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Title: A Source Book of Mediæval History - Documents Illustrative of European Life and Institutions from the German Invasions to the Renaissance
Author: Ogg, Frederic Austin, 1878-1951 [Editor]
Language: English
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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.

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Documents Illustrative of European Life and Institutions
from the German Invasions to the Renaissance

Edited by


Assistant in History in Harvard University
and Instructor in Simmons College


New York .:. Cincinnati .:. Chicago
American Book Company

Copyright, 1907, by
Frederic Austin Ogg

Entered at Stationers' Hall, London
W. P. 4


This book has been prepared in consequence of a conviction, derived
from some years of teaching experience, (1) that sources, of proper
kind and in carefully regulated amount, can profitably be made use of
by teachers and students of history in elementary college classes, in
academies and preparatory schools, and in the more advanced years of
the average high school, and (2) that for mediæval history there
exists no published collection which is clearly adapted to practical
conditions of work in such classes and schools.

It has seemed to me that a source book designed to meet the
requirements of teachers and classes in the better grade of secondary
schools, and perhaps in the freshman year of college work, ought to
comprise certain distinctive features, first, with respect to the
character of the selections presented, and, secondly, in regard to
general arrangement and accompanying explanatory matter. In the
choice of extracts I have sought to be guided by the following
considerations: (1) that in all cases the materials presented should
be of real value, either for the historical information contained in
them or for the more or less indirect light they throw upon mediæval
life or conditions; (2) that, for the sake of younger students, a
relatively large proportion of narrative (annals, chronicles, and
biography) be introduced and the purely documentary material be
slightly subordinated; (3) that, despite this principle, documents of
vital importance, such as _Magna Charta_ and _Unam Sanctam_, which
cannot be ignored in even the most hasty or elementary study, be
presented with some fulness; and (4) that, in general, the rule should
be to give longer passages from fewer sources, rather than more
fragmentary ones from a wider range.

With respect to the manner of presenting the selections, I have
sought: (1) to offer careful translations--some made afresh from the
printed originals, others adapted from good translations already
available--but with as much simplification and modernization of
language as close adherence to the sense will permit. Literal, or
nearly literal, translations are obviously desirable for maturer
students, but, because of the involved character of mediæval writings,
are rarely readable, and are as a rule positively repellent to the
young mind; (2) to provide each selection, or group of selections,
with an introductory explanation, containing the historical setting of
the extract, with perhaps some comment on its general significance,
and also a brief sketch of the writer, particularly when he is an
authority of exceptional importance, as Einhard, Joinville, or
Froissart; and (3) to supply, in foot-notes, somewhat detailed aid to
the understanding of obscure allusions, omitted passages, and
especially place names and technical terms.

For permission to reprint various translations, occasionally verbatim
but usually in adapted form, I am under obligation to the following:
Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin and Co., publishers of Miss Henry's
translation of Dante's _De Monarchia_; Messrs. Henry Holt and Co.,
publishers of Lee's _Source Book of English History_; Messrs. Ginn and
Co., publishers of Robinson's _Readings in European History_; Messrs.
Charles Scribner's Sons, publishers of Thatcher and McNeal's _Source
Book for Mediæval History_; Messrs. G. P. Putnam's Sons, publishers of
Robinson and Rolfe's _Petrarch_; and Professor W. E. Lingelbach, of
the University of Pennsylvania, representing the University of
Pennsylvania _Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of
European History_.

In the preparation of the book I have received invaluable assistance
from numerous persons, among whom the following, at least, should be
named: Professor Samuel B. Harding, of the University of Indiana, who
read the entire work in manuscript and has followed its progress from
the first with discerning criticism; Professor Charles H. Haskins, of
Harvard University, who has read most of the proof-sheets, and whose
scholarship and intimate acquaintance with the problems of history
teaching have contributed a larger proportion of whatever merits the
book possesses than I dare attempt to reckon up; and Professors
Charles Gross and Ephraim Emerton, likewise of Harvard, whose
instruction and counsel have helped me over many hard places.

The final word must be reserved for my wife, who, as careful
amanuensis, has shared the burden of a not altogether easy task.




     [Sidenote: The question of authority in a book of history]

If one proposes to write a history of the times of Abraham Lincoln,
how shall one begin, and how proceed? Obviously, the first thing
needed is information, and as much of it as can be had. But how shall
information, accurate and trustworthy, be obtained? Of course there
are plenty of books on Lincoln, and histories enough covering the
period of his career to fill shelf upon shelf. It would be quite
possible to spread some dozens of these before one's self and, drawing
simply from them, work out a history that would read well and perhaps
have a wide sale. And such a book might conceivably be worth while.
But if you were reading it, and were a bit disposed to query into the
accuracy of the statements made, you would probably find yourself
wondering before long just where the writer got his authority for this
or that assertion; and if, in foot-note or appendix, he should seem to
satisfy your curiosity by citing some other biography or history, you
would be quite justified in feeling that, after all, your inquiry
remained unanswered,--for whence did this second writer get _his_
authority? If you were thus persistent you would probably get hold of
the volume referred to and verify, as we say, the statements of fact
or opinion attributed to it. When you came upon them you might find it
there stated that the point in question is clearly established from
certain of Lincoln's own letters or speeches, which are thereupon
cited, and perhaps quoted in part. At last you would be satisfied that
the thing must very probably be true, for there you would have the
words of Lincoln himself upon it; or, on the other hand, you might
discover that your first writer had merely adopted an opinion of
somebody else which did not have behind it the warrant of any
first-hand authority. In either case you might well wonder why,
instead of using and referring only to books of other later authors
like himself, he did not go directly to Lincoln's own works, get his
facts from them, and give authority for his statements at first hand.
And if you pushed the matter farther it would very soon occur to you
that there are some books on Lincoln and his period which are not
carefully written, and therefore not trustworthy, and that your author
may very well have used some of these, falling blindly into their
errors and at times wholly escaping the correct interpretation of
things which could be had, in incontrovertible form, from Lincoln's
own pen, or from the testimony of his contemporaries. In other words,
you would begin to distrust him because he had failed to go to the
"sources" for his materials, or at least for a verification of them.

     [Sidenote: The superiority of direct sources of knowledge]

How, then, shall one proceed in the writing of history in order to
make sure of the indispensable quality of accuracy? Clearly, the first
thing to be borne in mind is the necessity of getting information
through channels which are as direct and immediate as possible. Just
as in ascertaining the facts regarding an event of to-day it would be
desirable to get the testimony of an eye-witness rather than an
account after it had passed from one person to another, suffering more
or less distortion at every step, so, in seeking a trustworthy
description of the battle of Salamis or of the personal habits of
Charlemagne, the proper course would be to lay hold first of all of
whatever evidence concerning these things has come down from Xerxes's
or Charlemagne's day to our own, and to put larger trust in this than
in more recent accounts which have been played upon by the imagination
of their authors and perhaps rendered wholly misleading by errors
consciously or unconsciously injected into them. The writer of history
must completely divest himself of the notion that a thing is true
simply because he finds it in print. He may, and should, read and
consider well what others like himself have written upon his subject,
but he should be wary of accepting what he finds in such books without
himself going to the materials to which these writers have resorted
and ascertaining whether they have been used with patience and
discrimination. If his subject is Lincoln, he should, for example,
make sure above everything else, of reading exhaustively the letters,
speeches, and state papers which have been preserved, in print or in
manuscript, from Lincoln's pen. Similarly, he should examine with care
all letters and communications of every kind transmitted to Lincoln.
Then he should familiarize himself with the writings of the leading
men of Lincoln's day, whether in the form of letters, diaries,
newspaper and magazine articles, or books. The files, indeed, of all
the principal periodicals of the time should be gone through in quest
of information or suggestions not to be found in other places. And, of
course, the vast mass of public and official records would be
invaluable--the journals of the two houses of Congress, the
dispatches, orders, and accounts of the great executive departments,
the arguments before the courts, with the resulting decisions, and the
all but numberless other papers which throw light upon the practical
conditions and achievements of the governing powers, national, state,
and local. However much one may be able to acquire from the reading of
later biographies and histories, he ought not to set about the writing
of a new book of the sort unless he is willing to toil patiently
through all these first-hand, contemporary materials and get some
warrant from them, as being nearest the events themselves, for
everything of importance that he proposes to say. This rule is equally
applicable and urgent whatever the subject in hand--whether the age of
Pericles, the Roman Empire, the Norman conquest of England, the French
Revolution, or the administrations of George Washington--though,
obviously, the character and amount of the contemporary materials of
which one can avail himself varies enormously from people to people
and from period to period.

     [Sidenote: Indirect character of all historical knowledge]

History is unlike many other subjects of study in that our knowledge
of it, at best, must come to us almost wholly through indirect means.
That is to say, all our information regarding the past, and most of it
regarding our own day, has to be obtained, in one form or another,
through other people, or the remains that they have left behind them.
No one of us can know much about even so recent an event as the
Spanish-American War, except by reading newspapers, magazines and
books, talking with men who had part in it, or listening to public
addresses concerning it--all indirect means. And, of course, when we
go back of the memory of men now living, say to the American
Revolution, nobody can lay claim to an iota of knowledge which he has
not acquired through indirect channels. In physics or chemistry, if a
student desires, he can reproduce in the laboratory practically any
phenomenon which he finds described in his books; he need not accept
the mere word of his text or of his teacher, but can actually behold
the thing with his own eyes. Such experimentation, however, has no
place in the study of history, for by no sort of art can a Roman
legion or a German comitatus or the battle of Hastings be reproduced
before mortal eye.

     [Sidenote: An "historical source" defined]

     [Sidenote: Written sources]

For our knowledge of history we are therefore obliged to rely
absolutely upon human testimony, in one form or another, the value of
such testimony depending principally upon the directness with which it
comes to us from the men and the times under consideration. If it
reaches us with reasonable directness, and represents a well
authenticated means of studying the period in question from the
writings or other traces left by that period, it is properly to be
included in the great body of materials which we have come to call
historical sources. An historical source may be defined as any product
of human activity or existence that can be used as direct evidence in
the study of man's past life and institutions. A moment's thought will
suggest that there are "sources" of numerous and widely differing
kinds. Roughly speaking, at least, they fall into two great groups:
(1) those in writing and (2) those in some form other than writing.
The first group is by far the larger and more important. Foremost in
it stand annals, chronicles, and histories, written from time to time
all along the line of human history, on the cuneiform tablets of the
Assyrians or the parchment rolls of the mediæval monks, in the
polished Latin of a Livy or the sprightly French of a Froissart. Works
of pure literature also--epics, lyrics, dramas, essays--because of the
light that they often throw upon the times in which they were written,
possess a large value of the same general character. Of nearly equal
importance is the great class of materials which may be called
documentary--laws, charters, formulæ, accounts, treaties, and official
orders or instructions. These last are obviously of largest value in
the study of social customs, land tenures, systems of government, the
workings of courts, ecclesiastical organizations, and political
agencies--in other words, of _institutions_--just as chronicles and
histories are of greatest service in unraveling the _narrative_ side
of human affairs.

     [Sidenote: Sources other than in writing]

Of sources which are not in the form of writing, the most important
are: (1) implements of warfare, agriculture, household economy, and
the chase, large quantities of which have been brought to light in
various parts of the world, and which bear witness to the manner of
life prevailing among the peoples who produced and used them; (2)
coins, hoarded up in treasuries or buried in tombs or ruins of one
sort or another, frequently preserving likenesses of important
sovereigns, with dates and other materials of use especially in fixing
chronology; (3) works of art, surviving intact or with losses or
changes inflicted by the ravages of weather and human abuse--the tombs
of the Egyptians, the sculpture of the Greeks, the architecture of the
Middle Ages, or the paintings of the Renaissance; (4) other
constructions of a more practical character, particularly
dwelling-houses, roads, bridges, aqueducts, walls, gates, fortresses,
and ships,--some well preserved and surviving as they were first
fashioned, others in ruins, and still others built over and more or
less obscured by modern improvement or adaptation.

     [Sidenote: Various ways of using sources]

These are some of the things to which the writer of history must go
for his facts and for his inspiration, and it is to these that the
student, whose business is to learn and not to write, ought
occasionally to resort to enliven and supplement what he finds in the
books. As there are many kinds of sources, so there are many ways in
which such materials may be utilized. If, for example, you are
studying the life of the Greeks and in that connection pay a visit to
a museum of fine arts and scrutinize Greek statuary, Greek vases, and
Greek coins, you are very clearly using sources. If your subject is
the church life of the later Middle Ages and you journey to Rheims or
Amiens or Paris to contemplate the splendid cathedrals in these
cities, with their spires and arches and ornamentation, you are, in
every proper sense, using sources. You are doing the same thing if you
make an observation trip to the Egyptian pyramids, or to the excavated
Roman forum, or if you traverse the line of old Watling Street--nay,
if you but visit Faneuil Hall, or tramp over the battlefield of
Gettysburg. Many of these more purely "material" sources can be made
use of only after long and sometimes arduous journeys, or through the
valuable, but somewhat less satisfactory, medium of pictures and
descriptions. Happily, however, the art of printing and the practice
of accumulating enormous libraries have made possible the indefinite
duplication of _written_ sources, and consequently the use of them at
almost any time and in almost any place. There is but one Sphinx, one
Parthenon, one Sistine Chapel; there are not many Roman roads, feudal
castles, or Gothic cathedrals; but scarcely a library in any civilized
country is without a considerable number of the monumental _documents_
of human history--the funeral oration of Pericles, the laws of
Tiberius Gracchus, Magna Charta, the theses of Luther, the Bill of
Rights, the Constitution of the United States--not to mention the all
but limitless masses of histories, biographies, poems, letters,
essays, memoirs, legal codes, and official records of every variety
which are available for any one who seriously desires to make use of

     [Sidenote: The value of sources to the student]

But why should the younger student trouble himself, or be troubled,
with any of these things? Might he not get all the history he can be
expected to know from books written by scholars who have given their
lives to exploring, organizing, and sifting just such sources? There
can be no question that schools and colleges to-day have the use of
better text-books in history than have ever before been available, and
that truer notions of the subject in its various relations can be had
from even the most narrow devotion to these texts than could be had
from the study of their predecessors a generation ago. If the object
of studying history were solely to acquire facts, it would, generally
speaking, be a waste of time for high school or younger college
students to wander far from text-books. But, assuming that history is
studied not alone for the mastery of facts but also for the broadening
of culture, and for certain kinds of mental training, the properly
regulated use of sources by the student himself is to be justified on
at least three grounds: (1) Sources help to an understanding of the
point of view of the men, and the spirit of the age under
consideration. The ability to dissociate one's self from his own
surroundings and habits of thinking and to put himself in the company
of Cæsar, of Frederick Barbarossa, or of Innocent III., as the
occasion may require, is the hardest, but perhaps the most valuable,
thing that the student of history can hope to get. (2) Sources add
appreciably to the vividness and reality of history. However
well-written the modern description of Charlemagne, for example, the
student ought to find a somewhat different flavor in the account by
the great Emperor's own friend and secretary, Einhard; and, similarly,
Matthew Paris's picture of the raving and fuming of Frederick II. at
his excommunication by Pope Gregory ought to bring the reader into a
somewhat more intimate appreciation of the character of the proud
German-Sicilian emperor. (3) The use of sources, in connection with
the reading of secondary works, may be expected to train the student,
to some extent at least, in methods of testing the accuracy of modern
writers, especially when the subject in hand is one that lends itself
to a variety of interpretations. In the sources the makers of history,
or those who stood close to them, are allowed to speak for themselves,
or for their times, and the study of such materials not only helps
plant in the student's mind the conception of fairness and
impartiality in judging historical characters, but also cultivates the
habit of tracing things back to their origins and verifying what
others have asserted about them. So far as practicable the student of
history, from the age of fourteen and onwards, should be encouraged to
develop the critical or judicial temperament along with the purely

     [Sidenote: Simplicity of many mediæval sources]

In preparing a source book, such as the present one, the purpose is to
further the study of the most profitable sources by removing some of
the greater difficulties, particularly those of accessibility and
language. Clearly impracticable as anything like historical "research"
undoubtedly is for younger students, it is none the less believed that
there are abundant first-hand materials in the range of history which
such students will not only find profitable but actually enjoy, and
that any acquaintance with these things that may be acquired in
earlier studies will be of inestimable advantage subsequently. It is
furthermore believed, contrary to the assertions that one sometimes
hears, that the history of the Middle Ages lends itself to this sort
of treatment with scarcely, if any, less facility than that of other
periods. Certainly Gregory's Clovis, Asser's Alfred, Einhard's
Charlemagne, and Joinville's St. Louis are living personalities, no
less vividly portrayed than the heroes of a boy's storybook. Tacitus's
description of the early Germans, Ammianus's account of the crossing
of the Danube by the Visigoths and his pictures of the Huns, Bede's
narrative of the Saxon invasion of Britain, the affectionate letter
Stephen of Blois to his wife and children, the portrayal of the
sweet-spirited St. Francis by the Three Companions, and Froissart's
free and easy sketch of the battle of Crécy are all interesting,
easily comprehended, and even adapted to whet the appetite for a
larger acquaintance with these various people and events. Even solid
documents, like the Salic law, the Benedictine Rule, the Peace of
Constance, and the Golden Bull, if not in themselves exactly
attractive, may be made to have a certain interest for the younger
student when he realizes that to know mediæval history at all he is
under the imperative necessity of getting much of the framework of
things either from such materials or from text-books which essentially
reproduce them. It is hoped that at least a reasonable proportion of
the selections herewith presented may serve in some measure to
overcome for the student the remote and intangible character which the
Middle Ages have much too commonly, though perhaps not unnaturally,
been felt to possess.


   SECTION                                                        PAGE


   1. A Sketch by Cæsar                                             19

   2. A Description by Tacitus                                      23


   3. The Visigoths Cross the Danube (376)                          32

   4. The Battle of Adrianople (378)                                37


   5. Description by a Græco-Roman Poet and a Roman Historian       42


   6. The Deeds of Clovis as Related by Gregory of Tours            47

   7. The Law of the Salian Franks                                  59


   8. The Saxon Invasion (cir. 449)                                 68

   9. The Mission of Augustine (597)                                72


   10. Pope Leo's Sermon on the Petrine Supremacy                   78

   11. The Rule of St. Benedict                                     83

   12. Gregory the Great on the Life of the Pastor                  90


   13. Selections from the Koran                                    97


   14. Pepin the Short Takes the Title of King (751)               105


   15. Charlemagne the Man                                         108

   16. The War with the Saxons (772-803)                           114

   17. The Capitulary Concerning the Saxon Territory (cir. 780)    118

   18. The Capitulary Concerning the Royal Domains (cir. 800)      124

   19. An Inventory of one of Charlemagne's Estates                127

   20. Charlemagne Crowned Emperor (800)                           130

   21. The General Capitulary for the _Missi_ (802)                134

   22. A Letter of Charlemagne to Abbot Fulrad                     141

   23. The Carolingian Revival of Learning                         144


   24. The Oaths of Strassburg (842)                               149

   25. The Treaty of Verdun (843)                                  154

   26. A Chronicle of the Frankish Kingdom in the Ninth Century    157

   27. The Northmen in the Country of the Franks                   163

   28. Later Carolingian Efforts to Preserve Order                 173

   29. The Election of Hugh Capet (987)                            177


   30. The Danes in England                                        181

   31. Alfred's Interest in Education                              185

   32. Alfred's Laws                                               194


   33. Tests by Hot Water, Cold Water, and Fire                    196


   34. Older Institutions Involving Elements of Feudalism          203

   35. The Granting of Fiefs                                       214

   36. The Ceremonies of Homage and Fealty                         216

   37. The Mutual Obligations of Lords and Vassals                 220

   38. Some of the More Important Rights of the Lord               221

   39. The Peace and the Truce of God                              228


   40. The Battle of Hastings: the English and the Normans         233

   41. William the Conqueror as Man and as King                    241


   42. The Foundation Charter of the Monastery of Cluny (910)      245

   43. The Early Career of St. Bernard and the Founding of
       Clairvaux                                                   250

   44. A Description of Clairvaux                                  258


   45. Gregory VII.'s Conception of the Papal Authority            261

   46. Letter of Gregory VII. to Henry IV. (1075)                  264

   47. Henry IV.'s Reply to Gregory's Letter (1076)                269

   48. Henry IV. Deposed by Gregory (1076)                         272

   49. The Penance of Henry IV. at Canossa (1077)                  273

   50. The Concordat of Worms (1122)                               278


   51. Speech of Pope Urban II. at the Council of Clermont
       (1095)                                                      282

   52. The Starting of the Crusaders (1096)                        288

   53. A Letter from a Crusader to his Wife                        291


   54. The Winning of the Great Charter                            297

   55. Extracts from the Charter                                   303


   56. The Character and Deeds of the King as Described by
       Joinville                                                   311


   57. Some Twelfth Century Town Charters                          325

   58. The Colonization of Eastern Germany                         330

   59. The League of Rhenish Cities (1254)                         334


   60. Privileges Granted to Students and Masters                  340

   61. The Foundation of the University of Heidelberg (1386)       345

   62. Mediæval Students' Songs                                    351


   63. The Life of St. Francis                                     362

   64. The Rule of St. Francis                                     373

   65. The Will of St. Francis                                     376


   66. The Interdict Laid on France by Innocent III. (1200)        380

   67. The Bull "Unam Sanctam" of Boniface VIII. (1302)            383

   68. The Great Schism and the Councils of Pisa and Constance     389

   69. The Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (1438)                    393


   70. The Peace of Constance (1183)                               398

   71. Current Rumors Concerning the Life and Character of
       Frederick II.                                               402

   72. The Golden Bull of Charles IV. (1356)                       409


   73. An Occasion of War between the Kings of England and France  418

   74. Edward III. Assumes the Arms and Title of the King of
       France                                                      421

   75. The Naval Battle of Sluys (1340)                            424

   76. The Battle of Crécy (1346)                                  427

   77. The Sack of Limoges (1370)                                  436

   78. The Treaties of Bretigny (1360) and Troyes (1420)           439


   79. Dante's Defense of Italian as a Literary Language           445

   80. Dante's Conception of the Imperial Power                    452

   81. Petrarch's Love of the Classics                             462

   82. Petrarch's Letter to Posterity                              469


   83. The Reply of Wyclif to the Summons of Pope Urban VI.
       (1384)                                                      474




1. A Sketch by Cæsar

One of the most important steps in the expansion of the Roman Republic
was the conquest of Gaul by Julius Cæsar just before the middle of the
first century B.C. Through this conquest Rome entered deliberately
upon the policy of extending her dominion northward from the
Mediterranean and the Alps into the regions of western and central
Europe known to us to-day as France and Germany. By their wars in this
direction the Romans were brought into contact with peoples concerning
whose manner of life they had hitherto known very little. There were
two great groups of these peoples--the Gauls and the Germans--each
divided and subdivided into numerous tribes and clans. In general it
may be said that the Gauls occupied what we now call France and the
Germans what we know as Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Germany, and
Austria. The Rhine marked a pretty clear boundary between them.

During the years 58-50 B.C., Julius Cæsar, who had risen to the
proconsulship through a long series of offices and honors at Rome,
served the state as leader of five distinct military expeditions in
this country of the northern barbarians. The primary object of these
campaigns was to establish order among the turbulent tribes of Gauls
and to prepare the way for the extension of Roman rule over them. This
great task was performed very successfully, but in accomplishing it
Cæsar found it necessary to go somewhat farther than had at first been
intended. In the years 55 and 54 B.C., he made two expeditions to
Britain to punish the natives for giving aid to their Celtic kinsfolk
in Gaul, and in 55 and 53 he crossed the Rhine to compel the Germans
to remain on their own side of the river and to cease troubling the
Gauls by raids and invasions, as they had recently been doing. When
(about 51 B.C.) he came to write his _Commentaries on the Gallic War_,
it is very natural that he should have taken care to give a brief
sketch of the leading peoples whom he had been fighting, that is, the
Gauls, the Britons, and the Germans. There are two places in the
_Commentaries_ where the Germans are described at some length. At the
beginning of Book IV. there is an account of the particular tribe
known as the Suevi, and in the middle of Book VI. there is a longer
sketch of the Germans in general. This latter is the passage
translated below. Of course we are not to suppose that Cæsar's
knowledge of the Germans was in any sense thorough. At no time did he
get far into their country, and the people whose manners and customs
he had an opportunity to observe were only those who were pressing
down upon, and occasionally across, the Rhine boundary--a mere fringe
of the great race stretching back to the Baltic and, at that time, far
eastward into modern Russia. We may be sure that many of the more
remote German tribes lived after a fashion quite different from that
which Cæsar and his legions had an opportunity to observe on the
Rhine-Danube frontier. Still, Cæsar's account, vague and brief as it
is, has an importance that can hardly be exaggerated. These early
Germans had no written literature and but for the descriptions of them
left by a few Roman writers, such as Cæsar, we should know almost
nothing about them. If we bear in mind that the account in the
_Commentaries_ was based upon very keen, though limited, observation,
we can get out of it a good deal of interesting information concerning
the early ancestors of the great Teutonic peoples of the world to-day.

     Source--Julius Cæsar, _De Bello Gallico_ ["The Gallic War"],
     Bk. VI., Chaps. 21-23.

     [Sidenote: Their religion]

   =21.= The customs of the Germans differ widely from those of the
   Gauls;[1] for neither have they Druids to preside over religious
   services,[2] nor do they give much attention to sacrifices. They
   count in the number of their gods those only whom they can see, and
   by whose favors they are clearly aided; that is to say, the Sun,
   Vulcan,[3] and the Moon. Of other deities they have never even
   heard. Their whole life is spent in hunting and in war. From
   childhood they are trained in labor and hardship....

     [Sidenote: Their system of land tenure]

   =22.= They are not devoted to agriculture, and the greater portion
   of their food consists of milk, cheese, and flesh. No one owns a
   particular piece of land, with fixed limits, but each year the
   magistrates and the chiefs assign to the clans and the bands of
   kinsmen who have assembled together as much land as they think
   proper, and in whatever place they desire, and the next year compel
   them to move to some other place. They give many reasons for this
   custom--that the people may not lose their zeal for war through
   habits established by prolonged attention to the cultivation of the
   soil; that they may not be eager to acquire large possessions, and
   that the stronger may not drive the weaker from their property;
   that they may not build too carefully, in order to avoid cold and
   heat; that the love of money may not spring up, from which arise
   quarrels and dissensions; and, finally, that the common people may
   live in contentment, since each person sees that his wealth is kept
   equal to that of the most powerful.

     [Sidenote: Leaders and officers in war and peace]

   =23.= It is a matter of the greatest glory to the tribes to lay
   waste, as widely as possible, the lands bordering their territory,
   thus making them uninhabitable.[4] They regard it as the best
   proof of their valor that their neighbors are forced to withdraw
   from those lands and hardly any one dares set foot there; at the
   same time they think that they will thus be more secure, since the
   fear of a sudden invasion is removed. When a tribe is either
   repelling an invasion or attacking an outside people, magistrates
   are chosen to lead in the war, and these are given the power of
   life and death. In times of peace there is no general magistrate,
   but the chiefs of the districts and cantons render justice among
   their own people and settle disputes.[5] Robbery, if committed
   beyond the borders of the tribe, is not regarded as disgraceful,
   and they say that it is practised for the sake of training the
   youth and preventing idleness. When any one of the chiefs has
   declared in an assembly that he is going to be the leader of an
   expedition, and that those who wish to follow him should give in
   their names, they who approve of the undertaking, and of the man,
   stand up and promise their assistance, and are applauded by the
   people. Such of these as do not then follow him are looked upon as
   deserters and traitors, and from that day no one has any faith in

     [Sidenote: German hospitality]

   To mistreat a guest they consider to be a crime. They protect from
   injury those who have come among them for any purpose whatever, and
   regard them as sacred. To them the houses of all are open and food
   is freely supplied.

2. A Description by Tacitus

Tacitus (54-119),[6] who is sometimes credited with being the greatest
of Roman historians, published his treatise on the _Origin, Location,
Manners, and Inhabitants of Germany_ in the year 98. This was about a
century and a half after Cæsar wrote his _Commentaries_. During this
long interval we have almost no information as to how the Germans were
living or what they were doing. There is much uncertainty as to the
means by which Tacitus got his knowledge of them. We may be reasonably
sure that he did not travel extensively through the country north of
the Rhine; there is, in fact, not a shred of evidence that he ever
visited it at all. He tells us that he made use of Cæsar's account,
but this was very meager and could not have been of much service. We
are left to surmise that he drew most of his information from books
then existing but since lost, such as the writings of Posidonius of
Rhodes (136-51 B.C.) and Pliny the Elder (23-79). These sources were
doubtless supplemented by the stories of officials and traders who had
been among the Germans and were afterwards interviewed by the
historian. Tacitus's essay, therefore, while written with a desire to
tell the truth, was apparently not based on first-hand information.
The author nowhere says that he had _seen_ this or that feature of
German life. We may suppose that what he really did was to gather up
all the stories and reports regarding the German barbarians which were
already known to Roman traders, travelers, and soldiers, sift the true
from the false as well as he could, and write out in first class Latin
the little book which we know as the _Germania_. The theory that the
work was intended as a satire, or sermon in morals, for the benefit of
a corrupt Roman people has been quite generally abandoned, and this
for the very good reason that there is nothing in either the
treatise's contents or style to warrant such a belief. Tacitus wrote
the book because of his general interest in historical and
geographical subjects, and also, perhaps, because it afforded him an
excellent opportunity to display a literary skill in which he took no
small degree of pride. That it was published separately instead of in
one of his larger histories may have been due to public interest in
the subject during Trajan's wars in the Rhine country in the years 98
and 99. The first twenty-seven chapters, from which the selections
below are taken, treat of the Germans in general--their origin,
religion, family life, occupations, military tactics, amusements, land
system, government, and social classes; the last nineteen deal with
individual tribes and are not so accurate or so valuable. It will be
found interesting to compare what Tacitus says with what Cæsar says
when both touch upon the same topic. In doing so it should be borne in
mind that there was a difference in time of a century and a half
between the two writers, and also that while Tacitus probably did not
write from experience among the Germans, as Cæsar did, he nevertheless
had given the subject a larger amount of deliberate study.

     Source--C. Cornelius Tacitus, _De Origine, Situ, Moribus, ac
     Populis Germanorum_ [known commonly as the "Germania"], Chaps.
     4-24, _passim_. Adapted from translation by Alfred J. Church
     and William J. Brodribb (London, 1868), pp. 1-16. Text in
     numerous editions, as that of William F. Allen (Boston, 1882)
     and that of Henry Furneau (Oxford, 1894).

     [Sidenote: Physical characteristics]

   =4.= For my own part, I agree with those who think that the tribes
   of Germany are free from all trace of intermarriage with foreign
   nations, and that they appear as a distinct, unmixed race, like
   none but themselves. Hence it is that the same physical features
   are to be observed throughout so vast a population. All have fierce
   blue eyes, reddish hair, and huge bodies fit only for sudden
   exertion. They are not very able to endure labor that is
   exhausting. Heat and thirst they cannot withstand at all, though to
   cold and hunger their climate and soil have hardened them.

     [Sidenote: Their weapons and mode of fighting]

   =6.= Iron is not plentiful among them, as may be inferred from the
   nature of their weapons.[7] Only a few make use of swords or long
   lances. Ordinarily they carry a spear (which they call a _framea_),
   with a short and narrow head, but so sharp and easy to handle that
   the same weapon serves, according to circumstances, for close or
   distant conflict. As for the horse-soldier, he is satisfied with a
   shield and a spear. The foot-soldiers also scatter showers of
   missiles, each man having several and hurling them to an immense
   distance, and being naked or lightly clad with a little cloak. They
   make no display in their equipment. Their shields alone are marked
   with fancy colors. Only a few have corselets,[8] and just one or
   two here and there a metal or leather helmet.[9] Their horses are
   neither beautiful nor swift; nor are they taught various wheeling
   movements after the Roman fashion, but are driven straight forward
   so as to make one turn to the right in such a compact body that
   none may be left behind another. On the whole, one would say that
   the Germans' chief strength is in their infantry. It fights along
   with the cavalry, and admirably adapted to the movements of the
   latter is the swiftness of certain foot-soldiers, who are picked
   from the entire youth of their country and placed in front of the
   battle line.[10] The number of these is fixed, being a hundred from
   each _pagus_,[11] and from this they take their name among their
   countrymen, so that what was at the outset a mere number has now
   become a title of honor. Their line of battle is drawn up in the
   shape of a wedge. To yield ground, provided they return to the
   attack, is regarded as prudence rather than cowardice. The bodies
   of their slain they carry off, even when the battle has been
   indecisive. To abandon one's shield is the basest of crimes. A man
   thus disgraced is not allowed to be present at the religious
   ceremonies, or to enter the council. Many, indeed, after making a
   cowardly escape from battle put an end to their infamy by hanging

     [Sidenote: The Germans in battle]

   =7.= They choose their kings[13] by reason of their birth, but
   their generals on the ground of merit. The kings do not enjoy
   unlimited or despotic power, and even the generals command more by
   example than by authority. If they are energetic, if they take a
   prominent part, if they fight in the front, they lead because they
   are admired. But to rebuke, to imprison, even to flog, is allowed
   to the priests alone, and this not as a punishment, or at the
   general's bidding, but by the command of the god whom they believe
   to inspire the warrior. They also carry with them into battle
   certain figures and images taken from their sacred groves.[14] The
   thing that most strengthens their courage is the fact that their
   troops are not made up of bodies of men chosen by mere chance, but
   are arranged by families and kindreds. Close by them, too, are
   those dearest to them, so that in the midst of the fight they can
   hear the shrieks of women and the cries of children. These loved
   ones are to every man the most valued witnesses of his valor, and
   at the same time his most generous applauders. The soldier brings
   his wounds to mother or wife, who shrinks not from counting them,
   or even demanding to see them, and who provides food for the
   warriors and gives them encouragement.

     [Sidenote: Their popular assemblies]

   =11.= About matters of small importance the chiefs alone take
   counsel, but the larger questions are considered by the entire
   tribe. Yet even when the final decision rests with the people the
   affair is always thoroughly discussed by the chiefs. Except in the
   case of a sudden emergency, the people hold their assemblies on
   certain fixed days, either at the new or the full moon; for these
   they consider the most suitable times for the transaction of
   business. Instead of counting by days, as we do, they count by
   nights, and in this way designate both their ordinary and their
   legal engagements. They regard the night as bringing on the day.
   Their freedom has one disadvantage, in that they do not all come
   together at the same time, or as they are commanded, but two or
   three days are wasted in the delay of assembling. When the people
   present think proper, they sit down armed. Silence is proclaimed by
   the priests who, on these occasions, are charged with the duty of
   keeping order. The king or the leader speaks first, and then others
   in order, as age, or rank, or reputation in war, or eloquence, give
   them right. The speakers are heard more because of their ability to
   persuade than because of their power to command. If the speeches
   are displeasing to the people, they reject them with murmurs; if
   they are pleasing, they applaud by clashing their weapons together,
   which is the kind of applause most highly esteemed.[15]

     [Sidenote: The chiefs and their companions]

   =13.= They transact no public or private business without being
   armed, but it is not allowable for any one to bear arms until he
   has satisfied the tribe that he is fit to do so. Then, in the
   presence of the assembly, one of the chiefs, or the young man's
   father, or some kinsman, equips him with a shield and a spear.
   These arms are what the toga is with the Romans, the first honor
   with which a youth is invested. Up to this time he is regarded as
   merely a member of a household, but afterwards as a member of the
   state. Very noble birth, or important service rendered by the
   father, secures for a youth the rank of chief, and such lads attach
   themselves to men of mature strength and of fully tested valor. It
   is no shame to be numbered among a chief's companions.[16] The
   companions have different ranks in the band, according to the will
   of the chief; and there is great rivalry among the companions for
   first place in the chief's favor, as there is among the chiefs for
   the possession of the largest and bravest throng of followers. It
   is an honor, as well as a source of strength, to be thus always
   surrounded by a large body of picked youths, who uphold the rank of
   the chief in peace and defend him in war. The fame of such a chief
   and his band is not confined to their own tribe, but is spread
   among foreign peoples; they are sought out and honored with gifts
   in order to secure their alliance, for the reputation of such a
   band may decide a whole war.

     [Sidenote: The German love of war]

   =14.= In battle it is considered shameful for the chief to allow
   any of his followers to excel him in valor, and for the followers
   not to equal their chief in deeds of bravery. To survive the chief
   and return from the field is a disgrace and a reproach for life. To
   defend and protect him, and to add to his renown by courageous
   fighting is the height of loyalty. The chief fights for victory;
   the companions must fight for the chief. If their native state
   sinks into the sloth of peace and quiet, many noble youths
   voluntarily seek those tribes which are waging some war, both
   because inaction is disliked by their race and because it is in war
   that they win renown most readily; besides, a chief can maintain a
   band only by war, for the men expect to receive their war-horse and
   their arms from their leader. Feasts and entertainments, though not
   elegant, are plentifully provided and constitute their only pay.
   The means of such liberality are best obtained from the booty of
   war. Nor are they as easily persuaded to plow the earth and to wait
   for the year's produce as to challenge an enemy and earn the glory
   of wounds. Indeed, they actually think it tame and stupid to
   acquire by the sweat of toil what they may win by their blood.[17]

     [Sidenote: Life in times of peace]

   =15.= When not engaged in war they pass much of their time in the
   chase, and still more in idleness, giving themselves up to sleep
   and feasting. The bravest and most warlike do no work; they give
   over the management of the household, of the home, and of the land
   to the women, the old men, and the weaker members of the family,
   while they themselves remain in the most sluggish inactivity. It is
   strange that the same men should be so fond of idleness and yet so
   averse to peace.[18] It is the custom of the tribes to make their
   chiefs presents of cattle and grain, and thus to give them the
   means of support.[19] The chiefs are especially pleased with gifts
   from neighboring tribes, which are sent not only by individuals,
   but also by the state, such as choice steeds, heavy armor,
   trappings, and neck-chains. The Romans have now taught them to
   accept money also.

     [Sidenote: Lack of cities and towns]

   =16.= It is a well-known fact that the peoples of Germany have no
   cities, and that they do not even allow buildings to be erected
   close together.[20] They live scattered about, wherever a spring,
   or a meadow, or a wood has attracted them. Their villages are not
   arranged in the Roman fashion, with the buildings connected and
   joined together, but every person surrounds his dwelling with an
   open space, either as a precaution against the disasters of fire,
   or because they do not know how to build. They make no use of stone
   or brick, but employ wood for all purposes. Their buildings are
   mere rude masses, without ornament or attractiveness, although
   occasionally they are stained in part with a kind of clay which is
   so clear and bright that it resembles painting, or a colored

     [Sidenote: Their food and drink]

   =23.= A liquor for drinking is made out of barley, or other grain,
   and fermented so as to be somewhat like wine. The dwellers along
   the river-bank[21] also buy wine from traders. Their food is of a
   simple variety, consisting of wild fruit, fresh game, and curdled
   milk. They satisfy their hunger without making much preparation of
   cooked dishes, and without the use of any delicacies at all. In
   quenching their thirst they are not so moderate. If they are
   supplied with as much as they desire to drink, they will be
   overcome by their own vices as easily as by the arms of an enemy.

     [Sidenote: German amusements]

   =24.= At all their gatherings there is one and the same kind of
   amusement. This is the dancing of naked youths amid swords and
   lances that all the time endanger their lives. Experience gives
   them skill, and skill in turn gives grace. They scorn to receive
   profit or pay, for, however reckless their pastime, its reward is
   only the pleasure of the spectators. Strangely enough, they make
   games of chance a serious employment, even when sober, and so
   venturesome are they about winning or losing that, when every other
   resource has failed, on the final throw of the dice they will stake
   even their own freedom. He who loses goes into voluntary slavery
   and, though the younger and stronger of the players, allows himself
   to be bound and sold. Such is their stubborn persistency in a bad
   practice, though they themselves call it honor. Slaves thus
   acquired the owners trade off as speedily as possible to rid
   themselves of the scandal of such a victory.


[1] In chapters 11-20, immediately preceding the present passage,
Cæsar gives a comparatively full and minute description of Gallic life
and institutions. He knew more about the Gauls than about the Germans,
and, besides, it was his experiences among them that he was writing
about primarily.

[2] The Druids were priests who formed a distinct and very influential
class among the Gauls. They ascertained and revealed the will of the
gods and were supreme in the government of the tribes. Druids existed
also among the Britons.

[3] By Vulcan Cæsar means the German god of fire.

[4] Of the Suevi, a German tribe living along the upper course of the
Danube, Cæsar says: "They consider it their greatest glory as a nation
that the lands about their territories lie unoccupied to a very great
extent, for they think that by this it is shown that a great number of
nations cannot withstand their power; and thus on one side of the
Suevi the lands are said to lie desolate for about six hundred
miles."--_Gallic War_, Bk. IV., Chap. 3.

[5] This statement is an instance of Cæsar's vagueness, due possibly
to haste in writing, but more likely to lack of definite information.
How large these districts and cantons were, whether they had fixed
boundaries, and how the chiefs rendered justice in them are things we
should like to know but are not told.

[6] All dates from this point, unless otherwise indicated, are A.D.

[7] In reality iron ore was abundant in the Germans' territory, but it
was not until long after the time of Tacitus that much use began to be
made of it. By the fifth century iron swords were common.

[8] Coats of mail.

[9] Defensive armor for the head and neck.

[10] See Cæsar's description of this mode of fighting.--_Gallic War_,
Bk. I., Chap. 48.

[11] The canton was known to the Romans as a _pagus_ and to the
Germans themselves as a _gau_. It was made up of a number of
districts, or townships (Latin _vicus_, German _dorf_), and was itself
a division of a tribe or nation.

[12] A later law of the Salian Franks imposed a fine of 120 _denarii_
upon any man who should accuse another of throwing down his shield and
running away, without being able to prove it [see p. 64].

[13] Many of the western tribes at the time Tacitus wrote did not have
kings, though in eastern Germany the institution of kingship seems to
have been quite general. The office, where it existed, was elective,
but the people rarely chose a king outside of a privileged family,
assumed to be of divine origin.

[14] Evidently these were not images of their gods, for in another
place (Chap. 9) Tacitus tells us that the Germans deemed it a dishonor
to their deities to represent them in human form. The images were
probably those of wild beasts, as the wolf of Woden (or Odin), or the
ram of Tyr, and were national standards preserved with religious care
in the sacred groves, whence they were brought forth when the tribe
was on the point of going to war.

[15] The German popular assembly was simply the periodical gathering
of free men in arms for the discussion and decision of important
points of tribal policy. It was not a legislative body in the modern
sense. Law among the Germans was immemorial custom, which, like
religion, could be changed only by a gradual shifting of popular
belief and practice. It was not "made" by any process of deliberate
and immediate choice. Nevertheless, the assembly constituted an
important democratic element in the government, which operated in a
measure to offset the aristocratic element represented by the
_principes_ and _comitatus_ [see p. 28]. Its principal functions were
the declaring of war and peace, the election of the kings, and,
apparently, the hearing and deciding of graver cases at law.

[16] This relation of _principes_ (chiefs) and _comites_ (companions)
is mentioned by Cæsar [see p. 22]. The name by which the Romans
designated the band of companions, or followers, of a German chieftain
was _comitatus_.

[17] Apparently the Germans did not now care much more for agriculture
than in the time of Cæsar. The women, slaves, and old men sowed some
seeds and gathered small harvests, but the warrior class held itself
above such humble and unexciting employment. The raising of cattle
afforded a principal means of subsistence, though hunting and fishing
contributed considerably.

[18] Compare the Germans and the North American Indians in this
respect. The great contrast between these two peoples lay in the
capacity of the one and the comparative incapacity of the other for

[19] The Germans had no system of taxation on land or other property,
such as the Romans had and such as we have to-day. It was not until
well toward the close of the Middle Ages that the governments of
kingdoms built up by Germanic peoples in western Europe came to be
maintained by anything like what we would call taxes in the modern

[20] The lack of cities and city life among the Germans struck Tacitus
with the greater force because of the complete dominance of city
organization to which he, as a Roman, was accustomed. The Greek and
Roman world was made up, in the last analysis, of an aggregation of
_civitates_, or city states. Among the ancient Greeks these had
usually been independent; among the Romans they were correlated under
the greater or lesser control of a centralized government; but among
the Germans of Tacitus's time, and long after, the mixed agricultural
and nomadic character of the people effectually prevented the
development of anything even approaching urban organization. Their
life was that of the forest and the pasture, not that of forum,
theatre, and circus.

[21] That is, on the Rhine, where traders from the south brought in
wines and other Roman products. The drink which the Germans themselves
manufactured was, of course, a kind of beer.



3. The Visigoths Cross the Danube (376)

The earliest invasion of the Roman Empire which resulted in the
permanent settlement of a large and united body of Germans on Roman
soil was that of the Visigoths in the year 376. This invasion was very
far, however, from marking the first important contact of the German
and Roman peoples. As early as the end of the second century B.C. the
incursions of the Cimbri and Teutones (113-101) into southern Gaul and
northern Italy had given Rome a suggestion of the danger which
threatened from the northern barbarians. Half a century later, the
Gallic campaigns of Cæsar brought the two peoples into conflict for
the first time in the region of the later Rhine boundary, and had the
very important effect of preventing the impending Germanization of
Gaul and substituting the extension of Roman power and civilization in
that quarter. Roman imperial plans on the north then developed along
ambitious lines until the year 9 A.D., when the legions of the Emperor
Augustus, led by Varus, were defeated, and in large part annihilated,
in the great battle of the Teutoberg Forest and the balance was turned
forever against the Romanization of the Germanic countries. Thereafter
for a long time a state of equilibrium was preserved along the
Rhine-Danube frontier, though after the Marcomannic wars in the latter
half of the second century the scale began to incline more and more
against the Romans, who were gradually forced into the attitude of
defense against a growing disposition of the restless Germans to push
the boundary farther south.

During the more than three and a half centuries intervening between
the battle of the Teutoberg and the crossing of the Danube by the
Visigoths, the intermingling of the two peoples steadily increased. On
the one hand were numerous Roman travelers and traders who visited
the Germans living along the frontier and learned what sort of people
they were. The soldiers of the legions stationed on the Rhine and
Danube also added materially to Roman knowledge in this direction. But
much more important was the influx of Germans into the Empire to serve
as soldiers or to settle on lands allotted to them by the government.
Owing to a general decline of population, and especially to the lack
of a sturdy middle class, Rome found it necessary to fill up her army
with foreigners and to reward them with lands lying mainly near the
frontiers, but often in the very heart of the Empire. The
over-population of Germany furnished a large class of excellent
soldiers who were ready enough to accept the pay of the Roman emperor
for service in the legions, even if rendered, as it often was, against
their kinsmen who were menacing the weakened frontier. From this
source the Empire had long been receiving a large infusion of German
blood before any considerable tribe came within its bounds to settle
in a body. Indeed, if there had occurred no sudden and startling
overflows of population from the Germanic countries, such as the
Visigothic invasion, it is quite possible that the Roman Empire might
yet have fallen completely into the hands of the Germans by the quiet
and gradual processes just indicated. As it was, the pressure from
advancing Asiatic peoples on the east was too great to be withstood,
and there resulted, between the fourth and sixth centuries, a series
of notable invasions which left almost the entire Western Empire
parceled out among new Germanic kingdoms established by force on the
ruins of the once invincible Roman power. The breaking of the frontier
by the West Goths (to whom the Emperor Aurelian, in 270, had abandoned
the rich province of Dacia), during the reign of Gratian in the West
and of Valens in the East, was the first conspicuous step in this
great transforming movement.

The ferocious people to whose incursions Ammianus refers as the cause
of the Visigothic invasion were the Huns [see p. 42], who had but
lately made their first appearance in Europe. Already by 376 the
Ostrogothic kingdom of Hermaneric, to the north of the Black Sea, had
fallen before their onslaught, and the wave of conquest was spreading
rapidly westward toward Dacia and the neighboring lands inhabited by
the Visigoths. The latter people were even less able to make effectual
resistance than their eastern brethren had been. Part of them had
become Christians and were recognizing Fridigern as their leader,
while the remaining pagan element acknowledged the sway of Athanaric.
On the arrival of the Huns, Athanaric led his portion of the people
into the Carpathian Mountains and began to prepare for resistance,
while the Christians, led by Fridigern and Alaf (or Alavivus),
gathered on the Danube and begged permission to take refuge across the
river in Roman territory. Athanaric and his division of the Visigoths,
having become Christians, entered the Empire a few years later and
settled in Moesia.

Ammianus Marcellinus, author of the account of the Visigothic invasion
given below, was a native of Antioch, a soldier of Greek ancestry and
apparently of noble birth, and a member of the Eastern emperor's
bodyguard. Beyond these facts, gleaned from his _Roman History_, we
have almost no knowledge of the man. The date of his birth is unknown,
likewise that of his death, though from his writings it appears that
he lived well toward the close of the fourth century. His _History_
began with the accession of Nerva, 96 A.D., approximately where the
accounts by Tacitus and Suetonius end, and continued to the death of
his master Valens in the battle of Adrianople in 378. It was divided
into thirty-one books; but of these thirteen have been lost, and some
of those which survive are imperfect. Although the narrative is broken
into rather provokingly here and there by digressions on earthquakes
and eclipses and speculations on such utterly foreign topics as the
theory of the destruction of lions by mosquitoes, it nevertheless
constitutes an invaluable source of information on the men and events
of the era which it covers. Its value is greatest, naturally, on the
period of the Visigothic invasion, for in dealing with these years the
author could describe events about which he had direct and personal
knowledge. Ammianus is to be thought of as the last of the old Roman
school of historians.

     Source--Ammianus Marcellinus, _Rerum Gestarum Libri qui
     Supersunt_, Bk. XXXI., Chaps. 3-4. Translated by Charles D.
     Yonge under the title of _Roman History during the Reigns of
     the Emperors Constantius, Julian, Jovianus, Valentinian, and
     Valens_ (London, 1862), pp. 584-586. Text in edition of Victor
     Gardthausen (Leipzig, 1875), Vol. II., pp. 239-240.

     [Sidenote: Visigoths ask permission to settle within the Empire]

   In the meantime a report spread extensively through the other
   nations of the Goths [i.e., the Visigoths], that a race of men,
   hitherto unknown, had suddenly descended like a whirlwind from the
   lofty mountains, as if they had risen from some secret recess of
   the earth, and were ravaging and destroying everything that came in
   their way. Then the greater part of the population (which, because
   of their lack of necessities, had deserted Athanaric), resolved to
   flee and to seek a home remote from all knowledge of the
   barbarians; and after a long deliberation as to where to fix their
   abode, they resolved that a retreat into Thrace was the most
   suitable, for these two reasons: first of all, because it is a
   district most abundant in grass; and in the second place, because,
   by the great breadth of the Danube, it is wholly separated from the
   barbarians [i.e., the Goths], who were already exposed to the
   thunderbolts of foreign warfare. And the whole population of the
   tribe adopted this resolution unanimously. Accordingly, under the
   command of their leader Alavivus, they occupied the banks of the
   Danube; and having sent ambassadors to Valens,[22] they humbly
   entreated that they might be received by him as his subjects,
   promising to live peaceably and to furnish a body of auxiliary
   troops, if any necessity for such a force should arise.

     [Sidenote: Rumors of Gothic movements reach Rome]

   While these events were passing in foreign countries, a terrible
   rumor arose that the tribes of the north were planning new and
   unprecedented attacks upon us,[23] and that over the whole region
   which extends from the country of the Marcomanni and Quadi to
   Pontus,[24] a barbarian host composed of various distant nations
   which had suddenly been driven by force from their own country, was
   now, with all their families, wandering about in different
   directions on the banks of the river Danube.

     [Sidenote: Their coming represented as a blessing to the Empire]

   At first this intelligence was treated lightly by our people,
   because they were not in the habit of hearing of any wars in those
   remote regions until after they had been terminated either by
   victory or by treaty. But presently the belief in these occurrences
   grew stronger, being confirmed, moreover, by the arrival of the
   foreign ambassadors who, with prayers and earnest entreaties,
   begged that the people thus driven from their homes and now
   encamped on the other side of the river might be kindly received by
   us. The affair seemed a cause of joy rather than of fear, according
   to the skilful flatterers who were always extolling and
   exaggerating the good fortune of the Emperor; congratulating him
   that an embassy had come from the farthest corners of the earth
   unexpectedly, offering him a large body of recruits, and that, by
   combining the strength of his own nation with these foreign forces,
   he would have an army absolutely invincible; observing farther
   that, by the payment for military reinforcements which came in
   every year from the provinces, a vast treasure of gold might be
   accumulated in his coffers.

     [Sidenote: The crossing of the Danube]

   Full of this hope, he sent several officers to bring this ferocious
   people and their wagons into our territory. And such great pains
   were taken to gratify this nation, which was destined to overthrow
   the empire of Rome, that not one was left behind, not even of those
   who were stricken with mortal disease. Moreover, having obtained
   permission of the Emperor to cross the Danube and to cultivate some
   districts in Thrace, they crossed the stream day and night, without
   ceasing, embarking in troops on board ships and rafts, and canoes
   made of the hollow trunks of trees. In this enterprise, since the
   Danube is the most difficult of all rivers to navigate, and was at
   that time swollen with continual rains, a great many were drowned,
   who, because they were too numerous for the vessels, tried to swim
   across, and in spite of all their exertions were swept away by the

     [Sidenote: Number of the invaders]

   In this way, through the turbulent zeal of violent people, the
   ruin of the Roman Empire was brought on. This, at all events, is
   neither obscure nor uncertain, that the unhappy officers who were
   intrusted with the charge of conducting the multitude of the
   barbarians across the river, though they repeatedly endeavored to
   calculate their numbers, at last abandoned the attempt as useless;
   and the man who would wish to ascertain the number might as well
   attempt to count the waves in the African sea, or the grains of
   sand tossed about by the zephyr.[25]

4. The Battle of Adrianople (378)

Before crossing the Danube the Visigoths had been required by the
Romans to give up their arms, and also a number of their children to
be held as hostages. In return it was understood that the Romans would
equip them afresh with arms sufficient for their defense and with food
supplies to maintain them until they should become settled in their
new homes. So far as our information goes, it appears that the Goths
fulfilled their part of the contract, or at least were willing to do
so. But the Roman officers in Thrace saw an opportunity to enrich
themselves by selling food to the famished barbarians at extortionate
prices, and a few months of such practices sufficed to arouse all the
rage and resentment of which the untamed Teuton was capable. In the
summer of 378 the Goths broke out in open revolt and began to avenge
themselves by laying waste the Roman lands along the lower Danube
frontier. The Eastern emperor, Valens, hastened to the scene of
insurrection, but only to lose the great battle of Adrianople, August
9, 378, and to meet his own death. "The battle of Adrianople," says
Professor Emerton, "was one of the decisive battles of the world. It
taught the Germans that they could beat the legions in open fight and
that henceforth it was for them to name the price of peace. It broke
once for all the Rhine-Danube frontier." Many times thereafter German
armies, and whole tribes, were to play the rôle of allies of Rome; but
neither German nor Roman could be blinded to the fact that the
decadent empire of the south lay at the mercy of the stalwart sons of
the northern wilderness.

     Source--Ammianus Marcellinus, _Rerum Gestarum Libri qui
     Supersunt_, Bk. XXXI., Chaps. 12-14. Translated by Charles D.
     Yonge [see p. 34], pp. 608-615 _passim_. Text in edition of
     Victor Gardthausen (Leipzig, 1875), Vol. II., pp. 261-269.

     [Sidenote: The Goths approach the Roman army]

   He [Valens] was at the head of a numerous force, neither unwarlike
   nor contemptible, and had united with them many veteran bands,
   among whom were several officers of high rank--especially Trajan,
   who a little while before had been commander of the forces. And as,
   by means of spies and observation, it was ascertained that the
   enemy was intending to blockade with strong divisions the different
   roads by which the necessary supplies must come, he sent a
   sufficient force to prevent this, dispatching a body of the archers
   of the infantry and a squadron of cavalry with all speed to occupy
   the narrow passes in the neighborhood. Three days afterwards, when
   the barbarians, who were advancing slowly because they feared an
   attack in the unfavorable ground which they were traversing,
   arrived within fifteen miles from the station of Nice[26] (which
   was the aim of their march), the Emperor, with wanton impetuosity,
   resolved on attacking them instantly, because those who had been
   sent forward to reconnoitre (what led to such a mistake is unknown)
   affirmed that the entire body of the Goths did not exceed ten
   thousand men....[27]

     [Sidenote: The battle begins]

   When the day broke which the annals mark as the fifth of the Ides
   of August [Aug. 9] the Roman standards were advanced with haste.
   The baggage had been placed close to the walls of Adrianople, under
   a sufficient guard of soldiers of the legions. The treasures and
   the chief insignia of the Emperor's rank were within the walls,
   with the prefect and the principal members of the council.[28]
   Then, having traversed the broken ground which divided the two
   armies, as the burning day was progressing towards noon, at last,
   after marching eight miles, our men came in sight of the wagons of
   the enemy, which had been reported by the scouts to be all arranged
   in a circle. According to their custom, the barbarian host raised a
   fierce and hideous yell, while the Roman generals marshalled their
   line of battle. The right wing of the cavalry was placed in front;
   the chief portion of the infantry was kept in reserve....[29]

   And while arms and missiles of all kinds were meeting in fierce
   conflict, and Bellona,[30] blowing her mournful trumpet, was raging
   more fiercely than usual, to inflict disaster on the Romans, our
   men began to retreat; but presently, aroused by the reproaches of
   their officers, they made a fresh stand, and the battle increased
   like a conflagration, terrifying our soldiers, numbers of whom were
   pierced by strokes of the javelins hurled at them, and by arrows.

     [Sidenote: The fury of the conflict]

   Then the two lines of battle dashed against each other, like the
   beaks of ships and, thrusting with all their might, were tossed to
   and fro like the waves of the sea. Our left wing had advanced
   actually up to the wagons, with the intent to push on still farther
   if properly supported; but they were deserted by the rest of the
   cavalry, and so pressed upon by the superior numbers of the enemy
   that they were overwhelmed and beaten down like the ruin of a vast
   rampart. Presently our infantry also was left unsupported, while
   the various companies became so huddled together that a soldier
   could hardly draw his sword, or withdraw his hand after he had once
   stretched it out. And by this time such clouds of dust arose that
   it was scarcely possible to see the sky, which resounded with
   horrible cries; and in consequence the darts, which were bearing
   death on every side, reached their mark and fell with deadly
   effect, because no one could see them beforehand so as to guard
   against them. The barbarians, rushing on with their enormous host,
   beat down our horses and men and left no spot to which our ranks
   could fall back to operate. They were so closely packed that it was
   impossible to escape by forcing a way through them, and our men at
   last began to despise death and again taking to their swords, slew
   all they encountered, while with mutual blows of battle-axes,
   helmets and breastplates were dashed in pieces.

     [Sidenote: The Romans put to flight]

   Then you might see the barbarian, towering in his fierceness,
   hissing or shouting, fall with his legs pierced through, or his
   right hand cut off, sword and all, or his side transfixed, and
   still, in the last gasp of life, casting around him defiant
   glances. The plain was covered with corpses, showing the mutual
   ruin of the combatants; while the groans of the dying, or of men
   fearfully wounded, were intense and caused much dismay on all
   sides. Amid all this great tumult and confusion our infantry were
   exhausted by toil and danger, until at last they had neither
   strength left to fight nor spirits to plan anything. Their spears
   were broken by the frequent collisions, so that they were forced
   to content themselves with their drawn swords, which they thrust
   into the dense battalions of the enemy, disregarding their own
   safety, and seeing that every possibility of escape was cut off
   from them.... The sun, now high in the heavens (having traversed
   the sign of Leo and reached the abode of the heavenly Virgo[31])
   scorched the Romans, who were emaciated by hunger, worn out with
   toil, and scarcely able to support even the weight of their armor.
   At last our columns were entirely beaten back by the overpowering
   weight of the barbarians, and so they took to disorderly flight,
   which is the only resource in extremity, each man trying to save
   himself as best he could....

   Scarcely one third of the whole army escaped. Nor, except the
   battle of Cannæ, is so destructive a slaughter recorded in our
   annals;[32] though, even in the times of their prosperity, the
   Romans have more than once been called upon to deplore the
   uncertainty of war, and have for a time succumbed to evil Fortune.


[22] Valens was the Eastern emperor from 364 until his death in the
battle of Adrianople in 378. His brother Valentinian was emperor in
the West from 364 to 375. Gratian, son of Valentinian, was the real
sovereign in the West when the Visigoths crossed the Danube.

[23] That is, upon the writer's people, the Romans.

[24] The Marcomanni and Quadi occupied a broad stretch of territory
along the upper Danube in what is now the northernmost part of
Austria-Hungary. Pontus was a province in northern Asia Minor.

[25] Moeller (_Histoire du Moyen Age_, p. 58), estimates that the
Goths who now entered Thrace numbered not fewer than 200,000 grown
men, accompanied by their wives and children. The Italian Villari, in
his _Barbarian Invasions of Italy_, Vol. I., p. 49, gives the same
estimate. The tendency of contemporary chroniclers to exaggerate
numbers has misled many older writers. Even Moeller's and Villari's
estimate would mean a total of upwards of a million people. That there
were so many may well be doubted. The Vandals played practically as
important a part in the history of their times as did the Visigoths;
yet it is known that when the Vandals passed through Spain, in the
first half of the fifth century, they numbered not more than 20,000
fighting men, with their wives and children.

[26] Nice was about thirty miles east of Adrianople.

[27] The Visigoths under Fridigern finally took their position near
Adrianople and Valens led his army into that vicinity and pitched his
camp, fortifying it with a rampart of palisades. From the Western
emperor, Gratian, a messenger came asking that open conflict be
postponed until the army from Rome could join that from
Constantinople. But Valens, easily flattered by some of his
over-confident generals, foolishly decided to bring on a battle at
once. Apparently he did not dream that defeat was possible.

[28] After the battle here described, which occurred in the open
plain, the victorious Goths proceeded to the siege of the city itself,
in which, however, they were unsuccessful. The taking of fortified
towns was an art in which the Germans were not skilled.

[29] When both armies were in position Fridigern, "being skilful in
divining the future," says Ammianus, "and fearing a doubtful
struggle," sent a herald to Valens with the promise that if the Romans
would give hostages to the Goths the latter would cease their
depredations and even aid the Romans in their wars. Richomeres, the
Roman cavalry leader, was chosen by Valens to serve as a hostage; but
as he was proceeding to the Gothic camp the soldiers who accompanied
him made a rash attack upon a division of the enemy and precipitated a
battle which soon spread to the whole army.

[30] The goddess of war, regarded in Roman mythology as the sister of

[31] Signs of the zodiac, sometimes employed by the Romans to give
figurative expression to the time of day.

[32] The number of Romans killed at Cannæ (216 B.C.) is variously
estimated, but it can hardly have been under 50,000.



5. Descriptions by a Graeco-Roman Poet and a Roman Historian

The Huns, a people of Turanian stock, were closely related to the
ancestors of the Magyars, or the modern Hungarians. Their original
home was in central Asia, beyond the great wall of China, and they
were in every sense a people of the plains rather than of the forest
or of the sea. From the region of modern Siberia they swept westward
in successive waves, beginning about the middle of the fourth century,
traversed the "gateway of the nations" between the Caspian Sea and the
Ural Mountains, and fell with fury upon the German tribes (mainly the
Goths) settled in eastern and southern Europe. The descriptions of
them given by Claudius Claudianus and Ammianus Marcellinus set forth
their characteristics as understood by the Romans a half-century or
more before the invasion of the Empire by Attila. There is no reason
to suppose that either of these authors had ever seen a Hun, or had
his information at first hand. When both wrote the Huns were yet far
outside the Empire's bounds. Tales of soldiers and travelers, which
doubtless grew as they were told, must have supplied both the poet and
the historian with all that they knew regarding the strange Turanian
invaders. This being the case, we are not to accept all that they say
as the literal truth. Nevertheless the general impressions which one
gets from their pictures cannot be far wrong.

Claudius Claudianus, commonly regarded as the last of the Latin
classic poets, was a native of Alexandria who settled at Rome about
395. For ten years after that date he occupied a position at the court
of the Emperor Honorius somewhat akin to that of poet-laureate. Much
of his writing was of a very poor quality, but his descriptions were
sometimes striking, as in the stanza given below. On Ammianus
Marcellinus see p. 34.

     Sources--(a) Claudius Claudianus, _In Rufinum_ ["Against
     Rufinus"], Bk. I., 323-331. Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ
     Historica, Auctores Antiquissimi_, Vol. X., pp. 30-31.
     Translated in Thomas Hodgkin, _Italy and Her Invaders_
     (Oxford, 1880), Vol. II., p. 2.

     (b) Ammianus Marcellinus, _Rerum Gestarum Libri qui
     Supersunt_, Bk. XXXI., Chaps. 2-4 [see p. 34]. Translated in
     Hodgkin, _ibid._, pp. 34-38.


     There is a race on Scythia's[33] verge extreme
     Eastward, beyond the Tanais'[34] chilly stream.
     The Northern Bear[35] looks on no uglier crew:
     Base is their garb, their bodies foul to view;
     Their souls are ne'er subdued to sturdy toil
     Or Ceres' arts:[36] their sustenance is spoil.
     With horrid wounds they gash their brutal brows,
     And o'er their murdered parents bind their vows.
     Not e'en the Centaur-offspring of the Cloud[37]
     Were horsed more firmly than this savage crowd.
     Brisk, lithe, in loose array they first come on,
     Fly, turn, attack the foe who deems them gone.

     [Sidenote: Physical appearance of the Huns]


   The nation of the Huns, little known to ancient records, but
   spreading from the marshes of Azof to the Icy Sea,[38] surpasses
   all other barbarians in wildness of life. In the first days of
   infancy, deep incisions are made in the cheeks of their boys, in
   order that when the time comes for whiskers to grow there, the
   sprouting hairs may be kept back by the furrowed scars; and hence
   they grow to maturity and to old age beardless. They all, however,
   have strong, well-knit limbs and fine necks. Yet they are of
   portentous ugliness and so crook-backed that you would take them
   for some sort of two-footed beasts, or for the roughly-chipped
   stakes which are used for the railings of a bridge. And though they
   do just bear the likeness of men (of a very ugly type), they are so
   little advanced in civilization that they make no use of fire, nor
   of any kind of relish, in the preparation of their food, but feed
   upon the roots which they find in the fields, and the half-raw
   flesh of any sort of animal. I say half-raw, because they give it a
   kind of cooking by placing it between their own thighs and the
   backs of their horses. They never seek the shelter of houses, which
   they look upon as little better than tombs, and will enter only
   upon the direst necessity; nor would one be able to find among them
   even a cottage of wattled rushes; but, wandering at large over
   mountain and through forest, they are trained to endure from
   infancy all the extremes of cold, of hunger, and of thirst.

     [Sidenote: Their dress]

   They are clad in linen raiment, or in the skins of field-mice sewed
   together, and the same suit serves them for use in-doors and out.
   However dingy the color of it may become, the tunic which has once
   been hung around their necks is never laid aside nor changed until
   through long decay the rags of it will no longer hold together.
   Their heads are covered with bent caps, their hairy legs with the
   skins of goats; their shoes, never having been fashioned on a last,
   are so clumsy that they cannot walk comfortably. On this account
   they are not well adapted to encounters on foot; but on the other
   hand they are almost welded to their horses, which are hardy,
   though of ugly shape, and on which they sometimes ride woman's
   fashion. On horseback every man of that nation lives night and day;
   on horseback he buys and sells; on horseback he takes his meat and
   drink, and when night comes on he leans forward upon the narrow
   neck of his horse and there falls into a deep sleep, or wanders
   into the varied fantasies of dreams.

     [Sidenote: Their mode of fighting]

   When a discussion arises upon any matter of importance they come on
   horseback to the place of meeting. No kingly sternness overawes
   their deliberations, but being, on the whole, well-contented with
   the disorderly guidance of their chiefs, they do not scruple to
   interrupt the debates with anything that comes into their heads.
   When attacked, they will sometimes engage in regular battle. Then,
   going into the fight in order of columns, they fill the air with
   varied and discordant cries. More often, however, they fight in no
   regular order of battle, but being extremely swift and sudden in
   their movements, they disperse, and then rapidly come together
   again in loose array, spread havoc over vast plains and, flying
   over the rampart, pillage the camp of their enemy almost before he
   has become aware of their approach. It must be granted that they
   are the nimblest of warriors. The missile weapons which they use at
   a distance are pointed with sharpened bones admirably fastened to
   the shaft. When in close combat they fight without regard to their
   own safety, and while the enemy is intent upon parrying the thrusts
   of their swords they throw a net over him and so entangle his limbs
   that he loses all power of walking or riding.

     [Sidenote: Their nomadic character]

   Not one among them cultivates the ground, or ever touches a
   plow-handle. All wander abroad without fixed abodes, without home,
   or law, or settled customs, like perpetual fugitives, with their
   wagons for their only habitations. If you ask them, not one can
   tell you what is his place of origin. They are ruthless
   truce-breakers, fickle, always ready to be swayed by the first
   breath of a new desire, abandoning themselves without restraint to
   the most ungovernable rage.

   Finally, like animals devoid of reason, they are utterly ignorant
   of what is proper and what is not. They are tricksters with words
   and full of dark sayings. They are never moved by either religious
   or superstitious awe. They burn with unquenchable thirst for gold,
   and they are so changeable and so easily moved to wrath that many
   times in the day they will quarrel with their comrades on no
   provocation, and be reconciled, having received no satisfaction.


[33] A somewhat indefinite region north and east of the Caspian Sea.

[34] The modern Don, flowing into the Sea of Azof.

[35] One of two constellations in the northern hemisphere, called
respectively the Great Bear and the Lesser Bear, or _Ursa Major_ and
_Ursa Minor_. The Great Bear is commonly known as the Dipper.

[36] That is, agriculture. The Huns were even less settled in their
mode of life than were the early Germans described by Tacitus.

[37] A strange creature of classical mythology, represented as half
man and half horse.

[38] The White Sea. It is hardly to be believed that the Huns dwelt so
far north. This was, of course, a matter of sheer speculation with the



6. The Deeds of Clovis as Related by Gregory of Tours

The most important historical writer among the early Franks was a
bishop whose full name was Georgius Florentius Gregorius, but who has
commonly been known ever since his day as Gregory of Tours. The date
of his birth is uncertain, but it was probably either 539 or 540. He
was not a Frank, but a man of mixed Roman and Gallic descent, his
parentage being such as to rank him among the nobility of his native
district, Auvergne. At the age of thirty-four he was elected bishop of
Tours, and this important office he held until his death in 594.
During this long period of service he won distinction as an able
church official, as an alert man of affairs, and as a prolific writer
on ecclesiastical subjects. Among his writings, some of which have
been lost, were a book on the Christian martyrs, biographies of
several holy men of the Church, a commentary on the Psalms, and a
treatise on the officers of the Church and their duties.

But by far his largest and most important work was his _Ecclesiastical
History of the Franks_, in ten books, written well toward the end of
his life. It is indeed to be regarded as one of the most interesting
pieces of literature produced in any country during the Middle Ages.
For his starting point Gregory went back to the Garden of Eden, and
what he gives us in his first book is only an amusing but practically
worthless account of the history of the world from Adam to St. Martin
of Tours, who died probably in 397. In the second book, however, he
comes more within the range of reasonable tradition, if not of actual
information, and brings the story down to the death of Clovis in 511.
In the succeeding eight books he reaches the year 591, though it is
thought by some that the last four were put together after the
author's death by some of his associates. However that may be, we may
rest assured that the history grows in accuracy as it approaches the
period in which it was written. Naturally it is at its best in the
later books, where events are described that happened within the
writer's lifetime, and with many of which he had a close connection.
Gregory was a man of unusual activity and of wide acquaintance among
the influential people of his day. He served as a counselor of several
Frankish kings and was a prominent figure at their courts. The shrine
of St. Martin of Tours[39] was visited by pilgrims from all parts of
the Christian world and by conversation with them Gregory had an
excellent opportunity to keep informed as to what was going on among
the Franks, and among more distant peoples as well. He was thus
fortunately situated for one who proposed to write the history of his
times. As a bishop of the orthodox Church he had small regard for
Arians and other heretics, and so was in some ways less broad-minded
than we could wish; and of course he shared the superstition and
ignorance of his age, as will appear in some of the selections below.
Still, without his extensive history we should know far less than we
now do concerning the Frankish people before the seventh century. He
mixes legend with fact in a most confusing manner, but with no
intention whatever to deceive. The men of the earlier Middle Ages knew
no other way of writing history and their readers were not critical as
we are to-day. The passages quoted below from Gregory's history give
some interesting information concerning the Frankish conquerors of
Gaul, and at the same time show something of the spirit of Gregory
himself and of the people of his times.

Particularly interesting is the account of the conversion of Clovis
and of the Franks to Christianity. When the Visigoths, Ostrogoths,
Vandals, Lombards, and Burgundians crossed the Roman frontiers and
settled within the bounds of the old Empire they were all Christians
in name, however much their conduct might be at variance with their
profession. The Franks, on the other hand, established themselves in
northern Gaul, as did the Saxons in Britain, while they were yet
pagans, worshipping Woden and Thor and the other strange deities of
the Germans. It was about the middle of the reign of King Clovis, or,
more definitely, in the year 496, that the change came. In his
_Ecclesiastical History_ Gregory tells us how up to this time all the
influence of the Christian queen, Clotilde, had been exerted in vain
to bring her husband to the point of renouncing his old gods. In his
wars and conquests the king had been very successful and apparently he
was pretty well satisfied with the favors these old gods had showered
upon him and was unwilling to turn his back upon such generous
patrons. But there came a time, in 496, in the course of the war with
the Alemanni, when the tide of fortune seemed to be turning against
the Frankish king. In the great battle of Strassburg the Franks were
on the point of being beaten by their foe, and Clovis in desperation
made a vow, as the story goes, that if Clotilde's God would grant him
a victory he would immediately become a Christian. Whatever may have
been the reason, the victory was won and the king, with characteristic
German fidelity to his word, proceeded to fulfill his pledge. Amid
great ceremony he was baptized, and with him three thousand of his
soldiers the same day. The great majority of Franks lost little time
in following the royal example.

Two important facts should be emphasized in connection with this
famous incident. The first is the peculiar character of the so-called
"conversion" of Clovis and his Franks. We to-day look upon religious
conversion as an inner experience of the individual, apt to be brought
about by personal contact between a Christian and the person who is
converted. It was in no such sense as this, however, that the
Franks--or any of the early Germans, for that matter--were made
Christian. They looked upon Christianity as a mere portion of Roman
civilization to be adopted or let alone as seemed best; but if it were
adopted, it must be by the whole tribe or nation, not by individuals
here and there. In general, the German peoples took up Christianity,
not because they became convinced that their old religions were false,
but simply because they were led to believe that the Christian faith
was in some ways better than their own and so might profitably be
taken advantage of by them. Clovis believed he had won the battle of
Strassburg with the aid of the Christian God when Woden and Thor were
about to fail him; therefore he reasoned that it would be a good thing
in the future to make sure that the God of Clotilde should always be
on his side, and obviously the way to do this was to become himself a
Christian. He did not wholly abandon the old gods, but merely
considered that he had found a new one of superior power. Hence he
enjoined on all his people that they become Christians; and for the
most part they did so, though of course we are not to suppose that
there was any very noticeable change in their actual conduct and mode
of life, at least for several generations.

The second important point to observe is that, whereas all of the
other Germanic peoples on the continent had become Christians of the
Arian type, the Franks accepted Christianity in its orthodox form such
as was adhered to by the papacy. This was sheer accident. The Franks
took the orthodox rather than the heretical religion simply because it
was the kind that was carried to them by the missionaries, not at all
because they were able, or had the desire, to weigh the two creeds and
choose the one they liked the better. But though they became orthodox
Christians by accident, the fact that they became such is of the
utmost importance in mediæval history, for by being what the papacy
regarded as true Christians rather than heretics they began from the
start to be looked to by the popes for support. Their kings in time
became the greatest secular champions of papal interests, though
relations were sometimes far from harmonious. This virtual alliance of
the popes and the Frankish kings is a subject which will repay careful

     Source--Gregorius Episcopus Turonensis, _Historia
     Ecclesiastica Francorum_ [Gregory of Tours, "Ecclesiastical
     History of the Franks"], Bk. II., Chaps. 27-43 _passim_. Text
     in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Scriptores Rerum
     Merovingicarum_, Vol. I., Part 1, pp. 88-89, 90-95, 98-100,

     [Sidenote: The battle of Soissons (486)]

   =27.= After all these things Childeric[40] died and his son Clovis
   ruled in his stead. In the fifth year of the new reign Syagrius,
   son of Ægidius, was governing as king of the Romans in the town of
   Soissons, where his father had held sway before him.[41] Clovis now
   advanced against him with his kinsman Ragnachar, who also held a
   kingdom, and gave him an opportunity to select a field of battle.
   Syagrius did not hesitate, for he was not at all afraid to risk an
   encounter. In the conflict which followed, however, the Roman soon
   saw that his army was doomed to destruction; so, turning and
   fleeing from the field, he made all haste to take refuge with King
   Alaric at Toulouse.[42] Clovis then sent word to Alaric that he
   must hand over the defeated king at once if he did not wish to
   bring on war against himself. Fearing the anger of the Franks,
   therefore, as the Goths continually do, Alaric bound Syagrius with
   chains and delivered him to the messengers of King Clovis. As soon
   as the latter had the prisoner in his possession he put him under
   safe guard and, after seizing his kingdom, had him secretly

     [Sidenote: The story of the broken vase]

   At this time the army of Clovis plundered many churches, for the
   king was still sunk in the errors of idolatry. Upon one occasion
   the soldiers carried away from a church, along with other ornaments
   of the sacred place, a remarkably large and beautiful vase. The
   bishop of that church sent messengers to the king to ask that, even
   if none of the other holy vessels might be restored, this precious
   vase at least might be sent back. To the messengers Clovis could
   only reply: "Come with us to Soissons, for there all the booty is
   to be divided. If when we cast lots the vase shall fall to me, I
   will return it as the bishop desires."

   When they had reached Soissons and all the booty had been brought
   together in the midst of the army the king called attention to the
   vase and said, "I ask you, most valiant warriors, to allow me to
   have the vase in addition to my rightful share." Then even those of
   his men who were most self-willed answered: "O glorious king, all
   things before us are thine, and we ourselves are subject to thy
   control. Do, therefore, what pleases thee best, for no one is able
   to resist thee." But when they had thus spoken, one of the
   warriors, an impetuous, jealous, and vain man, raised his battle-ax
   aloft and broke the vase in pieces, crying as he did so, "Thou
   shalt receive no part of this booty unless it fall to you by a fair
   lot." And at such a rash act they were all astounded.

     [Sidenote: Clovis's revenge]

   The king pretended not to be angry and seemed to take no notice of
   the incident, and when it happened that the broken vase fell to him
   by lot he gave the fragments to the bishop's messengers;
   nevertheless he cherished a secret indignation in his heart. A year
   later he summoned all his soldiers to come fully armed to the
   Campus Martius, so that he might make an inspection of his
   troops.[44] After he had reviewed the whole army he finally came
   across the very man who had broken the vase at Soissons. "No one,"
   cried out the king to him, "carries his arms so awkwardly as thou;
   for neither thy spear nor thy sword nor thy ax is ready for use,"
   and he struck the ax out of the soldier's hands so that it fell to
   the ground. Then when the man bent forward to pick it up the king
   raised his own ax and struck him on the head, saying, "Thus thou
   didst to the vase at Soissons." Having slain him, he dismissed the
   others, filled with great fear....[45]

     [Sidenote: Clovis decides to become a Christian (496)]

   =30.= The queen did not cease urging the king to acknowledge the
   true God and forsake idols, but all her efforts failed until at
   length a war broke out with the Alemanni.[46] Then of necessity he
   was compelled to confess what hitherto he had wilfully denied. It
   happened that the two armies were in battle and there was great
   slaughter.[47] The army of Clovis seemed about to be cut in pieces.
   Then the king raised his hands fervently toward the heavens and,
   breaking into tears, cried: "Jesus Christ, who Clotilde declares to
   be the son of the living God, who it is said givest help to the
   oppressed and victory to those who put their trust in thee, I
   invoke thy marvellous help. If thou wilt give me victory over my
   enemies and I prove that power which thy followers say they have
   proved concerning thee, I will believe in thee and will be baptized
   in thy name; for I have called upon my own gods and it is clear
   that they have neglected to give me aid. Therefore I am convinced
   that they have no power, for they do not help those who serve them.
   I now call upon thee, and I wish to believe in thee, especially
   that I may escape from my enemies." When he had offered this prayer
   the Alemanni turned their backs and began to flee. And when they
   learned that their king had been slain, they submitted at once to
   Clovis, saying, "Let no more of our people perish, for we now
   belong to you." When he had stopped the battle and praised his
   soldiers for their good work, Clovis returned in peace to his
   kingdom and told the queen how he had won the victory by calling on
   the name of Christ. These events took place in the fifteenth year
   of his reign.[48]

   =31.= Then the queen sent secretly to the blessed Remigius, bishop
   of Rheims, and asked him to bring to the king the gospel of
   salvation. The bishop came to the court where, little by little, he
   led Clovis to believe in the true God, maker of heaven and earth,
   and to forsake the idols which could help neither him nor any one
   else. "Willingly will I hear thee, O holy father," declared the
   king at last, "but the people who are under my authority are not
   ready to give up their gods. I will go and consult them about the
   religion concerning which you speak." When he had come among them,
   and before he had spoken a word, all the people, through the
   influence of the divine power, cried out with one voice: "O
   righteous king, we cast off our mortal gods and we are ready to
   serve the God who Remigius tells us is immortal."

     [Sidenote: The baptism of Clovis and his warriors]

   When this was reported to the bishop he was beside himself with
   joy, and he at once ordered the baptismal font to be prepared. The
   streets were shaded with embroidered hangings; the churches were
   adorned with white tapestries, exhaling sweet odors; perfumed
   tapers gleamed; and all the temple of the baptistry was filled with
   a heavenly odor, so that the people might well have believed that
   God in His graciousness showered upon them the perfumes of
   Paradise. Then Clovis, having confessed that the God of the Trinity
   was all-powerful, was baptized in the name of the Father, and of
   the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and was anointed with the holy oil
   with the sign of the cross. More than three thousand of his
   soldiers were baptized with him....

   =35.= Now when Alaric, king of the Goths, saw that Clovis was
   conquering many nations, he sent messengers to him, saying, "If it
   please my brother, let us, with the favor of God, enter into an
   alliance." Clovis at once declared his willingness to do as Alaric
   suggested and the two kings met on an island in the Loire, near the
   town of Amboise in the vicinity of Tours.[49] There they talked,
   ate, and drank together, and after making mutual promises of
   friendship they departed in peace.

     [Sidenote: Clovis resolves to take the Visigoths' lands in Gaul]

   =37.= But Clovis said to his soldiers: "It is with regret that I
   see the Arian heretics in possession of any part of Gaul. Let us,
   with the help of God, march against them and, after having
   conquered them, bring their country under our own control." This
   proposal was received with favor by all the warriors and the army
   started on the campaign, going towards Poitiers, where Alaric was
   then staying. As a portion of the troops passed through the
   territory about Tours, Clovis, out of respect for the holy St.
   Martin, forbade his soldiers to take anything from the country
   except grass for the horses. One soldier, having come across some
   hay which belonged to a poor man said, "Has, then, the king given
   us permission to take only grass? O well! hay is grass. To take it
   would not be to violate the command." And by force he took the hay
   away from the poor man. When, however, the matter was brought to
   the king's attention he struck the offender with his sword and
   killed him, saying, "How, indeed, may we hope for victory if we
   give offense to St. Martin?" This was enough thereafter to prevent
   the army from plundering in that country.

     [Sidenote: Miraculous incidents of the campaign]

   When Clovis arrived with his forces at the banks of the Vienne he
   was at a loss to know where to cross, because the heavy rains had
   swollen the stream. During the night he prayed that the Lord would
   reveal to him a passage. The following morning, under the guidance
   of God, a doe of wondrous size entered the river in plain sight of
   the army and crossed by a ford, thus pointing out the way for the
   soldiers to get over. When they were in the neighborhood of
   Poitiers the king saw at some distance from his tent a ball of
   fire, which proceeded from the steeple of the church of St.
   Hilary[50] and seemed to him to advance in his direction, as if to
   show that by the aid of the light of the holy St. Hilary he would
   triumph the more easily over the heretics against whom the pious
   priest had himself often fought for the faith. Clovis then forbade
   his army to molest any one or to pillage any property in that part
   of the country.

     [Sidenote: The Visigoths defeated by Clovis (507)]

   Clovis at length engaged in battle with Alaric, king of the Goths,
   in the plain of Vouillé at the tenth mile-stone from Poitiers.[51]
   The Goths fought with javelins, but the Franks charged upon them
   with lances. Then the Goths took to flight, as is their custom,[52]
   and the victory, with the aid of God, fell to Clovis. He had put
   the Goths to flight and killed their king, Alaric, when all at once
   two soldiers bore down upon him and struck him with lances on both
   sides at once; but, owing to the strength of his armor and the
   swiftness of his horse, he escaped death. After the battle
   Amalaric, son of Alaric, took refuge in Spain and ruled wisely over
   the kingdom of his father.[53] Alaric had reigned twenty-two years.
   Clovis, after spending the winter at Bordeaux and carrying from
   Toulouse all the treasure of the king, advanced on Angoulême. There
   the Lord showed him such favor that at his very approach the walls
   of the city fell down of their own accord.[54] After driving out
   the Goths he brought the place under his own authority. Thus,
   crowned with victory, he returned to Tours and bestowed a great
   number of presents upon the holy church of the blessed Martin.[55]

     [Sidenote: Other means by which Clovis extended his power]

   =40.= Now while Clovis was living at Paris he sent secretly to the
   son of Sigibert,[56] saying: "Behold now your father is old and
   lame. If he should die his kingdom would come to you and my
   friendship with it." So the son of Sigibert, impelled by his
   ambition, planned to slay his father. And when Sigibert set out
   from Cologne and crossed the Rhine to go through the Buchonian
   forest,[57] his son had him slain by assassins while he was
   sleeping in his tent, in order that he might gain the kingdom for
   himself. But by the judgment of God he fell into the pit which he
   had digged for his father. He sent messengers to Clovis to announce
   the death of his father and to say: "My father is dead and I have
   his treasures, and likewise the kingdom. Now send trusted men to
   me, that I may give them for you whatever you would like out of his
   treasury." Clovis replied: "I thank you for your kindness and will
   ask you merely to show my messengers all your treasures, after
   which you may keep them yourself." And when the messengers of
   Clovis came, the son of Sigibert showed them the treasures which
   his father had collected. And while they were looking at various
   things, he said: "My father used to keep his gold coins in this
   little chest." And they said, "Put your hand down to the bottom,
   that you may show us everything." But when he stooped to do this,
   one of the messengers struck him on the head with his battle-ax,
   and thus he met the fate which he had visited upon his father.

   Now when Clovis heard that both Sigibert and his son were dead, he
   came to that place and called the people together and said to them:
   "Hear what has happened. While I was sailing on the Scheldt River,
   Cloderic, son of Sigibert, my relative, attacked his father,
   pretending that I had wished him to slay him. And so when his
   father fled through the Buchonian forest, the assassins of Cloderic
   set upon him and slew him. But while Cloderic was opening his
   father's treasure chest, some man unknown to me struck him down. I
   am in no way guilty of these things, for I could not shed the blood
   of my relatives, which is very wicked. But since these things have
   happened, if it seems best to you, I advise you to unite with me
   and come under my protection." And those who heard him applauded
   his speech, and, raising him on a shield, acknowledged him as their
   king. Thus Clovis gained the kingdom of Sigibert and his treasures,
   and won over his subjects to his own rule. For God daily confounded
   his enemies and increased his kingdom, because he walked uprightly
   before Him and did that which was pleasing in His sight.

     [Sidenote: The removal of remaining rivals]

   =42.= Then Clovis made war on his relative Ragnachar.[58] And when
   the latter saw that his army was defeated, he attempted to flee;
   but his own men seized him and his brother Richar and brought them
   bound before Clovis. Then Clovis said: "Why have you disgraced our
   family by allowing yourself to be taken prisoner? It would have
   been better for you had you been slain." And, raising his
   battle-ax, he slew him. Then, turning to Richar, he said, "If you
   had aided your brother he would not have been taken;" and he slew
   him with the ax also. Thus by their death Clovis took their kingdom
   and treasures. And many other kings and relatives of his, who he
   feared might take his kingdom from him, were slain, and his
   dominion was extended over all Gaul.

     [Sidenote: The death of Clovis (511)]

   =43.= And after these things he died at Paris and was buried in the
   basilica of the holy saints which he and his queen, Clotilde, had
   built. He passed away in the fifth year after the battle of
   Vouillé, and all the days of his reign were thirty years.

7. The Law of the Salian Franks

When the Visigoths, Lombards, and other Germanic peoples settled
within the bounds of the Roman Empire they had no such thing as
written law. They had laws, and a goodly number of them, but these
laws were handed down from generation to generation orally, having
never been enacted by a legislative body or decreed by a monarch in
the way that laws are generally made among the civilized peoples of
to-day. In other words, early Germanic law consisted simply of an
accumulation of the immemorial custom of the tribe. When, for example,
a certain penalty had been paid on several occasions by persons who
had committed a particular crime, men came naturally to regard that
penalty as the one regularly to be paid by _any one_ proved guilty of
the same offense; so that what was at first only habit gradually
became hardened into law--unwritten indeed, but none the less binding.
The law thus made up, moreover, was personal rather than territorial
like that of the Romans and like ours to-day. That is, the same laws
did not apply to all the people throughout any particular country or
region. If a man were born a Visigoth he would be subject to
Visigothic law throughout life, no matter where he might go to live.
So the Burgundian would always have the right to be judged by
Burgundian law, and the Lombard by the Lombard law. Obviously, in
regions where several peoples dwelt side by side, as in large portions
of Gaul, Spain, and northern Italy, there was no small amount of
confusion and the courts had to be conducted in a good many different

After the Germans had been for some time in contact with the Romans
they began to be considerably influenced by the customs and ways of
doing things which they found among the more civilized people. They
tried to master the Latin language, though, on the whole, they
succeeded only so well as to create the new "Romance" tongues which we
know as French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. They adopted the
Roman religion, i.e., Christianity. And, among the most important
things of all, they took up the Roman idea of having their law written
out rather than in the uncertain shape of mere tradition. In this work
of putting the old customary law in written form the way was led by
the Salian branch of the Franks. Just when the Salic code was drawn up
is not known, but the work was certainly done at some time during the
reign of Clovis, probably about the year 496. The portions of this
code which are given below will serve to show the general character of
all the early Germanic systems of law--Visigothic, Lombard,
Burgundian, and Frisian, as well as Frankish; for among them all there
was much uniformity in principles, though considerable variation in
matters of detail. Like the rest, the Salic law was fragmentary. The
codes were not intended to embrace the entire law of the tribe, but
simply to bring together in convenient form those portions which were
most difficult to remember and which were most useful for ready
reference. In the Salic code, for instance, we find a large amount of
criminal law and of the law of procedure, but only a few touches of
the law of property, or indeed of civil law of any sort. There is
practically nothing in the way of public or administrative law. Many
things are not mentioned which we should expect to find treated and,
on the other hand, some things are there which we should not look for
ordinarily in a code of law. The greater portion is taken up with an
enumeration of penalties for various crimes and wrongful acts. These
are often detailed so minutely as to be rather amusing from our modern
point of view. Yet every one of the sixty-five chapters of the code
has its significance and from the whole law can be gleaned an immense
amount of information concerning the manner of life which prevailed in
early Frankish Gaul. For the Merovingian period in general the Salic
law is our most valuable documentary source of knowledge, just as for
the same epoch the _Ecclesiastical History_ of Gregory of Tours is our
most important narrative source.

     Source--Text in Heinrich Geffcken, _Lex Salica_ ["The Salic
     Law"], Leipzig, 1898; also Heinrich Gottfried Gengler,
     _Germanische Rechtsdenkmäler_ ["Monuments of German Law"],
     Erlangen, 1875, pp. 267-303. Adapted from translation in
     Ernest F. Henderson, _Select Historical Documents of the
     Middle Ages_ (London, 1896), pp. 176-189.


   =1.= If any one be summoned before the _mallus_[59] by the king's
   law, and do not come, he shall be sentenced to 600 _denarii_, which
   make 15 _solidi_.[60]

     [Sidenote: Summonses to the meetings of the local courts]

   =2.= But he who summons another, and does not come himself, if a
   lawful impediment have not delayed him, shall be sentenced to 15
   _solidi_, to be paid to him whom he summoned.

   =3.= And he who summons another shall go with witnesses to the home
   of that man, and, if he be not at home, shall enjoin the wife, or
   any one of the family, to make known to him that he has been
   summoned to court.

   =4.= But if he be occupied in the king's service he cannot summon

   =5.= And if he shall be inside the hundred attending to his own
   affairs, he can summon him in the manner just explained.


   =1.= If any freeman steal, outside of a house, something worth 2
   _denarii_, he shall be sentenced to 600 _denarii_, which make 15

     [Sidenote: Theft by a slave]

   =2.= But if he steal, outside of a house, something worth 40
   _denarii_, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced, besides
   the amount and the fines for delay, to 1,400 _denarii_, which make
   35 _solidi_.

   =3.= If a freeman break into a house and steal something worth 2
   _denarii_, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 15

   =4.= But if he shall have stolen something worth more than 5
   _denarii_, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced, besides
   the value of the object and the fines for delay, to 1,400
   _denarii_, which make 35 _solidi_.

   =5.= But if he shall have broken, or tampered with, the lock, and
   thus have entered the house and stolen anything from it, he shall
   be sentenced, besides the value of the object and the fines for
   delay, to 1,800 _denarii_, which make 45 _solidi_.

   =6.= And if he shall have taken nothing, or have escaped by flight,
   he shall, for the housebreaking alone, be sentenced to 1,200
   _denarii_, which make 30 _solidi_.


     [Sidenote: Theft by a freeman]

   =1.= If a slave steal, outside of a house, something worth 2
   _denarii_, besides paying the value of the object and the fines for
   delay, he shall be stretched out and receive 120 blows.

   =2.= But if he steal something worth 40 _denarii_, he shall pay 6
   _solidi_. The lord of the slave who committed the theft shall
   restore to the plaintiff the value of the object and the fines for


     [Sidenote: Robbery with assault]

   =1.= If any one shall have assaulted and robbed a freeman, and it
   be proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 2,500 _denarii_, which
   make 63 _solidi_.

   =2.= If a Roman shall have robbed a Salian Frank, the above law
   shall be observed.

   =3.= But if a Frank shall have robbed a Roman, he shall be
   sentenced to 35 _solidi_.


     [Sidenote: The crime of incendiarism]

   =1.= If any one shall set fire to a house in which people were
   sleeping, as many freemen as were in it can make complaint before
   the _mallus_; and if any one shall have been burned in it, the
   incendiary shall be sentenced to 2,500 _denarii_, which make 63


   =1.= If any one shall have sought to kill another person, and the
   blow shall have missed, he on whom it was proved shall be sentenced
   to 2,500 _denarii_, which make 63 _solidi_.

     [Sidenote: Various deeds of violence]

   =2.= If any person shall have sought to shoot another with a
   poisoned arrow, and the arrow has glanced aside, and it shall be
   proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 2,500 _denarii_, which make
   63 _solidi_.

   5. If any one shall have struck a man so that blood falls to the
   floor, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 600
   _denarii_, which make 15 _solidi_.

   =6.= But if a freeman strike a freeman with his fist so that blood
   does not flow, he shall be sentenced for each blow--up to 3
   blows--to 120 _denarii_, which make 3 _solidi_.[62]


     [Sidenote: Use of poison or witchcraft]

   =1.= If any one shall have given herbs to another, so that he die,
   he shall be sentenced to 200 _solidi_, or shall surely be given
   over to fire.

   =2.= If any person shall have bewitched another, and he who was
   thus treated shall escape, the author of the crime, having been
   proved guilty of it, shall be sentenced to 2,500 _denarii_, which
   make 63 _solidi_.


     [Sidenote: Punishment for slander]

   =6.= If any man shall have brought it up against another that he
   has thrown away his shield, and shall not have been able to prove
   it, he shall be sentenced to 120 _denarii_, which make 3

   =7.= If any man shall have called another "gossip" or "perjurer,"
   and shall not have been able to prove it, he shall be sentenced to
   600 _denarii_, which make 15 _solidi_.


   =1.= If any man shall have cut 3 staves by which a fence is bound
   or held together, or shall have stolen or cut the heads of 3
   stakes, he shall be sentenced to 600 _denarii_, which make 15

     [Sidenote: The offense of trespass]

   =2.= If any one shall have drawn a harrow through another's field
   of grain after the seed has sprouted, or shall have gone through it
   with a wagon where there was no road, he shall be sentenced to 120
   _denarii_, which make 3 _solidi_.

   =3.= If any one shall have gone, where there is no road or path,
   through another's field after the grain has grown tall, he shall be
   sentenced to 600 _denarii_, which make 15 _solidi_.


   =1.= If any one shall have killed a free Frank, or a barbarian
   living under the Salic law, and it shall have been proved on him,
   he shall be sentenced to 8,000 _denarii_.

     [Sidenote: Punishments for homicide]

   =2.= But if he shall have thrown him into a well or into the water,
   or shall have covered him with branches or anything else, to
   conceal him, he shall be sentenced to 24,000 _denarii_, which make
   600 _solidi_.

   =3.= If any one shall have slain a man who is in the service of the
   king, he shall be sentenced to 24,000 _denarii_, which make 600

   =4.= But if he shall have put him in the water, or in a well, and
   covered him with anything to conceal him, he shall be sentenced to
   72,000 _denarii_, which make 1,000 _solidi_.

   =5.= If any one shall have slain a Roman who eats in the king's
   palace, and it shall have been proved on him, he shall be sentenced
   to 12,000 _denarii_, which make 300 _solidi_.[65]

   =6.= But if the Roman shall not have been a landed proprietor and
   table companion of the king, he who killed him shall be sentenced
   to 4,000 _denarii_, which make 100 _solidi_.

   =7.= If he shall have killed a Roman who was obliged to pay
   tribute, he shall be sentenced to 63 _solidi_.

   =9.= If any one shall have thrown a freeman into a well, and he has
   escaped alive, he [the criminal] shall be sentenced to 4,000
   _denarii_, which make 100 _solidi_.


     [Sidenote: Right of migration]

   =1.= If any one desires to migrate to another village, and if one
   or more who live in that village do not wish to receive him--even
   if there be only one who objects--he shall not have the right to
   move there.

   =3.= But if any one shall have moved there, and within 12 months no
   one has given him warning, he shall remain as secure as the other


     [Sidenote: Enforcement of debt]

   1. If any freeman or leet[66] shall have made to another a promise
   to pay, then he to whom the promise was made shall, within 40 days,
   or within such time as was agreed upon when he made the promise, go
   to the house of that man with witnesses, or with appraisers. And if
   he [the debtor] be unwilling to make the promised payment, he shall
   be sentenced to 15 _solidi_ above the debt which he had promised.


   =1.= If any man die and leave no sons, the father and mother shall
   inherit, if they survive.

     [Sidenote: Rights of inheritance]

   =2.= If the father and mother do not survive, and he leave brothers
   or sisters, they shall inherit.

   =3.= But if there are none, the sisters of the father shall

   =4.= But if there are no sisters of the father, the sisters of the
   mother shall claim the inheritance.

   =5.= If there are none of these, the nearest relatives on the
   father's side shall succeed to the inheritance.

   =6.= Of Salic land no portion of the inheritance shall go to a
   woman; but the whole inheritance of the land shall belong to the
   male sex.[67]


     [Sidenote: Payment of wergeld]

   =1.= If any one's father shall have been slain, the sons shall have
   half the compounding money [wergeld]; and the other half, the
   nearest relatives, as well on the mother's as on the father's side,
   shall divide among themselves.[68]

   =2.= But if there are no relatives, paternal or maternal, that
   portion shall go to the fisc.[69]


[39] St. Martin was born in Pannonia somewhat before the middle of the
fourth century. For a time he followed his father's profession as a
soldier in the service of the Roman emperor, but later he went to Gaul
with the purpose of aiding in the establishment of the Christian
Church in that quarter. In 372 he was elected bishop of Tours and
shortly afterwards he founded the monastery with which his name was
destined to be associated throughout the Middle Ages. This monastery,
which was one of the earliest in western Europe, became a very
important factor in the prolonged combat with Gallic paganism, and
subsequently a leading center of ecclesiastical learning.

[40] Childeric I., son of the more or less mythical Merovius, was king
from 457 to 481. Clovis became ruler of the Salian branch of the
Franks in this latter year. The tomb of Childeric was discovered at
Tournai in 1653.

[41] Ægidius and his son Syagrius were the last official
representatives of the Roman imperial power in Gaul; and since the
fall of the Empire in the West even they had taken the title of "king
of the Romans" and had been practically independent sovereigns in the
territory between the Somme and the Loire, with their capital at
Soissons, northeast of Paris.

[42] Alaric II., king of the Visigoths, 485-507.

