implies. Up to this time we have heard only of
emperors, popes, bishops, and feudal lords; from now on the cities must
be reckoned with, as Frederick was to discover to his sorrow.[119]

[Sidenote: The government of the Lombard cities becomes partially

The government of the towns of Lombardy fell, after Charlemagne's time,
into the hands of their respective bishops, who exercised the
prerogatives of counts. Under the bishops the towns flourished within
their walls and also extended their control over the neighboring
districts. As industry and commerce increased, the prosperous citizens,
and the poorer classes as well, aspired to some control over the
government. Cremona very early expelled its bishop, destroyed his
castle, and refused to pay him any dues. Later Henry IV stirred up Lucca
against its bishop and promised that its liberties should never be
interfered with henceforth by bishop, duke, or count. Other towns threw
off the episcopal rule, and in practically all of them the government
came at last into the hands of municipal officials elected by those
citizens who were permitted to have a hand in the government.

[Sidenote: The turmoil in the Italian towns; their remarkable

[Illustration: Italian Towns in the Twelfth Century]

The more humble artisans were excluded altogether from a voice in city
affairs. Their occasional revolts, as well as the feuds between the
factions of the nobles,--who took up their residence in the towns
instead of remaining on their estates,--produced a turmoil which we
should think intolerable in our modern peaceable cities. This was
greatly increased by bitter wars with neighboring towns. Yet, in spite
of incredible disorder within and without, the Italian towns became
centers of industry, learning, and art, unequaled in history except by
the famous cities of Greece. They were able, moreover, to maintain their
independence for several centuries. Frederick's difficulties in playing
the emperor in Italy were naturally greatly increased by the sturdy
opposition of the Lombard towns which could always count on a faithful
ally in the pope. He and they had a common interest in seeing that the
power of the king of Germany remained purely nominal on their side of
the mountains.[120]

[Sidenote: Frederick's first expedition to Italy, 1154.]

68. Milan was the most powerful of the Lombard towns and was heartily
detested by her neighbors, over whom she was constantly endeavoring to
extend her control. Two refugees from Lodi brought word to the newly
elected emperor of Milan's tyranny. When Frederick's representatives
reached the offending city they were insulted and the imperial seal was
trampled in the dust. Like the other towns, Milan would acknowledge the
supremacy of the emperor only so long as he made it no trouble. The wish
to gain the imperial crown and to see what this bold conduct of Milan
meant, brought Frederick to Italy, in 1154, on the first of six
expeditions, which together were to occupy many years of his reign.

Frederick pitched his camp in the plain of Roncaglia and there received
representatives from the Lombard towns, who had many and grievous
complaints to make of the conduct of their neighbors, especially of the
arrogant Milan. We get a hint of the distant commerce of the maritime
cities when we read that Genoa sent gifts of ostriches, lions, and
parrots. Frederick made a momentary impression by proceeding, upon the
complaint of Pavia, to besiege and destroy the town of Tortona. As soon
as he moved on to Rome, Milan plucked up courage to punish two or three
neighbors who had too enthusiastically supported the emperor; it also
lent a hand to Tortona's hapless citizens in rebuilding their city.

[Sidenote: Frederick and Pope Hadrian.]

When the pope, Hadrian IV, and the emperor first met there was some
bitter feeling because Frederick hesitated to hold the pope's stirrup.
He made no further objection, however, when he learned that it was the
custom. Hadrian was relying upon his assistance, for Rome was in the
midst of a remarkable revolution. Under the leadership of the famous
Arnold of Brescia,[121] the city was attempting to reëstablish a
government similar to that of the times when the Roman senate ruled the
civilized world. It is needless to say that the attempt failed, though
Frederick gave the pope but little help against Arnold and the
rebellious Romans. After receiving his crown, the emperor hastened back
to Germany and left the disappointed Hadrian to deal with his refractory
people as best he might. This desertion and later misunderstandings
produced much ill feeling between the pope and Frederick.

[Sidenote: The assembly at Roncaglia, 1158.]

[Sidenote: Its decision as to the rights (_regalia_) of the emperor over
the Lombard towns.]

In 1158 Frederick was back in Italy and held another great assembly at
Roncaglia. He summoned hither certain teachers of the Roman law from
Bologna (where the revived study of the law was actively pursued), as
well as representatives of the towns, to decide exactly what his rights
as emperor were. There was little danger but that those versed in a law
which declared that "whatsoever the prince has willed has the force of
law," should give the emperor his due. His _regalia_, or governmental
prerogatives, were declared to consist in feudal suzerainty over the
various duchies and counties, and in the right to appoint magistrates,
collect tolls, impose an extraordinary war tax, coin money, and enjoy
the revenue from fisheries and from salt and silver mines. Such persons
or towns as could produce proof that any of these privileges had been
formally conceded to them might continue to enjoy them; otherwise the
emperor assumed them. As most of the towns had simply succeeded to the
rights of the bishops and had no legal proofs of any concessions from
the emperor, this decision meant the loss of their independence. The
emperor greatly increased his revenue for the moment; but these extreme
measures and the hated governors whom he appointed to represent him were
bound to produce ultimate revolt. It became a matter of life and death
to the towns to get rid of the imperial officials and taxgatherers.

[Sidenote: The destruction of Crema and Milan.]

The town of Crema refused to level its walls at the command of the
emperor. It had to undergo a most terrible siege and finally succumbed.
Its citizens were allowed to depart with nothing but their lives, and
the place was given over to plunder and destruction. Then Milan drove
the emperor's deputies from the gates. A long siege brought even this
proud city to terms; and the emperor did not hesitate to order its
destruction, in spite of its commercial and political importance (1162).
It is a melancholy commentary upon the relations between the various
towns that Milan's neighbors begged to be permitted to carry out her
annihilation. Her inhabitants were allowed to settle in the neighborhood
of the spot where their prosperous city had stood, and from the rapidity
with which they were able to rebuild it later, we may conclude that the
demolition was not so thoroughgoing as some of the accounts imply.

[Sidenote: The Lombard towns secretly unite to form the Lombard League.]

69. The only hope for the Lombard towns was in _union_, which the
emperor had explicitly forbidden. Soon after Milan's destruction
measures were secretly taken to form the nucleus of what became later
the great Lombard League. Cremona, Brescia, Mantua, and Bergamo joined
together against the emperor. Encouraged by the pope and aided by the
League, Milan was speedily rebuilt. Frederick, who had been engaged in
conquering Rome with a view of placing an anti-pope on the throne of St.
Peter, was glad, in 1167, to escape the combined dangers of Roman fever
and the wrath of the towns and get back to Germany. The League was
extended to include Verona, Piacenza, Parma, and eventually many other
towns. It was even deemed best to construct an entirely new town, with a
view of harboring forces to oppose the emperor on his return, and
Alessandria remains a lasting testimonial to the energy and coöperative
spirit of the League. The new town got its name from the League's ally,
Pope Alexander III, one of the most conspicuous among the papal
opponents of the German kings.

[Sidenote: Frederick completely defeated by the League at Legnano,

After several years spent in regulating affairs in Germany, Frederick
again appeared in Lombardy. He found the new "straw" town, as the
imperialists contemptuously called it, too strong for him. The League
got its forces together, and a great battle took place at Legnano in
1176,--a really decisive conflict, which was rare enough in the Middle
Ages. Frederick had been unable to get the reënforcements he wished from
across the Alps, and, under the energetic leadership of Milan, the
League so completely and hopelessly defeated him that the question of
the mastery in Lombardy was settled for some time.

[Sidenote: Peace of Constance (1183) establishes independence of Lombard

A great congress was thereupon assembled at Venice, and here, under the
auspices of Pope Alexander III, a truce was concluded, which was made a
perpetual peace at Constance in 1183. The towns received back
practically all their regalia and, upon formally acknowledging the
emperor's overlordship, were left by him to go their own way. Frederick
was forced, moreover, humbly to recognize a pope that he had solemnly
sworn should never be obeyed by him. The pope and the towns had made
common cause and enjoyed a common victory.

[Sidenote: Origin of the power of the Guelfs.]

From this time on we find the name _Guelf_ assumed by the party in Italy
which was opposed to the emperors.[122] This is but another form of the
name of the Welf family, who made most of the trouble for the
Hohenstaufens in Germany. A certain Welf had been made duke of Bavaria
by Henry IV (in 1070). His son added to the family estates by marrying a
rich north-German heiress. His grandson, Henry the Proud, looked still
higher and became the son-in-law of the duke of Saxony and the heir to
his great duchy. This, added to his other vast possessions, made him the
most powerful and dangerous of the vassals of the Hohenstaufen emperors.

[Sidenote: Division of Saxony and the other great German duchies.]

On returning from his disastrous campaign against the Lombard towns,
Frederick Barbarossa found himself at war with the Guelf leader, Henry
the Lion (son of Henry the Proud), who had refused to come to the
emperor's aid before the battle of Legnano. Henry was banished, and
Frederick divided up the Saxon duchy. His policy was to split up the old
duchies, for he clearly saw the danger of permitting his vassals to
control districts as large as he himself held.

[Sidenote: The Hohenstaufens extend their power into southern Italy.]

70. Before his departure upon the crusading expedition during which he
lost his life, Frederick saw his son, Henry VI, crowned king of Italy.
Moreover, in order to extend the power of the Hohenstaufens over
southern Italy, he arranged a marriage between the young Henry and
Constance, the heiress to the Norman kingdom of Naples and Sicily.[123]
Thus the hopeless attempt to keep both Germany and Italy under the same
head was continued. It brought about new conflicts with the popes, who
were the feudal suzerains of Naples and Sicily, and ended in the ruin of
the house of Hohenstaufen.

[Sidenote: Henry VI, 1190-1197.]

[Sidenote: His troubles in Italy and Germany.]

Henry VI's short reign was beset with difficulties which he sturdily met
and overcame. Henry the Lion, the Guelf leader, having broken the oath
he had sworn to Frederick to keep away from Germany, returned and
organized a rebellion. So soon as this was quelled and the Guelf party
was under control for a time, Henry VI had to hasten south to rescue his
Sicilian kingdom. There a certain Norman count, Tancred, was leading a
national revolt against the German claimant. The pope, who regarded
Sicily as his fief, had freed the emperor's Norman subjects from their
oath of fidelity to him. Moreover, Richard the Lion-Hearted of England
had landed on his way to the Holy Land and allied himself with Tancred.

Henry VI's expedition to Italy proved a complete disaster. His empress
was captured by Tancred's people, his army largely perished by sickness,
and Henry the Lion's son, whom he held as a hostage, escaped. To add to
his troubles, no sooner had he reached Germany once more than he was
confronted by a new and more formidable revolt (1192). Luckily for him,
Richard, stealing home through Germany from his crusade, fell into his
hands. He held the English king, as an ally of the Guelfs, until he
obtained an enormous ransom, which supplied him with the means of
fighting his enemies in both Germany and Italy. The death of Tancred
enabled him to regain his realms in southern Italy. But he endeavored in
vain to induce the German princes to recognize the permanent union of
the southern Italian kingdom with Germany, or to make the imperial crown
hereditary in his house.

[Sidenote: Pope Innocent III.]

At the age of thirty-two, and in the midst of plans for a world empire,
Henry succumbed to Italian fever, leaving the fate of the Hohenstaufen
family in the hands of his infant son, who was to become the famous
Frederick II. Just as Henry VI died, the greatest, perhaps, of all the
popes was about to ascend the throne of St. Peter, and for nearly a
score of years to dominate the political affairs of western Europe. For
a time the political power of the popes almost overshadows that of a
Charlemagne or a Napoleon. In a later chapter a description will be
given of the great institution over which Innocent III presided like a
monarch upon his throne. But first we must follow the history of the
struggle between the papacy and the house of Hohenstaufen during the
remarkable career of Frederick II.

[Sidenote: Philip of Hohenstaufen and Otto of Brunswick rival claimants
for the German throne.]

71. No sooner was Henry VI out of the way than Germany became, in the
words of Henry's brother Philip, "like a sea lashed by every wind." So
wild was the confusion, so torn and so shaken was poor Germany in all
its parts, that far-sighted men doubted if they would ever see it return
to peace and order. Philip first proposed to play the rôle of regent to
his little nephew, but before long he assumed the imperial prerogatives,
after being duly elected king of the Romans. The Archbishop of Cologne,
however, summoned an assembly and brought about the election of a rival
king, Otto of Brunswick, the youthful son of Henry the Lion.

[Sidenote: Innocent III decides in favor of Otto.]

So the old struggle between Guelf and Hohenstaufen was renewed. Both of
the kings bid for the support of Innocent III, who openly proclaimed
that the decision of the matter lay with him. Otto was willing to make
the most reckless concessions to him; and as the pope naturally feared a
revival of the power of the Hohenstaufen house should Philip be
recognized, he decided in favor of the Guelf claimant in 1201. The
grateful Otto wrote to him, "My kingship would have dissolved in dust
and ashes had not your hand, or rather the authority of the Apostolic
Chair, weighed the scale in my favor." Innocent appears here, as upon
other occasions, as the arbiter of Europe.

In the dreary civil wars which followed in Germany, Otto gradually lost
all his friends. His rival's promising career was, however, speedily cut
short, for he was murdered by a private enemy in 1208. Thereupon the
pope threatened to excommunicate any German bishop or prince who failed
to support Otto. The following year Otto went to Rome to be crowned, but
he promptly made an enemy of the pope by playing the emperor in Italy;
he even invaded the Sicilian kingdom of the pope's ward, Frederick, the
son of Henry VI.

[Sidenote: Innocent III the arbiter of western Europe.]

Innocent then repudiated Otto, in whom he claimed to have "been deceived
as God himself was once deceived in Saul." He determined that the young
Frederick should be made emperor, but he took great precautions to
prevent him from becoming a dangerous enemy of the pope, as his father
and grandfather had been. When Frederick was elected king in 1212 he
made all the promises that Innocent asked.

[Sidenote: John of England becomes a vassal of the pope.]

While the pope had been guiding the affairs of the empire he had by no
means neglected to exhibit his power in other quarters, above all in
England. The monks of Canterbury had (1205) ventured to choose an
archbishop--who was at the same time their abbot--without consulting
their king, John. Their appointee hastened off to Rome to gain the
pope's confirmation, while the irritated John forced the monks to hold
another election and make his treasurer archbishop. Innocent thereupon
rejected both of those who had been elected, sent for a new deputation
of monks from Canterbury, and bade them choose Stephen Langton, a man of
great ability. John then angrily drove the monks of Canterbury out of
the kingdom. Innocent replied by placing England under the _interdict_,
that is to say, he ordered the clergy to close all the churches and
suspend all public services,--a very terrible thing to the people of the
time. John was excommunicated, and the pope threatened that unless the
king submitted to his wishes he would depose him and give his crown to
Philip Augustus of France. As Philip made haste to collect an army for
the conquest of England, John humbly submitted to the pope in 1213. He
went so far as to hand England over to Innocent III and receive it back
as a fief, thus becoming the vassal of the pope. He agreed also to send
a yearly tribute to Rome.[124]

[Sidenote: The fourth Lateran Council, 1215.]

Innocent, in spite of several setbacks, now appeared to have attained
all his ambitious ends. The emperor, Frederick II, was his protégé and,
as king of Sicily, his acknowledged vassal, as was also the king of
England. He not only asserted but also maintained his right to
interfere in all the important political affairs of the various European
countries. In 1215 a stately international congress--the fourth Lateran
Council--met in his palace. It was attended by hundreds of bishops,
abbots, and representatives of kings, princes, and towns. Its decrees
were directed against the abuses in the Church and the progress of
heresy, both of which were seriously threatening the power of the
clergy. It confirmed the election of Frederick II and excommunicated
once more the now completely discredited Otto.[125]

[Sidenote: Death of Innocent III, 1216.]

[Sidenote: Emperor Frederick II, 1212-1250.]

72. Innocent III died during the following year and left a heritage of
trouble to his successors in the person of the former papal ward,
Frederick II, who was little inclined to obey the pope. He had been
brought up in Sicily and was much influenced by the Arabic culture which
prevailed there. He appears to have rejected many of the received
opinions of the time. His enemies asserted that he was not even a
Christian, and that he declared that Moses, Christ, and Mohammed were
all alike impostors. He was nearsighted, bald, and wholly insignificant
in person; but he exhibited the most extraordinary energy and ability in
the organization of his kingdom of Sicily, in which he was far more
interested than in Germany. He drew up an elaborate code of laws for his
southern realms and may be said to have founded the first modern
well-regulated state, in which the king was indisputably supreme.

[Sidenote: His bitter struggle with the papacy.]

We cannot stop to relate the romantic and absorbing story of his long
struggle with the popes. They speedily discovered that he was bent upon
establishing a powerful state to the south of them, and upon extending
his control over the Lombard cities in such a manner that the papal
possessions would be held as in a vise. This, they felt, should never be
permitted. Almost every measure that Frederick adopted aroused their
suspicion and opposition, and they made every effort to destroy him and
his house.

[Sidenote: Frederick recognized as king of Jerusalem.]

His chance of success in the conflict with the head of the Church was
gravely affected by the promise which he had made before Innocent III's
death to undertake a crusade. He was so busily engaged with his endless
enterprises that he kept deferring the expedition, in spite of the papal
admonitions, until at last the pope lost patience and excommunicated
him. While excommunicate, he at last started for the East. He met with
signal success and actually brought Jerusalem, the Holy City, once more
into Christian hands and was himself recognized as king of Jerusalem.

[Sidenote: Extinction of the Hohenstaufens' power.]

Frederick's conduct continued, however, to give offense to the popes.
The emperor was denounced in solemn councils, and at last the popes
began to raise up rival kings in Germany to replace Frederick, whom they
deposed. After Frederick died (1250) his sons maintained themselves for
a few years in the Sicilian kingdom; but they finally gave way before a
French army, led by the brother of St. Louis, Charles of Anjou, upon
whom the pope bestowed the southern realms of the Hohenstaufens.[126]

[Sidenote: Frederick's death marks the close of the mediæval empire.]

With Frederick's death the mediæval empire may be said to have come to
an end. It is true that after a period of "fist law," as the Germans
call it, a new king, Rudolf of Hapsburg, was elected in Germany in 1273.
The German kings continued to call themselves emperors. Few of them,
however, took the trouble to go to Rome to be crowned by the pope. No
serious effort was ever made to reconquer the Italian territory for
which Otto the Great, Frederick Barbarossa, and his son and grandson had
made such serious sacrifices. Germany was hopelessly divided and its
king was no real king. He had no capital, no well-organized government.

[Sidenote: Division of Germany and Italy into small independent

By the middle of the thirteenth century it became apparent that neither
Germany nor Italy was to be converted into a strong single kingdom like
England and France. The map of Germany shows a confused group of
duchies, counties, archbishoprics, bishoprics, abbacies, and free towns,
each one of which asserted its practical independence of the weak king
and emperor.

In northern Italy each town, including a certain district about its
walls, had become an independent state, dealing with its neighbors as
with independent powers. The Italian towns were destined to become the
birthplace of our modern culture during the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries. Venice and Florence, in spite of their small size, came to be
reckoned among the most important states of Europe. In the central part
of the peninsula the pope maintained more or less control over his
possessions, but he often failed to subdue the towns within his realms.
To the south Naples remained for some time under the French dynasty,
which the pope had called in, but the island of Sicily drifted into
Spanish hands.



73. Of all the events of the Middle Ages, the most romantic and
fascinating are the Crusades, the adventurous expeditions to Syria,
undertaken by kings and doughty knights with the hope of permanently
reclaiming the Holy Land from the infidel Turks. All through the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries each generation beheld at least one great army
of crusaders gathering from all parts of the West and starting toward
the Orient. Each year witnessed the departure of small bands of pilgrims
or of solitary soldiers of the cross. For two hundred years there was a
continuous stream of Europeans of every rank and station making their
way into western Asia. If they escaped the countless hazards of the
journey, they either settled in this distant land and devoted themselves
to war or commerce, or returned home, bringing with them tales of great
cities and new peoples, of skill and luxury unknown in the West.

[Sidenote: Natural temptation to overrate the importance of the

Our sources of information in regard to the Crusades are so abundant and
so rich in picturesque incidents that writers have often yielded to the
temptation to give more space to these expeditions than their
consequences really justify. They were, after all, only one of the great
foreign enterprises which have been undertaken from time to time by the
European peoples. While their influence upon the West was doubtless very
important,--like that of the later conquest of India by the English and
the colonization of America,--the details of the campaigns in the East
scarcely belong to the history of western Europe.

[Sidenote: The Holy Land conquered first by the Arabs and then by the

[Sidenote: Eastern emperor appeals to the pope for aid against the
infidel Turks.]

Syria had been overrun by the Arabs in the seventh century, shortly
after the death of Mohammed, and the Holy City of Jerusalem had fallen
into the hands of the infidels. The Arab, however, shared the veneration
of the Christian for the places associated with the life of Christ and,
in general, permitted the Christian pilgrims who found their way thither
to worship unmolested. But with the coming of a new and ruder people,
the Seljuk Turks, in the eleventh century, the pilgrims began to bring
home news of great hardships. Moreover, the eastern emperor was defeated
by the Turks in 1071 and lost Asia Minor. The presence of the Turks in
possession of the fortress of Nicæa, just across from Constantinople,
was of course a standing menace to the Eastern Empire. When the
energetic Emperor Alexius (1081-1118) ascended the throne he endeavored
to expel the infidel. Finding himself unequal to the task, he appealed
for assistance to the head of Christendom, Urban II. The first great
impetus to the Crusades was the call issued by Urban at the celebrated
council which met in 1095 at Clermont in France.

[Sidenote: Urban II issues the call to the First Crusade at the Council
of Clermont, 1095.]

In an address, which produced more remarkable immediate results than any
other which history records, the pope exhorted knights and foot soldiers
of all ranks to give up their usual wicked business of destroying their
Christian brethren in private warfare and turn instead to the succor of
their fellow-Christians in the East. Otherwise the insolent Turks would,
if unchecked, extend their sway still more widely over the faithful
servants of the Lord. "Let the Holy Sepulcher of the Lord our Saviour,
which is possessed by unclean nations, especially urge you on, and the
holy places which they are now treating with ignominy and irreverently
polluting." Urban urged besides that France was too poor to support all
its people, while the Holy Land flowed with milk and honey. "Enter upon
the road to the Holy Sepulcher; wrest the land from the wicked race and
subject it to yourselves." When the pope had finished, all who were
present exclaimed, with one accord, "It is the will of God." This, the
pope declared, should be the rallying cry of the crusaders, who were to
wear a cross upon their bosoms as they went forth, and upon their backs
as they returned, as a holy sign of their sacred mission.[127]

[Sidenote: The motives of the crusaders.]

The Crusades are ordinarily represented as the most striking examples of
the simple faith and religious enthusiasm of the Middle Ages. They
appealed, however, to many different kinds of men. The devout, the
romantic, and the adventurous were by no means the only classes that
were attracted. Syria held out inducements to the discontented noble who
might hope to gain a principality in the East, to the merchant who was
looking for new enterprises, to the merely restless who wished to avoid
his responsibilities at home, and even to the criminal who enlisted with
a view of escaping the results of his past offenses. It is noteworthy
that Urban appeals especially to those who had been "contending against
their brethren and relatives," and urges those "who have hitherto been
robbers now to become soldiers of Christ." The conduct of many of the
crusaders indicates that the pope found a ready hearing among this
class. Yet higher motives than a love of adventure and the hope of
conquest impelled many who took their way eastward. Great numbers,
doubtless, went to Jerusalem "through devotion alone, and not for the
sake of honor or gain," with the sole object of freeing the Holy
Sepulcher from the hands of the infidel.

[Sidenote: Privileges of the crusaders.]

To such as these the pope promised that the journey itself should take
the place of all penance for sin. The faithful crusader, like the
faithful Mohammedan, was assured of immediate entrance into heaven if he
died repentant in the holy cause. Later the Church exhibited its
extraordinary authority by what would seem to us an unjust interference
with business contracts. It freed those who, with a pure heart, entered
upon the journey from the payment of interest upon their debts, and
permitted them to mortgage property against the wishes of their feudal
lords. The crusaders' wives and children and property were taken under
the immediate protection of the Church, and he who troubled them
incurred excommunication.[128] These various considerations help to
explain the great popularity of undertakings that, at first sight, would
seem to have promised only hardships and disappointment.


[Sidenote: Peter the Hermit and his army.]

74. The Council of Clermont met in November. Before spring (1096) those
who set forth to preach the Crusade, above all the famous Peter the
Hermit, who was formerly given credit for having begun the whole
crusading movement, had collected, in France and along the Rhine, an
extraordinary army of the common folk. Peasants, artisans, vagabonds,
and even women and children, answered the summons, all fanatically
intent upon rescuing the Holy Sepulcher, two thousand miles away. They
were confident that the Lord would sustain them during the weary leagues
of the journey, and grant them a prompt victory over the infidel. The
host was got under way in several divisions under the leadership of
Peter the Hermit,[129] and of Walter the Penniless and other humble
knights. Many of the crusaders were slaughtered by the Hungarians, who
rose to protect themselves from the depredations of this motley horde.
Part of them got as far as Nicæa, only to be slaughtered by the Turks.
This is but an example, on a large scale, of what was going on
continually for a century or so after this first great catastrophe.
Individual pilgrims and adventurers, and sometimes considerable bodies
of crusaders, were constantly falling a prey to every form of
disaster--starvation, slavery, disease, and death--in their endeavors to
reach the Holy Land.

[Sidenote: The First Crusade, 1096.]

The conspicuous figures of the long period of the Crusades are not,
however, to be found among the lowly followers of Peter the Hermit, but
are the knights, in their long coats of mail. A year after the summons
issued at Clermont great armies of fighting men had been collected in
the West under noble leaders;--the pope speaks of three hundred thousand
soldiers. Of the various divisions which were to meet in Constantinople,
the following were the most important: the volunteers from Provence
under the papal legate and Count Raymond of Toulouse; inhabitants of
Germany, particularly of Lorraine, under Godfrey of Bouillon and his
brother Baldwin, both destined to be rulers of Jerusalem; and lastly, an
army of French and of the Normans of southern Italy under Bohemond and

[Illustration: Knight of the First Crusade.]

The distinguished knights who have been mentioned were not actually in
command of real armies. Each crusader undertook the expedition on his
own account and was only obedient to any one's orders so long as he
pleased. The knights and men naturally grouped themselves around the
more noted leaders, but considered themselves free to change chiefs when
they pleased. The leaders themselves reserved the right to look out for
their own special interests rather than sacrifice themselves to the good
of the expedition.

[Sidenote: Hostilities between the Greeks and the crusaders.]

Upon the arrival of the crusaders at Constantinople it quickly became
clear that they had little more in common with the Greeks than with the
Turks. Emperor Alexius ordered his soldiers to attack Godfrey's army,
encamped in the suburbs of his capital, because their chief at first
refused to take the oath of feudal homage to him. The emperor's
daughter, in her remarkable history of the times, gives a sad picture of
the outrageous conduct of the crusaders. They, on the other hand,
denounced the "schismatic Greeks" as traitors, cowards, and liars.

The eastern emperor had hoped to use his western allies to reconquer
Asia Minor and force back the Turks. The leading knights, on the
contrary, dreamed of carving out principalities for themselves in the
former dominions of the emperor and proposed to control them by right of
conquest. Later we find both Greeks and western Christians shamelessly
allying themselves with the Mohammedans against each other. The
relations of the eastern and western enemies of the Turks were well
illustrated when the crusaders besieged their first town, Nicæa. When it
was just ready to surrender, the Greeks arranged with the enemy to have
their troops admitted first. They then closed the gates against their
western confederates and invited them to move on.

[Sidenote: Dissension among the leaders of the crusaders.]

The first real allies that the crusaders met with were the Christian
Armenians, who brought them aid after their terrible march through Asia
Minor. With their help Baldwin got possession of Edessa, of which he
made himself prince. The chiefs induced the great body of the crusaders
to postpone the march on Jerusalem, and a year was spent in taking the
rich and important city of Antioch. A bitter strife then broke out,
especially between the Norman Bohemond and the count of Toulouse, as to
who should have the conquered town. After the most unworthy conduct on
both sides, Bohemond won, and Raymond set to work to conquer a
principality for himself on the coast about Tripoli.

[Illustration: Map of the Crusaders' States in Syria]

[Sidenote: Capture of Jerusalem.]

In the spring of 1099 about twenty thousand warriors finally moved upon
Jerusalem. They found the city well walled and in the midst of a
desolate region where neither food nor water, nor the materials to
construct the apparatus necessary for the capture of the town, were to
be found, The opportune arrival at Jaffa of galleys from Genoa furnished
the besiegers with supplies, and, in spite of all the difficulties, the
place was taken in a couple of months. The crusaders, with their
customary barbarity, massacred the inhabitants. Godfrey of Bouillon was
chosen ruler of Jerusalem and took the modest title of "Defender of the
Holy Sepulcher." He soon died and was succeeded by his brother Baldwin,
who left Edessa in 1100 to take up the task of extending the bounds of
the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

[Sidenote: Founding of Latin kingdoms in Syria.]

It will be observed that the "Franks," as the Mohammedans called all the
western folk, had established the centers of four principalities. These
were Edessa, Antioch, the region about Tripoli conquered by Raymond, and
the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The last was speedily increased by Baldwin;
with the help of the mariners from Venice and Genoa, he succeeded in
getting possession of Acre, Sidon, and a number of coast towns.

The news of these Christian victories quickly reached the West, and in
1101 tens of thousands of new crusaders started eastward. Most of them
were lost or dispersed in passing through Asia Minor, and few reached
their destination. The original conquerors were consequently left to
hold the land against the Saracens and to organize their conquests as
best they could.

The permanent hold of the Franks upon the eastern borders of the
Mediterranean depended upon the strength of the colonies which their
various princes were able to establish. It is impossible to learn how
many pilgrims from the West made their permanent homes in the new Latin
principalities. Certainly the greater part of those who visited
Palestine returned home after fulfilling their vow to kneel at the Holy
Sepulcher. Still the princes could rely upon a certain number of
soldiers who would be willing to stay and fight the Mohammedans. The
Turks, moreover, were so busy fighting one another that they showed less
energy than might have been expected in attempting to drive the Franks
from the narrow strip of territory--some five hundred miles long and
fifty wide--which they had conquered.

[Sidenote: The Hospitalers.]

75. A noteworthy outcome of the crusading movement was the foundation of
several curious orders--the Hospitalers, the Templars, and the Teutonic
Knights--which combined the dominant interests of the time, those of the
monk and the soldier. They permitted a man to be both at once; the
knight might wear a monkish cowl over his coat of mail. The Hospitalers
grew out of a monastic association that was formed before the First
Crusade for the succor of the poor and sick among the pilgrims. Later
the society admitted noble knights to its membership and became a
military order, while continuing its care for the sick. This charitable
association, like the earlier monasteries, received generous gifts of
land in western Europe and built and controlled many fortified
monasteries in the Holy Land itself. After the evacuation of Syria in
the thirteenth century, the Hospitalers moved their headquarters to the
island of Rhodes, and later to Malta. The order still exists and it is
considered a distinction to this day to have the privilege of wearing
its emblem, the cross of Malta.

[Illustration: Costume of the Hospitalers, showing the Form of the Cross
of Malta.]

[Sidenote: The Templars.]

Before the Hospitalers were transformed into a military order, a little
group of French knights banded together in 1119 to defend pilgrims on
their way to Jerusalem from the attacks of the infidel. They were
assigned quarters in the king's palace at Jerusalem on the site of the
former Temple of Solomon; hence the name, Templars, which they were
destined to render famous. The "poor soldiers of the Temple" were
enthusiastically approved by the Church. They wore a white cloak adorned
with a red cross, and were under a very strict monastic rule which bound
them by the vows of obedience, poverty, and celibacy. The fame of the
order spread throughout Europe, and the most exalted, even dukes and
princes, were ready to renounce the world and serve Christ under its
black and white banner, with the legend, _Non nobis, Domine_.

The order was aristocratic from the first, and it soon became incredibly
rich and independent. It had its collectors in all parts of Europe, who
dispatched the "alms" they received to the Grand Master at Jerusalem.
Towns, churches, and estates were given to the order, as well as vast
sums of money. The king of Aragon proposed to bestow upon it a third of
his kingdom. The pope showered privileges upon the Templars. They were
exempted from tithes and taxes, and were brought under his immediate
jurisdiction; they were released from feudal obligations, and bishops
were forbidden to excommunicate them.

[Sidenote: Abolition of the order of Templars.]

No wonder they grew insolent and aroused the jealousy and hate of
princes and prelates alike. Even Innocent III violently upbraided them
for admitting to their order wicked men, who then enjoyed all the
privileges of churchmen. Early in the fourteenth century, through the
combined efforts of the pope and Philip the Fair of France, the order
was brought to a terrible end. Its members were accused of the most
abominable practices,--such as heresy, the worship of idols, and the
systematic insulting of Christ and his religion. Many distinguished
Templars were burned for heresy, others perished miserably in dungeons.
The order was abolished and its property confiscated.

[Sidenote: The Teutonic Knights conquer the Prussians.]

As for the third great order, that of the Teutonic Knights, their
greatest importance lies in their conquest, after the Crusades were
over, of the heathen Prussians. Through their efforts a new Christian
state was formed on the shores of the Baltic, in which the important
cities of Königsberg and Dantzig grew up.

[Sidenote: The Second Crusade.]

76. Fifty years after the preaching of the First Crusade, the fall of
Edessa (1144), an important outpost of the Christians in the East, led
to a second great expedition. This was forwarded by no less a person
than St. Bernard, who went about using his unrivaled eloquence to induce
volunteers to take the cross. In a fierce hymn of battle he cried to the
Knights Templars: "The Christian who slays the unbeliever in the Holy
War is sure of his reward, the more sure if he himself be slain. The
Christian glories in the death of the pagan, because Christ is
glorified." The king of France readily consented to take the cross, but
the emperor, Conrad III, appears to have yielded only after St. Bernard
had preached before him and given a vivid picture of the terrors of the
Judgment Day.

In regard to the less distinguished recruits, the historian, Otto of
Freising, tells us that so many thieves and robbers hastened to take the
cross that every one recognized in their enthusiasm the hand of God. St.
Bernard himself, the chief promoter of the expedition, gives a most
unflattering description of the "soldiers of Christ." "In that countless
multitude you will find few except the utterly wicked and impious, the
sacrilegious, homicides, and perjurers, whose departure is a double
gain. Europe rejoices to lose them and Palestine to gain them; they are
useful in both ways, in their absence from here and their presence
there." It is quite unnecessary to describe the movements and fate of
the crusaders; suffice it to say that, from a military standpoint, the
so-called Second Crusade was a miserable failure.

[Sidenote: The Third Crusade.]

Forty years later, in 1187, Jerusalem was taken by Saladin, the most
heroic and distinguished of all the Saracen rulers. The loss of the Holy
City led to the most famous of all the military expeditions to the Holy
Land, in which Frederick Barbarossa, Richard the Lion-Hearted of
England, and his political rival, Philip Augustus of France, all took
part. The accounts of the enterprise show that while the several
Christian leaders hated one another heartily enough, the Christians and
Saracens were coming to respect one another. We find examples of the
most courtly relations between the representatives of the opposing
religions. In 1192 Richard concluded a truce with Saladin, by the terms
of which the Christian pilgrims were allowed to visit the holy places
with safety and comfort.[131]

[Sidenote: The Fourth and subsequent Crusades.]

In the thirteenth century the crusaders began to direct their
expeditions toward Egypt as the center of the Saracen power. The first
of these was diverted in an extraordinary manner by the Venetians, who
induced the crusaders to conquer Constantinople for their benefit. The
further expeditions of Frederick II and St. Louis need not be described.
Jerusalem was irrevocably lost in 1244, and although the possibility of
recovering the city was long considered, the Crusades may be said to
have come to a close before the end of the thirteenth century.

[Illustration: Ruins of a Fortress of the Hospitalers in the Holy Land]

[Sidenote: Settlements of the Italian merchants.]

77. For one class at least, the Holy Land had great and permanent
charms, namely, the Italian merchants, especially those from Genoa,
Venice, and Pisa. It was through their early interest and supplies from
their ships, that the conquest of the Holy Land had been rendered
possible. The merchants were always careful to see that they were well
paid for their services. When they aided in the successful siege of a
town they arranged that a definite quarter should be assigned to them
in the captured place, where they might have their market, docks,
church, and all that was necessary for a permanent center for their
commerce. This district belonged to the town to which the merchants
belonged. Venice even sent governors to live in the quarters assigned to
its citizens in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Marseilles also had
independent quarters in Jerusalem, and Genoa had its share in the county
of Tripoli.

[Sidenote: Oriental luxury introduced into Europe.]

This new commerce had a most important influence in bringing the West
into permanent relations with the Orient. Eastern products from India
and elsewhere--silks, spices, camphor, musk, pearls, and ivory--were
brought by the Mohammedans from the East to the commercial towns of
Palestine and Syria; then, through the Italian merchants, they found
their way into France and Germany, suggesting ideas of luxury hitherto
scarcely dreamed of by the still half-barbarous Franks.

[Illustration: Tomb of a Crusader]

[Sidenote: Results of the Crusades.]

Some of the results of the Crusades upon western Europe must already be
obvious, even from this very brief account. Thousands and thousands of
Frenchmen, Germans, and Englishmen had traveled to the Orient by land
and by sea. Most of them came from hamlets or castles where they could
never have learned much of the great world beyond the confines of their
native village or province. They suddenly found themselves in great
cities and in the midst of unfamiliar peoples and customs. This could
not fail to make them think and give them new ideas to carry home. The
Crusade took the place of a liberal education. The crusaders came into
contact with those who knew more than they did, above all the Arabs, and
brought back with them new notions of comfort and luxury.

Yet in attempting to estimate the debt of the West to the Crusades it
should be remembered that many of the new things may well have come from
Constantinople, or through the Saracens of Sicily and Spain, quite
independently of the armed incursions into Syria.[132] Moreover, during
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries towns were rapidly growing up in
Europe, trade and manufactures were extending, and the universities were
being founded. It would be absurd to suppose that without the Crusades
this progress would not have taken place. So we may conclude that the
distant expeditions and the contact with strange and more highly
civilized peoples did no more than hasten the improvement which was
already perceptible before Urban made his ever-memorable address at

     General Reading.--A somewhat fuller account of the Crusades will be
     found in EMERTON, _Mediæval Europe_, Chapter XI. Their results are
     discussed in ADAMS, _Civilization_, Chapter XI. Professor Munro has
     published a number of very interesting documents in _Translations
     and Reprints_, Vol. I, Nos. 2, 4 (Letters of the Crusaders), and
     Vol. III, No. 1 (The Fourth Crusade). See also his _Mediæval
     History_, Chapter XI, on the Crusades. ARCHER and KINGSFORD, _The
     Crusades_ (G.P. Putnam's Sons, $1.50), is probably the best modern
     work in English.



78. In the preceding pages it has been necessary to refer constantly to
the Church and the clergy. Indeed, without them mediæval history would
become almost a blank, for the Church was incomparably the most
important institution of the time and its officers were the soul of
nearly every great enterprise. In the earlier chapters, the rise of the
Church and of its head, the pope, has been reviewed, as well as the work
of the monks as they spread over Europe. We must now consider the
mediæval Church as a completed institution at the height of its power in
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

[Sidenote: Ways in which the mediæval church differed from modern

We have already had abundant proofs that the mediæval Church was very
different from modern churches, whether Catholic or Protestant.

[Sidenote: Membership in the mediæval church compulsory.]

1. In the first place, every one was required to belong to it, just as
we all must belong to the state to-day. One was not born into the
Church, it is true, but he was ordinarily baptized into it before he had
any opinion in the matter. All western Europe formed a single religious
association, from which it was a crime to revolt. To refuse allegiance
to the Church, or to question its authority or teachings, was reputed
treason against God and was punishable with death.

[Sidenote: The wealth of the Church.]

[Sidenote: The tithe.]

2. The mediæval Church did not rely for its support, as churches usually
must to-day, upon the voluntary contributions of its members. It
enjoyed, in addition to the revenue from its vast tracts of lands and a
great variety of fees, the income from a regular tax, the _tithe_.
Those upon whom this fell were forced to pay it, just as we all must now
pay taxes imposed by the government.

[Sidenote: Resemblance of the Church to a state.]

3. It is obvious, moreover, that the mediæval Church was not merely a
religious body, as churches are to-day. Of course it maintained places
of worship, conducted devotional exercises, and cultivated the spiritual
life; but it did far more. It was, in a way, a state, for it had an
elaborate system of law, and its own courts, in which it tried many
cases which are now settled in our ordinary tribunals.[134] It had also
its prisons, to which it might sentence offenders to lifelong detention.

[Sidenote: Unity of organization in the Church.]

4. The Church not only performed the functions of a state; it had the
organization of a state. Unlike the Protestant ministers of to-day, all
churchmen and religious associations of mediæval Europe were under one
supreme head, who made laws for all and controlled every church officer,
wherever he might be, whether in Italy or Germany, Spain or Ireland. The
whole Church had one official language, Latin, in which all
communications were dispatched and in which its services were everywhere

[Sidenote: The mediæval Church a monarchy in its form of government.]

79. The mediæval Church may, therefore, properly be called a monarchy in
its government. The pope was its all-powerful and absolute head and
concentrated in his person its entire spiritual and disciplinary
authority. He was the supreme lawgiver. No council of the Church, no
matter how large and important, could make laws against his will, for
its decrees, to be valid, required his sanction.

[Sidenote: Dispensations.]

The pope might, moreover, set aside or abrogate any law of the Church,
no matter how ancient, so long as it was not ordained by the Scriptures
or by Nature. He might, for good reasons, make exceptions to all merely
human laws; as, for instance, permit cousins to marry, or free a monk
from his vows. Such exceptions were known as _dispensations_.

[Sidenote: The pope the supreme judge of Christendom.]

The pope was not merely the supreme lawgiver; he was the supreme judge.
As a distinguished legal writer has said, the whole of western Europe
was subject to the jurisdiction of one tribunal of last resort, the
pope's court at Rome. Any one, whether clergyman or layman, in any part
of Europe, could appeal to him at any stage in the trial of a large
class of cases. Obviously this system had serious drawbacks. Grave
injustice might be done by carrying to Rome a case which ought to have
been settled in Edinburgh or Cologne, where the facts were best known.
The rich, moreover, always had the advantage, as they alone could afford
to bring suits before so distant a court.

[Sidenote: The control of the pope over the clergy at large.]

The control of the pope over the clergy scattered throughout Christendom
was secured in several ways. A newly elected archbishop might not
venture to perform any of the duties of his office until he had taken an
oath of fidelity and obedience to the pope and received from him the
_pallium_, the archbishop's badge of office. This was a narrow woolen
scarf made by the nuns of the convent of St. Agnes at Rome. Bishops and
abbots were also required to have their election duly confirmed by the
pope. He claimed, too, the right to settle the very frequent disputed
elections of church officials. He might even set aside both of the rival
candidates and fill the office himself, as did Innocent III when he
forced the monks of Canterbury, after a double election, to choose
Stephen Langton.

Since the time of Gregory VII the pope had claimed the right to depose
and transfer bishops at will. The control of Rome over all parts of the
Christian Church was further increased by the legates. These papal
emissaries were intrusted with great powers. Their haughty mien often
enough offended the prelates and rulers to whom they brought home the
authority of the pope,--as, for instance, when the legate Pandulf
grandly absolved all the subjects of King John of England, before his
very face, from their oath of fealty to him.

[Sidenote: The Roman Curia.]

The task assumed by the pope of governing the whole western world
naturally made it necessary to create a large body of officials at Rome
in order to transact all the multiform business and prepare and transmit
the innumerable legal documents.[135] The cardinals and the pope's
officials constituted what was called the papal Curia, or court.

[Sidenote: Sources of the pope's income.]

To carry on his government and meet the expenses of palace and retinue,
the pope had need of a vast income. This he secured from various
sources. Heavy fees were exacted from those who brought suits to his
court for decision. The archbishops were expected to make generous
contributions on receiving their palliums, and the bishops and abbots
upon their confirmation. In the thirteenth century the pope began to
fill many benefices throughout Europe himself, and customarily received
half the first year's revenues from those whom he appointed. For several
centuries before the Protestants finally threw off their allegiance to
the popes, there was widespread complaint on the part of both clergy and
laymen that the fees and taxes levied by the Curia were excessive.

[Illustration: Ecclesiastical Map of France in the Middle Ages]

[Sidenote: The archbishops.]

80. Next in order below the head of the Church were the archbishops. An
archbishop was a bishop whose power extended beyond the boundaries of
his own diocese and who exercised a certain control over all the bishops
within his _province_.[136] One of the chief prerogatives of the
archbishop was the right to summon the bishops of his province to meet
in a provincial council. His court received appeals from the bishops'
courts. Except, however, for the distinction of his title and the fact
that he generally lived in an important city and often had vast
political influence, the archbishop was not very much more powerful, as
an officer of the Church, than the other bishops.

[Illustration: The Costume of a Bishop, showing Miter and Crosier. From
a manuscript of the twelfth century.]

[Sidenote: The importance of the bishops.]

There is perhaps no class of persons in mediæval times whose position it
is so necessary to understand as that of the bishops. They were regarded
as the successors of the apostles, whose powers were held to be divinely
transmitted to them. They represented the Church Universal in their
respective dioceses, under the supreme headship of their "elder
brother," the Bishop of Rome, the successor of the chief of the
apostles. Their insignia of office, the miter and crosier, are familiar
to every one. Each bishop had his especial church, which was called a
cathedral, and usually surpassed the other churches of the diocese in
size and beauty.

[Sidenote: Duties of a Bishop.]

Only a bishop could ordain new members of the clergy or degrade the old.
He alone could consecrate churches or anoint kings. He alone could
perform the sacrament of confirmation, though as priest he might
administer any of the other sacraments.[137] Aside from his purely
religious duties, he was the overseer of all the churchmen in his
diocese, including the monks.[138] He held a court where a great variety
of suits were tried. If he were a conscientious prelate, he traveled
about his diocese visiting the parish churches and the monasteries to
see if the priests did their duty and the monks behaved themselves

[Sidenote: The bishop's temporal duties.]

In addition to the oversight of his diocese, it was the bishop's
business to see to the lands and other possessions which belonged to the
bishopric. He had, moreover, to perform those governmental duties which
the king, especially in Germany, had thrown upon him, and he was
conspicuous among the monarch's counselors. Lastly, the bishop was
usually a feudal lord, with the obligations that that implied. He might
have vassals and subvassals, and often was himself a vassal, not only of
the king but also of some neighboring lord. As one reads through the
archives of a bishopric, it is hard to tell whether the bishop should be
called, first and foremost, a churchman or a feudal lord. In short, the
duties of the bishop were as manifold as those of the mediæval Church

[Sidenote: Election of the bishops.]

The reforms of Gregory VII had resulted in placing the choice of the
bishop in the hands of the cathedral _chapter_,[139] that is, the body
of clergy connected with the cathedral church. But this did not prevent
the king from suggesting the candidate, since the chapter did not
venture to proceed to an election without procuring a license from the
king. Otherwise he might have refused to invest the person they chose
with the lands and political prerogatives attached to the office.

[Illustration: Canterbury Cathedral]

[Sidenote: The parish priest and his duties.]

The lowest division of the Church was the parish. This had definite
limits, although the parishioners might vary in number from a few
families to a considerable village or an important district of a town.
At the head of the parish was the parish priest, who conducted services
in the parish church and absolved, baptized, married, and buried his
parishioners. The priests were supposed to be supported by the lands
belonging to the parish church and by the tithes. But both of these
sources of income were often in the hands of laymen or of a neighboring
monastery, while the priest received the merest pittance, scarcely
sufficient to keep soul and body together.

The parish church was the center of village life and the priest was the
natural guardian of the community. It was his business, for example, to
see that no undesirable persons lurked in the village,--heretics,
sorcerers, or lepers. It will be observed that the priest, besides
attending to the morals of his flock, was expected to see to their
bodily welfare by preventing the presence of those afflicted with the
only infectious disease against which precautions were taken in the
Middle Ages.[140]

[Sidenote: Other sources of the Church's power.]

81. The unexampled authority of the mediæval Church is, however, only
partially explained by its wonderful organization. To understand the
hold which it had upon mankind, we must consider the exalted position of
the clergy and the teachings of the Church in regard to salvation, of
which it claimed to be the exclusive agent.

[Sidenote: The exalted position of the clergy.]

The clergy were set apart from the laity in several ways. The higher
orders--bishop, priest, deacon, and sub-deacon--were required to remain
unmarried, and in this way were freed from the cares and interests of
family life. The Church held, moreover, that the higher clergy, when
they had been properly ordained, received through their ordination a
mysterious imprint, the "indelible character," so that they could never
become simple laymen again, even if they ceased to perform their duties
altogether or were cast out of the Church for crime. Above all, the
clergy alone could administer the _sacraments_ upon which the salvation
of every individual soul depended.

[Sidenote: Peter Lombard's _Sentences_.]

Although the Church believed that all the sacraments were established by
Christ, it was not until the middle of the twelfth century that they
were clearly described. Peter Lombard (d. 1164), a teacher of theology
at Paris, prepared a manual of the doctrines of the Church as he found
them in the Scriptures and in the writings of the church fathers,
especially Augustine. These _Sentences_ (Latin, _sententiæ_, opinions)
of Peter Lombard were very influential, for they appeared at a time when
there was a new interest in theology, particularly at Paris, where a
great university was growing up.[141]

[Sidenote: The seven sacraments.]

It was Peter Lombard who first distinctly formulated the doctrine of the
seven sacraments. His teachings did not claim, of course, to be more
than an orderly statement and reconciliation of the various opinions
which he found in the Scriptures and the church fathers; but his
interpretations and definitions constituted a new basis for mediæval
theology. Before his time the word _sacramentum_ (that is, something
sacred, a mystery) was applied to a variety of sacred things, for
example, baptism, the cross, Lent, holy water, etc. But Peter Lombard
states that there are seven sacraments, to wit: baptism, confirmation,
extreme unction, marriage, penance, ordination, and the Lord's Supper.
Through these sacraments all righteousness either has its beginning, or
when begun is increased, or if lost is regained. They are essential to
salvation, and no one can be saved except through them.[142]

[Sidenote: Baptism.]

[Sidenote: Confirmation.]

[Sidenote: Extreme unction.]

[Sidenote: Marriage.]

[Sidenote: Penance.]

[Sidenote: Ordination.]

[Sidenote: The Lord's Supper, or Holy Eucharist.]

By means of the sacraments the Church accompanied the faithful through
life. By baptism all the sin due to Adam's fall was washed away; through
that door alone could a soul enter the spiritual life. With the holy oil
and the balsam, typifying the fragrance of righteousness, which were
rubbed upon the forehead of the boy or girl at confirmation by the
bishop, the young were strengthened so that they might boldly confess
the name of the Lord. If the believer fell perilously ill, the priest
anointed him with oil in the name of the Lord and by this sacrament of
extreme unction expelled all vestiges of former sin and refreshed the
spirit of the dying. Through the priest alone might marriage be
sanctified; and when the bonds were once legally contracted they might
never be sundered. If evil desire, which baptism lessened but did not
remove, led the Christian into deadly sin, as it constantly did, the
Church, through the sacrament of penance, reconciled him once more with
God and saved him from the jaws of hell. For the priest, through the
sacrament of ordination, received the most exalted prerogative of
forgiving sins. He enjoyed, too, the awful power and privilege of
performing the miracle of the Mass,--of offering up Christ anew for the
remission of the sinner's guilt.

[Sidenote: The sacrament of penance.]

82. The sacrament of penance is, with the Mass, of especial historical
importance. When a bishop ordained a priest, he said to him: "Receive ye
the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven them:
whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." In this way the priest
was intrusted with the keys of the kingdom of heaven. There was no hope
of salvation for one who had fallen into mortal sin unless he
received--or at least desired and sought--the absolution of the priest.
To one who scorned the priest's ministrations the most sincere and
prayerful repentance could not by itself bring forgiveness in the eyes
of the Church. Before the priest could utter the solemn "I absolve thee
from thy sins," the sinner must have duly confessed his sins and have
expressed his vehement detestation of them and his firm resolve never
more to offend. It is clear that the priest could not pronounce judgment
unless he had been told the nature of the case. Nor would he be
justified in absolving an offender who was not truly sorry for what he
had done. Confession and penitence were, therefore, necessary
preliminaries to absolution.[143]

[Sidenote: Penance and purgatory.]

Absolution did not free the contrite sinner from all the results of his
sin. It cleared the soul of the deadly guilt which would otherwise have
been punished by everlasting suffering, but did not exempt the penitent
from temporal penalties. These might be imposed by the priest in this
world or suffered after death in the fires of purgatory, which cleansed
the soul and prepared it for heaven.

[Sidenote: Nature of penance.]

The punishment prescribed by the priest was called _penance_. This took
a great variety of forms. It might consist in fasting, repeating
prayers, visiting holy places, or abstaining from one's ordinary
amusements. A journey to the Holy Land was regarded as taking the place
of all penance. Instead, however, of requiring the penitent actually to
perform the fasts, pilgrimages, or other sacrifices imposed as penance
by the priest, the Church early permitted him to change his penance into
a contribution, to be applied to some pious enterprise, like building a
church or bridge, or caring for the poor and sick.

[Sidenote: The Mass.]

[Sidenote: Transubstantiation.]

The priest not only forgave sin; he was also empowered to perform the
stupendous miracle of the Mass. The early Christians had celebrated the
Lord's Supper or Holy Eucharist in various ways and entertained various
conceptions of its nature and significance. Gradually the idea came to
be universally accepted that by the consecration of the bread and the
wine the whole substance of the bread was converted into the substance
of the body of Christ, and the whole substance of the wine into his
blood. This change was termed _transubstantiation_. The Church believed,
further, that in this sacrament Christ was offered up anew, as he had
been on the cross, as a sacrifice to God. This sacrifice might be
performed for the sins of the absent as well as of the present, and for
the dead as well as for the living. Moreover, Christ was to be worshiped
under the form of the bread, or _host_ (Latin, _hostia_, sacrifice),
with the highest form of adoration. The host was to be borne about in
solemn procession when God was to be especially propitiated, as in the
case of a famine or plague.

[Sidenote: Consequences of conceiving the Mass as a sacrifice.]

This conception of the Mass as a sacrifice had some important practical
consequences. It became the most exalted of the functions of the priest
and the very center of the Church's services. Besides the public masses
for the people, private ones were constantly celebrated for the benefit
of individuals, especially of the dead. Foundations were created, the
income of which went to support priests for the single purpose of saying
daily masses for the repose of the soul of the donor or those of the
members of his family. It was also a common practice to bestow gifts
upon churches and monasteries on condition that annual or more frequent
masses should be said for the giver.

[Sidenote: The dominant position of the clergy and the sources of their

[Sidenote: Excommunication and interdict.]

83. The sublime prerogatives of the Church, together with its unrivaled
organization and vast wealth, combined to make its officers, the clergy,
the most powerful social class of the Middle Ages. They held the keys of
heaven and without their aid no one could hope to enter in. By
excommunication they could not only cast an offender out of the Church,
but also forbid his fellow-men to associate with him, since he was
accursed and consigned to Satan. By means of the _interdict_ they could
suspend the consolations of religion in a whole city or country by
closing the church doors and prohibiting all public services.[144]

[Sidenote: Their monopoly of the advantages of education.]

The influence of the clergy was greatly enhanced by the fact that they
alone were educated. For six or seven centuries after the overthrow of
the Roman government in the West, very few outside of the clergy ever
dreamed of studying or even of learning to read and write. Even in the
thirteenth century an offender who wished to prove that he belonged to
the clergy, in order that he might be tried by a church court, had only
to show that he could read a single line; for it was assumed by the
judges that no one unconnected with the Church could read at all.[145]

It was therefore inevitable that almost all the books should be written
by priests and monks and that the clergy should become the ruling power
in all intellectual, artistic, and literary matters,--the chief
guardians and promoters of civilization. Moreover, the civil government
was forced to rely upon churchmen to write out the public documents and
proclamations. The priests and monks held the pen for the king.
Representatives of the clergy sat in the king's councils and acted as
his ministers; in fact, the conduct of the government largely devolved
upon them.[146]

[Sidenote: Offices in the Church open to all classes.]

The offices in the Church were open to all ranks of men, and many of the
popes themselves sprang from the humblest classes. The Church thus
constantly recruited its ranks with fresh blood. No one held an office
simply because his father had held it before him, as was the case in the
civil government.

[Sidenote: Lea's description of the mediæval Church.]

The man who entered the service of the Church "was released from the
distraction of family cares and the seduction of family ties. The Church
was his country and his home and its interests were his own. The moral,
intellectual, and physical forces, which throughout the laity were
divided between the claims of patriotism, the selfish struggle for
advancement, the provision for wife and children, were in the Church
consecrated to a common end, in the success of which all might hope to
share, while all were assured of the necessities of existence, and were
relieved of anxiety as to the future." The Church was thus "an army
encamped on the soil of Christendom, with its outposts everywhere,
subject to the most efficient discipline, animated with a common
purpose, every soldier panoplied with inviolability and armed with the
tremendous weapons which slew the soul" (Lea).

     General Reading.--CUTTS, _Parish Priests and their People_ (E. &
     J.B. Young, $3.00). PRÉVOST, _L'Église et les Campagnes au Moyen
     Âge_ (Paris, $1.50).



[Sidenote: The question of the character of the mediæval clergy.]

84. It is natural to ask whether the commanders of the great army which
made up the Church proved valiant leaders in the eternal warfare against
evil. Did they, on the whole, resist the temptations which their almost
limitless power and wealth constantly placed in their way? Did they use
their vast resources to advance the cause of the Great Leader whose
humble followers and servants they claimed to be? Or were they, on the
contrary, selfish and corrupt, turning the teachings of the Church to
their own advantage, and discrediting its doctrines in the eyes of the
people by flagrant maladministration and personal wickedness?

[Sidenote: The debt of western Europe to the church.]

No simple answer to this question is possible. One who realizes how
completely the Church dominated every human interest and influenced
every department of life in the Middle Ages must hesitate to attempt to
balance the good and evil to be placed to its account. That the Church
conferred incalculable benefits upon western Europe, few will question.
To say nothing of its chief mission,--the moral uplifting of mankind
through the Christian religion,--we have seen how, under its auspices,
the barbarians were civilized and brought into the family of nations,
how violence was checked by the "Truce of God," and how an educated
class was maintained during the centuries when few laymen could either
read or write. These are only the more obvious of its achievements; the
solace and protection which it afforded to the weak, the wretched, and
the heart-sore, no one can assume to estimate.

[Sidenote: The corruption of the clergy.]

On the other hand, no one can read the sources of our knowledge of the
history of the Church without perceiving that there were always bad
clergymen who abused their high prerogatives. Many bishops and priests
were no more worthy to be intrusted with their extensive powers than the
unscrupulous office-seekers to whom high stations in our modern
governments sometimes fall.

[Sidenote: Tendency to exaggerate the evil in the Church.]

Yet as we read the fiery denunciations of the clergy's evil practices,
which may be found in the records of nearly every age, we must not
forget that the critic is always prone to take the good for granted and
to dwell upon the evil. This is particularly true in dealing with a
great religious institution, where corruption is especially shocking.
One wicked bishop, or one form of oppression or immorality among the
clergy, made a far deeper impression than the humble virtues of a
hundred dutiful and God-fearing priests. If, however, we make all due
allowance for the good which escaped the writers of the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries, it must be admitted by all who read their
testimony that they give us a gloomy picture of the life of many
prelates, priests, and monks, and of the startling variety of abuses
which developed in the Church.

[Sidenote: Temptations to corruption among the clergy.]

Gregory VII imagined that the reason for the existence of bad clergymen
was that the kings and feudal lords forced their favorites into the
offices of the Church. The root of the difficulty lay, however, in the
wealth and power of the Church itself. It would have needed saints
always to exercise righteously the tremendous powers which the clergy
had acquired, and to resist the temptations to which they were
subjected. When we consider the position of a rich prelate, it is not
surprising that corruption abounded. The offices of the Church offered
the same possibilities of money-making that civil offices, especially
those in the great American cities, offer to the mere schemer to-day.
The descriptions of some of the churchmen of the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries remind us far more of the professional politician than of a
modern clergyman, whether Catholic or Protestant.

[Sidenote: The chief forms of corruption in the Church.]

85. At least a brief description of the more notorious forms of
corruption among the clergy will be necessary to an understanding of the
various heresies or revolts against the Church. These began seriously to
threaten its power in the twelfth century and culminated in the
successful Protestant revolt of the sixteenth. The vices of the clergy
serve to account also for the appearance of the begging monks, the
Franciscans and Dominicans, and to explain the need of the great reform
which they undertook in the thirteenth century.

[Sidenote: Simony.]

[Sidenote: The worldly and immoral lives of many bishops and abbots.]

In the first place, there was simony, a disease so deep-seated and
persistent that Innocent III declared it incurable. This has already
been described in an earlier chapter. Even boys were made bishops and
abbots through the influence of their friends and relatives. Wealthy
bishoprics and monasteries were considered by feudal lords an admirable
means of support for their younger sons, since the eldest born usually
inherited the fief. The life led by bishops and abbots was often merely
that of a feudal prince. If a prelate had a taste for fighting, he
organized military expeditions for conquest or to satisfy a grudge
against a neighbor, exactly as if he belonged to the bellicose laity of
the period.

[Sidenote: Corruption in the ecclesiastical courts.]

Besides simony and the scandalous lives of many of the clergy, there
were other evils which brought the Church into disrepute. While the
popes themselves, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, were usually
excellent men and sometimes distinguished statesmen, who honestly
endeavored to exalt the vast institution over which they presided, their
officials, who tried the innumerable cases which were brought to the
papal court, had a reputation for grave corruption.[147] It was
generally believed that the decision was always in favor of him who
could pay most and that the poor received scant attention. The bishops'
courts were notorious for their oppression, since a considerable portion
of the bishop's income, like that of the feudal lord, came from the
fines imposed upon those condemned by his officials. The same person was
sometimes summoned to different courts at the same time and then fined
for neglecting to appear at one or the other.

[Sidenote: The parish priests often no better than their superiors.]

As for the parish priests, they appear often to have followed the
demoralizing example set by their superiors. The acts of church councils
indicate that the priest sometimes turned his parsonage into a shop and
sold wine or other commodities. He further increased his income, as we
have seen, by demanding fees for merely doing his duty in baptizing,
confessing, absolving, marrying, and burying his parishioners.

The monks of the twelfth century, with some remarkable exceptions, did
little to supply the deficiencies of the secular clergy.[148] Instead of
instructing the people and setting before them an example of a pure and
holy life, they enjoyed no better reputation than the bishops and
priests. Efforts were made, however, by newly founded orders in the
eleventh and twelfth centuries--like that of the Cistercians to which
St. Bernard belonged--to reform the monks.

[Sidenote: Corruption and abuses recognized and condemned by the better
element in the clergy itself.]

The universal impression of selfishness and depravity which the corrupt
churchmen made upon all observers is reflected in innumerable writings
of the time,--in the letters of the popes, in the exhortations of holy
men like St. Bernard, in the acts of the councils, in the satirical
poems of the popular troubadours and the sprightly versifiers of the
courts.[149] All agree in denouncing the iniquity of the clergy, their
greed, and their reckless disregard of their sacred duties. St. Bernard
sadly asks, "Whom can you show me among the prelates who does not seek
rather to empty the pockets of his flock than to subdue their vices?"

[Sidenote: The lay critics of the Church.]

86. The evils which the churchmen themselves so frankly admitted could
not escape the notice and comment of laymen. But while the better
element among the clergy vigorously urged a reform of the existing
abuses, no churchman dreamed of denying the truth of the Church's
doctrines or the efficacy of its ceremonies. Among the laity, however,
certain popular leaders arose who declared that the Church was the
synagogue of Satan; that no one ought any longer to rely upon it for his
salvation; that all its elaborate ceremonies were worse than useless;
that its masses, holy water, and relics were mere money-getting devices
of a depraved priesthood and helped no one to heaven. These bold rebels
against the Church naturally found a hearing among those who felt that
the ministrations of a wicked priest could not possibly help a sinner,
as well as among those who were exasperated by the tithes and other
ecclesiastical dues.

[Sidenote: Heresy.]

Those who questioned the teachings of the Church and proposed to cast
off its authority were, according to the accepted view of the time,
guilty of the supreme crime of heresy. To the orthodox believer nothing
could exceed the guilt of one who committed treason against God by
rejecting the religion which had been handed down in the Roman Church
from the immediate followers of his Son. Moreover, doubt and unbelief
were not merely sin, they were revolt against the most powerful social
institution of the time, which, in spite of the depravity of some of its
officials, continued to be venerated by people at large throughout
western Europe. The extent and character of the heresies of the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries and the efforts of the Church to suppress them
by persuasion, by fire and sword, and by the stern court of the
Inquisition, form a strange and terrible chapter in mediæval history.

[Sidenote: Two classes of heretics.]

The heretics were of two sorts. One class merely abjured the practices
and some of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church while they
remained Christians and endeavored to imitate as nearly as possible the
simple life of Christ and the apostles. On the other hand, there were
popular leaders who taught that the Christian religion was false. They
held that there were two principles in the universe, the good and the
evil, which were forever fighting for the victory. They asserted that
the Jehovah of the Old Testament was really the evil power, and that it
was, therefore, the evil power whom the Catholic Church worshiped.

[Sidenote: The Albigenses.]

This latter heresy was a very old one, by which even St. Augustine had
been fascinated in his early years. It was revived in Italy in the
eleventh century and became very popular, especially in southern France,
in the twelfth. Its adherents called themselves _Cathari_ (the pure),
but we shall call them _Albigenses_, a name derived from the town of
Albi in southern France, where they were very numerous.[150]

[Sidenote: The Waldensians.]

Among those who continued to accept the Christian faith but refused to
obey the clergy on account of their wickedness, the most important sect
was that of the Waldensians. These were followers of Peter Waldo of
Lyons, who gave up all their property and lived a life of apostolic
poverty. They went about preaching the Gospel and expounding the
Scriptures, which they translated into the language of the people. They
made many converts, and before the end of the twelfth century there were
great numbers of them scattered throughout western Europe.

The Church did not wish to condemn the efforts of good and simple men to
imitate as exactly as possible the life of Christ and the apostles.
Nevertheless these laymen, who claimed the right to preach and hear
confession, and who asserted that prayer was quite as efficacious when
uttered in bed or in a stable as in a church, seemed clearly to call in
question the general belief in the Church as the exclusive agent of
salvation, and seriously to threaten its influence among the people.

[Sidenote: Beginning of the fight against heresy.]

Before the end of the twelfth century the secular rulers began to take
notice of heresy. Henry II of England, in 1166, ordered that no one
should harbor heretics in England, and that any house in which they were
received should be burned. The king of Aragon decreed (1194) that any
one who listened to the preaching of the Waldensians, or even gave them
food, should suffer the penalties for treason and should have his
property confiscated by the state. These are the beginnings of a series
of pitiless decrees which even the most enlightened kings of the
thirteenth century issued against all who should be convicted of
belonging either to the Albigenses or the Waldensians. The Church and
the civil government agreed that heretics were dangerous to the welfare
of both, and that they were criminals deserving the terrible death of
burning alive.[151]

[Sidenote: Heresy regarded as treason.]

It is very difficult for us who live in a tolerant age to understand the
universal and deep-rooted horror of heresy which prevailed not only in
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but also down at least to the
eighteenth. Too much stress cannot be laid upon the fact that heresy was
considered treason against an institution which practically all, both
the learned and the unlearned, agreed was not only essential to
salvation but was necessary also to order and civilization. Frank
criticism of the evil lives of the clergy, not excluding the pope
himself, was common enough. But this did not constitute heresy. One
might believe that the pope and half the bishops were bad men, and yet
in no way question the necessity for the Church's existence or the truth
of every one of its dogmas; just as nowadays we might call particular
rulers and government officials fools or knaves, without being
suspected of repudiating government altogether. The heretic was the
anarchist of the Middle Ages. He did not simply denounce the immorality
of the officers of the Church; he claimed that the Church was worse than
useless. He sought to lead people to throw off their allegiance to it
and to disregard its laws and commands. The Church and the civil
government consequently proceeded against him as against an enemy of
society and order. Heresy was, moreover, a contagious disease, and
spread rapidly and unobserved, so that to the rulers of the times even
the harshest measures appeared justifiable in order to prevent its

[Sidenote: Different methods of opposing heresy.]

[Sidenote: Internal reform.]

87. There were several ways of opposing heresy. First, a reform of the
character of the clergy and a suppression of the abuses in the Church
would have removed a great cause of that discontent to which the writers
of the time attributed the rapid growth of heresy. The attempt of
Innocent III to improve the conditions in the Church by summoning a
great council at Rome in 1215 failed, however, and, according to his
successor, matters grew worse rather than better.

[Sidenote: Extermination by the sword.]

