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Title: A History of Germany - From the Earliest Times to the Present Day
Author: Taylor, Bayard, 1825-1878
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A History of Germany - From the Earliest Times to the Present Day" ***

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(_After a Photograph by J. C. Schaarwächter, Photographer to the






           NEW YORK

     COPYRIGHT, 1874, 1893,



When I assented to the request of the publishers that I would edit a new
edition of the History of Germany, and write an additional chapter
finishing the work down to the present date, I was fully aware of both
my own shortcomings and the difficulty of the task. That I undertook it,
nevertheless, is because I was strongly tempted to perform what I
considered, in my case, an act of piety. Being naturally familiar with
the aim and style of this book, I have tried to compile a new chapter in
the simple narrative fashion by which the History has commended itself
to its readers.

In his "Introductory Words" to the original edition the author says:
"The History of Germany is not the history of a nation, but of a race.
It has little unity, therefore it is complicated, broken, and attached
on all sides to the histories of other countries. In its earlier periods
it covers the greater part of Europe, and does not return exclusively to
Germany until after France, Spain, England and the Italian States have
been founded. Thus, even before the fall of the Roman Empire, it becomes
the main trunk out of which branch the histories of nearly all European
nations, and must of necessity be studied as the connecting link between
ancient and modern history. The records of no other race throw so much
light upon the development of all civilized lands during a period of
fifteen hundred years.

"My aim has been to present a clear, continuous narrative, omitting no
episode of importance, yet preserving a distinct line of connection
from century to century. Besides referring to all the best authorities,
I have based my labors mainly upon three recent German works--that of
Dittmar, as the fullest; of Von Rochau, as the most impartial; and of
Dr. David Müller, as the most readable. By constructing an entirely new
narrative from these, compressing the material into less than half the
space which each occupies, and avoiding the interruptions and changes by
which all are characterized, I hope to have made this History convenient
and acceptable to our schools."

The book is, indeed, eminently fitted for use in the higher grades of
schools. But the scope, comprehensiveness, and style of the work make it
in no less a degree inviting and attractive to the general reader.

The material for the preparation of the additional chapter was difficult
of access, since the history of the last twenty years is on record
chiefly in monographs and in the public press. The best guide I have
found is the "Politische Geschichte der Gegenwart," by Prof. Wilhelm
Müller. The author of the present book was fortunate in being able to
close it with the glorious events of the years 1870 to 1871, and the
birth of the new Empire. The additional chapter has no such ending. It
deals with the beginning of a new era, and has to state facts, with an
eye to their results in the future.

                                                 MARIE HANSEN-TAYLOR.

NEW YORK, _1893_.



           (330 B. C.--70 B. C.)                                       1

           (70 B. C.--9 A. D.)                                        10

     III.--HERMANN, THE FIRST GERMAN LEADER. (9--21 A. D.)            19

           ERA. (21--300 A. D.)                                       28

       V.--THE RISE AND MIGRATIONS OF THE GOTHS. (300--412.)          37

           (412--472.)                                                47

     VII.--THE RISE AND FALL OF THE OSTROGOTHS. (472--570.)           55


      IX.--THE KINGDOM OF THE FRANKS. (486--638.)                     71

       X.--THE DYNASTY OF THE ROYAL STEWARDS. (638--768.)             80

      XI.--THE REIGN OF CHARLEMAGNE. (768--814.)                      92

     XII.--THE EMPERORS OF THE CAROLINGIAN LINE. (814--911.)         103

           OTTO THE GREAT. (912--973.)                               116

     XIV.--THE DECLINE OF THE SAXON DYNASTY. (973--1024.)            130

           (1024--1106.)                                             138

           (1106--1152.)                                             155

    XVII.--THE REIGN OF FREDERICK I., BARBAROSSA. (1152--1197.)      164

           LINE. (1215--1268.)                                       175

     XIX.--GERMANY AT THE TIME OF THE INTERREGNUM. (1256--1273.)     189

           (1273--1347.)                                             198

           (1347--1410.)                                             212

           (1410--1437.)                                             222

           (1438--1493.)                                             235

           (1493--1519.)                                             246

     XXV.--THE REFORMATION. (1517--1546.)                            255

           CENTURY. (1546--1600.)                                    273

   XXVII.--BEGINNING OF THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR. (1600--1625.)         284


    XXIX.--END OF THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR. (1634--1648.)               309

     XXX.--GERMANY, TO THE PEACE OF RYSWICK. (1648--1697.)           320

    XXXI.--The war of the Spanish succession. (1697--1714.)          331

   XXXII.--THE RISE OF PRUSSIA. (1714--1740.)                        338

  XXXIII.--THE REIGN OF FREDERICK THE GREAT. (1740--1786.)           347


           THE GERMAN EMPIRE. (1790--1806.)                          377

   XXXVI.--GERMANY UNDER NAPOLEON. (1806--1814.)                     392

           1848. (1814--1848.)                                       409

 XXXVIII.--THE REVOLUTION OF 1848 AND ITS RESULTS. (1848--1861.)     420

           (1861--1870.)                                             429

           GERMAN EMPIRE. (1870--1871.)                              437

     XLI.--THE NEW GERMAN EMPIRE. (1871--1893.)                      449

           CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF GERMAN HISTORY.                    462



  Germany under the Cæsars                                            11

  The Migrations of the Races, A. D. 500                              64

  Empire of Charlemagne, with the Partition of the Treaty of Verdun,
    A. D. 843                                                        107

  Germany under the Saxons and Frank Emperors, Twelfth Century       139

  Germany under Napoleon, 1812                                       401

  Metz and Vicinity                                                  441

  The German Empire, 1871                                            446




(330 B. C.--70 B. C.)

The Aryan Race and its Migrations. --Earliest Inhabitants of Europe.
    --Lake Dwellings. --Celtic and Germanic Migrations. --Europe in the
    Fourth Century B. C. --The Name "German." --Voyage of Pytheas.
    --Invasions of the Cimbrians and Teutons, B. C. 113. --Victories of
    Marius. --Boundary between the Gauls and the Germans.
    --Geographical Location of the various Germanic Tribes. --Their
    Mode of Life, Vices, Virtues, Laws, and Religion.

The Germans form one of the most important branches of the Indo-Germanic
or Aryan race--a division of the human family which also includes the
Hindoos, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, and the Slavonic tribes. The
near relationship of all these, which have become so separated in their
habits of life, forms of government and religious faith, in the course
of many centuries, has been established by the evidence of common
tradition, language, and physiological structure. The original home of
the Aryan race appears to have been somewhere among the mountains and
lofty table-lands of Central Asia. The word "Arya," meaning _the high_
or _the excellent_, indicates their superiority over the neighboring
races long before the beginning of history.

When and under what circumstances the Aryans left their home, can never
be ascertained. Most scholars suppose that there were different
migrations, and that each movement westward was accomplished slowly,
centuries intervening between their departure from Central Asia and
their permanent settlement in Europe. The earliest migration was
probably that of the tribes who took possession of Greece and Italy;
who first acquired, and for more than a thousand years maintained, their
ascendency over all other branches of their common family; who, in fact,
laid the basis for the civilization of the world.

[Sidenote: 330 B. C.]

Before this migration took place, Europe was inhabited by a race of
primitive savages, who were not greatly superior to the wild beasts in
the vast forests which then covered the continent. They were
exterminated at so early a period that all traditions of their existence
were lost. Within the last fifty years, however, various relics of this
race have been brought to light. Fragments of skulls and skeletons, with
knives and arrow-heads of flint, have been found, at a considerable
depth, in the gravel-beds of Northern France, or in caves in Germany,
together with the bones of animals now extinct, upon which they fed. In
the lakes of Switzerland, they built dwellings upon piles, at a little
distance from the shore, in order to be more secure against the attacks
of wild beasts or hostile tribes. Many remains of these lake-dwellings,
with flint implements and fragments of pottery, have recently been
discovered. The skulls of the race indicate that they were savages of
the lowest type, and different in character from any which now exist on
the earth.

The second migration of the Aryan race is supposed to have been that of
the Celtic tribes, who took a more northerly course, by way of the
steppes of the Volga and the Don, and gradually obtained possession of
all Central and Western Europe, including the British Isles. Their
advance was only stopped by the ocean, and the tribe which first appears
in history, the Gauls, was at that time beginning to move eastward
again, in search of new fields of plunder. It is impossible to ascertain
whether the German tribes immediately followed the Celts, and took
possession of the territory which they vacated in pushing westward, or
whether they formed a third migration, at a later date. We only know the
order in which they were settled when our first historical knowledge of
them begins.

In the fourth century before the Christian Era, all Europe west of the
Rhine, and as far south as the Po, was Celtic; between the Rhine and the
Vistula, including Denmark and southern Sweden, the tribes were
Germanic; while the Slavonic branch seems to have already made its
appearance in what is now Southern Russia. Each of these three branches
of the Aryan race was divided into many smaller tribes, some of which,
left behind in the march from Asia, or separated by internal wars,
formed little communities, like islands, in the midst of territory
belonging to other branches of the race. The boundaries, also, were
never very distinctly drawn: the tribes were restless and nomadic, not
yet attached to the soil, and many of them moved through or across each
other, so that some were constantly disappearing, and others forming
under new names.


The Romans first heard the name "Germans" from the Celtic Gauls, in
whose language it meant simply _neighbors_. The first notice of a
Germanic tribe was given to the world by the Greek navigator Pytheas,
who made a voyage to the Baltic in the year 330 B. C. Beyond the
amber-coast, eastward of the mouth of the Vistula, he found the Goths,
of whom we hear nothing more until they appear, several centuries later,
on the northern shore of the Black Sea. For more than two hundred years
there is no further mention of the Germanic races; then, most
unexpectedly, the Romans were called upon to make their personal

In the year 113 B. C. a tremendous horde of strangers forced its way
through the Tyrolese Alps and invaded the Roman territory. They numbered
several hundred thousand, and brought with them their wives, children
and all their movable property. They were composed of two great tribes,
the Cimbrians and Teutons, accompanied by some minor allies, Celtic as
well as Germanic. Their statement was that they were driven from their
homes on the northern ocean by the inroads of the waves, and they
demanded territory for settlement, or, at least, the right to pass the
Roman frontier. The Consul, Papirius Carbo, collected an army and
endeavored to resist their advance; but he was defeated by them in a
battle fought near Noreia, between the Adriatic and the Alps.

The terror occasioned by this defeat reached even Rome. The
"barbarians," as they were called, were men of large stature, of
astonishing bodily strength, with yellow hair and fierce blue eyes. They
wore breastplates of iron and helmets crowned with the heads of wild
beasts, and carried white shields which shone in the sunshine. They
first hurled double-headed spears in battle, but at close quarters
fought with short and heavy swords. The women encouraged them with cries
and war-songs, and seemed no less fierce and courageous than the men.
They had also priestesses, clad in white linen, who delivered prophecies
and slaughtered human victims upon the altars of their gods.

[Sidenote: 102 B. C.]

Instead of moving towards Rome, the Cimbrians and Teutons marched
westward along the foot of the Alps, crossed into Gaul, devastated the
country between the Rhone and the Pyrenees, and even obtained temporary
possession of part of Spain. Having thus plundered at will for ten
years, they retraced their steps and prepared to invade Italy a second
time. The celebrated Consul, Marius, who was sent against them, found
their forces divided, in order to cross the Alps by two different roads.
He first attacked the Teutons, two hundred thousand in number, at Aix,
in southern France, and almost exterminated them in the year 102 B. C.
Transferring his army across the Alps, in the following year he met the
Cimbrians at Vercelli, in Piedmont (not far from the field of Magenta).
They were drawn up in a square, the sides of which were nearly three
miles long: in the centre their wagons, collected together, formed a
fortress for the women and children. But the Roman legions broke the
Cimbrian square, and obtained a complete victory. The women, seeing that
all was lost, slew their children, and then themselves; but a few
thousand prisoners were made--among them Teutoboch, the prince of the
Teutons, who had escaped from the slaughter at Aix,--to figure in the
triumph accorded to Marius by the Roman Senate. This was the only
appearance of the German tribes in Italy, until the decline of the
Empire, five hundred years later.

The Roman conquests, which now began to extend northwards into the heart
of Europe, soon brought the two races into collision again, but upon
German or Celtic soil. From the earliest reports, as well as the later
movements of the tribes, we are able to ascertain the probable order of
their settlement, though not the exact boundaries of each. The territory
which they occupied was almost the same as that which now belongs to the
German States. The Rhine divided them from the Gauls, except towards its
mouth, where the Germanic tribes occupied part of Belgium. A line drawn
from the Vistula southward to the Danube nearly represents their eastern
boundary, while, up to this time, they do not appear to have crossed the
Danube on the south. The district between that river and the Alps, now
Bavaria and Styria, was occupied by Celtic tribes. Northwards they had
made some advance into Sweden, and probably also into Norway. They thus
occupied nearly all of Central Europe, north of the Alpine chain.

[Sidenote: 100 B. C. THE GERMAN TRIBES.]

At the time of their first contact with the Romans, these Germanic
tribes had lost even the tradition of their Asiatic origin. They
supposed themselves to have originated upon the soil where they dwelt,
sprung either from the earth, or descended from their gods. According to
the most popular legend, the war-god Tuisko, or Tiu, had a son, Mannus
(whence the word _man_ is derived), who was the first human parent of
the German race. Many centuries must have elapsed since their first
settlement in Europe, or they could not have so completely changed the
forms of their religion and their traditional history.

Two or three small tribes are represented, in the earliest Roman
accounts, as having crossed the Rhine and settled between the Vosges and
that river, from Strasburg to Mayence. From the latter point to Cologne
none are mentioned, whence it is conjectured that the western bank of
the Rhine was here a debatable ground, possessed sometimes by the Celts
and sometimes by the Germans. The greater part of Belgium was occupied
by the Eburones and Condrusii, Germanic tribes, to whom were afterwards
added the Aduatuci, formed out of the fragments of the Cimbrians and
Teutons who escaped the slaughters of Marius. At the mouth of the Rhine
dwelt the Batavi, the forefathers of the Dutch, and, like them, reported
to be strong, phlegmatic and stubborn, in the time of Cæsar. A little
eastward, on the shore of the North Sea, dwelt the Frisii, where they
still dwell, in the province of Friesland; and beyond them, about the
mouth of the Weser, the Chauci, a kindred tribe.

What is now Westphalia was inhabited by the Sicambrians, a brave and
warlike people: the Marsi and Ampsivarii were beyond them, towards the
Hartz, and south of the latter the Ubii, once a powerful tribe, but in
Cæsar's time weak and submissive. From the Weser to the Elbe, in the
north, was the land of the Cherusci; south of them the equally fierce
and indomitable Chatti, the ancestors of the modern Hessians; and still
further south, along the head-waters of the river Main, the Marcomanni.
A part of what is now Saxony was in the possession of the Hermunduri,
who together with their kindred, the Chatti, were called _Suevi_ by the
Romans. Northward, towards the mouth of the Elbe, dwelt the Longobardi
(Lombards); beyond them, in Holstein, the Saxons; and north of the
latter, in Schleswig, the Angles.

East of the Elbe were the Semnones, who were guardians of a certain holy
place,--a grove of the Druids--where various related tribes came for
their religious festivals. North of the Semnones dwelt the Vandals, and
along the Baltic coast the Rugii, who have left their name in the island
of Rügen. Between these and the Vistula were the Burgundiones, with a
few smaller tribes. In the extreme north-east, between the Vistula and
the point where the city of Königsberg now stands, was the home of the
Goths, south of whom were settled the Slavonic Sarmatians,--the same who
founded, long afterwards, the kingdom of Poland.

Bohemia was first settled by the Celtic tribe of the Boii, whence its
name--_Boiheim_, the home of the Boii--is derived. In Cæsar's day,
however, this tribe had been driven out by the Germanic Marcomanni,
whose neighbors, the Quadi, on the Danube, were also German. Beyond the
Danube all was Celtic; the defeated Boii occupied Austria; the
Vindelici, Bavaria; while the Noric and Rhætian Celts took possession of
the Tyrolese Alps. Switzerland was inhabited by the Helvetii, a Celtic
tribe which had been driven out of Germany; but the mountainous district
between the Rhine, the Lake of Constance and the Danube, now called the
Black Forest, seems to have had no permanent owners.

The greater part of Germany was thus in possession of Germanic tribes,
bound to each other by blood, by their common religion and their habits
of life. At this early period, their virtues and their vices were
strongly marked. They were not savages, for they knew the first
necessary arts of civilized life, and they had a fixed social and
political organization. The greater part of the territory which they
inhabited was still a wilderness. The mountain chain which extends
through Central Germany from the Main to the Elbe was called by the
Romans the Hercynian Forest. It was then a wild, savage region, the home
of the aurox (a race of wild cattle), the bear and the elk. The lower
lands to the northward of this forest were also thickly wooded and
marshy, with open pastures here and there, where the tribes settled in
small communities, kept their cattle, and cultivated the soil only
enough to supply the needs of life. They made rough roads of
communication, which could be traversed by their wagons, and the
frontiers of each tribe were usually marked by guard-houses, where all
strangers were detained until they received permission to enter the


At this early period, the Germans had no cities, or even villages. Their
places of worship, which were either groves of venerable oak-trees or
the tops of mountains, were often fortified; and when attacked in the
open country, they made a temporary defence of their wagons. They lived
in log-houses, which were surrounded by stockades spacious enough to
contain the cattle and horses belonging to the family. A few fields of
rye and barley furnished each homestead with bread and beer, but hunting
and fishing were their chief dependence. The women cultivated flax, from
which they made a coarse, strong linen: the men clothed themselves with
furs or leather. They were acquainted with the smelting and working of
iron, but valued gold and silver only for the sake of ornament. They
were fond of bright colors, of poetry and song, and were in the highest
degree hospitable.

The three principal vices of the Germans were indolence, drunkenness and
love of gaming. Although always ready for the toils and dangers of war,
they disliked to work at home. When the men assembled at night, and the
great ox-horns, filled with mead or beer, were passed from one to the
other, they rarely ceased drinking until all were intoxicated; and when
the passion for gaming came upon them, they would often stake their
dearest possessions, even their own freedom, on a throw of the dice. The
women were never present on these occasions: they ruled and regulated
their households with undisputed sway. They were considered the equals
of the men, and exhibited no less energy and courage. They were supposed
to possess the gift of prophecy, and always accompanied the men to
battle, where they took care of the wounded, and stimulated the warriors
by their shouts and songs.

They honored the institution of marriage to an extent beyond that
exhibited by any other people of the ancient world. The ceremony
consisted in the man giving a horse, or a yoke of oxen, to the woman,
who gave him arms or armor in return. Those who proved unfaithful to the
marriage vow were punished with death. The children of freemen and
slaves grew up together until the former were old enough to carry arms,
when they were separated. The slaves were divided into two classes:
those who lived under the protection of a freeman and were obliged to
perform for him a certain amount of labor, and those who were wholly
"chattels," bought and sold at will.

Each family had its own strictly regulated laws, which were sufficient
for the government of its free members, its retainers and slaves. A
number of these families formed "a district," which was generally laid
out according to natural boundaries, such as streams or hills. In some
tribes, however, the families were united in "hundreds," instead of
districts. Each of these managed its own affairs, as a little republic,
wherein each freeman had an equal voice; yet to each belonged a leader,
who was called "count" or "duke." All the districts of a tribe met
together in a "General Assembly of the People," which was always held at
the time of new or full moon. The chief priest of the tribe presided,
and each man present had the right to vote. Here questions of peace or
war, violations of right or disputes between the districts were decided,
criminals were tried, young men acknowledged as freemen and warriors,
and, in case of approaching war, a leader chosen by the people.
Alliances between the tribes, for the sake of mutual defence or
invasion, were not common, at first; but the necessity of them was soon
forced upon the Germans by the encroachments of Rome.

The gods which they worshipped represented the powers of Nature. Their
mythology was the same originally which the Scandinavians preserved, in
a slightly different form, until the tenth century of our era. The chief
deity was named Wodan, or Odin, the god of the sky, whose worship was
really that of the sun. His son, Donar, or Thunder, with his fiery beard
and huge hammer, is the Thor of the Scandinavians. The god of war, Tiu
or Tyr, was supposed to have been born from the Earth, and thus became
the ancestor of the Germanic tribes. There was also a goddess of the
earth, Hertha, who was worshipped with secret and mysterious rites. The
people had their religious festivals, at stated seasons, when
sacrifices, sometimes of human beings, were laid upon the altars of the
gods, in the sacred groves. Even after they became Christians, in the
eighth century, they retained their habit of celebrating some of these
festivals, but changed them into the Christian anniversaries of
Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide.


Thus, from all we can learn respecting them, we may say that the
Germans, during the first century before Christ, were fully prepared, by
their habits, laws, and their moral development, for a higher
civilization. They were still restless, after so many centuries of
wandering; they were fierce and fond of war, as a natural consequence of
their struggles with the neighboring races; but they had already
acquired a love for the wild land where they dwelt, they had begun to
cultivate the soil, they had purified and hallowed the family relation,
which is the basis of all good government, and finally, although slavery
existed among them, they had established equal rights for free men.

If the object of Rome had been civilization, instead of conquest and
plunder, the development of the Germans might have commenced much
earlier and produced very different results.



(70 B. C.--9 A. D.)

Roman Conquest of Gaul. --The German Chief, Ariovistus. --His Answer to
    Cæsar. --Cæsar's March to the Rhine. --Defeat of Ariovistus.
    --Cæsar's Victory near Cologne. --His Bridge. --His Second
    Expedition. --He subjugates the Gauls. --He enlists a German
    Legion. --The Romans advance to the Danube, under Augustus. --First
    Expedition of Drusus. --The Rhine fortified. --Death of Drusus.
    --Conquests of Tiberius. --The War of the Marcomanni. --The
    Cherusci. --Tyranny of Varus. --Resistance of the Germans.

[Sidenote: 70 B. C.]

After the destruction of the Teutons and Cimbrians by Marius, more than
forty years elapsed before the Romans again came in contact with any
German tribe. During this time the Roman dominion over the greater part
of Gaul was firmly established by Julius Cæsar, and in losing their
independence, the Celts began to lose, also, their original habits and
character. They and the Germans had never been very peaceable neighbors,
and the possession of the western bank of the Rhine seems to have been,
even at that early day, a subject of contention between them.

About the year 70 B. C. two Gallic tribes, the Ædui in Burgundy and the
Arverni in Central France, began a struggle for the supremacy in that
part of Gaul. The allies of the latter, the Sequani, called to their
assistance a chief of the German Suevi, whose name, as we have it
through Cæsar, was Ariovistus. With a force of 15,000 men, he joined the
Arverni and the Sequani, and defeated the Ædui in several battles. After
the complete overthrow of the latter, he haughtily demanded as a
recompense one-third of the territory of the Sequani. His strength had
meanwhile been increased by new accessions from the German side of the
Rhine, and the Sequani were obliged to yield. His followers settled in
the new territory: in the course of about fourteen years, they
amounted to 120,000, and Ariovistus felt himself strong enough to demand
another third of the lands of the Sequani.



[Sidenote: 57 B. C.]

Southern France was then a Roman province, governed by Julius Cæsar. In
the year 57 B. C. ambassadors from the principal tribes of Eastern Gaul
appeared before him and implored his assistance against the inroads of
the Suevi. It was an opportunity which he immediately seized, in order
to bring the remaining Gallic tribes under the sway of Rome. He first
sent a summons to Ariovistus to appear before him, but the haughty
German chief answered: "When I need Cæsar, I shall come to Cæsar. If
Cæsar needs me, let him seek me. What business has he in _my_ Gaul,
which I have acquired in war?"

On receiving this answer, Cæsar marched immediately with his legions
into the land of the Sequani, and succeeded in reaching their capitol,
Vesontio (the modern Besançon), before the enemy. It was then a
fortified place, and its possession gave Cæsar an important advantage at
the start. While his legions were resting there for a few days, before
beginning the march against the Suevi, the Gallic and Roman merchants
and traders circulated the most frightful accounts of the strength and
fierceness of the latter through the Roman camp. They reported that the
German barbarians were men of giant size and more than human strength,
whose faces were so terrible that the glances of their eyes could not be
endured. Very soon numbers of the Roman officers demanded leave of
absence, and even the few who were ashamed to take this step lost all
courage. The soldiers became so demoralized that many of them declared
openly that they would refuse to fight, if commanded to do so.

In this emergency, Cæsar showed his genius as a leader of men. He called
a large number of soldiers and officers of all grades together, and
addressed them in strong words, pointing out their superior military
discipline, ridiculing the terrible stories in circulation, and sharply
censuring them for their insubordination. He concluded by declaring that
if the army should refuse to march, he would start the next morning with
only the tenth legion, upon the courage and obedience of which he could
rely. This speech produced an immediate effect. The tenth legion
solemnly thanked Cæsar for his confidence in its men and officers, the
other legions, one after the other, declared their readiness to follow,
and the whole army left Vesontio the very next morning. After a rapid
march of seven days, Cæsar found himself within a short distance of the
fortified camp of Ariovistus.

[Sidenote: 57 B. C. CÆSAR AND ARIOVISTUS.]

The German chief now agreed to an interview, and the two leaders met,
half-way between the two armies, on the plain of the Rhine. The place is
supposed to have been a little to the northward of Basel. Neither Cæsar
nor Ariovistus would yield to the demands of the other, and as the
cavalry of their armies began skirmishing, the interview was broken off.
For several days in succession the Romans offered battle, but the Suevi
refused to leave their strong position. This hesitation seemed
remarkable, until it was explained by some prisoners, captured in a
skirmish, who stated that the German priestesses had prophesied
misfortune to Ariovistus, if he should fight before the new moon.

Cæsar, thereupon, determined to attack the German camp without delay.
The meeting of the two armies was fierce, and the soldiers were soon
fighting hand to hand. On each side one wing gave way, but the greater
quickness and superior military skill of the Romans enabled them to
recover sooner than the enemy. The day ended with the entire defeat of
the Suevi, and the flight of the few who escaped across the Rhine. They
did not attempt to reconquer their lost territory, and the three small
German tribes, who had long been settled between the Rhine and the
Vosges (in what is now Alsatia), became subject to Roman rule.

Two years afterwards, Cæsar, who was engaged in subjugating the Belgæ,
in Northern Gaul, learned that two other German tribes, the Usipetes and
Tencteres, who had been driven from their homes by the Suevi, had
crossed the Rhine below where Cologne now stands. They numbered 400,000,
and the Northern Gauls, instead of regarding them as invaders, were
inclined to welcome them as allies against Rome, the common enemy. Cæsar
knew that if they remained, a revolt of the Gauls against his rule would
be the consequence. He therefore hastened to meet them, got possession
of their principal chiefs by treachery, and then attacked their camp
between the Meuse and the Rhine. The Germans were defeated, and nearly
all their foot-soldiers slaughtered, but the cavalry succeeded in
crossing the river, where they were welcomed by the Sicambrians.

Then it was that Cæsar built his famous wooden bridge across the Rhine,
not far from the site of Cologne, although the precise point can not now
be ascertained. He crossed with his army into Westphalia, but the tribes
he sought retreated into the great forests to the eastward, where he was
unable to pursue them. He contented himself with burning their houses
and gathering their ripened harvests for eighteen days, when he returned
to the other side and destroyed the bridge behind him. From this time,
Rome claimed the sovereignty of the western bank of the Rhine to its

[Sidenote: 53 B. C.]

While Cæsar was in Britain, in the year 53 B. C., the newly subjugated
Celtic and German tribes which inhabited Belgium rose in open revolt
against the Roman rule. The rapidity of Cæsar's return arrested their
temporary success, but some of the German tribes to the eastward of the
Rhine had already promised to aid them. In order to secure his
conquests, the Roman general determined to cross the Rhine again, and
intimidate, if not subdue, his dangerous neighbors. He built a second
bridge, near the place where the first had been, and crossed with his
army. But, as before, the Suevi and Sicambrians drew back among the
forest-covered hills along the Weser river, and only the small and
peaceful tribe of the Ubii remained in their homes. The latter offered
their submission to Cæsar, and agreed to furnish him with news of the
movements of their warlike countrymen, in return for his protection.

When another revolt of the Celtic Gauls took place, the following year,
German mercenaries, enlisted among the Ubii, fought on the Roman side
and took an important part in the decisive battle which gave
Vercingetorix, the last chief of the Gauls, into Cæsar's hands. He was
beheaded, and from that time the Gauls made no further effort to throw
off the Roman yoke. They accepted the civil and military organization,
the dress and habits, and finally the language and religion of their
conquerors. The small German tribes in Alsatia and Belgium shared the
same fate: their territory was divided into two provinces, called Upper
and Lower Germania by the Romans. The vast region inhabited by the
independent tribes, lying between the Rhine, the Vistula, the North Sea
and the Danube, was thenceforth named _Germania Magna_, or "Great

Cæsar's renown among the Germans, and probably also his skill in dealing
with them, was so great, that when he left Gaul to return to Rome, he
took with him a German legion of 6,000 men, which afterwards fought on
his side against Pompey, on the battle-field of Pharsalia. The Roman
agents penetrated into the interior of the country, and enlisted a great
many of the free Germans who were tempted by the prospect of good pay
and booty. Even the younger sons of the chiefs entered the Roman army,
for the sake of a better military education.


No movement of any consequence took place for more than twenty years
after Cæsar's last departure from the banks of the Rhine. The Romans,
having secured their possession of Gaul, now turned their attention to
the subjugation of the Celtic tribes inhabiting the Alps and the
lowlands south of the Danube, from the Lake of Constance to Vienna. This
work had also been begun by Cæsar: it was continued by the Emperor
Augustus, whose step-sons, Tiberius and Drusus, finally overcame the
desperate resistance of the native tribes. In the year 15 B. C. the
Danube became the boundary between Rome and Germany on the south, as the
Rhine already was on the west. The Roman provinces of Rhætia, Noricum
and Pannonia were formed out of the conquered territory.

Augustus now sent Drusus, with a large army, to the Rhine, instructing
him to undertake a campaign against the independent German tribes. It
does not appear that the latter had given any recent occasion for this
hostile movement: the Emperor's design was probably to extend the
dominions of Rome to the North Sea and the Baltic. Drusus built a large
fleet on the Rhine, descended that river nearly to its mouth, cut a
canal for his vessels to a lake which is now the Zuyder Zee, and thus
entered the North Sea. It was a bold undertaking, but did not succeed.
He reached the mouth of the river Ems with his fleet, when the weather
became so tempestuous that he was obliged to return.

The next year, 11 B. C., he made an expedition into the land of the
Sicambrians, during which his situation was often hazardous; but he
succeeded in penetrating rather more than a hundred miles to the
eastward of the Rhine, and establishing--not far from where the city of
Paderborn now stands--a fortress called Aliso, which became a base for
later operations against the German tribes. He next set about building a
series of fortresses, fifty in number, along the western bank of the
Rhine. Around the most important of these, towns immediately sprang up,
and thus were laid the foundations of the cities of Strasburg, Mayence,
Coblenz, Cologne, and many smaller places.

[Sidenote: 9 B. C.]

In the year 9 B. C. Drusus marched again into Germany. He defeated the
Chatti in several bloody battles, crossed the passes of the Thuringian
Forest, and forced his way through the land of the Cherusci (the Hartz
region) to the Elbe. The legend says that he there encountered a German
prophetess, who threatened him with coming evil, whereupon he turned
about and retraced his way towards the Rhine. He died, however, during
the march, and his dejected army had great difficulty in reaching the
safe line of their fortresses.

Tiberius succeeded to the command left vacant by the death of his
brother Drusus. Less daring, but of a more cautious and scheming nature,
he began by taking possession of the land of the Sicambrians and
colonizing a part of the tribe on the west bank of the Rhine. He then
gradually extended his power, and in the course of two years brought
nearly the whole country between the Rhine and Weser under the rule of
Rome. His successor, Domitius Ænobarbus, built military roads through
Westphalia and the low, marshy plains towards the sea. These roads,
which were called "long bridges," were probably made of logs, like the
"corduroy" roads of our Western States, but they were of great service
during the later Roman campaigns.

After the lapse of ten years, however, the subjugated tribes between the
Rhine and the Weser rose in revolt. The struggle lasted for three years
more, without being decided; and then Augustus sent Tiberius a second
time to Germany. The latter was as successful as at first: he crushed
some of the rebellious tribes, accepted the submission of others, and,
supported by a fleet which reached the Elbe and ascended that river to
meet him, secured, as he supposed, the sway of Rome over nearly the
whole of _Germania Magna_. This was in the fifth year of the Christian
Era. Of the German tribes who still remained independent, there were the
Semnones, Saxons and Angles, east of the Elbe, and the Burgundians,
Vandals and Goths along the shore of the Baltic, together with one
powerful tribe in Bohemia. The latter, the Marcomanni, who seem to have
left their original home in Baden and Würtemberg on account of the
approach of the Romans, now felt that their independence was a second
time seriously threatened. Their first measure of defence, therefore,
was to strengthen themselves by alliances with kindred tribes.

[Sidenote: 8 B. C. THE MARCOMANNI: VARUS.]

The chief of the Marcomanni, named Marbod, was a man of unusual capacity
and energy. It seems that he was educated as a Roman, but under what
circumstances is not stated. This rendered him a more dangerous enemy,
though it also made him an object of suspicion, and perhaps jealousy, to
the other German chieftains. Nevertheless, he succeeded in uniting
nearly all the independent tribes east of the Elbe under his command,
and in organizing a standing army of 70,000 foot and 4,000 horse, which,
disciplined like the Roman legions, might be considered a match for an
equal number. His success created so much anxiety in Rome, that in the
next year after Tiberius returned from his successes in Germany,
Augustus determined to send a force of twelve legions against Marbod.
Precisely at this time, a great insurrection broke out in Dalmatia and
Pannonia, and when it was suppressed, after a struggle of three years,
the Romans found it prudent to offer peace to Marbod, and he to accept

By this time, the territory between the Rhine and the Weser had been
fifteen years, and that between the Weser and the Elbe four years, under
Roman government. The tribes inhabiting the first of these two regions
had been much weakened, both by the part some of them had taken in the
Gallic insurrections, and by the revolt of all against Rome, during the
first three or four years of the Christian Era. But those who inhabited
the region between the Weser and the Elbe, the chief of whom were the
Cherusci, were still powerful, and unsubdued in spirit.

While Augustus was occupied in putting down the insurrection in Dalmatia
and Pannonia, with a prospect, as it seemed, of having to fight the
Marcomanni afterwards, his representative in Germany was Quinctilius
Varus, a man of despotic and relentless character. Tiberius, in spite of
his later vices as Emperor, was prudent and conciliatory in his
conquests; but Varus soon turned the respect of the Germans for the
Roman power into the fiercest hate. He applied, in a more brutal form,
the same measures which had been forced upon the Gauls. He overturned,
at one blow, all the native forms of law, introduced heavy taxes, which
were collected by force, punished with shameful death crimes which the
people considered trivial, and decided all matters in Roman courts and
in a language which was not yet understood.

[Sidenote: 8 B. C.]

This violent and reckless policy, which Varus enforced with a hand of
iron, produced an effect the reverse of what he anticipated. The German
tribes with hardly an exception, determined to make another effort to
regain their independence; but they had been taught wisdom by seventy
years of conflict with the Roman power. Up to this time, each tribe had
acted for itself, without concert with its neighbors. They saw, now,
that no single tribe could cope successfully with Rome: it was necessary
that all should be united as one people: and they only waited until such
a union could be secretly established, before rising to throw off the
unendurable yoke which Varus had laid upon them.



(9--21 A. D.)

The Cherusci. --Hermann's Early Life. --His Return to Germany. --Enmity
    of Segestes. --Secret Union of the Tribes. --The Revolt.
    --Destruction of Varus and his Legions. --Terror in Rome. --The
    Battle-Field and Monument. --Dissensions. --First March of
    Germanicus. --Second March and Battle with Hermann. --Defeat of
    Cæcina. --Third Expedition of Germanicus. --Battles on the Weser.
    --His Retreat. --Views of Tiberius. --War between Hermann and
    Marbod. --Murder of Hermann. --His Character. --Tacitus.

[Sidenote: 9 A. D. HERMANN.]

The Cherusci, who inhabited a part of the land between the Weser and the
Elbe, including the Hartz Mountains, were the most powerful of the
tribes conquered by Tiberius. They had no permanent class of nobles, as
none of the early Germans seem to have had, but certain families were
distinguished for their abilities and their character, or the services
which they had rendered to their people in war. The head of one of these
Cheruscan families was Segimar, one of whose sons was named Hermann. The
latter entered the Roman service as a youth, distinguished himself by
his military talent, was made a Roman knight, and commanded one of the
legions which were employed by Augustus in suppressing the great
insurrection of the Dalmatians and Pannonians. It seems probable that he
visited Rome at the period of its highest power and splendor: it is
certain, at least, that he comprehended the political system by means of
which the Empire had become so great.

When Hermann returned to his people, he was a man of twenty-five and
already an experienced commander. He is described by the Latin writers
as a chief of fine personal presence, great strength, an animated
countenance and bright eyes. He was always self-possessed, quick in
action, yet never rash or heedless. He found the Cherusci and all the
neighboring tribes filled with hate of the Roman rule and burning to
revenge the injuries they had suffered. His first movement was to
organize a secret conspiracy among the tribes, which could be called
into action as soon as a fortunate opportunity should arrive. Varus was
then--A. D. 9--encamped near the Weser, in the land of the Saxons, with
an army of 40,000 men, the best of the Roman legions. Hermann was still
in the Roman service, and held a command under him. But among the other
Germans in the Roman camp was Segestes, a chief of the Cherusci, whose
daughter, Thusnelda, Hermann had stolen away from him and married.
Thusnelda was afterwards celebrated in the German legends as a
high-hearted, patriotic woman, who was devotedly attached to Hermann:
but her father, Segestes, became his bitterest enemy.

[Sidenote: 9 A. D.]

In engaging the different tribes to unite, Hermann had great
difficulties to overcome. They were not only jealous of each other,
remembering ancient quarrels between themselves, but many families in
each tribe were disposed to submit to Rome, being either hopeless of
succeeding or tempted by the chance of office and wealth under the Roman
Government. Hermann's own brother, Flavus, had become, and always
remained, a Roman; other members of his family were opposed to his
undertaking, and it seems that only his mother and his wife encouraged
him with their sympathy. Nevertheless, he formed his plans with as much
skill as boldness, while serving in the army of Varus and liable to be
betrayed at any moment. In fact he _was_ betrayed by his father-in-law,
Segestes, who became acquainted with the fact of a conspiracy and
communicated the news to the Roman general. But Varus, haughty and
self-confident, laughed at the story.

It was time to act; and, as no opportunity came Hermann created one. He
caused messengers to come to Varus, declaring that a dangerous
insurrection had broken out in the lands between him and the Rhine. This
was in the month of September, and Varus, believing the reports, broke
up his camp and set out to suppress the insurrection before the winter.
His nearest way led through the wooded, mountainous country along the
Weser, which is now called the Teutoburger Forest. According to one
account, Hermann was left behind to collect the auxiliary German troops,
and then, with them, rejoin his general. It is certain that he remained,
and instantly sent his messengers to all the tribes engaged in the
conspiracy, whose warriors came to him with all speed. In a few days he
had an army probably equal in numbers to that of Varus. In the meantime
the season had changed: violent autumn storms burst over the land, and
the Romans slowly advanced through the forests and mountain-passes, in
the wind and rain.


Hermann knew the ground and was able to choose the best point of attack.
With his army, hastily organized, he burst upon the legions of Varus,
who resisted him, the first day, with their accustomed valor. But the
attack was renewed the second day, and the endurance of the Roman troops
began to give way: they held their ground with difficulty, but exerted
themselves to the utmost, for there was now only one mountain ridge to
be passed. Beyond it lay the broad plains of Westphalia, with fortresses
and military roads, where they had better chances of defence. When the
third day dawned, the storm was fiercer than ever. The Roman army
crossed the summit of the last ridge and saw the securer plains before
them. They commenced descending the long slope, but, just as they
reached three steep, wooded ravines which were still to be traversed,
the Germans swept down upon them from the summits, like a torrent, with
shouts and far-sounding songs of battle.

A complete panic seized the exhausted and disheartened Roman troops, and
the fight soon became a slaughter. Varus, wounded, threw himself upon
his sword: the wooded passes, below, were occupied in advance by the
Germans, and hardly enough escaped to carry the news of the terrible
defeat to the Roman frontier on the Rhine. Those who escaped death were
sacrificed upon the altars of the gods, and the fiercest revenge was
visited upon the Roman judges, lawyers and civil officers, who had
trampled upon all the hallowed laws and customs of the people. The news
of this great German victory reached Rome in the midst of the rejoicings
over the suppression of the insurrection in Dalmatia and Pannonia, and
turned the triumph into mourning. The aged Augustus feared the overthrow
of his power. He was unable to comprehend such a sudden and terrible
disaster: he let his hair and beard grow for months, as a sign of his
trouble, and was often heard to cry aloud: "O, Varus, Varus, give me
back my legions!"

The location of the battle-field where Hermann defeated Varus has been
preserved by tradition. The long southern slope of the mountain, near
Detmold, now bare, but surrounded by forests, is called to this day the
_Winfield_. Around the summit of the mountain there is a ring of huge
stones, showing that it was originally consecrated to the worship of the
ancient pagan deities. Here a pedestal of granite, in the form of a
temple, has been built, and upon it has been placed a colossal statue of
Hermann in bronze, 90 feet high, and visible at a distance of fifty

[Sidenote: 14 A. D.]

Hermann's deeds were afterwards celebrated in the songs of his people,
as they have been in modern German literature; but, like many other
great men, the best results of his victory were cast away by the people
whom he had liberated. It was now possible to organize into a nation the
tribes which had united to overthrow the Romans, and such seems to have
been his intention. He sent the head of Varus to Marbod, Chief of the
Marcomanni, whose power he had secured by carrying out his original
design; but he failed to secure the friendship, or even the neutrality,
of the rival leader. At home his own family--bitterest among them all
his father-in-law, Segestes--opposed his plans, and the Cherusci were
soon divided into two parties,--that of the people, headed by Hermann,
and that of the nobility, headed by Segestes.

When Tiberius, therefore, hastily collected a new army and marched into
Germany the following year, he encountered no serious opposition. The
union of the tribes had been dissolved, and each avoided an encounter
with the Romans. The country was apparently subjugated for the second
time. The Emperor Augustus died, A. D. 14: Tiberius succeeded to the
purple, and the command in Germany then devolved upon his nephew,
Germanicus, the son of Drusus.

The new commander, however, was detained in Gaul by insubordination in
the army and signs of a revolt among the people, following the death of
Augustus, and he did not reach Germany until six years after the defeat
of Varus. His march was sudden and swift, and took the people by
surprise, for the apparent indifference of Rome had made them careless.
The Marsi were all assembled at one of their religious festivals,
unprepared for defence, in a consecrated pine forest, when Germanicus
fell upon them and slaughtered the greater number, after which he
destroyed the sacred trees. The news of this outrage roused the sluggish
spirit of all the neighboring tribes: they gathered together in such
numbers that Germanicus had much difficulty in fighting his way back to
the Rhine.


Hermann succeeded in escaping from his father-in-law, by whom he had
been captured and imprisoned, and began to form a new union of the
tribes. His first design was to release his wife, Thusnelda, from the
hands of Segestes, and then destroy the authority of the latter, who was
the head of the faction friendly to Rome. Germanicus re-entered Germany
the following summer, A. D. 15, with a powerful army, and to him
Segestes appealed for help against his own countrymen. The Romans
marched at once into the land of the Cherusci. After a few days they
reached the scene of the defeat of Varus, and there they halted to bury
the thousands of skeletons which lay wasting on the mountainside. Then
they met Segestes, who gave up his own daughter, Thusnelda, to
Germanicus, as a captive.

The loss of his wife roused Hermann to fury. He went hither and thither
among the tribes, stirring the hearts of all with his fiery addresses.
Germanicus soon perceived that a storm was gathering, and prepared to
meet it. He divided his army into two parts, one of which was commanded
by Cæcina, and built a large fleet which transported one-half of his
troops by sea and up the Weser. After joining Cæcina, he marched into
the Teutoburger Forest. Hermann met him near the scene of his great
victory over Varus, and a fierce battle was fought. According to the
Romans, neither side obtained any advantage over the other; but
Germanicus, with half the army, fell back upon his fleet and returned to
the Rhine by way of the North Sea.

Cæcina, with the remnant of his four legions, also retreated across the
country, pursued by Hermann. In the dark forests and on the marshy
plains they were exposed to constant assaults, and were obliged to fight
every step of the way. Finally, in a marshy valley, the site of which
cannot be discovered, the Germans suddenly attacked the Romans on all
sides. Hermann cried out to his soldiers: "It shall be another day of
Varus!" the songs of the women prophesied triumph, and the Romans were
filled with forebodings of defeat. They fought desperately, but were
forced to yield, and Hermann's words would have been made truth, had not
the Germans ceased fighting in order to plunder the camp of their
enemies. The latter were thus able to cut their way out of the valley
and hastily fortify themselves for the night on an adjoining plain.

[Sidenote: 15 A. D.]

The German chiefs held a council of war, and decided, against the
remonstrances of Hermann, to renew the attack at daybreak. This was
precisely what Cæcina expected; he knew what fate awaited them all if he
should fail, and arranged his weakened forces to meet the assault. They
fought with such desperation that the Germans were defeated, and Cæcina
was enabled, by forced marches, to reach the Rhine, whither the rumor of
the entire destruction of his army had preceded him. The voyage of
Germanicus was also unfortunate: he encountered a violent storm on the
coast of Holland, and two of his legions barely escaped destruction. He
had nothing to show, as the result of his campaign, except his captive
Thusnelda and her son, who walked behind his triumphal chariot, in Rome,
three years afterwards, and never again saw their native land; and his
ally, the traitor Segestes, who ended his contemptible life somewhere in
Gaul, under Roman protection.

Germanicus, nevertheless, determined not to rest until he had completed
the subjugation of the country as far as the Elbe. By employing all the
means at his command he raised a new army of eight legions, with a great
body of cavalry, and a number of auxiliary troops, formed of Gauls,
Rhætians, and even of Germans. He collected a fleet of more than a
thousand vessels, and transported his army to the mouth of the Ems,
where he landed and commenced the campaign. The Chauci, living near the
sea, submitted at once, and some of the neighboring tribes were disposed
to follow their example; but Hermann, with a large force of the united
Germans, waited for the Romans among the mountains of the Weser.
Germanicus entered the mountains by a gorge, near where the city of
Minden now stands, and the two armies faced each other, separated only
by the river. The legends state that Hermann and his brother Flavus, who
was still in the service of Germanicus, held an angry conversation from
the opposite shores, and the latter became so exasperated that he
endeavored to cross on horseback and attack Hermann.

Germanicus first sent his cavalry across the Weser, and then built a
bridge, over which his whole army crossed. The Romans and Germans then
met in battle, upon a narrow place between the river and some wooded
hills, called the Meadow of the Elves. The fight was long and bloody:
Hermann himself, severely wounded, was at one time almost in the hands
of the Romans. It is said that his face was so covered with blood that
he was only recognized by some of the German soldiers on the Roman side,
who purposely allowed him to escape. The superior military skill of
Germanicus, and the discipline of his troops, won the day: the Germans
retreated, beaten but not yet subdued.

[Sidenote: 16 A. D. END OF THE INVASION.]

In a short time the latter were so far recruited that they brought on a
second battle. On account of his wounds, Hermann was unable to command
in person, but his uncle, Ingiomar, who took his place, imitated his
boldness and bravery. The fight was even more fierce than the first had
been, and the Romans, at one time, were only prevented from giving way
by Germanicus placing himself at their head, in the thick of the battle.
It appears that both sides held their ground at the close, and their
losses were probably equally great, so that neither was in a condition
to continue the struggle.

Germanicus erected a monument on the banks of the Weser, claiming that
he had conquered Germany to the Elbe; but before the end of the summer
of the year 16 he re-embarked with his army, without leaving any tokens
of Roman authority behind him. A terrible storm on the North Sea so
scattered his fleet that many vessels were driven to the English coast:
his own ship was in such danger that he landed among the Chauci and
returned across the country to the Rhine. The autumn was far advanced
before the scattered remnants of his great army could be collected and
reorganized: then, in spite of the lateness of the season, he made a new
invasion into the lands of the Chatti, or Hessians, in order to show
that he was still powerful.

Germanicus was a man of great ambition and of astonishing energy. As
Julius Cæsar had made Gaul Roman, so he determined to make Germany
Roman. He began his preparations for another expedition the following
summer; but the Emperor Tiberius, jealous of his increasing renown,
recalled him to Rome, saying that it was better to let the German tribes
exhaust themselves in their own internal discords, than to waste so many
of the best legions in subduing them. Germanicus obeyed, returned to
Rome, had his grand triumph, and was then sent to the East, where he
shortly afterwards died, it was supposed by poison.

[Sidenote: 19 A. D.]

The words of the shrewd Emperor were true: two rival powers had been
developed in Germany through the resistance to Rome, and they soon came
into conflict. Marbod, Chief of the Marcomanni and many allied tribes,
had maintained his position without war; but Hermann, now the recognized
head of the Cherusci and their confederates, who had destroyed Varus and
held Germanicus at bay, possessed a popularity, founded on his heroism,
which spread far and wide through the German land. Even at that early
day, the small chiefs in each tribe (corresponding to the later
nobility) were opposed to the broad, patriotic union which Hermann had
established, because it weakened their power and increased that of the
people. They were also jealous of his great authority and influence, and
even his uncle, Ingiomar, who had led so bravely the last battle against
Germanicus, went over to the side of Marbod when it became evident that
the rivalry of the two chiefs must lead to war.

Our account of these events is obscure and imperfect. On the one side,
it seems that Marbod's neutrality was a ground of complaint with
Hermann; while Marbod declared that the latter had no right to draw the
Semnones and Longobards--at first allied with the Marcomanni--into union
with the Cherusci against Rome. In the year 19 the two marched against
each other, and a great battle took place. Although neither was
victorious, the popularity of Hermann drew so many of Marbod's allies to
his side, that the latter fled to Italy and claimed the protection of
Tiberius, who assigned to him Ravenna as a residence. He died there in
the year 37, at a very advanced age. A Goth, named Catwalda, assisted by
Roman influence, became his successor as chief of the Marcomanni.

[Sidenote: 21 A. D. DEATH OF HERMANN.]

After the flight of Marbod, Hermann seems to have devoted himself to the
creation of a permanent union of the tribes which he had commanded. We
may guess, but can not assert, that his object was to establish a
national organization, like that of Rome, and in doing this, he must
have come into conflict with laws and customs which were considered
sacred by the people. But his remaining days were too few for even the
beginning of a task which included such an advance in the civilization
of the race. We only know that he was waylaid and assassinated by
members of his own family in the year 21. He was then thirty-seven years
old, and had been for thirteen years a leader of his people. The best
monument to his ability and heroism may be found in the words of a
Roman, the historian Tacitus; who says: "He was undoubtedly the
liberator of Germany, having dared to grapple with the Roman power, not
in its beginnings, like other kings and commanders, but in the maturity
of its strength. He was not always victorious in battle, but in _war_ he
was never subdued. He still lives in the songs of the Barbarians,
unknown to the annals of the Greeks, who only admire that which belongs
to themselves--nor celebrated as he deserves by the Romans, who, in
praising the olden times, neglect the events of the later years."



(21--300 A. D.)

Truce between the Germans and Romans. --The Cherusci cease to exist.
    --Incursions of the Chauci and Chatti. --Insurrection of the Gauls.
    --Conquests of Cerealis. --The Roman Boundary. --German Legions
    under Rome. --The _Agri Decumates_. --Influence of Roman
    Civilization. --Commerce. --Changes among the Germans. --War
    against Marcus Aurelius. --Decline of the Roman Power. --Union of
    the Germans in Separate Nationalities. --The Alemanni. --The
    Franks. --The Saxons. --The Goths. --The Thuringians. --The
    Burgundians. --Wars with Rome in the Third Century. --The Emperor
    Probus and his Policy. --Constantine. --Relative Position of the
    two Races.

[Sidenote: 50.]

After the campaigns of Germanicus and the death of Hermann, a long time
elapsed during which the relation of Germany to the Roman Empire might
be called a truce. No serious attempt was made by the unworthy
successors of Augustus to extend their sway beyond the banks of the
Rhine and the Danube; and, as Tiberius had predicted, the German tribes
were so weakened by their own civil wars that they were unable to cope
with such a power as Rome. Even the Cherusci, Hermann's own people,
became so diminished in numbers that, before the end of the first
century, they ceased to exist as a separate tribe: their fragments were
divided and incorporated with their neighbors on either side. Another
tribe, the Ampsivarii, was destroyed in a war with the Chauci, and even
the power of the fierce Chatti was broken by a great victory of the
Hermunduri over them, in a quarrel concerning the possession of a sacred

About the middle of the first century, however, an event is mentioned
which shows that the Germans were beginning to appreciate and imitate
the superior civilization of Rome. The Chauci, dwelling on the shores of
the North Sea, built a fleet and sailed along the coast to the mouth of
the Rhine, which they entered in the hope of exciting the Batavi and
Frisii to rebellion. A few years afterwards the Chatti, probably for
the sake of plunder, crossed the Rhine and invaded part of Gaul. Both
attempts failed entirely; and the only serious movement of the Germans
against Rome, during the century, took place while Vitellius and
Vespasian were contending for the possession of the imperial throne. A
German prophetess, of the name of Velleda, whose influence seems to have
extended over all the tribes, promised them victory: they united,
organized their forces, crossed the Rhine, and even laid siege to
Mayence, the principal Roman city.


The success of Vespasian over his rival left him free to meet this new
danger. But in the meantime the Batavi, under their chief, Claudius
Civilis, who had been previously fighting on the new Emperor's side,
joined the Gauls in a general insurrection. This was so successful that
all northern Gaul, from the Atlantic to the Rhine, threw off the Roman
yoke. A convention of the chiefs was held at Rheims, in order to found a
Gallic kingdom; but instead of adopting measures of defence, they
quarrelled about the selection of a ruling family, the future capital of
the kingdom, and other matters of small comparative importance.

The approach of Cerealis, the Roman general sent by Vespasian with a
powerful army in the year 70, put an end to the Gallic insurrection.
Most of the Gallic tribes submitted without resistance: the Treviri, on
the Moselle, were defeated in battle, the cities and fortresses on the
western bank of the Rhine were retaken, and the Roman frontier was
re-established. Nevertheless, the German tribes which had been allied
with the Gauls--among them the Batavi--refused to submit, and they were
strong enough to fight two bloody battles, in which Cerealis was only
saved from defeat by what the Romans considered to be the direct
interposition of the gods. The Batavi, although finally subdued in their
home in Holland, succeeded in getting possession of the Roman admiral's
vessel, by a night attack on his fleet on the Rhine. This trophy they
sent by way of the river Lippe, an eastern branch of the Rhine, as a
present to the great prophetess, Velleda.

The defeat of the German tribes by Cerealis was not followed by a new
Roman invasion of their territory. The Rhine remained the boundary,
although the Romans crossed the river at various points and built
fortresses upon the eastern bank. They appear, in like manner, to have
crossed the Danube, and they also gradually acquired possession of the
south-western corner of Germany, lying between the head-waters of that
river and the Rhine. This region (now occupied by Baden and part of
Würtemberg) had been deserted by the Marcomanni when they marched to
Bohemia, and it does not appear that any other German tribe attempted to
take permanent possession of it. Its first occupants, the Helvetians,
were now settled in Switzerland.

[Sidenote: 100.]

The enlisting of Germans to serve as soldiers in the Roman army, begun
by Julius Cæsar, was continued by the Emperors. The proofs of their
heroism, which the Germans had given in resisting Germanicus, made them
desirable as troops; and, since they were accustomed to fight with their
neighbors at home, they had no scruples in fighting them under the
banner of Rome. Thus one German legion after another was formed, taken
to Rome, Spain, Greece or the East, and its veterans, if they returned
home when disabled by age or wounds, carried with them stories of the
civilized world, of cities, palaces and temples, of agriculture and the
arts, of a civil and political system far wiser and stronger than their

The series of good Emperors, from Vespasian to Marcus Aurelius (A. D. 70
to 181) formed military colonies of their veteran soldiers, whether
German, Gallic or Roman, in the region originally inhabited by the
Marcomanni. They were governed by Roman laws, and they paid a tithe, or
tenth part, of their revenues to the Empire, whence this district was
called the _Agri Decumates_, or Tithe-Lands. As it had no definite
boundary towards the north and north-east, the settlements gradually
extended to the Main, and at last included a triangular strip of
territory extending from that river to the Rhine at Cologne. By this
time the Romans had built, in their provinces of Rhætia, Noricum and
Pannonia, south of the Danube, the cities of Augusta Vindelicorum, now
Augsburg, and Vindobona, now Vienna, with another on the north bank of
the Danube, where Ratisbon stands at present.

From the last-named point to the Rhine at Cologne they built a stockade,
protected by a deep ditch, to keep off the independent German tribes,
even as they had built a wall across the north of England, to keep off
the Picts and Scots. Traces of this line of defence are still to be
seen. Another and shorter line, connecting the head-waters of the Main
with the Lake of Constance, protected the territory on the east. Their
frontier remained thus clearly defined for nearly two hundred years. On
their side of the line they built fortresses and cities, which they
connected by good highways, they introduced a better system of
agriculture, established commercial intercourse, not only between their
own provinces but also with the independent tribes, and thus extended
the influence of their civilization. For the first time, fruit-trees
were planted on German soil: the rich cloths and ornaments of Italy and
the East, the arms and armor, the gold and silver, and the wines of the
South, soon found a market within the German territory; while the horses
and cattle, furs and down, smoked beef and honey of the Germans, the
fish of their streams, and the radishes and asparagus raised on the
Rhine, were sent to Rome in exchange for those luxuries. Wherever the
Romans discovered a healing spring, as at Baden-Baden, Aix-la-Chapelle
and Spa, they built splendid baths; where they found ores or marble in
the mountains, they established mines or hewed columns for their
temples, and the native tribes were thus taught the unsuspected riches
of their own land.

[Sidenote: 150. THE ROMAN FRONTIER.]

For nearly a hundred years after Vespasian's accession to the throne,
there was no serious interruption to the peaceful intercourse of the two
races. During this time, we must take it for granted that a gradual
change must have been growing up in the habits and ideas of the Germans.
It is probable that they then began to collect in villages; to use stone
as well as wood in building their houses and fortresses; to depend more
on agriculture and less on hunting and fishing for their subsistence;
and to desire the mechanical skill, the arts of civilization, which the
Romans possessed. The extinction of many smaller tribes, also, taught
them the necessity of learning to subdue their internal feuds, and
assist instead of destroying each other. On the north of them was the
sea; on the east the Sarmatians and other Slavonic tribes, much more
savage than themselves: in every other direction they were confronted by
Rome. The complete subjugation of their Celtic neighbors in Gaul was
always before their eyes. In Hermann's day, they were still too ignorant
to understand the necessity of his plan of union; but now that tens of
thousands of their people had learned the extent and power of the Roman
Empire, and the commercial intercourse of a hundred years had shown them
their own deficiencies, they reached the point where a new development
in their history became possible.

[Sidenote: 166.]

Such a development came to disturb the reign of the noble Emperor,
Marcus Aurelius, in the latter half of the second century. About the
year 166, all the German tribes, from the Danube to the Baltic, united
in a grand movement against the Roman Empire. The Marcomanni, who still
inhabited Bohemia, appear as their leaders, and the Roman writers attach
their name to the long and desperate war which ensued. We have no
knowledge of the cause of this struggle, the manner in which the union
of the Germans was effected, or even the names of their leaders: we only
know that their invasion of the Roman territory was several times driven
back and several times recommenced; that Marcus Aurelius died in Vienna,
in 181, without having seen the end; and that his son and successor,
Commodus, bought a peace instead of winning it by the sword. At one
time, during the war, the Chatti forced their way through the
Tithe-Lands and Switzerland, and crossed the Alps: at another, the
Marcomanni and Quadi besieged the city of Aquileia, on the northern
shore of the Adriatic.

The ancient boundary between the Roman Empire and Germany was restored,
but at a cost which the former could not pay a second time. For a
hundred and fifty years longer the Emperors preserved their territory:
Rome still ruled, in name, from Spain to the Tigris, from Scotland to
the Desert of Sahara, but her power was like a vast, hollow shell.
Luxury, vice, taxation and continual war had eaten out the heart of the
Empire; Italy had grown weak and was slowly losing its population, and
the same causes were gradually ruining Spain, Gaul and Britain. During
this period the German tribes, notwithstanding their terrible losses in
war, had preserved their vigor by the simplicity, activity and morality
of their habits: they had considerably increased in numbers, and from
the time of Marcus Aurelius on, they felt themselves secure against any
further invasion of their territory.

Then commenced a series of internal changes, concerning which,
unfortunately, we have no history. We can only guess that their origin
dates from the union of all the principal tribes under the lead of the
Marcomanni; but whether they were brought about with or without internal
wars; whether wise and far-seeing chiefs or the sentiment of the people
themselves, contributed most to their consummation; finally, when these
changes began and when they were completed--are questions which can
never be accurately settled.

[Sidenote: 250--300. GERMAN NATIONALITIES.]

When the Germans again appear in history, in the third century of our
era, we are surprised to find that the names of nearly all the tribes
with which we are familiar have disappeared, and new names, of much
wider significance, have taken their places. Instead of twenty or thirty
small divisions, we now find the race consolidated into four chief
nationalities, with two other inferior though independent branches. We
also find that the geographical situation of the latter is no longer the
same as that of the smaller tribes out of which they grew. Migrations
must have taken place, large tracts of territory must have changed
hands, many reigning families must have been overthrown, and new ones
arisen. In short, the change in the organization of the Germans is so
complete that it can hardly have been accomplished by peaceable means.
Each of the new nationalities has an important part to play in the
history of the following centuries, and we will therefore describe them

1. THE ALEMANNI.--The name of this division (_Allemannen_,[A] signifying
"all men") shows that it was composed of fragments of many tribes. The
Alemanni first made their appearance along the Main, and gradually
pushed southward over the Tithe-Lands, where the military veterans of
Rome had settled, until they occupied the greater part of South-western
Germany, and Eastern Switzerland, to the Alps. Their descendants inhabit
the same territory, to this day.

[A] _Allemagne_ remains the French name for Germany.

2. THE FRANKS.--It is not known whence this name was derived, nor what
is its meaning. The Franks are believed to have been formed out of the
Sicambrians in Westphalia, together with a portion of the Chatti and the
Batavi in Holland, and other tribes. We first hear of them on the lower
Rhine, but they soon extended their territory over a great part of
Belgium and Westphalia. Their chiefs were already called kings, and
their authority was hereditary.

3. THE SAXONS.--This was one of the small original tribes, settled in
Holstein: the name is derived from their peculiar weapon, a short sword,
called _sahs_. We find them now occupying nearly all the territory
between the Hartz Mountains and the North Sea, from the Elbe westward
to the Rhine. The Cherusci, the Chauci, and other tribes named by
Tacitus, were evidently incorporated with the Saxons, who exhibit the
same characteristics. There appears to have been a natural enmity--no
doubt bequeathed from the earlier tribes out of which both grew--between
them and the Franks.

[Sidenote: 250--300.]

4. THE GOTHS.--The traditions of the Goths state that they were settled
in Sweden before they were found by the Greek navigators on the southern
shore of the Baltic, in 330 B. C. It is probable that only a portion of
the tribe migrated, and that the present Scandinavian race is descended
from the remainder. As the Baltic Goths increased in numbers, they
gradually ascended the Vistula, pressed eastward along the base of the
Carpathians and reached the Black Sea, in the course of the second
century after Christ. They thus possessed a broad belt of territory,
separating the rest of Europe from the wilder Slavonic races who
occupied Central Russia. The Vandals and Alans, with the Heruli, Rugii
and other smaller tribes, all Germanic, as well as a portion of the
Slavonic Sarmatians, were incorporated with them; and it was probably
the great extent of territory they controlled which occasioned their
separation into Ostrogoths (East-Goths) and Visigoths (West-Goths). They
first came in contact with the Romans, beyond the mouth of the Danube,
about the beginning of the third century.

5. THE THURINGIANS.--This branch had only a short national existence. It
was composed of the Hermunduri, with fragments of other tribes, united
under one king, and occupied all of Central Germany, from the Hartz
southward to the Danube.

6. THE BURGUNDIANS.--Leaving their original home in Prussia, between the
Oder and the Vistula, the Burgundians crossed the greater part of
Germany in a south-western direction, and first settled in a portion of
what is now Franconia, between the Thuringians and the Alemanni. Not
long afterwards, however, they passed through the latter, and took
possession of the country on the west bank of the Rhine, between
Strasburg and Mayence.


Caracalla came into collision with the Alemanni in the year 213, and the
Emperor Maximin, who was a Goth on his father's side, laid waste their
territory, in 236. About the latter period, the Franks began to make
predatory incursions into Gaul, and the Goths became troublesome to the
Romans, on the lower Danube. In 251 the Emperor Decius found his death
among the marshes of Dacia, while trying to stay the Gothic invasion,
and his successor, Gallus, only obtained a temporary peace by agreeing
to pay an annual sum of money, thus really making Rome a tributary
power. But the Empire had become impoverished, and the payment soon
ceased. Thereupon the Goths built fleets, and made voyages of plunder,
first to Trebizond and the other towns on the Asiatic shore of the Black
Sea; then they passed the Hellespont, took and plundered the great city
of Nicomedia, Ephesus with its famous temple, the Grecian isles, and
even Corinth, Argos and Athens. In the meantime the Alemanni had resumed
the offensive: they came through Rhætiæ, and descended to the Garda
lake, in Northern Italy.

The Emperor, Claudius II., turned back this double invasion. He defeated
and drove back the Alemanni, and then, in the year 270, won a great
victory over the Goths, in the neighborhood of Thessalonica. His
successor, Aurelian, followed up the advantage, and in the following
year made a treaty with the Goths, by which the Danube became the
frontier between them and the Romans. The latter gave up to them the
province of Dacia, lying north of the river, and withdrew their
colonists and military garrisons to the southern side.

Both the Franks and Saxons profited by these events. They let their
mutual hostility rest for awhile, built fleets, and sailed forth in the
West on voyages of plunder, like their relatives, the Goths, in the
East. The Saxons descended on the coasts of Britain and Gaul; the Franks
sailed to Spain, and are said to have even entered the Mediterranean.
When Probus became Emperor, in the year 276, he found a great part of
Gaul overrun and ravaged by them and by the Alemanni, on the Upper
Rhine. He succeeded, after a hard struggle, in driving back the German
invaders, restored the line of stockade from the Rhine to the Danube,
and built new fortresses along the frontier. On the other hand, he
introduced into Germany the cultivation of the vine, which the previous
Emperors had not permitted, and thus laid the foundation of the famous
vineyards of the Rhine and the Moselle.

[Sidenote: 300.]

Probus endeavored to weaken the power of the Germans, by separating and
colonizing them, wherever it was possible. One of his experiments,
however, had a very different result from what he expected. He
transported a large number of Frank captives to the shore of the Black
Sea; but, instead of quietly settling there, they got possession of some
vessels, soon formed a large fleet, sailed into the Mediterranean,
plundered the coasts of Asia Minor, Greece and Sicily, where they even
captured the city of Syracuse, and at last, after many losses and
marvellous adventures, made their way by sea to their homes on the Lower

Towards the close of the third century, Constantine, during the reign of
his father, Constantius, suppressed an insurrection of the Franks, and
even for a time drove them from their islands on the coast of Holland.
He afterward crossed the Rhine, but found it expedient not to attempt an
expedition into the interior. He appears to have had no war with the
Alemanni, but he founded the city of Constance, on the lake of the same
name, for the purpose of keeping them in check.

The boundaries between Germany and Rome still remained the Rhine and the
Danube, but on the east they were extended to the Black Sea, and in
place of the invasions of Cæsar, Drusus and Germanicus, the Empire was
obliged to be content when it succeeded in repelling the invasions made
upon its own soil. Three hundred years of very slow, but healthy growth
on the one side, and of luxury, corruption and despotism on the other,
had thus changed the relative position of the two races.




Rise of the Goths. --German Invasions of Gaul. --Victories of Julian.
    --The Ostrogoths and Visigoths. --Bishop Ulfila. --The Gothic
    Language. --The Gothic King, Athanaric. --The Coming of the Huns.
    --Death of Hermanric. --The Goths take refuge in Thrace. --Their
    Revolt. --Defeat of Valens. --The Goths under Theodosius. --The
    Franks and Goths meet in Battle. --Alaric, the Visigoth. --He
    invades Greece. --Battle with Stilicho. --Alaric besieges Rome.
    --He enters Rome, A. D. 410. --His Death and Burial. --Succession
    of Ataulf. --The Visigoths settle in Southern Gaul. --Beginning of
    other Migrations.

[Sidenote: 325. RISE OF THE GOTHS.]

Rome, as the representative of the civilization of the world, and, after
the year 313, as the political power which left Christianity free to
overthrow the ancient religions, is still the central point of
historical interest during the greater part of the fourth century. Until
the death of the Emperor Valentinian, in 375, the ancient boundaries of
the Empire, though frequently broken down, were continually
re-established, and the laws and institutions of the Romans had
prevailed so long throughout the great extent of conquered territory
that the inhabitants now knew no other.

But beyond the Danube had arisen a new power, the independence of which,
after the time of Aurelian, was never disputed by the Roman Emperors.
The Goths were the first of the Germanic tribes to adopt a monarchical
form of government, and to acquire some degree of civilization. They
were numerous and well organized; and Constantine, who was more of a
diplomatist than a general, found it better to preserve peace with them
for forty years, by presents and payments, than to provoke them to war.
His best soldiers were enlisted among them, and it was principally the
valor of his Gothic troops which enabled him to defeat the rival
emperor, Licinius, in 325. From that time, 40,000 Goths formed the main
strength of his army.

[Sidenote: 350.]

The important part which these people played in the history of Europe
renders it necessary that we should now sketch their rise and growth as
a nation. First, however, let us turn to Western and Northern Germany,
where the development of the new nationalities was longer delayed, and
describe the last of their struggles with the power of Rome, during the
fourth century.

After the death of Constantine, in 337, the quarrels of his sons and
brothers for the Imperial throne gave the Germans a new opportunity to
repeat their invasions of Gaul. The Franks were the first to take
advantage of it: they got possession of Belgium, which was not
afterwards retaken. The Alemanni followed, and planted themselves on the
western bank of the Rhine, which they held, although Strasburg and other
fortified cities still belonged to the Romans. About the year 350, a
Frank or Saxon, of the name of Magnentius, was proclaimed Emperor by a
part of the Roman army. He was defeated by the true Emperor, Constantius
II., but the victory seems to have exhausted the military resources of
the latter, for immediately afterwards another German invasion occurred.

This time, the Franks took and pillaged Cologne, the Alemanni destroyed
Strasburg and Mayence, and the Saxons, who had now become a sea-faring
people, visited the northwestern coasts of Gaul. Constantius II. gave
the command to his nephew, Julian (afterwards, as Emperor, called the
Apostate), who first retook Cologne from the Franks, and then turned his
forces against the Alemanni. The king of the latter, Chnodomar, had
collected a large army, with which he encountered Julian on the banks of
the Rhine, near Strasburg. The battle which ensued was fiercely
contested; but Julian was completely victorious. Chnodomar was taken
prisoner, and only a few of his troops escaped, like those of
Ariovistus, 400 years before, by swimming across the Rhine. Although the
season was far advanced, Julian followed them, crossed their territory
to the Main, rebuilt the destroyed Roman fortresses, and finally
accepted an armistice of ten months which they offered to him.

He made use of this time to intimidate the Franks and Saxons. Starting
from Lutetia (now Paris) early in the summer of 358, he drove the Franks
beyond the Schelde, received their submission, and then marched a second
time against the Alemanni. He laid waste their well-settled and
cultivated land between the Rhine, the Main and the Neckar, crossed
their territory to the frontiers of the Burgundians (in what is now
Franconia, or Northern Bavaria), liberated 20,000 Roman captives, and
made the entire Alemannic people tributary to the Empire. His accession
to the imperial throne, in 360, delivered the Germans from the most
dangerous and dreaded enemy they had known since the time of Germanicus.

[Sidenote: 375. TERRITORY OF THE GOTHS.]

Not many years elapsed before the Franks and Alemanni again overran the
old boundaries, and the Saxons landed on the shores of England. The
Emperor Valentinian employed both diplomacy and force, and succeeded in
establishing a temporary peace; but after his death, in the year 375,
the Roman Empire, the capital of which had been removed to
Constantinople in 330, was never again in a condition to maintain its
supremacy in Gaul, or to prevent the Germans from crossing the Rhine.

We now return to the Goths, who already occupied the broad territory
included in Poland, Southern Russia, and Roumania. The river Dniester
may be taken as the probable boundary between the two kingdoms into
which they had separated. The Ostrogoths, under their aged king,
Hermanric, extended from that river eastward nearly to the Caspian Sea:
on the north they had no fixed boundary, but they must have reached to
the latitude of Moscow. The Visigoths stretched westward from the
Dniester to the Danube, and northward from Hungary to the Baltic Sea.
The Vandals were for some generations allied with the latter, but war
having arisen between them, the Emperor Constantine interposed. He
succeeded in effecting a separation of the two, and in settling the
Vandals in Hungary, where they remained for forty years under the
protection of the Roman Empire.

From the time of their first encounter with the Romans, in Dacia, during
the third century, the Goths appear to have made rapid advances in their
political organization and the arts of civilized life. They were the
first of the Germanic nations who accepted Christianity. On one of their
piratical expeditions to the shores of Asia Minor, they brought away as
captive a Christian boy. They named him Ulfila, and by that name he is
still known to the world. He devoted his life to the overthrow of their
pagan faith, and succeeded. He translated the Bible into their language,
and, it is supposed, even invented a Gothic alphabet, since it is
doubtful whether they already possessed one. A part of Ulfila's
translation of the New Testament escaped destruction, and is now
preserved in the library at Upsala, in Sweden. It is the only specimen,
in existence of the Gothic language at that early day. From it we learn
how rich and refined was that language, and how many of the elements of
the German and English tongues it contained. The following are the
opening words of the Lord's Prayer, as Ulfila wrote them between the
years 350 and 370 of our era:

  GOTHIC.   _Atta unsara,   thu in himinam,   veihnai       namo thein._
  ENGLISH.  Father our,     thou in  heaven,  be hallowed   name thine.
  GERMAN.   Vater unser,    du  im  Himmel,   geweiht werde Name dein.

  GOTHIC.   _quimai Thiudinassus  Theins, vairthai  vilja  theins,_
  ENGLISH.     come    Kingdom     thine,  be done  will   thine,
  GERMAN.    komme    Herrschaft   dein,    werde   Wille  dein,

  GOTHIC.    _sve in himina, jah  ana airthai._
  ENGLISH.     as in heaven,   also on  earth.
  GERMAN.     wie im Himmel,   auch auf Erden.

[Sidenote: 350.]

Ulfila was born in 318, became a bishop of the Christian Church, spent
his whole life in teaching the Goths, and died in Constantinople, in the
year 378. There is no evidence that he, or any other of the Christian
missionaries of his time, were persecuted, or even seriously hindered in
the good work, by the Goths: the latter seem to have adopted the new
faith readily, and the Arian creed which Ulfila taught, although
rejected by the Church of Rome, was stubbornly held by their descendants
for a period of nearly five hundred years.

Somewhere between 360 and 370, the long peace between the Romans and the
Goths was disturbed; but the Emperor Valens and the Gothic king,
Athanaric, had a conference on board a vessel on the Danube, and came to
an understanding. Athanaric refused to cross the river, on account of a
vow made on some former occasion. The Goths, it appears, were by this
time learning the art of statesmanship, and they might have continued on
good terms with the Romans, but for the sudden appearance on the scene
of an entirely new race, coming, as they themselves had come so many
centuries before, from the unknown regions of Central Asia.

[Sidenote: 375. COMING OF THE HUNS.]

In 375, the year of Valentinian's death, a race of people up to that
time unknown, and whose name--the Huns--had never before been heard,
crossed the Volga and invaded the territory of the Ostrogoths. Later
researches render it probable that they came from the steppes of
Mongolia, and that they belonged to the Tartar family; but, in the
course of their wanderings, before reaching Europe, they had not only
lost all the traditions of their former history, but even their
religious faith. Their very appearance struck terror into the Goths, who
were so much further advanced in civilization. They were short, clumsy
figures, with broad and hideously ugly faces, flat noses, oblique eyes
and long black hair, and were clothed in skins which they wore until
they dropped in rags from their bodies. But they were marvellous
horsemen, and very skilful in using the bow and lance. The men were on
their horses' backs from morning till night, while the women and
children followed their march in rude carts. They came in such immense
numbers, and showed so much savage daring and bravery, that several
smaller tribes, allied with the Ostrogoths, or subject to them, went
over immediately to the Huns.

The kingdom of the Ostrogoths, almost without offering resistance, fell
to pieces. The king, Hermanric, now more than a hundred years old, threw
himself upon his sword, at their approach: his successor, Vitimer, gave
battle, but lost the victory and his life at the same time. The great
body of the people retreated westward before the Huns, who, following
them, reached the Dnieper. Here Athanaric, king of the Visigoths, was
posted with a large army, to dispute their passage; but the Huns
succeeded in finding a fording-place which was left unguarded, turned
his flank, and defeated him with great slaughter. Nothing now remained
but for both branches of the Gothic people, united in misfortune, to
retreat to the Danube.

Athanaric took refuge among the mountains of Transylvania, and the
Bishop Ulfila was dispatched to Constantinople to ask the assistance of
the Emperor Valens, who was entreated to permit that the Goths,
meanwhile, might cross the Danube and find a refuge on Roman territory.
Valens yielded to the entreaty, but attached very hard conditions to his
permission: the Goths were allowed to cross unarmed, after giving up
their wives and children as hostages. In their fear of the Huns, they
were obliged to accept these conditions, and hundreds of thousands
thronged across the Danube. They soon exhausted the supplies of the
region, and then began to suffer famine, of which the Roman officers and
traders took advantage, demanding their children as slaves in return for
the cats and dogs which they gave to the Goths as food.

[Sidenote: 376.]

This treatment brought about its own revenge. Driven to desperation by
hunger and the outrages inflicted upon them, the Goths secretly procured
arms, rose, and made themselves masters of the country. The Roman
governor marched against them, but their Chief, Fridigern, defeated him
and utterly destroyed his army. The news of this event induced large
numbers of Gothic soldiers to desert from the imperial army, and join
their countrymen. Fridigern, thus strengthened, commenced a war of
revenge: he crossed the Balkan, laid waste all Thrace, Macedonia and
Thessaly, and settled his own people in the most fertile parts of the
plundered provinces. The Ostrogoths had crossed the Danube at the first
report of his success, and had taken part in his conquests.

Towards the end of the year 377, the Emperor Valens raised a large army
and marched against Fridigern. A battle was fought at the foot of the
Balkan, and a second, the following year, before the walls of
Adrianople. In both the Goths were victorious: in the latter two-thirds
of the Roman troops fell, Valens himself, doubtless, among them,--for he
was never seen or heard of after that day. His nephew, Gratian,
succeeded to the throne, but associated with him Theodosius, a young
Spaniard of great ability, as Emperor of the East. While Gratian marched
to Gaul, to stay the increasing inroads of the Franks, Theodosius was
left to deal with the Goths, who were beginning to cultivate the fields
of Thrace, as if they meant to stay there.

He was obliged to confirm them in the possession of the greater part of
the country. They were called allies of the Empire, were obliged to
furnish a certain number of soldiers, but retained their own kings, and
were governed by their own laws. After the death of Fridigern,
Theodosius invited Athanaric to visit him. The latter, considering
himself now absolved from his vow not to cross the Danube, accepted the
invitation, and was received in Constantinople on the footing of an
equal by Theodosius. He died a few weeks after his arrival, and the
Emperor walked behind his bier, in the funeral procession. For several
years the relations between the two powers continued peaceful and
friendly. Both branches of the Goths were settled together, south of the
Danube, their relinquished territory north of that river being occupied
by the Huns, who were still pressing westward.


In Italy, Valentinian II. succeeded his brother Gratian. His chief
minister was a Frank, named Arbogast, who, learning that he was to be
dismissed from his place, had the young Valentinian assassinated, and
set up a new Emperor, Eugene, in his stead. This act brought him into
direct conflict with Theodosius. Arbogast called upon his countrymen,
the Franks, who sent a large body of troops to his assistance, while
Theodosius strengthened his army with 20,000 Gothic soldiers. Then, for
the first time, Frank and Goth--West-German and East-German--faced each
other as enemies. The Gothic auxiliaries of Theodosius were commanded by
two leaders, Alaric and Stilicho, already distinguished among their
people, and destined to play a remarkable part in the history of Europe.
The battle between the two armies was fought near Aquileia, in the year
394. The sham Emperor, Eugene, was captured and beheaded, Arbogast threw
himself upon his sword, and Theodosius was master of the West.

The Emperor, however, lived but a few months to enjoy his single rule.
He died at Milan, in 395, after having divided the government of the
Empire between his two sons. Honorius, the elder, was sent to Rome, with
the Gothic chieftain, Stilicho, as his minister and guardian; while the
boy Arcadius, at Constantinople, was intrusted to the care of a Gaul,
named Rufinus. Alaric, perhaps a personal enemy of the latter, perhaps
jealous of the elevation of Stilicho to such an important place, refused
to submit to the new government. He collected a large body of his
countrymen, and set out on a campaign of plunder through Greece. Every
ancient city, except Thebes, fell into his hands, and only Athens was
allowed to buy her exemption from pillage.

The Gaul, Rufinus, took no steps to arrest this devastation; wherefore,
it is said, he was murdered at the instigation of Stilicho, who then
sent a fleet against Alaric. This undertaking was not entirely
successful, and the government of Constantinople finally purchased peace
by making Alaric the Imperial Legate in Illyria. In the year 403, he was
sent to Italy, as the representative of the Emperor Arcadius, to
overthrow the power of his former fellow-chieftain, Stilicho, who ruled
in the name of Honorius. His approach, with a large army, threw the
whole country into terror. Honorius shut himself up within the walls of
Ravenna, while Stilicho called the legions from Gaul, and even from
Britain, to his support. A great battle was fought near the Po, but
without deciding the struggle; and Alaric had already begun to march
towards Rome, when a treaty was made by which he and his army were
allowed to return to Illyria with all the booty they had gathered in

[Sidenote: 408.]

Five years afterwards, when Stilicho was busy in endeavoring to keep the
Franks and Alemanni out of Gaul, and to drive back the incursions of
mixed German and Celtic bands which began to descend from the Alps,
Alaric again made his appearance, demanding the payment of certain sums,
which he claimed were due to him. Stilicho, having need of his military
strength elsewhere, satisfied Alaric's claim by the payment of 4,000
pounds of gold; but the Romans felt themselves bitterly humiliated, and
Honorius, listening to the rivals of Stilicho, gave his consent to the
assassination of the latter and his whole family including the Emperor's
own sister, Serena, whom Stilicho had married.

When the news of this atrocious act reached Alaric, he turned and
marched back to Italy. There was now no skilful commander to oppose him:
the cowardly Honorius took refuge in Ravenna, and the Goths advanced,
without resistance, to the gates of Rome. The walls, built by Aurelian,
were too strong to be taken by assault, but all supplies were cut off,
and the final surrender of the city became only a question of time. When
a deputation of Romans represented to Alaric that the people still
numbered half a million, he answered: "The thicker the grass, the better
the mowing!" They were finally obliged to yield to his demands, and pay
a ransom consisting of 5,000 pounds of gold, 30,000 pounds of silver,
many thousands of silk robes, and a large quantity of spices,--a total
value of something more than three millions of dollars. In addition to
this, 40,000 slaves, mostly of Germanic blood, escaped to his camp and
became free.

Alaric only withdrew into Northern Italy, where he soon found a new
cause of dispute with the government of Honorius, in Ravenna. He seems
to have been a man of great military genius, but little capacity for
civil rule; of much energy and ambition, but little judgment. The result
of his quarrel with Honorius was, that he marched again to Rome,
proclaimed Attalus, the governor of the city, Emperor, and then demanded
entrance for himself and his troops, as an ally. The demand could not be
refused: Rome was opened to the Goths, who participated in the festivals
which accompanied the coronation of Attalus. It was nothing but a farce,
and seems to have been partly intended as such by Alaric, who publicly
deposed the new Emperor shortly afterwards, on his march to Ravenna.

[Sidenote: 410. ALARIC IN ROME.]

There were further negotiations with Honorius, which came to nothing;
then Alaric advanced upon Rome the third time, not now as an ally, but
as an avowed enemy. The city could make no resistance, and on the 24th
of August, 410, the Goths entered it as conquerors. This event, so
famous in history, has been greatly misrepresented. Later researches
show that, although the citizens were despoiled of their wealth, the
buildings and monuments were spared. The people were subjected to
violence and outrage for the space of six days, after which Alaric
marched out of Rome with his army, leaving the city, in its external
appearance, very much as he found it.

He directed his course towards Southern Italy, with the intention, it
was generally believed, of conquering Sicily and then crossing into
Africa. The plan was defeated by his death, in 411, at Cosenza, a town
on the banks of the Busento, in Calabria. His soldiers turned the river
from its course, dug a grave in its bed, and there laid the body of
Alaric, with all the gems and gold he had gathered. Then the Busento was
restored to its channel, and the slaves who had performed the work were
slain, in order that Alaric's place of burial might never be known.

His brother-in-law, Ataulf (Adolph), was his successor. He was also the
brother-in-law of Honorius, having married the latter's sister,
Placidia, after she was taken captive by Alaric. He was therefore
strengthened by the conquests of the one and by his family connection
with the other. The Visigoths, who had gradually gathered together under
Alaric, seem to have had enough of marching to and fro, and they
acquiesced in an arrangement made between Ataulf and Honorius, according
to which the former led them out of Italy in 412, and established them
in Southern Gaul. They took possession of all the region lying between
the Loire and the Pyrenees, with Toulouse as their capital.

[Sidenote: 412.]

Thus, in the space of forty years, the Visigoths left their home on the
Black Sea, between the Danube and the Dniester, passed through the whole
breadth of the Roman Empire, from Constantinople to the Bay of Biscay,
after having traversed both the Grecian and Italian peninsulas, and
settled themselves again in what seemed to be a permanent home. During
this extraordinary migration, they maintained their independence as a
people, they preserved their laws, customs, and their own rulers; and,
although frequently at enmity with the Empire, they were never made to
yield it allegiance. Under Athanaric, as we have seen, they were united
for a time with the Ostrogoths, and it was probably the renown and
success of Alaric which brought about a second separation.

Of course the impetus given to this branch of the Germanic race by the
invasion of the Huns did not affect it alone. Before the Visigoths
reached the shores of the Atlantic, all Central Europe was in movement.
Leaving them there for the present, and also leaving the great body of
the Ostrogoths in Thrace and Illyria, we will now return to the nations
whom we left maintaining their existence on German soil.




General Westward Movement of the Races. --Stilicho's Defeat of the
    Germans. --Migration of the Alans, Vandals, &c. --Saxon
    Colonization of England. --The Vandals in Africa. --Decline of
    Rome. --Spread of German Power. --Attila, king of the Huns. --Rise
    of his Power. --Superstitions concerning him. --His March into
    France. --He is opposed by Aëtius and Theodoric. --The Great Battle
    near Châlons. --Retreat of Attila. --He destroys Aquileia.
    --Invades Italy. --His Death. --Geiserich takes and plunders Rome.
    --End of the Western Empire. --The Huns expelled. --Movements of
    the Tribes on German Soil.

[Sidenote: 412. MOVEMENT OF THE TRIBES.]

The westward movement of the Huns was followed, soon afterwards, by an
advance of the Slavonic tribes on the north, who first took possession
of the territory on the Baltic relinquished by the Goths, and then
gradually pressed onward towards the Elbe. The Huns themselves,
temporarily settled in the fertile region north of the Danube, pushed
the Vandals westward toward Bohemia, and the latter, in their turn,
pressed upon the Marcomanni. Thus, at the opening of the fifth century,
all the tribes, from the Baltic to the Alps, along the eastern frontier
of Germany, were partly or wholly forced to fall back. This gave rise to
a union of many of them, including the Vandals, Alans, Suevi and
Burgundians, under a Chief named Radagast. Numbering half a million,
they crossed the Alps into Northern Italy, and demanded territory for
new homes.

Stilicho, exhausted by his struggle with Alaric, whose retreat from
Italy he had just purchased, could only meet this new enemy by summoning
his legions from Gaul and Britain. He met Radagast at Fiesole (near
Florence), and so crippled the strength of the invasion that Italy was
saved. The German tribes recrossed the Alps, and entered Gaul the
following year. Here they gave up their temporary union, and each tribe
selected its own territory. The Alans pushed forwards, crossed the
Pyrenees, and finally settled in Portugal; the Vandals followed and took
possession of all Southern Spain, giving their name to (V-)Andalusia;
the Suevi, after fighting, but not conquering, the native Basque tribes
of the Pyrenees, selected what is now the province of Galicia; while the
Burgundians stretched from the Rhine through western Switzerland, and
southward nearly to the mouth of the Rhone. The greater part of Gaul was
thus already lost to the Roman power.

[Sidenote: 429.]

The withdrawal of the legions from Britain by Stilicho left the
population unprotected. The Britons were then a mixture of Celtic and
Roman blood, and had become greatly demoralized during the long decay of
the Empire; so they were unable to resist the invasions of the Picts and
Scots, and in this emergency they summoned the Saxons and Angles to
their aid. Two chiefs of the latter, Hengist and Horsa, accepted the
invitation, landed in England in 449, and received lands in Kent. They
were followed by such numbers of their countrymen that the allies soon
became conquerors, and portioned England among themselves. They brought
with them their speech and their ancient pagan religion, and for a time
overthrew the rude form of Christianity which had prevailed among the
Britons since the days of Constantine. Only Ireland, the Scottish
Highlands, Wales and Cornwall resisted the Saxon rule, as across the
Channel, in Brittany, a remnant of the Celtic Gauls resisted the sway of
the Franks. From the year 449 until the landing of William the
Conqueror, in 1066, nearly all England and the Lowlands of Scotland were
in the hands of the Saxon race.

Ataulf, the king of the Visigoths, was murdered soon after establishing
his people in Southern France. Wallia, his successor, crossed the
Pyrenees, drove the Vandals out of northern Spain, and made the Ebro
river the boundary between them and his Visigoths. Fifteen years
afterwards, in 429, the Vandals, under their famous king, Geiserich
(incorrectly called Genseric in many histories), were invited by the
Roman Governor of Africa to assist him in a revolt against the Empire.
They crossed the Straits of Gibraltar in a body, took possession of all
the Roman provinces, as far eastward as Tunis, and made Carthage the
capital of their new kingdom. The Visigoths immediately occupied the
remainder of Spain, which they held for nearly three hundred years

[Sidenote: 445. ATTILA, KING OF THE HUNS.]

Thus, although the name and state of an Emperor of the West were kept up
in Rome until the year 476, the Empire never really existed after the
invasion of Alaric. The dominion over Italy, Gaul and Spain, claimed by
the Emperors of the East, at Constantinople, was acknowledged in
documents, but (except for a short time, under Justinian) was never
practically exercised. Rome had been the supreme power of the known
world for so many centuries, that a superstitious influence still clung
to the very name, and the ambition of the Germanic kings seems to have
been, not to destroy the Empire, but to conquer and make it their own.

The rude tribes, which, in the time of Julius Cæsar, were buried among
the mountains and forests of the country between the Rhine, the Danube
and the Baltic Sea, were now, five hundred years later, scattered over
all Europe, and beginning to establish new nations on the foundations
laid by Rome. As soon as they cross the old boundaries of Germany, they
come into the light of history, and we are able to follow their wars and
migrations; but we know scarcely anything, during this period, of the
tribes which remained within those boundaries. We can only infer that
the Marcomanni settled between the Danube and the Alps, in what is now
Bavaria; that, early in the fifth century, the Thuringians established a
kingdom including nearly all Central Germany; and that the Slavonic
tribes, pressing westward through Prussia, were checked by the valor of
the Saxons, along the line of the Elbe, since only scattered bands of
them were found beyond that river at a later day.

The first impulse to all these wonderful movements came, as we have
seen, from the Huns. These people, as yet unconquered, were so dreaded
by the Emperors of the East, that their peace was purchased, like that
of the Goths a hundred years before, by large annual payments. For fifty
years, they seemed satisfied to rest in their new home, making
occasional raids across the Danube, and gradually bringing under their
sway the fragments of Germanic tribes already settled in Hungary, or
left behind by the Goths. In 428, Attila and his brother Bleda became
kings of the Huns, but the latter's death, in 445, left Attila sole
ruler. His name was already famous, far and wide, for his strength,
energy and intelligence. His capital was established near Tokay, in
Hungary, where he lived in a great castle of wood, surrounded with moats
and palisades. He was a man of short stature, with broad head, neck and
shoulders, and fierce, restless eyes. He scorned the luxury which was
prevalent at the time, wore only plain woollen garments, and ate and
drank from wooden dishes and cups. His personal power and influence were
so great that the Huns looked upon him as a demigod, while all the
neighboring Germanic tribes, including a large portion of the
Ostrogoths, enlisted under his banner.

[Sidenote: 449.]

After the Huns had invaded Thrace and compelled the Eastern Empire to
pay a double tribute, the Emperor of the West, Valentinian III. (the
grandson of Theodosius), sent an embassy to Attila, soliciting his
friendship: the Emperor's sister, Honoria, offered him her hand. Both
divisions of the Empire thus did him reverence, and he had little to
fear from the force which either could bring against him; but the Goths
and Vandals, now warlike and victorious races, were more formidable
foes. Here, however, he was favored by the hostility between the aged
Geiserich, king of the Vandals, and the young Theodoric, king of the
Visigoths. The former sent messages to Attila, inciting him to march
into Gaul and overthrow Theodoric, who was Geiserich's relative and
rival. Soon afterwards, a new Emperor, at Constantinople, refused the
additional tribute, and Valentinian III. withheld the hand of his sister

Attila, now--towards the close of the year 449--made preparations for a
grand war of conquest. He already possessed unbounded influence over the
Huns, and supernatural signs of his coming career were soon supplied. A
peasant dug up a jewelled sword, which, it was said, had long before
been given to a race of kings by the god of war. This was brought to
Attila, and thenceforth worn by him. He was called "The Scourge of God,"
and the people believed that wherever the hoofs of his horse had trodden
no grass ever grew again. The fear of his power, or the hope of plunder,
drew large numbers of the German tribes to his side, and the army with
which he set out for the conquest, first of Gaul and then of Europe, is
estimated at from 500,000 to 700,000 warriors. With this, he passed
through the heart of Germany, much of which he had already made
tributary, and reached the Rhine. Here Gunther, the king of the
Burgundians, opposed him with a force of 10,000 men and was speedily
crushed. Even a portion of the Franks, who were then quarrelling among
themselves, joined him, and now Gaul divided between Franks, Romans and
Visigoths, was open to his advance.

[Sidenote: 451. THE SIEGE OF ORLEANS.]

The minister and counsellor of Valentinian III. was Aëtius, the son of a
Gothic father and a Roman mother. As soon as Attila's design became
known, he hastened to Gaul, collected the troops still in Roman service,
and procured the alliance of Theodoric and the Visigoths. The Alans,
under their king Sangipan, were also persuaded to unite their forces:
the independent Celts in Brittany, and a large portion of the Franks and
Burgundians, all of whom were threatened by the invasion of the Huns,
hastened to the side of Aëtius, so that the army commanded by himself
and Theodoric became nearly if not quite equal in numbers to that of
Attila. The latter, by this time, had marched into the heart of Gaul,
laying waste the country through which he passed, and meeting no
resistance until he reached the walled and fortified city of Orleans.
This was in the year 451.

Orleans, besieged and hard pressed, was about to surrender, when Aëtius
approached with his army. Attila was obliged to raise the siege at once,
and retreat in order to select a better position for the impending
battle. He finally halted on the broad plains of the province of
Champagne, near the present city of Châlons, where his immense body of
armed horsemen would have ample space to move. Aëtius and Theodoric
followed and pitched their camp opposite to him, on the other side of a
small hill which rose from the plain. That night, Attila ordered his
priests to consult their pagan oracles, and ascertain the fate of the
morrow's struggle. The answer was: "Death to the enemy's leader,
destruction to the Huns!"--but the hope of seeing Aëtius fall prevailed
on Attila to risk his own defeat.

The next day witnessed one of the greatest battles of history. Aëtius
commanded the right and Theodoric the left wing of their army, placing
between them the Alans and other tribes, of whose fidelity they were not
quite sure. Attila, however, took the centre with his Huns, and formed
his wings of the Germans and Ostrogoths. The battle began at dawn, and
raged through the whole day. Both armies endeavored to take and hold the
hill between them, and the hundreds of thousands rolled back and forth
as the victory inclined to one side or the other. A brook which ran
through the plain was swollen high by the blood of the fallen. At last
Theodoric broke Attila's centre, but was slain in the attack. The
Visigoths immediately lifted his son, Thorismond, on a shield,
proclaimed him king, and renewed the fight. The Huns were driven back to
the fortress of wagons where their wives, children and treasures were
collected, when a terrible storm of rain and thunder put an end to the
battle. Between 200,000 and 300,000 dead lay upon the plain.

[Sidenote: 452.]

All night the lamentations of the Hunnish women filled the air. Attila
had an immense funeral pile constructed of saddles, whereon he meant to
burn himself and his family, in case Aëtius should renew the fight the
next day. But the army of the latter was too exhausted to move, and the
Huns were allowed to commence their retreat from Gaul. Enraged at his
terrible defeat, Attila destroyed everything in his way, leaving a broad
track of blood and ashes from Gaul through the heart of Germany, back to

By the following year, 452, Attila had collected another army, and now
directed his march towards Italy. This new invasion was so unexpected
that the passes of the Alps were left undefended, and the Huns reached
the rich and populous city of Aquileia, on the northern shore of the
Adriatic, without meeting any opposition. After a siege of three months,
they took and razed it to the ground so completely that it was never
rebuilt, and from that day to this only a few piles of shapeless stones
remain to mark the spot where it stood. The inhabitants who escaped took
refuge upon the low marshy islands, separated from the mainland by the
lagoons, and there formed the settlement which, two or three hundred
years later, became known to the world as Venice.

Attila marched onward to the Po, destroying everything in his way. Here
he was met by a deputation, at the head of which was Leo, the Bishop (or
Pope) of Rome, sent by Valentinian III. Leo so worked upon the
superstitious mind of the savage monarch, that the latter gave up his
purpose of taking Rome, and returned to Hungary with his army, which was
suffering from disease and want. The next year he died suddenly, in his
wooden palace at Tokay. The tradition states that his body was inclosed
in three coffins, of iron, silver and gold, and buried secretly, like
that of Alaric, so that no man might know his resting-place. He had a
great many wives, and left so many sons behind him, that their quarrels
for the succession to the throne divided the Huns into numerous parties,
and quite destroyed their power as a people.

[Sidenote: 455. GEISERICH TAKES ROME.]

The alliance between Aëtius and the Visigoths ceased immediately after
the great battle. Valentinian III., suspicious of the fame of Aëtius,
recalled him to Rome, the year after Attila's death, and assassinated
him with his own hand. The treacherous Emperor was himself slain,
shortly afterwards, by Maximus, who succeeded him, and forced his widow,
the Empress Eudoxia, to accept him as her husband. Out of revenge,
Eudoxia sent a messenger to Geiserich, the old king of the Vandals, at
Carthage, summoning him to Rome. The Vandals had already built a large
fleet and pillaged the shores of Sicily and other Mediterranean islands.
In 455, Geiserich landed at the mouth of the Tiber with a powerful
force, and marched upon Rome. The city was not strong enough to offer
any resistance: it was taken, and during two weeks surrendered to such
devastation and outrage that the word _vandalism_ has ever since been
used to express savage and wanton destruction. The churches were
plundered of all their vessels and ornaments, the old Palace of the
Cæsars was laid waste, priceless works of art destroyed, and those of
the inhabitants who escaped with their lives were left almost as

When "the old king of the sea," as Geiserich was called, returned to
Africa, he not only left Rome ruined, but the Western Empire practically
overthrown. For seventeen years afterwards, Ricimer, a chief of the
Suevi, who had been commander of the Roman auxiliaries in Gaul, was the
real ruler of its crumbling fragments. He set up, set aside or slew five
or six so-called Emperors, at his own will, and finally died in 472,
only four years before the boy, Romulus Augustulus, was compelled to
throw off the purple and retire into obscurity as "the last Emperor of

In 455, the year when Geiserich and his Vandals plundered Rome, the
Germanic tribes along the Danube took advantage of the dissensions
following Attila's death, and threw off their allegiance to the Huns.
They all united under a king named Ardaric, gave battle, and were so
successful that the whole tribe of the Huns was forced to retreat
eastward into Southern Russia. From this time they do not appear again
in history, although it is probable that the Magyars, who came later
into the same region from which they were driven, brought the remnants
of the tribe with them.

[Sidenote: 450.]

During the fourth and fifth centuries, the great historic achievements
of the German race, as we have now traced them, were performed outside
of the German territory. While from Thrace to the Atlantic Ocean, from
the Scottish Highlands to Africa, the new nationalities overran the
decayed Roman Empire, constantly changing their seats of power, we have
no intelligence of what was happening within Germany itself. Both
branches of the Goths, the Vandals and a part of the Franks had become
Christians, but the Alemanni, Saxons and Thuringians were still
heathens, although they had by this time adopted many of the arts of
civilized life. They had no educated class, corresponding to the
Christian priesthood in the East, Italy and Gaul, and even in Britain;
and thus no chronicle of their history has survived.

Either before or immediately after Attila's invasion of Gaul, the
Marcomanni crossed the Danube, and took possession of the plains between
that river and the Alps. They were called the Boiarii, from their former
home of four centuries in Bohemia, and from this name is derived the
German _Baiern_, Bavaria. They kept possession of the new territory,
adapted themselves to the forms of Roman civilization which they found
there, and soon organized themselves into a small but distinct and
tolerably independent nation.

But the period of the Migration of the Races was not yet finished. The
shadow of the old Roman Empire still remained, and stirred the ambition
of each successive king, so that he was not content with territory
sufficient for the needs of his own people, but must also try to conquer
his neighbors and extend his rule. The bases of the modern states of
Europe were already laid, but not securely enough for the building
thereof to be commenced. Two more important movements were yet to be
made before this bewildering period of change and struggle came to an




Odoaker conquers Italy. --Theodoric leads the Ostrogoths to Italy. --He
    defeats and slays Odoaker. --He becomes King of Italy. --Chlodwig,
    king of the Franks, puts an End to the Roman Rule. --War between
    the Franks and Visigoths. --Character of Theodoric's Rule. --His
    Death. --His Mausoleum. --End of the Burgundian Kingdom. --Plans of
    Justinian. --Belisarius destroys the Vandal Power in Africa. --He
    conquers Vitiges, and overruns Italy. --Narses defeats Totila and
    Teias. --End of the Ostrogoths. --Narses summons the Longobards.
    --They conquer Italy. --The Exarchy and Rome. --End of the
    Migrations of the Races.

[Sidenote: 476. ODOAKER, KING OF ITALY.]

After the death of Ricimer, in 472, Italy, weakened by invasion and
internal dissension, was an easy prey to the first strong hand which
might claim possession. Such a hand was soon found in a Chief named
Odoaker, said to have been a native of the island of Rügen, in the
Baltic. He commanded a large force, composed of the smaller German
tribes from the banks of the Danube, who had thrown off the yoke of the
Huns. Many of these troops had served the last half-dozen Roman Emperors
whom Ricimer set up or threw down, and they now claimed one-third of the
Italian territory for themselves and their families. When this was
refused, Odoaker, at their head, took the boy Romulus Augustulus
prisoner, banished him, and proclaimed himself king of Italy, in 476,
making Ravenna his capital.

The dynasty at Constantinople still called its dominion "The Roman
Empire," and claimed authority over all the West. But it had not the
means to make its claim acknowledged, and in this emergency the Emperor
Zeno turned to Theodoric, the young king of the Ostrogoths, who had been
brought up at his court, in Constantinople. He was the successor of
three brothers, who, after the dispersion of the Huns, had united some
of the smaller German tribes with the Ostrogoths, and restored the
former power and influence of the race.

[Sidenote: 489.]

Theodoric (who must not be confounded with his namesake, the Visigoth
king, who fell in conquering Attila) was a man of great natural ability,
which had been well developed by his education in Constantinople. He
accepted the appointment of General and Governor from the Emperor, yet
the preparations he made for the expedition to Italy show that he
intended to remain and establish his own kingdom there. It was not a
military march, but the migration of a people, which he headed. The
Ostrogoths and their allies took with them their wives and children,
their herds and household goods: they moved so slowly up the Danube and
across the Alps, now halting to rest and recruit, now fighting a passage
through some hostile tribe, that several years elapsed before they
reached Italy.

Odoaker had reigned fourteen years, with more justice and discretion
than was common in those times, and was able to raise a large force, in
489, to meet the advance of Theodoric. After three severe battles had
been fought, he was forced to take shelter within the strong walls of
Ravenna; but he again sallied forth and attacked the Ostrogoths with
such bravery that he came near defeating them. Finally, in 493, after a
siege of three years, he capitulated, and was soon afterwards
treacherously murdered, by order of Theodoric, at a banquet to which the
latter had invited him.

