By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Early European History
Author: Webster, Hutton
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Early European History" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Anne Soulard, Charles Franks, Robert Fite, and the Online Distributed




"There is no part of history so generally useful as that which relates to
the progress of the human mind, the gradual improvement of reason, the
successive advances of science, the vicissitudes of learning and
ignorance, which are the light and darkness of thinking beings, the
extinction and resuscitation of arts, and the revolutions of the
intellectual world."
  --SAMUEL JOHNSON, _Rasselas_.


This book aims to furnish a concise and connected account of human
progress during ancient, medieval, and early modern times. It should meet
the requirements of those high schools and preparatory schools where
ancient history, as a separate discipline, is being supplanted by a more
extended course introductory to the study of recent times and contemporary
problems. Such a course was first outlined by the Regents of the
University of the State of New York in their _Syllabus for Secondary
Schools_, issued in 1910.

Since the appearance of the Regents' _Syllabus_ the Committee of Five of
the American Historical Association has made its _Report_ (1911),
suggesting a rearrangement of the curriculum which would permit a year's
work in English and Continental history. Still more recently the Committee
on Social Studies of the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary
Education, in its _Report_ (1916) to the National Education Association
has definitely recommended the division of European history into two
parts, of which the first should include ancient and Oriental
civilization, English and Continental history to approximately the end of
the seventeenth century, and the period of American exploration.

The first twelve chapters of the present work are based upon the author's
_Ancient History_, published four years ago. In spite of many omissions,
it has been possible to follow without essential modification the plan of
the earlier volume. A number of new maps and illustrations have been added
to these chapters.

The selection of collateral reading, always a difficult problem in the
secondary school, is doubly difficult when so much ground must be covered
in a single course. The author ventures, therefore, to call attention to
his _Readings in Ancient History_. Its purpose, in the words of the
preface, is "to provide immature pupils with a variety of extended,
unified, and interesting extracts on matters which a textbook treats with
necessary, though none the less deplorable, condensation." A companion
volume, entitled _Readings in Medieval and Modern History_, will be
published shortly. References to both books are inserted in footnotes.

At the end of what has been a long and engrossing task, it becomes a
pleasant duty to acknowledge the help which has been received from
teachers in school and college. Various chapters, either in manuscript or
in the proofs, have been read by Professor James M. Leake of Bryn Mawr
College; Professor J. C. Hildt of Smith College; Very Rev. Patrick J.
Healy, Professor of Church History in the Catholic University of America;
Professor E. F. Humphrey of Trinity College; Dr. James Sullivan, Director
of the Division of Archives and History, State Dept. of Education of New
York; Constantine E. McGuire, Assistant Secretary General, International
High Commission, Washington; Miss Margaret E. McGill, of the Newton
(Mass.) High School; and Miss Mabel Chesley, of the Erasmus Hall High
School, Brooklyn. The author would also express appreciation of the labors
of the cartographers, artists, and printers, to whose accuracy and skill
every page of the book bears witness.


LINCOLN, NEBRASKA, February, 1917

   1   Steatite from Crete, two lions with forefeet on a pedestal, above
       a sun
   2   Sardonyx from Elis, a goddess holding up a goat by the horns
   3   Rock crystal a bearded Triton
   4   Carnelian, a youth playing a trigonon
   5   Chalcedony from Athens, a Bacchante
   6   Sard, a woman reading a manuscript roll, before her a lyre
   7   Carnelian, Theseus
   8   Chalcedony, portrait head, Hellenistic Age
   9   Aquamarine, portrait of Julia daughter of the emperor Titus
  10   Chalcedony, portrait head, Hellenistic Age
  11   Carnelian, bust portrait of the Roman emperor Decius
  12   Beryl, portrait of Julia Domna wife of the emperor Septimius
  13   Sapphire, head of the Madonna
  14   Carnelian, the judgment of Paris, Renaissance work
  15   Rock crystal, Madonna with Jesus and St. Joseph, probably Norman
       Sicilian work]








    1. The Study of History
    2. Prehistoric Peoples
    3. Domestication of Animals and Plants
    4. Writing and the Alphabet
    5. Primitive Science and Art
    6. Historic Peoples


    7. Physical Asia
    8. Babylonia and Egypt
    9. The Babylonians and the Egyptians
   10. The Phoenicians and the Hebrews
   11. The Assyrians
   12. The World Empire of Persia


   13. Social Classes
   14. Economic Conditions
   15. Commerce and Trade Routes
   16. Law and Morality
   17. Religion
   18. Literature and Art
   19. Science and Education


   20. Physical Europe
   21. Greece and the Aegean
   22. The Aegean Age (to about 1100 B.C.)
   23. The Homeric Age (about 1100-750 B.C.)
   24. Early Greek Religion
   25. Religious Institutions--Oracles and Games
   26. The Greek City-State
   27. The Growth of Sparta (to 500 B.C.)
   28. The Growth of Athens (to 500 B.C.)
   29. Colonial Expansion of Greece (about 750-500 B.C.)
   30. Bonds of Union among the Greeks


   31. The Perils of Hellas
   32. Expeditions of Darius against Greece
   33. Xerxes and the Great Persian War
   34. Athens under Themistocles, Aristides, and Cimon
   35. Athens under Pericles
   36. The Peloponnesian War, 431-404 B.C.
   37. The Spartan and Theban Supremacies, 404-362 B.C.
   38. Decline of the City-State


   39. Philip and the Rise of Macedonia
   40. Demosthenes and the End of Greek Freedom
   41. Alexander the Great
   42. Conquest of Persia and the Far East, 334-323 B.C.
   43. The Work of Alexander
   44. Hellenistic Kingdoms and Cities
   45. The Hellenistic Age
   46. The Graeco-Oriental World


   47. Italy and Sicily
   48. The Peoples of Italy
   49. The Romans
   50. Early Roman Society
   51. Roman Religion
   52. The Roman City State
   53. Expansion of Rome over Italy, 509 (?)-264 B.C.
   54. Italy under Roman Rule
   55. The Roman Army


   56. The Rivals Rome and Carthage, 264-218 B.C.
   57. Hannibal and the Great Punic War, 218-201 B.C.
   58. Roman Supremacy in the West and in the East, 201-133 B.C.
   59. The Mediterranean World under Roman Rule
   60. The Gracchi
   61. Marius and Sulla
   62. Pompey and Caesar
   63. The Work of Caesar
   64. Antony and Octavian
   65. The End of an Epoch


   66. Augustus, 31 B.C.-l4 A.D.
   67. The Successors of Augustus, 14-96 A.D.
   68. The "Good Emperors," 96-180 A.D.
   69. The Provinces of the Roman Empire
   70. The Roman Law and the Latin Language
   71. The Municipalities of the Roman Empire
   72. Economic and Social Conditions in the First and Second Centuries
   73. The Graeco-Roman World


   74. The "Soldier Emperors," 180-284 A.D.
   75. The "Absolute Emperors," 284-395 A.D.
   76. Economic and Social Conditions in the Third and Fourth Centuries
   77. The Preparation for Christianity
   78. Rise and Spread of Christianity
   79. The Persecutions
   80. Triumph of Christianity
   81. Christian Influence on Society


   82. Germany and the Germans
   83. Breaking of the Danube Barrier
   84. Breaking of the Rhine Barrier
   85. Inroads of the Huns
   86. End of the Roman Empire in the West, 476 A.D.
   87. Germanic Influence on Society


   88. The Classical City
   89. Education and the Condition of Children
   90. Marriage and the Position of Women
   91. The Home and Private Life
   92. Amusements
   93. Slavery
   94. Greek Literature
   95. Greek Philosophy
   96. Roman Literature
   97. Greek Architecture
   98. Greek Sculpture
   99. Roman Architecture and Sculpture
  100. Artistic Athens
  101. Artistic Rome


  102. The Ostrogoths in Italy, 488-553 A.D.
  103. The Lombards in Italy, 568-774 A.D.
  104. The Franks under Clovis and His Successors
  105. The Franks under Charles Martel and Pepin the Short
  106. The Reign of Charlemagne, 768-814 A.D.
  107. Charlemagne and the Revival of the Roman Empire, 800 A.D.
  108. Disruption of Charlemagne's Empire, 814-870 A.D.
  109. Germany under Saxon Kings, 919-973 A.D.
  110. Otto the Great and the Restoration of the Roman Empire, 962 A.D.
  111. The Anglo-Saxons in Britain, 449-839 A.D.
  112. Christianity in the British Isles
  113. The Fusion of Germans and Romans


  114. The Roman Empire in the East
  115. The Reign of Justinian, 527-565 A.D.
  116. The Empire and its Asiatic Foes
  117. The Empire and its Foes in Europe
  118. Byzantine Civilization
  119. Constantinople


  120. Development of the Christian Church
  121. Eastern Christianity
  122. Western Christianity: Rise of the Papacy
  123. Growth of the Papacy
  124. Monasticism
  125. Life and Work of the Monks
  126. Spread of Christianity over Europe
  127. Separation of Eastern and Western Christianity
  128. The Greek Church
  129. The Roman Church

     622-1058 A.D.

  130. Arabia and the Arabs
  131. Mohammed: Prophet and Statesman, 622-632 A.D.
  132. Islam and the Koran
  133. Expansion of Islam in Asia and Egypt
  134. Expansion of Islam in North Africa and Spain
  135. The Caliphate and its Disruption, 632-1058 A.D.
  136. Arabian Civilization
  137. The Influence of Islam


  138. Scandinavia and the Northmen
  139. The Viking Age
  140. Scandinavian Heathenism
  141. The Northmen in the West
  142. The Northmen in the East
  143. Normandy and the Normans
  144. Conquest of England by the Danes; Alfred the Great
  145. Norman Conquest of England; William the Conqueror
  146. Results of the Norman Conquest
  147. Norman Conquest of Southern Italy and Sicily
  148. The Normans in European History


  149. Rise of Feudalism
  150. Feudalism as a System of Local Government
  151. Feudal Justice
  152. Feudal Warfare
  153. The Castle and Life of the Nobles
  154. Knighthood and Chivalry
  155. Feudalism as a System of Local Industry
  156. The Village and Life of the Peasants
  157. Serfdom
  158. Decline of Feudalism


  159. Characteristics of the Medieval Church
  160. Church Doctrine and Worship
  161. Church Jurisdiction
  162. The Secular Clergy
  163. The Regular Clergy
  164. The Friars
  165. Power of the Papacy
  166. Popes and Emperors, 962-1122 A.D.
  167. Popes and Emperors, 1122-1273 A.D.
  168. Significance of the Medieval Church


  169. Causes of the Crusades
  170. First Crusade, 1095-1099 A.D.
  171. Crusaders' States in Syria
  172. Second Crusade, 1147-1149 A.D., and Third Crusade, 1189-1192 A.D.
  173. Fourth Crusade and the Latin Empire of Constantinople,
       1202-1261 A.D.
  174. Results of the Crusades


  175. The Mongols
  176. Conquests of the Mongols, 1206-1405 A.D.
  177. The Mongols in China and India
  178. The Mongols in Eastern Europe
  179. The Ottoman Turks and their Conquests, 1227-1453 A.D.
  180. The Ottoman Turks in Southeastern Europe


  181. Growth of the Nations
  182. England under William the Conqueror, 1066-1087 A.D., the Norman
  183. England under Henry II, 1154-1189 A.D., Royal Justice and the
       Common Law
  184. The Great Charter, 1215 A.D.
  185. Parliament during the Thirteenth Century
  186. Expansion of England under Edward I, 1272-1307 A.D.
  187. Unification of France, 987-1328 A.D.
  188. The Hundred Years' War between England and France, 1337-1453 A.D.
  189. The Unification of Spain (to 1492 A.D.)
  190. Austria and the Swiss Confederation, 1273-1499 A.D.
  191. Expansion of Germany


  192. Growth of the Cities
  193. City Life
  194. Civic Industry--the Guilds
  195. Trade and Commerce
  196. Money and Banking
  197. Italian Cities
  198. German Cities, the Hanseatic League
  199. The Cities of Flanders


  200. Formation of National Languages
  201. Development of National Literatures
  202. Romanesque and Gothic Architecture, the Cathedrals
  203. Education, the Universities
  204. Scholasticism
  205. Science and Magic
  206. Popular Superstitions
  207. Popular Amusements and Festivals
  208. Manners and Customs


  209. Meaning of the Renaissance
  210. Revival of Learning in Italy
  211. Paper and Printing
  212. Revival of Art in Italy
  213. Revival of Learning and Art beyond Italy
  214. The Renaissance in Literature
  215. The Renaissance in Education
  216. The Scientific Renaissance
  217. The Economic Renaissance


  218. Medieval Geography
  219. Aids to Exploration
  220. To the Indies Eastward--Prince Henry and Da Gama
  221. The Portuguese Colonial Empire
  222. To the Indies Westward: Columbus and Magellan
  223. The Indians
  224. Spanish Explorations and Conquests in America
  225. The Spanish Colonial Empire
  226. French and English Explorations in America
  227. The Old World and the New


  228. Decline of the Papacy
  229. Heresies and Heretics
  230. Martin Luther and the Beginning of the Reformation in Germany,
       1517-1522 A.D.
  231. Charles V and the Spread of the German Reformation, 1519-1556 A.D.
  232. The Reformation in Switzerland: Zwingli and Calvin
  233. The English Reformation, 1533-1558 A.D.
  234. The Protestant Sects
  235. The Catholic Counter Reformation
  236. Spain under Philip II, 1556-1598 A.D.
  237. Revolt of the Netherlands
  238. England under Elizabeth, 1558-1603 A.D.
  239. The Huguenot Wars in France
  240. The Thirty Years' War, 1618-1648 A.D.


  241. The Divine Right of Kings
  242. The Absolutism of Louis XIV, 1661-1715 A.D.
  243. France under Louis XIV
  244. The Wars of Louis XIV
  245. The Absolutism of the Stuarts, 1603-1642 A.D.
  246. Oliver Cromwell and the Civil War, 1642-1649 A.D.
  247. The Commonwealth and the Protectorate, 1649-1660 A.D.
  248. The Restoration and the "Glorious Revolution," 1660-1689 A.D.
  249. England in the Seventeenth Century

APPENDIX--Table of Events and Dates



  Disk of Phaestus.
  A Papyrus Manuscript.
  A Prehistoric Egyptian Grave.
  A Hatchet of the Early Stone Age.
  Arrowheads of the Later Stone Age.
  Early Roman Bar Money.
  Various Signs of Symbolic Picture Writing.
  Mexican Rebus.
  Chinese Picture Writing and Later Conventional Characters.
  Cretan Writing.
  Egyptian and Babylonian Writing.
  The Moabite Stone (Louvre, Paris).
  Head of a Girl (Musée S. Germain, Paris).
  Sketch of Mammoth on a Tusk found in a Cave in France.
  Bison painted on the Wall of a Cave.
  Cave Bear drawn on a Pebble.
  Wild Horse on the Wall of a Cave in Spain.
  A Dolmen.
  Carved Menhir.
  Race Portraiture of the Egyptians.
  The Great Wall of China.
  Top of Monument containing the Code of Hammurabi (British Museum,
  Khufu (Cheops), Builder of the Great Pyramid.
  Menephtah, the supposed Pharaoh of the Exodus.
  Head of Mummy of Rameses II (Museum of Gizeh).
  The Great Pyramid.
  The Great Sphinx.
  A Phoenician War Galley.
  An Assyrian.
  An Assyrian Relief (British Museum, London).
  The Ishtar Gate, Babylon.
  The Tomb of Cyrus the Great.
  Darius with his Attendants.
  Rock Sepulchers of the Persian Kings.
  A Royal Name in Hieroglyphics (Rosetta Stone).
  An Egyptian Court Scene.
  Plowing and Sowing in Ancient Egypt.
  Transport of an Assyrian Colossus.
  Egyptian weighing Cow Gold.
  Babylonian Contract Tablet.
  An Egyptian Scarab.
  Amenhotep IV.
  Mummy and Cover of Coffin (U.S. National Museum, Washington).
  The Judgment of the Dead.
  The Deluge Tablet (British Museum, London).
  An Egyptian Temple (Restored).
  An Egyptian Wooden Statue (Museum of Gizeh).
  An Assyrian Palace (Restored).
  An Assyrian Winged Human headed Bull.
  An Assyrian Hunting Scene (British Museum, London).
  A Babylonian Map of the World.
  An Egyptian Scribe (Louvre, Paris).
  Excavations at Nippur.
  Excavations at Troy.
  Lions' Gate, Mycenae.
  Silver Fragment from Mycenae (National Museum, Athens).
  A Cretan Girl (Museum of Candia, Crete).
  Aegean Snake Goddess (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).
  A Cretan Cupbearer (Museum of Candia, Crete).
  The François Vase (Archaeological Museum, Florence).
  Consulting the Oracle at Delphi.
  The Discus Thrower (Lancelotti Palace, Rome).
  Athlete using the Strigil (Vatican Gallery, Rome).
  "Temple of Neptune," Paestum.
  Croesus on the Pyre.
  Persian Archers (Louvre, Paris).
  Gravestone of Aristion (National Museum, Athens).
  Greek Soldiers in Arms.
  The Mound at Marathon.
  A Themistocles Ostrakon (British Museum, London).
  An Athenian Trireme (Reconstruction).
  Pericles (British Museum, London).
  An Athenian Inscription.
  The "Mourning Athena" (Acropolis Museum, Athens).
  A Silver Coin of Syracuse.
  Philip II.
  Demosthenes (Vatican Museum, Rome).
  Alexander (Glyptothek, Munich).
  The Alexander Mosaic (Naples Museum).
  A Greek Cameo (Museum, Vienna).
  The Dying Gaul (Capitoline Museum, Rome).
  A Graeco-Etruscan Chariot (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
  An Etruscan Arch.
  Characters of the Etruscan Alphabet.
  An Early Roman Coin.
  A Roman Farmer's Calendar.
  Cinerary Urns in Terra Cotta (Vatican Museum, Rome).
  A Vestal Virgin.
  Suovetaurilia (Louvre, Paris).
  An Etruscan Augur.
  Coop with Sacred Chickens.
  Curule Chair and Fasces.
  The Appian Way.
  A Roman Legionary.
  A Roman Standard Bearer (Bonn Museum).
  Column of Duilius (Restored).
  A Carthaginian or Roman Helmet (British Museum, London).
  A Testudo.
  Storming a City (Reconstruction).
  Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Spada Palace, Rome).
  Marcus Tullius Cicero (Vatican Museum, Rome).
  Gaius Julius Caesar (British Museum, London).
  A Roman Coin with the Head of Julius Caesar.
  Augustus (Vatican Museum, Rome).
  Monumentum Ancyranum.
  Nerva (Vatican Museum, Rome).
  Column of Trajan.
  The Pantheon.
  The Tomb of Hadrian.
  Marcus Aurelius in his Triumphal Car (Palace of the Conservatori, Rome).
  Wall of Hadrian in Britain.
  Roman Baths, at Bath, England.
  A Roman Freight Ship.
  A Roman Villa.
  A Roman Temple.
  The Amphitheater at Arles.
  A Megalith at Baalbec
  The Wall of Rome
  A Mithraic Monument
  Modern Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives
  Madonna and Child
  Christ the Good Shepherd (Imperial Museum, Constantinople)
  Interior of the Catacombs
  The Labarum
  Arch of Constantine
  Runic Alphabet
  A Page of the Gothic Gospels (Reduced)
  An Athenian School (Royal Museum, Berlin)
  A Roman School Scene
  Youth reading a Papyrus Roll
  House of the Vettii at Pompeii (Restored)
  Atrium of a Pompeian House
  Pompeian Floor Mosaic
  Peristyle of a Pompeian House
  A Greek Banquet
  A Roman Litter
  Theater of Dionysus, Athens
  A Dancing Girl
  The Circus Maximus (Restoration)
  A Slave's Collar
  Sophocles (Lateran Museum, Rome)
  Socrates (Vatican Museum, Rome)
  Corner of a Doric Façade
  Corner of an Ionic Façade
  Corinthian Capital
  Composite Capital
  Tuscan Capital
  Interior View of the Ulpian Basilica (Restoration)
  A Roman Aqueduct
  The Colosseum (Exterior)
  The Colosseum (Interior)
  A Roman Cameo
  Tomb of Theodoric at Ravenna
  Charlemagne (Lateran Museum Rome)
  The Iron Crown of Lombardy
  Cathedral at Aix la Chapelle
  Ring Seal of Otto the Great
  Anglo Saxon Drinking Horn
  St. Martin's Church, Canterbury
  Canterbury Cathedral
  A Mosaic of Justinian
  The Three Existing Monuments of the Hippodrome, Constantinople
  Religious Music
  The Nestorian Monument
  Papal Arms
  St. Daniel the Stylite on his Column
  Abbey of Saint Germain des Prés, Paris
  A Monk Copyist
  A Letter of Mohammed
  A Passage from the Koran
  Naval Battle showing Use of "Greek Fire"
  Interior of the Mosque of Cordova
  Capitals and Arabesques from the Alhambra
  Swedish Rock Carving
  A Runic Stone
  A Viking Ship
  Norse Metal Work (Museum, Copenhagen)
  Alfred the Great
  Alfred's Jewel (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)
  A Scene from the Bayeux Tapestry (Museum of Bayeux, Normandy)
  Trial by Combat
  Mounted Knight
  Château Gaillard (Restored)
  King and Jester
  Farm Work in the Fourteenth Century
  Pilgrims to Canterbury
  A Bishop ordaining a Priest
  St. Francis blessing the Birds
  The Spiritual and the Temporal Power
  Henry IV, Countess Matilda, and Gregory VII
  Contest between Crusaders and Moslems
  "Mosque of Omar," Jerusalem
  Effigy of a Knight Templar
  Richard I in Prison
  Hut-Wagon of the Mongols (Reconstruction)
  Tomb of Timur at Samarkand
  Mohammed II
  The "White Tower"
  A Passage from Domesday Book
  Windsor Castle
  Extract from the Great Charter
  Coronation Chair, Westminster Abbey
  A Queen Eleanor Cross
  Royal Arms of Edward III
  English Archer
  Walls of Carcassonne
  A Scene in Rothenburg
  House of the Butchers' Guild, Hildesheim, Germany
  Baptistery, Cathedral, and "Leaning Tower" of Pisa
  Venice and the Grand Canal
  Belfry of Bruges
  Town Hall of Louvain, Belgium
  Geoffrey Chaucer
  Roland at Roncesvalles
  Cross Section of Amiens Cathedral
  Gargoyles on the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris
  View of New College, Oxford
  Tower of Magdalen College, Oxford
  Roger Bacon
  Magician rescued from the Devil
  The Witches' Sabbath
  Chess Pieces of Charlemagne
  Bear Baiting
  A Miracle Play at Coventry, England
  Manor House in Shropshire, England
  Interior of an English Manor House
  Costumes of Ladies during the Later Middle Ages
  Dante Alighieri
  An Early Printing Press
  Facsimile of Part of Caxton's "Aeneid" (Reduced)
  Desiderius Erasmus (Louvre, Paris)
  William Shakespeare
  Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-on-Avon
  Richard II
  Geographical Monsters
  An Astrolabe
  Vasco da Gama
  Christopher Columbus (Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid)
  Ship of 1492 A.D.
  The Name "America"
  Ferdinand Magellan
  Aztec Sacrificial Knife
  Aztec Sacrificial Stone
  Cabot Memorial Tower
  John Wycliffe
  Martin Luther
  Charles V
  John Calvin
  Henry VIII
  Ruins of Melrose Abbey
  Chained Bible
  St. Ignatius Loyola
  Philip II
  The Escorial
  William the Silent
  Crown of Elizabeth's Reign
  London Bridge in the Time of Elizabeth
  The Spanish Armada in the English Channel
  Cardinal Richelieu (Louvre, Paris.)
  Gustavus Adolphus
  Cardinal Mazarin
  Louis XIV
  Medal of Louis XIV
  Gold Coin of James I
  A Puritan Family
  Charles I
  Execution of the Earl of Strafford
  Oliver Cromwell
  Interior of Westminster Hall
  Great Seal of England under the Commonwealth (Reduced)
  Boys' Sports
  Silver Crown of Charles II
  A London Bellman
  Coach and Sedan Chair
  Death Mask of Sir Isaac Newton


  Distribution of Semitic and Indo-European Peoples.
  Physical Map of Asia.
  Egyptian Empire (about 1450 B.C.)
  Canaan as divided among the Tribes.
  Solomon's Kingdom.
  Assyrian Empire (about 660 B.C.)
  Lydia, Media, Babylonia, and Egypt (about 550 B.C.)
  Persian Empire at its Greatest Extent (about 500 B.C.)
  Ancient Trade Routes
  Phœnician and Greek Colonies.
  Physical Map of Europe.
  Ancient Greece and the Aegean.
  Aegean Civilization.
  Greek Conquests and Migrations.
  The World according to Homer, 900 B.C.
  Greece at the Opening of the Persian Wars, 490 B.C.
  Vicinity of Athens.
  Greece at the Opening of the Peloponnesian War.
  Route of the Ten Thousand.
  Empire of Alexander the Great (about 323 B.C.)
  Kingdoms of Alexander's Successors (about 200 B.C.)
  The World according to Eratosthenes, 200 B.C.
  The World according to Ptolemy, 150 A.D.
  Ancient Italy and Sicily.
  Vicinity of Rome.
  Expansion of Roman Dominions in Italy, 509-264 B.C.
  Colonies and Military Roads in Italy.
  Expansion of Roman Dominions, 264-133 B.C.
  Expansion of Roman Dominions, 133-31 B.C.
  Expansion of Roman Dominions, 31 B.C.-180 A.D.
  Plan of Jerusalem and its Environs.
  Roman Britain.
  Roman Empire (about 395 A.D.)
  Growth of Christianity to the End of the Fourth Century.
  Germanic Migrations to 476 A.D.
  Europe at the Deposition of Romulus Augustulus, 476 A.D.
  Plan of the Ulpian Basilica
  Plan of Ancient Athens
  Plan of the Parthenon
  Plan of Ancient Rome
  Europe at the Death of Theodoric, 526 A.D.
  Europe at the Death of Justinian, 565 A.D.
  Growth of the Frankish Dominions, 481-768 A.D.
  Europe in the Age of Charlemagne, 800 A.D.
  The Frankish Dominions as divided by the Treaties of Verdun
      (843 A.D.) and Mersen (870 A.D.)
  Europe in the Age of Otto the Great, 972 A.D.
  Anglo-Saxon Britain
  Peoples of Europe at the Beginning of the Tenth Century
  The Roman Empire in the East during the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries
  Vicinity of Constantinople
  Plan of Constantinople
  Plan of Kirkstall Abbey, Yorkshire
  Growth of Christianity from the Fifth to the Fifteenth Century
  Expansion of Islam
  Discoveries of the Northmen in the West
  England under Alfred the Great
  Dominions of William the Conqueror
  Plan of Château Gaillard
  Plan of Hitchin Manor, Hertfordshire
  Germany and Italy during the Interregnum, 1254-1273 A.D.
  Mediterranean Lands after the Fourth Crusade, 1202-1204 A.D.
  The Mongol Empire
  Russia at the End of the Middle Ages
  Empire of the Ottoman Turks at the Fall of Constantinople, 1453 A.D.
  Dominions of the Plantagenets in England and France
  Scotland in the Thirteenth Century
  Unification of France during the Middle Ages
  Unification of Spain during the Middle Ages
  Growth of the Hapsburg Possessions
  The Swiss Confederation, 1291-1513 A.D.
  German Expansion Eastward during the Middle Ages
  Trade Routes between Northern and Southern Europe in the
      Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
  Medieval Trade Routes
  Plan of Salisbury Cathedral, England
  The World according to Cosmas Indicopleustes, 535 A.D.
  The Hereford Map, 1280 A.D.
  Behaim's Globe
  Portuguese and Spanish Colonial Empires in the Sixteenth Century
  The West Indies
  An Early Map of the New World (1540 A.D.)
  The Great Schism, 1378-1417 A.D.
  Europe at the Beginning of the Reformation, 1519 A.D.
  Extent of the Reformation, 1524-1572 A.D.
  The Netherlands in the Sixteenth Century
  Western Europe in the Time of Elizabeth
  Europe at the End of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 A.D.
  Acquisitions of Louis XIV and Louis XV
  Europe after the Peace of Utrecht, 1713 A.D.
  England and Wales--The Civil Wars of the Seventeenth Century
  Ireland in the Sixteenth Century


  Ancient and Medieval Gems
  The Rosetta Stone (British Museum, London)
  The Vaphio Gold Cups (National Museum, Athens)
  Greek Gods and Goddesses: Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Aphrodite
  Aphrodite of Melos (Louvre, Paris)
  Hermes and Dionysus (Museum of Olympia)
  Sarcophagus from Sidon (Imperial Ottoman Museum, Constantinople)
  Laocoön and his Children (Vatican Museum, Rome)
  Victory of Samothrace (Louvre, Paris)
  Oriental, Greek, and Roman Coins
  A Scene in Sicily
  Bay of Naples and Vesuvius
  Relief on the Arch of Titus
  The Parthenon
  Views of Pediment and Frieze of Parthenon
  Acropolis of Athens (Restoration)
  Acropolis of Athens from the Southwest
  Roman Forum and Surrounding Buildings (Restored)
  Roman Forum at the Present Time
  Sancta Sophia, Constantinople
  Fountain of Lions in the Alhambra
  The Taj Mahal, Agra
  Campanile and Doge's Palace, Venice
  Illuminated Manuscript
  Reims Cathedral
  Cologne Cathedral
  Interior of King's College Chapel, Cambridge
  Ghiberti's Bronze Doors at Florence
  St. Peter's, Rome
  Italian Paintings of the Renaissance
  Flemish, Spanish, and Dutch Paintings of the Renaissance



All serious students of history should have access to the _American
Historical Review_ (N. Y., 1895 to date, quarterly, $4.00 a year). This
journal, the organ of the American Historical Association, contains
articles by scholars, critical reviews of all important works, and notes
and news. The _History Teacher's Magazine_ is edited under the supervision
of a committee of the American Historical Association (Philadelphia, 1909
to date, monthly, $2.00 a year). Every well-equipped school library should
contain the files of the _National Geographic Magazine_ (Washington, 1890
to date, monthly, $2.00 a year) and of _Art and Archeology_ (Washington,
1914 to date, monthly, $3.00 a year). These two periodicals make a special
feature of illustrations.


Useful books for the teacher's library include H. E. Bourne, _The Teaching
of History and Civics in the Elementary and the Secondary School_ (N. Y.,
1902, Longmans, Green, and Co., $1.50), Henry Johnson, _The Teaching of
History_ (N. Y., 1915, Macmillan, $1.40), H. B. George, _Historical
Evidence_ (N.Y., 1909, Oxford University Press, American Branch, 75
cents), Frederic Harrison, _The Meaning of History and Other Historical
Pieces_ (New ed., N.Y., 1900, Macmillan, $1.75), J. H. Robinson, _The New
History_ (N. Y., 1912, Macmillan, $1.50), and H. B. George, _The Relations
of History and Geography_ (4th ed., N. Y., 1910, Oxford University Press,
American Branch, $1.10). The following reports are indispensable:

_The Study of History in Schools_. Report to the American Historical
Association by the Committee of Seven (N. Y., 1899, Macmillan, 50 cents).

_The Study of History in Secondary Schools_. Report to the American
Historical Association by a Committee of Five (N. Y., 1911, Macmillan, 25

_Historical Sources in Schools._ Report to the New England History
Teachers' Association by a Select Committee (N. Y., 1902, Macmillan, out
of print).

_A History Syllabus for Secondary Schools_. Report by a Special Committee
of the New England History Teachers' Association (N. Y., 1904, Heath,

_A Bibliography of History for Schools and Libraries._ Published under the
auspices of the Association of History Teachers of the Middle States and
Maryland (2d ed., N. Y., 1915, Longmans, Green, and Co., 60 cents).


The most useful dictionaries of classical antiquities are H. B. Walters,
_A Classical Dictionary_ (N. Y., 1916, Putnam, $6.50) and H. T. Peck,
_Harper's Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities_ (N. Y.,
1897, American Book Co., $6.00). Cambridge University, England, has
published _A Companion to Greek Studies_, edited by L. Whibley (2d ed., N.
Y., 1906, Putnam, $6.00), and _A Companion to Latin Studies_, edited by J.
E. Sandys (N. Y., 1911, Putnam, $6.00). These two volumes treat every
phase of ancient life in separate essays by distinguished scholars. For
chronology, genealogies, lists of sovereigns, and other data the most
valuable works are Arthur Hassall, _European History, 476-1910_ (new ed.,
N. Y., 1910, Macmillan, $2.25), G. P. Putnam, _Tabular Views of Universal
History_ (new ed., N. Y., 1915, Putnam, $2.50), and Karl J. Ploetz, _A
Handbook of Universal History_, translated by W. H. Tillinghast (Boston,
1915, Houghton Mifflin Co., $3.00).


The _Illustrated Topics for Ancient History_, arranged by D. C. Knowlton
(Philadelphia, McKinley Publishing Co., 65 cents), contain much valuable
material in the shape of a syllabus, source quotations, outline maps,
pictures, and other aids. The following syllabi have been prepared for
collegiate instruction:

Botsford, G. W. _A Syllabus of Roman History_ (N. Y., 1915, Macmillan, 50

Munro, D. C., and SELLERY, G. C. _A Syllabus of Medieval History, 395-
1500_ (N. Y., 1913, Longmans, Green, and Co., $1.00).

Richardson, O. H. _Syllabus of Continental European History from the Fall
of Rome to 1870_ (Boston, 1904, Ginn, boards, 75 cents).

Stephenson, Andrew. _Syllabus of Lectures on European History_ (Terre
Haute, Ind., 1897, Inland Publishing Co., $1.50).

Thompson, J. W. _Reference Studies in Medieval History_ (2d ed., Chicago,
1914, University of Chicago Press, $1.25). A rich collection of classified


An admirable collection of maps for school use is W. R. Shepherd,
_Historical Atlas_ (N. Y., 1911, Holt, $2.50), with about two hundred and
fifty maps covering the historical field. The latest and one of the best
of the classical atlases is _Murray's Small Classical Atlas_, edited by G.
B. Grundy (N. Y., 1904, Oxford University Press, American Branch, $1.35).
A special feature of this work is the adoption of the system of colored
contours to indicate configuration. The _Atlas of Ancient and Classical
Geography_ in "Everyman's Library" (N. Y., 1910, Dutton, 35 cents) might
well be purchased by every student. Other valuable works are E. W. Dow,
_Atlas of European History_ (N. Y., 1907, Holt, $1.50) and Ramsay Muir, _A
New School Atlas of Modern History_ (N. Y., 1911, Holt, $1.25). Much use
can be made of the inexpensive and handy _Literary and Historical Atlas of
Europe_ by J. G. Bartholomew in "Everyman's Library" (N. Y., 1910, Dutton,
35 cents).


Kiepert's _New Wall Maps of Ancient History_ (Chicago, Rand, McNally, and
Co.) and Johnston's _Classical Series_ (Chicago, A. J. Nystrom and Co.)
may be obtained singly, mounted on common rollers, or by sets in a case
with spring rollers. The text is in Latin. The Spruner-Bretschneider
_Historical Maps_ are ten in number, size 62 x 52 inches, and cover the
period from A.D. 350 to 1815. The text is in German (Chicago, Nystrom,
each $6.00; Rand, McNally, and Co., each $6.50). Johnston's _Maps of
English and European History_ are sixteen in number, size 40 x 30 inches,
and include four maps of ancient history (Chicago, Nystrom, each $2.50). A
new series of _European History Maps_, thirty-nine in number, size 44 x 32
inches, has been prepared for the study of ancient history by Professors
J. H. Breasted and C. F. Huth, and for medieval and modern history by
Professor S. B. Harding (Chicago, Denoyer-Geppert Co., complete set with
tripod stand, $52.00; in two spring roller cases, $73.00). These maps may
also be had separately. The maps in this admirable series omit all
irrelevant detail, present place names in the modern English form, and in
choice of subject matter emphasize the American viewpoint. The school
should also possess good physical wall maps such as the Sydow-Habenicht or
the Kiepert series, both to be obtained from Rand, McNally, and Co. The
text is in German. Phillips's _Model Test Maps_ and Johnston's _New Series
of Physical Wall Maps_ are obtainable from A. J. Nystrom and Co. The only
large charts available are those prepared by MacCoun for his _Historical
Geography Charts of Europe_. The two sections, "Ancient and Classical" and
"Medieval and Modern," are sold separately (N. Y., Silver, Burdett, and
Co., $15.00). A helpful series of _Blackboard Outline Maps_ is issued by
J. L. Engle, Beaver, Penn. These are wall maps, printed with paint on
blackboard cloth, for use with an ordinary crayon. Such maps are also sold
by the Denoyer-Geppert Co., Chicago.


The "Studies" following each chapter of this book include various
exercises for which small outline maps are required. Such maps are sold by
D. C. Heath and Co., Boston, New York, Chicago. Useful atlases of outline
maps are also to be had of the McKinley Publishing Co., Philadelphia,
Atkinson, Mentzer and Grover, Chicago, W. B. Harison, New York City, and
of other publishers.


The best photographs of ancient works of art must usually be obtained from
the foreign publishers in Naples, Florence, Rome, Munich, Paris, Athens,
and London, or from their American agents. Such photographs, in the usual
size, 8 x 10 inches, sell, unmounted, at from 6 to 8 francs a dozen. All
dealers in lantern slides issue descriptive catalogues of a great variety
of archaeological subjects. In addition to photographs and lantern slides,
a collection of stereoscopic views is very helpful in giving vividness and
interest to instruction in ancient history. An admirable series of
photographs for the stereoscope, including Egypt, Palestine, Greece, and
Italy, is issued by Underwood and Underwood, New York City. The same firm
supplies convenient maps and handbooks for use in this connection. The
Keystone stereographs, prepared by the Keystone View Company, Meadville,
Penn., may also be cordially recommended. The architecture, costumes,
amusements, and occupations of the Middle Ages in England are shown in
_Longmans' Historical Illustrations_ (six portfolios, each containing
twelve plates in black-and-white, Longmans, Green, and Co., 90 cents, each
portfolio). The same firm issues _Longmans' Historical Wall Pictures_,
consisting of twelve colored pictures from original paintings illustrating
English history (each picture, separately, 80 cents; in a portfolio,
$10.50). Other notable collections are Lehmann's _Geographical Pictures,
Historical Pictures_, and _Types of Nations_, and Cybulski's _Historical
Pictures_ (Chicago, Denoyer-Geppert Co.; each picture separately mounted
on rollers, $1.35 to $2.25). The New England History Teachers' Association
publishes a series of _Authentic Pictures for Class Room Use_, size 5 x 8
inches, price 3 cents each. The _Catalogue of the Collection of Historical
Material at Simmons College_, prepared by the New England History
Teachers' Association (2d ed., Boston, 1912, Houghton Mifflin Co., 25
cents), contains an extensive list of pictures, slides, models, and other
aids to history teaching. Among the more useful collections in book form
of photographic reproductions and drawings are the following:

Fechneimer, Hedwig. _Die Plastik der Ägypter_ (2d. ed., Berlin, 1914, B.
Cassirer, 12 marks). 156 plates of Egyptian sculpture.

Fougères, Gustvae. _La vie publique et privée des Grecs et des Romains_
(2d ed., Paris, 1900, Hachette, 15 francs). An album of 85 pictures.

Furtwängler, Adolf. _Masterpieces of Greek Sculpture_ (N. Y., Scribner,

Hekler, Anton. _Greek and Roman Portraits_ (N. Y., 1913, Putnam, $7.50).
311 plates, with comment and bibliography.

Hill, G. F. _Illustrations of School Classics_ (N. Y., 1903, Macmillan,

Muzik, H., and Perschinka, F. _Kunst und Leben im Altertum_ (Vienna, 1909,
F. Tempsky; Leipzig, G. Freytag, 4.40 marks).

Osborne, Duffield. _Engraved Gems_ (N. Y., 1913, Holt, $6.00).

Parmentier, A. _Album historique_ (Paris, 1894-1905, Colin, 4 vols., each
15 francs). Illustrations covering the medieval and modern periods, with
descriptive text in French.

Rheinhard, Hermann. _Album des klassischen Altertums_ (Stuttgart, 1882,
Hoffman, 18 marks). 72 pictures in colors.

Rouse, W. H. D. _Atlas of Classical Portraits._ Greek Section, Roman
Section (London, 1898, Dent, 2 vols., each 1_s_. 6_d_.). Small, half-tone
engravings, accompanied by brief biographies.

Schreiber, Theodor. _Atlas of Classical Antiquities_ (N. Y., 1895,
Macmillan, $6.50).


To vitalize the study of geography and history there is nothing better
than the reading of modern books of travel. Among these may be mentioned:

Allinson, F. G. and Allinson, Anne C. E. _Greek Lands and Letters_
(Boston, 1909, Houghton Mifflin Co., $2.50). An entertaining work of
mingled history and geography.

Barrows, S. J. _The Isles and Shrines of Greece_ (Boston, 1898, Little,
Brown, and Co., $2.00).

Clark, F. E. _The Holy Land of Asia Minor_ (N. Y., 1914, Scribner, $1.00).
Popular sketches.

Dunning, H. W. _To-day on the Nile_ (N. Y., 1905, Pott, $2.50).

------ _To-day in Palestine_ (N. Y., 1907, Pott, $2.50).

Dwight, H. G. _Constantinople, Old and New_ (N. Y., 1915, Scribner,

Edwards, Amelia B. _A Thousand Miles up the Nile_ (2d ed., N. Y., 1888,
Dutton, $2.50).

Forman, H. J. _The Ideal Italian Tour_ (Boston, 1911, Houghton Mifflin
Co., $1.50). A brief and attractive volume covering all Italy.

Hay, John. _Castilian Days_ (Boston, 1871, Houghton Mifflin Co., $1.25).

Hutton, Edward, _Rome_ (N. Y., 1909, Macmillan, $2.00).

Jackson, A. V. W. _Persia, Past and Present_ (N. Y., 1906, Macmillan,

Lucas, E. V. _A Wanderer in Florence_ (N. Y., 1912, Macmillan, $1.75).

Manatt, J. I. _Aegean Days_ (Boston, 1913, Houghton Mifflin Co., $3.00).
Describes the most important islands of the Aegean.

Marden, P. S. _Greece and the Aegean Islands_ (Boston, 1907, Houghton
Mifflin Co., $3.00).

Paton, W. A. _Picturesque Sicily_ (2d ed., N. Y., 1902, Harper, $2.50).

Richardson, R. B. _Vacation Days in Greece_ (N. Y., 1903, Scribner,

Warner, C. D. _In the Levant_ (N. Y., 1876, Harper, $2.00).


The following works of historical fiction comprise only a selection from a
very large number of books suitable for supplementary reading. For
extended bibliographies see E. A. Baker, _A Guide to Historical Fiction_
(new ed., N. Y., 1914, Macmillan, $6.00) and Jonathan Nield, _A Guide to
the Best Historical Novels and Tales_ (3d ed., N. Y., 1904, Putnam,
$1.75). An excellent list of historical stories, especially designed for
children, will be found in the _Bibliography of History for Schools and
Libraries_, parts viii-ix.

Bulwer-Lytton, Edward. _The Last Days of Pompeii_ (Boston, 1834, Little,
Brown, and Co., $1.25).

Champney, Elizabeth W. _The Romance of Imperial Rome_ (N. Y., 1910,
Putnam, $3.50).

Church, A. J. _Roman Life in the Days of Cicero_ (N. Y., 1883, Macmillan,
50 cents).

------ _Stories of Charlemagne and the Twelve Peers of France_ (N. Y.,
1902, Macmillan, $1.75).

Cox, G. W. _Tales of Ancient Greece_ (Chicago, 1868, McClurg, $1.00).

Dahn, Felix, _Felicitas_ (Chicago, 1883, McClurg, 75 cents). Rome, 476

Doyle, A. C. _The White Company_ (Boston, 1890, Caldwell, 75 cents). The
English in France and Castile, 1366-1367 A.D.

Ebers, Georg, _Uarda_ (N. Y., 1877, Appleton, 2 vols., $1.50). Egypt,
fourteenth century B.C.

Eliot, George. _Romola_ (N. Y., 1863, Dutton, 35 cents). Florence and
Savonarola in the latter part of the fifteenth century.

Fénelon, François. _Adventures of Telemachus_, translated by Dr.
Hawkesworth (Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co., $2.25).

Hale, E. E. _In His Name_ (Boston, 1873, Little, Brown, and Co., $1.00).
The Waldenses about 1179 A.D.

Hardy, A. S. _Passe Rose_ (Boston, 1889, Houghton Mifflin Co., $1.25).
Franks and Saxons of Charlemagne's time.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. _The Scarlet Letter_ (N. Y., 1850, Dutton, 35
cents). Massachusetts in the seventeenth century.

Henty, G. A. _The Young Carthaginian_ (N. Y., 1886, Scribner, $1.50).
Second Punic War.

Hugo, Victor. _Notre Dame_ (N. Y. 1831, Dutton, 35 cents). Paris, late
fifteenth century.

Irving, Washington. _The Alhambra_ (N. Y., 1832, Putnam, $1.00). Sketches
of the Moors and Spaniards.

Jacobs, Joseph (editor). _The Most Delectable History of Reynard the Fox_
(N. Y., 1895, Macmillan, $1.50).

Kingsley, Charles S. _Hypatia_ (N. Y., 1853, Macmillan, $1.25).
Alexandria, 391 A.D.

------ _Westward Ho!_ (N. Y., 1855, Button, 35 Cents). Voyages of
Elizabethan seamen and the struggle with Spain.

Kipling, Rudyard. _Puck of Pooks Hill_ (N. Y., 1906, Doubleday, Page, and
Co., $1.50). Roman occupation of Britain.

Lang, Andrew. _The Monk of Fife_ (N. Y., 1895, Longmans, Green, and Co.,
$1.25). The Maid of Orleans and the Hundred Years' War.

Lane, E. W. (translator). _The Arabian Nights' Entertainments_ (2d ed., N.
Y., 1859, Macmillan, 35 cents).

London, Jack. _Before Adam_ (N. Y., 1907, Macmillan, $1.50). Prehistoric

Manzoni, Alessandro. _The Betrothed_ (N. Y., 1825, Macmillan, 2 vols., 70
cents). Milan under Spanish rule, 1628-1630 A.D.

Mason, Eugene (translator). _Aucassin and Nicolette and other Medieval
Romances, and Legends_ (N. Y., 1910, Dutton, 35 cents).

Newman, J. H. _Callista_ (N. Y., 1856, Longmans, Green, and Co., $1.25).
Persecution of Christians in North Africa, 250 A.D.

Reade, Charles. _The Cloister and the Hearth_ (N. Y., 1861, Dutton, 35
cents). Eve of the Reformation.

Scheffel, J. Von. _Ekkehard_, translated by Helena Easson (N. Y., 1857,
Dutton, 35 cents). Germany in the tenth century.

Scott, (Sir) Walter. _The Talisman_ (N. Y., 1825, Dutton, 35 cents). Reign
of Richard I, 1193 A.D.

------ Ivanhoe (N. Y., Heath, 50 cents). Richard I, 1194 A.D.

Sienkiewicz, Henryk. _Quo Vadis?_ (Boston, 1896, Little, Brown, and Co.,
$2.00). Reign of Nero.

Stevenson, R. L. _The Black Arrow_ (N. Y., 1888, Scribner, $1.00). War of
the Roses.

"Twain, Mark." _A Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur_ (N. Y.,
1889, Harper, $1.75).

Wallace, Lew. _Ben-Hur; a Tale of the Christ_ (N. Y., 1880, Harper,

Waterloo, Stanley. _The Story of Ab_ (2d ed., N. Y., 1905, Doubleday,
Page, and Co., $1.50). Prehistoric life.


It is unnecessary to emphasize the value, as collateral reading, of
historical poems and plays. To the brief list which follows should be
added the material in Katharine Lee Bates and Katharine Coman, _English
History told by English Poets_ (N. Y., 1902, Macmillan, 60 cents).

Browning, Robert. _Echetlos and Pheidippides._

Burns, Robert. _The Battle of Bannockburn._

Byron (Lord). _Song of Saul before His Last Battle, The Destruction of
Sennacherib, Belshazzar's Feast, Prometheus,_ "Greece" (_The Corsair_,
canto iii, lines 1-54), "Modern Greece" (_Childe Harold_, canto ii,
stanzas 85-91), "The Death of Greece" (_The Giaour_, lines 68-141), "The
Isles of Greece" (_Don Juan_, canto in), and "The Colosseum" (_Childe
Harold_, canto iv, stanzas 140-145).

Clough, A. H. _Columbus_.

Coleridge, S. T. _Kubla Khan_.

Domett, Alfred. _A Christmas Hymn_

Drayton, Michael. _The Battle of Agincourt._

Dryden, John. _Alexander's Feast._

Jonson, Ben. _Hymn to Diana._

Keats, John. _Ode on a Grecian Urn._

Kingsley, Charles. _Andromeda and The Red King._

Landor, W. S. _Orpheus and Eurydice._

Longfellow, H. W. "The Saga of King Olaf" (_Tales of a Wayside Inn_) and
_The Skeleton in Armor._

Lowell, J. R. _Rhoecus_ and _The Shepherd of King Admetus._

Macaulay, T. B. _Lays of Ancient Rome_ ("Horatius," "Virginia," "The
Battle of Lake Regillus," and "The Prophecy of Capys"), _The Armada_, and
_The Battle of Ivry._

Miller, Joaquin. _Columbus._

Milton, John. _Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity._

Praed, W. M. _Arminius._

Rossetti, D. G. _The White Ship._

Schiller, Friedrich. _The Maid of Orleans, William Tell, Maria Stuart_,
and _Wallenstein._

Scott, (Sir) Walter. "Flodden Field" (_Marmion_, canto vi, stanzas 19-27,

Shakespeare, William. _Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra,
King John, Richard the Second, Henry the Fourth,_ parts i and ii, _Henry
the Fifth, Henry the Sixth_, parts i, ii, and iii, _Richard the Third,
Henry the Eighth_, and _The Merchant of Venice._

Shelley, P. B. _To the Nile, Ozymandias, Hymn of Apollo, Arethusa_, and
_Song of Proserpine._

Tennyson, Alfred. _Ulysses, Oenone, The Death of Oenone, Demeter and
Persephone, The Lotus-Eaters, Boadicea, St. Telemachus, St. Simeon
Stylites, Sir Galahad_, and _The Revenge: a Ballad of the Fleet._

Thackeray, W. M. _King Canute._

Wordsworth, William. _Laodamia._


Full information regarding the best translations of the sources of
ancient, medieval, and modern history is to be found in one of the Reports
previously cited--_Historical Sources in Schools_, parts ii-iv. The use of
the following collections of extracts from the sources will go far toward
remedying the lack of library facilities.

Botsford, G. W., and Botsford, Lillie S. _Source Book of Ancient History_
(N. Y., 1912, Macmillan, $1.30).

Davis, W. S. _Readings in Ancient History_ (Boston, 1912, Allyn and Bacon,
2 vols., $2.00).

Duncalf, Frederic, and Krey, A. C. _Parallel Source Problems in Medieval
History_ (N. Y., 1912, Harper, $1.10).

Fling, F. M. _A Source Book of Greek History_ (N. Y., 1907, Heath, $1.12).

Munro, D. C. _A Source Book of Roman History_ (N. Y., 1904, Heath, $1.12).

Ogg, F. A. _A Source Book of Medieval History_ (N. Y., 1907, American Book
Co., $1.50).

Robinson, J. H. _Readings in European History_ (Abridged ed., Boston,
1906, Ginn, $1.50).

Thallon, Ida C. _Readings in Greek History_ (Boston, 1914, Ginn, $2.00).

Thatcher, O. J., and McNeal, E. H. _A Source Book for Medieval History_
(N. Y., 1905, Scribner, $1.85).

Webster, Hutton. _Readings in Ancient History_ (N. Y., 1913, Heath,

------ _Readings in Medieval and Modern History_ (N. Y., 1917, Heath,

_Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History_
(N. Y., 1894-1899, Longmans, Green, and Co., 6 vols., each $1.50).


Most of the books in the following list are inexpensive, easily procured,
and well adapted in style and choice of topics to the needs of immature
pupils. A few more elaborate and costly volumes, especially valuable for
their illustrations, are indicated by an asterisk (*). For detailed
bibliographies, often accompanied by critical estimates, see C. K. Adams,
_A Manual of Historical Literature_ (3d ed., N. Y., 1889, Harper, $2.50),
and the _Bibliography of History for Schools and Libraries_, parts iii-v.


Carlyle, Thomas. _On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History_ (N.
Y., 1840, Dutton, 35 cents).

Creasy, E. S. _The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World from Marathon to
Waterloo_ (N. Y., 1854, Dutton, 35 cents).

Gibbins, H. De B. _The History of Commerce in Europe_ (26. ed., N. Y.,
1897, Macmillan, 90 cents).

Herbertson, A. J., and Herbertson, F. D. _Man and His Work_ (3d ed., N.
Y., 1914, Macmillan, 60 cents). An introduction to the study of human

Jacobs, Joseph. _The Story of Geographical Discovery_ (N. Y., 1898,
Appleton, 35 cents).

Jenks, Edward. _A History of Politics_ (N. Y., 1900, Dutton, 35 cents). A
very illuminating essay.

Keane, John. _The Evolution of Geography_ (London, 1899, Stanford, 6s.).
Helpfully illustrated.

Myres, J. L. _The Dawn of History_ (N. Y., 1912, Holt, 50 cents).

Pattison, R. P. B. _Leading Figures in European History_ (N. Y., 1912,
Macmillan, $1.60). Biographical sketches of European statesmen from
Charlemagne to Bismarck.

Reinach, Salomon. _Apollo; an Illustrated Manual of the History of Art
throughout the Ages_, translated by Florence Simmonds (last ed., N. Y.,
1914, Scribner, $1.50). The best brief work on the subject.

Seignobos, Charles. _History of Ancient Civilization_, edited by J. A.
James (N. Y., 1906, Scribner, $1.25).

------ _History of Medieval and of Modern Civilization_, edited by J. A.
James (N. Y., 1907, Scribner, $1.25).


Clodd, Edward. _The Story of Primitive Man_ (N Y., 1895, Appleton, 35
cents). Generally accurate and always interesting.

------ _The Childhood of the World_ (2d ed., N. Y., 1914, Macmillan,

Elliott, G. F. S. _Prehistoric Man and His Story_ (Philadelphia, 1915,
Lippincott, $2.00).

Holbrook, Florence. _Cave, Mound, and Lake Dwellers_ (N. Y., 1911, Heath,
44 cents).

Mason, O. T, _Woman's Share in Primitive Culture_ (N. Y., 1900, D.
Appleton, $1.75). The only work on the subject; by a competent

* Osborn, H. F. _Men of the Old Stone Age_ (N. Y., 1915 Scribners, $5.00).
An authoritative, interesting, and amply illustrated work.

* Spearing, H. G. _The Childhood of Art_ (N. Y., 1913, Putnam, $6.00).
Deals with primitive and Greek art; richly illustrated.

Starr, Frederick. _Some First Steps in Human Progress_ (Chautauqua, N. Y.,
1895, Chautauqua Press, $1.00). A popular introduction to anthropology.

Tylor, (Sir) E. B. _Anthropology_ (N. Y., 1881, Appleton, $2.00).
Incorporates the results of the author's extensive studies and still
remains the best introduction to the entire field.


Baikie, James. _The Story of the Pharaohs_ (N. Y., 1908, Macmillan,
$2.00). A popular work; well illustrated.

* Ball, C. J. _Light from the East_ (London, 1899, Eyre and Spottiswoode,
15s.). An account of Oriental archaeology, with special reference to the
Old Testament.

Banks, E. G. _The Bible and the Spade_ (N. Y., 1913, Association Press,
$1.00). A popular presentation of Oriental archaeology.

* Breasted, J. H. _A History of Egypt from the Earliest Times to the
Persian Conquest_ (2d ed., N. Y., 1909, Scribner, $5.00). The standard
work on Egyptian history.

Clay, A. T. _Light on the East from Babel_ (4th ed., Philadelphia, 1915,
Sunday School Times Co., $2.00).

* Erman, Asolf. _Life in Ancient Egypt_ (N. Y., 1894, Macmillan, $6.00).

* Handcock, P. S. P. _Mesopotamian Archaeology_ (N. Y. 1912, Putnam,

Hogarth, D. G. _The Ancient East_ (N. Y., 1915, Holt, 50 cents). "Home
University Library."

* Jastrow, Morris, Jr. _The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria_
(Philadelphia, 1915, Lippincott, $6.00). A finely illustrated work by a
great scholar.

Macalister, R. A. S. _A History of Civilization in Palestine_ (N. Y.,
1912, Putnam, 35 cents). "Cambridge Manuals."

Maspero, (Sir) Gaston. _Life in Ancient Egypt and Assyria_ (N.Y., 1892,
Appleton, $1.50). Fascinating and authoritative.

Ragozin, Zénaïde A. _Earliest Peoples_ (N. Y., 1899, Harison, 60 cents). A
well-written, fully-illustrated account of prehistoric man and the
beginnings of history in Babylonia.

------ _Early Egypt_ (N. Y., 1900, Harison, 60 cents).


Abbott, Evelyn. _Pericles and the Golden Age of Athens_ (N. Y., 1891,
Putnam, $1.50). "Heroes of the Nations."

Baikie, James. _The Sea-Kings of Crete_ (2d ed., N. Y., 1912, Macmillan,
$1.75). A clear and vivid summary of Cretan archaeology.

Blümner, Hugo. _The Home Life of the Ancient Greeks_, translated by Alice
Zimmern (3d ed., N. Y., 1910, Funk and Wagnalls Co., $2.00).

Bulley, Margaret H. _Ancient and Medieval Art_ (N. Y., 1914, Macmillan,
$1.75). An elementary treatment, particularly designed for schools.

Church, A. J., and Gilman, Arthur. _The Story of Carthage_ (N. Y., 1886,
Putnam, $1.50). "Story of the Nations"

Davis, W. S. _The Influence of Wealth in Imperial Rome_ (N. Y., 1910,
Macmillan, $2.00). An interesting treatment of an important theme.

------ _A Day in Old Athens_ (Boston, 1914, Allyn and Bacon, $1.00).

------ _An Outline History of the Roman Empire_ (N. Y., 1909, Macmillan,
65 cents). Covers the period 44 B.C.-378 A.D.

* Dennie, John. _Rome of To-day and Yesterday; the Pagan City_ (5th ed.,
N. Y., 1909, Putnam, $3.50).

Fowler, W. W. _Rome_ (N. Y., 1912, Holt, 50 cents).

------ _The City-State of the Greeks and Romans_ (N. Y., 1893, Macmillan,
$1.00). The only constitutional history of the classical peoples
intelligible to elementary students.

------ _Social Life at Rome in the Age of Cicero_ (N. Y., 1909, Macmillan,
50 cents). In every way admirable.

------ _Julius Caesar and the Foundation of the Roman Imperial System_ (2d
ed., N. Y., 1897, Putnam, $1.50). "Heroes of the Nations."

* Gardner, E. A. _Ancient Athens_ (N. Y., 1902, Macmillan, $3.50).

Gayley, C. M. _The Classic Myths in English Literature and in Art_ (2d
ed., Boston, 1911, Ginn, $1.60). Of special importance for the

Goodyear, W. H. _Roman and Medieval Art_ (2d ed., N. Y., 1897, Macmillan,

Grant, A. J. _Greece in the Age of Pericles_ (N. Y., 1893, Scribner,

Gulick, C. B. _The Life of the Ancient Greeks_ (N. Y., 1902, Appleton,

* Hall, H. R. _Aegean Archeology_ (N. Y., 1915, Putnam, $3.75). A well-
written and well-illustrated volume.

Hawes, C. H., and Hawes, HARRIET B. _Crete, the Forerunner of Greece_ (N.
Y., 1909, Harper, 75 cents).

How, W. W. _Hannibal and the Great War between Rome and Carthage_ (London,
1899, Seeley, 2_s_.).

Jones, H. S. _The Roman Empire, B.C. 29-A.D. 476_ (N. Y., 1908, Putnam,
$1.50). "Story of the Nations."

* Lanciani, Rudolfo. _The Ruins and Excavations of Ancient Rome_ (Boston,
1898, Houghton Mifflin Co., $4.00).

Mahaffy, J. P. _Old Greek Life_ (N. Y., 1876, American Book Co., 35

------ _What have the Greeks done for Modern Civilization?_ (N. Y., 1909,
Putnam, $1.50).

Mahaffy, J. P., and Gilman, Arthur. _The Story of Alexander's Empire_ (N.
Y., 1887, Putnam, $1.50). The only concise narrative of the Hellenistic

* Mau, August. _Pompeii: its Life and Art_, translated by F. W. Kelsey (N.
Y., 1899, Macmillan, $2.50).

Morris, W. O'C. _Hannibal and the Crisis of the Struggle between Carthage
and Rome_ (N. Y., 1897, Putnam, $1.50). "Heroes of the Nations."

Oman, Charles. _Seven Roman Statesmen of the Later Republic_ (N. Y., 1902,
Longmans, Green, and Co., $1.60). A biographical presentation of Roman

Pellison, Maurice. _Roman Life in Pliny's Time_, translated by Maud
Wilkinson (Philadelphia, 1897, Jacobs, $1.00).

Pickard-Cambridge, A. W. _Demosthenes and the Last Days of Greek Freedom_
(N. Y., 1914, Putnam, $1.50). "Heroes of the Nations."

Powers, H. H. _The Message of Greek Art_ (N. Y., 1913, Macmillan, 50

Preston, Harriet W., and Dodge, Louise. _The Private Life of the Romans_
(N. Y., 1893, Sanborn, $1.05).

Robinson, C. E. _The Days of Alcibiades_ (N. Y., 1916, Longmans, Green,
and Co., $1.50), A picture of Greek life and culture in the Age of

* Seymour, T. D. _Life in the Homeric Age_ (N. Y., 1907, Macmillan,

* Stobart, J. C. _The Glory that was Greece: a Survey of Hellenic Culture
and Civilization_ (Philadelphia, 1911, Lippincott, $7.50).

------ _The Grandeur that was Rome: a Survey of Roman Culture and
Civilization_ (Philadelphia, 1912, Lippincott, $7.50).

Strachan-Davidson, J. S. _Cicero and the Fall of the Roman Republic_ (N.
Y., 1894, Putnam, $1.50). "Heroes of the Nations."

Tarbell, F. B. _A History of Greek Art_ (2d ed., N. Y., 1905, Macmillan,

Tozer, H. F. _Classical Geography_ (N. Y., 1883, American Book Co., 35
cents). A standard manual.

Tucker, T. G. _Life in Ancient Athens_ (N. Y., 1906, Macmillan, $1.25).
The most attractive treatment of the subject.

------ _Life in the Roman World of Nero and St. Paul_ (N. Y., 1910,
Macmillan, $2.50).

* Walters, H. B. _The Art of the Greeks_ (N. Y., 1900, Macmillan, $6.00).

* ------ _The Art of the Romans_ (N. Y., 1911, Macmillan, $5.00).

* Weller, C. H. _Athens and its Monuments_ (N. Y., 1913, Macmillan,

Wheeler, B.I. _Alexander the Great and the Merging of East and West into
Universal History_ (N. Y., 1900, Putnam, $1.50). "Heroes of the Nations."

Wilkins, A. S. _Roman Antiquities_ (N. Y., 1884, American Book Co., 35


Adams, G. B. _The Growth of the French Nation_ (N. Y., 1896, Macmillan,
$1.25). The best short history of France.

Archer, T. A., and Kingsford, C. L. _The Crusades_ (N. Y., 1894, Putnam,

Baring-Gould, Sabine. _Curious Myths of the Middle Ages_ (N. Y., 1869,
Longmans, Green, and Co., $1.25).

Bateson, Mary. _Medieval England_ (N. Y., 1903, Putnam, $1.50). Deals with
social and economic life. "Story of the Nations."

Cheyney, E. P. _An Introduction to the Industrial and Social History of
England_ (N. Y., 1901, Macmillan, $1.40). The best brief work on the

Church, R. W. _The Beginning of the Middle Ages_ (N. Y., 1877, Scribner,

Cutts, E. L. _Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages_ (London, 1872, De
La More Press, 7s. 6d.). An almost indispensable book; illustrated.

Davis, H. W. C. Medieval Europe (N. Y., 1911, Holt, 50 cents).

------ _Charlemagne, the Hero of Two Nations_ (N. Y., 1899, Putnam,
$1.50). "Heroes of the Nations."

Emerton, Ephraim. _An Introduction to the Study of the Middle Ages_
(Boston, 1888, Ginn, $1.10). The most satisfactory short account, and of
special value to beginners.

Foord, Edward. _The Byzantine Empire_ (N. Y., 1911, Macmillan, $2.00). The
most convenient short treatment; lavishly illustrated.

* Gibbon, Edward. _The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire_, edited by J. B. Bury (N. Y., 1914, Macmillan, 7 vols., $25.00).
The best edition, illustrated and provided with maps, of this standard

* Green, J. R. _Short History of the English People_, edited by Mrs. J. R.
Green and Miss Kate Norgate (N. Y., 1893-1895, Harper, 4 vols., $20.00). A
beautifully illustrated edition of this standard work.

Guerber, H. A. _Legends of the Middle Ages_ (N. Y., 1896, American Book
Co., $1.50).

Haskins, C. H. _The Normans in European History_ (Boston, 1915, Houghton
Mifflin Co., $2.00).

Hodgkin, Thomas. _The Dynasty of Theodosius_ (N. Y., 1899, Oxford
University Press, American Branch, $1.50). Popular lectures summarizing
the author's extensive studies.

Jessopp, Augustus. _The Coming of the Friars, and Other Historic Essays_
(N. Y., 1888, Putnam, $1.25). A book of great interest.

* Lacroix, Paul. _Science and Literature in the Middle Ages and at the
Period of the Renaissance_ (London, 1880, Bickers and Son, out of print).

Lawrence, W. W. _Medieval Story_ (N. Y., 1911, Columbia University Press,
$i.50). Discusses the great literary productions of the Middle Ages.

Mawer, Allen. _The Vikings_ (N. Y, 1913, Putnam, 35 cents).

Munro, D. C., and Sellery, G. C _Medieval Civilization_ (2d ed., N. Y.,
1907, Century Co., $2.00). Translated selections from standard works by
French and German scholars.

Rait, R. S. _Life in the Medieval University_ (N. Y., 1912, Putnam, 35
cents). "Cambridge Manuals."

Synge, M. B. _A Short History of Social Life in England_ (N. Y., 1906,
Barnes, $1.50).

Tappan, Eva M. _When Knights were Bold_ (Boston, 1912, Houghton Mifflin
Co., $2.00). An economic and social study of the Feudal Age; charmingly

Tickner, F. W. _A Social and Industrial History of England_ (N. Y., 1915,
Longmans, Green, and Co., $1.00). Very simply written and well

* Wright, Thomas. _The Homes of Other Days_ (London, 1871, Trübner, out of
print). Valuable for both text and illustrations.


Cheyney, E. P. _European Background of American History, 1300-1600_ (N.
Y., 1904, Harper, $2.00).

Creighton, Mandell. _The Age of Elizabeth_ (13th ed., N. Y., 1897,
Scribner, $ 1.00). "Epochs of Modern History."

Fiske, John. _The Discovery and Colonization of North America_ (Boston,
1905, Ginn, 90 cents).

Gardiner, S. R. _The Thirty Years' War_ (N. Y., 1874, Scribner, $1.00).

Goodyear, W. H. _Renaissance and Modern Art_ (N. Y., 1894, Macmillan,

Hudson, W. H. _The Story of the Renaissance_ (N. Y., 1912, Cassell,
$1.50). A well-written volume.

Hulme, E. M. _The Renaissance, the Protestant Revolution, and the Catholic
Reformation in Continental Europe_ (rev. ed., N. Y., 1915, Century Co.,
$2.50). The best work on the subject by an American scholar.

* Joyce, T. A. _Mexican Archaeology_ (N. Y., 1914, Putnam, $4.00).

------ _South American Archaeology_ (N. Y., 1912, Putnam, $3.50).

Kerr, P. H., and Kerr, A. C. _The Growth of the British Empire_ (N. Y.,
1911, Longmans, Green, and Co., 50 cents).

Oldham, J. B. _The Renaissance_ (N. Y., 1912, Dutton, 35 cents).

Seebohm, Frederic. _The Era of the Protestant Revolution_ (N. Y., 1875,
Scribner, $1.00). "Epochs of Modern History."





History is the narrative of what civilized man has done. It deals with
those social groups called states and nations. Just as biography describes
the life of individuals, so history relates the rise, progress, and
decline of human societies.


History cannot go back of written records. These alone will preserve a
full and accurate account of man's achievements. Manuscripts and books
form one class of written records. The old Babylonians used tablets of
soft clay, on which signs were impressed with a metal instrument. The
tablets were then baked hard in an oven. The Egyptians made a kind of
paper out of the papyrus, a plant native to the Nile valley. The Greeks
and Romans at first used papyrus, but later they employed the more lasting
parchment prepared from sheepskin. Paper seems to have been a Chinese
invention. It was introduced into Europe by the Arabs during the twelfth
century of our era.

Found in 1908 A.D. in the palace at Phaestus, Crete. The disk is of
refined clay on which the figures were stamped in relief with punches.
Both sides of the disk are covered with characters. The side seen in the
illustration contains 31 sign groups (123 signs) separated from one
another by incised lines. The other side contains 30 sign groups (118
signs). The inscription dates from about 1800 B.C.]

The pith of the papyrus, a plant native to the Nile valley, was cut into
slices, which were then pressed together and dried in the sun. Several of
the paper sheets thus formed were glued together at their edges to form a
roll. From _papyros_ and _byblos_, the two Greek names of this plant, have
come our own words, "paper" and "Bible." The illustration shows a
manuscript discovered in Egypt in 1890 A.D. It is supposed to be a
treatise, hitherto lost, on the Athenian constitution by the Greek
philosopher Aristotle.]


A second class of written records consists of inscriptions. These are
usually cut in stone, but sometimes we find them painted over the surface
of a wall, stamped on coins, or impressed upon metal tablets. The
historian also makes use of remains, such as statues, ornaments, weapons,
tools, and utensils. Monuments of various sorts, including palaces, tombs,
fortresses, bridges, temples, and churches, form a very important class of


History, based on written records, begins in different countries at
varying dates. A few manuscripts and inscriptions found in Egypt date back
three or four thousand years before Christ. The annals of Babylonia are
scarcely less ancient. Trustworthy records in China and India do not
extend beyond 1000 B.C. For the Greeks and Romans the commencement of the
historic period must be placed about 750 B.C. The inhabitants of northern
Europe did not come into the light of history until about the opening of
the Christian era.



In studying the historic period our chief concern is with those peoples
whose ideas or whose deeds have aided human progress and the spread of
civilization. Six-sevenths of the earth's inhabitants now belong to
civilized countries, and these countries include the best and largest
regions of the globe. At the beginning of historic times, however,
civilization was confined within a narrow area--the river valleys of
western Asia and Egypt. The uncounted centuries before the dawn of history
make up the prehistoric period, when savagery and barbarism prevailed
throughout the world. Our knowledge of it is derived from the examination
of the objects found in caves, refuse mounds, graves, and other sites.
Various European countries, including England, France, Denmark,
Switzerland, and Italy, are particularly rich in prehistoric remains.

The skeleton lay on the left side, with knees drawn up and hands raised to
the head. About it were various articles of food and vessels of pottery.]


The prehistoric period is commonly divided, according to the character of
the materials used for tools and weapons, into the Age of Stone and the
Age of Metals. The one is the age of savagery; the other is the age of
barbarism or semicivilization.


Man's earliest implements were those that lay ready to his hand. A branch
from a tree served as a spear; a thick stick in his strong arms became a
powerful club. Later, perhaps, came the use of a hard stone such as flint,
which could be chipped into the forms of arrowheads, axes, and spear tips.
The first stone implements were so rude in shape that it is difficult to
believe them of human workmanship. They may have been made several hundred
thousand years ago. After countless centuries of slow advance, savages
learned to fasten wooden handles to their stone tools and weapons and also
to use such materials as jade and granite, which could be ground and
polished into a variety of forms. Stone implements continued to be made
during the greater part of the prehistoric period. Every region of the
world has had a Stone Age. [1] Its length is reckoned, not by centuries,
but by milleniums.

A hatchet of flint, probably used without a helve and intended to fit the
hand. Similar implements have been found all over the world, except in

Different forms from Europe, Africa, and North America.]


The Age of Metals, compared with its predecessor, covers a brief expanse
of time. The use of metals came in not much before the dawn of history.
The earliest civilized peoples, the Babylonians and Egyptians, when we
first become acquainted with them, appear to be passing from the use of
stone implements to those of metal.


Copper was the first metal in common use. The credit for the invention of
copper tools seems to belong to the Egyptians. At a very early date they
were working the copper mines on the peninsula of Sinai. The Babylonians
probably obtained their copper from the same region. Another source of
this metal was the island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean. The
Greek name of the island means "copper."


But copper tools were soft and would not keep an edge. Some ancient smith,
more ingenious than his fellows, discovered that the addition of a small
part of tin to the copper produced a new metal--bronze--harder than the
old, yet capable of being molded into a variety of forms. At least as
early as 3000 B.C. we find bronze taking the place of copper in both Egypt
and Babylonia. Somewhat later bronze was introduced into the island of
Crete, then along the eastern coast of Greece, and afterwards into other
European countries.


The introduction of iron occurred in comparatively recent times. At first
it was a scarce, and therefore a very precious, metal. The Egyptians seem
to have made little use of iron before 1500 B.C. They called it "the metal
of heaven," as if they obtained it from meteorites. In the Greek Homeric
poems, composed about 900 B.C. or later, we find iron considered so
valuable that a lump of it is one of the chief prizes at athletic games.
In the first five books of the Bible iron is mentioned only thirteen
times, though copper and bronze are referred to forty-four times. Iron is
more difficult to work than either copper or bronze, but it is vastly
superior to those metals in hardness and durability. Hence it gradually
displaced them throughout the greater part of the Old World. [2]


During the prehistoric period early man came to be widely scattered
throughout the world. Here and there, slowly, and with utmost difficulty,
he began to take the first steps toward civilization. The tools and
weapons which he left behind him afford some evidence of his advance. We
may now single out some of his other great achievements and follow their
development to the dawn of history.



Prehistoric man lived at first chiefly on wild berries, nuts, roots, and
herbs. As his implements improved and his skill increased, he became
hunter, trapper, and fisher. A tribe of hunters, however, requires an
extensive territory and a constant supply of game. When the wild animals
are all killed or seriously reduced in number, privation and hardship
result. It was a forward step, therefore, when man began to tame animals
as well as to kill them.


The dog was man's first conquest over the animal kingdom. As early as the
Age of Metals various breeds appear, such as deerhounds, sheep dogs, and
mastiffs. The dog soon showed how useful he could be. He tracked game,
guarded the camp, and later, in the pastoral stage, protected flocks and
herds against their enemies.


The cow also was domesticated at a remote period. No other animal has been
more useful to mankind. The cow's flesh and milk supply food: the skin
provides clothing; the sinews, bones, and horns yield materials for
implements. The ox was early trained to bear the yoke and draw the plow,
as we may learn from ancient Egyptian paintings. [3] Cattle have also been
commonly used as a kind of money. The early Greeks, whose wealth consisted
chiefly of their herds, priced a slave at twenty oxen, a suit of armor at
one hundred oxen, and so on. The early Romans reckoned values in cattle
(one ox being equivalent to ten sheep). Our English word "pecuniary" goes
back to the Latin _pecus_, or "herd" of cattle.

A bar of copper marked with the figure of a bull. Dates from the fourth
century B.C.]


The domestication of the horse came much later than that of the cow. In
the early Stone Age the horse ran wild over western Europe and formed an
important source of food for primitive men. This prehistoric horse, as
some ancient drawings show, [4] was a small animal with a shaggy mane and
tail. It resembled the wild pony still found on the steppes of Mongolia.
The domesticated horse does not appear in Egypt and western Asia much
before 1500 B.C. For a long time after the horse was tamed, the more
manageable ox continued to be used as the beast of burden. The horse was
kept for chariots of war, as among the Egyptians, or ridden bareback in
races, as by the early Greeks.


At the close of prehistoric times in the Old World nearly all the domestic
animals of to-day were known. Besides those just mentioned, the goat,
sheep, ass, and hog had become man's useful servants. [5]


The domestication of animals made possible an advance from the hunting and
fishing stage to the pastoral stage. Herds of cattle and sheep would now
furnish more certain and abundant supplies of food than the chase could
ever yield. We find in some parts of the world, as on the great Asiatic
plains, the herdsman succeeding the hunter and fisher. But even in this
stage much land for grazing is required. With the exhaustion of the
pasturage the sheep or cattle must be driven to new fields. Hence pastoral
peoples, as well as hunting and fishing folk, remained nomads without
fixed homes. Before permanent settlements were possible, another onward
step became necessary. This was the domestication of plants.


The domestication of plants marked almost as wonderful an advance as the
domestication of animals. When wild seedgrasses and plants had been
transformed into the great cereals--wheat, oats, barley, and rice--people
could raise them for food, and so could pass from the life of wandering
hunters or shepherds to the life of settled farmers. There is evidence
that during the Stone Age some of the inhabitants of Europe were familiar
with various cultivated plants, but agriculture on a large scale seems to
have begun in the fertile regions of Egypt and western Asia. [6] Here
first arose populous communities with leisure to develop the arts of life.
Here, as has been already seen, [7] we must look for the beginnings of



Though history is always based on written records, the first steps toward
writing are prehistoric. We start with the pictures or rough drawings
which have been found among the remains of the early Stone Age. [8]
Primitive man, however, could not rest satisfied with portraying objects.

1, "war" (Dakota Indian); 2, "morning" (Ojibwa Indian); 3, "nothing"
(Ojibwa Indian); 4 and 5, "to eat" (Indian, Mexican, Egyptian, etc.).]

He wanted to record thoughts and actions, and so his pictures tended to
become symbols of ideas. The figure of an arrow might be made to
represent, not a real object, but the idea of an "enemy." A "fight" could
then be shown simply by drawing two arrows directed against each other.
Many uncivilized tribes still employ picture writing of this sort. The
American Indians developed it in most elaborate fashion. On rolls of birch
bark or the skins of animals they wrote messages, hunting stories, and
songs, and even preserved tribal annals extending over a century.


A new stage in the development of writing was reached when the picture
represented, not an actual object or an idea, but a sound of the human
voice. This difficult but all-important step appears to have been taken
through the use of the rebus, that is, writing words by pictures of
objects which stand for sounds. Such rebuses are found in prehistoric
Egyptian writing; for example, the Egyptian words for "sun" and "goose"
were so nearly alike that the royal title, "Son of the Sun," could be
suggested by grouping the pictures of the sun and a goose. Rebus making is
still a common game among children, but to primitive men it must have been
a serious occupation.

[Illustration: MEXICAN REBUS
The Latin _Pater Noster,_ "Our Father," is written by a flag _(pan)_, a
stone _(te)_, a prickly pear _(noch)_, and another stone _(te)_.]



In the simplest form of sound writing each separate picture or symbol
stands for the sound of an entire word. This method was employed by the
Chinese, who have never given it up. A more developed form of sound
writing occurs when signs are used for the sounds, not of entire words,
but of separate syllables. Since the number of different syllables which
the voice can utter is limited, it now becomes possible to write all the
words of a language with a few hundred signs. The Japanese, who borrowed
some of the Chinese symbols, used them to denote syllables, instead of
entire words. The Babylonians possessed, in their cuneiform [9]
characters, signs for about five hundred syllables. The prehistoric
inhabitants of Crete appear to have been acquainted with a somewhat
similar system. [10]


The final step in the development of writing is taken when the separate
sounds of the voice are analyzed and each is represented by a single sign
or letter. With alphabets of a few score letters every word in a language
may easily be written.

[Illustration: CRETAN WRITING
A large tablet with linear script found in the palace at Gnossus, Crete
There are eight lines of writing, with a total of about twenty words
Notice the upright lines, which appear to mark the termination of each
group of signs.]


The Egyptians early developed such an alphabet. Unfortunately they never
gave up their older methods of writing and learned to rely upon alphabetic
signs alone. Egyptian hieroglyphics [11] are a curious jumble of object-
pictures, symbols of ideas, and signs for entire words, separate
syllables, and letters. The writing is a museum of all the steps in the
development from the picture to the letter.


As early, apparently, as the tenth century B.C. we find the Phoenicians of
western Asia in possession of an alphabet. It consisted of twenty-two
letters, each representing a consonant. The Phoenicians do not seem to
have invented their alphabetic signs. It is generally believed that they
borrowed them from the Egyptians, but recent discoveries in Crete perhaps
point to that island as the source of the Phoenician alphabet.

Below the pictured hieroglyphics in the first line is the same text in a
simpler writing known as hieratic. The two systems, however, were not
distinct; they were as identical as our own printed and written
characters. The third line illustrates old Babylonian cuneiform, in which
the characters, like the hieroglyphics, are rude and broken-down pictures
of objects. Derived from them is the later cuneiform shown in lines four
and five.]


If they did not originate the alphabet now in use, the Phoenicians did
most to spread a knowledge of it in other lands. They were bold sailors
and traders who bought and sold throughout the Mediterranean. Wherever
they went, they took their alphabet. From the Phoenicians the Greeks
learned their letters. Then the Greeks taught them to the Romans, from
whom other European peoples borrowed them. [12]

[Illustration: THE MOABITE STONE, (Louvre, Paris)
Found in 1868 A.D. at Diban east of the Dead Sea. The monument records the
victory of Mesha king of Moab, over the united armies of Israel and Judah
about 850 B.C. The inscription, consisting of 34 lines is one of the most
ancient examples of Phoenician writing.]



We have already seen that prehistoric men in their struggle for existence
had gathered an extensive fund of information. They could make useful and
artistic implements of stone. They could work many metals into a variety
of tools and weapons. They were practical botanists, able to distinguish
different plants and to cultivate them for food. They were close students
of animal life and expert hunters and fishers. They knew how to produce
fire and preserve it, how to cook, how to fashion pottery and baskets, how
to spin and weave, how to build boats and houses. After writing came into
general use, all this knowledge served as the foundation of science.


We can still distinguish some of the first steps in scientific knowledge.
Thus, counting began with calculations on one's fingers, a method still
familiar to children. Finger counting explains the origin of the decimal
system. The simplest, and probably the earliest, measures of length are
those based on various parts of the body. Some of our Indian tribes, for
instance, employed the double arm's length, the single arm's length, the
hand width, and the finger width. Old English standards, such as the span,
the ell, and the hand, go back to this very obvious method of measuring on
the body.


It is interesting to trace the beginnings of time reckoning and of that
most important institution, the calendar. Most primitive tribes reckon
time by the lunar month, the interval between two new moons (about twenty-
nine days, twelve hours). Twelve lunar months give us the lunar year of
about three hundred and fifty-four days. In order to adapt such a year to
the different seasons, the practice arose of inserting a thirteenth month
from time to time. Such awkward calendars were used in antiquity by the
Babylonians, Jews, and Greeks; in modern times by the Arabs and Chinese.
The Egyptians were the only people in the Old World to frame a solar year.
From the Egyptians it has come down, through the Romans, to us. [13]

[Illustration: STONEHENGE
On Salisbury Plain in the south of England: appears to date from the close
of the New Stone Age or the beginning of the Bronze Age. The outer circle
measures 300 feet in circumference; the inner circle, 106 feet. The
tallest stones reach 25 feet in height. This monument was probably a tomb,
or group of tombs, of prehistoric chieftains.]


The study of prehistoric art takes us back to the early Stone Age. The men
of that age in western Europe lived among animals such as the mammoth,
cave bear, and woolly-haired rhinoceros, which have since disappeared, and
among many others, such as the lion and hippopotamus, which now exist only
in warmer climates. Armed with clubs, flint axes, and horn daggers,
primitive hunters killed these fierce beasts and on fragments of their
bones, or on cavern walls, drew pictures of them. Some of these earliest
works of art are remarkably lifelike.

[Illustration: HEAD OF A GIRL (Musée S. Germain, Paris)
A small head of a young girl carved from mammoth ivory. Found at
Brassempouy, France, in cave deposits belonging to the early Stone Age.
The hair is arranged somewhat after the early Egyptian fashion. Of the
features the mouth alone is wanting.]

[Illustration: PREHISTORIC ART

    Later he pictured an aurochs--later he pictured a bear--
    Pictured the sabre toothed tiger dragging a man to his lair--
    Pictured the mountainous mammoth hairy abhorrent alone--
    Out of the love that he bore them scribing them clearly on bone--


A still later period of the Stone Age witnessed the beginnings of
architecture. Men had begun to raise huge dolmens which are found in
various parts of the Old World from England to India. They also erected
enormous stone pillars, known as menhirs. Carved in the semblance of a
human face and figure, the menhir became a statue, perhaps the first ever

As we approach historic times, we note a steady improvement in the various
forms of art. Recent discoveries in Egypt, Greece, Italy, and other lands
indicate that their early inhabitants were able architects, often building
on a colossal scale.

[Illustration: A DOLMEN
Department of Morbihan, Brittany. A dolmen was a single chambered tomb
formed by laying one long stone over several other stones set upright in
the ground. Most if not all dolmens were originally covered with earth.]

[Illustration: CARVED MENHIR
From Saint Sernin in Aveyron, a department of southern France.]


Their paintings and sculptures prepared the way for the work of later
artists. Our survey of the origins of art shows us that in this field, as
elsewhere, we must start with the things accomplished by prehistoric men.



At the dawn of history the various regions of the world were already in
the possession of many different peoples. Such physical characteristics as
the shape of the skull, the features, stature, or complexion may serve to
distinguish one people from another. Other grounds for distinction are
found in language, customs beliefs, and general intelligence.


If we take complexion or color as the basis of classification, it is
possible to distinguish a few large racial groups. Each of these groups
occupies, roughly speaking, its separate area of the globe. The most
familiar classification is that which recognizes the Black or Negro race
dwelling in Africa, the Yellow or Mongolian race whose home is in central
and eastern Asia, and the White or Caucasian race of western Asia and
Europe. Sometimes two additional divisions are made by including, as the
Red race, the American Indians, and as the Brown race, the natives of the
Pacific islands.


These separate racial groups have made very unequal progress in culture.
The peoples belonging to the Black, Red, and Brown races are still either
savages or barbarians, as were the men of prehistoric times. The Chinese
and Japanese are the only representatives of the Yellow race that have
been able to form civilized states. In the present, as in the past, it is
chiefly the members of the White race who are developing civilization and
making history.


Because of differences in language, scholars have divided the White or
Caucasian race into two main groups, called Indo-Europeans and Semites.
[14] This classification is often helpful, but the student should remember
that Indo-European and Semitic peoples are not always to be sharply
distinguished because they have different types of language. There is no
very clear distinction in physical characteristics between the two groups.
A clear skin, an oval face, wavy or curly hair, and regular features
separate them from both the Negro and the Mongolian.


The Indo-Europeans in antiquity included the Hindus of India, the Medes
and Persians dwelling on the plateau of Iran, the Greeks and Italians, and
most of the inhabitants of central and western Europe. All these peoples
spoke related languages which are believed to be offshoots from one common
tongue. Likeness in language does not imply that all Indo-Europeans were
closely related in blood. Men often adopt a foreign tongue and pass it on
to their children.


The various Semitic nations dwelling in western Asia and Arabia were more
closely connected with one another. They spoke much the same type of
language, and in physical traits and habits of life they appear to have
been akin. The Semites in antiquity included the Babylonians and
Assyrians, the Hebrews, Phoenicians, and Arabs.

Paintings on the walls of royal tombs. The Egyptians were painted red, the
Semites yellow, the Negroes black, and the Libyans white, with blue eyes
and fair beards. Each racial type is distinguished by peculiar dress and
characteristic features.]

[Illustration: Map. Distribution of SEMITIC and INDO-EUROPEAN PEOPLES]

At the opening of the historic period still other parts of the World were
the homes of various peoples who cannot be classed with certainty as
either Indo-Europeans or Semites. Among these were the Egyptians and some
of the inhabitants of Asia Minor. We must remember that, during the long
prehistoric ages, repeated conquests and migrations mingled the blood of
many different communities. History, in fact, deals with no unmixed


1. On an outline map indicate the areas occupied in antiquity by Semites
and Indo-Europeans.

2. Find definitions for the following terms: society, nation, state,
government, institution, culture, and civilization.

3. Explain the abbreviations B.C. and A.D. In what century was the year
1917 B.C.? the year 1917 A.D.?

4. Look up the derivation of the words "paper" and "Bible."

5. Distinguish between the three stages of savagery, barbarism, and
civilization, and give examples of existing peoples in each stage.

6. Can you name any savages still living in the Stone Age?

7. What stone implements have you ever seen? Who made them? Where were

8. Why should the discovery of fire be regarded as of more significance
than the discovery of steam?

9. Why has the invention of the bow-and-arrow been of greater importance
than the invention of gunpowder?

10. How does the presence of few tameable animals in the New World help to
account for its tardier development as compared with the Old World?

11. What examples of pastoral and agricultural life among the North
American Indians are familiar to you?

12. Give examples of peoples widely different in blood who nevertheless
speak the same language.

13. In the classification of mankind, where do the Arabs belong? the
Persians? the Germans? the inhabitants of the United States?

14. Enumerate the most important contributions to civilization made in
prehistoric times.


[1] There are still some savage peoples, for instance, the Australians,
who continue to make stone implements very similar to those of prehistoric
men. Other primitive peoples, such as the natives of the Pacific islands,
passed directly from the use of stone to that of iron, after this part of
the world was opened up to European trade in the nineteenth century.

[2] Iron was unknown to the inhabitants of North America and South America
before the coming of the Europeans. The natives used many stone
implements, besides those of copper and bronze. The Indians got most of
their copper from the mines in the Lake Superior region, whence it was
carried far and wide.

[3] See the illustration, page 45.

[4] See the illustration, page 14.

[5] In the New World, the only important domestic animal was the llama of
the Andes. The natives used it as a beast of burden, ate its flesh, and
clothed themselves with its wool.

[6] The plants domesticated in the New World were not numerous. The most
important were the potato of Peru and Ecuador, Indian corn or maize,
tobacco, the tomato, and manioc. From the roots of the latter, the starch
called tapioca is derived.

[7] See page 2.

[8] See the illustration, page 14.

[9] Latin cuneus, "a wedge".

[10] See page 71.

[11] From the Greek words hieros, "holy," and glyphein, "to carve" The
Egyptians regarded their signs as sacred.

[12] Our word "alphabet" comes from the names of the first two letters of
the Greek alphabet, _alpha_ (a) and _beta_ (b).

[13] See page 186 and note 2.

[14] The Old Testament (_Genesis_, x 21-22) represents Shem (or Sem), son
of Noah, as the ancestor of the Semitic peoples. The title "Indo-
Europeans" tells us that the members of that group now dwell in India and
in Europe. Indo-European peoples are popularly called "Aryans," from a
word in Sanskrit (the old Hindu language) meaning "noble."





Ancient history begins in the East--in Asia and in that part of Africa
called Egypt, which the peoples of antiquity always regarded as belonging
to Asia. If we look at a physical map of Asia, we see at once that it
consists of two very unequal divisions separated by an almost continuous
mass of mountains and deserts. These two divisions are Farther and Nearer,
or Eastern and Western, Asia.

[Illustration: Map, PHYSICAL MAP OF ASIA.]


Farther Asia begins at the center of the continent with a series of
elevated table-lands which rise into the lofty plateaus, known as the
"Roof of the World." Here two tremendous mountain chains diverge. The
Altai range runs out to the northeast and reaches the shores of the
Pacific near Bering Strait. The Himalaya range extends southeast to the
Malay peninsula. In the angle formed by their intersection lies the cold
and barren region of East Turkestan and Tibet, the height of which, in
some places, is ten thousand feet above the sea. From these mountains and
plateaus the ground sinks gradually toward the north into the lowlands of
West Turkestan and Siberia, toward the east and south into the plains of
China and India.


The fertile territory of central China, watered by the two streams,
Yangtse and Hoangho, was settled at a remote period by barbarous tribes.
The civilization which they slowly developed in antiquity has endured with
little change until the present day. The inhabitants of neighboring
countries, Korea, Japan, and Indo-China, owe much to this civilization. It
has exerted slight influence on the other peoples of Asia because the
Chinese have always occupied a distant corner of the continent, cut off by
deserts and mountains from the lands on the west. As if these barriers
were not enough, they raised the Great Wall to protect their country from

The wall extends for about fifteen hundred miles along the northern
frontier of China. In 1908 AD it was traversed for its entire length by an
American Mr. W. E. Geil. He found many parts of the fortification still in
good repair, though built twenty one centuries ago.]

Behind this mighty rampart the Chinese have lived secluded and aloof from
the progress of our western world. In ancient times China was a land of


India was better known than China, especially its two great rivers, the
Indus and the Ganges, which flow to the southwest and southeast,
respectively, and make this part of the peninsula one of the most fertile
territories on the globe. Such a land attracted immigrants. The region now
known as the Punjab, where the Indus receives the waters of five great
streams, was settled by light-skinned Indo-Europeans [2] perhaps as early
as 2000 B.C. Then they occupied the valley of the Ganges and so brought
all northern India under their control.


India did not remain entirely isolated from the rest of Asia, The Punjab
was twice conquered by invaders from the West; by the Persians in the
sixth century B.C., [3] and about two hundred years later by the Greeks.
[4] After the end of foreign rule India continued to be of importance
through its commerce, which introduced such luxuries as precious stones,
spices, and ivory among the western peoples.


Nearer, or Western Asia, the smaller of the two grand divisions of the
Asiatic continent, is bounded by the Black and Caspian seas on the north,
by the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Indian Ocean on the south, eastward by
the Indus River, and westward by the Mediterranean and the Nile. Almost
all the countries within this area played a part in the ancient history of
the Orient.


The lofty plateaus of central Asia decline on the west into the lower but
still elevated region of Iran. The western part of Iran was occupied in
antiquity by the kindred people known as Medes and Persians. Armenia, a
wild and mountainous region, is an extension to the northwest of the
Iranian table-land. Beyond Armenia we cross into the peninsula of Asia
Minor, a natural link between Asia and Europe. Southward from Asia Minor
we pass along the Mediterranean coast through Syria to Arabia. The Arabian
peninsula may be regarded as the link between Asia and Africa.


These five countries of Nearer Asia were not well fitted to become centers
of early civilization. They possessed no great rivers which help to bring
people together, and no broad, fertile plains which support a large
population. Armenia, Asia Minor, and Syria were broken up into small
districts by chains of mountains. Iran and Arabia were chiefly barren
deserts. But two other divisions of Nearer Asia resembled distant India
and China in the possession of a warm climate, a fruitful soil, and an
extensive river system. These lands were Babylonia and Egypt, the first
homes of civilized man.



Two famous rivers rise in the remote fastnesses of Armenia--the Tigris and
the Euphrates. As they flow southward, the twin streams approach each
other to form a common valley, and then proceed in parallel channels for
the greater part of their course. In antiquity each river emptied into the
Persian Gulf by a separate mouth. This Tigris-Euphrates valley was called
by the Greeks Mesopotamia, "the land between the rivers."


Babylonia is a remarkably productive country. The annual inundation of the
rivers has covered its once rocky bottom with deposits of rich silt. Crops
planted in such a soil, under the influence of a blazing sun, ripen with
great rapidity and yield abundant harvests. "Of all the countries that we
know," says an old Greek traveler, "there is no other so fruitful in
grain." [5] Wheat and barley were perhaps first domesticated in this part
of the world. [6] Wheat still grows wild there. Though Babylonia possessed
no forests, it had the date palm, which needed scarcely any cultivation.
If the alluvial soil yielded little stone, clay, on the other hand, was
everywhere. Molded into brick and afterwards dried in the sun, the clay
became _adobe_, the cheapest building material imaginable.


In Babylonia Nature seems to have done her utmost to make it easy for
People to gain a living. We can understand, therefore, why from
prehistoric times men have been attracted to this region, and why it is
here that we must look for one of the earliest seats of civilization. [7]


Egypt may be described as the valley of the Nile. Rising in the Nyanza
lakes of central Africa, that mighty stream, before entering Egypt,
receives the waters of the Blue Nile near the modern town of Khartum. From
this point the course of the river is broken by a series of five rocky
rapids, misnamed cataracts, which can be shot by boats. The cataracts
cease near the island of Philae, and Upper Egypt begins. This is a strip
of fertile territory, about five hundred miles in length but averaging
only eight miles in width. Not far from modern Cairo the hills inclosing
the valley fall away, the Nile divides into numerous branches, and Lower
Egypt, or the Delta, begins. The sluggish stream passes through a region
of mingled swamp and plain, and at length by three principal mouths
empties its waters into the Mediterranean.

[Illustration: PHILAE
The island was originally only a heap of granite bowlders. Retaining walls
were built around it, and the space within when filled with rich Nile mud,
became beautiful with groves of palms and mimosas. As the result of the
construction of the Assuan dam, Philae and its exquisite temples are now
submerged during the winter months, when the reservoir is full.]


Egypt owes her existence to the Nile. All Lower Egypt is a creation of the
river by the gradual accumulation of sediment at its mouths. Upper Egypt
has been dug out of the desert sand and underlying rock by a process of
erosion centuries long. Once the Nile filled all the space between the
hills that line its sides. Now it flows through a thick layer of alluvial
mud deposited by the yearly inundation.


The Nile begins to rise in June, when the snow melts on the Abyssinian
mountains. High-water mark, some thirty feet above the ordinary level, is
reached in September. The inhabitants then make haste to cut the confining
dikes and to spread the fertilizing water over their fields. Egypt takes
on the appearance of a turbid lake, dotted here and there with island
villages and crossed in every direction by highways elevated above the
flood. Late in October the river begins to subside and by December has
returned to its normal level. As the water recedes, it deposits that
dressing of fertile vegetable mold which makes the soil of Egypt perhaps
the richest in the world. [8]


It was by no accident that Egypt, like Babylonia, became one of the first
homes of civilized men. Here, as there, every condition made it easy for
people to live and thrive. Food was cheap, for it was easily produced. The
peasant needed only to spread his seed broadcast over the muddy fields to
be sure of an abundant return. The warm, dry climate enabled him to get
along with little shelter and clothing. Hence the inhabitants of this
favored region rapidly increased in number and gathered in populous towns
and cities. At a time when most of their neighbors were still in the
darkness of the prehistoric age, the Egyptians had entered the light of



The earliest inhabitants of Babylonia of whom we know anything were a
people called Sumerians. They entered the Babylonian plain through the
passes of the eastern mountains, three or four thousand years before the
Christian era. Here they formed a number of independent states, each with
its capital city, its patron god, and its king. After them came Semitic
tribes from the deserts of northern Arabia. The Semites mingled with the
Sumerians and adopted Sumerian civilization.


Of all the early Babylonian kings the most famous was Hammurabi. Some
inscriptions still remain to tell how he freed his country from foreign
invaders and made his native Babylon the capital of the entire land. This
city became henceforth the real center of the Euphrates valley, to which,
indeed, it gave its name. Hammurabi was also an able statesman, who sought
to develop the territories his sword had won. He dug great canals to
distribute the waters of the Euphrates and built huge granaries to store
the wheat against a time of famine. In Babylon he raised splendid temples
and palaces. For all his kingdom he published a code of laws, the oldest
in the world. [9] Thus Hammurabi, by making Babylonia so strong and
flourishing, was able to extend her influence in every direction. Her only
important rival was Egypt.

Museum, London)
A block of black diorite nearly 8 feet high, on which the code is chiseled
in 44 columns and over 3600 lines. The relief at the top of the monument
shows the Babylonian king receiving the laws from the sun god who is
seated at the right.]

The origin of the Egyptians is not known with certainty. In physical
characteristics they resembled the native tribes of northern and
inhabitants eastern Africa. Their language, however, shows of Egypt close
kinship to the Semitic tongues of western Asia and Arabia. It is probable
that the Egyptians, like the Babylonians, arose from the mingling of
several peoples.


The history of Egypt commences with the union of the two kingdoms of Upper
and Lower Egypt under Menes. An ancient tradition made him the builder of
Memphis, near the head of the Delta, and the founder of the Egyptian
monarchy. Scholars once doubted these exploits and even regarded Menes
himself as mythical. Recently, however, his tomb has been discovered. In
the gray dawn of history Menes appears as a real personage, the first of
that line of kings, or "Pharaohs," who for nearly three thousand years
ruled over Egypt.

[Illustration: Map, EGYPTIAN EMPIRE About 1450 B.C.]