[43] The battle of Soissons in 486, with the defeat and death of
Syagrius, insured for the Franks undisputed possession southward to
the Loire, which was the northern frontier of the Visigothic kingdom.

[44] The Campus Martius was the "March-field," i.e., the assembling
place of the Frankish army. It was not regularly in any one locality
but wherever the king might call the soldiers together, as he did
every spring for purposes of review. In the eighth century the month
of May was substituted for March as the time for the meeting.

[45] In the words of Hodgkin (_Charles the Great_, p. 12), "the
well-known story of the vase of Soissons illustrates at once the
German memories of freedom and the Merovingian mode of establishing a
despotism. As a battle comrade the Frankish warrior protests against
Clovis receiving an ounce beyond his due share of the spoils. As a
battle leader Clovis rebukes his henchman for the dirtiness of his
accoutrements, and cleaves his skull to punish him for his

[46] The Alemanni were a German people occupying a vast region about
the upper waters of the Rhine and Danube. They had been making
repeated efforts to acquire territory west of the Rhine--an
encroachment which Clovis resolved not to tolerate.

[47] The battle was fought near Strassburg, in the upper Rhine valley.

[48] The ultimate result of the defeat of the Alemanni was that the
Frankish kingdom was enlarged by the annexation of the great region
known in the later Middle Ages as Suabia, comprising modern Alsace,
Baden, Würtemberg, the western part of Bavaria, and the northern part
of Switzerland. The Alemanni as a people disappeared speedily from
history, being absorbed by their more powerful neighbors. Their only
monument to-day is the name by which the French have always known the
people of Germany--_Allemands_.

[49] The Loire was the boundary between the dominions of the two
kings. There have been many famous instances in history of two
sovereigns coming together to confer at some point on the common
border of the territories controlled by them, notably the interview of
Napoleon and Tsar Alexander I. on the Niemen River in 1807. The Franks
and the Visigoths had been enemies ever since by Clovis's defeat of
Syagrius their dominions had been brought into contact (486), and the
present jovial interview of the two kings did not long keep them at
peace with each other.

[50] St. Hilary was bishop of Poitiers in the later fourth century. He
was a contemporary of St. Martin of Tours and a co-worker with him in
the organization of Gallic Christianity.

[51] The plain of Vouillé was ten miles west of Poitiers.

[52] This amusing comment of Gregory was due largely to his prejudice
in favor of the Franks and against the heretical Visigoths.

[53] The Visigothic kingdom in Spain, with its capital at Toledo,
endured until the Saracen conquest of that country in 711 and the
years immediately following, but it did not give evidence of much
strength. It stood so long only because the Pyrenees made a natural
boundary against the Franks and because, after Clovis, for two hundred
years the Franks produced no great conqueror who cared to crowd the
Visigoths into still closer quarters.

[54] Clovis, particularly after his conversion to Christianity in 496,
was the hero of Gregory's history and apparently the enthusiastic old
bishop did not lose an opportunity to glorify his career. At any rate
it would certainly be difficult to relate anything more remarkable
about him than this legend of the walls of Angoulême falling down
before him at his mere approach.

[55] This notable campaign had advanced Frankish territory to the
Pyrenees, except for the strip between these mountains and the Rhone,
known as Septimania, which the Visigoths were able to retain by the
aid of the Ostrogoths from Italy. No great number of Franks settled in
this broad territory south of the Loire, and to this day the
inhabitants of south France show a much larger measure of Roman
descent than do those of the north. It may be added that Septimania
was conquered by Clovis's son Childebert in 531, and thus the last bit
of old Gaul--practically modern France--was brought under Frankish

[56] This was Cloderic, son of Sigibert the Lame, king of a tribe of
Franks living along the middle Rhine. Sigibert was one of the numerous
independent and rival princes whom Clovis used every expedient to put
out of the way.

[57] Along the Upper Weser, near the monastery of Fulda.

[58] Ragnachar's kingdom was in the region about Cambrai.

[59] The _mallus_ was the local court held about every six weeks in
each community or hundred. In early German law the state has small
place and the principle of self-help by the individual is very
prominent. To bring a suit one summons his opponent himself and gets
him to appear at court if he can. Ordinarily the court merely
determines the method by which the guilt or innocence of the accused
may be tested. Execution of the sentence rests again with the
plaintiff, or with his family or clan group.

[60] "The monetary system of the Salic law was taken from the Romans.
The basis was the gold _solidus_ of Constantine, 1/72 of a pound of
gold. The small coin was the silver _denarius_, forty of which made a
_solidus_. This system was adopted as a monetary reform by Clovis, and
the statement of the sum in terms of both coins is probably due to the
newness of the system at the time of the appearance of the
law."--Thatcher and McNeal, _Source Book for Mediæval History_, p. 17.
The gold _solidus_ was worth somewhere from two and a half to three
dollars, but its purchasing power was perhaps equal to that of twenty
dollars to-day, because gold and silver were then so much scarcer and
more valuable. Such estimates of purchasing power, however, involve so
great uncertainty as to be practically worthless.

[61] The Burgundian law (Chap. 41) contained a provision that if a man
made a fire on his own premises and it spread to fences or crops
belonging to another person, and did damage, the man who made the fire
should recompense his neighbor for his loss, provided it could be
shown that there was no wind to drive the fire beyond control. If
there was such a wind, no penalty was to be exacted.

[62] The law of the Lombards had a more elaborate system of fines for
wounds than did the Salic code. For example, knocking out a man's
front teeth was to be paid for at the rate of sixteen _solidi_ per
tooth; knocking out back teeth at the rate of eight _solidi_ per
tooth; fracturing an arm, sixteen _solidi_; cutting off a second
finger, seventeen _solidi_; cutting off a great toe, six _solidi_;
cutting off a little toe, two _solidi_; giving a blow with the fist,
three _solidi_; with the palm of the hand, six _solidi_; and striking
a person on the head so as to break bones, twelve _solidi_ per bone.
In the latter case the broken bones were to be counted "on this
principle, that one bone shall be found large enough to make an
audible sound when thrown against a shield at twelve feet distance on
the road; the said feet to be measured from the foot of a man of
moderate stature."

[63] The man who had "thrown away his shield" was the coward who had
fled from the field of battle. How the Germans universally regarded
such a person appears in the _Germania_ of Tacitus, Chap. 6 (see p.
25). To impute this ignominy to a man was a serious matter.

[64] This was the so-called "triple wergeld." That is, the lives of
men in the service of the king were rated three times as high as those
of ordinary free persons.

[65] Here is an illustration of the personal character of Germanic
law. There is one law for the Frank and another for the Roman, though
both peoples were now living side by side in Gaul. The price put upon
the life of the Frankish noble who was in the king's service was 600
_solidi_ (§ 3), but that on the life of the Roman noble in the same
service was but half that amount. The same proportion held for the
ordinary freemen, as will be seen by comparing §§ 1 and 6.

[66] A leet was such a person as we in modern times commonly designate
as a serf--a man only partially free.

[67] This has been alleged to be the basis of the misnamed "Salic Law"
by virtue of which no woman, in the days of the French monarchy, was
permitted to inherit the throne. As a matter of fact, however, the
exclusion of women from the French throne was due, not to this or to
any other early Frankish principle, but to later circumstances which
called for stronger monarchs in France than women have ordinarily been
expected to be. The history of the modern "Salic Law" does not go back
of the resolution of the French nobles in 1317 against the general
political expediency of female sovereigns [see p. 420].

[68] The wergeld was the value put by the law upon every man's life.
Its amount varied according to the rank of the person in question. The
present section specifies how the wergeld paid by a murderer should be
divided among the relatives of the slain man.

[69] That is, to the king's treasury.



8. The Saxon Invasion (cir. 449)

The Venerable Bede, the author of the passage given below, was born
about 673 in Northumberland and spent most of his life in the
Benedictine abbey of Jarrow on the Tyne, where he died in 735. He was
a man of broad learning and untiring industry, famous in all parts of
Christendom by reason of the numerous scholarly books that he wrote.
The chief of these was his _Ecclesiastical History of the English
People_, covering the period from the first invasion of Britain by
Cæsar (B.C. 55) to the year 731. In this work Bede dealt with many
matters lying properly outside the sphere of church history, so that
it is exceedingly valuable for the light which it throws on both the
military and political affairs of the early Anglo-Saxons in Britain.
As an historian Bede was fair-minded and as accurate as his means of
information permitted.

The Angle and Saxon seafarers from the region we now know as Denmark
and Hanover had infested the shores of Britain for two centuries or
more before the coming of Hengist and Horsa which Bede here describes.
The withdrawal of the Roman garrisons about the year 410 left the
Britons at the mercy of the wilder Picts and Scots of the north and
west, and as a last resort King Vortigern decided to call in the
Saxons to aid in his campaign of defense. Such, at least, is the story
related by Gildas, a Romanized British chronicler who wrote about the
year 560, and this was the view adopted by Bede. Recent writers, as
Mr. James H. Ramsay in his _Foundations of England_, are inclined to
cast serious doubts upon the story because it seems hardly probable
that any king would have taken so foolish a step as that attributed to
Vortigern.[70] At any rate, whether by invitation or for pure love of
seafaring adventure, certain it is that the Saxons and Angles made
their appearance at the little island of Thanet, on the coast of Kent,
and found the country so much to their liking that they chose to
remain rather than return to the over-populated shores of the Baltic.
There are many reasons for believing that people of Germanic stock had
been settled more or less permanently in Britain long before the
traditional invasion of Hengist and Horsa. Yet we are justified in
thinking of this interesting expedition as, for all practical
purposes, the beginning of the long and stubborn struggle of Germans
to possess the fruitful British isle. While Visigoths and Ostrogoths,
Vandals and Lombards were breaking across the Rhine-Danube frontier
and finding new homes in the territories of the Roman Empire, the
Angles, Saxons, and Jutes from the farther north were led by their
seafaring instincts to make their great movement, not by land, but by
water, and into a country which the Romans had a good while before
been obliged to abandon. There they were free to develop their own
peculiar Germanic life and institutions, for the most part without
undergoing the changes which settlement among the Romans produced in
the case of the tribes whose migrations were towards the

     Source--Bæda, _Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum_ [Bede,
     "Ecclesiastical History of the English People"], Bk. I.,
     Chaps. 14-15. Translated by J. A. Giles (London, 1847), pp.

     [Sidenote: The Britons decide to call in the Saxons]

   They consulted what was to be done,[71] and where they should seek
   assistance to prevent or repel the cruel and frequent incursions of
   the northern nations. And they all agreed with their king,
   Vortigern, to call over to their aid, from the parts beyond the
   sea, the Saxon nation; which, as the outcome still more plainly
   showed, appears to have been done by the inspiration of our Lord
   Himself, that evil might fall upon them for their wicked deeds.

     [Sidenote: The Saxons settle in the island]

   In the year of our Lord 449,[72] Martian, being made emperor with
   Valentinian, the forty-sixth from Augustus, ruled the Empire seven
   years. Then the nation of the Angles, or Saxons, being invited by
   the aforesaid king, arrived in Britain with three long ships, and
   had a place assigned them to reside in by the same king, in the
   eastern part of the island,[73] that they might thus appear to be
   fighting for their country, while their real intentions were to
   enslave it. Accordingly they engaged with the enemy, who were come
   from the north to give battle, and obtained the victory; which,
   being known at home in their own country, as also the fertility of
   the islands and the cowardice of the Britons, a larger fleet was
   quickly sent over, bringing a still greater number of men, who,
   being added to the former, made up an invincible army. The
   newcomers received from the Britons a place to dwell, upon
   condition that they should wage war against their enemies for the
   peace and security of the country, while the Britons agreed to
   furnish them with pay.

   Those who came over were of the three most powerful nations of
   Germany--Saxons, Angles, and Jutes. From the Jutes are descended
   the people of Kent and of the Isle of Wight, and those also in the
   province of the West Saxons who are to this day called Jutes,
   seated opposite to the Isle of Wight. From the Saxons, that is, the
   country which is now called Old Saxony, came the East Saxons, the
   South Saxons, and the West Saxons. From the Angles, that is, the
   country which is called Anglia, and which is said, from that time,
   to remain desert to this day, between the provinces of the Jutes
   and the Saxons, are descended the East Angles, the Midland Angles,
   Mercians, all the race of the Northumbrians, that is, of those
   nations that dwell on the north side of the River Humber, and the
   other nations of the English.

     [Sidenote: Hengist and Horsa]

     [Sidenote: The Saxons turn against the Britons]

   The first two commanders are said to have been Hengist and Horsa.
   Horsa, being afterwards slain in battle by the Britons,[74] was
   buried in the eastern part of Kent, where a monument bearing his
   name is still in existence. They were the sons of Victgilsus, whose
   father was Vecta, son of Woden; from whose stock the royal races of
   many provinces trace their descent. In a short time swarms of the
   aforesaid nations came over into the island, and they began to
   increase so much that they became a terror to the natives
   themselves who had invited them. Then, having on a sudden entered
   into a league with the Picts, whom they had by this time repelled
   by the force of their arms, they began to turn their weapons
   against their confederates. At first they obliged them to furnish a
   greater quantity of provisions; and, seeking an occasion to
   quarrel, protested that unless more plentiful supplies were brought
   them they would break the confederacy and ravage all the island;
   nor were they backward in putting their threats in execution.

     [Sidenote: Their devastation of the country]

   They plundered all the neighboring cities and country, spread the
   conflagration from the eastern to the western sea without any
   opposition, and covered almost every part of the island. Public as
   well as private structures were overturned; the priests were
   everywhere slain before the altars; the prelates and the people,
   without any respect of persons, were destroyed with fire and sword;
   nor were there any to bury those who had been thus cruelly
   slaughtered. Some of the miserable remainder, being taken in the
   mountains, were butchered in heaps. Others, driven by hunger, came
   forth and submitted themselves to the enemy for food, being
   destined to undergo perpetual servitude, if they were not killed
   upon the spot. Some, with sorrowful hearts, fled beyond the seas.
   Others, continuing in their own country, led a miserable life among
   the woods, rocks, and mountains, with scarcely enough food to
   support life, and expecting every moment to be their last.[75]

9. The Mission of Augustine (597)

How or when the Christian religion was first introduced into Britain
cannot now be ascertained. As early as the beginning of the third
century the African church father Tertullian referred to the Britons
as a Christian people, and in 314 the British church was recognized by
the Council of Arles as an integral part of the church universal.
Throughout the period of Roman control in the island Christianity
continued to be the dominant religion. When, however, in the fifth
century and after, the Saxons and Angles invaded the country and the
native population was largely killed off or driven westward (though
not so completely as some books tell us), Christianity came to be
pretty much confined to the Celtic peoples of Ireland and Wales. The
invaders were still pagans worshiping the old Teutonic deities Woden,
Thor, Freya, and the rest, and though an attempt at their conversion
was made by a succession of Irish monks, their pride as conquerors
seems to have kept them from being greatly influenced. At any rate,
the conversion of the Angles and Saxons was a task which called for a
special evangelistic movement from no less a source than the head of
the Church. This movement was set in operation by Pope Gregory I.
(Gregory the Great) near the close of the sixth century. It is
reasonable to suppose that the impulse came originally from Bertha,
the Frankish queen of King Ethelbert of Kent, who was an ardent
Christian and very desirous of bringing about the conversion of her
adopted people. In 596 Augustine (not to be confused with the
celebrated bishop of Hippo in the fifth century) was sent by Pope
Gregory at the head of a band of monks to proclaim the religion of the
cross to King Ethelbert, and afterwards to all the Angles and Saxons
and Jutes in the island. On Whitsunday, June 2, 597, Ethelbert
renounced his old gods and was baptized into the Christian communion.
The majority of his people soon followed his example and four years
later Augustine was appointed "Bishop of the English." After this
encouraging beginning the Christianizing of the East, West, and South
Saxons went steadily forward.

     Source--Bæda, _Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum_, Bk.
     I., Chaps. 23, 25-26. Adapted from translation by J. A. Giles
     (London, 1847), pp. 34-40 _passim_.

     [Sidenote: Pope Gregory I. sends missionaries to Britain]

     [Sidenote: They become frightened at the outlook]

   In the year of our Lord 582, Maurice, the fifty-fourth from
   Augustus, ascended the throne,[76] and reigned twenty-one years. In
   the tenth year of his reign, Gregory, a man renowned for learning
   and piety, was elected to the apostolical see of Rome, and presided
   over it thirteen years, six months and ten days.[77] He, being
   moved by divine inspiration, in the fourteenth year of the same
   emperor, and about the one hundred and fiftieth after the coming of
   the English into Britain, sent the servant of God, Augustine,[78]
   and with him several other monks who feared the Lord, to preach the
   word of God to the English nation. They, in obedience to the Pope's
   commands, having undertaken that work, were on their journey seized
   with a sudden fear and began to think of returning home, rather
   than of proceeding to a barbarous, fierce, and unbelieving nation,
   to whose very language they were strangers; and this they
   unanimously agreed was the safest course.[79] In short, they sent
   back Augustine, who had been appointed to be consecrated bishop in
   case they were received by the English, that he might, by humble
   entreaty, obtain consent of the holy Gregory, that they should not
   be compelled to undertake so dangerous, toilsome, and uncertain a
   journey. The Pope, in reply, sent them an encouraging letter,
   persuading them to proceed in the work of the divine word, and rely
   on the assistance of the Almighty. The substance of this letter was
   as follows:

     [Sidenote: Gregory's letter of encouragement]

   "Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, to the servants of
   our Lord. Forasmuch as it had been better not to begin a good work
   than to think of abandoning that which has been begun, it behooves
   you, my beloved sons, to fulfill the good work which, by the help
   of our Lord, you have undertaken. Let not, therefore, the toil of
   the journey nor the tongues of evil-speaking men deter you. With
   all possible earnestness and zeal perform that which, by God's
   direction, you have undertaken; being assured that much labor is
   followed by an eternal reward. When Augustine, your chief, returns,
   whom we also constitute your abbot,[80] humbly obey him in all
   things; knowing that whatsoever you shall do by his direction will,
   in all respects, be helpful to your souls. Almighty God protect you
   with his grace, and grant that I, in the heavenly country, may see
   the fruits of your labor; inasmuch as, though I cannot labor with
   you, I shall partake in the joy of the reward, because I am willing
   to labor. God keep you in safety, my most beloved sons. Dated the
   23rd of July, in the fourteenth year of the reign of our pious and
   most august lord, Mauritius Tiberius, the thirteenth year after the
   consulship of our said lord."

     [Sidenote: Augustine and his companions arrive in Kent]

   Augustine, thus strengthened by the confirmation of the blessed
   Father Gregory, returned to the work of the word of God, with the
   servants of Christ, and arrived in Britain. The powerful Ethelbert
   was at that time king of Kent. He had extended his dominions as far
   as the great River Humber, by which the Southern Saxons are
   divided from the Northern.[81] On the east of Kent is the large
   isle of Thanet containing according to the English reckoning 600
   families, divided from the other land by the River Wantsum, which
   is about three furlongs over and fordable only in two places, for
   both ends of it run into the sea.[82] In this island landed the
   servant of our Lord, Augustine, and his companions, being, as is
   reported, nearly forty men. By order of the blessed Pope Gregory,
   they had taken interpreters of the nation of the Franks,[83] and
   sending to Ethelbert, signified that they were come from Rome and
   brought a joyful message, which most undoubtedly assured to all
   that took advantage of it everlasting joys in heaven and a kingdom
   that would never end, with the living and true God. The king,
   having heard this, ordered that they stay in that island where they
   had landed, and that they be furnished with all necessaries, until
   he should consider what to do with them. For he had before heard of
   the Christian religion, having a Christian wife of the royal family
   of the Franks, called Bertha;[84] whom he had received from her
   parents upon condition that she should be permitted to practice her
   religion with the Bishop Luidhard, who was sent with her to
   preserve her faith.[85]

     [Sidenote: Augustine preaches to King Ethelbert]

   Some days after, the king came to the island, and sitting in the
   open air, ordered Augustine and his companions to be brought into
   his presence. For he had taken precaution that they should not come
   to him in any house, lest, according to an ancient superstition, if
   they practised any magical arts, they might impose upon him, and so
   get the better of him. But they came furnished with divine, not
   with magic virtue, bearing a silver cross for their banner, and the
   image of our Lord and Savior painted on a board; and singing the
   litany, they offered up their prayers to the Lord for the eternal
   salvation both of themselves and of those to whom they were come.
   When Augustine had sat down, according to the king's commands, and
   preached to him and his attendants there present the word of life,
   the king answered thus: "Your words and promises are very fair, but
   as they are new to us, and of uncertain import, I cannot approve of
   them so far as to forsake that which I have so long followed with
   the whole English nation. But because you are come from afar into
   my kingdom, and, as I conceive, are desirous to impart to us those
   things which you believe to be true and most beneficial, we will
   not molest you, but give you favorable entertainment and take care
   to supply you with necessary sustenance; nor do we forbid you to
   preach and win as many as you can to your religion." Accordingly he
   permitted them to reside in the city of Canterbury, which was the
   metropolis of all his dominions, and, according to his promise,
   besides allowing them sustenance, did not refuse them liberty to
   preach. It is reported that, as they drew near to the city, after
   their manner, with the holy cross and the image of our sovereign
   Lord and King, Jesus Christ, they sang this litany together: "We
   beseech thee, O Lord, in all Thy mercy, that Thy anger and wrath be
   turned away from this city, and from Thy holy house, because we
   have sinned. Hallelujah."

     [Sidenote: The life of the missionaries at Canterbury]

   As soon as they entered the dwelling-place assigned them, they
   began to imitate the course of life practised in the primitive
   Church; applying themselves to frequent prayer, watching, and
   fasting; preaching the word of life to as many as they could;
   despising all worldly things as not belonging to them; receiving
   only their necessary food from those they taught; living themselves
   in all respects in conformity with what they prescribed for others,
   and being always disposed to suffer any adversity, and even to die
   for that truth which they preached. In short, several believed and
   were baptized, admiring the simplicity of their innocent life, and
   the sweetness of their heavenly doctrine. There was, on the east
   side of the city, a church dedicated to the honor of St. Martin,
   built whilst the Romans were still in the island, wherein the
   queen, who, as has been said before, was a Christian, used to
   pray.[86] In this they first began to meet, to sing, to pray, to
   say mass, to preach, and to baptize, until the king, being
   converted to the faith, allowed them to preach openly, and build or
   repair churches in all places.

     [Sidenote: Ethelbert converted]

   When he, among the rest, induced by the unspotted life of these
   holy men, and their pleasing promises, which by many miracles they
   proved to be most certain, believed and was baptized, greater
   numbers began daily to flock together to hear the word, and
   forsaking their heathen rites, to associate themselves, by
   believing, to the unity of the church of Christ. Their conversion
   the king encouraged in so far that he compelled none to embrace
   Christianity, but only showed more affection to the believers, as
   to his fellow-citizens in the heavenly kingdom. For he had learned
   from his instructors and guides to salvation that the service of
   Christ ought to be voluntary, not by compulsion. Nor was it long
   before he gave his teachers a settled residence in his metropolis
   of Canterbury, with such possessions of different kinds as were
   necessary for their subsistence.[87]


[70] James H. Ramsay, _The Foundations of England_ (London, 1898), I.,
p. 121.

[71] Bede has just been describing a plague which rendered the Britons
at this time even more unable than usual to withstand the fierce
invaders from the north; also lamenting the luxury and crime which a
few years of relief from war had produced among his people.

[72] This date is evidently incorrect. Martian and Valentinian III.
became joint rulers of the Empire in 450; hence this is the year that
Bede probably meant.

[73] That is, Thanet, which practically no longer exists as an island.
In Bede's day it was separated from the rest of Kent by nearly half a
mile of water, but since then the coast line has changed so that the
land is cut through by only a tiny rill. The intervening ground,
however, is marshy and only partially reclaimed.

[74] This battle was fought between Hengist and Vortimer, the eldest
son of Vortigern, at Aylesford, in Kent.

[75] It is by no means probable that the invasion of Britain by the
Saxons was followed by such wholesale extermination of the natives as
is here represented, though it is certain that everywhere, except in
the far west (Wales) and north (Scotland), the native population was
reduced to complete subjection.

[76] That is, the throne of the Eastern Empire at Constantinople.

[77] Gregory was a monk before he was elected pope. He held the papal
office from 590 to 604 [see p. 90].

[78] Augustine at the time (596) was prior of a monastery dedicated to
St. Andrew in Rome.

[79] The missionaries had apparently gone as far as Arles in southern
Provence when they reached this decision.

[80] An abbot was the head of a monastery. Should such an
establishment be set up in Britain, Augustine was to be its presiding

[81] The Germanic peoples north of the Humber were more properly
Angles, but of course they were in all essential respects like the
Saxons. Ethelbert was not actually king in that region, but was
recognized as "bretwalda," or over-lord, by the other rulers.

[82] For later changes in this part of the coast line, see p. 70,
note 1.

[83] This was possible because the Franks and Saxons, being both
German, as yet spoke languages so much alike that either people could
understand the other without much difficulty.

[84] Bertha was a daughter of the Frankish king Charibert. The Franks
had been nominally a Christian people since the conversion of Clovis
in 496 [see p. 53]--just a hundred years before Augustine started on
his mission to the Angles and Saxons.

[85] Luidhard had been bishop of Senlis; a town not many miles
northeast of Paris. Probably Augustine and his companions profited not
a little by the influence which Luidhard had already exerted at the
Kentish court.

[86] "The present church of St. Martin near Canterbury is not the old
one spoken of by Bede, as it is generally thought to be, but is a
structure of the thirteenth century, though it is probable that the
materials of the original church were worked up in the masonry in its
reconstruction, the walls being still composed in part of Roman
bricks."--J. A. Giles, _Bede's Ecclesiastical History_, p. 39.

[87] Thus was established the "primacy," or ecclesiastical leadership,
of Canterbury, which has continued to this day.



10. Pope Leo's Sermon on the Petrine Supremacy

In tracing the history of the great ecclesiastical institution known
as the papacy, the first figure that stands out with considerable
clearness is that of Leo I., or Leo the Great, who was elected bishop
of Rome in the year 440. Leo is perhaps the first man who, all things
considered, can be called "pope" in the modern sense of the term,
although certain of his predecessors in the bishop's seat at the
imperial capital had long claimed and exercised a peculiar measure of
authority over their fellow bishops throughout the Empire. Almost from
the earliest days of Christianity the word _papa_ (pope) seems to have
been in common use as an affectionate mode of addressing any bishop,
but after the fourth century it came to be applied in a peculiar
manner to the bishop of Rome, and in time this was the only usage, so
far as western Europe was concerned, which survived. The causes of the
special development of the Roman bishopric into the powerful papal
office were numerous. Rome's importance as a city, and particularly as
the political head of the Mediterranean world, made it natural that
her bishop should have something of a special dignity and influence.
Throughout western Europe the Roman church was regarded as a model and
its bishop was frequently called upon for counsel and advice. Then,
when the seat of the imperial government was removed to the East by
Constantine, the Roman bishop naturally took up much of the leadership
in the West which had been exercised by the emperor, and this added
not a little in the way of prestige. On the whole the Roman bishops
were moderate, liberal, and sensible in their attitude toward church
questions, thereby commending themselves to the practical peoples of
the West in a way that other bishops did not always do. The growth of
temporal possessions, especially in the way of land, also made the
Roman bishops more independent and able to hold their own. And the
activity of such men as Leo the Great in warding off the attacks of
the German barbarians, and in providing popular leadership in the
absence of such leadership on the part of the imperial authorities,
was a not unimportant item.

After all, however, these are matters which have always been regarded
by the popes themselves as circumstances of a more or less transitory
and accidental character. It is not upon any or all of them that the
papacy from first to last has sought to base its high claims to
authority. The fundamental explanation, from the papal standpoint, for
the peculiar development of the papal power in the person of the
bishops of Rome is contained in the so-called theory of the "Petrine
Supremacy," which will be found set forth in Pope Leo's sermon
reproduced in part below. The essential points in this theory are: (1)
that to the apostle Peter, Christ committed the keys of the kingdom of
heaven and the supremacy over all other apostles on earth; (2) that
Peter, in the course of time, became the first bishop of Rome; and (3)
that the superior authority given to Peter was transmitted to all his
successors in the Roman bishopric. It was fundamentally on _these_
grounds that the pope, to quote an able Catholic historian, was
believed to be "the visible representative of ecclesiastical unity,
the supreme teacher and custodian of the faith, the supreme
legislator, the guardian and interpreter of the canons, the legitimate
superior of all bishops, the final judge of councils--an office which
he possessed in his own right, and which he actually exercised by
presiding over all ecumenical synods, through his legates, and by
confirming the acts of the councils as the Supreme Head of the
Universal Catholic Church."[88] Modern Protestants discard certain of
the tenets which go to make up the Petrine theory, but it is essential
that the student of history bear in mind that the people of the Middle
Ages never doubted its complete and literal authenticity, nor
questioned that the authority of the papal office rested at bottom
upon something far more fundamental than a mere fortunate combination
of historical circumstances. Whatever one's personal opinions on the
issues involved, the point to be insisted upon is that in studying
mediæval church life and organization the universal acceptance of
these beliefs and conclusions be never lost to view.

Leo was pope from 440 to 461 and it has been well maintained that he
was the first occupant of the office to comprehend the wide
possibilities of the papal dignity in the future. In his sermons and
letters he vigorously asserted the sovereign authority of his
position, and in his influence on the events of his time, as for
example the Council of Chalcedon in 451, he sought with no little
success to bring men to a general acknowledgment of this authority.

     Source--Text in Jacques Paul Migne, _Patroligiæ Cursus
     Completus_ ["Complete Collection of Patristic Literature"],
     First Series, Vol. LIV., cols. 144-148. Translated in Philip
     Schaff and Henry Wace, _Select Library of Nicene and
     Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church_ (New York, 1895),
     Second Series, Vol. XII., pp. 117-118.

     [Sidenote: The apostle Peter still with his Church]

   Although, therefore, dearly beloved, we be found both weak and
   slothful in fulfilling the duties of our office, because, whatever
   devoted and vigorous action we desire to undertake, we are hindered
   in by the frailty of our nature, yet having the unceasing
   propitiation of the Almighty and perpetual Priest [Christ], who
   being like us and yet equal with the Father, brought down His
   Godhead even to things human, and raised His Manhood even to things
   Divine, we worthily and piously rejoice over His dispensation,
   whereby, though He has delegated the care of His sheep to many
   shepherds, yet He has not Himself abandoned the guardianship of His
   beloved flock. And from His overruling and eternal protection we
   have received the support of the Apostle's aid also, which
   assuredly does not cease from its operation; and the strength of
   the foundation, on which the whole superstructure of the Church is
   reared, is not weakened by the weight of the temple that rests upon
   it. For the solidity of that faith which was praised in the chief
   of the Apostles is perpetual; and as that remains which Peter
   believed in Christ, so that remains which Christ instituted in

     [Sidenote: Christ's commission to Peter]

   For when, as has been read in the Gospel lesson,[89] the Lord had
   asked the disciples whom they believed Him to be amid the various
   opinions that were held, and the blessed Peter had replied, saying,
   "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," the Lord said,
   "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood hath not
   revealed it to thee, but My Father, which is in heaven. And I say
   to thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build My
   church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I
   will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And
   whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and
   whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed also in
   heaven." [Matt. xvi. 16-19.]

     [Sidenote: Peter properly rules the Church through his successors
   at Rome]

   The dispensation of Truth therefore abides, and the blessed Peter
   persevering in the strength of the Rock, which he has received, has
   not abandoned the helm of the Church, which he undertook. For he
   was ordained before the rest in such a way that from his being
   called the Rock, from his being pronounced the Foundation, from his
   being constituted the Doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven, from his
   being set as the Umpire to bind and to loose, whose judgments shall
   retain their validity in heaven--from all these mystical titles we
   might know the nature of his association with Christ. And still
   to-day he more fully and effectually performs what is intrusted to
   him, and carries out every part of his duty and charge in Him and
   with Him, through whom he has been glorified. And so if anything is
   rightly done and rightly decreed by us, if anything is won from the
   mercy of God by our daily supplications, it is of his work and
   merits whose power lives and whose authority prevails in his

     [Sidenote: Leo claims to be only Peter's representative]

   And so, dearly beloved, with becoming obedience we celebrate
   to-day's festival[91] by such methods, that in my humble person he
   may be recognized and honored, in whom abides the care of all the
   shepherds, together with the charge of the sheep commended to him,
   and whose dignity is not belittled even in so unworthy an heir. And
   hence the presence of my venerable brothers and fellow-priests, so
   much desired and valued by me, will be the more sacred and
   precious, if they will transfer the chief honor of this service in
   which they have deigned to take part to him whom they know to be
   not only the patron of this see, but also the primate of all
   bishops. When therefore we utter our exhortations in your ears,
   holy brethren, believe that he is speaking whose representative we
   are. Because it is his warning that we give, and nothing else but
   his teaching that we preach, beseeching you to "gird up the loins
   of your mind," and lead a chaste and sober life in the fear of God,
   and not to let your mind forget his supremacy and consent to the
   lusts of the flesh.

     [Sidenote: An exhortation to Christian constancy]

     [Sidenote: The peculiar privilege of the church at Rome]

   Short and fleeting are the joys of this world's pleasures which
   endeavor to turn aside from the path of life those who are called
   to eternity. The faithful and religious spirit, therefore, must
   desire the things which are heavenly and, being eager for the
   divine promises, lift itself to the love of the incorruptible Good
   and the hope of the true Light. But be assured, dearly-beloved,
   that your labor, whereby you resist vices and fight against carnal
   desires, is pleasing and precious in God's sight, and in God's
   mercy will profit not only yourselves but me also, because the
   zealous pastor makes his boast of the progress of the Lord's flock.
   "For ye are my crown and joy," as the Apostle says, if your faith,
   which from the beginning of the Gospel has been preached in all the
   world, has continued in love and holiness. For though the whole
   Church, which is in all the world, ought to abound in all virtues,
   yet you especially, above all people, it becomes to excel in deeds
   of piety, because, founded as you are on the very citadel of the
   Apostolic Rock, not only has our Lord Jesus Christ redeemed you in
   common with all men, but the blessed Apostle Peter has instructed
   you far beyond all men.

11. The Rule of St. Benedict

A very important feature of the church life of the early Middle Ages
was the tendency of devout men to withdraw from the active affairs of
the world and give themselves up to careers of self-sacrificing piety.
Sometimes such men went out to live alone in forests or other obscure
places and for this reason were called anchorites or hermits; but more
often they settled in groups and formed what came to be known as
monasteries. The idea that seclusion is helpful to the religious life
was not peculiar to Christianity, for from very early times Brahmins
and Buddhists and other peoples of the Orient had cherished the same
view; and in many cases they do so still. Monasticism among Christians
began naturally in the East and at first took the form almost wholly
of hermitage, just as it had done among the adherents of other
Oriental religions, though by the fourth century the Christian monks
of Syria and Egypt and Asia Minor had come in many cases to dwell in
established communities. In general the Eastern monks were prone to
extremes in the way of penance and self-torture which the more
practical peoples of the West were not greatly disposed to imitate.
Monasticism spread into the West, but not until comparatively
late--beginning in the second half of the fourth century--and the
character which it there assumed was quite unlike that prevailing in
the East. The Eastern ideal was the life of meditation with as little
activity as possible, except perhaps such as was necessary in order to
impose hardships upon one's self. The Western ideal, on the other
hand, while involving a good deal of meditation and prayer, put much
emphasis on labor and did not call for so complete an abstention of
the monk from the pursuits and pleasures of other men.

In the later fifth century, and earlier sixth, several monasteries of
whose history we know little were established in southern Gaul,
especially in the pleasant valley of the Rhone. Earliest of all,
apparently, and destined to become the most influential was the abbey
of St. Martin at Tours, founded soon after St. Martin was made bishop
of Tours in 372. But the development of Western monasticism is
associated most of all with the work of St. Benedict of Nursia, who
died in 543. Benedict was the founder of several monasteries in the
vicinity of Rome, the most important being that of Monte Cassino, on
the road from Rome to Naples, which exists to this day. One should
guard, however, against the mistake of looking upon St. Benedict as
the introducer of monasticism in the West, of even as the founder of a
new monastic _order_ in the strict sense of the word. The great
service which he rendered to European monasticism consisted in his
working out for his monasteries in Italy an elaborate system of
government which was found so successful in practice that, in the form
of the Benedictine Rule (_regula_), it came to be the constitution
under which for many centuries practically all the monks of Western
countries lived. That it was so widely adopted was due mainly to its
definite, practical, common-sense character. Its chief injunctions
upon the monks were poverty, chastity, obedience, piety, and labor.
All these were to be attained by methods which, although they may seem
strange to us to-day, were at least natural and wholesome when judged
by the ideas and standards prevailing in early mediæval times. Granted
the ascetic principle upon which the monastic system rested, the Rule
of St. Benedict must be regarded as eminently moderate and sensible.
It sprang from an acute perception of human nature and human needs no
less than from a lofty ideal of religious perfection. The following
extracts will serve to show its character.

     Source--Text in Jacques Paul Migne, _Patrologiæ Cursus
     Completus_, First Series, Vol. LXVI., cols. 245-932 _passim_.
     Adapted from translation in Ernest F. Henderson, _Select
     Historical Documents of the Middle Ages_ (London, 1896), pp.

   _Prologue...._ We are about to found, therefore, a school for the
   Lord's service, in the organization of which we trust that we shall
   ordain nothing severe and nothing burdensome. But even if, the
   demands of justice dictating it, something a trifle irksome shall
   be the result, for the purpose of amending vices or preserving
   charity, thou shalt not therefore, struck by fear, flee the way of
   salvation, which cannot be entered upon except through a narrow

     [Sidenote: Responsibility of the abbot for the character and deeds
   of the monks]

     [Sidenote: He must teach by example as well as by precept]

   =2.= _What the abbot should be like._ An abbot who is worthy to
   preside over a monastery ought always to remember what he is
   called, and carry out with his deeds the name of a Superior. For he
   is believed to be Christ's representative, since he is called by
   His name, the apostle saying: "Ye have received the spirit of
   adoption of sons, whereby we call Abba, Father" [Romans viii. 15].
   And so the abbot should not (grant that he may not) teach, or
   decree, or order, anything apart from the precept of the Lord; but
   his order or teaching should be characterized by the marks of
   divine justice in the minds of his disciples. Let the abbot always
   be mindful that, at the terrible judgment of God, both things will
   be weighed in the balance, his teaching and the obedience of his
   disciples. And let the abbot know that whatever of uselessness the
   father of the family finds among the sheep is laid to the fault of
   the shepherd. Only in a case where the whole diligence of their
   pastor shall have been bestowed on an unruly and disobedient flock,
   and his whole care given to their wrongful actions, shall that
   pastor, absolved in the judgment of the Lord, be free to say to the
   Lord with the prophet: "I have not hid Thy righteousness within my
   heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation, but
   they, despising, have scorned me" [Psalms xl. 10]. And then let the
   punishment for the disobedient sheep under his care be that death
   itself shall prevail against them. Therefore, when any one receives
   the name of abbot, he ought to rule over his disciples with a
   double teaching; that is, let him show forth all good and holy
   things by deeds more than by words. So that to ready disciples he
   may set forth the commands of God in words; but to the hard-hearted
   and the more simple-minded, he may show forth the divine precepts
   by his deeds.

     [Sidenote: His duty to encourage, to admonish, and to punish]

   He shall make no distinction of persons in the monastery. One shall
   not be more cherished than another, unless it be the one whom he
   finds excelling in good works or in obedience. A free-born man
   shall not be preferred to one coming from servitude, unless there
   be some other reasonable cause. But if, by the demand of justice,
   it seems good to the abbot, he shall do this, no matter what the
   rank shall be. But otherwise they shall keep their own places. For
   whether we be bond or free, we are all one in Christ; and, under
   one God, we perform an equal service of subjection. For God is no
   respecter of persons. Only in this way is a distinction made by Him
   concerning us, if we are found humble and surpassing others in good
   works. Therefore let him [the abbot] have equal charity for all.
   Let the same discipline be administered in all cases according to
   merit.... He should, that is, rebuke more severely the unruly and
   the turbulent. The obedient, moreover, and the gentle and the
   patient, he should exhort, that they may progress to higher things.
   But the negligent and scorners, we warn him to admonish and
   reprove. Nor let him conceal the sins of the erring; but, in order
   that he may prevail, let him pluck them out by the roots as soon as
   they begin to spring up.

   And let him know what a difficult and arduous thing he has
   undertaken--to rule the souls and uplift the morals of many. And in
   one case indeed with blandishments, in another with rebukes, in
   another with persuasion--according to the quality or intelligence
   of each one--he shall so conform and adapt himself to all that not
   only shall he not allow injury to come to the flock committed to
   him, but he shall rejoice in the increase of a good flock. Above
   all things, let him not, deceiving himself or undervaluing the
   safety of the souls committed to him, give more heed to temporary
   and earthly and passing things; but let him always reflect that he
   has undertaken to rule souls for which he is to render account.

     [Sidenote: The monks to be consulted by the abbot]

     [Sidenote: The Rule to be followed by every one as a guide]

   =3.= _About calling in the brethren to take counsel._ Whenever
   anything of importance is to be done in the monastery, the abbot
   shall call together the whole congregation,[92] and shall himself
   explain the matter in question. And, having heard the advice of the
   brethren, he shall think it over by himself, and shall do what he
   considers most advantageous. And for this reason, moreover, we have
   said that all ought to be called to take counsel, because often it
   is to a younger person that God reveals what is best. The brethren,
   moreover, with all subjection of humility, ought so to give their
   advice that they do not presume boldly to defend what seems good to
   them; but it should rather depend on the judgment of the abbot, so
   that, whatever he decides to be best, they should all agree to it.
   But even as it behooves the disciples to obey the master, so it is
   fitting that he should arrange all matters with care and justice.
   In all things, indeed, let every one follow the Rule as his guide;
   and let no one rashly deviate from it. Let no one in the monastery
   follow the inclination of his own heart. And let no one boldly
   presume to dispute with his abbot, within or without the monastery.
   But, if he should so presume, let him be subject to the discipline
   of the Rule.

     [Sidenote: No property to be owned by the monks individually]

   =33.= _Whether the monks should have anything of their own._ More
   than anything else is this special vice to be cut off root and
   branch from the monastery, that one should presume to give or
   receive anything without the order of the abbot, or should have
   anything of his own. He should have absolutely not anything,
   neither a book, nor tablets, nor a pen--nothing at all. For indeed
   it is not allowed to the monks to have their own bodies or wills in
   their own power. But all things necessary they must expect from the
   Father of the monastery; nor is it allowable to have anything which
   the abbot has not given or permitted. All things shall be held in
   common; as it is written, "Let not any man presume to call anything
   his own." But if any one shall have been discovered delighting in
   this most evil vice, being warned once and again, if he do not
   amend, let him be subjected to punishment.[93]

     [Sidenote: Daily schedule for the summer season]

   =48.= _Concerning the daily manual labor._ Idleness is the enemy of
   the soul.[94] And therefore, at fixed times, the brothers ought to
   be occupied in manual labor; and again, at fixed times, in sacred
   reading.[95] Therefore we believe that both seasons ought to be
   arranged after this manner,--so that, from Easter until the Calends
   of October,[96] going out early, from the first until the fourth
   hour they shall do what labor may be necessary. From the fourth
   hour until about the sixth, they shall be free for reading. After
   the meal of the sixth hour, rising from the table, they shall rest
   in their beds with all silence; or, perchance, he that wishes to
   read may read to himself in such a way as not to disturb another.
   And the _nona_ [the second meal] shall be gone through with more
   moderately about the middle of the eighth hour; and again they
   shall work at what is to be done until Vespers.[97] But, if the
   emergency or poverty of the place demands that they be occupied in
   picking fruits, they shall not be grieved; for they are truly monks
   if they live by the labors of their hands, as did also our fathers
   and the apostles. Let all things be done with moderation, however,
   on account of the faint-hearted.

     [Sidenote: Reading during Lent]

   In days of Lent they shall all receive separate books from the
   library, which they shall read entirely through in order. These
   books are to be given out on the first day of Lent. Above all there
   shall be appointed without fail one or two elders, who shall go
   round the monastery at the hours in which the brothers are engaged
   in reading, and see to it that no troublesome brother be found who
   is given to idleness and trifling, and is not intent on his
   reading, being not only of no use to himself, but also stirring up
   others. If such a one (may it not happen) be found, he shall be
   reproved once and a second time. If he do not amend, he shall be
   subject under the Rule to such punishment that the others may have
   fear. Nor shall brother join brother at unsuitable hours. Moreover,
   on Sunday all shall engage in reading, excepting those who are
   assigned to various duties. But if any one be so negligent and lazy
   that he will not or can not read, some task shall be imposed upon
   him which he can do, so that he be not idle. On feeble or delicate
   brothers such a task or art is to be imposed, that they shall
   neither be idle nor so oppressed by the violence of labor as to be
   driven to take flight. Their weakness is to be taken into
   consideration by the abbot.

     [Sidenote: Hospitality enjoined]

   =53.= _Concerning the reception of guests._ All guests who come
   shall be received as though they were Christ. For He Himself said,
   "I was a stranger and ye took me in" [Matt. xxv. 35]. And to all
   fitting honor shall be shown; but, most of all, to servants of the
   faith and to pilgrims. When, therefore, a guest is announced, the
   prior or the brothers shall run to meet him, with every token of
   love. And first they shall pray together, and thus they shall be
   joined together in peace.

     [Sidenote: Power of abbot to dispose of articles sent to the monks]

   =54.= _Whether a monk should be allowed to receive letters or
   anything._ By no means shall it be allowed to a monk--either from
   his relatives, or from any man, or from one of his fellows--to
   receive or to give, without order of the abbot, letters, presents,
   or any gift, however small. But even if, by his relatives, anything
   has been sent to him, he shall not presume to receive it, unless
   it has first been shown to the abbot. But if the latter order it to
   be received, it shall be in the power of the abbot to give it to
   whomsoever he wishes. And the brother to whom it happened to have
   been sent shall not be displeased; that an opportunity be not given
   to the devil. Whoever, moreover, presumes to do otherwise shall be
   subject to the discipline of the Rule.

12. Gregory the Great on the Life of the Pastor

Gregory the Great, whose papacy extended from 590 to 604, was a Roman
of noble and wealthy family, and in many ways the ablest man who had
yet risen to the papal office. The date of his birth is not recorded,
but it was probably about 540, some ten years after St. Benedict of
Nursia had established his monastery at Monte Cassino. He was
therefore a contemporary of the historian Gregory of Tours [see p.
47]. The education which he received was that which was usual with
young Romans of his rank in life, and it is said that in grammar,
rhetoric, logic, and law he became well versed, though without any
claim to unusual scholarship. He entered public life and in 570 was
made prætor of the city of Rome. All the time, however, he was
struggling with the strange attractiveness which the life of the monk
had for him, and in the end, upon the death of his father, he decided
to forego the career to which his wealth and rank entitled him and to
seek the development of his higher nature in seclusion. With the money
obtained from the sale of his great estates he established six
monasteries in Sicily and that of St. Andrew at Rome. In Gregory's
case, however, retirement to monastic life did not mean oblivion, for
soon he was selected by Pope Pelagius II., as resident minister
(_apocrisiarius_) at Constantinople and in this important position he
was maintained for five or six years. After returning to Rome he
became abbot of St. Andrews, and in 590, as the records say, he was
"demanded" as pope.

Gregory was a man of very unusual ability and the force of his strong
personality made his reign one of the great formative epochs in papal
history. Besides his activity in relation to the affairs of the world
in general, he has the distinction of being a literary pope. His
letters and treatises were numerous and possessed a quality of thought
and style which was exceedingly rare in his day. The most famous of
his writings, and justly so, is the _Liber Regulæ Pastoralis_, known
commonly to English readers as the "Pastoral Care," or the "Pastoral
Rule." This book was written soon after its author became pope (590)
and was addressed to John, bishop of Ravenna, in reply to inquiries
received from him respecting the duties and obligations of the clergy.
Though thus put into form for a special purpose, there can be no doubt
that it was the product of long thought, and in fact in his _Magna
Moralia_, or "Commentary on the Book of Job," written during his
residence at Constantinople, Gregory declared his purpose some day to
write just such a book. Everywhere throughout Europe the work was
received with the favor it deserved, and in Spain, Gaul, and Italy its
influence upon the life and manners of the clergy was beyond estimate.
Even in Britain, after King Alfred's paraphrase of it in the Saxon
tongue had been made, three hundred years later [see p. 193], it was a
real power for good. The permanent value of Gregory's instructions
regarding the life of the clergy arose not only from the lofty spirit
in which they were conceived and the clear-cut manner in which they
were expressed, but from their breadth and adaptation to all times and
places. There are few books which the modern pastor can read with
greater profit. The work is in four parts: (1) on the selection of men
for the work of the Church; (2) on the sort of life the pastor ought
to live; (3) on the best methods of dealing with the various types of
people which every pastor will be likely to encounter; and (4) on the
necessity that the pastor guard himself against egotism and personal
ambition. The passages below are taken from the second and third

     Source--Gregorius Magnus, _Liber Regulæ Pastoralis_ [Gregory
     the Great, "The Book of the Pastoral Rule"]. Text in Jacques
     Paul Migne, _Patroligiæ Cursus Completus_, First Series, Vol.
     LXXVII., cols. 12-127 _passim_. Adapted from translation in
     Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, _Select Library of Nicene and
     Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church_ (New York, 1895),
     Second Series, Vol. XII., pp. 9-71 _passim_.

     [Sidenote: The qualities which ought to be united in the

   The conduct of a prelate[98] ought so far to be superior to the
   conduct of the people as the life of a shepherd is accustomed to
   exalt him above the flock. For one whose position is such that the
   people are called his flock ought anxiously to consider how great a
   necessity is laid upon him to maintain uprightness. It is
   necessary, then, that in thought he should be pure, in action firm;
   discreet in keeping silence, profitable in speech; a near neighbor
   to every one in sympathy, exalted above all in contemplation; a
   familiar friend of good livers through humility, unbending against
   the vices of evil-doers through zeal for righteousness; not
   relaxing in his care for what is inward by reason of being occupied
   in outward things, nor neglecting to provide for outward things in
   his anxiety for what is inward.

     [Sidenote: Purity of heart essential]

   The ruler should always be pure in thought, inasmuch as no impurity
   ought to pollute him who has undertaken the office of wiping away
   the stains of pollution in the hearts of others also; for the hand
   that would cleanse from dirt must needs be clean, lest, being
   itself sordid with clinging mire, it soil all the more whatever it

     [Sidenote: He must teach by example]

   The ruler should always be a leader in action, that by his living
   he may point out the way of life to those who are put under him,
   and that the flock, which follows the voice and manners of the
   shepherd, may learn how to walk rather through example than through
   words. For he who is required by the necessity of his position to
   _speak_ the highest things is compelled by the same necessity to
   _do_ the highest things. For that voice more readily penetrates the
   hearer's heart, which the speaker's life commends, since what he
   commands by speaking he helps the doing by showing.

   The ruler should be discreet in keeping silence, profitable in
   speech; lest he either utter what ought to be suppressed or
   suppress what he ought to utter. For, as incautious speaking leads
   into error, so indiscreet silence leaves in error those who might
   have been instructed.

     [Sidenote: He must be able to distinguish virtues and vices]

   The ruler ought also to understand how commonly vices pass
   themselves off as virtues. For often niggardliness excuses itself
   under the name of frugality, and on the other hand extravagance
   conceals itself under the name of liberality. Often inordinate
   carelessness is believed to be loving-kindness, and unbridled wrath
   is accounted the virtue of spiritual zeal. Often hasty action is
   taken for promptness, and tardiness for the deliberation of
   seriousness. Whence it is necessary for the ruler of souls to
   distinguish with vigilant care between virtues and vices, lest
   stinginess get possession of his heart while he exults in seeming
   frugality in expenditure; or, while anything is recklessly wasted,
   he glory in being, as it were, compassionately liberal; or, in
   overlooking what he ought to have smitten, he draw on those that
   are under him to eternal punishment; or, in mercilessly smiting an
   offense, he himself offend more grievously; or, by rashly
   anticipating, mar what might have been done properly and gravely;
   or, by putting off the merit of a good action, change it to
   something worse.

     [Sidenote: No one kind of teaching adapted to all men]

   Since, then, we have shown what manner of man the pastor ought to
   be, let us now set forth after what manner he should teach. For, as
   long before us Gregory Nazianzen,[99] of reverend memory, has
   taught, one and the same exhortation does not suit all, inasmuch as
   all are not bound together by similarity of character. For the
   things that profit some often hurt others; seeing that also, for
   the most part, herbs which nourish some animals are fatal to
   others; and the gentle hissing that quiets horses incites whelps;
   and the medicine which abates one disease aggravates another; and
   the food which invigorates the life of the strong kills little
   children. Therefore, according to the quality of the hearers ought
   the discourse of teachers to be fashioned, so as to suit all and
   each for their several needs, and yet never deviate from the art
   of common edification. For what are the intent minds of hearers
   but, so to speak, a kind of harp, which the skilful player, in
   order to produce a tune possessing harmony, strikes in various
   ways? And for this reason the strings render back a melodious
   sound, because they are struck indeed with one quill, but not with
   one kind of stroke. Whence every teacher also, that he may edify
   all in the one virtue of charity, ought to touch the hearts of his
   hearers out of one doctrine, but not with one and the same

     [Sidenote: Various classes of hearers to be distinguished]

   Differently to be admonished are these that follow:

   Men and women.

   The poor and the rich.

   The joyful and the sad.

   Prelates and subordinates.

   Servants and masters.

   The wise of this world and the dull.

   The impudent and the bashful.

   The forward and the faint-hearted.

   The impatient and the patient.

   The kindly disposed and the envious.

   The simple and the insincere.

   The whole and the sick.

   Those who fear scourges, and therefore live innocently; and those
   who have grown so hard in iniquity as not to be corrected even by

   The too silent, and those who spend time in much speaking.

   The slothful and the hasty.

   The meek and the passionate.

   The humble and the haughty.

   The obstinate and the fickle.

   The gluttonous and the abstinent.

   Those who mercifully give of their own, and those who would fain
   seize what belongs to others.

   Those who neither seize the things of others nor are bountiful
   with their own; and those who both give away the things they have,
   and yet cease not to seize the things of others.

   Those who are at variance, and those who are at peace.

   Lovers of strife and peacemakers.

   Those who understand not aright the words of sacred law; and those
   who understand them indeed aright, but speak them without humility.

   Those who, though able to preach worthily, are afraid through
   excessive humility; and those whom imperfection or age debars from
   preaching, and yet rashness impels to it.

     [Sidenote: How the wise and the dull are to be admonished]

   (Admonition 7)[100]. Differently to be admonished are the wise of
   this world and the dull. For the wise are to be admonished that
   they leave off knowing what they know[101]; the dull also are to be
   admonished that they seek to know what they know not. In the former
   this thing first, that they think themselves wise, is to be
   overcome; in the latter, whatsoever is already known of heavenly
   wisdom is to be built up; since, being in no wise proud, they have,
   as it were, prepared their hearts for supporting a building. With
   those we should labor that they become more wisely foolish[102],
   leave foolish wisdom, and learn the wise foolishness of God: to
   these we should preach that from what is accounted foolishness
   they should pass, as from a nearer neighborhood, to true wisdom.

     [Sidenote: Emphasis on the importance of setting a right example]

   But in the midst of these things we are brought back by the earnest
   desire of charity to what we have already said above; that every
   preacher should give forth a sound more by his deeds than by his
   words, and rather by good living imprint footsteps for men to
   follow than by speaking show them the way to walk in. For that
   cock, too, whom the Lord in his manner of speech takes to represent
   a good preacher, when he is now preparing to crow, first shakes his
   wings, and by smiting himself makes himself more awake; since it is
   surely necessary that those who give utterance to words of holy
   preaching should first be well awake in earnestness of good living,
   lest they arouse others with their voice while themselves torpid in
   performance; that they should first shake themselves up by lofty
   deeds, and then make others solicitous for good living; that they
   should first smite themselves with the wings of their thoughts;
   that whatsoever in themselves is unprofitably torpid they should
   discover by anxious investigation, and correct by strict
   self-discipline, and then at length set in order the life of others
   by speaking; that they should take heed to punish their own faults
   by bewailings, and then denounce what calls for punishment in
   others; and that, before they give voice to words of exhortation,
   they should proclaim in their deeds all that they are about to


[88] John Alzog. _Manual of Universal Church History_ (trans, by F. J.
Pabisch and T. S. Byrne), Cincinnati, 1899, Vol. I., p. 668.

[89] That is, the passage of Scripture read just before the sermon.

[90] "See" is a term employed to designate a bishop's jurisdiction.
According to common belief Peter had been bishop of Rome; his see was
therefore that which Leo now held.

[91] The anniversary of Leo's elevation to the papal office.

[92] That is, the body of monks residing in the monastery.

[93] The vow of poverty which must be taken by every Benedictine monk
meant only that he must not acquire property individually. By gifts of
land and by their own labor the monks became in many cases immensely
rich, but their wealth was required to be held in common. No one man
could rightfully call any part of it his own.

[94] The converse of this principle was often affirmed by Benedictines
in the saying, "To work is to pray."

[95] The Bible and the writings of such Church fathers as Lactantius,
Tertullian, Origen, St. Augustine, St. Chrysostom, Eusebius, and St.

[96] The first day of the month.

[97] Thus the ordinary daily programme during the spring and summer
months would be: from six o'clock until ten, manual labor; from ten
until twelve, reading; at twelve, the midday meal; after this meal
until the second one about half past two, rest and reading; and from
the second meal until evening, labor. Manual labor was principally

[98] Gregory's remarks and instructions in the _Pastoral Rule_ were
intended to apply primarily to the local priests--the humble pastors
of whom we hear little, but upon whose piety and diligence ultimately
depended the whole influence of the Church upon the masses of the
people. The general principles laid down, however, were applicable to
all the clergy, of whatever rank.

[99] Gregory, bishop of Nazianzus (in Cappadocia), was a noted
churchman of the fourth century.

[100] After enumerating quite a number of other contrasted groups in
the foregoing fashion Gregory proceeds in a series of "admonitions" to
take up each pair and tell how persons belonging to it should be dealt
with by the pastor. One of these admonitions is here given as a

[101] Gregory's attitude toward the "learning of the world,"
especially the classical languages and literatures, was that of the
typical Christian ascetic. He had no use for it personally and
regarded its influence as positively harmful. It must be said that
there was little such learning in his day, for the old Latin and Greek
culture had now reached a very low stage. Gregory took the ground that
the churches should have learned bishops, but their learning was to
consist exclusively in a knowledge of the Scriptures, the writings of
the Church fathers, and the stories of the martyrs. As a matter of
fact not only were the people generally quite unable to understand the
Latin services of the Church, but great numbers of the clergy
themselves stumbled blindly through the ritual without knowing what
they were saying; and this condition of things prevailed for centuries
after Gregory's day. [See Charlemagne's letter _De Litteris Colendis_,
p. 146.]

[102] That is, more simple and less self-satisfied in their own



13. Selections from the Koran

The Koran comprises all of the recorded speeches and sayings of the
prophet Mohammed and it has for nearly fifteen centuries been the
absolute law and gospel of the Mohammedan religion. The teachings and
revelations which are contained in it are believed by Mohammedans to
have proceeded directly from God. They were delivered orally by
Mohammed from time to time in the presence of his followers and until
after the prophet's death in 632 no attempt was made to put them in
organized written form. Many of the disciples, however, remembered the
words their master had uttered, at least until they could inscribe
them on palm leaves, bits of wood, bleached bones, or other such
articles as happened to be at hand. In the reign of Abu-Bekr
(632-634), Mohammed's successor, it became apparent that unless some
measure was adopted to bring these scattered sayings together they
were in a fair way to be lost for all time to come. Hence the caliph
intrusted to a certain young man by the name of Zaid the task of
collecting and putting in some sort of system all the teachings that
had survived, whether in written form or merely in the minds of men.
Zaid had served Mohammed in a capacity which we should designate
perhaps as that of secretary, and so should have been well qualified
for the work. In later years (about 660) the Koran, or "the reading,"
as the collection began to be called, was again thoroughly revised.
Thereafter all older copies were destroyed and no farther changes in
any respect were ever made.

The Koran is made up of one hundred and fourteen chapters, called
_surahs_, arranged loosely in the order of their length, beginning
with the longest. This arrangement does not correspond either to the
dates at which the various passages were uttered by the prophet or to
any sequence of thought and meaning, so that when one takes up the
book to read it as it is ordinarily printed it seems about as confused
as anything can well be. Scholars, however, have recently discovered
the chronological order of the various parts and this knowledge has
already come to be of no little assistance in the work of
interpretation. Like all sacred books, the Koran abounds in
repetitions; yet, taken all in all, it contains not more than
two-thirds as many verses as the New Testament, and, as one writer has
rather curiously observed, it is not more than one-third as lengthy as
the ordinary Sunday edition of the New York _Herald_. The teachings
which are most emphasized are (1) the unity and greatness of God, (2)
the sin of worshipping idols, (3) the certainty of the resurrection of
the body and the last judgment, (4) the necessity of a belief in the
Scriptures as revelations from God communicated through angels to the
line of prophets, (5) the luxuries of heaven and the torments of hell,
(6) the doctrine of predestination, (7) the authoritativeness of
Mohammed's teachings, and (8) the four cardinal obligations of worship
(including purification and prayer), fasting, pilgrimages, and
alms-giving. Intermingled with these are numerous popular legends and
sayings of the Arabs before Mohammed's day, stories from the Old and
New Testaments derived from Jewish and Christian settlers in Arabia,
and certain definite and practical rules of everyday conduct. The book
is not only thus haphazard in subject-matter but it is also very
irregular in interest and elegance. Portions of it abound in splendid
imagery and lofty conceptions, and represent the literary quality of
the Arabian language at its best, though of course this quality is
very largely lost in translation. The later surahs--those which appear
first in the printed copy--are largely argumentative and legislative
in character and naturally fall into a more prosaic and monotonous
strain. From an almost inexhaustible maze of precepts, exhortations,
and revelations, the following widely separated passages have been
selected in the hope that they will serve to show something of the
character of the Koran itself, as well as the nature of some of the
more important Mohammedan beliefs and ideals. It will be found
profitable to make a comparison of Christian beliefs on the same
points as drawn from the New Testament.

     Source--Text in Edward William Lane, _Selections from the
     Kur-án_, edited by Stanley Lane-Poole (London, 1879),

   In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

     [Sidenote: The opening prayer[103]]

     Praise be to God, the Lord of the Worlds,
     The Compassionate, the Merciful,
     The King of the day of judgment.
     Thee do we worship, and of Thee seek we help.
     Guide us in the right way,
     The way of those to whom Thou hast been gracious,
     Not of those with whom Thou art wroth, nor of the erring.[104]

         Say, He is God, One [God];
         God, the Eternal.
         He begetteth not nor is begotten,
         And there is none equal unto Him.[105]

     [Sidenote: The "throne verse"]

   God! There is no God but He, the _Ever_-living, the
   Ever-Subsisting. Slumber seizeth Him not, nor sleep. To Him
   belongeth whatsoever is in the Heavens and whatsoever is in the
   Earth. Who is he that shall intercede with Him, unless by His
   permission? He knoweth what [hath been] before them and what [shall
   be] after them, and they shall not compass aught of His knowledge
   save what He willeth. His Throne comprehendeth the Heavens and the
   Earth, and the care of them burdeneth Him not. And He is the High,
   The Great.[106]

     [Sidenote: The day of resurrection]

     When the earth is shaken with her shaking,
     And the earth hath cast forth her dead,
     And man shall say, 'What aileth her?'
     On that day shall she tell out her tidings,
     Because thy Lord hath inspired her,
     On that day shall men come one by one to behold their works,
     And whosoever shall have wrought an ant's weight of good shall
       behold it,
     And whosoever shall have wrought an ant's weight of ill shall
       behold it.

     [Sidenote: The coming judgment]

     When the heaven shall be cloven asunder,
     And when the stars shall be scattered,
     And when the seas shall be let loose,
     And when the graves shall be turned upside-down,[107]
     _Every_ soul shall know what it hath done and left undone.
     O man! what hath seduced thee from thy generous Lord,
     Who created thee and fashioned thee and disposed thee aright?
     In the form which pleased Him hath He fashioned thee.
     Nay, but ye treat the Judgment as a lie.
     Verily there are watchers over you,
     Worthy recorders,
     Knowing what ye do.
     Verily in delight shall the righteous dwell;
     And verily the wicked in Hell [-Fire];
     They shall be burnt at it on the day of doom,
     And they shall not be hidden from it.
     And what shall teach thee what the Day of Judgment is?
     Again: What shall teach thee what is the Day of Judgment?
     _It is_ a day when one soul shall be powerless for another soul;
       and all on that day shall be in the hands of God.

     [Sidenote: The reward of the righteous]

     When one blast shall be blown on the trumpet,
     And the earth shall be raised and the mountains, and be broken to
       dust with one breaking,
     On that day the Calamity shall come to pass:
     And the heavens shall cleave asunder, being frail on that day,
     And the angels on the sides thereof; and over them on that day
       eight _of the angels_ shall bear the throne of thy Lord.
     On that day ye shall be presented _for the reckoning_; none of
       your secrets shall be hidden.
     And as to him who shall have his book[108] given to him in his
       right hand, he shall say, 'Take ye, read my book;'
     Verily I was sure I should come to my reckoning.
     And his [shall be] a pleasant life
     In a lofty garden,
     Whose clusters [shall be] near at hand.
     'Eat ye and drink with benefit on account of that which ye paid
       beforehand in the past days.'

     [Sidenote: The fate of the wicked]

     But as to him who shall have his book given to him in his left
       hand, he shall say, 'O would that I had not had my book given
       to me,
     Nor known what [was] my reckoning!
     O would that _my death_ had been the ending _of me_!
     My wealth hath not profited me!
     My power is passed from me!'
     'Take him and chain him,
     Then cast him into hell to be burnt,
     Then in a chain of seventy cubits bind him:
     For he believed not in God, the Great,
     Nor urged to feed the poor;
     Therefore he shall not have here this day a friend,
     Nor any food save filth
     Which none but the sinners shall eat.'

     [Sidenote: "The preceders"]

     When the Calamity shall come to pass
     There shall not be _a soul_ that will deny its happening,
     [It will be] an abaser _of some_, an exalter _of others_;
     When the earth shall be shaken with a _violent_ shaking,
     And the mountains shall be crumbled with a violent crumbling,
     And shall become fine dust scattered abroad;
     And ye shall be three classes.[109]
     And the people of the right hand, what shall be the people of the
       right hand!
     And the people of the left hand, what the people of the left hand!
     And the Preceders, the Preceders![110]
     These [shall be] the brought-nigh [unto God]
     In the gardens of delight,--
     A crowd of the former generations,
     And a few of the latter generations,
     Upon inwrought couches,
     Reclining thereon, face to face.
     Youths ever-young shall go unto them round about
     With goblets and ewers and a cup of flowing wine,
     Their [heads] shall ache not with it, neither shall they be
     And with fruits of the [sorts] which they shall choose,
     And the flesh of birds of the [kinds] which they shall desire.
     And damsels with eyes like pearls laid up
     _We will give them_ as a reward for that which they have done.
     Therein shall they hear no vain discourse nor accusation of sin,
     But [only] the saying, 'Peace! Peace!'

     [Sidenote: The pleasures of paradise]

     And the people of the right hand--what [shall be] the people of
       the right hand!
     [They shall dwell] among lote-trees without thorns
     And bananas loaded with fruit,
     And a shade _ever-spread_,
     And water _ever_-flowing,
     And fruits abundant
     Unstayed and unforbidden,[111]
     And couches raised.[112]
     Verily we have created them[113] by a [peculiar] creation,
     And have made them virgins,
     Beloved of their husbands, of equal age [with them],
     For the people of the right hand,
     A crowd of the former generations
     And a crowd of the latter generations.

     [Sidenote: The torments of hell]

     And the people of the left hand--what [shall be] the people of
       the left hand!
     [They shall dwell] amidst burning wind and scalding water,
     And a shade of blackest smoke,
     Not cool and not grateful.
     For before this they were blest with worldly goods,
     And they persisted in heinous sin,
     And said, 'When we shall have died and become dust and bones,
       shall we indeed be raised to life,
     And our fathers the former generations?'
     Say, verily the former and the latter generations
     Shall be gathered together for the appointed time of a known day.
     Then ye, O ye erring, belying [people],
     Shall surely eat of the tree of Ez-Zakkoom,[114]
     And fill therewith [your] stomachs,
     And drink thereon boiling water,
     And ye shall drink as thirsty camels drink.--
     This [shall be] their entertainment on the day of retribution.


[103] This prayer of the Mohammedans corresponds in a way to the
Lord's Prayer of Christian peoples. It is recited several times in
each of the five daily prayers, and on numerous other occasions.

[104] The petition is for guidance in the "right way" of the
Mohammedan, marked out in the Koran. By those with whom God is
"wroth," and by the "erring," is meant primarily the Jews. Mohammed
regarded the Jews and Christians as having corrupted the true

[105] "This chapter is held in particular veneration by the
Mohammedans and is declared, by a tradition of their prophet, to be
equal in value to a third part of the whole Koran."--Sale, quoted in
Lane, _Selections from the Kur-án_, p. 5.

[106] This passage, known as the "throne verse," is regarded by
Mohammedans as one of the most precious in the Koran and is often
recited at the end of the five daily prayers. It is sometimes engraved
on a precious stone or an ornament of gold and worn as an amulet.

[107] These are all to be signs of the day of judgment.

[108] The record of his deeds during life on earth.

[109] The three classes are: (1) the "preceeders," (2) the people of
the right hand, i.e., the good, and (3) the people of the left hand,
i.e., the evil. The future state of each of the three is described in
the lines that follow.

[110] "Either the first converts to Mohammedanism, or the prophets,
who were the respective leaders of their people, or any persons who
have been eminent examples of piety and virtue, may be here intended.
The original words literally rendered are, _The Leaders, The Leaders_:
which repetition, as some suppose, was designed to express the dignity
of these persons and the certainty of their future glory and
happiness."--Sale, quoted in Wherry, _Comprehensive Commentary on the
Qur-án_, Vol. IV., pp. 109-110.

[111] The luxuries of paradise--the flowing rivers, the fragrant
flowers, the delicious fruits--are sharply contrasted with the
conditions of desert life most familiar to Mohammed's early converts.
Such a description of the land of the blessed must have appealed
strongly to the imaginative Arabs. It should be said that in the
modern Mohammedan idea of heaven the spiritual element has a rather
more prominent place.

[112] Lofty beds.

[113] The "damsels of paradise."

[114] A scrubby bush bearing fruit like almonds, and extremely bitter.
It was familiar to Arabs and hence was made to stand as a type of the
tree whose fruit the wicked must eat in the lower world.



14. Pepin the Short Takes the Title of King (751)

During the seventh and eighth centuries the Merovingian line of
Frankish kings degenerated to a condition of weakness both pitiable
and ridiculous. As the royal family became less worthy, the powers of
government gradually slipped from its hands into those of a series of
ministers commonly known by the title of Mayor of the Palace (_Maior
Domus_). The most illustrious of these uncrowned sovereigns was
Charles Martel, the victor over the Saracens near Poitiers, in whose
time the Frankish throne for four years had no occupant at all. Martel
contrived to make his peculiar office hereditary, and at his death in
741 left it to be filled jointly by his two elder sons, Karlmann and
Pepin the Short. They decided that it would be to their interest to
keep up the show of Merovingian royalty a little longer and in 743
allowed Childeric III. to mount the throne--a weakling destined to be
the last of his family to wear the Frankish crown. Four years later
Karlmann renounced his office and withdrew to the monastery of Monte
Cassino, southeast of Rome, leaving Pepin sole "mayor" and the only
real ruler of the Franks. Before many more years had passed, the utter
uselessness of keeping up a royal line whose members were notoriously
unfit to govern had impressed itself upon the nation to such an extent
that when Pepin proceeded to put young Childeric in a monastery and
take the title of king for himself, nobody offered the slightest
objection. The sanction of the Pope was obtained for the act because
Pepin thought that his course would thus be made to appear less like
an outright usurpation. The Pope's reward came four years later when
Pepin bestowed upon him the lands in northern and central Italy which
eventually constituted, in the main, the so-called States of the
Church. In later times, after the reign of Pepin's famous son
Charlemagne, the new dynasty established by Pepin's elevation to the
throne came to be known as the Carolingian (from _Karolus_, or

The following account of the change from the Merovingian to the
Carolingian line is taken from the so-called _Lesser Annals of
Lorsch_. At the monastery of Lorsch, as at nearly every other such
place in the Middle Ages, records or "annals" of one sort or another
were pretty regularly kept. They were often very inaccurate and their
writers had a curious way of filling up space with matters of little
importance, but sometimes, as in the present instance, we can get from
them some very interesting information. The monastery of Lorsch was
about twelve miles distant from Heidelberg, in southern Germany.

     Source--_Annales Laurissenses Minores_ ["Lesser Annals of
     Lorsch"]. Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Scriptores_
     (Pertz ed.), Vol. I., p. 116.

   In the year 750[115] of the Lord's incarnation Pepin sent
   ambassadors to Rome to Pope Zacharias,[116] to inquire concerning
   the kings of the Franks who, though they were of the royal line and
   were called kings, had no power in the kingdom, except that
   charters and privileges were drawn up in their names. They had
   absolutely no kingly authority, but did whatever the Major Domus of
   the Franks desired.[117] But on the first day of March in the
   Campus Martius,[118] according to ancient custom, gifts were
   offered to these kings by the people, and the king himself sat in
   the royal seat with the army standing round him and the Major Domus
   in his presence, and he commanded on that day whatever was decreed
   by the Franks; but on all other days thenceforward he remained
   quietly at home. Pope Zacharias, therefore, in the exercise of his
   apostolic authority, replied to their inquiry that it seemed to him
   better and more expedient that the man who held power in the
   kingdom should be called king and be king, rather than he who
   falsely bore that name. Therefore the aforesaid pope commanded the
   king and people of the Franks that Pepin, who was exercising royal
   power, should be called king, and should be established on the
   throne. This was therefore done by the anointing of the holy
   archbishop Boniface in the city of Soissons. Pepin was proclaimed
   king, and Childeric, who was falsely called king, was shaved and
   sent into a monastery.


[115] The date is almost certainly wrong. Pepin was first acknowledged
king by the Frankish nobles assembled at Soissons in November, 751. It
was probably in 751 (possibly 752) that Pope Zacharias was consulted.
In 754 Pepin was crowned king by Pope Stephen III., successor of
Zacharias, who journeyed to France especially for the purpose.

[116] Zacharias was pope from 741 to 752.

[117] Einhard, the secretary of Charlemagne [see p. 108], in writing a
biography of his master, described the condition of Merovingian
kingship as follows: "All the resources and power of the kingdom had
passed into the control of the prefects of the palace, who were called
the 'mayors of the palace,' and who exercised the supreme authority.
Nothing was left to the king. He had to content himself with his royal
title, his flowing locks, and long beard. Seated in a chair of state,
he was wont to display an appearance of power by receiving foreign
ambassadors on their arrival, and, on their departure, giving them, as
if on his own authority, those answers which he had been taught or
commanded to give. Thus, except for his empty title, and an uncertain
allowance for his sustenance, which the prefect of the palace used to
furnish at his pleasure, there was nothing that the king could call
his own, unless it were the income from a single farm, and that a very
small one, where he made his home, and where such servants as were
needful to wait on him constituted his scanty household. When he went
anywhere he traveled in a wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen, with a rustic
oxherd for charioteer. In this manner he proceeded to the palace, and
to the public assemblies of the people held every year for the
dispatch of the business of the kingdom, and he returned home again in
the same sort of state. The administration of the kingdom, and every
matter which had to be undertaken and carried through, both at home
and abroad, was managed by the mayor of the palace."--Einhard, _Vita
Caroli Magni_, Chap. 1.

[118] See p. 52, note 1.



15. Charlemagne the Man

Biographical writings make up a not inconsiderable part of mediæval
literature, but unfortunately the greater portion of them are to be
trusted in only a limited degree by the student of history. Many
biographies, especially the lives of the saints and other noted
Christian leaders, were prepared expressly for the purpose of giving
the world concrete examples of how men ought to live. Their authors,
therefore, were apt to relate only the good deeds of the persons about
whom they wrote, and these were often much exaggerated for the sake of
effect. The people of the time generally were superstitious and easily
appealed to by strange stories and the recital of marvelous events.
They were not critical, and even such of them as were able to read at
all could be made to believe almost anything that the writers of books
cared to say. And since these writers themselves shared in the
superstition and credulousness of the age, naturally such biographies
as were written abounded in tales which anybody to-day would know at a
glance could not be true. To all this Einhard's _Life of Charles the
Great_ stands as a notable exception. It has its inaccuracies, but it
still deserves to be ranked almost in a class of its own as a
trustworthy biographical contribution to our knowledge of the earlier
Middle Ages.

Einhard (or Eginhard) was a Frank, born about 770 near the Odenwald in
Franconia. After being educated at the monastery of Fulda he was
presented at the Frankish court, some time between 791 and 796, where
he remained twenty years as secretary and companion of the king, and
later emperor, Charlemagne. He was made what practically corresponds
to a modern minister of public works and in that capacity is thought
to have supervised the building of the palace and basilica of the
temple at Aachen, the palace of Ingelheim, the bridge over the Rhine
at Mainz, and many other notable constructions of the king, though
regarding the precise work of this sort which he did there is a
general lack of definite proof. Despite the fact that he was a layman,
he was given charge of a number of abbeys. His last years were spent
at the Benedictine monastery of Seligenstadt, where he died about 840.
There is a legend that Einhard's wife, Emma, was a daughter of
Charlemagne, but this is to be regarded as merely a twelfth-century

The _Vita Caroli Magni_ was written as an expression of the author's
gratitude to his royal friend and patron, though it did not appear
until shortly after the latter's death in 814. "It contains the
history of a very great and distinguished man," says Einhard in his
preface, "but there is nothing in it to wonder at, besides his deeds,
except the fact that I, who am a barbarian, and very little versed in
the Roman language, seem to suppose myself capable of writing
gracefully and respectably in Latin." It is considered ordinarily that
Einhard endeavored to imitate the style of the Roman Suetonius, the
biographer of the first twelve Cæsars, though in reality his writing
is perhaps superior to that of Suetonius and there are scholars who
hold that if he really followed a classical model at all that model
was Julius Cæsar. Aside from the matter of literary style, there can
be no reasonable doubt that the idea of writing a biography of his
master was suggested to Einhard by the biographies of Suetonius,
particularly that of the Emperor Augustus. Despite his limitations,
says Mr. Hodgkin, the fact remains that "almost all our real,
vivifying knowledge of Charles the Great is derived from Einhard, and
that the _Vita Caroli_ is one of the most precious literary bequests
of the early Middle Ages."[119] Certainly few mediæval writers had so
good an opportunity as did Einhard to know the truth about the persons
and events they undertook to describe.

     Source--Einhard, _Vita Caroli Magni_ ["Life of Charles the
     Great"], Chaps. 22-27. Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica,
     Scriptores_ (Pertz ed.), Vol. II., pp. 455-457. Adapted from
     translation by Samuel Epes Turner in "Harper's School
     Classics" (New York, 1880), pp. 56-65.

     [Sidenote: Personal appearance]

   =22.= Charles was large and strong, and of lofty stature, though
   not excessively tall. The upper part of his head was round, his
   eyes very large and animated, nose a little long, hair auburn, and
   face laughing and merry. His appearance was always stately and
   dignified, whether he was standing or sitting, although his neck
   was thick and somewhat short and his abdomen rather prominent. The
   symmetry of the rest of his body concealed these defects. His gait
   was firm, his whole carriage manly, and his voice clear, but not so
   strong as his size led one to expect. His health was excellent,
   except during the four years preceding his death, when he was
   subject to frequent fevers; toward the end of his life he limped a
   little with one foot. Even in his later years he lived rather
   according to his own inclinations than the advice of physicians;
   the latter indeed he very much disliked, because they wanted him to
   give up roasts, to which he was accustomed, and to eat boiled meat
   instead. In accordance with the national custom, he took frequent
   exercise on horseback and in the chase, in which sports scarcely
   any people in the world can equal the Franks. He enjoyed the vapors
   from natural warm springs, and often indulged in swimming, in which
   he was so skilful that none could surpass him; and hence it was
   that he built his palace at Aix-la-Chapelle, and lived there
   constantly during his later years....[120]

     [Sidenote: Manner of dress]

   =23.= His custom was to wear the national, that is to say, the
   Frankish, dress--next his skin a linen shirt and linen breeches,
   and above these a tunic fringed with silk; while hose fastened by
   bands covered his lower limbs, and shoes his feet. In winter he
   protected his shoulders and chest by a close-fitting coat of otter
   or marten skins. Over all he flung a blue cloak, and he always had
   a sword girt about him, usually one with a gold or silver hilt and
   belt. He sometimes carried a jeweled sword, but only on great
   feast-days or at the reception of ambassadors from foreign nations.
   He despised foreign costumes, however handsome, and never allowed
   himself to be robed in them, except twice in Rome, when he donned
   the Roman tunic, chlamys,[121] and shoes; the first time at the
   request of Pope Hadrian,[122] the second to gratify Leo, Hadrian's
   successor.[123] On great feast-days he made use of embroidered
   clothes, and shoes adorned with precious stones; his cloak was
   fastened with a golden buckle, and he appeared crowned with a
   diadem of gold and gems; but on other days his dress differed
   little from that of ordinary people.

     [Sidenote: Every-day life]

   =24.= Charles was temperate in eating, and especially so in
   drinking, for he abhorred drunkenness in anybody, much more in
   himself and those of his household; but he could not easily abstain
   from food, and often complained that fasts injured his health. He
   gave entertainments but rarely, only on great feast-days, and then
   to large numbers of people. His meals consisted ordinarily of four
   courses, not counting the roast, which his huntsmen were accustomed
   to bring in on the spit; he was more fond of this than of any other
   dish. While at table, he listened to reading or music. The subjects
   of the readings were the stories and deeds of olden time. He was
   fond, too, of St. Augustine's books, and especially of the one
   entitled _The City of God_.[124] He was so moderate in the use of
   wine and all sorts of drink that he rarely allowed himself more
   than three cups in the course of a meal. In summer, after the
   midday meal, he would eat some fruit, drain a single cup, put off
   his clothes and shoes, just as he did for the night, and rest for
   two or three hours. While he was dressing and putting on his shoes,
   he not only gave audience to his friends, but if the Count of the
   Palace[125] told him of any suit in which his judgment was
   necessary, he had the parties brought before him forthwith, heard
   the case, and gave his decision, just as if he were sitting in the
   judgment-seat. This was not the only business that he transacted at
   this time, but he performed any duty of the day whatever, whether
   he had to attend to the matter himself, or to give commands
   concerning it to his officers.

     [Sidenote: Education and accomplishments]

   =25.= Charles had the gift of ready and fluent speech, and could
   express whatever he had to say with the utmost clearness. He was
   not satisfied with ability to use his native language merely, but
   gave attention to the study of foreign ones, and in particular was
   such a master of Latin that he could speak it as well as his native
   tongue; but he could understand Greek better than he could speak
   it. He was so eloquent, indeed, that he might have been taken for a
   teacher of oratory. He most zealously cherished the liberal arts,
   held those who taught them in great esteem, and conferred great
   honors upon them. He took lessons in grammar of the deacon Peter of
   Pisa, at that time an aged man.[126] Another deacon, Albin of
   Britain, surnamed Alcuin, a man of Saxon birth, who was the
   greatest scholar of the day, was his teacher in other branches of
   learning.[127] The king spent much time and labor with him studying
   rhetoric, dialectic, and especially astronomy. He learned to make
   calculations, and used to investigate with much curiosity and
   intelligence the motions of the heavenly bodies. He also tried to
   write, and used to keep tablets and blanks in bed under his pillow,
   that at leisure hours he might accustom his hand to form the
   letters; however, as he began his efforts late in life, and not at
   the proper time, they met with little success.

     [Sidenote: Interest in religion and the Church]

   =26.= He cherished with the greatest fervor and devotion the
   principles of the Christian religion, which had been instilled into
   him from infancy. Hence it was that he built the beautiful basilica
   at Aix-la-Chapelle, which he adorned with gold and silver and
   lamps, and with rails and doors of solid brass. He had the columns
   and marbles for this structure brought from Rome and Ravenna, for
   he could not find such as were suitable elsewhere.[128] He was a
   constant worshipper at this church as long as his health permitted,
   going morning and evening, even after nightfall, besides attending
   mass. He took care that all the services there conducted should be
   held in the best possible manner, very often warning the sextons
   not to let any improper or unclean thing be brought into the
   building, or remain in it. He provided it with a number of sacred
   vessels of gold and silver, and with such a quantity of clerical
   robes that not even the door-keepers, who filled the humblest
   office in the church, were obliged to wear their everyday clothes
   when in the performance of their duties. He took great pains to
   improve the church reading and singing, for he was well skilled in
   both, although he neither read in public nor sang, except in a low
   tone and with others.

     [Sidenote: Generosity and charities]

   =27.= He was very active in aiding the poor, and in that open
   generosity which the Greeks call alms; so much so, indeed, that he
   not only made a point of giving in his own country and his own
   kingdom, but when he discovered that there were Christians living
   in poverty in Syria, Egypt, and Africa, at Jerusalem, Alexandria,
   and Carthage, he had compassion on their wants, and used to send
   money over the seas to them. The reason that he earnestly strove to
   make friends with the kings beyond seas was that he might get help
   and relief to the Christians living under their rule. He cared for
   the Church Of St. Peter the Apostle at Rome above all other holy
   and sacred places, and heaped high its treasury with a vast wealth
   of gold, silver, and precious stones. He sent great and countless
   gifts to the popes;[129] and throughout his whole reign the wish
   that he had nearest his heart was to re-establish the ancient
   authority of the city of Rome under his care and by his influence,
   and to defend and protect the Church of St. Peter, and to beautify
   and enrich it out of his own store above all other churches.
   Nevertheless, although he held it in such veneration, only four
   times[130] did he repair to Rome to pay his vows and make his
   supplications during the whole forty-seven years that he

16. The War with the Saxons (772-803)

When Charlemagne became sole ruler of the Franks, in 771, he found his
kingdom pretty well hemmed in by a belt of kindred, though more or
less hostile, Germanic peoples. The most important of these were the
Visigoths in northern Spain, the Lombards in the Po Valley, the
Bavarians in the region of the upper Danube, and the Saxons between
the Rhine and the Elbe. The policy of the new king, perhaps only dimly
outlined at the beginning of the reign but growing ever more definite
as time went on, was to bring all of these neighboring peoples under
the Frankish dominion, and so to build up a great state which should
include the whole Germanic race of western and northern continental
Europe. Most of the king's time during the first thirty years, or
two-thirds, of the reign was devoted to this stupendous task. The
first great step was taken in the conquest of the Lombards in 774,
after which Charlemagne assumed the title of King of the Lombards. In
787 Bavaria was annexed to the Frankish kingdom, the settlement in
this case being in the nature of a complete absorption rather than a
mere personal union such as followed the Lombard conquest. The next
year an expedition across the Pyrenees resulted in the annexation of
the Spanish March--a region in which the Visigoths had managed to
maintain some degree of independence against the Saracens. In all
these directions little fighting was necessary and for one reason or
another the sovereignty of the Frankish king was recognized without
much delay or resistance.

The problem of reducing the Saxons was, however, a very different one.
The Saxons of Charlemagne's day were a people of purest Germanic stock
dwelling in the land along the Rhine, Ems, Weser, and Elbe, and inland
as far as the low mountains of Hesse and Thuringia--the regions which
now bear the names of Hanover, Brunswick, Oldenburg, and Westphalia.
The Saxons, influenced as yet scarcely at all by contact with the
Romans, retained substantially the manner of life described seven
centuries earlier by Tacitus in the _Germania_. They lived in small
villages, had only the loosest sort of government, and clung
tenaciously to the warlike mythology of their ancestors. Before
Charlemagne's time they had engaged in frequent border wars with the
Franks and had shown capacity for making very obstinate resistance.
And when Charlemagne himself undertook to subdue them he entered upon
a task which kept him busy much of the time for over thirty years,
that is, from 772 to 803. In all not fewer than eighteen distinct
campaigns were made into the enemy's territory. The ordinary course
of events was that Charlemagne would lead his army across the Rhine in
the spring, the Saxons would make some little resistance and then
disperse or withdraw toward the Baltic, and the Franks would leave a
garrison and return home for the winter. As soon as the enemy's back
was turned the Saxons would rally, expel or massacre the garrison, and
assert their complete independence of Frankish authority. The next
year the whole thing would have to be done over again. There were not
more than two great battles in the entire contest; the war consisted
rather of a monotonous series of "military parades," apparent
submissions, revolts, and re-submissions. As Professor Emerton puts
it, "From the year 772 to 803, a period of over thirty years, this war
was always on the programme of the Frankish policy, now resting for a
few years, and now breaking out with increased fury, until finally the
Saxon people, worn out with the long struggle against a superior foe,
gave it up and became a part of the Frankish Empire."[132]

It is to be regretted that we have no Saxon account of the great
contest except the well-meant, but very inadequate, history by
Widukind, a monk of Corbie, written about the middle of the tenth
century. However, the following passage from Einhard, the secretary
and biographer of Charlemagne, doubtless describes with fair accuracy
the conditions and character of the struggle. A few of the writer's
strongest statements regarding Saxon perfidy should be accepted only
with some allowance for Frankish prejudice.

     Source--Einhard, _Vita Caroli Magni_, Chap. 7. Text in
     _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Scriptores_ (Pertz ed.), Vol.
     II., pp. 446-447. Adapted from translation by Samuel Epes
     Turner in "Harper's School Classics" (New York, 1880), pp.

     [Sidenote: Lack of a natural frontier]

   No war ever undertaken by the Frankish nation was carried on with
   such persistence and bitterness, or cost so much labor, because the
   Saxons, like almost all the tribes of Germany, were a fierce
   people, given to the worship of devils and hostile to our religion,
   and did not consider it dishonorable to transgress and violate all
   law, human and divine. Then there were peculiar circumstances that
   tended to cause a breach of peace every day. Except in a few
   places, where large forests or mountain-ridges intervened and made
   the boundaries certain, the line between ourselves and the Saxons
   passed almost in its whole extent through an open country, so that
   there was no end to the murders, thefts, and arsons on both sides.
   In this way the Franks became so embittered that they at last
   resolved to make reprisals no longer, but to come to open war with
   the Saxons.

     [Sidenote: Faithlessness of the Saxons]

     [Sidenote: Charlemagne's settlement of Saxons in Gaul and Germany]

     [Sidenote: The terms of peace]

   Accordingly, war was begun against them, and was waged for
   thirty-three successive years[133] with great fury; more, however,
   to the disadvantage of the Saxons than of the Franks. It could
   doubtless have been brought to an end sooner, had it not been for
   the faithlessness of the Saxons. It is hard to say how often they
   were conquered, and, humbly submitting to the king, promised to do
   what was enjoined upon them, gave without hesitation the required
   hostages, and received the officers sent them from the king. They
   were sometimes so much weakened and reduced that they promised to
   renounce the worship of devils and to adopt Christianity; but they
   were no less ready to violate these terms than prompt to accept
   them, so that it is impossible to tell which came easier to them to
   do; scarcely a year passed from the beginning of the war without
   such changes on their part. But the king did not suffer his high
   purpose and steadfastness--firm alike in good and evil fortune--to
   be wearied by any fickleness on their part, or to be turned from
   the task that he had undertaken; on the contrary, he never allowed
   their faithless behavior to go unpunished, but either took the
   field against them in person, or sent his counts with an army to
   wreak vengeance and exact righteous satisfaction.[134] At last,
   after conquering and subduing all who had offered resistance, he
   took ten thousand of those who lived on the banks of the Elbe, and
   settled them, with their wives and children, in many different
   bodies here and there in Gaul and Germany. The war that had lasted
   so many years was at length ended by their acceding to the terms
   offered by the king; which were renunciation of their national
   religious customs and the worship of devils, acceptance of the
   sacraments of the Christian religion,[135] and union with the
   Franks to form one people.

17. The Capitulary Concerning the Saxon Territory (cir. 780)

Just as the Saxons were the most formidable of Charlemagne's foes to
meet and defeat in open battle, so were they the most difficult to
maintain in anything like orderly allegiance after they had been
tentatively conquered. This was true in part because of their untamed,
freedom-loving character, but also in no small measure because of the
thoroughgoing revolution which the Frankish king sought to work in
their conditions of life, and especially in their religion. Before the
Saxon war was far advanced it had very clearly assumed the character
of a crusade of the Christian Franks against the "pagans of the
north." And when the Saxon had been brought to give sullen promise of
submission, it was his dearest possession--his fierce, heroic
mythology--that was first to be swept away. By the stern decree of the
conqueror Woden and Thor and Freya must go. In their stead was to be
set up the Christian religion with its churches, its priests, its
fastings, its ceremonial observances. Death was to be the penalty for
eating meat during Lent, if done "out of contempt for Christianity,"
and death also for "causing the body of a dead man to be burned in
accordance with pagan rites." Even for merely scorning "to come to
baptism," or "wishing to remain a pagan," a man was to forfeit his
life. The selections which follow are taken from the capitulary _De
Partibus Saxoniæ_, which was issued by Charlemagne probably at the
Frankish assembly held at Paderborn in 780. If this date is correct
(and it cannot be far wrong) the regulations embodied in the
capitulary were established for the Saxon territories when there
perhaps seemed to be a good prospect of peace but when, as later
events showed, there yet remained twenty-three years of war before the
final subjugation. From the beginning of the struggle the Church had
been busy setting up new centers of influence--some abbeys and
especially the great bishoprics of Bremen, Minden, Paderborn, Verden,
Osnabrück, and Halberstadt--among the Saxon pagans, and the primary
object of Charlemagne in this capitulary was to give to these
ecclesiastical foundations the task of civilizing the country and to
protect them, together with his counts or governing agents, while they
should be engaged in this work. The severity of the Saxon war was
responsible for the unusually stringent character of this body of
regulations. In 797, at a great assembly at Aix-la-Chapelle, another
capitulary for the Saxons was issued, known as the _Capitulum
Saxonicum_, and in this the harsh features of the earlier capitulary
were considerably relaxed. By 797 the resistance of the Saxons was
pretty well broken, and it had become Charlemagne's policy to give his
conquered subjects a government as nearly as possible like that the
Franks themselves enjoyed. The chief importance of Charlemagne's
conquests toward the east lies in the fact that by them broad
stretches of German territory were brought for the first time within
the pale of civilization.

These capitularies, like the hundreds of others that were issued by
the various kings of the Franks, were edicts or decrees drawn up under
the king's direction, discussed and adopted in the assembly of the
people, and published in the local districts of the kingdom by the
counts and bishops. They were of a less permanent and fixed character
than the so-called "leges," or laws established by long usage and

     Source--Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Leges_
     (Boretius ed.), Vol. I., No. 26, pp. 68-70. Translated by Dana
     C. Munro in _University of Pennsylvania Translations and
     Reprints_, Vol. VI., No. 5, pp. 2-5.

   First, concerning the greater chapters it has been enacted:[136]

   It is pleasing to all that the churches of Christ, which are now
   being built in Saxony and consecrated to God, should not have less,
   but greater and more illustrious honor than the shrines of the
   idols have had.

     [Sidenote: The churches as a place of refuge]

   =2.= If any one shall have fled to a church for refuge, let no one
   presume to expel him from the church by violence, but he shall be
   left in peace until he shall be brought to the judicial assemblage;
   and on account of the honor due to God and the saints, and the
   reverence due to the church itself, let his life and all his
   members be granted to him. Moreover, let him plead his cause as
   best he can and he shall be judged; and so let him be led to the
   presence of the lord king, and the latter shall send him where it
   shall seem fitting to his clemency.

   =3.= If any one shall have entered a church by violence and shall
   have carried off anything in it by force or theft, or shall have
   burned the church itself, let him be punished by death.[137]

     [Sidenote: Offenses against the Church]

   =4.= If any one, out of contempt for Christianity, shall have
   despised the holy Lenten feast and shall have eaten flesh, let him
   be punished by death. But, nevertheless, let it be taken into
   consideration by a priest, lest perchance any one from necessity
   has been led to eat flesh.[138]

   =5.= If any one shall have killed a bishop or priest or deacon let
   him likewise be punished capitally.

   =6.= If any one, deceived by the devil, shall have believed, after
   the manner of the pagans, that any man or woman is a witch and eats
   men, and on this account shall have burned the person, or shall
   have given the person's flesh to others to eat, or shall have eaten
   it himself, let him be punished by a capital sentence.

   =7.= If any one, in accordance with pagan rites, shall have caused
   the body of a dead man to be burned, and shall have reduced his
   bones to ashes, let him be punished capitally.

     [Sidenote: Refusal to be baptized]

   =8.= If any one of the race of the Saxons hereafter, concealed
   among them, shall have wished to hide himself unbaptized, and shall
   have scorned to come to baptism, and shall have wished to remain a
   pagan, let him be punished by death.

   =9.= If any one shall have sacrificed a man to the devil, and,
   after the manner of the pagans, shall have presented him as a
   victim to the demons, let him be punished by death.

     [Sidenote: Conspiracy against Christians]

   =10.= If any one shall have formed a conspiracy with the pagans
   against the Christians, or shall have wished to join with them in
   opposition to the Christians, let him be punished by death; and
   whosoever shall have consented fraudulently to this same against
   the king and the Christian people, let him be punished by death.

   =11.= If any one shall have shown himself unfaithful to the lord
   king, let him be punished with a capital sentence.

   =13.= If any one shall have killed his lord or lady, let him be
   punished in a like manner.

   =14.= If, indeed, for these mortal crimes secretly committed any
   one shall have fled of his own accord to a priest, and after
   confession shall have wished to do penance, let him be freed by the
   testimony of the priest from death....[139]

     [Sidenote: Observance of the Sabbath and of festival days]

   =18.= On the Lord's day no meetings or public judicial assemblages
   shall be held, unless perchance in a case of great necessity, or
   when war compels it, but all shall go to church to hear the word of
   God, and shall be free for prayers or good works. Likewise, also,
   on the special festivals they shall devote themselves to God and to
   the services of the Church, and shall refrain from secular

     [Sidenote: Baptism of infants]

   =19.= Likewise, it has been pleasing to insert in these decrees
   that all infants shall be baptized within a year; and we have
   decreed this, that if any one shall have refused to bring his
   infant to baptism within the course of a year, without the advice
   or permission of the priest, if he is a noble he shall pay 120
   _solidi_[140] to the treasury; if a freeman, 60; if a _litus_,

   =20.= If any one shall have contracted a prohibited or illegal
   marriage, if a noble, 60 _solidi_; if a freeman, 30; if a _litus_,

     [Sidenote: Keeping up heathen rites]

   =21.= If any one shall have made a vow at springs or trees or
   groves,[142] or shall have made an offering after the manner of the
   heathen and shall have partaken of a repast in honor of the demons,
   if he shall be a noble, 60 _solidi_; if a freeman, 30; if a
   _litus_, 15. If, indeed, they have not the means of paying at once,
   they shall be given into the service of the Church until the
   _solidi_ are paid.

   =22.= We command that the bodies of Saxon Christians shall be
   carried to the church cemeteries, and not to the mounds of the

   =23.= We have ordered that diviners and soothsayers shall be handed
   over to the churches and priests.

     [Sidenote: Fugitive criminals]

   =24.= Concerning robbers and malefactors who shall have fled from
   one county to another, if any one shall receive them into his
   protection and shall keep them with him for seven nights,[143]
   except for the purpose of bringing them to justice, let him pay our
   ban.[144] Likewise, if a count[145] shall have concealed them, and
   shall be unwilling to bring them forward so that justice may be
   done, and is not able to excuse himself for this, let him lose his

   =26.= No one shall presume to impede any man coming to us to seek
   justice; and if anyone shall have attempted to do this, he shall
   pay our ban.

     [Sidenote: Public assemblies]

   =34.= We have forbidden that Saxons shall hold public assemblies in
   general, unless perchance our _missus_[146] shall have caused them
   to come together in accordance with our command; but each count
   shall hold judicial assemblies and administer justice in his
   jurisdiction. And this shall be cared for by the priests, lest it
   be done otherwise.[147]

18. The Capitulary Concerning the Royal Domains (cir. 800)

The revenues which came into Charlemagne's treasury were derived
chiefly from his royal domains. There was no system of general
taxation, such as modern nations maintain, and the funds realized from
gifts, fines, rents, booty, and tribute money, were quite insufficient
to meet the needs of the court, modest though they were. Charlemagne's
interest in his villas, or private farms, was due therefore not less
to his financial dependence upon them than to his personal liking for
thrifty agriculture and thoroughgoing administration. The royal
domains of the Frankish kingdom, already extensive at Charlemagne's
accession, were considerably increased during his reign. It has been
well said that Charlemagne was doubtless the greatest landed
proprietor of the realm and that he "supervised the administration of
these lands as a sovereign who knows that his power rests partly on
his riches."[148] He gave the closest personal attention to his
estates and was always watchful lest he be defrauded out of even the
smallest portion of their products which was due him. The capitulary
_De Villis_, from which the following passages have been selected, is
a lengthy document in which Charlemagne sought to prescribe clearly
and minutely the manifold duties of the stewards in charge of these
estates. We may regard it, however, as in the nature of an ideal
catalogue of what the king would like to have on his domains rather
than as a definite statement of what was always actually to be found
there. From it may be gleaned many interesting facts regarding rural
life in western Europe during the eighth and ninth centuries. Its date
is uncertain, but it was about 800--possibly somewhat earlier.