A second plan was to organize an expedition against the rebels and
annihilate them by the sword. This policy was only possible if a large
number of heretics could be found in a single district. In southern
France there were many adherents of both the Albigenses and the
Waldensians, especially in the county of Toulouse. At the beginning of
the thirteenth century there was in this region an open contempt for the
Church and a bold defense of heretical teachings even among the higher

[Sidenote: Albigensian crusade.]

Against the people of this flourishing land Innocent III preached a
crusade in 1208. An army under Simon de Montfort[152] marched from
northern France into the doomed region and, after one of the most
atrocious and bloody wars upon record, suppressed the heresy by
wholesale slaughter. At the same time the war checked the civilization
and destroyed the prosperity of the most enlightened portion of France.

[Sidenote: The Inquisition.]

The third and most permanent defense against heresy was the
establishment, under the headship of the pope, of a system of tribunals
designed to ferret out secret cases of unbelief and bring the offenders
to punishment. These courts of experts, who devoted their whole
attention to the discovery and conviction of heresy, constituted the
Holy Inquisition, which gradually took form after the Albigensian
crusade. We cannot stop to describe these courts, which became
especially notorious in Spain some two centuries after their
establishment. The unfairness of the trials and the cruel treatment to
which those suspected of heresy were subjected, through long
imprisonment or torture--inflicted with the hope of forcing them to
confess their crime or implicate others--have rendered the name of the
Inquisition infamous.

Without by any means attempting to defend the methods employed, it may
be remarked that the inquisitors were often earnest and upright men
whose feelings were not unlike those of a New England judge presiding at
a witch trial in the seventeenth century. The methods of procedure of
the Inquisition were not more cruel than those used in the secular
courts of the period.

The assertion of the suspected person that he was not a heretic did not
receive any attention, for it was assumed that he would naturally deny
his guilt, as would any other criminal. A person's belief had,
therefore, to be judged by outward acts. Consequently one might fall
into the hands of the Inquisition by mere inadvertent conversation with
a heretic, by some unintentional neglect to show due respect toward the
Church rites, or by the malicious testimony of one's neighbors. This is
really the most dreadful aspect of the Inquisition and its procedure.
It put a premium on talebearing and resorted to most cruel means to
convict those who earnestly denied that their beliefs were different
from those of the Church.

[Sidenote: Fate of the convicted heretic.]

If the suspected person confessed his guilt and abjured his heresy, he
was forgiven and received back into the Church; but a penance of life
imprisonment was imposed upon him as a fitting means of wiping away the
unspeakable sin of which he had been guilty. If he remained impenitent,
he was "relaxed to the secular arm"[153]; that is to say, the Church,
whose law forbade it to shed blood, handed over the convicted person to
the civil power, which burned him alive without further trial.

[Sidenote: Founding of the mendicant orders.]

88. We may now turn to that far more cheerful and effective method of
meeting the opponents of the Church, which may be said to have been
discovered by St. Francis of Assisi. His teachings and the example of
his beautiful life probably did far more to secure continued allegiance
to the Church than all the hideous devices of the Inquisition.

We have seen how the Waldensians tried to better the world by living
simple lives and preaching the Gospel. Owing to the disfavor of the
church authorities, who declared their teachings erroneous and
dangerous, they were prevented from publicly carrying on their
missionary work. Yet all conscientious men agreed with the Waldensians
that the world was in a sad plight owing to the negligence and the
misdeeds of the clergy. St. Francis and St. Dominic strove to meet the
needs of their time by inventing a new kind of clergyman, the begging
brother, or mendicant friar (Latin, _frater_, brother). He was to do
just what the bishops and parish priests ordinarily failed to
do,--namely, lead a holy life of self-sacrifice, defend the orthodox
beliefs against the reproaches and attacks of the heretics, and awaken
the people at large to a new spiritual life. The founding of the
mendicant orders is one of the most important and interesting events of
the Middle Ages.

[Sidenote: St. Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226.]

There is no more lovely and fascinating figure in all history than St.
Francis. He was born (probably in 1182) at Assisi, a little town in
central Italy. He was the son of a well-to-do merchant, and during his
early youth he lived a very gay life, spending his father's money
freely. He read the French romances of the time and dreamed of imitating
the brave knights whose adventures they described. Although his
companions were wild and reckless, there was a delicacy and chivalry in
Francis' own make-up which made him hate all things coarse and
heartless. When later he voluntarily became a beggar, his ragged coat
still covered a true poet and knight.

[Sidenote: Francis forsakes his life of luxury and his inheritance and
becomes a hermit.]

The contrast between his own life of luxury and the sad state of the
poor early afflicted him. When he was about twenty, after a long and
serious illness which made a break in his gay life and gave him time to
think, he suddenly lost his love for the old pleasures and began to
consort with the destitute, above all with the lepers. Now Francis,
being delicately organized and nurtured, especially loathed these
miserable creatures, but he forced himself to kiss their hands, as if
they were his friends, and to wash their sores. So he gained a great
victory over himself, and that which seemed bitter to him became, as he
says, "sweet and easy."

His father does not appear to have had any fondness whatever for
beggars, and the relations between him and his son grew more and more
strained. When finally he threatened to disinherit the young man,
Francis cheerfully agreed to surrender all right to his inheritance.
Stripping off his clothes and giving them back to his father, he
accepted the worn-out garment of a gardener and became a homeless
hermit, busying himself in repairing the dilapidated chapels near

[Sidenote: He believes he receives a direct message from Heaven.]

One day in February, 1209, as he was listening to Mass, the priest,
turning toward him by chance, read: "And as ye go, preach, saying, The
kingdom of heaven is at hand.... Get you no gold, nor silver, nor brass
in your purses, no wallet for your journey, neither two coats, nor
shoes, nor staff; for the laborer is worthy of his food" (Matt. x.
7-10). This seemed to the expectant Francis the answer of Christ himself
to his longings for guidance. Here was a complete programme laid out for
him. He threw aside his stick, wallet, and shoes and resolved thereafter
to lead, literally and absolutely, the life the apostles had led.

[Sidenote: Francis begins to preach and to attract followers.]

He began to preach in a simple way, and before long a rich
fellow-townsman resolved to sell all and give to the poor, and follow
Francis' example. Others soon joined them, and these joyous penitents,
free of worldly burdens, calling themselves "God's troubadours," went
barefoot and moneyless about central Italy preaching the Gospel. Some of
those they met "listened willingly, others scoffed, the greater number
overwhelmed them with questions, 'Whence come you? Of what order are
you?' and they, though sometimes it was wearisome to answer, said
simply, 'We are penitents, natives of the city of Assisi.'"

[Sidenote: Seeks and obtains the approval of the pope.]

When, with a dozen followers, Francis appealed to the pope in 1210 to
approve his plan, Innocent III hesitated. He did not believe that any
one could lead a life of absolute poverty. Then might not these ragged,
ill-kempt vagabonds appear to condemn the Church by adopting a life so
different from that of the rich and comfortable clergy? Yet if he
disapproved the friars, he would seem to disapprove at the same time
Christ's directions to his apostles. He finally decided to give his oral
sanction and to authorize the brethren to continue their missions. They
were to receive the tonsure, and to come under the spiritual authority
of the Roman Church.

[Sidenote: Missionary work undertaken.]

89. Seven years later, when Francis' followers had greatly increased,
missionary work was begun on a large scale, and brethren were dispatched
to Germany, Hungary, France, Spain, and even to Syria. It was not long
before an English chronicler was telling with wonder of the arrival in
his country of these barefoot men, in their patched gowns and with ropes
about their waists, who, with Christian faith, took no thought for the
morrow, believing that their Heavenly Father knew what things they had
need of.

[Sidenote: Francis did not desire to found a powerful order.]

The ill treatment which the friars received in their distant journeys
led them to appeal to the pope for a letter which should request the
faithful everywhere to treat them kindly, since they were good
Catholics. This was the beginning of numberless privileges from the
pope. It grieved Francis, however, to see his little band of companions
converted into a great and powerful order. He foresaw that they would
soon cease to lead their simple, holy life, and would become ambitious
and perhaps rich. "I, little Brother Francis," he writes, "desire to
follow the life and the poverty of Jesus Christ, persevering therein
until the end; and I beg you all and exhort you to persevere always in
this most holy life of poverty, and take good care never to depart from
it upon the advice and teachings of anyone whomsoever."

[Sidenote: Francis reluctantly draws up a new rule for the guidance of
the friars.]

Francis sorrowfully undertook to draw up a new and more elaborate
constitution to take the place of the few Gospel passages which he had
originally brought together as a guide. After many modifications, to
suit the ideas of the pope and the cardinals, the Franciscan Rule was
solemnly ratified (1228) by Honorius III. It provides that "The brothers
shall appropriate nothing to themselves, neither a house, nor a place,
nor anything; but as pilgrims and strangers in this world, in poverty
and humility serving God, they shall confidently seek alms. Nor need
they be ashamed, for the Lord made Himself poor for us in this world."
Yet the friars are to work if they are able and if their charitable and
religious duties leave them time to do so. They may be paid for this
labor in necessities for themselves or their brethren, but never may
they receive coin or money. Those may wear shoes who cannot get along
without them. They may repair their garments with sackcloth and other
remnants. They must live in absolute obedience to their superior and may
not, of course, marry nor may they leave the order.[154]

After the death of St. Francis (1226), many of the order, which now
numbered several thousand members, wished to maintain the simple rule of
absolute poverty. Others, including the new head of the order, believed
that much good might be done with the wealth which people were anxious
to give them. They argued that the individual friars might still remain
absolutely possessionless, even if the order had beautiful churches and
comfortable monasteries. A stately church was immediately constructed at
Assisi to receive the remains of their humble founder, who in his
lifetime had chosen a deserted hovel for his home; and a great chest was
set up in the church to receive offerings.

[Sidenote: St. Dominic.]

90. St. Dominic (b. 1170), the founder of the other great mendicant
order, was not a simple layman like Francis. He was a churchman and took
a regular course of instruction in theology for ten years in a Spanish
university. He then (1208) accompanied his bishop to southern France on
the eve of the Albigensian crusade and was deeply shocked to see the
prevalence of heresy. His host at Toulouse happened to be an
Albigensian, and Dominic spent the night in converting him. He then and
there determined to devote his life to the extirpation of heresy. The
little we know of him indicates that he was a man of resolute purpose
and deep convictions, full of burning zeal for the Christian faith, yet
kindly and cheerful, and winning in manner.

[Sidenote: Founding of the Dominican order.]

By 1214 a few sympathetic spirits from various parts of Europe had
joined Dominic, and they asked Innocent III to sanction their new order.
The pope again hesitated, but is said to have dreamed a dream in which
he saw the great Roman Church of the Lateran tottering and ready to fall
had not Dominic supported it on his shoulders. So he inferred that the
new organization might sometime become a great aid to the papacy and
gave it his approval. As soon as possible Dominic sent forth his
followers, of whom there were but sixteen, to evangelize the world, just
as the Franciscans were undertaking their first missionary journeys. By
1221 the Dominican order was thoroughly organized and had sixty
monasteries scattered over western Europe. "Wandering on foot over the
face of Europe, under burning suns or chilling blasts, rejecting alms in
money but receiving thankfully whatever coarse food might be set before
the wayfarer, enduring hunger in silent resignation, taking no thought
for the morrow, but busied eternally in the work of snatching souls from
Satan and lifting men up from the sordid cares of daily life, of
ministering to their infirmities and of bringing to their darkened souls
a glimpse of heavenly light" (Lea),--in this way did the early
Franciscans and Dominicans win the love and veneration of the people.

[Sidenote: Contrast between the mendicants and the older orders.]

91. Unlike the Benedictine monks, each of the friars was under the
command not only of the head of his particular monastery, but also of
the "general" of the whole order. Like a soldier, he was liable to be
sent by his commander upon any mission that the work of the order
demanded. The friars indeed regarded themselves as soldiers of Christ.
Instead of devoting themselves to a life of contemplation apart from the
world, like the earlier monks, they were accustomed and required to mix
with all classes of men. They must be ready to dare and suffer all in
the interest of their work of saving not only themselves but their

[Sidenote: Contrast between the Dominicans and the Franciscans.]

The Dominicans were called the "Preaching Friars" and were carefully
trained in theology in order the better to refute the arguments of the
heretics. The pope delegated to them especially the task of conducting
the Inquisition. They early began to extend their influence over the
universities, and the two most distinguished theologians and teachers of
the thirteenth century, Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas, were
Dominicans. Among the Franciscans, on the other hand, there was always a
considerable party who were suspicious of learning and who showed far
more anxiety to remain absolutely poor than did the Dominicans. Yet as a
whole the Franciscans, like the Dominicans, accepted the wealth that
came to them, and they, too, contributed distinguished scholars to the

[Sidenote: Importance and influence of the new orders.]

The pope quickly recognized the importance of these new orders. He
granted them successive privileges which freed them from all control of
the bishops, and finally declared that they were to be bound only by
their own rules. What was still more important, he gave them the right,
if they were priests, to celebrate Mass everywhere, to preach and to
perform the ordinary functions of the parish priests, such as hearing
confession, granting absolution, and conducting burials. The friars
invaded every parish, and appear to have largely replaced the parish
priests. The laity believed them to be holier than the secular clergy
and therefore regarded their prayers and ministrations as more
efficient. Few towns were without a gray friars' (Franciscan) or a black
friars' (Dominican) cloister; few princes but had a Dominican or a
Franciscan confessor.

[Sidenote: Opposition of the secular clergy.]

It is hardly necessary to say that the secular clergy took these
encroachments very ill. They repeatedly appealed to the pope to abolish
the orders, or at least to prevent them from enriching themselves at the
expense of the parish priests. But they got little satisfaction. Once
the pope quite frankly told a great deputation of cardinals, bishops,
and minor clergy that it was their own vain and worldly lives which
made them hate the mendicant brothers, who spent the bequests they
received from the dying for the honor of God, instead of wasting it in

The mendicant orders have counted among their numbers men of the
greatest ability and distinction,--scholars like Thomas Aquinas,
reformers like Savonarola, artists like Fra Angelico and Fra
Bartolommeo, and scientists like Roger Bacon. In the busy world of the
thirteenth century there was no agency more active for good than the
friars. Yet their vagrant lives, free from the ordinary control of the
Church, and the great wealth which was showered upon them, afforded many
obvious temptations which they did not long withstand. Bonaventura, who
was made head of the Franciscan order in 1257, admits the general
dislike aroused by the greed, idleness, and vice of its degenerate
members, as well as by their importunate begging, which rendered the
friar more troublesome to the wayfarer than the robber. Nevertheless the
friars were preferred to the ordinary priests by high and low alike; it
was they, rather than the secular clergy, who maintained and cultivated
the religious life in both city and country.

     General Reading.--The opening chapter of Lea's monumental work, _A
     History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages_ (Harper Bros. & Co.,
     3 vols., $10.00), gives a remarkable account of the mediæval Church
     and the abuses which prevailed. The first volume also contains
     unexcelled chapters upon the origin of both the Franciscan and
     Dominican orders. For St. Francis, by far the best work is
     Sabatier's beautiful biography, _St. Francis of Assisi_ (Charles
     Scribner's Sons, $2.50). The earliest and best source for Francis
     is _The Mirror of Perfection_ (Page, Boston, 75 cents), by Brother
     Leo, which shows the love and admiration in which "Little Brother
     Francis" was held by one of his companions. See also JESSOPP, _The
     Coming of the Friars, and Other Historic Essays_ (G.P. Putnam's
     Sons, $1.25), Chapter I.



[Sidenote: Little known of the life of the people in the Middle Ages.]

92. Since the development of the rather new science of political
economy, historical writers have become much interested in the condition
and habits of the farmer, tradesman, and artisan in the Middle Ages.
Unfortunately no amount of research is likely to make our knowledge very
clear or certain regarding the condition of the people at large during
the five or six centuries following the barbarian invasions. It rarely
occurred to a mediæval chronicler to describe the familiar things about
him, such as the way in which the peasant lived and tilled his land.
Only the conspicuous personages and the startling events caught his
attention. Nevertheless enough is known of the mediæval manor and town
to make them very important subjects for the student of general history.

[Sidenote: Unimportance of town life in the early Middle Ages.]

There was little town life in western Europe before the twelfth century.
The Roman towns were decreasing in population before the German inroads.
The confusion which followed the invasions hastened their decline, and a
great number of them disappeared altogether. Those which survived and
such new towns as sprang up were, to judge from the chronicles, of very
little importance during the early Middle Ages. We may assume,
therefore, that during the long period from Theodoric to Frederick
Barbarossa by far the greater part of the population of England,
Germany, and northern and central France were living in the country, on
the great estates belonging to the feudal lords, abbots, and

[Sidenote: The manor, or vill.]

These mediæval estates were called _vills_, or _manors_, and closely
resembled the Roman villas described in an earlier chapter. A portion of
the estate was reserved by the lord for his own use; the rest of it was
divided up among the peasants,[156] usually in long strips, of which
each peasant had several scattered about the manor. The peasants were
generally serfs who did not own their fields, but could not, on the
other hand, be deprived of them so long as they worked for the lord and
paid him certain dues. They were attached to the land and went with it
when it changed hands. The serfs were required to till those fields
which the lord reserved for himself and to gather in his crops. They
might not marry without their lord's permission. Their wives and
children rendered such assistance as was necessary in the manor house.
In the women's buildings the daughters of the serfs engaged in spinning,
weaving, sewing, baking, and brewing, thus producing clothes, food, and
drink to be used by the whole community.

[Illustration: An English Manor House, Thirteenth Century]

[Sidenote: The obligations of the serfs.]

We get our clearest ideas of the position of the serfs from the ancient
descriptions of manors, which give an exact account of what each member
of a particular community owed to the lord. For example, we find that
the abbot of Peterborough held a manor upon which Hugh Miller and
seventeen other serfs, mentioned by name, were required to work for him
three days in each week during the whole year, except one week at
Christmas, one at Easter, and one at Whitsuntide. Each serf was to give
the lord abbot one bushel of wheat and eighteen sheaves of oats, three
hens and one cock yearly, and five eggs at Easter. If he sold his horse
for more than ten shillings, he was to give the said abbot four pence.
Five other serfs, mentioned by name, held but half as much land as Hugh
and his companions, by paying and doing in all things half as much

There were sometimes a few people on the manor who did not belong to the
great body of cultivators. The limits of the manor and those of the
parish often coincided; in that case there would be a priest who had
some scattered acres and whose standing was naturally somewhat superior
to that of the people about him. Then the miller, who ground the flour
and paid a substantial rent to the lord, was generally somewhat better
off than his neighbors, and the same may be said of the blacksmith.

[Sidenote: The manor independent of the outside world.]

One of the most remarkable characteristics of the manor was its
independence of the rest of the world. It produced nearly everything
that its members needed and might almost have continued to exist
indefinitely without communication with those who lived beyond its
bounds. Little or no money was necessary, for the peasants paid what was
due to the lord in the form of labor and farm products. They also
rendered the needful help to one another and found little occasion for
buying and selling.

[Sidenote: The monotony and misery of the peasants' lives.]

There was almost no opportunity to better one's condition, and life, in
the greater part of the hamlets, must have gone on for generation after
generation in a weary routine. The life was not merely monotonous, it
was miserable. The food was coarse and there was little variety, as the
peasants did not even take pains to raise fresh vegetables. The houses
usually had but one room. This was ill-lighted by a single little window
and had no chimney.

[Sidenote: The manor court.]

Yet the very dependence upon one another can hardly have failed to
produce a certain spirit of brotherhood and mutual assistance in the
community. It was not only separated from the outside world, but its
members were brought together constantly by their intermingled fields,
their attendance at one church, and their responsibility to one
proprietor. The men were all expected to be present at the "court" which
was held in each manor, where the business of the manor was transacted
under the supervision of a representative of the lord. Here, for
instance, disputes were settled, fines imposed for the violation of the
customs of the manor, and redistributions of the strips of land took

[Sidenote: The serf an inferior farmer who could only exist when there
was plenty of land.]

The serf was ordinarily a bad farmer and workman. He cultivated the soil
in a very crude manner, and his crops were accordingly scanty and
inferior. Obviously serfdom could exist only as long as land was
plentiful. But in the twelfth and thirteenth century western Europe
appears to have been gaining steadily in population. Serfdom would,
therefore, naturally tend to disappear when the population so increased
that the carelessly cultivated fields no longer supplied the food
necessary for the growing numbers.

[Sidenote: Barter replaced by money transactions.]

The increased use of money in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,
which came with the awakening trade and industry, also tended to break
up the manor. The old habit of bartering one thing for another without
the intervention of money began to disappear. As time went on, neither
the lord nor the serf was satisfied with the ancient primitive
arrangements, which had answered well enough in the time of Charlemagne.
The serfs, on the one hand, began to obtain money by the sale of their
products in the markets of neighboring towns. They soon found it more
profitable to pay the lord a certain sum instead of working for him, for
they could then turn their whole attention to their own farms. The
proprietors, on the other hand, found it to their advantage to accept
money in place of the services of their tenants. With this money the
landlord could hire laborers to cultivate his fields and could buy the
luxuries which were brought to his notice as commerce increased. So it
came about that the lords gradually renounced their control over the
peasants, and the serf was no longer easily distinguishable from the
freeman who paid a regular rent for his land.[157] A serf might also
gain his liberty by fleeing to a town. If he remained undiscovered, or
was unclaimed by his lord, for a year and a day, he became a freeman.

[Sidenote: Disappearance of serfdom.]

The slow extinction of serfdom in western Europe appears to have begun
as early as the twelfth century. A very general emancipation had taken
place in France by the end of the thirteenth century (and in England
somewhat later), though there were still some serfs in France when the
revolution came in 1789. Germany was far more backward in this respect.
We find the peasants revolting against their hard lot in Luther's time,
and it was not until the beginning of the nineteenth century that the
serfs were freed in Prussia.

[Sidenote: Importance of town life.]

93. It is hardly necessary to point out that the gradual reappearance of
town life in western Europe is of the greatest interest to the student
of history. The cities had been the centers of Greek and Roman
civilization, and in our own time they dominate the life, culture, and
business enterprise of the world. Were they to disappear, our whole
life, even in the country, would necessarily undergo a profound change
and tend to become primitive again like that of the age of Charlemagne.

[Sidenote: Origin of the mediæval towns.]

[Sidenote: Compactness of a mediæval town.]

A great part of the mediæval towns, of which we begin to have some
scanty records about the year 1000, appear to have originated on the
manors of feudal lords or about a monastery or castle. The French name
for town, _ville_, is derived from vill, the name of the manor. The need
of protection was probably the usual reason for establishing a town with
a wall about it, so that the neighboring country people might find
safety in it when attacked. The way in which a mediæval town was built
seems to justify this conclusion. It was generally crowded and compact
compared with its more luxurious Roman predecessors. Aside from the
market place there were few or no open spaces. There were no
amphitheaters or public baths as in the Roman cities. The streets were
often mere alleys over which the jutting stories of the high houses
almost met. The high, thick wall that surrounded it prevented its
extending easily and rapidly as our cities do nowadays.

[Sidenote: Townsmen originally serfs.]

All towns outside of Italy were evidently small in the eleventh and
twelfth centuries, and, like the manors on which they had grown up, they
had little commerce as yet with the outside world. They produced almost
all that their inhabitants needed except the farm products which came
from the neighboring country. There was likely to be little expansion so
long as the town remained under the absolute control of the lord or
monastery upon whose land it was situated. The townspeople were scarcely
more than serfs, in spite of the fact that they lived within a wall and
engaged in industry instead of farming. They had to pay irritating dues
to their lord, just as if they had still formed a farming community. The
emancipation of the townsmen from their lords and the establishment of a
suitable form of government for their town were necessary preliminaries
to the free development of town life.

[Sidenote: Increase of trade promotes the growth of the towns.]

With the increase of trade came the longing for this freedom. For when
new and attractive commodities began to be brought from the East and the
South, the people of the towns were encouraged to produce goods with the
idea of exchanging them at some neighboring fair for the products of
distant lands. But no sooner did the townsmen begin to engage in
manufacturing and to enter into relations with the outside world, than
they became conscious that they were greatly hampered by their
half-servile condition and were subject to exactions and restrictions
which would render progress impossible. Consequently during the twelfth
century there were many insurrections of the towns against their lords
and a general demand that the lords should grant the townsmen _charters_
in which the rights of both parties should be definitely stated.

[Illustration: A Castle on the Rhine with a Village below it]

[Sidenote: The communes.]

In France the citizens organized themselves into what were called
_communes_, or unions for the purpose of gaining their independence.
This word _commune_ appeared a new and detestable one to the lords, for,
to their minds, it was merely another name for a company of serfs
leagued against their masters. The nobles sometimes put down the
insurrections of their townsmen with great cruelty. On the other hand,
the lords often realized that they would increase the prosperity of
their towns by granting them freedom from arbitrary taxation and the
right to govern themselves. In England the towns gained their privileges
more gradually by purchasing them from the lords.

[Sidenote: Town charters.]

The town charters were written contracts between the lord and the
commune or the guild of merchants of a town. The charter served at once
as the certificate of birth of the town and as its constitution. It
contained a promise on the part of the lord or king to recognize the
existence of the guild of merchants. It limited the rights of the lord
in calling the townsmen before his court and fining them, and enumerated
the taxes which he might exact from the townspeople. The old dues and
services were either abolished or changed into money payments.

King Henry II of England promised the inhabitants of Wallingford that
"wheresoever they shall go on their journeys as merchants through my
whole land of England and Normandy, Aquitaine and Anjou, 'by water and
by strand, by wood and by land,' they shall be free from toll and
passage fees and from all customs and exactions; nor are they to be
troubled in this respect by anyone under penalty of ten pounds." In the
case of the town of Southampton he concedes "that my men of Hampton
shall have and hold their guild and all their liberties and customs, by
land and by sea, in as good, peaceable, just, free, quiet, and honorable
a manner as they had the same most freely and quietly in the time of
King Henry, my grandfather; and let no one upon this do them any injury
or insult."

[Sidenote: Customs revealed in the charters.]

The customs of the times, as revealed in the charters, seem to us very
primitive. We find in the charter of the French town of St. Omer, in
1168, provisions like the following: He who shall commit a murder in the
town shall not find an asylum anywhere within the walls. If he shall
seek to escape punishment by flight, his buildings shall be torn down
and his goods confiscated; nor may he come back into the town unless he
be first reconciled with the relations of his victim and pay ten pounds,
of which a half shall go to the lord's representatives and the other
half to the commune, to be spent on its fortifications. He who strikes
another one in the town shall pay one hundred sous; he who pulls out the
hair of another shall pay forty sous, etc.

[Illustration: A Mediæval Town, Siegen]

Many of the towns had, as a visible sign of their freedom, a belfry, a
high building with a watchtower, where a guard was kept day and night in
order that the bell might be rung in case of approaching danger. It
contained an assembly hall, where the commune held its meetings, and a
prison. In the fourteenth century the wonderful townhalls began to be
erected, which, with the exception of the cathedrals and other churches,
are usually the most remarkable buildings which the traveler sees to-day
in the old commercial cities of Europe.

[Sidenote: Craft guilds.]

The tradesmen in the mediæval towns were at once artisans and merchants;
they not only made, but offered for sale, the articles which they
produced in their shops. In addition to the original guild of merchants
which helped the towns to gain and preserve their privileges, many new
corporations of tradesmen grew up, the so-called _craft guilds_. The
oldest statutes of a guild in Paris are those of the candle makers,
which go back to 1061. The number of trades differed greatly in
different towns, but the guilds all had the same object,--to prevent
every one from practicing a trade who had not been duly admitted to the


[Sidenote: The guild system.]

A young man had to spend several years in learning his trade. He lived
in the house of a master workman, but received no remuneration. He then
became a "journeyman" and could earn wages, although he could still work
only for master workmen and not directly for the public. A simple trade
might be learned in three years, but to become a goldsmith one must be
an apprentice for ten years. The number of apprentices that a master
workman might employ was strictly limited, in order that the journeymen
might not become too numerous. The way in which each trade was to be
practiced was carefully regulated, as well as the time that should be
spent in work each day. The system of guilds discouraged enterprise but
maintained a uniform efficiency everywhere. Had it not been for these
unions, the defenseless, isolated workmen, serfs as they had formerly
been, would have found it impossible to secure freedom and municipal
independence from the feudal lords who had formerly been their masters.

[Sidenote: Practical disappearance of commerce in the early Middle

94. The chief reason for the growth of the towns and their increasing
prosperity was a great development of trade throughout western Europe.
Commerce had pretty much disappeared with the decline of the Roman roads
and the general disorganization produced by the barbarian invasions.
There was no one in the Middle Ages to mend the ancient Roman roads. The
great network of highways from Persia to Britain fell apart when
independent nobles or poor local communities took the place of a world
empire. All trade languished, for there was little demand for those
articles of luxury which the Roman communities in the North had been
accustomed to obtain from the South. There was little money and scarcely
any notion of luxury, for the nobility lived a simple life in their
dreary and rudely furnished castles.

[Sidenote: Italian cities trade with the Orient.]

In Italy, however, trade does not seem to have altogether ceased.
Venice, Genoa, Amalfi, and other towns appear to have developed a
considerable Mediterranean commerce even before the Crusades. Their
merchants, as we have seen, supplied the destitute crusaders with the
material necessary for the conquest of Jerusalem. The passion for
pilgrimages offered inducements to the Italian merchants for expeditions
to the Orient, whither they transported the pilgrims and returned with
the products of the East. The Italian cities established trading
stations in the East and carried on a direct traffic with the caravans
which brought to the shores of the Mediterranean the products of Arabia,
Persia, India, and the Spice Islands. The southern French towns and
Barcelona entered also into commercial relations with the Mohammedans in
northern Africa.

[Illustration: Street in Frankfort-on-the-Main]

[Sidenote: Commerce stimulates industry.]

This progress in the South could not but stir the lethargy of the rest
of Europe. The new commerce encouraged a revolution in industry. So long
as the manor system prevailed and each man was occupied in producing
only what he and the other members of his group needed, there was
nothing to send abroad and nothing to exchange for luxuries. But when
merchants began to come with tempting articles, the members of a
community were encouraged to produce a surplus of goods above what they
themselves needed, and to sell or exchange this surplus for commodities
coming from a distance. Merchants and artisans gradually directed their
energies toward the production of what others wished as well as what was
needed by the little group to which they belonged.

[Sidenote: The luxuries of the East introduced into Europe.]

The romances of the twelfth century indicate that the West was
astonished and delighted by the luxuries of the East,--the rich fabrics,
Oriental carpets, precious stones, perfumes, drugs (like camphor and
laudanum), silks and porcelains from China, spices from India, and
cotton from Egypt. Venice introduced the silk industry from the East and
the manufacture of those glass articles which the traveler may still buy
in the Venetian shops. The West learned how to make silk and velvet as
well as light and gauzy cotton and linen fabrics. The eastern dyes were
introduced, and Paris was soon imitating the tapestries of the Saracens.
In exchange for those luxuries which they were unable to produce, the
Flemish towns sent their woolen cloths to the East, and Italy its wines.
But there was apparently always a considerable cash balance to be paid
to the Oriental merchants, since the West could not produce enough to
pay by exchange for all that it demanded from the Orient.

[Sidenote: Some of the important commercial centers.]

The northern merchants dealt mainly with Venice and brought their wares
across the Brenner Pass and down the Rhine, or sent them by sea to be
exchanged in Flanders. By the thirteenth century important centers of
trade had come into being, some of which are still among the great
commercial towns of the world. Hamburg, Lübeck, and Bremen carried on
active trade with the countries on the Baltic and with England. Augsburg
and Nuremberg, in the south of Germany, became important on account of
their situation on the line of trade between Italy and the North.
Bruges and Ghent sent their manufactures everywhere. English commerce
was relatively unimportant as yet compared with that of the great ports
of the Mediterranean.

[Sidenote: Restrictions on trade.]

[Sidenote: Idea of a 'just' price.]

95. A word must be said of the numerous and almost incredible obstacles
in the way of commerce in the Middle Ages. There was very little of that
freedom which we now regard as essential to successful business. Our
wholesale dealers would have been considered an abomination in the
Middle Ages. Those who bought up a quantity of a commodity in order to
sell it at a high rate were called by the ugly name of _forestallers_.
It was universally believed that everything had a "just" price, which
was merely enough to cover the cost of the materials used in its
manufacture and remunerate the maker for the work he had put upon it. It
was considered outrageous to sell a thing for more than the just price,
no matter how anxious the purchaser might be to obtain it. Every
manufacturer was required to keep a shop in which he offered at retail
all that he made. Those who lived near a town were permitted to sell
their products in the market place within the walls on condition that
they sold directly to the consumers. They might not dispose of their
whole stock to one dealer, for fear that if he had all there was of a
commodity he might raise the price above a just one.

[Sidenote: Payment of interest on money forbidden.]

Akin to these prejudices against wholesale trade was that against
interest. Money was believed to be a dead and sterile thing, and no one
had a right to demand any return for lending it. Interest was wicked,
since it was exacted by those who took advantage of the embarrassments
of others. Usury, as the taking of even the most moderate and reasonable
rate of interest was then called, was strenuously forbidden by the laws
of the Church. We find church councils ordering that impenitent usurers
should be refused Christian burial and have their wills annulled. So
money-lending, necessary to all great commercial and industrial
undertakings, was left to the Jews, from whom Christian conduct was not

[Sidenote: The Jews as money-lenders.]

This ill-starred people played a most important part in the economic
development of Europe, but they were terribly maltreated by the
Christians, who held them guilty of the supreme crime of putting Christ
to death. The active persecution of the Jews did not, however, become
common before the thirteenth century, when they first began to be
required to wear a peculiar cap, or badge, which made them easily
recognized and exposed them to constant insult. Later they were
sometimes shut up in a particular quarter of the city, called the Jewry.
Since they were excluded from the guilds, they not unnaturally turned to
the business of money-lending, which no Christian might practice.
Undoubtedly their occupation had much to do in causing their
unpopularity. The kings permitted them to make loans, often at a most
exorbitant rate; Philip Augustus allowed them to exact forty-six per
cent, but reserved the right to extort their gains from them when the
royal treasury was empty. In England the usual rate was a penny a pound
for each week.

[Sidenote: The 'Lombards' as bankers.]

In the thirteenth century the Italians--"Lombards"--began to go into a
sort of banking business and greatly extended the employment of bills of
exchange. They lent for nothing, but exacted damages for all delay in
repayment. This appeared reasonable and right even to those who
condemned ordinary interest. Capitalists, moreover, could contribute
money towards an enterprise and share the profits as long as no interest
was exacted. In these and other ways the obstacles offered by the
prejudice against interest were much reduced, and large commercial
companies came into existence, especially in Italy.

[Sidenote: Tolls, duties, and other annoyances to which merchants were
subjected on land.]

96. Another serious disadvantage which the mediæval merchant had to face
was the payment of an infinite number of tolls and duties which were
exacted by the lords through whose domains his way passed. Not only were
duties exacted on the highways, bridges, and at the fords, but those
barons who were so fortunate as to have castles on a navigable river
blocked the stream in such a way that the merchant could not bring his
vessel through without a payment for the privilege. The charges were
usually small, but the way in which they were exacted and the repeated
delays must have been a serious source of irritation and loss to the
merchants. For example, a certain monastery lying between Paris and the
sea required that those hastening to town with fresh fish should stop
and let the monks pick out what they thought worth three pence, with
little regard to the condition in which they left the goods. When a boat
laden with wine passed up the Seine to Paris, the agent of the lord of
Poissy could have three casks broached, and, after trying them all, he
could take a measure from the one he liked best. At the markets all
sorts of dues had to be paid, such, for example, as payments for using
the lord's scales or his measuring rod. Besides this, the great variety
of coinage which existed in feudal Europe caused infinite perplexity and

[Sidenote: Dangers by sea.]

[Sidenote: Pirates.]

[Sidenote: Strand laws.]

Commerce by sea had its own particular trials, by no means confined to
the hazards of wind and wave, rock and shoal. Pirates were numerous in
the North Sea. They were often organized and sometimes led by men of
high rank, who appear to have regarded the business as no disgrace. Then
there were the so-called _strand laws_, according to which a ship with
its cargo became the property of the owner of the coast upon which it
might be wrecked or driven ashore. Lighthouses and beacons were few and
the coasts dangerous. Moreover, natural dangers were increased by false
signals which wreckers used to lure ships to shore in order to plunder

[Sidenote: The Hanseatic League.]

With a view to mitigating these manifold perils, the towns early began
to form unions for mutual defense. The most famous of these was that of
the German cities, called the _Hanseatic League_. Lübeck was always the
leader, but among the seventy towns which at one time and another were
included in the confederation, we find Cologne, Brunswick, Dantzig, and
other centers of great importance. The union purchased and controlled
settlements in London,--the so-called _Steelyard_ near London
Bridge,--at Wisby, Bergen, and the far-off Novgorod in Russia. They
managed to monopolize nearly the whole trade on the Baltic and North
Sea, either through treaties or the influence that they were able to
bring to bear.

The League made war on the pirates and did much to reduce the dangers of
traffic. Instead of dispatching separate and defenseless merchantmen,
their ships sailed out in fleets under the protection of a man-of-war.
On one occasion the League undertook a successful war against the king
of Denmark, who had interfered with their interests. At another time it
declared war on England and brought her to terms. For two hundred years
before the discovery of America, the League played a great part in the
commercial affairs of western Europe; but it had begun to decline even
before the discovery of new routes to the East and West Indies
revolutionized trade.

[Sidenote: Trade regulated by the towns (thirteenth to fifteenth
century), not by nations or individuals.]

It should be observed that, during the thirteenth, fourteenth, and
fifteenth centuries, trade was not carried on between nations, but by
the various towns, like Venice, Lübeck, Ghent, Bruges, Cologne. A
merchant did not act or trade as an independent individual but as a
member of a particular merchant guild, and he enjoyed the protection of
his town and of the treaties it arranged. If a merchant from a certain
town failed to pay a debt, a fellow-townsman might be seized where the
debt was due. At the period of which we have been speaking, an
inhabitant of London was considered a foreigner or an alien in Bristol,
just as was the merchant from Cologne or Antwerp. Only gradually did the
towns merge into the nations to which their people belonged.[158]

[Sidenote: The burghers, or commons, become an influential class.]

The increasing wealth of the merchants could not fail to raise them to a
position of importance in society which they had not hitherto enjoyed.
Their prosperity enabled them to vie with the clergy in education and
with the nobility in the luxury of their dwellings and surroundings.
They began to give some attention to reading, and as early as the
fourteenth century many of the books appear to have been written with a
view of meeting their tastes and needs. Representatives of the towns
were called into the councils of the king, who was obliged to take their
advice along with their contributions to the support of the government.
The rise of the burgher class alongside the older orders of the clergy
and nobility, which had so long dominated the life of western Europe, is
one of the most momentous changes of the thirteenth century.

     General Reading.--GIBBINS, _History of Commerce in Europe_ (The
     Macmillan Company, 90 cents), the best short account of the
     subject, with good maps of trade routes. INGRAM, _History of
     Slavery and Serfdom_ (Black, London, $2.00), especially Chapters IV
     and V. CUNNINGHAM, _Western Civilization in its Economic Aspects_,
     Vol. II, Mediæval and Modern Times (The Macmillan Company, $1.25),
     is very suggestive. There are several excellent accounts of the
     economic situation in England in the Middle Ages, which, in many
     respects, was similar to the conditions on the continent. CHEYNEY,
     _Industrial and Social History of England_ (The Macmillan Company,
     $1.40); GIBBINS, _The Industrial History of England_ (Methuen,
     $1.00), and a more elaborate treatise by the same writer, _Industry
     in England_ (Methuen, $3.00); CUNNINGHAM, _Outlines of English
     Industrial History_ (The Macmillan Company, $1.50), and much fuller
     by the same writer, _Growth of English Industry and Commerce during
     the Middle Ages_ (The Macmillan Company, $4.00). All these give
     excellent accounts of the manor, the guilds, the fairs, etc. See
     also JESSOPP, _Coming of the Friars_, second essay, "Village Life
     Six Hundred Years Ago."



97. The interest of the Middle Ages lies by no means exclusively in the
statesmanship of kings and emperors, their victories and defeats; in the
policy of popes and bishops; or even in feudalism and Europe's escape
from it. Important as all these are, we should have but a very imperfect
idea of the period which we have been studying if we left it without
considering the intellectual life and the art of the time, the books
that were written, the universities that were founded, and the
cathedrals that were built.

[Sidenote: General use of Latin in the Middle Ages.]

To begin with, the Middle Ages differed from our own time in the very
general use then made of Latin, both in writing and speaking. In the
thirteenth century, and long after, all books that made any claim to
learning were written in Latin;[159] the professors in the universities
lectured in Latin, friends wrote to one another in Latin, and state
papers, treaties, and legal documents were drawn up in the same
language. The ability of every educated person to make use of Latin, as
well as of his native tongue, was a great advantage at a time when there
were many obstacles to intercourse among the various nations. It helps
to explain, for example, the remarkable way in which the pope kept in
touch with all the clergymen of western Christendom, and the ease with
which students, friars, and merchants could wander from one country to
another. There is no more interesting or important revolution than that
by which the language of the people in the various European countries
gradually pushed aside the ancient tongue and took its place, so that
even scholars scarcely ever think now of writing books in Latin.

In order to understand how it came about that two languages, the Latin
and the native speech, were both commonly used in all the countries of
western Europe all through the Middle Ages, we must glance at the origin
of the modern languages. These all fall into two quite distinct groups,
the Germanic and the Romance.

[Sidenote: The Germanic languages derived from the dialects of the
German barbarians.]

Those German peoples who had continued to live outside of the Roman
Empire, or who, during the invasions, had not settled far enough within
its bounds to be led, like the Franks in Gaul, to adopt the tongue of
those they had conquered, naturally adhered to the language they had
always used, namely, the particular Germanic dialect which their
forefathers had spoken for untold generations. From the various
languages spoken by the German barbarians, modern German, English,
Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Icelandic are derived.

[Sidenote: The Romance languages derived from the spoken Latin.]

The second group of languages developed within the territory which had
formed a part of the Roman Empire, and includes modern French, Italian,
Spanish, and Portuguese. It has now been clearly proved, by a very
minute study of the old forms of words, that these Romance languages
were one and all derived from the _spoken_ Latin, employed by the
soldiers, merchants, and people at large. This differed considerably
from the elaborate and elegant written Latin which was used, for
example, by Cicero and Cæsar. It was undoubtedly much simpler in its
grammar and doubtless varied a good deal in different regions;--a Gaul,
for instance, could not pronounce the words like an Italian. Moreover,
in conversation people did not always use the same words as those in the
books. For example, a horse was commonly spoken of as _caballus_,
whereas a writer would use the word _equus_; it is from _caballus_ that
the word for horse is derived in Spanish, Italian, and French
(_caballo_, _cavallo_, _cheval_).

As time went on the spoken language diverged farther and farther from
the written. Latin is a troublesome speech on account of its complicated
inflections and grammatical rules, which can be mastered only after a
great deal of study. The people of the Roman provinces and the incoming
barbarians naturally paid very little attention to the niceties of
syntax and found easy ways of saying what they wished.[160] Yet several
centuries elapsed after the German invasions before there was anything
written in the language of conversation. So long as the uneducated could
understand the correct Latin of the books when they heard it read or
spoken, there was no necessity of writing anything in their familiar
daily speech. But the gulf between the spoken and the written language
had become so great by the time Charlemagne came to the throne, that he
advised that sermons should be given thereafter in the language of the
people, who, apparently, could no longer follow the Latin. The Strasburg
oaths[161] are, however, about the first example which has come down to
us of the speech which was growing into French.

[Sidenote: Earliest examples of the Germanic languages.]

[Sidenote: Gothic.]

98. As for the Germanic languages, one at least was reduced to writing
even before the break-up of the Empire. An eastern bishop, Ulfilas (d.
381), had undertaken to convert the Goths while they were still living
north of the Danube before the battle of Adrianople. In order to carry
on his work, Ulfilas translated a great part of the Bible into Gothic,
using the Greek letters to represent the sounds. With the single
exception of the Gothic, there is no example of writing in any German
language before Charlemagne's time. There is no doubt, however, that the
Germans possessed an unwritten literature, which was passed down by word
of mouth for several centuries before any of it was written out.
Charlemagne caused certain ancient poems to be collected, which
presumably celebrated the great deeds of the German heroes during the
invasions. These invaluable specimens of ancient German are said to have
been destroyed by the order of Louis the Pious, who was shocked by their
paganism. The great German epic, the _Song of the Niebelungs_, was not
reduced to writing until the end of the twelfth century, after it had
been transmitted orally for many generations.

[Sidenote: Ancient English, or Anglo-Saxon.]

The oldest form of English is commonly called Anglo-Saxon and is so
different from the language that we use that, in order to read it, it
must be learned like a foreign language. We hear of an English poet,
Cædmon, as early as Bede's time, a century before Charlemagne. A
manuscript of an Anglo-Saxon epic, called _Beowulf_, has been preserved
which belongs perhaps to the close of the eighth century. The interest
which King Alfred displayed in the mother tongue has already been
mentioned. This old form of our language prevailed until after the
Norman Conquest; the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, which does not close until
1154, is written in pure Anglo-Saxon. Then changes may be noticed in the
language as it appears in the books of the time, and decade by decade it
approaches more nearly to that which we speak. Although the first public
document in English (1256), which belongs to the reign of Henry III, is
scarcely to be understood without study, a poem written in his son's
time is tolerably intelligible.[162]

English literature was destined one day to arouse the admiration of the
peoples across the Channel and exercise an important influence upon
other literatures. In the Middle Ages, however, French, not English, was
the most important of the vernacular languages of western Europe. In
France a vast literature was produced in the language of the people
during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries which profoundly affected
the books written in Italy, Spain, Germany, and England.

[Sidenote: French and Provençal.]

99. Two quite different languages had gradually developed in France from
the spoken Latin of the Roman Empire. If a line were drawn on the map
from La Rochelle, on the Atlantic, eastward to the Alps, crossing the
Rhone a little below Lyons, it would give a general idea of the limits
of the two tongues. To the north, French was spoken; to the south, in a
region bounded by the Pyrenees and the Alps, Provençal.[163]

[Sidenote: Mediæval French romances.]

Very little in the ancient French language written before the year 1100
has been preserved. The West Franks undoubtedly began much earlier to
sing of their heroes, of the great deeds of Clovis, Dagobert, and
Charles Martel. These famous rulers were, however, completely
overshadowed later by Charlemagne, who became the unrivaled hero of
mediæval poetry and romance. It was believed that he had reigned for a
hundred and twenty-five years, and the most marvelous exploits were
attributed to him and his knights. He was supposed, for instance, to
have led a crusade to Jerusalem. Such themes as these--more legend than
history--were woven into long epics, which were the first written
literature of the Frankish people. These poems, combined with the
stories of adventure, developed a spirit of patriotic enthusiasm among
the French which made them regard "fair France" as the especial care of

[Sidenote: The _Song of Roland_.]

It is little wonder that the best of these long poems came to be looked
upon as the national epic of the French. This is the _Song of Roland_,
probably written just before the First Crusade. It tells the story of
Charlemagne's retreat from Spain, during which Roland, one of his
commanders, lost his life in a romantic encounter in the defiles of the

  That death was on him he knew full well;
  Down from his head to his heart it fell.
  On the grass beneath a pine tree's shade,
  With face to earth, his form he laid,
  Beneath him placed he his horn and sword,
  And turned his face to the heathen horde.
  Thus hath he done the sooth to show,
  That Karl and his warriors all may know,
  That the gentle count a conqueror died.[164]

[Sidenote: Romances of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.]

In the latter part of the twelfth century the romances of King Arthur
and his Knights of the Round Table begin to appear. These enjoyed great
popularity in all western Europe for centuries, and they are by no means
forgotten yet. Arthur, of whose historical existence no one can be quite
sure, was supposed to have been king of Britain shortly after the Saxons
gained a foothold in the island. In other long poems of the time,
Alexander the Great, Cæsar, and other ancient worthies appear as heroes.
The absolute disregard of historical facts and the tendency to represent
the warriors of Troy and Rome as mediæval knights, show the inability of
the mediæval mind to understand that the past could have been different
from the present. All these romances are full of picturesque adventures
and present a vivid picture of the valor and loyalty of the true knight,
as well as of his ruthlessness and contempt for human life.[165]

[Sidenote: The _fabliaux_ and the fables.]

Besides the long and elaborate epics, like _Roland_, and the romances in
verse and prose, there were numberless short stories in verse (the
_fabliaux_), which usually dealt with the incidents of everyday life,
especially with the comical ones. Then there were the fables, the most
famous of which are the stories of Reynard the Fox, which were satires
upon the customs of the time, particularly the weaknesses of the priests
and monks.

[Sidenote: The troubadours.]

100. Turning now to southern France, the beautiful songs of the
troubadours, which were the glory of the Provençal tongue, reveal a gay
and polished society at the courts of the numerous feudal princes. The
rulers not merely protected and encouraged the poets; they aspired to be
poets themselves and to enter the ranks of the troubadours, as the
composers of these elegant verses were called. These songs were always
sung to an accompaniment on some instrument, usually the lute. Those who
merely sang them, without being themselves poets, were called
_jongleurs_. The troubadours and jongleurs traveled from court to court,
not only in France, but north into Germany and south into Italy,
carrying with them the southern French poetry and customs. We have few
examples of Provençal before the year 1100, but from that time on, for
two centuries, countless songs were written, and many of the troubadours
enjoyed an international reputation. The terrible Albigensian crusade
brought misery and death into the sprightly circles which had gathered
about the count of Toulouse and others who had treated the heretics too
leniently. But the literary critic traces signs of decline in the
Provençal verse even before this disaster.[166]

[Sidenote: Chivalry.]

For the student of history, the chief interest of the epics of northern
France and the songs of the South lies in the insight that they give
into the life and aspirations of this feudal period. These are usually
summed up in the term _chivalry_, or _knighthood_, of which a word may
properly be said here, since we should know little of it were it not for
the literature of which we have been speaking. The knights play the
chief rôle in all the mediæval romances; and, as many of the troubadours
belonged to the knightly class, they naturally have much to say of it in
their songs.

Chivalry was not a formal institution established at any particular
moment. Like feudalism, with which it was closely connected, it had no
founder, but appeared spontaneously throughout western Europe to meet
the needs and desires of the period. We learn from Tacitus that even in
his time the Germans considered the moment a solemn one when the young
warrior was first invested with the arms of a soldier. "This was the
sign that the youth had reached manhood; this was his first honor." It
is probably a survival of this feeling which we find in the idea of
knighthood. When the youth of good family had been carefully trained to
ride his horse, use his sword, and manage his hawk in the hunt, he was
made a _knight_ by a ceremony in which the Church took part, although
the knighthood was actually conferred by an older knight.

[Sidenote: Nature of the knightly order.]

The knight was a Christian soldier, and he and his fellows were supposed
to form, in a way, a separate order with high ideals of the conduct
befitting their class. Knighthood was not, however, membership in an
association with officers and a written constitution. It was an ideal,
half-imaginary society,--a society to which even those who enjoyed the
title of king or duke were proud to belong. One was not born a knight as
he might be born a duke or count, and could become one only through the
ceremony mentioned above. One might be a noble and still not belong to
the knightly order, and, on the other hand, one baseborn might be raised
to knighthood on account of some valorous deed.

[Sidenote: The ideals of the knight.]

The knight must, in the first place, be a Christian and must obey and
defend the Church on all occasions. He must respect all forms of
weakness and defend the helpless wherever he might find them. He must
fight the infidel ceaselessly, pitilessly, and never give way before the
enemy. He must perform all his feudal duties, be faithful in all things
to his lord, never lie or violate his plighted word. He must be generous
and give freely and ungrudgingly to the needy. He must be faithful to
his lady and be ready to defend her person and her honor at all costs.
Everywhere he must be the champion of the right against injustice and
oppression. In short, chivalry was the Christianized profession of arms.

In the stories of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table there
is a beautiful picture of the ideal knight. The dead Lancelot is
addressed by one of his sorrowing companions as follows: "Thou wert the
courtliest knight that ever bare shield, and thou wert the truest friend
to thy lover that ever bestrode horse, and thou wert the truest lover of
a sinful man [i.e., among sinful men] that ever loved woman, and thou
wert the kindest man that ever struck with sword, and thou wert the
goodliest person that ever came among the press of knights, and thou
wert the meekest man and the gentlest that ever ate in hall among
ladies, and thou wert the sternest knight to thy mortal foe that ever
put spear in breast."

[Sidenote: The German minnesingers.]

[Sidenote: Walther von der Vogelweide.]

[Sidenote: _Parsifal._]

The Germans also made their contribution to the literature of chivalry.
The German poets of the thirteenth century are called _minnesingers_.
Like the troubadours, whom they greatly admired, they usually sang of
love (German, _Minne_). The most famous of the minnesingers was Walther
von der Vogelweide (d. about 1228), whose songs are full of charm and of
enthusiasm for his German fatherland. Wolfram von Eschenbach (d. about
1225) in his story of _Parsifal_ gives the long and sad adventures of a
knight in search of the Holy Grail,--the sacred vessel which had held
the blood of Christ. Only those perfectly pure in thought, word, and
deed could hope to behold it. Parsifal failed to speak a word of
sympathy to a suffering man and was forced to undergo a long atonement.
At last he learned that only through pity and humility and faith in God
could he hope to find the Grail.

[Sidenote: Difference between the earlier and later ideals of chivalry.]

The chivalry depicted in the _Song of Roland_ and the more serious poems
of northern France is of a severe type, in which the service of the
Church, especially against the infidel, and the obligations to the
feudal suzerain have the predominant place. On the other hand, in the
Arthurian legends, and, above all, in the songs of the troubadours, the
ideal conduct of a polished and valorous gentleman, especially toward
the lady of his choice, finds expression. The later romances of chivalry
(in the thirteenth and following centuries) deal very largely with
knighthood in the latter sense of the word. No one, indeed, any longer
thought of fighting the infidel; for the Crusades were over and the
knight was forced to seek adventures nearer home.[167]

[Sidenote: General ignorance of the past.]

101. So long as all books had to be copied by hand, there were, of
course, but few of them compared with modern times. The literature of
which we have been speaking was not in general read, but was listened
to, as it was sung or recited by those who made it their profession.
Wherever the wandering jongleur appeared he was sure of a delighted
audience for his songs and stories, both serious and light. Those
unfamiliar with Latin could, however, learn little of the past; there
were no translations of the great classics of Greece and Rome, of Homer,
Plato, Cicero, or Livy. All that they could know of ancient history was
derived from the fantastic romances referred to above, which had for
their theme the quite preposterous deeds ascribed to Alexander the
Great, Æneas, and Cæsar. As for their own history, the epics relating to
the earlier course of events in France and the rest of Europe were
hopelessly confused. The writers attributed a great part of the acts of
the Frankish kings, from Clovis to Pippin, to Charlemagne. The first
real history written in French is Villehardouin's account of the capture
of Constantinople by the crusaders (in 1204), which he witnessed.

[Sidenote: Mediæval popular science.]

What we should call scientific literature was practically wanting. It is
true that there was a kind of encyclopedia in verse which gave a great
deal of misinformation about things in general. Every one believed in
strange animals like the unicorn, the dragon, and the phoenix, and in
still stranger habits of real animals. A single example will suffice to
show what passed for zoölogy in the thirteenth century.

"There is a little beast made like a lizard and such is its nature that
it will extinguish fire should it fall into it. The beast is so cold and
of such a quality that fire is not able to burn it, nor will trouble
happen in the place where it shall be." This beast signifies the holy
man who lives by faith, who "will never have hurt from fire nor will
hell burn him.... This beast we name also by another name,--it is called
salamander, as you find written,--it is accustomed to mount into
apple-trees, poisons the apples, and in a well where it shall fall it
will poison the water."

It will be noticed that the habits of the animals were supposed to have
some spiritual meaning and carry with them a lesson for mankind. It may
be added that this and similar stories were centuries old. The most
improbable things were repeated from generation to generation without
its occurring to any one to inquire if there was any truth in them. Even
the most learned men of the time believed in astrology and in the
miraculous virtues of herbs and gems. For instance, Albertus Magnus, one
of the most distinguished scientists of the thirteenth century, agrees
that a sapphire will drive away boils and that the diamond can be
softened in the blood of a stag, which will work best if the stag has
been fed on wine and parsley.[168]

102. It is not only in the literature of the Middle Ages that we find
the thought and life of the people reflected, but in the art as well,
for painters, sculptors, and builders were at work in every country of
western Europe.

[Sidenote: Illuminations done by the monks.]

[Sidenote: In religious works.]

The paintings were altogether different from those of to-day, and
consisted chiefly of illustrations in the books, called _illuminations_.
Just as the books had all to be laboriously written out by hand, so each
picture was painted on the parchment page with tiny brushes and usually
in brilliant colors with a generous use of gold. And as the monks wrote
out the books, so it was, in general, the monks who painted the
pictures. The books that they adorned were chiefly those used in the
church services, especially the breviary, the psalter, and the book of
hours. Naturally these pictures usually dealt with religious subjects
and illustrated the lives of the saints or the events of biblical
history. Virtue was encouraged by representations of the joys of heaven
and also stimulated by spirited portrayals of the devil and his fiends,
and of the sufferings of the lost.

[Sidenote: In secular books.]

Secular works, too, were sometimes provided with pictures drawn from a
wide variety of subjects. We find in their pages such homely and
familiar figures as the farmer with his plow, the butcher at his block,
the glass blower at his furnace; then, again, we are transported to an
imaginary world, peopled with strange and uncouth beasts and adorned
with fantastic architecture.

[Sidenote: The artist governed by fixed rules.]

The mediæval love of symbols and of fixed rules for doing things is
strikingly illustrated in these illuminations. Each color had its
especial significance. There were certain established attitudes and ways
of depicting various characters and emotions which were adhered to by
generation after generation of artists and left comparatively little
opportunity for individual talent or lifelike presentation. On the other
hand, these little pictures--for of course they were always
small[169]--were often executed with exquisite care and skill and
sometimes in the smaller details with great truth to nature.

Beside the pictures of which we have been speaking, it was a common
practice to adorn the books with gay illuminated initials or page
borders, which were sometimes very beautiful in both design and color.
In these rather more freedom was allowed to the caprice of the
individual artist, and they were frequently enlivened with very charming
and lifelike flowers, birds, squirrels, and other small animals.

[Illustration: A Romanesque Church]

[Sidenote: Sculpture subservient to architecture.]

The art of sculpture was more widely and successfully cultivated during
the Middle Ages than painting. Mediæval sculpture did not, however,
concern itself chiefly with the representation of the human figure, but
with what we may call _decorative carving_; it was almost wholly
subservient to the dominant art of the Middle Ages, namely,

[Sidenote: Architecture the dominant art of the Middle Ages.]

It is in the great cathedrals and other churches scattered throughout
England, France, Spain, Holland, Belgium, and Germany, that we find the
noblest and most lasting achievements of mediæval art, which all the
resources of modern skill have been unable to equal. Everybody belonged
to the Church, but the Church, too, belonged to each individual. The
building and beautifying of a new church was a matter of interest to the
whole community,--to men of every rank. It gratified at once their
religious sentiments, their local pride, and their artistic cravings.
All the arts and crafts ministered to the construction and adornment of
the new edifice, and, in addition to its religious significance, it took
the place of our modern art museum.

[Illustration: Durham Cathedral (Romanesque)]

[Sidenote: The Romanesque style.]

Up to the beginning of the thirteenth century the churches were built in
the Romanesque style.[170] They were, generally speaking, in the form of
a cross, with a main aisle, and two side aisles which were both narrower
and lower than the main aisle. The aisles were divided from each other
by massive round pillars which supported the round vaulting of the roof
and were connected by round arches. The round-arched windows were
usually small for the size of the building, so that the interior was not
very light. The whole effect was one of massive simplicity. There was,
however, especially in the later churches of this style, a profusion of
carved ornament, usually in geometric designs.

[Sidenote: Introduction of the Gothic style.]

[Sidenote: The pointed arch.]

[Sidenote: Flying buttresses.]

The _pointed_ form of arch was used occasionally in windows during the
eleventh and twelfth centuries. But about the beginning of the
thirteenth century[171] it began to be employed much more extensively,
and in an incredibly short time practically superseded the round arch
and became the characteristic feature of a new style, called _Gothic_.
The adoption of the pointed arch had very important results. It enabled
the builder to make arches of the same height but various widths, and of
varying height and the same width. A round arch of a given span can be
only half as high as it is wide, but the pointed arch may have a great
diversity of proportions. The development of the Gothic style was
greatly forwarded by the invention of the "flying buttress." By means of
this graceful outside prop it became possible to lighten the masonry of
the hitherto massive walls and pierce them with great windows which let
a flood of light into the hitherto dark churches.[172]

[Illustration: Round and Pointed Arches]


[Sidenote: Stained glass.]

The light from all these great windows might even have been too glaring
had it not been for the wonderful stained glass set in exquisite stone
tracery with which they were filled. The stained glass of the mediæval
cathedral, especially in France, where the glass workers brought their
art to the greatest perfection, was one of its chief glories. By far the
greater part of this old glass has of course been destroyed, but it is
still so highly prized that every bit of it is now carefully preserved,
for it has never since been equaled. A window set with odd bits of it
pieced together like crazy patch-work is more beautiful, in its rich and
jewel-like coloring, than the finest modern work.

[Illustration: Flying Buttresses of Notre Dame, Paris]

[Sidenote: Sculptured ornament.]

As the Gothic style developed and the builders grew all the time more
skillful and daring, the churches became marvels of lightness and
delicacy of detail and finish, while still retaining their dignity and
beauty of proportion. Sculptors enriched them with the most beautiful
creations of their art. Moldings and capitals, pulpits, altars, and
choir screens, the wooden seats for the clergy and choristers, are
sometimes literally covered with carving representing graceful leaf and
flower forms, familiar animals or grotesque monsters, biblical incidents
or homely scenes from everyday life. In the cathedral of Wells, in
England, one capital shows us among its vines and leaves a boy whose
face is screwed up with pain from the thorn he is extracting from his
foot; another depicts a whole story of sin found out, thieves stealing
grapes pursued by an angry farmer with a pitchfork. One characteristic
of the mediæval imagination is its fondness for the grotesque. It loved
queer beasts, half eagle, half lion, hideous batlike creatures, monsters
like nothing on land or sea. They lurk among the foliage on choir
screens, leer at you from wall or column, or squat upon the gutters high
on roof and steeple.

[Illustration: Window in the Cathedral of Sens, France]

[Sidenote: Gothic sculpture.]

A striking peculiarity of the Gothic structure is the great number of
statues of apostles, saints, and rulers which adorn the façades and
especially the main portal of the churches. These figures are cut from
the same kind of stone of which the building is made and appear to be
almost a part of it. While, compared with later sculpture, they seem
somewhat stiff and unlifelike, they harmonize wonderfully with the whole
building, and the best of them are full of charm and dignity.


[Sidenote: Secular buildings.]

So far we have spoken only of the church architecture, and that was by
far the most important during the period with which we have been
dealing. Later, in the fourteenth century, many beautiful secular
buildings were constructed in the Gothic style. The most striking and
important of these were the guildhalls built by the rich merchant
guilds, and the townhalls of some of the important cities. But the
Gothic style has always been especially dedicated to, and seems
peculiarly fitted for, ecclesiastical architecture. Its lofty aisles and
open floor spaces, its soaring arches leading the eye toward heaven, and
its glowing windows suggesting the glories of paradise, may well have
fostered the ardent faith of the mediæval Christian.

[Illustration: Figures (gargoyles) on Notre Dame, Paris]

[Sidenote: The mediæval castle.]

We have already touched upon some of the characteristics of domestic
architecture in referring to the mediæval castle. This was rather a
stronghold than a home,--strength and inaccessibility were its main
requirements. The walls were many feet thick and the tiny windows, often
hardly more than slits in the massive walls, the stone floors, the great
bare halls warmed only by large fireplaces, suggest nothing of the
comfort of a modern household. At the same time they imply a simplicity
of taste and manners and a hardihood of body which we may well envy.

[Sidenote: The schools before the eleventh century.]

103. On turning from the language and books of the people and the art of
the period to the occupations of the learned class, who carried on their
studies and discussions in Latin, we naturally inquire where such
persons obtained their education. During the long centuries which
elapsed between the time when Justinian closed the government schools
and the advent of Frederick Barbarossa, there appears to have been
nothing in western Europe, outside of Italy and Spain, corresponding to
our universities and colleges. Some of the schools which the bishops and
abbots had established in accordance with Charlemagne's commands were,
it is true, maintained all through the dark and disorderly times which
followed his death. But the little that we know of the instruction
offered in them would indicate that it was very elementary, although
there were sometimes noted men at their head.

[Sidenote: Abelard, d. 1142.]

About the year 1100 an ardent young man named Abelard started out from
his home in Brittany to visit all the places where he might hope to
receive instruction in logic and philosophy, in which, like all his
learned contemporaries, he was especially interested. He reports that he
found teachers in several of the French towns, particularly in Paris,
who were attracting large numbers of students to listen to their
lectures upon logic, rhetoric, and theology. Abelard soon showed his
superiority to his teachers by defeating them several times in debate.
Before long he began lecturing on his own account, and such was his
success that thousands of students flocked to hear him.

[Sidenote: Abelard's _Yea and Nay_.]

He prepared a remarkable little text-book, called _Yea and Nay_,
containing seemingly contradictory opinions of the church fathers upon
particular questions. The student was left to reconcile the
contradictions, if he could, by careful reasoning; for Abelard held that
a constant questioning was the only path to real knowledge. His free way
of dealing with the authorities upon which men based their religious
beliefs seemed wicked to many of his contemporaries, especially to St.
Bernard, who made him a great deal of trouble. Nevertheless it soon
became the fashion to discuss the various doctrines of Christianity with
great freedom and to try to make a well-reasoned system of theology by
following the rules of Aristotle's logic. It was just after Abelard's
death (1142) that Peter Lombard published his _Sentences_, already

Abelard did not found the University of Paris, as has sometimes been
supposed, but he did a great deal to make the discussions of theological
problems popular, and by his attractive method of teaching he greatly
increased the number of those who wished to learn. The sad story of his
life, which he wrote when he was worn out with the calamities that had
overtaken him, is the best and almost the only account which exists of
the remarkable interest in learning which explains the origin of the
University of Paris.[173]

[Sidenote: Origin of the University of Paris.]

Before the end of the twelfth century the teachers had become so
numerous in Paris that they formed a union, or guild, for the
advancement of their interests. This union of professors was called by
the usual name for corporations in the Middle Ages, _universitas_; hence
our word "university." The king and pope both favored the university and
granted the teachers and students many of the privileges of the clergy,
a class to which they were regarded as belonging, because learning had
for so many centuries been confined to the clergy.

[Sidenote: Study of the Roman and canon law in Bologna.]

[Sidenote: The _Decretum_ of Gratian.]

About the time that we find the beginnings of a university or guild of
professors at Paris, a great institution of learning was growing up at
Bologna. Here the chief attention was given, not to theology, as at
Paris, but to the study of the law, both Roman and canon. Very early in
the twelfth century a new interest in the Roman law became apparent in
Italy, where the old jurisprudence of Rome had never been completely
forgotten. Then, in 1142 or thereabouts, a monk, Gratian, published a
great work in which he aimed to reconcile all the conflicting
legislation of the councils and popes and to provide a convenient
text-book for the study of the church or canon law. Students then began
to stream to Bologna in greater numbers than ever before. In order to
protect themselves in a town where they were regarded as strangers, they
organized themselves into associations, which became so powerful that
they were able to force the professors to obey the rules which they laid

[Sidenote: Other universities founded.]

The University of Oxford was founded in the time of Henry II, probably
by English students and masters who had become discontented at Paris for
some reason. The University of Cambridge, as well as numerous
universities in France, Italy, and Spain, appeared in the thirteenth
century. The German universities, which are still so famous, were
established somewhat later, most of them in the latter half of the
fourteenth and in the fifteenth centuries. The northern institutions
generally took the great mother university on the Seine as their model,
while those in southern Europe usually adopted the habits of Bologna.

[Sidenote: The academic degree.]

When, after some years of study, a student was examined by the
professors, he was, if successful, admitted to the corporation of
teachers and became a master himself. What we call a degree to-day was
originally, in the mediæval universities, nothing more than the
qualification to teach. But in the thirteenth century many began to
desire the honorable title of master or doctor (which is only the Latin
word for _teacher_) who did not care to become professors in our sense
of the word.[174]

[Sidenote: Simple methods of instruction.]

The students in the mediæval universities were of all ages, from
thirteen to forty, and even older. There were no university buildings,
and in Paris the lectures were given in the Latin quarter, in Straw
Street, so called from the straw strewn on the floors of the hired rooms
where the lecturer explained the text-book, with the students squatting
on the floor before him. There were no laboratories, for there was no
experimentation. All that was required was a copy of the
text-book,--Gratian's _Decretum_, the _Sentences_, a treatise of
Aristotle, or a medical book. This the lecturer explained sentence by
sentence, and the students listened and sometimes took notes.