Several centuries after Menes we reach the age of the kings who raised the
pyramids. Probably no other rulers have ever stamped their memory so
indelibly on the pages of history as the builders of these mighty
structures. The most celebrated monarch of this line was the Pharaoh whom
the Greeks called Cheops. The Great Pyramid near Memphis, erected for his
tomb, remains a lasting witness to his power.

  Khufu (Cheops) builder of the Great Pyramid
  Menephtah the supposed Pharaoh of the Exodus]

[Illustration: THE GREAT PYRAMID
The pyramid when completed had a height of 481 feet. It is now 451 feet
high. Its base covers about thirteen acres. Some of the blocks of white
limestone used in construction weigh fifty tons. The facing of polished
stone was gradually removed for building purposes by the Arabs. On the
northern side of the pyramid a narrow entrance once carefully concealed,
opens into tortuous passages which lead to the central vault. Here the
sarcophagus of the king was placed. This chamber was long since entered
and its contents rifled.]

[Illustration: THE GREAT SPHINX
This colossal figure, human headed and lion bodied, is hewn from the
natural rock. The body is about 150 feet long, the paws 50 feet, the head
30 feet. The height from the base to the top of the head is 70 feet.
Except for its head and shoulders the figure has been buried for centuries
in the desert sand. The eyes, nose and beard have been mutilated by the
Arabs. The face is probably that of one of the pyramid kings.]


For a long time after the epoch of the pyramid kings the annals of Egypt
furnish a record of quiet and peaceful progress. The old city of Memphis
gradually declined in importance and Thebes in Upper Egypt became the
capital. The vigorous civilization growing up in Egypt was destined,
however, to suffer a sudden eclipse. About 1800 B.C. barbarous tribes from
western Asia burst into the country, through the isthmus of Suez, and
settled in the Delta. The Hyksos, as they are usually called, extended
their sway over all Egypt. At first they ruled harshly, plundering the
cities and enslaving the inhabitants, but in course of time the invaders
adopted Egyptian culture and their kings reigned like native Pharaohs. The
Hyksos are said to have introduced the horse and military chariot into
Egypt. A successful revolt at length expelled the intruders and set a new
line of Theban monarchs on the throne.


The overthrow of the Hyksos marked a new era in the history of Egypt. From
a home-loving and peaceful people the Egyptians became a warlike race,
ambitious for glory. The Pharaohs raised powerful armies and by extensive
conquests created an Egyptian Empire, reaching from the Nile to the


This period of the imperial greatness of Egypt is the most splendid in its
history. An extensive trade with Cyprus, Crete, and other Mediterranean
Islands introduced many foreign luxuries. The conquered territories in
Syria paid a heavy tribute of the precious metals, merchandise, and
slaves. The forced labor of thousands of war captives enabled the Pharaohs
to build public works in every part on their realm. Even the ruins of
these stupendous structures are enough to indicate the majesty and power
of ancient Egypt.

RAMESES II, ABOUT 1292-1225 B.C.

Of all the conquering Pharaohs none won more fame than Rameses II, who
ruled for nearly seventy years. His campaigns in Syria were mainly against
the Hittites, a warlike people who had moved southward from their home in
Asia Minor and sought to establish themselves in the Syrian lands. Rameses
does not appear to have been entirely successful against his foes. We find
him at length entering into an alliance with "the great king of the
Hittites," by which their dominion over northern Syria was recognized. In
the arts of peace Rameses achieved a more enduring renown. He erected many
statues and temples in various parts of Egypt and made Thebes, his
capital, the most magnificent city of the age.

[Illustration: HEAD OF MUMMY OF RAMESES II (Museum of Gizeh)
The mummy was discovered in 1881 AD in an underground chamber near the
site of Thebes. With it were the coffins and bodies of more than a score
of royal personages. Rameses II was over ninety years of age at the time
of his death. In spite of the somewhat grotesque disguise of
mummification, the face of this famous Pharaoh still wears an aspect of
majesty and pride.]


Rameses II was the last of the great Pharaohs. After his death the empire
steadily declined in strength. The Asiatic possessions fell away, never to
be recovered. By 1100 B.C. Egypt had been restricted to her former
boundaries in the Nile valley. The Persians, in the sixth century, brought
the country within their own vast empire.



The Phoenicians were the first Syrian people to assume importance. Their
country was a narrow stretch of coast, about one hundred and twenty miles
in length, seldom more than twelve miles in width, between the Lebanon
Mountains and the sea. This tiny land could not support a large
population. As the Phoenicians increased in numbers, they were obliged to
betake themselves to the sea. The Lebanon cedars furnished soft, white
wood for shipbuilding, and the deeply indented coast offered excellent
harbors. Thus the Phoenicians became preeminently a race of sailors. Their
great cities, Sidon and Tyre, established colonies throughout the
Mediterranean and had an extensive commerce with every region of the known


The Hebrews lived south of Phoenicia in the land of Canaan, west of the
Jordan River Their history begins with the emigration of twelve Hebrew
tribes (called Israelites) from northern Arabia to Canaan. In their new
home the Israelites gave up the life of wandering shepherds and became
farmers. They learned from the Canaanites to till the soil and to dwell in
towns and cities.


The thorough conquest of Canaan proved to be no easy task. At first the
twelve Israelitish tribes formed only a loose and weak confederacy without
a common head. "In those days there was no king in Israel, every man did
what was right in his own eyes." [10] The sole authority was that held by
valiant chieftains and law-givers, such as Samson, Gideon, and Samuel, who
served as judges between the tribes and often led them in successful
attacks upon their foes. Among these were the warlike Philistines, who
occupied the southwestern coast of Canaan. To resist the Philistines with
success it was necessary to have a king who could bring all the scattered
tribes under his firm, well-ordered rule.


In Saul, "a young man and a goodly," the warriors of Israel found a leader
to unite them against their enemies. His reign was passed in constant
struggles with the Philistines. David, who followed him, utterly destroyed
the Philistine power and by further conquests extended the boundaries of
the new state. For a capital city he selected the ancient fortress of
Jerusalem. Here David built himself a royal palace and here he fixed the
Ark, the sanctuary of Jehovah. Jerusalem became to the Israelites their
dearest possession and the center of their national life.

[Illustration: Map, CANAAN as Divided among THE TRIBES]


The reign of Solomon, the son and successor of David, was the most
splendid period in Hebrew history. His kingdom stretched from the Red Sea
and the peninsula of Sinai northward to the Lebanon Mountains and the
Euphrates. With the surrounding peoples Solomon was on terms of friendship
and alliance. He married an Egyptian princess, a daughter of the reigning
Pharaoh. He joined with Hiram, king of Tyre, in trading expeditions on the
Red Sea and Indian Ocean. The same Phoenician monarch supplied him with
the "cedars of Lebanon," with which he erected at Jerusalem a famous
temple for the worship of Jehovah. A great builder, a wise administrator
and governor, Solomon takes his place as a typical Oriental despot, the
most powerful monarch of the age.

From a slab found at Nineveh in the palace of the Assyrian king,
Sennacherib. The vessel shown is a bireme with two decks. On the upper
deck are soldiers with their shields hanging over the side. The oarsmen
sit on the lower deck, eight at each side. The crab catching the fish is a
humorous touch.]


But the political greatness of the Hebrews was not destined to endure. The
people were not ready to bear the burdens of empire. They objected to the
standing army, to the forced labor on public buildings, and especially to
the heavy taxes. The ten northern tribes seceded shortly after Solomon's
death and established the independent kingdom of Israel, with its capital
at Samaria. The two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin, formed the
kingdom of Judea, and remained loyal to the successors of Solomon.

[Illustration: Map, SOLOMON'S KINGDOM]


The two small Hebrew kingdoms could not resist their powerful neighbors.
About two centuries after the secession of the Ten Tribes, the Assyrians
overran Israel. Judea was subsequently conquered by the Babylonians. Both
countries in the end became a part of the Persian Empire.



Assyria, lying east of the Tigris River, was colonized at an early date by
emigrants from Babylonia. After the Assyrians freed themselves from
Babylonian control, they entered upon a series of sweeping conquests.
Every Asiatic state felt their heavy hand. The Assyrian kings created a
huge empire stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf, the
Mediterranean, and the Nile. For the first time in Oriental history
Mesopotamia and Egypt, with the intervening territory, were brought under
one government.


This unification of the Orient was accomplished only at a fearful cost.
The records of Assyria are full of terrible deeds--of towns and cities
without number given to the flames, of the devastation of fertile fields
and orchards, of the slaughter of men, women, and children, of the
enslavement of entire nations. Assyrian monarchs, in numerous
inscriptions, boast of the wreck and ruin they brought to many flourishing

[Illustration: AN ASSYRIAN
From a Nineveh bas-relief. The original is colored.]

SARGON II, 722-705 B.C.

The treatment of conquered peoples by the Assyrian rulers is well
illustrated by their dealings with the Hebrews. One of the mightiest
monarchs was an usurper, who ascended the throne as Sargon II. Shortly
after his succession he turned his attention to the kingdom of Israel,
which had revolted. Sargon in punishment took its capital city of Samaria
(722 B.C.) and led away many thousands of the leading citizens into a
lifelong captivity in distant Assyria. The Ten Tribes mingled with the
population of that region and henceforth disappeared from history.

  Map, THE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE about 660 B.C.
  Map, LYDIA, MEDIA, BABYLONIA and EGYPT about 550 B.C.]


Sargon's son, Sennacherib, though not the greatest, is the best known of
Assyrian kings. His name is familiar from the many references to him in
Old Testament writings. An inscription by Sennacherib describes an
expedition against Hezekiah, king of Judea, who was shut up "like a caged
bird in his royal city of Jerusalem." Sennacherib, however, did not
capture the place. His troops were swept away by a pestilence. The ancient
Hebrew writer conceives it as the visitation of a destroying angel: "It
came to pass that night that the angel of Jehovah went forth, and smote in
the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand; and when
men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies." [11]
So Sennacherib departed, and returned with a shattered army to Nineveh,
his capital.

[Illustration: AN ASSYRIAN RELIEF (British Museum, London)
The relief represents the siege and capture of Lachish, a city of the
Canaanites, by Sennacherib's troops. Notice the total absence of
perspective in this work.]


Although Assyria recovered from this disaster, its empire rested on
unstable foundations. The subject races were attached to their oppressive
masters by no ties save those of force. When Assyria grew exhausted by its
career of conquest, they were quick to strike a blow for freedom. By the
middle of the seventh century Egypt had secured her independence, and many
other provinces were ready to revolt. Meanwhile, beyond the eastern
mountains, the Medes were gathering ominously on the Assyrian frontier.
The storm broke when the Median monarch, in alliance with the king of
Babylon, moved upon Nineveh and captured it. The city was utterly

Explorations on the site of Babylon have been conducted since 1899 A.D. by
the German Oriental Society. Large parts of the temple area, as well as
sections of the royal palaces, have been uncovered. The most important
structure found is the Ishtar Gate. The towers which flank it are adorned
with figures of dragons and bulls in brilliantly colored glazed tile.]


After the conquest of the Assyrian Empire the victors proceeded to divide
the spoils. The share of Media was Assyria itself, together with the long
stretch of mountain country extending from the Persian Gulf to Asia Minor.
Babylonia obtained the western half of the Assyrian domains, including the
Euphrates valley and Syria. Under its famous king, Nebuchadnezzar (604-561
B.C.), Babylonia became a great power in the Orient. It was Nebuchadnezzar
who brought the kingdom of Judea to an end. He captured Jerusalem in 586
B.C., burned the Temple, and carried away many Jews into captivity. The
day of their deliverance, when Babylon itself should bow to a foreign foe,
was still far distant.



Not much earlier than the break-up of the Assyrian Empire, we find a new
and vigorous people pressing into western Iran. They were the Persians,
near kinsmen of the Medes. Subjects at first of Assyria, and then of
Media, they regained their independence and secured imperial power under a
conquering king whom history knows as Cyrus the Great. In 553 B.C. Cyrus
revolted against the Median monarch and three years later captured the
royal city of Ecbatana. The Medes and Persians formed henceforth a united

The mausoleum is built of immense marble blocks joined together without
cement. Its total height including the seven steps is about thirty five
feet. A solitary pillar near the tomb still bears the inscription 'I am
Cyrus, the King, the Achaemenian.']


The conquest of Media was soon followed by a war with the Lydians, who had
been allies of the Medes. The throne of Lydia, a state in the western part
of Asia Minor, was at this time held by Croesus, the last and most famous
of his line. The king grew so wealthy from the tribute paid by Lydian
subjects and from his gold mines that his name has passed into the
proverb, "rich as Croesus." He viewed with alarm the rising power of Cyrus
and rashly offered battle to the Persian monarch. Defeated in the open
field, Croesus shut himself up in Sardis, his capital. The city was soon
taken, however, and with its capture the Lydian kingdom came to an end.


The downfall of Lydia prepared the way for a Persian attack on Babylonia.
The conquest of that country proved unexpectedly easy. In 539 B.C. the
great city of Babylon opened its gates to the Persian host. Shortly
afterwards Cyrus issued a decree allowing the Jewish exiles there to
return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, which Nebuchadnezzar had
destroyed. With the surrender of Babylon the last Semitic empire in the
East came to an end. The Medes and Persians, an Indo-European people,
henceforth ruled over a wider realm than ever before had been formed in
Oriental lands.

CAMBYSES, 529-522 B.C.

Cyrus was followed by his son, Cambyses, a cruel but stronghanded despot.
Cambyses determined to add Egypt to the Persian dominions. His land army
was supported by a powerful fleet, to which the Phoenicians and the Greeks
of Cyprus contributed ships. A single battle sufficed to overthrow the
Egyptian power and to bring the long rule of the Pharaohs to a close. [12]


The reign of Darius, the successor of Cambyses, was marked by further
extensions of the frontiers. An expedition to the distant East added to
the empire the region of the Punjab, [13] along the upper waters of the
Indus. Another expedition against the wild Scythian tribes along the
Danube led to conquests in Europe and brought the Persian dominions close
to those of the Greeks. Not without reason could Darius describe himself
in an inscription which still survives, as "the great king, king of kings,
king of countries, king of all men."

Bas-relief at Persepolis. The monarch's right hand grasps a staff or
scepter, his left hand, a bunch of flowers. His head is surmounted by a
crown, his body is enveloped in the long Median mantle. Above the king is
a representation of the divinity which guarded and guided him. In the rear
are two Persian nobles, one carrying the royal fan, the other the royal

The tombs are those of Darius, Xerxes, and two of their successors. They
are near Persepolis.]


It was the work of Darius to provide for his dominions a stable government
which should preserve what the sword had won. The problem was difficult.
The empire was a collection of many peoples widely different in race,
language, customs, and religion. Darius did not attempt to weld the
conquered nations into unity. As long as the subjects of Persia paid
tribute and furnished troops for the royal army, they were allowed to
conduct their own affairs with little interference from the Great King.


The entire empire, excluding Persia proper, was divided into twenty
satrapies, or provinces, each one with its civil governor, or satrap. The
satraps carried out the laws and collected the heavy tribute annually
levied throughout the empire. In most of the provinces there were also
military governors who commanded the army and reported directly to the
king. This device of intrusting the civil and military functions to
separate officials lessened the danger of revolts against the Persian
authority. As an additional precaution Darius provided special agents
whose business it was to travel from province to province and investigate
the conduct of his officials. It became a proverb that "the king has many
eyes and many ears."


Darius also established a system of military roads throughout the Persian
dominions. The roads were provided at frequent intervals with inns, where
postmen stood always in readiness to take up a letter and carry it to the
next station. The Royal Road from Susa, the Persian capital, to Sardis in
Lydia was over fifteen hundred miles long; but government couriers, using
relays of fresh horses, could cover the distance within a week. An old
Greek writer declares with admiration that "there is nothing mortal more
swift than these messengers." [14]


The political history of the East fitly ends with the three Persian
conquerors, Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius, who thus brought into their huge
empire every great state of Oriental antiquity. Medes and Persians,
Babylonians and Assyrians, Lydians, Syrians, and Egyptians--all were at
length united under a single dominion. In the reign of Darius this united
Orient first comes into contact with the rising power of the Greek states
of Europe. So we may leave its history here, resuming our narrative when
we discuss the momentous conflict between Persia and Greece, which was to
affect the course, not alone of Persian or Greek, but of all European
history. [15]

B. C.)]


1. On the map Physical Map of Asia, section 7. Physical Asia, topic Grand
Divisions of Asia, see what regions of Asia are less than 500 feet above
sea level; less than 3000 feet; less than 9000 feet; less than 15,000
feet; over 15,000 feet.

2. On an outline map of the Orient indicate eight important rivers, two
gulfs, three inland seas, the great plateaus and plains, the principal
mountain ranges, two important passes, and the various countries and
cities mentioned in this chapter.

3. On an outline map draw the boundaries of the Persian Empire under
Darius, showing what parts were conquered by Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius,

4. For what were the following places noted: Jerusalem; Thebes; Tyre;
Nineveh; and Babylon?

5. For what were the following persons famous: Hammurabi; Rameses II;
Solomon; Cyrus; Nebuchadnezzar; and Darius?

6. Define and illustrate these terms: empire, kingdom, province, tributary
state, satrapy.

7. Identity these dates: 606 B.C.; 539 B.C.; and 540 B.C.

8. Why was India better known in ancient times than China?

9. What modern countries are included within the limits of ancient Iran?

10. Why was a canal through the isthmus of Suez less needed in ancient
times than to-day?

11. Can you suggest any reasons why the sources of the Nile remained
unknown until late in the nineteenth century?

12. What is the origin of the name _Delta_ applied to such a region as
Lower Egypt?

13. Comment on the statement: "Egypt as a geographical expression is two
things--the Desert and the Nile. As a habitable country it is only one
thing--the Nile."

14. Why did the Greek traveler, Herodotus, call Egypt "the gift of the

15. Distinguish between Syria and Assyria.

16. What is the exact meaning of the words, _Hebrew_, _Israelite_, and
_Jew_? Describe some features of Assyrian warfare (illustration, page 35).

17. What modern countries are included within the limits of the Persian
Empire under Darius?

18. Trace on the map facing page 40 the course of the Royal Road, noting
the countries through which it passed.


[1] Webster, _Readings in Ancient History_, chapter ii, "The Founders of
the Persian Empire: Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius."

[2] See page 16.

[3] See page 39.

[4] See page 125.

[5] Herodotus, i, 193.

[6] See page 8.

[7] It is interesting to note that Hebrew tradition (_Genesis_, ii, 8-15)
places Paradise, the garden of God and original home of man, in southern
Babylonia. The ancient name for this district was Edin (Eden).

[8] The problem of regulating the Nile inundation so as to distribute the
water for irrigation when and where it is most needed has been solved by
the building of the Assuan dam. It lies across the head of the first
cataract for a distance of a mile and a quarter, and creates a lake two
hundred and forty miles in length. This great work was completed in 1912
A.D. by the British officials who now control Egypt.

[9] See page 50.

[10] Judges, xvii, 6.

[11] 2 _Kings_, xix, 35. See Byron's poem, _The Destruction of

[12] See page 29.

[13] See page 21.

[14] Herodotus, viii, 98.

[15] See chapter v.





Our present knowledge of the Orient has been gained within recent times.
Less than a century ago no one could read the written records of the
Egyptians and Babylonians. The decipherment of the Rosetta Stone, which
contained an inscription in both Greek and hieroglyphics, led to the
understanding of Egyptian writing. Scholars later succeeded in
interpreting the Babylonian cuneiform script. Modern excavations in the
valleys of the Nile and the Euphrates have now provided them with abundant
material for study in the shape of books and inscriptions. As these are
gradually deciphered, new light is being thrown on all features of ancient
Oriental civilization.

The cut shows the symbols contained in one of the oval rings, or
_cartouches_, for Ptolemaios, the Greek name of King Ptolemy. Each symbol
represents the initial letter of the Egyptian name for the object
pictured. The objects in order are: a mat, a half-circle, a noose, a lion,
a hole, two reeds, and a chair-back. The entire hieroglyph is read from
left to right, as we read words in English.]

[Illustration: THE ROSETTA STONE.
British Museum, London. A block of black basalt, three feet seven inches
in height, found in 1799 A.D., near the Rosetta mouth of the Nile.]


The Oriental peoples, when their history opens, were living under the
monarchical form of government. The king, to his subjects, was the earthly
representative of the god. Often, indeed, he was himself regarded as
divine. The belief in the king's divine origin made obedience to him a
religious obligation for his subjects. Every Oriental monarch was an
autocrat. Every Oriental monarchy was a despotism.


The king had many duties. He was judge, commander, and high priest, all in
one. In time of war, he led his troops and faced the dangers of the battle
field. During intervals of peace, he was occupied with a constant round of
sacrifices, prayers, and processions, which could not be neglected without
exciting the anger of the gods. To his courtiers he gave frequent
audience, hearing complaints, settling disputes, and issuing commands. A
conscientious monarch, such as Hammurabi, who describes himself as "a real
father to his people," must have been a very busy man.

Wall painting from a tomb at Thebes. Shows a Pharaoh receiving Asiatic
envoys bearing tribute. They are introduced by white robed Egyptian
officials. The Asiatics may be distinguished by their gay clothes and
black, sharp pointed beards.]


Besides the monarch and the royal family there was generally in Oriental
countries an upper class of landowners. In Egypt the Pharaoh was regarded
as sole owner of the land. Some of it he worked through his slaves, but
the larger part he granted to his favorites, as hereditary estates. Such
persons may be called the nobles. The different priesthoods also had much
land, the revenues from which kept up the temples where they ministered.
In Babylonia, likewise, we find a priesthood and nobility supported by the
income from landed property.


The middle class included professional men, shopkeepers independent
farmers, and skilled craftsmen. Though regarded as inferiors, still they
had a chance to rise in the world. If they became rich, they might hope to
enter the upper class as priests or government officials.


No such hopes encouraged the day laborer in the fields or shops. His lot
was bitter poverty and a life of unending toil. If he was an unskilled
workman, his wages were only enough to keep him and his family. He toiled
under overseers who carried sticks and used them freely. "Man has a back,"
says an Egyptian proverb, "and only obeys when it is beaten." If the
laborer was a peasant, he could be sure that the nobles from whom he
rented the land and the tax collectors of the king would leave him
scarcely more than a bare living.


At the very bottom of the social ladder were the slaves. Every ancient
people possessed them. At first they were prisoners of war, who, instead
of being slaughtered, were made to labor for their masters. At a later
period people unable to pay their debts often became slaves. The treatment
of slaves depended on the character of the master. A cruel and overbearing
owner might make life a burden for his bondmen. Escape was rarely
possible. Slaves were branded like cattle to prevent their running away.
Hammurabi's code [2] imposed the death penalty on anybody who aided or
concealed the fugitives. There was plenty of work for the slaves to
perform--repairing dikes, digging irrigation canals, and erecting vast
palaces and temples. The servile class in Egypt was not as numerous as in
Babylonia, and slavery itself seems to have assumed there a somewhat
milder form.

A slab from a gallery of Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh. The immense
block is being pulled forward by slaves, who work under the lash.]



Such fruitful, well-watered valleys as those of the Nile and the Euphrates
encouraged agricultural life. Farming was the chief occupation. Working
people, whether slaves or freemen, were generally cultivators of the soil.
All the methods of agriculture are pictured for us on the monuments. We
mark the peasant as he breaks up the earth with a hoe or plows a shallow
furrow with a sharp-pointed stick. We see the sheep being driven across
sown fields to trample the seed into the moist soil. We watch the patient
laborers as with hand sickles they gather in the harvest and then with
heavy flails separate the chaff from the grain. Although their methods
were very clumsy, ancient farmers raised immense crops of wheat and
barley. The soil of Egypt and Babylonia not only supported a dense
population, but also supplied food for neighboring peoples. These two
lands were the granaries of the East.



Many industries of to-day were known in ancient Egypt and Babylonia. There
were blacksmiths, carpenters, stonecutters, workers in ivory, silver, and
gold, weavers, potters, and glass blowers. The creations of these ancient
craftsmen often exhibit remarkable skill. Egyptian linens were so
wonderfully fine and transparent as to merit the name of "woven air."
Babylonian tapestries, carpets, and rugs enjoyed a high reputation for
beauty of design and color. Egyptian glass with its waving lines of
different hues was much prized. Precious stones were made into beads,
necklaces, charms, and seals. The precious metals were employed for a
great variety of ornaments. Egyptian paintings show the goldsmiths at work
with blowpipe and forceps, fashioning bracelets, rings, and diadems,
inlaying objects of stone and wood, or covering their surfaces with fine
gold leaf. The manufacture of tiles and glazed pottery was everywhere
carried on. Babylonia is believed to be the original home of porcelain.
Enameled bricks found there are unsurpassed by the best products of the
present day.


The development of the arts and crafts brought a new industrial class into
existence. There was now need of merchants and shopkeepers to collect
manufactured products where they could be readily bought and sold. The
cities of Babylonia, in particular, became thriving markets. Partnerships
between tradesmen were numerous. We even hear of commercial companies.
Business life in ancient Babylonia wore, indeed, quite a modern look.


Metallic money first circulated in the form of rings and bars. The
Egyptians had small pieces of gold--"cow gold"--each of which was simply
the value of a full-grown cow. [3] It was necessary to weigh the metal
whenever a purchase took place. A common picture on the Egyptian monuments
is that of the weigher with his balance and scales. Then the practice
arose of stamping each piece of money with its true value and weight. The
next step was coinage proper, where the government guarantees, not only
the weight, but also the genuineness of the metal.



The honor of the invention of coinage is generally given to the Lydians,
whose country was well supplied with the precious metals. As early as the
eighth century B.C. the Lydian monarchs began to strike coins of electrum,
a natural alloy of gold and silver. The famous Croesus,[4] whose name is
still a synonym for riches, was the first to issue coins of pure gold and
silver. The Greek neighbors of Lydia quickly adopted the art of coinage
and so introduced it into Europe. [5]


The use of money as a medium of exchange led naturally to a system of
banking. In Babylonia, for instance, the bankers formed an important and
influential class. One great banking house, established at Babylon before
the age of Sennacherib, carried on operations for several centuries.
Hundreds of legal documents belonging to this firm have been discovered in
the huge earthenware jars which served as safes. The Babylonian temples
also received money on deposit and loaned it out again, as do our modern
banks. Knowledge of the principles of banking passed from Babylonia to
Greece and thence to ancient Italy and Rome.



The use of the precious metals as money greatly aided the exchange of
commodities between different countries. The cities of the Tigris-
Euphrates valley were admirably situated for commerce, both by sea and
land. They enjoyed a central position between eastern and western Asia.
The shortest way by water from India skirted the southern coast of Iran
and, passing up the Persian Gulf, gained the valley of the two great
rivers. Even more important were the overland roads from China and India
which met at Babylon and Nineveh. Along these routes traveled long lines
of caravans laden with the products of the distant East--gold and ivory,
jewels and silks, tapestries, spices, and fine woods. Still other avenues
of commerce radiated to the west and entered Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt.
Many of these trade routes are in use even to-day.

[Illustration: Map, ANCIENT TRADE ROUTES]


While the inhabitants of Babylonia and Assyria were able to control the
caravan routes of Asia, it was reserved for a Syrian people, the
Phoenicians, to become the pioneers of commerce with Europe. As early as
1500 B.C. the rich copper mines of Cyprus attracted Phoenician colonists
to this island. [6] From Cyprus these bold mariners and keen business men
passed to Crete, thence along the shores of Asia Minor to the Greek
mainland, and possibly to the Black Sea. Some centuries later the
Phoenicians were driven from these regions by the rising power of the
Greek states. Then they sailed farther westward and established their
trading posts in Sicily, Africa, and Spain. At length they passed through
the strait of Gibraltar into the Atlantic and visited the shores of
western Europe and Africa.



The Phoenicians obtained a great variety of products from their widely
scattered settlements. The mines of Spain yielded tin, lead, and silver.
The tin was especially valuable because of its use in the manufacture of
bronze. [7] From Africa came ivory, ostrich feathers, and gold; from
Arabia, incense, perfumes, and costly spices. The Phoenicians found a
ready sale for these commodities throughout the East. Still other products
were brought directly to Phoenicia to provide the raw materials for her
flourishing manufactures. The fine carpets and glassware, the artistic
works in silver and bronze, and the beautiful purple cloths [8] produced
by Phoenician factories were exported to every region of the known world.


The Phoenicians were the boldest sailors of antiquity. Some of their long
voyages are still on record. We learn from the Bible that they made
cruises on the Red Sea and Indian Ocean and brought the gold of Ophir--
"four hundred and twenty talents"--to Solomon. [9] There is even a story
of certain Phoenicians who, by direction of an Egyptian king, explored the
eastern coast of Africa, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and after three
years' absence returned to Egypt through the strait of Gibraltar. A much
more probable narrative is that of the voyage of Hanno, a Carthaginian
admiral. We still possess a Greek translation of his interesting log book.
It describes an expedition made about 500 B.C. along the western coast of
Africa. The explorers seem to have sailed as far as the country now called
Sierra Leone. Nearly two thousand years elapsed before a similar voyage
along the African coast was undertaken.


Wherever the Phoenicians journeyed, they established settlements. Most of
these were merely trading posts which contained the warehouses for the
storage of their goods. Here the shy natives came to barter their raw
materials for the finished products--cloths, tools, weapons, wine, and
oil--which the strangers from the East had brought with them. Phoenician
settlements sometimes grew to be large and flourishing cities. The colony
of Gades in southern Spain, mentioned in the Old Testament as Tarshish,
[10] survives to this day as Cadiz. The city of Carthage, founded in North
Africa by colonists from Tyre, became the commercial mistress of the
Mediterranean. Carthaginian history has many points of contact with that
of the Greeks and Romans.



It is clear that societies so highly organized as Phoenicia, Egypt, and
Babylonia must have been held together by the firm bonds of law. The
ancient Babylonians, especially, were a legal-minded people. When a man
sold his wheat, bought a slave, married a wife, or made a will, the
transaction was duly noted on a contract tablet, which was then filed away
in the public archives. Instead of writing his name, a Babylonian stamped
his seal on the wet clay of the tablet. Every man who owned property had
to have a seal.


The earliest laws were, of course, unwritten. They were no more than the
long-established customs of the community. As civilization advanced, the
usages that generally prevailed were written out and made into legal
codes. A recent discovery has given to us the almost complete text of the
laws which Hammurabi, the Babylonian king, ordered to be engraved on stone
monuments and set up in all the chief cities of his realm. [11]


The code of Hammurabi shows, in general, a high sense of justice. A man
who tries to bribe a witness or a judge is to be severely punished. A
farmer who is careless with his dikes and allows the water to run through
flood his neighbor's land must restore the value of the grain he has
damaged. The owner of a vicious ox which has gored a man must pay a heavy
fine, provided he knew the disposition of the animal and had not blunted
its horns. A builder who puts up a shaky house which afterwards collapses
and kills the tenant is himself to be put to death. On the other hand, the
code has some rude features. Punishments were severe. For injuries to the
body there was the simple rule of retaliation: an eye for an eye, a tooth
for a tooth, a limb for a limb. A son who had struck his father was to
have his hands cut off. The nature of the punishment depended, moreover,
on the rank of the aggrieved party. A person who had caused the loss of a
"gentleman's" eye was to have his own plucked out; but if the injury was
done to a poor man, the culprit had only to pay a fine.

The actual tablet is on the right, on the left is a hollow clay case or


Hammurabi's laws thus present a vivid picture of Oriental society two
thousand years before Christ. They always remained the basis of the
Babylonian and Assyrian legal system. They were destined, also, to exert
considerable influence upon Hebrew legislation. Centuries after Hammurabi
the enactments of the old Babylonian king were reproduced in some of the
familiar regulations of the laws of Moses. In this way they became the
heritage of the Hebrews and, through them, of our modern world.


The laws which we find in the earlier books of the Bible were ascribed by
the Hebrews to Moses. These laws covered a wide range of topics. They
fixed all religious ceremonies, required the observance every seventh day
of the Sabbath, dealt with marriage and the family, stated the penalties
for wrongdoing, gave elaborate rules for sacrifices, and even indicated
what foods must be avoided as "unclean." No other ancient people possessed
so elaborate a code. The Jews throughout the world obey, to this day, its
precepts. And modern Christendom still recites the Ten Commandments, the
noblest summary of the rules of right living that has come down to us from
the ancient world.



Oriental ideas of religion, even more than of law and morality, were the
gradual outgrowth of beliefs held by the Asiatic peoples in prehistoric
times. Everywhere nature worship prevailed. The vault of heaven, earth and
ocean, sun, moon, and stars were all regarded either as themselves divine
or as the abode of divinities. The sun was an object of especial
adoration. We find a sun god, under different names, in every Oriental


Another inheritance from prehistoric times was the belief in evil spirits.
In Babylonia and Assyria this superstition became a prominent feature of
the popular religion. Men supposed themselves to be constantly surrounded
by a host of demons which caused insanity, sickness, disease, and death--
all the ills of life. People lived in constant fear of offending these
malignant beings.


To cope with evil spirits the Babylonian used magic. He put up a small
image of a protecting god at the entrance to his house and wore charms
upon his person. If he felt ill, he went to a priest, who recited a long
incantation supposed to drive out the "devil" afflicting the patient. The
reputation of the Babylonian priests was so widespread that in time the
name "Chaldean" [12] came to mean one who is a magician. Some of their
magical rites were borrowed by the Jews, and later by the Romans, from
whom they entered Christian Europe. Another Babylonian practice which
spread westward was that of divination, particularly by inspecting the
entrails of animals slain in sacrifice. This was a very common method of
divination among the Greeks and Romans. [13]

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN SCARAB
The beetle, as a symbol of birth and resurrection, and hence of
immortality, enjoyed much reverence in ancient Egypt. A scarab, or image
of the beetle, was often worn as a charm and was placed in the mummy as an
artificial heart.]


Astrology received much attention. It was believed that the five planets,
comets, and eclipses of the sun and moon exerted an influence for good or
evil on the life of man. Babylonian astrology likewise extended to western
lands and became popular among the Greeks and Romans. Some of it survives
to the present time. When we name the days Saturday, Sunday, and Monday,
we are unconscious astrologers, for in old belief the first day belonged
to the planet Saturn, the second to the sun, and the third to the moon.
[14] Superstitious people who try to read their fate in the stars are
really practicing an art of Babylonian origin.


Less influential in later times was the animal worship of the Egyptians.
This, too, formed a heritage from the prehistoric past. Many common
animals of Egypt--the cat, hawk, the jackal, the bull, the ram, the
crocodile--were highly reverenced. Some received worship because deities
were supposed to dwell in them. The larger number, however, were not
worshiped for themselves, but as symbols of different gods.


In the midst of such an assemblage of nature deities, spirits, and sacred
animals, it was remarkable that the belief in one god should ever have
arisen. The Medes and Persians accepted the teachings of Zoroaster, a
great prophet who lived perhaps as early as 1000 B.C. According to
Zoroaster, Ahuramazda, the heaven-deity, is the maker and upholder of the
universe. He is a god of light and order, of truth and purity. Against him
stands Ahriman, the personification of darkness and evil. Ahuramazda in
the end will overcome Ahriman and will reign supreme in a righteous world.
Zoroastrianism was the only monotheistic religion developed by an Indo-
European people. [15]

[Illustration: AMENHOTEP IV
A striking likeness of an Egyptian king (reigned about 1375-1358 B.C.) who
endeavored to introduce monotheism in Egypt by abolishing the worship of
all gods except the sun god. This religious revolution ended in failure
for after the king's death the old deities were restored to honor.]


The Hebrews, alone among the Semitic peoples of antiquity, were to develop
the worship of their god, Jehovah, into a lasting monotheism. This was a
long and gradual process Jehovah was at first regarded as the peculiar
divinity of the Hebrews. His worshipers did not deny the existence of the
gods of other nations. From the eighth century onward this narrow
conception of Jehovah was transformed by the labors of the Hebrew
prophets. They taught that Jehovah was the creator and ruler of the world
and the loving father of all mankind. On Hebrew monotheism two world
religions have been founded--Mohammedanism and Christianity.


We do not find among the early Hebrews or any other Oriental people very
clear ideas about the life after death. The Egyptians long believed that
the soul of the dead man resided in or near the tomb, closely associated
with the body. This notion seems to have first led to the practice of
embalming the corpse, so that it might never suffer decay. If the body was
not preserved, the soul might die, or it might become a wandering ghost,
restless and dangerous to the living. Later Egyptian thought regarded the
future state as a place of rewards and punishments. One of the chapters of
the work called the _Book of the Dead_ describes the judgment of the soul
in the spirit world. If a man in the earthly life had not murdered,
stolen, coveted the property of others, blasphemed the gods, borne false
witness, ill treated his parents, or committed certain other wrongs, his
soul would enjoy a blissful immortality.

[Illustration: MUMMY AND COVER OF COFFIN (U.S. National Museum,


Some Oriental peoples kept the primitive belief that after death all men,
good and bad alike, suffered the same fate. The Babylonians supposed that
the souls of the departed passed a cheerless existence in a gloomy and
Hebrew underworld. The early Hebrew idea of Sheol, "the land of darkness
and the shadow of death," [16] was very similar. Such thoughts of the
future life left nothing for either fear or hope. In later times, however,
the Hebrews came to believe in the resurrection of the dead and the last
judgment, conceptions afterwards adopted by Christianity.



Religion inspired the largest part of ancient literature. Each Oriental
people possessed sacred writings. The Egyptian _Book of the Dead_ was
already venerable in 3000 B.C. It was a collection of hymns, prayers, and
magical phrases to be recited by the soul on its journey beyond the grave
and in the spirit world. A chapter from this work usually covered the
inner side of the mummy case.

From a papyrus containing the _Book of the Dead_. The illustration shows a
man and his wife (at the left) entering the hall in the spirit world,
where sits the god of the dead with forty two jurors (seen above) as his
assistants. The heart of the man, symbolized by a jar, is being weighed in
balances by a jackal-headed god against a feather, the symbol of truth.
The monster in the right hand corner stands ready to devour the soul, if
the heart is found lighter than the feather.]


Much more interesting are the two Babylonian epics, fragments of which
were found on clay tablets in a royal library at Nineveh. The epic of the
Creation tells how the god Marduk overcame a terrible dragon, the symbol
of primeval chaos, and thus established order in the universe. Then with
half the body of the dead dragon he made a covering for the heavens and
set therein the stars. Next he caused the new moon to shine and made it
the ruler of the night. His last work was the creation of man, in order
that the service and worship of the gods might be established forever. The
second epic contains an account of a flood, sent by the gods to punish
sinful men. The rain fell for six days and nights and covered the entire
earth. All men were drowned except the Babylonian Noah, his family, and
his relatives, who safely rode the waters in an ark. This ancient
narrative so closely resembles the Bible story in _Genesis_ that we must
trace them both to a common source.

[Illustration: THE DELUGE TABLET (British Museum London)
Contains the narrative of the flood as pieced together and published by
George Smith in 1872 A.D. There are sixteen fragments in the restoration.]

The building extended along the Nile for nearly eight hundred feet. A
double line of sphinxes led to the only entrance, in front of which were
two obelisks and four colossal statues of Rameses II. Behind the first
gateway, or pylon came an open court surrounded by a portico upheld by
pillars. The second and third pylons were connected by a covered passage
leading into another open court. Lower rooms at the rear of the temple
contained the sanctuary of the god, which only the king and priests could


All these writings are so ancient that their very authors are forgotten.
The interest they excite is historical rather than literary. From Oriental
antiquity only one great work has reached us that still has power to move
the hearts of men--the Hebrew Bible.


Architecture, in Egypt, was the leading art. The Egyptians were the first
people who learned to raise buildings with vast halls supported by
ponderous columns. Their wealth and skill, however, were not lavished in
the erection of fine private mansions or splendid public buildings. The
characteristic works of Egyptian architecture are the tombs of the kings
and the temples of the gods. The picture of the great structure at Thebes,
which Rameses II completed, [17] will give some idea of an Egyptian temple
with its gateways, open courts, obelisks, and statues.

[Illustration: AN EGYPTIAN WOODEN STATUE, (Museum of Gizeh)
Found in a tomb near Memphis. The statue, which belongs to the age of the
pyramid kings, represents a bustling, active, middle-class official.]


The architecture of Babylonia and Assyria was totally unlike that of
Egypt, because brick, and not stone, formed the chief building and Assyria
material. In Babylonia the temple was a solid, square tower, built on a
broad platform. It consisted usually of seven stages, which arose one
above the other to the top, where the shrine of the deity was placed. The
different stages were connected by an inclined ascent. The four sides of
the temple faced the cardinal points, and the several stages were
dedicated to the sun, moon, and five planets. In Assyria the
characteristic building was the palace. But the sun-dried bricks, of which
both temples and palaces were composed, lacked the durability of stone and
have long since dissolved into shapeless mounds.


The surviving examples of Egyptian sculpture consist of bas-reliefs and
figures in the round, carved from limestone and granite or cast in bronze.
Many of the statues appear to our eyes very stiff and ungraceful. The
sculptor never learned how to pose his figures easily or how to arrange
them in an artistic group. In spite of these defects some Egyptian statues
are wonderfully lifelike. [18]

The royal residence of Sargon II near Nineveh was placed upon a high
platform of brick masonry the top of which was gained by stairs and an
inclined roadway. The palace consisted of a series of one storied
rectangular halls and long corridors surrounding inner courts. They were
provided with imposing entrances flanked by colossal human headed bulls
representing guardian spirits. The entire building covered more than
twenty three acres and contained two hundred apartments. In the rear is
seen a temple tower.]


Few examples have reached us of Babylonian and Assyrian sculpture in the
round. As in Egypt, the figures seem rigid and out of proportion. The
Assyrian bas-reliefs show a higher development of the artistic sense,
especially in the rendering of animals. The sculptures that deal with the
exploits of the kings in war and hunting often tell their story in so
graphic a way as to make up for the absence of written records.


Painting in the ancient East did not reach the dignity of an independent
art. It was employed solely for decorative purposes. Bas-reliefs and wall
surfaces were often brightly colored, The artist had no knowledge of
perspective and drew all his figures in profile, without any distinction
of light and shade. Indeed, Oriental painting, as well as Oriental
sculpture, made small pretense to the beautiful. Beauty was born into the
world with the art of the Greeks.


[Illustration: AN ASSYRIAN HUNTING SCENE (British Museum, London)
A bas relief from a slab found at Nineveh.]



Conspicuous advance took place in the exact sciences. The leading
operations of arithmetic were known. A Babylonian tablet gives a table of
squares and cubes correctly calculated from 1 to 60. The number 12 was the
basis of all reckonings. The division of the circle into degrees, minutes,
and seconds (360°, 60', 60") was an invention of the Babylonians which
illustrates this duodecimal system A start was made in geometry. One of
the oldest of Egyptian books contains a dozen geometrical problems. This
knowledge was afterwards developed into a true science by the Greeks.


In both Egypt and Babylonia the cloudless skies and still, warm nights
early led to astronomical research. At a remote period, perhaps before
4000 B.C., the Egyptians framed a solar calendar, [19] consisting of
twelve months, each thirty days in length, with five extra days at the end
of the year. This calendar was taken over by the Romans, [20] who added
the system of leap years. The Babylonians made noteworthy progress in some
branches of astronomy. They were able to trace the course of the sun
through the twelve constellations of the zodiac and to distinguish five of
the planets from the fixed stars. The successful prediction of eclipses
formed another Babylonian achievement. Such astronomical discoveries must
have required much patient and accurate observation.


Geographical ideas for a long time were very crude. An ancient map,
scratched on clay, indicates that about eight centuries before Christ the
Babylonians had gained some knowledge, not only of their own land, but
even of regions beyond the Mediterranean. The chief increase in man's
knowledge of the world in ancient times was due to the Phoenicians. [21]


The skill of Oriental peoples as mechanics and engineers is proved by
their success as builders. The great pyramids exactly face the points of
the compass. The principle of the round arch was known in Babylonia at a
remote period The transportation of colossal stone monuments exhibits a
knowledge of the lever, pulley, and inclined plane. [22] Babylonian
inventions were the sundial and the water clock, the one to register the
passage of the hours by day, the other by night. The Egyptians and
Babylonians also made some progress in the practice of medicine.

A tablet of dark brown clay, much injured, dating from the 8th or 7th
century B.C. The two large concentric circles indicate the ocean or, as it
is called in the cuneiform writing between the circles, the 'Briny Flood.'
Beyond the ocean are seven successive projections of land, represented by
triangles. Perhaps they refer to the countries existing beyond the Black
Sea and the Red Sea. The two parallel lines within the inner circle
represent the Euphrates. The little rings stand for the Babylonian cities
in this region.]


The schools, in both Egypt and Babylonia, were attached to the temples and
were conducted by the priests. Writing was the chief subject of
instruction. It took many years of patient study to master the cuneiform
symbols or the even more difficult hieroglyphics. "He who would excel in
the school of the scribes," ran an ancient maxim, "must rise with the
dawn." Writing was learned by imitating the examples supplied in copy-
books. Some of the model letters studied by Egyptian boys of the twentieth
century B.C. have come down to us. Reading, too, was an art not easy to
learn. Dictionaries and grammars were written to aid the beginner. A
little instruction was also provided in counting and calculating.

[Illustration: AN EGYPTIAN SCRIBE (Louvre, Paris)]


Having learned to read and write, the pupil was ready to enter on the
coveted career of a scribe. In a community where nearly every one was
illiterate, the scribes naturally held an honorable place. They conducted
the correspondence of the time. When a man wished to send a letter, he had
a scribe write it, signing it himself by affixing his seal. When he
received a letter, he usually employed a scribe to read it to him. The
scribes were also kept busy copying books on the papyrus paper or clay
tablets which served as writing materials.


Every large city of Babylonia possessed a collection of books. Several of
the larger libraries have been discovered. At Nippur, in Babylonia, thirty
thousand clay tablets were found. Another great collection of books was
unearthed in a royal palace at Nineveh. This Assyrian library seems to
have been open for the general use of the king's subjects. The Egyptians
also had their libraries, usually as adjuncts to the temples, and hence
under priestly control.


Learning and education were so closely limited to a few individuals that
the mass of the people were sunk in deepest ignorance. Men could not
pursue knowledge for themselves, but had to accept every thing on
authority. Hence the inhabitants of Oriental lands remained a conservative
folk, slow to abandon their time-honored beliefs and very unwilling to
adopt a new custom even when clearly better than the old. This absence of
popular education, more than anything else, made Oriental civilization

Nippur was the ancient "Calneh in the land of Shinar" (_Genesis_, x, 10)
Excavations here were conducted by the University of Pennsylvania during
1889-1900 A.D. The city contained an imposing temple, a library, a school,
and even a little museum of antiquities.]


1. What was the origin of the "divine right" of kings?

2. Explain what is meant by _despotism_; by _autocracy_.

3. What European state comes nearest to being a pure despotism? What
European monarch styles himself as an autocrat?

4. What do the illustrations on pages 38, 43 tell about the pomp of
Oriental kings?

5. Why did the existence of numerous slaves in Egypt and Babylonia tend to
keep low the wages of free workmen? Why is it true that civilization may
be said to have begun "with the cracking of the slave whip"?

6. What light is thrown on the beginnings of money in ancient Egypt by the
illustration on page 47?

7. Name some objects which, in place of the metals, are used by primitive
peoples as money.

8. Interest in Babylonia was usually at the rate of 20% a year. Why is it
so much lower in modern countries?

9. On the map, page 48, indicate the trade routes between eastern and
western Asia which met in Mesopotamia.

10. The Phoenicians have been called "the English of antiquity." Can you
give any reason for this characterization?

11. Why should the Phoenicians have been called the "colossal peddlers" of
the ancient world?

12. What books of the Bible contain the laws of Israel?

13. What reasons can you suggest for the universal worship of the sun?

14. Define _polytheism_ and _monotheism_, giving examples of each.

15. Describe the Egyptian conception of the judgment of the dead
(illustration, page 56).

16. How many "books" are there in the Old Testament?

17. What is the Apocrypha?

18. How are the pyramids proof of an advanced civilization among the

19. What is a bas-relief? Select some examples from the illustrations.

20. From what Oriental peoples do we get the oldest true arch? the first
coined money? the earliest legal code? the most ancient book?

21. Enumerate the most important contributions to civilization made in
Oriental antiquity.


[1] Webster, _Readings in Ancient History_, chapter 1, "Three Oriental
Peoples as Described by Herodotus."

[2] See page 25.

[3] See page 6.

[4] See page 37.

[5] For illustrations of Oriental coins see the plate facing page 134.

[6] See page 4.

[7] See page 5.

[8] "Tyrian purple" was a dye secured from a species of shellfish found
along the Phoenician coast and in Greek waters.

[9] See I _Kings_, ix, 26-28. The site of Ophir is not known, though
probably it was in southern Arabia.

[10] See _Ezekiel_, xxvii, 12, 25.

[11] A monument containing the code of Hammurabi was found on the site of
Susa in 1901-1902 A.D. See the illustration, page 25.

[12] Chaldea was another name for Babylonia.

[13] See page 148.

[14] The names of four other week days come from the names of old Teutonic
deities. Tuesday is the day of Tyr, Wednesday of Woden (Odin), Thursday of
Thunor (Thor), and Friday of the goddess Frigga. See page 304.

[15] Zoroastrians are still to be found in the East In Persia, now a
Mohammedan country, there is a little band of devoted followers of
Zoroaster, who keep up to this day the tenets of their ancient faith. In
India the Parsees of Bombay are the descendants of those Persians who fled
from Persia at the time of the Mohammedan conquest (page 376), rather than
surrender their cherished beliefs and embrace a new religion.

[16] _Job_, X, 21.

[17] See page 28.

[18] See the illustrations, pages 27, 54, 58, 63.

[19] See page 13.

[20] See page 186, note 2.

[21] See page 48.

[22] See the illustration, page 46.





The continent of Asia, projecting its huge bulk southwestward between the
seas, gradually narrows into the smaller continent of Europe. The boundary
between the two regions is not well defined. Ancient geographers found a
convenient dividing line north of the Black Sea in the course of the river
Don. Modern map makers usually place the division at the Ural Mountains,
the Caspian Sea, and the Caucasus. Each of these boundaries is more or
less arbitrary. In a geographical sense Europe is only the largest of the
great Asiatic peninsulas.


But in physical features the two continents disclose the most striking
contrasts. The sea, which washes only the remote edges of Asia, penetrates
deeply into Europe and forms an extremely irregular coast line with
numerous bays and harbors. The mountains of Europe, seldom very high and
provided with easy passes, present no such barriers to intercourse as the
mightier ranges of Asia. We miss in Europe the extensive deserts and
barren table-lands which form such a feature of Asiatic geography. With
the exception of Russia the surface, generally, is distributed into
plains, hills, and valleys of moderate size. Instead of a few large
rivers, such as are found in Asia, Europe is well supplied with numerous
streams that make it possible to travel readily from one district to


The almost unbroken mountain chain formed by the Pyrenees, the Alps, and
the Balkans, sharply separates the central land mass of Europe from the
regions to the south. Central Europe consists, in general, of lowlands,
which widen eastward into the vast Russian plain. Northern Europe includes
the British Isles, physically an extension of Europe, and the peninsulas
of Scandinavia and Finland, between the Baltic Sea and the Arctic Ocean.
Twenty centuries ago central and northern Europe was a land of forests and
marshes, of desolate steppes and icebound hills. The peoples who inhabited
it--Celts in the west, Teutons or Germans in the north, Slavs in the east
--were men of Indo-European [2] race and speech. They were still
barbarians. During ancient times we hear little of them, except as their
occasional migrations southward brought them into contact with the Greeks
and the Romans.


Southern Europe comprises the three peninsulas of Spain, Italy, and the
Balkans, which reach far south into the Mediterranean. This great inland
sea is divided into two parts near the center, where Africa and the island
of Sicily almost touch each other across a narrow strait. The eastern part
contains several minor seas, of which the one called the Aegean had most
importance in Greek history.



The Aegean is an almost landlocked body of water. The Balkan peninsula,
narrowing toward the Mediterranean into the smaller peninsula of Greece,
confines it on the west. On the east it meets a boundary in Asia Minor.
The southern boundary is formed by a chain of islands, while the only
opening northward is found in the narrow passage leading to the Black Sea.
The coasts and islands of the Aegean thus make up a little world set off
by itself.

[Illustration: Map, PHYSICAL MAP OF EUROPE]


Continental Greece is a tiny country. Its greatest length is scarcely more
than two hundred and fifty miles; its greatest breadth is only one hundred
and eighty miles. Mountain ridges, offshoots of the Balkans, compose the
greater part of its area. Into the valleys and deep gorges of the interior
the impetuous sea has everywhere forced a channel. The coast line,
accordingly, is most irregular--a constant succession of sharp
promontories and curving bays. The mountains, crossing the peninsula in
confused masses, break it up into numberless valleys and glens which
seldom widen into plains. The rivers are not navigable. The few lakes,
hemmed in by the hills, have no outlets except in underground channels. In
this land of the Greeks no place is more than fifty miles from a mountain
range, or more than forty miles from some long arm of the Mediterranean.


From the Greek mainland to the coast of Asia Minor the traveler follows a
route thickly studded with rocky islands. They are near enough together to
permit the passage from one to another without losing sight of land. The
Aegean islands thus served as "stepping-stones" between Greece and Asia
Minor. [3]


Western Asia Minor resembles Continental Greece in its deeply indented
coast, variety of scenery, and mild climate. The fertile river valleys of
this region early attracted Greek colonists. They built here many
flourishing cities, especially along the central coast, which came to be
known as Ionia.


Greek history well illustrates the influence of geographical conditions on
the life of a people. In the first place, mountain ranges cut up
Continental Greece into many small states, separated from one another by
natural ramparts. Hence the Greeks loved most of all their own local
independence and always refused to unite into one nation under a single
government. In the second place, the near presence of the sea made sailors
of the Greeks and led them to devote much energy to foreign commerce. They
early felt, in consequence, the stimulating effects of intercourse with
other peoples. Finally, the location of Greece at the threshold of Asia,
with its best harbors and most numerous islands on the eastern coast,
enabled the country to receive and profit by all the culture of the
Orient. Greece faced the civilized East.



The Greeks of historic times knew very little about their prehistoric
period. Instead of accurate knowledge they had only the beautiful legends
preserved in ancient poems, such as the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_. Within
our own day, however, remarkable excavations have disclosed the remains of
a widespread and flourishing civilization in times so distant that the
historic Greeks had lost all sight of it. As in the Orient, [4] the labors
of modern scholars are yearly adding to our knowledge of ancient life.

[Illustration: Map, AEGEAN CIVILIZATION]

[Illustration: EXCAVATIONS AT TROY The great northeast tower of the sixth
city. The stairs at the right belong to the eighth city.]


The man who did most to reveal the prehistoric civilization of Greece was
a wealthy German merchant named Heinrich Schliemann. An enthusiastic lover
of Homer, he believed that the stories of the Trojan War related in the
_Iliad_ were not idle fancies, but real facts. In 1870 A.D. he started to
test his beliefs by excavations at a hill called Hissarlik, on the
northwestern coast of Asia Minor. Here tradition had always fixed the site
of ancient Troy. Schliemann's discoveries and those of later explorers
proved that at Hissarlik at least nine successive cities had come into
existence, flourished, and passed away. Excavations completed in 1892 A.D.
have shown that the sixth city in order from the bottom was the one
described in the Homeric poems. It had powerful walls defended by towers,
well-fortified gates, and palaces of stone. The marks of fire throughout
the ruins indicate that the city must have been destroyed by a disastrous


The remarkable disclosures at Troy encouraged Schliemann to excavate other
Homeric sites. At Mycenae, a prehistoric city of Argolis in Greece, he
laid bare six rock-hewn graves, containing the skeletons of nineteen
persons, men, women, and children. The faces of the dead had been covered
with thin masks of gold, and their bodies had been decked with gold
diadems, bracelets, and pendants. The other funeral offerings include gold
rings, silver vases, and a variety of bronze weapons. At Tiryns, once the
capital of Argolis, he uncovered the ruins of an extensive structure with
gateways, open courts, and closed apartments. Characteristic of this
edifice were the separate quarters occupied by men and women, the series
of storerooms for provisions, and such a modern convenience as a bathroom
with pipes and drains. In short, the palace at Tiryns gives us a clear and
detailed picture of the home of a Homeric prince.

[Illustration: LIONS' GATE, MYCENAE
The stone relief, of triangular shape, represents two lions (or lionesses)
facing each other on opposite sides of a pillar. The heads of the animals
have been lost.]


But the fame of even Schliemann's discoveries has been somewhat dimmed by
the excavations made since 1900 A.D. on the site of Gnossus, the ancient
capital of the island of Crete. At Gnossus an Englishman, Sir Arthur
Evans, has found the remains of an enormous palace, with numerous courts,
passages, and rooms. Here is the royal council chamber with the throne on
which the king once sat. Here are the royal magazines, still filled with
huge earthenware jars for the storage of provisions. A great number of
brilliant pictures--hunting scenes, landscapes, portraits of men and
women--cover the palace walls. Buried in some of the chambers were
thousands of clay tablets with inscriptions which, if ever read, will add
new chapters to ancient history. [5]

[Illustration: THE VAPHIO GOLD CUPS (National Museum, Athens)
These beautiful objects were found in 1888 within a "bee-hive" tomb at
Vaphio in Laconia. The two cups are of beaten gold, ornamented with
designs in _repoussé_ work. The first scene represents a wild-bull hunt.
The companion piece pictures four tame bulls under the care of a

[Illustration: SILVER FRAGMENT FROM MYCENAE (National Museum, Athens)
A siege scene showing the bows, slings, and huge shields of Mycenaean
warriors. In the background are seen the masonry of the city wall and the
flat-roofed houses.]


These discoveries in the Aegean enable us to place another venerable
center of civilized life by the side of Babylonia and Egypt. As early as
3000 B.C. the primitive inhabitants of the Aegean were giving up the use
of stone tools and weapons for those of metal. Bronze soon came into
general use, as is shown by the excavations. The five centuries between
1600 and 1100 B.C. appear to have been the time when the civilization of
the Aegean Age reached its highest development.


Remarkable progress took place during Aegean times in some of the fine
arts. We find imposing palaces, often splendidly adorned and arranged for
a life of comfort. Wall paintings, plaster reliefs, and fine carvings in
stone excite our admiration. Aegean artists made beautiful pottery of many
shapes and cleverly decorated it with plant and animal forms. They carved
ivory, engraved gems, and excelled in the working of metals. Some of their
productions in gold, silver, and bronze were scarcely surpassed by Greek
artists a thousand years later. [6]


There was much intercourse throughout the Mediterranean during this
period. Products of Aegean art have been found as far west as Sicily,
Italy, and Spain, Aegean pottery has frequently been discovered in
Egyptian tombs. Some objects unearthed in Babylonia are apparently of
Aegean workmanship. In those ancient days Crete was mistress of the seas.
Cretan merchants preceded the Phoenicians as carriers between Asia and
Europe. [7] Trade and commerce thus opened up the Mediterranean world to
all the cultural influences of the Orient.

[Illustration: A CRETAN GIRL (Museum of Candia, Crete)
A fresco painting from the palace of Gnossus. The girl's face is so
astonishingly modern in treatment that one can scarcely believe that the
picture belongs to the sixteenth century B.C.]


Aegean civilization did not penetrate beyond the shores of Asia Minor, the
islands, and the coasts of Continental Greece. The interior regions of the
Greek peninsula remained the home of barbarous tribes, which had not yet
learned to build cities, to create beautiful objects of art, or to traffic
on the seas. By 1100 B.C. their destructive inroads brought the Aegean Age
to an end.

23. THE HOMERIC AGE (ABOUT 1100-750 B.C.)


The barbarians who overthrew Aegean civilization seem to have entered
Greece from the north, perhaps from the region the Danube River. They
pushed gradually southward, sometimes exterminating or enslaving the
earlier inhabitants of the country, but more often settling peaceably
in their new homes. Conquerors and conquered slowly intermingled and so
produced the one Greek people which is found at the dawn of history. These
Greeks, as we shall call them henceforth, also occupied the islands of the
Aegean Sea and the coast of Asia Minor. The entire basin of the Aegean
thus became a Greek world.

[Illustration: AEGEAN SNAKE GODDESS (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
A gold and ivory statuette found in Crete. Dates from the sixteenth
century B.C. The goddess wears the characteristic Cretan dress, with low-
cut jacket and full skirt with five plaited flounces. On her head is an
elaborate crown.]


The period between the end of the Aegean Age and the opening of historic
times in Greece is usually called the Homeric Age, because many features
of its civilization are reflected in two epic poems called the _Iliad_ and
the _Odyssey_. The former deals with the story of a Greek expedition
against Troy; the latter describes the wanderings of the hero Odysseus on
his return from Troy. The two epics were probably composed in Ionia, and
by the Greeks were attributed to a blind bard named Homer. Many modern
scholars, however, consider them the work of several generations of poets.
The references in the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_ to industry, social life,
law, government, and religion give us some idea of the culture which the
historic Greeks received as their inheritance.


The Greeks as described in the Homeric epics were in a transitional stage
between the life of shepherds and that of farmers. Wealth consisted
chiefly of flocks and herds, though nearly every freeman owned a little
plot of land on which he cultivated grain and cared for his orchard and
vineyard. There were few skilled workmen, for almost everything was made
at home. A separate class of traders had not yet arisen. Commerce was
little followed. The Greeks depended on Phoenician sailors to bring to
their shores the commodities which they could not produce themselves. Iron
was known and used, for instance, in the manufacture of farm tools. During
Homeric times, however, that metal had not yet displaced copper and
bronze. [8]


Social life was very simple. Princes tended flocks and built houses;
princesses carried water and washed clothes. Agamemnon, Odysseus, and
other heroes were not ashamed to be their own butchers and cooks. The
Homeric knights did not ride on horseback, but fought from chariots. They
sat at table instead of reclining at meals, as did the later Greeks.
Coined money was unknown. Trade was by barter, values being reckoned in
oxen or in lumps of gold and silver. Men bought their wives by making
gifts of cattle to the parents. The art of writing is mentioned only once
in the Homeric poems, and doubtless was little used.

[Illustration: A CRETAN CUPBEARER (Museum of Candia, Crete)
A fresco painting from the palace of Gnossus. The youth carries a silver
cup ornamented with gold. His waist is tightly drawn in by a girdle, his
hair is dark and curly, his profile is almost classically Greek.]


The times were rude. Wars, though petty, were numerous and cruel. The
vanquished suffered death or slavery. Piracy, flourishing upon the
unprotected seas, ranked as an honorable occupation. It was no insult to
inquire of a seafaring stranger whether he was pirate or merchant. Murders
were frequent. The murderer had to dread, not a public trial and
punishment, but rather the personal vengeance of the kinsmen of his
victim. The Homeric Greeks, in fact, exhibited the usual defects and vices
of barbarous peoples.


The _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_ disclose a considerable acquaintance with
peninsular Greece and the coasts of Asia Minor. Cyprus, Egypt, and Sicily
are also known in part. The poet imagines the earth as a sort of flat
shield, with Greece lying in the center. [9] The Mediterranean, "The Sea,"
as it is called by Homer, and its continuation, the Euxine, [10] divided
the world into two equal parts. Surrounding the earth was "the great
strength of the Stream of Ocean," [11] a river, broad and deep, beyond
which lay the dark and misty realm of the mythical Cimmerians. The
underworld of Hades, home of the dead, was beneath the surface of the

[Illustration: Map, THE WORLD according to HOMER (900 B.C.)]




We may learn from the Homeric poems what were the religious ideas held by
the early Greeks. The greater gods and goddesses were not numerous. Less
than a score everywhere received worship under the same names and in all
the temples. Twelve of the chief deities formed a select council, which
was supposed to meet on the top of snow-crowned Olympus. The Greeks,
however, did not agree as to what gods and goddesses should be included in
this august assemblage.


Many of the Olympian deities appear to have been simply personifications
of natural phenomena. Zeus, "father of gods and men," as Homer calls him,
was a heaven god, who gathered the clouds in storms and hurled the
lightning bolt. Apollo, a mighty god of light, who warded off darkness and
evil, became the ideal of manly beauty and the patron of music, poetry,
and healing. Dionysus was worshiped as the god of sprouting and budding
vegetation. Poseidon, brother of Zeus, ruled the sea. Hera, the wife of
Zeus, represented the female principle in nature. Hence she presided over
the life of women and especially over the sacred rites of marriage.
Athena, who sprang full-grown from the forehead of Zeus, embodied the idea
of wisdom and all womanly virtues. Aphrodite, who arose from the foam of
the sea, was the goddess of love and beauty. Demeter, the great earth-
mother, watched over seed-time and harvest. Each deity thus had a kingdom
and a function of its own.

  ZEUS OTRICOLI, Vatican Gallery, Rome
  HERA, Ludovisi Villa, Rome
  APOLLO OF THE BELVEDERE, Vatican Gallery, Rome
  APHRODITE OF CNIDUS, Glyptothek, Munich]

[Illustration: THE APHRODITE OF MELOS (Louvre, Paris)
More commonly known as the "Venus of Milo." The statue was discovered in
1820 A.D. on the island of Melos. It consists of two principal pieces
joined together across the folds of the drapery. Most art critics date
this work about 100 B.C. The strong serene figure of the goddess sets
forth the Greek ideal of female loveliness.]


The Greeks made their gods and goddesses after themselves. The Olympian
divinities are really magnified men and women, subject to all human
passions and appetites, but possessed of more than human power and endowed
with immortality. They enjoy the banquet, where they feast on nectar and
ambrosia; they take part in the struggles of the battle field; they marry
and are given in marriage. The gods, morally, were no better than their
worshipers. They might be represented as deceitful, dissolute, and cruel,
but they could also be regarded as upholders of truth and virtue. Even
Homer could say, "Verily the blessed gods love not evil deeds, but they
reverence justice and the righteous acts of men." [12]

[Illustration: THE FRANÇOIS VASE (Archaeological Museum, Florence)
Found in an Etruscan grave in 1844 A.D. A black-figured terra cotta vase
of about 600 B.C. It is nearly three feet in height and two an one half
feet in diameter. The figures on the vase depict scenes from Greek

  Calydonian boar hunt
  Games at the funeral of Patroclus
  Peleus Thetis and the gods
  Pursuit of Troilus by Achilles
  Animal scenes, sphinxes, etc.]


Greek ideas of the other world were dismal to an extreme. The after-life
in Hades was believed to be a shadowy, joyless copy of the earthly
existence. In Hades the shade of great Achilles exclaims sorrowfully,
"Nay, speak not comfortably to me of death. Rather would I live on earth
as the hireling of another, even with a landless man who had no great
livelihood, than bear sway among all the dead." [13] It was not until
several centuries after Homer that happier notions of the future life were
taught, or at least suggested, in the Eleusinian mysteries. [14]



The Greeks believed that communications from the gods were received from
certain inspired persons at places called oracles. The oracle of Apollo at
Delphi in Phocis enjoyed the utmost veneration. It lay within a deep cave
on the rocky side of Mount Parnassus. Out of a chasm rose a volcanic vapor
which had a certain intoxicating power. The Pythia, or prophetess of
Apollo, sat on a tripod over the steaming cleft and inhaled the gas. The
words she uttered in delirium were supposed to come from the god. They
were taken down by the attendant priests, written out in verse, and
delivered to the suppliants.


The fame of Apollo as the patron of inspiration and prophecy spread
throughout Greece and penetrated to foreign lands. Every year thousands of
visitors made their way to Apollo's shrine. Sick men prayed for health,
childless men prayed for offspring. Statesmen wished to learn the fate of
their political schemes; ambassadors sent by kings and cities sought
advice as to weighty matters of peace and war. Above all, colonists came
to Delphi in order to obtain directions as to the best country in which to
settle. Some of the noblest cities of the Greek world, Cyrene and
Byzantium, for example, [15] had their sites fixed by Apollo's guidance.



The priests who managed the oracle and its responses were usually able to
give good advice to their inquirers, because news of every sort streamed
into Delphi. When the priests were doubtful what answer to give, the
prophecy of the god was sometimes expressed in such ambiguous fashion
that, whatever the outcome, neither Apollo nor his servants could be
charged with deceit. For instance, when Croesus, the Lydian king, was
about to attack Cyrus, he learned from the oracle that "if he warred with
the Persians he would overthrow a mighty empire" [16]--but the mighty
empire proved to be his own. [17]


Athletic games were held in different parts of Greece from a remote
period. The most famous games were those in honor of Zeus at Olympia in
Elis. They took place every fourth year, in midsummer. [18] A sacred truce
was proclaimed for an entire month, in order that the thousands of
spectators from every part of Greece might arrive and depart in safety. No
one not of Greek blood and no one convicted of crime or of the sin of
impiety might participate in the contests. The candidates had also to
prove that they were qualified for the severe tests by a long and hard
training. Once accepted as competitors, they could not withdraw. The man
who shrank back when the hour of trial arrived was considered a coward and
was punished with a heavy fine.


The games occupied five days, beginning with the contests in running.
There was a short-distance dash through the length of the stadium, a
quarter-mile race, and also a longer race, probably for two or three
miles. Then followed a contest consisting of five events: the long jump,
hurling the discus, throwing the javelin, running, and wrestling. It is
not known how victory in these five events taken together was decided. In
the long jump, weights like dumb-bells were held in the hands, the swing
of the weights being used to assist the spring. The discus, which weighed
about twelve pounds, was sometimes hurled more than one hundred feet. The
javelin was thrown either by the hand alone or with the help of a thong
wound about the shaft and held in the fingers. In wrestling, three falls
were necessary for a victory. The contestants were free to get their grip
as best they could. Other contests included boxing, horse races, and
chariot races. Women were apparently excluded from the games, yet they
were allowed to enter horses for the races and to set up statues in honor
of the victors.

[Illustration: THE DISCUS THROWER (DISCOBOLUS) (Lancelotti Palace, Rome)
Marble copy of the bronze original by Myron, a sculptor of the fifth
century B.C. Found in 1781 A.D. on the Esquiline Hill, Rome. The statue
represents a young man, perhaps an athlete at the Olympian games, who is
bending forward to hurl the discus. His body is thrown violently to the
left with a twisting action that brings every muscle into play.]


The Olympian festival was profoundly religious, because the display of
manly strength was thought to be a spectacle most pleasing to the gods.
The winning athlete received only a wreath of wild olive at Olympia, but
at home he enjoyed the gifts and veneration of his fellow-citizens. Poets
celebrated his victories in noble odes. Sculptors reproduced his triumphs
in stone and bronze. To the end of his days he remained a distinguished

[Illustration: HERMES AND DIONYSUS (Museum of Olympia)
An original statue by the great sculptor, Praxiteles. It was found in 1877
A.D. at Olympia. Hermes is represented carrying the child Dionysus, whom
Zeus had intrusted to his care. The symmetrical body of Hermes is
faultlessly modeled; the poise of his head is full of dignity; his
expression is refined and thoughtful. Manly strength and beauty have never
been better embodied than in this work.]

[Illustration: ATHLETE USING THE STRIGIL (APOXYOMENUS) (Vatican Gallery,

Marble copy of the bronze original by Lysippus, a sculptor of the fourth
century B.C. The statue represents an athlete rubbing his arm with a flesh
scraper to remove the oil and sand of the palestra, or exercising ground.
His slender form suggests quickness and agility rather than great


There were few Greeks who at least once in their lives did not attend the
festival. The crowds that gathered before and after the games turned the
camp into a great fair, at which merchants set up their shops and money
changers their tables. Poets recited their lines before admiring audiences
and artists exhibited their masterpieces to intending purchasers. Heralds
read treaties recently formed between Greek cities, in order to have them
widely known. Orators addressed the multitude on subjects of general
interest. The games thus helped to preserve a sense of fellowship among
Greek communities.



The Greeks in Homeric times had already begun to live in towns and cities.
A Greek city, being independent and self-governing, is properly called a
city-state. Just as a modern nation, it could declare war, arrange
treaties, and make alliances with its neighbors. Such a city-state
included not only the territory within its walls, but also the surrounding
district where many of the citizens lived.


The members of a Greek city-state were very closely associated. The
citizens believed themselves to be descended from a common ancestor and so
to be all related. They were united, also, in the worship of the patron
god or hero who had them under his protection. These ties of supposed
kinship and common religion were of the utmost importance. They made
citizenship a privilege which came to a person only by birth, a privilege
which he lost by removal to another city. Elsewhere he was only a
foreigner without legal rights--a man without a country.


The Homeric poems, which give us our first view of the Greek city-state,
also contain the most ancient account of its government. Each city-state
had a king, "the shepherd of the people" [19] as Homer calls him. The king
did not possess absolute authority. He was surrounded by a council of
nobles, chiefly the great landowners of the community. They helped him in
judgment and sacrifice, followed him to war, and filled the principal
offices. Both king and nobles were obliged to consult the common people on
matters of great importance. For this purpose the ruler would summon the
citizens to the market place to hear the deliberations of his council and
to settle such questions as making war or declaring peace. All men of free
birth could attend the assembly, where they shouted assent to the decision
of their leaders or showed disapproval by silence. This public assembly
had little importance in the Homeric Age, but later it became the center
of Greek democracy.


After the middle of the eighth century B.C., when historic times began in
Greece, some interesting changes took place in the government of the city-
states. In some of them, for example, Thebes and Corinth, the nobles
became strong enough to abolish the kingship altogether. Monarchy, the
rule of one, thus gave away to aristocracy, [20] the rule of the nobles.
In other states, for instance, Sparta and Argos, the kings were not driven
out, but their power was much weakened. Some states came under the control
of usurpers whom the Greeks called "tyrants." A tyrant was a man who
gained supreme power by force and governed for his own benefit without
regard to the laws. There were many tyrannies in the Greek world during
the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. Still other states went through an
entire cycle of changes from kingship to aristocracy, from aristocracy to
tyranny, and from tyranny to democracy or popular rule.


The isolated and independent Greek communities thus developed at an early
period many different kinds of government. To study them all would be a
long task. It is better to fix our attention on the two city-states which
held the principal place in Greek history and at the same time presented
the most striking contrasts in government and social life. These were
Sparta and Athens.



The Greek invaders who entered southern Greece, or the Peloponnesus, [21]
were known as Dorians. They founded the city of Sparta, in the district of
Laconia. By the close of the sixth century B.C. the Spartans were able to
conquer their immediate neighbors and to organize some of the city-states
of the Peloponnesus into a strong confederacy called the Peloponnesian
League. The members of the league did not pay tribute, but they furnished
troops to serve in war under Spartan leaders, and they looked to Sparta
for guidance and protection. Thus this single city became the foremost
power in southern Greece.


It is clear that the Spartans must have been an extremely vigorous and
warlike people. Their city, in fact, formed a military camp, garrisoned by
soldiers whose whole life was passed in war and in preparation for war.
The Spartans were able to devote themselves to martial pursuits because
they possessed a large number of serfs, called helots. The helots tilled
the lands of the Spartans and gave up to their masters the entire product
of their labor, except what was necessary for a bare subsistence.


Spartan government also had a military character. In form the state was a
kingdom, but since there were always two kings reigning at once and
enjoying equal authority, neither of them could become very powerful. The
real management of public affairs lay in the hands of five men, known as
ephors, who were elected every year by the popular assembly. The ephors
accompanied the kings in war and directed their actions; guided the
deliberations of the council of nobles and the assembly of freemen;
superintended the education of children; and exercised a general oversight
of the private life of citizens. The ephors had such absolute control over
the lives and property of the Spartans that we may describe their rule as
socialistic and select Sparta as an example of ancient state socialism.
Nowhere else in the Greek world was the welfare of the individual man so
thoroughly subordinated to the interests of the society of which he formed
a unit.


Spartan education had a single purpose--to produce good soldiers and
obedient citizens. A sound body formed the first essential. A father was
required to submit his son, soon after birth, to an inspection by the
elders of his tribe. If they found the child puny or ill-shaped, they
ordered it to be left on the mountain side, to perish from exposure. At
the age of seven a boy was taken from his parents' home and placed in a
military school. Here he was trained in marching, sham fighting, and
gymnastics. He learned to sing warlike songs and in conversation to
express himself in the fewest possible words. Spartan brevity of speech
became proverbial. Above all he learned to endure hardship without
complaint. He went barefoot and wore only a single garment, winter and
summer. He slept on a bed of rushes. Every year he and his comrades had to
submit to a flogging before the altar of the goddess Artemis, and the hero
was the lad who could bear the whipping longest without giving a sign of
pain. It is said that boys sometimes died under the lash rather than utter
a cry. Such ordeals are still a feature of savage life to-day.


On reaching the age of twenty the youth was considered a warrior. He did
not live at home, but passed his time in barracks, as a member of a
military mess to which he contributed his proper share of food, wine, and
money. At the age of thirty years the young Spartan became a full citizen
and a member of the popular assembly. He was then compelled to marry in
order to raise children for the state. But marriage did not free him from
attendance at the public meals, the drill ground, and the gymnasium. A
Spartan, in fact, enjoyed little home life until his sixtieth year, when
he became an elder and retired from actual service.


This exclusive devotion to military pursuits accomplished its object. The
Spartans became the finest soldiers of antiquity. "All the rest of the
Greeks," says an ancient writer, "are amateurs; the Spartans are
professionals in the conduct of war." [22] Though Sparta never produced
great thinkers, poets or artists, her military strength made her the
bulwark of Greece against foreign foes. The time was to come when Greece,
to retain her liberties, would need this disciplined Spartan soldiery.

28. THE GROWTH OF ATHENS (to 500 B.C.)


The district of Attica, though smaller than our smallest American
commonwealth, was early filled with a number of independent city-states.
It was a great step in advance when, long before the dawn of Greek
history, these tiny communities were united with Athens. The inhabitants
of the Attic towns and villages gave up their separate governments and
became members of the one city-state of Athens. Henceforth a man was a
Athenian citizen, no matter in what part of Attica he lived.


At an earlier period, perhaps, than elsewhere in Greece, monarchy at
Athens disappeared before the rising power of the nobles. The rule of the
nobility bore harshly on the common people. Popular discontent was
especially excited at the administration of justice. There were at first
no written laws, but only the long-established customs of the community.
Since all the judges were nobles, they were tempted to decide legal cases
in favor of their own class. The people, at length, began to clamor for a
written code. They could then know just what the laws were.


After much agitation an Athenian named Draco was employed to write out a
code for the state. The laws, as published, were very severe. The penalty
for most offenses, even the smallest theft, was death. The Athenians used
to declare that the Draconian code had been written, "not in ink, but in
blood." Its publication, however, was a popular triumph and the first step
toward the establishment of Athenian democracy.


The second step was the legislation of Solon. This celebrated Athenian was
accounted among the wisest men of his age. The people held him in high
honor and gave him power to make much-needed reforms. At this time the
condition of the Attic peasants was deplorable. Many of them had failed to
pay their rent to the wealthy landowners, and according to the old custom
were being sold into slavery. Solon abolished the custom and restored to
freedom all those who had been enslaved for debt. He also limited the
amount of land which a noble might hold. By still another law he admitted
even the poorest citizens to the popular assembly, where they could vote
for magistrates and judge of their conduct after their year of office was
over. By giving the common people a greater share in the government, Solon
helped forward the democratic movement at Athens.


Solon's reforms satisfied neither the nobility nor the commons. The two
classes continued their rivalry until the disorder of the times enabled an
ambitious politician to gain supreme power as a tyrant. [24] He was
Solon's own nephew, a noble named Pisistratus. The tyrant ruled with
moderation and did much to develop the Athenian city-state. He fostered
agriculture by dividing the lands of banished nobles among the peasants.
His alliances with neighboring cities encouraged the rising commerce of
Athens. The city itself was adorned with handsome buildings by architects
and sculptors whom Pisistratus invited to his court from all parts of


Pisistratus was succeeded by his two sons, but the Athenians did not take
kindly to their rule. Before long the tyranny came to an end. The
Athenians now found a leader in a noble named Clisthenes, who proved to be
an able statesman. He carried still further the democratic movement begun
by Draco and Solon. One of his reforms extended Athenian citizenship to
many foreigners and emancipated slaves ("freedmen") then living in Attica.
This liberal measure swelled the number of citizens and helped to make the
Athenians a more progressive people. Clisthenes, it is said, also
established the curious arrangement known as ostracism. Every year, if
necessary, the citizens were to meet in assembly and to vote against any
persons whom they thought dangerous to the state. If as many as six
thousand votes were cast, the man who received the highest number of votes
had to go into honorable exile for ten years. [25] Though ostracism was
intended as a precaution against tyrants, before long it came to be used
to remove unpopular politicians.


There were still some steps to be taken before the rule of the people was
completely secured at Athens. But, in the main, the Athenians by 500 B.C.
had established a truly democratic government, the first in the history of
the world. The hour was now rapidly approaching when this young and
vigorous democracy was to show forth its worth before the eyes of all



While Athens, Sparta, and their sister states were working out the
problems of government, another significant movement was going on in the
Greek world. The Greeks, about the middle of the eighth century B.C.,
began to plant numerous colonies along the shores of the Mediterranean and
of the Black Sea. The great age of colonization covered more than two
hundred years. [26]


Several reasons led to the founding of colonies. Trade was an important
motive. The Greeks, like the Phoenicians, [27] could realize large profits
by exchanging their manufactured goods for the food and raw materials of
other countries. Land hunger was another motive. The poor soil of Greece
could not support many inhabitants and, when population increased,
emigration afforded the only means of relieving the pressure of numbers. A
third motive was political and social unrest. Greek cities at this period
contained many men of adventurous disposition who were ready to seek in
foreign countries a refuge from the oppression of nobles or tyrants. They
hoped to find in their new settlements more freedom than they had at home.


A Greek colony was not simply a trading post; it was a center of Greek
life. The colonists continued to be Greeks in customs, language, and
religion. Though quite independent of the parent state, they always
regarded it with reverence and affection: they called themselves "men away
from home." Mother city and daughter colony traded with each other and in
time of danger helped each other. A symbol of this unity was the sacred
fire carried from the public hearth of the old community to the new


The Greeks planted many colonies on the coast of the northern Aegean and
on both sides of the long passage between the Mediterranean and the Black
Sea. Their most important colony was Byzantium, upon the site where
Constantinople now stands. They also made settlements along the shores of
the Black Sea. The cities founded here were centers from which the Greeks
drew their supplies of fish, wood, wool, grain, metals, and slaves. The
immense profits to be gained by trade made the Greeks willing to live in a
cold country so unlike their own and among barbarous peoples.


The western lands furnished far more attractive sites for colonization.
The Greeks could feel at home in southern Italy, where the genial climate,
pure air, and sparkling sea recalled their native land. At a very early
date they founded Cumae, on the coast just north of the bay of Naples.
Emigrants from Cumae, in turn, founded the city of Neapolis (Naples),
which in Roman times formed a home of Greek culture and even to-day
possesses a large Greek population. To secure the approaches from Greece
to these remote colonies, two strongholds were established on the strait
of Messina: Regium (modern Reggio) on the Italian shore and Messana
(modern Messina) on that of Sicily. Another important colony in southern
Italy was Tarentum (modern Taranto).

Paestum, the Greek Poseidonia, was a colony of Sybaris The malarial
atmosphere of the place led to its desertion in the ninth century of our
era. Hence the buildings there were not used as quarries for later
structures. The so called "Temple of Neptune" at Paestum is one of the
best preserved monuments of antiquity.]


Greek settlements in Sicily were mainly along the coast. Expansion over
the entire island was checked by the Carthaginians, who had numerous
possessions at its western extremity. The most celebrated colony in Sicily
was Syracuse, established by emigrants from Corinth. It became the largest
of Greek cities.


In Corsica, Sardinia, and on the coast of Spain Carthage also proved too
obstinate a rival for the Greeks to gain much of a foothold. The city of
Massilia (Marseilles), at the mouth of the Rhone, was their chief
settlement in ancient Gaul. Two colonies on the southern shore of the
Mediterranean were Cyrene, west of Egypt, and Naucratis, in the Delta of
the Nile. From this time many Greek travelers visited Egypt to see the
wonders of that strange old country.


Energetic Greeks, the greatest colonizers of antiquity, thus founded
settlements from the Black Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. "All the Greek
colonies" says an ancient writer, "are washed by the waves of the sea,
and, so to speak, a fringe of Greek earth is woven on to foreign lands."
[28] To distinguish themselves from the foreigners, or "barbarians," [29]
about them, the Greeks began to call themselves by the common name of
Hellenes. Hellas, their country, came to include all the territory
possessed by Hellenic peoples. The life of the Greeks, henceforth, was
confined no longer within the narrow limits of the Aegean. Wherever rose a
Greek city, there was a scene of Greek history.



The Greek colonies, as we have seen, were free and independent. In Greece
itself the little city-states were just as jealous of their liberties.
Nevertheless ties existed, not of common government, but of common
interests and ideals, which helped to unite the scattered sections of the
Greek world. The strongest bond of union was, of course, the one Greek
speech. Everywhere the people used the same beautiful and expressive
language. It is not a "dead" language, for it still lives in modified form
on the lips of nearly three million people in the Greek peninsula,
throughout the Mediterranean, and even in remote America.


Greek literature, likewise, made for unity. The _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_
were recited in every Greek village for centuries. They formed the
principal textbook in the schools; an Athenian philosopher calls Homer the
"educator of Hellas." It has been well said that these two epics were at
once the Bible and the Shakespeare of the Greek people.


Religion formed another bond of union. Everywhere the Greeks worshiped the
same gods and performed the same sacred rites. Religious influences were
sometimes strong enough to bring about federations known as amphictyonies,
or leagues of neighbors. The people living around a famous sanctuary would
meet to observe their festivals in common and to guard the shrine of their
divinity. The Delphic amphictyony was the most noteworthy of these local
unions. It included twelve tribes and cities of central Greece and
Thessaly. They established a council, which took the shrine of Apollo
under its protection and superintended the athletic games at Delphi.


The seventh and sixth centuries before Christ form a noteworthy epoch in
Greek history. Commerce and colonization were bringing their educating
influence to bear upon the Greeks. Hellenic cities were rising everywhere
along the Mediterranean shores. A common language, literature, and
religion were making the people more and more conscious of their unity as
opposed to the "barbarians" about them.


Greek history has now been traced from its beginnings to about 500 B.C. It
is the history of a people, not of one country or of a united nation. Yet
the time was drawing near when all the Greek communities were to be
brought together in closer bonds of union than they had ever before known.


1. On the map facing page 66 see what regions of Europe are less than 500
feet above sea level; less than 3000 feet; over 9000 feet.

2. Why was Europe better fitted than Asia to develop the highest
civilization? Why not so well fitted as Asia to originate civilization?

3. "The tendency of mountains is to separate, of rivers to unite, adjacent
peoples." How can you justify this statement by a study of European

4. Why has the Mediterranean been called a "highway of nations"?

5. Locate on the map several of the natural entrances into the basin of
the Mediterranean.

6. At what points is it probable that southern Europe and northern Africa
were once united?

7. Compare the position of Crete in relation to Egypt with that of Sicily
in relation to the north African coast.

8. Why was the island of Cyprus a natural meeting place of Egyptian,
Syrian, and Greek peoples?

9. What modern countries are included within the limits of the Balkan

10. Describe the island routes across the Aegean (map between pages 68-

11. What American states lie in about the same latitude as Greece?

12. Compare the boundaries of ancient Greece with those of the modern

13. What European countries in physical features closely resemble Greece?
What state of our union?

14. Why is Greece in its physical aspects "the most European of European

15. What countries of Greece did not touch the sea?

16. Tell the story of the _Iliad_ and of the _Odyssey_.

17. Explain the following terms: oracle; amphictyony; helot; Hellas;
Olympiad; and ephors.

18. Give the meaning of our English words "ostracism" and "oracular."

19. Explain the present meaning and historical origin of the following
expressions: "a Delphic response"; "Draconian severity"; "a laconic

20. What is the date of the first recorded Olympiad? of the expulsion of
the last tyrant of Athens?

21. Describe the Lions' Gate (illustration, page 70) and the François
Vase (illustration, page 77).

22. Compare Greek ideas of the future life with those of the Babylonians.

23. Why has the Delphic oracle been called "the common hearth of Hellas"?

24. What resemblances do you discover between the Olympian festival and
one of our great international expositions?

25. Define and illustrate these terms: monarchy; aristocracy; tyranny;

26. Why are the earliest laws always unwritten?

27. What differences existed between Phoenician and Greek colonization?

28. Why did the colonies, as a rule, advance more rapidly than the mother
country in wealth and population?

29. What is the origin of the modern city of Constantinople? of
Marseilles? of Naples? of Syracuse in Sicily?


[1] Webster, _Readings in Ancient History_, chapter iii, "Early Greek
Society as Pictured in the Homeric Poems"; chapter iv, "Stories from Greek
Mythology"; chapter v, "Some Greek Tyrants"; chapter vi, "Spartan
Education and Life."

[2] See pages 16-17.

[3] For the island routes see the map between pages 68-69.

[4] See page 42.

[5] See the illustration, page 10.

[6] See the plate facing page 70.

[7] See pages 29, 48.

[8] See page 5.

[9] See the map, page 76.

[10] The Greek name of the Black Sea.

[11] _Iliad_, xviii, 607.

[12] _Odyssey_, xiv, 83-84.

[13] _Odyssey_, xi, 488-491.

[14] See page 227.

[15] See pages 88,90.

[16] Herodotus, i, 53.

[17] See page 37.

[18] The first recorded celebration occurred in 776 B.C. The four-year
period between the games, called an Olympiad, became the Greek unit for
determining dates. Events were reckoned as taking place in the first,
second, third, or fourth year of a given Olympiad.

[19] _Iliad_, ii, 243.

[20] _Aristocracy_ means, literally, the "government of the best." The
Greeks also used the word _oligarchy_--"rule of the few"--to describe a
government by citizens who belong to the wealthy class.

[21] "Pelops's island," a name derived from a legendary hero who settled
in southern Greece.

[22] Xenophon, _Polity of the Lacedaemonians_, 13.

[23] The Spartans believed that their military organization was the work
of a great reformer and law-giver named Lycurgus. He was supposed to have
lived early in the ninth century B.C. We do not know anything about
Lycurgus, but we do know that some existing primitive tribes, for
instance, the Masai of East Africa, have customs almost the same as those
of ancient Sparta. Hence we may say that the rude, even barbarous,
Spartans only carried over into the historic age the habits of life which
they had formed in prehistoric times.

[24] See page 82.

[25] The name of an individual voted against was written on a piece of
pottery (Greek _ostrakon_), whence the term _ostracism_. See the
illustration, page 97.

[26] See the map facing page 50.

[27] See page 49.

[28] Cicero, _De republica_, ii, 4.

[29] Greek _barbaroi_, "men of confused speech."





The history of the Greeks for many centuries had been uneventful--a
history of their uninterrupted expansion over barbarian lands. But now the
time was approaching when the independent and isolated Greek communities
must meet the attack of the great despotic empires of Asia. The Greek
cities of Asia Minor were the first part of the Hellenic world to be
involved. Their conquest by the Lydian king, Croesus, about the middle of
the sixth century B.C., showed how grave was the danger to Greek
independence from the ambitious designs of Oriental monarchs.


As we have already learned, Croesus himself soon had to submit to a
foreign overlord, in the person of Cyrus the Great. The subjugation of
Lydia and the Greek seaboard by Cyrus extended the Persian Empire to the
Mediterranean. The conquest of Phoenicia and Cyprus by Cambyses added the
Phoenician navy to the resources of the mighty empire. Persia had now
become a sea power, able to cope with the Greeks on their own element. The
subjection of Egypt by the same king led naturally to the annexation of
the Greek colonies on the north African shore. The entire coast of the
eastern Mediterranean had now come under the control of a new, powerful,
and hostile state.

[Illustration: CROESUS ON THE PYRE
Painting on an Athenian vase of about 490 B.C. According to the legend
Cyrus the Great, having made Croesus prisoner, intended to burn him on a
pyre. But the god Apollo, to whose oracle at Delphi Croesus had sent rich
gifts, put out the blaze by a sudden shower of rain. The vase painting
represents the Lydian king sitting enthroned upon the pyre, with a laurel
wreath on his head and a scepter in one hand. With the other hand he pours
a libation. He seems to be performing a religious rite, not to be
suffering an ignominious death.]

[Illustration: PERSIAN ARCHERS (Louvre, Paris)
A frieze of enameled brick from the royal palace at Susa. It is a
masterpiece of Persian art and shows the influence of both Assyrian and
Greek design. Each archer carries a spear, in addition to the bow over the
left shoulder and the quiver on the back. These soldiers probably served
as palace guards, hence the fine robes worn by them.]


The accession of Darius to the Persian throne only increased the dangers
that overshadowed Hellas. He aimed to complete the work of Cyrus and
Cambyses by extending the empire wherever a natural frontier had not been
reached. Accordingly, about 512 B.C., Darius invaded Europe with a large
army, annexed the Greek colonies on the Hellespont (the modern
Dardanelles), and subdued the wild tribes of Thrace and Macedonia. The
Persian dominions now touched those of the Greeks. [2]

[Illustration: Map, GREECE at opening of the PERSIAN WARS 400 B.C.]


Not long after this European expedition of Darius, the Ionian cities of
Asia Minor revolted against the Persians. Unable to face their foes
single-handed, they sought aid from Sparta, then the chief military power
of Greece. The Spartans refused to take part in the war, but the
Athenians, who realized the menace to Greece in the Persian advance, sent
ships and men to fight for the Ionians. Even with this help the Ionian
cities could not hold out against the vast resources of the Persians. One
by one they fell again into the hands of the Great King.



No sooner was quiet restored in Asia Minor than Darius began preparations
to punish Athens for her part in the Ionian Revolt. The first expedition
under the command of Mardonius, the son-in-law of the Persian monarch, was
a failure. Mardonius never reached Greece, because the Persian fleet, on
which his army depended for provisions, was wrecked off the promontory of
Mount Athos.


Darius did not abandon his designs, in consequence of the disaster. Two
years later a second fleet, bearing a force of perhaps sixty thousand men,
set out from Ionia for Greece. Datis and Artaphernes, the Persian leaders,
sailed straight across the Aegean and landed on the plain of Marathon,
twenty-six miles from Athens.

[Illustration: GRAVESTONE OF ARISTON (National Museum, Athens)
Found near Marathon in 1838 A.D. Belongs to the late sixth century B.C.
Incorrectly called the "Warrior of Marathon"]


The situation of the Athenians seemed desperate. They had scarcely ten
thousand men with whom to face an army far larger and hitherto invincible.
The Spartans promised support, but delayed sending troops at the critical
moment. Better, perhaps, than a Spartan army was the genius of Miltiades,
one of the Athenian generals. Relying on Greek discipline and Greek valor
to win the day, he decided to take the offensive. His heavy armed soldiers
made a smashing charge on the Persians and drove them in confusion to
their ships. Datis and Artaphernes then sailed back to Asia with their
errand of vengeance unfulfilled.

Painting on a Greek vase]


After the battle of Marathon the Athenians began to make preparations to
resist another Persian invasion. One of their leaders, the eminent
Aristides, thought that they should increase their army and meet the enemy
on land. His rival, Themistocles, urged a different policy. He would
sacrifice the army to the navy and make Athens the strongest sea power in
Greece. The safety of Athens, he argued, lay in her ships. In order to
settle the question the opposing statesmen were put to the test of
ostracism. [3] The vote went against Aristides, who was obliged to
withdraw into exile. Themistocles, now master of the situation, persuaded
the citizens to use the revenues from some silver mines in Attica for the
upbuilding of a fleet. When the Persians came, the Athenians were able to
oppose them with nearly two hundred triremes [4]--the largest navy in



"Ten years after Marathon," says a Greek historian, "the 'barbarians'
returned with the vast armament which was to enslave Hellas." [5] Darius
was now dead, but his son Xerxes had determined to complete his task. Vast
quantities of provisions were collected; the Hellespont was bridged with
boats; and the rocky promontory of Mount Athos, where a previous fleet had
suffered shipwreck, was pierced with a canal. An army of several hundred
thousand men was brought together from all parts of the Great King's
domain. He evidently intended to crush the Greeks by sheer weight of

[Illustration: A THEMISTOCLES OSTRAKON (British Museum, London)
A fragment of a potsherd found in 1897 A.D., near the Acropolis of Athens.
This ostrakon was used to vote for the ostracism of Themistocles, either
in 483 B.C. when he was victorious against Aristides, or some ten years
later, when Themistocles was himself defeated and forced into exile.]


Xerxes did not have to attack a united Greece. His mighty preparations
frightened many of the Greek states into yielding, when Persian heralds
came to demand "earth and water," the customary symbols of submission.
Some of the other states, such as Thebes, which was jealous of Athens, and
Argos, equally jealous of Sparta, did nothing to help the loyal Greeks
throughout the struggle. But Athens and Sparta with their allies remained
joined for resistance to the end. Upon the suggestion of Themistocles a
congress of representatives from the patriotic states assembled at the
isthmus of Corinth in 481 B.C. Measures of defense were taken, and Sparta
was put in command of the allied fleet and army.


The campaigns of the Great Persian War have been described, once for all,
in the glowing pages of the Greek historian, Herodotus. [6] Early in the
year 480 B.C. the Persian host moved out of Sardis, crossed the
Hellespont, and advanced to the pass of Thermopylae, commanding the
entrance to central Greece. This position, one of great natural strength,
was held by a few thousand Greeks under the Spartan king, Leonidas. For
two days Xerxes hurled his best soldiers against the defenders of
Thermopylae, only to find that numbers did not count in that narrow
defile. There is no telling how long the handful of Greeks might have kept
back the Persian hordes, had not treachery come to the aid of the enemy. A
traitor Greek revealed to Xerxes the existence of an unfrequented path,
leading over the mountain in the rear of the pass. A Persian detachment
marched over the trail by night and took up a position behind the Greeks.
The latter still had time to escape, but three hundred Spartans and
perhaps two thousand allies refused to desert their post. While Persian
officers provided with whips lashed their unwilling troops to battle,
Leonidas and his men fought till spears and swords were broken, and hands
and teeth alone remained as weapons. Xerxes at length gained the pass--but
only over the bodies of its heroic defenders. Years later a monument to
their memory was raised on the field of battle. It bore the simple
inscription: "Stranger, go tell the Spartans that we lie here in obedience
to their commands." [7]


After the disaster at Thermopylae nearly all the states of central Greece
submitted to the Persians. They marched rapidly through Boeotia and Attica
to Athens, but found a deserted city. Upon the advice of Themistocles the
non-combatants had withdrawn to places of safety, and the entire fighting
force of Athens had embarked on the ships. The Athenian fleet took up a
position in the strait separating the island of Salamis from Attica and
awaited the enemy. [8]


The battle of Salamis affords an interesting example of naval tactics in
antiquity. The trireme was regarded as a missile to be hurled with sudden
violence against the opposing ship, in order to disable or sink it. A sea
fight became a series of maneuvers; and victory depended as much on the
skill of the rowers and steersmen as on the bravery of the soldiers. The
Persians at Salamis had many more ships than the Greeks, but Themistocles
rightly believed that in the narrow strait their numbers would be a real
disadvantage to them. Such proved to be the case. The Persians fought
well, but their vessels, crowded together, could not navigate properly and
even wrecked one another by collision. After an all-day contest what
remained of their fleet withdrew from the strait.

[Illustration: AN ATHENIAN TRIREME (Reconstruction)
A trireme is supposed to have had three tiers or banks of oars, placed one
above the other. Each tier thus required an oar about a yard longer than
the one immediately beneath it. There were about two hundred rowers on a


The victory at Salamis had important results. It so crippled the Persians
that henceforth they lost command of the sea. Xerxes found it difficult to
keep his men supplied with provisions and at once withdrew with the larger
part of his force to Asia. The Great King himself had no heart for further
fighting, but he left Mardonius, with a strong body of picked troops, to
subjugate the Greeks on land. So the real crisis of the war was yet to


Mardonius passed the winter quietly in Thessaly, preparing for the spring
campaign. The Greeks in their turn made a final effort. A strong Spartan
army, supported by the Athenians and their allies, met the Persians near
the little town of Plataea in Boeotia. Here the heavy-armed Greek
soldiers, with their long spears, huge shields, and powerful swords,
easily overcame the enormous masses of the enemy. The success at Plataea
showed how superior to the Persians were the Greeks in equipment,
leadership, and fighting power. At the same time as this battle the
remainder of the Persian fleet suffered a crushing defeat at Mycale, a
promontory off the Ionian coast. These two battles really ended the war.
Never again was Persia to make a serious effort to secure dominion over
Continental Greece.


The Great Persian War was much more than a conflict between two rival
states. It was a struggle between East and West; between Oriental
despotism and Occidental individualism. On the one side were all the
populous, centralized countries of Asia; on the other side, the small,
disunited states of Greece. In the East was the boundless wealth, in men
and money, of a world-wide empire. In the West were the feeble resources
of a few petty communities. Nevertheless Greece won. The story of her
victory forms an imperishable record in the annals of human freedom.