     Source--Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Leges_
     (Boretius ed.), Vol. I., No. 32, pp. 82-91. Translated by
     Roland P. Falkner in _Univ. of Pa. Translations and Reprints_,
     Vol. III., No. 2, pp. 2-4.

     [Sidenote: Report to be made to the king by his stewards each

   =62.=[149] We desire that each steward shall make an annual
   statement of all our income, with an account of our lands
   cultivated by the oxen which our plowmen drive, and of our lands
   which the tenants of farms ought to plow;[150] an account of the
   pigs, of the rents,[151] of the obligations and fines; of the game
   taken in our forests without our permission; of the various
   compositions;[152] of the mills, of the forest, of the fields, and
   of the bridges and ships; of the freemen and the districts under
   obligations to our treasury; of markets, vineyards, and those who
   owe wine to us; of the hay, fire-wood, torches, planks, and other
   kinds of lumber; of the waste-lands; of the vegetables, millet, and
   panic;[153] and of the wool, flax, and hemp; of the fruits of the
   trees; of the nut trees, larger and smaller; of the grafted trees
   of all kinds; of the gardens; of the turnips; of the fish-ponds; of
   the hides, skins, and horns; of the honey and wax; of the fat,
   tallow and soap; of the mulberry wine, cooked wine, mead, vinegar,
   beer, wine new and old; of the new grain and the old; of the hens
   and eggs; of the geese; of the number of fishermen, smiths,
   sword-makers, and shoe-makers; of the bins and boxes; of the
   turners and saddlers; of the forges and mines, that is iron and
   other mines; of the lead mines; of the colts and fillies. They
   shall make all these known to us, set forth separately and in
   order, at Christmas, in order that we may know what and how much of
   each thing we have.

     [Sidenote: Domestic animals]

   =23.= On each of our estates our stewards are to have as many
   cow-houses, pig-sties, sheep-folds, stables for goats, as possible,
   and they ought never to be without these. And let them have in
   addition cows furnished by our serfs[154] for performing their
   service, so that the cow-houses and plows shall be in no way
   diminished by the service on our demesne. And when they have to
   provide meat, let them have steers lame, but healthy, and cows and
   horses which are not mangy, or other beasts which are not diseased
   and, as we have said, our cow-houses and plows are not to be
   diminished for this.

     [Sidenote: Cleanliness enjoined]

   =34.= They must provide with the greatest care that whatever is
   prepared or made with the hands, that is, lard, smoked meat, salt
   meat, partially salted meat, wine, vinegar, mulberry wine, cooked
   wine, _garns_,[155] mustard, cheese, butter, malt, beer, mead,
   honey, wax, flour, all should be prepared and made with the
   greatest cleanliness.

   =40.= That each steward on each of our domains shall always have,
   for the sake of ornament, swans, peacocks, pheasants, ducks,
   pigeons, partridges, turtle-doves.

     [Sidenote: Household furniture]

   =42.= That in each of our estates, the chambers shall be provided
   with counterpanes, cushions, pillows, bed-clothes, coverings for
   the tables and benches; vessels of brass, lead, iron and wood;
   andirons, chains, pot-hooks, adzes, axes, augers, cutlasses, and
   all other kinds of tools, so that it shall never be necessary to go
   elsewhere for them, or to borrow them. And the weapons, which are
   carried against the enemy, shall be well-cared for, so as to keep
   them in good condition; and when they are brought back they shall
   be placed in the chamber.

   =43.= For our women's work they are to give at the proper time, as
   has been ordered, the materials, that is the linen, wool,
   woad,[156] vermilion, madder,[157] wool-combs, teasels,[158] soap,
   grease, vessels, and the other objects which are necessary.

     [Sidenote: Supplies to be furnished the king]

   =44.= Of the food products other than meat, two-thirds shall be
   sent each year for our own use, that is of the vegetables, fish,
   cheese, butter, honey, mustard, vinegar, millet, panic, dried and
   green herbs, radishes, and in addition of the wax, soap and other
   small products; and they shall tell us how much is left by a
   statement, as we have said above; and they shall not neglect this
   as in the past; because from those two-thirds, we wish to know how
   much remains.

     [Sidenote: Workmen on the estates]

   =45.= That each steward shall have in his district good workmen,
   namely, blacksmiths, gold-smith, silver-smith, shoe-makers,
   turners, carpenters, sword-makers, fishermen, foilers, soap-makers,
   men who know how to make beer, cider, berry, and all the other
   kinds of beverages, bakers to make pastry for our table, net-makers
   who know how to make nets for hunting, fishing and fowling, and the
   others who are too numerous to be designated.

19. An Inventory of One of Charlemagne's Estates

In the following inventory we have a specimen of the annual statements
required by Charlemagne from the stewards on his royal domains. The
location of Asnapium is unknown, but it is evident that this estate
was one of the smaller sort. Like all the rest, it was liable
occasionally to become the temporary abiding place of the king. The
detailed character of the inventory is worthy of note, as is also the
number of industries which must have been engaged in by the
inhabitants of the estate and its dependent villas.

     Source--Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Leges_ (Pertz
     ed.), Vol. I., pp. 178-179.

     [Sidenote: Buildings on the estate of Asnapium]

   We found in the imperial estate of Asnapium a royal house built of
   stone in the very best manner, having 3 rooms. The entire house was
   surrounded with balconies and it had 11 apartments for women.
   Underneath was 1 cellar. There were 2 porticoes. There were 17
   other houses built of wood within the court-yard, with a similar
   number of rooms and other fixtures, all well constructed. There was
   1 stable, 1 kitchen, 1 mill, 1 granary, and 3 barns.

   The yard was enclosed with a hedge and a stone gateway, and above
   was a balcony from which distributions can be made. There was also
   an inner yard, surrounded by a hedge, well arranged, and planted
   with various kinds of trees.

   Of vestments: coverings for 1 bed, 1 table-cloth, and 1 towel.

   Of utensils: 2 brass kettles; 2 drinking cups; 2 brass cauldrons; 1
   iron cauldron; 1 frying-pan; 1 gramalmin; 1 pair of andirons; 1
   lamp; 2 hatchets; 1 chisel; 2 augers; 1 axe; 1 knife; 1 large
   plane; 1 small plane; 2 scythes; 2 sickles; 2 spades edged with
   iron; and a sufficient supply of utensils of wood.

     [Sidenote: Supplies of various sorts]

   Of farm produce: old spelt[159] from last year, 90 baskets which
   can be made into 450 weight[160] of flour; and 100 measures[161] of
   barley. From the present year, 110 baskets of spelt, of which 60
   baskets had been planted, but the rest we found; 100 measures of
   wheat, 60 sown, the rest we found; 98 measures of rye all sown;
   1,800 measures of barley, 1,100 sown, the rest we found; 430
   measures of oats; 1 measure of beans; 12 measures of peas. At 5
   mills were found 800 measures of small size. At 4 breweries, 650
   measures of small size, 240 given to the prebendaries,[162] the
   rest we found. At 2 bridges, 60 measures of salt and 2 shillings.
   At 4 gardens, 11 shillings. Also honey, 3 measures; about 1 measure
   of butter; lard, from last year 10 sides; new sides, 200, with
   fragments and fats; cheese from the present year, 43 weights.

     [Sidenote: Kinds and number of animals]

   Of cattle: 51 head of larger cattle; 5 three-year olds; 7 two-year
   olds; 7 yearlings; 10 two-year old colts; 8 yearlings; 3
   stallions; 16 cows; 2 asses; 50 cows with calves; 20 young bulls;
   38 yearling calves; 3 bulls; 260 hogs; 100 pigs; 5 boars; 150 sheep
   with lambs; 200 yearling lambs; 120 rams; 30 goats with kids; 30
   yearling kids; 3 male goats; 30 geese; 80 chickens; 22 peacocks.

   Also concerning the manors[163] which belong to the above mansion.
   In the villa of Grisio we found domain buildings, where there are 3
   barns and a yard enclosed by a hedge. There were, besides, 1 garden
   with trees, 10 geese, 8 ducks, 30 chickens.

   In another villa we found domain buildings and a yard surrounded by
   a hedge, and within 3 barns; 1 arpent[164] of vines; 1 garden with
   trees; 15 geese; 20 chickens.

   In a third villa, domain buildings, with 2 barns; 1 granary; 1
   garden and 1 yard well enclosed by a hedge.

   We found all the dry and liquid measures just as in the palace. We
   did not find any goldsmiths, silversmiths, blacksmiths, huntsmen,
   or persons engaged in other services.

     [Sidenote: Vegetables and trees]

   The garden herbs which we found were lily, putchuck,[165] mint,
   parsley, rue, celery, libesticum, sage, savory, juniper, leeks,
   garlic, tansy, wild mint, coriander, scullions, onions, cabbage,
   kohlrabi,[166] betony.[167] Trees: pears, apples, medlars, peaches,
   filberts, walnuts, mulberries, quinces.[168]

20. Charlemagne Crowned Emperor (800)

The occasion of Charlemagne's presence in Rome in 800 was a conflict
between Pope Leo III. and a faction of the populace led by two nephews
of the preceding pope, Hadrian I. It seems that in 799 Leo had been
practically driven out of the papal capital and imprisoned in a
neighboring monastery, but that through the planning of a subordinate
official he had soon contrived to escape. At any rate he got out of
Italy as speedily as he could and made his way across the Alps to seek
aid at the court of Charlemagne. The Frankish king was still busy with
the Saxon war and did not allow the prospect of a papal visit to
interfere with his intended campaign; but at Paderborn, in the very
heart of the Saxon country, where he could personally direct the
operations of his troops, he established his headquarters and awaited
the coming of the refugee pope. The meeting of the two dignitaries
resulted in a pledge of the king once more to take up the burden of
defending the Roman Church and the Vicar of Christ, this time not
against outside foes but against internal disturbers. After about a
year Charlemagne repaired to Rome and called upon the Pope and his
adversaries to appear before him for judgment. When the leaders of the
hostile faction refused to comply, they were summarily condemned to
death, though it is said that through the generous advice of Leo they
were afterwards released on a sentence of exile. During the ceremonies
which followed in celebration of Christmas occurred the famous
coronation which is described in the two passages given below.

Although the coronation has been regarded as so important as to have
been called "the central event of the Middle Ages,"[169] it is by no
means an easy task to determine precisely what significance it was
thought to have at the time. We can look back upon it now and see
that it marked the beginning of the so-called "Holy Roman Empire"--a
creation that endured in _fact_ only a very short time but whose name
and theory survived all the way down to Napoleon's reorganization of
the German states in 1806. One view of the matter is that
Charlemagne's coronation meant that a Frankish king had become the
successor of Emperor Constantine VI., just deposed at Constantinople,
and that therefore the universal Roman Empire was again to be ruled
from a western capital as it had been before the time of the first
Constantine. It will be observed that extract (a), taken from the
Annals of Lauresheim, and therefore of German origin, at least
suggests this explanation. But, whether or not precisely this idea was
in the mind of those who took part in the ceremony, in actual fact no
such transfer of universal sovereignty from Constantinople to the
Frankish capital ever took place. The Eastern Empire lived right on
under its own line of rulers and, so far as we know, aside from some
rather vague negotiations for a marriage of Charlemagne and the
Empress Irene, the new western Emperor seems never to have
contemplated the extension of his authority over the East. His great
aspiration had been to consolidate all the Germanic peoples of western
continental Europe under the leadership of the Franks; that, by 800,
he had practically done; he had no desire to go farther. His dominion
was always limited strictly to the West, and at the most he can be
regarded after 800 as not more than the reviver of the old western
half of the Empire, and hence as the successor of Romulus Augustulus.
But even this view is perhaps somewhat strained. The chroniclers of
the time liked to set up fine theories of the sort, and later it came
to be to the interest of papal and imperial rivals to make large use,
in one way or another, of such theories. But we to-day may look upon
the coronation as nothing more than a formal recognition of a
condition of things already existing. By his numerous conquests
Charlemagne had drawn under his control such a number of peoples and
countries that his position had come to be that which we think of as
an emperor's rather than that of simple king of the Franks. The Pope
did not give Charlemagne his empire; the energetic king had built it
for himself. At the most, what Leo did was simply to bestow a title
already earned and to give with it presumably the blessing and favor
of the Church, whose devoted servant Charlemagne repeatedly professed
to be. That the idea of imperial unity still survived in the West is
certain, and without doubt many men looked upon the ceremony of 800 as
re-establishing such unity; but as events worked out it was not so
much Charlemagne's empire as the papacy itself that was the real
continuation of the power of the Cæsars. Conditions had so changed
that it was impossible in the nature of things for Charlemagne to be a
Roman emperor in the old sense. The coronation gave him a new title
and new prestige, but no new subjects, no larger army, no more
princely income. The basis of his power continued to be, in every
sense, his Frankish kingdom. The structural element in the revived
empire was Frankish; the Roman was merely ornamental.

     Sources--(a) _Annales Laureshamensis_ ["Annals of
     Lauresheim"], Chap. 34. Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica,
     Scriptores_ (Pertz ed.), Vol. I., p. 38.

     (b) _Vitæ Pontificorum Romanorum_ ["Lives of the Roman
     Pontiffs"]. Text in Muratori, _Rerum Italicarum Scriptores_,
     Vol. III., pp. 284-285.


   And because the name of emperor had now ceased among the Greeks,
   and their empire was possessed by a woman,[170] it seemed both to
   Leo the pope himself, and to all the holy fathers who were present
   in the self-same council,[171] as well as to the rest of the
   Christian people, that they ought to take to be emperor Charles,
   king of the Franks, who held Rome herself, where the Cæsars had
   always been wont to sit, and all the other regions which he ruled
   through Italy and Gaul and Germany; and inasmuch as God had given
   all these lands into his hand, it seemed right that with the help
   of God, and at the prayer of the whole Christian people, he should
   have the name of emperor also. [The Pope's] petition King Charles
   willed not to refuse,[172] but submitting himself with all humility
   to God, and at the prayer of the priests, and of the whole
   Christian people, on the day of the nativity of our Lord Jesus
   Christ, he took on himself the name of emperor, being consecrated
   by the Pope Leo.... For this also was done by the will of God ...
   that the heathen might not mock the Christians if the name of
   emperor should have ceased among them.


   After these things, on the day of the birth of our Lord Jesus
   Christ, when all the people were assembled in the Church of the
   blessed St. Peter,[173] the venerable and gracious Pope with his
   own hands crowned him [Charlemagne] with an exceedingly precious
   crown. Then all the faithful Romans, beholding the choice of such a
   friend and defender of the holy Roman Church, and of the pontiff,
   did by the will of God and of the blessed Peter, the key-bearer of
   the heavenly kingdom, cry with a loud voice, "To Charles, the most
   pious Augustus, crowned of God, the great and peace-giving Emperor,
   be life and victory." While he, before the altar of the church, was
   calling upon many of the saints, it was proclaimed three times, and
   by the common voice of all he was chosen to be emperor of the
   Romans. Then the most holy high priest and pontiff anointed Charles
   with holy oil, and also his most excellent son to be king,[174]
   upon the very day of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

21. The General Capitulary for the Missi (802)

Throughout the larger part of Charlemagne's dominion the chief local
unit of administration was the county, presided over by the count. The
count was appointed by the Emperor, generally from among the most
important landed proprietors of the district. His duties included the
levy of troops, the publication of the royal decrees or capitularies,
the administration of justice, and the collection of revenues. On the
frontiers, where the need of defense was greatest, these local
officers exercised military functions of a special character and were
commonly known as "counts of the march," or dukes, or sometimes as
margraves. In order that these royal officials, in whatever part of
the country, might not abuse their authority as against their
fellow-subjects, or engage in plots against the unity of the empire,
Charlemagne devised a plan of sending out at stated intervals men who
were known as _missi dominici_ ("the lord's messengers") to visit the
various counties, hear complaints of the people, inquire into the
administration of the counts, and report conditions to the Emperor.
They were to serve as connecting links between the central and local
governments and as safeguards against the ever powerful forces of
disintegration. Such itinerant royal agents had not been unknown in
Merovingian times, and they had probably been made use of pretty
frequently by Charles Martel and Pepin the Short. But it was
Charlemagne who reduced the employment of _missi_ to a system and made
it a fixed part of the governmental machinery of the Frankish kingdom.
This he did mainly by the _Capitulare Missorum Generale_, promulgated
early in 802 at an assembly at the favorite capital Aix-la-Chapelle.
The whole empire was divided into districts, or _missaticæ_, and each
of these was to be visited annually by two of the _missi_. A churchman
and a layman were usually sent out together, probably because they
were to have jurisdiction over both the clergy and the laity, and also
that they might restrain each other from injustice or other
misconduct. They were appointed by the Emperor, at first from his
lower order of vassals, but after a time from the leading bishops,
abbots, and nobles of the empire. They were given power to depose
minor officials for misdemeanors, and to summon higher ones before the
Emperor. By 812, at least, they were required to make four rounds of
inspection each year.

In the capitulary for the _missi_ Charlemagne took occasion to include
a considerable number of regulations and instructions regarding the
general character of the local governments, the conduct of local
officers, the manner of life of the clergy, the management of the
monasteries, and other things of vital importance to the strength of
the empire and the well-being of the people. The capitulary may be
regarded as a broad outline of policy and conduct which its author,
lately become emperor, wished to see realized throughout his vast

     Source--Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Leges_
     (Boretius ed.), Vol. I., No. 33, pp. 91-99. Translated by Dana
     C. Munro in _Univ. of Pa. Translations and Reprints_, Vol.
     VI., No. 5, pp. 16-27.

     [Sidenote: The missi sent out]

   =1.= Concerning the embassy sent out by the lord emperor.

   Therefore, the most serene and most Christian lord emperor Charles
   has chosen from his nobles the wisest and most prudent men, both
   archbishops and some of the other bishops also, and venerable
   abbots and pious laymen, and has sent them throughout his whole
   kingdom, and through them he would have all the various classes of
   persons mentioned in the following chapters live in accordance
   with the correct law. Moreover, where anything which is not right
   and just has been enacted in the law, he has ordered them to
   inquire into this most diligently and to inform him of it. He
   desires, God granting, to reform it. And let no one, through his
   cleverness or craft, dare to oppose or thwart the written law, as
   many are wont to do, or the judicial sentence passed upon him, or
   to do injury to the churches of God, or the poor, or the widows, or
   the wards, or any Christian. But all shall live entirely in
   accordance with God's precept, honestly and under a just rule, and
   each one shall be admonished to live in harmony with his fellows in
   his business or profession; the canonical clergy[175] ought to
   observe in every respect a canonical life without heeding base
   gain; nuns ought to keep diligent watch over their lives; laymen
   and the secular clergy[176] ought rightly to observe their laws
   without malicious fraud; and all ought to live in mutual charity
   and perfect peace.

     [Sidenote: The duties of the missi]

   And let the _missi_ themselves make a diligent investigation
   whenever any man claims that an injustice has been done him by any
   one, just as they desire to deserve the grace of omnipotent God and
   to keep their fidelity promised to Him, so that in all cases, in
   accordance with the will and fear of God, they shall administer the
   law fully and justly in the case of the holy churches of God and of
   the poor, of wards and widows, and of the whole people. And if
   there be anything of such a nature that they, together with the
   provincial counts, are not able of themselves to correct it and to
   do justice concerning it, they shall, without any reservation,
   refer it, together with their reports, to the judgment of the
   emperor; and the straight path of justice shall not be impeded by
   any one on account of flattery or gifts, or on account of any
   relationship, or from fear of the powerful.[177]

     [Sidenote: Oath to be taken to Charlemagne as emperor]

   =2.= Concerning the fidelity to be promised to the lord emperor.

   He has commanded that every man in his whole kingdom, whether
   ecclesiastic or layman, and each one according to his vow and
   occupation, should now promise to him as emperor the fidelity which
   he had previously promised to him as king; and all of those who had
   not yet made that promise should do likewise, down to those who
   were twelve years old. And that it shall be announced to all in
   public, so that each one might know, how great and how many things
   are comprehended in that oath; not merely, as many have thought
   hitherto, fidelity to the lord emperor as regards his life, and not
   introducing any enemy into his kingdom out of enmity, and not
   consenting to or concealing another's faithlessness to him; but
   that all may know that this oath contains in itself the following

     [Sidenote: What the new oath was to mean]

   =3.= First, that each one voluntarily shall strive, in accordance
   with his knowledge and ability, to live completely in the holy
   service of God, in accordance with the precept of God and in
   accordance with his own promise, because the lord emperor is unable
   to give to all individually the necessary care and discipline.

   =4.= Secondly, that no man, either through perjury or any other
   wile or fraud, or on account of the flattery or gift of any one,
   shall refuse to give back or dare to take possession of or conceal
   a serf of the lord emperor, or a district, or land, or anything
   that belongs to him; and that no one shall presume, through perjury
   or other wile, to conceal or entice away his fugitive fiscaline
   serfs[178] who unjustly and fraudulently say that they are free.

   =5.= That no one shall presume to rob or do any injury fraudulently
   to the churches of God, or widows, or orphans, or pilgrims;[179]
   for the lord emperor himself, under God and His saints, has
   constituted himself their protector and defender.

   =6.= That no one shall dare to lay waste a benefice[180] of the
   lord emperor, or to make it his own property.

   =7.= That no one shall presume to neglect a summons to war from the
   lord emperor; and that no one of the counts shall be so
   presumptuous as to dare to excuse any one of those who owe military
   service, either on account of relationship, or flattery, or gifts
   from any one.

   =8.= That no one shall presume to impede at all in any way a
   ban[181] or command of the lord emperor, or to tamper with his
   work, or to impede, or to lessen, or in any way to act contrary to
   his will or commands. And that no one shall dare to neglect to pay
   his dues or tax.

     [Sidenote: Justice to be rendered in the courts]

   =9.= That no one, for any reason, shall make a practice in court of
   defending another unjustly, either from any desire of gain when the
   cause is weak, or by impeding a just judgment by his skill in
   reasoning, or by a desire of oppressing when the cause is weak. But
   each one shall answer for his own cause or tax or debt, unless any
   one is infirm or ignorant of pleading;[182] for these the _missi_,
   or the chiefs who are in the court, or the judge who knows the case
   in question, shall plead before the court; or, if it is necessary,
   such a person may be allowed as is acceptable to all and knows the
   case well; but this shall be done wholly according to the
   convenience of the chiefs or _missi_ who are present. But in every
   case it shall be done in accordance with justice and the law; and
   no one shall have the power to impede justice by a gift, reward, or
   any kind of evil flattery, or from any hindrance of relationship.
   And no one shall unjustly consent to another in anything, but with
   all zeal and good-will all shall be prepared to carry out justice.

   For all the above mentioned ought to be observed by the imperial

   =10.= [We ordain] that bishops and priests shall live according to
   the canons[184] and shall teach others to do the same.

     [Sidenote: Obligations of the clergy]

   =11.= That bishops, abbots, and abbesses who are in charge of
   others, with the greatest veneration shall strive to surpass their
   subjects in this diligence and shall not oppress their subjects
   with a harsh rule or tyranny, but with a sincere love shall
   carefully guard the flock committed to them with mercy and charity,
   or by the examples of good works.

   =14.= That bishops, abbots and abbesses, and counts shall be
   mutually in accord, following the law in order to render a just
   judgment with all charity and unity of peace, and that they shall
   live faithfully in accordance with the will of God, so that always
   everywhere through them and among them a just judgment shall be
   rendered. The poor, widows, orphans, and pilgrims shall have
   consolation and defense from them; so that we, through the
   good-will of these, may deserve the reward of eternal life rather
   than punishment.

   =19.= That no bishops, abbots, priests, deacons, or other members
   of the clergy shall presume to have dogs for hunting, or hawks,
   falcons, and sparrow-hawks, but each shall observe fully the
   canons or rule of his order.[185] If any one shall presume to do
   so, let him know that he shall lose his office. And in addition he
   shall suffer such punishment for his misconduct that the others
   will be afraid to possess such things for themselves.

   =27.= And we command that no one in our whole kingdom shall dare to
   deny hospitality to rich, or poor, or pilgrims; that is, let no one
   deny shelter and fire and water to pilgrims traversing our country
   in God's name, or to any one traveling for the love of God, or for
   the safety of his own soul.

     [Sidenote: The missi to be helped on their way]

   =28.= Concerning embassies coming from the lord emperor. That the
   counts and _centenarii_[186] shall provide most carefully, as they
   desire the good-will of the lord emperor, for the _missi_ who are
   sent out, so that they may go through their territories without any
   delay; and the emperor commands all everywhere that they see to it
   that no delay is encountered anywhere, but they shall cause the
   _missi_ to go on their way in all haste and shall provide for them
   in such a manner as they may direct.

     [Sidenote: The crime of murder]

   =32.= Murders, by which a multitude of the Christian people perish,
   we command in every way to be shunned and to be forbidden....
   Nevertheless, lest sin should also increase, in order that the
   greatest enmities may not arise among Christians, when by the
   persuasions of the devil murders happen, the criminal shall
   immediately hasten to make amends and with all speed shall pay to
   the relatives of the murdered man the fitting composition for the
   evil done. And we forbid firmly that the relatives of the murdered
   man shall dare in any way to continue their enmities on account of
   the evil done, or shall refuse to grant peace to him who asks it,
   but, having given their pledges, they shall receive the fitting
   composition and shall make a perpetual peace; moreover, the guilty
   one shall not delay to pay the composition....[187] But if any one
   shall have scorned to make the fitting composition, he shall be
   deprived of his property until we shall render our decision.[188]

     [Sidenote: Theft of game from the royal forests]

   =39.= That in our forests no one shall dare to steal our game,
   which we have already many times forbidden to be done; and now we
   again strictly forbid that any one shall do so in the future; just
   as each one desires to preserve the fidelity promised to us, so let
   him take heed to himself....

   =40.= Lastly, therefore, we desire all our decrees to be known in
   the whole kingdom through our _missi_ now sent out, either among
   the men of the Church, bishops, abbots, priests, deacons, canons,
   all monks or nuns, so that each one in his ministry or profession
   may keep our ban or decree, or where it may be fitting to thank the
   citizens for their good-will, or to furnish aid, or where there may
   be need still of correcting anything.... Where we believe there is
   anything unpunished, we shall so strive to correct it with all our
   zeal and will that with God's aid we may bring it to correction,
   both for our own eternal glory and that of all our faithful.

22. A Letter of Charlemagne to Abbot Fulrad

In Charlemagne's governmental and military system the clergy, both
regular and secular, had a place of large importance. From early
Frankish times the bishoprics and monasteries had been acquiring
large landed estates on which they enjoyed peculiar political and
judicial privileges. These lands came to the church authorities partly
by purchase, largely by gift, and not infrequently through concessions
by small land-holders who wished to get the Church's favor and
protection without actually moving off the little farms they had been
accustomed to cultivate. However acquired, the lands were administered
by the clergy with larger independence than was apt to be allowed the
average lay owner. Still, they were as much a part of the empire as
before and the powerful bishops and abbots were expected to see that
certain services were forthcoming when the Emperor found himself in
need of them. Among these was the duty of leading, or sending, a quota
of troops under arms to the yearly assembly. In the selection below we
have a letter written by Charlemagne some time between 804 and 811 to
Fulrad, abbot of St. Quentin (about sixty miles northeast of Paris),
respecting the fulfilment of this important obligation. The closing
sentence indicates very clearly the price exacted by the Emperor in
return for concessions of temporal authority to ecclesiastical

     Source--Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Leges_
     (Boretius ed.), Vol. I., No. 75, p. 168.

     [Sidenote: The troops to be brought: their equipment]

   In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Charles, most
   serene, august, crowned of God, great pacific Emperor, who, by
   God's mercy, is King of the Franks and Lombards, to Abbot Fulrad.

   Let it be known to you that we have determined to hold our general
   assembly[189] this year in the eastern part of Saxony, on the River
   Bode, at the place which is known as Strassfurt.[190] Therefore,
   we enjoin that you come to this meeting-place, with all your men
   well armed and equipped, on the fifteenth day before the Kalends of
   July, that is, seven days before the festival of St. John the
   Baptist.[191] Come, therefore, so prepared with your men to the
   aforesaid place that you may be able to go thence well equipped in
   any direction in which our command shall direct; that is, with arms
   and accoutrements also, and other provisions for war in the way of
   food and clothing. Each horseman will be expected to have a shield,
   a lance, a sword, a dagger, a bow, and quivers with arrows; and in
   your carts shall be implements of various kinds, that is, axes,
   planes, augers, boards, spades, iron shovels, and other utensils
   which are necessary in an army. In the wagons also should be
   supplies of food for three months, dating from the time of the
   assembly, together with arms and clothing for six months. And
   furthermore we command that you see to it that you proceed
   peacefully to the aforesaid place, through whatever part of our
   realm your journey shall be made; that is, that you presume to take
   nothing except fodder, wood, and water. And let the followers of
   each one of your vassals march along with the carts and horsemen,
   and let the leader always be with them until they reach the
   aforesaid place, so that the absence of a lord may not give to his
   men an opportunity to do evil.

     [Sidenote: Gifts for the Emperor]

   Send your gifts,[192] which you ought to present to us at our
   assembly in the middle of the month of May, to the place where we
   then shall be. If it happens that your journey shall be such that
   on your march you are able in person to present these gifts of
   yours to us, we shall be greatly pleased. Be careful to show no
   negligence in the future if you care to have our favor.

23. The Carolingian Revival of Learning

One of Charlemagne's chief claims to distinction is that his reign,
largely through his own influence, comprised the most important period
of the so-called Carolingian renaissance, or revival of learning. From
the times of the Frankish conquest of Gaul until about the middle of
the eighth century, education in western Europe, except in Ireland and
Britain, was at a very low ebb and literary production quite
insignificant. The old Roman intellectual activity had nearly ceased,
and two or three centuries of settled life had been required to bring
the Franks to the point of appreciating and encouraging art and
letters. Even by Charlemagne's time people generally were far from
being awake to the importance of education, though a few of the more
far-sighted leaders, and especially Charlemagne himself, had come to
lament the gross ignorance which everywhere prevailed and were ready
to adopt strong measures to overcome it. Charlemagne was certainly no
scholar, judged even by the standards of his own time; but had he been
the most learned man in the world his interest in education could not
have been greater. Before studying the selection given below, it would
be well to read what Einhard said about his master's zeal for learning
and the amount of progress he made personally in getting an education
[see pp. 112--113].

The most conspicuous of Charlemagne's educational measures was his
enlarging and strengthening of the Scola Palatina, or Palace School.
This was an institution which had existed in the reign of his father
Pepin, and probably even earlier. It consisted of a group of scholars
gathered at the Frankish court for the purpose of studying and writing
literature, educating the royal household, and stimulating learning
throughout the country. It formed what we to-day might call an academy
of sciences. Under Charlemagne's care it came to include such men of
distinction as Paul the Deacon, historian of the Lombards, Paulinus of
Aquileia, a theologian, Peter of Pisa, a grammarian, and above all
Alcuin, a skilled teacher and writer from the school of York in
England. Its history falls into three main periods: (1) from the
middle of the eighth century to the year 782--the period during which
it was dominated by Paul the Deacon and his Italian colleagues; (2)
from 782 to about 800, when its leading spirit was Alcuin; and (3)
from 800 to the years of its decadence in the later ninth century,
when Frankish rather than foreign names appear most prominently in its

It was Charlemagne's ideal that throughout his entire dominion
opportunity should be open to all to obtain at least an elementary
education and to carry their studies as much farther as they liked. To
this end a regular system of schools was planned, beginning with the
village school, in charge of the parish priest for the most elementary
studies, and leading up through monastic and cathedral schools to the
School of the Palace. In the intermediate stages, corresponding to our
high schools and academies to-day, the subjects studied were
essentially the same as those which received attention in the Scola
Palatina. They were divided into two groups: (1) the _trivium_,
including grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic (or philosophy), and (2)
the _quadrivium_, including geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and
music. The system thus planned was never fully put in operation
throughout Frankland, for after Charlemagne's death the work which he
had so well begun was seriously interfered with by the falling off in
intellectual aggressiveness of the sovereigns, by civil war, and by
the ravages of the Hungarian and Norse invaders [see p. 163]. A
capitulary of Louis the Pious in 817, for example, forbade the
continuance of secular education in monastic schools. Still, much of
what had been done remained, and never thereafter did learning among
the Frankish people fall to quite so low a stage as it had passed
through in the sixth and seventh centuries.

Charlemagne's interest in education may be studied best of all in his
capitularies. In the extract below we have the so-called letter _De
Litteris Colendis_, written some time between 780 and 800, which,
though addressed personally to Abbot Baugulf, of the monastery of
Fulda, was in reality a capitulary establishing certain regulations
regarding education in connection with the work of the monks. To the
Church was intrusted the task of raising the level of intelligence
among the masses, and the clergy were admonished to bring together the
children of both freemen and serfs in schools in which they might be
trained, even as the sons of the nobles were trained at the royal

     Source--Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Leges_
     (Boretius ed.), Vol. I., No. 29, pp. 78-79. Adapted from
     translation by Dana C. Munro in _Univ. of Pa. Translations and
     Reprints_, Vol. VI., No. 5, pp. 12-14.

   Charles, by the grace of God, king of the Franks and Lombards and
   Patrician of the Romans.[193] To Abbot Baugulf, and to all the
   congregation--also to the faithful placed under your care--we have
   sent loving greetings by our ambassadors in the name of
   all-powerful God.

     [Sidenote: Men of the Church charged with the work of education]

     [Sidenote: Even the clergy often unable to speak and write

   Be it known, therefore, to you, devoted and acceptable to God, that
   we, together with our faithful, have deemed it expedient that the
   bishoprics and monasteries intrusted by the favor of Christ to our
   control, in addition to the order of monastic life and the
   relationships of holy religion, should be zealous also in the
   cherishing of letters, and in teaching those who by the gift of God
   are able to learn, according as each has capacity. So that, just as
   the observance of the rule[194] adds order and grace to the
   integrity of morals, so also zeal in teaching and learning may do
   the same for sentences, to the end that those who wish to please
   God by living rightly should not fail to please Him also by
   speaking correctly. For it is written, "Either from thy words thou
   shall be justified or from thy words thou shalt be condemned"
   [Matt., xii. 37]. Although right conduct may be better than
   knowledge, nevertheless knowledge goes before conduct. Therefore
   each one ought to study what he desires to accomplish, in order
   that so much the more fully the mind may know what ought to be
   done. as the tongue speeds in the praises of all-powerful God
   without the hindrances of mistakes. For while errors should be
   shunned by all men, so much the more ought they to be avoided, as
   far as possible, by those who are chosen for this very purpose
   alone.[195] They ought to be the specially devoted servants of
   truth. For often in recent years when letters have been written to
   us from monasteries, in which it was stated that the brethren who
   dwelt there offered up in our behalf sacred and pious prayers, we
   have recognized, in most cases, both correct thoughts and uncouth
   expressions; because what pious devotion dictated faithfully to the
   mind, the tongue, uneducated on account of the neglect of study,
   was not able to express in the letter without error. Whence it
   happened that we began to fear lest perchance, as the skill in
   writing was less, so also the wisdom for understanding the Holy
   Scriptures might be much less than it rightly ought to be. And we
   all know well that, although errors of speech are dangerous, far
   more dangerous are errors of the understanding.

     [Sidenote: Education essential to an understanding of the

   Therefore, we exhort you not only not to neglect the study of
   letters, but also with most humble mind, pleasing to God, to study
   earnestly in order that you may be able more easily and more
   correctly to penetrate the mysteries of the divine Scriptures.
   Since, moreover, images [similes], tropes[196] and like figures are
   found in the sacred pages, nobody doubts that each one in reading
   these will understand the spiritual sense more quickly if
   previously he shall have been fully instructed in the mastery of
   letters. Such men truly are to be chosen for this work as have both
   the will and the ability to learn and a desire to instruct others.
   And may this be done with a zeal as great as the earnestness with
   which we command it. For we desire you to be, as the soldiers of
   the Church ought to be, devout in mind, learned in discourse,
   chaste in conduct, and eloquent in speech, so that when any one
   shall seek to see you, whether out of reverence for God or on
   account of your reputation for holy conduct, just as he is edified
   by your appearance, he may also be instructed by the wisdom which
   he has learned from your reading or singing, and may go away
   gladly, giving thanks to Almighty God.


[119] Thomas Hodgkin, _Charles the Great_ (London, 1903), p. 222.

[120] The German name for Aix-la-Chapelle was Aachen. From Roman times
the place was noted throughout Europe for its warm sulphur springs and
for centuries before Charlemagne's day it had been a favorite resort
for health-seekers. It was about the middle of his reign that
Charlemagne determined to have the small palace already existing
rebuilt, together with its accompanying chapel. Marbles and mosaics
were obtained at Rome and Ravenna, and architects and artisans were
brought together for the work from all Christendom. The chapel was
completed in 805 and was dedicated by Pope Leo III. Both palace and
chapel were destroyed a short time before the Emperor's death,
probably as the result of an earthquake. The present town-house of
Aix-la-Chapelle has been constructed on the ruins of this palace. The
chapel, rebuilt on the ancient octagonal plan in 983, contains the
tomb of Charlemagne, marked by a stone bearing the inscription "Carolo
Magno." Besides Aachen, Charlemagne had many other residences, as
Compiègne, Worms, Attigny, Mainz, Paderborn, Ratisbon, Heristal, and

[121] A loose, flowing outer garment, or cloak. It was a feature of
ancient Greek dress.

[122] Hadrian I., 772-775. Charlemagne's first visit to Rome was in

[123] Leo III., 795-816. The Roman dress was donned by Charlemagne
during his visit in 800 [see p. 130].

[124] St. Augustine, the greatest of the Church fathers, was born in
Numidia in 354. He spent a considerable part of his early life
studying in Rome and other Italian cities. The _De Civitate Dei_
("City of God"), generally regarded as his most important work, was
completed in 426, its purpose being to convince the Romans that even
though the supposedly eternal city of Rome had recently been sacked by
the barbarian Visigoths, the true "city of God" was in the hearts of
men beyond the reach of desecrating invaders. When he wrote the book
Augustine was bishop of Hippo, an important city of northern Africa.
His death occurred in 430, during the siege of Hippo by Gaiseric and
his horde of Vandals.

[125] The Count of the Palace was one of the coterie of officials by
whose aid Charlemagne managed the affairs of the state. He was
primarily an officer of justice, corresponding in a way to the old
Mayor of the Palace, but with very much less power.

[126] When Charlemagne captured Pavia, the Lombard capital, in 774, he
found Peter the Pisan teaching in that city. With characteristic zeal
for the advancement of education among his own people he proceeded to
transfer the learned deacon to the Frankish Palace School [see p.

[127] Alcuin was born at York in 735. He took up his residence at
Charlemagne's court about 782, and died in the office of abbot of St.
Martin of Tours in 804.

[128] During the Napoleonic period many of these columns were taken
possession of by the French and transported to Paris. Only recently
have they been replaced in the Aix-la-Chapelle cathedral. Most of them
came originally from the palace of the Exarch of Ravenna.

[129] These statements of Einhard respecting the lavishness of
Charlemagne's gifts must be taken with some allowance. They were
doubtless considerable for the day, but Charlemagne's revenues were
not such as to enable him to display wealth which in modern times
would be regarded as befitting a monarch of so exalted rank.

[130] In 774, 781, 787, and 800.

[131] Charlemagne became joint ruler of the Franks with his brother
Karlmann in 768; hence when he died, in 814, he had reigned only
forty-six years instead of forty-seven.

[132] Ephraim Emerton, _Introduction to the Study of the Middle Ages_
(Boston, 1903), p. 189.

[133] The war really lasted only thirty, or at the most thirty-one,

[134] The only notable act of vengeance during the war was the
beheading of 4,500 Saxons in a single day at Verden, on the Weser. It
was occasioned by a great Saxon revolt in 782, led by the chieftain

[135] The formula of renunciation and confession generally employed in
the Christianizing of the Germans, and therefore in all probability in
the conversion of the Saxons, was as follows:

     Question. Forsakest thou the devil?

     Answer. I forsake the devil.

     Ques. And all the devil's service?

     Ans. And I forsake all the devil's service.

     Ques. And all the devil's works?

     Ans. And I forsake all the devil's works and words. Thor and Woden and
     Saxnot and all the evil spirits that are their companions.

     Ques. Believest thou in God the Almighty Father?

     Ans. I believe in God the Almighty Father.

     Ques. Believest thou in Christ the Son of God?

     Ans. I believe in Christ the Son of God.

     Ques. Believest thou in the Holy Ghost?

     Ans. I believe in the Holy Ghost.

"Accepting Christianity was to the German very much like changing of
allegiance from one political sovereign to another. He gave up Thor
and Woden (Odin) and Saxnot, and in their place took the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Ghost."--Emerton, _Introduction to the Study of the
Middle Ages_, pp. 155-156. Text of these "Interrogationes et
Responsiones Baptismales" is in the _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica,
Leges_ (Boretius ed.), Vol. II., No. 107.

[136] That is, the more important offenses, involving capital
punishment, as contrasted with the later "lesser chapters" dealing
with minor misdemeanors.

[137] The Saxons were to be won to the Church through the protection
it afforded, but they were likewise to be made to stand in awe of the
sanctity of its property.

[138] The apparent harshness of this whole body of regulations was
considerably diminished in practice by the large discretion left to
the priests, as in this case. They were exhorted to exercise care and
to take circumstances into account in judging a man's guilt or

[139] From this point the capitulary deals with the "lesser chapters,"
i.e., non-capital offenses.

[140] For the value of the _solidus_, see p. 61.

[141] Three classes of society are distinguished--nobles, freemen, and
serfs. The ordinary freeman pays half as much as the noble, and the
serf half as much as the freeman.

[142] A prominent characteristic of the early Teutonic religion was
that its ceremonies were invariably conducted out of doors. Tacitus,
in the _Germania_ (Chap. 9), tells us that the Germans had no temples
or other buildings for religious purposes, but worshipped in sacred
groves. The "Irmensaule," probably a giant tree-trunk, was the central
shrine of the Saxon people, and Charlemagne's destruction of it in 772
was the most serious offense that could have been committed against

[143] The Germans reckoned by nights rather than by days, as explained
by Tacitus, _Germania_, Chap. 11 [see p. 27].

[144] A sum assessed by the king, in this case against the illegal
harboring of criminals.

[145] The counts, together with the bishops, were the local
representatives or agents of the king. They presided over judicial
assemblies, collected revenues, and preserved order. There were about
three hundred of them in Charlemagne's empire when at its greatest

[146] An officer sent out by the king to investigate the
administration of the counts and render judgment in certain cases. As
a rule two were sent together, a layman and an ecclesiastic [see p.

[147] Under ordinary circumstances the priests were thus charged with
the responsibility of seeing that local government in their various
communities was just and legal.

[148] Bémont and Monod, _Mediæval Europe_ (New York, 1902), p. 202.

[149] Chapter 62 is here given out of order because it contains a
comprehensive survey of the products and activities upon which the
royal stewards were expected to report. The other chapters are more
specific. It is likely that they have not come down to us in their
original order.

[150] The ordinary estate in this period, whether royal or not,
consisted of two parts. One was the demesne, which the owner kept
under his immediate control; the other was the remaining lands, which
were divided among tenants who paid certain rentals for their use and
also performed stated services on the lord's demesne. Charlemagne
instructs his stewards to report upon both sorts of land.

[151] Probably payments for the right to keep pigs in the woods. The
most common meat in the Middle Ages was pork and the use of the oak
forests as hog pasture was a privilege of considerable value.

[152] Fines imposed upon offenders to free them from crime or to
repair damages done.

[153] Panic was a kind of grass, the seeds of which were not
infrequently used for food.

[154] The serfs were a semi-free class of country people. They did not
own the land on which they lived and were not allowed to move off it
without the owner's consent. They cultivated the soil and paid rents
of one kind or another to their masters--in the present case, to the
agents of the king.

[155] A variety of fermented liquor made of salt fish.

[156] A blue coloring matter derived from the leaves of a plant of the
same name.

[157] A red coloring matter derived from a plant of the same name.

[158] Burrs of the teasel plant, stiff and prickly, with hooked
bracts; used in primitive manufacturing for raising a nap on woolen

[159] A kind of grain still widely cultivated for food in Germany and
Switzerland; sometimes known as German wheat.

[160] The unit of weight was the pound. Charlemagne replaced the old
Gallic pound by the Roman, which was a tenth less.

[161] The unit of measure was the _muid_. Charlemagne had a standard
measure (_modius publicus_) constructed and in a number of his
capitularies enjoined that it be taken as a model by all his subjects.
It contained probably a little less than six pecks. A smaller measure
was the _setier_, containing about five and two-thirds pints.

[162] Clergymen attached to the church on or near the estate.

[163] "Attached to the royal villa, in the center of which stood the
palace or manse, were numerous dependent and humbler dwellings,
occupied by mechanics, artisans, and tradesmen, or rather
manufacturers and craftsmen, in great numbers. The dairy, the bakery,
the butchery, the brewery, the flour-mill were there.... The villa was
a city in embryo, and in due course it grew into one, for as it
supplied in many respects the wants of the surrounding country, so it
attracted population and became a center of commerce."--Jacob I.
Mombert, _Charles the Great_ (New York, 1888), pp. 401-402.

[164] An ancient Gallic land measure, equivalent to about half a Roman
_jugerum_ (the _jugerum_ was about two-thirds of an acre). The arpent
in modern France has varied greatly in different localities. In Paris
it is 4,088 square yards.

[165] The same as "pachak." The fragrant roots of this plant are still
exported from India to be used for burning as incense.

[166] A kind of cabbage. The edible part is a large turnip-like
swelling of the stem above the surface of the ground.

[167] A plant used both as a medicine and as a dye.

[168] "All the cereals grown in the country were cultivated. The
flower gardens were furnished with the choicest specimens for beauty
and fragrance, the orchards and kitchen gardens produced the richest
and best varieties of fruit and vegetables. Charles specified by name
not less than seventy-four varieties of herbs which he commanded to be
cultivated; all the vegetables still raised in Central Europe,
together with many herbs now found in botanical gardens only, bloomed
on his villas; his orchards yielded a rich harvest in cherries,
apples, pears, prunes, peaches, figs, chestnuts, and mulberries. The
hill-sides were vineyards laden with the finest varieties of
grapes."--Mombert, _Charles the Great_, p. 400.

[169] James Bryce, _The Holy Roman Empire_ (new ed., New York, 1904),
p. 50.

[170] Irene, the wife of Emperor Leo IV. After the death of her
husband in 780 she became regent during the minority of her son,
Constantine VI., then only nine years of age. In 790 Constantine
succeeded in taking the government out of her hands; but seven years
afterwards she caused him to be blinded and shut up in a dungeon,
where he soon died. The revolting crimes by which Irene established
her supremacy at Constantinople were considered, even in her day, a
disgrace to Christendom.

[171] This expression has given rise to a view which will be found in
some books that Pope Leo convened a general council of Frankish and
Italian clergy to consider the advisability of giving the imperial
title to Charlemagne. The whole matter is in doubt, but it does not
seem likely that there was any such formal deliberation. Leo certainly
ascertained that the leading lay and ecclesiastical magnates would
approve the contemplated step, but that a definite election in council
took place may be pretty confidently denied. The writer of the Annals
of Lauresheim was interested in making the case of Charlemagne, and
therefore of the later emperors, as strong as possible.

[172] Einhard, Charlemagne's biographer, says that the king at first
had such aversion to the titles of Emperor and Augustus "that he
declared he would not have set foot in the church the day that they
were conferred, although it was a great feast-day, if he could have
foreseen the design of the Pope" (_Vita Caroli Magni_, Chap. 28).
Despite this statement, however, we are not to regard the coronation
as a genuine surprise to anybody concerned. In all probability there
had previously been a more or less definite understanding between the
king and the Pope that in due time the imperial title should be
conferred. It is easy to believe, though, that Charlemagne had had no
idea that the ceremony was to be performed on this particular occasion
and it is likely enough that he had plans of his own as to the proper
time and place for it, plans which Leo rather rudely interfered with,
but which the manifest good-will of everybody constrained the king to
allow to be sacrificed. It may well be that Charlemagne had decided
simply to assume the imperial crown without a papal coronation at all,
in order that the whole question of papal supremacy, which threatened
to be a troublesome one, might be kept in the background.

[173] The celebration of the Nativity was by far the greatest festival
of the Church. At this season the basilica of St. Peter at Rome was
the scene of gorgeous ceremonials, and to its sumptuous shrine
thronged the devout of all Christendom. Its magnificence on the famous
Christmas of 800 was greater than ever, for only recently Charlemagne
had bestowed the most costly of all his gifts upon it--the spoils of
the Avar wars.

[174] Charles, the eldest son, since 789 king of Maine. In reality, of
course, he was but an under-king, since Maine was an integral part of
Charlemagne's dominion. He was anointed by Pope Leo in 800 as
heir-apparent to the new imperial dignity of his father.

[175] The term "canonical" was applied more particularly to the clergy
attached to a cathedral church, the clergy being known individually as
"canons," collectively as a "chapter." In the present connection,
however, it probably refers to the monks, who, living as they did by
"canons" or rules, were in that sense "canonical clergy."

[176] The secular clergy were the bishops, priests, deacons, and other
church officers, who lived with the people in the _sæculum_, or world,
as distinguished from the monks, ascetics, cenobites, anchorites, and
others, who dwelt in monasteries or other places of seclusion.

[177] This is really as splendid a guarantee of equality before the
law as is to be found in Magna Charta or the Constitution of the
United States. Unfortunately there was not adequate machinery in the
Frankish government to enforce it, though we may suppose that while
the _missi_ continued efficient (which was not more than a hundred
years) considerable progress was made in this direction.

[178] Serfs who worked on the fiscal lands, or, in other words, on the
royal estates.

[179] Compare chapters 14 and 27.

[180] A benefice, as the term is here used, was land granted by the
Emperor to a friend or dependent. The holder was to use such land on
stated terms for his own and the Emperor's gain, but was in no case to
claim ownership of it.

[181] The word has at least three distinct meanings--a royal edict, a
judicial fine, and a territorial jurisdiction. It is here used in the
first of these senses.

[182] There was little room under Charlemagne's system for
professional lawyers or advocates.

[183] In other words, when the oath of allegiance is taken, as it must
be by every man and boy above the age of twelve, all the obligations
mentioned from Chap. 3 to Chap. 9 are to be considered as assumed
along with that of fidelity to the person and government of the

[184] That is, the laws of the Church.

[185] One of the greatest temptations of the mediæval clergy was to
spend time in hunting, to the neglect of religious duties. Apparently
this evil was pretty common in Charlemagne's day.

[186] The _centenarii_ were minor local officials, subordinate to the
counts, and confined in authority to their particular district or

[187] In the Frankish kingdom, as commonly among Germanic peoples of
the period, murder not only might be, but was expected to be, atoned
for by a money payment to the slain man's relatives. The payment,
known as the _wergeld_, would vary according to the rank of the man
killed. If it were properly made, such "composition" was bound to be
accepted as complete reparation for the injury. In this regulation we
can discern a distinct advance over the old system of blood-feud under
which a murder almost invariably led to family and clan wars. Plainly
the Franks were becoming more civilized.

[188] If a murderer refused to pay the required composition his
property was to be taken possession of by the Emperor's officers and
the case must be laid before the Emperor himself. If the latter chose,
he might order the restoration of the property, but this he was not
likely to do.

[189] Beginning with the reign of Charlemagne there were really two
assemblies each year--one in the spring, the other in the autumn; but
the one in the spring, the so-called "May-field," was much the more
important. All the nobles and higher clergy attended, and if a
campaign was in prospect all who owed military service would be called
upon to bring with them their portion of the war-host, with specified
supplies. Charlemagne proposed all measures, the higher magnates
discussed them with him, and the lower ones gave a perfunctory
sanction to acts already determined upon. The meeting place was
changed from year to year, being rotated irregularly among the royal
residences, as Aix-la-Chapelle, Paderborn, Ingelheim, and Thionville;
occasionally they were held, as in this instance, in places otherwise
almost unknown.

[190] Strassfurt was some distance south of Magdeburg.

[191] The date of the festival of St. John the Baptist was June 22.

[192] From earliest Germanic times we catch glimpses of this practice
of requiring gifts from a king's subjects. By Charlemagne's day it had
crystallized into an established custom and was a very important
source of revenue, though other sources had been opened up which were
quite unknown to the German sovereigns of three or four hundred years
before. Ordinarily these gifts, in money, jewels, or provisions, were
presented to the sovereign each year at the May assembly.

[193] The title "Patricius of Rome" was conferred on Charlemagne by
Pope Hadrian I., in 774. Its bestowal was a token of papal
appreciation of the king's renewal of Pepin's grant of lands to the
papacy. In practice the title had little or no meaning. It was dropped
in 800 when Charlemagne was crowned emperor [see p. 130].

[194] That is, the law of the Church; in case of the monasteries, more
especially the regulations laid down for their order, e.g., the
Benedictine Rule.

[195] In the Middle Ages it was assumed that churchmen were educated;
few other men had any claim to learning. Charlemagne here says that it
is bad indeed when men who have been put in ecclesiastical positions
because of their supposed education fall into errors which ought to be
expected only from ordinary people.

[196] In rhetoric a trope is ordinarily defined as the use of a word
or expression in a different sense from that which properly belongs to
it. The most common varieties are metaphor, metonomy, synechdoche, and



24. The Oaths of Strassburg (842)

The broad empire of Germanic peoples built up by Charlemagne was
extremely difficult to hold together. Even before the death of its
masterful creator, in 814, it was already showing signs of breaking
up, and after that event the process of dissolution set in rapidly. It
will not do to look upon this falling to pieces as caused entirely by
the weakness of Charlemagne's successors. The trouble lay deeper, in
the natural love of independence common to all the Germans, in the
wide differences that had come to exist among Saxons, Lombards,
Bavarians, Franks, and other peoples in the empire, and finally in the
prevailing ill-advised principle of royal succession by which the
territories making up the empire, like those composing the old
Frankish kingdom, were regarded as personal property to be divided
among the sovereign's sons, just as was the practice respecting
private possessions. As a consequence of these things the generation
following the death of Charlemagne was a period of much confusion in
western Europe. The trouble first reached an acute stage in 817 when
Emperor Louis the Pious, Charlemagne's son and successor, was
constrained to make a division of the empire among his three sons,
Lothair, Pepin, and Louis. The Emperor expressly stipulated that
despite this arrangement there was to be still "one sole empire, and
not three"; but it is obvious that the imperial unity was at least
pretty seriously threatened, and when, in 823, Louis's second wife,
Judith of Bavaria, gave birth to a son and immediately set up in his
behalf an urgent demand for a share of the empire, civil war among the
rival claimants could not be averted. In the struggle that followed
the distracted Emperor completely lost his throne for a time (833).
Thereafter he was ready to accept almost any arrangement that would
enable him to live out his remaining days in peace. When he died, in
840, two of the sons, Louis the German and Judith's child, who came to
be known as Charles the Bald, combined against their brother Lothair
(Pepin had died in 838) with the purpose of wresting from him the
imperial crown, which the father, shortly before his death, had
bestowed upon him. At least they were determined that this mark of
favor from the father should not give the older brother any
superiority over them. In the summer of 841 the issue was put to the
test in a great battle at Fontenay, a little distance east of Orleans,
with the result that Lothair was badly defeated. In February of the
following year Louis and Charles, knowing that Lothair was still far
from regarding himself as conquered, bound themselves by oath at
Strassburg, in the valley of the Rhine, to keep up their joint
opposition until they should be entirely successful.

The pledges exchanged on this occasion are as interesting to the
student of language as to the historian. The army which accompanied
Louis was composed of men of almost pure Germanic blood and speech,
while that with Charles was made up of men from what is now southern
and western France, where the people represented a mixture of Frankish
and old Roman and Gallic stocks. As a consequence Louis took the oath
in the _lingua romana_ for the benefit of Charles's soldiers, and
Charles reciprocated by taking it in the _lingua teudisca_, in order
that the Germans might understand it. Then the followers of the two
kings took oath, each in his own language, that if their own king
should violate his agreement they would not support him in acts of
hostility against the other brother, provided the latter had been true
to his word. The _lingua romana_ employed marks a stage in the
development of the so-called Romance languages of to-day--French,
Spanish, and Italian--just as the _lingua teudisca_ approaches the
character of modern Teutonic languages--German, Dutch, and English.
The oaths and the accompanying address of the kings are the earliest
examples we have of the languages used by the common people of the
early Middle Ages. Latin was of course the language of literature,
records, and correspondence, matters with which ordinary people had
little or nothing to do. The necessity under which the two kings found
themselves of using two quite different modes of speech in order to be
understood by all the soldiers is evidence that already by the middle
of the ninth century the Romance and Germanic languages were becoming
essentially distinct. It was prophetic, too, of the fast approaching
cleavage of the northern and southern peoples politically.

Nithardus, whose account of the exchange of oaths at Strassburg is
translated below, was an active participant in the events of the first
half of the ninth century. He was born about 790, his mother being
Charlemagne's daughter Bertha and his father the noted courtier and
poet Angilbert. In the later years of Charlemagne's reign, and
probably under Louis the Pious and Charles the Bald, he was in charge
of the defense of the northwest coasts against the Northmen. He fought
for Charles the Bald at Fontenay and was frequently employed in those
troublous years between 840 and 843 in the fruitless negotiations
among the rival sons of Louis. Neither the date nor the manner of his
death is known. There are traditions that he was killed in 858 or 859
while fighting the Northmen; but other stories just as well founded
tell us that he became disgusted with the turmoil of the world,
retired to a monastery, and there died about 853. His history of the
wars of the sons of Louis the Pious (covering the period 840-843) was
undertaken at the request of Charles the Bald. The first three books
were written in 842, the fourth in 843. Aside from a rather too
favorable attitude toward Charles, the work is very trustworthy, and
the claim is even made by some that among all of the historians of the
Carolingian period, not even Einhard excepted, no one surpassed
Nithardus in spirit, method, and insight. It may further be noted that
Nithardus was the first historical writer of any importance in the
Middle Ages who was not some sort of official in the Church.

     Source--Nithardus, _Historiarum Libri IV._ ["Four Books of
     Histories"], Bk. III., Chaps. 4-5. Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ
     Historica, Scriptores_ (Pertz ed.), Vol. II., pp. 665-666.

     [Sidenote: Movements of the hostile parties in 841-842]

   Lothair was given to understand that Louis and Charles were
   supporting each other with considerable armies.[197] Seeing that
   his plans were crushed in every direction, he made a long but
   profitless expedition and abandoned the country about Tours. At
   length he returned into France,[198] worn out with fatigue, as was
   also his army. Pepin,[199] bitterly repenting that he had been on
   Lothair's side, withdrew into Aquitaine. Charles, learning that
   Otger, bishop of Mainz, objected to the proposed passage of Louis
   by way of Mainz to join his brother, set out by way of the city of
   Toul[200] and entered Alsace at Saverne. When Otger heard of this,
   he and his supporters abandoned the river and sought places where
   they might hide themselves as speedily as possible. On the
   fifteenth of February Louis and Charles came together in the city
   formerly called Argentoratum, now known as Strassburg, and there
   they took the mutual oaths which are given herewith, Louis in the
   _lingua romana_ and Charles in the _lingua teudisca_. Before the
   exchange of oaths they addressed the assembled people, each in his
   own language, and Louis, being the elder, thus began:

     [Sidenote: The speech of Louis the German]

   "How often, since the death of our father, Lothair has pursued my
   brother and myself and tried to destroy us, is known to you all.
   So, then, when neither brotherly love, nor Christian feeling, nor
   any reason whatever could bring about a peace between us upon fair
   conditions, we were at last compelled to bring the matter before
   God, determined to abide by whatever issue He might decree. And we,
   as you know, came off victorious;[201] our brother was beaten, and
   with his followers got away, each as best he could. Then we, moved
   by brotherly love and having compassion on our Christian people,
   were not willing to pursue and destroy them; but, still, as before,
   we begged that justice might be done to each. He, however, after
   all this, not content with the judgment of God, has not ceased to
   pursue me and my brother with hostile purpose, and to harass our
   peoples with fire, plunder, and murder. Wherefore we have been
   compelled to hold this meeting, and, since we feared that you might
   doubt whether our faith was fixed and our alliance secure, we have
   determined to make our oaths thereto in your presence. And we do
   this, not from any unfair greed, but in order that, if God, with
   your help, shall grant us peace, we may the better provide for the
   common welfare. But if, which God forbid, I shall dare to violate
   the oath which I shall swear to my brother, then I absolve each one
   of you from your allegiance and from the oath which you have sworn
   to me."

   After Charles had made the same speech in the _lingua romana_,
   Louis, as the elder of the two, swore first to be faithful to his

     [Sidenote: The oath of Louis]

   _Pro Deo amur et pro christian poblo et nostro commun salvament,
   dist di in avant, in quant Deus savir et podir me dunat, si
   salvaraeio cist meon fradre Karlo et in adiudha et in cadhuna cosa,
   si cum om per dreit son fradra salvar dist, in o quid il mi altresi
   fazet; et ab Ludher nul plaid numquam prindrai, qui meon vol cist
   meon fradre Karle in damno sit._[202]

   When Louis had taken this oath, Charles swore the same thing in the
   _lingua teudisca_:

     [Sidenote: The oath of Charles]

   _In Godes minna ind in thes christianes folches ind unser bedhero
   gealtnissi, fon thesemo dage frammordes, so fram so mir Got gewizci
   indi madh furgibit, so haldih tesan minan bruodher, soso man mit
   rehtu sinan bruodher scal, in thiu, thaz er mig sosoma duo; indi
   mit Ludheren in nohheiniu thing ne gegango, the minan willon imo
   ce scadhen werhen._

   The oath which the subjects of the two kings then took, each
   [people] in its own language, reads thus in the _lingua romana_:

     [Sidenote: The oath taken by the subjects of the two kings]

   _Si Lodhwigs sagrament qua son fradre Karlo jurat, conservat, et
   Karlus meos sendra, de suo part, non lo stanit, si io returnar non
   lint pois, ne io ne neuls cui eo returnar int pois, in nulla aiudha
   contra Lodhuwig nun li iver._[203]

   And in the _lingua teudisca_:

   _Oba Karl then eid then, er sineno bruodher Ludhuwige gesuor,
   geleistit, indi Ludhuwig min herro then er imo gesuor, forbrihchit,
   obih ina es irwenden ne mag, noh ih no thero nohhein then ih es
   irwended mag, widhar Karle imo ce follusti ne wirdhic._

25. The Treaty of Verdun (843)

After the meeting at Strassburg, Charles and Louis advanced against
Lothair, who now abandoned Aachen and retreated southward past
Châlons-sur-Marne toward Lyons. When the brothers had come into the
vicinity of Châlons-sur-Saône, they were met by ambassadors from
Lothair who declared that he was weary of the struggle and was ready
to make peace if only his imperial dignity should be properly
recognized and the share of the kingdom awarded to him should be
somewhat the largest of the three. Charles and Louis accepted their
brother's overtures and June 15, 842, the three met on an island in
the Saône and signed preliminary articles of peace. It was agreed that
a board of a hundred and twenty prominent men should assemble October
1 at Metz, on the Moselle, and make a definite division of the
kingdom. This body, with the three royal brothers, met at the
appointed time, but adjourned to Worms, and subsequently to Verdun, on
the upper Meuse, in order to have the use of maps at the latter
place. The treaty which resulted during the following year was one of
the most important in all mediæval times. Unfortunately the text of it
has not survived, but all its more important provisions are well known
from the writings of the chroniclers of the period. Two such accounts
of the treaty, brief but valuable, are given below.

Louis had been the real sovereign of Bavaria for sixteen years and to
his kingdom were now added all the German districts on the right bank
of the Rhine (except Friesland), together with Mainz, Worms, and
Speyer on the left bank, under the general name of _Francia
Orientalis_. Charles retained the western countries--Aquitaine,
Gascony, Septimania, the Spanish March, Burgundy west of the Saône,
Neustria, Brittany, and Flanders--designated collectively as _Francia
Occidentalis_.[204] The intervening belt of lands, including the two
capitals Rome and Aachen, and extending from Terracina in Italy to the
North Sea, went to Lothair.[205] With it went the more or less nominal
imperial dignity. In general, Louis's portion represented the coming
Germany and Charles's the future France. But that of Lothair was
utterly lacking in either geographical or racial unity and was
destined not long to be held together. Parts of it, particularly
modern Alsace and Lorraine, have remained to this day a bone of
contention between the states on the east and west. "The partition of
843," says Professor Emerton, "involved, so far as we know, nothing
new in the relations of the three brothers to each other. The theory
of the empire was preserved, but the meaning of it disappeared. There
is no mention of any actual superiority of the Emperor (Lothair) over
his brothers, and there is nothing to show that the imperial name was
anything but an empty title, a memory of something great which men
could not quite let die, but which for a hundred years to come was to
be powerless for good or evil."[206] The empire itself was never
afterwards united under the rule of one man, except for two years
(885-887) in the time of Charles the Fat.

     Sources--(a) _Annales Bertiniani_ ["Annals of Saint Bertin"].
     Translated from text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica,
     Scriptores_ (Pertz ed.), Vol. I., p. 440.

     (b) _Rudolfi Fuldensis Annales_ ["Annals of Rudolph of
     Fulda"]. Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Scriptores_
     (Pertz ed.), Vol. I., p. 362.

     [Sidenote: A statement from the annals of Saint Bertin]


   Charles set out to find his brothers, and they met at Verdun. By
   the division there made Louis received for his share all the
   country beyond the Rhine,[207] and on this side Speyer, Worms,
   Mainz, and the territories belonging to these cities. Lothair
   received that which is between the Scheldt and the Rhine toward the
   sea, and that lying beyond Cambrésis, Hainault, and the counties
   adjoining on this side of the Meuse, down to the confluence of the
   Saône and Rhone, and thence along the Rhone to the sea, together
   with the adjacent counties. Charles received all the remainder,
   extending to Spain. And when the oath was exchanged they went their
   several ways.

     [Sidenote: Another from those of Rudolph of Fulda]


   The realm had from early times been divided in three portions, and
   in the month of August the three kings, coming together at Verdun
   in Gaul, redivided it among themselves. Louis received the eastern
   part, Charles the western. Lothair, who was older than his
   brothers, received the middle portion. After peace was firmly
   established and oaths exchanged, each brother returned to his
   dominion to control and protect it. Charles, presuming to regard
   Aquitaine as belonging properly to his share, was given much
   trouble by his nephew Pepin,[208] who annoyed him by frequent
   incursions and caused great loss.

26. A Chronicle of the Frankish Kingdom in the Ninth Century

The following passages from the Annals of Xanten are here given for
two purposes--to show something of the character of the period of the
Carolingian decline, and to illustrate the peculiar features of the
mediæval chronicle. Numerous names, places, and events neither very
clearly understood now, nor important if they were understood, occur
in the text, and some of these it is not deemed worth while to attempt
to explain in the foot-notes. The selection is valuable for the
general impressions it gives rather than for the detailed facts which
it contains, though some of the latter are interesting enough.

Annals as a type of historical writing first assumed considerable
importance in western Europe in the time of Charles Martel and
Charlemagne. Their origin, like that of most forms of mediæval
literary production, can be traced directly to the influence of the
Church. The annals began as mere occasional notes jotted down by the
monks upon the "Easter tables," which were circulated among the
monasteries so that the sacred festival might not fail to be observed
at the proper date. The Easter tables were really a sort of calendar,
and as they were placed on parchment having a broad margin it was very
natural that the monks should begin to write in the margin opposite
the various years some of the things that had happened in those years.
An Easter table might pass through a considerable number of hands and
so have events recorded upon it by a good many different men. All
sorts of things were thus made note of--some important, some
unimportant--and of course it is not necessary to suppose that
everything written down was actually true. Many mistakes were
possible, especially as the writer often had only his memory, or
perhaps mere hearsay, to rely upon. And when, as frequently happened,
these scattered Easter tables were brought together in some monastery
and there revised, fitted together, and written out in one continuous
chronicle, there were chances at every turn for serious errors to
creep in. The compilers were sometimes guilty of wilful
misrepresentation, but more often their fault was only their
ignorance, credulity, and lack of critical discernment. In these
annals there was no attempt to write history as we now understand it;
that is, the chroniclers did not undertake to work out the causes and
results and relations of things. They merely recorded year by year
such happenings as caught their attention--the succession of a new
pope, the death of a bishop, the coronation of a king, a battle, a
hail-storm, an eclipse, the birth of a two-headed calf--all sorts of
unimportant, and from our standpoint ridiculous, items being thrown in
along with matters of world-wide moment. Heterogeneous as they are,
however, the large collections of annals that have come down to us
have been used by modern historians with the greatest profit, and but
for them we should know far less than we do about the Middle Ages, and
especially about the people and events of the ninth, tenth, and
eleventh centuries.

The Annals of Xanten here quoted are the work originally of a number
of ninth century monks. The fragments from which they were ultimately
compiled are thought to have been brought together at Cologne, or at
least in that vicinity. They cover especially the years 831-873.

     Source--_Annales Xantenses_ ["Annals of Xanten"]. Text in
     _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Scriptores_ (Pertz ed.), Vol.
     II., p. 227. Adapted from translation in James H. Robinson,
     _Readings in European History_ (New York, 1904), Vol. I., pp.

   =844.= Pope Gregory departed this world and Pope Sergius followed
   in his place.[209] Count Bernhard was killed by Charles. Pepin,
   king of Aquitaine, together with his son and the son of Bernhard,
   routed the army of Charles,[210] and there fell the abbot Hugo. At
   the same time King Louis advanced with his army against the
   Wends,[211] one of whose kings, Gestimus by name, was killed; the
   rest came to Louis and pledged him their fidelity, which, however,
   they broke as soon as he was gone. Thereafter Lothair, Louis, and
   Charles came together for council in Diedenhofen, and after a
   conference they went their several ways in peace.

     [Sidenote: The Northmen in Frisia and Gaul]

   =845.= Twice in the canton of Worms there was an earthquake; the
   first in the night following Palm Sunday, the second in the holy
   night of Christ's Resurrection. In the same year the heathen[212]
   broke in upon the Christians at many points, but more than twelve
   thousand of them were killed by the Frisians. Another party of
   invaders devastated Gaul; of these more than six hundred men
   perished. Yet, owing to his indolence, Charles agreed to give them
   many thousand pounds of gold and silver if they would leave Gaul,
   and this they did. Nevertheless the cloisters of most of the saints
   were destroyed and many of the Christians were led away captive.

   After this had taken place King Louis once more led a force against
   the Wends. When the heathen had learned this they sent ambassadors,
   as well as gifts and hostages, to Saxony, and asked for peace.
   Louis then granted peace and returned home from Saxony. Thereafter
   the robbers were afflicted by a terrible pestilence, during which
   the chief sinner among them, by the name of Reginheri, who had
   plundered the Christians and the holy places, was struck down by
   the hand of God. They then took counsel and threw lots to determine
   from which of their gods they should seek safety; but the lots did
   not fall out happily, and on the advice of one of their Christian
   prisoners that they should cast their lot before the God of the
   Christians, they did so, and the lot fell happily. Then their king,
   by the name of Rorik, together with all the heathen people,
   refrained from meat and drink for fourteen days, when the plague
   ceased, and they sent back all their Christian prisoners to their

     [Sidenote: The Northmen again in Frisia]

   =846.= According to their custom, the Northmen plundered eastern
   and western Frisia and burned the town of Dordrecht, with two other
   villages, before the eyes of Lothair, who was then in the castle of
   Nimwegen, but could not punish the crime. The Northmen, with their
   boats filled with immense booty, including both men and goods,
   returned to their own country.

   In the same year Louis sent an expedition from Saxony against the
   Wends across the Elbe. He personally, however, went with his army
   against the Bohemians, whom we call Beuwinitha, but with great
   risk.... Charles advanced against the Britons, but accomplished

     [Sidenote: Rome attacked by the Saracens]

   At this same time, as no one can mention or hear without great
   sadness, the mother of all churches, the basilica of the apostle
   Peter, was taken and plundered by the Moors, or Saracens, who had
   already occupied the region of Beneventum.[213] The Saracens,
   moreover, slaughtered all the Christians whom they found outside
   the walls of Rome, either within or without this church. They also
   carried men and women away prisoners. They tore down, among many
   others, the altar of the blessed Peter, and their crimes from day
   to day bring sorrow to Christians. Pope Sergius departed life this

   =847.= After the death of Sergius no mention of the apostolic see
   has come in any way to our ears. Rabanus [Maurus], master and abbot
   of Fulda,[214] was solemnly chosen archbishop as the successor of
   Bishop Otger, who had died. Moreover, the Northmen here and there
   plundered the Christians and engaged in a battle with the counts
   Sigir and Liuthar. They continued up the Rhine as far as Dordrecht,
   and nine miles farther to Meginhard, when they turned back, having
   taken their booty.

     [Sidenote: An outbreak of heresy repressed]

   =848.= On the fourth of February, towards evening, it lightened and
   there was thunder heard. The heathen, as was their custom,
   inflicted injury on the Christians. In the same year King Louis
   held an assembly of the people near Mainz. At this synod a heresy
   was brought forward by a few monks in regard to predestination.
   These were convicted and beaten, to their shame, before all the
   people. They were sent back to Gaul whence they had come, and,
   thanks be to God, the condition of the Church remained uninjured.

   =849.= While King Louis was ill, his army of Bavaria took its way
   against the Bohemians. Many of these were killed and the remainder
   withdrew, much humiliated, into their own country. The heathen from
   the North wrought havoc in Christendom as usual and grew greater in
   strength; but it is painful to say more of this matter.

     [Sidenote: Further ravages by the Northmen and the Saracens]

   =850.= On January 1st of that season, in the octave of the
   Lord,[215] towards evening, a great deal of thunder was heard and a
   mighty flash of lightning seen; and an overflow of water afflicted
   the human race during this winter. In the following summer an all
   too great heat of the sun burned the earth. Leo, pope of the
   apostolic see, an extraordinary man, built a fortification around
   the church of St. Peter the apostle. The Moors, however, devastated
   here and there the coast towns in Italy. The Norman Rorik, brother
   of the above-mentioned younger Heriold, who earlier had fled
   dishonored from Lothair, again took Dordrecht and did much evil
   treacherously to the Christians. In the same year so great a peace
   existed between the two brothers--Emperor Lothair and King
   Louis--that they spent many days together in Osning [Westphalia]
   and there hunted, so that many were astonished thereat; and they
   went each his way in peace.

     [Sidenote: The Northmen again in Frisia and Saxony]

   =851.= The bodies of certain saints were sent from Rome to
   Saxony--that of Alexander, one of seven brethren, and those of
   Romanus and Emerentiana. In the same year the very noble Empress,
   Irmingard by name, wife of the Emperor Lothair, departed this
   world. The Normans inflicted much harm in Frisia and about the
   Rhine. A mighty army of them collected by the River Elbe against
   the Saxons, and some of the Saxon towns were besieged, others
   burned, and most terribly did they oppress the Christians. A
   meeting of our kings took place on the Maas [Meuse].

   =852.= The steel of the heathen glistened; excessive heat; a famine
   followed. There was not fodder enough for the animals. The
   pasturage for the swine was more than sufficient.

   =853.= A great famine in Saxony, so that many were forced to live
   on horse meat.

     [Sidenote: The Northmen burn the church of St. Martin at Tours]

   =854.= The Normans, in addition to the very many evils which they
   were everywhere inflicting upon the Christians, burned the church
   of St. Martin, bishop of Tours, where his body rests.

   =855.= In the spring Louis, the eastern king, sent his son of the
   same name to Aquitaine to obtain possession of the heritage of his
   uncle Pepin.

   =856.= The Normans again chose a king of the same name as the
   preceding one, and related to him, and the Danes made a fresh
   incursion by sea, with renewed forces, against the Christians.

   =857.= A great sickness prevailed among the people. This produced a
   terrible foulness, so that the limbs were separated from the body
   even before death came.

   =858.= Louis, the eastern king, held an assembly of the people of
   his territory in Worms.

   =859.= On the first of January, as the early Mass was being said, a
   single earthquake occurred in Worms and a triple one in Mainz
   before daybreak.

   =860.= On the fifth of February thunder was heard. The king
   returned from Gaul after the whole empire had gone to destruction,
   and was in no way bettered.

     [Sidenote: Sacred relics brought together at the Freckenhorst]

   =861.= The holy bishop Luitbert piously furnished the cloister
   which is called the Freckenhorst with many relics of the saints,
   namely, of the martyrs Boniface and Maximus, and of the confessors
   Eonius and Antonius, and added a portion of the manger of the Lord
   and of His grave, and likewise of the dust of the Lord's feet as He
   ascended to heaven. In this year the winter was long and the
   above-mentioned kings again had a secret consultation on the island
   near Coblenz, and they laid waste everything round about.

27. The Northmen in the Country of the Franks.

Under the general name of Northmen in the ninth and tenth centuries
were included all those peoples of pure Teutonic stock who inhabited
the two neighboring peninsulas of Denmark and Scandinavia. In this
period, and after, they played a very conspicuous part in the history
of western Europe--at first as piratical invaders along the Atlantic
coast, and subsequently as settlers in new lands and as conquerors and
state-builders. _Northmen_ was the name by which the people of the
continent generally knew them, but to the Irish they were known as
_Ostmen_ or _Eastmen_, and to the English as _Danes_, while the name
which they applied to themselves was _Vikings_ ["Creekmen"]. Their
prolonged invasions and plunderings, which fill so large a place in
the ninth and tenth century chronicles of England and France, were the
result of several causes and conditions: (1) their natural love of
adventure, common to all early Germanic peoples; (2) the fact that the
population of their home countries had become larger than the limited
resources of these northern regions would support; (3) the proximity
of the sea on every side, with its fiords and inlets inviting the
adventurer to embark for new shores; and (4) the discontent of the
nobles, or jarls, with the growing rigor of kingly government. In
consequence of these and other influences large numbers of the people
became pirates, with no other occupation than the plundering of the
more civilized and wealthier countries to the east, west, and south.
Those from Sweden visited most commonly the coasts of Russia, those
from Norway went generally to Scotland and Ireland, and those from
Denmark to England and France. In fast-sailing vessels carrying sixty
or seventy men, and under the leadership of "kings of the sea" who
never "sought refuge under a roof, nor emptied their drinking-horns at
a fireside," they darted along the shores, ascended rivers, converted
islands into temporary fortresses, and from thence sallied forth in
every direction to burn and pillage and carry off all the booty upon
which they could lay hands. So swift and irresistible were their
operations that they frequently met with not the slightest show of
opposition from the terrified inhabitants.

It was natural that Frankland, with its numerous large rivers flowing
into the ocean and leading through fertile valleys dotted with towns
and rich abbeys, should early have attracted the marauders; and in
fact they made their appearance there as early as the year 800. Before
the end of Charlemagne's reign they had pillaged Frisia, and a monkish
writer of the time tells us that upon one occasion the great Emperor
burst into tears and declared that he was overwhelmed with sorrow as
he looked forward and saw what evils they would bring upon his
offspring and people. Whether or not this story is true, certain it is
that before the ninth century was far advanced incursions of the
barbarians--"the heathen," as the chroniclers generally call them--had
come to be almost annual events. In 841 Rouen was plundered and
burned; in 843 Nantes was besieged, the bishop killed, and many
captives carried off; in 845 the invaders appeared at Paris and were
prevented from attacking the place only by being bribed; and so the
story goes, until by 846 we find the annalists beginning their
melancholy record of the year's events with the matter-of-course
statement that, "according to their custom," the Northmen plundered
such and such a region [see p. 159]. Below are a few passages taken
from the Annals of Saint-Bertin, the poem of Abbo on the siege of
Paris, and the Chronicle of Saint-Denys, which show something of the
character of the Northmen's part in early French history, first as
mere invaders and afterwards as permanent settlers.

The Annals of Saint-Bertin are so called because they have been copied
from an old manuscript found in the monastery of that name. The period
which they cover is 741-882. Several writers evidently had a hand in
their compilation. The portion between the dates 836 and 861 is
attributed to Prudence, bishop of Troyes, and that between 861 and 882
to Hincmar, archbishop of Rheims.

Abbo, the author of the second selection given below, was a monk of
St. Germain des Prés, at Paris. He wrote a poem in which he undertook
to give an account of the siege of Paris by the Northmen in 885 and
886, and of the struggles of the Frankish people with the invaders to
the year 896. As literature the poem has small value, but for the
historian it possesses some importance.

The account of Rollo's conversion comes from a history of the Normans
written in the twelfth century by William of Jumièges. The work covers
the period 851-1137, its earlier portions (to 996) being based on an
older history written by Dudo, dean of St. Quentin, in the eleventh
century. The Chronicle of St.-Denys was composed at a later time and
served to preserve most of the history recorded by Dudo and William of

     Sources--(a) _Annales Bertiniani_ ["Annals of St. Bertin"].
     Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica Scriptores_ (Pertz ed.),
     Vol. I., pp. 439-454.

     (b) Abbonis Monachi S. Germani Parisiensis, _De Bellis
     Parisiacæ Urbis, et Odonis Comitis, post Regis, adversus
     Northmannos urbem ipsam obsidentes, sub Carolo Crasso Imp. ac
     Rege Francorum_ [Abbo's "Wars of Count Odo with the Northmen
     in the Reign of Charles the Fat"]. Text in Bouquet, _Recueil
     des Historiens des Gaules et de la France_, Vol. VIII., pp.

     (c) _Chronique de Saint-Denys d'après Dudo et Guillaume de
     Jumièges_ ["Chronicle of St. Denys based on Dudo and William
     of Jumièges"], Vol. III., p. 105.


   =843=. Pirates of the Northmen's race came to Nantes, killed the
   bishop and many of the clergy and laymen, both men and women, and
   pillaged the city. Thence they set out to plunder the lands of
   lower Aquitaine. At length they arrived at a certain island[216]
   and carried materials thither from the mainland to build themselves
   houses; and they settled there for the winter, as if that were to
   be their permanent dwelling-place.

   =844.= The Northmen ascended the Garonne as far as Toulouse and
   pillaged the lands along both banks with impunity. Some, after
   leaving this region went into Galicia[217] and perished, part of
   them by the attacks of the cross-bowmen who had come to resist
   them, part by being overwhelmed by a storm at sea. But others of
   them went farther into Spain and engaged in long and desperate
   combats with the Saracens; defeated in the end, they withdrew.

     [Sidenote: The Northmen bought off at Paris]

   =845.= The Northmen with a hundred ships entered the Seine on the
   twentieth of March and, after ravaging first one bank and then the
   other, came without meeting any resistance to Paris. Charles[218]
   resolved to hold out against them; but seeing the impossibility of
   gaining a victory, he made with them a certain agreement and by a
   gift of 7,000 livres he bought them off from advancing farther and
   persuaded them to return.

   Euric, king of the Northmen, advanced, with six hundred vessels,
   along the course of the River Elbe to attack Louis of Germany.[219]
   The Saxons prepared to meet him, gave battle, and with the aid of
   our Lord Jesus Christ won the victory.

   The Northmen returned [from Paris] down the Seine and coming to the
   ocean pillaged, destroyed, and burned all the regions along the

   =846.= The Danish pirates landed in Frisia.[220] They were able to
   force from the people whatever contributions they wished and, being
   victors in battle, they remained masters of almost the entire

   =847.= The Northmen made their appearance in the part of Gaul
   inhabited by the Britons[221] and won three victories.
   Noménoé,[222] although defeated, at length succeeded in buying
   them off with presents and getting them out of his country.

     [Sidenote: The burning of Tours]

   =853-854.= The Danish pirates, making their way into the country
   eastward from the city of Nantes, arrived without opposition,
   November eighth, before Tours. This they burned, together with the
   church of St. Martin and the neighboring places. But that incursion
   had been foreseen with certainty and the body of St. Martin had
   been removed to Cormery, a monastery of that church, and from there
   to the city of Orleans. The pirates went on to the château of
   Blois[223] and burned it, proposing then to proceed to Orleans and
   destroy that city in the same fashion. But Agius, bishop of
   Orleans, and Burchard, bishop of Chartres,[224] had gathered
   soldiers and ships to meet them; so they abandoned their design and
   returned to the lower Loire, though the following year [855] they
   ascended it anew to the city of Angers.[225]

   =855.= They left their ships behind and undertook to go overland to
   the city of Poitiers;[226] but the Aquitanians came to meet them
   and defeated them, so that not more than 300 escaped.

     [Sidenote: Orleans pillaged]

   =856.= On the eighteenth of April, the Danish pirates came to the
   city of Orleans, pillaged it, and went away without meeting
   opposition. Other Danish pirates came into the Seine about the
   middle of August and, after plundering and ruining the towns on the
   two banks of the river, and even the monasteries and villages
   farther back, came to a well located place near the Seine called
   Jeufosse, and, there quietly passed the winter.

   =859.= The Danish pirates having made a long sea-voyage (for they
   had sailed between Spain and Africa) entered the Rhone, where they
   pillaged many cities and monasteries and established themselves on
   the island called Camargue.... They devastated everything before
   them as far as the city of Valence.[227] Then after ravaging all
   these regions they returned to the island where they had fixed
   their habitation. Thence they went on toward Italy, capturing and
   plundering Pisa and other cities.

     [Sidenote: The Northmen arrive at the city]


   =885.= The Northmen came to Paris with 700 sailing ships, not
   counting those of smaller size which are commonly called barques.
   At one stretch the Seine was lined with the vessels for more than
   two leagues, so that one might ask in astonishment in what cavern
   the river had been swallowed up, since it was not to be seen. The
   second day after the fleet of the Northmen arrived under the walls
   of the city, Siegfred, who was then king only in name[228] but who
   was in command of the expedition, came to the dwelling of the
   illustrious bishop. He bowed his head and said: "Gauzelin, have
   compassion on yourself and on your flock. We beseech you to listen
   to us, in order that you may escape death. Allow us only the
   freedom of the city. We will do no harm and we will see to it that
   whatever belongs either to you or to Odo shall be strictly
   respected." Count Odo, who later became king, was then the defender
   of the city.[229] The bishop replied to Siegfred, "Paris has been
   entrusted to us by the Emperor Charles, who, after God, king and
   lord of the powerful, rules over almost all the world. He has put
   it in our care, not at all that the kingdom may be ruined by our
   misconduct, but that he may keep it and be assured of its peace.
   If, like us, you had been given the duty of defending these walls,
   and if you should have done that which you ask us to do, what
   treatment do you think you would deserve?" Siegfred replied, "I
   should deserve that my head be cut off and thrown to the dogs.
   Nevertheless, if you do not listen to my demand, on the morrow our
   war machines will destroy you with poisoned arrows. You will be the
   prey of famine and of pestilence and these evils will renew
   themselves perpetually every year." So saying, he departed and
   gathered together his comrades.

     [Sidenote: The attack upon the tower]

     [Sidenote: Fierce fighting]

     [Sidenote: The bravery of Count Odo]

   In the morning the Northmen, boarding their ships, approached the
   tower and attacked it.[230] They shook it with their engines and
   stormed it with arrows. The city resounded with clamor, the people
   were aroused, the bridges trembled. All came together to defend the
   tower. There Odo, his brother Robert,[231] and the Count Ragenar
   distinguished themselves for bravery; likewise the courageous Abbot
   Ebolus,[232] the nephew of the bishop. A keen arrow wounded the
   prelate, while at his side the young warrior Frederick was struck
   by a sword. Frederick died, but the old man, thanks to God,
   survived. There perished many Franks; after receiving wounds they
   were lavish of life. At last the enemy withdrew, carrying off their
   dead. The evening came. The tower had been sorely tried, but its
   foundations were still solid, as were also the narrow _baies_ which
   surmounted them. The people spent the night repairing it with
   boards. By the next day, on the old citadel had been erected a new
   tower of wood, a half higher than the former one. At sunrise the
   Danes caught their first glimpse of it. Once more the latter
   engaged with the Christians in violent combat. On every side arrows
   sped and blood flowed. With the arrows mingled the stones hurled
   by slings and war-machines; the air was filled with them. The tower
   which had been built during the night groaned under the strokes of
   the darts, the city shook with the struggle, the people ran hither
   and thither, the bells jangled. The warriors rushed together to
   defend the tottering tower and to repel the fierce assault. Among
   these warriors two, a count and an abbot [Ebolus], surpassed all
   the rest in courage. The former was the redoubtable Odo who never
   experienced defeat and who continually revived the spirits of the
   worn-out defenders. He ran along the ramparts and hurled back the
   enemy. On those who were secreting themselves so as to undermine
   the tower he poured oil, wax, and pitch, which, being mixed and
   heated, burned the Danes and tore off their scalps. Some of them
   died; others threw themselves into the river to escape the awful

   Meanwhile Paris was suffering not only from the sword outside but
   also from a pestilence within which brought death to many noble
   men. Within the walls there was not ground in which to bury the
   dead.... Odo, the future king, was sent to Charles, emperor of the
   Franks,[234] to implore help for the stricken city.

     [Sidenote: Odo's mission to Emperor Charles the Fat]

   One day Odo suddenly appeared in splendor in the midst of three
   bands of warriors. The sun made his armor glisten and greeted him
   before it illuminated the country around. The Parisians saw their
   beloved chief at a distance, but the enemy, hoping to prevent his
   gaining entrance to the tower, crossed the Seine and took up their
   position on the bank. Nevertheless Odo, his horse at a gallop, got
   past the Northmen and reached the tower, whose gates Ebolus opened
   to him. The enemy pursued fiercely the comrades of the count who
   were trying to keep up with him and get refuge in the tower. [The
   Danes were defeated in the attack.]

     [Sidenote: Terms of peace arranged by Charles]

   Now came the Emperor Charles, surrounded by soldiers of all
   nations, even as the sky is adorned with resplendent stars. A great
   throng, speaking many languages, accompanied him. He established
   his camp at the foot of the heights of Montmartre, near the tower.
   He allowed the Northmen to have the country of Sens to
   plunder;[235] and in the spring he gave them 700 pounds of silver
   on condition that by the month of March they leave France for their
   own kingdom.[236] Then Charles returned, destined to an early

     [Sidenote: Rollo receives Normandy from Charles the Simple]


   The king had at first wished to give to Rollo the province of
   Flanders, but the Norman rejected it as being too marshy. Rollo
   refused to kiss the foot of Charles when he received from him the
   duchy of Normandy. "He who receives such a gift," said the bishops
   to him, "ought to kiss the foot of the king." "Never," replied he,
   "will I bend the knee to any one, or kiss anybody's foot."
   Nevertheless, impelled by the entreaties of the Franks, he ordered
   one of his warriors to perform the act in his stead. This man
   seized the foot of the king and lifted it to his lips, kissing it
   without bending and so causing the king to tumble over backwards.
   At that there was a loud burst of laughter and a great commotion in
   the crowd of onlookers. King Charles, Robert, Duke of the
   Franks,[239] the counts and magnates, and the bishops and abbots,
   bound themselves by the oath of the Catholic faith to Rollo,
   swearing by their lives and their bodies and by the honor of all
   the kingdom, that he might hold the land and transmit it to his
   heirs from generation to generation throughout all time to come.
   When these things had been satisfactorily performed, the king
   returned in good spirits into his dominion, and Rollo with Duke
   Robert set out for Rouen.

     [Sidenote: Rollo becomes a Christian]

   In the year of our Lord 912 Rollo was baptized in holy water in the
   name of the sacred Trinity by Franco, archbishop of Rouen. Duke
   Robert, who was his godfather, gave to him his name. Rollo
   devotedly honored God and the Holy Church with his gifts.... The
   pagans, seeing that their chieftain had become a Christian,
   abandoned their idols, received the name of Christ, and with one
   accord desired to be baptized. Meanwhile the Norman duke made ready
   for a splendid wedding and married the daughter of the king
   [Gisela] according to Christian rites.

     [Sidenote: His work in Normandy]

   Rollo gave assurance of security to all those who wished to dwell
   in his country. The land he divided among his followers, and, as it
   had been a long time unused, he improved it by the construction of
   new buildings. It was peopled by the Norman warriors and by
   immigrants from outside regions. The duke established for his
   subjects certain inviolable rights and laws, confirmed and
   published by the will of the leading men, and he compelled all his
   people to live peaceably together. He rebuilt the churches, which
   had been entirely ruined; he restored the temples, which had been
   destroyed by the ravages of the pagans; he repaired and added to
   the walls and fortifications of the cities; he subdued the Britons
   who rebelled against him; and with the provisions obtained from
   them he supplied all the country that had been granted to him.

28. Later Carolingian Efforts to Preserve Order

The ninth century is chiefly significant in Frankish history as an era
of decline of monarchy and increase of the powers and independence of
local officials and magnates. Already by Charlemagne's death, in 814,
the disruptive forces were at work, and under the relatively weak
successors of the great Emperor the course of decentralization went on
until by the death of Charles the Bald, in 877, the royal authority
had been reduced to a condition of insignificance. This century was
the formative period _par excellence_ of the feudal system--a type of
social and economic organization which the conditions of the time
rendered inevitable and under which great monarchies tended to be
dissolved into a multitude of petty local states. Large landholders
began to regard themselves as practically independent; royal
officials, particularly the counts, refused to be parted from their
positions and used them primarily to enhance their own personal
authority; the churches and monasteries stretched their royal grants
of immunity so far as almost to refuse to acknowledge any obligations
to the central government. In these and other ways the Carolingian
monarchy was shorn of its powers, and as it was quite lacking in
money, lands, and soldiers who could be depended on, there was little
left for it to do but to legislate and ordain without much prospect of
being able to enforce its laws and ordinances. The rapidity with which
the kings of the period were losing their grip on the situation comes
out very clearly from a study of the capitularies which they issued
from time to time. In general these capitularies, especially after
about 840, testify to the disorder everywhere prevailing, the
usurpations of the royal officials, and the popular contempt of the
royal authority, and reiterate commands for the preservation of order
until they become fairly wearisome to the reader. Royalty was at a bad
pass and its weakness is reflected unmistakably in its attempts to
govern by mere edict without any backing of enforcing power. In 843,
853, 856, 857, and many other years of Charles the Bald's reign,
elaborate decrees were issued prohibiting brigandage and lawlessness,
but with the tell-tale provision that violators were to be "admonished
with Christian love to repent," or that they were to be punished "as
far as the local officials could remember them," or that the royal
agents were themselves to take oath not to become highway robbers!
Sometimes the king openly confessed his weakness and proceeded to
implore, rather than to command, his subjects to obey him.

The capitulary quoted below belongs to the last year of the short
reign of Carloman (882-884), son of Louis the Stammerer and grandson
of Charles the Bald. It makes a considerable show of power, ordaining
the punishment of criminals as confidently as if there had really been
means to assure its enforcement. But in truth all the provisions in it
had been embodied in capitularies of Carloman's predecessors with
scarcely perceptible effect, and there was certainly no reason to
expect better results now. With the nobles practicing, if not
asserting, independence, the churches and monasteries heeding the
royal authority hardly at all, the country being ravaged by Northmen
and the people turning to the great magnates for the protection they
could no longer get from the king, and the counts and _missi dominici_
making their lands and offices the basis for hereditary local
authority, the king had come to be almost powerless in the great realm
where less than a hundred years before Charlemagne's word, for all
practical purposes, was law. Even Charlemagne himself, however, could
have done little to avert the state of anarchy which conditions too
strong for any sovereign to cope with had brought about.

     Source--Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Leges_
     (Boretius ed.), Vol. II., pp. 371-375.

     [Sidenote: The keeping of the peace enjoined]

   =1.= According to the custom of our predecessors, we desire that in
   our palace shall prevail the worship of God, the honor of the king,
   piety, concord, and a condition of peace; and that that peace
   established in our palace by the sanction of our predecessors shall
   extend to, and be observed throughout, our entire kingdom.

   =2.= We desire that all those who live at our court, and all who
   come there, shall live peaceably. If any one, in breach of the
   peace, is guilty of violence, let him be brought to a hearing at
   our palace, by the authority of the king and by the order of our
   _missus_, as it was ordained by the capitularies of our
   predecessors, that he may be punished according to a legal judgment
   and may pay a triple composition with the royal ban.[240]

   =3.= If the offender has no lord, or if he flees from our court,
   our _missus_ shall go to find him and shall order him, in our name,
   to appear at the palace.[241] If he should be so rash as to disdain
   to come, let him be brought by force. If he spurns both us and our
   _missus_, and while refusing to obey summons is killed in
   resisting, and any of his relatives or friends undertake to
   exercise against our agents who have killed him the right of
   vengeance,[242] we will oppose them there and will give our agents
   all the aid of our royal authority.

     [Sidenote: The bishop's part in repressing crime]

   =5.= The bishop of the diocese in which the crime shall have been
   committed ought, through the priest of the place, to give three
   successive invitations to the offender to repent and to make
   reparation for his fault in order to set himself right with God and
   the church that he has injured. If he scorns and rejects this
   summons and invitation, let the bishop wield upon him the pastoral
   rod, that is to say, the sentence of excommunication; and let him
   separate him from the communion of the Holy Church until he shall
   have given the satisfaction that is required.

     [Sidenote: Obligations of lay officials to restrain violence]

   =9.= In order that violence be entirely brought to an end and order
   restored, it is necessary that the bishop's authority should be
   supplemented by that of the public officials. Therefore we and our
   faithful have judged it expedient that the _missi dominici_ should
   discharge faithfully the duties of their office.[243] The count
   shall enjoin to the viscount,[244] to his _vicarii_ and
   _centenarii_,[245] and to all the public officials, as well as to
   all Franks who have a knowledge of the law, that all should give as
   much aid as they can to the Church, both on their own account and
   in accord with the requests of the clergy, every time they shall be
   called upon by the bishop, the officers of the bishop, or even by
   the needy. They should do this for the love of God, the peace of
   the Holy Church, and the fidelity that they owe to us.

29. The Election of Hugh Capet (987).

The election of Hugh Capet as king of France in 987 marked the
establishment of the so-called Capetian line of monarchs, which
occupied the French throne in all not far from eight centuries--a
record not equaled by any other royal house in European history. The
circumstances of the election were interesting and significant. For
more than a hundred years there had been keen rivalry between the
Carolingian kings and one of the great ducal houses of the Franks,
known as the Robertians. In the disorder which so generally prevailed
in France in the ninth and tenth centuries, powerful families
possessing extensive lands and having large numbers of vassals and
serfs were able to make themselves practically independent of the
royal power. The greatest of these families was the Robertians, the
descendants of Robert the Strong, father of the Odo who distinguished
himself at the siege of Paris in 885-886 [see p. 170]. Between 888 and
987 circumstances brought it about three different times that members
of the Robertian house were elevated to the Frankish throne (Odo,
888-898; Robert I., 922-923; and Rudolph--related to the Robertians by
marriage only,--923-936). The rest of the time the throne was occupied
by Carolingians (Charles the Simple, 898-922; Louis IV., 936-954;
Lothair, 954-986; and Louis V., 986-987). With the death of the young
king Louis V., in 987, the last direct descendant of Charlemagne
passed away and the question of the succession was left for solution
by the nobles and higher clergy of the realm. As soon as the king was
dead, such of these magnates as were assembled at the court to attend
the funeral bound themselves by oath to take no action until a general
meeting could be held at Senlis (a few miles north of Paris) late in
May, 987. The proceedings of this general meeting are related in the
passage below. Apparently it had already been pretty generally agreed
that the man to be elected was Hugh Capet, great-grandson of Robert
the Strong and the present head of the famous Robertian house, and the
speech of Adalbero, archbishop of Rheims, of which Richer gives a
resumé, was enough to ensure this result. There was but one other
claimant of importance. That was the late king's uncle, Charles of
Lower Lorraine. He was not a man of force and Adalbero easily disposed
of his candidacy, though the rejected prince was subsequently able to
make his successful rival a good deal of trouble. Hugh owed his
election to his large material resources, the military prestige of
his ancestors, the active support of the Church, and the lack of
direct heirs of the Carolingian dynasty.

Richer, the chronicler whose account of the election is given below,
was a monk living at Rheims at the time when the events occurred which
he describes. His "Four Books of Histories," discovered only in 1833,
is almost our only considerable source of information on Frankish
affairs in the later tenth century. In his writing he endeavored to
round out his work into a real history and to give more than the bare
outline of events characteristic of the mediæval annalists. In this he
was only partially successful, being at fault mainly in indulging in
too much rhetoric and in allowing partisan motives sometimes to guide
him in what he said. His partisanship was on the side of the fallen
Carolingians. The period covered by the "Histories" is 888-995; they
are therefore roughly continuous chronologically with the Annals of
Saint Bertin [see p. 164].

     Source--Richer, _Historiarum Libri IV._ ["Four Books of
     Histories"], Bk. IV., Chaps. 11-12. Text in _Monumenta
     Germaniæ Historica, Scriptores_ (Pertz ed.), Vol. III., pp.