[Sidenote: The universities could move freely from one town to another.]

The fact that the masters and students were not bound to any particular
spot by buildings and apparatus left them free to wander about. If they
believed themselves ill-treated in one town they moved to another,
greatly to the disgust of the tradespeople of the place which they
deserted, who of course profited by the presence of the university. The
universities of Oxford and of Leipsic, among others, were founded by
professors and students who had deserted their former home.

[Sidenote: Course of study.]

The course in arts, which corresponded to our college course and led to
the degree of Master of Arts, occupied six years at Paris. The studies
were logic, various sciences,--physics, astronomy, etc.,--studied in
Aristotle's treatises, and some philosophy and ethics. There was no
history, no Greek. Latin had to be learned in order to carry on the work
at all, but little attention was given to the Roman classics. The new
modern languages were considered entirely unworthy of the learned. It
must of course be remembered that none of the books which we consider
the great classics in English, French, Italian, or Spanish had as yet
been written.

[Sidenote: Aristotle's works become known in the West.]

104. The most striking peculiarity of the instruction in the mediæval
university was the supreme deference paid to Aristotle. Most of the
courses of lectures were devoted to the explanation of some one of his
numerous treatises,--his _Physics_, his _Metaphysics_, his various
treatises on logic, his _Ethics_, his minor works upon the soul, heaven
and earth, etc. Only his _Logic_ had been known to Abelard, as all his
other works had been forgotten. But early in the thirteenth century all
his comprehensive contributions to science reached the West, either from
Constantinople or through the Arabs who had brought them to Spain. The
Latin translations were bad and obscure, and the lecturer had enough to
do to give some meaning to them, to explain what the Arab philosophers
had said of them, and, finally, to reconcile them to the teachings of

[Sidenote: Veneration for Aristotle.]

Aristotle was, of course, a pagan. He was uncertain whether the soul
continued to exist after death; he had never heard of the Bible and knew
nothing of the salvation of man through Christ. One would have supposed
that he would have been promptly rejected with horror by those who never
questioned the doctrines of Christianity. But the teachers of the
thirteenth century were fascinated by his logic and astonished at his
learning. The great theologians of the time, Albertus Magnus (d. 1280)
and Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274), did not hesitate to prepare elaborate
commentaries upon all his works. He was called "The Philosopher"; and so
fully were scholars convinced that it had pleased God to permit
Aristotle to say the last word upon each and every branch of knowledge
that they humbly accepted him, along with the Bible, the church fathers,
and the canon and Roman law, as one of the unquestioned authorities
which together formed a complete guide for humanity in conduct and in
every branch of science.

[Sidenote: Scholasticism.]

The term _scholasticism_ is commonly given to the philosophy, theology,
and method of discussion of the mediæval professors. To those who later
outgrew the fondness for logic and the supreme respect for Aristotle,
scholasticism, with its neglect of Greek and Roman literature, came to
seem an arid and profitless plan of education. Yet if we turn over the
pages of the wonderful works of Thomas Aquinas, we see that the
scholastic philosopher might be a person of extraordinary insight and
erudition, ready to recognize all the objections to his position, and
able to express himself with great clearness and cogency.[175] The
training in logic, if it did not increase the sum of human knowledge,
accustomed the student to make careful distinctions and present his
material in an orderly way.

[Sidenote: Roger Bacon's attack on scholasticism.]

Even in the thirteenth century there were a few scholars who criticised
the habit of relying upon Aristotle for all knowledge. The most
distinguished fault-finder was Roger Bacon, an English Franciscan monk
(d. about 1290), who declared that even if Aristotle were very wise he
had only planted the tree of knowledge and that this had "not as yet put
forth all its branches nor produced all its fruits." "If we could
continue to live for endless centuries we mortals could never hope to
reach full and complete knowledge of all the things which are to be
known. No one knows enough of nature completely to describe the
peculiarities of a single fly and give the reason for its color and why
it has just so many feet, no more and no less." Bacon held that truth
could be reached a hundred thousand times better by experiments with
real things than by poring over the bad Latin translations of Aristotle.
"If I had my way," he declared, "I should burn all the books of
Aristotle, for the study of them can only lead to a loss of time,
produce error and increase ignorance."

So we find that even when scholasticism was most popular in the
universities, there were keen-sighted scientists who recommended the
modern scientific method of discovering truth. This does not consist in
discussing, according to the rules of logic, what a Greek philosopher
said hundreds of years ago, but in the patient observation of things
about us.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Review of the great changes between the break-up of the Roman
Empire in the west and the end of the thirteenth century.]

We have now traversed somewhat over one half of the long period of
fifteen hundred years which separates Europe of to-day from the
disintegrating Roman Empire of the fifth century. The eight hundred
years which lie between the century of Alaric, Attila, Leo the Great,
and Clovis, and that of Innocent III, St. Louis, and Edward I, witnessed
momentous changes, quite as important as any that have occurred since.

[Sidenote: The 'dark ages.']

It is true that it seemed at first as if the barbarous Goths, Franks,
Vandals, and Burgundians were bringing nothing but turmoil and
distraction. Even the strong hand of Charlemagne curbed the unruly
elements for only a moment; then the discord of his grandsons and the
incursions of Northmen, Hungarians, Slavs, and Saracens plunged western
Europe once more into the same anarchy and ignorance through which it
had passed in the seventh and eighth centuries.

Two hundred years and more elapsed after Charlemagne's death before we
can begin once more to note signs of progress. While we know little of
the eleventh century, and while even its most distinguished writers are
forgotten by all save the student of the period, it was undoubtedly a
time of preparation for the brilliant twelfth century--for Abelard and
St. Bernard, for the lawyers, poets, architects, and philosophers who
seem to come suddenly upon the scene.

[Sidenote: The twelfth and thirteenth centuries a period of rapid

The Middle Ages may therefore be divided into two fairly distinct and
quite different periods. The centuries prior to the age of Gregory VII
and of William the Conqueror may, on account of their disorder and
ignorance, be properly called the "dark ages," although they beheld some
important stages in the transformation of Europe. The later Middle Ages,
on the contrary, were a time of rapid and unmistakable progress in
almost every line of human endeavor. Indeed by the end of the thirteenth
century a great part of those changes were well under way which serve to
make modern Europe so different from the condition of western Europe
under the Roman Empire. The most striking of these are the following.

[Sidenote: Appearance of national states.]

(1) A group of national states in which a distinct feeling of
nationality was developing had taken the place of the Roman Empire,
which made no allowance in its government for the differences between
Italians, Gauls, Germans, and Britons. The makeshift feudal government
which had grown up during the dark ages was yielding to the kingly
power (except in Germany and Italy) and there was no hope of ever
reuniting western Europe into a single empire.

[Sidenote: The national states begin to deprive the Church of its
governmental powers.]

(2) The Church had, in a way, taken the place of the Roman Empire by
holding the various peoples of western Europe together under the
headship of the pope and by assuming the powers of government during the
period when the feudal lords were too weak to secure order and justice.
Organized like an absolute monarchy, the Church was in a certain sense
far the most powerful state of the Middle Ages. But it attained the
zenith of its political influence under Innocent III, at the opening of
the thirteenth century; before its close the national states had so
grown in strength that it was clear that they would gradually reassume
the powers of government temporarily exercised by the Church and confine
the pope and clergy more and more to their strictly religious functions.

[Sidenote: Appearance of the commons or third estate.]

(3) A new social class had come into prominence alongside the clergy and
the knightly aristocracy. The emancipation of the serfs, the founding of
towns, and the growth of commerce made it possible for merchants and
successful artisans to rise to importance and become influential through
their wealth. From these beginnings the great intelligent and educated
public of modern times has sprung.

[Sidenote: Books begin to be written in the language of the people.]

(4) The various modern languages began to be used in writing books. For
five or six hundred years after the invasions of the Germans, Latin was
used by all writers, but in the eleventh and following centuries the
language of the people began to replace the ancient tongue. This enabled
the laymen who had not mastered the intricacies of the old Roman speech
to enjoy the stories and poems which were being composed in French,
Provençal, German, English, and Spanish, and, somewhat later, in

[Sidenote: The clergy lose the monopoly of learning.]

Although the clergy still directed education, laymen were beginning to
write books as well as to read them, and gradually the churchmen ceased
to enjoy the monopoly of learning which they had possessed during the
early Middle Ages.

[Sidenote: Study of law, theology, and philosophy.]

[Sidenote: The universities.]

(5) Scholars began as early as the year 1100 to gather eagerly about
masters who lectured upon the Roman and canon law or upon logic,
philosophy, or theology. The works of Aristotle, the most learned of the
ancients, were sought out, and students followed him enthusiastically
into all fields of knowledge. The universities grew up which are now so
conspicuous a feature of our modern civilization.

[Sidenote: Beginnings of experimental science.]

(6) Scholars could not satisfy themselves permanently with the works of
Aristotle but began themselves to add to the fund of human knowledge. In
Roger Bacon and his sympathizers we find a group of scientific
investigators who were preparing the way for the unprecedented
achievements in natural science which are the glory of recent times.

[Sidenote: Artistic progress.]

(7) The developing appreciation of the beautiful is attested by the
skill and taste expressed in the magnificent churches of the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries, which were not a revival of any ancient style but
the original production of the architects and sculptors of the period.

     General Reading.--The most convenient and readable account of
     mediæval literature is perhaps that of SAINTSBURY, _The Flourishing
     of Romance_ (Charles Scribner's Sons, $1.50). For chivalry, see
     CORNISH, _Chivalry_ (The Macmillan Company, $1.75). For Gothic
     architecture, see C.H. MOORE, _Development and Character of Gothic
     Architecture_ (The Macmillan Company, $4.50). For the art in
     general, LÜBKE, _Outlines of the History of Art_ (Dodd, Mead & Co.,
     2 vols., $7.50). For the universities, RASHDALL, _History of the
     Universities of the Middle Ages_ (Clarendon Press, 3 vols.,



[Sidenote: Plan of the following four chapters.]

105. In dealing with the history of Europe during the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries the following order has been adopted. (1) England
and France are treated together, since the claims of the English kings
to the French crown, and the long Hundred Years' War between the two
countries, bring them into the same tale of disorder and final
reorganization. (2) Next the history of the papal power and the
remarkable efforts to better the Church at the great Council of
Constance (1414) are considered. (3) Then the progress of enlightenment
is taken up, particularly in the Italian towns, which were the leaders
in culture during this period. This leads to an account of the invention
of printing and the extraordinary geographical discoveries of the latter
part of the fifteenth century. (4) In a fourth chapter the situation of
western Europe at the opening of the sixteenth century is described, in
order that the reader may be prepared to understand the great revolt
against the Church under the leadership of Martin Luther.

[Sidenote: Extent of the king of England's realms before Edward I

We turn first to England. The English kings who preceded Edward I had
ruled over only a portion of the island of Great Britain. To the west of
their kingdom lay the mountainous district of Wales, inhabited by that
remnant of the original Britons which the German invaders had been
unable to conquer. To the north of England was the kingdom of Scotland,
which was quite independent except for an occasional vague recognition
on the part of its rulers of the English kings as their feudal
superiors. Edward I, however, succeeded in conquering Wales permanently
and Scotland temporarily.

[Illustration: THE BRITISH ISLES]

[Sidenote: The Welsh and their bards.]

For centuries a border warfare had been carried on between the English
and the Welsh. William the Conqueror had found it necessary to establish
a chain of earldoms on the Welsh frontier, and Chester, Shrewsbury, and
Monmouth became the outposts of the Normans. While the raids of the
Welsh constantly provoked the English kings to invade Wales, no
permanent conquest was possible, for the enemy retreated into the
mountains about Snowdon and the English soldiers were left to starve in
the wild regions into which they had ventured. The long and successful
resistance which the Welsh made against the English must be attributed
not only to their inaccessible retreats but also to the patriotic
inspiration of their bards. These fondly believed that their people
would sometime reconquer the whole of England, which they had possessed
before the coming of the Angles and Saxons.[176]

[Sidenote: Edward I conquers Wales.]

[Sidenote: The title of 'Prince of Wales.']

When Edward I came to the throne he demanded that Llewelyn, Prince of
Wales, as the head of the Welsh clans was called, should do him homage.
Llewelyn, who was a man of ability and energy, refused the king's
summons, and Edward marched into Wales. Two campaigns were necessary
before the Welsh finally succumbed. Llewelyn was killed (1282), and with
him expired the independence of the Welsh people. Edward divided the
country into shires and introduced English laws and customs, and his
policy of conciliation was so successful that there was but a single
rising in the country for a whole century. He later presented his son to
the Welsh as their prince, and from that time down to the present the
title of "Prince of Wales" has usually been conferred upon the heir to
the English throne.

[Sidenote: Scotland before Edward I.]

[Sidenote: The Highlands and Lowlands.]

The conquest of Scotland proved a far more difficult matter than that of
Wales. The early history of the kingdom of Scotland is a complicated
one. When the Angles and Saxons landed in Britain, a great part of the
mountainous region north of the Firth of Forth was inhabited by a Celtic
tribe, the Picts. There was, however, on the west coast a little kingdom
of the Irish Celts, who were then called Scots. By the opening of the
tenth century the Picts had accepted the king of the Scots as their
ruler, and the annalists begin to refer to the highland region as the
land of the Scots. As time went on the English kings found it to their
advantage to grant to the Scottish rulers certain border districts,
including the Lowlands, between the river Tweed and the Firth of Forth.
This region was English in race and speech, while the Celts in the
Highlands spoke, and still speak, Gaelic.

[Sidenote: Character of the inhabitants of the Lowlands.]

It was very important in the history of Scotland that its kings chose to
dwell in the Lowlands rather than in the Highlands, and made Edinburgh,
with its fortress, their chief town. With the coming of William the
Conqueror many Englishmen, and also a number of discontented Norman
nobles, fled across the border to the Lowlands of Scotland, and founded
some of the great families, like those of Balliol and Bruce, who later
fought for Scottish liberty. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
the country, especially in the south, developed rapidly under the
influence of the neighboring Anglo-Norman civilization, and the towns
increased in size and importance.

[Sidenote: Edward intervenes in Scotch affairs.]

[Sidenote: Alliance between Scotland and France.]

It was not until the time of Edward I that the long series of troubles
between England and Scotland began. The death of the last representative
of the old line of Scotch kings in 1290 was followed by the appearance
of a number of claimants to the crown. In order to avoid civil war,
Edward was asked to decide who should be king. He agreed to make the
decision on condition that the one whom he selected should hold Scotland
as a fief from the English king. This arrangement was adopted, and the
crown was given to Robert Balliol. But Edward unwisely made demands upon
the Scots which aroused their anger, and their king renounced his
homage to the king of England. The Scotch, moreover, formed an alliance
with Edward's enemy, Philip the Fair of France; thenceforth, in all the
difficulties between England and France, the English kings had always to
reckon with the disaffected Scotch, who were glad to aid England's

[Sidenote: Edward attempts to incorporate Scotland with England.]

Edward marched in person against the Scotch (1296) and speedily put down
what he regarded as a rebellion. He declared that Balliol had forfeited
his fief through treason, and that consequently the English king had
become the immediate lord of the Scotch nobles, whom he forced to do him
homage. He emphasized his claim by carrying off the famous Stone of
Scone, upon which the kings of Scotland had been crowned for ages.
Continued resistance led Edward to attempt to incorporate Scotland with
England in the same way that he had treated Wales. This was the
beginning of three hundred years of intermittent war between England and
Scotland, which ended only when a Scotch king, James VI, succeeded to
the English throne in 1603 as James I.

[Sidenote: Scotland gains its independence under Robert Bruce.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Bannockburn, 1314.]

That Scotland was able to maintain her independence was mainly due to
Robert Bruce, a national hero who succeeded in bringing both the
nobility and the people under his leadership. Edward I died, old and
worn out, in 1307, when on his way north to put down a rising under
Bruce, and left the task of dealing with the Scotch to his incompetent
son, Edward II. The Scotch acknowledged Bruce as their king and
decisively defeated Edward II in the great battle of Bannockburn, the
most famous conflict in Scottish history. Nevertheless, the English
refused to acknowledge the independence of Scotland until forced to do
so in 1328.

[Sidenote: The Scottish nation differs from the English.]

In the course of their struggles with England the Scotch people of the
Lowlands had become more closely welded together, and the independence
of Scotland, although it caused much bloodshed, first and last, served
to develop certain permanent differences between the little Scotch
nation and the rest of the English race. The peculiarities of the people
north of the Tweed have been made familiar by the writings of gifted
Scotchmen like Burns, Scott, and Stevenson.

[Sidenote: Growth of the power of Parliament.]

Edward II's numerous enemies took advantage of his weakness to bring
about his downfall, but it is noteworthy that they worked through
Parliament and in that way strengthened that fundamental national
institution. We have seen how Edward I called representatives of the
townspeople, as well as the nobles and prelates, to the Model Parliament
of 1295.[177] This important innovation was formally ratified by his
son, who solemnly promised that all questions relating to his realm and
its people should be settled in parliaments in which the commons should
be included. Thereafter no statute could be legally passed without their
consent. In 1327 Parliament showed its power by forcing Edward II to
abdicate in favor of his son, and thereby established the principle that
the representatives of the nation might even go so far as to depose
their ruler, should he show himself clearly unfit for his high duties.
About this time Parliament began to meet in two distinct divisions,
which later became the House of Lords and the House of Commons. In
modern times this form of legislative assembly has been imitated by most
of the countries of Europe.

[Sidenote: Cause of the Hundred Years' War.]

106. The so-called Hundred Years' War, which we must now review, was a
long but frequently interrupted series of conflicts between the English
and the French kings. It began in the following manner. The king of
England, through John's misconduct, had lost Normandy and other portions
of the great Plantagenet realm on the continent.[178] He still retained,
however, the extensive duchy of Guienne, for which he did homage to the
king of France, whose most powerful vassal he was. This arrangement was
bound to produce constant difficulty, especially as the French kings
were, as we have discovered, bent upon destroying as fast as possible
the influence of their vassals, so that the royal power should
everywhere take the place of that of the feudal lords. It was obviously
out of the question for the king of England meekly to permit the French
monarch to extend his control directly over the people of Guienne, and
yet this was the constant aim of Philip the Fair[179] and his


       Louis IX (Saint Louis) (1226-1270)
           Philip III (1270-1285)
        |                                              |
        |                                              |
Philip IV, the Fair                           Charles of Valois,
(1285-1314)                           ancestor of the house of Valois
        |                                              |
  +-----+--------+-------------+------------+          |
  |              |             |            |          |
Louis X       Isabella, m. Philip V    Charles IV      |
(1314-1316)   Edward II   (1316-1322)  (1322-1328)     |
     |           |             |            |          |
  +--+----+      |             |            |          |
  |       |    Edward      daughters    daughter       |
daughter  |    III of                               Philip VI
          |    England                             (1328-1350)
       John                                            |
       (1316),                                         |
       an                                              |
       infant                                      John II
       who died                                   (1350-1364)
       when but                                        |
       a few                                           |
       days old                           +------------+
                                          |            |
                                       Charles V     Philip,
                                       (1364-1380)  founder of
                                          |         the powerful
                                       Charles VI     house
                                       (1380-1422)  of Burgundy
                                  Charles VII (1422-1461)
                                   Louis XI (1461-1483)
                                 Charles VIII (1483-1498)

[Sidenote: The French succession in 1328.]

The inevitable struggle between England and France was rendered the more
serious by the claim made by Edward III that he was himself the rightful
king of France. He based his pretensions upon the fact that his mother
Isabella was the daughter of Philip the Fair. Philip, who died in 1314,
had been followed by his three sons in succession, none of whom had left
a male heir, so that the direct male line of the Capetians was
extinguished in 1328. The lawyers thereupon declared that it was a
venerable law in France that no woman should succeed to the throne. The
principle was also asserted that a woman could not even transmit the
crown to her son. Consequently Edward III appeared to be definitely
excluded, and Philip VI of Valois, a nephew of Philip the Fair, became

[Sidenote: Edward III claims the French crown.]

At first Edward III, who was a mere boy in 1328, appeared to recognize
the propriety of this settlement and did qualified homage to Philip VI
for Guienne. But when it became apparent later that Philip was not only
encroaching upon Edward's prerogatives in Guienne but had sent French
troops to aid the Scotch, the English king bethought him of his
neglected claim to the French crown.

[Sidenote: The Flemish towns.]

The advantage of publicly declaring himself the rightful king of France
was increased by the attitude of the flourishing towns of Flanders.
Philip VI had assisted the count of Flanders in a bitter struggle to
prevent the towns from establishing their independence. Consequently the
Flemish burghers now announced their willingness to desert Philip and
acknowledge and aid Edward as their king.

[Sidenote: Commercial relations between the Flemish towns and England.]

[Sidenote: English wool.]

Flanders at this period was the most important trading and manufacturing
country in western Europe. Ghent was a great manufacturing town, like
Manchester to-day, and Bruges a busy port, like modern Antwerp or
Liverpool. All this prosperity was largely dependent upon England, for
it was from there that the Flemish manufacturers procured the fine, long
wool which they wove on their looms into cloth and spun into yarn. In
1336 the count of Flanders, perhaps at Philip's suggestion, ordered the
imprisonment of all the Englishmen in Flanders. Edward promptly
retaliated by prohibiting the export of wool from England and the
importation of cloth. At the same time he protected and encouraged the
Flemish artisans who had emigrated across the Channel and were carrying
on their industry in the county of Norfolk.

[Illustration: Royal Arms of Edward III]

It is clear, then, that the Flemish burghers had good reason for wishing
Edward to become their king, so that their relations with England might
not be broken off. They did their part in inducing him to undertake the
conquest of France, and (in 1340) we find him adding the _fleur de lis_
of France to the lions of the English royal arms.

[Sidenote: Edward III invades France, 1346.]

[Sidenote: The English victory at the battle of Crécy, 1346.]

Edward did not invade France for some years, but his sailors destroyed
the French fleet and began to show themselves able to maintain their
king's claim to be lord of the English seas upon every side. In 1346
Edward himself landed in Normandy, devastated the country, and marched
up the Seine almost to Paris, but was then obliged to retreat northward
before a large army which Philip had collected. Edward made a halt at
Crécy, and here one of the most celebrated battles of history took
place. It taught the world a great lesson in warfare by proving once
more, as the battle of Bannockburn had already done, that foot soldiers,
properly armed and trained to act in concert, could defeat the feudal
cavaliers in spite of their lances and heavy armor. The proud mounted
knights of France performed prodigies of valor, each for himself, but
they did not act together and could not hold their ground against the
deadly shower of arrows poured into their midst from the long bows of
the English archers. The flower of French chivalry was routed with
terrible slaughter by the serried ranks of the humble English foot
soldiers.[180] It was at Crécy that Edward's son, the Black Prince,--so
named from his black armor,--won his spurs.[181]

[Sidenote: The English take Calais.]

[Sidenote: The Black Prince wins a second great victory at Poitiers,

After this great victory the English king proceeded to lay siege to
Calais, the French coast town nearest England. This he took, drove out a
great part of the inhabitants, and substituted Englishmen for them. The
town remained subject to England for two centuries. When the war was
renewed the Black Prince, now at the height of his fame, was able to
deal the enemy a still more crushing blow than at Crécy. He again put
the French knights to flight in the battle of Poitiers; he even captured
the French king, John, and carried him off to London.

[Sidenote: The Estates General attempt to control the king and reform
the government.]

107. The French quite properly attributed the signal disasters of Crécy
and Poitiers to the inefficiency of their king and his advisers.
Accordingly, after the second defeat, the Estates General, which had
been summoned to approve the raising of more money, attempted to take
matters into their own hands. The representatives of the towns, whom
Philip the Fair had first called in,[182] were on this occasion more
numerous than the members of the clergy and nobility. A great list of
reforms was drawn up, which provided, among other things, that the
Estates should meet regularly whether summoned by the king or not, and
that the collection and expenditure of the public revenue should be no
longer entirely under the control of the king but should be supervised
by the representatives of the people. The city of Paris rose in support
of the revolutionary Estates, but the violence of its allies discredited
rather than helped the movement, and France was soon glad to accept the
unrestricted rule of its king once more.[183]

[Sidenote: Contrast between the position of the Estates General and the
English Parliament.]

This unsuccessful attempt to reform the French government is interesting
in two ways. In the first place, there was much in the aims of the
reformers and in the conduct of the Paris mob that suggests the great
successful French revolution of 1789, which at last fundamentally
modified the organization of the state. In the second place, the history
of the Estates forms a curious contrast to that of the English
Parliament, which was laying the foundation of its later power during
this very period. While the French king occasionally summoned the
Estates when he needed money, he did so only in order that their
approbation of new taxes might make it easier to collect them. He never
admitted that he had not the right to levy taxes if he wished without
consulting his subjects. In England, on the other hand, the kings ever
since the time of Edward I had repeatedly agreed that no new taxes
should be imposed without the consent of Parliament. Edward II had gone
farther and accepted the representatives of the people as his advisers
in all important matters touching the welfare of the realm. While the
French Estates gradually sank into insignificance, the English
Parliament soon learned to grant no money until the king had redressed
the grievances which it pointed out, and thus it insured its influence
over the king's policy.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Bretigny, 1360.]

Edward III found it impossible to conquer France in spite of the
victories of the Black Prince and the capture of John. He was glad in
1360 to sign the treaty of Bretigny, in which he not only renounced his
pretensions to the French crown but agreed to say no more of the old
claims of his family to Normandy and the Plantagenet provinces north of
the Loire. In return for these concessions he received, in full
sovereignty and without any feudal obligations to the king of France,
Poitou, Guienne, Gascony, and the town of Calais, amounting to about one
third of the territory of France.

[Illustration: French Territory ceded to England by the Treaty of
Bretigny, 1360]

[Sidenote: England loses most of its French territory before the death
of Edward III, 1377.]

The promising peace of Bretigny was however soon broken. The Black
Prince, to whom the government of Guienne was delegated by his father,
levied such heavy taxes that he quickly alienated the hearts of a people
naturally drawn to France rather than to England. When the sagacious
Charles V of France (1364-1380) undertook to reconquer the territory
which his father had ceded to England, he met with no determined
opposition; Edward III was getting old and his warlike son, the Black
Prince, had fallen mortally ill. So when Edward died in 1377 nothing
remained to the English king except Calais and a strip of land from
Bordeaux southward.

[Sidenote: Miserable condition of France.]

For a generation after the death of Edward III the war with France was
almost discontinued. France had suffered a great deal more than England.
In the first place, all the fighting had been done on her side of the
Channel, and in the second place, the soldiers who found themselves
without occupation after the treaty of Bretigny had wandered about in
bands maltreating and plundering the people. Petrarch, who visited
France at this period, tells us that he could not believe that this was
the same kingdom which he had once seen so rich and flourishing.
"Nothing presented itself to my eyes but fearful solitude and extreme
poverty, uncultivated land and houses in ruins. Even about Paris there
were everywhere signs of fire and destruction. The streets were
deserted; the roads overgrown with weeds."

[Sidenote: The bubonic plague of 1348-1349, commonly called the 'black

The horrors of war had been increased by the deadly bubonic plague which
appeared in Europe early in 1348. In April it had reached Florence; by
August it was devastating France and Germany; it then spread over
England from the southwest northward, attacking every part of the
country during the year 1349. This disease, like other terrible
epidemics, such as smallpox and cholera, came from Asia. Those who were
stricken with it usually died in two or three days. It is impossible to
tell what proportion of the population perished. Reports of the time say
that in one part of France but one tenth of the people survived, in
another but one sixteenth; and that for a long time five hundred bodies
were carried from the great hospital of Paris every day. A careful
estimate shows that in England toward one half of the population died.
At the Abbey of Newenham only the abbot and two monks were left alive
out of twenty-six. There were constant complaints that certain lands
were no longer of any value to their lords because the tenants were all

[Sidenote: Conditions of English labor.]

108. In England the growing discontent among the agricultural classes
may be ascribed partly to the results of the great pestilence and partly
to the new taxes which were levied in order to prolong the disastrous
war with France. Up to this time the majority of those who cultivated
the land belonged to some particular manor, paid stated dues to their
lord, and performed definite services for him. Hitherto there had been
relatively few farm hands who might be hired and who sought employment
anywhere that they could get it. The black death, by greatly decreasing
the number of laborers, raised wages and served to increase the
importance of the unattached laborer. Consequently he not only demanded
higher wages than ever before, but readily deserted one employer when
another offered him more money.

[Sidenote: The Statutes of Laborers issued in 1351 and following years.]

This appeared very shocking to those who were accustomed to the
traditional rates of payment; and the government undertook to keep down
wages by prohibiting laborers from asking more than had been customary
during the years that preceded the pestilence. Every laborer, when
offered work at the established wages, was ordered to accept it on pain
of imprisonment. The first "Statute of Laborers"[184] was issued in
1351; but apparently it was not obeyed and similar laws were enacted
from time to time for a century. Nevertheless complaints continued that
serfs and laborers persisted in demanding "outrageous and excessive
hire." This seems to indicate that the efforts of Parliament to
interfere with the law of supply and demand were unsuccessful.

[Sidenote: Breaking up of the mediæval manors in England.]

The old manor system was breaking up. Many of the laboring class in the
country no longer held land as serfs but moved from place to place and
made a living by working for wages. The _villain_, as the serf was
called in England, began to regard the dues which he had been accustomed
to pay to his lord as unjust. A petition to Parliament in 1377 asserts
that the villains are refusing to pay their customary services to their
lords or to acknowledge the obligations which they owe as serfs.

[Sidenote: Causes of discontent among the English peasants.]

[Sidenote: 'The Vision of Piers Ploughman.']

The discontent was becoming general. We see it reflected in a remarkable
poem of the time, "The Vision of Piers Ploughman," in which the
unfortunate position of the peasant is vividly portrayed.[185] This is
only the most notable example of a great number of pamphlets, some in
prose and some in bad verse, which were calculated to make the people
more discontented than ever. The efforts to enforce the provisions of
the Statutes of Laborers had undoubtedly produced much friction between
the landlords and their employees. A new form of taxation also caused
much irritation. A general poll tax, which was to be paid by every one
above sixteen years of age, was established in 1379 and another one in
the following year to meet the expenses of the hopeless French war which
was now being conducted by incapable and highly unpopular ministers.

[Sidenote: The peasant revolt of 1381.]

In 1381 rioting began among the peasants in Kent and Essex, and several
bodies of the insurgents determined to march upon London. As they passed
along the road their ranks were swelled by discontented villagers and by
many of the poorer workingmen from the towns. Soon the revolt spread all
through southern and eastern England. The peasants burned some of the
houses of the gentry and of the rich ecclesiastics, and took particular
pains to see that the lists for the collection of the hated poll tax
were destroyed, as well as the registers kept by the various lords
enumerating the obligations of their serfs. The gates of London were
opened to the insurgents by sympathizers within the walls, and several
of the king's officers were seized and put to death. Some of the simple
people imagined that they might induce the boy king, Richard II, to
become their leader. He had no idea of aiding them; he went out,
however, to meet them and induced them to disperse by promising that he
would abolish serfdom.

[Sidenote: Final disappearance of serfdom in England.]

Although the king did not keep his promise, serfdom decayed rapidly. It
became more and more common for the serf to pay his dues to the lord in
money instead of working for him, and in this way he lost one of the
chief characteristics of a serf. The landlord then either hired men to
cultivate the fields which he reserved for his own use[186] or rented
the land to tenants. These tenants were not in a position to force their
fellow-tenants on the manor to pay the full dues which had formerly been
exacted by the lord. Sixty or seventy years after the Peasants' War the
English rural population had in one way or another become free men, and
serfs had practically disappeared.

[Sidenote: Deposition of Richard II and accession of Henry IV of
Lancaster, 1399-1413.]

[Sidenote: Henry V claims the French crown, 1414.]

109. The war with France had, as we have seen, almost ceased for a
generation after the death of Edward III. The young son of the Black
Prince, Richard II, who succeeded his grandfather on the throne, was
controlled by the great noblemen whose rivalries fill much space in the
annals of England. He was finally forced to abdicate in 1399. Henry IV,
of the powerful house of Lancaster,[187] was recognized as king in spite
of the fact that he had less claim than another descendant of Edward
III, who was, however, a mere boy. Henry IV's uncertain title may have
made him less enterprising than Edward III; at any rate, it was left for
his son, Henry V (1413-1422), to continue the French war. The conditions
in France were such as to encourage the new claim which Henry V made to
the French crown in 1414.

[Sidenote: Civil war in France between the houses of Burgundy and

The able French king, Charles V, who had delivered his country for a
time from the English invaders,[188] had been followed in 1380 by
Charles VI, who soon lost his mind. The right to govern France
consequently became a matter of dispute among the insane king's uncles
and other relations. The country was divided between two great factions,
one of which was headed by the powerful duke of Burgundy, who was
building up a new state between France and Germany, and the other by the
duke of Orleans. In 1407 the duke of Orleans was brutally murdered by
order of the duke of Burgundy,--a by no means uncommon way at that time
of disposing of one's enemies in both France and England. This led to a
prolonged civil war between the two parties, and saved England from an
attack which the duke of Orleans had been planning.

[Sidenote: Position of Henry V.]

[Sidenote: Agincourt, 1415.]

Henry V had no real basis for his claim to the French crown. Edward III
had gone to war because France was encroaching upon Guienne and aiding
Scotland, and because he was encouraged by the Flemish towns. Henry V,
on the other hand, was merely anxious to make himself and his house
popular by deeds of valor. Nevertheless his very first victory, the
battle of Agincourt, was as brilliant as that of Crécy or Poitiers. Once
more the English bowmen slaughtered great numbers of French knights. The
English then proceeded to conquer Normandy and march upon Paris.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Troyes, 1420.]

Burgundians and Orleanists were upon the point of forgetting their
animosities in their common fear of the English, when the duke of
Burgundy, as he was kneeling to kiss the hand of his future sovereign,
the Dauphin,[189] was treacherously attacked and killed by a band of his
enemies. His son, the new duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, immediately
joined the English against the Dauphin, whom he believed to be
responsible for his father's murder. Henry then forced the French to
sign the treaty of Troyes (1420), which provided that he was to become
king of France upon the death of the mad Charles VI.

[Sidenote: Henry VI recognized as king in northern France.]

Both Henry V and Charles VI died two years later. Henry V's son, Henry
VI, was but nine months old; nevertheless according to the terms of the
treaty of Troyes he succeeded to the throne in France as well as in
England. The child was recognized only in a portion of northern France.
Through the ability of his uncle, the duke of Bedford, his interests
were defended with such good effect that the English succeeded in a few
years in conquering all of France north of the Loire, although the south
continued to be held by Charles VII, the son of Charles VI.

[Sidenote: Joan of Arc.]

Charles VII had not yet been crowned and so was still called the Dauphin
even by his supporters. Weak and indolent, he did nothing to stem the
tide of English victories or restore the courage and arouse the
patriotism of his distressed subjects. This great task was reserved for
a young peasant girl from a remote village on the eastern border of
France. To her family and her companions Joan of Arc seemed only "a good
girl, simple and pleasant in her ways," but she brooded much over the
disasters that had overtaken her country, and a "great pity on the fair
realm of France" filled her heart. She saw visions and heard voices that
bade her go forth to the help of the king and lead him to Rheims to be

[Sidenote: Relief of Orleans by Joan, 1429.]

It was with the greatest difficulty that she got anybody to believe in
her mission or to help her to get an audience with the Dauphin. But her
own firm faith in her divine guidance triumphed over all doubts and
obstacles. She was at last accepted as a God-sent champion and placed at
the head of some troops despatched to the relief of Orleans. This city,
which was the key to southern France, had been besieged by the English
for some months and was on the point of surrender. Joan, who rode on
horseback at the head of her troops, clothed in armor like a man, had
now become the idol of the soldiers and of the people. Under the
guidance and inspiration of her indomitable courage, sound sense, and
burning enthusiasm, Orleans was relieved and the English completely
routed. The Maid of Orleans, as she was henceforth called, was now free
to conduct the Dauphin to Rheims, where he was crowned in the cathedral
(July 17, 1429).

[Illustration: Possessions of the English King in France upon the
Accession of Henry VI, 1424]

[Sidenote: Execution of Joan, 1431.]

The Maid now felt that her mission was accomplished and begged
permission to return to her home and her brothers and sisters. To this
the king would not consent, and she continued to fight his battles with
undiminished loyalty. But the other leaders were jealous of her, and
even her friends, the soldiers, were sensitive to the taunt of being led
by a woman. During the defense of Compiègne in May, 1430, she was
allowed to fall into the hands of the duke of Burgundy, who sold her to
the English. They were not satisfied with simply holding as prisoner
that strange maiden who had so discomfited them; they wished to
discredit everything that she had done, and so declared, and undoubtedly
believed, that she was a witch who had been helped by the Evil One. She
was tried by a court of ecclesiastics, found guilty of heresy, and
burned at Rouen in 1431. Her bravery and noble constancy affected even
her executioners, and an English soldier who had come to triumph over
her death was heard to exclaim: "We are lost--we have burned a saint."
The English cause in France was indeed lost, for her spirit and example
had given new courage and vigor to the French armies.[190]

[Sidenote: England loses her French possessions.]

[Sidenote: End of the Hundred Years' War, 1453.]

The English Parliament became more and more reluctant to grant funds
when there were no more victories gained. Bedford, through whose ability
the English cause had hitherto been maintained, died in 1435, and Philip
the Good, Duke of Burgundy, renounced his alliance with the English and
joined Charles VII. Owing to his acquisition of the Netherlands, the
possessions of Philip were now so great that he might well be regarded
as a European potentate whose alliance with France rendered further
efforts on England's part hopeless. From this time on the English lost
ground steadily. They were expelled from Normandy in 1450. Three years
later, the last vestige of their long domination in southern France
passed into the hands of the French king. The Hundred Years' War was
over, and although England still retained Calais, the great question
whether she should extend her sway upon the continent was finally

[Sidenote: The Wars of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and
York, 1455-1485.]

110. The close of the Hundred Years' War was followed in England by the
Wars of the Roses, between the rival houses which were struggling for
the crown. The badge of the house of Lancaster, to which Henry VI
belonged, was a red rose, and that of the duke of York, who proposed to
push him off his throne, was a white one. Each party was supported by a
group of the wealthy and powerful nobles whose rivalries, conspiracies,
treasons, murders, and executions fill the annals of England during the
period which we have been discussing. Vast estates had come into the
hands of the higher nobility by inheritance, and marriages with wealthy
heiresses. Many of the dukes and earls were related to the royal family
and consequently were inevitably drawn into the dynastic struggles.

[Sidenote: Retainers.]

The nobles no longer owed their power to vassals who were bound to
follow them to war. Like the king, they relied upon hired soldiers. It
was easy to find plenty of restless fellows who were willing to become
the retainers of a nobleman if he would agree to clothe them with his
livery and keep open house, where they might eat and drink their fill.
Their master was to help them when they got into trouble, and they on
their part were expected to intimidate, misuse, and even murder at need
those who opposed the interests of their chief. When the French war was
over, the unruly elements of society poured back across the Channel and,
as retainers of the rival lords, became the terror of the country. They
bullied judges and juries, and helped the nobles to control the
selection of those who were sent to Parliament.

[Sidenote: Edward IV secures the crown.]

It is needless to speak of the several battles and the many skirmishes
of the miserable Wars of the Roses. These lasted from 1455, when the
duke of York set seriously to work to displace the weak-minded
Lancastrian king, Henry VI, until the accession of Henry VII, of the
house of Tudor, thirty years later. After several battles the Yorkist
leader, Edward IV, assumed the crown in 1461 and was recognized by
Parliament, which declared Henry VI and the two preceding Lancastrian
kings usurpers.[191] Edward was a vigorous monarch and maintained his
own until his death in 1483.

[Sidenote: Edward V, 1483; Richard III, 1483-1485.]

[Sidenote: Death of Richard in the battle of Bosworth Field.]

[Sidenote: Accession of Henry VII of the house of Tudor, 1485.]

[Sidenote: End of the Wars of the Roses.]

Edward's son, Edward V, was only a little boy, so that the government
fell into the hands of the young king's uncle, Richard, Duke of
Gloucester. The temptation to make himself king was too great to be
resisted, and Richard soon seized the crown. Both the sons of Edward IV
were killed in the Tower of London, and with the knowledge of their
uncle, as it was commonly believed. This murder made Richard unpopular
even at a time when one could kill one's political rivals without
incurring general opprobrium. A new aspirant to the throne organized a
conspiracy. Richard III was defeated and slain in the battle of Bosworth
Field in 1485, and the crown which had fallen from his head was placed
upon that of the first Tudor king, Henry VII. The latter had no
particular right to it, although he was descended from Edward III
through his mother. He hastened to procure the recognition of
Parliament, and married Edward IV's daughter, thus blending the red and
white roses in the Tudor badge.[192]


[Sidenote: The despotism of the Tudors.]

The Wars of the Roses had important results. Nearly all the powerful
families of England had been drawn into the fierce struggles, and a
great part of the nobility, whom the kings had formerly feared, had
perished on the battlefield or lost their heads in the ruthless
executions carried out by each party after it gained a victory. This
left the king far more powerful than ever before. He could now dominate
Parliament, if he could not dispense with it. For a century and more the
Tudor kings enjoyed almost despotic power. England ceased for a time to
enjoy the free government for which the foundations had been laid under
the Edwards and the Lancastrian kings, whose embarrassments at home and
abroad had made them constantly dependent upon the aid of the

[Sidenote: France establishes a standing army, 1439.]

111. In France the closing years of the Hundred Years' War had witnessed
a great increase of the king's power through the establishment of a
well-organized standing army. The feudal army had long since
disappeared. Even before the opening of the war the nobles had begun to
be paid for their military services and no longer furnished troops as a
condition of holding fiefs. But the companies of soldiers, although
nominally under the command of royal officers, were often really
independent of the king. They found their pay very uncertain, and
plundered their countrymen as well as the enemy. As the war drew to a
close, the lawless troopers became a terrible scourge to the country and
were known as _flayers_, on account of the horrible way in which they
tortured the peasants in the hope of extracting money from them. In 1439
the Estates General approved a plan devised by the king, for putting an
end to this evil. Thereafter no one was to raise a company without the
permission of the king, who was to name the captains and fix the number
of the soldiers and the character of their arms.[194]

[Sidenote: The permanent tax fatal to the powers of the Estates

The Estates agreed that the king should use a certain tax, called the
_taille_, to support the troops necessary for the protection of the
frontier. This was a fatal concession, for the king now had an army and
the right to collect what he chose to consider a permanent tax, the
amount of which he later greatly increased; he was not dependent, as was
the English king, upon the grants made for brief periods by the
representatives of the nation.

[Sidenote: The new feudalism.]

Before the king of France could hope to establish a compact,
well-organized state it was necessary for him to reduce the power of his
vassals, some of whom were almost his equals in strength. The older
feudal dynasties, as we have seen, had many of them succumbed to the
attacks and the diplomacy of the kings of the thirteenth century,
especially of St. Louis. But he and his successors had raised up fresh
rivals by granting whole provinces, called _appanages_,[195] to their
younger sons. In this way new and powerful lines of feudal nobles were
established, such, for example, as the houses of Orleans, Anjou,
Bourbon, and, above all, of Burgundy. The accompanying map shows the
region immediately subject to the king--the royal domain--at the time of
the expulsion of the English. It clearly indicates what still remained
to be done in order to free France from feudalism and make it a great
nation. The process of reducing the prerogatives of the nobles had been
begun. They had been forbidden to coin money, to maintain armies, and to
tax their subjects, and the powers of the king's judges had been
extended over all the realm. But the task of consolidating France was
reserved for the son of Charles VII, the shrewd and treacherous Louis XI

[Sidenote: Extent of the Burgundian possessions in the fifteenth

By far the most dangerous of Louis' vassals were Philip the Good, Duke
of Burgundy (1419-1467), and his impetuous son, Charles the Bold
(1467-1477). Just a century before Louis XI came to the throne, the old
line of Burgundian dukes had died out, and in 1363 the same King John
whom the English captured and carried off to England, presented Burgundy
to his younger son Philip.[196] By fortunate marriages and lucky
windfalls the dukes of Burgundy had added a number of important fiefs to
their original possessions, and Philip the Good ruled over
Franche-Comté, Luxembourg, Flanders, Artois, Brabant, and other
provinces and towns which lie in what is now Holland and Belgium.

[Illustration: Louis XI]

[Sidenote: Ambition of Charles the Bold, 1467-1477.]

Charles the Bold busied himself for some years before his father's death
in forming alliances with the other powerful French vassals and
conspiring against Louis. Upon becoming duke himself he set his heart
upon two things. He resolved, first, to conquer Lorraine, which divided
his territories into two parts and made it difficult to pass from
Franche-Comté to Luxembourg. In the second place, he proposed to have
himself crowned king of the territories which his forefathers had
accumulated and in this way establish a strong new state between France
and Germany.

[Sidenote: Charles defeated by the Swiss at Granson and Murten, 1476.]

Naturally neither the king of France nor the emperor sympathized with
Charles' ambitions. Louis taxed his exceptional ingenuity in frustrating
his aspiring vassal; and the emperor refused to crown Charles as king
when he appeared at Trier eager for the ceremony. The most humiliating,
however, of the defeats which Charles encountered came from an
unexpected quarter. He attempted to chastise his neighbors the Swiss for
siding with his enemies and was soundly beaten by that brave people in
two memorable battles.


[Sidenote: Death of Charles, 1477.]

[Sidenote: Marriage of Mary of Burgundy to Maximilian of Austria.]

The next year Charles fell ingloriously in an attempt to take the town
of Nancy. His lands went to his daughter Mary, who was immediately
married to the emperor's son, Maximilian, much to the disgust of Louis,
who had already seized the duchy of Burgundy and hoped to gain still
more. The great importance of this marriage, which resulted in bringing
the Netherlands into the hands of Austria, will be seen when we come to
consider Charles V (the grandson of Mary and Maximilian) and his vast

[Sidenote: Work of Louis XI.]

Louis XI did far more for the French monarchy than check his chief
vassal and reclaim a part of the Burgundian territory. He had himself
made heir to a number of provinces in central and southern
France,--Anjou, Maine, Provence, etc.,--which by the death of their
possessors came under the king's immediate control (1481). He humiliated
in various ways the vassals who in his early days had combined with
Charles the Bold against him. The duke of Alençon he imprisoned; the
rebellious duke of Nemours he caused to be executed in the most cruel
manner. Louis' political aims were worthy, but his means were generally
despicable. It sometimes seemed as if he gloried in being the most
rascally among rascals, the most treacherous among the traitors whom he
so artfully circumvented in the interests of the French monarchy.[198]

[Sidenote: England and France establish strong national governments.]

Both England and France emerged from the troubles and desolations of the
Hundred Years' War stronger than ever before. In both countries the
kings had overcome the menace of feudalism by destroying the power of
the great families. The royal government was becoming constantly more
powerful. Commerce and industry increased the national wealth and
supplied the monarchs with the revenue necessary to maintain government
officials and a sufficient armed force to execute the laws and keep
order throughout their realms. They were no longer forced to rely upon
the uncertain pledges of their vassals. In short, the French and the
English were both becoming nations, each with a strong national feeling
and a king whom every one, both high and low, recognized and obeyed as
the head of the government.

[Sidenote: Influence of the development of modern states upon the
position of the mediæval Church.]

It is obvious that the strengthening of the royal power could hardly
fail to alter the position of the mediæval Church. This was, as we have
seen, not simply a religious institution but a sort of international
state which performed a number of important governmental duties. We
must, therefore, now turn back and review the history of the Church from
the time of Edward I and Philip the Fair to the opening of the sixteenth

     General Reading.--For the political history of this period, LODGE,
     _Close of the Middle Ages_ (The Macmillan Company, $1.75), is the
     best work, although rather dry and cumbered with names which might
     have been omitted. For the general history of France, see in
     addition to ADAMS, _Growth of the French Nation_ (The Macmillan
     Company, $1.25), DURUY, _A History of France_ (T.Y. Crowell,
     $2.00). The economic history of England is to be found in the works
     mentioned at the end of Chapter XVIII. The following collections of
     documents furnish illustrative material in abundance: LEE,
     _Source-book of English History_ (Holt, $2.00); COLBY, _Selections
     from the Sources of English History_, (Longmans, Green & Co.,
     $1.50); ADAMS & STEPHENS, _Select Documents of English
     Constitutional History_ (The Macmillan Company, $2.25); KENDALL,
     _Source Book of English History_ (The Macmillan Company, 80 cents).



[Sidenote: The problem of the relation of church and state.]

112. The influence which the Church and its head exercised over the
civil government in the Middle Ages was due largely to the absence of
strong, efficient rulers who could count upon the support of a large
body of prosperous and loyal subjects. So long as the feudal anarchy
continued, the Church endeavored to supply the deficiencies of the
restless and ignorant princes by striving to maintain order, administer
justice, protect the weak, and encourage learning. So soon, however, as
the modern state began to develop, difficulties arose. The clergy
naturally clung to the powers and privileges which they had long
enjoyed, and which they believed to be rightly theirs. On the other
hand, the state, so soon as it felt itself able to manage its own
affairs, protect its subjects, and provide for their worldly interests,
was less and less inclined to tolerate the interference of the clergy
and their head, the pope. Educated laymen were becoming more and more
common, and the king was no longer obliged to rely upon the assistance
of the clergy in conducting his government. It was natural that he
should look with disfavor upon their privileges, which put them upon a
different footing from the great mass of his subjects, and upon their
wealth, which he would deem excessive and dangerous to his power. This
situation raised the fundamental problem of the proper relation of
church and state, upon which Europe has been working ever since the
fourteenth century and has not completely solved yet.

[Sidenote: Edward I and Philip the Fair attempt to tax the clergy.]

The difficulty which the Church experienced in maintaining its power
against the kings is excellently shown by the famous struggle between
Philip the Fair, the grandson of St. Louis, and Boniface VIII, an old
man of boundless ambition and inexhaustible energy who came to the papal
throne in 1294. The first serious trouble arose over the habit into
which the kings of England and France had fallen, of taxing the property
of the churchmen like that of other subjects. It was natural after a
monarch had squeezed all that he could out of the Jews and the towns,
and had exacted every possible feudal due, that he should turn to the
rich estates of the clergy, in spite of their claim that their property
was dedicated to God and owed the king nothing. The extensive
enterprises of Edward I led him in 1296 to demand one fifth of the
personal property of the clergy. Philip the Fair exacted one hundredth
and then one fiftieth of the possessions of clergy and laity alike.

[Sidenote: The bull _Clericis laicos_ of Boniface VIII, 1296.]

Against this impartial system Boniface protested in the famous bull
_Clericis laicos_ (1296). He claimed that the laity had always been
exceedingly hostile to the clergy, and that the rulers were now
exhibiting this hostility by imposing heavy burdens upon the Church,
forgetting that they had no control over the clergy and their
possessions. The pope, therefore, forbade all churchmen, including the
monks, to pay, without his consent, to a king or ruler any part of the
Church's revenue or possessions upon any pretext whatsoever. He likewise
forbade the kings and princes under pain of excommunication to presume
to exact any such payments.

[Sidenote: Boniface concedes a limited right to tax churchmen.]

It happened that just as the pope was prohibiting the clergy from
contributing to the taxes, Philip the Fair had forbidden the exportation
of all gold and silver from the country. In that way he cut off an
important source of the pope's revenue, for the church of France could
obviously no longer send anything to Rome. The pope was forced to give
up his extreme claims. He explained the following year that he had not
meant to interfere with the payment on the clergy's part of customary
feudal dues nor with their loans of money to the king.[199]

[Sidenote: The jubilee of 1300.]

In spite of this setback, the pope never seemed more completely the
recognized head of the western world than during the first great
jubilee, in the year 1300, when Boniface called together all Christendom
to celebrate the opening of the new century by a great religious
festival at Rome. It is reported that two millions of people, coming
from all parts of Europe, visited the churches of Rome, and that in
spite of widening the streets many were crushed in the crowd. So great
was the influx of money into the papal treasury that two assistants were
kept busy with rakes collecting the offerings which were deposited at
the tomb of St. Peter.

Boniface was, however, very soon to realize that even if Christendom
regarded Rome as its religious center, the nations would not accept him
as their political head. When he dispatched an obnoxious prelate to
Philip the Fair, ordering him to free the count of Flanders whom he was
holding prisoner, the king declared the harsh language of the papal
envoy to be high treason and sent one of his lawyers to the pope to
demand that the messenger be degraded and punished.

[Sidenote: The Estates General of 1302.]

Philip was surrounded by a body of lawyers, and it would seem that they,
rather than the king, were the real rulers of France. They had, through
their study of Roman law, learned to admire the absolute power exercised
by the Roman emperor. To them the civil government was supreme, and they
urged the king to punish what they regarded as the insolent conduct of
the pope. Before taking any action against the head of the Church,
Philip called together the representatives of his people, including not
only the clergy and the nobility but the people of the towns as well.
The Estates General, after hearing a statement of the case from one of
Philip's lawyers, agreed to support their monarch.

[Sidenote: Nogaret insults Boniface VIII.]

[Sidenote: Death of Boniface, 1303.]

Nogaret, one of the chief legal advisers of the king, undertook to face
the pope. He collected a little troop of soldiers in Italy and marched
against Boniface, who was sojourning at Anagni, where his predecessors
had excommunicated two emperors, Frederick Barbarossa and Frederick II.
As Boniface, in his turn, was preparing solemnly to proclaim the king of
France an outcast from the Church, Nogaret penetrated into the papal
palace with his soldiers and heaped insults upon the helpless but
defiant old man. The townspeople forced Nogaret to leave the next day,
but Boniface's spirit was broken and he soon died at Rome.

[Sidenote: Clement V, 1305-1314, and his subservience to Philip the

[Sidenote: The popes take up their residence at Avignon.]

King Philip now proposed to have no more trouble with popes. He arranged
in 1305 to have the Archbishop of Bordeaux chosen head of the Church,
with the understanding that he should transfer the papacy to France. The
new pope accordingly summoned the cardinals to meet him at Lyons, where
he was crowned under the title of Clement V. He remained in France
during his whole pontificate, moving from one rich abbey to another. At
Philip's command he reluctantly undertook a sort of trial of the
deceased Boniface VIII, who was accused by the king's lawyers of all
sorts of abominable crimes. A great part of Boniface's decrees were
revoked, and those who had attacked him were exculpated. Then, to please
the king, Clement brought the Templars to trial; the order was abolished
and its possessions in France, for which the king had longed, were
confiscated. Obviously it proved very advantageous to the king to have a
pope within his realm. Clement V died in 1314. His successors took up
their residence in the town of Avignon, just outside the French frontier
of those days. There they built a sumptuous palace in which successive
popes lived in great splendor for sixty years.

[Sidenote: The Babylonian Captivity of the Church.]

113. The prolonged exile of the popes from Rome, lasting from 1305 to
1377, is commonly called the Babylonian Captivity[200] of the Church, on
account of the woes attributed to it. The popes of this period were for
the most part good and earnest men; but they were all Frenchmen, and the
proximity of their court to France led to the natural suspicion that
they were controlled by the French kings. This, together with their
luxurious court, brought them into discredit with the other

[Sidenote: The papal taxation.]

At Avignon the popes were naturally deprived of some of the revenue
which they had enjoyed from their Italian possessions when they lived at
Rome. This deficiency had to be made up by increased taxation,
especially as the expenses of the splendid papal court were very heavy.
The papacy was, consequently, rendered still more unpopular by the
methods employed to raise money, particularly by the granting of
benefices throughout Europe to the pope's courtiers, by the heavy
contributions which were demanded for dispensations, for the
confirmation of bishops, and for granting the pallium to archbishops, as
well as the high fees for the trial of law suits.

[Sidenote: Pope's control of church benefices.]

Many of the church offices, such as those of the bishops and abbots,
insured a more than ample revenue to their holders. It was natural,
therefore, that the pope, in his endeavor to increase his income, should
have tried to bring as many of these appointments as he could into his
own hands. He did this by reserving to himself the filling of certain
benefices so soon as they should become vacant. He then chose some one
to whom he wished to do a favor and promised him the benefice upon the
death of the one then holding it. Men appointed in this way were called
_provisors_ and were extremely unpopular. They were very often
foreigners, and it was suspected that they had obtained these positions
from the pope simply for the sake of the revenue, and had no intention
whatever of performing the duties connected with them.

[Sidenote: Statute of provisors, 1352.]

The papal exactions met with the greatest opposition in England because
the popes were thought to favor France, with which country the English
were at war. A law was passed by Parliament in 1352 ordering that all
who procured appointments from the pope should be outlawed, that any one
might injure such offenders at will, and that the injured should have no
redress, since they were enemies of the king and his realm.[202] This
and similar laws failed, however, to prevent the pope from filling
English benefices to the advantage of himself and his courtiers. The
English king was unable to keep the money of his realm from flowing to
Avignon on one pretext or another. It was declared by the Good
Parliament, held in 1376, that the taxes levied by the pope in England
were five times those raised by the king.

[Sidenote: John Wycliffe.]

The most famous and conspicuous critic of the pope and of the policy of
the Roman Church at this time was John Wycliffe, a teacher at Oxford. He
was born about 1320; but we know little of him before 1366, when Urban V
demanded that England should pay the tribute promised by King John when
he became the pope's vassal.[203] Parliament declared that John had no
right to bind the people without their consent, and Wycliffe began his
career of opposition to the papacy by trying to prove that John's
compact was void. About ten years later we find the pope issuing bulls
against the teachings of Wycliffe, who had begun to assert that the
state might appropriate the property of the Church if it was misused,
and that the pope had no authority except as he acted according to the
Gospels. Soon Wycliffe went further and boldly attacked the papacy
itself, as well as indulgences, pilgrimages, and the worship of the
saints; finally he even denied the truth of the doctrine of

[Sidenote: Wycliffe's 'simple priests.']

He did not, however, confine his work to a denunciation of what he
considered wrong in the teaching and conduct of the churchmen. He
established an order of "simple priests" who were to go about doing good
and reprove by their example the worldly habits of the general run of
priests and monks.

[Sidenote: Wycliffe the father of English prose.]

Wycliffe's anxiety to reach the people and foster a higher spiritual
life among them led him to have the Bible translated into English. He
also prepared a great number of sermons and tracts in English. He is the
father of English prose, and it has been well said that "the exquisite
pathos, the keen, delicate irony, and the manly passion of his short,
nervous sentences, fairly overmaster the weakness of the unformed
language and give us English which cannot be read without a feeling of
its beauty to this hour."

[Sidenote: Influence of Wycliffe's teaching.]

Wycliffe and his "simple priests" were charged with fomenting the
discontent and disorder which culminated in the Peasants' War. Whether
this charge was true or not, it caused many of his more aristocratic
followers to fall away from him. But in spite of this and the
denunciations of the Church, Wycliffe was not seriously interfered with
and died peaceably in 1384. While his followers appear to have yielded
pretty readily to the persecution which soon overtook them, his
doctrines were spread abroad in Bohemia by another ardent reformer, John
Huss, who was destined to give the Church a great deal of trouble.
Wycliffe is remarkable as being the first distinguished scholar and
reformer to repudiate the headship of the pope and those practices of
the Church of Rome which a hundred and fifty years after his death were
attacked by Luther in his successful revolt against the mediæval

[Sidenote: The papal court moves back to Rome, 1377.]

114. In 1377 Pope Gregory XI moved back again to Rome after the popes
had been exiles for seventy years, during which much had happened to
undermine the papal power and supremacy. Yet the discredit into which
the papacy had fallen during its stay at Avignon was as nothing compared
with the disasters which befell it after the return to Rome.

[Sidenote: Election of Urban VI, 1378.]

Gregory died the year after his return and the cardinals assembled to
choose his successor. A great part of them were French. They had found
Rome in a sad state of ruin and disorder and heartily regretted the gay
life and the comforts and luxuries of Avignon. They determined therefore
to select a pope who would take them back to the banks of the Rhone.
While they were deliberating, the Roman populace was yelling outside the
conclave and demanding that a Roman be chosen, or at least an Italian. A
simple Italian monk was accordingly selected, Urban VI, who it was
supposed would agree to the wishes of the cardinals.

[Sidenote: Election of an anti-pope, Clement VII.]

The new pope, however, soon showed that he had no idea of returning to
Avignon. He treated the cardinals with harshness and proposed a stern
reformation of their habits. The cardinals speedily wearied of this
treatment; they retired to the neighboring Anagni and declared that they
had been frightened by the Roman mob into selecting the obnoxious Urban.
They then elected a new pope, who took the title of Clement VII,
returned to Avignon, and established his court there. Urban, although
deserted by his cardinals, had no intention of yielding and proceeded to
create twenty-eight new cardinals.

[Sidenote: The Great Schism.]

This double election was the beginning of the _Great Schism_, which was
to last for forty years and expose the papacy to new attacks on every
side. There had been many anti-popes in earlier centuries, set up
usually by the emperors; but there had ordinarily been little question
as to who was really the legitimate pope. In the present case Europe was
seriously in doubt, for it was difficult to decide whether the election
of Urban had really been forced and was consequently invalid as the
cardinals claimed. No one, therefore, could be perfectly sure which of
the rival popes was the real successor of St. Peter. There were now two
colleges of cardinals whose very existence depended upon the exercise of
their right of choosing the pope. It was natural that Italy should
support Urban VI, while France as naturally obeyed Clement VII; England,
hostile to France, accepted Urban; Scotland, hostile to England,
supported Clement.

[Sidenote: The Church divided within itself and the consequences.]

Each of two men, with seemingly equal right, now claimed to be Christ's
vicar on earth; each proposed to enjoy to the full the vast prerogatives
of the head of Christendom, and each denounced, and attempted to depose,
the other. The schism in the headship of the Church naturally extended
to the bishoprics and abbeys, and everywhere there were rival prelates,
each of whom could claim that he had been duly confirmed by one pope or
the other. All this produced an unprecedented scandal in the Church. It
emphasized all the abuses among the clergy and gave free rein to those
who were inclined to denounce the many evils which had been pointed out
by Wycliffe and his followers. The condition was, in fact, intolerable
and gave rise to widespread discussion, not only of the means by which
the schism might be healed, but of the nature and justification of the
papacy itself. The discussion which arose during these forty years of
uncertainty did much to prepare the mind of western Europe for the
Protestant revolt in the sixteenth century.

[Sidenote: Idea of the supremacy of a general council.]

The selfish and futile negotiations between the colleges of cardinals
and the popes justified the notion that there might perhaps be a power
in Christendom superior even to that of the pope. Might not a council,
representing all Christendom, and inspired by the Holy Ghost, judge even
a pope? Such councils had been held in the East during the later Roman
Empire, beginning with the first general or ecumenical council of Nicæa
under Constantine. They had established the teachings of the Church and
had legislated for all Christian people and clergy.[205]

[Sidenote: Question whether the pope or a general council is the supreme
authority in the Church.]

As early as 1381 the University of Paris advocated the summoning of a
general council which should adjust the claims of the rival popes and
give Christendom once more a single head. This raised the question
whether a council was really superior to the pope or not. Those who
believed that it was, maintained that the Church at large had deputed
the election of the pope to the cardinals and that it might, therefore,
interfere when the cardinals had brought the papacy into disrepute; that
a general assembly of all Christendom, speaking under the inspiration of
the Holy Spirit, was a higher authority than even the successor of St.
Peter. Others strenuously denied this. They claimed that the pope
received his authority over the Church immediately from Christ, and that
he had always possessed supreme power from the very first, although he
had not always exercised it and had permitted the earlier councils a
certain freedom. No council, they urged, could be considered a general
one which was called against the will of the pope, because, without the
bishop of the Roman or mother church, the council obviously could not
lay claim to represent all Christendom. The defenders of the papal power
maintained, moreover, that the pope was the supreme legislator, that he
might change or annul the act of any council or of a previous pope, that
he might judge others but might not himself be judged by any one.[206]

[Sidenote: The Council of Pisa, 1409 adds a third rival pope.]

After years of discussion and fruitless negotiations between the rival
popes and their cardinals, members of both of the colleges decided in
1409 to summon a council at Pisa, which should put an end to the schism.
While large numbers of churchmen answered the summons and the various
monarchs took an active interest in the council, its action was hasty
and ill-advised. Gregory XII, the Roman pope, elected in 1406, and
Benedict XIII, the Avignon pope, elected in 1394, were solemnly summoned
from the doors of the cathedral at Pisa. As they failed to appear they
were condemned for contumacy and deposed. A new pope was then elected,
and on his death a year later, he was succeeded by the notorious John
XXIII, who had been a soldier of fortune in his earlier days. John was
selected on account of his supposed military prowess. This was
considered essential in order to guard the papal territory against the
king of Naples, who had announced his intention of getting possession of
Rome. Neither of the deposed popes yielded, and as they each continued
to enjoy a certain support, the Council of Pisa, instead of healing the
schism, added a third person who claimed to be the supreme ruler of

[Sidenote: The Council of Constance meets, 1414.]

115. The failure of the Council of Pisa made it necessary to summon
another congress of Christendom. Through the influence of the emperor
Sigismund, John XXIII reluctantly agreed that the council should be held
in Germany, in the imperial town of Constance. The Council of Constance,
which began to assemble in the fall of 1414, is one of the most
noteworthy international assemblies ever held. It lasted for over three
years and excited the deepest interest throughout Europe. There were in
attendance, besides the pope and the emperor-elect, twenty-three
cardinals, thirty-three archbishops and bishops, one hundred and fifty
abbots, and one hundred dukes and earls, as well as hundreds of lesser

[Sidenote: The three great objects of the Council of Constance.]

Three great tasks confronted the council: (1) the healing of the schism,
which involved the disposal of the three existing popes and the
selection of a single universally acknowledged head of the Church; (2)
the extirpation of heresy, which, under the influence of Huss, was
threatening the authority of the Church in Bohemia; (3) a general
reformation of the Church "in head and members."

[Sidenote: The healing of the schism.]

[Sidenote: The decree _Sacrosancta_, 1415.]

1. The healing of the long schism was the most important of the
council's achievements. John XXIII was very uncomfortable in Constance.
He feared not only that he would be forced to resign but that there
might be an investigation of his very dubious past. In March he fled in
disguise from Constance, leaving his cardinals behind him. The council
was dismayed at the pope's departure, as it feared that he would
dissolve it as soon as he was out of its control. It thereupon issued a
famous decree (April 6, 1415) declaring its superiority to the pope. It
claimed that a general council had its power immediately from Christ.
Every one, even the pope, who should refuse to obey its decrees or
instructions should be suitably punished.

A long list of terrible crimes of which John was suspected, was drawn up
and he was formally deposed. He received but little encouragement in
his opposition to the council and soon surrendered unconditionally.
Gregory XII, the Roman pope, showed himself amenable to reason and
relieved the perplexity of the council by resigning in July. The third
pope, the obstinate Benedict XIII, flatly refused to resign. But the
council induced the Spaniards, who were his only remaining supporters,
to desert him and send envoys to Constance. Benedict was then deposed
(July, 1417) and in the following November the cardinals who were at the
council were permitted to elect a new pope, Martin V, and so the Great
Schism was brought to an end.

[Sidenote: John Huss.]

2. During the first year of its sessions the Council of Constance was
attempting to stamp out heresy as well as to heal the schism. The
marriage of an English king, Richard II, to a Bohemian princess shortly
before Wycliffe's death, had encouraged some intercourse between Bohemia
and England and had brought the works of the English reformer to the
attention of those in Bohemia who were intent upon the improvement of
the Church. Among these the most conspicuous was John Huss (b. about
1369), whose ardent devotion to the interests of the Bohemian nation and
enthusiasm for reform secured for him great influence in the University
of Prague, with which he was connected.

Huss reached the conclusion that Christians should not be forced to obey
those who were living in mortal sin and were apparently destined never
to reach heaven themselves. This view was naturally denounced by the
Church as a most dangerous error, destructive of all order and
authority. As his opponents urged, the regularly appointed authorities
must be obeyed, not because they are good men but because they govern in
virtue of the law. In short, Huss appeared not only to defend the
heresies of Wycliffe, but at the same time to preach a doctrine
dangerous alike to the power of the civil government and of the Church.

[Sidenote: The 'safe-conduct.']

Huss felt confident that he could convince the council of the truth of
his views and willingly appeared at Constance. He was provided with a
"safe-conduct," a document in which Emperor Sigismund ordered that no
one should do him any violence and which permitted the bearer to leave
Constance whenever he wished. In spite of this he was speedily arrested
and imprisoned, in December, 1414. His treatment well illustrates the
mediæval attitude towards heresy. When Sigismund indignantly protested
against the violation of his safe-conduct, he was informed that the law
did not recognize faith pledged to suspected heretics, for they were out
of the king's jurisdiction. The council declared that no pledge which
was prejudicial to the Catholic faith was to be observed. In judging
Sigismund's failure to enforce his promise of protection to Huss it must
be remembered that heresy was at that time considered a far more
terrible crime than murder, and that it was the opinion of the most
authoritative body in Christendom that Sigismund would do a great wrong
if he prevented the trial of Huss.

[Sidenote: Trial of Huss.]