After the battle of Plataea the Athenians, with their wives and children,
returned to Attica and began the restoration of their city, which the
Persians had burned. Their first care was to raise a wall so high and
strong Athens in future would be impregnable to attack. Upon the
suggestion of Themistocles it was decided to include within the
fortifications a wide area where all the country people, in case of
another invasion, could find a refuge. Themistocles also persuaded the
Athenians to build a massive wall on the land side of Piraeus, the port
of Athens. That harbor town now became the center of Athenian industry
and commerce.


While the Athenians were rebuilding their city, important events were
taking place in the Aegean. After the battle of Mycale the Greek states in
Asia Minor and on the islands once more rose in revolt against the
Persians. Aided by Sparta and Athens, they gained several successes and
removed the immediate danger of another Persian attack. It was clearly
necessary, however, for the Greek cities in Asia Minor and the Aegean to
remain in close alliance with the Continental Greeks, if they were to
preserve their independence. Under the guidance of Aristides, the old
rival of Themistocles, [9] the allies formed a union known as the Delian

[Illustration: "THESEUM"
An Athenian temple formerly supposed to have been constructed by Cimon to
receive the bones of the hero Theseus. It is now believed to have been a
temple of Hephaestus and Athena erected about 440 B.C. The 'Theseum' owes
its almost perfect preservation to the fact that during the Middle Ages it
was used as a church.]


The larger cities in the league agreed to provide ships and crews for a
fleet, while the smaller cities were to make their contributions in money.
Athens assumed the presidency of the league, and Athenian officials
collected the revenues, which were placed in a treasury on the island of
Delos. As head of this new federation Athens now had a position of
supremacy in the Aegean like that which Sparta enjoyed in the
Peloponnesus. [10]


The man who succeeded Themistocles and Aristides in leadership of the
Athenians was Cimon, son of Miltiades, the hero of Marathon. While yet a
youth his gallantry at the battle of Salamis gained him a great
reputation, and when Aristides introduced him to public life the citizens
welcomed him gladly. He soon became the head of the aristocratic or
conservative party in the Athenian city. To Cimon the Delian League
entrusted the continuation of the war with Persia. The choice was
fortunate, for Cimon had inherited his father's military genius. No man
did more than he to humble the pride of Persia. As the outcome of Cimon's
successful campaigns the southern coast of Asia Minor was added to the
Delian League, and the Greek cities at the mouth of the Black Sea were
freed from the Persian yoke. Thus, with Cimon as its leader, the
confederacy completed the liberation of the Asiatic Greeks.


While the Greeks were gaining these victories, the character of the Delian
League was being transformed. Many of the cities, instead of furnishing
ships, had taken the easier course of making all their contributions in
money. The change really played into the hands of Athens, for the tribute
enabled the Athenians to build the ships themselves and add them to their
own navy. They soon had a fleet powerful enough to coerce any city that
failed to pay its assessments or tried to withdraw from the league.
Eventually the common treasure was transferred from Delos to Athens. The
date of this event (454 B.C.) may be taken as marking the formal
establishment of the Athenian naval empire.


Sparta and her Peloponnesian allies viewed with growing jealousy the rapid
rise of Athens. As long, however, as Cimon remained at the head of
Athenian affairs, there was little danger of a break with Sparta. He
desired his city to keep on good terms with her powerful neighbor: Athens
should be mistress of the seas, and Sparta should be mistress on the
mainland. A contest between them, Cimon foresaw, would work lasting injury
to all Greece. Cimon's pro-Spartan attitude brought him, however, into
disfavor at Athens, and he was ostracized. New men and new policies
henceforth prevailed in the Athenian state.



The ostracism of Cimon deprived the aristocrats of their most prominent
representative. It was possible for the democratic or liberal party to
assume complete control of public affairs. Pericles, their leader and
champion, was a man of studious habits. He never appeared on the streets
except when walking between his house and the popular assembly or the
market place, kept rigidly away from dinners and drinking bouts, and ruled
his household with strict economy that he might escape the suspicion of
enriching himself at the public expense. He did not speak often before the
people, but came forward only on special occasions; and the rarity of his
utterances gave them added weight. Pericles was a thorough democrat, but
he used none of the arts of the demagogue. He scorned to flatter the
populace. His power over the people rested on his majestic eloquence, on
his calm dignity of demeanor, and above all on his unselfish devotion to
the welfare of Athens.

[Illustration: PERICLES (British Museum, London)
The bust is probably a good copy of a portrait statue set up during the
lifetime of Pericles on the Athenian Acropolis. The helmet possibly
indicates the office of General held by Pericles.]


The period, about thirty years in length, between the ostracism of Cimon
and the death of Pericles, forms the most brilliant epoch in Greek
history. Under the guidance of Pericles the Athenian naval empire reached
its widest extent. Through his direction Athens became a complete
democracy. Inspired by him the Athenians came to manifest that love of
knowledge, poetry, art, and all beautiful things which, even more than
their empire or their democracy, has made them famous in the annals of
mankind. The Age of Pericles affords, therefore, a convenient opportunity
to set forth the leading features of Athenian civilization in the days of
its greatest glory.


Athens under Pericles ruled more than two hundred towns and cities in Asia
Minor and the islands of the Aegean Sea. [11] The subjects of Athens, in
return for the protection that she gave them against Persia, owed many
obligations. They paid an annual tribute and furnished soldiers in time of
war. In all legal cases of importance the citizens had to go to Athens for
trial by Athenian courts. The Delian communities, in some instances, were
forced to endure the presence of Athenian garrisons and officers. To the
Greeks at large all this seemed nothing less than high-handed tyranny.
Athens, men felt, had built up an empire on the ruins of Hellenic liberty.


If the Athenians possessed an empire, they themselves were citizens of a
state more democratic than any other that has existed, before or since, in
the history of the world. They had now learned how unjust was the rule of
a tyrant or of a privileged class of nobles. They tried, instead, to
afford every one an opportunity to make the laws, to hold office, and to
administer justice. Hence the Athenian popular assembly and law courts
were open to all respectable citizens. The offices, also, were made very
numerous--fourteen hundred in all--so that they might be distributed as
widely as possible. Most of them were annual, and some could not be held
twice by the same person. Election to office was usually by lot. This
arrangement did away with favoritism and helped to give the poor man a
chance in politics, as well as the man of wealth or noble birth.


The center of Athenian democracy was the Assembly. Its membership included
every citizen who had reached twenty years of age. Rarely, however, did
the attendance number more than five thousand, since most of the citizens
lived outside the walls in the country districts of Attica. Forty regular
meetings were held every year. These took place on the slopes of the hill
called the Pnyx. A speaker before the Assembly faced a difficult audience.
It was ready to yell its disapproval of his advice, to mock him if he
mispronounced a word, or to drown his voice with shouts and whistles.
Naturally, the debates became a training school for orators. No one could
make his mark in the Assembly who was not a clear and interesting speaker.
Voting was by show of hands, except in cases affecting individuals, such
as ostracism, when the ballot was used. Whatever the decision of the
Assembly, it was final. This great popular gathering settled questions of
war and peace, sent out military and naval expeditions, voted public
expenditures, and had general control over the affairs of Athens and the

A decree of the Assembly, dating from about 450 B.C.]


The Assembly was assisted in the conduct of public business by many
officers and magistrates, among whom the Ten Generals held the leading
place. It was their duty to guide the deliberations of the Assembly and to
execute the orders of that body.


There was also a system of popular jury courts composed of citizens
selected by lot from the candidates who presented themselves. The number
of jurors varied; as many as a thousand might serve at an important trial.
A court was both judge and jury, it decided by majority vote; and from its
decision lay no appeal. Before these courts public officers accused of
wrong-doing were tried; disputes between different cities of the empire
and other important cases were settled; and all ordinary legal business
affecting the Athenians themselves was transacted. Thus, even in matters
of law, the Athenian government was completely democratic.


Democracy then, reached its height in ancient Athens. The people ruled,
and they ruled directly. Every citizen had some active part in politics.
Such a system worked well in the management of a small city-state like
Athens. But if the Athenians could govern themselves, they proved unable
to govern an empire with justice and wisdom. There was no such thing as
representation in their constitution. The subject cities had no one to
speak for them in the Assembly or before the jury courts. We shall notice
the same absence of a representative system in republican Rome. [12]


A large number of Athenians were relieved from the necessity of working
for themselves through the system of state pay introduced by Pericles.
Jurors, soldiers, and sailors received money for their services. Later, in
the fourth century, citizens accepted fees for attending the Assembly.
These payments, though small, enabled poor citizens to devote much time to
public duties.


Athens contained many skilled workmen whose daily tasks gave them scant
opportunity to engage in the exciting game of politics. The average rate
of wages was very low. In spite of cheap food and modest requirements for
clothing and shelter, it must have been difficult for the laborer to keep
body and soul together. Outside of Athens, in the country districts of
Attica, lived the peasants whose little farms produced the olives, grapes,
and figs for which Attica was celebrated.


There were many thousands of slaves in Athens and Attica at this period.
Their number was so great and their labor so cheap that we may think of
them as taking the place of modern machines. It was the slaves who did
most of the work on the large estates owned by wealthy men, who toiled in
the mines and quarries, and who served as oarsmen on the ships. The system
of slavery enabled many an Athenian to live a life of leisure, but it
lowered the dignity of labor and tended to prevent the rise of the poorer
citizens to positions of responsibility. In Greece, as in the Orient, [13]
slavery cast its blight over free industry.


The Athenian city was now the chief center of Greek commerce. [14] "The
fruits of the whole earth," said Pericles, "flow in upon us; so that we
enjoy the goods of other Commercial countries as freely as of our own."
[15] Exports of Athens wine and olive oil, pottery, metal wares, and
objects of art were sent out from Piraeus [16] to every region of the
Mediterranean. The imports from the Black Sea region, Thrace, and the
Aegean included such commodities as salt, dried fish, wool, timber, hides,
and, above all, great quantities of wheat. Very much as modern England,
Athens was able to feed all her people only by bringing in food from
abroad. To make sure that in time of war there should be no interruption
of food supplies, the Athenians built the celebrated Long Walls, between
the city and its port of Piraeus. (See the map below) Henceforth they felt
secure from attack, as long as their navy ruled the Aegean.

[Illustration: Map, THE VICINITY OF ATHENS]


In the days of her prosperity Athens began to make herself not only a
strong, but also a beautiful, city. The temples and other structures which
were raised on the Acropolis during the Age of Pericles still excite, even
in their ruins, the envy and wonder of mankind. [17] Athens at this time
was also the center of Greek intellectual life. In no other period of
similar length have so many admirable books been produced. No other epoch
has given birth to so many men of varied and delightful genius. The
greatest poets, historians, and philosophers of Greece were Athenians,
either by birth or training. As Pericles himself said in a noble speech,
Athens was "the school of Hellas." [18]



The brilliant Age of Pericles had not come to an end before the two chief
powers in the Hellenic world became involved in a deadly war. It would
seem that Athens and Sparta, the one supreme upon the sea, the other at
the head of the Peloponnesus, might have avoided a struggle which was sure
to be long and costly. But Greek cities were always ready to fight one
another. When Athens and Sparta found themselves rivals for the leadership
of Greece, it was easy for the smouldering fires of distrust and jealousy
to flame forth into open conflict. "And at that time," says Thucydides,
the Athenian historian who described the struggle, "the youth of Sparta
and the youth of Athens were numerous; they had never seen war, and were
therefore very willing to take up arms." [19]

[Illustration: Map, GREECE at Opening of the PELOPONNESIAN WAR 431 B.C.]

[Illustration: THE "MOURNING ATHENA" (Acropolis Museum, Athens)
A tablet of Pentelic marble. Athena, leaning on her spear, is gazing with
downcast head at a grave monument.]


The conflict was brought on by Corinth, one of the leading members of the
Peloponnesian League and, next to Athens, the most important commercial
power in Greece. She had already seen her once-profitable trade in the
Aegean monopolized by Athens. That energetic city was now reaching out for
Corinthian commerce in Italian and Sicilian waters. When the Athenians
went so far as to interfere in a quarrel between Corinth and her colony of
Corcyra, even allying themselves with the latter city, the Corinthians
felt justly resentful and appealed to Sparta for aid. The Spartans
listened to their appeal and, with the apparent approval of the Delphic
oracle which assured them "that they would conquer if they fought with all
their might," [20] declared war.


The two antagonists were fairly matched. The one was strong where the
other was weak. Sparta, mainly a continental power, commanded all the
Peloponnesian states except Argos and Achaea, besides some of the smaller
states of central Greece. Athens, mainly a maritime power, ruled all the
subject cities of the Aegean. The Spartans possessed the most formidable
army then in the world, but lacked money and ships. The Athenians had a
magnificent navy, an overflowing treasury, and a city impregnable to
direct attack. It seemed, in fact, as if neither side could seriously
injure the other.


The war began in 431 B.C. Its first stage was indecisive. The Athenians
avoided a conflict in the open field with the stronger Peloponnesian army,
which ravaged Attica. They were crippled almost at the outset of the
struggle by a terrible plague among the refugees from Attica, crowded
behind the Long Walls. The pestilence slew at least one-fourth of the
inhabitants of Athens, including Pericles himself. After ten years of
fighting both sides grew weary of the war and made a treaty of peace to
last for fifty years.


Not long after the conclusion of peace the Athenians were persuaded by a
brilliant and ambitious politician, named Alcibiades, to undertake an
expedition against Syracuse in Sicily. This city was a colony of Corinth,
and hence was a natural ally of the Peloponnesian states. The Athenians,
by conquering it, expected to establish their power in Sicily. But the
siege of Syracuse ended in a complete failure. The Athenians failed to
capture the city, and in a great naval battle they lost their fleet. Then
they tried to retreat by land, but soon had to surrender. Many of the
prisoners were sold as slaves; many were thrown by their inhuman captors
into the stone quarries near Syracuse, where they perished from exposure
and starvation. The Athenians, says Thucydides, "were absolutely
annihilated--both army and fleet--and of the many thousands who went away
only a handful ever saw their homes again." [21]

The profile of the nymph Arethusa has been styled the most exquisite Greek
head known to us.]


Athens never recovered from this terrible blow. The Spartans quickly
renewed the contest, now with the highest hopes of success. The Athenians
had to guard their city against the invader night and day; their slaves
deserted to the enemy; and they themselves could do no farming except
under the walls of the city. For supplies they had to depend entirely on
their ships. For nearly ten years, however, the Athenians kept up the
struggle. At length the Spartans captured an Athenian fleet near
Aegospotami on the Hellespont. Soon afterwards they blockaded Piraeus and
their army encamped before the walls of Athens. Bitter famine compelled
the Athenians to sue for peace. The Spartans imposed harsh terms. The
Athenians were obliged to destroy their Long Walls and the fortifications
of Piraeus, to surrender all but twelve of their warships, and to
acknowledge the supremacy of Sparta.



Sparta was now the undisputed leader of Continental Greece and of the
Aegean. As the representative of the liberty-loving Greeks she had humbled
the pride and power of "tyrant" Athens. A great opportunity lay before her
to reorganize the Hellenic world and to end the struggles for supremacy
between rival cities. But Sparta entered upon no such glorious career. She
had always stood as the champion of aristocracy against democracy, and now
in her hour of triumph she began to overturn every democratic government
that still existed in Greece. The Greek cities soon found they had
exchanged the mild sway of Athens for the brutal despotism of Sparta.


But Spartan despotism provoked resistance. It was the Boeotian city of
Thebes which raised the standard of revolt. Some of the liberty-loving
Thebans, headed by Pelopidas, a patriotic noble, formed a conspiracy to
drive the Spartans out of the city. Disguised as huntsmen, Pelopidas and
his followers entered Thebes at nightfall, killed the tyrants whom Sparta
had set over the people, and forced the Spartan garrison to surrender.


The Thebans had now recovered their independence. Eight years later they
totally defeated a superior Peloponnesian force at the battle of Leuctra
and brought the supremacy of Sparta to an end. This engagement from a
military standpoint is one of the most interesting in ancient history.
Epaminondas, the skilful Theban commander, massed his best troops in a
solid column, fifty men deep, and hurled it with terrific force against
the Spartan ranks. The enemy, drawn up twelve men deep in the customary
formation, could not withstand the impact of the Theban column; their
lines gave way, and the fight was soon won. The battle destroyed once for
all the legend of Spartan invincibility.


The sudden rise of Thebes to the position of the first city in Greece was
the work of two men whose names are always linked together in the annals
of the time. In Pelopidas and Epaminondas, bosom friends and colleagues,
Thebes found the heroes of her struggle for independence. Pelopidas was a
fiery warrior whose bravery and daring won the hearts of his soldiers.
Epaminondas was both an able general and an eminent statesman. No other
Greek, save perhaps Pericles, can be compared with him. Even Pericles
worked for Athens alone and showed no regard for the rest of Greece.
Epaminondas had nobler ideals and sought the general good of the Hellenic
race. He fought less to destroy Sparta than to curb that city's power of
doing harm. He aimed not so much to make Thebes mistress of an empire as
to give her a proper place among Greek cities. The Thebans, indeed,
sometimes complained that Epaminondas loved Hellas more than his native


By crippling Sparta, Epaminondas raised Thebes to a position of supremacy.
Had he been spared for a longer service, Epaminondas might have realized
his dream of bringing unity and order into the troubled politics of his
time. But circumstances were too strong for him. The Greek states, which
had accepted the leadership of Athens and Sparta, were unwilling to admit
the claims of Thebes to a position of equal power and importance. The
period of Theban rule was filled, therefore, with perpetual conflict. Nine
years after Leuctra Epaminondas himself fell in battle at Mantinea in the
Peloponnesus, and with his death ended the brief glory of Thebes.



The battle of Mantinea proved that no single city--Athens, Sparta, or
Thebes--was strong enough to rule Greece. By the middle of the fourth
century B.C. it had become evident that a great Hellenic power could the
not be created out of the little, independent city-states of Greece.


The history of Continental Hellas for more than a century after the close
of the Persian War had been a record of almost ceaseless conflict. We have
seen how Greece came to be split up into two great alliances, the one a
naval league ruled by Athens, the other a confederacy of Peloponnesian
cities under the leadership of Sparta. How the Delian League became the
Athenian Empire; how Sparta began a long war with Athens to secure the
independence of the subject states and ended it by reducing them to her
own supremacy; how the rough-handed sway of Sparta led to the revolt of
her allies and dependencies and the sudden rise of Thebes to supremacy;
how Thebes herself established an empire on the ruins of Spartan rule--
this is a story of fruitless and exhausting struggles which sounded the
knell of Greek liberty and the end of the city-state.


Far away in the north, remote from the noisy conflicts of Greek political
life, a new power was slowly rising to imperial greatness--no
insignificant city-state, but an extensive territorial state like those of
modern times. Three years after the battle of Mantinea Philip II ascended
the throne of Macedonia. He established Hellenic unity by bringing the
Hellenic people within a widespread empire. Alexander the Great, the son
of this king, carried Macedonian dominion and Greek culture to the ends of
the known world. To this new period of ancient history we now turn.


1. On an outline map indicate the principal places mentioned in this

2. On an outline map indicate the Athenian allies and dependencies and
those of Sparta at the opening of the Peloponnesian War.

3. What do you understand by a "decisive" battle? Why has Marathon been
considered such a battle?

4. Why did Xerxes take the longer route through Thrace, instead of the
shorter route followed by Datis and Artaphernes?

5. What was the importance of the Phoenician fleet in the Persian

6. What reasons can be given for the Greek victory in the struggle against

7. Distinguish between a confederacy and an empire.

8. Compare the relations of the Delian subject cities to Athens with those
of British colonies, such as Canada and Australia, to England.

9. What do you understand by representative government?

10. If the Athenian Empire could have rested on a representative basis,
why would it have been more likely to endure?

11. How far can the phrase "government of the people, by the people, for
the people" be applied to the Athenian democracy?

12. Did the popular assembly of Athens have any resemblance to a New
England town meeting?

13. Compare the Athenian jury system with that of England and the United

14. The Athenian democracy of the time of Pericles has been described as a
_pure_ democracy and not, like the American, as a _representative_
democracy. In what lies the difference?

15. Can you suggest any objections to the system of state pay introduced
by Pericles? To what extent do we employ the same system under our

16. What conditions of the time help to explain the contempt of the Greeks
for money-making?

17. Trace on the map, page 107, the Long Walls of Athens.

18. Why has the Peloponnesian War been called an "irrepressible conflict"?
Why has it been called the "suicide of Greece"?

19. What states of the Greek mainland were neutral in the Peloponnesian
War (map facing page 108)?

20. Contrast the resources of the contending parties. Where was each side
weak and where strong?

21. Why was the tyranny of Sparta more oppressive than that of Athens?

22. What were the reasons for the failure of the Athenian, Spartan, and
Theban attempts at empire?


[1] Webster, _Readings in Ancient History_, chapter vii, "Xerxes and the
Persian Invasion of Greece"; chapter viii, "Episodes from the
Peloponnesian War"; chapter ix, "Alcibiades the Athenian"; chapter x, "The
Expedition of the Ten Thousand"; chapter xi, "The Trial and Death of

[2] See the map facing page 38.

[3] See page 87.

[4] See the illustration, page 99.

[5] Thucydides, i, 18.

[6] See page 272.

[7] Herodotus, vii, 228.

[8] See the map on page 107.

[9] See page 96.

[10] See page 83.

[11] See the map facing page 108.

[12] See page 155.

[13] See page 44.

[14] The commercial importance of Athens is indicated by the general
adoption of her monetary standard by the other Greek states. (For
illustrations of Greek coins see the plate facing page 134.)

[15] Thucydides, ii, 38.

[16] See the map, page 107.

[17] For a description of ancient Athens, see pages 288-292.

[18] Thucydides, ii, 41.

[19] Thucydides, ii, 8.

[20] Thucydides, i, 118.

[21] Thucydides, vii, 87.





The land of Macedonia, lying to the north of Greece, for a long time had
been an inconspicuous part of the ancient world. Its people, though only
partially civilized, were Greeks in blood and language. No doubt they
formed an offshoot of those northern invaders who had entered the Balkan
peninsula before the dawn of history. The Macedonian kings, from the era
of the Persian wars, seized every opportunity of spreading Greek culture
throughout their realm. By the middle of the fourth century B.C., when
Philip II ascended the throne, the Macedonians were ready to take a
leading place in the Greek world.

[Illustration: PHILIP II
From a gold medallion struck by Alexander]


Philip of Macedonia, one of the most remarkable men of antiquity, was
endowed with a vigorous body, a keen mind, and a resolute will. He was no
stranger to Greece and its ways. Part of his boyhood had been passed as a
hostage at Thebes in the days of Theban glory. His residence there gave
him an insight into Greek politics and taught him the art of war as it had
been perfected by Epaminondas. In the distracted condition of Greece, worn
out by the rivalries of contending cities, Philip saw the opportunity of
his own country. He aimed to secure for Macedonia the position of
supremacy which neither Athens, Sparta, nor Thebes had been able to


Philip's most important achievement was the creation of the Macedonian
army, which he led to the conquest of Greece and which his son was to lead
to the conquest of the World. Taking a hint from the tactics of
Epaminondas, Philip trained his infantry to fight by columns, but with
sufficient intervals between the files to permit quick and easy movements.
Each man bore an enormous lance, eighteen feet in length. When this heavy
phalanx was set in array, the weapons carried by the soldiers in the first
five ranks presented a bristling thicket of lance-points, which no onset,
however determined, could penetrate. The business of the phalanx was to
keep the front of the foe engaged, while horsemen rode into the enemy's
flanks. This reliance on masses of cavalry to win a victory was something
new in warfare. Another novel feature consisted in the use of engines
called catapults, able to throw darts and huge stones three hundred yards,
and of battering rams with force enough to hurl down the walls of cities.
All these different arms working together made a war machine of tremendous
power--the most formidable in the ancient world until the days of the
Roman legion.


Philip commanded a fine army; he ruled with absolute sway a territory
larger than any other Hellenic state; and he himself possessed a genius
for both war and diplomacy, With such advantages the Macedonian king
entered on the subjugation of disunited Greece. His first great success
was won in western Thrace. Here he founded the city of Philippi [2] and
seized some rich gold mines, the income from which enabled him to keep his
soldiers always under arms, to fit out a fleet, and, by means of liberal
bribes, to hire a crowd of agents in nearly every Greek city. Philip next
made Macedonia a maritime state by subduing the Greek cities on the
peninsula of Chalcidice. [3] He also appeared in Thessaly, occupied its
principal fortresses, and brought the frontier of Macedonia as far south
as the pass of Thermopylae.



Philip for many years had been steadily extending his sway over Greece. In
the face of his encroachments would Athens, Sparta, and Thebes, so long
the leading cities, submit tamely to this Macedonian conqueror? There was
one man, at least, who realized the menace to Greek freedom from Philip's
onward march. In Demosthenes Greece found a champion of her threatened

[Illustration: DEMOSTHENES (Vatican Museum, Rome)
A marble statue, probably a copy of the bronze original by the sculptor
Polyeuctus. The work, when found, was considerably mutilated and has been
restored in numerous parts. Both forearms and the hands holding the scroll
are modern additions. It seems likely that the original Athenian statue
showed Demosthenes with tightly clasped hands, which, with his furrowed
visage and contracted brows, were expressive of the orator's earnestness
and concentration of thought.]


Demosthenes was the last, as well as the most famous, of the great
Athenian orators. When he first began to speak, the citizens laughed at
his long, involved sentences, over-rapid delivery, and awkward bearing.
Friends encouraged him to persist, assuring him that, if the manner of his
speeches was bad, their matter was worthy of Pericles. Numerous stories
are told of the efforts made by Demosthenes to overcome his natural
defects. He practiced gesturing before a mirror and, to correct a
stammering pronunciation, recited verses with pebbles in his mouth. He
would go down to the seashore during storms and strive to make his voice
heard above the roar of wind and waves, in order the better to face the
boisterous Assembly. Before long he came to be regarded as the prince of
speakers even in the city of orators. Demosthenes was a man cast in the
old heroic mold. His patriotic imagination had been fired by the great
deeds once accomplished by free Greeks. Athens he loved with passionate
devotion. Let her remember her ancient glories, he urged, and, by
withstanding Philip, become the leader of Hellas in a second war for


The stirring appeals of the great orator at first had little effect. There
were many friends of Philip in the Greek states, even in Athens itself.
When, however, Philip entered central Greece and threatened the
independence of its cities, the eloquence of Demosthenes met a readier
response. In the presence of the common danger Thebes and Athens gave up
their ancient rivalry and formed a defensive alliance against Philip. Had
it been joined by Sparta and the other Peloponnesian states, it is
possible that their united power might have hurled back the invader. But
they held aloof.


The decisive battle was fought at Chaeronea in Boeotia. On that fatal
field the well-drilled and seasoned troops of Macedonia, headed by a
master of the art of war, overcame the citizen levies of Greece. The
Greeks fought bravely, as of old, and their defeat was not inglorious.
Near the modern town of Chaeronea the traveler can still see the tomb
where the fallen heroes were laid, and the marble lion set up as a
memorial to their dauntless struggle.


Chaeronea gave Philip the undisputed control of Greece. But now that
victory was assured, he had no intention of playing the tyrant. He
compelled Thebes to admit a Macedonian garrison to her citadel, but
treated Athens so mildly that the citizens were glad to conclude with him
a peace which left their possessions untouched. Philip entered the
Peloponnesus as a liberator. Its towns and cities welcomed an alliance
with so powerful a protector against Sparta.


Having completely realized his design of establishing Macedonian rule over
Greece, Philip's restless energy drove him forward to the next step in his
ambitious program. He determined to carry out the plans, so long cherished
by the Greeks, for an invasion of Asia Minor and, perhaps, of Persia
itself. In the year 337 B.C. a congress of all the Hellenic states met at
Corinth under Philip's presidency. The delegates voted to supply ships and
men for the great undertaking and placed Philip in command of the allied
forces. A Macedonian king was to be the captain-general of Hellas.


But Philip was destined never to lead an army across the Hellespont. Less
than two years after Chaeronea he was killed by an assassin, and the
scepter passed to his young son, Alexander.

[Illustration: ALEXANDER (Glyptothek, Munich)
Probably an authentic portrait of the youthful Alexander about 338 B.C.]



Alexander was only twenty years of age when he became ruler of Macedonia.
From his father he inherited the powerful Frame, the kingly figure, the
masterful will, which made so deep an impression on all his
contemporaries. His mother, a proud and ambitious woman, told him that the
blood of Achilles ran in his veins, and bade him emulate the deeds of that
national hero. We know that he learned the _Iliad_ by heart and always
carried a copy of it on his campaigns. As he came to manhood, Alexander
developed into a splendid athlete, skillful in all the sports of his
rough-riding companions, and trained in every warlike exercise.


Philip believed that in Alexander he had a worthy son, for he persuaded
Aristotle, [4] the most learned man in Greece, to become the tutor of the
young prince. The influence of that philosopher remained with Alexander
throughout life. Aristotle taught him to love Greek art and science, and
instilled into his receptive mind an admiration for all things Grecian.
Alexander used to say that, while he owed his life to his father, he owed
to Aristotle the knowledge of how to live worthily.


The situation which Alexander faced on his accession might well have
dismayed a less dauntless spirit. Philip had not lived long enough to
unite firmly his wide dominions. His unexpected death proved the signal
for uprisings and disorder. The barbarous Thracians broke out in
widespread rebellion, and the Greeks made ready to answer the call of
Demosthenes to arms. But Alexander soon set his kingdom in order. After
crushing the tribes of Thrace, he descended on Greece and besieged Thebes,
which had risen against its Macedonian garrison. The city was soon
captured; its inhabitants were slaughtered or sold into slavery; and the
place itself was destroyed. The terrible fate of Thebes induced the other
states to submit without further resistance.


With Greece pacified, Alexander could proceed to the invasion of Persia.
Since the days of Darius the Great the empire had remained almost intact--
a huge, loosely-knit collection of many different peoples, whose sole bond
of union was their common allegiance to the Great King. [5] Its resources
were enormous. There were millions of men for the armies and untold wealth
in the royal treasuries. Yet the empire was a hollow shell.


Some seventy years before Alexander set forth on his expedition the Greeks
had witnessed a remarkable disclosure of the military weakness of Persia.
One of those rare revolts which troubled the security of the Persian
Empire broke out in Asia Minor. It was headed by Cyrus the Younger, a
brother of the Persian monarch. Cyrus gathered a large body of native
troops and also hired about ten thousand Greek soldiers. He led this mixed
force into the heart of the Persian dominions, only to fall in battle at
Cunaxa, near Babylon. The Greeks easily routed the enemy arrayed against
them, but the death of Cyrus made their victory fruitless. In spite of
their desperate situation the Greeks refused to surrender and started to
return homewards. The Persians dogged their footsteps, yet never ventured
on a pitched battle. After months of wandering in Assyria and Armenia the
little band of intrepid soldiers finally reached Trapezus, (Modern
Trebizond) a Greek city on the Black Sea.

[Illustration: Map, ROUTE OF THE TEN THOUSAND]


The story of this invasion of Persia and the subsequent retreat was
written by the Athenian Xenophon [6] in his _Anabasis_. It is one of the
most interesting books that have come down to us from antiquity. We can
judge from it how vivid was the impression which the adventures of the
"Ten Thousand" made on the Greeks of Xenophon's time. A small army had
marched to the center of the Persian dominions, had overcome a host many
times its size, and had returned to Greece in safety. It was clear proof
that the Persian power, however imposing on the outside, could offer no
effective resistance to an attack by a strong force of disciplined Greek
soldiers. Henceforth the Greeks never abandoned the idea of an invasion of


The gigantic task fell, however, to Alexander, as the champion of Hellas
against the "barbarians." With an army of less than forty thousand men
Alexander destroyed an empire before which, for two centuries, all Asia
had been wont to tremble. History, ancient or modern, contains no other
record of conquests so widespread, so thorough, so amazingly rapid.



Alexander crossed the Hellespont in the spring of the year 334 B.C. He
landed not far from the historic plain of Troy and at once began his march
along the coast. Near the little river Granicus the satraps of Asia Minor
had gathered an army to dispute his passage. Alexander at once led his
cavalry across the river in an impetuous charge, which soon sent the
Persian troops in headlong flight. The victory cost the Macedonians
scarcely a hundred men; but it was complete. As Alexander passed
southward, town after town opened its gates--first Sardis, next Ephesus,
then all the other cities of Ionia. They were glad enough to be free of
Persian control. Within a year Asia Minor was a Macedonian possession.


In the meantime Darius III, the Persian king, had been making extensive
preparations to meet the invader. He commanded half a million men, but he
followed Alexander too hastily and had to fight in a narrow defile on the
Syrian coast between the mountains and the sea. In such cramped quarters
numbers did not count. The battle became a massacre, and only the approach
of night stayed the swords of the victorious Macedonians. A great quantity
of booty, including the mother, wife, and children of Darius, fell into
Alexander's hands. He treated his royal captives kindly, but refused to
make peace with the Persian king.

[Illustration: THE ALEXANDER MOSAIC (Naples Museum)
This splendid mosaic composed of pieces of colored glass formed the
pavement of a Roman house at Pompeii in Italy. It represents the charge of
Alexander (on horseback at the left) against the Persian king in his
chariot, at the battle of Issus.]


The next step was to subdue the Phoenician city of Tyre, the headquarters
of Persia's naval power. The city lay on a rocky island, half a mile from
the shore. Its fortifications rose one hundred feet above the waves.
Although the place seemed impregnable, Alexander was able to capture it
after he had built a mole, or causeway, between the shore and the island.
Powerful siege engines then breached the walls, the Macedonians poured in,
and Tyre fell by storm. Thousands of its inhabitants perished and
thousands more were sold into slavery. The great emporium of the East
became a heap of ruins.


From Tyre Alexander led his ever-victorious army through Syria into Egypt.
The Persian forces here offered little resistance, and the Egyptians
themselves welcomed Alexander as a deliverer. The conqueror entered
Memphis in triumph and then sailed down the Nile to its western mouth,
where he laid the foundations of Alexandria, a city which later became the
metropolis of the Orient.


Another march brought Alexander to the borders of Libya, Here he received
the submission of Cyrene, the most important Greek colony in Africa. [7]
Alexander's dominions were thus extended to the border of the Carthaginian
possessions. It was at this time that Alexander visited a celebrated
temple of the god Amon, located in an oasis of the Libyan desert. The
priests were ready enough to hail him as a son of Amon, as one before whom
his Egyptian subjects might bow down and adore. But after Alexander's
death his worship spread widely over the world, and even the Roman Senate
gave him a place among the gods of Olympus.


The time had now come to strike directly at the Persian king. Following
the ancient trade routes through northern Mesopotamia, Alexander crossed
the Euphrates and the Tigris and, on a broad plain not far from the ruins
of ancient Nineveh, [8] found himself confronted by the Persian host.
Darius held an excellent position and hoped to crush his foe by sheer
weight of numbers. But nothing could stop the Macedonian onset; once more
Darius fled away, and once more the Persians, deserted by their king,
broke up in hopeless rout.


The battle of Arbela decided the fate of the Persian Empire. It remained
only to gather the fruits of victory. The city of Babylon surrendered
without a struggle. Susa, with its enormous treasure, fell into the
conqueror's hands. Persepolis, the old Persian capital, was given up to
fire and sword. [9] Darius himself, as he retreated eastward, was murdered
by his own men. With the death of Darius the national war of Greece
against Persia came to an end.


The Macedonians had now overrun all the Persian provinces except distant
Iran and India. These countries were peopled of by warlike tribes of a
very different stamp from the effeminate Persians. Alexander might well
have been content to leave them undisturbed, but the man could never rest
while there were still conquests to be made. Long marches and much hard
fighting were necessary to subdue the tribes about the Caspian and the
inhabitants of the countries now known as Afghanistan and Turkestan.

[Illustration: Map, EMPIRE OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT About 323 B.C.]


Crossing the lofty barrier of the Hindu-Kush, Alexander led his weary
soldiers into northwestern India, where a single battle added the Persian
province of the Punjab [10] to the Macedonian possessions. Alexander then
pressed forward to the conquest of the Ganges valley, but in the full tide
of victory his troops refused to go any farther. They had had their fill
of war and martial glory; they would conquer no more lands for their
ambitious king. Alexander gave with reluctance the order for the homeward


Alexander was of too adventurous a disposition to return by the way he had
come. He resolved to reach Babylon by a new route. He built a navy on the
Indus and had it accompany the army down the river. At the mouth of the
Indus Alexander dispatched the fleet under his admiral, Nearchus, to
explore the Indian Ocean and to discover, if possible, a sea route between
India and the West. He himself led the army, by a long and toilsome march
through the deserts of southern Iran, to Babylon. That city now became the
capital of the Macedonian Empire.


Scarcely two years after his return, while he was planning yet more
extensive conquests in Arabia, Africa, and western Europe, he was smitten
by the deadly Babylonian fever. In 323 B.C., after several days of
illness, the conqueror of the world passed away, being not quite thirty-
three years of age.



Alexander the Great was one of the foremost, perhaps the first, of the
great captains of antiquity. But he was more than a world-conqueror; he
was a statesman of the highest order. Had he been spared for an ordinary
lifetime, there is no telling how much he might have accomplished. In
eleven years he had been able to subdue the East and to leave an impress
upon it which was to endure for centuries. And yet his work had only
begun. There were still lands to conquer, cities to build, untrodden
regions to explore. Above all, it was still his task to shape his
possessions into a well-knit, unified empire, which would not fall to
pieces in the hands of his successors. His early death was a calamity, for
it prevented the complete realization of his splendid ambitions.


The immediate result of Alexander's conquests was the disappearance of the
barriers which had so long shut in the Orient. The East, until his day,
was an almost unknown land. Now it lay open to the spread of Greek
civilization. In the wake of the Macedonian armies followed Greek
philosophers and scientists, Greek architects and artists, Greek
colonists, merchants, and artisans. Everywhere into that huge, inert,
unprogressive Oriental world came the active and enterprising men of
Hellas. They brought their arts and culture and became the teachers of
those whom they had called "barbarians."


The ultimate result of Alexander's conquests was the fusion of East and
West. He realized that his new empire must contain a place for Oriental,
as well as for Greek and East and Macedonian, subjects. It was Alexander's
aim, therefore, to build up a new state in which the distinction between
the European and the Asiatic should gradually pass away. He welcomed
Persian nobles to his court and placed them in positions of trust. He
organized the government of his provinces on a system resembling that of
Darius the Great. [11] He trained thousands of Persian soldiers to replace
the worn-out veterans in his armies. He encouraged by liberal dowries
mixed marriages between Macedonians and Orientals, and himself wedded the
daughter of the last Persian king. To hold his dominions together and
provide a meeting place for both classes of his subjects, he founded no
less than seventy cities in different parts of the empire. Such measures
as these show that Alexander had a mind of wide, even cosmopolitan,
sympathies. They indicate the loss which ancient civilization suffered by
his untimely end.

[Illustration: SARCOPHAGUS FROM SIDON (Imperial Ottoman Museum,

One of eighteen splendid sarcophagi discovered in 1887 A.D. in an ancient
cemetery at Sidon. The sculptures on the longer sides represent two scenes
from the life of Alexander--the one a battle, the other a lion hunt. The
figures, in almost full relief, are delicately painted. ]



The half century following Alexander's death is a confused and troubled
period in ancient history. The king had left no legitimate son--no one
with an undisputed title to the succession. On his deathbed Alexander had
himself declared that the realm should go "to the strongest." [12] It was
certain, under these circumstances, that his possessions would become the
prey of the leading Macedonian generals. The unwieldy empire at length
broke in pieces. Out of the fragments arose three great states, namely,
Macedonia, Egypt, and Syria. The kingdom of Egypt was ruled by Ptolemy,
one of Alexander's generals. Seleucus, another of his generals,
established the kingdom of Syria. It comprised nearly all western Asia.
These kingdoms remained independent until the era of Roman conquest in the

[Illustration: A GREEK CAMEO (Museum, Vienna)
Cut in sardonyx. Represents Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, and his
wife Arsinoë.]


Several small states also arose from the break-up of Alexander's empire.
[13] Each had its royal dynasty, its capital city, and its own national
life. Thus the conquests of Alexander, instead of establishing a world-
power under one ruler, led to the destruction of the unity of government
which Persia had given to the East.


More significant for the history of civilization than these kingdoms were
the Hellenistic [14] cities, which from the time of Alexander arose in
every part of the eastern world. Some were only garrison towns in the
heart of remote provinces or outposts along the frontiers. Many more,
however, formed busy centers of trade and industry, and became seats of
Greek influence in the Orient. Such cities were quite unlike the old Greek
city-states. [15] They were not free and independent, but made a part of
the kingdom in which they were situated. The inhabitants consisted of
Greeks and Macedonians, comprising the governing class, together with
native artisans and merchants who had abandoned their village homes for
life in a metropolis. In appearance, also, these cities contrasted with
those of old Greece. They had broad streets, well paved and sometimes
lighted at night, enjoyed a good water supply, and possessed baths,
theaters, and parks.


In the third century B.C. the foremost Hellenistic city was Alexandria. It
lay on a strip of flat, sandy land separating Lake Mareotis from the
Mediterranean. On the one side was the lake-harbor, connected with the
Nile; on the other side were two sea-harbors, sheltered from the open sea
by the long and narrow island of Pharos. [16] The city possessed a
magnificent site for commerce. It occupied the most central position that
could be found in the ancient world with respect to the three continents,
Africa, Asia, and Europe. The prosperity which this port has enjoyed for
more than two thousand years is ample evidence of the wisdom which led to
its foundation.


The chief city in the kingdom of Syria was splendid and luxurious Antioch.
It lay in the narrow valley of the Orontes River, so close to both the
Euphrates and the Mediterranean that it soon became an important
commercial center. The city must have been a most delightful residence,
with its fine climate, its location on a clear and rapid stream, and the
near presence of the Syrian hills. In the sixth century A.D. repeated
earthquakes laid Antioch in ruins. The city never recovered its
prosperity, though a modern town, Antakia, still marks the site of the
once famous capital.

B.C.), Before the Roman Macedonian Wars]

[Illustration: THE DYING GAUL (Capitoline Museum, Rome)
The statue represents a Gaul who in battle has fallen on his sword to
avoid a shameful captivity. Overcome by the faintness of death he sinks
upon his shield, his head dropping heavily forward. Though realistic the
statue shows nothing violent or revolting. It is a tragedy in stone.]


Asia Minor, during this period, contained many Hellenistic cities. One of
the most important was Pergamum, the capital of a small but independent
kingdom of the same name. Its rulers earned the gratitude of all the
Greeks by their resistance to the terrible Gauls. About fifty years after
Alexander's death this barbarous people, pouring down from central Europe,
had ravaged Greece and invaded Asia Minor. The kings of Pergamum
celebrated their victories over the Gauls with so many works of
architecture and sculpture that their city became the artistic rival of


One other great Hellenistic center existed in the island city of Rhodes.
Founded during the closing years of the Peloponnesian War, Rhodes soon
distanced Athens in the race for commercial supremacy. The merchants of
Rhodes framed admirable laws, especially for business affairs, and many of
these were incorporated in the Roman code. Rhodes was celebrated for art.
No less than three thousand statues adorned the streets and public
buildings. It was also a favorite place of education for promising orators
and writers. During Roman days many eminent men, Cicero and Julius Caesar
among them, studied oratory at Rhodes.



These splendid cities in the Orient were the centers of much literary
activity. Their inhabitants, whether Hellenic or "barbarian," used Greek
as a common language. During this period Greek literature took on a
cosmopolitan character. It no longer centered in Athens. Writers found
their audiences in all lands where Greeks had settled. At the same time
literature became more and more an affair of the study. The authors were
usually professional bookmen writing for a bookish public. They produced
many works of literary criticism, prepared excellent grammars and
dictionaries, but wrote very little poetry or prose of enduring value.


The Hellenistic Age was distinguished as an age of learning. Particularly
was this true at Alexandria, where the Museum, founded by the first
Macedonian king of Egypt, became a real university. It contained galleries
of art, an astronomical observatory, and even zoological and botanical
gardens. The Museum formed a resort for men of learning, who had the
leisure necessary for scholarly research. The beautiful gardens, with
their shady walks, statues, and fountains, were the haunt of thousands of
students whom the fame of Alexandria attracted from all parts of the
civilized world.


In addition to the Museum there was a splendid library, which at one time
contained over five hundred thousand manuscripts--almost everything that
had been written in antiquity. The chief librarian ransacked private
collections and purchased all the books he could find. Every book that
entered Egypt was brought to the Library, where slaves transcribed the
manuscript and gave a copy to the owner in place of the original. Before
this time the manuscripts of celebrated works were often scarce and always
in danger of being lost. Henceforth it was known where to look for them.

[Illustration: LAOCOON AND HIS CHILDREN (Vatican Museum Rome)
A product of the art school of Rhodes (about 150 B.C.). The statue
represents the punishment inflicted on Laocoon a Trojan priest together
with his two sons. A pair of large serpents sent by the offended gods have
seized the unhappy victims.]

[Illustration: VICTORY OF SAMOTHRACE (Louvre, Paris)
Commemorates a naval battle fought in 306 B.C. The statue, which is
considerably above life-size, stood on a pedestal having the form of a
ship's prow. The goddess of Victory was probably represented holding a
trumpet to her lips with her right hand. The fresh ocean breeze has blown
her garments back into tumultuous folds.]


The Hellenistic Age was remarkable for the rapid advance of scientific
knowledge. Most of the mathematical works of the Greeks date from this
epoch. Euclid wrote a treatise on geometry which still holds its place in
the schools. Archimedes of Syracuse, who had once studied at Alexandria,
made many discoveries in engineering. A water screw of his device is still
in use. He has the credit for finding out the laws of the lever. "Give me
a fulcrum on which to rest," he said, "and I will move the earth." The
Hellenistic scholars also made remarkable progress in medicine. The
medical school of Alexandria was well equipped with charts, models, and
dissecting rooms for the study of the human body. During the second
century of our era all the medical knowledge of antiquity was gathered up
in the writings of Galen (born about 130 A.D.). For more than a thousand
years Galen of Pergamum remained the supreme authority in medicine.


In scientific work it seems as if the Greeks had done almost all that
could be accomplished by sheer brain power aided only by rude instruments.
They had no real telescopes or microscopes, no mariner's compass or
chronometer, and no very delicate balances. Without such inventions the
Greeks could hardly proceed much farther with their researches. Modern
scientists are perhaps no better thinkers than were those of antiquity,
but they have infinitely better apparatus and can make careful experiments
where the Greeks had to rely on shrewd guesses.


During the Hellenistic Age men began to gain more accurate ideas regarding
the shape and size of the habitable globe. Such events as the expedition
of the "Ten Thousand" [17] and Alexander's conquests in central Asia and
India brought new information about the countries and peoples of the
Orient. During Alexander's lifetime a Greek named Pytheas, starting from
Massilia, [18] made an adventurous voyage along the shores of Spain and
Gaul and spent some time in Britain. He was probably the first Greek to
visit that island.


All this new knowledge of East and West was soon gathered together by
Eratosthenes, the learned librarian of Alexandria. He was the founder of
scientific geography. Before his time some students had already concluded
that the earth is spherical and not flat, as had been taught in the
Homeric poems. [19] Guesses had even been made of the size of the earth.
Eratosthenes by careful measurements came within a few thousand miles of
its actual circumference. Having estimated the size of the earth,
Eratosthenes went on to determine how large was its habitable area. He
reached the conclusion that the distance from the strait of Gibraltar to
the east of India was about one-third of the earth's circumference. The
remaining two-thirds, he thought, was covered by the sea. And with what
seems a prophecy he remarked that, if it was not for the vast extent of
the Atlantic Ocean, one might almost sail from Spain to India along the
same parallel of latitude.

  Map, The World according to Eratosthenes, 200 B.C.
  Map, The World according to Ptolemy, 150 A.D.]


The next two centuries after Eratosthenes saw the spread of Roman rule
over Greeks and Carthaginians in the Mediterranean and over the barbarous
inhabitants of Gaul, Britain, and Germany. The new knowledge thus gained
was summed up in the Greek _Geography_ by Ptolemy [20] of Alexandria. His
famous map shows how near he came to the real outlines both of Europe and


Ptolemy was likewise an eminent astronomer. He believed that the earth was
the center of the universe and that the sun, planets, and fixed stars all
revolved around it. This Ptolemaic system was not overthrown until the
grand discovery of Copernicus in the sixteenth century of our era.



The Hellenistic Age was characterized by a general increase in wealth. The
old Greeks and Macedonians, as a rule, had been content to live plainly.
Now kings, nobles, and rich men began to build splendid palaces and to
fill them with the products of ancient art--marbles from Asia Minor, vases
from Athens, Italian bronzes, and Babylonian tapestries. They kept up
great households with endless lords in waiting, ladies of honor, pages,
guards, and servants. Soft couches and clothes of delicate fabric replaced
the simple coverlets and coarse cloaks of an earlier time. They possessed
rich carpets and hangings, splendid armor and jewelry, and gold and silver
vessels for the table. The Greeks thus began to imitate the luxurious
lives of Persian nobles.


These new luxuries flowed in from all parts of the ancient world. Many
came from the Far East in consequence of the rediscovery of the sea route
to India, by Alexander's admiral, Nearchus. [21] The voyage of Nearchus
was one of the most important results of Alexander's eastern conquests. It
established the fact, which had long been forgotten, that one could reach
India by a water route much shorter and safer than the caravan roads
through central Asia. [22] Somewhat later a Greek sailor, named Harpalus,
found that by using the monsoons, the periodic winds which blow over the
Indian Ocean, he could sail direct from Arabia to India without
laboriously following the coast. The Greeks, in consequence, gave his name
to the monsoons.


All this sudden increase of wealth, all the thousand new enjoyments with
which life was now adorned and enriched, did not work wholly for good.
With luxury there went, as always, laxity in morals. Contact with the vice
and effeminacy of the East tended to lessen the manly vigor of the Greeks,
both in Asia and in Europe. Hellas became corrupt, and she in turn
corrupted Rome.


Yet the most interesting, as well as the most important, feature of the
age is the diffusion of Hellenic culture--the "Hellenizing" of the Orient.
It was, indeed, a changed world in which men were now living. Greek
cities, founded by Alexander and his successors, stretched from the Nile
to the Indus, dotted the shores of the Black Sea and Caspian, and arose
amid the wilds of central Asia. The Greek language, once the tongue of a
petty people, grew to be a universal language of culture, spoken even by
"barbarian" lips. And the art, the science, the literature, the principles
of politics and philosophy, developed in isolation by the Greek mind,
henceforth became the heritage of many nations.


Thus, in the period after Alexander the long struggle between East and
West reached a peaceful conclusion. The distinction between Greek and
Barbarian gradually faded away, and the ancient world became ever more
unified in sympathies and aspirations. It was this mingled civilization of
Orient and Occident with which the Romans were now to come in contact, as
they pushed their conquering arms beyond Italy into the eastern

  1. Lydian coin of about 700 B.C.; the material is electrum, a
     compound of gold and silver.
  2. Gold _daric_; a Persian coin worth about $5.
  3. Hebrew silver _shekel_.
  4. Athenian silver _tetradrachm_ showing Athena, her olive
     branch and sacred owl.
  5. Roman bronze _as_ (2 cents) of about 217 B.C.; the
     symbols are the head of Janus and the prow of a ship.
  6. Bronze _sestertius_ (5 cents) struck in Nero's reign; the
     emperor, who carries a spear, is followed by a second horseman
     bearing a banner.
  7. Silver _denarius_ (20 cents) of about 99 B.C.; it shows a
     bust of Roma and three citizens voting.
  8. Gold _solidus_ ($5) of Honorius about 400 A.D.; the emperor
     wears a diadem and carries a scepter.]


1. On an outline map indicate the routes of Alexander, marking the
principal battle fields and the most important cities founded by him.
Note, also, the voyage of Nearchus.

2. On an outline map indicate the principal Hellenistic kingdoms about 200

3. Give the proper dates for (a) accession of Alexander; (b) battle of
Issus; (c) battle of Arbela; and (d) death of Alexander.

4. In what sense was Chaeronea a decisive battle?

5. How is it true that the expedition of the Ten Thousand forms "an
epilogue to the invasion of Xerxes and a prologue to the conquests of

6. How much can you see and describe in the Alexander Mosaic
(illustration, page 123)?

7. Compare Alexander's invasion of Persia with the invasion of Greece by

8. Distinguish between the immediate and the ultimate results of
Alexander's conquests.

9. Comment on the following statement: "No single personality, excepting
the carpenter's son of Nazareth, has done so much to make the world we
live in what it is as Alexander of Macedon."

10. How did the Macedonian Empire compare in size with that of Persia?
With that of Assyria?

11. What modern countries are included within the Macedonian Empire under

12. How did the founding of the Hellenistic cities continue the earlier
colonial expansion of Greece?

13. Why were the Hellenistic cities the real "backbone" of Hellenism?

14. Why do great cities rarely develop without the aid of commerce? Were
all the great cities in Alexander's empire of commercial importance?

15. Show how Alexandria has always been one of the meeting points between
Orient and Occident.

16. How did the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 A.D. affect the
commercial importance of Alexandria?

17. Name some of the great scientists of the Alexandrian age.

18. What were their contributions to knowledge?

19. Using the maps on pages 76 and 132, trace the growth of geographical
knowledge from Homer's time to that of Ptolemy.

20. What parts of the world are most correctly outlined on Ptolemy's map?

21. "The seed-ground of European civilization is neither Greece nor the
Orient, but a world joined of the two." Comment on this statement.


[1] Webster, _Readings in Ancient History_, chapter xii, "Demosthenes and
the Struggle against Philip"; chapter xiii, "Exploits of Alexander the

[2] Philippi became noted afterwards as the first city in Europe where
Christianity was preached. See _Acts_, xvi, 9.

[3] See the map between pages 68-69.

[4] See page 275.

[5] See page 39.

[6] See page 272.

[7] See page 90.

[8] See page 36.

[9] See John Dryden's splendid ode, _Alexander's Feast_.

[10] See pages 20 and 39.

[11] See pages 39-40.

[12] Arrian, _Anabasis of Alexander_, vii, 26.

[13] See the map facing page 128.

[14] The term "Hellenic" refers to purely Greek culture; the term
"Hellenistic," to Greek culture as modified by contact with Oriental life
and customs.

[15] See page 81.

[16] The lighthouse on the island of Pharos was considered one of the
"seven wonders" of the ancient world. The others were the hanging gardens
and walls of Babylon, the pyramids, the Colossus of Rhodes, the temple of
Artemis at Ephesus, the mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and the statue of Zeus
at Olympia.

[17] See page 120.

[18] See page 89.

[19] See page 74.

[20] Not to be confused with King Ptolemy (page 127).

[21] See page 125.

[22] See page 48.





The shape of Italy is determined by the course of the Apennines. Branching
off from the Alps at the gulf of Genoa, these mountains cross the
peninsula in an easterly direction, almost to the Adriatic. Here they turn
sharply to the southeast and follow the coast for a considerable distance.
The plains of central Italy, in consequence, are all on the western slope
of the Apennines. In the lower part of the peninsula the range swerves
suddenly to the southwest, so that the level land is there on the eastern
side of the mountains. Near the southern extremity of Italy the Apennines
separate into two branches, which penetrate the "heel and toe" of the


Italy may be conveniently divided into a northern, a central, and a
southern section. These divisions, however, are determined by the
direction of the mountains and not, as in Greece, chiefly by inlets of the
sea. Northern Italy contains the important region known in ancient times
as Cisalpine Gaul. This is a perfectly level plain two hundred miles in
length, watered by the Po (_Padus_), which the Romans called the "king of
rivers," because of its length and many tributary streams. Central Italy,
lying south of the Apennines, includes seven districts, of which the three
on the western coast--Etruria, Latium, and Campania--were most conspicuous
in ancient history. Southern Italy, because of its warm climate and deeply
indented coast, early attracted many Greek colonists. Their colonies here
came to be known as Magna Graecia, or Great Greece.

[Illustration: Map, ANCIENT ITALY AND SICILY.]


The triangular-shaped island of Sicily is separated from Italy by the
strait of Messina, a channel which, at the narrowest part, is only two
miles wide. At one time Sicily must have been joined to the mainland. Its
mountains, which rise at their highest point in the majestic volcano of
Aetna, nearly eleven thousand feet above sea level, are a continuation of
those of Italy. The greater part of Sicily is remarkably productive,
containing rich grainfields and hillsides green with the olive and the
vine. Lying in the center of the Mediterranean and in the direct route of
merchants and colonists from every direction, Sicily has always been a
meeting place of nations. In antiquity Greeks, Carthaginians, and Romans
contended for the possession of this beautiful island.


On Italian history, as on that of Greece, [2] we are able to trace the
profound influence of geographical conditions. In the first place, the
peninsula of Italy is not cut up by a tangle of mountains into many small
districts. Hence it was easier for the Italians, than for the Greeks, to
establish one large and united state. In the second place, Italy, which
has few good harbors but possesses fine mountain pastures and rich lowland
plains, was better adapted to cattle raising and agriculture than was
Greece. The Italian peoples, in consequence, instead of putting to sea,
remained a conservative, home-staying folk, who were slow to adopt the
customs of other nations. Finally, the location of Italy, with its best
harbors and most numerous islands on the western coast, brought that
country into closer touch with Gaul, Spain, and northwestern Africa than
with Greece and the Orient. Italy fronted the barbarous West.



Long before the Romans built their city by the Tiber every part of Italy
had become the home of wandering peoples, attracted by the mild climate
and rich soil of this favored land. Two of these peoples were neighbors of
the Romans--Etruscans on the north and Greeks on the south.


The ancestors of the historic Etruscans were probably Aegean sea-rovers
who settled in the Italian peninsula before the beginning of the eighth
century B.C. The immigrants mingled with the natives and by conquest and
colonization founded a strong power in the country to which they gave
their name--Etruria. At one time the Etruscans appear to have ruled over
Campania and also in the Po Valley as far as the Alps. Their colonies
occupied the shores of Sardinia and Corsica. Their fleets swept the
Tyrrhenian Sea. The Etruscans for several centuries were the leading
nation in Italy.

[Illustration: A GRAECO-ETRUSCAN CHARIOT (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New

The chariot was discovered in 1903 A.D. in an Etruscan cemetery near Rome.
It dates from perhaps 600 B.C. Almost every part of the vehicle is covered
with thin plates of bronze, elaborately decorated. The wheels are only two
feet in diameter. Since the chariot is too small and delicate for use in
warfare, we may believe it to have been intended for ceremonial purposes


These Etruscans, like the Hittites of Asia Minor, [3] are a mysterious
race. No one as yet has been able to read their language, which is quite
unlike any Indo-European tongue. The words, however, are written in an
alphabet borrowed from Greek settlers in Italy. Many other civilizing arts
besides the alphabet came to the Etruscans from abroad. Babylonia gave to
them the principle of the round arch and the practice of divination. [4]
Etruscan graves contain Egyptian seals adorned with hieroglyphics and
beautiful vases bearing designs from Greek mythology. The Etruscans were
skillful workers in iron, bronze, and gold. They built their cities with
massive walls, arched gates, paved streets, and underground drains. In the
course of time a great part of this Etruscan civilization was absorbed in
that of Rome.

[Illustration: AN ETRUSCAN ARCH
The Italian city of Volterra still preserves in the Porta dell' Arco an
interesting relic of Etruscan times. The archway, one of the original
gates of the ancient town, is about twenty feet in height and twelve feet
in width. On the keystone and imposts are three curious heads, probably
representing the guardian deities of the place.]

About eight thousand Etruscan inscriptions are known, almost all being
short epitaphs on gravestones. In 1892 A.D. an Etruscan manuscript which
had been used to pack an Egyptian mummy, was published, but the language
could not be deciphered.]


As teachers of the Romans the Etruscans were followed by the Greeks. About
the middle of the eighth century B.C. Hellenic colonies began to occupy
the coasts of Sicily and southern Italy. The earliest Greek settlement was
Cumae, near the bay of Naples. [5] It was a city as old as Rome itself,
and a center from which Greek culture, including the Greek alphabet,
spread to Latium. A glance at the map [6] shows that the chief Greek
Colonies were all on or near the Sea, from Campania to the gulf of
Tarentum. North of the "heel" of Italy extends an almost harborless coast,
where nothing tempted the Greeks to settle. North of Campania, again, they
found the good harbors already occupied by the Etruscans. The Greeks, in
consequence, were never able to make Italy a completely Hellenic land.
Room was left for the native Italian peoples, under the leadership of
Rome, to build up their own power in the peninsula.


The Italians were an Indo-European people who spoke a language closely
related, on the one side, to Greek and, on the other side, to the Celtic
tongues of western Europe. They entered Italy through the Alpine passes,
long before the dawn of history, and gradually pushed southward until they
occupied the interior of the peninsula. At the beginning of historic times
they had separated into two main branches. The eastern and central parts
of Italy formed the home of the highlanders, grouped in various tribes.
Among them were the Umbrians in the northeast, the Sabines in the upper
valley of the Tiber, and the Samnites in the south. Still other Italian
peoples occupied the peninsula as far as Magna Graecia.


The western Italians were known as Latins. They dwelt in Latium, the "flat
land" extending south of the Tiber between the Apennines and the
Tyrrhenian Sea. Residence in the lowlands, where they bordered on the
Etruscans, helped to make the Latins a civilized people. Their village
communities grew into larger settlements, until the whole of Latium became
filled with a number of independent city-states. The ties of kinship and
the necessity of defense against Etruscan and Sabine foes bound them
together. At a very early period they had united in the Latin League,
under the headship of Alba Longa. Another city in this league was Rome.



Rome sprang from a settlement of Latin shepherds, farmers, and traders on
the Palatine Mount. [7] This was the central eminence in a group of low
hills south of the Tiber, about fifteen miles by water from the river's
mouth. Opposite the Palatine community there arose on the Quirinal Hill
another settlement, which seems to have been an outpost of the Sabines.
After much hard fighting the rival hill towns united on equal terms into
one state. The low marshy land between the Palatine and Quirinal became
the Forum, or common market place, and the steep rock, known as the
Capitoline, formed the common citadel. [8]

[Illustration: Map, VICINITY OF ROME.]


The union of the Palatine and Quirinal settlements greatly increased the
area and population of the Roman city. In course of time settlements were
made on the neighboring hills and these, too, cast in their lot with Rome.
Then a fortification, the so-called "Wall of Servius," was built to bring
them all within the boundaries of the enlarged community. Rome came into
existence as the City of the Seven Hills.


Long after the foundation of Rome, when that city had grown rich and
powerful, her poets and historians delighted to relate the many myths
which clustered about the earlier stages of her career. According to these
myths Rome began as a colony of Alba Longa, the capital of Latium. The
founder of this city was Ascanius, son of the Trojan prince Aeneas, who
had escaped from Troy on its capture by the Greeks and after long
wanderings had reached the coast of Italy. Many generations afterwards,
when Numitor sat on the throne of Alba Longa, his younger brother,
Amulius, plotted against him and drove him into exile. He had Numitor's
son put to death, and forced the daughter, Rhea Silvia, to take the vows
of a Vestal Virgin. [9]

[Illustration: AN EARLY ROMAN COIN
Shows the twins, Romulus and Remus as infants suckled by a wolf.]


But Rhea Silvia, beloved by Mars, the god of war, gave birth to twin boys
of more than human size and beauty. The wicked Amulius ordered the
children to be set adrift in a basket on the Tiber. Heaven, however,
guarded these offspring of a god; the river cast them ashore near Mount
Palatine, and a she-wolf came and nursed them. There they were discovered
by a shepherd, who reared them in his own household. When the twins,
Romulus and Remus, reached manhood, they killed Amulius and restored their
grandfather to his kingdom. With other young men from Alba Longa, they
then set forth to build a new city on the Palatine, where they had been
rescued. As they scanned the sky to learn the will of the gods, six
vultures, birds of Jupiter, appeared to Remus; but twelve were seen by
Romulus. So Romulus marked out the boundary of the city on the Palatine,
and Remus, who in derision leaped over the half-finished wall, he slew in
anger. Romulus thus became the sole founder of Rome and its first king.


Romulus was followed by a Sabine, Numa Pompilius, who taught the Romans
the arts of peace and the worship of the gods. Another king destroyed Alba
Longa and brought the inhabitants to Rome. The last of Rome's seven kings
was an Etruscan named Tarquin the Proud. His tyranny finally provoked an
uprising, and Rome became a republic.


These famous tales have become a part of the world's literature and still
possess value to the student. They show us what the Romans themselves
believed about the foundation and early fortunes of their city. Sometimes
they refer to what seem to be facts, such as the first settlement on the
Palatine, the union with the Sabines on the Quirinal, the conquest of Alba
Longa, and Etruscan rule at Rome. The myths also contain so many
references to customs and beliefs that they are a great help in
understanding the social life and religion of the early Romans.



Agriculture was the chief occupation of the Roman people. "When our
forefathers," said an ancient writer, "would praise a worthy man, they
praised him as a good farmer and a good landlord; and they believed that
an praise could go no further." [10] Roman farmers raised large crops of
grain--the staple product of ancient Italy. Cattle-breeding, also, must
have been an important pursuit, since in early times prices were estimated
in oxen and sheep. [11]

A marble cube, two feet high, of about 31-29 B.C.
  The month of May,
  XXXI days,
  The nones fall on the 7th day.
  The day has 19-1/2 hours.
  The night has 9-1/2 hours
  The sun is in the sign of Taurus
  The month is under the protection of Apollo.
  The corn is weeded
  The sheep are shorn
  The wool is washed
  Young steers are put under the yoke.
  The vetch of the meadows is cut.
  The lustration of the crops is made.
  Sacrifices to Mercury and Flora.]


In such a community of peasants no great inequalities of wealth existed.
Few citizens were very rich; few were very poor. The members of each
household made their own clothing from flax or wool, and fashioned out of
wood and clay what utensils were needed for their simple life. For a long
time the Romans had no coined money whatever. When copper came into use as
currency, it passed from hand to hand in shapeless lumps that required
frequent weighing. It was not until the fourth century that a regular
coinage began. [12] This use of copper as money indicates that gold and
silver were rare among the Romans, and luxury almost unknown.


Hard-working, god-fearing peasants are likely to lead clean and sober
lives. This was certainly true of the early Romans. They were a manly
breed, abstemious in food and drink, iron-willed, vigorous, and strong.
Deep down in the Roman's heart was the proud conviction that Rome should
rule over all her neighbors. For this he freely shed his blood; for this
he bore hardship, however severe, without complaint. Before everything
else, he was a dutiful citizen and a true patriot. Such were the sturdy
men who on their farms in Latium formed the backbone of the Roman state.
Their character has set its mark on history for all time.


The family formed the unit of Roman society. Its most marked feature was
the unlimited authority of the father. In his house he reigned an absolute
king. His wife had no legal rights: he could sell her into slavery or
divorce her at will. Nevertheless, no ancient people honored women more
highly than the Romans. A Roman wife was the mistress of the home, as her
husband was its master. Though her education was not carried far, we often
find the Roman matron taking a lively interest in affairs of state, and
aiding her husband both in politics and business. It was the women, as
well as the men, who helped to make Rome great among the nations. Over his
unmarried daughters and his sons, the Roman father ruled as supreme as
over his wife. He brought up his children to be sober, silent, modest in
their bearing, and, above all, obedient. Their misdeeds he might punish
with penalties as severe as banishment, slavery, or death. As head of the
family he could claim all their earnings; everything they had was his. The
father's great authority ceased only with his death. Then his sons, in
turn, became lords over their families.

[Illustration: CINERARY URNS IN TERRA COTTA (Vatican Museum, Rome)
These receptacles for the ashes of the dead were found in an old cemetery
at Alba Longa They show two forms of the primitive Roman hut.]



The Romans, like the ancient Greeks and the modern Chinese, paid special
veneration to the souls of the dead. These were known by the flattering
name of _manes_, the "pure" or "good ones." The Romans always regarded the
_manes_ as members of the household to which they had belonged on earth.
The living and the dead were thus bound together by the closest ties. The
idea of the family triumphed even over the grave.


The ancient Roman house had only one large room, the _atrium_, where all
members of the family lived together. It was entered by a single door,
which was sacred to the god Janus. On the hearth, opposite the doorway,
the housewife prepared the meals. The fire that ever blazed upon it gave
warmth and nourishment to the inmates. Here dwelt Vesta, the spirit of the
kindling flame. The cupboard where the food was kept came under the charge
of the Penates, who blessed the family store. The house as a whole had its
protecting spirits, called Lares.


The daily worship of these deities took place at the family meal. The
table would be placed at the side of the hearth, and when the father and
his family sat down to it, a little food would be thrown into the flames
and a portion of wine poured out, as an offering to the gods. The images
of the Lares and Penates would also be fetched from the shrine and placed
on the table in token of their presence at the meal. This religion of the
family lasted with little change throughout the entire period of Roman

[Illustration: A VESTAL VIRGIN
Portrait from a statue discovered in the ruins of the temple of Vesta in
the Roman Forum.]


The early Roman state was only an enlarged family, and hence the religion
of the state was modeled after that of the family. Some of the divinities,
such as Janus and Vesta, were taken over with little change from the
domestic worship. The entrance to the Forum formed a shrine of Janus, [13]
which Numa himself was said to have built. The door, or gateway, stood
open in time of war, but shut when Rome was at peace. At the south end of
the Forum stood the round temple of Vesta, containing the sacred hearth of
the city. Here Vesta was served by six virgins of free birth, whose duty
it was to keep the fire always blazing on the altar. If by accident the
fire went out, it must be relighted from a "pure flame," either by
striking a spark with flint or by rubbing together two dry sticks. Such
methods of kindling fire were those familiar to the prehistoric Romans.

[Illustration: SUOVETAURILIA (Louvre, Paris)
The relief pictures an ancient Italian sacrifice of a bull, a ram and a
boar offered to Mars to secure purification from sin. Note the sacred
laurel trees, the two altars, and the officiating magistrate whose head is
covered with the toga. He is sprinkling incense from a box held by an
attendant. Another attendant carries a ewer with the libation. In the rear
is the sacrificer with his ax.]


The Romans worshiped various gods connected with their lives as shepherds,
farmers, and warriors. The chief divinity was Jupiter, who ruled the
heavens and sent rain and sunshine to nourish the crops. The war god Mars
reflected the military character of the Romans. His sacred animal was the
fierce, cruel wolf, his symbols were spears and shields; his altar was the
Campus Martius (Field of Mars) outside the city walls, where the army
assembled in battle array. March, the first month of the old Roman year,
was named in his honor. Some other gods were borrowed from the Greeks,
together with many of the beautiful Greek myths.


The Romans took many precautions, before beginning any enterprise, to find
out what was the will of the gods and how their favor might first be
gained. They did not have oracles, but they paid much attention to omens
of all sorts. A sudden flash of lightning, an eclipse of the sun, a
blazing comet, or an earthquake shock was an omen which awakened
superstitious fear. It indicated the disapproval of the gods. From the
Etruscans the Romans learned to divine the future by examining the
entrails of animal victims. They also borrowed from their northern
neighbors the practice of looking for signs in the number, flight, and
action of birds. To consult such signs was called "taking the auspices."

[Illustration: AN ETRUSCAN AUGUR
Wall painting from a tomb at Tarquinii in Etruria.]

The relief represents the chickens in the act of feeding. The most
favorable omen was secured when the fowls greedily picked up more of the
corn than they could swallow at one time. Their refusal to eat at all was
an omen of disaster.]


Roman priests, who conducted the state religion, did not form a separate
class, as in some Oriental countries. They were chosen, like other
magistrates, from the general body of citizens. A board, or "college," of
six priests had charge of the public auspices. Another board, that of the
pontiffs, regulated the calendar, kept the public annals, and regulated
weights and measures. They were experts in all matters of religious
ceremonial and hence were very important officials. [15]


This old Roman faith was something very different from what we understand
by religion. It had little direct influence on morality. It did not
promise rewards or threaten punishments in a future world. Roman religion
busied itself with the everyday life of man. Just as the household was
bound together by the tie of common worship, so all the citizens were
united in a common reverence for the deities which guarded the state. The
religion of Rome made and held together a nation.



We find in early Rome, as in Homeric Greece, [16] a city-state with its
king, council, and assembly. The king was the father of his people, having
over them the same absolute authority that the house-father held within
the family. The king was assisted by a council of elders, or Senate (Latin
_senes_, "old men"). Its members were chosen by the king and held office
for life. The most influential heads of families belonged to the Senate.
The common people at first took little part in the government, for it was
only on rare occasions that the king summoned them to deliberate with him
in an assembly.


Toward the close of the sixth century, as we have already learned, [17]
the ancient monarchy disappeared from Rome. In place of the lifelong king
two magistrates, named consuls, were elected every year. Each consul had
to share his honor and authority with a colleague who enjoyed the same
power as himself. Unless both agreed, there could be no action. Like the
Spartan kings, [18] the consuls served as checks, the one on the other.
Neither could safely use his position to aim at unlawful rule.


This divided power of the consuls might work very well in times of peace.
During dangerous wars or insurrections it was likely to prove disastrous.
A remedy was found in the temporary revival of the old kingship under a
new name. When occasion required, one of the consuls, on the advice of the
Senate, appointed a dictator. The consuls then gave up their authority and
the people put their property and lives entirely at the dictator's
disposal. During his term of office, which could not exceed six months,
the state was under martial law. Throughout Roman history there were many
occasions when a dictatorship was created to meet a sudden emergency.


The Roman state, during the regal age, seems to have been divided between
an aristocracy and a commons. The nobles were called patricians, [19] and
the common people were known as plebeians. [20] The patricians occupied a
privileged position, since they alone sat in the Senate and served as
priests, judges, and magistrates. In fact, they controlled society, and
the common people found themselves excluded from much of the religious,
legal, and political life of the Roman city. Under these circumstances it
was natural for the plebeians to agitate against the patrician monopoly of
government. The struggle between the two orders of society lasted about
two centuries.


A few years after the establishment of the republic the plebeians
compelled the patricians to allow them to have officers of their own,
called tribunes, as a means of protection. There were ten tribunes,
elected annually by the plebeians. Any tribune could veto, that is,
forbid, the act of a magistrate which seemed to bear harshly on a citizen.
To make sure that a tribune's orders would be respected, his person was
made sacred and a solemn curse was pronounced upon the man who injured him
or interrupted him in the performance of his duties. The tribune's
authority, however, extended only within the city and a mile beyond its
walls. He was quite powerless against the consul in the field.


We next find the plebeians struggling for equality before the law. Just as
in ancient Athens, [21] the early Roman laws had never been written down
or published. About half a century after the plebeians had obtained the
tribunes, they forced the patricians to give them written laws. A board of
ten men, known as decemvirs, was appointed to frame a legal code, binding
equally on both patricians and plebeians. The story goes that this
commission studied the legislation of the Greek states of southern Italy,
and even went to Athens to examine some of Solon's laws which were still
in force. The laws framed by the decemvirs were engraved on twelve bronze
tablets and set up in the Forum. A few sentences from this famous code
have come down to us in rude, unpolished Latin. They mark the beginning of
what was to be Rome's greatest gift to civilization--her legal system.

A consul sat on the curule chair. The _fasces_ (axes in a bundle of rods)
symbolized his power to flog and behead offenders.]


The hardest task of the plebeians was to secure the right of holding the
great offices of state. Eventually, however, they gained entrance to
Senate and became eligible to the consulship and other magistracies and to
the priesthoods. By the middle of the third century the plebeians and
patricians, equal before the law and with equal privileges, formed one
compact body of citizens in the Roman state.


The Roman state called itself a republic--_respublica_--"a thing of the
people." Roman citizens made the laws and elected public officers. Though
the people in their gatherings had now become supreme, their power was
really much limited by the fact that very little discussion of a proposed
measure was allowed. This formed a striking contrast to the vigorous
debating which went on in the Athenian Assembly. [22] Roman citizens could
not frame, criticize, or amend public measures; they could only vote "yes"
or "no" to proposals made to them by a magistrate.


Rome had many magistrates. Besides the two consuls and an occasional
dictator there were the ten tribunes, the praetors, who served as judges,
and the quaestors, or keepers of the treasury. The two censors were also
very important officers. It was their business to make an enumeration or
census of the citizens and to assess property for taxation. The censors
almost always were reverend seniors who had held the consulship and
enjoyed a reputation for justice and wisdom. Their office grew steadily in
importance, especially after the censors began to exercise an oversight of
the private life of the Romans. They could expel a senator from his seat
for immorality and could deprive any citizen of his vote. The word
"censorious," meaning faultfinding, is derived from the name of these
ancient officials.


The authority of the magistrates was much limited by the Senate. This body
contained about three hundred members, who held their seats generally for
life. When vacancies occurred, they were filled, as a rule, by those who
had previously held one or more of the higher magistracies. There sat in
the Senate every man who, as statesman, general, or diplomatist, had
served his country well.


The Senate furnished an admirable school for debate. Any senator could
speak as long and as often as he chose. The opportunities for discussion
were numerous, for all weighty matters came before this august assemblage.
It managed finances and public works. It looked after the state religion.
It declared and conducted war, received ambassadors from foreign
countries, made alliances, and administered conquered territories. The
Senate formed the real governing body of the republic.


The Senate proved not unworthy of its high position. For two centuries,
while Rome was winning dominion over Italy and the Mediterranean, that
body held the wisest and noblest Romans of the time. To these men office
meant a public trust--an opportunity to serve their country with
distinction and honor. The Senate, in its best days, was a splendid
example of the foresight, energy, and wisdom of republican Rome. An
admiring foreigner called it "an assembly of kings." [23]

[Illustration: A SCENE IN SICILY
Taormina, on the Sicilian coast, thirty one miles southwest of Messina.
The ruins are those of a theater, founded by the Greeks, but much altered
in Roman times. The view of Aetna from this site is especially fine.]




The first centuries of the republic were filled with constant warfare. The
Romans needed all their skill, bravery, and patriotism to keep back the
Etruscans on the north, and the wild tribes of the Apennines. About 390
B.C. the state was brought near to destruction by an invasion of the
Gauls. [24] These barbarians, whose huge bulk and enormous weapons struck
terror to the hearts of their adversaries, poured through the Alpine
passes and ravaged far and wide. At the river Allia, only a few miles from
Rome, they annihilated a Roman army and then captured and burned the city
itself. But the Gallic tide receded as swiftly as it had come, and Rome
rose from her ashes mightier than ever. Half a century after the Gallic
invasion she was able to subdue her former allies, the Latins, and to
destroy their league. The Latin War, as it is called, ended in 338 B.C.,
the year of the fateful battle of Chaeronea in Greece. [25] By this time
Rome ruled in Latium and southern Etruria and had begun to extend her sway
over Campania. There remained only one Italian people to contest with her
the supremacy of the peninsula--the Samnites.


The Samnites were the most vigorous and warlike race of central Italy.
While the Romans were winning their way in Latium, the Samnites were also
entering on a career of conquest. They coveted the fertile Campanian plain
with its luxurious cities, Cumae and Neapolis, which the Greeks had
founded. The Romans had also fixed their eyes on the same region, and so a
contest between the two peoples became inevitable. In numbers, courage,
and military skill Romans and Samnites were well matched. Nearly half a
century of hard fighting was required before Rome gained the upper hand.
The close of the Samnite wars found Rome supreme in central Italy. Her
authority was now recognized from the upper Apennines to the foot of the


The wealthy cities of southern Italy offered a tempting prize to Roman
greed. Before long many of them received Roman garrisons and accepted the
rule of the great Latin republic. Tarentum, [26] however, the most
important of the Greek colonies, held jealously to her independence.
Unable single-handed to face the Romans, Tarentum turned to Greece for
aid. She called on Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, the finest soldier of his age.
Pyrrhus led twenty-five thousand mercenary soldiers into Italy, an army
almost as large as Alexander's. The Romans could not break the bristling
ranks of the Greek phalanx, and they shrank back in terror before the huge
war elephants which Pyrrhus had brought with him. The invader won the
first battle, but lost many of his best troops. He then offered peace on
condition that the Romans should give up their possessions in southern
Italy. The Senate returned the proud reply that Rome would not treat with
the enemy while he stood on Italian soil. A second battle was so bitterly
contested that Pyrrhus declared, "Another such victory, and I am lost."
[27] Weary of the struggle, Pyrrhus now crossed over to Sicily to aid his
countrymen against the Carthaginians. The rapid progress of the Roman arms
called him back, only to meet a severe defeat. Pyrrhus then withdrew in
disgust to Greece; Tarentum fell; and Rome established her rule over
southern Italy.


The triumph over Pyrrhus and the conquest of Magna Graecia mark a decisive
moment in the history of Rome. Had Pyrrhus won Italy, as well as Asia and
Egypt, might have become a Greek land, ruled by Hellenistic kings. Now it
was clear that Rome, having met the invader so bravely, was to remain
supreme in the Italian peninsula. She was the undisputed mistress of Italy
from the strait of Messina northward to the Arnus and the Rubicon.
Etruscans, Latins, Samnites, and Greeks acknowledged her sway. The central
city of the peninsula had become the center of a united Italy. [28]

[Illustration: Map, THE EXPANSION of ROMAN DOMINIONS in ITALY, 500-264



Italy did not form a single state under Roman rule. About one-third of
Italy composed the strictly Roman territory occupied by Roman citizens.
Since ancient Rome knew nothing of the great principle of representative
government, [29] it was necessary that citizens who wished to vote or to
stand for office should visit in person the capital city. Few men, of
course, would journey many miles to Rome in order to exercise their
political rights. The elections, moreover, were not all held on one day,
as with us, but consuls, praetors, and other magistrates were chosen on
different days, while meetings of the assemblies might be held at any time
of the year. A country peasant who really tried to fulfill his duties as a
citizen would have had little time for anything else. In practice,
therefore, the city populace at Rome had the controlling voice in ordinary
legislation. The Romans were never able to remedy this grave defect in
their political system. We shall see later what evils government without
representation brought in its train.


Over against this body of Roman citizens were the Italian peoples. Rome
was not yet ready to grant them citizenship, but she did not treat them as
complete subjects. The Italians were called the "allies and friends" of
the Roman people. They lost the right of declaring war on one another, of
making treaties, and of coining money. Rome otherwise allowed them to
govern themselves, never calling on them for tribute and only requiring
that they should furnish soldiers for the Roman army in time of war. These
allies occupied a large part of the Italian peninsula.


The Romans very early began to establish what were called Latin colonies
[30] in various parts of Italy. The colonists were usually veteran
soldiers or poor plebeians colonies who wanted farms of their own. When
the list of colonists was made up, they all marched forth in military
array to lake possession of their new homes and build their city. The
Latin colonies were really offshoots of Rome and hence were always
faithful to her interests. Scattered everywhere in Italy they formed so
many permanent camps or garrisons to keep the conquered peoples in
subjection. At the same time they helped mightily in spreading the Latin
language, law, and civilization throughout the peninsula.


All the colonies were united with one another and with Rome by an
extensive system of roads. The first great road, called the Appian Way,
was made during the period of the Samnite wars. It united the city of Rome
with Capua and secured the hold of Rome on Campania. The Appian Way was
afterwards carried across the Apennines to Brundisium on the Adriatic,
whence travelers embarked for the coast of Greece. Other trunk lines were
soon built in Italy, and from them a network of smaller highways was
extended to every part of the peninsula.


[Illustration: THE APPIAN WAY
A view in the neighborhood of Rome. The ancient construction of the road
and its massive paving blocks of lava have been laid bare by modern
excavations. The width of the roadway proper was only fifteen feet. The
arches, seen in the background, belong to the aqueduct built by the
emperor Claudius in 52 A.D.]


Roman roads had a military origin. Like the old Persian roads [31] they
were intended to facilitate the rapid dispatch of troops, supplies, and
official messages into every corner of Italy. Hence the roads ran, as much
as possible, in straight lines and on easy grades. Nothing was allowed to
obstruct their course. Engineers cut through or tunneled the hills,
bridged rivers and gorges, and spanned low, swampy lands with viaducts of
stone. So carefully were these roads constructed that some stretches of
them are still in good condition. These magnificent highways were free to
the public. They naturally became avenues of trade and travel and so
served to bring the Italian peoples into close touch with Rome.


Rome thus began in Italy that wonderful process of Romanization which she
was to extend later to Spain, Gaul, and Britain. She began to make, the
Italian peoples like herself in blood, speech, customs, and manners. More
and more the Italians, under Rome's leadership, came to look upon
themselves as one people--the people who wore the gown, or _toga_, as
contrasted with the barbarous and trousers-wearing Gauls.

[Illustration: A ROMAN LEGIONARY
From a monument of the imperial age. The soldier wears a metal helmet, a
leather doublet with shoulder-pieces, a metal-plated belt, and a sword
hanging from a strap thrown over the left shoulder. His left hand holds a
large shield, his right, a heavy javelin.]



While the Romans were conquering Italy, they were making many improvements
in their army. All citizens between the ages of seventeen and forty-six
were liable to active service. These men were mainly landowners--hardy,
intelligent peasants--who knew how to fight and how to obey orders. An
army in the field consisted of one or more legions. A legion included
about three thousand heavy-armed footmen, twelve hundred light infantry,
and three hundred horsemen. After the conquest of Italy the states allied
with Rome had to furnish soldiers, chiefly archers and cavalry. These
auxiliaries, as they were called, were at least as numerous as
legionaries. The Romans, in carrying on war, employed not only their
citizens but also their subjects.


The legion offered a sharp contrast to the unwieldy phalanx. [32] Roman
soldiers usually fought in an open order, with the heavy-armed infantry
arranged in three lines: first, the younger men; next, the more
experienced warriors; and lastly the veterans. A battle began with
skirmishing by the light troops, which moved to the front and discharged
their darts to harass the enemy. The companies of the first line next
flung their javelins at a distance of from ten to twenty paces and then,
wielding their terrible short swords, came at once to close quarters with
the foe. It was like a volley of musketry followed by a fierce bayonet
charge. If the attack proved unsuccessful, the wearied soldiers withdrew
to the rear through the gaps in the line behind. The second line now
marched forward to the attack; if it was repulsed, there was still the
third line of steady veterans for the last and decisive blow.

[Illustration: A ROMAN STANDARD BEARER (Bonn Museum)
From a gravestone of the first century A.D. The standard consists of a
spear crowned with a wreath, below which is a crossbar bearing pendant
acorns Then follow, in order, a metal disk, Jupiter's eagle standing on a
thunderbolt, a crescent moon, an amulet, and a large tassel.]


A very remarkable part of the Roman military system consisted in the use
of fortified camps. Every time the army halted, if only for a single
night, the legionaries intrenched themselves within a square inclosure. It
was protected by a ditch, an earthen mound, and a palisade of stakes. This
camp formed a little city with its streets, its four gates, a forum, and
the headquarters of the general. Behind the walls of such a fortress an
army was always at liberty to accept or decline a battle. As a proverb
said, the Romans often conquered by "sitting still."


Roman soldiers lived under the strictest discipline. To their general they
owed absolute, unquestioning obedience. He could condemn them to death
without trial. The sentinel who slept on his watch, the legionary who
disobeyed an order or threw away his arms on the field of battle, might be
scourged with rods and then beheaded. The men were encouraged to deeds of
valor by various marks of distinction, which the general presented to them
in the presence of the entire army. The highest reward was the civic crown
of oak leaves, granted to one who had saved the life of a fellow-soldier
on the battle field.


The state sometimes bestowed on a victorious general the honor of a
triumph. This was a grand parade and procession in the city of Rome. First
came the magistrates and senators, wagons laden with booty, and captives
in chains. Then followed the conqueror himself, clad in a gorgeous robe
and riding in a four-horse chariot. Behind him marched the soldiers, who
sang a triumphal hymn. The long procession passed through the streets to
the Forum and mounted the Capitoline Hill. There the general laid his
laurel crown upon the knees of the statue of Jupiter, as a thank offering
for victory. Meanwhile, the captives who had just appeared in the
procession were strangled in the underground prison of the Capitol. It was
a day of mingled joy and tragedy.


The Romans, it has been said, were sometimes vanquished in battle, but
they were always victorious in war. With the short swords of her
disciplined soldiers, her flexible legion, and her fortified camps, Rome
won dominion in Italy and began the conquest of the world.


1. On an outline map indicate the Roman dominions in 509 B.C.; in 338
B.C.; in 264 B.C.

2. Make a list of the Roman magistrates mentioned in this chapter, and of
the powers exercised by each.

3. Give the meaning of our English words "patrician," "plebeian,"
"censor," "dictator," "tribune," "augury," "auspices," and "veto."

4. Connect the proper events with the following dates: 753 B.C.; 509 B.C.;
and 338 B.C.

5. Why have Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica been called the "suburbs of

6. "Italy and Greece may be described as standing back to back to each
other." Explain this statement.

7. What is the origin of our names of the two months, January and March?

8. Compare the early Roman with the early Greek religion as to (a)
likenesses; (b) differences.

9. Why have the consuls been called "joint kings for one year"?

10. What do you understand by "martial law"? Under what circumstances is
it sometimes declared in the United States?

11. Compare the position of the Roman patricians with that of the Athenian
nobles before the legislation of Draco and Solon.

12. What officers in American cities perform some of the duties of the
censors, praetors, and aediles?

13. In the Roman and Spartan constitutions contrast: (a) consuls and
kings; (b) censors and ephors; and (c) the two senates.

14. Compare the Roman Senate and the Senate of the United States as to
size, term of office of members, conditions of membership, procedure,
functions, and importance.

15. How far can the phrase, "government of the people, by the people, for
the people," be applied to the Roman Republic at this period?

16. What conditions made it easy for the Romans to conquer Magna Graecia
and difficult for them to subdue the Samnites?

17. What is a "Pyrrhic victory"?

18. Compare the nature of Roman rule over Italy with that of Athens over
the Delian League.

19. Trace on the map, page 156, the Appian and Flaminian ways, noting some
of the cities along the routes and the terminal points of each road.

20. Explain: "all roads lead to Rome."

21. Contrast the legion and the phalanx as to arrangement, armament, and
method of fighting.

22. "Rome seems greater than her greatest men." Comment on this statement.


[1] Webster, _Readings in Ancient History_, chapter xiv, "Legends of Early

[2] See page 67.

[3] See page 28.

[4] See pages 53, 61.

[5] Naples, the ancient Neapolis, was a colony of Cumae. See page 89.

[6] See the map facing page 50.

[7] The Romans believed that their city was founded in 753 B.C., from
which year all Roman dates were reckoned.

[8] See the map, page 293.

[9] See page 146.

[10] Cato, _De agricultura_, I.

[11] See page 6.

[12] See the illustration, page 7.

[13] Since a door (_janua_) had two sides, Janus, the door god, was
represented with the curious double face which appears on Roman coins (See
the plate facing page 134) The month of January in the Julian calendar was
named for him.

[14] Latin _auspicium_, from _auspex_, a bird seer.

[15] The title of the president of the pontiffs, _Pontifex Maximus_
(Supreme Pontiff), is still that of the pope. See page 364.

[16] See page 81.

[17] See page 143.

[18] See page 83.

[19] From the Latin _patres_, "fathers."

[20] Latin _plebs_, "the crowd."

[21] See page 85.

[22] See page 105.

[23] The four letters inscribed on Roman military standards indicate the
important place held by the Senate. They are _S. P. Q. R._, standing for
_Senatus Populusque Romanus_, "The Senate and the People of Rome."

[24] See page 129.

[25] See page 118.

[26] See page 89.

[27] Plutarch, _Pyrrhus_, 21.

[28] It should be noticed, however, that as yet Rome controlled only the
central and southern parts of what is the modern kingdom of Italy. Two
large divisions of that kingdom, which every Italian now regards as
essential to its unity, were in other hands--the Po valley and the island
of Sicily.

[29] See page 106.

[30] Latin colonists did not have the right of voting in the assemblies at
Rome. This privilege was enjoyed, however, by members of the "Roman"
colonies, which were planted mainly along the coast. See the map, page

[31] See page 40.

[32] See page 116.





The conquest of Italy made Rome one of the five leading states of the
Mediterranean world. In the East there were the kingdoms of Macedonia,
Syria, and Egypt, which had inherited the dominions of Alexander the
Great. In the West there were Carthage and Rome, once in friendly
alliance, but now to become the bitterest foes. Rome had scarcely reached
the headship of united Italy before she was involved in a life-and-death
struggle with this rival power. The three wars between them are known as
the Punic wars; they are the most famous contests that ancient history
records; and they ended in the complete destruction of Carthage.


More than a century before the traditional date at which Rome rose upon
her seven hills, Phoenician colonists laid the foundations of a second
Tyre. The new city occupied an admirable site, for it bordered on rich
farming land and had the largest harbor of the north African coast. A
position at the junction of the eastern and western basins of the
Mediterranean gave it unsurpassed opportunities for trade. At the same
time Carthage was far enough away to be out of the reach of Persian or
Macedonian conquerors.


By the middle of the third century B.C. the Carthaginians had formed an
imposing commercial empire. Their African dominions included the strip of
coast from Cyrene westward to the strait of Gibraltar. Their colonies
covered the shores of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and southern Spain. The
western half of the Mediterranean had become a Carthaginian lake.


Before the opening of the Punic wars Carthage had been much enlarged by
emigrants from Tyre, after the capture of that city by Alexander. [2] The
Phoenician colonists kept their own language, customs, and beliefs and did
not mingle with the native African peoples. Carthage in form was a
republic, but the real power lay in the hands of one hundred men, selected
from the great merchant families. It was a government by capitalists who
cared very little for the welfare of the poor freemen and slaves over whom
they ruled. The wealth of Carthage enabled her to raise huge armies of
mercenary soldiers and to build warships which in size, number, and
equipment surpassed those of any other Mediterranean state. Mistress of a
wide realm, strong both by land and sea, Carthage was now to prove herself
Rome's most dangerous foe.

The Roman admiral, Duilius, who won a great victory in 260 B.C., was
honored by a triumphal column set up in the Forum. The monument was
adorned with the brazen beaks of the captured Carthaginian vessels. Part
of the inscription, reciting the achievements of the Roman fleet, has been


The First Punic War was a contest for Sicily. The Carthaginians aimed to
establish their rule over that island, which from its situation seems to
belong almost as much to Africa as to Italy. But Rome, having become
supreme in Italy, also cast envious eyes on Sicily. She believed, too,
that the Carthaginians, if they should conquer Sicily, would sooner or
later invade southern Italy. The fear for her possessions, as well as the
desire to gain new ones, led Rome to fling down the gage of battle.


The contest between the two rival states began in 264 B.C. and lasted
nearly twenty-four years. The Romans overran Sicily and even made an
unsuccessful invasion of Africa, but the main struggle was on the sea.
Here at first the Romans were at a disadvantage, for they had no ships as
large and powerful as those of the Carthaginians. With characteristic
energy, however, they built several great war fleets and finally won a
complete victory over the enemy. The treaty of peace provided that
Carthage should abandon Sicily, return all prisoners without ransom, and
pay a heavy indemnity.


Carthage, though beaten, had not been humbled. She had lost Sicily and the
commercial monopoly of the Mediterranean. But she was not ready to abandon
all hope of recovering her former supremacy. The peace amounted to no more
than an armed truce. Both parties were well aware that the real conflict
was yet to come. The war, however, was delayed for nearly a quarter of a
century. During this interval Rome strengthened her military position by
seizing the islands of Sardinia and Corsica from Carthage and by
conquering the Gauls in the Po valley. The Carthaginians, meanwhile, began
to create a new empire in Spain, whose silver mines would supply fresh
means for another contest and whose hardy tribes would furnish soldiers as
good as the Roman legionaries.



The steady advance of the Carthaginian arms in Spain caused much
uneasiness in Rome and at length led that city to declare war. Carthage
herself was not unwilling for a second trial of strength. Her leading
general, Hannibal, who had been winning renown in Spain, believed that the
Carthaginians were now in a position to wage an aggressive war against
their mighty rival. And so the two great Mediterranean powers, each
confident of success, renewed the struggle for supremacy.


At the opening of the conflict Hannibal was not quite twenty-seven years
of age. While yet a mere child, so the story went, his father had led him
to the altar, and bade him swear by the Carthaginian gods eternal enmity
to Rome. He followed his father to Spain and there learned all the duties
of a soldier. As a master of the art of war, he ranks with Alexander the
Great. The Macedonian king conquered the world for the glory of conquest;
Hannibal, burning with patriotism, fought to destroy the power which had
humbled his native land. He failed; and his failure left Carthage weaker
than he found her. Few men have possessed a more dazzling genius than
Hannibal, but his genius was not employed for the lasting good of


The Romans planned to conduct the war in Spain and Africa, at a distance
from their own shores. Hannibal's bold movements totally upset these
calculations. The Carthaginian general had determined that the conflict
should take place in the Italian peninsula itself. Since Roman fleets now
controlled the Mediterranean, it was necessary for Hannibal to lead his
army, with its supplies, equipment, and beasts of burden, by the long and
dangerous land route from Spain to Italy. In the summer of 218 B.C.
Hannibal set out from Spain with a large force of infantry and cavalry,
besides a number of elephants. Beyond the river Ebro he found himself in
hostile territory, through which the soldiers had to fight their way. To
force the passage of the Pyrenees and the Alps cost him more than half his
original army. When, after a five months' march he stood on the soil of
Italy, Hannibal had scarcely twenty-five thousand troops with which to
meet the immense power of Rome--a power that, given time, could muster to
her defense more than half a million disciplined soldiers.


The Romans were surprised by the boldness and rapidity of Hannibal's
movements. They had expected to conduct the war far away in foreign lands;
they now knew that they must fight for their own homes and firesides. The
first battles were complete victories for the Carthaginians and opened the
road to Rome. Hannibal's plans, however, did not include a siege of the
capital. He would not shatter his victorious army in an assault on a
fortified town. Hannibal's real object was to bring the Italians over to
his side, to ruin Rome through the revolts of her allies. But now he
learned, apparently for the first time, that Italy was studded with Latin
colonies, [3] each a miniature Rome, each prepared to resist to the bitter
end. Not a single city opened its gates to the invader. On such solid
foundations rested Roman rule in Italy.


The Senate faced the crisis with characteristic energy. New forces were
raised and intrusted to a dictator, [4] Quintus Fabius Maximus. He refused
to meet Hannibal in a pitched battle, but followed doggedly his enemy's
footsteps, meanwhile drilling his soldiers to become a match for the
Carthaginian veterans. This strategy was little to the taste of the Roman
populace, who nicknamed Fabius _Cunctator_, "the Laggard." However, it
gave Rome a brief breathing space, until her preparations to crush the
invader should be completed.

[Illustration: A CARTHAGINAN OR ROMAN HELMET (British Museum, London)
Found on the battle field of Cannae.]


After the term of Fabius as dictator had expired, new consuls were chosen.
They commanded the largest army Rome had ever put in the field. The
opposing forces met at Cannae in Apulia. The Carthaginians numbered less
than fifty thousand men; the Romans had more than eighty thousand troops.
Hannibal's sole superiority lay in his cavalry, which was posted on the
wings with the infantry occupying the space between. Hannibal's center was
weak and gave way before the Romans, who fought this time massed in solid
columns. The arrangement was a poor one, for it destroyed the mobility of
the legions. The Roman soldiers, having pierced the enemy's lines, now
found themselves exposed on both flanks to the African infantry and taken
in the rear by Hannibal's splendid cavalry. The battle ended in a hideous
butchery. One of the consuls died fighting bravely to the last; the other
escaped from the field and with the wreck of his army fled to Rome. A
Punic commander who survived such a disaster would have perished on the
cross; the Roman commander received the thanks of the Senate "for not
despairing of the republic." [5]


The battle of Cannae marks the summit of Hannibal's career. He maintained
himself in Italy for thirteen years thereafter, but the Romans, taught by
bitter experience, refused another engagement with their foe. Hannibal's
army was too small and too poorly equipped with siege engines for a
successful attack on Rome. His brother, Hasdrubal, led strong
reinforcements from Spain to Italy, but these were caught and destroyed
before they could effect a junction with Hannibal's troops. Meanwhile the
brilliant Roman commander, Publius Scipio, drove the Carthaginians from
Spain and invaded Africa. Hannibal was summoned from Italy to face this
new adversary. He came, and on the field of Zama (202 B.C.) met his first
and only defeat. Scipio, the victor, received the proud surname,


Exhausted Carthage could now do no more than sue for peace on any terms
that Rome was willing to grant. In the hour of defeat she still trusted
her mighty soldier, and it was Hannibal who conducted the final
negotiations. The conditions of peace were severe enough. The
Carthaginians gave up Spain and all their ships except ten triremes. They
were saddled with a huge indemnity and bound to engage in no war without
the consent of Rome. Carthage thus became a dependent ally of the Roman


In describing the course and outcome of the Second Punic War our
sympathies naturally go out to the heroic figure of Hannibal, who fought
so long and so bravely for his native land. It is clear, however, that
Rome's victory in the gigantic struggle was essential to the continued
progress of classical civilization. The triumph of Carthage in the third
century, like that of Persia in the fifth century, [6] must have resulted
in the spread of Oriental ideas and customs throughout the Mediterranean.
From this fate Rome saved Europe.