   Meanwhile, at the appointed time the magnates of Gaul who had taken
   the oath came together at Senlis. When they had all taken their
   places in the assembly and the duke[246] had given the sign, the
   archbishop[247] spoke to them as follows:[248]

     [Sidenote: Adalbero's speech at Senlis]

   "King Louis, of divine memory, having been removed from the world,
   and having left no heirs, it devolves upon us to take serious
   counsel as to the choice of a successor, so that the state may not
   suffer any injury through neglect and the lack of a leader. On a
   former occasion[249] we thought it advisable to postpone that
   deliberation in order that each of you might be able to come here
   and, in the presence of the assembly, voice the sentiment which God
   should have inspired in you, and that from all these different
   expressions of opinion we might be able to find out what is the
   general will.

     [Sidenote: Election, not heredity, the true basis of Frankish

   "Here we are assembled. Let us see to it, by our prudence and
   honor, that hatred shall not destroy reason, that love shall not
   interfere with truth. We are aware that Charles[250] has his
   partisans, who claim that the throne belongs to him by right of
   birth. But if we look into the matter, the throne is not acquired
   by hereditary right, and no one ought to be placed at the head of
   the kingdom unless he is distinguished, not only by nobility of
   body, but also by strength of mind--only such a one as honor and
   generosity recommend.[251] We read in the annals of rulers of
   illustrious descent who were deposed on account of their
   unworthiness and replaced by others of the same, or even lesser,

     [Sidenote: Objections to Charles of Lorraine]

     [Sidenote: Election of Hugh Capet urged]

   "What dignity shall we gain by making Charles king? He is not
   guided by honor, nor is he possessed of strength. Then, too, he has
   compromised himself so far as to have become the dependent of a
   foreign king[253] and to have married a girl taken from among his
   own vassals. How could the great duke endure that a woman of the
   low rank of vassal should become queen and rule over him? How could
   he tender services to this woman, when his equals, and even his
   superiors, in birth bend the knee before him and place their hands
   under his feet? Think of this seriously and you will see that
   Charles must be rejected for his own faults rather than on account
   of any wrong done by others. Make a decision, therefore, for the
   welfare rather than for the injury of the state. If you wish ill to
   your country, choose Charles to be king; if you have regard for its
   prosperity, choose Hugh, the illustrious duke.... Elect, then, the
   duke, a man who is recommended by his conduct, by his nobility, and
   by his military following. In him you will find a defender, not
   only of the state, but also of your private interests. His
   large-heartedness will make him a father to you all. Who has ever
   fled to him for protection without receiving it? Who that has been
   deserted by his friends has he ever failed to restore to his

     [Sidenote: The beginning of his reign]

   This speech was applauded and concurred in by all, and by unanimous
   consent the duke was raised to the throne. He was crowned at
   Noyon[254] on the first of June[255] by the archbishop and the
   other bishops as king of the Gauls, the Bretons, the Normans, the
   Aquitanians, the Goths, the Spaniards and the Gascons.[256]
   Surrounded by the nobles of the king, he issued decrees and made
   laws according to royal custom, judging and disposing of all
   matters with success.


[197] After the battle of Fontenay, June 25, 841, Charles and Louis
had separated and Lothair had formed the design of attacking and
conquering first one and then the other. He made an expedition against
Charles, but was unable to accomplish anything before his two enemies
again drew together at Strassburg.

[198] The name "Francia" was as yet confined to the country lying
between the Loire and the Scheldt.

[199] This Pepin was a son of Pepin, the brother of Charles, Louis,
and Lothair. Upon the death of the elder Pepin in 838 his part of the
empire--the great region between the Loire and the Pyrenees, known as
Aquitaine--had been taken possession of by Charles, without regard for
the two surviving sons. It was natural, therefore, that in the
struggle which ensued between Charles and Louis on the one side and
Lothair on the other, young Pepin should have given such aid as he
could to the latter.

[200] On the upper Moselle.

[201] This refers to the battle of Fontenay.

[202] The translation of this oath is as follows: "For the love of
God, and for the sake as well of our peoples as of ourselves, I
promise that from this day forth, as God shall grant me wisdom and
strength, I will treat this my brother as one's brother ought to be
treated, provided that he shall do the same by me. And with Lothair I
will not willingly enter into any dealings which may injure this my

[203] This oath, taken by the followers of the two kings, may be thus
translated: "If Louis [or Charles] shall observe the oath which he has
sworn to his brother Charles [or Louis], and Charles [or Louis], our
lord, on his side, should be untrue to his oath, and we should be
unable to hold him to it, neither we nor any whom we can deter, shall
give him any support." The oath taken by the two armies was the same,
with only the names of the kings interchanged.

[204] This name in the course of time became simply "Francia," then
"France." In the eastern kingdom, "Francia" gradually became
restricted to the region about the Main, or "Franconia."

[205] It was commonly known as "Lotharii regnum," later as
"Lotharingia," and eventually (a fragment of the kingdom only) as

[206] Emerton, _Mediæval Europe_ (Boston, 1903), p. 30.

[207] This statement is only approximately true. In reality Friesland
(Frisia) and a strip up the east bank of the Rhine almost to the mouth
of the Moselle went to Lothair.

[208] See p. 152, note 2.

[209] Gregory IV. (827-844) was succeeded in the papal office by
Sergius II. (844-847).

[210] By the treaty of Verdun in 843 Charles the Bald had been given
Aquitaine, along with the other distinctively Frankish regions of
western Europe. His nephew Pepin, however, who had never been
reconciled to Charles's taking possession of Aquitaine in 838, called
himself king of that country and made stubborn resistance to his
uncle's claims of sovereignty [see p. 156].

[211] The Wends were a Slavonic people living in the lower valley of
the Oder.

[212] By "the heathen" are meant the Norse pirates from Denmark and
the Scandinavian peninsula. On their invasions see p. 163.

[213] This Saracen attack upon Rome was made by some Arab pirates who
in the Mediterranean were playing much the same rôle of destruction as
were the Northmen on the Atlantic coasts. A league of Naples, Gaeta,
and Amalfi defeated the pirates in 849, and delivered Rome from her
oppressors long enough for new fortifications to be constructed. Walls
were built at this time to include the quarter of St. Peter's--a
district known to this day as the "Leonine City" in memory of Leo IV.,
who in 847 succeeded Sergius as pope [see above text under date 850].

[214] Fulda was an important monastery on one of the upper branches of
the Weser, northeast of Mainz.

[215] An octave, in the sense here meant, is the week (strictly eight
days) following a church festival; in this case, the eight days
following the anniversary of Christ's birth, or Christmas.

[216] The isle of Rhé, near Rochelle, north of the mouth of the

[217] Galicia was a province in the extreme northwest of the Spanish

[218] Charles the Bald, who by the treaty of Verdun in 843, had
obtained the western part of the empire built up by Charlemagne [see
p. 154].

[219] Louis, a half-brother of Charles the Bald, who had received the
eastern portion of Charlemagne's empire by the settlement of 843.

[220] Frisia, or Friesland, was the northernmost part of the kingdom
of Lothair.

[221] That is, in Brittany.

[222] Noménoé was a native chief of the Britons. Charles the Bald made
many efforts to reduce him to obedience, but with little success. In
848 or 849 he took the title of king. During his brief reign (which
ended in 851) he invaded Charles's dominions and wrought almost as
much destruction as did the Northmen themselves.

[223] Tours, Blois, and Orleans were all situated within a range of a
hundred miles along the lower Loire.

[224] Chartres was some eighty miles northwest of Orleans.

[225] About midway between Nantes and Tours.

[226] Poitiers was about seventy miles southwest of Tours.

[227] Valence was on the Rhone, nearly a hundred and fifty miles back
from the Mediterranean coast.

[228] The Northmen who ravaged France really had no kings, but only
military chieftains.

[229] Odo, or Eudes, was chosen king by the Frankish nobles and clergy
in 888, to succeed the deposed Charles the Fat. He was not of the
Carolingian family but a Robertian (son of Robert the Strong), and
hence a forerunner of the Capetian line of kings regularly established
on the French throne in 987 [see p. 177]. His election to the kingship
was due in a large measure to his heroic conduct during the siege of
Paris by the Northmen.

[230] The tower blocked access to the city by the so-called "Great
Bridge," which connected the right bank of the Seine with the island
on which the city was built. The tower stood on the present site of
the Châtelet.

[231] In time Robert also became king. He reigned only from 922 to

[232] Abbot Ebolus was head of the monastery of St. Germain des Prés.

[233] The Northmen were finally compelled to abandon their efforts
against the tower. They then retired to the bank of the Seine near the
abbey of Saint-Denys and from that place as a center ravaged all the
country lying about Paris. In a short time they renewed the attack
upon the city itself.

[234] Charles the Fat, under whom during the years 885-887 the old
empire of Charlemagne was for the last time united under a single
sovereign. When Odo went to find him in 886 he was at Metz in Germany.
German and Italian affairs interested him more than did those of the

[235] Sens was about a hundred miles southeast of Paris. Charles
abandoned the region about Sens to the Northmen to plunder during the
winter of 886-887. His very lame excuse for doing this was that the
people of the district did not properly recognize his authority and
were deserving of such punishment.

[236] The twelve month siege of Paris thus brought to an end had many
noteworthy results. Chief among these was the increased prestige of
Odo as a national leader and of Paris as a national stronghold. Prior
to this time Paris had not been a place of importance, even though
Clovis had made it his capital. In the period of Charlemagne it was
distinctly a minor city and it gained little in prominence under Louis
the Pious and Charles the Bald. The great Carolingian capitals were
Laon and Compiègne. The siege of 885-886, however, made it apparent
that Paris occupied a strategic position, commanding the valley of the
Seine, and that the inland city was one of the true bulwarks of the
kingdom. Thereafter the place grew rapidly in population and prestige,
and when Odo became king (in 888) it was made his capital. As time
went on it grew to be the heart of the French kingdom and came to
guide the destinies of France as no other city of modern times has
guided a nation.

[237] He was deposed in 887, largely because of his utter failure to
take any active measures to defend the Franks against their Danish
enemies. From Paris he went to Germany where he died, January 13, 888,
at a small town on the Danube.

[238] After the famous siege of Paris in 885-886 the Northmen, or
Normans as they may now be called, continued to ravage France just as
they had done before that event. In 910 one of their greatest
chieftains, Rollo, appeared before Paris and prepared to take the
city. In this project he was unsuccessful, but his warriors caused so
much devastation in the surrounding country that Charles the Simple,
who was now king, decided to try negotiations. A meeting was held at
Saint-Clair-sur-Epte where, in the presence of the Norman warriors and
the Frankish magnates, Charles and Rollo entered into the first treaty
looking toward a permanent settlement of Northmen on Frankish
territory. Rollo promised to desist from his attacks upon Frankland
and to become a Christian. Charles agreed to give over to the Normans
a region which they in fact already held, with Rouen as its center,
and extending from the Epte River on the east to the sea on the west.
The arrangement was dictated by good sense and proved a fortunate one
for all parties concerned.

[239] Robert was Odo's brother. "Duke of the Franks" was a title, at
first purely military, but fast developing to the point where it was
to culminate in its bearer becoming the first Capetian king [see p.

[240] See p. 138, note 4.

[241] If the offender had a lord, this lord would be expected to
produce his accused vassal at court.

[242] That is, the old blood-feud of the Germans.

[243] The office of _missus_ had by this time fallen pretty much into
decay. Many of the _missi_ were at the same time counts--a combination
of authority directly opposed to the earlier theory of the
administrative system. The _missus_ had been supposed to supervise the
counts and restrain them from disloyalty to the king and from
indulgence in arbitrary or oppressive measures of local government.

[244] The viscount (_vicecomes_) was the count's deputy. By Carloman's
time there were sometimes several of these in a county. They were at
first appointed by the count, but toward the end of the ninth century
they became hereditary.

[245] The _vicarii_ and _centenarii_ were local assistants of the
count in administrative and judicial affairs. In Merovingian times
their precise duties are not clear, but under the Carolingians the two
terms tended to become synonyms. The _centenarius_, or hundredman, was
charged mainly with the administration of justice in the smallest
local division, i.e., the hundred. In theory he was elected by the
people of the hundred, but in practice he was usually appointed by the

[246] Hugh Capet, whose title prior to 987 was "Duke of the Franks."

[247] Adalbero, archbishop of Rheims.

[248] We are not to suppose that Richer here gives a literal
reproduction of Adalbero's speech, but so far as we can tell the main
points are carefully stated.

[249] At the funeral of Louis.

[250] Charles of Lower Lorraine, uncle of Louis V.

[251] The elective principle here asserted had prevailed in the choice
of French and German kings for nearly a century. The kings chosen,
however, usually came from one family, as the Carolingians in France.

[252] Almost exactly a century earlier there had been such a case
among the Franks, when Charles the Fat was deposed and Odo, the
defender of Paris, elevated to the throne (888).

[253] Charles had been made duke of Lower Lorraine by the German
emperor. This passage in Adalbero's speech looks like something of an
appeal to Frankish pride, or as we would say in these days, to
national sentiment. Still it must be remembered that while a sense of
common interest was undoubtedly beginning to develop among the peoples
represented in the assembly at Senlis, these peoples were still far
too diverse to be spoken of accurately as making up a unified
nationality. Adalbero was indulging in a political harangue and piling
up arguments for effect, without much regard for their real weight.

[254] Noyon was a church center about fifty miles north of Paris. That
the coronation really occurred at this place has been questioned by
some, but there seems to be small reason for doubting Richer's
statement in the matter.

[255] M. Pfister in Lavisse, _Histoire de France_, Vol. II., p. 412,
asserts that the coronation occurred July 3, 987.

[256] This method of describing the extent of the new king's dominion
shows how far from consolidated the so-called Frankish kingdom really
was. The royal domain proper, that is, the land over which the king
had immediate control, was limited to a long fertile strip extending
from the Somme to a point south of Orléans, including the important
towns of Paris, Orléans, Étampes, Senlis, and Compiègne. Even this was
not continuous, but was cut into here and there by the estates of
practically independent feudal lords. By far the greater portion of
modern France (the name in 987 was only beginning to be applied to the
whole country) consisted of great counties and duchies, owing
comparatively little allegiance to the king and usually rendering even
less than they owed. Of these the most important was the county (later
duchy) of Normandy, the county of Bretagne (Brittany), the county of
Flanders, the county of Anjou, the county of Blois, the duchy of
Burgundy, the duchy of Aquitaine, the county of Toulouse, the county
of Gascony, and the county of Barcelona (south of the Pyrenees). The
"Goths" referred to by Richer were the inhabitants of the "march," or
border county, of Gothia along the Mediterranean coast between the
lower Rhone and the Pyrenees (old Septimania).



30. The Danes in England

The earliest recorded visit of the Danes, or Northmen, to England
somewhat antedates the appearance of these peoples on the Frankish
coast in the year 800. In 787 three Danish vessels came to shore at
Warham in Dorset and their sailors slew the unfortunate reeve who
mistook them for ordinary foreign merchants and tried to collect port
dues from them. Thereafter the British coasts were never free for many
years at a time from the depredations of the marauders. In 793 the
famous church at Lindisfarne, in Northumberland, was plundered; in 795
the Irish coasts began to suffer; in 833 a fleet of twenty-five
vessels appeared at the mouth of the Thames; in 834 twelve hundred
pillagers landed in Dorset; in 842 London and Rochester were sacked
and their population scattered; in 850 a fleet of 350 ships carrying
perhaps ten or twelve thousand men, wintered at the mouth of the
Thames and in the spring caused London again to suffer; and from then
on until the accession of King Alfred, in 871, destructive raids
followed one another with distressing frequency.

The account of the Danish invasions given below is taken from a
biography of King Alfred commonly attributed to Asser, a monk of Welsh
origin connected with the monastery of St. David (later bishop of
Sherborne) and a close friend and adviser of the great king. It gives
us some idea of the way in which Alfred led his people through the
darkest days in their history, and of the settlement known as the
"Peace of Alfred and Guthrum" by which the Danish leader became a
Christian and the way was prepared for the later division of the
English country between the two contending peoples.

     Source--Johannes Menevensis Asserius, _De rebus gestis Ælfredi
     Magni_ [Asser, "The Deeds of Alfred the Great"], Chaps. 42-55
     _passim_. Adapted from translation by J. A. Giles in _Six Old
     English Chronicles_ (London, 1866), pp. 56-63.

     [Sidenote: Alfred becomes king (871)]

     [Sidenote: The struggle with the Danes]

   In the year 871 Alfred, who up to that time had been of only
   secondary rank, while his brothers were alive, by God's permission,
   undertook the government of the whole kingdom, welcomed by all the
   people. Indeed, if he had cared to, he might have done so earlier,
   even while his brother was still alive;[257] for in wisdom and
   other qualities he excelled all of his brothers, and, moreover, he
   was courageous and victorious in all his wars. He became king
   almost against his will, for he did not think that he could alone
   withstand the numbers and the fierceness of the pagans, though even
   during the lifetime of his brothers he had carried burdens enough
   for many men. And when he had ruled one month, with a small band of
   followers and on very unequal terms, he fought a battle with the
   entire army of the pagans. This was at a hill called Wilton, on the
   south bank of the River Wily, from which river the whole of that
   district is named.[258] And after a long and fierce engagement the
   pagans, seeing the danger they were in, and no longer able to meet
   the attacks of their enemies, turned their backs and fled. But, oh,
   shame to say, they deceived the English, who pursued them too
   boldly, and, turning swiftly about, gained the victory. Let no one
   be surprised to learn that the Christians had only a small number
   of men, for the Saxons had been worn out by eight battles with the
   pagans in one year. In these they had slain one king, nine dukes,
   and innumerable troops of soldiers. There had also been numberless
   skirmishes, both by day and by night, in which Alfred, with his
   ministers and chieftains and their men, were engaged without rest
   or relief against the pagans. How many thousands of pagans fell in
   these skirmishes God only knows, over and above the numbers slain
   in the eight battles before mentioned. In the same year the Saxons
   made peace with the invaders, on condition that they should take
   their departure, and they did so.

     [Sidenote: Alfred's plan to meet the pagans on the sea]

   In the year 877 the pagans, on the approach of autumn, partly
   settled in Exeter[259] and partly marched for plunder into
   Mercia.[260] The number of that disorderly horde increased every
   day, so that, if thirty thousand of them were slain in one battle,
   others took their places to double the number. Then King Alfred
   commanded boats and galleys, i.e., long ships, to be built
   throughout the kingdom, in order to offer battle by sea to the
   enemy as they were coming.[261] On board these he placed sailors,
   whom he commanded to keep watch on the seas. Meanwhile he went
   himself to Exeter, where the pagans were wintering and, having shut
   them up within the walls, laid siege to the town. He also gave
   orders to his sailors to prevent the enemy from obtaining any
   supplies by sea. In a short time the sailors were encountered by a
   fleet of a hundred and twenty ships full of armed soldiers, who
   were on their way to the relief of their countrymen. As soon as the
   king's men knew that the ships were manned by pagan soldiers they
   leaped to their arms and bravely attacked those barbaric tribes.
   The pagans, who had now for almost a month been tossed and almost
   wrecked among the waves of the sea, fought vainly against them.
   Their bands were thrown into confusion in a very short time, and
   all were sunk and drowned in the sea, at a place called

   In 878, which was the thirtieth year of King Alfred's life, the
   pagan army left Exeter and went to Chippenham. This latter place
   was a royal residence situated in the west of Wiltshire, on the
   eastern bank of the river which the Britons called the Avon. They
   spent the winter there and drove many of the inhabitants of the
   surrounding country beyond the sea by the force of their arms, and
   by the want of the necessities of life. They reduced almost
   entirely to subjection all the people of that country.

     [Sidenote: Alfred in refuge at Athelney]

     [Sidenote: The battle of Ethandune and the establishment of peace

   The same year, after Easter, King Alfred, with a few followers,
   made for himself a stronghold in a place called Athelney,[263] and
   from thence sallied, with his companions and the nobles of
   Somersetshire, to make frequent assaults upon the pagans. Also, in
   the seventh week after Easter, he rode to Egbert's stone, which is
   in the eastern part of the wood that is called Selwood.[264] Here
   he was met by all the folk of Somersetshire and Wiltshire and
   Hampshire, who had not fled beyond the sea for fear of the pagans;
   and when they saw the king alive after such great tribulation they
   received him, as he deserved, with shouts of joy, and encamped
   there for one night. At dawn on the following day the king broke
   camp and went to Okely, where he encamped for one night. The next
   morning he moved to Ethandune[265] and there fought bravely and
   persistently against the whole army of the pagans. By the help of
   God he defeated them with great slaughter and pursued them flying
   to their fortification. He at once slew all the men and carried off
   all the booty that he could find outside the fortress, which he
   immediately laid siege to with his entire army. And when he had
   been there fourteen days the pagans, driven by famine, cold, fear,
   and finally by despair, asked for peace on the condition that they
   should give the king as many hostages as he should ask, but should
   receive none from him in return. Never before had they made a
   treaty with any one on such terms. The king, hearing this, took
   pity upon them and received such hostages as he chose. Then the
   pagans swore that they would immediately leave the kingdom, and
   their king, Guthrum, promised to embrace Christianity and receive
   baptism at Alfred's hands. All of these pledges he and his men
   fulfilled as they had promised.[266]

31. Alfred's Interest in Education

As an epoch of literary and educational advancement the reign of
Alfred in England (871-901) was in many respects like that of
Charlemagne among the Franks (768-814). Like Charlemagne, Alfred grew
up with very slight education, at least of a literary sort; but both
sovereigns were strongly dissatisfied with their ignorance, and both
made earnest efforts to overcome their own defects and at the same
time to raise the standard of intelligence among their people at
large. When one considers how crowded were the reigns of both with
wars and the pressing business of administration, such devotion to the
interests of learning appears the more deserving of praise.

In the first passage below, taken from Asser's life of Alfred, the
anxiety of the king for the promotion of his own education and that of
his children is clearly and strongly stated. We find him following
Charlemagne's plan of bringing scholars from foreign countries. He
brought them, too, from parts of Britain not under his direct control,
and used them at the court, or in bishoprics, to perform the work of
instruction. Curiously enough, whereas Charlemagne had found the chief
of his Palace School, Alcuin, in England, Alfred was glad to secure
the services of two men (Grimbald and John) who had made their
reputations in monasteries situated within the bounds of the old
Frankish empire.

Aside from some native songs and epic poems, all the literature known
to the Saxon people was in Latin, and but few persons in the kingdom
knew Latin well enough to read it. The king himself did not, until
about 887. It was supposed, of course, that the clergy were able to
use the Latin Bible and the Latin ritual of the Church, but when
Alfred came to investigate he found that even these men were often
pretty nearly as ignorant as the people they were charged to instruct.
What the king did, then, was to urge more study on the part of the
clergy, under the direction of such men as Plegmund, Asser, Grimbald,
John, and Werfrith. The people in general could not be expected to
master a foreign language; hence, in order that they might not be shut
off entirely from the first-hand use of books, Alfred undertook the
translation of certain standard works from the Latin into the Saxon.
Those thus translated were Boethius's _Consolations of Philosophy_,
Orosius's _Universal History of the World_, Bede's _Ecclesiastical
History of England_, and Pope Gregory the Great's _Pastoral Rule_. The
second passage given below is Alfred's preface to his Saxon edition of
the last-named book, taking the form of a letter to the scholarly
Bishop Werfrith of Worcester. The _Pastoral Rule_ [see p. 90] was
written by Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) as a body of instructions
in doctrine and conduct for the clergy. Alfred's preface, as a picture
of the ruin wrought by the long series of Danish wars, is of the
utmost importance in the study of ninth and tenth century England, as
well as a most interesting revelation of the character of the great

     Sources--(a) Asser, _De rebus gestis Ælfredi Magni_, Chaps.
     75-78. Adapted from translation by J. A. Giles in _Six Old
     English Chronicles_ (London, 1866), pp. 68-70.

     (b) King Alfred's West-Saxon Version of Pope Gregory's
     _Pastoral Rule_. Edited by Henry Sweet in the Publications of
     the Early English Text Society (London, 1871), p. 2.

     [Sidenote: The education of Alfred's children]


   Ethelwerd, the youngest [of Alfred's children],[267] by the divine
   counsels and the admirable prudence of the king, was consigned to
   the schools of learning, where, with the children of almost all the
   nobility of the country, and many also who were not noble, he
   prospered under the diligent care of his teachers. Books in both
   languages, namely, Latin and Saxon, were read in the school.[268]
   They also learned to write, so that before they were of an age to
   practice manly arts, namely, hunting and such pursuits as befit
   noblemen, they became studious and clever in the liberal arts.
   Edward[269] and Ælfthryth[270] were reared in the king's court and
   received great attention from their attendants and nurses; nay,
   they continue to this day with the love of all about them, and
   showing friendliness, and even gentleness, towards all, both
   natives and foreigners, and in complete subjection to their father.
   Nor, among their other studies which pertain to this life and are
   fit for noble youths, are they suffered to pass their time idly and
   unprofitably without learning the liberal arts; for they have
   carefully learned the Psalms and Saxon books, especially the Saxon
   poems, and are continually in the habit of making use of books.

     [Sidenote: The varied activities of the king]

     [Sidenote: His devout character]

   In the meantime the king, during the frequent wars and other
   hindrances of this present life, the invasions of the pagans, and
   his own infirmities of body, continued to carry on the government,
   and to practice hunting in all its branches; to teach his workers
   in gold and artificers of all kinds, his falconers, hawkers and
   dog-keepers; to build houses, majestic and splendid, beyond all the
   precedents of his ancestors, by his new mechanical inventions; to
   recite the Saxon books, and especially to learn by heart the Saxon
   poems, and to make others learn them.[271] And he alone never
   desisted from studying most diligently to the best of his ability.
   He attended the Mass and other daily services of religion. He was
   diligent in psalm-singing and prayer, at the hours both of the day
   and of the night. He also went to the churches, as we have already
   said, in the night-time to pray, secretly and unknown to his
   courtiers. He bestowed alms and gifts on both natives and
   foreigners of all countries. He was affable and pleasant to all,
   and curiously eager to investigate things unknown. Many Franks,
   Frisians, Gauls, pagans, Britons, Scots, and Armoricans,[272] noble
   and low-born, came voluntarily to his domain; and all of them,
   according to their nation and deserving, were ruled, loved, honored
   and enriched with money and power.[273] Moreover, the king was in
   the habit of hearing the divine Scriptures read by his own
   countrymen, or, if by any chance it so happened, in company with
   foreigners, and he attended to it with care and solicitude. His
   bishops, too, and all ecclesiastics, his earls and nobles,
   ministers[274] and friends, were loved by him with wonderful
   affection, and their sons, who were reared in the royal household,
   were no less dear to him than his own. He had them instructed in
   all kinds of good morals, and, among other things, never ceased to
   teach them letters night and day.

     [Sidenote: Regret at his lack of education]

   But, as if he had no consolation in all these things, and though
   he suffered no other annoyance, either from within or without, he
   was harassed by daily and nightly affliction, so that he complained
   to God and to all who were admitted to his intimate fondness, that
   Almighty God had made him ignorant of divine wisdom, and of the
   liberal arts--in this emulating the pious, the wise, and wealthy
   Solomon, king of the Hebrews, who at first, despising all present
   glory and riches, asked wisdom of God and found both, namely,
   wisdom and worldly glory; as it is written: "Seek first the kingdom
   of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added
   unto you." But God, who is always the observer of the thoughts of
   the mind within and the author of all good intentions, and a most
   plentiful helper that good desires may be formed (for He would not
   prompt a man to good intentions, unless He also amply supplied that
   which the man justly and properly wishes to have) stimulated the
   king's mind within: as it is written, "I will hearken what the Lord
   God will say concerning me." He would avail himself of every
   opportunity to procure co-workers in his good designs, to aid him
   in his strivings after wisdom that he might attain to what he aimed
   at. And, like a prudent bee, which, going forth in summer with the
   early morning from its cell, steers its rapid flight through the
   uncertain tracks of ether and descends on the manifold and varied
   flowers of grasses, herbs, and shrubs, discovering that which
   pleases most, that it may bear it home, so did he direct his eyes
   afar and seek without that which he had not within, that is, in his
   own kingdom.[275]

     [Sidenote: Learned men from Mercia brought to the English court]

   But God at that time, as some relief to the king's anxiety,
   yielding to his complaint, sent certain lights to illuminate him,
   namely, Werfrith, bishop of the church of Worcester, a man well
   versed in divine Scripture, who, by the king's command, first
   turned the books of the Dialogues of Pope Gregory and Peter, his
   disciple, from Latin into Saxon, and sometimes putting sense for
   sense, interpreted them with clearness and elegance. After him was
   Plegmund,[276] a Mercian by birth, archbishop of the church of
   Canterbury, a venerable man, and endowed with wisdom; Ethelstan
   also,[277] and Werwulf,[278] his priests and chaplains,[279]
   Mercians by birth and learned. These four had been invited from
   Mercia by King Alfred, who exalted them with many honors and powers
   in the kingdom of the West Saxons, besides the privileges which
   Archbishop Plegmund and Bishop Werfrith enjoyed in Mercia. By their
   teaching and wisdom the king's desires increased unceasingly, and
   were gratified. Night and day, whenever he had leisure, he
   commanded such men as these to read books to him, for he never
   suffered himself to be without one of them; wherefore he possessed
   a knowledge of every book, though of himself he could not yet
   understand anything of books, for he had not yet learned to read

     [Sidenote: Grimbald and John brought from the continent]

   But the king's commendable desire could not be gratified even in
   this; wherefore he sent messengers beyond the sea to Gaul, to
   procure teachers, and he invited from thence Grimbald,[281] priest
   and monk, a venerable man and good singer, adorned with every kind
   of ecclesiastical training and good morals, and most learned in
   holy Scripture. He also obtained from thence John,[282] also priest
   and monk, a man of most energetic talents, and learned in all kinds
   of literary science, and skilled in many other arts. By the
   teaching of these men the king's mind was much enlarged, and he
   enriched and honored them with much influence.

     [Sidenote: Alfred writes to Bishop Werfrith on the state of
   learning in England]


   King Alfred greets Bishop Werfrith with loving words and with

   I let it be known to thee that it has very often come into my mind
   what wise men there formerly were throughout England, both within
   the Church and without it; also what happy times there were then
   and how the kings who had power over the nation in those days
   obeyed God and His ministers; how they cherished peace, morality,
   and order at home, and at the same time enlarged their territory
   abroad; and how they prospered both in war and in wisdom. Often
   have I thought, also, of the sacred orders, how zealous they were
   both in teaching and learning, and in all the services they owed to
   God; and how foreigners came to this land in search of wisdom and
   instruction, which things we should now have to get from abroad if
   we were to have them at all.

   So general became the decay of learning in England that there were
   very few on this side of the Humber[283] who could understand the
   rituals[284] in English, or translate a letter from Latin into
   English; and I believe that there were not many beyond the Humber
   who could do these things. There were so few, in fact, that I
   cannot remember a single person south of the Thames when I came to
   the throne. Thanks be to Almighty God that we now have some
   teachers among us. And therefore I enjoin thee to free thyself, as
   I believe thou art ready to do, from worldly matters, that thou
   mayst apply the wisdom which God has given thee wherever thou
   canst. Consider what punishments would come upon us if we neither
   loved wisdom ourselves nor allowed other men to obtain it. We
   should then care for the name only of Christian, and have regard
   for very few of the Christian virtues.

     [Sidenote: Learning in the days before the Danish invasions]

   When I thought of all this I remembered also how I saw the country
   before it had been all ravaged and burned; how the churches
   throughout the whole of England stood filled with treasures and
   books. There was also a great multitude of God's servants, but they
   had very little knowledge of books, for they could not understand
   anything in them because they were not written in their own
   language.[285] When I remembered all this I wondered extremely that
   the good and wise men who were formerly all over England and had
   learned perfectly all the books, did not wish to translate them
   into their own language. But again I soon answered myself and said:
   "Their own desire for learning was so great that they did not
   suppose that men would ever become so indifferent and that learning
   would ever so decay; and they wished, moreover, that wisdom in this
   land might increase with our knowledge of languages." Then I
   remembered how the law was first known in Hebrew and when the
   Greeks had learned it how they translated the whole of it into
   their own tongue,[286] and all other books besides. And again the
   Romans, when they had learned it, translated the whole of it into
   their own language.[287] And also all other Christian nations
   translated a part of it into their languages.

     [Sidenote: Plan to translate Latin books into English]

   Therefore it seems better to me, if you agree, for us also to
   translate some of the books which are most needful for all men to
   know into the language which we can all understand. It shall be
   your duty to see to it, as can easily be done if we have
   tranquility enough,[288] that all the free-born youth now in
   England, who are rich enough to be able to devote themselves to it,
   be set to learn as long as they are not fit for any other
   occupation, until they are well able to read English writing. And
   let those afterwards be taught more in the Latin language who are
   to continue learning and be promoted to a higher rank.

     [Sidenote: The translation of Pope Gregory's Pastoral Care]

   When I remembered how the knowledge of Latin had decayed through
   England, and yet that many could read English writing, I began,
   among other various and manifold troubles of this kingdom, to
   translate into English the book which is called in Latin
   _Pastoralis_, and in English _The Shepherd's Book_, sometimes word
   for word, and sometimes according to the sense, as I had learned it
   from Plegmund, my archbishop, and Asser, my bishop, and Grimbald,
   my mass-priest, and John, my mass-priest. And when I had learned
   it, as I could best understand it and most clearly interpret it, I
   translated it into English.

   I will send a copy of this book to every bishopric in my kingdom,
   and on each copy there shall be a clasp worth fifty mancuses.[289]
   And I command in God's name that no man take the clasp from the
   book, or the book from the minster.[290] It is uncertain how long
   there may be such learned bishops as, thanks be to God, there now
   are almost everywhere; therefore, I wish these copies always to
   remain in their places, unless the bishop desires to take them with
   him, or they be loaned out anywhere, or any one wishes to make a
   copy of them.

32. Alfred's Laws

Here are a few characteristic laws included by Alfred in the code
which he drew up on the basis of old customs and the laws of some of
the earlier Saxon kings. On the nature of the law of the early
Germanic peoples, see p. 59.

     Source--Text in Benjamin Thorpe, _The Ancient Laws and
     Institutes of England_ (London, 1840), pp. 20-44 _passim_.

   If any one smite his neighbor with a stone, or with his fist, and
   he nevertheless can go out with a staff, let him get him a
   physician and do his work as long as he himself cannot.

   If an ox gore a man or a woman, so that they die, let it be stoned,
   and let not its flesh be eaten. The owner shall not be liable if
   the ox were wont to push with its horns for two or three days
   before, and he knew it not; but if he knew it, and would not shut
   it in, and it then shall have slain a man or a woman, let it be
   stoned; and let the master be slain, or the person killed be paid
   for, as the "witan"[291] shall decree to be right.

   Injure ye not the widows and the stepchildren, nor hurt them
   anywhere; for if ye do otherwise they will cry unto me and I will
   hear them, and I will slay you with my sword; and I will cause that
   your own wives shall be widows, and your children shall be

   If a man strike out another's eye, let him pay sixty shillings,
   and six shillings, and six pennies, and a third part of a penny, as
   'bot.'[292] If it remain in the head, and he cannot see anything
   with it, let one-third of the 'bot' be remitted.

     [Sidenote: Penalties for various crimes of violence]

   If a man strike out another's tooth in the front of his head, let
   him make 'bot' for it with eight shillings; if it be the canine
   tooth, let four shillings be paid as 'bot.' A man's grinder is
   worth fifteen shillings.

   If the shooting finger be struck off, the 'bot' is fifteen
   shillings; for its nail it is four shillings.

   If a man maim another's hand outwardly, let twenty shillings be
   paid him as 'bot,' if he can be healed; if it half fly off, then
   shall forty shillings be paid as 'bot.'


[257] That is, Ethelred I., whom Alfred succeeded.

[258] Wiltshire, on the southern coast, west of the Isle of Wight.

[259] The same as the modern city of the name.

[260] Mercia was one of the seven old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. It lay
east of Wales.

[261] This marked a radical departure in methods of fighting the
invaders. On the continent, and hitherto in England, there had been no
effort to prevent the enemy from getting into the country they
proposed to plunder. Alfred's creation of a navy was one of his wisest
acts. Although the English had by this time grown comparatively
unaccustomed to seafaring life they contrived to win their first naval
encounter with the enemy.

[262] In Dorsetshire.

[263] Athelney was in Somersetshire, northeast of Exeter, in the
marshes at the junction of the Tone and the Parret.

[264] The modern Brixton Deverill, in Wiltshire, near Warminster.

[265] In Wiltshire, a little east of Westbury. In January the Danes
had removed from Exeter to Chippenham. Edington (or Ethandune) was
eight miles from the camp at the latter place. The Danes were first
defeated in an open battle at Edington, and then forced to surrender
after a fourteen days' siege at Chippenham.

[266] This so-called "Peace of Alfred and Guthrum" in 878 provided
only for the acceptance of Christianity by the Danish leader. It is
sometimes known as the treaty of Chippenham and is not to be confused
with the treaty of Wedmore, of a few weeks later, by which Alfred and
Guthrum divided the English country between them. The text of this
second treaty will be found in Lee's _Source-Book of English History_
(pp. 98-99), though the introductory statement there given is somewhat
misleading. This assignment of the Danelaw to Guthrum's people may
well be compared with the yielding of Normandy to Rollo by Charles the
Simple in 911 [see p. 172].

[267] Ethelwerd was Alfred's fifth living child.

[268] This was, of course, not a school in the modern sense of the
word. All that is meant is simply that young Ethelwerd, along with
sons of nobles and non-nobles, received instruction from the learned
men at the court. It had been customary before Alfred's day for the
young princes and sons of nobles to receive training at the court, but
not in letters.

[269] This was Edward the Elder who succeeded Alfred as king and
reigned from 901 to 925. He was Alfred's eldest son.

[270] Ælfthryth was Alfred's fourth child. She became the wife of
Baldwin II. of Flanders.

[271] Among other labors in behalf of learning, Alfred made a
collection of the ancient epics and lyrics of the Saxon people.
Unfortunately, except in the case of the epic Beowulf, only fragments
of these have survived. Beowulf was, so far as we know, the earliest
of the Saxon poems, having originated before the migration to Britain,
though it was probably put in its present form by a Christian monk of
the eighth century.

[272] Armorica was the name applied in Alfred's time to the region
southward from the mouth of the Seine to Brittany.

[273] There is a good deal of independent evidence that Alfred was
peculiarly hospitable to foreigners. He delighted in learning from
them about their peoples and experiences.

[274] The word in the original is _ministeriales_. It is not Saxon but
Franco-Latin and is an instance of the Frankish element in Asser's
vocabulary. Here, as among the Franks, the _ministeriales_ were the
officials of second-rate importance surrounding the king, the highest
being known as the _ministri_.

[275] This comparison of the gathering of learning to the operations
of a bee in collecting honey is very common among classical writers
and also among those of the Carolingian renaissance. It occurs in
Lucretius, Seneca, Macrobius, Alcuin, and the poet Candidus.

[276] Plegmund became archbishop of Canterbury in 890, but it is
probable that he was with Alfred some time before his election to the

[277] This Ethelstan was probably the person of that name who was
consecrated bishop of Ramsbury in 909.

[278] From another document it appears that Werwulf was a friend of
Bishop Werfrith in Mercia before either took up residence at Alfred's

[279] In Chap. 104 of Asser's biography the _capellani_ are described
as supplying the king with candles, by whose burning he measured time.
The word _capellanus_ is of pure Frankish origin and was originally
applied to the clerks (_clerici capellani_) who were charged with the
custody of the cope (_cappa_) of St. Martin, which was kept in the
_capella_. From this the term _capella_ came to mean a room especially
devoted to religious uses, that is, a chapel. It was used in this
sense as early as 829 in Frankland. Whether by _capellanus_ Asser
meant mere clerks, or veritable "chaplains" in the later sense, cannot
be known, though his usage was probably the latter.

[280] Chapter 87 of Asser informs us that Alfred mastered the art of
reading in the year 887.

[281] Grimbald came from the Flemish monastery of St. Bertin at St.
Omer. He was recommended to Alfred by Fulco, archbishop of Rheims, who
had once been abbot of St. Bertin. We do not know in what year
Grimbald went to England, though there is some evidence that it was
not far from 887.

[282] John the Old Saxon is mentioned by Alfred as his mass-priest. It
is probable that he came from the abbey of Corbei on the upper Weser.
Not much is known about the man, but if he was as learned as Asser
says he was, he must have been a welcome addition to Alfred's group of
scholars particularly as the language which he used was very similar
to that of the West Saxons in England.

[283] That is, south of the Humber.

[284] The service of the Church.

[285] They were written, of course, in Latin.

[286] By the middle of the third century A.D. as many as three
different translations of the Old Testament into Greek had been
made--those of Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmochus. These eventually
took fixed shape in the so-called Septuagint version of the Old

[287] About the year 385 St. Jerome revised the older Latin
translation of the New Testament and translated the Old Testament
directly from the Hebrew. This complete version gradually superseded
all others for the whole Latin-reading Church, being known as the
"Vulgate," that is, the version commonly accepted. It was in the form
of the Vulgate that the Scriptures were known to the Saxons and all
other peoples of western Europe.

[288] In other words, sufficient relief from the Danish incursions.

[289] The _mancus_ was a Saxon money value equivalent to a mark.

[290] A minster was a church attached to a monastery.

[291] The witan was the gathering of "wisemen"--members of the royal
family, high officials in the Church, and leading nobles--about the
Anglo-Saxon king to assist in making ordinances and supervising the
affairs of state.

[292] Compensation rendered to an injured person.



33. Tests by Hot Water, Cold Water, and Fire

Among the early Germans the settling of disputes and the testing of
the guilt or innocence of an accused person were generally
accomplished through the employment of one or both of two very
interesting judicial practices--compurgation and the ordeal. According
to the German conception of justice, when one person was accused of
wrongdoing by another and chose to defend himself, he was not under
obligation to prove directly that he did not commit the alleged
misdeed; rather it was his business to produce, if he could, a
sufficient number of persons who would take oath that they believed
the accused to be a trustworthy man and that he was telling the truth
when he denied that he was guilty. The persons brought forward to take
this oath were known as compurgators, or "co-swearers," and the legal
act thus performed was called compurgation. The number of compurgators
required to free a man was usually from seven to twelve, though it
varied greatly among different tribes and according to the rank of the
parties involved. Naturally they were likely to be relatives or
friends of the accused man, though it was not essential that they be
such. It was in no wise expected that they be able to give facts or
evidence regarding the case; in other words, they were not to serve at
all as witnesses, such as are called in our courts to-day.

If the accused succeeded in producing the required number of
compurgators, and they took the oath in a satisfactory manner, the
defendant was usually declared to be innocent and the case was
dropped. If, however, the compurgators were not forthcoming, or there
appeared some irregularity in their part of the procedure, resort
would ordinarily be had to the ordeal. The ordeal was essentially an
appeal to the gods for decision between two contending parties. It
was based on the belief that the gods would not permit an innocent
person to suffer by reason of an unjust accusation and that when the
opportunity was offered under certain prescribed conditions the divine
power would indicate who was in the right and who in the wrong. The
ordeal, having its origin far back in the times when the Germans were
pagans and before their settlements in the Roman Empire, was retained
in common usage after the Christianizing and civilizing of the
barbarian tribes. The administering of it simply passed from the old
pagan priests to the Christian clergy, and the appeals were directed
to the Christian's God instead of to Woden and Thor. Under Christian
influence, the wager of battle (or personal combat to settle judicial
questions), which had been exceedingly common, was discouraged as much
as possible, and certain new modes of appeal to divine authority were
introduced. Throughout the earlier Middle Ages the chief forms of the
ordeal were: (1) the ordeal by walking through fire; (2) the ordeal by
hot iron, in which the accused either carried a piece of hot iron a
certain distance in his hands or walked barefoot over pieces of the
same material; (3) the ordeal by hot water, in which the accused was
required to plunge his bared arm into boiling water and bring forth a
stone or other object from the bottom; (4) the ordeal by cold water,
in which the accused was thrown, bound hand and foot, into a pond or
stream, to sink if he were innocent, to float if he were guilty; (5)
the ordeal of the cross, in which the accuser and accused stood with
arms outstretched in the form of a cross until one of them could
endure the strain of the unnatural attitude no longer; (6) the ordeal
of the sacrament, in which the accused partook of the sacrament, the
idea being that divine vengeance would certainly fall upon him in so
doing if he were guilty; (7) the ordeal of the bread and cheese, in
which the accused, made to swallow morsels of bread and cheese, was
expected to choke if he were guilty; and (8) the judicial combat,
which was generally reserved for freemen, and which, despite the
opposition of the Church, did not die out until the end of the
mediæval period.

The three passages quoted below illustrate, respectively, the ordeal
by hot water, by cold water, and by fire. The first (a) is a story
told by the Frankish historian Gregory of Tours [see p. 46]. The
second (b) is an explanation of the cold water ordeal written by
Hincmar, an archbishop of Rheims in the ninth century. The third (c)
is an account, by Raymond of Agiles, of how Peter Bartholomew was put
to the test by the ordeal of fire. This incident occurred at Antioch
during the first crusade. Peter Bartholomew had just discovered a
lance which he claimed was the one thrust into the side of Christ at
the crucifixion and, some of the crusaders being skeptical as to the
genuineness of the relic, the discoverer was submitted to the ordeal
by fire to test the matter.

     Sources--(a) Gregorius Episcopus Turonensis, _Libri
     Miraculorum_ [Gregory of Tours, "Books of Miracles"], Chap.
     80. Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Scriptores
     Merovingicarum_, Vol. I., p. 542. Translated by Arthur C.
     Howland in _Univ. of Pa. Translations and Reprints_, Vol. IV.,
     No. 4, pp. 10-11.

     (b) Hincmari Archiepiscopi Rhemensis, _De divortio Lotharii
     regis et Tetbergæ reginæ_ [Hincmar, Archbishop of Rheims, "The
     Divorce of King Lothair and Queen Teutberga"], Chap. 6. Text
     in Migne, _Patroligiæ Cursus Completus_, Second Series, Vol.
     CXXV., cols. 668-669. Translated by Arthur C. Howland, _ibid_.

     (c) Raimundus de Agiles, _Historia Francorum qui ceperunt
     Jerusalem_ [Raimond of Agiles, "History of the Franks who
     captured Jerusalem"], Chap. 18. Text in Migne, _Patrologiæ
     Cursus Completus_, Second Series, Vol. CLV., cols. 619-621.

     [Sidenote: A challenge to the ordeal by hot water]

     [Sidenote: Preparations for the ordeal]

     [Sidenote: Result of the ordeal]

   An Arian presbyter, disputing with a deacon of our religion, made
   venomous assertions against the Son of God and the Holy Ghost, as
   is the habit of that sect.[293] But when the deacon had discoursed
   a long time concerning the reasonableness of our faith, and the
   heretic, blinded by the fog of unbelief, continued to reject the
   truth (according as it is written, "Wisdom shall not enter the
   mind of the wicked") the former said: "Why weary ourselves with
   long discussions? Let acts demonstrate the truth. Let a kettle be
   heated over the fire and some one's ring be thrown into the boiling
   water. Let him who shall take it from the heated liquid be approved
   as a follower of the truth, and afterwards let the other party be
   converted to the knowledge of this truth. And do thou understand, O
   heretic, that this our party will fulfill the conditions with the
   aid of the Holy Ghost; thou shalt confess that there is no
   inequality, no dissimilarity, in the Holy Trinity." The heretic
   consented to the proposition and they separated, after appointing
   the next morning for the trial. But the fervor of faith in which
   the deacon had first made this suggestion began to cool through the
   instigation of the enemy [i.e., Satan]. Rising with the dawn, he
   bathed his arm in oil and smeared it with ointment. But
   nevertheless he made the round of the sacred places and called in
   prayer on the Lord. What more shall I say? About the third hour
   they met in the market place. The people came together to see the
   show. A fire was lighted, the kettle was placed upon it, and when
   it grew very hot the ring was thrown into the boiling water. The
   deacon invited the heretic to take it out of the water first. But
   he promptly refused, saying, "Thou who didst propose this trial art
   the one to take it out." The deacon, all of a tremble, bared his
   arm. And when the heretic presbyter saw it besmeared with ointment
   he cried out: "With magic arts thou hast thought to protect
   thyself, that thou hast made use of these salves, but what thou
   hast done will not avail." While they were thus quarreling, there
   came up a deacon from Ravenna named Iacinthus, who inquired what
   the trouble was about. When he learned the truth, he drew his arm
   out from under his robe at once and plunged his right hand into the
   kettle. Now the ring that had been thrown in was a little thing and
   very light, so that it was tossed about by the water as chaff would
   be blown about by the wind; and, searching for it a long time, he
   found it after about an hour. Meanwhile the flame beneath the
   kettle blazed up mightily, so that the greater heat might make it
   difficult for the ring to be followed by the hand; but the deacon
   extracted it at length and suffered no harm, protesting rather that
   at the bottom the kettle was cold while at the top it was just
   pleasantly warm. When the heretic beheld this, he was greatly
   confused and audaciously thrust his hand into the kettle saying,
   "My faith will aid me." As soon as his hand had been thrust in, all
   the flesh was boiled off the bones clear up to the elbow. And so
   the dispute ended.

     [Sidenote: How the ordeal of cold water is to be conducted]


   Now the one about to be examined is bound by a rope and cast into
   the water because, as it is written, "each one shall be holden with
   the cords of his iniquity." And it is manifest that he is bound for
   two reasons, namely, that he may not be able to practice any fraud
   in connection with the judgment, and that he may be drawn out at
   the right time if the water should receive him as innocent, so that
   he perish not. For as we read that Lazarus, who had been dead four
   days (by whom is signified each one buried under a load of crimes),
   was buried wrapped in bandages and, bound by the same bands, came
   forth from the sepulchre at the word of the Lord and was loosed by
   the disciples at His command; so he who is to be examined by this
   judgment is cast into the water bound, and is drawn forth again
   bound, and is either immediately set free by the decree of the
   judges, being purged, or remains bound until the time of his
   purgation and is then examined by the court.... And in this ordeal
   of cold water whoever, after the invocation of God, who is the
   Truth, seeks to hide the truth by a lie, cannot be submerged in the
   waters above which the voice of the Lord God has thundered; for the
   pure nature of the water recognizes as impure, and therefore
   rejects as inconsistent with itself, such human nature as has once
   been regenerated by the waters of baptism and is again infected by

     [Sidenote: Preparations for the ordeal by fire]


   All these things were pleasing to us and, having enjoined on him a
   fast, we declared that a fire should be prepared upon the day on
   which the Lord was beaten with stripes and put upon the cross for
   our salvation. And the fourth day thereafter was the day before the
   Sabbath. So when the appointed day came round, a fire was prepared
   after the noon hour. The leaders and the people to the number of
   60,000 came together. The priests were there also with bare feet,
   clothed in ecclesiastical garments. The fire was made of dry olive
   branches, covering a space thirteen feet long; and there were two
   piles, with a space about a foot wide between them. The height of
   these piles was four feet. Now when the fire had been kindled so
   that it burned fiercely, I, Raimond, in the presence of the whole
   multitude, said: "If Omnipotent God has spoken to this man face to
   face, and the blessed Andrew has shown him our Lord's lance while
   he was keeping his vigil,[294] let him go through the fire
   unharmed. But if it is false, let him be burned, together with the
   lance, which he is to carry in his hand." And all responded on
   bended knees, "Amen."

     [Sidenote: Peter Bartholomew passes through the flames]

   The fire was growing so hot that the flames shot up thirty cubits
   high into the air and scarcely any one dared approach it. Then
   Peter Bartholomew, clothed only in his tunic and kneeling before
   the bishop of Albar,[295] called God to witness that "he had seen
   Him face to face on the cross, and that he had heard from Him those
   things above written."... Then, when the bishop had placed the
   lance in his hand, he knelt and made the sign of the cross and
   entered the fire with the lance, firm and unterrified. For an
   instant's time he paused in the midst of the flames, and then by
   the grace of God passed through.... But when Peter emerged from the
   fire so that neither his tunic was burned nor even the thin cloth
   with which the lance was wrapped up had shown any sign of damage,
   the whole people received him, after he had made over them the sign
   of the cross with the lance in his hand and had cried, "God help
   us!" All the people, I say, threw themselves upon him and dragged
   him to the ground and trampled on him, each one wishing to touch
   him, or to get a piece of his garment, and each thinking him near
   some one else. And so he received three or four wounds in the legs
   where the flesh was torn away, his back was injured, and his sides
   bruised. Peter had died on the spot, as we believe, had not Raimond
   Pelet, a brave and noble soldier, broken through the wild crowd
   with a band of friends and rescued him at the peril of their
   lives.... After this, Peter died in peace at the hour appointed to
   him by God, and journeyed to the Lord; and he was buried in the
   place where he had carried the lance of the Lord through the


[293] The principal difference between Arian and orthodox Christians
arose out of the much discussed problem as to whether Jesus was of the
same substance as God and co-eternal with Him. The Arians maintained
that while Jesus was truly the Son of God, He must necessarily have
been inferior to the Father, else there would be two gods. Arianism
was formally condemned by the Council of Nicaea in 325, but it
continued to be the prevalent belief in many parts of the Roman
Empire; and when the Germans became Christians, it was Christianity of
the Arian type (except in the case of the Franks) that they
adopted--because it happened to be this creed that the missionaries
carried to them. The Franks became orthodox Christians, which in part
explains their close relations with the papacy in the earlier Middle
Ages [see p. 50]. Of course Gregory of Tours, who relates the story of
the Arian presbyter, as a Frank, was a hater of Arianism, and
therefore we need not be surprised at the expressions of contempt
which he employs in referring to "the heretic."

[294] The story as told by Raimond of Agiles was that Peter
Bartholomew had been visited by Andrew the Apostle, who had revealed
to him the spot where the lance lay buried beneath the Church of St.
Peter in Antioch.

[295] Albar, or Albara, was a town southeast of Antioch, beyond the

[296] Owing to Peter's early death after undergoing the ordeal, a
serious controversy arose as to whether he had really passed through
it without injury from the fire. His friends ascribed his death to the
wounds he had received from the enthusiastic crowd, but his enemies
declared that he died from burns.



34. Older Institutions Involving Elements of Feudalism

The history of the feudal system in Europe makes up a very large part
of the history of the Middle Ages, particularly of the period between
the ninth and the fourteenth centuries. This is true because
feudalism, in one way or another, touched almost every phase of the
life of western Europe during this long era. More than anything else,
it molded the conditions of government, the character and course of
war, the administration of justice, the tenure of land, the manner of
everyday life, and even the relations of the Church with sovereigns
and people. "Coming into existence," says a French historian, "in the
obscure period that followed the dissolution of the Carolingian
empire, the feudal régime developed slowly, without the intervention
of a government, without the aid of a written law, without any general
understanding among individuals; rather only by a gradual
transformation of customs, which took place sooner or later, but in
about the same way, in France, Italy, Christian Spain, and Germany.
Then, toward the end of the eleventh century, it was transplanted into
England and into southern Italy, in the twelfth and thirteenth into
the Latin states of the East, and beginning with the fourteenth into
the Scandinavian countries. This régime, established thus not
according to a general plan but by a sort of natural growth, never had
forms and usages that were everywhere the same. It is impossible to
gather it up into a perfectly exact picture, which would not be in
contradiction to several cases."[297]

The country in which feudalism reached its fullest perfection was
France and most of the passages here given to illustrate the subject
have to do with French life and institutions. In France, speaking
generally, feudalism took shape during the ninth and tenth centuries,
developed steadily until the thirteenth, and then slowly declined,
leaving influences on society which have not yet all disappeared. When
the system was complete--say by the tenth century--we can see in it
three essential elements which may be described as the personal, the
territorial, and the governmental. The personal element, in brief, was
the relation between lord and vassal under which the former gave
protection in return for the latter's fidelity. The territorial
element was the benefice, or fief, granted to the vassal by the lord
to be used on certain conditions by the former while the title to it
remained with the latter. The governmental element was the rights of
jurisdiction over his fief usually given by a lord to his vassal,
especially if the fief were an important one. At one time it was
customary to trace back all these features of the feudal system to the
institutions of Rome. Later it became almost as customary to trace
them to the institutions of the early Germans. But recent scholarship
shows that it is quite unnecessary, in fact very misleading, to
attempt to ascribe them wholly to either Roman or German sources, or
even to both together. All that we can say is that in the centuries
preceding the ninth these elements all existed in the society of
western Europe and that, while something very like them ran far back
into old Roman and German times, they existed in sixth and seventh
century Europe primarily because conditions were then such as to
_demand_ their existence. Short extracts to illustrate the most
important of these old feudal elements are given below. It should
constantly be borne in mind that no one of these things--whether
vassalage, the benefice, or the immunity--was in itself feudalism.
Most of them could, and did, exist separately, and it was only when
they were united, as commonly became the case in the ninth and tenth
centuries, that the word feudalism can properly be brought into use,
and then only as applied to the complete product.


For the personal element in feudalism it is possible to find two
prototypes, one Roman and the other German. The first was the
institution of the later Empire known as the _patrocinium_--the
relation established between a powerful man (patron) and a weak one
(client) when the latter pledged himself to perform certain services
for the former in return for protection. The second was the German
_comitatus_--a band of young warriors who lived with a prince or noble
and went on campaigns under his leadership. The _patrocinium_
doubtless survived in Roman Gaul long after the time of the Frankish
invasion, but it is not likely that the _comitatus_ ever played much
part in that country. It seems that, with the exception of the king,
the Frankish men of influence did not have bands of personal followers
after the settlement on Roman soil. But, wholly aside from earlier
practices, the conditions which the conquest, and the later struggles
of the rival kings, brought about made it still necessary for many men
who could not protect themselves or their property to seek the favor
of some one who was strong enough to give them aid. The name which
came to be applied to the act of establishing this personal relation
was _commendation_. The man who promised the protection was the lord,
and the man who pledged himself to serve the lord and be faithful to
him was the _homo_, after the eighth century known as the vassal
(_vassus_). In the eighth century, when the power of the Merovingian
kings was ebbing away and the people were left to look out for
themselves, large numbers entered into the vassal relation; and in the
ninth century, when Carolingian power was likewise running low and the
Northmen, Hungarians, and Saracens were ravaging the country, scarcely
a free man was left who did not secure for himself the protection of a
lord. The relation of vassalage was first recognized as legal in the
capitularies of Charlemagne. Here is a Frankish formula of
commendation dating from the seventh century--practically a blank
application in which the names of the prospective lord and vassal
could be inserted as required.

     Source--Eugene de Rozière, _Recueil Général des Formules
     usitées dans l'Empire des Francs du Ve au Xe siècle_
     ["General Collection of Formulae employed in the Frankish
     Empire from the Fifth to the Tenth Century"], Vol. I., p. 69.
     Translated by Edward P. Cheyney in _Univ. of Pa. Translations
     and Reprints_, Vol. IV., No. 3, pp. 3-4.

   To that magnificent lord ----, I, ----. Since it is well known to
   all how little I have wherewith to feed and clothe myself, I have
   therefore petitioned your piety, and your good-will has decreed to
   me, that I should hand myself over, or commend myself, to your
   guardianship, which I have thereupon done; that is to say, in this
   way, that you should aid and succor me, as well with food as with
   clothing, according as I shall be able to serve you and deserve it.

   And so long as I shall live I ought to provide service and honor to
   you, compatible with my free condition;[298] and I shall not,
   during the time of my life, have the right to withdraw from your
   control or guardianship; but must remain during the days of my life
   under your power or defense. Wherefore it is proper that if either
   of us shall wish to withdraw himself from these agreements, he
   shall pay ---- shillings to the other party, and this agreement
   shall remain unbroken.[299]

   (Wherefore it is fitting that they should make or confirm between
   themselves two letters drawn up in the same form on this matter;
   which they have thus done.)


The benefice, or grant of land to a vassal by a lord, by the Church,
or by the king, had its origin among the Franks in what were known as
the _precaria_ of the Church. At the time of the Frankish settlement
in Gaul, it was quite customary for the Church to grant land to men in
answer to _preces_ ("prayers," or requests), on condition that it
might be recalled at any time and that the temporary holder should be
unable to enforce any claims as against the owner. For the use of such
land a small rent in money, in produce, or in service was usually
paid. This form of tenure among the Franks was at first restricted to
church lands, but by the eighth century lay owners, even the king
himself, had come to employ it. The term _precarium_ dropped out of
use and all such grants, by whomsoever made, came to be known as
benefices ("benefits," or "favors"). The ordinary vassal might or
might not once have had land in his own name, but if he had such he
was expected to give over the ownership of it to his lord and receive
it back as a benefice to be used on certain prescribed conditions. In
time it became common, too, for lords to grant benefices out of their
own lands to landless vassals. A man could be a vassal without having
a benefice, but rarely, at least after the eighth century, could he
have a benefice without entering into the obligations of vassalage.
Benefices were at first granted by the Church with the understanding
that they might be recalled at any time; later they were granted by
Church, kings, and seigniors for life, or for a certain term of years;
and finally, in the ninth and tenth centuries, they came generally to
be regarded as hereditary. By the time the hereditary principle had
been established, the name "fief" (_feodum_, _feudum_--whence our word
feudal) had supplanted the older term "benefice." The tendency of the
personal element of vassalage and the territorial element of the
benefice, or fief, to merge was very strong, and by the tenth century
nearly every vassal was also a fief-holder. The following formulæ
belong to the seventh century. The first (a) is for the grant of lands
to a church or monastery; the second (b) for their return to the
grantor as a _precarium_--or what was known a century later as a

     Source--Eugène de Rozière, _Recueil Général des Formules_,
     Vol. I., p. 473. Translated by E. P. Cheyney in _Univ. of Pa.
     Translations and Reprints_, Vol. IV., No. 3, pp. 6-8.

     [Sidenote: Description of property yielded to a church or

     [Sidenote: Terms of the contract]

     [Sidenote: Penalty for faithlessness]


   I, ----, in the name of God. I have settled in my mind that I
   ought, for the good of my soul, to make a gift of something from my
   possessions, which I have therefore done. And this is what I hand
   over, in the district named ----, in the place of which the name is
   ----, all those possessions of mine which there my father left me
   at his death, and which, as against my brothers, or as against my
   co-heirs, the lot legitimately brought me in the division,[300] or
   those which I was able afterward to add to them in any way, in
   their whole completeness, that is to say, the courtyard with its
   buildings, with slaves, houses, lands (cultivated and
   uncultivated), meadows, woods, waters, mills, etc. These, as I have
   said before, with all the things adjacent or belonging to them, I
   hand over to the church, which was built in honor of Saint ----, to
   the monastery which is called ----, where the Abbot ---- is
   acknowledged to rule regularly over God's flock. On these
   conditions: that so long as life remains in my body, I shall
   receive from you as a benefice for usufruct the possessions above
   described, and the due payment I will make to you and your
   successors each year, that is ---- [amount named]. And my son shall
   have the same possessions for the days of his life, and shall make
   the above-named payment; and if my children should survive me, they
   shall have the same possessions during the days of their lives and
   shall make the same payment; and if God shall give me a son from a
   legitimate wife, he shall have the same possessions for the days of
   his life only, after the death of whom the same possessions, with
   all their improvements, shall return to your hands to be held
   forever; and if it should be my chance to beget sons from a
   legitimate marriage, these shall hold the same possessions after my
   death, making the above-named payment, during the time of their
   lives. If not, however, after my death, without subterfuge of any
   kind, by right of your authority, the same possessions shall revert
   to you, to be retained forever. If any one, however (which I do not
   believe will ever occur)--if I myself, or any other person--shall
   wish to violate the firmness and validity of this grant, the order
   of truth opposing him, may his falsity in no degree succeed; and
   for his bold attempt may he pay to the aforesaid monastery double
   the amount which his ill-ordered cupidity has been prevented from
   abstracting; and moreover let him be indebted to the royal
   authority for ---- solidi of gold; and, nevertheless, let the
   present charter remain inviolate with all that it contains, with
   the witnesses placed below.

   Done in ----, publicly, those who are noted below being present, or
   the remaining innumerable multitude of people.

     [Sidenote: The property again described]

     [Sidenote: Returned to the original owner to be used by him]


   In the name of God, I, Abbot ----, with our commissioned brethren.
   Since it is not unknown how you, ----, by the suggestion of divine
   exhortation, did grant to ---- [monastery named], to the church
   which is known to be constructed in honor of Saint ----, where we
   by God's authority exercise our pastoral care, all your possessions
   which you seemed to have in the district named, in the vill
   [village] named, which your father on his death bequeathed to you
   there, or which by your own labor you were able to gain there, or
   which, as against your brother or against ----, a co-heir, a just
   division gave you, with courtyard and buildings, gardens and
   orchards, with various slaves, ---- by name, houses, lands,
   meadows, woods (cultivated and uncultivated), or with all the
   dependencies and appurtenances belonging to it, which it would be
   extremely long to enumerate, in all their completeness; but
   afterwards, at your request, it has seemed proper to us to cede to
   you the same possessions to be held for usufruct; and you will not
   neglect to pay at annual periods the due _census_ [i.e., the
   rental] hence, that is ---- [amount named]. And if God should give
   you a son by your legal wife, he shall have the same possessions
   for the days of his life only, and shall not presume to neglect the
   above payment, and similarly your sons which you are seen to have
   at present, shall do for the days of their lives; after the death
   of whom, all the possessions above-named shall revert to us and
   our successors perpetually. Moreover, if no sons shall have been
   begotten by you, immediately after your death, without any harmful
   contention, the possessions shall revert to the rulers or guardians
   of the above-named church, forever. Nor may any one, either
   ourselves or our successors, be successful in a rash attempt
   inordinately to destroy these agreements, but just as the time has
   demanded in the present _precaria_, may that be sure to endure
   unchanged which we, with the consent of our brothers, have decided
   to confirm.

   Done in ----, in the presence of ---- and of others whom it is not
   worth while to enumerate. [Seal of the same abbot who has ordered
   this _precaria_ to be made.]


The most important element in the governmental phase of feudalism was
what was known as the immunity. In Roman law immunity meant exemption
from taxes and public services and belonged especially to the lands
owned personally by the emperors. Such exemptions were, however,
sometimes allowed to the lands of imperial officers and of men in
certain professions, and in later times to the lands held by the
Church. How closely this Roman immunity was connected with the feudal
immunity of the Middle Ages is not clear. Doubtless the institution
survived in Gaul, especially on church lands, long after the Frankish
conquest. It is best, however, to look upon the typical Frankish
immunity as of essentially independent origin. From the time of
Clovis, the kings were accustomed to make grants of the sort to
land-holding abbots and bishops, and by the time of Charlemagne nearly
all such prelates had been thus favored. But such grants were not
confined to ecclesiastics. Even in the seventh and eighth centuries
lay holders of royal benefices often received the privileges of the
immunity also. Speaking generally, the immunity exempted the lands to
which it applied from the jurisdiction of the local royal officials,
especially of the counts. The lands were supposed to be none the less
ultimately subject to the royal authority, but by the grant of
immunity the sovereign took their financial and judicial
administration from the counts, who would ordinarily have charge, and
gave it to the holders of the lands. The counts were forbidden to
enter the specified territories to collect taxes or fines, hold
courts, and sometimes even to arrange for military service. The
layman, or the bishop, or the abbot, who held the lands performed
these services and was responsible only to the crown for them. The
king's chief object in granting the immunity was to reward or win the
support of the grantees and to curtail the authority of his local
representatives, who in many cases threatened to become too powerful
for the good of the state; but by every such grant the sovereign
really lost some of his own power, and this practice came to be in no
small measure responsible for the weakness of monarchy in feudal

The first of the extracts below (a) is a seventh-century formula for
the grant of an immunity by the king to a bishop. The second (b) is a
grant made by Charlemagne, in 779, confirming an old immunity enjoyed
by the monastery at Châlons-sur-Saône.

     Sources--(a) Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Legum
     Sectio V., Formulæ_, Part I., pp. 43-44.

     (b) Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Leges_ (Pertz ed.),
     Vol. II., p. 287. Adapted from translation in Ephraim Emerton,
     _Introduction to the Study of the Middle Ages_ (new ed.,
     Boston, 1903), p. 246.

     [Sidenote: A formula for a grant of immunity]


   We believe that we give our royal authority its full splendor if,
   with benevolent intentions, we bestow upon churches--or upon any
   persons--the favors which they merit, and if, with the aid of God,
   we give a written assurance of the continuance of these favors. We
   wish, then, to make known that at the request of a prelate, lord of
   ---- [the estate named] and bishop of ---- [the church named], we
   have accorded to him, for the sake of our eternal salvation, the
   following benefits: that in the domains of the bishop's church,
   both those which it possesses to-day and those which by God's grace
   it may later acquire, no public official shall be permitted to
   enter, either to hold courts or to exact fines, on any account; but
   let these prerogatives be vested in full in the bishop and his
   successors. We ordain therefore that neither you nor your
   subordinates,[301] nor those who come after you, nor any person
   endowed with a public office, shall ever enter the domains of that
   church, in whatever part of our kingdom they may be situated,
   either to hold trials or to collect fines. All the taxes and other
   revenues which the royal treasury has a right to demand from the
   people on the lands of the said church, whether they be freemen or
   slaves, Romans or barbarians, we now bestow on the said church for
   our future salvation, to be used by the officials of the church
   forever for the best interests of the church.


   Charles, by the grace of God King of the Franks and Lombards and
   Patrician of the Romans, to all having charge of our affairs, both
   present and to come:

   By the help of the Lord, who has raised us to the throne of this
   kingdom, it is the chief duty of our clemency to lend a gracious
   ear to the need of all, and especially ought we devoutly to regard
   that which we are persuaded has been granted by preceding kings to
   church foundations for the saving of souls, and not to deny fitting
   benefits, in order that we may deserve to be partakers of the
   reward, but to confirm them in still greater security.

     [Sidenote: The old immunity enjoyed by the monastery at Châlons]

   Now the illustrious Hubert, bishop and ruler of the church of St.
   Marcellus, which lies below the citadel of Châlons,[302] where the
   precious martyr of the Lord himself rests in the body, has brought
   it to the attention of our Highness that the kings who preceded us,
   or our lord and father of blessed memory, Pepin, the preceding
   king, had by their charters granted complete immunities to that
   monastery, so that in the towns or on the lands belonging to it no
   public judge, nor any one with power of hearing cases or exacting
   fines, or raising sureties, or obtaining lodging or entertainment,
   or making requisitions of any kind, should enter.

   Moreover, the aforesaid bishop, Hubert, has presented the original
   charters of former kings, together with the confirmations of them,
   to be read by us, and declares the same favors to be preserved to
   the present day; but desiring the confirmation of our clemency, he
   prays that our authority may confirm this grant anew to the

     [Sidenote: =The immunity confirmed=]

   Wherefore, having inspected the said charters of former kings, we
   command that neither you, nor your subordinates, nor your
   successors, nor any person having judicial powers, shall presume to
   enter into the villages which may at the present time be in
   possession of that monastery, or which hereafter may have been
   bestowed by God-fearing men [or may be about to be so
   bestowed].[303] Let no public officer enter for the hearing of
   cases, or for exacting fines, or procuring sureties, or obtaining
   lodging or entertainment, or making any requisitions; but in full
   immunity, even as the favor of former kings has been continued down
   to the present day, so in the future also shall it, through our
   authority, remain undiminished. And if in times past, through any
   negligence of abbots, or luke-warmness of rulers, or the
   presumption of public officers, anything has been changed or taken
   away, removed or withdrawn, from these immunities, let it, by our
   authority and favor, be restored. And, further, let neither you nor
   your subordinates presume to infringe upon or violate what we have

     [Sidenote: Penalties for its violation]

   But if there be any one, _dominus_,[304] _comes_ [count],
   _domesticus_,[305] _vicarius_,[306] or one vested with any judicial
   power whatsoever, by the indulgence of the good or by the favor of
   pious Christians or kings, who shall have presumed to infringe upon
   or violate these immunities, let him be punished with a fine of six
   hundred _solidi_,[307] two parts to go to the library of this
   monastery, and the third part to be paid into our treasury, so that
   impious men may not rejoice in violating that which our ancestors,
   or good Christians, may have conceded or granted. And whatever our
   treasury may have had a right to expect from this source shall go
   to the profit of the men of this church of St. Marcellus the
   martyr, to the better establishment of our kingdom and the good of
   those who shall succeed us.

   And that this decree may firmly endure we have ordered it to be
   confirmed with our own hand under our seal.

35. The Granting of Fiefs

The most obvious feature of feudalism was a peculiar divided tenure of
land under which the title was vested in one person and the use in
another. The territorial unit was the fief, which in extent might be
but a few acres, a whole county, or even a vast region like Normandy
or Burgundy. Fiefs were granted to vassals by contracts which bound
both grantor and grantee to certain specific obligations. The two
extracts below are examples of the records of such feudal grants,
bearing the dates 1167 and 1200 respectively. It should be remembered,
however, that fiefs need not necessarily be land. Offices, payments of
money, rights to collect tolls, and many other valuable things might
be given by one man to another as fiefs in just the same way that land
was given. Du Cange, in his _Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis_,
mentions eighty-eight different kinds of fiefs, and it has been said
that this does not represent more than one-fourth of the total number.
Nevertheless, the typical fief consisted of land. The term might
therefore be defined in general as the land for which the vassal, or
hereditary possessor, rendered to the lord, or hereditary proprietor,
services of a special character which were considered honorable, such
as military aid and attendance at courts.

     Sources--(a) Nicolas Brussel, _Nouvel Examen de l'Usage
     général des Fiefs en France pendant le XI, le XII, le XIII, et
     le XIVe Siècle_ ["New Examination of the Customs of Fiefs in
     the 11th, the 12th, the 13th, and the 14th Century"], Paris,
     1727, Vol. I., p. 3, note. Translated by Edward P. Cheyney in
     _Univ. of Pa. Translations and Reprints_, Vol. IV., No. 3, pp.

     (b) Maximilien Quantin, _Recueil de Pièces du XIIIe Siècle_
     ["Collection of Documents of the Thirteenth Century"],
     Auxerre, 1873, No. 2, pp. 1-2. Translated by Cheyney, _ibid._

     [Sidenote: The count of Champagne grants a fief to the bishop of


   In the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Amen. I, Louis,[308]
   by the grace of God king of the French, make known to all present
   as well as to come, that at Mante in our presence, Count Henry of
   Champagne[309] conceded the fief of Savigny to Bartholomew, bishop
   of Beauvais,[310] and his successors. And for that fief the said
   bishop has made promise and engagement for one knight and justice
   and service to Count Henry;[311] and he also agreed that the
   bishops who shall come after him will do likewise. In order that
   this may be understood and known to posterity we have caused the
   present charter to be attested by our seal. Done at Mante, in the
   year of the Incarnate Word, 1167; present in our palace those whose
   names and seals are appended: seal of Thiebault, our steward; seal
   of Guy, the butler; seal of Matthew, the chamberlain; seal of
   Ralph, the constable. Given by the hand of Hugh, the chancellor.

     [Sidenote: A grant by Count Thiebault]


   I, Thiebault, count palatine of Troyes,[312] make known to those
   present and to come that I have given in fee[313] to Jocelyn
   d'Avalon and his heirs the manor which is called Gillencourt,[314]
   which is of the castellanerie[315] of La Ferté-sur-Aube; and
   whatever the same Jocelyn shall be able to acquire in the same
   manor I have granted to him and his heirs in enlargement of that
   fief. I have granted, moreover, to him that in no free manor of
   mine will I retain men who are of this gift.[316] The same Jocelyn,
   moreover, on account of this has become my liege man, saving,
   however, his allegiance to Gerad d'Arcy, and to the lord duke of
   Burgundy, and to Peter, count of Auxerre.[317] Done at Chouaude, by
   my own witness, in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord 1200, in
   the month of January. Given by the hand of Walter, my chancellor.

36. The Ceremonies of Homage and Fealty

The personal relation between lord and vassal was established by the
double ceremony of homage and fealty. Homage was the act by which the
vassal made himself the man (_homo_) of the lord, while fealty was the
oath of fidelity to the obligations which must ordinarily be assumed
by such a man. The two were really distinct, though because they
almost invariably went together they finally became confounded in the
popular mind. The details of the ceremonies varied much in different
times and places, but, in general, when homage was to be performed,
the prospective vassal presented himself before his future seigneur
bareheaded and without arms; knelt, placed his hands in those of the
seigneur, and declared himself his man; then he was kissed by the
seigneur and lifted to his feet. In the act of fealty, the vassal
placed his hand upon sacred relics, or upon the Bible, and swore
eternal faithfulness to his seigneur. The so-called "act of
investiture" generally followed, the seigneur handing over to the
vassal a bit of turf, a stick, or some other object symbolizing the
transfer of the usufruct of the property in question. The whole
process was merely a mode of establishing a binding contract between
the two parties. Below we have: (_a_) a mediæval definition of homage,
taken from the customary law of Normandy; (_b_) an explanation of
fealty, given in an old English law-book; (_c_) a French chronicler's
account of the rendering of homage and fealty to the count of Flanders
in the year 1127; and (_d_) a set of laws governing homage and fealty,
written down in a compilation of the ordinances of Saint Louis (king
of France, 1226-1270), but doubtless showing substantially the
practice in France for a long time before King Louis's day.

     Sources--(a) _L'Ancienne Coutume de Normandie_ ["The Old
     Custom of Normandy"], Chap. 29.

     (b) Sir Thomas Lyttleton, _Treatise of Tenures in French and
     English_ (London, 1841), Bk. II., Chap. 2, p. 123.

     (c) Galbert de Bruges, _De Multro, Traditione, et Occisione
     gloriosi Karoli comitis Flandriarum_ ["Concerning the Murder,
     Betrayal, and Death of the glorious Charles, Count of
     Flanders"]. Text in Henri Pirenne, _Histoire du Meurtre de
     Charles le Bon, comte de Flandre, par Galbert de Bruges_
     (Paris, 1891). Translated by Edward P. Cheyney in _Univ. of
     Pa. Translations and Reprints_, Vol. IV., No. 3, p. 18.

     (d) _Les Établissements de Saint Louis_ ["The Ordinances of
     St. Louis"], Bk. II., Chap. 19. Text in Paul Viollet's edition
     (Paris, 1881), Vol. II., pp. 395-398.

     [Sidenote: A Norman definition of homage]


   Homage is a pledge to keep faith in respect to matters that are
   right and necessary, and to give counsel and aid. He who would do
   homage ought to place his hands between those of the man who is to
   be his lord, and speak these words: "I become your man, to keep
   faith with you against all others, saving my allegiance to the duke
   of Normandy."

     [Sidenote: The oath of fealty]


   And when a free tenant shall swear fealty to his lord, let him
   place his right hand on the book[318] and speak thus: "Hear thou
   this, my lord, that I will be faithful and loyal to you and will
   keep my pledges to you for the lands which I claim to hold of you,
   and that I will loyally perform for you the services specified, so
   help me God and the saints." Then he shall kiss the book; but he
   shall not kneel when he swears fealty, nor take so humble a posture
   as is required in homage.


   Through the whole remaining part of the day those who had been
   previously enfeoffed by the most pious count Charles, did homage to
   the count,[319] taking up now again their fiefs and offices and
   whatever they had before rightfully and legitimately obtained. On
   Thursday, the seventh of April, homages were again made to the
   count, being completed in the following order of faith and

     [Sidenote: The rendering of homage and fealty to the count of

   First they did their homage thus. The count asked if he was willing
   to become completely his man, and the other replied, "I am
   willing"; and with clasped hands, surrounded by the hands of the
   count, they were bound together by a kiss. Secondly, he who had
   done homage gave his fealty to the representative of the count in
   these words, "I promise on my faith that I will in future be
   faithful to Count William, and will observe my homage to him
   completely, against all persons, in good faith and without deceit."
   Thirdly, he took his oath to this upon the relics of the saints.
   Afterwards, with a little rod which the count held in his hand, he
   gave investitures to all who by this agreement had given their
   security and homage and accompanying oath.

     [Sidenote: An ordinance of St. Louis on homage and fealty]


   If any one would hold from a lord in fee, he ought to seek his lord
   within forty days. And if he does not do it within forty days, the
   lord may and ought to seize his fief for default of homage, and the
   things which are found there he should seize without compensation;
   and yet the vassal should be obliged to pay to his lord the
   redemption.[320] When any one wishes to enter into the fealty of a
   lord, he ought to seek him, as we have said above, and should speak
   as follows: "Sir, I request you, as my lord, to put me in your
   fealty and in your homage for such and such a thing situated in
   your fief, which I have bought." And he ought to say from what man,
   and this one ought to be present and in the fealty of the
   lord;[321] and whether it is by purchase or by escheat[322] or by
   inheritance he ought to explain; and with his hands joined, to
   speak as follows: "Sir, I become your man and promise to you fealty
   for the future as my lord, towards all men who may live or die,
   rendering to you such service as the fief requires, making to you
   your relief as you are the lord." And he ought to say whether for
   guardianship,[323] or as an escheat, or as an inheritance, or as a

   The lord should immediately reply to him: "And I receive you and
   take you as my man, and give you this kiss as a sign of faith,
   saving my right and that of others," according to the usage of the
   various districts.

37. The Mutual Obligations of Lords and Vassals

The feudal relation was essentially one of contract involving
reciprocal relations between lord and vassal. In the following letter,
written in the year 1020 by Bishop Fulbert of Chartres[324] to the
duke of Aquitaine, we find laid down the general principles which
ought to govern the discharge of these mutual obligations. It is
affirmed that there were six things that no loyal vassal could do, and
these are enumerated and explained. Then comes the significant
statement that these negative duties must be supplemented with
positive acts for the service and support of the lord. What some of
these acts were will appear in the extracts in §38. Bishop Fulbert
points out also that the lord is himself bound by feudal law not to do
things detrimental to the safety, honor, or prosperity of his vassal.
The letter is an admirable statement of the spirit of the feudal
system at its best. Already by 1020 a considerable body of feudal
customs having the force of law had come into existence and it appears
that Fulbert had made these customs the subject of some special study
before answering the questions addressed to him by Duke William.

     Source--Text in Martin Bouquet, _Recueil des Historiens des
     Gaules et de la France_ ["Collection of the Historians of Gaul
     and of France"], Vol. X., p. 463.

   To William, most illustrious duke of the Aquitanians, Bishop
   Fulbert, the favor of his prayers:

     [Sidenote: What the vassal owes the lord]

   Requested to write something regarding the character of fealty, I
   have set down briefly for you, on the authority of the books, the
   following things. He who takes the oath of fealty to his lord ought
   always to keep in mind these six things: what is harmless, safe,
   honorable, useful, easy, and practicable.[325] _Harmless_, which
   means that he ought not to injure his lord in his body; _safe_,
   that he should not injure him by betraying his confidence or the
   defenses upon which he depends for security; _honorable_, that he
   should not injure him in his justice, or in other matters that
   relate to his honor; _useful_, that he should not injure him in his
   property; _easy_, that he should not make difficult that which his
   lord can do easily; and _practicable_, that he should not make
   impossible for the lord that which is possible.

   However, while it is proper that the faithful vassal avoid these
   injuries, it is not for doing this alone that he deserves his
   holding: for it is not enough to refrain from wrongdoing, unless
   that which is good is done also. It remains, therefore, that in the
   same six things referred to above he should faithfully advise and
   aid his lord, if he wishes to be regarded as worthy of his benefice
   and to be safe concerning the fealty which he has sworn.

     [Sidenote: The obligations of the lord]

   The lord also ought to act toward his faithful vassal in the same
   manner in all these things. And if he fails to do this, he will be
   rightfully regarded as guilty of bad faith, just as the former, if
   he should be found shirking, or willing to shirk, his obligations
   would be perfidious and perjured.[326]

   I should have written to you at greater length had I not been busy
   with many other matters, including the rebuilding of our city and
   church, which were recently completely destroyed by a terrible
   fire. Though for a time we could not think of anything but this
   disaster, yet now, by the hope of God's comfort, and of yours also,
   we breathe more freely again.

38. Some of the More Important Rights of the Lord

The obligations of vassals to lords outlined in the preceding
selection were mainly of a moral character--such as naturally grew out
of the general idea of loyalty and fidelity to a benefactor. They were
largely negative and were rather vague and indefinite. So far as they
went, they were binding upon lords and vassals alike. There were,
however, several very definite and practical rights which the lords
possessed with respect to the property and persons of their
dependents. Some of these were of a financial character, some were
judicial, and others were military. Five of the most important are
illustrated by the passages given below.

(_a_) AIDS

Under the feudal system the idea prevailed that the vassal's purse as
well as his body was to be at the lord's service. Originally the right
to draw upon his vassals for money was exercised by the lord whenever
he desired, but by custom this ill-defined power gradually became
limited to three sorts of occasions when the need of money was likely
to be especially urgent, i.e., when the eldest son was knighted, when
the eldest daughter was married, and when the lord was to be ransomed
from captivity. In the era of the crusades, the starting of the lord
on an expedition to the Holy Land was generally regarded as another
emergency in which an aid might rightfully be demanded. The following
extract from the old customary law of Normandy represents the practice
in nearly all feudal Europe.

     Source--_L'Ancienne Coutume de Normandie_, Chap. 35.

     [Sidenote: The three aids]

   In Normandy there are three chief aids. The first is to help make
   the lord's eldest son a knight; the second is to marry his eldest
   daughter; the third is to ransom the body of the lord from prison
   when he shall be taken captive during a war for the duke.[327] By
   this it appears that the _aide de chevalerie_ [knighthood-aid] is
   due when the eldest son of the lord is made a knight. The eldest
   son is he who has the dignity of primogeniture.[328] The _aide de
   mariage_ [marriage-aid] is due when the eldest daughter is
   married. The _aide de rançon_ [ransom-aid] is due when it is
   necessary to deliver the lord from the prisons of the enemies of
   the duke. These aids are paid in some fiefs at the rate of half a
   relief, and in some at the rate of a third.[329]


From whatever point of view feudalism is regarded--whether as a system
of land tenure, as a form of social organization, or as a type of
government--the military element in it appears everywhere important.
The feudal period was the greatest era of war the civilized world has
ever known. Few people between the tenth and fourteenth centuries,
except in the peasant classes, were able to live out their lives
entirely in peace. Of greatest value to kings and feudal magnates,
greater even than money itself, was a goodly following of soldiers;
hence the almost universal requirement of military service by lords
from their vassals. Fiefs were not infrequently granted out for no
other purpose than to get the military service which their holders
would owe. The amount of such service varied greatly in different
times and places, but the following arrangement represents the most
common practice.

     Source--_Les Établissements de Saint Louis_, Bk. I., Chap. 65.
     Text in Paul Viollet's edition (Paris, 1881), Vol. II., pp.

     [Sidenote: The conditions of military service]

   The baron and the vassals of the king ought to appear in his army
   when they shall be summoned, and ought to serve at their own
   expense for forty days and forty nights, with whatever number of
   knights they owe.[330] And he possesses the right to exact from
   them these services when he wishes and when he has need of them.
   If, however, the king shall wish to keep them more than forty days
   and forty nights at their own expense, they need not remain unless
   they desire.[331] But if he shall wish to retain them at his cost
   for the defense of the kingdom, they ought lawfully to remain. But
   if he shall propose to lead them outside of the kingdom, they need
   not go unless they are willing, for they have already served their
   forty days and forty nights.


Very important among the special prerogatives of the feudal lord was
his right to manage, and enjoy the profits of, fiefs inherited by
minors. When a vassal died, leaving an heir who was under age, the
lord was charged with the care of the fief until the heir reached his
or her majority. On becoming of age, a young man was expected to take
control of his fief at once. But a young woman remained under wardship
until her marriage, though if she married under age she could get
possession of her fief immediately, just as she would had she waited
until older. The control of the marriage of heiresses was largely in
the hands of their lords, for obviously it was to the lord's interest
that no enemy of his, nor any shiftless person, should become the
husband of his ward. The lord could compel a female ward to marry and
could oblige her to accept as a husband one of the candidates whom he
offered her; but it was usually possible for the woman to purchase
exemption from this phase of his jurisdiction. After the thirteenth
century the right of wardship gradually declined in France, though it
long continued in England. The following extract from the customs of
Normandy sets forth the typical feudal law on the subject.

     Source--_L'Ancienne Coutume de Normandie_, Chap. 33.

   Heirs should be placed in guardianship until they reach the age of
   twenty years; and those who hold them as wards should give over to
   them all the fiefs which came under their control by reason of
   wardship, provided they have not lost anything by judicial
   process.... When the heirs pass out of the condition of wardship,
   their lords shall not impose upon them any reliefs for their fiefs,
   for the profits of wardship shall be reckoned in place of the

     [Sidenote: The marriage of a female ward]

   When a female ward reaches the proper age to marry, she should be
   married by the advice and consent of her lord, and by the advice
   and consent of her relatives and friends, according as the nobility
   of her ancestry and the value of her fief may require; and upon her
   marriage the fief which has been held in guardianship should be
   given over to her. A woman cannot be freed from wardship except by
   marriage; and let it not be said that she is of age until she is
   twenty years old. But if she be married at the age at which it is
   allowable for a woman to marry, the fact of her marriage makes her
   of age and delivers her fief from wardship.

     [Sidenote: The lord's obligation to care for the fief of his ward]

   The fiefs of those who are under wardship should be cared for
   attentively by their lords, who are entitled to receive the produce
   and profits.[332] And in this connection let it be known that the
   lord ought to preserve in their former condition the buildings, the
   manor-houses, the forests and meadows, the gardens, the ponds, the
   mills, the fisheries, and the other things of which he has the
   profits. And he should not sell, destroy, or remove the woods, the
   houses, or the trees.


A relief was a payment made to the lord by an heir before entering
upon possession of his fief. The history of reliefs goes back to the
time when benefices were not hereditary and when, if a son succeeded
his father in the usufruct of a piece of property, it was regarded as
an unusual thing--a special favor on the part of the owner to be paid
for by the new tenant. Later, when fiefs had become almost everywhere
hereditary, the custom of requiring reliefs still survived. The amount
was at first arbitrary, being arranged by individual bargains; but in
every community, especially in France, the tendency was toward a fixed
custom regarding it. Below are given some brief extracts from English
Treasury records which show how men in England between the years 1140
and 1230 paid the king for the privilege of retaining the fiefs held
by their fathers.

     Source--Thomas Madox, _History and Antiquities of the
     Exchequer of the Kings of England_ (London, 1769), Vol. I.,
     pp. 312-322 _passim_.

   Walter Hait renders an account of 5 marks of silver for the relief
   of the land of his father.

   Walter Brito renders an account of £66, 13s. and 4d. for the relief
   of his land.

   Richard of Estre renders an account of £15 for the relief for 3
   knights' fees which he holds from the honor of Mortain.

   Walter Fitz Thomas, of Newington, owes 28s. 4d. for having a fourth
   part of one knight's fee which had been seized into the hand of the
   king for default of relief.

   John of Venetia renders an account of 300 marks for the fine of his
   land and for the relief of the land which was his father's which he
   held from the king _in capite_.[333]

   John de Balliol owes £150 for the relief of 30 knights' fees which
   Hugh de Balliol, his father, held from the king _in capite_, that
   is 100s. for each fee.

   Peter de Bruce renders an account of £100 for his relief for the
   barony which was of Peter his father.


The lord's most effective means of compelling his vassals to discharge
their obligations was his right to take back their fiefs for breach of
feudal contract. Such a breach, or felony, as it was technically
called, might consist in refusal to render military service or the
required aids, ignoring the sovereign authority of the lord, levying
war against the lord, dishonoring members of the lord's family, or, as
in the case below, refusing to obey the lord's summons to appear in
court. In practice the lords generally found it difficult to enforce
the penalty of forfeiture and after the thirteenth century the
tendency was to substitute money fines for dispossession, except in
the most aggravated cases. The following is an account of the
condemnation of Arnold Atton, a nobleman of south France, by the
feudal court of Raymond, count of Toulouse, in the year 1249. The
penalty imposed was the loss of the valuable château of Auvillars.

     Source--Teulet, _Layettes du Trésor des Cartes_ ["Bureau of
     Treasury Accounts "], No. 3778, Vol. III., p. 70. Translated
     by Edward P. Cheyney in _Univ. of Pa. Translations and
     Reprints_, Vol. IV., No. 3. pp. 33-34.

   Raymond, by the grace of God count of Toulouse, marquis of
   Provence, to the nobleman Arnold Atton, viscount of Lomagne,

     [Sidenote: The court's sentence upon Arnold Atton]

   Let it be known to your nobility by the tenor of these presents
   what has been done in the matter of the complaints which we have
   made about you before the court of Agen; that you have not taken
   the trouble to keep or fulfill the agreements sworn by you to us,
   as is more fully contained in the instrument drawn up there, sealed
   with our seal by the public notary; and that you have refused
   contemptuously to appear before the said court for the purpose of
   doing justice, and have otherwise committed multiplied and great
   delinquencies against us. As your faults have required, the
   aforesaid court of Agen has unanimously and concordantly pronounced
   sentence against you, and for these matters have condemned you to
   hand over and restore to us the château of Auvillars and all that
   land which you hold from us in fee, to be had and held by us by
   right of the obligation by which you have bound it to us for
   fulfilling and keeping the said agreements.

   Likewise it has declared that we are to be put into possession of
   the said land and that it is to be handed over to us, on account of
   your contumacy, because you have not been willing to appear before
   the same court on the days which were assigned to you. Moreover, it
   has declared that you shall be held and required to restore the
   said land in whatsoever way we wish to receive it, with few or
   many, in peace or in anger, in our own person, by right of
   lordship. Likewise it has declared that you shall restore to us all
   the expenses which we have incurred, or the court itself has
   incurred, on those days which were assigned to you, or because of
   those days, and has condemned you to repay these to us.[334]

   Moreover, it has declared that the nobleman Gerald d'Armagnac, whom
   you hold captive, you shall liberate, and deliver him free to us.
   We demand, moreover, by right of our lordship that you liberate

   We call, therefore, upon your discretion in this matter, strictly
   enjoining you and commanding that you obey the aforesaid sentences
   in all things and fulfill them in all respects and in no way delay
   the execution of them.

39. The Peace and the Truce of God

War rather than peace was the normal condition of feudal society.
Peasants were expected to settle their disputes in the courts of law,
but lords and seigneurs possessed a legal right to make war upon their
enemies and were usually not loath to exercise it. Private warfare was
indeed so common that it all the time threatened seriously the lives
and property of the masses of the people and added heavily to the
afflictions which flood, drought, famine, and pestilence brought
repeatedly upon them. The first determined efforts to limit, if not to
abolish, the ravages of private war were made by the Church, partly
because the Church itself often suffered by reason of them, partly
because its ideal was that of peace and security, and partly because
it recognized its duty as the protector of the poor and oppressed.
Late in the tenth century, under the influence of the Cluniacs [see p.
245], the clergy of France, both secular and regular, began in their
councils to promulgate decrees which were intended to establish what
was known as the Peace of God. These decrees, which were enacted by so
many councils between 989 and 1050 that they came to cover pretty
nearly all France, proclaimed generally that any one who should use
violence toward women, peasants, merchants, or members of the clergy
should be excommunicated. The principle was to exempt certain classes
of people from the operations of war and violence, even though the
rest of the population should continue to fight among themselves. It
must be said that these decrees, though enacted again and again, had
often little apparent effect.

Effort was then made in another direction. From about 1027 the
councils began to proclaim what was known as the Truce of God,
sometimes alone and sometimes in connection with the Peace. The
purport of the Truce of God was that all men should abstain from
warfare and violence during a certain portion of each week, and during
specified church festivals and holy seasons. At first only Sunday was
thus designated; then other days, until the time from Wednesday night
to Monday morning was all included; then extended periods, as Lent,
were added, until finally not more than eighty days remained of the
entire year on which private warfare was allowable. As one writer has
stated it, "the Peace of God was intended to protect certain classes
at all times and the Truce to protect all classes at certain times."
It was equally difficult to secure the acquiescence of the lawless
nobles in both, and though the efforts of the Church were by no means
without result, we are to think of private warfare as continuing quite
common until brought gradually to an end by the rise of strong
monarchies, by the turning of men to commerce and trade, and by the
drawing off of military energies into foreign and international wars.

The decree given below, which combines features of both the Peace and
the Truce, was issued by the Council of Toulouges (near Perpignan) in
1041, or, as some scholars think, in 1065. Its substance was many
times reënacted, notably by the Council of Clermont, in 1095, upon the
occasion of the proclamation of the first Crusade. It should have
procured about 240 days of peace in every year and reduced war to
about 120 days, but, like the others, it was only indifferently

     Source--Text in Martin Bouquet, _Recueil des Historiens des
     Gaules et de la France_ ["Collection of the Historians of Gaul
     and of France"], Paris, 1876, Vol. XI., pp. 510-511.

     [Sidenote: Acts of violence forbidden in or near churches]

   =1.= This Peace has been confirmed by the bishops, by the abbots,
   by the counts and viscounts and the other God-fearing nobles in
   this bishopric, to the effect that in the future, beginning with
   this day, no man may commit an act of violence in a church, or in
   the space which surrounds it and which is covered by its
   privileges, or in the burying-ground, or in the dwelling-houses
   which are, or may be, within thirty paces of it.

   =2.= We do not include in this measure the churches which have
   been, or which shall be, fortified as châteaux, or those in which
   plunderers and thieves are accustomed to store their ill-gotten
   booty, or which give them a place of refuge. Nevertheless we desire
   that such churches be under this protection until complaint of them
   shall be made to the bishop, or to the chapter. If the bishop or
   chapter[335] act upon such information and lay hold of the
   malefactors, and if the latter refuse to give themselves up to the
   justice of the bishop or chapter, the malefactors and all their
   possessions shall not be immune, even within the church. A man who
   breaks into a church, or into the space within thirty paces around
   it, must pay a fine for sacrilege, and double this amount to the
   person wronged.

     [Sidenote: Attacks upon the clergy prohibited]

   =3.= Furthermore, it is forbidden that any one attack the clergy,
   who do not bear arms, or the monks and religious persons, or do
   them any wrong; likewise it is forbidden to despoil or pillage the
   communities of canons, monks, and religious persons, the
   ecclesiastical lands which are under the protection of the Church,
   or the clergy, who do not bear arms; and if any one shall do such
   a thing, let him pay a double composition.[336]

     [Sidenote: Protection extended to the peasantry]

   =5.= Let no one burn or destroy the dwellings of the peasants and
   the clergy, the dove-cotes and the granaries. Let no man dare to
   kill, to beat, or to wound a peasant or serf, or the wife of
   either, or to seize them and carry them off, except for
   misdemeanors which they may have committed; but it is not forbidden
   to lay hold of them in order to bring them to justice, and it is
   allowable to do this even before they shall have been summoned to
   appear. Let not the raiment of the peasants be stolen; let not
   their ploughs, or their hoes, or their olive-fields be burned.

   =6.= ... Let any one who has broken the peace, and has not paid his
   fines within a fortnight, make amends to him whom he has injured by
   paying a double amount, which shall go to the bishop and to the
   count who shall have had charge of the case.

     [Sidenote: The Truce of God confirmed]

     [Sidenote: Penalties for violations of the Truce]

   =7.= The bishops of whom we have spoken have solemnly confirmed the
   Truce of God, which has been enjoined upon all Christians, from the
   setting of the sun of the fourth day of the week, that is to say,
   Wednesday, until the rising of the sun on Monday, the second
   day.... If any one during the Truce shall violate it, let him pay a
   double composition and subsequently undergo the ordeal of cold
   water.[337] When any one during the Truce shall kill a man, it has
   been ordained, with the approval of all Christians, that if the
   crime was committed intentionally the murderer shall be condemned
   to perpetual exile, but if it occurred by accident the slayer shall
   be banished for a period of time to be fixed by the bishops and
   the canons. If any one during the Truce shall attempt to seize a
   man or to carry him off from his château, and does not succeed in
   his purpose, let him pay a fine to the bishop and to the chapter,
   just as if he had succeeded. It is likewise forbidden during the
   Truce, in Advent and Lent, to build any château or fortification,
   unless it was begun a fortnight before the time of the Truce. It
   has been ordained also that at all times disputes and suits on the
   subject of the Peace and Truce of God shall be settled before the
   bishop and his chapter, and likewise for the peace of the churches
   which have before been enumerated. When the bishop and the chapter
   shall have pronounced sentences to recall men to the observance of
   the Peace and the Truce of God, the sureties and hostages who show
   themselves hostile to the bishop and the chapter shall be
   excommunicated by the chapter and the bishop, with their protectors
   and partisans, as guilty of violating the Peace and the Truce of
   the Lord; they and their possessions shall be excluded from the
   Peace and the Truce of the Lord.


[297] Charles Seignobos, _The Feudal Régime_ (translated in
"Historical Miscellany" series), New York, 1904, p. 1.

[298] A man was not supposed in any way to sacrifice his freedom by
becoming a vassal and the lord's right to his service would be
forfeited if this principle were violated.

[299] The relation of lord and vassal was, at this early time, limited
to the lifetime of the two parties. When one died, the other was
liberated from his contract. But in the ninth and tenth centuries
vassalage became generally hereditary.

[300] Casting lots for the property of a deceased father was not
uncommon among the Franks. All sons shared in the inheritance, but
particular parts of the property were often assigned by lot.

[301] The grant of immunity was thus brought to the attention of the
count in whose jurisdiction the exempted lands lay.

[302] Châlons-sur-Saône was about eighty miles north of the junction
of the Saône with the Rhone. It should not be confused with
Châlons-sur-Marne where the battle was fought with Attila's Huns in

[303] There is some doubt at this point as to the correct translation.
That given seems best warranted.