Having the power in his own hands, Theodoric now threw off his assumed
subjection to the Eastern Empire, put on the Roman purple, and
proclaimed himself king. All Italy, including Sicily, Sardinia and
Corsica, fell at once into his hands; and, having left a portion of the
Ostrogoths behind him, on the Danube, he also claimed all the region
between, in order to preserve a communication with them. He was soon so
strongly settled in his new realm that he had nothing to fear from the
Emperor Zeno and his successors. The latter did not venture to show any
direct signs of hostility towards him, but remained quiet; while, on his
part, beyond seizing a portion of Pannonia, he refrained from
interfering with their rule in the East.

In the West, however, the case was different. Five years before
Theodoric's arrival in Italy, the last relic of Roman power disappeared
forever from Gaul. A general named Syagrius had succeeded to the
command, after the murder of Aëtius, and had formed the central
provinces into a Roman state, which was so completely cut off from all
connection with the Empire that it became practically independent. The
Franks, who now held all Northern Gaul and Belgium, from the Rhine to
the Atlantic, with Paris as their capital, were by this time so strong
and well organized, that their king, Chlodwig, boldly challenged
Syagrius to battle. The challenge was accepted: a battle was fought near
Soissons, in the year 486, the Romans were cut to pieces, and the river
Loire became the southern boundary of the Frank kingdom. The territory
between that river and the Pyrenees still belonged to the Visigoths.


While Theodoric was engaged in giving peace, order, and a new prosperity
to the war-worn and desolated lands of Italy, his Frank rival, Chlodwig,
defeated the Alemanni, conquered the Celts of Brittany--then called
Armorica--and thus greatly increased his power. We must return to him
and the history of his dynasty in a later chapter, and will now only
briefly mention those incidents of his reign which brought him into
conflict with Theodoric.

In the year 500, Chlodwig defeated the Burgundians and for a time
rendered them tributary to him. He then turned to the Visigoths and made
the fact of their being Arian Christians a pretext for declaring war
against them. Their king was Alaric II., who had married the daughter of
Theodoric. A battle was fought in 507: the two kings met, and, fighting
hand to hand, Alaric II. was slain by Chlodwig. The latter soon
afterwards took and plundered Toulouse, the Visigoth capital, and
claimed the territory between the Loire and the Garonne.

Theodoric, whose grandson Amalaric (son of Alaric II.) was now king of
the Visigoths, immediately hastened to the relief of the latter. His
military strength was probably too great for Chlodwig to resist, for
there is no report of any great battle having been fought. Theodoric
took possession of Provence, re-established the Loire as the southern
boundary of the Franks, and secured the kingdom of his grandson. The
capital of the Visigoths, however, was changed to Toledo, in Spain. The
Emperor Anastasius, to keep up the pretence of retaining his power in
Gaul, appointed Chlodwig Roman Consul, and sent him a royal diadem and
purple mantle. So much respect was still attached to the name of the
Empire that Chlodwig accepted the title, and was solemnly invested by a
Christian Bishop with the crown and mantle. In the year 511 he died,
having founded the kingdom of France.

[Sidenote: 511.]

The power of Theodoric was not again assailed. As the king of the
Ostrogoths, he ruled over Italy and the islands, and the lands between
the Adriatic and the Danube; as the guardian of the young Amalaric, his
sway extended over Southern France and all of Spain. He was peaceful,
prudent and wise, and his reign, by contrast with the convulsions which
preceded it, was called "a golden age" by his Italian subjects. Although
he and his people were Germanic in blood and Arians in faith, while the
Italians were Roman and Athanasian, he guarded the interests and subdued
the prejudices of both, and the respect which his abilities inspired
preserved peace between them. The murder of Odoaker is a lasting stain
upon his memory: the execution of the philosopher Boëthius is another,
scarcely less dark; but, with the exception of these two acts, his reign
was marked by wisdom, justice and tolerance. The surname of "The Great"
was given to him by his contemporaries, not so much to distinguish him
from the Theodoric of the Visigoths, as on account of his eminent
qualities as a ruler. From the year 500 to 526, when he died, he was the
most powerful and important monarch of the civilized world.

During Theodoric's life, Ravenna was the capital of Italy: Rome had lost
her ancient renown, but her Bishops, who were now called Popes, were the
rulers of the Church of the West, and she thus became a religious
capital. The ancient enmity of the Arians and Athanasians had only grown
stronger by time, and Theodoric, although he became popular with the
masses of the people, was always hated by the priests. When he died, a
splendid mausoleum was built for his body, at Ravenna, and still remains
standing. It is a circular tower, resting on an arched base with ten
sides, and surmounted by a dome, which is formed of a single stone,
thirty-six feet in diameter and four feet in thickness. The sarcophagus
in which he was laid was afterwards broken open, by the order of the
Pope of Rome, and his ashes were scattered to the winds, as those of a

When Theodoric died, the enmities of race and sect, which he had
suppressed with a strong hand, broke out afresh. He left behind him a
grandson, Athalaric, only ten years old, to whose mother, Amalasunta,
was entrusted the regency during his minority. His other grandson,
Amalaric, was king of the Visigoths, and sufficiently occupied in
building up his power in Spain. In Italy, the hostility to Amalasunta's
regency was chiefly religious; but the Eastern Emperor on the one side,
and the Franks on the other, were actuated by political considerations.
The former, the last of the great Emperors, Justinian, determined to
recover Italy for the Empire: the latter only waited an opportunity to
get possession of the whole of Gaul. Amalasunta was persuaded to sign a
treaty, by which the territory of Provence was given back to the
Burgundians. The latter were immediately assailed by the sons of
Chlodwig, and in the year 534 the kingdom of Burgundy, after having
stood for 125 years, ceased to exist. Not long afterwards the Visigoths
were driven beyond the Pyrenees, and the whole of what is now France and
Belgium, with a part of Western Switzerland, was in the possession of
the Franks.

[Sidenote: 534. END OF THE VANDALS.]

While these changes were taking place in the West, Justinian had not
been idle in the East. He was fortunate in having two great generals,
Belisarius and Narses, who had already restored the lost prestige of the
Imperial army. His first movement was to recover Northern Africa from
the Vandals, who had now been settled there for a hundred years, and
began to consider themselves the inheritors of the Carthaginian power.
Belisarius, with a fleet and a powerful army, was sent against them.
Here, again, the difference of religious doctrine between the Vandals
and the Romans whom they had subjected, made his task easy. The last
Vandal king, Gelimer, was defeated and besieged in a fortress called
Pappua. After the siege had lasted all winter, Belisarius sent an
officer, Pharas, to demand surrender. Gelimer refused, but added: "If
you will do me a favor, Pharas, send me a loaf of bread, a sponge and a
harp." Pharas, astonished, asked the reason of this request, and Gelimer
answered: "I demand bread, because I have seen none since I have been
besieged here; a sponge, to cool my eyes which are weary with weeping;
and a harp, to sing the story of my misfortunes." Soon afterwards he
surrendered, and in 534 all Northern Africa was restored to Justinian.
The Vandals disappeared from history, as a race, but some of their
descendants, with light hair, blue eyes and fair skins, still live among
the valleys of the Atlas Mountains, where they are called Berbers, and
keep themselves distinct from the Arab population.

[Sidenote: 552.]

Amalasunta, in the mean time, had been murdered by a relative whom she
had chosen to assist her in the government. This gave Justinian a
pretext for interfering, and Belisarius was next sent with his army to
Italy. The Ostrogoths chose a new king, Vitiges, and the struggle which
followed was long and desperate. Rome and Milan were taken and ravaged:
in the latter city 300,000 persons are said to have been slaughtered.
Belisarius finally obtained possession of Ravenna, the Gothic capital,
took Vitiges prisoner and sent him to Constantinople. The Goths
immediately elected another king, Totila, who carried on the struggle
for eleven years longer. Visigoths, Franks, Burgundians and even
Alemanni, whose alliance was sought by both sides, flocked to Italy in
the hope of securing booty, and laid waste the regions which Belisarius
and Totila had spared.

When Belisarius was recalled to Constantinople, Narses took his place,
and continued the war with the diminishing remnant of the Ostrogoths.
Finally, in the year 552, in a great battle among the Apennines, Totila
was slain, and the struggle seemed to be at an end. But the Ostrogoths
proclaimed the young prince Teias as their king, and marched southward
under his leadership, to make a last fight for their existence as a
nation. Narses followed, and not far from Cumæ, on a mountain opposite
Vesuvius, he cut off their communication with the sea, and forced them
to retreat to a higher position, where there was neither water for
themselves nor food for their animals. Then they took the bridles off
their horses and turned them loose, formed themselves into a solid
square of men, with Teias at their head, and for two whole days fought
with the valor and the desperation of men who know that their cause is
lost, but nevertheless will not yield. Although Teias was slain, they
still stood; and on the third morning Narses allowed the survivors,
about 1,000 in number, to march away, with the promise that they would
leave Italy.

Thus gloriously came to an end, after enduring sixty years, the Gothic
power in Italy, and thus, like a meteor, brightest before it is
quenched, the Gothic name fades from history. The Visigoths retained
their supremacy in Spain until 711, when Roderick, their last king, was
slain by the Saracens, but the Ostrogoths, after this campaign of
Narses, are never heard of again as a people. Between Hermann and
Charlemagne, there is no leader so great as Theodoric, but his empire
died with him. He became the hero of the earliest German songs; his name
and character were celebrated among tribes who had forgotten his
history, and his tomb is one of the few monuments left to us from those
ages of battle, migration and change. The Ostrogoths were scattered and
their traces lost. Some, no doubt, remained in Italy, and became mixed
with the native population; others joined the people which were nearest
to them in blood and habits; and some took refuge among the fastnesses
of the Alps. It is supposed that the Tyrolese, for instance, may be
among their descendants.


The apparent success of Justinian in bringing Italy again under the sway
of the Eastern Empire was also only a flash, before its final
extinction. The Ostrogoths were avenged by one of their kindred races.
Narses remained in Ravenna as vicegerent of the Empire: his government
was stern and harsh, but he restored order to the country, and his
authority became so great as to excite the jealousy of Justinian. After
the latter's death, in 565, it became evident that a plot was formed at
Constantinople to treat Narses as his great cotemporary, Belisarius, had
been treated. He determined to resist, and, in order to make his
position stronger, summoned the Longobards (Long-Beards) to his aid.

This tribe, in the time of Cæsar, occupied a part of Northern Germany,
near the mouth of the Elbe. About the end of the fourth century we find
them on the north bank of the Danube, between Bohemia and Hungary. The
history of their wanderings during the intervening period is unknown.
During the reign of Theodoric they overcame their Germanic neighbors,
the Heruli, to whom they had been partially subject: then followed a
fierce struggle with the Gepidæ, another Germanic tribe, which
terminated in the year 560 with the defeat and destruction of the
latter. Their king, Kunimund, fell by the hand of Alboin, king of the
Longobards, who had a drinking-cup made of his skull. The Longobards,
though victorious, found themselves surrounded by new neighbors, who
were much worse than the old. The Avars, who are supposed to have been a
branch of the Huns, pressed and harassed them on the East; the Slavonic
tribes of the north descended into Bohemia; and they found themselves
alone between races who were savages in comparison with their own.

[Sidenote: 568.]

The invitation of Narses was followed by a movement similar to that of
the Ostrogoths under Theodoric. Alboin marched with all his people,
their herds and household goods. The passes of the Alps were purposely
left undefended at their approach, and in 568, accompanied by the
fragments of many other Germanic tribes who gave up their homes on the
Danube, they entered Italy and took immediate possession of all the
northern provinces. The city of Pavia, which was strongly fortified,
held out against them for four years, and then, on account of its
strength and gallant resistance, was chosen by Alboin for its capital.

Italy then became the kingdom of the Longobards, and the permanent home
of their race, whose name still exists in the province of Lombardy. Only
Ravenna, Naples and Genoa were still held by the Eastern Emperors,
constituting what was called the Exarchy. Rome was also nominally
subject to Constantinople, although the Popes were beginning to assume
the government of the city. The young republic of Venice, already
organized, was safe on its islands in the Adriatic.

The Migrations of the Races, which were really commenced by the Goths
when they moved from the Baltic to the Black Sea, but which first became
a part of our history in the year 375, terminated with the settlement of
the Longobards in Italy. They therefore occupied two centuries, and form
a grand and stirring period of transition between the Roman Empire and
the Europe of the Middle Ages. With the exception of the invasion of the
Huns, and the slow and rather uneventful encroachment of the Slavonic
race, these great movements were carried out by the kindred tribes who
inhabited the forests of "Germania Magna," in the time of Cæsar.




Extension of the German Races in A. D. 570. --The Longobards. --The
    Franks. --The Visigoths. --The Saxons in Britain. --The Tribes on
    German Soil. --The Eastern Empire. --Relation of the Conquerors to
    the Conquered Races. --Influence of Roman Civilization. --The
    Priesthood. --Obliteration of German Origin. --Religion. --The
    Monarchical Element in Government. --The Nobility. --The Cities.
    --Slavery. --Laws in regard to Crime. --Privileges of the Church.
    --The Transition Period.


Thus far, we have been following the history of the Germanic races, in
their conflict with Rome, until their complete and final triumph at the
end of six hundred years after they first met Julius Cæsar. Within the
limits of Germany itself, there was, as we have seen, no united
nationality. Even the consolidation of the smaller tribes under the
names of Goths, Franks, Saxons and Alemanni, during the third century,
was only the beginning of a new political development which was not
continued upon German soil. With the exception of Denmark, Sweden,
Russia, Ireland, Wales, the Scottish Highlands, and the Byzantine
territory in Turkey, Greece and Italy, all Europe was under Germanic
rule at the end of the Migration of the Races, in the year 570.

The Longobards, after the death of Alboin and his successor, Kleph,
prospered greatly under the wise rule of Queen Theodolind, daughter of
king Garibald of Bavaria, and wife of Kleph's son, Authari. She
persuaded them to become Christians; and they then gave up their nomadic
habits, scattered themselves over the country, learned agriculture and
the mechanic arts, and gradually became amalgamated with the native
Romans. Their descendants form a large portion of the population of
Northern Italy at this day.

[Sidenote: 500.]

[Illustration: THE MIGRATIONS OF THE RACES, A. D. 500.]

[Sidenote: 570. LOCATION OF THE TRIBES.]

The Franks, at this time, were firmly established in Gaul, under the
dynasty founded by Chlodwig. They owned nearly all the territory west of
the Rhine, part of Western Switzerland and the valley of the Rhone, to
the Mediterranean. Only a small strip of territory on the east, between
the Pyrenees and the upper waters of the Garonne, still belonged to the
Visigoths. The kingdom of Burgundy, after an existence of 125 years,
became absorbed in that of the Franks, in 534.

After the death of Theodoric, the connection of the Visigoths with the
other German races ceased. They conquered the Suevi, driving them into
the mountains of Galicia, subdued the Alans in Portugal, and during a
reign of two centuries more impressed their traces indelibly upon the
Spanish people. Their history, from this time on, belongs to Spain.
Their near relations, the Vandals, as we have already seen, had ceased
to exist. Like the Ostrogoths, they were never named again as a separate

The Saxons had made themselves such thorough masters of England and the
lowlands of Scotland, that the native Celto-Roman population was driven
into Wales and Cornwall. The latter had become Christians under the
Empire, and they looked with horror upon the paganism of the Saxons.
During the early part of the sixth century, they made a bold but brief
effort to expel the invaders, under the lead of the half-fabulous king
Arthur (of the Round Table), who is supposed to have died about the year
537. The Angles and Saxons, however, not only triumphed, but planted
their language, laws and character so firmly upon English soil, that the
England of the later centuries grew from the basis they laid, and the
name of Anglo-Saxon has become the designation of the English race all
over the world.

Along the northern coast of Germany, the Frisii and the Saxons who
remained behind, had formed two kingdoms and asserted a fierce
independence. The territory of the latter extended to the Hartz
Mountains, where it met that of the Thuringians, who still held Central
Germany southward to the Danube. Beyond that river, the new nation of
the Bavarians was permanently settled, and had already risen to such
importance that Theodolind, the daughter of its king, Garibald, was
selected for his queen by the Longobard king, Authari.

East of the Elbe, through Prussia, nearly the whole country was
occupied by various Slavonic tribes. One of these, the Czechs, had taken
possession of Bohemia, where they soon afterwards established an
independent kingdom. Beyond them, the Avars occupied Hungary, now and
then making invasions into German territory, or even to the borders of
Italy; Denmark and Sweden, owing to their remoteness from the great
theatre of action, were scarcely affected by the political changes we
have described.

[Sidenote: 570.]

Finally, the Alemanni, though defeated and held back by the Franks,
maintained their independence in the south-western part of Germany and
in Eastern Switzerland, where their descendants are living at this day.
Each of all these new nationalities included remnants of the smaller
original tribes, which had lost their independence in the general
struggle, and which soon became more or less mixed (except in England)
with the former inhabitants of the conquered soil.

The Eastern Empire was now too weak and corrupt to venture another
conflict with these stronger Germanic races, whose civilization was no
longer very far behind its own. Moreover, within sixty years after the
Migration came to an end, a new foe arose in the East. The successors of
Mahomet began that struggle which tore Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor from
Christian hands, and which only ceased when, in 1453, the crescent
floated from the towers of Constantinople.

Nearly all Europe was thus portioned among men of German blood, very few
of whom ever again migrated from the soil whereon they were now settled.
It was their custom to demand one-third--in some few instances, two
thirds--of the conquered territory for their own people. In this manner,
Frank and Gaul, Longobard and Roman, Visigoth and Spaniard, found
themselves side by side, and reciprocally influenced each other's speech
and habits of life. It must not be supposed, however, that the new
nations lost their former character, and took on that of the Germanic
conquerors. Almost the reverse of this took place. It must be remembered
that the Gauls, for instance, far outnumbered the Franks; that each
conquest was achieved by a few hundred thousand men, all of them
warriors, while each of the original Roman provinces had several
millions of inhabitants. There must have been at least ten of the ruled,
to one of the ruling race.


The latter, moreover, were greatly inferior to the former in all the
arts of civilization. In the homes, the dress and ornaments, the social
intercourse, and all the minor features of life, they found their new
neighbors above them, and they were quick to learn the use of
unaccustomed comforts or luxuries. All the cities and small towns were
Roman in their architecture, in their municipal organization, and in the
character of their trade and intercourse; and the conquerors found it
easier to accept this old-established order than to change it.

Another circumstance contributed to Latinize the German races outside of
Germany. After the invention of a Gothic alphabet by Bishop Ulfila, and
his translation of the Bible, we hear no more of a written German

language until the eighth century. There was at least none which was
accessible to the people, and the Latin continued to be the language of
government and religion. The priests were nearly all Romans, and their
interest was to prevent the use of written Germanic tongues. Such
learning as remained to the world was of course only to be acquired
through a knowledge of Latin and Greek.

All the influences which surrounded the conquering races tended,
therefore, to eradicate or change their original German characteristics.
After a few centuries, their descendants, in almost every instance, lost
sight of their origin, and even looked with contempt upon rival people
of the same blood. The Franks and Burgundians of the present day speak
of themselves as "the Latin race": the blonde and blue-eyed Lombards of
Northern Italy, not long since, hated "the Germans" as the Christian of
the Middle Ages hated the Jew; and the full-blooded English or American
Saxon often considers the German as a foreigner with whom he has nothing
in common.

By the year 570, all the races outside of Germany, except the Saxons and
Angles in Britain, had accepted Christianity. Within Germany, although
the Christian missionaries were at work among the Alemanni, the
Bavarians, and along the Rhine, the great body of the people still held
to their old pagan worship. The influence of the true faith was no doubt
weakened by the bitter enmity which still existed between the Athanasian
and Arian sects, although the latter ceased to be powerful after the
downfall of the Ostrogoths. But the Christianity which prevailed among
the Franks, Burgundians and Longobards was not pure or intelligent
enough to save them from the vices which the Roman Empire left behind
it. Many of their kings and nobles were polygamists, and the early
history of their dynasties is a chronicle of falsehood, cruelty and

[Sidenote: 570.]

In each of the races, the primitive habit of electing chiefs by the
people had long since given way to an hereditary monarchy, but in other
respects their political organization remained much the same. The Franks
introduced into Gaul the old German division of the land into provinces,
hundreds and communities, but the king now claimed the right of
appointing a Count for the first, a _Centenarius_, or centurion, for the
second, and an elder, or head-man, for the third. The people still held
their public assemblies, and settled their local matters; they were all
equal before the law, and the free men paid no taxes. The right of
declaring war, making peace, and other questions of national importance,
were decided by a general assembly of the people, at which the king
presided. The political system was therefore more republican than
monarchical, but it gradually lost the former character as the power of
the kings increased.

The nobles had no fixed place and no special rights during the
migrations of the tribes. Among the Franks they were partly formed out
of the civil officers, and soon included both Romans and Gauls among
their number. In Germany their hereditary succession was already
secured, and they maintained their ascendancy over the common people by
keeping pace with the knowledge and the arts of those times, while the
latter remained, for the most part, in a state of ignorance.

The cities, inhabited by Romans and Romanized Gauls, retained their old
system of government, but paid a tax or tribute. Those portions of the
other Germanic races which had become subject to the Franks were also
allowed to keep their own peculiar laws and forms of local government,
which were now, for the first time, recorded in the Latin language. They
were obliged to furnish a certain number of men capable of bearing arms,
but it does not appear that they paid any tribute to the Franks.

Slavery still existed, and in the two forms of it which we find among
the ancient Germans,--chattels who were bought and sold, and dependents
who were bound to give labor or tribute in return for the protection of
a freeman. The Romans in Gaul were placed upon the latter footing by the
Franks. The children born of marriages between them and the free took
the lower and not the higher position,--that is, they were dependents.

[Sidenote: 570. PENALTIES FOR CRIME.]

The laws in regard to crime were very rigid and severe, but not bloody.
The body of the free man, like his life, was considered inviolate, so
there was no corporeal punishment, and death was only inflicted in a few
extreme cases. The worst crimes could be atoned for by the sacrifice of
money or property. For murder the penalty was two hundred shillings (at
that time the value of 100 oxen), two-thirds of which were given to the
family of the murdered person, while one-third was divided between the
judge and the State. This penalty was increased threefold for the murder
of a Count or a soldier in the field, and more than fourfold for that of
a Bishop. In some of the codes the payment was fixed even for the murder
of a Duke or King. The slaying of a dependent or a Roman only cost half
as much as that of a free Frank, while a slave was only valued at
thirty-five shillings, or seventeen and a half oxen: the theft of a
falcon trained for hunting, or a stallion, cost ten shillings more.

Slander, insult and false-witness were punished in the same way. If any
one falsely accused another of murder he was condemned to pay the
injured person the penalty fixed for the crime of murder, and the same
rule was applied to all minor accusations. The charge of witchcraft, if
not proved according to the superstitious ideas of the people, was
followed by the penalty of one hundred and eighty shillings. Whoever
called another a _hare_, was fined six shillings; but if he called him a
_fox_, the fine was only three shillings.

As the Germanic races became Christian, the power and privileges of the
priesthood were manifested in the changes made in these laws. Not only
was it enacted that the theft of property belonging to the Church must
be paid back ninefold, but the slaves of the priests were valued at
double the amount fixed for the slaves of laymen. The Churches became
sacred, and no criminal could be seized at the foot of the altar. Those
who neglected to attend worship on the Sabbath three times in
succession, were punished by the loss of one-third of their property. If
this neglect was repeated a second time, they were made slaves, and
could be sold as such by the Church.

[Sidenote: 570.]

The laws of the still pagan Thuringians and Saxons, in Germany, did not
differ materially from those of the Christian Franks. Justice was
administered in assemblies of the people, and, in order to secure the
largest expression of the public will, a heavy fine was imposed for the
failure to attend. The latter feature is still retained, in some of the
old Cantons of Switzerland. In Thuringia and Saxony, however, the nobles
had become a privileged class, recognized by the laws, and thus was laid
the foundation for the feudal system of the Middle Ages.

The transition was now complete. Although the art, taste and refinement
of the Roman Empire were lost, its civilizing influence in law and civil
organization survived, and slowly subdued the Germanic races which
inherited its territory. But many characteristics of their early
barbarism still clung to the latter, and a long period elapsed before we
can properly call them a civilized people.




Chlodwig, the Founder of the Merovingian Dynasty. --His Conversion to
    Christianity. --His Successors. --Theuderich's Conquest of
    Thuringia. --Union of the Eastern Franks. --Austria (or Austrasia)
    and Neustria. --Crimes of the Merovingian Kings. --Clotar and his
    Sons. --Sigbert's Successes. --His Wife, Brunhilde. --Sigbert's
    Death. --Quarrel between Brunhilde and Fredegunde. --Clotar II.
    --Brunhilde and her Grandsons. --Her Defeat and Death. --Clotar
    II.'s Reign. --King Dagobert. --The Nobles and the Church. --War
    with the Thuringians. --Picture of the Merovingian Line. --A New


The history of Germany, from the middle of the sixth to the middle of
the ninth century, is that of France also. After having conducted them
to their new homes, we take leave of the Anglo-Saxons, the Visigoths and
the Longobards, and return to the Frank dynasty founded by Chlodwig,
about the year 500, when the smaller kings and chieftains of his race
accepted him as their ruler. In the histories of France, even those
written in English, he is called "Clovis," but we prefer to give him his
original Frank name. He was the grandson of a petty king, whose name was
Merovich, whence he and his successors are called, in history, the
_Merovingian_ dynasty. He appears to have been a born conqueror, neither
very just nor very wise in his actions, but brave, determined and ready
to use any means, good or bad, in order to attain his end.

Chlodwig extinguished the last remnant of Roman rule in Gaul, in the
year 486, as we have related in Chapter VII. He was then only 20 years
old, having succeeded to the throne at the age of 15. Shortly afterwards
he married the daughter of one of the Burgundian kings. She was a
Christian, and endeavored, but for many years without effect, to induce
him to give up his pagan faith. Finally, in a war with the Alemanni, in
496, he promised to become a Christian, provided the God of the
Christians would give him victory. The decisive battle was long and
bloody, but it ended in the complete rout of the Alemanni, and
afterwards all of them who were living to the west of the Rhine became
tributary to the Franks.

[Sidenote: 511.]

Chlodwig and 3,000 of his followers were soon afterwards baptized in the
cathedral at Rheims, by the bishop Remigius. When the king advanced to
the baptismal font, the bishop said to him: "Bow thy head,
Sicambrian!--worship what thou hast persecuted, persecute what thou hast
worshipped!" Although nearly all the German Christians at this time were
Arians, Chlodwig selected the Athanasian faith of Rome, and thereby
secured the support of the Roman priesthood in France, which was of
great service to him in his ambitious designs. This difference of faith
also gave him a pretext to march against the Burgundians in 500, and the
Visigoths in 507: both wars were considered holy by the Church.

His conquest of the Visigoths was prevented, as we have seen, by the
interposition of Theodoric. He then devoted his remaining years to the
complete suppression of all the minor Frank kings, and was so successful
that when he died, in 511, all the race, to the west of the Rhine, was
united under his single sway. He was succeeded by four sons, of whom the
eldest, Theuderich, reigned in Paris; the others chose Metz, Orleans and
Soissons for their capitals. Theuderich was a man of so much energy and
prudence that he was able to control his brothers, and unite the four
governments in such a way that the kingdom was saved from dismemberment.

The mother of Chlodwig was a runaway queen of Thuringia, whose son,
Hermanfried, now ruled over that kingdom, after having deposed his two
brothers. The relationship gave Theuderich a ground for interfering, and
the result was a war between the Franks and the Thuringians. Theuderich
collected a large army, marched into Germany in 530, procured the
services of 9,000 Saxons as allies, and met the Thuringians on the river
Unstrut, not far from where the city of Halle now stands. Hermanfried
was taken prisoner, carried to France, and treacherously thrown from a
tower, after receiving great professions of friendship from his nephew,
Theuderich. His family fled to Italy, and the kingdom of Thuringia,
embracing nearly all Central Germany, was added to that of the Franks.
The northern part, however, was given to the Saxons as a reward for
their assistance.


Four years afterwards the brothers of Theuderich conquered the kingdom
of Burgundy, and annexed it to their territory. About the same time, the
Franks living eastward of the Rhine entered into a union with their more
powerful brethren. Since both the Alemanni and the Bavarians were
already tributary to the latter, the dominion of the united Franks now
extended from the Atlantic nearly to the river Elbe, and from the mouth
of the Rhine to the Mediterranean, with Friesland and the kingdom of the
Saxons between it and the North Sea. To all lying east of the Rhine, the
name of Austria (East-kingdom) or Austrasia was given, while Neustria
(New-kingdom) was applied to all west of the Rhine. These designations
were used in the historical chronicles for some centuries afterwards.

While Theuderich lived, his brothers observed a tolerably peaceful
conduct towards one another, but his death was followed by a season of
war and murder. History gives us no record of another dynasty so steeped
in crime as that of the Merovingians: within the compass of a few years
we find a father murdering his son, a brother his brother and a wife her
husband. We can only account for the fact that the whole land was not
constantly convulsed by civil war, by supposing that the people retained
enough of power in their national assemblies, to refuse taking part in
the fratricidal quarrels. It is not necessary, therefore, to recount all
the details of the bloody family history. Their effect upon the people
must have been in the highest degree demoralizing, yet the latter
possessed enough of prudence--or perhaps of a clannish spirit, in the
midst of a much larger Roman and Gallic population--to hold the Frank
kingdom together, while its rulers were doing their best to split it to

The result of all the quarrelling and murdering was, that in 558 Clotar,
the youngest son of Chlodwig, became the sole monarch. After forty-seven
years of divided rule, the kingly power was again in a single hand, and
there seemed to be a chance for peace and progress. But Clotar died
within three years, and, like his father, left four sons to divide his
power. The first thing they did was to fight; then, being perhaps rather
equally matched, they agreed to portion the kingdom. Charibert reigned
in Paris, Guntram in Orleans, Chilperic in Soissons, and Sigbert in
Metz. The boundaries between their territories are uncertain; we only
know that all of "Austria," or Germany east of the Rhine, fell to
Sigbert's share.

[Sidenote: 565.]

About this time the Avars, coming from Hungary, had invaded Thuringia,
and were inciting the people to rebellion against the Franks. Sigbert
immediately marched against them, drove them back, and established his
authority over the Thuringians. On returning home he found that his
brother Chilperic had taken possession of his capital and many smaller
towns. Chilperic was forced to retreat, lost his own kingdom in turn,
and only received it again through the generosity of Sigbert,--the first
and only instance of such a virtue in the Merovingian line of kings.
Sigbert seems to have inherited the abilities, without the vices, of his
grandfather Chlodwig. When the Avars made a second invasion into
Germany, he was not only defeated but taken prisoner by them.
Nevertheless, he immediately acquired such influence over their Khan, or
chieftain, that he persuaded the latter to set him free, to make a
treaty of peace and friendship, and to return with his Avars to Hungary.

In the year 568 Charibert died in Paris, leaving no heirs. A new strife
instantly broke out among the three remaining brothers; but it was for a
time suspended, owing to the approach of a common danger. The
Longobards, now masters of Northern Italy, crossed the Alps and began to
overrun Switzerland, which the Franks possessed, through their victories
over the Burgundians and the Alemanni. Sigbert and Guntram united their
forces, and repelled the invasion with much slaughter.

Then broke out in France a series of family wars, darker and bloodier
than any which had gone before. The strife between the sons of Clotar
and their children and grandchildren desolated France for forty years,
and became all the more terrible because the women of the family entered
into it with the men. All these Christian kings, like their father, were
polygamists: each had several wives; yet they are described by the
priestly chroniclers of their times as men who went about doing good,
and whose lives were "acceptable to God"! Sigbert was the only
exception: he had but one wife, Brunhilde, the daughter of a king of the
Visigoths, a stately, handsome, intelligent woman, but proud and

[Sidenote: 570. FAMILY WARS IN FRANCE.]

Either the power and popularity, or the rich marriage-portion, which
Sigbert acquired with Brunhilde, induced his brother, Chilperic, to ask
the hand of her sister, the Princess Galsunta of Spain. It was granted
to him on condition that he would put away all his wives and live with
her alone. He accepted the condition, and was married to Galsunta. One
of the women sent away was Fredegunde, who soon found means to recover
her former influence over Chilperic's mind. It was not long before
Galsunta was found dead in her bed, and within a week Fredegunde, the
murderess, became queen in her stead. Brunhilde called upon Sigbert to
revenge her sister's death, and then began that terrible history of
crime and hatred, which was celebrated, centuries afterwards, in the
famous _Nibelungenlied_, or Lay of the Nibelungs.

In the year 575, Sigbert gained a complete victory over Chilperic, and
was lifted upon a shield by the warriors of the latter, who hailed him
as their king. In that instant he was stabbed in the back, and died upon
the field of his triumph. Chilperic resumed his sway, and soon took
Brunhilde prisoner, while her young son, Childebert, escaped to Germany.
But his own son, Merwig, espoused Brunhilde's cause, secretly released
her from prison, and then married her. A war next arose between father
and son, in which the former was successful. He cut off Merwig's long
hair, and shut him up in a monastery; but, for some unexplained reason,
he allowed Brunhilde to go free. In the meantime Fredegunde had borne
three sons, who all died soon after their birth. She accused her own
step-son of having caused their deaths by witchcraft, and he and his
mother, one of Chilperic's former wives, were put to death.

Both Chilperic and his brother Guntram, who reigned at Orleans, were
without male heirs. At this juncture, the German chiefs and nobles
demanded to have Childebert, the young son of Sigbert and Brunhilde, who
had taken refuge among them, recognized as the heir to the Frankish
throne. Chilperic consented, on condition that Childebert, with such
forces as he could command, would march with him against Guntram, who
had despoiled him of a great deal of his territory. The treaty was made,
in spite of the opposition of Brunhilde, whose sister's murder was not
yet avenged, and the civil wars were renewed. Both sides gained or lost
alternately, without any decided result, until the assassination of
Chilperic, by an unknown hand, in 584. A few months before his death,
Fredegunde had borne him another son, Clotar, who lived, and was at once
presented by his mother as Childebert's rival to the throne.

[Sidenote: 597.]

The struggle between the two widowed queens, Brunhilde and Fredegunde,
was for a while delayed by the appearance of a new claimant, Gundobald,
who had been a fugitive in Constantinople for many years, and declared
that he was Chilperic's brother. He obtained the support of many
Austrasian (German) princes, and was for a time so successful that
Fredegunde was forced to take refuge with Guntram, at Orleans. The
latter also summoned Childebert to his capital, and persuaded him to
make a truce with Fredegunde and her adherents, in order that both might
act against their common rival. Gundobald and his followers were soon
destroyed: Guntram died in 593, and Childebert was at once accepted as
his successor. His kingdom included that of Charibert, whose capital was
Paris, and that of his father, Sigbert, embracing all Frankish Germany.
But the nobles and people, accustomed to conspiracy, treachery and
crime, could no longer be depended upon, as formerly. They were
beginning to return to their former system of living upon war and
pillage, instead of the honest arts of peace.

Fredegunde still held the kingdom of Chilperic for her son Clotar. After
strengthening herself by secret intrigues with the Frank nobles, she
raised an army, put herself at its head, and marched against Childebert,
who was defeated and soon afterwards poisoned, after having reigned only
three years. His realm was divided between his two young sons, one
receiving Burgundy and the other Germany, under the guardianship of
their grandmother Brunhilde. Fredegunde followed up her success, took
Paris and Orleans from the heirs of Childebert, and died in 597, leaving
her son Clotar, then in his fourteenth year, as king of more than half
of France. He was crowned as Clotar II.

Death placed Brunhilde's rival out of the reach of her revenge, but she
herself might have secured the whole kingdom of the Franks for her two
grandsons, had she not quarrelled with one and stirred up war between
them. The first consequence of this new strife was that Alsatia and
Eastern Switzerland were separated from Neustria, or France, and
attached to Austria, or Germany. Brunhilde, finding that her cause was
desperate, procured the assistance of Clotar II. for herself and her
favorite grandson, Theuderich. The fortune of war now turned, and before
long the other grandson, Theudebert, was taken prisoner. By his
brother's order he was formally deposed from his kingly authority, and
then executed: the brains of his infant son were dashed out against a

[Sidenote: 613. MURDER OF BRUNHILDE.]

It was not long before this crime was avenged. A quarrel in regard to
the division of the spoils arose between Theuderich and Clotar II. The
former died in the beginning of the war which followed, leaving four
young sons to the care of their great-grandmother, the queen Brunhilde.
Clotar II. immediately marched against her, but, knowing her ability and
energy, he obtained a promise from the nobles of Burgundy and Germany
who were unfriendly to Brunhilde, that they would come over to his side
at the critical moment. The aged queen had called her people to arms,
and, like her rival, Fredegunde, put herself at their head; but when the
armies met, on the river Aisne in Champagne, the traitors in her own
camp joined Clotar II. and the struggle was ended without a battle.
Brunhilde, then eighty years old, was taken prisoner, cruelly tortured
for three days, and then tied by her gray hair to the tail of a wild
horse and dragged to death. The four sons of Theuderich were put to
death at the same time, and thus, in the year 613, Clotar II. became
king of all the Franks. A priest named Fredegar, who wrote his
biography, says of him: "He was a most patient man, learned and pious,
and kind and sympathizing towards every one!"

Clotar II. possessed, at least, energy enough to preserve a sway which
was based on a long succession of the worst crimes that disgrace
humanity. In 622, six years before his death, he made his oldest son,
Dagobert, a boy of sixteen, king of the German half of his realm, but
was obliged, immediately afterwards, to assist him against the Saxons.
He entered their territory, seized the people, massacred all who proved
to be taller than his own two-handed sword, and then returned to France
without having subdued the spirit or received the allegiance of the bold
race. Nothing of importance occurred during the remainder of his reign;
he died in 628, leaving his kingdom to his two sons, Dagobert and
Charibert. The former easily possessed himself of the lion's share,
giving his younger brother only a small strip of territory along the
river Loire. Charibert, however, drove the last remnant of the Visigoths
into Spain, and added the country between the Garonne and the Pyrenees
to his little kingdom. The name of Aquitaine was given to this region,
and Charibert's descendants became its Dukes, subject to the kings of
the Franks.

[Sidenote: 628.]

Dagobert had been carefully educated by Pippin of Landen, the Royal
Steward of Clotar II., and by Arnulf, the Bishop of Metz. He had no
quality of greatness, but he promised to be, at least, a good and just
sovereign. He became at once popular with the masses, who began to long
for peace, and for the restoration of rights which had been partly lost
during the civil wars. The nobles, however, who had drawn the greatest
advantage from those wars, during which their support was purchased by
one side or the other, grew dissatisfied. They cunningly aroused in
Dagobert the love of luxury and the sensual vices which had ruined his
ancestors, and thus postponed the reign of law and justice to which the
people were looking forward.

In fact, that system of freedom and equality which the Germanic races
had so long possessed, was already shaken to its very base. During the
long and bloody feuds of the Merovingian kings, many changes had been
made in the details of government, all tending to increase the power of
the nobles, the civil officers and the dignitaries of the Church.
Wealth--the bribes paid for their support--had accumulated in the hands
of these classes, while the farmers, mechanics and tradesmen, plundered
in turn by both parties, had constantly grown poorer. Although the
external signs of civilization had increased, the race had already lost
much of its moral character, and some of the best features of its
political system.

There are few chronicles which inform us of the affairs of Germany
during this period. The Avars, after their treaty of peace with Sigbert,
directed their incursions against the Bavarians, but without gaining any
permanent advantage. On the other hand, the Slavonic tribes, especially
the Bohemians, united under the rule of a renegade Frank, whose name was
Samo, and who acquired a part of Thuringia, after defeating the Frank
army which was sent against him. The Saxons and Thuringians then took
the war into their own hands, and drove back Samo and his Slavonic
hordes. By this victory the Saxons released themselves from the payment
of an annual tribute to the Frank kings, and the Thuringians became
strong enough to organize themselves again as a people and elect their
own Duke. The Franks endeavored to suppress this new organization, but
they were defeated by the Duke, Radulf, nearly on the same spot where,
just one hundred years before, Theuderich, the son of Chlodwig, had
crushed the Thuringian kingdom. From that time, Thuringia was placed on
the same footing as Bavaria, tributary to the Franks, but locally


King Dagobert, weak, swayed by whatever influence was nearest, and
voluptuous rather than cruel, died in 638, before he had time to do much
evil. He was the last of the Merovingian line who exercised any actual
power. The dynasty existed for a century longer, but its monarchs were
merely puppets in the hands of stronger men. Its history, from the
beginning, is well illustrated by a tradition current among the people,
concerning the mother of Chlodwig. They relate that soon after her
marriage she had a vision, in which she gave birth to a lion (Chlodwig),
whose descendants were wolves and bears, and their descendants, in turn,
frisky dogs.

Before the death of Dagobert--in fact, during the life of Clotar II.--a
new power had grown up within the kingdom of the Franks, which gradually
pushed the Merovingian dynasty out of its place. The history of this
power, after 638, becomes the history of the realm, and we now turn from
the bloody kings to trace its origin, rise and final triumph.




The Steward of the Royal Household. --His Government of the Royal
    _Lehen_. --His Position and Opportunities. --Pippin of Landen.
    --His Sway in Germany. --Gradual Transfer of Power. --Grimoald,
    Steward of France. --Pippin of Heristall. --His Successes.
    --Coöperation with the Church of Rome. --Quarrels between his
    Heirs. --Karl defeats his Rivals. --Becomes sole Steward of the
    Empire. --He favors Christian Missions. --The Labors of Winfried
    (Bishop Bonifacius). --Invasion of the Saracens. --The Great Battle
    of Poitiers. --Karl is surnamed Martel, the Hammer. --His Wars and
    Marches. --His Death and Character. --Pippin the Short. --He
    subdues the German Dukes. --Assists Pope Zacharias. --Is anointed
    King. --Death of Bonifacius. --Pippin defeats the Lombards. --Gives
    the Pope Temporal Power. --His Death.

[Sidenote: 638.]

We have mentioned Pippin of Landen as the Royal Steward of Clotar II.
His office gave birth to the new power which grew up beside the
Merovingian rule and finally suppressed it. In the chronicles of the
time the officer is called the _Majordomus_ of the King,--a word which
is best translated by "Steward of the Royal Household"; but in reality,
it embraced much more extended and important powers than the title would
imply. In their conquests, the Franks--as we have already
stated--usually claimed at least one-third of the territory which fell
into their hands. A part of this was portioned out among the chief men
and the soldiers; a part was set aside as the king's share, and still
another part became the common property of the people. The latter,
therefore, fell into the habit of electing a Steward to guard and
superintend this property in their interest; and, as the kings became
involved in their family feuds, the charge of the royal estates was
intrusted to the hands of the same steward.

The latter estates soon became, by conquest, so extensive and important,
that the king gave the use of many of them for a term of years, or for
life, to private individuals in return for military services. This was
called the _Lehen_ (lien, or loan) system, to distinguish it from the
_Allod_ (allotment), whereby a part of the conquered lands were divided
by lot, and became the free property of those to whom they fell. The
_Lehen_ gave rise to a new class, whose fortunes were immediately
dependent on the favor of the king, and who consequently, when they
appeared at the national assemblies, voted on his side. Such a "loaned"
estate was also called _feod_, whence the term "_feudal_ system," which,
gradually modified by time, grew from this basis. The importance of the
Royal Steward in the kingdom is thus explained. The office, at first,
had probably a mere business character. After Chlodwig's time, the civil
wars by which the estates of the king and the people became subject to
constant change, gave the steward a political power, which increased
with each generation. He stood between the monarch and his subjects,
with the best opportunity for acquiring an ascendency over the minds of
both. At first, he was only elected for a year, and his reëlection
depended on the honesty and ability with which he had discharged his
duties. During the convulsions of the dynasty, he, in common with king
and nobles, gained what rights the people lost: he began to retain his
office for a longer time, then for life, and finally demanded that it
should be hereditary in his family.

[Sidenote: 638. THE "LEHEN" SYSTEM.]

The Royal Stewards of Burgundy and Germany played an important part in
the last struggle between Clotar II. and Brunhilde. When the successful
king, in 622, found that the increasing difference of language and
habits between the eastern and western portions of his realm required a
separation of the government, and made his young son, Dagobert, ruler
over the German half, he was compelled to recognize Pippin of Landen as
his Steward, and to trust Dagobert entirely to his hands. The dividing
line between "Austria" and "Neustria" was drawn along the chain of the
Vosges, through the forest of Ardennes, and terminated near the mouth of
the Schelde,--almost the same line which divides the German and French
languages, at this day.

Pippin was a Frank, born in the Netherlands, a man of energy and
intelligence, but of little principle. He had, nevertheless, shrewdness
enough to see the necessity of maintaining the unity and peace of the
kingdom, and he endeavored, in conjunction with Bishop Arnulf of Metz,
to make a good king of Dagobert. They made him, indeed, amiable and
well-meaning, but they could not overcome the instability of his
character. After Clotar II.'s death, in 628, Dagobert passed the
remaining ten years of his life in France, under the control of others,
and the actual government of Germany was exercised by Pippin.

[Sidenote: 670.]

The period of transition between the power of the kings, gradually
sinking, and the power of the Stewards, steadily rising, lasted about
fifty years. The latter power, however, was not allowed to increase
without frequent struggles, partly from the jealousy of the nobility and
priesthood, partly from the Resistance of the people to the extinction
of their remaining rights. But, after the devastation left behind by the
fratricidal wars of the Merovingians, all parties felt the necessity of
a strong and well-regulated government, and the long experience of the
Stewards gave them the advantage.

Grimoald, the son and successor of Pippin in the stewardship of Germany,
made an attempt to usurp the royal power, but failed. This event, and
the interference of a Steward of France with the rights of the dynasty,
led the Franks, in 670--when the whole kingdom was again united under
Childeric II.--to decree that the Stewards should be elected annually by
the people, as in the beginning. But when Childeric II., like the most
of his predecessors, was murdered, the deposed Steward of France
regained his power, forced the people to accept him, and attempted to
extend his government over Germany. In spite of a fierce resistance,
headed by Pippin of Heristall, the grandson of Pippin of Landen, he
partly maintained his authority until the year 681, when he was murdered
in turn.

Pippin of Heristall was also the grandson of Arnulf, Bishop of Metz,
whose son, Anchises, had married Begga, the daughter of Pippin of
Landen. He was thus of Roman blood by his father's, and Frank by his
mother's side. As soon as his authority was secured, as Royal Steward of
Germany, he invaded France, and a desperate struggle for the stewardship
of the whole kingdom ensued. It was ended in 687 by a battle near St.
Quentin, in which Pippin was victorious. He used his success with a
moderation very rare in those days: he did honor to the Frank king,
Theuderich III., who had fallen into his hands, spared the lives and
possessions of all who had fought against him, on their promise not to
take up arms against his authority, and even continued many of the chief
officials of the Franks in their former places.

[Sidenote: 687. PIPPIN OF HERISTALL.]

From this date the Merovingian monarch became a shadow. Pippin paid him
all external signs of allegiance, kept up the ceremonies of his Court,
supplied him with ample revenues, and governed the kingdom in his name;
but the actual power was concentrated in his own hands. France,
Switzerland and the greater part of Germany were subjected to his
government, although there were still elements of discontent within the
realm, and of trouble outside of its borders. The dependent dukedoms of
Aquitaine, Burgundy, Alemannia, Bavaria and Thuringia were restless
under the yoke; the Saxons and Frisians on the north were hostile and
defiant, and the Slavonic races all along the eastern frontier had not
yet given up their invasions.

Pippin, like the French rulers after him, down to the present day,
perceived the advantage of having the Church on his side. Moreover, he
was the grandson of a Bishop, which circumstance--although it did not
prevent him from taking two wives--enabled him better to understand the
power of the ecclesiastical system of Rome. In the early part of the
seventh century, several Christian missionaries, principally Irish, had
begun their labors among the Alemanni and the Bavarians, but the greater
part of these people, with all the Thuringians, Saxons and Frisians,
were still worshippers of the old pagan gods. Pippin saw that the latter
must be taught submission, and accustomed to authority through the
Church, and, with his aid, all the southern part of Germany became
Christian in a few years. Force was employed, as well as persuasion;
but, at that time, the end was considered to sanction any means.

Pippin's rule (we can not call it _reign_) was characterized by the
greatest activity, patience and prudence. From year to year the kingdom
of the Franks became better organized and stronger in all its features
of government. Brittany, Burgundy and Aquitaine were kept quiet; the
northern part of Holland was conquered, and immediately given into
charge of a band of Anglo-Saxon monks; and Germany, although restless
and dissatisfied, was held more firmly than ever. Pippin of Heristall,
while he was simply called a Royal Steward, exercised a wider power
than any monarch of his time.

[Sidenote: 714.]

When he died, in the year 714, the kingdom was for a while convulsed by
feuds which threatened to repeat the bloody annals of the Merovingians.
His heirs were Theudowald, his grandson by his wife Plektrude, and Karl
and Hildebrand, his sons by his wife Alpheid. He chose the former as his
successor, and Plektrude, in order to suppress any opposition to this
arrangement, imprisoned her step-son Karl. But the Burgundians
immediately revolted, elected one of their chiefs, Raginfried, to the
office of Royal Steward, and defeated the Franks in a battle in which
Theudowald was slain. Karl, having escaped from prison, put himself at
the head of affairs, supported by a majority of the German Franks. He
was a man of strong personal influence, and inspired his followers with
enthusiasm and faith; but his chances seemed very desperate. His
step-mother, Plektrude, opposed him: the Burgundians and French Franks,
led by Raginfried, were marching against him, and Radbod, Duke of
Friesland, invaded the territory which he was bound by his office to

Karl had the choice of three enemies, and he took the one which seemed
most dangerous. He attacked Radbod, but was forced to fall back, and
this repulse emboldened the Saxons to make a foray into the land of the
Hessians, as the old Germanic tribe of the Chatti were now called.
Radbod advanced to Cologne, which was held by Plektrude and her
followers: at the same time Raginfried approached from the west, and the
city was thus besieged by two separate armies, hostile to each other,
yet both having the same end in view. Between the two, Karl managed to
escape, and retreated to the forest of Ardennes, where he set about
reconstructing his shattered army.

Cologne was too strong to be assailed, and Plektrude, who possessed
large treasures, soon succeeded in buying off Radbod and Raginfried. The
latter, on his return to France, came into collision with Karl, who,
though repelled at first, finally drove him in confusion to the walls of
Paris. Karl then suddenly wheeled about and marched against Cologne,
which fell into his hands: Plektrude, leaving her wealth as his booty,
fled to Bavaria. This victory secured to Karl the stewardship over
Germany, but a king was wanting, to make the forms of royalty complete.
The direct Merovingian line had run out, and Raginfried had been
obliged to take a monk, an offshoot of the family, and place him on the
throne, under the name of Chilperic II. Karl, after a little search,
discovered another Merovingian, whom he installed in the German half of
the kingdom, as Clotar III. That done, he attacked the invading Saxons,
defeated and drove them beyond the Weser river.


He was now free to meet the rebellious Franks of France, who in the
meantime had strengthened themselves by offering to Duke Eudo of
Aquitaine the acknowledgment of his independent sovereignty in return
for his support. A decisive battle was fought in the year 719, and Karl
was again victorious. The nominal king, Chilperic II., Raginfried and
Duke Eudo fled into the south of France. Karl began negotiations with
the latter for the delivery of the fugitive king; but just at this time
his own puppet, Clotar III., happened to die, and, as there was no other
Merovingian left, the pretence upon which his stewardship was based
obliged him to recognize Chilperic II. Raginfried resigned his office,
and Karl was at last nominal Steward, and actual monarch, of the kingdom
of the Franks.

His first movement was to deliver Germany from its invaders, and
reëstablish the dependency of its native Dukes. The death of the fierce
Radbod enabled him to reconquer West Friesland: the Saxons were then
driven back and firmly held within their original boundaries, and
finally the Alemanni and Bavarians were compelled to make a formal
acknowledgment of the Frank rule. As regards Thuringia, which seems to
have remained a Dukedom, the chronicles of the time give us little
information. It is probable, however, that the invasions of the Saxons
on the north and the Slavonic tribes on the east gave the people of
Central Germany no opportunity to resist the authority of the Franks.
The work of conversion, encouraged by Pippin of Heristall as a political
measure, was still continued by the zeal of the Irish and Anglo-Saxon
missionaries, and in the beginning of the eighth century it received a
powerful impulse from a new apostle, a man of singular ability and

He was a Saxon of England, born in Devonshire in the year 680, and
Winfried by name. Educated in a monastery, at a time when the struggle
between Christianity and the old Germanic faith was at its height, he
resolved to devote his life to missionary labors. He first went to
Friesland, during the reign of Radbod, and spent three years in a vain
attempt to convert the people. Then he visited Rome, offered his
services to the Pope, and was commissioned to undertake the work of
christianizing Central Germany. On reaching the field of his labors, he
manifested such zeal and intelligence that he soon became the leader and
director of the missionary enterprise. It is related that at Geismar, in
the land of the Hessians, he cut down with his own hands an aged
oak-tree, sacred to the god Thor. This and other similar acts inspired
the people with such awe that they began to believe that their old gods
were either dead or helpless, and they submissively accepted the new
faith without understanding its character, or following it otherwise
than in observing the external forms of worship.

[Sidenote: 725.]

On a second visit to Rome, Winfried was appointed by the Pope Archbishop
of Mayence, and ordered to take, thenceforth, the name of Bonifacius
(Benefactor), by which he is known in history. He was confirmed in this
office by Karl, to whom he had rendered valuable political services by
the conversion of the Thuringians, and who had a genuine respect for his
lofty and unselfish character. The spot where he built the first
Christian church in Central Germany, about twelve miles from Gotha, at
the foot of the Thuringian Mountains, is now marked by a colossal
candle-stick of granite, surmounted by a golden flame.

After Karl had been for several years actively employed in regulating
the affairs of his great realm, and especially, with the aid of Bishop
Bonifacius, in establishing an authority in Germany equal to that he
possessed in France, he had every prospect of a powerful and peaceful
rule. But suddenly a new danger threatened not only the Franks, but all
Europe. The Saracens, crossing from Africa, defeated the Visigoths and
slew Roderick, their king, in the year 711. Gradually possessing
themselves of all Spain, they next collected a tremendous army, and in
731, under the command of Abderrahman, Viceroy of the Caliph of
Damascus, set out for the conquest of France. Thus the new Christian
faith of Europe, still engaged in quelling the last strength of the
ancient paganism, was suddenly called upon to meet the newer faith of
Mohammed, which had determined to subdue the world.

[Sidenote: 732. THE BATTLE OF POITIERS.]

Not only France, but the Eastern Empire, Italy and England looked to
Karl, in this emergency. The Saracens crossed the Pyrenees with 350,000
warriors, accompanied by their wives and children, as if they were sure
of victory and meant to possess the land. Karl called the military
strength of the whole broad kingdom into the field, collected an army
nearly equal in numbers, and finally, in October, 732, the two hosts
stood face to face, near the city of Poitiers. It was a struggle almost
as grand, and as fraught with important consequences to the world, as
that of Aëtius and Attila, nearly 300 years before. Six days were spent
in preparations, and on the seventh the battle began. The Saracens
attacked with that daring and impetuosity which had gained them so many
victories; but, as the old chronicle says, "the Franks, with their
strong hearts and powerful bodies, stood like a wall, and hewed down the
Arabs with iron hands." When night fell, 200,000 dead and wounded lay
upon the field. Karl made preparations for resuming the battle on the
following morning, but he found no enemy. The Saracens had retired
during the night, leaving their camps and stores behind them, and their
leader, Abderrahman, among the slain. This was the first great check the
cause of Islam received, after a series of victories more wonderful than
those of Rome. From that day the people bestowed upon Karl the surname
of _Martel_, the Hammer, and as Charles Martel he is best known in

He was not able to follow up his advantage immediately, for the
possibility of his defeat by the Saracens had emboldened his enemies at
home and abroad, to rise against his authority. The Frisians, under
Poppo, their new Duke, made another invasion; the Saxons followed their
example; the Burgundians attempted a rebellion, and the sons of Duke
Eudo of Aquitaine, imitating the example of their ancestors, the
Merovingian kings, began to quarrel about the succession. While Karl
Martel (as we must now call him) was engaged in suppressing all these
troubles, the Saracens, with the aid of the malcontent Burgundians,
occupied all the territory bordering the Mediterranean, on both sides of
the Rhone. He was not free to march against them until 737, when he made
his appearance with a large army, retook Avignon, Arles and Nismes, and
left them in possession only of Narbonne, which was too strongly
fortified to be taken by assault.

Karl Martel was recalled to the opposite end of the kingdom by a fresh
invasion of the Saxons. When this had been repelled, and the northern
frontier in Germany strengthened against the hostile race, the
Burgundian nobles in Provence sought a fresh alliance with the Saracens,
and compelled him to return instantly from the Weser to the shores of
the Mediterranean. He suppressed the rebellion, but was obliged to leave
the Saracens in possession of a part of the coast, between the Rhone and
the Pyrenees. During his stay in the south of France, the Pope, Gregory
II., entreated him to come to Italy and relieve Rome from the oppression
of Luitprand, king of the Longobards. He did not accept the invitation,
but it appears that, as mediator, he assisted in concluding a treaty
between the Pope and king, which arranged their differences for a time.

[Sidenote: 741.]

Worn out by his life of marches and battles, Karl Martel became
prematurely old, and died in 741, at the age of fifty, after a reign of
twenty-seven years. He inherited the activity, the ability, and also the
easy principles of his father, Pippin of Heristall. But his authority
was greatly increased, and he used it to lessen the remnant of their
original freedom which the people still retained. The free Germanic
Franks were accustomed to meet every year, in the month of March (as on
the _Champ de Mars_, or March-field, at Paris), and discuss all national
matters. In Chlodwig's time the royal dependents were added to the free
citizens and allowed an equal voice, which threw an additional power
into the hands of the monarch. Karl Martel convoked the national
assembly, declared war or made peace, without asking the people's
consent; while, by adding the priesthood and the nobles, with their
dependents, to the number of those entitled to vote, he broke down the
ancient power of the state and laid the foundation of a more absolute

Shortly before his death, Karl Martel summoned a council of the princes
and nobles of his realm, and obtained their consent that his eldest son,
Karloman, should succeed him as Royal Steward of Germany, and his second
son, Pippin, surnamed the Short, as Royal Steward of France and
Burgundy. The Merovingian throne had already been vacant for four years,
but the monarch had become so insignificant that this circumstance was
scarcely noticed. On his death-bed, however, Karl Martel was persuaded
by Swanhilde, one of his wives, to bequeath a part of his dominions to
her son, Grifo. This gave rise to great discontent among the people, and
furnished the subject Dukes of Bavaria, Alemannia and Aquitaine with
another opportunity for endeavoring to regain their lost independence.


Karloman and Pippin, in order to strengthen their cause, sought for a
descendant of the Merovingian line, and, having found him, they
proclaimed him king, under the name of Childeric III. This step secured
to them the allegiance of the Franks, but the conflict with the
refractory Dukedoms lasted several years. Battles were fought on the
Loire, on the Lech, in Bavaria, and then again on the Saxon frontier:
finally Aquitaine was subdued, Alemannia lost its Duke and became a
Frank province, and Bavaria agreed to a truce. In this struggle,
Karloman and Pippin received important support from Bonifacius, a part
of whose aim it was to bring all the Christian communities to
acknowledge the Pope of Rome as the sole head of the Church. They gave
him their support in return, and thus the Franks were drawn into closer
relations with the ecclesiastical power.

In the year 747, Karloman resigned his power, went to Rome, and was made
a monk by Pope Zacharias. Soon afterwards Grifo, the son of Karl Martel
and Swanhilde, made a second attempt to conquer his rights, with the aid
of the Saxons. Pippin the Short allied himself with the Wends, a
Slavonic race settled in Prussia, and ravaged the Saxon land, forcing a
part of the inhabitants, at the point of the sword, to be baptized as
Christians. Grifo fled to Bavaria, where the Duke, Tassilo, espoused his
cause, but Pippin the Short followed close upon his heels with so strong
a force that resistance was no longer possible. A treaty was made
whereby Grifo was consigned to private life, the hereditary rights of
the Bavarian Dukes recognized by the Franks, and the sovereignty of the
Franks accepted by the Bavarians.

Pippin the Short had found, through his own experience as well as that
of his ancestors, that the pretence of a Merovingian king only worked
confusion in the realm of the Franks, since it furnished to the
subordinate races and principalities a constant pretext for revolt.
When, therefore, Pope Zacharias found himself threatened by Aistulf, the
successor of Luitprand as king of the Longobards, and sent an embassy to
Pippin the Short appealing for his assistance, the latter returned to
him this question: "Does the kingdom belong to him who exercises the
power, without the name, or to him who bears the name, without
possessing the power?" The answer was what he expected: a general
assembly was called together in 752, Pippin was anointed King by the
Archbishop Bonifacius, then lifted on a shield according to the ancient
custom and accepted by the nobles and people. The shadowy Merovingian
king, Childeric III., was shorn of his long hair, the sign of royalty,
and sent into a monastery, where he disappeared from the world. Pippin
now possessed sole and unlimited sway over the kingdom of the Franks,
and named himself "King by the Grace of God,"--an example which has been
followed by most monarchs, down to our day. On the other hand, the
decision of Zacharias was a great step gained by the Papal power, which
thenceforth began to exalt its prerogatives over those of the rulers of

[Sidenote: 755.]

Pippin's first duty, as king, was to repel a new invasion of the Saxons.
His power was so much increased by his title that he was able, at once,
to lead against them such a force that they were compelled to pay a
tribute of 300 horses annually, and to allow Christian missionaries to
reside among them. The latter condition was undoubtedly the suggestion
of Bonifacius, who determined to carry the cross to the North Sea, and
complete the conversion of Germany. He himself undertook a mission to
Friesland, where he had failed as a young monk, and there, in 755, at
the age of seventy-five, he was slain by the fierce pagans. He died like
a martyr; refusing to defend himself, and was enrolled among the number
of Saints.

In the year 754, Pope Stephen II., the successor of Zacharias, appeared
in France as a personal supplicant for the aid of King Pippin. Aistulf,
the Longobard king, who had driven the Byzantines out of the Exarchy of
Ravenna, was marching against Rome, which still nominally belonged to
the Eastern Empire. To make his entreaty more acceptable, the Pope
bestowed on Pippin the title of "Patrician of Rome," and solemnly
crowned both him and his young sons, Karl and Karloman, in the chapel of
St. Denis, near Paris. At the same time he issued a ban of
excommunication against all persons who should support a monarch
belonging to any other than the reigning dynasty.

Pippin first endeavored to negotiate with Aistulf, but, failing therein,
he marched into Italy, defeated the Longobards in several battles, and
besieged the king in Pavia, his capital. Aistulf was compelled to
promise that he would give up the Exarchy and leave the Pope in peace;
but no sooner had Pippin returned to France than he violated all his
promises. On the renewed appeals of the Pope, Pippin came to Italy a
second time, again defeated the Longobards, and forced Aistulf not only
to fulfil his former promises, but also to pay the expenses of the
second war. He remained in Italy until the conditions were fulfilled,
and his son Karl (Charlemagne), then fourteen years old, spent some time
in Rome.

[Sidenote: 768. DEATH OF PIPPIN.]

The Byzantine Emperor demanded that the cities of the Exarchy should be
given back to him, but Pippin transferred them to the Pope, who already
exercised a temporal power in Rome. They were held by the latter, for
some time afterwards, in the name of the Eastern Empire. The worldly
sovereignty of the Popes grew gradually from this basis, but was not yet
recognized, or even claimed. Pippin, nevertheless, greatly strengthened
the influence of the Church by gifts of land, by increasing the
privileges of the priesthood, and by allowing the ecclesiastical synods,
in many cases, to interfere in matters of civil government.

The only other events of his reign were another expedition against the
unsubdued Saxons, and the expulsion of the Saracens from the territory
they held between Narbonne and the Pyrenees. He died in 768, King
instead of Royal Steward, leaving to his sons, Karl and Karloman, a
greater, stronger and better organized dominion than Europe had seen
since the downfall of the Roman Empire.




The Partition made by Pippin the Short. --Death of Karloman.
    --Appearance and Character of Charlemagne. --His Place in History.
    --The Carolingian Dynasty. --His Work as a Statesman. --Conquest of
    Lombardy. --Visit to Rome. --First Saxon Campaign. --The Chief,
    Wittekind. --Assembly at Paderborn. --Expedition to Spain. --Defeat
    at Roncesvalles. --Revolt of the Saxons. --Second Visit to Rome.
    --Execution of Saxon Nobles, and Third War. --Subjection of
    Bavaria. --Victory over the Avars. --Final Submission of the
    Saxons. --Visit of Pope Leo III. --Charlemagne crowned Roman
    Emperor. --The Plan of Temporal and Spiritual Empire. --Intercourse
    with Haroun Alraschid. --Trouble with the Saracens. --Extent of
    Charlemagne's Empire. --His Encouragement of Learning and the Arts.
    --The Scholars at his Court. --Changes in the System of Government.
    --Loss of Popular Freedom. --Charlemagne's Habits. --The Norsemen.
    --His Son, Ludwig, crowned Emperor. --Charlemagne's Death.

[Sidenote: 771.]

When King Pippin the Short felt that his end was near, he called an
assembly of Dukes, nobles and priests, which was held at St. Denis, for
the purpose of installing his sons, Karl and Karloman, as his
successors. As he had observed how rapidly the French and German halves
of his empire were separating themselves from each other, in language,
habits and national character, he determined to change the former
boundary between "Austria" and "Neustria," which ran nearly north and
south, and to substitute an arbitrary line running east and west. This
division was accepted by the assembly, but its unpractical character was
manifested as soon as Karl and Karloman began to reign. There was
nothing but trouble for three years, at the end of which time the latter
died, leaving Karl, in 771, sole monarch of the Frank Empire.

This great man, who, looking backwards, saw not his equal in history
until he beheld Julius Cæsar, now began his splendid single reign of
forty-three years. We must henceforth call him Charlemagne, the French
form of the Latin _Carolus Magnus_, Karl the Great, since by that name
he is known in all English history. He was at this time twenty-nine
years old, and in the pride of perfect strength and manly beauty. He was
nearly seven feet high, admirably proportioned, and so developed by
toil, the chase and warlike exercises that few men of his time equalled
him in muscular strength. His face was noble and commanding, his hair
blonde or light brown, and his eyes a clear, sparkling blue. He
performed the severest duties of his office with a quiet dignity which
heightened the impression of his intellectual power; he was terrible and
inflexible in crushing all who attempted to interfere with his work; but
at the chase, the banquet, or in the circle of his family and friends,
no one was more frank, joyous and kindly than he.

[Sidenote: 771. CHARLEMAGNE.]

His dynasty is called in history, after him, the _Carolingian_, although
Pippin of Landen was its founder. The name of Charlemagne is extended
backwards over the Royal Stewards, his ancestors, and after him over a
century of successors who gradually faded out like the Merovingian line.
He stands alone, midway between the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, as
the one supreme historical landmark. The task of his life was to extend,
secure, regulate and develop the power of a great empire, much of which
was still in a state of semi-barbarism. He was no imitator of the Roman
Emperors: his genius, as a statesman, lay in his ability to understand
that new forms of government, and a new development of civilization, had
become necessary. Like all strong and far-seeing rulers, he was
despotic, and often fiercely cruel. Those who interfered with his
plans--even the members of his own family--were relentlessly sacrificed.
On the other hand, although he strengthened the power of the nobility,
he never neglected the protection of the people; half his days were
devoted to war, yet he encouraged learning, literature and the arts; and
while he crushed the independence of the races he gave them a higher
civilization in its stead.

Charlemagne first marched against the turbulent Saxons, but before they
were reduced to order he was called to Italy by the appeal of Pope
Adrian for help against the Longobards. The king of the latter,
Desiderius, was the father of Hermingarde, Charlemagne's second wife,
whom he had repudiated and sent home soon after his accession to the
throne. Karloman's widow had also claimed the protection of Desiderius,
and she, with her sons, was living at the latter's court. But these ties
had no weight with Charlemagne; he collected a large army at Geneva,
crossed the Alps by the pass of St. Bernard, conquered all Northern
Italy, and besieged Desiderius in Pavia. He then marched to Rome, where
Pope Adrian received him as a liberator. A procession of the clergy and
people went forth to welcome him, chanting, "Blessed is he that comes in
the name of the Lord!" He took part in the ceremonies of Easter, 774,
which were celebrated with great pomp in the Cathedral of St. Peter.

[Sidenote: 775.]

In May Pavia fell into Charlemagne's hands. Desiderius was sent into a
monastery, the widow and children of Karloman disappeared, and the
kingdom of the Longobards, embracing all Northern and Central Italy, was
annexed to the empire of the Franks. The people were allowed to retain
both their laws and their dukes, or local rulers, but, in spite of these
privileges, they soon rose in revolt against their conqueror.
Charlemagne had returned to finish his work with the Saxons, when in 776
this revolt called him back to Italy. The movement was temporarily
suppressed, and he hastened to Germany to resume his interrupted task.

The Saxons were the only remaining German people who resisted both the
Frank rule and the introduction of Christianity. They held all of what
is now Westphalia, Hannover and Brunswick, to the river Elbe, and were
still strong, in spite of their constant and wasting wars. During his
first campaign, in 772, Charlemagne had overrun Westphalia, taken
possession of the fortified camp of the Saxons, and destroyed the
"Irmin-pillar," which seems to have been a monument erected to
commemorate the defeat of Varus by Hermann. The people submitted, and
promised allegiance; but the following year, aroused by the appeals of
their duke or chieftain, Wittekind, they rebelled in a body. The
Frisians joined them, the priests and missionaries were slaughtered or
expelled, and all the former Saxon territory, nearly to the Rhine, was
retaken by Wittekind.

Charlemagne collected a large army and renewed the war in 775. He
pressed forward as far as the river Weser, when, carelessly dividing his
forces, one half of them were cut to pieces, and he was obliged to
retreat. His second expedition to Italy, at this time, was made with all
possible haste, and a new army was ready on his return. Westphalia was
now wasted with fire and sword, and the people generally submitted,
although they were compelled to be baptized as Christians. In May, 777,
Charlemagne held an assembly of the people at Paderborn: nearly all the
Saxon nobles attended, and swore fealty to him, while many of them
submitted to the rite of baptism.


At this assembly suddenly appeared a deputation of Saracen princes from
Spain, who sought Charlemagne's help against the tyranny of the Caliph
of Cordova. He was induced by religious or ambitious motives to consent,
neglecting for the time the great work he had undertaken in his own
Empire. In the summer of 778 he crossed the Pyrenees, took the cities of
Pampeluna and Saragossa, and delivered all Spain north of the Ebro river
from the hands of the Saracen Caliph. This territory was attached to the
Empire as the Spanish Mark, or province: it was inhabited both by
Saracens and Franks, who dwelt side by side and became more or less
united in language, habits and manners.

On his return to France, Charlemagne was attacked by a large force of
the native Basques, in the pass of Roncesvalles, in the Pyrenees. His
warriors, taken by surprise in the narrow ravine and crushed by rocks
rolled down upon them from above, could make little resistance, and the
rear column, with all the plunder gathered in Spain, fell into the
enemy's hands. Here was slain the famous paladin, Roland, the Count of
Brittany, who became the theme of poets down to the time of Ariosto.
Charlemagne was so infuriated by his defeat that he hanged the Duke of
Aquitaine, on the charge of treachery, because his territory included a
part of the lands of the Basques.

Upon the heels of this disaster came the news that the Saxons had again
arisen under the lead of Wittekind, destroyed their churches, murdered
the priests, and carried fire and sword to the very walls of Cologne and
Coblentz. Charlemagne sent his best troops, by forced marches, in
advance of his coming, but he was not able to take the field until the
following spring. During 779 and a part of 780, after much labor and
many battles, he seemed to have subdued the stubborn race, the most of
whom accepted Christian baptism for the third time. Charlemagne
thereupon went to Italy once more, in order to restore order among the
Longobards, whose local chiefs were becoming restless in his absence.
His two young sons, Pippin and Ludwig, were crowned by Pope Adrian as
kings of Longobardia, or Lombardy (which then embraced the greater part
of Northern and Central Italy), and Aquitaine.

[Sidenote: 783.]

After his return to Germany, he convoked a parliament, or popular
assembly, at Paderborn, in 782, partly in order to give the Saxons a
stronger impression of the power of the Empire. The people seemed quiet,
and he was deceived by their bearing; for, after he had left them to
return to the Rhine, they rose again, headed by Wittekind, who had been
for some years a fugitive in Denmark. Three of Charlemagne's chief
officials, who immediately hastened to the scene of trouble with such
troops as they could collect, met Wittekind in the Teutoburger Forest,
not far from the field where Varus and his legions were destroyed. A
similar fate awaited them: the Frank army was so completely cut to
pieces that but few escaped to tell the tale.

Charlemagne marched immediately into the Saxon land: the rebels
dispersed at his approach and Wittekind again became a fugitive. The
Saxon nobles humbly renewed their submission, and tried to throw the
whole responsibility of the rebellion upon Wittekind. Charlemagne was
not satisfied: he had been mortified in his pride as a monarch, and for
once he cast aside his usual moderation and prudence. He demanded that
4,500 Saxons, no doubt the most prominent among the people, should be
given up to him, and then ordered them all to be beheaded on the same
day. This deed of blood, instead of intimidating the Saxons, provoked
them to fury. They arose as one man, and in 783 defeated Charlemagne
near Detmold. He retreated to Paderborn, received reinforcements, and
was enabled to venture a second battle, in which he was victorious. He
remained for two years longer in Thuringia and Saxony, during which time
he undertook a winter campaign, for which the people were not prepared.
By the summer of 785, the Saxons, finding their homes destroyed and
themselves rapidly diminishing in numbers, yielded to the mercy of the
conqueror. Wittekind, who, the legend says, had stolen in disguise into
Charlemagne's camp, was so impressed by the bearing of the king and the
pomp of the religious services, that he also submitted and received
baptism. One account states that Charlemagne named him Duke of the
Saxons and was thenceforth his friend; another, that he sank into


Charlemagne was now free to make another journey to Italy, where he
suppressed some fresh troubles among the Lombards (as we must henceforth
style the Longobards), and forced Aragis, the Duke of Benevento, to
render his submission. Then, for the first time, he turned his attention
to the Bavarians, whose Duke, Tassilo, had preserved an armed neutrality
during the previous wars, but was suspected of secretly conspiring with
the Lombards, Byzantines, and even the Avars, for help to enable him to
throw off the Frank yoke. At a general diet of the whole empire, held in
Worms in 787, Tassilo did not appear, and Charlemagne made this a
pretext for invading Bavaria.

Three armies, in Italy, Suabia and Thuringia, were set in motion at the
same time, and resistance appeared so hopeless that Tassilo surrendered
at once. Charlemagne pardoned him at first, under stipulations of
stricter dependence, but he was convicted of conspiracy at a diet held
the following year, when he and his sons were found guilty and sent into
a monastery. His dynasty came to an end, and Bavaria was portioned out
among a number of Frank Counts, the people, nevertheless, being allowed
to retain their own political institutions.

The incorporation of Bavaria with the Frank empire brought a new task to
Charlemagne. The Avars, who had gradually extended their rule across the
Alps, nearly to the Adriatic, were strong and dangerous neighbors. In
791 he entered their territory and laid it waste, as far as the river
Raab; then, having lost all his horses on the march, he was obliged to
return. At home, a new trouble awaited him. His son, Pippin, whom he had
installed as king of Lombardy, was discovered to be at the head of a
conspiracy to usurp his own throne. Pippin was terribly flogged, and
then sent into a monastery for the rest of his days; his
fellow-conspirators were executed.

When Charlemagne applied his system of military conscription to the
Saxons, to recruit his army before renewing the war with the Avars, they
rose once more in rebellion, slew his agents, burned the churches, and
drove out the priests, who had made themselves hated by their despotism
and by claiming a tenth part of the produce of the land. Charlemagne was
thus obliged to subdue them and to fight the Avars, at the same time.
The double war lasted until 796, when the residence of the Avar Khan,
with the intrenched "ring" or fort, containing all the treasures
amassed by the tribe during the raids of two hundred years, was
captured. All the country, as far eastward as the rivers Theiss and
Raab, was wasted and almost depopulated. The remnant of the Avars
acknowledged themselves Frank subjects, but for greater security,
Charlemagne established Bavarian colonies in the fertile land along the
Danube. The latter formed a province, called the East-Mark, which became
the foundation upon which Austria (the East-kingdom) afterwards rose.

[Sidenote: 799.]

The Saxons were subjected--or seemed to be--about the same time. Many of
the people retreated into Holstein, which was then called
North-Albingia; but Charlemagne allied himself with a branch of the
Slavonic Wends, defeated them there, and took possession of their
territory. He built fortresses at Halle, Magdeburg, and Büchen, near
Hamburg, colonized 10,000 Saxons among the Franks, and replaced them by
an equal number of the latter. Then he established Christianity for the
fifth time, by ordering that all who failed to present themselves for
baptism should be put to death. The indomitable spirit of the people
still led to occasional outbreaks, but these became weaker and weaker,
and finally ceased as the new faith struck deeper root.

In the year 799, Pope Leo III. suddenly appeared in Charlemagne's camp
at Paderborn, a fugitive from a conspiracy of the Roman nobles, by which
his life was threatened. He was received with all possible honors, and
after some time spent in secret councils, was sent back to Rome with a
strong escort. In the autumn of the following year, Charlemagne followed
him. A civil and ecclesiastical assembly was held at Rome, and
pronounced the Pope free from the charges made against him; then (no
doubt according to previous agreement) on Christmas-Day, 800, Leo III.
crowned Charlemagne as Roman Emperor, in the Cathedral of St. Peter's.
The people greeted him with cries of "Life and victory to Carolo
Augusto, crowned by God, the great, the peace-bringing Emperor of the

If, by this step, the Pope seemed to forget the aspirations of the
Church for temporal power, on the other hand he rendered himself forever
independent of his nominal subjection to the Byzantine Emperors. For
Charlemagne, the new dignity gave his rule its full and final authority.
The people, in whose traditions the grandeur of the old Roman Empire
were still kept alive, now beheld it renewed in their ruler and
themselves. Charlemagne stood at the head of an Empire which was to
include all Christendom, and to imitate, in its civil organization, the
spiritual rule of the Church. On the one side were kingdoms, duchies,
countships and the communities of the people, all subject to him; on the
other side, bishoprics, monasteries and their dependencies, churches and
individual souls, subject to the Pope. The latter acknowledged the
Emperor as his temporal sovereign: the Emperor acknowledged the Pope as
his spiritual sovereign. The idea was grand, and at that time did not
seem impossible to fulfil; but the further course of history shows how
hostile the two principles may become, when they both grasp at the same

[Sidenote: 800. CHARLEMAGNE'S EMPIRE.]

The Greek Emperors at Constantinople were not strong enough to protest
against this bestowal of a dignity which they claimed for themselves. A
long series of negotiations followed, the result of which was that the
Emperor Nicephorus, in 812, acknowledged Charlemagne's title. The
latter, immediately after his coronation in Rome, drew up a new oath of
allegiance, which he required to be taken by the whole male population
of the Empire. About this time, he entered into friendly relations with
the famous Caliph, Haroun Alraschid of Bagdad. They sent embassies,
bearing magnificent presents, to each other's courts, and at
Charlemagne's request, Haroun took the holy places in Palestine under
his special protection, and allowed the Christians to visit them.

With the Saracens in Spain, however, the Emperor had constant trouble.
They made repeated incursions across the Ebro, into the Spanish Mark,
and ravaged the shores of Majorca, Minorca and Corsica, which belonged
to the Frank Empire. Moreover, the extension of his frontier on the east
brought Charlemagne into collision with the Slavonic tribes in the
territory now belonging to Prussia beyond the Elbe, Saxony and Bohemia.
He easily defeated them, but could not check their plundering and roving
propensities. In the year 808, Holstein as far as the Elbe was invaded
by the Danish king, Gottfried, who, after returning home with much
booty, commenced the construction of that line of defence along the
Eider river, called the _Dannewerk_, which exists to this day.

Charlemagne had before this conquered and annexed Friesland. His Empire
thus included all France, Switzerland and Germany, stretching eastward
along the Danube to Presburg, with Spain to the Ebro, and Italy to the
Garigliano river, the later boundary between Rome and Naples. There were
no wars serious enough to call him into the field during the latter
years of his reign, and he devoted his time to the encouragement of
learning and the arts. He established schools, fostered new branches of
industry, and sought to build up the higher civilization which follows
peace and order. He was very fond of the German language, and by his
orders a complete collection was made of the songs and poetical legends
of the people. Forsaking Paris, which had been the Frank capital for
nearly three centuries, he removed his Court to Aix-la-Chapelle and
Ingelheim, near the Rhine, founded the city of Frankfort on the Main,
and converted, before he died, all that war-wasted region into a
peaceful and populous country.

[Sidenote: 810.]

No ruler before Charlemagne, and none for at least four centuries after
him, did so much to increase and perpetuate the learning of his time.
During his meals, some one always read aloud to him out of old
chronicles or theological works. He spoke Latin fluently, and had a good
knowledge of Greek. In order to become a good writer, he carried his
tablets about with him, and even slept with them under his pillow. The
men whom he assembled at his Court were the most intelligent of that
age. His chaplain and chief counsellor was Alcuin, an English monk, and
a man of great learning. His secretary, Einhard (or Eginhard) wrote a
history of the Emperor's life and times. Among his other friends were
Paul Diaconus, a learned Lombard, and the chronicler, Bishop Turpin.
These men formed, with Charlemagne, a literary society, which held
regular meetings to discuss matters of science, politics and literature.

Under Charlemagne the political institutions of the Merovingian kings,
as well as those which existed among the German races, were materially
changed. As far as possible, he set aside the Dukes, each of whom, up to
that time, was the head of a tribe or division of the people, and broke
up their half-independent states into districts, governed by Counts.
These districts were divided into "hundreds," as in the old Germanic
times, each in charge of a noble, who every week acted as judge in
smaller civil or criminal cases. The Counts, in conjunction with from
seven to twelve magistrates, held monthly courts wherein cases which
concerned life, freedom or landed property were decided. They were also
obliged to furnish a certain number of soldiers when called upon. The
same obligation rested upon the archbishops, bishops, and abbots of the
monasteries, all of whom, together with the Counts, were called Vassals
of the Empire.


The free men, in case of war, were compelled to serve as horsemen or
foot-soldiers, according to their wealth, either three or five of the
very poorest furnishing one well-equipped man. The soldiers were not
only not paid, but each was obliged to bear his own expenses; so the
burden fell very heavily upon this class of the people. In order to
escape it, large numbers of the poorer freemen voluntarily became
dependents of the nobility or clergy, who in return equipped and
supported them. The national assemblies were still annually held, but
the people, in becoming dependents, gradually lost their ancient
authority, and their votes ceased to control the course of events. The
only part they played in the assemblies was to bring tribute to the
Emperor, to whom they paid no taxes, and whose court was kept up partly
from their offerings and partly from the revenues of the "domains" or
crown-lands. Thus, while Charlemagne introduced throughout his whole
empire a unity of government and an order unknown before, while he
anticipated Prussia in making all his people liable, at any time, to
military service, on the other hand he was slowly and unconsciously
changing the free Germans into a race of lords and serfs.

It is not likely, either, that the people themselves saw the tendency of
his government. Their respect and love for him increased, as the
comparative peace of the Empire allowed him to turn to interests which
more immediately concerned their lives. In his ordinary habits he was as
simple as they. His daughters spun and wove the flax for his plain linen
garments; personally he looked after his orchards and vegetable gardens,
set the schools an example by learning to improve his own reading and
writing, treated high and low with equal frankness and heartiness, and,
even in his old age, surpassed all around him in feats of strength or
endurance. There seemed to be no serfdom in bowing to a man so
magnificently endowed by nature and so favored by fortune.

One event came to embitter his last days. The Scandinavian Goths, now
known as Norsemen, were beginning to build their "sea-dragons" and
sally forth on voyages of plunder and conquest. They laid waste the
shores of Holland and Northern France, and the legend says that
Charlemagne burst into tears of rage and shame, on perceiving his
inability to subdue them or prevent their incursions. One of his last
acts was to order the construction of a fleet at Boulogne, but when it
was ready the Norse Vikings suddenly appeared in the Mediterranean and
ravaged the southern coast of France. Charlemagne began too late to make
the Germans either a naval or a commercial people: his attempt to unite
the Main and Danube by a canal also failed, but the very design shows
his wise foresight and his energy.

[Sidenote: 813.]

Towards the end of the year 813, feeling his death approaching, he
called an Imperial Diet together at Aix-la-Chapelle, to recognize his
son Ludwig as his successor. After this was done, he conducted Ludwig to
the Cathedral, made him vow to be just and God-fearing in his rule, and
then bade him take the Imperial crown from the altar and set it upon his
head. On the 28th of January, 814, Charlemagne died, and was buried in
the Cathedral, where his ashes still repose.




Character of Ludwig the Pious. --His Subjection to the Priests.
    --Injury to German Literature. --Division of the Empire.
    --Treatment of his Nephew, Bernard. --Ludwig's Remorse. --The
    Empress Judith and her Son. --Revolt of Ludwig's Sons. --His
    Abdication and Death. --Compact of Karl the Bald and Ludwig the
    German. --The French and German Languages. --The Low-German.
    --Lothar's Resistance. --The Partition of Verdun. --Germany and
    France separated. --The Norsemen. --Internal Troubles. --Ludwig the
    German's Sons. --His Death. --Division of Germany. --Karl the Fat.
    --His Cowardice. --The Empire restored. --Karl's Death. --Duke
    Arnulf made King. --He defeats the Norsemen and Bohemians. --His
    Favors to the Church. --The "Isidorian Decretals." --Arnulf Crowned
    Emperor. --His Death. --Ludwig the Child. --Invasions of the
    Magyars. --End of the Carolingian line in Germany.

[Sidenote: 814. LUDWIG THE PIOUS.]

The last act of Charlemagne's life in ordering the manner of his son's
coronation,--which was imitated, a thousand years afterwards, by
Napoleon, who, in the presence of the Pope, Pius VII., himself set the
crown upon his own head--showed that he designed keeping the Imperial
power independent of that of the Church. But his son, Ludwig, was
already a submissive and willing dependent of Rome. During his reign as
king of Aquitaine he had covered the land with monasteries: he was the
pupil of monks, and his own inclination was for a monastic life. But at
Charlemagne's death he was the only legitimate heir to the throne. Being
therefore obliged to wear the Imperial purple, he exercised his
sovereignty chiefly in the interest of the Church. His first act was to
send to the Pope the treasures amassed by his father; his next, to
surround himself with prelates and priests, who soon learned to control
his policy. He was called "Ludwig the Pious," but in those days, when so
many worldly qualities were necessary to the ruler of the Empire, the
title was hardly one of praise. He appears to have been of a kindly
nature, and many of his acts show that he meant to be just; the
weakness of his character, however, too often made his good intentions
of no avail.

[Sidenote: 816.]

It was a great misfortune for Germany that Ludwig's piety took the form
of hostility to all learning except of a theological nature. So far as
he was able, he undid the great work of education commenced by
Charlemagne. The schools were given entirely into the hands of the
priests, and the character of the instruction was changed. He inflicted
an irreparable loss on all after ages by destroying the collection of
songs, ballads and legends of the German people, which Charlemagne had
taken such pains to gather and preserve. It is not believed that a
single copy escaped destruction, although some scholars suppose that a
fragment of the "Song of Hildebrand," written in the eighth century, may
have formed part of the collection. In the year 816, Ludwig was visited
in Rheims by the Pope, Stephen IV., who again crowned him Emperor in the
Cathedral, and thus restored the spiritual authority which Charlemagne
had tried to set aside. Ludwig's attempts to release the estates
belonging to the Bishops, monasteries and priesthood from the payment of
taxes, and the obligation to furnish soldiers in case of war, created so
much dissatisfaction among the nobles and people, that, at a diet held
the following year, he was summoned to divide the government of the
Empire among his three sons. He resisted at first, but was finally
forced to consent: his eldest son, Lothar, was crowned as Co-Emperor of
the Franks, Ludwig as king of Bavaria, and Pippin, his third son, as
king of Aquitaine.

In this division no notice was taken of Bernard, king of Lombardy, also
a grandson of Charlemagne. The latter at once entered into a conspiracy
with certain Frank nobles, to have his rights recognized; but, while
preparing for war, he was induced, under promises of his personal
safety, to visit the Emperor's court. There, after having revealed the
names of his fellow-conspirators, he was treacherously arrested, and his
eyes put out; in consequence of which treatment he died. The Empress,
Irmingarde, died soon afterwards, and Ludwig was so overcome both by
grief for her loss and remorse for having caused the death of his
nephew, that he was with great difficulty restrained from abdicating and
retiring into a monastery. It was not in the interest of the priesthood
to lose so powerful a friend, and they finally persuaded him to marry

[Sidenote: 822. LUDWIG'S PENITENCE.]

His second wife was Judith, daughter of Welf, a Bavarian count, to whom
he was united in 819. Although this gave him another son, Karl,
afterwards known as Karl (Charles) the Bald, he appears to have found
very little peace of mind. At a diet held in 822, at Attigny, in France,
he appeared publicly in the sackcloth and ashes of a repentant sinner,
and made open confession of his misdeeds. This act showed his sincerity
as a man, but in those days it must have greatly diminished the
reverence which the people felt for him as their Emperor. The next year
his son Lothar, who, after Bernard's death, became also King of
Lombardy, visited Rome and was recrowned by the Pope. For a while,
Lothar made himself very popular by seeking out and correcting abuses in
the administration of the laws.

During the first fifteen years of Ludwig's reign, the boundaries of the
Empire were constantly disturbed by invasions of the Danes, the Slavonic
tribes in Prussia, and the Saracens in Spain, while the Basques and
Bretons became turbulent within the realm. All these revolts or
invasions were suppressed; the eastern frontier was not only held but
extended, and the military power of the Frank Empire was everywhere
recognized and feared. The Saxons and Frisians, who had been treated
with great mildness by Ludwig, gave no further trouble; in fact, the
whole population of the Empire became peaceable and orderly in
proportion as the higher civilization encouraged by Charlemagne was
developed among them.

The remainder of Ludwig's reign might have been untroubled, but for a
family difficulty. The Empress Judith demanded that her son, Karl,
should also have a kingdom, like his three step-brothers. An Imperial
Diet was therefore called together at Worms, in 829, and, in spite of
fierce opposition, a new kingdom was formed out of parts of Burgundy,
Switzerland and Suabia. The three sons, Lothar, Pippin and Ludwig,
acquiesced at first; but when a Spanish count, Bernard, was appointed
regent during Karl's minority, the two former began secretly to conspire
against their father. They took him captive in France, and endeavored,
but in vain, to force him to retire into a monastery. The sympathies of
the people were with him, and by their help he was able, the following
year, to regain his authority, and force his sons to submit.

[Sidenote: 833.]

Ludwig, however, manifested his preference for his last son, Karl, so
openly that in 833 his three other sons united against him, and a war
ensued which lasted nearly five years. Finally, when the two armies
stood face to face, on a plain near Colmar, in Alsatia, and a bloody
battle between father and sons seemed imminent, the Pope, Gregory IV.,

suddenly made his appearance. He offered his services as a mediator,
went to and fro, and at last treacherously carried all the Emperor's
chief supporters over to the camp of the sons. Ludwig, then sixty years
old and broken in strength and spirit, was forced to surrender. The
people gave the name of "The Field of Lies" to the scene of this event.

The old Emperor was compelled by his sons to give up his sword, to
appear as a penitent in Church, and to undergo such other degradations,
that the sympathies of the people were again aroused in his favor. They
rallied to his support from all sides: his authority was restored,
Lothar, the leader of the rebellion, fled to Italy, Pippin had died
shortly before, and Ludwig proffered his submission. The old man now had
a prospect of quiet; but the machinations of the Empress Judith on
behalf of her son, Karl, disturbed his last years. His son Ludwig was
marching against him for the second time, when he died, in 840, on an
island in the Rhine, near Ingelheim.

The death of Ludwig the Pious was the signal for a succession of
fratricidal wars. His youngest son, Karl the Bald, first united his
interests with those of his eldest step-brother, Lothar, but he soon
went over to Ludwig's side, while Lothar allied himself with the sons of
Pippin, in Aquitaine. A terrific battle was fought near Auxerre, in
France, in the summer of 841. Lothar was defeated, and Ludwig and Karl
then determined to divide the Empire between them. The following winter
they came together, with their nobles and armies, near Strasburg, and
vowed to keep faith with each other thenceforth. The language of France
and Germany, even among the descendants of the original Franks, was no
longer the same, and the oath which was drawn up for the occasion was
pronounced by Karl in German to the army of Ludwig, and by Ludwig in
French to the army of Karl. The text of it has been preserved, and it is
a very interesting illustration of the two languages, as they were
spoken a thousand years ago. We will quote the opening phrases:

  LUDWIG (_French_).  Pro Deo  amur  et  (pro)     Christian   poblo
  KARL (_German_).    In Godes minna ind (in thes) Christianes folches
  _English_.          In God's love and (that of the) Christian folk

  LUDWIG. et nostro comun salvament,--        dist    di   in avant,
  KARL.   ind unser bedhero gehaltnissi,--fon thesemo dage framordes,
  _English_.  and our mutual preservation,--from  this day  forth,

  LUDWIG. --    in quant      Deus   savir    et  podir me dunat, &c.
  KARL.  --  so fram so     mir God gewiczi   ind mahd furgibit,  &c.
  _English_. --as long as to me God knowledge and might gives,    &c.

[Illustration: EMPIRE of CHARLEMAGNE, (with the Treaty of Verdun,
 A. D. 843.)]

[Sidenote: 843.]

It is very easy to see, from this slight specimen, how much the language
of the Franks had been modified by the Gallic-Latin, and how much of the
original tongue (taking the Gothic Bible of Ulfila as an evidence of its
character) has been retained in German and English. About the same time
there was written in the Low-German, or Saxon dialect, a Gospel
narrative in verse, called the _Heliand_ ("Saviour"), many lines of
which are almost identical with early English; as the following:

  _Slogun  cald isarn_
  They drove cold iron

  _hardo mit  hamuron_
  hard   with hammers

  _thuru is hendi enti thuru  is  fuoti;_
  through his hands and through his feet;

  _is blod ran an ertha._
  his blood ran on earth.

This separation of the languages is a sign of the difference in national
character which now split asunder the great empire of Charlemagne.
Lothar, after the solemn alliance between Karl the Bald and Ludwig,
resorted to desperate measures. He offered to give the Saxons their old
laws and even to allow them to return to their pagan faith, if they
would support his claims; he invited the Norsemen to Belgium and
Northern France; and, by retreating towards Italy when his brothers
approached him in force, and then returning when an opportunity favored,
he disturbed and wasted the best portions of the Empire. Finally the
Bishops intervened, and after a long time spent in negotiations, the
three rival brothers met in 843, and agreed to the famous "Partition of
Verdun" (so called from Verdun, near Metz, where it was signed), by
which the realm of Charlemagne was divided among them.


Lothar, as the eldest, received Italy, together with a long, narrow
strip of territory extending to the North Sea, including part of
Burgundy, Switzerland, Eastern Belgium and Holland. All west of this,
embracing the greater part of France, was given to Karl the Bald; all
east, with a strip of territory west of the Rhine, from Basle to
Mayence, "for the sake of its wine," as the document stated, became the
kingdom of Ludwig, who was thenceforth called "The German." The
last-named also received Eastern Switzerland and Bavaria, to the Alps.
This division was almost as arbitrary and unnatural as that which Pippin
the Short attempted to make. Neither Karl's nor Ludwig's shares included
all the French or German territory; while Lothar's was a long, narrow
slice cut out of both, and attached to Italy, where a new race and
language were already developed out of the mixture of Romans, Goths and
Lombards. In fact, it became necessary to invent a name for the northern
part of Lothar's dominions, and that portion between Burgundy and
Holland was called, after him, Lotharingia. As _Lothringen_ in German,
and _Lorraine_ in French, the name still remains in existence.

Each of the three monarchs received unrestricted sway over his realm.
They agreed, however, upon a common line of policy in the interest of
the dynasty, and admitted the right of inheritance to each other's
sovereignty, in the absence of direct heirs. The Treaty of Verdun,
therefore, marks the beginning of Germany and France as distinct
nationalities; and now, after following the Germanic races over the
greater part of Europe for so many centuries, we come back to recommence
their history on the soil where we first found them. In fact, the word
_Deutsch_, "German," signifying _of the people_, now first came into
general use, to designate the language and the races--Franks, Alemanni,
Bavarians, Thuringians, Saxons, etc.--under Ludwig's rule. There was, as
yet, no political unity among these races; they were reciprocally
jealous, and often hostile; but, by contrast with the inhabitants of
France and Italy, they felt their blood-relationship as never before,
and a national spirit grew up, of a narrower but more natural character
than that which Charlemagne endeavored to establish.

Internal struggles awaited both the Roman Emperor, Lothar, and the Frank
king, Karl the Bald. The former was obliged to suppress revolts in
Provence and Italy; the latter in Brittany and Aquitaine, while the
Spanish Mark, beyond the Pyrenees, passed out of his hands. Ludwig the
German inherited a long peace at home, but a succession of wars with the
Wends and Bohemians along his eastern frontier. The Norsemen came down
upon his coasts, destroyed Hamburg, and sailed up the Elbe with 600
vessels, burning and plundering wherever they went. The necessity of
keeping an army almost constantly in the field gave the clergy and
nobility an opportunity of exacting better terms for their support; the
independent dukedoms, suppressed by Charlemagne, were gradually
re-established, and thus Ludwig diminished his own power while
protecting his territory from invasion.

[Sidenote: 858.]

The Emperor, Lothar, soon discovered that he had made a bad bargain. His
long and narrow empire was most difficult to govern, and in 855, weary
with his annoyances and his endless marches to and fro, he abdicated and
retired into a monastery, where he died within a week. The empire was
divided between his three sons: Ludwig received Italy and was crowned by
the Pope; to Karl was given the territory between the Rhone, the Alps
and the Mediterranean, and to Lothar II. the portion extending from the
Rhone to the North Sea. When the last of these died, in 869, Ludwig the
German and Karl the Bald divided his territory, the line running between
Verdun and Metz, then along the Vosges, and terminating at the Rhine
near Basle,--almost precisely the same boundary as that which France has
been forced to accept in 1871.

But the conditions of the oath taken by the two kings in 842 were not
observed by either. Karl the Bald was a tyrannical and unpopular
sovereign, and when he failed in preventing the Norsemen from ravaging
all Western France, the nobles determined to set him aside and invite
Ludwig to take his place. The latter consented, marched into France with
a large army, and was hailed as king; but when his army returned home,
and he trusted to the promised support of the Frank nobles, he found
that Karl had repurchased their allegiance, and there was no course left
to him but to retreat across the Rhine. The trouble was settled by a
meeting of the two kings, which took place at Coblentz, in 860.

Ludwig the German had also, like his father, serious trouble with his
sons, Karlmann and Ludwig. He had made the former Duke of Carinthia,
but ere long discovered that he had entered into a conspiracy with
Rastitz, king of the Moravian Slavonians. Karlmann was summoned to
Regensburg (Ratisbon), which was then Ludwig's capital, and was finally
obliged to lead an army against his secret ally, Rastitz, who was
conquered. A new war with Zwentebold, king of Bohemia, who was assisted
by the Sorbs, Wends, and other Slavonic tribes along the Elbe, broke out
soon afterwards. Karlmann led his father's forces against the enemy, and
after a struggle of four years forced Bohemia, in 873, to become
tributary to Germany.


In 875, the Emperor, Ludwig II. (Lothar's son), who ruled in Italy, died
without heirs. Karl the Bald and Ludwig the German immediately called
their troops into the field and commenced the march to Italy, in order
to divide the inheritance or fight for its sole possession. Ludwig sent
his sons, but their uncle, Karl the Bald, was before them. He was
acknowledged by the Lombard nobles at Pavia, and crowned in Rome by the
Pope, before it could be prevented. Ludwig determined upon an instant
invasion of France, but in the midst of the preparations he died at
Frankfort, in 876. He was seventy-one years old; as a child he had sat
on the knees of Charlemagne; as an independent king of Germany, he had
reigned thirty-six years, and with him the intelligence, prudence and
power which had distinguished the Carolingian line came to an end.

Again the kingdom was divided among three sons, Karlmann, Ludwig the
Younger, and Karl the Fat; and again there were civil wars. Karl the
Bald made haste to invade Germany before the brothers were in a
condition to oppose him; but he was met by Ludwig the Younger and
terribly defeated, near Andernach on the Rhine. The next year he died,
leaving one son, Ludwig the Stammerer, to succeed him.

The brothers, in accordance with a treaty made before their father's
death, thus divided Germany: Karlmann took Bavaria, Carinthia, the
provinces on the Danube, and the half-sovereignty over Bohemia and
Moravia; Ludwig the Younger became king over all Northern and Central
Germany, leaving Suabia (formerly Alemannia) for Karl the Fat.
Karlmann's first act was to take possession of Italy, which acknowledged
his rule. He was soon afterwards struck with apoplexy, and died in 880.
Karl the Fat had already crossed the Alps; he forced the Lombard nobles
to accept him, and was crowned Emperor at Rome, as Karl III., in 881.
Meanwhile the Germans had recognized Ludwig the Younger as Karlmann's
heir, and had given to Arnulf, the latter's illegitimate son, the Duchy
of Carinthia.

[Sidenote: 882.]

Ludwig the Younger died, childless, in 882, and thus Germany and Italy
became one empire under Karl the Fat. By this time Friesland and Holland
were suffering from the invasions of the Norsemen, who had built a
strong camp on the banks of the Meuse, and were beginning to threaten
Germany. Karl marched against them, but, after a siege of some weeks, he
shamefully purchased a truce by giving them territory in Holland, and
large sums in gold and silver, and by marrying a princess of the
Carolingian blood to Gottfried, their chieftain. They then sailed down
the Meuse, with 200 vessels laden with plunder.

All classes of the Germans were filled with rage and shame, at this
disgrace. The Dukes and Princes who were building up their local
governments profited by the state of affairs, to strengthen their power.
Karl was called to Italy to defend the Pope against the Saracens, and
when he returned to Germany in 884, he found a Count Hugo almost
independent in Lorraine, the Norsemen in possession of the Rhine nearly
as far as Cologne, and Arnulf of Carinthia engaged in a fierce war with
Zwentebold, king of Bohemia. Karl turned his forces against the last of
these, subdued him, and then, with the help of the Frisians, expelled
the Norsemen. The two grand-sons of Karl the Bald, Ludwig and Karlmann,
died about this time, and the only remaining one, Charles (afterwards
called the Silly), was still a young child. The Frank nobles therefore
offered the throne to Karl the Fat, who accepted it and thus restored,
for a short time, the Empire of Charlemagne.

Once more he proved himself shamefully unworthy of the power confided to
his hands. He suffered Paris to sustain a nine months' siege by the
Norsemen, before he marched to its assistance, and then, instead of
meeting the foemen in open field, he paid them a heavy ransom for the
city and allowed them to spend the following winter in Burgundy, and
plunder the land at their will. The result was a general conspiracy
against his rule, in Germany as well as in France. At the head of it was
Bishop Luitward, Karl's chancellor and confidential friend, who, being
detected, fled to Arnulf in Carinthia, and instigated the latter to
rise in rebellion. Arnulf was everywhere victorious: Karl the Fat,
deserted by his army and the dependent German nobles, was forced, in
887, to resign the throne and retire to an estate in Suabia, where he
died the following year.


Duke Arnulf, the grandson of Ludwig the German, though not legitimately
born, now became king of Germany. Being accepted at Ratisbon and
afterwards at Frankfort by the representatives of the people, he was
able to keep them united under his rule, while the rest of the former
Frank Empire began to fall to pieces. As early as 879, a new kingdom,
called Burgundy, or Arelat, from its capital Arles, was formed between
the Rhone and the Alps; Berengar, the Lombard Duke of Friuli, in Italy,
usurped the inheritance of the Carolingian line there; Count Rudolf, a
great-grandson of Ludwig the Pious, established the kingdom of Upper
Burgundy, embracing a part of Eastern France, with Western Switzerland;
and Count Odo of Paris, who gallantly defended the city against the
Norsemen, was chosen king of France by a large party of the nobles.

King Arnulf, who seems to have possessed as much wisdom as bravery, did
not interfere with the pretensions of these new rulers, so long as they
forbore to trespass on his German territory, and he thereby secured the
friendship of all. He devoted himself to the liberation of Germany from
the repeated invasions of the Danes and Norsemen on the north, and the
Bohemians on the east. The former had entrenched themselves strongly
among the marshes near Louvain, where Arnulf's best troops, which were
cavalry, could not reach them. He set an example to his army by
dismounting and advancing on foot to the attack: the Germans followed
with such impetuosity that the Norse camp was taken, and nearly all its
defenders slaughtered. From that day Germany was free from Northern

Arnulf next marched against his old enemy, Zwentebold (in some histories
the name is written _Sviatopulk_) of Bohemia. This king and his people
had recently been converted to Christianity by the missionary Methodius,
but it had made no change in their predatory habits. They were the more
easily conquered by Arnulf, because the Magyars, a branch of the Finnish
race who had pressed into Hungary from the east, attacked them at the
same time. The Magyars were called "Hungarians" by the Germans of that
day--as they are at present--because they had taken possession of the
territory which had been occupied by the Huns, more than four centuries
before; but they were a distinct race, resembling the Huns only in their
fierceness and daring. They were believed to be cannibals, who drank the
blood and devoured the hearts of their slain enemies; and the panic they
created throughout Germany was as great as that which went before Attila
and his barbarian hordes.