Carthage had been humbled, but not destroyed. She still enjoyed the
advantages of her magnificent situation and continued to be a competitor
of Rome for the trade of the Mediterranean. The Romans watched with
jealousy the reviving strength of the Punic city and at last determined to
blot it out of existence. In 149 B.C. a large army was landed in Africa,
and the inhabitants of Carthage were ordered to remove ten miles from the
sea. They resolved to perish in the ruins of their capital, rather than
obey such a cruel command.

[Illustration: A TESTUDO
A relief from the Column of Trajan, Rome. The name _testudo_ a tortoise
(shell) was applied to the covering made by a body of soldiers who placed
their shields over their heads The shields fitted so closely together that
men could walk on them and even horses and chariots could be driven over

[Illustration: Map, THE EXPANSION OF ROMAN DOMINIONS 264-133 B. C.]


Carthage held out for three years. The doubtful honor of its capture
belonged to Scipio Aemilianus, grandson, by adoption, of the victor of
Zama. For seven days the legionaries fought their way, street by street,
house by house, until only fifty thousand inhabitants were left to
surrender to the tender mercies of the Romans. The Senate ordered that the
city should be burned and that its site should be plowed up and dedicated
to the infernal gods. Such was the end of the most formidable rival Rome
ever met in her career of conquest. [7]


The two European countries, Sicily and Spain, which Rome had taken from
Carthage, presented to the conqueror very different problems. Sicily had
been long accustomed to foreign masters. Its civilized and peace-loving
inhabitants were as ready to accept Roman rule as, in the past, they had
accepted the rule of Greeks and Carthaginians. Every year the island
became more and more a part of Italy and of Rome.


Spain, on the contrary, gave the Romans some hard fighting. The wild
Spanish tribes loved their liberty, and in their mountain fastnesses long
kept up a desperate struggle for independence. It was not until the Romans
sent Scipio Aemilianus to Spain that the Spanish resistance was finally
overcome (133 B.C.).


All Spain, except the inaccessible mountain district in the northwest, now
became Roman territory. Many colonists settled there; traders and
speculators flocked to seaports; even the legionaries, quartered in Spain
for long periods, married Spanish wives and, on retiring from active
service, made their homes in the peninsula. Rome thus continued in Spain
the process of Romanization which she had begun in Italy. [8] She was to
repeat this process in Gaul and Britain. [9] Her way was prepared by the
sword; but after the sword came civilization.


While Rome was subduing the West, she was also extending her influence
over the highly civilized peoples of the East. Roman interference in the
affairs of Macedonia found an excuse in the attempt of that country,
during the Second Punic War, to give aid to Hannibal. It was a fateful
moment when, for the second time, the legion faced the phalanx. The easy
victory over Macedonia showed that this Hellenistic kingdom was no match
for the Italian republic. Macedonia was finally made into a subject state
or province of Rome. Thus disappeared a great power, which Philip had
founded and which Alexander had led to the conquest of the world.



Having subdued Macedonia, Rome proclaimed Greece a free state. But this
"freedom" really meant subjection, as was amply proved when some of the
Greek cities rose in revolt against Roman domination. The heavy hand of
Roman vengeance especially descended on Corinth, at this time one of the
most beautiful cities of the world. In 146 B.C., the same year in which
the destruction of Carthage occurred, Corinth was sacked and burned to the
ground. [10] The fall of Corinth may be said to mark the final extinction
of Greek liberty. Though the Hellenic cities and states were allowed to
rule themselves, they paid tribute and thus acknowledged the supremacy of
Rome. A century later, Greece became in name, as well as in fact, a
province of the Roman Empire. [11]


Rome, in the meantime, was drawn into a conflict with the kingdom of
Syria. That Asiatic power proved to be no more capable than Macedonia of
checking the Roman advance. The Syrian king had to give up the greater
part of his possessions in Asia Minor. The western part of the peninsula,
together with the Greek cities on the coast, was formed in 133 B.C. into
the province of Asia. Thus the same year that witnessed the complete
establishment of Roman rule in Spain saw Rome gain her first possessions
at the opposite end of the Mediterranean.


Roman supremacy over the Mediterranean world was now all but complete. In
264 B.C. Rome had been only one of the five great Mediterranean states. In
133 B.C. no other power existed to match its strength with that of Rome.
To her had fallen in the West the heritage of Carthage, in the East the
heritage of Alexander. Rome had built up this mighty empire at a terrible
cost in blood and treasure. Let us see what use she was to make of it.



Rome's dealings with the new dependencies across the sea did not follow
the methods that had proved so successful in Italy. The Italian peoples
had been treated with great liberality. Rome regarded them as allies,
exempted them from certain taxes, and in many instances gave them Roman
citizenship. It did not seem possible to extend this wise policy to remote
and often barbarous lands beyond the borders of Italy. Rome adopted,
instead, much the same system of imperial rule that had been previously
followed by Persia and by Athens. [12] She treated the foreign peoples
from Spain to Asia as subjects and made her conquered territories into
provinces. [13] Their inhabitants were compelled to pay tribute and to
accept the oversight of Roman officials.


As the Romans came more and more to relish the opportunities for plunder
afforded by a wealthy province, its inhabitants were often wretchedly
misgoverned. Many governors of the conquered lands were corrupt and
grasping men. They tried to wring all the money they could from their
helpless subjects. To the extortions of the governors must be added those
of the tax collectors, whose very name of "publican" [14] became a byword
for all that was rapacious and greedy. In this first effort to manage the
world she had won, Rome had certainly made a failure. A city-state could
not rule, with justice and efficiency, an empire.


In the old days, before Rome entered on a career of foreign conquest, her
citizens were famous among men for their love of country, their simple
lives, and their conservative, old-fashioned ways. They worked hard on
their little farms, fought bravely in the legions, and kept up with
careful piety all the ceremonies of their religion. But now the Roman
republic was an imperial power with all the privileges of universal rule.
Her foreign wars proved to be immensely profitable. At the end of a
successful campaign the soldiers received large gifts from their general,
besides the booty taken from the enemy. The Roman state itself profited
from the sale of enslaved prisoners and their property. Large sums of
money were sometimes seized and taken to Rome. When once peace had been
made, the Roman governors and tax collectors followed in the wake of the
armies and squeezed the provincials at every turn. The Romans, indeed,
seem to have conquered the world less for glory than for profit.


So much wealth poured into Rome from every side that there could scarcely
fail to be a sudden growth of luxurious tastes. Rich nobles quickly
developed a relish for all sorts of reckless display. They built fine
houses adorned with statues, costly paintings, and furnishings. They
surrounded themselves with troops of slaves. Instead of plain linen
clothes they and their wives wore garments of silk and gold. At their
banquets they spread embroidered carpets, purple coverings, and dishes of
gilt plate. Pomp and splendor replaced the rude simplicity of an earlier


But if the rich were becoming richer, it seems that the poor were also
becoming poorer. After Rome became mistress of the Mediterranean, her
markets were flooded with the cheap wheat raised in the provinces,
especially in those granaries, Sicily and Africa. The price of wheat fell
so low that Roman peasants could not raise enough to support their
families and pay their taxes. When agriculture became unprofitable, the
farmer was no longer able to remain on the soil. He had to sell out, often
at a ruinous sacrifice. His land was bought by capitalists, who turned
many small fields into vast sheep pastures and cattle ranches. Gangs of
slaves, laboring under the lash, gradually took the place of the old Roman
peasantry, the very strength of the state. Not unjust was the famous
remark, "Great domains ruined Italy." [15]


The decline of agriculture and the disappearance of the small farmer under
the stress of foreign competition may be studied in modern England as well
as in ancient Italy. Nowadays an English farmer, under the same
circumstances, will often emigrate to America or to Australia, where land
is cheap and it is easy to make a living. But these Roman peasants did not
care to go abroad and settle on better soil in Spain or in Africa. They
thronged, instead, to the cities, to Rome especially, where they labored
for a small wage, fared plainly on wheat bread, and dwelt in huge lodging
houses, three or four stories high.


We know very little about this poorer population of Rome. They must have
lived from hand to mouth. Since their votes controlled elections, [16]
they were courted by candidates for office and kept from grumbling by
being fed and amused. Such poor citizens, too lazy for steady work, too
intelligent to starve, formed, with the other riffraff of a great city,
the elements of a dangerous mob. And the mob, henceforth, plays an ever-
larger part in the history of the times.


We must not imagine, however, that all the changes in Roman life worked
for evil. If the Romans were becoming more luxurious, they were likewise
gaining in culture. The conquests which brought Rome in touch, first with
Magna Graecia and Sicily, then with Greece itself and the Hellenic East,
prepared the way for the entrance of Hellenism. Roman soldiers and traders
carried back to Italy an acquaintance with Greek customs and ideas.
Thousands of cultivated Greeks, some as slaves, others as freemen, settled
in the capital as actors, physicians, artists, and writers. There they
introduced the Greek language, as well as the religion, literature, and
art of their native land. Roman nobles of the better type began to take an
interest in other things than simply farming, commerce, or war. They
imitated Greek fashions in dress and manners, collected Greek books, and
filled their homes with the productions of Greek artists. Henceforth every
aspect of Roman society felt the quickening influence of the older, richer
culture of the Hellenic world. It was a Roman poet who wrote, "Captive
Greece captured her conqueror rude." [17]



In 133 B.C., a year otherwise made memorable by the final subjugation of
Spain and the acquisition of Asia, efforts began Rome to remedy some of
the disorders which were now seen to be sapping the strength of Roman
society. The first persons to undertake the work of reform were the two
brothers, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. The Gracchi belonged to the highest
nobility of Rome. Their father had filled a consulship and a censorship
and had celebrated triumphs. Cornelia, their mother, was a daughter of
Scipio Africanus, the conqueror of Hannibal. A fine type of the Roman
matron, she called her boys her "jewels," more precious than gold, and
brought them up to love their country better than their own lives.
Tiberius, the elder brother, was only thirty years of age when he became a
tribune and began his career in Roman politics.


Tiberius signalized his election to the tribunate by bringing forward his
celebrated agrarian law. He proposed that the public lands of Rome, then
largely occupied by wealthy men who alone had the money necessary to work
them with cattle and slaves, should be reclaimed by the state, divided
into small tracts, and given to the poorer citizens. By getting the people
back again on the soil, Tiberius hoped to revive the declining agriculture
of Italy.


This agrarian law, though well intentioned, did not go to the root of the
real difficulty--foreign competition. No legislation could have helped the
farming class, except import duties to keep out the cheap grain from
abroad. But the idle mob at Rome, controlling the assemblies, would never
have voted in favor of taxing their food, thus making it more expensive.
At the same time the proposal to take away part of the public domains from
its possessors roused a hornet's nest about the reformer's ears. Rich
people had occupied the public land for so long that they had come to look
upon it as really their own. They would be very sure to oppose such a
measure. Poor people, of course, welcomed a scheme which promised to give
them farms for nothing. Tiberius even wished to use the public funds to
stock the farms of his new peasantry. This would have been a mischievous
act of state philanthropy.


In spite of these defects in his measure, Tiberius urged its passage with
fiery eloquence. But the great landowners in the Senate got another
tribune, devoted to their interests, to place his veto [18] on the
proposed legislation. The impatient Tiberius at once took a revolutionary
step. Though a magistrate could not legally be removed from office,
Tiberius had the offending tribune deposed and dragged from his seat. The
law was then passed without further opposition. This action of Tiberius
placed him clearly in the wrong. The aristocrats threatened to punish him
as soon as his term of office was over. To avoid impeachment Tiberius
sought reelection to the tribunate for the following year. This, again,
was contrary to custom, since no one might hold office for two successive
terms. On the day appointed for the election, while voting was in
progress, a crowd of angry senators burst into the Forum and killed
Tiberius, together with three hundred of his followers. Both sides had now
begun to display an utter disregard for law. Force and bloodshed,
henceforth, were to help decide political disputes.


Tiberius Gracchus, in his efforts to secure economic reform, had
unwittingly provoked a conflict between the Senate and the assemblies. Ten
years after his death, his brother, Gaius Gracchus, came to the front.
Gaius quickly made himself a popular leader with the set purpose of
remodeling the government of Rome. He found in the tribunate an office
from which to work against the Senate. After the death of Tiberius a law
had been passed permitting a man to hold the position of tribune year
after year. Gaius intended to be a sort of perpetual tribune, and to rule
the Roman assemblies very much as Pericles had ruled the people at Athens.
[19] One of his first measures was a law permitting the sale of grain from
the public storehouses to Roman citizens at about half the market price.
This measure, of course, won over the city mob, but it must be regarded as
very unwise. It saddled the treasury with a heavy burden, and later the
government had to furnish the grain for nothing. Indiscriminate charity of
this sort increased, rather than lessened, the number of paupers.


Having won popular support, Gaius was able to secure the additional
legislation which he deemed necessary to carry out his brother's work. He
reenacted the land laws for the benefit of the peasantry and furnished
work for the unemployed by building roads throughout Italy. He also began
to establish colonies of poor citizens, both in Italy and in the
provinces. This was a wise policy. Had it been allowed to continue, such
state-assisted emigration, by providing the landless poor of Italy with
farms abroad, would have relieved the economic distress of the peninsula.


Gaius now came forward with another measure which marked him as an able
and prudent statesman. He proposed to bestow the right of voting in the
Roman assemblies upon the inhabitants of the Latin colonies. [20] He
thought, also, that the Italian allies should be allowed to intermarry
with Romans and hold property under the protection of the Roman law. No
doubt Gaius believed that the time might come when all the Italian peoples
would be citizens of Rome. This time did come, thirty years later, but
only after a terrible war that nearly ruined Rome.


The effort by Gaius to extend Roman citizenship cost the reformer all his
hard-won popularity. It aroused the jealousy of the selfish city mob,
which believed that the entrance of so many new citizens would mean the
loss of its privileges. There would not be so many free shows and so much
cheap grain. So the people rejected the measure and, turning from their
former favorite, failed to reëlect him to the tribunate. When Gaius was no
longer protected by the sanctity of the tribune's office, [21] he fell an
easy victim to senatorial hatred. Another bloody tumult broke out, in
which Gaius and three thousand of his followers perished. The consul who
quelled the disturbance erected at the head of the Forum a temple to
Harmony (_Concordia_).


The pathetic career of the Gracchi had much significance in Roman history.
They were the unconscious sponsors of a revolutionary movement which did
not end until the republic had come under the rule of one man. They failed
because they put their trust in the support of the Roman mob. Future
agitators were to appear with the legionaries at their heels.



Although Rome now ruled throughout the Mediterranean, she was constantly
engaged in border wars in one corner or another of her wide dominions.
These wars brought to the front new military leaders, of whom the first
was Gaius Marius. He was a peasant's son, a coarse, rude soldier, but an
honest, courageous, and able man. Marius rose to prominence in the so-
called Jugurthine War, which the Romans were waging against Jugurtha, king
of Numidia. That wily African had discovered that it was easier to bribe
the Roman commanders than to fight them; and the contest dragged on in
disgraceful fashion year after year. Marius at last persuaded the people
to elect him consul and intrust him with the conduct of the war. By
generalship and good fortune he speedily concluded the struggle and
brought Jugurtha in chains to Rome.


A few years later Marius had another opportunity to win distinction. He
became the defender of Rome and Italy against a dangerous invasion of
Germanic barbarians, who were ravaging Transalpine Gaul and the Po Valley.
The decisive victories which Marius gained over them removed a grave
danger which threatened the Roman world. The time had not yet come for
ancient civilization to be submerged under a wave of barbarism.


The second military leader whom this troubled period brought forth was
Lucius Cornelius Sulla. He was a man of noble birth, and with his social
gifts, his appreciation of art and letters, his knowledge of men and the
world, presented a sharp contrast to Marius. Sulla's great abilities
quickly brought him into public notice; he rose rapidly from one office to
another; and in the Social War showed his skill as a commander. This
struggle was the consequence of Rome's refusal to grant the rights of
citizenship to her Italian allies. The strength of the rebellion lay among
the Samnites and other peoples of central and southern Italy. The war came
to an end only when Rome promised the franchise to all Italians who
returned to their allegiance. Before many years had passed, the
inhabitants of nearly all the Italian towns south of the Rubicon River
received Roman citizenship. It was this same wise policy of making
conquered peoples equal with herself that afterwards led Rome to grant
citizenship to the inhabitants of the provinces. [22]


What military honors were gained in the struggle belonged to Sulla. His
reward was the consulship and an appointment as general in still another
conflict which distracted Rome had to face. While that city had been busy
with civil enemies and barbarian foes, a powerful state, known as Pontus,
had been growing up in Asia Minor. Its king, Mithradates, overran the
Roman provinces in the Orient and threatened to annex them to his own
kingdom. But Sulla, with greatly inferior forces, compelled Mithradates to
abandon his conquests, surrender his fleet, and pay a large indemnity. If
Marius had the honor of repelling the barbarian invasion of the West,
Sulla had the honor of preserving Rome's possessions in the East.


Marius and Sulla were rivals not only in war but also in politics. Sulla
naturally espoused the aristocratic cause and stood as the champion of the
Senate. Marius just as naturally became the head of the democratic party.
The rivalry between the two leaders finally led to civil war. During
Sulla's absence in the East the democrats got the upper hand at Rome and
revenged themselves by murdering their political foes among the
aristocrats. The reign of terror ended only with the sudden death of
Marius, just after he had been elected to his seventh consulship. A few
years later Sulla returned to Italy with his army and defeated the
democrats in a great battle outside the Colline Gate of Rome. Sulla
signalized his victory by ordering the assassination of every prominent
man in the democratic party.


Sulla regarded this legalized butchery as a necessary step in his self-
appointed task of putting the Roman government once more to rights. He now
received the title of "Perpetual Dictator," with complete authority to
govern the state until the new order of things should be established. Rome
thus came under the rule of one man for the first time since the expulsion
of the kings.


The various measures by which Sulla intrenched the Senate in power did not
long survive his death and hence had no lasting influence on Roman
politics. After a rule of three years Sulla voluntarily gave up the
dictatorship and retired to his villa on the bay of Naples. He died a few
months later. The Senate honored him with a public funeral, the most
splendid that Rome had ever seen. His monument bore an inscription which
the dictator himself is said to have composed: "No friend ever did him a
kindness and no enemy, a wrong, without being fully repaid." [23] That was
one epitaph which told the truth.



The struggle between Marius and Sulla, decided as it was by the sword,
marks a stage in the decline of the Roman Republic. The careers of these
two men showed how easily the state could be ruled by a successful
commander who had his soldiers behind him. After Sulla's death his friend
Pompey became the leading figure in Roman politics. Pompey's first service
was in Spain, where the adherents of Marius sought to humble the Senate
and the aristocratic party by encouraging the Spaniards to rise against
Roman rule. Having crushed this rebellion, Pompey returned to Italy in
time to take part in putting down a formidable insurrection of slaves,
outlaws, and ruined peasants. He was next intrusted with the war against
the pirates, who swarmed in the Mediterranean, preyed on commerce, and
plundered wealthy cities near the coast. Brilliant success in clearing the
seas of these marauders led to his being sent to the East to end the war
with Mithradates, who was once more in arms against Rome. Pompey drove the
Pontic monarch from his kingdom and then annexed Syria to the Roman
dominions. When Pompey returned to Rome in 62 B.C., he brought with him a
reputation as the most successful general of his time.

[Illustration: GNAEUS POMPEIUS MAGNUS (Spada Palace, Rome)]


We have seen how steadily since the days of the Gracchi the Roman state
had been moving toward the rule of one man. Marius, Sulla, and Pompey each
represent a step in the direction of monarchy. Yet there were still able
and patriotic leaders at Rome who believed in the old order of things and
tried their best to uphold the fast-perishing republic. No republican
statesman was more devoted to the constitution than Cicero. A native of
Arpinum, the same Italian town which had already given birth to Marius,
Cicero came to Rome a youth without wealth or family influence. He made
his way into Roman society by his social and conversational powers and by
his capacity for friendship. His mind had been carefully trained under the
influence of Hellenic culture; he had traveled and studied in Greece; and
throughout life he loved to steal away from the tumult of the Forum and
the law courts and enjoy the companionship of his books. Though the proud
nobles were inclined to look down on him as a "new man," Cicero's splendid
eloquence soon gave him prominence in politics. He ranks in fame as the
second orator of antiquity, inferior only to Demosthenes.

[Illustration: MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO (Vatican Museum, Rome)]


Cicero rose to prominence through his prosecution of Verres, a thieving
governor of Sicily. Verres had powerful friends among the nobles at Rome
and counted on his influence and wealth to escape punishment. He openly
boasted that he had plunder enough to live in luxury, even though he had
to surrender two-thirds of it as fees to his lawyers and bribes to the
jury. But Verres had not reckoned with the brilliant young advocate who
took up the cause of the oppressed provincials. Cicero hurried to Sicily
and there collected such an overwhelming mass of evidence that the bare
statement of the facts was enough to condemn the criminal. Verres went
into exile. Cicero became the head of the Roman bar. Seven years later he
was elected consul.


The year of Cicero's consulship was marked by an event which throws a
lurid light on the conditions of the time. Lucius Catiline, a young noble
of ability, but bankrupt in character and purse, organized a conspiracy to
seize Rome, murder the magistrates, and plunder the rich. He gathered
about himself outlaws of every description, slaves, and starving peasants
--all the discontented and needy classes throughout Italy. He and his
associates were desperate anarchists who sought to restore their own
broken fortunes by overturning the government. The spread of the
insurrection was checked by Cicero's vigorous measures. In a series of
famous speeches he exposed Catiline's plans to the astounded Senate.
Catiline then fled to his camp in Etruria and shortly afterwards perished
in battle, together with three thousand of his followers. Cicero now
gained fresh popularity and honor. The grateful citizens called him
"Father of his Country" (_Pater Patriae_).


Rome at this time held another prominent leader in politics, namely, Gaius
Julius Caesar. He belonged to a noble family, but his father had favored
the democratic cause and his aunt had married Marius. After Sulla's death
Caesar threw himself with energy into the game of politics at the capital
city. In these early years the future statesman seems to have been a
demagogue of the usual type, who sought through the favor of the people a
rapid rise to power. He won the ear of the multitude by his fiery
harangues, his bribes of money, and his gifts of food and public shows.
Caesar's expenditures for such purposes were enormous. Before he was
twenty-four he had spent all his private fortune. Henceforth he was
"financed" by the millionaire Crassus, who lent him the money so necessary
for a successful career as a politician.


Caesar and Crassus, the two leaders of the democratic party at Rome, now
joined with Pompey in what is called the First Triumvirate. To this "ring"
Pompey contributed his military reputation, Crassus, his wealth, and
Caesar, his influence over the Roman mob. Supported both by the people and
by the army, these three men were really masters of Rome. An immediate
result of the First Triumvirate was the appointment of Caesar as governor
of Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul.

[Illustration: GAIUS JULIUS CAESAR (British Museum, London)]


The story of his career in Gaul has been related by Caesar himself in the
famous _Commentaries_. This book describes a series of military successes
which have given the author a place among the world's generals. Caesar
overran Transalpine Gaul, twice bridged the Rhine and invaded Germany,
made two expeditions to Britain, and brought within the Roman dominions
all the territory bounded by the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Rhine, and the
Atlantic Ocean.


Caesar's conquests in Gaul are more than a chapter in the history of the
art of war. They belong to the history of civilization. Henceforth the
frontier of prehistoric Europe retreated rapidly to the north. The map of
the ancient civilized world widened from the Mediterranean basin to the
shores of the Atlantic. Into the conquered lands came the Latin language,
the Roman law, and the customs and institutions of Rome. Gaul speedily
became one of the most flourishing parts of the Roman world. "Let the Alps
sink," exclaimed Cicero, "the gods raised them to shelter Italy from the
barbarians, but now they are no longer needed."


During Caesar's long absence in Gaul the First Triumvirate was suddenly
ended by the death of one of its members. It had been a part of their
bargain in dividing the Roman world that Crassus should have the
government of Syria. But this unlucky general, while aspiring to rival
Caesar's exploits by new conquests beyond the Euphrates, lost his army and
his life in battle with the Parthians. Besides checking the extension of
the Roman arms in the remote East, the disaster had its effect on Roman
politics. It dissolved the triumvirate and prepared the way for that
rivalry between Caesar and Pompey which formed the next step in the
downward course of the republic.


The two men were now rapidly drawing apart. Pompey grew more and more
jealous of Caesar and more and more fearful that the latter was aiming at
despotic power. He himself had no desire to be king or dictator. He was
equally determined that Caesar should not gain such a position. In this
attitude he had the full support of Cicero and the other members of the
Senate. They saw clearly that the real danger to the state was Caesar, not


Caesar's command in Gaul was to expire in 49 B.C. The senatorial party
desired that he should return to Rome without an army. His opponents
intended to prosecute him when he became a private citizen. Caesar had no
inclination to trust himself to their tender mercies and refused to
disband his legions unless his rival did the same. Finally the Senate,
conscious of Pompey's support, ordered him to lay down his arms on pain of
outlawry. Caesar replied to this challenge of the Senate by leading his
troops across the Rubicon, the little stream that separated Cisalpine Gaul
from Italy. As he plunged into the river, he exclaimed, "The die is cast."
[24] He had now declared war on the republic.


Caesar's bold movement caught the senatorial party unawares. Pompey could
not gather his legions before his audacious foe reached Rome. Finding it
impossible to make a stand in Italy, Pompey, with the consuls and many
senators, withdrew to Greece. Caesar did not follow him at once. He
hurried to Spain and, after a brilliant campaign only six weeks in length,
broke down the republican resistance in that peninsula. Having now secured
Italy and Spain, Caesar was free to turn his forces against Pompey in the

[Illustration: Map, THE EXPANSION OF ROMAN DOMINIONS 133-31 B.C.]


The final battle took place on the plain of Pharsalus in Thessaly.
Pompey's troops, though nearly twice as numerous as Caesar's, were
defeated after a severe struggle. Their great leader then fled to Egypt,
only to be foully murdered. Pompey's head was sent to Caesar, but he
turned from it with horror. Such was the end of an able general and an
honest man, one who should have lived two hundred years earlier, when Rome
was still a free state.


After Pharsalus there still remained several years of fighting before
Caesar's victory was complete. He made Cleopatra, the beautiful queen of
Egypt, secure in the possession of the throne and brought that country
into dependence on Rome. He passed through Asia Minor and in one swift
campaign crushed a revolt headed by the son of Mithridates. The conqueror
sent tidings of his victory in a laconic dispatch: "I came, I saw, I
conquered." [25] After subduing the remnants of the senatorial party in
Africa, Caesar returned home to crown his exploits by a series of splendid
triumphs and to enjoy less than two years of untrammeled power.



The new government which Caesar brought into being was a monarchy in all
except name. He became dictator for life and held other republican
offices, such as the consulship and censorship. He refused the title of
king, but accepted as a civil magistrate the name of _imperator_, [26]
with which the soldiers had been wont to salute a victorious general.
Though he abolished none of the old republican forms, the Senate became
simply his advisory council, the assemblies, his submissive agents the
consuls, praetors and tribunes, his pliant tools. The laurel wreath, the
triumphal dress, the conqueror's scepter--all proclaimed the autocrat.



Caesar used his power wisely and well. No massacres or confiscations
sullied his victory. He treated his former foes with clemency and even
with kindness. No sooner was domestic tranquillity assured than, with
restless energy, he entered on a series of far-reaching reforms.


Caesar's measures sought to remove the economic evils which a century of
discord had made so manifest. By restricting the monthly distribution of
grain to those actually in need, he tried to discourage the public charity
which was making the capital city a paradise for the idle and the
shiftless. By planning great colonies beyond the sea, notably at Corinth
and Carthage, he sought to provide farms for the landless citizens of
Italy. His active mind even found time for such matters as the
codification of Roman law, the construction of great public works, and the
improvement of the coinage and the calendar. [27]


Caesar's reforms in the provinces had an epoch-making character. He
reduced taxes, lessened the burden of their collection, and took into his
own hands the appointment of provincial magistrates. Henceforth oppressive
governors and swindling publicans had to expect swift, stern punishment
from one whose interests included the welfare of both citizens and
subjects. By granting Roman citizenship to communities in Gaul and Sicily,
he indicated his purpose, as rapidly as possible, to convert the
provincials into Romans. It was Caesar's aim to break down the barriers
between Rome and her provinces, to wipe out the distinction between the
conquerors and the conquered.


Caesar did not live to complete his task. Like that other colossal figure,
Alexander the Great, he perished before his work as a statesman had hardly
more than begun. On the Ides of March, 44 B.C., he was struck down in the
Senate-house by the daggers of a group of envious and irreconcilable
nobles, headed by Cassius and Brutus. He fell at the foot of Pompey's
statue, pierced with no less than twenty-three wounds. His body was burnt
on a pyre in the Forum, and his friend, Antony, pronounced the funeral


In the light of all the possibilities of beneficent government which
Caesar was revealing, his cowardly murder becomes one of the most
stupendous follies recorded in history. Caesar's death could not restore
the republic. It served only to prolong disorder and strife within the
Roman state. As Cicero himself said, hearing the news, "The tyrant is
dead; the tyranny still lives."



The murderers of Caesar called themselves the "liberators" of the
republic. They thought that all Rome would applaud their deed, but the
contrary was true. The senatorial order remained lukewarm. The people,
instead of flocking to their support, mourned the loss of a friend and
benefactor. Soon the conspirators found themselves in great peril.
Caesar's friend and lieutenant, Antony, who became sole consul after
Caesar's death, quickly made himself master of the situation. Brutus and
Cassius were forced to withdraw to the provinces which had been previously
assigned to them by Caesar, leaving Antony to rule Rome as his successor.


Antony's hope of reigning supreme was soon disturbed by the appearance of
a new rival. Caesar, in his will, had made his grandnephew, Octavian, [28]
his heir. He now came to Rome to claim the inheritance. In that sickly,
studious youth people did not at first recognize the masterful personality
he was soon to exhibit. They rather reëchoed Cicero's sentiment that "the
young man was to be praised, complimented, and got rid of." [29] But
Octavian easily made himself a power, winning the populace by paying
Caesar's legacies to them and conciliating the senatorial party by siding
with it against Antony. Men now began to talk of Octavian as the destined
restorer of the republic.


Octavian, however, entertained other designs. He had never been sincere in
his support of the Senate, and the distrustful policy of that body soon
converted him into an active foe. From fighting Antony, Octavian turned to
alliance with him. The two antagonists made up their differences, and with
Lepidus, one of Caesar's lieutenants, as a third ally, marched on Rome at
the head of their legions. The city fell again under military rule. The
three men then united in the Second Triumvirate with full authority to
govern and reorganize the state. The advent of this new tyranny was
signalized by a butchery almost as bloody as Sulla's. Cicero, who had
incurred the hatred of Antony by his fiery speeches against him, was the
most illustrious victim. More than two thousand persons, mainly men of
high rank, were slain. The triumvirs by this massacre firmly established
their rule at Rome and in the West.


In the East, where Brutus and Cassius had gathered a formidable force, the
triumvirs were not to win without a struggle. It took place on the plain
of Philippi in Macedonia. The two battles fought there ended in the
suicide of the republican leaders and the dispersal of their troops. This
was the last attempt to restore the republic by force of arms.


Though the republic had been overthrown, it remained to be seen who would
be master of the new empire, Antony or Octavian. The triumvirate lasted
for more than ten years, but during this period the incompetent Lepidus
was set aside by his stronger colleagues. The two remaining members then
divided between them the Roman world. Octavian took Italy and the West;
Antony took the East, with Alexandria as his capital.


In the western half of the empire Octavian ruled quietly and with success.
Men were already congratulating themselves on the return of peace under a
second Caesar. In a few years Octavian, from an obscure boy of eighteen,
had grown to be one of the most powerful personalities of his age.


In the eastern half of the empire things did not go so well. Antony was
clever, but fond of luxury and vice. He had married a sister of Octavian,
but he soon grew tired of her and put her away for the fascinating
Cleopatra. [30] The Roman world was startled by tidings that she had been
proclaimed "queen of kings," and that to her and her sons had been given
the richest provinces in the East. It was even rumored that Cleopatra,
having enslaved Antony with her charms, planned to be enthroned as queen
at Rome.


Antony's disgraceful conduct aroused the Roman people. They willingly
followed Octavian to a war against one who seemed a national enemy. A
naval battle in the bay of Actium, on the coast of Epirus, decided the
issue. The fight had hardly begun before Cleopatra and Antony sailed away,
leaving their fleet to take care of itself. Octavian pursued the
infatuated pair into Egypt. Antony committed suicide, and Cleopatra,
rather than be led a captive in a Roman triumph, followed his example.
With the death of Cleopatra the dynasty of the Ptolemies [31] came to an
end. Egypt henceforth formed a province of the Roman Empire.


Octavian, on his return to Rome, enjoyed the honors of a three days'
triumph. [32] As the grand parade moved along the Sacred Way through the
Forum, and thence to the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline, men noted
that the magistrates, instead of heading the procession as was the custom,
followed in the conqueror's train. It was a significant change. Octavian,
not the magistrates of Rome, now ruled the Roman world.



The republic, indeed, was doomed. A hundred years of dissension and civil
warfare proclaimed clearly enough the failure of the old order. Rome was a
city-state suddenly called to the responsibilities of universal rule. Both
the machinery of her government and the morals of her people were
inadequate for so huge a task. The gradual revolution which changed this
Roman city-state into imperial Rome, judged by its results, is perhaps the
most momentous movement in the annals of mankind. Let us summarize its


In 133 B.C. Roman society had been corrupted and enfeebled as the result
of foreign conquests. The supreme power in the state more and more tended
to fall into the hands of a narrow oligarchy--the senatorial nobility. Its
dishonesty and weakness soon led to efforts at reform. The attempts of the
Gracchi to overthrow the Senate's position and restore popular sovereignty
ended in disaster. Then, in quick succession, arose a series of military
leaders who aimed to secure by the sword what was no longer to be obtained
through constitutional and legal means. Marius, a great general but no
politician, could only break down and destroy. Sulla, a sincere but
narrow-minded statesman, could do no more than prop up the structure--
already tottering--of senatorial rule. Pompey soon undid that work and
left the constitution to become again the sport of rival soldiers. Caesar,
triumphing over Pompey, gained a position of unchallenged supremacy. After
Caesar's death, imperial power was permanently restored in the person of
Octavian. The battle of Actium in 31 B.C. made Octavian master of the
Roman world.


But the Romans were not yet an old and worn-out people. On the ruins of
the old republican order it was still possible to build up a new imperial
system in which good government, peace, and prosperity should prevail for
more than two centuries. During this period Rome performed her real, her
enduring, work for civilization.


1. Write a summary account (500 words) of Roman expansion 264-133 B.C.

2. On outline maps indicate the possessions of Carthage and Rome at the
beginning of the First Punic War; at the beginning of the Second Punic
War; at the end of the Second Punic War.

3. On outline maps indicate the boundaries of the Roman world in 133 B.C.
and in 31 B.C. and the division into provinces at these dates.

4. What events are connected with the following places: Zama; Cannae;
Actium; Pharsalus, and Philippi?

5. Who were Quintus Fabius Maximus, Mithradates, Catiline, and Cleopatra?

6. Identify the following dates: 146 B.C.; 264 B.C.; 133 B.C.; 201 B.C.;
44 B.C.; and 63 B.C.

7. Why has Carthage been called the "London" of the ancient world?

8. What is meant by the statement that Carthage is a "dumb actor on the
stage of history"?

9. Was Rome wise in adopting her new policy of expansion beyond the limits
of Italy?

10. Give some examples in modern times of war indemnities paid by defeated

11. Why did the Romans call the Second Punic War the "War of Hannibal"?

12. What is a "Fabian policy"? Do you know why Washington was called the
"American Fabius"?

13. What reasons can you give for Hannibal's early successes and final

14. Show the signal importance to Rome of her control of the sea during
the Second Punic War.

15. Comment on this statement: "As the rise of Rome was central in
history, the Second Punic War was central in the rise of Rome."

16. What provinces had been formed by 133 B.C. (map facing page 184)?

17. What parts of the world belonged to Rome in 133 B.C. but were not yet

18. Might Rome have extended her federal policy to her territories outside
of Italy? Was a provincial system really necessary?

19. Compare a Persian satrapy with a Roman province.

20. Would import duties on foreign grain have revived Italian agriculture?

21. Why did the cattle breeder in Italy have no reason to fear foreign

22. Compare the Athenian practice of state pay with the Roman "bread and
the games of the circus."

23. Had the Italians triumphed in the Social War, is it likely they would
have established a better government than that of Rome?

24. Was Marius or was Sulla more to blame for the Civil War?

25. Explain the real meaning of Sulla's "perpetual dictatorship."

26. Why was the rule of the Senate, unsatisfactory though it was, to be
preferred to that of the Roman populace?

27. Why is the First Triumvirate described as a "ring"? Did it have an
official character?

28. Why does the First Triumvirate mark a distinct step toward the
establishment of the empire?

29. Why can wars with barbarous and savage peoples be justified as "the
most ultimately righteous of all wars"?

30. Can you suggest why Caesar's conquest of Gaul had even greater
importance than Pompey's conquests in the East?

31. Was Caesar justified in leading his army against Rome?

32. Had Pompey triumphed over Caesar, is it probable that the republic
would have been restored?

33. What contrasts can you draw between Caesar and Alexander?

34. Justify the aphorism, "In the midst of arms the laws are silent," by
the statements in this chapter.

35. How do you account for the failure of the republican institutions of


[1] Webster, _Readings in Ancient History_, chapter xv, "Hannibal and the
Great Punic War"; chapter xvi, "Cato the Censor: a Roman of the Old
School"; chapter xvii, "Cicero the Orator"; chapter xviii, "The Conquest
of Gaul, Related by Caesar"; chapter xix, "The Makers of Imperial Rome:
Character Sketches by Suetonius."

[2] See page 123.

[3] See page 155.

[4] See page 149.

[5] Livy, xxii, 61.

[6] See page 100.

[7] In 29 B.C., one hundred and seventeen years after the destruction of
Carthage at the end of the Punic wars, a new town was founded near the old
site by the emperor Augustus. It became in time the third city of the
Roman Empire. It was destroyed by the Arabs in 698 A.D.

[8] See page 158.

[9] See pages 184 and 197.

[10] Corinth offered too good a site to remain long in ruins. Resettled in
46 B.C. as a Roman colony, it soon became one of the great cities in the
empire. It was to the Corinthians that St Paul wrote two of his

[11] The Greeks were not again a free people until the nineteenth century
of our era. In 1821 A.D. they rose against their Turkish masters in a
glorious struggle for liberty. Eight years later the powers of Europe
forced the Sultan to recognize the freedom of Greece. That country then
became an independent kingdom, with its capital at Athens.

[12] See pages 39-40 and 104.

[13] In 133 B.C. there were eight provinces--Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica,
Hither Spain, Farther Spain, Illyricum, Africa, Macedonia, and Asia. See
the map facing page 184.

[14] In the New Testament "publicans and sinners" are mentioned side by
side. See _Matthew_, ix, 10.

[15] _Latifundia perdidere Italiam_ (Pliny, _Natural History_, xviii, 7).

[16] See page 155.

[17] Horace, _Epistles_, ii, 1, 156.

[18] See page 103.

[19] See page 150.

[20] See page 155, note 2.

[21] See page 150.

[22] See page 204.

[23] Plutarch, Sulla, 38.

[24] Suetonius, _Julius Caesar_, 32.

[25] _Veni, vidi, vici_ (Suetonius, _Julius Caesar_, 37).

[26] Hence our word "emperor."

[27] Before Caesar's reform (46 B.C.) the Roman year consisted of 12
months and 355 days. As this lunar year, like that of the Greeks, was
shorter than the solar year, it had been necessary to intercalate an
additional month, of varying length, in every alternate year. Caesar
adopted the more accurate Egyptian calendar of 365 days and instituted the
system of leap years. His rearrangement made the year 11 minutes, 14
seconds too long. By 1582 A.D. this difference had amounted to nearly 10
days. Pope Gregory XIII modified the "Julian Calendar" by calling Oct. 5,
1582, Oct. 15, and continuing the count 10 days in advance. This
"Gregorian Calendar" was adopted by Great Britain in 1752 A.D. and
subsequently by other Protestant countries. It has not won acceptance in
Russia and Greece. The difference between the two systems--the Old Style
and the New Style--is now about 13 days.

[28] His name was Octavius, but after his adoption by Caesar he called
himself Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus.

[29] Cicero, _Letters_, xix, 20.

[30] See page 185.

[31] See page 127.

[32] See page 160.



66. AUGUSTUS, 31 B.C.-l4 A.D.

[Illustration: AUGUSTUS (Vatican Museum, Rome)]


The period of two hundred and eleven years, between the accession of
Augustus and the death of Marcus Aurelius, is known as the Early Empire.
As we shall now learn, it was a time of settled government and of internal
tranquillity. Except for a brief period of anarchy at the close of the
reign of Nero, it was also a time of regular succession to the throne.
Nearly all the emperors were vigorous and capable rulers. The peace and
prosperity which they gave to the Roman world amply justify--if
justification be needed--the change from republic to empire.


Few persons have set their stamp more indelibly on the pages of history
than Octavian, whom we may now call by his more familiar name _Augustus_
("Majestic"). Augustus was no military genius to dazzle the world with his
achievements. He was a cool and passionless statesman who took advantage
of a memorable opportunity to remake the Roman state, and who succeeded in
the attempt. Absolute power, which destroys weaker men, with Augustus
brought out the nobler elements of character. From the successful leader
of a party he became the wise and impartial ruler of an empire.


Augustus had almost unlimited power. His position was that of a king, as
supreme as Julius Caesar had ever been. Better, however, than Julius
Caesar, Augustus realized that an undisguised autocracy would only
alienate public opinion and invite fresh plots and rebellions, Augustus
intended to be the real master, but he would also be careful to conceal
his authority under republican forms. The emperor was neither king,
dictator, nor triumvir. He called himself a republican magistrate--
_Princeps_ [2]--the "First Citizen" of the state.


Augustus gave up the externals, only to keep the essentials, of royalty.
He held the proconsular authority, which extended over the frontier
provinces and their legions. He held the tribunician authority, which made
his person sacred. As perpetual tribune he could preside over the popular
assemblies, manage the Senate and change its membership at pleasure, and
veto the acts of almost any magistrate. In the provinces and at home in
the capital city the emperor was supreme.


Augustus ruled a vast realm. In it all the dreams of world dominion which
Alexander had cherished were more than realized. The empire included
nearly the entire circle of the Mediterranean lands. On the west and south
it found natural barriers in the Atlantic Ocean and the African desert. On
the east the Euphrates River had formed, since the defeat of Crassus, [3]
the dividing line between Rome and Parthia. The northern frontier, beyond
which lay the Germanic barbarians, required, however, additional conquests
for its protection.

[Illustration: Map, THE EXPANSION OF ROMAN DOMINIONS 31 B.C.-180 A.D.]


The Danube River made an admirable boundary for much of the Roman
territory between the Black Sea and the Rhine. Augustus annexed the
district south of the lower course of this river and formed it into the
province of Moesia (modern Serbia and Bulgaria). The line of the upper
Danube was later secured by the creation of three new provinces on the
northern slopes of the Alps. [4] Henceforth the Balkan peninsula and Italy
on the northeast, where the Alpine passes are low and comparatively easy,
were shielded from attack.


After the conquests of Julius Caesar in Gaul the Rhine had become the
frontier between that country and Germany. Augustus repeatedly sent the
legions into western Germany on punitive expeditions to strike terror into
its warlike tribes and to inspire respect for Roman power. It is doubtful,
however, whether he ever intended to conquer Germany and to convert it
into another province. His failure to do so meant that the Germans were
not to be Romanized as were their neighbors, the Celts of Gaul. The Rhine
continued to be the dividing-line between Roman civilization and Germanic


The clash of arms on the distant frontiers scarcely disturbed the serenity
of the Roman world. Within the boundaries of the empire the Augustan Age
was an age of peace and prosperity. The emperor, with unwearied devotion,
turned to the task of ruling wisely and well his vast dominions. He
followed the example of Julius Caesar in his insistence on just government
of the provincials. [5] In Italy he put down brigandage, repaired the
public highways, and planted many colonies in unsettled districts. In Rome
he established a regular police service, organized the supply of grain and
water, and continued, on a larger scale than ever, the public games. So
many were his buildings in the capital city that he could boast he had
"found Rome of brick and left it of marble." [6] Augustus was also very
successful as a religious reformer. He restored numerous temples that had
fallen into decay, revived the ancient sacrifices, and celebrated with
pomp and majesty the festivals that had been neglected. These reforms gave
new vigor to the Roman state religion.

An inscription on the walls of a ruined temple at Ancyra (modern Angora)
in Asia Minor. It is a copy of the record descriptive of the reign of
Augustus which that emperor in his will decreed to be inscribed on bronze
tablets and placed before his mausoleum at Rome.]


Even during the lifetime of Augustus worship had been offered to him by
the provincials. After his death the Senate gave him divine honors and
enrolled his name among the gods. Temples rose in every province to the
deified Augustus, and altars smoked with sacrifices to him. Emperor
worship spread rapidly over the ancient world and helped to unite all
classes in allegiance to the new government. It provided a universal
religion for a universal empire. Yet just at the time when this new cult
was taking root, and in the midst of the happy reign of Augustus, there
was born in Bethlehem of Judea the Christ whose religion was to overcome
the worship of the emperors and with it all other faiths of pagan
antiquity. [7]



For more than half a century following the death of Augustus his place was
filled by emperors who, either by descent or adoption, claimed kinship
with himself and the mighty Julius. They are known as the Julian and
Claudian Caesars. [8] Though none of these four princes had the political
ability of Augustus, two of them (Tiberius and Claudius) were excellent
rulers, who ably maintained the standards set by that great emperor. The
other two (Caligula and Nero) were vicious tyrants, the recital of whose
follies and crimes occupies much space in the works of ancient historians.
Their doings and misdoings fortunately exerted little influence outside
the circle of the imperial court and the capital city. Rome itself might
be disturbed by conspiracy and bloodshed, but Italy and the provinces kept
their prosperity.


The reign of Claudius was marked by the beginning of the extension of the
empire over Britain. For nearly a hundred years after Caesar's expeditions
no further attempt had been made to annex that island. But its nearness to
Gaul, already thoroughly Romanized, brought the country within the sphere
of Roman influence. The thorough conquest of Britain proved to be no easy
task. It was not until the close of the first century that the island, as
far north as the Scottish Highlands, was brought under Roman sway. The
province of Britannia remained a part of the empire for more than three
hundred years.


During Nero's reign half of Rome was laid in ashes by a great fire, which
raged for a week. But a new Rome speedily arose. It was a much finer city
than the old, with wide, straight streets instead of narrow alleys, and
with houses of good stone in place of wooden hovels. Except for the loss
of the temples and public buildings, the fire was a blessing in disguise.


After the death of Nero the dynasty that traced its descent from Julius
and Augustus became extinct. There was no one who could legally claim the
vacant throne. The Senate, which in theory had the appointment of a
successor, was too weak to exercise its powers. The imperial guard and the
legions on the frontiers placed their own candidates in the field. The
Roman world fell into anarchy, and Italy became once more the seat of
civil war. The throne was finally seized by the able general, Flavius
Vespasianus, supported by the armies of the East. He and his two sons,
Titus and Domitian, are called the Flavian Caesars.

[Illustration: POMPEII]


During the reign of Vespasian a revolt of the Jews was crushed, and
Jerusalem was captured by Titus, Vespasian's son. It is said, doubtless
with exaggeration, that one million Jews perished in the siege, the most
awful that history records. The Holy City, together with the Temple, was
destroyed, and a Roman camp was pitched upon the spot. We may still see in
Rome the splendid arch that commemorates this tragic event. [9]


The relief shows Roman soldiers bearing the spoils of the Temple at
Jerusalem. Among these are two trumpets, the table of the shewbread, and
the seven-branched golden candlestick.]


The reign of Titus is chiefly memorable for the destruction of Pompeii and
Herculaneum, two cites on the bay of Naples. After long inactivity the
volcano of Vesuvius suddenly belched forth torrents of liquid lava and
mud, followed by a rain of ashes. Pompeii was covered to a depth of about
fifteen feet by the falling cinders. Herculaneum was overwhelmed in a sea
of sulphurous mud and lava to a depth of eighty feet in many places. The
cities were completely entombed, and in time even their location was
forgotten. Modern excavations have disclosed a large part of Pompeii, with
its streets, shops, baths, temples, and theaters. The visitor there gains
a vivid impression of Roman life during the first century of our era. [10]

68. THE "GOOD EMPERORS," 96-180 A.D.


The five rulers--Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus
Aurelius--whose reigns cover the greater part of the second century, are
sometimes called the Antonine Caesars, because two of them bore the name
Antoninus. They are better known as the "Good Emperors," a title which
well describes them. Under their just and beneficent government the empire
reached its greatest prosperity.

[Illustration: NERVA (Vatican Museum, Rome)
A remarkably fine example of Roman portrait statuary.]


The emperor Trajan rivaled Julius Caesar in military ability and enlarged
the Roman world to the widest limits it was ever to attain. His first
conquests were in Europe and resulted in the annexation of Dacia, an
extensive territory north of the Danube. Thousands of colonists settled in
Dacia and spread everywhere the language and arts of Rome. Its modern name
(Rumania) bears witness to Rome's abiding influence there. Trajan's
campaigns in Asia had less importance, though in appearance they were more
splendid. He drove the Parthians from Armenia and conquered the Tigris-
Euphrates valley. To hold in subjection such distant regions only
increased the difficulty of guarding the frontiers. Trajan's successor,
Hadrian, at once abandoned them.

[Illustration: COLUMN OF TRAJAN
A bronze statue of Trajan formerly occupying the top of the monument has
been replaced by a figure of St Peter. The column is decorated with a
continuous spiral relief representing scenes from the Dacian War. About
twenty five hundred separate designs are included in this remarkable


Hadrian distinguished himself as an administrator. He may be compared with
Augustus in his love of peace and in his care for the interests of the
provincials. Hadrian made two long journeys throughout the Roman world. On
the frontiers he built fortresses and walls, in the provinces he raised
baths, aqueducts, theaters, and temples. Scarcely a city throughout the
empire lacked some monument to his generosity. Hadrian left behind him the
memory of a prince whose life was devoted to the public welfare--the first
servant of the state.

The wall extended between the Tyne and the Solway a distance of seventy
miles. It was built of concrete faced with square blocks. The height is
nearly twenty feet, the thickness about eight feet. Along the wall were
numerous towers and gates and a little to the north of it stretched an
earthen rampart protected by a deep ditch. A broad road, lined with
seventeen military camps, ran between the two fortifications.]


The last of the "Good Emperors," Marcus Aurelius, was a thinker and a
student, but he enjoyed little opportunity for meditation. His reign was
filled with an almost uninterrupted series of campaigns against the
Parthians on the Euphrates and the Germans on the Danube and the Rhine.
These wars revealed the weakness of the frontiers and rapidly growing
strength of the barbarians. After the death of Marcus Aurelius the empire
entered on its downward course. But before passing to this period of our
study, we may take a survey of the world under Roman rule, during the two
centuries between Augustus and Marcus Aurelius.

[Illustration: MARCUS AURELIUS IN HIS TRIUMPHAL CAR (Palace of the
Conservatori, Rome)

A panel from an arch erected by the emperor.]



The Roman Empire, at its widest extent in the second century, included
forty-three provinces. They were protected against Germans, Parthians and
other foes by twenty-five legions, numbering with the auxiliary forces,
about three hundred thousand men. This standing army was one of Rome's
most important agencies for the spread of her civilization over barbarian
lands. Its membership was drawn largely from the border provinces, often
from the very countries where the soldiers' camps were fixed. Though the
army became less and less Roman in blood, it always kept in character and
spirit the best traditions of Rome. The long intervals of peace were not
passed by the soldiers in idleness. They built the great highways that
penetrated every region of the empire, spanned the streams with bridges,
raised dikes and aqueducts, and taught the border races the arts of
civilization. It was due, finally, to the labors of the legionaries, that
the most exposed parts of the frontiers were provided with an extensive
system of walls and ramparts.

[Illustration: THE PANTHEON
The original building was the work of Agrippa, a minister of Augustus. The
temple was reconstructed by Hadrian who left the Greek portico unchanged
but added the rotunda and the dome. This great dome, the largest in the
world, is made of solid concrete. During the Middle Ages, the Pantheon was
converted into a church. It is now the burial place of the kings of


The Roman system of roads received its great extension during the imperial
age. The principal trunk lines began at the gates of Rome and radiated
thence to every province. Along these highways sped the couriers of the
Caesars, carrying dispatches and making, by means of relays of horses, as
much as one hundred and fifty miles a day. The roads resounded to the
tramp of the legionaries passing to their stations on the distant
frontier. Travelers by foot, horseback, or litter journeyed on them from
land to land, employing maps which described routes and distances. Traders
used them for the transport of merchandise. Roman roads, in short, were
the railways of antiquity. [11]

[Illustration: THE TOMB OF HADRIAN
The building was formerly topped by another of smaller size which bore a
statue of the emperor. In medieval times this stately tomb was converted
into a castle. It is now used as a museum. The bridge across the Tiber was
built by Hadrian.]



In her roads and fortifications, in the living rampart of her legions,
Rome long found security. Except for the districts conquered by Trajan but
abandoned by Hadrian, [12] the empire during this period did not lose a
province. For more than two hundred years, throughout an area as large as
the United States, the civilized world rested under what an ancient writer
calls "the immense majesty of the Roman peace." [13]


The grant of Roman citizenship to all Italians after the Social War [14]
only increased for a time the contrast between Italy and the provinces.
But even before the fall of the republic Caesar's legislation had begun
the work of uniting the Roman and the provincial. [15] More and more the
emperors followed in his footsteps. The extension of Roman citizenship was
a gradual process covering two centuries. It was left for the emperor
Caracalla, early in the third century, to take the final step. In 212 A.D.
he issued an edict which bestowed citizenship on all freeborn inhabitants
of the empire. This famous edict completed the work, begun so many
centuries before, of Romanizing the ancient world.


The grant of citizenship, though it increased the burden of taxation,
brought no slight advantage to those who possessed it. A Roman citizen
could not be maltreated with impunity or punished without a legal trial
before Roman courts. If accused in a capital case, he could always protect
himself against an unjust decision by an "appeal to Caesar", that is, to
the emperor at Rome. St. Paul did this on one occasion when on trial for
his life. [16] Wherever he lived, a Roman citizen enjoyed, both for his
person and his property, the protection of Roman law.



The Romans were the most legal-minded people of antiquity. It was their
mission to give laws to the world. Almost at the beginning of the republic
they framed the code of the Twelve Tables, [17] which long remained the
basis of their jurisprudence. This code, however, was so harsh, technical,
and brief that it could not meet the needs of a progressive state. The
Romans gradually improved their legal system, especially after they began
to rule over conquered nations. The disputes which arose between citizens
and subjects were decided by the praetors or provincial governors in
accordance with what seemed to them to be principles of justice and
equity. These principles gradually found a place in Roman law, together
with many rules and observances of foreign peoples. Roman law in this way
tended to take over and absorb all that was best in ancient jurisprudence.


Thus, as the extension of the citizenship carried the principles and
practice of Roman law to every quarter of the empire, the spirit of that
law underwent an entire change. It became exact, impartial, liberal,
humane. It limited the use of torture to force confession from persons
accused of crime. It protected the child against a father's tyranny. It
provided that a master who killed a slave should be punished as a
murderer, and even taught that all men are originally free by the law of
nature and therefore that slavery is contrary to natural right. Justice it
defined as "the steady and abiding purpose to give every man that which is
his own." [18] Roman law, which began as the rude code of a primitive
people, ended as the most refined and admirable system of jurisprudence
ever framed by man. This law, as we shall see later, has passed from
ancient Rome to modern Europe. [19]


The conquest by Latin of the languages of the world is almost as
interesting and important a story as the conquest by Rome of the nations
of the world. At the beginning of Latin in Roman history Latin was the
speech of only the Italy people of Latium. Beyond the limits of Latium
Latin came into contact with the many different languages spoken in early
Italy. Some of them, such as Greek and Etruscan, soon disappeared from
Italy after Roman expansion, but those used by native Italian peoples
showed more power of resistance. It was not until the last century B.C.
that Latin was thoroughly established in the central and southern parts of
the peninsula. After the Social War the Italian peoples became citizens of
Rome, and with Roman citizenship went the use of the Latin tongue.


The Romans carried their language to the barbarian peoples of the West, as
they had carried it to Italy. Their missionaries were colonists,
merchants, soldiers, and public officials. The Latin spoken by them was
eagerly taken up by the rude, unlettered natives, who tried to make
themselves as Roman as possible in dress, customs, and speech. This
provincial Latin was not simply the language of the upper classes; the
common people themselves used it freely, as we know from thousands of
inscriptions found in western and central Europe. In the countries which
now make up Spain, France, Switzerland, southern Austria, England, and
North Africa, the old national tongues were abandoned for the Latin of


The decline of the Roman Empire did not bring about the downfall of the
Latin language in the West. It became the basis of the so-called Romance
languages--French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Rumanian--which arose
in the Middle Ages out of the spoken Latin of the common people. Even our
English language, which comes to us from the speech of the Germanic
invaders of Britain, contains so many words of Latin origin that we can
scarcely utter a sentence without using some of them. The rule of Rome has
passed away; the language of Rome still remains to enrich the intellectual
life of mankind.



The world under Roman rule was a world of cities. Some had earlier been
native settlements, such as those in Gaul before the Roman conquest.
Others were the splendid Hellenistic cities in the East. [20] Many more
were of Roman origin, arising from the colonies and fortified camps in
which citizens and soldiers had settled. [21] Where Rome did not find
cities, she created them.


Not only were the cities numerous, but many of them, even when judged by
modern standards, reached great size. Rome was the largest, her population
being estimated at from one to two millions. Alexandria came next with
more than half a million people. Syracuse was the third metropolis of the
empire. Italy contained such important towns as Verona, Milan, and
Ravenna. In Gaul were Marseilles, Nîmes, Bordeaux, Lyons--all cities with
a continuous existence to the present day. In Britain York and London were
seats of commerce, Chester and Lincoln were military colonies, and Bath
was celebrated then, as now, for its medicinal waters. Carthage and
Corinth had risen in new splendor from their ashes. Athens was still the
home of Greek art and Greek culture. Asia included such ancient and
important centers as Pergamum, Smyrna, Ephesus, Rhodes, and Antioch. The
student who reads in his New Testament the _Acts of the Apostles_ will get
a vivid impression of some of these great capitals.

Bath, the ancient Aquae Sulis, was famous in Roman times for its hot
springs. Here are very interesting remains, including a large pool,
eighty-three by forty feet in size, and lined at the bottom with the
Roman lead, besides smaller bathing chambers and portions of the ancient
pipes and conduits. The building and statues are modern restorations.]


Every municipality was a Rome in miniature. It had its forum and senate-
house, its temples, theaters, and baths, its circus for racing, and its
amphitheater for gladiatorial combats. Most of the municipalities enjoyed
an abundant supply of water, and some had good sewer systems. The larger
towns had well-paved, though narrow, streets. Pompeii, a small place of
scarcely thirty thousand inhabitants, still exists to give us an idea of
the appearance of one of these ancient cities. And what we find at Pompeii
was repeated on a more splendid scale in hundreds of places from the
Danube to the Nile, from Britain to Arabia.


The municipalities of Roman origin copied the government of Rome itself.
[22] Each city had a council, or senate, and a popular assembly which
chose the magistrates. These officials were generally rich men; they
received no salary, and in fact had to pay a large sum on entering office.
Local politics excited the keenest interest. Many of the inscriptions
found on the walls of Pompeii are election placards recommending
particular candidates for office. Women sometimes took part in political
contests. Distributions of grain, oil, and money were made to needy
citizens, in imitation of the bad Roman practice. There were public
banquets, imposing festivals, wild-beast hunts, and bloody contests of
gladiators, like those at Rome.


The busy, throbbing life in these countless centers of the Roman world has
long since been stilled. The cities themselves, in many instances, have
utterly disappeared. Yet the forms of municipal government, together with
the Roman idea of a free, self-governing city, never wholly died out. Some
of the most important cities which flourished in southern and western
Europe during the later Middle Ages preserved clear traces of their
ancient Roman origin.



The first two centuries of our era formed the golden age of Roman
commerce. The emperors fostered it in many ways. Augustus and his
successors kept the Mediterranean free from pirates, built lighthouses and
improved harbors, policed the highways, and made travel by land both
speedy and safe. An imperial currency [23] replaced the various national
coinages with their limited circulation. The vexatious import and export
duties, levied by different countries and cities on foreign produce, were
swept away. Free trade flourished between the cities and provinces of the
Roman world.


Roman commerce followed, in general, the routes which Phoenicians had
discovered centuries before. After the annexation of Gaul the rivers of
that country became channels of trade between western Europe and Italy.
The conquest of the districts north and south of the Danube opened up an
important route between central Europe and the Mediterranean. Imports from
the far eastern countries came by caravan through Asia to ports on the
Black Sea. The water routes led by way of the Persian Gulf to the great
Syrian cities of Antioch and Palmyra and, by way of the Red Sea, to
Alexandria on the Nile. From these thriving commercial centers products
were shipped to every region of the empire. [24]

The ship lies beside the wharf at Ostia. In the after-part of the vessel
is a cabin with two windows. Notice the figure of Victory on the top of
the single mast and the decoration of the mainsail with the wolf and
twins. The ship is steered by a pair of huge paddles.]


The importation and disposal of foreign goods at Rome furnished employment
for many thousands of traders. There were great wholesale merchants whose
warehouses stored grain and all kinds of merchandise. There were also many
retail shopkeepers. They might be sometimes the slaves or freedmen of a
wealthy noble who preferred to keep in the background. Sometimes they were
men of free birth. The feeling that petty trade was unworthy of a citizen,
though strong in republican days, tended to disappear under the empire.


The slaves at Rome, like those at Athens, [25] carried on many industrial
tasks. We must not imagine, however, that all the manual labor of the city
was performed by bondmen. The number of slaves even tended to decline,
when there were no more border wars to yield captives for the slave
markets. The growing custom of emancipation worked in the same direction.
We find in this period a large body of free laborers, not only in the
capital city, but in all parts of the empire.


The workmen engaged in a particular calling frequently formed clubs, or
guilds. [26] There were guilds of weavers, shoe-makers, jewelers,
painters, musicians, and even of gladiators. These associations were not
organized for the purpose of securing higher wages and shorter hours by
strikes or threat of strikes. They seem to have existed chiefly for social
and religious purposes. Each guild had its clubhouse for official meetings
and banquets. Each guild had its special deity, such as Vesta, the fire
goddess, for bakers, and Bacchus, the wine god, for innkeepers. Every year
the guildsmen held a festival, in honor of their patron, and marched
through the streets with banners and the emblems of their trade. Nearly
all the guilds had as one main object the provision of a proper funeral
and tomb for deceased members. The humble laborer found some consolation
in the thought that he belonged to a club of friends and fellow workers,
who after death would give him decent burial and keep his memory green.


Free workingmen throughout the Roman world appear to have led reasonably
happy lives. They were not driven or enslaved by their employers or forced
to labor for long hours in grimy, unwholesome factories. Slums existed,
but no sweatshops. If wages were low, so also was the cost of living.
Wine, oil, and wheat flour were cheap. The mild climate made heavy
clothing unnecessary and permitted an outdoor life. The public baths--
great clubhouses--stood open to every one who could pay a trifling fee.
[27] Numerous holidays, celebrated with games and shows, brightened
existence. On the whole we may conclude that working people at Rome and in
the provinces enjoyed greater comfort during this period than had ever
been their lot in previous ages.

[Illustration: A ROMAN VILLA
Wall painting, Pompeii.]


It was an age of millionaires. There had been rich men, such as Crassus,
[28] during the last century of the republic; their numbers increased and
their fortunes rose during the first century of the empire. The
philosopher Seneca, a tutor of Nero, is said to have made twelve million
dollars within four years by the emperor's favor. Narcissus, the secretary
of Claudius, made sixteen million dollars--the largest Roman fortune on
record. This sum must be multiplied four or five times to find its modern
equivalent, since in antiquity interest rates were higher and the
purchasing power of money was greater than to-day. Such private fortunes
are surpassed only by those of the present age.


The heaping-up of riches in the hands of a few brought its natural
consequence in luxury and extravagance. The palaces of the wealthy, with
their gardens, baths, picture galleries, and other features, were costly
to build and costly to keep up. The money not lavished by a noble on his
town house could be easily sunk on his villas in the country. All Italy,
from the bay of Naples, to the foot of the Alps, was dotted with elegant
residences, having flower gardens, game preserves, fishponds, and
artificial lakes. Much senseless waste occurred at banquets and
entertainments. Vast sums were spent on vessels of gold and silver,
jewelry, clothing, and house furnishings. Even funerals and tombs required
heavy outlays. A capitalist of imperial Rome could get rid of a fortune in
selfish indulgences almost as readily as any modern millionaire not
blessed with a refined taste or with public spirit.


Some of the customs of the time appear especially shocking. The brutal
gladiatorial games [29] were a passion with every one, from the emperor to
his lowest subject. Infanticide was a general practice. Marriage grew to
be a mere civil contract, easily made and easily broken. Common as divorce
had become, the married state was regarded as undesirable. Augustus vainly
made laws to encourage matrimony and discourage celibacy. Suicide,
especially among the upper classes, was astonishingly frequent. No one
questioned another's right to leave this life at pleasure. The decline of
the earlier paganism left many men without a deep religious faith to
combat the growing doubt and worldliness of the age.


Yet this dark picture needs correction at many points. It may be
questioned whether the vice, luxury, and wickedness of ancient Rome,
Antioch, or Alexandria much exceeded what our great modern capitals can
show, During this period, moreover, many remarkable improvements took
place in social life and manners. There was an increasing kindliness and
charity. The weak and the infirm were better treated. The education of the
poor was encouraged by the founding of free schools. Wealthy citizens of
the various towns lavished their fortunes on such public works as baths,
aqueducts, and temples, for the benefit of all classes. Even the slaves
were much better treated. Imperial laws aimed to check the abuses of
cruelty, overwork, and neglect, and philosophers recommended to masters
the exercise of gentleness and mercy toward slaves. In fact, the first and
second centuries of our era were marked by a great growth of the
humanitarian spirit.



Just as the conquests of Alexander, by uniting the Orient to Greece,
produced a Graeco-Oriental civilization, so now the expansion of Rome over
the Mediterranean formed another world-wide culture, in which both Greek
and Roman elements met and mingled. A new sense of cosmopolitanism arose
in place of the old civic or national patriotism. Roman elements met and
mingled. A new sense of cosmopolitanism arose in place of the old civic or
national patriotism.

[Illustration: A ROMAN TEMPLE
The best preserved of Roman temples. Located at Nîmes in southern France,
where it is known as La Maison Carrée ("the square house"). The structure
is now used as a museum of antiquities.]

 This cosmopolitan feeling was the outcome of those unifying and
civilizing forces which the imperial system set at work. The extension of
Roman citizenship broke down the old distinction between the citizens and
the subjects of Rome. The development of Roman law carried its principles
of justice and equity to the remotest regions. The spread of the Latin
language provided the western half of the empire with a speech as
universal there as Greek was in the East. Trade and travel united the
provinces with one another and with Rome. The worship of the Caesars
dimmed the luster of all local worships and kept constantly before men's
minds the idea of Rome and of her mighty emperors. Last, but not least
important, was the fusion of alien peoples through intermarriage with
Roman soldiers and colonists. "How many settlements," exclaims the
philosopher Seneca, "have been planted in every province! Wherever the
Roman conquers, there he dwells." [30]

The amphitheater at Arles in southern France was used during the Middle
Ages as a fortress then as a prison and finally became the resort of
criminals and paupers. The illustration shows it before the removal of the
buildings about 1830 A.D. Bullfights still continue in the arena, where,
in Roman times, animal baitings and gladiatorial games took place.]


The best evidence of Rome's imperial rule is found in the monuments she
raised in every quarter of the ancient world. Some of the grandest ruins
of antiquity are not in the capital city itself, or even in Italy, but in
Spain, France, England, Greece, Switzerland, Asia Minor, Syria, and North
Africa. Among these are Hadrian's Wall in Britain, the splendid aqueduct
known as the Pont du Gard near Nîmes in southern France, the beautiful
temple called La Maison Carrée in the same city, the Olympieum at Athens,
and the temple of the Sun at Baalbec in Syria Thus the lonely hilltops,
the desolate desert sands, the mountain fastnesses of three continents
bear witness even now to the widespreading sway of Rome.

A block of stone 68 feet long 10 feet high and weighing about 1500 tons.
It is still attached to its bed in the quarry not far from the ruins of
Baalbec in Syria. The temples of Baalbec seen in the distance were built
by the Romans in the third century A.D. The majestic temple of the Sun
contains three megaliths almost as huge as the one represented in the
illustration. They are the largest blocks known to have been used in any
structure. For a long time they were supposed to be relics of giant


The civilized world took on the stamp and impress of Rome. The East,
indeed, remained Greek in language and feeling, but even there Roman law
and government prevailed, Roman roads traced their unerring course, and
Roman architects erected majestic monuments. The West became completely
Roman. North Africa, Spain, Gaul, distant Dacia, and Britain were the
seats of populous cities, where the Latin language was spoken and Roman
customs were followed. From them came the emperors. They furnished some of
the most eminent men of letters. Their schools of grammar and rhetoric
attracted students from Rome itself. Thus unconsciously, but none the less
surely, local habits and manners, national religions and tongues,
provincial institutions and ways of thinking disappeared from the ancient


1. On an outline map indicate the additions to Roman territory: during the
reign of Augustus, 31 B.C.-14 A.D.; during the period 14-180 A.D.

2. On an outline map indicate ten important cities of the Roman Empire.

3. Connect the proper events with the following dates: 79 A.D.; 180 A.D.;
and 14 A.D.

4. Whom do you consider the greater man, Julius Caesar or Augustus? Give
reasons for your answer.

5. Compare the Augustan Age at Rome with the Age of Pericles at Athens.

6. What is the _Monumentum Ancyranum_ and its historic importance
(illustration Monumentum Ancyranum, section 66. Augustus, 31 B.C.-l4 A.D.,
topic The Augustan Age)?

7. How did the worship of the Caesars connect itself with ancestor

8. In the reign of what Roman emperor was Jesus born? In whose reign was
he crucified?

9. How did the "year of anarchy" after Nero's death exhibit a weakness in
the imperial system?

10. How many provinces existed under Trajan?

11. What modern countries are included within the limits of the Roman
Empire in the age of Trajan?

12. Compare the extent of the Roman Empire under Trajan with (a) the
empire of Alexander; and (b) the empire of Darius.

13. Give the Roman names of Spain, Italy, Gaul, Germany, Britain,
Scotland, and Ireland.

14. Contrast the Roman armies under the empire with the standing armies of
modern Europe.

15. Trace on the map, page 205, the Roman roads in Britain.

16. "To the Roman city the empire was political death; to the provinces it
was the beginning of new life." Comment on this statement.

17. Why should Rome have made a greater success of her imperial policy
than either Athens or Sparta?

18. Compare Roman liberality in extending the franchise with the similar
policy displayed by the United States.

19. Compare the freedom of trade between the provinces of the Roman Empire
with that between the states of the American Union.

20. On the map, page 48, trace the trade routes during imperial times.

21. Compare as civilizing forces the Roman and the Persian empires.

22. What was the _Pax Romana_? What is the _Pax Britannica_?

23. Compare the Romanization of the ancient world with that process of
Americanization which is going on in the United States to-day.

24. Explain this statement: "The Roman Empire is the lake in which all the
streams of ancient history lose themselves and which all the streams of
modern history flow out of."

25. "Republican Rome had little to do, either by precept or example, with
the modern life of Europe, Imperial Rome everything." Can you justify this


[1] Webster, _Readings in Ancient History_, chapter xix, "The Makers of
Imperial Rome: Character Sketches by Suetonius"; chapter xx, "Nero, a
Roman Emperor."

[2] Hence our word "prince".

[3] See page 184.

[4] The provinces of Pannonia, Noricum, and Raetia. See the map facing
page 184.

[5] See page 187.

[6] For a description of ancient Rome see pages 292-296.

[7] Jesus was born probably in 4 B.C., the last year of the reign of
Herod, whom the triumvirs, Antony and Octavian, had placed on the throne
of Judea in 37 B.C.

[8] A Roman emperor was generally called "Caesar" by the provincials. See,
for example, _Matthew_, xxii, 17-21, or _Acts_, xxv, 10-12. This title
survives in the German _Kaiser_ and perhaps in the Russian _Tsar_ or

[9] In 131 A.D., during the reign of the emperor Hadrian, the Jews once
more broke out in revolt. Jerusalem, which had risen from its ruins, was
again destroyed by the Romans, and the plow was passed over the
foundations of the Temple. From Roman times to the present the Jews have
been a people without a country.

[10] See Bulwer-Lytton's novel, _The Last Days of Pompeii_.

[11] See the map on page 205 for the system of Roman roads in Britain.

[12] See page 200.

[13] Pliny, _Natural History_, xxvii, 1.

[14] See page 179.

[15] See page 187.

[16] See _Acts_, XXV, 9-12.

[17] See page 151.

[18] _Institutes_, bk. i, tit. i.

[19] See page 331.

[20] See page 127.

[21] Several English cities, such as Lancaster, Leicester, Manchester, and
Chester, betray in their names their origin in the Roman castra, or camp.

[22] See page 149.

[23] For illustrations of Roman coins see the plate facing page 134.

[24] See the map on page 48.

[25] See page 107.

[26] Latin _collegia_, whence our "college."

[27] See pages 263 and 285.

[28] See page 183.

[29] See page 267.

[30] Seneca, _Minor Dialogues_, XI, 7.



74. THE "SOLDIER EMPERORS," 180-284 A.D.


The period called the Later Empire covers the two hundred and fifteen
years from the accession of Commodus to the final division of the Roman
world at the death of Theodosius. It formed, in general, a period of
decline. The very existence of the empire was threatened, both from within
and from without. The armies on the frontiers often set up their favorite
leaders as contestants for the throne, thus provoking civil war. Ambitious
governors of distant provinces sometimes revolted against a weak or
unpopular emperor and tried to establish independent states. The Germans
took advantage of the unsettled condition of affairs to make constant
inroads. About the middle of the third century it became necessary to
surrender to them the great province of Dacia, which Trajan had won. [1] A
serious danger also appeared in the distant East. Here the Persians,
having overcome the Parthians, [2] endeavored to recover from Roman hands
the Asiatic provinces which had once belonged to the old Persian realm.
Though the Persians failed to make any permanent conquest of Roman
territory, their constant attacks weakened the empire at the very time
when the northern barbarians had again become a menace.


The rulers who occupied the throne during the first half of this troubled
period are commonly known as the "Soldier Emperors," because so many of
them owed their position to the swords of the legionaries. Emperor after
emperor followed in quick succession, to enjoy a brief reign and then to
perish in some sudden insurrection. Within a single year (237-238 A.D.)
six rulers were chosen, worshiped, and then murdered by their troops "You
little know," said one of these imperial phantoms, "what a poor thing it
is to be an emperor." [3]


The close of the third century thus found the empire engaged in a struggle
for existence. No part of the Roman world had escaped the ravages of war.
The fortification of the capital city by the emperor Aurelian was itself a
testimony to the altered condition of affairs. The situation was
desperate, yet not hopeless. Under an able ruler, such as Aurelian, Rome
proved to be still strong enough to repel her foes. It was the work of the
even more capable Diocletian to establish the empire on so solid a
foundation that it endured with almost undiminished strength for another
hundred years.

[Illustration: THE WALL OF ROME
Constructed by Aurelian and rebuilt by Honorius. The material is concrete
faced with brick, thickness 13 feet, greatest height 58 feet. This is
still the wall of the modern city, although at present no effort is made
to keep it in repair.]



Diocletian, whose reign is one of the most illustrious in Roman history,
entered the army as a common soldier, rose to high command, and fought his
way to the throne. A strong, ambitious man, Diocletian resolutely set
himself to the task of remaking the Roman government. His success in this
undertaking entitles him to rank, as a statesman and administrator, with


The reforms of Diocletian were meant to remedy those weaknesses in the
imperial system disclosed by the disasters of the preceding century. In
the first place, experience showed that the empire was unwieldy. There
were the distant frontiers on the Rhine, Danube, and Euphrates to be
guarded; there were all the provinces to be governed. A single ruler,
however able and energetic, had more than he could do. In the second
place, the succession to the imperial throne was uncertain. Now an emperor
named his successor, now the Senate elected him, and now the swords of the
legionaries raised him to the purple. Such an unsettled state of affairs
constantly invited those struggles between rival pretenders which had so
nearly brought the empire to destruction.


Diocletian began his reforms by adopting a scheme for "partnership
emperors." He shared the Roman world with a trusted lieutenant named
Maximian. Each was to be an Augustus, with all the honors of an emperor.
Diocletian ruled the East; Maximian ruled the West. Further partnership
soon seemed advisable, and so each _Augustus_ chose a younger associate,
or _Caesar_, to aid him in the government and at his death or abdication
to become his heir. Diocletian also remodeled the provincial system. The
entire empire, including Italy, was divided into more than one hundred
provinces. They were grouped into thirteen dioceses and these, in turn,
into four prefectures. [4] This reform much lessened the authority of the
provincial governor, who now ruled over a small district and had to obey
the vicar of his diocese.


The emperors, from Diocletian onward, were autocrats. They bore the proud
title of _Dominus_ ("Lord"). They were treated as gods. Everything that
touched their persons was sacred. They wore a diadem of pearls and
gorgeous robes of silk and gold, like those of Asiatic monarchs. They
filled their palaces with a crowd of fawning, flattering nobles, and
busied themselves with an endless round of stately and impressive
ceremonials. Hitherto a Roman emperor had been an _imperator_, [5] the
head of an army. Now he became a king, to be greeted, not with the old
military salute, but with the bent knee and the prostrate form of
adoration. Such pomps and vanities, which former Romans would have thought
degrading, helped to inspire reverence among the servile subjects of a
later age. If it was the aim of Augustus to disguise, it was the aim of
Diocletian to display, the unbounded power of a Roman emperor.


There can be little doubt that Diocletian's reforms helped to prolong the
existence of the empire. In one respect, however, they must be pronounced
a failure. They did not end the disputes about the succession. Only two
years after the abdication of Diocletian there were six rival pretenders
for the title of _Augustus_. Their dreary struggles continued, until at
length two emperors were left--Constantine in the West, Licinius in the
East. After a few years of joint rule another civil war made Constantine
supreme. The Roman world again had a single master.


Constantine was an able general and a wise statesman. Two events of
lasting importance have made his reign memorable. It was Constantine who
recognized Christianity as one of the religions of the empire and thus
paved the way for the triumph of that faith over the ancient paganism. His
work in this connection will be discussed presently. It was Constantine,
also, who established a new capital for the Roman world at Byzantium [6]
on the Bosporus. He christened it "New Rome," but it soon took the
emperor's name as Constantinople, the "City of Constantine." [7]


Several good reasons could be urged for the removal of the world's
metropolis from the Tiber to the Bosporus. The Roman Empire was ceasing to
be one empire. Constantine wanted a great city for the eastern half to
balance Rome in the western half. Again, Constantinople, far more than
Rome, was the military center of the empire. Rome lay too far from the
vulnerable frontiers; Constantinople occupied a position about equidistant
from the Germans on the lower Danube and the Persians on the Euphrates.
Finally, Constantine believed that Christianity, which he wished to become
the prevailing religion, would encounter less opposition and criticism in
his new city than at Rome, with its pagan atmosphere and traditions.
Constantinople was to be not simply a new seat of government but also
distinctively a Christian capital. Such it remained for more than eleven
centuries. [8]


After the death of Constantine the Roman world again entered on a period
of disorder. The inroads of the Germans across the Danube and the Rhine
threatened the European provinces of the empire with dissolution. The
outlook in the Asiatic provinces, overrun by the Persians, was no less
gloomy. Meanwhile the eastern and western halves of the empire tended more
and more to grow apart. The separation between the two had become well
marked by the close of the fourth century. After the death of the emperor
Theodosius (395 A.D.) there came to be in fact, if not in name, a Roman
Empire in the East and a Roman Empire in the West.


More than four hundred years had now elapsed since the battle of Actium
made Octavian supreme in the Roman world. If we except the abandonment of
Trajan's conquests beyond the Danube and the Euphrates, [9] no part of the
huge empire had as yet succumbed to its enemies. The subject peoples,
during these four centuries, had not tried to overthrow the empire or to
withdraw from its protection. The Roman state, men believed, would endure
forever. Yet the times were drawing nigh when the old order of things was
to be broken up; when barbarian invaders were to seize the fairest
provinces as their own; and when new kingdoms, ruled by men of Germanic
speech, were to arise in lands that once obeyed Rome.



Rome, it has been said, was not built in a day; the rule of Rome was not
destroyed in a day. When we speak of the "fall" of Rome, we have in mind,
not a violent catastrophe which suddenly plunged the civilized world into
ruin, but rather the slow and gradual decay of ancient society throughout
the basin of the Mediterranean. This decay set in long before the Germans
and the Persians became a serious danger to the empire. It would have
continued, doubtless, had there been no Germans and Persians to break
through the frontiers and destroy. The truth seems to be that, during the
third and fourth centuries of our era, classical civilization, like an
overtrained athlete, had grown "stale."


It is not possible to set forth all the forces which century after century
had been sapping the strength of the state. The most obvious element of
weakness was the want of men to fill the armies and to cultivate the
fields. The slave system seems to have been partly responsible for this
depopulation. The peasant on his little homestead could not compete with
the wealthy noble whose vast estates were worked by gangs of slaves. The
artisan could not support himself and his family on the pittance that kept
his slave competitor alive. Peasants and artisans gradually drifted into
the cities, where the public distributions of grain, wine, and oil assured
them of a living with little expense and almost without exertion. In both
Italy and the provinces there was a serious decline in the number of free
farmers and free workingmen.


But slavery was not the only cause of depopulation. There was a great deal
of what has been called "race suicide" in the old Roman world. Well-to-do
people, who could easily support large families, often refused to be
burdened with them. Childlessness, however, was not confined to the
wealthy, since the poorer classes, crowded in the huge lodging houses of
the cities, had no real family life. Roman emperors, who saw how difficult
it was to get a sufficient number of recruits for the army, and how whole
districts were going to waste for lack of people to cultivate them, tried
to repopulate the empire by force of law. They imposed penalties for the
childlessness and celibacy of the rich, and founded institutions for the
rearing of children, that the poor might not fear to raise large families.
Such measures were scarcely successful. "Race suicide" continued during
pagan times and even during the Christian age.


The next most obvious element of weakness was the shrinkage of the
revenues. The empire suffered from want of money, as well as from want of
men. To meet the heavy cost of the luxurious court, to pay the salaries of
the swarms of public officials, to support the idle populace in the great
cities required a vast annual income. But just when public expenditures
were rising by leaps and bounds, it became harder and harder to secure
sufficient revenue. Smaller numbers meant fewer taxpayers. Fewer taxpayers
meant a heavier burden on those who survived to pay.


These two forces--the decline in population and the decline in wealth--
worked together to produce economic ruin. It is no wonder, therefore, that
in province after province large tracts of land went out of cultivation,
that the towns decayed, and that commerce and manufactures suffered an
appalling decline. "Hard times" settled on the Roman world.


Doubtless still other forces were at work to weaken the state and make it
incapable of further resistance to the barbarians. Among such forces we
must reckon Christianity itself. By the close of the fourth century
Christianity had become the religion of the empire. The new faith, as we
shall soon see, helped, not to support, but rather to undermine, pagan



Several centuries before the rise of Christianity many Greek thinkers
began to feel a growing dissatisfaction with the crude faith that had come
down to them from prehistoric times. They found it more and more difficult
to believe in the Olympian deities, who were fashioned like themselves and
had all the faults of mortal men. [10] An adulterous Zeus, a bloodthirsty
Ares, and a scolding Hera, as Homer represents them, were hardly
divinities that a cultured Greek could love and worship. For educated
Romans, also, the rites and ceremonies of the ancient religion came
gradually to lose their meaning. The worship of the Roman gods had never
appealed to the emotions. Now it tended to pass into the mere mechanical
repetition of prayers and sacrifices. Even the worship of the Caesars,
[11] which did much to hold the empire together, failed to satisfy the
spiritual wants of mankind. It made no appeal to the moral nature; it
brought no message, either of fear or hope, about a future world and a
life beyond the grave.


During these centuries a system of Greek philosophy, called Stoicism,
gained many adherents among the Romans. Any one who will read the Stoic
writings, such as those of the noble emperor, Marcus Aurelius, [12] will
see how nearly Christian was the Stoic faith. It urged men to forgive
injuries--to "bear and forbear." It preached the brotherhood of man. It
expressed a humble and unfaltering reliance on a divine Providence. To
many persons of refinement Stoicism became a real religion. But since
Stoic philosophy could reach and influence only the educated classes, it
could not become a religion for all sorts and conditions of men.


Many Greeks found a partial satisfaction of their religious longings in
secret rites called mysteries. Of these the most important grew up at
Eleusis, [13] a little Attic town thirteen miles from Athens. They were
connected with the worship of Demeter, goddess of vegetation and of the
life of nature. The celebration of the Eleusinian mysteries came in
September and lasted nine days. When the candidates for admission to the
secret rites were worked up to a state of religious excitement, they
entered a brilliantly lighted hall and witnessed a passion play dealing
with the legend of Demeter. They seem to have had no direct moral
instruction but saw, instead, living pictures and pantomimes which
represented the life beyond the grave and held out to them the promise of
a blessed lot in another world. As an Athenian orator said, "Those who
have shared this initiation possess sweeter hopes about death and about
the whole of life." [14]


The Eleusinian mysteries, though unknown in the Homeric Age, were already
popular before the epoch of the Persian wars. They became a Panhellenic
festival open to all Greeks, women as well as men, slaves as well as
freemen. The privilege of membership was later extended to Romans. During
the first centuries of our era the influence of the mysteries increased,
as faith in the Olympian religion declined. They formed one of the last
strongholds of paganism and endured till the triumph of Christianity in
the Roman world.


The Asiatic conquests of Alexander, followed in later centuries by the
extension of Roman rule over the eastern coasts of the Mediterranean,
brought the classical peoples into contact with new religions which had
arisen in the Orient. Slaves, soldiers, traders, and travelers carried the
eastern faiths to the West, where they speedily won many followers. Even
before the downfall of the republic the deities of Asia Minor, Egypt, and
Persia had found a home at Rome. Under the empire many men and women were
attracted to their worship.


Perhaps the most remarkable of the Asiatic religions was Mithraism. Mithra
first appears as a Persian sun god, the leader of Ahuramazda's hosts in
the ceaseless struggle against the forces of darkness and evil. [15] As a
god of light Mithra was also a god of truth and purity. His worship,
spreading over the length and breadth of the Roman Empire, became the
noblest of all pagan faiths. Men saw in Mithra a Lord and Giver of Life,
who protected the weak and miserable, cleansed the sinner, conquered
death, and procured for his faithful followers the crown of immortality.

A bas relief discovered in 1838 A.D. in a cave near Heidelberg, Germany.
The central group represents Mithra slaying the bull. The smaller reliefs
show scenes from the life of Mithra, including his birth from the rock and
his ascent to Ahuramazda.]


The Mithraic worship took the form of a mystery with seven grades, or
degrees, through which candidates passed by ordeals of initiation. The
rites included a kind of baptism with holy water, a sacrificial meal of
bread and wine, and daily litanies to the sun. Mithra was represented as a
youthful hero miraculously born from a rock at the dawn of day; for this
reason his worship was always conducted underground in natural or
artificial caves, or in cellars. At the back of one of these subterranean
temples would be often a picture of Mithra slaying a bull, and an
inscription: "To the Unconquerable Sun, to Mithra." [16]


The new Oriental religions all appealed to the emotions. They helped to
satisfy the spiritual wants of men and women, by dwelling on the need of
purification from sin and by holding forth the prospect of a happier life
beyond the tomb. It is not strange, therefore, that they penetrated every
province of the Roman Empire and flourished as late as the fourth century
of our era. Christianity had no more dangerous antagonists than the
followers of Mithra and other eastern divinities.



Christianity rose among the Jews, for Jesus was a Jew and his disciples
were Jews. At the time of the death of Jesus [17] his immediate followers
numbered scarcely a Christianity hundred persons. The catastrophe of the
crucifixion struck them with sorrow and dismay. When, however, the
disciples came to believe in the resurrection of their master, a wonderful
impetus was given to the growth of the new religion. They now asserted
that Jesus was the true Messiah, or Christ, who by rising from the dead
had sealed the truth of his teachings. For several years after the
crucifixion, the disciples remained at Jerusalem, preaching and making
converts. The new doctrines met so much opposition on the part of Jewish
leaders in the capital city that the followers of Jesus withdrew to
Samaria, Damascus, and Antioch. In all these places there were large
Jewish communities, among whom Peter and his fellow apostles labored




Up to this time the new faith had been spread only among the Jews. The
first Christians did not neglect to keep up all the customs of the Jewish
religion. It was even doubted for a while whether any but Jews could
properly be allowed within the Christian fold. A new convert, Saul of
Tarsus, afterwards the Apostle Paul, did most to admit the Gentiles, or
pagans, to the privileges of the new religion. Though born a Jew, Paul had
been trained in the schools of Tarsus, a city of Asia Minor which was a
great center of Greek learning. He possessed a knowledge of Greek
philosophy, and particularly of Stoicism. This broad education helped to
make him an acceptable missionary to Greek-speaking peoples. During more
than thirty years of unceasing activity Paul established churches in Asia
Minor, Greece, Macedonia, and Italy. To many of these churches he wrote
the letters (epistles), which have found a place in the New Testament. So
large a part of the doctrines of Christianity has been derived from Paul's
writings that we may well speak of him as the second founder of the
Christian faith.

[Illustration: MADONNA AND CHILD
The earliest known representation of Mary and the infant Jesus. The
prophet Isaiah is shown pointing to the new star. The picture dates from
about 200 A.D. and comes from the catacombs of St. Priscilla.]


Christianity advanced with marvelous rapidity over the Roman world. At the
close of the first century there were Christians everywhere in Asia Minor.
The second century saw the establishment of flourishing churches in almost
every province of the empire. A hundred years later there were
missionaries along the Rhine, on the Danube frontier, and in distant
Britain. "We are but of yesterday," says a Christian writer, with
pardonable exaggeration, "yet we have filled all your places of resort--
cities, islands, fortresses, towns, markets, the camp itself, the tribes,
town councils, the palace, the senate, and the forum, We have left to you
only the temples of your gods." [18]


Certain circumstances contributed to the success of this gigantic
missionary enterprise. Alexander's conquests in the East and those of Rome
in the West had done much to remove the barriers to intercourse between
nations. The spread of Greek and Latin as the common languages of the
Mediterranean world furnished a medium in which Christian speakers and
writers could be easily understood. The scattering of the Jews after the
destruction of Jerusalem [19] provided the Christians with an audience in
many cities of the empire. The early missionaries, such as Paul himself,
were often Roman citizens who enjoyed the protection of the Roman law and
profited by the ease of travel which the imperial rule had made possible.
At no other period in ancient history were conditions so favorable for the
rapid spread of a new religion.


While Christianity was conquering the world, the believers in its
doctrines were grouping themselves into communities or churches. Every
city had a congregation of Christian worshipers. [20] They met, not in
synagogues as did the Jews, but in private houses, where they sang hymns,
listened to readings from the Holy Scriptures, and partook of a
sacrificial meal in memory of the last supper of Jesus with his disciples.
Certain officers called presbyters, [21] or elders, were chosen to conduct
the services and instruct the converts. The chief presbyter received the
name of "overseer," or bishop. [22] Each church had also one or more
deacons, who visited the sick and relieved the wants of the poor. Every
Christian community thus formed a little brotherhood of earnest men and
women, united by common beliefs and common hopes.

[Illustration: CHRIST, THE GOOD SHEPHERD (Imperial Museum, Constantinople)
This quaint, rude figure, found in an early Christian tomb in Asia Minor,
dates probably from the beginning of the third century. It is the oldest
known statue of Christ. He wears the coarse garb of an Oriental peasant;
his countenance is gentle and thoughtful; on his broad shoulders rests a



The new religion from the start met popular disapproval. The early
Christians, who tried to keep themselves free from idolatry, were regarded
as very unsociable persons. They never appeared at public feasts and
entertainments. They would not join in the amusements of the circus or the
amphitheater. They refused to send their children to the schools. The
ordinary citizen could not understand such people. It is not surprising,
therefore, that they gained the evil name of "haters of mankind."


If the multitude despised the Christians, they sometimes feared them as
well. Strange stories circulated about the secret meetings of the
Christians, who at their sacrificial meal were declared to feast on
children. The Christians, too, were often looked upon as magicians who
caused all sorts of disasters. It was not difficult to excite the vicious
crowds of the larger cities to riots and disorders, in which many
followers of the new religion lost their lives.


Such outbursts of mob hatred were only occasional. There would have been
no organized, persistent attack, if the imperial government had not taken
a hand. Rome, which had treated so many other foreign faiths with careless
indifference or even with favor, which had tolerated the Jews and granted
to them special privileges of worship, made a deliberate effort to crush


Rome entered on the persecutions because it saw in Christianity that which
threatened its own existence. The Christians declined to support the state
religion; they even condemned it unsparingly as sinful and idolatrous. The
Christians, moreover, would not worship the _genius_, or guardian spirit
of the emperor, and would not burn incense before his statue, which stood
in every town. Such a refusal to take what was really an oath of
allegiance was regarded as an act of rebellion. These feelings of
hostility to the Christians were strengthened by their unwillingness to
serve in the army and to swear by the pagan gods in courts of law. In
short, the members of this new sect must have appeared very unruly
subjects who, if allowed to become numerous enough, would endanger the
security of the government.


As early as the beginning of the second century Roman officials began to
search out and punish Christians, wherever they were found. During the
third century the entire power of the imperial government was directed
against this outlawed sect. The persecution which began under Diocletian
was the last and most severe. With some interruptions it continued for
eight years. Only Gaul and Britain seem to have escaped its ravages. The
government began by burning the holy books of the Christians, by
destroying their churches, and by taking away their property. Members of
the hated faith lost their privileges as full Roman citizens. Then sterner
measures followed. The prisons were crowded with Christians. Those who
refused to recant and sacrifice to the emperor were thrown to wild animals
in the arena, stretched on the rack, or burned over a slow fire. Every
refinement of torture was practiced. Paganism, fighting for its existence,
left no means untried to root out a sect both despised and feared.


The Christians joyfully suffered for their religion. They welcomed the
torture and death which would gain for them a heavenly crown. Those who
perished were called martyrs, that is, "witnesses." Even now the festal
day of a martyr is the day of his death.

The catacombs of Rome are underground cemeteries in which the Christians
buried their dead. The bodies were laid in recesses in the walls of the
galleries or underneath the pavement. Several tiers of galleries (in one
instance as many as seven) lie one below the other. Their total length has
been estimated at no less than six hundred miles. The illustration shows a
small chamber, or cubiculum. The graves have been opened and the bodies
taken away.]



Diocletian's persecution, which continued for several years after his
abdication, came to an end in 311 A.D. In that year Galerius, the ruler in
the East, published an edict which permitted the Christians to rebuild
their churches and worship undisturbed. It remained for the emperor
Constantine to take the next significant step. In 313 A.D. Constantine and
his colleague, Licinius, issued the Edict of Milan, which proclaimed for
the first time in history the noble principle of religious toleration. It
gave absolute freedom to every man to choose and follow the religion which
he deemed best suited to his needs. This edict placed the Christian faith
on an equality with paganism.


The conversion of Constantine is one of the most important events in
ancient history. A Roman emperor, himself a god to the subjects of Rome,
became the worshiper of a crucified provincial of his empire. Constantine
favored the Christians throughput his reign. He surrounded himself with
Christian bishops, freed the clergy from taxation, and spent large sums in
building churches. One of his laws abolished the use of the cross as an
instrument of punishment. Another enactment required that magistrates,
city people, and artisans were to rest on Sunday. This was the first
"Sunday law." [23]

[Illustration: THE LABARUM
The sacred military standard of the early Christian Roman emperors. First
adopted by Constantine. It consisted of a staff or lance with a purple
banner on a cross-bar. The two Greek letters XP (CHR) make a monogram of
the word Christ (Greek _Christos_).]


Significant of the emperor's attitude toward Christianity was his action
in summoning all the bishops in the different provinces to a gathering at
Nicaea in Asia Minor. It was the first general council of the Church. The
principal work of the Council of Nicaea was the settlement of a great
dispute which had arisen over the nature of Christ. Some theologians
headed by Arius, a priest of Alexandria, maintained that Christ the Son,
having been created by God the Father, was necessarily inferior to him
Athanasius, another Alexandrian priest, opposed this view and held that
Christ was not a created being, but was in all ways equal to God. The
Council accepted the arguments of Athanasius, condemned Arius as a
heretic, and framed the Nicene Creed, which is still the accepted summary
of Christian doctrine. Though thrust out of the Church, Arianism lived to
flourish anew among the Germanic tribes, of which the majority were
converted to Christianity by Arian missionaries.

Erected at Rome in 315 A.D. to commemorate the victory of Constantine over
Maxentius. The monument consists of a central gateway and two smaller
arches flanked by detached columns in the Corinthian style. The arch is
decorated with four large statues in front of the upper story and also
with numerous sculptures in relief.]


The recognition given to Christianity by Constantine helped immensely to
spread the new faith. The emperor Theodosius, whose services to the church
won him the title of "the Great," made Christianity the state religion.
Sacrifices to the pagan gods were forbidden, the temples were closed, and
their property was taken away. Those strongholds of the old paganism, the
Delphic oracle, the Olympian games, and the Eleusinian mysteries, were
abolished. Even the private worship of the household Lares and Penates
[24] was prohibited. Though paganism lingered for a century or more in the
country districts, it became extinct as a state religion by the end of the
fourth century.




The new religion certainly helped to soften and refine manners by the
stress which it laid upon such "Christian" virtues as humility,
tenderness, and gentleness. By dwelling on the sanctity of human life,
Christianity did its best to repress the very common practice of suicide
as well as the frightful evil of infanticide. [25] It set its face sternly
against the obscenities of the theater and the cruelties of the
gladiatorial shows. [26] In these and other respects Christianity had much
to do with the improvement of ancient morals.


Perhaps even more original contributions of Christianity to civilization
lay in its social teachings. The belief in the fatherhood of God implied a
corresponding belief in the brotherhood of man. This doctrine of the
equality of men had been expressed before by ancient philosophers, but
Christianity translated the precept into practice. In this way it helped
to improve the condition of slaves and, by favoring emancipation, even
tended to decrease slavery. [27] Christianity also laid much emphasis on
the virtue of charity and the duty of supporting all institutions which
aimed to relieve the lot of the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden.


At the close of the fourth century the Germanic tribes living nearest the
frontiers had been visited by missionaries and had become converts to
Christianity. The fact that both Romans and Germans were Christians tended
to lessen the terrors of the invasions and to bring about a peaceful
fusion of the conquerors and the conquered.


1. On an outline map indicate the territories of the Roman Empire and
their division, 395 A D.

2. What is the date of the accession of the emperor Commodus? of the
accession of Diocletian? of the death of Theodosius? of the Edict of
Milan? of the Council of Nicaea?

3. What elements of weakness in the imperial system had been disclosed
during the century 180-284 A.D.?

4. Explain Diocletian's plan of "partnership emperors."

5. Define the terms _absolutism_ and _centralization_. Give an example of
a European country under a centralized administration; of a European
country under an absolute government.

6. What are the advantages of local self-government over a centralized

7. "The emperor of the first century was a _Prince_, that is, 'first
citizen'; the emperor of the fourth century was a _Sultan_." Comment on
this statement.

8. What arguments might have been made for and against the removal of the
capital to Constantinople?

9. Enumerate the causes of the decline of population in imperial times.

10. Show how an unwise system of taxation may work great economic injury.

11. Give reasons for the decline of Greek and Roman paganism.

12. Why should Mithraism have proved "the most formidable foe which
Christianity had to overcome"?

13. Were any of the ancient religions missionary faiths?

14. When and where was Jesus born? Who was king of Judea at the time? Were
the Jews independent of Rome during the lifetime of Jesus?

15. Locate on the map, facing page 230, the three divisions of Palestine
at the time of Christ.

16. To what cities of Asia Minor did Paul write his epistles, or letters?
To what other cities in the Roman Empire?

17. What was the original meaning of the words "presbyter," "bishop," and

18. What is meant by calling the Church an episcopal organization?

19. How can you explain the persecution of the Christians by an emperor so
great and good as Marcus Aurelius?

20. What is the meaning of the word "martyr"?

21. "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." Explain.