Huss was treated in what would seem to us a very harsh way; but from the
standpoint of the council he was given every advantage. By special favor
he was granted a public hearing. The council was anxious that Huss
should retract; but no form of retraction could be arranged to which he
would agree. The council, in accordance with the usages of the time,
demanded that he should recognize the error of all the propositions
which they had selected from his writings, that he should retract them
and never again preach them, and that he should agree to preach the
contrary. The council did not consider it its business to decide whether
Huss was right or wrong, but simply whether his doctrines, which they
gathered from his books, were in accordance with the traditional views
of the Church.

[Sidenote: Conviction and execution of Huss, July, 1415.]

Finally, the council condemned Huss as a convicted and impenitent
heretic. On July 6, 1415, he was taken out before the gates of the city
and given one more chance to retract. As he refused, he was degraded
from the priesthood and handed over to the civil government to be
executed for heresy, which, as we have seen, the state regarded as a
crime and undertook to punish.[208] The civil authorities made no
further investigation but accepted the verdict of the council and burned
Huss upon the spot. His ashes were thrown into the Rhine lest they
should become an object of veneration among his followers.

[Sidenote: The Hussite wars, 1419-1431.]

The death of Huss rather promoted than checked the spread of heresy in
Bohemia. A few years later the Germans undertook a series of crusades
against the Bohemians. This embittered the national animosity between
the two races, which has even yet by no means died out. The heretics
proved valiant fighters and after several bloody wars succeeded in
repulsing the enemy and even invaded Germany.

[Sidenote: Opportunity of the council to reform the church.]

3. The third great task of the Council of Constance was the general
reformation of the Church. After John's flight it had claimed the right
(in the decree _Sacrosancta_) to reform even the papacy. This was a
splendid opportunity at least to mitigate the abuses in the Church. The
council was a great representative body, and every one was looking to it
to remedy the old evils which had become more pronounced than ever
during the Great Schism. Many pamphlets were published at the time by
earnest men denouncing the corrupt practices of the clergy. The evils
were of long standing and have all been described in earlier

[Sidenote: The failure of the council to effect any definite reforms.]

Although every one recognized the abuses, the council found itself
unable to remedy them or to accomplish the hoped-for reformation. After
three years of fruitless deliberations the members of the assembly
became weary and hopeless. They finally contented themselves with
passing a decree (Oct. 9, 1417) declaring that the neglect to summon
general councils in the past had fostered all the evils in the Church
and that thereafter councils should be regularly summoned at least every
ten years.[210] In this way it was hoped that the absolute power of the
popes might be checked in somewhat the same way that the Parliament in
England and the Estates General in France controlled the monarch.

[Sidenote: Abuses enumerated by the council.]

After the passing of this decree the council drew up a list of abuses
demanding reform, which the new pope was to consider with certain of its
members after the main body of the council had returned home. Chief
among the questions which the council enumerated for consideration were
the number, character, and nationality of the cardinals, the benefices
to which the pope had a right to appoint, what cases might be brought
before his court, for what reason and in what manner the pope might be
corrected or deposed, how heresy might be extirpated, and the matter of
dispensations, indulgences, etc.

Aside from the healing of the schism, the results of the Council of
Constance were slight. It had burned Huss but had by no means checked
heresy. It had considered for three years the reformation of the Church
but had at last confessed its inability to carry it out. The pope later
issued a few reform decrees, but the state of the Church was not
materially bettered.

[Sidenote: Council of Basel, 1431-1449.]

116. The sturdy resistance of the Bohemians to those who proposed to
bring them back to the orthodox faith by arms finally attracted the
attention of Europe and called forth considerable sympathy. In 1431 the
last of the crusades against them came to an ignominious end, and Martin
V was forced to summon a new council in order to consider the policy
which should be adopted toward the heretics. The Council of Basel lasted
for no less than eighteen years. At first its prestige was sufficient to
enable it to dominate the pope, and it reached its greatest authority
in 1434 after it had arranged a peace with the moderate party of the
Bohemian heretics. The council, however, continued its hostility towards
Pope Eugene IV (elected in 1431), and in 1437 he declared the council
dissolved and summoned a new one to meet at Ferrara. The Council of
Basel thereupon deposed Eugene and chose an anti-pope. This conduct did
much to discredit the idea of a general council in the eyes of Europe.
The assembly gradually dwindled away and finally in 1449 acknowledged
the legitimate pope once more.

[Sidenote: Council of Ferrara-Florence, 1438-1439.]

[Sidenote: Union of Eastern and Western Churches.]

Meanwhile the Council of Ferrara[211] had taken up the momentous
question of consolidating the Eastern and Western Churches. The empire
of the East was seriously threatened by the on-coming Ottoman Turks, who
had made conquests even west of Constantinople. The Eastern emperor's
advisers urged that if a reconciliation could be arranged with the
Western Church, the pope might use his influence to supply arms and
soldiers to be used against the Mohammedans. When the representatives of
the Eastern Church met with the Council of Ferrara the differences in
doctrine were found to be few, but the question of the headship of the
Church was a most difficult one. A form of union was, nevertheless,
agreed upon in which the Eastern Church accepted the headship of the
pope, "saving the privileges and rights of the patriarchs of the East."

[Sidenote: Results of the Council of Ferrara.]

While Eugene received the credit for healing the breach between the East
and the West, the Greek prelates, upon returning home, were hailed with
indignation and branded as robbers and matricides for the concessions
which they had made. The chief results of the council were (1) the
advantage gained by the pope in once more becoming the recognized head
of Christendom in spite of the opposition of the Council of Basel, and
(2) the fact that certain learned Greeks remained in Italy, and helped
to stimulate the growing enthusiasm for Greek literature.

No more councils were held during the fifteenth century, and the popes
were left to the task of reorganizing their dominions in Italy. They
began to turn their attention very largely to their interests as Italian
princes, and some of them, beginning with Nicholas V (1447-1455), became
the patrons of artists and men of letters. There is probably no period
in the history of the papacy when the head of the Church was more
completely absorbed in forwarding his political interests and those of
his relatives, and in decorating his capital, than in the seventy years
which elapsed between 1450 and the beginning of the German revolt
against the Church.

     General Reading.--CREIGHTON, _History of the Papacy_ (Longmans,
     Green & Co., 6 vols., $2.00 each), Vol. I, is perhaps the best
     treatment of the Great Schism and the Council of Constance. PASTOR,
     _History of the Popes_ (Herder, 6 vols., $18.00), Vol. I, Book 1,
     gives the most recent and scholarly account from the standpoint of
     a Roman Catholic.



[Sidenote: Italy the center of European culture in the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries.]

117. While England and France were settling their differences in the
wretched period of the Hundred Years' War, and the little German
principalities, left without a leader,[212] were busied with their petty
concerns, Italy was the center of European culture. Its
cities,--Florence, Venice, Milan, and the rest,--reached a degree of
prosperity and refinement undreamed of beyond the Alps. Within their
walls learning and art made such extraordinary progress that this period
has received a special name,--the _Renaissance_,[213] or new birth. The
Italian towns, like those of ancient Greece, were really little states,
each with its own peculiar life and institutions. Of these city-states a
word must be said before considering the new enthusiasm for the works of
the Romans and Greeks and the increasing skill which the Italian artists
displayed in painting, sculpture, and architecture.

[Sidenote: Map of Italy in the fourteenth century.]

The map of Italy at the beginning of the fourteenth century was still
divided into three zones, as it had been in the time of the
Hohenstaufens. To the south lay the kingdom of Naples. Then came the
states of the Church, extending diagonally across the peninsula. To the
north and west lay the group of city-states to which we now turn our

[Sidenote: Venice and its relations with the East.]

Of these none was more celebrated than Venice, which in the history of
Europe ranks in importance with Paris and London. This singular town was
built upon a group of sandy islets lying in the Adriatic Sea about two
miles from the mainland. It was protected from the waves by a long,
narrow sand bar, similar to those which fringe the Atlantic coast from
New Jersey southward. Such a situation would not ordinarily have been
deliberately chosen as the site of a great city; but its very desolation
and inaccessibility had recommended it to its first settlers, who, in
the middle of the fifth century, had fled from their homes on the
mainland to escape the savage Huns.[214] As time went on the location
proved to have its advantages commercially, and even before the Crusades
Venice had begun to engage in foreign trade. Its enterprises carried it
eastward, and it early acquired possessions across the Adriatic and in
the Orient.[215] The influence of this intercourse with the East is
plainly shown in the celebrated church of St. Mark, whose domes and
decorations suggest Constantinople rather than Italy.

[Illustration: A Scene in Venice]

[Illustration: St Mark's, Venice]

[Sidenote: Venice extends her sway on the Italian mainland.]

[Sidenote: The aristocratic government of Venice.]

It was not until early in the fifteenth century that Venice found it to
her interest to extend her sway upon the Italian mainland. She doubtless
believed it dangerous to permit her rival, Milan, to get possession of
the Alpine passes through which her goods found their way north. It may
be, too, that she preferred to draw her food supplies from the
neighborhood instead of transporting them across the Adriatic from her
eastern possessions. Moreover, all the Italian cities except Venice
already controlled a larger or smaller area of country about them.
Although Venice was called a republic, there was a strong tendency
toward a government of the few. About the year 1300 all the townsmen
except the members of certain noble families were excluded from the
Grand Council, which was supposed to represent the people at large.

In 1311 the famous Council of Ten was created, whose members were
elected by the Grand Council for one year. The whole government,
domestic and foreign, was placed in the hands of this smaller council,
in conjunction with the doge (i.e., duke), the nominal head of the
republic; but they were both held strictly accountable to the Grand
Council for all that they did. The government was thus concentrated in
the hands of a very few. Its proceedings were carried on with great
secrecy, so that public discussion, such as prevailed in Florence and
led to innumerable revolutions there, was unheard of in Venice. The
Venetian merchant was a busy person who was quite willing that the state
should exercise its functions without his interference. In spite of the
aristocratic measures of the council, there was little tendency to
rebellion, so common in the other Italian towns. The republic of Venice
maintained pretty much the same form of government from 1300 until its
destruction by Napoleon in 1797.

[Sidenote: Milan and the despotically governed towns of northern Italy.]

118. Milan was the most conspicuous example of the large class of
Italian cities which were governed by an absolute and despotic ruler,
who secured control of a town either by force or guile, and then managed
its affairs for his own personal advantage. At the opening of the
fourteenth century a great part of the towns which had leagued
themselves against Frederick Barbarossa[216] had become little
despotisms. Their rulers were constantly fighting among themselves,
conquering, or being conquered by, their neighbors. The practices of the
Visconti, the family who seized the government of Milan, offer a fair
example of the policy of the Italian tyrants.

The power of the Visconti was first established by the archbishop of
Milan. He imprisoned (1277) in three iron cages the leading members of
the family who were in control of the city government at the moment, and
had his nephew, Matteo Visconti, appointed by the emperor as the
imperial representative. Before long Matteo was generally recognized as
the ruler of Milan, and was followed by his son. For over a century and
a half some one of the family always showed himself skillful enough to
hold his precarious position.

[Illustration: Tomb of Gian Galeazzo Visconti]

[Sidenote: Gian Galeazzo Visconti, 1385-1402.]

The most distinguished of the Visconti despots was Gian Galeazzo. He
began his reign by capturing and poisoning his uncle, who was ruling
over a portion of the already extensive territory of the Visconti.[217]
It seemed for a time that he might conquer all of northern Italy; but
his progress was checked by the republic of Florence and then cut short
by premature death. Gian Galeazzo exhibited all the characteristic
traits of the Italian despots. He showed himself a skillful and
successful ruler, able to organize his government admirably. He gathered
literary men about him; and the beautiful buildings which were begun by
him indicate his enthusiasm for art. Yet he was utterly unprincipled,
and resorted to the most hideous methods in order to gain possession of
coveted towns which he could not conquer or buy outright.

[Sidenote: Position and character of the Italian despots.]

There are many stories of the incredible ferocity exhibited by the
Italian despots.[218] It must be remembered that they were very rarely
legitimate rulers, but usurpers, who could only hope to retain their
power so long as they could keep their subjects in check and defend
themselves against equally illegitimate usurpers in the neighboring
cities. This situation developed a high degree of sagacity, and many of
the despots found it to their interest to govern well and even to give
dignity to their rule by patronizing artists and men of letters. But the
despot usually made many bitter enemies and was almost necessarily
suspicious of treason on the part of those about him. He was ever
conscious that at any moment he might fall a victim to the dagger or the
poison cup.

[Sidenote: The _condottieri_.]

The Italian towns carried on their wars among themselves largely by
means of hired troops. When a military expedition was proposed, a
bargain was made with one of the leaders (_condottieri_), who provided
the necessary force. As the soldiers had no more interest in the
conflict than did those whom they opposed, who were likewise hired for
the occasion, the fight was not usually very bloody; for the object of
each side was to capture the other without unnecessarily rough

It sometimes happened that the leader who had conquered a town for his
employer appropriated the fruits of the victory for himself. This
occurred in the case of Milan in 1450. The Visconti family having died
out, the citizens hired a certain captain, named Francesco Sforza, to
assist them in a war against Venice, whose possessions now extended
almost to those of Milan. When Sforza had repelled the Venetians, the
Milanese found it impossible to get rid of him, and he and his
successors became rulers over the town.

[Sidenote: Machiavelli's _Prince_.]

An excellent notion of the position and policy of the Italian despots
may be derived from a little treatise called _The Prince_, written by
the distinguished Florentine historian, Machiavelli. The writer appears
to have intended his book as a practical manual for the despots of his
time. It is a cold-blooded discussion of the ways in which a usurper may
best retain his control over a town after he has once got possession of
it. The author even takes up the questions as to how far princes should
consider their promises when it is inconvenient to keep them, and how
many of the inhabitants the despot may wisely kill. Machiavelli
concludes that the Italian princes who have not observed their
engagements over-scrupulously, and who have boldly put their political
adversaries out of the way, have fared better than their more
conscientious rivals.

[Sidenote: Florence.]

119. The history of Florence, perhaps the most important of the Italian
cities, differs in many ways from that of Venice and of the despotisms
of which Milan is an example. In Florence all classes claimed the right
to interest themselves in the government. This led to constant changes
in the constitution and to frequent struggles between the different
political parties. When one party got the upper hand it generally
expelled its chief opponents from the city. Exile was a terrible
punishment to a Florentine, for Florence was not merely his native
city,--it was his _country_, and loved and honored as such.

[Sidenote: The Medici.]

[Sidenote: Lorenzo the Magnificent.]

By the middle of the fifteenth century Florence had come under the
control of the great family of the Medici, whose members played the
rôle of very enlightened political bosses. By quietly watching the
elections and secretly controlling the selection of city officials, they
governed without letting it be suspected that the people had lost their
power. The most distinguished member of the house of Medici was Lorenzo
the Magnificent (d. 1492); under his rule Florence reached the height of
its glory in art and literature.

[Illustration: The Palace of the Medici in Florence]

[Sidenote: Character of Florentine culture.]

As one wanders about Florence to-day, he is impressed with the
contradictions of the Renaissance period. The streets are lined with the
palaces of the noble families to whose rivalries much of the continual
disturbance was due. The lower stories of these buildings are
constructed of great stones, like fortresses, and their windows are
barred like those of a prison; yet within they were often furnished with
the greatest taste and luxury. For in spite of the disorder, against
which the rich protected themselves by making their houses half
strongholds, the beautiful churches, noble public buildings, and works
of art which now fill the museums indicate that mankind has never,
perhaps, reached a higher degree of perfection in the arts of peace than
amidst the turmoil of this restless town.

"Florence was essentially the city of intelligence in modern times.
Other nations have surpassed the Italians in their genius.... But
nowhere else except at Athens has the whole population of a city been so
permeated with ideas, so highly intellectual by nature, so keen in
perception, so witty and so subtle, as at Florence. The fine and
delicate spirit of the Italians existed in quintessence among the
Florentines. And of this superiority not only they, but the inhabitants
also of Rome and Lombardy and Naples were conscious.... The primacy of
the Florentines in literature, the fine arts, law, scholarship,
philosophy, and science was acknowledged throughout Italy" (Symonds).

[Sidenote: The Renaissance, or _new birth_.]

120. The thirteenth century had been, as we have seen, a period of great
enthusiasm for learning. The new universities attracted students from
all parts of Europe, and famous thinkers like Albertus Magnus, Thomas
Aquinas, and Roger Bacon wrote great treatises on religion, science, and
philosophy. The public delighted in the songs and romances composed and
recited in the language of the people. The builders contrived a new and
beautiful style of architecture, and, with the aid of the sculptors,
produced buildings which have never since been surpassed and rarely
equaled. Why, then, are the two succeeding centuries called the period
of the _new birth_,--the Renaissance,--as if there was a sudden
reawakening after a long sleep, as if Europe first began in the
fourteenth century to turn to books and art?

The word _renaissance_ was originally used by writers who had very
little appreciation of the achievements of the thirteenth century. They
imagined that there could have been no high degree of culture during a
period when the Latin and Greek classics, which seemed so all-important
to them, were not carefully studied. But it is now coming to be
generally recognized that the thirteenth century had worthy intellectual
and artistic ambitions, although they were different both from those of
Greece and Rome and from our own.

We cannot, therefore, conceive the "new birth" of the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries quite as it was viewed by writers of a century ago,
who failed to do justice to the preceding period. Nevertheless, about
the middle of the fourteenth century, a very great and fundamental
change did begin in thought and taste, in books, buildings, and
pictures, and this change we may very well continue to call the
_Renaissance_. We can best judge of its nature by considering the work
of the two greatest men of the fourteenth century, Dante and Petrarch.

[Sidenote: Dante, 1264-1321.]

Dante was first and foremost a poet, and is often ranked with Homer,
Virgil, and Shakespeare. He is, however, interesting to the historian
for other things than his flights of fancy and the music of his verse.
He had mastered all the learning of his day; he was a scientist and a
scholar as well as a poet. His writings show us how the world appeared
about the year 1300 to a very acute mind, and what was the range of
knowledge available to the most thoughtful men of that day.

[Sidenote: Dante's use of Italian.]

Dante was not a churchman, as were all the scholars whom we have
hitherto considered. He was the first literary layman of renown since
Boethius,[219] and he was interested in helping other laymen who knew
only their mother tongue to the knowledge heretofore open only to those
who could read Latin. In spite of his ability to write Latin, he chose
the mother tongue for his great poem, _The Divine Comedy_. Italian was
the last of the important modern languages to develop, perhaps because
in Italy Latin remained longest intelligible to the mass of the people.
But Dante believed that the exclusive use of Latin for literary
purposes had already in his time become an affectation. He was confident
that there were many people, both men and women, who knew only Italian,
who would gladly read not only his verses but his treatise on
science,--_The Banquet_,[220] as he poetically calls it.

[Sidenote: Extent of Dante's knowledge.]

Dante's writings indicate that mediæval scholars were by no means so
ignorant of the universe as they are popularly supposed to have been.
Although they believed, like the ancients, that the earth was the center
around which the sun and stars revolved, they were familiar with some
important astronomical phenomena. They knew that the earth was a sphere
and guessed very nearly its real size. They knew that everything that
had weight was attracted towards its center, and that there would be no
danger of falling off should one get on the opposite side of the globe;
they realized also that when it was day on one side of the earth it was
night on the other.

[Sidenote: Dante's veneration for the ancient writers.]

While Dante shows a keen interest in the theological studies so popular
in his time and still speaks of Aristotle as "the Philosopher," he
exhibits a profound admiration for the other great authors of Rome and
Greece. When in a vision he visits the lower world, Virgil is his guide.
He is permitted to behold the region inhabited by the spirits of
virtuous pagans, and there he finds Horace and Ovid, and Homer, the
sovereign poet. As he reclines upon the green turf he sees a goodly
company of ancient worthies,--Socrates, Plato, and other Greek
philosophers, Cæsar, Cicero, Livy, Seneca, and many others. He is so
overcome by the honor of sitting among such great men that he finds no
words to report what passed between them. He feels no horror for their
paganism, and while he believes that they are not admitted to the
beatific joys of heaven, he assigns them a comfortable abode, where they
hold dignified converse with "faces neither sad nor glad."[221]

[Sidenote: Petrarch, 1304-1374.]

121. The veneration for the ancient writers felt by Dante becomes a
burning enthusiasm with Petrarch, who has been well called "the first
modern man." He was the first scholar and man of letters to desert
entirely the mediæval learning and lead his contemporaries back to a
realization of the beauty and value of Greek and Roman literature. In
the mediæval universities, logic, theology, and the interpretation of
Aristotle were the chief subjects of study. While scholars in the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries possessed and read most of the Latin
writers who have come down to us, they failed to appreciate their beauty
and would never have dreamed of making them the basis of a liberal

[Illustration: Petrarch]

Petrarch declares that when a boy he delighted in the sonorous language
of Cicero even before he could understand its meaning. As the years went
on he became convinced that he could have no higher aim in life than
that of collecting copies of all the Latin classics upon which he could
lay hands. He was not only an indefatigable scholar himself, but he
possessed the power of stimulating, by his example, the intellectual
ambition of those with whom he came in contact. He rendered the study of
the Latin classics popular among cultivated persons; and by his own
untiring efforts to discover the lost or forgotten works of the great
writers of antiquity he roused a new enthusiasm for the formation of

[Sidenote: Obstacles to the study of the classics.]

It is hard for us to imagine the obstacles which confronted Petrarch and
the scholars of the early Renaissance. They possessed no good editions
of the Roman and Greek authors, in which the correct wording had been
determined by a careful comparison of all the known ancient copies. They
considered themselves fortunate to secure a single manuscript of even
the best known authors, and they could have no assurance that it was not
full of mistakes. Indeed, the texts were so corrupted by the
carelessness of the copyists that Petrarch declares that if Cicero or
Livy should return and stumblingly read his own writings, he would
promptly pronounce them the work of another, perhaps a barbarian.

[Sidenote: Petrarch's European reputation and influence.]

Petrarch enjoyed an unrivaled influence throughout western Europe, akin
to that of Erasmus and Voltaire in later times. He was in constant
communication with scholars, not only in Italy, but in the countries
beyond the Alps. From his numerous letters which have been preserved, a
great deal may be learned of the intellectual life of the time.[224]

[Sidenote: Petrarch has no sympathy with the popular studies of his

It is clear that he not only promoted the new study of the Roman
writers, but that he also did much to discredit the learning which was
popular in the universities. He refused to include the works of the
great scholastic writers of the thirteenth century in his library. Like
Roger Bacon he was disgusted by the reverence in which the bad
translations of Aristotle were held. As for the popular study of logic,
Petrarch declared that it was good enough for boys, but that nothing
irritated him more than to find a person of mature years devoting
himself to the subject.

[Sidenote: Contrast between Petrarch's and Dante's attitude toward their
mother tongue.]

While Petrarch is far better known for his beautiful Italian verses than
for his long Latin poems, histories, and essays, he did not share
Dante's confidence in the dignity of their mother tongue. He even
depreciates his Italian sonnets as mere popular trifles written in his
youth. It was not unnatural that he and those in whom he aroused an
enthusiasm for Latin literature should look scornfully upon Italian. It
seemed to them a crude form of speech, good enough perhaps for the
common people and for the transaction of the daily business of life, but
immeasurably inferior to the language in which their predecessors, the
Roman poets and prose writers, had written. The Italians, it must be
remembered, felt the same pride in Latin literature that we feel in the
works of Chaucer and Shakespeare. The Italian scholars of the fourteenth
and fifteenth centuries merely turned back to their own earlier national
literature for their models, and tried their best to imitate the
language and style of its masters.

[Sidenote: The humanists.]

122. Those who devoted themselves to the study and imitation first of
Roman, and later of Greek literature, are commonly called _humanists_, a
name derived from the Latin word _humanitas_; that is, culture,
especially in the sense of literary appreciation. They no longer paid
much attention to Peter Lombard's _Sentences_. They had, indeed, little
taste for theology, but looked to Cicero for all those accomplishments
which go to the making of a man of refinement.

[Sidenote: Reason for the enthusiastic study of the classics.]

The _humanities_, as Greek and Latin are still called, became almost a
new religion among the Italian scholars during the century following
Petrarch's death. In order to understand their exclusive attention to
ancient literature we must remember that they did not have a great many
of the books that we prize most highly nowadays. Now, every nation of
Europe has an extensive literature in its own particular tongue, which
all can read. Besides admirable translations of all the works of
antiquity, there are innumerable masterpieces, like those of
Shakespeare, Voltaire, and Goethe, which were unheard of four centuries
ago. Consequently we can now acquaint ourselves with a great part of the
best that has been written in all ages without knowing either Latin or
Greek. The Middle Ages enjoyed no such advantage. So when men began to
tire of theology, logic, and Aristotle's scientific treatises, they
naturally turned back with single-hearted enthusiasm to the age of
Augustus, and, later, to that of Pericles, for their models of literary
style and for their ideals of life and conduct.

[Sidenote: Pagan tendencies of the Italian humanists.]

A sympathetic study of the pagan authors led many of the humanists to
reject the mediæval view of the relation of this life to the next.[225]
They reverted to the teachings of Horace and ridiculed the
self-sacrifice of the monk. They declared that it was right to make the
most of life's pleasures and needless to worry about the world to come.
In some cases the humanists openly attacked the teachings of the Church,
but generally they remained outwardly loyal to it and many of them even
found positions among the officers of the papal curia.

[Sidenote: The classics become the basis of a liberal education.]

Humanism produced a revolution in the idea of a liberal education. In
the sixteenth century, through the influence of those who visited Italy,
the schools of Germany, England, and France began to make Latin and
Greek literature, rather than logic and other mediæval subjects, the
basis of their college course. It is only within the last generation
that Latin and Greek have begun to be replaced in our colleges by a
variety of scientific and historical studies; and many would still
maintain, with the humanists of the fifteenth century, that Latin and
Greek are better worth studying than any other subjects.

[Sidenote: Ignorance of Greek in the Middle Ages.]

The humanists of the fourteenth century ordinarily knew no Greek. Some
knowledge of that language lingered in the West all through the Middle
Ages, but we hear of no one attempting to read Plato, Demosthenes,
Æschylus, or even Homer, and these authors were scarcely ever found in
the libraries. Petrarch and his followers were naturally much interested
in the constant references to Greek literature which occur in Cicero and
Horace, both of whom freely recognized their debt to Athens. Shortly
after Petrarch's death the city of Florence called to its university a
professor of Greek, Chrysoloras from Constantinople.

[Sidenote: Revival of Greek studies in Italy.]

[Sidenote: Chrysoloras in Florence.]

A young Florentine law student, Leonardo Bruni, tells us of a dialogue
which he had with himself when he heard of the coming of Chrysoloras.
"Art thou not neglecting thy best interests if thou failest now to get
an insight into Homer, Plato, Demosthenes, and the other great poets,
philosophers, and orators of whom they are telling such wonderful
things? Thou, too, mightest commune with them and imbue thyself with
their wisdom. Wouldst thou let the golden opportunity slip? For seven
hundred years no one in Italy has known Greek literature, and yet we
agree that all language comes from the Greeks. How greatly would
familiarity with that language advantage thee in promoting thy knowledge
and in the mere increase of thy pleasure? There are teachers of Roman
law to be found everywhere, and thou wilt never want an opportunity to
continue that study, but there is but one teacher of Greek, and if he
escapes thee there will be no one from whom thou canst learn."

[Sidenote: The knowledge of Greek becomes common in Europe.]

Many students took advantage of the opportunity to study Greek, and
Chrysoloras prepared the first modern Greek grammar for their use.
Before long the Greek classics became as well known as the Latin.
Italians even went to Constantinople to learn the language; and the
diplomatic negotiations which the Eastern Church carried on with the
Western, with the hope of gaining help against the Turks, brought some
Greek scholars to Italy. In 1423 an Italian scholar arrived at Venice
with no less than two hundred and thirty-eight Greek books, thus
transplanting a whole literature to a new and fruitful soil.[226] Greek
as well as Latin books were carefully copied and edited, and beautiful
libraries were established by the Medici, the duke of Urbino, and Pope
Nicholas V, who founded the great library of the Vatican,[227] still one
of the most important collections of books in the world.

[Sidenote: Advantages of printing with movable types.]

123. It was the glory of the Italian humanists to revive the knowledge
and appreciation of the ancient literatures, but it remained for patient
experimenters in Germany and Holland to perfect a system by which books
could be multiplied rapidly and cheaply. The laborious copying of books
by hand[228] had several serious disadvantages. The best copyists were,
it is true, incredibly dexterous with their quills, and made their
letters as clear and small as if they had been printed. But the work was
necessarily very slow. When Cosimo, the father of Lorenzo the
Magnificent, wished to form a library, he applied to a book contractor,
who procured forty-five copyists. By working hard for nearly two years
these men were able to produce only two hundred volumes.

Moreover, it was impossible before the invention of printing to have two
books exactly alike. Even with the greatest care a scribe could not hope
to avoid all mistakes, and a careless copyist was sure to make a great
many. The universities required their students to report immediately any
mistakes discovered in their text-books, in order that the error might
be promptly rectified and not lead to a misunderstanding of the author.
With the invention of printing it became possible to produce in a short
time a great many copies of a given book which were exactly alike.
Consequently, if great care were taken to see that the types were
properly set, the whole edition, not simply a single copy, might be
relied upon as correct.

[Illustration: Closing Lines of the Psalter of 1459 (much reduced)[229]]

[Sidenote: The earliest printed books.]

[Sidenote: Black letter.]

[Sidenote: Roman letters.]

[Sidenote: Italics.]

The earliest book of any considerable size to be printed was the Bible,
which appears to have been completed at Mayence in the year 1456. A year
later the famous Mayence Psalter was finished, the first dated book.
There are, however, earlier examples of little books printed with
engraved blocks and even with movable types. In the German towns, where
the art spread rapidly, the printers adhered to the style of letters
which the scribe had found it convenient to make with his quill--the
so-called _Gothic_, or black letter.[230] In Italy, where the first
printing press was set up in 1466, a type was soon adopted which
resembled the letters used in ancient Roman inscriptions. This was quite
similar to the style of letter commonly used to-day. The Italians also
invented the compressed _italic_ type, which enabled them to get a great
many words on a page. The early printers generally did their work
conscientiously, and the very first book printed is in most respects as
well done as any later book.

[Sidenote: Importance of Italian art in the Renaissance period.]

124. The stimulus of the antique ideals of beauty and the renewed
interest in man and nature is nowhere more apparent than in the art of
the Renaissance period in Italy. The bonds of tradition, which had
hampered mediæval art,[231] were broken. The painters and sculptors
continued, it is true, to depict the same religious subjects which their
mediæval predecessors had chosen. But in the fourteenth century the
Italian artists began to draw their inspiration from the fragments of
antique art which they found about them and from the world full of life
and beauty in which they lived. Above all, they gave freer rein to their
own imagination. The tastes and ideals of the individual artist were no
longer repressed but became the dominant element in his work. The
history of art becomes, during the Renaissance, a history of artists.

[Sidenote: Italian architecture.]

[Sidenote: Italy inherits the art of Greece and Rome.]

The Gothic style in architecture had never taken root in Italy. The
Italians had continued to build their churches in a more or less
modified Romanesque[232] form. While the soaring arches and delicate
tracery of the Gothic cathedral had become the ideal of the North, in
Italy the curving lines and harmonious proportions of the dome inspired
the best efforts of the Renaissance builders. They borrowed many fine
details, such as capitals and cornices, from the antique, and also--what
was far more important--the simplicity and beauty of proportion which
characterized classical architecture. Just as Italy had inherited, in a
special sense, the traditions of classical literature, so it was natural
that it should be more directly affected than the rest of Europe by the
remains of Greek and Roman art. It is in harmony of proportion and
beauty of detail that the great charm of the best Renaissance buildings

[Sidenote: Niccola of Pisa, 1206-1280.]

It is, perhaps, in sculpture that the influence of the antique models
was earliest and most obviously shown. The sculptor, Niccola of Pisa
(Niccola Pisano), stands out as the first distinguished leader in the
forward movement. It is evident that he studied certain fragments of
antique sculpture--a sarcophagus and a marble vase that had been found
in Pisa--with the greatest care and enthusiasm. He frankly copied from
them many details, and even several whole figures, in the reliefs on his
most famous work, the pulpit in the baptistery at Pisa.[233] But while
sculpture was the first of the arts to feel the new impetus, its
progress was slow; it was not until the fifteenth century that it began,
in Italy, to develop on wholly independent and original lines.

[Sidenote: Frescoes and easel pictures.]

The paintings of the period of the early Renaissance were usually
frescoes; that is, they were painted directly upon the plaster walls of
churches and sometimes of palaces. A few pictures, chiefly altar pieces,
were executed on wooden panels, but it was not until the sixteenth
century that easel paintings, that is, detached pictures on canvas,
wood, or other material, became common.

[Illustration: Relief by Niccola of Pisa from Pulpit at Pisa, showing
Influence of Antique Models]

[Sidenote: Giotto, 1266(?)-1337.]

In the fourteenth century there was an extraordinary development in the
art of painting under the guidance and inspiration of the first great
Italian painter, Giotto. Before his time the frescoes, like the
illuminations in the manuscripts of which we have spoken in a previous
chapter, were exceedingly stiff and unlifelike. With Giotto there comes
a change. Antique art did not furnish him with any models to copy, for
whatever the ancients had accomplished in painting had been
destroyed.[234] He had therefore to deal with the problems of his art
unaided, and of course he could only begin their solution. His trees and
landscapes look like caricatures, his faces are all much alike, the
garments hang in stiff straight folds. But he aimed to do what the
earlier painters apparently did not dream of doing--that is, paint
living, thinking, feeling men and women. He was not even satisfied to
confine himself to the old biblical subjects. Among his most famous
frescoes are the scenes from the life of St. Francis,[235] a theme which
appealed very strongly to the imagination of people and artists alike
all through the fourteenth century.

[Sidenote: Renaissance artists often practiced several arts.]

Giotto's dominating influence upon the art of his century is due partly
to the fact that he was a builder as well as a painter, and also
designed reliefs for sculpture. This practicing of several different
arts by the same artist was one of the striking features of the
Renaissance period.

[Sidenote: Italian art in the fifteenth century.]

125. During the fifteenth century, which is known as the period of the
Early Renaissance, art in Italy developed and progressed steadily,
surely, and with comparative rapidity, toward the glorious heights of
achievement which it reached in the following century. The traditions of
the Middle Ages were wholly thrown aside, the lessons of ancient art
thoroughly learned. As the artists became more complete masters of their
tools and of all the technical processes of their art, they found
themselves ever freer to express in their work what they saw and felt.

[Sidenote: Florence the art center of Italy.]

Florence was the great center of artistic activity during the fifteenth
century. The greatest sculptors and almost all of the most famous
painters and architects of the time either were natives of Florence or
did their best work there. During the first half of the century
sculpture again took the lead. The bronze doors of the baptistery at
Florence by Ghiberti, which were completed about 1450, are among the
very best products of Renaissance sculpture. Michael Angelo declared
them worthy to be the doors of paradise. A comparison of them with the
doors of the cathedral of Pisa, which date from the end of the twelfth
century, furnishes a striking illustration of the change that had taken
place. A contemporary of Ghiberti, Luca della Robbia (1400-1482), is
celebrated for his beautiful reliefs in glazed baked clay and in marble,
of which many may be seen in Florence.




[Illustration: Relief by Luca della Robbia]

One of the best known painters of the first half of the fifteenth
century, Fra[236] Angelico, was a monk. His frescoes on the walls of the
monastery of San Marco (and elsewhere) reflect a love of beauty and a
cheerful piety, in striking contrast to the fiery zeal of
Savonarola,[237] who, later in the century, went forth from this same
monastery to denounce the vanities of the art-loving Florentines.[238]

[Sidenote: Rome becomes the center of artistic activity.]

126. Florence reached the height of its preëminence as an art center
during the reign of Lorenzo the Magnificent, who was an ardent patron of
all the arts. With his death (1492), and the subsequent brief but
overwhelming influence of Savonarola, this preëminence passed to Rome,
which was fast becoming one of the great capitals of Europe. The
art-loving popes, Julius II and Leo X,[239] took pains to secure the
services of the most distinguished artists and architects of the time in
the building and adornment of St. Peter's and the Vatican, i.e., the
papal church and palace.

[Sidenote: The church of St. Peter.]

The idea of the dome as the central feature of a church, which appealed
so strongly to the architects of the Renaissance, reached its highest
realization in rebuilding the ancient church of St. Peter. The task was
begun in the fifteenth century; in 1506 it was taken up by Pope Julius
II with his usual energy, and it was continued all through the sixteenth
century and well into the seventeenth, under the direction of a
succession of the most famous artist-architects of the time, including
Raphael and Michael Angelo. The plan was changed repeatedly, but in its
final form the building is a Latin cross surmounted by a great dome, one
hundred and thirty-eight feet in diameter. The dimensions and
proportions of this greatest of all churches never fail to impress the
beholder with something like awe.

[Sidenote: Height of Renaissance art.]

[Sidenote: Da Vinci, Michael Angelo, Raphael.]

During the sixteenth century the art of the Renaissance reached its
highest development. Among all the great artists of this period three
stand out in heroic proportions--Leonardo da Vinci, Michael Angelo, and
Raphael. The first two not only practiced, but achieved almost equal
distinction in, the three arts of architecture, sculpture, and
painting.[240] It is impossible to give in a few lines any idea of the
beauty and significance of the work of these great geniuses. Both
Raphael and Michael Angelo left behind them so many and such magnificent
frescoes and paintings, and in the case of Michael Angelo statues as
well, that it is easy to appreciate their importance. Leonardo, on the
other hand, left but little completed work. His influence on the art of
his time, which was probably greater than that of either of the others,
came from his many-sidedness, his originality, and his unflagging
interest in the discovery and application of new methods. He was almost
more experimenter than artist.

[Illustration: St. Peter's and the Vatican, Rome]

[Sidenote: The Venetian school.]

[Sidenote: Titian, 1477-1576.]

While Florence could no longer boast of being the art center of Italy,
it still produced great artists, among whom Andrea del Sarto may be
especially mentioned.[241] But the most important center of artistic
activity outside of Rome in the sixteenth century was Venice. The
distinguishing characteristic of the Venetian pictures is their glowing
color. This is strikingly exemplified in the paintings of Titian, the
most famous of all the Venetian painters.

[Sidenote: Painting in northern Europe.]

[Sidenote: Dürer, 1471-1528.]

It was natural that artists from the northern countries should be
attracted by the renown of the Italian masters and, after learning all
that Italy could teach them, should return home to practice their art in
their own particular fashion. About a century after Giotto's time two
Flemish brothers, Van Eyck by name, showed that they were not only able
to paint quite as excellent pictures as the Italians of their day, but
they also discovered a new way of mixing their colors superior to that
employed in Italy. Later, when painting had reached its height in Italy,
Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein the Younger[242] in Germany vied with
even Raphael and Michael Angelo in the mastery of their art. Dürer is
especially celebrated for his wonderful woodcuts and copperplate
engravings, in which field he has perhaps never been excelled.[243]

[Sidenote: Rubens, 1577-1640, and Rembrandt, 1607-1669.]

[Sidenote: Van Dyck, 1599-1641, and his portraits.]

[Sidenote: Velasquez.]

When, in the seventeenth century, painting had declined south of the
Alps, Dutch and Flemish masters,--above all, Rubens and
Rembrandt,--developed a new and admirable school of painting. To Van
Dyck, another Flemish master, we owe many noble portraits of
historically important persons.[244] Spain gave to the world in the
seventeenth century a painter whom some would rank higher than even the
greatest artists of Italy, namely, Velasquez (1599-1660). His genius,
like that of Van Dyck, is especially conspicuous in his marvellous

[Illustration: GIOTTO'S MADONNA]


[Sidenote: Geographical knowledge in the Middle Ages.]

[Sidenote: Marco Polo.]

127. Shortly after the invention of printing, which promised so much for
the diffusion of knowledge, the horizon of western Europe was further
enlarged by a series of remarkable sea voyages which led to the
exploration of the whole globe. The Greeks and Romans knew little about
the world beyond southern Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia; and
much that they knew was forgotten during the Middle Ages. The Crusades
took many Europeans as far east as Egypt and Syria. As early as Dante's
time two Venetian merchants, the Polo brothers, visited China and were
kindly received at Pekin by the emperor of the Mongols. On a second
journey they were accompanied by Marco Polo, the son of one of the
brothers. When they got safely back to Venice in 1295, after a journey
of twenty years, Marco gave an account of his experiences which filled
his readers with wonder. Nothing stimulated the interest of the West
more than his fabulous description of the golden island of Zipangu
(Japan) and of the spice markets of the Moluccas and Ceylon.[245]

[Sidenote: The discoveries of the Portuguese in the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries.]

About the year 1318 Venice and Genoa opened up direct communication by
sea with the towns of the Netherlands.[246] Their fleets, which touched
at the port of Lisbon, aroused the commercial enterprise of the
Portuguese, who soon began to undertake extended maritime expeditions.
By the middle of the fourteenth century they had discovered the Canary
Islands, Madeira, and the Azores. Before this time no one had ventured
along the coast of Africa beyond the arid region of Sahara. The country
was forbidding, there were no ports, and mariners were, moreover,
hindered in their progress by the general belief that the torrid region
was uninhabitable. In 1445, however, some adventurous sailors came
within sight of a headland beyond the desert and, struck by its
luxuriant growth of tropical trees, they called it Cape Verde (the green
cape). Its discovery put an end once for all to the idea that there were
only parched deserts to the south.

For a generation longer the Portuguese continued to venture farther and
farther along the coast, in the hope of finding it coming to an end, so
that they might make their way by sea to India. At last, in 1486, Diaz
rounded the Cape of Good Hope. Twelve years later (1498) Vasco da Gama,
spurred on by Columbus' great discovery, after sailing around the Cape
of Good Hope and northward beyond Zanzibar, steered straight across the
Indian Ocean and reached Calicut, in Hindustan, by sea.

[Sidenote: The spice trade.]

These adventurers were looked upon with natural suspicion by the
Mohammedan spice merchants, who knew very well that their object was to
establish a direct trade between the spice islands and western Europe.
Hitherto the Mohammedans had had the monopoly of the spice trade between
the Moluccas and the eastern ports of the Mediterranean, where the
products were handed over to Italian merchants. The Mohammedans were
unable, however, to prevent the Portuguese from concluding treaties with
the Indian princes and establishing trading stations at Goa and
elsewhere. In 1512 a successor of Vasco da Gama reached Java and the
Moluccas, where the Portuguese speedily built a fortress. By 1515
Portugal had become the greatest among maritime powers; and spices
reached Lisbon regularly without the intervention of the Italian towns,
which were mortally afflicted by the change.

[Sidenote: Importance of spices in encouraging navigation.]

There is no doubt that the desire to obtain spices was the main reason
for the exploration of the globe. This motive led European navigators to
try in succession every possible way to reach the East--by going around
Africa, by sailing west in the hope of reaching the Indies, before they
knew of the existence of America; then, after America was discovered, by
sailing around it to the north or south, and even sailing around Europe
to the north. It is hard for us to understand this enthusiasm for
spices, for which we care much less nowadays. One former use of spices
was to preserve food, which could not then as now be carried rapidly,
while still fresh, from place to place; nor did our conveniences then
exist for keeping it by the use of ice. Moreover, spice served to make
even spoiled food more palatable than it would otherwise have been.

[Illustration: The Voyages of Discovery]

[Sidenote: Idea of reaching the spice islands by sailing westward.]

It inevitably occurred to thoughtful men that the East Indies could be
reached by sailing westward. The chief authority upon the form and size
of the earth was still the ancient astronomer, Ptolemy, who lived about
A.D. 150. He had reckoned the earth to be about one sixth smaller than
it is; and as Marco Polo had given an exaggerated idea of the distance
which he and his companions had traveled eastward, it was supposed that
it could not be a very long journey from Europe across the Atlantic to

[Sidenote: Columbus discovers America, 1492.]

The first plan for sailing west was, perhaps, submitted to the
Portuguese king in 1474, by Toscanelli, a Florentine physician. In 1492,
as we all know, a Genoese navigator, Columbus (b. 1451), who had had
much experience on the sea, got together three little ships and
undertook the journey westward to Zipangu, which he hoped to reach in
five weeks. After thirty-two days from the time he left the Canary
Islands he came upon land, the island of San Salvador, and believed
himself to be in the East Indies. Going on from there he discovered the
island of Cuba, which he believed to be the mainland of Asia, and then
Haiti, which he mistook for the longed-for Zipangu. Although he made
three later expeditions and sailed down the coast of South America as
far as the Orinoco, he died without realizing that he had not been
exploring the coast of Asia.[247]

[Sidenote: Magellan's expedition around the world.]

After the bold enterprises of Vasco da Gama and Columbus, an expedition
headed by Magellan succeeded in circumnavigating the globe. There was
now no reason why the new lands should not become more and more familiar
to the European nations. The coast of North America was explored
principally by English navigators, who for over a century pressed north,
still in the vain hope of finding a northwest passage to the spice

[Sidenote: The Spanish conquests in America.]

Cortez began the Spanish conquests in the western world by undertaking
the subjugation of the Aztec empire in Mexico in 1519. A few years later
Pizarro established the Spanish power in Peru. It is hardly necessary to
say that Europeans exhibited an utter disregard for the rights of the
people with whom they came in contact, and treated them with
contemptuous cruelty. Spain now superseded Portugal as a maritime power
and her importance in the sixteenth century is to be attributed largely
to the wealth which came to her from her possessions in the New World.

[Sidenote: The Spanish main.]

By the end of the century the Spanish main--i.e., the northern coast of
South America--was much frequented by adventurous seamen, who combined
in about equal parts the occupations of merchant, slaver, and pirate.
Many of these hailed from English ports, and it is to them that England
owes the beginning of her commercial greatness.[248]

[Sidenote: Copernicus (1473-1543) discovers that the earth is not the
center of the universe.]

128. While Columbus and the Portuguese navigators were bringing hitherto
unknown regions of the earth to the knowledge of Europe, a Polish
astronomer, Kopernik (commonly known by his Latinized name, Copernicus),
was reaching the conclusion that the ancient writers had been misled in
supposing that the earth was the center of the universe. He discovered
that, with the other planets, the earth revolved about the sun. This
opened the way to an entirely new conception of the heavenly bodies and
their motions, which has formed the basis of modern astronomy.

It was naturally a great shock to men to have it suggested that their
dwelling place, instead of being God's greatest work to which He had
subordinated everything, was but a tiny speck in comparison to the whole
universe, and its sun but one of an innumerable host of similar bodies,
each of which might have its particular family of planets revolving
about it. Theologians, both Protestant and Catholic, declared the
statements of Copernicus foolish and wicked and contrary to the
teachings of the Bible. He was prudent enough to defer the publication
of his great work until just before his death; he thus escaped any
persecution to which his discovery might have subjected him.

[Sidenote: Miscellaneous inventions.]

In addition to the various forms of progress of which we have spoken,
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries witnessed the invention or wide
application of a considerable number of practical devices which were
unknown to the Greeks and Romans. Examples of these are, besides
printing, the compass, gunpowder, spectacles, and a method of not merely
softening but of thoroughly melting iron so that it could be cast.

[Sidenote: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries not merely a period of

The period of which we have been speaking was, in short, by no means
merely distinguished for the revival of classical learning. It was not
simply a re-birth of the ancient knowledge and art, but a time during
which Europe laid the foundations for a development essentially
different from that of the ancient world and for achievements undreamed
of by Aristotle or Pliny.

     General Reading.--The culture of Italy during the fourteenth and
     fifteenth centuries is best treated by BURCKHARDT, _The
     Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy_ (The Macmillan Company,
     $4.00). This is especially adapted for the rather advanced student.
     The towns are interestingly described in SYMONDS, _Age of Despots_
     (Scribner's Sons, $2.00). For Florence and the Medici, see
     ARMSTRONG, _Lorenzo de' Medici and Florence in the Fifteenth
     Century_ (G.P. Putnam's Sons, $1.50). MACHIAVELLI'S _Prince_ may be
     had in translation (Clarendon Press, $1.10). The best prose
     translation of DANTE'S _Divine Comedy_ is that of Charles Eliot
     Norton (Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 3 vols., $4.50). In ROBINSON and
     ROLFE, _Petrarch the First Modern Scholar and Man of Letters_ (G.P.
     Putnam's Sons, $2.00), the reader will find much material to
     illustrate the beginnings of humanism. The volume consists mainly
     of Petrarch's own letters to his friends. The introduction gives a
     much fuller account of his work than it was possible to include in
     the present volume. For similar material from other writers of the
     time, see WHITCOMB, _A Literary Source Book of the Italian
     Renaissance_ (Philadelphia, $1.00). The autobiography of Benvenuto
     Cellini is a very amusing and instructive book by one of the
     well-known artists of the sixteenth century. Roscoe's translation
     in the Bohn series (The Macmillan Company, $1.00) is to be
     recommended for school libraries.

     The greatest of the sources for the lives of the artists is VASARI,
     _Lives of Seventy of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and
     Architects_. This may be had in the Temple Classics (The Macmillan
     Company, 8 vols., 50 cents each) or a selection of the more
     important lives admirably edited in Blashfield and Hopkins'
     carefully annotated edition (Scribner's Sons, 4 vols., $8.00).
     Vasari was a contemporary of Michael Angelo and Cellini, and writes
     in a simple and charming style. The outlines of the history of the
     various branches of art, with ample bibliographies, are given in
     the "College Histories of Art," edited by John C. Van Dyke; viz.,
     VAN DYKE, _The History of Painting_, HAMLIN, _The History of
     Architecture_, and MARQUAND and FROTHINGHAM, _The History of
     Sculpture_ (Longmans, Green & Co., each $2.00). Larger works with
     more illustrations, which might be found in any good town library
     are: FERGUSSON, _History of Modern Architecture_, LÜBKE, _History
     of Sculpture_, WOLTMANN and WOERMANN, _History of Painting_, and
     FLETCHER, _A History of Architecture_. Two companies publish very
     inexpensive reproductions of works of art: the so-called Perry
     pictures at a cent apiece, and the still better Cosmos pictures
     (Cosmos Picture Company, New York), costing somewhat more.

     For the invention of printing see DE VINNE, _The Invention of
     Printing_, unfortunately out of print, and BLADES, _Pentateuch of
     Printing_ (London, $4.75). Also PUTNAM, _Books and their Makers
     during the Middle Ages_, Vol. I (G.P. Putnam's Sons, $2.50).



129. Two events took place in the early sixteenth century which
fundamentally influenced the history of Europe. (1) By a series of royal
marriages a great part of western Europe was brought under the control
of a single ruler, Emperor Charles V. He inherited Burgundy, Spain,
portions of Italy, and the Austrian territories; and, in 1519, he was
chosen emperor. There had been no such dominion as his in Europe since
the time of Charlemagne. Within its bounds lay Vienna, Brussels, Madrid,
Palermo, Naples, Milan, even the city of Mexico. Its creation and the
struggles which accompanied its dissolution form one of the most
important chapters in the history of modern Europe. (2) Just at the time
that Charles was assuming the responsibilities that his vast domains
brought with them, the first successful revolt against the mediæval
Church was beginning. This was to result in the disruption of the Church
and the establishment of two great religious parties, the Catholic and
the Protestant, which have endured down to the present time. The purpose
of the present chapter is to describe the origin, extent, and character
of the empire of Charles V, and to prepare the reader to grasp the
_political_ import of the Protestant revolt.

Before mentioning the family alliances which led to the consolidation of
such tremendous political power in the hands of one person, it will be
necessary, first, to note the rise of the house of Hapsburg to which
Charles belonged, and secondly, to account for the appearance in
European affairs of Spain, which has hitherto scarcely come into our

[Sidenote: Reasons why the German kings failed to establish a strong

The German kings had failed to create a strong kingdom such as those
over which Louis XI of France and Henry VII of England ruled. Their fine
title of "emperor" had made them a great deal of trouble, as we have
seen.[249] Their attempts to keep Italy as well as Germany under their
rule, and the alliance of the mighty Bishop of Rome with their enemies
had well-nigh ruined them. Their position was further weakened by their
failure to render their office strictly hereditary. Although the
emperors were often succeeded by their sons, each new emperor had to be
_elected_, and those great vassals who controlled the election naturally
took care to bind the candidate by solemn promises not to interfere with
their privileges and independence. The result was that, after the
downfall of the Hohenstaufens, Germany fell apart into a great number of
practically independent states, of which none were very large and some
were extremely small.

[Sidenote: Rudolf of Hapsburg gets possession of Austria.]

After an interregnum, Rudolf of Hapsburg had been chosen emperor in
1273.[250] The original seat of the Hapsburgs, who were destined to play
a great part in European affairs, was in northern Switzerland, where the
vestiges of their original castle may still be seen. Rudolf was the
first prominent member of the family; he established its position and
influence by seizing the duchies of Austria and Styria, which were to
become, under his successors, the nucleus of the extensive Austrian

[Sidenote: The imperial title becomes practically hereditary in the
house of Austria.]

About a century and a half after the death of Rudolf the electors began
regularly to choose as emperor the ruler of the Austrian possessions, so
that the imperial title became, to all intents and purposes, hereditary
in the Hapsburg line.[251] The Hapsburgs were, however, far more
interested in adding to their family domains than in advancing the
interests of the now almost defunct Holy Roman Empire. This, in the
memorable words of Voltaire, had ceased to be either holy, or Roman, or
an empire.

[Sidenote: Maximilian I, 1493-1519, extends the power of the Hapsburgs
over the Netherlands and Spain.]

Maximilian I, who was emperor at the opening of the sixteenth century,
was absorbed in his foreign enterprises rather than in the improvement
of the German government. Like so many of his predecessors, he was
especially anxious to get possession of northern Italy. By his marriage
with the daughter of Charles the Bold he brought the Netherlands into
what proved a fateful union with Austria.[252] Still more important was
the extension of the power of the Hapsburgs over Spain, a country which
had hitherto had almost no connection with Germany.

[Sidenote: Arab civilization in Spain.]

130. The Mohammedan conquest served to make the history of Spain very
different from that of the other states of Europe. One of its first and
most important results was the conversion of a great part of the
inhabitants to Mohammedanism.[253] During the tenth century, which was
so dark a period in the rest of Europe, the Arab civilization in Spain
reached its highest development. The various elements in the population,
Roman, Gothic, Arab, and Berber, appear to have been thoroughly
amalgamated. Agriculture, industry, commerce, art, and the sciences made
rapid progress. Cordova, with its half million of inhabitants, its
stately palaces, its university, its three thousand mosques and three
hundred public baths, was perhaps unrivaled at that period in the whole
world. There were thousands of students at the university of Cordova at
a time when, in the North, only clergymen had mastered even the simple
arts of reading and writing. This brilliant civilization lasted,
however, for hardly more than a hundred years. By the middle of the
eleventh century the caliphate of Cordova had fallen to pieces, and
shortly afterwards the country was overrun by new invaders from Africa.

[Sidenote: The rise of new Christian kingdoms in Spain.]

Meanwhile the vestiges of the earlier Christian rule continued to exist
in the mountain fastnesses of northern Spain. Even as early as the year
1000,[254] several small Christian kingdoms--Castile, Aragon, and
Navarre--had come into existence. Castile, in particular, began to push
back the demoralized Arabs and, in 1085, reconquered Toledo from them.
Aragon also widened its bounds by incorporating Barcelona and conquering
the territory watered by the Ebro. By 1250, the long war of the
Christians against the Mohammedans, which fills the mediæval annals of
Spain, had been so successfully prosecuted that Castile extended to the
south coast and included the great towns of Cordova and Seville. The
kingdom of Portugal was already as large as it is to-day.

[Sidenote: Granada and Castile.]

The Moors, as the Spanish Mohammedans were called, maintained themselves
for two centuries more in the mountainous kingdom of Granada, in the
southern part of the peninsula. During this period, Castile, which was
the largest of the Spanish kingdoms and embraced all the central part of
the peninsula, was too much occupied by internal feuds and struggles
over the crown to wage successful war against the Moorish kingdom to the

[Sidenote: Marriage of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon.]

[Sidenote: Granada, the last Moorish stronghold, falls.]

The first Spanish monarch whose name need be mentioned here was Queen
Isabella of Castile, who, in 1469, concluded an all-important marriage
with Ferdinand, the heir of the crown of Aragon. It is with the
resulting union of Castile and Aragon that the great importance of Spain
in European history begins. For the next hundred years Spain was to
enjoy more military power than any other European state. Ferdinand and
Isabella undertook to complete the conquest of the peninsula, and in
1492, after a long siege, the city of Granada fell into their hands, and
therewith the last vestige of Moorish domination disappeared.[255]


[Sidenote: Spain's income from the New World enables her to become a
European power.]

In the same year that the conquest of the peninsula was completed, the
discoveries of Columbus, made under the auspices of Queen Isabella,
opened up the sources of undreamed-of wealth beyond the seas. The
transient greatness of Spain in the sixteenth century is largely to be
attributed to the riches which poured in from her American possessions.
The shameless and cruel looting of the Mexican and Peruvian cities by
Cortez and Pizarro, and the products of the silver mines of the New
World, enabled Spain to assume, for a time, a position in Europe which
her internal strength and normal resources would never have permitted.

[Sidenote: Persecution of the Jews and Moors.]

[Sidenote: The revival of the Inquisition.]

Unfortunately, the most industrious, skillful, and thrifty among the
inhabitants of Spain, i.e., the Moors and the Jews, who well-nigh
supported the whole kingdom with the products of their toil, were
bitterly persecuted by the Christians. So anxious was Isabella to rid
her kingdom of the infidels that she revived the court of the
Inquisition.[256] For several decades its tribunals arrested and
condemned innumerable persons who were suspected of heresy, and
thousands were burned at the stake during this period. These wholesale
executions have served to associate Spain especially with the horrors of
the Inquisition. Finally, in 1609, the Moors were driven out of the
country altogether. The persecution diminished or disheartened the most
useful and enterprising portion of the Spanish people, and speedily and
permanently crippled a country which in the sixteenth century was
granted an unrivaled opportunity to become a flourishing and powerful

[Sidenote: Heritage of Charles V.]

Maximilian, the German emperor, was not satisfied with securing Burgundy
for his house by his marriage with the daughter of Charles the Bold. He
also arranged a marriage between their son, Philip, and Joanna, the
daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. Philip died in 1506, and his poor
wife, Joanna, became insane with grief and was thus incapacitated for
ruling. So their eldest son, Charles, could look forward to an
unprecedented accumulation of glorious titles as soon as his
grand-fathers, Maximilian and Ferdinand, should pass away.[257] He was
soon to be duke of Brabant, margrave of Antwerp, count of Holland,
archduke of Austria, count of Tyrol, king of Castile, Aragon, and
Naples, and of the vast Spanish possessions in America,--to mention a
few of his more important titles.

[Sidenote: Charles and his Spanish possessions.]

Ferdinand died in 1516, and Charles, now a lad of sixteen, who had been
born and reared in the Netherlands, was much bewildered when he landed
in his Spanish dominions. His Flemish advisers were distasteful to the
haughty Spaniards; suspicion and opposition awaited him in each of his
several Spanish kingdoms, for he found by no means a united Spain. Each
kingdom demanded special recognition of its rights and suggested
important reforms before it would acknowledge Charles as its king.

[Sidenote: Charles elected emperor, 1519.]

It seemed as if the boy would have his hands full in asserting his
authority as "king of Spain"; nevertheless, a still more imposing title
and still more perplexing responsibilities were to fall upon his
shoulders before he was twenty years old. It had long been Maximilian's
ambition that his grandson should succeed him upon the imperial throne.
After his death in 1519 the electors finally chose Charles instead of
the rival candidate, Francis I of France. By this election the king of
Spain, who had not yet been in Germany and who never learned its
language, became its ruler at a critical juncture, when the teachings of
Luther were producing unprecedented dissension and political
distraction. We shall hereafter refer to him by his imperial title of
Charles V.

[Illustration: Charles V]

131. In order to understand the Europe of Charles V and the constant
wars which occupied him all his life, we must turn back and review the
questions which had been engaging the attention of his fellow-kings
before he came to the throne. It is particularly necessary to see
clearly how Italy had suddenly become the center of commotion,--the
battlefield for Spain, France, and Germany.

[Sidenote: Charles VIII of France invades Italy.]

Charles VIII of France (1483-1498) possessed little of the practical
sagacity of his father, Louis XI. He dreamed of a mighty expedition
against the Turks and of the conquest of Constantinople. As the first
step he determined to lead an army into Italy and assert his claim,
inherited from his father, to the kingdom of Naples, which was in the
hands of the house of Aragon.[258] While Italy had everything to lose by
permitting a powerful monarch to get a foothold in the South, there was
no probability that the various little states into which the peninsula
was divided would lay aside their perpetual animosities and combine
against the invader. On the contrary, Charles VIII was urged by some of
the Italians themselves to come.

[Sidenote: Savonarola and Charles VIII.]

Had Lorenzo the Magnificent still been alive, he might have organized a
league to oppose the French king, but he had died in 1492, two years
before Charles started. Lorenzo's sons failed to maintain the influence
over the people of Florence which their father had enjoyed; and the
leadership of the city fell into the hands of the Dominican friar,
Savonarola, whose fervid preaching attracted and held for a time the
attention of the fickle Florentine populace. He believed himself to be a
prophet, and proclaimed that God was about to scourge Italy for its
iniquities, and that men should flee before His wrath by renouncing
their lives of sin and pleasure.

When Savonarola heard of the French invasion, it appeared to him that
this was indeed the looked-for scourge of God, which might afflict, but
would also purify, the Church. His prophecies seemed to be fulfilled,
and his listeners were stricken with terror. As Charles approached
Florence, the people rose in revolt against the Medici, sacked their
palaces, and drove out the three sons of Lorenzo. Savonarola became the
chief figure in the new republic which was established. Charles was
admitted into Florence, but his ugly, insignificant figure disappointed
the Florentines. They soon made it clear to him that they would not
regard him in any sense as a conqueror, and would oppose a prolonged
occupation by the French. Savonarola said to him: "The people are
afflicted by your stay in Florence, and you waste your time. God has
called you to renew His Church. Go forth to your high calling lest God
visit you in His wrath and choose another instrument in your stead to
carry out His designs." So, after a week's stay, the French army left
Florence and proceeded on its southward journey.

[Sidenote: The popes since the Great Schism.]

The next power with which Charles VIII had to deal was represented by a
person in every way the opposite of the Dominican monk--Pope Alexander
VI. After the troubles of the Great Schism and the councils, the popes
had set to work to organize their possessions in central Italy into a
compact principality. For a time they seemed to be little more than
Italian princes. But they did not make rapid progress in their political
enterprises because, in the first place, they were usually advanced in
years before they came to power and so had little time to carry out
their projects; and, in the second place, they showed too much anxiety
to promote the interests of their relatives. The selfish, unscrupulous
means employed by these worldly prelates naturally brought great
discredit upon the Church.

[Sidenote: Pope Alexander VI and Cæsar Borgia.]

There was probably never a more openly profligate Italian despot than
Alexander VI (1493-1503) of the notorious Spanish house of Borgia. He
frankly set to work to advance the interests of his children, as if he
were merely a secular ruler. For one of his sons, Cæsar Borgia, he
proposed to form a duchy east of Florence. Cæsar outdid his father in
crime. He not only entrapped and mercilessly slaughtered his enemies,
but had his brother assassinated and thrown into the Tiber. Both he and
his father were accused of constant recourse to poisoning, in which art
they were popularly supposed to have gained extraordinary proficiency.
It is noteworthy that when Machiavelli prepared his _Prince_,[259] he
chose for his hero Cæsar Borgia, as possessing in the highest degree
those qualities which went to make up a successful Italian ruler.

The pope was greatly perturbed by the French invasion, and in spite of
the fact that he was the head of Christendom, he entered into
negotiations with the Turkish sultan in the hope of gaining aid against
the French king. He could not, however, prevent Charles from entering
Rome and later continuing on his way to Naples.

[Sidenote: Charles VIII leaves Italy unconquered.]

The success of the French king seemed marvelous, for even Naples
speedily fell into his hands. But he and his troops were demoralized by
the wines and other pleasures of the South, and meanwhile his enemies at
last began to form a combination against him. Ferdinand of Aragon was
fearful lest he might lose Sicily, and Maximilian objected to having the
French control Italy. Charles' situation became so precarious that he
may well have thought himself fortunate, at the close of 1495, to
escape, with the loss of only a single battle, from the country he had
hoped to conquer.

[Sidenote: Results of Charles' expedition.]

The results of Charles' expedition appear at first sight trivial; in
reality they were momentous. In the first place, it was now clear to
Europe that the Italians had no real national feeling, however much they
might despise the "barbarians" who lived north of the Alps. From this
time down to the latter half of the nineteenth century, Italy was
dominated by foreign nations, especially Spain and Austria. In the
second place, the French learned to admire the art and culture of Italy.
The nobles began to change their feudal castles, which since the
invention of gunpowder were no longer impregnable, into luxurious
country houses. The new scholarship of Italy took root and flourished
not only in France, but in England and Germany as well. Consequently,
just as Italy was becoming, politically, the victim of foreign
aggressions, it was also losing, never to regain, that intellectual
preëminence which it had enjoyed since the revival of interest in
classical literature.

[Sidenote: Savonarola's reforms in Florence.]

After Charles VIII's departure, Savonarola continued his reformation
with the hope of making Florence a model state which should lead to the
regeneration of the world. At first he carried all before him, and at
the Carnival of 1496 there were no more of the gorgeous exhibitions and
reckless gayety which had pleased the people under Lorenzo the
Magnificent. The next year the people were induced to make a great
bonfire, in the spacious square before the City Hall, of all the
"vanities" which stood in the way of a godly life--frivolous and immoral
books, pictures, jewels, and trinkets.

[Sidenote: Savonarola condemned and executed, 1498.]

Savonarola had enemies, however, even in his own Dominican order, while
the Franciscans were naturally jealous of his renown and maintained that
he was no real prophet. What was more serious, Alexander VI was bitterly
hostile to the reforming friar because he urged the Florentines to
remain in alliance with France. Before long even the people began to
lose confidence in him. He was arrested by the pope's order in 1497 and
condemned as a heretic and despiser of the Holy See. He was hanged, and
his body burned, in the same square where the "vanities" had been
sacrificed hardly more than a twelvemonth before.

[Sidenote: Louis XII's Italian policy.]

In the same year (1498), the romantic Charles VIII died without leaving
any male heirs and was succeeded by a distant relative, Louis XII, who
renewed the Italian adventures of his predecessor. As his grandmother
was a member of the Milanese house of the Visconti, Louis laid claim to
Milan as well as to Naples. He quickly conquered Milan, and then
arranged a secret treaty with Ferdinand of Aragon (1500) for the
division of the kingdom of Naples between them. It was not hard for the
combined French and Spanish troops to conquer the country, but the two
allies soon disagreed, and four years later Louis sold his title to
Naples for a large sum to Ferdinand.

[Sidenote: Pope Julius II.]

132. Pope Julius II, who succeeded the unspeakable Alexander VI (1503),
was hardly more spiritual than his predecessor. He was a warlike and
intrepid old man, who did not hesitate on at least one occasion to put
on a soldier's armor and lead his troops in person. Julius was a
Genoese, and harbored an inveterate hatred against Genoa's great
commercial rival, Venice. The Venetians especially enraged the pope by
taking possession of some of the towns on the northern border of his
dominions, and he threatened to reduce their city to a fishing village.
The Venetian ambassador replied, "As for you, Holy Father, if you are
not more reasonable, we shall reduce you to a village priest."

[Sidenote: League of Cambray against Venice, 1508.]

With the pope's encouragement, the League of Cambray was formed in 1508
for the express purpose of destroying one of the most important Italian
states. The Empire, France, Spain, and the pope were to divide among
them Venice's possessions on the mainland. Maximilian was anxious to
gain the districts bordering upon Austria, Louis XII to extend the
boundaries of his new duchy of Milan, while the pope and Ferdinand were
also to have their appropriate shares.

Venice was quickly reduced to a few remnants of its Italian domains, but
the Venetians hastened to make their peace with the pope, who, after
receiving their humble submission, gave them his forgiveness. In spite
of his previous pledges to his allies, the pope now swore to exterminate
the "barbarians" whom he had so recklessly called in. He formed an
alliance with Venice and induced the new king of England, Henry VIII, to
attack the French king. As for Maximilian, the pope declared him as
"harmless as a newborn babe." This "Holy League" against the French led
to their loss of Milan and their expulsion from the Italian peninsula in
1512, but it in no way put an end to the troubles in Italy.

[Sidenote: Pope Leo X, 1513-1521.]

The bellicose Julius was followed in 1513 by Leo X, a son of Lorenzo the
Magnificent. Like his father, he loved art and literature, but he was
apparently utterly without religious feelings. He was willing that the
war should continue, in the hope that he might be able to gain a couple
of duchies for his nephews.

[Sidenote: Francis I of France, 1515-1547.]