[Sidenote: 894.]

After the subjection of the Bohemians, Arnulf was summoned to Italy, in
the year 894, where he assisted Berengar, king of Lombardy, to maintain
his power against a rival. He then marched against Rudolf, king of Upper
Burgundy, who had been conspiring against him, and ravaged his land. By
this time, it appears, his personal ambition was excited by his
successes: he determined to become Emperor, and as a means of securing
the favor of the Pope, he granted the most extraordinary privileges to
the Church in Germany. He ordered that all civil officers should execute
the orders of the clerical tribunals; that excommunication should affect
the civil rights of those on whom it fell; that matters of dispute
between clergy and laymen should be decided by the Bishops, without
calling witnesses,--with other decrees of the same character, which
practically set the Church above the civil authorities.

The Popes, by this time, had embraced the idea of becoming temporal
sovereigns, and the dissensions among the rulers of the Carolingian line
already enabled them to secure a power, of which the former Bishops of
Rome had never dreamed. In the early part of the ninth century, the
so-called "Isidorian Decretals" (because they bore the name of Bishop
Isidor, of Seville) came to light. They were forged documents,
purporting to be decrees of the ancient Councils of the Church, which
claimed for the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) the office of Vicar of Christ
and Vicegerent of God upon earth, with supreme power not only over all
Bishops, priests and individual souls, but also over all civil
authorities. The policy of the Papal chair was determined by these
documents, and several centuries elapsed before their fictitious
character was discovered.

Arnulf, after these concessions to the Church, went to Italy in 895. He
found the Pope, Formosus, in the power of a Lombard prince, whom the
former had been compelled against his will, to crown as Emperor. Arnulf
took Rome by force of arms, liberated the Pope, and in return was
crowned Roman Emperor. He fell dangerously ill immediately afterwards,
and it was believed that he had been poisoned. Formosus, who died the
following year, was declared "accurst" by his successor, Stephen VII.,
and his body was dug up and cast into the Tiber, after it had lain nine
months in the grave.

[Sidenote: 899. LUDWIG THE CHILD.]

Arnulf returned to Germany as Emperor, but weak and broken in body and
mind. He never recovered from the effects of the poison, but lingered
for three years longer, seeing his Empire becoming more and more weak
and disorderly. He died in 899, leaving one son, Ludwig, only seven
years old. This son, known in history as "Ludwig the Child," was the
last of the Carolingian line in Germany. In France, the same line, now
represented by Charles the Silly, was also approaching its end.

At a Diet held at Forchheim (near Nuremberg), Ludwig the Child was
accepted as king of Germany, and solemnly crowned. On account of his
tender years, he was placed in charge of Archbishop Hatto of Mayence,
who was appointed, with Duke Otto of Saxony, to govern temporarily in
his stead. An insurrection in Lorraine was suppressed; but now a more
formidable danger approached from the East. The Hungarians invaded
Northern Italy in 899, and ravaged part of Bavaria on their return to
the Danube. Like the Huns, they destroyed everything in their way,
leaving a wilderness behind their march.

The Bavarians, with little assistance from the rest of Germany, fought
the Hungarians until 907, when their Duke, Luitpold, was slain in
battle, and his son Arnulf purchased peace by a heavy tribute. Then the
Hungarians invaded Thuringia, whose Duke, Burkhard, also fell fighting
against them, after which they plundered a part of Saxony. Finally, in
910, the whole strength of Germany was called into the field; Ludwig,
eighteen years old, took command, met the Hungarians on the banks of the
Inn, and was utterly defeated. He fled from the field, and was forced,
thenceforth, to pay tribute to Hungary. He died in 911, and Germany was
left without a hereditary ruler.




Growth of Small Principalities in Germany. --Changes in the Lehen, or
    Royal Estates. --Diet at Forchheim. --The Frank Duke, Konrad,
    chosen King. --Events of his Reign. --The Saxon, Henry the Fowler,
    succeeds him. --Henry's Policy towards Bavaria, Lorraine and
    France. --His Truce with the Hungarians. --His Military
    Preparations. --Defeat of the Hungarians. --Henry's Achievements.
    --His Death. --Coronation of Otto. --His first War. --Revolt of
    Duke Eberhard and Prince Henry. --War with Louis IV. of France.
    --Otto's Victories. --Henry pardoned. --Conquest of Jutland.
    --Otto's Empire. --His March to Italy. --Marriage with Adelheid of
    Burgundy. --Revolt of Ludolf and Konrad. --The Hungarian Army
    destroyed. --The Pope calls for Otto's Aid. --Otto crowned Roman
    Emperor. --Quarrel with the Pope. --Third Visit to Italy. --His Son
    married to an Eastern Princess. --His Triumph and Death.

[Sidenote: 912.]

When Ludwig the Child died, the state of affairs in Germany had greatly
changed. The direct dependence of the nobility and clergy upon the
Emperor, established by the political system of Charlemagne, was almost
at an end; the country was covered with petty sovereignties, which stood
between the chief ruler and the people. The estates which were formerly
given to the bishops, abbots, nobles, and others who had rendered
special service to the Empire, were called _Lehen_, or "liens" of the
monarch (as explained in Chapter X.); they were granted for a term of
years, or for life, and afterwards reverted to the royal hands. In
return for such grants, the endowed lords were obliged to secure the
loyalty of their retainers, the people dwelling upon their lands, and,
in case of war, to follow the Emperor's banner with their proportion of
fighting men.

So long as the wars were with external foes, with opportunities for both
glory and plunder, the service was willingly performed; but when they
came as a consequence of family quarrels, and every portion of the
empire was liable to be wasted in its turn, the Emperor's "vassals,"
both spiritual and temporal, began to grow restive. Their military
service subjected them to the chance of losing their _Lehen_, and they
therefore demanded to have absolute possession of the lands. The next
and natural step was to have the possession, and the privileges
connected with it, made hereditary in their families; and these claims
were very generally secured, throughout Germany, during the reign of
Karl the Fat. Only in Saxony and Friesland, and among the Alps, were the
common people proprietors of the soil.

[Sidenote: 912. THE WARS OF KING KONRAD.]

The nobles, or large land-owners, for their common defence against the
exercise of the Imperial power, united under the rule of Counts or
Dukes, by whom the former division of the population into separate
tribes or nations was continued. The Emperors, also, found this division
convenient, but they always claimed the right to set aside the smaller
rulers, or to change the boundaries of their states for reasons of

Charles the Silly, of the Carolingian line, reigned in France in 911,
and was therefore, according to the family compact, the heir to Ludwig
the Child. Moreover, the Pope, Stephen IV., had threatened with the
curse of the Church all those who should give allegiance to an Emperor
who was not of Carolingian blood. Nevertheless, the German princes and
nobles were now independent enough to defy both tradition and Papal
authority. They held a Diet at Forchheim, and decided to elect their own
king. They would have chosen Otto, Duke of the Saxons,--a man of great
valor, prudence and nobility of character--but he felt himself to be too
old for the duties of the royal office, and he asked the Diet to confer
it on Konrad, Duke of the Franks. The latter was then almost unanimously
chosen, and immediately crowned by Archbishop Hatto of Mayence.

Konrad was a brave, gay, generous monarch, who soon rose into high favor
with the people. His difficulty lay in the jealousy of other princes,
who tried to strengthen themselves by restricting his authority. He
first lost the greater part of Lorraine, and then, on attempting to
divide Thuringia and Saxony, which were united under Henry, the son of
Duke Otto, his army was literally cut to pieces. A Saxon song of
victory, written at the time, says, "The lower world was too small to
receive the throngs of the enemies slain."

[Sidenote: 917.]

Arnulf of Bavaria and the Counts Berthold and Erchanger of Suabia
defeated the Hungarians in a great battle near the river Inn, in 913,
and felt themselves strong enough to defy Konrad. He succeeded in
defeating and deposing them; but Arnulf fled to the Hungarians and
incited them to a new invasion of Germany. They came in two bodies, one
of which marched through Bavaria and Suabia to the Rhine, the other
through Thuringia and Saxony to Bremen, plundering, burning and slaying
on their way. The condition of the Empire became so desperate that
Konrad appealed for assistance to the Pope, who ordered an Episcopal
Synod to be held in 917, but not much was done by the Bishops except to
insist upon the payment of tithes to the Church. Then Konrad, wounded in
repelling a new invasion of the Hungarians, looked forward to death as a
release from his trouble. Feeling his end approaching, he summoned his
brother Eberhard, gave him the royal crown and sceptre, and bade him
carry them to Duke Henry of Saxony, the enemy of his throne, declaring
that the latter was the only man with power and intelligence enough to
rule Germany.

Henry was already popular as the son of Otto, and it was probably quite
as much their respect for his character as for Konrad's last request,
which led many of the German nobles to accompany Eberhard and join him
in offering the crown. They found Henry in a pleasant valley near the
Hartz, engaged in catching finches, and he was thenceforth generally
called "Henry the Fowler" by the people. He at once accepted the trust
confided to his hands: a Diet of the Franks and Saxons was held at
Fritzlar the next year, 919, and he was there lifted upon the shield and
hailed as King. But when Archbishop Hatto proposed to anoint him king
with the usual religious ceremonies, he declined, asserting that he did
not consider himself worthy to be more than a king of the people. Both
he and his wife Mathilde were descendants of Wittekind, the foe and
almost the conqueror of Charlemagne.

Neither Suabia nor Bavaria were represented at the Diet of Fritzlar.
This meant resistance to Henry's authority, and he accordingly marched
at once into Southern Germany. Burkhard, Duke of Suabia, gave in his
submission without delay; but Arnulf of Bavaria made preparations for
resistance. The two armies came together near Ratisbon: all was ready
for battle, when king Henry summoned Arnulf to meet him alone, between
their camps. At this interview he spoke with so much wisdom and
persuasion that Arnulf finally yielded, and Henry's rights were
established without the shedding of blood.

[Sidenote: 921. TREATY WITH FRANCE.]

In the meantime Lorraine, under its Duke, Giselbert, had revolted, and
Charles the Silly, by unexpectedly crossing the frontier, gained
possession of Alsatia, as far as the Rhine. Henry marched against him,
but, as in the case of Arnulf, asked for a personal interview before
engaging in battle. The two kings met on an island in the Rhine, near
Bonn: the French army was encamped on the western, and the German army
on the eastern bank of the river, awaiting the result. Charles the Silly
was soon brought to terms by his shrewd, intelligent rival: on the 7th
of November, 921, a treaty was signed by which the former boundary
between France and Germany was reaffirmed. Soon afterwards, Giselbert of
Lorraine was sent as a prisoner to Henry, but the latter, pleased with
his character, set him free, gave him his daughter in marriage, and thus
secured his allegiance to the German throne.

In this manner, within five or six years after he was chosen king, Henry
had accomplished his difficult task. Chiefly by peaceful means, by a
combination of energy, patience and forbearance, he had subdued the
elements of disorder in Germany, and united both princes and people
under his rule. He was now called upon to encounter the Hungarians, who,
in 924, again invaded both Northern and Southern Germany. The walled and
fortified cities, such as Ratisbon, Augsburg and Constance, were safe
from their attacks, but in the open field they were so powerful that
Henry found himself unable to cope with them. His troops only dared to
engage in skirmishes with the smaller roving bands, in one of which, by
great good fortune, they captured one of the Hungarian chiefs, or
princes. A large amount of treasure was offered for his ransom, but
Henry refused it, and asked for a truce of nine years, instead. The
Hungarians finally agreed to this, on condition that an annual tribute
should be paid to them during the time.

This was the bravest and wisest act of king Henry's life. He took upon
himself the disgrace of the tribute, and then at once set about
organizing his people and developing their strength. The truce of nine
years was not too long for the work upon which he entered. He began by
forcing the people to observe a stricter military discipline, by
teaching his Saxon foot-soldiers to fight on horseback, and by
strengthening the defences along his eastern frontier. Hamburg,
Magdeburg and Halle were at this time the most eastern German towns, and
beyond or between them, especially towards the south, there were no
strong points which could resist invasion. Henry carefully surveyed the
ground and began the erection of a series of fortified enclosures. Every
ninth man of the district was called upon to serve as garrison-soldier,
while the remaining eight cultivated the land. One-third of the harvests
was stored in these fortresses, wherein, also, the people were required
to hold their markets and their festivals. Thus Quedlinburg, Merseburg,
Meissen and other towns soon arose within the fortified limits. From
these achievements Henry is often called in German History, "the Founder
of Cities."

[Sidenote: 928.]

Having somewhat accustomed the people to this new form of military
service, and constantly exercised the nobles and their men-at-arms in
sham fights and tournaments (which he is said to have first instituted),
Henry now tested them in actual war. The Slavonic tribes east of the
Elbe had become the natural and hereditary enemies of the Germans, and
an attack upon them hardly required a pretext. The present province of
Brandenburg, the basis of the Prussian kingdom, was conquered by Henry
in 928; and then, after a successful invasion of Bohemia, he gradually
extended his annexation to the Oder. The most of the Slavonic population
were slaughtered without mercy, and the Saxons and Thuringians,
spreading eastward, took possession of their vacant lands. Finally, in
932, Henry conquered Lusatia (now Eastern Saxony); Bohemia was already
tributary, and his whole eastern frontier was thereby advanced from the
Baltic at Stettin to the Danube at Vienna.


By this time the nine years of truce with the Hungarians were at an end,
and when the ambassadors of the latter came to the German Court to
receive their tribute, they were sent back with empty hands. A tradition
states that Henry ordered an old, mangy dog to be given to them, instead
of the usual gold and silver. A declaration of war followed, as he had
anticipated; but the Hungarians seem to have surprised him by the
rapidity of their movements. Contrary to their previous custom, they
undertook a winter campaign, overrunning Thuringia and Saxony in such
immense numbers that the king did not immediately venture to oppose
them. He waited until their forces were divided in the search for
plunder, then fell upon a part and defeated them. Shortly afterwards he
moved against their main army, and on the 15th of March, 933, after a
bloody battle (which is believed to have been fought in the vicinity of
Merseburg), was again conqueror. The Hungarians fled, leaving their
camp, treasures and accumulated plunder in Henry's hands. They were
never again dangerous to Northern Germany.

After this came a war with the Danish king, Gorm, who had crossed the
Eider and taken Holstein. Henry brought it to an end, and added
Schleswig to his dominion rather by diplomacy than by arms. After his
long and indefatigable exertions, the Empire enjoyed peace; its
boundaries were extended and secured; all the minor rulers submitted to
his sway, and his influence over the people was unbounded. But he was
not destined to enjoy the fruits of his achievements. A stroke of
apoplexy warned him to set his house in order; so, in the spring of 936,
he called together a Diet at Erfurt, which accepted his second son,
Otto, as his successor. Although he left two other sons, no proposition
was made to divide Germany among them. The civil wars of the Merovingian
and Carolingian dynasties, during nearly 400 years, compelled the
adoption of a different system of succession; and the reigning Dukes and
Counts were now so strong that they bowed reluctantly even to the
authority of a single monarch.

Henry died on the 20th of July, 936, not sixty years old. His son and
successor, Otto, was twenty-four,--a stern, proud man, but brave, firm,
generous and intelligent. He was married to Editha, the daughter of
Athelstan, the Saxon king of England. A few weeks after his father's
death, he was crowned with great splendor in the cathedral of
Charlemagne, at Aix-la-Chapelle. All the Dukes and Bishops of the realm
were present, and the new Emperor was received with universal
acclamation. At the banquet which followed, the Dukes of Lorraine,
Franconia, Suabia, and Bavaria, served as Chamberlain, Steward,
Cupbearer and Marshal. It was the first national event of a spontaneous
character, which took place in Germany, and now, for the first time, a
German Empire seemed to be a reality.

The history of Otto's reign fulfilled, at least to the people of his
day, the promise of his coronation. Like his father, his inheritance
was to include wars with internal and external foes; he met and carried
them to an end, with an energy equal to that of Henry I., but without
the same prudence and patience. He made Germany the first power of the
civilized world, yet he failed to unite the discordant elements of which
it was composed, and therefore was not able to lay the foundation of a
distinct _nation_, such as was even then slowly growing up in France.

[Sidenote: 937.]

He was first called upon to repel invasions of the Bohemians and the
Wends, in Prussia. He entrusted the subjection of the latter to a Saxon
Count, Hermann Billung, and marched himself against the former. Both
wars lasted for some time, but they were finally successful. The
Hungarians, also, whose new inroad reached even to the banks of the
Loire, were twice defeated, and so discouraged that they never
afterwards attempted to invade either Thuringia or Saxony.

Worse troubles, however, were brewing within the realm. Eberhard, Duke
of the Franks (the same who had carried his brother Konrad's crown to
Otto's father), had taken into his own hands the punishment of a Saxon
noble, instead of referring the case to the king. The latter compelled
Eberhard to pay a fine of a hundred pounds of silver, and ordered that
the Frank freemen who assisted him should carry dogs in their arms to
the royal castle,--a form of punishment which was then considered very
disgraceful. After the order had been carried into effect, Otto received
the culprits kindly and gave them rich presents; but they went home
brooding revenge.

Eberhard allied himself with Thankmar, Otto's own half-brother by a
mother from whom Henry I. had been divorced before marrying Mathilde.
Giselbert, Duke of Lorraine, Otto's brother-in-law, joined the
conspiracy, and even many of the Saxon nobles, who were offended because
the command of the army sent against the Wends had been given to Count
Hermann, followed his example. Otto's position was very critical, and if
there had been more harmony of action among the conspirators, he might
have lost his throne. In the struggle which ensued, Thankmar was slain
and Duke Eberhard forced to surrender. But the latter was not yet
subdued. During the rebellion he had taken Otto's younger brother,
Henry, prisoner; he secured the latter's confidence, tempted him with
the prospect of being chosen king in case Otto was overthrown, and then
sent him as his intercessor to the conqueror.


Thus, while Otto supposed the movement had been crushed, Eberhard,
Giselbert of Lorraine and Henry, who had meantime joined the latter,
were secretly preparing a new rebellion. As soon as Otto discovered the
fact, he collected an army and hastened to the Rhine. He had crossed the
river with only a small part of his troops, the remainder being still
encamped upon the eastern bank, when Giselbert and Henry suddenly
appeared with a great force. Otto at first gave himself up for lost, but
determined at least to fall gallantly, he and his followers fought with
such desperation that they won a signal victory. Giselbert retreated to
Lorraine, whither Otto was prevented from following him by new troubles
among the Saxons and the subject Wends between the Elbe and Oder.

The rebellious princes now sought the help of the king of France, Louis
IV. (called _d'Outre-mer_, or "from beyond sea," because he had been an
exile in England). He marched into Alsatia with a French army, while
Duke Eberhard and the Archbishop of Mayence added their forces to those
of Giselbert and Henry. All the territory west of the Rhine fell into
their hands, and the danger seemed so great that many of the smaller
German princes began to waver in their fidelity to Otto. He, however,
hastened to Alsatia, defeated the French, and laid siege to the fortress
of Breisach (half-way between Strasburg and Basel), although Giselbert
was then advancing into Westphalia. A small band who remained true to
him met the latter and forced him back upon the Rhine; and there, in a
battle fought near Andernach, Eberhard was slain and Giselbert drowned
in attempting to fly.

This was the turning-point in Otto's fortunes. The French retreated, all
the supports of the rebellion fell away from it, and in a short time the
king's authority was restored throughout the whole of Germany. These
events occurred during the year 939. The following year Otto marched to
Paris, which, however, was too strongly fortified to be taken. An
irregular war between the two kingdoms lasted for some time longer, and
was finally terminated by a personal interview between Otto and Louis
IV., at which the ancient boundaries were reaffirmed, Lorraine remaining

[Sidenote: 940.]

Henry, pardoned for the second time, was unable to maintain himself as
Duke of Lorraine, to which position Otto had appointed him. Enraged at
being set aside, he united with the Archbishop of Mayence in a
conspiracy against his brother's life. It was arranged that the murder
should be committed during the Easter services, in Quedlinburg. The plot
was discovered, the accomplices tried and executed, and Henry thrown
into prison. During the celebration of the Christmas mass, in the
cathedral at Frankfort, the same year, he suddenly appeared before Otto,
and, throwing himself upon his knees before him, prayed for pardon. Otto
was magnanimous enough to grant it, and afterwards to forget as well as
forgive. He bestowed new favors upon Henry, who never again became

During this time the Saxon Counts, Gero and Hermann, had held the Wends
and other Slavonic tribes at bay, and gradually filled the conquered
territory beyond the Elbe with fortified posts, around which German
colonists rapidly clustered. Following the example of Charlemagne, the
people were forcibly converted to Christianity, and new churches and
monasteries were founded. The Bohemians were made tributary, the
Hungarians repelled, and in driving back an invasion of the king of
Denmark, Harold Blue-tooth, Otto marched to the extremity of the
peninsula of Jutland, and there hurled his spear into the sea, as a sign
that he had taken possession of the land.

He now ruled a wider, and apparently a more united realm, than his
father. The power of the independent Dukes was so weakened, that they
felt themselves subjected to his favor; he was everywhere respected and
feared, although he never became popular with the masses of the people.
He lacked the easy, familiar ways with them which distinguished his
father and Charlemagne; his manner was cold and haughty, and he
surrounded himself with pomp and ceremony. He married his eldest son,
Ludolf, to the daughter of the Duke of Suabia, whom the former soon
succeeded in his rule; he gave Lorraine to his son-in-law, Konrad, and
Bavaria to his brother Henry, while he retained the Franks, Thuringians
and Saxons under his own personal rule. Germany might have grown into a
united nation, if the good qualities of his line could have been
transmitted without its inordinate ambition.

While thus laying, as he supposed, the permanent basis of his power,
Otto was called upon by the king of France, who, having married the
widow of Giselbert of Lorraine, was now his brother-in-law, for help
against Duke Hugo, a powerful pretender to the French throne. In 946 he
marched at the head of an army of 32,000 men, to assist king Louis; but,
although he reached Normandy, he did not succeed in his object, and
several years elapsed before Hugo was brought to submission.

[Sidenote: 951. OTTO'S VISIT TO ITALY.]

In the year 951, Otto's attention was directed to Italy, which, since
the fall of the Carolingian Empire, had been ravaged in turn by
Saracens, Greeks, Normans and even Hungarians. The Papal power had
become almost a shadow, and the title of Roman Emperor was practically
extinct. Berengar of Friuli, a rough, brutal prince, called himself king
of Italy, and demanded for his son the hand of Adelheid, the widow of
his predecessor. On her refusal to accept Berengar's offer, she was
imprisoned and treated with great indignity, but finally she succeeded
in sending a messenger to Germany, imploring Otto's intervention. His
wife, Editha of England, was dead: he saw, in Adelheid's appeal, an
opportunity to acquire an ascendency in Italy, and resolved to claim her
hand for himself.

Accompanied by his brother Henry of Bavaria, his son Ludolf of Suabia,
and his son-in-law Konrad of Lorraine, with their troops, Otto crossed
the Alps, defeated Berengar, took possession of Verona, Pavia, Milan and
other cities of Northern Italy, and assumed the title of king of
Lombardy. He then applied for Adelheid's hand, which was not refused,
and the two were married with great pomp at Pavia. Ludolf, incensed at
his father for having taken a second wife, returned immediately to
Germany, and there stirred up such disorder that Otto relinquished his
intention of visiting Rome, and followed him. After much negotiation,
Berengar was allowed to remain king of Lombardy, on condition of giving
up all the Adriatic shore, from near Venice to Istria, which was then
annexed to Bavaria.

[Sidenote: 954.]

Duke Henry, therefore, profited most by the Italian campaign, and this
excited the jealousy of Ludolf and Konrad, who began to conspire both
against him, and against Otto's authority. The trouble increased until
it became an open rebellion, which convulsed Germany for nearly four
years. If Otto had been personally popular, it might have been soon
suppressed; but the petty princes and the people inclined to one side or
the other, according to the prospects of success, and the Empire,
finally, seemed on the point of falling to pieces. In this crisis, there
came what appeared to be a new misfortune, but which, most unexpectedly,
put an end to the wasting strife. The Hungarians again broke into
Germany, and Ludolf and Konrad granted them permission to pass through
their territory to reach and ravage their father's lands. This alliance
with an hereditary and barbarous enemy turned the whole people to Otto's
side; the long rebellion came rapidly to an end, and all troubles were
settled by a Diet held at the close of 954.

The next year the Hungarians came again in greater numbers than ever,
and, crossing Bavaria, laid siege to Augsburg. But Otto now marched
against them with all the military strength of Germany, and on the 10th
of August, 955, met them in battle. Konrad of Lorraine led the attack
and decided the fate of the day, but, in the moment of victory, having
lifted his visor to breathe more freely, a Hungarian arrow pierced his
neck and he fell dead. Nearly all the enemy were slaughtered or drowned
in the river Lech. Only a few scattered fugitives returned to Hungary to
tell the tale, and from that day no new invasion was ever undertaken
against Germany. On the contrary, the Bavarians pressed eastward and
spread themselves along the Danube and among the Styrian Alps, while the
Bohemians took possession of Moravia, so that the boundary lines between
the three races then became very nearly what they are at the present

Soon afterwards, Otto lost his brother Henry of Bavaria, and, two years
later, his son Ludolf, who died in Italy, while endeavoring to make
himself king of the Lombards. A new disturbance in Saxony was
suppressed, and with it there was an end of civil war in Germany, during
Otto's reign. We have already stated that he was proud and ambitious:
the crown of a "Roman Emperor," which still seemed the highest title on
earth, had probably always hovered before his mind, and now the
opportunity of attaining it came. The Pope, John XII., a boy of
seventeen, who found himself in danger of being driven from Rome by
Berengar, the Lombard, sent a pressing call for help to Otto, who
entered upon his second journey to Italy in 961.


He first called a Diet together at Worms, and procured the acceptance of
his son Otto, then only 6 years old, as his successor. The child was
solemnly crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle; the Archbishop Bruno of Cologne
was appointed his guardian and vicegerent of the realm during Otto's
absence, and the latter was left free to carry out his designs beyond
the Alps. He was received with rejoicing by the Lombards, and the iron
crown of the kingdom was placed on his head by the Archbishop of Milan.
He then advanced to Rome and was crowned Emperor in St. Peter's by the
boy-pope, on the 2d of February, 962. Nearly a generation had elapsed
since the title had been held or claimed by any one, and its renewal at
this time was the source of centuries of loss and suffering to Germany.
It was a sham and a delusion,--a will-o'-the wisp which led rulers and
people aside from the true path of civilization, and left them
floundering in quagmires of war.

Otto had hardly returned to Lombardy before the Pope, who began to see
that he had crowned his own master, conspired against him. The Pope
called on the Byzantine Emperor for aid, incited the Hungarians, and
even entered into correspondence with the Saracens in Corsica. All Italy
became so turbulent that three years elapsed before the Emperor Otto
succeeded in restoring order. He took Rome by force of arms, deposed the
Pope and set up another of his own appointment, banished Berengar, and
compelled the universal recognition of his own sovereignty. Then, with
the remnants of an army which had almost been destroyed by war and
pestilence, he returned to Germany in 965.

A grand festival was held at Cologne, to celebrate his new honors and
victories. His mother, the aged queen Mathilde, Lothar, reigning king of
France, and all the Dukes and Princes of Germany, were present, and the
people came in multitudes from far and wide. The internal peace of the
Empire had not been disturbed during Otto's absence, and his journey of
inspection was a series of peaceful and splendid pageants. An
insurrection having broken out among the Lombards the following year, he
sent Duke Burkhard of Suabia to suppress it in his name; but it soon
became evident that his own presence was necessary. He thereupon took a
last farewell of his old mother, and returned to Italy in the autumn of

Lombardy was soon brought to order, and the rebellious nobles banished
to Germany. As Otto approached Rome, the people restored the Pope he had
appointed, whom they had in the meantime deposed: they were also
compelled to give up the leaders of the revolt, who were tried and
executed. Otto claimed the right of appointing the Civil Governor of
Rome, who should rule in his name. He gave back to the Pope the
territory which the latter had received from Pippin the Short, two
hundred years before, but nearly all of which had been taken from the
Church by the Lombards. In return, the Pope agreed to govern this
territory as a part, or province, of the Empire, and to crown Otto's son
as Emperor, in advance of his accession to the throne.

[Sidenote: 966.]

These new successes seem to have quite turned Otto's mind from the duty
he owed to the German people; henceforth he only strove to increase the
power and splendor of his house. His next step was to demand the hand of
the Princess Theophania, a daughter of one of the Byzantine Emperors,
for his son Otto. The Eastern Court neither consented nor refused;
ambassadors were sent back and forth until the Emperor became weary of
the delay. Following the suggestion of his offended pride, he undertook
a campaign against Southern Italy, parts of which still acknowledged the
Byzantine rule. The war lasted for several years, without any positive
result; but the hand of Theophania was finally promised to young Otto,
and she reached Rome in the beginning of the year 972. Her beauty, grace
and intelligence at once won the hearts of Otto's followers, who had
been up to that time opposed to the marriage. Although her betrothed
husband was only seventeen, and she was a year younger, the nuptials
were celebrated in April, and the Emperor then immediately returned to
Germany with his Court and army.

[Sidenote: 973. DEATH OF OTTO THE GREAT.]

All that Otto could show, to balance his six years' neglect of his own
land and people, was the title of "the Great," which the Italians
bestowed upon him, and a Princess of Constantinople, who spoke Greek and
looked upon the Germans as barbarians, for his daughter-in-law. His
return was celebrated by a grand festival held at Quedlinburg, at
Easter, 973. All the Dukes and reigning Counts of the Empire were
present, the kings of Bohemia and Poland, ambassadors from
Constantinople, from the Caliph of Cordova, in Spain, from Bulgaria,
Russia, Denmark and Hungary. Even Charlemagne never enjoyed such a
triumph; but in the midst of the festivities, Otto's first friend and
supporter, Hermann Billung, whom he had made Duke of Saxony, suddenly
died. The Emperor became impressed with the idea that his own end was
near: he retired to Memleben in Thuringia, where his father died, and on
the 6th of May was stricken with apoplexy, at the age of sixty-one. He
died, seated in his chair and surrounded by his princely guests, and was
buried in Magdeburg, by the side of his first wife, Editha of England.

Otto completed the work which Henry commenced, and left Germany the
first power in Europe. Had his mind been as clear and impartial, his
plans as broad and intelligent, as Charlemagne's, he might have laid the
basis of a permanent Empire; but, in an evil hour, he called the phantom
of the sceptre of the world from the grave of Roman power, and,
believing that he held it, turned the ages that were to follow him into
the path of war, disunion and misery.




Otto II., "The Red." --Conquest of Bavaria. --Invasion of Lothar of
    France. --Otto's March to Paris. --His Journey to Italy. --His
    Defeat by the Saracens, and Escape. --Diet at Verona. --Otto's
    Death. --Theophania as Regent. --Alienation of France. --Otto III.
    --His Dealings with the Popes. --Negotiations with the Poles. --His
    Fantastic Actions. --His Death in Rome. --Youthful Popes. --Henry
    of Bavaria chosen by the Germans. --His character. --War with
    Poland. --March to Italy, and Coronation. --Other Wars. --Henry
    repels the Byzantines. --His Death. --The Character of his Reign.
    --His Piety.

[Sidenote: 973.]

Otto II., already crowned as king and Emperor, began his reign as one
authorized "by the grace of God." Although only eighteen years old, and
both physically and intellectually immature, his succession was
immediately acknowledged by the rulers of the smaller German States. He
was short and slender, and of such a ruddy complexion that the people
gave him the name of "Otto the Red." He had been carefully educated, and
possessed excellent qualities of heart and mind, but he had not been
tried by adversity, like his father and grandfather, and failed to
inherit either the patience or the energy of either. At first his
mother, the widowed Empress Adelheid, conducted the government of the
Empire, and with such prudence that all were satisfied. Soon, however,
the Empress Theophania became jealous of her mother-in-law's influence,
and the latter was compelled to retire to her former home in Burgundy.

The first internal trouble came from Henry II., Duke of Bavaria, the son
of Otto the Great's rebellious brother, and cousin of Otto II. He was
ambitious to convert Bavaria into an independent kingdom: in fact he had
himself crowned king at Ratisbon, but in 976 he was defeated, taken
prisoner and banished to Holland by the Emperor. Bavaria was united to
Suabia, and the Eastern provinces on the Danube were erected into a
separate principality, which was the beginning of Austria as a new
German power.


At the same time Otto II. was forced to carry on new wars with Bohemia
and Denmark, in both of which he maintained the frontiers established by
his father. But Lothar, king of France, used the opportunity to get
possession of Lorraine and even to take Aix-la-Chapelle, Charlemagne's
capital, in the summer of 978. The German people were so enraged at this
treacherous invasion that Otto II. had no difficulty in raising an army
of 60,000 men, with which he marched to Paris in the autumn of the same
year. The city was so well fortified and defended that he found it
prudent to raise the siege as winter approached; but first, on the
heights of Montmartre, his army chanted a _Te Deum_ as a warning to the
enemy within the walls. The strife was prolonged until 980, when it was
settled by a personal interview of the Emperor and the king of France,
at which Lorraine was restored to Germany.

In 981 Otto II. went to Italy. His mother, Adelheid, came to Pavia to
meet him, and a complete reconciliation took place between them. Then he
advanced to Rome, quieted the dissensions in the government of the city,
and received as his guests Konrad, king of Burgundy, and Hugh Capet,
destined to be the ancestor of a long line of French kings. At this time
both the Byzantine Greeks and the Saracens were ravaging Southern Italy,
and it was Otto II.'s duty, as Roman Emperor, to drive them from the
land. The two bitterly hostile races became allies, in order to resist
him, and the war was carried on fiercely until the summer of 982 without
any result; then, on the 13th of July, on the coast of Calabria, the
Imperial army was literally cut to pieces by the Saracens. The Emperor
escaped capture by riding into the Mediterranean and swimming to a ship
which lay near. When he was taken on board he found it to be a Greek
vessel; but whether he was recognized or not (for the accounts vary), he
prevailed upon the captain to set him ashore at Rossano, where the
Empress Theophania was awaiting his return from battle.

This was a severe blow, but it aroused the national spirit of Germany.
Otto II., having returned to Northern Italy, summoned a general Diet of
the Empire to meet at Verona in the summer of 983. All the subject Dukes
and Princes attended, even the kings of Burgundy and Bohemia. Here, for
the first time, the Lombard Italians appeared on equal footing with the
Saxons, Franks and Bavarians, acknowledged the authority of the Empire,
and elected Otto II.'s son, another Otto, only three years old, as his
successor. Preparations were made for a grand war against the Saracens
and the Eastern Empire, but before they were completed Otto II. died, at
the age of twenty-eight, in Rome. He was buried in St. Peter's.

[Sidenote: 991.]

The news of his death reached Aix-la-Chapelle at the very time when his
infant son was crowned king as Otto III., in accordance with the decree
of the Diet of Verona. A dispute now arose as to the guardianship of the
child, between the widowed Empress Theophania and Henry II. of Bavaria,
who at once returned from his exile in Holland. The latter aimed at
usurping the Imperial throne, but he was incautious enough to betray his
design too soon, and met with such opposition that he was lucky in being
allowed to retain his former place as Duke of Bavaria. The Empress
Theophania reigned in Germany in her son's name, while Adelheid, widow
of Otto the Great, reigned in Italy. The former, however, had the
assistance of Willigis, Archbishop of Mayence, a man of great wisdom and
integrity. He was the son of a poor Saxon wheelwright, and chose for his
coat-of-arms as an Archbishop, a wheel, with the words: "Willigis,
forget not thine origin." When Theophania died, in 991, her place was
taken by Otto III.'s grandmother, Adelheid, who chose the Dukes of
Saxony, Suabia, Bavaria and Tuscany as her councillors.

During this time the Wends in Prussia again arose, and after a long and
wasting war, in which the German settlements beyond the Elbe received
little help from the Imperial government, the latter were either
conquered or driven back. The relations between Germany and France were
also actually those of war, although there were no open hostilities. The
struggle for the throne of France, between Duke Charles, the last of the
Carolingian line, and Hugh Capet, which ended in the triumph of the
latter, broke the last link of blood and tradition connecting the two
countries. They had been jealous relatives hitherto; now they became
strangers, and it is not long until History records them as enemies.


When Otto III. was sixteen years old, in 996, he took the Imperial
government in his own hands. His education had been more Greek than
German; he was ashamed of his Saxon blood, and named himself, in his
edicts, "a Greek by birth and a Roman by right of rule." He was a
strange, unsteady, fantastic character, whose only leading idea was to
surround himself with the absurd ceremonies of the Byzantine Court, and
to make Rome the capital of his Empire. His reign was a farce, compared
with that of his grandfather, the great Otto, and yet it was the natural
consequence of the latter's perverted ambition.

Otto III.'s first act was to march to Rome, in order to be crowned as
Emperor by the Pope, John XV., in exchange for assisting him against
Crescentius, a Roman noble who had usurped the civil government. But the
Pope died before his arrival, and Otto thereupon appointed his own
cousin, Bruno, a young man of twenty-four, who took the Papal chair as
Gregory V. The new-made Pope, of course, crowned him as Roman Emperor, a
few days afterward. The people, in those days, were accustomed to submit
to any authority, spiritual or political, which was strong enough to
support its own claims, but this bargain was a little too plain and
barefaced; and Otto had hardly returned to Germany, before the Roman,
Crescentius, drove away Gregory V. and set up a new Pope, of his own

The Wends, in Prussia, were giving trouble, and the Scandinavians and
Danes ravaged all the northern coast of Germany; but the boy emperor,
without giving a thought to his immediate duty, hastened back to Italy
in 997, took Crescentius prisoner and beheaded him, barbarously
mutilated the rival Pope, and reinstated Gregory V. When the latter
died, in 999, Otto made his own teacher, Gerbert of Rheims, Pope, under
the name of Sylvester II. In spite of the reverence of the common people
for the Papal office, they always believed Pope Sylvester to be a
magician, and in league with the Devil. He was the most learned man of
his day, and in his knowledge of natural science was far in advance of
his time; but such accomplishments were then very rare in Italy, and
unheard of in a Pope. Otto III. remained three years longer in Italy,
dividing his time between pompous festivals and visits to religious

In the year 1000 he was recalled to Germany. His father's sister,
Mathilde, who had governed the country as well as she was able, during
his absence, was dead, and there were difficulties, not of a political
nature (for to such he paid no attention), but in the organization of
the Church, which he was anxious to settle. The Poles were converted to
Christianity by this time, and their spiritual head was the Archbishop
of Magdeburg; but now they demanded a separate and national diocese.
This Otto granted to their Duke, or king, Boleslaw, with such other
independent rights, that the authority of the German Empire soon ceased
to be acknowledged by the Poles. He made a pilgrimage to the tomb of St.
Adalbert of Prague, who was slain by the Prussian pagans, then visited
Aix-la-Chapelle, where, following a half-delirious fancy, he descended
into the vault where lay the body of Charlemagne, in the hope of hearing
a voice, or receiving a sign, which might direct him how to restore the
Roman Empire.

[Sidenote: 1001.]

The new Pope, Sylvester II., after Otto III.'s departure from Rome,
found himself in as difficult a position as his predecessor, Gregory V.
He was also obliged to call the Emperor to his aid, and the latter
returned to Italy in 1001. He established his Court in a palace on Mount
Aventine, in Rome, and maintained his authority for a little while, in
spite of a fierce popular revolt. Then, becoming restless, yet not
knowing what to do, he wandered up and down Italy, paid a mysterious
visit to Venice by night, and finally returned to Rome, to find the
gates barred against him. He began a siege, but before anything was
accomplished, he died in 1002, as was generally believed, of poison. The
nobles and the imperial guards who accompanied him took charge of his
body, cut their way through a population in rebellion against his rule,
and carried him over the Alps to Germany, where he was buried in

The next year Pope Sylvester II. died, and Rome fell into the hands of
the Counts of Tusculum, who tried to make the Papacy a hereditary
dignity in their family. One of them, a boy of seventeen, became Pope as
John XVI., and during the following thirty years four other boys held
the office of Head of the Christian Church, crowned Emperors, and
blessed or excommunicated at their will. This was the end of the grand
political and spiritual Empire which Charlemagne had planned, two
centuries before--a fantastic, visionary youth as Emperor, and a weak,
ignorant boy as Pope! The effect was the rapid demoralization of princes
and people, and nothing but the genuine Christianity still existing
among the latter, from whom the ranks of the priests were recruited,
saved the greater part of Europe from a relapse into barbarism.

[Sidenote: 1002. HENRY II. ELECTED.]

At Otto III.'s death there were three claimants to the throne, belonging
to the Saxon dynasty; but his nearest relative, Henry, third Duke of
Bavaria, and great-grandson of king Henry I. the Fowler, was finally
elected. Suabia, Saxony and Lorraine did not immediately acquiesce in
the choice, but they soon found it expedient to submit. Henry's
authority was thus established within Germany, but on its frontiers and
in Italy, which was now considered a genuine part of "the Roman Empire,"
the usual troubles awaited him. He was a man of weak constitution, and
only average intellect, but well-meaning, conscientious, and probably as
just as it was possible for him to be under the circumstances. His life,
as Emperor, was "a battle and a march," but its heaviest burdens were
inherited from his predecessors. He was obliged to correct twenty years
of misrule, or rather _no rule_, and he courageously gave the remainder
of his life to the task.

The Polish Duke, Boleslaw, sought to unite Bohemia and all the Slavonic
territory eastward of the Elbe, under his own sway. This brought him
into direct collision with the claims of Germany, and the question was
not settled until after three long and bloody wars. Finally, in 1018, a
treaty was made between Henry II. and Boleslaw, by which Bohemia
remained tributary to the German Empire, and the province of Meissen (in
the present kingdom of Saxony) became an appanage of Poland. By this
time the Wends had secured possession of Northern Prussia, between the
Elbe and the Oder, thrown off the German rule, and returned to their
ancient pagan faith.

In Italy, Arduin of Ivrea succeeded in inciting the Lombards to revolt,
and proclaimed himself king of an independent Italian nation. Henry II.
crossed the Alps in 1006, and took Pavia, the inhabitants of which city
rose against him. In the struggle which followed, it was burned to the
ground. After his return to Germany Arduin recovered his influence and
power, became practically king, and pressed the Pope, Benedict VIII., so
hard, that the latter went personally to Henry II. (as Leo III. had gone
to Charlemagne) and implored his assistance. In the autumn of 1013,
Henry went with the Pope to Italy, entered Pavia without resistance,
restored the Papal authority in Rome, and was crowned Emperor in
February, 1014. He returned immediately afterwards to Germany; and
Italy, after Arduin's death, the following year, remained comparatively

[Sidenote: 1018.]

Even before the wars with Poland came to an end, in 1018, other troubles
broke out in the west. There were disturbances along the frontier in
Flanders, rebellions in Luxemburg and Lorraine, and finally a quarrel
with Burgundy, the king of which, Rudolf III., was Henry II.'s uncle,
and had chosen him as his heir. This inheritance gave Germany the
eastern part of France, nearly to the Mediterranean, and the greater
portion of Switzerland. But the Burgundian nobles refused to be thus
transferred, and did not give their consent until after Henry's armies
had twice invaded their country.

Finally, in 1020, when there was temporary peace throughout the Empire,
the Cathedral at Bamberg, which the Emperor had taken great pride in
building, was consecrated with splendid ceremonies. The pope came across
the Alps to be present, and he employed the opportunity to persuade
Henry to return to Italy, and free the southern part of the peninsula
from the Byzantine Greeks, who had advanced as far as Capua and
threatened Rome. The Emperor consented: in 1021 he marched into Southern
Italy with a large army, expelled the Greeks from the greater portion of
their conquered territory, and then, having lost his best troops by
pestilence, returned home. He there continued to travel to and fro,
settling difficulties and observing the condition of the people. After
long struggles, the power of the Empire seemed to be again secured; but
when he began to strengthen it by the arts of peace, his own strength
was exhausted. He died near Göttingen, in the summer of 1024, and was
buried in the Cathedral of Bamberg. With him expired the dynasty of the
Saxon Emperors, less pitifully, however, than either the Merovingian or
Carolingian line.

When Otto the Great, towards the close of his reign, neglected Germany
and occupied himself with establishing his dominion in Italy, he
prepared the way for the rapid decline of the Imperial power at home, in
the hands of his successors. The reigning Dukes, Counts, and even the
petty feudal lords, no longer watched and held subordinate, soon became
practically independent: except in Friesland, Saxony and the Alps, the
people had no voice in political matters; and thus the growth of a
general national sentiment, such as had been fostered by Charlemagne and
Henry I., was again destroyed. In proportion as the smaller States were
governed as if they were separate lands, their populations became
separated in feeling and interest. Henry II. tried to be an Emperor of
_Germany_: he visited Italy rather on account of what he believed to be
the duties of his office than from natural inclination to reign there;
but he was not able to restore the same authority at home, as Otto the
Great had exercised.

[Sidenote: 1024. END OF HENRY II.'S REIGN.]

Henry II. was a pious man, and favored the Roman Church in all
practicable ways. He made numerous and rich grants of land to churches
and monasteries, but always with the reservation of his own rights, as
sovereign. After his death he was made a Saint, by order of the Pope,
but he failed to live, either as Saint or Emperor, in the traditions of
the people.




Konrad II. elected Emperor. --Movements against him. --Journey to
    Italy. --Revolt of Ernest of Suabia. --Burgundy attached to the
    Empire. --Siege of Milan. --Konrad's Death. --Henry III. succeeds.
    --Temporary Peace. --Corruptions in the Church. --The "Truce of
    God." --Henry III.'s Coronation in Rome. --Rival Popes. --New
    Troubles in Germany. --Second Visit to Italy. --Return and Death.
    --Henry IV.'s Childhood. --His Capture. --Archbishops Hanno and
    Adalbert. --Henry IV. begins to reign. --Revolt and Slaughter of
    the Saxons. --Pope Gregory VII. --His Character and Policy. --Henry
    IV. excommunicated. --Movement against him. --He goes to Italy.
    --His Humiliation at Canossa. --War with Rudolf of Suabia. --Henry
    IV. besieges Rome. --Death of Gregory VII. --Rebellions of Henry
    IV.'s Sons. --His Capture, Abdication and Death. --The First

[Sidenote: 1024.]

On the 4th of September, 1024, the German nobles, clergy and people came
together on the banks of the Rhine, near Mayence, to elect a new
Emperor. There were fifty or sixty thousand persons in all, forming two
great camps: on the western bank of the river were the Lorrainese and
the Rhine-Franks, on the eastern bank the Saxons, Suabians, Bavarians
and German-Franks. There were two prominent candidates for the throne,
but neither of them belonged to the established reigning houses, the
members of which seemed to be so jealous of one another that they
mutually destroyed their own chances. The two who were brought forward
were cousins, both named Konrad, and both great-grandsons of Duke
Konrad, Otto the Great's son-in-law, who fell so gallantly in the great
battle with the Hungarians, in 955.

For five days the claims of the two were canvassed by the electors. The
elder Konrad had married Gisela, the widow of Duke Ernest of Suabia,
which gave him a somewhat higher place among the princes; and therefore
after the cousins had agreed that either would accept the other's
election as valid and final, the votes turned to his side. The people,
who were present merely as spectators (for they had now no longer any
part in the election), hailed the new monarch with shouts of joy, and he
was immediately crowned king of Germany in the Cathedral of Mayence.

[Illustration: GERMANY under the Saxon and Frank Emperors.

Twelfth Century]

[Sidenote: 1024.]

Konrad--who was Konrad II. in the list of German Emperors--had no
subjects of his own to support him, like his Saxon predecessors: his
authority rested upon his own experience, ability and knowledge of
statesmanship. But his queen, Gisela, was a woman of unusual
intelligence and energy, and she faithfully assisted him in his duties.
He was a man of stately and commanding appearance, and seemed so well
fitted for his new dignity that when he made the usual journey through
Germany, neither Dukes nor people hesitated to give him their
allegiance. Even the nobles of Lorraine, who were dissatisfied with his
election, found it prudent to yield without serious opposition.

The death of Henry II., nevertheless, was the signal for three
threatening movements against the Empire. In Italy the Lombards rose,
and, in their hatred of what they now considered to be a foreign rule
(quite forgetting their own German origin), they razed to the ground the
Imperial palace at Pavia: in Burgundy, king Rudolf declared that he
would resist Konrad's claim to the sovereignty of the country, which,
being himself childless, he had promised to Henry II.; and in Poland,
Boleslaw, who now called himself king, declared that his former treaties
with Germany were no longer binding upon him. But Konrad II. was favored
by fortune. The Polish king died, and the power which he had built
up--for his kingdom, like that of the Goths, reached from the Baltic to
the Danube, from the Elbe to Central Russia--was again shattered by the
quarrels of his sons. In Burgundy, Duke Rudolf was without heirs, and
finally found himself compelled to recognize the German sovereign as his
successor. With Canute, who was then king of Denmark and England, Konrad
II. made a treaty of peace and friendship, restoring Schleswig to the
Danish crown, and re-adopting the river Eider as the boundary.

In the spring of 1026, Konrad went to Italy. Pavia shut her gates
against him, but those of Milan were opened, and the Lombard Bishops and
nobles came to offer him homage. He was crowned with the iron crown, and
during the course of the year, all the cities in Northern Italy--even
Pavia, which promised to rebuild the Imperial palace--acknowledged his
sway. In March, 1027, he went to Rome and was crowned Emperor by the
Pope, John XIX., one of the young Counts of Tusculum, who had succeeded
to the Papacy as a boy of twelve! King Canute and Rudolf of Burgundy
were present at the ceremony, and Konrad betrothed his son Henry to the
Danish princess Gunhilde, daughter of the former.

[Sidenote: 1027. KONRAD II.'S VISIT TO ITALY.]

After the coronation, the Emperor paid a rapid visit to Southern Italy,
where the Normans had secured a foothold ten years before, and, by
defending the country against the Greeks and Saracens, were rapidly
making themselves its rulers. He found it easier to accept them as
vassals than to drive them out, but in so doing he added a new and
turbulent element to those which already distracted Italy. However,
there was now external quiet, at least, and he went back to Germany.

Here his step-son, Ernest II. of Suabia, who claimed the crown of
Burgundy, had already risen in rebellion against him. He was not
supported even by his own people, and the Emperor imprisoned him in a
strong fortress until the Empress Gisela, by her prayers, procured his
liberation. Konrad offered to give him back his Dukedom, provided he
would capture and deliver up his intimate friend, Count Werner of
Kyburg, who was supposed to exercise an evil influence over him. Ernest
refused, sought his friend, and the two after living for some time as
outlaws in the Black Forest, at last fell in a conflict with the
Imperial troops. The sympathies of the people were turned to the young
Duke by his hard fate and tragic death, and during the Middle Ages the
narrative poem of "Ernest of Suabia" was sung everywhere throughout

Konrad II. next undertook a campaign against Poland, which was wholly
unsuccessful: he was driven back to the Elbe with great losses. Before
he could renew the war, he was called upon to assist Count Albert of
Austria (as the Bavarian "East-Mark" along the Danube must henceforth be
called) in a war against Stephen, the first Christian king of Hungary.
The result was a treaty of peace, which left him free to march once more
against Poland and reconquer the provinces which Henry II. had granted
to Boleslaw. The remaining task of his reign, the attachment of Burgundy
to the German Empire, was also accomplished without any great
difficulty. King Rudolf, before his death in 1032, sent his crown and
sceptre to Konrad II., in fulfilment of a promise made when they met at
Rome, six years before. Although Count Odo of Champagne, Rudolf's
nearest relative, disputed the succession, and all southern Burgundy
espoused his cause, he was unable to resist the Emperor. The latter was
crowned King of Burgundy at Payerne, in Switzerland, and two years later
received the homage of nearly all the clergy and nobles of the country
in Lyons.

[Sidenote: 1037.]

At that time Burgundy comprised the whole valley of the Rhone, from its
cradle in the Alps to the Mediterranean, the half of Switzerland, the
cities of Dijon and Besançon and the territory surrounding them. All
this now became, and for some centuries remained, a part of the German
Empire. Its relation to the latter, however, resembled that of the
Lombard Kingdom in Italy: its subjection was acknowledged, it was
obliged to furnish troops in special emergencies, but it preserved its
own institutions and laws, and repelled any closer political union. The
continual intercourse of its people with those of France slowly
obliterated the original differences between them, and increased the
hostility of the Burgundians to the German sway. But the rulers of that
day were not wise enough to see very far in advance, and the sovereignty
of Burgundy was temporarily a gain to the German power.

Early in 1037 Konrad was called again to Italy by complaints of the
despotic rule of the local governors, especially of the Archbishop
Heribert of Milan. This prelate resisted his authority, incited the
people of Milan to support his pretensions, and became, in a short time,
the leader of a serious revolt. The Emperor deposed him, prevailed upon
the Pope, Benedict IX., to place him under the ban of the Church, and
besieged Milan with all his forces; but in vain. The Bishop defied both
Emperor and Pope; the city was too strongly fortified to be taken, and
out of this resistance grew the idea of independence which was
afterwards developed in the Italian Republics, until the latter
weakened, wasted, and finally destroyed the authority of the German (or
"Roman") Emperors in Italy. Konrad was obliged to return home without
having conquered Archbishop Heribert and the Milanese.

In the spring of 1039 he died suddenly at Utrecht, aged sixty, and was
buried in the Cathedral at Speyer, which he had begun to build. He was a
very shrewd and intelligent ruler, who planned better than he was able
to perform. He certainly greatly increased the Imperial power during
his life, by recognizing the hereditary rights of the smaller princes,
and replacing the chief reigning Dukes, whenever circumstances rendered
it possible, by members of his own family. As the selection of the
bishops and archbishops remained in his hands, the clergy were of course
his immediate dependents. It was their interest, as well as that of the
common people among whom knowledge and the arts were beginning to take
root, that peace should be preserved between the different German
States, and this could only be done by making the Emperor's authority
paramount. Nevertheless, Konrad II. was never popular: a historian of
the times says "no one sighed when his sudden death was announced."

[Sidenote: 1039. HENRY III.]

His son, Henry III., already crowned King of Germany as a boy, now
mounted the throne. He was twenty-three years old, distinguished for
bodily as well as mental qualities, and was apparently far more
competent to rule than many of his predecessors had been. Germany was
quiet, and he encountered no opposition. The first five years of his
reign brought him wars with Bohemia and Hungary, but in both, in spite
of some reverses at the beginning, he was successful. Bohemia was
reduced to obedience; a part of the Hungarian territory was annexed to
Austria, and the king, Peter, as well as Duke Casimir of Poland,
acknowledged themselves dependents of the German Empire. The Czar of
Muscovy (as Russia was then called) offered Henry, after the death of
Queen Gunhilde, a princess of his family as a wife; but he declined, and
selected, instead, Agnes of Poitiers, sister of the Duke of Aquitaine.

But, although the condition of Germany, and, indeed, of the greater part
of Europe, was now more settled and peaceful than it had been for a long
time, the consequences of the previous wars and disturbances were very
severely felt. The land had been visited both by pestilence and famine,
and there was much suffering; there was also notorious corruption in the
Church and in civil government; the demoralization of the Popes,
followed by that of the Romans, and then of the Italians, had spread
like an infection over all Christendom. When things seemed to be at
their worst, a change for the better was instituted in a most unexpected
quarter and in a very singular manner.

[Sidenote: 1040.]

In the monastery of Cluny, in Burgundy, the monks, under the leadership
of their Abbot, Odilo, determined to introduce a sterner, a more pious
and Christian spirit into the life of the age. They began to preach what
they called the _treuga Dei_, the "truce" or "peace of God," according
to which, from every Wednesday evening until the next Monday morning,
all feuds or fights were forbidden throughout the land. Several hundred
monasteries in France and Burgundy joined the "Congregation of Cluny";
the Church accepted the idea of the "peace of God," and the worldly
rulers were called upon to enforce it. Henry III. saw in this new
movement an agent which might be used to his own advantage no less than
for the general good, and he favored it as far as lay in his power. He
summoned a Diet of the German princes, urged the measure upon them in an
eloquent speech, and set the example by proclaiming a full and free
pardon to all who had been his enemies. The change was too sudden to be
acceptable to many of the princes, but they obeyed as far as convenient,
and the German people, almost for the first time in their history,
enjoyed a general peace and security.

The "Congregation of Cluny" preached also against the universal simony,
by which all clerical dignities were bought and sold. Priests, abbots,
bishops, and even in some cases, Popes, were accustomed to buy their
appointment, and the power of the Church was thus often exercised by the
most unworthy hands. Henry III. saw the necessity of a reform; he sought
out the most pious, pure and intelligent priests, and made them abbots
and bishops, refusing all payments or presents. He then undertook to
raise the Papal power out of the deplorable condition into which it had
fallen. There were then _three_ rival Popes in Rome, each of whom
officially excommunicated and cursed the others and their followers.

In the summer of 1046, Henry III. crossed the Alps with a magnificent
retinue. The quarrels between the nobles and the people, in the cities
of Lombardy, were compromised at his approach, and he found order and
submission everywhere. He called a Synod, which was held at Sutri, an
old Etruscan town, 30 miles north of Rome, and there, with the consent
of the Bishops, deposed all three of the Popes, appointing the Bishop of
Bamberg to the vacant office. The latter took the Papal chair under the
name of Clement II., and the very same day crowned Henry III. as Roman
Emperor. To the Roman people this seemed no less a bargain than the
case of Otto III., and they grew more than ever impatient of the rule of
both Emperor and Pope. Their republican instincts, although repressed by
a fierce and powerful nobility, were kept alive by the examples of
Venice and Milan, and they dreamed as ardently of a free Rome in the
twelfth century as in the nineteenth.

[Sidenote: 1046. APPOINTMENT OF POPES.]

Up to this time the Roman clergy and people had taken part, so far as
the mere forms were concerned, in the election of the Popes. They were
now compelled (of course very unwillingly) to give up this ancient
right, and allow the Emperor to choose the candidate, who was then sure
to be elected by Bishops of Imperial appointment. In fact, during the
nine remaining years of Henry III.'s reign, he selected three other
Popes, Clement II. and his first two successors having all died
suddenly, probably from poison, after very short reigns. But this was
the end of absolute German authority and Roman submission: within thirty
years the Christian world beheld a spectacle of a totally opposite

Henry III. visited Southern Italy, confirmed the Normans in their rule,
as his father had done, and then returned to Germany. He had reached the
climax of his power, and the very means he had taken to secure it now
involved him in troubles which gradually weakened his influence in
Germany. He was generous, but improvident and reckless: he bestowed
principalities on personal friends, regardless of hereditary claims or
the wishes of the people, and gave away large sums of money, which were
raised by imposing hard terms upon the tenants of the crown-lands. A new
war with Hungary, and the combined revolt of Godfrey of Lorraine,
Baldwin of Flanders and Dietrich of Holland against him, diminished his
military resources; and even his success, at the end of four weary
years, did not add to his renown. Leo IX., the third Pope of his
appointment, was called upon to assist him by hurling the ban of the
Church against the rebellious princes. He also called to his assistance
Danish and English fleets which assailed Holland and Flanders, while he
subdued Godfrey of Lorraine. The latter soon afterwards married the
widowed Countess Beatrix of Tuscany, and thus became ruler of nearly all
Italy between the Po and the Tiber.

By the year 1051, all the German States except Saxony were governed by
relatives or personal friends of the Emperor. In order to counteract
the power of Bernhard, Duke of the Saxons, of whom he was jealous, he
made another friend, Adalbert, Archbishop of Bremen, with authority over
priests and churches in Northern Germany, Denmark, Scandinavia and even
Iceland. He also built a stately palace at Goslar, at the foot of the
Hartz Mountains, and made it as often as possible his residence, in
order to watch the Saxons. Both these measures, however, increased his
unpopularity with the German people.

[Sidenote: 1054.]

Leo IX., in 1054, marched against the Normans who were threatening the
southern border of the Roman territory, but was defeated and taken
prisoner. The victors treated him with all possible reverence, and he
soon saw the policy of making friends of such a bold and warlike people.
A treaty of peace was concluded, wherein the Normans acknowledged
themselves dependents of the Papal power: no notice was taken of the
fact that they had already acknowledged that of the German-Roman
Emperors. This event, and the increasing authority of his old enemy,
Godfrey, in Tuscany, led Henry III. to visit Italy again in 1055.
Although he held the Diet of Lombardy and a grand review on the
Roncalian plains near Piacenza, he accomplished nothing by his journey:
he did not even visit Rome. Leo IX. died the same year, and Henry
appointed a new Pope, Victor II., who, like his predecessor, became an
instrument in the hands of Hildebrand of Savona, a monk of Cluny, who
was even then, although few suspected it, the real head and ruler of the
Christian world.

The Emperor discovered that a plot had been formed to assassinate him on
his way to Germany. This danger over, he had an interview with king
Henri of France, which became so violent that he challenged the latter
to single combat. Henri avoided the issue by marching away during the
following night. The Emperor retired to his palace at Goslar, in
October, 1056, where he received a visit from Pope Victor II. He was
broken in health and hopes, and the news of a defeat of his army by the
Slavonians in Prussia is supposed to have hastened his end. He died
during the month, not yet forty years old, leaving a boy of six as his

[Sidenote: 1062. HENRY IV.]

The child, Henry IV., had already been crowned King of Germany, and his
mother, the Empress Agnes, was chosen regent during his minority. The
Bishop of Augsburg was her adviser, and her first acts were those of
prudence and reconciliation. Peace was concluded with Godfrey of
Lorraine and Baldwin of Flanders, minor troubles in the States were
quieted, and the Empire enjoyed the promise of peace. But the Empress,
who was a woman of a weak, yielding nature, was soon led to make
appointments which created fresh troubles. The reigning princes used the
opportunity to make themselves more independent, and their mutual
jealousy and hostility increased in proportion as they became stronger.
The nobles and people of Rome renewed their attempt to have a share in
the choice of a Pope; and, although the appointment was finally left to
the Empress, the Pope of her selection, Nicholas II., instead of being
subservient to the interests of the German Empire, allied himself with
the Normans and with the republican party in the cities of Lombardy.

At home, the troubles of the Empress Agnes increased year by year. A
conspiracy to murder the young Henry IV. was fortunately discovered;
then a second, at the head of which was the Archbishop Hanno of Cologne,
was formed to take him from his mother's care and give him into stronger
hands. In 1062, when Henry IV. was twelve years old, Hanno visited the
Empress at Kaiserswerth, on the Rhine. After a splendid banquet, he
invited the young king to look at his vessel, which lay near the palace;
but no sooner had the latter stepped upon the deck, than the
conspirators seized their oars and pushed into the stream. Henry boldly
sprang into the water; Count Ekbert of Brunswick sprang after him, and
both, after nearly drowning in their struggle, were taken on board. The
Empress stood on the shore, crying for help, and her people sought to
intercept the vessel, but in vain: the plot was successful. A meeting of
reigning princes, soon afterwards, appointed Archbishop Hanno guardian
of the young king.

He was a hard, stern master, and Henry IV. became his enemy for life.
Within a year, Hanno was obliged to yield his place to Adalbert,
Archbishop of Bremen, who was as much too indulgent as the former had
been too rigid. The jealousy of the other priests and princes was now
turned against Adalbert, and his position became so difficult that in
1065, when Henry IV. was only fifteen years old, he presented him to an
Imperial Diet, held at Worms, and there invested him with the sword,
the token of manhood. Thenceforth Henry reigned in his own name,
although Adalbert's guardianship was not given up until a year later.
Then he was driven away by a union of the other Bishops and the reigning
princes, and his rival, Hanno, was forced, as chief counsellor, upon the
angry and unwilling king.

[Sidenote: 1066.]

The next year Henry was married to the Italian princess, Bertha, to whom
his father had betrothed him as a child. Before three years had elapsed,
he demanded to be divorced from her; but, although the Archbishop of
Mayence and the Imperial Diet were persuaded to consent, the Pope,
Alexander II., following the advice of his Chancellor, Hildebrand of
Savona, refused his sanction. Henry finally decided to take back his
wife, whose beauty, patience and forgiving nature compelled him to love
her at last. About the same time, his father's enemy and his own,
Godfrey of Lorraine and Tuscany, died; another enemy, Otto, Duke of
Bavaria, fell into his hands, and was deposed; and there only remained
Magnus, Duke of the Saxons, who seemed hostile to his authority. The
events of Henry's youth and the character of his education made him
impatient and mistrustful: he inherited the pride and arbitrary will of
his father and grandfather, without their prudence: he surrounded
himself with wild and reckless princes of his own age, whose counsels
too often influenced his policy.

No Frank Emperor could be popular with the fierce, independent Saxons;
but when it was rumored that Henry IV. had sought an alliance with the
Danish king, Swen, against them,--when he called upon them, at the same
time, to march against Poland,--their suspicions were aroused, and the
whole population rose in opposition. To the number of 60,000, headed by
Otto, the deposed Duke of Bavaria (who was a Saxon noble), they marched
to the Harzburg, the Imperial castle near Goslar. Henry rejected their
conditions: the castle was besieged, and he escaped with difficulty,
accompanied only by a few followers. He endeavored to persuade the other
German princes to support him, but they refused. They even entered into
a conspiracy to dethrone him; the Bishops favored the plan, and his
cause seemed nearly hopeless.

In this emergency the cities along the Rhine, which were very weary of
priestly rule, and now saw a chance to strengthen themselves by
assisting the Emperor, openly befriended him. They were able, however,
to give him but little military support, and in February, 1074, he was
compelled to conclude a treaty with the Saxons, which granted them
almost everything they demanded, even to the demolition of the
fortresses he had built on their territory. But, in the flush of
victory, they also tore down the Imperial palace at Goslar, the Church,
and the sepulchre wherein Henry III. was buried. This placed them in the
wrong, and Henry IV. marched into Saxony with an immense army which he
had called together for the purpose of invading Hungary. The Saxons
armed themselves to resist, but they were attacked when unprepared,
defeated after a terrible battle, and their land laid waste with fire
and sword. Thus were again verified, a thousand years later, the words
of Tiberius--that it was not necessary to attempt the conquest of the
Germans, for, if let alone, they would destroy themselves.

[Sidenote: 1074. POPE GREGORY VII.]

The power of Henry IV. seemed now to be assured; but the lowest
humiliation which ever befell a monarch was in store for him. The monk
of Cluny, Hildebrand of Savona, who had inspired the policy of four
Popes during twenty-four years, became Pope himself in 1073, under the
name of Gregory VII. He was a man of iron will and inexhaustible energy,
wise and far-seeing beyond any of his contemporaries, and unquestionably
sincere in his aims. He remodelled the Papal office, gave it a new
character and importance, and left his own indelible mark on the Church
of Rome from that day to this. For the first five hundred years after
Christ the Pope had been merely the Bishop of Rome; for the second five
hundred years he had been the nominal head of the Church, but
subordinate to the political rulers, and dependent upon them. Gregory
VII. determined to make the office a spiritual power, above all other
powers, with sole and final authority over the bishops, priests and
other servants of the Church. It was to be a religious Empire, existing
by Divine right, independent of the fate of nations or the will of

He relied mainly upon two measures to accomplish this change,--the
suppression of simony and the celibacy of the priesthood. He determined
that the priests should belong wholly to the Church; that the human ties
of wife and children should be denied to them. This measure had been
proposed before, but never carried into effect, on account of the
opposition of the married Bishops and priests; but the increase of the
monastic orders and their greater influence at this time favored
Gregory's design. Even after celibacy was proclaimed as a law of the
Church, in 1074, it encountered the most violent opposition, and the law
was not universally obeyed by the priests until two or three centuries

[Sidenote: 1075.]

In 1075, Gregory promulgated a law against simony, in which he not only
prohibited the sale of all offices of the Church, but claimed that the
Bishops could only receive the ring and crozier, the symbols of their
authority, from the hands of the Pope. The same year, he sent messengers
to Henry IV. calling upon him to enforce this law in Germany, under
penalty of excommunication. The surprise and anger of the King may
easily be imagined: it was a language which no Pope had ever before
dared to use toward the Imperial power. Indeed, when we consider that
Gregory at this time was quarrelling with the Normans, the Lombard
cities and the king of France, and that a party in Rome was becoming
hostile to his rule, the act seems almost that of a madman.

Henry IV. called a Synod, which met at Worms. The Bishops, at his
request, unanimously declared that Gregory VII. was deposed from the
Papacy, and a message was sent to the people at Rome, ordering them to
drive him from the city. But, just at that time, Gregory had put down a
conspiracy of the nobles to assassinate him, by calling the people to
his aid, and he was temporarily popular with the latter. He answered
Henry IV. with the ban of excommunication,--which would have been
harmless enough, but for the deep-seated discontent of the Germans with
the king's rule. The Saxons, whom he had treated with the greatest
harshness and indignity since their subjection, immediately found a
pretext to throw off their allegiance: the other German States showed a
cold and mistrustful temper, and their princes failed to come together
when Henry called a National Diet. In the meantime the ambassadors of
Gregory were busy, and the petty courts were filled with secret
intrigues for dethroning the king and electing a new one.


In October, 1076, finally, a Convention of princes was held on the
Rhine, near Mayence. Henry was not allowed to be present, but he sent
messengers, offering to yield to their demands if they would only guard
the dignity of the crown. The princes rejected all his offers, and
finally adjourned to meet in Augsburg early in 1077, when the Pope was
asked to be present. As soon as Henry IV. learned that Gregory had
accepted the invitation, he was seized with a panic as unkingly as his
former violence. Accompanied only by a small retinue, he hastened to
Burgundy, crossed Mont Cenis in the dead of winter, encountering many
sufferings and dangers on the way, and entered Italy with the single
intention of meeting Pope Gregory and persuading him to remove the ban
of the Church.

At the news of his arrival in Lombardy, the Bishops and nobles from all
the cities flocked to his support, and demanded only that he should lead
them against the Pope. The movement was so threatening that Gregory
himself, already on his way to Germany, halted, and retired for a time
to the Castle of Canossa (in the Apennines, not far from Parma), which
belonged to his devoted friend, the Countess Matilda of Tuscany. Victory
was assured to Henry, if he had but grasped it; but he seems to have
possessed no courage except when inspired by hate. He neglected the
offered help, went to Canossa, and, presenting himself before the gate
barefoot and clad only in a shirt of sackcloth, he asked to be admitted
and pardoned as a repentant sinner. Gregory, so unexpectedly triumphant,
prolonged for three whole days the satisfaction which he enjoyed in the
king's humiliation: for three days the latter waited at the gate in snow
and rain, before he was received. Then, after promising to obey the
Pope, he received the kiss of peace, and the two took communion together
in the castle-chapel! This was the first great victory of the Papal
power: Gregory VII. paid dearly for it, but it was an event which could
not be erased from History. It has fed the pride and supported the
claims of the Roman Church, from that day to this.

Gregory had dared to excommunicate Henry, because of the political
conspirators against the latter; but he had not considered that his
pardon would change those conspirators into enemies. The indignant
Lombards turned their backs on Henry, the Bishops rejected the Pope's
offer to release them from the ban, and the strife became more fierce
and relentless than ever. In the meantime the German princes, encouraged
by the Pope, proclaimed Rudolf of Suabia King in Henry's place. The
latter, now at last supported by the Lombards, hastened back to Germany.
A terrible war ensued, which lasted for more than two years, and was
characterized by the most shocking barbarities on both sides. Gregory a
second time excommunicated the king, but without the slightest political
effect. The war terminated in 1080 by the death of Rudolf in battle, and
Henry's authority became gradually established throughout the land.

[Sidenote: 1084.]

His first movement, now, was against the Pope. He crossed the Alps with
a large army, was crowned King of Lombardy, and then marched towards
Rome. Gregory's only friend was the Countess Matilda of Tuscany, who
resisted Henry's advance until the cities of Pisa and Lucca espoused his
cause. Then he laid siege to Rome, and a long war began, during which
the ancient city suffered more than it had endured for centuries. The
end of the struggle was a devastation worse than that inflicted by
Geiserich. When Henry finally gained possession of the city, and the
Pope was besieged in the castle of St. Angelo, the latter released
Robert Guiscard, chief of the Normans in Southern Italy, from the ban of
excommunication which he had pronounced against him, and called him to
his aid. A Norman army, numbering 36,000 men, mostly Saracens,
approached Rome, and Henry was compelled to retreat. The Pope was
released, but his allies burned all the city between the Lateran and the
Coliseum, slaughtered thousands of the inhabitants, carried away
thousands as slaves, and left a desert of blood and ruin behind them.
Gregory VII. did not dare to remain in Rome after their departure: he
accompanied them to Salerno, and there died in exile, in 1085.

Henry IV. immediately appointed a new Pope, Clement III., by whom he was
crowned Emperor in St. Peter's. After Gregory's death, the Normans and
the French selected another Pope, Urban II., and until both died,
fifteen years afterwards, they and their partisans never ceased
fighting. The Emperor Henry, however, who returned to Germany
immediately alter his coronation, took little part in this quarrel. The
last twenty years of his reign were full of trouble and misfortune. His
eldest son, Konrad, who had lived mostly in Lombardy, was in 1092
persuaded to claim the crown of Italy, was acknowledged by the hostile
Pope, and allied himself with his father's enemies. For a time he was
very successful, but the movement gradually failed, and he ended his
days in prison, in 1101.

[Sidenote: 1105. TREACHERY OF HENRY IV.'S SON.]

Henry's hopes were now turned to his younger son, Henry, who was of a
cold, calculating, treacherous disposition. The political and religious
foes of the Emperor were still actively scheming for his overthrow, and
they succeeded in making the young Henry their instrument, as they had
made his brother Konrad. During the long struggles of his reign, the
Emperor's strongest and most faithful supporter had been Frederick of
Hohenstaufen, a Suabian count, to whom he had given his daughter in
marriage, and whom he finally made Duke of Suabia. The latter died in
1104, and most of the German princes, with the young Henry at their
head, arose in rebellion. For nearly a year, the country was again
desolated by a furious civil war; but the cities along the Rhine, which
were rapidly increasing in wealth and population, took the Emperor's
side, as before, and enabled him to keep the field against his son. At
last, in December, 1105, their armies lay face to face, near the river
Moselle, and an interview took place between the two. Father and son
embraced each other; tears were shed, repentance offered and pardon
given; then both set out together for Mayence, where it was agreed that
a National Diet should settle all difficulties.

On the way, however, the treacherous son persuaded his father to rest in
the Castle of Böckelheim, there instantly shut the gates upon him and
held him prisoner until he compelled him to abdicate. But, after the
act, the Emperor succeeded in making his escape: the people rallied to
his support, and he was still unconquered when death came to end his
many troubles, in Liege, in August, 1106. He was perhaps the most
signally unfortunate of all the German Emperors. The errors of his
education, the follies and passions of his youth, the one fatal weakness
of his manhood, were gradually corrected by experience; but he could not
undo their consequences. After he had become comparatively wise and
energetic, the internal dissensions of Germany, and the conflict between
the Roman Church and the Imperial power, had grown too strong to be
suppressed by his hand. When he might have done right, he lacked either
the knowledge or the will; when he finally tried to do right, he had
lost the power.

[Sidenote: 1099.]

During the latter years of his reign occurred a great historical event,
the consequences of which were most important to Europe, though not
immediately so to Germany. Peter the Hermit preached a Crusade to the
Holy Land for the purpose of conquering Jerusalem from the Saracens.
The "Congregation of Cluny" had prepared the way for this movement: one
of the two Popes, Urban II., encouraged it, and finally Godfrey of
Bouillon (of the Ducal family of Lorraine) put himself at its head. The
soldiers of this, the First Crusade, came chiefly from France, Burgundy
and Italy. Although many of them passed through Germany on their way to
the East, they made few recruits among the people; but the success of
the undertaking, the capture of Jerusalem by Godfrey in 1099, and the
religious enthusiasm which it created, tended greatly to strengthen the
Papal power, and also that faction in the Church which was hostile to
Henry IV.




Henry V.'s Character and Course. --The Condition of Germany. --Strife
    concerning the Investiture of Bishops. --Scene in St. Peter's.
    --Troubles in Germany and Italy. --The "Concordat of Worms."
    --Death of Henry V. --Absence of National Feeling. --Papal
    Independence. --Lothar of Saxony chosen Emperor. --His Visits to
    Italy, and Death. --Konrad of Hohenstaufen succeeds. --His Quarrel
    with Henry the Proud. --The Women of Weinsberg. --Welf (Guelph) and
    Waiblinger (Ghibelline). --The Second Crusade. --March to the Holy
    Land. --Konrad invited to Rome. --Arnold of Brescia. --Konrad's

[Sidenote: 1106. HENRY V. AS EMPEROR.]

Henry V. showed his true character immediately after his accession to
the throne. Although he had been previously supported by the Papal
party, he was no sooner acknowledged king of Germany than he imitated
his father in opposing the claims of the Church. The new Pope, Paschalis
II., had found it expedient to recognize the Bishops whom Henry IV. had
appointed, but at the same time he issued a manifesto declaring that all
future appointments must come from him. Henry V. answered this with a
letter of defiance, and continued to select his own Bishops and abbots,
which the Pope, not being able to resist, was obliged to suffer.

During the disturbed fifty years of Henry IV.'s reign, Burgundy and
Italy had become practically independent of Germany; Hungary and Poland
had thrown off their dependent condition, and even the Wends beyond the
Elbe were no longer loyal to the Empire. Within the German States, the
Imperial power was already so much weakened by the establishment of
hereditary Dukes and Counts, not related to the ruling family, that the
king (or Emperor) exercised very little direct authority over the
people. The crown-lands had been mostly either given away in exchange
for assistance, or lost during the civil wars; the feudal system was
firmly fastened upon the country, and only a few free cities--like those
in Italy--kept alive the ancient spirit of liberty and political
equality. Under such a system a monarch could accomplish little, unless
he was both wiser and stronger than the reigning princes under him:
there was no general national sentiment to which he could appeal. Henry
V. was cold, stern, heartless and unprincipled; but he inspired a
wholesome fear among his princely "vassals," and kept them in better
order than his father had done.

[Sidenote: 1110.]

After giving the first years of his reign to the settlement of troubles
on the frontiers of the Empire, Henry V. prepared, in 1110, for a
journey to Italy. So many followers came to him that when he had crossed
the Alps and mustered them on the plains of Piacenza, there were 30,000
knights present. With such a force, no resistance was possible: the
Lombard cities acknowledged him, Countess Matilda of Tuscany followed
their example, and the Pope found it expedient to meet him in a friendly
spirit. The latter was willing to crown Henry as Emperor, but still
claimed the right of investing the Bishops. This Henry positively
refused to grant, and, after much deliberation, the Pope finally
proposed a complete separation of Church and State,--that is, that the
lands belonging to the Bishops and abbots, or under their government,
should revert to the crown, and the priests themselves become merely
officials of the Church, without any secular power. Although the change
would have been attended with some difficulty in Germany, Henry
consented, and the long quarrel between Pope and Emperor was apparently

On the 12th of February, 1111, the king entered Rome at the head of a
magnificent procession, and was met at the gate of St. Peter's by the
Pope, who walked with him hand in hand to the platform before the high
altar. But when the latter read aloud the agreement, the Bishops raised
their voices in angry dissent. The debate lasted so long that one of the
German knights cried out: "Why so many words? Our king means to be
crowned Emperor, like Karl the Great!" The Pope refused the act of
coronation, and was immediately made prisoner. The people of Rome rose
in arms, and a terrible fight ensued. Henry narrowly escaped death in
the streets, and was compelled to encamp outside the city. At the end of
two months, the resistance both of Pope and people was crushed; he was
crowned Emperor, and Paschalis II. gave up his claim for the investiture
of the Bishops.

[Sidenote: 1122. THE CONCORDAT OF WORMS.]

Henry V. returned immediately to Germany, defeated the rebellious
Thuringians and Saxons in 1113, and the following year was married to
Matilda, daughter of Henry I. of England. This was the climax of his
power and splendor: it was soon followed by troubles with Friesland,
Cologne, Thuringia and Saxony, and in the course of two years his
authority was set at nought over nearly all Northern Germany. Only
Suabia, under his nephew, Frederick of Hohenstaufen, and Duke Welf II.
of Bavaria, remained faithful to him.

He was obliged to leave Germany in this state and hasten to Italy in
1116, on account of the death of the Countess Matilda, who had
bequeathed Tuscany to the Church, although she had previously
acknowledged the Imperial sovereignty. Henry claimed and secured
possession of her territory; he then visited Rome, the Pope leaving the
city to avoid meeting him. The latter died soon afterwards, and for a
time a new Pope, of the Emperor's own appointment, was installed in the
Vatican. The Papal party, which now included all the French Bishops,
immediately elected another, who excommunicated Henry V., but the act
was of no consequence, and was in fact overlooked by Calixtus II., who
succeeded to the Papal chair in 1118.

The same year Henry returned to Germany, and succeeded, chiefly through
the aid of Frederick of Hohenstaufen, in establishing his authority. The
quarrel with the Papal power concerning the investiture of the Bishops
was still unsettled: the new Pope, Calixtus II., who was a Burgundian
and a relation of the Emperor, remained in France, where his claims were
supported. After long delays and many preliminary negotiations, a Diet
was held at Worms in September, 1122, when the question was finally
settled. The choice of the Bishops and their investiture with the ring
and crozier were given to the Pope, but the nominations were required to
be made in the Emperor's presence, and the candidates to receive from
him their temporal power, before they were consecrated by the Church.
This arrangement is known as _the Concordat of Worms_. It was hailed at
the time as a fortunate settlement of a strife which had lasted for
fifty years; but it only increased the difficulty by giving the German
Bishops two masters, yet making them secretly dependent on the Pope. So
long as they retained the temporal power, they governed according to the
dictates of a foreign will, which was generally hostile to Germany. Then
began an antagonism between the Church and State, which was all the more
intense because never openly acknowledged, and which disturbs Germany
even at this day.

[Sidenote: 1125.]

Pope Calixtus II. took no notice of the ban of excommunication, but
treated with Henry V. as if it had never been pronounced. The troubles
in Northern Germany, however, were not subdued by this final peace with
Rome,--a clear evidence that the humiliation of Henry IV. was due to
political and not to religious causes. Henry V. died at Utrecht, in
Holland, in May, 1125, leaving no children, which the people believed to
be a punishment for his unnatural treatment of his father. There was no
one to mourn his death, for even his efforts to increase the Imperial
authority, and thereby to create a national sentiment among the Germans,
were neutralized by his coldness, haughtiness and want of principle, as
a man. The people were forced, by the necessities of their situation, to
support their own reigning princes, in the hope of regaining from the
latter some of their lost political rights.

Another circumstance tended to prevent the German Emperors from
acquiring any fixed power. They had no capital city, as France already
possessed in Paris: after the coronation, the monarch immediately
commenced his "royal ride," visiting all portions of the country, and
receiving, personally, the allegiance of the whole people. Then, during
his reign, he was constantly migrating from one castle to another,
either to settle local difficulties, to collect the income of his
scattered estates, or for his own pleasure. There was thus no central
point to which the Germans could look as the seat of the Imperial rule:
the Emperor was a Frank, a Saxon, a Bavarian or Suabian, by turns, but
never permanently a _German_, with a national capital grander than any
of the petty courts.

The period of Henry V.'s death marks, also, the independence of the
Papal power. The "Concordat of Worms" indirectly took away from the
Roman (German) Emperor the claim of appointing the Pope, which had been
exercised, from time to time, during nearly five hundred years. The
celibacy of the priesthood was partially enforced by this time, and the
Roman Church thereby gained a new power. It was now able to set up an
authority (with the help of France) nearly equal to that of the Empire.
These facts must be borne in mind as we advance; for the secret rivalry
which now began underlies all the subsequent history of Germany, until
it came to a climax in the Reformation of Luther.


Henry V. left all his estates and treasures to his nephew, Frederick of
Hohenstaufen, but not the crown jewels and insignia, which were to be
bestowed by the National Diet upon his successor. Frederick, and his
brother Konrad, Duke of Franconia, were the natural heirs to the crown;
but, as the Hohenstaufen family had stood faithfully by Henry IV. and V.
in their conflicts with the Pope, it was unpopular with the priests and
reigning princes. At the Diet, the Archbishop of Mayence nominated
Lothar of Saxony, who was chosen after a very stormy session. His first
acts were to beg the Pope to confirm his election, and then to give up
his right to have the Bishops and abbots appointed in his presence. He
next demanded of Frederick of Hohenstaufen the royal estates which the
latter had inherited from Henry V. Being defeated in the war which
followed, he strengthened his party by marrying his only daughter,
Gertrude, to Henry the Proud, Duke of Bavaria (grandson of Duke Welf,
Henry IV.'s friend, whence this family was called the _Welfs_--Guelphs).
By this marriage Henry the Proud became also Duke of Saxony; but a part
of the Dukedom, called the North-mark, was separated and given to a
Saxon noble, a friend of Lothar, named Albert the Bear.

Lothar was called to Italy in 1132 by Innocent II., one of two Popes,
who, in consequence of a division in the college of Cardinals, had been
chosen at the same time. He was crowned Emperor in the Lateran, in June,
1133, while the other Pope Anaclete II. was reigning in the Vatican. He
acquired the territory of the Countess Matilda of Tuscany, but only on
condition of paying 400 pounds of silver annually to the Church. The
former state of affairs was thus suddenly reversed: the Emperor
acknowledged himself a dependent of the _temporal_ Papal power. When he
returned to Germany, the same year, Lothar succeeded in subduing the
resistance of the Hohenstaufens, and then bound the reigning princes of
Germany, by oath, to keep peace for the term of twelve years.

[Sidenote: 1137.]

This truce enabled him to return to Italy for the purpose of assisting
Pope Innocent, who had been expelled from Rome. The rival of the latter,
Anaclete II., was supported by the Norman king, Roger II. of Sicily,
who, in the summer of 1137, was driven out of Southern Italy by Lothar's
army. But quarrels broke out with the Pisans, who were his allies, and
with Pope Innocent, for whose cause he was fighting, and he finally set
out for Germany, without even visiting Rome. At Trient, in the Tyrol, he
was seized with a mortal sickness, and died on the Brenner pass of the
Alps, in a shepherd's hut. His body was taken to Saxony and buried in
the chapel of a monastery which he had founded there.

A National Diet was called to meet in May, 1138, and elect a successor.
Lothar's son-in-law, Henry the Proud, Duke of Bavaria, Saxony and
Tuscany (which latter the Emperor had transferred also to him), seemed
to have the greatest right to the throne; but he was already so
important that the jealousy of the other reigning princes was excited
against him. Their policy was, to choose a weak rather than a strong
ruler,--one who would not interfere with their authority in their own
lands. Konrad of Hohenstaufen took advantage of this jealousy; he
courted the favor of the princes and the bishops, and was chosen and
crowned by the latter, three months before the time fixed for the
meeting of the Diet. The movement, though in violation of all law,
succeeded perfectly: a new Diet was called, for form's sake, and all the
German princes, except Henry the Proud, acquiesced in Konrad's election.

In order to maintain his place, the new king was compelled to break the
power of his rival. He therefore declared that Henry the Proud should
not be allowed to govern two lands at the same time, and gave all Saxony
to Albert the Bear. When Henry rose in resistance, Konrad proclaimed
that he had forfeited Bavaria, which he gave to Leopold of Austria. In
this emergency, Henry the Proud called upon the Saxons to help him, and
had raised a considerable force when he suddenly died, towards the end
of the year 1139. His brother, Welf, continued the struggle in Bavaria,
in the interest of his young son, Henry, afterwards called "the Lion."
He attempted to raise the siege of the town of Weinsberg, which was
beleaguered by Konrad's army, but failed. The tradition relates that
when the town was forced to surrender, the women sent a deputation to
Konrad, begging to be allowed to leave with such goods as they could
carry on their backs. When this was granted and the gates were opened,
they came out, carrying their husbands, sons or brothers as their
dearest possessions. The fame of this deed of the women of Weinsberg has
gone all over the world.

[Sidenote: 1140. GUELPH AND GHIBELLINE.]

In this struggle, for the first time, the names of _Welf_ and
_Waiblinger_ (from the little town of Waiblingen, in Würtemberg, which
belonged to the Hohenstaufens) were first used as party cries in battle.
In the Italian language they became "Guelph" and "Ghibelline," and for
hundreds of years they retained a far more intense and powerful
significance than the names "Whig" and "Tory" in England. The term
_Welf_ (Guelph) very soon came to mean the party of the Pope, and
_Waiblinger_ (Ghibelline) that of the German Emperor. The end of this
first conflict was, that in 1142, young Henry the Lion (great-grandson
of Duke Welf of Bavaria) was allowed to be Duke of Saxony. From him
descended the later Dukes of Brunswick and Hannover, who retained the
family name of Welf, or Guelph, which, through George I., is also that
of the royal family of England at this day. Albert the Bear was obliged
to be satisfied with the North-mark, which was extended to the eastward
of the Elbe and made an independent principality. He called himself
Markgraf (Border Count) of Brandenburg, and thus laid the basis of a new
State, which, in the course of centuries developed into Prussia.

About this time the Christian monarchy in Jerusalem began to be
threatened with overthrow by the Saracens, and the Pope, Eugene III.,
responded to the appeals for help from the Holy Land, by calling for a
Second Crusade. He not only promised forgiveness of all sins, but
released the volunteers from payment of their debts and whatever
obligations they might have contracted under oath. France was the first
to answer the call: then Bernard of Clairvaux (St. Bernard, in the Roman
Church) visited Germany and made passionate appeals to the people. The
first effect of his speeches was the plunder and murder of the Jews in
the cities along the Rhine; then the slow German blood was roused to
enthusiasm for the rescue of the Holy Land, and the impulse became so
great that king Konrad was compelled to join in the movement. His
nephew, the red-bearded Frederick of Suabia, also put the cross on his
mantle: nearly all the German princes and people, except the Saxons,
followed the example.

[Sidenote: 1147.]

In May, 1147, the Crusaders assembled at Ratisbon. There were present
70,000 horsemen in armor, without counting the foot-soldiers and
followers. All the robber-bands and notorious criminals of Germany
joined the army for the sake of the full and free pardon offered by the
Pope. Konrad led the march down the Danube, through Austria and Thrace,
to Constantinople. Louis VII., king of France, followed him, with a
nearly equal force, leaving the German States through which he passed in
a famished condition. The two armies, united at Constantinople, advanced
through Asia Minor, but were so reduced by battles, disease and
hardships on the way, that the few who reached Palestine were too weak
to reconquer the ground lost by the king of Jerusalem. Only a band of
Flemish and English Crusaders, who set out by sea, succeeded in taking
Lisbon from the Saracens.

During the year 1149 the German princes returned from the East with
their few surviving followers. The loss of so many robbers and
robber-knights was, nevertheless, a great gain to the country: the
people enjoyed more peace and security than they had known for a long
time. Duke Welf of Bavaria (brother of Henry the Proud) was the first to
reach Germany: Konrad, fearing that he would make trouble, sent after
him the young Duke of Suabia, Frederick Red-Beard (Barbarossa) of
Hohenstaufen. It was not long, in fact, before the war-cries of
"Guelph!" and "Ghibelline!" were again heard; but Welf, as well as his
nephew, Henry the Lion, of Saxony, was defeated. During the Crusade, the
latter had carried on a war against the Wends and other Slavonic tribes
in Prussia, the chief result of which was the foundation of the city of

[Sidenote: 1152. KONRAD'S DEATH.]

King Konrad now determined to pay his delayed visit to Rome, and be
crowned Emperor. Immediately after his return from the East, he had
received a pressing invitation from the Roman Senate to come, to
recognize the new order of things in the ancient city, and make it the
permanent capital of the united German and Italian Empire. Arnold of
Brescia, who for years had been advocating the separation of the Papacy
from all temporal power, and the re-establishment of the Roman Church
upon the democratic basis of the early Christian Church, had compelled
the Pope, Eugene III., to accept his doctrine. Rome was practically a
Republic, and Arnold's reform, although fiercely opposed by the Bishops,
abbots and all priests holding civil power, made more and more headway
among the people. At a National Diet, held at Würzburg in 1151, it was
decided that Konrad should go to Rome, and the Pope was officially
informed of his intention. But before the preparations for the journey
were completed, Konrad died, in February, 1152, at Bamberg. He was
buried there in the Cathedral built by Henry II.




Frederick I., Barbarossa. --His Character. --His First Acts. --Visit to
    Italy. --Coronation and Humiliation. --He is driven back to
    Germany. --Restores Order. --Henry the Lion and Albert the Bear.
    --Barbarossa's Second Visit to Italy. --He conquers Milan. --Roman
    Laws revived. --Destruction of Milan. --Third and Fourth Visits to
    Italy. --Troubles with the Popes. --Barbarossa and Henry the Lion.
    --The Defeat at Legnano. --Reconciliation with Alexander III.
    --Henry the Lion banished. --Tournament at Mayence. --Barbarossa's
    Sixth Visit to Italy. --Crusade for the Recovery of Jerusalem.
    --March through Asia Minor. --Barbarossa's Death. --His Fame among
    the German People. --His Son, Henry VI., Emperor. --Richard of the
    Lion-Heart Imprisoned. --Last Days of Henry the Lion. --Henry VI.'s
    Deeds and Designs. --His Death.

[Sidenote: 1152.]

Konrad left only an infant son at his death, and the German princes, who
were learning a little wisdom by this time, determined not to renew the
unfortunate experiences of Henry IV.'s minority. The next heir to the
throne was Frederick of Suabia, who was now thirty-one years old,
handsome, popular, and already renowned as a warrior. He was elected
immediately, without opposition, and solemnly crowned at
Aix-la-Chapelle. When he made his "royal ride" through Germany,
according to custom, the people hailed him with acclamations, hoping for
peace and a settled authority after so many civil wars. His mother was a
Welf princess, whence there seemed a possibility of terminating the
rivalry between Welf and Waiblinger, in his election. The Italians
always called him "Barbarossa," on account of his red beard, and by this
name he is best known in history.

Since the accession of Otto the Great, no German monarch had been
crowned under such favorable auspices, and none had possessed so many of
the qualities of a great ruler. He was shrewd, clear-sighted,
intelligent, and of an iron will: he enjoyed the exercise of power, and
the aim of his life was to extend and secure it. On the other hand he
was despotic, merciless in his revenge, and sometimes led by the
violence of his passions to commit deeds which darkened his name and
interfered with his plans of empire.


Frederick first assured to the German princes the rights which they
already possessed as the rulers of States, coupled with the declaration
that he meant to exact the full and strict performance of their duties
to him, as King. On his first royal journey, he arbitrated between Swen
and Canute, rival claimants to the throne of Denmark, conferred on the
Duke of Bohemia the title of king, and took measures to settle the
quarrel between Henry the Lion of Saxony, and Henry of Austria, for the
possession of Bavaria. In all these matters he showed the will, the
decision and the imposing personal bearing of one who felt that he was
born to rule; and had he remained in Germany, he might have consolidated
the States into one Nation. But the phantom of a Roman Empire beckoned
him to Italy. The invitation held out to Konrad was not renewed, for
Pope Eugene III. was dead, and his successor, Adrian IV. (an Englishman,
by the name of Breakspeare), rejected Arnold of Brescia's doctrines. It
was in Frederick's power to secure the success of either side; but his
first aim was the Imperial crown, and he could only gain it without
delay by assisting the Pope.

In 1154 Frederick, accompanied by Henry the Lion and many other princes,
and a large army, crossed the Brenner Pass, in the Tyrol, and descended
into Italy. According to old custom, the first camp was pitched on the
Roncalian fields, near Piacenza, and the royal shield was set up as a
sign that the chief ruler was present and ready to act as judge in all
political troubles. Many complaints were brought to him against the City
of Milan, which had become a haughty and despotic Republic, and began to
oppress Lodi, Como, and other neighboring cities. Frederick saw plainly
the trouble which this independent movement in Lombardy would give to
him or his successors; but after losing two months and many troops in
besieging and destroying Tortona, one of the towns friendly to Milan, he
was not strong enough to attack the latter city: so, having been crowned
King of Lombardy at Pavia, he marched, in 1155, towards Rome.

[Sidenote: 1154.]

At Viterbo he met Pope Adrian IV., and negotiations commenced in regard
to his coronation as Emperor, which, it seems, was not to be had for
nothing. Adrian's first demand was the suppression of the Roman
Republic, which had driven him from the city. Frederick answered by
capturing Arnold of Brescia, who was then in Tuscany, and delivering him
into the Pope's hands. The latter then demanded that Frederick should
hold his stirrup when he mounted his mule. This humiliation, second only
to that which Henry IV. endured at Canossa, was accepted by the proud
Hohenstaufen in his ambitious haste to be crowned; but even then Rome
had to be first taken from the Republicans. By some means an entrance
was forced into that part of the city on the right bank of the Tiber;
Frederick was crowned in all haste and immediately retreated, but not
before he and his escort were furiously attacked in the streets by the
Roman people. Henry the Lion, by his bravery and presence of mind, saved
the new Emperor from being slain. The same night, Arnold of Brescia was
burned to death by the Pope's order. (Since 1870, his bust has been
placed upon the Pincian Hill, in Rome, among those of the other great
men who gave their lives for Italian freedom.)

The news of the Pope's barbarous revenge drove the Romans to madness.
They rushed forth by thousands, threw themselves upon the Emperor's
camp, and fought until the next night with such desperation that
Frederick deemed it prudent to retreat to Tivoli. The heats of summer
and the fevers they brought soon compelled him to leave for Germany; the
glory of his coming was already exhausted. He fought his way through
Spoleto; Verona shut its gates upon him, and one robber-castle in the
Alps held the whole army at bay, until it was taken by Otto of
Wittelsbach. The unnatural composition of the later "Roman Empire" was
again demonstrated. If, during the four centuries which had elapsed
since Charlemagne's accession to power, the German rule was the curse of
Italy, Italy (or the fancied necessity of ruling Italy) was no less a
curse to Germany. The strength of the German people, for hundreds of
years, was exhausted in endeavoring to keep up a high-sounding
sovereignty, which they could not truly possess, and--in the best
interests of the two countries--_ought not_ to have possessed.

On returning to Germany, Frederick found enough to do. He restored the
internal peace and security of the country with a strong hand, executing
the robber-knights, tearing down their castles, and even obliging
fourteen reigning princes, among whom was the Archbishop of Mayence, to
undergo what was considered the shameful punishment of carrying dogs in
their arms before the Imperial palace. By his second marriage with
Beatrix, Princess of Burgundy, he established anew the German authority
over that large and rich kingdom; while, at a diet held in 1156, he gave
Bavaria to Henry the Lion, and pacified Henry of Austria by making his
territory an independent Dukedom. This was the second phase in the
growth of Austria.


Henry the Lion, however, was more a Saxon than a Bavarian. Although he
first raised Munich from an insignificant cluster of peasants' huts to
the dignity of a city, his energies were chiefly directed towards
extending his sway from the Elbe eastward, along the Baltic. He
conquered Mecklenburg and colonized the country with Saxons, made Lübeck
an important commercial center, and slowly Germanized the former
territory of the Wends. Albert the Bear, Count of Brandenburg, followed
a similar policy, and both were encouraged by the Emperor, who was quite
willing to see his own sway thus extended. A rhyme current among the
common people, at the time, says:

    "Henry the Lion and Albert the Bear,
    Thereto Frederick with the red hair,
    Three Lords are they,
    Who could change the world to their way."

The grand imperial character of Frederick, rather than what he had
actually accomplished, had already given him a great reputation
throughout Europe. Pope Adrian IV. endeavored to imitate Gregory VII.'s
language to Henry IV. in treating with him, but soon found that he was
deserted by the German Bishops, and thought it prudent to apologize. His
manner, nevertheless, and the increasing independence of Milan, called
Frederick across the Alps with an army of 100,000 men, in 1158. Milan,
then surrounded with strong walls, nine miles in circuit, was besieged,
and, at the end of a month, forced to surrender, to rebuild Lodi, and
pay a fine of 9,000 pounds of silver. Afterwards the Emperor pitched his
camp on the Roncalian fields, with a splendor before unknown.
Ambassadors from England, France, Hungary and Constantinople were
present, and the Imperial power, almost for the first time, was thus
recognized as the first in the civilized world.

Frederick used this opportunity to revive the old Roman laws, or at
least, to have a code of laws drawn up, which should define his rights
and those of the reigning princes under him. Four doctors of the
University of Bologna were selected, who discovered so many ancient
imperial rights which had fallen into disuse that the Emperor's treasury
was enriched to the amount of 30,000 pounds of silver annually, by their
enforcement. When this system came to be practically applied, Milan and
other Lombard cities which claimed the right to elect their own
magistrates, and would have lost it under the new order of things,
determined to resist. A war ensued: the little city of Crema was first
besieged, and, after a gallant defence of seven months, taken and razed
to the ground.

[Sidenote: 1162.]

Now came the turn of Milan. In the meantime the Pope, Adrian IV., had
died, after threatening the Emperor with excommunication. The college of
cardinals was divided, each party electing its own Pope. Of these,
Victor IV. was recognized by Frederick, who claimed the right to decide
between them, while most of the Italian cities, with France and England,
were in favor of Alexander III. The latter immediately excommunicated
the Emperor, who, without paying any regard to the act, prepared to take
his revenge on Milan. In March, 1162, after a long siege, he forced the
city to surrender: the magistrates appeared before him in sackcloth,
barefoot, with ashes upon their heads and ropes around their necks, and
begged him, with tears, to be merciful; but there was no mercy in his
heart. He gave the inhabitants eight days to leave the city, then
levelled it completely to the earth, and sowed salt upon the ruins as a
token that it should never be rebuilt. The rival cities of Pavia, Lodi
and Como rejoiced over this barbarity, and all the towns of northern
Italy hastened to submit to all the Emperor's claims, even that they
should be governed by magistrates of his appointment.

In spite of this apparent submission, he had no sooner returned to
Germany than the cities of Lombardy began to form a union against him.
They were instigated, and secretly assisted, by Venice, which was
already growing powerful through her independence. The Pope whom
Frederick had supported, was also dead, and he determined to set up a
new one instead of recognizing Alexander III. He went to Italy with a
small escort, in 1163, but was compelled to go back without
accomplishing anything but a second destruction of Tortona, which had
been rebuilt. In Germany new disturbances had broken out, but his
personal influence was so great that he subdued them temporarily: he
also prevailed upon the German bishops to recognize Paschalis III., the
Pope whom he had appointed. He then set about raising a new army, and
finally, in 1166, made his _fourth_ journey to Italy.

[Sidenote: 1166. FOURTH JOURNEY TO ITALY.]

This was even more unfortunate than the third journey had been. The
Lombard cities, feeling strong through their union, had not only rebuilt
Milan and Tortona, but had constructed a new fortified town, which they
named, after the Pope, Alessandria. Frederick did not dare to attack
them, but marched on to Ancona, which he besieged for seven months,
finally accepting a ransom instead of surrender. He then took that part
of Rome west of the Tiber, and installed his Pope in the Vatican. Soon
afterward, in the summer of 1167, a terrible pestilence broke out, which
carried off thousands of his best soldiers in a few weeks. His army was
so reduced by death, that he stole through Lombardy almost as a
fugitive, remained hidden among the Alps for months, and finally crossed
Mont Cenis with only thirty followers, himself disguised as a common

Having reached Germany in safety, Frederick's personal influence at once
gave him the power and popularity which he had forever lost in Italy. He
found Henry the Lion, who in addition to Bavaria now governed nearly all
the territory from the Rhine to the Vistula, north of the Hartz
Mountains, at enmity with Albert the Bear and a number of smaller
reigning princes. As Emperor, he settled the questions in dispute,
deciding in favor of Henry the Lion, although the increasing power of
the latter excited his apprehensions. Henry was too cautious to make the
Emperor his enemy, but in order to avoid another march to Italy, he set
out upon a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Frederick, however, did not succeed
in raising a fresh army to revenge his disgrace until 1174, when he made
his _fifth_ journey to Italy. He first besieged the new city of
Alessandria, but in vain; then, driven to desperation by his failure, he
called for help upon Henry the Lion, who had now returned from the Holy
Land. The two met at Chiavenna, in the Italian Alps; but Henry
steadfastly refused to aid the Emperor, although the latter conquered
his own pride so far as to kneel before him.

[Sidenote: 1177.]

Bitterly disappointed and humiliated, Frederick appealed to all the
German States for aid, but did not receive fresh troops until the spring
of 1176. He then marched upon Milan, but was met by the united forces of
Lombardy at Legnano, near Como. The latter fought with such desperation
that the Imperial army was completely routed, and its camp equipage and
stores taken, with many thousands of prisoners, who were treated with
the same barbarity which the Emperor himself had introduced anew into
warfare. He fell from his horse during the fight, and had been for some
days reported to be dead, when he suddenly appeared before the Empress
Beatrix, at Pavia, having escaped in disguise.

His military strength was now so broken that he was compelled to seek a
reconciliation with Pope Alexander III. Envoys went back and forth
between the two, the Lombard cities and the king of Sicily; conferences
were held at various places, but months passed and no agreement was
reached. Then the Pope, having received Frederick's submission to all
his demands, proposed an armistice, which was solemnly concluded in
Venice, in August, 1177. There the Emperor was released from the Papal
excommunication; he sank at Alexander's feet, but the latter caught and
lifted him in his arms, and there was once more peace between the two
rival powers. The other Pope, whose claims Frederick had supported up to
that time, was left to shift for himself. Before the armistice ceased,
in 1183, a treaty was concluded at Constance, by which the Italian
cities recognized the Emperor as chief ruler, but secured for themselves
the right of independent government. Thus twenty years had been wasted,
the best blood of Germany squandered, the worst barbarities of war
renewed, and Frederick, after enduring shame and humiliation, had not
attained one of his haughty personal aims. Yet he was as proud in his
bearing as ever; his court lost none of its splendor, and his influence
over the German princes and people was undiminished.