22. Describe the _Labarum_ (illustration, page 235).

23. What reasons suggest themselves as helping to explain the conversion
of the civilized world to Christianity?


[1] See page 200.

[2] See pages 184, 194.

[3] Vopiscus, _Saturninus_, 10.

[4] The number and arrangement of these divisions varied somewhat during
the fourth century. See the map, between pages 222-223, for the system as
it existed about 395 A.D.

[5] See page 186.

[6] See page 88.

[7] See the map, page 340.

[8] Until the capture of the city by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 A.D.

[9] See pages 200, 219.

[10] See page 77.

[11] See page 196.

[12] See page 201.

[13] See the map, page 107.

[14] Isocrates, _Panegyricus_, 29.

[15] See page 54.

[16] _Soli Invicto Mithrae._ An interesting survival of Mithra worship is
the date of our festival of Christmas. The 25th of December was the day of
the great annual celebration in memory of the Persian deity. In 274 A.D.
the emperor Aurelian raised a gorgeous temple to the sun god in the Campus
Martius, dedicating it on the 25th of December, "the birthday of the
Unconquerable Sun." After the triumph of Christianity the day was still
honored, but henceforth as the anniversary of the birth of Christ.

[17] The exact date of the crucifixion is unknown. It took place during
the reign of Tiberius, when Pontius Pilatus was procurator of Judea.

[18] Tertullian, _Apology_, 37.

[19] See page 199, note 1.

[20] The meeting was called _ecclesia_ from the Greek word for "popular
assembly." Hence comes our word "ecclesiastical."

[21] Whence the word "priest."

[22] The word "bishop" comes from the Greek _episkopos_ and means,
literally, an "overseer."

[23] It is highly doubtful, however, whether this legislation had any
reference to Christianity. More probably, Constantine was only adding the
day of the Sun, the worship of which was then firmly established in the
empire (see page 229, note 1) to the other holy days of the Roman

[24] See page 146.

[25] See page 253.

[26] See page 267.

[27] See page 270.





The Germans were an Indo-European people, as were their neighbors, the
Celts of Gaul and Britain. They had lived for many centuries in the wild
districts of central Europe north of the Alps and beyond the Danube and
the Rhine. This home land of the Germans in ancient times was cheerless
and unhealthy. Dense forests or extensive marshes covered the ground. The
atmosphere was heavy and humid; in summer clouds and mists brooded over
the country; and in winter it was covered with snow and ice. In such a
region everything was opposed to civilization. Hence the Germans, though a
gifted race, had not advanced as rapidly as the Greek and Italian peoples.


Our earliest notice of the Germans is found in the _Commentaries_ by
Julius Caesar, who twice invaded their country. About a century and a half
later the Roman historian, Tacitus, wrote a little book called Germany,
which gives an account of the people as they were before coming under the
influence of Rome and Christianity. Tacitus describes the Germans as
barbarians with many of the usual marks of barbarism. He speaks of their
giant size, their fierce, blue eyes, and their blonde or ruddy hair. These
physical traits made them seem especially terrible to the smaller and
darker Romans. He mentions their love of warfare, the fury of their onset
in battle, and the contempt which they had for wounds and even death
itself. When not fighting, they passed much of their time in the chase,
and still more time in sleep and gluttonous feasts. They were hard
drinkers, too, and so passionately fond of gambling that, when a man's
wealth was gone, he would even stake his liberty on a single game. In some
of these respects the Germans resembled our own Indian tribes.


On the other hand, the Germans had certain attractive qualities not always
found even among civilized peoples. They were hospitable to the stranger,
they respected their sworn word, they loved liberty and hated restraint.
Their chiefs, we are told, ruled rather by persuasion than by authority.
Above all, the Germans had a pure family life. "Almost alone among
barbarians," writes Tacitus, "they are content with one wife. No one in
Germany laughs at vice, nor is it the fashion to corrupt and be corrupted.
Good habits are here more effectual than good laws elsewhere." [2] The
Germans, then, were strong and brave, hardy, chaste, and free.


The Germans, during the three centuries between the time of Tacitus and
the beginning of the invasions, had advanced somewhat in civilization.
They were learning to live in towns instead of in rude villages, to read
and write, to make better weapons and clothes, to use money, and to enjoy
many Roman luxuries, such as wine, spices, and ornaments. They were
likewise uniting in great confederations of tribes, ruled by kings who
were able to lead them in migrations to other lands.

[Illustration: RUNIC ALPHABET
The word "rune" comes from a Gothic word meaning a secret thing, a
mystery. To the primitive Germans it seemed a mysterious thing that
letters could be used to express thought. The art of writing with an
alphabet appears to have been introduced into Germanic Europe during the
first centuries of our era. Most Runic inscriptions have been found in
Denmark and the Scandinavian peninsula.]


During this same period, also, the Germans increased rapidly in numbers.
Consequently it was a difficult matter for them to live by hunting and
fishing, or by such rude agriculture as their country allowed. They could
find additional land only in the fertile and well cultivated territories
of the Romans. It was this hunger for land, together with the love of
fighting and the desire for booty and adventure, which led to their


The German inroads were neither sudden, nor unexpected, nor new. Since the
days of Marius and of Julius Caesar not a century had passed without
witnessing some dangerous movement of the northern barbarians. Until the
close of the fourth century Rome had always held their swarming hordes at
bay. Nor were the invasions which at length destroyed the empire much more
formidable than those which had been repulsed many times before. Rome fell
because she could no longer resist with her earlier power. If the
barbarians were not growing stronger, the Romans themselves were steadily
growing weaker. The form of the empire was still the same, but it had lost
its vigor and its vitality. [3]



North of the Danube lived, near the close of the fourth century, a German
people called Visigoths, or West Goths. Their kinsmen, the Ostrogoths, or
East Goths, held the land north of the Black Sea between the Danube and
the Don. These two nations had been among the most dangerous enemies of
Rome. In the third century they made so many expeditions against the
eastern territories of the empire that Aurelian at last surrendered to the
Visigoths the great province of Dacia. [4] The barbarians now came in
contact with Roman civilization and began to lead more settled lives. Some
of them even accepted Christianity from Bishop Ulfilas, who translated the
Bible into the Gothic tongue.


The peaceful fusion of Goth and Roman might have gone on indefinitely but
for the sudden appearance in Europe of the Huns. They were a nomadic
people from central Asia. Entering Europe north of the Caspian Sea, the
Huns quickly subdued the Ostrogoths and compelled them to unite in an
attack upon their German kinsmen. Then the entire nation of Visigoths
crowded the banks of the Danube and begged the Roman authorities to allow
them to cross that river and place its broad waters between them and their
terrible foes. In an evil hour for Rome their prayer was granted. At
length two hundred thousand Gothic warriors, with their wives and
children, found a home on Roman soil.


The settlement of such a host of barbarians within the frontier of the
empire was in itself a dangerous thing. The danger was increased by the
ill treatment which the immigrants received. The Roman officials robbed
them of their possessions, withheld the promised supplies of food, and
even tried to murder their leaders at a banquet. Finally, the Germans
broke out in open revolt. The emperor Valens misjudged their strength and
rashly gave them battle near Adrianople in Thrace. The once invincible
legions fell an easy prey to their foes, and the emperor himself perished.

A manuscript of Ulfilas's translation of the Bible forms one of the
treasures of the library of the university of Upsala, Sweden. It is
beautifully written in letters of gold and silver on parchment of a rich
purple dye. In making his version Ulfilas, who was himself a converted
Visigoth, generally indicated the Gothic sounds by means of the Greek
alphabet. He added, however, a few signs from the Runic alphabet, with
which the Germans were familiar.]


The defeat at Adrianople is considered one of the few really decisive
battles in the world's history. It showed the barbarians that they could
face the Romans in open fight and beat them. And it broke, once for all,
the Danube barrier. Swarms of fighting men, Ostrogoths as well as
Visigoths, overran the provinces south of the Danube. The great ruler,
Theodosius, [5] saved the empire for a time by granting lands to the
Germans and by enrolling them in the army under the high-sounding title of
"allies." Until his death the Goths remained quiet--but it was only the
lull before the storm.


Theodosius, "the friend of the Goths," died in 395 A.D., leaving the
defense of the Roman world to his weakling sons, Arcadius and Honorius. In
the same year the Visigoths raised one of their young nobles, named
Alaric, upon a shield and with joyful shouts acclaimed him as their king.
The Visigothic leader despised the service of Rome. His people, he
thought, should be masters, not servants. Alaric determined to lead them
into the very heart of the empire, where they might find fertile lands and
settle once for all.


Alaric at first fixed his attention on Constantinople. Realizing, at
length, how hopeless would be the siege of that great city, he turned
toward the west and descended upon Greece. The Germans marched unopposed
through the pass of Thermopylae and devastated central Greece, as the
Persians had done nearly nine centuries before. [6] Then the barbarians
entered the Peloponnesus, but were soon driven out by Stilicho, a German
chieftain who had risen to the command of the army of Honorius. Alaric
gave up Greece only to invade Italy. Before long the Goths crossed the
Julian Alps and entered the rich and defenseless valley of the Po. To meet
the crisis the legions were hastily called in, even from the distant
frontiers. Stilicho formed them into a powerful army, beat back the enemy,
and captured the Visigothic camp, filled with the spoil of Greek cities.
In the eyes of the Romans Stilicho seemed a second Marius, who had arisen
in an hour of peril to save Italy from its barbarian foes. [7]


Alaric and his Goths had been repulsed; they had not been destroyed.
Beyond the Alps they were regaining their shattered strength and biding
their time. Their opportunity came soon enough, when Honorius caused
Stilicho to be put to death on a charge of plotting to seize the throne.
The accusation may have been true, but in killing Stilicho the emperor had
cut off his right hand with his left. Now that Stilicho was out of the
way, Alaric no longer feared to descend again on Italy. The Goths advanced
rapidly southward past Ravenna, where Honorius had shut himself up in
terror, and made straight for Rome. In 410 A.D., just eight hundred years
after the sack of the city by the Gauls, [8] Rome found the Germans within
her gates.


The city for three days and nights was given up to pillage. Alaric, who
was a Christian, ordered his followers to respect the churches and their
property and to refrain from bloodshed. Though the city did not greatly
suffer, the moral effect of the disaster was immense. Rome the eternal,
the unconquerable, she who had taken captive all the world, was now
herself a captive. The pagans saw in this calamity the vengeance of the
ancient deities, who had been dishonored and driven from their shrines.
The Christians believed that God had sent a judgment on the Romans to
punish them for their sins. In either case the spell of Rome was forever


From Rome Alaric led his hosts, laden with plunder, into southern Italy.
He may have intended to cross the Mediterranean and bring Africa under his
rule. The plan was never carried out, for the youthful chieftain died
suddenly, a victim to the Italian fever. After Alaric's death, the
barbarians made their way northward through Italy and settled in southern
Gaul and Spain. In these lands they founded an independent Visigothic
kingdom, the first to be created on Roman soil.

[Illustration: Map, THE GERMANIC MIGRATIONS to 476 A.D.]


The possessions of the Visigoths in Gaul were seized by their neighbors,
the Franks, in less than a century; [9] but the Gothic kingdom in Spain
had three hundred years of prosperous life. [10] The barbarian rulers
sought to preserve the institutions of Rome and to respect the rights of
their Roman subjects. Conquerors and conquered gradually blended into one
people, out of whom have grown the Spaniards of modern times.



After the departure of the Visigoths Rome and Italy remained undisturbed
for nearly forty years. The western provinces were not so fortunate. At
the time of Alaric's first attack on Italy the legions along the Rhine had
been withdrawn to meet him, leaving the frontier unguarded. In 406 A.D.,
four years before Alaric's sack of Rome, a vast company of Germans crossed
the Rhine and swept almost unopposed through Gaul. Some of these peoples
succeeded in establishing kingdoms for themselves on the ruins of the


The Burgundians settled on the upper Rhine and in the fertile valley of
the Rhone, in southeastern Gaul. Alter less than a century of independence
they were conquered by the Franks. [11] Their name, however, survives in
modern Burgundy.


The Vandals settled first in Spain. The territory now called Andalusia
still preserves the memory of these barbarians. After the Visigothic
invasion of Spain the Vandals passed over to North Africa. They made
themselves masters of Carthage and soon conquered all the Roman province
of Africa. Their kingdom here lasted about one hundred years. [12]


While the Visigoths were finding a home in the districts north and south
of the Pyrenees, the Burgundians in the Rhone valley, and the Vandals in
Africa, still another Germanic people began to spread over northern Gaul.
They were the Franks, who had long held lands on both sides of the lower
Rhine. The Franks, unlike the other Germans, were not of a roving
disposition. They contented themselves with a gradual advance into Roman
territory. It was not until near the close of the fifth century that they
overthrew the Roman power in northern Gaul and began to form the Frankish
kingdom, out of which modern France has grown.


The troubled years of the fifth century saw also the beginning of the
Germanic conquest of Britain. The withdrawal of the legions from that
island left it defenseless, for the Celtic inhabitants were too weak to
defend themselves. Bands of savage Picts from Scotland swarmed over
Hadrian's Wall, attacking the Britons in the rear. Ireland sent forth the
no less savage Scots. The eastern coasts, at the same time, were
constantly exposed to raids by German pirates. The Britons, in their
extremity, adopted the old Roman practice of getting the barbarians to
fight for them. Bands of Jutes were invited over from Denmark in 449 A.D.
The Jutes forced back the Picts and then settled in Britain as conquerors.
Fresh swarms of invaders followed them, chiefly Angles from what is now
Schleswig-Holstein and Saxons from the neighborhood of the rivers Elbe and
Weser in northern Germany. The invaders subdued nearly all that part of
Britain that Rome had previously conquered. In this way the Angles and
Saxons became ancestors of the English people, and Engleland became
England. [13]


By the middle of the fifth century the larger part of the Roman Empire in
the West had come under barbarian control. The Germans ruled in Africa,
Spain, Britain, and parts of Gaul. But now the new Germanic kingdoms,
together with what remained of the old empire, were threatened by a common
foe--the terrible Huns.



We know very little about the Huns, except that they were not related to
the Germans or to any other European people. Some scholars believe them to
have belonged to the Mongolian race. But the Huns, to the excited
imagination of Roman writers, were demons rather than men. Their olive
skins, little, turned-up noses, and black, beady eyes must have given them
a very frightful appearance. They spent most of their time on horseback,
sweeping over the country like a whirlwind and leaving destruction and
death in their wake.


The Huns did not become dangerous to Rome for more than half a century
after their first appearance in Europe. [14] During this time they moved
into the Danube region and settled in the lands now known as Austria and
Hungary. At last the Huns found a national leader in Attila, "a man born
into the world to agitate the nations, the fear of all lands," [15] one
whose boast it was that the grass never grew again where his horse's hoofs
had trod. He quickly built up a great military power obeyed by many
barbarous nations from the Caspian to the Rhine.


Attila, from his capital on the Danube, could threaten both the East and
the West. The emperors at Constantinople bought him off with lavish gifts,
and so the robber-ruler turned to the western provinces for his prey. In
451 A.D. he led his motley host, said to number half a million men, across
the Rhine. Many a noble municipality with its still active Roman life was
visited by the Huns with fire and sword. Paris, it is worthy of note,
escaped destruction. That now famous city was then only a little village
on an island in the Seine.


In this hour of danger Romans and Germans gave up quarreling and united
against the common foe. Visigoths under their native king hastened from
Spain; Burgundians and Franks joined their ranks; to these forces a German
general, named Aëtius, added the last Roman army in the West. Opposed to
them Attila had his Huns, the conquered Ostrogoths, and many other
barbarian peoples. The battle of Châlons has well been called a struggle
of the nations. It was one of the fiercest conflicts recorded in history.
On both sides thousands perished, but so many more of Attila's men fell
that he dared not risk a fresh encounter on the following day. He drew his
shattered forces together and retreated beyond the Rhine.


In spite of this setback Attila did not abandon the hope of conquest. The
next year he led his still formidable army over the Julian Alps and burned
or plundered many towns of northern Italy. A few trembling fugitives
sought shelter on the islands at the head of the Adriatic. Out of their
rude huts grew up in the Middle Ages splendid and famous Venice, a city
that in later centuries was to help defend Europe against those kinsmen of
the Huns, the Turks.


The fiery Hun did not long survive this Italian expedition. Within a year
he was dead, dying suddenly, it was said, in a drunken sleep. The great
confederacy which he had formed broke up after his death. The German
subjects gained their freedom, and the Huns themselves either withdrew to
their Asiatic wilds or mingled with the peoples they had conquered. Europe
breathed again; the nightmare was over.



Rome escaped a visitation by the Huns only to fall a victim, three years
later, to the Vandals. After the capture of Carthage,[16] these barbarians
made that city the seat of a pirate empire. Putting out in their long,
light vessels, they swept the seas and raided many a populous city on the
Mediterranean coast. So terrible were their inroads that the word
"vandalism" has come to mean the wanton destruction of property.


In 455 A.D. the ships of the Vandals, led by their king, Gaiseric,
appeared at the mouth of the Tiber. The Romans could offer no resistance.
Only the noble bishop Leo went out with his clergy to meet the invader and
intercede for the city. Gaiseric promised to spare the lives of the
inhabitants and not to destroy the public buildings. These were the best
terms he would grant. The Vandals spent fourteen days stripping Rome of
her wealth. Besides shiploads of booty the Vandals took away thousands of
Romans as slaves, including the widow and two daughters of an emperor.


After the Vandal sack of Rome the imperial throne became the mere
plaything of the army and its leaders. A German commander, named Ricimer,
set up and deposed four puppet emperors within five years. He was, in
fact, the real ruler of Italy at this time. After his death Orestes,
another German general, went a step beyond Ricimer's policy and placed his
own son on the throne of the Caesars. By a curious coincidence, this lad
bore the name of Romulus, legendary founder of Rome, and the nickname of
Augustulus ("the little Augustus"). The boy emperor reigned less than a
year. The German troops clamored for a third of the lands of Italy and,
when their demand was refused, proclaimed Odoacer king. The poor little
emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was sent to a villa near Naples, where he
disappears from history.

[Illustration: Map, EUROPE at the Deposition of Romulus Augustulus 476


There was now no emperor in the West. To the men of that time it seemed
that East and West had been once more joined under a single ruler, as in
the days of Constantine. The emperors who reigned at Constantinople did
not relinquish their claims to be regarded as the rightful sovereigns in
Italy and Rome. Nevertheless, as an actual fact, Roman rule in the West
was now all but extinct. Odoacer, the head of the barbarians in Italy,
ruled a kingdom as independent as that of the Vandals in Africa or that of
the Visigoths in Spain and Gaul. The date 476 A.D. may therefore be chosen
as marking, better than any other, the overthrow of the Roman Empire in
the West by the Germans.



Classical civilization suffered a great shock when the Germans descended
on the empire and from its provinces carved out their kingdoms. These
barbarians were rude in manners, were very ignorant, and had little taste
for anything except fighting and bodily enjoyments. They were unlike the
Romans in dress and habits of life. They lived under different laws, spoke
different languages, obeyed different rulers. Their invasions naturally
ushered in a long period of confusion and disorder, during which the new
race slowly raised itself to a level of culture somewhat approaching that
which the Greeks and the Romans had attained.


The Germans in many ways did injury to classical civilization. They
sometimes destroyed Roman cities and killed or enslaved the inhabitants.
Even when the invaders settled peaceably in the empire, they took
possession of the land and set up their own tribal governments in place of
the Roman. They allowed aqueducts, bridges, and roads to go without
repairs, and theaters, baths, and other public buildings to sink into
ruins. Having no appreciation of education, the Germans failed to keep up
the schools, universities, and libraries. Being devoted chiefly to
agriculture, they had no need for foreign wares or costly articles of
luxury, and hence they permitted industry and commerce to languish. In
short, large parts of western Europe, particularly Gaul, Spain, and
Britain, fell backward into a condition of ignorance, superstition, and
even barbarism.


But in closing our survey of the Germanic invasions we need to dwell on
the forces that made for progress, rather than on those that made for
decline. Classical civilization, we have already found reason to believe,
[17] had begun to decay long before the Germans broke up the empire. The
Germans came, as Christianity had come, only to hasten the process of
decay. Each of these influences, in turn, worked to build up the fabric of
a new society on the ruins of the old. First Christianity infused the
pagan world with its quickening spirit and gave a new religion to mankind.
Later followed the Germans, who accepted Christianity, who adopted much of
Graeco-Roman culture, and then contributed their fresh blood and youthful
minds and their own vigorous life.


1. On an outline map indicate the extent of Germany in the time of

2. Make a list of all the Germanic nations mentioned in this chapter, and
give a short account of each.

3 Give dates for the following: battle of Châlons; sack of Rome by Alaric;
battle of Adrianople; and end of the Roman Empire in the West.

4. What resemblances existed between the culture of the Germans and that
of the early Greeks?

5. Why did the Germans progress more slowly in civilization than the
Greeks and the Romans?

6. Comment on this statement: "The Germans had stolen their way into the
very citadel of the empire long before its distant outworks were stormed."

7. Why is modern civilization, unlike that of antiquity, in little danger
from barbarians?

8. Why has the battle of Adrianople been called "the Cannae of the fourth

9. Why has Alaric been styled "the Moses of the Visigoths"?

10. What is the origin of the geographical names Andalusia, Burgundy,
England, and France?

11. Why was Attila called the "scourge of God"?

12. Can you suggest a reason why some historians do not regard Châlons as
one of the world's decisive battles?

13. In what sense does the date, 476 A.D., mark the "fall" of the Roman


[1] Webster, _Readings in Ancient History_, chapter xxiii, "The Germans as
Described by Tacitus."

[2] Tacitus, _Germania_, 19.

[3] See pages 224-226.

[4] See page 219.

[5] See page 223.

[6] See page 98.

[7] See page 178.

[8] See page 153.

[9] See page 303.

[10] See page 378.

[11] See page 303.

[12] See page 330.

[13] The invasion of Britain by the Anglo-Saxons was followed by the
migration across the Channel of large numbers of the defeated islanders.
The district in France where they settled is called after them, Brittany.

[14] See page 241.

[15] Jordanes, _De rebus Geticis_, 35.

[16] See page 225.

[17] See page 224.





The history of the Greeks and Romans ought not to be studied only in their
political development and the biographies of their great statesmen and
warriors. We must also know something of ancient literature, philosophy,
and art. Especially do we need to learn about the private life of the
classical peoples--their manners, customs, occupations, and amusements.
This life centered in the city.


A Greek or a Roman city usually grew up about a hill of refuge
(_acropolis, capitolium_), to which the people of the surrounding district
could flee in time of danger. The hill would be crowned with a fortress
and the temples of the gods. Not far away was the market place (_agora,
forum_), where the people gathered to conduct their business and to enjoy
social intercourse. About the citadel and market place were grouped the
narrow streets and low houses of the town.


The largest and most beautiful buildings in an ancient city were always
the temples, colonnades, and other public structures. The houses of
private individuals, for the most part, had few pretensions to beauty.
They were insignificant in appearance and were often built with only one
story. From a distance, however, their whitewashed walls and red-tiled
roofs, shining brightly under the warm sun, must have made an attractive


To the free-born inhabitant of Athens or of Rome his city was at once his
country and his church, his club and his home. He shared in its
government; he took part in the stately ceremonies that honored its patron
god; in the city he could indulge his taste for talking and for politics;
here he found both safety and society. No wonder that an Athenian or a
Roman learned, from early childhood, to love his city with passionate



The coming of a child, to parents in antiquity as to parents now, was
usually a very happy event. Especially welcome was the birth of a son. The
father felt assured that through the boy his old age would be cared for
and that the family name and the worship of the family ancestors would be
kept up after his own death. "Male children," said an ancient poet, "are
the pillars of the house." [2] The city, as well, had an interest in the
matter, for a male child meant another citizen able to take the father's
place in the army and the public assembly. To have no children was
regarded as one of the greatest calamities that could befall a Greek or a


The ancient attitude toward children was in one respect very unlike our
own. The law allowed a father to do whatever he pleased with a newly born
child. If he was very poor, or if his child was deformed, he could expose
it in some desert spot, where it soon died. An infant was sometimes placed
secretly in a temple, where possibly some kind-hearted person might rescue
it. The child, in this case, became the slave of its adopter. This custom
of exposure, an inheritance from prehistoric savagery, tended to grow less
common with advancing culture. The complete abolition of infanticide was
due to the spread of Christian teachings about the sacredness of human
life. [3]


A Greek boy generally had but one name. The favorite name for the eldest
son was that of his paternal grandfather. A father, however, might give
him his own name or that of an intimate friend. The Romans at first seem
to have used only the one name, then two were given; and later we have the
familiar three-fold name, representing the individual, the clan, and the
family. [4]


Greek education consisted of three main branches, known as gymnastics,
music, and grammar. By gymnastics the Greeks meant the physical training
in the palestra, an open stretch of ground on the outskirts of the city.
Here a private teacher gave instruction in the various athletic sports
which were so popular at the national games. The training in music was
intended to improve the moral nature of young men and to fit them for
pleasant social intercourse. They were taught to play a stringed
instrument, called the lyre, and at the same time to sing to their own
accompaniment. Grammar, the third branch of education, included
instruction in writing and the reading of the national literature. After a
boy had learned to write and to read, the schoolmaster took up with him
the works of the epic poets, especially Homer, besides _Aesop's Fables_
and other popular compositions. The student learned by heart much of the
poetry and at so early an age that he always remembered it. Not a few
Athenians, it is said, could recite the entire _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_.

[Illustration: AN ATHENIAN SCHOOL (Royal Museum, Berlin)
A painting by Duris on a drinking-cup, or cylix. The picture is divided by
the two handles. In the upper half, beginning at the left: a youth playing
the double flute as a lesson to the boy before him; a teacher holding a
tablet and stylus and correcting a composition; a slave (_paedagogus_),
who accompanied the children to and from school. In the lower half: a
master teaching his pupil to play the lyre; a teacher holding a half-
opened roll, listening to a recitation by the student before him; a
bearded _paedagogus_. The inner picture, badly damaged, represents a youth
in a bath.]


A Roman boy began his school days at about the age of seven. He learned to
read, to write with a stylus on wax tablets, and to cipher by means of the
reckoning board, or abacus. He received a little instruction in singing
and memorized all sorts of proverbs and maxims, besides the laws of the
Twelve Tables. [5] His studying went on under the watchful eyes of a harsh
schoolmaster, who did not hesitate to use the rod. After Rome began to
come into close contact with Greece, the curriculum was enlarged by the
study of literature. The Romans were the first people who made the
learning of a foreign tongue an essential part of education. Schools now
arose in which the Greek language and literature formed the chief subject
of instruction. As Latin literature came into being, its productions,
especially the orations of Cicero and the poems of Vergil and Horace, were
also used as texts for study.

Wall painting, Herculaneum.]

Relief on a sarcophagus. The papyrus roll was sometimes very long. The
entire _Iliad_ or _Odyssey_ might be contained in a single manuscript
measuring one hundred and fifty feet in length. In the third century A.D.
the unwieldy roll began to give way to the tablet, composed of a number of
leaves held together by a ring. About this time, also, the use of vellum,
or parchment made of sheepskin, became common.]


Persons of wealth or noble birth might follow their school training by a
university course at a Greek city, such as Athens, Alexandria, or Rhodes.
Here the Roman youth would listen to lectures on philosophy, delivered by
the deep thinkers whom Greece still produced, and would profit by the
treasures of art and science preserved in these ancient capitals. Many
famous Romans thus passed several years abroad in graduate study. During
the imperial age, as we have already seen, [6] schools of grammar and
rhetoric arose in the West, particularly in Gaul and Spain, and attracted
students from all parts of the empire.



A young man in Athens or in Rome did not, as a rule, marry immediately on
coming of age. He might remain a bachelor for several years, sometimes
till he was thirty or over. The young man's father had most to do with the
selection of a wife. He tried to secure for his son some daughter of a
friend who possessed rank and property equal to his own. The parents of
the two parties would then enter into a contract which, among other
things, usually stated how large a dowry the bride's father was to settle
on his daughter. An engagement was usually very little a matter of romance
and very much a matter of business.


The wedding customs of the Greeks and Romans presented many likenesses.
Marriage, among both peoples, was a religious ceremony. On the appointed
day the principals and their guests, dressed in holiday attire, met at the
house of the bride. In the case of a Roman wedding the auspices [7] were
then taken, and the words of the nuptial contract were pronounced in the
presence of witnesses. After a solemn sacrifice to the gods of marriage,
the guests partook of the wedding banquet. When night came on, the husband
brought his wife to her new abode, escorted by a procession of
torchbearers, musicians, and friends, who sang the happy wedding song.


An Athenian wife, during her younger years, always remained more or less a
prisoner. She could not go out except by permission. She took no part in
the banquets and entertainments which her husband gave. She lived a life
of confinement in that quarter of the house assigned to the women for
their special abode. Married women at Rome enjoyed a far more honorable
position. Although early custom placed the wife, together with her
children, in the power of the husband, [8] still she possessed many
privileges. She did not remain all the time at home, but mingled freely in
society. She was the friend and confidante of her husband, as well as his
housekeeper. During the great days of Roman history the women showed
themselves virtuous and dignified, loving wives and excellent companions.



There were no great differences between the dress of the two classical
peoples. Both wore the long, loosely flowing robes that contrast so
sharply with our tight-fitting garments. [9] Athenian male attire
consisted of but two articles, the tunic and the mantle. The tunic was an
undergarment of wool or linen, without sleeves. Over this was thrown a
large woolen mantle, so wrapped about the figure as to leave free only the
right shoulder and head. In the house a man wore only his tunic; out of
doors and on the street he usually wore the mantle over it. Very similar
to the two main articles of Greek clothing were the Roman _tunica_ and
_toga_. [10]


On a journey or out in the country broad-brimmed hats were used to shield
the head from the sun. In rainy weather the mantle, pulled up over the
head, furnished protection. Sandals, merely flat soles of wood or leather
fastened by thongs, were worn indoors, but even these were laid aside at a
dinner party. Outside the house leather shoes of various shapes and colors
were used. They cannot have been very comfortable, since stockings were
not known in antiquity.


The ancient house lay close to the street line. The exterior was plain and
simple to an extreme. The owner was satisfied if his mansion shut out the
noise and dust of the highway. He built it, therefore, round one or more
open courts, which took the place of windows supplying light and air.
Except for the doorway the front of the house presented a bare, blank
surface, only relieved by narrow slits or lattices in the wall of the
upper story. The street side of the house wall received a coating of
whitewash or of fine marble stucco. The roof of the house was covered with
clay tiles. This style of domestic architecture is still common in eastern

Notice the large area of blank wall both on the front and on the side. The
front windows are very small and evidently of less importance for
admitting light than the openings of the two _atria_. At the back is seen
the large, well-lighted peristyle.]

The view shows the _atrium_ with the basin for rainwater, in the center
the _tabinum_ with its wall paintings, and the peristyle at the rear.]


In contrast with its unpretentious exterior a classical dwelling indoors
had a most attractive appearance. We cannot exactly determine just what
were the arrangements of a Greek interior. But the better class of Roman
houses, such as some of those excavated at Pompeii, [11] followed Greek
designs in many respects. The Pompeian remains, therefore, will give some
idea of the sort of residence occupied by a well-to-do citizen of Athens
or Rome.



The visitor at one of these ancient houses first entered a small
vestibule, from which a narrow passage led to the heavy oaken door. A dog
was sometimes kept chained in this hallway; in Pompeii there is a picture
of one worked in mosaic on the floor with the warning beneath it, "Beware
of the dog." Having made known his presence by using the knocker, the
guest was ushered into the reception room, or _atrium_. This was a large
apartment covered with a roof, except for a hole in the center admitting
light and air. A marble basin directly underneath caught the rain water
which came through the opening. The _atrium_ represents the single room of
the primitive Roman house without windows or chimney. [12]


A corridor from the _atrium_ led into the _peristyle_, the second of the
two main sections of a Roman house. It was a spacious court, open to the
sky and inclosed by a colonnade or portico. This delightful spot, rather
than the formal _atrium_, served as the center of family life. About it
were grouped the bedchambers, bathrooms, dining rooms, kitchen, and other
apartments of a comfortable mansion. Still other rooms occupied the upper
stories of the dwelling.


The ancient Athenian was no sluggard. At sunrise, or even before, he rose
from his couch, washed his face and hands, put on his scanty garments, and
was soon ready for the street. Before leaving the house, he broke his fast
with a meal as simple as the European "rolls and coffee"--in this case
merely a few mouthfuls of bread dipped in wine. After breakfast he might
call on his friends or perhaps ride into the country and visit his
estates. About ten o'clock (which the Athenians called "full market"), he
would be pretty sure to find his way to the Agora. The shops at this time
were crowded with purchasers, and every sociable citizen of Athens was to
be found in them or in the neighboring colonnades which lined the market

House of the Vettii Pompeii. The peristyle, excavated in 1894-1895 A.D.
has been carefully restored. The garden, fountains, tables, and marble
colonnades are all modern]


The public resorts were deserted at noon, when the Athenian returned home
to enjoy a light meal and a rest during the heat. As the day grew cooler,
men again went out and visited a gymnasium, such as the Lyceum or the
Academy, in the city suburbs. [13] Here were grounds for running,
wrestling, discus-throwing, and other sports, as well as rooms for bathing
and anointing. While the younger men busied themselves in such active
exercises, those of maturer years might be content with less vigorous
games or with conversation on political or philosophical themes.


The principal meal of the day came about sunset. The master of the house,
if he had no guests, shared the repast with his wife and children. For a
man of moderate means the ordinary fare was very much what it is now in
Greece--bread, olives, figs, cheese, and a little meat as an occasional
luxury. At the end of the meal the diners refreshed themselves with wine
mixed with water. The Greeks appear to have been usually as temperate in
their drink as they were frugal in their food. The remainder of the
evening would be devoted to conversation and music and possibly a little
reading. As a rule the Athenian went early to bed.

[Illustration: A GREEK BANQUET
From a vase painting by Duns.]


A Roman of the higher class, who lived in late republican or early
imperial times, passed through much the same daily routine as an Athenian
citizen in the days of Pericles. He rose at an early hour and after a
light breakfast dispatched his private business with the help of his
steward and manager. He then took his place in the _atrium_ to meet the
crowd of poor dependents who came to pay their respects to their patron
and to receive their usual morning alms--either food or sufficient money
to buy a modest dinner. Having greeted his visitors and perhaps helped
them in legal or business matters, the noble entered his litter and was
carried down to the Forum. Here he might attend the law courts to plead a
case for himself or for his clients. If he were a member of the Senate, he
would take part in the deliberations of that body. At eleven o'clock, when
the ordinary duties of the morning were over, he would return home to eat
his luncheon and enjoy the midday rest, or siesta. The practice of having
a nap in the heat of the day became so general that at noon the streets of
a Roman city had the same deserted appearance as at midnight.

[Illustration: A ROMAN LITTER
The litter consists of an ordinary couch with four posts and a pair of
poles. Curtains fastened to the rod above the canopy shielded the occupant
from observation.]


After an hour of refreshing sleep it was time for the regular exercise out
of doors in the Campus Martius or indoors at one of the large city baths.
Then came one of the chief pleasures of a Roman's existence--the daily
bath. It was taken ordinarily in one of the public bathing establishments,
or _thermae_, to be found in every Roman town. [14] A Roman bath was a
luxurious affair. After undressing, the bathers entered a warm anteroom
and sat for a time on benches, in order to perspire freely. This was a
precaution against the danger of passing too suddenly into the hot bath,
which was taken in a large tank of water sunk in the middle of the floor.
Then came an exhilarating cold plunge and anointing with perfumed oil.
Afterwards the bathers rested on the couches with which the resort was
supplied and passed the time in reading or conversation until the hour for


The late dinner, with the Romans as with the Greeks, formed the principal
meal of the day. It was usually a social function. The host and his guests
reclined on couches arranged about a table. The Romans borrowed from the
Greeks the custom of ending a banquet with a symposium, or drinking-bout.
The tables were cleared of dishes, and the guests were anointed with
perfumes and crowned with garlands. During the banquet and the symposium
it was customary for professional performers to entertain the guests with
music, dancing, pantomimes, and feats of jugglery.



The Athenians celebrated many religious festivals. One of the most
important was the Great Panathenaea, [15] held every fourth year in the
month of July. Athletic contests and poetical recitations, sacrifices,
feasts, and processions honored the goddess Athena, who presided over the
Athenian city. Even more interesting, perhaps, were the dramatic
performances held in midwinter and in spring, at the festivals of
Dionysus. The tragedies and comedies composed for these entertainments
took their place among the masterpieces of Greek literature.

The theater of Dionysus where dramatic exhibitions were held lay close to
the south eastern angle of the Acropolis. The audience at first sat upon
wooden benches rising tier after tier on the adjacent hillside. About the
middle of the fourth century B.C. these were replaced by the stone seats
which are still to be seen. Sixteen thousand people could be accommodated
in this open air theater.]


There is very little likeness between the ancient and the modern drama.
Greek plays were performed out of doors in the bright sunlight. Until late
Roman times it is unlikely that a raised stage existed. The three actors
and the members of the chorus appeared together in the dancing ring, or
orchestra. The performers were all men. Each actor might play several
parts. There was no elaborate scenery; the spectator had to rely chiefly
on his own imagination for the setting of the piece. The actors indulged
in few lively movements or gestures. They must have looked from a distance
like a group of majestic statues. All wore elaborate costumes, and tragic
actors, in addition, were made to appear larger than human with masks,
padding, and thick-soled boots, or buskins. The performances occupied the
three days of the Dionysiac festivals, beginning early in the morning and
lasting till night. All this time was necessary because they formed
contests for a prize which the people awarded to the poet and chorus whose
presentation was judged of highest excellence.

[Illustration: A DANCING GIRL
A Greek bronze statuette found in a sunken galley off the coast of Tunis.
The galley had been wrecked while on its way to Rome carrying a load of
art objects to decorate the villas of wealthy nobles. This statuette was
doubtless a life-like copy of some well-known entertainer. The dancer's
pose suggests the American "cakewalk" and her costume, the modern "hobble


Pantomimes formed the staple amusement of the Roman theater. In these
performances a single dancer, by movements and gestures, represented
mythological scenes and love stories. The actor took several characters in
succession and a chorus accompanied him with songs. There were also
"vaudeville" entertainments, with all manner of jugglers, ropedancers,
acrobats, and clowns, to amuse a people who found no pleasure in the
refined productions of the Greek stage.


Far more popular than even pantomime and vaudeville were the "games of the
circus." At Rome these were held chiefly in the Circus Maximus. Chariot
races formed the principal attraction of the circus. There were usually
four horses to a chariot, though sometimes the drivers showed their skill
by handling as many as six or seven horses. The contestants whirled seven
times around the low wall, or _spina_, which divided the race course. The
shortness of the stretches and the sharp turns about the _spina_ must have
prevented the attainment of great speed. A race, nevertheless, was a most
exciting sport. What we should call "fouling" was permitted and even
encouraged. The driver might turn his team against another or might
endeavor to upset a rival's car. It was a very tame contest that did not
have its accompaniment of broken chariots, fallen horses, and killed or
injured drivers.



The Circus Maximus was often used for a variety of animal shows. Fierce
wild beasts, brought from every quarter of the empire, were turned loose
to slaughter one another, or to tear to pieces condemned criminals. [16]
More popular still were the contests between savage animals and men. Such
amusements did something to satisfy the lust for blood in the Roman
populace--a lust which was more completely satisfied by the gladiatorial

[Illustration: GLADIATORS
From a stucco relief on the tomb of Scaurus, Pompeii. Beginning at the
left are two fully armed horsemen fighting with lances. Behind them are
two gladiators, one of whom is appealing to the people. Then follows a
combat in which the defeated party raises his hand in supplication for
mercy. The lower part of the relief represents fights with various wild


Exhibitions of gladiators were known in Italy long before they became
popular at Rome. The combats probably started from the savage practice of
sacrificing prisoners or slaves at the funeral of their master. Then the
custom arose of allowing the victims a chance for their lives by having
them fight one another, the conquerors being spared for future battles.
From this it was but a step to keeping trained slaves as gladiators.
During the imperial epoch the number of such exhibitions increased
greatly. The emperor Trajan, for example, to celebrate his victories over
the Dacians, [17] exhibited no less than ten thousand men within the space
of four months. The gladiators belonged to various classes, according to
the defensive armor they wore and the style of fighting they employed.
When a man was wounded and unable to continue the struggle, he might
appeal to the spectators. He lifted his finger to plead for release; if he
had fought well, the people indicated their willingness to spare him by
waving their handkerchiefs. If the spectators were in a cruel mood, they
turned down their thumbs as the signal for his deathblow. These hideous
exhibitions continued in different parts of the Roman Empire until the
fifth century of our era.


Gladiatorial combats, chariot races, and dramatic shows were free
performances. For the lower classes in the Roman city they became the
chief pleasure of life. The days of their celebration were public
holidays, which in the fourth century numbered no less than one hundred
and seventy-five. The once-sovereign people of Rome became a lazy,
worthless rabble, fed by the state and amused with the games. It was well
said by an ancient satirist that the Romans wanted only two things to make
them happy--"bread and the games of the circus." [18]



The private life of the Greeks and Romans, as described in the preceding
pages, would have been impossible without the existence of a large servile
class. Slaves did much of the heavy and disagreeable work in the ancient
world, thus allowing the free citizen to engage in more honorable
employment or to pass his days in dignified leisure.


The Greeks seem sometimes to have thought that only barbarians should be
degraded to the condition of servitude. Most Greek slaves, as a matter of
fact, were purchased from foreign countries. But after the Romans had
subdued the Mediterranean world, their captives included not only members
of inferior races, but also the cultivated inhabitants of Greece, Egypt,
and Asia Minor. We hear of slaves at Rome who served as clerks,
secretaries, librarians, actors, and musicians. Their education was often
superior to that of the coarse and brutal masters who owned them.


The number of slaves, though great enough in Athens and other Greek
cities, reached almost incredible figures during the later period of Roman
history. Every victorious battle swelled the troops of captives sent to
the slave markets at Rome. Ordinary slaves became as cheap as beasts of
burden are now. The Roman poet Horace tells us that at least ten slaves
were necessary for a gentleman in even moderate circumstances. Wealthy
individuals, given to excessive luxury, might number their city slaves by
the hundreds, besides many more on their country estates.


Slaves engaged in a great variety of occupations. They were domestic
servants, farm laborers, miners, artisans, factory hands, and even
shopkeepers. Household slaves at Rome were employed in every conceivable
way. Each part of a rich man's residence had its special staff of
servants. The possession of a fine troop of slaves, dressed in handsome
liveries, was a favorite method of showing one's wealth and luxury.


It is difficult for us to realize the attitude of ancient peoples toward
their slaves. They were regarded as part of the chattels of the house--as
on a level with domestic animals rather than human beings. Though Athenian
law forbade owners to kill their slaves or to treat them cruelly, it
permitted the corporal punishment of slaves for slight offenses. At Rome,
until the imperial epoch, [19] no restraints whatever existed upon the
master's power. A slave was part of his property with which he could do
exactly as he pleased. The terrible punishments, the beating with scourges
which followed the slightest misconduct or neglect of duty, the branding
with a hot iron which a runaway slave received, the fearful penalty of
crucifixion which followed an attempt upon the owner's life--all these
tortures show how hard was the lot of the bondman in pagan Rome.


A slave, under some circumstances, could gain his freedom. In Greece,
where many little states constantly at war bordered one another, a slave
could often run away to liberty. In a great empire like Rome, where no
boundary lines existed, this was usually impossible. Freedom, however, was
sometimes voluntarily granted. A master in his will might liberate his
favorite slave, as a reward for the faithful service of a lifetime. A more
common practice permitted the slave to keep a part of his earnings until
he had saved enough to purchase his freedom.

[Illustration: A SLAVE'S COLLAR
A runaway slave, if recaptured, was sometimes compelled to wear a metal
collar riveted about his neck. One of these collars, still preserved at
Rome, bears the inscription: _Servus sum dom(i)ni mei Scholastici v(iri)
sp(ectabüis). Tene me ne fugiam de domo._--"I am the slave of my master
Scholasticus, a gentleman of importance. Hold me, lest I flee from home."]


Slavery in Greece and Italy had existed from the earliest times. It never
was more flourishing than in the great age of classical history. Nor did
it pass away when the Roman world became Christian. The spread of
Christianity certainly helped to improve the lot of the slave and to
encourage his liberation. The Church, nevertheless, recognized slavery
from the beginning. Not until long after ancient civilization had perished
did the curse of slavery finally disappear from European lands. [20]



The literature of Greece begins with epic poetry. An epic may be defined
as a long narrative in verse, dealing with some large and noble theme. The
earliest epic poetry of the Greeks was inseparable from music. Wandering
minstrels sang at feasts in the palaces of kings and accompanied their
lays with the music of the clear-toned lyre. In time, as his verse reached
a more artistic character, the singer was able to give up the lyre and to
depend for effect solely on the poetic power of his narrative. Finally,
the scattered lays were combined into long poems. The most famous are the
_Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_, works which the Greeks attributed to Homer.


Several centuries after Homer the Greeks began to create a new form of
poetic expression--lyric poetry. In short poems, accompanied by the flute
or the lyre, they found a medium for the expression of personal feelings
which was not furnished by the long and cumbrous epic. The greatest lyric
poet was Pindar. We still possess forty-four of his odes, which were
written in honor of victorious athletes at the Olympian and other national
games. [22] Pindar's verses were so popular that he became, as it were,
the "poet laureate" of Greece. When Alexander the Great destroyed Thebes,
[23] the native town of Pindar, he spared that poet's birthplace from the
general ruin.

[Illustration: SOPHOCLES (Lateran Museum, Rome)
This marble statue is possibly a copy of the bronze original which the
Athenians set up in the theater of Dionysus. The feet and the box of
manuscript rolls are modern restorations.]


The three great masters of the tragic drama [24] lived and wrote in Athens
during the splendid half century between the Persian and the Peloponnesian
wars. Such was the fertility of their genius that they are said to have
written altogether nearly three hundred plays. Only thirty-two have come
down to us. Aeschylus, the first of the tragic poets, had fought at
Marathon and Salamis. One of his works, the _Persians_, is a magnificent
song of triumph for the victory of Hellas. Sophocles, while yet a young
man, gained the prize in a dramatic contest with Aeschylus. His plays mark
the perfection of Greek tragedy. After the death of Sophocles the
Athenians revered him as a hero and honored his memory with yearly
sacrifices. Euripides was the third of the Athenian dramatists and the
most generally popular. His fame reached far beyond his native city. We
are told that the Sicilians were so fond of his verses that they granted
freedom to every one of the Athenian prisoners captured at Syracuse who
could recite the poet's lines.


Athenian comedy during the fifth century B.C. is represented by the plays
of Aristophanes. He was both a great poet and a great satirist. In one
comedy Aristophanes attacks the demagogue Cleon, who was prominent in
Athenian politics after the death of Pericles. In other comedies he
ridicules the philosophers, makes fun of the ordinary citizen's delight in
sitting on jury courts and trying cases, and criticizes those responsible
for the unfortunate expedition to Sicily. The plays of Aristophanes were
performed before admiring audiences of thousands of citizens and hence
must have had much influence on public opinion.


The "father of history," Herodotus, flourished about the middle of the
fifth century B.C. Though a native of Asia Minor, Herodotus spent some of
the best years of his life at Athens, mingling in its brilliant society
and coming under the influences, literary and artistic, of that city. He
traveled widely in the Greek world and in the East, as a preparation for
his great task of writing an account of the rise of the Oriental nations
and the struggle between Greece and Persia. Herodotus was not a critical
historian, diligently sifting truth from fable. Where he can he gives us
facts. Where facts are lacking, he tells interesting stories in a most
winning style. A much more scientific writer was Thucydides, an Athenian
who lived during the epoch of the Peloponnesian War and became the
historian of that contest. An Athenian contemporary of Thucydides,
Xenophon, is best known from his _Anabasis_, which describes the famous
expedition of the "Ten Thousand" Greeks against Persia. [25]


Of the later prose writers of Greece it is sufficient to name only one--
the immortal Plutarch. He was a native of Chaeronea in Boeotia and lived
during the first century of our era. Greece at that time was only a
province of the Roman Empire; the days of her greatness had long since
passed away. Plutarch thus had rather a melancholy task in writing his
_Parallel Lives_. In this work he relates, first the life of an eminent
Greek, then of a famous Roman who in some way resembled him; and ends the
account with a short comparison of the two men. Plutarch had a wonderful
gift of sympathy for his heroes and a keen eye for what was dramatic in
their careers. It is not surprising, therefore, that Plutarch has always
been a favorite author. No other ancient writer gives us so vivid and
intimate a picture of the classical world.


From the foregoing survey it is clear that the Greeks were pioneers in
many forms of literature. They first composed artistic epic poems. They
invented lyric and dramatic poetry. They were the first to write histories
and biographies. In oratory, as has been seen, they also rose to eminence.
[26] We shall now find that the Greek intellect was no less fertile and
original in the study of philosophy.



The Greek philosophy took its rise in the seventh century B.C., when a few
bold students began to search out the mysteries of the universe. Their
theories were so many and so contradictory, however, that after a time
philosophers gave up the study of nature and proposed in turn to study man
himself. These later thinkers were called sophists. They traveled
throughout Greece, gathering the young men about them and lecturing for
pay on subjects of practical interest. Among other things they taught the
rhetoric and oratory which were needed for success in a public career.


One of the founders of Greek philosophy and the greatest teacher of his
age was Socrates the Athenian. He lived and taught during the period of
the Peloponnesian War. Socrates resembled the sophists in his possession
of an inquiring, skeptical mind which questioned every common belief and
superstition. But he went beyond the sophists in his emphasis on problems
of every-day morality.

Though Socrates wrote nothing, his teaching and personality made a deep
impression on his contemporaries. The Delphic oracle declared that no one
in the world was wiser than Socrates. Yet he lived through a long life at
Athens, a poor man who would neither work at his trade of sculptor, nor
(as did the sophists) accept money for his instruction. He walked the
streets, barefoot and half-clad, and engaged in animated conversation with
anyone who was willing to discuss intellectual subjects with him. Socrates
must have been a familiar figure to the Athenians. His short body, large,
bald head, and homely features hardly presented the ideal of a
philosopher. Even Aristophanes in a comedy laughs at him.

[Illustration: SOCRATES (Vatican Gallery, Rome)]


Late in life Socrates was accused of impiety and of corrupting the youth
of Athens with his doctrines. As a matter of fact he was a deeply
religious man. If he objected to the crude mythology of Homer, he often
spoke of one God, who ruled the world, and of a divine spirit or
conscience within his own breast. A jury court found him guilty, however,
and condemned him to death. He refused to escape from prison when
opportunity offered and passed his last days in eager conversation on the
immortality of the soul. When the hour of departure arrived, he bade his
disciples farewell and calmly drained the cup of hemlock, a poison that
caused a painless death. Although Socrates gave his life for his
philosophy, this did not perish with him.


One of the members of the Socratic circle was Plato, a wealthy noble who
abandoned a public career for the attractions of philosophy. After the
death of Socrates, Plato traveled widely in the Greek world and even
visited Egypt, where he interviewed the learned priests. On his return to
Athens Plato began teaching in the garden and gymnasium called the
Academy. [27] His writings, known as _Dialogues_, are cast in the form of
question and answer that Socrates had used. In most of them Plato makes
Socrates the chief speaker. Plato's works are both profound in thought and
admirable in style. The Athenians used to say that if Zeus had spoken
Greek he would have spoken it as did Plato.


As great a philosopher as Plato, but a far less attractive writer, was
Aristotle. He was not an Athenian by birth, but he passed many years in
Athens, first as a pupil of Plato, who called him the "mind" of the
school, and then as a teacher in the Athenian city. Aristotle seems to
have taken all knowledge for his province. He investigated the ideas
underlying the arts of rhetoric and poetry; he gathered the constitutions
of many Greek states and drew from them some general principles of
politics; he studied collections of strange plants and animals to learn
their structure and habits; he examined the acts and beliefs of men in
order to write books on ethics. In all this investigation Aristotle was
not content to accept what previous men had written or to spin a pleasing
theory out of his own brain. Everywhere he sought for facts; everything he
tried to bring to the test of personal observation. Aristotle, then, was
as much a scientist as a philosopher. His books were reverently studied
for centuries after his death and are still used in our universities.


The system of philosophy called Epicureanism was founded by a Greek named
Epicurus. He taught in Athens during the earlier part of the third century
B.C. Epicurus believed that pleasure is the sole good, pain, the sole
evil. He meant by pleasure not so much the passing enjoyments of the hour
as the permanent happiness of a lifetime. In order to be happy men should
not trouble themselves with useless luxuries, but should lead the "simple
life." They must be virtuous, for virtue will bring more real satisfaction
than vice. Above all, men ought to free themselves from idle hopes and
fears about a future existence. The belief in the immortality of the soul,
said Epicurus, is only a delusion, for both soul and body are material
things which death dissolves into the atoms making up the universe. And if
there are any gods, he declared, they do not concern themselves with human
affairs. Some of the followers of Epicurus seemed to find in his
philosophic system justification for free indulgence in every appetite and
passion. Even to-day, when we call a person an "Epicurean," we think of
him as a selfish pleasure seeker.


The noblest of all pagan philosophies was Stoicism, founded by Zeno, a
contemporary of Epicurus. Virtue, said the Stoic, consists in living
"according to nature," that is, according to the Universal Reason or
Divine Providence that rules the world. The followers of this philosophy
tried, therefore, to ignore the feelings and exalt the reason as a guide
to conduct. They practiced self-denial, despised the pomps and vanities of
the world, and sought to rise above such emotions as grief, fear, hope,
and joy. The doctrines of Stoicism gained many adherents among the Romans
[28] and through them became a real moral force in the ancient world.
Stoicism is even now no outworn creed. Our very word "stoical" is a
synonym for calm indifference to pleasure or to pain.



The beginnings of Roman literature go back to the third century B.C., when
some knowledge of the Greek language became increasingly common in Rome.
The earlier writers--chiefly poets and dramatists--did little original
work, and usually were content to translate and adapt the productions of
Greek authors for Roman audiences. During this period the Romans gradually
discovered the capabilities of their language for prose composition. The
republican institutions of Rome, like those of Athens, were highly
favorable to the art of public speaking. It was the development of oratory
which did most to mold the Latin language into fitness for the varied
forms of prose.


Cicero, the greatest of Roman orators, created a style for Latin prose
composition which has been admired and imitated by men of letters even to
our own day. Latin, in his hands, became a magnificent instrument for the
expression of human thought. Cicero's qualities as an author are shown,
not only by his _Orations_, but also by the numerous _Epistles_ which he
wrote to friends and correspondents in all parts of the Roman world.
Besides their historical interest Cicero's letters are models of what good
letters ought to be--the expression of the writer's real thoughts and
feelings in simple, unstilted language. Cicero also composed a number of
_Dialogues_, chiefly on philosophical themes. If not very profound, they
are delightfully written, and long served as textbooks in the schools.


Another eminent statesman--Julius Caesar--won success in literature. As an
orator he was admitted by his contemporaries to stand second to Cicero.
None of his speeches have survived. We possess, however, his invaluable
_Commentaries_ on the Gallic and Civil wars. These works, though brief and
in most parts rather dull, are highly praised for their simple, concise
style and their mastery of the art of rapid narration.


The half century included within the Augustan Age marks a real epoch in
the history of Latin literature. The most famous poet of this period was
Vergil. The _Aeneid_, which he undertook at the suggestion of Augustus, is
his best-known work. In form the poem is a narrative of the adventures of
the Trojan hero, Aeneas, [29] but its real theme is the growth of Rome
under the fostering care of the gods. The _Aeneid_, though unfinished at
the author's death, became at once what it has always remained--the only
ancient epic worthy of comparison with the _Iliad_ or with the _Odyssey._
Another member of the Augustan circle was Vergil's friend and fellow-
worker, Horace. An imitative poet, Horace reproduced in Latin verse the
forms, and sometimes even the substance, of his Greek models. But, like
Vergil, what Horace borrowed he made his own by the added beauty which he
gave to it. His _Odes_ are perhaps the most admirable examples of literary
art to be found in any language.


The most famous prose writer of the Augustan Age was Livy. His _History of
Rome_, beginning with Romulus and extending to Augustus, traced the rise
and growth of the Roman state during eight centuries of triumphal
progress. It did in prose what Vergil's _Aeneid_ had done in verse.


The period of the "Good Emperors" saw the rise of several important
authors, of whom one, the historian Tacitus, was a man of genius. The
crowning labor of his life was a history of Rome from Tiberius to
Domitian. Of this work, issued under the two titles of _Histories_ and
_Annals_, only about one-half is extant.


Less than two hundred years separate Cicero and Tacitus. During this
period Latin authors, writing under the influence of old Greece,
accomplished much valuable work. Some of their productions are scarcely
inferior to the Greek masterpieces. In later centuries, when Greek
literature was either neglected or forgotten in the West, the literature
of Rome was still read and enjoyed. Even to-day a knowledge of it forms an
essential part of a "classical" education.



The existing monuments of Greek architecture--chiefly ruined temples--
afford some idea of its leading characteristics. The building materials
were limestone and white marble. The blocks of stone were not bound
together by cement, but by metal clamps which held them in a firm grip. It
was usual to color the ornamental parts of a temple and the open spaces
that served as a background for sculpture. The Greeks did not employ the
principle of the arch, in order to cover large spaces with a vaulted
ceiling. Their temples and other public buildings had only flat ceilings,
resting on long rows of columns. The column probably developed from the
wooden post or tree trunk used in timber construction. The capital at the
top of the column originated in the square wooden slab which supported the
heavy beam of the roof.




The two Greek orders of architecture, Doric and Ionic, [30] are
distinguished mainly by differences in the treatment of the column. The
Doric column has no base of its own. The sturdy shaft is grooved
lengthwise with some twenty flutings. The capital is a circular band of
stone capped by a square block, all without decoration. The mainland of
Greece was the especial home of the Doric order. This was also the
characteristic style of southern Italy and Sicily.


The Ionic column rests upon a base. Its shaft is tall and slender. The
beautifully carved capital swells outward into two spiral rolls, the ends
of which are curled under to form the "volutes." The Ionic order
flourished particularly in Asia Minor. It was well known, too, at Athens.

[Illustration: CAPITALS
The highly decorative Corinthian capital, modeled on acanthus leaves, came
into fashion in Alexandrian and Roman times. The Composite capital, as its
name indicates, combined details from the Ionic and Corinthian into one
ornate whole. This and the plain Tuscan capital were quite generally
employed by the Romans.]


The temple formed the chief structure in a Greek city. It was very simple
in outline--merely a rectangular building provided with doors, but without
windows. Around it was a single or a double row of columns. Above them
rose the architrave, a plain band of massive stones which reached from one
column to another. Then came the frieze, adorned with sculptured reliefs,
then the horizontal cornice, and at the ends of the building the
triangular pediments formed by the sloping roof. The pediments were
sometimes decorated with statues. Since the temple was not intended to
hold a congregation of worshipers, but only to contain the image of the
god, the interior usually had little ornamentation.

[Illustration: THE PARTHENON
After serving as a temple for about nine centuries the Parthenon was
turned into a Christian church and later into a Mohammedan mosque. In 1687
A.D. the Venetians bombarded Athens and sent a shell into the center of
the building which the Turks had used as a powder magazine. The result was
an explosion that threw down the side walls and many of the columns.]






Greek temples were not very large, for hugeness was no object to the
builders. They were not even lavishly decorated. Their beauty lies, most
of all, in their harmonious proportions and perfect symmetry. In the best
examples of the Greek temple there are, for instance, no straight lines.
The columns are not set at equal intervals, but closer together near the
corners of the building. The shafts of the columns, instead of tapering
upward at a uniform rate, swell slightly toward the center. The artistic
eyes of the Greeks delighted in such subtle curves. These characteristics
make a classical temple unique of its kind. [31]



The greatest achievement of the Greeks in art was their sculpture. Roman
artists surpassed them in the creation of massive architectural works;
modern artists have surpassed them in painting. In sculpture the Greeks
still remain unexcelled.


The existing remains of Greek sculpture are very scanty. The statues of
gold and ivory vanished long ago. The bronze statues, formerly numbered by
thousands, have nearly all gone into the melting pot. Sculptures in marble
were turned into mortar or used as building materials. Those which escaped
such a fate were often ruined by wanton mutilation and centuries of
neglect. The statues which we still possess are mainly marble copies, made
in Roman times from Greek originals. It is as if the paintings by the old
masters of Europe, four centuries ago, were now known only in the
reproductions by modern artists of inferior powers.


The Greek sculptor worked with a variety of materials. Wood was in common
use during primitive times. Terra cotta was employed at all periods for
statuettes a few inches in height. Productions in gold and ivory, from the
costliness of these objects, were extremely rare. Bronze was the favorite
material of some of the most eminent artists. The Greek sculptor
especially relied on the beautiful marbles in which his country abounded.


The methods employed by the ancient sculptor differed in some respects
from those followed by his modern successors. A Greek marble statue was
usually built up out of several parts. The joining was accomplished with
such skill as to escape ordinary observation. The preliminary work of
hewing out from the rough was done by means of chisels. The surface of the
marble afterwards received a careful polishing with the file, and also
with sand. Marble statues were always more or less painted. The coloring
seems to have been done sparingly, being applied, as a rule, only to the
features and draperies. Still, it is worth while to remember that the pure
white statues of modern sculptors would not have satisfied Greek artists
of the classical age.


Greek sculpture existed in the two forms of bas-reliefs and statuary in
the round. Reliefs were chiefly used for temple pediments and friezes, and
also for the many grave monuments. Statues consisted of the images of the
gods set up in their shrines, the sculptures dedicated as offerings to
divinities, and the figures of statesmen, generals, and victorious
athletes raised in public places and sanctuaries.


This list will show how many were the opportunities which the ancient
sculptor enjoyed. The service of religion created a constant demand for
his genius. The numerous athletic contests and the daily sports of the
gymnasium gave him a chance to study living models in the handsome,
finely-shaped bodies of the contestants. With such inspiration it is not
remarkable that sculpture reached so high a development in ancient Greece.



In architecture the Romans achieved preëminence. The temples and other
public works of Greece seem almost insignificant beside the stupendous
edifices raised by Roman genius in every province of the empire. The
ability of the Romans to build on so large a scale arose from their use of
vaulted constructions. Knowledge of the round arch passed over from the
Orient to the Etruscans and from them to the Romans. [33] At first the
arch was employed mainly for gates, drainage sewers, aqueducts, and
bridges. In imperial times this device was adopted to permit the
construction of vast buildings with overarching domes. The principle of
the dome has inspired some of the finest creations of ancient and modern


The Romans for many of their buildings made much use of concrete. Its
chief ingredient was _pozzolana_, a sand found in great abundance near
Rome and other sites. When mixed with lime, it formed a very strong
cement. This material was poured in a fluid state into timber casings,
where it quickly set and hardened. Small pieces of stone, called rubble,
were also forced down into the cement to give it additional stability.
Buildings of this sort were usually faced with brick, which in turn might
be covered with thin slabs of marble, thus producing an attractive


The triumphs of Roman architecture were not confined chiefly to sacred
edifices. Roman temples, indeed, are mostly copies from the Greek. In
comparison with their originals, they lack grace and refinement. There is
less accuracy in the masonry fitting and far less careful attention to
details of construction. A frequent departure from Greek models is found
in the restriction of the rows of pillars to the front of the building,
while the sides and rear are lined with "engaged" columns to give the idea
of a colonnade. [34] More characteristically Roman are vaulted temples,
such as the Pantheon, [35] where the circular dome is faced with a Greek


Roman basilicas, of which only the ruins are now in existence, were once
found in every city. These were large, lofty buildings for the use of
judges and merchants. The chief feature of a basilica was the spacious
central hall flanked by a single or double row of columns, forming aisles
and supporting the flat roof. At one end of the hall was a semicircular
recess--the apse--where the judges held court. This arrangement of the
interior bears a close resemblance to the plan of the early Christian
church with its nave, choir (or chancel) and columned aisles. The
Christians, in fact, seem to have taken the familiar basilicas as the
models for their places of worship.

The hall measured 360 feet in length and 180 feet in width.]

Built by the Emperor Trajan in connection with his Forum at Rome.]


Perhaps the most imposing, and certainly among the most useful, of Roman
structures were aqueducts. [36] There were sixty-eight in Italy and the
provinces. No less than fourteen supplied the capital city with water. The
aqueducts usually ran under the surface of the ground, as do our water
pipes. They were carried on arches only across depressions and valleys.
The Claudian aqueduct ran for thirty-six miles underground and for nine
and a half miles on arches. Though these monuments were intended simply as
engineering works, their heavy masses of rough masonry produce an
inspiring sense of power.

[Illustration: A ROMAN AQUEDUCT
The Pont du Gard near Nîmes (ancient Nemausus) in southern France. Built
by the emperor Antoninus Pius. The bridge spans two hilltops nearly a
thousand feet apart. It carries an aqueduct with three tiers of massive
stone arches at a height of 160 feet above the stream. This is the finest
and best preserved aqueduct in existence.]


The abundant water supply furnished by the aqueducts was connected with a
system of great public baths, or _thermae_. [37] Scarcely a town or
village throughout the empire lacked one or more such buildings. Those at
Rome were constructed on a scale of magnificence of which we can form but
a slight conception from the ruins now in existence. In addition to many
elaborate arrangements for the bathers, the _thermae_ included lounging
and reading rooms, libraries, gymnasia, and even museums and galleries of
art. The baths, indeed, were splendid clubhouses, open at little or no
expense to every citizen of the metropolis.

[Illustration: THE COLOSSEUM]


A very characteristic example of Roman building is found in the triumphal
arches. [38] Their sides were adorned with bas-reliefs, which pictured the
principal scenes of a successful campaign. Memorial structures, called
columns of victory, [39] were also set up in Rome and other cities. Both
arch and column have been frequently imitated by modern architects.

[Illustration: A ROMAN CAMEO
Portrait of a youth cut in sardonyx. Probably of the first century A.D.]


The palaces of Roman emperors and nobles, together with their luxurious
country houses, or villas, have all disappeared. A like fate has befallen
the enormous circuses, such as the Circus Maximus [40] at Rome and the
Hippodrome [41] at Constantinople. The Roman theaters that still survive
reproduce, in most respects, the familiar outlines of the Greek
structures. In the amphitheaters, where animal shows and gladiatorial
combats were exhibited, we have a genuinely Roman invention. The gigantic
edifice, called the Colosseum, in its way as truly typifies Roman
architectural genius as the Parthenon represents at its best that of the


Roman sculpture owed much to Greek models. However, the portrait statues
and bas-reliefs show originality and illustrate the tendency of the Romans
toward realism in art. The sculptor tried to represent an historic person
as he really looked or an historic event, for example, a battle or a
triumphal procession, as it actually happened. The portrait statues of
Roman emperors and the bas-reliefs from the arch of Titus impress us at
once with a sense of their reality.


Our knowledge of Roman painting is almost wholly confined to the wall
paintings found at Rome, Herculaneum, and Pompeii. What has survived is
apparently the work of ordinary craftsmen, who, if not Greeks, were deeply
affected by the Greek spirit. Most of the scenes they depict are taken
from classical mythology. The coloring is very rich; and the peculiar
shade of red used is known to-day by the name of "Pompeian red." The
practice of mural painting passed over from the Romans to European
artists, who have employed it in the frescoes of medieval and modern



Athens and Rome were the artistic centers of the classical world.
Architects, sculptors, and painters lavished their finest efforts on the
adornment of these two capitals. Here there are still to be seen some of
the most beautiful and impressive monuments of antiquity.


Athens lies in the center of the Attic plain, about four miles from the
sea. [42] The city commands a magnificent view of purple-hued mountains
and the shining waters of the Aegean. Roads approached the ancient city
from all parts of Attica. Among these were the highway from Piraeus,
running between the Long Walls, [43] and the Sacred Way from Eleusis,
where the famous mysteries were yearly celebrated. [44] The suburbs of
Athens included the Outer Ceramicus, part of which was used as a national
cemetery, and a pleasure ground and gymnasium on the banks of the
Cephissus, called the Academy. Another resort, known as the Lyceum,
bordered the little stream of the Ilissus.


The traveler who passed through these suburbs came at length to the great
wall, nearly five miles in circumference, raised by Themistocles to
surround the settlement at the foot of the Acropolis. [45] The area
included within this wall made up Old Athens. About six centuries after
Themistocles the Roman emperor Hadrian, by building additional
fortifications on the east, brought an extensive quarter, called New
Athens, inside the city limits.


The region within the walls was broken up by a number of rocky eminences
which have a prominent place in the topography of Athens. Near the center
the Acropolis rises more than two hundred feet above the plain, its summit
crowned with monuments of the Periclean Age. Not far away is the hill
called the Areopagus. Here the Council of the Areopagus, a court of
justice in trials for murder, held its deliberations in the open air.
Beyond this height is the hill of the Pnyx. This was the meeting place of
the Athenian Assembly until the fourth century B.C., when the sessions
were transferred to the theater of Dionysus.

[Illustration: Map, ATHENS]


The business and social center of an ancient city was the agora or market
place. The Athenian Agora lay in the hollow north of the Areopagus and
Acropolis. The square was shaded by rows of plane trees and lined with
covered colonnades. In the great days of the city, when the Agora was
filled with countless altars and shrines, it presented a most varied and
attractive scene.


Not all the splendid structures in Athens were confined to the Agora and
the Acropolis. On a slight eminence not far from the Agora, rose the so-
called "Theseum," [46] a marble temple in the Doric order. Another famous
temple, the colossal edifice known as the Olympieum, lay at some distance
from the Acropolis on the southeast. Fifteen of the lofty columns with
their Corinthian capitals are still standing. The theater of Dionysus [47]
is in a fair state of preservation. Beyond this are the remains of the
Odeum, or "Hall of Song," used for musical contests and declamations. The
original building was raised by Pericles, in imitation, it is said, of the
tent of Xerxes. The present ruins are those of the structure erected in
the second century A.D. by a public-spirited benefactor of Athens.


The adornment of the Acropolis formed perhaps the most memorable
achievement of Pericles. [48] This rocky mount was approached on the
western side by a flight of sixty marble steps. To the right of the
stairway rose a small but very beautiful Ionic temple dedicated to Athena.
Having mounted the steps, the visitor passed through the superb entrance
gate, or Propylaea, which was constructed to resemble the front of a
temple with columns and pediment. Just beyond the Propylaea stood a great
bronze statue of the Guardian Athena, a masterpiece of the sculptor




The Erechtheum, a temple which occupies part of the Acropolis, is in the
Ionic style. It may be regarded as the best existing example of this light
and graceful order. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the porch of
the Caryatides, with a marble roof supported by six pillars carved in the
semblance of maidens. [49] This curious but striking device has been often
copied by modern architects.


The other temple on the Acropolis is the world-famed edifice known as the
Parthenon, the shrine of the Virgin of the Athena. [50] The Parthenon
illustrates the extreme simplicity of a Greek temple. It had no great size
or height and included only two chambers. The rear room stored sacred
vessels and furniture used in worship, state treasure, and the more
valuable offerings intrusted to the goddess for safekeeping. The second
and larger room contained a colossal gold and ivory statue of Athena, the
work of Phidias. It faced the eastern entrance so that it might be bathed
in the rays of the rising sun. Apart from the large doors a certain amount
of light reached the interior through the semi-transparent marble tiles of
the roof. The Doric columns surrounding the building are marvels of fine
workmanship. The Parthenon, because of its perfection of construction and
admirable proportions, is justly regarded as a masterpiece of

The larger room (cella) measured exactly one hundred feet in length.]


The Parthenon was also remarkable for its sculptures [51] executed under
the superintendence of Phidias. The subjects of the pediment sculptures
are taken from the mythic history of Athena. The frieze of the Parthenon
consists of a series of sculptured slabs, over five hundred feet in
length. The subject was the procession of the Great Panathenaea, [52] the
principal festival in honor of Athena. At this time the sacred robe of the
goddess, woven anew for each occasion, was brought to adorn her statue.
The procession is thought of as starting from the western front, where
Athenian youths dash forward on their spirited steeds. Then comes a
brilliant array of maidens, matrons, soldiers, and luteplayers. Near the
center of the eastern front they meet a group of divinities, who are
represented as spectators of the imposing scene. This part of the frieze
is still in excellent condition.


It was, indeed, a splendid group of buildings that rose on the Acropolis
height. If to-day they have lost much of their glory, we can still
understand how they were the precious possession of the Athenians and the
wonder of all the ancient world. "O shining, violet-crowned city of song,
great Athens, bulwark of Hellas, walls divine!" The words are those of an
old Greek poet, [53] but they are reëchoed by all who have come under the
magic spell of the literature and art of the Athenian city.



The monuments of Rome, unlike those of Athens, cannot lay claim to great
antiquity. The destruction wrought by the Gauls in 390 B.C. and the great
fire under Nero in 64 A.D. removed nearly all traces of the regal and
republican city. Many buildings erected in the imperial age have also
disappeared, because in medieval and modern times the inhabitants of Rome
used the ancient edifices as quarries. The existing monuments give only a
faint idea of the former magnificence of the capital city.


The city of Rome lies on the Tiber. Where the river approaches Rome it
makes two sharp turns, first to the west and then to the east. On the
western, or Etruscan, bank stood the two hills called Vatican and
Janiculum. They were higher than the famous seven which rose on the
eastern side, where the ancient city was built. Two of these seven hills
possess particular interest. The earliest settlement, as we have seen,
[54] probably occupied the Palatine. It became in later days the favorite
site for the town houses of Roman nobles. In the imperial age the splendid
palaces of the Caesars were located here. The Capitoline, steepest of the
seven hills, was divided into two peaks. On one of these rose the most
famous of all Roman temples, dedicated to Jupiter and his companion
deities, Juno and Minerva. The other peak was occupied by a large temple
of Juno Moneta ("the Adviser"), which served as the mint. The altars,
shrines, and statues which once covered this height were so numerous that
the Capitoline, like the Athenian Acropolis, became a museum of art.

[Illustration: Map, ROME]


Rome in early times was surrounded by a wall which bore the name of its
legendary builder, Servius Tullius. The present fortifications were not
constructed until the reign of the emperor Aurelian. [55] The ancient city
was closely built up, with only two great open spaces, in addition to the
Forum. These were the Circus Maximus, in the hollow between the Palatine
Mount and the Aventine, and the Campus Martius, stretching along the Tiber
to the northwest of the Capitoline Hill.


Following the map of ancient Rome under the empire we may note the more
important monuments which still exist in something like their original
condition. Across the Tiber and beyond the Campus Martius stands the
mausoleum of Hadrian. [56] The most notable structure in the Campus
Martius is the Pantheon. [57] It is the one ancient building in the entire
Roman world which still survives, inside and out, in a fair state of
preservation. The depression between the Caelian and Esquiline hills
contains the Flavian Amphitheater, better known as the Colosseum. [58] It
was begun by Vespasian and probably completed by Titus. No less than
eighty entrances admitted the forty-five thousand spectators who could be
accommodated in this huge structure. Despite the enormous mass of the
present ruins probably two-thirds of the original materials have been
carried away to be used in other buildings. Close to the Colosseum stands
the arch [59] erected by the Senate in honor of the victory of Constantine
over his rival Maxentius. From this event is dated the triumph of
Christianity in the Roman state. The ruins of the huge baths of Caracalla
lie about half a mile from the Colosseum. Near the center of the city are
the remains of the Forum added by Trajan to the accommodations of the
original Forum. It contains the column of Trajan [60] under which that
emperor was buried.


The Forum lies in the valley north of the Palatine Hill. It was the
business and social center of the Roman city. During the Middle Ages the
site was buried in ruins and rubbish, in some places to a depth of forty
feet or more. Recent excavations have restored the ancient level and
uncovered the remains of the ancient structures.




The Forum could be approached from the east by one of the most famous
streets in the world, the Roman Sacred Way. The illustration of the Forum
at the present time gives a view, looking eastward from the Capitoline
Mount, and shows several of the buildings on or near the Sacred Way. At
the left are seen the ruins of the basilica of Constantine. Farther in the
distance the Colosseum looms up. Directly ahead is the arch of Titus,
which commemorates the capture of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. [61] The ruins of
the palaces of the Caesars occupy the slopes of the Palatine.


The only well-preserved monument in the Forum is the beautiful arch
erected by the emperor Septimius Severus. Beyond it are three columns
which once formed part of the temple of Castor. They date from the time of
Tiberius. In front are the foundations of the Basilica Julia, built by
Augustus. Next come eight Ionic columns, all that remain of the temple of
Saturn. Near it and in the foreground are several columns in the
Corinthian style, belonging to a temple built by Vespasian.


These ruined monuments, these empty foundations and lonely pillars, afford
little idea of all the wealth of architecture that once adorned this spot.
Here stood the circular shrine of Vesta, [62] guarding the altar and its
ever-blazing fire. Here was the temple of Concord, famous in Roman
history. [63] The Senate-house was here, and just before it, the Rostra, a
platform adorned with the beaks (_rostra_) of captured ships. From this
place Roman orators addressed their assembled fellow-citizens.


How splendid a scene must have greeted an observer in ancient times who,
from the height of the Capitol, gazed at the city before him. The Forum
was then one radiant avenue of temples, triumphal arches, columns, and
shrines. And beyond the Forum stretched a magnificent array of theaters
and amphitheaters, enormous baths, colossal sepulchers, and statues in
stone and bronze. So prodigious an accumulation of objects beautiful,
costly, and rare has never before or since been found on earth.


1. What is the origin of our words _pedagogue_, _symposium_, _circus_, and

2. Make a list of such Roman names as you have met in your reading.

3. Write a letter describing an imaginary visit to the theater of Dionysus
during the performance of a tragedy.

4. What did civic patriotism mean to the Greek and to the Roman?

5. Have we anything to learn from the Greeks about the importance of
training in music?

6. What were the schoolbooks of Greek boys?

7. What features of Athenian education are noted in the illustration, page

8. How did the position of women at Athens differ from their position in
Homeric Greece?

9. Why does classical literature contain almost no "love stories," or

10. What contrasts exist between the ancient and the modern house?

11. Describe a Roman litter (illustration, page 263).

12. What differences exist between an ancient and a modern theatre?

13. What features of our "circus" recall the proceedings at the Roman

14. How many holidays (including Sundays) are there in your state? How do
they compare in number with those at Rome in the reign of Marcus Aurelius?

15. Describe the theater of Dionysus (illustration, page 264).

16. What is the "Socratic method" of teaching?

17. How did the Greeks manage to build solidly without the use of mortar?

18. Discuss the appropriateness of the terms: _severe_ Doric; _graceful_
Ionic; _ornate_ Corinthian.

19. Can you find examples of any of the Greek orders in public buildings
familiar to you?

20. How do you explain the almost total loss of original Greek sculptures?

21. By reference to the illustrations, page 279, explain the following
terms: _shaft_; _capital_; _architrave_; _frieze;_ and _cornice._

22. Explain the "Greek profile" seen in the Aphrodite of Cnidus and the
Apollo of the Belvedere (plate facing page 76).

23. Name five famous works of Greek sculpture which exist to-day only in
Roman copies.

24. What is your favorite Greek statue? Why do you like it?

25. "The dome, with the round arch out of which it sprang, is the most
fertile conception in the whole history of building." Justify this

26. What famous examples of domed churches and public buildings are
familiar to you?

27. What artistic objections to the use of "engaged columns" can you

28. Discuss the revival of cement construction in modern times. What are
its special advantages?

29. What examples of triumphal arches in the United States and France are
known to you?

30. Do you know of any modern columns of victory?

31. Why is it likely that the bust of Nerva (illustration, page 200) is a
more faithful likeness than that of Pericles (illustration, page 103)?

32. Write a brief essay describing an imaginary walk on the Athenian
Acropolis in the Age of Pericles.

33. Enumerate the most important contributions to civilization made in
classical antiquity.


[1] Webster, _Readings in Ancient History_, chapter xxi, "Roman Life as
Seen in Pliny's Letters"; chapter xxii, "A Satirist of Roman Society."

[2] Euripides, _Iphigenia in Tauris_, 57.

[3] See page 237.

[4] In "Marcus Tullius Cicero," "Marcus," the _praenomen_, corresponds to
our "given" name; "Tullius," the _nomen_, marks the clan, or _gens;_
"Cicero," the _cognomen_, indicates the family.

[5] See pages 151, 206.

[6] See page 218.

[7] See page 148.

[8] See page 144.

[9] See the illustrations, pages 117, 271.

[10] The corresponding names of women's garments were _stola_ and

[11] See page 199.

[12] See the illustration, page 145.

[13] See page 288.

[14] See page 285.

[15] Panathenaic means 'belonging to all the Athenians.' See page 292.

[16] See page 234.

[17] See page 200.

[18] _Panem et circenses_ (Juvenal x, 80-81).

[19] See page 215.

[20] See pages 436, 463.

[21] See page 73.

[22] See page 80.

[23] See page 120.

[24] See page 265.

[25] See page 121.

[26] See page 117.

[27] See page 261.

[28] See page 226.

[29] See page 142.

[30] The so-called Corinthian order differs from the Ionic only in its

[31] For illustrations of Greek temples, see pages 89, 101.

[32] For illustrations of Greek statues see pages 80, 81, 103, 117, 119,
129, 271 and the plates facing pages 76, 77, 80, 130, 131.

[33] See pages 61, 138.

[34] See the illustration, page 215.

[35] See the illustration, page 202.

[36] See the illustrations, pages 157, 285.

[37] See page 263.

[38] See the illustration, page 236.

[39] See the illustrations, pages 163, 201.

[40] See the illustration, page 266.

[41] See the illustration, page 339.

[42] See the map, page 107.

[43] See page 108.

[44] See page 227.

[45] See page 100.

[46] See the illustration, page 101.

[47] See the illustration, page 264.

[48] See page 108.

[49] See the plate facing page 281.

[50] See the plate facing page 280.

[51] See the plate facing page 281.

[52] See page 264.

[53] Pindar, _Fragments_, 76.

[54] See page 140.

[55] See the illustration, page 220.

[56] See the illustration, page 203.

[57] See the illustration, page 202.

[58] See the illustration, page 286.

[59] See the illustration, page 236.

[60] See the illustration, page 201.

[61] See the plate facing page 198.

[62] See page 146.

[63] See page 177.





We are not to suppose that the settlement of Germans within the Roman
Empire ended with the deposition of Romulus Augustulus, near the close of
the fifth century. The following centuries witnessed fresh invasions and
the establishment of new Germanic states. The study of these troubled
times leads us from the classical world to the world of medieval Europe,
from the history of antiquity to the history of the Middle Ages.


The kingdom which Odoacer established on Italian soil did not long endure.
It was soon overthrown by the Ostrogoths. At the time of the "fall" of
Rome in 476 A.D. they occupied a district south of the middle Danube,
which the government at Constantinople had hired them to defend. The
Ostrogoths proved to be expensive and dangerous allies. When, therefore,
their chieftain, Theodoric, offered to lead his people into Italy and
against Odoacer, the Roman emperor gladly sanctioned the undertaking.


Theodoric led the Ostrogoths--women and children as well as warriors--
across the Alps and came down to meet Odoacer and his soldiers in battle.
After suffering several defeats, Odoacer shut himself up in the strong
fortress of Ravenna. Theodoric could not capture the place and at last
agreed to share with Odoacer the government of Italy, if the latter would
surrender. The agreement was never carried into effect. When Theodoric
entered Ravenna, he invited Odoacer to a great feast and at its conclusion
slew him in cold blood. Theodoric had now no rival in Italy.


Though Theodoric gained the throne by violence and treachery, he soon
showed himself to be, as a ruler, wise, broad-minded, and humane. He had
lived as a youth in the imperial court at Constantinople and there had
become well acquainted with Roman ideas of law and order. Roman
civilization impressed him; and he wished not to destroy but to preserve
it. Theodoric reigned in Italy for thirty-three years, and during this
time the country enjoyed unbroken peace and prosperity.

A two storied marble building erected by Theodoric in imitation of a Roman
tomb. The roof is a single block of marble 33 feet in diameter and
weighing more than 300 tons. Theodoric's body was subsequently removed
from its resting place, and the mausoleum was converted into a church.]


The enlightened policy of Theodoric was exhibited in many ways. He
governed Ostrogoths and Romans with equal consideration. He kept all the
old offices, such as the senatorship and the consulate, and by preference
filled them with men of Roman birth. His chief counselors were Romans. A
legal code, which he drew up for the use of Ostrogoths and Romans alike,
contained only selections from Roman law. He was remarkably tolerant and,
in spite of the fact that the Ostrogoths were Arians, [2] was always ready
to extend protection to Catholic Christians. Theodoric patronized
literature and gave high positions to Roman writers. He restored the
cities of Italy, had the roads and aqueducts repaired, and so improved the
condition of agriculture that Italy, from a wheat-importing, became a
wheat-exporting, country. At Ravenna, the Ostrogothic capital, Theodoric
erected many notable buildings, including a palace, a mausoleum, and
several churches. The remains of these structures are still to be seen.


The influence of Theodoric reached far beyond Italy. He allied himself by
marriage with most of the Germanic rulers of the West. His second wife was
a Frankish foreign princess, his sister was the wife of a Vandal
chieftain, one of his daughters married a king of the Visigoths, and
another daughter wedded a Burgundian king. Theodoric by these alliances
brought about friendly relations between the various barbarian peoples. It
seemed, in fact, as if the Roman dominions in the West might again be
united under a single ruler; as if the Ostrogoths might be the Germanic
people to carry on the civilizing work of Rome. But no such good fortune
was in store for Europe.


Theodoric died in 526 A.D. The year after his death, a great emperor,
Justinian, came to the throne at Constantinople. Justinian had no
intention of abandoning to the Ostrogothic Germans the rich provinces of
Sicily and Italy. Although the Ostrogoths made a stubborn resistance to
his armies, in the end they were so completely overcome that they agreed
to withdraw from the Italian peninsula. The feeble remnant of their nation
filed sadly through the passes of the Alps and, mingling with other
barbarian tribes, disappeared from history.

103. THE LOMBARDS IN ITALY, 568-774 A.D.


The destruction of the Ostrogothic kingdom did not free Italy of the
Germans. Soon after Justinian's death the country was again overrun, this
time by the Lombards. The name of these invaders (in Latin, _Langobardi_)
may have been derived from the long beards that gave them such a ferocious
aspect. The Lombards were the last of the Germanic peoples to quit their
northern wilderness and seek new homes in sunny Italy. They seized the
territory north of the river Po--a region ever since known as Lombardy--
and established their capital at Pavia. The Lombards afterwards made many
settlements in central and southern Italy, but never succeeded in subduing
the entire peninsula.



The rule of the Lombards at first bore hardly on Italy, which they treated
as a conquered land. In character they seem to been far less attractive
than their predecessors the Visigoths and Ostrogoths. Many of them were
still heathen when they entered Italy and others were converts to the
Arian [3] form of Christianity. In course of time, however, the Lombards
accepted Roman Catholicism and adopted the customs of their subjects. They
even forgot their Germanic language and learned to speak Latin. The
Lombard kingdom lasted over two centuries, until it was overthrown by the
Franks. [4]


The failure of the Lombards to conquer all Italy had important results in
later history. Sicily and the extreme southern part of the Italian
peninsula, besides large districts containing the cities of Naples, Rome,
Genoa, Venice, and Ravenna, continued to belong to the Roman Empire in the
East. The rulers at Constantinople could not exercise effective control
over their Italian possessions, now that these were separated from one
another by the Lombard territories. The consequence was that Italy broke
up into a number of small and practically independent states, which never
combined into one kingdom until our own time. The ideal of a united Italy
waited thirteen hundred years for its realization. [5]



We have already met the Franks in their home on the lower Rhine, from
which they pushed gradually into Roman territory. [6] In 486 A.D., just
ten years after the deposition of Romulus Augustulus, the Franks went
forth to conquer under Clovis, [7] one of their chieftains. By overcoming
the governor of Roman Gaul, in a battle near Soissons, Clovis destroyed
the last vestige of imperial rule in the West and extended the Frankish
dominions to the river Loire. Clovis then turned against his German
neighbors. East of the Franks, in the region now known as Alsace, lived
the Alamanni, a people whose name still survives in the French name of
Germany. [8] The Alamanni were defeated in a great battle near Strassburg
(496 A.D.), and much of their territory was added to that of the Franks.
Clovis subsequently conquered the Visigothic possessions between the Loire
and the Pyrenees, and compelled the Burgundians to pay tribute. Thus
Clovis made himself supreme over nearly the whole of Gaul and even
extended his authority to the other side of the Rhine. This great work
entitles him to be called the founder of the French nation.


Clovis reigned in western Europe as an independent king, but he
acknowledged a sort of allegiance to the Roman emperor by accepting the
title of honorary consul. Henceforth to the Gallo-Romans he represented
the distant ruler at Constantinople. The Roman inhabitants of Gaul were
not oppressed; their cities were preserved; and their language and laws
were undisturbed. Clovis, as a statesman, may be compared with his eminent
contemporary, Theodoric the Ostrogoth.


The Franks were still a heathen people, when they began their career of
conquest. Clovis, however, had married a Burgundian princess, Clotilda,
who was a devout Catholic and an ardent advocate of Christianity. The
story is told how, when Clovis was hard-pressed by the Alamanni at the
battle of Strassburg, he vowed that if Clotilda's God gave him victory he
would become a Christian. The Franks won, and Clovis, faithful to his vow,
had himself baptized by St. Remi, bishop of Reims. "Bow down thy head,"
spoke the bishop, as the Frankish king approached the font, "adore what
thou hast burned, burn what thou has adored." [9] With Clovis were
baptized on that same day three thousand of his warriors.

[Illustration: Map, GROWTH OF THE FRANKISH DOMINIONS, 481-768 A.D.]


The conversion of Clovis was an event of the first importance. He and his
Franks naturally embraced the orthodox Catholic faith, which was that of
his wife, instead of the Arian form of Christianity, which had been
accepted by almost all the other Germanic invaders. Thus, by what seems
the merest accident, Catholicism, instead of Arianism, became the religion
of a large part of western Europe. More than this, the conversion of
Clovis gained for the Frankish king and his successors the support of
conversion the Roman Church. The friendship between the popes and the
Franks afterwards ripened into a close alliance which greatly influenced
European history.


The descendants of Clovis are called Merovingians. [10] They occupied the
throne of the Franks for nearly two hundred and fifty years. The annals of
their reigns form an unpleasant catalogue of bloody wars, horrible
murders, and deeds of treachery without number. Nevertheless, the earlier
Merovingians were strong men, under whose direction the Frankish territory
continued to expand, until it included nearly all of what is now France,
Belgium, and Holland, besides a considerable part of Germany.


The Frankish conquests differed in two important respects from those of
the other Germanic peoples. In the first place, the Franks did not cut
themselves off completely from their original homes. They kept permanently
their territory in Germany, drawing from it continual reinforcements of
fresh German blood. In the second place, the Franks steadily added new
German lands to their possessions. They built up in this way what was the
largest and the most permanent of all the barbarian states founded on the
ruins of the Roman Empire.



After the middle of the seventh century the Frankish rulers, worn out by
violence and excesses, degenerated into weaklings, who reigned but did not
rule. The actual management of the state passed into the hands of
officers, called "mayors of the palace." They left to the kings little
more than their title, their long hair,--the badge of royalty among the
Franks,--and a scanty allowance for their support. The later Merovingians,
accordingly, are often known as the "do-nothing kings."


The most illustrious of these mayors was Charles, surnamed Martel, "the
Hammer," from the terrible defeat which he administered to the Mohammedans
near Tours, in central France. [11] Charles Martel was virtually a king,
but he never ventured to set aside the Merovingian ruler and himself
ascend the throne. This step was taken, however, by Charles's son, Pepin
the Short.


Before dethroning the last feeble "do-nothing," Pepin sought the approval
of the bishop of Rome. The pope, without hesitation, declared that it was
only right that the man who had the real authority in the state should
have the royal title also. Pepin, accordingly, caused himself to be
crowned king of the Franks, thus founding the Carolingian [12] dynasty.
(751 A.D.). Three years later Pope Stephen II came to Pepin's court and
solemnly anointed the new ruler with holy oil, in accordance with ancient
Jewish custom. The rite of anointing, something unknown to the Germans,
gave to Pepin's coronation the sanction of the Roman Church. Henceforth
the Frankish sovereigns called themselves "kings by the grade of God."


Pepin was soon able to repay his great obligation to the Roman Church by
becoming its protector against the Lombards. These barbarians, who were
trying to extend their rule in Italy, threatened to capture Rome and the
territory in the vicinity of that city, then under the control of the
pope. Pepin twice entered Italy with his army, defeated the Lombards, and
forced them to cede to Pope Stephen an extensive district lying between
Rome and Ravenna. Pepin might have returned this district to the emperor
at Constantinople, to whom it belonged, but the Frankish king declared
that he had not fought for the advantage of any man but for the welfare of
his own soul. He decided, therefore, to bestow his conquests on St.
Peter's representative, the pope. Before this time the bishops of Rome had
owned much land in Italy and had acted as virtual sovereigns in Rome and
its neighborhood. Pepin's gift, known as the "Donation of Pepin," greatly
increased their possessions, which came to be called the States of the
Church. They remained in the hands of the popes until late in the
nineteenth century. [13]



Pepin was succeeded in 768 A.D. by his two sons, one of whom, Charlemagne,
three years later became sole king of the Franks. Charlemagne reigned for
nearly half a century, and during this time he set his stamp on all later
European history. His character and personality are familiar to us from a
brief biography, written by his secretary, Einhard. Charlemagne, we learn,
was a tall, square-shouldered, strongly built man, with bright, keen eyes,
and an expression at once cheerful and dignified. Riding, hunting, and
swimming were his favorite sports. He was simple in his tastes and very
temperate in both food and drink. Except when in Rome, he wore the old
Frankish costume, with high-laced boots, linen tunic, blue cloak, and
sword girt at his side. He was a clear, fluent speaker, used Latin as
readily as his native tongue, and understood Greek when it was spoken. "He
also tried to learn to write and often kept his tablets and writing book
under the pillow of his couch, that, when he had leisure, he might
practice his hand in forming letters; but he made little progress in this
task, too long deferred and begun too late in life." [14] For the times,
however, Charlemagne was a well-educated man--by no means a barbarian.

[Illustration: CHARLEMAGNE (Lateran Museum, Rome)
A mosaic picture, made during the lifetime of Charlemagne and probably a
fair likeness of him.]


Much of Charlemagne's long life, almost to its close, was filled with
warfare. He fought chiefly against the still-heathen peoples on the
frontiers of the Frankish realm. The subjugation of the Saxons, who lived
in the forests and marshes of northwestern Germany, took many years.
Charlemagne at the head of a great army would invade their territory, beat
them in battle, and receive their submission, only to find his work undone
by a sudden rising of the liberty-loving natives, after the withdrawal of
the Franks. Once when Charlemagne was exasperated by a fresh revolt, he
ordered forty-five hundred prisoners to be executed. This savage massacre
was followed by equally severe laws, which threatened with death all
Saxons who refused baptism or observed the old heathen rites. By such
harsh means Charlemagne at length broke down the spirit of resistance
among the people. All Saxony, from the Rhine to the Elbe, became a
Christian land and a permanent part of the Frankish realm.

A fillet of iron, which, according to pious legend, had been beaten out of
one of the nails of the True Cross. It came to the Lombards as a gift from
Pope Gregory I. as a reward for their conversion to Roman Catholicism.
During the Middle Ages it was used to crown the German emperors kings of
Italy. This precious relic is now kept in a church at Monza in northern


Shortly after the beginning of the Saxon wars the king of the Franks
received an urgent summons from the pope, who was again being threatened
by his old enemies, the Lombards. Charlemagne led a mighty host across the
Alps, captured Pavia, where the Lombard ruler had taken refuge, and added
his possessions to those of the Franks. Thus passed away one more of the
Germanic states which had arisen on the ruins of the Roman Empire.
Charlemagne now placed on his own head the famous "Iron Crown," and
assumed the title of "King of the Franks and Lombards, and Patrician of
the Romans."


Charlemagne's conquests were not confined to Germanic peoples. He forced
the wild Avars, who had advanced from the Caspian into the Danube valley,
to acknowledge his supremacy. He compelled various Slavic tribes,
including the Bohemians, to pay tribute. He also invaded Spain and wrested
from the Moslems the district between the Ebro River and the Pyrenees. By
this last conquest Charlemagne may be said to have begun the recovery of
the Spanish peninsula from Mohammedan rule. [15]

[Illustration: Map, EUROPE In the Age of Charlemagne, 800 A.D.]


Charlemagne was a statesman, as well as a warrior. He divided his wide
dominions into counties, each one ruled by a count, who was expected to
keep order and administer justice. The border districts, which lay exposed
to invasion, were organized into "marks," under the military supervision
of counts of the mark, or margraves (marquises). These officials had so
much power and lived so far from the royal court that it was necessary for
Charlemagne to appoint special agents, called _missi dominici_ ("the
lord's messengers"), to maintain control over them. The _missi_ were
usually sent out in pairs, a layman and a bishop or abbot, in order that
the one might serve as a check upon the other. They traveled from county
to county, bearing the orders of their royal master and making sure that
these orders were promptly obeyed. In this way Charlemagne kept well
informed as to the condition of affairs throughout his kingdom.


Charlemagne made a serious effort to revive classical culture in the West
from the low state into which it had fallen during the period of the
invasions. We still possess a number of laws issued by this Frankish king
for the promotion of education. He founded schools in the monasteries and
cathedrals, where not only the clergy but also the common people might
receive some training. He formed his whole court into a palace school, in
which learned men from Italy, Spain, and England gave instruction to his
own children and those of his nobles. The king himself often studied with
them, under the direction of his good friend, Alcuin, an Englishman and
the foremost scholar in western Europe. He had the manuscripts of Latin
authors collected and copied, so that the knowledge preserved in books
should not be forgotten. All this civilizing work, together with the peace
and order which he maintained throughout a wide territory, made his reign
the most brilliant period of the early Middle Ages.

Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) was the capital city and favorite residence of
Charlemagne. The church which he built here was almost entirely destroyed
by the Northmen in the tenth century. The octagonal building surmounted by
a dome which forms the central part of the present cathedral is a
restoration of the original structure. The marble columns pavements and
mosaics of Charlemagne's church were brought by him from Ravenna.]



Charlemagne, the champion of Christendom and the foremost ruler in Europe,
seemed to the men of his day the rightful successor of the Roman emperors.
He had their power, and now he was to have their name. In the year 800
A.D. the Frankish king visited Rome to investigate certain accusations
made against the pope, Leo III, by his enemies in the city. Charlemagne
absolved Leo of all wrong-doing and restored him to his office.
Afterwards, on Christmas Day Charlemagne went to old St. Peter's Church,
where the pope was saying Mass. As the king, dressed in the rich robes of
a Roman patrician, knelt in prayer before the high altar, the pope
suddenly placed on his head a golden crown, while all the people cried out
with one voice, "Long life and victory to Charles Augustus, the great and
pacific emperor of the Romans, crowned by God!"


Although Charlemagne appears to have been surprised by the pope's act, we
know that he wished to become emperor. The imperial title would confer
upon him greater dignity and honor, though not greater power, than he
possessed as king of the Franks and of the Lombards. The pope, in turn,
was glad to reward the man who had protected the Church and had done so
much to spread the Catholic faith among the heathen. The Roman people also
welcomed the coronation, because they felt that the time had come for Rome
to assume her old place as the capital of the world. To reject the eastern
ruler, in favor of the great Frankish king, was an emphatic method of
asserting Rome's independence of Constantinople.


The coronation of Charlemagne was one of the most important events in
medieval history. It might be thought a small matter that he should take
the imperial title, when he already exercised imperial sway throughout
western Europe. But Charlemagne's contemporaries believed that the old
Roman Empire had now been revived, and a German king now sat on the throne
once occupied by Augustus and Constantine. Henceforth there was
established in the West a line of Roman emperors which lasted until the
opening of the nineteenth century. [16]


Charlemagne's empire was not in any true sense a continuation of the Roman
Empire. It did not include the dominions over which the emperors at
Constantinople were to reign for centuries. Moreover, Charlemagne and his
successors on the throne had little in common with the old rulers of Rome,
who spoke Latin, administered Roman law, and regarded the Germans as among
their most dangerous enemies. Charlemagne's empire was, in fact, largely a
new creation.



The empire of Charlemagne did not long remain intact. So vast was its
extent and so unlike were its inhabitants in race, language, and customs
that it could be managed only by a ruler of the greatest energy and
strength of will. Unfortunately, the successors of Charlemagne proved to
be too weak for the task of maintaining peace and order. Western Europe
now entered on a long period of confusion and violence, during which
Charlemagne's possessions broke up into separate and warring kingdoms.