[304] _Dominus_ was a common name for a lord.

[305] A member of the king's official household.

[306] A subordinate officer under the count [see p. 176, note 3].

[307] See p. 61. note 2.

[308] Louis VII., king of France, 1137-1180.

[309] The county of Champagne lay to the east of Paris. It was
established by Charlemagne and, while at first insignificant, grew
until by the twelfth and thirteenth centuries it was one of the most
important in France.

[310] Beauvais was about sixty miles northwest of Paris.

[311] That is, the bishop of Beauvais was bound to furnish his lord,
the count of Champagne, the service of one knight for his army,
besides ordinary feudal obligations.

[312] The county of Troyes centered about the city of that name on the
upper Seine. It was eventually absorbed by Champagne.

[313] As a fief.

[314] A manor, in the general sense, was a feudal estate.

[315] A castellanerie was a feudal holding centering about a castle.

[316] That is, Count Thiebault promises Jocelyn not to deprive him of
the services of men who rightfully belong on the manor which is being

[317] Here is an illustration of the complexity of the feudal system.
Count Thiebault is Jocelyn's _fourth_ lord, and loyalty and service
are owed to all of the four at the same time. Accordingly, Thiebault
must be content with only such allegiance of his new vassal as will
not involve a breach of the contracts which Jocelyn has already
entered into with his other lords. For example, Thiebault could not
expect Jocelyn to aid him in war against the duke of Burgundy, for
Jocelyn is pledged to fidelity to that duke. In general, when a man
had only one lord he owed him full and unconditional allegiance
(_liege homage_), but when he became vassal to other lords he could
promise them allegiance only so far as would not conflict with
contracts already entered into. It was by no means unusual for a man
to have several lords, and it often happened that A was B's vassal for
a certain piece of land while at the same time B was A's vassal for
another piece. Not infrequently the king himself was thus a vassal of
one or more of his own vassals.

[318] The Bible. Sometimes only the Gospels were used.

[319] Charles, count of Flanders, had just died and had been succeeded
by his son William. All persons who had received fiefs from the
deceased count were now brought together to renew their homage and
fealty to the new count.

[320] Such a case as this would be most apt to arise when a lord died
and a vassal failed to renew his homage to the successor; or when a
vassal died and his heir failed to do homage as was required.

[321] This law would apply also to a case where a man who is already a
vassal of a lord should acquire from another vassal of the same lord
some additional land and so become indebted to the lord for a new
measure of fealty.

[322] Reversion to the original proprietor because of failure of

[323] Such land might be acquired for temporary use only i.e., for
guardianship, during the absence or disability of its proprietor.

[324] Chartres was somewhat less than twenty miles southwest of Paris.

[325] The terms used in the original are _incolume_, _tutum_,
_honestum_, _utile_, _facile_, _et possibile_.

[326] In the English customary law of the twelfth century we read
that, "it is allowable to any one, without punishment, to support his
lord if any one assails him, and to obey him in all legitimate ways,
except in theft, murder, and in all such things as are not conceded to
any one to do and are reckoned infamous by the laws;" also that, "the
lord ought to do likewise equally with counsel and aid, and he may
come to his man's assistance in his vicissitudes in all
ways."--Thorpe, _Ancient Laws and Institutes_, Vol. I., p. 590.

[327] The duke of Normandy. Outside of Normandy, of course, other
feudal princes would be substituted.

[328] It was the feudal system that first gave the eldest son in
France a real superiority over his brothers. This may be seen most
clearly in the change wrought by feudalism whereby the old Frankish
custom of allowing all the sons to inherit their father's property
equally was replaced by the mediæval rule of primogeniture
(established by the eleventh century) under which the younger sons
were entirely, or almost entirely, excluded from the inheritance.

[329] Relief is the term used to designate the payment made to the
lord by the son of the deceased vassal before taking up the
inheritance [see p. 225]. The "custom" says that sometimes the amount
paid as an aid to the lord was equal to half that paid as relief and
sometimes it was only a third.

[330] The number of men brought by a vassal to the royal army depended
on the value of his fief and the character of his feudal contract.
Greater vassals often appeared with hundreds of followers.

[331] This provision rendered the ordinary feudal army much more
inefficient than an army made up of paid soldiers. Under ordinary
circumstances, when their forty days of service had expired, the
feudal troops were free to go home, even though their doing so might
force the king to abandon a siege or give up a costly campaign only
partially completed. By the thirteenth century it had become customary
for the king to accept extra money payments instead of military
service from his vassals. With the revenues thus obtained, soldiers
could be hired who made war their profession and who were willing to
serve indefinitely.

[332] Every fief-holder was supposed to render some measure of
military service. As neither a minor nor a woman could do this
personally, it was natural that the lord should make up for the
deficiency by appropriating the produce of the estate during the
period of wardship.

[333] Tenants _in capite_ in England were those who held their land by
direct royal grant.

[334] Apparently the king's court had been assembled several times to
consider the charges against Viscount Atton, but had been prevented
from taking action because of the latter's failure to appear. At last
the court decided that it was useless to delay longer and proceeded to
condemn the guilty noble and send him a statement of what had been
done. He was not only to lose his château of Auvillars but also to
reimburse the king for the expenses which the court had incurred on
his account.

[335] The chapter was the body of clergy attached to a cathedral
church. Its members were known as canons.

[336] That is, the penalty for using violence against peaceful
churchmen, or despoiling their property was to be twice that demanded
by the law in case of similar offenses committed against laymen.

[337] The ordeal of cold water was designed to test a man's guilt or
innocence. The accused person was thrown into a pond and if he sank he
was considered innocent; if he floated, guilty, on the supposition
that the pure water would refuse to receive a person tainted with
crime [see p. 200].



40. The Battle of Hastings: the English and the Normans

The Northmen, under the leadership of the renowned Rollo, got their
first permanent foothold in that important part of France since known
as Normandy in the year 911 [see p. 171]. Almost from the beginning
the new county (later duchy) increased rapidly both in territorial
extent and in political influence. The Northmen, or Normans, were a
vigorous, ambitious, and on the whole very capable people, and they
needed only the polishing which peaceful contact with the French could
give to make them one of the most virile elements in the population of
western Europe. They gave up their old gods and accepted Christianity,
ceased to speak their own language and began the use of French, and to
a considerable extent became ordinary soldiers and traders instead of
the wild pirates their forefathers had been. The spirit of unrest,
however, and the love of adventure so deeply ingrained in their
natures did not die out, and we need not be surprised to learn that
they continued still to enjoy nothing quite so much as war, especially
if it involved hazardous expeditions across seas. Some went to help
the Christians of Spain against the Saracens; some went to aid the
Eastern emperors against the Turks; others went to Sicily and southern
Italy, where they conquered weak rulers and set up principalities of
their own; and finally, under the leadership of Duke William the
Bastard, in 1066, they entered upon the greatest undertaking of all,
i.e., the conquest of England and the establishment of a Norman
chieftain upon the throne of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom.

Duke William was one of the greatest and most ambitious feudal lords
of France--more powerful really than the French king himself. He had
overcome practically all opposition among his unruly vassals in
Normandy, and by 1066, when the death of King Edward the Confessor
occurred in England, he was ready to engage in great enterprises
which gave promise of enhanced power and renown. He had long cherished
a claim to the English throne, and when he learned that in utter
disregard of this claim the English witan had chosen Harold, son of
the West Saxon Earl Godwin, to be Edward's successor, he prepared to
invade the island kingdom and force an acknowledgment of what he
pretended at least to believe were his rights. Briefly stated, William
claimed the English throne on the ground (1) that through his wife
Matilda, a descendant of Emma, Edward the Confessor's mother, he was a
nearer heir than was Harold, who was only the late king's
brother-in-law; (2) that on the occasion of a visit to England in 1051
Edward had promised him the inheritance; and (3) that Harold himself,
when some years before he had been shipwrecked on the coast of
Normandy, had sworn on sacred relics to help him gain the crown. There
is some doubt as to the actual facts in connection with both of these
last two points, but the truth is that all of William's claims taken
together were not worth much, since the recognized principle of the
English government was that the king should be chosen by the wisemen,
or witan. Harold had been so chosen and hence was in every way the
legitimate sovereign.

William, however, was determined to press his claims and, after
obtaining the blessing of the Pope (Alexander II.), he gathered an
army of perhaps 65,000 Normans and adventurers from all parts of
France and prepared a fleet of some 1,500 transports at the mouth of
the Dive to carry his troops across the Channel. September 28, 1066,
the start was made and the following day the host landed at Pevensey
in Sussex. Friday, the 29th, Hastings was selected and fortified to
serve as headquarters. The English were taken at great disadvantage.
Only two days before the Normans crossed the Channel Harold with all
the troops he could muster had been engaged in a great battle at
Stamford Bridge, in Northumberland, with Harold Hardrada, king of
Norway, who was making an independent invasion. The English had won
the fight, but they were not in a position to meet the Normans as they
might otherwise have been. With admirable energy, however, Harold
marched his weary army southward to Senlac, a hill near the town of
Hastings, and there took up his position to await an attack by the
duke's army. The battle came on Saturday, October 14, and after a very
stubborn contest, in which Harold was slain, it resulted in a
decisive victory for the Normans. Thereafter the conquest of the
entire kingdom, while by no means easy, was inevitable.

William of Malmesbury, from whose _Chronicle of the Kings of England_
our account of the battle and of the two contending peoples is taken,
was a Benedictine monk, born of a Norman father and an English mother.
He lived about 1095-1150 and hence wrote somewhat over half a century
after the Conquest. While thus not strictly a contemporary, he was a
man of learning and discretion and there is every reason to believe
that he made his history as accurate as he was able, with the
materials at his command. His parentage must have enabled him to
understand both combatants in an unusual degree and, though his
sympathies were with the conquerors, we may take his characterizations
of Saxon and Norman alike to be at least fairly reliable. His
_Chronicle_ covers the period 449-1135, and for the years after 1066
it is the fullest, most carefully written, and most readable account
of English affairs that we have.

     Source--Guilielmus Monachi Malmesburiensis, _De gestis regum
     Anglorum_ [William of Malmesbury, "Chronicle of the Kings of
     England"], Bk. III. Adapted from translation by John Sharpe
     (London, 1815), pp. 317-323.

     [Sidenote: How the English prepared for battle]

   The courageous leaders mutually prepared for battle, each according
   to his national custom. The English passed the night[338] without
   sleep, in drinking and singing, and in the morning proceeded
   without delay against the enemy. All on foot, armed with
   battle-axes, and covering themselves in front by joining their
   shields, they formed an impenetrable body which would assuredly
   have secured their safety that day had not the Normans, by a
   pretended flight, induced them to open their ranks, which until
   that time, according to their custom, had been closely knit
   together. King Harold himself, on foot, stood with his brothers
   near the standard in order that, so long as all shared equal
   danger, none could think of retreating. This same standard William
   sent, after his victory, to the Pope. It was richly embroidered
   with gold and precious stones, and represented the figure of a man

     [Sidenote: How the Normans prepared]

   On the other hand, the Normans passed the whole night in confessing
   their sins, and received the communion of the Lord's body in the
   morning. Their infantry, with bows and arrows, formed the vanguard,
   while their cavalry, divided into wings, was placed in the rear.
   The duke, with serene countenance, declaring aloud that God would
   favor his as being the righteous side, called for his arms; and
   when, through the haste of his attendants, he had put on his
   hauberk[339] the rear part before, he corrected the mistake with a
   laugh, saying, "The power of my dukedom shall be turned into a
   kingdom." Then starting the song of Roland,[340] in order that the
   warlike example of that hero might stimulate the soldiers, and
   calling on God for assistance, the battle commenced on both sides,
   and was fought with great ardor, neither side yielding ground
   during the greater part of the day.

     [Sidenote: William's strategem]

   Observing this, William gave a signal to his troops, that,
   pretending flight, they should withdraw from the field.[341] By
   means of this device the solid phalanx of the English opened for
   the purpose of cutting down the fleeing enemy and thus brought upon
   itself swift destruction; for the Normans, facing about, attacked
   them, thus disordered, and compelled them to fly. In this manner,
   deceived by stratagem, they met an honorable death in avenging
   their country; nor indeed were they at all without their own
   revenge, for, by frequently making a stand, they slaughtered their
   pursuers in heaps. Getting possession of a higher bit of ground,
   they drove back the Normans, who in the heat of pursuit were
   struggling up the slope, into the valley beneath, where, by hurling
   their javelins and rolling down stones on them as they stood below,
   the English easily destroyed them to a man. Besides, by a short
   passage with which they were acquainted, they avoided a deep ditch
   and trod underfoot such a multitude of their enemies in that place
   that the heaps of bodies made the hollow level with the plain. This
   alternating victory, first of one side and then of the other,
   continued as long as Harold lived to check the retreat; but when he
   fell, his brain pierced by an arrow, the flight of the English
   ceased not until night.[342]

     [Sidenote: The valor of Harold]

   In the battle both leaders distinguished themselves by their
   bravery. Harold, not content with the duties of a general and with
   exhorting others, eagerly assumed himself the work of a common
   soldier. He was constantly striking down the enemy at close
   quarters, so that no one could approach him with impunity, for
   straightway both horse and rider would be felled by a single blow.
   So it was at long range, as I have said, that the enemy's deadly
   arrow brought him to his death. One of the Norman soldiers gashed
   his thigh with a sword, as he lay prostrate; for which shameful and
   cowardly action he was branded with ignominy by William and
   expelled from the army.

     [Sidenote: William's bravery and ardor]

   William, too, was equally ready to encourage his soldiers by his
   voice and by his presence, and to be the first to rush forward to
   attack the thickest of the foe. He was everywhere fierce and
   furious. He lost three choice horses, which were that day killed
   under him. The dauntless spirit and vigor of the intrepid general,
   however, still held out. Though often called back by the thoughtful
   remonstrance of his bodyguard, he still persisted until approaching
   night crowned him with complete victory. And no doubt the hand of
   God so protected him that the enemy could draw no blood from his
   person, though they aimed so many javelins at him.

   This was a fatal day to England, and melancholy havoc was wrought
   in our dear country during the change of its lords.[343] For it had
   long before adopted the manners of the Angles, which had indeed
   altered with the times; for in the first years of their arrival
   they were barbarians in their look and manner, warlike in their
   usages, heathen in their rites.

     [Sidenote: Religious zeal of the Saxons before the Conquest]

   After embracing the faith of Christ, by degrees and, in process of
   time, in consequence of the peace which they enjoyed, they
   consigned warfare to a secondary place and gave their whole
   attention to religion. I am not speaking of the poor, the meanness
   of whose fortune often restrains them from overstepping the bounds
   of justice; I omit, too, men of ecclesiastical rank, whom sometimes
   respect for their profession and sometimes the fear of shame
   suffers not to deviate from the true path; I speak of princes, who
   from the greatness of their power might have full liberty to
   indulge in pleasure. Some of these in their own country, and others
   at Rome, changing their habit, obtained a heavenly kingdom and a
   saintly fellowship. Many others during their whole lives devoted
   themselves in outward appearance to worldly affairs, but in order
   that they might expend their treasures on the poor or divide them
   amongst monasteries.

   What shall I say of the multitudes of bishops, hermits, and abbots?
   Does not the whole island blaze with such numerous relics of its
   own people that you can scarcely pass a village of any consequence
   without hearing the name of some new saint? And of how many more
   has all remembrance perished through the want of records?

     [Sidenote: Recent decline of learning and religion]

   Nevertheless, the attention to literature and religion had
   gradually decreased for several years before the arrival of the
   Normans. The clergy, contented with a little confused learning,
   could scarcely stammer out the words of the sacraments; and a
   person who understood grammar was an object of wonder and
   astonishment.[344] The monks mocked the rule of their order by fine
   vestments and the use of every kind of food. The nobility, given up
   to luxury and wantonness, went not to church in the morning after
   the manner of Christians, but merely, in a careless manner, heard
   matins and masses from a hurrying priest in their chambers, amid
   the blandishments of their wives. The community, left unprotected,
   became a prey to the most powerful, who amassed fortunes, either by
   seizing on their property or by selling their persons into foreign
   countries; although it is characteristic of this people to be more
   inclined to reveling than to the accumulation of wealth.

     [Sidenote: The English people described]

   Drinking in parties was an universal practice, in which occupation
   they passed entire nights as well as days. They consumed their
   whole substance in mean and despicable houses, unlike the Normans
   and French, who live frugally in noble and splendid mansions. The
   vices attendant on drunkenness, which enervate the human mind,
   followed; hence it came about that when they resisted William, with
   more rashness and precipitate fury than military skill, they doomed
   themselves and their country to slavery by a single, and that an
   easy, victory.[345] For nothing is less effective than rashness;
   and what begins with violence quickly ceases or is repelled. The
   English at that time wore short garments, reaching to the mid-knee;
   they had their hair cropped, their beards shaven, their arms laden
   with golden bracelets, their skin adorned with tattooed designs.
   They were accustomed to eat until they became surfeited, and to
   drink until they were sick. These latter qualities they imparted to
   their conquerors; as for the rest, they adopted their manners. I
   would not, however, have these bad characteristics ascribed to the
   English universally; I know that many of the clergy at that day
   trod the path of sanctity by a blameless life. I know that many of
   the laity, of all ranks and conditions, in this nation were
   well-pleasing to God. Be injustice far from this account; the
   accusation does not involve the whole, indiscriminately. But as in
   peace the mercy of God often cherishes the bad and the good
   together, so, equally, does His severity sometimes include them
   both in captivity.

     [Sidenote: A description of the Normans]

   The Normans--that I may speak of them also--were at that time, and
   are even now, exceedingly particular in their dress and delicate in
   their food, but not so to excess. They are a race accustomed to
   war, and can hardly live without it; fierce in rushing against the
   enemy, and, where force fails to succeed, ready to use stratagem or
   to corrupt by bribery. As I have said, they live in spacious houses
   with economy, envy their superiors, wish to excel their equals, and
   plunder their subjects, though they defend them from others; they
   are faithful to their lords, though a slight offense alienates
   them. They weigh treachery by its chance of success, and change
   their sentiments for money. The most hospitable, however, of all
   nations, they esteem strangers worthy of equal honor with
   themselves; they also intermarry with their vassals. They revived,
   by their arrival, the rule of religion which had everywhere grown
   lifeless in England.[346] You might see churches rise in every
   village, and monasteries in the towns and cities, built after a
   style unknown before; you might behold the country flourishing with
   renewed rites; so that each wealthy man accounted that day lost to
   him which he had neglected to signalize by some beneficent act.

41. William the Conqueror as Man and as King

In the following passage, taken from the Saxon Chronicle, we have an
interesting summary of the character of the Conqueror and of his
conduct as king of England. Both the good and bad sides of the picture
are clearly brought out and perhaps it is not quite easy to say which
is given the greater prominence. On the one hand there is William's
devotion to the Church, his establishment of peace and order, his
mildness in dealing with all but those who had antagonized him, and
the virtue of his personal life; on the other is his severity,
rapacity, and pride, his heavy taxes and his harsh forest laws. As one
writer says, "the Conquest was bad as well as good for England; but
the harm was only temporary, the good permanent." It is greatly to the
credit of the English chronicler that he was able to deal so fairly
with the character of one whom he had not a few patriotic reasons for

     Source--_The Saxon Chronicle._ Translated by J. A. Giles
     (London, 1847), pp. 461-462.

     [Sidenote: William's religious zeal]

   If any one would know what manner of man King William was, the
   glory that he obtained, and of how many lands he was lord, then
   will we describe him as we have known him, we who have looked upon
   him and who once lived at his court. This King William, of whom we
   are speaking, was a very wise and a great man, and more honored and
   more powerful than any of his predecessors. He was mild to those
   good men who loved God, but severe beyond measure towards those who
   withstood his will. He founded a noble monastery on the spot where
   God permitted him to conquer England, and he established monks in
   it, and he made it very rich.[347] In his days the great monastery
   at Canterbury was built,[348] and many others also throughout
   England; moreover, this land was filled with monks who lived after
   the rule of St. Benedict; and such was the state of religion in his
   days that all who would might observe that which was prescribed by
   their respective orders.

     [Sidenote: His strong government]

   King William was also held in much reverence. He wore his crown
   three times every year when he was in England: at Easter he wore it
   at Winchester,[349] at Pentecost at Westminster,[350] and at
   Christmas at Gloucester.[351] And at these times all the men of
   England were with him, archbishops, bishops, abbots and earls,
   thanes[352] and knights.[353] So also was he a very stern and a
   wrathful man, so that none durst do anything against his will, and
   he kept in prison those earls who acted against his pleasure. He
   removed bishops from their sees[354] and abbots from their offices,
   and he imprisoned thanes, and at length he spared not his own
   brother Odo. This Odo was a very powerful bishop in Normandy. His
   see was that of Bayeux,[355] and he was foremost to serve the king.
   He had an earldom in England, and when William was in Normandy he
   [Odo] was the first man in this country [England], and him did
   William cast into prison.[356]

     [Sidenote: The extent of his power]

   Amongst other things, the good order that William established is
   not to be forgotten. It was such that any man, who was himself
   aught, might travel over the kingdom with a bosom full of gold
   unmolested; and no man durst kill another, however great the injury
   he might have received from him. He reigned over England, and being
   sharp-sighted to his own interest, he surveyed the kingdom so
   thoroughly that there was not a single hide of land throughout the
   whole of which he knew not the possessor, and how much it was
   worth, and this he afterwards entered in his register.[357] The
   land of the Britons [Wales] was under his sway, and he built
   castles therein; moreover he had full dominion over the Isle of
   Man;[358] Scotland also was subject to him, from his great
   strength; the land of Normandy was his by inheritance, and he
   possessed the earldom of Maine;[359] and had he lived two years
   longer, he would have subdued Ireland by his prowess, and that
   without a battle.[360]

     [Sidenote: His faults as a ruler]

   Truly there was much trouble in these times, and very great
   distress. He caused castles to be built and oppressed the poor. The
   king was also of great sternness, and he took from his subjects
   many marks of gold, and many hundred pounds of silver, and this,
   either with or without right, and with little need. He was given to
   avarice, and greedily loved gain.[361] He made large forests for
   the deer, and enacted laws therewith, so that whoever killed a hart
   or a hind should be blinded. As he forbade killing the deer, so
   also the boars; and he loved the tall stags as if he were their
   father. He also commanded concerning the hares, that they should go
   free.[362] The rich complained and the poor murmured, but he was so
   sturdy that he recked nought of them; they must will all that the
   king willed, if they would live, or would keep their lands, or
   would hold their possessions, or would be maintained in their
   rights. Alas that any man should so exalt himself, and carry
   himself in his pride over all! May Almighty God show mercy to his
   soul, and grant him the forgiveness of his sins! We have written
   concerning him these things, both good and bad, that virtuous men
   may follow after the good, and wholly avoid the evil, and may go in
   the way that leadeth to the kingdom of heaven.


[338] Friday night, October 13.

[339] A long coat of mail made of interwoven metal rings.

[340] Roland, count of Brittany, was slain at the pass of Roncesvalles
in the famous attack of the Gascons upon Charlemagne's retreating army
in 778. One of the chronicles says simply, "In this battle Roland,
count of Brittany, was slain," and we have absolutely no other
historical knowledge of the man. His career was taken up by the
singers of the Middle Ages, however, and employed to typify all that
was brave and daring and romantic. It was some one of the many "songs
of Roland" that William used at Hastings to stimulate his men.

[341] In a battle so closely contested this was a dangerous stratagem
and its employment seems to indicate that William despaired of
defeating the English by direct attack. His main object, in which he
was altogether successful, was to entice the English into abandoning
their advantageous position on the hilltop.

[342] After the Norman victory was practically assured, William sought
to bring the battle to an end by having his archers shoot into the
air, that their arrows might fall upon the group of soldiers,
including the king, who were holding out in defense of the English
standard. It was in this way that Harold was mortally wounded; he died
immediately from the blows inflicted by Norman knights at close hand.

[343] The victory at Hastings did not at once make William king, but
it revealed to both himself and the English people that the crown was
easily within his grasp. After the battle he advanced past London into
the interior of the country. Opposition melted before him and on
Christmas day, 1066, the Norman duke, having already been regularly
elected by the witan, was crowned at London by the archbishop of York.
In the early years of his reign he succeeded in making his power
recognized in the more turbulent north.

[344] The work of Alfred had not been consistently followed up during
the century and a half since his death [see p. 185].

[345] The conquest of England by the Normans was really far from an
enslavement. Norman rule was strict, but hardly more so than
conditions warranted.

[346] It seems to be true, as William of Malmesbury says, that the
century preceding the Norman Conquest had been an era of religious as
well as literary decline among the English. After 1066 the native
clergy, ignorant and often grossly immoral, were gradually replaced by
Normans, who on the whole were better men. By 1088 there remained only
one bishop of English birth in the entire kingdom. One should be
careful, however, not to exaggerate the moral differences between the
two peoples.

[347] The story goes that just before entering the battle of Hastings
in 1066 William made a vow that if successful he would establish a
monastery on the site where Harold's standard stood. The vow was
fulfilled by the founding of the Abbey of St. Martin, or Battle Abbey,
in the years 1070-1076. The monastery was not ready for consecration
until 1094.

[348] Christchurch. This cathedral monastery had been organized before
the Conqueror's day, but it was much increased in size and in
importance by Lanfranc, William's archbishop of Canterbury; and the
great building which it occupied in the later Middle Ages was
constructed at this time.

[349] In Hampshire, in the southern part of the kingdom.

[350] In Middlesex, near London.

[351] On the Severn, in the modern county of Gloucester.

[352] A thane (or thegn) was originally a young warrior; then one who
became a noble by serving the king in arms; then the possessor of five
hides of land. A hide was a measure of arable ground varying in extent
at the time of William the Conqueror, but by Henry II.'s reign
(1154-1189) fixed at about 100 acres. The thane before the Conquest
occupied nearly the same position socially as the knight after it.

[353] This assembly of dignitaries, summoned by the king three times a
year, was the so-called Great Council, which in Norman times
superseded the old Saxon witan. Its duties were mainly judicial. It
acted also as an advisory body, but the king was not obliged to
consult it or to carry out its recommendations [see p. 307, note 2].

[354] The _see_ of a bishop is his ecclesiastical office; the area
over which his authority extends is more properly known as his

[355] On the Orne River, near the English Channel.

[356] Odo, though a churchman, was a man of brutal instincts and evil
character. Through his high-handed course, both as a leading
ecclesiastical dignitary in Normandy and as earl of Kent and
vicegerent in England, he gave William no small amount of trouble. The
king finally grew tired of his brother's conduct and had him
imprisoned in the town of Rouen where he was left for four years, or
until the end of the reign (1087).

[357] This was the famous Domesday Survey, begun in 1085.

[358] In the Irish Sea.

[359] Maine lay directly to the south of Normandy.

[360] This statement is doubtful, though it is true that Lanfranc made
a beginning by consecrating a number of bishops in Ireland.

[361] All of the early Norman kings were greedy for money and apt to
bear heavily upon the people in their efforts to get it. Englishmen
were not accustomed to general taxation and felt the new régime to be
a serious burden. There was consequently much complaint, but, as our
historian says, William was strong enough to be able to ignore it.

[362] Most of William's harsh measures can be justified on the ground
that they were designed to promote the ultimate welfare of his people.
This is not true, however, of his elaborate forest laws, which
undertook to deprive Englishmen of their accustomed freedom of hunting
when and where they pleased. William's love of the chase amounted to a
passion and he was not satisfied with merely enacting such stringent
measures as that the slayer of a hart or a hind in his forests should
be blinded, but also set apart a great stretch of additional country,
the so-called New Forest, as his own exclusive hunting grounds.



42. The Foundation Charter of the Monastery of Cluny (910)

Throughout the earlier Middle Ages the Benedictine Rule [see p. 83]
was the code under which were governed practically all the monastic
establishments of western Europe. There was a natural tendency,
however, for the severe and exacting features of the Rule to be
softened considerably in actual practice. As one writer puts it, "the
excessive abstinence and many other of the mechanical observances of
the rule were soon found to have little real utility when simply
enforced by a rule, and not practiced willingly for the sake of
self-discipline." The obligation of manual labor, for example, was
frequently dispensed with in order that the monks might occupy
themselves with the studies for which the Benedictines have always
been famous. Too often such relaxation was but a pretext for the
indulgence of idleness or vice. The disrepute into which such
tendencies brought the monastics in the tenth and eleventh centuries
gave rise to numerous attempts to revive the primitive discipline, the
most notable of which was the so-called "Cluniac movement."

The monastery of Cluny, on the borders of Aquitaine and Burgundy, was
established under the terms of a charter issued by William the Pious,
duke of Aquitaine and count of Auvergne, September 11, 910. The
conditions of its foundation, set forth in the text of the charter
given below, were in many ways typical. The history of the monastery
was, however, quite exceptional. During the invasions and civil wars
of the latter half of the ninth century, many of the monasteries of
western Europe had fallen under the control of unscrupulous laymen who
used them mainly to satisfy their greed or ambition, and in
consequence by the time that Cluny was founded the standard of
monastic life and service had been seriously impaired. The monks had
grown worldly, education was neglected, and religious services had
become empty formalities. Powerful nobles used their positions of
advantage to influence, and often to dictate, the election of bishops
and abbots, and the men thus elected were likely enough to be unworthy
of their offices in both character and ability. The charter of the
Cluny monastery, however, expressly provided that the abbot should be
chosen by canonical election, i.e., by the monks, and without any sort
of outside interference. The life of the monastery was to be regulated
by the Benedictine Rule, though with rather less stress on manual
labor and rather more on religious services and literary employment.
Cluny, indeed, soon came to be one of the principal centers of
learning in western Europe, as well as perhaps the greatest
administrator of charity.

Another notable achievement of Cluny was the building up of the
so-called "Cluny Congregation." Hitherto it had been customary for
monasteries to be entirely independent of one another, even when
founded by monks sent out from a parent establishment. Cluny, however,
kept under the control of her own abbot all monasteries founded by her
agents and made the priors of these monasteries directly responsible
to him. Many outside abbeys were drawn into the new system, so that by
the middle of the twelfth century the Cluny congregation was comprised
of more than two thousand monasteries, all working harmoniously under
a single abbot-general. The majority of these were in France, but
there were many also in Spain, Italy, Poland, Germany, and England. It
was the Cluny monks who gave the Pope his chief support in the
struggle to free the Church from lay investiture and simony and to
enforce the ideal of a celibate clergy. This movement for reform may
properly be said, indeed, to have originated with the Cluniacs and to
have been taken up only later by the popes, chiefly by Gregory VII. By
the end of the eleventh century Cluniac discipline had begun to grow
lax and conditions were gradually shaped for another wave of monastic
reform, which came with the establishment of the Carthusians (in 1084)
and of the Cistercians (in 1098).

     Source--Text in Martin Bouquet, _Recueil des Historiens des
     Gaules et de la France_ ["Collection of the Historians of Gaul
     and of France"] (Paris, 1874), Vol. IX., pp. 709-711.

     [Sidenote: Motives for Duke William's benefaction]

   To all who think wisely it is evident that the providence of God
   has made it possible for rich men, by using well their temporal
   possessions, to be able to merit eternal rewards.... I, William,
   count and duke, after diligent reflection, and desiring to provide
   for my own safety while there is still time, have decided that it
   is advisable, indeed absolutely necessary, that from the
   possessions which God has given me I should give some portion for
   the good of my soul. I do this, indeed, in order that I who have
   thus increased in wealth may not at the last be accused of having
   spent all in caring for my body, but rather may rejoice, when fate
   at length shall snatch all things away, in having preserved
   something for myself. I cannot do better than follow the precepts
   of Christ and make His poor my friends. That my gift may be durable
   and not transitory I will support at my own expense a congregation
   of monks. And I hope that I shall receive the reward of the
   righteous because I have received those whom I believe to be
   righteous and who despise the world, although I myself am not able
   to despise all things.[363]

     [Sidenote: The land and other property ceded]

   Therefore be it known to all who live in the unity of the faith and
   who await the mercy of Christ, and to those who shall succeed them
   and who shall continue to exist until the end of the world, that,
   for the love of God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, I hand over
   from my own rule to the holy apostles, namely, Peter and Paul, the
   possessions over which I hold sway--the town of Cluny, with the
   court and demesne manor, and the church in honor of St. Mary, the
   mother of God, and of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles,
   together with all the things pertaining to it, the villas, the
   chapels, the serfs of both sexes, the vines, the fields, the
   meadows, the woods, the waters and their outlets, the mills, the
   incomes and revenues, what is cultivated and what is not, all
   without reserve. These things are situated in or about the county
   of Mâcon[364], each one marked off by definite bounds. I give,
   moreover, all these things to the aforesaid apostles--I, William,
   and my wife Ingelberga--first for the love of God; then for the
   soul of my lord King Odo, of my father and my mother; for myself
   and my wife,--for the salvation, namely, of our souls and bodies;
   and not least, for that of Ava, who left me these things in her
   will; for the souls also of our brothers and sisters and nephews,
   and of all our relatives of both sexes; for our faithful ones who
   adhere to our service; for the advancement, also, and integrity of
   the Catholic religion. Finally, since all of us Christians are held
   together by one bond of love and faith, let this donation be for
   all--for the orthodox, namely, of past, present, or future times.

     [Sidenote: A monastery to be established.]

     [Sidenote: Election of abbots to be "canonical"]

   I give these things, moreover, with this understanding, that in
   Cluny a monastery shall be constructed in honor of the holy
   apostles Peter and Paul, and that there the monks shall congregate
   and live according to the rule of St. Benedict, and that they shall
   possess and make use of these same things for all time. In such
   wise, however, that the venerable house of prayer which is there
   shall be faithfully frequented with vows and supplications, and
   that heavenly conversations shall be sought after with all desire
   and with the deepest ardor; and also that there shall be diligently
   directed to God prayers and exhortations, as well for me as for
   all, according to the order in which mention has been made of them
   above. And let the monks themselves, together with all aforesaid
   possessions, be under the power and dominion of the abbot Berno,
   who, as long as he shall live, shall preside over them regularly
   according to his knowledge and ability.[365] But after his death,
   those same monks shall have power and permission to elect any one
   of their order whom they please as abbot and rector, following the
   will of God and the rule promulgated by St. Benedict--in such wise
   that neither by the intervention of our own or of any other power
   may they be impeded from making a purely canonical election. Every
   five years, moreover, the aforesaid monks shall pay to the church
   of the apostles at Rome ten shillings to supply them with lights;
   and they shall have the protection of those same apostles and the
   defense of the Roman pontiff; and those monks may, with their whole
   heart and soul, according to their ability and knowledge, build up
   the aforesaid place.

     [Sidenote: Works of charity enjoined]

   We will, further, that in our times and in those of our successors,
   according as the opportunities and possibilities of that place
   shall allow, there shall daily, with the greatest zeal, be
   performed works of mercy towards the poor, the needy, strangers,
   and pilgrims.[366] It has pleased us also to insert in this
   document that, from this day, those same monks there congregated
   shall be subject neither to our yoke, nor to that of our relatives,
   nor to the sway of the royal might, nor to that of any earthly
   power. And, through God and all His saints, and by the awful day of
   judgment, I warn and admonish that no one of the secular princes,
   no count, no bishop, not even the pontiff of the aforesaid Roman
   see, shall invade the property of these servants of God, or
   alienate it, or diminish it, or exchange it, or give it as a
   benefice to any one, or set up any prelate over them against their

43. The Early Career of St. Bernard and the Founding of Clairvaux

The most important individual who had part in the twelfth century
movement for monastic reform was unquestionably St. Bernard, of whom
indeed it has been said with reason that for a quarter of a century
there was no more influential man in Europe. Born in 1091, he came
upon the scene when times were ripe for great deeds and great careers,
whether with the crusading hosts in the East or in the vexed swirl of
secular and ecclesiastical affairs in the West. Particularly were the
times ripe for a great preacher and reformer--one who could avail
himself of the fresh zeal of the crusading period and turn a portion
of it to the regeneration of the corrupt and sluggish spiritual life
which in far too great a measure had crept in to replace the earlier
purity and devotion of the clergy. The need of reform was perhaps most
conspicuous in the monasteries, for many monastic establishments had
not been greatly affected by the Cluniac movement of the previous
century, and in many of those which had been touched temporarily the
purifying influences had about ceased to produce results. It was as a
monastic reformer that St. Bernard rendered greatest service to the
Church of his day, though he was far more than a mere zealot. He was,
says Professor Emerton, more than any other man, representative of the
spirit of the Middle Ages. "The monastery meant to him, not a place of
easy and luxurious retirement, where a man might keep himself pure
from earthly contact, nor even a home of learning, from which a man
might influence his world. It meant rather a place of pitiless
discipline, whereby the natural man should be reduced to the lowest
terms and thus the spiritual life be given its largest liberty. The
aim of Bernard was nothing less than the regeneration of society
through the presence in it of devoted men, bound together by a compact
organization, and holding up to the world the highest types of an
ideal which had already fixed itself in the imagination of the

The founding of Clairvaux by St. Bernard, in 1115, was not the
beginning of a new monastic order; the Cistercians, to whom the
establishment properly belonged, had originated at Cîteaux seventeen
years before. But in later times St. Bernard was very properly
regarded as a second founder of the Cistercians, and the story of his
going forth from the parent house to establish the new one affords an
excellent illustration of the spirit which dominated the leaders in
monastic reform in the eleventh and twelfth centuries and of the
methods they employed to keep alive the lofty ideals of the old
Benedictine system; and, although individual monasteries were founded
under the most diverse circumstances, the story is of interest as
showing us the precise way in which one monastic house took its
origin. By the time of St. Bernard's death (1153) not fewer than a
hundred and fifty religious houses had been regenerated under his

We are fortunate in possessing a composite biography of the great
reformer which is practically contemporary. It is in five books, the
first of which was written by William, abbot of St. Thierry of Rheims;
the second by Arnold, abbot of Bonneval, near Chartres; and the third,
fourth, and fifth by Geoffrey, a monk of Clairvaux and a former
secretary of St. Bernard. William of St. Thierry (from whose portion
of the biography selection "a" below is taken) wrote about 1140,
Arnold and Geoffrey soon after Bernard's death in 1153.

     Sources--(a) Guillaume de Saint-Thierry, _Bernardus
     Clarævallensis_ [William of Saint Thierry, "Life of St.
     Bernard"], Bk. I., Chaps. 1-4.

     (b) The _Acta Sanctorum_. Translated in Edward L. Cutts,
     _Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages_ (London, 1872), pp.

     [Sidenote: Bernard's parents]


   Saint Bernard was born at Fontaines in Burgundy [near Dijon], at
   the castle of his father. His parents were famed among the famous
   of that age, most of all because of their piety. His father,
   Tescelin, was a member of an ancient and knightly family, fearing
   God and scrupulously just. Even when engaged in holy war he
   plundered and destroyed no one; he contented himself with his
   worldly possessions, of which he had an abundance, and used them in
   all manner of good works. With both his counsel and his arms he
   served temporal lords, but so as never to neglect to render to the
   sovereign Lord that which was due Him. Bernard's mother, Alith, of
   the castle Montbar, mindful of holy law, was submissive to her
   husband and, with him, governed the household in the fear of God,
   devoting herself to deeds of mercy and rearing her children in
   strict discipline. She bore seven children, six boys and one girl,
   not so much for the glory of her husband as for that of God; for
   all the sons became monks and the daughter a nun....[369]

     [Sidenote: His early characteristics]

   As soon as Bernard was of sufficient age his mother intrusted his
   education to the teachers in the church at Châtillon[370] and did
   everything in her power to enable him to make rapid progress. The
   young boy, abounding in pleasing qualities and endowed with natural
   genius, fulfilled his mother's every expectation; for he advanced
   in his study of letters at a speed beyond his age and that of other
   children of the same age. But in secular matters he began already,
   and very naturally, to humble himself in the interest of his future
   perfection, for he exhibited the greatest simplicity, loved to be
   in solitude, fled from people, was extraordinarily thoughtful,
   submitted himself implicitly to his parents, had little desire to
   converse, was devoted to God, and applied himself to his studies as
   the means by which he should be able to learn of God through the

     [Sidenote: He decides to become a monk at Cîteaux]

   Determined that it would be best for him to abandon the world, he
   began to inquire where his soul, under the yoke of Christ, would be
   able to find the most complete and sure repose. The recent
   establishment of the order of Cîteaux[371] suggested itself to his
   thought. The harvest was abundant, but the laborers were few, for
   hardly any one had sought happiness by taking up residence there,
   because of the excessive austerity of life and the poverty which
   there prevailed, but which had no terrors for the soul truly
   seeking God. Without hesitation or misgivings, he turned his steps
   to that place, thinking that there he would be able to find
   seclusion and, in the secret of the presence of God, escape the
   importunities of men; wishing particularly there to gain a refuge
   from the vain glory of the noble's life, and to win purity of soul,
   and perhaps the name of saint.

     [Sidenote: His struggle and his victory]

   When his brothers, who loved him according to the flesh, discovered
   that he intended to become a monk, they employed every means to
   turn him to the pursuit of letters and to attach him to the secular
   life by the love of worldly knowledge. Without doubt, as he has
   himself declared, he was not a little moved by their arguments. But
   the memory of his devout mother urged him importunately to take the
   step. It often seemed to him that she appeared before him,
   reproaching him and reminding him that she had not reared him for
   frivolous things of that sort, and that she had brought him up in
   quite another hope. Finally, one day when he was returning from the
   siege of a château called Grancey, and was coming to his brothers,
   who were with the duke of Burgundy, he began to be violently
   tormented by these thoughts. Finding by the roadside a church, he
   went in and there prayed, with flooded eyes, lifting his hands
   toward Heaven and pouring out his heart like water before the Lord.
   That day fixed his resolution irrevocably. From that hour, even as
   the fire consumes the forests and the flame ravages the mountains,
   seizing everything, devouring first that which is nearest but
   advancing to objects farther removed, so did the fire which God had
   kindled in the heart of his servant, desiring that it should
   consume it, lay hold first of his brothers (of whom only the
   youngest, incapable yet of becoming a monk, was left to console his
   old father), then his parents, his companions, and his friends,
   from whom no one had ever expected such a step....

     [Sidenote: Bernard and his companions at Châtillon]

   The number of those who decided to take upon themselves monastic
   vows increased and, as one reads of the earliest sons of the
   Church, "all the multitude of those who believed were of one mind
   and one heart" [Acts v. 32]. They lived together and no one else
   dared mingle with them. They had at Châtillon a house which they
   possessed in common and in which they held meetings, dwelt
   together, and held converse with one another. No one was so bold as
   to enter it, unless he were a member of the congregation. If any
   one entered there, seeing and hearing what was done and said (as
   the Apostle declared of the Christians of Corinth), he was
   convinced by their prophecies and, adoring the Lord and perceiving
   that God was truly among them, he either joined himself to the
   brotherhood or, going away, wept at his own plight and their happy

     [Sidenote: They enter Cîteaux]

   At that time, the young and feeble establishment at Cîteaux, under
   the venerable abbot Stephen,[372] began to be seriously weakened by
   its paucity of numbers and to lose all hope of having successors to
   perpetuate the heritage of holy poverty, for everybody revered the
   life of these monks for its sanctity but held aloof from it because
   of its austerity. But the monastery was suddenly visited and made
   glad by the Lord in a happy and unhoped-for manner. In 1113,
   fifteen years after the foundation of the monastery, the servant of
   God, Bernard, then about twenty-three years of age, entered the
   establishment under the abbot Stephen, with his companions to the
   number of more than thirty, and submitted himself to the blessed
   yoke of Christ. From that day God prospered the house, and that
   vine of the Lord bore fruit, putting forth its branches from sea to

   Such were the holy beginnings of the monastic life of that man of
   God. It is impossible to any one who has not been imbued as he with
   the spirit of God to recount the illustrious deeds of his career,
   and his angelic conduct, during his life on earth. He entered the
   monastery poor in spirit, still obscure and of no fame, with the
   intention of there perishing in the heart and memory of men, and
   hoping to be forgotten and ignored like a lost vessel. But God
   ordered it otherwise, and prepared him as a chosen vessel, not only
   to strengthen and extend the monastic order, but also to bear His
   name before kings and peoples to the ends of the earth....

     [Sidenote: Bernard prays for and obtains the ability to reap]

     [Sidenote: His devotion and knowledge of the Scriptures]

   At the time of harvest the brothers were occupied, with the fervor
   and joy of the Holy Spirit, in reaping the grain. Since he
   [Bernard] was not able to have part in the labor, they bade him sit
   by them and take his ease. Greatly troubled, he had recourse to
   prayer and, with much weeping, implored the Lord to grant him the
   strength to become a reaper. The simplicity of his faith did not
   deceive him, for that which he asked he obtained. Indeed from that
   day he prided himself in being more skilful than the others at that
   task; and he was the more given over to devotion during that labor
   because he realized that the ability to perform it was a direct
   gift from God. Refreshed by his employments of this kind, he
   prayed, read, or meditated continuously. If an opportunity for
   prayer in solitude offered itself, he seized it; but in any case,
   whether by himself or with companions, he preserved a solitude in
   his heart, and thus was everywhere alone. He read gladly, and
   always with faith and thoughtfulness, the Holy Scriptures, saying
   that they never seemed to him so clear as when read in the text
   alone, and he declared his ability to discern their truth and
   divine virtue much more readily in the source itself than in the
   commentaries which were derived from it. Nevertheless, he read
   humbly the saints and orthodox commentators and made no pretense of
   rivaling their knowledge; but, submitting his to theirs, and
   tracing it faithfully to its sources, he drank often at the
   fountain whence they had drawn. It is thus that, full of the spirit
   which has divinely inspired all Holy Scripture, he has served God
   to this day, as the Apostle says, with so great confidence, and
   such ability to instruct, convert, and sway. And when he preaches
   the word of God, he renders so clear and agreeable that which he
   takes from Scripture to insert in his discourse, and he has such
   power to move men, that everybody, both those clever in worldly
   matters and those who possess spiritual knowledge, marvel at the
   eloquent words which fall from his lips.

     [Sidenote: Site selected for the new monastery]


   Twelve monks and their abbot, representing our Lord and His
   apostles, were assembled in the church. Stephen placed a cross in
   Bernard's hands, who solemnly, at the head of his small band,
   walked forth from Cîteaux.... Bernard struck away to the northward.
   For a distance of nearly ninety miles he kept this course, passing
   up by the source of the Seine, by Châtillon, of school-day
   memories, until he arrived at La Ferté, about equally distant
   between Troyes and Chaumont, in the diocese of Langres, and
   situated on the river Aube.[373] About four miles beyond La Ferté
   was a deep valley opening to the east. Thick umbrageous forests
   gave it a character of gloom and wildness; but a gushing stream of
   limpid water which ran through it was sufficient to redeem every

     [Sidenote: The first building constructed]

   In June, 1115, Bernard took up his abode in the "Valley of
   Wormwood," as it was called, and began to look for means of shelter
   and sustenance against the approaching winter. The rude fabric
   which he and his monks raised with their own hands was long
   preserved by the pious veneration of the Cistercians. It consisted
   of a building covered by a single roof, under which chapel,
   dormitory, and refectory were all included. Neither stone nor wood
   hid the bare earth, which served for a floor. Windows scarcely
   wider than a man's head admitted a feeble light. In this room the
   monks took their frugal meals of herbs and water. Immediately above
   the refectory was the sleeping apartment. It was reached by a
   ladder, and was, in truth, a sort of loft. Here were the monks'
   beds, which were peculiar. They were made in the form of boxes, or
   bins, of wooden planks, long and wide enough for a man to lie down
   in. A small space, hewn out with an axe, allowed room for the
   sleeper to get in or out. The inside was strewn with chaff, or
   dried leaves, which, with the woodwork, seem to have been the only
   covering permitted....

     [Sidenote: Hardships encountered]

   The monks had thus got a house over their heads; but they had very
   little else. They had left Cîteaux in June. Their journey had
   probably occupied them a fortnight; their clearing, preparations,
   and building, perhaps two months; and thus they were near September
   when this portion of their labor was accomplished. Autumn and
   winter were approaching, and they had no store laid by. Their food
   during the summer had been a compound of leaves intermixed with
   coarse grain. Beech-nuts and roots were to be their main support
   during the winter. And now to the privations of insufficient food
   was added the wearing out of their shoes and clothes. Their
   necessities grew with the severity of the season, until at last
   even salt failed them; and presently Bernard heard murmurs. He
   argued and exhorted; he spoke to them of the fear and love of God,
   and strove to rouse their drooping spirits by dwelling on the hopes
   of eternal life and Divine recompense. Their sufferings made them
   deaf and indifferent to their abbot's words. They would not remain
   in this valley of bitterness; they would return to Cîteaux.
   Bernard, seeing they had lost their trust in God, reproved them no
   more; but himself sought in earnest prayer for release from their
   difficulties. Presently a voice from heaven said, "Arise, Bernard,
   thy prayer is granted thee." Upon which the monks said, "What didst
   thou ask of the Lord?" "Wait, and ye shall see, ye of little
   faith," was the reply; and presently came a stranger who gave the
   abbot ten livres.

44. A Description of Clairvaux

The following is an interesting description of the abbey of Clairvaux,
written by William of St. Thierry, the friend and biographer of
Bernard. After giving an account of the external appearance and
surroundings of the monastery, the writer goes on to portray the daily
life and devotion of the monks who resided in it. In reading the
description it should be borne in mind that Clairvaux was a new
establishment, founded expressly to further the work of monastic
reform, and that therefore at the time when William of St. Thierry
knew it, it exhibited a state of piety and industry considerably above
that to be found in the average abbey of the day.

     Source--Guillaume de Saint-Thierry, _Bernardus Clarævallensis_
     [William of Saint Thierry, "Life of St. Bernard"], Bk. I.,
     Chap. 7. Translated in Edward L. Cutts, _Scenes and Characters
     of the Middle Ages_ (London, 1872), pp. 12-14.

     [Sidenote: The solitude of Clairvaux]

   At the first glance as you entered Clairvaux by descending the hill
   you could see that it was a temple of God; and the still, silent
   valley bespoke, in the modest simplicity of its buildings, the
   unfeigned humility of Christ's poor. Moreover, in this valley full
   of men, where no one was permitted to be idle, where one and all
   were occupied with their allotted tasks, a silence deep as that of
   night prevailed. The sounds of labor, or the chants of the brethren
   in the choral service, were the only exceptions. The orderliness of
   this silence, and the report that went forth concerning it, struck
   such a reverence even into secular persons that they dreaded
   breaking it,--I will not say by idle or wicked conversation, but
   even by proper remarks. The solitude, also, of the place--between
   dense forests in a narrow gorge of neighboring hills--in a certain
   sense recalled the cave of our father St. Benedict,[374] so that
   while they strove to imitate his life, they also had some
   similarity to him in their habitation and loneliness....

     [Sidenote: Marvelous works accomplished there]

   Although the monastery is situated in a valley, it has its
   foundations on the holy hills, whose gates the Lord loveth more
   than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of it,
   because the glorious and wonderful God therein worketh great
   marvels. There the insane recover their reason, and although their
   outward man is worn away, inwardly they are born again. There the
   proud are humbled, the rich are made poor, and the poor have the
   Gospel preached to them, and the darkness of sinners is changed
   into light. A large multitude of blessed poor from the ends of the
   earth have there assembled, yet have they one heart and one mind;
   justly, therefore, do all who dwell there rejoice with no empty
   joy. They have the certain hope of perennial joy, of their
   ascension heavenward already commenced. In Clairvaux, they have
   found Jacob's ladder, with angels upon it; some descending, who so
   provide for their bodies that they faint not on the way; others
   ascending, who so rule their souls that their bodies hereafter may
   be glorified with them.

     [Sidenote: The piety of the monks]

   For my part, the more attentively I watch them day by day, the more
   do I believe that they are perfect followers of Christ in all
   things. When they pray and speak to God in spirit and in truth, by
   their friendly and quiet speech to Him, as well as by their
   humbleness of demeanor, they are plainly seen to be God's
   companions and friends. When, on the other hand, they openly praise
   God with psalms, how pure and fervent are their minds, is shown by
   their posture of body in holy fear and reverence, while by their
   careful pronunciation and modulation of the psalms, is shown how
   sweet to their lips are the words of God--sweeter than honey to
   their mouths. As I watch them, therefore, singing without fatigue
   from before midnight to the dawn of day, with only a brief
   interval, they appear a little less than the angels, but much more
   than men....

     [Sidenote: Their manual labor]

   As regards their manual labor, so patiently and placidly, with such
   quiet countenances, in such sweet and holy order, do they perform
   all things, that although they exercise themselves at many works,
   they never seem moved or burdened in anything, whatever the labor
   may be. Whence it is manifest that that Holy Spirit worketh in them
   who disposeth of all things with sweetness, in whom they are
   refreshed, so that they rest even in their toil. Many of them, I
   hear, are bishops and earls, and many illustrious through their
   birth or knowledge; but now, by God's grace, all distinction of
   persons being dead among them, the greater any one thought himself
   in the world, the more in this flock does he regard himself as less
   than the least. I see them in the garden with hoes, in the meadows
   with forks or rakes, in the fields with scythes, in the forest with
   axes. To judge from their outward appearance, their tools, their
   bad and disordered clothes, they appear a race of fools, without
   speech or sense. But a true thought in my mind tells me that their
   life in Christ is hidden in the heavens. Among them I see Godfrey
   of Peronne, Raynald of Picardy, William of St. Omer, Walter of
   Lisle, all of whom I knew formerly in the old man, whereof I now
   see no trace, by God's favor. I knew them proud and puffed up; I
   see them walking humbly under the merciful hand of God.


[363] In other words, it is Duke William's hope that, though not
himself willing to be restricted to the life of a monk, he may secure
substantially an equivalent reward by patronizing men who _are_ thus

[364] Mâcon, the seat of the diocese in which Cluny was situated, was
on the Saône, a short distance to the southeast.

[365] Berno served as abbot of Cluny from 910 until 927.

[366] That the charitable side of the monastery's work was well
attended to is indicated by the fact that in a single year, late in
the eleventh century, seventeen thousand poor were given assistance by
the monks.

[367] The remainder of the charter consists of a series of
imprecations of disaster and punishment upon all who at any time and
in any way should undertake to interfere with the vested rights just
granted. These imprecations were strictly typical of the mediæval
spirit-so much so that many of them came to be mere formulæ, employed
to give documents due solemnity, but without any especially direful
designs on the part of the writer who used them.

[368] Emerton, _Mediæval Europe_, p. 458.

[369] Bernard was the third son.

[370] About sixty miles southeast of Troyes.

[371] Cîteaux (established by Odo, duke of Burgundy, in 1098) was near
Dijon in Burgundy.

[372] Stephen Harding, an Englishman, succeeded Alberic as abbot of
Cîteaux in 1113.

[373] Châtillon was about twelve miles south of La Ferté. The latter
was fifty miles southeast of Troyes and only half as far from
Chaumont, despite the author's statement that, it lay midway between
the two places. The Aube is an important tributary of the upper Seine.

[374] The famous founder of the monastery of Monte Cassino and the
compiler of the Benedictine Rule [see p. 83].



45. Gregory VII.'s Conception of the Papal Authority

Hildebrand, who as pope was known as Gregory VII., was born about the
year 1025 in the vicinity of the little Tuscan town of Soana. His
education was received in the rich monastery of Saint Mary on the
Aventine, of which one of his uncles was abbot. At the age of
twenty-five he became chaplain to Pope Gregory VI., after whose fall
from power he sought seclusion in the monastery at Cluny. In 1049,
however, he again appeared in Italy, this time in the rôle of
companion to the new pontiff, Leo IX. In a few years he became
sub-deacon and cardinal and was intrusted with the municipal affairs
and financial interests of the Holy See. He served as papal legate in
France and in 1057 was sent to Germany to obtain the consent of
Empress Agnes to the hurried election of Stephen IX. While in these
countries he became convinced that the evil conditions--simony, lay
investiture, and non-celibacy of the clergy--which the Cluniacs were
seeking to reform would never be materially improved by the temporal
powers, and consequently that the only hope of betterment lay in the
establishing of an absolute papal supremacy before which kings, and
even emperors, should be compelled to bow in submission. In April,
1073, Hildebrand himself was made pope, nominally by the vote of the
College of Cardinals, but really by the enthusiastic choice of the
Roman populace. His whole training and experience had fitted him
admirably for the place and had equipped him with the capacity to make
of his office something more than had any of his predecessors. When he
became pope it was with a very lofty ideal of what the papacy should
be, and the surprising measure in which he was able to realize this
ideal entitles him without question to be regarded as the greatest of
all mediæval popes.

In the document given below, the so-called _Dictatus Papæ_, Pope
Gregory's conception of the nature of the papal power and its proper
place in the world is stated in the form of a clear and forcible
summary. Until recently the _Dictatus_ was supposed to have been
written by Gregory himself, but it has been fairly well demonstrated
that it was composed not earlier than 1087 and was therefore the work
of some one else (Gregory died in 1085). It conforms very closely to a
collection of the laws of the Church published in 1087 by a certain
cardinal by the name of Deusdedit. The document loses little or none
of its value by reason of this uncertainty as to its authorship, for
it represents Pope Gregory's views as accurately as if he were known
to have written it. In judging Gregory's theories it should be borne
in mind (1) that it was not personal ambition, but sincere conviction,
that lay beneath them; (2) that the temporal states which existed in
western Europe in Gregory's day were rife with feudal anarchy and
oppression and often too weak to be capable of rendering justice; and
(3) that Gregory claimed, not that the Church should actually assume
the management of the civil government throughout Europe, but only
that in cases of notorious failure of temporal sovereigns to live
right and govern well, the supreme authority of the papacy should be
brought to bear upon them, either to depose them or to compel them to
mend their ways. It is worthy of note, however, that Gregory was
careful to lay the foundations of a formidable political power in
Italy, chiefly by availing himself of the practices of feudalism, as
seen, for example, in the grant of southern Italy to the Norman Robert
Guiscard to be held as a fief of the Roman see.

     Source--Text in Michael Doeberl, _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica
     Selecta_ (München, 1889), Vol. III., p. 17.

   =1.= That the Roman Church was founded by God alone.

   =2.= That the Roman bishop alone is properly called

   =3.= That he alone has the power to depose bishops and reinstate

   =4.= That his legate, though of inferior rank, takes precedence of
   all bishops in council, and may give sentence of deposition against

   =5.= That the Pope has the power to depose [bishops] in their

   =6.= That we should not even stay in the same house with those who
   are excommunicated by him.

   =8.= That he alone may use the imperial insignia.[377]

   =9.= That the Pope is the only person whose feet are kissed by all

   =11.= That the name which he bears belongs to him alone.[378]

   =12.= That he has the power to depose emperors.[379]

   =13.= That he may, if necessity require, transfer bishops from one
   see to another.

   =16.= That no general synod may be called without his consent.

   =17.= That no action of a synod, and no book, may be considered
   canonical without his authority.[380]

   =18.= That his decree can be annulled by no one, and that he alone
   may annul the decrees of any one.

   =19.= That he can be judged by no man.

   =20.= That no one shall dare to condemn a person who appeals to the
   apostolic see.

   =22.= That the Roman Church has never erred, nor ever, by the
   testimony of Scripture, shall err, to all eternity.[381]

   =26.= That no one can be considered Catholic who does not agree
   with the Roman Church.

   =27.= That he [the Pope] has the power to absolve the subjects of
   unjust rulers from their oath of fidelity.

46. Letter of Gregory VII. to Henry IV. (December, 1075)

The high ideal of papal supremacy over temporal sovereigns which
Gregory cherished when he became pope in 1073, and which is set forth
so forcibly in the _Dictatus_, was one whose validity no king or
emperor could be brought to recognize. It involved an attitude of
inferiority and submissiveness which monarchs felt to be quite
inconsistent with the complete independence which they claimed in the
management of the affairs of their respective states. Perhaps one may
say that the theory in itself, as a mere expression of religious
sentiment, was not especially obnoxious; many an earlier pope had
proclaimed it in substance without doing the kings and emperors of
Europe material injury. It was the firm determination and the
aggressive effort of Gregory to reduce the theory to an actual working
system that precipitated a conflict.

The supreme test of Gregory's ability to make the papal power felt in
the measure that he thought it should be came early in the pontificate
in the famous breach with Henry IV. of Germany. Henry at the time was
not emperor in name, but only "king of the Romans," the imperial
coronation not yet having taken place.[382] For all practical
purposes, however, he may be regarded as occupying the emperor's
position, since all that was lacking was the performance of a more or
less perfunctory ceremony. Henry's specific grievances against the
Pope were that the latter had declared it a sin for an ecclesiastic to
be invested with his office by a layman, though this was almost the
universal practice in Germany, and that he had condemned five of the
king's councilors for simony,[383] suspended the archbishop of Bremen,
the bishops of Speyer and Strassburg, and two Lombard bishops, and
deposed the bishop of Florence. Half of the land and wealth of Germany
was in the hands of bishops and abbots who, if the Pope were to have
his way, would be released from all practical dependence upon the king
and so would be free to encourage and take part in the feudal revolts
which Henry was exerting himself so vigorously to crush. June 8, 1075,
on the banks of the Unstrutt, the king won a signal victory over the
rebellious feudal lords, after which he felt strong enough to defy the
authority of Gregory with impunity. He therefore continued to
associate with the five condemned councilors and, in contempt of
recent papal declarations against lay investiture, took it upon
himself to appoint and invest a number of bishops and abbots, though
always with extreme care that the right kind of men be selected. Pope
Gregory was, of course, not the man to overlook such conduct and at
once made vigorous protest. The letter given below was written in
December, 1075, and is one of a considerable series which passed back
and forth across the Alps prior to the breaking of the storm in
1076-1077. At this stage matters had not yet got beyond the
possibility of compromise and reconciliation; in fact Gregory writes
as much as anything else to get the king's own statement regarding the
reports of his conduct which had come to Rome. The tone of the letter
is firm, it is true, but conciliatory. The thunder of subsequent
epistles to the recreant Henry had not yet been brought into play.

     Source--Text in Michael Doeberl, _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica
     Selecta_ (München, 1889), Vol. III., pp. 18-22. Adapted from
     translation in Oliver J. Thatcher and Edgar H. McNeal, _Source
     Book for Mediæval History_ (New York, 1905), pp. 147-150.

   Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to Henry, the
   king, greeting and apostolic benediction,--that is, if he be
   obedient to the apostolic see as is becoming in a Christian king:

     [Sidenote: Henry exhorted to confess his sins]

   It is with some hesitation that we have sent you our apostolic
   benediction, knowing that for all our acts as pope we must render
   an account to God, the severe judge. It is reported that you have
   willingly associated with men who have been excommunicated by
   decree of the Pope and sentence of a synod.[384] If this be true,
   you are very well aware that you can receive the blessing neither
   of God nor of the Pope until you have driven them from you and have
   compelled them to do penance, and have also yourself sought
   absolution and forgiveness for your transgressions with due
   repentance and good works. Therefore we advise you that, if you
   realize your guilt in this matter, you immediately confess to some
   pious bishop, who shall absolve you with our permission,
   prescribing for you penance in proportion to the fault, and who
   shall faithfully report to us by letter, with your permission, the
   nature of the penance required.

     [Sidenote: The Pope's claim to authority over temporal princes]

   We wonder, moreover, that you should continue to assure us by
   letter and messengers of your devotion and humility; that you
   should call yourself our son and the son of the holy mother Church,
   obedient in the faith, sincere in love, diligent in devotion; and
   that you should commend yourself to us with all zeal of love and
   reverence--whereas in fact you are constantly disobeying the
   canonical and apostolic decrees in important matters of the
   faith.... Since you confess yourself a son of the Church, you
   should treat with more honor the head of the Church, that is, St.
   Peter, the prince of the apostles. If you are one of the sheep of
   the Lord, you have been entrusted to him by divine authority, for
   Christ said to him: "Peter, feed my sheep" [John, xxi. 16]; and
   again: "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of
   Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in
   heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in
   heaven" [Matt., xvi. 19]. And since we, although an unworthy
   sinner, exercise his authority by divine will, the words which you
   address to us are in reality addressed directly to him. And
   although we read or hear only the words, he sees the heart from
   which the words proceed. Therefore your highness should be very
   careful that no insincerity be found in your words and messages to
   us; and that you show due reverence, not to us, indeed, but to
   omnipotent God, in those things which especially make for the
   advance of the Christian faith and the well-being of the Church.
   For our Lord said to the apostles and to their successors: "He that
   heareth you heareth me, and he that despiseth you despiseth me"
   [Luke, x. 16]. For no one will disregard our admonitions if he
   believes that the decrees of the Pope have the same authority as
   the words of the apostle himself....[385]

     [Sidenote: Abuses in the Church to be corrected]

   Now in the synod held at the apostolic seat to which the divine
   will has called us (at which some of your subjects also were
   present) we, seeing that the Christian religion had been weakened
   by many attacks and that the chief and proper motive, that of
   saving souls, had for a long time been neglected and slighted, were
   alarmed at the evident danger of the destruction of the flock of
   the Lord, and had recourse to the decrees and the doctrine of the
   holy fathers. We decreed nothing new, nothing of our invention; but
   we decided that the error should be abandoned and the single
   primitive rule of ecclesiastical discipline and the familiar way of
   the saints should be again sought out and followed.[386] For we
   know that no other door to salvation and eternal life lies open to
   the sheep of Christ than that which was pointed out by Him who
   said: "I am the door: by me if any man enter in he shall be saved,
   and find pasture" [John, x. 9]; and this, we learn from the gospels
   and from the sacred writings, was preached by the apostles and
   observed by the holy fathers. And we have decided that this
   decree--which some, placing human above divine honor, have called
   an unendurable weight and an immense burden, but which we call by
   its proper name, that is, the truth and light necessary to
   salvation--is to be received and observed not only by you and your
   subjects, but also by all princes and peoples of the earth who
   confess and worship Christ; for it is greatly desired by us, and
   would be most fitting to you, that as you are greater than others
   in glory, in honor, and in virtue, so you should be more
   distinguished in devotion to Christ.

     [Sidenote: Gregory disposed to treat Henry fairly]

   Nevertheless, that this decree may not seem to you beyond measure
   grievous and unjust, we have commanded you by your faithful
   ambassadors to send to us the wisest and most pious men whom you
   can find in your kingdom, so that if they can show or instruct us
   in any way how we can temper the sentence promulgated by the holy
   fathers without offense to the eternal King or danger to our souls,
   we may consider their advice. But, even if we had not warned you in
   so friendly a manner, it would have been only right on your part,
   before you violated the apostolic decrees, to ask justice of us in
   a reasonable manner in any matter in which we had injured or
   affected your honor. But from what you have since done and decreed
   it is evident how little you care for our warnings, or for the
   observance of justice.

     [Sidenote: Henry's obligation to serve and obey the papacy]

   But since we hope that, while the long-suffering patience of God
   still invites you to repent, you may become wiser and your heart
   may be turned to obey the commands of God, we warn you with
   fatherly love that, knowing the rule of Christ to be over you, you
   should consider how dangerous it is to place your honor above His,
   and that you should not interfere with the liberty of the Church
   which He has deigned to join to Himself by heavenly union, but
   rather with faithful devotion you should offer your assistance to
   the increasing of this liberty to omnipotent God and St. Peter,
   through whom also your glory may be enhanced. You ought to
   recognize what you undoubtedly owe to them for giving you victory
   over your enemies,[387] that as they have gladdened you with great
   prosperity, so they should see that you are thereby rendered more
   devout. And in order that the fear of God, in whose hands is all
   power and all rule, may affect your heart more than these our
   warnings, you should recall what happened to Saul, when, after
   winning the victory which he gained by the will of the prophet, he
   glorified himself in his triumph and did not obey the warnings of
   the prophet, and how God reproved him; and, on the other hand, what
   grace King David acquired by reason of his humility, as well as his
   other virtues.

47. Henry IV.'s Reply to Gregory's Letter (January, 1076)

In 1059, when Nicholas II. was pope and Hildebrand was yet only a
cardinal, a council assembled at the Lateran decreed that henceforth
the right of electing the sovereign pontiff should be vested
exclusively in the college of cardinals, or in other words, in seven
cardinal bishops in the vicinity of Rome and a certain number of
cardinal priests and deacons attached to the parishes of the city. The
people and clergy generally were deprived of participation in the
election, except so far as merely to give their consent. Hildebrand
seems to have been the real author of the decree. Nevertheless, in
1073, when he was elevated to the papal chair, the decree of 1059 was
in a measure ignored, for he was elected by popular vote and his
choice was only passively sanctioned by the cardinals. When,
therefore, the quarrel between him and Henry IV. came on, the latter
was not slow to make use of the weapon which Hildebrand's (or
Gregory's) uncanonical election placed in his hands. In replying,
January 24, 1076, to the papal letter of December, 1075, he bluntly
addresses himself to "Hildebrand, not pope, but false monk," and
writes a stinging epistle in the tone thus assumed in his salutation.
In his arraignment of Gregory the king doubtless went far beyond the
truth; but the fact remains that Gregory's dominating purposes in the
interest of the papal authority threatened to cut deeply into the
independence of all temporal sovereigns, and therefore rendered such
resistance as Henry offered quite inevitable. In the interim between
receiving the Pope's letter and dispatching his reply Henry had
convened at Worms a council of the German clergy, and this body had
decreed that Gregory, having wrongfully ascended the papal throne,
should be compelled forthwith to abdicate it.

     Source--Text in Michael Doeberl, _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica
     Selecta_ (München, 1889), Vol. III., pp. 24-25. Translated in
     Oliver J. Thatcher and Edgar H. McNeal, _Source Book for
     Mediæval History_ (New York, 1905), pp. 151-152.

   Henry, king not by usurpation, but by the holy ordination of God,
   to Hildebrand, not pope, but false monk.

     [Sidenote: Gregory declared to be only a demagogue]

     [Sidenote: The papal claim to temporal supremacy rejected]

     [Sidenote: Henry also cites Scripture]

   This is the salutation which you deserve, for you have never held
   any office in the Church without making it a source of confusion
   and a curse to Christian men, instead of an honor and a blessing.
   To mention only the most obvious cases out of many, you have not
   only dared to lay hands on the Lord's anointed, the archbishops,
   bishops, and priests, but you have scorned them and abused them, as
   if they were ignorant servants not fit to know what their master
   was doing. This you have done to gain favor with the vulgar crowd.
   You have declared that the bishops know nothing and that you know
   everything; but if you have such great wisdom you have used it not
   to build but to destroy. Therefore we believe that St. Gregory,
   whose name you have presumed to take, had you in mind when he said:
   "The heart of the prelate is puffed up by the abundance of
   subjects, and he thinks himself more powerful than all others." All
   this we have endured because of our respect for the papal office,
   but you have mistaken our humility for fear, and have dared to make
   an attack upon the royal and imperial authority which we received
   from God. You have even threatened to take it away, as if we had
   received it from you, and as if the Empire and kingdom were in your
   disposal and not in the disposal of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ has
   called us to the government of the Empire, but He never called you
   to the rule of the Church. This is the way you have gained
   advancement in the Church: through craft you have obtained wealth;
   through wealth you have obtained favor; through favor, the power of
   the sword; and through the power of the sword, the papal seat,
   which is the seat of peace; and then from the seat of peace you
   have expelled peace. For you have incited subjects to rebel against
   their prelates by teaching them to despise the bishops, their
   rightful rulers. You have given to laymen the authority over
   priests, whereby they condemn and depose those whom the bishops
   have put over them to teach them. You have attacked me, who,
   unworthy as I am, have yet been anointed to rule among the anointed
   of God, and who, according to the teaching of the fathers, can be
   judged by no one save God alone, and can be deposed for no crime
   except infidelity. For the holy fathers in the time of the apostate
   Julian[388] did not presume to pronounce sentence of deposition
   against him, but left him to be judged and condemned by God. St.
   Peter himself said, "Fear God, honor the king" [1 Pet., ii. 17].
   But you, who fear not God, have dishonored me, whom He hath
   established. St. Paul, who said that even an angel from heaven
   should be accursed who taught any other than the true doctrine, did
   not make an exception in your favor, to permit you to teach false
   doctrines. For he says, "But though we, or an angel from heaven,
   preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached
   unto you, let him be accursed" [Gal., i. 8]. Come down, then, from
   that apostolic seat which you have obtained by violence; for you
   have been declared accursed by St. Paul for your false doctrines,
   and have been condemned by us and our bishops for your evil rule.
   Let another ascend the throne of St. Peter, one who will not use
   religion as a cloak of violence, but will teach the life-giving
   doctrine of that prince of the apostles. I, Henry, king by the
   grace of God, with all my bishops, say unto you: "Come down, come
   down, and be accursed through all the ages."

48. Henry IV. Deposed by Pope Gregory (1076)

The foregoing letter of Henry IV. was received at Rome with a storm of
disapproval and the envoys who bore it barely escaped with their
lives. A council of French and Italian bishops was convened in the
Lateran (Feb. 24, 1076), and the king's haughty epistle, together with
the decree of the council at Worms deposing Gregory, were read and
allowed to have their effect. With the assent of the bishops, the Pope
pronounced the sentence of excommunication against Henry and formally
released all the latter's Christian subjects from their oath of
allegiance. Naturally the action of Gregory aroused intense interest
throughout Europe. In Germany it had the intended effect of detaching
many influential bishops and abbots from the imperial cause and
stirring the political enemies of the king to renewed activity. The
papal ban became a pretext for the renewal of the hostility on part of
his dissatisfied subjects which Henry had but just succeeded in

In the first part of the papal decree Gregory seeks to defend himself
against the charges brought by Henry and the German clergy to the
effect that he had mounted the papal throne through personal ambition
and the employment of unbecoming means. It was indisputable that his
election had not been strictly in accord with the decree of 1059, but
it seems equally true that, as Gregory declares, he was placed at the
helm of the Church contrary to his personal desires.

     Source--Text in Michael Doeberl, _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica
     Selecta_ (München, 1889), Vol. III., p. 26. Translated in
     Oliver J. Thatcher and Edgar H. McNeal, _Source Book for
     Mediæval History_ (New York, 1905), pp. 155-156.

     [Sidenote: Gregory denies that he ever sought the papal

     [Sidenote: Henry deposed by papal decree]

   St. Peter, prince of the apostles, incline thine ear unto me, I
   beseech thee, and hear me, thy servant, whom thou hast nourished
   from mine infancy and hast delivered from mine enemies that hate me
   for my fidelity to thee. Thou art my witness, as are also my
   mistress, the mother of God, and St. Paul thy brother, and all the
   other saints, that the Holy Roman Church called me to its
   government against my own will, and that I did not gain thy throne
   by violence; that I would rather have ended my days in exile than
   have obtained thy place by fraud or for worldly ambition. It is not
   by my efforts, but by thy grace, that I am set to rule over the
   Christian world which was especially intrusted to thee by Christ.
   It is by thy grace, and as thy representative that God has given to
   me the power to bind and to loose in heaven and in earth. Confident
   of my integrity and authority, I now declare in the name of the
   omnipotent God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that Henry, son
   of the Emperor Henry,[389] is deprived of his kingdom of Germany
   and Italy. I do this by thy authority and in defense of the honor
   of thy Church, because he has rebelled against it. He who attempts
   to destroy the honor of the Church should be deprived of such honor
   as he may have held. He has refused to obey as a Christian should;
   he has not returned to God from whom he had wandered; he has had
   dealings with excommunicated persons; he has done many iniquities;
   he has despised the warnings which, as thou art witness, I sent to
   him for his salvation; he has cut himself off from thy Church, and
   has attempted to rend it asunder; therefore, by thy authority, I
   place him under the curse. It is in thy name that I curse him, that
   all people may know that thou art Peter, and upon thy rock the Son
   of the living God has built his Church, and the gates of Hell shall
   not prevail against it.

49. The Penance of Henry IV. at Canossa (1077)

In his contest with the Pope, Henry's chances of winning were from the
outset diminished by the readiness of his subjects to take advantage
of his misfortunes to recover political privileges they had lost under
his vigorous rule. In October, 1076, the leading German nobles, lay
and clerical, encouraged by the papal decree of the preceding
February, assembled at Tribur, near Mainz, and proceeded to formulate
a plan of action. Henry, with the few followers who remained faithful,
awaited the result at Oppenheim, just across the Rhine. The magnates
at last agreed that unless Henry could secure the removal of the papal
ban within a year he should be deposed from the throne. By the
Oppenheim Convention he was forced to promise to revoke his sentence
of deposition against Gregory and to offer him his allegiance. The
promise was executed in a royal edict of the same month. Seeing that
there remained no hope in further resistance, and hearing that Gregory
was about to present himself in Germany to compel a final adjustment
of the affair, Henry fled from Speyer, where he had been instructed by
the nobles to remain, and by a most arduous winter journey over the
Alps arrived at last at the castle of Canossa, in Tuscany,[390] where
the Pope, on his way to Germany, was being entertained by one of his
allies, the Countess Matilda. Gregory might indeed already have been
on the Rhine but that he had heard of the move Henry was making and
feared that he was proposing to stir up revolt in the papal dominions.
The king was submissive, apparently conquered; yet Gregory was loath
to end the conflict at this point. He had hoped to establish a
precedent by entering German territory and there disposing of the
crown according to his own will. But it was a cardinal rule of the
Church that a penitent sincerely seeking absolution could not be
denied, and in his request Henry was certainly importunate enough to
give every appearance of sincerity. Accordingly, the result of the
meeting of king [Emperor] and Pope at Canossa was that the ban of
excommunication was revoked by the latter, while the former took an
oath fully acknowledging the papal claims.

Inasmuch as he had saved his crown and frustrated the design of
Gregory to cross the mountains into Germany, Henry may be said to have
won a temporary advantage; and this was followed within a few years,
when the struggle broke out again, by the practical expulsion of
Gregory from Rome and his death in broken-hearted exile (1085).
Nevertheless the moral effect of the Canossa episode, and of the
events which followed, in the long run operated decidedly against the
king's position and the whole imperial theory. The document below is a
letter of Gregory to the German magnates giving an account of the
submission of the king at Canossa, and including the text of the oath
which he there took.

     Source--Text in Michael Doeberl, _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica
     Selecta_ (München, 1889), Vol. III., pp. 33-34. Adapted from
     translation in Ernest F. Henderson, _Select Historical
     Documents of the Middle Ages_ (London, 1896), pp. 385-388.

Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to all the
archbishops, bishops, dukes, counts, and other princes of the realm of
the Germans who defend the Christian faith, greeting and apostolic

Inasmuch as for love of justice you assumed common cause and danger
with us in the struggle of Christian warfare, we have taken care to
inform you, beloved, with sincere affection, how the king, humbled to
penance, obtained the pardon of absolution and how the whole affair
has progressed from his entrance into Italy to the present time.

[Sidenote: Gregory's advance into Tuscany]

As had been agreed with the legates who had been sent to us on your
part,[391] we came into Lombardy about twenty days before the date on
which one of the commanders was to come over the pass to meet us,
awaiting his advent that we might cross over to the other side. But
when the period fixed upon had already passed, and we were told that
at this time on account of many difficulties--as we can readily
believe--an escort could not be sent to meet us, we were involved in
no little perplexity as to what would be best for us to do, having no
other means of coming to you.

[Sidenote: Henry at Canossa]

Meanwhile, however, we learned that the king was approaching. He also,
before entering Italy, sent to us suppliant legates, offering in all
things to render satisfaction to God, to St. Peter, and to us. And he
renewed his promise that, besides amending his way of living, he would
observe all obedience if only he might deserve to obtain from us the
favor of absolution and the apostolic benediction. When, after long
postponing a decision and holding frequent consultations, we, through
all the envoys who passed, had severely taken him to task for his
excesses, he came at length of his own accord, with a few followers,
showing nothing of hostility or boldness, to the town of Canossa where
we were tarrying. And there, having laid aside all the belongings of
royalty, wretchedly, with bare feet and clad in wool, he continued for
three days to stand before the gate of the castle. Nor did he desist
from imploring with many tears, the aid and consolation of the
apostolic mercy until he had moved all of those who were present
there, and whom the report of it reached, to such pity and depth of
compassion that, interceding for him with many prayers and tears, all
wondered indeed at the unaccustomed hardness of our heart, while some
actually cried out that we were exercising, not the dignity of
apostolic severity, but the cruelty, as it were, of a tyrannical

Finally, won by the persistency of his suit and by the constant
supplications of all who were present, we loosed the chain of the
anathema[392] and at length received him into the favor of communion
and into the lap of the holy mother Church, those being accepted as
sponsors for him whose names are written below.

[Sidenote: Gregory's purpose to visit Germany]

Having thus accomplished these matters, we desire at the first
opportunity to cross over to your country in order that, by God's aid,
we may more fully arrange all things for the peace of the Church and
the concord of the kingdom, as has long been our wish. For we desire,
beloved, that you should know beyond a doubt that the whole question
at issue is as yet so little cleared up--as you can learn from the
sponsors mentioned--that both our coming and the concurrence of your
counsels are extremely necessary. Wherefore strive ye all to continue
in the faith in which you have begun and in the love of justice; and
know that we are not otherwise committed to the king save that, by
word alone, as is our custom, we have said that he might have hopes
from us in those matters in which, without danger to his soul or to
our own, we might be able to help him to his salvation and honor,
either through justice or through mercy.


I, King Henry, on account of the murmuring and enmity which the
archbishops and bishops, dukes, counts and other princes of the realm
of the Germans, and others who follow them in the same matter of
dissension, bring to bear against me, will, within the term which our
master Pope Gregory has constituted, either do justice according to
his judgment or conclude peace according to his counsels--unless an
absolute impediment should stand in his way or in mine. And on the
removal of this impediment I shall be ready to continue in the same
course. Likewise, if that same lord Pope Gregory shall wish to go
beyond the mountains [i.e., into Germany], or to any other part of the
world, he himself, as well as those who shall be in his escort or
following, or who are sent by him, or come to him from any parts of
the world whatever, shall be secure while going, remaining, or
returning, on my part, and on the part of those whom I can constrain,
from every injury to life or limb, or from capture. Nor shall he, by
my consent, meet any other hindrance that is contrary to his dignity;
and if any such be placed in his way I will aid him according to my
ability. So help me God and this holy gospel.

50. The Concordat of Worms (1122)

The veteran Emperor Henry IV. died at Liège in 1106 and was succeeded
by his son, Henry V. The younger Henry had some months before been
prompted by Pope Paschal II. to rebel against his father and,
succeeding in this, had practically established himself on the throne
before his legitimate time. Pope Paschal expected the son to be more
submissive than the father had been and in 1106 issued a decree
renewing the prohibition of lay investiture. Outside of Germany this
evil had been brought almost to an end and, now that the vigorous
Henry IV. was out of the way, the Pope felt that the time had come to
make the reform complete throughout Christendom. But in this he was
mistaken, for Henry V. proved almost as able and fully as determined a
power to contend with as had been his father. In fact, the new monarch
could command a much stronger army, and he was in no wise loath to use
it. In 1110 he led a host of thirty thousand men across the Alps,
compelled the submission of the north Italian towns, and marched on
Rome. The outcome was a secret compact (February 4, 1111) by which the
king, on the one hand, was to abandon all claim to the right of
investiture and the Pope, on the other, was to see that the
ecclesiastical princes of the Empire (bishops and abbots holding large
tracts of land) should give up all the lands which they had received
by royal grant since the days of Charlemagne. The abandonment of
investiture looked like a surrender on the part of Henry, but in
reality all that he wanted was direct control over all the lands of
the Empire, and if the ecclesiastical princes were to be dispossessed
of these he cared little or nothing about having a part in the mere
religious ceremony. This settlement was rendered impossible, however,
by the attitude of the princes themselves, who naturally refused to be
thus deprived of their landed property and chief source of income. The
Pope was then forced to make a second compact surrendering the full
right of investiture to the imperial authority, and Henry also got the
coveted imperial coronation. But his triumph was short-lived.
Rebellions among the German nobles robbed him of his strength and
after years of wearisome bickerings and petty conflicts he again came
to the point where he was willing to compromise. Calixtus II., who
became pope in 1119, was similarly inclined.

Accordingly, in a diet at Worms, in 1122, the whole problem was taken
up for settlement, and happily this time with success. The documents
translated below contain the concessions made mutually by the two
parties. Calixtus, in brief, grants that the elections of bishops and
abbots may take place in the presence of the Emperor, or of his
agents, and that the Emperor should have the right to invest them with
the scepter, i.e., with their dignity as princes of the Empire. Henry,
on his side, agrees to give up investiture with the ring and staff,
i.e., with spiritual functions, to allow free elections, and to aid in
the restoration of church property which had been confiscated during
the long struggle now drawing to a close. The settlement was in the
nature of a compromise; but on the whole the papacy came off the
better. In its largest aspects the great fifty-year struggle over the
question of investiture was ended, though minor features of it
remained to trouble all parties concerned for a long time to come.

     Sources--(a) Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Leges_
     (Pertz ed.), Vol. II., pp. 75-76.

     (b) Text in Michael Doeberl, _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica
     Selecta_, Vol. III., p. 60.

     [Sidenote: The provision for elections]


   I, Bishop Calixtus, servant of the servants of God, do grant to
   thee, by the grace of God august Emperor of the Romans, the right
   to hold the elections of the bishops and abbots of the German realm
   who belong to the kingdom, in thy presence, without simony, and
   without any resort to violence; it being agreed that, if any
   dispute arise among those concerned, thou, by the counsel and
   judgment of the metropolitan [i.e., the archbishop] and the
   suffragan bishops, shalt extend favor and support to the party
   which shall seem to you to have the better case. Moreover, the
   person elected may receive from thee the _regalia_ through the
   scepter, without any exaction being levied;[393] and he shall
   discharge his rightful obligations to thee for them.[394]

     [Sidenote: Investiture with the scepter]

   He who is consecrated in other parts of the Empire[395] shall
   receive the _regalia_ from thee through the scepter, within six
   months, and without any exaction, and shall discharge his rightful
   obligations to thee for them; those rights being excepted, however,
   which are known to belong to the Roman Church. In whatever cases
   thou shalt make complaint to me and ask my aid I will support thee
   according as my office requires. To thee, and to all those who are
   on thy side, or have been, in this period of strife, I grant a true

     [Sidenote: Investiture with ring and staff]


   In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity, I, Henry, by the
   grace of God august Emperor of the Romans, for the love of God and
   of the holy Roman Church and of our lord Pope Calixtus, and for the
   saving of my soul, do give over to God, and to the holy apostles of
   God, Peter and Paul, and the holy Catholic Church, all investiture
   through ring and staff; and do concede that in all the churches
   that are in my kingdom or empire there shall be canonical election
   and free consecration.

     [Sidenote: Restoration of confiscated property]

   All the property and _regalia_ of St. Peter which, from the
   beginning of this conflict until the present time, whether in the
   days of my father or in my own, have been confiscated, and which I
   now hold, I restore to the holy Roman Church. And as for those
   things which I do not now hold, I will faithfully aid in their
   restoration. The property also of all other churches and princes
   and of every one, whether lay or ecclesiastical, which has been
   lost in the struggle, I will restore as far as I hold it, according
   to the counsel of the princes, or according to considerations of
   justice. I will also faithfully aid in the restoration of those
   things which I do not hold.

   And I grant a true peace to our lord Pope Calixtus, and to the holy
   Roman Church, and to all those who are, or have been, on its side.
   In matters where the holy Roman Church shall seek assistance, I
   will faithfully render it, and when it shall make complaint to me I
   will see that justice is done.


[375] The incumbent of the papal office was at the same time bishop of
Rome, temporal sovereign of the papal lands, and head of the church
universal. In earlier times there was always danger that the third of
these functions be lost and that the papacy revert to a purely local
institution, but by Gregory VII.'s day the universal headship was
clearly recognized throughout the West as inherent in the office. It
was only when there arose the question as to how far this headship
justified the Pope in attempting to control the affairs of the world
that serious disagreement manifested itself.

[376] That is, without giving them a hearing at a later date.

[377] On the basis of the forged Donation of Constantine the Pope
claimed the right here mentioned. There was no proper warrant for it.

[378] "This is the first distinct assertion of the exclusive right of
the bishop of Rome to the title of pope, once applied to all bishops."
Robinson, _Readings in European History_, Vol. I., p. 274. The word
pope is derived from _papa_ (father). It is still used as the common
title of all priests in the Greek Church.

[379] This, with the letter given on page 265, sets forth succinctly
the papacy's absolute claim of authority as against the highest
temporal power in Europe.

[380] That is, pronounced by the canons of the Church to be divinely

[381] This is, of course, not a claim of _papal_ infallibility. The
assertion is merely that in the domain of faith and morals the Roman
church, judged by Scriptural principles, has never pursued a course
either improper or unwarranted.

[382] It did not occur until 1084. Henry had inherited the office at
the death of his father, Henry III., in 1056.

[383] The sin of simony comprised the employment of any corrupt means
to obtain appointment or election to an ecclesiastical office. For the
origin of the term see the incident recorded in Acts, viii. 18-24. The
five councilors had been condemned by a synod at Rome in February,

[384] The five condemned councillors.

[385] This portion of the letter comprises a clear assertion of the
"Petrine Supremacy," i.e., the theory that Peter, as the first bishop
of Rome, transmitted his superiority over all other bishops to his
successors in the Roman see, who in due time came to constitute the
line of popes [see p. 78].

[386] This refers to a decree of a Roman synod in 1074 against simony
and the marriage of the clergy.

[387] In the battle on the Unstrutt, June 8, 1075.

[388] Julian succeeded Constantine's son Constantius as head of the
Roman Empire in 361. He was known as "the Apostate" because of his
efforts to displace the Christian religion and to restore the old
pagan worship. He died in battle with the Persians in 363.

[389] Henry III., emperor from 1039 to 1056.

[390] The castle of Canossa stood on one of the northern spurs of the
Apennines, about ten miles southwest of Reggio. Some remains of it may
yet be seen.

[391] The German princes who were hostile to Henry had kept in close
touch with the Pope. In the Council of Tribur a legate of Gregory took
the most prominent part, and the members of that body had invited the
Pope to come to Augsburg and aid in the settling of Henry's crown upon
a successor.

[392] Revoked the ban of excommunication. The anathema was a solemn
curse by an ecclesiastical authority.

[393] That is, the Emperor was to be allowed to invest the new bishop
or abbot with the fiefs and secular powers by a touch of the scepter,
but his old claim to the right of investment with the spiritual
emblems of ring and crozier was denied.

[394] This means that the ecclesiastical prince--the bishop or
abbot--in the capacity of a landholder was to render the ordinary
feudal obligations to the Emperor.

[395] Burgundy and Italy.



51. Speech of Pope Urban II. at the Council of Clermont (1095)

Within a short time after the death of Mohammed (632) the whole
country of Syria, including Palestine, was overrun by the Arabs, and
the Holy City of Jerusalem passed out of Christian hands into the
control of the infidels. The Arabs, however, shared the veneration of
the Christians for the places associated with the life of Christ and
did not greatly interfere with the pilgrims who flocked thither from
all parts of the Christian world. In the tenth century the strong
emperors of the Macedonian dynasty at Constantinople succeeded in
winning back all of Syria except the extreme south, and the prospect
seemed fair for the permanent possession by a Christian power of all
those portions of the Holy Land which were regarded as having
associations peculiarly sacred. This prospect might have been realized
but for the invasions and conquests of the Seljuk Turks in the latter
part of the eleventh century. These Turks came from central Asia and
are to be carefully distinguished from the Ottoman Turks of more
modern times. They had recently been converted to Mohammedanism and
were now the fiercest and most formidable champions of that faith in
its conflict with the Christian East. In 1071 Emperor Romanus Diogenes
was defeated at Manzikert, in Armenia, and taken prisoner by the
sultan Alp Arslan, and as a result not only Asia Minor, but also
Syria, was forever lost to the Empire. The Holy City of Jerusalem was
definitely occupied in 1076. The invaders established a stronghold at
Nicæa, less than a hundred miles across the Sea of Marmora from
Constantinople, and even threatened the capital itself, although they
did not finally succeed in taking it until 1453.

No sooner were the Turks in possession of Jerusalem and the approaches
thither, than pilgrims returning to western Europe began to tell
tales, not infrequently as true as they were terrifying, regarding
insults and tortures suffered at the hand of the pitiless conquerors.
The Emperor Alexius Comnenus (1081-1118) put forth every effort to
expel the intruders from Asia Minor, hoping to be able to regain the
territories, including Syria, which they had stripped from the Empire;
but his strength proved unequal to the task. Accordingly, in 1095, he
sent an appeal to Pope Urban II. to enlist the Christian world in a
united effort to save both the Empire and the Eastern Church. It used
to be thought that Pope Sylvester II., about the year 1000, had
suggested a crusade against the Mohammedans of the East, but it now
appears that the first pope to advance such an idea was Gregory VII.
(1073-1085), who in response to an appeal of Alexius's predecessor in
1074, had actually assembled an army of 50,000 men for the aid of the
Emperor and had been prevented from carrying out the project only by
the severity of the investiture controversy with Henry IV. of Germany.
At any rate, it was not a difficult task for the ambassadors of
Alexius to convince Pope Urban that he ought to execute the plan of
Gregory. The plea for aid was made at the Council of Piacenza in
March, 1095, and during the next few months Urban thought out the best
method of procedure.

At the Council of Clermont, held in November, 1095, the crusade was
formally proclaimed through the famous speech which the Pope himself
delivered after the regular business of the assembly had been
transacted. Urban was a Frenchman and he knew how to appeal to the
emotions and sympathies of his hearers. For the purpose of stirring up
interest in the enterprise he dropped the Latin in which the work of
the Council had been transacted and broke forth in his native tongue,
much to the delight of his countrymen. There are four early versions
of the speech, differing widely in contents, and none, of course,
reproducing the exact words used by the speaker. The version given by
Robert the Monk, a resident of Rheims, in the opening chapter of his
history of the first crusade seems in most respects superior to the
others. It was written nearly a quarter of a century after the Council
of Clermont, but the writer in all probability had at least heard the
speech which he was trying to reproduce; in any event we may take his
version of it as a very satisfactory representation of the aspirations
and spirit which impelled the first crusaders to their great
enterprise. It has been well said that "many orations have been
delivered with as much eloquence, and in as fiery words as the Pope
used, but no other oration has ever been able to boast of as wonderful

     Source--Robertus Monachus, _Historia Iherosolimitana_ [Robert
     the Monk, "History of the Crusade to Jerusalem"], Bk. I.,
     Chap. 1. Reprinted in _Recueildes Historiens des Croisades:
     Historiens Occidentaux_ (Paris, 1866), Vol. III., pp. 727-728.
     Adapted from translation by Dana C. Munro in _Univ. of Pa.
     Translations and Reprints_, Vol. I., No. 2, pp. 5-8.

     [Sidenote: The Council of Clermont]

   In the year of our Lord's Incarnation one thousand and ninety-five,
   a great council was convened within the bounds of Gaul, in
   Auvergne, in the city which is called Clermont. Over this Pope
   Urban II. presided, with the Roman bishops and cardinals. This
   council was a famous one on account of the concourse of both French
   and German bishops, and of princes as well. Having arranged the
   matters relating to the Church, the lord Pope went forth into a
   certain spacious plain, for no building was large enough to hold
   all the people. The Pope then, with sweet and persuasive eloquence,
   addressed those present in words something like the following,

     [Sidenote: Pope Urban appeals to the French]

   "Oh, race of Franks, race beyond the mountains [the Alps], race
   beloved and chosen by God (as is clear from many of your works),
   set apart from all other nations by the situation of your country,
   as well as by your Catholic faith and the honor you render to the
   holy Church: to you our discourse is addressed, and for you our
   exhortations are intended. We wish you to know what a serious
   matter has led us to your country, for it is the imminent peril
   threatening you and all the faithful that has brought us hither.

     [Sidenote: The ravages of the Turks]

   "From the confines of Jerusalem and from the city of Constantinople
   a grievous report has gone forth and has been brought repeatedly to
   our ears; namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an
   accursed race, a race wholly alienated from God, 'a generation that
   set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with
   God' [Ps., lxxviii. 8], has violently invaded the lands of those
   Christians and has depopulated them by pillage and fire. They have
   led away a part of the captives into their own country, and a part
   they have killed by cruel tortures. They have either destroyed the
   churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of their own
   religion. They destroy the altars, after having defiled them with
   their uncleanness.... The kingdom of the Greeks [the Eastern
   Empire] is now dismembered by them and has been deprived of
   territory so vast in extent that it could not be traversed in two
   months' time.

     [Sidenote: Urban recalls the zeal and valor of the earlier Franks]

   "On whom, therefore, rests the labor of avenging these wrongs and
   of recovering this territory, if not upon you--you, upon whom,
   above all other nations, God has conferred remarkable glory in
   arms, great courage, bodily activity, and strength to humble the
   heads of those who resist you? Let the deeds of your ancestors
   encourage you and incite your minds to manly achievements--the
   glory and greatness of King Charlemagne, and of his son Louis [the
   Pious], and of your other monarchs, who have destroyed the kingdoms
   of the Turks[396] and have extended the sway of the holy Church
   over lands previously pagan. Let the holy sepulcher of our Lord and
   Saviour, which is possessed by the unclean nations, especially
   arouse you, and the holy places which are now treated with ignominy
   and irreverently polluted with the filth of the unclean. Oh most
   valiant soldiers and descendants of invincible ancestors, do not
   degenerate, but recall the valor of your ancestors.

     [Sidenote: The crusade as a desirable remedy for over population]

   "But if you are hindered by love of children, parents, or wife,
   remember what the Lord says in the Gospel, 'He that loveth father
   or mother more than me is not worthy of me' [Matt., x. 37]. 'Every
   one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father,
   or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake,
   shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life'
   [Matt., xix. 29]. Let none of your possessions restrain you, nor
   anxiety for your family affairs. For this land which you inhabit,
   shut in on all sides by the seas and surrounded by the mountain
   peaks, is too narrow for your large population; nor does it abound
   in wealth; and it furnishes scarcely food enough for its
   cultivators. Hence it is that you murder and devour one another,
   that you wage war, and that very many among you perish in civil

     [Sidenote: Syria, a rich country]

   "Let hatred, therefore, depart from among you; let your quarrels
   end; let wars cease; and let all dissensions and controversies
   slumber. Enter upon the road of the Holy Sepulcher; wrest that land
   from the wicked race, and subject it to yourselves. That land
   which, as the Scripture says, 'floweth with milk and honey' [Num.,
   xiii. 27] was given by God into the power of the children of
   Israel. Jerusalem is the center of the earth; the land is fruitful
   above all others, like another paradise of delights. This spot the
   Redeemer of mankind has made illustrious by His advent, has
   beautified by His sojourn, has consecrated by His passion, has
   redeemed by His death, has glorified by His burial.

   "This royal city, however, situated at the center of the earth, is
   now held captive by the enemies of Christ and is subjected, by
   those who do not know God, to the worship of the heathen. She
   seeks, therefore, and desires to be liberated, and ceases not to
   implore you to come to her aid. From you especially she asks
   succor, because, as we have already said, God has conferred upon
   you, above all other nations, great glory in arms. Accordingly,
   undertake this journey eagerly for the remission of your sins, with
   the assurance of the reward of imperishable glory in the kingdom of

     [Sidenote: Response to the appeal]

   When Pope Urban had skilfully said these and very many similar
   things, he so centered in one purpose the desires of all who were
   present that all cried out, "It is the will of God! It is the will
   of God!" When the venerable Roman pontiff heard that, with eyes
   uplifted to heaven, he gave thanks to God and, commanding silence
   with his hand, said:

     [Sidenote: "Deus vult," the war cry]

   "Most beloved brethren, to-day is manifest in you what the Lord
   says in the Gospel, 'Where two or three are gathered together in my
   name, there am I in the midst of them' [Matt., xviii. 20]. For
   unless God had been present in your spirits, all of you would not
   have uttered the same cry; since, although the cry issued from
   numerous mouths, yet the origin of the cry was one. Therefore I say
   to you that God, who implanted this in your breasts, has drawn it
   forth from you. Let that, then, be your war cry in battle, because
   it is given to you by God. When an armed attack is made upon the
   enemy, let this one cry be raised by all the soldiers of God: 'It
   is the will of God! It is the will of God!'

     [Sidenote: Who should go and who should remain]

   "And we neither command nor advise that the old or feeble, or those
   incapable of bearing arms, undertake this journey. Nor ought women
   to set out at all without their husbands, or brothers, or legal
   guardians. For such are more of a hindrance than aid, more of a
   burden than an advantage. Let the rich aid the needy; and according
   to their wealth let them take with them experienced soldiers. The
   priests and other clerks [clergy], whether secular or regular, are
   not to go without the consent of their bishop; for this journey
   would profit them nothing if they went without permission. Also, it
   is not fitting that laymen should enter upon the pilgrimage without
   the blessing of their priests.

   "Whoever, therefore, shall decide upon this holy pilgrimage, and
   shall make his vow to God to that effect, and shall offer himself
   to Him for sacrifice, as a living victim, holy and acceptable to
   God, shall wear the sign of the cross of the Lord on his forehead
   or on his breast. When he shall return from his journey, having
   fulfilled his vow, let him place the cross on his back between his
   shoulders. Thus shall ye, indeed, by this twofold action, fulfill
   the precept of the Lord, as He commands in the Gospel, 'He that
   taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me'"
   [Luke, xiv. 27].