He reached Germany again in 1178, full of wrath against Henry the Lion.
It was easy to find a pretext for proceeding against him, for the
Archbishop of Cologne, the Bishop of Halberstadt, and many nobles had
already made complaints. Henry, in fact, was much like Frederick in his
nature, but his despotic sternness and pride were more directly
exercised upon the people. He raised an army and boldly resisted the
Imperial power: again Westphalia, Thuringia and Saxony were wasted by
civil war, and the struggle was prolonged until 1181, when Henry was
forced to surrender unconditionally. He was banished to England for
three years: his Duchy of Bavaria was given to Otto of Wittelsbach; and
the greater part of Saxony, from the Rhine to the Baltic, was cut up and
divided among the reigning Bishops and smaller princes. Only the
province of Brunswick was left to Henry the Lion, of all his
possessions. This was Frederick's policy for diminishing the power of
the separate States: the more they were increased in number, the greater
would be the dependence of each on the Emperor.

[Sidenote: 1184. TOURNAMENT AT MAYENCE.]

The ruin of Henry the Lion fully restored Frederick's authority over all
Germany. In May, 1184, he gave a grand tournament and festival at
Mayence, which surpassed in pomp everything that had before been seen by
the people. The flower of knighthood, foreign as well as German, was
present: princes, bishops and lords, scholars and minstrels, 70,000
knights, and probably hundreds of thousands of the soldiers and common
people were gathered together. The Emperor, still handsome and towering
in manly strength, in spite of his sixty-three years, rode in the lists
with his five blooming sons, the eldest of whom, Henry, was already
crowned King of Germany, as his successor. For many years afterwards,
the wandering minstrels sang the glories of this festival, which they
compared to those given by the half-fabulous king Arthur.

Immediately afterwards, Frederick made his _sixth_ journey to Italy,
without an army, but accompanied by a magnificent retinue. The temporary
union of the cities against him was at an end, and their former
jealousies of each other had broken out more fiercely than ever; so
that, instead of meeting him in a hostile spirit, each endeavored to
gain his favor, to the damage of the others. It was easy for him to turn
this state of affairs to his own personal advantage. The Pope, now Urban
III., endeavored to make him give up Tuscany to the Church, and opposed
his design of marrying his son Henry to Constance, daughter of the king
of Sicily, since all Southern Italy would thus fall to the Hohenstaufen
family. Another excommunication was threatened, and would probably have
been hurled upon the Emperor's head, if the Pope had not died before
pronouncing it. The marriage of Henry and Constance took place in 1186.

[Sidenote: 1190.]

The next year, all Europe was shaken by the news that Jerusalem had been
taken by Sultan Saladin. A call for a new Crusade was made from Rome,
and the Christian kings and people of Europe responded to it. Richard of
the Lion-Heart, of England; Philip Augustus of France; and first of all
Frederick Barbarossa, Roman Emperor, put the cross on their mantles, and
prepared to march to the Holy Land. Frederick left his son Henry behind
him, as king, but he was still suspicious of Henry the Lion, and
demanded that he should either join the Crusade or retire again to
England for three years longer. Henry the Lion chose the latter

The German Crusaders, numbering about 30,000, met at Ratisbon in May,
1189, and marched overland to Constantinople. Then they took the same
route through Asia Minor which had been followed by the second Crusade,
defeating the Sultan and taking the city of Iconium by the way, and
after threading the wild passes of the Taurus, reached the borders of
Syria. While on the march, the Emperor received the false message that
his son Henry was dead. The tears ran down his beard, no longer red, but
silver-white; then, turning to the army, he cried: "My son is dead, but
Christ lives! Forwards!" On the 10th of June, 1190, either while
attempting to ford, or bathing in the little river Calycadnus, not far
from Tarsus, he was drowned. The stream, fed by the melted snows of the
Taurus, was ice-cold, and one account states that he was not drowned,
but died in consequence of the sudden chill. A few of his followers
carried his body to Palestine, where it was placed in the Christian
church at Tyre. Notwithstanding the heroism of the English Richard at
Ascalon, the Crusade failed, since the German army was broken up after
Frederick's death, most of the knights returning directly home.

The most that can be said for Frederick Barbarossa as a ruler, is, that
no other Emperor before or after his time maintained so complete an
authority over the German princes. The influence of his personal
presence seems to have been very great: the Imperial power became
splendid and effective in his hands, and, although he did nothing to
improve the condition of the people, beyond establishing order and
security, they gradually came to consider him as the representative of a
grand _national_ idea. When he went away to the mysterious East, and
never returned, the most of them refused to believe that he was dead. By
degrees the legend took root among them that he slumbered in a vault
underneath the Kyffhäuser--one of his castles, on the summit of a
mountain, near the Hartz,--and would come forth at the appointed time,
to make Germany united and free. Nothing in his character, or in the
proud and selfish aims of his life, justifies this sentiment which the
people attached to his name; but the legend became a symbol of their
hopes and prayers, through centuries of oppression and desolating war,
and the name of "Barbarossa" is sacred to every patriotic heart in
Germany, even at this day.

[Sidenote: 1191. HENRY VI. EMPEROR.]

Henry the Lion hastened back to Germany at once, and attempted to regain
possession of Saxony. King Henry took the field against him, and the
interminable strife between Welf and Waiblinger was renewed for a time.
The king was twenty-five years old, tall and stately like his father,
but even more stern and despotic than he. He was impatient to proceed to
Italy, both to be crowned Emperor and to secure the Norman kingdom of
Sicily as his wife's inheritance: therefore, making a temporary truce
with Henry the Lion, he hastened to Rome and was there crowned as Henry
VI. in 1191. His attempt to conquer Naples, which was held by the Norman
prince, Tancred, completely failed, and a deadly pestilence in his army
compelled him to return to Germany before the close of the same year.

The fight with Henry the Lion was immediately renewed, and during the
whole of 1192 Northern Germany was ravaged worse than before. In
December of that year, King Richard of the Lion-Heart, returning home
overland from Palestine, was taken prisoner by Duke Leopold of Austria,
whom he had offended during the Crusade, and was delivered to the
Emperor. As king Richard was the brother-in-law of Henry the Lion, he
was held partly as a hostage, and partly for the purpose of gaining an
enormous ransom for his liberation. His mother came from England, and
the sum of 150,000 silver marks which the Emperor demanded was paid by
her exertions: still Richard was kept prisoner at Trifels, a lonely
castle among the Vosges mountains. The legend relates that his minstrel,
Blondel, discovered his place of imprisonment by singing the king's
favorite song under the windows of all the castles near the Rhine, until
the song was answered by the well-known voice from within. The German
princes, finally, felt that they were disgraced by the Emperor's
conduct, and they compelled him to liberate Richard, in February, 1194.

[Sidenote: 1197.]

The same year a reconciliation was effected with Henry the Lion. The
latter devoted himself to the improvement of the people of his little
state of Brunswick: he instituted reforms in their laws, encouraged
their education, collected books and works of art, and made himself so
honored and beloved before his death, in August, 1195, that he was
mourned as a benefactor by those who had once hated him as a tyrant. He
was sixty-six years old, three years younger than his rival, Barbarossa,
whom he fully equalled in energy and ability. Although defeated in his
struggle, he laid the basis of a better civil order, a higher and firmer
civilization, throughout the North of Germany.

Henry VI., enriched by king Richard's ransom, went to Italy, purchased
the assistance of Genoa and Pisa, and easily conquered the Sicilian
kingdom. He treated the family of Tancred (who was now dead) with
shocking barbarity, tortured and executed his enemies with a cruelty
worthy of Nero, and made himself heartily feared and hated. Then he
hastened back to Germany, to have the Imperial dignity made hereditary
in his family. Even here he was on the point of succeeding, in spite of
the strong opposition of the Saxon princes, when a Norman insurrection
recalled him to Sicily. He demanded the provinces of Macedonia and
Epirus from the Greek Emperor, encouraged the project of a new Crusade,
with the design of conquering Constantinople, and evidently dreamed of
making himself ruler of the whole Christian world, when death cut him
off, in 1197, in his thirty-second year. His widow, Constance of Sicily,
was left with a son, Frederick, then only three years old.




Rival Emperors in Germany. --Pope Innocent III. --Murder of Philip of
    Hohenstaufen. --Otto IV. becomes Emperor. --Frederick of
    Hohenstaufen goes to Germany. --His Character. --Decline of Otto's
    Power. --Frederick II. crowned Emperor. --Troubles with the Pope.
    --His Crusade to the Holy Land. --Frederick's Court at Palermo.
    --Henry, Count of Schwerin. --Gregory IX.'s Persecution of
    Heretics. --Meeting of Frederick II. and his son, King Henry. --The
    Emperor returns to Germany. --His Marriage with Isabella of
    England. --He leaves Germany for Italy. --War in Lombardy.
    --Conflict with Pope Gregory IX. --Capture of the Council. --Course
    of Pope Innocent III. --Wars in Germany and Italy. --Conspiracies
    against Frederick II. --His Misfortunes and Death. --The Character
    of his Reign. --His son, Konrad IV., succeeds. --William of Holland
    rival Emperor. --Death of Konrad IV. --End of William of Holland.
    --The Boy, Konradin. --Manfred, King of Naples. --Usurpation of
    Charles of Anjou. --Konradin goes to Italy. --His Defeat and
    Capture. --His Execution. --The Last of the Hohenstaufens.

[Sidenote: 1215. TWO EMPERORS ELECTED.]

A story was current among the German people, that, shortly before Henry
VI.'s death, the spirit of Theodoric the Great, in giant form on a black
war-steed, rode along the Rhine presaging trouble to the Empire. This
legend no doubt originated after the trouble came, and was simply a
poetical image of what had already happened. The German princes were
determined to have no child again, as their hereditary Emperor; but only
one son of Frederick Barbarossa still lived,--Philip of Suabia. The
bitter hostility between Welf and Waiblinger still existed, and although
Philip was chosen by a Diet held in Thuringia, the opposite party,
secretly assisted by the Pope and by Richard of the Lion-heart, of
England (who had certainly no reason to be friendly to the
Hohenstaufens!) met at Aix-la-Chapelle, and elected Otto, son of Henry
the Lion.

Just at this crisis, Innocent III. became Pope. He was as haughty,
inflexible and ambitious as Gregory VII., whom he took for his model:
under him, and with his sanction, the Inquisition, which linked the
Christian Church to barbarism, was established. So completely had the
relation of the two powers been changed by the humiliation of Henry IV.
and Barbarossa, that the Pope now claimed the right to decide between
the rival monarchs. Of course he gave his voice for Otto, and
excommunicated Philip. The effect of this policy, however, was to awaken
the jealousy of the German Bishops as well as the Princes,--even the
former found the Papal interference a little too arbitrary--and Philip,
instead of being injured, actually derived advantage from it. In the war
which followed, Otto lost so much ground that in 1207 he was obliged to
fly to England, where he was assisted by king John; but he would
probably have again failed, when an unexpected crime made him
successful. Philip was murdered in 1208, by Otto of Wittelsbach, Duke of
Bavaria, on account of some personal grievance.

[Sidenote: 1208.]

As he left no children, and Frederick, the son of Henry VI., was still a
boy of fourteen, Otto found no difficulty in persuading the German
princes to accept him as king. His first act was to proceed against
Philip's murderer and his accomplice, the Bishop of Bamberg. Both fled,
but Otto of Wittelsbach was overtaken near Ratisbon, and instantly
slain. In 1209, king Otto collected a magnificent retinue at Augsburg,
and set out for Italy, in order to be crowned Emperor at Rome. As the
enemy of the Hohenstaufens, he felt sure of a welcome; but Innocent
III., whom he met at Viterbo, required a great many special concessions
to the Papal power before he would consent to bestow the crown. Even
after the ceremony was over, he inhospitably hinted to the new Emperor,
Otto IV., that he should leave Rome as soon as possible. The gates of
the city were shut upon the latter, and his army was left without

The jurists of Bologna soon convinced Otto that some of his concessions
to the Pope were illegal, and need not be observed. He therefore took
possession of Tuscany, which he had agreed to surrender to the Pope, and
afterwards marched against Southern Italy, where the young Frederick of
Hohenstaufen was already acknowledged as king of Sicily. The latter had
been carefully educated under the guardianship of Innocent III., after
the death of Constance in 1198, and threatened to become a dangerous
rival for the Imperial crown. Otto's invasion so exasperated the Pope
that he excommunicated him, and called upon the German princes to
recognize Frederick in his stead. As Otto had never been personally
popular in Germany, the Waiblinger, or Hohenstaufen party, responded to
Innocent's proclamation. Suabia and Bavaria and the Archbishop of
Mayence pronounced for Frederick, while Saxony, Lorraine and the
northern Bishops remained true to Otto. The latter hastened back to
Germany in 1212, regained some of his lost ground, and attempted to
strengthen his cause by marrying Beatrix, the daughter of Philip. But
she died four days after the marriage, and in the meantime Frederick,
supplied with money by the Pope, had crossed the Alps.


The young king, who had been educated wholly in Sicily, and who all his
life was an Italian rather than a German, was now eighteen years old. He
resembled his grandfather, Frederick Barbarossa, in person, was perhaps
his equal in strength and decision of character, but far surpassed him
or any of his imperial predecessors in knowledge and refinement. He
spoke six languages with fluency; he was a poet and minstrel; he loved
the arts of peace no less than those of war, yet he was a statesman and
a leader of men. On his way to Germany, he found the Lombard cities,
except Pavia, so hostile to him that he was obliged to cross the Alps by
secret and dangerous paths, and when he finally reached the city of
Constance, with only sixty followers, Otto IV. was close at hand, with a
large army. But Constance opened its gates to the young Hohenstaufen:
Suabia, the home of his fathers, rose in his support, and the Emperor,
without even venturing a battle, retreated to Saxony.

[Sidenote: 1220.]

For nearly three years, the two rivals watched each other without
engaging in open hostilities. The stately bearing of Frederick, which he
inherited from Barbarossa, the charm and refinement of his manners, and
the generosity he exhibited towards all who were friendly to his claims,
gradually increased the number of his supporters. In 1215, Otto joined
King John of England and the Count of Flanders in a war against Philip
Augustus of France, and was so signally defeated that his influence in
Germany speedily came to an end. Lorraine and Holland declared for
Frederick, who was crowned in Aix-la-Chapelle with great pomp the same
year. Otto died near Brunswick, three years afterwards, poor and

Pope Innocent III. died in 1216, and Frederick appears to have
considered that the assistance which he had received from him was
_personal_ and not _Papal_; for he not only laid claim to the Tuscan
possessions, but neglected his promise to engage in a new Crusade for
the recovery of Jerusalem, and even attempted to control the choice of
Bishops. At the same time he took measures to secure the coronation of
his infant son, Henry, as his successor. His journey to Rome was made in
the year 1220. The new Pope, Honorius III., a man of a mild and yielding
nature, nevertheless only crowned him on condition that he would observe
the violated claims of the Church, and especially that he would strictly
suppress all heresy in the Empire. When he had been crowned Emperor as
Frederick II., he fixed himself in Southern Italy and Sicily for some
years, quite neglecting his German rule, but wisely improving the
condition of his favorite kingdom. He was signally successful in
controlling the Saracens, whose language he spoke, whom he converted
into subjects, and who afterwards became his best soldiers.

The Pope, however, became very impatient at the non-fulfilment of
Frederick's promises, and the latter was compelled, in 1226, to summon a
Diet of all the German and Italian princes to meet at Verona, in order
to make preparations for a new crusade. But the cities of Lombardy,
fearing that the army to be raised would be used against them, adopted
all possible measures against the meeting of the Diet, took possession
of the passes of the Adige, and prevented the Emperor's son, the young
king Henry of Germany, and his followers, from entering Italy. Angry and
humiliated, Frederick was compelled to return to Sicily. The next year,
1227, Honorius died, and the Cardinals elected as his successor Gregory
IX., a man more than eighty years old, but of a remarkably stubborn and
despotic nature. He immediately threatened the Emperor with
excommunication in case the crusade for the recovery of Jerusalem was
not at once undertaken, and the latter was compelled to obey. He hastily
collected an army and fleet, and departed from Naples, but returned at
the end of three days, alleging a serious illness as the cause of his
sudden change of plan.

[Sidenote: 1228. VISIT TO JERUSALEM.]

He was instantly excommunicated by Gregory IX., and he replied by a
proclamation addressed to all kings and princes,--a document breathing
defiance and hate against the Pope and his claims. Nevertheless, in
order to keep his word in regard to the Crusade, he went to the East
with a large force in 1228, and obtained, by a treaty with the Sultan of
Egypt, the possession of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and Mount
Carmel, for ten years. His second wife, the Empress Iolanthe, was the
daughter of Guy of Lusignan, the last king of Jerusalem; and therefore,
when Frederick visited the holy city, he claimed the right, as Guy's
heir, of setting the crown of Jerusalem upon his own head. The entire
Crusade, which was not marked by any deeds of arms, occupied only eight

Although he had fulfilled his agreement with Rome, the Pope declared
that a crusade undertaken by an excommunicated Emperor was a sin, and
did all he could to prevent Frederick's success in Palestine. But when
the latter returned to Italy, he found that the Roman people, a majority
of whom were on his side, had driven Gregory IX. from the city. It was
therefore comparatively easy for him to come to an agreement, whereby
the Pope released him from the ban, in return for being reinstated in
Rome. This was only a truce, however, not a lasting peace: between two
such imperious natures, peace was impossible. The agreement,
nevertheless, gave Frederick some years of quiet, which he employed in
regulating the affairs of his Southern-Italian kingdom. He abolished, as
far as possible, the feudal system introduced by the Normans, and laid
the foundation of a representative form of government. His Court at
Palermo became the resort of learned men and poets, where Arabic,
Provençal, Italian and German poetry was recited, where songs were sung,
where the fine arts were encouraged, and the rude and warlike pastimes
of former rulers gave way to the spirit of a purer civilization.
Although, as we have said, his nature was almost wholly Italian, no
Emperor after Charlemagne so fostered the growth of a German literature
as Frederick II.

But this constitutes his only real service to Germany. While he was
enjoying the peaceful and prosperous development of Naples and Sicily,
his great empire in the north was practically taking care of itself, for
the boy-king, Henry, governed chiefly by allowing the reigning bishops,
dukes and princes to do very much as they pleased. There was a season of
peace with France, Hungary and Poland, and Denmark, which was then the
only dangerous neighbor, was repelled without the Imperial assistance.
Frederick II., in his first rivalry with Otto, had shamefully purchased
Denmark's favor by giving up all the territory between the Elbe and the
Oder. But when Henry, Count of Schwerin, returned from a pilgrimage to
the Holy Land, and found the Danish king, Waldemar, in possession of his
territory, he organized a revolt in order to recover his rights, and
succeeded in taking Waldemar and his son prisoners. Frederick II. now
supported him, and the Pope as a matter of course supported Denmark. A
great battle was fought in Holstein, and the Danes were so signally
defeated that they were forced to give up all the German territory,
except the island of Rügen and a little strip of the Pomeranian coast,
beside paying 45,000 silver marks for the ransom of Waldemar and his

[Sidenote: 1230.]

About this time, in consequence of the demand of Pope Innocent III. that
all heresy should be treated as a crime and suppressed by force, a new
element of conflict with Rome was introduced into Germany. Among other
acts of violence, the Stedinger, a tribe of free farmers of Saxon blood,
who inhabited the low country near the mouth of the Weser, were
literally exterminated by order of the Archbishop of Bremen, to whom
they had refused the payment of tithes. In 1230, Gregory IX. wrote to
king Henry, urging him to crush out heresy in Germany: "Where is the
zeal of Moses, who destroyed 23,000 idolaters in one day? Where is the
zeal of Elijah, who slew 450 prophets with the sword, by the brook
Kishon? Against this evil the strongest means must be used: there is
need of steel and fire." Conrad of Marburg, a monk, who inflicted years
of physical and spiritual suffering upon Elizabeth, Countess of
Thuringia, in order to make a saint of her, was appointed Inquisitor for
Germany by Gregory, and for three years he tortured and burned at will.
His horrible cruelty at last provoked revenge: he was assassinated on
the highway near Marburg, and his death marks the end of the Inquisition
in Germany.

In 1232, Frederick II., in order that he might seem to fulfil his
neglected duties as German Emperor, summoned a general Diet to meet at
Ravenna, but it was prevented by the Lombard cities, as the Diet of
Verona had been prevented six years before. Befriended by Venice,
however, Frederick marched to Aquileia, and there met his son, king
Henry, after a separation of twelve years. Their respective ages were
thirty-seven and twenty-one: there was little personal sympathy or
affection between them, and they only came together to quarrel.
Frederick refused to sanction most of Henry's measures; he demanded,
among other things, that the latter should rebuild the strongholds of
the robber-knights of Hohenlohe, which had been razed to the ground.
This seemed to Henry an outrage as well as a humiliation, and he
returned home with rebellion in his heart. After proclaiming himself
independent king, he entered into an alliance with the cities of
Lombardy and even sought the aid of the Pope.


Early in 1235, after an absence of fifteen years, Frederick II. returned
to Germany. The revolt, which had seemed so threatening, fell to pieces
at his approach. He was again master of the Empire, without striking a
blow: Henry had no course but to surrender without conditions. He was
deposed, imprisoned, and finally sent with his family to Southern Italy,
where he died seven years afterwards. The same summer the Emperor, whose
wife, Iolanthe, had died some years before, was married at Worms to
Isabella, sister of king Henry III. of England. The ceremony was
attended with festivals of Oriental splendor; the attendants of the new
Empress were Saracens, and she was obliged to live after the manner of
Eastern women. Immense numbers of the nobles and people flocked to
Worms, and soon afterwards to Mayence, where a Diet was held. Here, for
the first time, the decrees of the Diet were publicly read in the German
language. Frederick also, as the head of the Waiblinger party, effected
a reconciliation with Otto of Brunswick, the head of the Welfs, whereby
the rivalry of a hundred years came to an end in Germany; but in Italy
the struggle between the Ghibellines and the Guelphs was continued long
after the Hohenstaufen line became extinct.

In the autumn of 1236, Frederick conquered and deposed Frederick the
Quarrelsome, Duke of Austria, and made Vienna a free Imperial city. A
Diet was held there, at which his second son, Konrad, then nine years
old, was accepted as king of Germany. This choice was confirmed by
another Diet, held the following year at Speyer. The Emperor now left
Germany, never to return. This brief visit, of a little more than a
year, was the only interruption in his thirty years of absence; but it
revived his great personal influence over princes and people, it was
marked by the full recognition of his authority, and it contributed, in
combination with his struggle against the power of Rome which followed,
to impress upon his reign a more splendid and successful character than
his acts deserved. Although the remainder of his history belongs to
Italy, it was not without importance for the later fortunes of Germany,
and must therefore be briefly stated.

[Sidenote: 1237.]

On returning to Italy, Frederick found himself involved in new
difficulties with the independent cities. He was supported by his
son-in-law, Ezzelin, and a large army from Naples and Sicily, composed
chiefly of Saracens. With this force he won such a victory at
Cortenuovo, that even Milan offered to yield, under hard conditions.
Then Frederick II. made the same mistake as his grandfather, Barbarossa,
in similar circumstances. He demanded a complete and unconditional
surrender, which so aroused the fear and excited the hate of the
Lombards, that they united in a new and desperate resistance, which he
was unable to crush. Gregory IX., who claimed for the Church the Island
of Sardinia, which Frederick had given as a kingdom to his son Enzio,
hurled a new excommunication against the Emperor, and the fiercest of
all the quarrels between the two powers now began to rage.

The Pope, in a proclamation, asserted of Frederick: "This pestilential
king declares that the world has been deceived by three impostors,
Moses, Mohammed and Christ, the two former of whom died honorably, but
the last shamefully, upon the cross." He further styled the Emperor,
"that beast of Revelations which came out of the sea, which now destroys
everything with its claws and iron teeth, and, assisted by the heretics,
arises against Christ, in order to drive his name out of the world."
Frederick, in an answer which was sent to all the kings and princes of
Christendom, wrote: "The Apostolic and Athanasian Creeds are mine; Moses
I consider a friend of God, and Mohammed an arch-impostor." He described
the Pope as "that horse in Revelations, from which, as it is written,
issued another horse, and he that sat upon him took away the peace of
the world, so that the living destroyed each other," and named him
further: "the second Balaam, the great dragon, yea, even the


Gregory IX. endeavored, but in vain, to set up a rival Emperor: the
Princes, and even the Archbishops, were opposed to him. Frederick, who
was not idle meanwhile, entered the States of the Church, took several
cities, and advanced towards Rome. Then the Pope offered to call
together a Council in Rome, to settle all matters in dispute. But those
who were summoned to attend were Frederick's enemies, whereupon he
issued a proclamation declaring the Council void, and warning the
bishops and priests against coming to it. The most of them, however, met
at Nice, in 1241, and embarked for Rome on a Genoese fleet of sixty
vessels; but Frederick's son, Enzio, intercepted them with a Pisan and
Sicilian fleet, captured one hundred cardinals, bishops and abbots, one
hundred civil deputies and four thousand men, and carried them to
Naples. The Council, therefore, could not be held, and Pope Gregory died
soon afterwards, almost a hundred years old.

After quarreling for nearly two years, the Cardinals finally elected a
new Pope, Innocent IV. He had been a friend of the Emperor, but the
latter exclaimed, on hearing of his election: "I fear that I have lost a
friend among the Cardinals, and found an enemy in the chair of St.
Peter: no Pope can be a Ghibelline!" His words were true. After
fruitless negotiations, Innocent IV. fled to Lyons, and there called
together a Council of the Church, which declared that Frederick had
forfeited his crowns and dignities, that he was cast out by God, and
should be thenceforth accursed. Frederick answered this declaration with
a bold statement of the corruptions of the clergy, and the dangers
arising from the temporal power of the Popes, which, he asserted, should
be suppressed for the sake of Christianity, the early purity of which
had been lost. King Louis IX. of France endeavored to bring about a
suspension of the struggle, which was now beginning to disturb all
Europe; but the Pope angrily refused.

In 1246, the latter persuaded Henry Raspe, Landgrave of Thuringia, to
claim the crown of Germany, and supported him with all the influence and
wealth of the Church. He was defeated and wounded in the first battle,
and soon afterwards died, leaving Frederick's son, Konrad, still king of
Germany. In Italy, the civil war raged with the greatest bitterness, and
with horrible barbarities on both sides. Frederick exhibited such
extraordinary courage and determination that his enemies, encouraged by
the Church, finally resorted to the basest means of overcoming him. A
plot formed for his assassination was discovered in time, and the
conspirators executed: then an attempt was made to poison him, in which
his chancellor and intimate friend, Peter de Vinea--his companion for
thirty years,--seems to have been implicated. At least he recommended a
certain physician, who brought to the Emperor a poisoned medicine.
Something in the man's manner excited Frederick's mistrust, and he
ordered him to swallow a part of the medicine. When the latter refused,
it was given to a condemned criminal, who immediately died. The
physician was executed and Peter de Vinea sent to prison, where he
committed suicide by dashing his head against the walls of his cell.

[Sidenote: 1249.]

In the same year, 1249, Frederick's favorite son, Enzio, king of
Sardinia, who even surpassed his father in personal beauty, in
accomplishments, in poetic talent and heroic courage, was taken prisoner
by the Bolognese. All the father's offers of ransom were rejected, all
his menaces defied: Enzio was condemned to perpetual imprisonment, and
languished twenty-two years in a dungeon, until liberated by death.
Frederick was almost broken-hearted, but his high courage never flagged.
He was encompassed by enemies, he scarcely knew whom to trust, yet he
did not yield the least of his claims. And fortune, at last, seemed
inclined to turn to his side: a new rival king, William of Holland, whom
the Pope had set up against him in Germany, failed to maintain himself:
the city of Piacenza, in Lombardy, espoused his cause: the Romans, tired
of Innocent IV.'s absence, began to talk of electing another Pope in his
stead: and even Innocent himself was growing unpopular in France. Then,
while he still defiantly faced the world, still had faith in his final
triumph, the body refused to support his fiery spirit. He died in the
arms of his youngest son, Manfred, on the 13th of December, 1250,
fifty-six years old. He was buried at Palermo; and when his tomb there
was opened, in the year 1783, his corpse was found to have scarcely
undergone any decay.

Frederick II. was unquestionably one of the greatest men who ever bore
the title of German (or Roman) Emperor; yet all the benefits his reign
conferred upon Germany were wholly of an indirect character, and were
more than balanced by the positive injury occasioned by his neglect.
There were strong contradictions in his nature, which make it difficult
to judge him fairly as a ruler. As a man of great learning and
intelligence, his ideas were liberal; as a monarch, he was violent and
despotic. He wore out his life, trying to crush the republican cities of
Italy; he was jealous of the growth of the free cities of Germany, yet
granted them a representation in the Diet; and in Sicily, where his sway
was undisputed, he was wise, just and tolerant. Representing in himself
the highest taste and refinement of his age, he was nevertheless as
rash, passionate and relentless as the monarchs of earlier and ruder
times. In his struggle with the Popes, he was far in advance of his age,
and herein, although unsuccessful, he was not subdued: in reality, he
was one of the most powerful forerunners of the Reformation. There are
few figures in European history so bright, so brave, so full of heroic
and romantic interest.

[Sidenote: 1250. KONRAD IV.'S REIGN.]

Frederick's son and successor, Konrad IV., inherited the hate and enmity
of Pope Innocent IV. The latter threatened with excommunication all who
should support Konrad, and forbade the priests to administer the
sacraments of the Church to his followers. The Papal proclamations were
so fierce that they incited the Bishop of Ratisbon to plot the king's
murder, in which he came very near being successful. William of Holland,
whom the people called "the Priests' King," was not supported by any of
the leading German princes, but the gold of Rome purchased him enough of
troops to meet Konrad in the field, and he was temporarily successful.
The hostility of the Pope seems scarcely to have affected Konrad's
position in Germany; but both rulers and people were growing indifferent
to the Imperial power, the seat of which had been so long transferred to
Italy. They therefore took little part in the struggle between William
and Konrad, and the latter's defeat was by no means a gain to the

The two rivals, in fact, were near their end. Konrad IV. went to Italy
and took possession of the kingdom of his father, which his
step-brother, Manfred, governed in his name. He made an earnest attempt
to be reconciled with the Pope, but Innocent IV. was implacable. He then
collected an army of 20,000 men, and was about to lead it to Germany
against William of Holland, when he suddenly died, in 1254, in the 27th
year of his age. It was generally believed that he had been poisoned.
William of Holland, since there was no one to dispute his claim,
obtained a partial recognition of his sovereignty in Germany; but,
having undertaken to subdue the free farmers in Friesland, he was
defeated. While attempting to escape, his heavy war-horse broke through
the ice, and the farmers surrounded and slew him. This was in 1256, two
years after Konrad's death. Innocent IV. had expended no less than
400,000 silver marks--a very large sum in those days--in supporting him
and Henry Raspe against the Hohenstaufens.

[Sidenote: 1256.]

Konrad IV. left behind him, in Suabia, a son Konrad, who was only two
years old at his father's death. In order to distinguish him from the
latter, the Italians gave him the name of _Conradino_ (Little Konrad),
and as Konradin he is known in German history. He was educated under the
charge of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, and his uncle Ludwig II., Duke of
Bavaria. When he was ten years old, the Archbishop of Mayence called a
Diet, at which it was agreed that he should be crowned King of Germany,
but the ceremony was prevented by the furious opposition of the Pope.
Konradin made such progress in his studies and exhibited so much
fondness for literature and the arts, that the followers of the
Hohenstaufens saw in him another Frederick II. One of his poems is still
in existence, and testifies to the grace and refinement of his youthful

After Konrad IV.'s death, the Pope claimed the kingdom of Naples and
Sicily as being forfeited to the Church, but found it prudent to allow
Manfred to govern in his name. The latter submitted at first, but only
until his authority was firmly established: then he declared war,
defeated the Papal troops, drove them back to Rome, and was crowned king
in 1258. The news of his success so agitated the Pope that he died
shortly afterwards. His successor, Urban IV., a Frenchman, who imitated
his policy, found Manfred too strongly established to be defeated
without foreign aid. He therefore offered the crown of Southern Italy to
Charles of Anjou, the brother of king Louis IX. of France. Physically
and intellectually, there could be no greater contrast than between him
and Manfred. Charles of Anjou was awkward and ugly, savage, ignorant and
bigoted: Manfred was a model of manly beauty, a scholar and poet, a
patron of learning, a builder of roads, bridges and harbors, a just and
noble ruler.

Charles of Anjou, after being crowned king of Naples and Sicily by the
Pope, and having secured secret advantages by bribery and intrigue,
marched against Manfred in 1266. They met at Benevento, where, after a
long and bloody battle, Manfred was slain, and the kingdom submitted to
the usurper. By the Pope's order, Manfred's body was taken from the
chapel where it had been buried, and thrown into a trench: his widow and
children were imprisoned for life by Charles of Anjou.

[Sidenote: 1268. KONRADIN IN ITALY.]

The boy Konradin determined to avenge his uncle's death, and recover his
own Italian inheritance. His mother sought to dissuade him from the
attempt, but Ludwig of Bavaria offered to support him, and his dearest
friend, Frederick of Baden, a youth of nineteen, insisted on sharing his
fortunes. Towards the end of 1267, he crossed the Alps and reached
Verona with a force of 10,000 men. Here he was obliged to wait three
months for further support, and during this time more than two-thirds of
his German soldiers returned home. But a reaction against the Guelphs
(the Papal party) had set in; several Lombard cities and the Republic of
Pisa declared in Konradin's favor, and finally the Romans, at his
approach, expelled Pope Urban IV. A revolt against Charles of Anjou
broke out in Naples and Sicily, and when Konradin entered Rome, in July,
1268, his success seemed almost assured. After a most enthusiastic
reception by the Roman people, he continued his march southward, with a
considerable force.

On the 22d of August he met Charles of Anjou in battle, and was at first
victorious. But his troops, having halted to plunder the enemy's camp,
were suddenly attacked, and at last completely routed. Konradin and his
friend, Frederick of Baden, fled to Rome, and thence to the little port
of Astura, on the coast, in order to embark for Sicily; but here they
were arrested by Frangipani, the Governor of the place, who had been
specially favored by the Emperor Frederick II., and now sold his
grandson to Charles of Anjou for a large sum of money. Konradin having
been carried to Naples, a court of distinguished jurists was called, to
try him for high treason. With one exception, they pronounced him
guiltless of any crime; yet Charles, nevertheless, ordered him to be

[Sidenote: 1268.]

On the 29th of October, 1268, the last Hohenstaufen, a youth of sixteen,
and his friend Frederick, were led to the scaffold. Charles watched the
scene from a window of his palace; the people, gloomy and mutinous, were
overawed by his guards. Konradin advanced to the edge of the platform
and threw his glove among the crowd, asking that it might be carried to
some one who would avenge his death. A knight who was present took it
afterwards to Peter of Aragon, who had married king Manfred's eldest
daughter. Then, with the exclamation: "Oh, mother, what sorrow I have
prepared for thee!" Konradin knelt and received the fatal blow. After
him Frederick of Baden and thirteen others were executed.

The tyranny and inhuman cruelty of Charles of Anjou provoked a
conspiracy which, in the year 1282, gave rise to the massacre called
"the Sicilian Vespers." In one night all the French officials and
soldiers in Sicily were slaughtered, and Peter of Aragon, the heir of
the Hohenstaufens, became king of the island. But in Germany the proud
race existed no more, except in history, legend and song.




Change in the Character of the German Empire. --Richard of Cornwall and
    Alphonso of Castile purchase their election. --The Interregnum.
    --Effect of the Crusades. --Heresy and Persecution. --The Orders of
    Knighthood. --Conquests of the German Order. --Rise of the Cities.
    --Robber-Knights. --The Hanseatic League. --Population and Power of
    the Cities. --Gothic Architecture. --The Universities. --Seven
    Classes of the People. --The small States. --Service of the
    Hohenstaufens to Germany. --Epic Poetry of the Middle Ages.
    --Historical writers.

[Sidenote: 1256. CHANGES IN GERMANY.]

The end of the Hohenstaufen dynasty marks an important phase in the
history of Germany. From this time the character of the Empire is
radically changed. Although still called "Roman" in official documents,
the term is henceforth an empty form, and even the word "Empire" loses
much of its former significance. The Italian Republics were now
practically independent, and the various dukedoms, bishoprics,
principalities and countships, into which Germany was divided, were fast
rendering it difficult to effect any unity of feeling or action among
the people. The Empire which Charlemagne designed, which Otto the Great
nearly established, and which Barbarossa might have founded, but for the
fatal ambition of governing Italy, had become impossible. Germany was,
in reality, a loose confederation of differently organized and governed
States, which continued to make use of the form of an Empire as a
convenience rather than a political necessity.

The events which followed the death of Konrad IV. illustrate the corrupt
condition of both Church and State at that time. The money which Pope
Innocent IV. so freely expended in favor of the anti-kings, Henry Raspe
and William of Holland, had already taught the Electors the advantage of
selling their votes: so, when William was slain by the farmers of
Friesland, and no German prince seemed to care much for the title of
Emperor (since each already had independent power over his own
territory), the high dignity so recently possessed by Frederick II., was
put up at auction. Two bidders made their appearance, Richard of
Cornwall, brother of Henry III. of England, and king Alphonso of
Castile, surnamed "the Wise." The Archbishop of Cologne was the business
agent of the former: he received 12,000 silver marks for himself, and
eight or nine thousand apiece for the Dukes of Bavaria, the Archbishop
of Mayence, and several other electors. The Archbishop of Treves, in the
name of king Alphonso, offered the king of Bohemia, the Dukes of Saxony
and the Margrave of Brandenburg 20,000 marks each. Of course both
purchasers were elected, and they were proclaimed kings of Germany
almost at the same time. Alphonso never even visited his realm: Richard
of Cornwall came to Aix-la-Chapelle, was formally crowned, and returned
now and then, whenever the produce of his tin-mines in Cornwall enabled
him to pay for an enthusiastic reception by the people. He never
attempted, however, to govern Germany, for he probably had intelligence
enough to see that any such attempt would be disregarded.

[Sidenote: 1256.]

This period was afterwards called by the people "the Evil Time when
there was no Emperor"--and, in spite of the two kings, who had fairly
paid for their titles, it is known in German history as "the
Interregnum." It was a period of change and confusion, when each prince
endeavored to become an absolute ruler, and the knights, in imitating
them, became robbers; when the free cities, encouraged by the example of
Italy, united in self-defence, and the masses of the people, although
ground to the dust, began to dream again of the rights which their
ancestors had possessed a thousand years before.

First of all, the great change wrought in Europe by the Crusades was
beginning to be felt by all classes of society. The attempt to retain
possession of Palestine, which lasted nearly two hundred years,--from
the march of the First Crusade in 1096 to the fall of Acre in
1291,--cost Europe, it is estimated, six millions of lives, and an
immense amount of treasure. The Roman Church favored the undertaking in
every possible way, since each Crusade instantly and greatly
strengthened its power; yet the result was the reverse of what the
Church hoped for, in the end. The bravery, intelligence and refined
manners of the Saracens made a great impression on the Christian
knights, and they soon began to imitate those whom they had at first
despised. New branches of learning, especially astronomy, mathematics
and medicine, were brought to Europe from the East; more luxurious
habits of life, giving rise to finer arts of industry, followed; and
commerce, compelled to supply the Crusaders and Christian colonists at
such a distance, was rapidly developed to an extent unknown since the
fall of the Roman Empire.


As men gained new ideas from these changes, they became more independent
in thought and speech. The priests and monks ceased to monopolize all
knowledge, and their despotism over the human mind met with resistance.
Then, first, the charge of "heresy" began to be heard; and although
during the thirteenth and a part of the fourteenth centuries the Pope of
Rome was undoubtedly the highest power in Europe, the influences were
already at work which afterwards separated the strongest races of the
world from the Roman Church. On the one hand, new orders of monks were
created, and monasteries increased everywhere: on the other hand,
independent Christian sects began to spring up, like the Albigenses in
France and the Waldenses in Savoy, and could not be wholly suppressed,
even with fire and sword.

The orders of knighthood which possessed a religious character, were
also established during the Crusades. First the Knights of St. John,
whose badge was a black mantle with a white cross, formed a society to
guard pilgrims to the Holy Land, and take care of the sick. Then
followed the Knights Templar, distinguished by a red cross on a white
mantle. Both these orders originated among the Italian chivalry, and
they included few German members. During the Third Crusade, however
(which was headed by Barbarossa), the German Order of Knights was
formed, chiefly by the aid of the merchants of Bremen and Lübeck. They
adopted the black cross on a white mantle as their badge, took the
monkish vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience, like the Templars and
the Knights of St. John, and devoted their lives to war with the
heathen. The second Grand-Master of this order, Hermann of Salza,
accompanied Frederick II. to Jerusalem, and his character was so highly
estimated by the latter that he made him a prince of the German Empire.

[Sidenote: 1256.]

Inasmuch as the German Order really owed its existence to the support
of the merchants of the Northern coast, Hermann of Salza sought for a
field of labor wherein the knights might fulfil their vows, and at the
same time achieve some advantage for their benefactors. As early as
1199, the Bremen merchants had founded Riga, taken possession of the
eastern shore of the Baltic and established German colonies there. The
native Finnish or Lithuanian inhabitants were either exterminated or
forcibly converted to Christianity, and an order, called "the Brothers
of the Sword," was established for the defence of the colonies. This new
German territory was separated from the rest of the Empire by the
country between the mouths of the Vistula and the Memel, claimed by
Poland, and inhabited by the Borussii, or _Prussians_, a tribe which
seems to have been of mixed Slavic and Lithuanian blood. Hermann of
Salza obtained from Poland the permission to possess this country for
the German Order, and he gradually conquered or converted the native
Prussians. In the meantime the Brothers of the Sword were so hard
pressed by a revolt of the Livonians that they united themselves with
the German Order, and thenceforth formed a branch of it. The result of
this union was that the whole coast of the Baltic, from Holstein to the
Gulf of Finland, was secured to Germany, and became civilized and

During the thirty-five years of Frederick II.'s reign and the seventeen
succeeding years of the Interregnum, Germany was in a condition which
allowed the strong to make themselves stronger, yet left the weaker
classes without any protection. The reigning Dukes and Archbishops were,
of course, satisfied with this state of affairs; the independent counts
and barons with large possessions maintained their power by temporary
alliances; the inferior nobles, left to themselves, became robbers of
land, and highwaymen. With the introduction of new arts and the wider
extension of commerce, the cities of Germany had risen in wealth and
power, and were beginning to develop an intelligent middle-class,
standing between the farmers, who had sunk almost into the condition of
serfs, and the lesser nobles, most of whom were equally poor and proud.
Upwards of sixty cities were free municipalities, belonging to the
Empire on the same terms as the dukedoms; that is, they contributed a
certain proportion of men and money, and were bound to obey the decrees
of the Imperial Diets.

[Sidenote: 1256. ROBBER-KNIGHTS.--CITIES.]

As soon, therefore, as there was no superior authority to maintain order
and security in the land, a large number of the knights became
freebooters, plundering and laying waste whenever opportunity offered,
attacking the caravans of travelling merchants, and accumulating the
ill-gotten wealth in their strong castles. Many an aristocratic family
of the present day owes its inheritance to that age of robbery and
murder. The people had few secured rights and no actual freedom in
Germany, with the exception of Friesland, some parts of Saxony and the
Alpine districts.

In this condition of things, the free cities soon found it advisable to
assist each other. Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck first formed a union,
chiefly for commercial purposes, in 1241, and this was the foundation of
the famous Hanseatic League. Immediately after the death of Konrad IV.,
Mayence, Speyer, Worms, Strasburg and Basel formed the "Union of Rhenish
Cities," for the preservation of peace and the mutual protection of
their citizens. Many other cities, and even a number of reigning princes
and bishops, soon became members of this league, which for a time
exercised considerable power. The principal German cities were then even
more important than now; few of them have gained in population or in
relative wealth in the course of 600 years. Cologne had then 120,000
inhabitants, Mayence 90,000, Worms 60,000, and Ratisbon on the Danube
upwards of 120,000. The cities of the Rhine had agencies in England and
other countries, carried on commerce on the high seas, and owned no less
than 600 armed vessels, with which they guarded the Rhine from the
land-pirates whose castles overlooked its course.

During this age of civil and religious despotism, the German cities
possessed and preserved the only free institutions to be found. They
owed this privilege to the heroic resistance of the republican cities of
Italy to the Hohenstaufens, which not only set them an example but
fought in their stead. Sure of the loyalty of the German cities, the
Emperors were not so jealous of their growth; but some of the rights
which they conferred were reluctantly given, and probably in return for
men or money during the wars in Italy. The decree which changed a
vassal, or dependent, into a free man after a year's residence in a
city, helped greatly to build up a strong and intelligent middle-class.
The merchants, professional men and higher artisans gradually formed a
patrician society, out of which the governing officers were selected,
while the mechanics, for greater protection, organized themselves into
separate guilds, or orders. Each of the latter was very watchful of the
character and reputation of its members, and thus exercised a strong
moral influence. The farmers, only, had no such protection: very few of
them were not dependent vassals of some nobleman or priest.

[Sidenote: 1260.]

The cities, in the thirteenth century, began to exhibit a stately
architectural character. The building of splendid cathedrals and
monasteries, which began two centuries before, now gave employment to
such a large number of architects and stone-cutters, that they formed a
free corporation, under the name of "Brother-builders," with especial
rights and privileges, all over Germany. Their labors were supported by
the power of the Church, the wealth of the merchants and the toil of the
vassals, and the masterpieces of Gothic architecture arose under their
hands. The grand Cathedrals of Strasburg, Freiburg and Cologne with many
others, yet remain as monuments of their genius and skill. But the
private dwellings, also, now began to display the wealth and taste of
their owners. They were usually built very high, with pointed gables
facing the street, and adorned with sculptured designs: frequently the
upper stories projected over the lower, forming a shelter for the open
shops in the first story. As the cities were walled for defence, the
space within the walls was too valuable to be given to wide squares and
streets: hence there was usually one open market-place, which also
served for all public ceremonies, and the streets were dark and narrow.

In spite of the prevailing power of the Roman Church, the Universities
now began to exercise some influence. Those of Bologna and Padua were
frequented by throngs of students, who attended the schools of law,
while the University of Salerno, under the patronage of Manfred, became
a distinguished school of medicine. The Arabic university of Cordova, in
Spain, also attracted many students from all the Christian lands of
Europe. Works on all branches of knowledge were greatly multiplied, so
that the copying of them became a new profession. For the first time,
there were written forms of law for the instruction of the people. In
the northern part of Germany appeared a work called "The Saxon's
Looking-Glass," which was soon accepted as a legal authority by the
people. But it was too liberal for the priests, and under their
influence another work, "The Suabian's Looking-Glass," was written and
circulated in Southern Germany. The former book declares that the
Emperor has his power from God; the latter that he has it from the Pope.
The Saxon is told that no man can justly hold another man as property,
and that the people were made vassals through force and wrong; the
Suabian is taught that obedience to rulers is his chief duty.

[Sidenote: 1260. CLASSES OF THE PEOPLE.]

From these two works, which are still in existence, we learn how
complicated was the political organization of Germany. The whole free
population was divided into seven classes, each having its own
privileges and rules of government. First, there was the Emperor;
secondly, the Spiritual Princes, as they were called (Archbishops,
reigning Bishops, &c.); thirdly, the Temporal Princes, some of whom were
partly or wholly "Vassals" of the Spiritual authority; and fourthly, the
Counts and Barons who possessed territory, either independently, or as
_Lehen_ of the second and third classes. These four classes constituted
the higher nobility, by whom the Emperor was chosen, and each of whom
had the right to be a candidate. Seven princes were specially entitled
"Electors," because the nomination of a candidate for Emperor came from
them. There were three Spiritual--the Archbishops of Mayence, Treves and
Cologne; and four Temporal--the Dukes of Bavaria and Saxony, the
Margrave of Brandenburg and the King of Bohemia.

The fifth class embraced the free citizens from among whom magistrates
were chosen, and who were allowed to possess certain privileges of the
nobles. The sixth and seventh classes were formed out of the remaining
freemen, according to their circumstances and occupations. The serfs and
dependents had no place in this system of government, so that a large
majority of the German people possessed no other recognized right than
that of being ruled and punished. In fact, the whole political system
was so complicated and unpractical that we can only wonder how Germany
endured it for centuries afterwards.

At the end of the Hohenstaufen dynasty there were one hundred and
sixteen priestly rulers, one hundred ruling dukes, princes, counts and
barons, and more than sixty independent cities in Germany. The larger
dukedoms had been cut up into smaller states, many of which exist,
either as states or provinces, at this day. Styria and Tyrol were
separated from Bavaria; the principalities of Westphalia, Anhalt,
Holstein, Jülich, Berg, Cleves, Pomerania and Mecklenburg were formed
out of Saxony; Suabia was divided into Würtemberg and Baden, the
Palatinate of the Rhine detached from Franconia and Hesse from
Thuringia. Each of the principal German races was distinguished by two
colors--the Franks red and white, the Suabians red and yellow, the
Bavarians blue and white, and the Saxons black and white. The Saxon
_black_, the Frank _red_, and the Suabian _gold_ were set together as
the Imperial colors.

[Sidenote: 1260.]

The chief service of the Hohenstaufens to Germany lay in their direct
and generous encouragement of art, learning and literature. They took up
the work commenced by Charlemagne and so disastrously thwarted by his
son Ludwig the Pious, and in the course of a hundred years they
developed what might be called a golden age of architecture and epic
poetry, so strongly does it contrast with the four centuries before and
the three succeeding it. The immediate connection between Germany and
Italy, where the most of Roman culture had survived and the higher forms
of civilization were first restored, was in this single respect a great
advantage to the former country. We cannot ascertain how many of the
nobler characteristics of knighthood, in that age, sprang from the
religious spirit which prompted the Crusades, and how many originated
from intercourse with the refined and high-spirited Saracens; both
elements, undoubtedly, tended to revive the almost forgotten love of
poetry in the German race.

[Sidenote: 1270. GERMAN EPIC POEMS.]

When the knights of Provence and Italy became as proud of their songs as
of their feats of arms; when minstrels accompanied the court of
Frederick II. and the Emperor himself wrote poems in rivalry with them;
when the Duke of Austria and the Landgrave Hermann of Thuringia invited
the best poets of the time to visit them and received them as
distinguished guests, and when wandering minstrels and story-tellers
repeated their works in a simpler form to the people everywhere, it was
not long before a new literature was created. Walter von der Vogelweide,
who accompanied Frederick II. to Jerusalem, wrote not only songs of love
and poems in praise of Nature, but satires against the Pope and the
priesthood. Godfrey of Strasburg produced an epic poem describing the
times of king Arthur of the Round Table, and Wolfram of Eschenbach, in
his "Parcival," celebrated the search for the Holy Grail; while inferior
poets related the histories of Alexander the Great, the Siege of Troy,
or Charlemagne's knight, Roland. Among the people arose the story of
Reynard the Fox, and a multitude of fables; and finally, during the
thirteenth century, was produced the celebrated _Nibelungenlied_, or
Song of the Nibelungen, wherein traditions of Siegfried of the
Netherlands, Theodoric the Ostrogoth and Attila with his Huns are mixed
together in a powerful story of love, rivalry and revenge. The most of
these poems are written in a Suabian dialect, which is now called the
"Middle (or Mediæval) High-German."

Among the historical writers were Bishop Otto of Friesing, whose
chronicles of the time are very valuable, and Saxo Grammaticus, in whose
history of Denmark Shakspeare found the material for his play of
_Hamlet_. Albertus Magnus, the Bishop of Ratisbon, was so distinguished
as a mathematician and man of science that the people believed him to be
a sorcerer. There was, in short, a general intellectual awakening
throughout Germany, and, although afterwards discouraged by many of the
276 smaller powers, it was favored by others and could not be
suppressed. Besides, greater changes were approaching. A hundred years
after Frederick II.'s death gunpowder was discovered, and the common
soldier became the equal of the knight. In another hundred years,
Gutenberg invented printing, and then followed, rapidly, the Discovery
of America and the Reformation.




Rudolf of Hapsburg. --His Election as Emperor. --Meeting with Pope
    Gregory X. --War with Ottokar II. of Bohemia. --Rudolf's Victories.
    --Diet of Augsburg. --Suppression of Robber-Knights. --Rudolf's
    Second Marriage. --His Death. --His Character and Habits. --Adolf
    of Nassau elected. --His Rapacity and Dishonesty. --Albert of
    Hapsburg Rival Emperor. --Adolf's Death. --Albert's Character.
    --Quarrel with Pope Bonifacius. --Albert's Plans. --Revolt of the
    Swiss Cantons. --John Parricida murders the Emperor. --The Popes
    remove to Avignon. --Henry of Luxemburg elected Emperor. --His
    Efforts to restore Peace. --His Welcome to Italy, and Coronation.
    --He is Poisoned. --Ludwig of Bavaria elected. --Battle of
    Morgarten. --Frederick of Austria captured. --The Papal
    "Interdict." --Conspiracy of Leopold of Austria. --Ludwig's Visit
    to Italy. --His Superstition and Cowardice. --His Efforts to be
    reconciled to the Pope. --Treachery of Philip VI. of France. --The
    Convention at Rense. --Alliance with England. --Ludwig's
    Unpopularity. --Karl of Bohemia Rival Emperor. --Ludwig's Death.
    --The German Cities.

[Sidenote: 1272.]

Richard of Cornwall died in 1272, and the German princes seemed to be in
no haste to elect a successor. The Pope, Gregory X., finally demanded an
election, for the greater convenience of having to deal with one head,
instead of a multitude; and the Archbishop of Mayence called a Diet
together at Frankfort, the following year. He proposed, as candidate,
Count Rudolf of Hapsburg (or Habsburg), a petty ruler in Switzerland,
who had also possessions in Alsatia. Up to his time the family had been
insignificant; but, as a zealous partisan of Frederick II. in whose
excommunication he had shared, as a crusader against the heathen
Prussians, and finally, in his maturer years, as a man of great
prudence, moderation and firmness, he had made the name of Hapsburg
generally and quite favorably known. His brother-in-law, Count Frederick
of Hohenzollern, the Burgrave, or Governor, of the city of Nuremburg
(and the founder of the present house of the Hohenzollerns), advocated
Rudolf's election among the members of the Diet. The chief
considerations in his favor were his personal character, his lack of
power, and the circumstance of his possessing six marriageable
daughters. There were also private stipulations which secured him the
support of the priesthood, and so he was elected King of Germany.

[Sidenote: 1273. RUDOLF OF HABSBURG.]

Rudolf was crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle. At the close of the ceremony it
was discovered that the Imperial sceptre was missing, whereupon he took
a crucifix from the altar, and held it forth to the princes, who came to
swear allegiance to his rule. He was at this time fifty-five years of
age, extremely tall and lank, with a haggard face and large aquiline
nose. Although he was always called "Emperor" by the people, he never
received, or even desired, the imperial Crown of Rome. He was in the
habit of saying that Rome was the den of the lion, into which led the
tracks of many other animals, but none were seen leading out of it

It was easy for him, therefore, to conclude a peace with the Pope. He
met Gregory X. at Lausanne, and there formally renounced all claim to
the rights held by the Hohenstaufens in Italy. He even recognized
Charles of Anjou as king of Sicily and Naples, and betrothed one of his
daughters to the latter's son. The Church of Rome received possession of
all the territory it had claimed in Central Italy, and the Lombard and
Tuscan republics were left for awhile undisturbed. He further promised
to undertake a new Crusade for the recovery of Jerusalem, and was then
solemnly recognized by Gregory X. as rightful king of Germany.

But, although Rudolf had so readily given up all for which the
Hohenstaufens had struggled in Italy, he at once claimed their estates
in Germany as belonging to the crown. This brought him into conflict
with Counts Ulric and Eberhard II. of Würtemberg, who were also allied
with king Ottokar II. of Bohemia in opposition to his authority. The
latter had obtained possession of Austria, through marriage, and of all
Styria and Carinthia to the Adriatic by purchase. He was ambitious and
defiant: some historians suppose that he hoped to make himself Emperor
of Germany, others that his object was to establish a powerful Slavonic
nation. Rudolf did not delay long in declaring him outlawed, and in
calling upon the other princes for an army to lead against him. The call
was received with indifference: no one feared the new Emperor, and hence
no one obeyed.

[Sidenote: 1278.]

Gathering together such troops as his son-in-law, Ludwig of the Bavarian
Palatinate, could furnish, Rudolf marched into Austria, after he had
restored order in Würtemberg. A revolt of the Austrian and Styrian
nobles against Bohemian rule followed this movement: the country was
gradually reconquered, and Vienna, after a siege of five weeks, fell
into Rudolf's hands. Ottokar II. then found it advisable to make peace
with the man whom he had styled "a poor Count," by giving up his claim
to Austria, Styria and Carinthia, and paying homage to the Emperor of
Germany. In October, 1276, the treaty was concluded. Ottokar appeared in
all the splendor he could command, and was received by Rudolf in a
costume not very different from that of a common soldier. "The Bohemian
king has often laughed at my gray coat," he said; "but now my coat shall
laugh at him." Ottokar was enraged at what he considered an insulting
humiliation, and secretly plotted revenge. For nearly two years he
intrigued with the States of Northern Germany and the Poles, collected a
large army under the pretext of conquering Hungary, and suddenly
declared war against Rudolf.

The Emperor was only supported by the Count of Tyrol, by Frederick of
Hohenzollern and a few bishops, but he procured the alliance of the
Hungarians, and then marched against Ottokar with a much inferior force.
Nevertheless, he was completely victorious in the battle which took
place, on the river March, in August, 1278. Ottokar was killed, and his
Saxon and Bavarian allies scattered. Rudolf used his victory with a
moderation which secured him new advantages. He married one of his
daughters to Wenzel, Ottokar's son, and allowed him the crown of Bohemia
and Moravia; he gave Carinthia to the Count of Tyrol, and Austria and
Styria to his own sons, Rudolf and Albert. Towards the other German
princes he was so conciliatory and forbearing that they found no cause
for further opposition. Thus the influence of the House of Hapsburg was
permanently founded, and--curiously enough, when we consider the later
history of Germany--chiefly by the help of the founder of the House of

[Sidenote: 1285. RUDOLF'S SUCCESSES.]

After spending five years in Austria, and securing the results of his
victory, Rudolf returned to the interior of Germany. A Diet held at
Augsburg in 1282 confirmed his sons in their new sovereignties, and his
authority as German Emperor was thenceforth never seriously opposed. He
exerted all his influence over the princes in endeavoring to settle the
numberless disputes which arose out of the law by which the territory
and rule of the father were divided among many sons,--or, in case there
were no direct heirs, which gave more than one relative an equal claim.
He proclaimed a National Peace, or cessation of quarrels between the
States, and thereby accomplished some good, although the order was only
partially obeyed. At a Diet which he held in Erfurt, he urged the
strongest measures for the suppression of knightly robbery. Sixty
castles of the noble highwaymen were razed to the ground, and more than
thirty of the titled vagabonds expiated their crimes on the scaffold. In
all the measures which he undertook for the general welfare of the
country he succeeded as far as was possible at such a time.

In his schemes of personal ambition, however, the Emperor was not so
successful. His attempt to make his eldest son Duke of Suabia failed
completely. Then in order to establish a right to Burgundy, he married,
at the age of sixty-six, the sister of Count Robert, a girl of only
fourteen. Although he gained some few advantages in Western Switzerland,
he was resisted by the city of Berne, and all he accomplished in the end
was the stirring up of a new hostility to Germany and a new friendship
for France throughout the whole of Burgundy. On the eastern frontier,
however, the Empire was enlarged by the voluntary annexation of Silesia
to Bohemia, in exchange for protection against the claims of Poland.

In 1290 Rudolf's eldest son, of the same name, died, and at a Diet held
in Frankfort the following year he endeavored to procure the election of
his son Albert, as his successor. A majority of the bishops and princes
decided to postpone the question, and Rudolf left the city, deeply
mortified. He soon afterwards fell ill, and, being warned by the
physician that his case was serious, he exclaimed: "Well, then, now for
Speyer!"--the old burial-place of the German Emperors. But before
reaching there he died, in July, 1291, aged seventy-three years.

[Sidenote: 1291.]

Rudolf of Hapsburg was very popular among the common people, on account
of his frank, straightforward manner, and the simplicity of his habits.
He was a complete master of his own passions, and in this respect
contrasted remarkably with the rash and impetuous Hohenstaufens. He
never showed impatience or irritation, but was always good-humored, full
of jests and shrewd sayings, and accessible to all classes. When
supplies were short, he would pull up a turnip, peel and eat it in the
presence of his soldiers, to show that he fared no better than they, he
would refuse a drink of water unless there was enough for all; and it is
related that once, on a cold day, he went into the shop of a baker in
Mayence to warm himself, and was greatly amused when the good housewife
insisted on turning him out as a suspicious character. Nevertheless, he
could not overcome the fascination which the Hohenstaufen name still
exercised over the people. The idea of Barbarossa's return had already
taken root among them, and more than one impostor, who claimed to be the
dead Emperor, found enough of followers to disturb Rudolf's reign.

An Imperial authority like that of Otto the Great or Barbarossa had not
been restored; yet Rudolf's death left the Empire in a more orderly
condition, and the many small rulers were more willing to continue the
forms of Government. But the Archbishop Gerard of Mayence, who had
bargained secretly with Count Adolf of Nassau, easily persuaded the
Electors that it was impolitic to preserve the power in one family, and
he thus secured their votes for Adolf, who was crowned shortly
afterwards. The latter was even poorer than Rudolf of Hapsburg had been,
but without either his wisdom or honesty. He was forced to part with so
many Imperial privileges to secure his election, that his first policy
seems to have been to secure money and estates for himself. He sold to
Visconti of Milan the Viceroyalty over Lombardy, which he claimed as
still being a German right, and received from Edward I. of England
£100,000 sterling as the price of his alliance in a war against Philip
IV. of France. Instead, however, of keeping his part of the bargain, he
used some of the money to purchase Thuringia of the Landgrave Albert,
who was carrying on an unnatural quarrel with his two sons, Frederick
and Dietzmann, and thus disposed of their inheritance. Albert (surnamed
the Degenerate) also disposed of the Countship of Meissen in the same
way, and when the people resisted the transfer, their lands were
terribly devastated by Adolf of Nassau. This course was a direct
interference with the rights of reigning families, a violation of the
law of inheritance, and it excited great hostility to Adolf's rule among
the other princes.

[Sidenote: 1298. ALBERT OF HABSBURG.]

The rapacity of the new Emperor, in fact, was the cause of his speedy
downfall. In order to secure the support of the Bishops, he had promised
them the tolls on vessels sailing up and down the Rhine, while the
abolition of the same tolls was promised to the free cities on that
river. The Archbishop of Mayence sent word to him that he had other
Emperors in his pocket, but Adolf paid little heed to his remonstrances.
Albert of Hapsburg, son of Rudolf, turned the general dissatisfaction to
his own advantage. He won his brother-in-law, Wenzel II. of Bohemia, to
his side, and purchased the alliance of Philip the Fair of France by
yielding to him the possession of portions of Burgundy and Flanders.
After private negotiations with the German princes, both spiritual and
temporal, the Archbishop of Mayence called a Diet together in that city,
in June, 1298. Adolf was declared to have forfeited the crown, and
Albert was elected in his stead by all the Electors except those of
Treves and Bavaria.

Within ten days after the election the rivals met in battle: both had
foreseen the struggle, and had made hasty preparations to meet it. Adolf
fought with desperation, even after being wounded, and finally came face
to face with Albert, on the field. "Here you must yield the Empire to
me!" he cried, drawing his sword. "That rests with God," was Albert's
answer, and he struck Adolf dead. After this victory, the German princes
nevertheless required that Albert should be again elected before being
crowned, since they feared that this precedent of choosing a rival
monarch might lead to trouble in the future.

Albert of Hapsburg was a hard, cold man, with all of his father's will
and energy, yet without his moderation and shrewdness. He was haughty
and repellent in his manner, and from first to last made no friends. He
was one-eyed, on account of a singular cure which had been practised
upon him. Having become very ill, his physicians suspected that he was
poisoned: they thereupon hung him up by the heels, and took one eye out
of its socket, so that the poison might thus escape from his head! The
single aim of his life was to increase the Imperial power and secure it
to his own family. Whether his measures conduced to the welfare of
Germany, or not, was a question which he did not consider, and
therefore whatever good he accomplished was simply accidental.

[Sidenote: 1307.]

Although Albert had agreed to yield many privileges to the Church, the
Pope, Bonifacius VIII., refused to acknowledge him as king of Germany,
declaring that the election was null and void. But the same Pope, by his
haughty assumptions of authority over all monarchs, had drawn upon
himself the enmity of Philip the Fair, of France, and Albert made a new
alliance with the latter. He also obtained the support of the cities, on
promising to abolish the Rhine-dues, and with their help completely
subdued the Archbishops, who claimed the dues and refused to give them
up. This was a great advantage, not only for the Rhine-cities, but for
all Germany: it tended to strengthen the power of the increasing

The Pope, finding his plans thwarted and his authority defied, now began
to make friendly overtures to Albert. He had already excommunicated
Philip the Fair, and claimed the right to dispose of the crown of
France, which he offered to Albert in return for the latter's subjection
to him and armed assistance. There was danger to Germany in this
tempting bait; but in 1303, Bonifacius, having been taken prisoner near
Rome by his Italian enemies, became insane from rage, and soon died.

Albert's stubborn and selfish attempts to increase the power of his
house all failed: their only result was a wider and keener spirit of
hostility to his rule. He claimed Thuringia and Meissen, alleging that
Adolf of Nassau had purchased those lands, not for himself but for the
Empire; he endeavored to get possession of Holland, whose line of ruling
Counts had become extinct; and after the death of Wenzel II. of Bohemia,
in 1307, he married his son, Rudolf, to the latter's widow. But Counts
Frederick and Dietzmann of Thuringia defeated his army: the people of
Holland elected a descendant of their Counts on the female side, and the
Emperor's son, Rudolf, died in Bohemia, apparently poisoned, before two
years were out. Then the Swiss cantons of Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden,
which had been governed by civil officers appointed by the Emperors,
rose in revolt against him, and drove his governors from their Alpine
valleys. In November, 1307, that famous league was formed, by which the
three cantons maintained their independence, and laid the first
corner-stone of the Republic of Switzerland.


The following May, 1308, Albert was in Baden, raising troops for a new
campaign in Thuringia. His nephew, John, a youth of nineteen, who had
vainly endeavored to have his right to a part of the Hapsburg territory
in Switzerland confirmed by the Emperor, was with him, accompanied by
four knights, with whom he had conspired. While crossing a river, they
managed to get into the same boat with the Emperor, leaving the rest of
his retinue upon the other bank; then, when they had landed, they fell
upon him, murdered him, and fled. A peasant woman, who was near, lifted
Albert upon her lap and he died in her arms. His widow, the Empress
Elizabeth, took a horrible revenge upon the families of the
conspirators, whose relatives and even their servants, to the number of
one thousand, were executed. One of the knights, who was captured, was
broken upon the wheel. John, called in history _John Parricida_, was
never heard of afterwards, although one tradition affirms that he fled
to Rome, confessed his deed to the Pope, and passed the rest of his
life, under another name, in a monastery.

Thus, within five years, the despotic plans of both Pope Bonifacius
VIII. and Albert of Hapsburg came to a tragic end. The overwhelming
power of the Papacy, after a triumph of two hundred years, was broken.
The second Pope after Bonifacius, Clement V., made Avignon, in Southern
France, his capital instead of Rome, and the former city continued to be
the residence of the Popes, from 1308, the year of Albert's murder,
until 1377.

The German Electors were in no hurry to choose a new Emperor. They were
only agreed as to who should not be elected,--that is, no member of a
powerful family; but it was not so easy to pick out an acceptable
candidate from among the many inferior princes. The Church, as usual,
decided the question. Peter, of Mayence (who had been a physician and
was made Archbishop for curing the Pope), intrigued with Baldwin,
Archbishop of Treves, in favor of the latter's brother, Count Henry of
Luxemburg. A Diet was held at the "King's Seat," on the hill of Rense,
near Coblentz, where the blast of a hunting-horn could be heard in four
Electorates at the same time, and Henry was chosen King. He was crowned
at Aix-la-Chapelle on the 6th of January, 1309, as Henry VII.

[Sidenote: 1310.]

His first aim was to restore peace and order to Germany. He was obliged
to reëstablish the Rhine-dues, in the interest of the Archbishops who
had supported him, but he endeavored to recompense the cities by
granting them other privileges. At a Diet held in Speyer, he released
the three Swiss cantons from their allegiance to the house of Hapsburg,
gave Austria to the sons of the murdered Albert, and had the bodies of
the latter and his rival, Adolf of Nassau, buried in the Cathedral, side
by side. Soon afterwards the Bohemians, dissatisfied with Henry of
Carinthia (who had become their king after the death of Albert's son,
Rudolf), offered the hand of Wenzel II.'s youngest daughter, Elizabeth,
to Henry's son, John. Although the latter was only fourteen, and his
bride twenty-two years of age, Henry gave his consent to the marriage,
and John became king of Bohemia.

In 1310 the new Emperor called a Diet at Frankfort, in order to enforce
a universal truce among the German States. He outlawed Count Eberhard of
Würtemberg, and took away his power to create disturbance; and then,
Germany being quiet, he turned his attention to Italy, which was in a
deplorable state of confusion, from the continual wars of the Guelphs
and the Ghibellines. In Lombardy, noble families had usurped the control
of the former republican cities, and governed with greater tyranny than
even the Hohenstaufens. Henry's object was to put an end to their civil
wars, institute a new order, and--be crowned Roman Emperor. The Pope,
Clement V., who was tired of Avignon and suspicious of France, was
secretly in favor of the plan, and the German princes openly supported

Towards the close of 1310, Henry VII. crossed Mont Cenis with an army of
several thousand men, and was welcomed with great pomp in Milan, where
he was crowned with the iron crown of Lombardy. The poet Dante hailed
him as a saviour of Italy, and all parties formed the most extravagant
expectations of the advantage they would derive from his coming. The
Emperor seems to have tried to act with entire impartiality, and
consequently both parties were disappointed. The Guelphs first rose
against him, and instead of peace a new war ensued. He was not able to
march to Rome until 1312, and by that time the city was again divided
into two hostile parties. With the help of the Colonnas, he gained
possession of the southern bank of the Tiber, and was crowned Emperor in
the Lateran Church by a Cardinal, since there was no Pope in Rome: the
Orsini family, who were hostile to him, held possession of the other
part of the city, including St. Peter's and the Vatican.


There were now indications that all Italy would be convulsed with a
repetition of the old struggle. The Guelphs rallied around king Robert
of Naples as their head, while king Frederick of Sicily and the Republic
of Pisa declared for the Emperor. France and the Pope were about to add
new elements to the quarrel, when in August, 1313, Henry VII. died of
poison, administered to him by a monk in the sacramental wine,--one of
the most atrocious forms of crime which can be imagined. He was a man of
many noble personal qualities, and from whom much was hoped, both in
Germany and Italy; but his reign was too short for the attainment of any
lasting results.

When the Electors came together at Frankfort, in 1314, it was found that
their votes were divided between two candidates. Henry VII.'s son, king
John of Bohemia, was only seventeen years old, and the friends of his
house, not believing that he could be elected, united on Duke Ludwig of
Bavaria, a descendant of Otto of Wittelsbach. On the other hand, the
friends of the house of Hapsburg, with the combined influence of France
and the Pope on their side, proposed Frederick of Austria, the son of
the Emperor Albert. There was a division of the Diet, and both
candidates were elected; but Ludwig had four of the seven Electors on
his side, he reached Aix-la-Chapelle first and was there crowned, and
thus he was considered to have the best right to the Imperial dignity.

Ludwig of Bavaria and Frederick of Austria had been bosom-friends until
a short time previous; but they were now rivals and deadly enemies. For
eight long years a civil war devastated Germany. On Frederick's side
were Austria, Hungary, the Palatinate of the Rhine, and the Archbishop
of Cologne, with the German nobles, as a class: on Ludwig's side were
Bavaria, Bohemia, Thuringia, the cities and the middle class.
Frederick's brother, Leopold, in attempting to subjugate the Swiss
cantons, the freedom of which had been confirmed by Ludwig, suffered a
crushing defeat in the famous battle of Morgarten, fought in 1315. The
Austrian force in this battle was 9,000, the Swiss 1,300: the latter
lost 15 men, the former 1,500 soldiers and 640 knights. From that day
the freedom of the Swiss was secured.

[Sidenote: 1322.]

The Pope, John XXII., declared that he only had the right of deciding
between the two rival sovereigns, and used all the means in his power to
assist Frederick. The war was prolonged until 1322, when, in a battle
fought at Mühldorf, near Salzburg, the struggle was decided. After a
combat of ten hours, the Bavarians gave way, and Ludwig narrowly escaped
capture; then the Austrians, mistaking a part of the latter's army for
the troops of Leopold, which were expected on the field, were themselves
surrounded, and Frederick with 1,400 knights taken prisoner. The battle
was, in fact, an earlier Waterloo in its character. Ludwig saluted
Frederick with the words: "We are glad to see you, Cousin!" and then
imprisoned him in a strong castle.

There was now a truce in Germany, but no real peace. Ludwig felt himself
strong enough to send some troops to the relief of Duke Visconti of
Milan, who was hard pressed by a Neapolitan army in the interest of the
Pope. For this act, John XXII. not only excommunicated and cursed him
officially, but extended the Papal "Interdict" over Germany. The latter
measure was one which formerly occasioned the greatest dismay among the
people, but it had now lost much of its power. The "Interdict"
prohibited all priestly offices in the lands to which it was applied.
The churches were closed, the bells were silent, no honors were paid to
the dead, and it was even ordered that the marriage ceremony should be
performed in the churchyards. But the German people refused to submit to
such an outrage; the few priests who attempted to obey the Pope, were
either driven away or compelled to perform their religious duties as

The next event in the struggle was a conspiracy of Leopold of Austria
with Charles IV. of France, favored by the Pope, to overthrow Ludwig.
But the other German princes who were concerned in it quietly withdrew
when the time came for action, and the plot failed. Then Ludwig, tired
of his trials, sent his prisoner Frederick to Leopold as a mediator, the
former promising to return and give himself up, if he should not
succeed. Leopold was implacable, and Frederick kept his word, although
the Pope offered to relieve him of his promise, and threatened him with
excommunication for not breaking it. Ludwig was generous enough to
receive him as a friend, to give him his full liberty and dignity, and
even to divide his royal rule privately with him. The latter
arrangement was so unpractical that it was not openly proclaimed, but
the good understanding between the two contributed to the peace of
Germany. Leopold died in 1326, and Ludwig enjoyed an undisputed

[Sidenote: 1327. QUARREL WITH THE POPE.]

In 1327, the Emperor felt himself strong enough to undertake an
expedition to Italy, his object being to relieve Lombardy from the
aggressions of Naples, and to be crowned Emperor in Rome in spite of the
Pope. In this, he was tolerably successful. He defeated the Guelphs and
was crowned in Milan the same year, then marched to Rome, and was
crowned Emperor early in 1328, under the auspices of the Colonna family,
by two excommunicated Bishops. He presided at an assembly of the Roman
people, at which John XXII. was declared a heretic and renegade, and a
Franciscan monk elected Pope under the name of Nikolaus V. Ludwig,
however, soon became as unpopular as any of his predecessors, and from
the same cause--the imposition of heavy taxes upon the people, in order
to keep up his imperial state. He remained two years longer in Italy,
encountering as much hate as friendship, and was then recalled to
Germany by the death of Frederick of Austria.

The Papal excommunication, which the Hohenstaufen Emperors had borne so
easily, seems to have weighed sorely upon Ludwig's mind. His nature was
weak and vacillating, capable of only a limited amount of endurance. He
began to fear that his soul was in peril, and made the most desperate
efforts to be reconciled with the Pope. The latter, however, demanded
his immediate abdication as a preliminary to any further negotiation,
and was supported in this demand by the king of France, who was very
ambitious of obtaining the crown of Germany, with the help of the
Church. King John of Bohemia acted as a go-between, but he was also
secretly pledged to France, and an agreement was nearly concluded, of a
character so cowardly and disgraceful to Ludwig that when some hint of
it became known, there arose such an angry excitement in Germany that
the Emperor did not dare to move further in the matter.

[Sidenote: 1338.]

John XXII. died about this time (1334) and was succeeded by Benedict
XII., a man of a milder and more conciliatory nature, with whom Ludwig
immediately commenced fresh negotiations. He offered to abdicate, to
swear allegiance to the Pope, to undergo any humiliation which the
latter might impose upon him. Benedict was quite willing to be
reconciled to him on these conditions, but the arrangement was prevented
by Philip VI. of France, who hoped, like his father, to acquire the
crown of Germany. As soon as this became evident, Ludwig adopted a
totally different course. In the summer of 1338 he called a Diet at
Frankfort (which was afterwards adjourned to Rense, near Coblentz), and
laid the matter before the Bishops, princes and free cities, which were
now represented.

The Diet unanimously declared that the Emperor had exhausted all proper
means of reconciliation, and the Pope alone was responsible for the
continuance of the struggle. The excommunication and interdict were
pronounced null and void, and severe punishments were decreed for the
priests who should heed them in any way. As it was evident that France
had created the difficulty, an alliance was concluded with England,
whose king, Edward III., appeared before the Diet at Coblentz, and
procured the acknowledgment of his claim to the crown of France. Ludwig,
as Emperor, sat upon the Royal Seat at Rense, and all the German
princes--with the exception of king John of Bohemia, who had gone over
to France--made the solemn declaration that the King and Emperor whom
they had elected, or should henceforth elect, derived his dignity and
power from God, and did not require the sanction of the Pope. They also
bound themselves to defend the rights and liberties of the Empire
against any assailant whatever. These were brave words: but we shall
presently see how much they were worth.

The alliance with England was made for seven years. Ludwig was to
furnish German troops for Edward III.'s army, in return for English
gold. For a year he was faithful to the contract, then the old
superstitious fear came over him, and he listened to the secret counsels
of Philip VI. of France, who offered to mediate with the Pope in his
behalf. But, after Ludwig had been induced to break his word with
England, Philip, having gained what he wanted, prevented his
reconciliation with the Pope. This miserable weakness on the Emperor's
part destroyed his authority in Germany. At the same time he was
imitating every one of his Imperial predecessors, in trying to
strengthen the power of his family. He gave Brandenburg to his eldest
son, Ludwig, married his second son, Henry, to Margaret of Tyrol, whom
he arbitrarily divorced from her first husband, a son of John of
Bohemia, and claimed the sovereignty of Holland as his wife's


Ludwig had now become so unpopular, that when another Pope, Clement VI.,
in April, 1346, hurled against him a new excommunication, expressed in
the most horrible terms, the Archbishops made it a pretext for openly
opposing the Emperor's rule. They united with the Pope in selecting
Karl, the son of John of Bohemia (who fell by the sword of the Black
Prince the same summer, at the famous battle of Crecy), and proclaiming
him Emperor in Ludwig's stead. All the cities, and the temporal princes,
except those of Bohemia and Saxony, stood faithfully by Ludwig, and Karl
could gain no advantage over him. He went to France, then to Italy, and
finally betook himself to Bohemia, where he was a rival monarch only in

In October, 1347, Ludwig, who was then residing in Munich, his favorite
capital, was stricken with apoplexy while hunting, and fell dead from
his horse. He was sixty-three years old, and had reigned thirty-three
years. In German history, he is always called "Ludwig the Bavarian."
During the last ten years of his reign many parts of Germany suffered
severely from famine, and a pestilence called "the black death" carried
off thousands of persons in every city. These misfortunes probably
confirmed him in his superstition, and partly account for his shameful
and degrading policy. The only service which his long rule rendered to
Germany sprang from the circumstance, that, having been supported by the
free cities in his war with Frederick of Austria, he was compelled to
protect them against the aggressions of the princes afterwards, and in
various ways to increase their rights and privileges. There were now 150
such cities, and from this time forward they constituted a separate
power in the Empire. They encouraged learning and literature, favored
peace and security of travel for the sake of their commerce, organized
and protected the mechanic arts, and thus, during the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries, contributed more to the progress of Germany than
all her spiritual and temporal rulers.




The Imperial Crown in the Market --Günther of Schwarzburg. --Karl IV.
    Emperor. --His Character and Policy. --The University of Prague.
    --Rienzi Tribune of Rome. --Karl's Course in Italy. --The "Golden
    Bull." --Its Provisions and Effect. --Coronation in Rome. --The
    Last Ten Years of his Reign. --His Death. --Eberhard the Greiner.
    --The "Hansa" and its Victories. --Achievements of the German
    Order. --Wenzel becomes Emperor. --The Suabian League. --The Battle
    of Sempach. --Independence of Switzerland. --Defeat of the Suabian
    Cities. --Wenzel's Rule in Prague. --Conspiracy against him.
    --Schism in the Roman Church. --Count Rupert Rival Emperor.
    --Convention of Marbach. --Anarchy in Germany. --Death-Blow to the
    German Order. --Rupert's Death.

[Sidenote: 1347.]

Although the German princes were nearly unanimous in the determination
that no member of the house of Wittelsbach (Bavaria) should again be
Emperor, they were by no means willing to accept Karl of Bohemia.[B]
Ludwig's son, Ludwig of Brandenburg, made no claim to his father's
crown, but he united with Saxony, Mayence and the Palatinate of the
Rhine, in offering it to Edward III. of England. When the latter
declined, they chose Count Ernest of Meissen, who, however, sold his
claim to Karl for 10,000 silver marks. Then they took up Günther of
Schwarzburg, a gallant and popular prince, who seemed to have a good
prospect of success. In this emergency Karl supported the pretensions of
an adventurer, known as "the False Waldemar," to Brandenburg, against
Ludwig, and thus compelled the latter to treat with him. Soon afterwards
Günther of Schwarzburg died, poisoned, it was generally believed, by a
physician whom Karl had bribed, and by the end of 1348 the latter was
Emperor of Germany, as Karl IV.

[B] Of the House of Luxemburg.

[Sidenote: 1348. KARL IV.]

At this time he was thirty-three years old. He had been educated in
France and Italy, and was an accomplished scholar: he both spoke and
wrote the Bohemian, German, French, Italian and Latin languages. He was
a thorough diplomatist, resembling in this respect Rudolf of Hapsburg,
from whom he differed in his love of pomp and state, and in the care he
took to keep himself always well supplied with money, which he well knew
how and when to use. He had first purchased the influence of the Pope by
promising to disregard the declarations of the Diet of 1338 at Rense,
and by relinquishing all claims to Italy. Then he won the free cities to
his side by offers of more extended privileges; and the German princes,
for form's sake, elected him a second time, thus acknowledging the Papal
authority which they had so boldly defied, ten years before.

One of Karl's first acts was to found, in Prague--the city he selected
as his capital--the _first_ German University, which he endowed so
liberally and organized so thoroughly that in a few years it was
attended by six or seven thousand students. For several years afterwards
he occupied himself in establishing order throughout Germany, and
meanwhile negotiated with the Pope in regard to his coronation as Roman
Emperor. In spite of his complete submission to the latter, there were
many difficulties to be overcome, arising out of the influence of France
over the Papacy, which was still established at Avignon. Karl arrested
Rienzi, "the last Tribune of Rome," and kept him for a time imprisoned
in Prague; but when the latter was sent back to Rome as Senator by Pope
Innocent VI., in 1354, Karl was allowed to commence his Italian journey.
He was crowned Roman Emperor on the 5th of April, 1355, by a Cardinal
sent from Avignon for that purpose. In compliance with his promise to
Pope Innocent, he remained in Rome only a single day.

Instead of attempting to settle the disorders which convulsed Italy,
Karl turned his journey to good account by selling all the remaining
Imperial rights and privileges to the republics and petty rulers, for
hard cash. The poet Petrarch had looked forward to his coming as Dante
had to that of his grandfather, Henry VII., but satirized him bitterly
when he returned to Bohemia with his money. He left Italy ridiculed and
despised, but reached Germany with greatly increased power. His next
measure was to call a Diet, for the purpose of permanently settling the
relation of the German princes to the Empire, and the forms to be
observed in electing an Emperor. All had learned, several centuries too
late to be of much service, the necessity of some established order in
these matters, and they came to a final agreement at Metz, on Christmas
Day, 1356.

[Sidenote: 1356.]

Then was promulgated the decree known as the "Golden Bull," which
remained a law in Germany until the Empire came to an end, just 450
years afterwards. It commences with these words: "Every kingdom which is
not united within itself will go to ruin: for its princes are the
kindred of robbers, wherefore God removes the light of their minds from
their office, they become blind leaders of the blind, and their darkened
thoughts are the source of many misdeeds." The Golden Bull confirms the
former custom of having seven Chief Electors--the Archbishops of
Mayence, Treves and Cologne, the first of whom is Arch-Chancellor; the
King of Bohemia, Arch-Cupbearer; the Count Palatine of the Rhine,
Arch-Steward; the Duke of Saxony, Arch-Marshal, and the Margrave of
Brandenburg, Arch-Chamberlain. The last four princes receive full
authority over their territories, and there is no appeal, even to the
Emperor, from their decisions. Their rule is transmitted to the eldest
son; they have the right to coin money, to work mines, and to impose all
taxes which formerly belonged to the Empire.

These are its principal features. The claims of the Pope to authority
over the Emperor are not mentioned; the position of the other
independent princes is left very much as it was, and the cities are
prohibited from forming unions without the Imperial consent. The only
effect of this so-called "Constitution" was to strengthen immensely the
power of the four favored princes, and to encourage all the other rulers
to imitate them. It introduced a certain order, and therefore was better
than the previous absence of all law upon the subject; but it held the
German people in a state of practical serfdom, it perpetuated their
division and consequent weakness, and it gave the spirit of the Middle
Ages a longer life in Germany than in any other civilized country in the

The remaining events of Karl IV.'s life are of no great historical
importance. In 1363 his son, Wenzel, only two years old, was crowned at
Prague as king of Bohemia, and soon afterwards he was called upon by the
Pope, Urban V., who found that his residence in Avignon was becoming
more and more a state of captivity, to assist him in returning to Rome.
In 1365, therefore, Karl set out with a considerable force, entered
Southern France, crowned himself king of Burgundy at Arles--which was a
hollow and ridiculous farce--and in 1368 reached Rome, whither Pope
Urban had gone in advance. Here his wife was formally crowned as Roman
Empress, and he humiliated himself by walking from the Castle of St.
Angelo to St. Peter's, leading the Pope's mule by the bridle,--an act
which drew upon him the contempt of the Roman people. He had few or no
more privileges to sell, so he met every evidence of hostility with a
proclamation of amnesty, and returned to Germany with the intention of
violating his own Golden Bull, by having his son Wenzel proclaimed his
successor. His departure marks the end of German interference in Italy.


For ten years longer Karl IV. continued to strengthen his family by
marriage, by granting to the cities the right of union in return for
their support, and by purchasing the influence of such princes as were
accessible to bribes. He was so cool and calculating, and pursued his
policy with so much patience and skill, that the most of his plans
succeeded. His son Wenzel was elected his successor by a Diet held at
Frankfort in January, 1376, each of the chief Electors receiving 100,000
florins for his vote, and this choice was confirmed by the Pope. To his
second son, Sigismund, he gave Brandenburg, which he had obtained partly
by intrigue and partly by purchase, and to his third son, John, the
province of Lusatia, adjoining Silesia. His health had been gradually
failing, and in November, 1378, he died in Prague, sixty-three years
old, leaving the German Empire in a more disorderly state than he had
found it. His tastes were always Bohemian rather than German: he
preferred Prague to any other residence, and whatever good he
intentionally did was conferred on his own immediate subjects. More than
a century afterwards, the Emperor Maximilian of Hapsburg very justly
said of him: "Karl IV. was a genuine father to Bohemia, but only a
step-father to the rest of Germany."

During the latter years of his reign, two very different movements,
independent of the Imperial will, or in spite of it, had been started in
Southern and Northern Germany. In Würtemberg the cities united, and
carried on a fierce war with Count Eberhard, surnamed the _Greiner_
(Whiner). The struggle lasted for more than ten years, and out of it
grew various leagues of the knights for the protection of their rights
against the more powerful princes. In the North of Germany, the
commercial cities, headed by Lübeck, Hamburg and Bremen, formed a
league, which soon became celebrated under the name of "The Hansa,"
which gradually drew the cities of the Rhine to unite with it, and,
before the end of the century, developed into a great commercial, naval
and military power.

[Sidenote: 1375.]

The Hanseatic League had its agencies in every commercial city, from
Novgorod in Russia to Lisbon; its vessels filled the Baltic and the
North Sea, and almost the entire commerce of Northern Europe was in its
hands. When, in 1361, king Waldemar III. of Denmark took possession of
the island of Gothland, which the cities had colonized, they fitted out
a great fleet, besieged Copenhagen, finally drove Waldemar from his
kingdom and forced the Danes to accept their conditions. Shortly
afterwards they defeated king Hakon of Norway: their influence over
Sweden was already secured, and thus they became an independent
political power. Karl IV. visited Lübeck a few years before his death,
in the hope of making himself head of the Hanseatic League; but the
merchants were as good diplomatists as himself, and he obtained no
recognition whatever. Had not the cities been so widely scattered along
the coast, and each more or less jealous of the others, they might have
laid the foundation of a strong North-German nation; but their bond of
union was not firm enough for that.

The German Order, by this time, also possessed an independent realm, the
capital of which was established at Marienburg, not far from Dantzic.
The distance of the territory it had conquered in Eastern Prussia from
the rest of the Empire, and the circumstance that it had also
acknowledged itself a dependency of the Papal power, enabled its Grand
Masters to say, openly: "If the Empire claims authority over us, we
belong to the Pope; if the Pope claims any such authority, we belong to
the Emperor." In fact, although the Order had now been established for a
hundred and fifty years, it had never been directly assisted by the
Imperial power; yet it had changed a great tract of wilderness,
inhabited by Slavonic barbarians, into a rich and prosperous land, with
fifty-five cities, thousands of villages, and an entire population of
more than two millions, mostly German colonists. It adopted a fixed code
of laws, maintained order and security throughout its territory,
encouraged science and letters, and made the scholar and minstrel as
welcome at its stately court in Marienburg, as they had been at that of
Frederick II. in Palermo.

[Sidenote: 1386. THE BATTLE OF SEMPACH.]

There could be no more remarkable contrast than between the weakness,
selfishness and despotic tendencies of the German Emperors and Electors
during the fourteenth century, and the strong and orderly development of
the Hanseatic League and the German Order in the North, or of the
handful of free Swiss in the South.

King Wenzel (Wenczeslas in Bohemian) was only seventeen years old when
his father died, but he had been well educated and already possessed
some experience in governing. In fact, Karl IV.'s anxiety to secure the
succession to the throne in his own family led him to force Wenzel's
mind to a premature activity, and thus ruined him for life. He had
enjoyed no real childhood and youth, and he soon became hard, cynical,
wilful, without morality and even without ambition. In the beginning of
his reign, nevertheless, he made an earnest attempt to heal the
divisions of the Roman Church, and to establish peace between Count
Eberhard the Whiner and the United Cities of Suabia.

In the latter quarrel, Leopold of Austria also took part. He had been
appointed Governor of several of the free cities by Wenzel, and he
seized the occasion to attempt to restore the authority of the Hapsburgs
over the Swiss Cantons. The latter now numbered eight, the three
original cantons having been joined by Lucerne, Zurich, Glarus, Zug and
Berne. They had been invited to make common cause with the Suabian
cities, more than fifty of which were united in the struggle to maintain
their rights; but the Swiss, although in sympathy with the cities,
declined to march beyond their own territory. Leopold decided to
subjugate each, separately. In 1386, with an army of 4,000 Austrian and
Suabian knights, he invaded the Cantons. The Swiss collected 1,300
farmers, fishers and herdsmen, armed with halberds and battle-axes, and
met Leopold at Sempach, on the 9th of July.

The 4,000 knights dismounted, and advanced in close ranks, presenting a
wall of steel, defended by rows of levelled spears, to the Swiss in
their leathern jackets. It seemed impossible to break their solid front,
or even to reach them with the Swiss weapons. Then Arnold of Winkelried
stepped forth and said to his countrymen: "Dear brothers, I will open a
road for you: take care of my wife and children!" He gathered together
as many spears as he could grasp with both arms, and threw himself
forward upon them: the Swiss sprang into the gap, and the knights began
to fall on all sides from their tremendous blows. Many were smothered in
the press, trampled under foot in their heavy armor: Duke Leopold and
nearly 700 of his followers perished, and the rest were scattered in all
directions. It was one of the most astonishing victories in history. Two
years afterwards the Swiss were again splendidly victorious at Näfels,
and from that time they were an independent nation.

[Sidenote: 1389.]

The Suabian cities were so encouraged by these defeats of the party of
the nobles, that in 1388 they united in a common war against the Duke of
Bavaria, Count Eberhard of Würtemberg and the Count Palatine Rupert.
After a short but very fierce and wasting struggle, they were defeated
at Döffingen and Worms, deprived of the privileges for which they had
fought, and compelled to accept a truce of six years. In 1389, a Diet
was held, which prohibited them from forming any further union, and thus
completely re-established the power of the reigning princes. Wenzel
endeavored to enforce an internal peace throughout the whole Empire, but
could not succeed: what was law for the cities was not allowed to be
equally law for the princes. It seems probable, from many features of
the struggle, that the former designed imitating the Swiss cantons, and
founding a Suabian republic, if they had been successful; but the entire
governing class of Germany, from the Emperor down to the knightly
highwayman, was against them, and they must have been crushed in any
case, sooner or later.

For eight or nine years after these events, Wenzel remained in Prague
where his reign was distinguished only by an almost insane barbarity. He
always had an executioner at his right hand, and whoever refused to
submit to his orders was instantly beheaded. He kept a pack of
bloodhounds, which were sometimes let loose even upon his own guests: on
one occasion his wife, the Empress Elizabeth, was nearly torn to pieces
by them. He ordered the confessor of the latter, a priest named John of
Nepomuck, to be thrown into the Moldau river for refusing to tell him
what the Empress had confessed. By this act he made John of Nepomuck the
patron saint of Bohemia. Some one once wrote upon the door of his palace
the words: "_Venceslaus, alter Nero_" (Wenzel, a second Nero); whereupon
he wrote the line below: "_Si non fui adhuc, ero_" (If I have not been
one hitherto, I will be now). When the city of Rothenberg refused to
advance him 4,000 florins, he sent this message to the authorities: "The
devil began to shear a hog, and spake thus, 'Great cry and little

[Sidenote: 1398. QUARREL WITH THE POPE.]

In short, Wenzel was so little of an Emperor and so much of a brutal
madman, that a conspiracy, at the head of which were his cousin Jodocus
of Moravia, and Duke Albert of Austria, was formed against him. He was
taken prisoner and conveyed to Austria, where he was held in close
confinement until his brother Sigismund, aided by a Diet of the other
German princes, procured his release. In return for this service, and
probably, also, to save himself the trouble of governing, he appointed
Sigismund Vicar of the Empire. In 1398 he called a Diet at Frankfort,
and again endeavored, but without much success, to enforce a general
peace. The schism in the Roman Church, which lasted for forty years, the
rival popes in Rome and Avignon cursing and making war upon each other,
had at this time become a scandal to Christendom, and the Papal
authority had sunk so low that the temporal rulers now ventured to
interfere. Wenzel went to Rheims, where he had an interview with Charles
VI. of France, in order to settle the quarrel. It was agreed that the
former should compel Bonifacius IX. in Rome, and the latter Benedict
XIII. in Avignon, to abdicate, so that the Church might have an
opportunity to unite on a single Pope; but neither monarch succeeded in
carrying out the plan.

On the contrary, Bonifacius IX. went secretly to work to depose Wenzel.
He gained the support of the four Electors of the Rhine, who, headed by
the Archbishop of Mayence, came together in 1400, proclaimed that Wenzel
had forfeited his Imperial dignity, and elected the Count Palatine
Rupert, a member of the house of Wittelsbach (Bavaria), in his place.
The city of Aix-la-Chapelle shut its gates upon the latter, and he was
crowned in Cologne. A majority of the smaller German princes, as well as
of the free cities, refused to acknowledge him; but, on the other hand,
none of them made any movement in Wenzel's favor, and so there were,
practically, two separate heads to the Empire.

Rupert imagined that his coronation in Rome would secure his authority
in Germany. He therefore collected an army, entered into an alliance
with the republic of Florence against Milan, and marched to Italy in
1401. Near Brescia he met the army of the Lombards, commanded by the
Milanese general, Barbiano, and was so signally defeated that he was
compelled to return to Germany. In the meantime Wenzel had come to a
temporary understanding with Jodocus of Moravia and the Hapsburg Dukes
of Austria, and his prospects improved as Rupert's diminished. It was
not long, however, before he quarrelled with his brother Sigismund, and
was imprisoned by the latter. Then ensued a state of general confusion,
the cause of which is easy to understand, but the features of which it
is not easy to make clear.

[Sidenote: 1405.]

A number of reigning princes and cities held a convention at Marbach in
1405, and formed a temporary union, the object of which was evidently to
create a third power in the Empire. Both Rupert and Wenzel at first
endeavored to break up this new league, and then, failing in the
attempt, both intrigued for its support. The Archbishop of Mayence and
the Margrave of Baden, who stood at its head, were secretly allied with
France; the smaller princes were ambitious to gain for themselves a
power equal to that of the seven Electors, and the cities hoped to
recover some of their lost rights. The League of Marbach, as it is
called in history, had as little unity or harmony as the Empire itself.
All Germany was given up to anarchy, and seemed on the point of falling
to pieces: so much had the famous Golden Bull of Karl IV. accomplished
in fifty years!

On the eastern shore of the Baltic, also, the march of German
civilization received an almost fatal check. The two strongest neighbors
of the German Order, the Poles and Lithuanians, were now united under
one crown, and they defeated the army of the Order, 60,000 strong, under
the walls of Wilna, in 1389. After an unsatisfactory peace of some
years, hostilities were again resumed, and both sides prepared for a
desperate and final struggle. Each raised an army of more than 100,000
men, among whom, on the Polish side, there were 40,000 Russians and
Tartars. The decisive battle was fought at Tannenberg, in July, 1410,
and the German Order, after losing 40,000 men, retreated from the field.
It was compelled to give up a portion of its territory to Poland, and
pay a heavy tribute: from that day its power was broken, and the
Slavonic races encroached more and more upon the Germans along the

[Sidenote: 1410. THE ANTI-EMPEROR RUPERT.]

During this same period Holland was rapidly becoming estranged from the
German Empire, and France had obtained possession of the greater part of
Flanders. Luxemburg and part of Lorraine were incorporated with
Burgundy, which was rising in power and importance, and had become
practically independent of Germany. There was now no one to guard the
ancient boundaries, and probably nothing but the war between England and
France prevented the latter kingdom from greatly increasing her
territory at the expense of the Empire.

Although Rupert of the Palatinate acquired but a limited authority in
Southern Germany, he is generally classed among the German Emperors,
perhaps because Wenzel's power, after the year 1400, was no greater than
his own. The confusion and uncertainty in regard to the Imperial dignity
lasted until 1410, when Rupert determined to make war upon the
Archbishop of Mayence--who had procured his election, and since the
League of Marbach was his chief enemy--as the first step towards
establishing his authority. In the midst of his preparations he died, on
the 18th of May, 1410.




Three Emperors in Germany and Three Popes in Rome. --Sigismund sole
    Emperor. --His Appearance and Character. --Religious Movements in
    Bohemia. --John Huss and his Doctrines. --Division of the
    University of Prague. --A Council of the Church called at
    Constance. --Grand Assembly of all Nations. --Organization of the
    Council. --Flight and Capture of Pope John XXIII. --Treatment of
    Huss. --His Trial and Execution. --Jerome of Prague burned.
    --Religious Revolt in Bohemia. --Frederick of Hohenzollern receives
    Brandenburg. --The Bohemians rise under Ziska. --Their two Parties.
    --Ziska's Character. --The Bohemian Demands. --Ziska's Victories.
    --Negotiations with Lithuania and Poland. --Ziska's Death.
    --Victories of Procopius. --Hussite Invasions of Germany. --The
    Fifth "Crusade" against Bohemia. --The Hussites Triumphant. --The
    Council of Basel. --Peace made with the Hussites. --Their Internal
    Wars. --Revolt against Sigismund. --His Death.

[Sidenote: 1410.]

In 1410, the year of Rupert's death, Europe was edified by the spectacle
of three Emperors in Germany, and three Popes of the Church of Rome, all
claiming to rule at the same time. The Diet was divided between
Sigismund and Jodocus of Moravia, both of whom were declared elected,
while Wenzel insisted that he was still Emperor. A Council held at Pisa,
about the same time, deposed Pope Gregory XII. in Rome and Pope Benedict
XIII. in Avignon, and elected a third, who took the name of Alexander V.
But neither of the former obeyed the decrees of the Council: Gregory
XII. betook himself to Rimini, Alexander, soon succeeded by John XXIII.,
reigned in Rome, and the three spiritual rivals began a renewed war of
proclamations and curses. In order to obtain money, they sold priestly
appointments to the highest bidder, carried on a trade in pardons and
indulgences, and brought such disgrace on the priestly office and the
Christian name, that the spirit of the so-called "heretical" sects,
though trampled down in fire and blood, was kept everywhere alive among
the people.

[Sidenote: 1411. THE EMPEROR SIGISMUND.]

The political rivalry in Germany did not last long. Jodocus of Moravia,
of whom an old historian says: "He was considered a great man, but there
was nothing great about him, except his beard," died soon after his
partial election, Wenzel was persuaded to give up his opposition, and
Sigismund was generally recognized as the sole Emperor. In addition to
the Mark of Brandenburg, which he had received from his father, Karl
IV., he had obtained the crown of Hungary through his wife, and he
claimed also the kingdoms of Bosnia and Dalmatia. He had fought the
Turks on the lower Danube, had visited Constantinople, and was already
distinguished for his courage and knightly bearing. Unlike his brother
Wenzel, who had the black hair and high cheek-bones of a Bohemian, he
was blonde-haired, blue-eyed and strikingly handsome. He spoke several
languages, was witty in speech, cheerful in demeanor, and popular with
all classes, but, unfortunately, both fickle and profligate. Moreover,
he was one of the vainest men that ever wore a crown.

Before Sigismund entered upon his reign, the depraved condition of the
Roman clergy, resulting from the general demoralization of the Church,
had given rise to a new and powerful religious movement in Bohemia. As
early as 1360, independent preachers had arisen among the people there,
advocating the pure truths of the Gospel, and exhorting their hearers to
turn their backs on the pride and luxury which prevailed, to live simply
and righteously, and do good to their fellow-men. Although persecuted by
the priests, they found many followers, and their example soon began to
be more widely felt, especially as Wickliffe, in England, was preaching
a similar doctrine at the same time. The latter's translation of the
Bible was finished in 1383, and portions of it, together with his other
writings in favor of a Reformation of the Christian Church, were carried
to Prague soon afterwards.

The great leader of the movement in Bohemia was John Huss, who was born
in 1369, studied at the University of Prague, became a teacher there,
and at the same time a defender of Wickliffe's doctrines, in 1398, and
four years afterwards, in spite of the fierce opposition of the clergy,
was made Rector of the University. With him was associated Jerome
(Hieronymus), a young Bohemian nobleman, who had studied at Oxford, and
was also inspired by Wickliffe's writings. The learning and lofty
personal character of both gave them an influence in Prague, which
gradually extended over all Bohemia. Huss preached with the greatest
earnestness and eloquence against the Roman doctrine of absolution, the
worship of saints and images, the Papal trade in offices and
indulgences, and the idea of a purgatory from which souls could be freed
by masses celebrated on their behalf. He advocated a return to the
simplicity of the early Christian Church, especially in the use of the
sacrament (communion). The Popes had changed the form of administering
the sacrament, giving only bread to the laymen, while the priests
partook of both bread and wine: Huss, and the sect which took his name,
demanded that it should be administered to all "in both forms." Thus the
cup or sacramental chalice, became the symbol of the latter, in the
struggle which followed.

[Sidenote: 1409.]

The first consequence of the preaching of Huss was a division between
the Bohemians and Germans, in the University of Prague. The Germans took
the part of Rome, but the Bohemians secured the support of king Wenzel
through his queen, who was a follower of Huss, and maintained their
ascendency. Thereupon the German professors and students, numbering
5,000, left Prague in a body, in 1409, and migrated to Leipzig, where
they founded a new University. These matters were reported to the Roman
Pope, who immediately excommunicated Huss and his followers. Soon
afterwards, the Pope (John XXIII.), desiring to subdue the king of
Naples, offered pardons and indulgences for crimes to all who would take
up arms on his side. Huss and Jerome preached against this as an
abomination, and the latter publicly burned the Pope's bull in the
streets of Prague. The conflict now became so fierce that Wenzel
banished both from the city, many of Huss's friends among the clergy
fell away from him, and he offered to submit his doctrines to a general
Council of the Church.