Charlemagne's son, Louis the Pious, who became emperor in 814 A.D., was a
well-meaning but feeble ruler, better fitted for the quiet life of a
monastery than for the throne. He could not control his rebellious sons,
who, even during his lifetime, fought bitterly over their inheritance. The
unnatural strife, which continued after his death, was temporarily settled
by a treaty concluded at the city of Verdun. According to its terms
Lothair, the eldest brother, received Italy and the imperial title,
together with a narrow stretch of land along the valleys of the Rhine and
the Rhone, between the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Louis and Charles,
the other brothers, received kingdoms lying to the east and west,
respectively, of Lothair's territory. The Treaty of Verdun may be said to
mark the first stage in the dissolution of the Carolingian Empire.


A second treaty, made at Mersen in Holland, was entered into by Louis and
Charles, after the death of their brother Lothair. They divided between
themselves Lothair's kingdom north of the Alps, leaving to his young son
the possession of Italy and the empty title of "emperor." The Treaty of
Mersen may be said to mark the second stage in the dissolution of the
Carolingian Empire. That empire, as such, had now ceased to exist.

VERDUN (843 A.D.) AND MERSEN (870 A.D.)]


The territorial arrangements made by the treaties of Verdun and Mersen
foreshadowed the future map of western Europe. The East Frankish kingdom
of Louis, inhabited almost entirely by Germanic peoples, was to develop
into modern Germany. The West Frankish kingdom of Charles, inhabited
mainly by descendants of Romanized Gauls, was to become modern France.
Lothair's kingdom, separated into two parts by the Alps, never became a
national state. Italy, indeed, might be united under one government, but
the long, narrow strip north of the Alps had no unity of race, no common
language, and no national boundaries. It was fated to be broken into
fragments and to be fought over for centuries by its stronger neighbors.
Part of this territory now forms the small countries of Belgium, Holland,
and Switzerland, and another part, known as Alsace and Lorraine, [17]
still remains a bone of contention between France and Germany.


Even had Charlemagne been followed by strong and able rulers, it would
have been a difficult matter to hold the empire together in the face of
the fresh series of barbarian inroads which began immediately after his
death. The Mohammedans, though checked by the Franks at the battle of
Tours, [18] continued to be dangerous enemies. They ravaged southern
France, Sicily, and parts of Italy. The piratical Northmen from Denmark
and Norway harried the coast of France and made inroads far beyond Paris.
They also penetrated into western Germany, sailing up the Rhine in their
black ships and destroying such important towns as Cologne and Aix-la-
Chapelle. Meanwhile, eastern Germany lay exposed to the attacks of the
Slavs, whom Charlemagne had defeated but not subdued. The Magyars, or
Hungarians, were also dreaded foes. Their wild horsemen entered Europe
from the plains of Asia and, like the Huns and Avars to whom they were
probably related, spread devastation far and wide. A great part of Europe
thus suffered from invasions almost as destructive as those which had
brought ruin to the old Roman world.



The tenth century saw another movement toward the restoration of law and
order. The civilizing work of Charlemagne was taken up by German kings,
not of the old Prankish stock, but belonging to that Saxon people which
had opposed Charlemagne so long and bitterly. Saxony was one of the five
great territorial states, or stem-duchies, as they are usually called,
into which Germany was then divided. [19] Germany at that time extended
only as far east as the river Elbe, beyond which lay the territory
occupied by half-civilized Slavic tribes.


The rulers of the stem-duchies enjoyed practical independence, though they
had recognized some king of Germany ever since the Treaty of Verdun. Early
in the tenth century the Carolingian dynasty died out in Germany, and the
German nobles then proceeded to elect their own kings. Their choice fell
first upon Conrad, duke of Franconia, but he had little authority outside
his own duchy. A stronger man was required to keep the peace among the
turbulent nobles and to repel the invaders of Germany. Such a man appeared
in the person of Henry, duke of Saxony, who, after Conrad's death, was
chosen king.


Henry I, called the Fowler, because he was fond of hunting birds, spent
the greater part of his reign in wars against the Slavs, Magyars, and
other invaders. He conquered from the Slavs the territory afterwards known
as Brandenburg. This country was to furnish Germany, in later centuries,
with its present dynasty--the Hohenzollerns. [20] He occupied the southern
part of Denmark (Schleswig) and Christianized it. He also recovered for
Germany Lorraine, a district which remained in German hands until the
eighteenth century.


Henry the Fowler was succeeded by his son, Otto I, whom history knows as
Otto the Great. He well deserved the title. Like Charlemagne, Otto
presented the aspect of a born ruler. He is described as being tall and
commanding in presence, strong and vigorous of body, and gifted with great
charm of manner. In his bronzed face shone clear and sparkling eyes, and
down his breast hung a long, thick beard. Though subject to violent
outbursts of temper, he was liberal to his friends and just to his foes.
Otto was a man of immense energy and ambition, with a high conception of
his duties as a sovereign. His reign forms one of the most notable epochs
in German history.

The inscription reads _Oddo Rex_.]


Otto continued Henry's work of defending Germany from the foes which
threatened to overrun that country. He won his most conspicuous success
against the Magyars, who suffered a crushing defeat on the banks of the
river Lech in Bavaria (955 A.D.). These barbarians now ceased their raids
and retired to the lands on the middle Danube which they had seized from
the Slavs. Here they settled down, accepted Christianity from the Roman
Church, and laid the foundations of the kingdom of Hungary. [21] As a
protection against future Magyar inroads Otto established the East Mark.
This region afterwards rose to great importance under the name of Austria.


Otto was an excellent ruler of Germany. He made it his business to
strengthen the royal authority by weakening that of the stem-dukes. He had
to fight against them on more than one occasion, for they regarded
themselves almost as independent kings. Otto was able to keep them in
check, but the rulers who followed him were less successful in this
respect. The struggle between the kings and their powerful nobles formed a
constant feature of the medieval history of Germany.



Otto the Great is not to be remembered only as a German king. His reign
was also noteworthy in the history of Italy. The country at this time was
hopelessly divided between rival and contending peoples. The emperor at
Constantinople controlled the southern extremity of the peninsula. The
Mohammedans held Sicily and some cities on the mainland. The pope ruled at
Rome and in the States of the Church. A so-called king of Italy still
reigned in Lombardy, but he could not manage the powerful counts, dukes,
and marquises, who were virtually independent within their own domains.
Even the imperial title died out, and now there was no longer a Roman
emperor in the West.


The deplorable condition of Italy invited interference from abroad.
Following in the footsteps of Charlemagne, Otto the Great led two
expeditions across the Alps, assumed the "Iron Crown" [22] of Lombardy,
and then proceeded to Rome, where he secured the pope (John XII) against
the latter's enemies in that city. Otto's reward was the same as
Charlemagne's. On Candlemas Day, (February 2d) 962 A.D., the grateful pope
crowned him Roman emperor.


The coronation of Otto the Great seemed to his contemporaries a necessary
and beneficial act. They still believed that the Roman Empire was
suspended, not extinct; and that now, one hundred and fifty years after
Charlemagne, the occasion was opportune to revive the name and power
associated with the golden age of the first Frankish emperor. Otto's
ardent spirit, one may well believe, was fired with this vision of
imperial sway and the renewal of a title around which clustered so many
memories of success and glory.

[Illustration: Map, EUROPE IN THE AGE OF OTTO THE GREAT, 962 A.D.]


But the outcome of Otto's restoration of the Roman Empire was good neither
for Italy nor for Germany. It became the rule, henceforth, that the man
whom the German nobles chose as their king had a claim, also, to the
Italian crown and the imperial title. The efforts of the German kings to
make good this claim led to their constant interference in the affairs of
Italy. They treated that country as a conquered province which had no
right to a national life and an independent government under its own
rulers. At the same time they neglected Germany and failed to keep their
powerful territorial lords in subjection. Neither Italy nor Germany, in
consequence, could become a unified, centralized state, such as was formed
in France and England during the later Middle Ages.


The empire of Charlemagne, restored by Otto the Great, came to be called
in later centuries the "Holy Roman Empire." The title points to the idea
of a world monarchy--the Roman Empire--and a world religion--Roman
Christianity--united in one institution. This magnificent idea was never
fully realized. The popes and emperors, instead of being bound to each
other by the closest ties, were more generally enemies than friends. A
large part of medieval history was to turn on this conflict between the
Empire and the Papacy. [23]



From the history of Continental Europe we now turn to the history of
Britain. That island had been overrun by the Germanic barbarians after the
middle of the fifth century. [24] They are commonly known as Anglo-Saxons,
from the names of their two principal peoples, the Angles and Saxons. The
Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain was a slow process, which lasted at least
one hundred and fifty years. The invaders followed the rivers into the
interior and gradually subdued more than a half of what is now England,
comprising the fertile plain district in the southern and eastern parts of
the island.


Though the Anglo-Saxons probably destroyed many flourishing cities and
towns of the Romanized Britons, it seems likely that the conquerors spared
the women, with whom they intermarried, and the agricultural laborers,
whom they made slaves. Other natives took refuge in the hill regions of
western and northern Britain, and here their descendants still keep up the
Celtic language and traditions. The Anglo-Saxons regarded the Britons with
contempt, naming them Welsh, a word which means one who talks gibberish.
The antagonism between the two peoples died out in the course of
centuries, conquerors and conquered intermingled, and an English nation,
partly Celtic and partly Germanic, came into being.

Horn of Ulphus (Wulf) in the cathedral of York. The old English were heavy
drinkers chiefly of ale and mead. The evening meal usually ended with a
drinking bout.]


The Anglo-Saxons started to fight one another before they ceased fighting
their common enemy, the Britons. Throughout the seventh and eighth
centuries, the Anglo-Saxon states were engaged in almost constant
struggles, either for increase of territory or for supremacy. The kingdoms
farthest east--Kent, Sussex, Essex, and East Anglia--found their expansion
checked by other kingdoms--Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex--which grew up
in the interior of the island. Each of these three stronger states gained
in turn the leading place.


The beginning of the supremacy of Wessex dates from the reign of Egbert.
He had lived for some years as an exile at the court of Charlemagne, from
whom he must have learned valuable lessons of war and statesmanship. After
returning from the Continent, Egbert became king of Wessex and gradually
forced the rulers of the other states to acknowledge him as overlord.
Though Egbert was never directly king of all England, he began the work of
uniting the Anglo-Saxons under one government. His descendants have
occupied the English throne to the present day.


When the Germans along the Rhine and the Danube crossed the frontiers and
entered the western provinces, they had already been partially Romanized.
They understood enough of Roman civilization to appreciate it and to
desire to preserve it. The situation was quite different with the Anglo-
Saxons. Their original home lay in a part of Germany far beyond the
borders of the Roman Empire and remote from the cultural influences of
Rome. Coming to Britain as barbarians, they naturally introduced their own
language, laws, and customs wherever they settled. Much of what the Anglo-
Saxons brought with them still lives in England, and from that country has
spread to the United States and the vast English colonies beyond the seas.
The English language is less indebted to Latin than any of the Romance
languages, [25] and the Common law of England owes much less to Roman law
than do the legal systems of Continental Europe. England, indeed, looks to
the Anglo-Saxons for some of the most characteristic and important
elements of her civilization.

[Illustration: Map, ANGLO-SAXON BRITAIN]



The Anglo-Saxons also brought to Britain their heathen faith. Christianity
did not come to them until the close the sixth century. At this time more
or less intercourse had sprung up between the people of Kent, lying
nearest to the Continent, and the Franks in Gaul. Ethelbert, the king of
Kent, had even married the Frankish princess, Bertha. He allowed his
Christian wife to bring a bishop to her new home and gave her the deserted
church of St. Martin at Canterbury as a place of worship. Queen Bertha's
fervent desire for the conversion of her husband and his people prepared
the way for an event of first importance in English history--the mission
of Augustine.


The pope at this time was Gregory I, better known, from his services to
the Roman Church, as Gregory the Great. [26] The kingdom of Kent, with its
Christian queen, must have seemed to him a promising field for missionary
enterprise. Gregory, accordingly, sent out the monk Augustine with forty
companions to carry the Gospel to the heathen English. The king of Kent,
already well disposed toward the Christian faith, greeted the missionaries
kindly and told them that they were free to convert whom they would.
Before long he and his court embraced Christianity, and the people of Kent
soon followed the royal example. The monks were assigned a residence in
Canterbury, a city which has ever since remained the religious capital of
England. From Kent Christianity in its Roman form gradually spread into
the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

The present church, dating from the thirteenth century occupies the site
of a chapel built before the arrival of Augustine, The walls still contain
some of the Roman bricks used in the original structure. St Martin's
Church was the scene of the earliest work of Augustine in Canterbury.]


Augustine and his monks were not the first missionaries to Britain. Roman
soldiers, merchants, and officials had introduced Christianity among the
Britons as early as second century. During the fifth century the famous
St. Patrick had carried Christianity to the heathen Irish. The Anglo-Saxon
invasion of Britain drove many Christians to Ireland, and that island in
the sixth and seventh centuries became a center from which devoted monks
went forth to labor in western Scotland and northern Britain [27] Here
they came in contact with the Roman missionaries.


The Celtic Christians followed some customs which differed from those
observed by Roman Christians. They computed the date on which Easter fell
according to a system unlike that of the Romans. They permitted their
priests to marry; the Romans forbade the practice. Their monks shaved the
front of the head from ear to ear as a tonsure, while Roman monks shaved
the top of the head, leaving a "crown of thorns." These differences may
not seem very important, but they were enough to prevent the cooperation
of Celtic and Roman missionaries for the conversion of the heathen.

The choir dates from the twelfth century, the nave, transepts, and central
tower, from the fifteenth century. One of the two towers at the west front
was built in 1834-1840 A.D. The beautiful stained glass in the windows of
the choir belongs to the thirteenth century.]


The rivalry between Celtic and Roman Christians was finally settled at a
church gathering, or synod, called by the king of Northumbria at Whitby.
The main controversy at this synod concerned the proper date for Easter.
In the course of the debate it was asserted that the Roman custom had the
sanction of St. Peter, to whom Christ had intrusted the keys of heaven.
This statement was enough for the Northumbrian king, who thereupon decided
in favor of the Roman claim, declaring that he would not oppose St. Peter,
"lest when I come before the gates of the kingdom of heaven, he who holds
the keys should not open to me." [28] The representatives of the Celtic
Church then withdrew from England, leaving the field clear for Roman


The decision of the Synod of Whitby in favor of Rome meant that all
England henceforth would recognize the pope's authority in religious
matters. It remained a Roman Catholic country until the time of the
Reformation, nearly nine hundred years later. [29] The Celtic Christians
in Ireland and Scotland also in the course of time became the devoted
children of the Roman Church.



We have now followed the fortunes of the Germans for five centuries from
the end of the Roman Empire in the West. Most of their kingdoms, it has
been seen, were not permanent. The Visigothic and Burgundian dominions in
Gaul yielded to the Franks, and those of the Visigoths in Spain, to the
Mohammedan Arabs. [30] The Vandal possessions in North Africa were
regained by the emperors at Constantinople. [31] The rule of the
Ostrogoths in Italy endured for only sixty years and that of the Lombards
passed away after two centuries. The kingdoms established by the Franks
and the Anglo-Saxons alone developed into lasting states.


But even where the Germans did not found permanent kingdoms, they mingled
with the subject provincials and adopted much of the old Roman
civilization. The fusion of the two peoples naturally required a long
time, being scarcely completed before the middle of the tenth century. It
was hindered, in the first place, by the desire of the Germans to secure
the lands of the Romans. Wherever the barbarians settled, they
appropriated a large part of the agricultural soil. How much they took
varied in different countries. The Ostrogoths seem to have seized one-
third of the land in Italy; the Visigoths, two-thirds of that in Gaul and
Spain; the Anglo-Saxons, perhaps all the tillable soil of Britain. It
could not but be galling to the Romans to surrender their farms to the
barbarians. In the second place, the Germans often assessed heavy taxes on
the Romans, which they themselves refused to pay. Tax-paying seemed to the
Germans a mark of servitude. In the third place, a barrier between the two
peoples arose from the circumstance that each had its particular law. For
several centuries following the invasions there was one law for the
Romans--that which they had enjoyed under the empire--and another law for
the Germans--their old tribal customs. After the Germans had lived for
some time in contact with the Romans they wrote out their laws in the
Latin language. These "Laws of the Barbarians" still survive and throw
much light on their early beliefs and manners.


In spite of the hindrances to fusion, it seems true that the Germans and
the Romans felt no great dislike for each other and that, as a rule, they
freely intermingled. Certain conditions directly favored this result.
First, many Germans had found their way within the empire as hired
soldiers, colonists, and slaves, long before the invasions began. Second,
the Germanic invaders came in relatively small numbers. Third, the Germans
entered the Roman world not as destroyers, but as homeseekers. They felt a
real reverence for Roman civilization. And fourth, some of the principal
Germanic nations, including the Visigoths, Burgundians, and Vandals, were
already Christians at the time of their invasions, while other nations,
such as the Franks and the Anglo-Saxons, were afterwards converted to
Christianity. As long, however, as most of the Germans remained Arian
Christians [32] their belief stood in the way of friendly intercourse with
the Roman provincials, who had accepted the Catholic faith.

[Illustration: Map, THE PEOPLES OF EUROPE at the beginning of the Tenth


If western Europe during the early Middle Ages presented a scene of
violence and confusion while the Germans were settling in their new homes,
a different picture was afforded by eastern Europe. Here the Roman Empire
still survived and continued to uphold for centuries the Roman tradition
of law and order. The history of that empire forms the theme of the
following chapter.


1. On an outline map indicate the boundaries of the empire of Charlemagne,
distinguishing his hereditary possessions from those which he acquired by

2. On an outline map indicate the boundaries of the empire of Otto the

3. What events are connected with the following places: Soissons; Mersen;
Whitby; Reims; Verdun; Canterbury; and Strassburg?

4. What is the historical importance of Augustine, Henry the Fowler, Pepin
the Short, Charles Martel, Egbert, and Ethelbert?

5. Give dates for the following events: battle of Tours; crowning of
Charlemagne as emperor; crowning of Otto the Great as emperor; deposition
of Romulus Augustulus; Augustine's mission to England; and the Treaty of

6. Explain the following expressions: "do-nothing kings"; _missi
dominici_; Holy Roman Empire; and "Donation of Pepin."

7. Why was the extinction of the Ostrogothic kingdom a misfortune for

8. Why did Italy remain for so many centuries after the Lombard invasion
merely "a geographical expression"?

9. What difference did it make whether Clovis became an Arian or a

10. What events in the lives of Clovis and Pepin the Short contributed to
the alliance between the Franks and the popes?

11. What provinces of the Roman Empire in the West were not included
within the limits of Charlemagne's empire?

12. What countries of modern Europe are included within the limits of
Charlemagne's empire?

13. Compare the _missi dominici_ with the "eyes and ears" of Persian

14. What is the origin of the word "emperor"? As a title distinguish it
from that of "king."

15. Why has Lothair's kingdom north of the Alps been called the "strip of

16. In what parts of the British Isles are Celtic languages still spoken?

17. How did the four English counties, Sussex, Essex, Norfolk, and
Suffolk, receive their names?

18. What was the importance of the Synod of Whitby?

19. Set forth the conditions which hindered, and those which favored, the
fusion of Germans and Romans.


[1] Webster, _Readings in Medieval and Modern History_, chapter i,
"Stories of the Lombard Kings"; chapter ii, "Charlemagne."

[2] See page 236.

[3] See page 236.

[4] See page 309.

[5] The modern kingdom of Italy dates from 1861-1870 A.D.

[6] See page 245.

[7] His name is properly spelled Chlodweg, which later became Ludwig, and
in French, Louis.

[8] _Allemagne_. On the other hand, the inhabitants of Gaul came to call
their country _France_ and themselves _Français_ after their conquerors,
the Germanic Franks.

[9] Gregory of Tours, _Historia Francorum_, ii, 31.

[10] From Merovech, grandfather of Clovis.

[11] See page 379.

[12] So called from Pepin's son, Charles the Great (in Latin, _Carolus
Magnus_). The French form of his name is Charlemagne.

[13] In 1870 A.D. the States of the Church were added to the newly formed
kingdom of Italy.

[14] Einhard, _Vita Caroli Magni_, 25.

[15] The rearguard of Charlemagne's army, when returning from Spain, was
attacked and overwhelmed by the mountaineers of the Pyrenees. The incident
gave rise to the famous French epic known as the _Song of Roland_.

[16] The title of "Holy Roman Emperor," assumed by the later successors of
Charlemagne, was kept by them till 1806 A.D.

[17] The French name Lorraine and the German name Lothringen are both
derived from the Latin title of Lothair's kingdom--_Lotharii regnum_.

[18] See page 306.

[19] The others were Franconia, Swabia, Bavaria, and Lorraine.

[20] The Hohenzollerns became electors of Brandenburg in 1415 A.D., kings
of Prussia in 1701, and emperors of Germany in 1871.

[21] The Magyar settlement in central Europe had the important result of
dividing the Slavic peoples into three groups. Those who remained south of
the Danube (Serbians, Croatians, etc.) were henceforth separated from the
northwestern Slavs (Bohemians, Moravians, and Poles) and from the eastern
Slavs (Russians). See the map facing page 326.

[22] See the Illustration, page 308.

[23] See pages 455-463.

[24] See page 246.

[25] See page 208.

[26] See page 350.

[27] The enthusiasm of the Celtic Christians reached such proportions that
it swept back upon the Continent. In the seventh and eighth centuries
Irish missionaries worked among the heathen Germans and founded
monasteries in Burgundy, Lombardy, and southern Germany (now Switzerland).

[28] Bede, _Historia ecclesiastica_, iii, 25.

[29] The separation from Rome occurred in 1534 A.D., during the reign of
Henry VIII.

[30] See page 378.

[31] See page 330.

[32] See page 236.





The Roman Empire in the West moved rapidly to its "fall" in 476 A.D., at
the hands of the Germanic invaders. The Roman Empire in the East, though
threatened by enemies from without and weakened by civil conflicts from
within, endured for more than a thousand years. Until the middle of the
eleventh century it was the strongest state in Europe, except during the
reign of Charlemagne, when the Frankish kingdom eclipsed it. Until the
middle of the fifteenth century it preserved the name, the civilization,
and some part of the dominions, of ancient Rome. [1]


The long life of the Roman Empire in the East is one of the marvels of
history. Its great and constant vitality appears the more remarkable, when
one considers that it had no easily defensible frontiers, contained many
different races with little in common, and on all sides faced hostile
states. The empire survived so long, because of its vast wealth and
resources, its despotic, centralized government, the strength of its army,
and the almost impregnable position occupied by Constantinople, the
capital city.


The changing fortunes of the empire during the Middle Ages are reflected
in some of the names by which it is often known. The term "Greek Empire"
expresses the fact that the state became more and more Greek in character,
owing to the loss, first of the western provinces in the fifth century,
and then of Syria and Egypt in the seventh century. Another term--
"Byzantine Empire"--appropriately describes the condition of the state in
still later times, when its possessions were reduced to Constantinople
(ancient Byzantium) and the territory in the neighborhood of that city.
But through all this period the rulers at Constantinople regarded
themselves as the true successors of Augustus, Diocletian, and
Constantine. They never admitted the right of Charlemagne and Otto the
Great to establish a rival Roman Empire in western Europe. [2] They
claimed to be the only legitimate heirs of Old Rome.



The history of the Roman Empire in the East, for more than one hundred
years after the death of Theodosius, is uneventful. His successors, though
unable to prevent the Germans from seizing Italy and the other western
provinces, managed to keep their own dominions intact. The eastern
provinces escaped the fate of those in the West, because they were more
populous and offered greater obstacles to the barbarian invaders, who
followed the line of least resistance. The gradual recovery of the empire
in strength and warlike energy prepared the way for a really eminent


Justinian is described as a man of noble bearing, simple in his habits,
affable in speech, and easy of approach to all his subjects. Historians
have often drawn attention to his wonderful activity of mind and power of
steady industry. So great was his zeal for work that one of his courtiers
called him "the emperor who never sleeps." Possessed of large ideas and
inspired by the majesty of Rome, Justinian aimed to be a great conqueror,
a great lawgiver, and a great restorer of civilization. His success in
whatever he undertook must be ascribed in part to his wife, Theodora, whom
he associated with himself on the throne. Theodora, strong of mind and
wise in counsel, made a worthy helpmate for Justinian, who more than once
declared that in affairs of state he had consulted his "revered wife."


It was the ambition of Justinian to conquer the Germanic kingdoms which
had been formed out of the Mediterranean provinces. In this task he relied
chiefly on the military genius of Belisarius, one of the world's foremost
commanders. Belisarius was able in one short campaign to destroy the
Vandal kingdom in North Africa. [3] The Vandals by this time had lost
their early vigor; they made but a feeble resistance; and their Roman
subjects welcomed Belisarius as a deliverer. Justinian awarded a triumph
to his victorious general, an honor which for five centuries emperors
alone had enjoyed. The conquest of North Africa, together with the islands
of Sardinia and Corsica, was followed by the overthrow of the Ostrogothic
kingdom in Sicily and Italy. [4] Justinian also recovered from the
Visigoths [5] the southeastern part of Spain. He could now say with truth
that the Mediterranean was once more a Roman sea. [6]

A mosaic dating from 547 A.D., in the church of San Vitale, Ravenna. It
shows the emperor (in the center) with a bishop, his suite and imperial
guards. The picture probably gives us a fair idea of Justinian's
appearance, though it represents him as somewhat younger than he was at
the time.]


The conquests of Justinian proved to be less enduring than his work as a
lawgiver. Until his reign the sources of Roman law, including the
legislation of the popular assemblies, the decrees of the Senate, the
edicts of the of Roman praetors and emperors, and the decisions of learned
lawyers, had never been completely collected and arranged in scientific
form. Justinian appointed a commission of legal scholars to perform this
task. The result of their labors, in which the emperor himself assisted,
was the publication of the _Corpus Juris Civilis_, the "Body of Civil
Law." Under this form the Roman principles of jurisprudence have become
the foundation of the legal systems of modern Italy, Spain, France,
Germany, and other European countries. These principles even influenced
the Common law of England, which has been adopted by the United States.
[7] The _Corpus Juris Civilis_, because of this widespread influence, is
justly regarded as one of Rome's most important gifts to the world.


Justinian's claim to the title of "Great" rests also on his civilizing
work. He wished to restore the prosperity, as well as the provinces, of
the empire. During his reign roads, bridges, and aqueducts were repaired,
and commerce and agriculture were encouraged. It was at this time that two
Christian missionaries brought from China the eggs of the silkworm, and
introduced the manufacture of silk in Europe. As a builder Justinian
gained special fame. The edifices which he caused to be raised throughout
his dominions included massive fortifications on the exposed frontiers,
splendid palaces, and many monasteries and churches. The most noteworthy
monument to his piety is the church of Sancta Sophia [8] at
Constantinople, now used as a Mohammedan mosque. By his conquests, his
laws, and his buildings, Justinian revived for a time the waning glory of
imperial Rome.



The Roman Empire in the East did not long remain at the pinnacle of
greatness to which Justinian had raised it. His conquests, indeed,
weakened rather than strengthened the empire, since now there were much
more extensive frontiers to defend. Within half a century after his death
it was attacked both in Europe and in Asia. The Lombards [9] soon seized
Italy, and in the East the Persians renewed their contest against the
Roman power.



The struggle with the Persians was an inheritance from earlier times. [10]
Under an ambitious king, Chosroes II, the Persians overran all the Asiatic
provinces of the empire. A savior arose, however, in the person of the
Roman emperor, Heraclius (610-641 A.D.). His brilliant campaigns against
Chosroes partook of the nature of a crusade, or "holy war," for the
Persians had violated the Holy Sepulcher at Jerusalem and had stolen away
the True Cross, the most sacred relic of Christendom. Heraclius recovered
all his provinces, but only at the cost of a bloody struggle which drained
them of men and money and helped to make them fall easy victims to foes
still more terrible than the Persians. These were the Arabs.


Heraclius had not closed his reign before he saw all his victories undone
by the advance of the Arabs. The first wave of invasion tore away Syria
and Egypt from the empire, penetrated Asia Minor, and reached the shores
of the Bosporus. Repulsed before the walls of Constantinople, the Arabs
carried their arms to the West and seized North Africa, Spain, part of
southern Italy, and the Mediterranean islands. Asia Minor and the Balkan
peninsula still held out, however, and during the tenth century a line of
able rulers at Constantinople succeeded in winning back some of their lost


During the eleventh century the empire had to face new enemies. These were
the Seljuk Turks, [11] fierce nomads from the steppes beyond the Caspian.
After their conversion to Mohammedanism, they swept with irresistible
force through the East and conquered nearly all Asia Minor. The ruin of
this country, in earlier ages one of the most populous and flourishing
regions of the world, dates from its occupation by the Seljuks. To resist
their further advance the Roman emperor sought in 1095 A.D. the help of
the Christians of Europe. His appeals for aid resulted in the First
Crusade, with which a new chapter of medieval history began. (See Chapter


Thus, for more than five centuries after Justinian, the Roman Empire in
the East was engaged in a long struggle with the foes--Persians, Arabs,
and Seljuk Turks--which successively attacked its dominions. By its
stubborn resistance of the advance of the invaders the old empire
protected the young states of Europe from attack, until they grew strong
enough to meet and repulse the hordes of Asia. This service to
civilization was not less important than that which had been performed by
Greece and Rome in their contests with the Persians and the Carthaginians.



The troubled years after Justinian's death also witnessed the beginning of
the Slavic [12] settlements in southeastern Europe. The Slavs belonged to
the Indo-European race, but had not progressed in civilization as far as
the Germans. Their cradle land seems to have been in western Russia,
whence they slowly spread to the Baltic, the Elbe, and the Danube. We have
already mentioned the campaigns which Charlemagne and Henry the Fowler
waged against them. [13] The emperors at Constantinople were less
successful in resisting that branch of the Slavs which tried to occupy the
Balkan peninsula. After crossing the Danube, the Slavs pressed on farther
and farther, until they reached the southern extremity of ancient Greece.
They avoided the cities, but formed peasant communities in the open
country, where they readily mingled with the inhabitants. Their
descendants have remained in the Balkan peninsula to this day. The
inhabitants of modern Serbia [14] are Slavs, and even in the Greeks there
is a considerable strain of Slavic blood.


The Bulgarians, a people akin to the Huns and Avars, made their appearance
south of the lower Danube in the seventh century. For more than three
hundred years these barbarians, brutal, fierce, and cruel, were a menace
to the empire. At one time they threatened Constantinople and even killed
a Roman emperor, whose skull was converted into a drinking cup to grace
their feasts. The Bulgarians settled in the region which now bears their
name and gradually adopted the speech and customs of the Slavs. Modern
Bulgaria is essentially a Slavic state.


The empire was attacked in southeastern Europe by still other barbarians,
among whom were the Russians. This Slavic people, led by chieftains from
Sweden, descended the Dnieper and Dniester rivers and, crossing the Black
Sea, appeared before the walls of Constantinople. Already, in the tenth
century, that city formed the goal of Russian ambitions. The invaders are
said to have made four attempts to plunder its treasures. Though
unsuccessful, they compelled the emperors from time to time to pay them


Christianity reached the invaders of the Balkan peninsula from
Constantinople. The Serbians, Bulgarians, and Russians were converted in
the ninth and tenth centuries. With Christianity they received the use of
letters and some knowledge of Roman law and methods of government.
Constantinople was to them, henceforth, such a center of religion and
culture as Rome was to the Germans. By becoming the teacher of the vast
Slavic peoples of the Balkan peninsula and European Russia, the empire
performed another important service to civilization.



The Roman Empire in the East, though often menaced by barbarian foes, long
continued to be the leading European power. Its highest degree of
prosperity was reached between the middle of the ninth and the middle of
the eleventh century. The provinces in Asia Minor and the Balkan peninsula
produced a vast annual revenue, much of which went for defense. It was
necessary to maintain a large, well-disciplined army, great fleets and
engines of war, and the extensive fortifications of Constantinople and the
frontier cities. Confronted by so many dangers, the empire could hope to
survive only by making itself a strong military state.


The merchant ships of Constantinople, during the earlier part of the
Middle Ages, carried on most of the commerce of the Mediterranean and the
Black Sea. The products of Byzantine industry, including silks,
embroideries, mosaics, enamels, and metal work, were exchanged at that
city for the spices, drugs, and precious stones of the East. Byzantine
wares also found their way into Italy and France and, by way of the
Russian rivers, reached the heart of eastern Europe. Russia, in turn,
furnished Constantinople with large quantities of honey, wax, fur, wool,
grain, and slaves. A traveler of the twelfth century well described the
city as a metropolis "common to all the world, without distinction of
country or religion."


Many of the Roman emperors from Justinian onward were great builders.
Byzantine architecture, seen especially in the churches, became a leading
form of art. Its most striking feature is the dome, which replaces the
flat, wooden roof used in the basilican [15] Churches of Italy. The
exterior of a Byzantine church is plain and unimposing, but the interior
is adorned on a magnificent scale. The eyes of the worshiper are dazzled
by the walls faced with marble slabs of variegated colors, by the columns
of polished marble, jasper, and porphyry, and by the brilliant mosaic
pictures of gilded glass. The entire impression is one of richness and
splendor. Byzantine artists, though mediocre painters and sculptors,
excelled in all kinds of decorative work. Their carvings in wood, ivory,
and metal, together with their embroideries, enamels, and miniatures,
enjoyed a high reputation throughout medieval Europe.


Byzantine art, from the sixth century to the present time, has exerted a
wide influence. Sicily, southern Italy, Rome, Ravenna, and Venice contain
many examples of Byzantine churches. Italian painting in the Middle Ages
seems to have been derived directly from the mosaic pictures of the
artists of Constantinople. Russia received not only its religion but also
its art from Constantinople. The great Russian churches of Moscow and
Petrograd follow Byzantine models. Even the Arabs, in spite of their
hostility to Christianity, borrowed Byzantine artists and profited by
their services. The Mohammedan mosques of Damascus, Cairo, and Cordova,
both in methods of construction and in details of ornamentation, reproduce
Byzantine styles.


The libraries and museums of Constantinople preserved classical learning.
In the flourishing schools of that city the wisest men of the day taught
philosophy, law, medicine, and science to thousands of students. The
professors figured among the important persons of the court: official
documents mention the "prince of the rhetoricians" and the "consul of the
philosophers." Many of the emperors showed a taste for scholarship; one of
them was said to have been so devoted to study that he almost forgot to
reign. When kings in western Europe were so ignorant that they could with
difficulty scrawl their names, eastern emperors wrote books and composed
poetry. It is true that Byzantine scholars were erudite rather than
original. Impressed by the great treasures of knowledge about them, they
found it difficult to strike out into new, unbeaten paths. Most students
were content to make huge collections of extracts and notes from the books
which antiquity had bequeathed to them. Even this task was useful,
however, for their encyclopedias preserved much information which
otherwise would have been lost. During the Middle Ages the East cherished
the productions of classical learning, until the time came when the West
was ready to receive them and to profit by them.



The heart of Byzantine civilization was Constantinople. The city lies on a
peninsula between the Sea of Marmora and the spacious harbor called the
Golden Horn. Washed on three sides by the water and, like Rome, enthroned
upon seven hills, Constantinople occupies a site justly celebrated as the
noblest in the world. It stands in Europe, looks on Asia, and commands the
entrance to both the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. As a sixteenth
century writer pointed out, Constantinople "is a city which Nature herself
has designed to be the mistress of the world."



The position of Constantinople made it difficult to attack but easy to
defend. To surround the city an enemy would have to be strong upon both
land and sea. A hostile army, advancing through Asia Minor, found its
further advance arrested by the long, winding channel which the Bosporus,
the Sea of Marmora, and the Dardanelles combine to form. A hostile fleet,
coming by way of the Mediterranean or the Black Sea, faced grave
difficulties in attempting to penetrate the narrow strait into which this
waterway contracts at each extremity. On the landward side the line of
defense was so short--about four miles in width--that it could be strongly
fortified and held by a small force against large numbers. During the
Middle Ages the rear of the city was protected by two huge walls, the
remains of which are still visible. Constantinople, in fact, was all but
impregnable. Though each new century brought a fresh horde of enemies, it
resisted siege after siege and long continued to be the capital of what
was left of the Roman Empire. [16]


Constantine had laid out his new city on an imposing scale and adorned it
with the choicest treasures of art from Greece, Italy, and the Orient.
Fourteen churches, fourteen palaces, eight public baths, and several
triumphal arches are assigned to the founder of the city. His most stately
building was the Hippodrome, an immense structure devoted to chariot races
and all sorts of popular gatherings. There new emperors, after their
consecration in Sancta Sophia, were greeted by their subjects; there civic
festivals were held; and there the last Roman triumphs were celebrated.
Theodosius the Great built the principal gate of Constantinople, the
"Golden Gate," as it was called, by which the emperors made their solemn
entry into the city. But it was Justinian who, after Constantine, did most
to adorn the new capital by the Bosporus. He is said to have erected more
than twenty-five churches in Constantinople and its suburbs. Of these, the
most beautiful is the world-famed cathedral dedicated by Justinian to
"Holy Wisdom." On its completion the emperor declared that he had
surpassed Solomon's Temple. Though nearly fourteen hundred years old and
now defaced by vandal hands, it remains perhaps the supreme achievement of
Christian architecture.

Built by Justinian and dedicated on Christmas Day, 538 A.D. The main
building is roofed over by a great central dome 107 feet in diameter and
179 feet in height. After the Ottoman Turks turned the church into a
mosque, a minaret was erected at each of the four exterior angles. The
outside of Sancta Sophia is somewhat disappointing, but the interior, with
its walls and columns of polished marble granite and porphyry, is
magnificent. The crystal balustrades, pulpits, and large metal disks are


These three monuments preserve for us the exact line of the low wall or
_spina_, which divided the race course and around which the charioteers
drove their furious steeds. The obelisk was transported from Egypt by
Constantine. Between it and the crumbling tower beyond is a pillar of
three brazen serpents, originally set up at Delphi by the Greeks, after
the battle of Plataea. On this trophy were engraved the names of the
various states that sent soldiers to fight the Persians.]

[Illustration: Map, CONSTANTINOPLE]


Excepting Athens and Rome, no other European city can lay claim to so long
and so important a history as Constantinople. Her day came after theirs
was done. Throughout the Middle Ages Constantinople remained the most
important city in Europe. When London, Paris, and Vienna were small and
mean towns, Constantinople was a large and flourishing metropolis. The
renown of the city penetrated even into barbarian lands. The Scandinavians
called it Micklegarth, the "Great City"; the Russians knew of it as
Tsarigrad, the "City of the Caesars." But its own people best described it
as the "City guarded by God." Here, for more than eleven centuries, was
the capital of the Roman Empire and the center of Eastern Christendom.


1. Compare the area of the Roman Empire in the East in 395 A.D. with its
area in 800 A.D. (maps between pages 222-223 and facing page 308).

2. Compare the respective areas in 800 A.D. of the Roman Empire in the
East and Charlemagne's empire.

3. On the map, page 338, locate Adrianople, Gallipoli, Nicaea, the
Bosporus, Sea of Marmora, and Dardanelles.

4. Who were Belisarius, Chosroes II, and Heraclius?

5. In your opinion which of the two rival imperial lines after 800 A.D.
had the better title to represent ancient Rome?

6. Why has Justinian been called the "lawgiver of civilization"?

7. Why was it necessary to codify Roman law? Is the English Common law

8. Compare the work of Alexandrian and Byzantine scholars in preserving

9. "The Byzantines were the teachers of the Slavs, as the Romans were of
the Germans." Comment on this statement.

10. The Byzantine Empire was once called "a gigantic mass of mould, a
thousand years old." Does this seem a fair description?

11. "The history of medieval civilization is, in large measure, the
history of the Roman Empire in the East." Comment on this statement.

12. Show that Constantinople formed "a natural citadel."

13. On the map, page 340, trace the successive walls of Constantinople.


[1] The fall of the empire came in 1453 A.D., when Constantinople was
captured by the Ottoman Turks.

[2] See pages 311-312, 317-318.

[3] See page 245.

[4] See page 300.

[5] See page 244.

[6] See the map, page 301.

[7] Roman law still prevails in the province of Quebec and the state of
Louisiana, territories formerly under French control, and in all the
Spanish-American countries.

[8] In Greek, _Hagia Sophia_, "Holy Wisdom."

[9] See page 302.

[10] See page 219.

[11] So named from one of their leaders.

[12] The word _slova_ means "speech"; the Slavs are those who speak the
same language.

[13] See pages 309, 315.

[14] A more accurate designation than Servia. Originally, all Slavic
peoples called themselves Serbs.

[15] See page 284.

[16] Of the eight sieges to which Constantinople was subjected in medieval
times, only two succeeded. In 1204 A.D. it was captured by the Venetians
and in 1453 A.D., by the Ottoman Turks. See pages 477 and 492.





A preceding chapter has traced the early history of Christianity. We there
saw how the new religion appeared in the Orient, how it spread rapidly
over the Roman Empire, how it engaged with the imperial government in the
long conflict called the Persecutions, how the emperor Constantine, after
his conversion, placed it on an equality with paganism, and how at the end
of the fourth century the emperor Theodosius made it the state religion.
By this time the Church had become a great and powerful organization, with
fixed laws, with a graded system of officers, and with councils attended
by clergy from all parts of the Roman world. To this organization the word
Catholic, that is, "universal," came to be applied. Membership in the
Catholic Church, secured only by baptism, was believed to be essential to
salvation. As St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, had said, "He can no longer
have God for his Father who has not the Church for his Mother."


The first three centuries of Christianity witnessed the development of the
episcopal system in the Church. Each provincial city had its bishop,
assisted by priests and deacons. An archbishop (sometimes called a
metropolitan) presided over the bishops of each province, and a patriarch
had jurisdiction, in turn, over metropolitans. This graded arrangement of
ecclesiastical officers, from the lowest to the highest, helped to make
the Church centralized and strong. It appears to have been modeled, almost
unconsciously, on the government of the Roman Empire. [2]


The development of the patriarchate calls for special notice. At the time
of the Council of Nicaea [3] there were three patriarchs, namely, the
bishops of Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria. These cities ranked among the
most important in the Roman world. It was only natural, therefore, that
the churches established in them should be singled out for preëminence.
Some years after the removal of the capital to Constantinople, the bishop
of that imperial city was recognized as a patriarch at a general council
of the Church. In the fifth century the bishop of Jerusalem received the
same dignity. Henceforth there were five patriarchs--four in the East but
only one in the West.


The Christian Church was a very democratic organization. Patriarchs,
archbishops, bishops, priests, and deacons were drawn from all ranks of
life. No special training at first was considered necessary to fit them
for their duties, though the more celebrated ministers were often highly
educated. To eke out their salaries the clergy sometimes carried on
business as farmers and shopkeepers. Where, however, a church had
sufficient funds to support its bishop, his engagement in secular affairs
was discouraged and finally prohibited. In the fourth century, as earlier,
priests and bishops were generally married men. The sentiment in favor of
celibacy for the clergy became very pronounced during the early Middle
Ages, especially in the West, and led at length to the general abandonment
of priestly marriage in those parts of Europe where papal influence
prevailed. Distinctive garments for clergymen did not begin to come into
use until the fifth century, when some of them began to don clothing of a
more sober hue than was fashionable at the time. Clerical vestments were
developed from two pieces of ancient Roman dress--the tunic and the toga.
[4] Thus the clergy were gradually separated from the people, or laity, by
differences in dress, by their celibate lives, and by their abstention
from worldly occupations.


While the Church was perfecting her organization, she was also elaborating
her doctrines. Theologians engaged in many controversies upon such
subjects as the connection of Christ with God and the nature of the
Trinity. In order to obtain an authoritative expression of Christian
opinion, councils of the higher clergy were held, at which the opposing
views were debated and a decision was reached. The Council of Nicaea,
which condemned Arianism, formed the first, and one of the most important,
of these general gatherings of the Church. After the Church had once
expressed itself on any matter of Christian belief, it was regarded as
unlawful to maintain a contrary opinion. Those who did so were called
heretics, and their teachings, heresies. The emperor Theodosius, whose
severe laws finally shattered the ancient paganism, [5] devoted even more
attention to stamping out heresies among his Christian subjects. He
prohibited meetings of heretics, burned their books, and threatened them
with death if they persisted in their peculiar doctrines. During his reign
a Spanish bishop and six of his partisans were executed for holding
unorthodox beliefs. This was the beginning of the persecutions for heresy.


As soon as Christianity had triumphed in the Roman Empire, thus becoming
the religion of the rich and powerful as well as the religion of the poor
and lowly, more attention was devoted to the conduct of worship.
Magnificent church buildings were often erected. Their architects seem to
have followed as models the basilicas, or public halls, which formed so
familiar a sight in Roman cities. [6] Church interiors were adorned with
paintings, mosaic pictures, images of saints and martyrs, and the figure
of the cross. Lighted candles on the altars and the burning of fragrant
incense lent an additional impressiveness to worship. Beautiful prayers
and hymns were composed. Some of the early Christian hymns, such as the
_Gloria in Excelsis_ and the _Te Deum Laudamus_, are still sung in our
churches. Organs did not come into use until the seventh century, and then
only in the West, but church bells, summoning the worshiper to divine
service, early became attached to Christian edifices.

[Illustration: RELIGIOUS MUSIC
From a window of the cathedral of Bourges, a city in central France. Shows
a pipe organ and chimes.]


The Christians from the start appear to have observed "the first day of
the week" [7] in memory of Christ's resurrection. They attended public
worship on the Lord's Day, but otherwise did not rigidly abstain from
worldly business and amusements. The Jewish element in some churches, and
especially in the East, was strong enough to secure an additional
observance of Saturday as a weekly festival. Saturday long continued to be
marked by religious assemblies and feasting, though not by any compulsory
cessation of the ordinary occupations. During the fourth century Sunday,
as the Lord's Day was now generally called, came more and more to be kept
as a day of obligatory rest. Constantine's Sunday law [8] formed the first
of a long series of imperial edicts imposing the observance of that day as
a legal duty. In this manner Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath on the
seventh day of the week, was dedicated wholly to the exercises of


The great yearly festivals of the Church gradually took shape during the
early Christian centuries. The most important anniversary to be observed
was Easter, in memory of the resurrection of Christ. A period of fasting
(Lent), which finally lasted forty days, preceded the festival.
Whitsunday, or Pentecost, was celebrated on the fiftieth day after Easter.
[9] Two other festivals of later adoption were Christmas, the celebration
of which was finally assigned to the 25th of December, [10] and Epiphany
(January 6), commemorating the baptism of Christ. In course of time many
other feasts and fasts, together with numerous saints' days, were added to
the calendar of the "Christian Year."



By the time of Constantine, Christianity had spread widely throughout the
eastern half of the Roman Empire. Asia Minor was then largely Christian.
Thrace, Macedonia, Epirus, and Greece were all ecclesiastical provinces
with their own metropolitans. Many Christians were found in Syria and
Egypt. Churches also existed in Mesopotamia and Arabia, and even beyond
the boundaries of the empire in Armenia and Persia. Between the time of
Constantine and that of Justinian, Christianity continued to expand in the
East, until the gospel had been carried to such distant regions as
Abyssinia and India.


Most of the Christian communities in the Orient owed allegiance to the
patriarchs of Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria. The
Roman emperor, however, was the supreme religious authority in the East.
He felt it as much his duty to maintain the doctrines and organization of
Christianity as to preserve the imperial dominions against foreign foes.
Since he presided over the Church, there could be no real independence for
its officers. Bishops, metropolitans, and patriarchs were in every respect
subordinate to his will. This union of Church and State formed one of the
most characteristic features of Christianity in the East.


Eastern Christians, far more than those in the West, devoted themselves to
theological speculations. Constantinople and the great Hellenistic cities
of Antioch and Alexandria contained many learned scholars who had
prolonged and heated arguments over subtle questions of belief. After the
Arian controversy had been settled in the fourth century, other disputes
concerning the true nature of Christ broke out. These gave rise to many


The heresy known as Nestorianism, from Nestorius, a patriarch of
Constantinople, spread widely in the East. Nestorian missionaries even
penetrated to India, China, and Mongolia. The churches which they
established were numerous and influential during the Middle Ages, but
since then most of them have been destroyed by the Mohammedans. Members of
this sect are still to be found, however, in eastern lands. [11]

Evidence of Nestorian missions in China is afforded by the famous monument
at Chang-an, province of Shensi. The stone, which was set up in 781 A.D.,
commemorates by an inscription in Chinese characters and the figure of a
cross the introduction of Christianity into northwestern China. A replica
of the Nestorian monument was taken to the United States in 1908 A.D. and
was deposited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.]


After the formation of the Nestorian and other heretical sects, the
orthodox faith was preserved in the East only by the Greeks of Asia Minor
and Europe. The Greek Church, which calls itself the "Holy Orthodox
Church," for a time remained in unity with the Roman Church in the West.
The final separation of these two churches occurred in the eleventh
century. [12]



Christianity in the West presented two sharp contrasts to eastern
Christianity. In the first place, the great heresies which divided the
East scarcely affected the West. In the second place, no union of Church
and State existed among western Christians. Instead of acknowledging the
religious supremacy of the emperor at Constantinople, they yielded
obedience to the bishop of Rome, the head of the Roman Church. He is known
to us as the pope, and his office is called the Papacy. We shall now
inquire how the popes secured their unchallenged authority over western

[Illustration: PAPAL ARMS
According to the well-known passage in _Matthew_ (xvi, 19), Christ gave to
St. Peter the "keys of the kingdom of heaven," with the power "to bind and
to loose." These keys are always represented in the papal arms, together
with the tiara or headdress, worn by the popes on certain occasions.]


A church in Rome must have been established at an early date, for it was
to Roman Christians that St. Paul addressed one of the _Epistles_ now
preserved in the New Testament. St. Paul visited Rome, as we know from the
_Acts of the Apostles_, and there he is said to have suffered martyrdom.
Christian tradition, very ancient and very generally received, declares
that St. Peter also labored in Rome, where he met a martyr's death,
perhaps during the reign of the emperor Nero. To the early Christians,
therefore, the Roman Church must have seemed in the highest degree sacred,
for it had been founded by the two greatest apostles and had been
nourished by their blood.


Another circumstance helped to give the Roman Church a superior position
in the West. It was a vigorous missionary church. Rome, the largest and
most flourishing city in the empire and the seat of the imperial
government, naturally became the center from which Christianity spread
over the western provinces. Many of the early Christian communities
planted in Spain, Gaul, and Africa owed their start to the missionary zeal
of the Roman Church. To Rome, as the great "Mother-church," her daughters
in western Europe would turn henceforth with reverence and affection; they
would readily acknowledge her leading place among the churches; and they
would seek her advice on disputed points of Christian belief or worship.


The independence of the Roman Church also furthered its development. The
bishop of Rome was the sole patriarch in the West, while in the East there
were two, and later four patriarchs, each exercising authority in
religious matters. Furthermore, the removal of the capital from Rome to
Constantinople helped to free the Roman bishop from the close oversight of
the imperial government. He was able, henceforth, to promote the interests
of the church under his control without much interference on the part of
the eastern emperor.


Finally, it must be noted how much the development of the Roman Church was
aided by its attitude on disputed questions of belief. While eastern
Christendom was torn by theological controversies, the Church of Rome
stood firmly by the Nicene Creed. [13] After the Arian, Nestorian, and
other heresies were finally condemned, orthodox Christians felt indebted
to the Roman Church for its unwavering championship of "the faith once
delivered to the saints." They were all the more ready, therefore, to
defer to that church in matters of doctrine and to accept without question
its spiritual authority.


The claim of the Roman bishops to supremacy over the Christian world had a
double basis. Certain passages in the New Testament, where St. Peter is
represented as the rock on which the Church is built, the pastor of the
sheep and lambs of the Lord, and the doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven,
appear to indicate that he was regarded by Christ as the chief of the
Apostles. Furthermore, a well-established tradition made St. Peter the
founder of the Roman Church and its first bishop. It was then argued that
he passed to his successors, the popes, all his rights and dignity. As St.
Peter was the first among the Apostles, so the popes were to be the first
among bishops. Such was the doctrine of the Petrine supremacy, expressed
as far back as the second century, strongly asserted by many popes during
the Middle Ages, and maintained to-day by the Roman Church.



Up to the middle of the fifth century about forty-five bishops had
occupied St. Peter's chair at Rome. The most eminent these was Leo the
Great. When he became bishop, the Germans were overrunning the western
provinces of the empire. The invaders professed the Arian faith, as we
have seen, and often persecuted the orthodox Christians among whom they
settled. At such a time, when the imperial power was growing weaker,
faithful Catholics in the West naturally turned for support to the bishop
of Rome. Leo became their champion against the barbarians. Tradition
declares that he succeeded in diverting Attila from an attack on Rome, and
when the Vandals sacked the city Leo also intervened to prevent its
destruction. [14]


After Leo, no important name occurs in the list of popes until we come to
Gregory the Great. Gregory, as the son of a rich and distinguished Roman
senator, enjoyed a good education in all the learning of the time. He
entered public life and at an early age became prefect of Rome. But now,
almost at the outset of his career, Gregory laid aside earthly ambition.
He gave up his honorable position and spent the fortune, inherited from
his father, in the foundation of monasteries and the relief of the poor.
He himself became a monk, turned his palace at Rome into a monastery, and
almost ruined his health by too great devotion to fasts and midnight
vigils. Gregory's conspicuous talents, however, soon called him from
retirement and led to his election as pope.


The work of Gregory lay principally in two directions. As a statesman he
did much to make the popes virtual sovereigns at Rome and in Italy. At
this time the Italian peninsula, overrun by the Lombards and neglected by
the eastern emperor, was in a deplorable condition. The bishop of Rome
seemed to be the only man who could protect the people and maintain order.
Gregory had very great success in this task. He appointed governors of
cities, issued orders to generals, drilled the Romans for military
defense, and sent ambassadors to treat with the king of the Lombards. It
was largely owing to Gregory's efforts that these barbarians were
prevented from conquering central Italy.


Gregory was no less eminent as a churchman. His writings and his personal
influence greatly furthered the advancement of the Roman Church in the
West. We find him sternly repressing heresies wherever they arose, aiding
the conversion of Arian Visigoths in Spain and Arian Lombards in Italy,
and sending out monks as missionaries to distant Britain. [15] He well
deserved by these labors the title "Servant of the servants of God," [16]
which he assumed, and which the popes after him have retained. The
admiration felt for his character and abilities raised him, in later ages,
to the rank of a saint.


When Gregory the Great closed his remarkable career, the Papacy had
reached a commanding place in western Christendom. To their spiritual
authority the popes had now begun to add some measure of temporal power as
rulers at Rome and in Italy. During the eighth century, as we have already
learned, [17] the alliance of the popes and the Franks helped further to
establish the Papacy as an ecclesiastical monarchy, ruling over both the
souls and bodies of men. Henceforth it was to go forward from strength to



The Papacy during the Middle Ages found its strongest supporters among the
monks. By the time of Gregory the Great monasticism [18] was well
established in the Christian Church. Its origin must be sought in the
need, often felt by spiritually-minded men, of withdrawing from the world
--from its temptations and its transitory pleasures--to a life of
solitude, prayer, and religious contemplation. Joined to this feeling has
been the conviction that the soul may be purified by subduing the desires
and passions of the body. Men, influenced by the monastic spirit, sought
a closer approach to God.


The monastic spirit in Christianity owed much to the example of its
founder, who was himself unmarried, poor, and without a place "where to
lay his head." Some of Christ's teachings, taken literally, also helped to
exalt the worth of the monastic life. At a very early period there were
Christian men and women who abstained from marriage, flesh meat, and the
use of wine, and gave themselves up to prayer, religious exercises, and
works of charity. This they did in their homes, without abandoning their
families and human society.


Another monastic movement began about the middle of the third century,
when many Christians in Egypt withdrew into the desert to live as hermits.
St. Anthony, who has been called the first Christian hermit, passed twenty
years in a deserted fort on the east bank of the Nile. During all this
time he never saw a human face. Some of the hermits, believing that pain
and suffering had a spiritual value, went to extremes of self-
mortification. They dwelt in wells, tombs, and on the summits of pillars,
deprived themselves of necessary food and sleep, wore no clothing, and
neglected to bathe or to care for the body in any way. Other hermits, who
did not practice such austerities, spent all day or all night in prayer.
The examples of these recluses found many imitators in Syria and other
eastern lands. [19]

From a Byzantine miniature in the Vatican.]


A life shut off from all contact with one's fellows is difficult and
beyond the strength of ordinary men. The mere human need for social
intercourse gradually brought the hermits together, at first in small
groups and then in larger communities, or monasteries. The next step was
to give the scattered monasteries a common organization and government.
Those in the East gradually adopted the regulations which St. Basil, a
leading churchman of the fourth century, drew up for the guidance of the
monks under his direction. St. Basil's Rule, as it is called, has remained
to the present time the basis of monasticism in the Greek Church.


The monastic system, which early gained an entrance into western
Christendom, looked to St. Benedict as its organizer. While yet a young
man, St. Benedict had sought to escape from the vice about him by retiring
to a cave in the Sabine hills near Rome. Here he lived for three years as
a hermit, shutting himself off from all human intercourse, wearing a hair
shirt, and rolling in beds of thistles to subdue "the flesh." St.
Benedict's experience of the hermit's life convinced him that there was a
surer and better road to religious peace of mind. His fame as a holy man
had attracted to him many disciples, and these he now began to group in
monastic communities under his own supervision. St. Benedict's most
important monastery was at Monte Cassino, midway between Rome and Naples.
It became the capital of monasticism in the West.



To control the monks of Monte Cassino St. Benedict framed a Rule, or
constitution, which was modeled in some respects upon the earlier Rule of
St. Basil. The monks formed a sort of corporation, presided over by an
abbot, [20] who held office for life. To the abbot every candidate for
admission took the vow of obedience. Any man, rich or poor, noble or
peasant, might enter the monastery, after a year's probation; having once
joined, however, he must remain a monk for the rest of his days. The monks
were to live under strict discipline. They could not own any property;
they could not go beyond the monastery walls without the abbot's consent;
they could not even receive letters from home; and they were sent to bed
early. A violation of the regulations brought punishment in the shape of
private admonitions, exclusion from common prayer, and, in extreme cases,


The Rule of St. Benedict came to have the same wide influence in the West
which that of St. Basil exerted in the East. Gregory the Great established
it in many places in Italy, Sicily, and England. During Charlemagne's
reign it was made the only form of monasticism throughout his dominions.
By the tenth century the Rule prevailed everywhere in western Europe. [21]



St. Benedict sought to draw a sharp line between the monastic life and
that of the outside world. Hence he required that, as far as possible,
each monastery should form an independent, self-supporting community whose
members had no need of going beyond its limits for anything. In course of
time, as a monastery increased in wealth and number of inmates, it might
come to form an enormous establishment, covering many acres and presenting
within its massive walls the appearance of a fortified town.


The principal buildings of a Benedictine monastery of the larger sort were
grouped around an inner court, called a cloister. These included a church,
a refectory, or dining room, with the kitchen and buttery near it, a
dormitory, where the monks slept, and a chapter house, where they
transacted business. There was also a library, a school, a hospital, and a
guest house for the reception of strangers, besides barns, bakeries,
laundries, workshops, and storerooms for provisions. Beyond these
buildings lay vegetable gardens, orchards, grain fields, and often a mill,
if the monastery was built on a stream. The high wall and ditch, usually
surrounding a monastery, shut it off from outsiders and in time of danger
protected it against attack.

This celebrated monastery was founded in the sixth century. Of the
original buildings only the abbey church remains. The illustration shows
the monastery as it was in 1361 A.D., with walls, towers, drawbridge, and
moat. Adjoining the church were the cloister, the refectory, and the


St. Benedict defined a monastery as "a school for the service of the
Lord." The monks under his Rule occupied themselves with a regular round
of worship, reading, and manual labor. Each day was divided into seven
sacred offices, beginning and ending with services in the monastery
church. The first service came usually about two o'clock in the morning;
the last, just as evening set in, before the monks retired to rest. In
addition to their attendance at church, the monks spent several hours in
reading from the Bible, private prayer, and meditation. For most of the
day, however, they worked hard with their hands, doing the necessary
washing and cooking for the monastery, raising the necessary supplies of
vegetables and grain, and performing all the other tasks required to
maintain a large establishment. This emphasis on labor, as a religious
duty, was a characteristic feature of western monasticism. "To labor is to
pray" became a favorite motto of the Benedictines. [22]

[Illustration: A MONK COPYIST
From a manuscript in the British Museum, London.]


It is clear that life in a Benedictine monastery appealed to many
different kinds of people in the Middle Ages. Those of a spiritual turn of
mind found in the monastic life the opportunity of giving themselves
wholly to God. Studious and thoughtful persons, with no disposition for an
active career in the world, naturally turned to the monastery as a secure
retreat. The friendless and the disgraced often took refuge within its
walls. Many a troubled soul, to whom the trials of this world seemed
unendurable, sought to escape from them by seeking the peaceful shelter of
the cloister.


The civilizing influence of the Benedictine monks during the early Middle
Ages can scarcely be over-emphasized. A monastery was often at once a
model farm, an inn, a hospital, a school, and a library. By the careful
cultivation of their lands the monks set an example of good farming
wherever they settled. They entertained pilgrims and travelers, at a
period when western Europe was almost destitute of inns. They performed
many works of charity, feeding the hungry, healing the sick who were
brought to their doors, and distributing their medicines freely to those
who needed them. In their schools they trained both boys who wished to
become priests and those who intended to lead active lives in the world.
The monks, too, were the only scholars of the age. By copying the
manuscripts of classical authors, they preserved valuable books that would
otherwise have been lost. By keeping records of the most striking events
of their time, they acted as chroniclers of medieval history. To all these
services must be added the work of the monks as missionaries to the
heathen peoples of Europe.



Almost all Europe had been won to Christianity by the end of the eleventh
century. In the direction of this great missionary campaign the Roman
Church took the leading part. [23] The officers of her armies were zealous
popes, bishops, and abbots; her private soldiers were equally zealous
monks, priests, and laymen. Pagan Rome had never succeeded in making a
complete and permanent conquest of the barbarians. Christian Rome,
however, was able to bring them all under her spiritual sway.


Christianity first reached the Germanic invaders in its Arian [24] form.
Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Burgundians, and Lombards were all Arians.
The Roman Church regarded them as heretics and labored with success to
reconvert them. This work was at last completed when the Lombards, in the
seventh century, accepted the Catholic faith.


The Franks and the Anglo-Saxons, whose kingdoms were to develop into the
chief states of medieval Europe, adopted from the outset the Catholic form
of Christianity. The conversion of the Franks provided the Roman Church
with its strongest and most faithful adherents among the Germanic tribes.
[25] The conversion of Anglo-Saxon Britain by Augustine and his monks,
followed later by the spread of Roman Catholicism in Ireland and Scotland,
firmly united the British Isles to the Papacy. [26] Thus Rome during the
Middle Ages came to be the one center of church life for the peoples of
western Europe.


An Anglo-Saxon monk, St. Boniface, did more than any other missionary to
carry Christianity to the remote tribes of Germany. Like Augustine in
England, St. Boniface was sent by the pope, who created him missionary
bishop and ordered him to "carry the word of God to unbelievers." St.
Boniface also enjoyed the support of the Frankish rulers, Charles Martel
and Pepin the Short. Thanks to their assistance this intrepid monk was
able to penetrate into the heart of Germany. Here he labored for nearly
forty years, preaching, baptizing, and founding numerous churches,
monasteries, and schools. His boldness in attacking heathenism is
illustrated by the story of how he cut down with his own hands a certain
oak tree, much reverenced by the natives of Hesse as sacred to the god
Woden, and out of its wood built a chapel dedicated to St. Peter. St.
Boniface crowned a lifetime of missionary labor with a martyr's death,
probably in 754 A.D. His work was continued by Charlemagne, who forced the
Saxons to accept Christianity at the point of the sword. [27] All Germany
at length became a Christian land, devoted to the Papacy.


Roman Catholicism not only spread to Celtic and Germanic peoples, but it
also gained a foothold among the Slavs. Both Henry the Fowler and Otto the
Great attempted to Christianize the Slavic tribes between the Elbe of the
Slavs and the Vistula, by locating bishoprics in their territory. The work
of conversion encountered many setbacks and did not reach completion until
the middle of the twelfth century. The most eminent missionaries to the
Slavs were Cyril and Methodius. These brother-monks were sent from
Constantinople in 863 A.D. to convert the Moravians, who formed a kingdom
on the eastern boundary of Germany. Seeing their great success as
missionaries, the pope invited them to Rome and secured their consent to
an arrangement which brought the Moravian Christians under the control of
the Papacy. [28] From Moravia Christianity penetrated into Bohemia and
Poland. These countries still remain strongholds of the Roman Church. The
Serbians and Russians, as we have learned, [29] received Christianity by
way of Constantinople and so became adherents of the Greek Church.


Roman Catholicism gradually spread to most of the remaining peoples of
Europe. The conversion of the Norwegians and Swedes was well advanced by
the middle of the eleventh century. The Magyars, or Hungarians, accepted
Christianity at about the same date. The king of Hungary was such a devout
Catholic that in the year 1000 A.D. the pope sent to him a golden crown
and saluted him as "His Apostolic Majesty." The last parts of heathen
Europe to receive the message of the gospel were the districts south and
east of the Baltic, occupied by the Prussians, Lithuanians, and Finns.
Their conversion took place between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.



Before the Christian conquest of Europe was finished, Christianity had
divided into two great communions--the Greek Church and the Roman Church.
Their separation was a long, slow process, arising from the deep-seated
differences between East and West. Though Rome had carried her conquering
arms throughout the Mediterranean basin, all the region east of the
Adriatic was imperfectly Romanized. [30] It remained Greek in language and
culture, and tended, as time went on, to grow more and more unlike the
West, which was truly Roman. The founding of Constantinople and the
transference of the capital from the banks of the Tiber to the shores of
the Bosporus still further widened the breach between the two halves of
the Roman world. After the Germans established their kingdoms in Italy,
Spain, Gaul, and Britain, western Europe was practically independent of
the rulers at Constantinople. The coronation of Charlemagne in 800 A.D.
marked the final severance of East and West.


The division of the Roman Empire led naturally to a grouping of the
Christian Church about Rome and Constantinople, the two chief centers of
government. The popes, it has been seen, had always enjoyed spiritual
leadership in the West. In temporal matters they acknowledged the
authority of the eastern emperors, until the failure of the latter to
protect Rome and Italy from the barbarians showed clearly that the popes
must rely on their own efforts to defend Christian civilization. We have
already learned how well such men as Leo the Great and Gregory the Great
performed this task. Then in the eighth century came the alliance with the
Frankish king, Pepin the Short, which gave the Papacy a powerful and
generous protector beyond the Alps. Finally, by crowning Charlemagne, the
pope definitely broke with the emperor at Constantinople and transferred
his allegiance to the newly created western emperor.


The patriarch of Constantinople, as bishop of the capital city, enjoyed an
excellent position from which to assert his preeminence over the bishops
of the other churches in the East. Justinian in 550 A.D. conferred on him
the privilege of receiving appeals from the other patriarchs, and a few
years later that dignitary assumed the high-sounding title of "Universal
Archbishop." The authority of the patriarch of Constantinople was
immensely strengthened when the Mohammedans, having conquered Syria and
Egypt, practically extinguished the three patriarchates of Antioch,
Jerusalem, and Alexandria. [31] The Church in the East now had a single
patriarch, just as that in the West had the one bishop of Rome. Rivalry
between them was inevitable.


One source of strife between pope and patriarch was the controversy,
arising in the eighth century, over the use of images in the churches.
These images seem to have been, not statues, but pictures (icons) of the
apostles, saints, and martyrs. Many eastern Christians sought to strip the
churches of icons, on the ground that by the ignorant they were venerated
almost as idols. The Iconoclasts ("image-breakers") gained no support in
the West. The Papacy took the view that images were a help to true
devotion and might, therefore, be allowed. When a Roman emperor issued a
decree for the destruction of all images, the pope refused to obey the
order in the churches under his direction, and went so far as to exclude
the Iconoclasts from Christian fellowship. Although the iconoclastic
movement failed in the East, after a violent controversy, it helped still
further to sharpen the antagonism between the two branches of Christendom.
Other causes of dispute arose in later times, chiefly concerning fine
points of doctrine on which neither side would yield.


The final rupture of Christendom was delayed until the middle of the
eleventh century. In 1054 A.D. the pope sent his legates to Constantinople
to demand obedience to the Papacy. This being refused, they laid upon the
high altar of Sancta Sophia the pope's bill of excommunication. Against
the patriarch and his followers they pronounced a solemn curse, or
anathema, devoting them "to the eternal society of the Devil and his
angels." Then, we are told, they strode out of Sancta Sophia, shaking the
dust from their feet and crying, "Let God see and judge." The two branches
of the Christian Church, thus torn apart, were never afterward reunited.



The Greek and Roman churches, in some respects, are nearer together than
Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Both recognize three orders for the
ministry, namely, bishops, priests, and deacons. Priests of the Greek
Church may marry, but this privilege is not extended to bishops, who,
therefore, are chosen from the monks. Baptism, by both churches, is
administered to infants, but by the Greek Church under the form of total
immersion. Confirmation in the Greek Church follows immediately after
baptism; in the Roman Church it is postponed to the age of reason. In the
communion service the Greek Church gives leavened bread, dipped in wine.
The Roman Church withholds wine from the laity and uses only a dry,
unleavened wafer. While the services of the Roman Church are conducted in
Latin, for those of the Greek Church the national languages (Greek,
Russian, etc.) of the communicants are used. Its festivals do not coincide
in time of celebration with those of the Roman Church, since the "Julian
Calendar" followed in the East is now thirteen days behind the "Gregorian
Calendar." [33]


The Greek Church has not lacked missionary zeal. Through her agency the
barbarians who entered southeastern Europe during the early Middle Ages
were converted to Christianity. At the present time nearly all the peoples
of the Balkan peninsula, including Greeks, Montenegrins, Serbians,
Bulgarians, and Rumanians, belong to the Greek Church. [34] Its greatest
victory was won toward the close of the tenth century, when the Russians
were induced to accept the Greek form of Christianity. Outlying branches
of the Greek Church are found also in the Turkish Empire. It now includes
about one hundred and thirty-five million adherents in European lands.


The patriarch of Constantinople is the spiritual head of the Greek Church.
He enjoys, however, no such wide authority over eastern Christians as that
exercised by the pope over all Roman Catholics. There are as many as
sixteen branches of the Greek Church, each self-governing and under its
own officers. Despite the local independence of its branches, the Greek
Church remains unified in doctrine. It claims to be the only "Orthodox"
church and clings with almost Oriental conservatism to the traditions of
earlier ages. Nevertheless, as the official church of Russia, the largest
and most swiftly growing of European countries, the Greek Church has
before it a future of great importance.



The separation of eastern and western Christianity naturally increased the
importance of the Papacy. The popes henceforth had a free hand to guide
the destinies of the Roman Church. That church under their direction was
to show itself vigorous and progressive, with a wonderful power of
adaptation to new and changed conditions.


The Roman Empire in the West had gone down before the assaults of the
Germanic barbarians, but in its place had arisen a new creation--the Roman
Church. The chief city of the old empire became the capital of the Papacy.
The pope took, and has since retained, the title of Supreme Pontiff
(_Pontifex Maximus_), once given to the head of the Roman state religion.
[35] Latin has continued to be the official language of Roman Catholicism.
The Roman genius for law and government found a new expression in the
creation of the papal power. The true successors of the ancient Roman
statesmen were the popes of the Middle Ages. The idea of Rome, of her
universality and of her eternity, lived on in the Roman Church.


The Roman Church, as the successor of the Roman Empire in the West, formed
the chief center of civilization during the earlier part of the Middle
Ages. She stood between the conquering Germans and the Romanized
provincials and helped to join them both in lasting union. To the heathen
she sent out her missionaries, preaching a religion of love and charity
and introducing a higher morality than the barbarians had ever known
before. She multiplied hospitals, orphanages, and asylums. Her bishops
were the only protectors of the weak and the oppressed. She fostered
education, art, and learning within the walls of churches and monasteries.
Her priests and monks were the only teachers in an ignorant age. In an age
of bloodshed and violence, when might made right, she proclaimed the
superiority of the spirit to mere brute force. To sum up: the Roman Church
was an indispensable agent in the making of medieval Europe.


Christianity in its Greek and Roman forms was not the only great religion
of the Middle Ages. In the seventh century, before the separation of the
two churches had been completed and before all Europe had become
Christian, another religion arose. It grew with marvelous rapidity,
stripped the Church of much territory in western Asia, northern Africa,
and Spain, and promised for a time to become the dominant faith of the
world. This was Islam, or Mohammedanism, the religion of the Arabs.


1. In what different senses is the word "church" often used?

2. "The eastern patriarch was the shadow of the emperor, cast on the
spiritual world." Explain this statement.

3. Why did heresies develop in the East rather than in the West?

4. Look up in the New Testament the following texts relating to the
primacy of St. Peter: _Matthew_, xvi, 18-19; _Luke_, xxii, 31-32; and
_John_, xxi, 15-17.

5. What is "the power of the keys" which the popes claim to possess?

6. What reasons for the growth of the Papacy have been set forth in this

7. In what non-Christian religions is monasticism an established

8. Look up in the New Testament the following texts quoted as favorable to
monasticism: _Matthew_, xix, 21; _Mark_, x, 29-30; and _Luke_, xiv, 26.

9. What is the origin of the words "monk," "hermit," "anchorite," and

10. Summarize the principal benefits which the monastic system conferred
on Europe.

11. Give reasons for the rapid conversion of the Germans to Christianity.

12. In what sense is it true that "half Europe owes its Christianity to

13. Who was the "Apostle to the Germans"?

14. Who were the "Apostles to the Slavs"?

15. Comment on the significance to European civilization of the missionary
activity of the Christian Church in the Middle Ages.

16. Why has the separation of the Greek and Roman churches been described
as "the most momentous fact in the history of Christendom during the
Middle Ages"?

17. Why could not such an institution as the Papacy develop in the East?


[1] Webster, _Readings in Medieval and Modern History_, chapter iii, "The
Benedictine Rule"; chapter iv, "The Reestablishment of Christianity in
Britain"; chapter v, "St. Boniface, Apostle to the Germans."

[2] The correspondence may be indicated as follows:

  The Roman Empire             The Christian Church
  City--Municipal officials.   Bishop.
  Province--Governor.          Archbishop, or Metropolitan.
  Diocese--Vicar.              Patriarch.
  Prefecture--Prefect.         (No corresponding division.)

[3] See page 235.

[4] See page 258.

[5] See page 236.

[6] See page 284.

[7] _John_, xx, i, 19; compare I _Corinthians_, xvi, 2.

[8] See page 235 and note 1.

[9] See _Acts_, ii, 1-4.

[10] See page 239, note 1.

[11] In modern India (Malabar) there are no less than 400,000 Syrian
Christians who owe their religion to Nestorian missionaries.

[12] See page 362.

[13] See page 236.

[14] See pages 248-249.

[15] See page 322.

[16] _Servus servorum Dei_.

[17] See pages 305-307.

[18] From a Greek word which means "living alone."

[19] See Tennyson's poem, _St. Simeon Stylites_.

[20] From a Syrian word, abba, meaning "father." Hence a monastery was
often called an abbey.

[21] Other monastic orders arose during the later Middle Ages (see pages
449, 452), but the Benedictines still exist, chiefly in Austria and Italy.
Their order was introduced into the United States during the nineteenth

[22] _Laborare est orare._

[23] For the missionary work of Celtic Christians see page 323 and note 1.

[24] See page 236.

[25] See pages 304-305.

[26] See pages 322-325.

[27] See page 308.

[28] Cyril and Methodius were canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1881 A.D. A
millenial celebration of the two apostles was held in 1863 A.D. by the
people of Moravia and Bohemia.

[29] See page 335. The Bulgarians also got their Christianity from
Constantinople in the ninth century.

[30] See pages 217, 223.

[31] See page 376.

[32] Unsuccessful attempts to heal the schism between the two churches
took place in the Middle Ages. The latest movement in this direction was
made by Pope Leo XIII in 1894 A.D., but his efforts were not crowned with

[33] See page 186, note 2.

[34] Many Roman Catholics are found in Croatia-Slavonia, Bosnia, Dalmatia,
and Albania.

[35] See page 148, note 2.





Arabia, a vast peninsula between the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, and
the Red Sea, forms the link between Asia and Africa. It is connected with
Asia by the arid plains extending northward to the Euphrates; with Africa,
by the equally arid isthmus of Suez. Though the country is more than one-
third the size of the United States (excluding Alaska), it has never
supported a large population. The interior, except for occasional oases,
is a desert, inhabited only by wandering tribes. Along the southern and
western coasts, between the mountains and the sea, the soil is generally
fertile, the climate temperate, and the rainfall sufficient. Here the
chief cities and towns are located.


The original home of the Semites is believed to have been Arabia. Some
Semitic peoples appear to have migrated northward to Babylonia and Syria,
while others crossed the Red Sea to Abyssinia. Physically, the Arabs are
an attractive people, with well-shaped, muscular figures, handsome,
bronzed faces, brilliant, black eyes, and all the organs of sense
exquisitely acute. Simple and abstemious in their habits, they lead
healthy lives and often reach an extreme yet vigorous old age.


The Bedouin Arabs, by which name the nomadic inhabitants of the desert are
known, claim Ishmael, the son of Abraham and half-brother of Isaac, as
their ancestor. The life which they lead in the Arabian wilderness closely
resembles that of the Hebrew patriarchs, as described in the Old
Testament. The Bedouins are shepherds and herdsmen, continually moving
with their sheep and camels from one pasturage and water-hole to another.
Their virtues--hospitality to the stranger, generosity, faithfulness to
the ties of kinship--are those of a nomadic, barbarian people. Such also
are their vices--love of fighting and plunder, revengefulness, and
impatience of restraint. Nothing like a settled government is known to
them. The only tribal authority is that of the chief, or "sheik," who,
because of his birth, courage, or wealth, has been chosen to the
leadership. This description of the Bedouins to-day applies equally well
to them in the age of Mohammed, during the sixth century.

[Illustration: MECCA
The chief sanctuary of Mecca is the building called the Kaaba, which lies
in the center of a vast courtyard surrounded by a colonnade. The Kaaba is
here seen covered with a heavy black cloth renewed each year. Pilgrims
enter the courtyard, walk slowly around the Kaaba seven times--seven is a
holy number in Islam--and kiss the sacred black stone fixed in the walls
of the structure. The stone is now broken into pieces, which are kept
together by a silver setting. The Kaaba has been rebuilt several times
since the days of Mohammed, but it still preserves the old form of a
heathen temple.]


The Arabs who settled along the southern and western coasts of the
peninsula had reached in the sixth century a considerable degree of
civilization. They practiced agriculture and carried on a flourishing
trade across the Red Sea and even to distant India. Between these
sedentary Arabs and the Bedouins raged constant feuds, leading to much
petty warfare. Nevertheless the hundreds of tribes throughout the
peninsula preserved a feeling of national unity, which was greatly
strengthened by Mohammed's appearance on the scene.


The city of Mecca, located about fifty miles from the Red Sea, was a
commercial metropolis and the center of Arabian heathenism. Every year the
Arab tribes ceased fighting for four months, and went up to Mecca to buy
and sell and visit the famous sanctuary called the Kaaba. Here were three
hundred and sixty idols and a small, black stone (probably a meteorite),
which legend declared had been brought from heaven. The stone was
originally white, but the sins of the people who touched it had blackened
it. Although most of the Arabs were idolaters, yet some of them recognized
the "Unknown God" of the Semites, Allah, the Creator of all things. Arabia
at this time contained many Jews, Zoroastrians, and Christians, who helped
to spread abroad the conception of one God and thus to prepare the way for
a prophet of a new religion.



Mohammed, [2] born at Mecca about 570 A.D., belonged to the tribe of the
Koreish, who had long been guardians of the sacred Kaaba. Left an orphan
at an early age, the future prophet was obliged to earn his own living. He
served first as a shepherd on the hillsides of Mecca. This occupation,
though lowly, gave him the love of solitude, and helped to nourish in his
soul that appreciation of nature which later found expression in so many
of his utterances. While still a youth he became a camel-driver and twice
crossed the deserts with caravans to Syria. Doubtless he made many
acquaintances on these journeys and picked up much useful information.
Mohammed, however, did not receive a regular education; it is doubtful
whether he could read or write. His marriage, when about twenty-five years
of age, to a rich widow, named Khadija, brought him wealth and
consideration. For some time, henceforth, he led the life of a prosperous
merchant of Mecca.

A letter, probably in the handwriting of Mohammed's secretary, addressed
to the governor of Alexandria. The seal is inscribed "Mohammed, the
prophet of God."]


Mohammed seems always to have been a deeply religious man. As he grew
older, his thoughts more and more centered on spiritual themes. He could
not reconcile the gross idolatry of the Arabs with that belief in the
unity of God which he himself had reached. In his distress he would
withdraw into the wilderness, where he spent much time in fasting and
solitary vigils, practices perhaps suggested to him by the example of
Christian hermits. [3] During these lonely hours in the desert strange
scenes passed before his eyes and strange voices sounded in his ears. At
first Mohammed thought that evil spirits possessed him, but Khadija
encouraged him to believe that his visions were a revelation from another
world. One day, so he declared, God's messenger, the archangel Gabriel,
appeared to him and bade him preach a new religion to the Arabs. It was
very simple, but in its simplicity lay its strength: "There is no god but
God, and Mohammed is the prophet of God."


The prophet made his first converts in his wife, his children, and the
friends who knew him best. Then, becoming bolder, he began to preach
publicly in Mecca. In spite of Mohammed's eloquence, obvious sincerity,
and attractive personality, he met a discouraging reception. A few slaves
and poor freemen became his followers, but most of the citizens of Mecca
regarded him as a madman. Mohammed's disciples, called Moslems, [4] were
bitterly persecuted by the Koreish, who resented the prophet's attacks on
idolatry and feared the loss of their privileges at the Kaaba. Finally
Mohammed and his converts took refuge in Medina, where some of the
inhabitants had already accepted his teachings. This was the famous Hegira
(Flight of the prophet). [5]


At Medina Mohammed occupied a position of high honor and influence. The
people welcomed him gladly and made him their chief magistrate. As his
adherents increased in number, Mohammed began to combine fighting with
preaching. His military expeditions against the Arab tribes proved to be
very successful. Many of the conquered Bedouins enlisted under his banner
and in 630 A.D. captured Mecca for the prophet. He treated its inhabitants
leniently, but threw down all the idols in the Kaaba, After the submission
of Mecca most of the Arabs abandoned idolatry and accepted the new


Mohammed did not long enjoy his position as uncrowned king of Arabia. He
died in 632 A.D., at Medina, where he was buried and where his tomb is
still visited by pious Moslems. His followers could scarcely believe that
their great prophet had gone away from them forever. They were ready to
worship him as a god, until old Abu Bekr, Mohammed's father-in-law,
rebuked them with the memorable words: "Whoso worshipeth Mohammed, let him
know that Mohammed is dead; but whoso worshipeth God, let him know that
God liveth and dieth not."


The character of Mohammed has been variously estimated. Moslem writers
make him a saint; Christian writers, until Mohammed's recent times, have
called him an "impostor." We know that he was a man of simple habits, who,
even in the days of his prosperity, lived on dates, barley bread, and
water, mended his woolen garments, and attended to his own wants. He was
mild and gentle, a lover of children, devoted to his friends, and
forgiving toward his foes. He seems to have won the admiration of all with
whom he came in contact. We know, too, that Mohammed was so deeply
impressed with the consciousness of his religious mission that he was
ready to give up wealth and an honorable position and face for years the
ridicule and hatred of the people of Mecca. His faults--deceitfulness,
superstitiousness, sensuality--were those of the Arabs of his time. Their
existence in Mohammed's character should not prevent our recognition of
his real greatness as a prophet and as a statesman.



The religion which Mohammed preached is called Islam, an Arabic word
meaning "surrender," or "resignation." This religion has its sacred book,
the Koran ("thing read" or "thing recited"). It contains the speeches,
prayers, and other utterances of Mohammed at various times during his
career. Some parts of the Koran were dictated by the prophet to his
disciples and by them were written out on skins, leaves of palm trees,
bones, and bits of parchment. Many other parts remained at first only in
the memory of Mohammed's followers. Soon after his death all the scattered
passages were collected into one book. Since the middle of the seventh
century the Koran, every word of which the Moslems consider holy, has
remained unchanged.

From a manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.]


The doctrines found in the Koran show many adaptations from the Jewish and
Christian religions. Like them Islam emphasizes the unity of God. The
Moslem cry--"_Allah Akbar!_" "God is Great!"--forms its cardinal
principle. Like them, also, Islam recognizes the existence of prophets,
including Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, but insists that Mohammed was the
last and greatest of the prophets. The existence of angels and demons is
recognized. The chief of the demons, Iblis, bears some resemblance to the
Jewish Satan and the Christian Devil. The account of the creation and fall
of man is taken, with variations, from the Old Testament. The description
of the resurrection of the dead, the last judgment, and the division of
the future world into paradise and hell, the former for believers in
Islam, the latter for those who have refused to accept it, seems to have
been based on Persian and Jewish ideas. These borrowings from other
religions facilitated the spread of Islam among eastern peoples.


The Koran imposes on the faithful Moslem five great obligations. First, he
must recite, at least once in his life, aloud, correctly, and with full
understanding, the short creed: "There is no god but God, and Mohammed is
the prophet of God." Second, he must pray five times a day: at dawn, just
after noon, before sunset, just after sunset, and at the end of the day.
In every Mohammedan city the hour of prayer is announced from the tall
minaret of the mosque by a crier (_muezzin_). Before engaging in prayer
the worshiper washes face, hands, and feet; during the prayer he turns
toward Mecca and bows his head to the ground. Third, he must observe a
strict fast, from morning to night, during every day of _Ramadan_, the
ninth month of the Mohammedan year. [6] In this month God presented the
Koran to Gabriel for revelation to the prophet. Fourth, he must give alms
to the poor. Fifth, he must, "if he is able," undertake at least one
pilgrimage to Mecca. The annual visit of thousands of pilgrims to the holy
city helps to preserve the feeling of brotherhood among Moslems all over
the world. These five obligations are the "pillars" of Islam.


As a religious system Islam is exceedingly simple. It does not provide any
elaborate ceremonies of worship and permits no altars, pictures, or images
in the mosque. Islam even lacks a priesthood. Every Moslem acts as his own
priest. There is, however, an official, who on Friday, the Mohammedan
Sabbath, offers up public prayers in the mosque and delivers a sermon to
the assembled worshipers. All work is suspended during this service, but
at its close secular activities are resumed.


The Koran furnishes a moral code for the adherents of Islam. It contains a
few important prohibitions. The Moslem is not to make images, to engage in
games of chance, to eat pork, or to drink wine. This last prohibition has
saved the Mohammedan world from the degradation and misery which alcohol
has introduced into Christian lands. To Mohammed strong drink was "the
mother of all evil," and drunkenness, a sin. The Koran also inculcates
many active virtues, including reverence toward parents, protection of
widows and orphans, charity toward the poor, kindness to slaves, and
gentle treatment of the lower animals. On the whole it must be admitted
that the laws of the Koran did much to restrain the vices of the Arabs and
to provide them with higher standards of right and wrong. Islam marked a
great advance over Arabian heathenism.



Mohammed, as we have learned, did not scruple to use the sword as a means
of spreading his new religion among the idolatrous Arab tribes. By thus
following up preaching with force, he subdued the greater part of Arabia.
The prophet's methods were adopted by his successors. Within a century
after Mohammed's death, they carried the doctrines of Islam over a large
part of the civilized world and founded an Arabian Empire.


Islam was a religion of conquest. It proclaimed the righteousness of a
"holy war," or _jihad_, against unbelievers. It promised rich booty for
those who fought and won, and paradise for those who fell. The Arab
soldier, dying on the battlefield, expected to be carried away by bright-
eyed maidens to a garden of delight, where, reclining on soft cushions and
rugs, he was to enjoy forever an existence of sensual ease. "Whosoever
falls in battle," so runs a passage in the Koran, "his sins are forgiven,
and at the day of judgment his limbs shall be supplied by the wings of
angels and cherubim."


The sudden creation of the Arabian power must not be understood, however,
as solely a religious movement. Pride and greed, as well as fanaticism,
drove the Arabs forward on their conquering career. Long before Mohammed's
time Arabia had been in a state of unrest. Its warlike tribes, feeling a
sense of their superiority to other peoples, were eager to overrun the
rich districts of western Asia, much as the Germans had overrun western
Europe. Islam strengthened the racial pride of the Arabs, united them into
one nation, and gave them an effective organization for world-wide rule.


The most extensive conquests of the Arabs were made within ten years after
Mohammed's death. During this time the Moslem warriors, though poorly
armed, ill-disciplined, and in every battle greatly outnumbered, attacked
with success the two strongest military powers then in the world--Rome and
Persia. From the Roman Empire in the East they seized the provinces of
Syria and Palestine, with the famous cities of Damascus, Antioch, and
Jerusalem. [7] They took Mesopotamia from the Persians and then, invading
Iran, overthrew the Persian power. [8] Egypt also was subjugated by these
irresistible soldiers of the Crescent.


According to the strict teaching of the Koran, those who refused to accept
Islam were either to be killed or to be reduced to slavery. As a matter of
fact, the Arabs treated their new subjects with marked liberality. No
massacres and no persecutions occurred. The conquered peoples were allowed
to retain their own religions, on condition of paying ample tribute. In
course of time, however, many of the Christians in Syria and Egypt and
most of the Zoroastrians [9] in Persia adopted Islam, in order that they
might acquire the rights and privileges of Moslem citizens.


The sweeping conquests of the decade 632-642 A.D. were followed in later
years by a further extension of the boundaries of the Arabian Empire. In
the remote East the Arabs sent their victorious armies beyond the Oxus and
Indus rivers to central Asia and India. They captured the island of
Cyprus, annexed parts of Armenia and Asia Minor, and at length threatened
to take Constantinople. Had that city fallen, all eastern Europe would
have been laid open to invasion.

[Illustration: Map, EXPANSION OF ISLAM]


The first attempts on Constantinople were made by sea and were repulsed,
but during the years 716-717 A.D. the city had to face a combined attack
by a Moslem navy and army. The eastern emperor, Leo the Isaurian,
conducted a heroic defense, using with much effectiveness the celebrated
mixture known as "Greek fire." This combustible, probably composed of
sulphur, naphtha, and quicklime, was poured or hurled on the enemy's ships
in order to burn them. "Greek fire," the rigors of an uncommonly severe
winter, and timely aid from the Bulgarians at length compelled the Arabs
to beat a retreat. Their failure to take Constantinople gave the Roman
Empire in the East another long lease of life.

From a Byzantine manuscript of the fourteenth century at Madrid. "Greek
fire" in marine warfare was most commonly propelled through long tubes of
copper which were placed on the prow of a ship and managed by a gunner.
Combustibles might also be kept in tubes flung by hand and exploded on
board the enemy's vessel.]



Though repulsed before the impregnable walls of Constantinople, the Arabs
continued to win new dominions in other North Africa parts of the
Christian world. After their occupation of Egypt, they began to overrun
North Africa, which Justinian, little more than a century earlier, had
reconquered from the Vandals. [10] The Romanized provincials, groaning
under the burdensome taxes imposed on them by the eastern emperors, made
only a slight resistance to the Moslem armies. A few of the great cities
held out for a time, but after the capture and destruction of Carthage
[11] in 698 A.D., Arab rule was soon established over the whole extent of
the Mediterranean coast from Egypt to the Atlantic.


Islam made in North Africa one of its most permanent conquests. After the
coming of the Arabs many of the Christian inhabitants appear to have
withdrawn to Spain and Sicily, leaving the field clear for the
introduction of Arabian civilization. The Arabs who settled in North
Africa gave their religion and government to the Berbers, as the natives
of the country were called, and to some extent intermingled with them.
Arabs and Berbers still comprise the population of North Africa, though
their once independent states have now been absorbed by European powers.


With North Africa in their hands the Moslems did not long delay the
invasion of Spain. In 711 A.D. an army of Arabs and Berbers, under their
leader Tarik, crossed the strait which still bears his name [13] and for
the first time confronted the Germans. The Visigothic kingdom, [14]
already much enfeebled, proved to be an easy prey. A single battle made
the invaders masters of half of Spain. Within a few years their hosts
swept northward to the Pyrenees. Only small districts in the northern part
of the Spanish peninsula remained unconquered.


The Moslems were not stopped by the Pyrenees. Crossing these mountains,
they captured many of the old Roman cities in the south of Gaul and then
advanced to the north, attracted, apparently, by the booty to be found in
Christian monasteries and churches. In the vicinity of Tours they
encountered the great army which Charles Martel, the chief minister of the
Frankish king, [15] had collected to oppose their advance.


The battle of Tours seems to have continued for several days. Of its
details we know nothing, though a Spanish chronicler tells us that the
heavy infantry of the Franks stood "immovable as a wall, inflexible as a
block of ice" against the desperate assaults of the Moslem horsemen. When
the Franks, after the last day's fighting, wished to renew the struggle,
they found that the enemy had fled, leaving a camp filled with the spoils
of war. This engagement, though famous in history, was scarcely decisive.
For some time afterward the Moslems maintained themselves in southern
Gaul. It was the Frankish ruler, Pepin the Short, who annexed their
possessions there and drove them back across the Pyrenees to Spain. [16]



Only eighteen years after the battle of Tours, the Arabian Empire was
divided into two rival and more or less hostile parts, which came to be
called the Eastern and Western caliphates. The title of caliph, meaning
"successor" or "representative," had first been assumed by Mohammed's
father-in-law, Abu Bekr, who was chosen to succeed the prophet as the
civil and religious head of the Moslem world. After him followed Omar, who
had been one of Mohammed's most faithful adherents, and then Othman and
Ali, both sons-in-law of Mohammed. These four rulers are sometimes known
as the "Orthodox" caliphs, because their right to the succession was
universally acknowledged by Moslems.


After Ali's death the governor of Syria, Moawiya by name, succeeded in
making himself caliph of the Moslem world. This usurper converted the
caliphate into a hereditary, instead of an elective, office, and
established the dynasty of the Ommiads. [17] Their capital was no longer
Medina in Arabia, but the Syrian city of Damascus. The descendants of
Mohammed's family refused, however, to recognize the Ommiads as legitimate
caliphs. In 750 A.D. a sudden revolt, headed by the party of the Abbasids,
[18] established a new dynasty. The Abbasids treacherously murdered nearly
all the members of the Ommiad family, but one survivor escaped to Spain,
where he founded at Cordova an independent Ommiad dynasty. [19] North
Africa, also, before long separated itself from Abbasid rule. Thus the
once united caliphate, like the old Roman Empire, split in twain.


The Abbasids continued to reign over the Moslems in Asia for more than
three hundred years. The most celebrated of Abbasid caliphs was Harun-al-
Rashid (Aaron the Just), a contemporary of Charlemagne, to whom the Arab
ruler sent several presents, including an elephant and a water-clock which
struck the hours. The tales of Harun-al-Rashid's magnificence, his gold
and silver, his silks and gems, his rugs and tapestries, reflect the
luxurious life of the Abbasid rulers. Gradually, however, their power
declined, and in 1058 A.D. the Seljuk Turks, [20] recent converts to
Islam, deprived them of their power. A Turkish chieftain, with the title
of "King of the East and West," then took the place of the Arabian caliph,
though the latter remained the religious head of Islam. He lost even this
spiritual authority, just two centuries later, when the Mongols from
central Asia overran the Turkish dominions. [21]


The Abbasids removed their capital from Damascus to Bagdad on the banks of
the middle Euphrates. The new city, under the fostering care of the
caliphs, grew with great rapidity. Its population in the ninth century is
said to have reached two millions. For a time it was the largest and
richest city in the Moslem world. How its splendor impressed the
imagination may be seen from the stories of the _Thousand and One Nights_.
[22] After the extinction of the Abbasid caliphate, its importance as the
religious and political center of Islam declined. But memories of the
former grandeur of Bagdad still cling to it, and even to-day it is
referred to in Turkish official documents as the "glorious city."


It was a very great misfortune for the eastern world when the Arabian
Empire passed under the control of rude Asiatic peoples. The Turks
accepted Islam, but they did little to preserve and extend Arabian
civilization. The stagnant, non-progressive condition of the East at the
present time is largely due to the misgovernment of its Turkish



The great Moslem cities of Bagdad, Damascus, Cairo, and Cordova were not
only seats of government for the different divisions of the Arabian
Empire; they were also the centers of Arabian civilization. The conquests
of the Arabs had brought them into contact with highly developed peoples
whose culture they absorbed and to some extent improved. They owed most to
Persia and, after Persia, to Greece, through the empire at Constantinople,
In their hands there was somewhat the same fusion of East and West as
Alexander the Great had sought to accomplish. [23] Greek science and
philosophy mingled with the arts of Persia and other Oriental lands.
Arabian civilization, for about four centuries under the Ommiad and
Abbasid caliphs, far surpassed anything to be found in western Europe.


Many improvements in agriculture were due to the Arabs. They had a good
system of irrigation, practiced rotation of crops, employed fertilizers,
and understood how to graft and produce new varieties of plants and
fruits. From the Arabs we have received cotton, flax, hemp, buckwheat,
rice, sugar cane, and coffee, various vegetables, including asparagus,
artichokes, and beans, and such fruits as melons, oranges, lemons,
apricots, and plums.


The Arabs excelled in various manufactures. Damascus was famous for its
brocades, tapestries, and blades of tempered steel. The Moorish cities in
Spain had also their special productions: Cordova, leather; Toledo, armor;
and Granada, rich silks. Arab craftsmen taught the Venetians to make
crystal and plate glass. The work of Arab potters and weavers was at once
the admiration and despair of its imitators in western Europe. The Arabs
knew the secrets of dyeing and they made a kind of paper. Their textile
fabrics and articles of metal were distinguished for beauty of design and
perfection of workmanship. European peoples during the early Middle Ages
received the greater part of their manufactured articles of luxury through
the Arabs. [24]


The products of Arab farms and workshops were carried far and wide
throughout medieval lands. The Arabs were keen merchants, and Mohammed had
expressly encouraged commerce by declaring it agreeable to God. The Arabs
traded with India, China, the East Indies (Java and Sumatra), the interior
of Africa, Russia, and even with the Baltic lands. Bagdad, which commanded
both land and water routes, was the chief center of this commerce, but
other cities of western Asia, North Africa, and Spain shared in its
advantages. The bazaar, or merchants' quarter, was found in every Moslem


The trade of the Arabs, their wide conquests, and their religious
pilgrimages to Mecca vastly increased their knowledge of the world. They
were the best geographers of the Middle Ages. An Abbasid caliph, the son
of Harun-al-Rashid, had the Greek _Geography_ of Ptolemy [25] translated
into Arabic and enriched the work with illuminated maps. Arab scholars
compiled encyclopedias describing foreign countries and peoples,
constructed celestial spheres, and measured closely the arc of the
meridian in order to calculate the size of the earth. There is some reason
to believe that the mariner's compass was first introduced into Europe by
the Arabs. The geographical knowledge of Christian peoples during the
Middle Ages owed much, indeed, to their Moslem forerunners.


Schools and universities flourished in Moslem lands when Christian Europe
was still in the "Dark Ages." The largest institution of learning was at
Cairo, where the lectures of the professors were attended by thousands of
students. Famous universities also existed in Bagdad and Cordova. Moslem
scholars especially delighted in the study of philosophy. Arabic
translations of Aristotle's [26] writings made the ideas of that great
thinker familiar to the students of western Europe, where the knowledge of
Greek had all but died out. The Arabs also formed extensive libraries of
many thousands of manuscripts, all carefully arranged and catalogued.
Their libraries and universities, especially in Spain, were visited by
many Christians, who thus became acquainted with Moslem learning and
helped to introduce it into Europe.


The Arabs have been considered to be the founders of modern experimental
science. They were relatively skillful chemists, for they discovered a
number of new compounds (such as alcohol, aqua regia, nitric acid, and
corrosive sublimate) and understood the preparation of mercury and of
various oxides of metals. In medicine the Arabs based their investigations
on those of the Greeks, [27] but made many additional contributions to the
art of healing. They studied physiology and hygiene, dissected the human
body, performed difficult surgical operations, used anaesthetics, and
wrote treatises on such diseases as measles and smallpox. Arab medicine
and surgery were studied by the Christian peoples of Europe throughout the
later period of the Middle Ages.