52. The Starting of the Crusaders (1096)

The appeals of Pope Urban at Clermont and elsewhere met with ready
response, especially among the French, but also to a considerable
extent among Italians, Germans, and even English. A great variety of
people were attracted by the enterprise, and from an equal variety of
motives. Men whose lives had been evil saw in the crusade an
opportunity of doing penance; criminals who perhaps cared little for
penance but much for their own personal safety saw in it an avenue of
escape from justice; merchants discovered in it a chance to open up
new and valuable trade; knights hailed it as an invitation to deeds of
valor and glory surpassing any Europe had yet known; ordinary
malcontents regarded it as a chance to mend their fortunes; and a very
large number of people looked upon it as a great spiritual obligation
laid upon them and necessary to be performed in order to insure
salvation in the world to come. By reason of all these incentives,
some of them weighing much more in the mediæval mind than we can
understand to-day, the crusade brought together men, women, and
children from every part of Christendom. Both of the accounts given
below of the assembling and starting of the crusaders are doubtless
more or less exaggerated at certain points, yet in substance they
represent what must have been pretty nearly the actual facts.

William of Malmesbury was an English monk who lived in the first half
of the twelfth century and wrote a very valuable _Chronicle of the
Kings of England_, which reached the opening of the reign of Stephen
(1135). He thus had abundant opportunity to learn of the first
crusade from people who had actually participated in it. His rather
humorous picture of the effects of Pope Urban's call is thus well
worth reading. Better than it, however, is the account by the priest
Fulcher of Chartres (1058-1124)--better because the writer himself
took part in the crusade and so was a personal observer of most of the
things he undertook to describe. Fulcher, in 1096, set out upon the
crusade in the company of his lord, Etienne, count of Blois and
Chartres, who was a man of importance in the army of Robert of
Normandy. With the rest of Robert's crusaders he spent the winter in
Italy and arrived at Durazzo in the spring of 1097. He had a part in
the siege of Nicæa and in the battle of Dorylæum, but not in the siege
of Antioch. Before reaching Jerusalem, in 1099, he became chaplain to
a brother of Godfrey of Bouillon and was already making progress on
his "history of the army of God."

     Sources--(a) Guilielmus Monachi Malmesburiensis, _De gestis
     regum Anglorum_ [William of Malmesbury, "Chronicle of the
     Kings of England"], Bk. IV., Chap. 2. Adapted from translation
     by John Sharpe (London, 1815), p. 416.

     (b) Fulcherius Carnotensis, _Historia Iherosolimitana: gesta
     Francorum Iherusalem peregrinantium_ [Fulcher of Chartres,
     "History of the Crusade to Jerusalem: the Deeds of the French
     Journeying Thither"], Chap. 6. Text in _Recueil des Historiens
     des Croisades: Historiens Occidentaux_ (Paris, 1866), Vol.
     III., p. 328.

     [Sidenote: Universal interest in the crusade]


   Immediately the fame of this great event,[398] being spread through
   the universe, penetrated the minds of Christians with its mild
   breath, and wherever it blew there was no nation, however distant
   and obscure, that did not send some of its people. This zeal
   animated not only the provinces bordering on the Mediterranean, but
   all who had ever even heard of the name Christian in the most
   remote isles, and among barbarous nations. Then the Welshman
   abandoned his forests and neglected his hunting; the Scotchman
   deserted the fleas with which he is so familiar; the Dane ceased to
   swallow his intoxicating draughts; and the Norwegian turned his
   back upon his raw fish. The fields were left by the cultivators,
   and the houses by their inhabitants; all the cities were deserted.
   People were restrained neither by the ties of blood nor the love of
   country; they saw nothing but God. All that was in the granaries,
   or was destined for food, was left under the guardianship of the
   greedy agriculturist. The journey to Jerusalem was the only thing
   hoped for or thought of. Joy animated the hearts of all who set
   out; grief dwelt in the hearts of all who remained. Why do I say
   "of those who remained"? You might have seen the husband setting
   forth with his wife, with all his family; you would have laughed to
   see all the _penates_[399] put in motion and loaded upon wagons.
   The road was too narrow for the passengers, and more room was
   wanted for the travelers, so great and numerous was the crowd.[400]

     [Sidenote: The multitude of crusaders]


   Such, then, was the immense assemblage which set out from the West.
   Gradually along the march, and from day to day, the army grew by
   the addition of other armies, coming from every direction and
   composed of innumerable people. Thus one saw an infinite multitude,
   speaking different languages and coming from divers countries. All
   did not, however, come together into a single army until we had
   reached the city of Nicæa.[401] What shall I add? The isles of the
   sea and the kingdoms of the whole earth were moved by God, so that
   one might believe fulfilled the prophecy of David, who said in his
   Psalm: "All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship
   before Thee, O Lord, and shall glorify Thy name;" and so that those
   who reached the holy places afterwards said justly: "We will
   worship where His feet have stood." Concerning this journey we
   read very many other predictions in the prophets, which it would be
   tedious to recall.

     [Sidenote: Mingled sorrow and joy of the crusaders]

   Oh, how great was the grief, how deep the sighs, what weeping, what
   lamentations among the friends, when the husband left the wife so
   dear to him, his children also, and all his possessions of any
   kind, father, mother, brethren, or kindred! And yet in spite of the
   floods of tears which those who remained shed for their friends
   about to depart, and in their very presence, the latter did not
   suffer their courage to fail, and, out of love for the Lord, in no
   way hesitated to leave all that they held most precious, believing
   without doubt that they would gain an hundred-fold in receiving the
   recompense which God has promised to those who love Him.

   Then the husband confided to his wife the time of his return and
   assured her that, if he lived, by God's grace he would return to
   her. He commended her to the Lord, gave her a kiss, and, weeping,
   promised to return. But the latter, who feared that she would never
   see him again, overcome with grief, was unable to stand, fell as if
   lifeless to the ground, and wept over her dear one whom she was
   losing in life, as if he were already dead. He, then, as if he had
   no pity (nevertheless he was filled with pity) and was not moved by
   the grief of his friends (and yet he was secretly moved), departed
   with a firm purpose. The sadness was for those who remained, and
   the joy for those who departed. What more can we say? "This is the
   Lord's doings, and it is marvelous in our eyes."

53. A Letter from a Crusader to his Wife

One of the most important groups of sources on the crusades is the
large body of letters which has come down to us, written by men who
had an actual part in the various expeditions. These letters,
addressed to parents, wives, children, vassals, or friends, are
valuable alike for the facts which they contain and for the revelation
they give of the spirit and motives of the crusaders. A considerable
collection of the letters, in English translation, may be found in
Roger de Hoveden's _Annals of English History_, Roger of Wendover's
_Flowers of History_, and Matthew Paris's _English History_ (all in
the Bohn Library); also in Michaud's _History of the Crusades_, Vol.
III., Appendix. In many respects the letter given below, written at
Antioch by Count Stephen of Blois to his wife Adele, under date of
March 29, 1098, is unexcelled in all the records of mediæval
letter-writing. Count Stephen (a brother-in-law of Robert of Normandy,
who was a son of William the Conqueror) was one of the wealthiest and
most popular French noblemen who responded to Pope Urban's summons at
Clermont. At least three of his letters to his wife survive, of which
the one here given is the third in order of time. It discloses the
ordinary human sentiments of the crusader and makes us feel that,
unlike the modern man as he was, he yet had very much in common with
the people of to-day and of all ages. He was at the same time a bold
fighter and a tender husband, a religious enthusiast and a practical
man of affairs. When the letter was written, the siege of Antioch had
been in progress somewhat more than five months; it continued until
the following June, when it ended in the capture of the city by the
crusaders. Count Stephen was slain in the battle of Ramleh in 1102.

     Source--D'Achery, _Spicilegium_ ["Gleanings"], 2d edition,
     Vol. III., pp. 430-433. Adapted from translation by Dana C.
     Munro in _Univ. of Pa. Translations and Reprints_, Vol. I.,
     No. 4, pp. 5-8.

   Count Stephen to Adele, his sweetest and most amiable wife, to his
   dear children, and to all his vassals of all ranks,--his greeting
   and blessing.

     [Sidenote: Count Stephen reports prosperity]

   You may be very sure, dearest, that the messenger whom I sent to
   give you pleasure left me before Antioch safe and unharmed and,
   through God's grace, in the greatest prosperity. And already at
   that time, together with all the chosen army of Christ, endowed
   with great valor by Him, we have been continually advancing for
   twenty-three weeks toward the home of our Lord Jesus. You may know
   for certain, my beloved, that of gold, silver, and many other kind
   of riches I now have twice as much as your love had assigned to me
   when I left you. For all our princes, with the common consent of
   the whole army, though against my own wishes, have made me up to
   the present time the leader, chief, and director of their whole

     [Sidenote: Early achievements of the crusaders]

   Doubtless you have heard that after the capture of the city of
   Nicæa we fought a great battle with the treacherous Turks and, by
   God's aid, conquered them.[402] Next we conquered for the Lord all
   Romania, and afterwards Cappadocia.[403] We had learned that there
   was a certain Turkish prince, Assam, dwelling in Cappadocia; so we
   directed our course thither. We conquered all his castles by force
   and compelled him to flee to a certain very strong castle situated
   on a high rock. We also gave the land of that Assam to one of our
   chiefs, and in order that he might conquer the prince we left there
   with him many soldiers of Christ. Thence, continually following the
   wicked Turks, we drove them through the midst of Armenia,[404] as
   far as the great river Euphrates. Having left all their baggage and
   beasts of burden on the bank, they fled across the river into

     [Sidenote: The arrival at Antioch (1097)]

   The bolder of the Turkish soldiers, indeed, entering Syria,
   hastened by forced marches night and day, in order to be able to
   enter the royal city of Antioch before our approach.[405] Hearing
   of this, the whole army of God gave due praise and thanks to the
   all-powerful Lord. Hastening with great joy to this chief city of
   Antioch, we besieged it and there had a great number of conflicts
   with the Turks; and seven times we fought with the citizens of the
   city and with the innumerable troops all the time coming to their
   aid. The latter we rushed out to meet and fought with the fiercest
   courage under the leadership of Christ. And in all these seven
   battles, by the aid of the Lord God, we conquered and most
   assuredly killed an innumerable host of them. In those battles,
   indeed, and in very many attacks made upon the city, many of our
   brethren and followers were killed and their souls were borne to
   the joys of paradise.

     [Sidenote: The beginning of the siege]

   We found the city of Antioch very extensive, fortified with the
   greatest strength and almost impossible to be taken. In addition,
   more than 5,000 bold Turkish soldiers had entered the city, not
   counting the Saracens, Publicans, Arabs, Turcopolitans, Syrians,
   Armenians, and other different races of whom an infinite multitude
   had gathered together there. In fighting against these enemies of
   God and of us we have, by God's grace, endured many sufferings and
   innumerable hardships up to the present time. Many also have
   already exhausted all their means in this most holy enterprise.
   Very many of our Franks, indeed, would have met a bodily death from
   starvation, if the mercy of God and our money had not come to their
   rescue. Lying before the city of Antioch, indeed, throughout the
   whole winter we suffered for our Lord Christ from excessive cold
   and enormous torrents of rain. What some say about the
   impossibility of bearing the heat of the sun in Syria is untrue,
   for the winter there is very similar to our winter in the West.

     [Sidenote: The Christians defeated near the seashore]

   I delight to tell you, dearest, what happened to us during Lent.
   Our princes had caused a fortress to be built before a certain gate
   which was between our camp and the sea. For the Turks, coming out
   of this gate daily, killed some of our men on their way to the sea.
   The city of Antioch is about five leagues distant from the sea. For
   this purpose they sent the excellent Bohemond and Raymond, count of
   St. Gilles,[406] to the sea with only sixty horsemen, in order
   that they might bring mariners to aid in this work. When, however,
   they were returning to us with these mariners, the Turks collected
   an army, fell suddenly upon our two leaders, and forced them to a
   perilous flight. In that unexpected fight we lost more than 500 of
   our foot-soldiers--to the glory of God. Of our horsemen, however,
   we lost only two, for certain.

   On that same day, in order to receive our brethren with joy, and
   entirely ignorant of their misfortunes, we went out to meet them.
   When, however, we approached the above-mentioned gate of the city,
   a mob of foot-soldiers and horsemen from Antioch, elated by the
   victory which they had won, rushed upon us in the same manner.
   Seeing these, our leaders went to the camp of the Christians to
   order all to be ready to follow us into battle. In the meantime our
   men gathered together and the scattered leaders, namely, Bohemond
   and Raymond, with the remainder of their army came up and told of
   the great misfortune which they had suffered.

     [Sidenote: A notable victory over the Turks]

   Our men, full of fury at these most evil tidings, prepared to die
   for Christ and, deeply grieved for their brethren, rushed upon the
   wicked Turks. They, enemies of God and of us, hastily fled before
   us and attempted to enter the city. But by God's grace the affair
   turned out very differently; for, when they tried to cross a bridge
   built over the great river Moscholum,[407] we followed them as
   closely as possible, killed many before they reached the bridge,
   forced many into the river, all of whom were killed, and we also
   slew many upon the bridge and very many at the narrow entrance to
   the gate. I am telling you the truth, my beloved, and you may be
   assured that in this battle we killed thirty emirs, that is,
   princes, and three hundred other Turkish nobles, not counting the
   remaining Turks and pagans. Indeed the number of Turks and
   Saracens killed is reckoned at 1230, but of ours we did not lose a
   single man.

   On the following day (Easter), while my chaplain Alexander was
   writing this letter in great haste, a party of our men lying in
   wait for the Turks fought a successful battle with them and killed
   sixty horsemen, whose heads they brought to the army.

   These which I write to you are only a few things, dearest, of the
   many which we have done; and because I am not able to tell you,
   dearest, what is in my mind, I charge you to do right, to watch
   carefully over your land, and to do your duty as you ought to your
   children and your vassals. You will certainly see me just as soon
   as I can possibly return to you. Farewell.


[396] The term Turks is here used loosely and inaccurately for Asiatic
pagan invaders in general. The French had never destroyed any
"kingdoms of the Turks" in the proper sense of the word, though from
time to time they had made successful resistance to Saracens, Avars
and Hungarians.

[397] Among the acts of the Council of Clermont had been a solemn
confirmation of the Truce of God, with the purpose of restraining
feudal warfare [see p. 228]. In the version of Urban's speech given by
Fulcher of Chartres, the Pope is reported as saying that in some parts
of France "hardly any one can venture to travel upon the highways, by
night or day, without danger of attack by thieves or robbers; and no
one is sure that his property at home or abroad will not be taken from
him by the violence or craft of the wicked."

[398] Pope Urban's appeal at the Council of Clermont.

[399] The _penates_ of the Romans were household gods. William of
Malmesbury here uses the term half-humorously to designate the various
sorts of household articles which the crusaders thought they could not
do without on the expedition, and hence undertook to carry with them.

[400] This was in the summer of 1097. The whole body of crusaders,
including monks, women, children, and hangers-on, may then have
numbered three or four hundred thousand, but the effective fighting
force was not likely over one hundred thousand men.

[401] The crusaders reached Nicæa May 6, 1097. After a long siege the
city surrendered, although to the Emperor Alexius rather than to the

[402] This battle--the first pitched contest between the crusader and
the Turk--was fought at Dorylæum, southeast of Nicæa.

[403] Romania (or the sultanate of Roum) and Cappadocia were regions
in northern Asia Minor.

[404] The country immediately southeast of the Black Sea.

[405] Antioch was one of the largest and most important cities of the
East. It had been girdled with enormous walls by Justinian and was a
strategic position of the greatest value to any power which would
possess Syria and Palestine. The siege of the city by the crusaders
began October 21, 1097.

[406] Bohemond of Tarentum was the son of Robert Guiscard and the
leader of the Norman contingent from Italy. Raymond of St. Gilles,
count of Toulouse, was leader of the men from Languedoc in south

[407] The modern Orontes.



54. The Winning of the Charter

The reign of King John (1199-1216) was an era of humiliation, though
in the end one of triumph, for all classes of the English people. The
king himself was perhaps the most unworthy sovereign who has ever
occupied the English throne and one after another of his deeds and
policies brought deep shame to every patriotic Englishman. His
surrender to the papacy (1213) and his loss of the English possessions
on the continent (1214) were only two of the most conspicuous results
of his weakness and mismanagement. Indeed it was not these that
touched the English people most closely, for after all it was rather
their pride than their real interests that suffered by the king's
homage to Innocent III. and his bitter defeat at Bouvines. Worse than
these things were the heavy taxes and the illegal extortions of money,
in which John went far beyond even his unscrupulous brother and
predecessor, Richard. The king's expenses were very heavy, the more so
by reason of his French wars, and to meet them he devised all manner
of schemes for wringing money from his unwilling subjects. Land taxes
were increased, scutage (payments in lieu of military service) was
nearly doubled, levies of a thirteenth, a seventh, and other large
fractions of the movable property of the realm were made, excessive
fines were imposed, old feudal rights were revived and exercised in an
arbitrary fashion, and property was confiscated on the shallowest of
pretenses. Even the Church was by no means immune from the king's
rapacity. The result of these high-handed measures was that all
classes of the people--barons, clergy, and commons--were driven into
an attitude of open protest. The leadership against the king fell
naturally to the barons and it was directly in consequence of their
action that John was brought, in 1215, to grant the Great Charter and
to pledge himself to govern thereafter according to the ancient and
just laws of the kingdom.

The account of the winning of the Charter given below comes from the
hand of Roger of Wendover, a monk of St. Albans, a monastery in
Hertfordshire which was famous in the thirteenth century for its group
of historians and annalists. It begins with the meeting of the barons
at St. Edmunds in Suffolk late in November, 1214, and tells the story
to the granting of the Charter at Runnymede, June 15, 1215. On this
subject, as well as on the entire period of English history from 1189
to 1235, Roger of Wendover is our principal contemporary authority.

     Source--Rogerus de Wendover, _Chronica Majora, sive Liber qui
     dicitur Flores Historiarum_ [Roger of Wendover, "Greater
     Chronicle, or the Book which is called the Flowers of
     History"]. Translated by J. A. Giles (London, 1849), Vol. II.,
     pp. 303-324 _passim_.

     [Sidenote: A conference held by the barons against King John]

   About this time the earls and barons of England assembled at St.
   Edmunds, as if for religious duties, although it was for another
   reason;[408] for after they had discoursed together secretly for a
   time, there was placed before them the charter of King Henry the
   First, which they had received, as mentioned before, in the city of
   London from Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury.[409] This charter
   contained certain liberties and laws granted to the holy Church as
   well as to the nobles of the kingdom, besides some liberties which
   the king added of his own accord. All therefore assembled in the
   church of St. Edmund, the king and martyr, and, commencing with
   those of the highest rank, they all swore on the great altar that,
   if the king refused to grant these liberties and laws, they
   themselves would withdraw from their allegiance to him, and make
   war on him until he should, by a charter under his own seal,
   confirm to them everything that they required; and finally it was
   unanimously agreed that, after Christmas, they should all go
   together to the king and demand the confirmation of the aforesaid
   liberties to them, and that they should in the meantime provide
   themselves with horses and arms, so that if the king should
   endeavor to depart from his oath they might, by taking his castles,
   compel him to satisfy their demands; and having arranged this, each
   man returned home....

     [Sidenote: They demand a confirmation of the old liberties]

     [Sidenote: A truce arranged]

   In the year of our Lord 1215, which was the seventeenth year of the
   reign of King John, he held his court at Winchester at Christmas
   for one day, after which he hurried to London, and took up his
   abode at the New Temple;[410] and at that place the above-mentioned
   nobles came to him in gay military array, and demanded the
   confirmation of the liberties and laws of King Edward, with other
   liberties granted to them and to the kingdom and church of England,
   as were contained in the charter, and above-mentioned laws of Henry
   the First. They also asserted that, at the time of his absolution
   at Winchester,[411] he had promised to restore those laws and
   ancient liberties, and was bound by his own oath to observe them.
   The king, hearing the bold tone of the barons in making this
   demand, much feared an attack from them, as he saw that they were
   prepared for battle. He, however, made answer that their demands
   were a matter of importance and difficulty, and he therefore asked
   a truce until the end of Easter, that, after due deliberation, he
   might be able to satisfy them as well as the dignity of his crown.
   After much discussion on both sides, the king at length, although
   unwillingly, procured the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishop of
   Ely, and William Marshal, as his sureties that on the day agreed
   upon he would, in all reason, satisfy them all; on which the nobles
   returned to their homes. The king, however, wishing to take
   precautions against the future, caused all the nobles throughout
   England to swear fealty to him alone against all men, and to renew
   their homage to him; and, the better to take care of himself, on
   the day of St. Mary's purification, he assumed the cross of our
   Lord, being induced to this more by fear than devotion....[412]

     [Sidenote: The truce at an end]

     [Sidenote: The preliminary demands of the barons]

   In Easter week of this same year, the above-mentioned nobles
   assembled at Stamford,[413] with horses and arms. They had now
   induced almost all the nobility of the whole kingdom to join them,
   and constituted a very large army; for in their army there were
   computed to be two thousand knights, besides horse-soldiers,
   attendants, and foot-soldiers, who were variously equipped.... The
   king at this time was awaiting the arrival of his nobles at
   Oxford.[414] On the Monday next after the octave of Easter,[415]
   the said barons assembled in the town of Brackley.[416] And when
   the king learned this, he sent the archbishop of Canterbury and
   William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, with some other prudent men, to
   them to inquire what the laws and liberties were which they
   demanded. The barons then delivered to the messengers a paper,
   containing in great measure the laws and ancient customs of the
   kingdom, and declared that, unless the king immediately granted
   them and confirmed them under his own seal, they, by taking
   possession of his fortresses, would force him to give them
   sufficient satisfaction as to their before-named demands. The
   archbishop, with his fellow messengers, then carried the paper to
   the king, and read to him the heads of the paper one by one
   throughout. The king, when he heard the purport of these heads,
   said derisively, with the greatest indignation, "Why, amongst these
   unjust demands, did not the barons ask for my kingdom also? Their
   demands are vain and visionary, and are unsupported by any plea of
   reason whatever." And at length he angrily declared with an oath
   that he would never grant them such liberties as would render him
   their slave. The principal of these laws and liberties which the
   nobles required to be confirmed to them are partly described above
   in the charter of King Henry,[417] and partly are extracted from
   the old laws of King Edward,[418] as the following history will
   show in due time.

     [Sidenote: The castle of Northampton besieged by the barons]

   As the archbishop and William Marshal could not by any persuasion
   induce the king to agree to their demands, they returned by the
   king's order to the barons, and duly reported to them all that they
   had heard from the king. And when the nobles heard what John said,
   they appointed Robert Fitz-Walter commander of their soldiers,
   giving him the title of "Marshal of the Army of God and the Holy
   Church," and then, one and all flying to arms, they directed their
   forces toward Northampton.[419] On their arrival there they at once
   laid siege to the castle, but after having stayed there for fifteen
   days, and having gained little or no advantage, they determined to
   move their camp. Having come without _petrariæ_[420] and other
   engines of war, they, without accomplishing their purpose,
   proceeded in confusion to the castle of Bedford....[421]

     [Sidenote: The city of London given over to the barons]

   When the army of the barons arrived at Bedford, they were received
   with all respect by William de Beauchamp.[422] Messengers from the
   city of London also came to them there, secretly telling them, if
   they wished to get into that city, to come there immediately. The
   barons, encouraged by the arrival of this agreeable message,
   immediately moved their camp and arrived at Ware. After this they
   marched the whole night and arrived early in the morning at the
   city of London, and, finding the gates open, on the 24th of May
   (which was the Sunday next before our Lord's ascension) they
   entered the city without any tumult while the inhabitants were
   performing divine service; for the rich citizens were favorable to
   the barons, and the poor ones were afraid to murmur against them.
   The barons, having thus got into the city, placed their own guards
   in charge of each of the gates, and then arranged all matters in
   the city at will.[423] They then took security from the citizens,
   and sent letters through England to those earls, barons, and
   knights who appeared to be still faithful to the king (though they
   only pretended to be so) and advised them with threats, as they had
   regard for the safety of all their property and possessions, to
   abandon a king who was perjured and who made war against his
   barons, and together with them to stand firm and fight against the
   king for their rights and for peace; and that, if they refused to
   do this, they, the barons, would make war against them all, as
   against open enemies, and would destroy their castles, burn their
   houses and other buildings, and pillage their warrens, parks, and
   orchards.... The greatest part of these, on receiving the message
   of the barons, set out to London and joined them, abandoning the
   king entirely....

     [Sidenote: The conference between the king and the barons]

     [Sidenote: The charter granted at Runnymede]

   King John, when he saw that he was deserted by almost all, so that
   out of his regal superabundance of followers he retained scarcely
   seven knights, was much alarmed lest the barons should attack his
   castles and reduce them without difficulty, as they would find no
   obstacle to their so doing. He deceitfully pretended to make peace
   for a time with the aforesaid barons, and sent William Marshal,
   earl of Pembroke, with other trustworthy messengers, to them, and
   told them that, for the sake of peace and for the exaltation and
   honor of the kingdom, he would willingly grant them the laws and
   liberties they demanded. He sent also a request to the barons by
   these same messengers that they appoint a suitable day and place to
   meet and carry all these matters into effect. The king's messengers
   then came in all haste to London, and without deceit, reported to
   the barons all that had been deceitfully imposed on them. They in
   their great joy appointed the fifteenth of June for the king to
   meet them, at a field lying between Staines and Windsor.[424]
   Accordingly, at the time and place agreed upon the king and nobles
   came to the appointed conference, and when each party had stationed
   itself some distance from the other, they began a long discussion
   about terms of peace and the aforesaid liberties.... At length,
   after various points on both sides had been discussed, King John,
   seeing that he was inferior in strength to the barons, without
   raising any difficulty, granted the underwritten laws and
   liberties, and confirmed them by his charter as follows:--

   [Here ensues the Charter.]

55. Extracts from the Charter

No document in the history of any nation is more important than the
Great Charter; in the words of Bishop Stubbs, the whole of the
constitutional history of England is only one long commentary upon it.
Its importance lay not merely in the fact that it was won from an
unwilling sovereign by the united action of nobles, clergy, and
people, but also in the admirable summary which it embodies of the
fundamental principles of English government, so far as they had
ripened by the early years of the thirteenth century. The charter
contained almost nothing that was not old. It was not even an
instrument, like the Constitution of the United States, providing for
the creation of a new government. It merely sought to gather up within
a single reasonably brief document all the important principles which
the best of the English sovereigns had recognized, but which such
rulers as Richard and John had lately been improving every opportunity
to evade. The primary purpose of the barons in forcing the king to
grant the charter was not to get a new form of government or code of
laws, but simply to obtain a remedy for certain concrete abuses, to
resist the encroachments of the crown upon the traditional liberties
of Englishmen, and to get a full and definite confirmation of these
liberties in black and white. Not a new constitution was wanted, but
good government in conformity with the old one. Naturally enough,
therefore, the charter of 1215 was based in most of its important
provisions upon that granted by Henry I. in 1100, even as this one was
based on the righteous laws of the good Edward the Confessor. And
after the same manner the charter of King John, in its turn, became
the foundation for all future resistance of Englishmen to the evils of
misgovernment, so that very soon it came naturally to be called _Magna
Charta_--the Great Charter--by which designation it is known to this

King John was in no true sense the author of the charter. Many weeks
before the meeting at Runnymede the barons had drawn up their demands
in written form, and when that meeting occurred they were ready to lay
before the sovereign a formal document, in forty-nine chapters, to
which they simply requested his assent. This preliminary document was
discussed and worked over, the number of chapters being increased to
sixty-two, but the charter as finally agreed upon differed from it
only in minor details. It is a mistake to think of John as "signing"
the charter after the fashion of modern sovereigns. There is no
evidence that he could write, and at any rate he acquiesced in the
terms of the charter only by having his seal affixed to the paper. The
original "Articles of the Barons" is still preserved in the British
Museum, but there is no _one_ original Magna Charta in existence.
Duplicate copies of the document were made for distribution among the
barons, and papers which are generally supposed to represent four of
these still exist, two being in the British Museum.

The charter makes a lengthy document and many parts of it are too
technical to be of service in this book; hence only a few of the most
important chapters are here given. Translations of the entire document
from the original Latin may be found in many places, among them the
University of Pennsylvania _Translations and Reprints_, Vol. I., No.
6; Lee, _Source Book of English History_, 169-180; Adams and Stephens,
_Select Documents Illustrative of English Constitutional History_, pp.
42-52; and the _Old South Leaflets_, No. 5.

     Source--Text in William Stubbs, _Select Charters Illustrative
     of English Constitutional History_ (8th ed., Oxford, 1895),
     pp. 296-306. Adapted from translation in Sheldon Amos, _Primer
     of the English Constitution and Government_ (London, 1895),
     pp. 189-201 _passim_.

   John, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland, duke
   of Normandy, Aquitane, and count of Anjou, to his archbishops,
   bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justiciaries, foresters, sheriffs,
   governors, officers, and to all bailiffs, and his faithful
   subjects, greeting. Know ye, that we, in the presence of God, and
   for the salvation of our soul, and the souls of all our ancestors
   and heirs, and unto the honor of God and the advancement of Holy
   Church, and amendment of our Realm, ... have, in the first place,
   granted to God, and by this our present Charter confirmed, for us
   and our heirs forever:

     [Sidenote: Liberties of the English Church guaranteed]

   =1.= That the Church of England shall be free, and have her whole
   rights, and her liberties inviolable; and we will have them so
   observed that it may appear thence that the freedom of elections,
   which is reckoned chief and indispensable to the English Church,
   and which we granted and confirmed by our Charter, and obtained the
   confirmation of the same from our Lord Pope Innocent III., before
   the discord between us and our barons, was granted of mere free
   will; which Charter we shall observe, and we do desire it to be
   faithfully observed by our heirs forever.[425]

     [Sidenote: The rate of reliefs]

   =2.= We also have granted to all the freemen of our kingdom, for us
   and for our heirs forever, all the underwritten liberties, to be
   had and holden by them and their heirs, of us and our heirs
   forever. If any of our earls, or barons, or others who hold of us
   in chief by military service,[426] shall die, and at the time of
   his death his heir shall be of full age, and owe a relief, he shall
   have his inheritance by the ancient relief--that is to say, the
   heir or heirs of an earl, for a whole earldom, by a hundred pounds;
   the heir or heirs of a knight, for a whole knight's fee, by a
   hundred shillings at most; and whoever oweth less shall give less,
   according to the ancient custom of fees.[427]

   =3.= But if the heir of any such shall be under age, and shall be
   in ward, when he comes of age he shall have his inheritance without
   relief and without fine.[428]

     [Sidenote: The three aids]

   =12.= No scutage[429] or aid shall be imposed in our kingdom,
   unless by the general council of our kingdom;[430] except for
   ransoming our person, making our eldest son a knight, and once for
   marrying our eldest daughter; and for these there shall be paid no
   more than a reasonable aid. In like manner it shall be concerning
   the aids of the City of London.[431]

     [Sidenote: The Great Council]

   =14.= And for holding the general council of the kingdom concerning
   the assessment of aids, except in the three cases aforesaid, and
   for the assessing of scutage, we shall cause to be summoned the
   archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons of the
   realm, singly by our letters. And furthermore, we shall cause to be
   summoned generally, by our sheriffs and bailiffs, all others who
   hold of us in chief, for a certain day, that is to say, forty days
   before their meeting at least, and to a certain place. And in all
   letters of such summons we will declare the cause of such summons.
   And summons being thus made, the business shall proceed on the day
   appointed, according to the advice of such as shall be present,
   although all that were summoned come not.[432]

   =15.= We will not in the future grant to any one that he may take
   aid of his own free tenants, except to ransom his body, and to make
   his eldest son a knight, and once to marry his eldest daughter; and
   for this there shall be paid only a reasonable aid.[433]

   =36.= Nothing from henceforth shall be given or taken for a writ of
   inquisition of life or limb, but it shall be granted freely, and
   not denied.[434]

   =39.= No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or disseised,[435]
   or outlawed,[436] or banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will we
   pass upon him, nor will we send upon him,[437] unless by the lawful
   judgment of his peers,[438] or by the law of the land.[439]

   =40.= We will sell to no man, we will not deny to any man, either
   justice or right.[440]

     [Sidenote: Freedom of commercial intercourse]

   =41.= All merchants shall have safe and secure conduct to go out
   of, and to come into, England, and to stay there and to pass as
   well by land as by water, for buying and selling by the ancient and
   allowed customs, without any unjust tolls, except in time of war,
   or when they are of any nation at war with us. And if there be
   found any such in our land, in the beginning of the war, they shall
   be detained, without damage to their bodies or goods, until it be
   known to us, or to our chief justiciary, how our merchants be
   treated in the nation at war with us; and if ours be safe there,
   the others shall be safe in our dominions.[441]

   =42.= It shall be lawful, for the time to come, for any one to go
   out of our kingdom and return safely and securely by land or by
   water, saving his allegiance to us (unless in time of war, by some
   short space, for the common benefit of the realm), except prisoners
   and outlaws, according to the law of the land, and people in war
   with us, and merchants who shall be treated as is above

   =51.= As soon as peace is restored, we will send out of the kingdom
   all foreign knights, cross-bowmen, and stipendiaries, who are come
   with horses and arms to the molestation of our people.[443]

   =60.= All the aforesaid customs and liberties, which we have
   granted to be holden in our kingdom, as much as it belongs to us,
   all people of our kingdom, as well clergy as laity, shall observe,
   as far as they are concerned, towards their dependents.[444]

     [Sidenote: How the charter was to be enforced]

   =61.= And whereas, for the honor of God and the amendment of our
   kingdom, and for the better quieting the discord that has arisen
   between us and our barons, we have granted all these things
   aforesaid. Willing to render them firm and lasting, we do give and
   grant our subjects the underwritten security, namely, that the
   barons may choose five and twenty barons of the kingdom, whom they
   think convenient, who shall take care, with all their might, to
   hold and observe, and cause to be observed, the peace and liberties
   we have granted them, and by this our present Charter

   =63.= ... It is also sworn, as well on our part as on the part of
   the barons, that all the things aforesaid shall be observed in good
   faith, and without evil duplicity. Given under our hand, in the
   presence of the witnesses above named, and many others, in the
   meadow called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, the 15th day
   of June, in the 17th year of our reign.


[408] The barons attended the meeting under the pretense of making a
religious pilgrimage.

[409] This charter, granted at the coronation of Henry I. in 1100,
contained a renunciation of the evil practices which had marked the
government of William the Conqueror and William Rufus. It was from
this document mainly that the barons in 1215 drew their constitutional

[410] The Knights Templars, having purchased all that part of the
banks of the Thames lying between Whitefriars and Essex Street,
erected on it a magnificent structure which was known as the New
Temple, in distinction from the Old Temple on the south side of
Holborn. Meetings of Parliament and of the king's council were
frequently held in the New Temple; here also were kept the crown
jewels. Ultimately, after the suppression of the Templars by Edward
II., the Temple became one of England's most celebrated schools of

[411] This refers to the king's absolution at the hands of Stephen
Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, July 20, 1213, after his submission
to the papacy. At that time John took an oath on the Bible to the
effect that he would restore the good laws of his forefathers and
render to all men their rights.

[412] The exact day upon which John took the crusader's vow is
uncertain. It was probably Ash Wednesday (March 4), 1215. The king's
object was in part to get the personal protection which the sanctity
of the vow carried with it and in part to enlist the sympathies of the
Pope and make it appear that the barons were guilty of interfering
with a crusade.

[413] On the southern border of Lincolnshire.

[414] On the Thames in Oxfordshire. This statement of the chronicler
is incorrect. John was yet in London.

[415] Octave means the period of eight days following a religious
festival. This Monday was April 27.

[416] Brackley is about twenty-two miles north of Oxford.

[417] Henry I.'s charter, 1100.

[418] Edward the Confessor, king from 1042 to 1066.

[419] In the county of Northampton, in central England.

[420] Engines for hurling stones.

[421] About twenty miles southeast of Northampton.

[422] The commander of Bedford Castle.

[423] The loss of London by the king was a turning point in the
contest. Thereafter the barons' party gained rapidly and its complete
success was only a question of time.

[424] Runnymede, on the Thames.

[425] The charter referred to, in which the liberties of the Church
were confirmed, was granted in November, 1214, and renewed in
January, 1215. It was in the nature of a bribe offered the clergy by
the king in the hope of winning their support in his struggle with the
barons. The liberty granted was particularly that of "canonical
election," i.e., the privilege of the cathedral chapters to elect
bishops without being dominated in their choice by the king. Henry
I.'s charter (1100) contained a similar provision, but it had not been
observed in practice.

[426] Tenants _in capite_, i.e., men holding land directly from the
king on condition of military service.

[427] The object of this chapter is, in general, to prevent the
exaction of excessive reliefs. The provision of Henry I.'s charter
that reliefs should be just and reasonable had become a dead letter.

[428] During the heir's minority the king received the profits of the
estate; in consequence of this the payment of relief by such an heir
was to be remitted.

[429] Scutage (from _scutum_, shield) was payment made to the king by
persons who owed military service but preferred to give money instead.
Scutage levied by John had been excessively heavy.

[430] The General, or Great, Council was a feudal body made up of the
king's tenants-in-chief, both greater and lesser lords. This chapter
puts a definite, even though not very far-reaching, limitation upon
the royal power of taxation, and so looks forward in a way to the
later regime of taxation by Parliament.

[431] London had helped the barons secure the charter and was rewarded
by being specifically included in its provisions.

[432] Here we have a definite statement as to the composition of the
Great Council. The distinction between greater and lesser barons is
mentioned as early as the times of Henry I. (1100-1135). In a general
way it may be said that the greater barons (together with the greater
clergy) developed into the House of Lords and the lesser ones, along
with the ordinary free-holders, became the "knights of the shire," who
so long made up the backbone of the Commons. In the thirteenth century
comparatively few of the lesser barons attended the meetings of the
Council. Attendance was expensive and they were not greatly interested
in the body's proceedings. It should be noted that the Great Council
was in no sense a legislative assembly.

[433] It is significant that the provisions of the charter which
prohibit feudal exactions were made by the barons to apply to
themselves as well as to the king.

[434] This is an important legal enactment whose purpose is to prevent
prolonged imprisonment, without trial, of persons accused of serious
crime. A person accused of murder, for example, could not be set at
liberty under bail, but he could apply for a writ _de odio et âtia_
("concerning hatred and malice") which directed the sheriff to make
inquest by jury as to whether the accusation had been brought by
reason of hatred and malice. If the jury decided that the accusation
had been so brought, the accused person could be admitted to bail
until the time for his regular trial. This will occur to one as being
very similar to the principle of _habeas corpus_. John had been
charging heavy fees for these writs _de odio et âtia_, or "writs of
inquisition of life and limb," as they are called in the charter;
henceforth they were to be issued freely.

[435] To disseise a person is to dispossess him of his freehold

[436] Henceforth a person could be outlawed, i.e., declared out of the
protection of the law, only by the regular courts.

[437] That is, use force upon him, as John had frequently done.

[438] The term "peers," as here used, means simply equals in rank. The
present clause does not yet imply trial by jury in the modern sense.
It comprises simply a narrow, feudal demand of the nobles to be judged
by other nobles, rather than by lawyers or clerks. Jury trial was
increasingly common in the thirteenth century, but it was not
guaranteed in the Great Charter.

[439] This chapter is commonly regarded as the most important in the
charter. It undertakes to prevent arbitrary imprisonment and to
protect private property by laying down a fundamental principle of
government which John had been constantly violating and which very
clearly marked the line of distinction between a limited and an
absolute monarchy.

[440] The principle is here asserted that justice in the courts should
be open to all, and without the payment of money to get judgment
hastened or delayed. Extortions of this character did not cease in
1215, but they became less exorbitant and arbitrary.

[441] The object of this chapter is to encourage commerce by
guaranteeing foreign merchants the same treatment that English
merchants received in foreign countries. The tolls imposed on traders
by the cities, however, were not affected and they continued a serious
obstacle for some centuries.

[442] This chapter provides that, except under the special
circumstances of war, any law-abiding Englishman might go abroad
freely, provided only he should remain loyal to the English crown. The
rule thus established continued in effect until 1382, when it was
enacted that such privileges should belong only to lords, merchants,
and soldiers.

[443] During the struggle with the barons, John had brought in a
number of foreign mercenary soldiers or "stipendiaries." All classes
of Englishmen resented this policy and the barons improved the
opportunity offered by the charter to get a promise from the king to
dispense with his continental mercenaries as quickly as possible.

[444] This chapter provides that the charter's regulation of feudal
customs should apply to the barons just as to the king. The barons'
tenants were to be protected from oppression precisely as were the
barons themselves. These tenants had helped in the winning of the
charter and were thus rewarded for their services.

[445] The chapter goes on at considerable length to specify the manner
in which, if the king should violate the terms of the charter, the
commission of twenty-five barons should proceed to bring him to
account. Even the right of making war was given them, in case it
should become necessary to resort to such an extreme measure.



56. The Character and Deeds of the King as Described by Joinville

Louis IX., or St. Louis, as he is commonly called, was the eldest son
of Louis VIII. and a grandson of Philip Augustus. He was born in 1214
and upon the death of his father in 1226 he succeeded to the throne of
France while yet but a boy of twelve. The recent reign of Philip
Augustus (1180-1223) had been a period marked by a great increase in
the royal power and by a corresponding lessening of the independent
authority of the feudal magnates. The accession of a boy-king was
therefore hailed by the discontented nobles as an opportunity to
recover something at least of their lost privileges. It would
doubtless have been such but for the vigilance, ability, and masculine
aggressiveness of the young king's mother, Blanche of Castile. Aided
by the clergy and the loyal party among the nobles, she, in the
capacity of regent, successfully defended her son's interests against
a succession of plots and uprisings, with the result that when Louis
gradually assumed control of affairs in his own name, about 1236, the
realm was in good order and the dangers which once had been so
threatening had all but disappeared. The king's education and moral
training had been well attended to, and he arrived at manhood with
an equipment quite unusual among princes of his day. His reign
extended to 1270 and became in some respects the most notable in all
French history. In fact, whether viewed from the standpoint of his
personal character or his practical achievements, St. Louis is
generally admitted to have been one of the most remarkable sovereigns
of mediæval Europe. He was famous throughout Christendom for his
piety, justice, wisdom, and ability, being recognized as at once a
devoted monk, a brave knight, and a capable king. In him were blended
two qualities--vigorous activity and proneness to austere
meditation--rarely combined in such measure in one person. His
character may be summed up by saying that he had all the virtues of
his age and few of its vices. No less cynical a critic than Voltaire
has declared that he went as far in goodness as it is possible for a
man to go.

Saint Louis being thus so interesting a character in himself, it is
very fortunate that we have an excellent contemporary biography of
him, from the hand of a friend and companion who knew him well. Sire
de Joinville's _Histoire de Saint Louis_ is a classic of French
literature and in most respects the best piece of biographical writing
that has come down to us from the Middle Ages. Joinville, or more
properly John, lord of Joinville, was born in Champagne, in northern
France, probably in 1225. His family was one of the most distinguished
in Champagne and he himself had all the advantages that could come
from being brought up at the refined court of the count of this
favored district. In 1248, when St. Louis set out on his first
crusading expedition, Joinville, only recently become of age, took the
cross and became a follower of the king, joining him in Cyprus and
there first definitely entering his service. During the next six years
the two were inseparable companions, and even after Joinville, in
1254, retired from the king's service in order to manage his estates
in Champagne he long continued to make frequent visits of a social
character to the court.

Joinville's memoirs of St. Louis were completed about 1309--probably
nine years before the death of the author--and they were first
published soon after the death of Philip the Fair in 1314. They
constitute by far the most important source of information on the
history of France in the middle portion of the thirteenth century.
Joinville had the great advantage of intimate acquaintance and long
association with King Louis and, what is equally important, he seems
to have tried to write in a spirit of perfect fairness and justice. He
was an ardent admirer of Louis, but his biography did not fall into
the tempting channel of mere fulsome and indiscriminate praise.
Moreover, the work is a biography of the only really satisfactory
type; it is not taken up with a bare recital of events in the life of
the individual under consideration, but it has a broad background
drawn from the general historical movements and conditions of the
time. Its most obvious defects arise from the fact that it comprises
largely the reminiscences of an old man, which are never likely to be
entirely accurate or well-balanced. In his dedication of the treatise
to Louis, eldest son of Philip IV., the author relates that it had
been written at the urgent solicitation of the deceased king's widow.

The biography in print makes a good-sized volume and it is possible,
of course, to reproduce here but a few significant passages from it.
But these are perhaps sufficient to show what sort of man the
saint-king really was, and it is just this insight into the character
of the men of the Middle Ages that is most worth getting--and the
hardest thing, as a rule, to get. Incidentally, the extract throws
some light on the methods of warfare employed by the crusaders and the

     Source--Jean, Sire de Joinville, _Histoire de Saint Louis_.
     Text edited by M. Joseph Noël (Natalis de Wailly) and
     published by the Société de l'Histoire de France (Paris,
     1868). Translated by James Hutton under title of _Saint Louis,
     King of France_ (London, 1868), _passim_.

     [Sidenote: The king's birth]

   As I have heard him say, he [Saint Louis] was born on the day of
   St. Mark the Evangelist,[446] shortly after Easter. On that day the
   cross is carried in procession in many places, and in France they
   are called black crosses. It was therefore a sort of prophecy of
   the great numbers of people who perished in those two crusades,
   i.e., in that to Egypt, and in that other, in the course of which
   he died at Carthage;[447] for many great sorrows were there on that
   account in this world, and many great joys are there now in
   Paradise on the part of those who in those two pilgrimages died
   true crusaders.

     [Sidenote: His early training]

   God, in whom he put his trust, preserved him ever from his infancy
   to the very last; and especially in his infancy did He preserve him
   when he stood in need of help, as you will presently hear. As for
   his soul, God preserved it through the pious instructions of his
   mother, who taught him to believe in God and to love Him, and
   placed about him none but ministers of religion. And she made him,
   while he was yet a child, attend to all his prayers and listen to
   the sermons on saints' days. He remembered that his mother used
   sometimes to tell him that she would rather he were dead than that
   he should commit a deadly sin.

     [Sidenote: Difficulties at the beginning of his reign]

   Sore need of God's help had he in his youth, for his mother, who
   came out of Spain, had neither relatives nor friends in all the
   realm of France. And because the barons of France saw that the king
   was an infant, and the queen, his mother, a foreigner, they made
   the count of Boulogne, the king's uncle, their chief, and looked up
   to him as their lord.[448] After the king was crowned, some of the
   barons asked of the queen to bestow upon them large domains; and
   because she would do nothing of the kind all the barons assembled
   at Corbei.[449] And the sainted king related to me how neither he
   nor his mother, who were at Montlhéri,[450] dared to return to
   Paris, until the citizens of Paris came, with arms in their hands,
   to escort them. He told me, too, that from Montlhéri to Paris the
   road was filled with people, some with and some without weapons,
   and that all cried unto our Lord to give him a long and happy life,
   and to defend and preserve him from his enemies....

     [Sidenote: Louis takes the cross]

   After these things it chanced, as it pleased God, that great
   illness fell upon the king at Paris, by which he was brought to
   such extremity that one of the women who watched by his side wanted
   to draw the sheet over his face, saying that he was dead; but
   another woman, who was on the other side of the bed, would not
   suffer it, for the soul, she said, had not yet left the body. While
   he was listening to the dispute between these two, our Lord wrought
   upon him and quickly sent him health; for before that he was dumb,
   and could not speak. He demanded that the cross should be given to
   him, and it was done. When the queen, his mother, heard that he had
   recovered his speech, she exhibited as much joy as could be; but
   when she was told by himself that he had taken the cross, she
   displayed as much grief as if she had seen him dead.

     [Sidenote: Prominent Frenchmen who followed his example]

   After the king put on the cross, Robert, count of Artois, Alphonse,
   count of Poitiers, Charles, count of Anjou, who was afterwards king
   of Sicily--all three brothers of the king--also took the cross; as
   likewise did Hugh, duke of Burgundy, William, count of Flanders
   (brother to Count Guy of Flanders, the last who died), the good
   Hugh, count of Saint Pol, and Monseigneur Walter, his nephew, who
   bore himself right manfully beyond seas, and would have been of
   great worth had he lived. There was also the count of La Marche,
   and Monseigneur Hugh le Brun, his son; the count of Sarrebourg, and
   Monseigneur d'Apremont, his brother, in whose company I myself,
   John, Seigneur de Joinville, crossed the sea in a ship we
   chartered, because we were cousins; and we crossed over in all
   twenty knights, nine of whom followed the count of Sarrebourg, and
   nine were with me....

   The king summoned his barons to Paris, and made them swear to keep
   faith and loyalty towards his children if anything happened to
   himself on the voyage. He asked the same of me, but I refused to
   take any oath, because I was not his vassal....

     [Sidenote: Embarking on the Mediterranean]

   In the month of August we went on board our ships at the Rock of
   Marseilles. The day we embarked the door of the vessel was opened,
   and the horses that we were to take with us were led inside. Then
   they fastened the door and closed it up tightly, as when one sinks
   a cask, because when the ship is at sea the whole of the door is
   under water. When the horses were in, our sailing-master called out
   to his mariners who were at the prow: "Are you all ready?" And they
   replied: "Sir, let the clerks and priests come forward." As soon
   as they had come nigh, he shouted to them; "Chant, in God's name!"
   And they with one voice chanted, "_Veni, Creator Spiritus._" Then
   the master called out to his men: "Set sail, in God's name!" And
   they did so. And in a little time the wind struck the sails and
   carried us out of sight of land, so that we saw nothing but sea and
   sky; and every day the wind bore us farther away from the land
   where we were born. And thereby I show you how foolhardy he must be
   who would venture to put himself in such peril with other people's
   property in his possession, or while in deadly sin; for when you
   fall asleep at night you know not but that ere the morning you may
   be at the bottom of the sea.

     [Sidenote: Preparations made in Cyprus]

   When we reached Cyprus, the king was already there, and we found an
   immense supply of stores for him, i.e., wine-stores and granaries.
   The king's wine-stores consisted of great piles of casks of wine,
   which his people had purchased two years before the king's arrival
   and placed in an open field near the seashore. They had piled them
   one upon the other, so that when seen from the front they looked
   like a farmhouse. The wheat and barley had been heaped up in the
   middle of the field, and at first sight looked like hills; for the
   rain, which had long beaten upon the corn, had caused it to sprout,
   so that nothing was seen but green herbage. But when it was desired
   to transport it to Egypt, they broke off the outer coating with the
   green herbage, and the wheat and barley within were found as fresh
   as if they had only just been threshed out.

     [Sidenote: An embassy from the Khan]

   The king, as I have heard him say, would gladly have pushed on to
   Egypt without stopping, had not his barons advised him to wait for
   his army, which had not all arrived. While the king was sojourning
   in Cyprus, the great Khan of Tartary[451] sent envoys to him, the
   bearers of very courteous messages. Among other things, he told him
   that he was ready to aid him in conquering the Holy Land and in
   delivering Jerusalem out of the hands of the Saracens. The king
   received the messengers very graciously, and sent some to the Khan,
   who were two years absent before they could return. And with his
   messengers the king sent to the Khan a tent fashioned like a
   chapel, which cost a large sum of money, for it was made of fine
   rich scarlet cloth. And the king, in the hope of drawing the Khan's
   people to our faith, caused to be embroidered inside the chapel,
   pictures representing the Annunciation of Our Lady, and other
   articles of faith. And he sent these things to them by the hands of
   two friars, who spoke the Saracen language, to teach and point out
   to them what they ought to believe....

     [Sidenote: The departure from Cyprus]

   As soon as March came round, the king, and, by his command, the
   barons and other pilgrims, gave orders that the ships should be
   laden with wine and provisions, to be ready to sail when the king
   should give the signal. It happened that when everything was ready,
   the king and queen withdrew on board their ship on the Friday
   before Whitsunday, and the king desired his barons to follow in his
   wake straight towards Egypt. On Saturday[452] the king set sail,
   and all the other vessels at the same time, which was a fine sight
   to behold, for it seemed as if the whole sea, as far as the eye
   could reach, was covered with sails, and the number of ships,
   great and small, was reckoned at 1,800....[453]

     [Sidenote: Decision to proceed against Cairo]

   Upon the arrival of the count of Poitiers, the king summoned all
   the barons of the army to decide in what direction he should march,
   whether towards Alexandria, or towards Babylon.[454] It resulted
   that the good Count Peter of Brittany, and most of the barons of
   the army, were of the opinion that the king should lay siege to
   Alexandria, because that city is possessed of a good port where the
   vessels could lie that should bring provisions for the army. To
   this the count of Artois was opposed. He said that he could not
   advise going anywhere except to Babylon, because that was the chief
   town in all the realm of Egypt; he added, that whosoever wished to
   kill a serpent outright should crush its head. The king set aside
   the advice of his barons, and held to that of his brother.

   At the beginning of Advent, the king set out with his army to march
   against Babylon, as the count of Artois had counseled him. Not far
   from Damietta we came upon a stream of water which issued from the
   great river [Nile], and it was resolved that the army should halt
   for a day to dam up this branch, so that it might be crossed. The
   thing was done easily enough, for the arm was dammed up close to
   the great river. At the passage of this stream the sultan sent 500
   of his knights, the best mounted in his whole army, to harass the
   king's troops, and retard our march.

     [Sidenote: A skirmish between the Saracens and the Templars]

   On St. Nicholas's day[455] the king gave the order to march and
   forbade that any one should be so bold as to sally out upon the
   Saracens who were before us. So it chanced that when the army was
   in motion to resume the march and the Turks saw that no one would
   sally out against them, and learned from their spies that the king
   had forbidden it, they became emboldened and attacked the
   Templars,[456] who formed the advance-guard. And one of the Turks
   hurled to the ground one of the knights of the Temple, right before
   the feet of the horse of Reginald de Bichiers, who was at that time
   Marshal of the Temple. When the latter saw this, he shouted to the
   other brethren: "Have at them, in God's name! I cannot suffer any
   more of this." He dashed in his spurs, and all the army did
   likewise. Our people's horses were fresh, while those of the Turks
   were already worn out. Whence it happened, as I have heard, that
   not a Turk escaped, but all perished, several of them having
   plunged into the river, where they were drowned....[457]

   One evening when we were on duty near the cat castles, they brought
   against us an engine called _pierrière_,[458] which they had never
   done before, and they placed Greek fire[459] in the sling of the
   engine. When Monseigneur Walter de Cureil, the good knight, who
   was with me, saw that, he said to us: "Sirs, we are in the greatest
   peril we have yet been in; for if they set fire to our towers, and
   we remain here, we are dead men, and if we leave our posts which
   have been intrusted to us, we are put to shame; and no one can
   rescue us from this peril save God. It is therefore my opinion and
   my advice to you that each time they discharge the fire at us we
   should throw ourselves upon our elbows and knees, and pray our Lord
   to bring us out of this danger."

     [Sidenote: The Saracens make use of Greek fire]

   As soon as they fired we threw ourselves upon our elbows and knees,
   as he had counseled us. The first shot they fired came between our
   two cat castles, and fell in front of us on the open place which
   the army had made for the purpose of damming the river. Our men
   whose duty it was to extinguish fires were all ready for it; and
   because the Saracens could not aim at them on account of the two
   wings of the sheds which the king had erected there, they fired
   straight up towards the clouds, so that their darts came down from
   above upon the men. The nature of the Greek fire was in this wise,
   that it rushed forward as large around as a cask of verjuice,[460]
   and the tail of the fire which issued from it was as big as a
   large-sized spear. It made such a noise in coming that it seemed as
   if it were a thunderbolt from heaven and looked like a dragon
   flying through the air. It cast such a brilliant light that in the
   camp they could see as clearly as if it were daytime, because of
   the light diffused by such a bulk of fire. Three times that night
   they discharged the Greek fire at us, and four times they sent it
   from the fixed cross-bows. Each time that Our sainted king heard
   that they had discharged the Greek fire at us, he dressed himself
   on his bed and stretched out his hands towards our Lord, and prayed
   with tears: "Fair Sire God, preserve me my people!" And I verily
   believe that his prayers stood us in good stead in our hour of
   need. That evening, every time the fire fell, he sent one of his
   chamberlains to inquire in what state we were and if the fire had
   done us any damage. One time when they threw it, it fell close to
   the cat castle which Monseigneur de Courtenay's people were
   guarding, and struck on the river-bank. Then a knight named
   Aubigoiz called to me and said: "Sir, if you do not help us we are
   all burnt, for the Saracens have discharged so many of their darts
   dipped in Greek fire that there is of them, as it were, a great
   blazing hedge coming towards our tower."

   We ran forward and hastened thither and found that he spoke the
   truth. We extinguished the fire, but before we had done so the
   Saracens covered us with the darts they discharged from the other
   side of the river.

     [Sidenote: Progress of the conflict]

   The king's brothers mounted guard on the roof of the cat castles to
   fire bolts from cross-bows against the Saracens, and which fell
   into their camp. The king had commanded that when the king of
   Sicily[461] mounted guard in the daytime at the cat castles, we
   were to do so at night. One day when the king of Sicily was keeping
   watch, which we should have to do at night, we were in much trouble
   of mind because the Saracens had shattered our cat castles. The
   Saracens brought out the _pierrière_ in the daytime, which they had
   hitherto done only at night, and discharged the Greek fire at our
   towers. They had advanced their engines so near to the causeway
   which the army had constructed to dam the river that no one dared
   to go to the towers, because of the huge stones which the engines
   flung upon the road. The consequence was that our two towers were
   burned, and the king of Sicily was so enraged about it that he came
   near flinging himself into the fire to extinguish it. But if he
   were wrathful, I and my knights, for our part, gave thanks to God;
   for if we had mounted guard at night, we should all have been

   It came to pass that the sainted king labored so much that the
   king of England, his wife, and children, came to France to treat
   with him about peace between him and them. The members of his
   council were strongly opposed to this peace, and said to him:

     [Sidenote: The treaty of Paris, 1259]

   "Sire, we greatly marvel that it should be your pleasure to yield
   to the king of England such a large portion of your land, which you
   and your predecessors have won from him, and obtained through
   forfeiture. It seems to us that if you believe you have no right to
   it, you do not make fitting restitution to the king of England
   unless you restore to him all the conquests which you and your
   predecessors have made; but if you believe that you have a right to
   it, it seems to us that you are throwing away all that you yield to

   To this the sainted king replied after this fashion: "Sirs, I am
   certain that the king of England's predecessors lost most justly
   the conquests I hold; and the land which I give up to him I do not
   give because I am bound either towards himself or his heirs, but to
   create love between his children and mine, who are first cousins.
   And it seems to me that I am making a good use of what I give to
   him, because before he was not my vassal, but now he has to render
   homage to me."...[463]

   After the king's return from beyond sea, he lived so devoutly that
   he never afterwards wore furs of different colors, nor
   minnever,[464] nor scarlet cloth, nor gilt stirrups or spurs. His
   dress was of camlet[465] and of a dark blue cloth; the linings of
   his coverlets and garments were of doeskin or hare-legs.

     [Sidenote: The king's personal traits]

   When rich men's minstrels entered the hall after the repast,
   bringing with them their viols, he waited to hear grace until the
   minstrel had finished his chant; then he rose and the priests who
   said grace stood before him. When we were at his court in a private
   way,[466] he used to sit at the foot of his bed, and when the
   Franciscans and Dominicans[467] who were there spoke of a book that
   would give him pleasure, he would say to them: "You shall not read
   to me, for, after eating, there is no book so pleasant as
   _quolibets_,"--that is, that every one should say what he likes.
   When men of quality dined with him, he made himself agreeable to

     [Sidenote: His primitive method of dispensing justice]

   Many a time it happened that in the summer he would go and sit down
   in the wood at Vincennes,[468] with his back to an oak, and make us
   take our seats around him. And all those who had complaints to make
   came to him, without hindrance from ushers or other folk. Then he
   asked them with his own lips: "Is there any one here who has a
   cause?"[469] Those who had a cause stood up, when he would say to
   them: "Silence all, and you shall be dispatched one after the
   other." Then he would call Monseigneur de Fontaines, or Monseigneur
   Geoffrey de Villette, and would say to one of them: "Dispose of
   this case for me." When he saw anything to amend in the words of
   those who spoke for others, he would correct it with his own lips.
   Sometimes in summer I have seen him, in order to administer justice
   to the people, come into the garden of Paris dressed in a camlet
   coat, a surcoat of woollen stuff, without sleeves, a mantle of
   black taffety around his neck, his hair well combed and without
   coif, a hat with white peacock's feathers on his head. Carpets were
   spread for us to sit down upon around him, and all the people who
   had business to dispatch stood about in front of him. Then he would
   have it dispatched in the same manner as I have already described
   in the wood of Vincennes.


[446] April 25, 1215.

[447] Louis started on his first crusade in August, 1248. After a
series of disasters in Egypt he managed to reach the Holy Land, where
he spent nearly four years fortifying the great seaports. He returned
to France in July, 1254. Sixteen years later, in July, 1270, he
started on his second crusade. He had but reached Carthage when he was
suddenly taken ill and compelled to halt the expedition. He died there
August 25, 1270. Louis was as typical a crusader as ever lived, but in
his day men of his kind were few; the great era of crusading
enterprise was past.

[448] This was Philip, son of Philip Augustus. The lands of the count
of Boulogne lay on the coast of the English Channel north of the

[449] An important church center about seventy miles north of Paris.

[450] A town a few miles south of Paris.

[451] In the early years of the thirteenth century, an Asiatic
chieftain by the name of Genghis Khan built up a vast empire of Mongol
or Tartar peoples, which for a time stretched all the way from China
to eastern Germany. The rise and westward expansion of this barbarian
power spread alarm throughout Christendom, and with good reason, for
it was with great difficulty that the Tartar sovereigns were prevented
from extending their dominion over Germany and perhaps over all
western Europe. After the first feeling of terror had passed, however,
it began to be considered that possibly the Asiatic conquerors might
yet be made to serve the interests of Christendom. They were not
Mohammedans, and Christian leaders saw an opportunity to turn them
against the Saracen master of the coveted Holy Land. Louis IX.'s
reception of an embassy from Ilchikadai, one of the Tartar khans, or
sovereigns, was only one of several incidents which illustrate the
efforts made in this direction. After this episode the Tartars
advanced rapidly into Syria, taking the important cities of Damascus
and Aleppo; but a great defeat, September 3, 1260, by the sultan Kutuz
at Ain Talut stemmed the tide of invasion and compelled the Tartars to
retire to their northern dominions.

[452] May 21, 1249.

[453] Joinville here gives an account of the first important
undertaking of the crusaders--the capture of Damietta. After this
achievement the king resolved to await the arrival of his brother, the
count of Poitiers, with additional troops. The delay thus occasioned
was nearly half a year in length, i.e., until October.

[454] This was a common designation of Cairo, the Saracen capital of

[455] December 6.

[456] The order of the Templars was founded in 1119 to afford
protection to pilgrims in Palestine. The name was taken from the
temple of Solomon, in Jerusalem, near which the organization's
headquarters were at first established. The Templars, in their early
history, were a military order and they had a prominent part in most
of the crusading movements after their foundation.

[457] At this point Joinville gives an extended description of the
Nile and its numerous mouths. King Louis found himself on the bank of
one of the streams composing the delta, with the sultan's army drawn
up on the other side to prevent the Christians from crossing. Louis
determined to construct an embankment across the stream, so that his
troops might cross and engage in battle with the enemy. To protect the
men engaged in building the embankment, two towers, called cat castles
(because they were in front of two cats, or covered galleries) were
erected. Under cover of these, the work of constructing a passageway
went on, though the Saracens did not cease to shower missiles upon the

[458] An instrument intended primarily for the hurling of stones.

[459] Greek fire was made in various ways, but its main ingredients
were sulphur, Persian gum, pitch, petroleum, and oil. It was a highly
inflammable substance and when once ignited could be extinguished only
by the use of vinegar or sand. It was used quite extensively by the
Saracens in their battles with the crusaders, being usually projected
in the form of fire-balls from hollow tubes.

[460] An acid liquor made from sour apples or grapes.

[461] Charles, count of Anjou--a brother of Saint Louis.

[462] Joinville's story of the remainder of the campaign in Egypt is a
long one. Enough has been given to show something of the character of
the conflicts between Saracen and crusader. In the end Louis was
compelled to withdraw his shattered army. He then made his way to the
Holy Land in the hope of better success, but the four years he spent
there were likewise a period of disappointment.

[463] The treaty here referred to is that of Paris, negotiated by
Louis IX. and Henry III. in 1259. By it the English king renounced his
claim to Normandy, Maine, Anjou, Touraine, and Poitou, while Louis IX.
ceded to Henry the Limousin, Périgord, and part of Saintonge, besides
the reversion of Agenais and Quercy. The territories thus abandoned by
the French were to be annexed to the duchy of Guienne, for which Henry
III. was to render homage to the French king, just as had been
rendered by the English sovereigns before the conquests of Philip
Augustus. Manifestly Louis IX.'s chief motive in yielding possession
of lands he regarded as properly his was to secure peace with England
and to get the homage of the English king for Guienne. For upwards of
half a century the relations of England and France had been strained
by reason of the refusal of Henry III. to recognize the conquests of
Philip Augustus and to render the accustomed homage. The treaty of
Paris was important because it regulated the relations of France and
England to the outbreak of the Hundred Years' War. It undertook to
perpetuate the old division of French soil between the English and
French monarchs--an arrangement always fruitful of discord and
destined, more than anything else, to bring on the great struggle of
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries between the two nations [see p.
417 ff.].

[464] A fur much esteemed in the Middle Ages. It is not known whether
it was the fur of a single animal or of several kinds combined.

[465] A woven fabric made of camel's hair.

[466] After his retirement from the royal service in 1254 Joinville
frequently made social visits at Louis's court.

[467] On the Franciscans and Dominicans [see p. 360].

[468] To the east from Paris--now a suburb of that city. The chateau
of Vincennes was one of the favorite royal residences.

[469] That is, a case in law.



57. Some Twelfth Century Town Charters

In the times of the Carolingians the small and scattered towns and
villages of western Europe, particularly of France, were inhabited
mainly by serfs and villeins, i.e., by a dependent rather than an
independent population. With scarcely an exception, these urban
centers belonged to the lords of the neighboring lands, who
administered their affairs through mayors, provosts, bailiffs, or
other agents, collected from them seigniorial dues as from the rural
peasantry, and, in short, took entire charge of matters of justice,
finance, military obligations, and industrial arrangements. There was
no local self-government, nothing in the way of municipal organization
separate from the feudal régime, and no important burgher class as
distinguished from the agricultural laborers. By the twelfth century a
great transformation is apparent. France has come to be dotted with
strong and often largely independent municipalities, and a powerful
class of bourgeoisie, essentially anti-feudal in character, has risen
to play an increasing part in the nation's political and economic
life. In these new municipalities there is a larger measure of freedom
of person, security of property, and rights of self-government than
Europe had known since the days of Charlemagne, perhaps even since the
best period of the Roman Empire.

The reason for this transformation--in other words, the origin of
these new municipal centers--has been variously explained. One theory
is that the municipal system of the Middle Ages was essentially a
survival of that which prevailed in western Europe under the fostering
influence of Rome. The best authorities now reject this view, for
there is every reason to believe that, speaking generally, the
barbarian invasions and feudalism practically crushed out the
municipal institutions of the Empire. Another theory ascribes the
origin of mediæval municipal government to the merchant and craft
guilds, particularly the former; but there is little evidence to
support the view. Undeniably the guild was an important factor in
drawing groups of burghers together and forming centers of combination
against local lords, but it was at best only one of several forces
tending to the growth of municipal life. Other factors of larger
importance were the military and the commercial. On the one hand, the
need of protection led people to flock to fortified places--castles or
monasteries--and settle in the neighborhood; on the other, the growth
of commerce and industry, especially after the eleventh century,
caused strategic places like the intersection of great highways and
rivers to become seats of permanent and growing population. The towns
which thus sprang up in response to new conditions and necessities in
time took on a political as well as a commercial and industrial
character, principally through the obtaining of charters from the
neighboring lords, defining the measure of independence to be enjoyed
and the respective rights of lord and town. Charters of the sort were
usually granted by the lord, not merely because requested by the
burghers, but because they were paid for and constituted a valuable
source of revenue. Not infrequently, however, a charter was wrested
from an unwilling lord through open warfare. It was in the first half
of the twelfth century that town charters became common. As a rule
they were obtained by the larger towns (it should be borne in mind
that a population of 10,000 was large in the twelfth century), but not
necessarily so, for many villages of two or three hundred people
secured them also.

The two great classes of towns were the _villes libres_ (free towns)
and the _villes franches_, or _villes de bourgeoisie_ (franchise, or
chartered, towns). The free towns enjoyed a large measure of
independence. In relation to their lords they occupied essentially the
position of vassals, with the legislative, financial, and judicial
privileges which by the twelfth century all great vassals had come to
have. The burghers elected their own officers, constituted their own
courts, made their own laws, levied taxes, and even waged war. The
leading types of free cities were the communes of northern France
(governed by a provost and one or more councils, often essentially
oligarchical) and the consulates of southern France and northern Italy
(distinguished from the communes by the fact that the executive was
made up of "consuls," and by the greater participation of the local
nobility in town affairs). A typical free town of the commune type,
was Laon, in the region of northern Champagne. In 1109 the bishop of
Laon, who was lord of the city, consented to the establishment of a
communal government. Three years later he sought to abolish it, with
the result that an insurrection was stirred up in which he lost his
life. King Louis VI. intervened and the citizens were obliged to
submit to the authority of the new bishop, though in 1328 fear of
another uprising led this official to renew the old grant. The act was
ratified by Louis VI. in the text (a) given below.

The other great class of towns--the franchise towns--differed from the
free towns in having a much more limited measure of political and
economic independence. They received grants of privileges, or
"franchises," from their lord, especially in the way of restrictions
of rights of the latter over the persons and property of the
inhabitants, but they remained politically subject to the lord and
their government was partly or wholly under his control. Their
charters set a limit to the lord's arbitrary authority, emancipated
such inhabitants as were not already free, gave the citizens the right
to move about and to alienate property, substituted money payments for
the corvée, and in general made old regulations less burdensome; but
as a rule no political rights were conferred. Paris, Tours, Orleans,
and other more important cities on the royal domain belonged to this
class. The town of Lorris, on the royal domain a short distance east
of Orleans, became the common model for the type. Its charter,
received from Louis VII. in 1155, is given in the second selection (b)

     Sources--(a) Text in Vilevault and Bréquigny, _Ordonnances des
     Rois de France de la Troisième Race_ ["Ordinances of the Kings
     of France of the Third Dynasty"], Paris, 1769, Vol. XI., pp.

     (b) Text in Maurice Prou, _Les Coutumes de Lorris et leur
     Propagation aux XIIe et XIIIe Siècles_ ["The Customs of
     Lorris and their Spread in the Twelfth and Thirteenth
     Centuries"], Paris, 1884, pp. 129-141.


   =1.= Let no one arrest any freeman or serf for any offense without
   due process of law.[470]

     [Sidenote: Provisions of the charter of Laon]

   =2.= But if any one do injury to a clerk, soldier, or merchant,
   native or foreign, provided he who does the injury belongs to the
   same city as the injured person, let him, summoned after the fourth
   day, come for justice before the mayor and jurats.[471]

   =7.= If a thief is arrested, let him be brought to him on whose
   land he has been arrested; but if justice is not done by the lord,
   let it be done by the jurats.[472]

   =12.= We entirely abolish mortmain.[473]

   =18.= The customary tallages we have so reformed that every man
   owing such tallages, at the time when they are due, must pay four
   pence, and beyond that no more.[474]

   =19.= Let men of the peace not be compelled to resort to courts
   outside the city.[475]


   =1.= Every one who has a house in the parish of Lorris shall pay as
   _cens_ sixpence only for his house, and for each acre of land that
   he possesses in the parish.[476]

   =2.= No inhabitant of the parish of Lorris shall be required to pay
   a toll or any other tax on his provisions; and let him not be made
   to pay any measurage fee on the grain which he has raised by his
   own labor.[477]

   =3.= No burgher shall go on an expedition, on foot or on horseback,
   from which he cannot return the same day to his home if he

   =4.= No burgher shall pay toll on the road to Étampes, to Orleans,
   to Milly (which is in the Gâtinais), or to Melun.[479]

     [Sidenote: The charter of Lorris]

   =5.= No one who has property in the parish of Lorris shall forfeit
   it for any offense whatsoever, unless the offense shall have been
   committed against us or any of our _hôtes_.[480]

   =6.= No person while on his way to the fairs and markets of Lorris,
   or returning, shall be arrested or disturbed, unless he shall have
   committed an offense on the same day.[481]

   =9.= No one, neither we nor any other, shall exact from the
   burghers of Lorris any tallage, tax, or subsidy.[482]

   =12.= If a man shall have had a quarrel with another, but without
   breaking into a fortified house, and if the parties shall have
   reached an agreement without bringing a suit before the provost, no
   fine shall be due to us or our provost on account of the

   =15.= No inhabitant of Lorris is to render us the obligation of
   _corvée_, except twice a year, when our wine is to be carried to
   Orleans, and not elsewhere.[484]

   =16.= No one shall be detained in prison if he can furnish surety
   that he will present himself for judgment.

   =17.= Any burgher who wishes to sell his property shall have the
   privilege of doing so; and, having received the price of the sale,
   he shall have the right to go from the town freely and without
   molestation, if he so desires, unless he has committed some offense
   in it.

   =18.= Any one who shall dwell a year and a day in the parish of
   Lorris, without any claim having pursued him there, and without
   having refused to lay his case before us or our provost, shall
   abide there freely and without molestation.[485]

   =35.= We ordain that every time there shall be a change of provosts
   in the town the new provost shall take an oath faithfully to
   observe these regulations; and the same thing shall be done by new
   sergeants[486] every time that they are installed.

58. The Colonization of Eastern Germany

In the time of Charlemagne the Elbe River marked a pretty clear
boundary between the Slavic population to the east and the Germanic to
the west. There were many Slavs west of the Elbe, but no Germans east
of it. There had been a time when Germans occupied large portions of
eastern Europe, but for one reason or another they gradually became
concentrated toward the west, while Slavic peoples pushed in to fill
the vacated territory. Under Charlemagne and his successors we can
discern the earlier stages of a movement of reaction which has gone on
in later times until the political map of all north central Europe has
been remodeled. During the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries large
portions of the "sphere of influence" (to use a modern phrase) which
Charlemagne had created eastward from the Elbe were converted into
German principalities and dependencies. German colonists pushed down
the Danube, well toward the Black Sea, along the Baltic, past the Oder
and toward the Vistula, and up the Oder into the heart of modern
Poland. The Slavic population was slowly brought under subjection,
Christianized, and to a certain extent Germanized. In the tenth
century Henry I. (919-936) began a fresh forward movement against the
Slavs, or Wends, as the Germans called them. Magdeburg, on the Elbe,
was established as the chief base of operations. The work was kept up
by Henry's son, Otto I. (936-973), but under his grandson, Otto II.
(973-983), a large part of what had been gained was lost for a time
through a Slavic revolt called out by the Emperor's preoccupation with
affairs in Italy. Thereafter for a century the Slavs were allowed
perforce to enjoy their earlier independence, and upon more than one
occasion they were able to assume the aggressive against their
would-be conquerors. In 1066 the city of Hamburg, on the lower Elbe,
was attacked and almost totally destroyed. The imperial power was fast
declining and the Franconian sovereigns had little time left from
their domestic conflicts and quarrels with the papacy to carry on a
contest on the east.

The renewed advance which the Germans made against the Slavs in the
later eleventh and earlier twelfth centuries was due primarily to the
energy of the able princes of Saxony and to the pressure for
colonization, which increased in spite of small encouragement from any
except the local authorities. The document given below is a typical
charter of the period, authorizing the establishment of a colony of
Germans eastward from Hamburg, on the border of Brandenburg. It was
granted in 1106 by the bishop of Hamburg, who as lord of the region in
which the proposed settlement was to be made exercised the right not
merely of giving consent to the undertaking, but also of prescribing
the terms and conditions by which the colonists were to be bound. As
appears from the charter, the colony was expected to be a source of
profit to the bishop; and indeed it was financial considerations on
the part of lords, lay and spiritual, who had stretches of unoccupied
land at their disposal, almost as much as regard for safety in numbers
and the absolute dominance of Germanic peoples, that prompted these
local magnates of eastern Germany so ardently to promote the work of

     Source--Text in Wilhelm Altmann and Ernst Bernheim,
     _Ausgewählte Urkunden zur Erlauterung der
     Verfassungsgeschichte Deutschlands im Mittelalter_ ["Select
     Documents Illustrative of the Constitutional History of
     Germany in the Middle Ages"], 3rd ed., Berlin, 1904, pp.
     159-160. Translated in Thatcher and McNeal, _A Source Book for
     Mediæval History_ (New York, 1905), pp. 572-573.

   =1.= In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity. Frederick, by
   the grace of God bishop of Hamburg, to all the faithful in Christ,
   gives a perpetual benediction. We wish to make known to all the
   agreement which certain people living this side of the Rhine, who
   are called Hollanders,[487] have made with us.

     [Sidenote: The Hollanders ask land for a colony]

   =2.= These men came to us and earnestly begged us to grant them
   certain lands in our bishopric, which are uncultivated, swampy, and
   useless to our people. We have consulted our subjects about this
   and, feeling that this would be profitable to us and to our
   successors, have granted their request.

   =3.= The agreement was made that they should pay us every year one
   _denarius_ for every hide of land. We have thought it necessary to
   determine the dimensions of the hide, in order that no quarrel may
   thereafter arise about it. The hide shall be 720 royal rods long
   and thirty royal rods wide. We also grant them the streams which
   flow through this land.

   =4.= They agreed to give the tithe according to our decree, that
   is, every eleventh sheaf of grain, every tenth lamb, every tenth
   pig, every tenth goat, every tenth goose, and a tenth of the honey
   and of the flax. For every colt they shall pay a _denarius_ on St.
   Martin's day [Nov. 11], and for every calf an obol [penny].

     [Sidenote: Obedience promised to the bishop of Hamburg]

   =5.= They promised to obey me in all ecclesiastical matters,
   according to the decrees of the holy fathers, the canonical law,
   and the practice in the diocese of Utrecht.[488]

     [Sidenote: Judicial immunity]

   =6.= They agreed to pay every year two marks for every 100 hides
   for the privilege of holding their own courts for the settlement of
   all their differences about secular matters. They did this because
   they feared they would suffer from the injustice of foreign
   judges.[489] If they cannot settle the more important cases, they
   shall refer them to the bishop. And if they take the bishop with
   them for the purpose of deciding one of their trials,[490] they
   shall provide for his support as long as he remains there by
   granting him one third of all the fees arising from the trial; and
   they shall keep the other two thirds.

   =7.= We have given them permission to found churches wherever they
   may wish on these lands. For the support of the priests who shall
   serve God in these churches we grant a tithe of our tithes from
   these parish churches. They promised that the congregation of each
   of these churches should endow their church with a hide for the
   support of their priest.[491] The names of the men who made this
   agreement with us are: Henry, the priest, to whom we have granted
   the aforesaid churches for life; and the others are laymen,
   Helikin, Arnold, Hiko, Fordalt, and Referic. To them and to their
   heirs after them we have granted the aforesaid land according to
   the secular laws and to the terms of this agreement.

59. The League of Rhenish Cities (1254)

About the middle of the thirteenth century the central authority of
the Holy Roman Empire was for a time practically dissolved. Frederick
II., the last strong ruler of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, died in 1250,
and even he was so largely Italian in character and interests that he
could bring himself to give little attention to German affairs. During
the stormy period of the Interregnum (1254-1273) there was no
universally recognized emperor at all. Germany had reached an advanced
stage of political disintegration and it is scarcely conceivable that
even a Henry IV. or a Frederick Barbarossa could have made the
imperial power much more than a shadow and a name. But while the
Empire was broken up into scores of principalities, independent
cities, and other political fragments, its people were enjoying a
vigorous and progressive life. The period was one of great growth of
industry in the towns, and especially of commerce. The one serious
disadvantage was the lack of a central police authority to preserve
order and insure the safety of person and property. Warfare was all
but ceaseless, robber-bands infested the rivers and highways, and all
manner of vexatious conditions were imposed upon trade by the various
local authorities. The natural result was the formation of numerous
leagues and confederacies for the suppression of anarchy and the
protection of trade and industry. The greatest of these was the
Hanseatic League, which came to comprise one hundred and seventy-two
cities, and the history of whose operations runs through more than
three centuries. An earlier organization, which may be considered in a
way a forerunner of the Hansa, was the Rhine League, established in
1254. At this earlier date Conrad IV., son of Frederick II., was
fighting his half-brother Manfred for their common Sicilian heritage;
William of Holland, who claimed the imperial title, was recognized in
only a small territory and was quite powerless to affect conditions of
disorder outside; the other princes, great and small, were generally
engaged in private warfare; and the difficulties and dangers of trade
and industry were at their maximum. To establish a power strong
enough, and with the requisite disposition, to suppress the robbers
and pirates who were ruining commerce, the leading cities of the Rhine
valley--Mainz, Cologne, Worms, Speyer, Strassburg, Basel, Trier, Metz,
and others--entered into a "league of holy peace," to endure for a
period of ten years, dating from July 13, 1254. The more significant
terms of the compact are set forth in the selection below.

     Source--Text in Wilhelm Altmann and Ernst Bernheim,
     _Ausgewählte Urkunden zur Erlauterung der
     Verfassungsgeschichte Deutschlands im Mittelalter_ ["Select
     Documents Illustrative of the Constitutional History of
     Germany in the Middle Ages"], 3rd ed., Berlin, 1904, pp.
     251-254. Translated in Thatcher and McNeal, _A Source Book for
     Mediæval History_ (New York, 1905), pp. 606-609.

     [Sidenote: The league formed at Worms]

   In the name of the Lord, amen. In the year of our Lord 1254, on the
   octave of St. Michael's day [a week after Sept. 29] we, the cities
   of the upper and lower Rhine, leagued together for the preservation
   of peace, met in the city of Worms. We held a conference there and
   carefully discussed everything pertaining to a general peace. To
   the honor of God, and of the holy mother Church, and of the holy
   Empire, which is now governed by our lord, William, king of the
   Romans,[492] and to the common advantage of all, both rich and poor
   alike, we made the following laws. They are for the benefit of all,
   both poor and great, the secular clergy, monks, laymen, and Jews.
   To secure these things, which are for the public good, we will
   spare neither ourselves nor our possessions. The princes and lords
   who take the oath are joined with us.

   =1.= We decree that we will make no warlike expeditions, except
   those that are absolutely necessary and determined on by the wise
   counsel of the cities and communes. We will mutually aid each other
   with all our strength in securing redress for our grievances.

     [Sidenote: No dealings to be had with enemies of the league]

   =2.= We decree that no member of the league, whether city or lord,
   Christian or Jew, shall furnish food, arms, or aid of any kind, to
   any one who opposes us or the peace.

   =3.= And no one in our cities shall give credit, or make a loan, to

   =4.= No citizen of any of the cities in the league shall associate
   with such, or give them counsel, aid, or support. If any one is
   convicted of doing so, he shall be expelled from the city and
   punished so severely in his property that he will be a warning to
   others not to do such things.

     [Sidenote: A warning to enemies]

   =5.= If any knight, in trying to aid his lord who is at war with
   us, attacks or molests us anywhere outside of the walled towns of
   his lord, he is breaking the peace, and we will in some way inflict
   due punishment on him and his possessions, no matter who he is. If
   he is caught in any of the cities, he shall be held as a prisoner
   until he makes proper satisfaction. We wish to be protectors of the
   peasants, and we will protect them against all violence if they
   will observe the peace with us. But if they make war on us, we will
   punish them, and if we catch them in any of the cities, we will
   punish them as malefactors.

   =6.= We wish the cities to destroy all the ferries except those in
   their immediate neighborhood, so that there shall be no ferries
   except those near the cities which are in the league. This is to be
   done in order that the enemies of the peace may be deprived of all
   means of crossing the Rhine.

   =7.= We decree that if any lord or knight aids us in promoting the
   peace, we will do all we can to protect him. Whoever does not swear
   to keep the peace with us, shall be excluded from the general

   =10.= Above all, we wish to affirm that we desire to live in mutual
   peace with the lords and all the people of the province, and we
   desire that each should preserve all his rights.

   =11.= Under threat of punishment we forbid any citizen to revile
   the lords, although they may be our enemies. For although we wish
   to punish them for the violence they have done us, yet before
   making war on them we will first warn them to cease from injuring

     [Sidenote: Mainz and Worms to be the capitals of the league]

   =12.= We decree that all correspondence about this matter with the
   cities of the lower Rhine shall be conducted from Mainz, and from
   Worms with the cities of the upper Rhine. From these two cities all
   our correspondence shall be carried on and all who have done us
   injury shall be warned. Those who have suffered injury shall send
   their messengers at their own expense.

     [Sidenote: The governing body of the league]

   =13.= We also promise, both lords and cities, to send four official
   representatives to whatever place a conference is to be held, and
   they shall have full authority from their cities to decide on all
   matters. They shall report to their cities all the decisions of the
   meeting. All who come with the representatives of the cities, or
   who come to them while in session, shall have peace, and no
   judgment shall be enforced against them.

   =14.= No city shall receive non-residents, who are commonly called
   "pfahlburgers," as citizens.[493]

   =15.= We firmly declare that if any member of the league breaks the
   peace, we will proceed against him at once as if he were not a
   member, and compel him to make proper satisfaction.

   =16.= We promise that we will faithfully keep each other informed
   by letter about our enemies and all others who may be able to do us
   damage, in order that we may take timely counsel to protect
   ourselves against them.

   =17.= We decree that no one shall violently enter the house of
   monks or nuns, of whatever order they may be, or quarter themselves
   upon them, or demand or extort food or any kind of service from
   them, contrary to their will. If any one does this, he shall be
   held as a violator of the peace.

     [Sidenote: The league to be enlarged]

   =18.= We decree that each city shall try to persuade each of its
   neighboring cities to swear to keep the peace. If they do not do
   so, they shall be entirely cut off from the peace, so that if any
   one does them an injury, either in their persons or their property,
   he shall not thereby break the peace.

   =19.= We wish all members of the league, cities, lords, and all
   others, to arm themselves properly and prepare for war, so that
   whenever we call upon them we shall find them ready.

     [Sidenote: Military preparations of the league]

   =20.= We decree that the cities between the Moselle and Basel shall
   prepare 100 war boats, and the cities below the Moselle shall
   prepare 500, well equipped with bowmen, and each city shall prepare
   herself as well as she can and supply herself with arms for knights
   and foot-soldiers.


[470] Such guarantees of personal liberty were not peculiar to the
charters of communes; they are often found in those of franchise

[471] The chief magistrate of Laon was a mayor, elected by the
citizens. In judicial matters he was assisted by twelve "jurats."

[472] This is intended to preserve the judicial privileges of lords of

[473] The citizens of the town were to have freedom to dispose of
their property as they chose.

[474] This provision was intended to put an end to arbitrary taxation
by the bishop. In the earlier twelfth century serfs were subject to
the arbitrary levy of the taille (tallage) and this indeed constituted
one of their most grievous burdens. Arbitrary tallage was almost
invariably abolished by the town charters.

[475] By "men of the peace" is meant the citizens of the commune. The
term "commune" is scrupulously avoided in the charter because of its
odious character in the eyes of the bishop. Suits were to be tried at
home in the burgesses' own courts, to save time and expense and insure
better justice.

[476] This trifling payment of sixpence a year was made in recognition
of the lordship of the king, the grantor of the charter. Aside from
it, the burgher had full rights over his land.

[477] The burghers, who were often engaged in agriculture as well as
commerce, are to be exempt from tolls on commodities bought for their
own sustenance and from the ordinary fees due the lord for each
measure of grain harvested.

[478] The object of this provision is to restrict the amount of
military service due the king. The burghers of small places like
Lorris were farmers and traders who made poor soldiers and who were
ordinarily exempted from service by their lords. The provision for
Lorris practically amounted to an exemption, for such service as was
permissible under chapter 3 of the charter was not worth much.

[479] The Gâtinais was the region in which Lorris was situated.
Étampes, Milly, and Melun all lay to the north of Lorris, in the
direction of Paris. Orleans lay to the west. The king's object in
granting the burghers the right to carry goods to the towns specified
without payment of tolls was to encourage commercial intercourse.

[480] This protects the landed property of the burghers against the
crown and crown officials. With two exceptions, fine or imprisonment,
not confiscation of land, is to be the penalty for crime. _Hôtes_
denotes persons receiving land from the king and under his direct

[481] This provision is intended to attract merchants to Lorris by
placing them under the king's protection and assuring them that they
would not be molested on account of old offenses.

[482] This chapter safeguards the personal property of the burghers,
as chapter 5 safeguards their land. Arbitrary imposts are forbidden
and any of the inhabitants who as serfs had been paying arbitrary
tallage are relieved of the burden. The nominal _cens_ (Chap. 1) was
to be the only regular payment due the king.

[483] An agreement outside of court was allowable in all cases except
when there was a serious breach of the public peace. The provost was
the chief officer of the town. He was appointed the crown and was
charged chiefly with the administration of justice and the collection
of revenues. All suits of the burghers were tried in his court. They
had no active part in their own government, as was generally true of
the franchise towns.

[484] Another part of the charter specifies that only those burghers
who owned horses and carts were expected to render the king even this

[485] This clause, which is very common in the town charters of the
twelfth century (especially in the case of towns on the royal domain)
is intended to attract serfs from other regions and so to build up
population. As a rule the towns were places of refuge from seigniorial
oppression and the present charter undertakes to limit the time within
which the lord might recover his serf who had fled to Lorris to a year
and a day--except in cases where the serf should refuse to recognize
the jurisdiction of the provost's court in the matter of the lord's

[486] The sergeants were deputies of the provost, somewhat on the
order of town constables.

[487] These "Hollanders" inhabited substantially the portion of Europe
now designated by their name.

[488] This was the diocese from which the colonists proposed to

[489] That is, judges representing any outside authority.

[490] In other words, if the bishop should go from his seat at Hamburg
to the colony.

[491] In each parish of the colony, therefore, the priest would be
supported by the income of the hide of land set apart for his use and
by the tenth of the regular church tithes which the bishop conceded
for the purpose.

[492] All that this means is that the members of the Rhine League
recognized William of Holland as emperor. Most of the Empire did not
so recognize him. He died in 1256, two years after the league was

[493] These "pfahlburgers" were subjects of ecclesiastical or secular
princes who, in order to escape the burdens of this relation,
contrived to get themselves enrolled as citizens of neighboring
cities. While continuing to dwell in regions subject to the
jurisdiction of their lords, they claimed to enjoy immunity from that
jurisdiction, because of their citizenship in those outside cities.
The pfahlburgers were a constant source of friction between the towns
and the territorial princes. The Golden Bull of Emperor Charles IV.
(1356) decreed that pfahlburgers should not enjoy the rights and
privileges of the cities unless they became actual residents of them
and discharged their full obligations as citizens.



The modern university is essentially a product of the Middle Ages. The
Greeks and Romans had provisions for higher education, but nothing
that can properly be termed universities, with faculties, courses of
study, examinations, and degrees. The word "universitas" in the
earlier mediæval period was applied indiscriminately to any group or
body of people, as a guild of artisans or an organization of the
clergy, and only very gradually did it come to be restricted to an
association of teachers and students--the so-called _universitas
societas magistrorum discipulorumque_. The origins of mediæval
universities are, in most cases, rather obscure. In the earlier Middle
Ages the interests of learning were generally in the keeping of the
monks and the work of education was carried on chiefly in monastic
schools, where the subjects of study were commonly the seven liberal
arts inherited from Roman days.[494] By the twelfth century there was
a relative decline of these monastic schools, accompanied by a marked
development of cathedral schools in which not only the seven liberal
arts but also new subjects like law and theology were taught. The
twelfth century renaissance brought a notable revival of Roman law,
medicine, astronomy, and philosophy; by 1200 the whole of Aristotle's
writings had become known; and the general awakening produced
immediate results in the larger numbers of students who flocked to
places like Paris and Bologna where exceptional teachers were to be

Out of these conditions grew the earliest of the universities. No
definite dates for the beginnings of Paris, Bologna, Oxford, etc., can
be assigned, but the twelfth and thirteenth centuries are to be
considered their great formative period. Bologna was specifically the
creation of the revived study of the Roman law and of the fame of the
great law teacher Irnerius. The university sprang from a series of
organizations effected first by the students and later by the
masters, or teachers, and modeled after the guilds of workmen. It
became the pattern for most of the later Italian and Spanish
universities. Paris arose in a different way. It grew directly out of
the great cathedral school of Notre Dame and, unlike Bologna, was an
organization at the outset of masters rather than of students. It was
presided over by the chancellor, who had had charge of education in
the cathedral and who retained the exclusive privilege of granting
licenses to teach (the _licentia docendi_), or, in other words,
degrees.[495] Rising to prominence in the twelfth century, especially
by virtue of the teaching of Abelard (1079-1142), Paris became in time
the greatest university of the Middle Ages, exerting profound
influence not only on learning, but also on the Church and even at
times on political affairs. The universities of the rest of France, as
well as the German universities and Oxford and Cambridge in England,
were copied pretty closely after Paris.

60. Privileges Granted to Students and Masters

Throughout the Middle Ages numerous special favors were showered upon
the universities and their students by the Church. Patronage and
protection from the secular authorities were less to be depended on,
though the courts of kings were not infrequently the rendezvous of
scholars, and the greater seats of learning after the eleventh century
generally owed their prosperity, if not their origin, to the
liberality of monarchs such as Frederick Barbarossa or Philip
Augustus. The recognition of the universities by the temporal powers
came as a rule earlier than that by the Church. The edict of the
Emperor Frederick I., which comprises selection (a) below, was issued
in 1158 and is not to be considered as limited in its application to
the students of any particular university, though many writers have
associated it solely with the University of Bologna. That the statute
was decreed at the solicitation of the Bologna doctors of law admits
of little doubt, but, as Rashdall observes, it was "a general
privilege conferred on the student class throughout the Lombard
kingdom."[496] By some writers it is said to have been the earliest
formal grant of privileges for university students, but this cannot be
true as Salerno (notable chiefly for medical studies) received such
grants from Robert Guiscard and his son Roger before the close of the
eleventh century.

Until the year 1200 the students of Paris enjoyed no privileges such
as those conferred upon the Italian institutions by Frederick. In that
year a tavern brawl occurred between some German students and Parisian
townspeople, in which five of the students lost their lives. The
provost of the city, instead of attempting to repress the disorder,
took sides against the students and encouraged the populace. Such
laxity stirred the king, Philip Augustus, to action. Fearing that the
students would decamp _en masse_, he hastened to comply with their
appeal for redress. The provost and his lieutenants were arrested and
a decree was issued [given, in part, in selection (b)] exempting the
scholars from the operation of the municipal law in criminal cases.
Pope Innocent III. at once confirmed the privileges and on his part
relaxed somewhat the vigilance of the Church. Such liberal measures,
however, did not insure permanent peace. In less than three decades
another conflict with the provost occurred which was so serious as to
result in a total suspension of the university's activities for more
than two years.

     Sources--(a) Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Leges_
     (Pertz ed.), Vol. II., p. 114. Adapted from translation by
     Dana C. Munro in _Univ. of Pa. Translations and Reprints_,
     Vol. II., No. 3, pp. 2-4.

     (b) Text in _Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis_
     ["Cartulary of the University of Paris"], No. 1., p. 59.
     Adapted from translation in _Univ. of Pa. Translations and
     Reprints_, _ibid._, pp. 4-7.

     [Sidenote: Security of travel and residence for scholars]


   After a careful consideration of this subject by the bishops,
   abbots, dukes, counts, judges, and other nobles of our sacred
   palace, we, from our piety, have granted this privilege to all
   scholars who travel for the sake of study, and especially to the
   professors of divine and sacred laws,[497] namely, that they may go
   in safety to the places in which the studies are carried on, both
   they themselves and their messengers, and may dwell there in
   security. For we think it fitting that, during good behavior, those
   should enjoy our praise and protection, by whose learning the world
   is enlightened to the obedience of God and of us, his ministers,
   and the life of the subject is molded; and by a special
   consideration we defend them from all injuries.

     [Sidenote: Regulation concerning the collection of debts]

   For who does not pity those who exile themselves through love for
   learning, who wear themselves out in poverty in place of riches,
   who expose their lives to all perils and often suffer bodily injury
   from the vilest men? This must be endured with vexation. Therefore,
   we declare by this general and perpetual law, that in the future no
   one shall be so rash as to venture to inflict any injury on
   scholars, or to occasion any loss to them on account of a debt owed
   by an inhabitant of their province--a thing which we have learned
   is sometimes done by an evil custom.[498] And let it be known to
   the violators of this constitution, and also to those who shall at
   the time be the rulers of the places, that a fourfold restitution
   of property shall be exacted from all and that, the mark of infamy
   being affixed to them by the law itself, they shall lose their
   office forever.

     [Sidenote: Judicial privileges of scholars]

   Moreover, if any one shall presume to bring a suit against them on
   account of any business, the choice in this matter shall be given
   to the scholars, who may summon the accusers to appear before their
   professors or the bishop of the city, to whom we have given
   jurisdiction in this matter.[499] But if, indeed, the accuser shall
   attempt to drag the scholar before another judge, even if his
   cause is a very just one, he shall lose his suit for such an


   Concerning the safety of the students at Paris in the future, by
   the advice of our subjects we have ordained as follows:

     [Sidenote: Protection for scholars against crimes of violence]

   We will cause all the citizens of Paris to swear that if any one
   sees an injury done to any student by any layman,[500] he will
   testify truthfully to this, nor will any one withdraw in order not
   to see [the act]. And if it shall happen that any one strikes a
   student, except in self-defense, especially if he strikes the
   student with a weapon, a club, or a stone, all laymen who see [the
   act] shall in good faith seize the malefactor, or malefactors, and
   deliver them to our judge; nor shall they run away in order not to
   see the act, or seize the malefactor, or testify to the truth.
   Also, whether the malefactor is seized in open crime or not, we
   will make a legal and full examination through clerks, or laymen,
   or certain lawful persons; and our count and our judges shall do
   the same. And if by a full examination we, or our judges, are able
   to learn that he who is accused, is guilty of the crime, then we,
   or our judges, shall immediately inflict a penalty, according to
   the quality and nature of the crime; notwithstanding the fact that
   the criminal may deny the deed and say that he is ready to defend
   himself in single combat, or to purge himself by the ordeal by

     [Sidenote: Scholars to be tried and punished under ecclesiastical

   Also, neither our provost nor our judges shall lay hands on a
   student for any offense whatever; nor shall they place him in our
   prison, unless such a crime has been committed by the student, that
   he ought to be arrested. And in that case, our judge shall arrest
   him on the spot, without striking him at all, unless he resists,
   and shall hand him over to the ecclesiastical judge,[502] who ought
   to guard him in order to satisfy us and the one suffering the
   injury. And if a serious crime has been committed, our judge shall
   go or shall send to see what is done with the student. If, indeed,
   the student does not resist arrest and yet suffers any injury, we
   will exact satisfaction for it, according to the aforesaid
   examination and the aforesaid oath. Also our judges shall not lay
   hands on the chattels of the students of Paris for any crime
   whatever. But if it shall seem that these ought to be sequestrated,
   they shall be sequestrated and guarded after sequestration by the
   ecclesiastical judge, in order that whatever is judged legal by the
   Church may be done with the chattels.[503] But if students are
   arrested by our count at such an hour that the ecclesiastical judge
   cannot be found and be present at once, our provost shall cause the
   culprits to be guarded in some student's house without any
   ill-treatment, as is said above, until they are delivered to the
   ecclesiastical judge.

     [Sidenote: The oath required of the provost and people of Paris]

   In order, moreover, that these [decrees] may be kept more carefully
   and may be established forever by a fixed law, we have decided that
   our present provost and the people of Paris shall affirm by an
   oath, in the presence of the scholars, that they will carry out in
   good faith all the above-mentioned [regulations]. And always in the
   future, whosoever receives from us the office of provost in Paris,
   among the inaugural acts of his office, namely, on the first or
   second Sunday, in one of the churches of Paris--after he has been
   summoned for the purpose--shall affirm by an oath, publicly in the
   presence of the scholars, that he will keep in good faith all the
   above-mentioned [regulations].[504] And that these decrees may be
   valid forever, we have ordered this document to be confirmed by the
   authority of our seal and by the characters of the royal name
   signed below.

61. The Foundation of the University of Heidelberg (1386)

Until the middle of the fourteenth century Germany possessed no
university. In the earlier mediæval period, when palace and monastic
schools were multiplying in France, Italy, and England, German culture
was too backward to permit of a similar movement beyond the Rhine; and
later, when in other countries universities were springing into
prosperity, political dissensions long continued to thwart such
enterprises among the Germans. Germany was not untouched by the
intellectual movements of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but
her young men were obliged to seek their learning at Oxford or Paris
or Bologna. The first German university was that of Prague, in
Bohemia, founded by Emperor Charles IV., a contemporary of Petrarch,
and chartered in 1348. Once begun, the work of establishing such
institutions went on rapidly, until ere long every principality of
note had its own university. Vienna was founded in 1365, Erfurt was
given papal sanction in 1379, Heidelberg was established in 1386, and
Cologne followed in 1388. The document given below is the charter of
privileges issued for Heidelberg in October, 1386, by the founder,
Rupert I., Count Palatine of the Rhine. Marsilius Inghen became the
first rector of the university. He and two other masters began
lecturing October 19, 1386--one on logic, another on the epistle to
Titus, the third on the philosophy of Aristotle. Within four years
over a thousand students had been in attendance at the university.