Such a Council, in fact, was then demanded by all Christendom. The
intelligent classes in all countries felt that the demoralization caused
by the corruption of the clergy and the scandalous quarrels of three
rival Popes could no longer be endured. The Council at Pisa, in 1409,
had only made matters worse by adding another Pope to the two at Rome
and Avignon; for, although it claimed the highest spiritual authority on
earth, it was not obeyed. The Chancellor of the University of Paris
called upon the Emperor Sigismund to move in favor of a new Council; all
the Christian powers of Europe promised their support, and finally one
of the Popes, John XXIII., being driven from Rome, was persuaded to
agree, so that a grand OEcumenical Council, with authority over the
Papacy, was summoned to meet in the city of Constance, in the autumn of
the year 1414.


It was one of the most imposing assemblies ever held in Europe. Pope
John XXIII. personally appeared, accompanied by 600 Italians; the other
two Popes sent ambassadors to represent their interests. The patriarchs
of Jerusalem, Constantinople and Aquileia, the Grand-Masters of the
knightly Orders, thirty-three Cardinals, twenty Archbishops, two hundred
Bishops and many thousand priests and monks, were present. Then came the
Emperor Sigismund, the representatives of all Christian powers,
including the Byzantine Emperor, and even an envoy from the Turkish
Sultan, with sixteen hundred princes and their followers. The entire
concourse of strangers at Constance was computed at 150,000, and thirty
different languages were heard at the same time. A writer of the day
thus describes the characteristics of the four principal races: "The
Germans are impetuous, but have much endurance, the French are boastful
and arrogant, the English prompt and sagacious, and the Italians subtle
and intriguing." Gamblers, mountebanks and dramatic performers were also
on hand; great tournaments, races and banquets were constantly held;
yet, although the Council lasted four years, there was no disturbance of
the public order, no increase in the cost of living, and no epidemic
diseases in the crowded camps.

The professed objects of the Council were: a reformation of the Church,
its reorganization under a single head, and the suppression of heresy.
The members were divided into four "Nations"--the _German_, including
the Bohemians, Hungarians, Poles, Russians and Greeks; the _French_,
including Normans, Spaniards and Portuguese; the _English_, including
Irish, Scotch, Danes, Norwegians and Swedes; and the _Italian_,
embracing all the different States from the Alps to Sicily. Each of
these nations held its own separate convention, and cast a single vote,
so that no measure could be carried, unless _three_ of the four nations
were in favor of it. Germany and England advocated the reformation of
the Church, as the first and most important question; France and Italy
cared only to have the quarrel of the Popes settled, and finally
persuaded England to join them. Thus the reformation was postponed, and
that was practically the end of it.

[Sidenote: 1415.]

As soon as it became evident that all three of the Popes would be
deposed by the Council, John XXIII. fled from Constance in disguise,
with the assistance of the Hapsburg Duke, Frederick of Austria. Both
were captured; the Pope, whose immorality had already made him infamous,
was imprisoned at Heidelberg, and Frederick was declared to have
forfeited his lands. Although Austria was afterwards restored to him,
all the Hapsburg territory lying between Zurich, the Rhine and the Lake
of Constance was given to Switzerland, and has remained Swiss ever
since. A second Pope, Gregory XII., now voluntarily abdicated, but the
third, Benedict XIII., refused to follow the example, and maintained a
sort of Papal authority in Spain until his death. The Council elected a
member of the family of Colonna, in Rome, who took the name of Martin V.
He was no sooner chosen and installed in his office than, without
awaiting the decrees of the Council, he began to conclude separate
"Concordats" (agreements) with the princes. Thus the chief object of the
Council was already thwarted, and the four nations took up the question
of suppressing heresy.

Huss, to whom the Emperor had sent a safe-conduct for the journey to and
from Constance, and who was escorted by three Bohemian knights, was
favorably received by the people, on the way. He reached
Constance in November, 1414, and was soon afterwards--before any
examination--arrested and thrown into a dungeon so foul that he became
seriously ill. Sigismund insisted that he should be released, but the
cardinals and bishops were so embittered against him that they defied
the Emperor's authority. All that the latter could (or did) do for him,
was to procure for him a trial, which began on the 7th of June, 1415.
But instead of a trial, it was a savage farce. He was accused of the
absurdest doctrines, among others of asserting that there were four
Gods, and every time he attempted to speak in his own defence, his voice
was drowned by the outcries of the bishops and priests. He offered to
renounce any doctrine he had taught, if it were proved contrary to the
Gospel of Christ; but this proposition was received with derision. He
was simply offered the choice between instantly denying all that he
held as truth or being burned at the stake as a heretic.

[Sidenote: 1415. HUSS AND JEROME BURNED.]

On the 6th of July, the Council assembled in the Cathedral of Constance.
After mass had been celebrated, Huss, who had steadfastly refused to
recant, was led before the congregation of priests and princes, and
clothed as a priest, to make his condemnation more solemn. A bishop read
the charges against him, but every attempt he made to speak was forcibly
silenced. Once, however, he raised his voice and demanded the fair
hearing which had been promised, and to obtain which he had accepted the
Emperor's protection,--fixing his eyes sternly upon Sigismund, who could
not help blushing with shame. The sacramental cup was then placed in
Huss's hands, and immediately snatched from him with the words: "Thou
accursed Judas! we take from thee this cup, wherein the blood of Christ
is offered up for the forgiveness of sins!" to which Huss replied: "I
trust that to-day I shall drink of this cup in the Kingdom of God." Each
article of his priestly dress was stripped from him with a new curse,
and when, finally, all had been removed, his soul was solemnly commended
to the Devil; whereupon he exclaimed: "And _I_ commend it to my Lord
Jesus Christ."

Huss was publicly burned to death the same day. On arriving at the stake
he knelt and prayed so fervently, that the common people began to doubt
whether he really was a heretic. Being again offered a chance to
retract, he declared in a loud voice that he would seal by his death the
truth of all he had taught. After the torch had been applied to the
pile, he was heard to cry out, three times, from the midst of the
flames: "Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, have mercy upon me!" Then
his voice failed, and in a short time nothing was left of the body of
the immortal martyr, except a handful of ashes which were thrown into
the Rhine.

Huss's friend, Jerome, who came to Constance on the express promise of
the Council that he should not be imprisoned before a fair hearing, was
thrown into a dungeon as soon as he arrived, and so broken down by
sickness and cruelty that in September, 1415, he promised to give up his
doctrines. But he soon recovered from this weakness, declared anew the
truth of all he had taught, and defended himself before the Council in a
speech of remarkable power and eloquence. He was condemned, and burned
at the stake on the 30th of May, 1416.

[Sidenote: 1416.]

The fate of Huss and Jerome created an instant and fierce excitement
among the Bohemians. An address, defending them against the charge of
heresy and protesting against the injustice and barbarity of the
Council, was signed by four or five hundred nobles, and forwarded to
Constance. The only result was that the Council decreed that no
safe-conduct could be allowed to protect a heretic, that the University
of Prague must be recognized, and the strongest measures applied to
suppress the Hussite doctrines in Bohemia. This was a defiance which the
Bohemians courageously accepted. Men of all classes united in
proclaiming that the doctrines of Huss should be freely taught and that
no Interdict of the Church should be enforced: the University, and even
Wenzel's queen, Sophia, favored this movement, which soon became so
powerful that all priests who refused to administer the sacrament "in
both forms" were driven from their churches.

The Council sat at Constance until May, 1418, when it was dissolved by
Pope Martin V. without having accomplished anything whatever tending to
a permanent reformation of the Church. The only political event of
importance during this time was a business transaction of Sigismund's,
the results of which, reaching to our day, have decided the fate of
Germany. In 1411, the Emperor was in great need of ready money, and
borrowed 100,000 florins of Frederick of Hohenzollern, the Burgrave
(_Burggraf_, "Count of the Castle") of Nuremberg, a direct descendant of
the Hohenzollern who had helped Rudolf of Hapsburg to the Imperial
crown. Sigismund gave his creditor a mortgage on the territory of
Brandenburg, which had fallen into a state of great disorder. Frederick
at once removed thither, and, in his own private interests, undertook to
govern the country. He showed so much ability, and was so successful in
quelling the robber-knights and establishing order, that in 1415
Sigismund offered to sell him the sovereignty of Brandenburg (which made
him, at the same time, an Elector of the Empire), for the additional sum
of 300,000 gold florins. Frederick accepted the terms, and settled
permanently in the little State which afterwards became the nucleus of
the kingdom of Prussia, of which his own lineal descendants are now the


When the Council of Constance was dissolved, Sigismund hastened to
Hungary to carry on a new war with the Turks, who were already extending
their conquests along the Danube. The Hussites in Bohemia employed this
opportunity to organize themselves for resistance; 40,000 of them, in
July, 1419, assembled on a mountain to which they gave the name of
"Tabor," and chose as their leader a nobleman who was surnamed _Ziska_,
"the one-eyed." The excitement soon rose to such a pitch that several
monasteries were stormed and plundered. King Wenzel arrested some of the
ringleaders, but this only inflamed the spirit of the people. They
formed a procession in Prague, marched through the city, carrying the
sacramental cup at their head, and took forcible possession of several
churches. When they halted before the city-hall, to demand the release
of their imprisoned brethren, stones were thrown at them from the
windows, whereupon they broke into the building and hurled the
Burgomaster and six other officials upon the upheld spears of those
below. The news of this event so excited Wenzel that he was stricken
with apoplexy, and died two weeks afterwards.

The Hussites were already divided into two parties, one moderate in its
demands, called the "Calixtines," from the Latin _calix_, a chalice,
which was their symbol, the other radical and fanatic, called the
"Taborites," who proclaimed their separation from the Church of Rome and
a new system of brotherly equality through which they expected to
establish the Millennium upon earth. The exigencies of their situation
obliged these two parties to unite in common defence against the forces
of the Church and the Empire, during the sixteen years of war which
followed; but they always remained separated in their religious views,
and mutually intolerant. Ziska, who called himself "John Ziska of the
Chalice, commander in the hope of God of the Taborites," had been a
friend and was an ardent follower of Huss. He was an old man,
bald-headed, short, broad-shouldered, with a deep furrow across his
brow, an enormous aquiline nose, and a short red moustache. In his
genius for military operations, he ranks among the great commanders of
the world: his quickness, energy and inventive talent were marvellous,
but at the same time he knew neither tolerance nor mercy.

[Sidenote: 1420.]

Ziska's first policy was to arm the Bohemians. He introduced among them
the "thunder-guns"--small field-pieces, which had been first used at the
battle of Agincourt, between England and France, three years before; he
shod the farmers' flails with iron, and taught them to crack helmets and
armor with iron maces; and he invented a system of constructing
temporary fortresses by binding strong wagons together with iron chains.
Sigismund does not seem to have been aware of the formidable character
of the movement until the end of his war with the Turks, some months
afterwards, and he then persuaded the Pope to summon all Christendom to
a crusade against Bohemia. During the year 1420 a force of 100,000
soldiers was collected, and Sigismund marched at their head to Prague.
The Hussites met him with the demand for the acceptance of the following
articles: 1.--The word of God to be freely preached; 2.--The sacrament
to be administered in both forms; 3.--The clergy to possess no property
or temporal authority; 4.--All sins to be punished by the proper
authorities. Sigismund was ready to accept these articles as the price
of their submission, but the Papal Legate forbade the agreement, and war

On the 1st of November, 1420, the "Crusaders" were totally defeated by
Ziska, and all Bohemia was soon relieved of their presence. The dispute
between the moderates and the radicals broke out again; the idea of a
community of property began to prevail among the Taborites, and most of
the Bohemian nobles refused to act with them. Ziska left Prague with his
troops and for a time devoted himself to the task of suppressing all
opposition through the country with fire and sword. He burned no less
than 550 convents and monasteries, slaying the priests and monks who
refused to accept the new doctrines; but he proceeded with equal
severity against a new sect called the Adamites, who were endeavoring to
restore Paradise by living without clothes. While besieging the town of
Raby, an arrow destroyed his remaining eye, yet he continued to plan
battles and sieges as before. The very name of the blind warrior became
a terror throughout Germany.

In September, 1421, a second Crusade of 200,000 men, commanded by five
German Electors, entered Bohemia from the west. It had been planned that
the Emperor Sigismund, assisted by Duke Albert of Austria, to whom he
had given his daughter in marriage, and who was now also supported by
many of the Bohemian nobles, should invade the country from the east at
exactly the same time. The Hussites were thus to be crushed between the
upper and the nether millstones. But the blind Ziska, nothing daunted,
led his wagons, his flail-men and mace-wielders against the Electors,
whose troops began to fly before them. No battle was fought; the 200,000
Crusaders were scattered in all directions, and lost heavily during
their retreat. Then Ziska wheeled about and marched against Sigismund,
who was late in making his appearance. The two armies met on the 8th of
January, 1422, and the Hussite victory was so complete that the Emperor
narrowly escaped falling into their hands. It is hardly to be wondered
that they should consider themselves to be the chosen people of God,
after such astonishing successes.


At this juncture, Prince Witold of Lithuania, supported by king Jagello
of Poland, offered to accept the four articles of the Hussites, provided
they would give him the crown of Bohemia. The Moderates were all in his
favor, and even Ziska left the Taborites when, true to their republican
principles, they refused to accept Witold's proposition. The separation
between the two parties of the Hussites was now complete. Witold sent
his nephew Koribut, who swore to maintain the four articles, and was
installed at Prague, as "Vicegerent of Bohemia." Thereupon Sigismund
made such representations to king Jagello of Poland, that Koribut was
soon recalled by his uncle. About the same time a third Crusade was
arranged, and Frederick of Brandenburg (the Hohenzollern) selected to
command it, but the plan failed from lack of support. The dissensions
among the Hussites became fiercer than ever; Ziska was at one time on
the point of attacking Prague, but the leaders of the moderate party
succeeded in coming to an understanding with him, and he entered the
city in triumph. In October, 1424, while marching against Duke Albert of
Austria, who had invaded Moravia, he fell a victim to the plague. Even
after death he continued to terrify the German soldiers, who believed
that his skin had been made into a drum, and still called the Hussites
to battle.

[Sidenote: 1426.]

A majority of the Taborites elected a priest, called Procopius the
Great, as their commander in Ziska's stead; the others, who thenceforth
styled themselves "Orphans," united under another priest, Procopius the
Little. The approach of another Imperial army, in 1426, compelled them
to forget their differences, and the result was a splendid victory over
their enemies. Procopius the Great then invaded Austria and Silesia,
which he laid waste without mercy. The Pope called a _fourth_ Crusade,
which met the same fate as the former ones: the united armies of the
Archbishop of Treves, the Elector Frederick of Brandenburg and the Duke
of Saxony, 200,000 strong, were utterly defeated, and fled in disorder,
leaving an enormous quantity of stores and munitions of war in the hands
of the Bohemians.

Procopius, who was almost the equal of Ziska as a military leader, made
several unsuccessful attempts to unite the Hussites in one religious
body. In order to prevent their dissensions from becoming dangerous to
the common cause, he kept the soldiers of all sects under his command,
and undertook fierce invasions into Bavaria, Saxony and Brandenburg,
which made the Hussite name a terror to all Germany. During these
expeditions one hundred towns were destroyed, more than fifteen hundred
villages burned, tens of thousands of the inhabitants slain, and such
quantities of plunder collected that it was impossible to transport the
whole of it to Bohemia. Frederick of Brandenburg and several other
princes were compelled to pay heavy tributes to the Hussites: the Empire
was thoroughly humiliated, the people weary of slaughter, yet the Pope
refused even to call a Council for the discussion of the difficulty.

As for the Emperor Sigismund, he had grown tired of the quarrel, long
before. Leaving the other German States to fight Bohemia, he withdrew to
Hungary and for some years found enough to do in repelling the inroads
of the Turks. It was not until the beginning of the year 1431, when
there was peace along the Danube, that he took any measures for putting
an end to the Hussite war. Pope Martin V. was dead, and his successor,
Eugene IV., reluctantly consented to call a Council to meet at Basel.
First, however, he insisted on a _fifth_ Crusade, which was proclaimed
for the complete extermination of the Hussites. The German princes made
a last and desperate effort: an army of 130,000 men, 40,000 of whom were
cavalry, was brought together, under the command of Frederick of
Brandenburg, while Albert of Austria was to support it by invading
Bohemia from the south.

[Sidenote: 1434. END OF THE HUSSITE WARS.]

Procopius and his dauntless Hussites met the Crusaders on the 14th of
August, 1431, at a place called Thauss, and won another of their
marvellous victories. The Imperial army was literally cut to pieces:
8,000 wagons, filled with provisions and munitions of war, and 150
cannons, were left upon the field. The Hussites marched northward to the
Baltic, and eastward into Hungary, burning, slaying and plundering as
they went. Even the Pope now yielded, and the Hussites were invited to
attend the Council at Basel, with the most solemn stipulations in regard
to personal safety and a fair discussion of their demands. Sigismund, in
the meantime, had gone to Italy and been crowned Emperor in Rome, on
condition of showing himself publicly as a personal servant of the Pope.
He spent nearly two years in Italy, leading an idle and immoral life,
and went back to Germany when his money was exhausted.

In 1433, finally, three hundred Hussites, headed by Procopius, appeared
in Basel. They demanded nothing more than the acceptance of the four
articles upon which they had united in 1420; but after seven weeks of
talk, during which the Council agreed upon nothing and promised nothing,
they marched away, after stating that any further negotiation must be
carried on in Prague. This course compelled the Council to act; an
embassy was appointed, which proceeded to Prague, and on the 30th of
November, the same year, concluded a treaty with the Hussites. The four
demands were granted, but each with a condition attached which gave the
Church a chance to regain its lost power. For this reason, the Taborites
and "Orphans" refused to accept the compact; the moderate party united
with the nobles and undertook to suppress the former by force. A fierce
internal war followed, but it was of short duration. In 1434, the
Taborites were defeated, their fortified mountain taken, Procopius the
Great and the Little were both slain, and the members of the sect
dispersed. The Bohemian Reformation was never again dangerous to the
Church of Rome.

[Sidenote: 1437.]

The Emperor Sigismund, after proclaiming a general amnesty, entered
Prague in 1436. He made some attempt to restore order and prosperity to
the devastated country, but his measures in favor of the Church provoked
a conspiracy against him, in which his second wife, the Empress Barbara,
was implicated. Being warned by his son-in-law, Duke Albert of Austria,
he left Prague for Hungary. On reaching Znaim, the capital of Moravia,
he felt the approach of death, whereupon, after naming Albert his
successor, he had himself clothed in his Imperial robes and seated in a
chair, so that, after a worthless life, he was able to die in great
state, on the 9th of December, 1437. With him expired the Luxemburg
dynasty, after having weakened, distracted, humiliated and almost ruined
Germany for exactly ninety years.




Albert of Austria Chosen Emperor. --His Short Reign. --Frederick III.
    succeeds. --His Character. --The Council of Basel. --The French
    Mercenaries and the Swiss. --The Suabian Cities. --George Podiebrad
    in Bohemia and John Hunyádi in Hungary. --Condition of the German
    Empire. --Losses of the German Order. --Rise of Burgundy. --Charles
    the Bold and his Plans. --The Battles of Grandson and Morat.
    --Death of Charles the Bold. --Marriage of Maximilian of Hapsburg
    and Mary of Burgundy. --Frederick III.'s Troubles. --Aid of the
    Suabian Cities. --Maximilian's Humiliation. --Frederick's Death.
    --The Fall of the Eastern Empire. --Gutenberg's Invention of


The German Electors seemed to be acting contrary to their usual policy,
when, on the 18th of March, 1438, they unanimously voted for Albert of
Austria, who became Emperor as Albert II. With him commences the
Hapsburg dynasty, which kept sole possession of the Imperial office
until Francis II. gave up the title of Emperor of Germany, in 1806.
Albert II. was Duke of Austria, and, as the heir of Sigismund, he was
also king of Hungary and Bohemia; consequently the power of his house
was much greater than that of any other German prince; but the Electors
were influenced by the consideration that his territories lay mostly
outside of Germany proper, that they were in a condition which would
demand all his time and energy, and therefore the other States and
principalities would probably be left to themselves, as they had been
under Sigismund. Nothing is more evident in the history of Germany, from
first to last, than the opposition of the ruling princes to any close
political union of a _national_ character, but it was seldom so
selfishly and shamelessly manifested as in the fourteenth and fifteenth

[Sidenote: 1440.]

The events of Albert II.'s short reign are not important. He appears to
have been a man of strong character, honest and well-meaning, but a new
war with the Turks called him to Hungary soon after his accession to the
throne, and he was obliged to leave the interests of the Empire in the
hands of his Chancellor, Schlick, a man who shared his views but could
not exercise the same authority over the princes. Before anything could
be accomplished, Albert died in Hungary, in October, 1439, in the
forty-second year of his age. He left one son, Ladislas, an infant, born
a few days after his death.

The Electors again met, and in February, 1440, unanimously chose
Albert's cousin, Frederick of Styria and Carinthia, who, after waiting
three months before he could make up his mind, finally accepted, and was
crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle as Frederick III. His indolence, eccentricity
and pedantic stiffness seemed to promise just such a wooden figure-head
as the princes required: it is difficult to imagine any other reason for
the selection. He was more than a servant, he was almost an abject slave
of the Papal power, and his secretary, Æneas Sylvius (who afterwards
became Pope as Pius II.), ruled him wholly in the interest of the Church
of Rome, at a time when a majority of the German princes, and even many
of the Bishops, were endeavoring to effect a reformation.

The Council at Basel had not adjourned after concluding the Compact of
Prague with the Hussites. The desire for a correction of the abuses
which had so weakened the spiritual authority of the Church was strong
enough to compel the members to discuss plans of reform. Their course
was so distasteful to the Pope, Eugene IV., that he threatened to
excommunicate the Council, which, in return, deposed him and elected
Amadeus, Duke of Savoy, who took the name of Pope Felix V. The prospect
of a new schism disturbed the Christian world; many of the reigning
princes refused to support Eugene unless he would grant entire freedom
to the Church in Germany, and he would have probably been obliged to
yield, but for the help extended to him by Frederick III., under the
influence of Æneas Sylvius. The latter, who was no less unscrupulous
than cunning, succeeded in destroying the work of reform in its very
beginning. By the Concordat of Vienna, in 1448, Frederick neutralized
the action of the Council and restored the Papal authority in its most
despotic form. Felix V. was forced to abdicate, and the Council of
Basel--which had meanwhile adjourned to Lausanne--was finally
dissolved, after a session of seventeen years.


In his political course, during this time, Frederick III. was equally
infamous, but less successful. After making a temporary arrangement with
Hungary and Bohemia, he determined to reconquer the former Hapsburg
possessions from the Swiss. A quarrel between Zurich and the other
Cantons seemed to favor his plan; but, not being able to obtain any
troops in Germany, he applied to Charles VII. of France for 5,000 of the
latter's mercenaries. As Charles, with the help of Joan D'Arc, the Maid
of Orleans, had just victoriously concluded his war with England, he had
plenty of men to spare; so, instead of 5,000, he sent 30,000, under the
command of the Dauphin. This force marched into Switzerland, and was
met, on the 26th of August, 1444, at St. Jacob, near Basel, by an army
of 1600 devoted Swiss, every man of whom fell, after a battle which
lasted ten hours. The French were so crippled and discouraged that they
turned back and for months afterwards laid waste Baden and Alsatia; so
that only German territory suffered by this transaction.

The Suabian cities, inspired by the heroic attitude of the Swiss, now
made another attempt to protect themselves against the encroachment of
the reigning princes upon their ancient rights. For two years a fierce
war was waged between them and the latter, who were headed by the
Hohenzollern Count, Albert Achilles of Brandenburg. The struggle came to
an end in 1450, and so greatly to the disadvantage of the cities that
the people of Schaffhausen annexed themselves and their territory to
Switzerland. The following year, as there was a temporary peace,
Frederick III. undertook a journey to Italy, with an escort of 3,000
men. His object was to be crowned Emperor at Rome, and the Pope could
not refuse the request of such an obedient servant, especially after the
latter had kissed his foot and appeared publicly as his groom. He was
the last German Emperor who amused the Roman people by playing such a
part. During the year he spent in Italy he avoided Milan, and made no
attempt to claim, or even to sell, any of the former Imperial rights.

[Sidenote: 1457.]

Disturbances in Hungary and Bohemia hastened his return to Germany. Both
countries demanded that he should give up the boy Ladislas, son of
Albert II., whom he still kept with him. In Bohemia George Podiebrad, a
Hussite nobleman, was at the head of the government; in Hungary the
ruler was John Hunyádi (often called _Hunniades_ by English historians),
one of the most heroic and illustrious characters in Hungarian annals.
The Emperor was compelled to give up Austria at once to Ladislas, who,
at the age of sixteen, was also chosen king of Hungary and Bohemia. But
he died soon afterwards, in 1457, and then Matthias Corvinus, the son of
Hunyádi, was elected king by the Hungarians, and George Podiebrad by the
Bohemians. Even Austria, which Frederick attempted to retain, passed
partly into the hands of his brother Albert. The German princes looked
on well-pleased, and saw the power of the Hapsburg house diminished;
only its old ally, the house of Hohenzollern, still exhibited an active
friendship for Frederick III.

The condition of the Empire, at this time, was most deplorable. While
France, England and Spain were increasing their power by better
political organization, Germany was weakened by an almost unbroken
series of internal wars. The 340 independent Dukes, Bishops, Counts,
Abbots, Barons and Cities, fought or made peace, leagued themselves
together or separated, just as they pleased. So wanton became the spirit
of destruction that Albert Achilles of Brandenburg openly declared:
"Conflagration is the ornament of war,"--and the people described one of
his campaigns by saying: "They can read at night, in Franconia."
Frederick III. called a number of National Diets, but as he never
attended any, the smaller rulers soon followed his example. Although the
Turks began to ravage the borders of Styria and Carinthia, and carried
away thousands of the inhabitants as slaves, he spent his time in
Austria, quarrelling with his brother Albert, and intriguing alternately
with the Hungarians and the Bohemians, in the attempt to secure for
himself the crowns worn by Matthias Corvinus and George Podiebrad.

Along the Baltic shore the growth of the German element was checked, and
almost destroyed. After its crushing defeat at Tannenberg, the German
Order not only lost its power, but its liberal and intelligent
character. It began to impose heavy taxes on the cities, and to rule
with greater harshness the population under its sway. The result was a
combined revolt of the cities and the country nobility, who compelled
the Order to grant them a constitution, guaranteeing the rights for
which they contended. They purchased Frederick III.'s consent to this
measure for 54,000 gold florins. Soon afterwards, however, the Order
paid the Emperor 80,000 gold florins to withdraw his consent. Then the
cities and nobles, exasperated at this treachery, rose again, and called
the Poles to their help. The Order appealed to the Empire, but received
no assistance: it was defeated and its territory overrun; West-Prussia
was annexed to Poland, which held it for three centuries afterwards, and
East-Prussia, detached completely from the Empire, was left as a little
German island, surrounded by Slavonic races. The responsibility for this
serious loss to Germany, as well as for the internal anarchy and
barbarity which prevailed, rests directly upon the Electors, who
selected Frederick III. precisely because they knew his character, and
who never attempted to depose him during his long and miserable reign of
fifty-three years.

[Sidenote: 1467. THE GROWTH OF BURGUNDY.]

Germany was also seriously threatened on the west, not by France, but by
the sudden growth of a new power which was equally dangerous to France.
This was the Duchy of Burgundy, which in the course of a hundred years
had grown to the dimensions of a kingdom, and was now strong enough to
throw off the dependency of the territories it embraced, to France on
the one side, and to the German Empire on the other. The foundation of
its growth was laid in 1363, when king John of France made his fourth
son, called Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and the latter, by
marrying the Countess Margaret of Flanders, extended his territory to
the mouth of the Rhine. He died in 1404, and was succeeded by his
grandson, Philip the Good, who extended the sway of Burgundy, by
purchase, inheritance, or force of arms, over all Belgium and Holland,
so that it then reached from the Rhine to the North Sea. His court was
one of the most splendid in Europe, and during his reign of sixty-three
years Flanders became the rival of Italy in wealth, architecture and the
fine arts.

Philip the Good died in 1467, and was succeeded by his son, Charles the
Bold, a man whose boldness was his only virtue. He was rash, vindictive,
and almost insanely ambitious; and the only purpose of his life seems to
have been to extend his territory to the Alps and the Mediterranean, to
gain possession of Lorraine and Alsatia, and thus to found a kingdom of
Burgundy, almost corresponding to that given to Lothar by the Treaty of
Verdun, in 843. (See Chapter XII.) He first acquired additional
territory in Belgium, then took a mortgage on all the possessions of the
Hapsburgs in Alsatia and Baden by making a loan to Sigismund of Tyrol.
Frederick III. not only permitted these transactions, but met Charles at
Treves in 1473 to arrange a marriage between the latter's only daughter,
Mary of Burgundy, and his own son, Maximilian. During the visit, which
lasted two months, Charles the Bold displayed so much pomp and splendor
that the Emperor, unable to make an equal show, finally left without
saying good-bye. The interests of Germany did not move him, but when his
personal vanity was touched, he was capable of action.

[Sidenote: 1473.]

For a short time, Frederick exhibited a little energy and intelligence.
In order to secure the alliance of the Swiss, who were equally
threatened by the designs of Charles the Bold, he concluded a Perpetual
Peace with them, relinquishing forever the claims of the house of
Hapsburg to authority over any part of their territory. The cities of
Alsatia and Baden advanced money to Sigismund of Tyrol to pay his debt,
and when Charles the Bold nevertheless refused to give up Alsatia and
part of Lorraine, which he had seized in the meantime, war was declared
against him. Louis XI. of France, equally jealous of Burgundy, favored
the movement, but took no active part in it. Although Charles was driven
out of Alsatia, and failed to take the city of Neuss after a siege of
ten months, he succeeded in negotiating a peace, by offering a truce of
nine years to Louis XI. and promising his daughter's hand to Frederick's
son, Maximilian. In this treaty the Emperor, who had persuaded
Switzerland and Lorraine to become his allies, infamously gave them up
to Charles the Bold's revenge.

The latter instantly seized the whole of Lorraine, transferred his
capital from Brussels to Nancy, and, considering his future kingdom
secured, prepared first to punish the Swiss. He collected a magnificent
army of 50,000 men, crossed the Jura, and appeared before the town of
Grandson, on the Lake of Neufchatel. The place surrendered, on condition
that the citizens should be allowed to leave unharmed; but Charles
seized them, hanged a number and threw the rest into the lake. By this
time the Swiss army, numbering 18,000, appeared before Grandson. Before
beginning the battle, they fell upon their knees and prayed fervently;
whereupon Charles cried out: "See, they are begging for mercy, but not
one of them shall escape!" For several hours the fight raged fiercely;
then the horns of the mountaineers--the "bulls of Uri and the cows of
Unterwalden," as the Swiss called them--were heard in the distance, as
they hastened to join their brethren. A panic seized the Burgundians,
and after a short and desperate struggle they fled, leaving all their
camp equipage, 420 cannon, and such enormous treasures in the hands of
the Swiss that the soldiers divided the money by hatfuls.


This grand victory occurred on the 3d of May, 1476. Charles made every
effort to retrieve his fortunes: he called fresh troops into the field,
reorganized his army, and on the 22d of June again met the Swiss near
the little town and lake of Morat. The battle fought there resulted in a
more crushing defeat than that of Grandson: 15,000 Burgundians were left
dead upon the field. The aid which the Swiss had begged the German
Empire to give them had not been granted, but it was not needed. Charles
the Bold seems to have become partially insane after this overthrow of
his ambitious plans. He refused the proffered mediation of Frederick
III. and the Pope, and endeavored to resume the war. In the meantime
Duke René of Lorraine had recovered his land, and when Charles marched
to retake Nancy, the Swiss allied themselves with the former. A final
battle was fought before the walls of Nancy, in January, 1477. After the
defeat and flight of the Burgundians, the body of Charles was found on
the field, so covered with blood and mud as scarcely to be recognized.

Up to this time, the German Empire had always claimed that its
jurisdiction extended over Switzerland, but henceforth no effort was
ever made to enforce it. The little communities of free people, who had
defied and humiliated Austria, and now, within a few months, crushed the
splendid and haughty house of Burgundy, were left alone, an eye-sore to
the neighboring princes, but a hope to their people. The Hapsburg
dynasty, nevertheless, profited by the fall of Charles the Bold. Mary of
Burgundy gave her hand to Maximilian, in 1477, and he established his
court in Flanders. He was both handsome and intellectually endowed, and
was reputed to be the most accomplished knight of his day. Louis XI. of
France attempted to gain possession of those provinces of Burgundy
which had French population, but was signally defeated by Maximilian in
1479. Three years afterwards, however, when Mary of Burgundy was killed
by a fall from her horse, the cities of Bruges and Ghent, instigated by
France, claimed the guardianship of her two children, Philip and
Margaret, the latter of whom was sent to Paris to be educated as the
bride of the Dauphin. A war ensued which lasted until 1485, when
Maximilian was reluctantly accepted as Regent of Flanders.

[Sidenote: 1485.]

While these events were taking place, Frederick III. was involved in a
quarrel with Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, who easily succeeded in
driving him from Vienna, and then from Austria. Still the German princes
looked carelessly on, and the weak old Emperor wandered from one to the
other, everywhere received as an unwelcome guest. In 1486 he called a
Diet at Frankfort, and endeavored, but in vain, to procure a union of
the forces of the Empire against Hungary. All that was accomplished was
Maximilian's election as King of Germany. Immediately after being
crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle, he made a formal demand on Matthias Corvinus
for the surrender of Austria. Before any further steps could be taken,
he was recalled to Flanders by a new rebellion, which lasted for three

Frederick III., deserted on all sides, and seeing the Hapsburg
possessions along the frontiers of Austria and Tyrol threatened by
Bavaria, finally appealed to the Suabian cities for help. He succeeded
in establishing a new Suabian League, which was composed of twenty-two
free cities, the Count of Würtemberg and a number of independent nobles.
A force was raised, with which he first marched to the relief of
Maximilian, who had been taken and imprisoned at Bruges and was
threatened with death. The undertaking was successful: Maximilian was
released, and in 1489 his authority was established over all the

The next step was to rescue Austria from the Hungarians. An interview
between Frederick III. and Matthias Corvinus was arranged, but before it
could take place the latter died, in April, 1490. Maximilian, with the
troops of the Suabian League, retook Vienna, and even advanced into
Hungary, the crown of which country he claimed for himself, but was
forced to conclude peace at Presburg, the following year, without
obtaining it. Austria, however, was completely restored to the house of

[Sidenote: 1493. DEATH OF FREDERICK III.]

Before the year 1491 came to an end, Maximilian suffered a new
humiliation. The last Duke of Brittany (in Western France) had died,
leaving, like Charles the Bold of Burgundy, a single daughter, Anna, as
his only heir. Maximilian, who had been a widower since 1482, applied
for her hand, which she promised to him: the marriage ceremony was even
performed by proxy. But Charles VIII. of France, although betrothed to
Maximilian's young daughter, Margaret, now fourteen years old, saw in
this new alliance a great danger for his kingdom; so he prevented Anna
from leaving Brittany, married her himself, and sent Margaret home to
Austria. Maximilian entered into an alliance with Henry VII. of England,
secured the support of the Suabian League, and made war upon France. The
Netherlands, nevertheless, refused to aid him; whereupon Henry VII.
withdrew from the alliance, and the matter was settled by a treaty of
peace in 1493, which left the duchy of Burgundy in the hands of France.

Frederick III. had already given up the government of Germany (that is,
what little he exercised) to his son. He settled at Linz and devoted his
days to religion and alchemy. He had a habit of thrusting back his right
foot and closing the doors behind him with it; but one day, kicking out
too violently, he so injured his leg that the physicians were obliged to
amputate it. This accident hastened his death, which took place in
August, 1493. He was seventy-eight years old, and had reigned
fifty-three years, wretchedly enough--but of this fact he was not aware.
He evidently considered himself a great and successful monarch. All his
books were stamped with the vowels, A. E. I. O. U.--which was a mystery
to every one, until the meaning was discovered after his death. The
letters are the initials of the words, _Alles Erdreich Ist Oesterreich
Unterthan_, "All Earth is subject to Austria"!

Two events occurred during Frederick's reign, one of which illustrated
the declining power of the Roman Church, while the other, unnoticed in
the confusion of civil war, was destined to be the chief weapon for the
overthrow of the priestly power. The first of these was the fall of the
Eastern Empire, when Sultan Mohammed II. conquered Constantinople in
1453. Although this catastrophe had been long foreseen, the news of it
nevertheless created a powerful excitement throughout Europe. One-fourth
of the zeal expended on any one of the Crusades would have saved Turkey
to Christendom: the German Empire, alone, could have easily repelled the
Ottoman invasion; but each petty ruler thought only of himself, and the
Popes were solely interested in preventing the Reformation of the
Church. The latter, now--especially Pius II. (Æneas Sylvius)--were very
eager for a new Crusade for the recovery of Constantinople: there was
much talk, but no action, and finally even the talk ceased.

[Sidenote: 1440.]

The other event was a simple invention, which is chiefly remarkable for
not having been made long before. The great use of cards for gambling
first led to the employment of wooden blocks, upon which the figures
were cut and then printed in colors. Wood-engraving, of a rude kind,
gradually came into use, and as early as the year 1420 Lawrence Coster,
of Harlem, in Holland, produced entire books, each page of which was
engraved upon a single block. But John Gutenberg, of Mayence, about the
year 1436, originated the plan of casting movable types and setting them
together to form words. His chief difficulty was in discovering a proper
metal of which to cast them, and a kind of ink which would give a clear
impression. Paper made of linen had already been in use, in Germany, for
about a hundred and thirty years.

Gutenberg was poor, and therefore took a man named Fust, who had
considerable means, as his partner. They completed the first
printing-press in 1440, but several more years elapsed before the
invention achieved any result. There was a quarrel between the two;
Gutenberg withdrew, and Fust took his own assistant, Peter Schoeffer, as
partner in the former's place. Schoeffer discovered the right
combination of metal for the types, as well as an excellent ink. In 1457
appeared the first printed book, a Latin psalter; in 1461 the Latin
Bible, and two years afterwards a German Bible. These Bibles are
masterpieces of the printer's art: they were sold at from thirty to
sixty gold florins a copy, which was just one-tenth the cost of a
written Bible at that time. The art was at first kept a profound secret,
and the people supposed that the books were produced by magic, as they
were multiplied so rapidly and sold so cheaply; but when Mayence was
taken by Adolf of Nassau, in 1462, during one of the civil wars, the
invention became known to the world, and printing-presses were soon
established in Holland, Italy and England.


The clergy, and especially the monks, would have suppressed the art, if
they had been able. It took away from the latter the profitable business
of copying manuscript works, and it placed within the reach of the
people the knowledge, of which the former had preserved the monopoly. By
the simple invention of movable types, the darkness of centuries began
to recede from the world: the life of the Middle Ages grew faint and
feeble, and a mighty, irresistible change swept over the minds and
habits of men. But the rulers of that day, great or little, were the
last persons to suspect that any such change was at hand.




Maximilian I. as Man and Emperor. --The Diet of 1495, at Worms. --The
    Perpetual Peace declared. --The Imperial Court. --Marriage of
    Philip of Hapsburg to Joanna of Spain. --War with Switzerland.
    --March to Italy. --League against Venice. --The "Holy League"
    against France. --The Diet of 1512. --The Empire divided into Ten
    Districts. --Revolts of the Peasants. --The "Bond-Shoe" and "Poor
    Konrad." --Change in Military Service. --Character of Maximilian's
    Reign. --The Cities of Germany. --Their Wealth and Architecture.
    --The Order of the "Holy Vehm." --Other Changes under Maximilian.
    --Last Years of his Reign. --His Death.

[Sidenote: 1493.]

As Maximilian had been elected in 1486, he began to exercise the full
Imperial power, without any further formalities, after his father's
death. For the first time since the death of Henry VII. in 1313, the
Germans had a popular Emperor. They were at last weary of the prevailing
disorder and insecurity, and partly conscious that the power of the
Empire had declined, while that of France, Spain, and even Poland, had
greatly increased. Therefore they brought themselves to submit to the
authority of an Emperor who was in every respect stronger than any of
the Electors by whom he had been chosen.

Maximilian had all the qualities of a great ruler, except prudence and
foresight. He was tall, finely-formed, with remarkably handsome
features, clear blue eyes, and blonde hair falling in ringlets upon his
shoulders; he possessed great muscular strength, his body was developed
by constant exercise, and he was one of the boldest, bravest and most
skilful knights of his day. While his bearing was stately and dignified,
his habits were simple: he often marched on foot, carrying his lance, at
the head of his troops, and was able to forge his armor and temper his
sword, as well as wear them. Yet he was also well-educated, possessed a
taste for literature and the arts, and became something of a poet in
his later years. Unlike his avaricious predecessors, he was generous
even to prodigality; but, inheriting his father's eccentricity of
character, he was whimsical, liable to act from impulse instead of
reflection, headstrong and impatient. If he had been as wise as he was
honest and well-meaning, he might have regenerated Germany.


The commencement of his reign was signalized by two threatening events.
The Turks were renewing their invasions, and boldly advancing into
Carinthia, between Vienna and the Adriatic; Charles VIII. of France had
made himself master of Naples, and was apparently bent on conquering and
annexing all of Italy. Maximilian had just married Blanca Maria Sforza,
niece of the reigning Duke of Milan, which city, with others in
Lombardy, and even the Pope--forgetting their old enmity to the German
Empire--demanded his assistance. He called a Diet, which met at Worms in
1495; but many of the princes, both spiritual and temporal, had learned
a little wisdom, and they were unwilling to interfere in matters outside
of the Empire until something had been done to remedy its internal
condition. Berthold, Archbishop of Mayence, Frederick the Wise of
Saxony, John Cicero of Brandenburg, and Eberhard of the Beard, first
Duke of Würtemberg, with many of the free cities, insisted so strongly
on the restoration of order, security, and the establishment of laws
which should guarantee peace, that the Emperor was forced to comply. For
fourteen weeks the question was discussed with the greatest earnestness:
the opposition of many princes and nearly the whole class of nobles was
overcome, and a Perpetual National Peace was proclaimed. By this
measure, the right to use force was prohibited to all; the feuds which
had desolated the land for a thousand years were ordered to be
suppressed; and all disputes were referred to an Imperial Court,
permanently established at Frankfort, and composed of sixteen
Councillors. It was also agreed that the Diet should meet annually, and
remain in session for one month, in order to insure the uninterrupted
enforcement of its decrees. A proposition to appoint an Imperial Council
of State (equivalent to a modern "Ministry"), of twenty members, which
should have power, in certain cases, to act in the Emperor's name, was
rejected by Maximilian, as an assault upon his personal rights.

[Sidenote: 1496.]

Although the decree of Perpetual Peace could not be carried into effect
immediately, it was not a dead letter, as all former decrees of the kind
had been. Maximilian bound himself, in the most solemn manner, to
respect the new arrangements, and there were now several honest and
intelligent princes to assist him. One difficulty was the collection of
a government tax, called "the common penny," to support the expenses of
the Imperial Court. Such a tax had been for the first time imposed
during the war with the Hussites, but very little of it was then paid.
Even now, when the object of it was of such importance to the whole
people, several years elapsed before the Court could be permanently
established. The annual sessions of the Diet, also, were much less
effective than had been anticipated: princes, priests and cities were so
accustomed to a selfish independence, that they could not yet work
together for the general good.

Before the Diet at Worms adjourned, it agreed to furnish the Emperor
with 9,000 men, to be employed in Italy against the French, and
afterwards against the Turks on the Austrian frontier. Charles VIII.
retreated from Italy on hearing of this measure, yet not rapidly enough
to avoid being defeated, near Parma, by the combined Germans and
Milanese. In 1496 Sigismund of Tyrol died, and all the Hapsburg lands
came into Maximilian's possession. The same year, he married his son
Philip, then eighteen years old and accepted as Regent by the
Netherlands, to Joanna, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of
Castile. The other heirs to the Spanish throne died soon afterwards, and
when Isabella followed them, in 1504, she appointed Philip and Joanna
her successors. The pride and influence of the house of Hapsburg were
greatly increased by this marriage, but its consequences were most
disastrous to Germany, for Philip's son was Charles V.

The next years of Maximilian's reign were disturbed, and, on the whole,
unfortunate for the Empire. An attempt to apply the decrees of the Diet
of Worms to Switzerland brought on a war, which, after occasioning the
destruction of 2,000 villages and castles, and the loss of 20,000 lives,
resulted in the Emperor formally acknowledging the independence of
Switzerland in a treaty concluded at Basel in 1499. Then Louis XII. of
France captured Milan, interfered secretly in a war concerning the
succession, which broke out in Bavaria, and bribed various German
princes to act in his interest, when Maximilian called upon the Diet to
assist him in making war upon France. After having with much difficulty
obtained 12,000 men, the Emperor marched to Italy, intending to replace
the Sforza family in Milan and then be crowned by Pope Julius II. in
Rome. But the Venetians stopped him at the outset of the expedition, and
he was forced to return ingloriously to Germany.


Maximilian's next step was another example of his want of judgment in
political matters. In order to revenge himself upon Venice, he gave up
his hostility to France, and in 1508 became a party to the League of
Cambray, uniting with France, Spain and the Pope in a determined effort
to destroy the Venetian Republic. The war, which was bloody and
barbarous, even for those times, lasted three years. Venice lost, at the
outset, Trieste, Verona, Padua and the Romagna, and seemed on the verge
of ruin, when Maximilian suddenly left Italy with his army, offended, it
was said, at the refusal of the French knights, to fight side by side
with his German troops. The Venetians then recovered so much of their
lost ground that they purchased the alliance of the Pope, and finally of
Spain. A new alliance, called "the Holy League," was formed against
France; and Maximilian, after continuing to support Louis XII. a while
longer, finally united with Henry VII. of England in joining it. But
Louis XII., who was a far better diplomatist than any of his enemies,
succeeded, after he had suffered many inevitable losses, in dissolving
this powerful combination. He married the sister of Henry of England,
yielded Navarre and Naples to Spain, promised money to the Swiss, and
held out to Maximilian the prospect of a marriage which would give Milan
to the Hapsburgs.

Thus the greater part of Europe was for years convulsed with war chiefly
because instead of a prudent and intelligent _national_ power in
Germany, there was an unsteady and excitable _family_ leader, whose
first interest was the advantage of his house. After such sacrifices of
blood and treasure, such disturbance to the development of industry, art
and knowledge among the people, the same confusion prevailed as before.

[Sidenote: 1512.]

Before the war came to an end, another general Diet met at Cologne, in
1512, to complete the organization commenced in 1495. Private feuds and
acts of retaliation had not yet been suppressed, and the Imperial
Council was working under great disadvantages, both from the want of
money and the difficulty of enforcing obedience to its decisions. The
Emperor demanded the creation of a permanent military force, which
should be at the service of the Empire; but this was almost unanimously
refused. In other respects, the Diet showed itself both willing and
earnest to complete the work of peace and order. The whole Empire was
divided into ten Districts, each of which was placed under the
jurisdiction of a Judicial Chief and Board of Councillors, whose duty it
was to see that the decrees of the Diet and the judgments of the
Imperial Court were obeyed.

The Districts were as follows: 1.--THE AUSTRIAN, embracing all the lands
governed by the Hapsburgs, from the Danube to the Adriatic, with the
Tyrol, and some territory on the Upper Rhine: Bohemia, Silesia and
Hungary were not included. 2.--THE BAVARIAN, comprising the divisions on
both sides of the Danube, and the bishopric of Salzburg. 3.--THE
SUABIAN, made up of no less than 90 spiritual and temporal
principalities, including Würtemberg, Baden, Hohenzollern, and the
bishoprics of Augsburg and Constance. 4.--THE FRANCONIAN, embracing the
Brandenburg possessions, Ansbach and Baireuth, with Nuremberg and the
bishoprics of Bamberg, Würzburg, &c. 5.--THE UPPER-RHENISH, comprising
the Palatinate, Hesse, Nassau, the bishoprics of Basel, Strasburg,
Speyer, Worms, &c., the free cities of the Rhine as far as Frankfort,
and a number of petty States. 6.--THE ELECTORAL-RHENISH, with the
Archbishoprics of the Palatinate, Mayence, Treves, Cologne, and the
principality of Amberg. 7.--THE BURGUNDIAN, made up of 21 States, four
of them dukedoms and eight countships. 8.--THE WESTPHALIAN, with the
dukedoms of Jülich, Cleves and Berg, Oldenburg, part of Friesland, and 7
bishoprics. 9.--THE LOWER SAXON, embracing the dukedoms of
Brunswick-Lüneburg, Saxe-Lauenburg, Holstein and Mecklenburg, the
Archbishoprics of Magdeburg and Lübeck, the free cities of Bremen,
Hamburg and Lübeck, and a number of smaller States. 10.--THE UPPER
SAXON, including the Electorates of Saxony and Brandenburg, the dukedom
of Pomerania, the smaller States of Anhalt, Schwarzburg, Mansfeld,
Reuss, and many others of less importance.

[Sidenote: 1512. MILITARY CHANGES.]

This division of Germany into districts had the external appearance of
an orderly political arrangement; but the States, great and little, had
been too long accustomed to having their own way. The fact that an
independent baron, like Franz von Sickingen, could still disturb a large
extent of territory for a number of years, shows the weakness of the new
national power. Moreover, nothing seems to have been done, or even
attempted, by the Diet, to protect the agricultural population from the
absolute despotism of the landed nobility. In Alsatia, as early as 1493,
there was a general revolt of the peasants (called by them the
_Bond-shoe_), which was not suppressed until much blood had been shed.
It excited a spirit of resistance throughout all Southern Germany. In
1514, Duke Ulric of Würtemberg undertook to replenish his treasury by
using false weights and measures, and provoked the common people to rise
against him. They formed a society, to which they gave the name of "Poor
Konrad," which became so threatening that, although it was finally
crushed by violence, it compelled the reform of many flagrant evils and
showed even the most arrogant rulers that there were bounds to tyranny.

But, although the feudal system was still in force, the obligation to
render military service, formerly belonging to it, was nearly at an end.
The use of cannon, and of a rude kind of musket, had become general in
war: heavy armor for man and horse was becoming not only useless, but
dangerous; and the courage of the soldier, not his bodily strength or
his knightly accomplishments, constituted his value in the field. The
Swiss had set the example of furnishing good troops to whoever would pay
for them, and a similar class, calling themselves _Landsknechte_
(Servants of the Country), arose in Germany. The robber-knights, by this
time, were nearly extinct: when Frederick of Hohenzollern began to use
artillery against their castles, it was evident that their days of
plunder were over. The reign of Maximilian, therefore, marks an
important turning-point in German history. It is, at the same time, the
end of the stormy and struggling life of the Middle Ages, and the
beginning of a new and fiercer struggle between men and their
oppressors. Maximilian, in fact, is called in Germany "the Last of the

[Sidenote: 1512.]

The strength of Germany lay chiefly in the cities, which, in spite of
their narrow policy towards the country, and their jealousy of each
other, had at least kept alive and encouraged all forms of art and
industry, and created a class of learned men outside of the Church.
While the knighthood of the Hohenstaufen period had sunk into corruption
and semi-barbarism, and the people had grown more dangerous through
their ignorance and subjection, the cities had gradually become centres
of wealth and intelligence. They were adorned with splendid works of
architecture; they supported the early poets, painters and sculptors;
and, when compelled to act in concert against the usurpations of the
Emperor or the inferior rulers, whatever privileges they maintained or
received were in favor of the middle-class, and therefore an indirect
gain to the whole people.

The cities, moreover, exercised an influence over the country population
by their markets, fairs, and festivals. The most of them were as largely
and as handsomely built as at present, but in times of peace the life
within their walls was much gayer and more brilliant. Pope Pius II.,
when he was secretary to Frederick III. as Æneas Sylvius, wrote of them
as follows: "One may veritably say that no people in Europe live in
cleaner or more cheerful cities than the Germans; their appearance is as
new as if they had only been built yesterday. By their commerce they
amass great wealth: there is no banquet at which they do not drink from
silver cups, no dame who does not wear golden ornaments. Moreover, the
citizens are also soldiers, and each one has a sort of arsenal in his
own house. The boys in this country can ride before they can talk, and
sit firmly in the saddle when the horses are at full speed: the men move
in their armor without feeling its weight. Verily, you Germans might be
masters of the world, as formerly, but for your multitude of rulers,
which every wise man has always considered an evil!"

During the fifteenth century a remarkable institution, called "the
Vehm"--or, by the people, "the Holy Vehm"--exercised a great authority
throughout Northern Germany. Its members claimed that it was founded by
Charlemagne, to assist in establishing Christianity among the Saxons;
but it is not mentioned before the twelfth century, and the probability
is that it sprang up from the effort of the people to preserve their old
democratic organization, in a secret form, after it had been overthrown
by the reigning princes. The object of the Vehm was to enforce impartial
justice among all classes, and for this purpose it held open courts for
the settlement of quarrels and minor offences, while graver crimes were
tried at night, in places known only to the members. The latter were
sworn to secrecy, and also to implicit obedience to the judgments of the
courts or the orders of the chiefs, who were called "Free Counts." The
head-quarters of the Vehm were in Westphalia, but its branches spread
over a great part of Germany, and it became so powerful during the reign
of Frederick III. that it even dared to cite him to appear before its


In all probability the dread of the power of the Vehm was one of the
causes which induced both Maximilian and the princes to reorganize the
Empire. In proportion as order and justice began to prevail in Germany,
the need of such a secret institution grew less; but about another
century elapsed before its courts ceased to be held. After that, it
continued to exist in Westphalia as an order for mutual assistance,
something like that of the Freemasons. In this form it lingered until
1838, when the last "Free Count" died.

Among the other changes introduced during Maximilian's reign were the
establishment of a police system, and the invention of a postal system
by Franz of Taxis. The latter obtained a monopoly of the post routes
throughout Germany, and his family, which afterwards became that of
Thurn and Taxis, received an enormous revenue from this source, from
that time down to the present day. Maximilian himself devoted a great
deal of time and study to the improvement of artillery, and many new
forms of cannon, which were designed by him, are still preserved in

Although the people of Germany did not share to any great extent in the
passion for travel and adventure which followed the discovery of America
in 1492 and the circumnavigation of Africa in 1498, they were directly
affected by the changes which took place in the commerce of the world.
The supremacy of Venice in the South and of the Hanseatic League in the
North of Europe, began slowly to decline, while the powers which
undertook to colonize the new lands--England, Spain and Portugal--rose
in commercial importance.

[Sidenote: 1518.]

The last years of Maximilian promised new splendors to the house of
Hapsburg. In 1515 his younger grandson, Ferdinand, married the daughter
of Ladislas, king of Bohemia and Hungary, whose only son died shortly
afterwards, leaving Ferdinand heir to the double crown. In 1516, the
Emperor's elder grandson, Karl, became king of Spain, Sicily and Naples,
in addition to Burgundy and Flanders, which he held as the
great-grandson of Charles the Bold. At a Diet held at Augsburg, in 1518,
Maximilian made great exertions to have Karl elected his successor, but
failed on account of the opposition of Pope Leo X. and Francis I. of
France, whose agents were present with heavy bribes in their pockets.

Disappointed and depressed, the Emperor left Augsburg, and went to
Innsbruck, but the latter city refused to entertain him until some money
which he had borrowed of it should be refunded. His strength had been
failing for years before, and he always travelled with a coffin among
his baggage. He now felt his end approaching, took up his abode in the
little town of Wels, and devoted his remaining days to religious
exercises. There he died, on the 11th of January, 1519, in the sixtieth
year of his age.




Martin Luther. --Signs of the Coming Reformation. --Luther's Youth and
    Education. --His Study of the Bible. --His Professorship at
    Wittenberg. --Visit to Rome. --Tetzel's Sale of Indulgences.
    --Luther's Theses. --His Meeting with Cardinal Cajetanus. --Escape
    from Augsburg. --Meeting with the Pope's Nuncio. --Excitement in
    Germany. --Luther burns the Pope's Bull. --Charles V. elected
    German Emperor. --Luther before the Diet at Worms. --His Abduction
    and Concealment. --He Returns to Wittenberg. --Progress of the
    Reformation. --The Anabaptists. --The Peasants' War. --Luther's
    Manner of Translating the Bible. --Leagues For and Against the
    Reformation. --Its Features. --The Wars of Charles V. --Diet at
    Speyer. --The Protestants. --The Swiss Reformer, Zwingli. --His
    Meeting with Luther. --Charles V. returns to Germany. --The
    Augsburg Confession. --Measures against the Protestants. --The
    League of Schmalkalden. --The Religious Peace of Nuremberg. --Its
    Consequences. --John of Leyden. --Another Diet. --Charles V.
    Invades France. --The Council of Trent. --Luther's last Years.
    --His Death and Burial.

[Sidenote: 1519. MARTIN LUTHER.]

When the Emperor Maximilian died, a greater man than himself or any of
his predecessors on the Imperial throne had already begun a far greater
work than was ever accomplished by any political ruler. Out of the ranks
of the poor, oppressed German people arose the chosen Leader who became
powerful above all princes, who resisted the first monarch of the world,
and defeated the Church of Rome after an undisturbed reign of a thousand
years. We must therefore leave the succession of the house of Hapsburg
until we have traced the life of Martin Luther up to the time of
Maximilian's death.

The Reformation, which was now so near at hand, already existed in the
feelings and hopes of a large class of the people. The persecutions of
the Albigenses in France, the Waldenses in Savoy and the Wickliffites in
England, the burning of Huss and Jerome, and the long ravages of the
Hussite war had made all Europe familiar with the leading doctrine of
each of these sects--that the Bible was the highest authority, the only
source of Christian truth. Earnest, thinking men in all countries were
thus led to examine the Bible for themselves, and the great
dissemination of the study of the ancient languages, during the
fifteenth century, helped very much to increase the knowledge of the
sacred volume. Then came the art of printing, as a most providential
aid, making the truth accessible to all who were able to read it.

[Sidenote: 1483.]

The long reign of Frederick III., as we have seen, was a period of
political disorganization, which was partially corrected during the
reign of Maximilian. Internal peace was the first great necessity of
Germany, and, until it had been established, the people patiently
endured the oppressions and abuses of the Church of Rome. When they were
ready for a serious resistance to the latter, the man was also ready to
instruct and guide them, and the Church itself furnished the occasion
for a general revolt against its authority.

Martin Luther, the son of a poor miner, was born in the little Saxon
town of Eisleben (not far from the Hartz), on the 10th of November,
1483. He attended a monkish school at Magdeburg, and then became what is
called a "wandering-scholar"--that is, one who has no certain means of
support, but chants in the church, and also in the streets for alms--at
Eisenach, in Thuringia. As a boy he was so earnest, studious and
obedient, and gave such intellectual promise, that his parents stinted
themselves in order to save enough from their scanty earnings to secure
him a good education. But their circumstances gradually improved, and in
1501 they were able to send him to the University of Erfurt. Four years
afterwards he was graduated with honor, and delivered a course of
lectures upon Aristotle.

Luther's father desired that he should study jurisprudence, but his
thoughts were already turned towards religion. A copy of the Bible in
the library of the University excited in him such a spiritual struggle
that he became seriously ill; and he had barely recovered, when, while
taking a walk with a fellow-student, the latter was struck dead by
lightning at his side. Then he determined to renounce the world, and in
spite of the strong opposition of his father, became a monk of the
Augustine Order, in Erfurt. He prayed, fasted, and followed the most
rigid discipline of the order, in the hope of obtaining peace of mind,
but in vain: he was tormented by doubt and even by despair, until he
turned again to the Bible. A zealous study of the exact language of the
Gospels gave him not only a firm faith, but a peace and cheerfulness
which was never afterwards disturbed by trials or dangers.


The Elector, Frederick the Wise, of Saxony, had founded a new University
at Wittenberg, and sought to obtain competent professors for it. The
Vicar-General of the Augustine Order, to whom Luther's zeal and ability
were known, recommended him for one of the places, and in 1508 he began
to lecture in Wittenberg, first on Greek philosophy, and then upon
theology. His success was so marked that in 1510 he was sent by the
Order on a special mission to Rome, where the corruptions of the Church
and the immorality of the Pope and Cardinals made a profound and lasting
impression upon his mind. He returned to Germany, feeling as he never
had felt before, the necessity of a reformation of the Church. In 1512
he was made Doctor of Theology, and from that time forward his
teachings, which were based upon his own knowledge of the Bible, began
to bear abundant fruit.

In the year 1517, the Pope, Leo X., famous both for his luxurious habits
and his love of art, found that his income was not sufficient for his
expenses, and determined to increase it by issuing a series of
absolutions for all forms of crime, even perjury, bigamy and murder. The
cost of pardon was graduated according to the nature of the sin. Albert,
Archbishop of Mayence, bought the right of selling absolutions in
Germany, and appointed as his agent a Dominican monk of the name of
Tetzel. The latter began travelling through the country like a pedlar,
publicly offering for sale the pardon of the Roman Church for all
varieties of crime. In some places he did an excellent business, since
many evil men also purchased pardons in advance for the crimes they
intended to commit: in other districts Tetzel only stirred up the
abhorrence of the people, and increased their burning desire to have
such enormities suppressed.

Only one man, however, dared to come out openly and condemn the Papal
trade in sin and crime. This was Dr. Martin Luther, who, on the 31st of
October, 1517, nailed upon the door of the Church at Wittenberg a series
of ninety-five theses, or theological declarations, the truth of which
he offered to prove, against all adversaries. The substance of them was
that the pardon of sins came only from God, and could only be purchased
by true repentance; that to offer absolutions for sale, as Tetzel was
doing, was an unchristian act, contrary to the genuine doctrines of the
Church; and that it could not, therefore, have been sanctioned by the
Pope. Luther's object, at this time, was not to separate from the Church
of Rome, but to reform and purify it.

[Sidenote: 1518.]

The ninety-five theses, which were written in Latin, were immediately
translated, printed, and circulated throughout Germany. They were
followed by replies, in which the action of the Pope was defended;
Luther was styled a heretic, and threatened with the fate of Huss. He
defended himself in pamphlets, which were eagerly read by the people;
and his followers increased so rapidly that Leo X., who had summoned him
to Rome for trial, finally agreed that he should present himself before
the Papal Legate, Cardinal Cajetanus, at Augsburg. The latter simply
demanded that Luther should retract what he had preached and written, as
being contrary to the Papal bulls; whereupon Luther, for the first time,
was compelled to declare that "the command of the Pope can only be
respected as the voice of God, when it is not in conflict with the Holy
Scriptures." The Cardinal afterwards said: "I will have nothing more to
do with that German beast, with the deep eyes and the whimsical
speculations in his head!" and Luther said of him: "He knew no more
about the Word than a donkey knows of harp-playing."

The Vicar-General of the Augustines was still Luther's friend, and,
fearing that he was not safe in Augsburg, he had him let out of the city
at daybreak, through a small door in the wall, and then supplied with a
horse. Having reached Wittenberg, where he was surrounded with devoted
followers, Frederick the Wise was next ordered to give him up. About the
same time Leo X. declared that the practices assailed by Luther were
doctrines of the Church, and must be accepted as such. Frederick began
to waver; but the young Philip Melanchthon, Justus Jonas, and other
distinguished men connected with the University exerted their influence,
and the Elector finally refused the demand. The Emperor Maximilian, now
near his end, sent a letter to the Pope, begging him to arrange the
difficulty, and Leo X. commissioned his Nuncio, a Saxon nobleman named
Karl von Miltitz, to meet Luther. The meeting took place at Altenburg in
1519: the Nuncio, who afterwards reported that he "would not undertake
to remove Luther from Germany with the help of 10,000 soldiers, for he
had found ten men for him where one was for the Pope"--was a mild and
conciliatory man. He prayed Luther to pause, for he was destroying the
peace of the Church, and succeeded, by his persuasions, in inducing him
to promise to keep silence, provided his antagonists remained silent

[Sidenote: 1520. BURNING THE POPE'S BULL.]

This was merely a truce, and it was soon broken. Dr. Eck, one of the
partisans of the Church, challenged Luther's friend and follower,
Carlstadt, to a public discussion in Leipzig, and it was not long before
Luther himself was compelled to take part in it. He declared his views
with more clearness than ever, disregarding the outcry raised against
him that he was in fellowship with the Bohemian heretics. The struggle,
by this time, had affected all Germany, the middle class and smaller
nobles being mostly on Luther's side, while the priests and reigning
princes, with a few exceptions, were against him. In order to defend
himself from misrepresentation and justify his course, he published two
pamphlets, one called "An Appeal to the Emperor and Christian Nobles of
Germany," and the other, "Concerning the Babylonian Captivity of the
Church." These were read by tens of thousands, all over the country.

Pope Leo X. immediately issued a bull, ordering all Luther's writings to
be burned, excommunicating those who should believe in them, and
summoning Luther to Rome. This only increased the popular excitement in
Luther's favor, and on the 10th of December, 1520, he took the step
which made impossible any reconciliation between himself and the Papal
power. Accompanied by the Professors and students of the University, he
had a fire kindled outside of one of the gates of Wittenberg, placed
therein the books of canonical law and various writings in defence of
the Pope, and then cast the Papal bull into the flames, with the words:
"As thou hast tormented the Lord and His Saints, so may eternal flame
torment and consume thee!" This was the boldest declaration of war ever
hurled at such an overwhelming authority; but the courage of this one
man soon communicated itself to the people. The knight, Ulric von
Hutten, a distinguished scholar, who had been crowned as poet by the
Emperor Maximilian, openly declared for Luther: the rebellious baron,
Franz von Sickingen, offered him his castle as a safe place of refuge.
Frederick the Wise was now his steadfast friend, and, although the
dangers which beset him increased every day, his own faith in the
righteousness of his cause only became firmer and purer.

[Sidenote: 1519.]

By this time the question of electing a successor to Maximilian had been
settled. When the Diet came together at Frankfort, in June, 1519, two
prominent candidates presented themselves,--king Francis I. of France,
and king Charles of Spain, Naples, Sicily and the Spanish possessions in
the newly-discovered America. The former of these had no other right to
the crown than could be purchased by the wagon-loads of money which he
sent to Germany; the latter was the grandson of Maximilian, and also
represented, in his own person, Austria, Burgundy and the Netherlands.
Again the old jealousy of so much power arose among the Electors, and
they gave their votes to Frederick the Wise, of Saxony. He, however,
shrank from the burden of the imperial rule, at such a time, and
declined to accept. Then Charles of Spain, who had ruined the prospects
of Francis I. by distributing 850,000 gold florins among the members of
the Diet, was elected without any further difficulty. The following year
he was crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle, and became Karl V. in the list of
German Emperors. Although he reigned thirty-six years, he always
remained a foreigner: he never even learned to speak the German language
fluently: his tastes and habits were Spanish, and his election, at such
a crisis in the history of Germany, was a crime from the effects of
which the country did not recover for three hundred years afterwards.

Luther wrote to the new Emperor, immediately after the election, begging
that he might not be condemned unheard, and was so earnestly supported
by Frederick the Wise, who had voted for Charles at the Diet, that the
latter sent Luther a formal invitation to appear before him at Worms,
where a new Diet had been called, specially to arrange the Imperial
Court in the ten districts of the Empire, and to raise a military force
to drive the French out of Lombardy, which Francis I. had seized. Luther
considered this opportunity "a call from God:" he set out from
Wittenberg, and wherever he passed the people flocked together in great
numbers to see him and hear him speak. On approaching Worms, one of his
friends tried to persuade him to turn back, but he answered: "Though
there were as many devils in the city as tiles on the roofs, yet would I
go!" He entered Worms in an open wagon, in his monk's dress, stared at
by an immense concourse of people. The same evening he received visits
from a number of princes and noblemen.

[Sidenote: 1521. LUTHER AT THE DIET OF WORMS.]

On the 17th of April, 1521, Luther was conducted by the Marshal of the
Empire to the City Hall, where the Diet was in session. As he was
passing through the outer hall, the famous knight and general, George
von Frundsberg, clapped him upon the shoulder, with the words: "Monk,
monk! thou art in a strait, the like of which myself and many leaders,
in the most desperate battles, have never known. But if thy thoughts are
just, and thou art sure of thy cause, go on in God's name, and be of
good cheer, He will not forsake thee!" Charles V. is reported to have
said, when Luther entered the great hall: "That monk will never make a
heretic of me!" After having acknowledged all his writings, Luther was
called upon to retract them. He appeared to be somewhat embarrassed and
undecided, either confused by the splendor of the Imperial Court, or
shaken by the overwhelming responsibility resting upon him. He therefore
asked a little time for further consideration, and was allowed
twenty-four hours.

When he reappeared before the Diet, the next day, he was calm and firm.
In a plain, yet most earnest address, delivered both in Latin and German
so that all might understand, he explained the grounds of his belief,
and closed with the solemn words: "Unless, therefore, I should be
confuted by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures and by clear and
convincing reasons, I cannot and will not retract, because there is
neither wisdom nor safety in acting against conscience. Here I stand; I
cannot do otherwise: God help me! Amen."

Charles V., without allowing the matter to be discussed by the Diet,
immediately declared that Luther should be prosecuted as a heretic, as
soon as the remaining twenty-one days of his safe-conduct had expired.
He was urged by many of the partisans of Rome, not to respect the
promise, but he answered: "I do not mean to blush, like Sigismund."
Luther's sincerity and courage confirmed the faith of his princely
friends. Frederick the Wise and the Landgrave Philip of Hesse walked by
his side when he left the Diet, and Duke Eric of Brunswick sent him a
jug of beer. His followers among the nobility greatly increased in
numbers and enthusiasm.

[Sidenote: 1521.]

It was certain, however, that he would be in serious danger as soon as
he had been formally outlawed by the Emperor. A plot, kept secret from
all his friends, was formed for his safety, and successfully carried out
during his return from Worms to Wittenberg. Luther travelled in an open
wagon, with only one companion. On entering the Thuringian Forest, he
sent his escort in advance, and was soon afterwards, in a lonely glen,
seized by four knights in armor and with closed visors, placed upon a
horse and carried away. The news spread like wild-fire over Germany that
he had been murdered, and for nearly a year he was lost to the world.
His writings were only read the more: the Papal bull and the Imperial
edict which ordered them to be burned were alike disregarded. Charles V.
went back to Spain immediately after the Diet of Worms, after having
transferred the German possessions of the house of Hapsburg to his
younger brother, Ferdinand, and the business of suppressing Luther's
doctrines fell chiefly to the Archbishops of Mayence and Cologne, and
the Papal Legate.

Luther, meanwhile, was in security in a castle called the Wartburg, on
the summit of a mountain near Eisenach. He was dressed in a knightly
fashion, wore a helmet, breastplate and sword, allowed his beard to
grow, and went by the name of "Squire George." But in the privacy of his
own chamber--all the furniture of which is preserved to this day, as
when he lived in it--he worked zealously upon a translation of the New
Testament into German. In the spring of 1522 he was disturbed in his
labors by the report of new doctrines which were being preached in
Wittenberg. His friend Carlstadt had joined a fanatical sect, called the
Anabaptists, which advocated the abolition of the mass, the destruction
of pictures and statues, and proclaimed the coming of God's Kingdom upon
the Earth.

The experience of the Bohemians showed Luther the necessity of union in
his great work of reforming the Christian Church. Moreover, his enemies
triumphantly pointed to the excesses of the Anabaptists as the natural
result of his doctrines. There was no time to be lost: in spite of the
remonstrance of the Elector Frederick, he left the Wartburg, and rode
alone, as a man-at-arms, to Wittenberg, where even Melanchthon did not
recognize him on his arrival. He began preaching, with so much power and
eloquence, that in a few days the new sect lost all the ground it had
gained, and its followers were expelled from the city. The necessity of
arranging another and simpler form of divine service was made evident by
these occurrences; and after the publication of the New Testament in
German, in September, 1522, Luther and Melanchthon united in the former

[Sidenote: 1523. THE PEASANTS' WAR.]

The Reformation made such progress that by 1523, not only Saxony, Hesse
and Brunswick had practically embraced it, but also the cities of
Frankfort, Strasburg, Nuremberg and Magdeburg, the Augustine order of
monks, a part of the Franciscans, and quite a large number of priests.
Now, however, a new and most serious trouble arose, partly from the
preaching of the Anabaptists, headed by their so-called Prophet, Thomas
Münzer, and partly provoked by the oppressions which the common people
had so long endured. In the summer of 1524 the peasants of Würtemberg
and Baden united, armed themselves, and issued a manifesto containing
twelve articles. They demanded the right to choose their own priests;
the restriction of tithes to their harvests; the abolition of feudal
serfdom; the use of the forests; the regulation of the privilege of the
nobles to hunt and fish; and protection, in certain other points,
against the arbitrary power of the landed nobility. They seemed to take
it for granted that Luther would support them; but he, dreading a civil
war and desirous to keep the religious reformation free from any
political movement, published a pamphlet condemning their revolt. At the
same time he used his influence on their behalf, with the reigning
priests and princes.

The excitement, however, was too great to be subdued by admonitions of
patience and forbearance. A dreadful war broke out in 1525: the army of
30,000 peasants ravaged a great part of Southern Germany, destroying
castles and convents, and venting their rage in the most shocking
barbarities, which were afterwards inflicted upon themselves, when they
were finally defeated by the Count of Waldburg. The movement extended
through Middle Germany even to Westphalia, and threatened to become
general: some parts of Thuringia were held for a short time by the
peasants, and suffered terrible ravages. Another army of 8,000, headed
by Thomas Münzer, was cut to pieces near Mühlhausen, in Saxony, and by
the end of the year 1525, the rebellion was completely suppressed. In
this short time, some of the most interesting monuments of the Middle
Ages, among them the grand castle of the Hohenstaufens, in Suabia, had
been levelled to the earth; whole provinces were laid waste; tens of
thousands of men, women and children were put to the sword, and a
serious check was given to the progress of the Reformation, through all
Southern Germany.

[Sidenote: 1525.]

The stand which Luther had taken against the rebellion preserved the
friendship of those princes who were well-disposed towards him, but he
took no part in the measures of defence against the Imperial and Papal
power, which they were soon compelled to adopt. He devoted himself to
the completion of his translation of the Bible, in which he was
faithfully assisted by Melanchthon and others. In this great work he
accomplished even more than a service to Christianity; he created the
modern German language. Before his time, there had been no tongue which
was known and accepted throughout the whole Empire. The poets and
minstrels of the Middle Ages wrote in Suabian; other popular works were
in low-Saxon, Franconian or Alsatian. The dialect of Holland and
Flanders had so changed that it was hardly understood in Germany; that
of Brandenburg and the Baltic provinces had no literature as yet, and
the learned or scientific works of the time were written in Latin.

No one before Luther saw that the simplest and most expressive qualities
of the German language must be sought for in the mouths of the people.
With all his scholarship, he never used the theological style of
writing, but endeavored to express himself so that he could be clearly
understood by all men. In translating the Old Testament, he took
extraordinary pains to find words and phrases as simple and strong as
those of the Hebrew writers. He frequented the market-place, the
merry-making, the house of birth, marriage or death, to learn how the
common people expressed themselves in all the circumstances of life. He
enlisted his friends in the same service, begging them to note down for
him any peculiar, characteristic phrase; "for," said he, "I cannot use
the words heard in castles and courts." Not a sentence of the Bible was
translated until he had found the best and clearest German expression
for it. He wrote, in 1530: "I have exerted myself, in translating, to
give pure and clear German. And it has verily happened, that we have
sought and questioned a fortnight, three, four weeks, for a single word,
and yet it was not always found. In Job, we so labored, Philip
Melanchthon, Aurogallus and I, that in four days we sometimes barely
finished three lines."

[Sidenote: 1525. LUTHER'S MARRIAGE.]

Pope Leo X. died in 1521, and was succeeded by Adrian VI., the last
German who wore the Papal crown. He admitted many of the corruptions of
the Roman Church, and seemed inclined to reform them; but he only lived
two years, and his successor was Clement VII., a nephew of Leo. The
latter induced Ferdinand of Austria, the Dukes of Bavaria and several
Bishops to unite in a league for suppressing the spread of Luther's
doctrines. Thereupon the Elector John of Saxony (Frederick the Wise
having died in 1525), Philip of Hesse, Albert of Brandenburg, the Dukes
of Brunswick and Mecklenburg, the Counts of Mansfeld and Anhalt and the
city of Magdeburg formed a counter-alliance at Torgau, in 1526. At the
Diet held in Speyer the same year, the party of the Reformation was so
strong that no decree against it could be passed; the question was left

The organization of the Christian Church which was by this time adopted
in Saxony, soon spread over all Northern Germany. Its principal features
were: the abolition of the monastic orders and of priestly celibacy;
divine service in the language of the country; the distribution of the
Bible, in German, to all persons; the communion in both forms, for
laymen; and the instruction of the people and their children in the
truths of Christianity. The former possessions of the Church were given
up to the State, and Luther, against Melanchthon's advice, even insisted
on uniting the episcopal authority with the political, in the person of
the reigning prince. He set the example of giving up priestly celibacy,
by marrying, in 1525, Catharine von Bora, a nun of a noble family. This
step created a great sensation; even many of Luther's friends condemned
his course, but he declared that he was right, and he was rewarded by
twenty-one years of unalloyed domestic happiness.

The Emperor Charles V., during all these events, was absent from
Germany. His first war with France was brought to a conclusion by the
battle of Pavia, in February, 1525, when Francis I. was obliged to
surrender, and was sent as a prisoner to Madrid. But having purchased
his freedom the following year, by giving up his claims to Italy,
Burgundy and Flanders, he no sooner returned to France than he
recommenced the war,--this time in union with Pope Clement VII., who was
jealous of the Emperor's increasing power in Italy. The old knight
George von Frundsberg and the Constable de Bourbon--a member of the
royal family of France, who had gone over to Charles V.'s side,--then
united their forces, which were principally German, and marched upon
Rome. The city was taken by storm, in 1527, terribly ravaged and the
Pope made prisoner. Charles V. pretended not to have known of or
authorized this movement; he liberated the Pope, who promised, in
return, to call a Council for the Reformation of the Church. The war
continued, however,--Venice, Genoa and England being also
involved--until 1529, when it was terminated by the Peace of Cambray.

[Sidenote: 1529.]

Charles V. and the Pope then came to an understanding, in virtue of
which the former was crowned king of Lombardy and Emperor of Rome in
Bologna, in 1530, and bound himself to extirpate the doctrines of Luther
in Germany. In Austria, Bavaria and Würtemberg, in fact, the persecution
had already commenced: many persons had been hanged or burned at the
stake for professing the new doctrines. Ferdinand of Austria, who had
meanwhile succeeded to the crowns of Bohemia and Hungary, was compelled
to call a Diet at Speyer, in 1529, to take measures against the Turks,
then victorious in Transylvania and a great part of Hungary; a majority
of Catholics was present, and they passed a decree repeating the
outlawry of Luther and his doctrines by the Diet of Worms. Seven
reigning princes, headed by Saxony, Brandenburg and Hesse, and fifteen
imperial cities, joined in a solemn protest against this measure,
asserting that the points in dispute could only be settled by a
universal Council, called for the purpose. From that day, the name of
"Protestants" was given to both the followers of Luther, and the Swiss
Reformers, under the lead of Zwingli.

The history of the Reformation in Switzerland cannot be here given. It
will be enough to say that Zwingli, who was born in the Canton of St.
Gall, in 1484, resembled Luther in his purity of character, his earnest
devotion to study, and the circumstance that his ideas of religious
reform were derived from an intimate knowledge of the Bible. It was the
passionate desire of Philip of Hesse that both branches of the
Protestants should become united, in order to be so much the stronger to
meet the dangers which all felt were coming. Luther, who labored and
prayed to prevent the struggle from becoming political, and who had
opposed even the league of the Protestant princes at Torgau, in 1526,
was with difficulty induced to meet Zwingli. He was still busy with his
translation of the Bible, with the preparation of a Catechism for the
people, a collection of hymns to be used in worship, and other works
necessary to the complete organization of the Protestant Church.


The meeting between the two Reformers finally took place in Marburg, in
1529. Melanchthon, Jonas, and many other distinguished men were present:
both Luther and Zwingli fully and freely compared their doctrines, but,
although they were united on all essential points, they differed in
regard to the nature of the Eucharist, and Luther positively refused to
give way, or even to make common cause with the Swiss Protestants. This
was one of several instances, wherein the great Reformer injured his
cause through his lack of wisdom and tolerance: in small things, as in
great, he was inflexible.

So matters stood, in the beginning of 1530, when Charles V. returned to
Germany, after an absence of nine years. He established his court at
Innsbruck, and summoned a Diet to meet at Augsburg, in April, but it was
not opened until the 20th of June. Melanchthon, with many other
Protestant professors and clergymen, was present: Luther, being under
the ban of the Empire, remained in Coburg, where he wrote his grand
hymn, "Our Lord, He is a Tower of Strength." The Protestant princes and
cities united in signing a Confession of Faith, which had been very
carefully drawn up by Melanchthon, and the Emperor was obliged to
consent that it should be read before the Diet. He ordered, however,
that the reading should take place, not in the great hall where the
sessions were held, but in the Bishop's chapel, and at a very early hour
in the morning. The object of this arrangement was to prevent any but
the members of the Diet from hearing the document.

But the weather was intensely warm, and it was necessary to open the
windows; the Saxon Chancellor, Dr. Bayer, read the Confession in such a
loud, clear voice, that a thousand or more persons, gathered on the
outside of the Chapel, were able to hear every word. The principles
asserted were:--That men are justified by faith alone; that an assembly
of true believers constitutes the Church; that it is not necessary that
forms and ceremonies should be everywhere the same; that preaching, the
sacraments, and infant baptism, are necessary; that Christ is really
present in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, which should be
administered to the congregation in both forms; that monastic vows,
fasting, pilgrimages and the invocation of saints are useless, and that
priests must be allowed to marry. After the Confession had been read,
many persons were heard to exclaim: "It is reasonable that the abuses of
the Church should be corrected: the Lutherans are right, for our
spiritual lords have carried it with too high a hand." The general
impression was favorable to the Protestants, and the princes who had
signed the Confession determined that they would maintain it at all
hazards. This "Augsburg Confession," as it was thenceforth called, was
the foundation of the Lutheran Church throughout Germany.

[Sidenote: 1530.]

The Emperor ordered a refutation of the Protestant doctrines to be
prepared by the Catholic theologians who were present, but refused to
furnish a copy to the Protestants and prohibited them from making any
reply. He declared that the latter must instantly return to the Roman
Church, the abuses of which would be corrected by himself and the Pope.
Thus the breach was made permanent between Rome and more than half of
Germany. Charles V. procured the election of his brother Ferdinand to
the crown of Germany, although Bavaria united with the Protestant
princes in voting against him.

The Imperial Courts in the ten districts were now composed entirely of
Catholics, and they were ordered to enforce the suppression of
Protestant worship. Thereupon the Protestant princes and delegates from
the cities met at the little town of Schmalkalden, in Thuringia, and on
the 29th of March, 1531, bound themselves to unite, for the space of six
years, in resisting the Imperial decree. Even Luther, much as he dreaded
a religious war, could not oppose this movement. The League of
Schmalkalden, as it is called, represented so much military strength,
that king Ferdinand became alarmed and advised a more conciliatory
course towards the Protestants. Sultan Solyman of Turkey, who had
conquered all Hungary, was marching upon Vienna with an immense army,
and openly boasted that he would subdue Germany.

It thus became impossible for Charles V. either to suppress the
Protestants at this time, or to repel the Turkish invasion without their
help. He was compelled to call a new Diet, which met at Nuremberg, and
in August, 1532, concluded a Religious Peace, both parties agreeing to
refrain from all hostilities until a General Council of the Church
should be called. Then the Protestants contributed their share of troops
to the Imperial army, which soon amounted to 80,000 men, commanded by
the famous general, Sebastian Schertlin, himself a Protestant. The Turks
were defeated everywhere; the siege of Vienna was raised, and the whole
of Hungary might have been reconquered, but for Ferdinand's unpopularity
among the Catholic princes.


Other cities and smaller principalities joined the League of
Schmalkalden, the power of which increased from year to year. The
Religious Peace of Nuremberg greatly favored the spread of the
Reformation, although it was not very strictly observed by either side.
In 1534 Würtemberg, which was then held by Ferdinand of Austria, was
conquered by Philip of Hesse, who reinstated the exiled Duke, Ulric. The
latter became a Protestant, and thus Würtemberg was added to the League.
Charles V. would certainly have interfered in this case, but he had left
Germany for another nine years' absence, and was just then engaged in a
war with Tunis. The reigning princes of Brandenburg and Ducal Saxony
(Thuringia), who had been enemies of the Reformation, died and were
succeeded by Protestant sons: in 1537 the League of Schmalkalden was
renewed for ten years more, and the so-called "holy alliances," which
were attempted against it by Bavaria and the Archbishops of Mayence and
Salzburg, were of no avail. The Protestant faith continued to spread,
not only in Germany, but also in Denmark, Sweden, Holland and England.
The first of these countries even became a member of the Schmalkalden
League, in 1538.

Out of the "Freedom of the Gospel," which was the first watch-word of
the Reformers, smaller sects continued to arise, notwithstanding they
met with almost as much opposition from the Protestants as the
Catholics. The Anabaptists obtained possession of the city of Münster in
1534, and held it for more than a year, under the government of a Dutch
tailor, named John of Leyden, who had himself crowned king of Zion,
introduced polygamy, and cut off the heads of all who resisted his
decrees. When the Bishop of Münster finally took the city, John of
Leyden and two of his associates were tortured to death, and their
bodies suspended in iron cages over the door of the cathedral. About the
same time Simon Menno, a native of Friesland, founded a quiet and
peaceful sect which was named, after him, the Mennonites, and which
still exists, both in Germany and the United States.

[Sidenote: 1544.]

While, therefore, Charles V. was carrying on his wars, alternately with
the Barbary States, and with Francis I. of France, the foundations of
the Protestant Church, in spite of all divisions and disturbances, were
permanently laid in Germany. Although he had been brilliantly successful
in Tunis, in 1535, he failed so completely before Algiers, in 1541, that
Francis I. was emboldened to make another attempt, in alliance with
Sultan Solyman of Turkey, Denmark and Sweden. So formidable was the
danger that the Emperor was again compelled to seek the assistance of
the German Protestants, and even of England. He returned to Germany for
the second time and called a Diet to meet in Speyer, which renewed the
Religious Peace of Nuremberg, with the assurance that Protestants should
have equal rights before the Imperial courts, and that they would be
left free until the meeting of a _Free_ Council of the Church.

Having obtained an army of 40,000 men by these concessions, Charles V.
marched into France, captured a number of fortresses, and had reached
Soissons on his way to Paris, when Francis I. acknowledged himself
defeated and begged for peace. In the Treaty of Crespy, in 1544, he gave
up his claim to Lombardy, Naples, Flanders and Artois, while the Emperor
gave him a part of Burgundy, and both united in a league against the
Turks and Protestants, the allies of one and the other. In order,
however, to preserve some appearance of fidelity to his solemn pledges,
the Emperor finally prevailed upon the Pope, Paul III., to order an
OEcumenical Council. It was just 130 years since the Roman Church had
promised to reform itself. The delay had given rise to the Protestant
Reformation, which was now so powerful that only a just and conciliatory
course on the part of Rome could settle the difficulty. Instead of this,
the Council was summoned to meet at Trent, in the Italian part of the
Tyrol, the Pope reserved the government of it for himself, and the
Protestants, although invited to attend, were thus expected to
acknowledge his authority. They unanimously declared, therefore, that
they would not be bound by its decrees. Even Luther, who had ardently
hoped to see all Christians again united under a purer organization of
the Church, saw that a reconciliation was impossible, and published a
pamphlet entitled: "The Roman Papacy Founded by the Devil."

[Sidenote: 1546. LUTHER'S LAST DAYS.]

The publication of the complete translation of the Bible in 1534 was not
the end of Luther's labors. His leadership in the great work of
Reformation was acknowledged by all, and he was consulted by princes and
clergymen, by scholars and jurists, even by the common people. He never
relaxed in his efforts to preserve peace, not only among the Protestant
princes, who could not yet overcome their old habit of asserting an
independent authority, but also between Protestants and Catholics. Yet
he could hardly help feeling that, with such a form of government, and
such an Emperor, as Germany then possessed, peace was impossible: he
only prayed that it might last while he lived.

Luther's powerful constitution gradually broke down under the weight of
his labors and anxieties. He became subject to attacks of bodily
suffering, followed by great depression of mind. Nevertheless, the
consciousness of having in a great measure performed the work which he
had been called upon to do, kept up his faith, and he was accustomed to
declare that he had been made "a chosen weapon of God, known in Heaven
and Hell, as well as upon the earth." In January, 1546, he was summoned
to Eisleben, the place of his birth, by the Counts of Mansfeld, who
begged him to act as arbitrator between them in a question of
inheritance. Although much exhausted by the fatigues of the
winter-journey, he settled the dispute, and preached four times to the
people. His last letter to his wife, written on the 14th of February, is
full of courage, cheerfulness and tenderness.

Two days afterwards, his strength began to fail. His friend, Dr. Jonas,
was in Eisleben at the time, and Luther forced himself to sit at the
table with him and with his own two sons; but it was noticed that he
spoke only of the future life, and with an unusual earnestness and
solemnity. The same evening it became evident to all that his end was
rapidly approaching: he grew weaker from hour to hour, and occasionally
repeated passages from the Bible, in German and Latin. After midnight he
seemed to revive a little: Dr. Jonas, the Countess of Mansfeld, the
pastor of the church at Eisleben, and his sons, stood near his bed. Then
Jonas said: "Beloved Father, do you acknowledge Christ, the Son of God,
our Redeemer?" Luther answered "Yes," in a strong and clear voice; then,
folding his hands, he drew one deep sigh and died, between two and
three o'clock on the morning of the 17th of February.

[Sidenote: 1546.]

After solemn services in the church at Eisleben, the body was removed on
its way to Wittenberg. In every village through which the procession
passed, the bells were tolled, and the people flocked together from all
the surrounding country. The population of Halle, men and women, came
out of the city with loud cries and lamentations, and the throng was so
great that it was two hours before the coffin could be placed in the
church. "Here," says an eyewitness of the scene, "we endeavored to raise
the funeral psalm, _De profundis_ ('Out of the depths have I cried unto
thee'); but so heavy was our grief that the words were rather wept than
sung." On the 22d of February the remains of the great Reformer were
given to the earth at Wittenberg, with all the honors which the people,
the authorities and the University could render.




Attempt to Suppress the Protestants. --Treachery of Maurice of Saxony.
    --Defeat and Capture of the Elector, John Frederick. --Philip of
    Hesse Imprisoned. --Tyranny of Charles V. --The Augsburg Interim.
    --Maurice of Saxony turns against Charles V. --The Treaty of
    Passau. --War with France. --The Religious Peace of Augsburg. --The
    Jesuits. --Abdication of Charles V. --Ferdinand of Austria becomes
    Emperor. --End of the Council of Trent. --Protestantism in Germany.
    --Weakness of the Empire. --Loss of the Baltic Provinces.
    --Maximilian II. Emperor. --His Tolerance. --The Last Private Feud.
    --Revolt of the Netherlands. --Death of Maximilian II. --Rudolf
    II.'s Character. --Persecution of Protestants. --Condition of
    Germany at the End of the 16th Century.


The woes which the German Electors brought upon the country, when they
gave the crown to a Spaniard because he was a Hapsburg, were only
commencing when Luther died. Charles V. had just enough German blood in
him to enable him to deceive the German people; he had no interest in
them further than the power they gave to his personal rule; he used
Germany to build up the strength of Spain, and then trampled it under
his feet.

The Council of Trent, which was composed almost entirely of Spanish and
Italian prelates, followed the instructions of the Pope and declared
that the traditions of the Roman Church were of equal authority with the
Bible. This made a reconciliation with the Protestants impossible, which
was just what the Pope desired: his plan was to put them down by main
force. In fact, if the spirit of the Protestant faith had not already
entered into the lives of the mass of the people, the Reformation might
have been lost through the hesitation of some princes and the treachery
of another. The Schmalkalden League was at this time weakened by
personal quarrels among its members; yet it was still able to raise an
army of 40,000 men, which was placed under the command of Sebastian
Schertlin. Charles V. had a very small force with him at Ratisbon; the
troops he had summoned from Flanders and Italy had not arrived; and an
energetic movement by the Protestants could not have failed to be

[Sidenote: 1547.]

But the two chiefs of the Schmalkalden League, John Frederick of Saxony
and Philip of Hesse, showed a timidity almost amounting to cowardice in
this emergency. In spite of Schertlin's entreaties, they refused to
allow him to move, fearing, as they alleged, to invade the neutrality of
Bavaria, or to excite Ferdinand of Austria against them. For months they
compelled their army to wait, while the Emperor was constantly receiving
reinforcements, among them 12,000 Italian troops furnished by the Pope.
Then, when they were absolutely forced to act, a new and unexpected
danger rendered them powerless. Maurice, Duke of Saxony (of the younger
line), suddenly abjured the Protestant faith, declared for Charles V.,
and took possession of the territory of Electoral Saxony, belonging to
his cousin, John Frederick. The latter hastened home with his own
portion of the army, and defeated and expelled Maurice, it is true, but
in doing so, gave up the field to the Emperor. Duke Ulric of Würtemberg
first humbly submitted to the latter, then Ulm, Augsburg, Strasburg, and
other cities: Schertlin was not left with troops enough to resist, and
the Imperial and Catholic power was restored throughout Southern
Germany, without a struggle.

In the spring of 1547, Charles V. marched into Northern Germany,
surprised and defeated John Frederick of Saxony at Mühlberg on the Elbe,
and took him prisoner. The Elector was so enormously stout and heavy
that he could only mount his horse by the use of a ladder; so the
Emperor's Spanish cavalry easily overtook him in his flight. Charles V.
now showed himself in his true character: he appointed the fierce Duke
of Alba President of a Court which tried John Frederick and condemned
him to death. The other German princes protested so earnestly against
this sentence that it was not carried out, but John Frederick was
compelled to give up the greater part of Saxony to the traitor Maurice,
and be content with Thuringia or Ducal Saxony--the territory embraced in
the present duchies of Meiningen, Gotha, Weimar and Altenburg. He
steadfastly refused, however, to submit to the decrees of the Council of
Trent, and remained firm in the Protestant faith during the five years
of imprisonment which followed.

[Sidenote: 1548. TYRANNY OF CHARLES V.]

His wife, the Duchess Sibylla, heroically defended Wittenberg against
the Emperor, but when John Frederick had been despoiled of his
territory, she could no longer hold the city, which was surrendered.
Charles V. was urged by Alba and others to burn Luther's body and
scatter the ashes, as those of a heretic; but he answered, like a man:
"I wage no war against the dead." Herein he showed the better side of
his nature, although only for a moment. Philip of Hesse was not strong
enough to resist alone, and finally, persuaded by his son-in-law,
Maurice of Saxony, he promised to beg the Emperor's pardon on his knees,
to destroy all his fortresses except Cassel, and to pay a fine of
150,000 gold florins, on condition that he should be allowed to retain
his princely rights. These were Charles V.'s own conditions; but when
Philip, kneeling before him, happened (or seemed) to smile while his
application for pardon was being read, the Emperor cried out: "Wait,
I'll teach you to laugh!" Breaking his solemn word without scruple, he
sent Philip instantly to prison, and the latter was kept for years in
close confinement, both in Germany and Flanders.

Charles V. was now also master of Northern Germany, except the city of
Magdeburg, which was strongly fortified, and refused to surrender. He
entrusted the siege of the place to Maurice of Saxony, and returned to
Bavaria, in order to be nearer Italy. He had at last become the
arbitrary ruler of all Germany: he had not only violated his word in
dealing with the princes, but defied the Diet in subjecting them by the
aid of foreign soldiers. His court, his commanders, his prelates, were
Spaniards, who, as they passed through the German States, abused and
insulted the people with perfect impunity. The princes were now reaping
only what they themselves had sown; but the mass of the people, who had
had no voice in the election,--who saw their few rights despised and
their faith threatened with suppression--suffered terribly during this

[Sidenote: 1548.]

In May, 1548, the Emperor proclaimed what was called the "Augsburg
Interim," which allowed the communion in both forms and the marriage of
priests to the Protestants, but insisted that all the other forms and
ceremonies of the Catholic Church should be observed, until the Council
should pronounce its final judgment. This latter body had removed from
Trent to Bologna, in spite of the Emperor's remonstrance, and it did not
meet again at Trent until 1551, after the death of Pope Paul III. There
was, in fact, almost as much confusion in the Church as in political
affairs. A number of intelligent, zealous prelates desired a correction
of the former abuses, and they were undoubtedly supported by the Emperor
himself; but the Pope with the French and Spanish cardinals and bishops,
controlled a majority of the votes of the Council, and thus postponed
its action from year to year.

The acceptance of the "Interim" was resisted both by Catholics and
Protestants. Charles V. used all his arts,--persuasion, threats, armed
force,--and succeeded for a short time in compelling a sort of external
observance of its provisions. His ambition, now, was to have his son
Philip chosen by the Diet as his successor, notwithstanding that
Ferdinand of Austria had been elected king in 1530, and had governed
during his brother's long absence from Germany. The Protestant Electors,
conquered as they were, and abject as many of them had seemed, were not
ready to comply; Ferdinand's jealousy was aroused, and the question was
in suspense when a sudden and startling event changed the whole face of

Maurice of Saxony had been besieging Magdeburg for a year, in the
Emperor's name. The city was well-provisioned, admirably defended, and
the people answered every threat with defiance and ridicule. Maurice
grew tired of his inglorious position, sensitive to the name of
"Traitor" which was everywhere hurled against him, and indignant at the
continued imprisonment of Philip of Hesse. He made a secret treaty with
Henry II. of France, to whom he promised Lorraine, including the cities
of Toul, Verdun and Metz, in return for his assistance; and then, in the
spring of 1552, before his plans could be divined, marched with all
speed against the Emperor, who was holding his court in Innsbruck. The
latter attempted to escape to Flanders, but Maurice had already seized
the mountain-passes. Nothing but speedy flight across the Alps, in night
and storm, attended only by a few followers, saved Charles V. from
capture. The Council of Trent broke up and fled in terror; John
Frederick of Saxony and Philip of Hesse were freed from their long
confinement, and the Protestant cause gained at one blow all the ground
it had lost.


Maurice returned to Passau, on the Danube, where Ferdinand of Austria
united with him in calling a Diet of the German Electors. The latter,
bishops as well as princes, admitted that the Protestants could be no
longer suppressed by force, and agreed to establish a religious peace,
independent of any action of the Pope and Council. The "Treaty of
Passau," as it was called, allowed freedom of worship to all who
accepted the Augsburg Confession, and postponed other questions to the
decision of a German Diet. The Emperor at first refused to subscribe to
the treaty, but when Maurice began to renew hostilities, there was no
other course left. The French in Lorraine and the Turks in Hungary were
making rapid advances, and it was no time to assert his lost despotism
over the Empire.

With the troops which the princes now agreed to furnish, the Emperor
marched into France, and in October, 1552, arrived before Metz, which he
besieged until the following January. Then, with his army greatly
reduced by sickness and hardship, he raised the siege and marched away,
to continue the war in other quarters. But it was four years before the
quarrel with France came to an end, and during this time the Protestant
States of Germany had nothing to fear from the Imperial power. The
Margrave Albert of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, who was on the Emperor's side,
attempted to carry fire and sword through their territories, in order to
pay himself for his military services. After wasting, plundering and
committing shocking barbarities in Saxony and Franconia, he was defeated
by Maurice, in July, 1553. The latter fell in the moment of victory,
giving his life in expiation of his former apostasy. The greater part of
Saxony, nevertheless, has remained in the hands of his descendants to
this day, while the descendants of John Frederick, although representing
the elder line, possess only the little principalities of Thuringia, to
each of which the Saxon name is attached, as Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Gotha,

[Sidenote: 1555.]

Charles V., who saw his ambitious plans for the government of the world
failing everywhere, and whose bodily strength was failing also, left
Germany in disgust, commissioning his brother Ferdinand to call a Diet,
in accordance with the stipulations of the Treaty of Passau. The Diet
met at Augsburg, and in spite of the violent opposition of the Papal
Legate, on the 25th of September, 1555, concluded the treaty of
Religious Peace which finally gave rest to Germany. The Protestants who
followed the Augsburg Confession received religious freedom, perfect
equality before the law, and the undisturbed possession of the Church
property which had fallen into their hands. In other respects their
privileges were not equal. By a clause called the "spiritual
reservation," it was ordered that when a Catholic Bishop or Abbot became
Protestant he should give up land and title in order that the Church
might lose none of its possessions. The rights and consciences of the
people were so little considered that they were not allowed to change
their faith unless the ruling prince changed his. The monstrous doctrine
was asserted that religion was an affair of the government,--that is,
that he to whom belonged the rule, possessed the right to choose the
people's faith. In accordance with this law the population of the
Palatinate of the Rhine was afterwards compelled to be alternately
Calvinistic and Lutheran, four times in succession!

The Treaty of Augsburg did not include the followers of Zwingli and
Calvin, who were getting to be quite numerous in Southern and Western
Germany, and they were left without any recognized rights. Nevertheless,
what the Lutherans had gained was also gained for them, in the end; and
the Treaty, although it did not secure equal justice, gave the highest
sanction of the Empire to the Reformation. The Pope rejected and
condemned it, but without the least effect upon the German Catholics,
who were no less desirous of peace than the Protestants. Moreover, their
hopes of a final triumph over the latter were greatly increased by the
zeal and activity of the Jesuits, who had been accepted and commissioned
by the Church of Rome fifteen years before, who were rapidly increasing
in numbers, and professed to have made the suppression of Protestant
doctrines their chief task.

This treaty was the last political event of Charles V.'s reign. One
month later, to a day, he formally conferred on his son, Philip II., at
Brussels, the government of the Netherlands, and on the 15th of January,
1556, he resigned to him the crowns of Spain and Naples. He then sailed
for Spain, where he retired to the monastery of St. Just and lived for
two years longer as an Imperial monk. He was the first monarch of his
time and he made Spain the leading nation of the world: his immense
energy, his boundless ambition, and his cold, calculating brain
reëstablished his power again and again, when it seemed on the point of
giving way; but he died at last without having accomplished the two
chief aims of his life--the reunion of all Christendom under the Pope,
and the union of Germany with the Spanish Empire. The German people,
following the leaders who had arisen out of their own breast,--Luther,
Melanchthon, Reuchlin and Zwingli--defeated the former of these aims:
the princes, who had found in Charles V. much more of a despot than they
had bargained for, defeated the latter.


The German Diet did not meet until March, 1558, when Ferdinand of
Austria was elected and crowned Emperor, at Frankfort. Although a
Catholic, he had always endeavored to protect the Protestants from the
extreme measures which Charles V. attempted to enforce, and he
faithfully observed the Treaty of Augsburg. He even allowed the
Protestant form of the sacrament and the marriage of priests in Austria,
which brought upon him the condemnation of the Pope. Immediately after
the Diet, a meeting of Protestant princes was held at Frankfort, for the
purpose of settling certain differences of opinion which were not only
disturbing the Lutherans but also tending to prevent any unity of action
between them and the Swiss Protestants. Melanchthon did his utmost to
restore harmony, but without success. He died in 1560, at the age of
sixty-three, and Calvin four years afterwards, the last of the leaders
of the Reformation.

On the 4th of December, 1563, the Council of Trent finally adjourned,
eighteen years after it first came together. The attempts of a portion
of the prelates composing it to reform and purify the Roman Church had
been almost wholly thwarted by the influence of the Popes. It adopted a
series of articles, to each one of which was attached an anathema,
cursing all who refused to accept it. They contained the doctrines of
priestly celibacy, purgatory, masses for the dead, worship of saints,
pictures and relics, absolution, fasts, and censorship of books--thus
making an eternal chasm between Catholicism and Protestantism. At the
close of the Council the Cardinal of Lorraine cried out: "Accursed be
all heretics!" and all present answered: "Accursed! accursed!" until the
building rang. In Italy, Spain and Poland, the articles were accepted at
once, but the Catholics in France, Germany and Hungary were dissatisfied
with many of the declarations, and the Church, in those countries, was
compelled to overlook a great deal of quiet disobedience.

[Sidenote: 1559.]

At this time, although the Catholics had a majority in the Diet (since
there were nearly 100 priestly members), the great majority of the
German people had become Protestants. In all Northern Germany, except
Westphalia, very few Catholic congregations were left: even the
Archbishops of Bremen and Magdeburg, and the Bishops of Lübeck, Verden
and Halberstadt had joined the Reformation. In the priestly territories
of Cologne, Treves, Mayence, Worms and Strasburg, the population was
divided; the Palatinate of the Rhine, Baden and Würtemberg were almost
entirely Protestant, and even in Upper-Austria and Styria the Catholics
were in a minority. Bavaria was the main stay of Rome: her princes, of
the house of Wittelsbach, were the most zealous and obedient champions
of the Pope in all Germany. The Roman Church, however, had not given up
the struggle: she was quietly and shrewdly preparing for one more
desperate effort to recover her lost ground, and the Protestants,
instead of perceiving the danger and uniting themselves more closely,
were quarrelling among themselves concerning theological questions upon
which they have never yet agreed.