Louis XII died and left his brilliant cousin and successor, Francis I,
to attempt once more to regain Milan. The new king was but twenty years
old, gracious in manner, and chivalrous in his ideals of conduct. His
proudest title was "the gentleman king." Like his contemporaries, Leo X,
and Henry VIII of England, he patronized the arts, and literature
flourished during his reign. He was not, however, a wise statesman; he
was unable to pursue a consistent policy, but, as Voltaire says, "did
everything by fits and starts."

[Sidenote: Francis I in Italy.]

[Sidenote: The republic of Florence becomes the grand duchy of Tuscany.]

He opened his reign by a very astonishing victory. He led his troops
into Italy over a pass which had hitherto been regarded as impracticable
for cavalry, and defeated the Swiss--who were in the pope's pay--at
Marignano. He then occupied Milan and opened negotiations with Leo X,
who was glad to make terms with the victorious young king. The pope
agreed that Francis should retain Milan, and Francis on his part acceded
to Leo's plan for turning over Florence once more to the Medici. This
was done, and some years later this wonderful republic became the grand
duchy of Tuscany, governed by a line of petty princes under whom its
former glories were never renewed.[260]

[Sidenote: Sources of discord between France and the Hapsburgs.]

Friendly relations existed at first between the two young sovereigns,
Francis I and Charles V, but there were several circumstances which led
to an almost incessant series of wars between them. France was clamped
in between the northern and southern possessions of Charles, and had at
that time no natural boundaries. Moreover, there was a standing dispute
over portions of the Burgundian realms, for both Charles and Francis
claimed the _duchy_ of Burgundy and the neighboring _county_ of
Burgundy--commonly called Franche-Comté. Charles also believed that,
through his grandfather, Maximilian, he was entitled to Milan, which the
French kings had set their hearts upon acquiring. For a generation the
rivals fought over these and other matters, and the wars between Charles
and Francis were but the prelude to a conflict lasting over two
centuries between France and the overgrown power of the house of

[Sidenote: Henry VIII of England, 1509-1547.]

In the impending struggle it was natural that both monarchs should try
to gain the aid of the king of England, whose friendship was of the
greatest importance to each of them, and who was by no means loath to
take a hand in European affairs. Henry VIII had succeeded his father
(Henry VII) in 1509 at the age of eighteen. Like Francis, he was
good-looking and graceful, and in his early years made a very happy
impression upon those who came in contact with him. He gained much
popularity by condemning to death the two men who had been most active
in extorting the "benevolences" which his father had been wont to
require of unwilling givers. With a small but important class, his
learning brought him credit. He married, for his first wife, an aunt of
Charles V, Catherine of Aragon, and chose as his chief adviser Thomas
Wolsey, whose career and sudden downfall were to be strangely associated
with the fate of the unfortunate Spanish princess.[261]

[Sidenote: Charles V goes to Germany.]

In 1520 Charles V started for Germany to receive the imperial crown at
Aix-la-Chapelle. On his way he landed in England with the purpose of
keeping Henry from forming an alliance with Francis. He judged the best
means to be that of freely bribing Wolsey, who had been made a cardinal
by Leo X, and who was all-powerful with Henry. Charles therefore
bestowed on the cardinal a large annuity in addition to one which he had
granted him somewhat earlier. He then set sail for the Netherlands,
where he was duly crowned king of the Romans. From there he proceeded,
for the first time, to Germany, where he summoned his first diet at
Worms. The most important business of the assembly proved to be the
consideration of the case of a university professor, Martin Luther, who
was accused of writing heretical books, and who had in reality begun
what proved to be the first successful revolt against the seemingly
all-powerful mediæval Church.

     General Reading.--For the Italian wars of Charles VIII and Louis
     XII, _Cambridge Modern History_ (The Macmillan Company, $3.75 per
     vol.), Vol. I, Chapter IV; JOHNSON, _Europe in the Sixteenth
     Century_ (The Macmillan Company, $1.75), Chapter I; DYER and
     HASSALL, _Modern Europe_ (The Macmillan Company, 6 vols., $2.00
     each), Vol. I; CREIGHTON, _History of the Papacy_ (see above, p.
     320), Vols. IV, V. For Savonarola, _Cambridge Modern History_, Vol.
     I, Chapter V; CREIGHTON, Vol. IV, Chapter VIII; LEA, _History of
     the Inquisition_ (see above, p. 232), Vol. III, pp. 209-237;
     SYMONDS, _Age of Despots_ (see above, p. 352), Chapter IX; PASTOR,
     _History of the Popes_ (see above, p. 320), Vol. V. For Spain,
     _Cambridge Modern History_, Vol. I, Chapter XI.



[Sidenote: Two unsuccessful revolts preceded the Protestant revolution.]

133. By far the most important event in the sixteenth century and one of
the most momentous in the history of the western world, was the revolt
of a considerable portion of northern and western Europe from the
mediæval Church. There had been but two serious rebellions earlier. The
first of these was that of the Albigenses in southern France in the
thirteenth century; this had been fearfully punished, and the
Inquisition had been established to ferret out and bring to trial those
who were disloyal to the Church. Then, some two centuries later, the
Bohemians, under the inspiration of Wycliffe's writings, had attempted
to introduce customs different from those which prevailed elsewhere in
the Church. They, too, had been forced, after a terrific series of
conflicts, once more to accept the old system.

[Sidenote: Luther secedes from the Church, 1520.]

Finally, however, in spite of the great strength and the wonderful
organization of the Church, it became apparent that it was no longer
possible to keep all of western Europe under the sway of the pope. In
the autumn of 1520, Professor Martin Luther called together the students
of the University of Wittenberg, led them outside the town walls, and
there burned the constitution and statutes of the mediæval Church, i.e.,
the canon law. In this way he publicly proclaimed and illustrated his
purpose to repudiate the existing Church with many of its doctrines and
practices. Its head he defied by destroying the papal bull directed
against his teachings.

[Sidenote: Origin of the two great religious parties in western
Europe,--the Catholics and Protestants.]

Other leaders, in Germany, Switzerland, England, and elsewhere,
organized separate revolts; rulers decided to accept the teachings of
the reformers, and used their power to promote the establishment of
churches independent of the pope. In this way western Europe came to be
divided into two great religious parties. The majority of its people
continued to regard the pope as their religious head and to accept the
institutions under which their forefathers had lived since the times of
Theodosius. In general, those regions (except England) which had formed
a part of the Roman empire remained Roman Catholic in their belief. On
the other hand, northern Germany, a part of Switzerland, England,
Scotland, and the Scandinavian countries sooner or later rejected the
headship of the pope and many of the institutions and doctrines of the
mediæval Church, and organized new religious institutions. The
Protestants, as those who seceded from the Church of Rome were called,
by no means agreed among themselves what particular system should
replace the old one. They were at one, however, in ceasing to obey the
pope and in proposing to revert to the early Church as their model and
accepting the Bible as their sole guide.[262]

[Sidenote: Revolt against the mediæval Church implied a general

To revolt against the Church was to inaugurate a fundamental revolution
in many of the habits and customs of the people. It was not merely a
change of religious belief, for the Church permeated every occupation
and dominated every social interest. For centuries it had directed and
largely controlled education, high and low. Each and every important act
in the home, in the guild, in the town, was accompanied by religious
ceremonies. The clergy of the Roman Catholic Church had hitherto written
most of the books; they sat in the government assemblies, acted as the
rulers' most trusted ministers, constituted, in short, outside of Italy,
the only really educated class. Their rôle and the rôle of the Church
were incomparably more important than that of any church which exists

[Sidenote: The wars of religion.]

Just as the mediæval Church was by no means an exclusively religious
institution, so the Protestant revolt was by no means simply a religious
change, but a social and political one as well. The conflicts which the
attempt to overthrow this institution, or rather social order, brought
about were necessarily terrific. They lasted for more than two centuries
and left no interest, public or private, social or individual, earthly
or heavenly, unaffected. Nation rose against nation, kingdom against
kingdom; households were divided among themselves; wars and commotion,
wrath and desolation, treachery and cruelty filled the states of western

Our present object is to learn how this successful revolt came about,
what was its real nature, and why the results were what they were. In
order to do this, it is necessary to turn to the Germany in which Luther
lived and see how the nation had been prepared to sympathize with his
attack on the Church.

[Sidenote: Germany of to-day.]

134. To us to-day, Germany means the German Empire, one of the three or
four best organized and most powerful of the European states. It is a
compact federation, somewhat like that of the United States, made up of
twenty-two monarchies and three little city republics. Each member of
the union manages its local affairs, but leaves all questions of
national importance to be settled by the central government at Berlin.
This federation is, however, of very recent date, being scarcely more
than thirty years old.

[Sidenote: The 'Germanies' of the sixteenth century.]

In the time of Charles V there was no such Germany as this, but only
what the French called "the Germanies"; i.e., two or three hundred
states, which differed greatly from one another in size and character.
One had a duke, another a count at its head, while some were ruled over
by archbishops, bishops, or abbots. There were many cities, like
Nuremberg, Augsburg, Frankfort, and Cologne, which were just as
independent as the great duchies of Bavaria, Würtemberg, and Saxony.
Lastly there were the knights, whose possessions might consist of no
more than a single strong castle with a wretched village lying at its
foot. Their trifling territories must, however, be called states; for
some of the knights were at that time as sovereign and independent as
the elector of Brandenburg, who was one day to become the king of
Prussia, and long after, the emperor of Germany.


[Sidenote: The seven electors and the other greater German princes.]

As for the emperor, he no longer had any power to control his vassals.
He could boast of unlimited pretensions and a great past, but he had
neither money nor soldiers. At the time of Luther's birth the
poverty-stricken Frederick III might have been seen picking up a free
meal at a monastery, or riding behind a slow but economical ox team. The
real power in Germany lay in the hands of the more important vassals.
First and foremost among these were the seven electors, so called
because, since the thirteenth century, they had enjoyed the right to
elect the emperor. Three of them were archbishops--kings in all but name
of considerable territories on the Rhine, namely, of the electorates of
Mayence, Treves, and Cologne.[263] Near them, to the south, was the
region ruled over by the elector of the Palatinate; to the northeast
were the territories of the electors of Brandenburg and of Saxony; the
king of Bohemia made the seventh of the group. Beside these states, the
dominions of other rulers scarcely less important than the electors
appear on the map. Some of these territories, like Würtemberg, Bavaria,
Hesse, and Baden, are familiar to us to-day as members of the present
German empire, but all of them have been much enlarged since the
sixteenth century by the absorption of the little states that formerly
lay within and about them.[264]

[Sidenote: The towns.]

The towns, which had grown up since the great economic revolution that
had brought in commerce and the use of money in the thirteenth century,
were centers of culture in the north of Europe, just as those of Italy
were in the south. Nuremberg, the most beautiful of the German cities,
still possesses a great part of the extraordinary buildings and works of
art which it produced in the sixteenth century. Some of the towns held
directly of the emperor, and were consequently independent of the
particular prince within whose territory they were situated. These were
called _free_, or _imperial_, cities and must be reckoned among the
states of Germany.

[Illustration: Wall of the formerly Free Town of Rothenburg]

[Sidenote: The knights.]

The knights, who ruled over the smallest of the German territories, had
once formed an important military class, but the invention of gunpowder
and of new methods of fighting had made their individual prowess of
little avail. As their tiny realms were often too small to support them,
they frequently turned to out-and-out robbery for a living. They hated
the cities because the prosperous burghers were able to live in a
luxurious comfort which the poor knights envied but could not imitate.
They hated the princes because these were anxious to incorporate into
their own territories the inconvenient little districts controlled by
the knights, many of whom, like the free cities, held directly of the
emperor, and were consequently practically independent.

[Sidenote: Complexity of the map of Germany.]

It would be no easy task to make a map of Germany in the time of Charles
V sufficiently detailed to show all the states and scattered fragments
of states. If, for example, the accompanying map were much larger and
indicated all the divisions, it would be seen that the territory of the
city of Ulm completely surrounded the microscopic possessions of a
certain knight, the lord of Eybach, and two districts belonging to the
abbot of Elchingen. On its borders lay the territories of four
knights,--the lords of Rechberg, Stotzingen, Erbach, and
Wiesensteig,--and of the abbots of Söflingen and Wiblingen, besides
portions of Würtemberg and outlying Austrian possessions. The main cause
of this bewildering subdivision of Germany was the habit of dealing with
a principality as if it were merely private property which might be
divided up among several children, or disposed of piecemeal, quite
regardless of the wishes of the inhabitants.

[Sidenote: No central power to maintain order.]

[Sidenote: Neighborhood war.]

It is clear that these states, little and big, all tangled up with one
another, would be sure to have disputes among themselves which would
have to be settled in some way. It would appear to have been absolutely
necessary under the circumstances that there should be some superior
court or judge to adjust differences between the many members of the
empire, as well as a military or police force to carry out the will of
the tribunal, should one of the parties concerned resist its decrees.
But although there was an imperial court, it followed the emperor about
and was therefore hard to get at. Moreover, even if a decision was
obtained from it, there was no way for the aggrieved party to secure
the execution of the judgment, for the emperor had no force sufficient
to coerce the larger states. The natural result was a resort to
self-help. Neighborhood war was permitted by law if only some courteous
preliminaries were observed. For instance, a prince or town was required
to give warning three days in advance before attacking another member of
the empire.[265]

[Sidenote: The German diet.]

[Sidenote: Effort to better the German government.]

Toward the end of the fifteenth century the terrible disorder and
uncertainty which resulted from the absence of a strong central
government led to serious efforts upon the part of the _diet_, or
national assembly, to remedy the evils. It was proposed to establish a
court to settle all disputes which should arise among the rulers of the
various states. This was to be held permanently in some convenient
place. The empire was also to be divided into districts, or "circles,"
in each of which a military force was to be organized and maintained to
carry out the law and the decisions of the court. Little was
accomplished, however, for some years, although the diet met more
frequently and regularly, and this gave an opportunity to discuss public
questions. The towns began to send delegates to the diet in 1487, but
the restless knights and some of the other minor nobles had no part in
the deliberations and did not always feel that the decisions of the
assembly were binding upon them. Of the diets which met almost every
year during the Lutheran period in some one of the great German cities,
we shall hear more later.

[Sidenote: Contradiction between Catholic and Protestant writers.]

135. It is natural that Protestant and Catholic writers should differ in
their views of Germany at this period. Among Protestants there has
always been a tendency to see the dark side of affairs, for this exalted
the work of Luther and made him appear the savior of his people. On the
other hand, the Catholic historians have devoted years of research to an
attempt to prove that conditions were, on the whole, happy and serene
and full of hope for the future before Luther and the other
revolutionary leaders brought division and ruin upon the fatherland by
attacking the Church.

[Sidenote: Corresponding contradictions in the conditions in Germany.]

As a matter of fact, the life and thought of Germany during the fifty
years preceding the opening of the Protestant revolt present all sorts
of contradictions and anomalies. The period was one of marked progress.
The people were eager to learn, and they rejoiced in the recent
invention of printing which brought them the new learning from Italy and
hints of another world beyond the seas. Foreigners who visited Germany
were astonished at the prosperity, wealth, and luxury of the rich
merchants, who often spent their money in the encouragement of art and
literature and in the founding of schools and libraries.

On the other hand, there was great ill feeling between the various
classes--the petty princes, the townspeople, the knights, and the
peasants. It was generally believed by the other classes that the wealth
of the merchants could only be accounted for by deceit, usury, and sharp
dealing. Never was begging more prevalent, superstition more rife,
vulgarity and coarseness more apparent. Attempts to reform the
government and stop neighborhood war met with little success. Moreover,
the Turks were advancing steadily upon Christendom. The people were
commanded by the pope to send up a prayer each day as the noon bell
rang, that God might deliver them from the on-coming infidel.

Yet we need not be astonished by these contradictions, for history
teaches that all periods of progress are full of them. Any newspaper
will show how true this is to-day: we are, as a nation, good and bad,
rich and poor, peaceful and warlike, learned and ignorant, satisfied and
discontented, civilized and barbarous, all at once.

[Sidenote: Four important characteristics of the time which serve to
explain the Protestant revolt.]

In considering the condition of the Church and of religion in Germany,
four things are particularly important as explaining the origin and
character of the Protestant revolt. First, there was an extraordinary
enthusiasm for all the pomp and ceremony of the old religion, and a
great confidence in pilgrimages, relics, miracles, and all those things
which the Protestants were soon to discard. Secondly, there was a
tendency to read the Bible and to dwell upon the attitude of the sinner
toward God, rather than upon the external acts of religion. Thirdly,
there was a conviction, especially among scholars, that the theologians
had made religion needlessly complicated with their fine-spun logical
distinctions. And lastly, there was the old and very general belief that
the Italian prelates, including the pope, were always inventing new
plans for getting money out of the Germans, whom they regarded as a
stupid people, easily hoodwinked. These four matters we shall consider
in turn.

[Sidenote: Enthusiasm for religious ceremonies and observances.]

136. Never had the many ceremonies and observances of the mediæval
Church attracted more attention or been carried out on a more prodigious
scale than during the latter part of the fifteenth, and the opening
years of the sixteenth century. It seemed as if all Germany agreed to
join in one last celebration of the old religion, unprecedented in
magnificence, before its people parted into two irreconcilable parties.
Great numbers of new churches were erected, and adorned with the richest
productions of German art. Tens of thousands of pilgrims flocked to the
various sacred places, and gorgeous ecclesiastical processions moved
through the streets of the prosperous imperial towns.

[Sidenote: Relics.]

The princes rivaled each other in collecting the relics of saints, which
were venerated as an aid to salvation. The elector of Saxony, Frederick
the Wise, who was later to become Luther's protector, had accumulated no
less than five thousand of these sacred objects. In a catalogue of them
we find the rod of Moses, a bit of the burning bush, thread spun by the
Virgin, etc. The elector of Mayence possessed even a larger collection,
which included forty-two whole bodies of saints and some of the earth
from a field near Damascus out of which God was supposed to have created

[Sidenote: The treasury of 'good works.']

It was the teaching of the Church that prayers, fasts, masses,
pilgrimages, and other "good works" might be accumulated and form a
treasury of spiritual goods. Those who were wanting in good deeds might,
therefore, have their deficiencies offset by the inexhaustible surplus
of righteous deeds which had been created by Christ and the saints.

[Sidenote: Popular reliance upon outward religious acts.]

The idea was certainly a beautiful one, that Christians should thus be
able to help one another by their good works, and that the strong and
faithful worshiper could aid the weak and indifferent. Yet the
thoughtful teachers in the Church realized that the doctrine of the
treasury of good works might be gravely misunderstood; and there was
certainly a strong inclination among the people to believe that God
might be propitiated by various outward acts--attendance at church
ceremonies, giving of alms, the veneration of relics, the making of
pilgrimages, etc. It was clear that the hope of profiting by the good
works of others might lead to the neglect of the true welfare of the

[Sidenote: Demand for more spiritual religion.]

137. In spite, however, of the popular confidence in outward acts and
ceremonies, from which the heart was often absent, there were many signs
of a general longing for deeper and more spiritual religion than that of
which we have been speaking. The new art of printing was used to
increase the number of religious manuals. These all emphasized the
uselessness of outward acts without true contrition and sorrow for sin,
and urged the sinner to rely upon the love and forgiveness of God.

[Sidenote: The Bible in German before Luther.]

All good Christians were urged, moreover, to read the Bible, of which
there were a number of editions in German, besides little books in which
portions of the New Testament were given. There are many indications
that the Bible was commonly read before Luther's time.[266]

It was natural, therefore, that the German people should take a great
interest in the new and better translation of the Scriptures which
Luther prepared. Preaching had also become common--as common perhaps as
it is now--before the Protestants appeared. Some towns even engaged
special preachers of known eloquence to address their citizens

These facts would seem to justify the conclusion that there were many
before Luther appeared who were approaching the ideas of religion which
later appealed especially to the Protestants. The insistence of the
Protestants upon salvation through faith alone in God, their suspicion
of ceremonies and "good works," their reliance upon the Bible, and the
stress they laid upon preaching,--all these were to be found in Germany
and elsewhere before Luther began to preach.

[Sidenote: The German humanists.]

[Sidenote: Rudolph Agricola, 1442-1485.]

138. Among the critics of the churchmen, monks, and theologians, none
were more conspicuous than the humanists. The Renaissance in Italy,
which may be said to have begun with Petrarch and his library, has
already been described. The Petrarch of Germany was Rudolph Agricola,
who, while not absolutely the first German to dedicate himself to
classical studies, was the first who by his charming personality and
varied accomplishments stimulated others, as Petrarch had done, to carry
on the pursuits which he himself so much enjoyed. Unlike most of the
Italian humanists, however, Agricola and his followers were interested
in the language of the people as well as in Latin and Greek; and
proposed that the works of antiquity should be translated into German.
Moreover, the German humanists were generally far more serious and
devout than the Italian scholars.

[Sidenote: The humanists desire to reform the German universities.]

As the humanists increased in numbers and confidence they began to
criticise the excessive attention given in the German universities[267]
to logic and the scholastic theology. These studies had lost their
earlier vitality[268] and had degenerated into fruitless disputations.
The bad Latin which the professors used themselves and taught their
students, and the preference still given to Aristotle over all other
ancient writers, disgusted the humanists. They therefore undertook to
prepare new and better text-books, and proposed that the study of the
Greek and Roman poets and orators should be introduced into the schools
and colleges. Some of the classical scholars were for doing away with
theology altogether, as a vain, monkish study which only obscured the
great truths of religion. The old-fashioned professors, on their part,
naturally denounced the new learning, which they declared made pagans of
those who became enamored of it. Sometimes the humanists were permitted
to teach their favorite subjects in the universities, but as time went
on it became clear that the old and the new teachers could not work
amicably side by side.

[Sidenote: The humanist satire on the monks and theologians, the
so-called _Letters of Obscure Men_.]

At last, a little before Luther's public appearance, a conflict occurred
between the "poets," as the humanists were fond of calling themselves,
and the "barbarians," as they called the theologians and monkish
writers. An eminent Hebrew scholar, Reuchlin, had become involved in a
bitter controversy with the Dominican professors of the University of
Cologne. His cause was championed by the humanists, who prepared an
extraordinary satire upon their opponents. They wrote a series of
letters, which were addressed to one of the Cologne professors and
purported to be from his former students and admirers. In these letters
the writers take pains to exhibit the most shocking ignorance and
stupidity. They narrate their scandalous doings with the ostensible
purpose of obtaining advice as to the best way to get out of their
scrapes. They vituperate the humanists in comically bad Latin, which is
perhaps the best part of the joke.[269] In this way those who later
opposed Luther and his reforms were held up to ridicule in these letters
and their opposition to progress seemed clearly made out.

[Sidenote: Erasmus of Rotterdam, 1467?-1536.]

139. The acknowledged prince of the humanists was Erasmus. No other man
of letters, unless it be Voltaire, has ever enjoyed such a European
reputation during his lifetime. He was venerated by scholars far and
wide, even in Spain and Italy. Although he was born in Rotterdam he was
not a Dutchman, but a citizen of the world; he is, in fact, claimed by
England, France, and Germany. He lived in each of these countries for a
considerable period and in each he left his mark on the thought of the
time. Erasmus, like most of the northern humanists, was deeply
interested in religious reform, and he aspired to give the world a
higher conception of religion and the Church than that which generally
prevailed. He clearly perceived, as did all the other intelligent people
of the time, the vices of the prelates, priests, and especially of the
monks. Against the latter he had a personal grudge, for he had been
forced into a monastery when he was a boy, and always looked back to the
life there with disgust. Erasmus reached the height of his fame just
before the public appearance of Luther; consequently his writings afford
an admirable means of determining how he and his innumerable admirers
felt about the Church and the clergy before the opening of the great

[Sidenote: Erasmus' edition of the New Testament.]

Erasmus spent some time in England between the years 1498 and 1506, and
made friends of the scholars there. He was especially fond of Sir Thomas
More, who wrote the famous _Utopia_, and of a young man, John Colet, who
was lecturing at Oxford upon the Epistles of St. Paul.[270] Colet's
enthusiasm for Paul appears to have led Erasmus to direct his vast
knowledge of the ancient languages to the explanation of the New
Testament. This was only known in the common Latin version (the
Vulgate), into which many mistakes and misapprehensions had crept.
Erasmus felt that the first thing to do, in order to promote higher
ideas of Christianity, was to purify the sources of the faith by
preparing a correct edition of the New Testament. Accordingly, in 1516,
he published the original Greek text with a new Latin translation and
explanations which mercilessly exposed the mistakes of the great body of

[Illustration: Portrait of Erasmus by Holbein]

Erasmus would have had the Bible in the hands of every one. In the
introduction to his edition of the New Testament he says that women
should read the Gospels and the Epistles of Paul as well as the men.
The peasant in the field, the artisan in his shop, and the traveler on
the highroad should while away the time with passages from the Bible.

[Sidenote: Erasmus' idea of true religion.]

Erasmus believed that the two arch enemies of true religion were (1)
paganism,--into which many of the more enthusiastic Italian humanists
fell in their admiration for the ancient literatures,--and (2) the
popular confidence in mere outward acts and ceremonies, like visiting
the graves of saints, the mechanical repetition of prayers, and so
forth. He claimed that the Church had become careless and had permitted
the simple teachings of Christ to be buried under myriads of dogmas
introduced by the theologians. "The essence of our religion," he says,
"is peace and harmony. These can only exist where there are few dogmas
and each individual is left to form his own opinion upon many matters."

[Sidenote: In his _Praise of Folly_ Erasmus attacks the evils in the

In his celebrated _Praise of Folly_,[271] Erasmus has much to say of the
weaknesses of the monks and theologians, and of the foolish people who
thought that religion consisted simply in pilgrimages, the worship of
relics, and the procuring of indulgences. Scarcely one of the abuses
which Luther later attacked escaped Erasmus' satirical pen. The book is
a mixture of the lightest humor and the bitterest earnestness. As one
turns its pages one is sometimes tempted to think Luther half right when
he declared Erasmus "a regular jester who makes sport of everything,
even of religion and Christ himself." Yet there was in this humorist a
deep seriousness that cannot be ignored. Erasmus was really directing
his extraordinary industry, knowledge, and insight, not toward a revival
of classical literature, but to _a renaissance of Christianity_. He
believed, however, that revolt from the pope and the Church would
produce a great disturbance and result in more harm than good. He
preferred to trust in the slower but surer effects of enlightenment and
knowledge. Popular superstitions and any undue regard for the outward
forms of religion would, he argued, be outgrown and quietly disappear as
mankind became more cultivated.

To Erasmus and his many sympathizers, culture, promoted especially by
classical studies, should be the chief agency in religious reform.
Nevertheless, just as Erasmus thought that his dreams of a peaceful
reform were to be realized, as he saw the friends and patrons of
literature,--Maximilian, Henry VIII, Francis I,--on the thrones of
Europe, and a humanist pope, Leo X, at the head of the Church, a very
different revolution from that which he had planned, had begun and was
to embitter his declining years.

[Sidenote: Sources of discontent in Germany with the policy of the papal

140. The grudge of Germany against the papal court never found a more
eloquent expression than in the verses of its greatest minnesinger,
Walther von der Vogelweide. Three hundred years before Luther's time he
declared that the pope was making merry over the stupid Germans. "All
their goods will be mine, their silver is flowing into my far-away
chest; their priests are living on poultry and wine and leaving the
silly layman to fast." Similar sentiments may be found in the German
writers of all the following generations. Every one of the sources of
discontent with the financial administration of the Church which the
councils had tried to correct[272] was particularly apparent in Germany.
The great German prelates, like the archbishops of Mayence, Treves,
Cologne, and Salzburg, were each required to contribute no less than ten
thousand gold guldens to the papal treasury upon having their election
duly confirmed by the pope; and many thousands more were expected from
them when they received the pallium.[273] The pope enjoyed the right to
fill many important benefices in Germany, and frequently appointed
Italians, who drew the revenue without dreaming of performing any of the
duties attached to the office. A single person frequently held several
church offices. For example, early in the sixteenth century, the
Archbishop of Mayence was at the same time Archbishop of Magdeburg and
Bishop of Halberstadt. In some instances a single person had accumulated
over a score of benefices.

It is impossible to exaggerate the impression of deep and widespread
discontent with the condition of the Church which one meets in the
writings of the early sixteenth century. The whole German people, from
the rulers down to the humblest tiller of the fields, felt themselves
unjustly used. The clergy were denounced as both immoral and
inefficient. One devout writer exclaims that young men are considered
quite good enough to be priests to whom one would not intrust the care
of a cow. While the begging friars--the Franciscans, Dominicans, and
Augustinians[274]--were scorned by many, they, rather than the secular
clergy, appear to have carried on the real religious work. It was an
Augustinian monk, we shall find, who preached the new gospel of
justification by faith.

Very few indeed thought of withdrawing from the Church or of attempting
to destroy the power of the pope. All that most of the Germans wished
was that the money which, on one pretense or another, flowed toward Rome
should be kept at home, and that the clergy should be upright, earnest
men who should conscientiously perform their religious duties. One
patriotic writer, however, Ulrich von Hutten, was preaching something
very like revolution at the same time that Luther began his attack on
the pope.

[Sidenote: Ulrich von Hutten, 1488-1523.]

Hutten was the son of a poor knight, but early tired of the monotonous
life of the castle and determined to seek the universities and acquaint
himself with the ancient literatures, of which so much was being said.
In order to carry on his studies he visited Italy and there formed a
most unfavorable impression of the papal court and of the Italian
churchmen, whom he believed to be oppressing his beloved fatherland.
When the _Letters of Obscure Men_ appeared, he was so delighted with
them that he prepared a supplementary series in which he freely
satirized the theologians. Soon he began to write in German as well as
in Latin, in order the more readily to reach the ears of the people. In
one of his pamphlets attacking the popes he explains that he has himself
seen how Leo X spends the money which the Germans send him. A part goes
to his relatives, a part to maintain the luxurious papal court, and a
part to worthless companions and attendants, whose lives would shock any
honest Christian.

In Germany, of all the countries of Europe, conditions were such that
Luther's appearance wrought like an electric shock throughout the
nation, leaving no class unaffected. Throughout the land there was
discontent and a yearning for betterment. Very various, to be sure, were
the particular longings of the prince and the scholar, of knight,
burgher, and peasant; but almost all were ready to consider, at least,
the teachings of one who presented to them a new conception of salvation
which made the old Church superfluous.

     General Reading.--The most complete account of the conditions in
     Germany before Luther is to be found in JANSSEN, _History of the
     German People_ (Herder, Vols. I and II, $6.25). _Cambridge Modern
     History_ (The Macmillan Company, $3.75 per vol.), Vol. I, Chapters
     IX and XIX; CREIGHTON, _History of the Papacy_ (see Vol. I, p.
     320), Vol. VI, Chapters I and II; and BEARD, _Martin Luther_ (P.
     Green, London, $1.60), Chapters I and III, are excellent treatments
     of the subject. For Erasmus, see EMERTON'S charming _Desiderius
     Erasmus_ (G.P. Putnam's Sons, $1.50), which gives a considerable
     number of his letters.



[Sidenote: Luther's birth and education.]

141. Martin Luther was of peasant origin. His father was very poor, and
was trying his fortune as a miner near the Harz Mountains when his
eldest son, Martin, was born in 1483. Martin sometimes spoke, in later
life, of the poverty and superstition which surrounded him in his
childhood; of how his mother carried on her back the wood for the
household and told him stories of a witch who had made away with the
village priest. The boy was sent early to school, for his father was
determined that his eldest son should be a lawyer. At eighteen, Martin
entered the greatest of the north-German universities, at Erfurt, where
he spent four years. There he became acquainted with some of the young
humanists, for example, the one who is supposed to have written a great
part of the _Letters of Obscure Men_. He was interested in the various
classical writers, but devoted the usual attention to logic and

[Sidenote: Luther decides to become a monk.]

Suddenly, when he had completed his college course and was ready to
enter the law school, he called his friends together for one last hour
of pleasure, and the next morning he led them to the gate of an
Augustinian monastery, where he bade them farewell and turning his back
on the world became a mendicant friar. That day, July 17, 1505, when the
young master of arts, regardless of his father's anger and
disappointment, sought salvation within the walls of a monastery, was
the beginning of a religious experiment which had momentous consequences
for the world.

[Sidenote: Luther's disappointment in the monastery.]

Luther later declared that "if ever a monk got to heaven through
monkery," he was assuredly among those who merited salvation. So great
was his ardor, so nervously anxious was he to save his soul by the
commonly recognized means of fasts, vigils, prolonged prayers, and a
constant disregard of the usual rules of health, that he soon could no
longer sleep. He fell into despondency, and finally into despair. The
ordinary observance of the rules of the monastery, which satisfied most
of the monks, failed to give him peace. He felt that even if he
outwardly did right he could never purify all his thoughts and desires.
His experience led him to conclude that neither the Church nor the
monastery provided any device which enabled him to keep his affections
always centered on what he knew to be holy and right. Therefore they
seemed to him to fail and to leave him, at heart, a hopelessly corrupt
sinner, justly under God's condemnation.

[Sidenote: Justification by faith, not through 'good works.']

Gradually a new view of Christianity came to him. The head of the
monastery bade him trust in God's goodness and mercy and not to rely
upon his own "good works." He began to study the writings of St. Paul
and of Augustine, and from them was led to conclude that man was
incapable, in the sight of God, of any good works whatsoever, and could
only be saved by faith in God's promises. This gave him much comfort,
but it took him years to clarify his ideas and to reach the conclusion
that the existing Church was opposed to the idea of justification by
faith, because it fostered what seemed to him a delusive confidence in
"good works." He was thirty-seven years old before he finally became
convinced that it was his duty to become the leader in the destruction
of the old order.

[Sidenote: Luther becomes a teacher in the University of Wittenberg,

It was no new thing for a young monk, suddenly cut off from the sunshine
and hoping for speedy spiritual peace, to suffer disappointment and fall
into gloomy forebodings, as did Brother Martin. He, however, having
fought the battle through to victory, was soon placed in a position to
bring comfort to others similarly afflicted with doubts as to their
power to please God. In 1508 he was called to the new university which
Frederick the Wise, elector of Saxony, had established at Wittenberg. We
know little of his early years as a professor, but he soon began to
lecture on the epistles of Paul and to teach his students the doctrine
of justification by faith.

[Illustration: Luther]

[Sidenote: Luther's visit to Rome.]

Luther had as yet no idea of attacking the Church. When, about 1511, he
journeyed to Rome on business of his order, he devoutly visited all the
holy places for the good of his soul, and was almost tempted to wish
that his father and mother were dead, so that he might free them from
purgatory by his pious observances. Yet he was shocked by the impiety of
the Italian churchmen and the scandalous stories about popes Alexander
VI and Julius II, the latter of whom was just then engaged in his
warlike expeditions into northern Italy. The evidences of immorality on
the part of the popes may well have made it easier for him later to
reach the conclusion that the head of the Church was the chief enemy of

[Sidenote: Luther teaches a new kind of theology.]

Before long he began to encourage his students to defend his favorite
beliefs in the debates in which they took part. For instance, one of the
candidates for a degree, under Luther's inspiration, attacked the old
theology against which the humanists had been fighting. "It is an
error," he says, "to declare that no one can become a theologian without
Aristotle; on the contrary, no one can become a theologian except it be
without him." Luther desired the students to rely upon the Bible,
Paul's writings above all, and upon the church fathers, especially

[Sidenote: Luther's theses on indulgences.]

142. In October, 1517, Tetzel, a Dominican monk, began granting
indulgences in the neighborhood of Wittenberg, and making claims for
them which appeared to Luther wholly irreconcilable with the deepest
truths of Christianity as he understood and taught them. He therefore,
in accordance with the custom of the time, wrote out a series of
ninety-five statements in regard to indulgences. These he posted on the
church door and invited any one interested in the matter to enter into a
discussion with him on the subject, which he believed was very ill
understood. In posting these _theses_, as they were called, Luther did
not intend to attack the Church, and had no expectation of creating a
sensation. The theses were in Latin and addressed only to scholars. It
turned out, however, that every one, high and low, learned and
unlearned, was ready to discuss the perplexing theme of the nature of
indulgences. The theses were promptly translated into German, printed,
and scattered throughout the land.

[Sidenote: The nature of indulgences.]

In order to understand the indulgence, it must be remembered that the
priest had the right to forgive the sin of the truly contrite sinner who
had duly confessed his evil deeds.[276] Absolution freed the sinner from
the deadly guilt which would otherwise have dragged him down to hell,
but it did not free him from the penalties which God, or his
representative, the priest, might choose to impose upon him. Serious
penances had earlier been imposed by the Church for wrongdoing, but in
Luther's time the sinner who had been absolved was chiefly afraid of the
sufferings reserved for him in purgatory. It was there that his soul
would be purified by suffering and prepared for heaven. The indulgence
was a pardon, usually granted by the pope, through which the contrite
sinner escaped a part, or all, of the punishment which remained even
after he had been absolved. The pardon did not therefore forgive the
guilt of the sinner, for that had necessarily to be removed before the
indulgence was granted; it only removed or mitigated the penalties which
even the forgiven sinner would, without the indulgence, have expected to
undergo in purgatory.[277]

The first indulgences for the _dead_ had been granted shortly before the
time of Luther's birth. By securing one of these, the relatives or
friends of those in purgatory might reduce the period of torment which
the sufferers had to undergo before they could be admitted to heaven.
Those who were in purgatory had, of course, been duly absolved of the
guilt of their sins before their death; otherwise their souls would have
been lost and the indulgence could not advantage them in any way.

[Sidenote: Leo X issues indulgences in connection with the rebuilding of
St. Peter's.]

With a view of obtaining funds from the Germans to continue the
reconstruction of the great church of St. Peter,[278] Leo X had arranged
for the extensive grant of indulgences, both for the living and for the
dead. The contribution for them varied greatly; the rich were required
to pay a considerable sum, while the _very_ poor were to receive these
pardons gratis. The representatives of the pope were naturally anxious
to collect all the money possible, and did their best to induce every
one to secure an indulgence, either for himself or for his deceased
friends in purgatory. In their zeal they made many reckless claims for
the indulgences, to which no thoughtful churchman or even layman could
listen without misgivings.

[Sidenote: Contents of Luther's theses.]

Luther was not the first to criticise the current notions of
indulgences, but his theses, owing to the vigor of their language and
the existing irritation of the Germans against the administration of the
Church, first brought the subject into prominence. He declared that the
indulgence was very unimportant and that the poor man would better spend
his money for the needs of his household. The truly repentant, he
argued, do not flee punishment, but bear it willingly in sign of their
sorrow. Faith in God, not the procuring of pardons, brings forgiveness,
and every Christian who feels true contrition for his sins will receive
full remission of the punishment as well as of the guilt. Could the pope
know how his agents misled the people, he would rather have St. Peter's
burn to ashes than build it up with money gained under false pretenses.
Then, Luther adds, there is danger that the common man will ask awkward
questions. For example, "If the pope releases souls from purgatory for
money, why not for charity's sake?" or, "Since the pope is rich as
Crœsus, why does he not build St. Peter's with his own money, instead
of taking that of the poor man?"[279]

[Sidenote: Luther summoned to Rome.]

143. The theses were soon forwarded to Rome, and a few months after they
were posted Luther received a summons to appear at the papal court to
answer for his heretical assertions. Luther still respected the pope as
the head of the Church, but he had no wish to risk his safety by going
to Rome. As Leo X was anxious not to offend so important a person as the
elector of Saxony, who intervened for Luther, he did not press the
matter, and agreed that Luther should confer with the papal emissaries
in Germany.

[Sidenote: The discussion continues.]

Brother Martin was induced to keep silence for a time, but was aroused
again by a great debate arranged at Leipsic in the summer of 1519. Here
Eck, a German theologian noted for his devotion to the pope and his
great skill in debate, challenged one of Luther's colleagues, Carlstadt,
to discuss publicly some of the matters in which Luther himself was
especially interested. Luther therefore asked to be permitted to take

[Sidenote: The debate at Leipsic, 1519.]

The discussion turned upon the powers of the pope. Luther, who had been
reading church history, declared that the pope had not enjoyed his
supremacy for more than four hundred years. This statement was
inaccurate, but, nevertheless, he had hit upon an argument against the
customs of the Roman Catholic Church which has ever since been
constantly urged by Protestants. They assert that the mediæval Church
and the papacy developed slowly, and that the apostles knew nothing of
masses, indulgences, purgatory, and the headship of the Bishop of Rome.

[Sidenote: Eck forces Luther to admit that the Council of Constance was
wrong and Huss right.]

Eck promptly pointed out that Luther's views resembled those of Wycliffe
and Huss, which had been condemned by the Council of Constance. Luther
was forced reluctantly to admit that the council had condemned some
thoroughly Christian teachings. This was a decisive admission. Like
other Germans, Luther had been accustomed to abhor Huss and the
Bohemians, and to regard with pride the great general Council of
Constance, which had been held in Germany and under the auspices of its
emperor. He now admitted that even a general council could err, and was
soon convinced "that we are all Hussites, without knowing it; yes, Paul
and St. Augustine were good Hussites." Luther's public encounter with a
disputant of European reputation, and the startling admissions which he
was compelled to make, first made him realize that he might become the
leader in an attack on the Church. He began to see that a great change
and upheaval was unavoidable.

[Sidenote: Luther and the humanists natural allies.]

144. As Luther became a confessed revolutionist he began to find friends
among other revolutionists and reformers. He had some ardent admirers
even before the disputation at Leipsic, especially at Wittenberg and in
the great city of Nuremberg. To the humanists, Luther seemed a natural
ally. They might not understand his religious beliefs, but they clearly
saw that he was beginning to attack a class of people that they
disliked, particularly the old-fashioned theologians who venerated
Aristotle. He felt, moreover, as they did in regard to the many vices in
the Church, and was becoming suspicious of the begging monks, although
he was himself at the head of the Wittenberg monastery. So those who had
defended Reuchlin were now ready to support Luther, to whom they wrote
encouraging letters. Luther's works were published by Erasmus' printer
at Basel, and sent to Italy, France, England, and Spain.

[Sidenote: Erasmus' attitude toward the Lutheran movement.]

But Erasmus, the mighty sovereign of the men of letters, refused to take
sides in the controversy. He asserted that he had not read more than a
dozen pages of Luther's writings. Although he admitted that "the
monarchy of the Roman high priest was, in its existing condition, the
pest of Christendom," he believed that a direct attack upon it would do
no good. Luther, he urged, would better be discreet and trust that
mankind would become more intelligent and outgrow their false ideas.

[Sidenote: Contrast between Luther and Erasmus.]

To Erasmus, man was capable of progress; cultivate him and extend his
knowledge, and he would grow better and better. He was a free agent,
with, on the whole, upright tendencies. To Luther, on the other hand,
man was utterly corrupt, and incapable of a single righteous wish or
deed. His will was enslaved to evil, and his only hope lay in the
recognition of his absolute inability to better himself, and in a humble
reliance upon God's mercy. By faith only, not by conduct, could he be
saved. Erasmus was willing to wait until every one agreed that the
Church should be reformed. Luther had no patience with an institution
which seemed to him to be leading souls to destruction by inducing men
to rely upon their good works. Both men realized that they could not
agree. For a time they expressed respect for each other, but at last
they became involved in a bitter controversy in which they gave up all
pretense to friendship. Erasmus declared that Luther, by scorning good
works and declaring that no one could do right, had made his followers
indifferent to their conduct, and that those who accepted Luther's
teachings straightway became pert, rude fellows, who would not take off
their hats to him on the street.

[Sidenote: Ulrich von Hutten espouses Luther's cause.]

Ulrich von Hutten, on the other hand, warmly espoused Luther's cause as
that of a German patriot and an opponent of Roman tyranny, intrigue, and
oppression. "Let us defend our freedom," he wrote, "and liberate the
long enslaved fatherland. We have God on our side, and if God be with
us, who can be against us?" Hutten enlisted the interest of some of the
other knights, who offered to defend Luther should the churchmen attack
him, and invited him to take refuge in their castles.

[Sidenote: Luther begins to use violent language.]

145. Thus encouraged, Luther, who gave way at times to his naturally
violent disposition, became threatening, and suggested that the civil
power should punish the churchmen and force them to reform their
conduct. "We punish thieves with the gallows, bandits with the sword,
heretics with fire; why should we not, with far greater propriety,
attack with every kind of weapon these very masters of perdition, the
cardinals, popes, and the whole mob in the Roman Sodom?" "The die is
cast," he writes to a friend; "I despise Rome's wrath as I do her favor;
I will have no reconciliation or intercourse with her in all time to
come. Let her condemn and burn my writings. I will, if fire can be
found, publicly condemn and burn the whole papal law."

[Sidenote: Luther's and Hutten's appeal to the German people.]

[Sidenote: Luther's _Address to the German Nobility_.]

Hutten and Luther vied with one another during the year 1520 in
attacking the pope and his representatives. They both possessed a fine
command of the German language, and they were fired by a common hatred
of Rome. Hutten had little or none of Luther's religious fervor, but he
could not find colors too dark in which to picture to his countrymen
the greed of the papal curia, which he described as a vast den, to which
everything was dragged which could be filched from the Germans. Of
Luther's popular pamphlets, the first really famous one was his _Address
to the German Nobility_, in which he calls upon the rulers of Germany,
especially the knights, to reform the abuses themselves, since he
believed that it was vain to wait for the Church to do so.

He explains that there are three walls behind which the papacy had been
wont to take refuge when any one proposed to remedy its abuses. There
was, first, the claim that the clergy formed a separate class, superior
even to the civil rulers, who might not punish a churchman, no matter
how bad he was. Secondly, the pope claimed to be superior to a council,
so that even the representatives of the Church might not correct him.
And, lastly, the pope assumed the sole right to interpret the meaning of
the Scriptures; consequently he could not be refuted by arguments from
the Bible. Thus the pope had stolen the three rods with which he might
have been punished. Luther claimed to cast down these defenses by
denying, to begin with, that there was anything especially sacred about
a clergyman except the duties which he had been designated to perform.
If he did not attend to his work he might be deprived of his office at
any moment, just as one would turn off an incompetent tailor or farmer,
and in that case he became a simple layman again. Luther claimed that it
was the right and duty of the civil government to punish a churchman who
does wrong just as if he were the humblest layman. When this first wall
was destroyed the others would fall easily enough, for the dominant
position of the clergy was the very corner stone of the mediæval

[Sidenote: Luther advocates social as well as religious reforms.]

The pamphlet closes with a long list of evils which must be done away
with before Germany can become prosperous. Luther saw that his view of
religion really implied a social revolution. He advocated reducing the
monasteries to a tenth of their number and permitting those who were
disappointed in the good they got from living in them freely to leave.
He would not have them prisons, but hospitals and refuges for the
soul-sick. He points out the evils of pilgrimages and of the numerous
church holidays, which interfere with daily work. The clergy, he urged,
should be permitted to marry and have families like other citizens. The
universities should be reformed, and "the accursed heathen, Aristotle,"
should be cast out from them.

It should be noted that Luther appeals to the authorities not in the
name of religion chiefly, but in that of public order and prosperity. He
says that the money of the Germans flies feather-light over the Alps to
Italy, but it suddenly becomes like lead when there is a question of its
coming back. He showed himself a master of vigorous language, and his
denunciations of the clergy and the Church resounded like a trumpet call
in the ears of his countrymen.

[Sidenote: Luther attacks the sacramental system in his _Babylonian
Captivity of the Church_, 1520.]

Luther had said little of the doctrines of the Church in his _Address to
the German Nobility_, but within three or four months he issued a second
work, in which he sought to overthrow the whole system of the
sacraments, as it had been taught by Peter Lombard and the theologians
of the thirteenth century.[281] Four of the seven
sacraments--ordination, marriage, confirmation, and extreme unction--he
rejected altogether. He completely revised the conception of the Mass,
or the Lord's Supper. He stripped the priest of his singular powers by
denying that he performed the miracle of transubstantiation or offered
a sacrifice for the living and the dead when he officiated at the Lord's
Supper. The priest was, in his eyes, only a minister, in the Protestant
sense of the word, one of whose chief functions was preaching.

[Sidenote: Luther excommunicated.]

146. Luther had long expected to be excommunicated. But it was not until
late in 1520 that his adversary, Eck, arrived in Germany with a papal
bull condemning many of Luther's assertions as heretical and giving him
sixty days in which to recant. Should he fail to come to himself within
that time, he and all who adhered to or favored him were to be
excommunicated, and any place which harbored him should fall under the
interdict. Now, since the highest power in Christendom had pronounced
Luther a heretic, he should unhesitatingly have been delivered up by the
German authorities. But no one thought of arresting him.

[Sidenote: The German authorities reluctant to publish the bull against

The bull irritated the German princes; whether they liked Luther or not,
they decidedly disliked to have the pope issuing commands to them. Then
it appeared to them very unfair that Luther's personal enemy should have
been intrusted with the publication of the bull. Even the princes and
universities that were most friendly to the pope published the bull with
great reluctance. The students of Erfurt and Leipsic pursued Eck with
pointed allusions to Pharisees and devil's emissaries. In many cases the
bull was ignored altogether. Luther's own sovereign, the elector of
Saxony, while no convert to the new views, was anxious that Luther's
case should be fairly considered, and continued to protect him. One
mighty prince, however, the young emperor Charles V, promptly and
willingly published the bull; not, however, as emperor, but as ruler of
the Austrian dominions and of the Netherlands. Luther's works were
burned at Louvain, Mayence, and Cologne, the strongholds of the old

[Sidenote: Luther defies pope and emperor.]

"Hard it is," Luther exclaimed, "to be forced to contradict all the
prelates and princes, but there is no other way to escape hell and
God's anger." Never had one man so unreservedly declared war upon pretty
much the whole consecrated order of things. As one power arrayed against
an equal, the Wittenberg professor opposed himself to pope and emperor,
giving back curse for curse and fagot for fagot. His students were
summoned to witness "the pious, religious spectacle," when he cast Leo's
bull on the fire, along with the canon law and one of the books of
scholastic theology which he most disliked.

[Sidenote: Hutten's plan for an immediate destruction of the old

Never was the temptation so great for Luther to encourage a violent
demolition of the old structure of the Church as at this time. Hutten
was bent upon the speedy carrying out of the revolution which both he
and Luther were forwarding by their powerful writings. Hutten had taken
refuge in the castle of the leader of the German knights, Franz von
Sickingen, who he believed would be an admirable military commander in
the coming contest for truth and liberty. Hutten frankly proposed to the
young emperor that the papacy should be abolished, that the property of
the Church should be confiscated, and that ninety-nine out of a hundred
of the clergy should be dispensed with as superfluous. In this way
Germany would be freed, he argued, from the control of the "parsons" and
from their corruption. From the vast proceeds of the confiscation the
state might be strengthened and an army of knights might be maintained
for the defense of the empire.

[Sidenote: Views of the papal representative on public opinion in

Public opinion appeared ready for a revolution. "I am pretty familiar
with the history of this German nation," Leo's representative, Aleander,
remarked; "I know their past heresies, councils, and schisms, but never
were affairs so serious before. Compared with present conditions, the
struggle between Henry IV and Gregory VII was as violets and roses....
These mad dogs are now well equipped with knowledge and arms; they boast
that they are no longer ignorant brutes like their predecessors; they
claim that Italy has lost the monopoly of the sciences and that the
Tiber now flows into the Rhine." "Nine-tenths of the Germans," he
calculated, "are shouting 'Luther,' and the other tenth goes so far at
least as 'Death to the Roman curia.'"

[Sidenote: Luther's attitude toward a violent realization of his

Luther was too frequently reckless and violent in his writings. He often
said that bloodshed could not be avoided when it should please God to
visit his judgments upon the stiff-necked and perverse generation of
"Romanists," as the Germans contemptuously called the supporters of the
pope. Yet he always discouraged precipitate reform. He was reluctant to
make changes, except in belief. He held that so long as an institution
did not mislead, it did no harm. He was, in short, no fanatic at heart.
The pope had established himself without force, so would he be crushed
by God's word without force. This, we may assume, was Luther's most
profound conviction, even in the first period of enthusiasm and
confidence. He perhaps never fully realized how different Hutten's ideas
were from his own, for the poet knight died while still a young man. And
as for Franz von Sickingen, Luther soon learned to execrate the
ruthless, worldly soldier who brought discredit by his violence upon the
cause of reform.

[Sidenote: Charles V's want of sympathy with the German reformers.]

147. Among the enemies of the German reformers none was more important
than the young emperor. It was toward the end of the year 1520 that
Charles came to Germany for the first time. After being crowned king of
the Romans at Aix-la-Chapelle, he assumed, with the pope's consent, the
title of emperor elect, as his grandfather Maximilian had done. He then
moved on to the town of Worms, where he was to hold his first diet and
face the German situation.

Although scarcely more than a boy in years, Charles had already begun to
take life very seriously. He had decided that Spain, not Germany, was to
be the bulwark and citadel of all his realms. Like the more enlightened
of his Spanish subjects, he realized the need of reforming the Church,
but he had no sympathy whatever with any change of doctrine. He
proposed to live and die a devout Catholic of the old type, such as his
orthodox ancestors had been. He felt, moreover, that he must maintain
the same religion in all parts of his heterogeneous dominions. If he
should permit the Germans to declare their independence of the Church,
the next step would be for them to claim that they had a right to
regulate their government regardless of their emperor.

[Sidenote: Luther summoned to the diet at Worms.]

Upon arriving at Worms the case of Luther was at once forced upon
Charles' attention by the assiduous papal representative, Aleander, who
was indefatigable in urging him to outlaw the heretic without further
delay. While Charles seemed convinced of Luther's guilt, he could not
proceed against him without serious danger. The monk had become a
national hero and had the support of the powerful elector of Saxony.
Other princes, who had ordinarily no wish to protect a heretic, felt
that Luther's denunciation of the evils in the Church and of the actions
of the pope was very gratifying. After much discussion it was finally
arranged, to the great disgust of the zealous Aleander, that Luther
should be summoned to Worms and be given an opportunity to face the
German nation and the emperor, and to declare plainly whether he was the
author of the heretical books ascribed to him, and whether he still
adhered to the doctrines which the pope had declared wrong.

The emperor accordingly wrote the "honorable and respected" Luther a
very polite letter, ordering him to appear at Worms and granting him a
safe-conduct thither. Luther said, on receiving the summons, that if he
was going to Worms merely to retract, he might better stay in
Wittenberg, where he could, if he would, abjure his errors quite as well
as on the Rhine. If, on the other hand, the emperor wished him to come
to Worms in order that he might be put to death, he was quite ready to
go, "for, with Christ's help, I will not flee and leave the Word in the
lurch. My revocation will be in this wise: 'Earlier I said that the
pope was God's vicar; now I revoke and say, the pope is Christ's enemy
and an envoy of the devil.'"

148. Luther accordingly set out for Worms accompanied by the imperial
herald. He enjoyed a triumphal progress through the various places on
his way and preached repeatedly, in spite of the fact that he was an
excommunicated heretic. He found the diet in a great state of commotion.
The papal representative was the object of daily insults, and Hutten and
Sickingen talked of scattering Luther's enemies by a sally from the
neighboring castle of Ebernburg.

[Sidenote: Luther before the diet.]

It was not proposed to give Luther an opportunity to defend his beliefs
before the diet. When he appeared before "emperor and empire," he was
simply asked if a pile of his Latin and German works were really his,
and, if so, whether he revoked what he had said in them. To the first
question the monk replied in a low voice that he had written these and
more. As to the second question, which involved the welfare of the soul
and the Word of God, he asked that he might have a little while to

The following day, in a Latin address which he repeated in German, he
admitted that he had been overviolent in his attacks upon his opponents;
but he said that no one could deny that, through the popes' decrees, the
consciences of faithful Christians had been miserably ensnared and
tormented, and their goods and possessions, especially in Germany,
devoured. Should he recant those things which he had said against the
pope's conduct he would only strengthen the papal tyranny and give an
opportunity for new usurpations. If, however, adequate arguments against
his position could be found in the Scriptures, he would gladly and
willingly recant. He could not, however, accept the decision either of
pope or of council, since both, he believed, had made mistakes and
contradicted themselves. "I must," he concluded, "allow my conscience
to be controlled by God's Word. Recant I can not and will not, for it is
hazardous and dishonorable to act against one's conscience."

[Sidenote: The emperor forced by the law to outlaw Luther.]

There was now nothing for the emperor to do but to outlaw Luther, who
had denied the binding character of the commands of the head of the
Church and of the highest Christian tribunal, a general council. His
argument that the Scriptures sustained him in his revolt could not be
considered by the diet.[282]

[Sidenote: The Edict of Worms, 1521.]

Aleander was accordingly assigned the agreeable duty of drafting the
famous Edict of Worms. This document declared Luther an outlaw on the
following grounds: that he disturbed the recognized number and
celebration of the sacraments, impeached the regulations in regard to
marriage, scorned and vilified the pope, despised the priesthood and
stirred up the laity to dip their hands in the blood of the clergy,
denied free will, taught licentiousness, despised authority, advocated a
brutish existence, and was a menace to Church and State alike. Every one
was forbidden to give the heretic food, drink, or shelter, and required
to seize him and deliver him to the emperor.

Moreover, the decree provides that "no one shall dare to buy, sell,
read, preserve, copy, print, or cause to be copied or printed any books
of the aforesaid Martin Luther, condemned by our holy father the pope,
as aforesaid, or any other writings in German or Latin hitherto composed
by him, since they are foul, noxious, suspected, and published by a
notorious and stiff-necked heretic. Neither shall any one dare to affirm
his opinions, or proclaim, defend, or advance them in any other way
that human ingenuity can invent,--notwithstanding that he may have put
some good into his writings in order to deceive the simple man."[283]

For the last time the empire had recognized its obligation to carry out
the decrees of the Bishop of Rome. "I am becoming ashamed of my
fatherland," Hutten cried. So general was the disapproval of the edict
that few were willing to pay any attention to it. Charles immediately
left Germany, and for nearly ten years was occupied outside it with the
government of Spain and a succession of wars.

     General Reading.--BEARD, _Martin Luther_ (see above, p. 386), is
     probably the best account in English of Luther before his
     retirement to the Wartburg; KÖSTLIN, _Life of Luther_ (Scribner's
     Sons, $2.50), is excellent. An account of Luther and Hutten by a
     learned Roman Catholic writer may be found in JANSSEN, _History of
     the German People_ (see above, p. 386), Vol. III; CREIGHTON,
     _History of the Papacy_ (see above, p. 320), Vol. VI; Chapters III
     and V are devoted to Luther and the diet of Worms.




[Sidenote: Luther begins a new translation of the Bible in the

149. As Luther neared Eisenach upon his way home from Worms he was
seized by a band of men and conducted to the Wartburg, a castle
belonging to the elector of Saxony. Here he was concealed until any
danger from the action of the emperor or diet should pass by. His chief
occupation during several months of hiding was to begin a new
translation of the Bible into German. He had finished the New Testament
before he left the Wartburg in March, 1522.

Up to this time, German editions of the Scriptures, while not uncommon,
were poor and obscure. Luther's task was a difficult one. He said with
truth that "translation is not an art to be practiced by every one; it
demands a right pious, true, industrious, reverent, Christian,
scholarly, experienced, and well-trained mind." He had studied Greek for
only two or three years, and he knew far less Hebrew than Greek.
Moreover, there was no generally accepted form of the German language of
which he could make use. Each region had its peculiar dialect which
seemed outlandish to the neighboring district.

[Sidenote: Luther's Bible the first important book in modern German.]

He was anxious above all that the Bible should be put into language that
would seem perfectly clear and natural to the common folk. So he went
about asking the mothers and children and the laborers questions which
might draw out the expression that he was looking for. It sometimes took
him two or three weeks to find the right word. But so well did he do
his work that his Bible may be regarded as a great landmark in the
history of the German language. It was the first book of any importance
written in modern German, and it has furnished an imperishable standard
for the language.

[Sidenote: General discussion of public questions in pamphlets and

Previous to 1518 there had been very few books or pamphlets printed in
German. The translation of the Bible into language so simple that even
the unlearned might profit by it was only one of the signs of a general
effort to awaken the minds of the common people. Luther's friends and
enemies also commenced to write for the great German public in its own
language. The common man began to raise his voice, to the scandal of the

Hundreds of pamphlets, satires, and pictorial caricatures have come down
to us which indicate that the religious and other questions of the day
were often treated in somewhat the same spirit in which our comic papers
deal with political problems and discussions now. We find, for instance,
a correspondence between Leo X and the devil, and a witty dialogue
between Franz von Sickingen and St. Peter at the gate of heaven. In the
latter Peter confesses that he has never heard of the right "to loose
and to bind," of which his successors say so much. He refuses to discuss
military matters with Sickingen, but calls in St. George, who is
supposed to be conversant with the art of war. In another satire, a
vacation visit of St. Peter to the earth is described. He is roughly
treated, especially by the soldiers at an inn, and hastens back to
heaven with a sad tale of the evil plight of Germany, of how badly
children are brought up, and how unreliable the servants are.[284]

[Sidenote: Divergent notions of how the Church should actually be

150. Hitherto there had been a great deal of talk of reform, but as yet
nothing had actually been done. There was no sharp line drawn between
the different classes of reformers. All agreed that something should be
done to better the Church, few realized how divergent were the real ends
in view. The princes listened to Luther because they hoped to control
the churchmen and their property and check the outflow of money to Rome.
The knights, under Sickingen, hated the princes, of whose increasing
power they were jealous. Their idea of "righteousness" involved the
destruction of the existing rulers and the exaltation of their own
class. The peasants heard Luther gladly because he seemed to furnish new
proofs of the injustice of the dues which they paid to their lords. The
higher clergy were bent upon escaping the papal control, and the lower
clergy wished to have their marriages sanctioned. It is clear that
religious motives must have been often subordinated to other interests.

Disappointment and chagrin awaited Luther when each of the various
parties began to carry out its particular notions of reform. His
doctrines were misunderstood, distorted, and dishonored. He sometimes
was driven to doubt if his belief in justification by faith were not
after all a terrible mistake. His first shock came from Wittenberg.

[Sidenote: Carlstadt advocates breaking up the monasteries.]

While Luther was still at the Wartburg, Carlstadt, one of his colleagues
in the university, became convinced that the monks and nuns ought to
leave their cloisters and marry like other people. This was a serious
proposition for two reasons. In the first place, those who deserted the
cloister were violating an oath which they had voluntarily taken; in the
second place, if the monasteries were broken up the problem would
present itself of the disposal of the property, which had been given to
them by pious persons for the good of their souls, and with the
expectation that the monks would give the donors the benefit of their
prayers. Nevertheless, the monks began to leave Luther's own monastery,
and the students and citizens to tear down the images of the saints in
the churches. The Lord's Supper was no longer celebrated in the form of
the Mass, since that was declared to be an idolatrous worshiping of the
bread and wine. Then Carlstadt reached the conclusion that all learning
was superfluous, for the Scriptures said plainly that God had concealed
himself from the wise and revealed the truth unto babes. He astonished
the tradespeople by consulting them in regard to obscure passages in the
Bible. The school at Wittenberg was turned into a bake-shop. The
students, who had been attracted to the university from all parts of
Germany, began to return home, and the professors prepared to emigrate.

[Sidenote: Luther returns to Wittenberg and explains his plan of reform,

When the news of these events reached Luther, he left his concealment,
regardless of the danger, and returned to Wittenberg. Here he preached a
series of vigorous sermons in which he pleaded for moderation and
reason. With some of the changes advocated by Carlstadt he sympathized.
He would, for instance, have done away with the adoration of the host
and the celebration of private masses. On the other hand, he disapproved
of the disorderly breaking up of the monasteries, although he held that
those who had accepted the doctrine of justification by faith might lay
aside their cowls, since they had taken their vows when they were under
the misapprehension that they could save themselves by good works. Those
who remained in the monasteries were not, moreover, to beg any longer,
but should earn an honest livelihood.

[Sidenote: Luther advocates patience and moderation.]

Luther felt that all changes in religious practices should be made by
the government; it should not be left to "Mr. Everybody" (_Herr Omnes_)
to determine what should be rejected and what retained. If the
authorities refused to act, then there was nothing to do but to be
patient and use one's influence for good. "Teach, speak, write, and
preach that the ordinances of man are naught. Advise that no one shall
any more become a priest, monk, or nun, and that those who occupy such
positions shall leave them. Give no more money for papal privileges,
candles, bells, votive tablets, and churches, but say that a Christian
life consists in faith and love. Let us keep this up for two years and
you will see where pope, bishop, monks, nuns, and all the hocus-pocus
of the papal government will be; it will vanish away like smoke." God,
Luther urged, has left us free to choose whether we shall marry, become
monks, fast, confess, or place images in the churches. These things are
not vital to salvation, and each may do what seems to him to be helpful
in his particular case.

[Sidenote: Impossibility of peaceful reform.]

Luther's plan of moderation was, however, wholly impracticable. The
enthusiasm of those who rejected the old views led to a whole-hearted
repudiation of everything which suggested their former beliefs. Few
could look with forbearance upon the symbols and practices of a form of
religion which they had learned to despise. Moreover, many who had no
deep religious feelings delighted in joining in the destruction of the
paintings, stained glass, and statues in the churches, simply from a
love of disorder.

[Sidenote: Franz von Sickingen attacks the Archbishop of Treves.]

151. Luther was soon to realize that a peaceful revolution was out of
the question. His knightly adherents, Hutten and Franz von Sickingen,
were the first to bring discredit upon the religious movement by their
violence. In the autumn of 1522 Sickingen declared war upon his
neighbor, the Archbishop of Treves, in order to make a beginning in the
knights' proposed attack upon the princes in general. He promised the
people of Treves "to free them from the heavy, unchristian yoke of the
parsons and to lead them into evangelical liberty." He had already
abolished the Mass in his castle and given shelter to some of Luther's
followers. But Franz, in undertaking to put the gospel, as he understood
it, in practice by arms, had other than religious motives. His
admiration of Luther probably had but little to do with his anxiety to
put down a hated ecclesiastical prince and seize his property.

[Sidenote: Confederation of knights broken up by the princes.]

[Sidenote: Death of Franz von Sickingen and Hutten.]

The Archbishop of Treves proved himself a sagacious military commander
and gained the support of his subjects. Franz was forced to retire to
his castle, where he was besieged by the neighboring elector of the
Palatinate and the landgrave of Hesse, a friend of Luther's. The walls
of the stronghold were battered down by the "unchristian cannonading,"
and the "executor of righteousness," as Franz was called, was fatally
injured by a falling beam. A few months later, Hutten died, a miserable
fugitive in Switzerland. A confederation of the knights, of which
Sickingen had been the head, aroused the apprehension of the princes,
who gathered sufficient forces to destroy more than twenty of the
knights' castles. So Hutten's great plan for restoring the knights to
their former influence came to a sad and sudden end. It is clear that
these men had little in common with Luther; yet they talked much of
evangelical reform, and he was naturally blamed for their misdeeds.
Those who adhered to the old Church now felt that they had conclusive
proof that heresy led to anarchy; and since it threatened the civil
government as well as the Church, they urged that it should be put down
with fire and sword.

[Sidenote: Hadrian VI confesses the evil deeds of the papacy.]

152. While Luther was in the Wartburg, the cultured and worldly Leo X
had died and had been succeeded by a devout professor of theology, who
had once been Charles V's tutor. The new pope, Hadrian VI, was honest
and simple, and a well-known advocate of reform without change of
belief. He believed that the German revolt was a divine judgment called
down by the wickedness of men, especially of the priests and prelates.
He freely confessed, through his legate, in a meeting of the German diet
at Nuremberg, that the popes had been perhaps the most conspicuous
sinners. "We well know that for many years the most scandalous things
have happened in this holy see [of Rome],--abuses in spiritual matters,
violations of the canons,--that, in short, everything has been just the
opposite of what it should have been. What wonder, then, if the disease
has spread from the head to the members, from the popes to the lower
clergy. We clergymen have all strayed from the right path, and for a
long time there has been no one of us righteous, no, not one."

[Sidenote: Hadrian's denunciation of Luther.]

In spite of this honest confession, Hadrian was unwilling to listen to
the grievances of the Germans until they had put down Luther and his
heresies. He was, the pope declared, a worse foe to Christendom than the
Turk. There could be nothing fouler or more disgraceful than Luther's
teachings. He sought to overthrow the very basis of religion and
morality. He was like Mohammed, but worse, for he would have the
consecrated monks and nuns marry. Nothing would be securely established
among men if every presumptuous upstart should insist that he had the
right to overturn everything which had been firmly established for
centuries and by saints and sages.

[Sidenote: The action of the diet of Nuremberg, 1522.]

The diet was much gratified by the pope's frank avowal of the sins of
his predecessors, in which it heartily concurred. It was glad that the
pope was going to begin his reform at home, but it strenuously refused
to order the enforcement of the Edict of Worms for fear of stirring up
new troubles. The Germans were too generally convinced that they were
suffering from the oppression of the Roman curia to permit Luther to be
injured. His arrest would seem an attack upon the freedom of gospel
teaching and a defence of the old system; it might even lead to civil
war. So the diet advised that a Christian council be summoned in Germany
to be made up of laymen as well as clergymen, who should be charged to
speak their opinions freely and say, not what was pleasant, but what was
true. In the meantime, only the pure gospel should be preached according
to the teaching of the Christian Church. As to the complaint of the pope
that the monks had deserted their monasteries and the priests taken
wives, these were not matters with which the civil authority had
anything to do. As the elector of Saxony observed, he paid no attention
to the monks when they ran into the monastery, and he saw no reason for
noticing when they ran out. Luther's books were, however, to be no
longer published, and learned men were to admonish the erring preachers.
Luther, himself, was to hold his peace. This doubtless gives a fair
idea of public opinion in Germany. It is noteworthy that Luther did not
seem to the diet to be a very discreet person and it showed no
particular respect for him.