     Source--Text in Edward Winkelmann, _Urkundenbuch der
     Universität Heidelberg_ ["Cartulary of the University of
     Heidelberg"], Heidelberg, 1886, Vol. I., pp. 5-6. Translated
     in Ernest F. Henderson, _Select Historical Documents of the
     Middle Ages_ (London, 1896), pp. 262-266.

     [Sidenote: The university to be organized on the model of

   =1.= We, Rupert the elder, by the grace of God count palatine of
   the Rhine, elector of the Holy Empire,[505] and duke of
   Bavaria,--lest we seem to abuse the privilege conceded to us by
   the apostolic see of founding a place of study at Heidelberg
   similar to that at Paris, and lest, for this reason, being
   subjected to the divine judgment, we should deserve to be deprived
   of the privilege granted--do decree, with provident counsel (which
   decree is to be observed unto all time), that the University of
   Heidelberg shall be ruled, disposed, and regulated according to the
   modes and manners accustomed to be observed in the University of
   Paris.[506] Also that, as a handmaid of Paris--a worthy one let us
   hope--the latter's steps shall be imitated in every way possible;
   so that, namely, there shall be four faculties in it: the first, of
   sacred theology and divinity; the second, of canon and civil law,
   which, by reason of their similarity, we think best to comprise
   under one faculty; the third, of medicine; the fourth, of liberal
   arts--of the three-fold philosophy, namely, primal, natural, and
   moral, three mutually subservient daughters.[507] We wish this
   institution to be divided and marked out into four nations, as it
   is at Paris;[508] and that all these faculties shall make one
   university, and that to it the individual students, in whatever of
   the said faculties they are, shall unitedly belong like lawful sons
   to one mother.

     [Sidenote: The obligations of the masters]

   Likewise [we desire] that this university shall be governed by one
   rector,[509] and that the various masters and teachers, before they
   are admitted to the common pursuits of our institution, shall
   swear to observe the statutes, laws, privileges, liberties, and
   franchises of the same, and not reveal its secrets, to whatever
   grade they may rise. Also that they will uphold the honor of the
   rector and the rectorship of our university, and will obey the
   rector in all things lawful and honest, whatever be the grade to
   which they may afterwards happen to be promoted. Moreover, that the
   various masters and bachelors shall read their lectures and
   exercise their scholastic functions and go about in caps and gowns
   of a uniform and similar nature, according as has been observed at
   Paris up to this time in the different faculties.

     [Sidenote: Internal government of the university further provided

   And we will that if any faculty, nation, or person shall oppose the
   aforesaid regulations, or stubbornly refuse to obey them, or any
   one of them--which God forbid--from that time forward that same
   faculty, nation, or person, if it do not desist upon being warned,
   shall be deprived of all connection with our aforesaid institution,
   and shall not have the benefit of our defense or protection.
   Moreover, we will and ordain that as the university as a whole may
   do for those assembled here and subject to it, so each faculty,
   nation, or province of it may enact lawful statutes, such as are
   suitable to its needs, provided that through them, or any one of
   them, no prejudice is done to the above regulations and to our
   institution, and that no kind of impediment arise from them. And we
   will that when the separate bodies shall have passed the statutes
   for their own observance, they may make them perpetually binding on
   those subject to them and on their successors. And as in the
   University of Paris the various servants of the institution have
   the benefit of the various privileges which its masters and
   scholars enjoy, so in starting our institution in Heidelberg, we
   grant, with even greater liberality, through these presents, that
   all the servants, i.e., its pedells,[510] librarians, lower
   officials, preparers of parchment, scribes, illuminators and
   others who serve it, may each and all, without fraud, enjoy in it
   the same privileges, franchises, immunities and liberties with
   which its masters or scholars are now or shall hereafter be

     [Sidenote: The jurisdiction of the bishop of Worms]

     [Sidenote: Conditions of imprisonment]

   =2.= Lest in the new community of the city of Heidelberg, their
   misdeeds being unpunished, there be an incentive to the scholars of
   doing wrong, we ordain, with provident counsel, by these presents,
   that the bishop of Worms, as judge ordinary of the clerks of our
   institution, shall have and possess, now and hereafter while our
   institution shall last, prisons, and an office in our town of
   Heidelberg for the detention of criminal clerks. These things we
   have seen fit to grant to him and his successors, adding these
   conditions: that he shall permit no clerk to be arrested unless for
   a misdemeanor; that he shall restore any one detained for such
   fault, or for any light offense, to his master, or to the rector if
   the latter asks for him, a promise having been given that the
   culprit will appear in court and that the rector or master will
   answer for him if the injured parties should go to law about the
   matter. Furthermore, that, on being requested, he will restore a
   clerk arrested for a crime on slight evidence, upon receiving a
   sufficient pledge--sponsors if the prisoner can obtain them,
   otherwise an oath if he cannot obtain sponsors--to the effect that
   he will answer in court the charges against him; and in all these
   things there shall be no pecuniary exactions, except that the clerk
   shall give satisfaction, reasonably and according to the rule of
   the aforementioned town, for the expenses which he incurred while
   in prison. And we desire that he will detain honestly and without
   serious injury a criminal clerk thus arrested for a crime where the
   suspicion is grave and strong, until the truth can be found out
   concerning the deed of which he is suspected. And he shall not for
   any cause, moreover, take away any clerk from our aforesaid town,
   or permit him to be taken away, unless the proper observances have
   been followed, and he has been condemned by judicial sentence to
   perpetual imprisonment for a crime.

     [Sidenote: Limitations upon power to arrest students]

   We command our advocate and bailiff and their servants in our
   aforesaid town, under pain of losing their offices and our favor,
   not to lay a detaining hand on any master or scholar of our said
   institution, nor to arrest him or allow him to be arrested, unless
   the deed be such that that master or scholar ought rightly to be
   detained. He shall be restored to his rector or master, if he is
   held for a slight cause, provided he will swear and promise to
   appear in court concerning the matter; and we decree that a slight
   fault is one for which a layman, if he had committed it, ought to
   have been condemned to a light pecuniary fine. Likewise, if the
   master or scholar detained be found gravely or strongly suspected
   of the crime, we command that he be handed over by our officials to
   the bishop or to his representative in our said town, to be kept in

     [Sidenote: Students exempted from various imposts]

   =3.= By the tenor of these presents we grant to each and all the
   masters and scholars that, when they come to the said institution,
   while they remain there, and also when they return from it to their
   homes, they may freely carry with them, both coming and going,
   throughout all the lands subject to us, all things which they need
   while pursuing their studies, and all the goods necessary for their
   support, without any duty, levy, imposts, tolls, excises, or other
   exactions whatever. And we wish them and each one of them, to be
   free from the aforesaid imposts when purchasing corn, wines, meat,
   fish, clothes and all things necessary for their living and for
   their rank. And we decree that the scholars from their stock in
   hand of provisions, if there remain over one or two wagonloads of
   wine without their having practised deception, may, after the
   feast of Easter of that year, sell it at wholesale without paying
   impost. We grant to them, moreover, that each day the scholars, of
   themselves or through their servants, may be allowed to buy in the
   town of Heidelberg, at the accustomed hour, freely and without
   impediment or hurtful delay, any eatables or other necessaries of

     [Sidenote: How rates for lodging should be fixed]

   4. Lest the masters and scholars of our institution of Heidelberg
   may be oppressed by the citizens, moved by avarice, through
   extortionate prices of lodgings, we have seen fit to decree that
   henceforth each year, after Christmas, one expert from the
   university on the part of the scholars, and one prudent, pious, and
   circumspect citizen on the part of the citizens, shall be
   authorized to determine the price of the students' lodgings.
   Moreover, we will and decree that the various masters and scholars
   shall, through our bailiff, our judge and the officials subject to
   us, be defended and maintained in the quiet possession of the
   lodgings given to them free or of those for which they pay rent.
   Moreover, by the tenor of these presents, we grant to the rector
   and the university, or to those designated by them, entire
   jurisdiction concerning the payment of rents for the lodgings
   occupied by the students, concerning the making and buying of
   books, and the borrowing of money for other purposes by the
   scholars of our institution; also concerning the payment of
   assessments, together with everything that arises from, depends
   upon, and is connected with these.

   In addition, we command our officials that, when the rector
   requires our and their aid and assistance for carrying out his
   sentences against scholars who try to rebel, they shall assist our
   clients and servants in this matter; first, however, obtaining
   lawful permission to proceed against clerks from the lord bishop of
   Worms, or from one deputed by him for this purpose.

62. Mediæval Students' Songs

"When we try to picture to ourselves," says Mr. Symonds in one of his
felicitous passages, "the intellectual and moral state of Europe in
the Middle Ages, some fixed and almost stereotyped ideas immediately
suggest themselves. We think of the nations immersed in a gross mental
lethargy; passively witnessing the gradual extinction of arts and
sciences which Greece and Rome had splendidly inaugurated; allowing
libraries and monuments of antique civilization to crumble into dust;
while they trembled under a dull and brooding terror of coming
judgment, shrank from natural enjoyment as from deadly sin, or yielded
themselves with brutal eagerness to the satisfaction of vulgar
appetites. Preoccupation with the other world in this long period
weakens man's hold upon the things that make his life desirable....
Prolonged habits of extra-mundane contemplation, combined with the
decay of real knowledge, volatilize the thoughts and aspirations of
the best and wisest into dreamy unrealities, giving a false air of
mysticism to love, shrouding art in allegory, reducing the
interpretation of texts to an exercise of idle ingenuity, and the
study of nature to an insane system of grotesque and pious quibbling.
The conception of man's fall and of the incurable badness of this
world bears poisonous fruit of cynicism and asceticism, that two-fold
bitter almond hidden in the harsh monastic shell. Nature is regarded
with suspicion and aversion; the flesh, with shame and loathing,
broken by spasmodic outbursts of lawless self-indulgence."[511]

All of these ideas are properly to be associated with the Middle Ages,
but it must be borne in mind that they represent only one side of the
picture. They are drawn very largely from the study of monastic
literature and produce a somewhat distorted impression. Though many
conditions prevailing in mediæval times operated strongly to paralyze
the intellects and consciences of men, the fundamental manifestations
and expressions of human instinct and vitality were far from crushed
out. The life of many people was full and varied and positive--not so
different, after all, from that of men and women to-day. That this was
true is demonstrated by a wealth of literature reflecting the jovial
and exuberant aspects of mediæval life, which has come down to us
chiefly in two great groups--the poetry of the troubadours and the
songs of the wandering students. "That so bold, so fresh, so natural,
so pagan a view of life," continues Mr. Symonds in the passage quoted,
"as the Latin songs of the Wandering Students exhibit, should have
found clear and artistic utterance in the epoch of the Crusades, is
indeed enough to bid us pause and reconsider the justice of our
stereotyped ideas about that period. This literature makes it manifest
that the ineradicable appetites and natural instincts of men and women
were no less vigorous in fact, though less articulate and
self-assertive, than they had been in the age of Greece and Rome, and
than they afterwards displayed themselves in what is known as the
Renaissance. The songs of the Wandering Students were composed for the
most part in the twelfth century. Uttering the unrestrained emotions
of men attached by a slender tie to the dominant clerical class and
diffused over all countries, they bring us face to face with a body of
opinion which finds in studied chronicle or labored dissertation of
the period no echo. On the one side, they express that delight in life
and physical enjoyment which was a main characteristic of the
Renaissance; on the other, they proclaim that revolt against the
corruption of Papal Rome which was the motive force of the
Reformation. Who were these Wandering Students? As their name implies,
they were men, and for the most part young men, traveling from
university to university in search of knowledge. Far from their homes,
without responsibilities, light of purse and light of heart, careless
and pleasure-seeking, they ran a free, disreputable course,
frequenting taverns at least as much as lecture-rooms, more capable of
pronouncing judgment upon wine or woman than upon a problem of
divinity or logic. These pilgrims to the shrines of knowledge formed a
class apart. According to tendencies prevalent in the Middle Ages,
they became a sort of guild, and with pride proclaimed themselves an

Our knowledge of the mediæval students' songs is derived from two
principal sources: (1) a richly illuminated thirteenth-century
manuscript now preserved at Munich and edited in 1847 under the title
_Carmina Burana_; and (2) another thirteenth-century manuscript
published (with other materials) in 1841 under the title _Latin Poems
commonly attributed to Walter Mapes_. Many songs occur in both
collections. The half-dozen given in translation below very well
illustrate the subjects, tone, and style of these interesting bits of

     Source--Texts in Edélestand du Méril, _Poésies Populaires
     Latines du Moyen Age_ ["Popular Latin Poetry of the Middle
     Ages"], Paris, 1847, _passim_. Translated in John Addington
     Symonds, _Wine, Women, and Song: Mediæval Latin Students'
     Songs_ (London, 1884), pp. 12-136, _passim_.

The first is a tenth century piece, marked by an element of tenderness
in sentiment which is essentially modern. It is the invitation of a
young man to his mistress, bidding her to a little supper at his home.

     "Come therefore now, my gentle fere,
     Whom as my heart I hold full dear;
     Enter my little room, which is
     Adorned with quaintest rarities:
     There are the seats with cushions spread,
     The roof with curtains overhead:
     The house with flowers of sweetest scent
     And scattered herbs is redolent:
     A table there is deftly dight
     With meats and drinks of rare delight;
     There too the wine flows, sparkling, free;
     And all, my love, to pleasure thee.
     There sound enchanting symphonies;
     The clear high notes of flutes arise;
     A singing girl and artful boy
     Are chanting for thee strains of joy;
     He touches with his quill the wire,
     She tunes her note unto the lyre:
     The servants carry to and fro
     Dishes and cups of ruddy glow;
     But these delights, I will confess,
     Than pleasant converse charm me less;
     Nor is the feast so sweet to me
     As dear familiarity.
     Then come now, sister of my heart,
     That dearer than all others art,
     Unto mine eyes thou shining sun,
     Soul of my soul, thou only one!
     I dwelt alone in the wild woods,
     And loved all secret solitudes;
     Oft would I fly from tumults far,
     And shunned where crowds of people are.
     O dearest, do not longer stay!
     Seek we to live and love to-day!
     I cannot live without thee, sweet!
     Time bids us now our love complete."

The next is a begging petition, addressed by a student on the road to
some resident of the place where he was temporarily staying. The
supplication for alms, in the name of learning, is cast in the form of
a sing-song doggerel.

     I, a wandering scholar lad,
       Born for toil and sadness,
     Oftentimes am driven by
       Poverty to madness.

     Literature and knowledge I
       Fain would still be earning,
     Were it not that want of pelf
       Makes me cease from learning.

     These torn clothes that cover me
       Are too thin and rotten;
     Oft I have to suffer cold,
       By the warmth forgotten.

     Scarce I can attend at church,
       Sing God's praises duly;
     Mass and vespers both I miss,
       Though I love them truly.

     Oh, thou pride of N----,[513]
       By thy worth I pray thee
     Give the suppliant help in need,
       Heaven will sure repay thee.

     Take a mind unto thee now
       Like unto St. Martin;[514]
     Clothe the pilgrim's nakedness
       Wish him well at parting.

     So may God translate your soul
       Into peace eternal,
     And the bliss of saints be yours
       In His realm supernal.

The following jovial _Song of the Open Road_ throbs with exhilaration
and even impudence. Two vagabond students are drinking together before
they part. One of them undertakes to expound the laws of the
brotherhood which bind them together. The refrain is intended
apparently to imitate a bugle call.

     We in our wandering,
     Blithesome and squandering,
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     Eat to satiety,
     Drink to propriety;
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     Laugh till our sides we split,
     Rags on our hides we fit;
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     Jesting eternally,
     Quaffing infernally.
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     Craft's in the bone of us,
     Fear 'tis unknown of us;
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     When we're in neediness,
     Thieve we with greediness:
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     Brother catholical,
     Man apostolical,
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     Say what you will have done,
     What you ask 'twill be done!
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     Folk, fear the toss of the
     Horns of philosophy!
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     Here comes a quadruple
     Spoiler and prodigal![515]
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     License and vanity
     Pamper insanity:
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     As the Pope bade us do,
     Brother to brother's true:
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     Brother, best friend, adieu!
     Now, I must part from you!
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     When will our meeting be?
     Glad shall our greeting be!
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     Vows valedictory
     Now have the victory:
         Tara, tantara, teino!

     Clasped on each other's breast,
     Brother to brother pressed,
         Tara, tantara, teino!

Here is a song entitled _The Vow to Cupid_.

     Winter, now thy spite is spent,
     Frost and ice and branches bent!
     Fogs and furious storms are o'er,
     Sloth and torpor, sorrow frore,
     Pallid wrath, lean discontent.

     Comes the graceful band of May!
     Cloudless shines the limpid day,
     Shine by night the Pleiades;
     While a grateful summer breeze
     Makes the season soft and gay.

     Golden Love! shine forth to view!
     Souls of stubborn men subdue!
     See me bend! what is thy mind?
     Make the girl thou givest kind,
     And a leaping ram's thy due![516]

     O the jocund face of earth,
     Breathing with young grassy birth!
     Every tree with foliage clad,
     Singing birds in greenwood glad,
     Flowering fields for lovers' mirth!

Here is another song of exceedingly delicate sentiment. It is entitled
_The Love-Letter in Spring_.

     Now the sun is streaming,
       Clear and pure his ray;
     April's glad face beaming
       On our earth to-day.
     Unto love returneth
       Every gentle mind;
     And the boy-god burneth
       Jocund hearts to bind.

     All this budding beauty,
       Festival array,
     Lays on us the duty
       To be blithe and gay.
     Trodden ways are known, love!
       And in this thy youth,
     To retain thy own love
       Were but faith and truth.

     In faith love me solely,
       Mark the faith of me,
     From thy whole heart wholly,
       From the soul of thee.
     At this time of bliss, dear,
       I am far away;
     Those who love like this, dear,
       Suffer every day!

Next to love and the springtime, the average student set his
affections principally on the tavern and the wine-bowl. From his
proneness to frequent the tavern's jovial company of topers and
gamesters naturally sprang a liberal supply of drinking songs. Here is
a fragment from one of them.

     Some are gaming, some are drinking,
     Some are living without thinking;
     And of those who make the racket,
     Some are stripped of coat and jacket;
     Some get clothes of finer feather,
     Some are cleaned out altogether;
     No one there dreads death's invasion,
     But all drink in emulation.

Finally may be given, in the original Latin, a stanza of a drinking
song which fell to such depths of irreverence as to comprise a parody
of Thomas Aquinas's hymn on the Lord's Supper.

     _Bibit hera, bibit herus,
     Bibit miles, bibit clerus,
     Bibit ille, bibit illa,
     Bibit servus cum ancilla,
     Bibit velox, bibit piger,
     Bibit albus, bibit niger,
     Bibit constans, bibit vagus,
     Bibit rudis, bibit magus._


[494] That is, the _trivium_ (Latin grammar, rhetoric, and logic) and
the _quadrivium_ (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music).

[495] The earliest degrees granted at Bologna, Paris, etc., were those
of master of arts and doctor of philosophy. "Master" and "Doctor" were
practically equivalent terms and both signified simply that the
bearer, after suitable examinations, had been recognized as
sufficiently proficient to be admitted to the guild of teachers. The
bachelor's degree grew up more obscurely. It might be taken somewhere
on the road to the master's degree, but was merely an incidental stamp
of proficiency up to a certain stage of advancement. Throughout
mediæval times the master's, or doctor's, degree, which carried the
right to become a teacher, was the normal goal and few stopped short
of its attainment.

[496] Hastings Rashdall, _The Universities of Europe in the Middle
Ages_ (Oxford, 1895), Vol. I., p. 146.

[497] Evidently, from other passages, including students of law as
well as teachers.

[498] Greedy creditors sometimes compelled students to pay debts owed
by the fellow-countrymen of the latter--a very thinly disguised form
of robbery. This abuse was now to be abolished.

[499] That is, in any legal proceedings against a scholar the
defendant was to choose whether he would be tried before his own
master or before the bishop. In later times this right of choice
passed generally to the plaintiff.

[500] The students of the French universities were regarded as, for
all practical purposes, members of the clergy (_clerici_) and thus to
be distinguished from laymen. They were not clergy in the full sense,
but were subject to a special sort of jurisdiction closely akin to
that applying to the clergy.

[501] The law on this point was exceptionally severe. The privilege of
establishing innocence by combat or the ordeal by water was denied,
though even the provost and his subordinates who had played false in
the riot of 1200 had been given the opportunity of clearing themselves
by such means if they chose and could do so.

[502] A further recognition of the clerical character of the students.

[503] The property, as the persons, of the scholars was protected from
seizure except by the church authorities.

[504] In this capacity the provost of Paris came to be known as the
"Conservator of the Royal Privileges of the University."

[505] For an explanation of the phrase "elector of the Holy Empire"
see p. 409.

[506] Rupert had sent sums of money to Rome to induce Pope Urban VI.
to approve the foundation of the university. The papal bull of 1385,
which was the reward of his effort, specifically enjoined that the
university be modeled closely after that of Paris.

[507] The mediæval "three philosophies" were introduced by the
rediscovery of some of Aristotle's writings in the twelfth century.
Primal philosophy was what we now know as metaphysics; natural
philosophy meant the sciences of physics, botany, etc.; and moral
philosophy denoted ethics and politics.

[508] At Paris the students were divided into four groups, named from
the nationality which predominated in each of them at the time of its
formation--the French, the Normans, the Picards, and the English.

[509] The rector at Paris was head of the faculty of arts.

[510] Equivalent to bedel. All mediæval universities had their bedels,
who bore the mace of authority before the rectors on public occasions,
made announcements of lectures, book sales, etc., and exercised many
of the functions of the modern bedel of European universities.

[511] John Addington Symonds, _Wine, Women and Song: Mediæval Latin
Students' Songs_ (London, 1884), pp. 1-3.

[512] Symonds, _Wine, Women, and Song_, pp. 5-20 _passim_.

[513] This is the only indication of the name of the place where the
suppliant student was supposed to be making his petition.

[514] St. Martin was the founder of the monastery at Tours [see p.

[515] "Honest folk are jeeringly bidden to beware of the _quadrivium_
[see p. 339], which is apt to form a fourfold rogue instead of a
scholar in four branches of knowledge."--Symonds, _Wine, Women, and
Song_, p. 57.

[516] That is, as a sacrifice.



From the twelfth century onwards one of the most conspicuous features
of the internal development of the mediæval Church was the struggle
to combat worldliness among ecclesiastics and to preserve the purity
of doctrine and uprightness of living which had characterized the
primitive Christian clergy. As the Middle Ages advanced to their close,
unimpeachable evidence accumulates that the Church was increasingly
menaced by grave abuses. This evidence appears not only in contemporary
records and chronicles but even more strikingly in the great
protesting movements which spring up in rapid succession--particularly
the rise of heretical sects, such as the Waldenses and the Albigenses,
and the inauguration of systematic efforts to regenerate the church
body without disrupting its unity. These latter efforts at first took
the form of repeated revivals of monastic enthusiasm and self-denial,
marked by the founding of a series of new orders on the basis of the
Benedictine Rule--the Cluniacs, the Carthusians, the Cistercians, and
others of their kind [see p. 245]. This resource proving ineffective,
the movement eventually came to comprise the establishment of wholly
new and independent organizations--the mendicant orders--on principles
better adapted than were those of monasticism to the successful
propagation of simplicity and purity of Christian living. The chief of
these new orders were the Franciscans, known also as Gray Friars and
as Minorites, and the Dominicans, sometimes called Black Friars or
Preaching Friars. Both were founded in the first quarter of the
thirteenth century, the one by St. Francis of Assisi; the other by the
Spanish nobleman, St. Dominic.

The friars, of whatsoever type, are clearly to be distinguished from
the monks. In the first place, their aims were different. The monks,
in so far as they were true to their principles, lived in more or less
seclusion from the rest of the world and gave themselves up largely
to prayer and meditation; the fundamental purpose of the friars, on
the other hand, was to mingle with their fellow-men and to spend their
lives in active religious work among them. Whereas the old monasticism
had been essentially selfish, the new movement was above all of a
missionary and philanthropic character. In the second place, the
friars were even more strongly committed to a life of poverty than
were the monks, for they renounced not only individual property, as
did the monks, but also collective property, as the monks did not.
They were expected to get their living either by their own labor or by
begging. They did not dwell in fixed abodes, but wandered hither and
thither as inclination and duty led. Their particular sphere of
activity was the populous towns; unlike the monks, they had no liking
for rural solitudes. As one writer has put it, "their houses were
built in or near the great towns; and to the majority of the brethren
the houses of the orders were mere temporary resting-places from which
they issued to make their journeys through town and country, preaching
in the parish churches, or from the steps of the market-crosses, and
carrying their ministrations to every castle and every cottage."

Both the Franciscans and the Dominicans were exempt from control by
the bishops in the various dioceses and were ardent supporters of the
papacy, which showered privileges upon them and secured in them two of
its strongest allies. The organization of each order was elaborate and
centralized. At the head was a master, or general, who resided at Rome
and was assisted by a "chapter." All Christendom was divided into
provinces, each of which was directed by a prior and provincial
chapter. And over each individual "house" was placed a prior, or
warden, appointed by the provincial chapter. In their earlier history
the zeal and achievements of the friars were remarkable. Nearly all of
the greatest men of the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries--as
Roger Bacon, Thomas Aquinas, Dun Scotus, and Albertus Magnus--were
members of one of the mendicant orders. Unfortunately, with the friars
as with the monks, prosperity brought decadence; and by the middle of
the fourteenth century their ardor had cooled and their boasted
self-denial had pretty largely given place to self-indulgence.

63. The Life of St. Francis

Saint Francis, the founder of the Franciscan order, was born, probably
in 1182, at Assisi, a small town in central Italy. His boyhood was
unpromising, but when he was about twenty years of age a great change
came over him, the final result of which was the making of one of the
most splendid and altogether lovable characters of the entire Middle
Ages. From a wild, reckless, although cultured, youth he developed
into a sympathetic, self-denying, sweet-spirited saint. Finding
himself, after his conversion, possessed of a natural loathing for the
destitute and diseased, especially lepers, he disciplined himself
until he could actually take a certain sort of pleasure in associating
with these outcasts of society. When his father, a wealthy and
aristocratic cloth-merchant, protested against this sort of conduct,
the young man promptly cast aside his gentlemanly raiment, clad
himself in the worn-out garments of a gardener, and adopted the life
of the wandering hermit. In 1209, in obedience to what he conceived to
be a direct commission from heaven, he began definitely to imitate the
early apostles in his manner of living and to preach the gospel of the
older and purer Christianity. By 1210 he had a small body of
followers, and in that year he sought and obtained Pope Innocent
III.'s sanction of his work, though the papal approval was expressed
only orally and more than a decade was to elapse before the movement
received formal recognition. About 1217 Francis and his companions
took up missionary work on a large scale. Members of the brotherhood
were dispatched to England, Germany, France, Spain, Hungary, and
several other countries, with instructions to spread the principles
which by this time were coming to be recognized as peculiarly
Franciscan. The success of these efforts was considerable, though in
some places the brethren were ill treated and an appeal had to be made
to the Pope for protection.

The several selections given below have been chosen to illustrate the
principal features of the life and character of St. Francis. We are
fortunate in possessing a considerable amount of literature,
contemporary or nearly so, relating to the personal career of this
noteworthy man. In the first place, we have some writings of St.
Francis himself--the Rule (p. 373), the Will (p. 376), some poems,
some reported sermons, and fragments of a few letters. Then we have
several biographies, of which the most valuable, because not only the
earliest but also the least conventional, are the _Mirror of
Perfection_ and the _Legend of the Three Companions_. These were
written by men who knew St. Francis intimately and who could avow "we
who were with him have heard him say" or "we who were with him have
seen," such and such things. The "three companions" were Brothers Leo,
Rufinus, and Angelo--all men of noble birth, the last-named being the
first soldier to be identified with the order. The _Mirror of
Perfection_ was written in 1227 by Brother Leo, who of all men
probably knew St. Francis best. It is a vivid and fascinating portrait
drawn from life. The _Legend of the Three Companions_ was written in
1246. The later biographies, such as the official _Life_ by St.
Bonaventura (1261) and the _Little Flowers of St. Francis_ (written
probably in the fourteenth century), though until recently the best
known of the group, are relatively inferior in value. In them the real
St. Francis is conventionalized and much obscured.

The first passage here reproduced (a) comes from the _Legend of the
Three Companions_; the others (b) are taken from the _Mirror of

     Sources--(a) _Legenda S. Francisci Assisiensis quæ dicitur
     Legenda trium sociorum._ Adapted from translation by E. G.
     Salter, under title of "The Legend of the Three Companions,"
     in the Temple Classics (London, 1902), pp. 8-24, _passim_.

     (b) _Speculum Perfectionis._ Translated by Constance, Countess
     de la Warr, under title of "The Mirror of Perfection,"
     (London, 1902), _passim_.

     [Sidenote: His youthful vanities and waywardness]


   Francis, born in the city of Assisi, which lies in the confines of
   the Vale of Spoleto, was at first named John by his mother. Then,
   when his father, in whose absence he had been born, returned from
   France, he was afterward named Francis[517]. After he was grown up,
   and had become of a subtle wit, he practiced the art of his father,
   that is, trade. But [he did so] in a very different manner, for he
   was a merrier man than was his father, and more generous, given to
   jests and songs, going about the city of Assisi day and night in
   company with his kind, most free-handed in spending; insomuch that
   he consumed all his income and his profits in banquets and other
   matters. On this account he was often rebuked by his parents, who
   told him he ran into so great expense on himself and on others that
   he seemed to be no son of theirs, but rather of some mighty prince.
   Nevertheless, because his parents were rich and loved him most
   tenderly, they bore with him in such matters, not being disposed to
   chastise him. Indeed, his mother, when gossip arose among the
   neighbors concerning his prodigal ways, made answer: "What think ye
   of my son? He shall yet be the son of God by grace." But he himself
   was free-handed, or rather prodigal, not only in these things, but
   even in his clothes he was beyond measure sumptuous, using stuffs
   more costly than it befitted him to wear. So wayward was his fancy
   that at times on the same coat he would cause a costly cloth to be
   matched with one of the meanest sort.

     [Sidenote: His redeeming qualities]

     [Sidenote: A lesson in charity]

   Yet he was naturally courteous, in manner and word, after the
   purpose of his heart, never speaking a harmful or shameful word to
   any one. Nay, indeed, although he was so gay and wanton a youth,
   yet of set purpose would he make no reply to those who said
   shameful things to him. And hence was his fame so spread abroad
   throughout the whole neighborhood that it was said by many who knew
   him that he would do something great. By these steps of godliness
   he progressed to such grace that he would say in communing with
   himself: "Seeing that thou art bountiful and courteous toward men,
   from whom thou receivest naught save a passing and empty favor, it
   is just that thou shouldst be courteous and bountiful toward God,
   who is Himself most bountiful in rewarding His poor." Wherefore
   thenceforward did he look with goodwill upon the poor, bestowing
   alms upon them abundantly. And although he was a merchant, yet was
   he a most lavish dispenser of this world's riches. One day, when he
   was standing in the warehouse in which he sold goods, and was
   intent on business, a certain poor man came to him asking alms for
   the love of God. Nevertheless, he was held back by the covetousness
   of wealth and the cares of merchandise, and denied him the alms.
   But forthwith, being looked upon by the divine grace, he rebuked
   himself of great churlishness, saying, "Had this poor man asked
   thee aught in the name of a great count or baron, assuredly thou
   wouldst have given him what he had asked. How much more then
   oughtest thou to have done it for the King of Kings and Lord of
   all?" By reason whereof he thenceforth determined in his heart
   never again to deny anything asked in the name of so great a

     [Sidenote: A vision in the midst of revelry]

   Now, not many days after he returned to Assisi,[518] he was chosen
   one evening by his comrades as their master of the revels, to spend
   the money collected from the company after his own fancy. So he
   caused a sumptuous banquet to be made ready, as he had often done
   before. And when they came forth from the house, and his comrades
   together went before him, going through the city singing while he
   carried a wand in his hand as their master, he was walking behind
   them, not singing, but meditating very earnestly. And lo! suddenly
   he was visited by the Lord, and his heart was filled with such
   sweetness that he could neither speak nor move; nor was he able to
   feel and hear anything except that sweetness only, which so
   separated him from his physical senses that--as he himself
   afterward said--had he then been pricked with knives all over at
   once, he could not have moved from the spot. But when his comrades
   looked back and saw him thus far off from them, they returned to
   him in fear, staring at him as one changed into another man. And
   they asked him, "What were you thinking about, that you did not
   come along with us? Perchance you were thinking of taking a wife."
   To them he replied with a loud voice: "Truly have you spoken, for I
   thought of taking to myself a bride nobler and richer and fairer
   than ever you have seen." And they mocked at him. But this he said
   not of his own accord, but inspired of God; for the bride herself
   was true Religion, whom he took unto him, nobler, richer, and
   fairer than others in her poverty.

     [Sidenote: His increasing zeal in charity]

   And so from that hour he began to grow worthless in his own eyes,
   and to despise those things he had formerly loved, although not
   wholly so at once, for he was not yet entirely freed from the
   vanity of the world. Nevertheless, withdrawing himself little by
   little from the tumult of the world, he made it his study to
   treasure up Jesus Christ in his inner man, and, hiding from the
   eyes of mockers the pearl that he would fain buy at the price of
   selling his all, he went oftentimes, and as it were in secret,
   daily to prayer, being urged thereto by the foretaste of that
   sweetness that had visited him more and more often, and compelled
   him to come from the streets and other public places to prayer.
   Although he had long done good unto the poor, yet from this time
   forth he determined still more firmly in his heart never again to
   deny alms to any poor man who should ask it for the love of God,
   but to give alms more willingly and bountifully than had been his
   practice. Whenever, therefore, any poor man asked of him an alms
   out of doors, he would supply him with money if he could; if he had
   no ready money, he would give him his cap or girdle rather than
   send the poor man away empty. And if it happened that he had
   nothing of this kind, he would go to some hidden place, and strip
   off his shirt, and send the poor man thither that he might take it,
   for the sake of God. He also would buy vessels for the adornment
   of churches, and would send them in all secrecy to poor priests....

     [Sidenote: He begs alms at Rome]

   So changed, then, was he by divine grace (although still in the
   secular garb) that he desired to be in some city where he might, as
   one unknown, strip off his own clothes and exchange them for those
   of some beggar, so that he might wear his instead and make trial of
   himself by asking alms for the love of God. Now it happened that at
   that time he had gone to Rome on a pilgrimage. And entering the
   church of St. Peter, he reflected on the offerings of certain
   people, seeing that they were small, and spoke within himself:
   "Since the Prince of the Apostles should of right be magnificently
   honored, why do these folk make such sorry offerings in the church
   wherein his body rests?" And so in great fervency he put his hand
   into his purse and drew it forth full of money, and flung it
   through the grating of the altar with such a crash that all who
   were standing by marveled greatly at so splendid an offering. Then,
   going forth in front of the doors of the church, where many beggars
   were gathered to ask alms, he secretly borrowed the rags of one
   among the neediest and donned them, laying aside his own clothing.
   Then, standing on the church steps with the other beggars, he asked
   an alms in French, for he loved to speak the French tongue,
   although he did not speak it correctly. Thereafter, putting off the
   rags, and taking again his own clothes, he returned to Assisi, and
   began to pray the Lord to direct his way. For he revealed unto none
   his secret, nor took counsel of any in this matter, save only of
   God (who had begun to direct his way) and at times of the bishop of
   Assisi. For at that time no true Poverty was to be found anywhere,
   and she it was that he desired above all things of this world,
   being minded in her to live--yea, and to die....

     [Sidenote: Francis and the leper]

   Now when on a certain day he was praying fervently unto the Lord,
   answer was made unto him: "Francis, all those things that thou hast
   loved after the flesh, and hast desired to have, thou must needs
   despise and hate, if thou wouldst do My will, and after thou shalt
   have begun to do this the things that aforetime seemed sweet unto
   thee and delightful shall be unbearable unto thee and bitter, and
   from those that aforetime thou didst loathe thou shalt drink great
   sweetness and delight unmeasured." Rejoicing at these words, and
   consoled in the Lord, when he had ridden nigh unto Assisi, he met
   one that was a leper. And because he had been accustomed greatly to
   loathe lepers, he did violence to himself, and dismounted from his
   horse, gave him money, and kissed his hand. And receiving from him
   the kiss of peace, he remounted his horse and continued his
   journey. Thenceforth he began more and more to despise himself,
   until by the grace of God he had attained perfect mastery over

   A few days later, he took much money and went to the quarter of the
   lepers, and, gathering all together, gave to each an alms, kissing
   his hand. As he departed, in very truth that which had aforetime
   been bitter to him, that is, the sight and touch of lepers, was
   changed into sweetness. For, as he confessed, the sight of lepers
   had been so grievous to him that he had been accustomed to avoid
   not only seeing them, but even going near their dwellings. And if
   at any time he happened to pass their abodes, or to see them,
   although he was moved by compassion to give them an alms through
   another person, yet always would he turn aside his face, stopping
   his nostrils with his hand. But, through the grace of God, he
   became so intimate a friend of the lepers that, even as he recorded
   in his Will,[519] he lived with them and did humbly serve them.

     [Sidenote: How St. Francis would not dwell in an adorned cell]

     [Sidenote: Or in a cell called his own]


   A very spiritual friar, who was familiar with Blessed Francis,
   erected at the hermitage where he lived a little cell in a solitary
   spot, where Blessed Francis could retire and pray when he came
   thither. When he arrived at this place the friar took him to the
   cell, and Blessed Francis said, "This cell is too splendid"--it
   was, indeed, built only of wood, and smoothed with a hatchet--"if
   you wish me to remain here, make it within and without of branches
   of trees and clay." For the poorer the house or cell, the more was
   he pleased to live therein. When the friar had done this, Blessed
   Francis remained there several days. One day he was out of the cell
   when a friar came to see him, who, coming thereafter to the place
   where Blessed Francis was, was asked, "Whence came you, Brother?"
   He answered, "I come from your cell." Then said Blessed Francis:
   "Since you have called it mine, let another dwell there and not I."
   And, in truth, we who were with him often heard him say: "The foxes
   have holes, and the birds of the air have their nests, but the Son
   of Man hath not where to lay His head." And again he would say:
   "When the Lord remained in the desert, and fasted forty days and
   forty nights, He did not make for Himself a cell or a house, but
   found shelter amongst the rocks of the mountain." For this reason,
   and to follow His example, he would not have it said that a cell or
   house was his, nor would he allow such to be constructed.... When
   he was nigh unto death he caused it to be written in his
   Testament[520] that all the cells and houses of the friars should
   be of wood and clay, the better to safeguard poverty and humility.

          *       *       *       *       *

     [Sidenote: A lazy friar]

   At the beginning of the Order, when the friars were at
   Rivo-Torto,[521] near Assisi, there was among them one friar who
   would not pray, work, nor ask for alms, but only eat. Considering
   this, Blessed Francis knew by the Holy Spirit that he was a carnal
   man, and said to him, "Brother Fly, go your way, since you consume
   the labor of the brethren, and are slothful in the work of the
   Lord, like the idle and barren drone who earns nothing and does not
   work, but consumes the labor and earnings of the working bee." He,
   therefore, went his way, and as he was a carnally-minded man he
   neither sought for mercy nor obtained it.

          *       *       *       *       *

     [Sidenote: Public humiliation inflicted upon himself]

   Having at a time suffered greatly from one of his serious attacks
   of illness, when he felt a little better he began to think that
   during his sickness he had exceeded his usual allowance of food,
   whereas he had really eaten very little. Though not quite recovered
   from the ague, he caused the people of Assisi to be called together
   in the public square to listen to a sermon. When he had finished
   preaching, he told the people to remain where they were until he
   came back to them, and entered the cathedral of St. Rufinus with
   many friars and Brother Peter of Catana, who had been a canon of
   that church, and was now the first Minister-General[522] appointed
   by Blessed Francis. To Brother Peter Francis spoke, enjoining him
   under obedience not to contradict what he was about to say. Brother
   Peter replied: "Brother, neither is it possible, as between you and
   me, nor do I wish to do anything save what is pleasing to you."
   Then, taking off his tunic, Blessed Francis bade him place a rope
   around his neck and drag him thus before the people to the place
   where he had preached. At the same time he ordered another friar to
   carry a bowlful of ashes to the place, and when he got there to
   throw the ashes into his face. But this order was not obeyed by
   the friar out of the pity and compassion he felt for him.

   Brother Peter, taking the rope, did as he had been told; but he and
   all the other friars shed tears of compassion and bitterness. When
   he [Francis] stood thus bared before the people in the place where
   he had preached, he cried: "You, and all those who by my example
   have been induced to abandon the world and enter Religion to lead
   the lives of friars, I confess before God and you that in my
   illness I have eaten meat and broths made of meat." And all the
   people could not refrain from weeping, especially as at that time
   it was very cold and he had scarcely recovered from the fever.
   Beating their breasts where they stood, they exclaimed, "If this
   saint, for just and manifest necessity, with shame of body thus
   accuses himself, whose life we know to be holy, and who has imposed
   on himself such great abstinence and austerity since his first
   conversion to Christ (whom we here, as it were, see in the flesh),
   what will become of us sinners who all our lifetime seek to follow
   our carnal appetites?"

          *       *       *       *       *

     [Sidenote: St. Francis and the larks]

   Blessed Francis, wholly wrapped up in the love of God, discerned
   perfectly the goodness of God not only in his own soul, now adorned
   with the perfection of virtue, but in every creature. On account of
   which he had a singular and intimate love of creatures, especially
   of those in which was figured anything pertaining to God or the
   Order. Wherefore above all other birds he loved a certain little
   bird which is called the lark, or by the people, the cowled lark.
   And he used to say of it: "Sister Lark hath a cowl like a
   Religious; and she is a humble bird, because she goes willingly by
   the road to find there any food. And if she comes upon it in
   foulness, she draws it out and eats it. But, flying, she praises
   God very sweetly, like a good Religious, despising earthly things,
   whose conversation is always in the heavens, and whose intent is
   always to the praise of God. Her clothes (that is, her feathers),
   are like to the earth and she gives an example to Religious that
   they should not have delicate and colored garments, but common in
   price and color, as earth is commoner than the other elements." And
   because he perceived this in them, he looked on them most
   willingly. Therefore it pleased the Lord, that these most holy
   little birds should show some sign of affection towards him in the
   hour of his death. For late in the Sabbath day after vespers,
   before the night in which he passed away to the Lord, a great
   multitude of that kind of birds called larks came on the roof of
   the house where he was lying, and, flying about, made a wheel like
   a circle around the roof, and, sweetly singing, seemed likewise to
   praise the Lord.

          *       *       *       *       *

     [Sidenote: His desire that birds and animals be fed on Christmas

   We who were with Blessed Francis and write these things, testify
   that many times we heard him say: "If I could speak with the
   Emperor,[523] I would supplicate and persuade him that, for the
   love of God and me, he would make a special law that no man should
   snare or kill our sisters, the larks, nor do them any harm. Also,
   that all chief magistrates of cities and lords of castles and
   villages should, every year, on the day of the Lord's Nativity,
   compel men to scatter wheat and other grain on the roads outside
   cities and castles, that our Sister Larks and all other birds might
   have to eat on that most solemn day; and that, out of reverence for
   the Son of God, who on that night was laid by the most Blessed
   Virgin Mary in a manger between an ox and an ass, all who have oxen
   and asses should be obliged on that night to provide them with
   abundant and good fodder; and also that on that day the poor should
   be most bountifully fed by the rich."

   For Blessed Francis held in higher reverence than any other the
   Feast of the Lord's Nativity, saying, "After the Lord was born, our
   salvation became a necessity." Therefore he desired that on this
   day all Christians should rejoice in the Lord, and, for the love
   of Him who gave Himself for us, should generously provide not only
   for the poor, but also for the beasts and birds.

          *       *       *       *       *

     [Sidenote: His regard for trees, stones, and all created things]

   Next to fire he most loved water, which is the symbol of holy
   penance and tribulation, whereby the stains are washed from the
   soul, and by which the first cleansing of the soul takes place in
   holy baptism. Hence, when he washed his hands, he would select a
   place where he would not tread the water underfoot. When he walked
   over stones he would tread on them with fear and reverence, for the
   love of Him who is called the Rock, and when reciting the words of
   the Psalm, _Thou hast exalted me on a rock_, would add with great
   reverence and devotion, "beneath the foot of the rock hast thou
   exalted me."

   In the same way he would tell the friars who cut and prepared the
   wood not to cut down the whole tree, but only such branches as
   would leave the tree standing, for love of Him who died for us on
   the wood of the Cross. So, also, he would tell the friar who was
   the gardener not to cultivate all the ground for vegetables and
   herbs for food, but to set aside some part to produce green plants
   which should in their time bear flowers for the friars, for love of
   Him who was called "The Flower of the Field," and "The Lily of the
   Valley." Indeed he would say the Brother Gardener should always
   make a beautiful little garden in some part of the land, and plant
   it with sweet-scented herbs bearing lovely flowers, which in the
   time of their blossoming invited men to praise Him who made all
   herbs and flowers. For every creature cries aloud: "God has made me
   for thee, O man!"

64. The Rule of St. Francis

There is every reason for believing that St. Francis set out upon his
mission with no idea whatever of founding a new religious order. His
fundamental purpose was to revive what he conceived to be the purer
Christianity of the apostolic age, and so far as this involved the
announcement of any definite principles or rules he was quite content
to draw them solely from the Scriptures. We have record, for example,
of how when (in 1209) St. Francis had yet but two followers, he led
them to the steps of the church of St. Nicholas at Assisi and there
read to them three times the words of Jesus sending forth his
disciples,[524] adding, "This, brethren, is our life and our rule, and
that of all who may join us. Go, then, and do as you have heard." As
his field of labor expanded, however, and the number of the friars
increased, St. Francis decided to write out a definite Rule for the
brotherhood and go to Rome to procure its approval by the Pope. The
Rule as thus formulated, in 1210, has not come down to us. We know
only that it was extremely simple and that it was composed almost
wholly of passages from the Bible (doubtless those read to the
companions at Assisi), with a few precepts about the occupations and
manner of living of the brethren. This first Rule indeed proved too
simple and brief to satisfy the demands of the growing order. A
general injunction, such as "be poor," was harder to apply and to live
up to than a more specific set of instructions explaining just what
was to be considered poverty and what was not. The brethren, moreover,
were soon preaching and laboring in all the countries of western
Europe and questions were continually coming up regarding their
relations with the temporal powers in those countries, with the local
clergy, with the papal government, and also among themselves.

Reluctantly, and with a heart-felt warning against the insidious
influences of ambition and organization, the founder finally brought
himself to the task of drawing up a constitution for the order which
had surprised him, and in a certain sense grieved him, by the very
elaborateness of its development. During the winter of 1220-21, when
physical infirmities were foreshadowing the end, Francis worked out
the document generally known as the Rule of 1221, which became the
basis for the Rule of 1223, quoted in part below. Before the Rule took
its final form, the influence of the Church was brought to bear
through the papacy, with the result that most of the freshness and
vigor that St. Francis put into the earlier effort was crushed out in
the interest of ecclesiastical regularity. Only a small portion of the
document can be reproduced here, but enough, perhaps, to show
something as to what the manner of life of the Franciscan friar was
expected to be. The extract may profitably be compared with the
Benedictine Rule governing the monks [see p. 83].

     Source--_Bullarium Romanum_ ["Collection of Papal Bulls"],
     editio Taurinensis, Vol. III., p. 394. Adapted from
     translation in Ernest F. Henderson, _Select Historical
     Documents of the Middle Ages_ (London, 1896), pp. 344-349

   =1.= This is the rule and way of living of the Minorite brothers,
   namely, to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, living
   in obedience, without personal possessions, and in chastity.
   Brother Francis promises obedience and reverence to our lord Pope
   Honorius,[525] and to his successors who canonically enter upon
   their office, and to the Roman Church. And the other brothers shall
   be bound to obey Brother Francis and his successors.

     [Sidenote: Money in no case to be received by the brothers]

   =4.= I firmly command all the brothers by no means to receive coin
   or money, of themselves or through an intervening person. But for
   the needs of the sick and for clothing the other brothers, the
   ministers alone and the guardians shall provide through spiritual
   friends, as it may seem to them that necessity demands, according
   to time, place and the coldness of the temperature. This one thing
   being always borne in mind, that, as has been said, they receive
   neither coin nor money.

     [Sidenote: The obligation to labor]

   =5.= Those brothers to whom God has given the ability to labor
   shall labor faithfully and devoutly, in such manner that idleness,
   the enemy of the soul, being averted, they may not extinguish the
   spirit of holy prayer and devotion, to which other temporal things
   should be subservient. As a reward, moreover, for their labor, they
   may receive for themselves and their brothers the necessities of
   life, but not coin or money; and this humbly, as becomes the
   servants of God and the followers of most holy poverty.

   =6.= The brothers shall appropriate nothing to themselves, neither
   a house, nor a place, nor anything; but as pilgrims and strangers
   in this world, in poverty and humility serving God, they shall
   confidently go seeking for alms. Nor need they be ashamed, for the
   Lord made Himself poor for us in this world.

65. The Will of St. Francis

The will which St. Francis prepared just before his death (1226)
contains an admirable statement of the principles for which he
labored, as well as a notable warning to his successors not to allow
the order to fall away from its original high ideals. Among the later
Franciscans the Will acquired a moral authority superior even to that
of the Rule.

     Source--Text in Amoni, _Legenda Trium Sociorum_ ["Legend of
     the Three Companions"], Appendix, p. 110. Translation adapted
     from Paul Sabatier, _Life of St. Francis of Assisi_ (New York,
     1894), pp. 337-339.

   God gave it to me, Brother Francis, to begin to do penance in the
   following manner: when I was yet in my sins it seemed to me too
   painful to look upon the lepers, but the Lord Himself led me among
   them, and I had compassion upon them. When I left them, that which
   had seemed to me bitter had become sweet and easy. A little while
   after, I left the world,[526] and God gave me such faith that I
   would kneel down with simplicity in any of his churches, and I
   would say, "We adore thee, Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all thy
   churches which are in the world, and we bless thee that by Thy holy
   cross Thou hast ransomed the world."

     [Sidenote: St. Francis not hostile to the existing Church]

   Afterward the Lord gave me, and still gives me, so great a faith in
   priests who live according to the form of the holy Roman Church,
   because of their sacerdotal character, that even if they
   persecuted me I would have recourse to them, and even though I had
   all the wisdom of Solomon, if I should find poor secular priests, I
   would not preach in their parishes against their will.[527] I
   desire to respect them like all the others, to love them and honor
   them as my lords. I will not consider their sins, for in them I see
   the Son of God, and they are my lords. I do this because here below
   I see nothing, I perceive nothing physically of the most high Son
   of God, except His most holy body and blood, which the priests
   receive and alone distribute to others.[528]

   I desire above all things to honor and venerate all these most holy
   mysteries and to keep them precious. Wherever I find the sacred
   name of Jesus, or his words, in unsuitable places, I desire to take
   them away and put them in some decent place; and I pray that others
   may do the same. We ought to honor and revere all the theologians
   and those who preach the most holy word of God, as dispensing to us
   spirit and life.

   When the Lord gave me the care of some brothers, no one showed me
   what I ought to do, but the Most High himself revealed to me that I
   ought to live according to the model of the holy gospel. I caused a
   short and simple formula to be written and the lord Pope confirmed
   it for me.[529]

     [Sidenote: Poverty and labor enjoined]

   Those who volunteered to follow this kind of life distributed all
   they had to the poor. They contented themselves with one tunic,
   patched within and without, with the cord and breeches, and we
   desired to have nothing more.... We loved to live in poor and
   abandoned churches, and we were ignorant and were submissive to
   all. I worked with my hands and would still do so, and I firmly
   desire also that all the other brothers work, for this makes for
   goodness. Let those who know no trade learn one, not for the
   purpose of receiving wages for their toil, but for their good
   example and to escape idleness. And when we are not given the price
   of our work, let us resort to the table of the Lord, begging our
   bread from door to door. The Lord revealed to me the salutation
   which we ought to give: "God give you peace!"

     [Sidenote: No further privileges to be sought from the Pope]

   Let the brothers take great care not to accept churches, dwellings,
   or any buildings erected for them, except as all is in accordance
   with the holy poverty which we have vowed in the Rule; and let them
   not live in them except as strangers and pilgrims. I absolutely
   forbid all the brothers, in whatsoever place they may be found, to
   ask any bull from the court of Rome, whether directly or
   indirectly, in the interest of church or convent, or under pretext
   of preaching, or even for the protection of their bodies. If they
   are not received anywhere, let them go of themselves elsewhere,
   thus doing penance with the benediction of God....

   And let the brothers not say, "This is a new Rule"; for this is
   only a reminder, a warning, an exhortation. It is my last will and
   testament, that I, little Brother Francis, make for you, my blessed
   brothers, in order that we may observe in a more Catholic way the
   Rule which we promised the Lord to keep.

     [Sidenote: No additions to be made to the Rule or the Will]

   Let the ministers-general, all the other ministers, and the
   custodians be held by obedience to add nothing to and take nothing
   away from these words. Let them always keep this writing near them
   beside the Rule; and in all the assemblies which shall be held,
   when the Rule is read, let these words be read also.

   I absolutely forbid all the brothers, clerics and laymen, to
   introduce comments in the Rule, or in this Will, under pretext of
   explaining it. But since the Lord has given me to speak and to
   write the Rule and these words in a clear and simple manner, so do
   you understand them in the same way without commentary, and put
   them in practice until the end.

   And whoever shall have observed these things, may he be crowned in
   heaven with the blessings of the heavenly Father, and on earth with
   those of his well-beloved Son and of the Holy Spirit, the Consoler,
   with the assistance of all the heavenly virtues and all the saints.

   And I, little Brother Francis, your servant, confirm to you, so far
   as I am able, this most holy benediction. Amen.


[517] The father's name was Pietro Bernardone. As a cloth-merchant he
was probably accustomed to make frequent journeys to northern France,
particularly Champagne, which was the principal seat of commercial
exchange between northern and southern Europe.

[518] Aspiring to become a knight and to win distinction on the field
of battle, Francis had gone to Spoleto with the intention of joining
an expedition about to set out for Apulia. While there he was stricken
with fever and compelled to abandon his purpose. Returning to Assisi,
he redoubled his works of charity and sought to keep aloof from the
people of the town. His old companions, however, flocked around him,
expecting still to profit by his prodigality, and for a time, being
himself uncertain as to the course he would take, he acceded to their

[519] See p. 376.

[520] Brief portions of this testament, or will, are given on p. 376.

[521] This was in the latter part of 1210 and the early part of 1211.
Rivo-Torto was an abandoned cottage in the plain of Assisi, an hour's
walk from the town and near the highway between Perugia and Rome. The
building had once served as a leper hospital. Francis and his
companions selected it as a temporary place of abode, probably because
of its proximity to the _carceri_, or natural grottoes, of Mount
Subasio to which the friars resorted for solitude, and because it was
at the same time sufficiently near the Umbrian towns to permit of
frequent trips thither for preaching and charity.

[522] Practically, St. Francis's successor in the headship of the
order. With the idea of realizing entire humility in his own life, St.
Francis had resigned his position of authority into the hands of
Brother Peter and had pledged the implicit obedience of himself and
the others to the new prelate.

[523] That is, the sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire.

[524] The passage (Luke ix. 1-6) is as follows: "Jesus, having called
to Him the Twelve, gave them power and authority over all devils and
to cure diseases. And He sent them to preach the Kingdom of God and to
heal the sick. And He said unto them, Take nothing for your journey,
neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have
two coats apiece. And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and
thence depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of
that city shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony
against them. And they departed and went through the towns, preaching
the gospel and healing everywhere."

[525] Honorius III., 1216-1227.

[526] That is, abandoned the worldly manner of living.

[527] Despite the willingness of St. Francis here expressed to get on
peaceably with the secular clergy, i.e., the bishops and priests, the
history of the mendicant orders is filled with the records of strife
between the seculars and friars. This was inevitable, since such
friars as had taken priestly orders were accustomed to hear
confessions, preside at masses, preach in parish churchyards, bury the
dead, and collect alms--all the proper functions of the parish priests
but permitted to the friars by special papal dispensations. The
priests very naturally regarded the friars as usurpers.

[528] That is, in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

[529] The Rule of 1210, approved by Innocent III., is here meant [see
p. 374].



66. The Interdict Laid on France by Innocent III. (1200)

Two of the most effective weapons at the service of the mediæval
Church were excommunication and the interdict. By the ban of
excommunication the proper ecclesiastical authorities could exclude a
heretic or otherwise objectionable person from all religious
privileges, thereby cutting him off from association with the faithful
and consigning him irrevocably (unless he repented) to Satan. The
interdict differed from excommunication in being less sweeping in its
condemnatory character, and also in being applied to towns, provinces,
or countries rather than to individuals. As a rule the interdict
undertook to deprive the inhabitants of a specified region of the use
of certain of the sacraments, of participation in the usual religious
services, and of the right of Christian burial. It did not expel men
from church membership, as did excommunication, but it suspended most
of the privileges and rights flowing from such membership. The
interdict was first employed by the clergy of north France in the
tenth and eleventh centuries. In the twelfth it was adopted by the
papacy on account of its obvious value as a means of disciplining the
monarchs of western Europe. Because of its effectiveness in stirring
up popular indignation against sovereigns who incurred the papal
displeasure, by the time of Innocent III. (1198-1216) it had come to
be employed for political as well as for purely religious purposes,
though generally the two considerations were closely intertwined. A
famous and typical instance of its use was that of the year 1200,
described below.

In August, 1193, Philip Augustus, king of France, married Ingeborg,
second sister of King Knut VI. of Denmark. At the time Philip was
contemplating an invasion of England and hoped through the marriage to
assure himself of Danish aid. Circumstances soon changed his plans,
however, and almost immediately he began to treat his new wife coldly,
with the obvious purpose of forcing her to return to her brother's
court. Failing in this, he convened his nobles and bishops at
Compiègne and got from them a decree of divorce, on the flimsy pretext
that the marriage with Ingeborg had been illegal on account of the
latter's distant relationship to Elizabeth of Hainault, Philip's first
wife. Ingeborg and her brother appealed to Rome, and Pope Celestine
III. dispatched letter after letter and legate after legate to the
French court, but without result. Indeed, after three years, Philip,
to clinch the matter, as he thought, married Agnes of Meran, daughter
of a Bavarian nobleman, and shut up Ingeborg in a convent at Soissons.
In 1198, while the affair stood thus, Celestine died and was succeeded
by Innocent III., under whom the papal power was destined to attain a
height hitherto unknown. Innocent flatly refused to sanction the
divorce or to recognize the second marriage, although he was not pope,
of course, until some years after both had occurred. On the ground
that the whole subject of marriage lay properly within the
jurisdiction of the Church, Innocent demanded that Philip cast off the
beautiful Agnes and restore Ingeborg to her rightful place. This
Philip promptly refused to do.

The threat of an interdict failing to move him, the Pope proceeded to
put his threat into execution. In January, 1200, the interdict was
pronounced and, though the king's power over the French clergy was so
strong that many refused to heed the voice from Rome, gradually the
discontent and indignation of the people grew until after nine months
it became apparent that the king must yield. He did so as gracefully
as he could, promising to take back Ingeborg and submit the question
of a divorce to a council presided over by the papal legate. This
council, convened in 1201 at Soissons, decided against the king and in
favor of Ingeborg; but Philip had no intention to submit in good faith
and, until the death of Agnes in 1204, he maintained his policy of
procrastination and double-dealing. Even in the later years of the
reign the unfortunate Ingeborg had frequent cause to complain of
harshness and neglect at the hand of her royal husband.

The following are the principal portions of Innocent's interdict.

     Source--Martène, Edmond, and Durand, Ursin, _Thesaurus novus
     Anecdotorum_ ["New Collection of Unpublished Documents"],
     Paris, 1717, Vol. IV., p. 147. Adapted from translation by
     Arthur C. Howland in _Univ. of Pa. Translations and Reprints_,
     Vol. IV., No. 4, pp. 29-30.

     [Sidenote: Partial suspension of the services and offices of
     the Church]

   Let all the churches be closed; let no one be admitted to them,
   except to baptize infants; let them not be otherwise opened, except
   for the purpose of lighting the lamps, or when the priest shall
   come for the Eucharist and holy water for the use of the sick. We
   permit Mass to be celebrated once a week, on Friday, early in the
   morning, to consecrate the Host[530] for the use of the sick, but
   only one clerk is to be admitted to assist the priest. Let the
   clergy preach on Sunday in the vestibules of the churches, and in
   place of the Mass let them deliver the word of God. Let them recite
   the canonical hours[531] outside the churches, where the people do
   not hear them; if they recite an epistle or a gospel, let them
   beware lest the laity hear them; and let them not permit the dead
   to be interred, nor their bodies to be placed unburied in the
   cemeteries. Let them, moreover, say to the laity that they sin and
   transgress grievously by burying bodies in the earth, even in
   unconsecrated ground, for in so doing they assume to themselves an
   office pertaining to others.

     [Sidenote: How Easter should be observed]

     [Sidenote: Arrangements for confession]

   Let them forbid their parishioners to enter churches that may be
   open in the king's territory, and let them not bless the wallets of
   pilgrims, except outside the churches. Let them not celebrate the
   offices in Passion week, but refrain even until Easter day, and
   then let them celebrate in private, no one being admitted except
   the assisting priest, as above directed; let no one communicate,
   even at Easter, unless he be sick and in danger of death. During
   the same week, or on Palm Sunday, let them announce to their
   parishioners that they may assemble on Easter morning before the
   church and there have permission to eat flesh and consecrated
   bread.... Let the priest confess all who desire it in the portico
   of the church; if the church have no portico, we direct that in bad
   or rainy weather, and not otherwise, the nearest door of the church
   may be opened and confessions heard on its threshold (all being
   excluded except the one who is to confess), so that the priest and
   the penitent can be heard by those who are outside the church. If,
   however, the weather be fair, let the confession be heard in front
   of the closed doors. Let no vessels of holy water be placed outside
   the church, nor shall the priests carry them anywhere; for all the
   sacraments of the Church beyond these two which are reserved[532]
   are absolutely prohibited. Extreme unction, which is a holy
   sacrament, may not be given.[533]

67. The Bull "Unam Sanctam" of Boniface VIII. (1302)

In the history of the mediæval Church at least three great periods of
conflict between the papacy and the temporal powers can be
distinguished. The first was the era of Gregory VII. and Henry IV. of
Germany [see p. 261]; the second was that of Innocent III. and John of
England and Philip Augustus of France [see p. 380]; the third was that
of Boniface VIII. and Philip the Fair of France. In many respects the
most significant document pertaining to the last of these struggles is
the papal bull, given below, commonly designated by its opening words,
_Unam Sanctam_.

The question at issue in the conflict of Boniface VIII. and Philip the
Fair was the old one as to whether the papacy should be allowed to
dominate European states in temporal as well as in spiritual matters.
The Franconian emperors, in the eleventh century, made stubborn
resistance to such domination, but the immediate result was only
partial success, while later efforts to keep up the contest
practically ruined the power of the house of Hohenstaufen. Even Philip
Augustus, at the opening of the thirteenth century, had been compelled
to yield, at least outwardly, to the demands of the papacy respecting
his marriages and his national policies. With the revival of the issue
under Boniface and Philip, however, the tide turned, for at last there
had arisen a nation whose sovereign had so firm a grip upon the
loyalty of his subjects that he could defy even the power of Rome with

The quarrel between Boniface and Philip first assumed importance in
1296--two years after the accession of the former and eleven after
that of the latter. The immediate subject of dispute was the heavy
taxes which Philip was levying upon the clergy of France and the
revenues from which he was using in the prosecution of his wars with
Edward I. of England; but royal and papal interests were fundamentally
at variance and as both king and pope were of a combative temper, a
conflict was inevitable, irrespective of taxes or any other particular
cause of controversy. In 1096 Boniface issued the famous bull
_Clericis Laicos_, forbidding laymen (including monarchs) to levy
subsidies on the clergy without papal consent and prohibiting the
clergy to pay subsidies so levied. Philip the Fair was not mentioned
in the bull, but the measure was clearly directed primarily at him. He
retaliated by prohibiting the export of money, plate, etc., from the
realm, thereby cutting off the accustomed papal revenues from France.
In 1297 an apparent reconciliation was effected, the Pope practically
suspending the bull so far as France was concerned, though only to
secure relief from the conflict with Philip while engaged in a
struggle with the rival Colonna family at Rome.

In 1301 the contest was renewed, mainly because of the indiscretion of
a papal legate, Bernard Saisset, bishop of Pamiers, who vilified the
king and was promptly imprisoned for his violent language. Boniface
took up the cause of Saisset and called an ecclesiastical council to
regulate the affairs of church and state in France and to rectify the
injuries wrought by King Philip. The claim to papal supremacy in
temporal as well as spiritual affairs, which Boniface proposed thus to
make good, was boldly stated in a new bull--that of _Ausculta
Fili_--in 1301. At the same time the bull _Clericis Laicos_ was
renewed for France. Philip knew that the Franconians and his own
Capetian predecessors had failed in their struggles with Rome chiefly
for the reason that they had been lacking in consistent popular
support. National feeling was unquestionably stronger in the France of
1301 than in the Germany of 1077, or even in the France of 1200; but
to make doubly sure, Philip, in 1302, caused the first meeting of a
complete States General to be held, and from this body, representing
the various elements of the French people, he got reliable pledges of
support in his efforts to resist the temporal aggressions of the
papacy. It was at this juncture that Boniface issued the bull _Unam
Sanctam_, which has well been termed the classic mediæval expression
of the papal claims to universal temporal sovereignty.

In 1303 an assembly of French prelates and magnates, under the
inspiration of Philip, brought charges of heresy and misconduct
against Boniface and called for a meeting of a general ecclesiastical
council to depose him. Boniface decided to issue a bull
excommunicating and deposing Philip. But before the date set for this
step (September, 1303) a catastrophe befell the papacy which resulted
in an unexpected termination of the episode. On the day before the
bull of deposition was to be issued William of Nogaret, whom Philip
had sent to Rome to force Boniface to call a general council to try
the charges against himself, led a band of troops to Anagni and took
the Pope prisoner with the intention of carrying him to France for
trial. After three days the inhabitants of Anagni attacked the
Frenchmen and drove them out and Boniface, who had barely escaped
death, returned to Rome. The unfortunate Pope never recovered,
however, from the effects of the outrage and his death in October
(1303) left Philip, by however unworthy means, a victor. From this
point the papacy passes under the domination of the French court and
in 1309 began the dark period of the so-called Babylonian Captivity,
during most of which the popes dwelt at Avignon under conditions
precisely the reverse of the ideal which Boniface so clearly asserted
in _Unam Sanctam_.

     Source--Text based upon the papal register published by P.
     Mury in _Revue des Questions Historiques_, Vol. XLVI. (July,
     1889), pp. 255-256. Translated in Oliver J. Thatcher and Edgar
     H. McNeal, _Source Book for Mediæval History_ (New York),
     1905, pp. 314-317.

     [Sidenote: An assertion of the unity of the Church]

   The true faith compels us to believe that there is one holy
   Catholic Apostolic Church, and this we firmly believe and plainly
   confess. And outside of her there is no salvation or remission of
   sins, as the Bridegroom says in the Song of Solomon: "My dove, my
   undefiled, is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is
   the choice one of her that bare her" [Song of Sol., vi. 9]; which
   represents the one mystical body, whose head is Christ, but the
   head of Christ is God [1 Cor., xi. 3]. In this Church there is "one
   Lord, one faith, one baptism" [Eph., iv. 5]. For in the time of the
   flood there was only one ark, that of Noah, prefiguring the one
   Church, and it was "finished above in one cubit" [Gen., vi. 16],
   and had but one helmsman and master, namely, Noah. And we read that
   all things on the earth outside of this ark were destroyed. This
   Church we venerate as the only one, since the Lord said by the
   prophet: "Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power
   of the dog" [Ps., xxii. 20]. He prayed for his soul, that is, for
   himself, the head; and at the same time for the body, and he named
   his body, that is, the one Church, because there is but one
   Bridegroom [John, iii. 29], and because of the unity of the faith,
   of the sacraments, and of his love for the Church. This is the
   seamless robe of the Lord which was not rent but parted by lot
   [John, xix. 23].

     [Sidenote: An allusion to the Petrine Supremacy]

     [Sidenote: The proper relation of spiritual and temporal powers]

   Therefore there is one body of the one and only Church, and one
   head, not two heads, as if the Church were a monster. And this head
   is Christ, and his vicar, Peter and his successor; for the Lord
   himself said to Peter: "Feed my sheep" [John, xxi. 16]. And he said
   "my sheep," in general, not these or those sheep in particular;
   from which it is clear that all were committed to him. If,
   therefore, Greeks [i.e., the Greek Church] or any one else say that
   they are not subject to Peter and his successors, they thereby
   necessarily confess that they are not of the sheep of Christ. For
   the Lord says, in the Gospel of John, that there is one fold and
   only one shepherd [John, x. 16]. By the words of the gospel we are
   taught that the two swords, namely, the spiritual authority and the
   temporal, are in the power of the Church. For when the apostles
   said "Here are two swords" [Luke, xxii. 38]--that is, in the
   Church, since it was the apostles who were speaking--the Lord did
   not answer, "It is too much," but "It is enough." Whoever denies
   that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter does not properly
   understand the word of the Lord when He said: "Put up thy sword
   into the sheath" [John, xviii. 11]. Both swords, therefore, the
   spiritual and the temporal, are in the power of the Church. The
   former is to be used by the Church, the latter for the Church; the
   one by the hand of the priest, the other by the hand of kings and
   knights, but at the command and permission of the priest. Moreover,
   it is necessary for one sword to be under the other, and the
   temporal authority to be subjected to the spiritual; for the
   apostle says, "For there is no power but of God: and the powers
   that be are ordained of God" [Rom., xiii. 1]; but they would not be
   ordained unless one were subjected to the other, and, as it were,
   the lower made the higher by the other.

     [Sidenote: The superiority of the spiritual]

   For, according to St. Dionysius,[534] it is a law of divinity that
   the lowest is made the highest through the intermediate. According
   to the law of the universe all things are not equally and directly
   reduced to order, but the lowest are fitted into their order
   through the intermediate, and the lower through the higher. And we
   must necessarily admit that the spiritual power surpasses any
   earthly power in dignity and honor, because spiritual things
   surpass temporal things. We clearly see that this is true from the
   paying of tithes, from the benediction, from the sanctification,
   from the receiving of the power, and from the governing of these
   things. For the truth itself declares that the spiritual power must
   establish the temporal power and pass judgment on it if it is not
   good. Thus the prophecy of Jeremiah concerning the Church and the
   ecclesiastical power is fulfilled: "See, I have this day set thee
   over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull
   down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant"
   [Jer., i. 10].

     [Sidenote: The highest spiritual power (the papacy) responsible to
   God alone]

   Therefore if the temporal power errs, it will be judged by the
   spiritual power, and if the lower spiritual power errs, it will be
   judged by its superior. But if the highest spiritual power errs, it
   cannot be judged by men, but by God alone. For the apostle says:
   "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is
   judged of no man" [1 Cor., ii. 15]. Now this authority, although it
   is given to man and exercised through man, is not human, but
   divine. For it was given by the word of the Lord to Peter, and the
   rock was made firm to him and his successors, in Christ himself,
   whom he had confessed. For the Lord said to Peter: "Whatsoever thou
   shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou
   shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" [Matt., xvi. 19].

     [Sidenote: Submission to the papacy essential to salvation]

   Therefore, whosoever resisteth this power thus ordained of God
   resisteth the ordinance of God [Rom., xiii. 2], unless there are
   two principles [beginnings], as Manichæus[535] pretends there are.
   But this we judge to be false and heretical. For Moses says that,
   not in the beginnings, but in the beginning, God created the heaven
   and the earth [Gen., i. 1]. We therefore declare, say, and affirm
   that submission on the part of every man to the bishop of Rome is
   altogether necessary for his salvation.

68. The Great Schism and the Councils of Pisa and Constance

The "Babylonian Captivity"--begun in 1305, or perhaps more properly in
1309, when the French Pope, Clement V., took up his residence
regularly at Avignon--lasted until 1377. During these sixty or seventy
years the College of Cardinals consisted chiefly of Frenchmen, all of
the seven popes were of French nationality, and for the most part the
papal authority was little more than a tool in the hands of the
aggressive French sovereigns. In 1377, at the solicitation of the
Italian clergy and people, Pope Gregory XI. removed to Rome, where he
died in 1378. In the election that followed the Roman populace,
determined to bring the residence of the popes at Avignon to an end
once for all, demanded a Roman, or at least an Italian, pope. The
majority of the cardinals were French, but they could not agree upon a
French candidate and, intimidated by the threats of the mob, they at
last chose a Neapolitan who took the name Urban VI. A few months of
Urban's obstinate administration convinced the cardinals that they had
made a serious mistake, and, on the ground that their choice had been
unduly influenced by popular clamor, they sought to nullify the
election and to replace Urban by a Genevan who took the title Clement
VII. Urban utterly refused thus to be put aside, so that there were
now two popes, each duly elected by the College of Cardinals and each
claiming the undivided allegiance of Christendom. This was the
beginning of the Great Schism, destined to work havoc in the Church
for a full generation, or until finally ended in 1417. Clement VII.
fixed his abode at Avignon and French influence secured for him the
support of Spain, Scotland, and Sicily. The rest of Europe, displeased
with the subordination of the papacy to France and French interests,
declared for Urban, who was pledged to maintain the papal capital at

France must be held responsible in the main for the evils of the Great
Schism--a breach in the Church which she deliberately created and for
many years maintained; but she herself suffered by it more than any
other nation of Europe because of the annates,[536] the _décime_,[537]
and other taxes which were imposed upon the French clergy and people
to support the luxurious and at times extravagant papal court at
Avignon, or which were exacted by ambitious monarchs under the cover
of papal license. In the course of time the impossible situation
created by the Schism demanded a remedy and in fairness it should be
observed that in the work of adjustment the leading part was taken by
the French. After the death of Clement VII., in 1394, the French court
sincerely desired to bring the Schism to an end on terms that would be
fair to all. Already in 1393 King Charles VI. had laid the case before
the University of Paris and asked for an opinion as to the best course
to be pursued. The authorities of the university requested each member
of the various faculties to submit his idea of a solution of the
problem and from the mass of suggestions thus brought together a
committee of fifty-four professors, masters, and doctors worked out
the three lines of action set forth in selection (a) below. The first
plan, i.e., that both popes should resign as a means of restoring
harmony, was accepted as the proper one by an assembly of the French
clergy convened in 1395. It was doomed to defeat, however, by the
vacillation of both Benedict XIII. at Avignon and Boniface IX. at
Rome, and in the end it was agreed to fall back upon the third plan
which the University of Paris had proposed, i.e., the convening of a
general council. There was no doubt that such a council could legally
be summoned only by the pope, but finally the cardinals attached to
both popes deserted them and united in issuing the call in their own

The council met at Pisa in 1409 and proceeded to clear up the question
of its own legality and authority by issuing the unequivocal
declaration comprised in (b) below. It furthermore declared both popes
deposed and elected a new one, who took the name Alexander V. Neither
of the previous popes, however, recognized the council's action, so
now there were three rivals instead of two and the situation was only
so much worse than before. In 1410 Alexander V. died and the cardinals
chose as his successor John XXIII., a man whose life was notoriously
wicked, but who was far from lacking in political sagacity. Three
years later the capture of Rome by the king of Naples forced John to
appeal for assistance to the Emperor Sigismund; and Sigismund
demanded, before extending the desired aid, that a general church
council be summoned to meet on German soil for the adjustment of the
tangled papal situation. The result was the Council of Constance,
whose sessions extended from November, 1414, to April, 1418, and
which, because of its general European character, was able to succeed
where the Council of Pisa had failed. In the decree _Sacrosancta_
given below (c), issued in April, 1415, we have the council's notable
assertion of its supreme authority in ecclesiastical matters, even as
against the pope himself. The Schism was healed with comparative
facility. Gregory XII., who had been the pope at Rome, but who was now
in exile, sent envoys to offer his abdication. Benedict XIII.,
likewise a fugitive, was deposed and found himself without supporters.
John XXIII. was deposed for his unworthy character and had no means of
offering resistance. The cardinals, together with representatives of
the five "nations" into which the council was divided, harmoniously
selected for pope a Roman cardinal, who assumed the name of Martin V.
This was in 1417. The Schism was at an end, though the work of
combating heresy and of propagating reform within the Church went on
in successive councils, notably that of Basel (1431-1449).

     Sources--(a) Lucæ d'Achery, _Spicilegium, sive Collectio
     veterum aliquot Scriptorum qui in Galliæ Bibliothecis
     Delituerant_ ["Gleanings, or a Collection of some Early
     Writings, which survive in Gallic Libraries"], Paris, 1723,
     Vol. I., p. 777. Translated in Thatcher and McNeal, _Source
     Book for Mediæval History_ (New York, 1905), pp. 326-327.

     (b) Raynaldus, _Annales, anno 1409_ ["Annals, year 1409"],

     (c) Von der Hardt, _Magnum Constantiense Concilium_ ["Great
     Council of Constance"], Vol. II., p. 98.


   _The first way._ Now the first way to end the Schism is that both
   parties should entirely renounce and resign all rights which they
   may have, or claim to have, to the papal office.

     [Sidenote: Three possible solutions of the Schism offered by the
   University of Paris]

   _The second way._ But if both cling tenaciously to their rights and
   refuse to resign, as they have thus far done, we would propose a
   resort to arbitration. That is, that they should together choose
   worthy and suitable men, or permit such to be chosen in a regular
   and canonical way, and these should have full power and authority
   to discuss the case and decide it, and if necessary and expedient
   and approved by those who, according to the canon law, have the
   authority [i.e., the cardinals], they might also have the right to
   proceed to the election of a pope.

   _The third way._ If the rival popes, after being urged in a
   brotherly and friendly manner, will not accept either of the above
   ways, there is a third way which we propose as an excellent remedy
   for this sacrilegious schism. We mean that the matter should be
   left to a general council. This general council might be composed,
   according to canon law, only of prelates; or, since many of them
   are very illiterate, and many of them are bitter partisans of one
   or the other pope, there might be joined with the prelates an equal
   number of masters and doctors of theology and law from the
   faculties of approved universities. Or, if this does not seem
   sufficient to any one, there might be added, besides, one or more
   representatives from cathedral chapters and the chief monastic
   orders, to the end that all decisions might be rendered only after
   most careful examination and mature deliberation.

     [Sidenote: Declarations of the Council of Pisa (1409)]


   This holy and general council, representing the universal Church,
   decrees and declares that the united college of cardinals was
   empowered to call the council, and that the power to call such a
   council belongs of right to the aforesaid holy college of
   cardinals, especially now when there is a detestable schism. The
   council further declares that this holy council, representing the
   universal Church, caused both claimants of the papal throne to be
   cited in the gates and doors of the churches of Pisa to come and
   hear the final decision [in the matter of the Schism] pronounced,
   or to give a good and sufficient reason why such sentence should
   not be rendered.

     [Sidenote: The Council of Constance asserts its superiority to even
   the papacy]


   This holy synod of Constance, being a general council, and legally
   assembled in the Holy Spirit for the praise of God and for ending
   the present schism, and for the union and reformation of the Church
   of God in its head and in its members, in order more easily, more
   securely, more completely, and more fully to bring about the union
   and reformation of the Church of God, ordains, declares, and
   decrees as follows: First it declares that this synod, legally
   assembled, is a general council, and represents the Catholic church
   militant and has its authority directly from Christ; and everybody,
   of whatever rank or dignity, including also the pope, is bound to
   obey this council in those things which pertain to the faith, to
   the ending of this schism, and to a general reformation of the
   Church in its head and members. Likewise it declares that if any
   one, of whatever rank, condition, or dignity, including also the
   pope, shall refuse to obey the commands, statutes, ordinances, or
   orders of this holy council, or of any other holy council properly
   assembled, in regard to the ending of the Schism and to the
   reformation of the Church, he shall be subject to the proper
   punishment, and, unless he repents, he shall be duly punished, and,
   if necessary, recourse shall be had to other aids of justice.

69. The Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (1438)

The Council of Basel, convened in 1431, had for its object a
thoroughgoing reformation of the Church, "in its head and its
members," from papacy to parish priest. Like all of the councils of
the period, its spirit was distinctly anti-papal and for this reason
Pope Eugene IV. sought to bring it under his control by transferring
it to Bologna and, failing in this, to turn its deliberations into
channels other than criticism of the papacy. While the negotiations of
Eugene and the council were in progress a step fraught with great
significance was taken in France in the promulgation of the Pragmatic
Sanction of Bourges.[538] France was the only country in which the
principles laid down by the councils--Pisa, Constance, Basel, and the
rest--had taken firm hold. In 1438 Charles VII. convened at Bourges an
assembly composed of leading prelates, councillors, and princes of the
royal blood, to which the Pope and the Council of Basel both sent
delegates. This assembly proceeded to adapt the decrees of the council
to the conditions and needs of France, on the evident assumption that
the will of the French magnates in such matters was superior to that
of both pope and council, so far as France was concerned. The action
at Bourges well illustrates the growing spirit of French nationality
which had sprung up since the recent achievements of Joan of Arc.

The Pragmatic Sanction dealt in the main with four subjects--the
authority of church councils, the diminishing of papal patronage, the
restriction of papal taxation, and the limitation of appeals to Rome.
Together these matters are commonly spoken of as the "Gallican
liberties," i.e., the liberties of the Gallic or French church, and
they implied the right of the national church to administer its own
affairs with only the slightest interference from the pope or other
outside powers; in other words, they were essentially anti-papal.
Louis XI., the successor of Charles VII., for diplomatic reasons,
sought to revoke the Pragmatic Sanction, but the Parlement of Paris
refused to register the ordinance and for all practical purposes the
Pragmatic was maintained until 1516. In that year Francis I.
established the relations of the papacy and the French clergy on the
basis of a new "concordat," which, however, was not very unlike the
Pragmatic. The Pragmatic is of interest to the student of French
history mainly because of the degree in which it enhanced the power of
the crown, particularly in respect to the ecclesiastical affairs of
the realm, and because of the testimony it bears to the declining
influence of the papacy in the stronger nations like France and
England. The text printed below represents only an abstract of the
document, which in all included thirty-three chapters.

     Source.--Text in Vilevault et Bréquigny, _Ordonnances des Rois
     de France de la Troisième Race_ (Paris, 1772), Vol. XIII., pp.

     [Sidenote: Charles VII. recognizes the obligations of the king
     to the Church]

     [Sidenote: Abuses prevalent in the French church]

   The king declares that, according to the oath taken at their
   coronation, kings are bound to defend and protect the holy Church,
   its ministers and its sacred offices, and zealously to guard in
   their kingdoms the decrees of the holy fathers. The general council
   assembled at Basel to continue the work begun by the councils of
   Constance and Siena,[539] and to labor for the reform of the
   Church, in both its head and members, having had presented to it
   numerous decrees and regulations, with the request that it accept
   them and cause them to be observed in the kingdom, the king has
   convened an assembly composed of prelates and other ecclesiastics
   representing the clergy of France and of the Dauphiné.[540] He has
   presided in person over its deliberations, surrounded by his son,
   the princes of the blood, and the principal lords of the realm. He
   has listened to the ambassadors of the Pope and the council. From
   the examination of prelates and the most renowned doctors, and from
   the thoroughgoing discussions of the assembly, it appears that,
   from the falling into decay of the early discipline, the churches
   of the kingdom have been made to suffer from all sorts of
   insatiable greed; that the _réserve_ and the _grâce_
   _expectative_[541] have given rise to grievous abuses and
   unbearable burdens; that the most notable and best endowed
   benefices have fallen into the hands of unknown men, who do not
   conform at all to the requirement of residence and who do not
   understand the speech of the people committed to their care, and
   consequently are neglectful of the needs of their souls, like
   mercenaries who dream of nothing whatever but temporal gain; that
   thus the worship of Christ is declining, piety is enfeebled, the
   laws of the Church are violated, and buildings for religious uses
   are falling in ruin. The clergy abandon their theological studies,
   because there is no hope of advancement. Conflicts without number
   rage over the possession of benefices, plurality of which is
   coveted by an execrable ambition. Simony is everywhere glaring; the
   prelates and other collators[542] are pillaged of their rights and
   their ministry; the rights of patrons are impaired; and the wealth
   of the kingdom goes into the hands of foreigners, to the detriment
   of the clergy.

     [Sidenote: The decrees of Basel accepted with some modifications]

   Since, in the judgment of the prelates and other ecclesiastics, the
   decrees of the holy council of Basel seemed to afford a suitable
   remedy for all these evils, after mature deliberation, we have
   decided to accept them--some without change, others with certain
   modifications--without wishing to cast doubt upon the power and
   authority of the council, but at the same time taking account of
   the necessities of the occasion and of the customs of the nation.

   =1.= General councils shall be held every ten years, in places to
   be designated by the pope.

   =2.= The authority of the general council is superior to that of
   the pope in all that pertains to the faith, the extirpation of
   schism, and the reform of the Church in both head and members.[543]

   =3.= Election is reëstablished for ecclesiastical offices; but the
   king, or the princes of his kingdom, without violating the
   canonical rules, may make recommendations when elections are to
   occur in the chapters or the monasteries.[544]

   =4.= The popes shall not have the right to reserve the collation of
   benefices, or to bestow any benefice before it becomes vacant.

   =5.= All grants of benefices made by the pope in virtue of the
   _droit d'expectative_ are hereby declared null. Those who shall
   have received such benefices shall be punished by the secular
   power. The popes shall not have the right to interfere by the
   creation of canonships.[545]

   =6.= Appeals to Rome are prohibited until every other grade of
   jurisdiction shall have been exhausted.

   =7.= Annates are prohibited.[546]


[530] The consecrated wafer, believed to be the body of Christ, which
in the Mass is offered as a sacrifice; also the bread before

[531] Certain periods of the day, set apart by the laws of the Church,
for the duties of prayer and devotion; also certain portions of the
Breviary to be used at stated hours. The seven canonical hours are
matins and lauds, the first, third, sixth, and ninth hours, vespers,
and compline.

[532] That is, infant baptism and the _viaticum_ (the Lord's Supper
when administered to persons in immediate danger of death).

[533] Extreme unction is the sacrament of anointing in the last
hours,--the application of consecrated oil by a priest to all the
senses, i.e., to eyes, ears, nostrils, etc., of a person when in
immediate danger of death. The sacrament is performed for the
remission of sins.

[534] St. Dionysius was bishop of Alexandria about the middle of the
third century. He was a pupil of the great theologian Origen and
himself a writer of no small ability on the doctrinal questions which
vexed the early Church.

[535] Manichæus was a learned Persian who, in the third century,
worked out a system of doctrine which sought to combine the principles
of Christianity with others taken over from the Persian and kindred
Oriental religions. The most prominent feature of the resulting creed
was the conception of an absolute dualism running throughout the
universe--light and darkness, good and evil, soul and body--which
existed from the beginning and should exist forever. The Manichæan
sect spread from Persia into Asia Minor North Africa, Sicily, and
Italy. Though persecuted by Diocletian, and afterwards by some of the
Christian emperors, it had many adherents as late as the sixth
century, and certain of its ideas appeared under new names at still
later times, notably among the Albigenses in southern France in the
twelfth century.

[536] Annates were payments made to the pope by newly elected or
appointed ecclesiastical officials of the higher sort. They were
supposed to comprise the first year's income from the bishop's or
abbot's benefice.

[537] The _décime_ was an extraordinary royal revenue derived from the
payment by the clergy of a tenth of the annual income from their
benefices. Its prototype was the Saladin tithe, imposed by Philip
Augustus (1180-1223) for the financing of his crusade. In the latter
half of the thirteenth century, and throughout the fourteenth, the
_décime_ was called for by the kings with considerable frequency,
often ostensibly for crusading purposes, and it was generally obtained
by a more or less compulsory vote of the clergy, or without their
consent at all.

[538] Pragmatic, in the general sense, means any sort of decree of
public importance; in its more special usage it denotes an ordinance
of the crown regulating the relations of the national clergy with the
papacy. The modern equivalent is "concordat."

[539] When the Council of Constance came to an end, in April, 1418, it
was agreed between this body and Pope Martin V. that a similar council
should be convened at Pavia in 1423. When the time arrived, conditions
were far from favorable, but the University of Paris pressed the Pope
to observe his pledge in the matter and the council was duly convened.
Very few members appeared at Pavia, and, the plague soon breaking out
there, the meeting was transferred to Siena. Even there only five
German prelates were present, six French, and not one Spanish. Small
though it was, the council entered upon a course so independent and
self-assertive that in the following year the Pope was glad to take
advantage of its paucity of numbers to declare it dissolved.

[540] The Dauphiné was a region on the east side of the Rhone which,
in 1349, was purchased of Humbert, Dauphin of Vienne, by Philip VI.,
and ceded by the latter to his grandson Charles, the later Charles V.
(1364-1380). Charles assumed the title of "the Dauphin," which became
the established designation of the heir-apparent to the French throne.

[541] Under the _grâce expectative_ the pope conferred upon a prelate
a benefice which at the time was filled, to be assumed as soon as it
should fall vacant. Benefices of larger importance, such as the
offices of bishop and abbot, were often subject to the _réserve_; that
is, the pope regularly reserved to himself the right of filling them,
sometimes before, sometimes after, the vacancy occurred. These acts
constituted clear assumptions by the popes of power which under the
law of the Church was not theirs, and, though the framers of the
Pragmatic Sanction had motives which were more or less selfish for
combatting the _réserve_ and the _grâce expectative_, there can be no
question that the abuses aimed at were as real as they were
represented to be.

[542] Those who presented and installed men in benefices.

[543] These first two chapters reproduce without change the decrees of
the Council of Basel. The second reiterates, in substance, the
declaration of the Council of Constance [see p. 393].

[544] That is, the "canonical" system of election of bishops by the
chapters and of abbots by the monks. The Pragmatic differs in this
clause from the decree of the Council of Basel in allowing temporal
princes to recommend persons for election.

[545] This means that the pope is not to add to the number of canons
in any cathedral chapter as a means of influencing the composition and
deliberations of that body.

[546] Annates were ordinarily the first year's revenues of a benefice
which, under the prevailing system, were supposed to be paid by the
incumbent to the pope. The Pragmatic goes on to provide that during
the lifetime of Pope Eugene one-fifth of the accustomed annates should
continue to be paid.



70. The Peace of Constance (1183)

With the election of Frederick Barbarossa as emperor, in 1152, a new
stage of the great papal-imperial combat was entered upon, though
under conditions quite different from those surrounding the contest in
the preceding century [see Chap. XVI]. The Empire was destined to
succumb in the end to the papacy, but with a sovereign of Frederick's
energy and ability at its head it was able at least to make a stubborn
fight and to meet defeat with honor. The new reign was inaugurated by
a definite announcement of the Emperor's intention to consolidate and
strengthen the imperial government throughout all Germany and Italy.
The task in Germany was far from simple; in Italy it was the most
formidable that could have been conceived, and this for the reason
that the Italian population was largely gathered in cities with strong
political and military organization, with all the traditions of
practical independence, and with no thought of submitting to the
government of an emperor or any other claimant to more than merely
nominal sovereignty.

Trouble began almost at once between Frederick and the free commune of
Milan, though war was averted for a time by the oaths taken to the
Emperor on the occasion of his first expedition across the Alps in
1154. Between that date and 1158 the consuls of the city were detected
in treacherous conduct and, the people refusing to disavow them, in
the latter year the Emperor again crossed the Alps, bent on nothing
less than the annihilation of the commune and the dispersion of its
inhabitants. He carried with him a larger army than a head of the Holy
Roman Empire had ever led into Italy. The Milanese submitted, under
conditions extremely humiliating, and Frederick, after being assured
by the doctors of law at the new university of Bologna that he was
acting quite within the letter of the Roman law, proceeded to lay
claim to the _regalia_ (royal rights, such as tolls from roads and
rivers, products of mines, and the estates of criminals), to the right
to levy an extraordinary war tax, and to that of appointing the chief
civic magistrates. Disaffection broke out at once in many of the
communes, but chiefly at Milan; whereupon Frederick came promptly to
the conclusion that the time had arrived to rid himself of this
irreconcilable opponent of his measures. The city was besieged and,
after its inhabitants had been starved into surrender, almost
completely destroyed (1162).

Only temporarily did the barbarous act have its intended effect; the
net result was a widespread revival of the communal spirit, which
expressed itself in the formation of a sturdy confederacy known as the
Lombard League. One of the League's first acts was to rebuild Milan,
under whose leadership the struggle with the Emperor was actively
renewed. In 1168 a new city was founded at the foot of the Alps near
Pavia to serve as a base of operations in the campaign which the
League proposed to wage against the common enemy. It was given the
name Alessandria (or Alexandria) in honor of Pope Alexander III., who
was friendly to the cause of the cities. In 1174 Frederick began an
open attack on the League, but in 1176, at Legnano, he suffered an
overwhelming defeat, due largely to his failure to receive
reinforcements from Germany. The adjustment of peace was intrusted to
an assembly at Venice in which all parties were represented. The
result was the treaty of Venice (1177), the advantages of which were
wholly against the Empire. A truce of six years was granted the
cities, with the understanding that all details were to be arranged
within, or at the expiration of, that time.

When the close of the period arrived, in 1183, Frederick no longer
dreamed of subduing and punishing the rebellious Italians, but instead
was quite ready to agree to a permanent peace. The result was the
Peace of Constance, which has been described as the earliest
international agreement of the kind in modern history. By this
instrument the theoretical overlordship of the Emperor in Italy was
reasserted, though in fact it had never been denied. Beyond this,
however, the communes were recognized as essentially independent.
Those who had enjoyed the right to choose their own magistrates
retained it; their financial obligations to the Emperor were clearly
defined; and the League was conceded to be a legitimate and permanent
organization. By yielding on numerous vital points the Empire had
vindicated its right to exist, but its administrative machinery, so
far as Italy was concerned, was still further impaired. This
machinery, it must be said, had never been conspicuously effective
south of the Alps. As for Frederick, he set out in 1189 upon the Third
Crusade, during the course of which he met his death in Asia Minor
without being permitted to see the Holy Land.

     Source--Text in _Monumenta Germaniæ Historica_, Legum Sectio
     IV. (Weiland ed.), Vol. I., pp. 411-418. Adapted from
     translation in Oliver J. Thatcher and Edgar H. McNeal, _Source
     Book for Mediæval History_ (New York, 1905,) pp. 199-202.

     [Sidenote: Concessions to the cities of the League]

   =1.= We, Frederick, emperor of the Romans, and our son Henry, king
   of the Romans,[547] hereby grant to you, the cities, territories,
   and persons of the League, the _regalia_ and other rights within
   and without the cities, as you have been accustomed to hold them;
   that is, each member of the League shall have the same rights as
   the city of Verona has had in the past, or has now.

   =2.= The members of the League shall exercise freely and without
   interference from us all the rights which they have exercised of

   =3.= These are the rights which are guaranteed to you: the
   _fodrum_,[548] forests, pastures, bridges, streams, mills,
   fortifications of the cities, criminal and civil jurisdiction, and
   all other rights which concern the welfare of the city.

     [Sidenote: How the regalia remaining to the Emperor were to be

   =4.= The _regalia_ which are not to be granted to the members of
   the League shall be determined in the following manner: in the case
   of each city, certain men shall be chosen for this purpose from
   both the bishopric and the city; these men shall be of good repute,
   capable of deciding these questions, and such as are not prejudiced
   against either party. Acting with the bishop of the diocese, they
   shall swear to inquire into the questions of the _regalia_ and to
   set aside those that by right belong to us. If, however, the cities
   do not wish to submit to this inquisition, they shall pay to us an
   annual tribute of 2,000 marks in silver as compensation for our
   _regalia_. If this sum seems excessive, it may be reduced.

   =5.= If anyone appeals to us in regard to matters which are by this
   treaty admitted to be under your jurisdiction, we agree not to hear
   such an appeal.

   =8.= All privileges, gifts, and concessions made in the time of the
   war by us or our representatives to the prejudice or injury of the
   cities, territories, or members of the League are to be null and

     [Sidenote: The consuls]

   =9.= Consuls[549] of cities where the bishop holds the position of
   count from the king or emperor shall receive their office from the
   bishop, if this has been the custom before. In all other cities the
   consuls shall receive their office from us, in the following
   manner: after they have been elected by the city they shall be
   invested with office by our representative in the city or
   bishopric, unless we are ourselves in Lombardy, in which case they
   shall be invested by us. At the end of every five years each city
   shall send its representative to us to receive the investiture.

   =10.= This arrangement shall be observed by our successor, and all
   such investitures shall be free.

   =11.= After our death, the cities shall receive investiture in the
   same way from our son and from his successors.

     [Sidenote: Appeals to the Emperor]

   =12.= The Emperor shall have the right of hearing appeals in cases
   involving more than 25 pounds, saving the right of the church of
   Brescia to hear appeals. The appellant shall not, however, be
   compelled to come to Germany, but he shall appeal to the
   representative of the Emperor in the city or bishopric. This
   representative shall examine the case fairly and shall give
   judgment according to the laws and customs of that city. The
   decision shall be given within two months from the time of appeal,
   unless the case shall have been deferred by reason of some legal
   hindrance or by the consent of both parties.

   =13.= The consuls of cities shall take the oath of allegiance to
   the Emperor before they are invested with office.

     [Sidenote: The oath of fidelity]

   =14.= Our vassals shall receive investiture from us and shall take
   the vassal's oath of fidelity. All other persons between the ages
   of 15 and 70 shall take the ordinary oath of fidelity to the
   Emperor unless there be some good reason why this oath should be

   =17.= All injuries, losses, and damages which we or our followers
   have sustained from the League, or any of its members or allies,
   are hereby pardoned, and all such transgressors are hereby received
   back into our favor.

   =18.= We will not remain longer than is necessary in any city or

   =19.= It shall be permitted to the cities to erect fortifications
   within or without their boundaries.

     [Sidenote: Recognition of the League's right to exist]

   =20.= It shall be permitted to the League to maintain its
   organization as it now is, or to renew it as often as it desires.

71. Current Rumors Concerning the Life and Character of Frederick II.

Frederick II. (1194-1250), king of Naples and Sicily and emperor of
the Holy Roman Empire, was a son of Emperor Henry VI. and a grandson
of Frederick Barbarossa. When his father died (1197) it was intended
that the young child's uncle, Philip of Hohenstaufen, should occupy
the imperial throne temporarily as regent. Philip, however, proceeded
to assume the position as if in his own right and became engaged in a
deadly conflict with a rival claimant, Otto IV., during which the
Pope, Innocent III., fanned the flames of civil war and made the
situation contribute chiefly to the aggrandizement of papal authority
in temporal affairs. In 1208 Philip was assassinated and in the
following year Otto received the imperial crown at Rome. Almost
immediately, however, disagreement broke out between the Pope and the
new Emperor, chiefly because of the latter's ambition to become king
of Sicily. Repenting that he had befriended Otto, Innocent promptly
excommunicated him and set on foot a movement--in which he enlisted
the services of Philip Augustus of France--to supplant the obnoxious
Emperor by Frederick of Sicily (the later Frederick II.). Otto was a
nephew of Richard I. and John of England and the latter was easily
persuaded to enter into an alliance with him against the
papal-French-Sicilian combination. The result was the battle of
Bouvines [see p. 297], in 1214, in which John and Otto were hopelessly
defeated. Meanwhile, in 1212, Frederick had received a secret embassy
from Otto's discontented subjects in Germany, offering him the
imperial crown if he would come and claim it. In response he had
gathered an army and, with the approval of Innocent and of Philip
Augustus, had crossed the Alps for the purpose of winning over the
German people from Otto to himself. The battle of Bouvines (in which
Frederick was not engaged, but from which he profited immensely) was
the death-blow to Otto's cause and Frederick was soon recognized
universally as head of the Empire.