There could be no better evidence that the reign of Charles V. had
weakened instead of strengthening the German Empire, than the losses and
the humiliations which immediately followed. Ferdinand I. gave up half
of Hungary to Sultan Solyman, and purchased the right to rule the other
half by an annual payment of 300,000 ducats. About the same time, the
Emperor's lack of power and the selfishness of the Hanseatic cities
occasioned a much more important loss. The provinces on the eastern
shore of the Baltic, which had been governed by the Order of the
Brothers of the Sword after the downfall of the German Order, were
overrun and terribly devastated by the Czar Ivan of Russia. The Grand
Master of the Order appealed to Lübeck and Hamburg for aid, which was
refused; then, in 1559, he called upon the Diet of the German Empire and
received vague promises of assistance, which had no practical value.
Then, driven to desperation, he turned to Poland, Sweden and Denmark,
all of which countries took instant advantage of his necessities. The
Baltic provinces were defended against Russia--and lost to Germany. The
Swedes and Danes took Esthonia, the Poles took Livonia, and only the
little province of Courland remained as an independent State, the Grand
Master becoming its first Duke.


Ferdinand I. died in 1564, and was immediately succeeded by his eldest
son, Maximilian II. The latter was in the prime of life, already popular
for his goodness of heart, his engaging manners and his moderation and
justice. The Protestants cherished great hopes, at first, that he would
openly join them; but, although he so favored and protected them in
Austria that Vienna almost became a Protestant city, he refused to leave
the Catholic Church, and even sent his son Rudolf to be educated in
Spain, under the bitter and bigoted influence of Philip II. His daughter
was married to Charles IX. of France, and when he heard of the massacre
of St. Bartholomew (in August, 1572) he cried out: "Would to God that my
son-in-law had asked counsel of me! I would so faithfully have persuaded
him as a father, that he certainly would never have done this thing." He
also endeavored, but in vain, to soften the persecutions and cruelties
of Philip II.'s reign in the Netherlands.

Maximilian II.'s reign of twelve years was quiet and uneventful. Only
one disturbance of the internal peace occurred, and it is worthy of note
as the last feud, after so many centuries of free fighting between the
princes. An independent knight, William von Grumbach, having been
dispossessed of his lands by the Bishop of Würzburg, waylaid the latter,
who was slain in the fight which occurred. Grumbach fled to France, but
soon allied himself with several dissatisfied Franconian knights, and
finally persuaded John Frederick of Saxony (the smaller Dukedom) to
espouse his cause. The latter was outlawed by the Emperor, yet he
obstinately determined to resist, in the hope of wresting the Electorate
of Saxony from the younger line and restoring it to his own family. He
was besieged by the Imperial army in Gotha, in 1567, and taken prisoner.
Grumbach was tortured and executed, and John Frederick kept in close
confinement until his death, twenty-eight years afterwards. His sons,
however, were allowed to succeed him. The severity with which this
breach of the internal peace was punished put an end forever, to petty
wars in Germany: the measures adopted by the Diet of 1495, under
Maximilian I., were at last recognized as binding laws.

[Sidenote: 1576.]

The Revolt of the Netherlands, which broke out immediately after
Maximilian II.'s accession to the throne, had little, if any, political
relation to Germany. Under Charles V. the Netherlands had been quite
separated from any connection with the German Empire, and he was free to
introduce the Inquisition there and persecute the Protestants with all
the barbarity demanded by Rome. Philip II. followed the same policy: the
torture, fire and sword were employed against the people until they
arose against the intolerable Spanish rule, and entered upon that
struggle of nearly forty years which ended in establishing the
independence of Holland.

On the 12th of October, 1576, at a Diet where he had declared his policy
in religious matters to be simply the enforcement of the Treaty of
Augsburg, Maximilian II. suddenly fell dead. According to the custom
which they had now followed for 140 years, of keeping the Imperial
dignity in the house of Hapsburg, the Electors immediately chose his
son, Rudolf II., an avowed enemy of the Protestants. Unlike his father,
his nature was cold, stern and despotic: he was gloomy, unsocial and
superstitious, and the circumstance that he aided and encouraged the
great astronomers, Kepler and Tycho de Brahe, was probably owing to his
love for astrology and alchemy. He was subject to sudden and violent
attacks of passion, which were followed by periods of complete
indifference to his duties. Like Frederick III., a hundred years before,
he concerned himself with the affairs of Austria, his direct
inheritance, rather than with those of the Empire; and thus, although
internal wars had been suppressed, he encouraged the dissensions in
religion and politics, which were gradually bringing on a more dreadful
war than Germany had ever known before.

One of Rudolf II.'s first measures was to take from the Austrian
Protestants the right of worship which his father had allowed them. He
closed their churches, removed them from all the offices they held, and,
justifying himself by the Treaty of Augsburg that whoever ruled the
people should choose their religious faith, did his best to make Austria
wholly Catholic. Many Catholic princes and priests, emboldened by his
example, declared that the articles promulgated by the Council of Trent
abolished the Treaty of Augsburg and gave them the right to put down
heresy by force. When the Archbishop of Cologne became a Protestant and
married, the German Catholics called upon Alexander of Parma, who came
from the Netherlands with a Spanish army, took possession of the
former's territory, and installed a new Catholic Archbishop, without
resistance on the part of the Protestant majority of Germany. Thus the
hate and bitterness on both sides increased from year to year, without
culminating in open hostilities.


The history of Germany, from the accession of Rudolf II. to the end of
the century, is marked by no political event of importance. Spain was
fully occupied in her hopeless attempt to subdue the Netherlands: in
France Henry of Navarre was fighting the Duke of Guise; Hungary and
Austria were left to check the advance of the Turkish invasion, and
nearly all Germany enjoyed peace for upwards of fifty years. During this
time, population and wealth greatly increased, and life in the cities
and at courts became luxurious and more or less immoral. The arts and
sciences began to flourish, the people grew in knowledge, yet the spirit
out of which the Reformation sprang seemed almost dead. The elements of
good and evil were strangely mixed together--intelligence and
superstition, piety and bigotry, civilization and barbarism were found
side by side. As formerly in her history, it appeared nearly impossible
for Germany to grow by a gradual and healthy development: her condition
must be bad enough to bring on a violent convulsion, before it could be

Such was the state of affairs at the end of the sixteenth century. In
spite of the material prosperity of the country, there was a general
feeling among the people that evil days were coming; but the most
desponding prophet could hardly have predicted worse misfortunes than
they were called upon to suffer during the next fifty years.




Growth of the Calvinistic or "Reformed" Church. --Persecution of
    Protestants in Styria. --The Catholic League. --The Struggle for
    the Succession of Cleves. --Rudolf II. set aside. --His Death.
    --Matthias becomes Emperor. --Character of Ferdinand of Styria.
    --Revolt in Prague. --War in Bohemia. --Death of Matthias.
    --Ferdinand besieged in Vienna. --He is Crowned Emperor.
    --Blindness of the Protestant Princes. --Frederick of the
    Palatinate chosen King of Bohemia. --Barbarity of Ferdinand II.
    --The Protestants Crushed in Bohemia and Austria. --Count Mansfeld
    and Prince Christian of Brunswick. --War in Baden and the
    Palatinate. --Tilly. --His Ravages. --Miserable Condition of
    Germany. --Union of the Northern States. --Christian IV. of
    Denmark. --Wallenstein. --His History. --His Proposition to
    Ferdinand II.

[Sidenote: 1600.]

The beginning of the seventeenth century found the Protestants in
Germany still divided. The followers of Zwingli, it is true, had
accepted the Augsburg Confession as the shortest means of acquiring
freedom of worship; but the Calvinists, who were now rapidly increasing,
were not willing to take this step, nor were the Lutherans any more
tolerant towards them than at the beginning. The Dutch, in conquering
their independence of Spain, gave the Calvinistic, or, as it was called
in Germany, the Reformed Church, a new political importance; and it was
not long before the Palatinate of the Rhine, Baden, Hesse-Cassel and
Anhalt also joined it. The Protestants were split into two strong and
unfriendly sects at the very time when the Catholics, under the teaching
of the Jesuits, were uniting against them.

Duke Ferdinand of Styria, a young cousin of Rudolf II., began the
struggle. Styria was at that time Protestant, and refused to change its
faith at the command of the Duke, whereupon he visited every part of the
land with an armed force, closed the churches, burned the hymn-books and
Bibles, and banished every one who was not willing to become a Catholic
on the spot. He openly declared that it was better to rule over a desert
than a land of heretics. Duke Maximilian of Bavaria followed his
example: in 1607 he seized the free Protestant city of Donauwörth, on
the Danube, on account of some quarrel between its inhabitants and a
monastery, and held it, in violation of all laws of the Empire. A
protest made to the Diet on account of this act was of no avail, since a
majority of the members were Catholics. The Protestants of Southern
Germany formed a "Union" for mutual protection, in May, 1608, with
Frederick IV. of the Palatinate at their head; but, as they were mostly
of the Reformed Church, they received little sympathy or support from
the Protestant States in the North.

[Sidenote: 1609. THE "SUCCESSION OF CLEVES."]

Maximilian of Bavaria then established a "Catholic League" in
opposition, relying on the assistance of Spain, while the "Protestant
Union" relied on that of Henry IV. of France. Both sides began to arm,
and they would soon have proceeded to open hostilities, when a dispute
of much greater importance diverted their attention to the North of
Germany. This was the so-called "Succession of Cleves." Duke John
William of Cleves, who governed the former separate dukedoms of Jülich,
Cleves and Berg, and the countships of Ravensberg and Mark, embracing a
large extent of territory on both sides of the Lower Rhine, died in 1609
without leaving a direct heir. He had been a Catholic, but his people
were Protestants. John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg, and Wolfgang
William of the Bavarian Palatinate, both relatives on the female side,
claimed the splendid inheritance; and when it became evident that the
Catholic interest meant to secure it, they quickly united their forces
and took possession. The Emperor then sent the Archduke Leopold of
Hapsburg to hold the State in his name, whereupon the Protestant Union
made an instant alliance with Henry IV. of France, who was engaged in
organizing an army for its aid, when he fell by the dagger of the
assassin, Ravaillac, in 1610. This dissolved the alliance, and the
"Union" and "League," finding themselves agreed in opposing the creation
of another Austrian State, on the Lower Rhine, concluded peace before
any serious fighting had taken place between them.

[Sidenote: 1606.]

The two claimants to the succession adopted a similar policy. Wolfgang
William became a Catholic, married the sister of Maximilian of Bavaria,
and so brought the "League" to support him, and the Elector John
Sigismund became a Calvinist (which almost excited a rebellion among the
Brandenburg Lutherans), in order to get the support of the "Union." The
former was assisted by Spanish troops from Flanders, the latter by Dutch
troops from Holland, and the war was carried on until 1614, when it was
settled by a division which gave John Sigismund the lion's share.

Meanwhile the Emperor Rudolf II. was becoming so old, so whimsical and
so useless, that in 1606 the princes of the house of Hapsburg held a
meeting, declared him incapable of governing, "on account of occasional
imbecilities of mind," and appointed his brother Matthias regent for
Austria, Hungary and Moravia. The Emperor refused to yield, but, with
the help of the nobility, who were mostly Protestants, Matthias
maintained his claim. He was obliged, in return, to grant religious
freedom, which so encouraged the oppressed Protestants in Bohemia that
they demanded similar rights from the Emperor. In his helpless situation
he gave way to the demand, but soon became alarmed at the increase of
the heretics, and tried to take back his concession. The Bohemians
called Matthias to their assistance, and in 1611 Rudolf lost his
remaining kingdom and his favorite residence of Prague. As he looked
upon the city for the last time, he cried out: "May the vengeance of God
overtake thee, and my curse light on thee and all Bohemia!" In less than
a year (on the 20th of January, 1612) he died.

Matthias was elected Emperor of Germany, as a matter of course. The
house of Hapsburg was now the strongest German power which represented
the Church of Rome, and the Catholic majority in the Diet secured to it
the Imperial dignity then and thenceforward. The Protestants, however,
voted also for Matthias, for the reason that he had already shown a
tolerant policy towards their brethren in Austria, Hungary and Bohemia.
His first measures, as Emperor, justified this view of his character. He
held a Diet at Ratisbon for the purpose of settling the existing
differences between the two, but nothing was accomplished: the
Protestants, finding that they would be outvoted, withdrew in a body and
thus broke up the Diet. Matthias next endeavored to dissolve both the
"Union" and the "League," in which he was only partially successful. At
the same time his rule in Hungary was menaced by a revolt of the
Transylvanian chief, Bethlen Gabor, who was assisted by the Turks: he
grew weary of his task, and was easily persuaded by the other princes of
his house to adopt his nephew, Duke Ferdinand of Styria, as his
successor, in the year 1617, having no children of his own.


Ferdinand, who had been carefully educated by the Jesuits for the part
which he was afterwards to play, and whose violent suppression of the
Protestant faith in Styria made him acceptable to all the German
Catholics, was a man of great energy and force of character. He was
stern, bigoted, cruel, yet shrewd, cunning and apparently conciliatory
when he found it necessary to be so, resembling, in both respects, his
predecessor, Charles V. of Spain. In return for being chosen by the
Bohemians to succeed Matthias as king, he confirmed them in the
religious freedom which they had extorted from Rudolf II., and then
joined the Emperor in an expedition to Hungary, leaving Bohemia to be
governed in the interim by a Council of ten, seven Catholics and three

The first thing that happened was the destruction of two Protestant
churches by Catholic Bishops. The Bohemian Protestants appealed
immediately to the Emperor Matthias, but, instead of redress, he gave
them only threats. Thereupon they rose in Prague, stormed the Council
Hall, seized two of the Councillors and one of their Secretaries, and
hurled them out of the windows. Although they fell a distance of
twenty-eight feet, they were not killed, and all finally escaped. This
event happened on the 23d of May, 1618, and marks the beginning of the
Thirty Years' War. After such long chronicles of violence and slaughter,
the deed seemed of slight importance; but the hundredth anniversary of
the Reformation (counting from Luther's proclamation against Tetzel, on
the 31st of October, 1517) had been celebrated by the Protestants the
year before, England was lost and France barely restored to the Church
of Rome, the power of Spain was declining, and the Catholic priests and
princes were resolved to make one more desperate struggle to regain
their supremacy in Germany. Only the Protestant princes, as a body,
seemed blind to the coming danger. Relying on the fact that four-fifths
of the whole population of the Empire were Protestants, they still
persisted in regarding all the political forms of the Middle Ages as
holy, and in accepting nearly every measure which gave advantage to
their enemies.

[Sidenote: 1619.]

Although the Protestants had only three Councillors out of ten, they
were largely in the majority in Bohemia. They knew what retaliation the
outbreak in Prague would bring upon them, and anticipated it by making
the revolution general. They chose Count Thun as their leader,
overturned the Imperial government, banished the Jesuits from the
country, and entered into relations with the Protestant nobles of
Austria, and the insurgent chief Bethlen Gabor in Hungary. The Emperor
Matthias was willing to compromise the difficulty, but Ferdinand,
stimulated by the Jesuits, declared for war. He sent two small armies
into Bohemia, with a proclamation calling upon the people to submit. The
Protestants of the North were at last aroused from their lethargy. Count
Mansfeld marched with a force of 4,000 men to aid the Bohemians, and
3,000 more came from Silesia; the Imperial army was defeated and driven
back to the Danube. At this juncture the Emperor Matthias died, on the
20th of May, 1619.

Ferdinand lost not a day in taking the power into his own hands. But
Austria threatened revolution, Hungary had made common cause with
Bohemia, Count Thun was marching on Vienna, and he was without an army
to support his claims. Count Thun, however, instead of attacking Vienna,
encamped outside the walls and began to negotiate. Ferdinand, hard
pressed by the demands of the Austrian Protestants, was on the very
point of yielding--in fact, a member of a deputation of sixteen noblemen
had seized him by the coat,--when trumpets were heard, and a body of 500
cavalry, which had reached the city without being intercepted by the
besiegers, appeared before the palace. This enabled him to defend the
city, until the defeat of Count Mansfeld by another portion of his army,
which had entered Bohemia, compelled Count Thun to raise the siege. Then
Ferdinand hastened to Frankfort to look after his election as Emperor by
the Diet, which met on the 28th of August, 1619.

It seems almost incredible that now, knowing his character and designs,
the three Chief Electors who were Protestants should have voted for him,
without being conscious that they were traitors to their faith and their
people. It has been charged, but without any clear evidence, that they
were bribed: it is probable that Ferdinand, whose Jesuitic education
taught him that falsehood and perjury are permitted in serving the
Church, misled them by promises of peace and justice; but it is also
very likely that they imagined their own sovereignty depended on
sustaining every tradition of the Empire. The people, of course, had not
yet acquired any rights which a prince felt himself called upon to


Ferdinand was elected, and properly crowned in the Cathedral at
Frankfort, as Ferdinand II. The Bohemians, who were entitled to one of
the seven chief voices in the Diet, claimed that the election was not
binding upon them, and chose Frederick V. of the Palatinate as their
king, in the hope that the Protestant "Union" would rally to their
support. It was a fatal choice and a false hope. When Maximilian of
Bavaria, at the head of the Catholic "League," took the field for the
Emperor, the "Union" cowardly withdrew. Frederick V. went to Bohemia,
was crowned, and idled his time away in fantastic diversions for one
winter, while Ferdinand was calling Spain to attack the Palatinate of
the Rhine, and borrowing Cossacks from Poland to put down his Protestant
subjects in Austria. The Emperor assured the Protestant princes that the
war should be confined to Bohemia, and one of them, the Elector John
George of Saxony, a Lutheran, openly went over to his side in order to
defeat Frederick V., a Calvinist. The Bohemians fell back to the walls
of Prague before the armies of the Emperor and Bavaria; and there, on
the White Mountain, a battle of an hour's duration, in November, 1620,
decided the fate of the country. The former scattered in all directions;
Frederick V. left Prague never to return, and Spanish, Italian and
Hungarian troops overran Bohemia.

Ferdinand II. acted as might have been expected from his despotic and
bigoted nature. The 8,000 Cossacks which he had borrowed from his
brother-in-law, king Sigismund of Poland, had already closed all
Protestant Churches and suppressed freedom of worship in Austria; he now
applied the same measures to Bohemia, but in a more violent and bloody
form. Twenty-seven of the chief Protestant nobles were beheaded at
Prague in one day; thousands of families were stripped of all their
property and banished; the Protestant churches were given to the
Catholics, the Jesuits took possession of the University and the
schools, until finally, as a historian says, "the quiet of a sepulchre
settled over Bohemia." The Protestant faith was practically obliterated
from all the Austrian realm, with the exception of a few scattered
congregations in Hungary and Transylvania.

[Sidenote: 1621.]

There is hardly anywhere, in the history of the world, such an instance
of savage despotism. A large majority of the population of Austria,
Bohemia and Styria were Protestants; they were rapidly growing in
intelligence, in social order and material prosperity; but the will of
one man was allowed to destroy the progress of a hundred years, to crush
both the faith and freedom of the people, plunder them of their best
earnings and make them ignorant slaves for 200 years longer. The
property which was seized by Ferdinand II., in Bohemia alone, was
estimated at forty millions of florins! And the strength of Germany,
which was Protestant, looked on and saw all this happen! Only the common
people of Austria arose against the tyrant, and gallantly struggled for
months, at first under the command of a farmer named Stephen Fadinger,
and, when he was slain in the moment of victory, under an unknown young
hero, who had no other name than "the Student." The latter defeated the
Bavarian army, resisted the famous Austrian general, Pappenheim, in many
battles, and at last fell, after the most of his followers had fallen,
without leaving his name to history. The Austrian peasants rivalled the
Swiss of three centuries before in their bravery and self-sacrifice: had
they been successful (as they might have been, with small help from
their Protestant brethren), they would have changed the course of German
history, and have become renowned among the heroes of the world.

The fate of Austria, from that day to this, was now sealed. Both
parties--the Catholics, headed by Ferdinand II., and the Protestants,
without any head,--next turned to the Palatinate of the Rhine, where a
Spanish army, sent from Flanders, was wasting and plundering in the name
of the Emperor. Count Ernest of Mansfeld and Prince Christian of
Brunswick, who had supported Frederick V. in Bohemia, endeavored to save
at least the Palatinate for him. They were dashing and eccentric young
generals, whose personal reputation attracted all sorts of wild and
lawless characters to take service under them. Mansfeld, who had been
originally a Catholic, was partly supported by contributions from
England and Holland, but he also took what he could get from the country
through which he marched. Christian of Brunswick was a fantastic prince,
who tried to imitate the knights of the Middle Ages. He was a great
admirer of the Countess Elizabeth of the Palatinate (sister of Charles
I. of England), and always wore her glove on his helmet. In order to
obtain money for his troops, he plundered the bishoprics in Westphalia,
and forced the cities and villages to pay him heavy contributions. When
he entered the cathedral at Paderborn and saw the silver statues of the
Apostles around the altar, he cried out: "What are you doing here? You
were ordered to go forth into the world, but wait a bit--I'll send you!"
So he had them melted and coined into dollars, upon which the words were
stamped: "Friend of God, foe of priests!" He afterwards gave himself
that name, but the soldiers generally called him "Mad Christian."


Against these two, and George Frederick of Baden, who joined them,
Ferdinand II. sent Maximilian of Bavaria, to whom he promised the
Palatinate as a reward, and Tilly, a general already famous both for his
military talent and his inhumanity. The latter, who had been educated by
the Jesuits for a priest, was in the Bavarian service. He was a small,
lean man, with a face almost comical in its ugliness. His nose was like
a parrot's beak, his forehead seamed with deep wrinkles, his eyes sunk
in their sockets and his cheek-bones projecting. He usually wore a dress
of green satin, with a cocked hat and long red feather, and rode a
small, mean-looking gray horse.

Early in 1622 the Imperial army under Tilly was defeated, or at least
checked, by the united forces of Mansfeld and Prince Christian. But in
May of the same year, the forces of the latter, with those of George
Frederick of Baden, were almost cut to pieces by Tilly, at Wimpfen. They
retreated into Alsatia, where they burned and plundered at will, while
Tilly pursued the same course on the eastern side of the Rhine. He took
and destroyed the cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg, closed the
Protestant churches, banished the clergymen and teachers, and supplied
their places with Jesuits. The invaluable library of Heidelberg was sent
to Pope Gregory XV. at Rome, and remained there until 1815, when a part
of it came back to the University by way of Paris.

[Sidenote: 1623.]

Frederick V., who had fled from the country, entered into negotiations
with the Emperor, in the hope of retaining the Palatinate. He dissolved
his connection with Mansfeld and Prince Christian, who thereupon
offered their services to the Emperor, on condition that he would pay
their soldiers! Receiving no answer, they marched through Lorraine and
Flanders, laying waste the country as they went, and finally took refuge
in Holland. Frederick V.'s humiliation was of no avail; none of the
Protestant princes supported his claim. The Emperor gave his land, with
the Electoral dignity, to Maximilian of Bavaria, and this act, although
a direct violation of the laws which the German princes held sacred, was
acquiesced in by them at a Diet held at Ratisbon in 1623. John George of
Saxony, who saw clearly that it was a fatal blow aimed both at the
Protestants and at the rights of the reigning princes, was persuaded to
be silent by the promise of having Lusatia added to Saxony.

By this time, Germany was in a worse condition than she had known for
centuries. The power of the Jesuits, represented by Ferdinand II., his
councillors and generals, was supreme almost everywhere; the Protestant
princes vied with each other in meanness, selfishness and cowardice; the
people were slaughtered, robbed, driven hither and thither by both
parties: there seemed to be neither faith nor justice left in the land.
The other Protestant nations--England, Holland, Denmark and
Sweden--looked on with dismay, and even Cardinal Richelieu, who was then
practically the ruler of France, was willing to see Ferdinand II.'s
power crippled, though the Protestants should gain thereby. England and
Holland assisted Mansfeld and Prince Christian with money, and the
latter organized new armies, with which they ravaged Friesland and
Westphalia. Prince Christian was on his way to Bohemia, in order to
unite with the Hungarian chief, Bethlen Gabor, when, on the 6th of
August, 1623, he met Tilly at a place called Stadtloon, near Münster,
and, after a murderous battle which lasted three days, was utterly
defeated. About the same time Mansfeld, needing further support, went to
England, where he was received with great honor.

Ferdinand II. had in the meantime concluded a peace with Bethlen Gabor,
and his authority was firmly established over Austria and Bohemia. Tilly
with his Bavarians was victorious in Westphalia; all armed opposition to
the Emperor's rule was at an end, yet instead of declaring peace
established, and restoring the former order of the Empire, his agents
continued their work of suppressing religious freedom and civil rights
in all the States which had been overrun by the Catholic armies. The
whole Empire was threatened with the fate of Austria. Then, at last, in
1625, Brunswick, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg, Hamburg, Lübeck and Bremen
formed a union for mutual defence, choosing as their leader king
Christian IV. of Denmark, the same monarch who had broken down the power
of the Hanseatic League in the Baltic and North Seas! Although a
Protestant, he was no friend to the North-German States, but he
energetically united with them in the hope of being able to enlarge his
kingdom at their expense.


Christian IV. lost no time in making arrangements with England and
Holland which enabled both Mansfeld and Prince Christian of Brunswick to
raise new forces, with which they returned to Germany. Tilly, in order
to intercept them, entered the territory of the States which had united,
and thus gave Christian IV. a pretext for declaring war. The latter
marched down from Denmark at once, but found no earnest union among the
States, and only 7,000 men collected. He soon succeeded, however, in
bringing together a force much larger than that commanded by Tilly, and
was only hindered in his plan of immediate action by a fall from his
horse, which crippled him for six weeks. The city of Hamelin was taken,
and Tilly compelled to fall back, but no other important movements took
place during the year 1625.

Ferdinand II. was already growing jealous of the increasing power of
Bavaria, and determined that the Catholic and Imperial cause should not
be entrusted to Tilly alone. But he had little money, his own military
force had been wasted by the wars in Bohemia, Austria and Hungary, and
there was no other commander of sufficient renown to attract men to his
standard. Yet it was necessary that Tilly should be reinforced as soon
as possible, or his scheme of crushing the whole of Germany, and laying
it, as a fettered slave, at the feet of the Roman Church, might fail,
and at the very moment when success seemed sure.

In this emergency, a new man presented himself. Albert of Waldstein,
better known under his historical name of Wallenstein, was born at
Prague in 1583. He was the son of a poor nobleman, and violent and
unruly as a youth, until a fall from the third story of a house effected
a sudden change in his nature. He became brooding and taciturn, gave up
his Protestant faith, and was educated by the Jesuits at Olmütz. He
travelled in Spain, France and the Netherlands, fought in Italy against
Venice and in Hungary against Bethlen Gabor and the Turks, and rose to
the rank of Colonel. He married an old and rich widow, and after her
death increased his wealth by a second marriage, so that, when the
Protestants were expelled from Bohemia, he was able to purchase 60 of
their confiscated estates. Adding these to that of Friedland, which he
had received from the Emperor in return for military services, he
possessed a small principality, lived in great splendor, and paid and
equipped his own troops. He was first made Count, and then Duke of
Friedland, with the authority of an independent prince of the Empire.

[Sidenote: 1625.]

Wallenstein was superstitious, and his studies in astrology gave him the
belief that a much higher destiny awaited him. Here was the opportunity:
he offered to raise and command a second army, in the Emperor's service.
Ferdinand II. accepted the offer with joy, and sent word to Wallenstein
that he should immediately proceed to enlist 20,000 men. "My army," the
latter answered, "must live by what it can take: 20,000 men are not
enough. I must have 50,000, and then I can demand what I want!" The
threat of terrible ravage contained in these words was soon carried out.

Wallenstein was tall and meagre in person. His forehead was high but
narrow, his hair black and cut very short, his eyes small, dark and
fiery, and his complexion yellow. His voice was harsh and disagreeable:
he never smiled, and spoke only when it was necessary. He usually
dressed in scarlet, with a leather jerkin, and wore a long red feather
on his hat. There was something cold, mistrustful and mysterious in his
appearance, yet he possessed unbounded power over his soldiers, whom he
governed with severity and rewarded splendidly. There are few more
interesting personages in German history.




The Winter of 1625--6. --Wallenstein's Victory. --Mansfeld's Death.
    --Tilly defeats Christian IV. --Wallenstein's Successes in Saxony,
    Brandenburg and Holstein. --Siege of Stralsund. --The Edict of
    Restitution. --Its Effects. --Wallenstein's Plans. --Diet at
    Ratisbon. --Wallenstein's Removal. --Arrival of Gustavus Adolphus.
    --His Positions and Plans. --His Character. --Cowardice of the
    Protestant Princes. --Tilly sacks Magdeburg. --Decision of Gustavus
    Adolphus. --Tilly's Defeat at Leipzig. --Bohemia invaded.
    --Gustavus at Frankfort. --Defeat and Death of Tilly. --Gustavus in
    Munich. --Wallenstein restored. --His Conditions. --He meets
    Gustavus at Nuremberg. --He invades Saxony. --Battle of Lützen.
    --Death of Gustavus Adolphus. --Wallenstein's Retreat. --Union of
    Protestant Princes with Sweden. --Protestant Successes. --Secret
    Negotiations with Wallenstein. --His Movements. --Conspiracy
    against him. --His Removal. --His March to Eger. --His

[Sidenote: 1626. WALLENSTEIN.]

Before the end of the year 1625, and within three months after Ferdinand
II. had commissioned Wallenstein to raise an army, the latter marched
into Saxony at the head of 30,000 men. No important operations were
undertaken during the winter: Christian IV. and Mansfeld had their
separate quarters on the one side, Tilly and Wallenstein on the other,
and the four armies devoured the substance of the lands where they were
encamped. In April, 1626, Mansfeld marched against Wallenstein, to
prevent him from uniting with Tilly. The two armies met at the bridge of
the Elbe, at Dessau, and fought desperately: Mansfeld was defeated,
driven into Brandenburg, and then took his way through Silesia towards
Hungary, with the intention of forming an alliance with Bethlen Gabor.
Wallenstein followed by forced marches, and compelled Gabor to make
peace with the Emperor: Mansfeld disbanded his troops and set out for
Venice, where he meant to embark for England. But he was already worn
out by the hardships of his campaigns, and died on the way, in
Dalmatia, in November, 1626, 45 years of age. A few months afterwards
Prince Christian of Brunswick also died, and the Protestant cause was
left without any native German leader.

[Sidenote: 1628.]

During the same year the cause received a second and severer blow. On
the 26th of August Christian IV. and Tilly came together at Lutter, a
little town on the northern edge of the Hartz, and the army of the
former was cut to pieces, himself barely escaping with his life. There
seemed, now, to be no further hope for the Protestants: Christian IV.
retreated to Holstein, the Elector of Brandenburg gave up his connection
with the Union of the Saxon States, the Dukes of Mecklenburg were
powerless, and Maurice of Hesse was compelled by the Emperor to
abdicate. New measures in Bohemia and Austria foreshadowed the probable
fate of Germany: the remaining Protestants in those two countries,
including a large majority of the Austrian nobles, were made Catholics
by force.

In the summer of 1627 Wallenstein again marched northward with an army
reorganized and recruited to 40,000 men. John George of Saxony, who
tried to maintain a selfish and cowardly neutrality, now saw his land
overrun, and himself at the mercy of the conqueror. Brandenburg was
subjected to the same fate; the two Mecklenburg duchies were seized as
the booty of the Empire; and Wallenstein, marching on without
opposition, plundered and wasted Holstein, Jutland and Pomerania. In
1628 the Emperor bestowed Mecklenburg upon him: he gave himself the
title of "Admiral of the Baltic and the Ocean," and drew up a plan for
creating a navy out of the vessels of the Hanseatic League, and
conquering Holland for the house of Hapsburg. After this should have
been accomplished, his next project was to form an alliance with Poland
against Denmark and Sweden, the only remaining Protestant powers.

While the rich and powerful cities of Hamburg and Lübeck surrendered at
his approach, the little Hanseatic town of Stralsund closed its gates
against him. The citizens took a solemn oath to defend their religious
faith and their political independence to the last drop of their blood.
Wallenstein exclaimed: "And if Stralsund were bound to Heaven with
chains, I would tear it down!" and marched against the place. At the
first assault he lost 1,000 men; at the second, 2,000; and then the
citizens, in turn, made sallies, and inflicted still heavier losses upon
him. They were soon reinforced by 2,000 Swedes, and then Wallenstein
was forced to raise the siege, after having lost, altogether, 12,000 of
his best troops. At this time the Danes appeared with a fleet of 200
vessels, and took possession of the port of Wolgast, in Pomerania.


In spite of this temporary reverse, Ferdinand II. considered that his
absolute power was established over all Germany. After consulting with
the Catholic Chief-Electors (one of whom, now, was Maximilian of
Bavaria), he issued, on the 6th of March, 1629, an "Edict of
Restitution," ordering that all the former territory of the Roman
Church, which had become Protestant, should be restored to Catholic
hands. This required that two archbishoprics, twelve bishoprics, and a
great number of monasteries and churches, which had ceased to exist
nearly a century before, should be again established; and then, on the
principle that the religion of the ruler should be that of the people,
that the Protestant faith should be suppressed in all such territory.
The armies were kept in the field to enforce this edict, which was
instantly carried into effect in Southern Germany, and in the most
violent and barbarous manner. The estates of 6,000 noblemen in
Franconia, Würtemberg and Baden were confiscated; even the property of
reigning princes was seized; but, instead of passing into the hands of
the Church, much of it was bestowed upon the Emperor's family and his
followers. The Archbishoprics of Bremen and Magdeburg were given to his
son Leopold, a boy of 15! In carrying out the measure, Catholics began
to suffer, as well as Protestants, and the jealousy and alarm of all the
smaller States were finally aroused.

Wallenstein, while equally despotic, was much more arrogant and reckless
than Ferdinand II. He openly declared that reigning princes and a
National Diet were no longer necessary in Germany; the Emperor must be
an absolute ruler, like the kings of France and Spain. At the same time
he was carrying out his own political plans without much reference to
the Imperial authority. Both Catholics and Protestants united in calling
for a Diet: Ferdinand II. at first refused, but there were such signs of
hostility on the part of Holland, Denmark, Sweden and even France, that
he was forced to yield. The Diet met on the 5th of June, 1630, at
Ratisbon, and Maximilian of Bavaria headed the universal demand for
Wallenstein's removal. The Protestants gave testimony of the merciless
system of plunder by which he had ruined their lands; the Catholics
complained of the more than Imperial splendors of his court, upon which
he squandered uncounted millions of stolen money. He travelled with 100
carriages and more than 1,000 horses, kept 15 cooks for his table, and
was waited upon by 16 pages of noble blood. Jealousy of this pomp and
state, and fear of Wallenstein's ambitious designs, and not the latter's
fiendish inhumanity, induced Ferdinand II. to submit to the entreaties
of the Diet, and remove him.

[Sidenote: 1630.]

The Imperial messengers who were sent to his camp with the order of
dismissal, approached him in great dread and anxiety, and scarcely dared
to mention their business. Wallenstein pointed to a sheet covered with
astrological characters, and quietly told them that he had known
everything in advance; that the Emperor had been misled by the Elector
of Bavaria, but, nevertheless, the order would be obeyed. He entertained
them at a magnificent banquet, loaded them with gifts, and then sent
them away. With rage and hate in his heart, but with all the external
show and splendor of an independent sovereign, he retired to Prague,
well knowing that the day was not far off when his services would be
again needed.

Tilly was appointed commander-in-chief of the Imperial armies. At the
very moment, however, when Wallenstein was dismissed, and his forces
divided among several inferior generals, the leader whom the German
Protestants could not furnish came to them from abroad. Their ruin and
the triumph of Ferdinand II. seemed inevitable; twelve years of war in
its most horrible form had desolated their lands, reduced their numbers
to less than half, and broken their spirit. Then help and hope suddenly
returned. On the 4th of July, 1630, Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden,
landed on the coast of Pomerania, with an army of 15,000 men. As he
stepped upon the shore, he knelt in the sight of all the soldiers and
prayed that God would befriend him. Some of his staff could not restrain
their tears; whereupon he said to them: "Weep not, friends, but pray,
for prayer is half victory!"

Gustavus Adolphus, who had succeeded to the throne in 1611, at the age
of 17, was already distinguished as a military commander. He had
defeated the Russians in Livonia and banished them from the Baltic; he
had fought for three years with king Sigismund of Poland, and taken
from him the ports of Elbing, Pillau and Memel, and he was now burning
with zeal to defend the falling Protestant cause in Germany. Cardinal
Richelieu, in France, helped him to the opportunity by persuading
Sigismund to accept an armistice, and by furnishing Sweden with the
means of carrying on a war against Ferdinand II. The latter had assisted
Poland, so that a pretext was not wanting; but when Gustavus laid his
plans before his council in Stockholm, a majority of the members advised
him to wait for a new cause of offence. Nevertheless, he insisted on
immediate action. The representatives of the four orders of the people
were convoked in the Senate-house, where he appeared before them with
his little daughter, Christina, in his arms, asked them to swear fealty
to her, and then bade them a solemn farewell. All burst into tears when
he said: "perhaps for ever," but nothing could shake his resolution to
undertake the great work.

[Sidenote: 1630. GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS.]

Gustavus Adolphus was at this time 34 years old; he was so tall and
powerfully built that he almost seemed a giant; his face was remarkably
frank and cheerful in expression, his hair light, his eyes large and
gray and his nose aquiline. Personally, he was a striking contrast to
the little, haggard and wrinkled Tilly and the dark, silent and gloomy
Wallenstein. Ferdinand II. laughed when he heard of his landing, called
him the "Snow King," and said that he would melt away after one winter;
but the common people, who loved and trusted him as soon as they saw
him, named him the "Lion of the North." He was no less a statesman than
a soldier, and his accomplishments were unusual in a ruler of those
days. He was a generous patron of the arts and sciences, spoke four
languages with ease and elegance, was learned in theology, a ready
orator and--best of all--he was honest, devout and conscientious in all
his ways. The best blood of the Goths from whom he was descended beat in
his veins, and the Germans, therefore, could not look upon him as a
foreigner; to them he was a countryman as well as a deliverer.

The Protestant princes, however, although in the utmost peril and
humiliated to the dust, refused to unite with him. If their course had
been cowardly and selfish before, it now became simply infamous. The
Duke of Pomerania shut the gates of Stettin upon the Swedish army, until
compelled by threats to open them; the Electors of Brandenburg and
Saxony held themselves aloof, and Gustavus found himself obliged to
respect their neutrality, lest they should go over to the Emperor's
side! Out of all Protestant Germany there came to him a few petty
princes whose lands had been seized by the Catholics, and who could only
offer their swords. His own troops, however, had been seasoned in many
battles; their discipline was perfect; and when the German people found
that the slightest act of plunder or violence was severely punished,
they were welcomed wherever they marched.

[Sidenote: 1631.]

Moving slowly, and with as much wisdom as caution, Gustavus relieved
Pomerania from the Imperial troops, by the end of the year. He then took
Frankfort-on-the-Oder by storm, and forced the Elector of Brandenburg to
give him the use of Spandau as a fortress, until he should have relieved
Magdeburg, the only German city which had forcibly resisted the "Edict
of Restitution," and was now besieged by Tilly and Pappenheim. As the
city was hard pressed, Gustavus demanded of John George, Elector of
Saxony, permission to march through his territory: it was refused!
Magdeburg was defended by 2,300 soldiers and 5,000 armed citizens
against an army of 30,000 men, for more than a month; then, on the 10th
of May, 1631, it was taken by storm, and given up to the barbarous fury
of Tilly and his troops. The city sank in blood and ashes: 30,000 of the
inhabitants perished by the sword, or in the flames, or crushed under
falling walls, or drowned in the waters of the Elbe. Only 4,000, who had
taken refuge in the Cathedral, were spared. Tilly wrote to the Emperor:
"Since the fall of Troy and Jerusalem, such a victory has never been
seen; and I am sincerely sorry that the ladies of your imperial family
could not have been present as spectators!"

Gustavus Adolphus has been blamed, especially by the admirers and
defenders of the houses of Brandenburg and Saxony, for not having saved
Magdeburg. This he might have done, had he disregarded the neutrality
asserted by John George; but he had been bitterly disappointed at his
reception by the Protestant princes, he could not trust them, and was
not strong enough to fight Tilly with possible enemies in his rear. In
fact, George William of Brandenburg immediately ordered him to give up
Spandau and leave his territory. Then Gustavus did what he should have
done at first: he planted his cannon before Berlin, and threatened to
lay the city in ashes. This brought George William to his senses; he
agreed that his fortresses should be used by the Swedes, and contributed
30,000 dollars a month towards the expenses of the war. So many recruits
flocked to the Swedish standard that both Mecklenburgs were soon cleared
of the Imperial troops, the banished Dukes restored, and an attack by
Tilly upon the fortified camp of Gustavus was repulsed with heavy

[Sidenote: 1631. DEFEAT OF TILLY.]

Landgrave William of Hesse Cassel was the first Protestant prince who
voluntarily allied himself with the Swedish king. He was shortly
followed by the unwilling but helpless John George of Saxony, whose
territory was invaded and wasted by Tilly's army. Ferdinand II. had
given this order, meaning that the Elector should at least support his
troops. Tilly took possession of Halle, Naumburg and other cities,
plundered and levied heavy contributions, and at last entered Leipzig,
after bombarding it for four days. Then John George united his troops
with those of Gustavus Adolphus, who now commanded an army of 35,000

Tilly and Pappenheim had an equal force to oppose him. After a good deal
of cautious manoeuvring, the two armies stood face to face near
Leipzig, on the 17th of September, 1631. The Swedes were without armor,
and Gustavus distributed musketeers among the cavalry and pikemen.
Banner, one of his generals, commanded his right, and Marshal Horn his
left, where the Saxons were stationed. The army of Tilly was drawn up in
a long line, and the troops wore heavy cuirasses and helmets: Pappenheim
commanded the left, opposite Gustavus, while Tilly undertook to engage
the Saxons. The battle-cry of the Protestants was "God with us!"--that
of the Catholics "Jesu Maria!" Gustavus, wearing a white hat and green
feather, and mounted on a white horse, rode up and down the lines,
encouraging his men. The Saxons gave way before Tilly, and began to fly;
but the Swedes, after repelling seven charges of Pappenheim's cavalry,
broke the enemy's right wing, captured the cannon and turned them
against Tilly. The Imperial army, thrown into confusion, fled in
disorder, pursued by the Swedes, who cut them down until night put an
end to the slaughter. Tilly, severely wounded, narrowly escaped death,
and reached Halle with only a few hundred men.

[Sidenote: 1632.]

This splendid victory restored the hopes of the Protestants everywhere.
Duke Bernard of Saxe-Weimar had joined Gustavus before the battle: in
his zeal for the cause, his honesty and bravery, he resembled the king,
whose chief reliance as a military leader, he soon became. John George
of Saxony consented, though with evident reluctance, to march into
Bohemia, where the crushed Protestants were longing for help, while the
Swedish army advanced through Central Germany to the Rhine. Tilly
gathered together the scattered Imperial forces left in the North,
followed, and vainly endeavored to check Gustavus. The latter took
Würzburg, defeated 17,000 men under Charles of Lorraine, who had crossed
the Rhine to oppose him, and entered Frankfort in triumph. Here he fixed
his winter-quarters, and allowed his faithful Swedish troops the rest
which they so much needed.

The territory of the Archbishop of Mayence, and of other Catholic
princes, which he overran, was not plundered or laid waste: Gustavus
proclaimed everywhere religious freedom, not retaliation for the
barbarities inflicted on the Protestants. He soon made himself respected
by his enemies, and his influence spread so rapidly that the idea of
becoming Emperor of Germany was a natural consequence of his success.
His wife, Queen Eleanor, had joined him; he held a splendid court at
Frankfort, and required the German princes whom he had subjected to
acknowledge themselves his dependents. The winter of 1631--32 was given
up to diplomacy, rather than war. Richelieu began to be jealous of the
increasing power of the Swedish king, and entered into secret
negotiations with Maximilian of Bavaria. The latter also corresponded
with Gustavus Adolphus, who by this time had secured the neutrality of
the States along the Rhine, and the support of a large majority of the
population of the Palatinate, Baden and Würtemberg.

In the early spring of 1632, satisfied that no arrangement with
Maximilian was possible, Gustavus reorganized his army and set out for
Bavaria. The city of Nuremberg received him with the wildest rejoicing:
then he advanced upon Donauwörth, drove out Maximilian's troops and
restored Protestant worship in the churches. Tilly, meanwhile, had added
Maximilian's army to his own, and taken up a strong position on the
eastern bank of the river Lech, between Augsburg and the Danube.
Gustavus marched against him, cannonaded his position for three days
from the opposite bank, and had partly crossed under cover of the smoke
before his plan was discovered. On the 15th of April Tilly was mortally
wounded, and his army fled in the greatest confusion: he died a few
days afterwards, at Ingolstadt, 73 years old.


The city of Augsburg opened its gates to the conqueror and acknowledged
his authority. Then, after attacking Ingolstadt without success, he
marched upon Munich, which was unable to resist, but was spared, on
condition of paying a heavy contribution. The Bavarians had buried a
number of cannon under the floor of the arsenal, and news thereof came
to the king's ears. "Let the dead arise!" he ordered; and 140 pieces
were dug up, one of which contained 30,000 ducats. Maximilian, whose
land was completely overrun by the Swedes, would gladly have made peace,
but Gustavus plainly told him that he was not to be trusted. While the
Protestant cause was so brilliantly victorious in the south, John George
of Saxony, who had taken possession of Prague without the least trouble,
remained inactive in Bohemia during the winter and spring, apparently as
jealous of Gustavus as he was afraid of Ferdinand II.

The Emperor had long before ceased to laugh at the "Snow King." He was
in the greatest strait of his life: he knew that his trampled Austrians
would rise at the approach of the Swedish army, and then the Catholic
cause would be lost. Before this he had appealed to Wallenstein, who was
holding a splendid court at Znaim, in Moravia; but the latter refused,
knowing that he could exact better terms for his support by waiting a
little longer. The danger, in fact, increased so rapidly that Ferdinand
II. was finally compelled to subscribe to an agreement which practically
made Wallenstein the lord and himself the subject. He gave the Duchies
of Mecklenburg to Wallenstein, and promised him one of the Hapsburg
States in Austria; he gave him the entire disposal of all the territory
he should conquer, and agreed to pay the expenses of his army. Moreover,
all appointments were left to Wallenstein, and the Emperor pledged
himself that neither he nor his son should ever visit the former's camp.

Having thus become absolute master of his movements, Wallenstein offered
a high rate of payment and boundless chances of plunder to all who might
enlist under him, and in two or three months stood at the head of an
army of 40,000 men, many of whom were demoralized Protestants. He took
possession of Prague, which John George vacated at his approach, and
then waited quietly until Maximilian should be forced by necessity to
give him also the command of the Bavarian forces. This soon came to
pass, and then Wallenstein, with 60,000 men, marched against Gustavus
Adolphus, who fell back upon Nuremberg, which he surrounded with a
fortified camp. Instead of attacking him, Wallenstein took possession of
the height of Zirndorf, in the neighborhood of the city, and strongly
intrenched himself. Here the two commanders lay for nine weeks, watching
each other, until Gustavus, whose force amounted to about 35,000, grew
impatient of the delay, and troubled for the want of supplies.

[Sidenote: 1632.]

He attacked Wallenstein's camp, but was repulsed with a loss of 2,000
men; then, after waiting two weeks longer, he marched out of Nuremberg,
with the intention of invading Bavaria. Maximilian followed him with the
Bavarian troops, and Wallenstein, whose army had been greatly diminished
by disease and desertion, moved into Franconia. Then, wheeling suddenly,
he crossed the Thuringian Mountains into Saxony, burning and pillaging
as he went, took Leipzig, and threatened Dresden. John George, who was
utterly unprepared for such a movement, again called upon Gustavus for
help, and the latter, leaving Bavaria, hastened to Saxony by forced
marches. On the 27th of October he reached Erfurt, where he took leave
of his wife, with a presentiment that he should never see her again.

As he passed on through Weimar to Naumburg, the country-people flocked
to see him, falling on their knees, kissing his garments, and expressing
such other signs of faith and veneration, that he exclaimed: "I pray
that the wrath of the Almighty may not be visited upon me, on account of
this idolatry towards a weak and sinful mortal!" Wallenstein's force
being considerably larger than his own, he halted in Naumburg, to await
the former's movements. As the season was so far advanced, Wallenstein
finally decided to send Pappenheim with 10,000 men into Westphalia, and
then go into winter-quarters. As soon as Gustavus heard of Pappenheim's
departure he marched to the attack, and the battle began on the morning
of November 6th, 1632, at Lützen, between Naumburg and Leipzig.

On both sides the troops had been arranged with great military skill.
Wallenstein had 25,000 men and Gustavus 20,000. The latter made a
stirring address to his Swedes, and then the whole army united in
singing Luther's grand hymn: "Our Lord He is a Tower of Strength." For
several hours the battle raged furiously, without any marked advantage
on either side; then the Swedes broke Wallenstein's left wing and
captured the artillery. The Imperialists rallied and retook it, throwing
the Swedes into some confusion. Gustavus rode forward to rally them and
was carried by his horse among the enemy. A shot, fired at close
quarters, shattered his left arm, but he refused to leave the field, and
shortly afterwards a second shot struck him from his horse. The sight of
the steed, covered with blood and wildly galloping to and fro, told the
Swedes what had happened; but, instead of being disheartened, they
fought more furiously than before, under the command of Duke Bernard of

[Sidenote: 1632. THE BATTLE OF LÜTZEN.]

At this juncture Pappenheim, who had been summoned from Halle the day
before, arrived on the field. His first impetuous charge drove the
Swedes back, but he also fell, mortally wounded, his cavalry began to
waver, and the lost ground was regained. Night put an end to the
conflict, and before morning Wallenstein retreated to Leipzig, leaving
all his artillery and colors on the field. The body of Gustavus Adolphus
was found after a long search, buried under a heap of dead, stripped,
mutilated by the hoofs of horses, and barely recognizable. The loss to
the Protestant cause seemed irreparable, but the heroic king, in
falling, had so crippled the power of its most dangerous enemy that its
remaining adherents had a little breathing-time left them, to arrange
for carrying on the struggle.

Wallenstein was so weakened that he did not even remain in Saxony, but
retired to Bohemia, where he vented his rage on his own soldiers. The
Protestant princes felt themselves powerless without the aid of Sweden,
and when the Chancellor of the kingdom, Oxenstierna, decided to carry on
the war, they could not do otherwise than accept him as the head of the
Protestant Union, in the place of Gustavus Adolphus. A meeting was held
at Heilbronn, in the spring of 1633, at which the Suabian, Franconian
and Rhenish princes formally joined the new league. Duke Bernard and the
Swedish Marshal Horn were appointed commanders of the army. Electoral
Saxony and Brandenburg, as before, hesitated and half drew back, but
they finally consented to favor the movement without joining it, and
each accepted 100,000 thalers a year from France, to pay them for the
trouble. Richelieu had an ambassador at Heilbronn, who promised large
subsidies to the Protestant side: it was in the interest of France to
break the power of the Hapsburgs, and there was also a chance, in the
struggle, of gaining another slice of German territory.

[Sidenote: 1633.]

Hostilities were renewed, and for a considerable time the Protestant
armies were successful everywhere. William of Hesse and Duke George of
Brunswick defeated the Imperialists and held Westphalia; Duke Bernard
took Bamberg and moved against Bavaria; Saxony and Silesia were
delivered from the enemy, and Marshal Horn took possession of Alsatia.
Duke Bernard and Horn were only prevented from overrunning all Bavaria
by a mutiny which broke out in their armies, and deprived them of
several weeks of valuable time.

While these movements were going on, Wallenstein remained idle at
Prague, in spite of the repeated and pressing entreaties of the Emperor
that he would take the field. He seems to have considered his personal
power secured, and was only in doubt as to the next step which he should
take in his ambitious career. Finally, in May, he marched into Silesia,
easily out-generaled Arnheim, who commanded the Protestant armies, but
declined to follow up his advantage, and concluded an armistice. Secret
negotiations then began between Wallenstein, Arnheim and the French
ambassador: the project was that Wallenstein should come over to the
Protestant side, in return for the crown of Bohemia. Louis XIII. of
France promised his aid, but Chancellor Oxenstierna, distrusting
Wallenstein, refused to be a party to the plan. There is no positive
evidence, indeed, that Wallenstein consented: it rather seems that he
was only courting offers from the Protestant side, in order to have a
choice of advantages, but without binding himself in any way.

Ferdinand II., in his desperation, summoned a Spanish army from Italy to
his aid. This was a new offence to Wallenstein, since the new troops
were not placed under his command. In the autumn of 1633, however, he
felt obliged to make some movement. He entered Silesia, defeated a
Protestant army under Count Thurn, overran the greater part of Saxony
and Brandenburg, and threatened Pomerania. In the meantime the Spanish
and Austrian troops in Bavaria had been forced to fall back, Duke
Bernard had taken Ratisbon, and the road to Vienna was open to him.
Ferdinand II. and Maximilian of Bavaria sent messenger after messenger
to Wallenstein, imploring him to return from the North without delay. He
moved with the greatest slowness, evidently enjoying their anxiety and
alarm, crossed the northern frontier of Bavaria, and then, instead of
marching against Duke Bernard, he turned about and took up his
winter-quarters at Pilsen, in Bohemia.


Here he received an order from the Emperor, commanding him to march
instantly against Ratisbon, and further, to send 6,000 of his best
cavalry to the Spanish army. This step compelled him, after a year's
hesitation, to act without further delay. He was already charged, at
Vienna, with being a traitor to the Imperial cause: he now decided to
become one, in reality. He first confided his design to his
brothers-in-law, Counts Kinsky and Terzky, and one of his Generals,
Illo. Then a council of war, of all the chief officers of his army, was
called on the 11th of January, 1634; Wallenstein stated what Ferdinand
II. had ordered, and in a cunning speech commented on the latter's
ingratitude to the army which had saved him, ending by declaring that he
should instantly resign his command. The officers were thunderstruck:
they had boundless faith in Wallenstein's military genius, and they saw
themselves deprived of glory, pay and plunder by his resignation. He and
his associates skilfully made use of their excitement: at a grand
banquet, the next day, all of them, numbering 42, signed a document
pledging their entire fidelity to Wallenstein.

General Piccolomini, one of the signers, betrayed all this to the
Emperor, who, twelve days afterwards, appointed General Gallas, another
of the signers, commander in Wallenstein's stead. At the same time a
secret order was issued for the seizure of Wallenstein, Illo and Terzky,
dead or alive. Both sides were now secretly working against each other,
but Wallenstein's former delay told against him. He could not go over to
the Protestant side, unless certain important conditions were secured in
advance, and while his agents were negotiating with Duke Bernard, his
own army, privately worked upon by Gallas and other agents of the
Emperor, began to desert him. What arrangement was made with Duke
Bernard, is uncertain; the chief evidence is that he, and Wallenstein
with the few thousand troops who still stood by him, moved rapidly
towards each other, as if to join their forces.

[Sidenote: 1634.]

On the 24th of February, 1634, Wallenstein reached the town of Eger,
near the Bohemian frontier: only two or three more days were required,
to consummate his plan. Then Colonel Butler, an Irishman, and two Scotch
officers, Gordon and Leslie, conspired to murder him and his
associates--no doubt in consequence of instructions received from
Vienna. Illo, Terzky and Kinsky accepted an invitation to a banquet in
the citadel, the following evening; but Wallenstein, who was unwell,
remained in his quarters in the Burgomaster's house. Everything had been
carefully prepared, in advance: at a given signal, Gordon and Leslie put
out the lights, dragoons entered the banquet-hall, and the three victims
were murdered in cold blood. Then a Captain Devereux, with six soldiers,
forced his way into the Burgomaster's house, on pretence of bearing
important dispatches, cut down Wallenstein's servant and entered the
room where he lay. Wallenstein, seeing that his hour had come, made no
resistance, but silently received his death-blow.

When Duke Bernard arrived, a day or two afterwards, he found Eger
defended by the Imperialists. Ferdinand II. shed tears when he heard of
Wallenstein's death, and ordered 3,000 masses to be said for his soul;
but, at the same time, he raised the assassins, Butler and Leslie, to
the rank of Count, and rewarded them splendidly for the deed.
Wallenstein's immense estates were divided among the officers who had
sworn to support him, and had then secretly gone over to the Emperor.




The Battle of Nördlingen. --Aid furnished by France. --Treachery of
    Protestant Princes. --Offers of Ferdinand II. --Duke Bernard of
    Saxe-Weimar visits Paris. --His Agreement with Louis XIII. --His
    Victories. --Death of Ferdinand II. --Ferdinand III. succeeds.
    --Duke Bernard's Bravery, Popularity and Death. --Banner's
    Successes. --Torstenson's Campaigns. --He threatens Vienna. --The
    French victorious in Southern Germany. --Movements for Peace.
    --Wrangel's Victories. --Capture of Prague by the Swedes. --The
    Peace of Westphalia. --Its Provisions. --The Religious Settlement.
    --Defeat of the Church of Rome. --Desolation of Germany.
    --Sufferings and Demoralization of the People. --Practical
    Overthrow of the Empire. --A Multitude of Independent States.


The Austrian army, composed chiefly of Wallenstein's troops and
commanded nominally by the Emperor's son, the Archduke Ferdinand, but
really by General Gallas, marched upon Ratisbon and forced the Swedish
garrison to surrender before Duke Bernard, hastening back from Eger,
could reach the place. Then, uniting with the Spanish and Bavarian
forces, the Archduke took Donauwörth and began the siege of the
fortified town of Nördlingen, in Würtemberg. Duke Bernard effected a
junction with Marshal Horn, and, with his usual daring, determined to
attack the Imperialists at once. Horn endeavored to dissuade him, but in
vain: the battle was fought on the 6th of September, 1634, and the
Protestants were terribly defeated, losing 12,000 men, beside 6,000
prisoners, and nearly all their artillery and baggage-wagons. Marshal
Horn was among the prisoners, and Duke Bernard barely succeeded in
escaping with a few followers.

The result of this defeat was that Würtemberg and the Palatinate were
again ravaged by Catholic armies. Oxenstierna, who was consulting with
the Protestant princes in Frankfort, suddenly found himself nearly
deserted: only Hesse-Cassel, Würtemberg and Baden remained on his side.
In this crisis he turned to France, which agreed to assist the Swedes
against the Emperor, in return for more territory in Lorraine and
Alsatia. For the first time, Richelieu found it advisable to give up his
policy of aiding the Protestants with money, and now openly supported
them with French troops. John George of Saxony, who had driven the
Imperialists from his land and invaded Bohemia, cunningly took advantage
of the Emperor's new danger, and made a separate treaty with him, at
Prague, in May, 1635. The latter gave up the "Edict of Restitution" so
far as Saxony was concerned, and made a few other concessions, none of
which favored the Protestants in other lands. On the other hand, he
positively refused to grant religious freedom to Austria, and excepted
Baden, the Palatinate and Würtemberg from the provision which allowed
other princes to join Saxony in the treaty.

[Sidenote: 1635.]

Brandenburg, Mecklenburg, Brunswick, Anhalt, and many free cities
followed the example of Saxony. The most important, and--apparently for
the Swedes and South-German Protestants--fatal provision of the treaty
was that all the States which accepted it should combine to raise an
army to enforce it, the said army to be placed at the Emperor's
disposal. The effect of this was to create a union of the Catholics and
German Lutherans against the Swedish Lutherans and German Calvinists--a
measure which gave Germany many more years of fire and blood. Duke
Bernard of Saxe-Weimar and the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel scorned to be
parties to such a compact: the Swedes and South-Germans were outraged
and indignant: John George was openly denounced as a traitor, as, on the
Catholic side, the Emperor was also denounced, because he had agreed to
yield anything whatever to the Protestants. France, only, enjoyed the
miseries of the situation.

Ferdinand II. was evidently weary of the war, which had now lasted
nearly eighteen years, and he made an effort to terminate it by offering
to Sweden three and a half millions of florins and to Duke Bernard a
principality in Franconia, provided they would accept the treaty of
Prague. Both refused: the latter took command of 12,000 French troops
and marched into Alsatia, while the Swedish General Banner defeated the
Saxons, who had taken the field against him, in three successive
battles. The Imperialists, who had meanwhile retaken Alsatia and invaded
France, were recalled to Germany by Banner's victories, and Duke
Bernard, at the same time, went to Paris to procure additional support.
During the years 1636 and 1637 nearly all Germany was wasted by the
opposing armies; the struggle had become fiercer and more barbarous than
ever, and the last resources of many States were so exhausted that
famine and disease carried off nearly all of the population whom the
sword had spared.

[Sidenote: 1636. DUKE BERNARD IN PARIS.]

Duke Bernard made an agreement with Louis XIII. whereby he received the
rank of Marshal of France, and a subsidy of four million livres a year,
to pay for a force of 18,000 men, which he undertook to raise in
Germany. After the death of Gustavus Adolphus, the hope of the
Protestants was centred on him; soldiers flocked to his standard at
once, and his fortunes suddenly changed. The Swedes were driven from
Northern Germany, with the aid of the Elector of Brandenburg, who
surrendered to the Emperor the most important of his rights as reigning
prince: by the end of 1637, Banner was compelled to retreat to the
Baltic coast, and there await reinforcements. At the same time, Duke
Bernard entered Alsatia, routed the Imperialists, took their commander
prisoner, and soon gained possession of all the territory with the
exception of the fortress of Breisach, to which he laid siege.

On the 15th of February, 1637, the Emperor Ferdinand II. died, in the
fifty-ninth year of his age, after having occasioned, by his policy, the
death of 10,000,000 of human beings. Yet the responsibility of his fatal
and terrible reign rests not so much upon himself, personally, as upon
the Jesuits who educated him. He appears to have sincerely believed that
it was better to reign over a desert than a Protestant people. As a man
he was courageous, patient, simple in his tastes, and without personal
vices. But all the weaknesses and crimes of his worst predecessors,
added together, were scarcely a greater curse to the German people than
his devotion to what he considered the true faith. His son, Ferdinand
III., was immediately elected to succeed him. The Protestants considered
him less subject to the Jesuits and more kindly disposed towards
themselves, but they were mistaken: he adopted all the measures of his
father, and carried on the war with equal zeal and cruelty.

[Sidenote: 1638.]

More than one army was sent to the relief of Breisach, but Duke Bernard
defeated them all, and in December, 1638, the strong fortress
surrendered to him. His compact with France stipulated that he should
possess the greater part of Alsatia as his own independent principality,
after conquering it, relinquishing to France the northern portion,
bordering on Lorraine. But now Louis XIII. demanded Breisach, making its
surrender to him the condition of further assistance. Bernard refused,
gave up the French subsidy, and determined to carry on the war alone.
His popularity was so great that his chance of success seemed good: he
was a brave, devout and noble-minded man, whose strong personal ambition
was always controlled by his conscience. The people had entire faith in
him, and showed him the same reverence which they had manifested towards
Gustavus Adolphus; yet their hope, as before, only preceded their loss.
In the midst of his preparations Duke Bernard died suddenly, on the 18th
of July, 1639, only thirty-six years old. It was generally believed that
he had been poisoned by a secret agent of France, but there is no
evidence that this was the case, except that a French army instantly
marched into Alsatia and held the country.

Duke Bernard's successes, nevertheless, had drawn a part of the
Imperialists from Northern Germany, and in 1638 Banner, having recruited
his army, marched through Brandenburg and Saxony into the heart of
Bohemia, burning and plundering as he went, with no less barbarity than
Tilly or Wallenstein. Although repulsed in 1639, near Prague, by the
Archduke Leopold (Ferdinand III.'s brother), he only retired as far as
Thuringia, where he was again strengthened by Hessian and French troops.
In this condition of affairs, Ferdinand III. called a Diet, which met at
Ratisbon in the autumn of 1640. A majority of the Protestant members
united with the Catholics in their enmity to Sweden and France, but they
seemed incapable of taking any measures to put an end to the dreadful
war: month after month went by and nothing was done.

Then Banner conceived the bold design of capturing the Emperor and the
Diet. He made a winter march, with such skill and swiftness, that he
appeared before the walls of Ratisbon at the same moment with the first
news of his movement. Nothing but a sudden thaw, and the breaking up of
the ice in the Danube, prevented him from being successful. In May,
1641, he died, his army broke up, and the Emperor began to recover some
of the lost ground. Several of the Protestant princes showed signs of
submission, and ambassadors from Austria, France and Sweden met at
Hamburg to decide where and how a Peace Congress might be held.


In 1642 the Swedish army was reorganized under the command of
Torstenson, one of the greatest of the many distinguished generals of
the time. Although he was a constant sufferer from gout and had to be
carried in a litter, he was no less rapid than daring and successful in
all his military operations. His first campaign was through Silesia and
Bohemia, almost to the gates of Vienna; then, returning through Saxony,
towards the close of the year, he almost annihilated the army of
Piccolomini before the walls of Leipzig. The Elector John George,
fighting on the Catholic side, was forced to take refuge in Bohemia.

Denmark having declared war against Sweden, Torstenson made a campaign
in Holstein and Jutland in 1643, in conjunction with a Swedish fleet on
the coast, and soon brought Denmark to terms. The Imperialist general,
Gallas, followed him, but was easily defeated, and then Torstenson, in
turn, followed him back through Bohemia into Austria. In March, 1645,
the Swedish army won such a splendid victory near Tabor, that Ferdinand
III. had scarcely any troops left to oppose their march. Again
Torstenson appeared before Vienna, and was about commencing the siege of
the city, when a pestilence broke out among his troops and compelled him
to retire, as before, through Saxony. Worn out with the fatigues of his
marches, he died before the end of the year, and the command was given
to General Wrangel.

During this time the French, under the famous Marshals, Turenne and
Condé, had not only maintained themselves in Alsatia, but had crossed
the Rhine and ravaged Baden, the Palatinate, Würtemberg and part of
Franconia. Although badly defeated by the Bavarians in the early part of
1645, they were reinforced by the Swedes and Hessians, and, before the
close of the year, won such a victory over the united Imperialist
forces, not far from Donauwörth, that all Bavaria lay open to them. The
effect of these French successes, and of those of the Swedes under
Torstenson, was to deprive Ferdinand III. of nearly his whole military
strength. John George of Saxony concluded a separate armistice with the
Swedes, thus violating the treaty of Prague, which had cost his people
ten years of blood. He was followed by Frederick William, the young
Elector of Brandenburg; and then Maximilian of Bavaria, in March, 1647,
also negotiated a separate armistice with France and Sweden. Ferdinand
III. was thus left with a force of only 12,000 men, the command of
which, as he had no Catholic generals left, was given to a renegade
Calvinist named Melander von Holzapfel.

[Sidenote: 1645.]

The chief obstacle to peace--the power of the Hapsburgs--now seemed to
be broken down. The wanton and tremendous effort made to crush out
Protestantism in Germany, although helped by the selfishness, the
cowardice or the miserable jealousy of so many Protestant princes, had
signally failed, owing to the intervention of three foreign powers, one
of which was Catholic. Yet the Peace Congress, which had been agreed
upon in 1643, had accomplished nothing. It was divided into two bodies:
the ambassadors of the Emperor were to negotiate at Osnabrück with
Sweden, as the representative of the Protestant powers, and at Münster
with France, as the representative of the Catholic powers which desired
peace. Two more years elapsed before all the ambassadors came together,
and then a great deal of time was spent in arranging questions of rank,
title and ceremony, which seem to have been considered much more
important than the weal or woe of a whole people. Spain, Holland,
Venice, Poland and Denmark also sent representatives, and about the end
of 1645 the Congress was sufficiently organized to commence its labors.
But, as the war was still being waged with as much fury as ever, one
side waited and then the other for the result of battles and campaigns;
and so two more years were squandered.

After the armistice with Maximilian of Bavaria, the Swedish general,
Wrangel, marched into Bohemia, where he gained so many advantages that
Maximilian finally took sides again with the Emperor and drove the
Swedes into Northern Germany. Then, early in 1648, Wrangel effected a
junction with Marshal Turenne, and the combined Swedish and French
armies overran all Bavaria, defeated the Imperialists in a bloody
battle, and stood ready to invade Austria. At the same time Königsmark,
with another Swedish army, entered Bohemia, stormed and took half the
city of Prague, and only waited the approach of Wrangel and Turenne to
join them in a combined movement upon Vienna. But before this movement
could be executed, Ferdinand III. had decided to yield. His ambassadors
at Osnabrück and Münster had received instructions, and lost no time in
acting upon them: the proclamation of peace, after such heartless
delays, came suddenly and put an end to thirty years of war.

[Sidenote: 1648. THE PEACE OF WESTPHALIA.]

The Peace of Westphalia, as it is called, was concluded on the 24th of
October, 1648. Inasmuch as its provisions extended not to Germany alone,
but fixed the political relations of Europe for a period of nearly a
hundred and fifty years, they must be briefly stated. France and Sweden,
as the military powers which were victorious in the end, sought to draw
the greatest advantages from the necessities of Germany, but France
opposed any settlement of the religious questions (in order to keep a
chance open for future interference), and Sweden demanded an immediate
and final settlement, which was agreed to. France received Lorraine,
with the cities of Metz, Toul and Verdun, which she had held nearly a
hundred years, all Southern Alsatia with the fortress of Breisach, the
right of appointing the governors of ten German cities, and other rights
which practically placed nearly the whole of Alsatia in her power.
Sweden received the northern half of Pomerania, with the cities of
Wismar and Stettin, and the coast between Bremen and Hamburg, together
with an indemnity of 5,000,000 thalers. Electoral Saxony received
Lusatia and part of the territory of Magdeburg. Brandenburg received the
other half of Pomerania, the archbishopric of Magdeburg, the bishoprics
of Minden and Halberstadt, and other territory which had belonged to the
Roman Church. Additions were made to the domains of Mecklenburg,
Brunswick, and Hesse-Cassel, and the latter was also awarded an
indemnity of 600,000 thalers. Bavaria received the Upper Palatinate
(north of the Danube), and Baden, Würtemberg and Nassau were restored to
their banished rulers. Other petty States were confirmed in the position
which they had occupied before the war, and the independence of
Switzerland and Holland was acknowledged.

In regard to Religion, the results were much more important to the
world. Both Calvinists and Lutherans received entire freedom of worship
and equal civil rights with the Catholics. Ferdinand II.'s "Edict of
Restitution" was withdrawn, and the territories which had been
secularized up to the year 1624 were not given back to the Church.
Universal amnesty was decreed for everything which had happened during
the war, except for the Austrian Protestants, whose possessions were not
restored to them. The Emperor retained the authority of deciding
questions of war and peace, taxation, defences, alliances, &c. with the
concurrence of the Diet: he acknowledged the absolute sovereignty of the
several Princes in their own States, and conceded to them the right of
forming alliances among themselves or with foreign powers! A special
article of the treaty prohibited all persons from writing, speaking or
teaching anything contrary to its provisions.

[Sidenote: 1648.]

The Pope (at that time Innocent X.) declared the Treaty of Westphalia
null and void, and issued a bull against its observance. The parties to
the treaty, however, did not allow this bull to be published in Germany.
The Catholics in all parts of the country (except Austria, Styria and
the Tyrol) had suffered almost as severely as the Protestants, and would
have welcomed the return of peace upon any terms which simply left their
faith free.

Nothing shows so conclusively how wantonly and wickedly the Thirty
Years' War was undertaken than the fact that the Peace of 1648, in a
religious point of view, yielded even more to the Protestants than the
Religious Peace of Augsburg, granted by Charles V. in 1555. After a
hundred years, the Church of Rome, acting through its tools, the
Hapsburg Emperors, was forced to give up the contest: the sword of
slaughter was rusted to the hilt by the blood it had shed, and yet
religious freedom was saved to Germany. It was not zeal for the spread
of Christian truth which inspired this fearful Crusade against
twenty-five millions of Protestants, for the Catholics equally
acknowledged the authority of the Bible: it was the despotic
determination of the Roman Church to rule the minds and consciences of
all men, through its Pope and its priesthood.

Thirty years of war! The slaughters of Rome's worst Emperors, the
persecution of the Christians under Nero and Diocletian, the invasions
of the Huns and Magyars, the long struggle of the Guelphs and
Ghibellines, left no such desolation behind them. At the beginning of
the century, the population of the German Empire was about thirty
millions: when the Peace of Westphalia was declared, it was scarcely
more than twelve millions! Electoral Saxony, alone, lost 900,000 lives
in two years. The population of Augsburg had diminished from 80,000 to
18,000, and out of 500,000 inhabitants, Würtemberg had but 48,000 left.
The city of Berlin contained but three hundred citizens, the whole of
the Palatinate of the Rhine but two hundred farmers. In Hesse-Cassel
seventeen cities, forty-seven castles and three hundred villages were
entirely destroyed by fire: thousands of villages, in all parts of the
country, had but four or five families left out of hundreds, and landed
property sank to about one-twentieth of its former value. Franconia was
so depopulated that an Assembly held in Nuremberg ordered the Catholic
priests to marry, and permitted all other men to have two wives. The
horses, cattle and sheep were exterminated in many districts, the
supplies of grain were at an end, even for sowing, and large cultivated
tracts had relapsed into a wilderness. Even the orchards and vineyards
had been wantonly destroyed wherever the armies had passed. So terrible
was the ravage that in a great many localities, the same amount of
population, cattle, acres of cultivated land and general prosperity, was
not restored until the year 1848, two centuries afterwards!

[Sidenote: 1648. DESOLATION OF GERMANY.]

This statement of the losses of Germany, however, was but a small part
of the suffering endured. Only two commanders, Gustavus Adolphus and
Duke Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, preserved rigid discipline among their
troops, and prevented them from plundering the people. All others
allowed, or were powerless to prevent, the most savage outrages. During
the last ten or twelve years of the war both Protestants and Catholics
vied with each other in deeds of barbarity; the soldiers were nothing
but highway robbers, who maimed and tortured the country people to make
them give up their last remaining property, and drove hundreds of
thousands of them into the woods and mountains to die miserably or live
as half-savages. Multitudes of others flocked to the cities for refuge,
only to be visited by fire and famine. In the year 1637, when Ferdinand
II. died, the want was so great that men devoured each other, and even
hunted down human beings like deer or hares, in order to feed upon them.
Great numbers committed suicide, to avoid a slow death by hunger: on the
island of Rügen many poor creatures were found dead, with their mouths
full of grass, and in some districts attempts were made to knead earth
into bread. Then followed a pestilence which carried off a large
proportion of the survivors. A writer of the time exclaims: "A thousand
times ten thousand souls, the spirits of innocent children butchered in
this unholy war, cry day and night unto God for vengeance, and cease
not: while those who have caused all these miseries live in peace and
freedom, and the shout of revelry and the voice of music are heard in
their dwellings!"

[Sidenote: 1648.]

In character, in intelligence and in morality, the German people were
set back two hundred years. All branches of industry had declined,
commerce had almost entirely ceased, literature and the arts were
suppressed, and except the astronomical discoveries of Copernicus and
Kepler there was no contribution to human knowledge. Even the modern
High-German language, which Luther had made the classic tongue of the
land, seemed to be on the point of perishing. Spaniards and Italians on
the Catholic, Swedes and French on the Protestant side, flooded the
country with foreign words and expressions, the use of which soon became
an affectation with the nobility, who did their best to destroy their
native language. Wallenstein's letters to the Emperor were a curious
mixture of German, French, Spanish, Italian and Latin.

Politically, the change was no less disastrous. The ambition of the
house of Hapsburg, it is true, had brought its own punishment; the
imperial dignity was secured to it, but henceforth the head of the "Holy
Roman Empire" was not much more than a shadow. Each petty State became,
practically, an independent nation, with power to establish its own
foreign relations, make war and contract alliances. Thus Germany, as a
whole, lost her place among the powers of Europe, and could not possibly
regain it under such an arrangement: the Emperor and the Princes,
together, had skilfully planned her decline and fall. The nobles who, in
former centuries, had maintained a certain amount of independence, were
almost as much demoralized as the people, and when every little prince
began to imitate Louis XIV. and set up his own Versailles, the nobles in
his territory became his courtiers and government officials. As for the
mass of the people, their spirit was broken: for a time they gave up
even the longing for rights which they had lost, and taught their
children abject obedience in order that they might simply _live_.

[Sidenote: 1648. THE GERMAN STATES.]

After the Thirty Years' War, Germany was composed of nine Electorates,
twenty-four Religious Principalities (Catholic), nine princely Abbots,
ten princely Abbesses, twenty-four Princes with seat and vote in the
Diet, thirteen Princes without seat and vote, sixty-two Counts of the
Empire, fifty-one Cities of the Empire, and about one thousand Knights
of the Empire. These last, however, no longer possessed any political
power. But, without them, there were two hundred and three more or less
independent, jealous and conflicting States, united by a bond which was
more imaginary than real; and this confused, unnatural state of things
continued until Napoleon came to put an end to it.




Contemporary History. --Germany in the Seventeenth Century. --Influence
    of Louis XIV. --Leopold I. of Austria. --Petty Despotisms. --The
    Great Elector. --Invasions of Louis XIV. --The Elector Aids
    Holland. --War with France. --Battle of Fehrbellin. --French
    Ravages in Baden. --The Peace of Nymwegen. --The Hapsburgs and
    Hohenzollerns. --Louis XIV. seizes Strasburg. --Vienna besieged by
    the Turks. --Sobieski's Victory. --Events in Hungary. --Prince
    Eugene of Savoy. --Victories over the Turks. --French Invasion of
    Germany. --French Barbarity. --Death of the Great Elector. --The
    War with France. --Peace of Ryswick. --Position of the German
    States. --The Diet. --The Imperial Court. --State of Learning and

[Sidenote: 1648.]

The Peace of Westphalia coincides with the beginning of great changes
throughout Europe. The leading position on the Continent, which Germany
had preserved from the treaty of Verdun until the accession of Charles
V.--nearly 700 years--was lost beyond recovery: it had passed into the
hands of France, where Louis XIV. was just commencing his long and
brilliant reign. Spain, after a hundred years of supremacy, was in a
rapid decline; the new Republic of Holland was mistress of the seas, and
Sweden was the great power of Northern Europe. In England, Charles I.
had lost his throne, and Cromwell was at work, laying the foundation of
a broader and firmer power than either the Tudors or the Stuarts had
ever built. Poland was still a large and strong kingdom, and Russia was
only beginning to attract the notice of other nations. The Italian
Republics had seen their best days: even the power of Venice was slowly
crumbling to pieces. The coast of America, from Maine to Virginia, was
dotted with little English, Dutch and Swedish settlements, only a few of
which had safely passed through their first struggle for existence.

[Sidenote: 1657. ELECTION OF LEOPOLD I.]

The history of Germany, during the remainder of the seventeenth
century, furnishes few events upon which the intelligent and patriotic
German of to-day can look back with any satisfaction. Austria was the
principal power, through her territory and population, as well as the
Imperial dignity, which was thenceforth accorded to her as a matter of
habit. The provision of religious liberty had not been extended to her
people, who were now forcibly made Catholic; the former legislative
assemblies, even the privileges of the nobles, had been suppressed, and
the rule of the Hapsburgs was as absolute a despotism as that of Louis
XIV. When Ferdinand III. died, in 1657, the "Great Monarch," as the
French call him, made an attempt to be elected his successor: he
purchased the votes of the Archbishops of Mayence, Treves and Cologne,
and might have carried the day but for the determined resistance of the
Electors of Brandenburg and Saxony. Even had he been successful, it is
doubtful whether his influence over the most of the German Princes would
have been greater than it was in reality.

Ferdinand's son, Leopold I., a stupid, weak-minded youth of eighteen,
was chosen Emperor in 1658. Like his ancestor, Frederick III., whom he
most resembled, his reign was as long as it was useless. Until the year
1705 he was the imaginary ruler of an imaginary Empire: Vienna was a
faint reflection of Madrid, as every other little capital was of Paris.
The Hapsburgs and the Bourbons being absolute, all the ruling princes,
even the best of them, introduced the same system into their
territories, and the participation of the other classes of the people in
the government ceased. The cities followed this example, and their
Burgomasters and Councillors became a sort of aristocracy, more or less
arbitrary in character. The condition of the people, therefore, depended
entirely on the princes, priests, or other officials who governed them:
one State or city might be orderly and prosperous, while another was
oppressed and checked in its growth. A few of the rulers were wise and
humane: Ernest the Pious of Gotha was a father to his land, during his
long reign; in Hesse, Brunswick and Anhalt learning was encouraged, and
Frederick William of Brandenburg set his face against the corrupting
influences of France. These small States were exceptions, yet they kept
alive what of hope and strength and character was left to Germany, and
were the seeds of her regeneration in the present century.

[Sidenote: 1660.]

Throughout the greater part of the country the people relapsed into
ignorance and brutality, and the higher classes assumed the stiff,
formal, artificial manners which nearly all Europe borrowed from the
court of Louis XIV. Public buildings, churches and schools were allowed
to stand as ruins, while the petty sovereign built his stately palace,
laid out his park in the style of Versailles, and held his splendid and
ridiculous festivals. Although Saxony had been impoverished and almost
depopulated, the Elector, John George II., squandered all the revenues
of the land on banquets, hunting-parties, fireworks and collections of
curiosities, until his treasury was hopelessly bankrupt. Another prince
made his Italian singing-master prime minister, and others again
surrendered their lives and the happiness of their people to influences
which were still more disastrous.

The one historical character among the German rulers of this time is
Frederick William of Brandenburg, who is generally called "The Great
Elector." In bravery, energy and administrative ability, he was the
first worthy successor of Frederick of Hohenzollern. No sooner had peace
been declared than he set to work to restore order to his wasted and
disturbed territory: he imitated Sweden in organizing a standing army,
small at first, but admirably disciplined; he introduced a regular
system of taxation, of police and of justice, and encouraged trade and
industry in all possible ways. In a few years a war between Sweden and
Poland gave him the opportunity of interfering, in the hope of obtaining
the remainder of Pomerania. He first marched to Königsberg, the capital
of the Duchy of Prussia, which belonged to Brandenburg, but under the
sovereignty of Poland. Allying himself first with the Swedes, he
participated in a great victory at Warsaw in July, 1656, and then found
it to his advantage to go over to the side of John Casimir, king of
Poland, who offered him the independence of Prussia. This was his only
gain from the war; for, by the peace of 1660, he was forced to give up
Western Pomerania, which he had in the mean time conquered from Sweden.

[Sidenote: 1667. WAR WITH LOUIS XIV.]

Louis XIV. of France was by this time aware that his kingdom had nothing
to fear from any of its neighbors, and might easily be enlarged at their
expense. In 1667, he began his wars of conquest, by laying claim to
Brabant, and instantly sending Turenne and Condé over the frontier. A
number of fortresses, unprepared for resistance, fell into their hands;
but Holland, England and Sweden formed an alliance against France, and
the war terminated in 1668 by the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. Louis's next
step was to ally himself with England and Sweden against Holland, on the
ground that a Republic, by furnishing a place of refuge for political
fugitives, was dangerous to monarchies. In 1672 he entered Holland with
an army of 118,000 men, took Geldern, Utrecht and other
strongly-fortified places, and would soon have made himself master of
the country, if its inhabitants had not shown themselves capable of the
sublimest courage and self-sacrifice. They were victorious over France
and England on the sea, and defended themselves stubbornly on the land.
Even the German Archbishop of Cologne and Bishop of Münster furnished
troops to Louis XIV. and the Emperor Leopold promised to remain neutral.
Then Frederick William of Brandenburg allied himself with Holland, and
so wrought upon the Emperor by representing the danger to Germany from
the success of France, that the latter sent an army under General
Montecuccoli to the Rhine. But the Austrian troops remained inactive;
Louis XIV. purchased the support of the Archbishops of Mayence and
Treves; Westphalia was invaded by the French, and in 1673 Frederick
William was forced to sign a treaty of neutrality.

About this time Holland was strengthened by the alliance of Spain, and
the Emperor Leopold, alarmed at the continual invasions of German
territory on the Upper Rhine, ordered Montecuccoli to make war in
earnest. In 1674 the Diet formally declared war against France, and
Frederick William marched with 16,000 men to the Palatinate, which
Marshal Turenne had ravaged with fire and sword. The French were driven
back and even out of Alsatia for a time; but they returned the following
year, and were successful until the month of July, when Turenne found
his death on the soil which he had turned into a desert. Before this
happened, Frederick William had been recalled in all haste to
Brandenburg, where the Swedes, instigated by France, were wasting the
land with a barbarity equal to Turenne's. His march was so swift that he
found the enemy scattered: dividing and driving them before him, on the
18th of June, 1675, at Fehrbellin, with only 7,000 men, he attacked the
main Swedish army, numbering more than double that number. For three
hours the battle raged with the greatest fury; Frederick William fought
at the head of his troops, who more than once cut him out from the ranks
of the enemy, and the result was a splendid victory. The fame of this
achievement rang through all Europe, and Brandenburg was thenceforth
mentioned with the respect due to an independent power.

[Sidenote: 1677.]

Frederick William continued the war for two years longer, gradually
acquiring possession of all Swedish Pomerania, including Stettin and the
other cities on the coast. He even built a small fleet, and undertook to
dispute the supremacy of Sweden on the Baltic. During this time the war
with France was continued on the Upper Rhine, with varying fortunes.
Though repulsed and held in check after Turenne's death, the French
burned five cities and several hundred villages west of the Rhine, and
in 1677 captured Freiburg in Baden. But Louis XIV. began to be tired of
the war, especially as Holland proved to be unconquerable. Negotiations
for peace were commenced in 1678, and on the 5th of February, 1679, the
"Peace of Nymwegen" was concluded with Holland, Spain and the German
Empire--except Brandenburg! Leopold I. openly declared that he did not
mean to have a Vandal kingdom in the North.

Frederick William at first determined to carry on the war alone, but the
French had already laid waste Westphalia, and in 1679 he was forced to
accept a peace which required that he should restore nearly the whole of
Western Pomerania to Sweden. Austria, moreover, took possession of
several small principalities in Silesia, which had fallen to Brandenburg
by inheritance. Thus the Hapsburgs repaid the support which the
Hohenzollerns had faithfully rendered to them for four hundred years:
thenceforth the two houses were enemies, and they were soon to become
irreconcilable rivals. Leopold I. again betrayed Germany in the peace of
Nymwegen, by yielding the city and fortress of Freiburg to France.


Louis XIV., nevertheless, was not content with this acquisition. He
determined to possess the remaining cities of Alsatia which belonged to
Germany. The Catholic Bishop of Strasburg was his secret agent, and
three of the magistrates of the city were bribed to assist. In the
autumn of 1681, when nearly all the merchants were absent, attending the
fair at Frankfort, a powerful French army, which had been secretly
collected in Lorraine, suddenly appeared before Strasburg. Between force
outside and treachery within the walls, the city surrendered: on the 23d
of October Louis XIV. made his triumphant entry, and was hailed by the
Bishop with the blasphemous words: "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant
depart in peace, for his eyes have seen thy Saviour!" The great
Cathedral, which had long been in the possession of the Protestants, was
given up to this Bishop: all Protestant functionaries were deprived of
their offices, and the clergymen driven from the city. French names were
given to the streets, and the inhabitants were commanded, under heavy
penalties, to lay aside their German costume, and adopt the fashions of
France. No official claim or declaration of war preceded this robbery;
but the effect which it produced throughout Germany was comparatively
slight. The people had been long accustomed to violence and outrage, and
the despotic independence of each State suppressed anything like a
national sentiment.

Leopold I. called upon the Princes of the Empire to declare war against
France, but met with little support. Frederick William positively
refused, as he had been shamefully excepted from the Peace of Nymwegen.
He gave as a reason, however, the great danger which menaced Germany
from a new Turkish invasion, and offered to send an army to the support
of Austria. The Emperor, equally stubborn and jealous, declined this
offer, although his own dominions were on the verge of ruin.

[Sidenote: 1683.]

The Turks had remained quiet during the whole of the Thirty Years' War,
when they might easily have conquered Austria. In the early part of
Leopold's reign they recommenced their invasions, which were terminated,
in 1664, by a truce of twenty years. Before the period came to an end,
the Hungarians, driven to desperation by Leopold's misrule, especially
his persecution of the Protestants, rose in rebellion. The Turks came to
an understanding with them, and early in 1683, an army of more than
200,000 men, commanded by the Grand Vizier Kara Mustapha, marched up the
Danube, carrying everything before it, and encamped around the walls of
Vienna. There is good evidence that the Sultan, Mohammed IV., was
strongly encouraged by Louis XIV. to make this movement. Leopold fled at
the approach of the Turks, leaving his capital to its fate. For two
months Count Stahremberg, with only 7,000 armed citizens and 6,000
mercenary soldiers under his command, held the fortifications against
the overwhelming force of the enemy; then, when further resistance was
becoming hopeless, help suddenly appeared. An army commanded by Duke
Charles of Lorraine, another under the Elector of Saxony, and a third,
composed of 20,000 Poles, headed by their king, John Sobieski, reached
Vienna about the same time. The decisive battle was fought on the 12th
of September, 1683, and ended with the total defeat of the Turks, who
fled into Hungary, leaving their camp, treasures and supplies to the
value of 10,000,000 dollars in the hands of the conquerors.

The deliverance of Vienna was due chiefly to John Sobieski, yet, when
Leopold I. returned to the city which he had deserted, he treated the
Polish king with coldness and haughtiness, never once thanking him for
his generous aid. The war was continued, in the interest of Austria, by
Charles of Lorraine and Max Emanuel of Bavaria, until 1687, when a great
victory at Mohacs in Hungary forced the Turks to retreat beyond the
Danube. Then Leopold I. took brutal vengeance on the Hungarians,
executing so many of their nobles that the event is called "the Shambles
of Eperies," from the town where it occurred. The Jesuits were allowed
to put down Protestantism in their own way; the power and national pride
of Hungary were trampled under foot, and a Diet held at Presburg
declared that the crown of the country should thenceforth belong to the
house of Hapsburg. This episode of the history of the time, the taking
of Strasburg by Louis XIV., the treatment of Frederick William of
Brandenburg, and other contemporaneous events, must be borne in mind,
since they are connected with much that has taken place in our own day.

In spite of the defeat of the Turks in 1687, they were encouraged by
France to continue the war. Max Emanuel took Belgrade in 1689, the
Margrave Ludwig of Baden won an important victory, and Prince Eugene of
Savoy (a grandnephew of Cardinal Mazarin, whom Louis XIV. called, in
derision, the "Little Abbé," and refused to give a military command)
especially distinguished himself as a soldier. After ten years of
varying fortune, the war was brought to an end by the magnificent
victory of Prince Eugene at Zenta, in 1697. It was followed by the
Treaty of Carlowitz, in 1699, in which Turkey gave up Transylvania and
the Slavonic provinces to Austria, Morea and Dalmatia to Venice, and
agreed to a truce of twenty-five years.

[Sidenote: 1686. RENEWED WAR WITH FRANCE.]

While the best strength of Germany was engaged in this Turkish war,
Louis XIV. was busy in carrying out his plans of conquest. He claimed
the Palatinate of the Rhine for his brother, the Duke of Orleans, and
also attempted to make one of his agents Archbishop of Cologne. In 1686,
an alliance was formed between Leopold I., several of the German States,
Holland, Spain and Sweden, to defend themselves against the aggressions
of France, but nothing was accomplished by the negotiations which
followed. Finally, in 1688, two powerful French armies suddenly appeared
upon the Rhine: one took possession of the territory of Treves and
Cologne, the other marched through the Palatinate into Franconia and
Würtemberg. But the demands of Louis XIV. were not acceded to; the
preparation for war was so general on the part of the allied countries
that it was evident his conquests could not be held; so he determined,
at least, to ruin the territory before giving it up.

No more wanton and barbarous deed was ever perpetrated. The "Great
Monarch," the model of elegance and refinement for all Europe, was
guilty of brutality beyond what is recorded of the most savage
chieftains. The vines were pulled up by the roots and destroyed; the
fruit-trees were cut down, the villages burned to the ground, and
400,000 persons were made beggars, besides those who were slain in cold
blood. The castle of Heidelberg, one of the most splendid monuments of
the Middle Ages in all Europe, was blown up with gunpowder; the people
of Mannheim were compelled to pull down their own fortifications, after
which their city was burned, Speyer, with its grand and venerable
Cathedral, was razed to the ground, and the bodies of the Emperors
buried there were exhumed and plundered. While this was going on, the
German Princes, with a few exceptions (the "Great Elector" being the
prominent one), were copying the fashions of the French Court, and even
trying to unlearn their native language!

[Sidenote: 1688.]

Frederick William of Brandenburg, however, was spared the knowledge of
the worst features of this outrage. He died the same year, after a reign
of forty-eight years, at the age of sixty-eight. The latter years of his
reign were devoted to the internal development of his State. He united
the Oder and Elbe by a canal, built roads and bridges, encouraged
agriculture and the mechanic arts, and set a personal example of
industry and intelligence to his people while he governed them. His
possessions were divided and scattered, reaching from Königsberg to the
Rhine, but, taken collectively, they were larger than any other German
State at the time, except Austria. None of the smaller German rulers
before him took such a prominent part in the intercourse with foreign
nations. He was thoroughly German, in his jealousy of foreign rule; but
this did not prevent him from helping to confirm Louis XIV. in his
robbery of Strasburg, out of revenge for his own treatment by Leopold I.
When personal pride or personal interest was concerned, the
Hohenzollerns were hardly more patriotic than the Hapsburgs.

The German Empire raised an army of about 60,000 men, to carry on the
war with France; but its best commanders, Max Emanuel and Prince Eugene,
were fighting the Turks, and the first campaigns were not successful.
The other allied powers, Holland, England and Spain, were equally
unfortunate, while France, compact and consolidated under one despotic
head, easily held out against them. In 1693, finally, the Margrave
Ludwig of Baden obtained some victories in Southern Germany which forced
the French to retreat beyond the Rhine. The seat of war was then
gradually transferred to Flanders, and the task of conducting it fell
upon the foreign allies. At the same time there were battles in Spain
and Savoy, and sea-fights in the British Channel. Although the fortunes
of Germany were influenced by these events, they belong properly to the
history of other countries. Victory inclined sometimes to one side and
sometimes to the other; the military operations were so extensive that
there could be no single decisive battle.

All parties became more or less weary and exhausted, and the end of it
all was the Treaty of Ryswick, concluded on the 20th of September, 1697.
By its provisions France retained Strasburg and the greater part of
Alsatia, but gave up Freiburg and her other conquests east of the Rhine,
in Baden. Lorraine was restored to its Duke, but on conditions which
made it practically a French province. The most shameful clause of the
Treaty was one which ordered that the districts which had been made
Catholic by force during the invasion were to remain so.

[Sidenote: 1697. DECLINE OF THE EMPIRE.]

Nearly every important German State, at this time, had some connection
or alliance which subjected it to foreign influence. The Hapsburg
possessions in Belgium were more Spanish than German; Pomerania and the
bishoprics of Bremen and Verden were under Sweden; Austria and Hungary
were united; Holstein was attached to Denmark, and in 1697 Augustus the
Strong of Saxony, after the death of John Sobieski, purchased his
election as king of Poland by enormous bribes to the Polish nobles.
Augustus the Strong, of whom Carlyle says that "he lived in this world
regardless of expense," outdid his predecessor, John George II., in his
monstrous imitation of French luxury. For a time he not only ruined but
demoralized Saxony, starving the people by his exactions, and living in
a style which was infamous as well as reckless.

The National German Diet, from this time on, was no longer attended by
the Emperor and ruling Princes, but only by their official
representatives. It was held, permanently, in Ratisbon, and its members
spent their time mostly in absurd quarrels about forms. When any
important question arose, messengers were sent to the rulers to ask
their advice, and so much time was always lost that the Diet was
practically useless. The Imperial Court, established by Maximilian I.,
was now permanently located at Wetzlar, not far from Frankfort, and had
become as slow and superannuated as the Diet. The Emperor, in fact, had
so little concern with the rest of the Empire, that his title was only
honorary; the revenues it brought him were about 13,000 florins
annually. The only change which took place in the political organization
of Germany, was that in 1692 Ernest Augustus of Hannover (the father of
George I. of England) was raised to the dignity of Elector, which
increased the whole number of Electors, temporal and spiritual, to nine.

[Sidenote: 1697.]

During the latter half of the seventeenth century, learning, literature
and the arts received little encouragement in Germany. At the petty
courts there was more French spoken than German, and the few authors of
the period--with the exception of Spener, Francke, and other devout
religious writers--produced scarcely any works of value. The
philosopher, Leibnitz, stands alone as the one distinguished
intellectual man of his age. The upper classes were too French and too
demoralized to assist in the better development of Germany, and the
lower classes were still too poor, oppressed and spiritless to think of
helping themselves. Only in a few States, chief among them Brunswick,
Hesse, Saxe-Gotha and Saxe-Weimar, were the Courts on a moderate scale,
the government tolerably honest, and the people prosperous.




New European Troubles. --Intrigues at the Spanish Court. --Leopold I.
    declares War against France. --Frederick I. of Brandenburg becomes
    King of Prussia. --German States allied with France. --Prince
    Eugene in Italy. --Operations on the Rhine. --Marlborough enters
    Germany. --Battle of Blenheim. --Joseph I. Emperor. --Victory of
    Ramillies. --Battle of Turin. --Victories in Flanders. --Louis XIV.
    asks for Peace. --Battle of Malplaquet. --Renewed Offer of France.
    --Stupidity of Joseph I. --Recall of Marlborough. --Karl VI.
    Emperor. --Peace of Utrecht. --Karl VI.'s Obstinacy. --Prince
    Eugene's Appeal. --Final Peace. --Loss of Alsatia. --The Kingdom of


The beginning of the new century brought with it new troubles for all
Europe, and Germany--since it was settled that her Emperors must be
Hapsburgs--was compelled to share in them. In the North, Charles XII. of
Sweden and Peter the Great of Russia were fighting for "the balance of
power"; in Spain king Charles II. was responsible for a new cause of
war, simply because he was the last of the Hapsburgs in a direct line,
and had no children! Louis XIV. had married his elder sister and Leopold
I. his younger sister; and both claimed the right to succeed him. The
former, it is true, had renounced all claim to the throne of Spain when
he married, but he put forth his grandson, Duke Philip of Anjou, as the
candidate. There were two parties at the Court of Madrid,--the French,
at the head of which was Louis XIV.'s ambassador, and the Austrian,
directed by Charles II.'s mother and wife. The other nations of Europe
were opposed to any division of Spain between the rival claimants, since
the possession of even half her territory (which still included Naples,
Sicily, Milan and Flanders, besides her enormous colonies in America)
would have made either France or Austria too powerful. Charles II.,
however, was persuaded to make a will appointing Philip of Anjou his
successor, and when he died, in 1700, Louis XIV. immediately sent his
grandson over the Pyrenees and had him proclaimed as king Philip V. of

[Sidenote: 1701.]

Leopold I. thereupon declared war against France, in the hope of gaining
the crown of Spain for his son, the Archduke Karl. England and Holland
made alliances with him, and he was supported by most of the German
States. The Elector, Frederick III. of Brandenburg (son of "the Great
Elector"), who was a very proud and ostentatious prince, furnished his
assistance on condition that he should be authorized by the Emperor to
assume the title of King. Since the traditional customs of the German
Empire did not permit another king than that of Bohemia among the
Electors, Frederick was obliged to take the name of his detached Duchy
of Prussia, instead of Brandenburg. On the 18th of January, 1701, he
crowned himself and his wife at Königsberg, and was thenceforth called
king Frederick I. of Prussia. But his capital was still Berlin, and thus
the names of "Prussia" and "the Prussians"--which came from a small
tribe of mixed Slavonic blood--were gradually transferred to all his
other lands and their population, German, and especially Saxon, in
character. Prince Eugene of Savoy saw the future with a prophetic glance
when he declared: "the Emperor, in his own interest, ought to have
hanged the Ministers who counselled him to make this concession to the
Elector of Brandenburg!"

The Elector Max Emanuel of Bavaria and his brother, the Archbishop of
Cologne, openly espoused the cause of France. Several smaller princes
were also bribed by Louis XIV., but one of them, the Duke of Brunswick,
after raising 12,000 men for France, was compelled by the Elector of
Hannover to add them to the German army. With such miserable disunion at
home, Germany would have gone to pieces and ceased to exist, but for the
powerful participation of England and Holland in the war. The English
Parliament, it is true, only granted 10,000 men at first, but as soon as
Louis XIV. recognized the exiled Stuart, Prince James, as rightful heir
to the throne of England, the grant was enlarged to 40,000 soldiers and
an equal number of sailors. The value of this aid was greatly increased
by the military genius of the English commander, the famous Duke of


The war was commenced by Louis XIV. who suddenly took possession of a
number of fortified places in Flanders, which Max Emanuel of Bavaria,
then governor of the province, had purposely left unguarded. While the
recovery of this territory was left to England and Holland, Prince
Eugene undertook to drive the French out of Northern Italy. He made a
march across the Alps as daring as that of Napoleon, transporting cannon
and supplies by paths only known to the chamois-hunters. For nearly a
year he was entirely successful; then, having been recalled to Vienna,
the French were reinforced and recovered their lost ground. An important
result of the campaign, however, was that Victor Amadeus, Duke of Savoy
(ancestor of the present king of Italy), quarrelled with the French,
with whom he had been allied, and joined the German side.

The struggle now became more and more confused, and we cannot undertake
to follow all its entangled episodes. France encouraged a rebellion in
Hungary; the Archbishop of Cologne laid waste the Lower Rhine; Max
Emanuel seized Ulm and held it for France; Marshal Villars, in 1703,
pressed back Ludwig of Baden (who had up to that time been successful in
the Palatinate and Alsatia), marched through the Black Forest and
effected a junction with the Bavarian army. His plan was to cross the
Alps and descend into Italy in the rear of the German forces which
Prince Eugene had left there; but the Tyrolese rose against him and
fought with such desperation that he was obliged to fall back on

Marshal Villars and Max Emanuel now commanded a combined army of 60,000
men, in the very heart of Germany. They had defeated the Austrian
commander, and Ludwig of Baden's army was too small to take the field
against them. But the Duke of Marlborough had been brilliantly
victorious in Belgium and on the Lower Rhine, and he was thus able to
march on towards the Danube. Prince Eugene hastened from Hungary with
such troops as he could collect, and the two, with Ludwig of Baden, were
strong enough to engage the French and Bavarians. They met on the 13th
of August, 1704, on the plain of the Danube, near the little village of
Blenheim. After a long and furious battle, the French left 14,000 men
upon the field, lost 13,000 prisoners, and fled towards the Rhine in
such haste that scarcely one-third of their army reached the river.
Marlborough and Eugene were made Princes of the German Empire, and all
Europe rang with songs celebrating the victory, in which Marlborough's
name appeared as "Malbrook." His proposal to follow up the victory with
an invasion of France was rejected by the Emperor, and the war, which
might then have been pressed to a termination, continued for ten years

[Sidenote: 1705.]

In 1705 Leopold I. relieved Germany, by his death, of the dead weight of
his incapacity. He was succeeded by his son, Joseph I., who possessed,
at least, a little ordinary common sense. He manifested it at once by
making Prince Eugene his counsellor, instead of surrounding him with
spies, as his jealous and spiteful father had done. Both sides were
preparing for new movements, and the principal event for the year took
place in Spain, where the Archduke, who had been conveyed to Barcelona
by an English fleet, obtained possession of Catalonia and Aragon, and
threatened Philip V. with the loss of his crown. The previous year,
1704, the English had taken Gibraltar.

In 1706 operations were recommenced, on a larger scale, and with results
which were very disastrous to the plans of France. Marlborough's great
victory at Ramillies, on the 23d of May, gave him the Spanish
Netherlands, and enabled the Emperor to declare Max Emanuel and the
Archbishop of Cologne outlawed. The city of Turin, held by an Austrian
garrison, was besieged, about the same time, by the Duke of Orleans,
with 38,000 men. Then Prince Eugene hastened across the Alps with an
army of 24,000, was reinforced by 13,000 more under Victor Amadeus of
Savoy, and on the 7th of September attacked the French with such
impetuosity that they were literally destroyed. Among the spoils were
211 cannon, 80,000 barrels of powder, and a great amount of money,
horses and provisions. By this victory Prince Eugene became also a hero
to the German people, and many of their songs about him are sung at this
day. The "Prussian" troops, under Prince Leopold of Dessau, especially
distinguished themselves: their commander was afterwards one of
Frederick the Great's most famous generals.

The first consequence of this victory was an armistice with Louis XIV.,
so far as Italian territory was concerned: nevertheless, a part of the
Austrian army was sent to Naples in 1707, to take possession of the
country in the name of Spain. The Archduke Karl, after some temporary
successes over Philip V., was driven back to Barcelona, and Louis XIV.
then offered to treat for peace. Austria and England refused: in 1708
Marlborough and Prince Eugene, again united, won another victory over
the French at Oudenarde, and took the stronghold of Lille, which had
been considered impregnable. The road to Paris was apparently open to
the allies, and Louis XIV. offered to give up his claim, on behalf of
Philip V., to Spain, Milan, the Spanish-American colonies and the
Netherlands, provided Naples and Sicily were left to his grandson.
Marlborough and Prince Eugene required, in addition, that he should
expel Philip from Spain, in case the latter refused to conform to the
treaty. Louis XIV.'s pride was wounded by this demand, and the
negotiations were broken off.


With great exertion a new French army was raised, and Marshal Villars
placed in command. But the two famous commanders, Marlborough and
Eugene, achieved such a new and crushing victory in the battle of
Malplaquet, fought on the 11th of September, 1709, that France made a
third attempt to conclude peace. Louis XIV. now offered to withdraw his
claim to the Spanish succession, to restore Alsatia and Strasburg to
Germany, and to pay one million livres a month towards defraying the
expenses of expelling Philip V. from Spain. It will scarcely be believed
that this proposal, so humiliating to the extravagant pride of France,
and which conceded more than Germany had hoped to obtain, was rejected!
The cause seems to have been a change in the fortunes of the Archduke
Karl in Spain: he was again victorious, and in 1710 held his triumphal
entry in Madrid. Yet it is difficult to conceive what further advantages
Joseph I. expected to secure, by prolonging the war.