[Sidenote: Accession of Pope Clement VII.]

153. Poor Hadrian speedily died, worn out with the vain effort to
correct the abuses close at home. He was followed by Clement VII, a
member of the house of Medici, less gifted but not less worldly than Leo
X. A new diet, called in 1524, adhered to the policy of its predecessor.
It was far from approving of Luther, but it placed no effective barrier
in the way of his work.

[Sidenote: The formation of a Catholic party at Regensburg.]

The papal legate, realizing the hopelessness of inducing all the members
of the diet to coöperate with him in bringing the country once more
under the pope's control, called together at Regensburg a certain number
of rulers whom he believed to be rather more favorably disposed toward
the pope than their fellows. Among these were Charles V's brother,
Ferdinand, Duke of Austria, the two dukes of Bavaria, the archbishops of
Salzburg and of Trent, and the bishops of Bamberg, Speyer, Strasburg,
etc. By means of certain concessions on the part of the pope, he induced
all these to unite in opposing the Lutheran heresy. The chief concession
was a reform decree which provided that only authorized preachers should
be tolerated, and that these should base their teaching on the works of
the four great church fathers, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory
the Great. The clergy were to be subjected to careful discipline; there
was to be no more financial oppression and no unseemly payments demanded
for performing the church services. Abuses arising from the granting of
indulgences were to be remedied and the excessive number of holidays

[Sidenote: Religious division of Germany.]

[Sidenote: Beginning of a reform within the Catholic Church.]

This agreement of Regensburg is of great importance, for it served to
separate Germany into two camps. Austria, Bavaria, and the great
ecclesiastical states in the south definitely took sides with the pope
against Luther, and to this day they still remain Catholic countries.
In the north, on the other hand, it became more and more apparent that
the princes proposed to secede from the Catholic Church. Moreover, the
skillful diplomacy of the papal legate was really the beginning of a
reformation of the old Church in Germany. Many of the abuses were done
away with, and the demand for reform, without revolution in doctrine and
institutions, was thereby gratified.[285] A German Bible for Catholic
readers was soon issued, and a new religious literature grew up designed
to prove the truth of the beliefs sanctioned by the Roman Catholic
Church and to spiritualize its institutions and rites.

[Sidenote: Luther's rash talk about the princes and nobles serves to
encourage the revolt of the peasants.]

154. In 1525 the conservative party, who were frankly afraid of Luther,
received a new and terrible proof, as it seemed to them, of the noxious
influence of his teachings. The peasants rose, in the name of "God's
justice," to avenge their wrongs and establish their rights. Luther was
not responsible for the civil war which ensued, but he had certainly
helped to stir up discontent. He had asserted that, owing to the habit
of foreclosing small mortgages, "any one with a hundred guldens could
gobble up a peasant a year." The German feudal lords he had declared to
be hangmen, who knew only how to swindle the poor man. "Such fellows
were formerly called rascals, but now must we call them 'Christian and
revered princes.'" Wise rulers are rare indeed: "they are usually either
great fools or the worst rogues on earth." Yet in spite of his harsh
talk about the princes, Luther really relied upon them to forward his
movement, and he justly claimed that he had greatly increased their
power by destroying the authority of the pope and subjecting the clergy
in all things to the government.

[Sidenote: The demands of the peasants in the 'Twelve Articles.']

Some of the demands of the peasants were perfectly reasonable. The most
popular expression of their needs was the dignified "Twelve
Articles."[286] In these they claimed that the Bible did not sanction
many of the dues which the lords demanded of them, and that as
Christians they should no longer be held as serfs. They were willing to
pay all the old and well-established dues, but they asked to be properly
remunerated for extra services demanded by the lord. They thought too
that each community should have the right freely to choose its own
pastor and to dismiss him if he proved negligent or inefficient.

[Sidenote: Demands of the working classes of the towns.]

Much more radical demands came from the working classes in the towns,
who in some cases joined the country people in their revolt. The
articles drawn up in the town of Heilbronn, for example, give a good
idea of the sources of discontent. The church property was to be
confiscated and used for the good of the community, except in so far as
it was necessary to support the pastors chosen by the people. The clergy
and nobility were to be deprived of all their privileges and powers, so
that they could no longer oppress the poor man.

[Sidenote: Luther urges the government to suppress the revolt.]

There were, moreover, leaders who were still more violent, who proposed
to kill the "godless" priests and nobles. Hundreds of castles and
monasteries were destroyed by the frantic peasantry, and some of the
nobility were murdered with shocking cruelty. Luther tried to induce the
peasants, with whom, as the son of a peasant, he was at first inclined
to sympathize, to remain quiet; but when his warnings proved vain, he
attacked the rebels violently. He declared that they were guilty of the
most fearful crimes, for which they deserved death of both body and soul
many times over. They had broken their allegiance, they had wantonly
plundered and robbed castles and monasteries, and lastly, they had tried
to cloak their dreadful sins with excuses from the Gospel. He therefore
urged the government to put down the insurrection. "Have no pity on the
poor folk; stab, smite, throttle, who can!"

[Sidenote: The peasant revolt put down with great cruelty.]

Luther's advice was followed with terrible literalness by the German
rulers, and the nobility took fearful revenge for the depredations of
the peasants. In the summer of 1525 the chief leader of the peasants
was defeated and killed, and it is estimated that ten thousand peasants
were put to death, many with the utmost cruelty. Few rulers or lords
introduced any reforms, and the misfortunes due to the destruction of
property and to the despair of the peasants cannot be imagined. The
people concluded that the new gospel was not for them, and talked of
Luther as "Dr. Lügner," i.e., liar. The old exactions of the lords of
the manors were in no way lightened, and the situation of the peasants
for centuries following the great revolt was worse rather than better.

[Sidenote: Catholic and Protestant unions of the German princes.]

155. The terror inspired by the peasant war led to new measures against
further attempts to change the religious beliefs of the land. The League
of Dessau was formed among some of the leading rulers of central and
northern Germany, to stamp out "the accursed Lutheran sect." The union
included Luther's arch enemy, Duke George of Saxony, the electors of
Brandenburg and Mayence, and two princes of Brunswick. The rumor that
the emperor, who had been kept busy for some years by his wars with
Francis I, was planning to come to Germany in order to root out the
growing heresy, led the few princes who openly favored Luther to unite
also. Among these the chief were the new elector of Saxony, John
Frederick, and Philip, landgrave of Hesse. These two proved themselves
the most ardent and conspicuous defenders of the Protestant faith in

[Sidenote: The diet of Speyer gives to the individual rulers the right
to determine the religion of their subjects, 1526.]

A new war, in which Francis and the pope sided against the emperor,
prevented Charles from turning his attention to Germany, and he
accordingly gave up the idea of enforcing the Edict of Worms against the
Lutherans. Since there was no one who could decide the religious
question for all the rulers, the diet of Speyer (1526) determined that,
pending the meeting of a general council, each ruler, and each knight
and town owing immediate allegiance to the emperor, should decide
individually what particular form of religion should prevail in his
realm. Each prince was "so to live, reign, and conduct himself as he
would be willing to answer before God and His Imperial Majesty." For the
moment, then, the various German governments were left to determine the
religion of their subjects.

Yet all still hoped that one religion might ultimately be agreed upon.
Luther trusted that all Christians would sometime accept the new gospel.
He was willing that the bishops should be retained, and even that the
pope should still be regarded as a sort of presiding officer in the
Church. As for his enemies, they were equally confident that the
heretics would in time be suppressed as they had always been in the
past, and that harmony would thus be restored. Neither party was right;
for the decision of the diet of Speyer was destined to become a
permanent arrangement, and Germany remained divided between different
religious faiths.

[Sidenote: Charles V again intervenes in the religious controversy in

New sects opposed to the old Church had begun to appear. Zwingli, a
Swiss reformer, was gaining many followers, and the Anabaptists were
rousing Luther's apprehensions by their radical plans for doing away
with the Catholic religion. As the emperor found himself able for a
moment to attend to German affairs he bade the diet, again meeting at
Speyer in 1529, to order the enforcement of the edict against the
heretics. No one was to preach against the Mass and no one was to be
prevented from attending it freely.

[Sidenote: Origin of the term 'Protestant.']

This meant that the "Evangelical" princes would be forced to restore the
most characteristic Catholic ceremony. As they formed only a minority in
the diet, all that they could do was to draw up a _protest_, signed by
John Frederick, Philip of Hesse, and fourteen of the imperial towns
(Strasburg, Nuremberg, Ulm, etc.). In this they claimed that the
majority had no right to abrogate the edict of the former diet of Speyer
for that had passed unanimously and all had solemnly pledged themselves
to observe the agreement. They therefore appealed to the emperor and a
future council against the tyranny of the majority.[287] Those who
signed this appeal were called from their action _Protestants_. Thus
originated the name which came to be generally applied to those who do
not accept the rule and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

[Sidenote: Preparations for the diet of Augsburg.]

156. Since the diet at Worms the emperor had resided in Spain, busied
with a succession of wars carried on with the king of France. It will be
remembered that both Charles and Francis claimed Milan and the duchy of
Burgundy, and they sometimes drew the pope into their conflicts.[288]
But in 1530 the emperor found himself at peace for the moment and held a
brilliant diet of his German subjects at Augsburg in the hope of
settling the religious problem, which, however, he understood very
imperfectly. He ordered the Protestants to draw up a statement of
exactly what they believed, which should serve as a basis for
discussion. Melanchthon, Luther's most famous friend and colleague, who
was noted for his great learning and moderation, was intrusted with the
delicate task.

[Sidenote: The Augsburg Confession.]

The Augsburg Confession, as his declaration was called, is an historical
document of great importance for the student of the Protestant
revolt.[289] Melanchthon's gentle and conciliatory disposition led him
to make the differences between his belief and that of the old Church
seem as few and slight as possible. He showed that both parties held the
same fundamental views of Christianity. The Protestants, however,
defended their rejection of a number of the practices of the Roman
Catholics, such as the celibacy of the clergy and the observance of
fast days. There was little or nothing in the Augsburg Confession
concerning the organization of the Church.

[Sidenote: Charles V's attempt at pacification.]

Certain theologians, some of whom, like Eck, had been loud in their
denunciations of Luther, were ordered by the emperor to prepare a
refutation of the Protestant views. The statement of the Catholics
admitted that a number of Melanchthon's positions were perfectly
orthodox; but the portion of the Augsburg Confession which dealt with
the practical reforms introduced by the Protestants was rejected
altogether. Charles declared the Catholic statement to be "Christian and
judicious" and commanded the Protestants to accept it. They were to
cease troubling the Catholics and were to give back all the monasteries
and church property which they had seized. The emperor agreed to urge
the pope to call a council to meet within a year. This, he hoped, would
be able to settle all differences and reform the Church according to the
views of the Catholics.

[Sidenote: Progress of Protestantism up to the Peace of Augsburg, 1555.]

157. It is unnecessary to follow in detail the progress of Protestantism
in Germany during the quarter of a century succeeding the diet of
Augsburg. Enough has been said to show the character of the revolt and
the divergent views taken by the German princes and people. For ten
years after the emperor left Augsburg he was kept busy in southern
Europe by new wars; and in order to secure the assistance of the
Protestants, he was forced to let them go their own way. Meanwhile the
number of rulers who accepted Luther's teachings gradually increased.
Finally there was a brief war between Charles and the Protestant
princes, but the origin of the conflict was mainly political rather than
religious. It occurred to the youthful Maurice, Duke of Saxony, that by
aiding the emperor against the Protestants he might find a good excuse
for dispossessing his Protestant relative, John Frederick, of his
electorate. There was but little fighting done. Charles V brought his
Spanish soldiers into Germany and captured both John Frederick and his
ally, Philip of Hesse, the chief leaders of the Lutheran cause, whom he
kept prisoners for several years.[290]

[Sidenote: The Peace of Augsburg.]

This episode did not check the progress of Protestantism. Maurice, who
had been granted John Frederick's electorate, soon turned about and
allied himself with the Protestants. The king of France promised them
help against his enemy, the emperor, and Charles was forced to agree to
a preliminary peace with the Protestants. Three years later, in 1555,
the religious Peace of Augsburg was ratified. Its provisions are
memorable. Each German prince and each town and knight immediately under
the emperor was to be at liberty to make a choice between the beliefs of
the venerable Catholic Church and those embodied in the Augsburg
Confession. If, however, an ecclesiastical prince--an archbishop,
bishop, or abbot--declared himself a Protestant, he must surrender his
possessions to the Church. Every one was either to conform to the
religious practices of his particular state, or emigrate.

[Sidenote: The principle that the government should determine the
religion of its subjects.]

This religious peace in no way established freedom of conscience, except
for the rulers. Their power, it must be noted, was greatly increased,
inasmuch as they were given the control of religious as well as of
secular matters. This arrangement which permitted the ruler to determine
the religion of his realm was natural, and perhaps inevitable, in those
days. The Church and the civil government had been closely associated
with one another for centuries. No one as yet dreamed that every
individual, so long as he did not violate the law of the land, might
safely be left quite free to believe what he would and to practice any
religious rites which afforded him help and comfort.

[Sidenote: Weaknesses of the Peace of Augsburg.]

There were two noteworthy weaknesses in the Peace of Augsburg which were
destined to make trouble. In the first place, only one group of
Protestants was included in it. The now numerous followers of the
French reformer, Calvin, and of the Swiss reformer, Zwingli, who were
hated alike by Catholic and Lutheran, were not recognized. Every German
had to be either a Catholic or a Lutheran in order to be tolerated. In
the second place, the clause which decreed that ecclesiastical princes
converted to Protestantism should surrender their property could not be
enforced, for there was no one to see to its execution.



158. For at least a century after Luther's death the great issue between
Catholics and Protestants dominates the history of all the countries
with which we have to do, except Italy and Spain, where Protestantism
never took permanent root. In Switzerland, England, France, and Holland
the revolt against the mediæval Church produced profound changes, which
must be understood in order to follow the later development of these

[Sidenote: Origin of the Swiss Confederation.]

We turn first to Switzerland, lying in the midst of the great chain of
the Alps which extends from the Mediterranean to Vienna. During the
Middle Ages, the region destined to be included in the Swiss
Confederation formed a part of the empire, and was scarcely
distinguishable from the rest of southern Germany. As early as the
thirteenth century the three "forest" cantons on the shores of the
winding lake of Lucerne had formed a union to protect their liberties
against the encroachments of their neighbors, the Hapsburgs. It was
about this tiny nucleus that Switzerland gradually consolidated. In 1315
the cantons gained their first great victory over the Hapsburgs at
Morgarten and thereupon solemnly renewed their league. This was soon
joined by Lucerne and the free imperial towns of Zurich and Berne. By
brave fighting the Swiss were able to frustrate the renewed efforts of
the Hapsburgs to subjugate them. Later, when a still more formidable
enemy, Charles the Bold, undertook to conquer them they put his armies
to rout at Granson and Murten (1476).[291]

[Illustration: The Swiss Confederation]

[Sidenote: Switzerland becomes a separate country; mixed nationality of
its people.]

Various districts in the neighborhood successively joined the Swiss
union, and even the region lying on the Italian slopes of the Alps was
brought under its control. Gradually the bonds between the members of
the union and the empire were broken. They were recognized as being no
more than "relatives" of the empire; in 1499 they were finally freed
from the jurisdiction of the emperor, and Switzerland became a
practically independent country. Although the original union had been
made up of German-speaking people, considerable districts had been
annexed in which Italian or French was spoken.[292] The Swiss did not,
therefore, form a compact, well-defined nation, and for some centuries
their confederation was weak and ill-organized.

[Sidenote: Zwingli (1484-1531) leads the revolt in Switzerland against
the Church.]

159. In Switzerland the leader of the revolt against the Church was
Zwingli, who was a year younger than Luther and like him was the son of
peasant parents. Zwingli's father was prosperous, however, and the boy
had the best education which could be obtained, at Basel and Vienna. His
later discontent with the old Church came not through spiritual
wrestlings in the monastery, but from the study of the classics and of
the Greek New Testament. Zwingli had become a priest and settled at the
famous monastery of Einsiedeln near the lake of Zurich. This was the
center of pilgrimages on account of a wonder-working image in the cell
of St. Meinrad. "Here," he says, "I began to preach the Gospel of Christ
in the year 1516, before any one in my locality had so much as heard the
name of Luther."

[Sidenote: Zwingli denounces the abuses in the Church and the traffic in

Three years later he was called to an influential position as preacher
in the cathedral of Zurich, and there his great work began. Through his
efforts a Dominican who was preaching indulgences was expelled from the
country. He then began to denounce the abuses in the Church as well as
the shameless traffic in soldiers, which he had long regarded as a blot
upon his country's honor.[293] The pope had found the help of the Swiss
troops indispensable, and had granted annuities and lucrative positions
in the Church to influential Swiss, who were expected to work in his
interest. So, from the first, Zwingli was led to combine with his
religious reform a political reform which should put the cantons on
better terms with one another and prevent the destruction of their young
men in wars in which they had no possible interest. A new demand of the
pope for troops in 1521 led Zwingli to attack him and his commissioners.
"How appropriate," he exclaims, "that they should have red hats and
cloaks! If we shake them, crowns and ducats fall out. If we wring them,
out runs the blood of your sons and brothers and fathers and good

[Sidenote: Zurich, under the influence of Zwingli, begins a reform.]

Such talk soon began to arouse comment, and the old forest cantons were
for a violent suppression of the new teacher, but the town council of
Zurich stanchly supported their priest. Zwingli then began to attack
fasts and the celibacy of the clergy. In 1523 he prepared a complete
statement of his belief, in the form of sixty-seven theses. In these he
maintained that Christ was the only high priest and that the Gospel did
not gain its sanction from the authority of the Church. He denied the
existence of purgatory and rejected those practices of the Church which
Luther had already set aside. Since no one presented himself to refute
Zwingli, the town council ratified his conclusions and so withdrew from
the Roman Catholic Church. The next year the Mass, processions, and the
images of the saints were abolished; the shrines were opened and the
relics buried.

[Sidenote: Other towns follow Zurich's example.]

Some other towns followed Zurich's example; but the original cantons
about the lake of Lucerne, which feared that they might lose the great
influence that, in spite of their small size, they had hitherto enjoyed,
were ready to fight for the old faith. The first armed collision, half
political and half religious, between the Swiss Protestants and
Catholics took place at Kappel in 1531, and Zwingli fell in the battle.
The various cantons and towns never came to an agreement in religious
matters, and Switzerland is still part Catholic and part Protestant.

The chief importance for the rest of Europe of Zwingli's revolt was the
influence of his conception of the Lord's Supper. He not only denied
transubstantiation,[295] but also the "real presence" of Christ in the
elements (in which Luther believed), and conceived the bread and wine to
be mere symbols. Those in Germany and England who accepted Zwingli's
idea added one more to the Protestant parties, and consequently
increased the difficulty of reaching a general agreement among those who
had revolted from the Church.[296]

[Sidenote: Calvin (1509-1564) and the Presbyterian Church.]

160. Far more important than Zwingli's teachings, especially for England
and America, was the work of Calvin, which was carried on in the ancient
city of Geneva on the very outskirts of the Swiss confederation. It was
Calvin who organized the Presbyterian Church and formulated its beliefs.
He was born in northern France in 1509; he belonged, therefore, to the
second generation of Protestants. He was early influenced by the
Lutheran teachings, which had already found their way into France. A
persecution of the Protestants under Francis I drove him out of the
country and he settled for a time in Basel.[297]

[Sidenote: Calvin's _Institutes of Christianity_.]

Here he issued the first edition of his great work, _The Institutes of
Christianity_, which has been more widely discussed than any other
Protestant theological treatise. It was the first orderly exposition of
the principles of Christianity from a Protestant standpoint. Like Peter
Lombard's _Sentences_, it formed a convenient manual for study and
discussion. The _Institutes_ are based upon the infallibility of the
Bible and reject the infallibility of the Church and the pope. Calvin
possessed a remarkably logical mind and a clear and admirable style. The
French version of his great work is the first example of the successful
use of that language in an argumentative treatise.

[Sidenote: Calvin's reformation in Geneva.]

Calvin was called to Geneva about 1540 and intrusted with the task of
reforming the town, which had secured its independence of the duke of
Savoy. He drew up a constitution and established an extraordinary
government, in which the church and the civil government were as closely
associated as they had ever been in any Catholic country.[298] The
Protestantism which found its way into France was that of Calvin, not
that of Luther, and the same may be said of Scotland.

[Sidenote: The gradual revolt of England from the Church.]

161. The revolt of England from the mediæval Church was very gradual and
halting. Although there were some signs that Protestantism was gaining a
foothold in the island not long after Luther's burning of the canon law,
a generation at least passed away before the country definitely
committed itself, upon the accession of Queen Elizabeth in 1558, to the
change in religion. It seems at first sight as if the revolution were
due mainly to the irritation of Henry VIII against the pope, who refused
to grant the king a divorce from his first wife in order that he might
marry a younger and prettier woman. But a permanent change in the
religious convictions of a whole people cannot fairly be attributed to
the whim of even so despotic a ruler as Henry. There were changes taking
place in England before the revolt similar to those which prepared the
way in Germany for Luther's success.

[Sidenote: John Colet.]

English scholars began, in the latter part of the fifteenth century, to
be affected by the new learning which came to them from Italy.
Colet,[299] among others, strove to introduce the study of Greek in
Oxford. Like Luther he found himself especially attracted by St. Paul,
and had begun to teach the doctrine of justification by faith long
before the German reformer was heard of.

[Sidenote: Sir Thomas More and his 'Utopia.']

The most distinguished writer of the period was, perhaps, Sir Thomas
More. The title of his famous little book, _Utopia_, i.e. "Nowhere,"
published about 1515, has become synonymous with ideal and impracticable
schemes for bettering the world. He pictures the happy conditions in an
undiscovered land where a perfect form of government has done away with
all the evils which he observes about him in the England of his day. The
Utopians, unlike the English, fought only to keep out invaders or to
free others from tyranny, and never undertook wars of aggression such as
Henry VIII was constantly contemplating. In Utopia no one was persecuted
for his religion so long as he treated others fairly.[300]

[Sidenote: The English admirers of Erasmus.]

When Erasmus came to England about 1500 he was delighted with the
society which he found, and we may assume that his views, which we have
before described,[301] represented those of a considerable number of
intelligent Englishmen. It was at the house of More that he finished the
_Praise of Folly_, and he carried on his studies with such success in
England and found such congenial companions there that it seemed to him
that it was hardly worth while to go to Italy for intellectual
inspiration. There is every reason to suppose that there were, in
England, many who were quite conscious of the vices of the churchmen and
who were ready to accept a system which would abolish those practices
that had come to seem useless and pernicious.

[Sidenote: Wolsey's policy of peace and his idea of the balance of

162. Henry VIII's minister, Cardinal Wolsey, deserves great credit for
having constantly striven to discourage his sovereign's ambition to take
part in the wars on the continent. The cardinal's argument that England
could become great by peace better than by war was a momentous
discovery. Peace he felt would be best secured by maintaining the
_balance of power_ on the continent so that no ruler should become
dangerous by unduly extending his sway. For example, he thought it good
policy to side with Charles when Francis was successful, and then with
Francis after his terrible defeat at Pavia (1525) when he fell into the
hands of Charles. This idea of the balance of power came to be
recognized later by the European countries as a very important
consideration in determining their policy. But Wolsey was not long to be
permitted to put his enlightened ideas in practice. His fall and the
progress of Protestantism in England are both closely associated with
the notorious divorce case of Henry VIII.

[Illustration: Henry VIII of England]

[Sidenote: Henry VIII's divorce case.]

It will be remembered that Henry had married Catherine of Aragon, the
aunt of Charles V. Only one of their children, Mary, had survived to
grow up. Henry was very anxious to have a son and heir, for he was
fearful lest a woman might not be permitted to succeed to the throne.
Moreover, Catherine, who was older than he, had become distasteful to

Catherine had first married Henry's older brother, who had died almost
immediately after the marriage. Since it was a violation of the rule of
the Church to marry a deceased brother's wife, Henry professed to fear
that he was committing a sin by retaining Catherine as his wife and
demanded to be divorced from her on the ground that his marriage had
never been legal. His anxiety to rid himself of Catherine was greatly
increased by the appearance at court of a black-eyed girl of sixteen,
named Anne Boleyn, with whom the king fell in love.

[Sidenote: Clement VII refuses to divorce Henry.]

[Sidenote: Fall of Wolsey.]

Unfortunately for his case, his marriage with Catherine had been
authorized by a dispensation from the pope, so that Clement VII, to whom
the king appealed to annul the marriage, could not, even if he had been
willing to alienate the queen's nephew, Charles V, have granted Henry's
request. Wolsey's failure to induce the pope to permit the divorce
excited the king's anger, and with rank ingratitude for his minister's
great services, Henry drove him from office (1529) and seized his
property. From a life of wealth which was fairly regal, Wolsey was
precipitated into extreme poverty. An imprudent but innocent act of his
soon gave his enemies a pretext for charging him with treason; but the
unhappy man died on his way to London before his head could be brought
to the block.

[Sidenote: Henry forces the English clergy to recognize him as the
supreme head of the Church of England.]

163. The king's next move was to bring a preposterous charge against the
whole English clergy by declaring that, in submitting to Wolsey's
authority as papal legate, they had violated an ancient law forbidding
papal representatives to appear in England without the king's
permission. Yet Henry had approved Wolsey's appointment as papal legate.
The clergy met at Canterbury and offered to buy pardon for their alleged
offense by an enormous grant of money. But Henry refused to forgive them
unless they would solemnly acknowledge him to be the supreme head of the
English Church. This they accordingly did;[302] they agreed, moreover,
to hold no general meetings or pass any rules without the king's
sanction. The submission of the clergy ensured Henry against any future
criticism on their part of the measures he proposed to take in the
matter of his divorce.

[Sidenote: Parliament forbids all appeals to the pope, 1533.]

[Sidenote: An English court declares Henry's marriage with Catherine

He now induced Parliament to threaten to cut off the income which the
pope had been accustomed to receive from newly appointed bishops. The
king hoped in this way to bring Clement VII to terms. He failed,
however, in this design and, losing patience, married Anne Boleyn
secretly without waiting for the divorce. Parliament was then persuaded
to pass the Act of Appeals, declaring that lawsuits of all kinds should
be finally and definitely decided within the realm, and that no appeal
might be made to any one outside the kingdom. Catherine's appeal to the
pope was thus rendered illegal. When, shortly after, her marriage was
declared void by a Church court summoned by Henry, she had no remedy.
Parliament also declared Henry's marriage with Catherine unlawful and
that with Anne legal. Consequently it was decreed that Elizabeth, Anne's
daughter, who was born in 1533, was to succeed her father on the throne,
instead of Mary, the daughter of Catherine.

[Sidenote: The Act of Supremacy and the denial of the pope's authority
over England.]

In 1534 the English Parliament completed the revolt of the English
Church from the pope by assigning to the king the right to appoint all
the English prelates and to enjoy all the income which had formerly
found its way to Rome. In the Act of Supremacy, Parliament declared the
king to be "the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England,"
and that he should enjoy all the powers which the title naturally
carried with it. Two years later every officer in the kingdom, whether
lay or ecclesiastical, was required to swear to renounce the authority
of the Bishop of Rome. Refusal to take this oath was to be adjudged high
treason. Many were unwilling to deny the pope's headship merely because
king and Parliament renounced it, and this legislation led to a
persecution in the name of treason which was even more horrible than
that which had been carried on in the supposed interest of religion.

[Sidenote: Henry VIII no Protestant.]

[Sidenote: The English Bible.]

It must be carefully noted that Henry VIII was not a Protestant in the
Lutheran sense of the word. He was led, it is true, by Clement VII's
refusal to declare his first marriage illegal, to break the bond between
the English and the Roman Church, and to induce the English clergy and
Parliament to acknowledge him as supreme head in the religious as well
as in the temporal interests of the country. No earlier English
sovereign had ever ventured to go so far as this in the previous
conflicts with Rome. He was ready, too, as we shall see, to appropriate
the property of the monasteries on the ground that these institutions
were so demoralized as to be worse than useless. Important as these acts
were, they did not lead Henry to accept the teachings of Protestant
leaders, like Luther, Zwingli, or Calvin. He shared the popular distrust
of the new doctrines, and showed himself anxious to explain the old ones
and free them from the objections which were beginning to be urged
against them. A proclamation was made, under the authority of the king,
in which the sacraments of baptism, penance, and the Mass were
explained. Henry also authorized a new translation of the Bible into
English. A fine edition of this was printed (1539), and every parish was
ordered to obtain a copy and place it in the parish church, where all
the people could readily make use of it.

[Sidenote: Henry's anxiety to prove himself a good Catholic.]

Henry was anxious to prove that he was orthodox, especially after he had
seized the property of the monasteries and the gold and jewels which
adorned the receptacles in which the relics of the saints were kept. He
presided in person over the trial of one who accepted the opinion of
Zwingli, that the body and blood of Christ were not present in the
sacrament. He quoted Scripture to prove the contrary, and the prisoner
was condemned and burned as a heretic.

[Sidenote: The 'Six Articles.']

In 1539 Parliament passed a statute called the "Six Articles." These
declared first that the body and blood of Christ were actually present
in the bread and the wine of the Lord's Supper; whoever ventured
publicly to question this was to be burned. For speaking against five
other tenets[303] of the old Church, offenders were to suffer
imprisonment and loss of goods for the first offense, and to be hanged
for the second. Two bishops, who had ventured to go farther in the
direction of Protestantism than Henry himself had done, were driven from
office and some offenders were put to death under this act.

[Sidenote: Henry's tyranny.]

[Sidenote: Execution of Sir Thomas More.]

164. Henry was heartless and despotic. With a barbarity not uncommon in
those days, he allowed his old friend and adviser, Sir Thomas More, to
be beheaded for refusing to pronounce the marriage with Catherine void.
He caused numbers of monks to be executed for refusing to swear that his
first marriage was illegal and for denying his title to supremacy in the
Church. Others he permitted to die of starvation and disease in the
filthy prisons of the time. Many Englishmen would doubtless have agreed
with one of the friars who said humbly: "I profess that it is not out of
obstinate malice or a mind of rebellion that I do disobey the king, but
only for the fear of God, that I offend not the Supreme Majesty; because
our Holy Mother, the Church, hath decreed and appointed otherwise than
the king and Parliament hath ordained."

[Sidenote: Dissolution of the English monasteries.]

Henry wanted money; some of the English abbeys were rich, and the monks
were quite unable to defend themselves against the charges which were
brought against them. The king sent commissioners about to inquire into
the moral state of the monasteries. A large number of scandalous tales
were easily collected, some of which were undoubtedly true. The monks
were doubtless often indolent and sometimes wicked. Nevertheless, they
were kind landlords, hospitable to the stranger, and good to the poor.
The plundering of the smaller monasteries, with which the king began,
led to a revolt, due to a rumor that the king would next proceed to
despoil the parish churches as well. This gave Henry an excuse for
attacking the larger monasteries. The abbots and priors who had taken
part in the revolt were hanged and their monasteries confiscated. Other
abbots, panic-stricken, confessed that they and their monks had been
committing the most loathsome sins and asked to be permitted to give up
their monasteries to the king. The royal commissioners then took
possession, sold every article upon which they could lay hands,
including the bells and the lead on the roofs. The picturesque remains
of the great abbey churches are still among the chief objects of
interest to the sight-seer in England. The monastery lands were, of
course, appropriated by the king. They were sold for the benefit of the
government or given to nobles whose favor the king wished to secure.

[Sidenote: Destruction of shrines and images for the benefit of the
king's treasury.]

Along with the destruction of the monasteries went an attack upon the
shrines and images in the churches, which were adorned with gold and
jewels. The shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury was destroyed and the
bones of the saint were burned. An old wooden figure revered in Wales
was used to make a fire to burn an unfortunate friar who maintained that
in things spiritual the pope rather than the king should be obeyed.
These acts suggest the Protestant attacks on images which occurred in
Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The object of the king and
his party was probably in the main a mercenary one, although the reason
urged for the destruction was the superstitious veneration in which the
relics and images were popularly held.

[Sidenote: Henry's third marriage and the birth of Edward VI.]

Henry's domestic troubles by no means came to an end with his marriage
with Anne Boleyn. Of her, too, he soon tired, and three years after
their marriage he had her executed on a series of monstrous charges.
The next day he married his third wife, Jane Seymour, who was the mother
of his son and successor, Edward VI. Jane died a few days after her
son's birth, and later Henry married in succession three other women who
are historically unimportant since they left no children as claimants
for the crown. Henry took care that his three children, all of whom were
destined to reign, should be given their due place by act of Parliament
in the line of inheritance.[304] His death in 1547 left the great
problem of Protestantism and Catholicism to be settled by his son and

[Sidenote: Edward VI's ministers introduce Protestant practices.]

165. While the revolt of England against the ancient Church was carried
through by the government at a time when the greater part of the nation
was still Catholic, there was undoubtedly, under Henry VIII, an
ever-increasing number of aggressive and ardent Protestants who
applauded the change. During the six years of the boy Edward's reign--he
died in 1553 at the age of sixteen--those in charge of the government
favored the Protestant party and did what they could to change the faith
of all the people by bringing Protestant teachers from the Continent.

A general demolition of all the sacred images was ordered; even the
beautiful stained glass, the glory of the cathedrals, was destroyed,
because it often represented saints and angels. The king was to appoint
bishops without troubling to observe the old forms of election, and
Protestants began to be put into the high offices of the Church.
Parliament turned over to the king the funds which had been established
for the purpose of having masses chanted for the dead, and decreed that
thereafter the clergy should be free to marry.

[Sidenote: The prayer-book and the 'Thirty-Nine Articles.']

A prayer-book in English was prepared under the auspices of Parliament
not very unlike that used in the Church of England to-day. Moreover,
forty-two articles of faith were drawn up by the government, which were
to be the standard of belief for the country. These, in the time of
Queen Elizabeth, were revised and reduced to the famous "Thirty-Nine
Articles," which still constitute the creed of the Church of

[Sidenote: Protestantism partially discredited by Edward's ministers.]

The changes in the church services must have sadly shocked a great part
of the English people, who had been accustomed to watch with awe and
expectancy the various acts associated with the many church ceremonies
and festivals.[306] Earnest men who watched the misrule of those who
conducted Edward's government in the name of Protestantism, must have
concluded that the reformers were chiefly intent upon advancing their
own interests by plundering the Church. We get some idea of the
desecrations of the time from the fact that Edward was forced to forbid
"quarreling and shooting in churches" and "the bringing of horses and
mules through the same, making God's house like a stable or common inn."
Although many were heartily in favor of the recent changes it is no
wonder that after Edward's death there was a revulsion in favor of the
old religion.

[Sidenote: Queen Mary, 1553-1558, and the Catholic reaction.]

166. Edward VI was succeeded in 1553 by his half-sister Mary, who had
been brought up in the Catholic faith and held firmly to it. Her ardent
hope of bringing her kingdom back once more to her religion did not seem
altogether ill-founded, for the majority of the people were still
Catholics at heart, and many who were not disapproved of the policy of
Edward's ministers, who had removed abuses "in the devil's own way, by
breaking in pieces."

[Sidenote: Mary's marriage with Philip II of Spain.]

The Catholic cause appeared, moreover, to be strengthened by Mary's
marriage with the Spanish prince, Philip II, the son of the orthodox
Charles V. But although Philip later distinguished himself, as we shall
see, by the merciless way in which he strove to put down heresy within
his realms, he never gained any great influence in England. By his
marriage with Mary he acquired the title of king, but the English took
care that he should have no hand in the government, nor be permitted to
succeed his wife on the English throne.

[Sidenote: The 'Kneeling Parliament,' 1554.]

Mary succeeded in bringing about a nominal reconciliation between
England and the Roman Church. In 1554 the papal legate restored to the
communion of the Catholic Church the "Kneeling Parliament," which
theoretically, of course, represented the nation.

[Sidenote: Persecution of the Protestants under Mary.]

During the last four years of Mary's reign the most serious religious
persecution in English history occurred. No less than 277 persons were
put to death for denying the teachings of the Roman Church. The majority
of the victims were humble artisans and husbandmen. The two most notable
sufferers were Bishops Latimer and Ridley, who were burned in Oxford.
Latimer cried to his fellow-martyr in the flames: "Be of good cheer and
play the man; we shall this day light such a candle in England as shall
never be put out!"

[Sidenote: Mary's failure to restore the Catholic religion in England.]

It was Mary's hope and belief that the heretics sent to the stake would
furnish a terrible warning to the Protestants and check the spread of
the new teachings, but it fell out as Latimer had prophesied.
Catholicism was not promoted; on the contrary, doubters were only
convinced of the earnestness of the Protestants who could die with such



[Sidenote: The conservative or Catholic reformation.]

167. There had been many attempts, as we have seen, before Luther's
appearance, to better the clergy and remedy the evils in the Church
without altering its organization or teachings. Hopeful progress toward
such a conservative reform had been made even before the Protestants
threw off their allegiance to the pope.[308] Their revolt inevitably
hastened and stimulated the reform of the ancient Church, to which the
greater part of western Europe still remained faithful. The Roman
Catholic churchmen were aroused to great activity by the realization
that they could no longer rely upon the general acceptance of their
teachings. They were forced to defend the beliefs and ceremonies of
their Church from the attacks of the Protestants, to whose ranks whole
countries were deserting. If the clergy were to make head against the
dreaded heresy which threatened their position and power, they must
secure the loyalty of the people to them and to the great institution
which they represented, by leading upright lives, giving up the old
abuses, and thus regaining the confidence of those intrusted to their
spiritual care.

A general council was accordingly summoned at Trent to consider once
more the remedying of the long recognized evils, and to settle
authoritatively numerous questions of belief upon which theologians had
differed for centuries. New religious orders sprang up, whose object was
better to prepare the priests for their work and to bring home religion
to the hearts of the people. Energetic measures were taken to repress
the growth of heresy in countries which were still Roman Catholic and to
prevent the dissemination of Protestant doctrines in books and
pamphlets. Above all, better men were placed in office, from the pope
down. The cardinals, for example, were no longer merely humanists and
courtiers, but among them might be found the leaders of religious
thought in Italy. Many practices which had formerly irritated the people
were permanently abolished. These measures resulted in a remarkable
reformation of the ancient Church, such as the Council of Constance had
striven in vain to bring about.[309] Before turning to the terrible
struggles between the two religious parties in the Netherlands and
France during the latter half of the sixteenth century, a word must be
said of the Council of Trent and of an extraordinarily powerful new
religious order, the Jesuits.

[Sidenote: Charles V's confidence in the settlement of the religious
differences by a council.]

Charles V, who did not fully grasp the irreconcilable differences
between Protestant and Catholic beliefs, made repeated efforts to bring
the two parties together by ordering the Protestants to accept what
seemed to him a simple statement of the Christian faith. He had great
confidence that if representatives of the old and the new beliefs could
meet one another in a church council all points of disagreement might be
amicably settled. The pope was, however, reluctant to see a council
summoned in Germany, for he had by no means forgotten the conduct of the
Council of Basel. To call the German Protestants into Italy, on the
other hand, would have been useless, for none of them would have
responded or have paid any attention to the decisions of a body which
would appear to them to be under the pope's immediate control. It was
only after years of delay that in 1545, just before Luther's death, a
general council finally met in the city of Trent, on the border between
Germany and Italy.

[Sidenote: The Council of Trent, 1545-1563, sanctions the teaching of
the Roman Catholic Church.]

As the German Protestants were preoccupied at the moment by an
approaching conflict with the emperor and, moreover, hoped for nothing
from the council's action, they did not attend its sessions.
Consequently the papal representatives and the Roman Catholic prelates
were masters of the situation. The council immediately took up just
those matters in which the Protestants had departed farthest from the
old beliefs. In its early sessions it proclaimed all those accursed who
taught that the sinner was saved by faith alone, or who questioned man's
power, with God's aid, to forward his salvation by good works. Moreover,
it declared that if any one should say--as did the Protestants--that the
sacraments were not all instituted by Christ; "or that they are more or
less than seven, to wit, Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance,
Extreme Unction, Ordination, and Matrimony; or even that any one of
these is not truly and properly a sacrament, let him be accursed." The
ancient Latin translation of the Bible--the Vulgate--was fixed as the
standard. No one should presume to question its accuracy so far as
doctrine was concerned, or be permitted to publish any interpretation of
the Bible differing from that of the Church.

[Sidenote: Reform measures of the council.]

While the council thus finally rejected any possibility of compromise
with the Protestants, it took measures to do away with the abuses of
which the Protestants complained. The bishops were ordered to reside in
their respective dioceses, to preach regularly, and to see that those
who were appointed to church benefices should fulfill the duties of
their offices and not merely enjoy the revenue. Measures were also taken
to improve education and secure the regular reading of the Bible in
churches, monasteries, and schools.

[Sidenote: Final sessions of the Council of Trent, 1562-1563.]

[Sidenote: Importance of the council's work.]

When the council had been in session for something more than a year, its
meetings were interrupted by various unfavorable conditions. Little was
accomplished for a number of years, but in 1562 the members once more
reassembled to prosecute their work with renewed vigor. Many more of the
doctrines of the Roman Church in regard to which there had been some
uncertainty, were carefully defined, and the teachings of the heretics
explicitly rejected. A large number of decrees directed against existing
abuses were also ratified. _The Canons and Decrees of the Council of
Trent_, which fill a stout volume, provided a new and solid foundation
for the law and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, and they
constitute an historical source of the utmost importance.[310] They
furnish, in fact, our most complete and authentic statement of the Roman
Catholic form of Christianity. They, however, only restate long-accepted
beliefs and sanction the organization of the Church briefly described in
an earlier chapter (XVI).

[Sidenote: Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556, the founder of the Jesuits.]

168. Among those who, during the final sessions of the council, sturdily
opposed every attempt to reduce in any way the exalted powers of the
pope, was the head of a new religious society, which was becoming the
most powerful organization in Europe. The Jesuit order, or Society of
Jesus, was founded by a Spaniard, Ignatius Loyola. He had been a soldier
in his younger days, and while bravely fighting for his king, Charles V,
had been wounded by a cannon ball (1521). Obliged to lie inactive for
weeks, he occupied his time in reading the lives of the saints, and
became filled with a burning ambition to emulate their deeds. Upon
recovering he dedicated himself to the service of the Lord, donned a
beggar's gown, and started on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When there he
began to realize that he could do little without an education. So he
returned to Spain and, although already thirty-three years old, took his
place beside the boys who were learning the elements of Latin grammar.
After two years he entered a Spanish university, and later went to Paris
to carry on his theological studies.

In Paris he sought to influence his fellow-students at the university,
and finally, in 1534, seven of his companions agreed to follow him to
Palestine, or, if they were prevented from that, to devote themselves to
the service of the pope. On arriving in Venice they found that war had
broken out between that republic and the Turks. They accordingly gave up
their plan for converting the infidels in the Orient and, with the
pope's permission, began to preach in the neighboring towns, explaining
the Scriptures and bringing comfort to those in the hospitals. When
asked to what order they belonged, they replied, "to the Society of

[Sidenote: Rigid organization and discipline of the Jesuits.]

In 1538 Loyola summoned his disciples to Rome, and there they worked out
the principles of their order. The pope then incorporated these in a
bull in which he gave his sanction to the new society.[311] The
organization was to be under the absolute control of a _general_, who
was to be chosen for life by the general assembly of the order. Loyola
had been a soldier, and he laid great and constant stress upon the
source of all efficient military discipline, namely, absolute and
unquestioning obedience. This he declared to be the mother of all virtue
and happiness. Not only were all the members to obey the pope as
Christ's representative on earth, and undertake without hesitation any
journey, no matter how distant or perilous, which he might command, but
each was to obey his superiors in the order as if he were receiving
directions from Christ in person. He must have no will or preference of
his own, but must be as the staff which supports and aids its bearer in
any way in which he sees fit to use it. This admirable organization and
incomparable discipline were the great secret of the later influence of
the Jesuits.

[Sidenote: Objects and methods of the new order.]

The object of the society was to cultivate piety and the love of God,
especially through example. The members were to pledge themselves to
lead a pure life of poverty and devotion. Their humility was to show
itself in face and attitude, so that their very appearance should
attract those with whom they came in contact to the service of God. The
methods adopted by the society for reaching its ends are of the utmost
importance. A great number of its members were priests, who went about
preaching, hearing confession, and encouraging devotional exercises. But
the Jesuits were teachers as well as preachers and confessors. They
clearly perceived the advantage of bringing young people under their
influence, and they became the schoolmasters of Catholic Europe. So
successful were their methods of instruction that even Protestants
sometimes sent their children to them.

[Sidenote: Rapid increase of the Jesuits in numbers.]

[Sidenote: Their missions and explorations.]

It was originally proposed that the number of persons admitted to the
order should not exceed sixty, but this limit was speedily removed, and
before the death of Loyola over a thousand persons had joined the
society. Under his successor the number was trebled, and it went on
increasing for two centuries. The founder of the order had been, as we
have seen, attracted to missionary work from the first, and the Jesuits
rapidly spread not only over Europe, but throughout the whole world.
Francis Xavier, one of Loyola's original little band, went to Hindustan,
the Moluccas, and Japan. Brazil, Florida, Mexico, and Peru were soon
fields of active missionary work at a time when Protestants scarcely
dreamed as yet of carrying Christianity to the heathen. We owe to the
Jesuits' reports much of our knowledge of the condition of America when
white men first began to explore Canada and the Mississippi valley, for
the followers of Loyola boldly penetrated into regions unknown to
Europeans, and settled among the natives with the purpose of bringing
the Gospel to them.[312]

[Sidenote: Their fight against the Protestants.]

Dedicated as they were to the service of the pope, the Jesuits early
directed their energies against Protestantism. They sent their members
into Germany and the Netherlands, and even made strenuous efforts to
reclaim England. Their success was most apparent in southern Germany and
Austria, where they became the confessors and confidential advisers of
the rulers. They not only succeeded in checking the progress of
Protestantism, but were able to reconquer for the pope districts in
which the old faith had been abandoned.

[Sidenote: Accusations brought against the Jesuits.]

Protestants soon realized that the new order was their most powerful and
dangerous enemy. Their apprehensions produced a bitter hatred which
blinded them to the high purposes of the founders of the order and led
them to attribute an evil purpose to every act of the Jesuits. The
Jesuits' air of humility the Protestants declared to be mere hypocrisy
under which they carried on their intrigues. The Jesuits' readiness to
adjust themselves to circumstances and the variety of the tasks that
they undertook seemed to their enemies a willingness to resort to any
means in order to reach their ends. They were popularly supposed to
justify the most deceitful and immoral measures on the ground that the
result would be "for the greater glory of God." The very obedience of
which the Jesuits said so much was viewed by the hostile Protestant as
one of their worst offenses, for he believed that the members of the
order were the blind tools of their superiors and that they would not
hesitate even to commit a crime if so ordered.

[Sidenote: Decline and abolition of the Jesuits, 1773.]

[Sidenote: Reëstablishment of the order, 1814.]

Doubtless there have been many unscrupulous Jesuits and some wicked
ones, and as time went on the order degenerated just as the earlier
ones had done. In the eighteenth century it was accused of undertaking
great commercial enterprises, and for this and other reasons lost the
confidence of even the Catholics. The king of Portugal was the first to
banish the Jesuits, and then France, where they had long been very
unpopular with an influential party of the Catholics, expelled them in
1764. Convinced that the order could no longer serve any useful purpose,
the pope abolished it in 1773. It was, however, restored in 1814, and
now again has thousands of members.

[Illustration: Philip II of Spain]

[Sidenote: Philip II, the chief enemy of Protestantism among the rulers
of Europe.]

169. The chief ally of the pope and the Jesuits in their efforts to
check Protestantism in the latter half of the sixteenth century was the
son of Charles V, Philip II. Like the Jesuits he enjoys a most
unenviable reputation among Protestants. Certain it is that they had no
more terrible enemy among the rulers of the day than he. He closely
watched the course of affairs in France and Germany with the hope of
promoting the cause of the Catholics. He eagerly forwarded every
conspiracy against England's Protestant queen, Elizabeth, and finally
manned a mighty fleet with the purpose of overthrowing her. He resorted,
moreover, to incredible cruelty in his attempts to bring back his
possessions in the Netherlands to what he considered the true faith.

[Sidenote: Division of the Hapsburg possessions between the German and
Spanish branches.]

Charles V, crippled with the gout and old before his time, laid down the
cares of government in 1555-1556. To his brother Ferdinand, who had
acquired by marriage the kingdoms of Bohemia and Hungary, Charles had
earlier transferred the German possessions of the Hapsburgs. To his
son, Philip II (1556-1598), he gave Spain with its great American
colonies, Milan, the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and the

[Sidenote: Philip II's fervent desire to stamp out Protestantism.]

Charles had constantly striven to maintain the old religion within his
dominions. He had never hesitated to use the Inquisition in Spain and
the Netherlands, and it was the great disappointment of his life that a
part of his empire had become Protestant. He was, nevertheless, no
fanatic. Like many of the princes of the time, he was forced to take
sides on the religious question without, perhaps, himself having any
deep religious sentiments. The maintenance of the Catholic faith he
believed to be necessary in order that he should keep his hold upon his
scattered and diverse dominions. On the other hand, the whole life and
policy of his son Philip were guided by a fervent attachment to the old
religion. He was willing to sacrifice both himself and his country in
his long fight against the detested Protestants within and without his
realms. And he had vast resources at his disposal, for Spain was a
strong power, not only on account of her income from America, but also
because her soldiers and their commanders were the best in Europe at
this period.

[Sidenote: The Netherlands.]

170. The Netherlands,[314] which were to cause Philip his first and
greatest trouble, included seventeen provinces which Charles V had
inherited from his grandmother, Mary of Burgundy. They occupied the
position on the map where we now find the kingdoms of Holland and
Belgium. Each of the provinces had its own government, but Charles had
grouped them together and arranged that the German empire should protect
them. In the north the hardy Germanic population had been able, by means
of dikes which kept out the sea, to reclaim large tracts of lowlands.
Here considerable cities had grown up,--Harlem, Leyden, Amsterdam, and
Rotterdam. To the south were the flourishing towns of Ghent, Bruges,
Brussels, and Antwerp, which had for hundreds of years been centers of
manufacture and trade.

[Sidenote: Philip II's harsh attitude toward the Netherlands.]

Charles, in spite of some very harsh measures, had retained the loyalty
of the people of the Netherlands, for he was himself one of them and
they felt a patriotic pride in his achievements. Toward Philip their
attitude was very different. His sour face and haughty manner made a
disagreeable impression upon the people at Brussels when Charles V first
introduced him to them as their future ruler. He was to them a Spaniard
and a foreigner, and he ruled them as such after he returned to Spain.
Instead of attempting to win them by meeting their legitimate demands,
he did everything to alienate all classes in his Burgundian realm and
increase their natural hatred and suspicion of the Spaniards. The people
were forced to house Spanish soldiers whose insolence drove them nearly
to desperation. A half-sister of the king, the duchess of Parma, who did
not even know their language, was given to them as their regent. Philip
put his trust in a group of upstarts rather than in the nobility of the
provinces, who naturally felt that they should be given some part in the
direction of affairs.

[Sidenote: The Inquisition in the Netherlands.]

What was still worse, Philip proposed that the Inquisition should carry
on its work far more actively than hitherto and put an end to the heresy
which appeared to him to defile his fair realms. The Inquisition was no
new thing to the provinces. Charles V had issued the most cruel edicts
against the followers of Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin. According to a law
of 1550, heretics who persistently refused to recant were to be burned
alive. Even those who confessed their errors and abjured their heresy
were, if men, to lose their heads, if women, to be buried alive. In both
cases their property was to be confiscated. The lowest estimate of those
who were executed in the Netherlands during Charles' reign is fifty
thousand. Although these terrible laws had not checked the growth of
Protestantism, all of Charles' decrees were solemnly reënacted by Philip
in the first month of his reign.

[Sidenote: Protest against Philip's policy.]

[Sidenote: The 'Beggars.']

For ten years the people suffered Philip's rule; but their king, instead
of listening to the protests of their leaders who were quite as earnest
Catholics as himself, appeared to be bent on the destruction of the
land. So in 1566 some five hundred of the nobles, who were later joined
by many of the citizens, pledged themselves to make a common stand
against Spanish tyranny and the Inquisition. Although they had no idea
as yet of a revolt, they planned a great demonstration during which they
presented a petition to the duchess of Parma requesting the suspension
of the king's edicts. The story is that one of the duchess' councilors
assured her that she had no reason to fear these "beggars." This name
was voluntarily assumed by the petitioners and an important group of the
insurgents in the later troubles were known as "Beggars."

[Sidenote: The image-breaking Protestants.]

[Sidenote: Philip sends the duke of Alva to the Netherlands.]

The Protestant preachers now took courage, and large congregations
gathered in the fields to hear them. Excited by their exhortations,
those who were converted to the new religion rushed into the Catholic
churches, tore down the images, broke the stained glass windows, and
wrecked the altars. The duchess of Parma was just succeeding in quieting
the tumult when Philip took a step which led finally to the revolt of
the Netherlands. He decided to dispatch to the low countries the
remorseless duke of Alva, whose conduct has made his name synonymous
with blind and unmeasured cruelty.

171. The report that Alva was coming caused the flight of many of those
who especially feared his approach. William of Orange, who was to be the
leader in the approaching war against Spain, went to Germany. Thousands
of Flemish weavers fled across the North Sea, and the products of their
looms became before long an important article of export from England.

[Sidenote: Alva's cruel administration, 1567-1573.]

[Sidenote: The Council of Blood.]

Alva brought with him a fine army of Spanish soldiers, ten thousand in
number and superbly equipped. He judged that the wisest and quickest way
of pacifying the discontented provinces was to kill all those who
ventured to criticise "the best of kings," of whom he had the honor to
be the faithful servant. He accordingly established a special court for
the speedy trial and condemnation of all those whose fidelity to Philip
was suspected. This was popularly known as the Council of Blood, for its
aim was not justice but butchery. Alva's administration from 1567 to
1573 was a veritable reign of terror. He afterwards boasted that he had
slain eighteen thousand, but probably not more than a third of that
number were really executed.

[Sidenote: William of Orange, called the Silent, 1533-1584.]

The Netherlands found a leader in William, Prince of Orange and Count of
Nassau. He is a national hero whose career bears a striking resemblance
to that of Washington. Like the American patriot, he undertook the
seemingly hopeless task of freeing his people from the oppressive rule
of a distant king. To the Spaniards he appeared to be only an
impoverished nobleman at the head of a handful of armed peasants and
fishermen, contending against the sovereign of the richest realm in the

[Sidenote: William the Silent collects an army.]

William had been a faithful servant of Charles V and would gladly have
continued to serve his son after him had the oppression and injustice of
the Spanish dominion not become intolerable. But Alva's policy convinced
him that it was useless to send any more complaints to Philip. He
accordingly collected a little army in 1568 and opened the long struggle
with Spain.

[Sidenote: Differences between the northern i.e., Dutch, provinces and
the southern.]

William found his main support in the northern provinces, of which
Holland was the chief. The Dutch, who had very generally accepted
Protestant teachings, were purely German in blood, while the people of
the southern provinces, who adhered (as they still do) to the Roman
Catholic faith, were more akin to the population of northern France.

[Sidenote: William chosen governor of Holland and Zealand, 1572.]

The Spanish soldiers found little trouble in defeating the troops which
William collected. Like Washington again, he seemed to lose almost every
battle and yet was never conquered. The first successes of the Dutch
were gained by the "sea beggars,"--freebooters who captured Spanish
ships and sold them in Protestant England. Finally they seized the town
of Brille and made it their headquarters. Encouraged by this, many of
the towns in the northern provinces of Holland and Zealand ventured to
choose William as their governor, although they did not throw off their
allegiance to Philip. In this way these two provinces became the nucleus
of the United Netherlands.

[Sidenote: Both the northern and southern provinces combine against
Spain, 1576.]

Alva recaptured a number of the revolted towns and treated their
inhabitants with his customary cruelty; even women and children were
slaughtered in cold blood. But instead of quenching the rebellion, he
aroused even the Catholic southern provinces to revolt. He introduced an
unwise system of taxation which required that ten per cent of the
proceeds of every sale should be paid to the government. This caused
the thrifty Catholic merchants of the southern towns to close their
shops in despair.

[Sidenote: The 'Spanish fury.']

After six years of this tyrannical and mistaken policy, Alva was
recalled. His successor soon died and left matters worse than ever. The
leaderless soldiers, trained in Alva's school, indulged in wild orgies
of robbery and murder; they plundered and partially reduced to ashes the
rich city of Antwerp. The "Spanish fury," as this outbreak was called,
together with the hated taxes, created such general indignation that
representatives from all of Philip's Burgundian provinces met at Ghent
in 1576 with the purpose of combining to put an end to the Spanish

[Sidenote: The Union of Utrecht.]

[Sidenote: The northern provinces declare themselves independent of
Spain, 1581.]

This union was, however, only temporary. Wiser and more moderate
governors were sent by Philip to the Netherlands, and they soon
succeeded in again winning the confidence of the southern provinces. So
the northern provinces went their own way. Guided by William the Silent,
they refused to consider the idea of again recognizing Philip as their
king. In 1579 seven provinces (Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, Gelderland,
Overyssel, Groningen, and Friesland, all lying north of the mouths of
the Rhine and the Scheldt) formed the new and firmer Union of Utrecht.
The articles of this union served as a constitution for the United
Provinces which, two years later, at last formally declared themselves
independent of Spain.

[Sidenote: Assassination of William the Silent.]

Philip realized that William was the soul of the revolt and that without
him it might not improbably have been put down. The king therefore
offered a patent of nobility and a large sum of money to any one who
should make away with the Dutch patriot. After several unsuccessful
attempts, William, who had been chosen hereditary governor of the United
Provinces, was shot in his house at Delft, 1584. He died praying the
Lord to have pity upon his soul and "on this poor people."

[Sidenote: Reasons why the Dutch finally won their independence.]

[Sidenote: Independence of the United Provinces acknowledged by Spain,

The Dutch had long hoped for aid from Queen Elizabeth or from the
French, but had heretofore been disappointed. At last the English queen
decided to send troops to their assistance. While the English rendered
but little actual help, Elizabeth's policy so enraged Philip that he at
last decided to attempt the conquest of England. The destruction of the
great fleet which he equipped for that purpose interfered with further
attempts to subjugate the United Provinces, which might otherwise have
failed to preserve their liberty in spite of their heroic resistance.
Moreover, Spain's resources were being rapidly exhausted and the state
was on the verge of bankruptcy in spite of the wealth which it had been
drawing from across the sea. But even when Spain had to surrender the
hope of winning back the lost provinces, which now became a small but
important European power, she refused formally to acknowledge their
independence until 1648[315] (Peace of Westphalia).

172. The history of France during the latter part of the sixteenth
century is little more than a chronicle of a long and bloody series of
civil wars between the Catholics and Protestants. Each party, however,
had political as well as religious objects, and the religious issues
were often almost altogether obscured by the worldly ambition of the

[Sidenote: Beginnings of Protestantism in France.]

[Sidenote: Lefèvre, 1450-1537.]

[Sidenote: Persecution of the Protestants under Francis I.]

[Sidenote: Massacre of the Waldensians, 1545.]

Protestantism began in France[316] in much the same way as in England.
Those who had learned from the Italians to love the Greek language,
turned to the New Testament in the original and commenced to study it
with new insight. Lefèvre, the most conspicuous of these Erasmus-like
reformers, translated the Bible into French and began to preach
justification by faith before he had ever heard of Luther. He and his
followers won the favor of Margaret, the sister of Francis I and queen
of the little kingdom of Navarre, and under her protection they were
left unmolested for some years. The Sorbonne, the famous theological
school at Paris, finally stirred up the suspicions of the king against
the new ideas. While, like his fellow-monarchs, Francis had no special
interest in religious matters, he was shocked by an act of desecration
ascribed to the Protestants, and in consequence forbade the circulation
of Protestant books. About 1535 several adherents of the new faith were
burned, and Calvin was forced to flee to Basel, where he prepared a
defense of his beliefs in his _Institutes of Christianity_. This is
prefaced by a letter to Francis in which he pleads with him to protect
the Protestants.[317] Francis, before his death, became so intolerant
that he ordered the massacre of three thousand defenseless peasants who
dwelt on the slopes of the Alps, and whose only offense was adherence to
the simple teachings of the Waldensians.[318]

[Sidenote: Persecution under Henry II, 1547-1559.]

Francis' son, Henry II (1547-1559), swore to extirpate the Protestants,
and hundreds of them were burned. Nevertheless, Henry's religious
convictions did not prevent him from willingly aiding the German
Protestants against his enemy Charles V, especially when they agreed to
hand over to him three bishoprics which lay on the French
boundary,--Metz, Verdun, and Toul.

[Sidenote: Francis II, 1559-1560, Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Guises.]

Henry II was accidentally killed in a tourney and left his kingdom to
three weak sons, the last scions of the house of Valois, who succeeded
in turn to the throne during a period of unprecedented civil war and
public calamity. The eldest son, Francis II, a boy of sixteen, succeeded
his father. His chief importance for France arose from his marriage with


Claude, duke of                                                     Francis I (d. 1547)
Guise (d. 1527)                                                         |
       |                                                                |
    +--+------------+-----------+                                       |
    |               |           |                                       |
Francis, duke    Charles,     Mary, m. James V of Scotland,             |
of Guise        cardinal of         |  son of Henry VIII's          Henry II (d. 1559), m. Catherine
(murdered 1563)  Lorraine           |         sister                                    |  de' Medici
    |                               |                                                   |
    |             +-----------------+                   +-------------------------------+
    |             |                                     |
    |             |              +---------------+------+-----+----------+
    |             |              |               |            |          |
    |        Mary Stuart, m.  Francis II    Charles IX    Henry III    Margaret, m. Henry IV (d. 1610),
    |       Queen of Scots     (d. 1560      (d. 1574      (d. 1589                  king of Navarre,
    |             |           without       without       without                   a descendant
    |             |             heirs)        heirs)        heirs)                   through the
Henry, duke of    |                                                                younger, _Bourbon_,
Guise (killed     |                                                                 line from St. Louis
    1588)         |                                                                        |
                  |                                                                        |
          James VI of Scotland                                                    Louis XIII (d. 1643),
              I of England,                                                         by Henry's second
            by Mary's second                                                          marriage with
             marriage with                                                          Mary de' Medici
             Lord Darnley                                                                  |
                                                                                   Louis XIV (d. 1715)
                                                                                    Louis XV (d. 1774)
                                                                                    great grandson of
                                                                                       Louis XIV

daughter of King James V of Scotland, Mary Stuart, who became famous as
Mary, Queen of Scots. Her mother was the sister of two very ambitious
French nobles, the duke of Guise and the cardinal of Lorraine. Francis
II was so young that Mary's uncles, the Guises, eagerly seized the
opportunity to manage his affairs for him. The duke put himself at the
head of the army, and the cardinal of the government. When the king
died, after reigning but a year, the Guises were naturally reluctant to
surrender their power, and many of the woes of France for the next forty
years were due to the machinations which they carried on in the name of
the Holy Catholic religion.

[Sidenote: The queen mother, Catherine de' Medici.]

[Sidenote: The Bourbons.]

173. The new king, Charles IX (1560-1574), was but ten years old, and
his mother, Catherine de' Medici, of the famous Florentine family,
claimed the right to conduct the government for her son. The rivalries
of the time were complicated by the existence of a younger branch of the
French royal family, namely, the Bourbons, one of whom was king of
Navarre. The Bourbons formed an alliance with the Huguenots,[319] as the
French Calvinists were called.

[Sidenote: The Huguenots and their political ambition.]

Many of the leading Huguenots, including their chief Coligny, belonged
to noble families and were anxious to play a part in the politics of the
time. This fact tended to confuse religious with political motives. In
the long run this mixture of motives proved fatal to the Protestant
cause in France, but for the time being the Huguenots formed so strong a
party that they threatened to get control of the government.

[Sidenote: Catherine grants conditional toleration to the Protestants,

Catherine tried at first to conciliate both parties, and granted a
Decree of Toleration (1562) suspending the former edicts against the
Protestants and permitting them to assemble for worship during the
daytime and outside of the towns. Even this restricted toleration of the
Protestants appeared an abomination to the more fanatical Catholics, and
a savage act of the duke of Guise precipitated civil war.

[Sidenote: The massacres of Vassy and the opening of the wars of

As he was passing through the town of Vassy on a Sunday he found a
thousand Huguenots assembled in a barn for worship. The duke's followers
rudely interrupted the service, and a tumult arose in which the troops
killed a considerable number of the defenseless multitude. The news of
this massacre aroused the Huguenots and was the beginning of a war which
continued, broken only by short truces, until the last weak descendant
of the house of Valois ceased to reign. As in the other religious wars
of the time, both sides exhibited the most inhuman cruelty. France was
filled for a generation with burnings, pillage, and every form of
barbarity. The leaders of both the Catholic and the Protestant party, as
well as two of the French kings themselves, fell by the hands of
assassins, and France renewed in civil war all the horrors of the
English invasion in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

[Sidenote: Coligny's influence and plan for a national war against
Philip II.]

In 1570 a brief peace was concluded. The Huguenots were to be tolerated,
and certain towns were assigned to them, including La Rochelle, where
they might defend themselves in case of renewed attacks from the
Catholics. For a time both the king and the queen mother were on the
friendliest terms with the Huguenot leader Coligny, who became a sort of
prime minister. He was anxious that Catholics and Protestants should
join in a great national war against Spain. In this way the people of
France would combine, regardless of their differences in religion, in a
patriotic effort to win the county of Burgundy and a line of fortresses
to the north and east, which seemed naturally to belong to France rather
than to Spain. Coligny did not, of course, overlook the consideration
that in this way he could aid the Protestant cause in the Netherlands.

[Sidenote: The massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day, 1572.]

The strict Catholic party of the Guises frustrated this plan by a most
fearful expedient. They easily induced Catherine de' Medici to believe
that she was being deceived by Coligny, and an assassin was engaged to
put him out of the way; but the scoundrel missed his aim and only
wounded his victim. Fearful lest the young king, who was faithful to
Coligny, should discover her part in the attempted murder, the queen
mother invented a story of a great Huguenot conspiracy. The credulous
king was deceived, and the Catholic leaders at Paris arranged that at a
given signal not only Coligny, but all the Huguenots, who had gathered
in great numbers in the city to witness the marriage of the Protestant
Henry of Navarre with the king's sister, should be massacred on the eve
of St. Bartholomew's Day (August 23, 1572).

[Sidenote: The Holy League.]

The signal was duly given, and no less than two thousand persons were
ruthlessly murdered in Paris before the end of the next day. The news of
this attack spread into the provinces and it is probable that, at the
very least, ten thousand more Protestants were put to death outside of
the capital. Both the pope and Philip II expressed their gratification
at this signal example of French loyalty to the Church. Civil war again
broke out, and the Catholics formed the famous Holy League, under the
leadership of Henry of Guise, for the advancement of their interests and
the extirpation of heresy.

[Sidenote: Question of the succession to the French throne.]

Henry III (1574-1589), the last of the sons of Henry II, who succeeded
Charles IX, had no heirs, and the great question of succession arose.
The Huguenot, Henry of Navarre, was the nearest male relative, but the
League could never consent to permit the throne of France to be sullied
by heresy, especially as their leader, Henry of Guise, was himself
anxious to become king.

[Sidenote: War of the Three Henrys, 1585-1589.]

Henry III was driven weakly from one party to the other, and it finally
came to a war between the three Henrys,--Henry III, Henry of Navarre,
and Henry of Guise (1585-1589). It ended in a characteristic way. Henry
the king had Henry of Guise assassinated. The sympathizers of the League
then assassinated Henry the king, which left the field to Henry of
Navarre. He ascended the throne as Henry IV[320] in 1589, and is an
heroic figure in the line of French kings.

[Sidenote: Henry IV, 1589-1610, becomes a Catholic.]

174. The new king had many enemies, and his kingdom was devastated and
demoralized by years of war. He soon saw that he must accept the
religion of the majority of his people if he wished to reign over them.
He accordingly asked to be readmitted to the Catholic Church (1593),
excusing himself on the ground that "Paris was worth a mass." He did not
forget his old friends, however, and in 1598 he issued the Edict of

[Sidenote: The Edict of Nantes, 1598.]