The great mosque of Cordova, begun in the eighth century, was gradually
enlarged during the following centuries to its present dimensions, 570 by
425 feet. The building, one of the largest in the world, has now been
turned into a cathedral. The most striking feature of the interior is the
forest of porphyry, jasper, and marble pillars supporting open Moorish
arches. Originally there were 1200 of these pillars, but many have been


The Arabs had a strong taste for mathematics. Here again they carried
further the old Greek investigations. In arithmetic they used the so-
called "Arabic" figures, which were probably borrowed from India. The
Arabic numerals gradually supplanted in western Europe the awkward Roman
numerals. In geometry the Arabs added little to Euclid, but algebra is
practically their creation. An Arabic treatise on algebra long formed the
textbook of the subject in the universities of Christian Europe. Spherical
trigonometry and conic sections are Arabic inventions. This mathematical
knowledge enabled the Arabs to make considerable progress in astronomy.
Observatories at Bagdad and Damascus were erected as early as the ninth
century. Some of the astronomical instruments which they constructed,
including the sextant and the gnomon, are still in use. [28]


In prose and verse there are two Moslem productions which have attained
wide popularity in European lands. The first work is the _Thousand and One
Nights_, a collection of tales written in Arabic and describing life and
manners at the court of the Abbasids. The book, as we now have it, seems
to have been composed as late as the fifteenth century, but it borrows
much from earlier Arabic sources. Many of the tales are of Indian or
Persian origin, but all have a thoroughly Moslem coloring. The second work
is the _Rubáiyát_ of the astronomer-poet of Persia, Omar Khayyam, who
wrote about the beginning of the twelfth century. His _Rubáiyát_ is a
little volume of quatrains, about five hundred in all, distinguished for
wit, satirical power, and a vein of melancholy, sometimes pensive,
sometimes passionate. These characteristics of Omar's poetry have made it
widely known in the western world. [29]


Painting and sculpture owe little to the Arabs, but their architecture,
based in part on Byzantine and Persian models, reached a high level of
excellence. Swelling domes, vaulted roofs, arched porches, tall and
graceful minarets, and the exquisite decorative patterns known as
"arabesques" make many Arab buildings miracles of beauty. Glazed tiles,
mosaics, and jeweled glass were extensively used for ornamentation. From
the first the Arab builders adopted the pointed arch; they introduced it
into western Europe; and it became a characteristic feature of Gothic
cathedrals. [30] Among the best-known of Arab buildings are the so-called
"Mosque of Omar" at Jerusalem, [31] the Great Mosque of Cordova, and that
architectural gem, the Alhambra at Granada. Many features of Moorish art
were taken over by the Spaniards, who reproduced them in the cathedrals
and missions of Mexico and California.

One of Mohammed's laws forbidding the use of idols was subsequently
expanded by religious teachers into a prohibition of all imitations of
human or animal forms in art. Sculptors who observed this prohibition
relied for ornamentation on intricate geometrical designs known as
arabesques. These were carved in stone or molded in plaster.]



The division of the Arabian Empire into rival caliphates did not check the
spread of Islam. The Turks and Mongols during the Middle Ages carried it
to the uttermost regions of Asia and throughout southeastern Europe. Some
parts of the territory thus gained by it have since been lost. Spain and
the Balkan peninsula are once more Christian lands. In other parts of the
world, and notably in Africa and India, the religion of Mohammed is
spreading faster than any other creed. Islam to-day claims about two
hundred million adherents.

The most remarkable feature of the Alhambra is the Court of the Lions. It
measures 116 feet in length by 66 feet in breadth. A gallery supported on
marble columns surrounds the court. In the center is the Fountain of
Lions, an alabaster basin resting on the backs of 12 marble lions.]


The growth of Islam is evidence that it meets the needs of Asiatic and
African peoples. Its simple creed--the unity of God, man's immortal soul,
and material rewards and penalties in a future life--adapt it to the
understanding of half-civilized peoples. As a religion it is immeasurably
superior to the rude nature worship and idolatry which it has supplanted.
The same is true of Islam as a system of morality. The practice of the
virtues recommended by the Koran and the avoidance of the vices which that
book condemns tend to raise its adherents in the moral scale.


From the moral standpoint one of the least satisfactory features of Islam
is its attitude toward women. The ancient Arabs, like many other peoples,
seem to have set no limit to the number of wives a man might possess.
Women were regarded by them as mere chattels, and female infants were
frequently put to death. Mohammed recognized polygamy, but limited the
number of legitimate wives to four. At the same time Mohammed sought to
improve the condition of women by forbidding female infanticide, by
restricting the facilities for divorce, and by insisting on kind treatment
of wives by their husbands. "The best of you," he said, "is he who behaves
best to his wives." According to eastern custom Moslem women are secluded
in a separate part of the house, called the _harem_. [32] They never
appear in public, except when closely veiled from the eyes of strangers.
Their education is also much neglected.


Slavery, like polygamy, was a custom which Mohammed found fully
established among the Arabs. He disliked slavery and tried in several ways
to lessen its evils. He declared that the emancipation of Moslem slaves
was an act of special merit, and ordered that in a war between Moslems the
prisoners were not to be enslaved. Mohammed also insisted on kind
treatment of slaves by their masters. "Feed your slaves," he directed,
"with food of that which you eat and clothe them with such clothing as you
wear, and command them not to do that which they are unable to do." The
condition of Moslem slaves does not appear to be intolerable, though the
slave traffic which still exists in some parts of Africa is a disgrace to


1. On an outline map indicate the Arabian Empire at its widest extent.
Locate the more important cities, including Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem,
Damascus, Bagdad, Cairo, Alexandria, Granada, Cordova, and Seville.

2. Define the following: Kaaba; Islam; Koran; and caliph.

3. How did the geographical situation of Arabia preserve it from being
conquered by Persians, Macedonians, or Romans?

4. Why had the Arabs, until the time of Mohammed, played so inconspicuous
a part in the history of the world?

5. Mohammed "began as a mule driver and ended as both a pope and a king."
Explain this statement.

6. How does Mohammed's career in Mecca illustrate the saying that "a
prophet is not without honor save in his own country"?

7. What resemblances may be traced between Islam on the one side and
Judaism and Christianity on the other side?

8. Did religion have anything to do with the migrations of the Germans?
How was it with the Arabs?

9. Contrast the methods of propagating Christianity in Europe with those
of spreading Islam in Asia.

10. Why is the defeat of the Moslems before Constantinople regarded as
more significant than their defeat at the battle of Tours?

11. Compare the eastern limits of the Arabian Empire with those of
Alexander's empire (maps facing pages 124, 376).

12. Show that the Arabian Empire, because of its geographical position,
was less easily defended than the Roman Empire.

13. Locate on the map facing page 376 the following commercial cities in
the Arabian Empire: Samarkand; Cabul; Bokhara; Mosul; Kairwan; Fez;
Seville; and Toledo.

14. Can you suggest any reason why the Arabs did little in painting and

15. What are some of the best-known stories in the _Thousand and One

16. Discuss the justice of this statement: "If our ideas and our arts go
back to antiquity, all the inventions which make life easy and agreeable
come to us from the Arabs."

17. "From the eighth to the twelfth century the world knew but two
civilizations, that of Byzantium and that of the Arabs." Comment on this

18. Show that Islam was an heir to the Graeco-Oriental civilization.

19. Can you suggest any reasons why Islam to-day spreads among the African
negroes more rapidly than Christianity?

20. How does Islam, by sanctioning polygamy and slavery, hinder the rise
of women and of the working classes?


[1] Webster, _Readings in Medieval and Modern History_, chapter vi, "The
Teachings of Mohammed."

[2] The earlier spelling was Mahomet.

[3] See page 352.
 [4] From the Arabic _muslim_, "one who surrenders himself" (to God's
will). During the Middle Ages the Moslems to their Christian enemies were
commonly known as Saracens, a term which is still in use.

[5] The year 622 A.D., in which the Hegira occurred, marks the beginning
of the Mohammedan era. The Christian year 1917 A.D. nearly corresponds to
the Mohammedan year 1336 A.H. (_Anno Hegirae_).

[6] Feasting during the nights of this month is allowable.

[7] See page 333.

[8] See page 219, 332.

[9] See page 54, note 1.

[10] See page 330.

[11] See page 245.

[12] Morocco, Algeria, and Tunis belong to France; Tripoli, to Italy.

[13] Gibraltar = _Gibal al Tarik_, "the mountain of Tarik."

[14] See pages 244-245.

[15] See page 306.

[16] For Charlemagne's Spanish conquests, see page 309.

[17] So called from a leading family of Mecca, to which Moawiya belonged.

[18] So called from Abbas, an uncle of Mohammed.

[19] This was at first known as the emirate of Cordova, but in 929 A.D. it
became the caliphate of Cordova. See the map facing page 308.

[20] See page 333.

[21] See page 485. Descendants of the Abbasids subsequently took up their
abode in Egypt. Through them the claim to the caliphate passed in 1538
A.D. to the Ottoman Turks. The Sultan at Constantinople still calls
himself caliph of the Moslem world. However, in 1916 A.D. the Grand Sherif
of Mecca, a descendant of Mohammed, led a revolt against the Turks,
captured Mecca and Medina, and proclaimed Arab independence. Should the
European war end in favor of the Allies, the caliphate will undoubtedly go
back to the Arabs.

[22] Popularly called the _Arabian Nights_.

[23] See page 126.

[24] The European names of some common articles reveal the Arabic sources
from which they were first derived. Thus, _damask_ comes from Damascus,
_muslin_ from Mosul, _gauze_ from Gaza, _cordovan_ (a kind of leather)
from Cordova, and _morocco_ leather from North Africa.

[25] See page 133.

[26] See page 275.

[27] See page 131.

[28] Many words in European languages beginning with the prefix _al_ (the
definite article in Arabic) show how indebted was Europe to the Arabs for
scientific knowledge. In English these words include _alchemy_ (whence
_chemistry_), _alcohol_, _alembic_, _algebra_, _alkali_, _almanac_,
_Aldebaran_ (the star), etc.

[29] The translation of the _Rubáiyát_ by Edward Fitzgerald is almost an
English classic.

[30] See page 564.

[31] See the illustration, page 471.

[32] The Athenians had a similar practice. See page 257.





From the East we return once more to the West, from Asia to Europe, from
Arabia to Scandinavia. We have now to deal with the raids and settlements
of the Norsemen or Northmen. Like the Arabs the Northmen quitted a sterile
peninsula and went forth to find better homes in distant lands. Their
invasions, beginning toward the close of the eighth century, lasted about
three hundred years.


The Northmen belonged to the Teutonic family of peoples. They were kinsmen
of the Germans, the Anglo-Saxons, and the Dutch. Their migrations may be
regarded, therefore, as the last wave of that great Teutonic movement
which in earlier times had inundated western Europe and overwhelmed the
Roman Empire.


The Northmen lived, as their descendants still live, in Denmark, Sweden,
and Norway. The name Scandinavia is sometimes applied to all three
countries, but more commonly it is restricted to the peninsula comprising
Sweden and Norway.

Shows a man plowing.]


Sweden, with the exception of the northern highlands, is mostly a level
region, watered by copious streams, dotted with many lakes, and sinking
down gradually to the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia. The fact that
Sweden faces these inland waters determined the course of her development
as a nation. She never has had any aspirations to become a great oceanic
power. Her whole historic life has centered about the Baltic.

[Illustration: A RUNIC STONE
A stone, twelve feet high and six feet wide, in the churchyard of Rok,
Ostergotland, Sweden. The runic inscription, which contains more than 760
letters, is the longest known.]


Norway, in contrast to Sweden, faces the Atlantic. The country is little
more than a strip of rugged seacoast reaching northward to well within the
Arctic Circle. Were it not for the influence of the "Gulf Stream drift,"
much of Norway would be a frozen waste for the greater part of the year.
Vast forests of fir, pine, and birch still cover the greater part of the
country, and the land which can be used for farming and grazing does not
exceed eleven per cent of the entire area. But Norway, like Greece, [2]
has an extent of shore-line out of all proportion to its superficial area.
So numerous are the fiords, or inlets of the sea, that the total length of
the coast approximates twelve thousand miles. Slight wonder that the
Vikings, [3] as they called themselves, should feel the lure of the ocean
and should put forth their frail barks upon the "pathway of the swans" in
search of booty and adventure.


The Swedes and Norwegians, together with their kinsmen, the Danes,
probably settled in Scandinavia long before the beginning of the Christian
era. During the earlier part of the prehistoric period the inhabitants
were still in the Stone Age, but the use of bronze, and then of iron, was
gradually introduced. Excavations in ancient grave mounds have revealed
implements of the finest polished stone, beautiful bronze swords, and
coats of iron ring mail, besides gold and silver ornaments which may have
been imported from southern Europe. The ancient Scandinavians have left to
us curious records of the past in their picture writing chiseled on the
flat surface of rocks. The objects represented include boats with as many
as thirty men in them, horses drawing two-wheeled carts, spans of oxen,
farmers engaged in ploughing, and warriors on horseback. By the close of
the prehistoric period the northern peoples were also familiar with a form
of the Greek alphabet (the "runes" [4]) and with the art of writing.



The Viking Age, with which historic times begin in northern Europe,
extends from about 800 A.D. to the introduction of Christianity in the
tenth and eleventh centuries. This was the period when the Northmen, or
Vikings, realizing that the sea offered the quickest road to wealth and
conquest, began to make long voyages to foreign lands. In part they went
as traders and exchanged the furs, wool, and fish of Scandinavia for the
clothing, ornaments, and other articles of luxury found in neighboring
countries. But it was no far cry from merchant to freebooter, and, in
fact, expeditions for the sake of plunder seem to have been even more
popular with the Northmen than peaceful commerce.


Whether the Northmen engaged in trade or in warfare, good ships and good
seamanship were indispensable to them. They became the boldest sailors of
the early Middle Ages. No longer hugging the coast, as timid mariners had
always done before them, the Northmen pushed out into the uncharted main
and steered their course only by observation of the sun and stars. In this
way the Northmen were led to make those remarkable explorations in the
Atlantic Ocean and the polar seas which added so greatly to geographical


It was not uncommon for a Viking chieftain, after his days of sea-roving
had ended, to be buried in his ship, over which a grave chamber, covered
with earth, would be erected. The discovery of several of these burial
ships enables us to form a good idea of Viking vessels. The largest of
them might reach a length of seventy feet and hold as many as one hundred
and twenty men. A fleet of the Northmen, carrying several thousand
warriors, mail-clad and armed with spears, swords, and battle-axes, was
indeed formidable. During this period the Northmen were the masters of the
sea, as far as western Europe was concerned. This fact largely explains
their successful campaigns.

[Illustration: A VIKING SHIP
The Gokstad vessel is of oak, twenty-eight feet long and sixteen feet
broad in the center. It has seats for sixteen pairs of rowers, a mast for
a single sail, and a rudder on the right or starboard side. The gunwale
was decorated with a series of shields, painted alternately black and
gold. This ship, which probably dates from about 900 A.D., was found on
the shore of Christiania Fiord. A still larger ship, of about the same
date, was taken in 1904 A.D. from the grave of a Norwegian queen at
Oseberg. With the queen had been buried a four-wheeled wagon, three
sleighs, three beds, two chests, a chair, a large loom, and various
kitchen utensils, in fact everything needed for her comfort in the other


A very important source of information for the Viking Age consists of the
writings called sagas. [5] These narratives are in prose, but they were
based, in many instances, on the songs which the minstrels (_skalds_) sang
to appreciative audiences assembled at the banqueting board of a Viking
chieftain. It was not until the twelfth and thirteenth centuries that the
sagas were committed to writing. This was done chiefly in Iceland, and so
it happens that we must look to that distant island for the beginnings of
Scandinavian literature.


The sagas belong to different classes. The oldest of them relate the deeds
of Viking heroes and their families. Others deal with the lives of
Norwegian kings. Some of the most important sagas describe the
explorations and settlements of the Northmen and hence possess
considerable value as historical records.


The sagas throw much light on the character of the Northmen. Love of
adventure and contempt for the quiet joys of home comes out in the
description of Viking chiefs, who "never sought refuge under a roof nor
emptied their drinking-horns by a hearth." An immense love of fighting
breathes in the accounts of Viking warriors, "who are glad when they have
hopes of a battle; they will leap up in hot haste and ply the oars,
snapping the oar-thongs and cracking the tholes." The undaunted spirit of
Viking sailors, braving the storms of the northern ocean, expresses itself
in their sea songs: "The force of the tempest assists the arms of our
oarsmen; the hurricane is our servant, it drives us whithersoever we wish
to go." The sagas also reveal other characteristics of the Northmen: a
cruelty and faithlessness which made them a terror to their foes; an
almost barbaric love of gay clothing and ornament; a strong sense of
public order, giving rise to an elaborate legal system; and even a feeling
for the romantic beauty of their northern home, with its snow-clad
mountains, dark forests of pine, sparkling waterfalls, and deep, blue


It is to the Viking Age also that we owe the composition of the poems
going by the name of the _Elder Edda_. These poems, as well as the prose
sagas, were collected and arranged in Iceland during the later Middle
Ages. The _Elder Edda_ is a storehouse of old Norse mythology. It forms
our chief source of knowledge concerning Scandinavian heathenism before
the introduction of Christianity.



The religion of the Northmen bore a close resemblance to that of the other
Teutonic peoples. The leading deity was Odin (German _Woden_), whose
exploits are celebrated in many of the songs of the _Elder Edda_. Odin was
represented as a tall, gray-bearded chieftain, carrying a shield and a
spear which never missed its mark. Though a god of battle, Odin was also a
lover of wisdom. He discovered the runes which gave him secret knowledge
of all things. Legend told how Odin killed a mighty giant, whose body was
cut into pieces to form the world: the earth was his flesh, the water his
blood, the rocks his bones, and the heavens his skull. Having created the
world and peopled it with human beings, Odin retired to the sacred city of
Asgard, where he reigned in company with his children.


Enthroned beside Odin sat his oldest son, Thor (German _Thunor_), god of
thunder and lightning. His weapon, the thunderbolt, was imagined as a
hammer, and was especially used by him to protect gods and men against the
giants. The hammer, when thrown, returned to his hand of its own accord.
Thor also possessed a belt of strength, which, when girded about him,
doubled his power.


Many stories were told of Thor's adventures, when visiting Jötunheim, the
abode of the giants. In a drinking-match he tried to drain a horn of
liquor, not knowing that one end of the horn reached the sea, which was
appreciably lowered by the god's huge draughts. He sought to lift from the
ground a large, gray cat, but struggle as he might, could raise only one
of the animal's feet. What Thor took for a cat, however, was really the
Midgard serpent, which, with its tail in its mouth, encircled the earth.
In the last trial of strength Thor wrestled with an old woman, and after a
violent contest was thrown down upon one knee. But the hag was in truth
relentless old age, who sooner or later lays low all men.


Most beautiful and best beloved of the Scandinavian divinities was Odin's
son, Balder. He was represented as a gentle deity of innocence and
righteousness. As long as he lived, evil could gain no real control in the
world and the power of the gods would remain unshaken. To preserve Balder
from all danger his mother Frigga required everything on earth to swear
never to harm her son. Only a single plant, the mistletoe, did not take
the oath. Then the traitor Loki gathered the mistletoe and came to an
assembly where the gods were hurling all kinds of missiles at Balder, to
show that nothing could hurt him. Loki asked the blind Höder to throw the
plant at Balder. Höder did so, and Balder fell dead. The gods tried to
recover him from Hel, the gloomy underworld, but Hel demanded as his
ransom a tear from every living creature. Gods, men, and even things
inanimate wept for Balder, except one cruel giantess--Loki in disguise--
who would not give a single tear. She said, "Neither living nor dead was
Balder of any use to me. Let Hel keep what it has."


Disasters followed Balder's death. An immense fire burned up the world and
the human race. The giants invaded Asgard and slaughtered its inhabitants.
Odin fell a victim to the mighty wolf Fenris. Thor, having killed the
Midgard serpent, was suffocated with the venom which the dying monster
cast over him. The end of all things arrived. This was the catastrophe
which had been predicted of old--the "Twilight of the Gods."


Besides the conception of Hel, the Northmen also framed the idea of
Valhalla, [6] the abode to which Odin received the souls of those who had
died, not ingloriously in their beds, but on the field of battle. A troop
of divine maidens, the Valkyries, [7] rode through the air on Odin's
service to determine the issue of battles and to select brave warriors for
Valhalla. There on the broad plains they fought with one another by day,
but at evening the slayer and the slain returned to Odin's hall to feast
mightily on boar's flesh and drink deep draughts of mead.


As with most heathen religions that of the Northmen was full of terrors.
Their lively imagination peopled the world with many strange figures.
Fiends and monsters inhabited the marshes, giants lived in the dark
forest, evil spirits haunted all solitary places, and ghosts stalked over
the land by night. The use of charms and spells to guard against such
creatures passed over into Christian times. Their memory also survives in
folk tales, which are full of allusions to giants, dwarfs, goblins, and
other supernatural beings.


Christianity first gained a foothold in Denmark through the work of Roman
Catholic missionaries sent out by Charlemagne's son, Louis the Pious. [8]
Two centuries elapsed before the Danes were completely converted. From
Denmark the new faith spread to Sweden. Norway owed its conversion largely
to the crusading work of King Olaf (1016-1029 A.D.), whose zeal for
Christianity won him the title of Olaf the Saint. The Norwegians carried
Christianity to Iceland, where it supplanted the old heathenism in the
year 1000 A.D. With the general adoption of the Christian religion in
Scandinavian lands, the Viking Age drew to an end.

[Illustration: NORSE METAL WORK (Museum, Copenhagen)
A door from a church in Iceland; date, tenth or eleventh century. The iron
knob is inlaid with silver. The slaying of a dragon is represented above
and below is shown the Midgard serpent.]



The Northmen were still heathen when they set forth on their expeditions
of plunder and conquest. Doubtless the principal cause of this Viking
movement is to be sought in the same hunger for land which prompted the
Germanic invasions and, in fact, has led to colonial expansion in all
ages. By the ninth century Scandinavia could no longer support its rapidly
growing population, and enforced emigration was the natural consequence.
The political condition of Scandinavia at this time also helps to explain
the Viking expansion. Denmark and Norway had now become strong kingdoms,
whose rulers forced all who would not submit to their sway to leave the
country. Thus it resulted that the numbers of the emigrants were swelled
by exiles, outlaws, and other adventurers who turned to the sea in hope of


The Northmen started out as pirates and fell on the coasts of England,
France, and Germany. In their shallow boats they also found it easy to
ascend the rivers and reach places lying far inland. The Northmen directed
their attacks especially against the churches and monasteries, which were
full of treasure and less easily defended than fortified towns. Their
raids inspired such great terror that a special prayer was inserted in the
church services: "From the fury of the Northmen, good Lord, deliver us."


At first the incursions of the Northmen took place only in summer, but
before long they began to winter in the lands which they visited. Year by
year their fleets became larger, and their attacks changed from mere
forays of pirates to well-organized expeditions of conquest and
colonization. Early in the ninth century we find them making permanent
settlements in Ireland, and for a time bringing a considerable part of
that country under their control. The first cities on Irish soil,
including Dublin and Limerick, were founded by the Northmen. Almost
simultaneously with the attacks on Ireland came those on the western coast
of Scotland. In the course of their westward expeditions the Northmen had
already discovered the Faroe Islands, the Orkneys, the Shetlands and the
Hebrides. These barren and inhospitable islands received large numbers of
Norse immigrants and long remained under Scandinavian control.



The Northmen soon discovered Iceland, where Irish monks had previously
settled. Colonization began in 874 A.D. [9] One of the most valuable of
the sagas--the "Book of the Land-taking"--describes the emigration to the
island and enumerates the Viking chiefs who took part in the movement.
Iceland soon became almost a second Norway in language, literature, and
customs. It remains to-day an outpost of Scandinavian civilization.


The first settlement of Greenland was the work of an Icelander, Eric the
Red, who reached the island toward the end of the tenth century. He called
the country Greenland, not because it was green, but because, as he said,
"there is nothing like a good name to attract settlers." Intercourse
between Greenland and Iceland was often dangerous, and at times was
entirely interrupted by ice. Leif Ericsson, the son of Eric the Red,
established a new route of commerce and travel by sailing from Greenland
to Norway by way of the Hebrides. This was the first voyage made directly
across the Atlantic. Norway and Greenland continued to enjoy a flourishing
trade for several centuries. After the connection with Norway had been
severed, the Greenlanders joined the Eskimos and mingled with that
primitive people.


Two of the sagas give accounts of a voyage which Leif Ericsson about 1000
A.D. made to regions lying southward from Greenland. In the sagas they are
called Helluland (stone-land), Markland (wood-land), and Vinland. Just
what part of the coast of North America these countries occupied is an
unsolved problem. Leif Ericsson and the Greenlanders who followed him seem
to have reached at least the shores of Labrador, Newfoundland, and Nova
Scotia. They may have gone even farther southward, for the sagas describe
regions where the climate was mild enough for wild vines and wild wheat to
grow. The Northmen, however, did not follow up their explorations by
lasting settlements. Before long all memory of the far western lands faded
from the minds of men. The curtain fell on the New World, not again to
rise until the time of Columbus and Cabot.



In the Viking movement westward across the Atlantic the Norwegians took
the leading part. They also sailed far northward, rounding the North Cape
and reaching the mouth of the Dwina River in the White Sea. Viking
sailors, therefore, have the credit for undertaking the first voyages of
exploration into the Arctic.


The Swedes, on account of their geographical position, were naturally the
most active in expeditions to eastern lands. At a very early date they
crossed the Gulf of Bothnia and paid frequent visits to Finland. Its rude
inhabitants, the Finns, were related in language, and doubtless in blood
also, to the Huns, Magyars, and other Asiatic peoples. Sweden ruled
Finland throughout the Middle Ages. Russia obtained control of the country
during the eighteenth century, but Swedish influence has made it largely
Scandinavian in civilization.


The activities of the Swedes also led them to establish settlements on the
southern shore of the Baltic and far inland along the waterways leading
into Russia. An old Russian chronicler declares that in 862 A.D. the Slavs
sent an embassy to the Swedes, whom they called "Rus," saying, "Our
country is large and rich, but there is no order in it; come and rule over
us." The Swedes were not slow to accept the invitation. Their leader,
Ruric, established a dynasty which reigned in Russia for more than seven
hundred years. [10]


The first Russian state centered in the city of Novgorod, near Lake Ilmen,
where Ruric built a strong fortress. [11] Novgorod during the Middle Ages
was an important station on the trade route between Constantinople and the
Baltic. Some of Ruric's followers, passing southward along the Dnieper
River, took possession of the small town of Kiev. It subsequently became
the capital of the Scandinavian possessions in Russia.


The Northmen in Russia maintained close intercourse with their mother
country for about two centuries. During this period they did much to open
up northeastern Europe to the forces of civilization and progress.
Colonies were founded, cities were built, commerce was fostered, and a
stable government was established. Russia under the sway of the Northmen
became for the first time a truly European state.


Having penetrated the wilds of Russia, it was comparatively easy for the
Northmen to sail down the Russian rivers to the Black Sea and thence to
Constantinople. Some of them went as raiders and several times devastated
the neighborhood of Constantinople, until bought off by the payment of
tribute. [12] Many Northmen also joined the bodyguard of the eastern
emperor and saw service under his standard in different parts of the


During the reign of Vladimir, a descendant of Ruric, the Christian
religion gained its first foothold in Russia. We are told that Vladimir,
having made up his mind to embrace a new faith, sent commissioners to Rome
and Constantinople, and also to the adherents of Islam and Judaism. His
envoys reported in favor of the Greek Church, for their barbarian
imagination had been so impressed by the majesty of the ceremonies
performed in Sancta Sophia that "they did not know whether they were on
earth or in heaven." Vladimir accepted their report, ordered the idols of
Kiev to be thrown into the Dnieper, and had himself and his people
baptized according to the rites of the Greek Church. At the same time he
married a sister of the reigning emperor at Constantinople.


Vladimir's decision to adopt the Greek form of Christianity is justly
regarded as one of the formative influences in Russian history. It meant
that the Slavs were to come under the religious influence of
Constantinople, instead of under that of Rome. Furthermore, it meant that
Byzantine civilization, then incomparably superior to the rude culture of
the western peoples, would henceforth gain an entrance into Russia. The
country profited by this rich civilization and during the early part of
the Middle Ages took a foremost place in Europe.


No part of western Europe suffered more severely from the Northmen than
France. They first appeared on the French coast toward the end of
Charlemagne's reign. A well-known legend relates that the emperor, from
window of his palace once saw the dark sails of the Vikings and wept at
the thought of the misery which these daring pirates would some day
inflict upon his realm.


After Charlemagne's death the wars of his grandsons left the empire
defenseless, and the Northmen in consequence redoubled their attacks. They
sailed far up the Seine, the Loire, and the Garonne to plunder and murder.
Paris, then a small but important city, lay in the path of the invaders
and more than once suffered at their hands. The destruction by the
Northmen of many monasteries was a loss to civilization, for the monastic
establishments at this time were the chief centers of learning and
culture. [13]


The heavy hand of the Northmen also descended on Germany. The rivers
Scheldt, Meuse, Rhine, and Elbe enabled them to proceed at will into the
heart of the country. Liège, Cologne, Strassburg, Hamburg, and other great
Frankish cities fell before them. Viking raiders even plundered Aachen and
stabled their horses in the church which Charlemagne had built there. [14]
Thus the ancient homeland of the Franks was laid completely waste.


The history of the Northmen in France began in 911 A.D., when the
Carolingian king granted to a Viking chieftain, Rollo, dominion over the
region about the lower Seine. Rollo on his part agreed to accept
Christianity and to acknowledge the French ruler as his lord. It is said,
however, that he would not kneel and kiss the king's foot as a mark of
homage, and that the follower who performed the unwelcome duty did it so
awkwardly as to overturn the king, to the great amusement of the assembled
Northmen. The story illustrates the Viking sense of independence.


The district ceded to Rollo developed into what in later times was known
as the duchy of Normandy. Its Scandinavian settlers, henceforth called
Normans, [15] soon became French in language and culture. It was amazing
to see how quickly the descendants of wild sea-rovers put off their
heathen ways and made their new home a Christian land, noted for its
churches, monasteries, and schools. Normandy remained practically
independent till the beginning of the thirteenth century, when a French
king added it to his possessions. [16]


The Normans helped to found the medieval French monarchy. During the tenth
century the old Carolingian line of rulers, which had already died out in
Germany and Italy, [17] came also to an end in France. A new dynasty was
then founded by a nobleman named Hugh Capet, who secured the aid of the
powerful Norman dukes in his efforts to gain the throne. The accession of
Hugh Capet took place in 987 A.D. His descendants reigned over France for
almost exactly eight hundred years. [18]

       *       *       *       *       *



Even before Egbert of Wessex succeeded in uniting all the Anglo-Saxon
kingdoms, [19] bands of Vikings, chiefly from Denmark, had made occasional
forays on the English coast. Egbert kept the Danes at bay, but he died in
839 A.D., and from that time the real invasion of England began. The Danes
came over in large numbers, made permanent settlements, and soon
controlled all England north of the Thames.

[Illustration: ALFRED THE GREAT
A lofty bronze statue by H. Thorneycraft set up at Winchester Alfred's
ancient capital. It was dedicated in 1901 A.D. on the thousandth
anniversary of his death. The inscription reads:

  "Alfred found learning dead,
    And he restored it,
  Education neglected
    And he revived it,
  The laws powerless
    And he gave them force,
  The Church debased,
    And he raised it,
  The land ravaged by a fearful enemy
    From which he delivered it."]


Wessex before long experienced the full force of the Danish attack. The
country at this time was ruled by Alfred, the grandson of Egbert. Alfred
came to the throne in 871 A.D., when he was only about twenty-three years
old. In spite of his youth, he showed himself the right sort of leader for
the hard-pressed West Saxons. For several years fortune favored the Danes.
Then the tide turned. Issuing from the marshes of Somersetshire, where he
had rallied his dispirited troops, Alfred suddenly fell on the enemy and
gained a signal success. The beaten Danes agreed to make peace and to
accept the religion of their conquerors.


Alfred's victory did not end the war. Indeed, almost to the end of his
reign, the heroic king had to face the Vikings, but he always drove them
off and even recovered some of the territory north of the Thames. The
English and Danes finally agreed to a treaty dividing the country between
them. The eastern part of England, where the invaders were firmly
established, came to be called the Danelaw, because here the Danish, and
not the Anglo-Saxon, law prevailed. In the Danelaw the Danes have left
memorials of themselves in local names [20] and in the bold, adventurous
character of the inhabitants.



It was a well-nigh ruined country which Alfred had now to rule over and
build up again. His work of restoration invites comparison with that of
Charlemagne. Alfred's first care was to organize a fighting force always
ready at his call to repel invasion. He also created an efficient fleet,
which patrolled the coast and engaged the Vikings on their own element. He
had the laws of the Anglo-Saxons collected and reduced to writing, taking
pains at the same time to see that justice was done between man and man.
He did much to rebuild the ruined churches and monasteries. Alfred labored
with especial diligence to revive education among the English folk. His
court at Winchester became a literary center where learned men wrote and
taught. The king himself mastered Latin, in order that he might translate
Latin books into the English tongue. So great were Alfred's services in
this direction that he has been called "the father of English prose."

[Illustration: ALFRED'S JEWEL (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)
A jewel of blue enamel inclosed in a setting of gold, with the words
around it "Alfred had me wrought." Found at Athelney in the seventeenth


Alfred alone of English rulers bears the title of "the Great." He well
deserves it, not only for what he did but for what he was. Through the
mists of ten centuries his figure still looms large. It is the figure of a
brave, patient, and modest man, who wore himself out in the service of his
people. The oft-quoted words which he added to one of his translations
form a fitting epitaph to this noble king: "My wish was to live worthily
as long as I lived, and after my life to leave to them that should come
after, my memory in good works." His wish has been fulfilled.


About seventy-five years after Alfred's death the Danes renewed their
invasions. It then became necessary to buy them off with an annual tribute
called the Danegeld. Early in the eleventh century Canute, the son of a
Danish king, succeeded in establishing himself on the English throne
(1016-1035 A.D.). His dynasty did not last long, however, and at length
the old West-Saxon line was restored in the person of Edward the Confessor
(or "the Saint"). Edward had spent most of his early life in Normandy, and
on coming to England brought with him a large following of Normans, whom
he placed in high positions. During his reign (1042-1066 A.D.) Norman
nobles and churchmen gained a foothold in England, thus preparing the way
for the Norman conquest of the country.



Edward the Confessor having left no direct heirs, the choice of his
successor fell lawfully upon the Witenagemot, [21] as the national
assembly of noblemen and higher clergy was called. This body chose as
king, Harold, earl of Wessex, the leading man in England. Harold's right
to the succession was disputed by William, duke of Normandy, who declared
that the crown had been promised to him by his cousin, the Confessor.
William also asserted that Harold had once sworn a solemn oath, over a
chest of sacred relics, to support his claim to the throne on Edward's
death. When word came of Harold's election, William wrathfully denounced
him as a usurper and began to prepare a fleet and an army for the invasion
of England.


Normandy under Duke William had become a powerful, well-organized state.
Norman knights, attracted by promises of wide lands and rich booty, if
they should conquer, formed the core of William's forces. Adventurers from
every part of France, and even from Spain and Italy, also entered his
service. The pope blessed the enterprise and sent to William a ring
containing a hair from St. Peter's head and a consecrated banner. When all
was ready in the late fall of 1066 A.D., a large fleet, bearing five or
six thousand archers, foot soldiers, and horsemen, crossed the Channel and
landed in England.

[Illustration: A SCENE FROM THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY (Museum of Bayeux,

The Bayeux Tapestry, which almost certainly belongs to the time of the
Norman Conquest, is a strip of coarse linen cloth, about 230 feet long by
20 inches wide, embroidered in worsted thread of eight different colors.
There are seventy-two scenes picturing various events in the history of
the Norman Conquest. The illustration given above represents an attack of
Norman cavalry on the English shield wall at the battle of Hastings.]


William at first met no resistance. Harold was far away in the north
fighting against the Norwegians, who had seized the opportunity to make
another descent on the English coast. Harold defeated them decisively and
then hurried southward to face his new foe. The two armies met near
Hastings on the road to London. All day they fought. The stout English
infantry, behind their wall of shields, threw back one charge after
another of the Norman knights. Again and again the duke rallied his men
and led them where the foe was thickest. A cry arose that he was slain. "I
live," shouted William, tearing off his helmet that all might see his
face, "and by God's help will conquer yet." At last, with the approach of
evening, Harold was killed by an arrow; his household guard died about
him; and the rest of the English took to flight. William pitched his camp
on the field of victory, and "sat down to eat and drink among the dead."



The battle of Hastings settled the fate of England. Following up his
victory with relentless energy, William pressed on to London. That city,
now practically the capital of the country, opened its gates to him. The
Witenagemot, meeting in London offered the throne to William. On Christmas
Day, 1066 A.D., in Westminster Abbey the duke of Normandy was crowned king
of England.


What manner of man was William the Conqueror? Tall of stature, endowed
with tremendous strength, and brave even to desperation, he seemed an
embodiment of the old viking spirit. "No knight under heaven," men said
truly, "was William's peer." A savage temper and a harsh, forbidding
countenance made him a terror even to his closest followers. "So stern and
wrathful was he," wrote an English chronicler, "that none durst do
anything against his will." Though William never shrank from force or
fraud, from bloodshed or oppression, to carry out his ends, he yet showed
himself throughout his reign a patron of learning, a sincere supporter of
the Church, and a statesman of remarkable insight. He has left a lasting
impress on English history.



The coming of the Normans to England formed the third and last installment
of the Teutonic invasion. Norman merchants and artisans followed Norman
soldiers and settled particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the
island. They seem to have emigrated in considerable numbers and doubtless
added an important element to the English population. The Normans thus
completed the work of the Anglo-Saxons and Danes in making England a
Teutonic country.


It must be remembered, however, that the Normans in Normandy had received
a considerable intermixture of French blood and had learned to speak a
form of the French language (Norman-French). In England Norman-French
naturally was used by the upper and ruling classes--by the court, the
nobility, and the clergy. The English held fast to their own homely
language, but could not fail to pick up many French expressions, as they
mingled with their conquerors in churches, markets, and other places of
public resort. It took about three hundred years for French words and
phrases to soak thoroughly into their speech. The result was a very large
addition to the vocabulary of English. [22]


Until the Norman Conquest England, because of its insular position, had
remained out of touch with Continental Europe. William the Conqueror and
his immediate successors were, however, not only rulers of England, but
also dukes of Normandy and subjects of the French kings. Hence, the union
of England with Normandy brought it at once into the full current of
European affairs. The country became for a time almost a part of France
and profited by the more advanced civilization which had arisen on French
soil. The nobility, the higher clergy, and the officers of government were
Normans. The architects of the castles and churches, the lawyers, and the
men of letters came from Normandy. Even the commercial and industrial
classes were largely recruited from across the Channel.


The Norman Conquest much increased the pope's authority over England. The
English Church, as has been shown, [23] was the child of Rome, but during
the Anglo-Saxon period it had become more independent of the Papacy than
the churches on the Continent. William the Conqueror, whose invasion of
England took place with the pope's approval, repaid his obligation by
bringing the country into closer dependence on the Roman pontiff.


Although the Normans settled in England as conquerors, yet after all they
were near kinsmen of the English and did not long keep separate from them.
In Normandy a century and a half had been enough to turn the Northmen into
Frenchmen. So in England, at the end of a like period, the Normans became
Englishmen. Some of the qualities that have helped to make the modern
English a great people--their love of the sea and fondness for adventure,
their vigor, self-reliance, and unconquerable spirit--are doubtless
derived in good part from the Normans.



The conquest of England, judged by its results, proved to be the most
important undertaking of the Normans. But during this same eleventh
century they found another field in which to display their energy and
daring. They turned southward to the Mediterranean and created a Norman
state in Italy and Sicily.


The unsettled condition of Italy [24] gave the Normans an opportunity for
interference in the affairs of the country. The founding of Norman power
there was largely the work of a noble named Robert Guiscard ("the
Crafty"), a man almost as celebrated as William the Conqueror. He had set
out from his home in Normandy with only a single follower, but his valor
and shrewdness soon brought him to the front. Robert united the scattered
bands of Normans in Italy, who were fighting for pay or plunder, and
wrested from the Roman Empire in the East its last territories in the
peninsula. Before his death (1085 A.D.) most of southern Italy had passed
under Norman rule.


Robert's brother, Roger, crossed the strait of Messina and began the
subjugation of Sicily, then a Moslem possession. Its recovery from the
hands of "infidels" was considered by the Normans a work both pleasing to
God and profitable to themselves. By the close of the eleventh century
they had finally established their rule in the island.


The conquests of the Normans in southern Italy and Sicily were united into
a single state, which came to be known as the kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
The Normans governed it for only about one hundred and fifty years, but
under other rulers it lasted until the middle of the nineteenth century,
when the present kingdom of Italy came into existence.


The kingdom of the Two Sicilies was well-governed, rich, and strong. Art
and learning flourished in the cities of Naples, Salerno, and Palermo.
Southern Italy and Sicily under the Normans became a meeting-point of
Byzantine and Arabic civilization. The Norman kingdom formed an important
channel through which the wisdom of the East flowed to the North and to
the West.



The conquests of the Normans in England, Italy, and Sicily were effected
after they had become a Christian and a French-speaking people. In these
lands they were the armed missionaries of a civilization not their own.
The Normans, indeed, invented little and borrowed much. But, like the
Arabs, they were more than simple imitators. In language, literature, art,
religion, and law what they took from others they improved and then spread
abroad throughout their settlements.


It seems at first sight remarkable that a people who occupied so much of
western Europe should have passed away. Normans as Normans no longer
exist. They lost themselves in the kingdoms which they founded and among
the peoples whom they subdued. Their rapid assimilation was chiefly the
consequence of their small numbers: outside of Normandy they were too few
long to maintain their identity.


If the Normans themselves soon disappeared, their influence was more
lasting. Their mission, it has been well said, was to be leaders and
energizers of society--"the little leaven that leaveneth the whole lump."
The peoples of medieval Europe owed much to the courage and martial
spirit, the genius for government, and the reverence for law, of the
Normans. In one of the most significant movements of the Middle Ages--the
crusades--they took a prominent part. Hence we shall meet them again.


1. What events are associated with the following dates: 988 A.D.; 862
A.D.; 1066 A.D.; 1000 A.D.; and 987 A.D.?

2. What was the origin of the geographical names Russia, Greenland,
Finland, and Normandy?

3. Mention some of the striking physical contrasts between the Arabian and
Scandinavian peninsulas.

4. Why has the Baltic Sea been called a "secondary Mediterranean"?

5. How does it happen that the gulf of Finland is often frozen over in
winter, while even the northernmost of the Norse fiords remain open?

6. Why is an acquaintance with Scandinavian mythology, literature, and
history especially desirable for English-speaking peoples?

7. What is meant by the "berserker's rage"?

8. What names of our weekdays are derived from the names of Scandinavian

9. Compare the Arab and Scandinavian conceptions of the future state of
departed warriors.

10. What is meant by "sea-power"? What people possessed it during the
ninth and tenth centuries?

11. Compare the invasions of the Northmen with those of the Germans as to
(a) causes, (b) area covered, and (c) results.

12. What was the significance of the fact that the Northmen were not
Christians at the time when they began their expeditions?

13. Show how the voyages of the Northmen vastly increased geographical

14. Show that the Russian people have received from Constantinople their
writing, religion, and art.

15. Mention three conquests of England by foreign peoples before 1066 A.D.
Give for each conquest the results and the approximate date.

16. On the map, page 405, trace the boundary line between Alfred's
possessions and those of the Danes.

17. Compare Alfred and Charlemagne as civilizing kings.

18. Compare Alfred's cession of the Danelaw with the cession of Normandy
to Rollo.

19. Why is Hastings included among "decisive" battles?

20. "We English are not ourselves but somebody else." Comment on this

21. What is meant by the "Norman graft upon the sturdy Saxon tree"?

22. What settlements of the Northmen most influenced European history?

23. Compare the Norman faculty of adaptation with that of the Arabs.


[1] Webster, _Readings in Medieval and Modern History_, chapter vii, "The
Saga of a Viking"; chapter viii, "Alfred the Great"; chapter ix, "William
the Conqueror and the Normans in England."

[2] See page 67.

[3] The word perhaps comes from the old Norse _vik_, a bay, and means "one
who dwells by a bay or fiord." Another meaning assigned to Viking is

[4] See the illustration, page 240.

[5] The word is derived from old Norse _segya_, "to say"; compare German

[6] "Hall of the slain."

[7] "Choosers of the slain."

[8] See page 312.

[9] The Icelanders in 1874 A.D. celebrated the thousandth anniversary of
the Scandinavian settlement of their island.

[10] Russia in 1862 A.D. celebrated the millenary of her foundation by

[11] The Norse word for "fort" is preserved in the gorod of Novgorod.

[12] See page 335.

[13] See page 358.

[14] See the illustration, page 310.

[15] "Norman" is a softened form of "Northman."

[16] In 1911 A.D. Normandy celebrated in the ancient capital of Rouen the
thousandth anniversary of its existence.

[17] See pages 315, 317.

[18] The abolition of the French monarchy dates from 1792 A.D., when Louis
XVI was deposed from the throne.

[19] See page 320.

[20] The east of England contains more than six hundred names of towns
ending in _by_ (Danish "town"), compare _by-law_, originally a law for a
special town.

[21] "Meeting of wise men." The word _gemot_ or _moot_ was used for any
kind of formal meeting.

[22] See page 556.

[23] See page 325.

[24] See page 317.





The ninth century in western Europe was, as we have learned, [1] a period
of violence, disorder, and even anarchy. Charlemagne for a time had
arrested the disintegration of society which resulted from the invasions
of the Germans, and had united their warring tribes under something like a
centralized government. But his work, it has been well said, was only a
desperate rally in the midst of confusion. After his death the Carolingian
Empire, attacked by the Northmen and other invaders and weakened by civil
conflicts, broke up into separate kingdoms.


Charlemagne's successors in France, Germany, and Italy enjoyed little real
authority. They reigned, but did not rule. Under the conditions of the
age, it was impossible for a king to govern with a strong hand. The
absence of good roads or of other easy means of communication made it
difficult for him to move troops quickly from one district to another, in
order to quell revolts. Even had good roads existed, the lack of ready
money would have prevented him from maintaining a strong army devoted to
his interests. Moreover, the king's subjects, as yet not welded into a
nation, felt toward him no sentiments of loyalty and affection. They cared
far less for their king, of whom they knew little, than for their own
local lords who dwelt near them.


The decline of the royal authority, from the ninth century onward, meant
that the chief functions of government would be more and more performed by
the nobles, who were the great landowners of the kingdom. Under
Charlemagne these men had been the king's officials, appointed by him and
holding office at his pleasure. Under his successors they tended to become
almost independent princes. In proportion as this change was accomplished
during the Middle Ages, European society entered upon the stage of
feudalism. [2]


Feudalism in medieval Europe was not a unique development. Parallels to it
may be found in other parts of the world. Whenever the state becomes
incapable of protecting life and property, powerful men in each locality
will themselves undertake this duty; they will assume the burden of their
own defense and of those weaker men who seek their aid. Such was the
situation in ancient Egypt for several hundred years, in medieval Persia,
and in modern Japan until about two generations ago.


European feudalism arose and flourished in the three countries which had
formed the Carolingian Empire, that is, in France, Germany, and northern
Italy. It also spread to Bohemia, Hungary, and the Christian states of
Spain. Toward the close of the eleventh century the Normans transplanted
it into England, southern Italy, and Sicily. During the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries the crusaders introduced it into the kingdoms which
they founded in the East. [3] Still later, in the fourteenth century, the
Scandinavian countries became acquainted with feudalism. Throughout this
wide area the institution, though varying endlessly in details, presented
certain common features.



The basis of feudal society was usually the landed estate. Here lived the
feudal noble, surrounded by dependents over whom he exercised the rights
of a petty sovereign. He could tax them; he could require them to give him
military assistance; he could try them in his courts. A great noble, the
possessor of many estates, even enjoyed the privilege of declaring war,
making treaties, and coining money. How, it will be asked, did these
rights and privileges arise?


Owing to the decay of commerce and industry, land had become practically
the only form of wealth in the early Middle Ages. The king, who in theory
was absolute owner of the soil, would pay his officials for their services
by giving them the use of a certain amount of land. In the same way one
who had received large estates would parcel them out among his followers,
in return for their support. Sometimes an unscrupulous noble might seize
the lands of his neighbors and compel them to become his tenants.
Sometimes, too, those who owned land in their own right might surrender
the title to it in favor of a noble, who then became their protector.


An estate in land which a person held of a superior lord, on condition of
performing some "honorable" service, was called a fief. At first the
tenant received the fief only for a specified term of years or for his
lifetime; but in the end it became inheritable. On the death of the tenant
his eldest son succeeded him in possession. This right of the first-born
son to the whole of the father's estate was known as primogeniture. [4] If
a man had no legal heir, the fief went back to its lord.


The tie which bound the tenant who accepted a fief to the lord who granted
it was called vassalage. Every holder of land was the vassal of some lord.
At the apex of the feudal pyramid stood the king, the supreme landlord,
who was supposed to hold his land from God; below the king stood the
greater lords (dukes, marquises, counts, and barons), with large estates;
and below them stood the lesser lords, or knights, whose possessions were
too small for further subdivision.


The vassal, first of all, owed various services to the lord. In time of
war he did garrison duty at the lord's castle and joined him in military
expeditions. In time of peace the vassal attended the lord on ceremonial
occasions, gave him the benefit of his advice, when required, and helped
him as a judge in trying cases.


Under certain circumstances the vassal was also compelled to make money
payments. When a new heir succeeded to the fief, the lord received from
him a sum usually money equivalent to one year's revenue of the estate.
This payment was called a "relief." Again, if a man sold his fief, the
lord demanded another large sum from the purchaser, before giving his
consent to the transaction. Vassals were also expected to raise money for
the lord's ransom, in case he was made prisoner of war, to meet the
expenses connected with the knighting of his eldest son, and to provide a
dowry for his eldest daughter. Such exceptional payments went by the name
of "aids."


The vassal, in return for his services and payments, looked to the lord
for the protection of life and property. The lord agreed to secure him in
the enjoyment of his fief, to guard him against his enemies, and to see
that in all matters he received just treatment. This was no slight


The ceremony of homage [5] symbolized the whole feudal relationship. One
who proposed to become a vassal and hold a fief came into the lord's
presence, bareheaded and unarmed, knelt down, placed his hands between
those of the lord, and promised henceforth to become his "man." The lord
then kissed him and raised him to his feet. After the ceremony the vassal
placed his hand upon the Bible or upon sacred relics and swore to remain
faithful to his lord. This was the oath of "fealty." The lord then gave
the vassal some object--a stick, a clod of earth, a lance, or a glove--in
token of the fief with the possession of which he was now "invested."


It is clear that the feudal method of land tenure, coupled with the custom
of vassalage, made in some degree for security and order. Each noble was
attached to the lord above him by the bond of personal service and the
oath of fidelity. To his vassals beneath him he was at once protector,
benefactor, and friend. Unfortunately, feudal obligations were far less
strictly observed in practice than in theory. Both lords and vassals often
broke their engagements, when it seemed profitable to do so. Hence they
had many quarrels and indulged in constant warfare. But feudalism, despite
its defects, was better than anarchy. The feudal lords drove back the
pirates and hanged the brigands and enforced the laws, as no feeble king
could do. They provided a rude form of local government for a rude



Feudalism was not only a system of local government; it was also a system
of local justice. Knights, barons, counts, and dukes had their separate
courts, and the king had his court above all. Cases arising on the lord's
estate were tried before him and the vassals whom he called to his
assistance in giving justice. Since most wrongs could be atoned for by the
payment of a fine, the conduct of justice on a large fief produced a
considerable income. The nobles, accordingly, regarded their judicial
rights as a valuable property, which they were loath to surrender to the


The law followed in a feudal court was largely based on old Germanic
customs. The court did not act in the public interest, as with us, but
waited until the plaintiff requested service. Moreover, until the case had
been decided, the accuser and the accused received the same treatment.
Both were imprisoned; and the plaintiff who lost his case suffered the
same penalty which the defendant, had he been found guilty, would have


Unlike a modern court, again, the feudal court did not require the accuser
to prove his case by calling witnesses and having them give testimony. The
burden of proof lay on the accused, who had to clear himself of the
charge, if he could do so. In one form of trial it was enough for him to
declare his innocence under oath, and then to bring in several "oath-
helpers," sometimes relatives, but more often neighbors, who swore that
they believed him to be telling the truth. The number of these "oath-
helpers" varied according to the seriousness of the crime and the rank of
the accused. This method was hardly as unsatisfactory as it seems to be,
for a person of evil reputation might not be able to secure the required
number of friends who would commit perjury on his behalf. To take an oath
was a very solemn proceeding; it was an appeal to God, by which a man
called down on himself divine punishment if he swore falsely.


The consequences of a false oath were not apparent at once. Ordeals,
however, formed a method of appealing to God, the results of which could
be immediately observed. A common form of ordeal was by fire. The accused
walked barefoot over live brands, or stuck his hand into a flame, or
carried a piece of red-hot iron for a certain distance. In the ordeal by
hot water he plunged his arm into boiling water. A man established his
innocence through one of these tests, if the wound healed properly after
three days. The ordeal by cold water rested on the belief that pure water
would reject the criminal. Hence the accused was thrown bound into a
stream: if he floated he was guilty; if he sank he was innocent and had to
be rescued. Though a crude method of securing justice, ordeals were
doubtless useful in many instances. The real culprit would often prefer to
confess, rather than incur the anger of God by submitting to the test.


A form of trial which especially appealed to the warlike nobles was the
judicial duel. [6] The accuser and the accused fought with each other; and
the conqueror won the case. God, it was believed, would give victory to
the innocent party, because he had right on his side. When one of the
adversaries could not fight, he secured a champion to take his place.
Though the judicial duel finally went out of use in the law courts, it
still continued to be employed privately, as a means of settling disputes
which involved a man's honor. The practice of dueling is only now dying
out in civilized communities.

[Illustration: TRIAL BY COMBAT
From a manuscript of the fifteenth century.]


Oaths, ordeals, and duels formed an inheritance from Germanic antiquity.
[7] They offered a sharp contrast to Roman law, which acted in the public
interest, balanced evidence, and sought only to get at the truth. After
the middle of the twelfth century the revival of the study of Roman law,
as embodied in Justinian's code, [8] led gradually to the abandonment of
most forms of appeal to the judgment of God. At the same time the kings
grew powerful enough to take into their own hands the administration of



Feudalism, once more, was a system of local defense. The knight must guard
his small estate, the baron his barony, the count his county, the duke his
duchy. At the lord's bidding the vassal had to follow him to war, either
alone or with a certain number of men, according to the size of the fief.
But this assistance was limited. A vassal served only for a definite
period (varying from one month to three in the year), and then only within
a reasonable distance from the lands for which he did homage. These
restrictions made it difficult to conduct a lengthy campaign, or one far
removed from the vassal's fief, unless mercenary soldiers were employed.


The feudal army, as a rule, consisted entirely of cavalry. Such swiftly
moving assailants as the Northmen and the Magyars could best be dealt with
by mounted men who could bring them to bay, compel them to fight, and
overwhelm them by the shock of the charge. In this way the foot soldiers
of Charlemagne's time came to be replaced by the mailed horsemen who for
four centuries or more dominated European battlefields.

[Illustration: MOUNTED KNIGHT
Seal of Robert Fitzwalter, showing a mounted knight in complete mail
armor; date about 1265 A.D.]


The armor used in the Middle Ages was gradually perfected, until at length
the knight became a living fortress. [9] In the early feudal period he
wore a cloth or leather tunic covered with iron rings or scales, and an
iron cap with a nose guard. About the beginning of the twelfth century he
adopted chain mail, with a hood of the same material for the head. During
the fourteenth century the knight began to wear heavy plate armor,
weighing fifty pounds or more, and a helmet with a visor which could be
raised or lowered. Thus completely incased in metal, provided with shield,
lance, straight sword or battle-ax, and mounted on a powerful horse, the
knight could ride down almost any number of poorly armed peasants. Not
till the development of missile weapons--the longbow, and later the
musket--did the foot soldier resume his importance in warfare. The feudal
age by this time was drawing to a close.


The nobles regarded the right of waging war on one another as their most
cherished privilege. Fighting became almost a form of business enterprise,
which enriched the lords and their retainers through the sack of castles,
the plunder of villages, and the ransom of prisoners. Every hill became a
stronghold and every plain a battlefield. Such neighborhood warfare,
though rarely very bloody, spread terrible havoc throughout the land.


The Church, to its great honor, lifted a protesting voice against this
evil. It proclaimed a "Peace of God" and forbade attacks on all
defenseless people, including priests, monks, pilgrims, merchants,
peasants, and women. But it was found impossible to prevent the feudal
lords from warring with each other, even though they were threatened with
the eternal torments of Hell; and so the Church tried to restrict what it
could not altogether abolish. A "Truce of God" was established. All men
were to cease fighting from Wednesday evening to Monday morning of each
week, during Lent, and on various holy days. The truce would have given
Christendom peace for about two hundred and forty days each year; but it
seems never to have been strictly observed except in limited areas.


As the power of the kings increased in western Europe, they naturally
sought to put an end to the constant fighting between their subjects. The
Norman rulers of Normandy, England, and Sicily restrained their turbulent
nobles with a strong hand. Peace came later in most parts of the
Continent; in Germany, "fist right" (the rule of the strongest) prevailed
until the end of the fifteenth century. The abolition of private war was
the first step in Europe toward universal peace. The second step--the
abolition of public war between nations--is yet to be taken.



The outward mark of feudalism was the castle, [10] where the lord resided
and from which he ruled his fief. In its earliest form the castle was
simply a wooden blockhouse placed on a mound and surrounded by a stockade.
About the beginning of the twelfth century the nobles began to build in
stone, which would better resist fire and the assaults of besiegers. A
stone castle consisted at first of a single tower, square or round, with
thick walls, few windows, and often with only one room to each story. [11]
As engineering skill increased, several towers were built and were then
connected by outer and inner walls. The castle thus became a group of
fortifications, which might cover a wide area.

The plan is intended to represent that of a typical castle, as the plan of
Kirkstall Abbey represents that of a typical monastery.]

[Illustration: PIERREFONDS
A castle near Paris built about 1400 A.D. by a brother of the king of
France. It was dismantled in 1632 A.D., but was carefully restored in the
nineteenth century by order of Napoleon III. The exterior faithfully
reproduces the appearance of a medieval fortress.]


Defense formed the primary purpose of the castle. Until the introduction
of gunpowder and cannon, the only siege engines employed were those known
in ancient times. They included machines for hurling heavy stones and iron
bolts, battering rams, and movable towers, from which the besiegers
crossed over to the walls. Such engines could best be used on firm, level
ground. Consequently, a castle would often be erected on a high cliff or
hill, or on an island, or in the center of a swamp. A castle without such
natural defenses would be surrounded by a deep ditch (the "moat"), usually
filled with water. If the besiegers could not batter down or undermine the
massive walls, they adopted the slower method of a blockade and tried to
starve the garrison into surrendering. But ordinarily a well-built, well-
provisioned castle was impregnable. Behind its frowning battlements even a
petty lord could defy a royal army.

The finest of all medieval castles. Located on a high hill overlooking the
Seine about twenty miles from Rouen. Built by Richard the Lion hearted
within a twelvemonth (1197-1198 AD) and by him called Saucy Castle. It was
captured a few years later by the French king Philip Augustus and was
dismantled early in the seventeenth century. The castle consisted of three
distinct series of fortifications, besides the keep which in this case was
merely a strong tower.]


A visitor to a medieval castle crossed the drawbridge over the moat and
approached the narrow doorway, which was protected by a tower on each
side. If he was admitted, the iron grating ("portcullis") rose slowly on
its creaking pulleys, the heavy, wooden doors swung open, and he found
himself in the courtyard commanded by the great central tower ("keep"),
where the lord and his family lived, especially in time of war. At the
summit of the keep rose a platform whence the sentinel surveyed the
country far and wide; below, two stories underground, lay the prison,
dark, damp, and dirty. As the visitor walked about the court-yard, he came
upon the hall, used as the lord's residence in time of peace, the armory,
the chapel, the kitchens, and the stables. A spacious castle might
contain, in fact, all the buildings necessary for the support of the
lord's servants and soldiers.

[Illustration: KING AND JESTER
From a manuscript of the early fifteenth century.]


The medieval castle formed a good fortress, but a poor home. Its small
rooms, lighted only by narrow windows, heated only by fireplaces, badly
ventilated, and provided with little furniture, must have been indeed
cheerless. Toward the close of the feudal period, when life became more
luxurious, the castle began to look less like a dungeon. Windows were
widened and provided with panes of painted glass, walls were hung with
costly tapestries, and floors were covered with thick Oriental rugs. The
nobles became attached to their castle homes and often took their names
from those of their estates.


Life within the castle was very dull. There were some games, especially
chess, which the nobles learned from the Moslems. Banqueting, however,
formed the chief indoor amusement. The lord and his retainers sat down to
a gluttonous feast and, as they ate and drank, watched the pranks of a
professional jester or listened to the songs and music of ministrels or,
it may be, heard with wonder the tales of far-off countries brought by
some returning traveler. Outside castle walls a common sport was hunting
in the forests and game preserves attached to every estate. Deer, bears,
and wild boars were hunted with hounds; for smaller animals trained hawks,
or falcons, were employed. But the nobles, as we have just seen, found in
fighting their chief outdoor occupation and pastime. "To play a great
game" was their description of a battle.

[Illustration: FALCONRY
From a manuscript of the thirteenth century in the Bibliothèque Nationale,



The prevalence of warfare in feudal times made the use of arms a
profession requiring special training. A nobleman's son served for a
number of years, first as a page, then as a squire, in his father's castle
or in that of some other lord. He learned to manage a horse, to climb a
scaling ladder, to wield sword, battle-ax, and lance. He also waited on
the lord's table, assisted him at his toilet, followed him in the chase,
and attended him in battle. This apprenticeship usually lasted from five
to seven years.


When the young noble became of age, he might be made a knight, if he
deserved the honor and could afford the expense. The ceremony of
conferring knighthood was often most elaborate. The candidate fasted, took
a bath--the symbol of purification--and passed the eve of his admission in
prayer. Next morning he confessed his sins, went to Mass, and listened to
a sermon on the duties of knighthood. This ended, his father, or the noble
who had brought him up, girded him with a sword and gave him the
"accolade," that is, a blow on the neck or shoulder, at the same time
saying, "Be thou a good knight." Then the youth, clad in shining armor and
wearing golden spurs, mounted his horse and exhibited his skill in warlike
exercises. If a squire for valorous conduct received knighthood on the
battlefield, the accolade by stroke of the sword formed the only ceremony.


In course of time, as manners softened and Christian teachings began to
affect feudal society, knighthood developed into chivalry. The Church,
which opposed the warlike excesses of feudalism, took the knight under her
wing and bade him be always a true soldier of Christ. To the rude virtues
of fidelity to one's lord and bravery in battle, the Church added others.
The "good knight" was he who respected his sworn word, who never took an
unfair advantage of another, who defended women, widows, and orphans
against their oppressors, and who sought to make justice and right prevail
in the world. Chivalry thus marked the union of pagan and Christian
virtues, of Christianity and the profession of arms.


Needless to say, the "good knight" appears rather in romance than in sober
history. Such a one was Sir Lancelot, in the stories of King Arthur and
the Round Table. [12] As Sir Lancelot lies in death, a former companion
addresses him in words which sum up the best in the chivalric code: "'Thou
wert the courtliest knight that ever bare shield; and thou wert the truest
friend to thy lover that ever bestrode horse; and thou wert the truest
lover among sinful men that ever loved woman; and thou wert the kindest
man that ever struck with sword; and thou wert the goodliest person that
ever came among press of knights; and thou wert the meekest man, and the
gentlest, that ever ate in hall among ladies; and thou wert the sternest
knight to thy mortal foe that ever put spear in the rest.'" [13]


The all-absorbing passion for fighting led to the invention of mimic
warfare in the shape of jousts and tournaments. [14] These exercises
formed the medieval equivalent of the Greek athletic games and the Roman
gladiatorial shows. The joust was a contest between two knights; the
tournament, between two bands of knights. The contests took place in a
railed-off space, called the "lists," about which the spectators gathered.
Each knight wore upon his helmet the scarf or color of his lady and fought
with her eyes upon him. Victory went to the one who unhorsed his opponent
or broke in the proper manner the greatest number of lances. The beaten
knight forfeited horse and armor and had to pay a ransom to the conqueror.
Sometimes he lost his life, especially when the participants fought with
real weapons and not with blunted lances and pointless swords. The Church
now and then tried to stop these performances, but they remained
universally popular until the close of the Middle Ages.


Chivalry arose with feudalism, formed, in fact, the religion of feudalism,
and passed away only when the changed conditions of society made feudalism
an anachronism. [15] While chivalry lasted, it produced some improvement
in manners, particularly by insisting on the notion of personal honor and
by fostering greater regard for women (though only for those of the upper
class). Our modern notion of the conduct befitting a "gentleman" goes back
to the old chivalric code. Chivalry expressed, however, simply the
sentiments of the warlike nobles. It was an aristocratic ideal. The knight
despised and did his best to keep in subjection the toiling peasantry,
upon whose backs rested the real burden of feudal society.



Under the Roman Empire western Europe had been filled with flourishing
cities. [16] The Germanic invasions led to a gradual decay of trade and
manufacturing, and hence of the cities in which these activities centered.
As urban life declined, the mass of the population came to live more and
more in isolated rural communities. This was the great economic feature of
the early Middle Ages.


The introduction of feudalism fostered the movement from town to country,
for feudalism, as has been shown, rested on the soil as its basis. The
lord, his family, his servants, and his retainers were supported by the
income from landed property. The country estate of a lord was known as a


A manor naturally varied in size, according to the wealth of its lord. In
England perhaps six hundred acres represented the extent of an average
estate. Every noble had at least one manor; great nobles might have
several manors, usually scattered throughout the country; and even the
king depended on his many manors for the food supply of the court.
England, during the period following the Norman Conquest, contained more
than nine thousand of these manorial estates. [17]


Of the arable land of the manor the lord reserved as much as needful for
his own use. The lord's land was called his "demesne," or domain. The rest
of the land he allotted to the peasants who were his tenants, They
cultivated their holdings in common. A farmer, instead of having his land
in one compact mass, had it split up into a large number of small strips
(usually about half an acre each) scattered over the manor, and separated,
not by fences or hedges, but by banks of unplowed turf. The appearance of
a manor, when under cultivation, has been likened to a vast checkerboard
or a patchwork quilt. [18] The reason for the intermixture of strips seems
to have been to make sure that each farmer had a portion both of the good
land and of the bad. It is obvious that this arrangement compelled all the
peasants to labor according to a common plan. A man had to sow the same
kinds of crops as his neighbors, and to till and reap them at the same
time. Agriculture, under such circumstances, could not fail to be

Plowing, Harrowing, Cutting Weeds, Reaping.]


In other ways, too, agriculture was very backward. Farmers did not know
how to enrich the soil by the use of fertilizers or how to provide for a
proper rotation of crops. Hence each year they cultivated only two-thirds
of the land, letting the other third lie "fallow" (uncultivated), that it
might recover its fertility. It is said that eight or nine bushels of
grain represented the average yield of an acre. Farm animals were small,
for scientific breeding had not yet begun. A full-grown ox reached a size
scarcely larger than a calf of to-day, and the fleece of a sheep often
weighed less than two ounces. Farm implements were few and clumsy. The
wooden ploughs only scratched the ground. Harrowing was done with a hand
implement little better than a large rake. Grain was cut with a sickle,
and grass was mown with a scythe. It took five men a day to reap and bind
the harvest of two acres.


Besides his holding of farm land, which in England averaged about thirty
acres, each peasant had certain rights over the non-arable land of the
manor. He could cut a limited amount of hay from the meadow. He could turn
so many farm animals--cattle, geese, swine--on the waste. He also enjoyed
the privilege of taking so much wood from the forest for fuel and building
purposes. A peasant's holding, which also included a house in the village,
thus formed a complete outfit.



The peasants on a manor lived close together in one or more villages.
Their small, thatch-roofed, and one-roomed houses would be grouped about
an open space (the "green"), or on both sides of a single, narrow street.
The only important buildings were the parish church, the parsonage, a
mill, if a stream ran through the manor, and possibly a blacksmith's shop.
The population of one of these villages often did not exceed one hundred


Perhaps the most striking feature of a medieval village was its self-
sufficiency. The inhabitants tried to produce at home everything they
required, in order to avoid the uncertainty and expense of trade. The land
gave them their food; the forest provided them with wood for houses and
furniture. They made their own clothes of flax, wool, and leather. Their
meal and flour were ground at the village mill, and at the village smithy
their farm implements were manufactured. The chief articles which needed
to be brought from some distant market were salt, used to salt down farm
animals killed in autumn, iron for various tools, and millstones. Cattle,
horses, and surplus grain also formed common objects of exchange between


Life in a medieval village was rude and rough. The peasants labored from
sunrise to sunset, ate coarse fare, lived in huts, and suffered from
frequent pestilences. They were often the helpless prey of the feudal
nobles. If their lord happened to be a quarrelsome man, given to fighting
with his neighbors, they might see their lands ravaged, their cattle
driven off, their village burned, and might themselves be slain. Even
under peaceful conditions the narrow, shut-in life of the manor could not
be otherwise than degrading.


Yet there is another side to the picture. If the peasants had a just and
generous lord, they probably led a fairly comfortable existence. Except
when crops failed, they had an abundance of food, and possibly wine or
cider drink. They shared a common life in the work of the fields, in the
sports of the village green, and in the services of the parish church.
They enjoyed many holidays; it has been estimated that, besides Sundays,
about eight weeks in every year were free from work. Festivities at
Christmas, Easter, and May Day, at the end of ploughing and the completion
of harvest, relieved the monotony of the daily round of labor. [19]
Perhaps these medieval peasants were not much worse off than the
agricultural laborers in most countries of modern Europe.

Lord's demesne, diagonal lines. Meadow and pasture lands, dotted areas.
Normal holding of a peasant, black strips.]



A medieval village usually contained several classes of laborers. There
might be a number of freemen, who paid a fixed rent, either in money or
produce, for the use of their land. Then there might also be a few slaves
in the lord's household or at work on his domain. By this time, however,
slavery had about died out in western Europe. Most of the peasants were


Serfdom represented a stage between slavery and freedom. A slave belonged
to his master; he was bought and sold like other chattels. A serf had a
higher position, for he could not be sold apart from the land nor could
his holding be taken from him. He was fixed to the soil. On the other hand
a serf ranked lower than a freeman, because he could not change his abode,
nor marry outside the manor, nor bequeath his goods, without the
permission of his lord.


The serf did not receive his land as a free gift; for the use of it he
owed certain duties to his master. These took chiefly the form of personal
services. He must labor on the lord's domain for two or three days each
week, and at specially busy seasons, such as ploughing and harvesting, he
must do extra work. At least half his time was usually demanded by the
lord. The serf had also to make certain payments, either in money or more
often in grain, honey, eggs, or other produce. When he ground the wheat or
pressed the grapes which grew on his land, he must use the lord's mill,
the lord's wine-press, and pay the customary charge. In theory the lord
could tax his serfs as heavily and make them work as hard as he pleased,
but the fear of losing his tenants doubtless in most cases prevented him
from imposing too great burdens on them.


Serfdom developed during the later centuries of the Roman Empire and in
the early Middle Ages. It was well established by the time of Charlemagne.
Most serfs seem to have been the descendants, or at least the successors,
of Roman slaves, whose condition had gradually improved. The serf class
was also recruited from the ranks of freemen, who by conquest or because
of the desire to gain the protection of a lord, became subject to him.
Serfdom, however, was destined to be merely a transitory condition. By the
close of medieval times, the serfs in most parts of western Europe had
secured their freedom. [20]



Feudalism had a vigorous life for about five hundred years. Taking
definite form early in the ninth century, it flourished throughout the
later Middle Ages, but became decadent by the opening of the fourteenth


As a system of local government, feudalism tended to pass away when the
rulers in England, France, and Spain, and later in Germany and Italy,
became powerful enough to put down private warfare, execute justice, and
maintain order everywhere in their dominions. The kings were always anti-
feudal. We shall study in a later chapter (Chapter XXII) the rise of
strong governments and centralized states in western Europe.


As a system of local industry, feudalism could not survive the great
changes of the later Middle Ages, when reviving trade, commerce, and
manufactures had begun to lead to the increase of wealth, the growth of
markets, and the substitution of money payments for those in produce or
services. Flourishing cities arose, as in the days of the Roman Empire,
freed themselves from the control of the nobles, and became the homes of
liberty and democracy. The cities, like the kings, were always anti-
feudal. We shall deal with their development in a subsequent chapter
(Chapter XXIII).


There was still another anti-feudal force, namely, the Roman Church. It is
true that many of the higher clergy were feudal lords, and that even the
monasteries owned vast estates which were parceled out among tenants.
Nevertheless, the Roman Church as a universal organization, including men
of all ranks and classes, was necessarily opposed to feudalism, a local
and an aristocratic system. The work and influence of this Church will now
engage our attention.


1. Write a brief essay on feudal society, using the following words: lord;
vassal; castle; keep; dungeon; chivalry; tournament; manor; and serf.

2. Explain the following terms: vassal; fief; serf; "aid"; homage; squire;
investiture; and "relief."

3. Look up the origin of the words homage, castle, dungeon, and chivalry.

4. "The real heirs of Charlemagne were from the first neither the kings of
France nor those of Italy or Germany; but the feudal lords." Comment on
this statement.

5. Why was the feudal system not found in the Roman Empire in the East
during the Middle Ages?

6. Why has feudalism been called "confusion roughly organized"?

7. Contrast feudalism as a political system with (a) the classical city-
states, (b) the Roman Empire, and (c) modern national states.

8. What was the effect of feudalism on the sentiment of patriotism?

9. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of primogeniture as
the rule of inheritance?

10. Explain these phrases: "to be in hot water;" "to go through fire and
water;" and "to haul over the coals."

11. Compare the oaths administered to witnesses in modern courts with
medieval oaths.

12. Why was war the usual condition of feudal society?

13. Compare the "Peace of God" with the earlier "Roman Peace" (_Pax

14. Mention some modern comforts and luxuries which were unknown in feudal

15. What is the present meaning of the word "chivalrous"? How did it get
that meaning?

16. Why has chivalry been called "the blossom of feudalism"?

17. Contrast the ideal of a chivalry with that of monasticism.

18. Show that the serf was not a slave or a "hired man" or a tenant-farmer
paying rent.


[1] See page 312.

[2] The word has nothing to do with "feuds," though these were common
enough in feudal times. It comes from the medieval Latin _feudum_, from
which are desired the French _fief_ and the English _fee_.

[3] See pages 472, 478.

[4] The practice of primogeniture has now been abolished by the laws of
the various European countries and is not recognized in the United States.
It still prevails, however, in England.

[5] Latin _homo_, "man."

[6] Sir Walter Scott's novel, _Ivanhoe_ (chapter xliii), contains an
account of a judicial duel.

[7] See page 326.

[8] See page 331.

[9] See the illustrations, pages 408, 421, 422, 473.

[10] The French form of the word is _château_.

[11] A good example is the "White Tower," which forms a part of the Tower
of London. It was built by William the Conqueror. See the illustration,
page 498.

[12] See page 560.

[13] Malory, _Morte d'Arthur_, xxi, 13. See also Tennyson's poem, _Sir
Galahad_, for a beautiful presentation of the ideal knight.

[14] Sir Walter Scott's novel, _Ivanhoe_ (chapter xii), contains a
description of a tournament.

[15] _Don Quixote_, by the Spanish writer, Cervantes (1547-1616 A.D.), is
a famous satire on chivalry. Our American "Mark Twain" also stripped off
the gilt and tinsel of chivalry in his amusing story entitled _A
Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur_.

[16] See page 208.

[17] According to Domesday Book (see page 499) there were 9250 manors, of
which William the Conqueror possessed 1422. His manors lay in about thirty

[18] This "open field" system of agriculture, as it is usually called,
still survives in some parts of Europe. See the plan of Hitchin Manor,
page 435.

[19] See page 581-582.

[20] See page 612.





A preceding chapter dealt with the Christian Church in the East and West
during the early Middle Ages. We learned something about its organization,
belief, and worship, about the rise and growth of the Papacy, about
monasticism, and about that missionary campaign which won all Europe to
Christianity. Our narrative extended to the middle of the eleventh
century, when the quarrel between pope and patriarch led at length to the
disruption of Christendom. We have now to consider the work and influence
of the Roman Church during later centuries of the Middle Ages.


The Church at the height of its power held spiritual sway over all western
Europe. Italy and Sicily, the larger part of Spain, France, Germany,
Hungary, Poland, British Isles, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland
yielded obedience to the pope of Rome.


Membership in the Church was not a matter of free choice. All people,
except Jews, were required to belong to it. A person joined the Church by
baptism, a rite usually performed in infancy, and remained in it as long
as he lived. Every one was expected to conform, at least outwardly, to the
doctrines and practices of the Church, and anyone attacking its authority
was liable to punishment by the state.


The presence of one Church throughout the western world furnished a bond
of union between European peoples during the age of feudalism. The Church
took no heed of political boundaries, for men of all nationalities entered
the ranks of the priesthood and joined the monastic orders. Priests and
monks were subjects of no country, but were "citizens of heaven," as they
sometimes called themselves. Even difference of language counted for
little in the Church, since Latin was the universal speech of the educated
classes. One must think, then, of the Church as a great international
state, in form a monarchy, presided over by the pope, and with its capital
at Rome.


The Church in the Middle Ages performed a double task. On the one hand it
gave the people religious instruction and watched over their morals; on
the other hand it played an important part in European politics and
provided a means of government. Because the Church thus combined
ecclesiastical and civil functions, it was quite unlike all modern
churches, whether Greek, Roman, or Protestant. Both sides of its
activities deserve, therefore, to be considered.



In medieval times every loyal member of the Church accepted without
question its authority in religious matters. The Church taught a belief in
a personal God, all-wise, all-good, all-powerful, to know whom was the
highest goal of life. The avenue to this knowledge lay through faith in
the revelation of God, as found in the Scriptures. Since the unaided human
reason could not properly interpret the Scriptures, it was necessary for
the Church, through her officers, to declare their meaning and set forth
what doctrines were essential to salvation. The Church thus appeared as
the sole repository of religious knowledge, as "the gate of heaven."


Salvation did not depend only on the acceptance of certain beliefs. There
were also certain acts, called "sacraments," in which the faithful
Christian must participate, if he was not to be cut off eternally from
God. These acts formed channels of heavenly grace; they saved man from the
consequences of his sinful nature and filled him with "the fullness of
divine life." Since priests alone could administer the sacraments, [2] the
Church presented itself as the necessary mediator between God and man.


By the thirteenth century seven sacraments were generally recognized. Four
of these marked critical stages in human life, from the cradle to the
grave. Baptism cleansed the child from the taint of original sin and
admitted him into the Christian community. Confirmation gave him full
Church fellowship. Matrimony united husband and wife in holy bonds which
might never be broken. Extreme Unction, the anointing with oil of one
mortally ill, purified the soul and endowed it with strength to meet


Penance held an especially important place in the sacramental system. At
least once a year the Christian must confess his sins to a priest. If he
seemed to be truly repentant, the priest pronounced the solemn words of
absolution and then required him to accept some punishment, which varied
according to the nature of the offense. There was a regular code of
penalties for such sins as drunkenness, avarice, perjury, murder, and
heresy. Penances often consisted in fasting, reciting prayers, abstaining
from one's ordinary amusements, or beating oneself with bundles of rods. A
man who had sinned grievously might be ordered to engage in charitable
work, to make a contribution in money for the support of the Church, or to
go on a pilgrimage to a sacred shrine. The more distant and difficult a
pilgrimage, the more meritorious it was, especially if it led to some very
holy place, such as Rome or Jerusalem. People might also become monks in
order to atone for evil-doing. This system of penitential punishment
referred only to the earthly life; it was not supposed to cleanse the soul
for eternity.


The sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, generally known as the Mass, formed
the central feature of worship. It was more than a common meal in
commemoration of the Last Supper of Christ with the Apostles. It was a
solemn ceremony, by which the Christian believed himself to receive the
body and blood of Christ, under the form of bread and wine. [3] The right
of the priest to withhold the Eucharist from any person, for good cause,
gave the Church great power, because the failure to partake of this
sacrament imperiled one's chances of future salvation. It was also
supposed that the benefits of the ceremony in purifying from sin might be
enjoyed by the dead in Purgatory; hence masses were often said for the
repose of their souls.


The seventh and last sacrament, that of Ordination, or "Holy Orders,"
admitted persons to the priesthood. According to the view of the Church
the rite had been instituted by Christ, when He chose the Apostles and
sent them forth to preach the Gospel. From the Apostles, who ordained
their successors, the clergy in all later times received their exalted
authority. [4] Ordination conferred spiritual power and set such an
indelible mark on the character that one who had been ordained could never
become a simple layman again.

From a medieval manuscript. Canterbury with its cathedral appears in the
background. The shrine of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, formed
a celebrated resort for medieval pilgrims. The archbishop had been
murdered in the church (1180 A.D.), if not at the instigation, at any rate
without the opposition of King Henry II, whose policies he opposed.
Becket, who was regarded as a martyr, soon received canonization. Miracles
were said to be worked at his grave and at the well in which his bloody
garments had been washed. He remained the most popular saint in England
until the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, when his shrine
was destroyed.]


The Church did not rely solely on the sacramental system as a means to
salvation. It was believed that holy persons, called saints, [5] who had
died and gone to Heaven, offered to God their prayers for men. Hence the
practice arose of invoking the aid of the saints in all the concerns of
life. The earliest saints were Christian martyrs, [6] who had sealed their
faith with their blood. In course of time many other persons, renowned for
pious deeds, were exalted to sainthood. The making of a new saint, after a
rigid inquiry into the merits of the person whom it is proposed to honor,
is now a privilege reserved to the pope.


High above all the saints stood the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.
Devotion to her as the "Queen of Heaven" increased rapidly in the Church
after the time of Gregory the Great. The popularity of her cult owed not a
little to the influence of chivalry, [7] for the knight, who vowed to
cherish womanhood, saw in the Virgin the ideal woman. Everywhere churches
arose in her honor, and no cathedral or abbey lacked a chapel dedicated to
Our Lady.


The growing reverence for saints led to an increased interest in relics.
These included the bones of a saint and shreds of his garments, besides
such objects as the wood or nails of the cross on which Christ suffered.
Relics were not simply mementos; they were supposed to possess miraculous
power which passed into them through contact with holy persons. This
belief explains the use of relics to heal diseases, to ward off danger,
and, in general, to bring good fortune. An oath taken upon relics was
especially sacred. [8] Every church building contained a collection of
relics, sometimes amounting to thousands in number, and even private
persons often owned them.


The Church also taught a belief in Purgatory as a state or place of
probation. [9] Here dwelt the souls of those who were guilty of no mortal
sins which would condemn them to Hell, but yet were burdened with
imperfections which prevented them from entering Heaven. Such
imperfections, it was held, might be removed by the prayers of the living,
and hence the practice arose of praying for the dead.



The Church had regular courts and a special system of law [10] for the
trial of offenders against its regulations. Many cases, which to-day would
be decided according to the civil or criminal law of the state, in the
Middle Ages came before the ecclesiastical courts. Since marriage was
considered a sacrament, the Church took upon itself to decide what
marriages were lawful. It forbade the union of first cousins, of second
cousins, and of godparents and godchildren. It refused to sanction
divorce, for whatever cause, if both parties at the time of marriage had
been baptized Christians. The Church dealt with inheritance under wills,
for a man could not make a legal will until he had confessed, and
confession formed part of the sacrament of Penance. All contracts made
binding by oaths came under Church jurisdiction, because an oath was an
appeal to God. [11] The Church tried those who were charged with any sin
against religion, including heresy, blasphemy, the taking of interest
(usury), and the practice of witchcraft. Widows, orphans, and the families
of pilgrims or crusaders also enjoyed the special protection of Church


The Church claimed the privilege of judging all cases which involved
clergymen. No layman, it was declared, ought to interfere with one who, by
the sacrament of Ordination, had been dedicated to God. This demand of the
Church to try its own officers, according to its own mild and intelligent
laws, seems not unreasonable, when we remember how rude were the methods
of feudal justice. But "benefit of clergy," as the privilege was called,
might be abused. Many persons who had no intention of acting as priests or
monks became clergymen, in order to shield themselves behind the Church in
case their misdeeds were exposed.


An interesting illustration of the power of the Church is afforded by the
right of "sanctuary." Any lawbreaker who fled to a church building
enjoyed, for a limited time, the privilege of safe refuge. It was
considered a sin against God to drag even the most wicked criminal from
the altar. The most that could be done was to deny the refugee food, so
that he might come forth voluntarily. This privilege of seeking sanctuary
was not without social usefulness, for it gave time for angry passions to
cool, thus permitting an investigation of the charges against an offender.


Disobedience to the regulations of the Church might be followed by
excommunication. It was a punishment which cut off the offender from all
Christian fellowship. He could not attend religious services nor enjoy the
sacraments so necessary to salvation. If he died excommunicate, his body
could not be buried in consecrated ground. By the law of the state he lost
all civil rights and forfeited all his property. No one might speak to
him, feed him, or shelter him. This terrible penalty, it is well to point
out, was usually imposed only after the sinner had received a fair trial
and had spurned all entreaties to repent. [12]


The interdict, another form of punishment, was directed against a
particular locality, for the fault of some of the inhabitants who could
not be reached directly. In time of interdict the priests closed the
churches and neither married the living nor buried the dead. Of the
sacraments only Baptism, Confirmation, and Penance were permitted. All the
inhabitants of the afflicted district were ordered to fast, as in Lent,
and to let their hair grow long in sign of mourning. The interdict also
stopped the wheels of government, for courts of justice were shut, wills
could not be made, and public officials were forbidden to perform their
duties. In some cases the Church went so far as to lay an interdict upon
an entire kingdom, whose ruler had refused to obey her mandate. [13] The
interdict has now passed out of use, but excommunication still retains its
place among the spiritual weapons of the Church.



Some one has said that in the Middle Ages there were just three classes of
society: the nobles who fought; the peasants who worked; and the clergy
who prayed. The latter class was divided into the secular [14] clergy,
including deacons, priests, and bishops, who lived active lives in the
world, and the regular [15] clergy, or monks, who passed their days in
seclusion behind monastery walls.


It has been already pointed out how early both secular and regular clergy
came to be distinguished from the laity by abstention from money-making
activities, differences in dress, and the obligation of celibacy. [16]
Being unmarried, the clergy had no family cares; being free from the
necessity of earning their own living, they could devote all their time
and energy to the service of the Church. The sacrament of Ordination,
which was believed to endow the clergy with divine power, also helped to
strengthen their influence. They appeared as a distinct order, in whose
charge was the care of souls and in whose hands were the keys of heaven.


An account of the secular clergy naturally begins with the parish priest,
who had charge of a parish, the smallest division of Christendom. No one
could act as a priest without the approval of the bishop, but the nobleman
who supported the parish had the privilege of nominating candidates for
the position. The priest derived his income from lands belonging to the
parish, from tithes, [17] and from voluntary contributions, but as a rule
he received little more than a bare living. The parish priest was the only
Church officer who came continually into touch with the common people. He
baptized, married, and buried his parishioners. For them he celebrated
Mass at least once a week, heard confessions, and granted absolution. He
watched over all their deeds on earth and prepared them for the life to
come. And if he preached little, he seldom failed to set in his own person
an example of right living.


The church, with its spire which could be seen afar off and its bells
which called the faithful to worship, formed the social center of the
parish. Here on Sundays and holy days the people assembled for the morning
and evening services. During the interval between religious exercises they
often enjoyed games and other amusements in the adjoining churchyard. As a
place of public gathering the parish church held an important place in the
life of the Middle Ages.


A group of parishes formed a diocese, over which a bishop presided. It was
his business to look after the property belonging to the diocese, to hold
the ecclesiastical courts, to visit the clergy, and to see that they did
their duty. The bishop alone could administer the sacraments of
Confirmation and Ordination. He also performed the ceremonies at the
consecration of a new church edifice or shrine. Since the Church held vast
estates on feudal tenure, the bishop was usually a territorial lord, owing
a vassal's obligations to the king or to some powerful noble for his land
and himself ruling over vassals in different parts of the country. As
symbols of his power and dignity the bishop wore on his head the miter and
carried the pastoral staff, or crosier. [18]

From an English manuscript of the twelfth century. The bishop wears a
miter and holds in his left hand the pastoral staff, or crosier. His right
hand is extended in blessing over the priest's head.]


Above the bishop in rank stood the archbishop. In England, for example,
there were two archbishops, one residing at York and the other at
Canterbury. The latter, as "primate of all England," was the highest
ecclesiastical dignitary in the land. An archbishop's distinctive vestment
consisted of the _pallium_, a narrow band of white wool, worn around the
neck. The pope alone could confer the right to wear the _pallium_.


The church which contained the official seat or throne [19] of a bishop or
archbishop was called a cathedral. It was ordinarily the largest and most
magnificent church in the diocese. [20]



The regular clergy, or monks, during the early Middle Ages belonged to the
Benedictine order. By the tenth century, however, St. Benedict's Rule had
lost much of its force. As the monasteries increased in wealth through
gifts of land and goods, they sometimes became centers of idleness,
luxury, and corruption. The monks forgot their vows of poverty; and,
instead of themselves laboring as farmers, craftsmen, and students, they
employed laymen to work for them. At the same time powerful feudal lords
frequently obtained control of the monastic estates by appointing as
abbots their children or their retainers. Grave danger existed that the
monasteries would pass out of Church control and decline into mere fiefs
ruled by worldly men.


A great revival of monasticism began in 910 A.D., with the foundation of
the monastery of Cluny in eastern France. The monks of Cluny led lives of
the utmost self-denial and followed the Benedictine Rule in all its
strictness. Their enthusiasm and devotion were contagious; before long
Cluny became a center from which a reformatory movement spread over France
and then over all western Europe. By the middle of the twelfth century
more than three hundred monasteries looked to Cluny for inspiration and


Each of the earlier Benedictine monasteries had been an isolated
community, independent and self-governing. Consequently, when discipline
grew lax or when the abbot proved to be an incapable ruler, it was
difficult to correct the evils which arose. In the Cluniac system,
however, all the monasteries formed parts of one organization, the
"Congregation of Cluny." The abbot of Cluny appointed their "priors," or
heads, and required every monk to pass several years of his monastic life
at Cluny itself. This monarchical arrangement helps to explain why for two
hundred years the abbot of Cluny was, next to the pope, the most important
churchman in western Europe.


Other monastic orders arose in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Of
these, the most important was the Cistercian, founded in 1098 A.D. at
Citeaux, not far from Cluny. The keynote of Cistercian life was the return
to a literal obedience of St. Benedict's Rule. Hence the members of the
order lived in the utmost simplicity, cooking their own meager repasts and
wearing coarse woolen garments woven from the fleeces of their own sheep.
The Cistercians especially emphasized the need for manual labor. They were
the best farmers and cattle breeders of the Middle Ages. Western Europe
owes even more to them than to the Benedictines for their work as pioneers
in the wilderness. "The Cistercians," declared a medieval writer, "are a
model to all monks, a mirror for the diligent, a spur to the indolent."

ST. BERNARD, 1090-1153 A.D.

The whole spirit of medieval monasticism found expression in St. Bernard,
a Burgundian of noble birth. While still a young man he resolved to leave
the world and seek the repose of the monastic life. He entered Citeaux,
carrying with him thirty companions. Mothers are said to have hid their
sons from him, and wives their husbands, lest they should be converted to
monasticism by his persuasive words. After a few years at Citeaux St.
Bernard established the monastery of Clairvaux, over which he ruled as
abbot till his death. His ascetic life, piety, eloquence, and ability as
an executive soon brought him into prominence. People visited Clairvaux
from far and near to listen to his preaching and to receive his counsels.
The monastery flourished under his direction and became the parent of no
less than sixty-five Cistercian houses which were planted in the
wilderness. St. Bernard's activities widened, till he came to be the most
influential man in western Christendom. It was St. Bernard who acted as an
adviser of the popes, at one time deciding between two rival candidates
for the Papacy, who combated most vigorously the heresies of the day, and
who by his fiery appeals set in motion one of the crusades. [21] The charm
of his character is revealed to us in his sermons and letters, while some
of the Latin hymns commonly attributed to him are still sung in many
churches, both Roman Catholic and Protestant.



The history of Christian monasticism exhibits an ever-widening social
outlook. The early hermits [22] had devoted themselves, as they believed,
to the service of God by retiring desert for prayer, meditation, and
bodily mortification. St. Benedict's wise Rule, as followed by the
medieval monastic orders, marked a change for the better. It did away with
extreme forms of self-denial, brought the monks together in a common
house, and required them to engage in daily manual labor. Yet even the
Benedictine system had its limitations. The monks lived apart from the
world and sought chiefly the salvation of their own souls. A new
conception of the monastic life arose early in the thirteenth century,
with the coming of the friars. [23] The aim of the friars was social
service. They lived active lives in the world and devoted themselves
entirely to the salvation of others. The foundation of the orders of
friars was the work of two men, St. Francis in Italy and St. Dominic in

ST. FRANCIS, 1181(?)-1226 A.D.

Twenty-eight years after the death of St. Bernard, St. Francis was born at
Assisi. As the son of a rich and prominent merchant St. Francis had before
him the prospect of a fine career in the world. But he put away all
thoughts of fame and wealth, deserted his gay companions, and, choosing
"Lady Poverty" as his bride, started out to minister to lepers and social
outcasts. One day, while attending Mass, the call came to him to preach
the Gospel, as Christ had preached it, among the poor and lowly. The man's
earnestness and charm of manner soon drew about him devoted followers.
After some years St. Francis went to Rome and obtained Pope Innocent III's
sanction of his work. The Franciscan order spread so rapidly that even in
the founder's lifetime there were several thousand members in Italy and
other European countries.

From a painting by the Italian artist Giotto.]


St. Francis is one of the most attractive figures in all history. Perhaps
no other man has ever tried so seriously to imitate in his own life the
life of Christ. St. Francis went about doing good. He resembled, in some
respects, the social workers and revivalist preachers of to-day. In other
respects he was a true child of the Middle Ages. An ascetic, he fasted,
wore a hair-cloth shirt, mixed ashes with his food to make it
disagreeable, wept daily, so that his eyesight was nearly destroyed, and
every night flogged himself with iron chains. A mystic, he lived so close
to God and nature that he could include within the bonds of his love not
only men and women, but also animals, trees, and flowers. He preached a
sermon to the birds and once wrote a hymn to praise God for his
"brothers," sun, wind, and fire, and for his "sisters," moon, water, and
earth. When told that he had but a short time to live, he exclaimed,
"Welcome, Sister Death!" He died at the age of forty-five, worn out by his
exertions and self-denial. Two years later the pope made him a saint.

ST. DOMINIC, 1170-1221 A.D.

St. Dominic, unlike St. Francis, was a clergyman and a student of
theology. After being ordained he went to southern France and labored
there for ten years among a heretical sect known as the Albigenses. The
order of Dominicans grew out of the little band of volunteers who assisted
him in the mission. St. Dominic sent his followers--at first only sixteen
in number--out into the world to combat heresy. They met with great
success, and at the founder's death the Dominicans had as many as sixty
friaries in various European cities.


The Franciscans and Dominicans resembled each other in many ways. They
were "itinerant," going on foot from place to place, and wearing coarse
robes tied round the waist with a rope. They were "mendicants," [24] who
possessed no property but lived on the alms of the charitable. They were
also preachers, who spoke to the people, not in Latin, but in the common
language of each country which they visited. The Franciscans worked
especially in the "slums" of the cities; the Dominicans addressed
themselves rather to educated people and the upper classes. As time went
on, both orders relaxed the rule of poverty and became very wealthy. They
still survive, scattered all over the world and employed in teaching and
missionary activity. [25]


The friars by their preaching and ministrations did a great deal to call
forth a religious revival in Europe during the thirteenth century. In
particular they helped to strengthen the papal authority. Both orders
received the sanction of the pope; both enjoyed many privileges at his
hands; and both looked to him for direction. The pope employed them to
raise money, to preach crusades, and to impose excommunications and
interdicts. The Franciscans and Dominicans formed, in fact, the agents of
the Papacy.



The name "pope" [26] seems at first to have been applied to all priests as
a title of respect and affection. The Greek Church still continues this
use of the word. In the West it gradually came to be reserved to the
bishop of Rome as his official title. The pope was addressed in speaking
as "Your Holiness." His exalted position was further indicated by the
tiara, or headdress with triple crowns, worn by him in processions. [27]
He went to solemn ceremonies sitting in a chair supported on the shoulders
of his guard. He gave audience from an elevated throne, and all who
approached him kissed his feet in reverence. As "Christ's Vicar" he
claimed to be the representative on earth of the Almighty.


The pope was the supreme lawgiver of the Church. His decrees might not be
set aside by any other person. He made new laws in the form of "bulls"
[28] and by his "dispensations" could in particular cases set aside old
laws, such as those forbidding cousins to marry or monks to obtain release
from their vows. The pope was also the supreme judge of the Church, for
all appeals from the lower ecclesiastical courts came before him for
decision. Finally, the pope was the supreme administrator of the Church.
He confirmed the election of bishops, deposed them, when necessary, or
transferred them from one diocese to another. No archbishop might perform
the functions of his office until he had received the _pallium_ from the
pope's hands. The pope also exercised control over the monastic orders and
called general councils of the Church.


The authority of the pope was commonly exercised by the "legates," [29]
whom he sent out as his representatives at the various European courts.
These officers kept the pope in close touch with the condition of the
Church in every part of western Europe. A similar function is performed in
modern times by the papal ambassadors known as "nuncios."


For assistance in government the pope made use of the cardinals, [30] who
formed a board, or "college." At first they were chosen only from the
clergy of Rome and the vicinity, but in course of time the pope opened the
cardinalate to prominent churchmen in all countries. The number of
cardinals is now fixed at seventy, but the college is never full, and
there are always ten or more "vacant hats," as the saying goes. The
cardinals, in the eleventh century, received the right of choosing a new
pope. A cardinal ranks above all other church officers. His dignity is
indicated by the red hat and scarlet robe which he wears and by the title
of "Eminence" applied to him.


To support the business of the Papacy and to maintain the splendor of the
papal court required a large annual income. This came partly from the
States of the Church in Italy, partly from the gifts of the faithful, and
partly from the payments made by abbots, bishops, and archbishops when the
pope confirmed their election to office. Still another source of revenue
consisted of "Peter's Pence," a tax of a penny on each hearth. It was
collected every year in England and in some Continental countries until
the Reformation. The modern "Peter's Pence" is a voluntary contribution
made by Roman Catholics in all countries.


The Eternal City, from which in ancient times the known world had been
ruled, formed in the Middle Ages the capital of the Papacy. Hither every
year came tens of thousands of pilgrims to worship at the shrine of the
Prince of the Apostles. Few traces now remain of the medieval city. Old
St. Peter's Church, where Charlemagne was crowned emperor, [31] gave way
in the sixteenth century to the world-famous structure that now occupies
its site. [32] The Lateran Palace, which for more than a thousand years
served as the residence of the popes, has also disappeared, its place
being taken by a new and smaller building. The popes now live in the
splendid palace of the Vatican, adjoining St. Peter's.


The powers exercised by the popes during the later Middle Ages were not
secured without a struggle. As a matter of fact the concentration of
authority in papal hands was a gradual development covering several
hundred years. The pope reached his exalted position only after a long
contest with the Holy Roman Emperor. This contest forms one of the most
noteworthy episodes in medieval history.

166. POPES AND EMPERORS, 962-1122 A.D.


One might suppose that there could be no interference between pope and
emperor, since they seemed to have separate spheres of action. It was said
that God had made the pope, as the successor of St. Peter, supreme in
spiritual matters and the emperor, as heir of the Roman Caesars, supreme
in temporal matters. The former ruled men's souls, the latter, men's
bodies. The two sovereigns thus divided on equal terms the government of
the world.


The difficulty with this theory was that it did not work. No one could
decide in advance where the authority the pope ended and where that of the
emperor began. When the pope claimed certain powers which were also
claimed by the emperor, a conflict between the two rulers became

A tenth-century mosaic in the church of St. John, Rome. It represents
Christ giving to St. Peter the keys of heaven, and to Constantine the
banner symbolic of earthly dominion.]