The reign of Frederick II. (1212-1250) was a period of large
importance in European history. The Emperor's efforts and
achievements--his crusade, his great quarrel with Gregory IX. and
Innocent IV., his legislation, his struggles with the Lombard
League--were full of interest and significance, but, after all, not
more so than the purely personal aspects of his career. Mr. Bryce has
a passage which states admirably the position of Frederick with
reference to his age and its problems. A portion of it is as follows:
"Out of the long array of the Germanic successors of Charles
[Charlemagne], he is, with Otto III.,[550] the only one who comes
before us with a genius and a frame of character that are not those of
a Northern or a Teuton. There dwelt in him, it is true, all the energy
and knightly valor of his father Henry and his grandfather Frederick
I. But along with these, and changing their direction, were other
gifts, inherited perhaps from his half Norman, half Italian mother and
fostered by his education in Sicily, where Mussulman and Byzantine
influences were still potent, a love of luxury and beauty, an
intellect refined, subtle, philosophical. Through the mist of calumny
and legend it is but dimly that the truth of the man can be discerned,
and the outlines that appear serve to quicken rather than appease the
curiosity with which we regard one of the most extraordinary
personages in history. A sensualist, yet also a warrior and a
politician; a profound law-giver and an impassioned poet; in his youth
fired by crusading fervor, in later life persecuting heretics while
himself accused of blasphemy and unbelief; of winning manners and
ardently beloved by his followers, but with the stain of more than one
cruel deed upon his name, he was the marvel of his own generation, and
succeeding ages looked back with awe, not unmingled with pity, upon
the inscrutable figure of the last emperor who had braved all the
terrors of the Church and died beneath her ban, the last who had ruled
from the sands of the ocean to the shores of the Ionian Sea. But while
they pitied they condemned. The undying hatred of the papacy threw
round his memory a lurid light; him and him alone of all the imperial
line, Dante, the worshipper of the empire, must perforce deliver to
the flames of hell."[551]

The following selections from the _Greater Chronicle_ of Matthew Paris
comprise some of the stories which were current in Frederick's day
regarding his manners, ideas, and deeds. Frederick was far ahead of
his age and it was inevitable that the qualities in him which men
could not understand or appreciate should become the grounds for dark
rumors and unsavory suspicions. Matthew Paris was an English monk of
St. Albans. It is thought that he was called _Parisiensis_, "the
Parisian," because of having been born or educated in the capital of
France. He seems to have confined his attention wholly to the study of
history, and mainly to the history of his own country. His _Chronicle_
takes up the story of English and continental affairs in detail with
the year 1235 (where Roger of Wendover had stopped in his _Flowers of
History_) and continues to the year 1259. His book has been described
as "probably the most generally useful historical production of the
thirteenth century."[552]

     Source--Matthæus Parisiensis, _Chronica Majora_ [Matthew
     Paris, "Greater Chronicle"]. Adapted from translation by J. A.
     Giles (London, 1852), Vol. I., pp. 157-158, 166-167, 169-170;
     Vol. II., pp. 84-85, 103.

     [Sidenote: Frederick suspected of heresy]

     [Sidenote: Accusation of friendly relations with the Saracens]

   In the course of the same year [1238] the fame of the Emperor
   Frederick was clouded and marred by his jealous enemies and rivals;
   for it was imputed to him that he was wavering in the Catholic
   faith, or wandering from the right way, and had given utterance to
   some speeches, from which it could be inferred and suspected that
   he was not only weak in the Catholic faith, but--what was a much
   greater and more serious crime--that there was in him an enormity
   of heresy, and the most dreadful blasphemy, to be detested and
   execrated by all Christians. For it was reported that the Emperor
   Frederick had said (although it may not be proper to mention it)
   that three imposters had so craftily deceived their contemporaries
   as to gain for themselves the mastery of the world: these were
   Moses, Jesus, and Mahomet [Mohammed]; and that he had impiously
   given expression to some wicked and incredible ravings and
   blasphemies respecting the most holy Eucharist. Far be it from any
   discreet man, much less a Christian, to employ his tongue in such
   raving blasphemy. It was also said by his rivals that the Emperor
   agreed with and believed in the law of Mahomet more than that of
   Jesus Christ. A rumor also crept amongst the people (which God
   forbid to be true of such a great prince) that he had been for a
   long time past in alliance with the Saracens, and was more friendly
   to them than to the Christians; and his rivals, who were
   endeavoring to blacken his fame, attempted to establish this by
   many proofs. Whether they sinned or not, He alone knows who is
   ignorant of nothing....

     [Sidenote: Frederick's seizure of the lands belonging to a bishop]

     [Sidenote: Refusing to restore them, he is excommunicated]

   In Lent, of the same year [1239], seeing the rash proceedings of
   the Emperor, and that his words pleaded excuse for his
   sins,--namely, that by the assistance of some of the nobles and
   judges of Sardinia he had taken into his own possession, and still
   held, the land and castles of the bishop of Sardinia, and
   constantly declared that they were a portion of the Empire, and
   that he by his first and chief oath would preserve the rights of
   the Empire to the utmost of his power, and would also collect the
   scattered portions of it,--the Pope[553] was excited to the most
   violent anger against him. He set forth some very serious
   complaints and claims against the Emperor and wrote often boldly
   and carefully to him, advising him repeatedly by many special
   messengers, whose authority ought to have obtained from him the
   greatest attention, to restore the possessions he had seized, and
   to desist from depriving the Church of her possessions, of which
   she was endowed by long prescription. And, like a skilful
   physician, who at one time makes use of medicines, at another of
   the knife, and at another of the cauterizing instrument, he mixed
   threats with entreaties, friendly messages with fearful
   denunciations. As the Emperor, however, scornfully rejected his
   requests, and excused his actions by arguments founded on reason,
   his holiness the Pope, on Palm Sunday, in the presence of a great
   many of the cardinals, in the spirit of glowing anger, solemnly
   excommunicated the said Emperor Frederick, as though he would at
   once have hurled him from his imperial dignity, consigning him with
   terrible denunciations to the possession of Satan at his death;
   and, as it were, thundering forth the fury of his anger, he excited
   terror in all his hearers....[554]

     [Sidenote: Frederick accuses the Pope of ingratitude and jealousy]

   The Emperor, on hearing of this, was inflamed with violent anger,
   and with oft-repeated reproaches accused the Church and its rulers
   of ingratitude to him, and of returning evil for good. He recalled
   to their recollection how he had exposed himself and his property
   to the billows and to a thousand kinds of danger for the
   advancement of the Church's welfare and the increase of the
   Catholic faith, and affirmed that whatever honors the Church
   possessed in the Holy Land had been acquired by his toil and
   industry. "But," said he, "the Pope, jealous at such a happy
   increase being acquired for the Church by a layman, and who desires
   gold and silver rather than an increase of the faith (as witness
   his proceedings), and who extorts money from all Christendom in the
   name of tithes, has, by all the means in his power, done his best
   to supplant me, and has endeavored to disinherit me while fighting
   for God, exposing my body to the weapons of war, to sickness, and
   to the snares of his enemies, after encountering the dangers of the
   unsparing billows. See what sort of protection is this of our
   father's! What kind of assistance in difficulties is this afforded
   by the vicar of Jesus Christ"!...[555]

     [Sidenote: Further accusation of an alliance with the Saracens]

     [Sidenote: His neglect of pious and charitable works]

   "Besides, he is united by a detestable alliance with the
   Saracens,--has ofttimes sent messages and presents to them, and in
   turn received the same from them with respect and alacrity...; and
   what is a more execrable offense, he, when formerly in the country
   beyond sea, made a kind of arrangement, or rather collusion, with
   the sultan, and allowed the name of Mahomet to be publicly
   proclaimed in the temple of the Lord day and night; and lately, in
   the case of the sultan of Babylon [Cairo], who, by his own hands,
   and through his agents, had done irreparable mischief and injury to
   the Holy Land and its Christian inhabitants, he caused that
   sultan's ambassadors, in compliment to their master, as is
   reported, to be honorably received and nobly entertained in his
   kingdom of Sicily. He also, in opposition to the Christians, abuses
   the pernicious and horrid rites of other infidels, and, entering
   into an alliance of friendship with those who wickedly pay little
   respect to and despise the Apostolic See, and have seceded from
   the unity of the Church, he, laying aside all respect for the
   Christian religion, caused, as is positively asserted, the duke of
   Bavaria, of illustrious memory, a special and devoted ally of the
   Roman Church, to be murdered by the assassins. He has also given
   his daughter in marriage to Battacius, an enemy of God and the
   Church, who, together with his aiders, counsellors, and abettors,
   was solemnly expelled from the communion of the Christians by
   sentence of excommunication. Rejecting the proceedings and customs
   of Catholic princes, neglecting his own salvation and the purity of
   his fame, he does not employ himself in works of piety; and what is
   more (to be silent on his wicked and dissolute practices), although
   he has learned to practice oppression to such a degree, he does not
   trouble himself to relieve those oppressed by injuries, by
   extending his hand, as a Christian prince ought, to bestow alms,
   although he has been eagerly aiming at the destruction of the
   churches, and has crushed religious men and other ecclesiastical
   persons with the burden and persecution of his yoke. And it is not
   known that he ever built or founded either churches, monasteries,
   hospitals, or other pious places. Now these are not light, but
   convincing, grounds for suspicions of heresy being entertained
   against him."...

     [Sidenote: Frederick's wrath at his excommunication]

   When the Emperor Frederick was made fully aware of all these
   proceedings [i.e., his excommunication at Lyons] he could not
   contain himself, but burst into a violent rage and, darting a
   scowling look on those who sat around him, he thundered forth: "The
   Pope in his synod has disgraced me by depriving me of my crown.
   Whence arises such great audacity? Whence proceeds such rash
   presumption? Where are my chests which contain my treasures?" And
   on their being brought and unlocked before him, by his order, he
   said, "See if my crowns are lost now;" then finding one, he placed
   it on his head and, being thus crowned, he stood up, and, with
   threatening eyes and a dreadful voice, unrestrainable from
   passion, he said aloud, "I have not yet lost my crown, nor will I
   be deprived of it by any attacks of the Pope or the council,
   without a bloody struggle. Does his vulgar pride raise him to such
   heights as to enable him to hurl from the imperial dignity me, the
   chief prince of the world, than whom none is greater--yea, who am
   without an equal? In this matter my condition is made better: in
   some things I _was_ bound to obey, at least to respect, him; but
   now I am released from all ties of affection and veneration, and
   also from the obligation of any kind of peace with him." From that
   time forth, therefore, he, in order to injure the Pope more
   effectually and perseveringly, did all kinds of harm to his
   Holiness, in his money, as well as in his friends and relatives.

72. The Golden Bull of Charles IV. (1356)

The century following the death of Frederick II. (1250) was a period
of unrest and turbulence in German history, the net result of which
politically was the almost complete triumph of the princes, lay and
clerical, over the imperial power. By 1350 the local magnates had come
to be virtually sovereign throughout their own territories. They
enjoyed the right of legislation and the privileges of coining money
and levying taxes, and in many cases they had scarcely so much as a
feudal bond to remind them of their theoretical allegiance to the
Empire. The one principle of action upon which they could agree was
that the central monarchy should be kept permanently in the state of
helplessness to which it had been reduced. The power of choosing a
successor when a vacancy arose in the imperial office had fallen
gradually into the hands of seven men, who were known as the
"electors" and who were recognized in the fourteenth century as
possessing collective importance far greater than that of the emperor.
Three of these seven--the archbishops of Mainz, Trier, and
Cologne--were great ecclesiastics; the other four--the king of
Bohemia, the margrave of Brandenburg, the duke of Saxony, and the
count palatine of the Rhine--were equally influential laymen. This
electoral college first came into prominence at the election of
Rudolph I. (of the House of Hapsburg) at the end of the Interregnum in
1273. From that time until the termination of the Holy Roman Empire
in 1806 these seven men (eight after 1648 and nine after 1692) played
a part in German history not inferior to that of the emperors. They
imposed upon their candidates such conditions as they chose, and when
the bearer of the imperial title grew restive and difficult to control
they did not hesitate to make war upon him, or even in extreme cases
to depose him. It has been well said that never in all history have
worse scandals been connected with any sort of elections than were
associated repeatedly with the actions of these German electors.

The central document in German constitutional history in the Middle
Ages is the Golden Bull of Emperor Charles IV. (1347-1378),
promulgated in 1356. For a century prior to the reign of Charles the
question of the imperial succession had been one of extreme
perplexity. The electoral college had grown up to assume the
responsibility, but this body rested on no solid legal basis and its
acts were usually regarded as null by all whom they displeased, with
the result that a civil war succeeded pretty nearly every election.
Charles was shrewd enough to see that the existing system could not be
set aside; the electors were entirely too powerful to permit of that.
But he also saw that it might at least be improved by giving it the
quality of legality which it had hitherto lacked. The result of his
efforts in this direction was the Golden Bull, issued and confirmed at
the diets of Nürnberg (Nuremberg) and Metz in 1356. The document,
thenceforth regarded as the fundamental law of the Empire, dealt with
a wide variety of subjects. It confirmed the electorship in the person
of the king of Bohemia which had long been disputed by a rival branch
of the family;[556] it made elaborate provision for the election of
the emperor by the seven magnates; it defined the social and political
prerogatives of these men and prescribed the relations which they
should bear to their subjects, to other princes, and to the emperor;
and it made numerous regulations regarding conspiracies, coinage,
immunities, the forfeiture of fiefs, the succession of electoral
princes, etc. In a word, as Mr. Bryce has put it, the document
"confessed and legalized the independence of the Electors and the
powerlessness of the crown."[557] Only a few selections from it can be
given here, particularly those bearing on the methods of electing the

     Source--Text in Wilhelm Altmann und Ernst Bernheim,
     _Ausgewählte Urkunden zur Erläuterung der
     Verfassungsgeschichte Deutschlands im Mittelalter_ ["Select
     Documents Illustrative of the Constitutional History of
     Germany in the Middle Ages"], 3rd ed., Berlin, 1904, pp.
     54-83. Adapted from translation in Oliver J. Thatcher and
     Edgar H. McNeal, _Source Book for Mediæval History_ (New York,
     1905), pp. 284-295 _passim_.

     [Sidenote: Guarantee of safety of travel for the electors]

   I. =1.= We decree and determine by this imperial edict that,
   whenever the electoral princes are summoned according to the
   ancient and praiseworthy custom to meet and elect a king of the
   Romans and future emperor, each one of them shall be bound to
   furnish on demand an escort and safe-conduct to his fellow electors
   or their representatives, within his own lands and as much farther
   as he can, for the journey to and from the city where the election
   is to be held. Any electoral prince who refuses to furnish escort
   and safe-conduct shall be liable to the penalties for perjury and
   to the loss of his electoral vote for that occasion.

     [Sidenote: Penalties for violation of the safe-conduct of the

   =2.= We decree and command also that all other princes who hold
   fiefs from the Empire, by whatever title, and all counts, barons,
   knights, clients, nobles, commoners, citizens, and all corporations
   of towns, cities, and territories of the Empire, shall furnish
   escort and safe-conduct for this occasion to every electoral prince
   or his representatives, on demand, within their own lands and as
   much farther as they can. Violators of this decree shall be
   punished as follows: princes, counts, barons, knights, clients, and
   all others of noble rank, shall suffer the penalties of perjury,
   and shall lose the fiefs which they hold of the emperor or any
   other lord, and all their possessions; citizens and corporations
   shall also suffer the penalty for perjury, shall be deprived of all
   the rights, liberties, privileges, and graces which they have
   received from the Empire, and shall incur the ban of the Empire
   against their persons and property. Those whom we deprive of their
   rights for this offense may be attacked by any man without
   appealing to a magistrate, and without danger of reprisal; for they
   are rebels against the state and the Empire, and have attacked the
   honor and security of the prince, and are convicted of
   faithlessness and perfidy.

     [Sidenote: Supplies for the use of the electors]

   =3.= We also command that the citizens and corporations of cities
   shall furnish supplies to the electoral princes and their
   representatives on demand at the regular price and without fraud,
   whenever they arrive at, or depart from, the city on their way to
   or from the election. Those who violate this decree shall suffer
   the penalties described in the preceding paragraph for citizens and
   corporations. If any prince, count, baron, knight, client, noble,
   commoner, citizen, or city shall attack or molest in person or
   goods any of the electoral princes or their representatives, on
   their way to or from an election, whether they have safe-conduct or
   not, he and his accomplices shall incur the penalties above
   described, according to his position and rank.

     [Sidenote: The electors to be summoned by the archbishop of Mainz]

   =16.= When the news of the death of the king of the Romans has been
   received at Mainz, within one month from the date of receiving it
   the archbishop of Mainz shall send notices of the death and the
   approaching election to all the electoral princes. But if the
   archbishop neglects or refuses to send such notices, the electoral
   princes are commanded on their fidelity to assemble on their own
   motion and without summons at the city of Frankfort,[558] within
   three months from the death of the emperor, for the purpose of
   electing a king of the Romans and future emperor.

   =17.= Each electoral prince or his representatives may bring with
   him to Frankfort at the time of the election a retinue of 200
   horsemen, of whom not more than 50 shall be armed.

     [Sidenote: How a vote might be forfeited]

   =18.= If any electoral prince, duly summoned to the election, fails
   to come, or to send representatives with credentials containing
   full authority, or if he (or his representatives) withdraws from
   the place of the election before the election has been completed,
   without leaving behind substitutes fully accredited and empowered,
   he shall lose his vote in that election.

     [Sidenote: The oath taken by the electors]

   II. =2.=[559] "I, archbishop of Mainz, archchancellor of the Empire
   for Germany,[560] electoral prince, swear on the holy gospels here
   before me, and by the faith which I owe to God and to the Holy
   Roman Empire, that with the aid of God, and according to my best
   judgment and knowledge, I will cast my vote, in this election of
   the king of the Romans and future emperor, for a person fitted to
   rule the Christian people. I will give my voice and vote freely,
   uninfluenced by any agreement, price, bribe, promise, or anything
   of the sort, by whatever name it may be called. So help me God and
   all the saints."

     [Sidenote: Provision to ensure an election]

   =3.= After the electors have taken this oath, they shall proceed to
   the election, and shall not depart from Frankfort until the
   majority have elected a king of the Romans and future emperor, to
   be ruler of the world and of the Christian people. If they have not
   come to a decision within thirty days from the day on which they
   took the above oath, after that they shall live upon bread and
   water and shall not leave the city until the election has been

     [Sidenote: Order of precedence of the three archbishops]

   III. =1.= To prevent any dispute arising between the archbishops of
   Trier, Mainz, and Cologne, electoral princes of the Empire, as to
   their priority and rank in the diet,[561] it has been decided and
   is hereby decreed, with the advice and consent of all the electoral
   princes, ecclesiastical and secular, that the archbishop of Trier
   shall have the seat directly opposite and facing the emperor; that
   the archbishop of Mainz shall have the seat at the right of the
   emperor when the diet is held in the diocese or province of Mainz,
   or anywhere in Germany except in the diocese of Cologne; that the
   archbishop of Cologne shall have the seat at the right of the
   emperor when the diet is held in the diocese or province of
   Cologne, or anywhere in Gaul or Italy. This applies to all public
   ceremonies--court sessions, conferring of fiefs, banquets,
   councils, and all occasions on which the princes meet with the
   emperor for the transaction of imperial business. This order of
   seating shall be observed by the successors of the present
   archbishops of Cologne, Trier, and Mainz, and shall never be

     [Sidenote: Seating arrangement at table]

   IV. =1.= In the imperial diet, at the council-board, table, and all
   other places where the emperor or king of the Romans meets with the
   electoral princes, the seats shall be arranged as follows: On the
   right of the emperor, first, the archbishop of Mainz, or of
   Cologne, according to the province in which the meeting is held, as
   arranged above; second, the king of Bohemia, because he is a
   crowned and anointed prince; third, the count palatine of the
   Rhine; on the left of the emperor, first, the archbishop of
   Cologne, or of Mainz; second, the duke of Saxony; third, the
   margrave of Brandenburg.

     [Sidenote: The order of voting]

   =2.= When the imperial throne becomes vacant, the archbishop of
   Mainz shall have the authority, which he has had from of old, to
   call the other electors together for the election. It shall be his
   peculiar right also, when the electors have convened for the
   election, to collect the votes, asking each of the electors
   separately in the following order: first, the archbishop of Trier,
   who shall have the right to the first vote, as he has had from of
   old; then the archbishop of Cologne, who has the office of first
   placing the crown upon the head of the king of the Romans; then the
   king of Bohemia, who has the priority among the secular princes
   because of his royal title; fourth, the count palatine of the
   Rhine; fifth, the duke of Saxony; sixth, the margrave of
   Brandenburg. Then the princes shall ask the archbishop of Mainz in
   turn to declare his choice and vote. At the diet, the margrave of
   Brandenburg shall offer water to the emperor or king, to wash his
   hands; the king of Bohemia shall have the right to offer him the
   cup first, although, by reason of his royal dignity, he shall not
   be bound to do this unless he desires; the count palatine of the
   Rhine shall offer him food; and the duke of Saxony shall act as his
   marshal in the accustomed manner.

     [Sidenote: Judicial privileges of the electors confirmed and

   XI. =1.= We decree also that no count, baron, noble, vassal,
   burggrave,[562] knight, client, citizen, burgher, or other subject
   of the churches of Cologne, Mainz, or Trier, of whatever status,
   condition, or rank, shall be cited, haled, or summoned to any
   authority before any tribunal outside of the territories,
   boundaries, and limits of these churches and their dependencies, or
   before any judge, except the archbishop and their judges.... We
   refuse to hear appeals based upon the authority of others over the
   subjects of these princes; if these princes are accused by their
   subjects of injustice, appeal shall lie to the imperial diet, and
   shall be heard there and nowhere else.

   =2.= We extend this right by the present law to the secular
   electoral princes, the count palatine of the Rhine; the duke of
   Saxony, and the margrave of Brandenburg, and to their heirs,
   successors, and subjects forever.

     [Sidenote: The electors to meet annually]

   XII. =1.= It has been decided in the general diet held at
   Nürnberg[563] with the electoral princes, ecclesiastical and
   secular, and other princes and magnates, by their advice and with
   their consent, that in the future, the electoral princes shall meet
   every year in some city of the Empire four weeks after Easter. This
   year they are to meet at that date in the imperial city of
   Metz.[564] On that occasion, and on every meeting thereafter, the
   place of assembling for the following year shall be fixed by us,
   with the advice and consent of the princes. This ordinance shall
   remain in force as long as it shall be pleasing to us and to the
   princes; and as long as it is in effect, we shall furnish the
   princes with safe-conduct for that assembly, going, staying, and


[547] Henry VI. succeeded his father as emperor, reigning from 1190 to

[548] The term (meaning literally "fodder") designates the obligation
to furnish provisions for the royal army. The right of demanding such
provisions was now given up by the Emperor.

[549] The consuls--often twelve in number--were the chief magistrates
of the typical Italian commune.

[550] Otto III., emperor 983-1002. Otto is noted chiefly for his
visionary project of renewing the imperial splendor of Rome and making
her again the capital of a world-wide empire.

[551] James Bryce, _The Holy Roman Empire_ (new ed., New York, 1904),
pp. 207-208. For the reference to Dante see the _Inferno_, Canto X.

[552] James H. Robinson, _Readings in European History_ (Boston,
1904), Vol. I., p. 244.

[553] Gregory IX., (1227-1241).

[554] Frederick was excommunicated and anathematized on sixteen
different charges, which the Pope carefully enumerated. All who were
bound to him by oath of fealty were declared to be absolved from their

[555] At the Council of Lyons, in 1245, the Emperor was again
excommunicated. The ensuing paragraph comprises a portion of Pope
Innocent IV.'s denunciation of him upon that occasion.

[556] Charles IV. was himself king of Bohemia, so that for the present
the Emperor was also one of the seven imperial electors.

[557] James Bryce, _The Holy Roman Empire_ (new ed., New York, 1904),
p. 234.

[558] Frankfort lay on the river Main, a short distance east of Mainz.
"It was fixed as the place of election, as a tradition dating from
East Frankish days preserved the feeling that both election and
coronation ought to take place on Frankish soil."--James Bryce, _The
Holy Roman Empire_ (new ed., New York, 1904), p. 243.

[559] The preceding section specifies that Mass should be celebrated
the day following the arrival of the electors at Frankfort, and that
the archbishop of Mainz should administer to his six colleagues the
oath which he himself has taken, as specified in section 2.

[560] The three archbishops were "archchancellors" of the Empire for
Germany, Gaul and Burgundy, and Italy respectively. The king of
Bohemia was designated as cupbearer, the margrave of Brandenburg as
chamberlain, the count palatine as seneschal, and the duke of Saxony
as marshal.

[561] The diet was the Empire's nearest approach to a national
assembly. It was made up of three orders--the electors, the princes,
and the representatives of the cities.

[562] An official representative of a king or overlord in a city.

[563] Nürnberg (or Nuremberg) is situated in Bavaria, in south central

[564] Metz lay on the Moselle, above Trier. Apparently this clause
providing for a regular annual meeting of the electors was inserted by
Charles in the hope that he might be able to make use of the body as
an advisory council in the affairs of the Empire. The provision
remained a dead letter, for the reason that the electors were
indifferent to the Emperor's purposes in the matter.



Our chief contemporary source of information on the history of the
Hundred Years' War is Jean Froissart's _Chronicles of England, France,
and the Adjoining Countries, from the Latter Part of the Reign of
Edward II. to the Coronation of Henry IV._,[565] and it is from this
important work that all of the extracts (except texts of treaties)
which are included in this chapter have been selected. Froissart was a
French poet and historian, born at Beaumont, near Valenciennes in
Hainault, in 1337, when the Hundred Years' War was just beginning. He
lived until the early part of the fifteenth century, 1410 being one of
the conjectural dates of his death. He was a man of keen mental
faculties and had enjoyed the advantages of an unusually thorough
education during boyhood. This native ability and training, together
with his active public life and admirable opportunities for
observation, constituted his special qualification for the writing of
a history of his times. Froissart represents a type of mediæval
chronicler which was quite rare, in that he was not a monk living in
seclusion but a practical man of affairs, accustomed to travel and
intercourse with leading men in all the important countries of western
Europe. He lived for five years at the English court as clerk of the
Queen's Chamber; many times he was sent by the French king on
diplomatic missions to Scotland, Italy, and other countries; and he
made several private trips to various parts of Europe for the sole
purpose of acquiring information. Always and everywhere he was
observant and quick to take advantage of opportunities to ascertain
facts which he could use, and we are told that after it came to be
generally known that he was preparing to write an extended history of
his times not a few kings and princes took pains to send him details
regarding events which they desired to have recorded. The writing of
the _Chronicles_ was a life work. When only twenty years of age
Froissart submitted to Isabella, wife of King Edward III. of England,
an account of the battle of Poitiers, in which the queen's son, the
famous Black Prince, had won distinction in the previous year.
Thereafter the larger history was published book by book, until by
1373 it was complete to date. Subsequently it was extended to the year
1400 (it had begun with the events of 1326), while the earlier
portions were rewritten and considerably revised. And, in deed, when
death came to the author he was still working at his arduous but
congenial task. "As long as I live," he wrote upon one occasion, "by
the grace of God I shall continue it; for the more I follow it and
labor thereon, the more it pleases me. Even as a gentle knight or
esquire who loves arms, while persevering and continuing develops
himself therein, thus do I, laboring and striving with this matter,
improve and delight myself."

The _Chronicles_ as they have come down to us are written in a lively
and pleasing style. It need hardly be said that they are not wholly
accurate; indeed, on the whole, they are quite inaccurate, measured
even by mediæval standards. Froissart was obliged to rely for a large
portion of his information upon older chronicles and especially upon
conversations and interviews with people in various parts of Europe.
Such sources are never wholly trustworthy and it must be admitted that
our author was not as careful to sift error from truth as he should
have been. His credulity betrayed him often into accepting what a
little investigation would have shown to be false, and only very
rarely did he make any attempt, as a modern historian would do, to
increase and verify his knowledge by a study of documents. Still, the
_Chronicles_ constitute an invaluable history of the period they
cover. The facts they record, the events they explain, the vivid
descriptions they contain, and the side-lights they throw upon the
life and manners of an interesting age unite to give them a place of
peculiar importance among works of their kind. And, wholly aside from
their historical value, they constitute one of the monuments of
mediæval French literature.

73. An Occasion of War between the Kings of England and France

The causes, general and specific, of the Hundred Years' War were
numerous. The most important were: (1) The long-standing bad feeling
between the French and English regarding the possession of Normandy
and Guienne. England had lost the former to France and she had never
ceased to hope for its recovery; on the other hand, the French were
resolved upon the eventual conquest of the remaining English
continental possession of Guienne and were constantly asserting
themselves there in a fashion highly irritating to the English; (2)
the assistance and general encouragement given the rebellious Scots by
the French; (3) the pressure brought to bear upon the English crown by
the popular party in Flanders to claim the French throne and to resort
to war to obtain it. The Flemish wool trade was a very important item
in England's economic prosperity and it was felt to be essential at
all hazards to prevent the extension of French influence in Flanders,
which would inevitably mean the checking, if not the ruin, of the
commercial relations of the Flemish and the English; and (4) the claim
to the throne of France which Edward III., king of England, set up and
prepared to defend. It is this last occasion of war that Froissart
describes in the passage below.

     Source--Text in Siméon Luce (ed.), _Chroniques de Jean
     Froissart_ [published for the Société de l'Histoire de
     France], Paris, 1869, Chap. I. Translated in Thomas Johnes,
     _Froissart's Chronicles_ (London, 1803), Vol. I., pp. 6-7.

     [Sidenote: The succession to the French throne in 1328]

   History tells us that Philip, king of France, surnamed the
   Fair,[566] had three sons, besides his beautiful daughter
   Isabella, married to the king of England.[567] These three sons
   were very handsome. The eldest, Louis, king of Navarre, during
   the lifetime of his father, was called Louis Hutin; the second
   was named Philip the Great, or the Long; and the third, Charles.
   All these were kings of France, after their father Philip, by
   legitimate succession, one after the other, without having by
   marriage any male heirs.[568] Yet on the death of the last king,
   Charles, the twelve peers and barons of France[569] did not give
   the kingdom to Isabella, the sister, who was queen of England,
   because they said and maintained, and still insist, that the
   kingdom of France is so noble that it ought not to go to a
   woman; consequently neither to Isabella nor to her son, the king
   of England; for they held that the son of a woman cannot claim
   any right of succession where that woman has none herself.[570]
   For these reasons the twelve peers and barons of France
   unanimously gave the kingdom of France to the lord Philip of
   Valois, nephew of King Philip,[571] and thus put aside the queen
   of England (who was sister to Charles, the late king of France)
   and her son. Thus, as it seemed to many people, the succession
   went out of the right line, which has been the occasion of the
   most destructive wars and devastations of countries, as well in
   France as elsewhere, as you will learn hereafter; the real
   object of this history being to relate the great enterprises and
   deeds of arms achieved in these wars, for from the time of good
   Charlemagne, king of France, never were such feats performed.

74. Edward III. Assumes the Arms and Title of the King of France

Due to causes which have been mentioned, the relations of England and
France at the accession of Philip VI. in 1328 were so strained that
only a slight fanning of the flames was necessary to bring on an open
conflict. Edward III.'s persistent demand to be recognized as king of
France sufficed to accomplish this result. The war did not come at
once, for neither king felt himself ready for it; but it was
inevitable and preparations for it were steadily pushed on both sides
from 1328 until its formal declaration by Edward nine years later.
These preparations were not merely military and naval but also
diplomatic. The primary object of both sovereigns was to secure as
many and as strong foreign alliances as possible. In pursuit of this
policy Philip soon assured himself of the support of Louis de Nevers,
count of Flanders, King John of Bohemia, Alphonso XI. of Castile, and
a number of lesser princes of the north. Edward was even more
successful. In Spain and the Scandinavian countries many local powers
allied themselves with him; in the Low Countries, especially Flanders
and Brabant, the people and the princes chose generally to identify
themselves with his cause; and the climax came in July, 1337, when a
treaty of alliance was concluded with the Emperor, Louis of Bavaria.
War was begun in this same year, and in 1338 Edward went himself to
the continent to undertake a direct attack on France from Flanders as
a base. The years 1338 and 1339 were consumed with ineffective
operations against the walled cities of the French frontier, Philip
steadily refusing to be drawn into an open battle such as Edward
desired. The following year the English king resolved to declare
himself sovereign of France. The circumstances attending this
important step are detailed in the passage from Froissart given below.

Heretofore Edward had merely protested that by reason of his being a
grandson of Philip the Fair he should have been awarded the throne by
the French barons in 1328; now, at the instigation of his German and
Flemish allies, he flatly announces that he _is_ of right the king
and that Philip VI. is to be deposed as an usurper. Of course this
was a declaration which Edward could make good only by victory in the
war upon which he had entered. But the claim thus set up rendered it
inevitable that the war should be waged to the bitter end on both

     Source--_Chroniques de Jean Froissart_ (Société de l'Histoire
     de France edition), Chap. XXXI. Translated in Thomas Johnes,
     _Froissart's Chronicles_, Vol. I., pp. 110-112.

     [Sidenote: The conference at Brussels]

   When King Edward had departed from Flanders and arrived at Brabant
   he set out straight for Brussels, whither he was attended by the
   duke of Gueldres, the duke of Juliers, the marquis of Blanckenburg,
   the earl of Mons, the lord John of Hainault, the lord of
   Fauquemont, and all the barons of the Empire who were allied to
   him, as they wished to consider what was next to be done in this
   war which they had begun. For greater expedition, they ordered a
   conference to be held in the city of Brussels, and invited James
   van Arteveld[572] to attend it, who came thither in great array,
   and brought with him all the councils from the principal towns of

   At this parliament the king of England was advised by his allies of
   the Empire to solicit the Flemings to give him their aid and
   assistance in this war, to challenge the king of France, and to
   follow King Edward wherever he should lead them, and in return he
   would assist them in the recovery of Lisle, Douay, and
   Bethune.[573] The Flemings heard this proposal with pleasure; but
   they requested of the king that they might consider it among
   themselves and in a short time they would give their answer.

     [Sidenote: Proposition made by the Flemings to King Edward]

   The king consented and soon after they made this reply: "Beloved
   sire, you formerly made us a similar request; and we are willing to
   do everything in reason for you without prejudice to our honor and
   faith. But we are pledged by promise on oath, under a penalty of
   two millions of florins, to the apostolical chamber,[574] not to
   act offensively against the king of France in any way, whoever he
   may be, without forfeiting this sum, and incurring the sentence of
   excommunication. But if you will do what we will tell you, you will
   find a remedy, which is, that you take the arms of France, quarter
   them with those of England, and call yourself king of France. We
   will acknowledge your title as good, and we will demand of you
   quittance for the above sum, which you will grant us as king of
   France. Thus we shall be absolved and at liberty to go with you
   wherever it pleases you."

     [Sidenote: The agreement concluded]

   The king summoned his council, for he was loath to take the title
   and arms of France, seeing that at present he had not conquered any
   part of that kingdom and that it was uncertain whether he ever
   should. On the other hand, he was unwilling to lose the aid and
   assistance of the Flemings, who could be of greater service to him
   than any others at that period. He consulted, therefore, with the
   lords of the Empire, the lord Robert d'Artois,[575] and his most
   privy councilors, who, after having duly weighed the good and bad,
   advised him to make for answer to the Flemings, that if they would
   bind themselves under their seals, to an agreement to aid him in
   carrying on the war, he would willingly comply with their
   conditions, and would swear to assist them in the recovery of
   Lisle, Douay, and Bethune. To this they willingly consented. A day
   was fixed for them to meet at Ghent,[576] where the king and the
   greater part of the lords of the Empire, and in general the
   councils from the different towns in Flanders, assembled. The
   above-mentioned proposals and answers were then repeated, sworn to,
   and sealed; and the king of England bore the arms of France,
   quartering them with those of England. He also took the title of
   king of France from that day forward.

75. The Naval Battle of Sluys (1340)

In the spring of 1340 Edward returned to England to secure money and
supplies with which to prosecute the war. The French king thought he
saw in this temporary withdrawal of his enemy an opportunity to strike
him a deadly blow. A fleet of nearly two hundred vessels was gathered
in the harbor of Sluys, on the Flemish coast, with a view to attacking
the English king on his return to the continent and preventing him
from again securing a foothold in Flanders. Edward, however, accepted
the situation and made ready to fight his way back to the country of
his allies. June 24, 1340, he boldly attacked the French at Sluys. The
sharp conflict which ensued resulted in a brilliant victory for the
English. Philip's fleet found itself shut up in the harbor and utterly
unable to withstand the showers of arrows shot by the thousands of
archers who crowded the English ships. The French navy was
annihilated, England was relieved from the fear of invasion, and the
whole French coast was laid open to attack.

     Source--_Chroniques de Jean Froissart_ (Société de l'Histoire
     de France edition), Chap. XXXVII. Translated in Thomas Johnes,
     _Froissart's Chronicles_, Vol. I., pp. 141-143.

   He [King Edward] and his whole navy sailed from the Thames the day
   before the eve of St. John the Baptist, 1340,[577] and made
   straight for Sluys.

   Sir Hugh Quiriel, Sir Peter Bahucet, and Barbenoir, were at that
   time lying between Blankenburg and Sluys with upwards of one
   hundred and twenty large vessels, without counting others. These
   were manned with about forty thousand men, Genoese and Picards,
   including mariners. By the orders of the king of France, they were
   there at anchor, awaiting the return of the king of England, to
   dispute his passage.

     [Sidenote: Edward determines to fight at Sluys]

   When the king's fleet had almost reached Sluys, they saw so many
   masts standing before it that they looked like a wood. The king
   asked the commander of his ship what they could be. The latter
   replied that he imagined they must be that armament of Normans
   which the king of France kept at sea, and which had so frequently
   done him much damage, had burned his good town of Southampton and
   taken his large ship the _Christopher_. The king replied, "I have
   for a long time desired to meet them, and now, please God and St.
   George, we will fight with them; for, in truth, they have done me
   so much mischief that I will be revenged on them if it be

   The king then drew up all his vessels, placing the strongest in
   front, and his archers on the wings. Between every two vessels with
   archers there was one of men-at-arms. He stationed some detached
   vessels as a reserve, full of archers, to assist and help such as
   might be damaged. There were in this fleet a great many ladies from
   England, countesses, baronesses, and knights' and gentlemen's
   wives, who were going to attend on the queen at Ghent.[578] These
   the king had guarded most carefully by three hundred men-at-arms
   and five hundred archers.

     [Sidenote: The French make ready]

   When the king of England and his marshals had properly divided the
   fleet, they hoisted their sails to have the wind on their quarter,
   as the sun shone full in their faces (which they considered might
   be of disadvantage to them) and stretched out a little, so that at
   last they got the wind as they wished. The Normans, who saw them
   tack, could not help wondering why they did so, and remarked that
   they took good care to turn about because they were afraid of
   meddling with them. They perceived, however, by his banner, that
   the king was on board, which gave them great joy, as they were
   eager to fight with him. So they put their vessels in proper order,
   for they were expert and gallant men on the seas. They filled the
   _Christopher_, the large ship which they had taken the year before
   from the English, with trumpets and other warlike instruments, and
   ordered her to fall upon the English.

     [Sidenote: The battle rages]

   The battle then began very fiercely. Archers and cross-bowmen shot
   with all their might at each other, and the men-at-arms engaged
   hand to hand. In order to be more successful, they had large
   grapnels and iron hooks with chains, which they flung from ship to
   ship to moor them to each other. There were many valiant deeds
   performed, many prisoners made, and many rescues. The
   _Christopher_, which led the van, was recaptured by the English,
   and all in her taken or killed. There were then great shouts and
   cries, and the English manned her again with archers, and sent her
   to fight against the Genoese.

   This battle was very murderous and horrible. Combats at sea are
   more destructive and obstinate than upon land, for it is not
   possible to retreat or flee--every one must abide his fortune, and
   exert his prowess and valor. Sir Hugh Quiriel and his companions
   were bold and determined men; they had done much mischief to the
   English at sea and destroyed many of their ships. The combat,
   therefore, lasted from early in the morning until noon,[579] and
   the English were hard pressed, for their enemies were four to one,
   and the greater part men who had been used to the sea.

     [Sidenote: The English triumph]

   The king, who was in the flower of his youth, showed himself on
   that day a gallant knight, as did the earls of Derby, Pembroke,
   Hereford, Huntingdon, Northampton, and Gloucester; the lord
   Reginald Cobham, lord Felton, lord Bradestan, sir Richard Stafford,
   the lord Percy, sir Walter Manny, sir Henry de Flanders, sir John
   Beauchamp, sir John Chandos, the lord Delaware, Lucie lord Malton,
   and the lord Robert d'Artois, now called earl of Richmond. I cannot
   remember the names of all those who behaved so valiantly in the
   combat. But they did so well that, with some assistance from Bruges
   and those parts of the country, the French were completely
   defeated, and all the Normans and the others were killed or
   drowned, so that not one of them escaped.[580]

   After the king had gained this victory, which was on the eve of St.
   John's day,[581] he remained all that night on board his ship
   before Sluys, and there were great noises with trumpets and all
   kinds of other instruments.

76. The Battle of Crécy (1346)

In July, 1346, Edward III. landed on the northwest coast of Normandy
with a splendid army of English, Irish, and Welsh, including ten
thousand men skilled in the use of the long bow. He advanced eastward,
plundering and devastating as he went, probably with the ultimate
intention of besieging Calais. Finding the passage of the Seine
impossible at Rouen, he ascended the river until he came into the
vicinity of Paris, only to learn that Philip with an army twice the
size of that of the English had taken up a position on the Seine to
turn back the invasion. The French king allowed himself to be
outwitted, however, and Edward got out of the trap into which he had
fallen by marching northward to the village of Crécy in Ponthieu. With
an army that had grown to outnumber the English three to one Philip
advanced in the path of the enemy, first to Abbeville on the Somme,
and later to Crécy, slightly to the east of which Edward had taken his
stand for battle. The English arrived at Crécy about noon on Friday,
August 25. The French were nearly a day behind, having spent the night
at Abbeville and set out thence over the roads to Crécy before sunrise
Saturday morning. The army of the English numbered probably about
14,000, besides an uncertain reserve of Welsh and Irish troops; that
of the French numbered about 70,000, including 15,000 Genoese
cross-bowmen. The course of the battle is well described by Froissart
in the passage below. Doubtless the account is not accurate in every
particular, yet it must be correct in the main and it shows very
vividly the character of French and English warfare in this period.
Despite the superior numbers of the French, the English had small
difficulty in winning a decisive victory. This was due to several
things. In the first place, the French army was a typical feudal levy
and as such was sadly lacking in discipline and order, while the
English troops were under perfect control. In the next place, the use
of the long-bow gave the English infantry a great advantage over the
French knights, and even over the Genoese mercenaries, who could shoot
just once while an English long-bowman was shooting twelve times. In
the third place, Philip's troops were exhausted before entering the
battle and it was a grievous error on the part of the king to allow
the conflict to begin before his men had an opportunity for rest.[582]
The greatest significance of the English victory lay in the blow it
struck at feudalism, and especially the feudal type of warfare. It
showed very clearly that the armored knight was no match for the
common foot-soldier, armed simply with his long-bow, and that feudal
methods and ideals had come to be inconsistent with success in war.

     Source--_Chroniques de Jean Froissart_ (Société de l'Histoire
     de France edition), Chap. LX. Translated in Thomas Johnes,
     _Froissart's Chronicles_, Vol. I., pp. 320-329 _passim_.

   The king of England, as I have mentioned before, encamped this
   Friday in the plain,[583] for he found the country abounding in
   provisions; but if they should have failed, he had an abundance in
   the carriages which attended him. The army set about furbishing and
   repairing their armor; and the king gave a supper that evening to
   the earls and barons of his army, where they made good cheer. On
   their taking leave, the king remained alone with the lord of his
   bed-chamber. He retired into his oratory and, falling on his knees
   before the altar, prayed to God, that if he should fight his
   enemies on the morrow he might come off with honor. About midnight
   he went to his bed and, rising early the next day, he and the
   Prince of Wales[584] heard Mass and communicated. The greater part
   of his army did the same, confessed, and made proper preparations.

     [Sidenote: The English prepare for battle]

   After Mass the king ordered his men to arm themselves and assemble
   on the ground he had before fixed on. He had enclosed a large park
   near a wood, on the rear of his army, in which he placed all his
   baggage-wagons and horses; and this park had but one entrance. His
   men-at-arms and archers remained on foot. The king afterwards
   ordered, through his constable and his two marshals, that the army
   should be divided into three battalions....

   The king then mounted a small palfrey, having a white wand in his
   hand and, attended by his two marshals on each side of him, he rode
   through all the ranks, encouraging and entreating the army, that
   they should guard his honor. He spoke this so gently, and with such
   a cheerful countenance, that all who had been dejected were
   immediately comforted by seeing and hearing him.

   When he had thus visited all the battalions, it was near ten
   o'clock. He retired to his own division and ordered them all to eat
   heartily afterwards and drink a glass. They ate and drank at their
   ease; and, having packed up pots, barrels, etc., in the carts, they
   returned to their battalions, according to the marshals' orders,
   and seated themselves on the ground, placing their helmets and bows
   before them, that they might be the fresher when their enemies
   should arrive.

     [Sidenote: The French advance from Abbeville to Crécy]

     [Sidenote: Philip's knights advise delay]

   That same Saturday, the king of France arose betimes and heard Mass
   in the monastery of St. Peter's in Abbeville,[585] where he was
   lodged. Having ordered his army to do the same, he left that town
   after sunrise. When he had marched about two leagues from Abbeville
   and was approaching the enemy, he was advised to form his army in
   order of battle, and to let those on foot march forward, that they
   might not be trampled on by the horses. The king, upon this, sent
   off four knights--the lord Moyne of Bastleberg, the lord of Noyers,
   the lord of Beaujeu, and the lord of Aubigny--who rode so near to
   the English that they could clearly distinguish their position. The
   English plainly perceived that they were come to reconnoitre.
   However, they took no notice of it, but suffered them to return
   unmolested. When the king of France saw them coming back, he halted
   his army, and the knights, pushing through the crowds, came near
   the king, who said to them, "My lords, what news?" They looked at
   each other, without opening their mouths; for no one chose to speak
   first. At last the king addressed himself to the lord Moyne, who
   was attached to the king of Bohemia, and had performed very many
   gallant deeds, so that he was esteemed one of the most valiant
   knights in Christendom. The lord Moyne said, "Sir, I will speak,
   since it pleases you to order me, but with the assistance of my
   companions. We have advanced far enough to reconnoitre your
   enemies. Know, then, that they are drawn up in three battalions and
   are awaiting you. I would advise, for my part (submitting, however,
   to better counsel), that you halt your army here and quarter them
   for the night; for before the rear shall come up and the army be
   properly drawn out, it will be very late. Your men will be tired
   and in disorder, while they will find your enemies fresh and
   properly arrayed. On the morrow, you may draw up your army more at
   your ease and may reconnoitre at leisure on what part it will be
   most advantageous to begin the attack; for, be assured, they will
   wait for you."

     [Sidenote: Confusion in the French ranks]

   The king commanded that it should be so done; and the two marshals
   rode, one towards the front, and the other to the rear, crying out,
   "Halt banners, in the name of God and St. Denis." Those that were
   in the front halted; but those behind said they would not halt
   until they were as far forward as the front. When the front
   perceived the rear pushing on, they pushed forward; and neither the
   king nor the marshals could stop them, but they marched on without
   any order until they came in sight of their enemies.[586] As soon
   as the foremost rank saw them, they fell back at once in great
   disorder, which alarmed those in the rear, who thought they had
   been fighting. There was then space and room enough for them to
   have passed forward, had they been willing to do so. Some did so,
   but others remained behind.

   All the roads between Abbeville and Crécy were covered with common
   people, who, when they had come within three leagues of their
   enemies, drew their swords, crying out, "Kill, kill;" and with them
   were many great lords who were eager to make show of their courage.
   There is no man, unless he had been present, who can imagine, or
   describe truly, the confusion of that day; especially the bad
   management and disorder of the French, whose troops were beyond

     [Sidenote: The English prepare for battle]

   The English, who were drawn up in three divisions and seated on the
   ground, on seeing their enemies advance, arose boldly and fell into
   their ranks. That of the prince[587] was the first to do so, whose
   archers were formed in the manner of a portcullis, or harrow, and
   the men-at-arms in the rear. The earls of Northampton and Arundel,
   who commanded the second division, had posted themselves in good
   order on his wing to assist and succor the prince, if necessary.

   You must know that these kings, dukes, earls, barons, and lords of
   France did not advance in any regular order, but one after the
   other, or in any way most pleasing to themselves. As soon as the
   king of France came in sight of the English his blood began to
   boil, and he cried out to his marshals, "Order the Genoese forward,
   and begin the battle, in the name of God and St. Denis."

   There were about fifteen thousand Genoese cross-bowmen; but they
   were quite fatigued, having marched on foot that day six leagues,
   completely armed, and with their cross-bows. They told the
   constable that they were not in a fit condition to do any great
   things that day in battle. The earl of Alençon, hearing this, said,
   "This is what one gets by employing such scoundrels, who fail when
   there is any need for them."

   During this time a heavy rain fell, accompanied by thunder and a
   very terrible eclipse of the sun; and before this rain a great
   flight of crows hovered in the air over all those battalions,
   making a loud noise. Shortly afterwards it cleared up and the sun
   shone very brightly; but the Frenchmen had it in their faces, and
   the English at their backs.

   When the Genoese were somewhat in order they approached the English
   and set up a loud shout in order to frighten them; but the latter
   remained quite still and did not seem to hear it. They then set up
   a second shout and advanced a little forward; but the English did
   not move. They hooted a third time, advancing with their cross-bows
   presented, and began to shoot. The English archers then advanced
   one step forward and shot their arrows with such force and
   quickness that it seemed as if it snowed.

     [Sidenote: The Genoese mercenaries repulsed]

   When the Genoese felt these arrows, which pierced their arms,
   heads, and through their armor, some of them cut the strings of
   their cross-bows, others flung them on the ground, and all turned
   about and retreated, quite discomfited. The French had a large body
   of men-at-arms on horseback, richly dressed, to support the
   Genoese. The king of France, seeing them thus fall back, cried out,
   "Kill me those scoundrels; for they stop up our road, without any
   reason." You would then have seen the above-mentioned men-at-arms
   lay about them, killing all that they could of these runaways.

     [Sidenote: Slaughter by the Cornish and Welsh]

   The English continued shooting as vigorously and quickly as before.
   Some of their arrows fell among the horsemen, who were sumptuously
   equipped and, killing and wounding many, made them caper and fall
   among the Genoese, so that they were in such confusion they could
   never rally again. In the English army there were some Cornish and
   Welshmen on foot who had armed themselves with large knives. These,
   advancing through the ranks of the men-at-arms and archers, who
   made way for them, came upon the French when they were in this
   danger and, falling upon earls, barons, knights and squires, slew
   many, at which the king of England was afterwards much exasperated.

     [Sidenote: Death of the king of Bohemia]

   The valiant king of Bohemia was slain there. He was called Charles
   of Luxemburg, for he was the son of the gallant king and emperor,
   Henry of Luxemburg.[588] Having heard the order of the battle, he
   inquired where his son, the lord Charles, was. His attendants
   answered that they did not know, but believed that he was fighting.
   The king said to them: "Sirs, you are all my people, my friends and
   brethren at arms this day; therefore, as I am blind, I request of
   you to lead me so far into the engagement that I may strike one
   stroke with my sword." The knights replied that they would lead him
   forward immediately; and, in order that they might not lose him in
   the crowd, they fastened the reins of all their horses together,
   and put the king at their head, that he might gratify his wish,
   and advanced towards the enemy. The king rode in among the enemy,
   and made good use of his sword; for he and his companions fought
   most gallantly. They advanced so far that they were all slain; and
   on the morrow they were found on the ground, with their horses all
   tied together.

   Early in the day, some French, Germans, and Savoyards had broken
   through the archers of the prince's battalion, and had engaged with
   the men-at-arms, upon which the second battalion came to his aid;
   and it was time, for otherwise he would have been hard pressed. The
   first division, seeing the danger they were in, sent a knight[589]
   in great haste to the king of England, who was posted upon an
   eminence, near a windmill. On the knight's arrival, he said, "Sir,
   the earl of Warwick, the lord Stafford, the lord Reginald Cobham,
   and the others who are about your son are vigorously attacked by
   the French; and they entreat that you come to their assistance with
   your battalion for, if the number of the French should increase,
   they fear he will have too much to do."

     [Sidenote: Edward gives the Black Prince a chance to win his spurs]

   The king replied: "Is my son dead, unhorsed, or so badly wounded
   that he cannot support himself?" "Nothing of the sort, thank God,"
   rejoined the knight; "but he is in so hot an engagement that he has
   great need of your help." The king answered, "Now, Sir Thomas,
   return to those who sent you and tell them from me not to send
   again for me this day, or expect that I shall come, let what will
   happen, as long as my son has life; and say that I command them to
   let the boy win his spurs; for I am determined, if it please God,
   that all the glory and honor of this day shall be given to him, and
   to those into whose care I have entrusted him." The knight returned
   to his lords and related the king's answer, which greatly
   encouraged them and made them regret that they had ever sent such a

     [Sidenote: King Philip abandons the field of battle]

   Late after vespers, the king of France had not more about him than
   sixty men, every one included. Sir John of Hainault, who was of the
   number, had once remounted the king; for the latter's horse had
   been killed under him by an arrow. He said to the king, "Sir,
   retreat while you have an opportunity, and do not expose yourself
   so needlessly. If you have lost this battle, another time you will
   be the conqueror." After he had said this, he took the bridle of
   the king's horse and led him off by force; for he had before
   entreated him to retire.

   The king rode on until he came to the castle of La Broyes, where he
   found the gates shut, for it was very dark. The king ordered the
   governor of it to be summoned. He came upon the battlements and
   asked who it was that called at such an hour. The king answered,
   "Open, open, governor; it is the fortune of France." The governor,
   hearing the king's voice, immediately descended, opened the gate,
   and let down the bridge. The king and his company entered the
   castle; but he had with him only five barons--Sir John of Hainault,
   the lord Charles of Montmorency, the lord of Beaujeu, the lord of
   Aubigny, and the lord of Montfort. The king would not bury himself
   in such a place as that, but, having taken some refreshments, set
   out again with his attendants about midnight, and rode on, under
   the direction of guides who were well acquainted with the country,
   until, about daybreak, he came to Amiens, where he halted.

     [Sidenote: The English after the battle]

   This Saturday the English never quitted their ranks in pursuit of
   any one, but remained on the field, guarding their position and
   defending themselves against all who attacked them. The battle was
   ended at the hour of vespers. When, on this Saturday night, the
   English heard no more hooting or shouting, nor any more crying out
   to particular lords, or their banners, they looked upon the field
   as their own and their enemies as beaten.

   They made great fires and lighted torches because of the darkness
   of the night. King Edward then came down from his post, who all
   that day had not put on his helmet, and, with his whole battalion,
   advanced to the Prince of Wales, whom he embraced in his arms and
   kissed, and said, "Sweet son, God give you good preference. You are
   my son, for most loyally have you acquitted yourself this day. You
   are worthy to be a sovereign." The prince bowed down very low and
   humbled himself, giving all honor to the king his father.

   The English, during the night, made frequent thanksgivings to the
   Lord for the happy outcome of the day, and without rioting; for the
   king had forbidden all riot or noise.

77. The Sack of Limoges (1370)

As a single illustration of the devastation wrought by the Hundred
Years' War, and of the barbarity of the commanders and troops engaged
in it, Froissart's well-known description of the sack of Limoges in
1370 by the army of the Black Prince is of no small interest. In some
respects, of course, circumstances in connection with this episode
were exceptional, and we are not to imagine that such heartless and
indiscriminate massacres were common. Yet the evidence which has
survived all goes to show that the long course of the war was filled
with cruelty and destruction in a measure almost inconceivable among
civilized peoples in more modern times.

     Source--_Chroniques de Jean Froissart_ (Société de l'Histoire
     de France edition), Chap. XCVII. Translated in Thomas Johnes,
     _Froissart's Chronicles_, Vol. II., pp. 61-68 _passim_.

     [Sidenote: The Black Prince resolves to retake Limoges]

   When word was brought to the prince that the city of Limoges[590]
   had become French, that the bishop, who had been his companion and
   one in whom he had formerly placed great confidence, was a party
   to all the treaties and had greatly aided and assisted in the
   surrender, he was in a violent passion and held the bishop and all
   other churchmen in very low estimation, in whom formerly he had put
   great trust. He swore by the soul of his father, which he had never
   perjured, that he would have it back again, that he would not
   attend to anything before he had done this, and that he would make
   the inhabitants pay dearly for their treachery....[591]

   All these men-at-arms were drawn out in battle-array and took the
   field, when the whole country began to tremble for the
   consequences. At that time the Prince of Wales was not able to
   mount his horse, but was, for his greater ease, carried in a
   litter. They followed the road to the Limousin,[592] in order to
   get to Limoges, where in due time they arrived and encamped all
   around it. The prince swore he would never leave the place until he
   had regained it.

     [Sidenote: The town to be undermined]

   The bishop of the place and the inhabitants found that they had
   acted wickedly and had greatly incensed the prince, for which they
   were very repentant, but that was now of no avail, as they were not
   the masters of the town.[593] When the prince and his marshals had
   well considered the strength and force of Limoges, and knew the
   number of people that were in it, they agreed that they could never
   take it by assault, but said they would attempt it by another
   manner. The prince was always accustomed to carry with him on his
   expeditions a large body of miners. These were immediately set to
   work and made great progress. The knights who were in the town
   soon perceived that they were undermining them, and on that
   account began to countermine to prevent the effect....

   The Prince of Wales remained about a month, and not more, before
   the city of Limoges. He would not allow any assaults or
   skirmishing, but kept his miners steadily at work. The knights in
   the town perceived what they were about and made countermines to
   destroy them, but they failed in their attempt. When the miners of
   the prince (who, as they found themselves countermined, kept
   changing the line of direction of their own mine) had finished
   their business, they came to the prince and said, "My lord, we are
   ready, and will throw down, whenever it pleases you, a very large
   part of the wall into the ditch, through the breach of which you
   may enter the town at your ease and without danger."

     [Sidenote: The English assault]

   This news was very agreeable to the prince, who replied: "I desire,
   then, that you prove your words to-morrow morning at six o'clock."
   The miners set fire to the combustibles in the mine, and on the
   morrow morning, as they had foretold the prince, they flung down a
   great piece of wall which filled the ditches. The English saw this
   with pleasure, for they were armed and prepared to enter the town.
   Those on foot did so and ran to the gate, which they destroyed, as
   well as the barriers, for there were no other defenses; and all
   this was done so suddenly that the inhabitants had not time to
   prevent it.

     [Sidenote: Barbarity of the sack]

   The prince, the duke of Lancaster, the earls of Cambridge and of
   Pembroke, sir Guiscard d'Angle and the others, with their men,
   rushed into the town. You would then have seen pillagers, active to
   do mischief, running through the town, slaying men, women, and
   children, according to their orders. It was a most melancholy
   business; for all ranks, ages, and sexes cast themselves on their
   knees before the prince, begging for mercy; but he was so inflamed
   with passion and revenge that he listened to none. But all were put
   to the sword, wherever they could be found, even those who were
   not guilty. For I know not why the poor were not spared, who could
   not have had any part in the treason; but they suffered for it, and
   indeed more than those who had been the leaders of the treachery.

   There was not that day in the city of Limoges any heart so
   hardened, or that had any sense of religion, that did not deeply
   bewail the unfortunate events passing before men's eyes; for
   upwards of three thousand men, women, and children were put to
   death that day. God have mercy on their souls, for they were truly
   martyrs.... The entire town was pillaged, burned, and totally
   destroyed. The English then departed, carrying with them their
   booty and prisoners.

78. The Treaties of Bretigny (1360) and Troyes (1420)

The most important documents in the diplomatic history of the Hundred
Years' War are the texts of the treaty of London (1359), the treaty of
Bretigny (1360), the truce of Paris (1396), the treaty of Troyes
(1420), the treaty of Arras (1435), and the truce of Tours (1444).
Brief extracts from two of these are given below. The treaty of
Bretigny was negotiated soon after the refusal of the French to ratify
the treaty of London. In November, 1359, King Edward III., with his
son, Edward, the Black Prince, and the duke of Lancaster, crossed the
Channel, marched on Rheims, and threatened Paris. Negotiations for a
new peace were actively opened in April, 1360, after the English had
established themselves at Montlhéri, south from Paris. The French
king, John II., who had been taken prisoner at Poitiers (1356), gave
full powers of negotiation to his son Charles, duke of Normandy and
regent of the kingdom. For some time no definite conclusions were
reached, owing chiefly to Edward's unwillingness to renounce his claim
to the French throne. Late in April the negotiations were transferred
to Chartres, subsequently to Bretigny. Finally, on the eighth of May,
representatives of the two parties signed the so-called treaty of
Bretigny. Although the instrument was promptly ratified by the French
regent and by the Black Prince (and, if we may believe Froissart, by
the two kings themselves), it was afterwards revised and accepted in
a somewhat different form by the monarchs and their following
assembled at Calais (October 24, 1360). The most important respect in
which the second document differed from the first was the omission of
Article 12 of the first treaty, in which Edward renounced his claim to
the throne of France and the sovereignty of Normandy, Maine, Anjou,
Touraine, Brittany, and Flanders; nevertheless Edward, at Calais, made
this renunciation in a separate convention, which for all practical
purposes was regarded as a part of the treaty. The passages printed
below are taken from the Calais text. Most of the thirty-nine articles
composing the document are devoted to mere details. The war was
renewed after a few years, and within two decades the English had lost
all the territory guaranteed to them in 1360, except a few coast

The treaty of Troyes (1420) belongs to one of the most stormy periods
in all French history. The first two decades of the fifteenth century
were marked by a cessation of the war with England (until its renewal
in 1415), but also unfortunately by the outbreak of a desperate civil
struggle between two great factions of the French people, the
Burgundians and the Armagnacs. The Burgundians, led by Philip the Bold
and John the Fearless (successive dukes of Burgundy), stood for a
policy of friendship with England, while the Armagnacs, comprising the
adherents of Charles, duke of Orleans, whose wife was a daughter of
the count of Armagnac, advocated the continuation of the war with the
English; though, in reality, the forces which kept the two factions
apart were jealousy and ambition rather than any mere question of
foreign relations. The way was prepared for a temporary Burgundian
triumph by the notable victory of the English at Agincourt in 1415 and
by the assassination of John the Fearless at Paris in 1419, which made
peace impossible and drove the Burgundians openly into the arms of the
English. Philip the Good, the new duke of Burgundy, became the avowed
ally of the English king Henry V., who since 1417 had been slowly but
surely conquering Normandy and now had the larger portion of it in his
possession. Philip recognized Henry as the true heir to the French
throne and in 1419 concluded with him two distinct treaties on that
basis. Charles VI., the reigning king of France, was mentally
unbalanced and the queen, who bitterly hated the Armagnacs (with whom
her son, the Dauphin Charles, was actively identified), was easily
persuaded by Duke Philip to acquiesce in a treaty by which the
succession should be vested in the English king upon the death of
Charles VI. The result was the treaty of Troyes, signed May 21, 1420.
According to agreements already entered into by Philip and Henry, the
latter was to marry Catherine, daughter of Charles VI. (the marriage
was not mentioned in the treaty of Troyes, but it was clearly
assumed), and he was to act as regent of France until Charles VI.'s
death and then become king in his own name. Most of the thirty-one
articles of the treaty were taken up with a definition of Henry's
position and obligations as regent and prospective sovereign of

In due time the marriage of Henry and Catherine took place and Henry
assumed the regency, though the Armagnacs, led by the Dauphin, refused
absolutely to accept the settlement. War broke out, in the course of
which (in 1422) Henry V. died and was succeeded by his infant son,
Henry VI. In the same year Charles VI. also died, which meant that the
young Henry would become king of France. With such a prospect the
future of the country looked dark. Nevertheless, the death of Charles
VI. and of Henry V. came in reality as a double blessing. Henry V.
might long have kept the French in subjection and his position as
Charles VI.'s son-in-law gave him some real claim to rule in France.
But with the field cleared, as it was in 1422, opportunity was given
for the Dauphin Charles (Charles VII.) to retrieve the fallen fortunes
of his country--a task which, with more or less energy and skill, he
managed in the long run to accomplish.

     Sources--(a) Text in Eugène Cosneau, _Les Grands Traités de la
     Guerre de Cent Ans_ ["The Great Treaties of the Hundred Years'
     War"], Paris, 1889, pp. 39-68 _passim_.

     (b) Text in Cosneau, _ibid._ pp. 102-115 _passim_.

     [Sidenote: Territories conceded to the English by the treaty
     of Bretigny]


   =1.= The king of England shall hold for himself and his heirs, for
   all time to come, in addition to that which he holds in Guienne and
   Gascony, all the possessions which are enumerated below, to be held
   in the same manner that the king of France and his sons, or any of
   their ancestors, have held them....[594]

   =7.= And likewise the said king and his eldest son[595] shall give
   order, by their letters patent to all archbishops and other
   prelates of the holy Church, and also to counts, viscounts, barons,
   nobles, citizens, and others of the cities, lands, countries,
   islands, and places before mentioned, that they shall be obedient
   to the king of England and to his heirs and at their ready command,
   in the same manner in which they have been obedient to the kings
   and to the crown of France. And by the same letters they shall
   liberate and absolve them from all homage, pledges, oaths,
   obligations, subjections, and promises made by any of them to the
   kings and to the crown of France in any manner.

   =13.= It is agreed that the king of France shall pay to the king of
   England three million gold crowns, of which two are worth an obol
   of English money.[596]

     [Sidenote: Provision regarding alliances]

   =30.= It is agreed that honest alliances, friendships, and
   confederations shall be formed by the two kings of France and
   England and their kingdoms, not repugnant to the honor or the
   conscience of one king or the other. No alliances which they have,
   on this side or that, with any person of Scotland or Flanders, or
   any other country, shall be allowed to stand in the way.[597]

     [Sidenote: The Treaty of Troyes fixes the succession upon Henry V]


   =6.= After our death,[598] and from that time forward, the crown
   and kingdom of France, with all their rights and appurtenances,
   shall be vested permanently in our son [son-in-law], King Henry,
   and his heirs.

   =7.= ... The power and authority to govern and to control the
   public affairs of the said kingdom shall, during our life-time, be
   vested in our son, King Henry, with the advice of the nobles and
   the wise men who are obedient to us, and who have consideration for
   the advancement and honor of the said kingdom....

     [Sidenote: Henry's title]

   =22.= It is agreed that during our life-time we shall designate our
   son, King Henry, in the French language in this fashion, _Notre
   très cher fils Henri, roi d'Angleterre, héritier de France_; and in
   the Latin language in this manner, _Noster præcarissimus filius
   Henricus, rex Angliæ, heres Franciæ_.

     [Sidenote: Union of France and England to be through the crown

   =24.= ... [It is agreed] that the two kingdoms shall be governed
   from the time that our said son, or any of his heirs, shall assume
   the crown, not divided between different kings at the same time,
   but under one person, who shall be king and sovereign lord of both
   kingdoms, observing all pledges and all other things, to each
   kingdom its rights, liberties or customs, usages and laws, not
   submitting in any manner one kingdom to the other.[599]

   =29.= In consideration of the frightful and astounding crimes and
   misdeeds committed against the kingdom of France by Charles, the
   said Dauphin, it is agreed that we, our son Henry, and also our
   very dear son Philip, duke of Burgundy, will never treat for peace
   or amity with the said Charles.[600]


[565] This is the title employed by Thomas Johnes in his translation
of the work a hundred years ago. Froissart himself called his book, in
the French of his day, _Chroniques de France, d'Engleterre, d'Escoce,
de Bretaigne, d'Espaigne, d'Italie, de Flandres et d'Alemaigne_.

[566] Philip IV., king of France, 1285-1314.

[567] Isabella was the wife of Edward II., who reigned in England from
1307 until his deposition in 1327.

[568] Louis X. (the Quarrelsome) reigned 1314-1316; Philip V. (the
Long), 1316-1322; and Charles IV. (the Fair), 1322-1328. Louis and
Charles were very weak kings, though Philip was vigorous and able.

[569] The French Court of Twelve Peers did not constitute a distinct
organization, but was merely a high rank of baronage. In the earlier
Middle Ages, the number of peers was generally twelve, including the
most powerful lay vassals of the king and certain influential
prelates. In later times the number was frequently increased by the
creation of peers by the crown.

[570] In 1317, after the accession of Philip IV., an assembly of
French magnates (such as that which disposed of the crown in 1328)
laid down the general rule that no woman should succeed to the throne
of France. This rule has come to be known as the Salic Law of France,
though it has no historical connection with the law of the Salian
Franks against female inheritance of property, with which older
writers have generally confused it [see p. 67, note 1]. The rule of
1317 was based purely on grounds of political expediency. It was
announced at this particular time because the death of Louis X. had
left France without a male heir to the throne for the first time since
Hugh Capet's day and the barons thought it not best for the realm that
a woman reign over it. Between 1316 and 1328 daughters of kings were
excluded from the succession three times, and though in 1328, when
Charles IV. died, there had been no farther legislation on the
subject, the principle of the misnamed Salic Law had become firmly
established in practice. In 1328, however, when the barons selected
Philip of Valois to be regent first and then king, they went a step
farther and declared not only that no woman should be allowed to
inherit the throne of France but that the inheritance could not pass
through a woman to her son; in other words, she could not transmit to
her descendants a right which she did not herself possess. This was
intended to cover any future case such as that of Edward III.'s claim
to inherit through his mother Isabella, daughter of Philip IV. The
action of the barons was supported by public opinion in practically
all France--especially since it appeared that only through this
expedient could the realm be saved from the domination of an alien

[571] Philip of Valois was a son of Charles of Valois, who was a
brother of Philip IV. The line of direct Capetian descent was now
replaced by the branch line of the Valois. The latter occupied the
French throne until the death of Henry III. in 1589.

[572] James van Arteveld, a brewer of Ghent, was the leader of the
popular party in Flanders--the party which hated French influence,
which had expelled the count of Flanders on account of his services to
Philip VI., and which was the most valuable English ally on the
continent. Arteveld was murdered in 1345 during the civil discord
which prevailed in Flanders throughout the earlier part of the Hundred
Years' War.

[573] These were towns situated near the Franco-Flemish frontier. They
had been lost by Flanders to France and assistance in their recovery
was rightly considered by the German advisers of Edward as likely to
be more tempting to the Flemish than any other offer he could make

[574] That is, the papal court.

[575] Robert of Artois was a prince who had not a little to do with
the outbreak of the Hundred Years' War. After having lost a suit for
the inheritance of the county of Artois (the region about the Somme
River) and having been proved guilty of fabricating documents to
support his claims, he had fled to England and there as an exile had
employed every resource to influence Edward to claim the French throne
and to go to war to secure it.

[576] In northeastern Flanders.

[577] That is, June 23. The English fleet was composed of two hundred
and fifty vessels, carrying 11,000 archers and 4,000 men-at-arms.

[578] Edward III.'s queen was Philippa, daughter of the count of

[579] In reality, until five o'clock in the evening, or about nine
hours in all.

[580] The tide of battle was finally turned in favor of the English by
the arrival of reinforcements in the shape of a squadron of Flemish
vessels. The contest was not so one-sided or the French defeat so
complete as Froissart represents, yet it was decisive enough, as is
indicated by the fact that only thirty of the French ships survived
and 20,000 French and Genoese were slain or taken prisoners, as
against an English loss of about 10,000.

[581] June 24, 1340.

[582] As appears from Froissart's account (see p. 431), the king, on
the advice of some of his knights, decided at one time to postpone the
attack until the following day; but, the army falling into hopeless
confusion and coming up unintentionally within sight of the English,
he recklessly gave the order to advance to immediate combat. Perhaps,
however, it is only fair to place the blame upon the system which made
the army so unmanageable, rather than upon the king personally.

[583] That is, the plain east of the village of Crécy.

[584] The king's eldest son, Edward, generally known as the Black

[585] Abbeville was on the Somme about fifteen miles south of Crécy.

[586] This incident very well illustrates the confusion and lack of
discipline prevailing in a typical feudal army.

[587] Edward, the Black Prince, eldest son of the English king.

[588] The Emperor Henry VII., 1308-1314.

[589] Sir Thomas Norwich.

[590] Limoges, besieged by the duke of Berry and the great French
general, Bertrand du Guesclin, had just been forced to surrender. It
was a very important town and its capture was the occasion of much
elation among the French. Treaties were entered into between the duke
of Berry on the one hand and the bishop and citizens of Limoges on the
other, whereby the inhabitants recognized the sovereignty of the
French king. It was the news of this surrender that so angered the
Black Prince.

[591] A force of 3,200 men was led by the Black Prince from the town
of Cognac to undertake the siege of Limoges. Froissart here enumerates
a large number of notable knights who went with the expedition.

[592] The Limousin was a district in south central France, southeast
of Poitou.

[593] Limoges was now in the hands of three commanders representing
the French king. Their names were John de Villemur, Hugh de la Roche,
and Roger de Beaufort.

[594] Here follows a minute enumeration of the districts, towns, and
castles conceded to the English. The most important were Poitou,
Limousin, Rouergne, and Saintonge in the south, and Calais, Guines,
and Ponthieu in the north.

[595] That is, King John II. and the regent Charles.

[596] The enormous ransom thus specified for King John was never paid.
The three million gold crowns would have a purchasing power of perhaps
forty or forty-five million dollars to-day. On the strength of the
treaty provision John was immediately released from captivity. With
curious disregard of the bad conditions prevailing in France as the
result of foreign and civil war he began preparations for a crusade,
which, however, he was soon forced to abandon. In 1364, attracted by
the gayety of English life as contrasted with the wretchedness and
gloom of his impoverished subjects, he went voluntarily to England,
where he died before the festivities in honor of his coming were

[597] Throughout the Hundred Years' War the English had maintained
close relations with the Flemish enemies of France, just as France, in
defiance of English opposition, had kept up her traditional friendship
with Scotland. The treaty of Bretigny provided for a mutual reshaping
of foreign policy, to the end that these obstacles to peace might be

[598] That is, the death of King Charles VI.

[599] France was not to be dealt with as conquered territory. This
article comprises the only important provision in the treaty for
safeguarding the interests of the French people.

[600] Charles VI., Henry V., and Philip the Good bind themselves not
to come to any sort of terms with the Dauphin, which compact reveals
the irreconcilable attitude characteristic of the factional and
dynastic struggles of the period. Chapter 6 of the treaty disinherits
the Dauphin; chapter 29 proclaims him an enemy of France.



The question as to when the Middle Ages came to an end cannot be
answered with a specific date, or even with a particular century. The
transition from the mediæval world to the modern was gradual and was
accomplished at a much earlier period in some lines than in others.
Roughly speaking, the change fell within the two centuries and a half
from 1300 to 1550. This transitional epoch is commonly designated the
Age of the Renaissance, though if the term is taken in its most proper
sense as denoting the flowering of an old into a new culture it
scarcely does justice to the period, for political and religious
developments in these centuries were not less fundamental than the
revival and fresh stimulus of culture. But in the earlier portion of
the period, particularly the fourteenth century, the intellectual
awakening was the most obvious feature of the movement and, for the
time being, the most important.

The renaissance of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was not the
first that Europe had known. There had been a notable revival of
learning in the time of Charlemagne--the so-called Carolingian
renaissance; another at the end of the tenth century, in the time of
the Emperor Otto III. and Pope Sylvester II.; and a third in the
twelfth century, with its center in northern France. The first two,
however, had proved quite transitory, and even the third and most
promising had dried up in the fruitless philosophy of the scholastics.

Before there could be a vital and permanent intellectual revival it
was indispensable that the mediæval attitude of mind undergo a
fundamental change. This attitude may be summed up in the one phrase,
the absolute dominance of "authority"--the authority, primarily, of
the Church, supplemented by the writings of a few ancients like
Aristotle. The scholars of the earlier Middle Ages busied themselves,
not with research and investigation whereby to increase knowledge, but
rather with commenting on the Scriptures, the writings of the Church
fathers, and Aristotle, and drawing conclusions and inferences by
reasoning from these accepted authorities. There was no disposition to
question what was found in the books, or to supplement it with fresh
information. Only after about 1300 did human interests become
sufficiently broadened to make men no longer altogether content with
the mere process of threshing over the old straw. Gradually there
began to appear scholars who suggested the idea, novel for the day,
that the books did not contain all that was worth knowing, and also
that perchance some things that had long gone unquestioned just
because they were in the books were not true after all. In other
words, they proposed to investigate things for themselves and to apply
the tests of observation and impartial reason.

The most influential factor in producing this change of attitude was
the revival of classical literature and learning. The Latin classics,
and even some of the Greek, had not been unknown in the earlier Middle
Ages, but they had not been read widely, and when read at all they had
been valued principally as models of rhetoric rather than as a living
literature to be enjoyed for the ideas that were contained in it and
the forms in which they were expressed. These ideas were, of course,
generally pagan, and that in itself was enough to cause the Church to
look askance at the use of classical writings, except for grammatical
or antiquarian purposes. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries,
however, due to a variety of causes, the reading of the classics
became commoner than since Roman days, and men, bringing to them more
open minds, were profoundly attracted by the fresh, original, human
ideas of life and the world with which Vergil and Horace and Cicero,
for example, overflowed. It was all a new discovery of the world and
of man, and from the _humanitas_ which the scholars found set forth as
the classical conception of culture they themselves took the name of
"humanists," while the subjects of their studies came to be known as
the _litteræ humaniores_. This first great phase of the
Renaissance--the birth of humanism--found its finest expression in
Dante and Petrarch, and it cannot be studied with better effect than
in certain of the writings of these two men.

79. Dante's Defense of Italian as a Literary Language

Dante Alighieri was born at Florence in 1265. Of his early life little
is known. His family seems to have been too obscure to have much part
in the civil struggles with which Florence, and all Italy, in that day
were vexed. The love affair with Beatrice, whose story Boccaccio
relates with so much zest, is the one sharply-defined feature of
Dante's youth and early manhood. It is known that at the age of
eighteen the young Florentine was a poet and was winning wide
recognition for his sonnets. Much time was devoted by him to study of
literature and the arts, but the details of his employments,
intellectual and otherwise, are impossible to make out. In 1290
occurred the death of Beatrice, which event marked an epoch in the
poetical lover's life. In his sorrow he took refuge in the study of
such books as Boëthius's _Consolations of Philosophy_ and Cicero's
_Friendship_, and became deeply interested in literary, and especially
philosophical, problems. In 1295 he entered political life, taking
from the outset a prominent part in the deliberations of the
Florentine General Council and the Council of Consuls of the Arts. He
assumed a firm attitude against all forms of lawlessness and in
resistance to any external interference in Florentine affairs. Owing
to conditions which he could not influence, however, his career in
this direction was soon cut short and most of the remainder of his
life was spent as a political exile, at Lucca, Verona, Ravenna, and
other Italian cities, with a possible visit to Paris. He died at
Ravenna, September 14, 1321, in his fifty-seventh year.

Dante has well been called "the Janus-faced," because he stood at the
threshold of the new era and looked both forward and backward. His
_Divine Comedy_ admirably sums up the mediæval spirit, and yet it
contains many suggestions of the coming age. His method was
essentially that of the scholastics, but he knew many of the classics
and had a genuine respect for them as literature. He was a mediævalist
in his attachment to the Holy Roman Empire, yet he cherished the
purely modern ambition of a united Italy. It is deeply significant
that he chose to write his great poem--one of the most splendid in the
world's literature--in the Italian tongue rather than the Latin. Aside
from the fact that this, more than anything else, caused the Tuscan
dialect, rather than the rival Venetian and Neapolitan dialects, to
become the modern Italian, it evidenced the new desire for the
popularization of literature which was a marked characteristic of the
dawning era. Not content with putting his greatest effort in the
vernacular, Dante undertook formally to defend the use of the popular
tongue for literary purposes. This he did in _Il Convito_ ("The
Banquet"), a work whose date is quite uncertain, but which was
undoubtedly produced at some time while its author was in exile. It is
essentially a prose commentary upon three _canzoni_ written for the
honor and glory of the "noble, beautiful, and most compassionate lady,
Philosophy." In it Dante sought to set philosophy free from the
schools and from the heavy disputations of the scholars and to render
her beauty visible even to the unlearned. It was the first important
work on philosophy written in the Italian tongue, an innovation which
the author rightly regarded as calling for some explanation and
defense. The passage quoted from it below comprises this defense.
Similar views on the nobility of the vulgar language, as compared with
the Latin, were later set forth in fuller form in the treatise _De
Vulgari Eloquentia_.

     Source--Dante Alighieri, _Il Convito_ ["The Banquet"], Bk. I.,
     Chaps. 5-13 _passim_. Translated by Katharine Hillard (London,
     1889), pp. 17-47 _passim_.

     [Sidenote: Reasons for using the Italian]

   V. =1.= This bread being cleansed of its accidental
   impurities,[601] we have now but to free it from one [inherent] in
   its substance, that is, its being in the vulgar tongue, and not in
   Latin; so that we might metaphorically call it made of oats instead
   of wheat. And this [fault] may be briefly excused by three reasons,
   which moved me to prefer the former rather than the latter
   [language]. The first arises from care to avoid an unfit order of
   things; the second, from a consummate liberality; the third, from a
   natural love of one's own tongue. And I intend here in this manner
   to discuss, in due order, these things and their causes, that I
   may free myself from the reproach above named.

     [Sidenote: The Latin fixed, the Italian changeable]

   =3.= For, in the first place, had it [the commentary] been in
   Latin, it would have been sovereign rather than subject, by its
   nobility, its virtue, and its beauty. By its nobility, because
   Latin is enduring and incorruptible, and the vulgar tongue is
   unstable and corruptible. For we see that the ancient books of
   Latin tragedy and comedy cannot be changed from the form we have
   to-day, which is not the case with the vulgar tongue, as that can
   be changed at will. For we see in the cities of Italy, if we take
   notice of the past fifty years, how many words have been lost, or
   invented, or altered; therefore, if a short time can work such
   changes, how much more can a longer period effect! So that I think,
   should they who departed this life a thousand years ago return to
   their cities, they would believe them to be occupied by a foreign
   people, so different would the language be from theirs. Of this I
   shall speak elsewhere more fully, in a book which I intend to
   write, God willing, on _Vulgar Eloquence_.[602]

     [Sidenote: Translations cannot preserve the literary splendor of
   the originals]

   VII. =4.= ... The Latin could only have explained them [the
   _canzoni_] to scholars; for the rest would not have understood it.
   Therefore, as among those who desire to understand them there are
   many more illiterate than learned, it follows that the Latin would
   not have fulfilled this behest as well as the vulgar tongue, which
   is understood both by the learned and the unlearned. Also the Latin
   would have explained them to people of other nations, such as
   Germans, English, and others; in doing which it would have exceeded
   their order.[603] For it would have been against their will I say,
   speaking generally, to have explained their meaning where their
   beauty could not go with it. And, moreover, let all observe that
   nothing harmonized by the laws of the Muses[604] can be changed
   from its own tongue to another one without destroying all its
   sweetness and harmony. And this is the reason why Homer is not
   turned from Greek into Latin like the other writings we have of
   theirs [the Greeks];[605] and this is why the verses of the
   Psalter[606] lack musical sweetness and harmony; for they have been
   translated from Hebrew to Greek, and from Greek to Latin, and in
   the first translation all this sweetness perished.

   IX. =1.= ... The Latin would not have served many; because, if we
   recall to mind what has already been said, scholars in other
   languages than the Italian could not have availed themselves of its
   service.[607] And of those of this speech (if we should care to
   observe who they are) we shall find that only to one in a thousand
   could it really have been of use; because they would not have
   received it, so prone are they to base desires, and thus deprived
   of that nobility of soul which above all desires this food. And to
   their shame I say that they are not worthy to be called scholars,
   because they do not pursue learning for its own sake, but for the
   money or the honors that they gain thereby; just as we should not
   call him a lute-player who kept a lute in the house to hire out,
   and not to play upon.

     [Sidenote: The Italian of more solid excellence than other tongues]

   X. =5.= Again, I am impelled to defend it [the vulgar tongue] from
   many of its accusers, who disparage it and commend others, above
   all the language of _Oco_,[608] saying that the latter is better
   and more beautiful than the former, wherein they depart from the
   truth. Wherefore by this commentary shall be seen the great
   excellence of the vulgar tongue of _Si_,[609] because (although the
   highest and most novel conceptions can be almost as fittingly,
   adequately, and beautifully expressed in it as in the Latin) its
   excellence in rhymed pieces, on account of the accidental
   adornments connected with them, such as rhyme and rhythm, or
   ordered numbers, cannot be perfectly shown; as it is with the
   beauty of a woman, when the splendor of her jewels and her garments
   draw more admiration than her person.[610] Wherefore he who would
   judge a woman truly looks at her when, unaccompanied by any
   accidental adornment, her natural beauty alone remains to her; so
   shall it be with this commentary, wherein shall be seen the
   facility of its language, the propriety of its diction, and the
   sweet discourse it shall hold; which he who considers well shall
   see to be full of the sweetest and most exquisite beauty. But
   because it is most virtuous in its design to show the futility and
   malice of its accuser, I shall tell, for the confounding of those
   who attack the Italian language, the purpose which moves them to do
   this; and upon this I shall now write a special chapter, that their
   infamy may be the more notorious.

     [Sidenote: Why people of Italy affect to despise their native

   XI. =1.= To the perpetual shame and abasement of those wicked men
   of Italy who praise the language of others and disparage their own,
   I would say that their motive springs from five abominable causes.
   The first is intellectual blindness; the second, vicious excuses;
   the third, greed of vain-glory; the fourth, an argument based on
   envy; the fifth and last, littleness of soul, that is,
   pusillanimity. And each of these vices has so large a following,
   that few are they who are free from them....

     [Sidenote: The unskilful attribute their faults to the language]

   =3.= The second kind work against our language by vicious excuses.
   These are they who would rather be considered masters than be such;
   and, to avoid the reverse (that is, not to be considered masters),
   they always lay the blame upon the materials prepared for their
   art, or upon their tools; as the bad smith blames the iron given
   him, and the bad lute-player blames the lute, thinking thus to lay
   the fault of the bad knife or the bad playing upon the iron or the
   lute, and to excuse themselves. Such are they (and they are not
   few) who wish to be considered orators; and in order to excuse
   themselves for not speaking, or for speaking badly, blame and
   accuse their material, that is, their own language, and praise that
   of others in which they are not required to work. And whoever
   wishes to see wherein this tool [the vulgar tongue] deserves blame,
   let him look at the work that good workmen have done with it, and
   he will recognize the viciousness of those who, laying the blame
   upon it, think they excuse themselves. Against such does Tullius
   exclaim, in the beginning of one of his books called _De
   Finibus_,[611] because in his time they blamed the Latin language
   and commended the Greek, for the same reasons that these people
   consider the Italian vile and the Provençal precious.

     [Sidenote: People should use their own language, as being most
   natural to them]

   XII. =3.= That thing is nearest to a person which is, of all things
   of its kind, the most closely related to himself; thus of all men
   the son is nearest to the father, and of all arts medicine is
   nearest to the doctor, and music to the musician, because these are
   more closely related to them than any others; of all countries, the
   one a man lives in is nearest to him, because it is most closely
   related to him. And thus a man's own language is nearest to him,
   because most closely related, being that one which comes alone and
   before all others in his mind, and not only of itself is it thus
   related, but by accident, inasmuch as it is connected with those
   nearest to him, such as his kinsmen, and his fellow-citizens, and
   his own people. And this is his own language, which is not only
   near, but the very nearest, to every one. Because if proximity be
   the seed of friendship, as has been stated above, it is plain that
   it has been one of the causes of the love I bear my own language,
   which is nearer to me than the others. The above-named reason (that
   is, that we are most nearly related to that which is first in our
   mind) gave rise to that custom of the people which makes the
   firstborn inherit everything, as the nearest of kin; and, because
   the nearest, therefore the most beloved.

     [Sidenote: The Italian fulfils the highest requirement of a

   =4.= And again, its goodness makes me its friend. And here we must
   know that every good quality properly belonging to a thing is
   lovable in that thing; as men should have a fine beard, and women
   should have the whole face quite free from hair; as the foxhound
   should have a keen scent, and the greyhound great speed. And the
   more peculiar this good quality, the more lovable it is, whence,
   although all virtue is lovable in man, that is most so which is
   most peculiarly human.... And we see that, of all things pertaining
   to language, the power of adequately expressing thought is the most
   loved and commended; therefore this is its peculiar virtue. And as
   this belongs to our own language, as has been proved above in
   another chapter, it is plain that this was one of the causes of my
   love for it; since, as we have said, goodness is one of the causes
   that engender love.

80. Dante's Conception of the Imperial Power

The best known prose work of Dante, the _De Monarchia_, is perhaps the
most purely idealistic political treatise ever written. Its quality of
idealism is so pronounced, in fact, that there is not even sufficient
mention of contemporary men or events to assist in solving the wholly
unsettled problem of the date of its composition. The _De Monarchia_
is composed of three books, each of which is devoted to a fundamental
question in relation to the balance of temporal and spiritual
authority. The first question is whether the temporal monarchy is
necessary for the well-being of the world. The answer is, that it is
necessary for the preservation of justice, freedom, and unity and
effectiveness of human effort. The second question is whether the
Roman people took to itself this dignity of monarchy, or empire, by
right. By a survey of Roman history from the days of Æneas to those of
Cæsar it is made to appear that it was God's will that the Romans
should rule the world. The third question is the most vital of all and
its answer constitutes the pith of the treatise. In brief it is, does
the authority of the Roman monarch, or emperor, who is thus by right
the monarch of the world, depend immediately upon God, or upon some
vicar of God, the successor of Peter? This question Dante answers
first negatively by clearing away the familiar defenses of spiritual
supremacy, and afterwards positively, by bringing forward specific
arguments for the temporal superiority. The selection given below
comprises the most suggestive portions of Dante's treatment of this
aspect of his subject. The method, it will be observed, is quite
thoroughly scholastic. Whenever the _De Monarchia_ was composed, it
remained all but unknown until after the author's death (1321); but
with the renewal of conflict between papacy and imperial power the
imperialists were not slow to make use of the treatise, and by the
middle of the fourteenth century it had become known throughout
Europe, being admired by one party as much as it was abhorred by the
other. At various times copies of it were burned as heretical and in
the sixteenth century it was placed by the Roman authorities upon the
Index of Prohibited Books. Few literary productions of the later
Middle Ages exercised greater influence upon contemporary thought and

     Source--Dante Alighieri, _De Monarchia_ ["Concerning
     Monarchy"], Bk. III., Chaps. 1-16 _passim_. Translated by
     Aurelia Henry (Boston, 1904), pp. 137-206 _passim_.

     [Sidenote: The problem to be considered]

   I. =2.= The question pending investigation, then, concerns two
   great luminaries, the Roman Pontiff [Pope] and the Roman Prince
   [Emperor]; and the point at issue is whether the authority of the
   Roman monarch, who, as proved in the second book, is rightful
   monarch of the world, is derived from God directly, or from some
   vicar or minister of God, by whom I mean the successor of Peter,
   indisputable keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

   IV. =1.= Those men to whom the entire subsequent discussion is
   directed assert that the authority of the Empire depends on the
   authority of the Church, just as the inferior artisan depends on
   the architect. They are drawn to this by divers opposing arguments,
   some of which they take from Holy Scripture, and some from certain
   acts performed by the chief pontiff, and by the Emperor himself;
   and they endeavor to make their conviction reasonable.

     [Sidenote: The analogy of the sun and moon]

   =2.= For, first, they maintain that, according to Genesis, God made
   two mighty luminaries, a greater and a lesser, the former to hold
   supremacy by day and the latter by night [Gen., i. 15, 16]. These
   they interpret allegorically to be the two rulers--spiritual and
   temporal.[612] Whence they argue that as the lesser luminary, the
   moon, has no light but that gained from the sun, so the temporal
   ruler has no authority but that gained from the spiritual ruler.

   =8.= I proceed to refute the above assumption that the two
   luminaries of the world typify its two ruling powers. The whole
   force of their argument lies in the interpretation; but this we can
   prove indefensible in two ways. First, since these ruling powers
   are, as it were, accidents necessitated by man himself, God would
   seem to have used a distorted order in creating first accidents,
   and then the subject necessitating them. It is absurd to speak thus
   of God, but it is evident from the Word that the two lights were
   created on the fourth day, and man on the sixth.

     [Sidenote: An abstruse bit of mediæval reasoning]

   =9.= Secondly, the two ruling powers exist as the directors of men
   toward certain ends, as will be shown further on. But had man
   remained in the state of innocence in which God made him, he would
   have required no such direction. These ruling powers are therefore
   remedies against the infirmity of sin. Since on the fourth day man
   was not only not a sinner, but was not even existent, the creation
   of a remedy would have been purposeless, which is contrary to
   divine goodness. Foolish indeed would be the physician who should
   make ready a plaster for the abscess of a man not yet born.
   Therefore it cannot be asserted that God made the two ruling powers
   on the fourth day; and consequently the meaning of Moses cannot
   have been what it is supposed to be.

   =10.= Also, in order to be tolerant, we may refute this fallacy by
   distinction. Refutation by distinction deals more gently with an
   adversary, for it shows him to be not absolutely wrong, as does
   refutation by destruction. I say, then, that although the moon may
   have abundant light only as she receives it from the sun, it does
   not follow on that account that the moon herself owes her existence
   to the sun. It must be recognized that the essence of the moon, her
   strength, and her function, are not one and the same thing. Neither
   in her essence, her strength, nor her function taken absolutely,
   does the moon owe her existence to the sun, for her movement is
   impelled by her own force and her influence by her own rays.
   Besides, she has a certain light of her own, as is shown in
   eclipse. It is in order to fulfill her function better and more
   potently that she borrows from the sun abundance of light, and
   works thereby more effectively.

     [Sidenote: Why the argument from the sun and moon fails]

   =11.= In like manner, I say, the temporal power receives from the
   spiritual neither its existence, nor its strength, which is its
   authority, nor even its function, taken absolutely. But well for
   her does she receive therefrom, through the light of grace which
   the benediction of the chief pontiff sheds upon it in heaven and on
   earth, strength to fulfill her function more perfectly. So the
   argument was at fault in form, because the predicate of the
   conclusion is not a term of the major premise, as is evident. The
   syllogism runs thus: The moon receives light from the sun, which
   is the spiritual power; the temporal ruling power is the moon;
   therefore the temporal receives authority from the spiritual. They
   introduce "light" as the term of the major, but "authority" as
   predicate of the conclusion, which two things we have seen to be
   diverse in subject and significance.

     [Sidenote: Argument from the prerogative of the keys committed to

   VIII. =1.= From the same gospel they quote the saying of Christ to
   Peter, "Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in
   heaven" [Matt., xvi. 19], and understand this saying to refer alike
   to all the Apostles, according to the text of Matthew and John
   [Matt., xviii. 18 and John, xx. 23]. They reason from this that the
   successor of Peter has been granted of God power to bind and loose
   all things, and then infer that he has power to loose the laws and
   decrees of the Empire, and to bind the laws and decrees of the
   temporal kingdom. Were this true, their inference would be correct.

   =2.= But we must reply to it by making a distinction against the
   major premise of the syllogism which they employ. Their syllogism
   is this: Peter had power to bind and loose all things; the
   successor of Peter has like power with him; therefore the successor
   of Peter has power to loose and bind all things. From this they
   infer that he has power to loose and bind the laws and decrees of
   the Empire.

   =3.= I concede the minor premise, but the major only with
   distinction. Wherefore I say that "all," the symbol of the
   universal which is implied in "whatsoever," is never distributed
   beyond the scope of the distributed term. When I say, "All animals
   run," the distribution of "all" comprehends whatever comes under
   the genus "animal." But when I say, "All men run," the symbol of
   the universal refers only to whatever comes under the term "man."
   And when I say, "All grammarians run," the distribution is narrowed
   still further.

   =4.= Therefore we must always determine what it is over which the
   symbol of the universal is distributed; then, from the recognized
   nature and scope of the distributed term, will be easily apparent
   the extent of the distribution. Now, were "whatsoever" to be
   understood absolutely when it is said, "Whatsoever thou shalt
   bind," he would certainly have the power they claim; nay, he would
   have even greater power--he would be able to loose a wife from her
   husband, and, while the man still lived, bind her to another--a
   thing he can in nowise do. He would be able to absolve me, while
   impenitent--a thing which God Himself cannot do.

     [Sidenote: Dante's interpretation of the Scripture in question]

   =5.= So it is evident that the distribution of the term under
   discussion is to be taken, not absolutely, but relatively to
   something else. A consideration of the concession to which the
   distribution is subjoined will make manifest this related
   something. Christ said to Peter, "I will give unto thee the keys of
   the kingdom of heaven;" that is, I will make thee doorkeeper of the
   kingdom of heaven. Then He adds, "and whatsoever," that is,
   "everything which," and He means thereby, "Everything which
   pertains to that office thou shalt have power to bind and loose."
   And thus the symbol of the universal which is implied in
   "whatsoever" is limited in its distribution to the prerogative of
   the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Understood thus, the proposition
   is true, but understood absolutely, it is obviously not. Therefore
   I conclude that, although the successor of Peter has authority to
   bind and loose in accordance with the requirements of the
   prerogative granted to Peter, it does not follow, as they claim,
   that he has authority to bind and loose the decrees or statutes of
   empire, unless they prove that this also belongs to the office of
   the keys. But further on we shall demonstrate that the contrary is

   XIII. =1.= Now that we have stated and rejected the errors on which
   those chiefly rely who declare that the authority of the Roman
   Prince is dependent on the Roman Pontiff,[613] we must return and
   demonstrate the truth of that question which we propounded for
   discussion at the beginning. The truth will be evident enough if it
   can be shown, under the principle of inquiry agreed upon, that
   imperial authority derives immediately from the summit of all
   being, which is God. And this will be shown, whether we prove that
   imperial authority does not derive from that of the Church (for the
   dispute concerns no other authority), or whether we prove simply
   that it derives immediately from God.

     [Sidenote: The Church (or papacy) is not the source of imperial

   =2.= That ecclesiastical authority is not the source of imperial
   authority is thus verified. A thing non-existent, or devoid of
   active force, cannot be the cause of active force in a thing
   possessing that quality in full measure. But before the Church
   existed, or while it lacked power to act, the Empire had active
   force in full measure. Hence the Church is the source, neither of
   acting power nor of authority in the Empire, where power to act and
   authority are identical. Let A be the Church, B the Empire, and C
   the power or authority of the Empire. If, A being non-existent, C
   is in B, the cause of C's relation to B cannot be A, since it is
   impossible that an effect should exist prior to its cause.
   Moreover, if, A being inoperative, C is in B, the cause of C's
   relation to B cannot be A, since it is indispensable for the
   production of effect that the cause should be in operation
   previously, especially the efficient cause which we are considering

     [Sidenote: Early Christian recognition of the authority of the

   =3.= The major premise of this demonstration is intelligible from
   its terms; the minor is confirmed by Christ and the Church. Christ
   attests it, as we said before, in His birth and death. The Church
   attests it in Paul's declaration to Festus in the Acts of the
   Apostles: "I stand at Cæsar's judgment seat, where I ought to be
   judged" [Acts, xxv. 10]; and in the admonition of God's angel to
   Paul a little later: "Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before
   Cæsar" [Acts, xxvii. 24]; and again, still later, in Paul's words
   to the Jews dwelling in Italy: "And when the Jews spake against it,
   I was constrained to appeal unto Cæsar; not that I had aught to
   accuse my nation of," but "that I might deliver my soul from death"
   [Acts, xxviii. 19]. If Cæsar had not already possessed the right to
   judge temporal matters, Christ would not have implied that he did,
   the angel would not have uttered such words, nor would he who said,
   "I desire to depart and be with Christ" [Phil., i. 23], have
   appealed to an unqualified judge.

   XIV. =1.= Besides, if the Church has power to confer authority on
   the Roman Prince, she would have it either from God, or from
   herself, or from some Emperor, or from the unanimous consent of
   mankind, or, at least, from the consent of the most influential.
   There is no other least crevice through which the power could have
   diffused itself into the Church. But from none of these has it come
   to her, and therefore the aforesaid power is not hers at all.

   XVI. =1.= Although by the method of reduction to absurdity it has
   been shown in the foregoing chapter that the authority of empire
   has not its source in the Chief Pontiff, yet it has not been fully
   proved, save by an inference, that its immediate source is God,
   seeing that if the authority does not depend on the vicar of God,
   we conclude that it depends on God Himself. For a perfect
   demonstration of the proposition we must prove directly that the
   Emperor, or Monarch, of the world has immediate relationship to the
   Prince of the universe, who is God.

     [Sidenote: Positive argument that the authority of the emperor is
   derived directly from God]

   =2.= In order to realize this, it must be understood that man alone
   of all beings holds the middle place between corruptibility and
   incorruptibility, and is therefore rightly compared by
   philosophers to the horizon which lies between the two
   hemispheres. Man may be considered with regard to either of his
   essential parts, body or soul. If considered in regard to the body
   alone, he is perishable; if in regard to the soul alone, he is
   imperishable. So the Philosopher[614] spoke well of its
   incorruptibility when he said in the second book, _On the Soul_,
   "And this only can be separated as a thing eternal from that which

   =3.= If man holds a middle place between the perishable and the
   imperishable, then, inasmuch as every man shares the nature of the
   extremes, man must share both natures. And inasmuch as every nature
   is ordained for a certain ultimate end, it follows that there
   exists for man a two-fold end, in order that as he alone of all
   beings partakes of the perishable and the imperishable, so he alone
   of all beings should be ordained for two ultimate ends. One end is
   for that in him which is perishable, the other for that which is

     [Sidenote: Double aspect of human life]

   =4.= Omniscient Providence has thus designed two ends to be
   contemplated by man: first, the happiness of this life, which
   consists in the activity of his natural powers, and is prefigured
   by the terrestrial Paradise; and then the blessedness of life
   everlasting, which consis