By this edict of toleration the Calvinists were permitted to hold
services in all the towns and villages where they had previously held
them, but in Paris and a number of other towns all Protestant services
were prohibited. The Protestants were to enjoy the same political rights
as Catholics, and to be eligible to public office. A number of fortified
towns were to remain in the hands of the Huguenots, particularly La
Rochelle, Montauban, and Nîmes. Henry's only mistake lay in granting the
Huguenots the exceptional privilege of holding and governing fortified
towns. In the next generation, this privilege aroused the suspicion of
the king's minister, Richelieu, who attacked the Huguenots, not so much
on religious grounds, as on account of their independent position in the
state, which suggested that of the older feudal nobles.

[Sidenote: Ministry of Sully.]

Henry IV chose Sully, an upright and able Calvinist, for his chief
minister. Sully set to work to reëstablish the kingly power, which had
suffered greatly under the last three brothers of the house of Valois.
He undertook to lighten the tremendous burden of debt which weighed upon
the country. He laid out new roads and canals, and encouraged
agriculture and commerce; he dismissed the useless noblemen and officers
whom the government was supporting without any advantage to itself. Had
his administration not been prematurely interrupted, France might have
reached unprecedented power and prosperity; but religious fanaticism put
an end to his reforms.

[Sidenote: Assassination of Henry IV, 1610.]

In 1610 Henry IV, like William the Silent, was assassinated just in the
midst of his greatest usefulness to his country. Sully could not agree
with the regent, Henry's widow, and retired to his castle, where he
dictated his memoirs, which give a remarkable account of the stirring
times in which he had played so important a part. Before many years,
Richelieu, perhaps the greatest minister France has ever had, rose to
power, and from 1624 to his death in 1642 he governed France for Henry's
son, Louis XIII (1610-1643). Something will be said of his policy in
connection with the Thirty Years' War.[321]

[Sidenote: England under Elizabeth, 1558-1603.]

175. The long and disastrous civil war between Catholics and
Protestants, which desolated France in the sixteenth century, had
happily no counterpart in England. During her long and wise reign Queen
Elizabeth[322] succeeded not only in maintaining peace at home, but in
frustrating the conspiracies and attacks of Philip II, which threatened
her realm from without. Moreover, by her interference in the
Netherlands, she did much to secure their independence of Spain.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth restores the Protestant service.]

Upon the death of Catholic Mary and the accession of her sister
Elizabeth in 1558, the English government became once more Protestant.
Undoubtedly a great majority of Elizabeth's subjects would have been
satisfied to have had her return to the policy of her father, Henry
VIII. They still venerated the Mass and the other ancient ceremonies,
although they had no desire to acknowledge the supremacy of the pope
over their country. Elizabeth believed, however, that Protestantism
would finally prevail. She therefore reintroduced the Book of Prayer of
Edward VI, with some modifications, and proposed that all her subjects
should conform in public to the form of worship sanctioned by the state.
Elizabeth did not adopt the Presbyterian organization, which had a good
many advocates, but retained the old system of church government with
its archbishops, bishops, deans, etc. Naturally, however, Protestant
clergymen were substituted for the Catholics who had held office under
Mary. Elizabeth's first Parliament gave to the queen the power though
not the title of supreme head of the English church.

[Sidenote: Presbyterian Church established in Scotland.]

Elizabeth's position in regard to the religious question was first
threatened by events in Scotland. There, shortly after her accession,
the ancient Church was abolished, largely in the interest of the nobles,
who were anxious to get the lands of the bishops into their own hands
and enjoy the revenue from them. John Knox, a veritable second Calvin in
his stern energy, secured the introduction of the Presbyterian form of
faith and church government which still prevail in Scotland.

[Sidenote: Mary Stuart the Scotch queen, becomes the hope of the

In 1561 the Scotch queen, Mary Stuart, whose French husband, Francis II,
had just died, landed at Leith. She was but nineteen years old, of great
beauty, and, by reason of her Catholic faith and French training, almost
a foreigner to her subjects. Her grandmother was a sister of Henry VIII,
and Mary claimed to be the rightful heiress to the English throne should
Elizabeth die childless. Consequently the beautiful Queen of Scots
became the hope of all those, including Philip II and Mary's relatives,
the Guises, who wished to bring back England and Scotland to the Roman
Catholic faith.

[Sidenote: Mary's suspicious conduct.]

[Sidenote: Mary flees to England, 1568.]

Mary made no effort to undo the work of John Knox, but she quickly
discredited herself with both Protestants and Catholics by her conduct.
After marrying her second cousin, Lord Darnley, she discovered that he
was a dissolute scapegrace, and came to despise him. She then formed an
attachment for a reckless nobleman named Bothwell. The house near
Edinburgh in which the wretched Darnley was lying ill was blown up one
night with gunpowder, and he was killed. The public suspected that both
Bothwell and the queen were implicated. How far Mary was responsible for
her husband's death no one can be sure. It is certain that she later
married Bothwell and that her indignant subjects thereupon deposed her
as a murderess. After fruitless attempts to regain her power, she
abdicated in favor of her infant son, James VI, and then fled to England
to appeal to Elizabeth. While the prudent Elizabeth denied the right of
the Scotch to depose their queen, she took good care to keep her rival
practically a prisoner.

[Sidenote: The rising in the north, 1569, and Catholic plans for
deposing Elizabeth.]

176. As time went on it became increasingly difficult for Elizabeth to
adhere to her policy of moderation in the treatment of the Catholics. A
rising in the north of England (1569) showed that there were many who
would gladly reëstablish the Catholic faith by freeing Mary and placing
her on the English throne. This was followed by the excommunication of
Elizabeth by the pope, who at the same time absolved her subjects from
their allegiance to their heretical ruler. Happily for Elizabeth the
rebels could look for no help either from Alva or the French king. The
Spaniards had their hands full, for the war in the Netherlands had just
begun; and Charles IX, who had accepted Coligny as his adviser, was at
that moment in hearty accord with the Huguenots. The rising in the north
was suppressed, but the English Catholics continued to harbor
treasonable designs and to look to Philip for help. They opened
correspondence with Alva and invited him to come with six thousand
Spanish troops to dethrone Elizabeth and make Mary Stuart queen of
England in her stead. Alva hesitated, for he characteristically thought
that it would be better to kill Elizabeth, or at least capture her.
Meanwhile the plot was discovered and came to naught.

[Sidenote: English mariners capture Spanish ships.]

Although Philip found himself unable to harm England, the English
mariners, like the Dutch "sea beggars," caused great loss to Spain. In
spite of the fact that Spain and England were not openly at war, the
English seamen extended their operations as far as the West Indies, and
seized Spanish treasure ships, with the firm conviction that in robbing
Philip they were serving God. The daring Sir Francis Drake even
ventured into the Pacific, where only the Spaniards had gone heretofore,
and carried off much booty on his little vessel, the _Pelican_. At last
he took "a great vessel with jewels in plenty, thirteen chests of silver
coin, eighty pounds weight of gold, and twenty-six tons of silver." He
then sailed around the world, and on his return presented his jewels to
Elizabeth, who paid little attention to the expostulations of the king
of Spain.[323]

[Sidenote: Relations between England and Catholic Ireland.]

One hope of the Catholics has not yet been mentioned, namely, Ireland,
whose relations with England from very early times down to the present
day form one of the most cheerless pages in the history of Europe.
Ireland was no longer, as it had been in the time of Gregory the Great,
a center of culture.[324] The population was divided into numerous clans
and their chieftains fought constantly with one another as well as with
the English, who were vainly endeavoring to subjugate the island. Under
Henry II and later kings England had conquered a district in the eastern
part of Ireland, and here the English managed to maintain a foothold in
spite of the anarchy outside. Henry VIII had suppressed a revolt of the
Irish and assumed the title of King of Ireland. Mary had hoped to
promote better relations by colonizing Kings County and Queens County
with Englishmen. This led, however, to a long struggle which only ended
when the colonists had killed all the natives in the district they

Elizabeth's interest in the perennial Irish question was stimulated by
the probability that Ireland might become a basis for Catholic
operations, since Protestantism had made little progress among its
simple and half-barbarous people. Her fears were realized. Several
attempts were made by Catholic leaders to land troops in Ireland with
the purpose of making the island the base for an attack on England.
Elizabeth's officers were able to frustrate these enterprises, but the
resulting disturbances greatly increased the misery of the Irish. In
1582 no less than thirty thousand people are said to have perished,
chiefly from starvation.

[Sidenote: Persecution of the English Catholics.]

As Philip's troops began to get the better of the opposition in the
southern Netherlands, the prospect of sending a Spanish army to England
grew brighter. Two Jesuits were sent to England in 1580 to strengthen
the adherents of their faith and were supposed to be urging them to
assist the foreign force against their queen when it should come.
Parliament now grew more intolerant and ordered fines and imprisonment
to be inflicted on those who said or heard mass, or who refused to
attend the English services. One of the Jesuits was cruelly tortured and
executed for treason but the other escaped to the continent.

[Sidenote: Plans to assassinate Elizabeth.]

In the spring of 1582 the first attempt to assassinate the heretical
queen was made at Philip's instigation. It was proposed that, when
Elizabeth was out of the way, the duke of Guise should see that an army
was sent to England in the interest of the Catholics. But Guise was kept
busy at home by the War of the Three Henrys, and Philip was left to
undertake the invasion of England by himself.

[Sidenote: Execution of Mary Queen of Scots, 1587.]

Mary did not live to witness the attempt. She became implicated in
another plot for the assassination of Elizabeth. Parliament now realized
that as long as Mary lived Elizabeth's life was in constant danger;
whereas, if Mary were out of the way, Philip would have no interest in
the death of Elizabeth, since Mary's son, James VI of Scotland, was a
Protestant. Elizabeth was therefore reluctantly persuaded by her
advisers to sign a warrant for Mary's execution in 1587.[325]

[Sidenote: Destruction of Philip's Armada, 1588.]

Philip by no means gave up his project of reclaiming Protestant England.
In 1588 he brought together a great fleet, including his best and
largest warships, which was proudly called by the Spaniards the
"Invincible Armada" (i.e., fleet). This was to sail up the Channel to
Flanders and bring over the duke of Parma and his veterans, who, it was
expected, would soon make an end of Elizabeth's raw militia. The English
ships were inferior to those of Spain in size although not in number,
but they had trained commanders, such as Drake and Hawkins. These famous
captains had long sailed the Spanish Main and knew how to use their
cannon without getting near enough to the Spaniards to suffer from their
short-range weapons. When the Armada approached, it was permitted by the
English fleet to pass up the Channel before a strong wind which later
became a storm. The English ships then followed and both fleets were
driven past the coast of Flanders. Of the hundred and twenty Spanish
ships, only fifty-four returned home; the rest had been destroyed by
English valor, or by the gale to which Elizabeth herself ascribed the
victory.[326] The defeat of the Armada put an end to the danger from

[Sidenote: Prospects of the Catholic cause at the opening of the reign
of Philip II.]

177. As we look back over the period covered by the reign of Philip II,
it is clear that it was a most notable one in the history of the
Catholic Church. When he ascended the throne Germany, as well as
Switzerland and the Netherlands, had become largely Protestant. England,
however, under his Catholic wife, Mary, seemed to be turning back to the
old religion, while the French monarchs showed no inclination to
tolerate the heretical Calvinists. Moreover, the new and enthusiastic
order of the Jesuits promised to be a potent agency in inducing the
disaffected people to accept once more the supremacy of the pope and the
doctrines of the ancient church as formulated by the Council of Trent.
The tremendous power and apparently boundless resources of Spain
itself,--which were viewed by the rest of Europe with the gravest
apprehension, not to say terror,--Philip was willing to dedicate to the
extirpation of heresy in his own dominions and the destruction of
Protestantism throughout western Europe.

[Sidenote: Outcome of Philip's policy.]

When Philip died all was changed. England was hopelessly Protestant: the
"Invincible Armada" had been miserably wrecked, and Philip's plan for
bringing England once more within the fold of the Roman Catholic Church
was forever frustrated. In France the terrible wars of religion were
over, and a powerful king, lately a Protestant himself, was on the
throne, who not only tolerated the Protestants but chose one of them for
his chief minister, and would brook no more meddling of Spain in French
affairs. A new Protestant state, the United Netherlands, had actually
appeared within the bounds of the realm bequeathed to Philip by his
father. In spite of its small size this state was destined to play, from
that time on, quite as important a part in European affairs as the harsh
Spanish stepmother from whose control it had escaped.

[Sidenote: Decline of Spain after the sixteenth century.]

Spain itself had suffered most of all from Philip's reign.[327] His
domestic policy and his expensive wars had weakened a country which had
never been intrinsically strong. The income from across the sea was
bound to decrease as the mines were exhausted. The final expulsion of
the industrious Moors, shortly after Philip's death, left the indolent
Spaniards to till their own fields, which rapidly declined in fertility
under their careless cultivation. Poverty was deemed no disgrace but
manual labor was. Some one once ventured to tell a Spanish king that
"not gold and silver but sweat is the most precious metal, a coin which
is always current and never depreciates"; but it was a rare form of
currency in the Spanish peninsula. After Philip II's death Spain sinks
to the rank of a secondary European power.



[Sidenote: The Thirty Years' War really a series of wars.]

178. The last great conflict caused by the differences between the
Catholics and Protestants was fought out in Germany during the first
half of the seventeenth century. It is generally known as the Thirty
Years' War (1618-1648), but there was in reality a series of wars; and
although the fighting was done upon German territory, Sweden, France,
and Spain played quite as important a part as Germany.

[Sidenote: Weaknesses of the Peace of Augsburg.]

Just before the abdication of Charles V, the Lutheran princes had forced
the emperor to acknowledge their right to their own religion and to the
church property which they had appropriated. The religious Peace of
Augsburg had, however, as we have seen,[328] two great weaknesses. In
the first place, only those Protestants who held the Lutheran faith were
to be tolerated. The Calvinists, who were increasing in numbers, were
not included in the peace. In the second place, the peace did not put a
stop to the seizure of church property by the Protestant princes.

[Sidenote: Spread of Protestantism.]

During the last years of Ferdinand I's reign and that of his successor
there was little trouble. Protestantism, however, made rapid progress
and invaded Bavaria, the Austrian possessions, and above all, Bohemia,
where the doctrines of Huss had never died out. So it looked for a time
as if even the German Hapsburgs were to see large portions of their
territory falling away from the old Church. But the Catholics had in the
Jesuits a band of active and efficient missionaries. They not only
preached and founded schools, but also succeeded in gaining the
confidence of some of the German princes, whose chief advisers they
became. Conditions were very favorable, at the opening of the
seventeenth century, for a renewal of the religious struggle.

[Sidenote: Formation of the Protestant Union and the Catholic League.]

The Lutheran town of Donauwörth permitted the existence of a monastery
within its limits. In 1607 a Protestant mob attacked the monks as they
were passing in procession through the streets. Duke Maximilian of
Bavaria, an ardent Catholic, on the border of whose possessions the town
lay, gladly undertook to punish this outrage. His army entered
Donauwörth, reëstablished the Catholic worship, and drove out the
Lutheran pastor. This event led to the formation of the Protestant Union
under the leadership of Frederick, elector of the Palatinate. The Union
included by no means all the Protestant princes; for example, the
Lutheran elector of Saxony refused to have anything to do with the
Calvinistic Frederick. The next year the Catholics, on their part,
formed the Catholic League under a far more efficient head, namely,
Maximilian of Bavaria.[329]

[Sidenote: Bohemia revolts from the Hapsburg rule, 1618.]

[Sidenote: Frederick, elector of the Palatinate, chosen king of

These were the preliminaries of the Thirty Years' War. Hostilities began
in Bohemia, which had been added to the Hapsburg possessions through the
marriage of Ferdinand I. The Protestants were so strong in that country
that they had forced the emperor in 1609 to grant them privileges
greater even than those enjoyed by the Huguenots in France. The
government, however, failed to observe this agreement, and the
destruction of two Protestant churches resulted in a revolution at
Prague in 1618. Three representatives of the emperor were seized by the
irritated Bohemian leaders and thrown out of the window of the palace.
After this emphatic protest against the oppressive measures of the
government, Bohemia endeavored to establish itself once more as an
independent kingdom. It renounced the rule of the Hapsburgs and chose
Frederick, the elector of the Palatinate, as its new king. He appeared
to the Bohemians to possess a double advantage; in the first place, he
was the head of the Protestant Union, and in the second, he was the
son-in-law of the king of England, James I, to whom they looked for

[Sidenote: Failure of the Bohemian revolt.]

[Sidenote: Battle on the White Hill, 1620.]

The Bohemian venture proved a most disastrous one for Germany and for
Protestantism. The new emperor, Ferdinand II (1619-1637), who was at
once an uncompromising Catholic and a person of considerable ability,
appealed to the League for assistance. Frederick, the new king of
Bohemia, showed himself entirely unequal to the occasion. He and his
English wife, the Princess Elizabeth, made a bad impression on the
Bohemians, and they failed to gain the support of the neighboring
Lutheran elector of Saxony. A single battle, which the army of the
League under Maximilian won in 1620, put to flight the poor "winter
king," as he was derisively called on account of his reign of a single
season. The emperor and the duke of Bavaria set vigorously to work to
suppress Protestantism within their borders. The emperor arbitrarily
granted the eastern portion of the Palatinate to Maximilian and gave him
the title of Elector, without consulting the diet.

[Sidenote: England and France unable to assist the Protestants.]

179. Matters were becoming serious for the Protestant party, and England
might have intervened had it not been that James I believed that he
could by his personal influence restore peace to Europe and induce the
emperor and Maximilian of Bavaria to give back the Palatinate to the
"winter king." Even France might have taken a hand, for although
Richelieu, then at the head of affairs, had no love for the Protestants,
he was still more bitterly opposed to the Hapsburgs. However, his hands
were tied for the moment, for he was just undertaking to deprive the
Huguenots of their strong towns.

[Sidenote: Christian IV of Denmark invades Germany, but is defeated.]

[Sidenote: Wallenstein.]

A diversion came, nevertheless, from without. Christian IV, king of
Denmark, invaded northern Germany in 1625 with a view of relieving his
fellow Protestants. In addition to the army of the League which was
dispatched against him, a new army was organized by the notorious
commander, Wallenstein. The emperor was poor and gladly accepted the
offer of this ambitious Bohemian nobleman[330] to collect an army which
should support itself upon the proceeds of the war, to wit, confiscation
and robbery. Christian met with two serious defeats in northern Germany;
even his peninsula was invaded by the imperial forces, and in 1629 he
agreed to retire from the conflict.

[Sidenote: The Edict of Restitution, 1629.]

[Sidenote: Dismissal of Wallenstein.]

[Sidenote: Appearance of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, 1594-1632.]

The emperor was encouraged by the successes of the Catholic armies to
issue that same year an Edict of Restitution. In this he ordered the
Protestants throughout Germany to give back all the church possessions
which they had seized since the religious Peace of Augsburg (1555).
These included two archbishoprics (Magdeburg and Bremen), nine
bishoprics, about one hundred and twenty monasteries, and other church
foundations. Moreover, he decreed that only the Lutherans might enjoy
the practice of their religion; the other "sects" were to be broken up.
As Wallenstein was preparing to execute this decree in his usual
merciless fashion, the war took a new turn. The League had become
jealous of a general who threatened to become too powerful, and it
accordingly joined in the complaints, which came from every side, of the
terrible extortions and incredible cruelty practiced by Wallenstein's
troops. The emperor consented, therefore, to dismiss this most competent
commander and lose a large part of his army. Just as the Catholics were
thus weakened, a new enemy arrived upon the scene who was far more
dangerous than any they had yet had to face, Gustavus Adolphus, king of

[Sidenote: The kingdom of Sweden.]

[Sidenote: Gustavus Vasa, 1523-1560.]

180. We have had no occasion hitherto to speak of the Scandinavian
kingdoms of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, which the northern German
peoples had established about Charlemagne's time; but from now on they
begin to take part in the affairs of central Europe. The Union of Calmar
(1397) had brought these three kingdoms, previously separate, under a
single ruler. About the time that the Protestant revolt began in Germany
the union was broken by the withdrawal of Sweden. Gustavus Vasa, a
Swedish noble, led the movement and was subsequently chosen king of
Sweden (1523). In the same year Protestantism was introduced. Vasa
confiscated the church lands, got the better of the aristocracy, and
started Sweden on its way toward national greatness. Under his successor
the eastern shores of the Baltic were conquered and the Russians cut off
from the sea.

[Sidenote: Motives of Gustavus Adolphus in invading Germany, 1630.]

Gustavus Adolphus (1594-1632) was induced to invade Germany for two
reasons. In the first place, he was a sincere and enthusiastic
Protestant and by far the most generous and attractive figure of his
time. He was genuinely afflicted by the misfortunes of his Protestant
brethren and anxious to devote himself to their welfare. Secondly, he
dreamed of extending his domains so that one day the Baltic might
perhaps become a Swedish lake. He undoubtedly hoped by his invasion not
only to free his co-religionists from the oppression of the emperor and
of the League, but to gain a strip of territory for Sweden.

[Sidenote: Destruction of Magdeburg, 1631.]

[Sidenote: Gustavus Adolphus victorious at Breitenfeld, 1631.]

Gustavus was not received with much cordiality at first by the
Protestant princes of the north; but they were brought to their senses
by the awful destruction of Magdeburg by the troops of the League under
General Tilly. Magdeburg was the most important town of northern
Germany. When it finally succumbed after an obstinate and difficult
siege, twenty thousand of its inhabitants were killed and the town
burned to the ground. Although Tilly's reputation for cruelty is quite
equal to that of Wallenstein, he was probably not responsible for the
fire. After Gustavus Adolphus had met Tilly near Leipsic and
victoriously routed the army of the League, the Protestant princes began
to look with more favor on the foreigner. Gustavus then moved westward
and took up his winter quarters on the Rhine.

[Sidenote: Wallenstein recalled.]

[Sidenote: Gustavus Adolphus killed at Lützen, 1632.]

The next spring he entered Bavaria and once more defeated Tilly (who was
mortally wounded in the battle), and forced Munich to surrender. There
seemed now to be no reason why he should not continue his way to Vienna.
At this juncture the emperor recalled Wallenstein, who collected a new
army over which the emperor gave him absolute command. After some delay
Gustavus met Wallenstein on the field of Lützen, in November, 1632,
where, after a fierce struggle, the Swedes gained the victory. But they
lost their leader and Protestantism its hero, for the Swedish king
ventured too far into the lines of the enemy and was surrounded and

[Sidenote: Murder of Wallenstein.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Nördlingen, 1634.]

The Swedes did not, however, retire from Germany, but continued to
participate in the war, which now degenerated into a series of raids by
leaders whose soldiers depopulated the land by their unspeakable
atrocities. Wallenstein roused the suspicions of the Catholics by
entering into mysterious negotiations with Richelieu and with the German
Protestants. This treasonable correspondence quickly reached the ears of
the emperor. Wallenstein, who had long been detested by even the
Catholics, was deserted by his soldiers and murdered (in 1634), to the
great relief of all parties. In the same year the imperial army won the
important battle of Nördlingen, one of the most bloody and at the same
time decisive engagements of the war. Shortly after, the elector of
Saxony withdrew from his alliance with the Swedes and made peace with
the emperor. It looked as if the war were about to come to an end, for
many others among the German princes were quite ready to lay down their

[Sidenote: Richelieu renews the struggle of France against the

181. Just at this critical moment Richelieu decided that it would be to
the interest of France to renew the old struggle with the Hapsburgs by
sending troops against the emperor. France was still shut in, as she had
been since the time of Charles V, by the Hapsburg lands. Except on the
side toward the ocean her boundaries were in the main artificial ones,
and not those established by great rivers and mountains. She therefore
longed to weaken her enemy and strengthen herself by winning Roussillon
on the south, and so make the crest of the Pyrenees the line of
demarcation between France and Spain. She dreamed, too, of extending her
sway toward the Rhine by adding the county of Burgundy (i.e.,
Franche-Comté) and a number of fortified towns which would afford
protection against the Spanish Netherlands.

[Sidenote: Richelieu checks Spanish aggression in Italy.]

Richelieu had been by no means indifferent to the Thirty Years' War. He
had encouraged the Swedish king to intervene, and had supplied him with
funds if not with troops. Moreover, he himself had checked Spanish
progress in northern Italy. In 1624 Spanish troops had invaded the
valley of the Adda, a Protestant region, with the evident purpose of
conquest. This appeared a most serious aggression to Richelieu, for if
the Spanish won the valley of the Adda, the last barrier between the
Hapsburg possessions in Italy and in Germany would be removed. French
troops were dispatched to drive out the Spaniards, but it was in the
interest of France rather than in that of the oppressed Calvinists, for
whom Richelieu could hardly have harbored a deep affection. A few years
later it became a question whether a Spanish or a French candidate
should obtain the vacant duchy of Mantua, and Richelieu led another
French army in person to see that Spain was again discomfited. It was,
then, not strange that he should decide to deal a blow at the emperor
when the war appeared to be coming to a close that was tolerably
satisfactory from the standpoint of the Hapsburgs.

[Sidenote: Richelieu's intervention prolongs the war.]

Richelieu declared war against Spain in May, 1635. He had already
concluded an alliance with the chief enemies of the house of Austria.
Sweden agreed not to negotiate for peace until France was ready for it.
The United Provinces joined France, as did some of the German princes.
So the war was renewed, and French, Swedish, Spanish, and German
soldiers ravaged an already exhausted country for a decade longer. The
dearth of provisions was so great that the armies had to move quickly
from place to place in order to avoid starvation. After a serious defeat
by the Swedes, the emperor (Ferdinand III, 1637-1657) sent a Dominican
monk to expostulate with Cardinal Richelieu for his crime in aiding the
German and Swedish heretics against the unimpeachably orthodox Austria.

[Sidenote: France succeeds Spain in the military supremacy of western

The cardinal had, however, just died (December, 1642), well content with
the results of his diplomacy. The French were in possession of
Roussillon and of Artois, Lorraine, and Alsace. The military exploits of
the French generals, especially Turenne and Condé, during the opening
years of the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715) showed that a new period had
begun in which the military and political supremacy of Spain was to give
way to that of France.

[Sidenote: Close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648.]

182. The participants in the war were now so numerous and their objects
so various and conflicting, that it is not strange that it required some
years to arrange the conditions of peace even when every one was ready
for it. It was agreed (1644) that France and the empire should negotiate
at Münster, and the emperor and the Swedes at Osnabrück,--both of which
towns lie in Westphalia. For four years the representatives of the
several powers worked upon the difficult problem of satisfying every
one, but at last the treaties of Westphalia were signed late in 1648.
Their provisions continued to be the basis of the international law of
Europe down to the French Revolution.

[Sidenote: Provisions of the treaties of Westphalia.]

The religious troubles in Germany were settled by extending the
toleration of the Peace of Augsburg so as to include the Calvinists as
well as the Lutherans. The Protestant princes were, regardless of the
Edict of Restitution, to retain the lands which they had in their
possession in the year 1624, and each ruler was still to have the right
to determine the religion of his state. The dissolution of the German
empire was practically acknowledged by permitting the individual states
to make treaties among themselves and with foreign powers; this was
equivalent to recognizing the practical independence which they had, as
a matter of fact, already long enjoyed. A part of Pomerania and the
districts at the mouth of the Oder, the Elbe, and the Weser were ceded
to Sweden. This territory did not, however, cease to form a part of the
empire, for Sweden was thereafter to have three votes in the German

As for France, it was definitely given the three bishoprics of Metz,
Verdun, and Toul, which Henry II had bargained for when he allied
himself with the Protestants a century earlier.[333] The emperor also
ceded to France all his rights in Alsace, although the city of Strasburg
was to remain with the empire. Lastly, the independence both of the
United Netherlands and of Switzerland was acknowledged.[334]

[Sidenote: Disastrous results of the war in Germany.]

The accounts of the misery and depopulation of Germany caused by the
Thirty Years' War are well-nigh incredible. Thousands of villages were
wiped out altogether; in some regions the population was reduced by one
half, in others to a third, or even less, of what it had been at the
opening of the conflict. The flourishing city of Augsburg was left with
but sixteen thousand souls instead of eighty thousand. The people were
fearfully barbarized by privation and suffering and by the atrocities
of the soldiers of all the various nations. Until the end of the
eighteenth century Germany was too exhausted and impoverished to make
any considerable contribution to the culture of Europe. Only one hopeful
circumstance may be noted as we leave this dreary subject. After the
Peace of Westphalia the elector of Brandenburg was the most powerful of
the German princes next to the emperor. As king of Prussia he was
destined to create another European power, and at last to humble the
house of Hapsburg and create a new German empire in which Austria should
have no part.

     General Reading.--The most complete and scholarly account of the
     Thirty Years' War to be had in English is GINDELY, _History of the
     Thirty Years' War_ (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2 vols., $3.50).



[Sidenote: The question of absolute or limited monarchy in England.]

183. The great question which confronted England in the seventeenth
century was whether the king should be permitted to rule the people, as
God's representative, or should submit to the constant control of the
nation's representatives, i.e., Parliament. In France the Estates
General met for the last time in 1614, and thereafter the French king
made laws and executed them without asking the advice of any one except
his immediate counselors. In general, the rulers on the continent
exercised despotic powers, and James I of England and his son Charles I
would gladly have made themselves absolute rulers, for they entertained
the same exalted notions of the divine right of kings which prevailed
across the English Channel. England finally succeeded, however, in
adjusting the relations between king and Parliament in a very happy way,
so as to produce a limited, or constitutional, monarchy. The long and
bitter struggle between the house of Stuart and the English Parliament
plays an important rôle in the history of Europe at large, as well as in
that of England. After the French Revolution, at the end of the
eighteenth century, the English system began to become popular on the
continent, and it has now replaced the older absolute monarchy in all
the kingdoms of western Europe.

[Sidenote: Accession of James I, 1603-1625.]

On the death of Elizabeth in 1603, James I, the first of the Stuarts,
ascended the English throne. He was, it will be remembered, the son of
Mary Queen of Scots, and was known in Scotland as James VI;
consequently England and Scotland now came under the same ruler. This
did not, however, make the relations between the two countries much
happier, for a century to come at least.

[Sidenote: James' belief in the 'divine right' of kings.]

The chief interest of James' reign lay in his tendency to exalt the
royal prerogative, and in the systematic manner in which he extolled
absolute monarchy in his writings and speeches and discredited it by his
conduct. James was an unusually learned man, for a king, but his
learning did not enlighten him in matters of common sense. As a man and
a ruler, he was far inferior to his unschooled and light-hearted
contemporary, Henry IV of France. Henry VIII had been a heartless
despot, and Elizabeth had ruled the nation in a high-handed manner; but
both of them had known how to make themselves popular and had had the
good sense to say as little as possible about their rights. James, on
the contrary, had a fancy for discussing his high position.

[Sidenote: His own expression of his claims.]

"As for the absolute prerogative of the crown," he declares, "that is no
subject for the tongue of a lawyer, nor is it lawful to be disputed. It
is atheism and blasphemy to dispute what God can do: ... so it is
presumption and high contempt in a subject to dispute what a king can
do, or say that a king cannot do this or that." The king, James claimed,
could make any kind of law or statute that he thought meet, without any
advice from Parliament, although he might, if he chose, accept its
suggestions. "He is overlord of the whole land, so is he master over
every person who inhabiteth the same, having power over the life and
death of every one of them: for although a just prince will not take the
life of one of his subjects without a clear law, yet the same laws
whereby he taketh them are made by himself and his predecessors; so the
power flows always from himself." A good king will act according to law,
but he is above the law and is not bound thereby except voluntarily and
for good-example giving to his subjects.

[Sidenote: The theory of 'divine right.']

These theories, taken from James' work on _The Law of Free Monarchies_,
seem strange and unreasonable to us. But he was really only claiming the
rights which his predecessors had enjoyed, and such as were conceded to
the kings of France until the French Revolution. According to the theory
of "divine right," the king did not owe his power to the nation but to
God, who had appointed him to be the father of his people. From God he
derived all the prerogatives necessary to maintain order and promote
justice; consequently he was responsible to God alone, and not to the
people, for the exercise of his powers. It is unnecessary to follow in
detail the troubles between James and his Parliament and the various
methods which he invented for raising money without the sanction of
Parliament, for all this forms only the preliminary to the fatal
experience of James' son, Charles I.

[Sidenote: James I's foreign policy.]

In his foreign policy James showed as little sense as in his relations
with his own people. He refused to help his son-in-law when he became
king of Bohemia.[335] But when the Palatinate was given by the emperor
to Maximilian of Bavaria, James struck upon the extraordinary plan of
forming an alliance with the hated Spain and inducing its king to
persuade the emperor to reinstate the "winter king" in his former
possessions. In order to conciliate Spain, Charles, Prince of Wales, was
to marry a Spanish princess. Naturally this proposal was very unpopular
among the English Protestants, and it finally came to nothing.

[Sidenote: Literature in the time of Elizabeth and James I.]

[Sidenote: Shakespeare, 1564-1616.]

[Sidenote: Francis Bacon, 1561-1626.]

[Sidenote: The King James translation of the Bible.]

Although England under James I failed to influence deeply the course of
affairs in Europe at large, his reign is distinguished by the work of
unrivaled writers who gave England a literature which outshone that of
any other of the European countries. Shakespeare is generally admitted
to have been the greatest dramatist the world has ever produced. While
he wrote many of his plays before the death of Elizabeth, _Othello_,
_King Lear_, and _The Tempest_ belong to the reign of James. Francis
Bacon, philosopher and statesman, did much for the advancement of
scientific research by advocating new methods of reasoning based upon a
careful observation of natural phenomena instead of upon Aristotle's
logic. He urged investigators to take the path already indicated over
three centuries earlier by his namesake, Roger Bacon.[336] The most
worthy monument of the strong and beautiful English of the period is to
be found in the translation of the Bible, prepared in James' reign and
still generally used in all the countries where English is spoken.[337]

[Sidenote: Charles I, 1625-1649.]

184. Charles I was somewhat more dignified than his father, but he was
quite as obstinately set upon having his own way and showed no more
skill in winning the confidence of his subjects. He did nothing to
remove the disagreeable impressions of his father's reign and began
immediately to quarrel with Parliament. When that body refused to grant
him any money, mainly because they thought that it was likely to be
wasted by his favorite, the duke of Buckingham, Charles formed the plan
of winning their favor by a great military victory.

After James I had reluctantly given up his cherished Spanish alliance,
Charles had married a French princess, Henrietta Maria, the daughter of
Henry IV. In spite of this marriage Charles now proposed to aid the
Huguenots whom Richelieu was besieging in their town of La Rochelle. He
also hoped to gain popularity by prosecuting a war against Spain, whose
king was energetically supporting the Catholic League in Germany.
Accordingly, in spite of Parliament's refusal to grant him the
necessary funds, he embarked in war. With only the money which he could
raise by irregular means, Charles arranged an expedition to take Cadiz
and the Spanish treasure ships which arrived there once a year from
America, laden with gold and silver. The expedition failed, as well as
Charles' attempt to help the Huguenots.

[Sidenote: Charles' exactions and arbitrary acts.]

In his attempts to raise money without a regular grant from Parliament,
Charles had resorted to vexatious exactions. The law prohibited him from
asking for _gifts_ from his people, but it did not forbid his asking
them to _lend_ him money, however little prospect there might be of his
ever repaying it. Five gentlemen who refused to pay such a forced loan
were imprisoned by the mere order of the king. This raised the question
of whether the king had the right to send to prison those whom he wished
without showing legal cause for their arrest.

[Sidenote: The Petition of Right.]

This and other attacks upon the rights of his subjects roused
Parliament. In 1628 that body drew up the celebrated Petition of
Right,[338] which is one of the most important documents in the history
of the English Constitution. In it Parliament called the king's
attention to his illegal exactions, and to the acts of his agents who
had in sundry ways molested and disquieted the people of the realm.
Parliament therefore "humbly prayed" the king that no man need
thereafter "make or yield any gift, loan, benevolence, tax, or such like
charge" without consent of Parliament; that no free man should be
imprisoned or suffer any punishment except according to the laws and
statutes of the realm as presented in the Great Charter; and that
soldiers should not be quartered upon the people on any pretext
whatever. Very reluctantly Charles consented to this restatement of the
limitations which the English had always, in theory at least, placed
upon the arbitrary power of their king.

[Sidenote: Religious differences between Charles and the Commons.]

The disagreement between Charles and Parliament was rendered much more
serious by religious differences. The king had married a Catholic
princess, and the Catholic cause seemed to be gaining on the continent.
The king of Denmark had just been defeated by Wallenstein and Tilly, and
Richelieu had succeeded in depriving the Huguenots of their cities of
refuge. Both James and Charles had shown their readiness to enter into
engagements with France and Spain to protect English Catholics, and
there was evidently a growing inclination in England to revert to the
older ceremonies of the Church, which shocked the more strongly
Protestant members of the House of Commons. The communion table was
again placed by many clergymen at the eastern end of the church and
became fixed there as an altar, and portions of the service were once
more chanted.

[Illustration: Charles I (After a painting by Vandyke)]

[Sidenote: Charles dissolves Parliament (1629) and determines to rule by

These "popish practices," with which the king was supposed to
sympathize, served to widen the breach between him and the Commons which
had been opened by the king's attempt to raise taxes on his own account.
The Parliament of 1629, after a stormy session, was dissolved by the
king, who determined to rule thereafter by himself. For eleven years no
new Parliament was summoned.

185. Charles was not well fitted by nature to try the experiment of
personal government. Moreover, the methods resorted to by his ministers
to raise money without recourse to Parliament rendered the king more and
more unpopular and prepared the way for the triumphant return of

[Sidenote: Charles' financial exactions.]

According to an ancient law of England, those who had a certain amount
of land must become knights; but since the decay of the feudal system,
landowners had given up the meaningless form of qualifying themselves as
knights. It now occurred to the king's government that a large amount of
money might be raised by fining these delinquents. Other unfortunates
who had settled within the boundaries of the royal forests were either
heavily fined or required to pay enormous arrears of rent.

In addition to these sources of income, Charles applied to his subjects
for _ship money_.[339] He was anxious to equip a fleet, but instead of
requiring the various ports to furnish ships, as was the ancient custom,
he permitted them to buy themselves off by contributing to the fitting
out of large ships owned by himself. Even those living inland were asked
for ship money. The king maintained that this was not a tax but simply a
payment by which his subjects freed themselves from the duty of
defending their country. John Hampden, a squire of Buckinghamshire, made
a bold stand against this illegal demand by refusing to pay twenty
shillings of ship money which was levied upon him. The case was tried
before the king's judges, a bare majority of whom decided against
Hampden. But the trial made it tolerably clear that the country would
not put up long with the king's despotic policy.

[Sidenote: William Laud made Archbishop of Canterbury.]

In 1633 Charles made William Laud Archbishop of Canterbury. Laud
believed that the English Church would strengthen both itself and the
government by following a middle course which should lie between that
of the Church of Rome and that of Calvinistic Geneva. He declared that
it was the part of good citizenship to conform outwardly to the services
of the state church, but that the state should not undertake to oppress
the individual conscience, and that every one should be at liberty to
make up his own mind in regard to the interpretation to be given to the
Bible and to the church fathers. As soon as he became archbishop he
began a series of visitations through his province. Every clergyman who
refused to conform to the Prayer Book, or opposed the placing of the
communion table at the east end of the church, or declined to bow at the
name of Jesus, was, if obstinate, to be brought before the king's
special Court of High Commission to be tried and if convicted to be
deprived of his benefice.

[Sidenote: The different sects of Protestants.]

Laud's conduct was no doubt gratifying to the High Church party among
the Protestants, that is, those who still clung to some of the ancient
practices of the Roman Church, although they rejected the doctrine of
the Mass and refused to regard the pope as their head. The Low Church
party, or _Puritans_, on the contrary, regarded Laud and his policy with
aversion. While, unlike the Presbyterians, they did not urge the
abolition of the bishops, they disliked all "superstitious usages," as
they called the wearing of the surplice by the clergy, the use of the
sign of the cross at baptism, the kneeling posture in partaking of the
communion. The Presbyterians, who are often confused with the Puritans,
agreed with them in many respects, but went farther and demanded the
introduction of Calvin's system of church government.[340]

[Sidenote: The Independents.]

[Sidenote: The Pilgrim Fathers.]

Lastly, there was an ever-increasing number of Separatists, or
Independents. These rejected both the organization of the Church of
England and that of the Presbyterians, and desired that each religious
community should organize itself independently. The government had
forbidden these Separatists to hold their little meetings, which they
called _conventicles_, and about 1600 some of them fled to Holland. The
community of them which established itself at Leyden dispatched the
_Mayflower_, in 1620, with colonists--since known as the Pilgrim
Fathers--to the New World across the sea.[341] It was these colonists
who laid the foundations of a _New England_ which has proved a worthy
offspring of the mother country. The form of worship which they
established in their new home is still known as Congregational.[342]

[Sidenote: Charles summons Parliament once more, to aid him in fighting
the Scotch Presbyterians, 1640.]

186. In 1640 Charles found himself forced to resort to Parliament, for
he was involved in a war with Scotland which he could not carry on
without money. There the Presbyterian system had been pretty generally
introduced by John Knox in Queen Mary's time, but the bishops had been
permitted to maintain a precarious existence in the interest of the
nobles who enjoyed their revenues. James I had always had a strong
dislike for Presbyterianism. He once said, "A Scottish presbytery
agreeth as well with the monarchy as God with the devil. Then Jack and
Tom and Will and Dick shall meet and at their pleasure censure me and my
council." He much preferred a few bishops appointed by himself to
hundreds of presbyteries over whose sharp eyes and sharper tongues he
could have little control. So bishops were reappointed in Scotland in
the early years of his reign and got back some of their powers. The
Presbyterians, however, were still in the majority, and they continued
to regard the bishops as the tools of the king.

[Sidenote: The National Covenant, 1638.]

An attempt on the part of Charles to force the Scots to accept a
modified form of the English Prayer Book led to the signing of the
National Covenant in 1638. This pledged those who attached their names
to it to reëstablish the purity and liberty of the Gospel, which, to
most of the Covenanters, meant Presbyterianism. Charles thereupon
undertook to coerce the Scots. Having no money, he bought on credit a
large cargo of pepper, which had just arrived in the ships of the East
India Company, and sold it cheap for ready cash. The soldiers, however,
whom he got together showed little inclination to fight the Scots, with
whom they were in tolerable agreement on religious matters. Charles was
therefore at last obliged to summon a Parliament, which, owing to the
length of time it remained in session, is known as the Long Parliament.

[Sidenote: The measures of the Long Parliament against the king's

The Long Parliament began by imprisoning Strafford, the king's most
conspicuous minister, and Archbishop Laud in the Tower of London. The
help that Strafford had given to the king in ruling without Parliament
had mortally offended the House of Commons. They declared him guilty of
treason, and he was executed in 1641, in spite of Charles' efforts to
save him. Laud met the same fate four years later. Parliament also tried
to strengthen its position by passing the Triennial Bill, which provided
that it should meet at least once in three years, even if not summoned
by the king. The courts of Star Chamber and High Commission, which had
arbitrarily condemned a number of the king's opponents, were abolished,
and ship money declared illegal.[343] In short, Charles' whole system of
government was abrogated. The efforts of the queen to obtain money and
soldiers from the pope, and a visit of Charles to Scotland, which
Parliament suspected was for the purpose of forcing the Scots to lend
him an army to use against themselves, led to the Grand Remonstrance. In
this all of Charles' errors were enumerated and a demand was made that
the king's ministers should thereafter be responsible to Parliament.
This document Parliament ordered to be printed and circulated throughout
the country.

[Sidenote: Charles' attempts to arrest five members of the House of

Exasperated at the conduct of the Commons, Charles attempted to
intimidate the opposition by undertaking the arrest of five of its most
active leaders, whom he declared to be traitors. But when he entered the
House of Commons and looked around for his enemies, he found that they
had taken shelter in London, whose citizens later brought them back in
triumph to Westminster.

[Sidenote: The beginning of civil war, 1642.]

[Sidenote: Cavaliers and Roundheads.]

187. Both Charles and Parliament now began to gather troops for the
inevitable conflict, and England was plunged into civil war. Those who
supported Charles were called _Cavaliers_. They included not only most
of the aristocracy and the papal party, but also a number of members of
the House of Commons who were fearful lest Presbyterianism should
succeed in doing away with the English Church. The parliamentary party
was popularly known as the _Roundheads_, since some of them cropped
their hair close because of their dislike for the long locks of their
more aristocratic and worldly opponents.

[Illustration: Oliver Cromwell]

[Sidenote: Oliver Cromwell.]

The Roundheads soon found a distinguished leader in Oliver Cromwell[344]
(b. 1599), a country gentleman and member of Parliament, who was later
to become the most powerful ruler of his time. Cromwell organized a
compact army of God-fearing men, who indulged in no profane words or
light talk, as is the wont of soldiers, but advanced upon their enemies
singing psalms. The king enjoyed the support of northern England, and
also looked for help from Ireland, where the royal and Catholic causes
were popular.

[Sidenote: Battles of Marston Moor and Naseby.]

[Sidenote: The losing cause of the king.]

The war continued for several years, and a number of battles were fought
which, after the first year, went in general against the Cavaliers. The
most important of these were the battle of Marston Moor in 1644, and
that of Naseby the next year, in which the king was disastrously
defeated. The enemy came into possession of his correspondence, which
showed them how their king had been endeavoring to bring armies from
France and Ireland into England. This encouraged Parliament to prosecute
the war with more energy than ever. The king, defeated on every hand,
put himself in the hands of the Scotch army which had come to the aid of
Parliament (1646), and the Scotch soon turned him over to Parliament.
During the next two years Charles, while held in captivity, entered into
negotiations with the various parties in turn, but played fast and loose
with them all.

[Sidenote: Pride's Purge.]

There were many in the House of Commons who still sided with the king,
and in December, 1648, that body declared for a reconciliation with the
monarch, whom they had safely imprisoned in the Isle of Wight. The next
day Colonel Pride, representing the army,--which constituted a party in
itself and was opposed to all negotiations between the king and the
Commons,--stood at the door of the House with a body of soldiers and
excluded all the members who took the side of the king. This outrageous
act is known in history as Pride's Purge.

[Sidenote: Execution of Charles, 1649.]

In this way the House was brought completely under the control of those
most bitterly hostile to Charles, whom they now proposed to bring to
trial. They declared that the House of Commons, since it was chosen by
the people, was supreme in England and the source of all just power, and
that consequently neither king nor House of Lords was necessary. The
mutilated House appointed a special High Court of Justice made up of
Charles' sternest opponents, who alone would consent to sit in judgment
on him. They passed sentence upon him, and on January 30, 1649, Charles
was beheaded in front of his palace of Whitehall, London. It must be
clear from the above account that it was not the nation at large which
demanded Charles' death, but a very small group of extremists who
claimed to be the representatives of the nation.[345]

[Sidenote: England becomes a commonwealth or republic.]

[Sidenote: Cromwell at the head of the government.]

188. The Rump Parliament, as the remnant of the House of Commons was
contemptuously called, proclaimed England to be thereafter a
commonwealth, that is, a republic, without a king or House of Lords.
Cromwell, the head of the army, was the real ruler of England. He
derived his main support from the Independents; and it is very
surprising that he was able to maintain himself so long, considering
what a small portion of the English people was in sympathy with the
religious ideas of that sect and with the abolition of kingship. Even
the Presbyterians were on the side of Charles II, the legal heir to the
throne. Yet Cromwell represented the principles for which the opponents
of tyranny had been contending. He was, moreover, a vigorous and
skillful administrator, and had a well-organized army of fifty thousand
men at his command; otherwise the republic could scarcely have lasted
more than a few months.

[Sidenote: Ireland and Scotland subdued.]

Cromwell found himself confronted by every variety of difficulty. The
three kingdoms had fallen apart. The nobles and Catholics in Ireland
proclaimed Charles II as king, and Ormond, a Protestant leader, formed
an army of Irish Catholics and English royalist Protestants with a view
of overthrowing the Commonwealth. Cromwell accordingly set out for
Ireland, where, after taking Drogheda, he mercilessly slaughtered two
thousand of the "barbarous wretches," as he called them. Town after town
surrendered to Cromwell's army, and in 1652, after much cruelty, the
island was once more conquered. A large part of it was confiscated for
the benefit of the English, and the Catholic landowners were driven into
the mountains. In the meantime (1650) Charles II had landed in Scotland,
and upon his agreeing to be a Presbyterian king, the whole Scotch nation
was ready to support him. But Scotland was subdued even more promptly
than Ireland had been. So completely was the Scottish army destroyed
that Cromwell found no need to draw the sword again in the British

[Sidenote: The Navigation Act, 1651.]

[Sidenote: Commercial war between Holland and England.]

Although it would seem that Cromwell had enough to keep him busy at
home, he had already engaged in a victorious foreign war against the
Dutch, who had become dangerous commercial rivals of England. The ships
which went out from Amsterdam and Rotterdam were the best merchant
vessels in the world, and had got control of the carrying trade between
Europe and the colonies. In order to put an end to this, the English
Parliament passed the Navigation Act (1651), which permitted only
English vessels to bring goods to England, unless the goods came in
vessels belonging to the country which had produced them. This led to a
commercial war between Holland and England, and a series of battles was
fought between the English and Dutch fleets, in which sometimes one and
sometimes the other gained the upper hand. This war is notable as the
first example of the commercial struggles which were thereafter to take
the place of the religious conflicts of the preceding period.

[Sidenote: Cromwell dissolves the Long Parliament (1653), and is made
Lord Protector by his own Parliament.]

Cromwell failed to get along with Parliament any better than Charles had
done. The Rump Parliament had become very unpopular, for its members, in
spite of their boasted piety, accepted bribes and were zealous in the
promotion of their relatives in the public service. At last Cromwell
upbraided them angrily for their injustice and self-interest, which were
injuring the public cause. On being interrupted by a member, he cried
out, "Come, come, we have had enough of this. I'll put an end to this.
It's not fit that you should sit here any longer," and calling in his
soldiers he turned the members out of the House and sent them home.
Having thus made an end of the Long Parliament (April, 1653), he
summoned a Parliament of his own, made up of God-fearing men whom he and
the officers of his army chose. This extraordinary body is known as
Barebone's Parliament, from a distinguished member, a London merchant,
with the characteristically Puritan name of Praisegod Barebone. Many of
these godly men were unpractical and hard to deal with. A minority of
the more sensible ones got up early one winter morning (December, 1653)
and, before their opponents had a chance to protest, declared Parliament
dissolved and placed the supreme authority in the hands of Cromwell.

[Sidenote: The Protector's foreign policy.]

For nearly five years Cromwell was, as Lord Protector,--a title
equivalent to that of regent,--practically king of England, although he
refused actually to accept the royal insignia. He did not succeed in
permanently organizing the government at home but showed remarkable
ability in his foreign negotiations. He formed an alliance with France,
and English troops aided the French in winning a great victory over
Spain. England gained thereby Dunkirk, and the West Indian island of
Jamaica. The French king, Louis XIV, at first hesitated to address
Cromwell, in the usual courteous way of monarchs, as "my cousin," but
soon admitted that he would have to call Cromwell "father" should he
wish it, as the Protector was undoubtedly the most powerful person in

[Sidenote: Death of Cromwell, September, 1658.]

In May, 1658, Cromwell fell ill, and as a great storm passed over
England at that time, the Cavaliers asserted that the devil had come to
fetch home the soul of the usurper. Cromwell was dying, it is true, but
he was no instrument of the devil. He closed a life of honest effort for
his fellow-beings with a last touching prayer to God, whom he had
consistently sought to serve: "Thou hast made me, though very unworthy,
a mean instrument to do Thy people some good and Thee service: and many
of them have set too high a value upon me, though others wish and would
be glad of my death. Pardon such as desire to trample upon the dust of a
poor worm, for they are Thy people too; and pardon the folly of this
short prayer, even for Jesus Christ's sake, and give us a good night, if
it be Thy pleasure. Amen."[346]

[Sidenote: The Restoration.]

[Sidenote: Charles II welcomed back as king, 1660.]

189. After Cromwell's death his son Richard, who succeeded him, found
himself unable to carry on the government. He soon abdicated, and the
remnants of the Long Parliament met once more. But the power was really
in the hands of the soldiers. In 1660 George Monk, who was in command of
the forces in Scotland, came to London with a view of putting an end to
the anarchy. He soon concluded that no one cared to support the Rump,
and that body peacefully disbanded of its own accord. Resistance would
have been vain in any case with the army against it. The nation was glad
to acknowledge Charles II, whom every one preferred to a government by
soldiers. A new Parliament, composed of both houses, was assembled,
which welcomed a messenger from the king and solemnly resolved that,
"according to the ancient and fundamental laws of this kingdom, the
government is, and ought to be, by king, lords, and commons." Thus the
Puritan revolution and the ephemeral republic was followed by the
_Restoration_ of the Stuarts.

[Sidenote: Character of Charles II.]

Charles II was quite as fond as his father of having his own way, but he
was a man of more ability. He disliked to be ruled by Parliament; but,
unlike his father, he was unwilling to arouse the nation against him. He
did not propose to let anything happen which would send him on his
travels again. He and his courtiers were fond of pleasure of a
light-minded and immoral kind. The licentious dramas of the Restoration
seem to indicate that those who had been forced by the Puritans to give
up their legitimate pleasures now welcomed the opportunity to indulge in
reckless gayety without regard to the bounds imposed by custom and

[Sidenote: Religious measures adopted by Parliament.]

[Sidenote: The Act of Uniformity.]

[Sidenote: The Dissenters.]

Charles' first Parliament was a moderate body, but his second was made
up almost wholly of Cavaliers, and it got along, on the whole, so well
with the king that he did not dissolve it for eighteen years. It did not
take up the old question, which was still unsettled, as to whether
Parliament or the king was really supreme. It showed its hostility,
however, to the Puritans by a series of intolerant acts, which are very
important in English history. It ordered that no one should hold a
municipal office who had not received the Eucharist according to the
rites of the Church of England. This was aimed at both the Presbyterians
and the Independents. By the Act of Uniformity (1662), every clergyman
who refused to accept everything contained in the Book of Common Prayer
was to be excluded from holding his benefice. Two thousand clergymen
thereupon resigned their positions for conscience' sake. These laws
tended to throw all those Protestants who refused to conform to the
Church of England into a single class, still known as Dissenters. It
included the Independents, the Presbyterians, and the newer bodies of
the Baptists, and the Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers.
These sects abandoned any idea of controlling the religion or politics
of the country, and asked only that they might be permitted to worship
in their own way outside of the English Church.

[Sidenote: Toleration favored by the king.]

[Sidenote: The Conventicle Act.]

[Sidenote: The Test Act.]

Toleration found an unexpected ally in the king, who, in spite of his
dissolute habits, had interest enough in religion to have secret
leanings toward Catholicism. He asked Parliament to permit him to
moderate the rigor of the Act of Uniformity by making some exceptions.
He even issued a declaration in the interest of toleration, with a view
of bettering the position of the Catholics and nonconformists. Suspicion
was, however, aroused lest this toleration might lead to the restoration
of "popery," and Parliament passed the harsh Conventicle Act (1664).
Any adult attending a conventicle--that is to say, any religious meeting
not held in accordance with the practice of the English Church--was
liable to penalties which culminated in transportation to some distant
colony. Samuel Pepys, who saw some of the victims of this law upon their
way to a terrible exile, notes in his famous diary: "They go like lambs
without any resistance. I would to God that they would conform or be
more wise and not be catched." A few years later Charles issued a
declaration giving complete religious liberty to Roman Catholics as well
as to Dissenters. Parliament not only forced him to withdraw this
enlightened measure but passed the Test Act, which excluded every one
from public office who did not accept the Anglican views.

[Sidenote: War with Holland.]

The old war with Holland, begun by Cromwell, was renewed under Charles
II, who was earnestly desirous to increase English commerce and to found
new colonies. The two nations were very evenly matched on the sea, but
in 1664 the English seized some of the West Indian Islands from the
Dutch and also their colony on Manhattan Island, which was renamed New
York in honor of the king's brother. In 1667 a treaty was signed by
England and Holland which confirmed these conquests. Three years later
Charles was induced by Louis XIV to conclude a secret treaty, by which
he engaged to aid Louis in a fresh war upon Holland. Louis cherished a
grudge against Holland for preventing him from seizing the Spanish
Netherlands, to which he asserted a claim on behalf of his Spanish
wife.[347] In return for Charles' promised aid, Louis was to support him
with money and troops whenever Charles thought fit publicly to declare
himself a Catholic--he had already acknowledged his conversion to a
select circle. But Charles' nephew, William of Orange,--the
great-grandson of William the Silent,--who was later to become king of
England, encouraged the Dutch to withstand, and Louis was forced to
relinquish his purpose of conquering this stubborn people. Peace was
concluded in 1674, and England and Holland soon became allies against
Louis, who was now recognized as the greatest danger which Europe had to

[Sidenote: James II, 1685-1688.]

190. Upon Charles' death he was succeeded by his brother James, who was
an avowed Catholic and had married, as his second wife, a Catholic, Mary
of Modena. He was ready to reëstablish Catholicism in England regardless
of what it might cost him. Mary, James' daughter by his first wife, had
married William, Prince of Orange, the head of the United Netherlands.
The nation might have tolerated James so long as they could look forward
to the accession of his Protestant daughter. But when a son was born to
his Catholic second wife, and James showed unmistakably his purpose of
favoring the Catholics, messengers were dispatched by a group of
Protestants to William of Orange, asking him to come and rule over them.

                     Charles I, m. Henrietta Maria
                   (1625-1649)  |
     |       |                                    |
Charles II  Mary, m. William II  Anne Hyde, m. James II, m. Mary of Modena
(1660-1685)       | Prince of              | (1685-1688)|
                  | Orange                 |            |
                  |         +------+-------+            |
                  |         |      |                    |
            William III, m. Mary  Anne         James Francis Edward,
            (1688-1702)        (1702-1714)       the Old Pretender

[Sidenote: The revolution of 1688 and the accession of William III,

William landed in November, 1688, and marched upon London, where he
received general support from all the English Protestants, regardless of
party. James started to oppose William, but his army refused to fight,
and his courtiers deserted him. William was glad to forward James'
flight to France, as he would hardly have known what to do with him had
James insisted on remaining in the country. A new Parliament declared
the throne vacant, on the ground that King James II, "by the advice of
the Jesuits and other wicked persons, having violated the fundamental
laws and withdrawn himself out of the kingdom, had abdicated the

[Sidenote: The Declaration of Rights.]

A Declaration of Rights was then drawn up, condemning James' violation
of the constitution and appointing William and Mary joint sovereigns.
The Declaration of Rights, which is an important monument in English
constitutional history, once more stated the fundamental rights of the
English nation and the limitations which the Petition of Right and Magna
Charta had placed upon the king. By this peaceful revolution of 1688 the
English rid themselves of the Stuarts and their claims to rule by divine
right, and once more declared themselves against the domination of the
Church of Rome.

     General Reading.--GARDINER, _The First Two Stuarts and the Puritan
     Revolution_ (Charles Scribner's Sons, $1.00). GARDINER,
     _Constitutional Documents of the Puritan Revolution_ (Clarendon
     Press, $2.25). For Cromwell, CARLYLE, "The Hero as King" in _Heroes
     and Hero Worship_. MORLEY, _Oliver Cromwell_ (The Century Company,
     $3.50). For the Puritans, CAMPBELL, _The Puritans in Europe,
     Holland, England, and America_ (2 vols., Harper, $5.00). FISKE,
     _The Beginnings of New England_ (Houghton, Mifflin & Co., $2.00).
     MACAULAY, _Essay on Milton_.



[Sidenote: France at the accession of Louis XIV, 1643-1715.]

191. Under the despotic rule of Louis XIV (1643-1715) France enjoyed a
commanding influence in European affairs. After the wars of religion
were over, the royal authority had been reëstablished by the wise
conduct of Henry IV. Richelieu had solidified the monarchy by depriving
the Huguenots of the exceptional privileges granted to them for their
protection by Henry IV; he had also destroyed the fortified castles of
the nobles, whose power had greatly increased during the turmoil of the
Huguenot wars. His successor, Cardinal Mazarin, who conducted the
government during Louis XIV's boyhood, was able to put down a last
rising of the discontented nobility.[348]

[Sidenote: What Richelieu and Mazarin had done for the French Monarchy.]

When Mazarin died in 1661, he left to the young monarch a kingdom such
as no previous French king had enjoyed. The nobles, who for centuries
had disputed the power with Hugh Capet and his successors, were no
longer feudal lords but only courtiers. The Huguenots, whose claim to a
place in the state beside the Catholics had led to the terrible civil
wars of the sixteenth century, were reduced in numbers and no longer
held fortified towns from which they could defy the king's agents.
Richelieu and Mazarin had successfully taken a hand in the Thirty Years'
War, and France had come out of it with enlarged territory and increased
importance in European affairs.

[Sidenote: The government of Louis XIV.]

Louis XIV carried the work of these great ministers still farther. He
gave that form to the French monarchy which it retained until the
French Revolution. He made himself the very mirror of kingship. His
marvelous court at Versailles became the model and the despair of other
less opulent and powerful princes, who accepted his theory of the
absolute power of kings but could not afford to imitate his luxury. By
his incessant wars of aggression he kept Europe in turmoil for over half
a century. The distinguished generals who led his newly organized
troops, and the wily diplomats who arranged his alliances and negotiated
his treaties, made France feared and respected by even the most powerful
of the other European states.

[Sidenote: The theory of the 'divine right' of kings in France.]

192. Louis XIV had the same idea of kingship that James I had tried in
vain to induce the English people to accept. God had given kings to men,
and it was His will that monarchs should be regarded as His lieutenants
and that all those subject to them should obey them absolutely, without
asking any questions or making any criticisms; for in yielding to their
prince they were really yielding to God Himself. If the king were good
and wise, his subjects should thank the Lord; if he proved foolish,
cruel, or perverse, they must accept their evil ruler as a punishment
which God had sent them for their sins. But in no case might they limit
his power or rise against him.[349]

[Sidenote: Different attitude of the English and French nations toward
absolute monarchy.]

Louis had two great advantages over James. In the first place the
English nation has always shown itself far more reluctant than France to
place absolute power in the hands of its rulers. By its Parliament, its
courts, and its various declarations of the nation's rights, it had
built up traditions which made it impossible for the Stuarts to
establish their claim to be absolute rulers. In France, on the other
hand, there was no Great Charter or Bill of Rights; the Estates General
did not hold the purse strings, and the king was permitted to raise
money without asking their permission or previously redressing the
grievances which they chose to point out. They were therefore only
summoned at irregular intervals. When Louis XIV took charge of the
government, forty-seven years had passed without a meeting of the
Estates General, and a century and a quarter was still to elapse before
another call to the representatives of the nation was issued in 1789.
Moreover, the French people placed far more reliance upon a powerful
king than the English, perhaps because they were not protected by the
sea from their neighbors, as England was. On every side France had
enemies ready to take advantage of any weakness or hesitation which
might arise from dissension between a parliament and the king. So the
French felt it best, on the whole, to leave all in the king's hands,
even if they suffered at times from his tyranny.

[Illustration: Louis XIV]

[Sidenote: Personal characteristics of Louis XIV.]

Louis had another great advantage over James. He was a handsome man, of
elegant and courtly mien and the most exquisite perfection of manner;
even when playing billiards he retained an air of world mastery. The
first of the Stuarts, on the contrary, was a very awkward man, whose
slouching gait, intolerable manners, and pedantic conversation were
utterly at variance with his lofty pretensions. Louis added to his
graceful exterior a sound judgment and quick apprehension. He said
neither too much nor too little. He was, for a king, a hard worker and
spent several hours a day attending to the business of government. It
requires, in fact, a great deal of energy and application to be a real
despot. In order really to understand and to solve the problems which
constantly face the ruler of a great state, a monarch must, like
Frederick the Great or Napoleon, rise early and toil late. Louis was
greatly aided by the able ministers who sat in his council, but he
always retained for himself the place of first minister. He would never
have consented to be dominated by an adviser, as his father had been by
Richelieu. "The profession of the king," he declared, "is great, noble,
and delightful if one but feels equal to performing the duties which it
involves,"--and he never harbored a doubt that he himself was born for
the business.

[Sidenote: The king's palace at Versailles.]

193. Louis XIV was careful that his surroundings should suit the
grandeur of his office. His court was magnificent beyond anything that
had been dreamed of in the West. He had an enormous palace constructed
at Versailles, just outside of Paris, with interminable halls and
apartments and a vast garden stretching away behind it. About this a
town was laid out, where those who were privileged to be near his
majesty or supply the wants of the royal court lived. This palace and
its outlying buildings, including two or three less gorgeous residences
for the king when he occasionally tired of the ceremony of Versailles,
probably cost the nation about a hundred million dollars, in spite of
the fact that thousands of peasants and soldiers were forced to turn to
and work without remuneration. The furnishings and decorations were as
rich and costly as the palace was splendid. For over a century
Versailles continued to be the home of the French kings and the seat of
their government.

[Illustration: The King's Bedroom in the Palace of Versailles]

[Sidenote: Life at Louis XIV's court.]

This splendor and luxury helped to attract the nobility, who no longer
lived on their estates in well-fortified castles, planning how they
might escape the royal control. They now dwelt in the effulgence of the
king's countenance. They saw him to bed at night and in stately
procession they greeted him in the morning. It was deemed a high honor
to hand him his shirt as he was being dressed, or, at dinner, to provide
him with a fresh napkin. Only by living close to the king could the
courtiers hope to gain favors, pensions, and lucrative offices for
themselves and their friends, and perhaps occasionally to exercise some
little influence upon the policy of the government. For they were now
entirely dependent upon the good will of their monarch.[350]

[Sidenote: The reforms of Colbert.]

The reforms which Louis carried out in the earlier part of his reign
were largely the work of the great financier, Colbert, to whom France
still looks back with gratitude. He early discovered that Louis'
officials were stealing and wasting vast sums. The offenders were
arrested and forced to disgorge, and a new system of bookkeeping was
introduced similar to that employed by business men. He then turned his
attention to increasing the manufactures of France by establishing new
industries and seeing that the older ones kept to a high standard, which
would make French goods sell readily in foreign markets. He argued
justly that if foreigners could be induced to buy French goods, these
sales would bring gold and silver into the country and so enrich it. He
made rigid rules as to the width and quality of cloths which the
manufacturers might produce and the dyes which they might use. He even
reorganized the old mediæval guilds; for through them the government
could keep its eye on all the manufacturing that was done, and this
would have been far more difficult if every one had been free to carry
on any trade which he might choose. There were serious drawbacks to this
kind of government regulation, but France accepted it, nevertheless, for
many years.[351]

[Sidenote: Art and literature in the reign of Louis XIV.]

It was, however, as a patron of art and literature that Louis XIV gained
much of his celebrity. Molière, who was at once a playwright and an
actor, delighted the court with comedies in which he delicately
satirized the foibles of his time. Corneille, who had gained renown by
the great tragedy of _The Cid_ in Richelieu's time, found a worthy
successor in Racine, the most distinguished perhaps of French tragic
poets. The charming letters of Madame de Sévigné are models of prose
style and serve at the same time to give us a glimpse into the more
refined life of the court. In the famous memoirs of Saint-Simon, the
weaknesses of the king, as well as the numberless intrigues of the
courtiers, are freely exposed with inimitable skill and wit.

[Sidenote: The government fosters the development of the French
language and literature.]

Men of letters were generously aided by the king with pensions. Colbert
encouraged the French Academy, which had been created by Richelieu. This
body gave special attention to making the French tongue more eloquent
and expressive by determining what words should be used. It is now the
greatest honor that a Frenchman can obtain to be made one of the forty
members of this association. A magazine which still exists, the _Journal
des Savants_, was founded for the promotion of science. Colbert had an
astronomical observatory built at Paris; and the Royal Library, which
only possessed about sixteen thousand volumes, began to grow into that
great collection of two and a half million volumes--by far the largest
in existence--which to-day attracts scholars to Paris from all parts of
the world. In short, Louis and his ministers believed one of the chief
objects of any government to be the promotion of art, literature, and
science, and the example they set has been followed by almost every
modern state.[352]

[Sidenote: Louis XIV's warlike enterprises.]

194. Unfortunately for France, the king's ambitions were by no means
altogether peaceful. Indeed, he regarded his wars as his chief glory. He
employed a carefully reorganized army and the skill of his generals in a
series of inexcusable attacks on his neighbors, in which he finally
squandered all that Colbert's economies had accumulated and led France
to the edge of financial ruin.

[Sidenote: He aims to restore the 'natural boundaries' of France.]

Louis XIV's predecessors had had, on the whole, little time to think of
conquest. They had first to consolidate their realms and gain the
mastery of their feudal dependents, who shared the power with them; then
the claims of the English Edwards and Henrys had to be met, and the
French provinces freed from their clutches; lastly, the great religious
dispute was only settled after many years of disintegrating civil war.
But Louis was now at liberty to look about him and consider how he
might best realize the dream of his ancestors and perhaps reëstablish
the ancient boundaries which Cæsar reported that the Gauls had occupied.
The "natural limits" of France appeared to be the Rhine on the north and
east, the Jura Mountains and the Alps on the southeast, and to the south
the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees. Richelieu had believed that it was
the chief end of his ministry to restore to France the boundaries
determined for it by nature. Mazarin had labored hard to win Savoy and
Nice, and to reach the Rhine on the north. Before his death France at
least gained Alsace and reached the Pyrenees, "which," as the treaty
with Spain says (1659), "formerly divided the Gauls from Spain."