In 962 A.D. Otto the Great, as we have learned, [33] restored imperial
rule in the West, thus founding what in later centuries the came to be
known as the Holy Roman Empire. Otto as emperor possessed the rights of
making the city of Rome the imperial capital, of approving the election of
the pope, and, in general, of exerting much influence in papal affairs.
All these rights had been exercised by Charlemagne. But Otto did what
Charlemagne had never done when he deposed a pope who proved disobedient
to his wishes and on his own authority appointed a successor. At the same
time Otto exacted from the people of Rome an oath that they would never
recognize any pope to whose election the emperor had not consented.


The emperors who followed Otto repeatedly interfered in elections to the
Papacy. One strong ruler, Henry III (1039-1056 A.D.), has been called the
"pope-maker." Early in his reign he set aside three rival claimants to the
Papacy, creating a German bishop pope, and on three subsequent occasions
filled the papal throne by fresh appointments. It was clear that if this
situation continued much longer the Papacy would become simply an imperial
office; it would be merged in the Empire.


The death of Henry III, which left the Empire in weak hands, gave the
Papacy a chance to escape the control of the secular power. In 1059 A.D. a
church council held at the Lateran Palace decreed that henceforth the
right of choosing the supreme pontiff should belong exclusively to the
cardinals, who represented the clergy of Rome. This arrangement has tended
to prevent any interference with the election of popes, either by the
Roman people or by foreign sovereigns.


Now that the Papacy had become independent, it began to deal with a grave
problem which affected the Church at large. According to ecclesiastical
rule bishops ought to be chosen by the clergy of their diocese and abbots
of by their monks. With the growth of feudalism, however, many of these
high dignitaries had become vassals, holding their lands as fiefs of
princes, kings, and emperors, and owing the usual feudal dues. Their lords
expected them to perform the ceremony of homage, [34] before "investing"
them with the lands attached to the bishopric or monastery. One can
readily see that in practice the lords really chose the bishops and
abbots, since they could always refuse to "invest" those who were
displeasing to them.


To the reformers in the Church lay investiture appeared intolerable. How
could the Church keep itself unspotted from the world when its highest
officers were chosen by laymen and were compelled to perform unpriestly
duties? In the act of investiture the reformers also saw the sin of simony
[35]--the sale of sacred powers--because there was such a temptation
before the candidate for a bishopric or abbacy to buy the position with
promises or with money.


The lords, on the other hand, believed that as long as bishops and abbots
held vast estates on feudal tenure they should continue to perform the
obligations of vassalage. To forbid lay investiture was to deprive the
lords of all control over Church dignitaries. The real difficulty of the
situation existed, of course, in the fact that the bishops and abbots were
both spiritual officers and temporal rulers, were servants of both the
Church and the State. They found it very difficult to serve two masters.


In 1073 A.D. there came to the throne of St. Peter one of the most
remarkable of the popes. This was Hildebrand, who, on becoming pope, took
the name of Gregory VII. Of obscure Italian birth, he received his
education in a Benedictine monastery at Rome and rose rapidly to a
position of great influence in papal affairs. He is described as a small
man, ungainly in appearance and with a weak voice, but energetic,
forceful, and of imperious will.


Gregory devoted all his talents to the advancement of the Papacy. A
contemporary document, [36] which may have been of Gregory's own
composition and at any rate expresses his ideas, contains the following
statements: "The Roman pontiff alone is properly called universal. He
alone may depose bishops and restore them to office. He is the only person
whose feet are kissed by all princes. He may depose emperors. He may be
judged by no one. He may absolve from their allegiance the subjects of the
wicked. The Roman Church never has erred, and never can err, as the
Scriptures testify." Gregory did not originate these doctrines, but he was
the first pope who ventured to make a practical application of them.


Two years after Gregory became pope he issued a decree against lay
investiture. It declared that no emperor, king, duke, marquis, count, or
any other lay person should presume to grant investiture, under pain of
excommunication. This decree was a general one, applying to all states of
western Europe, but circumstances were such that it mainly affected


Henry IV, the ruler of Germany at this time, did not refuse the papal
challenge. He wrote a famous letter to Gregory, calling him "no pope but
false monk," telling him Christ had never called him to the priesthood,
and bidding him "come down;" "come down" from St. Peter's throne. Gregory,
in reply, deposed Henry as emperor, excommunicated him, and freed his
subjects from their allegiance.

CANOSSA, 1077 A.D.

This severe sentence made a profound impression in Germany. Henry's
adherents fell away, and it seemed probable that the German nobles would
elect another ruler in his stead. Henry then decided on abject submission.
He hastened across the Alps and found the pope at the castle of Canossa,
on the northern slopes of the Apennines. It was January, and the snow lay
deep on the ground. For three days the emperor stood shivering outside the
castle gate, barefoot and clad in a coarse woolen shirt, the garb of a
penitent. At last, upon the entreaties of the Countess Matilda of Tuscany,
Gregory admitted Henry and granted absolution. It was a strange and moving
spectacle, one which well expressed the tremendous power which the Church
in the Middle Ages exercised over the minds of men.

From a manuscript of the twelfth century now in the Vatican Library at


The dramatic scene at Canossa did not end the investiture conflict. It
dragged on for half a century, being continued after Gregory's death by
the popes who succeeded him. At last in 1122 A.D. the opposing parties
agreed to what is known as the Concordat of Worms, from the old German
city where it was signed.


The concordat drew a distinction between spiritual and lay investiture.
The emperor renounced investiture by the ring and crosier--the emblems of
spiritual authority--and permitted bishops and abbots to be elected by the
clergy and confirmed in office by the pope. On the other hand the pope
recognized the emperor's right to be present at all elections and to
invest bishops and abbots by the scepter for whatever lands they held
within his domains. This reasonable compromise worked well for a time. But
it was a truce, not a peace. It did not settle the more fundamental issue,
whether the Papacy or the Holy Roman Empire should be supreme.

167. POPES AND EMPERORS, 1122-1273 A.D.


Thirty years after the signing of the Concordat of Worms the emperor
Frederick I, called Barbarossa from his red beard, succeeded to the
throne. Frederick, the second emperor, of the Hohenstaufen dynasty [37]
was capable, imaginative, and ambitious. He took Charlemagne and Otto the
Great as his models and aspired like them to rule Christian Europe and the
Church. His reign is the story of many attempts, ending at length in
failure, to unite all Italy into a single state under German sway.


Frederick's Italian policy brought him at once into conflict with two
powerful enemies. The popes, who feared that his success would imperil the
independence of the Papacy, opposed him at every step. The great cities of
northern Italy, which were also threatened by Frederick's soaring schemes,
united in the Lombard League to defend their freedom. The popes gave the
league their support, and in 1176 A.D. Frederick was badly beaten at the
battle of Legnano. The haughty emperor confessed himself conquered, and
sought reconciliation with the pope, Alexander III. In the presence of a
vast throng assembled before St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, Frederick
knelt before the pope and humbly kissed his feet. Just a century had
passed since the humiliation of Henry IV at Canossa.


The Papacy reached the height of its power under Innocent III. The
eighteen years of his pontificate were one long effort, for the most part
successful, to make the pope the arbiter of Europe. Innocent announced the
claims of the Papacy in the most uncompromising manner. "As the moon," he
declared, "receives its light from the sun, and is inferior to the sun, so
do kings receive all their glory and dignity from the Holy See." This
meant, according to Innocent, that the pope has the right to interfere in
all secular matters and in the quarrels of rulers. "God," he continued,
"has set the Prince of the Apostles over kings and kingdoms, with a
mission to tear up, plant, destroy, scatter, and rebuild."


That Innocent's claims were not idle boasts is shown by what he
accomplished. When Philip Augustus, king of France, divorced his wife and
made another marriage, Innocent declared the divorce void and ordered him
to take back his discarded queen. Philip refused, and Innocent, through
his legate, put France under an interdict. From that hour all religious
rites ceased. The church doors were barred; the church bells were silent,
the sick died unshriven, the dead lay unburied. Philip, deserted by his
retainers, was compelled to submit.


On another occasion Innocent ordered John, the English king, to accept as
archbishop of Canterbury a man of his own choosing. When John declared
that he would never allow the pope's appointee to set foot on English
soil, Innocent replied by excommunicating him and laying his kingdom under
an interdict. John also had to yield and went so far as to surrender
England and Ireland to the pope, receiving them back again as fiefs, for
which he promised to pay a yearly rent. This tribute money was actually
paid, though irregularly, for about a century and a half.


Innocent further exhibited his power by elevating to the imperial throne
Frederick II, grandson of Frederick Barbarossa. The young man, after
Innocent's death, proved to be a most determined opponent of the Papacy.
He passed much of his long reign in Italy, warring vainly against the
popes and the Lombard cities. Frederick died in 1250 A.D., and with him
the Holy Roman Empire really ceased to exist. [38] None of the succeeding
holders of the imperial title exercised any authority outside of Germany.

INTERREGNUM, 1254-1273 A.D.

The death of Frederick II's son in 1254 A.D. ended the Hohenstaufen
dynasty. There now ensued what is called the Interregnum, a period of
nineteen years, during which Germany was without a ruler. At length the
pope sent word to the German electors that if they did not choose an
emperor, he would himself do so. The electors then chose Rudolf of
Hapsburg [39] (1273 A.D.). Rudolf gained papal support by resigning all
claims on Italy, but recompensed himself through the conquest of Austria.
[40] Ever since this time the Hapsburg dynasty has filled the Austrian


The conflict between popes and emperors was now ended. Its results were
momentous. Germany, so long neglected by its rightful rulers, who pursued
the will-o'-the-wisp in Italy, broke up into a mass of duchies, counties,
archbishoprics, and free cities. The map of the country at this time shows
how numerous were these small feudal states. They did not combine into a
strong government till the nineteenth century. [41] Italy likewise
remained disunited and lacked even a common monarch. The real victor was
the Papacy, which had crushed the Empire and had prevented the union of
Italy and Germany.

[Illustration: Map, GERMANY AND ITALY During the Interregnum 1254-1273



Medieval society, we have now learned, owed much to the Church, both as a
teacher of religion and morals and as an agency of government. It remains
to ask what was the attitude of the Church toward the great social
problems of the Middle Ages. In regard to warfare, the prevalence of which
formed one of the worst evils of the time, the Church, in general, cast
its influence on the side of peace. It deserves credit for establishing
the Peace and the Truce of God and for many efforts to heal strife between
princes and nobles. Yet, as will be shown, the Church did not carry the
advocacy of peace so far as to condemn warfare against heretics and
infidels. Christians believed that it was a religious duty to exterminate
these enemies of God.


The Church was distinguished for charitable work. The clergy received
large sums for distribution to the needy. From the doors of the
monasteries, the poor, the sick, and the infirm of every sort were never
turned away. Medieval charity, however, was very often injudicious. The
problem of removing the causes of poverty seems never to have been raised;
and the indiscriminate giving multiplied, rather than reduced, the number
of beggars.


Neither slavery nor serfdom, into which slavery gradually passed, [42] was
ever pronounced unlawful by pope or Church council. The Church condemned
slavery only when it was the servitude of a Christian in bondage to a Jew
or an infidel. Abbots, bishops, and popes possessed slaves and serfs. The
serfs of some wealthy monasteries were counted by thousands. The Church,
however, encouraged the freeing of bondmen as a meritorious act and always
preached the duty of kindness and forbearance toward them.


The Church also helped to promote the cause of human freedom by insisting
on the natural equality of all men in the sight of God. "The Creator,"
wrote one of the popes, "distributes his gifts without regard to social
classes. In his eyes there are neither nobles nor serfs." It was not
necessary to be of noble birth to become a bishop, a cardinal, or a pope.
Even serfs succeeded to the chair of St. Peter. Naturally enough, the
Church attracted the keenest minds of the age, a fact which largely
explains the influence exerted by the clergy.


The influence of the clergy in medieval Europe was also due to the fact
that they were almost the only persons of education. Few except churchmen
were able to read or write. So generally was this the case that an
offender could prove himself a clergyman, thus securing "benefit of
clergy," [43] if he showed his ability to read a single line. It is
interesting, also, to note that the word "clerk," which comes from the
Latin _clericus_, was originally limited to churchmen, since they alone
could keep accounts, write letters, and perform other secretarial duties.


It is clear that priests and monks had much importance quite aside from
their religious duties. They controlled the schools, wrote the books,
framed the laws, and, in general, acted as leaders and molders of public
opinion. A most conspicuous instance of the authority wielded by them is
seen in the crusades. These holy wars of Christendom against Islam must
now be considered.


1. Explain the following terms: abbot; prior; archbishop; parish; diocese;
regular clergy; secular clergy; friar; excommunication; simony; interdict;
sacrament; "benefit of clergy"; right of "sanctuary"; crosier; miter;
tiara; papal indulgence; bull; dispensation; tithes; and "Peter's Pence."

2. Mention some respects in which the Roman Church in the Middle Ages
differed from any religious society of the present day.

3. "Medieval Europe was a camp with a church in the background." Comment
on this statement.

4. Explain the statement that "the Church, throughout the Middle Ages, was
a government as well as an ecclesiastical organization."

5. Distinguish between the _faith_ of the Church, the _organization_ of
the Church, and the Church as a _force_ in history.

6. How did the belief in Purgatory strengthen the hold of the Church upon
men's minds?

7. Name several historic characters who have been made saints.

8. Why has the Roman Church always refused to sanction divorce?

9. Compare the social effects of excommunication with those of a modern

10. What reasons have led the Church to insist upon celibacy of the

11. Name four famous monks and four famous monasteries.

12. Could monks enter the secular clergy and thus become parish priests
and bishops?

13. Mention two famous popes who had been monks.

14. What justification was found in the New Testament (_Matthew_, x 8-10)
for the organization of the orders of friars?

15. How did the Franciscans and Dominicans supplement each other's work?

16. "The monks and the friars were the militia of the Church." Comment on
this statement.

17. Who is the present Pope? When and by whom was he elected? In what city
does he reside? What is his residence called?

18. Why has the medieval Papacy been called the "ghost" of the Roman

19. In what sense is it true that the Holy Roman Empire was "neither holy
nor Roman, nor an empire"?


[1] Webster, _Readings in Medieval and Modern History_, chapter x,
"Monastic Life in the Twelfth Century"; chapter xi, "St. Francis and the

[2] In case of necessity baptism might be performed by any lay person of
adult years and sound mind.

[3] This doctrine is known as transubstantiation. In the Roman Church, as
has been noted (page 363), wine is not administered to the laity.

[4] Hence the term "Apostolical Succession."

[5] Latin sanctus, "holy."

[6] See page 234.

[7] See page 431.

[8] See pages 407, 418.

[9] The belief in Purgatory is not held by Protestants or by members of
the Greek Church.

[10] The so-called "canon law." See page 568.

[11] See page 420.

[12] For two instances of the use of excommunication see pages 459 and

[13] For two instances of this sort see page 461.

[14] Latin _saeculum_, used in the sense of "the world."

[15] Latin _regula_, a "rule", referring to the rule or constitution of a
monastic order.

[16] See page 343.

[17] The tithe was a tenth part of the yearly income from land, stock, and
personal industry.

[18] See illustration, page 447.

[19] Latin _cathedra_.

[20] For the architecture of a medieval cathedral see pages 562-565.

[21] See page 474.

[22] See page 352.

[23] Latin _frater_, "brother."

[24] Latin _mendicare_, "to beg."

[25] In England the Franciscans, from the color of their robes, were
called Gray Friars, the Dominicans, Black Friars.

[26] Latin _papa_, "father."

[27] See the illustration, page 348.

[28] So called from the lead seal (Latin _bulla_) attached to papal

[29] Latin _legatus_, "deputy."

[30] Latin _cardinalus_, "principal."

[31] See page 311.

[32] See the plate facing page 591.

[33] See page 317.

[34] See page 418.

[35] A name derived from Simon Magus, who offered money to the Apostle
Peter for the power to confer the Holy Spirit. See _Acts_, viii, 18-20.

[36] The so-called _Dictatus papae_.

[37] The name of this German family comes from that of their castle in
southwestern Swabia.

[38] It survived in name until 1806 A.D., when the Austrian ruler, Francis
II, laid down the imperial crown and the venerable title of "Holy Roman

[39] Hapsburg as the name of a castle in northern Switzerland.

[40] See page 522.

[41] The modern German Empire dates from 1871 A.D.

[42] See pages 436-437.

[43] See page 444.





The series of military expeditions, undertaken by the Christians of Europe
for the purpose of recovering the Holy Land from the Moslems, have
received the name of crusades. In their widest aspect the crusades may be
regarded as a renewal of the age-long contest between East and West, in
which the struggle of Greeks and Persians and of Romans and Carthaginians
formed the earlier episodes. The contest assumed a new character when
Europe had become Christian and Asia Mohammedan. It was not only two
contrasting types of civilization but also two rival world religions which
in the eighth century faced each other under the walls of Constantinople
and on the battlefield of Tours. Now, during the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries, they were to meet again.


Seven or eight chief crusades are usually enumerated. To number them,
however, obscures the fact that for nearly two hundred years Europe and
Asia were engaged in almost constant warfare. Throughout this period there
was a continuous movement of crusaders to and from the Moslem possessions
in Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt.


The crusades were first and foremost a spiritual enterprise. They sprang
from the pilgrimages which Christians had long been accustomed to make to
the scenes of Christ's life on earth. Men considered it a wonderful
privilege to see the cave in which He was born, to kiss the spot where He
died, and to kneel in prayer at His tomb. The eleventh century saw an
increased zeal for pilgrimages, and from this time travelers to the Holy
Land were very numerous. For greater security they often joined themselves
in companies and marched under arms. It needed little to transform such
pilgrims into crusaders.

A picture in an eleventh-century window, formerly in the church of St.
Denis, near Paris.]


The Arab conquest of the Holy Land had not interrupted the stream of
pilgrims, for the early caliphs were more tolerant of unbelievers than
Christian emperors of heretics. But after the coming of the Seljuk Turks
into the East, pilgrimages became more difficult and dangerous. The Turks
were a ruder people than the Arabs whom they displaced, and in their
fanatic zeal for Islam were not inclined to treat the Christians with
consideration. Many tales floated back to Europe of the outrages committed
on the pilgrims and on the sacred shrines venerated by all Christendom.
Such stories, which lost nothing in the telling, aroused a storm of
indignation throughout Europe and awakened the desire to rescue the Holy
Land from the grasp of the "infidel."


But the crusades were not simply an expression of the simple faith of the
Middle Ages. Something more than religious enthusiasm sent an unending
procession of crusaders along the highways of Europe and over the
trackless wastes of Asia Minor to Jerusalem. The crusades, in fact,
appealed strongly to the warlike instincts of the feudal nobles. They saw
in an expedition against the East an unequaled opportunity for acquiring
fame, riches, lands, and power. The Normans were especially stirred by the
prospect of adventure and plunder which the crusading movement opened up.
By the end of the eleventh century they had established themselves in
southern Italy and Sicily, from which they now looked across the
Mediterranean for further lands to conquer. [2] Norman knights formed a
very large element in several of the crusaders' armies.


The crusades also attracted the lower classes. So great was the misery of
the common people in medieval Europe that for them it seemed not a
hardship, but rather a relief, to leave their homes in order to better
themselves abroad. Famine and pestilence, poverty and oppression, drove
them to emigrate hopefully to the golden East.


The Church, in order to foster the crusades, promised both religious and
secular benefits to those who took part in them. A warrior of the Cross
was to enjoy forgiveness of all his past sins. If he died fighting for the
faith, he was assured of an immediate entrance to the joys of Paradise.
The Church also freed him from paying interest on his debts and threatened
with excommunication anyone who molested his wife, his children, or his

170. FIRST CRUSADE, 1095-1099 A.D.


The signal for the First Crusade was given by the conquests of the Seljuk
Turks. [3] These barbarians, at first the mercenaries and then the masters
of the Abbasid caliphs, infused fresh energy into Islam. They began a new
era of Mohammedan expansion by winning almost the whole of Asia Minor from
the Roman Empire in the East. One of their leaders established himself at
Nicaea, the scene of the first Church Council, [4] and founded the
sultanate of Rum (Rome).


The presence of the Turks so close to Constantinople was a standing menace
to all Europe. The able emperor, Alexius I, on succeeding to the throne
toward the close of the eleventh century, took steps to expel the
invaders. He could not draw on the hardy tribes of Asia Minor for the
soldiers he needed, but with reinforcements from the West he hoped to
recover the lost provinces of the empire. Accordingly, in 1095 A.D.,
Alexius sent an embassy to Pope Urban II, the successor of Gregory VII,
requesting aid. The fact that the emperor appealed to the pope, rather
than to any king, shows what a high place the Papacy then held in the
affairs of Europe.


To the appeal of Alexius, Urban lent a willing ear. He summoned a great
council of clergy and nobles to meet at Clermont in France. Here, in an
address which, measured by its results, was the most momentous recorded in
history, Pope Urban preached the First Crusade. He said little about the
dangers which threatened the Roman Empire in the East from the Turks, but
dwelt chiefly on the wretched condition of the Holy Land, with its
churches polluted by unbelievers and its Christian inhabitants tortured
and enslaved. Then, turning to the proud knights who stood by, Urban
called upon them to abandon their wicked practice of private warfare and
take up arms, instead, against the infidel. "Christ Himself," he cried,
"will be your leader, when, like the Israelites of old, you fight for
Jerusalem.... Start upon the way to the Holy Sepulcher; wrench the land
from the accursed race, and subdue it yourselves. Thus shall you spoil
your foes of their wealth and return home victorious, or, purpled with
your own blood, receive an everlasting reward."


Urban's trumpet call to action met an instant response. From the assembled
host there went up, as it were, a single shout: "God wills it! God wills
it!" "It is, in truth, His will," answered Urban, "and let these words be
your war cry when you unsheath your swords against the enemy." Then man
after man pressed forward to receive the badge of a crusader, a cross of
red cloth. [5] It was to be worn on the breast, when the crusader went
forth, and on the back, when he returned.


The months which followed the Council of Clermont were marked by an
epidemic of religious excitement in western Europe. Popular preachers
everywhere took up the cry "God wills it!" and urged their hearers to
start for Jerusalem. A monk named Peter the Hermit aroused large parts of
France with his passionate eloquence, as he rode from town to town,
carrying a huge cross before him and preaching to vast crowds. Without
waiting for the main body of nobles, which was to assemble at
Constantinople in the summer of 1096 A.D., a horde of poor men, women, and
children set out, unorganized and almost unarmed, on the road to the Holy
Land. One of these crusading bands, led by Peter the Hermit, managed to
reach Constantinople, after suffering terrible hardships. The emperor
Alexius sent his ragged allies as quickly as possible to Asia Minor, where
most of them were slaughtered by the Turks.


Meanwhile real armies were gathering in the West. Recruits came in greater
numbers from France than from any other country, a circumstance which
resulted in the crusaders being generally called "Franks" by their Moslem
foes. They had no single commander, but each contingent set out for
Constantinople by its own route and at its own time. [6]


The crusaders included among their leaders some of the most distinguished
representatives of European knighthood. Count Raymond of Toulouse headed a
band of volunteers from Provence in southern France. Godfrey of Bouillon
and his brother Baldwin commanded a force of French and Germans from the
Rhinelands. Normandy sent Robert, William the Conqueror's eldest son. The
Normans from Italy and Sicily were led by Bohemond, a son of Robert
Guiscard, [7] and his nephew Tancred.


Though the crusaders probably did not number more than fifty thousand
fighting men, the disunion which prevailed among the Turks favored the
success of their enterprise. With some assistance from the eastern emperor
they captured Nicaea, overran Asia Minor, and at length reached Antioch,
the key to northern Syria. The city fell after a siege of seven months,
but the crusaders were scarcely within the walls before they found
themselves besieged by a large Turkish army. The crusaders were now in a
desperate plight: famine wasted their ranks; many soldiers deserted; and
Alexius disappointed all hope of rescue. But the news of the discovery in
an Antioch church of the Holy Lance which had pierced the Savior's side
restored their drooping spirits. The whole army issued forth from the
city, bearing the relic as a standard, and drove the Turks in headlong
flight. This victory opened the road to Jerusalem.

More correctly called the Dome of the Rock. It was erected in 691 A.D.,
but many restorations have taken place since that date. The walls
enclosing the entire structure were built in the ninth century, and the
dome is attributed to Saladin (1189 A.D.). This building, with its
brilliant tiles covering the walls and its beautiful stained glass, is a
fine example of Mohammedan architecture.]


Reduced now to perhaps one-fourth of their original numbers, the crusaders
advanced slowly to the city which formed the goal of all their efforts.
Before attacking it they marched barefoot in religious procession around
the walls, with Peter the Hermit at their head. Then came the grand
assault. Godfrey of Bouillon and Tancred were among the first to mount the
ramparts. Once inside the city, the crusaders massacred their enemies
without mercy. Afterwards, we are told, they went "rejoicing, nay for
excess of joy weeping, to the tomb of our Savior to adore and give



After the capture of Jerusalem the crusaders met to elect a king. Their
choice fell upon Godfrey of Bouillon. He refused to wear a crown of gold
in the city where Christ had worn a crown of thorns and accepted, instead,
the modest title of "Protector of the Holy Sepulcher." [8] Godfrey died
the next year and his brother Baldwin, who succeeded him, being less
scrupulous, was crowned king at Bethlehem. The new kingdom contained
nearly a score of fiefs, whose lords made war, administered justice, and
coined money, like independent rulers. The main features of European
feudalism were thus transplanted to Asiatic soil.


The winning of Jerusalem and the district about it formed hardly more than
a preliminary stage in the conquest of Syria. Much fighting was still
necessary before the crusaders could establish themselves firmly in the
country. Instead of founding one strong power in Syria, they split up
their possessions into the three principalities of Tripoli, Antioch, and
Edessa. These small states owed allegiance to the Latin Kingdom of


The ability of the crusaders' states to maintain themselves for many years
in Syria was largely due to the foundation of two military-religious
orders. The members were both monks and knights; that is, to the monastic
vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience they added a fourth vow, which
bound them to protect pilgrims and fight the infidels. Such a combination
of religion and warfare made a strong appeal to the medieval mind.


The Hospitalers, the first of these orders, grew out of a brotherhood for
the care of sick pilgrims in a hospital at Jerusalem. Many knights joined
the organization, which soon proved to be very useful in defending the
Holy Land. Even more important were the Templars, so called because their
headquarters in Jerusalem lay near the site of Solomon's Temple. Both
orders built many castles in Syria, the remains of which still impress the
beholder. They established numerous branches in Europe and, by presents
and legacies, acquired vast wealth. The Templars were disbanded in the
fourteenth century, but the Hospitalers continued to fight valiantly
against the Turks long after the close of the crusading movement. [9]

Temple Church, London. Shows the kind of armor worn between 1190 and 1225


The depleted ranks of the crusaders were constantly filled by fresh bands
of pilgrim knights who visited Palestine to pray at the Holy Sepulcher and
cross swords with the infidel. In spite of constant border warfare much
trade and friendly intercourse prevailed between Christians and Moslems.
They learned to respect one another both as foes and neighbors. The
crusaders' states in Syria became, like Spain [10] and Sicily, [11] a
meeting-place of East and West.

172. SECOND CRUSADE, 1147-1149 A.D., AND THIRD CRUSADE, 1189-1192 A.D.


The success of the Christians in the First Crusade had been largely due to
the disunion among their enemies. But the Moslems learned in time the
value of united action, and in 1144 A.D. succeeded in capturing Edessa,
one of the principal Christian outposts in the East. The fall of the city,
followed by the loss of the entire county of Edessa, aroused western
Europe to the danger which threatened the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and
led to another crusading enterprise.


The apostle of the Second Crusade was the great abbot of Clairvaux, St.
Bernard. [12] Scenes of the wildest enthusiasm marked his preaching. When
the churches were not large enough to hold the crowds which flocked to
hear him, he spoke from platforms erected in the fields. St. Bernard's
eloquence induced two monarchs, Louis VII of France and Conrad III of
Germany, to take the blood-red cross of a crusader.


The Second Crusade, though begun under the most favorable auspices, had an
unhappy ending. Of the great host that set out from Europe, only a few
thousands escaped annihilation in Asia Minor at the hands of the Turks.
Louis and Conrad, with the remnants of their armies, made a joint attack
on Damascus, but had to raise the siege after a few days. This closed the
crusade. As a chronicler of the expedition remarked, "having practically
accomplished nothing, the inglorious ones returned home."


Not many years after the Second Crusade, the Moslem world found in the
famous Saladin a leader for a holy war against the Christians. Saladin in
character was a typical Mohammedan, very devout in prayers and fasting,
fiercely hostile toward unbelievers, and full of the pride of race. To
these qualities he added a kindliness and humanity not surpassed, if
equaled, by any of his Christian foes. He lives in eastern history and
legend as the hero who stemmed once for all the tide of European conquest
in Asia.


Having made himself sultan of Egypt, Saladin united the Moslems of Syria
under his sway and then advanced against the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.
The Christians met him in a great battle near the lake of Galilee. It
ended in the rout of their army and the capture of their king. Even the
Holy Cross, which they had carried in the midst of the fight, became the
spoil of the conqueror. Saladin quickly reaped the fruits of victory. The
Christian cities of Syria opened their gates to him, and at last Jerusalem
itself surrendered after a short siege. Little now remained of the
possessions which the crusaders had won in the East.


The news of the taking of Jerusalem spread consternation throughout
western Christendom. The cry for another crusade arose on all sides. Once
more thousands of men sewed the cross in gold, or silk, or cloth upon
their garments and set out for the Holy Land. When the three greatest
rulers of Europe--Philip Augustus, [13] king of France, Richard I, king of
England, and the German emperor, Frederick Barbarossa [14]--assumed the
cross, it seemed that nothing could prevent the restoration of Christian
supremacy in Syria.


The Germans under Frederick Barbarossa were the first to start. This great
emperor was now nearly seventy years old, yet age had not lessened his
crusading zeal. He took the overland route and after much hard fighting
reached southern Asia Minor. Here, however, he was drowned, while trying
to cross a swollen stream. Many of his discouraged followers at once
returned to Germany; a few of them, however, pressed on and joined the
other crusaders before the walls of Acre.

[Illustration: RICHARD I IN PRISON
From an illuminated manuscript of the thirteenth century. King Richard on
his return from the Holy Land was shipwrecked off the coast of the
Adriatic. Attempting to travel through Austria in disguise, he was
captured by the duke of Austria, whom he had offended at the siege of
Acre. The king regained his liberty only by paying a ransom equivalent to
more than twice the annual revenues of England.]


The expedition of the French and English achieved little. Philip and
Richard, who came by sea, captured Acre after a hard siege, but their
quarrels prevented them from following up this initial success. Philip
soon went home, leaving the further conduct of the crusade in Richard's


The English king remained for fourteen months longer in the Holy Land. His
campaigns during this time gained for him the title of "Lion-hearted,"
[15] by which he is always known. He had many adventures and performed
knightly exploits without number, but could not capture Jerusalem.
Tradition declares that when, during a truce, some crusaders went up to
Jerusalem, Richard refused to accompany them, saying that he would not
enter as a pilgrim the city which he could not rescue as a conqueror. He
and Saladin finally concluded a treaty by the terms of which Christians
were permitted to visit Jerusalem without paying tribute. Richard then set
sail for England, and with his departure from the Holy Land the Third
Crusade came to an end.



The real author of the Fourth Crusade was the famous pope, Innocent III.
[16] Young, enthusiastic, and ambitious for the glory of the Papacy, he
revived the plans of Urban II and sought once more to unite the forces of
Christendom against Islam. No emperor or king answered his summons, but a
number of knights (chiefly French) took the crusader's vow.


The leaders of the crusade decided to make Egypt their objective point,
since this country was then the center of the Moslem power. Accordingly,
the crusaders proceeded to Venice, for the purpose of securing
transportation across the Mediterranean. The Venetians agreed to furnish
the necessary ships only on condition that the crusaders first seized Zara
on the eastern coast of the Adriatic. Zara was a Christian city, but it
was also a naval and commercial rival of Venice. In spite of the pope's
protests the crusaders besieged and captured the city. Even then they did
not proceed against the Moslems. The Venetians persuaded them to turn
their arms against Constantinople. The possession of that great capital
would greatly increase Venetian trade and influence in the East; for the
crusading nobles it held out endless opportunities of acquiring wealth and
power. Thus it happened that these soldiers of the Cross, pledged to war
with the Moslems, attacked a Christian city, which for centuries had
formed the chief bulwark of Europe against the Arab and the Turk.


The crusaders--now better styled the invaders--took Constantinople by
storm. No "infidels" could have treated in worse fashion this home of
ancient civilization. They burned down a great part of it; they
slaughtered the inhabitants; they wantonly destroyed monuments, statues,
paintings, and manuscripts--the accumulation of a thousand years. Much of
the movable wealth they carried away. Never, declared an eye-witness of
the scene, had there been such plunder since the world began.


The victors hastened to divide between them the lands of the Roman Empire
in the East. Venice gained some districts in Greece, together with nearly
all the Aegean islands. The chief crusaders formed part of the remaining
territory into the Latin Empire of Constantinople. It was organized in
fiefs, after the feudal manner. There was a prince of Achaia, a duke of
Athens, a marquis of Corinth, and a count of Thebes. Large districts, both
in Europe and Asia, did not acknowledge, however, these "Latin" rulers.
The new empire lived less than sixty years. At the end of this time the
Greeks returned to power.


Constantinople, after the Fourth Crusade, declined in strength and could
no longer cope with the barbarians menacing it. Two centuries later the
city fell an easy victim to the Turks. [17] The responsibility for the
disaster which gave the Turks a foothold in Europe rests on the heads of
the Venetians and the French nobles. Their greed and lust for power turned
the Fourth Crusade into a political adventure.


The so-called Children's Crusade illustrates at once the religious
enthusiasm and misdirected zeal which marked the whole crusading movement.
During the year 1212 A.D. thousands of French children assembled in bands
and marched through the towns and villages, carrying banners, candles, and
crosses and singing, "Lord God, exalt Christianity. Lord God, restore to
us the true cross." The children could not be restrained at first, but
finally hunger compelled them to return home. In Germany, during the same
year, a lad named Nicholas really did succeed in launching a crusade. He
led a mixed multitude of men and women, boys and girls over the Alps into
Italy, where they expected to take ship for Palestine. But many perished
of hardships, many were sold into slavery, and only a few ever saw their
homes again. "These children," Pope Innocent III declared, "put us to
shame; while we sleep they rush to recover the Holy Land."


The crusading movement came to an end by the close of the thirteenth
century. The emperor Frederick II [18] for a short time recovered
Jerusalem by a treaty, but in 1244 A.D. the Holy City became again a
possession of the Moslems. They have never since relinquished it. Acre,
the last Christian post in Syria, fell in 1291 A.D., and with this event
the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem ceased to exist. The Hospitalers, or
Knights of St. John, still kept possession of the important islands of
Cyprus and Rhodes, which long served as a barrier to Moslem expansion over
the Mediterranean.



The crusades, judged by what they set out to accomplish, must be accounted
an inglorious failure. After two hundred years of conflict, after a vast
expenditure of wealth and human lives, the Holy Land remained in Moslem
hands. It is true that the First Crusade did help, by the conquest of
Syria, to check the advance of the Turks toward Constantinople. But even
this benefit was more than undone by the weakening of the Roman Empire in
the East as a result of the Fourth Crusade.


Of the many reasons for the failure of the crusades, three require special
consideration. In the first place, there was the inability of eastern and
western Europe to cooperate in supporting the holy wars. A united
Christendom might well have been invincible. But the bitter antagonism
between the Greek and Roman churches [19] effectually prevented all unity
of action. The emperors at Constantinople, after the First Crusade, rarely
assisted the crusaders and often secretly hindered them. In the second
place, the lack of sea-power, as seen in the earlier crusades, worked
against their success. Instead of being able to go by water directly to
Syria, it was necessary to follow the long, overland route from France or
Germany through Hungary, Bulgaria, the territory of the Roman Empire in
the East, and the deserts and mountains of Asia Minor. The armies that
reached their destination after this toilsome march were in no condition
for effective campaigning. In the third place, the crusaders were never
numerous enough to colonize so large a country as Syria and absorb its
Moslem population. They conquered part of Syria in the First Crusade, but
could not hold it permanently in the face of determined resistance.


In spite of these and other reasons the Christians of Europe might have
continued much longer their efforts to recover the Holy Land, had they not
lost faith in the movement. But after two centuries the old crusading
enthusiasm died out, the old ideal of the crusade as "the way of God" lost
its spell. Men had begun to think less of winning future salvation by
visits to distant shrines and to think more of their present duties to the
world about them. They came to believe that Jerusalem could best be won as
Christ and the Apostles had won it--"by love, by prayers, and by the
shedding of tears."


The crusades could not fail to affect in many ways the life of western
Europe. For instance, they helped to undermine feudalism. Thousands of
barons and knights mortgaged or sold their lands in order to raise money
for a crusading expedition. Thousands more perished in Syria and their
estates, through failure of heirs, reverted to the crown. Moreover,
private warfare, that curse of the Middle Ages, [20] also tended to die
out with the departure for the Holy Land of so many turbulent feudal
lords. Their decline in both numbers and influence, and the corresponding
growth of the royal authority, may best be traced in the changes that came
about in France, the original home of the crusading movement.


One of the most important effects of the crusades was on commerce. They
created a constant demand for the transportation of men and supplies,
encouraged ship-building, and extended the market for eastern wares in
Europe. The products of Damascus, Mosul, Alexandria, Cairo, and other
great cities were carried across the Mediterranean to the Italian
seaports, whence they found their way into all European lands. The
elegance of the Orient, with its silks, tapestries, precious stones,
perfumes, spices, pearls, and ivory, was so enchanting that an
enthusiastic crusader called it "the vestibule of Paradise."


Finally, it must be noted how much the crusades contributed to
intellectual and social progress. They brought the inhabitants of western
Europe into close relations with one another, with their fellow Christians
of the Roman Empire in the East, and with the natives of Asia Minor,
Syria, and Egypt. The intercourse between Christians and Moslems was
particularly stimulating, because the East at this time surpassed the West
in civilization. The crusaders enjoyed the advantages which come from
travel in strange lands and among unfamiliar peoples. They went out from
their castles or villages to see great cities, marble palaces, superb
dresses, and elegant manners; they returned with finer tastes, broader
ideas, and wider sympathies. Like the conquests of Alexander the Great,
the crusades opened up a new world.


When all is said, the crusades remain one of the most remarkable movements
in history. They exhibited the nations of western Europe for the first
time making a united effort for a common end. The crusaders were not hired
soldiers, but volunteers, who, while the religious fervor lasted, gladly
abandoned their homes and faced hardship and death in pursuit of a
spiritual ideal. They failed to accomplish their purpose, yet humanity is
the richer for the memory of their heroism and chivalry.


1. On an outline map indicate Europe and the Mediterranean lands by
religions, about 1095 A.D.

2. On an outline map indicate the routes of the First and the Third

3. Locate on the map the following places: Clermont; Acre; Antioch; Zara;
Edessa; and Damascus.

4. Identify the following dates: 1204 A.D.; 1095 A.D.; 1096 A.D.; 1291

5. Write a short essay describing the imaginary experiences of a crusader
to the Holy Land.

6. Mention some instances which illustrate the religious enthusiasm of the

7. Compare the Mohammedan pilgrimage to Mecca with the pilgrimages of
Christians to Jerusalem in the Middle Ages.

8. Compare the Christian crusade with the Mohammedan _jihad_, or holy war.

9. How did the expression, a "red-cross knight," arise?

10. Why is the Second Crusade often called "St. Bernard's Crusade"?

11. Why has the Third Crusade been called "the most interesting
international expedition of the Middle Ages"?

12. Would the crusaders in 1204 A.D. have attacked Constantinople, if the
schism of 1054 A.D. had not occurred?

13. "Mixture, or at least contact of races, is essential to progress." How
do the crusades illustrate the truth of this statement?

14. Were the crusades the only means by which western Europe was brought
in contact with Moslem civilization?


[1] Webster, _Readings in Medieval and Modern History_, chapter xii,
"Richard the Lion-hearted and the Third Crusade"; chapter xiii, "The
Fourth Crusade and the Capture of Constantinople."

[2] See page 412.

[3] See pages 333, 380.

[4] See page 235.

[5] Hence the name "crusades," from Latin _crux_, old French _crois_, a

[6] For the routes followed by the crusaders see the map between pages

[7] See page 412.

[8] The emperor Constantine caused a stately church to be erected on the
supposed site of Christ's tomb. This church of the Holy Sepulcher was
practically destroyed by the Moslems, early in the eleventh century. The
crusaders restored and enlarged the structure, which still stands.

[9] The order of Hospitalers, now known as the "Knights of Malta," still
survives in several European countries.

[10] See page 383.

[11] See page 413.

[12] See pages 449-450.

[13] See page 513.

[14] See page 460.

[15] In French _Coeur-de-Lion_.

[16] See page 461.

[17] See page 492.

[18] See page 462.

[19] See pages 362-363.

[20] See page 423.





The extensive steppes in the middle and north of Asia have formed, for
thousands of years, the abode of nomadic peoples belonging to the Yellow
race. In prehistoric times they spread over northern Europe, but they were
gradually supplanted by white-skinned Indo-Europeans, until now only
remnants of them exist, such as the Finns and Lapps. In later ages history
records how the Huns, the Bulgarians, and the Magyars have poured into
Europe, spreading terror and destruction in their path. [1] These invaders
were followed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries by the even more
terrible Mongols and Ottoman Turks. Their inroads might well be described
as Asia's reply to the crusades, as an Asiatic counter-attack upon Europe.


The Mongols, who have given their name to the entire race of yellow-
skinned peoples, now chiefly occupy the high plateau bounded on the north
by Siberia, on the south by China, on the east by Manchuria, and on the
west by Turkestan. [2] Although the greater part of this area consists of
the Gobi desert, there are many oases and pastures available at different
seasons of the year to the inhabitants. Hence the principal occupation of
the Mongols has always been cattle breeding, and their horses, oxen,
sheep, and camels have always furnished them with food and clothing.


Like most nomads the Mongols dwell in tents, each family often by itself.
Severe simplicity is the rule of life, for property consists of little
more than one's flocks and herds, clothes, and weapons. The modern Mongols
are a peaceable, kindly folk, who have adopted from Tibet a debased form
of Buddhism, but the Mongols of the thirteenth century in religion and
morals were scarcely above the level of American Indians. To ruthless
cruelty and passion for plunder they added an efficiency in warfare which
enabled them, within fifty years, to overrun much of Asia and the eastern
part of Europe.

On the wagon was placed a sort of hut or pavilion made of wands bound
together with narrow thongs. The structure was then covered with felt or
cloth and provided with latticed windows. Hut-wagons, being very light,
were sometimes of enormous size.]


The daily life of the Mongols was a training school for war. Constant
practice in riding, scouting, and the use of arms made every man a
soldier. The words with which an ancient Greek historian described the
savage Scythians applied perfectly to the Mongols: "Having neither cities
nor forts, and carrying their dwellings with them wherever they go;
accustomed, moreover, one and all, to shoot from horseback; and living not
by husbandry but on their cattle, their wagons the only houses that they
possess, how can they fail of being irresistible?" [3]



For ages the Mongols had dwelt in scattered tribes throughout their
Asiatic wilderness, engaged in petty struggles with one another for cattle
and pasture lands. It was the celebrated Jenghiz Khan, [4] chief of one of
the tribes, who brought them all under his authority and then led them to
the conquest of the world. Of him it may be said with truth that he had
the most victorious of military careers, and that he constructed the most
extensive empire known to history. If Jenghiz had possessed the ability of
a statesman, he would have taken a place by the side of Alexander the
Great and Julius Caesar.


Jenghiz first sent the Mongol armies, which contained many Turkish allies,
over the Great Wall [5] and into the fertile plains of China. All the
northern half of the country was quickly overrun. Then Jenghiz turned
westward and invaded Turkestan and Persia. Seven centuries have not
sufficed to repair the damage which the Mongols wrought in this once-
prosperous land. The great cities of Bokhara, Samarkand, Merv, and Herat,
[6] long centers of Moslem culture, were pillaged and burned, and their
inhabitants were put to the sword. Like the Huns the Mongols seemed a
scourge sent by God. Still further conquests enlarged the empire, which at
the death of Jenghiz in 1227 A.D. stretched from the Dnieper River to the
China Sea.


The Mongol dominions in the thirteenth century were increased by the
addition of Korea, southern China, and Mesopotamia, as well as the greater
part of Asia Minor and Russia. Japan, indeed, repulsed the Mongol hordes,
but at the other extremity of Asia they captured Bagdad, sacked the city,
and brought the caliphate to an end. [7] The Mongol realm was very loosely
organized, however, and during the fourteenth century it fell apart into a
number of independent states, or khanates.

[Illustration: Map, THE MONGOL EMPIRE]


It was reserved for another renowned Oriental monarch, Timur the Lame, [8]
to restore the empire of Jenghiz Khan. His biographers traced his descent
from that famous Mongol, but Timur was a Turk and an adherent of Islam. He
has come down to us as perhaps the most terrible personification in
history of the evil spirit of conquest. Such distant regions as India,
Syria, Armenia, Asia Minor, and Russia were traversed by Timur's soldiers,
who left behind them only the smoking ruins of a thousand cities and
abominable trophies in the shape of columns or pyramids of human heads.
Timur died in his seventieth year, while leading his troops against China,
and the extensive empire which he had built up in Asia soon crumbled to

Samarkand in Russian Central Asia became Timur's capital in 1369 AD. The
city was once a center of Mohammedan wealth and culture, famous for its
beautiful mosques, palaces, and colleges. The Gur-Amir, or tomb of Timur,
consists of a chapel, crowned by a dome and enclosed by a wall. Time and
earthquakes have greatly injured this fine building. The remains of Timur
lie here under a huge block of jade.]



The Mongols ruled over China for about one hundred and fifty years. During
this period they became thoroughly imbued with Chinese culture. "China,"
said an old writer, "is a sea that salts all the rivers flowing into it."
The most eminent of the Mongol emperors was Jenghiz Khan's grandson,
Kublai (1259-1294 A.D.). He built a new capital, which in medieval times
was known as Cambaluc and is now called Peking. While Kublai was on the
throne, the Venetian traveler, Marco Polo, [9] visited China, and he
describes in glowing colors the virtues and glories of the "Great Khan."
There appears to have been considerable trade between Europe and China at
this time, and Franciscan missionaries and papal legates penetrated to the
remote East. After the downfall of the Mongol dynasty in 1368 A.D. China
again shut her doors to foreign peoples. All intercourse with Europe
ceased until the arrival of the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. [10]


Northern India, which in earlier ages had witnessed the coming of Persian,
Macedonian, and Arabian conquerors, did not escape visitations by fresh
Asiatic hordes. Timur the Lame, at the head of an innumerable host, rushed
down upon the banks of the Indus and the Ganges and sacked Delhi, making
there a full display of his unrivaled ferocity. Timur's invasion left no
permanent impress on the history of India, but its memory fired the
imagination of another Turkish chieftain, Baber, a remote descendant of
Timur. In 1525 A.D. he invaded India and speedily made himself master of
the northern part of the country.


The empire which Baber established in India is known as that of the
Moguls, an Arabic form of the word Mongol. The Moguls, however, were
Turkish in blood and Mohammedans in religion. The Mogul emperors reigned
in great splendor from their capitals at Delhi and Agra, until the decline
of their power in the eighteenth century opened the way for the British
conquest of India.



The location of Russia [11] on the border of Asia exposed that country to
the full force of the Mongol attack. Jenghiz Khan's successors, entering
Europe north of the Caspian, swept resistlessly over the Russian plain.
Moscow and Kiev fell in quick succession, and before long the greater part
of Russia was in the hands of the Mongols. Wholesale massacres marked
their progress. "No eye remained open to weep for the dead."

[Illustration: THE TAJ MAHAL, AGRA
Erected by the Mogul emperor, Shah Jehan, as a tomb for his favorite wife,
Muntaz Mahal. It was begun in 1632 A.D. and was completed in twenty-two
years. The material is pure white marble, inlaid with jasper, agate and
other precious stones. The building rests on a marble terrace, at each
corner of which rises a tall graceful minaret. The extreme delicacy of the
Taj Mahal and the richness of its ornamentation make it a masterpiece of


Still the invaders pressed on. They devastated Hungary, driving the Magyar
king in panic flight from his realm. They overran Poland. At a great
battle in Silesia they destroyed the knighthood of Germany and filled nine
sacks with the right ears of slaughtered enemies. The European peoples,
taken completely by surprise, could offer no effective resistance to these
Asiatics, who combined superiority in numbers with surpassing generalship.
Since the Arab attack in the eighth century Christendom had never been in
graver peril. But the wave of Mongol invasion, which threatened to engulf
Europe in barbarism, receded as quickly as it came. The Mongols soon
abandoned Poland and Hungary and retired to their possessions in Russia.



The ruler of the "Golden Horde," as the western section of the Mongol
Empire was called, continued to be the lord of Russia for about two
hundred and fifty years. Russia, throughout this period, was little more
than a dependency of Asia. The conquered people were obliged to pay a
heavy tribute and to furnish soldiers for the Mongol armies. Their
princes, also, became vassals of the Great Khan.


The Mongols, or "Tartars" [12] are usually said to have Orientalized
Russia. It seems clear, however, that they did not interfere with the
language, religion, and laws of their subjects. The chief result of the
Mongol supremacy was to cut off Russia from western Europe, just at the
time when England, France, Germany, and Italy were emerging from the
darkness of the early Middle Ages.


The invasion of the Mongols proved to be, indirectly, the making of the
Russian state. Before they came the country was a patchwork of rival, and
often warring, principalities. The need of union against the common enemy
welded them together. The principality of Muscovy, so named from the
capital city of Moscow, conquered its neighbors, annexed the important
city of Novgorod, whose vast possessions stretched from Lapland to the
Urals, and finally became powerful enough to shake off the Mongol yoke.


The final deliverance of Russia from the Mongols was accomplished by Ivan
III, surnamed the Great. This ruler is also regarded as the founder of
Russian autocracy, that is, of a personal, absolute, and arbitrary
government. With a view to strengthening his claim to be the political
heir of the eastern emperors, Ivan married a niece of the last ruler at
Constantinople, who in 1453 A.D. had fallen in the defense of his capital
against the Ottoman Turks. Henceforth the Russian ruler described himself
as "the new Tsar [13] Constantine in the new city of Constantine, Moscow."



The first appearance of the Ottoman Turks in history dates from 1227 A.D.,
the year of Jenghiz Khan's death. In that year a small Turkish horde,
driven westward from their central Asian homes by the Mongol advance,
settled in Asia Minor. There they enjoyed the protection of their kinsmen,
the Seljuk Turks, and from them accepted Islam. As the Seljuk power
declined, that of the Ottomans rose in its stead. About 1300 A.D. their
chieftain, Othman, [14] declared his independence and became the founder
of the Ottoman Empire.


The growth of the Ottoman power was almost as rapid as that of the Arabs
or of the Mongols. During the first half of the fourteenth century they
firmly established themselves in northwestern Asia Minor, along the
beautiful shores washed by the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmora, and the
Dardanelles. The second half of the same century found them in Europe,
wresting province after province from the feeble hands of the eastern
emperors. First came the seizure of Gallipoli on the Dardanelles, which
long remained the principal Turkish naval station. Then followed the
capture of Adrianople, where in earlier centuries the Visigoths had
destroyed a Roman army. [15] By 1400 A.D. all that remained of the Roman
Empire in the East was Constantinople and a small district in the vicinity
of that city.


The Turks owed much of their success to the famous body of troops known as
Janizaries. [16] These were recruited for the most part from Christian
children surrendered by their parents as tribute. The Janizaries received
an education in the Moslem faith and careful instruction in the use of
arms. Their discipline and fanatic zeal made them irresistible on the
field of battle.

[Illustration: MOHAMMED II
A medal showing the strong face of the conqueror of Constantinople]


Constantinople had never recovered from the blow inflicted upon it by the
freebooters of the Fourth Crusade. [17] It was isolated from western
Europe by the advance of the Turks. Frantic appeals for help brought only
a few ships and men from Genoa and Venice. When in 1453 A.D. the sultan
Mohammed II, commanding a large army amply supplied with artillery,
appeared before the walls, all men knew that Constantinople was doomed.


The defense of the city forms one of the most stirring episodes in
history. The Christians, not more than eight thousand in number, were a
mere handful compared to the Ottoman hordes. Yet they held out for nearly
two months against every assault. When at length the end drew near, the
Roman emperor, Constantine Palaeologus, a hero worthy of the name he bore,
went with his followers at midnight to Sancta Sophia and there in that
solemn fane received a last communion. Before sunrise on the following day
the Turks were within the walls. The emperor, refusing to survive the city
which he could not save, fell in the onrush of the Janizaries.
Constantinople endured a sack of three days, during which many works of
art, previously spared by the crusaders, were destroyed. Mohammed II then
made a triumphal entry into the city and in Sancta Sophia, now stripped of
its crosses, images, and other Christian emblems, proclaimed the faith of
the prophet. And so the "Turkish night," as Slavic poets named it,
descended on this ancient home of civilization.


The capture of Constantinople is rightly regarded as an epoch-making
event. It meant the end, once for all, of the empire which had served so
long as the rearguard of Christian civilization, as the bulwark of the
West against the East. Europe stood aghast at a calamity which she had
done so little to prevent. The Christian powers of the West have been
paying dearly, even to our own time, for their failure to save New Rome
from infidel hands.



Turkey was now a European state. After the occupation of Constantinople
the Ottoman territories continued to expand, and at the death of Mohammed
II they included what are now Bulgaria, Rumania, Serbia, Albania, and
Greece. Of all the Balkan states only tiny Montenegro, protected by
mountain ramparts, preserved its independence.


The Turks form a small minority among the inhabitants of the Balkans. At
the present time there are said to be less than one million Turks in
southeastern Europe. Even about Constantinople the Greeks far outnumber
them. The Turks from the outset have been, not a nation in the proper
sense of the word, but rather an army of occupation, holding down by force
their far more numerous Christian subjects.


The people who thus acquired dominion over all southeastern Europe had
become, even at the middle of the fifteenth century, greatly mixed in
blood. Their ancestors were natives of central Asia, but in Europe they
intermarried freely with their Christian captives and with converts from
Christianity to Islam. So far has this admixture proceeded that the modern
Turks are almost entirely European in physique.



The Bulgarians, who came out of Asia to devastate Europe, at length turned
Christian, adopted a Slavic speech, and entered the family of European
nations. The Magyars, who followed them, also made their way into the
fellowship of Christendom. Quite the opposite has been the case with the
Turks. Preserving their Asiatic language and Moslem faith, they have
remained in southeastern Europe, not a transitory scourge, but an abiding
oppressor of Christian lands. Every century since 1453 A.D. has widened
the gulf between them and their subjects.


The isolation of the Turks has prevented them from assimilating the higher
culture of the peoples whom they conquered. They have never created
anything in science, art, literature, commerce, or industry. Conquest has
been the Turks' one business in the world, and when they ceased conquering
their decline set in. But it was not till the end of the seventeenth
century that the Turkish Empire entered on that downward road which is now
fast leading to its extinction as a European power.


1. Locate these cities: Bokhara; Samarkand; Merv; Herat; Bagdad; Peking;
Delhi; Kiev; Moscow; and Adrianople.

2. Who were Baber, Kublai Khan, Othman, Mohammed II, Constantine
Palaeologus, and Ivan the Great?

3. Why should the steppes of central and northern Asia have been a nursery
of warlike peoples?

4. What parts of Asia were not included in the Mongol Empire at its
greatest extent?

5. Trace on the map on page 486 the further expansion of the Mongol Empire
after the death of Jenghiz Khan.

6. "Scratch a Russian and you will find a Tartar." What does this mean?

7. Why did the Mongol conquest of Russia tend to strengthen the sentiment
of nationality in the Russian people?

8. How did the tsars come to regard themselves as the successors of the
Eastern emperors?

9. Compare the Janizaries with the Christian military-religious orders.

10. How was "the victory of the Crescent secured by the children of the

11. Why were the invasions of the Mongols and Ottoman Turks more
destructive to civilization than those of the Germans, the Arabs, and the

12. Enumerate the more important services of the Roman Empire in the East
to civilization.

13. On an outline map indicate the extent of the Ottoman Empire in 1453


[1] See pages 241, 247, 314, 316, 334.

[2] Mongolia has long been a part of the Chinese Empire, but in 1912 A.D.,
when China because a republic, Mongolia declared its independence.

[3] Herodotus, iv, 46.

[4] "The Very Mighty King."

[5] See page 20.

[6] For the location of these cities see the map on page 486.

[7] See page 381.

[8] Commonly known as Tamerlane.

[9] See page 616.

[10] See page 622.

[11] For the early history of Russia see page 400.

[12] The name Tartar (more correctly, Tatar) was originally applied to
both Mongol and Turkish tribes that entered Russia. There are still over
three millions of these "Tartars" in the Russian Empire.

[13] The title Tsar, or Czar, is supposed to be a contraction of the word

[14] Whence the name Ottoman applied to this branch of the Turks.

[15] See page 242.

[16] A name derived from the Turkish _yeni cheri_, "new troops."

[17] See page 478.





The map of western Europe, that is, of Europe west of the great Russian
plain and the Balkan peninsula, shows this part of the continent at
present divided into no less than thirteen separate and independent
nations. Most of them arose during the latter part of the Middle Ages.
They have existed so long that we now think of the national state as the
highest type of human association, forgetting that it has been preceded by
other forms of political organization, such as the Greek republic, the
Roman Empire, and the feudal state, and that it may be followed some day
by an international or universal state composed of all civilized peoples.


These national states were the successors of feudalism. The establishment
of the feudal system in any country meant, as has been seen, its division
into numerous small communities, each with a law court, treasury, and
army. This system of local government helped to keep order in an age of
confusion, but it did not meet the needs of a progressive society. In most
parts of Europe the feudal states gradually gave way to centralized
governments ruled by despotic kings.


A feudal king was often little more than a figurehead, equaled, or perhaps
surpassed, in power by some of his own vassals. But in England, France,
Spain, and other countries a series of astute and energetic sovereigns
were able to strengthen their authority at the expense of the nobles. They
formed permanent armies by insisting that all military service should be
rendered to themselves and not to the feudal lords. They got into their
own hands the administration of justice. They developed a revenue system,
with the taxes collected by royal officers and deposited in the royal
treasury. The kings thus succeeded in creating in each country one power
which all the inhabitants feared, respected, and obeyed.


A national state in modern times is keenly conscious of its separate
existence. All its people usually speak the same language and have for
their "fatherland" the warmest feelings of patriotic devotion. In the
Middle Ages, however, patriotism was commonly confounded with loyalty to
the sovereign, while the differences between nations were obscured by the
existence of an international Church and by the use of Latin as the common
language of all cultivated persons. The sentiment of nationality arose
earlier in England than on the Continent, partly owing to the insular
position of that country, but nowhere did it become a very strong
influence before the end of the fifteenth century.



The Normans were the last invaders of England. Since 1066 A.D. the English
Channel, not more than twenty-one miles wide between Dover and Calais, has
formed a watery barrier against Continental domination. The English
people, for eight and a half centuries, have been free to develop their
ideals, customs, and methods of government in their own way. We shall now
learn how they established a strong monarchy and at the same time laid
deep and firm the foundations of constitutional liberty.


William the Conqueror had won England by force of arms. He ruled it as a
despot. Those who resisted him he treated as rebels, confiscating their
land and giving it to Norman followers. To prevent uprisings he built a
castle in every important town and garrisoned it with his own soldiers.
The Tower of London still stands as an impressive memorial of the days of
the Conquest. But William did not rely on force alone. He sought with
success to attach the English to himself by retaining most of their old
customs and by giving them an enlightened administration of the law. "Good
peace he made in this land," said the old Anglo-Saxon chronicler, "so that
a man might travel over the kingdom with his bosom full of gold without
molestation, and no man durst kill another, however great the injury he
might have received from him."


The feudal system on the Continent permitted a powerful noble to gather
his vassals and make war on the king, whenever he chose to do so. William
had been familiar with this evil side of feudalism, both in France and in
his own duchy of Normandy, and he determined to prevent its introduction
into England. William established the principle that a vassal owed his
first duty to the king and not to his immediate lord. If a noble rebelled
and his men followed him, they were to be treated as traitors. Rebellion
proved to be an especially difficult matter in England, since the estates
which a great lord possessed were not all in any one place but were
scattered about the kingdom. A noble who planned to revolt could be put
down before he was able to collect his retainers from the most distant
parts of the country.

[Illustration: THE "WHITE TOWER"
Forms part of the Tower of London. Built by William the Conqueror]


The extent of William's authority is illustrated by the survey which he
caused to have made of the taxable property of the kingdom. Royal
commissioners went throughout the length and breadth of England to find
out how much farm land there was in every county, how many landowners
there were, and what each man possessed, to the last ox or cow or pig. The
reports were set down in the famous Domesday Book, perhaps so called
because one could no more appeal from it than from the Last Judgment. A
similar census of population and property had never before been taken in
the Middle Ages.

Beginning of the entry for Oxford. The handwriting is the beautiful
Carolingian minuscule which the Norman Conquest introduced into England.
The two volumes of this compilation and the chest in which they were
formerly preserved may be seen in the Public Record Office, London.]


Almost at the close of his reign William is said to have summoned all the
landowning men in England to a great meeting on Salisbury Plain. They
assembled there to the number, as it is reported, of sixty thousand and
promised "that they would be faithful to him against all other men." The
Salisbury Oath was a national act of homage and allegiance to the king.


 Henry II, who ascended the English throne in 1154 A.D., was a grandson of
William the Conqueror and the first of the famous Plantagenet [2] family,
Henry spent more than half of his reign abroad, looking after his
extensive possessions in France but this fact did not prevent him from
giving England good government. Three things in which all Englishmen take
special pride--the courts, the jury system, and the Common law--began to
take shape during Henry's reign.


Henry, first of all, developed the royal court of justice. This had been,
at first, simply the court of the king's chief vassals, corresponding to
the local feudal courts. [3] Henry transformed it from an occasional
assembly of warlike nobles into a regular body of trained lawyers, and at
the same time opened its doors to all except serfs. In the king's court
any freeman could find a justice that was cheaper and speedier than that
dispensed by the feudal lords. The higher courts of England have sprung
from this institution.


Henry also took measures to bring the king's justice directly to the
people. He sent members of the royal court on circuit throughout the
kingdom. At least once a year a judge was to hold an assembly in each
county and try such cases as were brought before him. This system of
circuit judges helped to make the law uniform in all parts of England.


The king's court owed much of its popularity to the fact that it employed
a better form of trying cases than the old ordeal, oath-swearing, or
judicial duel. Henry introduced a method of jury trial which had long been
in use in Normandy. When a case came before the king's judges on circuit,
they were to select twelve knights, usually neighbors of the parties
engaged in the dispute, to make an investigation and give a "verdict" [4]
as to which side was in the right. These selected men bore the name of
"jurors," [5] because they swore to tell the truth. In Henry's time this
method of securing justice applied only to civil cases, that is, to cases
affecting land and other forms of property, but later it was extended to
persons charged with criminal offenses. Thus arose the "petty jury," an
institution which nearly all European peoples have borrowed from England.

[Illustration: WINDSOR CASTLE
The town of Windsor lies on the west bank of the Thames about twenty-one
miles from London. Its famous castle has been the chief residence of
English sovereigns from the time of William the Conqueror. The massive
round tower which forms the most conspicuous feature of the castle was
built by Henry III about 1272 A.D. but Edward III wholly reconstructed it
about 1344 A.D. The state apartments of the castle include the throne
room, a guard room with medieval armor a reception room adorned with
tapestries picture galleries and the royal library.]


Another of Henry's innovations developed into the "grand jury." Before his
time many offenders went unpunished, especially if they were so powerful
that no private individual dared accuse them. Henry provided that when the
king's justices came to a county court a number of selected men should be
put upon their oath and required to give the names of any persons whom
they knew or believed to be guilty of crimes. Such persons were then to be
arrested and tried. This "grand jury," as it came to be called, thus had
the public duty of making accusations, whether its members felt any
personal interest in the matter or not.


The decisions handed down by the legal experts who composed the royal
court formed the basis of the English system of jurisprudence. It received
the name Common law because it grew out of such customs as were common to
the realm, as distinguished from those which were merely local. This law,
from Henry's II's time, became so widespread and so firmly established
that it could not be supplanted by the Roman law followed on the
Continent. Carried by English colonists across the seas, it has now come
to prevail throughout a great part of the world.


RICHARD I AND JOHN, 1189-1216 A.D.

The great Henry, from whose legal reforms English-speaking peoples receive
benefit even to-day, was followed by his son, Richard, the Lion-hearted
crusader. [6] After a short reign Richard was succeeded by his brother,
John, a man so cruel, tyrannical, and wicked that he is usually regarded
as the worst of English kings. In a war with the French ruler, Philip
Augustus, John lost Normandy and some of the other English possessions on
the Continent. [7] In a dispute with Innocent III he ended by making an
abject submission to the Papacy. [8] Finally, John's oppressive government
provoked a revolt, and he was forced to grant the charter of privileges
known as Magna Carta.



The Norman Conquest had made the king so strong that his authority could
be resisted only by a union of all classes of the people. The feudal lords
were obliged to unite with the clergy and the commons, [9] in order to
save their honor, their estates, and their heads. Matters came to a crisis
in 1215 A.D., when the nobles, supported by the archbishop of Canterbury,
placed their demands for reform in writing before the king. John swore
furiously that they were "idle dreams without a shadow of reason" and
refused to make any concessions. Thereupon the nobles formed the "army of
God and the Holy Church," as it was called, and occupied London, thus
ranging the townspeople on their side. Deserted by all except the hired
troops which he had brought from the Continent, John was compelled to
yield. At Runnimede on the Thames, not far from Windsor, he set his seal
to the Great Charter.

Facsimile of the opening lines. Four copies of Magna Carta, sealed with
the great seal of King John, as well as several unsealed copies, are in
existence. The British Museum possesses two of the sealed copies; the
other two belong to the cathedrals of Lincoln and Salisbury,


Magna Carta does not profess to be a charter of liberties for all
Englishmen. Most of its sixty-three clauses merely guarantee to each
member of the coalition against John--nobles, clergy, and commons--those
special privileges which the Norman rulers had tried to take away. Very
little is said in this long document about the serfs, who composed
probably five-sixths of the population of England in the thirteenth


But there are three clauses of Magna Carta which came to have a most
important part in the history of English freedom. The first declared that
no taxes were to be levied on the nobles--besides the three recognized
feudal aids [10]--except by consent of the Great Council of the realm.
[11] By this clause the nobles compelled the king to secure their consent
before imposing any taxation. The second set forth that no one was to be
arrested, imprisoned, or punished in any way, except after a trial by his
equals and in accordance with the law of the land. The third said simply
that to no one should justice be sold, denied, or delayed. These last two
clauses contained the germ of great legal principles on which the English
people relied for protection against despotic kings. They form a part of
our American inheritance from England and have passed into the laws of all
our states.


HENRY III, 1216-1272 A.D.

The thirteenth century, which opened so auspiciously with the winning of
the Great Charter, is also memorable as the time when England developed
her Parliament [12] into something like its present form. The first steps
in parliamentary government were taken during the reign of John's son,
Henry III.


It had long been the custom in England that in all important matters a
ruler ought not to act without the advice and consent of his leading men.
The Anglo-Saxon kings sought the advice and consent of their Witenagemot,
[13] a body of nobles, royal officers, bishops, and abbots. It approved
laws, served as a court of final appeal, elected a new monarch, and at
times deposed him. The Witenagemot did not disappear after the Norman
Conquest. Under the name of the Great Council it continued to meet from
time to time for consultation with the king. This assembly was now to be
transformed from a feudal body into a parliament representing the entire


The Great Council, which by one of the provisions of Magna Carta had been
required to give its consent to the levying of feudal dues, met quite
frequently during Henry III's reign. On one occasion, when Henry was in
urgent need of money and the bishops and lords refused to grant it, the
king took the significant step of calling to the council two knights from
each county to declare what aid they would give him. These knights, so ran
Henry's summons, were to come "in the stead of each and all," in other
words, they were to act as representatives of the counties. Then in 1265
A.D., when the nobles were at war with the king, a second and even more
significant step was taken. Their leader, Simon de Montfort, summoned to
the council not only two knights from each county, but also two citizens
from each of the more important towns.


The custom of selecting certain men to act in the name and on the behalf
of the community had existed during Anglo-Saxon times in local government.
Representatives of the counties had been employed by the Norman kings to
act as assessors in levying taxes. As we have just learned, the "juries"
of Henry II also consisted of such representatives. The English people, in
fact, were quite familiar with the idea of representation long before it
was applied on a larger scale to Parliament.


Simon de Montfort's Parliament included only his own supporters, and hence
was not a truly national body. But it made a precedent for the future.
Thirty years later Edward I called together at Westminster, now a part of
London, a Parliament which included all classes of the people. Here were
present archbishops, bishops, and abbots, earls and barons, two knights
from every county, and two townsmen to represent each town in that county.
After this time all these classes were regularly summoned to meet in
assembly at Westminster.


The separation of Parliament into two chambers came in the fourteenth
century. The House of Lords included the nobles and higher clergy, the
House of Commons, the representatives from counties and cities. This
bicameral arrangement, as it is called, has been followed in the
parliaments of most modern countries.


The early English Parliament was not a law-making but a tax-voting body.
The king would call the two houses in session only when he needed their
sanction for raising money. Parliament in its turn would refuse to grant
supplies until the king had corrected abuses in the administration or had
removed unpopular officials. This control of the public purse in time
enabled Parliament to grasp other powers. It became an accepted principle
that royal officials were responsible to Parliament for their actions,
that the king himself might be deposed for good cause, and that bills,
when passed by Parliament and signed by the king, were the law of the
land. England thus worked out in the Middle Ages a system of parliamentary
government which nearly all civilized nations have held worthy of



Our narrative has been confined until now to England, which forms,
together with Wales and Scotland, the island known as Great Britain.
Ireland is the only other important division of the United Kingdom. It was
almost inevitable that in process of time the British Isles should have
come under a single government, but political unity has not yet fused
English, Scotch, Welsh, and Irish into a single people.


The conquest of Britain by the Anglo-Saxons drove many of the Welsh, [14]
as the invaders called the Britons, into the western part of the island.
This district, henceforth known as Wales, was one of the last strongholds
of the Celts. Even to-day a variety of the old Celtic language, called
Cymric, is still spoken by the Welsh people.


In their wild and mountainous country the Welsh long resisted all attempts
to subjugate them. Harold exerted some authority over Wales, William the
Conqueror entered part of it, and Henry II induced the local rulers to
acknowledge him as overlord, but it was Edward I who first brought all
Wales under English sway. Edward fostered the building of towns in his new
possession, divided it into counties or shires, after the system that
prevailed in England, and introduced the Common law. He called his son,
Edward II, who was born in the country, the "Prince of Wales," and this
title has ever since been borne by the heir apparent to the English
throne. The work of uniting Wales to England went on slowly, and two
centuries elapsed before Wales was granted representation in the House of

Every English ruler since Edward I has been crowned in this oak chair.
Under the seat is the "Stone of Scone," said to have been once used by the
patriarch Jacob. Edward I brought it to London in 1291 A.D., as a token of
the subjection of Scotland.]


Scotland derives its name from the Scots, who came over from Ireland early
in the fifth century. [15] The northern Highlands, a nest of rugged
mountains washed by cold and stormy seas, have always been occupied in
historic times by a Celtic-speaking people, whose language, called Gaelic,
is not yet extinct there. This part of Scotland, like Wales, was a home of
freedom. The Romans did not attempt to annex the Highlands, and the Anglo-
Saxons and Danes never penetrated their fastnesses. On the other hand the
southern Lowlands, which include only about one-third of Scotland, were
subdued by the Teutonic invaders, and so this district became thoroughly
English in language and culture. [16]

[Illustration: Map, SCOTLAND in the 13th Century]


One might suppose that the Lowlands, geographically only an extension of
northern England and inhabited by an English-speaking people, would have
early united with the southern kingdom. But matters turned out otherwise.
The Lowlands and the Highlands came together under a line of Celtic kings,
who fixed their residence at Edinburgh and long maintained their


Edward I, having conquered Wales, took advantage of the disturbed
conditions which prevailed in Scotland to interfere in the affairs of that
country. The Scotch offered a brave but futile resistance under William
Wallace. This heroic leader, who held out after most of his countrymen
submitted, was finally captured and executed. His head, according to the
barbarous practice of the time, was set upon a pole on London Bridge. The
English king now annexed Scotland without further opposition.

After the death of his wife Eleanor, Edward I caused a memorial cross to
be set up at each place where her funeral procession had stopped on its
way to London. There were originally seven crosses. Of the three that
still exist, the Geddington cross is the best preserved. It consists of
three stories and stands on a platform of eight steps.]


But William Wallace by his life and still more by his death had lit a fire
which might never be quenched. Soon the Scotch found another champion in
the person of Robert Bruce. Edward I, now old and broken, marched against
him, but died before reaching the border. The weakness of his son, Edward
II, permitted the Scotch, ably led by Bruce, to win the signal victory of
Bannockburn, near Stirling Castle. Here the Scottish spearmen drove the
English knighthood into ignominious flight and freed their country from
its foreign overlords.


The battle of Bannockburn made a nation. A few years afterwards the
English formally recognized the independence of the northern kingdom. So
the great design of Edward I to unite all the peoples of Britain under one
government had to be postponed for centuries. [17]


No one kingdom ever arose in Ireland out of the numerous tribes into which
the Celtic-speaking inhabitants were divided. The island was not troubled,
however, by foreign invaders till the coming of the Northmen in the ninth
century. [18] The English, who first entered Ireland during the reign of
Henry II, did not complete its conquest till the seventeenth century.
Ireland by its situation could scarcely fail to become an appanage of
Great Britain, but the dividing sea has combined with differences in race,
language, and religion, and with English misgovernment, to prevent
anything like a genuine union of the conquerors and the conquered.



Nature seems to have intended that France should play a leading part in
European affairs. The geographical unity of the country is obvious.
Mountains and seas form its permanent boundaries, except on the north-east
where the frontier is not well defined. The western coast of France opens
on the Atlantic, now the greatest highway of the world's commerce, while
on the southeast France touches the Mediterranean, the home of classical
civilization. This intermediate position between two seas helps us to
understand why French history should form, as it were, a connecting link
between ancient and modern times.


But the greatness of France has been due, also, to the qualities of the
French people. Many racial elements have contributed to the population.
The blood of prehistoric tribes, whose monuments and grave mounds are
scattered over the land, still flows in the veins of Frenchmen. At the
opening of historic times France was chiefly occupied by the Celts, whom
Julius Caesar found there and subdued. The Celts, or Gauls, have formed in
later ages the main stock of the French nation, but their language gave
place to Latin after the Roman conquest. In the course of five hundred
years the Gauls were so thoroughly Romanized that they may best be
described as Gallo-Romans. The Burgundians, Franks, and Northmen
afterwards added a Teutonic element to the population, as well as some
infusion of Teutonic laws and customs.


France, again, became a great nation because of the greatness of its
rulers. Hugh Capet, who became the French king in 987 A.D., [19] was
fortunate in his descendants. The Capetian dynasty was long lived, and for
more than three centuries son followed father on the throne without a
break in the succession. [20] During this time the French sovereigns
worked steadily to exalt the royal power and to unite the feudal states of
medieval France into a real nation under a common government. Their
success in this task made them, at the close of the Middle Ages, the
strongest monarchs in Europe.


Hugh Capet's duchy--the original France--included only a small stretch of
inland country centering about Paris on the Seine and Orléans on the
Loire. His election to the kingship did not increase his power over the
great lords who ruled in Normandy, Brittany, Aquitaine, Burgundy, and
other parts of the country. They did homage to the king for their fiefs
and performed the usual feudal services, but otherwise regarded themselves
as independent in their own territories.



The most considerable additions to the royal domains were made by Philip
II, called Augustus. We have already referred to his contest with Pope
Innocent III and to his participation in the Third Crusade. [21] The
English king, John, was Philip's vassal for Normandy and other provinces
in France. A quarrel between the two rulers gave Philip an opportunity to
declare John's fiefs forfeited by feudal law. Philip then seized all the
English possessions north of the river Loire. The loss of these
possessions abroad had the result of separating England almost completely
from Continental interests; for France it meant a great increase in
territory and population. Philip made Paris his chief residence, and that
city henceforth became the capital of France.

LOUIS IX, THE SAINT, 1226-1276 A.D.

During the long reign of Philip's grandson, Louis IX, rich districts to
the west of the Rhone were added to the royal domains. This king, whose
Christian virtues led to his canonization, distinguished himself as an
administrator. His work in unifying France may be compared with that of
Henry II in England. He decreed that only the king's money was to
circulate in the provinces owned directly by himself, thus limiting the
right of coinage enjoyed by feudal lords. He restricted very greatly the
right of private war and forbade the use of judicial duels. Louis also
provided that important cases could be appealed from feudal courts to the
king's judges, who sat in Paris and followed in their decisions the
principles of Roman law. In these and other ways he laid the foundations
of absolute monarchy in France.

PHILIP IV, THE FAIR, 1265-1314 A.D.

The grandson of St. Louis, Philip IV, did much to organize a financial
system for France. Now that the kingdom had become so large and powerful,
the old feudal dues were insufficient to pay the salaries of the royal
officials and support a standing army. Philip resorted to new methods of
raising revenue by imposing various taxes and by requiring the feudal
lords to substitute payments in money for the military service due from


Philip also called into existence the Estates-General, an assembly in
which the clergy, the nobles, and representatives from the commons (the
"third estate") met as separate bodies and voted grants of money. The
Estates-General arose almost at the same time as the English Parliament,
to which it corresponded, but it never secured the extensive authority of
that body. After a time the kings of France became so powerful that they
managed to reign without once summoning the nation in council. The French
did not succeed, as the English had done, in founding political liberty
upon the vote and control of taxation.



The task of unifying France was interrupted by a deplorable war between
that country and England. It continued, including periods of truce, for
over a century. The pretext for the war was found in a disputed
succession. In 1328 A.D. the last of the three sons of Philip IV passed
away, and the direct line of the house of Capet, which had reigned over
France for more than three hundred years, came to an end. The English
ruler, Edward III, whose mother was the daughter of Philip IV, considered
himself the next lineal heir. The French nobles were naturally unwilling
to receive a foreigner as king, and gave the throne, instead, to a nephew
of Philip IV. This decision was afterwards justified on the ground that,
by the old law of the Salian Franks, women could neither inherit estates
nor transmit them to a son. [22]

Edward III, having in 1340 A.D. set up a claim to the throne of France,
proceeded to add the French lilies (_fleurs-de-lis_) to his coat of arms.
He also took as his motto _Dieu et mon Droit_ ("God and my Right"). The
lilies of France remained in the royal arms till 1801 A.D.; the motto is
still retained.]


Edward III at first accepted the situation. Philip VI, however, irritated
Edward by constant encroachments on the territories which the English
still kept in France. Philip also allied himself with the Scotch and
interfered with English trade interests in the county of Flanders. [23]
This attitude of hostility provoked retaliation. Edward now reasserted his
claim to the crown of France and prepared by force of arms to make it

[Illustration: ENGLISH ARCHER
From an old manuscript.]


In 1346 A.D. Edward led his troops across the Channel and at Crécy gained
a complete victory over the knighthood of France. Ten years later the
English at Poitiers almost annihilated another French force much superior
in numbers. These two battles were mainly won by foot soldiers armed with
the long bow, in the use of which the English excelled. Ordinary iron mail
could not resist the heavy, yard-long arrows, which fell with murderous
effect upon the bodies of men and horses alike. Henceforth infantry, when
properly armed and led, were to prove themselves on many a bloody field
more than a match for feudal cavalry. The long bow, followed later by the
musket, struck a deadly blow at feudalism.


Edward's son, the Prince of Wales, when only sixteen years of age, won his
spurs by distinguished conduct at Crécy. It was the "Black Prince," [24]
also, who gained the day at Poitiers, where he took prisoner the French
king, John. Toward his royal captive he behaved in chivalrous fashion. At
supper, on the evening of the battle, he stood behind John's chair and
waited on him, praising the king's brave deeds. But this "flower of
knighthood," who regarded warfare as only a tournament on a larger scale,
could be ruthless in his treatment of the common people. On one occasion
he caused three thousand inhabitants of a captured town--men, women and
children--to be butchered before his eyes. The incident shows how far
apart in the Middle Ages were chivalry and humanity.


The English, in spite of their victories, could not conquer France. The
French refused to fight more pitched battles and retired to their castles
and fortified towns. The war almost ceased for many years after the death
of Edward III. It began again early in the fifteenth century, and the
English this time met with more success. They gained possession of almost
all France north of the Loire, except the important city of Orléans. Had
the English taken it, French resistance must have collapsed. That they did
not take it was due to one of the most remarkable women in history--Joan
of Arc. [25]


Joan was a peasant girl, a native of the little village of Domremy. Always
a devout and imaginative child, she early began to see visions of saints
and angels and to hear mysterious voices. At the time of the siege of
Orléans the archangel Michael appeared to her, so she declared, and bade
her go forth and save France. Joan obeyed, and though barely seventeen
years of age made her way to the court of the French king. There her
piety, simplicity, and evident faith in her mission overcame all doubts.
Clad in armor, girt with an ancient sword, and with a white banner borne
before her, Joan was allowed to accompany an army for the relief of
Orléans. She inspired the French with such enthusiasm that they quickly
compelled the English to raise the siege. Then Joan led her king to Reims
and stood beside him at his coronation in the cathedral.


Though Joan was soon afterwards captured by the English, who, to their
lasting dishonor, burned her as a witch, her example nerved the French to
further resistance. The English gradually lost ground and in 1453 A.D.,
the year of the fall of Constantinople, abandoned the effort to conquer a
land much larger than their own. They retained of the French territories
only the port of Calais and the Channel Islands. [26]


Few wars have had less to justify them, either in their causes or in their
consequences, than this long struggle between England and France. It was a
calamity to both lands. For England it meant the dissipation abroad of the
energies which would have been better employed at home. For France it
resulted in widespread destruction of property, untold suffering, famines,
and terrible loss of life. From this time dates that traditional hostility
between the two countries which was to involve them in future conflicts.
One beneficial effect the war did have. It helped to make the two nations
conscious of their separate existence. The growth of a national feeling,
the awakening of a sentiment of patriotism, was especially marked in
France, which had fought so long for independence.


Shortly after the conclusion of the Hundred Years' War the two branches of
the English royal family became involved in desperate struggle for the
crown. It was known as the War of the Roses, because the house of York
took as its badge a white rose and the house of Lancaster, a red rose. The
contest lasted 1485 A.D., when the Lancastrians conquered, and their
leader, Henry Tudor, ascended the throne as Henry VII. He married a
Yorkist wife, thus uniting the two factions, and founded the Tudor
dynasty. The War of the Roses arrested the progress of English freedom. It
created a demand for a strong monarchy which could keep order and prevent
civil strife between the nobles. The Tudors met that demand and ruled as
absolute sovereigns. It was more than a century before Parliament,
representing the people, could begin to win back free government. It did
this only at the cost of a revolution.


France also issued from the Hundred Years' War with an absolute
government. Strengthened by victory over the English, the French kings
were able to reduce both the nobility and the commons to impotence. During
the reign of Louis XI (1461-1483 A.D.) the royal domains were enlarged by
the addition of Anjou, Provence, and the duchy of Burgundy. His son,
Charles VIII (1483-1498 A.D.), made Brittany a possession of the French
crown. The unification of France was now almost complete.



The Spanish peninsula, known to the Romans as Hispania, is sharply
separated from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees Mountains. At the same
time the nearness of the peninsula to Africa has always brought it into
intimate relations with that continent. Just as Russia has formed a link
between Asia and Europe, so Spain has served as a natural highway from
Africa to Europe.


The first settlers in Spain, of whom we know anything, were the Iberians.
They may have emigrated from northern Africa. After them came the Celts,
who overran a large part of the peninsula and appear to have mingled with
the Iberians, thus forming the mixed people known as Celtiberians. In
historic times Spain was conquered by the Carthaginians, who left few
traces of their occupation, by the Romans, who thoroughly Romanized the
country, by the Visigoths, who founded a Germanic kingdom, and lastly by
the Moors, who introduced Arabian culture and the faith of Islam. [27]
These invaders were not numerous enough greatly to affect the population,
in which the Celtiberian strain is still predominant.


The Moors never wholly conquered a fringe of mountain territory in the
extreme north of Spain. Here a number of small Christian states, including
León, Castile, Navarre, and Aragon, came into being. In the west there
also arose the Christian state of Portugal. Geographically, Portugal
belongs to Spain, from which it is separated only by artificial frontiers,
but the country has usually managed to maintain its independence.


Acting sometimes singly and sometimes in concert, the Christian states
fought steadily to enlarge their boundaries at the expense of their Moslem
neighbors. The contest had the nature of a crusade, for it was blessed by
the pope and supported by the chivalry of Europe. Periods of victory
alternated with periods of defeat, but by the close of the thirteenth
century Mohammedan Spain had been reduced to the kingdom of Granada at the
southern extremity of the peninsula.


The long struggle with the Moors made the Spanish a patriotic people,
keenly conscious of their national unity. The achievements of Christian
warriors were recited in countless ballads, and especially in the fine
_Poem of the Cid_. It deals with the exploits of Rodrigo Diaz, better
known by the title of the Cid (lord) given to him by the Moors. The Cid of
romance was the embodiment of every knightly virtue; the real Cid was a
bandit, who fought sometimes for the Christians, sometimes against them,
but always in his own interest. The Cid's evil deeds were forgotten,
however, and after his death in 1099 A.D. he became the national hero of


Meanwhile the separate Spanish kingdoms were coming together to form a
nation. León and Castile in 1230 A.D. combined into the one kingdom of
Castile, so named because its frontiers bristled with castles against the
Moors. But the most important step in the making of Spain was the marriage
of Ferdinand of Aragon to Isabella of Castile, leading in 1479 A.D. to the
union of these two kingdoms. About the same time the Castilian language
began to crowd out the other Spanish dialects and to become the national



The new sovereigns of Spain aimed to continue the unification of the
peninsula by the conquest of Granada. No effort was made by the Turks, who
shortly before had captured Constantinople, to defend this last stronghold
of Islam in the West. The Moors, though thrown upon their own resources,
made a gallant resistance. At least once Ferdinand wearied of the
struggle, but Isabella's determination never wavered. In 1492 A.D. Granada
surrendered, and the silver cross of the crusading army was raised on the
highest tower of the city. Moslem rule in Spain, after an existence of
almost eight centuries, now came to an end.


Ferdinand and Isabella belong in the front rank of European sovereigns.
Like their contemporaries, Henry VII and Louis XI, they labored with
success to build up an absolute monarchy. Spain had found, as England and
France had found, that feudalism spelled disorder, and that only a strong
central government could keep the peace, repress crime, and foster trade
and commerce. Ferdinand and Isabella firmly established the supremacy of
the crown. By the end of the fifteenth century Spain had become a leading
European power. Its importance in the councils of Europe was soon to be
increased by the marriage of a daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella to the
heir of the Austrian house of Hapsburg.



The name Austria--in German Oesterreich--means simply the eastern part of
any kingdom. It came to be applied particularly to the territory on the
Danube east of Bavaria, which Otto the Great had formed into a mark or
border province for defense against the Magyars. [28] This mark, soon to
be known as Austria, gained an important place among German states. The
frontiers were pushed down the Danube valley and the capital was finally
located at Vienna, once a Roman city. Frederick Barbarossa raised Austria
to the rank of a duchy. Rudolf of Hapsburg, who became emperor in 1273
A.D., first brought the country into the hands of the Hapsburg family.


The Hapsburgs founded the power of the present Austrian monarchy. At the
end of the fourteenth century their dominions included a large part of
eastern Germany, [30] reaching from beyond the Danube southward to the
Adriatic. Early in the sixteenth century they secured Bohemia, a Slavic
land thrust like a wedge into German territory, as well as part of the
Magyar land of Hungary. The possession of these two kingdoms gave Austria
its special character of a state formed by the union under one ruler of
several wholly distinct nations. Meanwhile the right of election as Holy
Roman Emperor became hereditary in the Hapsburg family.



Switzerland, during the earlier period of the Middle Ages, formed a part
of the German duchy of Swabia and belonged to the Holy Roman Empire. [31]
About two-thirds of the population of Switzerland remain German in speech
and feeling, though now the country includes districts in which French or
Italian are spoken. All Swiss laws are still proclaimed in the three


Swiss history is closely bound up with that of Austria. The little
mountain communities of Schwyz, [32] Uri, and Unterwalden, on the shores
of beautiful Lake Lucerne, were possessions of the counts of Hapsburg. In
1291 A.D., the year when Rudolf of Hapsburg died, these three "Forest
Cantons" formed a confederation for resistance to their Hapsburg
overlords. Additional cantons joined the league, which now entered upon a
long struggle, dear to all lovers of liberty, against Austrian rule.
Nowhere did the old methods of feudal warfare break down more
conspicuously than in the battles gained by Swiss pikemen over the haughty
knights of Austria. The struggle closed in 1499 A.D., when Switzerland
became practically a free state. [33]

[Illustration: Map, THE SWISS CONFEDERATION, 1291-1513 A.D.]


Switzerland has two heroes of her war for independence. William Tell is a
wholly mythical character, for the story of a skillful marksman who
succeeds in striking off some small object placed on a child's head is
found in England, Norway, Denmark, and other countries. The Swiss have
localized it in Uri. Another popular hero has a better claim to historical
existence. It is said that at a critical moment in the battle of Sempach,
when the Swiss with their short weapons failed to break the Austrian
ranks, Arnold von Winkelried, a man of Unterwalden, came to the rescue.
Rushing single-handed upon the enemy, he seized all the spears within
reach and turned them into his own body. He thus opened a gap in the line,
through which the Swiss pressed on to victory. Winkelried's deed might
well have been performed, though the evidence for it is very scanty.


Little Switzerland, lying in the heart of the Alps and surrounded by
powerful neighbors, is one of the most interesting states in Europe. The
twenty-two communities, or cantons, which make up the Swiss Confederation,
differ among themselves in language, religion (Roman Catholic or
Protestant), and customs, according to their nearness to Germany, France,
or Italy. Nevertheless the Swiss form a patriotic and united nation. It is
remarkable that a people whose chief bond of union was common hostility to
the Austrian Hapsburgs, should have established a federal government so
strong and enduring.



An examination of the map shows how deficient Germany is in good natural
boundaries. The valley of the Danube affords an easy road to the
southeast, a road which the early rulers of Austria followed as far as
Vienna and the Hungarian frontier. Eastward along the Baltic no break
occurs in the great plain stretching from the North Sea to the Ural
Mountains. It was in this direction that German conquests and colonization
during the Middle Ages laid the foundation of modern Prussia.


The Germans, in descending upon the Roman Empire, had abandoned much of
their former territories to the Slavs. In the reign of Charlemagne all the
region between the Elbe and the Vistula belonged to Slavic tribes. To win
it back for Germany required several centuries of hard fighting. The Slavs
were heathen and barbarous, so that warfare with them seemed to be a kind
of crusade. In the main, however, German expansion eastward was a business
venture, due to the need for free land. It was the same need which in the
nineteenth century carried the frontiers of the United States from the
Alleghanies to the Pacific.


German expansion began early in the tenth century, when Henry the Fowler
annexed Brandenburg between the Elbe and the Oder. [34] Subsequently much
of the territory between the Oder and the Vistula, including Pomerania on
the southern coast of the Baltic, came under German control. The Slavic
inhabitants were exterminated or reduced to slavery. Their place was taken
by thousands of German colonists, who introduced Christianity, built
churches and monasteries, cleared the woods, drained the marshes, and
founded many cities destined to become centers of German trade and


Between the Vistula and the Niemen lay the lands of the Prussians, a non-
Teutonic people closely related to the Slavs. The Prussian language and
religion have disappeared, the Prussians themselves have been completely
absorbed by the Germans who settled in their country, but the Prussian
name is borne to-day by one of the great states of modern Europe.


The conquest and conversion of the Prussians was accomplished by the
famous order of Teutonic Knights. It had been founded in Palestine as a
military-religious order, at the time of the Third Crusade. [35] The
decline of the crusading movement left the knights with no duties to
perform, and so they transferred their activities to the Prussian
frontier, where there was still a chance to engage in a holy war.
Throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the Teutonic Order
flourished, until its grand master ruled over the entire Baltic coast from
the Vistula to the gulf of Finland. The knights later had to relinquish
much of this region to the Slavs, but they sowed there the seeds of
civilization. Russia's Baltic provinces [36] are to-day the richest and
most advanced in the empire.


Germany at the close of the Middle Ages was not a united, intensely
national state, such as had been established in England, France, and
Spain. It had split into hundreds of principalities, none large, some
extremely small, and all practically independent of the feeble German
kings. [37] This weakness of the central power condemned Germany to a
minor part in the affairs of Europe, as late as the nineteenth century.
Yet Germany found some compensation for political backwardness in the
splendid city life which it developed during the later Middle Ages. The
German cities, together with those of Italy and other European lands, now
call for our attention.



1. On an outline map indicate (a) William the Conqueror's French dominions
and (b) additional dominions of the Plantagenet kings in France.

2. Prepare a chart showing the leading rulers mentioned in this chapter.
Arrange your material in parallel columns with dates, one column for
England, one for France, and one for the other European countries.

3. Locate the following places: Crécy; Calais; Poitiers; Salisbury;
Stirling; Edinburgh; Orléans; and Granada.

4. What happened in 987 A.D.? in 1066 A.D.? in 1215 A.D.? in 1295 A.D.? in
1346 A.D.? in 1453 A.D.? in 1485 A.D.?

5. Distinguish between a nation, a government, and a state.

6. Are unity of race, a common language, a common religion, and
geographical unity of themselves sufficient to make a nation? May a nation
arise where these bonds are lacking?

7. "The thirteenth century gave Europe the nations as we now know them."
Comment on this statement.

8. Account for the rise of national feeling in France, Spain, Scotland,
and Switzerland.

9. "Good government in the Middle Ages was only another name for a public-
spirited and powerful monarchy." Comment on this statement.

10. What advantages has trial by jury over the older forms of trial, such
as oaths, ordeals, and the judicial duel?

11. Explain the difference between a grand jury and a trial, or petty

12. Compare the extent of territory in which Roman law now prevails with
that which follows the Common law.

13. Why was the Parliament of 1295 A.D. named the "Model Parliament"?

14. Why has England been called "the mother of parliaments"?

15. Distinguish between England and Great Britain. Between Great Britain
and the United Kingdom.

16. What were the Roman names of England, Scotland, and Ireland?

17. "Islands seem dedicated by nature to freedom." How does the history of
Ireland illustrate this statement?

18. Trace on the map the main water routes in France between the
Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

19. Show that Paris occupies an exceptionally good location for a capital

20. What French kings did most to form the French nation?

21. Why have queens never ruled in France?

22. Compare the Hundred Years' War and the Peloponnesian War as needless

23. Compare Joan of Arc's visions with those of Mohammed.

24. "Beyond the Pyrenees begins Africa." What does this statement mean?

25. Why was Spain inconspicuous in European politics before the opening of
the sixteenth century?

26. Look up in an encyclopedia the story of William Tell and prepare an
oral report upon it.

27. Why was the German system of elective rulers politically less
advantageous than the settled hereditary succession which prevailed in
England and France?


[1] Webster, _Readings in Medieval and Modern History,_ chapter xiv, "St.
Louis"; chapter xv, "Episodes of the Hundred Years' War"; chapter xvi,
"Memoirs of a French Courtier."

[2] The name comes from that of the broom plant (Latin _planta genesta_),
a sprig of which Henry's father used to wear in his hat. The family is
also called Angevin, because Henry on his father's side descended from the
counts of Anjou in France.

[3] See page 419.

[4] Latin _verum dictum_, "a true statement."

[5] Latin _juro_, "I take an oath."

[6] See pages 475-476.

[7] See page 514.

[8] See page 461.

[9] A term which refers to all freemen in town and country below the rank
of nobles.

[10] See page 418.

[11] Made up of the chief lords and bishops.

[12] The word "parliament," from French _parler,_ "to speak," originally
meant a talk or conference. Later, the word came to be applied to the body
of persons assembled for conference.

[13] See page 407 and note 1.

[14] See page 319.

[15] See page 246.

[16] See the map, page 321.

[17] In 1603 A.D. James VI of Scotland ascended the throne of England as
James I. In 1707 A.D. the two countries adopted a plan of union which gave
them a common Parliament and one flag.

[18] See page 397.

[19] See page 403.

[20] From 987 A.D. to 1328 A.D. France had only fourteen kings. The
average length of their reigns was, therefore, something more than twenty-
four years.

[21] See pages 461, 475.

[22] Hence the name "Salic law" applied to the rule excluding women from
succession to the French throne.

[23] See page 550.

[24] Probably so called from the black armor which he wore. It may still
be seen above his tomb in Canterbury Cathedral.

[25] In French, Jeanne d'Arc.

[26] Calais went back to the French in 1558 A.D. The Channel Islands are
still English possessions.

[27] See pages 164, 169, 244, 378. The Arabs and Berbers who settled in
Spain are generally called Moors.

[28] See page 316.

[29] See page 462.

[30] The duchies of Upper and Lower Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and
Carniola, and the county of Tyrol.

[31] See the map facing page 462.

[32] From Schwyz comes the name Switzerland.

[33] The independence of the country was not formally recognized till 1648

[34] See page 315.

[35] See page 473.

[36] Courland, Livonia, and Esthonia.

[37] See pages 319, 462.





Civilization has always had its home in the city. [1] The statement
applies as well to medieval times as to the present day. Nothing marks
more strongly the backwardness of the early Middle Ages than the absence
of large and flourishing cities throughout western Europe. The growth of
trade in the later Middle Ages led, however, to a civic revival beginning
in the eleventh century. This change from rural to urban life was scarcely
less significant for European history than the change from the feudal to
the national state.


A number of medieval cities stood on the sites, and even within the walls,
of Roman municipalities. Particularly in Italy, southern France, and
Spain, and also in the Rhine and Danube regions, it seems that some
ancient _municipia_ had never been entirely destroyed during the Germanic
invasions. They preserved their Roman names, their streets, aqueducts,
amphitheaters, and churches, and possibly vestiges of their Roman
institutions. Among them were such important centers as Milan, Florence,
Venice, Lyons, Marseilles, Paris, Vienna, Cologne, London, and York.


Many medieval cities were new foundations. Some rose to importance because
of advantages of situation. A place where a river could be forded, where
two roads met, or where a good harbor existed, would naturally become the
resort of traders. Some, again, started as fortresses, behind whose
ramparts the peasants took refuge when danger threatened. A third group of
cities developed from villages on the manors. A thriving settlement was
pretty sure to arise near a monastery or castle, which offered both
protection and employment to the common people.


The city at first formed part of the feudal system. It grew upon the
territory of a feudal lord and naturally owed obedience to him. The
citizens ranked not much higher than serfs, though they were traders and
artisans instead of farmers. They enjoyed no political rights, for their
lord collected the taxes, appointed officials, kept order, and punished
offenders. In short, the city was not free.

The fortifications of Carcassonne an ancient city of southwestern France
are probably unique in Europe for completeness and strength. They consist
of a double line of ramparts protected by towers and pierced by only two
gates. A part of the fortifications is attributed to the Visigoths in the
sixth century, the remainder, including the castle, was raised during the
Middle Ages (eleventh to thirteenth centuries)]


But the city from the first was the decided enemy of feudalism. [2] As its
inhabitants increased in number and wealth, they became Revolt of
conscious of their strength and refused to submit the cities to
oppression. Sometimes they won their freedom by hard fighting, more often
they purchased it, perhaps from some noble who needed money to go on a
crusade. In France, England, and Spain, where the royal power was strong,
the cities obtained exemption from their feudal burdens, but did not
become entirely self-governing. In Germany and Italy, on the other hand,
the weakness of the central government permitted many cities to secure
complete independence. They became true republics, like the old Greek
city-states. [3]


The contract which the citizens extorted from their lord was known as a
charter. It specified what taxes they should be required to pay and
usually granted to them various privileges, such as those of holding
assemblies, electing magistrates, and raising militia for local defense.
The revolt of the cities gradually extended over all western Europe, so
that at the end of the fourteenth century hardly any of them lacked a


The free city had no room for either slaves or serfs. All servile
conditions ceased inside its walls. The rule prevailed that anyone who had
lived in a city for the term of a year and a day could no longer be
claimed by a lord as his serf. This rule found expression in the famous
saying: "Town air renders free."


The freedom of the cities naturally attracted many immigrants to them.
There came into existence a middle class of city people, between the
nobles and clergy on the one side and the peasants on the other side--what
the French call the _bourgeoisie._ [4] As we have [5] learned, the kings
of England and France soon began to summon representatives of this middle
class to sit in assemblies as the "third estate," by the side of the
nobles and the clergy, who formed the first two estates. Henceforth the
middle class, the _bourgeoisie,