Germany was soon punished for this presumptuous refusal of peace. A
Court intrigue, in England, overthrew the Whig Ministry and gave the
power into the hands of the Tories: Marlborough was at first hampered
and hindered in carrying out his plans, and then recalled. While keeping
up the outward forms of her alliance with Holland and Germany, England
began to negotiate secretly with France, and thus the chief strength of
the combination against Louis XIV. was broken. In 1711 the Emperor
Joseph I. died, leaving no direct heirs, and the Archduke Karl became
his successor to the throne. The latter immediately left Spain, was
elected before he reached Germany, and crowned in Mayence on the 22d of
September, as Karl VI. Although, by deserting Spain, he had seemed to
renounce his pretension to the Spanish crown, there was a general fear
that the success of Germany would unite the two countries, as in the
time of Charles V., and Holland's interest in the war began also to
languish. Prince Eugene, without English aid, was so successful in the
early part of 1712 that even Paris seemed in danger; but Marshal
Villars, by cutting off all his supplies, finally forced him to retreat.

[Sidenote: 1713.]

During this same year negotiations were carried on between France,
England, Holland, Savoy and Prussia. They terminated, in 1713, in the
Peace of Utrecht, by which the Bourbon, Philip V., was recognized as
king of Spain and her colonies, on condition that the crowns of Spain
and France should never be united. England received Gibraltar and the
island of Minorca from Spain, Acadia, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and the
Hudson's Bay Territory from France, and the recognition of her
Protestant monarchy. Holland obtained the right to garrison a number of
strong frontier fortresses in Belgium, and Prussia received Neufchatel
in Switzerland, some territory on the Lower Rhine, and the
acknowledgment of Frederick I.'s royal dignity.

Karl VI. refused to recognize his rival, Philip V., as king of Spain,
and therefore rejected the Treaty of Utrecht. But the other princes of
Germany were not eager to prolong the war for the sake of gratifying the
Hapsburg pride. Prince Eugene, who was a devoted adherent of Austria, in
vain implored them to be united and resolute. "I stand," he wrote, "like
a sentinel (a watch!) on the Rhine; and as mine eye wanders over these
fair regions, I think to myself how happy, and beautiful, and
undisturbed in the enjoyment of Nature's gifts they might be, if they
possessed courage to use the strength which God hath given them. With an
army of 200,000 men I would engage to drive the French out of Germany,
and would forfeit my life if I did not obtain a peace which should
gladden our hearts for the next twenty years." With such forces as he
could collect he carried on the war along the Upper Rhine, but he lost
the fortresses of Landau and Freiburg. Louis XIV., however, who was now
old and infirm, was very tired of the war, and after these successes, he
commissioned Marshal Villars to treat for peace with Prince Eugene. The
latter was authorized by the Emperor to negotiate: the two commanders
met at Rastatt, in Baden, and in spite of the unreasonable stubbornness
of Karl VI. a treaty was finally concluded on the 7th of March, 1714.

[Sidenote: 1714. END OF THE WAR.]

Austria received the Spanish Netherlands, Naples, Milan, Mantua and the
Island of Sardinia. Freiburg, Old-Breisach and Kehl were restored to
Germany, but France retained Landau, on the west bank of the Rhine, as
well as all Alsatia and Strasburg. Thus the recovery of the latter
territory, which Joseph I. refused to accept in 1710, was lost to
Germany until the year 1870.

By the Treaty of Utrecht, Duke Victor Amadeus of Savoy had received
Sicily as an independent kingdom. A few years afterwards he made an
exchange with Austria, giving Sicily for Sardinia: thus originated the
Kingdom of Sardinia, which continued to exist until the year 1860, when
Victor Emanuel became king of Italy.




Wars of Charles XII. of Sweden. --Invasion of Saxony. --Enlargement of
    Prussia and Hannover. --The "Pragmatic Sanction." --Sacrifices of
    Austria. --Battle of Peterwardein. --Treaty of Passarowitz. --War
    in Italy. --Frederick I. of Prussia. --Frederick William I. --His
    Character and Habits. --His Policy as a Ruler. --His Giant
    Body-Guards. --The Tobacco College. --Decay of Austria. --The other
    German States. --First Emigration to America. --War of the Polish
    Succession. --French Invasion. --German Disunion. --The Treaty of
    Vienna. --Marriage of Maria Theresa. --Disastrous War with Turkey.
    --Prussia at the Death of Frederick William I. --Austria at the
    Death of Karl VI.

[Sidenote: 1714.]

While the War of the Spanish Succession raged along the Rhine, in
Bavaria and the Netherlands, the North of Germany was convulsed by
another and very different struggle. The ambitious designs of Charles
XII. of Sweden, who succeeded to the throne in 1697, aroused the
jealousy and renewed the old hostility, of Denmark, Russia and Poland,
and in 1700 they formed an alliance against Sweden. Denmark began the
war, the same year, by invading Holstein-Gottorp, the Duke of which was
the brother-in-law of Charles XII. The latter immediately attacked
Copenhagen, and conquered a peace. A few months afterwards he crushed
the power of Peter the Great, in the battle of Narva, and was then free
to march against Poland. Augustus the Strong was no match for the young
Northern hero, who compelled the Polish nobles to depose him and elect
Stanislas Lesczinsky in his stead, then marched through Silesia into
Saxony, in the year 1706, and from his camp near Leipzig dictated his
own terms to Augustus.

A year later, having exhausted what resources were left to the people
after the outrageous exactions of their own Electors, Charles XII.
evacuated Saxony with an army of 40,000 men, many of them German
recruits, and marched through Poland on his way to the fatal field of
Pultowa. The immediate consequences of his terrible defeat there, in
1709, were that Peter the Great took possession of the Baltic provinces,
and prepared to found his new capital of St. Petersburg on the Neva.
Then Denmark and Saxony entered into an alliance with Russia, Augustus
the Strong was again placed on the throne of Poland, and the
Swedish-German provinces on the Baltic and the North Sea were overrun
and ravaged by the Danish and Russian armies. Towards the end of the
year 1714, after peace had been concluded with France, Charles XII.
suddenly appeared in Stralsund, having escaped from his long exile in
Turkey and travelled day and night on horseback across Europe, from the
shores of the Black Sea. Then Prussia and Hannover, both eager to
enlarge their dominions at the expense of Sweden, united against him. He
had not sufficient military strength to resist them, and after his death
at Frederickshall, in 1718, Sweden was compelled to make peace on
conditions which forever destroyed her supremacy among the northern


By the Treaties of Stockholm, made in 1719 and 1720, Prussia acquired
Stettin and all of Pomerania except a strip of the coast with Wismar,
Stralsund and the island of Rügen, paying 2,000,000 thalers to Sweden:
Hannover acquired the territories of Bremen and Verden, paying 1,000,000
thalers: Denmark received Schleswig, and Russia all of her conquests
except Finland. The power of Poland, already weakened by the corruptions
and dissensions of her nobles, began steadily to decline after this long
and exhausting war.

The collective history of the German States,--for we can hardly say
"History of Germany" when there really was no Germany--at this time, is
a continuous succession of wars and diplomatic intrigues, which break
out in one direction before they are settled in another. In 1713,
Frederick I. of Prussia died, and was succeeded by his son, Frederick
William I.: in 1714, George I., Elector of Hannover, was made king of
England, and about the same time the Emperor Karl VI. issued a decree
called the "Pragmatic Sanction," establishing the order of succession to
the throne, for his dynasty. He was led to this step by the example of
Spain, where the failure of the direct line had given rise to thirteen
years of European war, and by the circumstance that he himself had
neither sons nor brothers. A daughter, Maria Theresa, was born in 1717,
and thus the provision of the Pragmatic Sanction that the crown should
descend to female heirs in the absence of male, preserved the succession
in his own family, and forestalled the claim of the Elector of Bavaria
and other princes who were more or less distantly related to the

[Sidenote: 1714.]

The Pragmatic Sanction was accepted in Austria without difficulty, as
there was no power to dispute the Emperor's will, but it was not
recognized by the other States of Germany and other nations of Europe
until after twenty years of diplomatic negotiations and serious
sacrifices on the part of Austria. Prussia received more territory on
the Lower Rhine, the Duchies of Parma and Piacenza in Italy were given
to Spain, and the claims of Augustus III. of Saxony and Poland were so
strenuously supported that in 1733 the so-called "War of the Polish
Succession" broke out. In the meantime, however, two other wars had
occurred, and, although both of them affected Austria rather than the
German Empire, they must be briefly described.

In 1714 the Emperor Karl VI. formed an alliance with the Venetians
against the Turks, who had taken the Morea from Venice. The command was
given to Prince Eugene, who marched against his old enemy, determined to
win back what remaining Hungarian or Slavonic territory was still held
by Turkey. The Grand-Vizier, Ali, opposed him with a powerful force, and
after various minor engagements a great battle was fought at
Peterwardein, in August, 1716. Eugene was completely victorious: the
Turks were driven beyond the Save and sheltered themselves behind the
strong walls of Belgrade. Eugene followed, and, after a siege which is
famous in military annals, took Belgrade by storm. The victory is
celebrated in a song which the German people are still in the habit of
singing. The war ended with the Treaty of Passarowitz, in 1718, by which
Turkey was compelled to surrender to Austria the Banat, Servia,
including Belgrade, and a part of Wallachia, Bosnia and Croatia.

Before this treaty was concluded, a new war had broken out in Italy.
Philip V. of Spain, incensed at not being recognized by Karl VI., took
possession of Sardinia and Sicily, with the intention of conquering
Naples from Austria. England, France, Holland and Austria then formed
the "Quadruple Alliance," as it was called, for the purpose of enforcing
the Treaty of Utrecht, and Spain was compelled to yield.

[Sidenote: 1711. RISE OF PRUSSIA.]

The power of Prussia, during these years, was steadily increasing.
Frederick I., it is true, was among the imitators of Louis XIV.: he
built stately palaces, and spent a great deal of money on showy Court
festivals, but he did not completely exhaust the resources of the
country, like the Electors of Saxony and the rulers of many smaller
States. On the other hand, he founded the University of Halle in 1694,
and commissioned the philosopher Leibnitz to draw up a plan for an
Academy of Science, which was established in Berlin, in 1711. He was a
zealous Protestant, and gave welcome to all who were exiled from other
States on account of their faith. As a ruler, however, he was equally
careless and despotic, and his government was often entrusted to the
hands of unworthy agents. Frederick the Great said of him: "He was great
in small matters, and little in great matters."

His son, Frederick William I., was a man of an entirely different
nature. He disliked show and ceremony: he hated everything French with a
heartiness which was often unreasonable, but which was honestly provoked
by the enormous, monkey-like affectation of the manners of Versailles by
some of his fellow-rulers. While Augustus of Saxony spent six millions
of thalers on a single entertainment, he set to work to reduce the
expenses of his royal household. While the court of Austria supported
40,000 officials and hangers-on, and half of Vienna was fed from the
Imperial kitchen, he was employed in examining the smallest details of
the receipts and expenditures of his State, in order to economize and
save. He was miserly, fierce, coarse and brutal; he aimed at being a
_German_, but he went back almost to the days of Wittekind for his ideas
of German culture and character; he was a tyrant of the most savage
kind,--but, after all has been said against him, it must be acknowledged
that without his hard practical sense in matters of government, his
rigid, despotic organization of industry, finance and the army,
Frederick the Great would never have possessed the means to maintain
himself in that struggle which made Prussia a great power.

Some illustrations of his policy as a ruler and his personal habits must
be given, in order to show both sides of his character. He had the most
unbounded idea of the rights and duties of a king, and the aim of his
life, therefore, was to increase his own authority by increasing the
wealth, the order and the strength of Prussia. He was no friend of
science, except when it could be shown to have some practical use, but
he favored education, and one of his first measures was to establish
four hundred schools among the people, by the money which he saved from
the expenditures of the royal household. His personal economy was so
severe that the queen was only allowed to have one waiting-woman. At
this time the Empress of Germany had several hundred attendants,
received two hogsheads of Tokay, daily, for her parrots, and twelve
barrels of wine for her baths! Frederick William I. protected the
industry of Prussia by imposing heavy duties upon all foreign products;
he even went so far as to prohibit the people from wearing any but
Prussian-made cloth, setting them the example himself. He also devoted
much attention to agriculture, and when 17,000 Protestants were driven
out of Upper Austria by the Archbishop of Salzburg, after the most
shocking and inhuman persecutions, he not only furnished them with land
but supported them until they were settled in their new homes.

[Sidenote: 1725.]

The organization of the Prussian army was entrusted to Prince Leopold of
Dessau, who distinguished himself at Turin, under Prince Eugene.
Although during the greater part of Frederick William's reign peace was
preserved, the military force was kept upon a war footing, and gradually
increased until it amounted to 84,000 men. The king had a singular mania
for giant soldiers: miserly as he was in other respects, he was ready to
go to any expense to procure recruits, seven feet high, for his
body-guard. He not only purchased such, but allowed his agents to kidnap
them, and despotically sent a number of German mechanics to Peter the
Great in exchange for an equal number of Russian giants. For forty-three
such tall soldiers he paid 43,000 dollars, one of them, who was
unusually large, costing 9,000. The expense of keeping these guardsmen
was proportionately great, and much of the king's time was spent in
inspecting them. Sometimes he tried to paint their portraits, and if the
likeness was not successful, an artist was employed to paint the man's
face until it resembled the king's picture.

Frederick William's regular evening recreation was his "Tobacco
College," as he called it. Some of his ministers and generals, foreign
ambassadors, and even ordinary citizens, were invited to smoke and drink
beer with him in a plain room, where he sat upon a three-legged stool,
and they upon wooden benches. Each was obliged to smoke, or at least to
have a clay pipe in his mouth and appear to smoke. The most important
affairs of State were discussed at these meetings, which were conducted
with so little formality that no one was allowed to rise when the king
entered the room. He was not so amiable upon his walks through the
streets of Berlin or Potsdam. He always carried a heavy cane, which he
would apply without mercy to the shoulders of any who seemed to be idle,
no matter what their rank or station. Even his own household was not
exempt from blows; and his son Frederick was scarcely treated better
than any of his soldiers or workmen.

[Sidenote: 1725. CONDITION OF GERMANY.]

This manner of government was rude, but it was also systematic and
vigorous, and the people upon whom it was exercised did not deteriorate
in character, as was the case in almost all other parts of Germany.
Austria, in spite of the pomp of the Emperor's court, was in a state of
moral and intellectual decline. Karl VI. was a man of little capacity,
an instrument in the hands of the Jesuits, and the minds of the people
whom he ruled gradually became as stolid and dead as the latter order
wished to make them. Their connection with Germany was scarcely felt;
they spoke of "the Empire outside" almost as a foreign country, and the
strength of the house of Hapsburg was gradually transferred to the
Bohemian, Hungarian and Slavonic races which occupied the greater part
of its territory. The industry of the country was left without
encouragement; what little education was permitted was in the hands of
the priests, and all real progress came to an end. But, for this very
reason, Austria became the ideal of the German nobility, nine-tenths of
whom were feudalists and sighed for the return of the Middle Ages:
hundreds of them took service under the Emperor, either at court or in
the army, and helped to preserve the external forms of his power.

In most of the other German States the condition of affairs was not much
better. Bavaria, the Palatinate, and the three Archbishops of Mayence,
Treves and Cologne, were abject instruments in the hands of France:
Hannover was governed by the interests of England, and Saxony by those
of Poland. After George I. went to England, the government of Hannover
was exercised by a council of nobles, who kept up the Court ceremonials
just as if the Elector were present. His portrait was placed in a chair,
and they observed the same etiquette towards it as if his real self
were there! In Würtemberg the Duke, Eberhard Ludwig, so oppressed the
people that many of them emigrated to America between the years 1717 and
1720, and settled in Pennsylvania. This was the first German emigration
to the New World.

[Sidenote: 1733.]

After a peace of nineteen years, counting from the Treaty of Rastatt, or
thirteen years from the Treaty of Stockholm, Germany--or rather the
Emperor Karl VI.--became again involved in war. The Pragmatic Sanction
was at the bottom of it. Karl's endless diplomacy to insure the
recognition of this decree led him into an alliance with Russia to place
Augustus III. of Saxony on the throne of Poland. Louis XV. of France,
who had married the daughter of the Polish king, Stanislas Lesczinsky,
took the latter's part. Prussia was induced to join Austria and Russia,
but the cautious and economical Frederick William I. withdrew from the
alliance as soon as he found that the expense to him would be more than
the advantage. The Polish Diet was divided: the majority, influenced by
France, elected Stanislas, who reached Warsaw in the disguise of a
merchant and was crowned in September, 1733. The minority declared for
Augustus III., in whose aid a Russian army was even then entering

France, in alliance with Spain and Sardinia, had already declared war
against Germany. The plan of operations had evidently been prepared in
advance, and was everywhere successful. One French army occupied
Lorraine, another crossed the Rhine and captured Kehl (opposite
Strasburg), and a third, under Marshal Villars, entered Lombardy. Naples
and Sicily, powerless to resist, fell into the hands of Spain. Prince
Eugene of Savoy, now more than seventy years of age, was sent to the
Rhine with such troops as Austria, taken by surprise, was able to
furnish: the other German States either sympathized with France, or were
indifferent to a quarrel which really did not concern them. Frederick
William of Prussia finally sent 10,000 well-disciplined soldiers; but
even with this aid Prince Eugene was unable to expel the French from
Lorraine. In Poland, however, the plans of France utterly failed: in
June, 1734, King Stanislas fled in the disguise of a cattle-dealer. The
following year, 10,000 Russians appeared on the Rhine, as allies of
Austria, and Louis XV. found it prudent to negotiate for peace.


The Treaty of Vienna, concluded in October, 1735, put an end to the War
of the Polish Succession. Francis of Lorraine, who was betrothed to Karl
VI.'s daughter, Maria Theresa, was made Grand-Duke of Tuscany, and
Lorraine (now only a portion of the original territory, with Nancy as
capital) was given to the Ex-King Stanislas of Poland, with the
condition that it should revert to France at his death. Spain received
Naples and Sicily; Tortona and Novara were added to Sardinia, and
Austria was induced to consent to all these losses by the recognition of
the Pragmatic Sanction, and the annexation of the Duchies of Parma and
Piacenza, in Italy. Prussia got nothing; and Frederick William I., who
had been expecting to add Jülich and Berg to his possessions on the
Lower Rhine, was so exasperated that he entered into secret arrangements
with France in order to carry out his end. The enmity of Austria and
Prussia was now confirmed, and it has been the chief power in German
politics from that day to this.

In 1736 Francis of Lorraine and Maria Theresa were married, and Prince
Eugene of Savoy died, worn out with the hardships of his long and
victorious career. The next year, the Empress Anna of Russia persuaded
Karl VI. to unite with her in a war against Turkey, her object being to
get possession of Azov. By this unfortunate alliance Austria lost all
which she had gained by the Treaty of Passarowitz, twenty years before.
There was no commander like Prince Eugene, her military strength had
been weakened by useless and unsuccessful wars, and she was compelled to
make peace in 1739, by yielding Belgrade and all her conquests in Servia
and Wallachia to Turkey.

On the 31st of May, 1740, Frederick William I. died, fifty-two years of
age. He left behind him a State containing more than 50,000 square
miles, and about 2,500,000 of inhabitants. The revenues of Prussia,
which were two and a half millions of thalers on his accession to the
throne, had increased to seven and a half millions annually, and there
were nine millions in the treasury. Berlin had a population of nearly
100,000, and Stettin, Magdeburg, Memel and other cities had been
strongly fortified. An army of more than 80,000 men was perfectly
organized and disciplined. There was the beginning of a system of
instruction for the people, feudalism was almost entirely suppressed,
and the charge of witchcraft (which, since the fifteenth century, had
caused the execution of several hundred thousand victims, throughout
Germany!) was expunged from the pages of the law. Although the land was
almost wholly Protestant, there was entire religious freedom, and the
Catholic subjects could complain of no violation of their rights.

[Sidenote: 1740.]

On the 24th of October, 1740, Karl VI. died, leaving a diminished realm,
a disordered military organization, and a people so demoralized by the
combined luxury and oppression of the government that for more than a
century afterwards all hope and energy and aspiration seemed to be
crushed among them. The outward show and trappings of the Empire
remained with Austria, and kept alive the political superstitions of
that large class of Germans who looked backward instead of forward; but
the rude, half-developed strength, which cuts loose from the Past and
busies itself with the practical work of its day and generation, was
rapidly creating a future for Prussia.

Frederick William I. was succeeded by his son, Frederick II., called
Frederick the Great. Karl VI. was succeeded by his daughter, the Empress
Maria Theresa. The former was twenty-eight, the latter twenty-three
years old.




Youth of Frederick the Great. --His attempted Escape. --Lieutenant von
    Katte's Fate. --Frederick's Subjection. --His Marriage. --His first
    Measures as King. --Maria Theresa in Austria. --The First Silesian
    war. --Maria Theresa in Hungary. --Prussia acquires Silesia.
    --Frederick's Alliance with France and the Emperor Karl VII. --The
    Second Silesian war. --Frederick alone against Austria. --Battles
    of Hohenfriedberg, Sorr and Kesselsdorf. --War of the Austrian
    Succession. --Peace. --Frederick as a Ruler. --His Habits and
    Tastes. --Answers to Petitions. --Religious Freedom. --Development
    of Prussia. --War between England and France. --Designs against
    Prussia. --Beginning of the Seven Years' War. --Battle at Prague.
    --Defeat at Kollin. --Victory of Rossbach. --Battle of Leuthen.
    --Help from England. --Campaign of 1758. --Victory of Zorndorf.
    --Surprise at Hochkirch. --Campaign of 1759. --Battle of
    Kunnersdorf. --Operations in 1760. --Frederick victorious. --Battle
    of Torgau. --Desperate Situation of Prussia. --Campaign of 1761.
    --Alliance with Russia. --Frederick's Successes. --The Peace of
    Hubertsburg. --Frederick's Measures of Relief. --His arbitrary
    Rule. --His literary Tastes. --First Division of Poland.
    --Frederick's last Years. --His Death.


Few royal princes ever had a more unfortunate childhood and youth than
Frederick the Great. His mother, Sophia Dorothea of Hannover, a sister
of George II. of England, was an amiable, mild-tempered woman who was
devotedly attached to him, but had no power to protect him from the
violence of his hard and tyrannical father. As a boy his chief tastes
were music and French literature, which he could only indulge by
stealth: the king not only called him "idiot!" and "puppy!" when he
found him occupied with a flute or a French book, but threatened him
with personal chastisement. His whole education, which was gained almost
in secret, was chiefly received at the hands of French _émigrés_, and
his taste was formed in the school of ideas which at that time ruled in
France, and which was largely formed by Voltaire, whom Frederick during
his boyhood greatly admired, and afterward made one of his chief
correspondents and intimates. The influence of this is most clearly to
be traced throughout his life.

[Sidenote: 1728.]

His music became almost a passion with him, though it is doubtful
whether any of the praises of his proficiency that have come down to us
are more than the remains of the flatteries of the time. His
compositions, which were performed at his concerts, to which leading
musicians were often invited, do not give any evidence of the genius
claimed for him in this respect; but it is certain that he attained a
considerable degree of mechanical skill in playing the flute. In
after-life his musical taste continued to influence him greatly, and the
establishment of the opera at Berlin was chiefly due to him. His
father's persistent opposition rather fanned than suppressed the
eagerness which he showed in this and other studies, as a boy; and
doubtless contributed to a thoroughness which afterward stood him in
good stead.

In 1728, when only sixteen years old, he accompanied his father on a
visit to the court of Augustus the Strong, at Dresden, and was for a
time led astray by the corrupt society into which he was there thrown.
The wish of his mother, that he should marry the Princess Amelia, the
daughter of George II., was thwarted by his father's dislike of England;
the tyranny to which he was subjected became intolerable, and in 1730,
while accompanying his father on a journey to Southern Germany, he
determined to run away.

His accomplice was a young officer, Lieutenant von Katte, who had been
his bosom-friend for two or three years. A letter written by Frederick
to the latter fell by accident into the hands of another officer of the
same name, who sent it to the king, and the plot was thus discovered.
Frederick had already gone on board of a vessel at Frankfort, and was on
the point of sailing down the Rhine, when his father followed, beat him
until his face was covered with blood, and then sent him as a prisoner
of State to Prussia. Katte was arrested before he could escape, tried by
a court-martial and sentenced to several years' imprisonment. Frederick
William annulled the sentence and ordered him to be immediately
executed. To make the deed more barbarous, it was done before the window
of the cell in which Frederick was confined. The young Prince fainted,
and lay so long senseless that it was feared he would never recover. He
was then watched, allowed no implements except a wooden spoon, lest he
might commit suicide, and only permitted to read a Bible and hymn-book.
The officer who had him in charge could only converse with him by means
of a hole bored through the ceiling of his cell.


The king insisted that he should be formally tried; but the
court-martial, while deciding that "Colonel Fritz" was guilty, as an
officer, asserted that it had no authority to condemn the Crown-Prince.
The king overruled the decision, and ordered his son to be executed.
This course excited such horror and indignation among the officers that
Frederick was pardoned, but not released from imprisonment until his
spirit was broken and he had promised to obey his father in all things.
For a year he was obliged to work as a clerk in the departments of the
Government, beginning with the lowest position and rising as he acquired
practical knowledge. He did not appear at Court until November, 1731,
when his sister Wilhelmine was married to the Margrave of Baireuth. The
ceremony had already commenced when Frederick, dressed in a plain suit
of grey, without any order or decoration, was discovered among the
servants. The King pulled him forth, and presented him to the Queen with
these words: "Here, Madam, our Fritz is back again!"

In 1732 Frederick was forced to marry the Princess Elizabeth of
Brunswick-Bevern, whom he disliked, and with whom he lived but a short
time. His father gave him the castle of Rheinsberg, near Potsdam, and
there, for the first time, he enjoyed some independence: his leisure was
devoted to philosophical studies, and to correspondence with Voltaire
and other distinguished French authors. During the war of the Polish
Succession he served for a short time under Prince Eugene of Savoy, but
had no opportunity to test or develop his military talent. Until his
father's death he seemed to be more of a poet and philosopher than
anything else: only the few who knew him intimately perceived that his
mind was occupied with plans of government and conquest.

When Frederick William I. died, the people rejoiced in the prospect of a
just and peaceful rule. Frederick II. declared to his ministers, on
receiving their oath of allegiance, that no distinction should be
allowed between the interests of the country and the king, since they
were identical; but if any conflict of the two should arise, the
interests of the country must have the preference. Then he at once
corrected the abuses of the game and recruiting laws, disbanded his
father's body-guard of giants, abolished torture in criminal cases,
reformed the laws of marriage, and established a special Ministry for
Commerce and Manufactures. When he set out for Königsberg to receive the
allegiance of Prussia proper, his whole Court travelled in three
carriages. On arriving, he dispensed with the ceremony of coronation, as
being unnecessary, and then succeeded in establishing a much closer
political union between Prussia and Brandenburg, which, in many
respects, had been independent of each other up to that time.

[Sidenote: 1740.]

The death of the Emperor Karl VI. was the signal for a general
disturbance. Maria Theresa, as the events of her reign afterwards
proved, was a woman of strong, even heroic, character; stately, handsome
and winning in her personal appearance, and morally irreproachable. No
Hapsburg Emperor before her inherited the crown under such discouraging
circumstances, and none could have maintained himself more bravely and
firmly than she did. The ministers of Karl VI. flattered themselves that
they would now have unlimited sway over the Empire, but they were
mistaken. Maria Theresa listened to their counsels, but decided for
herself: even her husband, Francis of Lorraine and Tuscany, was unable
to influence her judgment. The Elector Karl Albert of Bavaria, whose
grandmother was a Hapsburg, claimed the crown, and was supported by
Louis XV. of France, who saw another opportunity of weakening Germany.
The reigning Archbishops on the Rhine were of course on the side of
France. Poland and Saxony, united under Augustus III., at the same time
laid claim to some territory along the northern frontier of Austria.

Frederick II. saw his opportunity, and was first in the field. His
pretext was the right of Brandenburg to four principalities in Silesia,
which had been relinquished to Austria under the pressure of
circumstances. The real reason was, as he afterwards confessed, his
determination to strengthen Prussia by the acquisition of more
territory. The kingdom was divided into so many portions, separated so
widely from each other, that it could not become powerful and permanent
unless they were united. He had secretly raised his military force to
100,000 men, and in December, 1740, he marched into Silesia, almost
before Austria suspected his purpose. His army was kept under strict
discipline; the people were neither plundered nor restricted in their
religious worship, and the capital, Breslau, soon opened its gates.
Several fortresses were taken during the winter, and in April, 1741, a
decisive battle was fought at Mollwitz. The Austrian army had the
advantage of numbers and its victory seemed so certain that Marshal
Schwerin persuaded Frederick to leave the field; then, gathering
together the remainder of his troops, he made a last and desperate
charge which turned defeat into victory. All Lower Silesia was now in
the hands of the Prussians.


France, Spain, Bavaria and Saxony immediately united against Austria. A
French army crossed the Rhine, joined the Bavarian forces, and marched
to Linz, on the Danube, where Karl Albert was proclaimed Arch-Duke of
Austria. Maria Theresa and her Court fled to Presburg, where the
Hungarian nobles were already convened, in the hope of recovering the
rights they had lost under Leopold I. She was forced to grant the most
of their demands; after which she was crowned with the crown of St.
Stephen, galloped up "the king's hill," and waved her sword towards the
four quarters of the earth, with so much grace and spirit that the
Hungarians were quite won to her side. Afterwards, when she appeared
before the Diet in their national costume, with her son Joseph in her
arms, and made an eloquent speech, setting forth the dangers which beset
her, the nobles drew their sabres and shouted: "We will die for our
_King_, Maria Theresa!"

While the support of Hungary and Austria was thus secured, the combined
German and French force did not advance upon Vienna, but marched to
Prague, where Karl Albert was crowned King of Bohemia. This act was
followed, in February, 1742, by his coronation in Frankfort as Emperor,
under the name of Karl VII. Before this took place, Austria had been
forced to make a secret treaty with Frederick II. The latter, however,
declared that the conditions of it had been violated, and in the spring
of 1742 he marched into Bohemia. He was victorious in the first great
battle: England then intervened, and persuaded Maria Theresa to make
peace by yielding to Prussia both Upper and Lower Silesia and the
principality of Glatz. Thus ended the First Silesian War, which gave
Prussia an addition of 1,200,000 to her population, with 150 large and
small cities, and about 5,000 villages.

[Sidenote: 1742.]

The most dangerous enemy of Austria being thus temporarily removed, the
fortunes of Maria Theresa speedily changed, especially since England,
Holland and Hannover entered into an alliance to support her against
France. George II. of England took the field in person, and was
victorious over the French in the battle of Dettingen (not far from
Frankfort), in June, 1743. After this Saxony joined the Austrian
alliance, and the Landgrave of Hesse, who cared nothing for the war, but
was willing to make money, sold an equal number of soldiers to France
and to England. Frederick II. saw that France would not be able to stand
long against such a coalition, and he knew that the success of Austria
would probably be followed by an attempt to regain Silesia; therefore,
regardless of appearances, he entered into a compact with France and the
Emperor Karl VII., and prepared for another war.

In the summer of 1744 he marched into Bohemia with an army of 80,000
men, took Prague on the 16th of September, and conquered the greater
part of the country. But the Bohemians were hostile to him, the
Hungarians rose again in defence of Austria, and an army under Charles
of Lorraine, which was operating against the French in Alsatia, was
recalled to resist his advance. He was forced to retreat in the dead of
winter, leaving many cannon behind him, and losing a large number of
soldiers on the way. On the 20th of January, 1745, Karl VII. died, and
his son, Max Joseph, gave up his pretensions to the Imperial crown, on
condition of having Bavaria (which Austria had meanwhile conquered)
restored to him. France thereupon practically withdrew from the
struggle, leaving Prussia in the lurch. Frederick stood alone, with
Austria, Saxony and Poland united against him, and a prospect of England
and Russia being added to the number: the tables had turned, and he was
very much in the condition of Maria Theresa, four years before.

In May, 1745, Silesia was invaded with an army of 100,000 Austrians and
Saxons. Frederick marched against them with a much smaller force, met
them at Hohenfriedberg, and gave battle on the 4th of June. He began
with a furious charge of Prussian cavalry at dawn, and by nine o'clock
the enemy was utterly routed, leaving sixty-six standards, 5,000 dead
and wounded, and 7,000 prisoners. This victory produced a great effect
throughout Europe. England intervened in favor of peace, and Frederick
declared that he would only fight until the possession of Silesia was
firmly guaranteed to him; but Maria Theresa (who hated Frederick
intensely, as she had good reason to do) answered that she would sooner
part with the clothes on her body than give up Silesia.

[Sidenote: 1745. THE SECOND SILESIAN WAR.]

Frederick entered Bohemia with 18,000 men, and on the 30th of September
was attacked, at a village called Sorr, by a force of 40,000.
Nevertheless he managed his cavalry so admirably, that he gained the
victory. Then, learning that the Saxons were preparing to invade Prussia
in his rear, he garrisoned all the passes leading from Bohemia into
Silesia, and marched into Saxony with his main force. The "Old
Dessauer," as Prince Leopold was called, took Leipzig, and, pressing
forwards, won another great victory on the 15th of December, at
Kesselsdorf. Frederick, who arrived on the field at the close of the
fight, embraced the old veteran in the sight of the army. The next day,
the Prussians took possession of Dresden: the capital was not damaged,
but, like the other cities of Saxony, was made to pay a heavy
contribution. Peace was concluded with Austria ten days afterwards:
Prussia was confirmed in the possession of all Silesia and Glatz, and
Frederick agreed to recognize Francis of Lorraine, Maria Theresa's

husband, who had already been crowned Emperor at Frankfort, as Francis
I. Thus ended the Second Silesian War. Frederick was first called "the
Great," on his return to Berlin, where he was received with boundless
popular rejoicings.

The "War of the Austrian Succession," as it was called, lasted three
years longer, but its character was changed. Its field was shifted to
Italy and Flanders: in the latter country Maurice of Saxony (better
known as Marshal de Saxe), one of the many sons of Augustus the Strong,
was signally successful. He conquered the greater part of the
Netherlands for France, in the year 1747. Then Austria, although she had
regained much of her lost ground in Northern Italy, formed an alliance
with the Empress Elizabeth of Russia, who furnished an army of 40,000
men. The money of France was exhausted, and Louis XV. found it best to
make peace, which was concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle in October, 1748. He
gave up all the conquests which France had made during the war. Austria
yielded Parma and Piacenza to Spain, a portion of Lombardy to Sardinia,
and again confirmed Frederick the Great in the possession of Silesia.

[Sidenote: 1747.]

After the Peace of Dresden, in 1745, Prussia enjoyed a rest of nearly
eleven years. Frederick's first care was to heal the wounds which his
two Silesian wars had made in the population and the industry of his
people. He called himself "the first official servant of the State," and
no civil officer under him labored half so earnestly and zealously. He
looked upon his kingdom as a large estate, the details of which must be
left to agents, while the general supervision devolved upon him alone.
Therefore he insisted that all questions which required settlement, all
changes necessary to be made, even the least infractions of the laws,
should be referred directly to himself, so that his secretaries had much
more to do than his ministers. While he claimed the absolute right to
govern, he accepted all the responsibility which it brought upon him. He
made himself acquainted with every village and landed estate in his
kingdom, watched, as far as possible, over every official, and
personally studied the operation of every reform. He rose at four or
five o'clock, labored at his desk for hours, reading the multitude of
reports and letters of complaint or appeal, which came simply addressed
"to the King," and barely allowed himself an hour or two towards evening
for a walk with his greyhounds, or a little practise on his beloved
flute. His evenings were usually spent in conversation with men of
culture and intelligence. His literary tastes, however, remained French
all his life: his many works were written in that language, he preferred
to speak it, and he sneered at German literature at a time when authors
like Lessing, Klopstock, Herder and Goethe were gradually lifting it to
such a height of glory as few other languages have ever attained.

His rough, practical common-sense as a ruler is very well illustrated by
his remarks upon the documents sent for his inspection, many of which
are still preserved. On the back of the "Petition from the merchant
Simon of Stettin, to be allowed to purchase an estate for 40,000
thalers," he wrote: "40,000 thalers invested in commerce will yield
eight per cent., in landed property only four per cent.; this man does
not understand his own business." On the "Petition from the city of
Frankfort-on-Oder, against the quartering of troops upon them," he
wrote: "Why, it cannot be otherwise. Do they think I can put the
regiment in my pocket? But the barracks shall be rebuilt." And finally,
on the "Petition of the Chamberlain, Baron Müller, for leave to visit
the baths of Aix-la-Chapelle," he wrote: "What would he do there? He
would gamble away the little money he has left, and come back like a
beggar." The expenses of Frederick's own Court were restricted to about
100,000 dollars a year, at a time when nearly every petty prince in
Germany was spending from five to ten times that sum.

[Sidenote: 1748. FREDERICK AS RULER.]

In the administration of justice and the establishment of entire
religious liberty, Prussia rapidly became a model which put to shame and
disturbed the most of the other German States. Frederick openly
declared: "I mean that every man in my kingdom shall have the right to
be saved in his own way:" in Silesia, where the Protestants had been
persecuted under Austria, the Catholics were now free and contented.
This course gave him a great popularity outside of Prussia among the
common people, and for the first time in two hundred years, the hope of
better times began to revive among them. Frederick was as absolute a
despot as any of his fellow-rulers of the day; but his was a despotism
of intelligence, justice and conscience, opposed to that of ignorance,
bigotry and selfishness.

Frederick's rule, however, was not without its serious faults. He
favored the education of his people less than his father, and was almost
equally indifferent to the encouragement of science. The Berlin Academy
was neglected, and another in which the French language was used, and
French theories discussed, took its place. Prussian students were for a
while prohibited from visiting Universities outside of the kingdom. On
the other hand, agriculture was favored in every possible way: great
tracts of marshy land, which had been uninhabited, were transformed into
fertile and populous regions; canals, roads and bridges were built, and
new markets for produce established. The cultivation of the potato, up
to that time unknown in Germany as an article of food, was forced upon
the unwilling farmers. In return for all these advantages, the people
were heavily taxed, but not to such an extent as to impoverish them, as
in Saxony and Austria. The army was not only kept up, but largely
increased, for Frederick knew that the peace which Prussia enjoyed could
not last long.

[Sidenote: 1755.]

The clouds of war slowly gathered on the political horizon. The peace of
Europe was broken by the quarrel between England and France, in 1755, in
regard to the boundaries between Canada and the English Colonies. This
involved danger to Hannover, which was not yet disconnected from
England, and the latter power proposed to Maria Theresa an alliance
against France. The minister of the Empress was at this time Count
Kaunitz, who fully shared her hatred of Frederick II., and determined,
with her, to use this opportunity to recover Silesia. She therefore
refused England's proposition, and wrote a flattering letter to Madame
de Pompadour, the favorite of Louis XV., to prepare the way for an
alliance between Austria and France. At the same time secret
negotiations were carried on with Elizabeth of Russia, who was mortally
offended with Frederick II., on account of some disparaging remarks he
had made about her. Louis XV., nevertheless, hesitated until Maria
Theresa promised to give him the Austrian (the former Spanish)
Netherlands, in return for his assistance: then the compact between the
three great military powers of the Continent was concluded, and
everything was quietly arranged for commencing the war against Prussia
in the spring of 1757. So sure were they of success that they agreed
beforehand on the manner in which the Prussian kingdom should be cut up
and divided among themselves and the other States.

Through his paid agents at the different courts, and especially through
the Crown Prince Peter of Russia, who was one of his most enthusiastic
admirers, Frederick was well-informed of these plans. He saw that the
coalition was too powerful to be defeated by diplomacy: his ruin was
determined upon, and he could only prevent it by accepting war against
such overwhelming odds. England was the only great power which could
assist him, and Austria's policy left her no alternative: she concluded
an alliance with Prussia in January, 1756, but her assistance,
afterwards, was furnished in the shape of money rather than troops. The
small States of Brunswick, Hesse-Cassel and Saxe-Gotha were persuaded to
join Prussia, but they added very little to Frederick's strength,
because Bavaria and all the principalities along the Rhine were certain
to go with France, in a general German war.

[Sidenote: 1756. WAR IN BOHEMIA.]

Knowing when the combined movement against him was to be made,
Frederick boldly determined to anticipate it. Disregarding the
neutrality of Saxony, he crossed its frontier on the 29th of August,
1756, with an army of 70,000 men. Ten days afterwards he entered
Dresden, besieged the Saxon army of 17,000 in their fortified camp on
the Elbe, and pushed a column forwards into Bohemia. Maria Theresa
collected her forces, and sent an army of nearly 70,000 in all haste
against him. Frederick met them with 20,000 men at Lobositz, on the 1st
of October, and after hard fighting gained a victory by the use of the
bayonet. He wrote to Marshal Schwerin: "Never have my Prussians
performed such miracles of bravery, since I had the honor to command
them." The Saxons surrendered soon afterwards, and Frederick went into
winter-quarters, secure against any further attack before the spring.

This was a severe check to the plans of the allied powers, and they made
every effort to retrieve it. Sweden was induced to join them, and "the
German Empire," through its almost forgotten Diet, declared war against
Prussia. All together raised an armed force of 430,000 men, while
Frederick, with the greatest exertion, could barely raise 200,000:
England sent him an utterly useless general, the Duke of Cumberland, but
no soldiers. He dispatched a part of his army to meet the Russians and
Swedes, marched with the rest into Bohemia, and on the 6th of May won a
decided but very bloody victory before the walls of Prague. The old
hero, Schwerin, charging at the head of his troops, was slain, and the
entire loss of the Prussians was 18,000 killed and wounded. But there
was still a large Austrian army in Prague: the city was besieged with
the utmost vigor for five weeks, and was on the very point of
surrendering when Frederick heard that another Austrian army, commanded
by Daun, was marching to its rescue.

He thereupon raised the siege, hastened onwards and met Daun at Kollin,
on the Elbe, on the 18th of June. He had 31,000 men and the Austrians
54,000: he prepared an excellent plan of battle, then deviated from it,
and commenced the attack against the advice of General Zieten, his chief
commander. His haste and stubbornness were well nigh proving his ruin;
he tried to retrieve the fortunes of the day by personally leading his
soldiers against the Austrian batteries, but in vain,--they were
repulsed, with a loss of 14,000 dead and wounded. That evening
Frederick was found alone, seated on a log, drawing figures in the sand
with his cane. He shed tears on hearing of the slaughter of all his best
guardsmen; then, after a long silence, said: "It is a day of sorrow for
us, my children, but have patience, for all will yet be well."

[Sidenote: 1757.]

The defeat at Kollin threw Frederick's plans into confusion: it was now
necessary to give up Bohemia, and simply act on the defensive, on
Prussian soil. Here he was met by the news of fresh disasters. His other
army had been defeated by a much superior Russian force, and the useless
Duke of Cumberland had surrendered Hannover to the French. But the
Russians had retreated after their victory, instead of advancing, and
Frederick's general, Lehwald, then easily repulsed the Swedes, who had
invaded Pomerania. By this time a combined French and German array of
60,000 men, under Marshal Soubise, was approaching from the west,
confident of an easy victory and comfortable winter-quarters in Berlin.
Frederick united his scattered and diminished forces: they only amounted
to 22,000, and great was the amusement of the French when they learned
that he meant to dispute their advance.

After some preliminary manoeuvring the two armies approached each
other, on the 5th of November, at Rossbach, not far from Naumburg. When
Marshal Soubise saw the Prussian camp, he said to his officers: "It is
only a breakfast for us!" and ordered his forces to be spread out so as
to cut off the retreat of the enemy. Frederick was at dinner when he
received the news of the approaching attack: he immediately ordered
General Seidlitz to charge with his cavalry, broke up his camp and
marshalled his infantry in the rear of a range of low hills which
concealed his movements. The French, supposing that he was retreating,
pressed forwards with music and shouts of triumph; then, suddenly,
Seidlitz burst upon them with his 8,000 cavalry, and immediately
afterwards Frederick's cannon began to play upon their ranks from a
commanding position. They were thrown into confusion by this surprise:
Frederick and his brother, Prince Henry, led the infantry against them,
and in an hour and a half from the commencement of the battle they were
flying from the field in the wildest panic, leaving everything behind
them. Nine generals, 320 other officers and 7,000 men were made
prisoners, and all the artillery, arms and stores captured. The
Prussian loss was only 91 dead and 274 wounded.

[Sidenote: 1757. THE BATTLE OF LEUTHEN.]

The remnant of the French army never halted until it reached the Rhine.
All danger from the west was now at an end, and Frederick hastened
towards Silesia, which had in the mean time been occupied by a powerful
Austrian army under Charles of Lorraine. By making forced marches, in
three weeks Frederick effected a junction near Breslau with his
retreating Prussians, and found himself at the head of an army of about
32,000 men. Charles of Lorraine and Marshal Daun had united their
forces, taken Breslau, and opposed him with a body of more than 80,000;
but, instead of awaiting his attack, they moved forward to meet him.
Near the little town of Leuthen, the two came together. Frederick
summoned his generals, and addressed them in a stirring speech: "Against
all the rules of military science," he said, "I am going to engage an
army nearly three times greater than my own. We must beat the enemy, or
all together make for ourselves graves before his batteries. This I
mean, and thus will I act: remember that you are Prussians. If one among
you fears to share the last danger with me, he may resign now, without
hearing a word of reproof from me."

The king's heroic courage was shared by his officers and soldiers. At
dawn, on the 5th of December, the troops sang a solemn hymn, after which
shouts of "It is again the 5th!" and "Rossbach!" rang through the army.
Frederick called General Zieten to him, and said: "I am going to expose
myself more than ordinarily, to-day. Should I fall, cover my body with
your cloak, and say nothing to any one. The fight must go on and the
enemy must be beaten." He concealed the movement of his infantry behind
some low hills, as at Rossbach, and surprised the left flank of the
Austrian army, while his cavalry engaged its right flank. Both attacks
were so desperate that the Austrians struggled in vain to recover their
ground: after several hours of hard fighting they gave way, then broke
up and fled in disorder, losing more than 20,000 in killed, wounded and
prisoners. The Prussian loss was about 5,000. The cold winter night came
down on the battle-field, still covered with wounded and dying and
resounding with cries of suffering. All at once a Prussian grenadier
began to sing the hymn: "Now let all hearts thank God;" the regiment
nearest him presently joined, then the military bands, and soon the
entire army united in the grand choral of thanksgiving. Thus gloriously
for Prussia closed the second year of this remarkable war.

[Sidenote: 1758.]

Frederick immediately took Breslau, with its garrison of 17,000
Austrians, and all of Silesia except the fortress of Schweidnitz. During
the winter Maria Theresa made vigorous preparations for a renewal of the
war, and urged Russia and France to make fresh exertions. The reputation
which Frederick had gained, however, brought him also some assistance:
after the victories of Rossbach and Leuthen, there was so much popular
enthusiasm for him in England that the Government granted him a subsidy
of 4,000,000 thalers annually, and allowed him to appoint a commander
for the troops of Hannover and the other allied States. Frederick
selected Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, who operated with so much skill
and energy that by the summer of 1758 he had driven the French from all
Northern Germany.

Frederick, as usual, resumed his work before the Austrians were ready,
took Schweidnitz, re-established his rule over Silesia, penetrated into
Moravia and laid siege to Olmütz. But the Austrian Marshal Laudon cut
off his communications with Silesia and forced him to retreat across the
frontier, where he established himself in a fortified camp near
Landshut. The Russians by this time had conquered the whole of the Duchy
of Prussia, invaded Pomerania, which they plundered and laid waste, and
were approaching the river Oder. On receiving this news, Frederick left
Marshal Keith in command of his camp, took what troops could be spared
and marched against his third enemy, whom he met on the 25th of August,
1758, near the village of Zorndorf, in Pomerania. The battle lasted from
nine in the morning until ten at night. Frederick had 32,000 men, mostly
new recruits, the Russian General Fermor 50,000. The Prussian lines were
repeatedly broken, but as often restored by the bravery of General
Seidlitz, who finally won the battle by daring to disobey Frederick's
orders. The latter sent word to him that he must answer for his
disobedience with his head, but Seidlitz replied: "Tell the king he may
have my head when the battle is over, but until then I must use it in
his service." When, late at night, the Russians were utterly defeated,
leaving 20,000 dead upon the field--for the Prussians gave them no
quarter--Frederick embraced Seidlitz, crying out: "I owe the victory to


The three great powers had been successively repelled, but the strength
of Austria was not yet broken. Marshal Daun marched into Saxony and
besieged the fortified camp of Prince Henry, thus obliging Frederick to
hasten to his rescue. The latter's confidence in himself had been so
exalted by his victories, that he and his entire army would have been
lost but for the prudent watchfulness of Zieten. All except the latter
and his hussars were quietly sleeping at Hochkirch, on the night of the
13th of October, when the camp was suddenly attacked by Daun, in
overwhelming force. The village was set on fire, the Prussian batteries
captured, and a terrible fight ensued. Prince Francis of Brunswick and
Marshal Keith were killed and Prince Maurice of Dessau severely wounded:
the Prussians defended themselves heroically, but at nine o'clock on the
morning of the 14th they were compelled to retreat, leaving all their
artillery and camp equipage behind them. This was the last event of the
campaign of 1758, and it was a bad omen for the following year.

Frederick tried to negotiate for peace, but in vain. The strength of his
army was gone; his victories had been dearly bought with the loss of all
his best regiments. Austria and Russia reinforced their armies and
planned, this time, to unite in Silesia, while the French, who defeated
the Duke of Brunswick in April, 1759, regained possession of Hannover.
Frederick was obliged to divide his troops and send an army under
General Wedel against the Russians, while he, with a very reduced force,
attempted to check the Austrians in Silesia. Wedel was defeated, and the
junction of his two enemies could no longer be prevented; they marched
against him, 70,000 strong, and took up a position at Kunnersdorf,
opposite Frankfort-on-Oder. Frederick had but 48,000 men, after calling
together almost the entire military strength of his kingdom, and many of
these were raw recruits who had never smelt powder.

On the 12th of August, 1759, after the good news arrived that Ferdinand
of Brunswick had defeated the French at Minden, Frederick gave battle.
At the end of six hours the Russian left wing gave way; then Frederick,
against the advice of Seidlitz, ordered a charge upon the right wing,
which occupied a very strong position and was supported by the Austrian
army. Seidlitz twice refused to make the charge; and then when he
yielded, was struck down, severely wounded, after his cavalry had been
cut to pieces. Frederick himself led the troops to fresh slaughter, but
all in vain: they fell in whole battalions before the terrible artillery
fire, until 20,000 lay upon the field. The enemy charged in turn, and
the Prussian army was scattered in all directions, only about 3,000
accompanying the king in his retreat. For some days after this Frederick
was in a state of complete despair, listless, helpless, unable to decide
or command in anything.

[Sidenote: 1759.]

Prussia was only saved by a difference of opinion between Marshal Daun
and the Russian general, Soltikoff. The latter refused to advance on
Berlin, but fell back upon Silesia to rest his troops: Daun marched into
Saxony, took Dresden, which the Prussians had held up to that time, and
made 12,000 prisoners. Thus ended this unfortunate year. Prussia was in
such an exhausted condition that it seemed impossible to raise more men
or more money, to carry on the war. Frederick tried every means to break
the alliance of his enemies, or to acquire new allies for himself, even
appealing to Spain and Turkey, but without effect. In the spring of
1760, the armies of Austria, "the German Empire," Russia and Sweden
amounted to 280,000, to meet which he was barely able, by making every
sacrifice, to raise 90,000. In Hannover Ferdinand of Brunswick had
75,000, opposed by a French army of 115,000.

Silesia was still the bone of contention, and it was planned that the
Austrian and Russian armies should unite there, as before, while
Frederick was equally determined to prevent their junction, and to hold
the province for himself. But he first sent Prince Henry and General
Fouqué to Silesia, while he undertook to regain possession of Saxony. He
bombarded Dresden furiously, without success, and was then called away
by the news that Fouqué with 7,000 men had been defeated and taken
prisoners near Landshut. All Silesia was overrun by the Austrians,
except Breslau, which was heroically defended by a small force. Marshal
Laudon was in command, and as the Russians had not yet arrived, he
effected a junction with Daun, who had followed Frederick from Saxony.
On the 15th of August, 1760, they attacked him at Liegnitz with a
combined force of 95,000 men. Although he had but 35,000, he won such a
splendid victory that the Russian army turned back on hearing of it, and
in a short time Silesia, except the fortress of Glatz, was restored to

[Sidenote: 1760. CAPTURE OF BERLIN.]

Nevertheless, while Frederick was engaged in following up his victory,
the Austrians and Russians came to an understanding, and moved suddenly
upon Berlin,--the Russians from the Oder, the Austrians and Saxons
combined from Lusatia. The city defended itself for a few days, but
surrendered on the 9th of October: a contribution of 1,700,000 thalers
was levied by the conquerors, the Saxons ravaged the royal palace at
Charlottenburg, but the Russians and Austrians committed few
depredations. Four days afterwards, the news that Frederick was
hastening to the relief of Berlin compelled the enemy to leave. Without
attempting to pursue them, Frederick turned and marched back to Silesia,
where, on the 3d of November, he met the Austrians, under Daun, at
Torgau. This was one of the bloodiest battles of the Seven Years' War:
the Prussian army was divided between Frederick and Zieten, the former
undertaking to storm the Austrian position in front, while the latter
attacked their flank. But Frederick, either too impetuous or mistaken in
the signals, moved too soon: a terrible day's fight followed, and when
night came 10,000 of his soldiers, dead or wounded, lay upon the field.
He sat all night in the village church, making plans for the morrow;
then, in the early dawn, Zieten came and announced that he had been
victorious on the Austrian flank, and they were in full retreat. After
which, turning to his soldiers, Zieten cried: "Boys, hurrah for our
King!--he has won the battle!" The men answered: "Hurrah for Fritz, our
King, and hurrah for Father Zieten, too!" The Prussian loss was 13,000,
the Austrian 20,000.

Although Prussia had been defended with such astonishing vigor and
courage during the year 1760, the end of the campaign found her greatly
weakened. The Austrians held Dresden and Glatz, two important strategic
points, Russia and France were far from being exhausted, and every
attempt of Frederick to strengthen himself by alliance--even with Turkey
and with Cossack and Tartar chieftains--came to nothing. In October,
1760, George II. of England died, there was a change of ministry, and
the four, millions of thalers which Prussia had received for three years
were cut off. The French, under Marshals Broglie and Soubise, had been
bravely met by Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, but he was not strong
enough to prevent them from quartering themselves for the winter in
Cassel and Göttingen. Under these discouraging aspects the year 1761

[Sidenote: 1761.]

The first events were fortunate. Prince Ferdinand moved against the
French in February and drove them back nearly to the Rhine; the army of
"the German Empire" was expelled from Thuringia by a small detachment of
Prussians, and Prince Henry, Frederick's brother, maintained himself in
Saxony against the much stronger Austrian army of Marshal Daun. These
successes left Frederick free to act with all his remaining forces
against the Austrians in Silesia, under Laudon, and their Russian allies
who were marching through Poland to unite with them a third time. But
their combined force was 140,000 men, his barely 55,000. By the most
skilful military tactics, marching rapidly back and forth, threatening
first one and then the other, he kept them asunder until the middle of
August, when they effected a junction in spite of him. Then he
entrenched himself so strongly in a fortified camp near Schweidnitz,
that they did not dare to attack him immediately. Marshal Laudon and the
Russian commander, Buturlin, quarrelled, in consequence of which a large
part of the Russian army left, and marched northwards into Pomerania.
Then Frederick would have given battle, but on the 1st of October,
Laudon took Schweidnitz by storm and so strengthened his position
thereby that it would have been useless to attack him.

Frederick's prospects were darker than ever when the year 1761 came to a
close. On the 16th of December, the Swedes and Russians took the
important fortress of Colberg, on the Baltic coast: half Pomerania was
in their hands, more than half of Silesia in the hands of the Austrians,
Prince Henry was hard pressed in Saxony, and Ferdinand of Brunswick was
barely able to hold back the French. On all sides the allied enemies
were closing in upon Prussia, whose people could no longer furnish
soldiers or pay taxes. For more than a year the country had been hanging
on the verge of ruin, and while Frederick's true greatness had been
illustrated in his unyielding courage, his unshaken energy, his
determination never to give up, he was almost powerless to plan any
further measures of defence. With four millions of people, he had for
six years fought powers which embraced eighty millions; but now half his
territory was lost to him and the other half utterly exhausted.


Suddenly, in the darkest hour, light came. In January, 1762, Frederick's
bitter enemy, the Empress Elizabeth of Russia, died, and was succeeded
by Czar Peter III., who was one of his most devoted admirers. The first
thing Peter did was to send back all the Prussian prisoners of war; an
armistice was concluded, then a peace, and finally an alliance, by which
the Russian troops in Pomerania and Silesia were transferred from the
Austrian to the Prussian side. Sweden followed the example of Russia,
and made peace, and the campaign of 1762 opened with renewed hopes for
Prussia. In July, 1762, Peter III. was dethroned and murdered, whereupon
his widow and successor, Catharine II., broke off the alliance with
Frederick; but she finally agreed to maintain peace, and Frederick made
use of the presence of the Russian troops in his camp to win a decided
victory over Daun, on the 21st of July.

Austria was discouraged by this new turn of affairs; the war was
conducted with less energy on the part of her generals, while the
Prussians were everywhere animated with a fresh spirit. After a siege of
several months Frederick took the fortress of Schweidnitz on the 9th of
October; on the 29th of the same month Prince Henry defeated the
Austrians at Freiberg, in Saxony, and on the 1st of November Ferdinand
of Brunswick drove the French out of Cassel. After this Frederick
marched upon Dresden, while small detachments were sent into Bohemia and
Franconia, where they levied contributions on the cities and villages
and kept the country in a state of terror.

In the meantime negotiations for peace had been carried on between
England and France. The preliminaries were settled at Fontainebleau on
the 3d of November, and, although the Tory Ministry of George II. would
have willingly seen Prussia destroyed, Frederick's popularity was so
great in England that the Government was forced to stipulate that the
French troops should be withdrawn from Germany. The "German Empire,"
represented by its superannuated Diet at Ratisbon, became alarmed at its
position and concluded an armistice with Prussia; so that, before the
year closed, Austria was left alone to carry on the war. Maria
Theresa's personal hatred of Frederick, which had been the motive power
in the combination against him, had not been gratified by his ruin: she
could only purchase peace with him, after all his losses and dangers, by
giving up Silesia forever. It was a bitter pill for her to swallow, but
there was no alternative; she consented, with rage and humiliation in
her heart. On the 15th of February, 1763, peace was signed at
Hubertsburg, a little hunting-castle near Leipzig, and the Seven Years'
War was over.

[Sidenote: 1763.]

Frederick was now called "the Great" throughout Europe, and Prussia was
henceforth ranked among the "Five Great Powers," the others being
England, France, Austria and Russia. His first duty, as after the Second
Silesian War, was to raise the kingdom from its weak and wasted
condition. He distributed among the farmers the supplies of grain which
had been hoarded up for the army, gave them as many artillery and
cavalry horses as could be spared, practised the most rigid economy in
the expenses of the Government, and bestowed all that could be saved
upon the regions which had most suffered. The nobles derived the
greatest advantage from this support, for he considered them the main
pillar of his State, and took all his officers from their ranks. In
order to be prepared for any new emergency, he kept up his army, and
finally doubled it, at a great cost; but, as he only used one-sixth of
his own income and gave the rest towards supporting this burden, the
people, although often oppressed by his system of taxation, did not
openly complain.

Frederick continued to be sole and arbitrary ruler. He was unwilling to
grant any participation in the Government to the different classes of
the people, but demanded that everything should be trusted to his own
"sense of duty." Since the people _did_ honor and trust him,--since
every day illustrated his desire to be just towards all, and his own
personal devotion to the interests of the kingdom,--his policy was
accepted. He never reflected that the spirit of complete submission
which he was inculcating weakened the spirit of the people, and might
prove to be the ruin of Prussia if the royal power should fall into base
or ignorant hands. In fact, the material development of the country was
seriously hindered by his admiration of everything French. He introduced
a form of taxation borrowed from France, appointed French officials who
oppressed the people, granted monopolies to manufacturers, prohibited
the exportation of raw material, and in other ways damaged the interests
of Prussia, by trying to _force_ a rapid growth.


The intellectual development of the country was equally hindered. In
1750 Frederick invited Voltaire to Berlin, and the famous French author
remained there nearly three years, making many enemies by his arrogance
and intolerance of German habits, until a bitter quarrel broke out and
the two parted, never to resume their intimacy. It is doubtful whether
Frederick had the least consciousness of the swift and splendid rise of
German Literature during the latter years of his reign. Although he
often declared that he was perfectly willing his subjects should think
and speak as they pleased, provided they _obeyed_, he maintained a
strict censorship of the press, and was very impatient of all opinions
which conflicted with his own. Thus, while he possessed the clearest
sense of justice, the severest sense of duty, his policy was governed by
his own personal tastes and prejudices, and therefore could not be
universally just. What strength he possessed became a part of his
government, but what weakness also.

One other event, of a peaceful yet none the less of a violent character,
marks Frederick's reign. Within a year after the Peace of Hubertsburg
Augustus III. of Poland died, and Catharine of Russia persuaded the
Polish nobles to elect Prince Poniatowsky, her favorite, as his
successor. The latter granted equal rights to the Protestant sects,
which brought on a civil war, as the Catholics were in a majority in
Poland. A long series of diplomatic negotiations followed, in which
Prussia, Austria, and indirectly France, were involved: the end was,
that on the 5th of August, 1772, Frederick the Great, Catharine II. and
Maria Theresa (the latter most unwillingly) united in taking possession
of about one-third of the kingdom of Poland, containing 100,000 square
miles and 4,500,000 inhabitants, and dividing it among them. Prussia
received the territory between Pomerania and the former Duchy of
Prussia, except only the cities of Dantzig and Thorn, with about 700,000
inhabitants. This was the region lost to Germany in 1466, when the
incapable Emperor Frederick III. failed to assist the German Order: its
population was still mostly German, and consequently scarcely felt the
annexation as a wrong, yet this does not change the character of the

[Sidenote: 1786.]

The last years of Frederick the Great were peaceful. He lived to see the
American Colonies independent of England, and to send a sword of honor
to Washington: he lived when Voltaire and Maria Theresa were dead,
preserving to the last his habits of industry and constant supervision
of all affairs. Like his father, he was fond of walking or riding
through the parks and streets of Berlin and Potsdam, talking familiarly
with the people and now and then using his cane upon an idler. His Court
was Spartan in its simplicity, and nothing prevented the people from
coming personally to him with their complaints. On one occasion, in the
streets of Potsdam, he met a company of school-boys, and roughly
addressed them with: "Boys, what are you doing here? Be off to your
school!" One of the boldest answered: "Oh, you are king, are you, and
don't know that there is no school to-day!" Frederick laughed heartily,
dropped his uplifted cane, and gave the urchins a piece of money that
they might better enjoy their holiday. The windmill at Potsdam, which
stood on some ground he wanted for his park, but could not get because
the miller would not sell and defied him to take it arbitrarily, stands
to this day, as a token of his respect for the rights of a poor man.

When Frederick died, on the 17th of August, 1786, at the age of
seventy-four, he left a kingdom of 6,000,000 inhabitants, an army of
more than 200,000 men, and a sum of 72 millions of thalers in the
treasury. But, what was of far more consequence to Germany, he left
behind him an example of patriotism, of order, economy and personal
duty, which was already followed by other German princes, and an example
of resistance to foreign interference which restored the pride and
revived the hopes of the German people.



Maria Theresa and her Government. --Death of Francis I. --Character of
    Joseph II. --The Partition of Poland. --The Bavarian Succession.
    --Last Days of Maria Theresa. --Republican Ideas in Europe.
    --Joseph II. as a Revolutionist. --His Reforms. --Visit of Pope
    Pius VI. --Alarm of the Catholics. --Joseph among the People. --The
    Order of Jesuits dissolved by the Pope. --Joseph II's
    Disappointments. --His Death. --Progress in Germany. --A
    German-Catholic Church proposed by four Archbishops. --"Enlightened
    Despotism." --The small States. --Influence of the great German

[Sidenote: 1750. MARIA THERESA.]

In the Empress Maria Theresa, Frederick the Great had an enemy whom he
was bound to respect. Since the death of Maximilian II., in 1576,
Austria had no male ruler so prudent, just and energetic as this woman.
One of her first acts was to imitate the military organization of
Prussia: then she endeavored to restore the finances of the country,
which had been sadly shattered by the luxury of her predecessors. Her
position during the two Silesian Wars and the Seven Years' War was
almost the same as that of her opponent: she fought to recover
territory, part of which had been ceded to Austria and part of which she
had held by virtue of unsettled claims. The only difference was that the
very existence of Austria did not depend on the result, as was the case
with Prussia.

Maria Theresa, like all the Hapsburgs after Ferdinand I., had grown up
under the influence of the Jesuits, and her ideas of justice were
limited by her religious bigotry. In other respects she was wise and
liberal: she effected a complete reorganization of the government,
establishing special departments of justice, industry and commerce; she
sought to develop the resources of the country, abolished torture,
introduced a new criminal code,--in short, she neglected scarcely any
important interests of the people, except their education and their
religious freedom. Nevertheless, she was always jealous of the
assumptions of Rome, and prevented, as far as she was able, the
immediate dependence of the Catholic clergy upon the Pope.

[Sidenote: 1765.]

In 1765, her husband, Francis I. (of Lorraine and Tuscany) suddenly
died, and was succeeded, as German Emperor, by her eldest son, Joseph
II., who was then twenty-four years of age. He was an earnest,
noble-hearted, aspiring man, who had already taken his mother's enemy,
Frederick the Great, as his model for a ruler. Maria Theresa, therefore,
kept the Government of the Austrian dominions in her own hands, and the
title of "Emperor" was not much more than an empty dignity while she
lived. In August, 1769, Joseph had an interview with Frederick at
Neisse, in Silesia, at which the Polish question was discussed. The
latter returned the visit, at Neustadt in Moravia, the following year,
and the terms of the partition of Poland appear to have been then agreed
upon between them. Nevertheless, after the treaty had been formally
drawn up and laid before Maria Theresa for her signature, she added
these words: "Long after I am dead, the effects of this violation of all
which has hitherto been considered right and holy will be made
manifest." Joseph, with all his liberal ideas, had no such scruples of
conscience. He was easily controlled by Frederick the Great, who,
notwithstanding, never entirely trusted him.

In 1777 a new trouble arose, which for two years held Germany on the
brink of internal war. The Elector Max Joseph of Bavaria, the last of
the house of Wittelsbach in a direct line, died without leaving brother
or son, and the next heir was the Elector Karl Theodore of the
Palatinate. The latter was persuaded by Joseph II. to give up about half
of Bavaria to Austria, and Austrian troops immediately took possession
of the territory. This proceeding created great alarm among the German
princes, who looked upon it as the beginning of an attempt to extend the
Austrian sway over all the other States. Another heir to Bavaria, Duke
Karl of Zweibrücken (a little principality on the French frontier), was
brought forward and presented by Frederick the Great, who, in order to
support him, sent two armies into the field. Saxony and some of the
smaller States took the same side; even Maria Theresa desired peace, but
Joseph II. persisted in his plans until both France and Russia
intervened. The matter was finally settled in May, 1779, by giving
Bavaria to the Elector Karl Theodore, and annexing a strip of territory
along the river Inn, containing about 900 square miles and 139,000
inhabitants, to Austria.

[Sidenote: 1780. DEATH OF MARIA THERESA.]

Maria Theresa had long been ill of an incurable dropsy, and on the 29th
of November, 1780, she died, in the sixty-fourth year of her age. A few
days before her death she had herself lowered by ropes and pulleys into
the vault where the coffin of Francis I. reposed. On being drawn up
again, one of the ropes parted, whereupon she exclaimed: "He wishes to
keep me with him, and I shall soon come!" She wrote in her prayer-book
that in regard to matters of justice, the Church, the education of her
children, and her obligations towards the different orders of her
people, she found little cause for self-reproach; but that she had been
a sinner in making war from motives of pride, envy and anger, and in her
speech had shown too little charity for others. She left Austria in a
condition of order and material prosperity such as the country had not
known for centuries.

When Frederick the Great heard of her death, he said to one of his
ministers: "Maria Theresa is dead; now there will be a new order of
things!" He evidently believed that Joseph II. would set about indulging
his restless ambition for conquest. But the latter kept the peace, and
devoted himself to the interests of Austria, establishing, indeed, a new
and most astonishing order of things, but of a totally different nature
from what Frederick had expected. Joseph II. was filled with the new
ideas of human rights which already agitated Europe. The short but
illustrious history of the Corsican Republic, the foundation of the new
nation of the United States of America, the works of French authors
advocating democracy in society and politics, were beginning to exercise
a powerful influence in Germany, not so much among the people as among
the highly educated classes. Thus at the very moment when Frederick and
Maria Theresa were exercising the most absolute form of despotism, and
the smaller rulers were doing their best to imitate them, the most
radical theories of republicanism were beginning to be openly discussed,
and the great Revolution which they occasioned was only a few years off.

[Sidenote: 1781.]

Joseph II. was scarcely less despotic in his habits of government than
Frederick the Great, and he used his power to force new liberties upon a
people who were not intelligent enough to understand them. He stands
almost alone among monarchs, as an example of a Revolutionist upon the
throne, not only granting far more than was ever demanded of his
predecessors, but compelling his people to accept rights which they
hardly knew how to use. He determined to transform Austria, by a few
bold measures, into a State which should embody all the progressive
ideas of the day, and be a model for the world. The plan was high and
noble, but he failed because he did not perceive that the condition of a
people cannot be so totally changed, without a wise and gradual
preparation for it.

He began by reforming the entire civil service of Austria; but, as he
took the reform into his own hands and had little practical knowledge of
the position and duties of the officials, many of the changes operated
injuriously. In regard to taxation, industry and commerce, he followed
the theories of French writers, which, in many respects, did not apply
to the state of things in Austria. He abolished the penalty of death,
put an end to serfdom among the peasantry, cut down the privileges of
the nobles, and tried, for a short time, the experiment of a free press.
His boldest measure was in regard to the Church, which he endeavored to
make wholly independent of Rome. He openly declared that the priests
were "the most dangerous and most useless class in every country"; he
suppressed seven hundred monasteries and turned them into schools or
asylums, granted the Protestants freedom of worship and all rights
enjoyed by Catholics, and continued his work in so sweeping a manner
that the Pope, Pius VI., hastened to Vienna in 1782, in the greatest
alarm, hoping to restore the influence of the Church. Joseph II.
received him with external politeness, but had him carefully watched and
allowed no one to visit him without his own express permission. After a
stay of four weeks during which he did not obtain a single concession of
any importance, the Pope returned to Rome.

Not content with what he had accomplished, Joseph now went further. He
gave equal rights to Jews and members of the Greek Church, ordered
German hymns to be sung in the Catholic Churches and the German Bible to
be read, and prohibited pilgrimages and religious processions. These
measures gave the priesthood the means of alarming the ignorant people,
who were easily persuaded that the Emperor intended to abolish the
Christian religion. They became suspicious and hostile towards the one
man who was defying the Church and the nobles in his efforts to help
them. Only the few who came into direct contact with him were able to
appreciate his sincerity and goodness. He was fond of going about alone,
dressed so simply that few recognized him, and almost as many stories of
his intercourse with the lower classes are told of him in Austria as of
Frederick the Great in Prussia. On one occasion he attended a poor sick
woman whose daughter took him for a physician: on another he took the
plough from the hands of a peasant, and ploughed a few furrows around
the field. If his reign had been longer, the Austrian people would have
learned to trust him, and many of his reforms might have become
permanent; but he was better understood and loved after his death than
during his life.

[Sidenote: 1785. JOSEPH II.'S REFORMS.]

One circumstance must be mentioned, in explanation of the sudden and
sweeping character of Joseph II.'s measures towards the Church. The
Jesuits, by their intrigues and the demoralizing influence which they
exercised, had made themselves hated in all Catholic countries, and were
only tolerated in Bavaria and Austria. France, Spain, Naples and
Portugal, one after the other, banished the Order, and Pope Clement XIV.
was finally induced, in 1773, to dissolve its connection with the Church
of Rome. The Jesuits were then compelled to leave Austria, and for a
time they found refuge only in Russia and Prussia, where, through a most
mistaken policy, they were employed by the governments as teachers.
Their expulsion was the sign of a new life for the schools and
universities, which were released from their paralyzing sway, and Joseph
II. evidently supposed that the Church of Rome itself had made a step in
advance. The Archbishop of Mayence and the Bishop of Treves were noted
liberals; the latter even favored a reformation of the Catholic Church,
and the Emperor had reason to believe that he would receive at least a
moral support throughout Germany. He neither perceived the thorough
demoralization which two centuries of Jesuit rule had produced in
Austria, nor the settled determination of the Papal power to restore the
Order as soon as circumstances would permit.

Joseph II.'s last years were disastrous to all his plans. In Flanders,
which was still a dependency of Austria, the priests incited the people
to revolt; in Hungary the nobles were bitterly hostile to him, on
account of the abolition of serfdom, and an alliance with Catharine II.
of Russia against Turkey, into which he entered in 1788,--chiefly, it
seems, in the hope of achieving military renown--was in every way
unfortunate. At the head of an army of 200,000 men, he marched against
Belgrade, but was repelled by the Turks, and finally returned to Vienna
with the seeds of a fatal fever in his frame. Russia made peace with
Turkey before the fortunes of war could be retrieved; Flanders declared
itself independent of Austria, and a revolution in Hungary was only
prevented by his taking back most of the decrees which had been issued
for the emancipation of the people. Disappointed and hopeless, Joseph
II. succumbed to the fever which hung upon him: he died on the 20th of
February, 1790, only forty-nine years of age. He ordered these words to
be engraved upon his tomb-stone: "Here lies a prince, whose intentions
were pure, but who had the misfortune to see all his plans shattered!"
History has done justice to his character, and the people whom he tried
to help learned to appreciate his efforts when it was too late.

[Sidenote: 1790.]

The condition of Germany, from the end of the Seven Years' War to the
close of the eighteenth century, shows a remarkable progress, when we
contrast it with the first half of the century. The stern, heroic
character of Frederick the Great, the strong, humane aspirations of
Joseph II., and the rapid growth of democratic ideas all over the world,
affected at last many of the smaller German States. Their imitation of
the pomp and state of Louis XIV., which they had practised for nearly a
hundred years, came to an end; the princes were now possessed with the
idea of "an enlightened despotism"--that is, while retaining their
absolute power, they endeavored to exercise it for the good of the
people. There were some dark exceptions to this general change for the
better. The rulers of Hesse-Cassel and Würtemberg, for example, sold
whole regiments of their subjects to England, to be used against the
American Colonies in the War of Independence. Although many of these
soldiers remained in the United States, and encouraged, by their
satisfaction with their new homes, the later German emigration to
America, the princes who sold them covered their own memories with
infamy, and deservedly so.

[Sidenote: 1790. "ENLIGHTENED DESPOTISM."]

There was a remarkable movement, about the same time, among the Catholic
Archbishops, who were also temporal rulers, in Germany. The dominions of
these priestly princes, especially along the Rhine, showed what had
been the character of such a form of government. There were about 1,000
inhabitants, fifty of whom were priests and two hundred and sixty
beggars, to every twenty-two square miles! The difference between the
condition of their States and that of the Protestant territories
adjoining them was much more strongly marked than it now is between the
Protestant and Catholic Cantons of Switzerland. By a singular
coincidence, the chief Catholic Archbishops were at this time men of
intelligence and humane aspirations, who did their best to remedy the
scandalous misrule of their predecessors. In the year 1786, the
Archbishops of Mayence, Treves, Cologne and Salzburg came together at
Ems, and agreed upon a plan of founding a national German-Catholic
Church, independent of Rome. The priests, in their incredible ignorance
and bigotry, opposed the movement, and even Joseph II., who had planned
the very same thing for Austria, most inconsistently refused to favor
it; therefore the plan failed.

It must be admitted, as an apology for the theory of "an enlightened
despotism," that there was no representative government in Europe at the
time, where there was greater justice and order than in Prussia or in
Austria under Joseph II. The German Empire had become a mere mockery;
its perpetual Diet at Ratisbon was little more than a farce. Poland,
Holland and Sweden, where there was a Legislative Assembly, were in a
most unfortunate condition: the Swiss Republic was far from being
republican, and even England, under George III., did not present a
fortunate model of parliamentary government. The United States of
America were too far off and too little known, to exercise much
influence. Some of the smaller German States, which were despotisms in
the hands of wise and humane rulers, thus played a most beneficent part
in protecting, instructing and elevating the people.

Baden, Brunswick, Anhalt-Dessau, Holstein, Saxe-Gotha, and especially
Saxe-Weimar, became cradles of science and literature. Karl Augustus, of
the last-named State, called Herder, Wieland, Goethe, Schiller and other
illustrious authors to his court, and created such a distinguished
circle in letters and the arts that Weimar was named "the German
Athens." The works of these great men, which had been preceded by those
of Lessing and Klopstock, gave an immense impetus to the intellectual
development of Germany. It was the first great advance made by the
people since the days of Luther, and its effect extended gradually to
the courts of less intelligent and humane princes. Even the profligate
Duke Karl Eugene of Würtemberg reformed in a measure, established the
Karl's-School where Schiller was educated, and tried, so far as he knew
how, to govern justly. Frederick Augustus of Saxony refrained from
imitating his dissolute and tyrannical ancestors, and his land began to
recover from its long sufferings. As for the scores of petty States,
which contained--as was ironically said--"twelve subjects and one Jew,"
and were not much larger than an average Illinois farm, they were mostly
despotic and ridiculous; but they were too weak to impede the general
march of progress.

[Sidenote: 1790.]

Among the greater States, only Bavaria remained in the background.
Although temporarily deprived of his beloved Jesuits, the Elector held
fast to all the prejudices they had inculcated, and kept his people in




The Crisis in Europe. --Frederick William II. in Prussia. --Leopold II.
    in Austria. --His short Reign. --Francis II. succeeds. --French
    Claims in Alsatia. --War declared against Austria. --The Prussian
    and Austrian Invasion of France. --Valmy and Jemappes. --THE FIRST
    COALITION. --Campaign of 1793. --French Successes. --Hesitation of
    Prussia. --The Treaty of Basel. --Catharine II.'s Designs. --Second
    Partition of Poland. --Kosciusko's Defeat. --Suwarrow takes Warsaw.
    --End of Poland. --French Invasion of Germany. --Success of the
    Republic. --Bonaparte in Italy. --Campaign of 1796. --Austrian
    Successes. --Bonaparte victorious. --Peace of Campo Formio. --New
    Demands of France. --THE SECOND COALITION. --Suwarrow in Italy and
    Switzerland. --Bonaparte First Consul. --Victories at Marengo and
    Hohenlinden. --Peace of Luneville. --The German States
    reconstructed. --Character of the political Changes. --Supremacy of
    France. --Hannover invaded. --Bonaparte Emperor. --THE THIRD
    COALITION. --French march to Vienna. --Austerlitz. --Treaty of
    Presburg. --End of the "Holy Roman Empire."

[Sidenote: 1790. CONDITION OF EUROPE.]

The mantles of both Frederick the Great and Joseph II. fell upon
incompetent successors, at a time when all Europe was agitated by the
beginning of the French Revolution, and when, therefore, the greatest
political wisdom was required of the rulers of Germany. It was a crisis,
the like of which never before occurred in the history of the world, and
probably never will occur again; for, at the time when it came, the
people enjoyed fewer rights than they had possessed during the Middle
Ages, and the monarchs exercised more power than they had claimed for at
least fifteen hundred years before, while general intelligence and the
knowledge of human rights were increasing everywhere. The fabrics of
society and government were ages behind the demands of the time: a
change was inevitable, and because no preparation had been made, it came
through violence.

[Sidenote: 1792.]

Frederick the Great was succeeded by his nephew, Frederick William II.,
whom, with unaccountable neglect, he had not instructed in the duties
of government. The latter, nevertheless, began with changes which gave
him a great popularity. He abolished the French system of collecting
duties, the monopolies which were burdensome to the people, and
lightened the weight of their taxes. But, by unnecessary interference in
the affairs of Holland (because his sister was the wife of William V. of
Orange), he spent all the surplus which Frederick had left in the
Prussian treasury; he was weak, dissolute and fickle in his character;
he introduced the most rigid measures in regard to the press and
religious worship, and soon taught the people the difference between a
bigoted and narrow-minded and an intelligent and conscientious king.

Joseph II. was succeeded by his brother, Leopold II., who for
twenty-five years had been Grand-Duke of Tuscany, where he had governed
with great mildness and prudence. His policy had been somewhat similar
to that of Joseph II., but characterized by greater caution and
moderation. When he took the crown of Austria, and immediately
afterwards that of the German Empire, he materially changed his plan of
government. He was not rigidly oppressive, but he checked the evidences
of a freer development among the people, which Joseph II. had fostered.
He limited, at once, the pretensions of Austria, cultivated friendly
relations with Prussia, which was then inclined to support the Austrian
Netherlands in their revolt, and took steps to conclude peace with
Turkey. He succeeded, also, in reconciling the Hungarians to the
Hapsburg rule, and might, possibly, have given a fortunate turn to the
destinies of Austria, if he had lived long enough. But he died on the
1st of March, 1792, after a reign of exactly two years, and was
succeeded by his son, Francis II., who was elected Emperor of Germany on
the 5th of July, in Frankfort.

By this time the great changes which had taken place in France began to
agitate all Europe. The French National Assembly very soon disregarded
the provisions of the Peace of Westphalia (in 1648), which had only
ceded the possessions of _Austria_ in Alsatia to France, allowing
various towns and districts on the West bank of the Upper Rhine to be
held by German Princes. The entire authority over these scattered
possessions was now claimed by France, and neither Prussia, under
Frederick William II., nor Austria under Leopold II. resisted the act
otherwise than by a protest which had no effect. Although the French
queen, Marie Antoinette, was Leopold II.'s sister, his policy was to
preserve peace with the Revolutionary party which controlled France.
Frederick William's minister, Hertzberg, pursued the same policy, but so
much against the will of the king, who was determined to defend the
cause of absolute monarchy by trying to rescue Louis XVI. from his
increasing dangers, that before the close of 1791 Hertzberg was
dismissed from office. Then Frederick William endeavored to create a
"holy alliance" of Prussia, Austria, Russia and Sweden against France,
but only succeeded far enough to provoke a bitter feeling of hostility
to Germany in the French National Assembly.

[Sidenote: 1792. FRANCE AND PRUSSIA.]

The nobles who had been driven out of France by the Revolution were
welcomed by the Archbishops of Mayence and Treves, and the rulers of
smaller States along the Rhine, who allowed them to plot a
counter-revolution. An angry diplomatic intercourse between France and
Austria followed, and in April, 1792, the former country declared war
against "the king of Bohemia and Hungary," as Francis II. was styled by
the French Assembly. In fact, war was inevitable; for the monarchs of
Europe were simply waiting for a good chance to intervene and crush the
republican movement in France, which, on its side, could only establish
itself through military successes. Although neither party was prepared
for the struggle, the energy and enthusiasm of the new men who governed
France gained an advantage, at the start, over the lumbering slowness of
the German governments. It was not the latter, this time, but their
enemy, who profited by the example of Frederick the Great.

Prussia and Austria, supported by some but not by all of the smaller
States, raised two armies, one of 110,000 men under the Duke of
Brunswick, which was to march through Belgium to Paris, while the other,
50,000 strong, was to take possession of Alsatia. The movement of the
former was changed, and then delayed by differences of opinion among the
royal and ducal commanders. It started from Mayence, and consumed three
weeks in marching to the French frontier, only ninety miles distant.
Longwy and Verdun were taken without much difficulty, and then the
advance ceased. The French under Dumouriez and Kellermann united their
forces, held the Germans in check at Valmy, on the 20th of September,
1792, and then compelled them to retrace their steps towards the Rhine.
While the Prussians were retreating through storms of rain, their ranks
thinned by disease, Dumouriez wheeled upon Flanders, met the Austrian
army at Jemappes, and gained such a decided victory that by the end of
the year all Belgium, and even the city of Aix-la-Chapelle, fell into
the hands of the French.

[Sidenote: 1793.]

At the same time another French army, under General Custine, marched to
the Rhine, took Speyer, Worms and finally Mayence, which city was made
the head-quarters of a republican movement intended to influence
Germany. But these successes were followed, on the 21st of January,
1793, by the execution of Louis XVI., and on the 16th of October of
Marie Antoinette,--acts which alarmed every reigning family in Europe
and provoked the most intense enmity towards the French Republic. An
immediate alliance--called the FIRST COALITION--was made by England,
Holland, Prussia, Austria, "the German Empire," Sardinia, Naples and
Spain, against France. Only Catharine II. of Russia declined to join,
not because she did not favor the design of crushing France, but because
she would thus be left free to carry out her plans of aggrandizing
Russia at the expense of Turkey and Poland.

The greater part of the year 1793 was on the whole favorable to the
allied powers. An Austrian victory at Neerwinden, on the 18th of March,
compelled the French to evacuate Belgium: in July the Prussians
reconquered Mayence, and advanced into Alsatia; and a combined English
and Spanish fleet took possession of Toulon. But there was no unity of
action among the enemies of France; even the German successes were soon
neutralized by the mutual jealousy and mistrust of Prussia and Austria,
and the war became more and more unpopular. Towards the close of the
year the French armies were again victorious in Flanders and along the
Rhine: their generals had discovered that the rapid movements and rash,
impetuous assaults of their new troops were very effectual against the
old, deliberate, scientific tactics of the Germans. Spain, Holland and
Sardinia proved to be almost useless as allies, and the strength of the
Coalition was reduced to England, Prussia and Austria.

[Sidenote: 1795. THE TREATY OF BASEL.]

In 1794 a fresh attempt was made. Prussia furnished 50,000 men, who
were paid by England, and were hardly less mercenaries than the troops
sold by Hesse-Cassel twenty years before. In June, the French under
Jourdan were victorious at Fleurus, and Austria decided to give up
Belgium: the Prussians gained some advantages in Alsatia, but showed no
desire to carry on the war as the hirelings of another country.
Frederick William II. and Francis II. were equally suspicious of each
other, equally weak and vacillating, divided between their desire of
overturning the French Republic on the one side, and securing new
conquests of Polish territory on the other. Thus the war was prosecuted
in the most languid and inefficient manner, and by the end of the year
the French were masters of all the territory west of the Rhine, from
Alsatia to the sea. During the following winter they assisted in
overturning the former government of Holland, where a new "Batavian
Republic" was established. Frederick William II. thereupon determined to
withdraw from the Coalition, and make a separate peace with France. His
minister, Hardenberg, concluded a treaty at Basel, on the 5th of April,
1795, by which Cleves and other Prussian territory west of the Lower
Rhine was relinquished to France, and all of Germany north of a line
drawn from the river Main eastward to Silesia, was declared to be in a
state of peace during the war which France still continued to wage with

The chief cause of Prussia's change of policy seems to have been her
fear that Russia would absorb the whole of Poland. This was probably the
intention of Catharine II., for she had vigorously encouraged the war
between Germany and France, while declining to take part in it. The
Poles themselves, now more divided than ever, soon furnished her with a
pretext for interference. They had adopted an hereditary instead of an
elective monarchy, together with a Constitution similar to that of
France; but a portion of the nobility rose in arms against these
changes, and were supported by Russia. Then Frederick William II.
insisted on being admitted as a partner in the business of interference,
and Catharine II. reluctantly consented. In January, 1793, the two
powers agreed to divide a large portion of Polish territory between
them, Austria taking no active part in the matter. Prussia received the
cities of Thorn and Dantzig, the provinces of Posen, Gnesen and Kalisch,
and other territory, amounting to more than 20,000 square miles, with
1,000,000 inhabitants. The only resistance made to the entrance of the
Russian army into Poland, was headed by Kosciusko, one of the heroes of
the American war of Independence. Although defeated at Dubienka, where
he fought with 4,000 men against 16,000, the hopes of the Polish
patriots centred upon him, and when they rose in 1794 to prevent the
approaching destruction of their country, they made him Dictator. Russia
was engaged in a war with Turkey, and had not troops enough to quell the
insurrection, so Prussia was called upon to furnish her share. In June,
1794, Frederick William himself marched to Warsaw, where a Russian army
arrived about the same time: the city was besieged, but not attacked,
owing to quarrels and differences of opinion among the commanders. At
the end of three months, the king got tired and went back to Berlin;
several small battles were fought, in which the Poles had the greater
advantage, but nothing decisive happened until the end of October, when
the Russian General Suwarrow arrived, after a forced march, from the
seat of war on the Danube.

[Sidenote: 1795.]

He first defeated Kosciusko, who was taken prisoner, and then marched
upon Warsaw. On the 4th of November the suburb of Praga was taken by
storm, with terrible slaughter, and three days afterwards Warsaw fell.
This was the end of Poland, as an independent nation. Although Austria
had taken no part in the war, she now negotiated for a share in the
Third (and last) Partition, which had been decided upon by Russia and
Prussia, even before the Polish revolt furnished a pretext for it.
Catharine II. favored the Austrian claims, and even concluded a secret
agreement with Francis II. without consulting Prussia. When this had
been made known, in August, 1795, Prussia protested violently against
it, but without effect: Russia took more than half the remaining
territory, Austria nearly one-quarter, and Prussia received about 20,000
square miles more, including the city of Warsaw.

After the Treaty of Basel, which secured peace to the northern half of
Germany, Catharine II., victorious over Turkey and having nothing more
to do in Poland, united with England and Austria against France. It was
agreed that Russia should send both an army and a fleet, Austria raise
200,000 men, and England contribute 4,000,000 pounds sterling annually
towards the expenses of the war. During the summer of 1795, however,
little was done. The French still held everything west of the Rhine, and
the Austrians watched them from the opposite bank: the strength of both
was nearly equal. Suddenly, in September, the French crossed the river,
took Düsseldorf and Mannheim, with immense quantities of military
stores, and completely laid waste the country in the neighborhood of
these two cities, treating the people with the most inhuman barbarity.
Then the Austrians rallied, repulsed the French, in their turn, and
before winter recovered possession of nearly all the western bank.


In January, 1796, an armistice was declared: Spain and Sardinia had
already made peace with France, and Austria showed signs of becoming
weary of the war. The French Republic, however, found itself greatly
strengthened by its military successes: its minister of war, Carnot, and
its ambitious young generals, Bonaparte, Moreau, Massena, &c., were
winning fame and power by the continuance of hostilities, and the system
of making the conquered territory pay all the expenses of the war (in
some cases much more), was a great advantage to the French national
treasury. Thus the war, undertaken by the Coalition for the destruction
of the French Republic, had only strengthened the latter, which was in
the best condition for continuing it at a time when the allies (except,
perhaps, England) were discouraged, and ready for peace.

The campaign of 1796 was most disastrous to Austria. France had an army
under Jourdan on the Lower Rhine, another under Moreau--who had replaced
General Pichegru--on the Upper Rhine, and a third under Bonaparte in
Italy. The latter began his movement early in April; he promised his
unpaid, ragged and badly-fed troops that he would give them Milan in
four weeks, and he kept his word. Plunder and victory heightened their
faith in his splendid military genius: he advanced with irresistible
energy, passing the Po, the Adda at Lodi, subjecting the Venetian
Republic, forming new republican States out of the old Italian Duchies,
and driving the Austrians everywhere before him. By the end of the year
the latter held only the strong fortress of Mantua.

[Sidenote: 1797.]

The French armies on the Rhine were opposed by an Austrian army of equal
strength, commanded by the Archduke Karl, a general of considerable
talent, but still governed by the military ideas of a former
generation. Instead of attacking, he waited to be attacked; but neither
Jourdan nor Moreau allowed him to wait long. The former took possession
of the Eastern bank of the Lower Rhine: when the Archduke marched
against him, Moreau crossed into Baden and seized the passes of the
Black Forest. Then the Archduke, having compelled Jourdan to fall back,
met the latter and was defeated. Jourdan returned a second time, Moreau
advanced, and all Baden, Würtemberg, Franconia, and the greater part of
Bavaria fell into the hands of the French. These States not only
submitted without resistance, but used every exertion to pay enormous
contributions to their conquerors. One-fourth of what they gave would
have prevented the invasion, and changed the subsequent fate of Germany.
Frankfort paid ten millions of florins, Nuremberg three, Bavaria ten,
and the other cities and principalities in proportion, besides
furnishing enormous quantities of supplies to the French troops. All
these countries purchased the neutrality of France, by allowing free
passage to the latter, and agreeing further to pay heavy monthly
contributions towards the expenses of the war. Even Saxony, which had
not been invaded, joined in this agreement.

Towards the end of summer the Archduke twice defeated Jourdan and forced
him to retreat across the Rhine. This rendered Moreau's position in
Bavaria untenable: closely followed by the Austrians, he accomplished
without loss that famous retreat through the Black Forest which is
considered a greater achievement than many victories in the annals of
war. Thus, at the close of the year 1796, all Germany east of the Rhine,
plundered, impoverished and demoralized, was again free from the French.
This defeated Bonaparte's plan, which was to advance from Italy through
the Tyrol, effect a junction with Moreau in Bavaria, and then march upon
Vienna. Nevertheless, he determined to carry out his portion of it,
regardless of the fortunes of the other French armies. On the 2d of
February, 1797, Mantua surrendered; the Archduke Karl, who had been sent
against him, was defeated, and Bonaparte followed with such daring and
vigor that by the middle of April he had reached the little town of
Leoben, in Styria, only a few days' march from Vienna. Although he had
less than 50,000 men, while the Archduke still had about 25,000, and
the Austrians, Styrians and Tyrolese, now thoroughly aroused, demanded
weapons and leaders, Francis II., instead of encouraging their
patriotism and boldly undertaking a movement which might have cut off
Bonaparte, began to negotiate for peace. Of course the conqueror
dictated his own terms: the preliminaries were settled at once, an
armistice followed, and on the 17th of October, 1797, peace was
concluded at Campo Formio.

[Sidenote: 1798. THE CONGRESS OF RASTATT.]

Austria gave Lombardy and Belgium to France, to both of which countries
she had a tolerable claim; but she also gave all the territory west of
the Rhine, which she had no right to do, even under the constitution of
the superannuated "German Empire." On the other hand, Bonaparte gave to
Austria Dalmatia, Istria, and nearly all the territory of the Republic
of Venice, to which he had not the shadow of a right. He had already
conquered and suppressed the Republic of Genoa, so that these two old
and illustrious States vanished from the map of Europe, only two years
after Poland.

Nevertheless, the illusion of a German Empire was kept up, so far as the
form was concerned. A Congress of all the States was called to meet at
Rastatt, in Baden, and confirm the Treaty of Campo Formio. But France
had become arrogant through her astonishing success, and in May, 1798,
her ambassadors suddenly demanded a number of new concessions, including
the annexation of points east of the Rhine, the levelling of the
fortress of Ehrenbreitstein (opposite Coblentz), and the possession of
the islands at the mouth of the river. At this time Bonaparte was
absent, on his expedition to Egypt, and only England, chiefly by means
of her navy, was carrying on the war with France. The new demands made
at the Congress of Rastatt not only prolonged the negotiations, but
provoked throughout Europe the idea of another Coalition against the
French Republic. The year 1798, however, came to an end without any
further action, except such as was secretly plotted at the various

Early in 1799, the SECOND COALITION was formed between England, Russia
(where Paul I. had succeeded Catharine II. in 1796), Austria, Naples and
Turkey: Spain and Prussia refused to join. An Austrian army under the
Archduke defeated Jourdan in March, while another, supported by Naples,
was successful against the French in Italy. Meanwhile, the Congress
continued to sit at Rastatt, in the foolish hope of making peace after
the war had again begun. The approach of the Austrian troops finally
dissolved it; but the two French ambassadors, who left for France on the
evening of April 28th, were waylaid and murdered near the city by some
Austrian hussars. No investigation of this outrage was ever ordered; the
general belief is that the Court of Vienna was responsible for it. The
act was as mad as it was infamous, for it stirred the entire French
people into fury against Germany.

[Sidenote: 1799.]

In the spring of 1799, a Russian army commanded by Suwarrow arrived in
Italy, and in a short time completed the work begun by the Austrians.
The Roman Republic was overthrown and Pope Pius VII. restored: all
Northern Italy, except Genoa, was taken from the French; and then,
finding his movements hampered by the jealousy of the Austrian generals,
Suwarrow crossed the St. Gothard with his army, fighting his way through
the terrific gorges of the Alps. To avoid the French General, Massena,
who had been victorious at Zurich, he was compelled to choose the most
lofty and difficult passes, and his march over them was a marvel of
daring and endurance. This was the end of his campaign, for the Emperor
Paul, suspicious of Austria and becoming more friendly to France, soon
afterwards recalled him and his troops. During the campaign of this
year, the English army under the Duke of York, had miserably failed in
the Netherlands, but the Archduke, although no important battle was
fought, held the French thoroughly in check along the frontier of the

The end of the year, and of the century, brought a great change in the
destinies of France. Bonaparte had returned from Egypt, and on the 9th
of November, by force of arms, he overthrew the Government and
established the Consulate in the place of the Republic, with himself as
First Consul for ten years. Being now practically Dictator, he took
matters into his own hands, and his first measure was to propose peace
to the Coalition, on the basis of the Treaty of Campo Formio. This was
rejected by England and Austria, who stubbornly believed that the
fortune of the war was at last turning to their side. In Prussia,
Frederick William II. had died in November, 1797, and was succeeded by
his son, Frederick William III., who was a man of excellent personal
qualities, but without either energy, ambition or clear intelligence.
Bonaparte's policy was simply to keep Prussia neutral, and he found no
difficulty in maintaining the peace which had been concluded at Basel
nearly five years before. England chiefly took part in the war by means
of her navy, and by contributions of money, so that France, with the
best generals in the world and soldiers flushed with victory, was only
called upon to meet Austria in the field.


At this crisis, the Archduke Karl, Austria's single good general, threw
up his command, on account of the interference of the Court of Vienna
with his plans. His place was filled by the Archduke John, a boy of
nineteen, under whom was an army of 100,000 men, scattered in a long
line from the Alps to Frankfort. Moreau easily broke through this
barrier, overran Baden and Würtemberg, and was only arrested for a short
time by the fortifications of Ulm. While these events were occurring,
another Austrian army under Melas besieged Massena in Genoa. Bonaparte
collected a new force, with such rapidity and secrecy that his plan was
not discovered, made a heroic march over the St. Bernard pass of the
Alps in May, and came down upon Italy like an avalanche. Genoa,
thousands of whose citizens perished with hunger during the siege, had
already surrendered to the Austrians; but, when the latter turned to
repel Bonaparte, they were cut to pieces on the field of Marengo, on the
14th of June, 1800. This magnificent victory gave all Northern Italy, as
far as the river Mincio, into the hands of the French.

Again Bonaparte offered peace to Austria, on the same basis as before.
An armistice was concluded, and Francis II. made signs of accepting the
offer of peace, but only that he might quietly recruit his armies. When,
therefore, the armistice expired, on the 25th of November, Moreau
immediately advanced to attack the new Austrian army of nearly 90,000
men, which occupied a position along the river Inn. On the 3d of
December, the two met at Hohenlinden, and the French, after a bloody
struggle, were completely victorious. There was now, apparently, nothing
to prevent Moreau from marching upon Vienna, and the Archduke Karl, who
had been sent in all haste to take command of the demoralized Austrians,
was compelled to ask for an armistice upon terms very humiliating to the
Hapsburg pride.

[Sidenote: 1801.]

After all its combined haughtiness and incompetency, the Court of Vienna
gratefully accepted such terms as it could get. Francis II. sent one of
his ministers, Cobenzl, who met Joseph Bonaparte at Lunéville (in
Lorraine), and there, on the 9th of February, 1801, peace was concluded.
Its chief provisions were those of the Treaty of Campo Formio: all the
territory west of the Rhine, from Basel to the sea, was given to France,
together with all Northern Italy west of the Adige. The Duke of Modena
received part of Baden, and the Duke of Tuscany Salzburg. Other temporal
princes of Germany, who lost part or the whole of their territory by the
treaty, were compensated by secularizing the dominions of the priestly
rulers, and dividing them among the former. Thus the States governed by
Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots or other clerical dignitaries, nearly one
hundred in number, were abolished at one blow, and what little was left
of the fabric of the old German Empire fell to pieces. The division of
all this territory among the other States gave rise to new difficulties
and disputes, which were not settled for two years longer. The Diet
appointed a special Commission to arrange the matter; but, inasmuch as
Bonaparte, through his Minister Talleyrand, and Alexander I. of Russia
(the Emperor Paul having been murdered in 1801), intrigued in every
possible way to enlarge the smaller German States and prevent the
increase of Austria, the final arrangements were made quite as much by
the two foreign powers as by the Commission of the German Diet.

On the 27th of April, 1803, the decree of partition was issued, suddenly
changing the map of Germany. Only six free cities were left out of
fifty-two,--Frankfort, Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck, Nuremberg and Augsburg:
Prussia received three bishoprics (Hildesheim, Münster and Paderborn),
and a number of abbeys and cities, including Erfurt, amounting to four
times as much as she had lost on the left bank of the Rhine. Baden was
increased to double its former size by the remains of the Palatinate
(including Heidelberg and Mannheim), the city of Constance, and a number
of abbeys and monasteries: a great part of Franconia, with Würzburg and
Bamberg, was added to Bavaria. Würtemberg, Hesse-Darmstadt and Nassau
were much enlarged, and most of the other States received smaller
additions. At the same time the rulers of Baden, Würtemberg,
Hesse-Cassel and Salzburg were dignified by the new title of
"Electors"--when they never would be called upon to elect another German


An impartial study of these events will show that they were caused by
the indifference of Prussia to the general interests of Germany, and the
utter lack of the commonest political wisdom in Francis II. of Austria
and his ministers. The war with France was wantonly undertaken, in the
first place; it was then continued with stupid obstinacy after two
offers of peace. But except the loss of the left bank of the Rhine, with
more than three millions of German inhabitants, Germany, though
humiliated, was not yet seriously damaged. The complete overthrow of
priestly rule, the extinction of a multitude of petty States, and the
abolition of the special privileges of nearly a thousand "Imperial"
noble families, was an immense gain to the whole country. The influence
which Bonaparte exercised in the partition of 1803, though made solely
with a view to the political interests of France, produced some very
beneficial changes in Germany. In regard to religion, the Chief Electors
were now equally divided, five being Catholic and five Protestant; while
the Diet of Princes, instead of having a Catholic majority of twelve, as
heretofore, acquired a Protestant majority of twenty-two.

France was now the ruling power on the Continent of Europe. Prussia
preserved a timid neutrality, Austria was powerless, the new Republics
in Holland, Switzerland and Italy were wholly subjected to French
influence, Spain, Denmark and Russia were friendly, and even England,
after the overthrow of Pitt's ministry, was persuaded to make peace with
Bonaparte in 1802. The same year, the latter had himself declared First
Consul for life, and became absolute master of the destinies of France.
A new quarrel with England soon broke out, and this gave him a pretext
for invading Hannover. In May, 1803, General Mortier marched from
Holland with only 12,000 men, while Hannover, alone, had an excellent
army of 15,000. But the Council of Nobles, who governed in the name of
George III. of England, gave orders that "the troops should not be
allowed to fire, and might only use the bayonet _moderately_, in extreme
necessity!" Of course no battle was fought; the country was overrun by
the French in a few days, and plundered to the amount of 26,000,000
thalers. Prussia and the other German States quietly looked on, and--did

[Sidenote: 1804.]

In March, 1804, the First Consul sent a force across the Rhine into
Baden, seized the Duke d'Enghien, a fugitive Bourbon Prince, carried him
into France and there had him shot. This outrage provoked a general cry
of indignation throughout Europe. Two months afterwards, on the 18th of
May, Bonaparte assumed the title of Napoleon, Emperor of the French: the
Italian Republics were changed into a Kingdom of Italy, and that period
of arrogant and selfish personal government commenced which brought
monarchs and nations to his feet, and finally made him a fugitive and a
prisoner. On the 11th of August, 1804, Francis II. imitated him, by
taking the title of "Emperor of Austria," in order to preserve his
existing rank, whatever changes might afterwards come.

England, Austria and Russia were now more than ever determined to
cripple the increasing power of Napoleon. Much time was spent in
endeavoring to persuade Prussia to join the movement, but Frederick
William III. not only refused, but sent an army to prevent the Russian
troops from crossing Prussian territory, on their way to join the
Austrians. By the summer of 1805, the THIRD COALITION, composed of the
three powers already named and Sweden, was formed, and a plan adopted
for bringing nearly 400,000 soldiers into the field against France.
Although the secret had been well kept, it was revealed before the
Coalition was quite prepared; and Napoleon was ready for the emergency.
He had collected an army of 200,000 men at Boulogne for the invasion of
England: giving up the latter design, he marched rapidly into Southern
Germany, procured the alliance of Baden, Würtemberg and Bavaria, with
40,000 more troops, and thus gained the first advantage before the
Russian and Austrian armies had united.