[Sidenote: Louis lays claim to the Spanish Netherlands.]

Louis first turned his attention to the conquest of the Spanish
Netherlands, to which he laid claim through his wife, the elder sister
of the Spanish king, Charles II (1665-1700). In 1667 he surprised Europe
by publishing a little treatise in which he set forth his claims not
only to the Spanish Netherlands, but even to the whole Spanish monarchy.
By confounding the kingdom of France with the old empire of the Franks
he could maintain that the people of the Netherlands were his subjects.

[Sidenote: The invasion of the Netherlands, 1667.]

Louis placed himself at the head of the army which he had reformed and
reorganized, and announced that he was to undertake a "journey," as if
his invasion was only an expedition into another part of his undisputed
realms. He easily took a number of towns on the border, and completely
conquered Franche-Comté. This was an outlying province of Spain,
isolated from her other lands, and a most tempting morsel for the hungry
king of France. These conquests alarmed Europe, and especially Holland,
which could not afford to have the barrier between it and France
removed, for Louis would be an uncomfortable neighbor. A Triple
Alliance, composed of Holland, England, and Sweden, was accordingly
organized to induce France to make peace with Spain. Louis contented
himself for the moment with the dozen border towns that he had taken
and which Spain ceded to him on condition that he would return
Franche-Comté (Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, 1668).

[Sidenote: Louis breaks up the Triple Alliance and allies himself with
Charles II of England.]

The success with which Holland had held her own against the navy of
England[353] and brought the proud king of France to a halt, produced an
elation on the part of that tiny country which was very aggravating to
Louis. He was thoroughly vexed that he should have been blocked by so
trifling an obstacle as Dutch intervention. He consequently conceived a
strong dislike for the United Provinces, which was increased by the
protection that they afforded to political writers who annoyed him with
their attacks. He broke up the Triple Alliance by inducing Charles II of
England to conclude a treaty which arranged that England should help
France in a new war against the Dutch.

[Sidenote: Louis' invasion of Holland, 1672.]

Louis then startled Europe again by seizing the duchy of Lorraine, which
brought him to the border of Holland. At the head of a hundred thousand
men he crossed the Rhine (1672) and easily conquered southern Holland.
For the moment the Dutch cause appeared to be lost. But William of
Orange showed the spirit of his great ancestor, William the Silent; the
sluices in the dikes were opened and the country flooded, so the French
army was checked before it could take Amsterdam and advance into the
north. Holland found an ally in the elector of Brandenburg, and the war
became general. The emperor sent an army against Louis, and England
deserted him and made peace with Holland.

[Sidenote: Peace of Nimwegen, 1678.]

[Sidenote: Louis' encroachments on German territory.]

When a general peace was concluded at Nimwegen, at the end of six years,
the chief provisions were that Holland should be left intact, and that
France should retain Franche-Comté, which had been conquered by Louis in
person. This bit of the Burgundian heritage thus became at last a part
of France, after France and Spain had quarreled over it for a century
and a half. For the ten years following there was no open war, but Louis
busied himself in the interval by instituting courts in the debatable
region between France and Germany, to decide what neighboring districts
belonged to the various territories and towns which had been ceded to
France by the treaties of Westphalia and later ones. The vestiges of the
old feudal entanglements gave ample scope for claims, which were
reënforced by Louis' troops. Louis, moreover, seized the important free
city of Strasburg, and made many other less conspicuous but equally
unwarranted additions to his territory. The emperor was unable to do
more than protest against these outrageous encroachments, for he was
fully occupied with the Turks, who had just laid siege to Vienna.[354]

[Sidenote: Situation of the Huguenots at the beginning of Louis XIV's

195. Louis XIV exhibited as woeful a want of statesmanship in the
treatment of his Protestant subjects as in the prosecution of disastrous
wars. The Huguenots, deprived of their former military and political
power, had turned to manufacture, trade, and banking; "as rich as a
Huguenot" had become a proverb in France. There were perhaps a million
of them among fifteen million Frenchmen, and they undoubtedly formed by
far the most thrifty and enterprising part of the nation. The Catholic
clergy, however, did not cease to urge the complete suppression of

[Sidenote: Louis' policy of suppression.]

Louis XIV had scarcely taken the reins of government into his own hands
before the perpetual nagging and injustice to which the Protestants had
been subjected at all times took a more serious form. Upon one pretense
or another their churches were demolished. Children were authorized to
renounce Protestantism when they reached the age of seven. If they were
induced by the offer of a toy or a sweetmeat to say, for example, the
words "Ave Maria" (Hail, Mary), they might be taken from their parents
to be brought up in a Catholic school. In this way Protestant families
were pitilessly broken up. Rough and licentious dragoons were quartered
upon the Huguenots with the hope that the insulting behavior of the
soldiers might drive the heretics to accept the religion of the king.

[Sidenote: Revocation of the Edict of Nantes and its results.]

At last Louis was led by his officials to believe that practically all
the Huguenots had been converted by these drastic measures. In 1685,
therefore, he revoked the Edict of Nantes, and the Protestants thereby
became outlaws and their ministers subject to the death penalty. Even
liberal-minded Catholics, like the kindly writer of fables, La Fontaine,
and the charming letter writer, Madame de Sévigné, hailed the
reëstablishment of "religious unity" with delight. They believed that
only an insignificant and seditious remnant still clung to the beliefs
of Calvin. But there could have been no more serious mistake. Thousands
of the Huguenots succeeded in eluding the vigilance of the royal
officials and fled, some to England, some to Prussia, some to America,
carrying with them their skill and industry to strengthen France's
rivals. This was the last great and terrible example of that fierce
religious intolerance which had produced the Albigensian Crusade, the
Spanish Inquisition, and the Massacre of St. Bartholomew.[355]

[Sidenote: Louis' operations in the Rhenish Palatinate.]

Louis now set his heart upon conquering the Rhenish Palatinate, to which
he easily discovered that he had a claim. The rumor of his intention and
the indignation occasioned in Protestant countries by the revocation of
the Edict of Nantes, resulted in an alliance against the French king
headed by William of Orange. Louis speedily justified the suspicions of
Europe by a frightful devastation of the Palatinate, burning whole towns
and destroying many castles, including the exceptionally beautiful one
of the elector at Heidelberg. Ten years later, however, Louis agreed to
a peace which put things back as they were before the struggle began. He
was preparing for the final and most ambitious undertaking of his life,
which precipitated the longest and bloodiest war of all his warlike

[Illustration: TREATY OF UTRECHT]

[Sidenote: The question of the Spanish succession.]

196. The king of Spain, Charles II, was childless and brotherless, and
Europe had long been discussing what would become of his vast realms
when his sickly existence should come to an end. Louis had married one
of his sisters, and the emperor, Leopold I, another, and these two
ambitious rulers had been considering for some time how they might
divide the Spanish possessions between the Bourbons and the Hapsburgs.
But when Charles II died, in 1700, it was discovered that he had left a
will in which he made Louis' younger grandson, Philip, the heir to his
twenty-two crowns, but on the condition that France and Spain should
never be united.

[Sidenote: Louis' grandson, Philip, becomes king of Spain.]

It was a weighty question whether Louis should permit his grandson to
accept this hazardous honor. Should Philip become king of Spain, Louis
and his family would control all of southwestern Europe from Holland to
Sicily, as well as a great part of North and South America. This would
mean the establishment of an empire more powerful than that of Charles
V. It was clear that the disinherited emperor and the ever watchful
William of Orange, now king of England, would never permit this
unprecedented extension of French influence. They had already shown
themselves ready to make great sacrifices in order to check far less
serious aggressions on the part of the French king. Nevertheless, family
pride and personal ambition led Louis criminally to risk the welfare of
his country. He accepted the will and informed the Spanish ambassador at
the French court that he might salute Philip V as his new king. The
leading French newspaper of the time boldly proclaimed that the Pyrenees
were no more.

[Sidenote: The War of the Spanish Succession.]

King William soon succeeded in forming a new Grand Alliance (1701) in
which Louis' old enemies, England, Holland, and the emperor, were the
most important members. William himself died just as hostilities were
beginning, but the long War of the Spanish Succession was carried on
vigorously by the great English general, the duke of Marlborough, and
the Austrian commander, Eugene of Savoy. The conflict was even more
general than the Thirty Years' War; even in America there was fighting
between French and English colonists, which passes in American histories
under the name of Queen Anne's War. All the more important battles went
against the French, and after ten years of war, which was rapidly
ruining the country by the destruction of its people and its wealth,
Louis was willing to consider some compromise, and after long discussion
a peace was arranged in 1713.

[Sidenote: The Treaty of Utrecht, 1713.]

The Treaty of Utrecht changed the map of Europe as no previous treaty
had done, not even that of Westphalia. Each of the chief combatants got
its share of the Spanish booty over which they had been fighting. The
Bourbon Philip V was permitted to retain Spain and its colonies on
condition that the Spanish and French crowns should never rest on the
same head. To Austria fell the Spanish Netherlands, hereafter called the
Austrian Netherlands, which continued to form a barrier between Holland
and France. Holland received certain fortresses to make its position
still more secure. The Spanish possessions in Italy, i.e., Naples and
Milan, were also given to Austria, and in this way Austria got the hold
on Italy which it retained until 1866. England acquired from France,
Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and the Hudson Bay region, and so began the
expulsion of the French from North America. Besides these American
provinces she received the island of Minorca with its fortress, and the
rock and fortress of Gibraltar, which still gives her command of the
narrow entrance to the Mediterranean.

[Sidenote: The development of international law.]

The period of Louis XIV is remarkable for the development of
international law. The incessant wars, the great alliances embracing
several powers, and the prolonged peace negotiations, such as those
which preceded the treaties of Westphalia and Utrecht, made increasingly
clear the need of well-defined rules governing independent states in
their relations with one another both in peace and in war. It was of
the utmost importance to determine, for instance, the rights of
ambassadors and of the vessels of neutral powers not engaged in the war,
and what should be considered fair conduct in warfare and in the
treatment of prisoners.

[Sidenote: Grotius' _War and Peace_.]

The first great systematic treatise on international law was published
by Grotius in 1625, when the horrors of the Thirty Years' War were
impressing men's minds with the necessity of finding some other means
than war of settling disputes between nations. Grotius' _War and Peace_
was followed, in Louis XIV's time, by Pufendorf's _On the Law of Nature
and Nations_ (1672). While the rules laid down by these and later
writers on international law have by no means put an end to war, they
have prevented many conflicts by settling certain questions and by
increasing the ways in which nations may come to an understanding with
one another through their ambassadors without recourse to arms.

Louis XIV outlived his son and grandson, and left a sadly demoralized
kingdom to his five-year-old great-grandson, Louis XV (1715-1774). The
national treasury was depleted, the people were reduced in numbers and
were in a miserable state, and the army, once the finest in Europe, was
in no condition to gain further victories. Later we must study the
conditions in France which led to the great Revolution. Now, however, we
turn to the rise of two new European powers, Prussia and Russia, which
began in the eighteenth century to play a prominent rôle in European



197. We have had little occasion hitherto, in dealing with the history
of western Europe, to speak of the Slavic peoples, to whom the Russians,
Poles, Bohemians, and many other nations of eastern Europe belong.
Together they form the most numerous race in Europe, but, as has been
well said, "they occupy a greater place on the map than in history." In
the eighteenth century, however, Russia began to take an increasingly
important part in European affairs, and it is now a great force in the
politics of the world. The realms of the Tsar which lie in Europe exceed
in extent those of all the other rulers of the continent put together,
and yet they are scarcely more than a quarter of his whole dominion,
which embraces northern and central Asia, and forms together an empire
occupying toward three times the area of the United States.

[Sidenote: Movements of the Slavs during the period of the German

The Slavs were settled along the Dnieper, Don, and Vistula long before
the Christian era. After the East Goths had penetrated into the Roman
empire, the Slavs followed their example and invaded, ravaged, and
conquered the Balkan Peninsula, which they held for some time. When the
German Lombards went south into Italy, about 569, the Slavs pressed
behind them into Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola, where they still live
within the bounds of the Austrian empire. Other Slavic hordes had driven
the Germans across the Oder and upper Elbe. Later the German emperors,
beginning with Charlemagne, began to push them back, but the Bohemians
and Moravians still hold an advanced position on the borders of Bavaria
and Saxony.

[Sidenote: Beginnings of Russia.]

In the ninth century some of the Northmen invaded the districts to the
east of the Baltic, while their relatives were causing grievous trouble
in France and England. It is generally supposed that one of their
leaders, Rurik, was the first to consolidate the Slavic tribes about
Novgorod into a sort of state in 862. Rurik's successor extended the
bounds of the new empire so as to include the important town of Kiev on
the Dnieper. The word _Russia_ is probably derived from _Rous_, the name
given by the neighboring Finns to the Norman adventurers. Before the end
of the tenth century the Greek form of Christianity was introduced and
the Russian ruler was baptized. The frequent intercourse with
Constantinople might have led to rapid advance in civilization had it
not been for a great disaster which put Russia back for centuries.

[Sidenote: The Tartar invasion of the thirteenth century.]

Russia is geographically nothing more than an extension of the vast
plain of northern Asia, which the Russians were destined finally to
conquer. It was therefore exposed to the great invasion of the Tartars
or Mongols, who swept in from the east in the thirteenth century. The
powerful Tartar ruler, Genghiz Khan (1162-1227), conquered northern
China and central Asia, and the mounted hordes of his successors crossed
into Europe and overran Russia, which had fallen apart into numerous
principalities. The Russian princes became the dependents of the Great
Khan, and had frequently to seek his far distant court, some three
thousand miles away, where he freely disposed of both their crowns and
their heads. The Tartars exacted tribute of the Russians, but left them
undisturbed in their laws and religion.

[Sidenote: Influence of the Tartar occupation on manners and customs.]

[Sidenote: Ivan the Terrible assumes the title of Tsar.]

Of the Russian princes who went to prostrate themselves at the foot of
the Great Khan's throne, none made a more favorable impression upon him
than the prince of Moscow, in whose favor the Khan was wont to decide
all cases of dispute between the prince and his rivals. When the Mongol
power had begun to decline in strength and the princes of Moscow had
grown stronger, they ventured to kill the Mongol ambassadors sent to
demand tribute in 1480, and thus freed themselves from the Mongol yoke.
But the Tartar occupation had left its mark, for the princes of Moscow
imitated the Khans rather than the western rulers, of whom, in fact,
they knew nothing. In 1547 Ivan the Terrible assumed the Asiatic title
of Tsar,[356] which appeared to him more worthy than that of king or
emperor. The costumes and etiquette of the court were also Asiatic. The
Russian armor suggested that of the Chinese, and their headdress was a
turban. It was the task of Peter the Great to Europeanize Russia.

[Sidenote: Peter the Great, 1672-1725.]

198. At the time of Peter's accession, Russia, which had grown greatly
under Ivan the Terrible and other enterprising rulers, still had no
outlet to the sea. In manners and customs the kingdom was Asiatic, and
its government was that of a Tartar prince. Peter had no quarrel with
the despotic power which fell to him and which the Russian monarchs
still exercise, since there is no parliament or constitution in that
country down to the present day. But he knew that Russia was very much
behind the rest of Europe, and that his crudely equipped soldiers could
never make head against the well armed and disciplined troops of the
West. He had no seaport and no ships, without which Russia could never
hope to take part in the world's affairs. His two great tasks were,
therefore, to introduce western habits and to "make a window," as he
expressed it, through which Russia might look abroad.

[Sidenote: Peter's travels in Europe.]

In 1697-1698 Peter himself visited Germany, Holland, and England with a
view to investigating every art and science of the West, as well as the
most approved methods of manufacture, from the making of a man-of-war to
the etching of an engraving. Nothing escaped the keen eyes of this rude,
half-savage northern giant. For a week he put on the wide breeches of a
Dutch laborer and worked in the shipyard at Saardam near Amsterdam. In
England, Holland, and Germany he engaged artisans, scientific men,
architects, ship captains, and those versed in artillery and the
training of troops, all of whom he took back with him to aid in the
reform and development of Russia.

[Sidenote: Suppression of revolt against foreign ideas.]

He was called home by the revolt of the royal guard, who had allied
themselves with the very large party of nobles and churchmen who were
horrified at Peter's desertion of the habits and customs of his
forefathers. They hated what they called "German ideas," such as short
coats, tobacco smoking, and beardless faces. The clergy even suggested
that Peter was perhaps Antichrist. Peter took a fearful revenge upon the
rebels, and is said to have himself cut off the heads of many of them.
Like the barbarian that he was at heart, he left their heads and bodies
lying about all winter, unburied, in order to make the terrible results
of revolt against his power quite plain to all.

[Sidenote: Peter's reform measures.]

Peter's reforms extended through his whole reign. He made his people
give up their cherished oriental beards and long flowing garments. He
forced the women of the better class, who had been kept in a sort of
oriental harem, to come out and meet the men in social assemblies, such
as were common in the West. He invited foreigners to settle in Russia,
and insured them protection, privileges, and the free exercise of their
religion. He sent young Russians abroad to study. He reorganized the
government officials on the model of a western kingdom, and made over
his army in the same way.

[Sidenote: Founding of a new capital, St. Petersburg.]

Finding that the old capital of Moscow clung persistently to its ancient
habits, he prepared to found a new capital for his new Russia. He
selected for this purpose a bit of territory on the Baltic which he had
conquered from Sweden,--very marshy, it is true, but where he might hope
to construct Russia's first real port. Here he built St. Petersburg at
enormous expense and colonized it with Russians and foreigners. Russia
was at last becoming a European power.

[Illustration: Northeastern Europe at the Opening of the Eighteenth

[Sidenote: The military prowess of Charles XII of Sweden.]

In his ambition to get to the sea, Peter naturally collided with Sweden,
to which the provinces between Russia and the Baltic belonged. Never had
Sweden, or any other country, had a more warlike king than the one with
whom Peter had to contend, the youthful prodigy, Charles XII. When
Charles came to the throne in 1697 he was only fifteen years old, and it
seemed to the natural enemies of Sweden an auspicious time to profit by
the supposed weakness of the boy ruler. So a union was formed between
Denmark, Poland, and Russia, with the object of increasing their
territories at Sweden's expense. But Charles turned out to be a second
Alexander the Great in military prowess. He astonished Europe by
promptly besieging Copenhagen and forcing the king of Denmark to sign a
treaty of peace. He then turned like lightning against Peter, who was
industriously besieging Narva, and with eight thousand Swedes wiped out
an army of fifty thousand Russians (1700). Lastly he defeated the king
of Poland.

[Sidenote: Defeat and death of Charles XII.]

Though Charles was a remarkable military leader, he was a foolish ruler.
He undertook to wrest Poland from its king, to whom he attributed the
formation of the league against him. He had a new king crowned at
Warsaw, whom he at last succeeded in getting recognized. He then turned
his attention to Peter, who had meanwhile been conquering the Baltic
provinces. This time fortune turned against the Swedes. The long march
to Moscow proved as fatal to them as to Napoleon a century later.
Charles XII was totally defeated in the battle of Pultowa (1709). He
fled to Turkey and spent some years there in vainly urging the Sultan to
attack Peter. At last he returned to his own kingdom, which he had
utterly neglected for years. He was killed in 1718 while besieging a

[Sidenote: Russia acquires the Baltic provinces and attempts to get a
footing on the Black Sea.]

Soon after Charles' death a treaty was concluded between Sweden and
Russia by which Russia gained Livonia, Esthonia, and the other Swedish
provinces at the eastern end of the Baltic. Peter had made less
successful attempts to get a footing on the Black Sea. He had first
taken Azof, which he soon lost during the war with Sweden, and then
several towns on the Caspian. It had become evident that if the Turks
should be driven out of Europe, Russia would be a mighty rival of the
western powers in the division of the spoils.[357]

For a generation after the death of Peter the Great, Russia fell into
the hands of incompetent rulers. It only appears again as a European
state when the great Catherine II came to the throne in 1762. From that
time on, the western powers had always to consider the vast Slavic
empire in all their great struggles. They had also to consider a new
kingdom in northern Germany, which was just growing into a great power
as Peter began his work. This was Prussia, whose beginnings we must now

[Sidenote: Brandenburg and the Hohenzollerns.]

199. The electorate of Brandenburg had figured on the map of Germany for
centuries, and there was no particular reason to suppose that it was to
become one day the dominant state in Germany. At the time of the Council
of Constance the old line of electors had died out, and the impecunious
Emperor Sigismund had sold it to a hitherto inconspicuous house, the
Hohenzollerns, which is known to us now through such names as those of
Frederick the Great, William I, the first German emperor, and his
grandson, the present emperor. Beginning with a strip of territory
extending some ninety or a hundred miles to the east and to the west of
the little town of Berlin, the successive representatives of the line
have gradually extended their boundaries until the present kingdom of
Prussia embraces nearly two thirds of Germany. Of the earlier little
annexations nothing need be said. While it has always been the pride of
the Hohenzollern family that practically every one of its reigning
members has added something to what his ancestors handed down to him, no
great extension took place until just before the Thirty Years' War.
About that time the elector of Brandenburg inherited Cleves, and thus
got his first hold on the Rhine district.

[Sidenote: Prussia acquired by the elector of Brandenburg.]

[Sidenote: The elector of Brandenburg assumes the title of King of
Prussia, 1701.]

What was quite as important, he won, far to the east, the duchy of
Prussia, which was separated from Brandenburg by Polish territory.
Prussia was originally the name of a region on the Baltic inhabited by
heathen Slavs. These had been conquered in the thirteenth century by one
of the orders of crusading knights, who, when the conquest of the Holy
Land was abandoned, looked about for other occupation. The region
filled up with German colonists, but it came under the sovereignty of
the neighboring kingdom of Poland, whose king annexed the western half
of the territory of the Teutonic Order, as the German knights were
called.[358] In Luther's day the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights,
who happened to be a relative of the electors of Brandenburg, concluded
to abolish the order and become duke of Prussia. In good time his family
died out, and the duchy fell to the electors of Brandenburg. When one of
them was permitted by the emperor, in the year 1701, to assume the title
of king, he chose to be called King of Prussia.[359]

[Sidenote: The Great Elector, 1640-1688.]

Brandenburg accepted the Protestant religion before Luther's death, but
played a pitiful part in the Thirty Years' War. Its real greatness dates
from the Great Elector (1640-1688). In the treaties of Westphalia he
acquired a goodly strip on the Baltic, and he succeeded in creating an
absolute monarchy on the model furnished by his contemporary, Louis XIV.
He joined England and Holland in their alliances against Louis, and the
army of Brandenburg began to be known and feared.

[Sidenote: Frederick William I, 1713-1740.]

While it was reserved for Frederick the Great to stir Europe to its
depths and establish the right of the new kingdom of Prussia to be
considered one of the great European powers, he owed to his father,
Frederick William I, the resources which made his victories possible.
Frederick William strengthened the government and collected an army
nearly as large as that maintained by France or Austria. He had,
moreover, by miserly thrift and entire indifference to the amenities and
luxuries of life, treasured up a large sum of money. Consequently
Frederick, upon his accession, had an admirable army ready for use and
an ample supply of gold.[360]

[Sidenote: The Hapsburgs in Austria.]

200. Prussia's aspiration to become a great European power made it
necessary for her to extend her territory. This inevitably brought her
into rivalry with Austria. It will be remembered that Charles V, shortly
after his accession, ceded to his brother, Ferdinand I, the German or
Austrian possessions of the house of Hapsburg, while he himself retained
the Spanish, Burgundian, and Italian dominions. Ferdinand, by a
fortunate marriage with the heiress of the kingdoms of Bohemia and
Hungary, greatly augmented his territory. Hungary was, however, almost
completely occupied by the Turks at that time, and till the end of the
seventeenth century the energies of the Austrian rulers were largely
absorbed in a long struggle against the Mohammedans.

[Sidenote: Conquests of the Turks in Europe.]

A Turkish tribe from western Asia had, at the opening of the fourteenth
century, established themselves in western Asia Minor under their leader
Othman (d. 1326). It was from him that they derived their name of
Ottoman Turks, to distinguish them from the Seljuk Turks, with whom the
crusaders had come into contact. The leaders of the Ottoman Turks showed
great energy. They not only extended their Asiatic territory far toward
the east, and later into Africa, but they gained a footing in Europe as
early as 1353. They gradually conquered the Slavic peoples in Macedonia
and occupied the territory about Constantinople, although it was a
hundred years before they succeeded in capturing the ancient capital of
the Eastern Empire.

[Sidenote: The defense of Europe against the Turks.]

This advance of the Turks naturally aroused grave apprehensions in the
states of western Europe lest they too might be deprived of their
independence. The brunt of the defense against the common foe devolved
upon Venice and the German Hapsburgs, who carried on an almost
continuous war with the Turks for nearly two centuries. As late as 1683
the Mohammedans collected a large force and besieged Vienna, which might
very well have fallen into their hands had it not been for the timely
assistance which the city received from the king of Poland. From this
time on, the power of the Turks in Europe rapidly decreased, and the
Hapsburgs were able to regain the whole territory of Hungary and
Transylvania, their possession of which was formally recognized by the
Sultan in 1699.

[Sidenote: The question of the Austrian succession.]

In 1740, a few months before the accession of Frederick II of Prussia,
the emperor Charles VI, who was the last representative of the direct
line of the Hapsburgs, died. Foreseeing the difficulties which would
arise at his death in regard to the inheritance of his possessions, he
had spent a great part of his life in trying to induce the European
powers to promise that his daughter, Maria Theresa, should be recognized
as his successor. England, Holland, and even Prussia were ready to bid
Godspeed to the new archduchess of Austria and queen of Hungary and
Bohemia, but France, Spain, and the neighboring Bavaria held back in the
hope of gaining some portion of the scattered Austrian dominions for
themselves. The duke of Bavaria insisted that he was the rightful heir
and managed to have himself elected emperor under the title of Charles

[Sidenote: Accession of Frederick II of Prussia, called 'the Great,'

[Sidenote: Frederick's attack upon Silesia.]

201. In his early years Frederick II grieved and disgusted his boorish
but energetic old father by his dislike for military life and his
interest in books and music. He was a particular admirer of the French
and preferred their language to his own. No sooner had he become king,
however, than he suddenly developed marvelous energy and skill in
warlike enterprises. He realized that Prussia must widen its boundaries,
and he saw no better way of accomplishing this than by robbing the
seemingly defenseless Maria Theresa of Silesia, a strip of territory
lying to the southeast of Brandenburg. He accordingly marched his army
into the coveted district, and occupied the important city of Breslau
without declaring war or offering any excuse except a vague claim to a
portion of the land.

[Sidenote: The War of the Austrian Succession.]

France, stimulated by Frederick's example, joined with Bavaria in the
attack upon Maria Theresa. It seemed for a time as if her struggle to
maintain the integrity of her realm would be vain; but the loyalty of
all the various peoples under her scepter was roused by her
extraordinary courage and energy. The French were driven back, but Maria
Theresa was forced to grant Silesia to Frederick in order to induce him
to retire from the war. Finally, England and Holland joined in an
alliance for maintaining the balance of power, for they had no desire to
see France annex the Austrian Netherlands. On the death of the emperor
Charles VII (1745), Maria Theresa's husband, Francis, duke of Lorraine,
was chosen emperor. A few years later (1748) all the powers, tired of
the war, laid down their arms and agreed to what is called in diplomacy
the _status quo ante bellum_, which simply means that things were to be
restored to the condition in which they had been before the opening of

[Sidenote: Frederick promotes the material development of Prussia.]

[Sidenote: Frederick and Voltaire.]

Frederick was, however, permitted to keep Silesia, which increased his
dominions by about one third of their former extent. He now turned his
attention to making his subjects happier and more prosperous, by
draining the swamps, promoting industry, and drawing up a new code of
laws. He found time, also, to gratify his interest in men of letters,
and invited Voltaire, the most distinguished writer of the eighteenth
century, to make his home at Berlin. It will not seem strange to any one
who knows anything of the character of these two men, that they
quarreled after two or three years, and that Voltaire left the Prussian
king with very bitter feelings.[361]

[Sidenote: The Seven Years' War.]

202. Maria Theresa was by no means reconciled to the loss of Silesia,
and she began to lay her plans for expelling the perfidious Frederick
and regaining her lost territory. This led to one of the most important
wars in modern history, in which not only almost every European power
joined, but which involved the whole world, from the Indian rajahs of
Hindustan to the colonists of Virginia and New England. This Seven
Years' War (1756-1763) will be considered in its broader aspects in the
next chapter. We note here only the part played in it by the king of

[Sidenote: The alliance against Prussia.]

Maria Theresa's ambassador at Paris was so skillful in his negotiations
with the French court that in 1756 he induced it, in spite of its two
hundred years of hostility to the house of Hapsburg, to enter into an
alliance with Austria against Prussia. Russia, Sweden, and Saxony also
agreed to join in a concerted attack on Prussia. Their armies, coming as
they did from every point of the compass, threatened the complete
annihilation of Austria's rival. It seemed as if the new kingdom of
Prussia might disappear altogether from the map of Europe.

[Sidenote: Frederick's victorious defense.]

However, it was in this war that Frederick earned his title of "the
Great" and showed himself the equal of the ablest generals the world has
seen, from Alexander to Napoleon. Learning the object of the allies, he
did not wait for them to declare war against him, but occupied Saxony at
once and then moved on into Bohemia, where he nearly succeeded in taking
the capital, Prague. Here he was forced to retire, but in 1757 he
defeated the French and his German enemies in the most famous, perhaps,
of his battles, at Rossbach. A month later he routed the Austrians at
Leuthen, not far from Breslau. Thereupon the Swedes and Russians retired
from the field and left Frederick for the moment master of the

[Sidenote: Frederick finally triumphs over Austria.]

England now engaged the French and left Frederick at liberty to deal
with his other enemies. While he exhibited marvelous military skill, he
was by no means able to gain all the battles in which he engaged. For a
time, indeed, it looked as if he might after all be vanquished. But the
accession of a new Tsar, who was an ardent admirer of Frederick, led
Russia to conclude peace with Prussia, whereupon Maria Theresa
reluctantly agreed to give up once more her struggle with her inveterate

[Sidenote: The kingdom of Poland and its defective constitution.]

Frederick was able during his reign greatly to strengthen his kingdom by
adding to it the Polish regions which had hitherto divided his
possessions in Brandenburg from those which lay across the Vistula. The
kingdom of Poland, which in its declining years was to cause western
Europe much trouble, was shut in between Russia, Austria, and Prussia.
The Slavic population of this region had come under an able ruler about
the year 1000, and the Polish kings had succeeded for a time in
extending their power over a large portion of Russia, Moravia, and the
Baltic regions. They had never been able, however, to establish a
successful form of government. This was largely due to the fact that the
kings were elected by the nobles, the crown not passing from father to
son, as in the neighboring kingdoms. The elections were tumultuous
affairs, and foreigners were frequently chosen. Moreover, each noble had
the right to veto any law proposed in the diet, and consequently a
single person might prevent the passage of even the most important
measure. The anarchy which prevailed in Poland had become proverbial.

[Sidenote: The first partition of Poland, 1772.]

On the pretense that this disorderly country was a menace to their
welfare, the neighboring powers, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, agreed to
reduce the danger by each helping itself to a slice of the unfortunate
kingdom. This amicable arrangement resulted in what is known as the
first partition of Poland. It was succeeded by two others (1793 and
1795), by the last of which this ancient state was wiped from the map

[Sidenote: Achievements of Frederick the Great.]

When Frederick died (1786) he left the state which had been intrusted to
him by his father nearly doubled in size. He had rendered it illustrious
by his military glory, and had vastly increased its resources by
improving the condition of the people in the older portions of his
territory and by establishing German colonies in the desolate regions of
West Prussia, which he strove in this way to bind closely to the rest of
the kingdom.

     General Reading.--TUTTLE, _History of Prussia_ (4 vols., Houghton,
     Mifflin & Co., $8.25). CARLYLE, _Frederick the Great_ (3 vols.,
     Chapman, $2.25). LONGMAN, F.W., _Frederick the Great_ (Charles
     Scribner's Sons, $1.00). RAMBAUD, _History of Russia_ (2 vols.,
     Coryell & Co., $2.00). For Peter the Great and his Age,
     WALISZEWSKI, _Life of Peter the Great_ (D. Appleton & Co., $2.00).
     For the Seven Years' War and France, PERKINS, _France under Louis
     XV_ (2 vols., Houghton, Mifflin & Co., $4.00).



203. In the last chapter we reviewed the progress of affairs in eastern
Europe and noted the appearance of two new and important powers, Prussia
and Russia, which, together with Austria, were engaged during the
eighteenth century in extending their bounds at the expense of their
weak neighbors, Poland and Turkey.

[Sidenote: In the eighteenth century England lays the foundation of her
commercial greatness.]

In the west, England was rapidly becoming a dominant power. While she
did not play a very important part in the wars on the continent, she was
making herself mistress of the seas. At the close of the War of the
Spanish Succession her navy was superior to that of any other European
power, for both France and Holland had been greatly weakened by the long
conflict. Fifty years after the Treaty of Utrecht, England had succeeded
in driving the French from both North America and India and in laying
the foundation of her vast colonial empire, which still gives her the
commercial supremacy among the European countries.

[Sidenote: Questions settled by the accession of William and Mary.]

With the accession of William and Mary, England may be regarded as
having practically settled the two great questions which had produced
such serious dissensions during the previous fifty years. In the first
place, the nation had clearly shown that it proposed to remain
Protestant; and the relations between the Church of England and the
dissenters were gradually being satisfactorily adjusted. In the second
place, the powers of the king had been carefully defined, and from the
opening of the eighteenth century to the present time no English monarch
has ventured to veto an act of Parliament.[363]

[Sidenote: Queen Anne, 1702-1714.]

[Sidenote: The union of England and Scotland, 1707.]

William III was succeeded in 1702 by his sister-in-law, Anne, a younger
daughter of James II. Far more important than the war which her generals
carried on against Spain was the final union of England and Scotland. As
we have seen, the difficulties between the two countries had led to much
bloodshed and suffering ever since Edward I's futile attempt to conquer
Scotland.[364] The two countries had, it is true, been under the same
ruler since the accession of James I, but each had maintained its own
independent parliament and system of government. Finally, in 1707, both
nations agreed to unite their governments into one. Forty-five members
of the British House of Commons were to be chosen thereafter in
Scotland, and sixteen Scotch lords were to be added to the British House
of Lords. In this way the whole island of Great Britain was placed under
a single government, and the occasions for strife were thereby greatly

[Sidenote: Accession of George I (1714-1727), the first of the house of

Since none of Anne's children survived her, she was succeeded, according
to an arrangement made before her accession, by the nearest Protestant
heir. This was the son of James I's granddaughter Sophia. She had
married the elector of Hanover[365]; consequently the new king of
England, George I, was also elector of Hanover and a member of the Holy
Roman Empire.

[Sidenote: The king ceases to attend the meetings of the cabinet, which
comes to be regarded as the real governing body.]

The new king was a German who could not speak English and was forced to
communicate with his ministers in bad Latin. The king's leading
ministers had come to form a little body by themselves, called the
_cabinet_. As George could not understand the discussions he did not
attend the meetings of his ministers, and thereby set an example which
has been followed by his successors. In this way the cabinet came to
hold its meetings and transact its business independently of the king.
Before long it became a recognized principle in England that it was the
cabinet that really governed rather than the king; and that its members,
whether the king liked them or not, might retain their offices so long
as they continued to enjoy the confidence and support of Parliament.

                      James I (1603-1625)
           |                               |
      Charles I                        Elizabeth, m. Frederick V,
     (1625-1649)                                              | Elector of the
           |                                                  | Palatinate
           |                                                  | (Winter King
  +--------+-------------------+                              | of Bohemia)
  |                            |                              |
Charles II (1) Anne Hyde, m. James II, m. (2) Mary of     Sophia, m. Ernest
(1660-1685)              | (1685-1689) |      Modena             |   Augustus,
                         |             |                         |   Elector of
                 +-------+-----+       |                         |   Hanover
                 |             |       |                         |
William III, m. Mary         Anne      |                         |
(1689-1702) (1689-1694)   (1702-1714)  |                     George I
                                       |                    (1714-1727)
                                       |                         |
                                       |                     George II
                                  James (the                (1727-1760)
                                Old Pretender)                   |
                                       |                     Frederick,
                                       |                  Prince of Wales
                                Charles Edward               (d. 1751)
                             (the Young Pretender)               |
                                                            George III

[Sidenote: England and the 'balance of power.']

204. William of Orange had been a continental statesman before he became
king of England, and his chief aim had always been to prevent France
from becoming over-powerful. He had joined in the War of the Spanish
Succession in order to maintain the "balance of power" between the
various European countries.[366] During the eighteenth century England
continued, for the same reason, to engage in the struggles between the
continental powers, although she had no expectation of attempting to
extend her sway across the Channel. The wars which she waged in order to
increase her own power and territory were carried on in distant parts of
the world, and more often on sea than on land.

[Sidenote: Peace under Walpole as prime minister, 1721-1742.]

For a quarter of a century after the Treaty of Utrecht, England enjoyed
peace.[367] Under the influence of Walpole, who for twenty-one years was
the head of the cabinet and the first to be called "prime minister,"
peace was maintained within and without. Not only did Walpole avoid
going to war with other countries, but he was careful to prevent the
ill-feeling at home from developing into civil strife. His principle was
to "let sleeping dogs lie"; so he strove to conciliate the dissenters
and to pacify the Jacobites,[368] as those were called who still desired
to have the Stuarts return.

[Sidenote: England in the War of the Austrian Succession.]

[Sidenote: 'Prince Charlie,' the Young Pretender, in Scotland.]

When, in 1740, Frederick the Great and the French attacked Maria
Theresa, England's sympathies were with the injured queen. As elector of
Hanover, George II (who had succeeded his father in 1727), led an army
of German troops against the French and defeated them on the river Main.
Frederick then declared war on England; and France sent the grandson of
James II,[369] the Young Pretender, as he was called, with a fleet to
invade England. The attempt failed, for the fleet was dispersed by a
storm. In 1745 the French defeated the English and Dutch forces in the
Netherlands; this encouraged the Young Pretender to make another attempt
to gain the English crown. He landed in Scotland, where he found support
among the Highland chiefs, and even Edinburgh welcomed "Prince
Charlie." He was able to collect an army of six thousand men, with which
he marched into England. He was quickly forced back into Scotland,
however, and after a disastrous defeat on Culloden Moor (1746) and many
romantic adventures, he was glad to reach France once more in safety.

205. Soon after the close of the War of the Austrian Succession in 1748,
England entered upon a series of wars which were destined profoundly to
affect not only her position, but also the fate of distant portions of
the globe. In order to follow these changes intelligently we must
briefly review the steps by which the various European states had
extended their sway over regions separated from them by the ocean.

[Sidenote: Colonial policy of Portugal, Spain, and Holland in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.]

The voyages which had brought America and India within the ken of Europe
during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries were, as we know,
mainly undertaken by the Portuguese and Spaniards. Portugal was the
first to realize the advantage of extending her commerce by establishing
stations in India and on the Brazilian coast of South America; then
Spain laid claim to Mexico, the West Indies, and a great part of South
America. These two powers found their first rival in the Dutch; for when
Philip II was able to add Portugal to the realms of the Spanish monarchs
for a few decades (1580-1640), he immediately closed the port of Lisbon
to the Dutch ships. Thereupon the United Provinces, whose merchants
could no longer procure the spices which the Portuguese brought from the
East, resolved to take possession of the source of supplies. They
accordingly expelled the Portuguese from a number of their settlements
in India and the Spice Islands and brought Java, Sumatra, and other
tropical regions under Dutch control.[370]

[Sidenote: Settlements of the French and English in North America.]

In North America the chief rivals were England and France, both of which
succeeded in establishing colonies in the early part of the seventeenth
century. Englishmen successively settled at Jamestown in Virginia
(1607), then in New England, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. The
colonies owed their growth to the influx of refugees,--Puritans,
Catholics, and Quakers,--who exiled themselves in the hope of gaining
the right freely to enjoy their particular forms of religion.[371]

Just as Jamestown was being founded by the English the French were
making their first successful settlement in Nova Scotia and at Quebec.
Although England made no attempt to oppose the French occupation of
Canada, it progressed but slowly. In 1673 Marquette, a Jesuit
missionary, and Joliet, a merchant, discovered the Mississippi River. La
Salle sailed down the great stream and named the new country which he
entered Louisiana, after his king. The city of New Orleans was founded
near the mouth of the river in 1718, and the French established a chain
of forts between it and Montreal.

England was able, however, by the Treaty of Utrecht, to establish
herself in the northern regions, for France thereby ceded to her
Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and the borders of Hudson Bay. While the
number of English in North America at the beginning of the Seven Years'
War is supposed to have been over a million, the French scarcely
exceeded a twentieth of that number. Yet careful observers at the time
were by no means sure that France was not destined to dominate the new
country, rather than England.

[Sidenote: Extent of India.]

The rivalry of England and France was not confined to the wildernesses
of North America, occupied by half a million of savage red men. At the
opening of the eighteenth century both countries had gained a foothold
on the borders of the vast Indian empire, inhabited by two hundred
millions of people and the seat of an ancient and highly developed
civilization. One may gain some idea of the extent of India by laying
the map of Hindustan upon that of the United States. If the southernmost
point, Cape Comorin, be placed over New Orleans, Calcutta will lie
nearly over New York City and Bombay in the neighborhood of Des Moines,

[Sidenote: The Mongolian emperors of Hindustan.]

A generation after Vasco da Gama landed in Calicut,[372] a Mongolian
conqueror, Baber,[373] had established his empire in India. The dynasty
of Mongolian rulers which he founded had been able to keep the whole
country under its control for toward two centuries; then their empire
had fallen apart in much the same way as that of Charlemagne had done.
Like the counts and dukes of the Carolingian period, the emperor's
officials, the subahdars and nawabs (nabobs), and the rajahs--i.e.,
Hindu princes temporarily subjugated by the Mongols--had gradually got
the power in their respective districts into their own hands. Although
the emperor, or Great Mogul, as the English called him, continued to
maintain himself in his capital of Delhi, he could no longer be said to
rule the country at the opening of the eighteenth century when the
French and English were seriously beginning to turn their attention to
his coasts.

[Sidenote: English and French settlements in India.]

In the time of Charles I (1639), a village had been purchased by the
English East India Company on the southeastern coast of Hindustan, which
grew into the important English station of Madras. About a generation
later the district of Bengal was occupied and Calcutta founded. Bombay
was already an English station. The Mongolian emperor of India at first
scarcely deigned to notice the presence of a few foreigners on the
fringe of his vast realms. But before the end of the seventeenth century
hostilities began between the English East India Company and the native
rulers which made it plain that the foreigners would be forced to defend

The English had not only to face the opposition of the natives, but that
of a European power as well. France also had an East India Company, and
Pondicherry, at the opening of the eighteenth century, was its chief
center with a population of sixty thousand, of which two hundred only
were Europeans. It soon became apparent that there was little danger
from the Great Mogul; moreover, the Portuguese and Dutch were out of the
race. So the native princes and the French and English were left to
fight among themselves for the supremacy.

[Sidenote: England victorious in the struggle for supremacy in America.]

206. Just before the general clash of European rulers known as the Seven
Years' War came in 1756, the French and English had begun their struggle
for control in both America and India. In America the so-called French
and Indian War began in 1754 between the English and French colonists.
General Braddock was sent from England to capture Fort Duquesne, which
the French had established to keep their rivals out of the Ohio valley.
Braddock knew nothing of border warfare, and he was killed and his
troops routed. Fortunately for England, France, as the ally of Austria,
was soon engaged in a war with Prussia that prevented her from giving
proper attention to her American possessions. A famous statesman, the
elder Pitt, was now at the head of the English ministry. He was able not
only to succor the hard-pressed king of Prussia with money and men, but
also to support the militia of the thirteen American colonies. The
French forts at Ticonderoga and Niagara were taken in 1759. Quebec was
won in Wolfe's heroic attack, and the following year all Canada
submitted to the English. England's supremacy on the sea was
demonstrated by three admirals, each of whom destroyed a French fleet in
the same year that Quebec was lost to France.

[Sidenote: Dupleix and Clive in India.]

In India conflicts between the French and the English had occurred
during the War of the Austrian Succession. The governor of the French
station of Pondicherry was Dupleix, a soldier of great energy, who
proposed to drive out the English and firmly establish the power of
France over Hindustan. His chances of success were greatly increased by
the quarrels among the native rulers, some of whom belonged to the
earlier Hindu inhabitants and some to the Mohammedan Mongolians who had
conquered India in 1526. Dupleix had very few French soldiers, but he
began the enlistment of the natives, a custom eagerly adopted by the
English. These native soldiers, whom the English called Sepoys, were
taught to fight in the manner of Europeans.[374]

[Sidenote: Clive defeats Dupleix.]

But the English colonists, in spite of the fact that they were mainly
traders, discovered among the clerks in Madras a leader equal in
military skill and energy to Dupleix himself. Robert Clive, who was but
twenty-five years old at this time, organized a large force of Sepoys
and gained a remarkable ascendency over them by his astonishing bravery.
Dupleix paid no attention to the fact that peace had been declared in
Europe at Aix-la-Chapelle, but continued to carry on his operations
against the English. But Clive proved more than his equal and in two
years had established English supremacy in the southeastern part of

[Sidenote: Clive renders English influence supreme in India.]

[Sidenote: The 'Black Hole' of Calcutta.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Plassey, 1757.]

At the moment that the Seven Years' War was beginning, bad news reached
Clive from the English settlement of Calcutta, about a thousand miles to
the northeast of Madras. The subahdar of Bengal had seized the property
of some English merchants and imprisoned one hundred and forty-five
Englishmen in a little room, where most of them died of suffocation
before morning. Clive hastened to Bengal, and with a little army of nine
hundred Europeans and fifteen hundred Sepoys he gained a great victory
at Plassey over the subahdar's army of fifty thousand men. Clive then
replaced the subahdar of Bengal by a man whom he believed to be friendly
to the English. Before the Seven Years' War was over the English had won
Pondicherry and deprived the French of all their former influence in the
region of Madras.

[Sidenote: England's gains in the Seven Years' War.]

When the Seven Years' War was brought to an end in 1763 by the Treaty of
Paris, it was clear that England had gained far more than any other
power. She was to retain her two forts commanding the Mediterranean,
Gibraltar, and Port Mahon on the island of Minorca; in America, France
ceded to her the vast region of Canada and Nova Scotia, as well as
several of the islands in the West Indies. The region beyond the
Mississippi was ceded to Spain by France, who thus gave up all her
claims to North America. In India, France, it is true, received back the
towns which the English had taken from her, but she had permanently lost
her influence over the native rulers, for Clive had made the English
name greatly feared among them.

[Sidenote: Beginning of trouble with the American colonies.]

207. England, with the help of her colonists, had thus succeeded in
driving the French from North America and in securing the continent,
with the exception of Mexico, for the English race. She was not,
however, long to enjoy her victory, for no sooner had the Peace of Paris
been signed than she and her American colonies became involved in a
dispute over taxation, which led to a new war and the creation of an
independent English-speaking nation, the United States of America.

[Sidenote: The Stamp Act and its repeal.]

It seemed right to England that the colonies should help pay the
expenses of the late war, which were very heavy, and also support a
small standing army of English soldiers. Parliament therefore passed the
Stamp Act in 1765, which required the colonists to pay for stamps to be
used on legal documents. The Americans declared that Parliament had no
right to tax them, since they were not represented in that body. The
opposition to the stamp tax was so great that Parliament repealed the
act, but with the explicit assertion that it nevertheless had the right
to tax the colonies as well as to make laws for them.

[Sidenote: Opposition to 'taxation without representation.']

The effort to make the Americans pay a very moderate import duty on tea
produced further trouble in 1773. The young men of Boston seditiously
boarded a tea ship in the harbor and threw the cargo into the water.
Burke, perhaps the most able member of the House of Commons, urged the
ministry to leave the Americans to tax themselves, but George III
(1760-1820) and Parliament as a whole could not forgive the colonists
their opposition. They believed that the trouble was largely confined to
New England and could be easily overcome. In 1774 acts were passed
prohibiting the landing and shipping of goods at Boston, and the colony
of Massachusetts was deprived of its former right to choose its judges
and the members of the upper house of its legislature. These
appointments were now placed in the hands of the king.

[Sidenote: The Continental Congress.]

[Sidenote: Outbreak of war.]

[Sidenote: Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.]

Such measures, instead of bringing Massachusetts to terms, so roused the
apprehension of the rest of the colonists that a congress was summoned,
and met at Philadelphia. This decided that all trade with Great Britain
should cease until the grievances of the colonies had been redressed.
The following year the Americans made a brave stand against British
troops at Lexington and in the battle of Bunker Hill. The new Congress
decided to prepare for war and raised an army which was put under the
command of George Washington, a Virginia planter who had gained some
distinction in the late French and Indian War. Up to this time the
colonies had not intended to secede from the mother country, but the
proposed compromises came to nothing, and in July, 1776, Congress
declared that "these United States are, and of right ought to be, free
and independent."

[Sidenote: The United States seeks and receives aid from France.]

This occurrence naturally excited great interest in France. The outcome
of the Seven Years' War had been most lamentable for that country, and
any trouble which came to her old enemy England could not but be a
source of congratulation to the French. The United States regarded
France as her natural ally and immediately sent Benjamin Franklin to
Versailles with the hope of obtaining the aid of the new French king,
Louis XVI. The king's ministers were doubtful whether the colonies could
long maintain their resistance against the overwhelming strength of the
mother country. It was only after the Americans had defeated Burgoyne at
Saratoga in 1777, that France concluded a treaty with the United States
in which the independence of the new republic was recognized. This was
tantamount to declaring war upon England. The enthusiasm for the
Americans was so great in France that a number of the younger nobles,
the most conspicuous of whom was Lafayette, crossed the Atlantic to
fight in the American army.[375]

[Sidenote: Close of the war, 1783.]

[Sidenote: England acknowledges the independence of the United States.]

In spite of the skill and heroic self-sacrifice of Washington, the
Americans lost more battles than they gained. It is extremely doubtful
if they would have succeeded in bringing the war to a favorable close,
by forcing the English general, Cornwallis, to capitulate at Yorktown
(1781), had it not been for the aid of the French fleet. Before the war
was terminated by the Peace of Paris (1783), Spain had joined in the
hostilities, and the Spanish and French fleets laid siege to Gibraltar.
Their floating batteries were finally destroyed by the red-hot shot of
the British, and the enemies of England gave up further attempts to
dislodge her from this important station. The chief result of the war
was the recognition by England of the United States, whose territory was
to extend to the Mississippi River. To the west of the Mississippi, the
vast territory of Louisiana still remained in the hands of Spain.

[Sidenote: Results in Europe of wars between Treaty of Utrecht and Peace
of Paris.]

208. The results of the European wars during the sixty years which
elapsed between the Treaty of Utrecht and the Peace of Paris may be
summarized as follows. In the northeast two new powers, Russia and
Prussia, had come into the European family of nations. Prussia had
greatly extended her territory by gaining Silesia and West Poland. She
and Austria were, in the nineteenth century, to engage in a struggle for
supremacy in Germany, which was to result in substituting the present
German empire under the headship of the Hohenzollerns for the Holy Roman
Empire, of which the house of Hapsburg had so long been the nominal

[Sidenote: Origin of the 'eastern question.']

The power of the Sultan was declining so rapidly that Austria and Russia
were already considering the seizure of his European possessions. This
presented a new problem to the European powers, which came to be known
in the nineteenth century as the "eastern question." Were Austria and
Russia permitted to aggrandize themselves by adding the Turkish
territory to their possessions, it would gravely disturb the balance of
power which England had so much at heart. So it came about that, from
this time on, Turkey was admitted in a way to the family of western
European nations, for it soon appeared that some of the states of
western Europe were willing to form alliances with the Sultan, and even
aid him directly in defending himself against his neighbors.

[Sidenote: England's colonial possessions.]

England had lost her American colonies, and by her perverse policy had
led to the creation of a sister state speaking her own language and
destined to occupy the central part of the North American continent from
the Atlantic to the Pacific. She still retained Canada, however, and in
the nineteenth century added a new continent in the southern hemisphere,
Australia, to her vast colonial empire. In India she had no further
rivals among European nations, and gradually extended her influence over
the whole region south of the Himalayas. In 1877 Queen Victoria was
proclaimed Empress of India as the successor of the Grand Mogul.

[Sidenote: France under Louis XV, 1715-1774.]

As for France, she had played a rather pitiful rôle during the long
reign of Louis XIV's great grandson, Louis XV (1715-1774). She had,
however, been able to increase her territory by the addition of
Lorraine (1766) and, in 1768, of the island of Corsica. A year later a
child was born in the Corsican town of Ajaccio, who one day, by his
genius, was to make France the center for a time of an empire rivaling
that of Charlemagne in extent. When the nineteenth century opened France
was no longer a monarchy, but a republic; and her armies were to occupy
in turn every European capital, from Madrid to Moscow. In order to
understand the marvelous transformations produced by the French
Revolution and the wars of Napoleon, we must consider somewhat carefully
the conditions in France which led to a great reform of her institutions
in 1789, and to the founding of a republic four years later.

     General Reading.--For the French in America, PARKMAN, _The Pioneers
     of France in the New World_ (Little, Brown & Co., $2.00), also _A
     Half Century of Conflict_ (same publisher, 2 vols., $6.00). For
     India, MALLESON, _Clive_ (Oxford, University Press, 60 cents), and
     Macaulay's Essay on Clive. For the growth of the British Empire, H.
     DE B. GIBBINS, _History of Commerce in Europe_ (The Macmillan
     Company, 90 cents), and SEELEY, _The Expansion of England_ (Little,
     Brown & Co., $1.75).



209. When we meet the words "French Revolution," they are pretty sure to
call up before our mind's eye the guillotine and its hundreds of
victims, the storming of the Bastile, the Paris mob shouting the
Marseillaise hymn as they parade the streets with heads of unfortunate
"aristocrats" on their pikes. Every one knows something of this terrible
episode in French history. Indeed, it has made so deep an impression on
posterity that we sometimes forget that the Reign of Terror was _not_
the French Revolution. Mere disorder and bloodshed never helped mankind
along; and the Revolution must assuredly have produced some great and
lasting alteration in France and in Europe to deserve to be ranked--as
it properly is--with the Renaissance and the Protestant Revolt, as one
of the three most momentous changes of the last six hundred years. The
Reign of Terror was, in fact, only a sequel to the _real_ Revolution.

[Sidenote: The _Ancien Régime_.]

The French Revolution, in the truest sense of the term, was a great and
permanent reform, which did away with many absurd and vexatious laws and
customs, and with abuses of which the whole nation was heartily tired,
from the king down to the humblest peasant. Whenever a Frenchman, in the
eighteenth century, seriously considered the condition of his country,
most of the institutions in the midst of which he lived appeared to him
to be _abuses_, contrary to reason and humanity. These vicious
institutions,--relics of bygone times and outlived conditions,--which
the Revolution destroyed forever, are known by the general name _Ancien
Régime_, that is, "the old system." Whole volumes have been written
about the causes of the French Revolution. The real cause is, however,
easily stated; the old system was bad, and almost every one, both high
and low, had come to realize that it was bad, and consequently the
French did away with it and substituted a modern and more rational order
for the long-standing disorder.

[Sidenote: France not a well-organized state in the eighteenth century.]

Of the evils which the Revolution abolished, none was more important
than the confusion due to the fact that France was not in the eighteenth
century a well-organized, homogeneous state whose citizens all enjoyed
the same rights and privileges. A long line of kings had patched it
together, adding bit by bit as they could. By conquest and bargain, by
marrying heiresses, and through the extinction of the feudal dynasties,
the original restricted domains of Hugh Capet about Paris and Orleans
had been gradually increased by his descendants until, when Louis XVI
came to the throne in 1774, he found himself ruler of practically the
whole territory which makes up France to-day.

Some of the districts which the kings of France brought under their
sway, like Languedoc, Provence, Brittany, and Navarre, were considerable
states in themselves, each with its own laws, customs, and system of
government. When these provinces had come, at different times, into the
possession of the king of France, he had not changed their laws so as to
make them correspond with those of his other domains. He was satisfied
if his new provinces paid their due share of the taxes and treated his
officials with respect. In some cases the provinces retained their local
assemblies, and controlled, to a certain extent, their own affairs. The
provinces into which France was divided before the Revolution were not,
therefore, merely artificial divisions created for the purposes of
administrative convenience, like the modern French departments,[376] but
represented real historical differences.

[Sidenote: Various systems of law.]

While in a considerable portion of southern France the Roman law still
prevailed, in the central parts and in the west and north there were no
less than two hundred and eighty-five different local codes of law in
force; so that one who moved from his own to a neighboring town might
find a wholly unfamiliar legal system.

[Illustration: The Provinces of France in the Eighteenth Century,
showing Interior Customs Lines]

[Sidenote: Interior customs lines.]

Neither was France commercially a single state. The chief customs duties
were not collected upon goods as they entered French territory from a
foreign country; for the customs lines lay within France itself, so that
the central provinces about Paris were cut off from the outlying ones as
from a foreign land.[377] A merchant of Bordeaux sending goods to Paris
would have to see that the duties were paid on them as they passed the
customs line, and, conversely, a merchant of Paris would have to pay a
like duty on commodities sent to places without the line.

[Sidenote: Inequalities of taxation illustrated by the salt tax.]

The monstrous inequalities in levying one of the oldest and heaviest of
the taxes, i.e., the salt tax, still better illustrates the strange
disorder that existed in France in the eighteenth century. The
government raised this tax by monopolizing the sale of salt and then
charging a high price for it. There would have been nothing remarkable
in this had the same price been charged everywhere, but as it was, the
people in one town might be forced to pay thirty times as much as their
neighbors in an adjacent district. The accompanying map shows how France
was arbitrarily divided. To take a single example: at Dijon, a certain
amount of salt cost seven francs; a few miles to the east, on entering
Franche-Comté, one had to pay, for the same amount, twenty-five francs;
to the north, in Burgundy, fifty-eight francs; to the south, in the
region of the little salt tax, twenty-eight francs; while still farther
off, in Gex, there was no tax whatever. The government had to go to
great expense to guard the boundary lines between the various districts,
for there was every inducement to smugglers to carry salt from those
parts of the country where it was cheap into the land of the great salt

[Sidenote: The privileged classes.]

210. Besides these unfortunate local differences, there were class
differences which caused great discontent. All Frenchmen did not enjoy
the same rights as citizens. Two small but very important classes, the
nobility and the clergy, were treated differently by the state from the
rest of the people. They did not have to pay one of the heaviest of the
taxes, the notorious _taille_, and on one ground or another they escaped
other burdens which the rest of the citizens bore. For instance, they
were not required to serve in the militia or help build the roads.

[Illustration: Map showing the Amount paid in the Eighteenth Century for
Salt in Various Parts of France[378]]

[Sidenote: The Church.]

We have seen how great and powerful the mediæval Church was. In France,
as in other Catholic countries of Europe, it still retained in the
eighteenth century a considerable part of the power that it had
possessed in the thirteenth, and it still performed important public
functions. It took charge of education and of the relief of the sick and
the poor. It was very wealthy and is supposed to have owned one fifth of
all the land in France. The clergy still claimed, as Boniface VIII had
done, that their property, being dedicated to God, was not subject to
taxation. They consented, however, to help the king from time to time by
a "free gift," as they called it. The church still collected the tithes
from the people, and its vast possessions made it very independent.
Those who did not call themselves Roman Catholics were excluded from
some of the most important rights of citizenship. Since the revocation
of the Edict of Nantes no Protestant could be legally married or have
the births of his children registered, or make a legal will.

[Sidenote: The clergy.]

A great part of the enormous income of the church went into the pockets
of the higher clergy, the bishops, archbishops, and abbots. These were
appointed by the king,[379] often from among his courtiers, and they
paid but little attention to their duties as officers of the church and
were generally nothing but "great lords with a hundred thousand francs
income." While they amused themselves at Versailles, the real work was
performed--and well performed--by the lower clergy, who often received
scarcely enough to keep soul and body together. We shall see that, when
the Revolution began, the parish priests sided with the people instead
of with their ecclesiastical superiors.[380]

[Sidenote: The privileges of the nobility.]

The privileges of the nobles, like those of the clergy, had originated
in the mediæval conditions described in an earlier chapter.[381] A
detailed study of their rights would reveal many survivals of the
conditions which prevailed in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, when
the great majority of the people were serfs living upon the manors.
While serfdom had largely disappeared in France long before the
eighteenth century, and the peasants were generally free men who owned
or rented their land, the lords still enjoyed the right to collect a
variety of time-honored dues from the inhabitants living within the
limits of the former manors.

The privileges and dues enjoyed by the nobles varied greatly in
different parts of France. It was quite common for the noble landowner
to have a right to a certain portion of the peasants' crops;
occasionally he could collect a toll on sheep and cattle driven past his
house. In some cases the lord maintained, as he had done in the Middle
Ages, the only mill, wine press, or oven within a certain district, and
could require every one to make use of these and pay him a share of the
product. Even when a peasant owned his land, the neighboring lord
usually had the right to exact one fifth of its value every time it was
sold. The nobles, too, enjoyed the aristocratic privilege of the hunt.
The game which they preserved for their amusement often did great damage
to the crops of the peasants, who were forbidden to interfere with
hares, deer, pigeons, etc.

All these privileges were vestiges of the powers which the nobles had
enjoyed when they ruled their estates as feudal lords. Louis XIV had, as
we know, induced them to leave their domains and gather round him at
Versailles, where all who could afford it lived for at least part of the
year. The higher offices in the army were reserved for the nobles, as
well as the easiest and most lucrative places in the church and about
the king's person.[382]

[Sidenote: The third estate.]

211. Everybody who did not belong to either the clergy or nobility was
regarded as being of the _third estate_. The third estate was therefore
nothing more than the nation at large, which was made up in 1789 of
about twenty-five million souls. The privileged classes can scarcely
have counted altogether more than two hundred and seventy thousand
individuals. A great part of the third estate lived in the country and
tilled the soil. Most historians have been inclined to make out their
condition as very bad indeed. They were certainly oppressed by an
abominable system of taxation and were irritated by the dues which they
had to pay to the lords. They also suffered frequently from local
famines. Yet there is no doubt that the evils of their situation have
been greatly exaggerated. When Thomas Jefferson traveled through France
in 1787 he reports that the country people appeared to be comfortable
and that they had plenty to eat. Arthur Young, a famous English traveler
who has left us an admirable account of his journeys in France during
the years 1787-1789, found much prosperity and contentment, although he
gives, too, some forlorn pictures of destitution.

[Sidenote: Favorable situation of the peasant in France compared with
other countries.]

[Sidenote: Rapid increase of population in the eighteenth century.]

The latter have often been unduly emphasized by historical writers; for
it has commonly been thought that the Revolution was to be explained by
the misery and despair of the people who could tolerate the old system
no longer. If, however, instead of comparing the situation of the French
peasant under the old régime with that of an English or American farmer
to-day, we contrast his position with that of his fellow-peasant in
Prussia, Austria, or Italy, it will be clear that in France the
agricultural classes were really much better off than elsewhere on the
continent. In Prussia, for example, the peasants were still serfs: they
had to work three whole days in each week for their lord; they could not
marry or dispose of their land without his permission. Moreover, the
fact that the population of France had steadily increased from seventeen
million after the close of the wars of Louis XIV to about twenty-five
million at the opening of the Revolution, indicates that the general
condition of the people was improving rather than growing worse.

[Sidenote: Popular discontent, not the exceptionally miserable
condition of the French people, accounts for the Revolution.]

The real reason why France was the first among the European countries to
carry out a great reform and do away with the irritating survivals of
feudalism was not that the nation was miserable and oppressed above all
others, but that it was sufficiently free and enlightened to realize the
evils and absurdities of the old régime. Mere oppression and misery does
not account for a revolution, there must also be active _discontent_;
and of that there was a great abundance in France, as we shall see. The
French peasant no longer looked up to his lord as his ruler and
protector, but viewed him as a sort of legalized robber who demanded a
share of his precious harvest, whose officers awaited the farmer at the
crossing of the river to claim a toll, who would not let him sell his
produce when he wished, or permit him to protect his fields from the
ravages of the pigeons which it pleased the lord to keep.[383]

[Sidenote: France still a despotism in the eighteenth century.]

212. In the eighteenth century France was still the despotism that Louis
XIV had made it.[384] Louis XVI once described it very well in the
following words: "The sovereign authority resides exclusively in my
person. To me solely belongs the power of making the laws, and without
dependence or coöperation. The entire public order emanates from me, and
I am its supreme protector. My people are one with me. The rights and
interests of the nation are necessarily identical with mine and rest
solely in my hands." In short, the king still ruled "by the grace of
God," as Louis XIV had done. He needed to render account to no man for
his governmental acts; he was responsible to God alone. The following
illustrations will make clear the dangerous extent of the king's power.

[Sidenote: The king's control of the government funds.]

In the first place, it was he who levied each year the heaviest of the
taxes, the hated _taille_, from which the privileged classes were
exempted. This tax brought in about one sixth of the whole revenue of
the state. The amount collected was kept secret, and no report was made
to the nation of what was done with it or with any other part of the
king's income. Indeed, no distinction was made between the king's
private funds and the state treasury, whereas in England the monarch was
given a stated allowance. The king of France could issue as many drafts
payable to bearer as he wished; the royal officials must pay all such
orders and ask no questions. Louis XV is said to have spent no less than
seventy million dollars in this fashion in a single year.

[Sidenote: _Lettres de cachet._]

But the king not only controlled his subjects' purses; he had a terrible
authority over their persons as well. He could issue orders for the
arrest and arbitrary imprisonment of any one he pleased. Without trial
or formality of any sort, a person might be cast into a dungeon for an
indefinite period, until the king happened to remember him again or was
reminded of him by the poor man's friends. These notorious orders of
arrest were called _lettres de cachet_, i.e., sealed letters. They were
not difficult to obtain for any one who had influence with the king or
his favorites, and they furnished a particularly easy and efficacious
way of disposing of an enemy. These arbitrary orders lead one to
appreciate the importance of the provision of Magna Carta which
establishes that "no freeman shall be taken or imprisoned except by the
lawful sentence of his peers and in accordance with the law of the
land." Some of the most distinguished men of the time were shut up by
the king's order, often on account of books or pamphlets written by them
which displeased the king or those about him. The distinguished
statesman, Mirabeau, was imprisoned several times through _lettres de
cachet_ obtained by his father as a means of checking his reckless

[Sidenote: Limitations placed upon the power of the French king.]

213. Yet, notwithstanding the seemingly unlimited powers of the French
king, and in spite of the fact that France had no written constitution
and no legislative body to which the nation sent representatives, the
monarch was by no means absolutely free to do just as he pleased. He had
not the time nor inclination to carry on personally the government of
twenty-five million subjects, and he necessarily and willingly left much
of the work to his ministers and the numerous public officials, who were
bound to obey the laws and regulations established for their control and

[Sidenote: The _parlements_ and their protests.]

Next to the king's council the most important governmental bodies were
the higher courts of law, the _parlements_. These resembled the English
Parliament in almost nothing but name. The French _parlements_--of which
the most important one was at Paris and a dozen more were scattered
about the provinces--did not, however, confine themselves strictly to
the business of trying lawsuits. They claimed, and quite properly, that
when the king decided to make a new law he must send it to them to be
registered, else they would have no means of knowing just what the law
was of which they were to be the guardians. Now, although they
acknowledged that the right to make the laws belonged to the monarch,
they nevertheless often sent a "protest" to the king instead of
registering a law of which they disapproved. They would urge that the
ministers had abused His Majesty's confidence. They would see, too, that
their protest was printed and sold on the streets at a penny or two a
copy, so that people should get the idea that the _parlement_ was
defending the nation against the oppressive measures of the king's

When the king received one of these protests two alternatives were open
to him. He might recall the distasteful decree altogether or modify it
so as to suit the court; or he could summon the _parlement_ before him
and in a solemn session (called a _lit de justice_) command it with his
own mouth to register the law in its books. The _parlement_ would then
reluctantly obey, but as the Revolution approached it began to claim
that a decree registered against its will was not valid.

[Sidenote: The _parlements_ help to prepare the way for the

Struggles between the _parlements_ and the ministers were very frequent
in the eighteenth century. They prepared the way for the Revolution,
first, by bringing important questions to the attention of the people;
for there were no newspapers and no parliamentary or congressional
debates to enable the public to understand the policy of the government.
Secondly, the _parlements_ not only frankly criticised the proposed
measures of the king and his ministers, but they familiarized the nation
with the idea that the king was not really at liberty to alter what they
called "the fundamental laws" of the state. By this they meant that
there was an unwritten c