The fortress of Ulm, held by the Austrian General Mack, with 25,000 men,
surrendered on the 17th of October. The French pressed forwards,
overcame the opposition of a portion of the allied armies along the
Danube, and on the 13th of November entered Vienna. Francis II. and his
family had fled to Presburg: the Archduke Karl, hastening from Italy,
was in Styria with a small force, and a combined Russian and Austrian
army of nearly 100,000 men was in Moravia. Prussia threatened to join
the Coalition, because the neutrality of her territory had been violated
by Bernadotte in marching from Hannover to join Napoleon: the allies,
although surprised and disgracefully defeated, were far from
appreciating the courage and skill of their enemy, and still believed
they could overcome him. Napoleon pretended to avoid a battle and
thereby drew them on to meet him in the field: on the 2d of December at
Austerlitz, the "Battle of the Three Emperors" (as the Germans call it)
occurred, and by the close of that day the allies had lost 15,000 killed
and wounded, 20,000 prisoners and 200 cannon.

[Sidenote: 1806. END OF THE GERMAN EMPIRE.]

Two days after the battle Francis II. came personally to Napoleon and
begged for an armistice, which was granted. The latter took up his
quarters in the Palace of the Hapsburgs, at Schönbrunn, as a conqueror,
and waited for the conclusion of a treaty of peace, which was signed at
Presburg on the 26th of December. Austria was forced to give up Venice
to France, Tyrol to Bavaria, and some smaller territory to Baden and
Würtemberg; to accept the policy of France in Italy, Holland and
Switzerland, and to recognize Bavaria and Würtemberg as independent
kingdoms of Napoleon's creation. All that she received in return was the
archbishopric of Salzburg. She also agreed to pay one hundred millions
of francs to France, and to permit the formation of a new Confederation
of the smaller German States, which should be placed under the
protectorship of Napoleon. The latter lost no time in carrying out his
plan: by July, 1806, the _Rheinbund_ (Confederation of the Rhine) was
entered into by seventeen States, which formed, in combination, a third
power, independent of either Austria or Prussia.

Immediately afterwards, on the 6th of August, 1806, Francis II. laid
down his title of "Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German
Nation," and the political corpse, long since dead, was finally buried.
Just a thousand years had elapsed since the time of Charlemagne: the
power and influence of the Empire had reached their culmination under
the Hohenstaufens, but even then the smaller rulers were undermining its
foundations. It existed for a few centuries longer as a system which was
one-fourth fact and three-fourths tradition: during the Thirty Years'
War it perished, and the Hapsburgs, after that, only wore the ornaments
and trappings it left behind. The German people were never further from
being a nation than at the commencement of this century; but the most of
them still clung to the superstition of an Empire, until the compulsory
act of Francis II. showed them, at last, that there was none.




Napoleon's personal Policy. --The "Rhine-Bund." --French Tyranny.
    --Prussia declares War. --Battles of Jena and Auerstädt. --Napoleon
    in Berlin. --Prussia and Russia allied. --Battle of Friedland.
    --Interviews of the Sovereigns. --Losses of Prussia. --Kingdom of
    Westphalia. --Frederick William III.'s Weakness. --Congress at
    Erfurt. --Patriotic Movements. --Revolt of the Tyrolese. --Napoleon
    marches on Vienna. --Schill's Movement in Prussia. --Battles of
    Aspera and Wagram. --The Peace of Vienna. --Fate of Andreas Hofer.
    --The Duke of Brunswick's Attempt. --Napoleon's Rule in Germany.
    --Secret Resistance in Prussia. --War with Russia. --The March to
    Moscow. --The Retreat. --York's Measures. --Rising of Prussia.
    --Division of Germany. --Battle of Lützen. --Napoleon in Dresden.
    --The Armistice. --Austria joins the Allies. --Victories of Blücher
    and Bülow. --Napoleon's Hesitation. --The Battle of Leipzig.
    --Napoleon's Retreat from Germany. --Cowardice of the allied
    Monarchs. --Blücher crosses the Rhine.

[Sidenote: 1806.]

After the peace of Presburg there was nothing to prevent Napoleon from
carrying out his plan of dividing the greater part of Europe among the
members of his own family, and the Marshals of his armies. He gave the
kingdom of Naples to his brother Joseph; appointed his step-son Eugene
Beauharnais Viceroy of Italy, and married him to the daughter of
Maximilian I. (formerly Elector, now King) of Bavaria; made a Kingdom of
Holland, and gave it to his brother Louis; gave the Duchy of Jülich,
Cleves and Berg to Murat, and married Stephanie Beauharnais, the niece
of the Empress Josephine, to the son of the Grand-Duke of Baden. There
was no longer any thought of disputing his will in any of the smaller
German States: the princes were as submissive as he could have desired,
and the people had been too long powerless to dream of resistance.

[Sidenote: 1806. THE "RHINE-BUND."]

The "Rhine-Bund," therefore, was constructed just as France desired.
Bavaria, Würtemberg, Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt and Nassau united with
twelve small principalities--the whole embracing a population of
thirteen millions--in a Confederation, which accepted Napoleon as
Protector, and agreed to maintain an army of 63,000 men, at the disposal
of France. This arrangement divided the German Empire into three parts,
one of which (Austria) had just been conquered, while another (Prussia)
had lost all its former prestige by its weak and cowardly policy.
Napoleon was now the recognized master of the third portion, the action
of which was regulated by a Diet held at Frankfort. In order to make the
Union simpler and more manageable, all the independent countships and
baronies within its limits were abolished, and the seventeen States were
thus increased by an aggregate territory of about 12,000 square miles.
Bavaria took possession, without more ado, of the free cities of
Nuremberg and Augsburg.

Prussia, by this time, had agreed with Napoleon to give up Anspach and
Bayreuth to Bavaria, and receive Hannover instead. This provoked the
enmity of England, the only remaining nation which was friendly to
Prussia. The French armies were still quartered in Southern Germany,
violating at will not only the laws of the land, but the laws of
nations. A bookseller named Palm, in Nuremberg, who had in his
possession some pamphlets opposing Napoleon's schemes, was seized by
order of the latter, tried by court-martial and shot. This brutal and
despotic act was not resented by the German princes, but it aroused the
slumbering spirit of the people. The Prussians, especially, began to
grow very impatient of their pusillanimous government; but Frederick
William III. did nothing, until in August, 1806, he discovered that
Napoleon was trying to purchase peace with England and Russia by
offering Hannover to the former and Prussian Poland to the latter. Then
he decided for war, at the very time when he was compelled to meet the
victorious power of France alone!

Napoleon, as usual, was on the march before his enemy was even properly
organized. He was already in Franconia, and in a few days stood at the
head of an army of 200,000 men, part of whom were furnished by the
Rhine-Bund. Prussia, assisted only by Saxony and Weimar, had 150,000,
commanded by Prince Hohenlohe and the Duke of Brunswick, who hardly
reached the bases of the Thuringian Mountains when they were met by the
French and hurled back. On the table-land near Jena and Auerstädt a
double battle was fought on the 14th of October, 1806. In the first
(Jena) Napoleon simply crushed and scattered to the winds the army of
Prince Hohenlohe; in the second (Auerstädt) Marshal Davoust, after some
heavy fighting, defeated the Duke of Brunswick, who was mortally
wounded. Then followed a season of panic and cowardice which now seems
incredible: the French overwhelmed Prussia, and almost every defence
fell without resistance as they approached. The strong fortress of
Erfurt, with 10,000 men, surrendered the day after the battle of Jena;
the still stronger fortress-city of Magdeburg, with 24,000 men, opened
its gates before a gun was fired! Spandau capitulated as soon as asked,
on the 24th of October, and Davoust entered Berlin the same day. Only
General Blücher, more than sixty years old, cut his way through the
French with 10,000 men, and for a time gallantly held them at bay in
Lübeck; and the young officers, Gneisenau and Schill, kept the fortress
of Colberg, on the Baltic, where they were steadily besieged until the
war was over.

[Sidenote: 1806.]

When Napoleon entered Berlin in triumph, on the 27th of November, he
found nearly the whole population completely cowed, and ready to
acknowledge his authority; seven Ministers of the Prussian Government
took the oath of allegiance to him, and agreed, at once, to give up all
of the kingdom west of the Elbe for the sake of peace! Frederick William
III., who had fled to Königsberg, refused to confirm their action, and
entered into an alliance with Alexander I. of Russia, to continue the
war. Napoleon, meanwhile, had made peace with Saxony, which, after
paying heavy contributions and joining the Rhine-Bund, was raised by him
to the rank of a kingdom. At the same time he encouraged a revolt in
Prussian Poland, got possession of Silesia, and kept Austria neutral by
skilful diplomacy. England had the power, by prompt and energetic
action, of changing the face of affairs, but her government did nothing.

Pressing eastward during the winter, the French army, 140,000 strong,
met the Russians and Prussians on the 8th of February, 1807, in the
murderous battle of Eylau, after which, because its result was
undecided, Napoleon concluded a truce of several months. Frederick
William appointed a new Ministry, with the fearless and patriotic
statesmen, Hardenberg and Stein, who formed a fresh alliance with
Russia, which was soon joined by England and Sweden. Nevertheless, it
was almost impossible to reinforce the Prussian army, and Alexander I.
made no great exertions to increase the Russian, while Napoleon, with
all Prussia in his rear, was constantly receiving fresh troops. Early in
June he resumed hostilities, and on the 14th, with a much superior
force, so completely defeated the Allies in the battle of Friedland,
that they were driven over the river Memel into Russian territory.

[Sidenote: 1807. THE PEACE OF TILSIT.]

The Russians immediately concluded an armistice: Napoleon had an
interview with Alexander I. on a raft in the river Memel, and acquired
such an immediate influence over the enthusiastic, fantastic nature of
the latter, that he became a friend and practically an ally. The next
day, there was another interview, at which Frederick William III. was
also present: the Queen, Louise of Mecklenburg, a woman of noble and
heroic character, whom Napoleon had vilely slandered, was persuaded to
accompany him, but only subjected herself to new humiliation. (She died
in 1810, during Germany's deepest degradation, but her son, William I.,
became German Emperor in 1871.) The Peace of Tilsit was declared on the
9th of July, 1807, according to Napoleon's single will. Hardenberg had
been dismissed from the Prussian Ministry, and Talleyrand gave his
successor a completed document, to be signed without discussion.

Prussia lost very nearly the half of her territory: her population was
diminished from 9,743,000 to 4,938,000. A new "Grand-Duchy of Warsaw"
was formed by Napoleon out of her Polish acquisitions. The contributions
which had been levied and which Prussia was still forced to pay amounted
to a total sum of three hundred million thalers, and she was obliged to
maintain a French army in her diminished territory until the last
farthing should be paid over. Russia, on the other hand, lost nothing,
but received a part of Polish Prussia. A new Kingdom of Westphalia was
formed out of Brunswick, and parts of Prussia and Hannover, and
Napoleon's brother, Jerome, was made king. The latter, whose wife was an
American lady, Miss Patterson of Baltimore, was compelled to renounce
her, and marry the daughter of the new king of Würtemberg, although, as
a Catholic, he could not do this without a special dispensation from the
Pope, and Pius VII. refused to give one. Thus he became a bigamist,
according to the laws of the Roman Church. Jerome was a weak and
licentious individual, and made himself heartily hated by his two
millions of German subjects during his six years' rule in Cassel.

[Sidenote: 1808.]

Frederick William III. was at last stung by his misfortunes into the
adoption of another and manlier policy. He called Stein to the head of
his Ministry, and allowed the latter to introduce reforms for the
purpose of assisting, strengthening and developing the character of the
people. But 150,000 French troops still fed like locusts upon the
substance of Prussia, and there was an immense amount of poverty and
suffering. The French commanders plundered so outrageously and acted
with such shameless brutality, that even the slow German nature became
heated with a hate so intense that it is not yet wholly extinguished.
But this was not the end of the degradation. Napoleon, at the climax of
his power, having (without exaggeration) the whole Continent of Europe
under his feet, demanded that Prussia should join the Rhine-Bund, reduce
her standing army to 42,000 men, and, in case of necessity, furnish
France with troops against Austria. The temporary courage of the king
dissolved: he signed a treaty on the 8th of September, 1808, without the
knowledge of Stein, granting nearly everything Napoleon claimed,--thus
compelling the patriotic statesman to resign, and making what was left
of Prussia tributary to the designs of France.

At the same time Napoleon held a so-called Congress at Erfurt, at which
all the German rulers (except Austria) were present, but the decisions
were made by himself, with the connivance of Alexander I. of Russia. The
latter received Finland and the Danubian Principalities. Napoleon simply
carried out his own personal policy. He made his brother Joseph king of
Spain, gave Naples to his brother-in-law, Murat, and soon afterwards
annexed the States of the Church, in Italy, to France, abolishing the
temporal sovereignty of the Pope. Every one of the smaller German States
had already joined the Rhine-Bund, and the Diet by which they were
governed abjectly obeyed his will. Princes, nobles, officials, and
authors vied with each other in doing homage to him. Even the battles of
Jena and Friedland were celebrated by popular festivals in the capitals
of the other States: the people of Southern Germany, especially,
rejoiced over the shame and suffering of their brethren in the North.
Ninety German authors dedicated books to Napoleon, and the newspapers
became contemptible in their servile praises of his rule.

[Sidenote: 1809. REVOLT OF THE TYROLESE.]

Austria, always energetic at the wrong time and weak when energy was
necessary, prepared for war, relying on the help of Prussia and possibly
of Russia. Napoleon had been called to Spain, where a part of the
people, supported by Wellington, with an English force, in Portugal, was
making a gallant resistance to the French rule. A few patriotic and
courageous men, all over Germany, began to consult together concerning
the best means for the liberation of the country. The Prussian
Ex-minister, Baron Stein, the philosopher Fichte, the statesman and poet
Arndt, the Generals Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, the historian Niebuhr,
and also the Austrian minister, Count Stadion, used every effort to
increase and extend this movement; but there was no German prince,
except the young Duke of Brunswick, ready or willing to act.

The Tyrolese, who are still the most Austrian of Austrians, and the most
Catholic of Catholics, organized a revolt against the French-Bavarian
rule, early in 1809. This was the first purely popular movement in
Germany, which had occurred since the revolt of the Austrian peasants
against Ferdinand II. nearly two hundred years before. The Tyrolese
leaders were Andreas Hofer, a hunter named Speckbacher and a monk named
Haspinger; their troops were peasants and mountaineers. The plot was so
well organized that the Alps were speedily cleared of the enemy, and on
the 13th of April, Hofer captured Innsbruck, which he held for Austria.
When the French and Bavarian troops entered the mountain-passes, they
were picked off by skilful riflemen or crushed by rocks and trees rolled
down upon them. The daring of the Tyrolese produced a stirring effect
throughout Austria; for the first time, the people came forward as
volunteers, to be enrolled in the army, and the Archduke Karl, in a
short time, had a force of 300,000 men at his disposal.

Napoleon returned from Spain at the first news of the impending war. As
the Rhine-Bund did not dream of disobedience, as Prussia was crippled,
and the sentimental friendship of Alexander I. had not yet grown cold,
he raised an army of 180,000 men and entered Bavaria by the 9th of
April. The Archduke was not prepared: his large force had been divided
and stationed according to a plan which might have been very successful,
if Napoleon had been willing to respect it. He lost three battles in
succession, the last, at Eckmühl on the 22d of April, obliging him to
give up Ratisbon, and retreat into Bohemia. The second Austrian army,
which had been victorious over the Viceroy Eugene, in Italy, was
instantly recalled, but it was too late: there were only 30,000 men on
the southern bank of the Danube, between the French and Vienna.

[Sidenote: 1809.]

The movement in Tyrol was imitated in Prussia by Major Schill, one of
the defenders of Colberg in 1807. His heroism had given him great
popularity, and he was untiring in his efforts to incite the people to
revolt. The secret association of patriotic men, already referred to,
which was called the _Tugendbund_, or "League of Virtue," encouraged him
so far as it was able; and when he entered Berlin at the head of four
squadrons of hussars, immediately after the news of Hofer's success, he
was received with such enthusiasm that he imagined the moment had come
for arousing Prussia. Marching out of the city, as if for the usual
cavalry exercise, he addressed his troops in a fiery speech, revealed to
them his plans and inspired them with equal confidence. With his little
band he took Halle, besieged Bernburg, was victorious in a number of
small battles against the increasing forces of the French, but at the
end of a month was compelled to retreat to Stralsund. The city was
stormed, and he fell in resisting the assault; the French captured and
shot twelve of his officers. The fame of his exploits helped to fire the
German heart; the courage of the people returned, and they began to grow
restless and indignant under their shame.

By the 13th of May, Napoleon had entered Vienna and taken up his
quarters in the palace of Schönbrunn. The Archduke Karl was at the same
time rapidly approaching with an army of 75,000 men, and Napoleon, who
had 90,000, hastened to throw a bridge across the Danube, below the
city, in order to meet him before he could be reinforced. On the 21st,
however, the Archduke began the attack before the whole French army had
crossed, and the desperate battle of Aspern followed. After two days of
bloody fighting, the French fell back upon the island of Lobau, and
their bridge was destroyed. This was Napoleon's first defeat in Germany,
but it was dearly purchased: the loss on each side was about 24,000.
Napoleon issued flaming bulletins of victory which deceived the German
people for a time, meanwhile ordering new troops to be forwarded with
all possible haste. He deceived the Archduke by a heavy cannonade,
rapidly constructed six bridges further down the river, crossed with his
whole army, and on the 6th of July fought the battle of Wagram, which
ended with the defeat and retreat of the Austrians.


An armistice followed, and the war was concluded on the 14th of October
by the Peace of Vienna. Francis II. was compelled to give up Salzburg
and some adjoining territory to Bavaria; Galicia to Russia and the
Grand-Duchy of Warsaw; and Carniola, Croatia and Dalmatia with Trieste
to the kingdom of Italy,--a total loss of 3,500,000 of population. He
further agreed to pay a contribution of eighty-five millions of francs
to France, and was persuaded, shortly afterwards, to give the hand of
his daughter, Maria Louisa, to Napoleon, who had meanwhile divorced
himself from the Empress Josephine. The Tyrolese, who had been
encouraged by promises of help from Vienna, refused to believe that they
were betrayed and given up. Hofer continued his struggle with success
after the conclusion of peace, until near the close of the year, when
the French and Bavarians returned in force, and the movement was
crushed. He hid for two months among the mountains, then was betrayed by
a monk, captured, and carried in chains to Mantua. Here he was tried by
a French court-martial and shot on the 20th of February, 1810. Francis
II. might have saved his life, but he made no attempt to do it. Thus, in
North and South, Schill and Hofer perished, unsustained by their kings;
yet their deeds remained, as an inspiration to the whole German people.

During the summer of 1809, the Duke of Brunswick, whose land Napoleon
had added to Jerome's kingdom of Westphalia, made a daring attempt to
drive the French from Northern Germany. He had joined a small Austrian
army, sent to operate in Saxony, and when it was recalled after the
battle of Eckmühl, he made a desperate effort to reconquer Brunswick
with a force of only 2,000 volunteers. The latter dressed in black, and
wore a skull and cross-bones on their caps. The Duke took Halberstadt,
reached Brunswick, then cut his way through the German-French forces
closing in upon him, and came to the shore of the North Sea, where, it
was expected, an English army would land. He and his troops escaped in
small vessels: the English, 40,000 strong, landed on the island of
Walcheren (on the coast of Belgium), where they lay idle until driven
home by sickness.

[Sidenote: 1810.]

For three years after the peace of Vienna, Napoleon was all-powerful in
Germany. He was married to Maria Louisa on the 2d of April, 1810; his
son, the King of Rome, was born the following March, and Austria, where
Metternich was now Minister instead of Count Stadion, followed the
policy of France. All Germany accepted the "Continental Blockade," which
cut off its commerce with England: the standing armies of Austria and
Prussia were reduced to one-fourth of their ordinary strength; the king
of Prussia, who had lived for two years in Königsberg, was ordered to
return to Berlin, and the French ministers at all the smaller Courts
became the practical rulers of the States. In 1810, the kingdom of
Holland was taken from Louis Bonaparte and annexed to the French Empire;
then Northern Germany, with Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck, was annexed in
like manner, and the same fate was evidently intended for the States of
the Rhine-Bund, if the despotic selfishness of Napoleon had not put an
end to his marvellous success. The king of Prussia was next compelled to
suppress the "League of Virtue": Germany was filled with French spies
(many of them native Germans), and every expression of patriotic
sentiment was reported as treason to France.

In the territory of the Rhine-Bund, there was, however, very little real
patriotism among the people: in Austria the latter were still kept down
by the Jesuitic rule of the Hapsburgs: only in the smaller Saxon
Duchies, and in Prussia, the idea of resistance was fostered, though in
spite of Frederick William III. Indeed, the temporary removal of the
king was for awhile secretly advocated. Hardenberg and Scharnhorst did
their utmost to prepare the people for the struggle which they knew
would come: the former introduced new laws, based on the principle of
the equality of all citizens before the law, their equal right to
development, protection and official service. Scharnhorst, the son of a
peasant, trained the people for military duty, in defiance of France: he
kept the number of soldiers at 42,000, in accordance with the treaty,
but as fast as they were well-drilled, he sent them home and put fresh
recruits in their place. In this manner he gradually prepared 150,000
men for the army.

[Illustration: GERMANY under NAPOLEON, 1812.]

[Sidenote: 1811.]

Alexander I. of Russia had by this time lost his sentimental friendship
for Napoleon. The seizure by the latter of the territory of the Duke of
Oldenburg, who was his near relation, greatly offended him: he grew
tired of submitting to the Continental Blockade, and in 1811 adopted
commercial laws which amounted to its abandonment. Then Napoleon showed
his own overwhelming arrogance; and his course once more illustrated the
abject condition of Germany. Every ruler saw that a great war was
coming, and had nearly a year's time for decision; but all submitted!
Early in 1812 the colossal plan was put into action: Prussia agreed to
furnish 20,000 soldiers, Austria 30,000, and the Rhine-Bund, which
comprised the rest of Germany, was called upon for 150,000. France
furnished more than 300,000, and this enormous military force was set in
motion against Russia, which was at the time unable to raise half that
number of troops. In May Napoleon and Maria Louisa held a grand Court in
Dresden, which a crowd of reigning princes attended, and where even
Francis I. and Frederick William III. were treated rather as vassals
than as equals. This was the climax of Napoleon's success. Regardless of
distance, climate, lack of supplies and all the other impediments to his
will, he pushed forward with an army greater than Europe had seen since
the days of Attila, but from which only one man, horse and cannon out of
every ten returned.

After holding a grand review on the battle-field of Friedland, he
crossed the Niemen and entered Russia on the 24th of June, met the
Russians in battle at Smolensk on the 16th and 17th of August, and after
great losses continued his march towards Moscow through a country which
had been purposely laid waste, and where great numbers of his soldiers
perished from hunger and fatigue. On the 7th of September, the Russian
army of 120,000 men met him on the field of Borodino, where occurred the
most desperate battle of all his wars. At the close of the fight 80,000
dead and wounded (about an equal number on each side) lay upon the
plain. The Russians retreated, repulsed but not conquered, and on the
14th of September Napoleon entered Moscow. The city was deserted by its
inhabitants: all goods and treasures which could be speedily removed
had been taken away, and the next evening flames broke out in a number
of places. The conflagration spread so that within a week four-fifths of
the city were destroyed: Napoleon was forced to leave the Kremlin and
escape through burning streets; and thus the French army was left
without winter-quarters and provisions.

[Sidenote: 1812. THE RETREAT FROM RUSSIA.]

After offering terms of peace in vain, and losing a month of precious
time in waiting, nothing was left for Napoleon but to commence his
disastrous retreat. Cut off from the warmer southern route by the
Russians on the 24th of October, his army, diminishing day by day,
endured all the horrors of the Northern winter, and lost so many in the
fearful passage of the Beresina and from the constant attacks of the
Cossacks, that not more than 30,000 men, famished, frozen and mostly
without arms, crossed the Prussian frontier about the middle of
December. After reaching Wilna, Napoleon had hurried on alone, in
advance: his passage through Germany was like a flight, and he was safe
in Paris before the terrible failure of his campaign was generally known
throughout Europe.

When Frederick William III. agreed to furnish 20,000 troops to France,
his best generals--Blücher, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau--and three hundred
officers resigned. The command of the Prussian contingent was given to
General York, who was sent to Riga during the march to Moscow, and
escaped the horrors of the retreat. When the fate of the campaign was
decided, he left the French with his remaining 17,000 Prussian soldiers,
concluded a treaty of neutrality with the Russian general Diebitsch,
called an assembly of the people together in Königsberg, and boldly
ordered that all men capable of bearing arms should be mustered into the
army. Frederick William, in Berlin, disavowed this act, but the Prussian
people were ready for it. The excitement became so great, that the men
who had influence with the king succeeded in having his Court removed to
Breslau, where an alliance was entered into with Alexander I., and on
the 17th of March, 1813, an address was issued in the king's name,
calling upon the people to choose between victory and ruin. The measures
which York had adopted were proclaimed for all Prussia, and the
patriotic schemes of Stein and Hardenberg, so long thwarted by the
king's weakness, were thus suddenly carried into action.

[Sidenote: 1813.]

The effect was astonishing, when we consider how little real liberty
the people had enjoyed. But they had been educated in patriotic
sentiments by another power than the Government. For years, the works of
the great German authors had become familiar to them: Klopstock taught
them to be proud of their race and name; Schiller taught them resistance
to oppression; Arndt and Körner gave them songs which stirred them more
than the sound of drum and trumpet, and thousands of high-hearted young
men mingled with them and inspired them with new courage and new hopes.
Within five months Prussia had 270,000 soldiers under arms, part of whom
were organized to repel the coming armies of Napoleon, while the
remainder undertook the siege of the many Prussian fortresses which were
still garrisoned by the French. All classes of the people took part in
this uprising: the professors followed the students, the educated men
stood side by side with the peasants, mothers gave their only sons, and
the women sent all their gold and jewels to the treasury and wore
ornaments of iron. The young poet, Theodor Körner, not only aroused the
people with his fiery songs, but fought in the "free corps" of Lützow,
and finally gave his life for his country: the _Turner_, or gymnasts,
inspired by their teacher Jahn, went as a body into the ranks, and even
many women disguised themselves and enlisted as soldiers.

With the exception of Mecklenburg and Dessau, the States of the
Rhine-Bund still held to France: Saxony and Bavaria especially
distinguished themselves by their abject fidelity to Napoleon. Austria
remained neutral, and whatever influence she exercised was against
Prussia. But Sweden, under the Crown Prince Bernadotte (Napoleon's
former Marshal) joined the movement, with the condition of obtaining
Norway in case of success. The operations were delayed by the slowness
of the Russians, and the disagreement, or perhaps jealousy, of the
various generals; and Napoleon made good use of the time to prepare
himself for the coming struggle. Although France was already exhausted,
he enforced a merciless conscription, taking young boys and old men,
until, with the German soldiers still at his disposal, he had a force of
nearly 500,000 men.

The campaign opened well for Prussia. Hamburg and Lübeck were delivered
from the French, and on the 5th of April the Viceroy Eugene was defeated
at Möckern (near Leipzig) with heavy losses. The first great battle was
fought at Lützen, on the 2d of May, on the same field where Gustavus
Adolphus fell in 1632. The Russians and Prussians, with 95,000 men, held
Napoleon, with 120,000, at bay for a whole day, and then fell back in
good order, after a defeat which encouraged instead of dispiriting the
people. The greatest loss was the death of Scharnhorst. Shortly
afterwards Napoleon occupied Dresden, and it became evident that Saxony
would be the principal theatre of war. A second battle of two days took
place on the 20th and 21st of May, in which, although the French
outnumbered the Germans and Russians two to one, they barely achieved a
victory. The courage and patriotism of the people were now beginning to
tell, especially as Napoleon's troops were mostly young, physically
weak, and inexperienced. In order to give them rest he offered an
armistice on the 4th of June, an act which he afterwards declared to
have been the greatest mistake of his life. It was prolonged until the
10th of August, and gave the Germans time both to rest and recruit, and
to strengthen themselves by an alliance with Austria.

[Sidenote: 1813. ALLIANCE OF AUSTRIA.]

Francis II. judged that the time had come to recover what he had lost,
especially as England formally joined Prussia and Russia on the 14th of
June. A fortnight afterwards an agreement was entered into between the
two latter powers and Austria, that peace should be offered to Napoleon
provided he would give up Northern Germany, the Dalmatian provinces and
the Grand-Duchy of Warsaw. He rejected the offer, and so insulted
Metternich during an interview in Dresden, that the latter became his
bitter enemy thenceforth. The end of all the negotiations was that
Austria declared war on the 12th of August, and both sides prepared at
once for a final and desperate struggle. The Allies now had 800,000 men,
divided into three armies, one under Schwarzenberg confronting the
French centre in Saxony, one under Blücher in Silesia, and a third in
the North under Bernadotte. The last of these generals seemed reluctant
to act against his former leader, and his participation was of little
real service. Napoleon had 550,000 men, less scattered than the Germans,
and all under the government of his single will. He was still,
therefore, a formidable foe.

[Sidenote: 1813.]

Just sixteen days after the armistice came to an end, the old Blücher
won a victory as splendid as many of Napoleon's. He met Marshal
Macdonald on the banks of a stream called the Katzbach, in Silesia, and
defeated him with the loss of 12,000 killed and wounded, 18,000
prisoners and 103 cannon. From the circumstance of his having cried out
to his men: "Forwards! forwards!" in the crisis of the battle, Blücher
was thenceforth called "Marshal Forwards" by the soldiers. Five days
before this the Prussian general Bülow was victorious over Oudinot at
Grossbeeren, within ten miles of Berlin; and four days afterwards the
French general Vandamme, with 40,000 men, was cut to pieces by the
Austrians and Prussians, at Kulm on the southern frontier of Saxony.
Thus, within a month, Napoleon lost one-fourth of his whole force, while
the fresh hope and enthusiasm of the German people immediately supplied
the losses on their side. It is true that Schwarzenberg had been
severely repulsed in an attack on Dresden, on the 27th of August, but
this had been so speedily followed by Vandamme's defeat, that it
produced no discouragement.

The month of September opened with another Prussian victory. On the 6th,
Bülow defeated Ney at Dennewitz, taking 15,000 prisoners and 80 cannon.
This change of fortune seems to have bewildered Napoleon: instead of his
former promptness and rapidity, he spent a month in Dresden, alternately
trying to entice Blücher or Schwarzenberg to give battle. The latter
two, meanwhile, were gradually drawing nearer to each other and to
Bernadotte, and their final junction was effected without any serious
movement to prevent it on Napoleon's part. Blücher's passage of the Elbe
on the 3d of October compelled him to leave Dresden with his army and
take up a new position in Leipzig, where he arrived on the 13th. The
Allies instantly closed in upon him: there was a fierce but indecisive
cavalry fight on the 14th, the 15th was spent in preparations on both
sides, and on the 16th the great battle began.

Napoleon had about 190,000 men, the Allies 300,000: both were posted
along lines many miles in extent, stretching over the open plain, from
the north and east around to the south of Leipzig. The first day's fight
really comprised three distinct battles, two of which were won by the
French and one by Blücher. During the afternoon a terrific charge of
cavalry under Murat broke the centre of the Allies, and Frederick
William and Alexander I. narrowly escaped capture: Schwarzenberg, at the
head of a body of Cossacks and Austrian hussars, repulsed the charge,
and night came without any positive result. Napoleon sent offers of
peace, but they were not answered, and the Allies thereby gained a day
for reinforcements. On the morning of the 18th the battle was resumed:
all day long the earth trembled under the discharge of more than a
thousand cannon, the flames of nine or ten burning villages heated the
air, and from dawn until sunset the immense hosts carried on a number of
separate and desperate battles at different points along the line.
Napoleon had his station on a mound near a windmill: his centre held its
position, in spite of terrible losses, but both his wings were driven
back. Bernadotte did not appear on the field until four in the
afternoon, but about 4,000 Saxons and other Germans went over from the
French to the Allies during the day, and the demoralizing effect of this
desertion probably influenced Napoleon quite as much as his material
losses. He gave orders for an instant retreat, which was commenced on
the night of the 18th. His army was reduced to 100,000 men: the Allies
had lost, in killed and wounded, about 50,000.

[Sidenote: 1813. THE BATTLE OF LEIPZIG.]

All Germany was electrified by this victory; from the Baltic to the
Alps, the land rang with rejoicings. The people considered, and justly
so, that they had won this great battle: the reigning princes, as later
events proved, held a different opinion. But, from that day to this, it
is called in Germany "the Battle of the Peoples": it was as crushing a
blow for France as Jena had been to Prussia or Austerlitz to Austria. On
the morning of the 19th of October the Allies began a storm upon
Leipzig, which was still held by Marshal Macdonald and Prince
Poniatowsky to cover Napoleon's retreat. By noon the city was entered at
several gates; the French, in their haste, blew up the bridge over the
Elster river before a great part of their own troops had crossed, and
Poniatowsky, with hundreds of others, was drowned in attempting to
escape. Among the prisoners was the king of Saxony, who had stood by
Napoleon until the last moment. In the afternoon Alexander I. and
Frederick William entered Leipzig, and were received as deliverers by
the people.

The two monarchs, nevertheless, owed their success entirely to the
devotion of the German people, and not at all to their own energy and
military talent. In spite of the great forces still at their disposal,
they interfered with the plans of Blücher and other generals who
insisted on a rapid and vigorous pursuit, and were at any time ready to
accept peace on terms which would have ruined Germany, if Napoleon had
not been insane enough to reject them. The latter continued his march
towards France, by way of Naumburg, Erfurt and Fulda, losing thousands
by desertion and disease, but without any serious interference until he
reached Hanau, near Frankfort. At almost the last moment (October 14),
Maximilian I. of Bavaria had deserted France and joined the Allies: one
of his generals, Wrede, with about 55,000 Bavarians and Austrians,
marched northward, and at Hanau intercepted the French. Napoleon, not
caring to engage in a battle, contented himself with cutting his way
through Wrede's army, on the 25th of October. He crossed the Rhine and
reached France with less than 70,000 men, without encountering further

[Sidenote: 1814.]

Jerome Bonaparte fled from his kingdom of Westphalia immediately after
the battle of Leipzig: Würtemberg joined the Allies, the Rhine-Bund
dissolved, and the artificial structure which Napoleon had created fell
to pieces. Even then, Prussia, Russia and Austria wished to discontinue
the war: the popular enthusiasm in Germany was taking a _national_
character, the people were beginning to feel their own power, and this
was very disagreeable to Alexander I. and Metternich. The Rhine was
offered as a boundary to Napoleon: yet, although Wellington was by this
time victorious in Spain and was about to cross the Pyrenees, the French
Emperor refused and the Allies were reluctantly obliged to resume
hostilities. They had already wasted much valuable time: they now
adopted a plan which was sure to fail, if the energies of France had not
been so utterly exhausted.

Three armies were formed: one, under Bülow, was sent into Holland to
overthrow the French rule there; another, under Schwarzenberg, marched
through Switzerland into Burgundy, about the end of December, hoping to
meet with Wellington somewhere in Central France; and the third under
Blücher, which had been delayed longest by the doubt and hesitation of
the sovereigns, crossed the Rhine at three points, from Coblentz to
Mannheim, on the night of New-Year, 1814. The subjection of Germany to
France was over: only the garrisons of a number of fortresses remained,
but these were already besieged, and they surrendered one by one, in the
course of the next few months.




Napoleon's Retreat. --Halting Course of the Allies. --The Treaty of
    Paris. --The Congress of Vienna. --Napoleon's Return to France.
    --New Alliance. --Napoleon, Wellington and Blücher. --Battles of
    Ligney and Quatrebras. --Battle of Waterloo. --New Treaty with
    France. --European Changes. --Reconstruction of Germany.
    --Metternich arranges a Confederation. --Its Character. --The Holy
    Alliance. --Reaction among the Princes. --Movement of the Students.
    --Conference at Carlsbad. --Returning Despotism. --Condition of
    Germany. --Changes in 1830. --The Zollverein. --Death of Francis
    II. and Frederick William III. --Frederick William IV. as King.
    --The German-Catholic Movement in 1844. --General Dissatisfaction.

[Sidenote: 1814. NAPOLEON'S DEFENSE.]

Napoleon's genius was never more brilliantly manifested than during the
slow advance of the Allies from the Rhine to Paris, in the first three
months of the year 1814. He had not expected an invasion before the
spring, and was taken by surprise; but with all the courage and
intrepidity of his younger years, he collected an army of 100,000 men,
and marched against Blücher, who had already reached Brienne. In a
battle on the 29th of January he was victorious, but a second on the 1st
of February compelled him to retreat. Instead of following up this
advantage, the three monarchs began to consult: they rejected Blücher's
demand for a union of the armies and an immediate march on Paris, and
ordered him to follow the river Marne in four divisions, while
Schwarzenberg advanced by a more southerly route. This was just what
Napoleon wanted. He hurled himself upon the divided Prussian forces, and
in five successive battles, from the 10th to the 14th of February,
defeated and drove them back. Then, rapidly turning southward, he
defeated a part of Schwarzenberg's army at Montereau on the 18th, and
compelled the latter to retreat.

[Sidenote: 1814.]

The Allies now offered peace, granting to France the boundaries of
1792, which included Savoy, Lorraine and Alsatia. The history of their
negotiations during the campaign shows how reluctantly they prosecuted
the war, and what little right they have to its final success, which is
wholly due to Stein, Blücher, and the bravery of the German soldiers.
Napoleon was so elated by his victories that he rejected the offer; and
then, _at last_, the union of the allied armies and their march on Paris
was permitted. Battle after battle followed: Napoleon disputed every
inch of ground with the most marvellous energy, but even his victories
were disasters, for he had no means of replacing the troops he lost. The
last fight took place at the gates of Paris, on the 30th of March, and
the next day, at noon, the three sovereigns made their triumphal
entrance into the city.

Not until then did the latter determine to dethrone Napoleon and restore
the Bourbon dynasty. They compelled the act of abdication, which
Napoleon signed at Fontainebleau on the 11th of April, installed the
Count d'Artois (afterwards Charles X.) as head of a temporary
government, and gave to France the boundaries of 1792. Napoleon was
limited to the little island of Elba, Maria Louisa received the Duchy of
Parma, and the other Bonapartes were allowed to retain the title of
Prince, with an income of 2,500,000 francs. One million francs was given
to the Ex-Empress Josephine, who died the same year. No indemnity was
exacted from France; not even the works of art, stolen from the
galleries of Italy and Germany for the adornment of Paris, were
reclaimed! After enduring ten years of humiliation and outrage, the
Allies were as tenderly considerate as if their invasion of France had
been a wrong, for which they must atone by all possible concessions.

In Southern Germany, where very little national sentiment existed, the
treaty was quietly accepted, but it provoked great indignation among the
people in the North. Their rejoicings over the downfall of Napoleon, the
deliverance of Germany, and (as they believed) the foundation of a
liberal government for themselves, were disturbed by this manifestation
of weakness on the part of their leaders. The European Congress, which
was opened on the 1st of November, 1814, at Vienna, was not calculated
to restore their confidence. Francis II. and Alexander I. were the
leading figures; other nations were represented by their best
statesmen; the former priestly rulers, all the petty princes, and
hundreds of the "Imperial" nobility whose privileges had been taken away
from them, attended in the hope of recovering something from the general
chaos. A series of splendid entertainments was given to the members of
the Congress, and it soon became evident to the world that Europe, and
especially Germany, was to be reconstructed according to the will of the
individual rulers, without reference to principle or people.


France was represented in the Congress by Talleyrand, who was greatly
the superior of the other members in the arts of diplomacy. Before the
winter was over, he persuaded Austria and England to join France in an
alliance against Russia and Prussia, and another European war would
probably have broken out, but for the startling news of Napoleon's
landing in France on the 1st of March, 1815. Then, all were compelled to
suspend their jealousies and unite against their common foe. On the 25th
of March a new alliance was concluded between Austria, Russia, Prussia
and England: the first three agreed to furnish 150,000 men each, while
the last contributed a lesser number of soldiers and 5,000,000 pounds
sterling. All the smaller German States joined in the movement, and the
people were still so full of courage and patriotic hope that a much
larger force than was needed was soon under arms.

Napoleon reached Paris on the 20th of March, and instantly commenced the
organization of a new army, while offering peace to all the powers of
Europe, on the basis of the treaty of Paris. This time, he received no
answer: the terror of his name had passed away, and the allied
sovereigns acted with promptness and courage. Though he held France,
Napoleon's position was not strong, even there. The land had suffered
terribly, and the people desired peace, which they had never enjoyed
under his rule. He raised nearly half a million of soldiers, but was
obliged to use the greater portion in preventing outbreaks among the
population; then, selecting the best, he marched towards Belgium with an
army of 120,000, in order to meet Wellington and Blücher by turns,
before they could unite. The former had 100,000 men, most of them Dutch
and Germans, under his command: the latter, with 115,000, was rapidly
approaching from the East. By this time--the beginning of June--neither
the Austrians nor Russians had entered France.

[Sidenote: 1815.]

On the 16th of June two battles occurred. Napoleon fought Blücher at
Ligny, while Marshal Ney, with 40,000 men, attacked Wellington at
Quatrebras. Thus neither of the allies was able to help the other.
Blücher defended himself desperately, but his horse was shot under him
and the French cavalry almost rode over him as he lay upon the ground.
He was rescued with difficulty, and then compelled to fall back. The
battle between Ney and Wellington was hotly contested; the gallant Duke
of Brunswick was slain in a cavalry charge, and the losses on both sides
were very great, but neither could claim a decided advantage. Wellington
retired to Waterloo the next day, to be nearer Blücher, and then

Napoleon, uniting with Ney, marched against him with 75,000 men, while
Grouchy was sent with 36,000 to engage Blücher. Wellington had 68,000
men, so the disproportion in numbers was not very great, but Napoleon
was much stronger in cavalry and artillery.

The great battle of Waterloo began on the morning of the 18th of June.
Wellington was attacked again and again, and the utmost courage and
endurance of his soldiers barely enabled them to hold their ground: the
charges of the French were met by an equally determined resistance, but
the fate of the battle depended on Blücher's arrival. The latter left a
few corps at Wavre, his former position, in order to deceive Grouchy,
and pushed forward through rain and across a marshy country to
Wellington's relief. At four o'clock in the afternoon Napoleon made a
tremendous effort to break the English centre: the endurance of his
enemy began to fail, and there were signs of wavering along the English
lines when the cry was heard: "The Prussians are coming!" Bülow's corps
soon appeared on the French flank, Blücher's army closed in shortly
afterwards, and by eight o'clock the French were flying from the field.
There were no allied monarchs on hand to arrest the pursuit: Blücher and
Wellington followed so rapidly that they stood before Paris within ten
days, and Napoleon was left without any alternative but instant
surrender. The losses at Waterloo, on both sides, were 50,000 killed and

This was the end of Napoleon's interference in the history of Europe.
All his offers were rejected, he was deserted by the French, and a
fortnight afterwards, failing in his plan of escaping to America, he
surrendered to the captain of an English frigate off the port of
Rochefort. From that moment until his death at St. Helena on the 5th of
May, 1821, he was a prisoner and an exile. A new treaty was made between
the allied monarchs and the Bourbon dynasty of France: this time the
treasures of art and learning were restored to Italy and Germany, an
indemnity of 700,000,000 francs was exacted, Savoy was given back to
Sardinia, and a little strip of territory, including the fortresses of
Saarbrück, Saarlouis and Landau, added to Germany. The attempt of
Austria and Prussia to acquire Lorraine and Alsatia was defeated by the
cunning of Talleyrand and the opposition of Alexander I. of Russia.

[Sidenote: 1815. THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA.]

The jealousies and dissensions in the Congress of Vienna were hastily
arranged during the excitement occasioned by Napoleon's return from
Elba, and the members patched together, within three months, a new
political map of Europe. There was no talk of restoring the lost kingdom
of Poland; Prussia's claim to Saxony (which the king, Frederick
Augustus, had fairly forfeited) was defeated by Austria and England; and
then, after each of the principal powers had secured whatever was
possible, they combined to regulate the affairs of the helpless smaller
States. Holland and Belgium were added together, called the Kingdom of
the Netherlands, and given to the house of Orange: Switzerland, which
had joined the Allies against France, was allowed to remain a republic
and received some slight increase of territory; and Lorraine and Alsatia
were lost to Germany.

Austria received Lombardy and Venetia, Illyria, Dalmatia, the Tyrol,
Salzburg, Galicia and whatever other territory she formerly possessed.
Prussia gave up Warsaw to Russia, but kept Posen, recovered Westphalia
and the territory on the Lower Rhine, and was enlarged by the annexation
of Swedish Pomerania, part of Saxony, and the former archbishoprics of
Mayence, Treves and Cologne. East-Friesland was taken from Prussia and
given to Hannover, which was made a kingdom: Weimar, Oldenburg and the
two Mecklenburgs were made Grand-Duchies, and Bavaria received a new
slice of Franconia, including the cities of Würzburg and Bayreuth, as
well as all of the former Palatinate lying west of the Rhine. Frankfort,
Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck were allowed to remain free cities: the other
smaller States were favored in various ways, and only Saxony suffered by
the loss of nearly half her territory. Fortunately the priestly rulers
were not restored, and the privileges of the free nobles of the Middle
Ages not reëstablished. Napoleon, far more justly than Attila, had been
"the Scourge of God" to Germany. In crushing rights, he had also crushed
a thousand abuses, and although the monarchs who ruled the Congress of
Vienna were thoroughly reactionary in their sentiments, they could not
help decreeing that what was dead in the political constitution of
Germany should remain dead.

[Sidenote: 1815.]

All the German States, however, felt that some form of union was
necessary. The people dreamed of a Nation, of a renewal of the old
Empire in some better and stronger form; but this was mostly a vague
desire on their part, without any practical ideas as to how it should be
accomplished. The German ministers at Vienna were divided in their
views; and Metternich took advantage of their impatience and excitement
to propose a scheme of Confederation which introduced as few changes as
possible into the existing state of affairs. It was so drawn up that
while it presented the appearance of an organization, it secured the
supremacy of Austria, and only united the German States in mutual
defence against a foreign foe and in mutual suppression of internal
progress. This scheme, hastily prepared, was hastily adopted on the 10th
of June, 1815 (before the battle of Waterloo), and controlled the
destinies of Germany for nearly fifty years afterwards.

The new Confederation was composed of the Austrian Empire, the Kingdoms
of Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, Würtemberg and Hannover, the Grand-Duchies
of Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Strelitz,
Saxe-Weimar and Oldenburg; the Electorate of Hesse-Cassel; the Duchies
of Brunswick, Nassau, Saxe-Gotha, Coburg, Meiningen and Hildburghausen,
Anhalt-Dessau, Bernburg and Köthen; Denmark, on account of Holstein; the
Netherlands, on account of Luxemburg; the four Free Cities; and eleven
small principalities,--making a total of thirty-nine States. The Act of
Union assured to them equal rights, independent sovereignty, the
peaceful settlement of disputes between them, and representation in a
General Diet, which was to be held at Frankfort, under the presidency of
Austria. All together were required to support a permanent army of
300,000 men for their common defence. One article required each State to
introduce a representative form of government. All religions were made
equal before the law, the right of emigration was conceded to the
people, the navigation of the Rhine was released from taxes, and freedom
of the Press was permitted.

[Sidenote: 1816. THE HOLY ALLIANCE.]

Of course, the carrying of these provisions into effect was left
entirely to the rulers of the States: the people were not recognized as
possessing any political power. Even the "representative government"
which was assured did not include the right of suffrage; the King, or
Duke, might appoint a legislative body which represented only a class or
party, and not the whole population. Moreover, the Diet was prohibited
from adopting any new measure, or making any change in the form of the
Confederation, except by a _unanimous_ vote. The whole scheme was a
remarkable specimen of promise to the ears of the German People, and of
disappointment to their hearts and minds.

The Congress of Vienna was followed by an event of quite an original
character. Alexander I. of Russia persuaded Francis II. and Frederick
William III. to unite with him in a "Holy Alliance," which all the other
monarchs of Europe were invited to join. It was simply a declaration,
not a political act. The document set forth that its signers pledged
themselves to treat each other with brotherly love, to consider all
nations as members of one Christian family, to rule their lands with
justice and kindness, and to be tender fathers to their subjects. No
forms were prescribed, and each monarch was left free to choose his own
manner of Christian rule. A great noise was made about the Holy Alliance
at the time, because it seemed to guarantee peace to Europe, and peace
was most welcome after such terrible wars. All other reigning Kings and
Princes, except George IV. of England, Louis XVIII. of France, and the
Pope, added their signatures, but not one of them manifested any more
brotherly or fatherly love after the act than before.

The new German Confederation having given the separate States a fresh
lease of life, after all their convulsions, the rulers set about
establishing themselves firmly on their repaired thrones. Only the most
intelligent among them felt that the days of despotism, however
"enlightened," were over; others avoided the liberal provisions of the
Act of Union, abolished many political reforms which had been introduced
by Napoleon, and oppressed the common people even more than his
satellites had done. The Elector of Hesse-Cassel made his soldiers wear
powdered queues, as in the last century; the King of Würtemberg
court-martialled and cashiered the general who had gone over with his
troops to the German side at the battle of Leipzig; and in Mecklenburg
the liberated people were declared serfs. The introduction of a
legislative assembly was delayed, in some States even wholly
disregarded. Baden and Bavaria adopted a Constitution in 1818,
Würtemberg and Hesse-Darmstadt in 1819, but in Prussia an imperfect form
of representative government for the provinces was not arranged until
1823. Austria, meanwhile, had restored some ancient privileges of the
same kind, of little practical value, because not adapted to the
conditions of the age; the people were obliged to be content with them,
for they received no more.

[Sidenote: 1817.]

No class of Germans were so bitterly disappointed in the results of
their victory and deliverance as the young men, especially the thousands
who had fought in the ranks in 1813 and 1815. At all the Universities
the students formed societies which were inspired by two ideas--Union
and Freedom: fiery speeches were made, songs were sung, and free
expression was given to their distrust of the governments under which
they lived. On the 18th of October, 1817, they held a grand Convention
at the Wartburg--the castle near Eisenach, where Luther lay
concealed,--and this event occasioned great alarm among the reactionary
class. The students were very hostile to the influence of Russia, and
many persons who were suspected of being her secret agents became
specially obnoxious to them. One of the latter was the dramatic author,
Kotzebue, who was assassinated in March, 1819, by a young student named
Sand. There is not the least evidence that this deed was the result of a
widespread conspiracy; but almost every reigning prince thereupon
imagined that his life was in danger.

A Congress of Ministers was held at Carlsbad the same summer, and the
most despotic measures against the so-called "Revolution" were adopted.
Freedom of the Press was abolished; a severe censorship enforced; the
formation of societies among the students and turners was prohibited,
the Universities were placed under the immediate supervision of
government, and even Commissioners were appointed to hear what the
Professors said in their lectures! Many of the best men in Germany,
among them the old teacher, Jahn, and the poet Arndt, were deprived of
their situations, and placed under a form of espionage. Hundreds of
young men, who had perpetrated no single act of resistance, were thrown
into prison for years, others forced to fly from the country, and every
manifestation of interest in political subjects became an offence. The
effort of the German States, now, was to counteract the popular rights,
guaranteed by the Confederation, by establishing an arbitrary and savage
police system; and there were few parts of the country where the people
retained as much genuine liberty as they had enjoyed a hundred years


The History of Germany, during the thirty years of peace which followed,
is marked by very few events of importance. It was a season of gradual
reaction on the part of the rulers, and of increasing impatience and
enmity on the part of the people. Instead of becoming loving families,
as the Holy Alliance designed, the States (except some of the little
principalities) were divided into two hostile classes. There was
material growth everywhere: the wounds left by war and foreign
occupation were gradually healed; there was order, security for all who
abstained from politics, and a comfortable repose for such as were
indifferent to the future. But it was a sad and disheartening period for
the men who were able to see clearly how Germany, with all the elements
of a freer and stronger life existing in her people, was falling behind
the political development of other countries.

The three Days' Revolution of 1830, which placed Louis Philippe on the
throne of France, was followed by popular uprisings in some parts of
Germany. Prussia and Austria were too strong, and their people too well
held in check, to be affected; but in Brunswick the despotic Duke, Karl,
was deposed, Saxony and Hesse-Cassel were obliged to accept co-rulers
(out of their reigning families), and the English Duke, Ernest Augustus,
was made Viceroy of Hannover. These four States also adopted a
constitutional form of government. The German Diet, as a matter of
course, used what power it possessed to counteract these movements, but
its influence was limited by its own laws of action. The hopes and
aspirations of the people were kept alive, in spite of the system of
repression, and some of the smaller States took advantage of their
independence to introduce various measures of reform.

[Sidenote: 1840.]

As industry, commerce and travel increased, the existence of so many
boundaries, with their custom-houses, taxes and other hindrances, became
an unendurable burden. Bavaria and Würtemberg formed a customs union in
1828, Prussia followed, and by 1836 all of Germany except Austria was
united in the _Zollverein_ (Tariff Union), which was not only a great
material advantage, but helped to inculcate the idea of a closer
political union. On the other hand, however, the monarchical reaction
against liberal government was stronger than ever. Ernest Augustus of
Hannover arbitrarily overthrew the constitution he had accepted, and
Ludwig I. of Bavaria, renouncing all his former professions, made his
land a very nest of absolutism and Jesuitism. In Prussia, such men as
Stein, Gneisenau and Wilhelm von Humboldt had long lost their influence,
while others of less personal renown, but of similar political
sentiments, were subjected to contemptible forms of persecution.

In March, 1835, Francis II. of Austria died, and was succeeded by his
son, Ferdinand I., a man of such weak intellect that he was in some
respects idiotic. On the 7th of June, 1840, Frederick William III. of
Prussia died, and was also succeeded by his son, Frederick William IV.,
a man of great wit and intelligence, who had made himself popular as
Crown-Prince, and whose accession the people hailed with joy, in the
enthusiastic belief that better days were coming. The two dead monarchs,
each of whom had reigned forty-three years, left behind them a better
memory among their people than they actually deserved. They were both
weak, unstable and narrow-minded; had they not been controlled by
others, they would have ruined Germany; but they were alike of excellent
personal character, amiable, and very kindly disposed towards their
subjects so long as the latter were perfectly obedient and reverential.

There was no change in the condition of Austria, for Metternich remained
the real ruler, as before. In Prussia, a few unimportant concessions
were made, an amnesty for political offences was declared, Alexander von
Humboldt became the king's chosen associate, and much was done for
science and art; but in their main hope of a liberal reorganization of
the government, the people were bitterly deceived. Frederick William IV.
took no steps towards the adoption of a Constitution; he made the
censorship and the supervision of the police more severe; he interfered
in the most arbitrary and bigoted manner in the system of religious
instruction in the schools; and all his acts showed that his policy was
to strengthen his throne by the support of the nobility and the civil
service, without regard to the just claims of the people.


Thus, in spite of the external quiet and order, the political atmosphere
gradually became more sultry and disturbed, all over Germany. In 1844, a
Catholic priest named Ronge, disgusted with the miracles alleged to have
been performed by the so-called "Holy Coat" (of the Saviour) at Treves,
published addresses to the German People, which created a great
excitement. He advocated the establishment of a German-Catholic Church,
and found so many followers that the Protestant king of Prussia became
alarmed, and all the influence of his government was exerted against the
movement. It was asserted that the reform was taking a political and
revolutionary character, because, under the weary system of repression
which they endured, the people hailed any and every sign of mental and
spiritual independence. Ronge's reform was checked at the very moment
when it promised success, and the idea of forcible resistance to the
government began to spread among all classes of the population.

There were signs of impatience in all quarters; various local outbreaks
occurred, and the aspects were so threatening that in February, 1847,
Frederick William IV. endeavored to silence the growing opposition by
ordering the formation of a Legislative Assembly. But the _provinces_
were represented, not the people, and the measure only emboldened the
latter to clamor for a direct representation. Thereupon, the king closed
the Assembly, after a short session, and the attempt was probably
productive of more harm than good. In most of the other German States,
the situation was very similar: everywhere there were elements of
opposition, all the more violent and dangerous, because they had been
kept down with a strong hand for so many years.




The Revolution of 1848. --Events in Berlin. --Alarm of the Diet. --The
    Provisional Assembly. --First National Parliament. --Divisions
    among the Members. --Revolt in Schleswig-Holstein. --Its End.
    --Insurrection in Frankfort. --Condition of Austria. --Vienna
    taken. --The War in Hungary. --Surrender of Görgey. --Uprising of
    Lombardy and Venice. --Abdication of Ferdinand I. --Frederick
    William IV. offered the Imperial Crown of Germany. --New Outbreaks.
    --Dissolution of the Parliament. --Austria renews the old Diet.
    --Despotic Reaction everywhere. --Evil Days. --Lessons of 1848.
    --William I. becomes Regent in Prussia. --New Hopes. --Italian
    Unity. --William I. King.

[Sidenote: 1848.]

The sudden breaking out of the Revolution of February, 1848, in Paris,
the flight of Louis Philippe and his family, and the proclamation of the
Republic, acted in Germany like a spark dropped upon powder. All the
disappointments of thirty years, the smouldering impatience and sense of
outrage, the powerful aspiration for political freedom among the people,
broke out in sudden flame. There was instantly an outcry for freedom of
speech and of the press, the right of suffrage, and a constitutional
form of government, in every State. Baden, where Struve and Hecker were
already prominent as leaders of the opposition, took the lead: then, on
the 13th of March the people of Vienna rose, and after a bloody fight
with the troops compelled Metternich to give up his office as Minister,
and seek safety in exile.

In Berlin, Frederick William IV. yielded to the pressure on the 18th of
March, but, either by accident or rashness, a fight was brought on
between the soldiers and the people, and a number of the latter were
slain. Their bodies, lifted on planks, with all the bloody wounds
exposed, were carried before the royal palace and the king was compelled
to come to the window and look upon them. All the demands of the
revolutionary party were thereupon instantly granted. The next day
Frederick William rode through the streets, preceded by the ancient
Imperial banner of black, red and gold, swore to grant the rights which
were demanded, and, with the concurrence of the other princes, to put
himself at the head of a movement for German Unity. A proclamation was
published which closed with the words: "From this day forward, Prussia
becomes merged in Germany." The soldiers were removed from Berlin, and
the popular excitement gradually subsided.


Before these outbreaks occurred, the Diet at Frankfort had caught the
alarm, and hastened to take a step which seemed to yield something to
the general demand. On the 1st of March, it invited the separate States
to send special delegates to Frankfort, empowered to draw up a new form
of union for Germany. Four days afterwards, a meeting which included
many of the prominent men of Southern Germany was held at Heidelberg,
and it was decided to hold a Provisional Assembly at Frankfort, as a
movement preliminary to the greater changes which were anticipated. This
proposal received a hearty response: on the 31st of March quite a large
and respectable body, from all the German States, came together in
Frankfort. The demand of the party headed by Hecker that a Republic
should be proclaimed, was rejected; but the principle of "the
sovereignty of the people" was adopted, Schleswig and Holstein, which
had risen in revolt against the Danish rule, were declared to be a part
of Germany, and a Committee of Fifty was appointed, to coöperate with
the old Diet in calling a National Parliament.

There was great rejoicing in Germany over these measures. The people
were full of hope and confidence; the men who were chosen as candidates
and elected by suffrage, were almost without exception persons of
character and intelligence, and when they came together, six hundred in
number, and opened the first National Parliament of Germany, in the
church of St. Paul, in Frankfort, on the 18th of May, 1848, there were
few patriots who did not believe in a speedy and complete regeneration
of their country. In the meantime, however, Hecker and Struve, who had
organized a great number of republican clubs throughout Baden, rose in
arms against the government. After maintaining themselves for two weeks
in Freiburg and the Black Forest, they were defeated and forced to take
refuge in Switzerland. Hecker went to America, and Struve, making a
second attempt shortly afterwards, was taken prisoner.

[Sidenote: 1848.]

The lack of practical political experience among the members soon
disturbed the Parliament. The most of them were governed by theories,
and insisted on carrying out certain principles, instead of trying to
adapt them to the existing circumstances. With all their honesty and
genuine patriotism, they relied too much on the sudden enthusiasm of the
people, and undervalued the actual strength of the governing classes,
because the latter had so easily yielded to the first surprise. The
republican party was in a decided minority; and the remainder soon
became divided between the "Small-Germans," who favored the union of all
the States, except Austria, under a constitutional monarchy, and the
"Great-Germans," who insisted that Austria should be included. After a
great deal of discussion, the former Diet was declared abolished on the
28th of June; a Provisional Central Government was appointed, and the
Archduke John of Austria--an amiable, popular and inoffensive old
man--was elected "Vicar-General of the Empire." This action was accepted
by all the States except Austria and Prussia, which delayed to commit
themselves until they were strong enough to oppose the whole scheme.

The history of 1848 is divided into so many detached episodes, that it
cannot be given in a connected form. The revolt which broke out in
Schleswig-Holstein early in March, was supported by enthusiastic German
volunteers, and then by a Prussian army, which drove the Danes back into
Jutland. Great rejoicing was occasioned by the destruction of the Danish
frigate _Christian VIII._ and the capture of the _Gefion_, at
Eckernförde, by a battery commanded by Duke Ernest II. of Coburg-Gotha.
But England and Russia threatened armed intervention; Prussia was forced
to suspend hostilities and make a truce with Denmark, on terms which
looked very much like an abandonment of the cause of Schleswig-Holstein.

This action was accepted by a majority of the Parliament at
Frankfort,--a course which aroused the deepest indignation of the
democratic minority and their sympathizers everywhere throughout
Germany. On the 18th of September barricades were thrown up in the
streets of Frankfort, and an armed mob stormed the church where the
Parliament was in session, but was driven back by Prussian and Hessian
troops. Two members, General Auerswald and Prince Lichnowsky, were
barbarously murdered in attempting to escape from the city. This lawless
and bloody event was a great damage to the national cause: the two
leading States, Prussia and Austria, instantly adopted a sterner policy,
and there were soon signs of a general reaction against the Revolution.

[Sidenote: 1849. END OF THE HUNGARIAN WAR.]

The condition of Austria, at this time, was very critical. The uprising
in Vienna had been followed by powerful and successful rebellions in
Lombardy, Hungary and Bohemia, and the Empire of the Hapsburgs seemed to
be on the point of dissolution. The struggle was confused and made more
bitter by the hostility of the different nationalities: the Croatians,
at the call of the Emperor, rose against the Hungarians, and then the
Germans, in the Legislative Assembly held at Vienna, accused the
government of being guided by Slavonic influences. Another furious
outbreak occurred, Count Latour, the former minister of war, was hung to
a lamp-post, and the city was again in the hands of the revolutionists.
Kossuth, who had become all-powerful in Hungary, had already raised an
army, to be employed in conquering the independence of his country, and
he now marched rapidly towards Vienna, which was threatened by the
Austrian general Windischgrätz. Almost within sight of the city, he was
defeated by Jellachich, the Ban of Croatia: the latter joined the
Austrians, and after a furious bombardment, Vienna was taken by storm.
Messenhauser, the commander of the insurgents, and Robert Blum, a member
of the National Parliament, were afterwards shot by order of
Windischgrätz, who crushed out all resistance by the most severe and
inhuman measures.

Hungary, nevertheless, was already practically independent, and Kossuth
stood at the head of the government. The movement was eagerly supported
by the people: an army of 100,000 men was raised, including cavalry
which could hardly be equalled in Europe. Kossuth was supported by
Görgey, and the Polish generals, Bern and Dembinski; and although the
Hungarians at first fell back before Windischgrätz, who marched against
them in December, they gained a series of splendid victories in the
spring of 1849, and their success seemed assured. Austria was forced to
call upon Russia for help, and the Emperor Nicholas responded by
sending an army of 140,000 men. Kossuth vainly hoped for the
intervention of England and France in favor of Hungary: up to the end of
May the patriots were still victorious, then followed defeats in the
field and confusion in the councils. The Hungarian government and a
large part of the army fell back to Arad, where, on the 11th of August,
Kossuth transferred his dictatorship to Görgey, and the latter, two days
afterwards, surrendered at Vilagos, with about 25,000 men, to the
Russian general Rüdiger.

[Sidenote: 1849.]

This surrender caused Görgey's name to be execrated in Hungary, and by
all who sympathized with the Hungarian cause throughout the world. It
was made, however, with the knowledge of Kossuth, who had transferred
his power to the former for that purpose, while he, with Bem, Dembinski
and a few other followers, escaped into Turkey. In fact, further
resistance would have been madness, for Haynau, who had succeeded to the
command of the Austrian forces, was everywhere successful in front, and
the Russians were in the rear. The first judgment of the world upon
Görgey's act was therefore unjust. The fortress of Comorn, on the
Danube, was the last post occupied by the Hungarians. It surrendered,
after an obstinate siege, to Haynau, who then perpetrated such
barbarities that his name became infamous in all countries.

In Italy, the Revolution broke out in March, 1848. Marshal Radetzky, the
Austrian Governor in Milan, was driven out of the city: the Lombards,
supported by the Sardinians under their king, Charles Albert, drove him
to Verona: Venice had also risen, and nearly all Northern Italy was thus
freed from the Austrian yoke. In the course of the summer, however,
Radetzky achieved some successes, and thereupon concluded an armistice
with Sardinia, which left him free to undertake the siege of Venice. On
the 12th of March, 1849, Charles Albert resumed the war, and on the 23d,
in the battle of Novara, was so ruinously defeated that he abdicated the
throne of Sardinia in favor of his son, Victor Emanuel. The latter, on
leaving the field, shook his sword at the advancing Austrians, and cried
out: "There shall yet be an Italy!"--but he was compelled at the time to
make peace on the best terms he could obtain. In August, Venice also
surrendered, after a heroic defence, and Austria was again supreme in
Italy as in Hungary.


During this time, the National Parliament in Frankfort had been
struggling against the difficulties of its situation. The democratic
movement was almost suppressed, and there was an earnest effort to
effect a German Union; but this was impossible without the concurrence
of either Austria or Prussia, and the rivalry of the two gave rise to
constant jealousies and impediments. On the 2d of December, 1848, the
Viennese Ministry persuaded the idiotic Emperor Ferdinand to abdicate,
and placed his nephew, Francis Joseph, a youth of eighteen, upon the
throne. Every change of the kind begets new hopes, and makes a
government temporarily popular; so this was a gain for Austria.
Nevertheless, the "Small-German" party finally triumphed in the
Parliament. On the 28th of March, 1849, Frederick Wilhelm IV. of Germany
was elected "Hereditary Emperor of Germany." All the small States
accepted the choice: Bavaria, Würtemberg, Saxony and Hannover refused;
Austria protested, and the king himself, after hesitating for a week,

This was a great blow to the hopes of the national party. It was
immediately followed by fierce popular outbreaks in Dresden, Würtemberg
and Baden: in the last of these States the Grand-Duke was driven away,
and a provisional government instituted. Prussia sent troops to suppress
the revolt, and a war on a small scale was carried on during the months
of June and July, when the republican forces yielded to superior power.
This was the end of armed resistance: the governments had recovered from
their panic, the French Republic, under the Prince-President Louis
Napoleon, was preparing for monarchy, Italy and Hungary were prostrate,
and nothing was left for the earnest and devoted German patriots, but to
save what rights they could from the wreck of their labors.

The Parliament gradually dissolved, by the recall of some of its
members, and the withdrawal of others. Only the democratic minority
remained, and sought to keep up its existence by removing to Stuttgart;
but, once there, it was soon forcibly dispersed. Prussia next endeavored
to create a German Confederation, based on representation: Saxony and
Hannover at first joined, a convention of the members of the
"Small-German" party, held at Gotha, accepted the plan, and then the
small States united, while Saxony and Hannover withdrew and allied
themselves with Bavaria and Würtemberg in a counter-union. The adherents
of the former plan met in Berlin in 1850: on the 1st of September,
Austria declared the old Diet opened at Frankfort, under her presidency,
and twelve States hastened to obey her call. The hostility between the
two parties so increased that for a time war seemed to be inevitable:
Austrian troops invaded Hesse-Cassel, an army was collected in Bohemia,
while Prussia, relying on the help of Russia, was quite unprepared. Then
Frederick William IV. yielded: Prussia submitted to Austria in all
points, and on the 15th of May, 1851, the Diet was restored in
Frankfort, with a vague promise that its Constitution should be amended.

[Sidenote: 1852.]

Thus, after an interruption of three years, the old machine was put upon
the old track, and a strong and united Germany seemed as far off as
ever. A dismal period of reaction began. Louis Napoleon's violent
assumption of power in December, 1851, was welcomed by the German
rulers, all of whom greeted the new Emperor as "brother"; a Congress
held in London in May, 1852, confirmed Denmark in the possession of
Schleswig and Holstein; Austria abolished her Legislative Assembly, in
utter disregard of the provisions of 1815, upon which the Diet was
based; Hesse-Cassel, with the consent of Austria, Prussia and the Diet,
overthrew the constitution which had protected the people for twenty
years; and even Prussia, where an arbitrary policy was no longer
possible, gradually suppressed the more liberal features of the
government. Worse than this, the religious liberty which Germany had so
long enjoyed, was insidiously assailed. Austria, Bavaria and Würtemberg
made "Concordats" with the Pope, which gave the control of schools and
marriages among the people into the hands of the priests. Frederick
William IV. did his best to acquire the same despotic power for the
Protestant Church in Prussia, and thereby assisted the designs of the
Church of Rome, more than most of the Catholic rulers.

Placed between the disguised despotism of Napoleon III. and the open and
arrogant despotism of Nicholas of Russia, Germany, for a time, seemed to
be destined to a similar fate. The result of the Crimean war, and the
liberal policy inaugurated by Alexander II. in Russia, damped the hopes
of the German absolutists, but failed to teach them wisdom. Prussia was
practically governed by the interests of a class of nobles, whose absurd
pride was only equalled by their ignorance of the age in which they
lived. With all his wit and talent, Frederick William IV. was utterly
blind to his position, and the longer he reigned the more he made the
name of Prussia hated throughout the rest of Germany.


But the fruits of the national movement in 1848 and 1849 were not lost.
The earnest efforts of those two years, the practical experience of
political matters acquired by the liberal party, were an immense gain to
the people. In every State there was a strong body of intelligent men,
who resisted the reaction by all the legal means left them, and who,
although discouraged, were still hopeful of success. The increase of
general intelligence among the people, the growth of an independent
press, the extension of railroads which made the old system of passports
and police supervision impossible,--all these were powerful agencies of
progress; but only a few rulers of the smaller States saw this truth,
and favored the liberal side.

In October, 1857, Frederick William IV. was stricken with apoplexy, and
his brother, Prince William, began to rule in his name. The latter, then
sixty years old, had grown up without the least prospect that he would
ever wear the crown: although he possessed no brilliant intellectual
qualities, he was shrewd, clear-sighted, and honest, and after a year's
experience of the policy which governed Prussia, he refused to rule
longer unless the whole power were placed in his hands. As soon as he
was made Prince Regent, he dismissed the feudalist Ministry of his
brother and established a new and more liberal government. The hopes of
the German people instantly revived: Bavaria was compelled to follow the
example of Prussia, the reaction against the national movement of 1848
was interrupted everywhere, and the political horizon suddenly began to
grow brighter.

The desire of the people for a closer national union was so intense,
that when, in June, 1859, Austria was defeated at Magenta and Solferino,
a cry ran through Germany: "The Rhine must be defended on the Mincio!"
and the demand for an alliance with Austria against France became so
earnest and general, that Prussia would certainly have yielded to it, if
Napoleon III. had not forestalled the movement by concluding an instant
peace with Francis Joseph. When, in 1860, all Italy rose, and the
dilapidated thrones of the petty rulers fell to pieces, as the people
united under Victor Emanuel, the Germans saw how hasty and mistaken had
been their excitement of the year before. The interests of the Italians
were identical with theirs, and the success of the former filled them
with fresh hope and courage.

[Sidenote: 1861.]

Austria, after her defeat and the overwhelming success of the popular
uprising in Italy, seemed to perceive the necessity of conceding more to
her own subjects. She made some attempts to introduce a restricted form
of constitutional government, which excited without satisfying the
people. Prussia continued to advance slowly in the right direction,
regaining her lost influence over the active and intelligent liberal
party throughout Germany. On the 2d of January, 1861, Frederick William
IV. died, and William I. became King. From this date a new history




Reorganization of the Prussian Army. --Movements for a new Union.
    --Reaction in Prussia. --Bismarck appointed Minister. --His
    Unpopularity. --Attempt of Francis Joseph of Austria. --War in
    Schleswig-Holstein. --Quarrel between Prussia and Austria.
    --Alliances of Austria with the smaller States. --The Diet.
    --Prussia declares War. --Hannover, Hesse and Saxony invaded.
    --Battle of Langensalza. --March into Bohemia. --Preliminary
    Victories. --Halt in Gitchin. --Battle of Königgrätz. --Prussian
    Advance to the Danube. --Peace of Nikolsburg. --Bismarck's Plan.
    --Change in popular Sentiment. --Prussian Annexations. --Foundation
    of the North-German Union. --The Luxemburg Affair.

[Sidenote: 1861. WILLIAM I., KING.]

The first important measure which the government of William I. adopted
was a thorough reorganization of the army. Since this could not be
effected without an increased expense for the present and a prospect of
still greater burdens in the future, the Legislative Assembly of Prussia
refused to grant the appropriation demanded. The plan was to increase
the time of service for the reserve forces, to diminish that of the
militia, and enforce a sufficient amount of military training upon the
whole male population, without regard to class or profession. At the
same time a Convention of the smaller States was held in Würzburg, for
the purpose of drawing up a new plan of union, in place of the old Diet,
the provisions of which had been violated so often that its existence
was becoming a mere farce.

Prussia proposed a closer military union under her own direction, and
this was accepted by Baden, Saxe-Weimar and Coburg-Gotha: the other
States were still swayed by the influence of Austria. The political
situation became more and more disturbed; William I. dismissed his
liberal ministry and appointed noted reactionists, who carried out his
plan for reorganizing the army in defiance of the Assembly. Finally, in
September, 1862, Baron Otto von Bismarck-Schönhausen, who had been
Prussian ambassador in St. Petersburg and Paris, was placed at the head
of the Government. This remarkable man, who was born in 1813, in
Brandenburg, was already known as a thorough conservative, and
considered to be one of the most dangerous enemies of the liberal and
national party. But he had represented Prussia in the Diet at Frankfort
in 1851, he understood the policy of Austria and the general political
situation better than any other statesman in Germany, and his course,
from the first day of receiving power, was as daring as it was skilfully

[Sidenote: 1863.]

Even Metternich was not so heartily hated as Bismarck, when the latter
continued the policy already adopted, of disregarding the will of the
people, as expressed by the Prussian Assembly. Every new election for
this body only increased the strength of the opposition, and with it the
unpopularity of Prussia among the smaller States. The appropriations for
the army were steadfastly refused, yet the government took the money and
went on with the work of reorganization. Austria endeavored to profit by
the confusion which ensued: after having privately consulted the other
rulers, Francis Joseph summoned a Congress of German Princes to meet in
Frankfort, in August, 1863, in order to accept an "Act of Reform," which
substituted an Assembly of Delegates in place of the old Diet, but
retained the presidency of Austria. Prussia refused to attend, declaring
that the first step towards reform must be a Parliament elected by the
people, and the scheme failed so completely that in another month
nothing more was heard of it.

Soon afterwards, Frederick VII. of Denmark died, and his successor,
Christian IX., Prince of Glücksburg, accepted a constitution which
detached Schleswig from Holstein and incorporated it with Denmark. This
was in violation of the treaty made in London in 1852, and gave Germany
a pretext for interference. On the 7th of December, 1863, the Diet
decided to take armed possession of the Duchies: Austria and Prussia
united in January, 1864, and sent a combined army of 43,000 men under
Prince Frederick Karl and Marshal Gablenz against Denmark. After several
slight engagements the Danes abandoned the "Dannewerk"--the fortified
line across the Peninsula,--and took up a strong position at Düppel.
Here their entrenchments were stormed and carried by the Prussians, on
the 18th of April: the Austrians had also been victorious at Oeversee,
and the Danes were everywhere driven back. England, France and Russia
interfered, an armistice was declared, and an attempt made to settle the
question. The negotiations, which were carried on in London for that
purpose, failed; hostilities were resumed, and by the 1st of August,
Denmark was forced to sue for peace.


On the 30th of October, the war was ended by the relinquishment of the
Duchies to Prussia and Austria, not to Germany. The Prince of
Augustenburg, however, who belonged to the ducal family of Holstein,
claimed the territory as being his by right of descent, and took up his
residence at Kiel, bringing all the apparatus of a little State
Government, ready made, along with him. Prussia demanded the acceptance
of her military system, the occupancy of the forts, and the harbor of
Kiel for naval purposes. The Duke, encouraged by Austria, refused: a
diplomatic quarrel ensued, which lasted until the 1st of August, 1865,
when William I. met Francis Joseph at Gastein, a watering-place in the
Austrian Alps, and both agreed on a division, Prussia to govern in
Schleswig and Austria in Holstein.

Thus far, the course of the two powers in the matter had made them
equally unpopular throughout the rest of Germany. Austria had quite lost
her temporary advantage over Prussia, in this respect, and she now
endeavored to regain it by favoring the claims of the Duke of
Augustenburg in Holstein. An angry correspondence followed, and early in
1866 Austria began to prepare for war, not only at home, but by secretly
canvassing for alliances among the smaller States. Neither she, nor the
German people, understood how her policy was aiding the deep-laid plans
of Bismarck. The latter had been elevated to the rank of Count, he had
dared to assert that the German question could never be settled without
the use of "blood and steel" (which was generally interpreted as
signifying the most brutal despotism), and an attempt to assassinate him
had been made in the streets of Berlin. When, therefore, Austria
demanded of the Diet that the military force of the other States should
be called into the field against Prussia on account of the invasion of
Holstein by Prussian troops, only Oldenburg, Mecklenburg, the little
Saxon principalities and the three free cities of the North voted
against the measure!

[Sidenote: 1866.]

This vote, which was taken on the 14th of June, 1866, was the last act
of the German Diet. Prussia instantly took the ground that it was a
declaration of war, and set in motion all the agencies which had been
quietly preparing for three or four years. The German people were
stunned by the suddenness with which the crisis had been brought upon
them. The cause of the trouble was so slight, so needlessly provoked,
that the war seemed criminal: it was looked upon as the last desperate
resource of the absolutist, Bismarck, who, finding the Prussian Assembly
still five to one against him, had adopted this measure to recover by
force his lost position. Few believed that Prussia, with nineteen
millions of inhabitants, could be victorious over Austria and her
allies, representing fifty millions, unless after a long and terrible

Prussia, however, had secured an ally which, although not fortunate in
the war, kept a large Austrian army employed. This was Italy, which
eagerly accepted the alliance in April, and began to prepare for the
struggle. On the other hand, there was every probability that France
would interfere in favor of Austria. In this emergency, the Prussian
Government seemed transformed: it stood like a man aroused and fully
alive, with every sense quickened and every muscle and sinew ready for
action. The 14th of June brought the declaration of war: on the 15th,
Saxony, Hannover, Hesse-Cassel and Nassau were called upon to remain
neutral, and allowed twelve hours to decide. As no answer came, a
Prussian army from Holstein took possession of Hannover on the 17th,
another from the Rhine entered Cassel on the 19th, and on the latter day
Leipzig and Dresden were occupied by a third. So complete had been the
preparations that a temporary railroad bridge was made, in advance, to
take the place of one between Berlin and Dresden, which it was evident
the Saxons would destroy.

The king of Hannover, with 18,000 men, marched southward to join the
Bavarians, but was so slow in his movements that he did not reach
Langensalza (fifteen miles north of Gotha) until the 23d of June.
Rejecting an offer from Prussia, a force of about 9,000 men was sent to
hold him in check. A fierce battle was fought on the 27th, in which the
Hannoverians were victorious, but, during their delay of a single day,
Prussia had pushed on new troops with such rapidity that they were
immediately afterwards compelled to surrender. The soldiers were sent
home, and the king, George V., betook himself to Vienna.

[Sidenote: 1866. BATTLE OF KÖNIGGRÄTZ.]

All Saxony being occupied, the march upon Austria followed. There were
three Prussian armies in the field: the first, under Prince Frederick
Karl, advanced in a south-eastern direction from Saxony, the second,
under the Crown-Prince, Frederick William, from Silesia, and the third,
under General Herwarth von Bittenfeld, followed the course of the Elbe.
The entire force was 260,000 men, with 790 pieces of artillery. The
Austrian army, now hastening towards the frontier, was about equal in
numbers, and commanded by General Benedek. Count Clam-Gallas, with
60,000 men, was sent forward to meet Frederick Karl, but was defeated in
four successive small engagements, from the 27th to the 29th of June,
and forced to fall back upon Benedek's main army, while Frederick Karl
and Herwarth, whose armies were united in the last of the four battles,
at Gitchin, remained there to await the arrival of the Crown-Prince.

The latter's task had been more difficult. On crossing the frontier, he
was faced by the greater part of Benedek's army, and his first battle,
on the 27th, at Trautenau, was a defeat. A second battle at the same
place, the next day, resulted in a brilliant victory, after which he
advanced, achieving further successes at Nachod and Skalitz, and on the
30th of June reached Königinhof, a short distance from Gitchin. King
William, Bismarck, Moltke and Roon arrived at the latter place on the 2d
of July, and it was decided to meet Benedek, who with Clam-Gallas was
awaiting battle near Königgrätz, without further delay. The movement was
hastened by indications that Benedek meant to commence the attack before
the army of the Crown-Prince could reach the field.

On the 3d of July the great battle of Königgrätz was fought. Both in its
character and its results, it was very much like that of Waterloo.
Benedek occupied a strong position on a range of low hills beyond the
little river Bistritz, with the village of Sadowa as his centre. The
army of Frederick Karl formed the Prussian centre, and that of Herwarth
the right wing: their position only differed from that of Wellington, at
Waterloo, in the circumstance that they must attack instead of resist,
and keep the whole Austrian army engaged until the Crown-Prince, like
Blücher, should arrive from the left and strike Benedek on the right
flank. The battle began at eight in the morning, and raged with the
greatest fury for six hours: again and again the Prussians hurled
themselves on the Austrian centre, only to be repulsed with heavier
losses. Herwarth, on the right, gained a little advantage; but the
Austrian rifled cannon prevented a further advance. Violent rains and
marshy soil delayed the Crown-Prince, as in Blücher's case at Waterloo:
the fate of the day was very doubtful until two o'clock in the
afternoon, when the smoke of cannon was seen in the distance, on the
Austrian right. The army of the Crown-Prince had arrived! Then all the
Prussian reserves were brought up; an advance was made along the whole
line: the Austrian right and left were broken, the centre gave way, and
in the midst of a thunderstorm the retreat became a headlong flight.
Towards evening, when the sun broke out, the Prussians saw Königgrätz
before them: the King and Crown-Prince met on the battle-field, and the
army struck up the same old choral which the troops of Frederick the
Great had sung on the field of Leuthen.

[Sidenote: 1866.]

The next day the news came that Austria had made over Venetia to France.
This seemed like a direct bid for alliance, and the need of rapid action
was greater than ever. Within two weeks the Prussians had reached the
Danube, and Vienna was an easy prey. In the meantime, the Bavarians and
other allies of Austria had been driven beyond the river Main, Frankfort
was in the hands of the Prussians, and a struggle, which could only have
ended in the defeat of the former, commenced at Würzburg. Then Austria
gave way: an armistice, embracing the preliminaries of peace, was
concluded at Nikolsburg on the 27th of July, and the SEVEN WEEKS' WAR
came to an end. The treaty of peace, which was signed at Prague on the
23d of August, placed Austria in the background and gave the leadership
of Germany to Prussia.

It was now seen that the possession of Schleswig-Holstein was not the
main object of the war. When Austria was compelled to recognize the
formation of a North-German Confederation, which excluded her and her
southern allies, but left the latter free to treat separately with the
new power, the extent of Bismarck's plans became evident. "Blood and
steel" had been used, but only to destroy the old constitution of
Germany, and render possible a firmer national Union, the guiding
influence of which was to be Prussian and Protestant, instead of
Austrian and Catholic.

[Sidenote: 1867. THE NORTH-GERMAN UNION.]

An overwhelming revulsion of feeling took place. The proud,
conservative, feudal party sank almost out of sight, in the enthusiastic
support which the nationals and liberals gave to William I. and
Bismarck. It is not likely that the latter had changed in character:
personally, his haughty aristocratic impulses were no doubt as strong as
ever; but, as a statesman, he had learned the great and permanent
strength of the opposition, and clearly saw what immense advantages
Prussia would acquire by a liberal policy. The German people, in their
indescribable relief from the anxieties of the past four years--in their
gratitude for victory and the dawn of a better future--soon came to
believe that he had always been on their side. Before the year 1866 came
to an end, the Prussian Assembly accepted all the past acts of the
Government which it had resisted, and complete harmony was

The annexation of Hannover, Hesse-Cassel, Nassau, Schleswig-Holstein and
the City of Frankfort added nearly 5,000,000 more to the population of
Prussia. The Constitution of the "North-German Union," as the new
Confederation was called, was submitted to the other States in December,
and accepted by all on the 9th of February, 1867. Its parliament,
elected by the people, met in Berlin immediately afterwards to discuss
the articles of union, which were finally adopted on the 16th of April,
when the new Power commenced its existence. It included all the German
States except Bavaria, Würtemberg and Baden, twenty-two in number, and
comprising a population of more than thirty millions, united under one
military, postal, diplomatic and financial system, like the States of
the American Union. The king of Prussia was President of the whole, and
Bismarck was elected Chancellor. About the same time Bavaria, Würtemberg
and Baden entered into a secret offensive and defensive alliance with
Prussia, and the policy of their governments, thenceforth, was so
conciliatory towards the North-German Union, that the people almost
instantly forgot the hostility created by the war.

[Sidenote: 1867.]

In the spring of 1867, Napoleon III. took advantage of the circumstance
that Luxemburg was practically detached from Germany by the downfall of
the old Diet, and offered to buy it of Holland. The agreement was nearly
concluded, when Bismarck in the name of the North-German Union, made
such an energetic protest that the negotiations were suspended. A
conference of the European Powers in London, in May, adjudged Luxemburg
to Holland, satisfying neither France nor Germany; but Bismarck's
boldness and firmness gave immediate authority to the new Union. The
people, at last, felt that they had a living, acting Government, not a
mere conglomeration of empty forms, as hitherto.




Changes in Austria. --Rise of Prussia. --Irritation of the French.
    --Napoleon III.'s Decline --War demanded. --The Pretext of the
    Spanish Throne. --Leopold of Hohenzollern. --The French Ambassador
    at Ems. --France declares War. --Excitement of the People.
    --Attitude of Germany. --Three Armies in the Field. --Battle of
    Wörth. --Advance upon Metz. --Battles of Mars-la-Tour and
    Gravelotte. --German Residents expelled from France. --Mac Mahon's
    March northwards. --Fighting on the Meuse. --Battle of Sedan.
    --Surrender of Napoleon III. and the Army. --Republic in France.
    --Hopes of the French People. --Surrenders of Toul. Strasburg and
    Metz. --Siege of Paris. --Defeat of the French Armies. --Battles of
    Le Mans. --Bourbaki's Defeat and Flight into Switzerland.
    --Surrender of Paris. --Peace. --Losses of France. --The German
    Empire proclaimed. --William I. Emperor.

[Sidenote: 1869. CHANGES IN AUSTRIA.]

The experience of the next three years showed how completely the new
order of things was accepted by the great majority of the German people.
Even in Austria, the defeat at Königgrätz and the loss of Venetia were
welcomed by the Hungarians and Slavonians, and hardly regretted by the
German population, since it was evident that the Imperial Government
must give up its absolutist policy or cease to exist. In fact, the
former Ministry was immediately dismissed: Count Beust, a Saxon and a
Protestant, was called to Vienna, and a series of reforms was
inaugurated which did not terminate until the Hungarians had won all
they demanded in 1848, and the Germans and Bohemians enjoyed full as
much liberty as the Prussians.

The Seven Weeks' War of 1866, in fact, was a phenomenon in history; no
nation ever acquired so much fame and influence in so short a time, as
Prussia. The relation of the king, and especially of the statesman who
guided him, Count Bismarck, towards the rest of Germany, was suddenly
and completely changed. Napoleon III. was compelled to transfer Venetia
to Italy, and thus his declaration in 1859 that "Italy should be free,
from the Alps to the Adriatic," was made good,--but not by France. While
the rest of Europe accepted the changes in Germany with equanimity, if
not with approbation, the vain and sensitive people of France felt
themselves deeply humiliated. Thus far, the policy of Napoleon III. had
seemed to preserve the supremacy of France in European politics. He had
overawed England, defeated Russia, and treated Italy as a magnanimous
patron. But the best strength of Germany was now united under a new
Constitution, after a war which made the achievements at Magenta,
Solferino and in the Crimea seem tame. The ostentatious designs of
France in Mexico came also to a tragic end in 1867, and her disgraceful
failure there only served to make the success of Prussia, by contrast,
more conspicuous.

[Sidenote: 1869.]

The opposition to Napoleon III. in the French Assembly made use of these
facts to increase its power. His own success had been due to good luck
rather than to superior ability: he was now more than sixty years old,
he had become cautious and wavering in his policy, and he undoubtedly
saw how much would be risked in provoking a war with the North-German
Union; but the temper of the French people left him no alternative. He
had certainly meant to interfere in 1866, had not the marvellous
rapidity of Prussia prevented it. That France had no shadow of right to
interfere, was all the same to his people: they held him responsible for
the creation of a new political Germany, which was apparently nearly as
strong as France, and that was a thing not to be endured. He yielded to
the popular excitement, and only waited for a pretext which might
justify him before the world in declaring war.

Such a pretext came in 1870. The Spaniards had expelled their Bourbon
Queen, Isabella, in 1868, and were looking about for a new monarch from
some other royal house. Their choice fell upon Prince Leopold of
Hohenzollern, a distant relation of William I. of Prussia, but also
nearly connected with the Bonaparte family through his wife, who was a
daughter of the Grand-Duchess Stephanie Beauharnais. On the 6th of July,
Napoleon's minister, the Duke de Gramont, declared to the French
Assembly that this choice would never be tolerated by France. The French
ambassador in Prussia, Benedetti, was ordered to demand of King William
that he should prohibit Prince Leopold from accepting the offer. The
king answered that he could not forbid what he had never advised; but,
immediately afterwards (on the 12th of July), Prince Leopold voluntarily
declined, and all cause of trouble seemed to be removed.

[Sidenote: 1870. FRANCE INSISTS ON WAR.]

The French people, however, were insanely bent upon war. The excitement
was so great, and so urgently fostered by the Empress Eugenie, the Duke
de Gramont, and the army, that Napoleon III. again yielded. A dispatch
was sent to Benedetti: "Be rough to the king!" The ambassador, who was
at the baths of Ems, where William I. was also staying, sought the
latter on the public promenade and abruptly demanded that he should give
France a guarantee that no member of the house of Hohenzollern should
ever accept the throne of Spain. The ambassador's manner, even more than
his demand, was insulting: the king turned upon his heel, and left him
standing. This was on the 13th of July: on the 15th the king returned to
Berlin, and on the 19th France formally declared war.

It was universally believed that every possible preparation had been
made for this step. In fact, Marshal Le Boeuf assured Napoleon III.
that the army was "more than ready," and an immediate French advance to
the Rhine was anticipated throughout Europe. Napoleon relied upon
detaching the Southern German States from the Union, upon revolts in
Hesse and Hannover, and finally, upon alliances with Austria and Italy.
The French people were wild with excitement, which took the form of
rejoicing: there was a general cry that Napoleon I.'s birthday, the 15th
of August, must be celebrated in Berlin. But the German people, North
and South, rose as one man: for the first time in her history, Germany
became one compact, _national_ power. Bavarian and Hannoverian, Prussian
and Hessian, Saxon and Westphalian joined hands and stood side by side.
The temper of the people was solemn, but inflexibly firm: they did not
boast of coming victory, but every one was resolved to die rather than
see Germany again overrun by the French.

This time there were no alliances: it was simply Germany on one side and
France on the other. The greatest military genius of our day, Moltke,
had foreseen the war, no less than Bismarck, and was equally prepared.
The designs of France lay clear, and the only question was to check
them in their very commencement. In eleven days, Germany had 450,000
soldiers, organized in three armies, on the way, and the French had not
yet crossed the frontier! Further, there was a German reserve force of
112,000, while France had but 310,000, all told, in the field. By the 2d
of August, on which day King William reached Mayence, three German
armies (General Steinmetz on the North with 61,000 men, Prince Frederick
Karl in the centre with 206,000, and the Crown-Prince Frederick William
on the South with 180,000) stretched from Treves to Landau, and the line
of the Rhine was already safe. On the same day, Napoleon III. and his
young son accompanied General Frossard, with 25,000 men, in an attack
upon the unfortified frontier town of Saarbrück, which was defended by
only 1800 Uhlans (cavalry). The capture of this little place was
telegraphed to Paris, and received with the wildest rejoicings; but it
was the only instance during the war when French troops stood upon
German soil--unless as prisoners.

[Sidenote: 1870.]

On the 4th the army of the Crown-Prince crossed the French frontier and
defeated Marshal Mac Mahon's right wing at Weissenburg. The old castle
was stormed and taken by the Bavarians, and the French repulsed, after a
loss of about 1,000 on each side. Mac Mahon concentrated his whole force
and occupied a strong position near the village of Wörth, where he was
again attacked on the 6th. The battle lasted thirteen hours and was
fiercely contested: the Germans lost 10,000 killed and wounded, the
French 8,000, and 6,000 prisoners; but when night came Mac Mahon's
defeat turned into a panic. Part of his army fled towards the Vosges
mountains, part towards Strasburg, and nearly all Alsatia was open to
the victorious Germans. On the very same day, the army of Steinmetz
stormed the heights of Spicheren near Saarbrück, and won a splendid
victory. This was followed by an immediate advance across the frontier
at Forbach, and the capture of a great amount of supplies.

Thus, in less than three weeks from the declaration of war, the attitude
of France was changed from the aggressive to the defensive, the field of
war was transferred to French soil, and all Napoleon III.'s plans of
alliance were rendered vain. Leaving a division of Baden troops to
invest Strasburg, the Crown-Prince pressed forward with his main army,
and in a few days reached Nancy, in Lorraine. The armies of the North
and Centre advanced at the same time, defeated Bazaine on the 14th of
August at Courcelles, and forced him to fall back upon Metz. He
thereupon determined, after garrisoning the forts of Metz, to retreat
still further, in order to unite with General Trochu, who was organizing
a new army at Châlons, and with the remnants of Mac Mahon's forces.
Moltke detected his plans at once, and the army of Frederick Karl was
thereupon hurried across the Moselle, to get into his rear and prevent
the junction.

[Illustration: METZ AND VICINITY.]


The struggle between the two commenced on the 16th, near the village of
Mars-la-Tour, where Bazaine, with 180,000 men, endeavored to force his
way past Frederick Karl, who had but 120,000, the other two German
armies being still in the rear. For six hours the latter held his
position under a murderous fire, until three corps arrived to reinforce
him. Bazaine claimed a victory, although he lost the southern and
shorter road to Verdun; but Moltke none the less gained his object. The
losses were about 17,000 killed and wounded on each side.

After a single day of rest, the struggle was resumed on the 18th, when
the still bloodier and more desperate battle of Gravelotte was fought.
The Germans now had about 200,000 soldiers together, while Bazaine had
180,000, with a great advantage in his position on a high plateau. In
this battle, the former situation of the combatants was changed: the
German lines faced eastward, the French westward--a circumstance which
made defeat more disastrous to either side. The strife began in the
morning and continued until darkness put an end to it: the French right
wing yielded after a succession of heroic assaults, but the centre and
left wing resisted gallantly until the very close of the battle. It was
a hard-won victory, adding 20,000 killed and wounded to the German
losses, but it cut off Bazaine's retreat and forced him to take shelter
behind the fortifications of Metz, the siege of which, by Prince
Frederick Karl with 200,000 men, immediately commenced, while the rest
of the German army marched on to attack Mac Mahon and Trochu at Châlons.

[Sidenote: 1870.]

There could be no question as to the bravery of the French troops in
these two battles. In Paris the Government and people persisted in
considering them victories, until the imprisonment of Bazaine's army
proved that their result was defeat. Then a wild cry of rage rang
through the land: France had been betrayed, and by whom, if not by the
German residents in Paris and other cities? The latter, more than
100,000 in number, including women and helpless children, were expelled
from the country under circumstances of extreme barbarity. The French
people, not the Government, was responsible for this act: the latter was
barely able to protect the Germans from worse violence.

Mac Mahon had in the meantime organized a new army of 125,000 men in the
camp at Châlons, where, it was supposed, he would dispute the advance on
Paris. This was his plan, in fact, and he was with difficulty persuaded
by Marshal Palikao, the Minister of War, to give it up and undertake a
rapid march up the Meuse, along the Belgian frontier, to relieve Bazaine
in Metz. On the 23d of August, the Crown-Prince, who had already passed
beyond Verdun on his way to Châlons, received intelligence that the
French had left the latter place. Detachments of Uhlans, sent out in all
haste to reconnoitre, soon brought the astonishing news that Mac Mahon
was marching rapidly northwards. Gen. Moltke detected his plan, which
could only be thwarted by the most vigorous movement on the part of the
German forces. The front of the advance was instantly changed, reformed
on the right flank, and all pushed northwards by forced marches.

[Sidenote: 1870. MAC MAHON'S MARCH.]

Mac Mahon had the outer and longer line, so that, in spite of the
rapidity of his movements, he was met by the extreme right wing of the
German army on the 28th of August, at Stenay on the Meuse. Being here
held in check, fresh divisions were hurried against him, several small
engagements followed, and on the 31st he was defeated at Beaumont by the
Crown-Prince of Saxony. The German right was thereupon pushed beyond the
Meuse and occupied the passes of the Forest of Ardennes, leading into
Belgium. Meanwhile the German left, under Frederick William, was rapidly
driving back the French right and cutting off the road to Paris. Nothing
was left to Mac Mahon but to concentrate his forces and retire upon the
small fortified city of Sedan. Napoleon III., who had left Metz before
the battle of Mars-la-Tour, and did not dare to return to Paris at such
a time, was with him.

The Germans, now numbering 200,000, lost no time in planting batteries
on all the heights which surround the valley of the Meuse, at Sedan,
like the rim of an irregular basin. Mac Mahon had 112,000 men, and his
only chance of success was to break through the wider ring which
inclosed him, at some point where it was weak. The battle began at five
o'clock on the morning of September 1st. The principal struggle was for
the possession of the villages of Bazeilles and Illy, and the heights of
Daigny. Mac Mahon was severely wounded, soon after the fight began; the
command was then given to General Ducrot and afterwards to General
Wimpffen, who knew neither the ground nor the plan of operations. The
German artillery fire was fearful, and the French infantry could not
stand before it, while their cavalry was almost annihilated during the
afternoon, in a succession of charges on the Prussian infantry.

By three o'clock it was evident that the French army was defeated:
driven back from every strong point which was held in the morning,
hurled together in a demoralized mass, nothing was left but surrender.
General Lauriston appeared with a white flag on the walls of Sedan, and
the terrible fire of the German artillery ceased. Napoleon III. wrote to
King William: "Not having been able to die at the head of my troops, I
lay my sword at your Majesty's feet,"--and retired to the castle of
Bellevue, outside of the city. Early the next morning he had an
interview with Bismarck at the little village of Donchery, and then
formally surrendered to the King at Bellevue.

[Sidenote: 1870.]

During the battle, 25,000 French soldiers had been taken prisoners: the
remaining 83,000, including 4,000 officers, surrendered on the 2d of
September: 400 cannon, 70 _mitrailleuses_, and 1,100 horses also fell
into the hands of the Germans. Never before, in history, had such a host
been taken captive. The news of this overwhelming victory electrified
the world: Germany rang with rejoicings, and her emigrated sons in
America and Australia joined in the jubilee. The people said: "It will
be another Seven Weeks' War," and this hope might possibly have been
fulfilled, but for the sudden political change in France. On the 4th
(two days after the surrender), a revolution broke out in Paris, the
Empress Eugénie and the members of her government fled, and a Republic
was declared. The French, blaming Napoleon alone for their tremendous
national humiliation, believed that they could yet recover their lost
ground; and when one of their prominent leaders, the statesman Jules
Favre, declared that "not one foot of soil, not one stone of a fortress"
should be yielded to Germany, the popular enthusiasm knew no bounds.

But it was too late. The great superiority of the military organization
of Prussia had been manifested against the regular troops of France, and
it could not be expected that new armies of volunteers, however brave
and devoted, would be more successful. The army of the Crown-Prince
marched on towards Paris without opposition, and on the 17th of
September came in sight of the city, which was defended by an outer
circle of powerful detached fortresses, constructed during the reign of
Louis Philippe. Gen. Trochu was made military governor, with 70,000
men--the last remnant of the regular army--under his command. He had
barely time to garrison and strengthen the forts, when the city was
surrounded, and the siege commenced.

For two months thereafter, the interest of the war is centred upon
sieges. The fortified city of Toul, in Lorraine, surrendered on the 23d
of September, Strasburg, after a six weeks' siege, on the 28th, and thus
the two lines of railway communication between Germany and Paris were
secured. All the German reserves were called into the field, until,
finally, more than 800,000 soldiers stood upon French soil. After two or
three attempts to break through the lines Bazaine surrendered Metz on
the 28th of October. It was another event without a parallel in military
history. There Marshals of France, 6,000 officers, 145,000 unwounded
soldiers, 73 eagles, 854 pieces of artillery, and 400,000 Chasse-pot
rifles, were surrendered to Prince Frederick Karl!

[Sidenote: 1870. NEW FRENCH ARMIES.]

After these successes, the capture of Paris became only a question of
time. Although the Republican leader, Gambetta, escaped from the city in
a balloon, and by his fiery eloquence aroused the people of Central and
Southern France, every plan for raising the siege of Paris failed. The
French volunteers were formed into three armies--that of the North,
under Faidherbe; of the Loire, under Aurelles de Paladine (afterwards
under Chanzy and Bourbaki); and of the East, under Kératry. Besides, a
great many companies of _francs-tireurs_, or independent sharp-shooters,
were organized to interrupt the German communications, and they gave
much more trouble than the larger armies. About the end of November a
desperate attempt was made to raise the siege of Paris. General Paladine
marched from Orleans with 150,000 men, while Trochu tried to break the
lines of the besiegers on the eastern side. The latter was repelled,
after a bloody fight: the former was attacked at Beaune la Rolande, by
Prince Frederick Karl, with only half the number of troops, and most
signally defeated. The Germans then carried on the winter campaign with
the greatest vigor, both in the Northern provinces and along the Loire,
and Trochu, with his four hundred thousand men, made no further serious
effort to save Paris.

Frederick Karl took Orleans on the 5th of December, advanced to Tours,
and finally, in a six days' battle, early in January, 1871, at Le Mans,
literally cut the Army of the Loire to pieces. The French lost 60,000 in
killed, wounded and prisoners. Faidherbe was defeated in the North, a
week afterwards, and the only resistance left was in Burgundy, where
Garibaldi (who hastened to France after the Republic was proclaimed) had
been successful in two or three small engagements, and was now replaced
by Bourbaki. The object of the latter was to relieve the fortress of
Belfort, then besieged by General Werder, who, with 43,000 men,
awaited his coming in a strong position among the mountains.
Notwithstanding Bourbaki had more than 100,000 men, he was forced to
retreat after a fight of three days, and then General Manteuffel, who
had been sent in all haste to strengthen Werder, followed him so closely
that on the 1st of February, all retreat being cut off, his whole army
of 83,000 men crossed the Swiss frontier, and after suffering terribly
among the snowy passes of the Jura, were disarmed, fed and clothed by
the Swiss government and people. Bourbaki attempted to commit suicide,
but only inflicted a severe wound, from which he afterwards recovered.

[Illustration: The German EMPIRE 1871.]

[Sidenote: 1871. SURRENDER OF PARIS.]

The retreat into Switzerland was almost the last event of the _Seven
Months' War_, as it might be called, and it was as remarkable as the
surrenders of Sedan and Metz. All power of defence was now broken:
France was completely at the mercy of her conquerors. On the 28th of
January, after long negotiations between Bismarck and Jules Favre, the
forts around Paris capitulated and Trochu's army became prisoners of
war. The city was not occupied, but, for the sake of the half-starved
population, provisions were allowed to enter. The armistice, originally
declared for three weeks, was prolonged until March 1st, when the
preliminaries of peace were agreed upon, and hostilities came to an end.

By the final treaty of Peace, which was concluded at Frankfort on the
10th of May, 1871, France gave up Alsatia with all its cities and
fortresses except Belfort, and _German_ Lorraine, including Metz and
Thionville, to Germany. The territory thus transferred contained about
5,500 square miles and 1,580,000 inhabitants. France also agreed to pay
an indemnity of _five thousand millions_ of francs, in instalments,
certain of her departments to be occupied by German troops, and only
evacuated by degrees, as the payments were made. Thus ended this
astonishing war, during which 17 great battles and 156 minor engagements
had been fought, 22 fortified places taken, 385,000 soldiers (including
11,360 officers) made prisoners, and 7,200 cannon and 600,000 stand of
arms acquired by Germany. There is no such crushing defeat of a strong
nation recorded in history.

[Sidenote: 1871.]

Even before the capitulation of Paris the natural political result of
the victory was secured to Germany. The cooperation of the three
Southern States in the war removed the last barrier to a union of all,
except Austria, under the lead of Prussia. That which the great
majority of the people desired was also satisfactory to the princes: the
"North-German Union" was enlarged and transformed into the "German
Empire," by including Bavaria, Würtemberg and Baden. It was agreed that
the young king of Ba